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Comment Re: ZFS is nice... (Score 1) 267

But it's combined by the user at runtime, not by canocal. The GPL allows an end users to do this.

This is a way that people kid themselves about the GPL. If the user were really porting ZFS on their own, combining the work and never distributing it, that would work. But the user isn't combining it. The Ubuntu developer is creating instructions which explicitly load the driver into the kernel. These instructions are either a link script that references the kernel, or a pre-linked dynamic module. Creating those instructions and distributing them to the user is tantamount to performing the act on the user's system, under your control rather than the user's.

To show this with an analogy, suppose you placed a bomb in the user's system which would go off when they loaded the ZFS module. But Judge, you might say, I am innocent because the victim is actually the person who set off the bomb. All I did was distribute a harmless unexploded bomb.

So, it's clear that you can perform actions that have effects later in time and at a different place that are your action rather than the user's. That is what building a dynamic module or linking scripts does.

There is also the problem that the pieces, Linux and ZFS, are probably distributed together. There is specific language in the GPL to catch that.

A lot of people don't realize what they get charged with when they violate the GPL (or any license). They don't get charged with violating the license terms. They are charged with copyright infringement, and their defense is that they have a license. So, the defense has to prove that they were in conformance with every license term.

This is another situation where I would have a pretty easy time making the programmer look bad when they are deposed.

Comment Re:ZFS is nice... (Score 1) 267

Uh, that doesn't work. The problem is that doing exactly what you've written down is contriving to avoid your copyright responsibility by deliberately creating a structure in someone else's work which you believe would be a copyright insulator. If you went ahead and did this (I'm not saying that you personally would be the one at Ubuntu to do so), I'd love to be there when you are deposed. Part of my business is to feed attorneys questions when they cross-examine you. I have in a similar situation made a programmer look really bad, and the parties settled as soon as they saw the deposition and my expert report. See also my comment regarding how Oracle v. Google has changed this issue. You can't count on an API to be a copyright insulator in any context any longer.

Comment Re:ZFS is nice... (Score 1) 267

I think you need to look at this in the context of the appeal of Oracle v. Google. We had a concept of an API being a boundary of copyright based on 17 CFR 102(b) and elucidated by Judge Walker's finding in CAI v. Altai. That stood for a long time. But Oracle v. Google essentially overturned it and we're still waiting to see what the lower court does in response.

Comment CDDL and GPL don't mix (Score 3, Informative) 267

Regardless of what Ubuntu has convinced themselves of, in this context the ZFS filesystem driver would be an unlicensed derivative work. If they don't want it to be so, it needs to be in user-mode instead of loaded into the kernel address space and using unexported APIs of the kernel.

A lot of people try to deceive themselves (and you) that they can do silly things, like putting an API between software under two licenses, and that such an API becomes a "computer condom" that protects you from the GPL. This rationale was never true and was overturned by the court in the appeal of Oracle v. Google.

Comment Re:I hate to be THAT GUY... (Score 1) 240

I just read the book. Basic biology is somewhat lacking throughout. But potatoes are one of the few foods you can survive on indefinitely. They contain quite sufficient vitamin C to prevent scurvy.


Sufficient light to grow 'em would have been a problem, but if they can get by well enough to feed a nation even with Ireland's average cloud cover, perhaps a better choice than most crops. Might get one somewhat scanty crop, anyway. (I've seen 'em produce even when all the light they got was what leaked through broken boards into a closed shed.)

The bacteria issue was overblown; Watney could repopulate the whole place from his own colon, even if a large proportion didn't encapsulate as many bacteria do when stressed. And potatoes themselves are hardly sterile.

I did gather the author has never used freeze-dried food, including instant mashed potatoes.

Comment Re:I hate to be THAT GUY... (Score 1) 240

I just got done reading the book about two minutes ago. I have not yet seen the film.

Lots of interesting points about what's scientifically accurate or not... I had complaints every time it touched on biology or food (freeze-dried potatoes are a whole different beast than fresh potatoes.) Having driven in the desert, where dust pits are a hazard, I muttered about that too. Some I could chalk up to "Not Watney's area of expertise" but some was pretty evidently "author just didn't think to check beyond his own lack of experience".

But what I noticed more than anything is that this is a book written for the masses. It is NOT written for an experienced SF audience, and is barely SF -- and then only because it's set on Mars rather than Antarctica. Mars is more dramatic. Good choice. But when I realised this, I stopped expecting ordinary hard-SF rigor from it.

Comment Re:It's not what Google wants.... (Score 3, Insightful) 415

That's what the lovely built in computer that porche provides is for. The dashboard can show you many of these things. Porche will provide more info than almost any of its customers would care for. The rest will prefer using their custom tools to read more detailed raw data. Android is there to do gps and handle in car entertainment and communication. Nothing else

In Nature there are neither rewards nor punishments, there are consequences. -- R.G. Ingersoll