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Re: gEDA-user: Free Dog meetings at MIT starting this September!

On Saturday 21 August 2004 09:48 am, Karel Kulhavý wrote:
> Take a high school full of adolescents and persuade them that reverse
> engineering hardware is more cool than free sex, drugs, booze and pot
> together. (This is impossible, of course). Then you'll probably end up
> with a PC schematic.

High school kids don't have the technical background, because no such 
background *CAN* exist.  There is *NOTHING* the highschool kid can 
inexpensively fall back on to support ANY kind of curiosity.  This is my 
point!  Note also the key word, "inexpensive."  Now-a-days, you can 
purchase a kick-butt book called "Art of Electronics," by Horowitz and 
Hill.  Costs $150 or more.  Back in the early 80s, you could find every 
bit of knowledge in that book in a small handful of Radio Electronics 
magazines, for $1.50 a piece.  OK, $30 or so a year for a subscription.  
Either way, the cost of knowledge today is, at a minimum, 5x what it was 
back then.

When I was growing up, I had full schematics to my Commodore 64 and 
Amiga.  I had register-level documentation of all the system hardware 
for both (although I paid a nice penny for it for the Amiga).  I 
literally taught myself how to read schematics before I entered 7th 
grade Jr. High, and was building my own 4-bit processor (yes, PROCESSOR) 
by the age of 15.  The point being, there were a TON of books and 
resources I could rely on for knowledge.  Today?  NOTHING.  It's just an 
intellectual WASTELAND out there.

And yes, the processor worked.

> However much easier would be to persuade them into hardware hacking
> instead (also impossible ;-) ) because designing a computer from
> scratch is IMHO less pain that reverse engineering the crap that is on
> today's markets.

This is patently and observably false, as indicated by the infinitesmally 
small hobby-kit industry.  Let's be objective here: you cannot persuade 
someone to enter into a hobby which requires thousands of dollars of 
investment to build anything beyond rediculously simple, because he 
hasn't paid his stupid SIG dues.

I do not consider the use of PIC-chips as satisfying, because their 
utility is highly limited by their on-chip resources.  They're not even 
good for learning the basics of digital electronics design, because 99% 
of working with a PIC is *software*.

> Sometimes I wonder when I see that Ronja is built be people I would
> dismiss as evil on a first sight meeting them on a street. Lastly I
> got a feeling that much evil that is induced in young minds is not
> generated by themselves, but by the stupid system held by the
> structures behind commercialization, globalization and these stuffs.

Yes, because big companies are taking away *OUR* information, the 
information we need to explore, to learn, and to LIVE.

> This is however bad. I have read random parts of some christian book
> (I am not a christian myself and am not considering becoming one) and
> got a feeling they want to say that the evil resides in the idleness
> and passivity. So that, the program is simple:

The religious right in this country is about as anti-Christian as they 
come.  They have no clue what it means.  Although not religious myself 
(in that sense, at least), I am baptised, confirmed, and used to 
regularly practice Roman Catholocism.  I've spoken with a rather large 
number of those who ARE still devout and even orthodox Christians, and 
not a one is very happy with them at all.  Many of them get surprisingly 
violent when asked about them.

> And you'll probably won't do much of it walking down TESCO stores and
> deciding which item of the displayed goods is the least crap from your
> needs' point of view.

The problem is, though, those who create for themselves and want to share 
with others are hindered by patents.  My Kestrel project was affected 
badly by patents.  Now it's affected by my inability to reach a target 
price point for the kit.  I just can't win.

> I don't see any point in creating something what is already banned
> from distribution at the time of it's birth by some huge company that
> just wants to rake, rake, rake money. It's like not creating anything
> actually because is of a very limitted utility for the society.

What?  You totally didn't make any sense here.

> You'll be probably have a feeling that your attempts are void and be
> called communists, your trying economically inefficient etc. however I

Economically inefficient?  I've never heard that term before.

> It seems to me that evil has some inherent property that it's design
> is basically flawed so that it has lots of security holes and one of
> them is free software, hardware etc. ;-)

Not true.  Free software came about in a free society, 1970s era America.  
Free software would never have come about in Taliban Afghanistan, 
Stalinist Russia, or Hitler's Germany.  Absolutely never.

Freedom requires freedom to thrive.

> Trying to imagine being born into a world where no free programs
> existed at the time I was at high school or the beginning of
> university, I would probably die from boredom ;-)

No, you'd be brainwashed into thinking Windows XP is the latest, greatest 
thing, and that everyone should be using it.  Just like everyone I used 
to work with at In-N-Out Burger.  "He's some kind of weird geek, because 
he uses LINUX!  HAHAhaha!"  <-- common phrase used to describe me.

Samuel A. Falvo II