The goal of the Linux-Society (LS, dating back to the mid-90s as a professional club and tech-mentoring group) has been a purely-democratic Information Society; many of the articles are sociological in nature. The LS was merged with Perl/Unix of NY to form multi-layered group that included advocacy, project-oriented learning by talented high school students: textbook constructivism. Linux has severe limitations such that it is useless for any computer that will, say, print or scan. It is primarily used for webservers and embedded devices such as the Android. (Google is high-invested in it).

Technology is problematic. During the heyday of technology (1990s), it seemed it had the democratic direction Lewis Mumford said it should have in his seminal
Technics and Civilization.

Today, we are effectively stuck with Windows as Linux is poor on the desktop and has cultured a maladaptive following. Apple is prohibitive, and all other operating systems lack drivers, including Google's Android, an offshoot of linux.

In the late 90s there was hope for new kernels such as LibOS and ExoOS that would bare their hardware to programs, some of which would be virtual machines such as Java uses. Another important player was the L4 system that is a minor relation to the code underlying the Apple's systems. It was highly scientific but fell into the wrong hangs, apparently, and has suffered from having no progress on the desktop. There is a version, "SE" that is apparently running in many cell phones as specialized telecom chips, but is proprietary. SE's closed nature was only recently revealed, which is important because it is apparently built from publicly-owned code as it is not a "clean room" design it may violate public domain protections, and most certainly violates the widely-accepted social contract.

Recent attempts to enjoin into L4 development as an advocate for "the people" have been as frustrating (and demeaning) as previous attempts with the usual attacks to self-esteem by maladaptive "hacks" being reinforced by "leadership" (now mostly university professors).

In short, this leaves us with Windows, which is quite a reversal if you have read earlier posts here. But, upon Windows, we have free and open software development systems in the forms of GTK+ (the windows usually used on Linux) and the Minimal GNU Windows (MinGW and MSYS) systems. It is very likely this direction that development should go (that is, on Windows) such that s/w can then be ported to a currently-valid microkernel system that includes a driver system that can be adapted by hardware developers to reuse of their windows and apple drivers.

From a brief survey of L4, it appears that the last clean copy was the DROPS system of the early 2010s, was a German effort that used the Unix-like "OS kit" from an American University.

If we are going to be stuck on Windows, then it seems that a high level approach to free and open systems integration, such as creating fully transparent mouse communication between apps so that they can seamlessly work together as a single desktop (rather than deliberately conflicting). This would be very helpful for GIMP and Inkscape, both leading graphics programs that are strong in the special ways, but suffer from an inability to easily interrelate.

Another important issue is the nature, if you can call it that, of the "geek" or "hack." Technology is formed democratically but "harvested" authoritarian-ly --if I can coin a term that Mumford might use. Authority is plutarchy: a combination of aristocracy and oligarchy that is kept alive after all these millennia by using, or maligning, the information society as a part of the civilizing (or law-giving) process that embraces the dialectic as its method. Democratic restoration, that is to put humanity back on an evolutionary (and not de-evolutionary) track, I think, will require the exclusion of the "geek" from decision-making. As is, the free/open s/w culture attempts to give leadership to those who write the most lines of code --irrespective of their comprehension of the real world or relationship with normal users. We need normal people to somehow organize around common sense (rather than oligarchic rationalism) to bring to life useful and cohesive software and communications systems.

Interestingly, the most popular page on this site is about Carl Rogers' humanistic psychology, and has nothing to do with technology.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Might was well bring it up... Wiki ML

I have seen a number of scattered posits on Wikipedia expressing dismay that there is no formal wiki standard, and that wikis are necessarily tied to the WWW as the WWW begins to decline into its predicted terminal case of "code smell."

But not XML: I started with complex structures with Perl, and had amazing success with them building a fully secure OO dataserver that we entirely editable from a recursive web page. In fact Perl is built around complex structures, though Perl got the "smell" a decade before the rest (Shell never did!)

XML is simply a complex structure system that has been deliberately crippled through arbitrary limitation from the outset, I believe, by the WWW Consortium.

In another closely related issue, as soon as I got serious about CSS, and learned that it is not what I assumed, a mirrored layer for the various document transformation and rendering models, and then learned what a mess Java Script is. From there I realized that there is a lost markup functionality within html that has never been invented because javascipt, and only javascript, was implemented by the management layer.

(I found a project called Water that does HTML programming, but the owner, at the time, was opposed to our domain of public software, or the public domain. Richard Stallman, oddly, also opposes the public domain, I can forward emails if you want to see them.)

To add to this thread following the Web insanity trail, Google has sponsored a python-to-JavaScript translator called pajamas. Wouldn't it make more sense to develop (or choose) a relevant programming language, create an interpreter that is less than 1M, distribute it, and shovel the dirt over the smelly code (as if it will impart nutrients to future life)?

Actions like this usually require an act of congress, such as the act of congress the forced the US phone monopoly (then called Ma Bell) to create Unix that in turn created the open system concept that led to BSD and Linux, and was also extended by IBM with the invention of the PC's open architecture.

But as we all know, insanity has replaced normalcy in US government. (There seems to be a glimmer of home with the NY State governor, Patterson, who has bonded with the last of the genuine activists in NYC -- but I doubt he sees votes in free software.)

Friday, January 01, 2010

Happy New Year

I want to wish everyone and their families, friends, and associates an excellent new year. I am speaking from the North Eastern US, but I assume that the new year is very much the same around the world; it is a time of renewal, reinforcement, commitment, and, well, improved navigation.

The last decade, the beginning of the new millennium, was an extremely difficult time for the Information Society, at least in my region. In September of 2001, our Information Society "head quarters," so to speak, was struck by the most concentrated violence in human history, essentially ending, at least for us, the most incredible growth spurt of the Information Society: the development of the Internet as the core of human communication with the invention of the WWW.

The last decade has been introspective; most people I know have been searching for answers, wondering what went wrong when things seemed so right. Now, exactly ten years out of synchronicity, we are finally empowered with the properly constructed knowledge that will enable us to adjust humanity's future history for its journey through the Twenty-First Century.

Unquestionably, completely open and freely available information systems are the key to us, as free and open describe this very system that we work and live in. I believe that they will be key to humanity's path into the future, and that the work we are doing here is blazing that path.