Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?

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 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.

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:Everyone Is Guilty, Only Enemies Will Be Indict (Score 3, Insightful) 109

If you are a leftist, beating the shit out of private companies is well and good. Remember: corporations are evil! Prosecuting them is only a good thing. Are you a corporate shill?

I am neither a leftist nor a corporate shill. I believe in beating the shit out of private companies that deserve to have the "shit beat out" of them. You need only look at the lengthy history of consumer protection in the United States to find instances where this was and is necessary. Take, for example, Debt Collection Practices. Please, please, please "beat the shit out" of unscrupulous collection agencies. Please "beat the shit" out of the companies that call my grandmother to deliver unsolicited advertisements about a "warranty extension" on her car. There are plenty of private companies that should have this done to them. The issue I take with China's implementation is 1) that it will never target a state owned business and 2) the guidelines are by no means clearly laid out and can be ambiguously interpreted. Who will interpret them? When will they interpret them? Why just in time and by the same state body that made them. Please tell me, how can I prove that my product's advertising does not "Cause detriment to national dignity"?

Comment Do Not Conflate This With Individual Free Speech (Score 2) 109

Communists don't believe in free speech?


It's not that binary. The United States has its own truth in advertising laws that, in my personal opinion, are beneficial at both the federal and state level. Slashdot readers are free to go the Libertarian route and claim the free market would alleviate these issues on its own or perhaps point out how downright pedantic it can be at times. But the truth of the matter is that, as a consumer, we only have so many hours in a day to decide which of the thousands of products we consume in a year we should spend our money on. So it does come down to federal guidelines for what is "Grade A" or "Organic" or "Green" when there is a label espousing these properties and there are consumers paying a premium for this notion. Without those guidelines those words will mean absolutely nothing and there will be no way to tell where your product was made, how much cadmium it has in it or whether it is the end result of spewing carbon into the atmosphere. Without similar laws, you wouldn't be able to trust the nutritional information at the grocery store. Is it free speech to claim that my potato chips cure cancer and lead to weight loss no matter how many of them you eat? People will know that I'm lying? Cigarettes used to sooth sore throats. Trans fats used to taste awesome.

Speech used by an individual to express ideas is free speech. Advertisements -- especially advertisements representing a very large organization -- are not. Corporations should not have the same rights individuals have and I feel that free speech is one of those clear cut distinctions. There is a long history of consumer protection everywhere in the world -- learn about your own country's struggles with it. It's not a simple issue and advertisement should not be regarded as free speech.

Comment Everyone Is Guilty, Only Enemies Will Be Indicted (Score 5, Insightful) 109

Here is the full text of the newly amended law. Here is the WIPO listing the deltas with the older 1994 version of the law (click expand notes). It appears that this is the first change in this law since 1994. Also the WIPO provides a PDF of their English version which seems to be slightly different. I also found a definition of the extent of what is regulated advertising by the PRC. Here's the WIPO's full list of defined restrictions:

1) Overt or covert use of national flag, anthem or emblem of People’s Republic of China or military flag, anthem or emblem;
2) Overt or covert use of the name or image of national public institute or staff of national public institute;
3) Use of words such as “national-level”, “the most” and “the best”, among others;
4) Causing detriment to national dignity or interests, or disclosing national secrets;
5) Interfering with social stability, or causing detriment to social and public interests;
6) Harming personal or property safety, or disclosing privacy;
7) Interfering with social public order, or going against good social norm;
8) Containing obscene, pornographic, gambling, superstitious, terrifying, or violent content;
9) Containing discrimination based on nationality, race, religion, or gender;
10) Affecting protection of environment, natural resources or cultural heritage;
11) Other situations prohibited by laws and regulations.

Merely sounds like another tool for the Party to deal with companies that are not state owned. Most companies will be found guilty of some section of this but they won't be prosecuted until they run afoul of the Party. In China (and increasingly in the US) everyone is guilty of something but only those that the state wants to be prosecuted will be prosecuted.

So looking at the story, we have a new law enacted a month ago and whose head is on the chopping block today? Xiaomi? Well from wikipedia:

Xiaomi Inc. is a privately owned Chinese electronics company headquartered in Beijing, China, that is the world's 4th[4] largest smartphone maker. Xiaomi designs, develops, and sells smartphones, mobile apps, and related consumer electronics.[5]

Aaaaaand there's your problem. Wake me up when a state owned company is prosecuted under these new laws. Xiaomi's true crime was probably doing better than Huawei.

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.

No line available at 300 baud.