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Comment Re:Please (Score 1) 360 360

Its like saying "Hey, Chevrolet, you know your customers like the radio station set to 101.9, why cant you engineer your cars to respect their choice instead of forcing your nefarious 101.5 agenda."

Yeah, but this is a Mozilla car analogy we're talking about here.

In the current 2015.7 model, release, the UX team has decided that a 5-button hamburger menu on an AM dial (and only from 1100Khz to 1150KHz in 10KHz increments) is all that's needed. Users who want to access a wider range of frequencies in the AM band are free to write an extension or purchase a third-party radio head unit.

To further improve the user experience, we remind prospective extension developers that in the Aurora channel for the 2016.1 model year, the about:config setting for frequency.megavskilohertz has been removed, along with the FM antenna. The UX team has made this recommendation based on telemetry that suggests that few drivers actually listen to FM radio, especially since the 2013.6 model, in which the AM/FM toggle switch was removed because the UX team for 2012.1 felt it was cluttering the dashboard.

Comment Re:Morse Code (Score 1) 618 618

Oh, wait, you didn't need to pass a test for that.

I'm just trying to think how that would have been possible. I think back then there was a medical exception you could plead for. I didn't. I passed the 20 WPM test fair and square and got K6BP as a vanity call, long before there was any way to get that call without passing a 20 WPM test.

Unfortunately, ARRL did fight to keep those code speeds in place, and to keep code requirements, for the last several decades that I know of and probably continuously since 1936. Of course there was all of the regulation around incentive licensing, where code speeds were given a primary role. Just a few years ago, they sent Rod Stafford to the final IARU meeting on the code issue with one mission: preventing an international vote for removal of S25.5 . They lost.

I am not blaming this on ARRL staff and officers. Many of them have privately told me of their support, including some directors and their First VP, now SK. It's the membership that has been the problem.

I am having a lot of trouble believing the government agency and NGO thing, as well. I talked with some corporate emergency managers as part of my opposition to the encryption proceeding (we won that too, by the way, and I dragged an unwilling ARRL, who had said they would not comment, into the fight). Big hospitals, etc.

What I got from the corporate folks was that their management was resistant to using Radio Amateurs regardless of what the law was. Not that they were chomping at the bit waiting to be able to carry HIPAA-protected emergency information via encrypted Amateur radio. Indeed, if you read the encryption proceeding, public agencies and corporations hardly commented at all. That point was made very clearly in FCC's statement - the agencies that were theorized by Amateurs to want encryption didn't show any interest in the proceeding.

So, I am having trouble believing that the federal agency and NGO thing is real because of that.

Comment Not all workers are equal. (Score 5, Interesting) 429 429

The big difficulty is that salary gets really complicated, really fast. It helps many people, but building the system that is equitable would be difficult, and all the positive outliers could be harmed in the process.

SCENARIO: Money is a little tight but applicants are plentiful. We interview lots of people, and three of them look very qualified and are willing to work for a certain wage in a tight range. All hired. Three months later the group discovers a unique need, needing a developer on a specific tool with specific skills. They'll be hired at the same job title, but because the group need a specialized skill immediately, they will go through a headhunter and ultimately pay a premium for that fourth worker. Now, because all four have the same job title, the critical question: should the company go back and increase the three other workers' pay to the same pay rate of the fourth worker with the specialized skill? Should they refuse to hire the specialist at a rate above the other three?

In some fields it can make sense to standardize pay. Most skilled trades operate this way. There is a standard rate in a region for a Journeyman with specific certifications. Trade unions can help fight for specific benefits. You know that this class of tradesman has a specific skill set and can be hired for $27/hour. You need four of them. All of them are treated as interchangeable.

In other fields it can make far less sense to standardize pay, mostly because there are many variables. Unfortunately software development is one of those fields where it is complicated. It would be really convenient -- both for applicants and employers -- to have such a scale. This is a Java programmer with seven endorsements certified at grade 27, so pay is automatically $x.

But unfortunately for this field, technology is ALWAYS changing, so the scale would be difficult. You were certified in version 3.2, but the system has moved on to version 4.1. Does that individual lose the old certification? If they take the new industry trade group's course do they now have 8 certifications instead of seven? Do certifications expire over time, or transfer between technologies? With the huge number of technologies out there, does that mean we'll have thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of different certifications for the trade union? How are individual certifications weighted, and how are they equivalent? Is a master Direct3D 12 certification the same value as a master PostgreSQL 9.4 certification? Is a PostgreSQL 9.4.4 certification valued differently than a PostgreSQL 9.3.9 certification? If someone has certifications in other specializations, must those apply in the cost? With the rapid pace of an enormous number of technologies, what prevents someone from getting hundreds of certifications? Such as "I've got 47 certifications, one for each version of the software released over the past two years"? While it works good for slower-moving trades, it does not work so well in software.

Sometimes I feel it would be nice to have programming trade unions. There are many features like collective bargaining for benefits that could be nice. But for actual salary levels, union-based standardized wages would be a nightmare. It would add a convenience factor to ensure new workers have certain minimum competencies, but it unfortunately adds maximum values as well. Nobody wants to know that they could be making more due to market pressure.

By establishing fixed buckets of pay levels, it establishes both a minimum (yay) and a maximum (boo) within a region. If you've got any kind of specialization or exotic skill -- and many of us do -- those same pay buckets that help many people also hurt the top performers.

Comment Re:Morse Code (Score 1) 618 618

The Technican Element 3 test wasn't more difficult than the Novice Element 1 and 2 together, so Technican became the lowest license class when they stopped having to take Element 1.

The change to 13 WPM was in 1936, and was specifically to reduce the number of Amateur applicants. It was 10 WPM before that. ARRL asked for 12.5 WPM in their filing, FCC rounded the number because they felt it would be difficult to set 12.5 on the Instructograph and other equipment available for code practice at the time.

It was meant to keep otherwise-worthy hams out of the hobby. And then we let that requirement keep going for 60 years.

The Indianapolis cop episode was back in 2009. It wasn't the first time we've had intruders, and won't be the last, and if you have to reach back that long for an example, the situation can't be that bad. It had nothing to do with code rules or NGOs getting their operators licenses.

A satphone is less expensive than a trained HF operator. Iridium costs $30 per month and $0.89 per minute to call another Iridium phone. That's the over-the-counter rate. Government agencies get a better rate than that. And the phone costs $1100, again that's retail not the government rate, less than an HF rig with antenna and tower will cost any public agency to install.

You think it's a big deal to lobby against paid operators because there will be objections? How difficult do you think it was to reform the code regulations? Don't you think there were lots of opposing comments?

And you don't care about young people getting into Amateur Radio. That's non-survival thinking.

Fortunately, when the real hams go to get something done, folks like you aren't hard to fight, because you don't really do much other than whine and send in the occassional FCC comment. Do you know I even spoke in Iceland when I was lobbying against the code rules? Their IARU vote had the same power as that of the U.S., and half of the hams in the country came to see me. That's how you make real change.

Comment Re:GnuTLS (Score 1) 250 250

OpenSSL has first-to-market advantage, and anyone who hasn't evaluated the quality differences will choose the simpler license. Plus there are other alternatives, like Amazon's new SSL-in-5000-lines which is also gift-licensed.

The time for OpenSSL to dual-license was when it was the only available alternative to entirely proprietary implementations. That might indeed have funded a quality improvement.

I don't know a thing about the quality of GnuTLS or the Amazon thing. I've seen enough of the insides of OpenSSL to know it's not pretty, but am not a crypto guy and this don't work on it.

Comment Re:Few people understand the economics (Score 1) 250 250

Maintaining FIPS compliance did not make anything easier. It's essentially a prohibition on bug repair, as you have to recertify afterward. But the people who wanted FIPS were the only ones who were actually paying for someone to work on OpenSSL.

I don't think any of the other Free Software projects ever tried to be FIPS certified.

Comment Re:Lawsuits and licenses are not the problem (Score 1) 250 250

If you are one of the infringed parties, I'd be happy to talk with you about what your options are. bruce at perens dot com or +1 510-4PERENS (I'm not there today, but it will take a message). I am not a lawyer but I work with the good ones and can bring them into the conversation if necessary.

Comment Re:Few people understand the economics (Score 1) 250 250

As a community we've managed to almost completely ignore that because of their use of dual-licensing, MySQL made 1.1 Billion dollars after 9 years in business, and that for a database that was written by one person, and the code base remained available under the GPL.

IMO, 1.1 Billion dollars is pretty damn impressive. Especially if you get paid that to make Free Software. Heck, sign me up!

Oracle was a bad actor, and Monty is now leading further development of that same code base under the GPL. But it did not have to be that way.

Comment Re:Few people understand the economics (Score 1) 250 250

How do you prove damages or have the right to settle violations if you don't have copyright?

If you have been doing enough work to justify getting paid for the software, you have an ample amount of your own copyrighted work to base your claim upon. If you haven't done that much work, what are you suing for?

You can also get a grant of the right to sue from your contributors. You can include in the agreement how you will apportion damages: for example you could take the ratio of your lines of modified code checked in vs. that of contributed code checked in, and give that portion of damages to FSF.

FORTRAN is for pipe stress freaks and crystallography weenies.