Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Take advantage of Black Friday with 15% off sitewide with coupon code "BLACKFRIDAY" on Slashdot Deals (some exclusions apply)". ×

Comment A little off. (Score 1) 213

They don't understand that _any_ consultant could help them because the software source is available.

You are exactly correct that is a mind-set problem based in fear.

Business people are often not smart in the ways of "optional thought". They have game-plan mentalities based on team trimumph over all comers. (Next time someone tells you they are majoring in or have a degree in "business" ask them which sport they played in high school. No really, they act stunned and are all "how did you know?" in wonderment.

So they need someone to go to without thought. A vendor under contract is like the special teams in football. It doesn't matter how terrible your field-goal special team is, now is the moment you punt and it's then it's the punters fault we lost. Coach said so.

So business, particularly big business, is about apportioning blame (renamed "responsibility") because it's run like (and usually by) loss-adverse athletic reasoning.

There's a good reason that the entire tech explosion of the last fifty years happened outside of "normal business channels" and is full of geeks. What was done required non-linear thought by the drivers. Those companies all _hired_ MBAs to run the boring balls from legal to HR and back, but the innovation was done far away from the MBA's sight.

That's also why the Carly F.s of the world totally consumed companies like HP and turned them into "also rans" in their own fields. Get enough bankers and business men "on your team" and they'll crush the geeks before they realize they sold off or frightened away all the talent.

Innovation can be a team sport, but only a cooperative team sport like hakey-sack or "the floor is lava". 8-)

Comment Re:OSS is not compatible with businessmen. (Score 1) 213

Didn't read very closely. I said "selling software" was insupportable but selling experience (e.g. professional expertese) [which is "service"] does work.

I was complaining that a business man who was already in the job of selling service for a zero-markup product (windows) couldn't seem to understand how selling service for a zero-dollar-cost OSS operating system was identical. Said business man was mentally caught on the horns of the word "Free" rather than being open to the fact that its the exact same transaction for his bottom line (but without the licensing compliance hassle and cost).

If you couldn't figure out that the "few" who do understand the model and sell the service _included_ RedHat...

Well your "only an idiot" comment just lays there on your plate like a dead crow waiting to be eaten.

Comment Limited: the stupidist possible model for transit (Score 1) 622

There is zero "per-bit" cost for data transmission. The cost of a circuit is all physical plant. That is, the _actual_ cost is installation and maintenance and right-of-way and rent. All of which are dependent entirely on real wall-clock time. Metering something with a natural maximum capacity and no unit cost is the stupidest model _possible_.

When the various people decided to put a price on the data itself they created a bottomlessly hungry monster. That monster was the total cost of all the peering agreements that _also_ put a price on the data itself and a race between all the providers trying to claim their receptiveness was more valuable than their transmission burden.

So the current market is _boned_ because it isn't driven by any market force except greed.

In a rational world I could sell you an unlimited link to my backbone at a known fixed speed, with the understanding that your effective throughpt and potential delay to any destination is simply not something I can control.

Then the market force would be "Provider X is too congested, I'll switch to provider Y". The cost of the link and the speed of your first/last mile, and your best bet for a good provider with a good backbone would be your selling points.

So the problem with the internet here in 'merica is that it's become a Libertarian Ideal Toll Road... Its clogged up, over priced, full of unmet promises, and barely functional. People are all trying to over-burden "the best" roads because the normal roads have all fallen to shit. The service providers have had to limit the hell out of their points of connection because each one is metered so the mesh has become a set of inter-linked long-armed stars where my transmission of a packet to a business down the block may pass through several of these united states.

If the costs weren't inflated by the per-bit pricing and predatory nonsense then the connections between networks wold be much more open. People wouldn't be worrying about "who's data is on my network" and most routes would be much more direct. Each provider would see user uptick as a opportunity to shorten their net spans instead of a call to throttle their nets. The best networks would promise not a speed in megabits but shortest transit time off their net. Bulk providers (Goggle and Youtube, vs Netflix, etc) would be invited to make as many close-end and colocated insertion/service points as they could muster.

An "unmetered" internet just works. Ask most of the rest of the world. You pay to connect. You take your chances for throughput. And all the effort and human and monetary expense is spent to get your data to its destination by the best route possible. Then Open Shortest Route does the work so you don't have to.

NOTE: This doesn't hold for "unlimited data storage for free" models. It's _incorrect_ to conflate transit and storage, everything is completely different for storage. That's the difference between being able to use a road and needing to build bigger warehouses.

Comment Re:Except for... (Score 1) 213

Android: Control of market share (the software is given away for free)

Google: Control of advertising revenue (the software is given away for free)

Tesla: Sells cars and batteries, (software updates are free).

Most of the Internet: pay for services.

Kinda making my point.

Comment OSS is not compatible with businessmen. (Score 4, Insightful) 213

The core problem isn't that OSS is incomparable with "business", it is only incomparable with the business of "selling software".

OTOH, I spent several hours going round-and-round with my brother inlaw. He runs/owns a company that installs business solutions (computers and software) into other businesses. He was all "I could never make money on open source platforms" using linux as the O.S. because it's free. But he readily admitted that installing Windows had a zero profit margin because of licensing.

There is also the ready admission that having a Windows service contract (again sold a essentially zero markup because of the licenses) doesn't garantee that Microsoft will issue you a patch if you complain about a problem. You are basically just paying up front for the chance to be told to work around a problem or the "opportunity" for an unsupported patch that you'll have to buy again if you upgrade.

Business men have no idea how to deal with OSS because they tend to mimic others and very few have ever done it. The idea of having a line item for zero-dollars that already had zero markup when the line item was non-zero dollars, is mystifying.

So here's this smart guy running a services business, but unable to see how he could charge to service OSS. But companies service OSS all the time.

The true failure, deeper in, is the idea that every incremental correction and modification is precious and must be hoarded and monetized.

And further in still is the complete failure to understand things like the up-front cost of a GPL project base is "disclosure", and that disclosure of those incremental changes is very cheap. Compare embedding linux kernels in things to the up-front and per-unit costs of Wince or VxWorks. Then really _think_ about how non-money-value your fix to that one serial driver really is compared to the item you wan to sell.

Companies tend to forget which businesses they are _not_ in. Selling software is not sustainable, but selling experience (games) and experience (professional expertese) are. So is selling "devices".

So its a problem made up of compounded risk adversity multiplied by inherently unimaginative "business thinking".

Comment Gentoo silently does the same thing. (Score 1) 358

I made a comment that included the word "porn" while discussing playback on a Gentoo IRC. I didn't discuss porn, or details of porn, but I got a ban just for using the word "porn". Then when I complained it was "strongly suggested" that I make a personal apology to the offended party. When I refused my "one month ban" was upheld.

But three years later my "one month ban" is still in force.

So the "personally offended" person, being an "important person", got me that treatment.

So at least Go is being up-front about the sort of interpersonal bull that actually rules other "overly correct" projects.

I call it "being exclusively inclusive".

Comment No "Autotools" or CMake configuration layer (Score 1) 185

The very first thing I tried to compile under Go's build scheme failed because of headers I don't have for a sub-service I don't need.

It was the "cups connector" for Google cloud print and it wanted libavahi.h even though I don't want or need any of that local network auto configuration stuff.

If the build system can't do what "configure" (autotools) does, or CMake, or CPAN, or any of the other portability systems, then it's not really portable is it.

Go? It went right to bit-bucket for now.

Comment Re:government insanity (regulatory capture) (Score 1, Troll) 133

The government policies didn't "encourage" loaning to such people. They specifically _forbade_ it. The problem was that the deregulation regime didn't provide any "stick" to back up that prohibition. So on one side it offered a financial carrot of massive proportions, the other side just said "it's your duty to not do X and Y and to make sure that you are being good."

The people who bought, paid for, and essentially wrote the legislation, that is the banks, didn't put any "and for every time you fail your duty by doing X and/or Y you will be charged $Z language.

This is called Regulatory Capture, or it's an eventual but certain outcome of regulatory capture. The law was balanced in "intent" and wording, listing things that were good and bad to do and ordering that none of the bad things be done. But it had no teeth to bite bad behavior.

Much as the entire libertarian and "small government republican" agenda, the "we all know what's right so the market will fix it" stuff falls apart in the trenches because without penalty all business and behavior becomes a choice between "do I eat the ice cream now or do I make an ice cream sandwich and then eat that"? If there is no "bad boys get their ice cream taken away" there is no reason expressed by market forces to not be a bad boy.

Example: the theory is "the market isn't going to buy his stuff if he is a bad man polluter of his river" is, in practice, "the people down stream _might_ not buy his stuff because he's polluting their water, but there are lots of people upstream who don't even want to know about the pollution and will buy his stuff."

So the "mortgage lenders" knew that they could make toxic loans and sell them upstream to banks knowing that the government who lived down stream would have to deal with the shit in the financial river eventually. But why would the mortgage broker care, the "free market" already paid him for his product.

"Free Market Capitalism" is the worship of the carpetbagger and the insistance that nobody can escape forever, but if you give everyone a head start thats longer than the statue of limitations, and you don't even make it against the law, nobody is even chasing the crooks.

Comment So back to the old way when the laws worked (Score 1) 392

The bulk of the laws involving surveillance pivoted on this "Close" work. It was hard to do, and it required some motive to be "worth the effort". So in the old days where you needed to intercept physical mail or actually enter a property to spy, the laws were in balance.

Of late the state has had a free ride, with the information being pumped into it at central stations and spycraft was just a click away. And the state has gotten fat and lazy, and with the decreased minimum effort the spying has become free. And the state, fat and happy, likes it that way.

But strong encryption would put the state back into the footrace. It would require the same work and effort as the old days. Boo farking hoo. It was _supposed_ to be hard to spy. The entire Big Brother 1984 idea was about the destructiveness of surveillance made too easy to bother being selective. The "just watch everybody" economy of effort leads to gluttony and abuse. We kwow that.

So Omand's "warning" is that of the plaintive child. But mom, then I'll have to _try_ and I want my participation trophy!

So Omand has made the case for why strong encryption should be universal so that the state cannot engage in universal surveillance.

Comment If it's a "subsidiary" it's within reach. (Score 1) 749

If it was a Mexican _partner_ you'd be right. If it's a Mexican _subsidiary_ you are wrong.

A "subsidiary" is an owned asset. If you own an asset and it was in Brunei and you are here before the court, the court can order you to surrender that asset because you onw it and you are subject to the law where you are.

I don't have to subpoena you in Brunei if I've got you here.

Your only defense is if Mexican law makes it _illegal_ for you to move or copy the asset. In that case you'd have the "the court cannot require me to break the law" defense, which is not the same as the "it's far away" defense Microsoft is attempting.

For instance, lets say Fidelity (a french company) was required, in French court, to produce my financial records for the purpose of auditing Fidelity for alleged misconduct. And let's say Fidelity didn't want to do so. They could resist the production order under various U.S. laws such as HIPPA if my records incidentally contained medical information.

Likewise, if the E.U. privacy regulations covered some or all of these documents then Microsoft _could_ _have_ argued _that_ against the production order. Same for things like Attourney Client Privilege and any number of other things. I work for a company in the U.S. that is a wholly owned subsidiary of a brittish company. But the brittish crown and court cannot successfully supponea any of our non finincial documents because we do defense work and so U.S. law would prevent the export of that material. But the money stuff is fair game.

So too for paper documents. The "that would be illegal" defense cuts very fine. If the documents were in Afghanistan, and printed on pure marijuana leaf, then you could argue against shipping the original documents here because marijuana is illegal here. But the court could then require you to photocopy or fax the documents here on a more legal paper.

Now people have been talking "warrant" vs "subpoena" and I don't actually know for sure which thing is happening. A demand for surrender (subpoena) is different than a warrant to enter and search. This sounds like a subpoena not a warrant, as a warrant woudln't be served to Microsoft here, it would be processed by the foreign government and would be served _there_ by local law enforcement.

Given all that, "the old paper courts" are no different than the current paper courts. The "on a computer" bit is immaterial.

If Microsoft controls the documents personally, or through an agent, and a "subsidiary" is a kind of agent with lots of legal precident, the documents are fair game unless an actual law in the other jurisdiction says they are not. Paper or not.

The question is one of control not format of storage.

Comment Re:You have this backwards. (Score 2) 749

If I used a Saudi document escrow or storage service to store my documents, and they stored them in Botswana, there would be at least three jursidictions with the ability to subpoena those documents. Botswana, Saudi Arabia, and Wherever I live (so State of Washington, and U.S.A. federal jurisdictions).

It was _my_ choice to involve the Saudis and they were acting as my agent when they involved Botswana.

Sucks to be me if my documents are not actionable here but against the law there. I got those places involved in my business by doing business with them. That's the nature of actual, personal responsibility.

Really read this sentence: "In essence, President Barack Obama's administration claims that any company with operations in the United States must comply with valid warrants for data, even if the content is stored overseas."

This is a core tenant of law. It is the same legal principle that says the U.S. can prevent and punish a U.S. company from shipping heroin and sex slaves from Afghanistan to Brunei because they _are_ a U.S. company. It's also the same reason that a Brunei court can go after the same company.

If I go to mexico I am bound by Mexican _and_ U.S. Law. You can substitute any countries for any countries in this scenario.

This is also why I am mostly untouchable in Utah and Montana since I've never been in Utah, and I drove through Montana once. But that could change if I started a partnership with someone who lived in Utah. That relationship between them and I could bring many of my details under the jurisdiction of the Utah court.

You step in a river, you get water on you. You splash around in business in a particular country, the law of that country will stick.

Microsoft does business here. The dispute is a dispute here. That Microsoft stores the relevant material there, by accident of fate or by purpose of design, doesn't insulate that material from this court.

Where is the dispute, who created the material, and where are they, and where were they when they made the material. These are not very advanced questions.

It's more or less the same reason that a U.S. court can prosecute a U.S. citizen for "sex toruism" if they do the under-aged nasty in a land where that's supposedly okay, because they did it under the tacit protection of the U.S. because they could call their council and embassy via their citizenship and passport etc.

It's very, very hard to wash off a jurisdiction. One of the reasons the Swiss were so useful for so long is that they just wouldn't say what they were holding. Other jurisdictions could hold you responsible for what they could prove you "must have", but they couldn't ever get the swiss to _be_ that proof because they would simply remain silent.

There is no dispute that Microsoft has these documents. There is no dispute that Microsoft is a U.S. company. There is no dispute that the dispute is taking place in the U.S. So Microsoft's claim is _almost_ pro forma. They don't _want_ to cough up the stuff, but they likely have no belief that this defense will work.

Part of what Microsoft sells here is "if they mess with your bull they'll get _our_ horns, so trust us with your stuff". The very fact of the defense, despite its absurdity, is a feather in their cap.

But eventually the documents will be produced.

Comment You have this backwards. (Score 5, Insightful) 749

Microsoft is trying the "you can't hold me responsible for yesterday's shooting because the gun is in my other pants" defense.

The law has _always_ held that if you are before the court, everything relevant to the case is before the court.

If this were not the case then the Tobacco and Asbestos companies could have just said "all those meeting minutes and research records are stored in our warehouse in mexico so ha ha, you all lose." Any company or person, on any issue, could just mail the evidence out of state or out of country and get off scott free.

That just never happened.

Just because the evidence is "on a computer" instead of "printed on paper" doesn't make the "other pants" defense viable.

The court is not reaching across a border. Microsoft is _here_. Microsoft does business _here_. The complaint is _here_, and the court is _here_. The proper legal response to "the other pants" gambit is to tell the guy in his shorts to send someone to go get whatever it is from those pants and bring it back.

Criminals don't just "move" their assets to other countries, they "hide" them because if it can be found it's on the table.

Every court. Every country. Every topic. From the beginning of time.

This is no different.

We all agree on the necessity of compromise. We just can't agree on when it's necessary to compromise. -- Larry Wall