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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 San Francisco prices are so high... (Score 2) 296

...because of multiple government regulations that have choked off supply, namely:

* Rent Control
* Excessive environmental regulations
* Excessive land use regulations
* An institutional hostility to landlords (so bad that many landlords simply refuse to rent at all since renters could tie them up in court for years when they tried to sell the property).
* California's general hostility to development.

And now San Francisco has said they'll try to limit price increases by restricting supply. Looks like someone failed Economics 101.

Bonus: Did you know that the Rev. Jim Jones (yes, that one) once served on San Francisco's Housing Authority?

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.

Submission + - Microsoft's Surface Book will redefine how PCs are Made (

jhigh writes: Wired reports that Microsoft's announcement yesterday of the Surface Book laptop-tablet hybrid is a game changer for the PC industry. OEMs will be forced to either compete and innovate or risk extinction.

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:Saw it last night in 3D (Score 3, Insightful) 240

The challenge is stranding someone alone on Mars. It's easy to envision the entire crew getting stuck there. Malfunction in the ascent vehicle would do that. If it had a sufficient electrical meltdown it could even justify the loss of contact with Earth. But getting five people safely off the surface, all of them convinced of the sixth crew member's death and unable to retrieve his body, was a writing challenge. What scenarios can you think of for one man being left alive, alone, and presumed dead on the surface of Mars?

Comment Re:NASA Cancels B612 Sentinel Agreement and Then P (Score 2) 182

NASA's Office of the Inspector General is fairly disappointed with NASA's progress in NEO detection (much less amelioration)

Rusty Schweickart tells me there are an estimated one-million asteroids of 45-ish meters which is Tunguska size

The B612 group has done a poor job of keeping the community (and apparently NASA) informed of their progress and challenges. Perhaps a more transparent effort would work - even showing lack of progress would be progress here. They have indeed struggled with engagement - they only have 600 followers on G+ for example

Feel disillusioned? I've got some great new illusions, right here!