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Comment: Perspectives on End-User Development (Score 1) 30

by TuringTest (#47426891) Attached to: Interviews: Ask Juan Gilbert About Human-Centered Computing

With today programming languages, creating new new software requires learning a complex syntax with very specialized rules on how to combine words, even for creating very simple software (for example, web pages with trivial interactions such as folding and dragging items).

Some approaches to allow end users to build automated behavior exist, but they can only go so far. There are "drag and drop" interface builders for building web pages with forms, and graph languages for transforming data. But they only allow reusing pre-defined components which are built with traditional languages. Any behavior not supported by those components can not be added to the program.

There are also rule-based visual systems like Agentsheets that allow defining new behaviors without a strict complex syntax, but those are difficult to reason about when behaviors depend on several levels of nested rules.

My question is: what would be your preferred approach to achieve the goal of allowing end users build their own simple software programs? This assumes that we define "program" in a loose way, not necessarily in the traditional way but referring to any software artifacts for defining repeatable processes to handle information such as:
* building and classifying collections of related data, transforming the shape of parts of a document...
* or for automation of actions in time (turning on and off lights and engines at particular times or in a pre-defined pattern, sending messages to groups of people that follow certain criteria under some triggering condition)...

All this without requiring that the user learns a scripting language or otherwise needs to form a mental model of how exactly the program's execution evolves in time within the machine components.

Comment: Re:Why "clear commercial use"? (Score 1) 108

by TuringTest (#47120151) Attached to: Wikia and Sony Playing Licensing Mind Tricks

I didn't suggest that activities activities which are sometimes done for money are always commercial.

I meant that activities for promoting commercial products should always be considered commercial (even if the promotion itself is not paid), as they're always intended to produce a sale; which is different.

Comment: Re:Copyright owners (Score 1) 108

by TuringTest (#47120073) Attached to: Wikia and Sony Playing Licensing Mind Tricks

Did you get that in writing? If not, don't treat it as a gift. If you include it in the GPL code without explicit permission, you may taint the whole project. In fact, many people contribute to FLOSS and Open Knowledge projects with the explicit expectation that it won't be relicensed, and we refrain from contributing to such projects without those guarantees - so yes, there's a strong expectation that contributing to a GPL project is done under GPL terms and no others. The GPL was explicitly designed with that goal in mind.

You're not the copyright owner of content you didn't write, period. And if you didn't write it you can't relicense it without written permission. The FSF requests that contributors assign them their copyrights because of this very reason.

Comment: Re:Copyright owners (Score 3, Informative) 108

by TuringTest (#47119433) Attached to: Wikia and Sony Playing Licensing Mind Tricks

You'd better as hell request an explicit permission to distribute the code from any contributor to your code base, and clarify in the post forms the conditions under which any contribution can be used.

what they actually did was contribute to a codebase - a codebase under my control, and one that I can slap any which license on that I like.

Utterly wrong. Under copyright laws, you can only relicense content that you created, or for which you've been given explicit ownership permissions; if Somebody gave you the code only under the original GPL and didn't assign copyright to you, in order to relicense the code you must first remove any such contribution, so that the result only contains the parts you wrote - otherwise, you'll break their copyright.

This is what is going on in both wikis - the only license under which they published their work at first was the CC-BY-SA (or CC-BY-NC for some Wikias), which is the reason for the sites becoming popular in the first place as many users wouldn't bother to contribute under more restrictive licenses; and neither site requested ownership rights until recently.

Comment: Re:Assignment of copyright (Score 4, Informative) 108

by TuringTest (#47119323) Attached to: Wikia and Sony Playing Licensing Mind Tricks

TV Tropes Foundation NOW claims that contributors provide provide their contributions not under the License but instead under assignment of copyright

It does it now, but it didn't do it then. That's the core of the matter at both Wikia and TV Tropes. The large majority of both websites was only contributed to them under a Creative Commons license.

So either tvtropes is clueless,

TV Tropes is clueless. They made the license change because they discovered that someone had created a (partial) fork, and were outraged when they learned that they couldn't legally put it down. Since then, another fork has been created containing the complete content of the last version released unambiguously as CC-BY-SA in summer 2012, including all the content that was censored because of Google Ads. It's a fascinating story, really.

Comment: Re:Why "clear commercial use"? (Score 1) 108

by TuringTest (#47119197) Attached to: Wikia and Sony Playing Licensing Mind Tricks

It depends on whether they plan to use this feature to sell more TVs.

Merely allowing the site to be accessed through the product features is not commercial by itself, but if the links are included by default in a prominent place (and we know they will), that counts as product placement and branding; and it can definitely be considered a commercial purpose - people pay money to that kind of placement.

Comment: Re:CC-BY-NC are excluded (Score 2) 108

by TuringTest (#47119103) Attached to: Wikia and Sony Playing Licensing Mind Tricks

However, the "Commercial Use Waiver" still allows Wikia any form of commercial use for any derivative work.

There was in the Forum a proposal to change the wording and "make it clear that the scope and purpose of the waiver is for the placement of ads", however that clarification never arrived to the LIcensing page. What happened to those good intentions?

Comment: Re:Copyright owners (Score 3, Informative) 108

by TuringTest (#47118575) Attached to: Wikia and Sony Playing Licensing Mind Tricks

Wrong. Since the website doesn't have permission under copyright law to use the content, the only thing that allows Wikia to publish content they didn't create is the license under which editors have given them such permission. Users *are* licensing the content to the service under the CC-BY-NC license - they're contributing to a derivative work published under that license, so the combined work must be under the license per the terms of the CC.

So the "willingly giving" of content was provided under a very specific license, which is the reason why many users bother to contribute at all. Not honoring the license is not only morally wrong, it's also illegal.

+ - Wikia and SONY playing licensing mind tricks

Submitted by TuringTest
TuringTest (533084) writes "Popular culture website Wikia originally hosted its user-contributed content under a free, sharealike Commercial Commons license (CC-BY-SA). At least as soon as 2003, some specific wikis decided to use the non-commercial CC-BY-NC license instead: hey, this license supposedly protects the authors, and anyone is free to choose how they want to license their work anyway, right?

However, in late 2012 Wikia added to its License terms of service a retroactive clause for all its non-commercial content, granting Wikia an exclusive right to use this content in commercial contexts, effectively making all CC-BY-NC content dual-licensed. And today, Wikia is publicizing a partnership with Sony to display Wikia content on Smart TVs, a clear commercial use.

A similar event happened at TV Tropes when the site owners single-handedly changed the site's copyright notice from ShareAlike to the incompatible NonCommercial, without notifying nor requesting consent from its contributors. Is this the ultimate fate of all wikis? Do Creative Commons licenses hold any weight for community websites?"

Comment: Re:You missed the biggest downside (Score 0) 521

by TuringTest (#47076285) Attached to: Goodbye, Ctrl-S

Shifted the problem from volatile to non-volatile memory? Give me that any day.

The undo command ''can'' be made persistent between applications; there's no technical limitation why it shouldn't. In fact, version control is exactly the undo feature that you want. Using that, there's no rational reason to not want to save your changes.

Computers can figure out all kinds of problems, except the things in the world that just don't add up.