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Slashback: OpenOffice, SuitSat, Google Books 177

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the down-but-not-defeated dept.
Slashback tonight brings some corrections, clarifications, and updates to previous Slashdot stories, including Sutor's response to OpenOffice control, Google forgives BMW, SunComm vows to make right their DRM debacle, SuitSat-1 still transmitting, and Defense of Google Book Search -- Read on for details.

Sutor says "no way" to VNUnet OpenOffice story. Andy Updegrove writes "Earlier today a story by Tom Sanders at Vnunet.com covered by Slashdot didn't make sense to me, as it ran counter to the joint determination of Sun and IBM to make ODF succeed. In part, the story relied on an email exchange with Bob Sutor, IBM's Vice President of Standards and Open Source, so I asked Bob whether the story got it wrong. The answer? Sutor said: 'To be more clear, and on the record, IBM and Sun are working together happily and effectively on the OpenDocument Format. I think we've made a terrific amount of progress in the last year and that's because of the broad cooperation by the community. I'm not sure why we were dragged into the referenced story, but it was certainly nothing we initiated.'"

Google forgives BMW after delisting. dbucowboy writes "According to Matt Cutts, Google has re-included BMW.de in the Google index due to their willingness to cease supposed blackhat SEO practices." From the article: "I appreciate BMW's quick response on removing JavaScript-redirecting pages from BMW properties. The webspam team at Google has been in contact with BMW, and Google has reincluded bmw.de in our index. Likewise, ricoh.de has also removed similar doorway pages and has been reincluded in Google's index."

SunComm vows to make right their DRM debacle. Rinisari writes "SunnComm, creators of the highly controversial MediaMax DRM implementation on a number of Sony BMG and indie CDs have issued a statement through the EFF that they are committed to notifying consumers and issuing updates/patches to fix security holes caused by the software. MediaMax is one of the two copy protection schemes about which Sony is being sued class-action style."

SuitSat-1 weak but not dead. zark22 writes "Suitsat, the amateur radio transmitter stuffed inside a surplus Russian spacesuit and chucked out the International Space station is alive and well, if somewhat weak and staticky. Users can still follow its progress at the Suitsat webpage."

UMich President defends Google book search. eaj writes "University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman defended the legality and ethics [PDF] of the Google Book Search project to a meeting of the Association of American Publishers on Monday. The AAP is suing Google over the book scanning involved in the project. From the article: '[We] believe this is a legal, ethical, and noble endeavor that will transform our society. Legal because we believe copyright law allows us the fair use of millions of books that are being digitized. Ethical because the preservation and protection of knowledge is critically important to the betterment of humankind. And noble because this enterprise is right for the time, right for the future, right for the world of publishing, right for all of us.' CNet news also has a video."

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Slashback: OpenOffice, SuitSat, Google Books

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  • by temojen (678985) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @08:25PM (#14674056) Journal
    I see people from my town (VE7xxx) are tracking the suitsat. Cool.

    I also see there's noone with WTF in their callsign tracking it. Bummer.
  • by 75th Trombone (581309) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @08:28PM (#14674063) Homepage Journal
    The earlier story talked about control of OpenOffice, while this new article (along with the comments from IBM) talks almost solely about ODF. Those two things are not even remotely the same, and if these tech writers can't figure out that they're different, then God help the state of Massachusetts.
    • by iabervon (1971) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @09:02PM (#14674236) Homepage Journal
      Actually, the blurb on Slashdot talks about ODF, but the actual article almost exclusively talks about OpenOffice. The IBM statement is only about ODF, but Suter also says that his earlier email about OpenOffice was entirely non-committal; IBM's not holding anything back for copyright ownership reasons. Furthermore, the OpenOffice project lead quoted in both articles actually says that he doesn't think Sun should spin off OpenOffice to a foundation. He says that, if IBM wanted them to (which is not the case), maybe that would be a good idea. IBM's statement is probably directly mostly at the situation where Sun decided they didn't want to employ 80% of the OpenOffice developers any more, and were spinning it off to a foundation for that reason; in this case, IBM would want to talk to them, probably to work something out where the project membership is maintained by IBM hiring the developers.

      I'm a bit mystified that Andy Updegrove, when writing the blurb, failed to write it to cover the overall subject material, after covering it accurately in the linked article. I wouldn't be surprised if he'd written it as a full article, and the slashdot editors cut it down for slashback to a portion that wasn't a good summary.
  • Suit Sat (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @08:29PM (#14674070) Homepage
    I got up REAL early to listen for Suit Sat last Sunday but didn't hear a thing. I've since heard that they've turn on the ISS's cross-band repeater which boosts the power from under 1/2 Watt to 10 Watts. Still, I don't think I'd be able to pick it up with my equipment. I've got a Yaesu VX-7R and a 18" ducky antenna. If I wasn't so busy right now I'd build a little Yagi and try to use that to pick the thing up.

    --KC0QBP

    • They say on the amsat website that you need a high gain antenna and a rubber ducky won't cut it.
      • Yeah, they put that up the day after I tried (although I had suspected as much before hand). People are getting results with large Yagis, the best results with EME arrays.

        Really, I don't have the right equipment. Besides the antenna, having multiple radios (so I could tune around looking for a doppler shift) would probably be a BIG help, but I just have my one little HT.

    • by jd (1658)
      I wonder if SuitSat did indeed have a problem with cold (hence the long absence of signal) but warmed up (the atmosphere must surely be still too thin to provide significant heating, though I may be wrong on that). I guess the reason for wondering is whether - as SuitSat begins the final stages of its firey plunge, but not after ionization blocks the signal - the signal might actually get louder than the spec implies. Presumably the power available would rise, as the battery gets hot, and NASA would have no
  • Put BMW in a Suit (Score:4, Interesting)

    by saskboy (600063) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @08:32PM (#14674084) Homepage Journal
    Google pitched BMW out an air lock, it's fortunate for BMW that they were let back in from the cold.

    I wonder if Google's mercenary tactics to fight BMW's mercenary tactics were justified? Did they give BMW a day to remove the doorway page?
    • Google pitched BMW out an air lock, it's fortunate for BMW that they were let back in from the cold.

      I don't think it's so one-sided. Anyone in Germany who wants to buy a BMW is going to find BMW's web site with the second URL they enter, even if Google was the first. OTOH, if Google was the first, and trying to search for a major name brand resulted in a whole load of spin-off pages and not showing the home page for the brand in question, then Google's index loses credibility.

      Personally, I think Googl

  • Only for BMW? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jpsowin (325530) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @08:38PM (#14674124) Homepage
    Google forgives BMW after delisting

    So I guess if your site has been delisted, all you have to do is remove it, email Google, and watch it be re-listed. Right? More likely, if you are anyone other than a Fortune 500 company, you're email will never be answered. Or unless you pay some cash.
    • by rs79 (71822)
      Jah, so, nice weather you haff here in Palo Alto, it vos pretty cold in Germany zis moring. So, here are zee keys to your new V12 and we put some nice wheels and tires on it.

      Now, about zaht webzite?

    • You would be surprised how many gigantic companies try _really_ _really_ hard to have good customer service.

      Just because you've had a bad experience with AT&T Wireless, or Comcast, or something, doesn't mean other companies are like that.

      Godaddy is the #1 domain registrar on the internet, and a top hosting provider to boot. Their service response times are exceptional. T-mobile is a nationwide mobile phone carrier, and with a small amount of effort you can get them to go back and forward with you, in wr
      • Re:Only for BMW? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by rm69990 (885744)
        I was just dealing with Hauppage a few days ago. I have a TV Tuner card that is incredibly out of date (no longer being sold by Hauppage) that I have had for well over a year. I moved it to a new computer, and it wouldn't work. Sent them an email, and in less than a day, had a full response with full instructions on how to fix the issue.

        Many companies do provide exceptional customer service. Telus, one of the ISPs in my area, has horrible customer service, so bad that I ditched their service. Shaw, the othe
  • Too much power (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dedazo (737510) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @08:39PM (#14674127) Journal
    Anyone else feel Google has way too much power already? I mean, who needs domain names anymore? I just type what I'm looking for into Google and up comes the right answer. Right? Well [google.com] sometimes [google.cn].

    Google owns their search engine of course, but I think it's just a little evil to essentially make an entire company disappear from teh interwebs. If they weren't so pervasive then this would be a non-issue, but when I see these stories I get a little worried. Hopefully they won't expand their definition of "cheating" to include things we might think are OK.

    • Re:Too much power (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Jeff DeMaagd (2015) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @09:17PM (#14674322) Homepage Journal
      I do think there should be a penalty for page rank spamming, willful or not. Maybe it was a little harsh, and Google's systems need a method to remove spam ranks.

      I say you might as well use the competing search engines if it is too bothersome, because the power that you think they have too much of was power given to them by users.
    • Yes, I think Google currently has way too much power, and is getting away with things it shouldn't.

      During the last round of Google/BMW fun, I suggested a less favourable way to view that kind of web site [slashdot.org]. I think the web is in serious danger of going down the same path as books and media, where big name middleman sites (search engines, portal sites, archives, etc.) pretend to be doing the public a favour, while actually gathering disproportionate amounts of influence in exchange for services that may not

    • Google owns their search engine of course, but I think it's just a little evil to essentially make an entire company disappear from teh interwebs.
      I think such a gross exaggeration is extremely disingenuous. You can make your point without it.

      Then again, this is Slashdot...
      • Then again, this is Slashdot...

        dedazo, and some of the replies, are probably M$ marketing astroturfers. M$ marketing drones appear to have been trying to deflect attention from M$ to google the last few weeks.

        Of course; completely ignoring the fact that, unlike M$, competition for google is just a mouse click away.

        ---

        Astroturfing "marketers" [wikipedia.org] are lying lowlife, misrepresenting company propaganda as a personal opinion.

        • dedazo, and some of the replies, are probably M$ marketing astroturfers

          There is a certain Burns and Smithers quality about it all, isn't there?

          Burns: My name is Mister Snrub and I think we should invest that money back in the nuclear power plant
          Smithers: I like the way this Snrub thinks!

          Time to form an angry mob, perhaps? It worked in The Simpsons...

        • Wow, paranoid much? You know, not everyone who says bad things about things you like are with Them; some of them just genuinely hold different opinions to you.

          Now I also happen to think that the OP is wrong, but that doesn't make him an "M$" shill. It just makes him wrong.
    • Domain names were never supposed to matter anyway. URLs were never supposed to matter. The idea of hypertext is that you click on well-labelled links on a page (ie, "tracking openoffice in spacesuits" rather than "here" or "get it there"). You'd click these links, and you'd go to a new URL, and you never had to care what the url was. Google is doing exactly what the net was supposed to do, as best it can given the bad links being used, and the spam, etc.
    • Re:Too much power (Score:4, Insightful)

      by NickFortune (613926) on Thursday February 09, 2006 @06:59AM (#14676067) Homepage Journal
      Anyone else feel Google has way too much power already?

      Nope.

      I mean, who needs domain names anymore?

      People who don't want Google to get too much power. Or Yahoo! Or MSN, or any of the other search engines...

      I just type what I'm looking for into Google ...

      I knew someone once who insisted on travelling everywhere by bus, and always used the same company. He thought the bus company were evil because they didn't fly to Chicago or do Caribbean cruises. We all thought he was an idiot.

      You want to explain to me why your laziness and your inflexibility should be Google's problem?

      I think it's just a little evil to essentially make an entire company disappear from teh interwebs

      Just typical, I spend my last mod point, and then I find a troll like this. Please reassure me that you are not really this stupid.

      If they weren't so pervasive then this would be a non-issue

      It is a non-issue. You can aways choose to use a different search engine.

      when I see these stories I get a little worried

      Let me guess - Osama bin Laden is standing behind you and he's going to shoot you in the head if you use Yahoo, right? You can aways choose to use a different search engine.

      Hopefully they won't expand their definition of "cheating" to include things we might think are OK.

      Well, if they do, you can aways choose to use a different search engine. Come on, fire up a couple of those brain cells. This really isn't that difficult.

  • Like many people I've been booted out of Adsense without Google giving a reason. If they're willing to forgive BMW for a deliberate act will they forgive me for something I didn't do? Of course they won't.
  • by mbeckman (645148) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @09:13PM (#14674295)
    I'm on my way down to the local public library right now, with my Powerbook and a page scanner. I'm going to scan books in, and put them on my own website for others to search. I won't put the whole book online, of course, just the index. I'll start with "The Google Story"; I'm sure authors David Vise and Mark Malseed won't object -- I'm just following the example of their favorite company, after all. If the librarian objects, I'll simply refer her to Mary Sue Coleman.
    • by TubeSteak (669689) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @09:54PM (#14674489) Journal
      That's kinda the direction my mind was going when I heard that argument.

      The way I see it is: If Google allows you to search in books and provides snippets of the work, that is fair use.

      What I do not think falls within the perview of fair use, is the wholesale scanning of libraries.

      I realize you can't have the one without first engaging in the other... but the Copyright owner may NOT want to give Google permission to do this.

      Google's book scanning shouldn't be an Opt-Out kind of deal. Copyright laws specifically make it an Opt-In issue. Like anyone else, Google can use a portion of the material for fair use.

      Google is violating the publishers'/authors' copyright by doing what they're doing. From a legal standpoint, what they intend to do shouldn't be relevant. They are copying the whole book, and AFAIK, fair use doesn't allow for that. I fail to see why they should get any special exemption(s).
      • Google's book scanning shouldn't be an Opt-Out kind of deal. Copyright laws specifically make it an Opt-In issue. Like anyone else, Google can use a portion of the material for fair use.

        On a strictly legalistic sense, you may be right; thouigh I assume Google has lawyers who could dispute it somehow. However:

        • The most valuable use of this is exactly those books for whom the copyright owner, who could give permission, is unresponsive/dead/bankrupt/no forwarding address. These books and the information in t
      • Copyright law, as well as patent law, and trademark law are all opt-out. If you have something you care about, you are forced to protect it yourself. Fair use does allow for copying the whole work, its called "backup copy"; Google is simply not allowed to distribute this copy as a whole to anyone. Of course when google scans books from a library, they are skewing the issue slightly, but they are still completely legal.

        In short Google shoudn't get any special exemptions. You are unaware of your own fair
      • They are copying the whole book, and AFAIK, fair use doesn't allow for that. I fail to see why they should get any special exemption(s).

        Copyright is "To promote the progress of science and useful arts". I fail to see why existing copyright holders should get any special exemption(s).

        See how changing viewpoint changes what "consistency" and "exemptions" are? In every situation you can categorize things in different ways and as a result change what these words mean. In this case you are automatically as

    • I'm on my way down to the local public library right now, with my Powerbook and a page scanner.

      You have the legal right to check out a book at the library. You have a legal right to scan the book. You do not have the right to access the scanned book after returning the library book.

      As long as google employees don't have unfettered access to the scanned books, I think they're okay.
  • It surprises me to see how Andy talks about OpenOffice.org and OpenDocument as being the same thing. The article talks about control over OpenOffice.org and without blinking Andy quotes IBM on their great cooperation on OpenDocument. That's weird. It's bad enough when the politicians in MA get it wrong, but Andy knows better than that. Much better.

    Apart from that it surprised me to see Andy make a comparison with the Linux kernel. Linus accepts contributions to the Linux kernel as long as such contributi
  • OK, so they COULD release security fixes for their copy protection software... ...or perhaps they could not install their shitware on unsuspecting peoples' PCs in the first place, and have a CD just be a CD.

    Just a thought.

Hacking's just another word for nothing left to kludge.

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