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Month: August 2012

Re: [trinity-users] Where is my Star Trek? was Re: [trinity-users] [sort of OT] Trinity etc. are damaging Linux

From: Steven D'Aprano <steve@...>
Date: Sun, 12 Aug 2012 23:54:33 +1000
On 12/08/12 22:34, Dexter Filmore wrote:
> Am Tuesday 07 August 2012 04:26:05 schrieb Bryan Baldwin:
>> On 08/07/2012 05:04 AM, Dexter Filmore wrote:
>>> Do you mean by this you prefer poor free software over proper
>>> proprietary?
>> By this I mean retaining freedom over relinquishing it in exchange for
>> the technological equivalent of rifles and blankets.
> The metaphor eludes my grasp, sorry.

I believe that Bryan is making a reference to the practice in the "Wild West"
of the USA in the 1800s, when white European settlers would trade rifles and
blankets to native American Indians.

Of course the rifles would soon run out of bullets and become useless, and
the blankets were often deliberately infected with smallpox.

Bryan is implying that non-free software is a trap: if not directly harmful
like smallpox-infected blankets, it makes us dependent bullet factories that
we do not control.

>> This is a variation of the old and tired bit of husksterism, which
> My standard translation sources do not even list that word or similar ones.

I'm not sure what Bryan means either. I think he may have conflated a couple
of different words:

"husker" -- one who husks corn (removes the outer husk to get to the kernels)

"hustler" -- one who hustlers, a shrewd and unscrupulous person who knows
how to get around difficulties, usually implying that they are a confidence
trickster ("con artist")

The "-ism" suffix creates a noun, in this case, the state of being a
"huskster", whatever that is supposed to be. Hustler?