Monday, September 17, 2012

Stallman is Correct

  • Confusion around the GPL and its purpose
    • Many folk writing fine FOSS software are condemning GPL et. al. for being what it is designed to be.
    • Indicates misunderstanding of fundamental purpose.
  • The GPL is a weapon.
    • Meant to curb anti-social behavior on the part of people who will not do it voluntarily.
  • Fools vs. Genius
    • Making money is not the same thing as creating value.
    • Non-physical restrictions on copying bit-patterns attempt to create an artificial scarcity.
      • As foolish as attempts to legislate the value of Pi.
    • People are foolishly introducing want and lack where none previously existed.
    • They're not creating value but rather interfering with it, restricting it.
  •  But what about the starving artists!?
    • Bucky calculated that we would be able to work two years and retire, having paid for our living for the rest of our lives in those two years, by sometime in the 1970's.
    • The trick is we have to align our technology with our needs efficiently.
    • If we align our technology with our actual needs we should expect a nearly Utopian system to happen automatically.
  • We make a system where nobody starves, artist or otherwise.
    • The solution to the starving artist problem is global. Nobody starves.
    • It doesn't solve the human condition, but it does alter the set of daily problems with which we all must cope.
  • Do we want to be miserable and venal, or joyful and abundant?
    • Understanding the GPL and its purpose in light of the larger context and sweep of history is essential to the "Open Source" movement and to the very spirit of being a hacker.
    • Hackers are very much warriors against fear and lack and sorrow and the myriad miseries of human history.
    • The GPL is a weapon to prevent ignorant or anti-social people from using the value you create as a "hook" to ensnare people into artificial dependence.
  •  The only obstacles are in our minds.
    • The technology exists to create an abundant Utopian physical environment for everyone.
    • Emotional problems- tons of solutions EFT, Kindness, Prayer, etc. We have that "technology" too.
    • Ignorance
      • Not enough people simply know that this is possible. Now YOU are one of the ones who do.
      • The GPL is a part of this, that's why it is designed the way it is, and that's why it's ludicrous to criticize it in ignorance of its purpose.
    • Will. Choose life, love, abundance, joy, happiness and well-being. Choose GPL.

Monday, September 10, 2012

NoSQL (which should be NoRM, but that's silly) is actually NoACID

ACID-compliance and the Relational Model are orthogonal and it would be unfortunate to throw out the baby of a mature and well-known data modeling ecosystem with the bathwater of unscalable constraints on data access.

Scaling your database becomes crucial as number of simultaneous clients you're attempting to serve begins to ramp up exponentially. A modern web app can make ridiculous demands on the software even with powerful servers running it.

As a reaction to the limits of ACID-compliance in scalable data storage people have begun to use new tools collectively referred to as "NoSQL".

The "NoSQL movement" is a name for the general recognition that RMDB solutions were beginning to seem overwhelmed by the task.  Lots of interesting and useful software has grown up to fill the perceived gap. But as this has happened, many folk who maybe should know better but are blissfully unaware that SQL (a Query Language) is not and has never been the same thing as RM, the Relational Model, have, in the push for scalable data storage, largely overlooked the benefits of RM.

Mapping real-world phenomenon into digital representation is still a very open field. It's not really possible to capture reality in digital form. Our best efforts to come should not be expected to involve disregard for the best efforts of the brilliant people who have come before us.

Building a data storage system in ignorance of Cobb is like building a theory of physics in ignorance of Newton.

You might be able to do it, but why?