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Forget ET, fight aids@home

By Defect in MLP
Mon Nov 13, 2000 at 11:57:01 AM EST
Tags: Science (all tags)
Science

Most have heard of or used SETI@Home and many have wondered what else the use of distributed computing can accomplish. Enter Entropia with the option to FightAIDS@Home.

Sounds like a respectable cause, but Entropia loosely states that fighting aids isn't the only thing that your computer might be doing.


What Entropia is planning on doing (or already has done) is sell your computer time to various sponsors to do work for something that you may or may not have knowledge of. I tried to find more specific details but I only found the same vague statement over and over again.

"Some of the time, Entropia's software will be running commercial tasks on your computer."

The cause sounds great, but it is unsettling how little detail they release on topic of commercial use on your computer. Maybe it's that they haven't interested potential buyers yet, there isn't much information up, so who knows.

Is this OK? If not what would it take to make this acceptable? I was hoping somewhere there would be a guarantee of sorts stating how much time would go to non profit computing (like fighting aids) and how much would be commercial but i couldn't find anything on either site (FightAids@HOME or Entropia). Is it selfish not to give up my idle cpu time for a company's profit but also a good cause or am i justified in thinking that distributed computing can do much more than the dirty work of corporations?

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Forget ET, fight aids@home | 6 comments (5 topical, 1 editorial, 0 hidden)
M$ wants your cycles for free. (2.44 / 9) (#2)
by FeersumAsura on Mon Nov 13, 2000 at 10:50:53 AM EST

Yes it is a nice idea to help fight aids at home. However, I would never want my computer to be used as part of a commercial distributed processing system without my permission regarding the type of processing. This seems like a cheapskate underhand way of gaining cheap distributed processing by praying on people with a conscience.
The Aids processing could be as little as 5% while the rest may be used on a patented cure for a disease which would be deliberately withheld from most companies. Distributed processing can be used to attempt to decrypt PGP signed documents. While this is unlikely how much do you trust your government. Remember their morals are probably idfferent from your own.

I'm so pre-emptive I'd nuke America to save time.
Good idea (2.00 / 4) (#3)
by Nickus on Mon Nov 13, 2000 at 11:06:40 AM EST

Since nobody is forcing you to join their little club it is ok. Then it is up to the end-user to decide if he/she wants it or not.
But think further. Perhaps Microsoft will embedd some similar thing in a future version of Windows. That would be quite a powerful computer. A cluster containing 100 million computers :-).


Due to budget cuts, light at end of tunnel will be out. --Unknown
Entropia. Hrm. (2.66 / 3) (#4)
by eann on Mon Nov 13, 2000 at 11:31:21 AM EST

Aside from an amusing business name (wish I'd thought of that), I'm not exactly clear on how they're different from long-established services like distributed.net.

Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men. —MLK

$email =~ s/0/o/; # The K5 cabal is out to get you.


As for me, (4.50 / 2) (#5)
by error 404 on Mon Nov 13, 2000 at 04:05:02 PM EST

I decline.

I don't donate resources to for-profit enterprises. I like profit enterprises. I like them a lot, and I agree with Entropia that profit is good for the long-term viability of a project. But when I deal with for-profit enterprises, I expect to be paid. Profit is good. Profit is good for you. Profit is even better for me.

I may do something that looks a lot like donating to a for-profit enterprise when, for example, there is theater involved. But I get artistic satisfaction and networking from that.

Now, if Entropia were to divulge more information about the donated computer time, I might consider it. Heck, we don't even know whether the time is donated. It is possible that the AIDS research organization is a regular paying client.

Don't get me wrong: I donate when I can. But not to for-profit enterprises.

..................................
Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

I wouldn't. (4.00 / 4) (#6)
by Alik on Mon Nov 13, 2000 at 05:29:14 PM EST

There are several of these computational biology projects which have recently come into being. Most are run by companies. Personally, I have no interest in donating my time and cycles to a company which will patent the results and try to make billions. On Slashdot, I have expressed this opinion and been called a profiteering bastard; perhaps I am. Nonetheless, I see it as ethically wrong to donate time to any entity whose plan is to declare some part of the human body to be its sole and rightful property. If you think the idea of patenting genes and proteins is crap, I'd suggest not running Entropia or any other biological distributed software.

There *is* one exception: the folding@home project. These guys, AFAIK, are true academics interested in getting the knowledge for the good of mankind. I happen to be sticking with SETI, because I see that as a more neglected and deserving endeavour (protein folding already has terabucks and teraflops devoted to it), but folding@home seems like an honorable cause.

Forget ET, fight aids@home | 6 comments (5 topical, 1 editorial, 0 hidden)
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