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Submission + - Ask Slashdot: How to get paid for open-sourcing your work?

kc600 writes: You're a freelancer, using mainly Open Source solutions. You notice that customers, although they don't object to the whole Open Source idea, don't see the point in paying you for the time it costs you to properly opensource your code.

As a result, code is not released, because it would take too much time to factor out the customer-specific stuff, to debate architecture with the other developers, look at bug reports, etcetera.

You feel there's something to contribute that many might benefit from. The code would also be better maintained if more people would use it, so the customer's project would also benefit. But you're not going to do it in your free time, you have enough on your mind and the bill is paid, right?

What useful tricks can you think of to encourage yourself — and your customers — to properly share code, to the benefit of all, and get paid for it?
Your Rights Online

Submission + - When did it become OK to just take content? ( 2

Barence writes: "PC Pro has a blog post asking when it became OK to take other people's content without permission, based on content "curators" such as Pinterest and Zite.

Nothing that Pinterest's response to allegations of copyright infringement was to offer webmasters a snippet of code allowing them to prevent Pinterest from taking their content, PC Pro's editor remarks: "It’s like a burglar claiming that it was perfectly legitimate to run off with your television set, because there wasn’t a sign on your front door saying you didn’t want him – specifically – to ransack your house."

Meanwhile, he claims iPad/iPhone app Zite, which scrapes photos and words off websites and presents them within its own app, "rips up the unwritten contract that exists between website owners and their visitors: that we provide you with free, high quality content in exchange for viewing (and potentially clicking on) advertisements on our site.""


Submission + - Do eBooks harm reading?

An anonymous reader writes: The very latest eBooks are under heavy fire from critics. The New York Times claims that new children's eBooks foolishly pride interactivity over the written word, giving them little educational value. The NYT is particularly concerned by a popular eBook called Alice for the iPad, arguing that this kind of physics-enabled eBook will actually distract kids from the tougher task of concentrating on literature. Looking at the Alice eBook in action, it seems to be a fair question to ask — the book is a wild frenzy of action. The NYT continues, "what will become of the readers we’ve been — quiet, thoughtful, patient, abstracted — in a world where interactive can be too tempting to ignore?"

The publishing industry is racing to adapt titles for new digital reading devices. But, is this a case of being so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn't stop to think if they should? The NYT makes the case that digital adaptations go against the whole point of traditional books, the newspaper article contines: "what I really love [about traditional books] is their inertness. No matter how I shake “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” mushrooms don’t tumble out of the upper margin, unlike the “Alice” for the iPad.". The digital publishers have now struck back at the NYT, claiming that their digital approach is balanced: "technology", they respond, "is not a short-cut to "enhancing" a book for the digital age, and the power to create these books must be wielded as deftly and wisely as an illustrator's pen."

What does Slashdot think of children's eBooks, are they straying too far from the core purpose of literature?

Submission + - Which PDA for the Linux Hacker? 3

Lord Duran writes: Lately I've decided I want to start working with a PDA; having looked at my dad's iPhone, the thing that really bugged me is the lack of power. For instance, I couldn't find a way to erase some 50 emails at once. Several other PDAs were better, but still — for a guy used to working with the GUI but if something quick and dirty needed, always uses the small Python or bash script, they all felt a little cumbersome.
I'd like to stress that I'm not interested in doing more with the PDA than the common user does — appointments, contacts, maybe a few games, a to do list.
So now I ask Slashdot — what PDA — or mobile OS — is best for the programmer type?

Submission + - Ruby on Rails competitor - Merb - launched (

ruphus13 writes: Ruby on Rails, the wildly popular MVC framework, now has a new Ruby competitor called Merb. Merb 1.0 is in its final testing throes, and announced the availability of Merb 1.0. The backers and founders of Merb are from the Ruby on Rails hosting company — Engine Yard. From the article, "Engine Yard, which specializes in cloud computing and open source tools for Ruby and Rails applications, has announced a new open source framework called Merb. "Ruby continues to be one of the fastest growing programming languages in terms of adoption," said Ezra Zygmuntowicz, founder of the Merb project and co-founder of Engine Yard. "Merb offers Ruby programmers another choice for building Ruby applications...It is designed to make extensive use of plug-ins, and Merb is an MVC (model-view-controller) framework, so it avoids a monolithic core in favor of extensibility through plug-ins."

You can tell the ideals of a nation by its advertisements. -- Norman Douglas