Name: Fernando Machado
Member since: 2001-03-14 06:23:26
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Recent blog entries by MachX

20 Mar 2001 (updated 20 Mar 2001 at 04:29 UTC) »
Possession of Information in the Digital Era - Copyright

The possession of information copyright in the new millenium should be treated as over. What's happening today? What is copyright today? People who produce anything, any kind of information that can be digitalized are losing the power to preserve it untouchable. Why? Information is something that you can't control. Any kind of information cannot be controled, except if you maintain it on your mind, just. The speed of the information, transactions, anything, is growing uncontroled and people are loosing the power over it. Maybe this initiation isn't clear, but we will analyze some cases to explain it.

The Napster Case

What do you think that is copyright? Ok, is the possession of intelectual property and if somebody want to use/misuse it, need to pay royalties. What is happening today? Nobody have total control over the exchange of information, of any kind. Why all the world knew about the Roswell case in the same week of happening? The easy and fast information exchange. It's obviuosly that internet wasn't the method of communication in that years, but the telephone and the fast ways of transportation, like airplanes, and the difusion of the press/TV were used to diffuse the information all around the world. The government were not able to hide everything, so maybe all we know it's the point of the line. Now, we have the faster way of communication that ever had been imaginated, the INTERNET. You can talk to anybody in any place of the world in real time, in a chat, audio or video. The world is not as larger than it was bout 40/50 years ago. And now we have the napster case... What happened? Somebody created a virtual community (that's our community nowadays) that can exchange some kind of virtual information, music in the referred case. But, in past millenium, music was intellectual property of the producer/singer. The napster community had all the chance to exchange something "free" (digital data) that contained something that isn't free (intellectual property). And then? Some artists have joined the club and turn free all it's properties, their musics could be exchanged all over the world, by napster, web pages, dcc exchanges, ftp servers, etc.. And how are they earning money??? They were earning money by the royalties? and now??? Ok, they needed to turn more creative! How much do you think that costs a little banner in a web site from a great artist? The TRIPLE !!! And now they are earning more money than before!!! But last-millenium artists, such that famous singer (read between lines - Madonna), started a movement to suspend the free exchange of musics. What happened (again?!?!?!)? A very clever person put out server outside the U.S.A., in a country that doesn't have laws inciding directly in the copyrights of digital information.

The Linux Case

As we all knows, Linux is a free software: you don't need to pay for it and if you want, you can adapt it for your needs, the font-code comes together. PRoperty of digital data is becoming something from the last millenium, anyone could have a operational system for him/her computer and it can be changed to become adequate to each application. And how Linus Torvalds and his friends are earning money? Publishing Books and giving speeches all around the world - what you have in your mind cannot be stolen!!! You can share it, but it cannot be copied. That's the point!

Last Words

Some people don't understand what is happening in these days, but a culture is changing, turned into an in-your-head knowledge. Why are computation/maths books so expensive? Because they had to be written in years! And if people depent of the information contained on it, they will pay 1,000.00 US$ for a miserable book with 500 pages! It's true, it's real. Digital information can be disseminated as a virus. In seconds, everyone who is interested on it will have it on hands. So, the exchange of values is turning our society more creative and more well informed. The phrase of the future (of the PRESENT, damn!!!) is: Information is Power.</i>

Linux like commercial tool: Earning money with it

As seen, Linux is getting a larger piece of the market like a free system for implementation of specific designed softwares. Commonly you can find stores running software designed for themselves on a linux platform. What does it means? Ok, you are thinking: what the hell is this guy saying? Think with me: is linux, free, isn't it? so, why will somebody pay for a OS if you can get a free one? That's the point! Developing directioned software in linux is getting common around the world!

Choosing OS

Developing software for commerce automation in Windows is as easy as you can think, but there's a reason to discard this: you can't trust on a data base like MS-SQL server or other one like Access MDB's. They are not failsafe. You have data loss in a greater scale than you would imagine, like I saw once in a drugstore. Sometimes they got 100.00 US$ of difference in the checkout. So, why I'll pay almost a hundred bucks for something that I can't trust? Well, you can use linux! Maybe you will spend a lot of time developing an graphic interface, but you can offer a tool that you will not let you to the court! And you can dig the hole and get all those machines that are engraved, like 386's, 486's and others. Some Bill Gates' friends will say: but microsoft get you and your personal trained and you have garantees! But why a linux software developer can't give it too? They are very well rewarded, aren't they?

You can trust in C

Maybe C can be a difficult language to manipulate data, but today you have all the tools for implementation of the interface, like X libraries with all the modelling tool (windows, buttons, etc.). They're not visual tools, but a bit more work will not kill your neurons. And you can implement data exchange with SQL servers, like MySQL, PostgreSQL. As I mean, all of these tools are trustable. And remember: the compiller that are you using is free.

Dimensioning Needs

Start with a good planning. It won't hurt, trust me. Maybe applying a life cycle model could help a lot. Software Engineering for free software is discardable, but WE ARE NOT TALKING ABOUT FREE SOFTWARE!!! A good Requirement Analysis is a helpful tool to start planning the work and thinking what any department will need. In the checkout you may need a medium machine, like P54's or P55's (Pentium and Pentium MMX), but you can put a 486 as price consulter. One second more to the consumer will not be notable. And in the credit sector, maybe you will need a Pentium II. More robust machines will be the servers.

Interface needs are other point to meet. A price consulter can use a well designed text interface. Otherwise, at the checkouts you will need a good fashioned interface. Remember, interfaces are difficult to design, but a good presentation saves the day. It should be clean an informative. And can be a text one!!!

Experience in the Area

As I have seen all around, more institutions are adopting linux as a platform for developing tools. Banks, large stores, small stores, gas stations, are controlling cash and stock movement with software developed in free platforms. And they are happy with the choice, as the developers are. You can interact the SQL server of a bank with more transparency of what are you implementing than in a closed system. And any fail in the system can be found and corrected in less time. So, if there is a crescent demanding on this kind of system implementation, it should be good enougth to get the place!

Last word for the free software community

Yes! FREE SOFTWARE is what we are defending, but when you are developing a system on demand for a particular application, it could not be free! Or, you can design a system for free, but you can earn money on maintaining it. Ok, I love free software, but we live in a capitalist world and nobody could live without the green ones.

Last word about the application of older machines

The cost of an investment in newer machinery is very high, so people should use what they get in hand first, and then, acquire newer machinery in a gradative manner. Another point to get in mind: why are you investing 1,000.00 US$ in a machine that it's power of processing wont be useful in certains sectors, like pre-checkouts or price consulters? So let the old friends work together! And be sure that a 486 won't crash as a pentium. ;)


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