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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 Make it a choice (Score 5, Interesting) 143

Give them the choice; perpetual security updates or open source. You want to keep your stuff closed source, you make sure it stays secure. You don't want to maintain it indefinitely, you open source it. You're welcome to migrate between those options at your convenience, but those are the only acceptable states.

Won't happen, of course, but it's got better odds than "force everyone to open source".

Comment Re: stop (Score 2) 685

The objectives are all laid out in the executive orders which establish affirmative action, and it has nothing to do with forcing employment of various classes, quotas, or anything like that. The key objectives are "equality of opportunity for all qualified persons" and "efficient and effective utilization of all available manpower". Really, go ahead and read them and see if there's anything that you find objectionable.

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 Good! (Score 1) 415

A step in the right direction. The solution is always going to be a mix of technologies. One size does not fit all

A couple of weeks ago I flew over Altamont Pass just east of San Francisco and the wind farms weren't doing much...but it was sunny, so solar facilities would be cranking out the watts. As it should be. Earlier in the summer I was in northern Alberta (Edmonton -> Peace River -> High Level) and the perpetual wind had me watching for wind turbines. Saw a few.

Here in B.C. we have lots of hydroelectric capacity (and some fossil fuel generation, alas...) and are playing with wind and tidal power. Our climate isn't particularly sunny (except for the Okanagan), so solar is a non-starter.


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 Re:Step One: get out of the way (Score 1) 685

You have replied to nearly every significant comment, but all you post is negativity.

You have to admit, Slashdot comments were pretty depressing today.

FWIW, my comment was not "there is no way to win", but "there is no way to win, apparently". What I meant by this (and I thought it was clear in context, but that might just be me) is that the crowd doesn't have a consistent position, so there's no point trying to appease it. That's pretty much what you said, so I think we're on the same page there.

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.

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