[Marxism] New title in the HM Book Series: Witnesses to Permanent Revolution: The Documentary Record

Joaquin Bustelo jbustelo at gmail.com
Fri Mar 27 16:44:25 MDT 2009

John Thornton replies to my saying Bittorrent, not libraries, are the future

"Many of us like to hold an actual book in our hands.

"The idea that libraries are somehow outdated and will be replaced with
something like bittorrent is beyond funny."

Well, libraries have ALREADY been displaced by bittorrent and other file
sharing in the video and audio fields. The issue with books is more one of
the display device. Paper and ink are still superior display technologies to
LCD's. But sometime, probably within the next few years, someone will make a
display device of equal or "close enough" quality and then that will be the
end of many/most books. And *despite* inferior display tech, online is
absolutely massacring daily and periodical print.

"I wonder what percentage of bittorrent material is virus laden?"

Based on my experience, a tiny fraction of one percent.

There aren't very many downloads that are "virus laden," since the use of
antivirus software is quite widespread and someone who downloads a virus
will most likely have it detected and quarantined automatically. And people
let those running trackers and indexing sites know, so the file you need to
start the download is no longer available and the swarm is no longer
organized by a tracker and it dissipates.

If it isn't the FIRST person to complete the download, it will be the
second, third or fourth. And for popular content, it isn't unusual for tens
of thousands of people to be in the swarm over the first few days. The
chances that a download that's been completed by one or two dozen people
being "virus laden" are infinitesimal. I've never seen it happen. 

That is in part because, as a practical matter, to use movie, music or text
files as malware you'd need to place them in a proprietary (usually
Microsoft) format that allows simple content containers to do all kinds of
other things, especially telling your computer what to do. And you'd need to
access them with software that enables this behavior, like from Micro$oft.

"A few years back when I was looking for some graphic and CAD software the
number of programs carrying a virus was shockingly high.

"A friend told me movies have an even higher infection rate but I have no
firsthand experience with that."

Does your friend happen to work for a media monopoly or copyright cartel as
a publicist?  

Seriously, I download literally hundreds of movies, tv shows, music videos
and other video files a year. I can't remember the last time such a file, or
an audio file, or a book or magazine was infected with a "virus." And I
download stuff from all over, including fairly way-out private sites,
usenet, as well as the most public trackers.

Virtually the only times I've ever found actual malware is in executables,
i.e., program files. And there you will find the more outrageously
overpriced a program is, the more likely the free file is to be infected.
Things like CAD programs, Avid video editing suites, photoshop, dreamweaver
and so on. And anything that says it is or has a keygen (a generator of keys
that activate a program) is almost certainly some sort of Trojan. As to who
might be BEHIND the malware, let me just say I would not be flabbergasted to
discover it was the very software publishers of the infected programs. 

"If bittorrent is the new model of socialism you can keep it."

Well, it isn't a model of a post-capitalist society, but it IS a striking
illustration that the commodity form arises from monopolization of the means
of production (in this case, the production of copies). Once freed from this
monopolization, the works shed their commodity form, and an integral part of
this is that they become subject to ripping, mixing re-editing and so on,
creating once again the beginnings of a non-commercial or "folk" cultural

*  *  *

One more thing about malware ("viruses"). In my day job as a journalist I
have had a significant focus on sci-tech and especially computers for two
decades, and for a decade until a couple of years ago it was my major focus,
my "beat." There's a HUGE amount of  misinformation/disinformation out there
about computer "viruses" and especially a huge amount of hype that is absurd
on its face about how every day thousands of new viruses are "discovered"
and so on. For *many* years I would not run anti-virus software on my
computers simply because they took up too much of the computer's resources.
Now that we have absurdly fast processors wallowing in gigabytes of RAM, I
do run a couple of the scans on the freeware version of AVG, but would not
hesitate for a second to disable it if it had the slightest negative impact
on performance. Keeping antivirus software updated manually and scouring
dangerous downloads is really all you need (and, oh yeah, the good sense NOT
to run the latest-and-greatest computer game the very day it becomes
available on file sharing networks, but waiting a few days so anti-virus
"definitions" catch up, in case there is malware embedded in it).

That's not for everyone, I realize. You are substituting your own expertise
(but not nearly as great as some geeks pretend) for the brute-force clean
room bubble "security" programs create. Reliance on that bubble is ALSO
dangerous: the software cannot protect the computer from the carelessness,
gullibility or stupidity of a user with PHYSICAL access to the box. 

In MY OWN case, I run an open home network which people can join freely. And
the individual computers aren't firewalled,  networking with windows is hard
enough without it. I can "lock down" the network not just with a password
but restricting it to only authorized (my own) computers and making it
largely invisible to others in about 30 seconds, should I want to for bill
paying or shopping. But for the rest time, I'm happy to share.

Bottom line, the internet and computer networks are much less dangerous than
it is claimed.

The REASONS such a dire picture is presented by ALL the media is that they
are ALL part of the copyright cartel, and in bed with the "security"
software racketeers who both advertise on news media and feed it "content"
that in reality is just more advertising for their products.


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