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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • So my inner gnome (as opposed to my inner troll) asked, okay, why am I so resigned to people trading info online? It's not because I'm a defeatest and I think it's unstoppable. No, that's not it. I'm stubborn as hell and often a fascist BOFH. I don't care because hu-mans are not paid to do worth-while things, and the only time worth-while things happen is when peoplpe ignore compensation at least temporarily and do what they feel needs to be done.

    You and I can lament all day long that artists of all sorts be granted a living, but honestly, if we let kids do whatever they wanted coming out of school, everyone would be a guitarist, drummer, sky driver, muff driver, or fighter pilot - except for those of us who would become Free Software programmers, teachers, vets, and missionaries. Whether your perception of what's worth while is humanitarian, creative, or just downright self indulgent, you aren't paid to do what you think is important - unless you're the boss, then you've learned hard lessons about not being able to do what you want and you impose these lessons on your underlings - and you're the boss because you've learned these lessons.

    So if we can't all be hackers and painters in our day jobs, is life over? No! From 8 to 5, you should be doing manual labor, customer service, or else using your intellect or creativity for The Man by working in advertising, engineering things that don't benefit anyone nearly so much as the stock holders of the company that will sell it, lawyers, and so on.

    Even doctors who usually start out idealistic and humanitarian usually quickly become terminally frustrated with the procedures, law, and non-responsive patiants who won't stop smoking, won't exercize, and won't stop over-eating. A true humanitarian doctor would give up the significant money and travel to an impoverished part of the third world and help sick kids - and sometimes doctors do exactly this - but most often they simply give up their idealism.

    Spectacular, you say, but what's this have to do with liberal copyright law and file sharing networks? This: Intellectual work by me is for The Man (Apress, in this case) in which case it belongs to Apress, not me, or else alternatively creative, in which case it isn't work according to my distinction outlined previously. I haven't decided which it is, but it doesn't matter - the end result is the same.

    To do something, call it "art", foister it on people, demand money, pout when people don't pay you money... is idiocy worthy and typical of many modern artists - and major record label executives. Yet people accept the premises of these tantrums relatively unquestioned after a good wholloping with the concepts of "ownership" and "intellectual property". RIAA executives don't own the damn music market yet they act like they do, locking independent media out and we accept this because we accept that they're entitled to make money because we selfishly think that we ourselves are entitled to collect money off of whatever creative or intellectual persuits we persue - and the concept of market value is lost.

    In my case, just because I did something I think is creative, or I did some labor not necessarily in adequate market demand, I'm not any more automatically entitled to a livelyhood out of it any more than all kids should be paid to do whatever they want to do coming out of high school regardless of demand and market. Let me tell you how it should be - it should be tough, diverse, unpredictable, competitive, and laborous. That's what earning a living should be like. We're not all automatically entitled to an existance on this planet - that's something you have to scrap for, just like our forefathers. To decide otherwise is to say that life isn't worth living unless it's easy.

    I don't mean to say that artists don't deserve to make a living (or that the record labels don't serve a living), only that they should be paid only consistently with what the market will bare in a free, open market and anyone who thinks otherwise is only hurting themself.

    So, in summary, in the spirit of the GPL, I don't automatically expect to be paid money when I do something (unless I was offered money by someone who ultimately signed a contract) and I think it's dumb to try to collect percieved debts from the world at large on unwanted goods. Rather, work is work and hacking is hacking. Work is what I do to live. Hacking is what I do out of humanitarian or creative motivation and does not and should not be done contingent upon money.