Village Praxis Series: Class IV Terrain Kit

Warning- Climbing is dangerous and should only be undertaken with the proper equipment and under experienced instruction. The post below is for informational purposes only.

What is Class 4 Terrain?

Class 1 Easy hiking – usually on a good trail.

Class 2 More difficult hiking that may be off-trail.  You may also have to put your hands down occasionally to keep your balance.  May include easy snow climbs or hiking on talus/scree.

Class 3 Scrambling or un-roped climbing.  You must use your hands most of the time to hold the terrain or find your route.  This may be caused by a combination of steepness and extreme terrain (large rocks or steep snow).  Some Class 3 routes are better done with rope.

Class 4 Climbing.  Rope is often used on Class 4 routes because falls can be fatal.  The terrain is often steep and dangerous.  Some routes can be done without rope because the terrain is stable.

Class 5 Technical climbing.  The climbing involves the use of rope and belaying.  Rock climbing is Class 5.  Note:  In the 1950s, the Class 5 portion of this ranking system was expanded to include a decimal at the end of the ranking to further define the difficulties of rock climbing.  This is called the Yosemite Decimal System (YDS).  The decimal notations range from 5.1 (easiest) to 5.14 (most difficult).  Recently, the rankings of 5.10 through 5.14 were expanded to include an “a”, “b”, “c” or “d” after the decimal (Example: 5.12a) to provide further details of the ranking.

Knowledge– Read the following books in this order- Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills (the seminal text on climbing, covers just about everything you’ll need to know), Rock Climbing Anchors: A Comprehensive Guide (specialized text that goes into more detail on anchors than M:FOTH),Rock Climbing: Mastering Basic SkillsAlpine Climbing: Techniques to Take You Higher and Climbing Self Rescue: Improvising Solutions for Serious Situations. All by The Mountaineers Press. After reading, sign up for classes with either the American Canyoneering Association, another accredited course or a very experienced individual. It’s like Appleseed- you can read “Fred’s Guide”, incorporate the lessons into range days and eventually make Rifleman on your own, or you can read “Fred’s Guide” and get hands on instruction from a Red Hat at an Appleseed and progress that much faster (and safer). Climbing Class 4 (never mind Class 5) involves risk due to the fact that you are defying gravity. Never exceed your current capabilities and skills, and leave enough energy in the tank for the descent. 70% of all climbing incidents occur on the descent due to exhaustion and mental relaxation / complacence. The information below is strictly on gear and is no substitute for quality instruction. I reference a lot of Black Diamond gear below, since they are a top manufacturer with a stellar reputation for quality, however any major climbing brand that is CE and / or UIAA certified will be just as good. Avoid “bargains” from unknown companies that do not QA / QC their equipment. Not only only are you “buying cheap and buying twice” you are putting your life on the line with sketchy gear. Spend a little more for quality.

Presently, I have most everything below except the rope, harness, helmet, gloves and anchors. I’ve acquired the gear piece by piece and it has not been a financial hardship as the individual components are relatively inexpensive except for the rope and anchors. For a belay device, I went with the ATC for its simplicity and ruggedness.

Belay Device: There are several different types to choose from- Figure 8, sticht plate, tube or “auto blocking”. Used for belaying a lead or second and rappelling.

Figure 8– simple to set up and use, unfortunately it will twist the rope to hell and gone. Economical option.

Sticht Plate– Old friction device that overcame the limitations of the Figure 8. In certain conditions may not provide enough friction to arrest a fall. Only 2 companies currently make plate devices. Old technology that is fading from use. I recommend passing.

Tube– Most popular type is the Black Diamond Air Traffic Controller (ATC). Simple, inexpensive ($20) device, handles a wide variety of rope diameters, non-mechanical and works in almost any environmental condition. Other manufacturers produce similar device types (Mamut, Petzl, etc). Best deal is the “Big Air” combo from Black Diamond, which is a basic ATC and locking asymmetric carabineer for $29. There are other ATC models “Guide”, “Sport” etc, but the basic ATC will do the job.

Auto Blocking– See the Petzl “Gri Gri”. Uses a clutch to slow the fall and lock off the rope. This device works similar to your car’s seat belt in that the rope can be fed slowly and smoothly out, but a sudden acceleration or jerk in the rope will initiate the locking mechanism. Mechanical device, only works with certain diameter and sheath material ropes, prone to incorrect rigging and is not idiot proof. Pass

Harness– Basic alpine or trad climbing harness should be enough. Purchase in person to make sure it fits. An ill fitting harness is uncomfortable and unsafe. Also recommend one with adjustable leg loops to accommodate a range of clothing options. Two gear loops are just about perfect for Class 4, 4 loops may be overkill. For those younger than 14 or 15, a full harness that attaches at the legs, waist and chest is required since their hips aren’t developed enough to prevent a slip out if they invert.

Slings / runners / cordelette– Used to build anchors and reduce rope drag. Get several 30cm, 60cm120cm pre-sewn runners / slings. Also get two 5.5 foot and one 9.5 foot lengths of webbing for building belay anchors. Get two lengths of cordelette (5-7mm accessory cord) for prusik loops used ascending or backing up a rappel. Get some other lengths of accessory cord to supplement slings and runners. Most economical is to purchase bulk spools of webbing and accessory cord and cut to size.

Anchors– For my local conditions I would stick with hexcentrics and stoppers. Enough to handle a wide range of crack sizes. Most expensive component in the kit. Your life depends on quality anchors, don’t go cheap. Used can be “ok” if the runners or wire hangers aren’t shot. Runners can be replaced with new slings or cordelette. Wires have to be factory replaced. Each anchor gets its own carabineer to “rack” on the harness’s gear loops and to attach to the runner. Other anchor options include snow stakes, pitons, ice screws, cams, looping a runner around a tree or rock, etc. They are condition dependent, as there probably isn’t anywhere in AZ where you can screw in a 10″ ice screw.

Carabineers

Locking– In addition to the locking carabineer for the belay device, have 2 aluminum locking carabineers on hand. For high friction / heat use in a Tyrolean Traverse, use steel lockers. Locking ‘biners are also used as part of the belay / rappel anchor and for backing up a rappel with a prusik loop.

Non-locking– 2 opposite and opposed non-locking carabineers equal 1 locking carabineer. Have enough ‘biners so that each sling / runner / cordelette loop has its own. Use D or asymmetric ‘biners. Oval ‘biners have lower strength since the gate takes the same of impact force as the spine. On a D or asymmetric ‘biner, the spine takes most of the force- if you look at the geometry of the ‘biner you can see how the force is distributed. An aluminum D ‘biner can withstand several more kilonewtons (kN) of impact force than a steel oval. If buying used, look for grooving from the rope, sharp edges, nicks, dings, bends, cracks, etc.

Rope: 10mm dynamic rope- here are two examples. A “dry treated” rope is nice, but in AZ, probably not necessary. 60m or 70m are standard lengths. Never buy a used rope. Without knowing how many falls it has taken, or its storage conditions, the rope has an unknown strength rating and should be avoided. New ropes start at around $100 and go up. If you have a rope that is more than 5 years old, it is probably best to retire it from a protection role. Most GI rapelling ropes are “static” and do not stretch when absorbing your impact on a fall. This is bad for two reasons- All the kilonewtons produced by the interplay of gravity, your weight and distance fallen are directly absordbed by your body and the anchor system. This can cause serious internal injuries and may “zipper” your protection out of their placements. Needless to say, this is bad. Dynamic ropes stretch, reducing the force imparted to you and the anchors.

Other: For local winter conditions above the snow line, very basic crampons and a piolet are nice to haves that will increase the safety margin. A helmet and belay gloves protect your head and hands and should be worn.

Physical Training: Class 4 and higher demands both aerobic and anaerobic conditioning, flexibility and strength training. Both Falcon and The Mountaineers Press have excellent books on climbing PT; I have both and I am drawing from them for my own conditioning routines. The good news is that training for climbing is not limiting. Unlike hard training for cycling, which develops absolute hammers for legs and a rock solid core but neglects the upper body, climbing uses all four limbs and aerobic / anaerobic conditioning. The training regimes listed in both books incorporates aspects of aerobic activities (running, cycling, fast hiking), strength training (weights, pull ups, push ups, core excersises) and flexibility.

Village Praxis Series: Robert Heinlein/ Thinker in Fourth Generation Warfare (4GW)

Mike Vanderboegh penned this awhile back and it still bears repeating.  If you are not reading dusty old tomes and newer books alike to steep yourself in the soft and hard war that is beckoning, you are setting yourself up for failure.  I have been reading Heinlein since I was a wee lad and can’t help but recommend it for young and old alike.  This is the warfare coming to America whether you are prepared or not.  Scroogle or startpage 4GW and you will find countless mountain of information.  In addition to the essay below, I would direct your attention to the bottom for additional reading lists I have posted. -BB

Robert Heinlein: Pioneer Thinker in Fourth Generation Warfare

(Y)ou can forget all that dreck about 4GW and RMA. They are just Madison Avenue terms designed to extract a few more bucks from the taxpayers’ pockets. War has always been about will. Weapons, tactics, strategies are just tools used to affect the enemies will. Of course the ulitmate tool for that is a nuclear weapon. Nothing effects an opponent’s will more than killing him. And rumor has it that the long term effects are just as good as the short term ones. I assure you Custer will never again burn any Indian villages. — Tomanbeg on Strategy Page Military Science Fiction Discussion Board, 26 Sept 2003

To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting. -Sun Tzu, the Art of War

In January, 1941, after the fall of France and almost a full year before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, a small circulation magazine called Astounding Science Fiction began a serialized story (continued in the February and March issues) credited to “Anson MacDonald.” It was entitled “Sixth Column.”

Its author was in fact Robert Anson Heinlein, from an original idea given to him by Astounding’s editor, John W. Campbell. For the time, it was an incredible piece of work, and amazingly it still stands the test of time on very many levels. Sixth Column was later reissued in hardcover in 1949.

Yet, it was one of Heinlein’s most difficult projects to write, because it was a hand-off story concept and Campbell’s original story idea was light on specifics — especially science and military — and long on anti-oriental racism. It was so difficult that Heinlein never again accepted someone else’s idea as the basis for one of his novels. As Heinlein recalled:

Writing Sixth Column was a job I sweated over. I had to reslant it to remove racist aspects of the original story line. And I didn’t really believe the pseudoscientific rationale of Campbell’s three spectra — so I worked especially hard to make it sound realistic.

In Sixth Column (also known under the title The Day After Tomorrow)the United States has been conquered by the PanAsians, a combination of Chinese and Japanese, who have also taken the Soviet Union and India. In the process, they have developed a credo:

“Three things only do slaves require: work, food, and their religion.”

As Wikipedia notes,

“The book is notable for its frank and controversial portrayal of racism. The conquerors regard themselves as a chosen people predestined to rule over lesser races, and they refer to white people as slaves. . . . They require outward signs of respect, such as jumping promptly into the gutter when a member of the chosen race walks by, and the slightest hesitation to show the prescribed courtesies earns a swagger stick across the face.”

Yet the most heroic action taken by any character in the book is made by Frank Mitsui, an Asian American whose family was murdered by the invaders because they did not fit in the new PanAsiatic racial order. (Frank’s wife was black and his kids of mixed-race.) This was a daring plot element at the time.

And Heinlein does not whitewash his heroes either. The Americans return their conquerors’ racism by often referring to them as “flat faces”, “slanties,” and “monkey boys”. For this reason, Heinlein’s Sixth Column has been denounced as racist by some left-wing critics. It is not. It was, for its time, about as explicitly anti-racist as you could expect.

The Citadel, a top secret research facility hidden in the Colorado mountains is the last remaining outpost of the United States Army after its defeat by the PanAsians. Major Ardmore, sent by the War Department to convey final orders for independent resistance to the lab, discovers that a weapons development accident has killed all but six of the facility’s staff of over 300. The survivors are demoralized and want to quit. Ardmore takes command and soon the survivors learn the principles behind the weapon and how to control it. What they lack, Ardmore is painfully aware, is numbers to wield it in battle but first and foremost, an intelligence network to help them plan a campaign and target the weapon. Today we call this “Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield.” Ardmore finds his intelligence operative in a hobo named Jeff Thomas, a hobo who wandered into the Citadel as the war was drawing to a close.

(Heinlein’s characters draw their strengths from their unlikely life experiences. Thomas has learned from ten years as an itinerant laborer how to move without being seen, how to blend in, how to adapt to changing circumstances and he has the support network of other hobos. In the ruins of civilization, it is those who had the least to lose that survived the best. Perhaps, Heinlein hints, because their minds were already adjusted to dealing in adversity. Likewise, Ardmore is not a West Point trained officer. He is a marketing executive swept up in the war emergency. But this is key to his ability to think unconventionally and find a solution to the problems at hand.)

Robert Anson Heinlein, United States Naval Academy, 1929.

Inextricably linked with the concerns of pitiful numbers and lack of intelligence is the fact that the PanAsians make the Nazis look like pikers when it comes to retaliation against innocents for any show of defiance.

Everywhere (Thomas) found boiling resentment, a fierce willingness to fight against the tyranny, but it was undirected, uncoordinated, and in any modern sense, unarmed. Sporadic rebellion was as futile as the scurrying of ants whose hill has been violated. PanAsians could be killed, yes, and there were men willing to shoot on sight, even in the face of the certainty of their own deaths. But their hands were bound by the greater certainty of brutal multiple retaliation against their own kind. As with the Jews of Germany before the final blackout in Europe, bravery was not enough, for one act of violence against the tyrants would be paid for by other men, women and children at unspeakable compound interest. — p. 32

Once Ardmore is better informed about the conditions outside the Citadel, the more difficult his problem appears. The perfection of the weapon system leads others within the Citadel to want to use it immediately. Ardmore refuses.

Any way he looked at it, simple, straightforward military use of the new weapons was not expedient. Brutal frontal attack was for the commander who had men to expend. General U.S. Grant could afford to say, “I will fight it out on this line if it takes all summer,” because he could lose three men to the enemy’s one and still win. Those tactics were not for the commander who could not afford to lose ANY men. For him it must be deception, misdirection — feint, slash and run away — “and live to fight another day.” The nursery rhyme finished itself in his mind. That was it. It had to be something totally unexpected, something that the PanAsians wouLd not realize was warfare until they were overwhelmed by it.

It would have to be something like the “fifth columns” that destroyed the European democracies from within in the tragic days that led to the final blackout of European civilization. But this would not be a fifth column of traitors, bent on paralyzing a free country, but the antithesis of that, a sixth column of patriots whose privilege it wouod be to destroy the morale of invaders, make them sfraid, unsure of themselves.

And misdirection was the key to it, the art of fooling! — pp. 56-57

Here we have Sun Tzu’s dictum embraced, rather than the attrition warfare expressed by Tomanbeg above. Time and again in the book, the principles of maneuver warfare and 4GW leap from the page.

He realized suddenly that he was thinking of the problem in direct terms again, in spite of his conscious knowledge that such an approach was futile. What he wanted was psychological jiu-jitsu — some way to turn their own strength against them. Misdirection — that was the idea! Whatever it was they expected him to do, don’t do it! Do something else. — p. 199

And this was written in 1940!

As the campaign of psy-war and misdirection continues, Heinlein enunciates another maneuver warfare principle: subordinate commanders, right down to a fire team corporal, are to be permitted and encouraged to think for themselves and act decisively:

Thomas took the report and read it, then nodded agreement. . . “Perhaps we should have given more detailed instructions.”

“I don’t think so. Detailed instructions are the death of initiative. This way we have them all striving to think up some particularly annoying way to get under the skins of our . . . lords. I expect some very amusing and ingenious results.” — pp. 227-228

Finally, as the campaign enters its final hours, there is this:

How much longer, Chief?” asked Thomas.

“Not very long. We’ll let ’em talk long enough for them to know something hellacious is happening all over the country. Now we’ve cut ’em off. That should produce a feeling of panic. I want to let that panic have time to ripen and spread to every Pan Asian in the country. When I figure they’re ripe, we’ll sock it to ’em!”

“How will you tell?”

“I can’t. It will be on hunch, between ourselves. We’ll let the little darlings run around in circles for a while, not over an hour, then give’em the works.”

Dr. Brooks nervously attempted to make conversation. “It certainly will be a relief to have this entire matter settled onde and for always. It’s been very trying at times —” His voice trailed off.

Ardmore turned on him. “Don’t ever think we can settle things ‘once and for always.'”

“But surely — if we defeat the PanAsians decisively — ”

“That’s where you are wrong about it.” The nervous strain he was under showed in his brusque manner. “We got into this jam by thinking we could settle things once and for always. . . We should have known better; there were plenty of lessons in history. The old French Republic tried to freeze events to one pattern with the Versailles Treaty. When that didn’t work, they built the Maginot Line and went to sleep behind it. What did it get them? Final blackout!”

“Life is a dynamic process and can’t be made static. ‘— and they all lived happily ever after’ is fairy tale stupidity.” — pp. 231-232

“The price of liberty is eternal vigilance,” Heinlein tells us in Sixth Column, along with presenting a marvelous tale instructing us in the principles of maneuver warfare and 4GW. And he wrote it in 1940. That in itself is “Amazing.”

Get it.

Read it. You can find Sixth Column at most local bookstores.

Further reading in resistance and rebellion:

http://www.mcu.usmc.mil/lejeune_leadership/Accreditation/Counterinsurgency%20Reading%20List.pdf

Village Praxis Series: Building a .22 Liberty Training Rifle

Skip is one of my best friends and he is our Village Armorer.  He is quite expert in the technical and arcane aspects of building and maintaining the teeth of Liberty.  He compiled this brief but detailed primer on building one of these handy little rifles.   I am an Appleseed Instructor in the state of Arizona (there are two of us now) and we urge those who wish to husband their ammunition with the prices they command now to maintain their skill set with modified .22 rifles to ensure the edge does not dull for the Riflemen standing up across America.  The main platform we use is the Ruger 10/22 and modify it fairly substantially to better replicate the handling and characteristics of a Main Battle Rifle or Carbine much like the purpose built rifles that festooned colonial mantles in the 18th century here in America.  It is an implied task that once you build the rifle, you go out and practice and become proficient.  While the primer below is by no means exhaustive, it will give you a terrific head start. You will notice some tabs above which speak to the Appleseed program.  I would urge you to explore the RWVA and Appleseed pages and sign up for an event near you. -BB
Yes… we call it a Liberty Training Rifle (LTR)
I would get a M-4-style adjustable stock… my kids are shooting with it completely collapsed, but other people borrow them, so I wanted adjustable stocks.
Here’s a cheaper alternative:
If there are no kids using the rifle, any OEM stock is fine… the iron sights are more important.
The sights are the most important modification you can make to the 10-22… I am a firm believer everyone should learn to shoot iron sights first, and I’m certain I’m preaching to the choir on this: http://www.tech-sights.com/ruger3.htm
I prefer an automatic bolt release, but I don’t like paying the extra cost… here’s were you can learn to modify it using a dremel tool, which is what I do for all my friends that have the 10-22… http://www.wonderhowto.com/how-to-auto-bolt-release-170004/
I recommend using the OEM magazines… here’s a cheap place to start, you need at least two per rifle for an Appleseed:
You need an adjustable sling at least 1″ or thicker. I use the standard Garand/M-14 slings:
Lastly, I like an extended magazine release… the newer rifles come with it, but here is an option: http://www.cheaperthandirt.com/58033-1.html
I make my own extended mag release using the hardware that comes with cheap furniture… and screw it into the OEM mag release. I think they are called caming bolts or screws and they look like a bolt, at the tip, then a solid cylinder with a screw head matched to a caming surface… Everytime a buy cheap furniture, they always pack extra and I just keep them in a drawer for anyone that wants an extended magazine release. I drill them into the OEM mag release (cast metal) flat surface until I am through the bolt entirely. The hole needs to be slightly smaller than the bolt threads (doh!) so the bolt can thread into the mag release, but not too small or the screw head will twist off before you have it threaded in. Once in, cut it down to about .60″ to .75″ using a hacksaw and then dress it up using a belt sander. Then cut off the excess threads coming through the mag release until it is flush. If you don’t, or the bolt is left too long, it will not cam far enough to release the mag…

Now, I found this interesting… unnecessary, but cool: http://www.eabco.com/m1_carbine_ruger_1022_tribute.htm

Village Praxis Series: Taking Back the Infantry Half-Kilometer

Okay, time for a deep dive into the tactical. The point of departure is this paper by Army Maj. Thomas Ehrhart, Increasing Small Arms Lethality in Afghanistan: Taking Back the Infantry Half-Kilometer (.pdf), written last year at the Command and General Staff College, that says fighting in Afghanistan has exposed the fact that American infantry are poorly equipped and trained for long range firefights. -BB

Lee-Enfield - A Rifleman's Rifle

In Afghanistan, the infantryman’s “weapons, doctrine, and marksmanship training do not provide a precise, lethal fire capability to 500 meters and are therefore inappropriate,” Ehrhart says. Unlike on the streets of Iraq, where firefights were few and were typically fought under 300 meters, insurgents in Afghanistan skillfully use the wide open rural and mountainous terrain to stretch the battlefield. The following excerpt sums it up pretty well:

“Comments from returning non-commissioned officers and officers reveal that about fifty percent of engagements occur past 300 meters. The enemy tactics are to engage United States forces from high ground with medium and heavy weapons, often including mortars, knowing that we are restricted by our equipment limitations and the inability of our overburdened soldiers to maneuver at elevations exceeding 6000 feet. Current equipment, training, and doctrine are optimized for engagements under 300 meters and on level terrain.”

There’s a lot to unpack in this paper, the author gets into the relative merits and disadvantages of the 5.56mm round, reliability of the M4, the rifleman’s standard ACOG site, basic training, adding more marksmen to the squad and even the shortcomings of the standard issue magazines (Magpul gets a real big shout out for their PMAG M4 mag replacement). He concludes that only with significant changes to training, doctrine and weapons will infantry be able to engage targets out to 500 meters.

“In the table of organization for a light infantry company only the six –M240B 7.62-mm machineguns, two– 60-mm mortars and nine designated marksman armed with either 7.62-mm M14 rifles or accurized 5.56-mm M16A4’s rifles are able to effectively engage the enemy. These weapons systems represent 19 percent of the company’s firepower. This means that 81 percent of the company has little effect on the fight. This is unacceptable.”

I’m going to get into a number of these points throughout the week, but first off, I want to get into Ehrhart’s description of meeting engagements in Afghanistan and the standard U.S. tactical response. “The enemy travels light and employs supporting weapons from standoff, to include mortars and medium machineguns. Faced with these conditions, the modern [U.S.] infantry attempts to fix the enemy with direct fire and use supporting assets to kill the enemy,” he writes.

http://www.captainsjournal.com/2010/03/08/taking-back-the-infantry-half-kilometer/

Village Praxis Series: In the Next Industrial Revolution, Atoms Are the New Bits

I have often had a sneaking suspicion that big business is a creature and consort of big government. As Armentano has taught us, monopolies cannot exist absent government intervention to erect legal barriers to competition. It is becoming increasingly evident that this may be truer than I initially suspected. A revolution is brewing in people’s homes and garages. The DIY craze that has always been an American preoccupation is coming back with a vengeance in these challenging economic times. I found the following article instructive. -BB

The Revolution in a garage...

The door of a dry-cleaner-size storefront in an industrial park in Wareham, Massachusetts, an hour south of Boston, might not look like a portal to the future of American manufacturing, but it is. This is the headquarters of Local Motors, the first open source car company to reach production. Step inside and the office reveals itself as a mind-blowing example of the power of micro-factories.

In June, Local Motors will officially release the Rally Fighter, a $50,000 off-road (but street-legal) racer. The design was crowdsourced, as was the selection of mostly off-the-shelf components, and the final assembly will be done by the customers themselves in local assembly centers as part of a “build experience.” Several more designs are in the pipeline, and the company says it can take a new vehicle from sketch to market in 18 months, about the time it takes Detroit to change the specs on some door trim. Each design is released under a share-friendly Creative Commons license, and customers are encouraged to enhance the designs and produce their own components that they can sell to their peers.

The Rally Fighter was prototyped in the workshop at the back of the Wareham office, but manufacturing muscle also came from Factory Five Racing, a kit-car company and Local Motors investor located just down the road. Of course, the kit-car business has been around for decades, standing as a proof of concept for how small manufacturing can work in the car industry. Kit cars combine hand-welded steel tube chassis and fiberglass bodies with stock engines and accessories. Amateurs assemble the cars at their homes, which exempts the vehicles from many regulatory restrictions (similar to home-built experimental aircraft). Factory Five has sold about 8,000 kits to date.

One problem with the kit-car business, though, is that the vehicles are typically modeled after famous racing and sports cars, making lawsuits and license fees a constant burden. This makes it hard to profit and limits the industry’s growth, even in the face of the DIY boom.

The rest of the story:

http://www.wired.com/magazine/2010/01/ff_newrevolution/all/1