Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


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 It's all in the wording (Score 1) 457

"It's the decision of a couple of software engineers, not the board members."

He said it was their decision, as in they took the initiative to make it happen. He doesn't say they were the only ones in the know nor that they approved it. For all we know these "couple of software engineers" could be mid to high level managers who go approval from the board before working with hardware to make the change.

Comment This sounds dubious (Score 2) 98

According to documents filed in the case, the company learned months after the hack that someone had used an Uber digital security key to access the driver database. A copy of the key was inadvertently posted by Uber on one of its public pages on the code development platform GitHub in March of 2014, prior to the breach, the court filings show, and remained there for months.

After Uber discovered the unauthorized download, it examined the Internet Protocol addresses of every visitor to the page during the time between when the key was posted and when the breach occurred, according to court documents. The Uber review concluded that "the Comcast IP address is the only IP address that accessed the GitHub post that Uber has not eliminated" from suspicion, court papers say.

So for months this key was sitting on a public website and they've managed to eliminate every other address from suspicion?

Unless the actual URL was somehow hidden that sounds very unlikely, I'd wager there are hacking groups who write robots to crawl around the web looking for private keys.

We don't even know in what form the key was posted, if it were sitting in some chunk of code that Uber had posted to GitHub I wouldn't be in the least surprised that the Lyft CTO decided to checkout the project to see what the rival company was doing.

Comment Bunch of morons (Score 2) 358

It's obviously fiction, just like Tom Hanks in Apollo 13 (everyone knows you can't put a square peg in a round hole), Neal Armstrong in Apollo XI Landing (dead giveaway, where did they "go"? There are no bathrooms no the moon!), and Steve Coogan in Around the World in 80 Days (the lizard people grab anyone who gets too close to the edge).

Comment Re:Outside factors (Score 2) 191

1. Harvard doesn't necessarily mean genuinely smart, believe me I have first-hand experience. Additionally, a bunch of cocky elitists from an Ivy League school probably didn't prepare in for this little shindig to the same extent as their opponents. In fact, you might say their opponents were captivated with their training....

So how do you rationalize the prisoners beating West Point as well?

Comment Re:Outside factors (Score 1) 191

1. Harvard doesn't necessarily mean genuinely smart, believe me I have first-hand experience. Additionally, a bunch of cocky elitists from an Ivy League school probably didn't prepare in for this little shindig to the same extent as their opponents. In fact, you might say their opponents were captivated with their training....

Or it could be that the prisoners had a lot more time to dedicate to preparation, the advantage of experience since the Harvard team has probably just assembled, and even did a legitimately good job.

2. Look at the position that the good left-wing indoctrinated Harvardites were asked to take: That forcing public schools to educate any and all children of illegal aliens is not necessarily a good thing.

They can use all of their technical debate skills all day long, but you know that they secretly wanted to lose. After all, they heartily approve of forcing taxpayers to pay for free schooling that teaches illegal alien kids that America is evil & racist while failing to teach them English, because English literacy == racism. After all, they go to private prep schools and don't have to see any of those kids, so it's all well and good if the the lower classes have to put up with them.

Yeah, I'm certain the "bunch of cocky elitists" secretly wanted to lose to a bunch of prisoners.

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.

"Conversion, fastidious Goddess, loves blood better than brick, and feasts most subtly on the human will." -- Virginia Woolf, "Mrs. Dalloway"