not all change is progress
March 30, 2015
Direct download links: MP3 & Ogg
A quiet fortnight for Linux offered up the ideal opportunity for us to step back and think about some broader trends in the world of technology.
In the news, we looked at Microsoft’s attempts to regain traction following missteps with Windows 8 and in the mobile space, wondered whether we should simply give up on trying to make our systems secure at all, and discussed how Google is moving from knowing all that we do towards determining all that we can we think.
After your feedback, we talked with journalist and author Doug Hill about some of the issues that rarely get an airing in a technological society where every new change is automatically viewed as progress.0:02:54 News
National Videogame Arcade opens in Nottingham, UK
Snatching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory?
Microsoft Hints at Windows 10 IoT SKUs
The Windows 10 free upgrade for pirates: More confusing than it seems
Windows 10 to make the Secure Boot alt-OS lock out a reality
Microsoft Expansion: Subverting Android One App at a Time
Cyanogen receives $80 million in funding from Qualcomm, Twitter, and others
Meet Cyanogen, The Startup That Wants To Steal Android From Google
Ubuntu phone ‘app’ creator launched
Firefox OS now running on a MIPS-based reference tablet
Security: the Give Up and Go Home Edition
X.Org Security Advisory: March 17, 2015
Google warns of unauthorized TLS certificates trusted by almost all OSes
BIOS Hacking (full presentation, 47MB PDF)
Everything is insecure and will be forever says Cisco CTO
Build your own Siri: An open-source digital assistant
Google now offering to proxy for Chrome on all platforms
Google wants to rank websites based on facts not links
A huge thank you to Dave Allan for becoming our latest Monthly Supporter, and to HenrySprog for keeping our Flattr account ticking upwards. Thanks guys!
As we mentioned when flagging up LinuxFest Northwest 2015, if anyone has Linux or FOSS events that they’d like us to plug, do drop us a line. Whilst we turn the show around fairly quickly we do only record every fortnight, so 3-4 weeks’ notice prior to an event would be ideal.
A comment from Brad Alexander got us thinking about drive encryption again; and plenty of feedback – including from Glenn Skiner and Dave Allan – had us reconsidering prior comments on renewable and nuclear energy.
Jezra got in touch regarding the apparent ‘corporatisation’ occurring at the Linux Foundation, a concern that we all share.
Following some criticism from ourselves both of Firefox and the Mozilla Foundation in general, Matthew Beaven, klaatu la terible and Joel Ewing chipped in with some useful information and opinions of their own – thanks, guys.
Wrapping up the feedback this show, Mister Sterling echoed our own sentiments and hopes that FOSS development will remain open and welcoming for all – regardless of gender or other differences in identity.
1:09:46 Doug Hill Interview
We chatted with American journalist and author Doug Hill about some of the issues raised in his book Not So Fast: Thinking Twice About Technology. As Doug mentioned during the piece, he’s currently discussing alternative publishing arrangements which means that his book isn’t available to purchase right now. However, a review published on the LibrarianShipwreck website last year will give the reader a feel for the ground covered by the book, as will Doug’s own blog.
We’d like to occasionally run other pieces that aren’t strictly Linux related, but that encompass wider themes that we feel would be of interest to our tech-oriented audience. Do let us know if you have strong feelings either way about us somewhat stretching the remit of the show like this.
Even if mandatory UEFI were to trim the number of Linux distros down to a handful, PulseAudio will still suck. I think it’s the inconsistent (albeit improving) behavior of subsystems like Pulse that are the real barrier to entry to Linux by Windows users. There are still too many. “looks good but doesn’t work”, features that still need to be fixed before non-enthusiasts could be expected to stick with desktop Linux.
Also, I’m wondering if Red Hat and Canonical really would refuse to share their MS-signed shims with others — or given the almost certain condemnation they’d face from wider Linux community, whether they’d even risk it. I’m not sure that either would want to be on the wrong side of an Unfair Trade Practice investigation of MS by the FTC (something that should have followed the original introduction of UEFI but that was probably short-circuited by MS requiring OEMs to optionally allow bypassing the new boot method).
I’d rather have Linus rant forever at me than go down the path of “professionalization of Linux”. Political correctness gives away the store to the worst elements of society. Nothing ever good comes from it.
A podcast by the name of “Linux Luddites” should know this already!
Very interesting interview with Doug Hill. It certainly made me think about how much I take perpetual change for granted. Although this wasn’t strictly linux related (as you say), it still fitted well into the luddite theme. I think it worked really well, and would be interested in similar digressions sometime in the future.
I disagree. I’d rather not have guests like Doug Hill. If somebody is going to say change is bad I want a reason. Not change is bad because it always must be fixed again. I suspect Doug would object to fire because it must be fixed constantly! Unless you live in Bible Land and know everything then you are in the real world where our understanding of practically everything is being fixed on a regular basis.
By the way Steve Jobs was in India in the summer of 1974. He did not spend the 60s traveling about India like Doug claimed on the show. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Jobs
Agreed, perfect luddite topic :-) “Luddite” as in reasonable, articulate scepticism of technological promises. IMHO there is a need to understand much more about our societies relationship with technology. Because almost all tech & gadget topics also can be tied to social, economical and/or environmental topics, I would welcome more such interviews.
In case someone is interested more in the aspects of climate change, technological fixes that were talked about here, another interview worth listening to is http://citizenreporter.org/2011/05/ctrp377-our-failing-infrastructure/. Both those speakers have an interesting record of talks on “hacker conferences” generally.
Also enjoyed in the interview. & agree re: skepticism
IMHO its not that technology is good/bad – its the long term effects when it replaces other activities.
Its surprising to me how (un)self aware regular
people seem to be about this.
When they spend large chunks of time just doing meaningless stuff online (light entertainment, games … etc). Wouldn’t you question whats going on?
I’m glad to see you and [most] others enjoyed the interview and got something thoughtful out of it. I was a little concerned that neither Joe nor I had read the book, but as it turned out, Doug was very easy to chat to and I thought did well to explain himself, so I hope that came across.
As for people’s time being frittered away online, I wholeheartedly agree but I see it far more often with TV. A friend I used to live with was constantly glued to the TV (he might say I was glued to my PC in retort) but I’d often see him flicking through channels just searching for something to watch. At that point I’d say it was time to get up and do something useful or productive!
But then again when there wasn’t TV people sat around knitting just to kill time, so where’s the balance??
@Jessie, I wasn’t sure weather to broach the
subject of TV, (since it’s related).
Now I’m going to sound like a _real_ Luddite, Since I think TV is apart of the problem. However TV shows have a beginning/middle/end. Where as online entertainment can just continue indefinitely (ok, some people can watch TV all day too).
Only anecdotal, but my grandfather was a primary school teacher at the time television was introduced in Australia, and noticed a marked reduction in the attention span of children over these years. (Theres loads of studies about this stuff too of course).
Something I worry about is the illusion of diverse activities (computer/tablet/smartphone/TV), when it may all boiled down to passive entertainment on a screen.
I for one enjoyed the Doug Hill interview and agree with Cathryne, it was a good fit for the podcast. “Not all change is progress”, the LinuxLuddites tagline, may be half in jest, but that does leave the the other half.
An important discussion with good questions from Jessie and Joe IMHO, even if the absence of obvious solutions may make it an uncomfortable topic.
I agree that the interview fits well into the show’s theme. Going even beyond just the luddite name, Doug’s investigations into the role of technology in society remind me of some of the common themes that Linux Luddites likes to hit regarding Linux and open source. Questions about if there are too many distros or too many similar projects because developers fork things instead of contributing upstream are asking if certain efforts really serve any purpose or only give the appearance of being productive. I like working with bare bones distros like Linux from Scratch or Arch and figuring out how to build up exactly what I want, but it is important to step back and ask if I’m really learning anything worthwhile or just learning one specific set of configuration options with no broader applicability and if I wouldn’t be better off just knowing how to make the small tweaks to Ubuntu that I need so I can move on to other things. To me, Doug is asking these same sorts of questions on a broader scale of technology in general, and I think it’s healthy to take this broader perspective from time to time.
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