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Journal: All Smoke, NO Fire

Journal by geomon

I've read a few exchanges from the /. crowd, read a few statements by Linus and the gang, have read McVoy's interpretation of the BK saga, and have come to one conclusion:

No one but the three people involved in this fiasco *really* knows what happened to get this situation to the stage where people begin a verbal free-fire in public.

McVoy is a business man; true to his heart, he needs to keep the BK user strung out on his code. Hell, I would feel the same sense of outrage that he feels if someone threatened to kill my cash cow. Don't pretend that every one you wouldn't feel the same way if it was *your* revenue stream. To me, anyone who claims an absolute vow of poverty is looking for a monastery to live in. Everyone I know would fight to protect a source of financial income.

Selfish? You bet. But nature has created more selfish beings than egalitarian ones. Nature favors pragmatism.

But McVoy could have let this one ride a bit more. It is just a matter of time before someone cracks his model. Then he will have to play the same game as Microsoft and Adobe only on a different level. Too bad for him, though, that his inexpensive advertising scheme didn't last. That is another little detail that goes relatively "un-remarked" upon in the various forums I've read. Larry had one of the hottest programmers in FOSS using his SCM. In fact, this Man Of The Year lavished all kinds of praise on his progeny! You would have to pay more than the "free" license fee for that kind of advertising. Shit, probably A LOT more. If Linus had been paid for his endorsements, that could have added up to quite a sum of money. Larry has wisely kept those funds securely in his pocket.

Again, I'd do that too. The monks of this world can keep their vows.

Linus? Well, it was kind of hard to turn down a free license for one of the best SCMs on the market. If I had been in his position, I would have grabbed the product and ran. In fact, I would like to personally thank Larry for helping juice the Linux kernel development. I know SCO has been rummaging around in the Linux closet for evidence that it was their intellectual property that made the kernel advance so quickly. I believe that Larry's BK contribution probably made the significant increase in kernel production possible. Judging from Linus' angst and outrage, I think he believes that too.

But Linus is being a bit thin skinned. Does he believe he is the ONLY programmer that has been burned by relying on a proprietary product for their work? Didn't he listen to all the people who had been telling him about *their* bad experiences with proprietary lock-in? From what I've read in the past, they had plenty of legitimate worries that this was going to happen. I'm sure that Linus knew it would happen someday too. He's just pissed that it happened NOW as opposed to LATER.

Boo hoo, get over it, this too will pass, etc. But why attack Tridgell in public? Hmmm.... That does raise some interesting questions. And why get all bitchy about it?

There is something we are not getting in this little soap opera. Tridgell is silent, probably for good reason. But why would Linus take him to task knowing that he would not be able to respond publicly?

And Perens? This is a slugfest that only Gates, Darl, and RMS would love - all for differing reasons. Why does Perens feel compelled to call out Linus over his treatment of Tridgell?

I thought the points made by some posters about just how Tridgell was sniffing packets to see the metadata protocols is extremely insightful. To have BK protocols running on his network would require that he be operating a client and server somewhere where he could see it, no? What network was he sniffing if he didn't have a license?

What amazes me is that the attempt to get BK's protocols didn't happen *sooner*. With all of the pissing and moaning that erupted when Linus started using BK, I would have thought there would have been someone doing what Tridgell was accomplishing years ago. Is it possible that Tridgell was sniffing Linus's traffic? Or did Tridgell go to another kernel developer's house and sniff the line as they worked? Does it matter whether Tridgell did the sniffing? What if there are a whole faction of kernel developers (there 200 daily active programmers working on the Linux kernel according to Perens) that had been submitting ether dumps for Tridgell to analyze?

What if it was someone other than Tridgell who had been doing the work? Would that have gotten Linus as mad as he is now? What if someone, totally unrelated to the kernel development group, and/or not directly linked to ODSL, had done the work? What would have been Linus' objection then? Would he have laid such harsh condemnation on someone else for breaking BK's protocols? How would he justify his rage then?

I believe there is a lot of personal tension in this situation than is evident from the written (and unwritten) traffic on this matter. McVoy accuses Tridgell and OSDL for not stopping the hacking effort. He could be right, but so what? What if Joe Schmo had broken the protocol? The open source world would first say "Who?" then would throw up their arms in victory, and quickly moved along. But this is a personal matter between people who have been hanging out together for a LOOOONG time (how old is McVoy or Perens?).

The vase is irreparably broken. It is time to move on.

User Journal

Journal: The Real Shame

Journal by geomon

Here we are, a semi-professional group of journalists (despite what the courts have to say), posting news about technology in just about every conceivable fashion. Every topic we discuss on this forum forms the basis for the entire fabric of modern communications. That communication network drives not only general commerce, but also medicine, the legal system, politics, government, science, and education.

So with that premise (I belive) established, why is it that we let rags like ZDnet completely blow a story out of proportion, while simultaneously abusing the system they report on by misleading the general population that we are only interested in ripping off the entertainment industry? I don't get it.

What would be an amazing show of solidarity would be for everyone in the IT industry to just not show up for work on ONE day in ONE year. Completely shit on the entire system by just refusing to play by their stupid games.

Want to edit your movie MPAA? Not today! We are going to hold up your entire production for a day. What would that cost them on every single film they are working on? Cha-ching!

And the new cancerous Spears-spew you were hoping to mix this morning? Sorry, but the support staff called in with a collective chicken-pox outbreak. Awwwww......

Baring that bit of civil disobediance, we could always produce our own radio and television networks. Considering the decline that the major US networks are experiencing, an online radio show dedicated to ACCURATE technology reporting and substative commentary on the politics of technology policy could be a winner. I know that TechTV was supposed to fulfill that role and now its focus is largely games, but that doesn't mean the demand for such programming is in demand. The first kids shows on television were HORRIBLE, but eventually their production value increased and today we have slick, hip programming for kids.

How many slashdotters are there? We all come here to read and yell at each other. There certainly must be a market for the audio/visual version of this, this..... ... stuff.

User Journal

Journal: Financial Reckoning For SCO

Journal by geomon

This afternoon (August 31, 2004, 5:00 PM EST), SCO will host a conference call where they will present '04 third quarter financial data. The news isn't expected to be comforting to SCO investors as they are coming up a bit short ; earnings and dividends will take a substantial hit. The only bright spot for the company is the settlement with Bay Star, a deal that will leave most of the cash they received from the investment house in the hands of SCO management, if only for a short time. With the poor financial showing expected to be reported tomorrow, where does that leave the company in its pursuit of IBM and Linux?

User Journal

Journal: Counting Salmon with RFID

Journal by geomon

The US Army Corps of Engineers and environmental groups have been engaged in a pitched battle over how to protect endangered US Pacific Coast salmon. The Corps and the US National Marine Fisheries Service authority to operate the dams and fisheries is constantly challenged in court, generally ruling against these governmental agencies due to lack of information regarding fish counts. An article in last weeks Oregonian provides details about a program that relies on embedded RFID tags and hydrophones positioned at the mouth of the Columbia River to more precisely estimate the population of migrating salmon.

User Journal

Journal: When Does It Make Sense To Quit?

Journal by geomon

"When I first started looking into emulators, I had a Mac-oriented software package that I wanted to run in a Linux-x86 environment. Fortunately, there was Executor, a 680x0 emulator that ran the software I needed well enough to encourage me to purchase a copy. That was seven years ago and the current version of the software is not any different than the one I purchased in 1997. I've visited the company webpage several times over the years, but until just recently there hasn't been much information. Now the site has a rather dismal story of a company that appears to be slowly disintegrating. The small business has one employee left, the founder of the company, and he admits that progress on any future work will be slow (how much slower than 7+ years between major releases can you get?). The question I have for software developers is: "When do you just call it 'quits' and move on?" I know this particular case isn't like an open-source project where someone can just fork off your tree and keep the updates rolling along. How do you say 'good-bye' in a closed source world and what happens to your life's work?"

User Journal

Journal: Significant Step In Personal Cooling Devices

Journal by geomon

Last week's Micro Nano Breakthrough Conference 2004 in Portland, Oregon showcased several promising advances in the field of nanotechnology. An article in Science Daily reports that 'A successful new "desorption" technology using branching microchannels, which takes its inspiration from the human circulatory system, was described this week at a professional conference and cited as a significant step towards the creation of man-portable cooling systems that may find important uses in the military, fire fighting and elsewhere.' Fire crews on this summer's Western US wildfires could use a few new technologies. They are currently battling fires in 90-100F weather.

User Journal

Journal: Iraq for Christ's Sake

Journal by geomon

Bush I stopped Saddam from rolling across the Arabian Penninsula and taking control of the world's largest oil supply. Clinton did nothing about Saddam and allowed millions to die under UN sanctions. Bush II did the correct thing but his execution was shitty.

I believe that looking at our troop deployments in relation to the scale of threat is the best guage for assessing our war on terrorism. I look at the number of troops deployed to Afghanistan, where we have a confirmed group supporting terrorism, compared to Iraq, where the link to terrorism is more tenuous, and conclude that we are not fighting terrorism.

So the invasion of Iraq was not about stopping terrorism. Does that mean Saddam is a great guy who should have stayed in power? Ummm... Nope. He is a first-class prick. And for the liberals in the crowd, Saddam's negatives include:

1) invading two of his neighbors in a failed attempt to become the new Saladin;
2) slaughtering several thousand of his own people using conventional weapons,
3) slaughtering Kurds using WMD,
4) slaughering thousands of Iranians in his pointless war,
5) slaughtering thousands of his own people using torture and execution,
6) acquiring large cannons to shoot projectiles several hundred miles from his borders (see Canadian astrophysicist Gerald Bull), and
7) starving his own people (with Clinton participating) via the Money4Oil deal he arranged with the UN (yep, it was a bullshit arrangement).

His positives are too few to redeem himself:

1) rejected the agreed-upon OPEC embargo and sold oil to the US in the 1970's,
2) provided intelligence on the Iranian Revolution to USCIA, and
3) brought his nation from near rock-stupid illiteracy to >50% literacy in a generation (and won a UN humanitarian award - I guess they didn't bother to check into *how* he motivated his people to learn).

These lists leave out many things including his suspected nuclear production reactor (Isreal wasn't going to wait for IAEA verification).

As I said: Saddam was a prick.

But does that alone justify invading Iraq? Probably not. I think that starving his people under UN sanctions would qualify as a crime against humanity and would be a good reason to kill the jerk. But I've heard reasoned arguments from conservatives who don't necessarily like the US playing world cop.

I think that taking us into Iraq was a good thing done at the wrong time and for the wrong reasons. The blame can be spread all around for the existance of Saddam, but he really HAD to go or there wouldn't have been much of a population left in Iraq; certainly a few hundred thousand - possibly a million - but fewer than the 25 million living there now.

Saddam was also an impediment to stabilization of the Middle East. By shifting the focus away from the Arab countries, the international community can rightly focus on the next threat to peace: Israeli settlers. These people could always hold out and not give the Palestinians any hope of freedom by pointing to the threats from its neighbors. Now there is one less threat and one less excuse to a final settlement. Too bad we haven't put Syria in the crosshairs. Their behavior in Lebanon may indicate that they already get the message.

Bush II screwed the pooch on how he justified the invasion and on the planning for post-conflict. He feared that telling the truth to the American people would have meant that they would not have supported his move against Iraq. But the WMD intelligence was weak and he knew it, so he had to pump it up to get Americans behind him in fear. Now that there are NO WMD to support the move, they fall back to "Building Democracy" as their reason for invading. Right, like conservatives have always supported nation building.

You can't change the motivation for driving a country to war after your first justification goes to shit.

Principled people call that lying.

Think of your family tonight. Try to crawl home after the computer crashes.

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