Friday, March 25, 2005

Damn Small Linux comes of age

I've posted before about Damn Small Linux, since I discovered it as my gateway into the world of Linux computing - it rejuvenated my girlfriend's tired ol Windows laptop.

Well it has now passed the version 1.0 stage, and is available in multiple formats as a way to try out Linux cheaply and cheerfully. Coolest of all, for those new to 'The Revolution (TM)', if you download the embedded .zip file version, you can run it direct from Windows using QEMU (included with the zip). Geekgasm!

There's now no excuse not to try out Linux. Oh, except that it runs very slow under QEMU, unless you've got a fast processor (over 1.5 Ghz). But then there's the USB-key version, the CD-version, the business-card version, and all sorts of other goodness.

You can find the downloads pagehere.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Music | Music industry 'nails UK pirates'

So the music industry 'nails UK pirates'. In other news, record companies are arguing for the prices of downloads on, eg, iTunes to rise - at the same time that they're being investigated for inflating UK download costs relative to toher parts of Europe and the US.

The record industry has got it all wrong. They're using outdated paradigms. They are focused on ownership, profits and litigation that protects their 'property'.

Clearly artists need remuneration for their work. But can I suggest three things:

Instead of 'piracy', peer-to-peer downloading is actually 'radio on demand'. If you're interested in a band, you can see what other people are listening to, download a few tracks, see if you like them. If you do, you'll maybe buy an album. You'll talk about them. You'll get the DVD. You'll buy the next album, etc. It's free, word-of-mouth style publicity.

Reduce the prices to the threshold that makes peer-to-peer not worth it any more - especially if you're a parent. Why bother with broken downloads, porn links, corrupt copies, the wrong songs, etc, when a perfect quality, reliable, redownloadable iTunes copy is only, eg, 20p?

At the very least, since the internet is a worldwide phenomenon, the industry needs to settle on worldwide standards if they're going to 'beat' what they call 'piracy'. Proper international competition. (Even 10p a track is better than 'stealing', surely.) Compatibility between platforms. (Why pay for an iTunes download when I can't play the track on my MP3 stick? Why pay for a wma when it won't go on my iPod? I'll download an MP3 thanks, and it'll be free, even though I was willing to pay.)

At least having failed to post for a month, I'm back with a proper rant. :)