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Comment: Re:Support the developers! (Score 1) 91

by Halo1 (#48520671) Attached to: <em>Dragon Age: Inquisition</em> Reviewed and Benchmarked

At least one of us is. I basically gave up on AAA games after (a) DRM stuff got silly, and (b) several titles in a row had such serious bugs that they just weren't enjoyable to play, and often they were never fixed.

A couple of AAA games have been/will be released on day 1 via without DRM: Age of Wonders III, Divinty: Original Sin, The Witcher 2 and 3, Pillars of Eternity.

Comment: Re:Can I have my money back? (Score 1) 187

by Halo1 (#48134641) Attached to: Interviews: Ask Florian Mueller About Software Patents and Copyrights

Florian Müller and the FFII always have been different entities. No money donated to the FFII ever went to Florian Müller (even if we had wanted to, there was no way we could ever afford his salary). The FFII did cooperate with him while he was being funded by MySQL and later Red Hat, but even at those times the cooperation was everything but easy.

Comment: Re:Thinking back to my undergraduate days (late 70 (Score 4, Interesting) 547

by Halo1 (#48103395) Attached to: Goodbye, World? 5 Languages That Might Not Be Long For This World

Pascal was/is a much better language than Fortran or Cobol.
I would be shocked if it completely died out.

Me too. Especially since I've been contributing for 17 years to the Free Pascal Compiler, and it supports more platforms than ever. I also don't see any particular declines in our download statistics or the bug reporting rate. Whether Borland-Inprise-CodeGear-Embarcadero Delphi will survive, that's another question. If they'd disappear, that would however be unfortunate for us too though, since many of our users use both products (Delphi for its polish and commercial support, ours for the multi-platform support).

Comment: Re:Just to get through the misleading stuff: (Score 1) 94

by Halo1 (#47423231) Attached to: Single European Copyright Title On the Horizon

this is the first term that the European Parliament's members will presumably have the power to block EU directives (something that remains to be seen how it works out)

That's incorrect. Look up the codecision procedure, it's been around since a long time. Since the Lisbon treaty, directives on more topics have come under codecision, but that one has been in effect for quite a while now.

and this is the only part that they will have in the law-making process

No, it's not just blocking or passing. They can, and do, also amend directives. These amendments then have to agreed upon with the Council of Ministers, but the opposite is also true.

--the European Parliament DOES NOT have the power of legislative initiative.

That's true, only the Commission has this power.

FYI, so you do not get carried away by flashy designations and think that this is an actual parliamentary representative democracy akin to national parliaments: it is not.

It's indeed not, since a lot of member states are heavily opposed to a "Federated States of Europe"-style organisation.

Comment: Re:Article is wrong (Score 2) 239

by Halo1 (#47373475) Attached to: Following EU Ruling, BBC Article Excluded From Google Searches

You can go first by defining such a rule about the first, second, fourth, ... amendment to the US Constitution. I'll even let you include all judgements by the Supreme Court on that particular amendment. Laws and judgements involving fundamental/inalienable (human) rights are never condensable into a simplistic rule.

Which is totally and completely irrelevant to this discussion and a rather poor attempt at a straw man.

How is asking you to do exactly the same as what you were asking of me a straw man? I was just trying to illustrate what I wrote above: "Laws and judgements involving fundamental/inalienable (human) rights are never condensable into a simplistic rule."

Your argument of Google not being a civil rights NGO (even leaving aside the issue that, once again, this is about a clash between different civil rights rather than against the oppression of civil rights period), or me spending money on fighting the ruling, are however great straw men: I never claimed they would fight it out of altruism, and I literally said I didn't mind the judgement at all (so why would I want to spend money fighting it?).

Google would try to convince judges that it interpreted the judgement in a reasonable way simply because the alternative seriously threatens their business model. As to the drama about Google risking fines and whatnot: companies skirt tax, employment, competition and other laws/judgements all the time if those even threaten to reduce their bottom line. Not to mention that, again, this judgement explicitly gives search engine companies the mandate to decide in part for themselves what is reasonable and what is not, unlike tax/employment/competition laws.

Comment: Re:Article is wrong (Score 1) 239

by Halo1 (#47372915) Attached to: Following EU Ruling, BBC Article Excluded From Google Searches

Define "inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant".

Keep in mind your definition must apply to every single situation and under no circumstance a judge will disagree with your assessment and assign damages.

You can go first by defining such a rule about the first, second, fourth, ... amendment to the US Constitution. I'll even let you include all judgements by the Supreme Court on that particular amendment. Laws and judgements involving fundamental/inalienable (human) rights are never condensable into a simplistic rule.

Because that is what Google is facing, people can have any search result that lists their name removed if it meets whatever arbitrary definition of those three words a judge wishes to interpret.

The judge has to interpret the entire judgement by the ECHR, which is quite a bit more elaborate than that.

There is a very legitimate argument that those terms are so vague Google has no choice whatsoever but to simply delist every single thing they are asked to delist.

And there is a very legitimate argument that it does not have to do that. Such expressions don't say very much.

Given that Google strongly opposed the judgement and given the fact that the further interpretation of the judgement has not yet been set in stone, it's a bit silly to conclude that Google now doesn't have any choice, in particular since the judgement also explicitly mentions that search engine operators only have to act ‘within the framework of their responsibilities, powers and capabilities’. A good and fairly short analysis sketching the picture of the various points of interest can be found here.

There is simply no black and white argument to be made either way right now, because while the judgement does start from considering the right to privacy as trumping both economic interests of search engine operators and the public's "general" interest into details about other people's lives, it does counterbalance/nuance this in various ways. Given the beating that the right to privacy has been getting lately, I personally don't mind at all that it now got a pretty strong reinforcement.

Comment: Article is wrong (Score 2) 239

by Halo1 (#47371143) Attached to: Following EU Ruling, BBC Article Excluded From Google Searches

What it means is that a blog I wrote in 2007 will no longer be findable when searching on Google in Europe.

That is plain wrong. The judgement only requires that people can ask that searches for their name (and /only/ their name) no longer turn up results that are "inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant".

Searching for Merrill's mess, Merill Lynch subprime etc will all still include his article in the results and no one has any right under the ruling to object to that, even if it mentions Stan Oâ(TM)Neal's name in connection with shady business deals a thousand times (just like no one can object against this post turning up in response to such queries).

Keeping that in mind, I do agree with the author that the article should not be excluded even when searching for Stan Oâ(TM)Neal's name, as the inadequacy/irrelevancy test does not fly here in my opinion either. He did say Google will get back to him on that point.

Comment: Re:Not sure what the "secrecy" fuss is (Score 3, Insightful) 222

by Halo1 (#47294313) Attached to: WikiLeaks Publishes Secret International Trade Agreement

All treaties are negotiated in secret.

Secret from the general populace: yes. Secret from large corporations and lobby groups: hell no.

Furthermore, at least in the US, no treaty is in effect until it is ratified by the Senate, at which point all the elements of the treaty will be public and heavily debated down to the last comma.

It's great that Wikileaks is giving the world a heads-up view into what is being negotiated, but I don't understand why every Slashdot story about international treaties harps on "negotiated in secret" like that's unusual, or that a treaty can somehow take effect silently and invisibly.

I'm not sure whether you've ever tried influencing a non-binding agreement that was reached in diplomatic circles and which supposedly still needs to be ratified by politicians in public. I can tell you that by the time a completely negotiated deal ends up in a parliament, senate or council of ministers, there is an enormous amount of political pressure to approve it because of all of the efforts that went into negotiating that text. At that point, the negotiating parties have basically all said "yes, we agree with this and are willing to defend this text before our national politicians", and a very much used argument (that also carries a lot of weight) is then "we don't want to seem unreliable to our negotiation partners".

Sure, they may sometimes make a little bit of fuss about small details to "demonstrate" they're not just rubberstamping it, but actually completely changing positions on a matter of substance almost never happens (unless there is a huge public outcry, or a very big business interest). And even if that happens, it means all those negotiations were largely for nothing, which could have been solved by having more transparency in the first place.

Comment: Re:I would think (Score 1) 379

by Halo1 (#46799693) Attached to: OpenSSL Cleanup: Hundreds of Commits In a Week

but it's a rather bad example if the intention is to show how badly OpenSSL is supposedly maintained.

The intention isn't to show how badly OpenSSL is maintained. The intention is to create a good version of OpenSSL. One easy way to do that is to reduce OpenSSL to a reasonable, clean core without all the complexity of cruft and hacks that are clearly no longer understood or maintained by even the OpenSSL team themselves.

You may want to read my entire message again. It was about comments like yours, not about the cleanup initiative itself.

Comment: Re:I would think (Score 1) 379

by Halo1 (#46799331) Attached to: OpenSSL Cleanup: Hundreds of Commits In a Week

Does OpenVMS still require the byzantine workarounds that were in OpenSSL, or can it compile modern software without substantial changes?

The message I linked to at least adds several lines to a file called "symhacks.h" to deal with limits regarding the length of symbol names (which is probably required due to a limitation of the used object file format on that platform, and hence not easily resolvable by changing the compiler or linker).

I think part of the problem is that the OpenSSL developers are publishing code paths that they never test;

Conversely, I think part of the current cleanup is that it's not just a cleanup of bad/dangerous code, but also throwing away functionality/support that the people performing said cleanup personally don't consider to be relevant. It's their full right to do so, of course, but it's a rather bad example if the intention is to show how badly OpenSSL is supposedly maintained.

If there's a demand for OpenVMS SSL libraries

I'm not sure why you put this conditionally, since there obviously is such a demand.

Comment: Re:I would think (Score 4, Informative) 379

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).

Steve Jobs said two years ago that X is brain-damaged and it will be gone in two years. He was half right. -- Dennis Ritchie