Jeremy Davis's picture

Parts of this post may not be strictly relevant to TKL and is certainly not to do with the current day-to-day support and development discussion that we usually see here on the TKL forums. If some of the content is deemed too political or off topic for TKL forums please edit or delete.

Originally I started posting on the the forum suggestion thread but I changed my mind and decided to start a new topic. I'm still not completely sure that was the best way to go but I ran with my gut feeling.

I've just been reading about the Verizon-Google deal in the US and what implications this may have for Internet Neutrality (see below for info/news/opinion links re the deal if you're interested). Up until recently Google has been a staunch supporter of Net neutrality, but things have changed. Has Google gone evil? I firmly believe that Internet Neutrality is a fundamental foundation on which the Internet as we know it relies. If this is compromised and the net is segmented and further commercialised I fear that it will become a huge impediment to the growth of open source in general, but community projects such as TKL especially. On to my point ...

Because I feel this has relevance to TKL I really wanted to put a post here on the forums. However, its somewhat political and as noted above, is quite removed from the day-to-day TKL development and support topics that are normally posted here. Because of that I felt that it didn't really fit anywhere here, certainly not in Support, but not quite in General either. Probably I need to get onto starting my own blog, I bought a domain the other day, but thats another story...

Anyway, what I'd like to see is a new catagory added to the current forums: 'Off Topic' or probably better still 'Community Discussion' or similar (to go alongside 'Support' & 'General'). This could be a place where the TKL community could discuss other issues that are only vaguley related to TKL such the above mentioned situation. I think it would need clear outlines of what's acceptable conversation and whats not. Also I think it would need to be closely moderated with topics and posts that step outside of the rules either locked or deleted asap. This would need to be done because IMO the success of projects such as TKL is reliant on focusing on people's similarities and strengths rather than differences (such as political and religous affiliations and beliefs). OTOH though perhaps it could foster an increased sense of community here? I think it could provide some interesting conversations and a bit more of a social feel, rather than being all business. I'd love to hear other people's opinion on this (and the Google bit if this post isn't deleted or edited).

Google-Verizon deal info/news/opinion links (I've tried to provide a range of sources):
"Net neutrality and the Google-Verizon compromise" - (Christian Science Monitor)
"Net neutrality lost in Google-Verizon deal" - (San Fransico Chronicle Editorial)
Liraz Siri's picture

In my book if a topic interests our users, they're welcome to discuss it in the general forum even if it isn't directly related to TurnKey at a technical level. In fact, we would be honored if our users felt more comfortable talking about these issues here rather than in other countless communities.

I doubt it will ever happen, but if off-topic discussions get to the point where the non-TurnKey stuff drowns out the signal we can create an "Off-topic" forum or something.

The main point is, the web site is here to serve the community so feel free to make a creative mess of things. Worst case scenario we put our heads together and figure out how to clean things up.

Jeremy Davis's picture

I only really hinted at my thoughts and feelings (and provided probably more links than was necessary) because I didn't want to go off in that direction if it wasn't deemed appropriate or relevant. Now that you've given me the green light, I'll go for gold when I get a chance. Awesome! Hopefully you don't come to regret this statement :)

I really like your "go for it, we'll see what happens and fix it later if we need to" attitude. I think there's a lot to be said for that in general, but in this instance especially. Some degree of self-censorship is not always a bad thing (avoids or at least reduces foot-in-mouth disease). But sometimes there may be an unnoticed gem that we disregard because of some reason or other (often because we are self conscious and think its silly etc) and it may actually take someone else to recognise the value. Or maybe that 'silly' idea/comment may prompt someone else's thought process in a direction they hadn't previously considered.

Part of my thoughts on the 'Off topic' or 'General discussion' forum was so all the TKL patch and other development discussion didn't get lost or fragmented. But I guess thats somewhat taken care of by the TKLPatch Dev Wiki patch list and/or the Launchpad Blueprints (although they don't seem to get much use these days). Like you say, it's probably not going to drown out the rest - and this way it will make me feel less lonely if noone else posts in a similar vane:).

I also wanted to be careful and be respectful and recognise that while I think I'm right and want to tell everyone about it, others may not agree (or want to hear about it)! But I guess while we stick to the Ubuntu Code of Conduct as a base, there's no reason why we all have to agree to be able to get along.

Liraz Siri's picture

Doesn't mean everyone else has to follow. Net neutrality is a good thing for consumers so naturally the corporations that provide the pipes hate it.

A big part of the problem in the US seems to stem from market failures that prevent true competition and innovation. Like the kind you see in Japan where you can get 1gb/s fiber optic to the home for around $50 a month.

True competition would prevent defacto cartels and monopolies from screwing over powerless consumers, retarding innovation and price gouging.

Unfortunately this is the kind of problem that is bound to happen when you have corporations wielding poorly checked power to corrupt the political process. Hopefully this is one area where the rest of the world will not take the lead from the US. I'm pretty sure many parts of the world (other than Japan) have a saner telecom market than the US. Too bad Israel isn't one of them, at least not in the wireless department, at least not yet. The regulator is threatening to change that over here though (force them to compete by restructuring the market)... we'll see...

I'm not sure any of this has that much to do with open source projects like TurnKey though. Not that it couldn't but it needs to get much much worse before that happens.

Liraz Siri's picture

Just came across an interesting, lively discussion on HN about the Google-Verizon 'compromise'. The HN community is one of the savviest...

Jeremy Davis's picture

I'm really keen to discuss and speculate further about all of this but I will try to keep keep it brief (fat chance I know but I have other things on the boil - you'll see soon).

Just because the US screws up badly... Doesn't mean everyone else has to follow.

That may be true of Europe and Asia, but Im not so sure about Australia. In short I say that because of my opinion of Australian cultural identity; IMO us Aussies are culturally insecure and always need to look to someone else to lead the way, initially it was the UK but since WWII its more been the US. (Actually IMO it was the Korean War when Australia lost its truely soverign policy - but thats another story for another time). I think geography is a big part of this; we're this huge continent nation-state in the middle of nowhere with a relatively tiny population and plenty of loot to protect  (by my understanding the wealthiest southern hemisphere country by a significant margin - excluding New Zealand, but most Aussies consider them our poor cousins and anything good they do we claim as ours anyway!)

Now that is not to say that we don't do some great stuff and have some great ideas, because we do. It's just unfortunate that often our political leaders do not have the vision (or fortitude) to embrace them (or maybe its some other vested interest, or reason, who knows?)

As for telecom market, Australia's is at least somewhat saner than the US, so I guess there's hope there. I agree with pretty much most of what you say but have plenty to add (another time).The government still play a significant role in Australia's telecom which (for reasons I will elaborate another time) I believe is a somewhat of a good thing. When it comes to mobile telecom service, you basically have 2 choices: An expensive connection but with good coverage (with the partially privatised but govt controlled wholesale and retail carrier Telstra - or private companies which resell Telstra wholesale); or a range of significantly cheaper alternative (private) carriers who have generally very poor coverage outside of the main population centres (basically the state capital cities - provided by 2 alternative backbone wholesale networks).

As for the potential impact on Open Source (& TKL); I know this is more mobile related and it is yet than fully played out but I think there are or will be implications. You're right, not right now, but for the future? If there is a precedent for multi-speed bandwidth depending on how much the vendor is willing to pay then I think it may be a slippery slope. I don't know, perhaps I'm being somewhat alarmist? I'll ponder and read some more I think.

PS thanks for the link. I haven't come across that site before. Looks cool.

Liraz Siri's picture

I think we can learn valuable lessons from history. Network neutrality is a relatively new concept that never existed before the Internet. In fact, a different technology that embedded the opposite principles used to dominate. We're only having this discussion because it turned out to be on the wrong side of history.

True story. Once apon a time many experts believed ATM was the future of networking. On paper, ATM was much more sophisticated and versatile than packet switching networks routed in ad-hoc fashion using TCP/IP. Packet switching couldn't be the future, they said, it wasn't very reliable. You got packet loss. Poor mechanisms for quality assurance. The future belonged to ATM! That's what everyone respectable (e.g., huge telecoms and corporate networks) are using. Packet switching is anarchic and hard to control!

But history turned out a bit differently. Sure packet switching didn't have all the whiz bang features of ATM but it was cheap, open and powerful. Nobody controlled packet switched networks that grew into the Internet. It didn't work perfectly but it worked well enough. ATM still exists today but it's been relegated to niche applications and as infrastructure support for packet switching networks (e.g., running backbones on top of which packet switching technology is implemented).

The forces that lost that war didn't go away though. They're still trying to play the same game of control. They keep scaring everyone with Internet v2 and ATM like features built on top of the good old anarchic packet switched networks. To them I say, good luck with that. They're on the wrong side of history.

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