2005/07/25 1984 just comes a little later
A while ago I wrote about Internet access not being a right. In that article, I opined that Microsoft might use the legal system to maintain their stranglehold on personal computing. That hasn't happened yet, but Bill and the boys have made an unholy alliance with the music and movie companies that could have the same effect. The Inquirer has a detailed article entitled "Intel to cut Linux out of the content market" that explains what they have in mind.
If you have never read Stallman's "Right to Read" piece, now might be a good time to do so. When I first read that, I didn't really think we could ever reach a point where that could be true. But we are well on the road to making that absolute reality.
There are probably more pressing things to worry about right now, and that may be just how this kind of erosion of our rights can succeed. While we're worrying about wars and religious fundamentalism, the greedy big corporations get legislators to help them put you in virtual handcuffs.
It sounds implausible. Stallman's "Right to read" seemed ridiculous when I first read it, but now it makes me feel quite uneasy - that *could* be reality.
At the moment, stopping you from using media on "illegal" platforms is effectively unenforceable, but that doesn't mean it will always remain so. Courts (with the help of legislation) could decide that Linux (and BSD and SkyOS etc.) are technologies that allow "criminal" activity. You can be sure that Microsoft would be funding studies that would help support that argument.
It then could become illegal to sell or distribute Linux. Of course there'd be underground usage, but otherwise it would die. I would think this could happen more easily in the U.S. than elsewhere, but it still would be significant damage.
Microsoft has no morals, no interest in your freedom, your rights, or indeed anything but your money. They recognize Linux as a threat and will work on all fronts to nullify it. Too few of our legislators are intelligent enough to understand these issues, and are too influenced by corporate power. That's dangerous for the rest of us.
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