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Comment: Re:Yes, it's free. Also, the patent system sucks (Score 1) 167

Bruce, to clarify: are you saying that, since the code in question is released under the MIT license, which is OSI approved, there is an implicit patent grant there that renders the separate explicit one basically redundant, and this whole thing is a non-story?

Comment: Re:It is open source, it isn't free (Score 1) 167

Yes, there is a difference between open source and free. But you completely missed the point in that the authors are complaining that "Open Source" .NET does not comply with standard open source terms. The promise not to sue over patents is flimsy at best.

Given that the code in question is released under MIT license (which is considered open source by everyone, including officially by OSI), and the patent promise is on top of that, and only grants you additional rights on top of the license grants, aren't you basically saying that using an open source license alone is not sufficient, then? And that most software released under pretty much any open source license (including GPLv2) does not "comply with standard open source terms"? I mean, most of them don't come with any kind of patent promise at all, nor will anyone guarantee that there aren't any patents applicable to them.

Comment: Re:Just use Python. (Score 1) 167

You assume that someone, somewhere, isn't holding a patent that Python infringes upon. That's a pretty big assumption, given the sheer number of software patents issued.

That's kind of one of the obvious things that people are missing about all this... a patent promise, even a meager one, is better than no promise at all, which is what you get with most software these days.

Comment: Re:Senator Barack Obama voted for RFRA in Illinois (Score 1) 1073

You are missing the point entirely, which is that Apple should be apolitical. Their message should be about their product, not about their politics.

Why should Apple be apolitical? Apple, as any other privately held company, should be what its owners - i.e. its voting shareholders - want it to be. Shareholders express such desires by voting for the board, and the board places a guy in charge who is the spokesperson for the company. If the guy in charge voices a particular opinion in his role as a CEO, then he's speaking for the company, and ultimately, for the shareholders. Do you expect the shareholders to be utterly apolitical?

Furthermore, the political view that is voiced is not even necessarily matched by the shareholders, but they can expect the company to voice it for the sake of PR. Given the stereotypical Apple customer, this seems like a smart strategy. Then there are employees, who do expect a some degree of political alignment from the companies they work for - and, again, given the overall IT culture in US, and especially in the Silicon Valley, being firmly pro-gay-rights provides Apple with a good public image from hiring perspective.

If you don't like it, why, go ahead and voice your displeasure by selling your AAPL stock. If enough people will do it, the company will notice. You have the shares, right? If not, then why are you even bitching about this in the first place?

Because slandering an entire state is not a positive message.

It's a positive message insofar as it works toward reducing discrimination. Or at least most of Apple's customers will see it that way, which is what matters. And "slandering" is, of course, just your subjective politicized twist.

Comment: Re:WWJD? (Score 1) 1073

Obviously, that's just semantics - one could just as easily frame it as "the state is using it's power to make it more difficult for individuals to seek redress against corporations that discriminate against them." No matter how you look at it, the state is using its power to make discrimination easier.

Not at all. This is a crucial difference. Note that you can still seek redress against corporations if you want (e.g. by organizing boycotts and such), but it's a different ballpark if you want to seek such redress via courts and other means provided by the state - which meansusing state power to achieve redress. So, again, this isn't state using its power to make it more difficult - it's state withdrawing its power to make it more difficult (because otherwise that power is used to make it easier).

So what? So because the corporations can't round up people and execute them, that makes this law okay? Your argument boils down to "well, at least Indiana isn't making it legal for corporations to start KILLING gay people, so we should be happy that they're only making it easier to discriminate against gay people."

At no point did I say that it's okay. It's a bad law, and I think that state power should be used to combat discrimination like that. I just want us to be perfectly clear about what exactly we're doing here - which is using the power of the state to force people to do a certain thing, because the social value of that thing is higher than the negative of infringing on their freedom (of speech and association). I also want to make clear the difference between private discrimination (limited by the fundamental protections the law provides to everyone), and discrimination by the state (which basically has no limits as to how far it can go).

Comment: Re:WWJD? (Score 1) 1073

Obviously, the state not allowing itself to intervene is obviously not an exercise of the power of the state - it's an exercise in restraint of said power.

The actual discriminatory power in this case comes from the individuals and corporations that discriminate - if there are none willing to do so, or if there are few enough and their scale is small, then it's all of no consequence. Even if said discrimination is pervasive, it is still limited to what private entities can legally do - so it's a very far cry from what government-powered discrimination can do (for example, it is not legal for corporations in the USA to summarily round up their customers and murder them in gas chambers; or to incarcerate them because they married a person of a different race).

Comment: Re:Senator Barack Obama voted for RFRA in Illinois (Score 1) 1073

What makes you believe that those are Cook's personal politics, and not Apple's corporate politics? If corporations are persons, then they can also have legitimate political positions.

Also, why do you believe that this is ruining the corporate image of Apple, rather than enhancing it?

Comment: Re:Businesses Have A Right to be Jerks (Score 2) 1073

From past experience (e.g. Jim Crow), we know that in some cases allowing people to discriminate results in discrimination so pervasive that it severely affects the targeted group - basically, they're unable to obtain the services anywhere, or they can only obtain them for significantly higher prices or significantly lower quality.

Comment: Re:We Reserve The Right To Refuse Service (Score 1) 1073

So out of curiosity, are those signs that say "We reserve the right to refuse serve to anyone" legal? If they are, then why would they need to pass this law? If not, does a business have the right under ANY circumstance to refuse service to someone outside of where the law demands it (like a bartender refusing to serve an intoxicated customer)?

It is generally legal to refuse service to anyone, except for certain explicitly protected categories (gender, age, religion etc). The catch is that on the federal level, the said protected category list does not include sexual orientation. In some states, it is protected on state level. In some, it's not protected on state level, but is protected on the municipal level. The latter is especially common in large metro areas (which lean liberal pretty much everywhere) in otherwise conservative states.

So, basically, the reason why that law makes a difference is because it overrides various municipal bylaws prohibiting such discrimination, and carves out a religious exemption that pretty much anyone can arbitrarily claim in practice.

And yes, businesses can arbitrarily discriminate in other ways. They can refuse to serve intoxicated customers, for example, or people with mustaches (though in some cases discriminating based on some trait can be illegal if it is found that in practice it results in clear discrimination against some protected class by virtue of correlation).

Are businesses considered to be public and therefore must be open to everyone or are they considered private and open only to whomever the owner wants (like a private club)?

They can be either, it all depends on how you set things up. If you have some notion of membership, and only serve members, then you can apply pretty much arbitrary filters for people wanting to become members, including those protected classes - i.e. it's perfectly legal to have a whites-only private club, for example (though of course you'll get a lot of flak in the media as soon as it comes out).

Comment: Re:Fuck so-called religious "freedom" (Score 1) 1073

And to further clarify. The problem with exceptions is that as soon as you open the gates, you need some safeguards to prevent your exceptions from growing so numerous as to effectively render the right useless. Which means that you can just allow arbitrary exceptions for free speech, or vague blanket categories that are not protected. It has to be very, very narrow for the original right to remain meaningfully protected.

Comment: Re:Fuck so-called religious "freedom" (Score 1) 1073

I assume you mean this as a rhetorical question, but the same people who protect the rights we are given are the ones who decide the scope of those rights. How else could it work?

For example, by codifying the eligible exceptions into the same document that enumerates the rights, and asserting that anything that is not so codified is not an exception.

Among people upset enough about immigration to visibly protest it on school grounds, a disdain for anchor babies is quite common. A sizable number of anti-immigration individuals would like to deport anchor babies along with their parents. There are even Congress representatives who have pushed bills to this effect. This is not some extreme opinion. Well it is extreme, just not extreme for the anti-immigration crowd.

You missed my point. It's not at all clear why the display of a US flag in the context of Cinco de Mayo has anything to do with anti-immigration sentiment. I would argue that such interpretation, in the absence of any other context, is in fact rather bigoted itself (because it assumes that flag = hate).

Comment: Re:Fuck so-called religious "freedom" (Score 1) 1073

You may disagree with it, but most people understand free expression should be limited in some cases. Yelling fire in a crowded theater is one example. Not allowing US flags to be worn simply to incite anger on a school campus is another. No one was being offended by the US flag, they were being offended by the context in which they were worn.

And who decides what are those cases where the right should be limited? Are you aware of the track record of such limitations?

For example, you bring up that famous line "fire in a crowded theater". But do you know its origin? It's from a SCOTUS case that ruled that anti-war speech encouraging draft resistance is not protected speech (this was during WW1). As a result, a number of people from the US Socialist party were jailed for distribution of leaflets with anti-war propaganda.

Luckily, that decision was overturned later, and now the standard for speech that gets outside of the protected boundary is when it can trigger "imminent lawless action". Wearing the flags is obviously a very far cry from that, even if you're right about their meaning (though I do think that it's extremely biased on your behalf to treat the mere presentation of flag as "deport anchor babies").

Nobody's gonna believe that computers are intelligent until they start coming in late and lying about it.