[nycbug-talk] Fw: Extreme mobile BSD

Miles Nordin carton at Ivy.NET
Sat Dec 22 14:04:44 EST 2007

>>>>> "tl" == =?utf-8?B?VHJpc2ggTHluY2g=?=  <utf-8> writes:
>>>>> "n" == nikolai  <nikolai at fetissov.org> writes:
>>>>> "ys" == Yusuke Shinyama <yusuke at cs.nyu.edu> writes:

    tl> Now the J2ME thing - I have no issues with RIM and writing my
    tl> own J2ME apps and running them there.
    tl> "LJ2ME", a livejournal client. And even midpssh.

Are these apps ``blessed'' by RIM in any way?  What I mean is, can I

 * download the source to LJ2ME, 

 * change it, 

 * and then distribute it to my RIM-using friends in the same
   easy-to-install format as the unmodified LJ2ME that I first

if so, that fixes my ``won't touch it''-level objection from last time
I dealt with this world.

The only other thing I'd add, is that while I had Nextel, I talked
about this problem with other J2ME-excited friends, and they always
incorrectly told me ``no, you can do that, you can do whatever you
want.''  Then when I started talking about cables, codes, and
developer kits, they glazed over and showed me how to download blessed
apps from Nextel and said ``see?''

But since you've actually built some apps, you probably know where
they didn't.  How do you distribute the ones you've built---is it a
second-class method to the way mainstream apps are distributed?  Can
they be widely-distributed to everyone without RIM's

as far as lesser objections, I wonder if you have experience with:

 * do they limit your access to peripherals to prevent bits from
   escaping the phone, like probably intending to prevent you from
   writing a Java version of Slirp?  You can't use bluetooth or irda
   or a serial port or anything else that could connect you to a

   They used to do this.  It was annoying because you couldn't write
   your own Java apps that connect to GPS pods.

 * do they let you use the GPS built into the phone, or are they still
   trying to charge a few cents ``per location fix''?

 * do you have to use their IDE to upload the apps over some special
   cable, or use it to install some proprietary RIM ``header'' onto
   the app file, or can you build them with any working J2ME DK you
   like on your OS of choice and download them over-the-air?

 * what is the Internet connection like?  

   Nextel's connection---the super expensive unlimited use Golden
   Packet Spray plan you were explicitly _allowed_ to use with
   laptops, not even anything where I was ``cheating'' or working
   around some stumbling block---had this NAT that seemed to quietly
   kill connections if it detected packet loss.  so IM was useless
   unless you were standing still.  I started with a cheaper metered
   plan, there was no NAT, and I didn't have this problem.  but the
   packet meter in the phone never matched my bill, and I calculated
   it would cost $1000 to download firefox over the air, so I
   switched.  This difference between the plans was never disclosed or
   discussed, and it took hours on hold and a couple weeks of no
   internet because of their mistakes to switch between ``plans.''  It
   was endlessly frustrating.

   For you, Jabber actually works, and works as well as the bundled IM
   tools they give you?  or are they giving you some brokeass
   Internet, or Internet that can only work well by talking to a
   Sidekick-style proxy server which has to be on their LAN?

   I mean, if they've improved upon the AIM protocol to make some kind
   of RIMAIM, then installed a RIMAIM<->AIM bridge on their network,
   that seems fair _as long as you can install a RIMJABBER<->Jabber
   bridge on the regular Internet._ but, like, in my Nextel example,
   they would probably put their bridge in front of the goofy NAT,
   while your bridge would have to go behind it and thus maybe could
   never work as well.

     n> Even started using sms :)
     c>  oh, yeah great, SMS.
     n> Oh, dude, that was a joke ...

yeah I use it now too, to talk to our housemate Lauren about buying
vegetables.  I type the smiley faces and leave out apostrophes and
everything.  It's like the story of how native american culture was
stolen.  They allow us small reservations, but lure us away with these
attractive traveling people who are full of stories.  The vastness of
this wide brown land is fascinating.

     n> iphone because it has an accelerometer

I heard someone wrote a program to make it sound like it has marbles
inside when you shake it, and they make the number of marbles
correspond to the number of voicemails.  gorsh dowrnit whautll-they
think orv next.

so there.  now someone scream at me for being a hypocrite because I
also talk sometimes like a fourteen year old girl, and a retired model
train hobbyist, and use unfree instant messaging tools, and yet
simultaneously lament these facts.  OMG!  The contradiction!

    ys> don't wanna pour more oil onto the flame, but I'm curious
    ys> about what do you mean by "BSDish" in this context,

maybe the type of openness in the history of BSD: the trading of tapes
among universities, the ability to conveniently fork whole projects
and gather followers around CVS repositories and thus build tight
communities/projects capable of both functioning and preserving a
culture.  And the way small BSD tools are often ported into things
that aren't even Unixy.

The restrictions on the Nextel J2ME phone I had seven years ago, on
the iPhone, and the Sidekick squash these possibilities.  not sure
about RIM yet---we kinda brought in this new phone half way through
the argument.

BSD was also a kit of simple tools adapted to work well for
collaborating with most of the Internet.  This means they must be old
tools that change slowly to avoid excluding people, and run on simple,
well-documented protocols.  They must also be politically transparent,
or at least so simple as to be inoffensive to screaming mailing list
people---the RFC process, and the loose connection between ISC and BSD
(similar, compatible licenses. sometimes sharing colocation space.)

Most of this new IM, socialnetworking, fancyphone stuff is about
herding people from one fad to the next, which means things should
change quickly but be very enticing, and that members of the old fad
need to be excluded or else there's no reason to declare your new
allegiance.  The protocol is your own damn business, no one else's.
And if someone's offended it must be because of the fad's ``success,''
not because he has to be centrally logged and pay twenty cents to ask
what color of squash is preferred tonight, and that no one ever really
chose this situation, just sort of got railroaded into it.

    ys> Linux has this kind of openness too.

i mentioned BSD-openness to point out the discussion was OT, but Linux
openness would probably work just as well.  I would have to substitute
some other story about the history of Linux and squashed possibility.
but since you bring it up...

Linux IMHO did a better job of maintaining a living commitment to
openness rather than just whining about the old days of passing tapes
around.  And they _also_ do a better job of soliciting corporate
contribution---Linux is all over the place, in terms of devices where
it runs and paid full-time developers.

but the quality is just so low.  They failed to preserve the culture
and style that the BSD old-timers kept alive on BSD lists and meetings
and were overrun by these ``whatever works'' or ``right tool for the
job'' pragmatists, Windows refugees, weirdly entitled students.  And
these big projects are so delicate.  Look at how Gnome completely, I
don't know, devoured itself, fell over, imploded?  and how close
Netscape/Mozilla/Firefox teeters toward doing the same thing?  This
failure is more of religion than politics, which means I think it's
more important and more dearly-held by those who follow it.

One of the big points that makes Eben Moglen care about software
freedom, according to his speeches, is education: we need free as in
free-beer development environments and manuals for teaching children
in poorer countries, and free as in freedom code for them to look at
because the best way to become a good programmer is to read lots and
lots of other people's good code.  but I would hate to think of a
student looking at Linux code!  It's awful!  While BSD has always been
used for this, and has always been great for it.

so BSD claimed this different kind of license would make it easier to
get paid jobs for working on BSD than on GPL'ed code.  They also said
they'd get corporate funding for development of the core source tree.
These were their virtues over Linux or GPL zealots.  Strangely, Linux
has done MUCH better at both of these as far as I can see, and I'm not
eager to concede such a thing because I really hate dealing with

and Linux guys said we need source code for everything to teach the
next generation of developers, that moving toward this more free world
of greater possibility for every geek everywhere was their primary
mission.  And personally, I find that argument compelling over the
easier-to-get-paid-jobs, corporate-funding argument.  But their source
code is horrible for teaching!  And keeps growing more horrible
through successive additions by poorly- or incompletely-educated
badly-supervised developers teaching each other turning into some Lord
of the Flies mess.

for me it's hilarious to see how the debate starts to pan out when
confronted with reality.  It's like everyone's being mocked.

    tl> Honestly - yes I am a Libertarian and Objectivist, but rants
    tl> liike yours (Miles) come out to people who aren't staunch
    tl> capitalists like I am as if you're a crazy socialist
    tl> zealot. 

In this case, you're not even objecting to my talking about something
technical that hazily involves some of your political ideas---you're
objecting to my particular political ideas themselves.

We could continue this discussion on the libertarian list or the
objectivist list, or the staunch capitalist list, if I were subscribed
to those.  Or we could continue on nettime-bold, if you were
subscribed to that.  However, (surprise!)  we don't seem to subscribe
to the same political lists.  So what if my ideas do come out to you
that way?  I certainly don't care to tell you how you're coming across
to me. :) This isn't the place for you to ``correct'' my politics (or
me yours!).  

I do have some political opinions, but don't think I should have to
put up with being baited to talk about them where it's OT by someone
calling me a child repeatedly.  Please, knock it off!  I offer once
again that, for nycbug-l, our politics ought to be framed into some
topical technical issue.  At least then we can argue about it in a way
that's not obnoxious for everyone else.

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