Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?

Slashback: Rumination, Apologies, Kisses 185

This is Slashback. Read it before it's wrong again. Find out more about Mandrake's new honcho, the neurons firing in the American legal system's brains on Napster, Yet Another Cool GPLization, and Larry's new toy.

View the meal from which the soundbite was extracted! Jim Tyre writes: "When Slashdot reported on the preliminary injunction against Napster, and then on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals' stay of that injunction, a missing piece was the actual ruling by the lower court, since it was an oral ruling from the bench, and a transcript had not yet been made available. C|Net now has the transcript here, and it makes for good reading for those interested in what the court's thinking was, not just the result."

On second thought, I'd rather not dance. Andreas writes: "As reported by the Heise Newsticker The German company CMG, which threatened to sue over the use of their registered name SAMBA, has stepped down from their plans. Nice to see at least some kind of clueness."

The article is in German, but the fish renders it quite intelligible.

If you want a kiss from CmdrTaco, you must be this big ... ClubNation writes: "Empeg have released their MP3 car player download software under the GPL. Before now you could only get an i386 binary for Linux, but now the source should build on pretty much anything with GCC or another good Posix C++ compiler with STL. I've heard on the empeg BBS that it builds out of the box on PPC and someone's working on a native Mac version.

You can get the code from their Web site or from their Geek Site which is also pretty cool and has a photo of CmdrTaco and Hemos in the photo album!"

And even though companies like Aiwa and Kenwood are selling MP3 head-units, the Empeg has one of the coolest industrial designs I've seen in anything for a long time. When I am a bazillionaire, I will put the Mark XXII in my Escort;)

So, in layman's terms, what might these projects be? Robert McMillan writes: "Linux Magazine has an interview with the brand new CEO of MandrakeSoft, Henri Poole. In it, he says that Tucows has apologized to his company about the Penguin Payola controversy. Poole also hints at some new open source projects that MandrakeSoft will be sponsoring in the next year and talks about what former CEO Jacques Le Marois will be doing now."

And now it's time for a mini, mini, mini review: invisik writes: "I got my NIC (New Internet Computer) yesterday. It's definitely a Linux box, running Netscape Navigator (browser only) 4.73, in 800x600 (can't change it). Connects easily to their ISP, your ISP, or your ethernet connection (DHCP or static IP). Has some utilities to make life easier, telnet, ssh, citrix, vnc, IRC clients. Also some games, solitaire, etc, etc. Speed is good, it doesn't really have much running on it to bog it down, though. And there's a little red light that flashed when it seen network activity--pretty cool. Not too bad for $199 if you really need some decent connectivity to your office (ssh/citrix/telnet) which I'd guess most other Internet terminal-type devices lack ..."

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.


Comments Filter:
  • I'd think having the source would be great if you buy the player, and want to encode with something else besides MP3 later on (I've forgotten the name of the mp3 replacement /. has stories on from time to time).

    You could also change the menus around, and really tweak the whole system however you liked!! If only you could do that with every product you buy...

  • by Nanookanano ( 213568 ) on Monday August 07, 2000 @04:15PM (#872599)
    Indeed, 'nature abhors a vacuum,' and 'some things are too good to last.' Napster served an important and positive market function by responding to a new media and demand. It stimulate market interest in soft copies of a vast resource of older music that existed below the threshold of profitablilty. Now that the corporate world (and thus the legal world) have taken attention to this new frontier, Napster will fade away and the Columbia Music type services will pave-over this once wild eutopia.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    you mean ogg vorbis []?
  • The problem with your comment is that you seem to confuse law with ethics. Whats legal may be unethical and whats illegal may be ethical.

    No, this is not a problem with the previous comment. It's not the job of the courts to enforce ethics, and I would be terrified if it was. Imagine you're a woman who has an unwanted pregnancy. You go to a clinic and get an abortion, which is completely legal. Next thing you know you're in court being sentenced by a judge and jury who believe what you did was unethical.

    The question of ethics came into play before Napster opened their service. They had to decide whether the Napster service was ethical. It came into play when the RIAA decided to sue them. The RIAA had to decide if Napster was ethical. If they found Napster to be ethical, they had to decide if it was ethical to sue them for doing something ethical. Once RIAA decided to sue, ethics became irrelevant. It's now a question of law, and law alone.

    That's what the courts are there for. Ethics vary from person to person, and the courts are not there to ensure you are treated ethically. They are there to ensure you are treated fairly. To ensure that you are treated exactly the same as anyone else in your position would be, and in a manner that is set in writing so there should be no doubt of what will happen to you. If you feel they have failed in this, point out their failures in terms of places where they failed to comply with the law, not places where you feel they acted unethically.
  • errr have to agree and disagree

    IMHO NC's are the concept, not the ultimate result (so to speak)

    Yes, NC's are a GREAT idea for the average person who wants to use a computer for things like research, general web browsing, and even some word processing, but in their current form yes I do think they are too limited.

    What I think we need to focus on is not "How stupidly simple can we make this?" but rather "How stupidly EASY can we make this?" Some of you might be saying "What? that's the same thing!" no, it's not.

    You can make it stupidly easy without making it simple... the "easy" part needs to be in the User Interface, NOT the components themselves (although a quick redesign of the way a few things connect to eachother would be advisable *cough*jumpers*cough*POWER CABLES*cough*) because if we make the very lowest levels of the computer extreamly simple, we may wind up with a sitation where there is an abundant supply of computers for the average person, but few for someone like me, who can't STAND not being able to screw up my system easily :)

    And one other thing: the case, please for the love of god make computer cases easier to open and shut :)

  • Why do you keep posting the same thing over and over? Your point of view is incredibly myopic and serves to prevent the growth of computing. Rather than insist that we use your computing model of the itty bitty desktop, why not let us get on with the business of working from our lame terminals which hook up to the real machines?

    So what about the person who has a little brother nagging him to let him play SimRoadKill while mom is telling him to hurry up so she can check her e-mail while dad is asking for the computer so he can check the prices of gizmos at that person is not going to get his history paper written at all. And those other folks are going to have to wait... But I know! We'll buy them all PCs, we're RICH!
  • The NIC doesn't do NFS (or SMB, for that matter) out of the box.

    I've been maintaining the NICfit [] site, and one of the concepts I've been toying with has been to create "personality discs" for the NIC. I'm thinking the NIC is going to catch on, once they're ready to meet demand, and their current OS catches up with the others (it looks like they were planning on Mozilla, but Mozilla fell short, so they hacked in Navigator 4.73...), but I can see a whole lot of uses for a machine like this that are as easy as flipping a new disc in the drive. I don't think the hardware is ready for games, per se, but certainly there's more than one group out there who'd like to make their configuration management a little easier by burning a copy of a Linux install that can't be hacked...

    The other project we've got designs on is a kernel with NFS and SMB, mpg123, busybox, and so on, to run in flash and free up the CD-ROM for MP3s as well. There's room for more, certainly, such as support for any cheap, USB-based wireless options that show up with Linux support.

    The thinknic-tech [] and thinknic [www] lists on eGroups are dreaming up new NIC projects, and I'm keeping track of them on the NICfit projects page []...

  • Yes to static IPs... yes to no keyboard too.
  • Probably had to go the way of the dodo when they decided not to put any hard drive into it. Programs like Netscape Communicator have to put the e-mail *somewhere* local while you're reading it. I think IMAP might get around this, but anything based on POP can't work without a HD.

    Not necessarily. Netscape has the option to download all mail on connect, leave messages on the server and to delete on server when deleted locally. This all would mean that email could be stored onto a virtual disk that could be reset each time you turned the system on.

  • Napster has definitely violated the letter of the law, [All rights reserved. Unauthorized duplication, hiring, lending public performance, and broadcasting is a violation of applicable laws.]

    But Napster hasn't duplicated, hired, lent public performance, or broadcast anything. All Napster has done is taken information created by users, (file indexes and connection information) stored that information in a large database, and made that database available for queries by users.

    There is apparently some law that forbids contributing to copyright infringement. I don't like that, but it kind of makes sense. It's illegal to be an accomplice in a murder, why not make it illegal to be an accomplice in a copyright violation?

    There is also apparently another law (fair use) that says that in certain circumstances, you can make copies of copyrighted material without it being infringement. This, it seems, is the key to Napster's legal defense. The problem is that fair use is a very complex and somewhat subjective law. I would like to see this law, preferrably condensed into some simple for that I could understand, since I suspect the full text of it contains much legal terminology I would be unfamiliar with. But what I am clear on, is that intent is important in fair use, so intent is relevant to Napster's defense.

    Unfortunately, it sounds like their intent was pretty bad. The impression I get is that several internal documents were submitted as evidence in which Napster founders talk about how they expect it to be used chiefly as a piracy tool. This brings me back to wondering about whether the manufacturers of radar-detectors expect them to be used cheifly to avoid cops while speeding, but perhaps they actually are illegal, and the government has simply chosen not to prosecute.

    Before I read this article, I was completely convinced that the courts should find in Napster's favor. But the judge made some excellent points, and I was unaware of the internal letters. Now, I think I have changed my mind a bit. If Napster was founded in any spirit other than to profit from piracy, then I would side with them. As it is, I think they should have come up with some research to show that they have actually helped RIAA, and convinced RIAA not to sue in light of this research, or convinced the judge that they have not caused RIAA any damages. It appears they attempted the latter, and were unsuccessful. Either their research was flawed, or the judge was in error. I must say I don't have all the facts needed to decide which.

    If their research really was invalid, then Napster really is essentially intent on stealing from the RIAA (albeit in a very roundabout way) and they should pay damages and cease their illegal activity. If their research was valid, then I feel this, not fair use, should be their key argument (that no damages gives no cause for lawsuit) both in the current suit and the appeal, and I hope the judge finds in their favor.
  • Yes. Bug netzero to release it. It exists. It works on Linux. You can only get it with the NIC right now.

  • ... then Oracle (or another LJE bootstrapped company) will keep reinventing the NIC over and over and over again, until Windows dies the death it deserves.

    Not that I hate windows mind you, I actually use it on most of my machines (in large part because X is such a pain to get running on anything but "known" video cards...), but as Larry has suggested the quality of the software leaves a lot to be desired. Just try running ~4 dozen processes and see what happens to process startups and response time... Microsoft is "working" on this bug as I type...

    Do you think the NIC only runs in a constrained video mode because they couldn't figure out how to configure X otherwise... :-)

    Seriously though, if it puts the net into the hands of young people it is a big step forward.
  • 1) DVD: replace the CD with one. it's just a laptop CD drive.

    2) It'll do 1024x768, just not the stock CD version. they went for 'common' monitor size/freq
  • The one problem I have with the current trend of promoting easy-to-use tools to those who need them is that the Internet is being populated by those who do not know what they are doing, are (sometimes) gullible, and cheapen connectivity for the rest of us.

    It's far too late to complain about that. I had people complaining about all the clueless newbies when I got on the Net in 1988. Face it - it's september all year round now.

    I know many people who think the Internet is America Online.

    That's your job, to educate. I've rescued many people from AOL, and gotten them onto free services or with real ISPs. But sometimes they are too far gone, and don't want to abandon their AOL e-mail address. Sort of like the way old prisoners become attached to the prisons they are in.

  • That's the one I was thinking of - and I like the wireless connection as well...
  • What's this about a small set of repetitive tasks? This system is powerful enough for full remote access to hosts, and that means you can run anything you want.
  • Not at all. If you come out with a similar box, upgrading would be easy. If anything, this make the 'computer' a truly appliance like thing.

    Gee, I'm not locked into my toaster, or my oven, am I? I can junk the NIC and get something else IF something else is better. Remember, I'm not storing anything on the NIC (except a few bookmarks etc) So I'm totally free to use anything else instead. Try that on the average computer (Oh, I need to backup 10 gigs before I send my computer in to be replaced/fixed. Oops)
  • been done. I have an old Sigue Sigue Sputnik album with ads dor ID magazine And Vidal Sassoon Hair stuff.
  • It comes with ssh, telnet, VNC, citrix, irc, and you can Xhost +/- it, so you can use it as a Xterminal.

    It's missing a few toys (network sound, etc) but give them some time. It DOES include mpg123 and an ogg player too.
  • Webmail for now. Hotmail or Yahoo, for instance.

    I understand the plans include adding an IMAP mail program (no local storage, so POP tends to be out)

    That is one beauty of this: get a CD in the mail, and bingo, you are upgraded. So adding a IMAP program wouldn't be too hard.
  • Control alt delete will do this (kill netscape and restart)

    Also, just reboot, it only takes 1-2 minutes to reboot.
  • Done, asked for, it's coming. They will throw it onto a ftp site ASAP....
  • by Buttercup ( 22814 ) on Monday August 07, 2000 @04:20PM (#872620)
    You could probably repackage the iMac as a network computer for $325... maybe call it the iSore.

  • it already has 10/100 ethernet!
  • had a cd player/ripper with it. I'd love to buy a new cd, go to the car and have it copied and saved to my car's hard-drive while driving home listening to it. Then I just leave the cd at home and listen to it whenever i want while the car has it too.
  • i've been running mandrake now for several months. everything was running rather well and i was quite impressed compared to other distro's i've tried... the red hat compatibility is nice - especially for rpm's when it comes down to dependencies and such... but yes - supermount is VERY nice... until this last week where my old FAT32 harddrive that i just haven't bothered to format yet is no longer recognized by supermount for no reason whatsoever.. and now i can't get it to mount the traditional way. argh. i think it may have just died. :) if only on the install it would properly install my GLdrivers it would be perfect :)
  • I've been seriously considering this for a while, and given how all these decisions appear to go, I think it may be time to execute. What does anyone think of getting a class action together and suing the makers of ziploc baggies?

    The makers of this heinous product have given the common criminals of the world a fairly powerful method of drug storage and distribution. Ziplocs not only keep the drug in, but also keep out moisture! They help you to avoid being caught by limiting the odors that the drug emits. They can be used as a protective device when smuggling drugs in your intestinal tract!

    It's about time they were sued for contributory drug trafficking. Either A) They'd lose, and we'd no for sure that freedom is dead or B) They'd win, and we'd have proved the absurdity of the Napster suits. A manufacturer or programmer should be held liable for direct damage from the product. (Ziplocks coated with benzene before packaging would kill people, and it'd be there fault, but it would be your fault if you stored crack in it.) Likewise, Napster should be responsible if their software is actually a virus, but not if other people violate the law. What happened to the common carrier concept?

    The way telephone companies preserve their rights and avoid liability is by not censoring anything. As soon as they do, they become liable for anything they don't censor. By simply carrying any sound, they aren't forced to be police. That's what the police are for.

    Sue ziploc!! together we will win the battle against stupid lawsuits (or possibly just get lots of cash from ziploc).

  • Maybe they should have included wmNetscapeKiller []...

    From the page:

    wmNetscapeKiller is a WindowMaker dockapp for killing Netscape when it freezes (so many times) !
    Just one click on this dockapp : Netscape will be shut down and restart ! You can now (version 0.3) specify the program to kill and if you want to restart it or not.

  • What i really wonder about where this box is concerned is if the bios can be convinced to boot the 4 megs of flash.

    I mean, since it includes netscape and realplayer, it's probably Cyrix MediaGX or Geode based. So it's pretty plain jane stuff.

    The "4 megs EEPROM" is probably some sort of linear disk-on-chip. I have access to programmers for those sorts of things at work, and 4 megs is plenty to boot a minimal (say, router & mp3) system.

    Does anybody have info on the guts and the bios?

  • by chasec ( 157393 ) on Monday August 07, 2000 @04:29PM (#872627) Homepage
    I disagree; while commercial services may become popular, Napster and other file-sharing services will never go away. Look at opennap [] or gnutella []. I don't think these will go away anytime soon. A quick look at gnapster shows 46 opennap servers available. Gnutella has many thousands of hosts.
    Whether or not piracy is legal, it is unstoppable.

  • At least they got the OS right, even though having Netscape as your only browser will not be the best Internet Experience!!

    Everyone keeps bashing their decision to include Netscape as their browser. While Netscape is not perfect, I would like to know what they SHOULD have used.

    MS Internet explorer? Only in fantasy land, since they are running Linux
    Mozilla? They would never want to use a product still in beta
    Opera? Perhaps, but its not as familiar to people.
    Lynx? Yeah, right.

    So, what SHOULD they have used? I think Netscape was probably their best choice.

  • Hey,

    I wondered about this... by my testing, it looks like you were right. Here's what I did:

    I had to find a relitavely popular website. One that had publicbly viewable stats. I went for If you look at the site, apparently it had, like, a million hits so it seems like a good stats source to me. Obviously, it isn't a totally representative cross-section of teh internet-using population, but it's good enouth for our reasons. []

    Decided on this site, I looked at it's system stats []. Here are the stats for Resolution.

    Res -> Count -> % of total
    800x600 -> 139348 -> 41.32%
    1024x768 -> 124705 -> 36.98%
    1280x1024 -> 23333 -> 6.92%
    1152x864 -> 17569 -> 5.21%
    640x480 -> 17142 -> 5.08%
    Other -> 9909 -> 2.93%
    1600x1200 -> 5170 -> 1.53%

    So yes, most people do use 800x600, but 1024x768 isn't at all far behind. 16bpp was the top colour depth too. Good call.


    ...another insightless comment from Michael Tandy.
  • I installed a 2.5" HDD in my NIC and, with a bit of BIOS tweaking, I was able to get 1024x768x16bit color.
  • BTW, yes they do, if they distribute it in any manner, they have to give source. Go read the GPL.

    They modified blackbox, they will give sources for it. They didn't modify VNC (for instance) they must still give sources for it.

  • You laugh, but it's happened. A north NJ manufacturer of cologne bottles was prosecuted as a drug paraphernalia manufacturer. His little bottles had become the container of choice for crack. I think he got 30 years.
  • Take the Xerox lawsuit. They were sued because they aided in the duplication of copyrighted printed materials.

    Historical point? In the early days Xerox was like Napster. They got a percentage of every copy made. It wasn't until the Japanese started making cheap copy machines that Xerox dropped that. See Dealers Of Lightning".

  • The judge in this case is not given a responsibility to decidde ethics, only law. Our current law does not recognize the ethical value of destroying large corporations...

    In smaller cases, internet copyright infringement has already shut down smaller businesses. And the RIAA's entire point is that people are downloading songs/albums that they would have bought otherwise. That is the issue that the judge must rule on.

    Fair use does not permit you to copy an entire work. Read "The letter U and the numeral 2: Fair Use and copyright." by the band Negativland. Tone Loc was sued by Van Halen for the use of a guitar riff from "Jamie's Crying". Just a riff! Not the whole song.

    But it looks as though we might as well be debating the existance of God...
  • Actually, at the prices good computer speakers go for nowadays, I get the little bookshelf stereos and hook them up. At $200, they're pricey, but less than the Bose acoustimass....

    Add ihn the Auto DJ feature or a good playlist, it's better than a CD player at parties....
  • Try radar detectors then. I mean what can you say about a product with the brand name "Fuzzbuster"? It would be as if Napster had decided to name themselves "MusicThief" instead.
  • anyone know if NIC can mount nfs partitions... Also can it remeber them and automatically mount them on boot up (/etc/fstab)? Also I'm assuming you can boot any bootable cdrom... which means you can make your own custome OS right?
  • Or how about a stereo??? How many mp3 devices are there for a stereo setup?

    That's one of the primary reasons it has those nifty RCA's and separate power supply, so you can plug it in and use it at home. One of these suckers would be just fantastic for a small Party DJ business, by the way.

  • by Rombuu ( 22914 ) on Monday August 07, 2000 @03:24PM (#872641)
    Oracle is going to keep reinventing the "Network Computer" until people decide to actually start buying them, aren't they?
  • The court: But plaintiffs have argued, and I think persuasively, that defendant is capable of exercising supervisory powers over its service.
    This is a key element of the ruling. Napster was not just providing a device, with no assocation with the user after a sale. To wit:
    Although defendant, as I said, contends that it is technologically difficult to distinguish copyrighted and authorized from not copyrighted or copyrighted and unauthorized, defendant has taken great paints to inform the court about methods it uses for blocking users about whom rights holders complain. The defendant can in fact police, and will have to given the nature of its program and the very purposes of it, police its service. And the court finds that, in fact, the defendant does have the right and ability to supervise.
  • Ban the crowbars!

    Possession of legal software such as Napster should only be punished when a crime is proven to have been committed.


  • by Seth Finkelstein ( 90154 ) on Monday August 07, 2000 @11:01PM (#872655) Homepage Journal
    This was hilarious - regarding an amount of a bond to be posted: []
    Ramos: I begin by reference to your honor's analogy about the orphan asking for the mercy of the court. This is the orphan not only asking for the mercy of the court but asking the court for compensation for the loss of the parents the orphan killed.
  • From the ruling:

    [Songs available on Napster] are, in fact, uploaded or downloaded, or at least can be and generally are, in their entirety.

    This is a bad sign: clearly Judge Patel has never actually used Napster.


  • That's an interesting parallel, except that it isn't very parallel.

    In the case of Slim Jims, they are used frequently for legal purposes. It would be difficult to argue that 99.97% of Slim Jim use is illegal. A lot of criminals do use them, but it doesn't make up the overwhelming majority of use in the same way that Napster is overwhelmingly used for illegal purposes.

    Napster does have a legal use, but very, very, very (very, very) few always use it legally and that's unlikely to change.


  • Fair enough, and an accurate reading of current laws- however, you're missing something on a deeper level.

    One shoplifter is a criminal.

    A hundred shoplifters is a jail.

    A thousand shoplifters is a prison.

    A nation of shoplifters- is a new law.

    Politicians forget this at their peril. Judges? Judges don't need to understand it- it's not really their place to change the rules so ostentatiously. The politicians are the ones who have to be aware of situations like this.

    Expect it to continue to be a hot topic-for-the-common-man and great potential-vote-getter. Already politicians are looking askance at the RIAA side for making absurd claims (such as that the Home Recording Act means nothing and conveys no permissions to copy). Add to this the amount of cheap positive publicity available to politicians aligning themselves with that 'nation of shoplifters', many of whom may be perfect selfish one-issue voters, and there's little chance the rules will remain the same.

  • Oracle is going to keep reinventing the "Network Computer" until people decide to actually start buying them, aren't they?

    Yes, but I don't know why they keep aiming for the home market. The commercial world is desperate to get away from the high maintenance MS desktops they have now, and a network computer is perfect to achieve this. Yet Oracle still insist on aiming for the home market, where there isn't enough bandwidth for the things to work at their full potential. At least this time, they've got slightly more of a clue (apps on CD, rather than downloaded on demand).

  • by substrate ( 2628 ) on Monday August 07, 2000 @04:59PM (#872661)
    For a realistic survey they should've picked a suitable sized random population of music listeners who uses Napster and an equal sized random population of music listners who don't use Napster. I'm not too sure the results would've been any more favourable for the "But it encourages us to buy your CD's" argument, but thats just my personal statistics looking at highly payed engineer and computer scientist friends.

    Considering the quantity of beer consumed by college students, pleading poverty doesn't hold a whole lot of water though. It also doesn't excuse copywrite violation, music isn't a necessity and the radio is free as are most local bands if you bother to go to the bars where they play.

  • > On that note, where's the ability to read email?

    Er, stick a paper clip in the CDROM hole. Take out the CD. Put in whatever bootable CD you want (Linux, windows, BSD, ProDOS-86...). Intentionally or not, they've allowed the things to be easily hackable.
  • by Proteus ( 1926 ) on Monday August 07, 2000 @05:06PM (#872663) Homepage Journal
    Having read the transcript, I find that the judge, though seemingly having a small amount of bias toward the RIAA, did its best to make a fair ruling. That's not to say I agree with it.

    Particularly troubling is the Court's assertion that a personal computer does not constitute a home audio recording device. This could raise the issue of recording MP3's for personal use could come under fire. Besides that, since a PC can be (and commonly is) used to record audio, I think it falls well into the definition of a Home Audio Recording Device. If you doubt it's common, why does Windows include Sound Recorder??

    That one comment is enough to make me a bit wary of the Judge's technical understanding of what is at stake in the Napster trials.

    All of that said, I do think Napster et al will have a hard time showing that their primary purpose is noninfringing -- they shot themselves in the foot by advertising thier capacity to allow users to infringe. I think it would be in thier best interest to show why someone who legally owns a song (i.e. on CD) would download rather than rip an MP3. I think that case could be made: with my DSL, I can download a song much faster than I can rip and encode!


  • You know I had a thought about Imac's earlier and your post reminded me of it...

    6 (or 7) years ago my high school (which I was a junior in way back then) finally upgraded their computers to something a bit more modern and bought newer macs to replace their aged aple IIe's. These PC's were one unit (monitor and cpu/inards in one box) and only had a keyboard that could conenct to them (they even lacked network ports). They also only had a CD-rom drive and floppy...

    The thought is besides the support for USB (which had yet to be invented then) and the fact they had a floppy (which was required for the schools use, becuase of those tiny 500 Mb HD's mostly) they were just like Imacs without the funky colored cases... So why was the Imac a 'new' concept...? Funky colors? Lack of that floppy? USB?

    Maybe it's just me, but I don't see those as being soemthign that make the Imac new and not the same old thing made current...
  • by TJamieson ( 218336 ) on Monday August 07, 2000 @05:27PM (#872666)
    Just wanted to say, I've found when visiting non-english sites that FreeTranslation works better than the Fish. for those interested.
  • Did you read your own quote?

    I don't think any of them are ... what you would call without flaw.

    The judge specifically denies the validity of the evidence claiming Napster harmed record sales; he also denies the validity of the evidence claiming Napster helped record sales. This evidence was not part of his decision.

    You're the biased one, my friend. You misread that one quite badly.

  • 4 megs is plenty to boot a minimal (say, router & mp3) system.

    But with only one ethernet card, and no options for adding more (unless you go for some kind of USB->ethernet nastiness), you're not going to have much of a router. That's the main reason I'm not going to be buying one. It'd make a great little firewall box, if only I could get two network cards into it.

  • I wrote the original troll, and believe it or not, it was actually relevant and satirical at the time -- the story was about the proliferation of Gnutella/Freenet type schemes (why the /. crowd seem to love Gnutella when they're clearly ripping off the FSF by pretending to be Gnu when they ain't is beyond me, btw). I am, shall we say, not pleased that my intellectual property (which is mine, btw, as clearly admitted by Slashdot in their disclaimer) is being abused in this way and turned into spam. I've asked Malda et al politely to do something about this abuse, but so far no luck -- I think they don't realise that while Microsoft cares about the bad publicity associated with getting tough, I don't.

    In answer to your question, my original half-assed idea would be that, if you'd developed a product after ripping off GPL code, but added proprietary extensions to that code, you might want to distribute your derivative product as freeware, to build up a user base who could then be locked in. But you'd want to do so anonymously, so that the FSF could never prove it was you that had distributed it (proprietary derivative works for internal use are OK). So you could pay a fee to the GPLNet gateway (me) and we'd do your dirty work, untraceably. The revenue model doesn't really work, but nor does FreeNet's.

    But the really important point here is the violation of my property rights. I didn't mind this spam in the past, but they've now stolen something that belongs to me. I hold VA Linux, the owner of this site, responsible.

  • What musicians should do is start placing ads in the songs and charging advertisers for 'ears' -
    That's Right! Just give the music away (with a small fee for cd's and physical media) but start each number off with a smartly targeted advert for a meal at McDonalds or whatever, paid for by McD, make it short enough that reaching for the advance button isn't worth it - and bury the ad in the song somewhere unexpected, so you've just d/l'd the latest Metallica track and say 1.25 minutes in the music fades a little and Lars comes on with a pitch for Spencers Gifts or something...... That oughta please everyone. Well, at least folks would have to go thru the trouble of editing it out and leaving a abrupt inexplicable transition so that it's obvious something was cut.

  • The "Linmdoem" pages here [] should provide more than enough info on the subject.

    google is always your friend. :)
  •'s only good for Internet surfing. If they add StarOffice, you hook up a USB printer (if Linux supports them, I'm not sure, and I'm too lazy to look) and it'd be perfect as a machine for granny. They've got 490MB still left on their system CD, so it's feasable...

    ...wait a second...this smells fishy. Aren't they breaking GPL somehow? I know it sounds weird, but they don't give you a system SOURCE CD! RMS will be furious if he finds out about this! ;-)

    All in all, that NIC is a neat idea! It even has a NIC, so you can hook up your cable modem to it as well! (Get it, the NIC has a NIC...har har har?)

  • by geist42 ( 210106 ) on Monday August 07, 2000 @05:58PM (#872683) Homepage
    I just recently bought one of these as well, just to see what it was about. Arrived in the mail a few days ago, pretty small little thing, but it was up on the internet in about 2 minutes. Theres really not much to it, first thing i did after hooking it up was to take it apart of course, small little 8x8 inch motherboard, its got a pentium looking processor there (socket 7 it looks like), along with a standard pc100 DIMM, a laptop cdrom (hooked up with a standard IDE cable, ill tell you why thats important in a bit.) and whats this.. A normal Award bios chip. This got me thinking.. I hope someone can help, or at least tell me im nuts, but I have an extra motherboard here, with a flashable bios award chip, looks the same size and all. I figure I can take the bios chip that came with the NIC, take it out, and take a brand new flashed bios chip, hook up a hard drive to the ide cable, and wala. Ive had this idea in my head the day I got it, but havent been able to work on it yet. I figure I can get some sort of generic award bios, which should let me in there to tell it what hard drive it has, and bootup to a small and cheap linux box. If anyone is interested in this, post back, ill put up a review of it after im done, if anyone else does it lemme know! (by the way the thing gets damn hot!) I might have it up on if I get a chance, been very busy lately though.


  • Uh-huh. And a POSIX SCSI cable, I suppose?

    Hint: POSIX only does Unixy standards. Language specs are generally ANSI, ISO, or both.
  • Slim Jims.

    They were created so car theives could pop your door lock. Theives invented them, and their primary purpose was to break and enter/grand theft.

    Legal. Why? Because there was a legal use; So police, emergency personel and the average schmo could unlock his car without keys.

    That's the way it has worked in meatspace, and the way it should stay on the 'net.
  • Oh that's right, so many of us 19-30 year olds vote so very often that we, alone, could unseat a judge. SUUUUUREE. Just like we could vote in a president. The fallacy that if "everyone voted, we'd win" goes back to the Simpsons (everything in this life does) episode where Bart runs for class president. Sure he's gonna win, he's got all the polls...but then only Martin and his buddy vote and guess who's president? As an age-group we don't vote enough. I've voted every time I've had the option since I turned eighteen, but how many of my compatriots in college did? Maybe 20%. 1 in 5. IF I'm lucky. Pathetic, isn't it? The judges aren't changing the rules "ostentatiously" they're just enforcing the ones we already have. I don't think Dubya is gonna get up on the stand and say "I wanna Free Napster" neither is Gore, for that matter. It's all sans-point if you ask me.

  • Yes, thanks for the correction. I was typing quicker than I was thinking. The Xerox sales force got some fractional percentage of the sale price of the machine for each copy made on that machine. Each machine had a counter, and every month some guy in a crisp white shirt would "read the meter".

  • Are you sure about this? I just bought a Slim Jim and tried opening someone's car door with it, and it just gets all mushed up and stuff. And it doesn't even taste good anymore. Perfectly good wasted of a buck, if you ask me.

    Maybe I should have let it sit out in the sun for a week to get harder or something.
  • It seems really cool... but surely there are better uses then a car!

    Hell, with a 200MMX, I could use one that fit's in a drive bay! (Tho' if I could pay for one, I could pay for a better processor....)

    Or how about a stereo??? How many mp3 devices are there for a stereo setup?

    "I trust in my abilities,
  • Let's be a bit more complete, eh? Case, ram, etc?

    8G HD, Quantum (discontinued), new: $41
    Monitor, Komodo, 15", bought new with rebate: $99
    M571 mobo, Alladin, SS7, new: $27
    32M PC66 SDRAM, used but tested: $34
    AMD K6-II 475, used but tested: $25
    Cheap mid-tower: $40
    Sales Tax (Michigan): $15.96
    Total: $281.96

    You can do a bit better if you pick and choose.
  • by Hoyt ( 19337 )

    Mine arrived Friday. Very cool: Netscape with Flash, Realplayer. It uses a PCTEL software modem, a PCnet ethernet chip, SoundPro sound chip, SiS 5597 chipset and an SiS 7001 USB chip. The boared is a mini-ATX with a 100 Watt power supply; the case is about the size of a phone book.

    The coolest part is the 4MB EEPROM - it is configured as /dev/hdb1 and the CDROM is mounted as /dev/hda. You can access the BIOS on boot-up with "delete". Setting up a dial-up connection or a LAN connection is easy. It should be trivial to replace the CD-ROM with a hard drive, but there is no room in the case.

    You boot up into Netscape and remain there. The NIC uses the Blackbox window manager, but it just displays a pretty graphic in the root window - no right or left click choices to make except re-start browser.

    With only 190 MB of stuff on the CDROM itself, it would be easy to add programs you want, change default values, etc., and burn a new CD-ROM. There may be some copyright issues with the NIC software, however. You should even be able to make a DOS bootable CD and load DOS-based games (Quake anyone?).

    I was able to boot DemoLinux on it, but without the drivers, The sound, modem asnd ethernet wouldn't work. It would be pretty easy to hack DemoLinux to include the drivers and produce a full Linux with StarOffice.

    I was able to open an xterm from my main box on teh NIC and display X apps on it remotely. It does suffer from font server problems, however. IF the video is capable of 1024x768 @ 72 Hz, it could make a great X Terminal.

    I hope to have some pics up at the Peninsula Linux Users Group website [] before long.

  • It's definately a Linux box, running Netscape Navigator ...

    Cool. Now that I have a Java webserver, I'll start working on my IPO ;)

    It's as mean as kicking a puppy, but I couldn't help myself.


  • That Glad, makers of Ziplock(tm) baggies, doesn't have a list of places where you can buy drugs in their baggies.

  • You know, I'd pay $199 just for a nethack terminal.
  • Sony did NOT invent VHS. They invented the Betamax, which had higher quality than JVC's format. (and yes, I've done side-by-side testing, so don't try to refute the facts)
    As for small Ziploc bags, their great for storing all the little figures that come with Shogun, a game no geek household should be without.


    Freedom is Slavery! Ignorance is Strength! Monopolies offer Choice!
  • That "bong" is spelled 'bhong' just for starters, and were designed in times when cannabis was legal. And furthermore, their primary use is for the smoking of tabac and other herbal smoking mixes. Also, in many places and states the selling of bhongs is illegal as well as possession. Here in Richmond, owning a bhong is punishable by a $500 fine. Used or not used.

    The one inch square bags are also excellent for the storage of various herbs etc...

    But the debate rages in another direction:

    Napster from it's initiation was designed for the piracy of music, advertised itself as "The Place" to steal music, and then covered their pages and FAQ's with lines about how the recording industry can't stop them etc...

    If ziplock baggies had a big starburst on the front of the package stating "Now keeps Pot 30% fresher!" and had a logo of a little Joint hanging out in his ziplock "pad", they'd probably run into some problems with the law.

    Slim Jim's are not advertised as "The quickest way to Drive Off your Dream Car", neither are Paper Clips advertised for picking locks on desks, coffee filters are not advertised as the best hash filter you'll find. Even the darn horoscopes in 7-11 are not audacious enough to advertise "Glass Case makes ideal crack pipe!".

    Anything can be used to commit a crime in one way or another but they do not advertise them as such because they realize that there will be repercussions. Why did Napster take off while Gnutella has lingered in the "What's that?" bin?? Because they not only based their service around the theft, they provided easy to follow instructions and tech support. That does make them accomplices.

    Look at L0phtcrack... Is that advertised as the latest greatest hacking utility?? Do they have instructions for attaching to port 139 and getting the Sam DB?? No, it is a security utility for checking your own orginizations passwords. (So they say... L0phtcrack and NetBus are the best computer programs since grep and more...)

    The real truth of this is that a nation of shoplifters are mad at the security guard for busting them. I bet alot of the same people bitch about not getting paid for shareware, etc... (The rest either have no thoughts worth stealing [i.e. 99.9% of the world] or believe in free software and wonder if some big company is stealing from his code.) Even those in the last category should frown on Napster for the way they "protect" copyrights etc...

    If Napster had tried to copyright "A file sharing system based on a database of user files across the internet" this forum would be full of rabid protest. Now it's just a bunch of kids who don't want their cookie jar taken away.

    The problem with Napster is not function, but form.


    Put an end to the post office! That's who delivers my seeds!
  • by slashTadhg ( 90217 ) on Monday August 07, 2000 @08:17PM (#872716)

    I don't think the judge is biased in the narrow sense, but rather in the larger sense in that she is a conservative (not in the sense of 'Republican') who will simply interpret the law according to previous cases and the current laws--without regard to larger issues, such as constitutional limits on the powers of copyright, or examination of how these laws are getting out of hand. And that's not all a judge's role is, in fact. Judges can and have made larger, more sweeping, statements. But Patel isn't of that mold, I suspect. Here's a pretty key statement, in my opinion:

    "I cannot essentially sit by [because the infringement is hard to justify], and plaintiffs are entitled to enforce their copyright rights and not have them infringed just because the nature of the technology is such that it's too hard to identify."

    This is a fairly sweeping statement. Basically, this would allow the copyright-holders to enforce their copyrights against anything. Including the net as a whole. This is another area where the judge is not, in my opinion, considering the implications of the current state of copyright law. Also, no consideration anywhere is made of the good that the Napster service provides to the community in general. Again, a conservative and narrow view, focused on money and profit, because that's the traditional focus of this kind of case. That's not entirely Patel's fault, of course.

    Another thing that interests me is the fact that intent is considered, quite explicitly, by Patel. I didn't realize that the intent of the creators of a device could have such a large part to play in the legal fate of that device. If Napster had been created in all innocence of infringement issues, would it have a stronger defense? Or can intent merely be used as ammunition for the plaintiffs? It's hard, at this point, to imagine innocence or in fact almost anything being a viable argument, based on intent, for the defense. Which again is more of a systemic issue--one that Patel is not that concerned with, in my opinion. Naturally this brings up some of the weaknesses of the judicial system in general, but I won't address that here.

    So, what's next? If difficulty-of-enforcement is no defense, what networks are safe? The only real defense that the net itself has is that it is distributed, that it is really really big (in terms of numbers using) and that it was around for quite some time before an suits were brought against it (which would give it some defense in the intent stakes, and make it seem more like a victim of late-coming abusive users than a collaborator in copyright infringement). But any new network is it real trouble, because it doesn't have any of those defenses, and proving innocence of intent will be almost impossible. So, the copyright rulings have an additional chilling factor on technological development as well as the already-existing one on free speech; cf. cases concerning parody in particular. It would seem that the only real hope is for some titanic ruling (such as one against the entire Internet) that dramatically shows up the deleterious effects of the current 'IP' laws, and thus brings about a radical shift in direction. I'm not holding my breath.

    The final page of the transcript, showing Patel's exchanges with the attorneys, supports the above view. Patel (and I suspect she is in the mainstream of American judicial opinion here) considers Napster (and probably any other new thing that comes along and facilitates copyright infringement) to be a genie let out of the bottle. And she considers it the responsibility of Napster, the company, to put it back in the bottle. In other words, any new thing that is created that can be used to infringe copyright is going to be forced, judicially, to deal with that use or cease operation. That may sound reasonable at first, but look at it more closely and think again. Copyright infringement is very easy to do these days, due to the massive efforts put in by interested parties to extend the concept of copyright. What this ruling, and the laws that made it possible, essentially do is give to the major interested parties (MPAA, RIAA, etc.) the power to veto new technologies.

    ('Hey look, I've created a device that can duplicate anything! An end to poverty! An end to hunger! An end--what? You're representing who? What do you mean, an injunction?')

  • The NIC sounds good for a lot of thing, but has two big problems, IMO:

    1) If I'm going to have a little hang-on-network / sit on counter Anything Box, I greedily want it to play DVDs.

    2) The resolution. If it can't do XGA, I dunno if it's worth it. It's just not an 800x600 world any more ...

    It's still very tempting as a public terminal for the common room in my apt, so my two roommates can check their email from it ... hmmm.

  • It's good to see Oracle still working on NCs. This kind of specialized device really is the way of the future. When the American consumer culture grows up and starts thinking, Oracle will be there waiting.

    Think NCs are too limited to be useful? How come your TV doesn't also cut your grass? Exactly.

  • This is an absolutely awesome MP3 system for the car. It is custom built to fit neatly into a standard stereo port, plug in to your speakers, draw power, etc. Very nice job, even includes a cool little remote and some neat software for display on the little LCD.

    I wonder what the use of the software is without the player. I mean, are you really gonna spend the thousands to make your own, or what? Of course, I'm always all for GPLing everything in sight, but is this really that important? There is no indication that I know of that the company is open to outside modifications of their code.
  • Anytime a group of people start trying to subdivide the tasks a computer can/cannot do it is fairly frightening.

    You must be easily frightened.

    Many people don't want a multi-purpose, do-all, end-all device. It is often a valid idea to dedicate a box to a single function (firewall for instance). If my mom only wants to access email from home, why buy an $800.00 box that can do more than she wants when a $200.00 box will suffice?

  • by gunner800 ( 142959 ) on Monday August 07, 2000 @03:35PM (#872722) Homepage
    Would suing over the SAMBA name seem so clueless in Germany?

    My mom is not a Karma whore!
  • by Kalrand ( 177637 ) on Monday August 07, 2000 @03:38PM (#872725)
    Hmm... All we need is a NIC running a GNU mp3 player stapeled to my dashboard and WHAMO!

    Instant car mp3 player.


    -the voice of reason
  • As to the fourth factor, plaintiffs have produced evidence that Napster use harms the market for the copyrighted work in at least two ways, and we've had a number of studies, and I will spell out in the order the problems with some of those studies. I don't think any of them are, you know, what you would call without flaw.

    I think that this is good proof of the judge not paying ay attention to Napster in this case. Everything I have seen from this case has involved the judge being already prejudiced, and attacking napster. Every study that has shown that Napster depletes music sales has been paid for by the RIAA. Napster does increase music sales, and the RIAA is ust trying to obfuscate the facts with their pre-paid judge. Napster, until they get an honest, objective judge, doesn't stand a chance.
  • " why someone who legally owns a song (i.e. on CD) would download rather than rip..."
    I have done this on several occasions where I have a scratch or error on a CD. Two example I can think of are the Vangelis version of the Bladerunner soundtrack and the Foo Fighters' Color and the Shape CD - both of these CDs in my collection skip at a particular point. In one case I downloaded the file, in another a friend also had the CD so I was able to quickly grab a copy of the damaged track.

    There. Anyone in the current legal battles reading this? Anyone?

  • by evanbd ( 210358 ) on Monday August 07, 2000 @07:07PM (#872736)
    My TV does...sorta...

    After much duct tape, electrical tape, solder, etc. My ride-on lawnmower now has HDTV, a DVD player, and 5.1 Dolby Digital surround sound. It also has a NIC running over 802.11b to the home network and internet connection, all properly hacked together off the lawnmower alternator. The power was unclean at first, but that got fixed after only 3 computers and 2 DVD players. The TV seems to not like the bumps, and is slowly getting more staticky (sp?). Oh yeah, I decided I needed a splashguard after that incident with the neighbor's cat, so now it's waterproof too. Anyway, my wife is now telling me to stop mowing the lawn all the time. I can't decide whether I just shouldn't mow it three times a week or if she's just mad about the rosebush. But all in all, not too bad. Lemme know if you want more details.


  • Why in the hell would you want a router and MP3 player on the same system? Sorry the network is so slow today Boss, it must be that damm Seti @ Home screensaver thing on the print server and that stack of CDs that the router is ripping!

    Ahh, earth to anonymous coward. We have one ethernet and one (soft) 56k modem in the box. Clearly, this isn't a business solution in the first place.

    What's more, a 266mhz Cyrix MediaGX kicks the pants off the Mips cpu in, say, a Cisco 7206/VXR. And that's a $20,000 router.

    I look at this like it's hobby junk. It's got to be lower power consumption than the DEC Multia currently driving my network, and faster too.

    I get the impression you've never even attempted to build a router from scratch. You really don't need a lot of cpu horsepower. Most of the stuff from Cisco, etc, tops out at about 200mhz, and those things are running BGP. If you're just doing simple static stuff, 99% of the time, your cpu is going to be idle. Why waste the cycles on a non-critical system?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 07, 2000 @07:17PM (#872744)
    If you people would bother to read the RIAA response to Napster's stay request, you'd see the clear difference.

    Take the Xerox lawsuit. They were sued because they aided in the duplication of copyrighted printed materials. Same with the Sony lawsuit - their VHS technology allowed the reproduction of television transmissions, and allowed the duplication of copyrighted casettes.

    The difference being - Sony and Xerox sell a consumer good. At the point of sale, their involvement in the use of the product ends. They don't have a wire going into their boxes from their headquarters feeding it copyrighted stuff - they just say "Here you go, do what you want."

    Napster, on the other hand, is involved during the entire process. They own the client, and they own the servers that allow the sharing of files. If they would've been more like Gnutella where client connects to another client with no middleman servers, RIAA probably wouldn't have as strong of a case. Instead, they opened themselves to liability by incorporating a business solely to aid in the distribution of copyrighted materials.
  • by seebs ( 15766 ) on Monday August 07, 2000 @08:39PM (#872748) Homepage
    POSIX doesn't specify compilers. You mean an ANSI/ISO compiler with a POSIX library.

    Compiler and library are, fairly often, separate tools.

    It's dimly possible that POSIX has special C++ bindings, but so far as I know, they still just use the POSIX C bindings, and rely on the link-compatability with C++.

    There is no such thing as POSIX C++. There is such a thing as ISO C++ on a POSIX system, but that's subtly different.

  • It wasn't clueless, it was a standard trademark 'infringment' (or whatever it's called when someone steps on your trademark) suit. Two pieces of networking software with the same name, one who has the trademark registered to them. You're just being treated to some of /.'s off-the-cuff bias.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I wish slashdot would just stop giving Napster publicity. Their illegal and antisocial software thrives on the oxygen of publicity. Slashdot seems so keen to take sides here.

    I am a musician (quite well known, so posting anonymously) and I am sick to the depth of my stomach of these criminals stealing my art and depriving me of my rightful rewards.

    How would Commander Taco and Cow-Boy Neil like it if I stood outside their house giving away free crowbars to any passing criminal, so they could break into the 'geek compound' ?

    Napster is exactly the same.

    In the UK there is a law against 'going equipped' to comitt a crime. Posession of illegal software like napster should be punished, and punished severely. Nothing less than a custodial sentance will send the message - Music Piracy == COMMON THEFT.

  • The OS is on CD-ROM. Why wait when you can start market penetration, and release a patch? Sounds sort of like most games of late, doesn't it?
  • by AethericFlux ( 119768 ) on Monday August 07, 2000 @04:02PM (#872757)
    But selecting out college students, I don't think was inappropriate and, therefore, does not negate the entire study.

    Sure... pick the market segment most technologically able and with the lowest income, and then whinge about the fact that they don't buy your music.
    'OK... I just won't bother eating for a week, then I can buy myself a CD.'

  • by HamNRye ( 20218 ) on Monday August 07, 2000 @08:59PM (#872761) Homepage

    Another thing that interests me is the fact that intent is considered, quite explicitly, by Patel. I didn?t realize that the intent of the creators of a device could have such a large part to play in the legal fate of that device. If Napster had been created in all innocence of infringement issues, would it have a stronger defense?

    Gosh, that seems pretty reasonable to me... The issue that we're debating is not the legality etc..., but the state of the injunction. Since their primary intent and raison'd'etre is music piracy, should the site be shut down while we consider the legality of this? Yes. If their primary intent and business was the sharing of (non-copyrighted) cookie recipes, can you justify the shutting down of the entire site?? They are not being blamed for an unexpected side effect, or unintentional use, but for designing and promoting a tool to be used for theft. From your comment it would seem you are not a total stranger to law, isn't this considered "malice and forethought"??

    At this point I would like to point out that I refer to it as theft because that is what it is under modern law.

    Judges are taught to observe the "Letter of Law" as well as the "Spirit of Law", IMHO, Napster has definitely violated the letter of the law, [All rights reserved. Unauthorized duplication, hiring, lending public performance, and broadcasting is a violation of applicable laws.] and is treading a fine line with the spirit of the law. By conservative we mean to say she more closely observes the letter of the law, as opposed to the spirit of the law. Napster is trying to turn this in to a debate of copyright laws, but in reality they are simply trying to profit from an illegal trade. (Isn't that the CIA's [] job??)

    The point is that they tread shaky legal ground in this arena and they have the audacity to tease the lions. If you reverse engineer a program to figure out why it crashes your system is that different than doing it to sell a "pirated" version?? I do believe so. What happened with Napster was not an unexpected consequence, but the design and purpose of the system.

    Why do we love the laws against spam and rail against the laws against theft? I guess that we're just not the victims.....

    Perhaps we should just phrase it "All technology is good except that which can be used to spy on or annoy me. If the technology harms a large enough corporation it's even better."


    "I'm not biased, just consistent in my position."

  • I've got a network testing/development lab, and a
    $200 little box that goes "ping" sounds amazingly useful. Does anybody know if it'll run without a keyboard (at least after it's first configured)? Can you give them static IP addresses, or do they always need DHCP?

    I've got other ways to solve the problem - half a dozen doorstop Pentium60 boxes, but they take a lot of rack space, need keyboards and mice, make noise, and occasionally want to have monitors on them, and I've got enough other things to do with them that a couple of NICs would be a real asset. (Also, they're cheap enough I might be able to buy them on the "cheap parts and junk" budget instead of the "more bureaucracy required" budget :-)
  • Well, according to this portion [] of the census, the median net worth of all households is about $38k, but for those under 35 years, it's under $6k. There aren't any age/DPI statistics that I can find, but the age/income charts [] seem to agree with the net worth statements noting that in households headed by 15-24 year olds, the average income is $23,564, but in $25-34 year olds, it's $40,069. This would seem to imply that people over the college age make more money than people in college.

    Remember that the "HUGE" amount of money somebody is making in college probably is fractional to what their future salary will be, and while $1k/month is a huge allowance, it's nothing compared to the salary of a college grad, especially for college grads who go to schools where $1k/month allowances are common.

  • by Seth Cohn ( 24111 ) on Monday August 07, 2000 @09:40PM (#872775)
    Got a NIC in the first shipment. Added a bash shell hack the first night. Posted screenshots to the website the first night. (

    It's a cute little box, and for the price, quite reasonable. Try to build a thin client cheaper, and you'd be hard pressed. Yes, you could add a harddrive, but WHY?

    Runs Linux, quite nicely. It's a homebrew, not based on anyone else's distro. This from the horse's mouth...

    The 4 meg is an IDE flash disk, and it's a little daughterboard. You could remove it and use it elsewhere (hint hint)

    The guys at Thinknic are GREAT... and they have been VERY very supportive and more on the mailing list(s). Everything we could wish for and more.

    As for the GPL, they ARE going to release source... already asked for it, and it's been assured to me they will be taking care of it. In fact, I told them that a /. thread was gonna happen on it. Gee, I love when I'm right (too easy to predict /. these days)

    Tonight I cracked the root password for the box, so I not only own one, I 0wN one. (grin)

    Personally, I want to see additional CD and flash stuff developed for it. It's happening now... check out the mailing lists for more details (

    Larry has a hit on his hands. I can see lots of people and companies buying these. Custom CDs will be used by companies, making upgrading a breeze. Schools, hotels, libraries, other public places will benefit from a cheap and useful terminal that won't be easily broken.

    Summary: Recommended. Highly. Cheap and good.

  • The bios will work fine without a flash.
    It's a standard bios.

    This ain't an I-opener, and unlike the I-opener, the thinknic guys are very helpful.

    add a HD if you want, but why? No challenge, and the space and PS aren't up to it. CD or flash is much more fun to play with and hack around on.

    The motherboard should be overclockable, so take out the cyrix 266 and put in something stronger, etc... that might be fun. etc...etc...

  • Well, if your college days were anything like mine, a keg of beer cost less than my average bartab these days. Remember $6 cases of beer. and $8 1.75 liter bottles of vodka? When I was in college it wasn't even a decision, 3.5 liters of vodka, or one cd. The vodka was crystal palace, not grey goose or vox. the "good" gin was beefeater, not sapphire. And appleton estate for rum? nah, the best we ever had was the trusty captain. I'm also quite certain that our champagne was never PJ, Moet, Dom or Cristall. And don't forget frat parties... depending on which school I pick, they were either 100% free, or about $3, all you could drink. If I drank my current beverages in college quantity, my checking account would give out long before my liver did. Remember that when you're saying that the ability to get plastered == the ability to afford cds.
  • by pheonix ( 14223 ) <slashdot&ibloviate,org> on Monday August 07, 2000 @04:07PM (#872779) Homepage
    Personally, I think this is a brilliant idea. As a internet connected "appliance" for people like my grandparents (who are vaguely interested in this "newfangled internet thing") or those who have no real need or desire for a PC, but wish to get email and browse the web.

    On that note, where's the ability to read email? You'd only be able to use web based email as far as I can tell with this. That seems like a mistake. How much more difficult would it have been to add the ability to use NS Communicator and have one piece of functionality added? It wouldn't have added much overhead, space, or difficulty, so far as I can tell.

    Any ideas why they didn't include something of that nature?
  • by Hrunting ( 2191 ) on Monday August 07, 2000 @04:10PM (#872781) Homepage
    To be honest, I've never had much success with Mandrake (I've tried to install their distro both by FTP and from a CD image numerous times and always had it fail for some non-user-related error (a crash, a failed dependency, something). However, they most unheralded project which they currently support and use has got to be Supermount []. The new author (forget his name) has managed to update the patches all the way up to 2.3.99pre5, and those patches should work with the latest 2.4.0test kernels as well.

    What does supermount do? Basically, it virtually mounts your filesystems and then monitors the drives to see whether or not they should be really mounted. This means that you can mount the floppy drive as supermountfs, stick in a floppy, access the drive, remove the floppy, stick in a new floppy, access the drive, etc. etc. Basic removeable media flexibility, just like other OSs. It's something that Linux desperately needs to allow it to compete in the desktop market, and it isn't a kludge like autofs.

    I've used it for quite some time with no problems, but Mandrake continues to help maintain this when it needs to and their distro has included it for quite some time. I may not be able to use Mandrake, but at least I can use some of their efforts.
  • I use netscape 4.73 to surf the web, and I can't say I find it to be 100% reliable. The same can be said about just any browser I suppose, but is someone not familiar with computers going to figure out how to pop open a terminal and type 'killall -9 netscape'? Other than that, I'm bout ready to buy one myself!

"Let every man teach his son, teach his daughter, that labor is honorable." -- Robert G. Ingersoll