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Comment Re:Convenience (Score 1) 214

That's because there's close relationships between "free (as in freedom) software" and "open-source." Neither is a proper sub-set of the other though.

Bolded part has me curious. What sort "free software" would not fall under the looser defintion of "open source" at the same time?

My recollection is that there's some edge case non-GPL stuff that FSF is ok with, but OSI had issues with, but I don't recall exact examples, and my google-fu is failing. I did find this from the FSF: The term “open source” software is used by some people to mean more or less the same category as free software. It is not exactly the same class of software: they accept some licenses that we consider too restrictive, and there are free software licenses they have not accepted. However, the differences in extension of the category are small: nearly all free software is open source, and nearly all open source software is free.

So for the most part the free software stuff should fall under open source, but the FSF clearly feel that there's some subtle cases out there.

Comment Re:Convenience (Score 3, Informative) 214

I see very little ever coming from RMS that does not imply or pertain to open-source.

That's because there's close relationships between "free (as in freedom) software" and "open-source." Neither is a proper sub-set of the other though.

If you have certain rights over the software, we're out of the field of proprietary, out of the field of freeware, out of every category EXCEPT open-source. The freedoms he wants are only given by open-source.

NO! The freedoms he wants are not given by open-source. RMS is incredibly consistent about the freedoms he values: he wants to be able to modify any software in any way he sees fit and have those changes made available for others. That implies having access to the source *and* distributing changes to the source. Open source does not guarantee this as you can make changes to the source code and keep the changes to yourself. (This leads into long and drawn out discussions on GPL vs BSD and other licenses.)

If you want to say that RMS's position is pedantic, that's fine. Just understand that RMS has slightly different values than open source advocates and he works to keep those values. RMS views open source as dangerous to the freedom to have all changes made available because open source does not make any guarantee about it. Others, like ESR, aren't quite as concerned about that as long as some version of the source is available. Thus, you get open source. Free and open source software are not exactly the same thing though.

Comment Re:Is it just me... (Score 1) 496

Also, explain to this Canadian why NASA is researching climate. Isn't NOAA supposed to be the agency for that? Isn't it National Aeronautics and Space Administration, responsible for air and space flight, not everything under the sun?

NASA's mission includes increasing our understanding of stuff in space. That includes studying the sun, the planets, moons and anything else in the solar system and beyond it. Not only is NASA responsible for everything under the sun, but everything beyond it as well. This doesn't change just because we happen to live on one planet. Through the EOS program, NASA funds quite a bit of research for better understanding the Earth and the processes occurring here. Climate change would fall under that category and is one of the more high profile areas.

Comment Re:Motivating Joe Shmoe to fight pork (Score 1) 364

A local magazine surveyed dentists, asking "who, besides yourself, is the best dentist in our city?" By not allowing dentists to vote for themselves, the survey produced a much truer guide to where to get quality dental care. Similarly, a constitutional amendment that bars congresscritters from seeking to have money spent in their own districts would boost the overall effectiveness of government. Lockheed would finally be pressured to source its F-35 components from the most efficient suppliers, rather than from the most pork-ified network of suppliers.

I have my doubts that such an amendment would help. Over time, Congress critters would simply enter into quid pro quo relationships with each other. Critter A proposes to spend $$$ in Critter's B district while B proposes to spend $$$ in A's. The net effect would be the same.

Submission + - FreeDOS is 20 years old

Jim Hall writes: In a June 29, 1994 post in comp.os.msdos.apps on USENET, a physics student announced an effort to create a completely free version of DOS that everyone could use. That project turned into FreeDOS, 20 years ago! Originally intended as a free replacement for MS-DOS, FreeDOS has since advanced what DOS could do, adding new functionality and making DOS easier to use. And today in 2014, people continue to use FreeDOS to support embedded systems, to run business software, and to play classic DOS games!

Comment Re:Queue the deniers (Score 1) 387

Furthermore, even if that were true, pre-20th century, there was nearly universal agreement on the validity of classical physics, but then QM and GR came along, so consensus doesn't tell you about truth.

I agree that consensus doesn't necessarily imply truth, but I disagree that there were was near "universal agreement" of the validity of classical physics. By the start of the 20th century, physicists knew there were lots of issues in classical physics. Classical physics could not explain the blackbody spectrum, the precession of Mercury's orbit, the propagation of an E&M wave (at the time waves were only found within a medium that could support it), radiation, and so on. Evidence kept mounting that classical physics could solve a wide array of problems, but there were phenomena that classical physics could not handle. That, in turn, led to new physics being discovered.

Comment Re:Dear Stevens (Score 4, Insightful) 1633

Enact this, and as a former serviceman who swore an oath, I am obligated to stop you at all costs.

An oath that you obviously do not understand. The oath (and I took a similar one) declares that you will support and defend the Constitution, which includes all the articles *and* amendments. If this were to be enacted, it would be done as an amendment, thereby becoming part of the Constitution. Your oath would obligate you to support and defend that amendment as any other. You don't get to pick and choose based on your personal ideologies because doing so makes the oath meaningless. If you like the idea, then fine; work to make it happen. If you don't like the idea, then fine; work to stop it. But leave the solemn oath out of it.

Comment Re:Contradicts current theory? (Score 4, Informative) 156

No it doesn't contradict previous theory. The existence of a magnetic monopole would require adding some extra terms in Maxwell's equations: one for magnetic "charge" (the monopole) and one for magnetic "current" (moving monopole) analogous to electric charge and current. (Adjusting Maxwell's equations this way is a popular exercise in advanced undergrad / grad level E&M courses). If your system happened to have a magnetic monopole in it, then you would need to use the equations with the extra terms. You would see some extra effects due to the monopoles, but they would be accounted for. The extra terms would give a nice symmetry to Maxwell's equations, helping to demonstrate that the electric and magnetic field are manifestations of the same phenomena (which isn't clear until you get to special relativity).

Comment Re:Fascist bloodlust (Score 4, Informative) 380

My feeling is that the US government by consistently refusing to ask for the death penalty in spying cases [...] has encouraged people to continue to try to get away with this.

The US gov't could seek the death penalty for spying cases, but chooses not to. The reason is that a caught spy will eventually talk about why they did it, and who they were working with, if the death penalty isn't an option. That information is far more valuable than naively "trying to send a message". (Whether or not the death penalty is a deterrent is a separate argument. The intelligence officers only care about determining why the spying occurred and who the handlers were.)

Comment Re:Now what for the Republicans? (Score 3, Insightful) 1576

They go further to the right (unfortunately). I think there's a good chance the Republicans repeat what happened after 2008: savage their nominee by complaining he wasn't conservative enough. Their solution will be to move further to the right to address that rather than realize they likely lost because their candidate moved too far to the right to appease the extreme wings of the party for the primaries.

Comment Re:Kill the Electoral College please... (Score 5, Informative) 1576

The electoral college is necessary to balance power between large and small states.

No it's not. That was never the purpose. The electoral college was needed for southern states to get some credit for slaves that they wouldn't get if there was a direct election of president. (See, for instance, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electoral_College_(United_States).) Besides that, the effect of the electoral college is to put the focus on a few swing states. No one cares about CA and TX and numerous other states because those states will reliably go for a particular side.

Comment Re:Helping to Keep it Secret... (Score 2) 288

Or it could be a work in progress. During research, there's lots of communication about the interpretation of data, what other values should be recorded, is this true data or a bug in the simulation, and so on. If you had a political axe to grind, you could easily cherry pick that communication to feed the stupid conspiracy theories. You could hope that the general public would be smart enough to understand that, but intelligence is the first casualty of politics.

I THINK MAN INVENTED THE CAR by instinct. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.

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