[KLUG Advocacy] Re:Very cool article about using open source in the home!!!

Adam Tauno WIlliams adam at morrison-ind.com
Fri Oct 1 12:03:33 EDT 2004

> http://www.pbs.org/cringely/pulpit/pulpit20040930.html

Weird, is this Cringley being optimistic?

"Like many of us, Andrew Greig put a WiFi access point in his house so
he could share his broadband Internet connection. But like hardly any of
us, Andrew uses his WiFi network for Internet, television, and
telephone. He cancelled his telephone line and cable TV service. Then
his neighbors dropped-by, saw what Andrew had done, and they cancelled
their telephone and cable TV services, too, many of them without having
a wired broadband connection of their own. They get their service from
Andrew, who added an inline amplifier and put a better antenna in his
attic. Now most of Andrew's neighborhood is watching digital TV with
full PVR capability, making unmetered VoIP telephone calls, and
downloading data at prodigious rates thanks to shared bandwidth. Is this
the future of home communications and entertainment? It could be, five
years from now, if Andrew Greig has anything to say about it."

If that happens it will become illegal before you can say "Stale

"Somewhere in Andrew's house is a hefty Linux server running many
applications, including an Asterisk Open Source VoIP software PBX. There
is no desktop PC in Andrew's house. Instead, he runs a Linux thin client
on a Sharp Zaurus SL-6000 Linux PDA. Sitting in its cradle on Andrew's
desk at home, the Zaurus (running a special copy of Debian Linux, NOT as
shipped by Sharp) connects to a full-size keyboard and VGA display, and
runs applications on the server."

X on a PDA, as an LTSP client... wow, I never actually thought of that. 

"Yeah, but what about that wireless TV? How does that work? Andrew's
server runs Myth TV, an Open Source digital video recorder application,
storing on disk in MPEG-4 format (1.5-2 megabits-per-second) more than
30,000 TV episodes, movies and MP3 music files. "As each new user comes
online, I add another TV card to the system so they can watch live TV,"
says Andrew, "but since there are only so many episodes of SpongeBob
SquarePants, nearly everything that isn't news or sports is typically
served from disk with full ability to jump forward or back at will.
We've reached the point now where the PVR has so much in storage already
that it is set to simply record anything that isn't already on disk."

Hmmm, questions of legality immediately arrive.  Broadcast TV is
implicitly licensed for private viewing.  Recording a TV show on video
tape, and giving that video tape to you neighbor is illegal.  The above
has GOT to be just at illegal.

Oh wait...
""I buy the channels just like a cable system does or a motel that wants
to offer HBO, from the National Programming Service,"

Nice for him;  the providers will catch on soon.

And how much did that dish & setup cost in the first place?

"Remember how in the go-go Internet days of three to four years ago, we
used to talk about "disintermediation?" That was using technology to
remove middle men from transactions"

The middle man said "I'll be back".  And as surely as the Terminator is
gub'nor, they are.  Middle men don't take kindly to being squeezed out, 
look at the RIAA/MPAA for instance.

"but that Open Source software is leading to digital devices being used
in large volumes in ways their designers never envisioned. This takes
control of the network out of the hands of the providers and into the
hands of the users."

Except that replacing the firmware in a device is probably illegal.  Or
will be tomorrow.

"And the outcome doesn't have to be some socialistic information

Yea, because that would so totally suck.  Then the people with all these
toys wouldn't have those 'other' people down the street to look down on.

Overall, an interesting article;  but my prediction: "Never happen". 
Would be way to disruptive to current revenue models and vested
interests,  they'll find a way to shut it down.

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