Khamis, 4 Ogos 2011

Back to Future: Ramayana Mahabharata

Sesuatu yang baik untuk difikirkan. Ia berkaitan masa kini, masa depan dan masa yang telah berlalu beribu tahun yang lalu....

------------------------ Masa kini ------------------------

Opinion: Is economic collapse good for Linux?I would recommend you panic. (Hedge funder Hugh Hendry)

* * * * *

As I write this, the USA is less than 48 hours from defaulting on its national debt, an event which would be more-or-less the economic equivalent of a comet the size of Texas crashing into planet Earth (as portrayed in the 1998 Bruce Willis action movie Armageddon. Imagine that.

In the movie, Bruce Willis and his motley crew fly the Space Shuttle to the offending comet, land on it, drill a big hole and dump a nuclear warhead down there. Unfortunately, a damaged timer-detonator means that the heroic Mr Willis must stay behind and blow up the comet by hand, saving the Earth but dying in the process. Miraculously, Bruce Willis is resurrected from the dead and goes on to star in The Sixth Sense (1999) andUnbreakable (2000). All of which goes to show that you can't keep an action hero down, even with a nuclear bomb.

Fortunately, averting worldwide economic Armageddon this week will probably not involve nuclear weapons. More than likely, the USA's two warring political parties will come to a last-minute budget compromise, agreeing to increase the national debt, thus postponing the Apocalypse until another day. That's good news, especially if you haven't yet prepared your bomb shelter. There is still time to stock up on weapons, ammunition and canned goods. Forget precious metals - gold is for optimists.

So, assuming the requisite last-minute deal comes through, we can all (hopefully) breathe easier. For now. Unfortunately, the world's economy might not be quite as "unbreakable" as Mr. Willis was in the above-mentioned 2000 movie. The USA is not the only country on planet Earth with economic skeletons in the closet. The EU has recently discovered that some of its member states have balance sheets with as many holes in them as Swiss cheese. Asia is still looking good on the surface, but there are rumblings of already-massive real estate bubbles swelling to galactic size, just itching to pop. Everywhere there are dark rumors of unpayable debts, creative accounting standards, and yes, giant asteroids hurtling towards Earth. To make it worse, the USA just retired the Space Shuttle, so it's no longer in service lest we need to nuke another extra-terrestrial threat.

But what does economic collapse have to do with Linux?
Glad you asked. It's always good to look on the bright side of things, especially when facing The End of the World As We Know It. Thus, I would like to posit the theory: "Economic collapse is good for the free-software movement.

Yes, I know that at first glance, my "theory" sounds like a no-brainer. Assuming that the world has grown poorer but people are still living above ground and have electricity, then for sure they'd be running Linux or if they prefer, one of the BSDs. If you can't afford new shoes, then surely you're not going to trade your last bag of salt or used bicycle tire for a Windows or OSX license. So Linux wins, right?
Actually, it's not so certain. Reality often trumps logic. I've spent a good deal of my life living and traveling in the Third World, and I've witnessed at least one pretty spectacular economic collapse circa 1991. True, that was during the dark days of MS-DOS, which few outside the USA actually paid for. Plus, in those days there wasn't a free open-source alternative that you could download from the Internet (which also didn't exist back then). However, in these modern times, we do have Linux, excellent free software that very few Third World citizens even know about, much less use. Despite pleadings from open-source fanatics such as myself, poor folks seldom bother to install a free copy of Linux and LibreOffice, preferring instead to obtain a pirated copy of Windows and Microsoft Office.

It's interesting to speculate just why this is so. Part of the reason may simply be a lack of copyright enforcement. In the freedom-loving developed countries of the West, jack-booted storm troopers from The Intellectual Property Cartel may well break down your door, haul off your computers, and after forensically examining the hard drive, impose harsh fines and criminal penalties if they discover an unlicensed software application or a pirated MP3 file. This scenario is fortunately seldom seen in the Third World, where the police, judges and government officials charged with enforcing the law are also running pirated copies of Windows on their home computers too.

In fact, far from enforcing intellectual property laws in countries where there is little money, there is evidence that software piracy is actually being encouraged by Big Business as a shrewd marketing tool. Bill Gates himself admitted as much in a speech at the University of Washington in 1998. When talking about software piracy in poor countries, Mr. Gates said: "As long as they are going to steal it, we want them to steal ours. They'll get sort of addicted, and then we'll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade."

My own experience backs this up. I've lived half my life in Asia and I've watched this part of the world develop rapidly over the past few decades. When I first came here, you couldn't even buy legal copies of MS-DOS and applications. There were plenty of shops openly selling pirated CDs with all the latest software for around US$2 per copy. Service was excellent - many shops would even replace a defective disk for free. Indeed, Windows XP appeared on the pirate market 35 days before it's official release date of October 25, 2001. But nowadays, most of the software I see for sale is legal, and costs considerably more than US$2 per copy. Bill Gates was right.

That having been said, this business model (using software piracy as a marketing tool) is only likely to succeed when economies are growing, not shrinking. When money becomes scarce, software license becomes an unaffordable luxury. In many poor countries today, electronic shops cobble together their inexpensive computers with a combination of old used and new parts. These shops have no volume licensing agreements with Microsoft, and almost invariably they install pirated Windows copies that deploy various hacks to turn-off product activation. These hacked copies have, in many cases, become easy prey for viruses and root kits, allowing the machine to be turned into a bot for launching DDoS attacks.

Given the security risks, let alone legal issues, it would make sense to avoid pirated software as long as a secure and functional free alternative exists. That should create an opening for Linux. However, Microsoft (and more recently, Apple) have captured the hearts and minds of the mass market. People in the poorer nations understandably want to catch up with the rich developed world, so they want what they perceive to be "the best." Thus, they'd be suspicious of software that advertises itself as being "free." I've often wondered if we free-software proponents shouldn't take a hint from Microsoft and charge US$300 for Linux, in the hopes that people will then pirate it.

This will be the year of The Linux Desktop

It was Windows 98 and its infamous Blue Screen of Death that finally pushed me into trying Linux, and I have not looked back since. And almost every year since then, I've been reading in one oracle or another that "this will be the Year of the Linux Desktop." I'm not quite sure what a "Year of Linux" would entail, but I gather that it would require more than the current 1% desktop market share we now enjoy.

Making future predictions is always a risky business, but hey, it's not (yet) illegal, so here is mine. I predict that WTSHTF (economically speaking), we will finally enjoy the long-awaited "Year of the Linux Desktop." My reason for thinking so is that - unlike in the current Third World - intellectual-property laws in developed countries have real teeth. If you think that the Business Software Alliance is going to just sit around on its hands while computer shops in formerly rich countries openly sell pirated software, think again. All the hard-fought battles by the intellectual-property police to instill fear into the public has, for the most part, been a resounding success. A sophisticated surveillance system and accompanying gulag has been painstakingly constructed just to protect copyrights and patents. These victories will not be given up lightly.

Thus, though we may face economic hardships not seen since the Great Depression of the 1930s, we can at least look forward to a Linux Renaissance. As the old saying goes, "every cloud has its silver lining."

On the other hand, I could be wrong about this. Perhaps 50 years from now, our grand children will be living in a prosperous paradise, where all the hard physical labor is done by robots. Everyone will have lots of free time to enjoy their holographic 3-D televisions, powered by Micro-Apple software. During the annual 3-month vacation, they'll have a choice of making a trip to Mars or one of the moons of Jupiter.

Alternatively, they could be living in the forest (or what's left of it), gathered around the evening camp fire as the rising tides engulf the ruins of the world's abandoned cities. Tribal elders will talk about magical things they once saw, like electricity, iPhones, the Space Shuttle, Bruce Willis, and an amazing technology called "Linux." The children may suspect it's all a myth, but nevertheless will sit and listen in wide-eyed wonder.

Dipetik dari

-------- Masa Depan ----------

‎"I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones." Collected Quotes from Albert Einstein

Peperangan Armageddon adalah peristiwa pertama sebagai permulaan dari serentetan huru-hara di akhir zaman, pertempuran ini adalah perang penghancuran dan nuklier yang akan memusnahkan sebagian besar senjata-senjata strategik. Setelah itu, alat-alat dan senjata yang dipakai dalam peperangan selanjutnya adalah pedang, panah, dan kuda.

.-------- Masa Yang Lepas-------

This is from the ancient Hindu text the Mahabharata.
“Gurkha, flying a swift and powerful vimana [fast aircraft],hurled a single projectile [rocket]
charged with the power of the Universe [nuclear device].
An incandescent column of smoke and flame,as bright as ten thousand suns,
rose with all its splendour.
It was an unknown weapon,an iron thunderbolt,
a gigantic messenger of death,which reduced to ashes
the entire race of the Vrishnis and the Andhakas.
The corpses were so burnedas to be unrecognizable.

Hair and nails fell out;Pottery broke without apparent cause,
and the birds turned white.
…After a few hoursall foodstuffs were infected…
…to escape from this firethe soldiers threw themselves in streams
to wash themselves and their equipment.”
A second passage.
“Dense arrows of flame,like a great shower,
issued forth upon creation,encompassing the enemy.
A thick gloom swiftly settled upon the Pandava hosts.All points of the compass were lost in darkness.
Fierce wind began to blowClouds roared upward,
showering dust and gravel.
Birds croaked madly…the very elements seemed disturbed.
The sun seemed to waver in the heavensThe earth shook,
scorched by the terrible violent heat of this weapon.
Elephants burst into flameand ran to and fro in a frenzy…
over a vast area,other animals crumpled to the ground and died.
From all points of the compassthe arrows of flame rained continuously and fiercely.” — The Mahabharata


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