ANOKNUSA t1_j1qh6hf wrote

  1. Whatever the number of people currently working on making and developing IT for profit, it is deserted by orders of magnitude more people using it for its benefits.
  2. Indeed, R&D is necessary to develop the tech, and that requires resources. In most cases, the resources for the elements of computing tech that are fundamental—programming languages, human interfaces and the like—came from government and university research grants. Not hard to understand why, since business executives and VC “angels” aren’t big on the idea that, say, this little chunky thing you move around a desk with your hand will become essential to the way we do—well, everything, but not until a decade or two after you make the investment.
  3. Nothing in your argument demonstrates that treating information tech as a form of private property to be exploited for profit, first and foremost, is intrinsically necessary for its development. No sense in trying to force such reasoning, either, since we’ve already got several decades of history that prove otherwise. Indeed, to this day there are dozens of examples of tech you use every day that you probably paid a company to obtain, that consist of pieces that were and still are freely distributed to the public. The open research and exchange of ideas made profiting from these things possible in the first place. Profit is a basic function of commerce, and treating it as such is healthy enough. I’ve yet to see an instance where treating profit as a goal unto itself hasn’t corrupted an otherwise worthy human endeavor.

ANOKNUSA t1_j1pptq5 wrote

Really not surprising, and we all owe him and his peers a debt that could never be repaid in money anyway. “Share and share alike” was the common attitude among computer scientists and engineers back in the day, and had that not been the case, this thread would not exist. Nothing you’re looking at on your screen or holding in your hands as read this comment would exist in its current form. It simply isn’t possible to create something so complex, consisting of so many essential yet disparate components, in an economic milieu that prioritizes short-term monetary gain over long-term societal contribution.

I highly recommend checking out Neal Stephenson’s essay “In the Beginning... Was the Command Line.” Excellent read about how humans interact with computers and how computers have become integral to human cultures. Part of it describes how strange it was to see computer tech go from scientific tools freely used to consumer commodities exploited for profit, especially software—a thing that can only exist as an ever-changing idea.


ANOKNUSA t1_iu3t0qx wrote

It’s also a matter of sound, which radiates outward from its source at variable speed depending on different factors. This seems like something that can’t be reliably measured to that degree of precision. Feels like the kind of problem engineers and bureaucrats invent to justify their jobs.