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Comment: Re:If you're using GPL code, you have no choice (Score 1) 167 167

That is correct, and normal.

You do not have an inherent right of ownership over his code. His code is a derivative work of yours, and your merged codebase would be a derivative work of his.

By modifying your code, he has created a new work, which is permitted under the terms of the earlier-version GPL. He then releases his new complete work (which includes your parts). That's also permitted under the earlier-version GPL, as long as he releases the source code. When someone wants to use the new work, they're required to have a license to it. He offers the user a later version of the GPL for his new work. Your parts are now covered by the earlier version if the user gets them from you directly, or the later version if acquired from the modifier.

In your case of merging back changes, his changes are part of his new work, which is covered in its entirety by the later license, regardless of the fact that your code is included. It's no different from merging in a bit of MIT-licensed code or even a proprietary routine: you have to comply with the terms of the license. For a later-version GPL, that means your new combined derivative work would have to be compatible with the later-version GPL.

In short, the core idea is that your codebase is a new work every time you change and republish it. To "accept changes back into my codebase" is actually creating a new derivative work, and it must be properly licensed as any other derivative work must be, regardless of your involvement in the work's ancestry.

Comment: Re:Competent Authorities (Score 2) 143 143

The only thing that shocks me so far is that Sweden has a statute of limitations that doesn't take into account that the accused is running from the law. Its one thing to timeout on things when you have no idea who you're looking for ... but they know who and where he is.

The primary purpose of a criminal justice system is to keep society functioning peacefully. If a fugitive can hide with freedom for long enough that the statutory time limits expire, then he has demonstrated his ability to function in society. From a philosophical point of view, he has provided solid evidence of his rehabilitation, whether he needed it or not. A trial and further punishment would serve only vengeance, not justice. Similarly, even if the police know where a fugitive is hiding, the cause of justice is still being served. By the time the limits expire, Assange will effectively have served a minimum-security prison sentence. In theory, his unenforced incarceration will be a reminder to him in the future to follow the law.

As far as the law is concerned, someone in Mr. Assange's situation has already tried himself, found himself guilty, and isolated himself from society at large just as a prison sentence would. At this point, the only arguments are ideological: whether the state would give him a fair trial, possibly allowing him to be more free than he currently is. By staying in the embassy, he prevents the trial from taking place. That's why statists (who tend to see trials as being mostly fair) see it as a sign of guilt, and anti-statists (who expect the trial to be pessimal) see his retreat as a last-resort way to escape persecution.

Comment: Re:What is this, a stock market? (Score 1) 24 24

Somehow ... when you can number these in the thousands...

Then you most likely have a population in the hundreds of millions, a very small proportion of which are actually under investigation. While I certainly agree that they should be a "rare" and "extreme" measure, I just don't find it unreasonable to believe that one person in a hundred thousand is under a wiretap-requiring investigation.

Comment: Re:If you're using GPL code, you have no choice (Score 5, Interesting) 167 167

Read the license from the perspective of your users. If a later GPL version adds new protections against software patents, API copyrights, or whatever else the legal system dreams up, the users can opt to follow the terms of that license. If, in a moment of collective insanity, the FSF publishes a less-free GPL, the user can opt to use the earlier version your software was originally released under.

That clause actually ensures that the current version establishes a minimum set of rights.

Comment: Re:re-routing fossil fuel money to renewables (Score 2) 288 288

Precisely... the two ideas are independent.

If his investments are publicly-traded, selling his stake does nothing. The companies he's invested in won't lose his money, because he'd just be selling to another individual, so "his money" becomes "the other guy's money". If it's a private investment, where he may be contractually limited in what he can do, then the whole discussion is rather moot. He may be able to sell his way out of the investment, which would reduce the company's operating capital somewhat, but unless he's a major shareholder, the impact on the company will be minimal.

On the other hand, if he keeps his investments, he likely gets votes in how the company operates. Being Bill Gates, he probably gets a few more votes and can bend a few more ears than regular folks can. If the investments do anything, good or bad, that's where it lies... they give Mr. Gates the ability to push the fossil-fuel companies in a more environmentally-friendly direction.

Comment: Re:Looks like the second stage ruptured (Score 1, Insightful) 316 316

Indirectly, we did that.

We earned our income, and contributed our taxes to a big pool, and we elected legislators to decide if we should invest in SpaceX, industry bailouts, balancing budgets, military expansions, welfare programs, or any of the millions of other programs that all want a piece of the subsidy pie.

Comment: Re:How is this news for nerds? (Score 1) 1082 1082

Ah yes, the fictional Founding Fathers, who (as revisionists would have you believe) had the foresight to predict 200 years of technological, cultural, and societal changes...

Most of those legislative ancestors had slaves, and according to primary sources, they treated those slaves about as well as any of their peers did. They held pretty normal views on most societal issues of the day, with a bit of irritation at specific injustices perpetrated by the British colonial government. From a historical perspective, the Founding Fathers were not radical liberals, or ultimate paragons of social justice. They were mostly wealthy middle- and upper-class colonists, primarily distinguished from other rebellious colonists by the fact that they played a very good political game to gather and sustain support during their revolution.

We could simply say that they had the realistic foresight to build a government that is merely able to change with society, but that won't reinforce that lovely pedestal we hold so dear. Instead, we project our own morals onto the deceased diplomats, and assume that they support our causes.

This is not to say anything about whether the recent decision being good or bad. Rather, this is a plea to give credit where credit is due. The recent legal changes originate with the recently-changed opinions of American society as a whole, rather than the opinions of a few long-rotted corpses. This is why a public awareness campaign is so important, and why complaining about politicians accomplishes so little. Whether you approve of the current law or not, we did this together, for better or worse.

Comment: Internet of Things (Score 1) 383 383

Assuming the "Internet of things" is not just a hollow buzzword, do you see Linux dominating IoT's projected explosive growth, forever entrenching Linux as the #1 choice for embedded eons to come?

PS: To me, IoT just represents embedded stuff that connects to the internet in trendy ways marketers haven't over-saturated yet with hip commercials and cheap-labor produced widgets.. "things" sells better to the unwashed, so meh

Comment: Re:There's no winning with the feminist crowd... (Score -1) 490 490

The right thing to do would be to make engineering toys that aren't "for" anyone.

Make a toy that stands on its own merits, then market it to everybody. It's not a "science kit for girls", it's just a science kit, and it's advertised across all applicable demographics, regardless of gender.

Comment: Re:Reconciling faith with science (Score 1, Interesting) 305 305

I did not say both were equally probable. I said they're equally reasonable, which is to say that believing either requires no more of a leap of faith than the other, and neither has more evidence than the other.

Perhaps we should apply the same examination to this "law of nature" as you have to the idea of a supernatural being?

The theories which underlie the idea of a spawned universe are conjecture, based on the idea that our universe exists in an unobservable space adjacent to another universe, and that given the right set of circumstances, our universe could have been created, with the initial collapsing quantum effects being manifest in now-our dimensions as the Big Bang.

Unfortunately, we have no proof of this. We can invent mathematical theories that come close to describing a multiverse where such an event is possible, but we have no proof that those theories are actually correct. There is no surviving evidence of their use in the Big Bang, and currently no means to travel beyond our universe to observe those "laws of nature" directly. To note your final concern, those theories also have not produced any testable predictions, as far as I know.

In short, such a "law of nature" is as much a human invention as a story of an extradimensional intelligence that likes to create sentient creatures in his spare time. For the purpose of satisfying the human desire to know everything, both are sufficient tales.

Comment: Re:Reconciling faith with science (Score 4, Insightful) 305 305

There is precisely nothing, apart from ignorance, that isolates a church from science. It is worth nothing that the ignorance to which I refer is both yours and the church's.

The point of a faith is to reconcile the human desire for knowledge with the understanding of the unknowable. Humans are smart enough to grasp that there is a limit to our observations. Common limits are the experience after biological death, the spacial boundaries of the universe, and the historical events prior to the Big Bang. These are things that currently we do not know about, and cannot know about, beyond vague guesses. Those guesses are a mix of the very-limited theories we have (like assuming that the rules of our universe extended before our universe had formed) and pure faith. It is just as reasonable to say that a God created our universe as it is to say that another universe deformed and spawned our dimensions.

Between the extremes of "known" and "cannot be known", however, there is a wide gap of "we don't know yet", and that is the domain of science. Science gives us the ability to know more, and push the unknowable limits out further. We may be able to invalidate a few religions with our discoveries, but there will always be certain limits to our knowledge, and beyond those limits, faith will still hold sway.

There are a few churches that have not only accepted the role of science, but embraced it. Now the pope is saying that climate change is not a matter of faith, but of science. He's acknowledging that we know enough about our planet to know that we can affect it, despite previous assertions by more-ignorant church members that only God could affect a planet's climate. This does not invalidate the religion, but merely declares that science is still something for humans to deal with, not deities.

Comment: Re:Nuclear Power Fears (Score 1) 419 419

Having a short half life where it decays into something with a very long half life doesn't really eliminate the risk. Especially if you're dealing with forms that are water soluble. And it is quite possible for a reasonably strong alpha emitter to have a long half life. Alpha emitters aren't normally too bad, fairly low energy, but if you were to ingest a lot of one (like in your drinking water) there would be serious consequences for such a persistent long term exposure.

Plutonium dioxide has an 88 year half life, and is water insoluble. When RTGs are used, they're heavily encased and designed to survive catastrophic launch failures, and have done so, only to be collected and reused on later launches. If they had put an RTG on Philae, your chances of being harmed by it would have been approximately equal to your chances of being devoured by an Indomitus Rex. Unless you're planning to break into the sealed casing, slice off a chunk PuO2, and put in in a sandwich, you'll probably be okay.

After an instrument has been assembled, extra components will be found on the bench.