Welcome to Mike Grusin's

“To say that our rights are actually privileges is to say that someone, presumably some level of government, has the power and the right to grant or deny those privileges. That premise is completely backwards. In the U.S. at least, government exists expressly by the consent of the governed, and our federal and individual state constitutions are expressly written to limit the power of the government, not the citizens. It is the nature of government to constantly try to push the limits of its power, as sure as it is the nature of fish to swim or dogs to bark, which is exactly why it is in all of our interests to push back. Regulations are written by people who for whatever reason believe they have the power and the right to tell other people how they should live their lives. Often this is to force inconsiderate people to respect the rights and autonomy of their neighbors, but it would seem to me that just as often it is by inconsiderate and dominating people to try to force others to live their lives according to the regulator’s ideas of what is good for them. A third reason, often behind onerous zoning laws, is blatant self-interest at the expense of those without the political power to resist. I would encourage those who value their freedom to make their own decisions about their life to push back, never accepting the false premise that they live by the permission of any other individual or group or government.”
-Brian Kraut, fighting Jacksonville FL for the right to construct a homebuilt aircraft on his own property. (www.jaxairplane.com)


Filed under: Uncategorized — mgrusin at 12:04 pm on Thursday, January 25, 2007

Tanenbaum outlines his vision for a grandma-proof OS (Computerworld Australia)

From the title of this article I thought computer science legend Andrew Tanenbaum would be discussing one of my interests; user interfaces and software design for non-computer literates (see the remarkable design of the OLPC). However, he was actually speaking about another of my interests; the sorry state of what passes for consumer operating systems today.

Tanenbaum, who developed a small teaching OS called Minix which was a precursor to Linux, recently spoke at a Linux conference about a fundamental and escalating problem with modern operating systems: the fact that they’re big and getting bigger automatically means that they’ll be increasingly buggy. He supports a return to the fundamentals: small modules of code which can be kept reasonably bug-free, and isolating these modules from each other so a failure in one doesn’t cascade to others. Hopefully the Linux developers he spoke to take this advice to heart; Linux isn’t immune from this effect.

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