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Comment Re:When do I get to be a multinational corp? (Score 1) 91 91

Unless you think your posts on the internet should be under the jurisdiction of every piss-pot dictator on the planet, what the hell do you expect from Google?

No, I certainly don't, but while google wants to do business in those countries, it's going to be subject to their laws whether it likes it or not. If google wasn't going business with those pisspot dictators and had no representation in their country, they'd be unable to do anything to google.

The only reason in this case that google is subject to the laws is becaus they're operating where the laws apply. That gives the jurisdiction in question power because they can ultimately seize assets, arrest people and so on.

You enjoy the same protections as Google ... if in your home country France sends you a letter telling you that you must comply with French law ... you too can tell them to fuck off. Unless of course you live in France.

And therein lies the problem. A decent sized chunk of google does in fact reside in France.

Comment Re:Missing the big picture (Score 1) 91 91

But it would be naive to not consider the ramifications beyond. It could mean that search results for Tienanmen Square or Falun Gong could be missing world wide because Chinese law bans results for those pages in their jurisdiction.

Yes, but only if google wants to do business in China. Frankly, China could demand that either way with the price being either STFU or GTFO. Personally, I'd say the best choice would be to GTFO.

The world will be a much scarier place if we don't have freedom of speech because some people could tell lies.

Well, slander and libel are pretty much a thing in almost every jurisdiction. Not to mention regulations on corporate speech and certainly making cfalse claims about products and etc.

Comment Re:How? (Score 1) 234 234

And so can a kid.

Yep. In fact I remember back from the early days of the web when most porn sites seemed to require a credit card for verification, some enterprising and publicic spirited soul hosted a CGI script which generated random numbers passing the checksum.

And even though internet porn wasn't around back then - guess what - we still had porn as kids.

Well, there was porn back then on the internet just about and certainly plenty within a couple of years. In fairness most of us didn't have internet connections. One enterprising kid with tech-head parents had acces to a dual ISDN line and a CD burner. He made a tidy profit flogging CDs of internet porn at school.

This is all focused on nothing - by the time someone is aware enough about sex to try and access a website, they're GOING to be able to get that content.

It's pointless and like so many things the politicians love to do, stupid. It won't stop anything. Only UK sites are covered by this and it's not like there isn't porn all over the ENTIRE REST of internet across websites, torrent links, usenet and I dunno, there's probably even FTP servers and gopher sites out there hosting porn because some nutcase thinks it's funny.

But yeah between all the non UK porn sites (i.e. about 99.9% of them) and bittorrent, I'd say that they've got this one thoroughly covered.

Comment Re:Happy, happy, joy, joy... (Score 1) 234 234

I've been trying to think of a way we can get the Single Transferable Vote introduced.

STV won't solve a lot of the problems. The district nature of it is what allows wild misrepresentaiton. I suspect the SNP would have gained their 56 seats with STV, while still acrtuing around 5% of the votes.

But the plus side is you get to vote for a person as much as a party.

Comment Re:porn.gov.uk (Score 1) 234 234

Secondly, isn't it the case the those people who are most on a crusade against porn are the ones with the really sick and disturbing fetishes. Perhaps I could have 30 minutes with David Cameron's personal laptop just to check?

I didn't realise there was "pandering to bigots while shitting on anyone not a tory crony" porn, but well, I should have realised because of Rule 34 and all.

Comment Re:Happy, happy, joy, joy... (Score 1) 234 234

This is just the beginning of another five years of the Tories

No, not another. This is something new. The last 5 years were apparently heavily tempered by the lib dems. I say apparently because it wasn't all that apparent at the time, but now without having to please another coalition party they've gone into full batshit crazy slash and burn (except fopr cronies) mode.

Well, all those whiny Lib-Dem supporters who through a massive shitgit when the CON-lib coalition wasn't 100% pure libdem and defected, congratulations, you've got the government you deserve. Unfortunatley the rest of us are stuck with them too.

It is an utter travesty that a political party can achieve a parliamentary majority with 36.1 percent of the population behind it and that a party that gained 12.9% of the popular vote (UKIP) gets one parliamentarian. I'm no fan of UKIP by any means but they should have gotten more seats.

It's an even bigger travesty that a party with a mere 4.7% of the votes got a massive 56 seats.

Comment Re:We're doomed! (Score 1) 81 81

Oh good job that massive global overreach by the world's only superpower and the corruption of smaller governments is so unimportant that we're doomed.

Yeah, this isn't Steven Hawking, but it is certainly news for nerds and undeniably sutff that matters. Seriously, people whine about anything here.

Comment What? (Score 1) 85 85

[T]he Sparc M7 will have technologies for encryption acceleration and memory protection built into the chip.

Well, encryption acceleration has been available on x86 for a while and memory protection has been available on... well, I seem to remember that was the big feature the 286 had over the 8086, and it was only new to PCs at that point. That's a rather peculair thing to brag about, especially as the SPARC chip has always had it since it's inception.

Whatever though. I am kind of in two minds about this. Yaaay cool new sparc chip! ew, Oracle.

Comment Re:It's really not much fun... (Score 1) 260 260

KCC's switching to LED means that longer term it'll cost the same as the half-lighting that goes on now

Where did those figures come from? High pressure sodium lamps still beat out LEDs handily in lumens per watt. Both have ancillary electronics of which the sodium ones are a bit less efficient, and the sodium ones tend to need bigger reflector assemblies which lower the efficiency, but the resulting overall the efficiencies are awfully similar. They also have similar overally lifetimes. HPS lamps also don't dim with age.

Personally, I think LEDs are the future, an eventually they'll beat out pretty much all other forms of lighting. But if the council can save a factor of 2 (!) by switching to LEDs, they probably could have saved that 10 years ago by switching to non ancient vapour lamps instead.

The low pressure lamps are about twice as good as LEDs, but if one takes into visual perception the monochromatic light sucks. The HPS ones are orangish white and fine. There are very white one which are less efficient than the normal HPS ones, but still good. Also, top end metal halide lamps match LEDs for efficiency.

Comment Re:So they stayed home. So what? (Score 1) 260 260

So we should waste money and resources and pollution lighting up roads so you can bike home?

Should one waste money on road repairs, and resources on pollution from cars just so you can have fewer lights? You're assuming (unwarranted) that the bike is somehow special and the car is the default option.

Comment GCC, stable APIs and subversion of Free software. (Score 3, Interesting) 327 327

Hi RMS,

Firstly I am fan of what you've done and what you have given the world. I also asked you a weakly related quesion about two decades ago when I was a teenager and didn't realise one shouldn't just email random well known people on the internet. You were kind enough to take the time to write a thoughtful reply.

The question is about subversion of Free software via a stable API. If a stable API exists in some popular library/piece of software, it is possible to write a shim layer, where the GPL shim serialises the interaction then sends that to a non-free component[*]. The non-free component of course has the interesting and useful logic. Since it's not linking to the Free part, then it's not covered by the GPL.

Via such a mechanism, one could use a significant GPL component in a non-free program. Naturally this is very much at odds with the spirit of the GPL, but not the letter. From what I recall, you explicitly warned about this sort of thing when GCC were creating an API for interacting with external tools. GCC being arguably the leading compiler in the world[1], would be prone to such subversion.

I believe your suggestion at the time was to essentially neuter the plugin API so that there was nothing left to subvert. Naturally though that comes with downsides is that it also makes it harder for the Free software community to work with GCC. GCC did eventually decide to go with the plugin API.

Do you still think that not having an API would have been the right choice? If so, what to you think the relative tradeoff is between making Free software better and as a side effect making it easier for non-free software development? If not, what made you change your mind? Either way, where do you draw the line---gcc always could be used to compile non-free software and of course making GCC better makes such things easier.

It also seems that GCC went with the plugin interface because they believed that the improvement to the usability of GCC was worth it relative to the risks. Do you think it's possible in theory to have flexible plugin interfaces without openning the door to non-free software, such as some hypothetical license change?

Thankyou for your time :)

[*] related: if one has two libraries offering identical APIs such as the various libcs, then it's hard to argue that something using libc is a derived work of a particular implementation. Especially if it's dynamically linked it could easily pick up any number of several different compatible ones. The concept of derived work is what gives the GPL and indeed all of copyright its teeth.

[1] To anyone who wants to argue that LLVM or Intel CC or etc is better please don't. GCC is arguable the best in that I and others could make reasonable arguments for that case. It's not provably the best.

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