Vendor lock-in, DRM, and crappy EULAs are turning America's independent farmers into tenant farmers

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The system is not broken, this is what was supposed to happen.

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Gold-hearted, self-sustaining, freedom-loving farmers being micromanaged by an external, uncaring, power-hungry system that analyses their every move and is always watching. This feels like a libertairan’s prototypical dystopian allegory for a communist state, except brought to you by the invisible hand. The irony would be delicious if it weren’t so fucking depressing. Kinda like the rest of the karmic Fuck You that is FY2016/17


Sounds like that New Deal has been fully Trumped.

We need a Better Deal.

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If the free market worked the way its acolytes claim it does, then another manufacturer would offer a product that does everything the farmers need without the price gouging and DRM, and companies like John Deere would get the message.

This is the kind of issue Fox News would be ill-equipped to address. Who would Sean Hannity side with, the farmer (probably a large section of his audience) or the big corporation (his lord and master)?


Control from outside forces is nothing new to farmers.

They could write a Deere John letter and import the excellent machinery manufactured elsewhere, no?


There might be a decent secondary market here for providing an independent device for recording the tractor’s telemetry. Heck, a spare smartphone might go a long way towards gathering the information that the farmer wants. If the farmer also needs to capture input from the vehicles’ control systems, a few custom sensors could be ginned up. I’m not up on what their info requirements are, but there’s a crapton of cheap aftermarket data collection tech these days.

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There is an open source ecology movement, but I think it works better for homesteaders than commercial farmers.

I imagine debt is as big a problem now as it was at the dawn of mechanization for farmers in terms of getting new equipment.

Anyone here know if that’s true?

Instead, the only alternative is dodgy Ukrainian jailbreaking software for the American manufacturers’ tractors – a free market of a different sort, all the more amusing because it prompts the Libertarians to suddenly call upon the power of the bad ol’ government to stop it lest their beloved corporations lose profits.

The minute an independent farmer buys into the newest “technological revolution” they become serfs. Possibly rich serfs, depending on how much land they can monocrop for Big Ag.

Import? I suppose it’s possible, but it’d have to meet all the same regulations any other manufacturer trying to sell equipment in the US would have to meet, including Deere. It’s the same as importing a foreign, not sold in the US, automobile. It can be done, but you may be retrofitting equipment in order for it to comply with the necessary regulations.

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