Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?

Comment CDDL and GPL don't mix (Score 2) 184

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:Who? (Score 3, Insightful) 589

While I think it's unfortunate that some innocents get caught in the crossfire, the toxicity of SJW culture is simply so damaging that I think the approach of not giving an inch is the only tenable one. Once you start coddling specific individuals by sanctions against other individuals you immediately start up the competition of the most offended, the community fractures into group politics and productivity rapidly dissipates.

There's no utility in being deliberatly uncivil unless it's necessary to get a point across, but as soon as someone starts requiring special snowflake status and demonstrates a sense of entitlement to special care for theirs or others feelings then they should get that discussion shut down asap. Allowing the SJW mindset to start festering will do much more damage than the cost of losing a few good developers.

(And it's hardly the first time Matthew Garrett has figured in an SJW context...)

Comment Dash Computers are Suboptimal (Score 1) 331

In 10 years, it will still be a fine car but the dash computer will be an antique. My car has bluetooth and a phone jack, and that will allow me to hook up the latest equipment to navigate and entertain me, for a long time, and replace it on my own schedule.

Comment Re:The article has it backwards (Score 1) 153

It would be quite interesting to know whether the decision not to install SCR was taken before the optimizations were done. Because that actually would be a plausible theory of why this happened that would jive with my experience of the automotive industry.

If it was basically one asshat manager saying that 'yeah, we're going to do this IN SOFTWARE without using SCR! And save MONEY!", then I can see exactly what happens next. Engineers go "good grief, what an ass, this is going to suck in most cases". Then they get to figure out basically any and every situation you can reduce effect and write logic to accomplish it until they reach required targets. And it just so happens that the idiots designing the benchmarks have produced benchmarks that look nothing like reality so of course they'll get completely different results than what happens when you're not driving the car under specific ideal conditions.

Of course, if that's actually it, then it's not even intentional fraud. And actually using those optimizations would be a good thing as they obviously do reduce emissions in certain conditions where power might not be needed, it's just that they should be using SCR as well. And the benchmarks should be updated to reflect real life situations.

Comment Don't like GPLv3? Write your own implementation. (Score 1) 307

So if "[e]ven when there is a permissive license, it's still incredibly difficult for a new file format to gain any traction" then there there would seem to be nothing lost by licensing the reference implementation under the GNU GPLv3 despite your vague claim that the GPL hinders "broad adoption". You say "If the ultimate goal is to promote this file format, this is not the best way of doing it" but you say nothing about what "the best way" is or what constitutes "best".

"FOSS" means free and open source software, software released under a license approved of by both the Free Software Foundation and the Open Source Initiative; there are many other such licenses. It's unclear what you mean by "FOSS/GPL" as being somehow distinct from the "GPL" (meaning the GNU General Public License), a term used for decades which requires no qualification. Perhaps you're confused by the term "GNU/Linux" which is the GNU operating system in combination with the Linux kernel (as opposed to, GNU/HURD or GNU/kFreeBSD, to name a couple of examples, which are the GNU OS with the HURD or FreeBSD kernels respectively).

For being moderated as insightful I see a self-contraction, unclear use of confused terminology, and a complaint hinting that something far better should be done without any explanation of what that is.

Comment Copylefted free software is needed (Score 1) 166

Even if the software source code isn't necessary for the emissions testing out of the tailpipe it is necessary for car owners to make the car do what they want. This is an opportunity for the public to get the car that is completely under their control. There's plenty of other fraudulent behavior that is under the control of the car software which can't be fixed except by changing the software (radio emissions and input via car remote controls, for example). Car owners deserve to be able to control their owned objects completely while complying with reasonable laws. Therefore we need strongly copylefted free software to achieve this in order to grant and secure the necessary freedoms for the foreseeable future.

Comment Accountability & prevention: AGPL3 or later (Score 1) 494

We need accountability and prevention. Accountability should come in the form of corporate death penalties (as in the corporation's assets are seized to pay debts and the corporation no longer exists), and prevention in the form of publishing complete corresponding source code to all cars sold in the US as a part of the car. When you buy a car, you should own the car including all software installed on that car. Other countries would be wise to follow suit to protect their citizens and the environment from apparently malevolent multi-year fraudsters who wish to dodge ecological regulations.

The Free Software Foundation was right: all published software must be free. But since this situation highlights how fraud and abuse can be hidden in nonfree software, we can defend ourselves from this with strongly copylefted free software (right now that means AGPL v3 or later). I don't want anyone taking any car in for any work and coming out with nonfree software thus reintroducing this problem. You cannot have safe computer software without software freedom. And a strong copylefted free software license plus multiple freedom-minded contributors who are willing to pursue lawsuits will help defend against proprietary derivatives (as such legal work has done for the Linux kernel). As I said in the recent VW thread on this: I don't care about upstream copyright excuses should VW claim to have built their software on nonfree upstream code. Our individual and collective safety is far too important. This, like virtually everything else we do, is a matter of political will to do the right and just thing.

When people come around to seeing how an increasing dependence on computers (namely, putting computers in everything) means risking our lives, our civil liberties, our health, our freedom to move without being tracked, and more, we can easily justify pushing for more strongly copylefted free software.

Submission Is curl|bash insecure? thinks not-> 2

taikedz writes: I can see several flaws in these arguments, so much so that where I previously dismissed the curl|bash offer as non-indicative of Sandstorm's security otherwise, I am now not so sure.

What do you think? From the article:

Sandstorm is a security product, so we want to address that head-on.

When you install software on Linux, no matter what package manager you use, you are giving that software permission to act as you. Most package managers will even execute scripts from the package at install time – as root. So in reality, although curl|bash looks scary, it’s really just laying bare the reality that applies to every popular package manager out there: anything you install can pwn you.

Realistically, downloading and installing software while relying on HTTPS for integrity is a widely-used practice. The web sites for Firefox, Rust, Google Chrome, and many others offer an HTTPS download as the primary installation mechanism.

Link to Original Source

Comment Number of lines of code is a distraction. (Score 1) 618

I read the "single line of code" editorial as a distraction away from what matters: accountability and prevention.

Accountability can come in the form of lawsuits from affected car owners and those who can show the subsequent environmental harm caused a problem for them. Letting VW negotiate its own fate is ridiculous and, if the government's action with GM is any guide, unlikely to result in more than a slap of the wrist.

Prevention must also be dealt with, and strongly copylefted free software licenses will help here. Whether this was the result of a mistake (VW's years-long negligence) or planning (VW's years-long fraudulence) is a detail as far as prevention goes because either way VW should be freeing the complete source code to the cars and providing complete specifications for any code it cannot provide so as to allow the easiest possible reverse engineering. Any cost of purchasing code for freeing should be borne by VW.

VW is not in a position to dicker here. I don't buy the excuse of uncooperative upstream providers VW depends on for their code and the public shouldn't either. The stakes (our health) are too high to settle for less than complete corresponding source code under a strong copylefted license so that any published improvements are also free. Keep in mind, this is code car owners should have had from day 1 under a free license so they can fully own their own cars, taking code to experts they trust just like many take their car mechanisms to garages they trust to get fixed. Trusting the market got us where we are now, the market apparently will not grant us the freedom to let us help ourselves and our air-breathing neighbors by fixing the defective VW cars already out there since 2009 (over 480,000 of them). Not buying VW reaches the same conclusion. Not recognizing software freedom for its own sake and the preservation of that protection in copyleft will increasingly become a matter of life and death as we entrust more of our daily functions to software.

Comment Re:Doctor what's wrong with me? (Score 1) 111

Those genes are not expressed, and we don't have copies of those viruses floating around our bloodstream.

Probably, and for the most part. But we used to think the genome was mostly "junk DNA" before we understood that much of it was homeotic in function. It seems to me that virus copies would not be conserved over time unless they were serving some function.

"The urge to destroy is also a creative urge." -- Bakunin [ed. note - I would say: The urge to destroy may sometimes be a creative urge.]