Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:I would think (Score 4, Informative) 119

by Halo1 (#46798911) Attached to: OpenSSL Cleanup: Hundreds of Commits In a Week

This is actually the OpenBSD developers diving in because the upstream (OpenSSL) was unresponsive. If you look at the actual commits, you will see removal of dead code such as VMS-specific hacks

That code is not dead, there are actually still people using OpenSSL on OpenVMS and actively providing patches for it:

+ - MPAA joins W3C; bigger anti-DRM push needed-> 2

Submitted by ciaran_o_riordan
ciaran_o_riordan (662132) writes "The W3C has announced a new member: the MPAA. Oh. Which makes this a good time to see whatever happened to last Summer's campaign against DRM in HTML5. It's still there. W3C took a lot of criticism, but the plan hasn't changed. DRM ("Encrypted Media Extensions") was still there in the October 2013, and in the January 2014 drafts. Tim Berners-Lee is still defending DRM. For the technical details, there are many good pages. What's at stake? It'd be like Flash or Silverlight websites, but instead of being really hard to make free software viewers/browsers, it'll be almost impossible, not to mention possibly illegal in the many countries which prohibit "bypassing technical protection mechanisms". And our work to get governments to use open standards will end up used against us when free software can't tick all the boxes in a public tender that specifies a "W3C HTML5 based" DRM system. More pressure is needed. One very small act is to sign the no DRM in HTML5 petition. A good debate is: "What's more effective than a petition?" But please sign the petition first, then debate it. It's also worth considering giving to the annual appeal of FSF, the main organisation campaigning against this."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Goes too far (Score 1) 319

by Halo1 (#44990329) Attached to: RMS On Why Free Software Is More Important Now Than Ever Before

How about demand scarcity verses supply scarcity? The classic argument is that proprietary software uses artificial scarcity to maintain high prices. To fund the development of software with limited demand projected prices must be set high enough to justify the cost of building it.

True the bits don't cost anything and copying is unlimited but resources to develop don't become unlimited as well.

That's correct. Therefore a funding model for software without introducing artificial scarcity relies, as I see it, on directly funding those development resources. E.g., I've been working on the Free Pascal Compiler (FPC) as a hobby project since 1997, but the last couple of years I've been approached by several companies to implement certain features and extensions to it, and I've done so from time to time on a self-employed basis. Another funding model that's been making inroads lately is crowdfunding.

Note that I'm not saying that these models are easier than one whereby you introduce artificial scarcity, especially if you have a general end-user or business application as opposed to a fairly niche developer tool like FPC. More scarcity at a similar level of demand = more income, that's an economic given. However, as a result I don't think there is anything wrong with the statement that selling proprietary software licenses is an economic model based on introducing artificial scarcity (maybe as a proxy for a real scarcity, but possibly in a way that values this first scarcity higher than its "intrinsic worth" -- similarly to how monopolies result in higher prices).

Comment: Re:Goes too far (Score 5, Interesting) 319

by Halo1 (#44984415) Attached to: RMS On Why Free Software Is More Important Now Than Ever Before

Every time I read an RMS opinion, it seems to start at a good position and consistently attempts to be more and more idealistic to the point that he seems to be arguing a strawman.

RMS definitely is radical, but I've never known him to use strawman arguments.

I know he defines Malware differently from the common way (he considers DRM as malware, for example),

I guess he's also talking about backdoors for law enforcement (aka "legal interception") and other purposes.

but democratic values are less likely to be transmitted if I use Office? Proprietary developers want to punish students? I guess he means the corporations

His explanation indicates why he does mean proprietary developers rather than just corporations: e.g. in the US definition of core democratic values, there are aspects like personal freedom (e.g., modifying software) and the common good (e.g., sharing things with others). Note that he's not arguing here that it should be illegal for others to write proprietary software, i.e., he's not arguing to impinge on other people's liberty.

- and again, they don't generally give their source for modification, so they might be preventing students from modifying other people's work. Is that punishing them?

It limits the possibilities for expressing their creativity. Schools should be places where encouraging creativity is one of the highest valued goals. I know that is generally not the case right now (amazing video, btw), but this is a (small) way in which the situation can be improved.

I won't even claim to understand what the social mission of schools are supposed to be - prepare students for functioning in society?

I'm obviously not RMS, but I'd argue they should be prepared for functioning in society, for critically thinking about that same society (and anything else), and for contributing to a society that they consider to be better than what it is today.

Prepare them for jobs? Prepare them for college? Prepare them to develop free software?

I'd say: prepare them to become the best they can be. That can include a particular kind of job, being an artist, college (about which you can have very similar discussions as about school), developing free software or any combination of the above and many more things.

Prepare them for ignoring copyrights?

Now that last part is a great a strawman on your part: encouraging students to use Free Software, which they can share and modify freely according to the copyright license terms of that same software, is by no means the same as preparing them for ignoring copyright. It mainly teaches them that there are also alternatives to software whose business model depends on artificial scarcity. They will get to know MS Office and other popular products anyway, and if you can work with OpenOffice or LibreOffice, the jump isn't that great in any case. Maybe one of the primary things schools should teach are transferable skills (of which creative thinking is probably the "übervariant").

Comment: Re:On the plus side... (Score 5, Informative) 261

by Halo1 (#44978901) Attached to: Why iOS 7 Is Making Some Users Feel 'Sick'

Probably because of Apple's extremely annoying policy that you cannot downgrade iOS anymore a couple of days after they release a new version. See for more details. The ability to downgrade to iOS 6.1.3/6.1.4 was disabled around 22 September.

Since iOS 7 was only released recently, there are probably still quite a few devices with iOS 6.1.3/6.1.4 in the channel, and that person probably got such a device in exchange for his iOS 7 "upgraded" one.

Comment: Re:Zealouts and Luddites (Score 1) 303

by Halo1 (#44481107) Attached to: First Ever Public Tasting of Lab-Grown Cultured Beef Burger

2. Modified organisms have a significant survival disadvantage because the seed companies breed them so that they can't breed successive generations.

That is incorrect. The so-called terminator genes were never commercialised because of vehement opposition by many different groups. Breeding successive generations is only stopped by patent lawsuits.

I've discovered over the years that most people that are anti-GM take that stance because it was the politically correct thing to do. Once they start to examine the facts their opposition typically drops as unfounded.

You might want to look at your own facts.

Comment: Re:*Sigh* (Score 2) 284

but it seems much more sane to me than allowing politicians to be legally bought.

Sanity in politics? Be still, my heart.

I realise that being cynical is so much easier: no chance to be disappointed, easy to look down on other people, feel smug about your oh so original snarky comments. However, you'll never achieve anything of worth (unless you only think in terms of monetary outcomes) on the given subject with that attitude.

I was involved in the fight against the fight against the software patent directive in the EU, and the only reason basically a bunch of students won the fight about that particular directive against a multimillion euro campaign by the giants of the electronics and software industry was that we weren't aware in advance that we couldn't win and that we didn't already "know" that all (or even most) politicians are useful idiots that only care about their image and paycheck, and instead kept bombarding them with facts and academic studies (even organising a couple of conferences ourselves). And having gone through the entire process and a few ones later too (some of which we lost), I still don't "know" that all/most politics is a sham.

I stand by my point (yes, the AC was me too) that politics without legalised bribery is far more sane.

+ - Chevron gets 9 years worth of activists' internet metadata

Submitted by Halo1
Halo1 (136547) writes "A US Federal judge has ruled that Microsoft must provide Chevron with IP usage records and identity information for email accounts owned by more than 100 environmental activists, journalists and attorneys. Chevron ask for this information in an attempt to prove that it fell victim to a conspiracy when it was convicted to pay $18 billion for dumping 18.5 billion gallons of oil waste in the Ecuadorean Amazon. Opponents, such as the EFF and ERI, criticise that this could allow Chevron to determine the countries, states, cities or even buildings where the account-holders were checking their email, so as to 'infer the movements of the users over the relevant period'."

+ - 4,000 MPH@1G Hyperloop Transport Dream Approaches Reality 2

Submitted by Freshly Exhumed
Freshly Exhumed (105597) writes "Elon Musk's dream of a hyperloop transport system seems to be closer to reality than he anticipated. Hyperloop transportation, referred to by Musk as a "cross between a Concorde, a railgun, and an air hockey table", is a tubular pneumatic transport system with the theoretical capability of carrying passengers from New York to L.A. in about 30 minutes at velocities near 4,000 miles per hour, while maintaining a near-continuous G force of 1. Colorado-based company ET3 is planning to build and test its own version of such a hyperloop system, Yahoo reports."

Comment: Re:Wrong by law (Score 1) 601

by Halo1 (#44125245) Attached to: Edward Snowden is ...

He is merely wrong by law, not by morality. If I might remind the slashdot crowd: authority is doing what you are told, regardless of what is right; morality is doing what is right, regardless of what you are told.

Being an independent thinker, I side with morality, and therefore he is a hero.

To quote the excellent Rap News 19: Whistleblower:

Some praise these acts as heroic, worthy of mimicking
Others condemn them as illegal and prohibited
But, can't both be equally applicative?

To be good humans we're sometimes
called upon to be bad citizens.
Some nations were even born by
breaking laws of the tyrannous.

Do you support heroes from days of yore
who in order to cause reforms disobeyed the law?
Then what about those in the present
who heed the same call?

+ - Fairphone project crowdfunding initial production run 1

Submitted by Halo1
Halo1 (136547) writes "The Fairphone project has designed an GSM/WCDMA Android-based smartphone (specs) and associated production process for which they need 5000 pre-orders at 385 euro a piece (incl. VAT) to go into production by September. While they openly admit that not every single component or part of the process is completely "fair", by making every step of the production transparent and improving several of them they aim to to demonstrate and facilitate improved product life cycles. Examples include sourcing a number of their raw materials conflict-free (tin, coltan; working on gold), having subcontractors pay workers a living wage, and contributing part of the proceeds to e-waste recycling facilitator Closing the Loop. The user also gets a "fair" deal: the device can be rooted, it has dual sim support, and they're working with Ubuntu and Firefox OS communities to offer alternative OS choices. The main downside is that pre-orders are limited to EU citizens. The deadline for pre-ordering is 14 June and they're currently at 52% of their target goal (if it is not reached, pre-orders will be refunded). Dutch-speaking readers may also be interested in a candid interview with the head of the project and a Dutch diplomat involved in the organisation and certification of conflict-free mining operations in the DR Congo."

Comment: Legal certainty for software developers (Score 1) 51

by Halo1 (#43351111) Attached to: Nathan Myhrvold Live Q&A

How do you suggest an independent or freelance software developer would ensure that the code (s)he writes does not infringe on any patent? Or more generally: how do you see a solution for the legal uncertainty caused by software patents for software developers? (any software developers really, since it's not like large companies check for infringements -- after all, it opens them up to treble damages for willful infringement in case they considered a patent and wrongfully concluded it didn't apply).

In case you would want to answer that this applies to any branch of industry, does that mean that you do not believe that independent software development should continue to thrive? Most other branches of industry require huge capital investments, but software development is one of the few high tech fields where an individual has no need for anything beyond a computer and an internet connection to run a successful business -- as long as (s)he is not confronted by threats of patent infringement.

I'm a Lisp variable -- bind me!