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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:Racism v. Bias v. Intelligence (Score 1) 445

If there's anything the Jews are gifted at, it's nepotism.

I've had a good number of Asian friends who've claimed that they're better at it than the Jews.

(Actually, you mostly hear this claim from people in the "Chinese diaspora" population, who like to point out that this population has a social role in Asia very similar to the Jews, Gypsies and Greek in Europe, and the Arabs in southern Asia. They're historically a population of merchants who've lived in shoreline "ghetto" enclaves outside of China proper, and they've faced all the same sorts of prejudice and discrimination as a result. So it's not surprising that they'd have a lot of similar "social support" traditions.)

Comment Re:Internet Phase-Out (Score 1) 57

The Internet was built from the ground up with fault-tolerant collaboration at the heart. It never occurred to the well meaning scientists and engineers that some of the users would be out and out assholes.

Huh? The design and implementation of the Internet, and its predecessor the ARPAnet, was done with roughly 99% military funding. The fault tolerance was there from the start, because the military explicitly wanted a comm system that would survive constant attack by enemies under battle conditions. The scientists and engineers involved understood this quite well, and testing by implementing and running "cyberattack" software was routine from the very early days.

Saying that such attacks "never occurred to the well meaning scientists and engineers" not only shows ignorance of how the Internet came to be, but also dismisses the hard work of a lot of the people who created it. I worked on a number of test suites back in the 1980s that could be (and sometimes explicitly were) characterized as "attack" packages. This was neither a joke nor an accusation; it was a simple description of how the test suites worked. Stress testing and testing-to-destruction is an old concept in most kinds of engineering, and the ARPA/Internet was no exception.

One of the real problems is that the commercial Internet is managed by companies that have a strong motive to save money by cutting back on "unnecessary" things like testing and redundancy (so that the saved money can be redirected to managers' bonuses, of course ;-). But this was actually understood quite well by the military funders. It's part of why the design didn't include low-level security, but emphasized redundancy and a "just deliver the bits undamaged" approach. It was understood that the only meaningful security is the type called "end-to-end", where the participants in a conversations are the ones that provide and manage the security. If you rely on the suppliers of the low-level equipment, they'll always take shortcuts that make the security worthless. That's pretty much exactly how the Internet works, and always will.

Comment Re:Lets outlaw the word Cyber (Score 1) 57

Nah; the "cyber-" prefix is useful. It's a clear clue that the writer/speaker is relatively clueless about all that interwebs stuff, and only knows a few techie-sounding terms that they use to sound like they know something. Banning the use of such linguistic clues would merely make it a bit more difficult to recognize cluelessness, since we'd have to actually read their comments to decide that they're not worth reading.

It's similar to the use of "hacker", which is another scare term, but it's useful as a clue that the writer is relatively clueless about computer-security issues.

The (mis)use of such terms is also a useful clue to those of us who are trying to find the people who need some educating about technical issues. But that's a different topic, so we should start a new thread if we want to talk about it.

Comment Re:Decimate (Score 1) 231

[...]the H1-B system is totally broken and is being used to help decimate the American middle class.

Dec.i.mate: kill one in every ten of (a group of soldiers or others) as a punishment for the whole group.

As long as it's only one in ten, I'm kind of OK with this. Also, I'm kind of OK with the idea that such punishment is actually deserved, since it implies 90% "good apples" and 10% "bad apples", which, if you've ever worked a middle class job, is very easy to credit as an underestimation.

Except you're a couple of millennia out of date with that definition. I decided to check with a few online dictionaries before commenting. Most of them give a definition much like that of the Cambridge dictionary: [T]o kill a large number of something, or to reduce something severely: Populations of endangered animals have been decimated.

Some do also give the original Latin "kill 1/10th of" definition, but they generally make it clear that that was the Latin meaning, not the modern English meaning. Some even say that it's considered poor form in English to bother specifying the fraction eliminated, on the grounds that it's redundant for people who understand the word and confusing for those who don't.

"Conversion, fastidious Goddess, loves blood better than brick, and feasts most subtly on the human will." -- Virginia Woolf, "Mrs. Dalloway"