There’s No Free Lunch: Lenovo and Superfish

Lately, I’ve been reading or rereading some classic sci-fi novels, including (published originally in 1966) which many consider ’s greatest work. The story traces the revolutionary uprising of a former lunar penal colony against its ruling authority on Earth via the reminiscences of Manuel “Mannie” Garcia O’Kelly-Davis, a computer technician who becomes a leader in the rebellion.

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress was the first novel to popularize the concept of , an acronym which Mannie says means, “’There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.’ And isn’t… Was reminding (her) that anything free costs twice as much in long run or turns out worthless.”

I was reminded of this recently in the public dustup resulting from pre-loading , onto some of its consumer notebooks. If you’re unfamiliar with , it’s a visual search company that develops advertising-oriented software () which injects commercial links into users’ online search results.

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NOTE: This column was originally published in the .

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