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Comment: Probably not (Score 2) 75

by IamTheRealMike (#47962953) Attached to: Researchers Propose a Revocable Identity-Based Encryption Scheme

whether (in light of what's known) default strong encryption for everything is something users should just get whether they like it or not.

There are many unsolved problems for making strong end to end secured communications work. Key management is only one. A bigger and even more complicated problem is that people derive significant benefits from sharing their message contents with big, powerful third parties, for example spam filtering, importance filtering, ability to search 10 years of email from a cheap battery powered device, ability to receive messages when all personal devices are offline, ability to reset passwords if they are forgotten and so on.

To make truly end to end communication ubiquitous you would have to find a way to recreate all these features in the purely decentralised end to end context. Otherwise "giving" e2e crypto to people "whether they like it or not" is a quick way to find an angry mob with pitchforks outside your house. A lot of people care a lot more about those features than (somewhat theoretical) privacy against the NSA.

Comment: Re:launchd (Score 3, Interesting) 448

by Endymion (#47961265) Attached to: Fork of Systemd Leads To Lightweight Uselessd

I'm not talking about *init systems* - systemd was never "just an init system". Remember, it's absorbed stuff like network management and system authentication. That kind of feature often requries linking to (L)GPL code, and you can trigger the GPL's requirements depending on how you do that.

So Poettering wants to move all those function calls to (k)dbus. In his own words, "... the primary interfacing between the executed desktop apps and the rest of the system is via IPC (which is why we work on kdbus and teach it all kinds of sand-boxing features)".

Comment: Re:Not a boycott but a confirmation (Score 2) 448

by Endymion (#47961221) Attached to: Fork of Systemd Leads To Lightweight Uselessd

That's exactly my point. I'm suggesting the goal is to avoid making a derivative work. The GPL describes various ways to recognise a project as having "derived" from covered code, and linking copyleft and proprietary code together is one of them. (with some variation depending on if we are talking GPL or LGPL).

Remember that one of Poettering's goals is, in his own words, "... the primary interfacing between the executed desktop apps and the rest of the system is via IPC (which is why we work on kdbus and teach it all kinds of sand-boxing features)".

The point is if I want to do (for example) some sort of user authentication, I may have to link against This is something that would be reasonably commoon in embedded systems, and linking covered code into your embedded device (and having to distribute with your product) could easily be a derivative work. (details matter, ask your lawyer about specific projecs).

Once absorbed into Poettering's project, you avoid all that risk because you don't interface with the system features directly and instead use "local RPC". This changes the project from being a potentially infringing derivative work into something that merely uses the tool. Merely using a tool that is licenced under the GPL is explicitly excempted, as the GPL only coveres redistribution and not use. ("GPL is not an EULA") This is a major change in legal status for your typical embedded device, which often wants a minimal OS to host their embedded app. They would also really like to avoid having to deal with the handling anything GPL. Changing to "local RPC" for all system interaction neatly fixes that problem.

We don't run across this pattern with traditional RPL tools, because it's bad for performance to needlessly serialize everything when you could simply call a function directly.

Comment: Re:Not a boycott but a confirmation (Score 2) 448

by Endymion (#47959705) Attached to: Fork of Systemd Leads To Lightweight Uselessd

The traditional RPC tools don't force a chane in API for local requests - they link against the same traditional .so file that any local app would use. That is very different from forcing dbus to be the only exposed API even for local use. Apache may provide features over sockets, but apxs(1) still exists and apr.h still exposes a traditional API.

I'm not a lawyer either, but this is obviously unexplored territory for the GPL (which doesn't have a lot of court precedent regardless of the current issue.

It's not like we'll ever find some smoking gun proof. This is simply the best theory I've heard.

Comment: Re:launchd (Score 1) 448

by Endymion (#47959485) Attached to: Fork of Systemd Leads To Lightweight Uselessd

systemd is designed to replace APIs based on {static or dynamic} linking with the dbus/kdbus IPC mechanism, as a way to use (L)GPL libraries without being bound by the (L)GPL.

Note that despite uselessd's much saner approach to technical features, the exposed dbus API is still requried. Switching to the uselessd implementation still enables this new type of "tivoizaiton".

Comment: Re:Not a boycott but a confirmation (Score 4, Interesting) 448

by Endymion (#47959449) Attached to: Fork of Systemd Leads To Lightweight Uselessd

That's the whole point of all of this mess: {,k}dbus

Neither an init system nor vertical integration are the goal. The one consistent thing in all of the "systemd mess" is to leave the actual implementation officially a moving target where the trditional .so based library APIs are either hidden and undocumented or they are left out entirely. This forces you to use an IPC mechanism (dbus/kdbus) instead of simply linking to the functions you need and calling them directly. Forcing data to be serialized/unserialized so it can be sent over IPC is not nearly as efficient as calling a dynamically loaded local function. The systemd people love fast thing ("boot time!", etc), so why would they require this slow IPC everywhere?

*** if you never need to link to a library to use it, you can "link" to and distribute GPL code without being bound by the GPL. Poettering's cabal and systemd is an attempt to enable a new form of "tivoization" ***

If you are technically only "using" a library (no linking, no modifications to the library), you have not "infected" your proprietary code with the GPL. It's slower, but computers got fast enough that it doesn't really matter.

The nasty part is that by forcing arbitrary incompatable interface with systemd, to run stuff like GNOME you have to provide the key dbus features even if you don't use systemd. The end-run around the GPL still works with uselessd or any other "systemd replacement".

Unfortunatley, Lennart's cabal has everybody discussing technical features so this obvious goal isn't even addressed.

Comment: Re:The over-65's swung it for No (Score 2) 471

by IamTheRealMike (#47948465) Attached to: Scotland Votes No To Independence

Ouch. I've seen quite a few family breakup analogies, but this is the first time I saw Scotland be the child instead of the spouse.

If we're going analogise a country to a person, actually I'd say it's pretty natural to seek out unions even though they involve giving up some independence. That's why people get married. That's why the EU keeps growing. Even the most perfect couples don't always agree all the time, but they find ways to figure it out because it's better together than apart. Divorces are universally considered a tragedy in our culture exactly because we recognise that unions bring strength: when one partner stumbles, the other is there to help.

Salmond's behaviour with Scotland has been like going to a wife in a working marriage where decisions are taken together and telling her constantly, repeatedly, that she's too good for the man she's with. That her husband treats her unfairly. That she's oppressed by him. That everything wrong in her life is her husbands fault. She didn't get the promotion she wanted? Husband's fault. She doesn't get enough attention? Husband's fault. She can't afford the clothes she wants? Husband's fault. He's just so unfair. How could she not be better off without him? She's strong and pure and good and she needs to break up with this loser.

Oh, the husband objects? He doesn't want a divorce? That's just bullying. He's promising to give her more say? It's just lies. He's asking how she'll pay the rent without him? Scaremongering. Of course you can pay the rent. Sure you may not earn enough to pay all the bills each month and you've both been relying on the credit card, but selling off the family silver will take care of that.

I could go on but you get the idea. The ultimate legacy of Salmond's failed campaign is that a significant chunk of the Scottish population has bought into the idea that they're somehow superior or morally better than the emotionally deformed English, whereas such feelings were not previously widespread. This is a toxic legacy that could take generations to resolve. It will certainly not make anything easier in future.

Comment: Re:Free Willy! (Score 2, Interesting) 471

by IamTheRealMike (#47947199) Attached to: Scotland Votes No To Independence

Most importantly the Parliament Act allows the Commons to force a bill through Lords if it's been sent back twice already, regardless of what the Lords want. Therefore the most the HoL can do is slow things down.

Given this fact it's probably not surprising that nobody cares much about reforming it. It's another check/balance and all it can ultimately do is throw sand in the wheels, it has no real power.

Comment: Re:The over-65's swung it for No (Score 5, Insightful) 471

by IamTheRealMike (#47946305) Attached to: Scotland Votes No To Independence

it's sad that the concept of independence and sovereignty boils down to mere money for some (or most) people.

Why? Scotland is not oppressed, it does not have severe racial/religious/ethnic divides with the rest of the UK. It was not conquered by England. Nobody has family members that have died because of the Union. In fact the Union has been ruled by Scottish PM's twice in recent history.

That makes splitting it out into a new country a largely technical matter of economics and future government policy. It's quite dry stuff. The Yes campaign chose to ignore this and attempted to whip up a notion of Scottish exceptionalism through the constant "fairer better society" rhetoric, but ultimately they lost because when people asked questions about the technical details of why Scotland would be better and whether it'd be worth the cost, they had no answers. Given that the primary impact of independence would be economic, this lack of planning proved fatal.

Comment: Re:The over-65's swung it for No (Score 1) 471

by IamTheRealMike (#47946241) Attached to: Scotland Votes No To Independence

How would that split have worked out in the end? The UK would swing wildly right... Quickly get involved in lots of wars, crack down on "terrorists" etc... Scotland would have swung wildly left, and quickly bankrupted themselves with social programs. Balance is a good thing, even if you're currently getting the short end of the stick.

Just because historically politics has been dominated by two bundled sets of largely unrelated policies doesn't mean it has to be that way.

In a post-independence UK, the rUK would have been temporarily dominated by the Tories until Labour, freed from the need to constantly try and drag their Scottish MPs away from hard-socialist economics, found a new voice for themselves that didn't easily pigeonhole into left vs right. For example they could have campaigned on a platform of fiscal responsibility combined with pacifist policies, pro EU integration and raising taxes specifically for the NHS. That would likely have been an appealing combination even to many existing Tory voters. It'd be difficult for them to take up such policies with credibility because in fact the UK was taken into the Iraq war by Tony Blair, a Scottish Labour PM. And Cameron's similar attempt to go to war in Syria was rejected by a coalition Parliament. But staking out pacifism as a policy seems like such an easy win it's surely only a matter of time until Labour gets a leader with vision again and they try something like this.

With respect to Scotland, I suspect they would have ended up following economic policies closely aligned with that of rUK despite all the rhetoric about building a "fairer society" (means taxing the rich more up there). For one, they already have the power to raise income taxes even without full independence and they haven't actually used it. Actually the SNP's only post-independence tax policy they formally adopted was lowering corporation tax to try and grab businesses from the rUK. There are no socialist parties in Scotland with any real heft, so after the post-independence street parties died down the Scots who all voted to build a "fairer society" would have discovered that the neoliberal consensus is called a consensus because it turns out a lot of people agree with it.

Comment: Re:25%?!? (Score 1) 471

by IamTheRealMike (#47946137) Attached to: Scotland Votes No To Independence

Anybody who wants secession is just bad at economics.

Maybe. But I read that Congress has a lower approval rating than cockroaches. I doubt economics is the only thing they're thinking about. Much like the Scottish case, this 25% is being driven by disdain with Washington politics. And remember, when Salmond got started support for independence was only about 20-25% in Scotland too (maybe a bit higher, I forgot, but it definitely wasn't 50%). So watch out!

Comment: Re:The over-65's swung it for No (Score 4, Insightful) 471

by IamTheRealMike (#47946003) Attached to: Scotland Votes No To Independence

This reminds me the well known Americanism, "reality has a liberal bias".

I followed the BBC's coverage quite carefully and did not see any bias. What I did see is a lot of ardent highly emotional yes supporters interpret the stream of stories about the campaign as being against yes and therefore the authors must be biased. So let's take a look at your link about this "academic study" that claims to scientifically assess the bias of the BBC:

The study found that, overall, there was a greater total number of ‘No statements’ compared to Yes; a tendency for expert advice against independence to be more common; a tendency for reports to begin and end with statements favouring the No campaign; and a very strong pattern of associating the Yes campaign arguments and evidence with the personal wishes of Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond. Taken together, the coverage was considered to be more favourable for the No campaign.

Well fuck me. The evidence of this bias is that "expert advice against independence was more common"? Seriously? Did this guy even think before writing this so-called academic study? Here's another explanation: maybe expert opinion was against independence because it didn't make much sense?

What about "associating the Yes campaign arguments and evidence with the personal wishes of Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond"? The entire independence campaign can be summed up as the personal wish of Alex Salmond. He devoted his entire career to Scottish independence. He led the party that called for it. It has been his project since day one. No surprise that disentangling the arguments and evidence from his personal wishes is so hard, especially because the yes campaign was so lacking in detail and substance.

Last reason to see the BBC as biased, "a greater total number of ‘No statements’ compared to Yes". Well, that doesn't surprise me in the slightest. The entire yes campaign can be summed up as repeating over and over that everything will be better post-yes because Salmond says so and anyone who disagrees is a scaremonger. That was the entire argument for independence. If you're a journalist there's only so many times you can publish this viewpoint as a story before it stops being news. The arguments against independence on the other hand were complex and multi-faceted. There was the currency union issue of course, but also the question of how the EU would react, whether there'd be border controls, how assets would be split up, whether the oil projections were really accurate and then the steady stream of people either with expertise or in highly placed positions coming out against yes. There was lots to write about, new stories every day.

Given that state of affairs, I don't see how the media could possibly have published more articles that were pro-yes than pro-no simply because the yes side had nothing to say.

Also, the over-65's have the shortest time stake in this. plus have had the trappings of gold plated pensions that the generation behind them cannot look forward to. It's a disgusting state of affairs and as a Scot I am embarrassed for my country.

I'm embarrassed for your country too, partly because of absurd arguments like the ones you just deployed - essentially saying that old people can't use the internet and therefore must be stupid and uninformed. Perhaps you should take the next logical step and argue for their disenfranchisement too.

If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants. -- Isaac Newton