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Slashback: ICANN, OLPC, Agile, Yahoo, BayStar 84

Posted by kdawson
from the maze-of-twisty-items-all-different dept.
Slashback tonight brings some clarifications and updates to previous Slashdot stories, including: Spamhaus case tests ICANN; Getting your own OLPC (CM1) computer; Followup Agile commentary from Steve Yegge; Yahoo's time capsule permit revoked by Mexico; and Microsoft denies BayStar connection. Read on for details.

Spamhaus case tests ICANN. narramissic writes, "The U.S. court decision against the anti-spam black-lister Spamhaus Project Ltd. may trigger a 'constitutional crisis' for the Internet, say Internet experts. At issue is whether the U.S. court has jurisdiction over the U.K.-based project. Observers worry that any attempt by U.S. courts to exert control over ICANN could be bad for the Internet. 'It's a delicate time for ICANN right now,' said David McGuire, director of communications with the Center for Democracy and Technology... 'If a court were to order ICANN to remove a domain name, we think that would be a bad precedent because making ICANN a tool of the U.S. legal system in matters such as these would sidetrack ICANN from its very important duties.'"

Time is running out for OLPC sign-up. smilindog2000 writes, "Mike Liveright made news when he pledged, 'I will purchase the $100 laptop at $300 but only if 100,000 others will too.' The deadline for his challenge is October 31, and so far, only 3,330 of us have signed up. Surely, thousands of us Slashdotters would contribute $300 out of generosity. However, I'll do it for the rare privilege of owning an original edition One Laptop Per Child machine. Do other Slashdotters want one of these beasties as badly as me? My inner child has fallen in love."

More Agile commentary from Yegge. tmortn writes, "A couple of weeks ago Steve Yegge posted a harsh critique of Agile Methodologies that enjoyed a pretty spirited debate here on Slashdot and a few other sites. Recently he posted a followup to the mounds of return fire to his rant against Agile methodologies."

Yahoo's time capsule permit revoked by Mexico. prostoalex writes, "Yahoo's time capsule project has been jeopardized by the Mexican government, who revoked the permit given to Yahoo! previously. 'We did have the permit, but Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) told us Monday night that it could not be done,' Manuel Mazzanti, head of marketing at Yahoo Mexico, said on Wednesday. An INAH spokesman said the Yahoo event posed technical and operational problems that might damage Teotihuacan. 'We are the guardians of the heritage of Mexico,' the spokesman said."

Microsoft denies BayStar connection. walterbyrd writes to point out an InfoWorld article reporting that Microsoft has denied any financial connection to BayStar, the company that bankrolled SCO's anti-open source lawsuit.

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Slashback: ICANN, OLPC, Agile, Yahoo, BayStar

Comments Filter:
  • If you all have too much money - I'll sell you my $16,000 Saturn for $42,000.

    • by Kamineko (851857)
      There's really no point calling it the $100 laptop unless it retails for $100.

      I wouldn't sell Saturn if I were you, I think it's going to become valuable real estate in the coming years. :)

      It doesn't matter - the OLPC people have already said they WILL NOT SELL THEM TO YOU, regardless of how many people sign up for this petition. That's probably the reason nobody's signed up, perhaps?

      Folks say a lot of things, times change. [youtube.com]

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by MarkGriz (520778)
        "I wouldn't sell Saturn if I were you, I think it's going to become valuable real estate in the coming years. :)"

        That's what they said about Pluto.
    • by Fei_Id (937827)
      Sadly, there's no such thing as a $16,000 saturn as they lose half their value when driven off the lot (they are among the worst in a company with already poor resale value - GM). I think the only exception is the Saturn Sky... (or should I say Opel Speedster)
  • I'm not surprised (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Punto (100573) <puntob AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday October 12, 2006 @07:29PM (#16416621) Homepage
    I wouldn't pay $300 for the CM1 (I don't have that much disposable income), but it's interesting to at least see how many people would.. For this kind of deal (buy one for you, X for the starving children in Uganda) to work massively, we need to figure out what we can do in the 'real world' with the machine. Sure, I'd get one just because it's cool, as soon as I can afford it ($200 would be all right), but what could a 'real person' do with it, say in a office, sitting next to the desktop computer?
    Since OLPC is doing their best to prevent anyone from answering this question, it's up to the ~3000 'early adopters' to figure it out.
    • by paskie (539112)
      I think the main point is that you don't have to worry about batteries going low; also it should be pretty resistent. So you can take it for a few-days trip to the mountains and read a book on it under a tree. Take the wifi into an account, you meet with a friend and can trivially exchange photos from your mountain trip with him or whatever, without being in reach of internet connection. It's not gonna be super-duper multimedia manager notebook but that doesn't mean it's not gonna be extremely practical, pe
    • How about paying $300, and donating 3 with some sort of tax credit/deduction available (is the org a 501(c)(3)?) ? I'd be up for that.
      • by Teancum (67324)
        Have you read the on-line petition? That is exactly what was proposed with the idea, that you would get one computer and the other two would go to some deserving 3rd world country.

        Apparently the OLPC folks aren't even interested, even if the supposed 100,000 people do sign up. Besides, there are legal restrictions based on the component contracts by the OLPC group that simply prohibit their sale to 1st world nations like the USA or EU countries. Stupid but true.
        • I read the petition. I said I'd be willing to donate the $300 and have ALL 3 computers go to the 3rd world.
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I'm not surprised either: 100,000 is an overestimate.

      That doesn't sound like a lot compared to world population, but it actually is in terms of niche: Consider that only 30,000 copies is considered good sales for a computer book. Consider that Starbucks are 'everywhere' with only 12,000 shops.

      Yeah, only 30,000 for computer books; I was amazed when my publisher said that too. But consider the combined population of the US, UK, and Canada is 390,000,000 and divide by 30k - that's one book for every 13,000 peo
    • by aussie_a (778472)
      buy one for you, X for the starving children in Uganda

      Somehow I'd prefer to just give the starving children in Uganda food then a computer.
      • by acsinc (741167)
        That kinda like giving a man a fish instead of teaching him to fish. Perhaps with a computers they can educate themselves and create businesses. As long as they don't learn to phish.
  • After all, a verbal contract isn't worth the paper it's written on.
  • by karl.auerbach (157250) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @08:18PM (#16417197) Homepage
    There is an urban legend that ICANN has something to do with keeping the internet running.

    That's not true. ICANN imposes business, economic, and legal policies (largely trademark friendly ones) onto the net, but ICANN does very little that has any contact with the actual ability of DNS servers to transform DNS query packets into DNS reply packets.

    If ICANN were to vanish in a poof of green (money colored) smoke, it would be hard to say whether anybody except the trademark lawyers would notice.

    On the other hand, a lot of people do believe that ICANN is some sort of FEMA protecting the upper tier of DNS from some kind of internet Katrina. ICANN has abrogated any such protective duties.

    Come to think of it, yes, ICANN is the FEMA of the internet - and just like FEMA it will let us down when things technically wobble.
    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      You are quite wrong.

      Back in 1999 I spent quite some time doing work at ICANN's office in Marina Del Ray. At lunch, I'd sit next to the computer that hosted the Authoritative Root (A Root). At the time, it was the only one.

      The A Root was where your DNS would go to find out where to get the listing for any other top level domains. I can't tell you how badly I wanted to stick one of my 0wned by CdC (Cult of Dead Cow) stickers on it. I figured that would get me kicked out, and in a lot of trouble, so I neve
      • by Chaos1 (466833)
        What do you CDC stickers and reading of 2600 have to do with ICANN and their usefulness?
      • You are quite wrong.
        Pardon me, but you do realize that you are replying to someone who was a board member for ICANN, don't you? I think he has far more insight into the working policies and procedures of ICANN than some anonymous guy who wanted to put stickers on a server.
      • by karl.auerbach (157250) on Friday October 13, 2006 @08:16AM (#16422053) Homepage
        Well, it's hard to believe you.

        For one thing, the A root server isn't at ICANN, it's at Verisign, in Virginia.

        Secondly, the L root server, which is claimined by ICANN is actually part of IANA and is one server out of about 130 root servers, so it's hardly singularly important.

        And the L root server itself is not in Marina del Rey.
    • Thank you for clicking "See Context".

      If you're looking at the "troll" moderation, please look up Mr. Auerbach and notice that he was on the board of ICANN. Definitely knows whereof he speaks.
  • MS's denials remind me of the above quote from a French diplomat defending that country's nuclear tests about a decade ago.

    In some ways, I'd consider MS's actions WRT Baystar even worse than just bankrolling the investment -- They convinced Baystar that they'd be backing up the investment then, once baystar committed their money, MS goes -- Oops! just kidding you. We really can't cover your back for you!.

    It should also be noted that the same consultant who charged SCO for arranging the Baystar 'investment' also took a similar cut for MS's supposed license buy and for the same reason -- that it was an infusion of cash (as oppopsed to a legitimate license upgrade).

    • by jorghis (1000092)
      Why do you assume that this investor is telling the truth and MS is lying? Is it just because you have a negative view of MS? People lie all the time when that kind of money is on the line.

      When this guy was funding SCO he/baystar were viewed in a horribly unfavorable light on this website. To say people here thought he was being dishonest would be an understatement. But now he makes a claim that he had a vague oral promise from someone at MS that can never be confirmed and all of a sudden its taken as u
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by darkonc (47285)
        Nobody is denying that MS convinced Baystar to invest money in SCO. The story is that MS convinced baystar to invest with vague indications that their ass would be covered then backed out and walked away when the money was in. If MS could have denied ever talking Baystar into their investment, they have every reason to do so. Instead they simply emphasize baystar's claim that they never made any solid promise in their convincing and they never covered Baystar's ass.

        When listening to diplomats (and PR p

      • by KwKSilver (857599)

        Why do you assume that this investor is telling the truth and MS is lying? Is it just because you have a negative view of MS?

        Most people assume MS is lying because they have a long and storied history of lying.

        People lie all the time when that kind of money is on the line.

        Given that, who has more money on the line with everthing the do/say/plan/release than MS? Because this can, in theory, get them back on the hotseat with the anti-trust settlement overseers (Fat chance-no matter how guilty they might be

  • When I read blog entries like Yegge's I keep hoping to find good, solid criticism instead of a bunch of disjointed fallacies. "Agile" wasn't even defined, and when he talked about processes that do work, he specifically mentioned "lightweight". Well, guess what the main point of so-called "Agile" methodologies is? Being lightweight.

    This entry seems to boil down to "Agile hasn't been scientifically proven to be superior, so it's not." That's not very good reasoning; in the absence of any process being

    • by WebfishUK (249858)
      Yes I agree. An interesting read but I found his reasoning a little confused. He appeared to be arguing in favour of 'true' agility (little 'a' for agile and all that). However, he then went on to demand things like 'you can't have deadlines'. I thought the point of an agile system was to be able to work within a variety of constraints which may be outside of your control. A deadline is something you, and your development model, may have to deal with.

      As others pointed out on his blog, Google is a compa
    • by Raenex (947668)

      There was an interesting reply from a fellow Googler on the latest blog. I wish I could link to it, but I don't see any way, so I'll just repost it here:

      Patrick said...

      I'm a tech lead on a project at Google. We very recently started using Scrum to see whether we could get better at producing more of what our customers wanted faster. I was the one who sold management on the idea; it didn't come from above, so don't blame them. So far this is working pretty well.

      I understand that this is a

  • by mi (197448) <slashdot-2014@virtual-estates.net> on Thursday October 12, 2006 @09:13PM (#16417809) Homepage

    If an American one is "bad", can anyone name a better one?

    A European country's? Where denying Holocaust and/or Turkey's genocide of Armenians is illegal? Chinese? Nigerian?

    • by clem (5683)
      How about Sealand [sealandgov.org]?
    • by arkhan_jg (618674)
      Easy. No one country should hold domain. It can still physically reside in the US, but make it part of the UN. And before you scoff, the ITU and WHO are both UN organisations, and I don't hear too many complaints about the UN regulation of the international phone system or their handling of international disease prevention.

      Frankly, I'm much more scared about censorship of non-US based websites due to political and/or judicial pressure from the US on ICANN and its US-based registrars* than I am of some coali
      • Easy. No one country should hold domain. It can still physically reside in the US, but make it part of the UN. And before you scoff, the ITU and WHO are both UN organisations, and I don't hear too many complaints about the UN regulation of the international phone system or their handling of international disease prevention.

        I haven't either, but then I don't pay much attention to those orgainizations.

        WIPO is also part of the UN, and I *have* heard lots of complaints about them. I'd also think they'd be a

      • by mi (197448)

        and I don't hear too many complaints about the UN regulation of the international phone system

        Oh yeah? What do you know about telephony, exactly? How about:

        1. To this day countries have different-sized country-codes, area codes, and phone-numbers.
        2. The emergency phone-number(s) is/are different everywhere.
        3. The collect-calling arrangments are pitiful.
        4. There are several different "touch-tone" standards in the world (different tones produced by the same buttons) — including variations in the most dominant o
        • by arkhan_jg (618674)
          Of course, the fact that different telephony standards have evolved in the world in different ways long before the ITU became involved couldn't possibly account for regional differences. And that the UN has very little power to compel business or governments to completely alter their phone systems wouldn't limit their ability to change things inside the national countries. So you want the ITU and UN to have lots more power over national governments to allow them to fix these problems.

          Just as frankly, you ar
          • by mi (197448)

            Of course, the fact that different telephony standards have evolved in the world in different ways long before the ITU became involved couldn't possibly account for world's oldest international organization.regional differences.

            You really have to dig deeper into your ignorance, don't you? ITU [wikipedia.org], for your information, is the world's oldest international organization...

            So you want the ITU and UN to have lots more power over national governments to allow them to fix these problems.

            That's a different subjec

    • Ever heard of United Nations? They even have courts you know.
      • by mi (197448)
        Ever heard of United Nations? They even have courts you know.

        I have heard of them... It is a place, where China and Russia each have powers equal to America's. It is not an organization, to which America (or, seriously, any other decent nation) should want the power to migrate from the USA.

    • The fact no country's leagal system is perfect doesn't mean we have to accept the US as the world's supreme court. The US has demonstrated numerous times that it cares very little about people in other countries other than its own interest. Afghanistan, Iraq and Kyoto Protocol are just recent examples.

      Some might say that's what the adminstrative branch has done. According to the US Constitution, jurisdiction is an independent branch. True, but only to the extent that the president allows it. Guantanamo Deta
      • by mi (197448)
        The fact no country's legal system is perfect doesn't mean we have to accept the US as the world's supreme court.

        That is not the subject here. The subject is America's jurisdiction over ICANN. "Perfection" was not the subject either. Nor was the "legal system", really, but rather the laws governing freedom of expressions and such.

        Your self-declared "spin doctoring" did not work.

        • by lxt518052 (720422)
          "The US jurisdiction over ICANN" is challenged here because of the e360 v Spamhaus case. As other posts have already pointed out, UN is more suitable to be the governing body of ICANN, just as it's the governing body of WHO and ITU. Therefore, your argument that no country's jurisdiction is better than the US is in itself MISLEADING, as we all know, the UN is not a country. I might have been wrong in calling you a spin doctor because you could be unconciously misleading the topic. But again, substitute the
  • by asifyoucare (302582) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @09:24PM (#16417909)
    "Microsoft has no financial relationship with BayStar and never agreed to guarantee any of BayStar's $50 million investment in SCO"

    Note the word has and the the absence of the word had, and the presence of the word financial. They don't really deny having had a past financial relationship with BayStar and nor do they deny having a current non-financial relationship.

    These are weasel words. They could have said "Microsoft did not encourage BayStar to purchase equity in the SCO Group", but they didn't.

    • by jorghis (1000092)
      That sounds like a pretty clearcut denial of the allegation that was made against them on slashdot the other day to me.

      Did you actually read the entire statement that microsoft put out before accusing them of using "weasel words" or just that one quote from the article that was linked? (I suspect that you did not, but if you did I would be interested in seeing the full statement myself) If you only read that one quote and used it for the basis of your claim that they are sneaking away from saying somethin
    • In unrelated news, Microsoft claims, "I did not have sex with that woman"; then proceeded to attempt to verify the definition of "that".
  • by Anonymous Coward
    It isn't just that people mistake correlation for causation. It isn't just that the odds say that some people will succeed when trying a new thing and therefore get convinced that the new thing is better.

    The bigger problem is the Hawthorne effect - if a group of people knows that their performance is being studied as part of an experiment, there is a temporary lift in performance. The result is that when you try any new methodology out, you're likely to have a success with your pilot group regardless of t
    • by Mikkeles (698461)
      'The result is that when you try any new methodology out, you're likely to have a success with your pilot group regardless of the merits of the methodology being tested.'

      The pilot project for XP (Chrysler's Comprehensive Compensation (C3) project) was not a success.

  • by Luyseyal (3154) <`swaters' `at' `luy.info'> on Thursday October 12, 2006 @10:16PM (#16418405) Homepage
    It's kind of amusing that the Mexican institute is so up in arms when it put in a lights for a laser-light show on the large pyramid at Chichen Itza.

    -l
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Chaos1 (466833)
      Well of course, they're the guardians of the heritage of Mexico. Their Lightshows are an exact historical re-enactment of the Mayan 'Super-Ultimate Lazer Lightshow and Human Sacrifice', minus the human sacrifice that is.
  • by crucini (98210) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @10:20PM (#16418443)
    I hate to rain on the love parade, but this OLPC/CHM1 thing sets off many alarm bells.
    Condescension sucks: Why does the OLPC need a special user interface ("Sugar")? Designing down to kids is a recipe for crap, as well as a refuge for the incompetent. Remember Logo? Well the guy behind Logo, Seymour Papert, is part of this project [laptop.org].

    Dogfood gap:Torvalds uses Linux. Gates uses Windows. Jobs uses MacOS. Is Negroponte going to use the OLPC? Of course he'll play with one, but for real work - no way.
    From the FAQ [laptop.org]:
    Why not a desktop computer, or even better a recycled desktop machine? ... Kids in the developing world need the newest technology, especially really rugged hardware and innovative software.

    Why? Why do they need "the newest technology"? And if they do, shouldn't we admit that the newest technology is a Windows PC, not some oddball "educational computer"? The 400MHz CPU and 128M RAM are not in line with the newest technology.
    Again, from the FAQ:
    Finally, regarding recycled machines: if we estimate 100 million available used desktops, and each one requires only one hour of human attention to refurbish, reload, and handle, that is forty-five thousand work years. Thus, while we definitely encourage the recycling of used computers, it is not the solution for One Laptop per Child.
    So you're going to manufacture and handle the OLPC in less than one hour? Or maybe 100 million is the wrong number to start with. The question should be, which is more expensive, making an OLPC or refurbishing a normal computer.

    Looks like the tech version of "Live Aid".
    • I remember Logo (Score:3, Insightful)

      by flieghund (31725)

      Designing down to kids is a recipe for crap, as well as a refuge for the incompetent.

      I have no idea where you get the OLPC is "designing down to kids." Maybe it is for children who grow up with iPods, XBoxen, broadband Internet access and plasma TVs. Keep in mind who this product is being designed for though. (Hint: It isn't the kids at Beverly Hills High.) Most of the target audience doesn't even have reliable electrical utility service -- hence the hand-crank to generate power -- let alone access to all

      • by crucini (98210)

        I have no idea where you get the OLPC is "designing down to kids." Maybe it is for children who grow up with iPods, XBoxen, broadband Internet access and plasma TVs.

        That's not it. Your Sesame Street quote is close, though. I never liked that show - I could sense its condescension even when I was in the age bracket. Want the best tool for word processing, spreadsheets, etc? It's a Windows laptop. Want the best tool for learning to program? It's a C64 or Apple IIe or any leading micro of the era. (I br

    • by Bazzargh (39195)
      So you're going to manufacture and handle the OLPC in less than one hour?

      He said refurbishmed PCs require, for the sake of argument, "one hour of human attention to refurbish, reload, and handle". A new PC may take more than an hour to manufacture in total, but component assembly on a production line is the true comparison. Dell, for example, make 650 PCs/hour per production line, which works out somewhere like 10-20 custom PCs per hour per worker. So yes, they're going to manufacture it in less than an hou
      • by crucini (98210)
        First, these numbers stink. Yes, I searched, and found them in news stories. But there's no point in arguing that. When Dell "makes" a computer, they just plug together components that took much greater time to produce. So the assembly time at Dell is irrelevant.

        What matters is overall cost. The math which Negroponte uses to dismiss recycled computers is clearly self-serving and fabricated. (I'm not saying recycled is the way to go.) Which points to my larger suspicion that this entire project is jus
    • by Teancum (67324)
      I have been a long and outstanding critic of the OLPC program for many, many reasons. I feel that the OLPC is going to be a flash in the pan and will die a very quick death shortly.

      That said, I think the basic idea of trying to provide a very simple and common portable PC platform that embodies through hardware what the open source movement offers through software is an idea whose idea has come, and it will be an experiment repeated several times in several different manners. Most PC hardware is not near
      • by crucini (98210)
        I agree with most of your points. A stable, rugged, commoditized, low-power notebook platform would be awesome. But could we ever enjoy cheap prices on this platform if it wasn't supported by the quantities of the mass market?

        As for Libya, I think people in the third world are quite cynical, and in fact better equipped to size up this project than most slashdotters. They are used to seeing government fads come and go. When you live under a Quadaffi, the green computers are just one of his eccentricities
        • by Teancum (67324)

          A stable, rugged, commoditized, low-power notebook platform would be awesome. But could we ever enjoy cheap prices on this platform if it wasn't supported by the quantities of the mass market?

          I would argue that this is exactly the problem with the OLPC proposal. They ought to be taking advantage of the "mass market" and become a market unto themselves, where economies of scale coming straight from the sales of these computers to 1st world counties could be folded into purchasing components for these 3rd

  • Denying any financial connection is not the same as denying any connection at all.
  • Wasn't that yesterday, or the day before?
  • And we expected them to admit it? Come on..
  • Crooked politicians and businessmen are very aware of the concept of deniability. It's the art of structuring a deal so that if it blows up in your face you can deny that it ever existed, without flat-out lying.

    As Mr. Goldfarb of Baystar has declared under oath [groklaw.net], Microsoft did encourage them to do this, and implied that they would cover the loss, if there was one, but would (of course) not sign a paper. Mr. Goldfarb, fairly reasonably, interpreted that as they didn't want a paper trail, but when the *** hi

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