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Comment Re: ZFS is nice... (Score 1) 266

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:Umm, yeah, that's pretty idiotic. (Score 1) 134

There are very good reasons to make devices for which the firmware is changeable after manufacturing but only by the manufacturer.

Name one that doesn't boil down to either (a) "the user is too stupid to know what he wants to do with his own property, so he needs the manufacturer to be his nanny" or (b) "the user might use his own property in a way that displeases The Powers That Be, and must be stopped."

Comment Re:It's software in the sense that it can be chang (Score 1) 134

x86 micro-code can be changed via flash, as can the low-level software that controls your microwaves, does that need to be programmable by random C++ hackers?

There are two possibilities:

  1. If it should be able to be changed via flash, then yes, it needs to be programmable by the user!
  2. If it should not be programmable by the user, then it should not be able to be changed via flash!

The point is, either the functionality is fixed for the life of the item, or it should be modifiable (i.e., repairable) by the owner. There is no middle ground. Having it modifiable by "somebody" but not the owner is nothing but a recipe for malicious tampering.

Comment Re:Righthaven (Score 1) 66

What is right wing about filing a lawsuit to unmask a doe, suing that person, then settling for a much smaller amount. It seems this is used by many different trolls, and likely doesn't have any political ideology behind it. It is sleazy though. Filing a lawsuit with the intention of settling just to get a payout is wrong. It is short circuiting the justice system for personal profit.

Yeah that's neither right nor left, it's the universal language of greedy bloodsuckers.

Comment Re:ZFS is nice... (Score 1) 266

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) 266

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 Re:Righthaven (Score 3, Interesting) 66

What is right wing about that process? The Democrats support the movie industry, not the Republicans.

The fact that Democrats support something doesn't negate the possibility of something being right wing. The Democrats are not ideologically pure, or ideologically homogenous, and very few of them can be considered "left".

To me, pretending that copyright is only about property rights, and ignoring the fact that copyright was also supposed to be about free speech and about making material available for free to the public after a limited time, is definitely "right wing".

Comment Re:DMCA needs to die (Score 1) 66

This has nothing to do with the DMCA, this is a straight out copyright infringement lawsuit being filed. The real problem is that the methods the copyright holders (or the copyright enforcement goons acting on their behalf) are using to identify torrent users aren't good enough and its good to see at least one judge willing to call these enforcers out on it.

Exactly. Would have been nice for judges to start doing this 11 years ago, but glad they've come around.

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