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Comment: Re:Blatant ignorance (Score 0, Flamebait) 217

by Cigaes (#41400169) Attached to: Wi-Fi Illness Claim Doesn't Impress New Mexico Court

X-rays are harmless if they are used at low power, and harmful if they are used at high power. Same goes for UV and gamma rays, only with different threshold.

Therefore, the original claim, “no scientific study has yet proved that electromagnetic stimulus adversely impacts personal health”, is obviously completely wrong: we know that some electromagnetic stimulus are harmful.

I plead guilty on the Mexico/New Mexico thing. For the rest, some people should re-learn basic logic and look-up “sarcasm” in a dictionary.

Comment: Re:Yes, sadly, it is too much. (Score 1) 186

I am sure the German lawmakers know all about the workings of a search engine. And if they do not, they can ask advice to their French neighbours: I am sure they would be thrilled to explain how to use the OpenOffice firewall to prevent Google from indexing news sites.

Comment: Patents are not property (Score 5, Insightful) 42

by Cigaes (#39684137) Attached to: German Court Upholds Ban On Push Email In Apple's iCloud, MobileMe

Please refrain from using words as “thief” when writing about patents. Patents are a temporary monopoly awarded in exchange for publication of an idea. They have nothing to do with property. An idea can not be stolen. Using that kind of vocabulary only makes the patents and copyright's advocates' game.

On the other hand, you are perfectly right to underline that these kind of patents are ludicrous.

Comment: Mixed feelings (Score 1) 42

by Cigaes (#39684023) Attached to: German Court Upholds Ban On Push Email In Apple's iCloud, MobileMe

On one hand, people who sold their freedom for a few more blinking lights got exactly what they deserved. This is, at some level, deeply satisfying. The same went on, for example, when VLC had to be removed from the apple application store due to GPL incompatibility (and do not forgot that GPL is not just a license, it is a weapon against proprietary software and closed platforms: it was doing exactly what it was designed to do).

On the other hand, a court of justice upholding a trivial software patent is not a good news at all.

In this particular case, I am afraid that the second consideration is overwhelmingly more serious than the first.

Comment: Re:Three years ago... (Score 1) 526

by Cigaes (#37865924) Attached to: Apple's Lossless Audio Codec (ALAC) Now Open Source

... And now that I think about it, that makes sense. Three years...

I think they spent the first year trying to determine if they could sue FFmpeg.

Then they spent the second year trying to determine if they could change the codec to make it stop working in FFmpeg.

And they spent the last year while techies tried to convince marketing and legal people that since their code was now worthless, they could release it and take what little publicity they still could.

Comment: They can not be forced to disclose the source code (Score 2) 283

by Cigaes (#37088564) Attached to: Hamstersoft Ebook App Rips Off GPL3 Code, Say Calibre Devs

They can not be forced to disclose the source code. This is a common misconception about the GPL.

If a GPL violation goes to court, the judge can order the infringing party to stop the distribution and pay damages to the copyright owner, but he will not order the disclosure of the source code. The disclosure of the source code is only a gesture that most FOSS developers will accept to drop the charges.

Of course, if the software is only a thin layer of sugar around a core of GPL code, stopping the distribution means closing the business.

On the other hand, the situation can be reverted: the GPL code may be just a small, non-essential part of the software. Think readline, for example: a software is more comfortable with line editing, but it is in no way necessary. In such situation, the violator may decide to pay the damages and remove the GPLed code from its software, to keep in business with its proprietary model.

Comment: FFmpeg's AAC encoder is not finished (Score 4, Informative) 277

by Cigaes (#36865976) Attached to: Public AAC Listening Test @ ~96 Kbps [July 2011].

FFmpeg's AAC encoder is not finished (yet?), and flagged as experimental. Including it in such a test is rather a dubious idea: it is likely to give a bad impression of the whole project.

Having the new vo-aacenc as contender for the Free Software community would IMHO have been more relevant.

Comment: I tend to agree (Score 4, Insightful) 503

by Cigaes (#36473294) Attached to: Microsoft Brands WebGL a 'Harmful' Technology
Considering that most accelerated 3D drivers for video controllers are utter crap full security flaws, or “optimizations“, as some call them, and that a video controller has full access to the system bus, and therefore to the RAM, drives, etc., I tend to agree that letting anyone on the web transparently send possibly crafted data to the 3D driver is, from a security point of view, a rather dubious idea.

Comment: Re:So... (Score 1) 144

by Cigaes (#35913332) Attached to: RockMelt: Google Chrome, Only Better

I concur. When I read the title of this article, I thought that maybe it was a fork of Chromium that dropped the idiotic policy "we know better than the user what he wants" and restored such useful functions as find-links-as-you-type, middle-click URL paste, open frame in new tab, GUI style customization and so on.

1: I know, there is an extension; but it works badly.

Comment: The GPL is not just an open source license (Score 1) 251

by Cigaes (#35469656) Attached to: Open Source Licensing and the App Store Model

I completely second this.

What people forget here is that the GPL is not just an open source license, not even just the most popular open source license. It has specifically been conceived as a “weapon” to wage “war” against proprietary software. That is the whole point of the “copyleft” idea: give Free software an advantage it does not normally have by locking out proprietary editors.

Closed embedded devices is now mostly the realm of proprietary software. If their users are denied the benefit of all the GPL software around, maybe they will migrate to a less closed platform.

The changes from GPLv2 to GPLv3 already went in that direction, but they rather focused on software that was embedded in hardware without possibility of control, not individual applications that can be installed separately on a closed and locked-down operating system. I would not be surprised if we heard soon about a future GPLv4 that focuses specifically on that.

Exceptions prove the rule, and wreck the budget. -- Miller