Sunday, January 2, 2011

Not so much on databases, more on Open Source and Democracy

Those who read what I write here know that I am sometimes pretty opinionated, and that I have some strong feelings about some things. I am not to discuss politics here, but I will discuss one topic that that is one of the subjects closest to my heart, a thing that I think is crucial in todays world, and that has been a driving force in making the world what it is, both good and bad. That things is democracy.

Way back when I was 20-something I begun to appreciate what is sometimes called "Adult cartoons", then not Adult in the sense of being sexually explicit, but rather Adult in the sense that these cartoons are about things closer to us adults. I don't know about the rest of the world, but in Sweden this is pretty popular (you might have seen the "Rocky" cartoon for example, published in many languages, which is pretty typical of this genre).

You may think what you want about something like the "Rocky" cartoon, that is OK with me, but I still read it and enjoy it. Which is not to say that I don't read other books too, quite the opposite, I read newspapers, magazines, novels and fact-books every day. But if you disapprove Rocky, which you are free to do, that is OK, as long as you do not try to stop me reading Rocky just because you don't like it. That is censorship, plain and simple.

All this is not to say that we can publicly say or state just about anything. If what we state is considered harmful in some way to someone else, in a practical sense, then we should think again. But that is for the courts to decide. Just because someone dislikes this or that work of art, does not mean it should be banned. If you don't like a particular painting, book, cartoon or TV-show, then just don't view it. Simple. If a published material causes you harm in some way, for example if it humiliates someone personally or some ethnic etc. group, then let the courts decide. These are not simple thing, by any measure, but it is something we have to do as a democrcy: Decide what is harmful in such a way so that it really should be pubishable to state it publicly, and what is not.

Someone who should NOT decide this is some commercial entity with it's own agenda. To protect the innocent, I use the name of an appropriate fruit to name the specific company I am talking about here, so we call them Grapefruit Inc.

The company in question has allowed the Swedish magazine "Galago", which an Adult (not sexually explicit) cartoon magazine, to publish their "App" only under the condition that Grapefruit Inc can censor the contents. This is not the first time this company does this, and the affects, among other people, users of the products noPhone and noPad from Grapefruit Inc.

And before I go on. Yes, I do have a noPad. And I lov it, hardware is great, as is the software, it truly brilliant. But as the deals with publishers aren't open, I will not pay for any Apps, as I will not know if, and if so what, has been censored.

Another magaine with the same issue is a Danish IT-magazine that has published quite a few positive articles on Android. One thing with an Andriod phone is that it is not censored (again, if you ask, Flash is pretty crap technology, but it is out there and it's being used on sites I want to visit. Not so with my noPad, but my HTC Desire does it like a charm. As well as acting as a 3G WiFi router). What's next? Will they ban TCP/IP because IPX/SPX is better (which it probably is)?

In a way, this is the perfect mix of censorship as seen in, say, the old Eastern German, with modern day market economy: You get censorship, but you have to pay for it!

So, who comes to the rescue? Android, which is Open Source! No censoring, thank you! Open Source delivers! As for myself, who has spent 6 years with MySQL as a Sales Engineer, I have been on the look for the "killer reason" to go Open Source over all those years. To me, this is it, a better reason than any other I have seen: No censorship!

To conclude, I am aware that this is a very opinionated posting, and must be very clear that the opinions expressed here are my own only, and are not related to my day job. I would hope that my employer shares some of my views, but again, what is expressed here is my own thinking, and mine alone. Competely uncensored!



sapphirepaw said...

I find it ironic that I'm reading this on what many would call a noTouch.

My fundamental problem is that I would have preferred some other device, but apparently nobody understands the important bits to satisfy the desire for them on an alternative platform. Or they do but they're completely incompetent about advertising their success in doing so.

Ivan said...


As you know me, I am an owner of way too many GrapeFruit gadgets - a noPhone, a noPad, a couple of noHacks and a (I would say) a fantastic noBookPro. I love the HW, the SW is almost perfect for my needs, and if you compare the specs of my noBookPro with a Dell or a HP, you may find it even cheaper!

That said, I totally agree with you. I use the noPad for business and I am so annoyed by the artificial limitations based on a simple business rule: position the product and force customers in using it as the company wants, not as the customers want. But that's it, you are free not to buy it or buy something else. Truth is, at the moment I have not found anything better for my needs.

I have to say, knowing the limitations now, I would not buy a noPad, but I would still buy a noBookPro. And I am glad there is a real competitor now for noPhones and noPads, since the Cranberry juice was not a serious one... and this is called competition.

Competition is good. I predict that Grapefruit will eventually surrender to customers - and to the competition.

You may see the same with MySQL now. Customers today have a choice - they can go with Oracle, with Percona, with SkySQL. Even better than the good old days...


Unknown said...


Yes I agree, we have the option of not buying a noPad or a noPhone. What we need to look put for is the mix of media and content. That Grapefruit supplies the Media as well as the Content, and I think it's reasonable that people are aware that this is the case.
Let's say that I really wanted to watch Wikileaks for example (I idn't) and bought a noPhone for that reason, then where does it leave me now? Well, with a Web-interface I guess.
As for newspapers, the one things I don't understand is teh business model. My morning newspaper since ages, Dagens Nyheter, now has an App at cost of 99 SEK for Subscribers. So now, someone explain why I would want to pay EXTRA for having a censored edition of a newspapaer I already have? I just don't get it.
Which is not to say that people aren't buying that edition, for some unknown reason.
All in all, that good for Android, competition and a free and open market. I for all my affection for Grapefruit HW and SW: I sure hope they learn a lesson when it comes to content.