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Slashback: ODF Wars, Duval Layoff, French DRM 274

Slashback tonight brings some corrections, clarifications, and updates to previous Slashdot stories, including a response from Mandriva's CEO, Apple responds to French DRM legislation, Microsoft possibly undermining ODF ISO approval, a more in-depth look at Fedora Core 5, more thoughts on the GPLv3, and Britannica strikes back at Wikipedia -- Read on for details.

Mandriva CEO responds to Duval Layoff. UltimaGuy writes "Duval has detailed his side of the story, 'Fired. Yes. Simply fired, for economical reasons, along with a few other ones. More than 7 years after I created Mandrake-Linux and then Mandrakesoft, the current boss of Mandriva "thanks me" and I'm leaving, sad, with my two-month salary indemnity standard package. It's difficult to accept that back in 1998 I created my job and the one of many other people, and that recently, on a February afternoon, Mandriva's CEO called to tell me that I was leaving.' Mandriva's CEO has responded, stating that 'Gael was not fired. This term would imply something wrong on his part, which was not the case. He was laid off.'"

Apple responds to French DRM legislation. Sardon writes "In the aftermath of France's move to force companies to open their DRM, Apple has shot back. Calling the proposed legislation "state-sponsored piracy," Apple complained loudly about the prospects of opening up their DRM, arguing that DRM interoperability tools would just increase piracy. However, as the article points out, DRM interoperability isn't likely to make a significant contribution to piracy, seeing as how P2P networks are already flooded. If the measure passes the French Senate, Apple may consider closing its music operations in France."

Microsoft possibly undermining ODF ISO approval. Andy Updegrove writes "If you haven't been paying attention to the odf(oasis) vs. xmlrs(microsoft) format wars, here is what is happening... Both formats need iso approval. This process is very thorough all complaints and gripes are heard and reviewed, which takes quite a bit of time. It is easy for voters to slow this process down considerably. And, our good friends Microsoft joined a very small subcommittee called 'V1 Text Processing: Office and Publishing Systems Interface.' It just so happens that this small subcommittee (six companies - including Microsoft) is the entity charged with reconciling the votes that are being cast in the ISO vote to adopt the OASIS OpenDocument Format. So, presumably, Microsoft is going to delay ODF's ISO approval in hopes of xmlrs getting approval first and being the chosen format in Europe."

A more in-depth look at Fedora Core 5. LinuxForums has posted a much more in-depth look at the install process and functionality of the new Fedora Core 5 release. From the article: "I have to say though: this distribution impressed me in a way that no other distribution did before. Some things should of course be improved, such as the automatic hardware detection or, as mentioned above, the menus. But apart from these little details I can confidently say that Fedora Core 5 is the best desktop GNU/Linux distribution available at the moment."

More thoughts on the GPLv3. Guttata writes "Forbes has an interview with Richard Stallman on the upcoming GPLv3, which touches on Linus' stance on keeping the kernel at GPLv2. The article also shows Stallman's take on DRM, especially in reference to areas such as TiVo." Relatedly Glyn Moody writes "The FSF's General Counsel, Eben Moglen, explains why there is no situation in which the brokenness or otherwise of the GPL is ever an issue. Thanks to copyright law, GPL violators are always in the wrong."

Britannica strikes back at Wikipedia. tiltowait writes "Remember that study published by Nature magazine which likened Wikipedia's reliability to that of Encyclopedia Britannica? Well, Britannica has released -- not corrections -- but a corporate response stating that 'Nature's research was invalid [...] almost everything about the Nature's investigation was wrong and misleading.' So then, is this just one more example of how refereed journals can't be trusted?"

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Slashback: ODF Wars, Duval Layoff, French DRM

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  • He was reassigned. He won't need to come into the office. He can do this job from home. Call it early retirement, but without pension.
    • He was reassigned. He won't need to come into the office. He can do this job from home. Call it early retirement, but without pension.

      This reminds me of a movie Startup.Com ( []). It was about a couple guys who had an idea- to have a website that sold city services. Instead of going to the city to buy a license plate sticker, they sold it on-line. Want to pay a parking ticket? Do it at their website. Good idea.

      So, early on, one of the founders decides to cash in for a couple

  • Uhh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ( 782137 ) < minus poet> on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @08:09PM (#14977025) Homepage Journal
    I'm not exactly a cheerleader for the P2P-ftw free-the-culture anarcho-whatever shite that gets punted around here sometimes, but for Christ's sake what is Apple on? People have been using Hymn and the like for ages, and if they're stripping the DRM out of bought files for use on other players they are still buying from Apple and giving Apple money for the privilege. By definition, they wouldn't be going to P2P. If anything, if they up and leave France, all that will happen is that either P2P will become the only option for iPod owners or people will buy Creative/Archos/other PlaysForSure players and Napster or whatever will get their money. The only way this could become a win for piracy is if Apple makes it one.
    • Re:Uhh (Score:5, Insightful)

      by BillyBlaze ( 746775 ) <> on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @08:40PM (#14977249)
      It used to be common to hear the argument, "Apple doesn't like DRM, they only use it because otherwise the popular music oligopoly wouldn't let them sell their music." Now we know that isn't true. Apple likes DRM just as much as the big music companies, just for a different reason - Apple wants iTunes purchases to work only on the iPod.
      • How anyone could seriously believe a disney man would hate DRM is beyond me. Well not really beyond me. I am too old and bitter and cynical and paranoid for that. People are stupid.

        MS is doing DRM but also fights it. As a gigantic player it knows deep down that piracy hasn't exactly hurt it. MS software is pirated to hell and back yet the billions keep rolling in and it controls the OS and office software markets. Could there be a link? That software that is easy to pirate gets used a lot so that is what p

    • Re:Uhh (Score:3, Insightful)

      by tbo ( 35008 )
      People have been using Hymn and the like for ages, and if they're stripping the DRM out of bought files for use on other players they are still buying from Apple and giving Apple money for the privilege

      Apple doesn't make much money (directly) from the iTunes Music Store--Steve Jobs himself has said this. Primarily, the purpose of the iTMS is to help sell iPods. What Apple doesn't want to happen is for people to buy able to buy music from iTunes for use on third-party players. If the French iTMS stops being
      • And for some reason people still believe that line.

        Yet Apple refuses to license (for more money!) their DRM and let someone ELSE sale music that will play on the ipod.

        They're obviously either making money or planning to make money from music sales.
      • I am as big an Apple fanboy as anyone else, but let's admit it, they are being douchebags here. DRM that is not proprietary would be a good thing for the entire industry. The iPod can stand on its own merits, it's not like it's hard to find music for 99 cents. In short, there is no good reason for the iTunes DRM to stay closed, and the law would be doing the right thing. And I really doubt that Apple is losing money on iTMS. There is zero overhead, and the margin is big enough to make plenty of cash.

      • Re:Uhh (Score:4, Interesting)

        by shark72 ( 702619 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @10:52PM (#14977962)

        "Apple doesn't make much money (directly) from the iTunes Music Store--Steve Jobs himself has said this."

        To clarify... Steve said that more than a year ago, when the iTMS was in startup mode. Analysts state that it's making money now.

        "Oh, sure, people can use Hymn, but Joe User isn't that sophisticated."

        Spot on. The GP used the "everybody is like Slashdotters" fallacy. I'm fairly non-technical. I could use Hymn or buy-burn-rip to get content from iTMS to my Creative player, but it's not worth the hassle of learning new software, or the effort. So, my next player will be an Apple. If interoperatability were legislated where I live, I would buy a Creative player, not an Apple player, next time. Simple as that.

    • Re:Uhh (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Krach42 ( 227798 )
      if they're stripping the DRM out of bought files for use on other players they are still buying from Apple and giving Apple money for the privilege. By definition, they wouldn't be going to P2P

      The issue isn't that Apple would still get money for the music. The issue is that Apple wouldn't have to sell an iPod for someone to listen to their iTunes Music Store music portably.

      Also, there's the issue that the music industry that grants allowances for Apple to sell their music would not stand for DRM-less music
    • I expect that someone in the French government will talk to someone technical before this becomes law there. If they do, I expect they will scrap the plan.

      What they are effectively demanding is a common DRM standard, and anyone who doesn't play by having another mechanism will have to also implement the standard mechanism, and permit transcoding into that mechanism. And this will mean more restrictions, not fewer.

      To me, this looks like a ploy backed by someone who wants their DRM to become standard, but c
    • If anything, if they up and leave France, all that will happen is that either P2P will become the only option for iPod owners or people will buy Creative/Archos/other PlaysForSure players and Napster or whatever will get their money.

      You need to think about this a little harder.

      If this law passes, it will force Napster and the others to open their format to the iPod. So, if Apple shut down iTunes Music Store in France - why would French people suddenly stop buying iPods in favor of other players? The Napste

  • by babbling ( 952366 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @08:10PM (#14977029)
    Ho ho ho. "State sponsored piracy!" I like it. It has a nice ring to it. A bit like "state sponsored terrorism". Those bastard French people are trying to take away our freedom by taking restrictions out of DRM! Oh, wait...

    Yes, naughty little French pirates. They need to be punished. They need to know what it feels like. I implore all Slashdotters to head over to Google Video and pirate some Alizee music videos []. For those of you who have been living under a rock for the past couple of years, Alizee is a hot French babe... uhh, I mean, PIRATE!
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Since it is stae sponsored wouldn't they be music-privateers?
    • They used the wrong term. State sponsored pirates are called Buckaneers. At least that's what I've learned they were, someone feel free to beat me over the head with Wikipedia.
      • Phwoar. Hot French buckaneer Alizee!! For some reason, putting it in those terms does even more for me than when it was "French pirate babe Alizee!"

        Good work! :-)
      • I believe the correct word is "Privateer []". Yes like the wing commander game.
      • by Eevee ( 535658 )

        The term you want is privateer []. Privateers had letters of marque which legitimized their attacks as being sponsored by a government. (Except for the Spanish, who had a habit of refusing to honor letters of marque and just hanged them as common pirates.) Buccaneers [], on the other hand, were pirates who started out in the barbecue business.

        No, seriously. Buccaneers were originally hunters who sold cooked meat, grilled over an open fire, to passing ships. Eventually, an enterprising band of buccaneers realiz

        • Thank you, after I posted I realized it was something else, but every other "eer" word I could think of I knew wasn't correct. I was expecting at least one Tampa Bay NFL joke by now, so I guess I'll have to make one:

          How does a Tampa Bay Buckaneer pirate music?
          He moves to France and uses DRM free iTunes.
    • Jeeezzz.. (Score:3, Funny)

      by jd ( 1658 )
      You'll be telling us next that we should go round to France and collectively punish the French pirate babes by spanking them, or something. You're weird.
    • by Exaton ( 523551 ) <> on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @08:56PM (#14977358)
      Take this video in particular [], for example. Gotta have some reason to love France... And my God guys, you should understand the lyrics... It's all about her relaxing in a bubble bath, her soft skin, etc. (not kidding). See that "2" logo in the top right ? That's France 2, the most important public channel (and in this country the public channels are neck to neck with the private ones for popularity). Still not kidding.

      Now for the less jowful news. I happen to live in France, as you might have gathered, and I'm a bit surprised by the international analysis of the DADVSI law (since that's it name) that indeed got through Parliament tuesday evening.

      The fact is that the government has :

      • legalized DRM,
      • set up a standard parking-ticket style fine for downloading pirated stuff and another for making content available to others (38 and 150 euros respectively, about 45 and 180 USD),
      • decided that P2P software makers were liable to pay 300'000 euros and spend 3 years in prison,
      • given up on the "monthly subscription to be allowed to download legally" deal, under pressure from the local RIAA associates that forced a vast majority of artists to back them,
      • completely forbidden copying of a DVD, even as a personal backup,
      • and simply required that DRM'd files be interoperable, which is where Apple's beef is.

      I'm very flattered by all the positive light this is being shown in internationally, it's not every day the world has nice things to say about this country, but I must point out that IT enthusiasts over here are miserably decrying this law, and would probably be in the streets themselves if they weren't already chocablock with students demonstrating :-(
    • >> Ho ho ho. "State sponsored piracy!"

      Great. We already have state sponsored gambling. I think that leaves state sponsored whoring. Maybe the more politically savvy can update us on that.

    • "State sponsored piracy!" I like it. It has a nice ring to it.

      The French have a history of using corsairs [] ; )

  • MS is in danger of becoming the company on the outside looking in. Their document formats have been a nightmare to tech support and average people over the years, and with an open ISO standard looming in the next years, every office product under the sun will be able to read everything else, except perhaps Microsoft's. What companies are going to pay $70+/computer to have Office Vista, when they can have the same functionality and better interoperability with everyone else? North America won't flip to Op
    • Your last sentence is exactly what MS is going to stall or prevent at all costs. MS is good at this game. Don't be surprised if they manage to stall ODF all the way until the next, NEXT version of Office is out.
    • The same thing will happen with government/ISO sponsored document formats as happened with the OSI network stack: We'll all wasted shiploads of time mucking around trying it out and everybody ended up using TCP/IP anyway. The "winning" document format will continue to be the one that's used by default by the most popular word processor: Word.
      • a HUGH amount of the reason that TCP/IP won that battle is because it was an open standard.

        • OSI was a more open standard. OSI was developed by an international consortium, while TCP/IP was a loosely documented by informal RFCs traded between US Govt researchers.

          I think the OSI/IP comparison is apt ... ODF is more "official", but OpenXML has the vendor support.
    • However, it could be problematic in the longer-term. With anti-trust appeals in Europe and South Korea, it's going to be very hard for Microsoft to claim to be playing fair, if they're seen to be maliciously tampering with the approvals process. They don't even have to be tampering, and the ISO process doesn't have to have anything to do with existing cases. If Microsoft is believed to be acting in a willfully anti-competitive manner, the appeals judges are less likely to be sympathetic. This is really bad
  • I'd be a little more convinced by Brittanica's argument if they'd submitted it as a letter to the editor or some other peer reviewed article, either to Nature or somewhere else. Why should we believe their claims carry more weight than those written in Nature? Admittedly, they do make some good points, if they're true, but how do I know? And their demands for a retraction are rather bold - research is as research does, and if someone can correct it - then publish or perish.

    On a minor note, they make a

    • Plus, what if Wikipedia went through all of the errors Nature found and asked the original authors of the text whether they were really mistaken? I'll bet a lot of them would "stand by their original statements".

      I do think Nature should release all of the comments and criticisms and let people judge for themselves which ones are more serious.
    • In the same breath, though, they point out that "Even if Wikipedia were 'only' a third more inaccurate than Britannica, this would be a large difference, especially in a study that focused exclusively on factual accuracy, disregarding other important
      properties of encyclopedias, such as the organization of information, the quality of writing, and the readability of the articles." These arguments--organization, quality, readability--seem the strongest, to me, in favor of an encyclopedia with strong editorial
  • Fired (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Audent ( 35893 ) <[audent] [at] []> on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @08:11PM (#14977043) Homepage
    let go...
    relieved of command...
    made redundant...
    surplus to requirements...

    it all amounts to the same thing at the end of the day: Yer Outta Here.

    • Different (Score:2, Insightful)

      by JanneM ( 7445 )
      "Fired" is different, though. It implies you were canned because you were incompetent, or because you were engaged in something illegal, fraudulent or against company rules. You are fired when the problem is you, in other words, and presumably the company will need to hire or promote a replacement.

      Most other terms (like the ones you list) is about the job disappearing. You were not doing anything wrong, but the job you were doing is either no longer necessary, or too expensive to continue doing at the curre
  • 63230297 []

    The blog links to her, but I know some /.'ers won't RTFA, but maybe Grok Law will get their attention.
  • Laid off!? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Spazmania ( 174582 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @08:23PM (#14977127) Homepage
    Gael was not fired. He was laid off.

    I'm sorry but the founder is not laid off. He quits if he tires of the company's direction or he's fired if he becomes an obstacle but he's not laid off. It's a question of morale: If the founder himself is of so little value that he can be laid off then every other employee is worthless too. When your employer shows they don't value your presence its past time to jump ship.
    • Re:Laid off!? (Score:2, Informative)

      by XaXXon ( 202882 )
      This is an irrational statement. Anyone who is in the position to be fired can be laid off. "Founder" doesn't mean jack once you start giving out bits of your company to other people. This puts you in a position where you aren't responsible for making the decisions.

      If the people in those positions decide that you are a drain to the company (too high a salary, not enough work), then you are laid off.

      There's no morale question here. The company decided that he wasn't able to provide value, but he hadn't d
      • Well, whatever the case, the Mandriva still stucks, and only a really fucking moronic company would come up with such a severely idiotic name. He's better off going somewhere else and leaving these pricks to sink into inanity.
  • by Swift Kick ( 240510 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @08:23PM (#14977133)
    After reading the RMS interview with Forbes, what really stuck out was the following question and his reply:

    Would it be ethical to steal lines of unfree code from companies like Microsoft and Oracle and use them to create a "free" version of that program?

    It would not be unethical, but it would not really work, since if Oracle ever found out, it would be able to suppress the use of that free software. The reason for my conclusion is that making a program proprietary is wrong. To liberate the code, if it is possible, would not be theft, any more than freeing a slave is theft (which is what the slave owner would surely call it).

    Am I the only one that sees this statement as a dangerous precedent? I mean, for all intents and purposes, RMS feels that 'stealing' copyrighted code is justifiable, if it's done with the intent to "liberate it".

    Maybe you might consider this a trolling or a flame, but I think that it is quotes such as these that may end up bringing the most amount of trouble for the RMS crowd... I think the man is losing touch with reality, and approaching a point where zealotry is clowding his judgment to a dangerous level. How can we convince businesses that using the GPL and open source is a GOOOD THING if one of the main characters is in effect condoning IP theft if done for the 'right reasons'?
    • by aralin ( 107264 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @08:47PM (#14977302)
      If you don't consider making code proprietary to be ethical, you clearly cannot consider liberating the code to be unethical. But if you noticed, he is still aware, that although he considers it ethical, it is illegal and thus it should not be done. The comment is perfectly in check with his moral views and he could not in a clear conscience make any other statement. The fact that your moral values are different does not make him lunatic. You could call Christians lunatics, just because they hold different moral values. Not that some people wouldn't, but that does not make it right. Stop complaining and show some respect for man that has firm moral believes and stands up and speaks out for them. You might disagree, but do so respectfully.
      • If you don't consider making code proprietary to be ethical, you clearly cannot consider liberating the code to be unethical.

        Of course you can. You might simply consider breaking the law to be unethical. Or you might consider harming others by ruining their business unethical (whether or not they rely on something you consider unethical). There are a lot of reasons one might consider it unethical to stop/reverse something else they consider unethical.
      • Stop complaining and show some respect for man that has firm moral believes and stands up and speaks out for them.

        At the risk of invoking Godwin 2001(tm), Osama bin Laden has strong moral beliefs and stands up for them pretty strongly. Simply calling a set of beliefs "moral" does not make them moral. There is a set of basic moral beliefs that everyone shares: killing or hurting people is generally bad, keeping your word is generally good, etc. Some respect for private property is also in this, and code is c
    • But, conversely, how can one claim to believe in something if they don't follow it through to its logical conclusions? What if 100 years from now the concept of intellectual property is long gone and considered archaic. We'd consider RMS's statement logical.

      RMS considers the concept of intellectual property immoral. Therefore "freeing" code is a perfectly appropriate action (to him). I'd rather see people stand by their beliefs than bend for practical reasons.
    • Am I the only one that sees this statement as a dangerous precedent? I mean, for all intents and purposes, RMS feels that 'stealing' copyrighted code is justifiable, if it's done with the intent to "liberate it".

      It's not a "dangerous precedent," as you call it; merely the inevitable conclusion one reaches if you subscribe to the same axioms as RMS.

      In the common (both senses of the word) world view, taking code written by someone else and redistributing it is considered bad; a violation of the rights o

    • Why should the words and actions of the author of a document affect my opinion of the document? I agree that it's hard to not be biased by the author's personality and/or history. But really, a document should be judged on its own merits.

      For example, I've read that many of the great scientists and mathematicians in history were pretty big jerks. But that doesn't mean I'm going to shrug off the results of their work. Likewise, I'm sure that some of the U.S. Founding Fathers had personalities and at lea

    • How can we convince businesses that using the GPL and open source is a GOOOD THING if one of the main characters is in effect condoning IP theft if done for the 'right reasons'?

      I hope you make the difference between ethical and legal. RMS never said it was legal or that peopel should to it (he specifically says it wouldn't work). He simply things it would be ethical if allowed by law. It just shows how the sense of ethics is different between people. Nothing to see here.

      Oh, and there's no such thing as "IP
      • Yeah, and you forgot to mention there's no such thing as "identity theft," either. And don't even get me started on "theft of services." What we need is an Académie Anglaise to straighten this whole mess out.
    • I agree. The comparision of source code to slaves is terrible. We should be fighting for freedoms of people, not source code. Open Source brings freedom to developers, allows them to build their own culture not owned by corporations. We have a strong moral sense that people should be free to share if they choose. What I strongly disagree with is Stallmans misguided and unethical attitude to having the right to use the work of others even if its against their will.
      • What I strongly disagree with is Stallmans misguided and unethical attitude to having the right to use the work of others even if its against their will.

        Misguided and unethical?

        Totally. I mean the whole science thing, of publishing results for your peers to verify and build on -- bad idea that. We'd all be better off if scientists each worked in their little labs and refused to collaborate; and then patented and licensed anything they did find out about the universe; and sued eachother if they determined th
        • It IS misguided and unethical to, say, republish someone's book on the Internet for free under the pretense that books should be free for everyone, or to believe in that stance. It has nothing to do with scientific papers and everything to do with the moral rights of an author.

          This is why so many people ignore RMS; because he wants to force his views on everyone whether they like it or not, and completely ignores the right of the author of a work to do whatever he/she friggin' well wants to do with it, be i
          • It IS misguided and unethical to, say, republish someone's book on the Internet for free under the pretense that books should be free for everyone

            How is that substantially different from putting books in a library? Or should we should ban that too. After all, according to you reading books without paying for them is wrong, and putting books in libraries where anyone can go an read them for free is therefore unethical and misguided.

            It has nothing to do with scientific papers and everything to do with the mor
      • Your comment is based on the largest falacy about IP propagated among people. You come out of position of having some inherent right to copyright or patent protection. And that is simply not true. You create something, you give or sell it to someone else, they can make copies or sell it or modify it as much as they wish, who is there to prevent them?

        Yeah, right, you have made a contract with your government, which basically says, that they will send thugs with guns to threaten violence into the house of w

    • by jd ( 1658 )
      And he is indeed correct. In 1770, there were people taken to court in England for theft for freeing slaves. The complaint was on the basis that the slaves were being taken between countries in which slavery was legal and that these should hold sway (making the freeing of slaves the deprivation of recognized property and therefore theft) even though England itself did not recognize slavery any longer.

      It got to the House of Lords, where it was ruled that the laws of other nations were of no consequence in th

    • I read that and thought the exact same thing.

      The main power of GPL comes from copyright laws. First of all, his statement reeks of hypocricy. Besides, last time I checked, if I write something, it's mine to do whatever I want with. If I want to keep the source to myself or let others benefit from it, that's MY choice. If I want to destroy it or never look at it again, that's MY choice. Nobody has any right under any pretext to come over and forcably "liberate" my code. Slavery is the WRONG analogy. Slaves a
      • Your house analogy is flawed. Copying program code is not even remotely close to stealing the physical materials of a house. Stealing your house, or real property, deprives you of that property. Copying program code does not.

        It may be ILLEGAL, but wether it should be illegal, or wether it is ethical or otherwise, is debatable.
    • Maybe you might consider this a trolling or a flame, but I think that it is quotes such as these that may end up bringing the most amount of trouble for the RMS crowd... I think the man is losing touch with reality, and approaching a point where zealotry is clowding his judgment to a dangerous level. How can we convince businesses that using the GPL and open source is a GOOOD THING if one of the main characters is in effect condoning IP theft if done for the 'right reasons'?

      The only thing that has chang

    • I think it is a bit semantics. When RMS talsk about ethics while answering that question I think he really means morals. It should read something like this: it would be morally correct to liberate the prorietary code but unethical to do so becuase it is currently illegal. I think that makes it more palatable yet really doesn't change his intent.
    • Nothing has really changed here.

      File this with the views of RMS on passwords (ie. don't have them and let anyone use your system) and realise that we don't need a hero to follow blindly, just some good ideas. RMS has some good ideas, but we don't have to follow the bad ones as well. He isn't losing touch with reality, he wants to change it. He does not appear to think that proprietry software has a right to exist and has major problems with commercially controlled open software (eg. xemacs, qt and X wind

    • It's a "dangerous precedent" only if you view RMS or his ideas as a threat. History is full of examples where certain ideas were considered dangerous. Just for laughs, here's a short list:

      - Women should be allowed to learn to read, have the right to vote, and choose not to have sex with their husbands if they so desire. (If a man wanted sex, but his wife wasn't in the mood, too bad for her.)
      - Human beings have *not* always existed since the beginning of time -- rather, they must have arose from old
    • I'm sorry you fail to grasp the concept that one can simultaneously (1) consider a law unethical, and (2) still act in accordance to that law, either out of ethical or out of practical considerations.

      Personally, I consider current copyright and patent law to be unethical, but I still obey them.
    • Out of curiosity, do you happen to have the link for that article? This is one I honestly want to see just to see how low he's gone. I did a quick google for it, and found a couple of forbes articles that mention him, but not that one.
  • Privateer (Score:3, Interesting)

    by HaeMaker ( 221642 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @08:24PM (#14977141) Homepage
    I believe the word Apple is looking for is "Privateer". A state-sponsored pirate is a privateer.
  • heh...Stallman is still at his old game of "if I tell people it's mine over and over, someone will eventually believe it."

    The FSF has already had its chance to bundle their tools around their own kernel with Hurd and that has failed miserably after MANY years of wasting resources on it. I wish he/they would stop trying to claim ownership of someone else's kernel to buy them the air of legitimacy needed to foist their political ideals on anyone who decides to use free software. The existing GPL isn't broke
    • It's unfair to say Stallman is trying to tell people something that isn't his is. He's just a stickler for precise thought, and doesn't like the (admittedly fuzzy, but convenient) practice of calling the Linux kernel, plus a bunch of stuff from GNU, (and the X people, and the KDE or Gnome projects, and tons of other groups), only "Linux."

      As for the GPL, it seems to me to be not much more than fixing loopholes. Back in the day, all computers were general-purpose, and there was not much concept of "firmwa

      • and doesn't like the ... practice of calling the Linux kernel, plus a bunch of stuff from GNU ... only "Linux."

        Meanwhile other people were calling it RedHat linux, Slackware etc so that doesn't make sense, and I believe the excuse of the time was that it was to raise the profile of GNU. I disagree with the LiGnuX idea, and coming up with a different name that appealed to newbies (who flamed me frequently whenever I named the kernel without a prefix) is still annoying. Now a lot of people think the guy spe

    • Re:GNU/Linux (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @09:22PM (#14977541)
      If DRM is permitted in works distributed under the GPL, then the GPL has no effect. A corporation can take your GPLed code, add DRM to it, and re-release it; then nobody else (including you) can modify/reuse that version as was intended by the GPL.

      This is not some irrelevant issue. It's a significant loophole which the DRM-related clauses attempt to close.
    • I missed how Stallman considers GNU to be 'his'. Is it spelt RMSU? Stallmanu? And I fail to see how Linux - actually named after a single person who is ultimately rather peripheral to the development process - manages to be a much fairer acknowledgement of everyone's work.

      In the end, RMS's request is very reasonable from philosophical point of view. The only problems - and yeah, these kill his argument - is that:

      1. The public choose to call Linux that way, and even if Linus himself was to pronounce in suppo
  • by rossz ( 67331 ) <{ogre} {at} {}> on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @08:34PM (#14977210) Homepage Journal
    That would be "privateering". A country would issue a letter of marque to a ship-owner/captain giving them leave to attack all of their country's enemies". Sometimes a priviteer's definition of "country's enemies" was a bit loose, though.
  • by Baseball_Fan ( 959550 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @08:36PM (#14977237)
    The world may close up tight. Imagine the day when different countries have different laws about how DRM can work. What is legal in the USA might be illegal in France. And what is legal in Canada might be illegal in England. China might decide to have government controlled DRM, a phone home system that tells government what you're installing and what you're doing. It might be somewhat easier for people to break the law, but when the law is directed at a company, the company must comply or shut down.

    I know in this instance France wants Apple to open their DRM. But who is to say that another state might want to close DRM?

    What we might end up with is worse than DVD's that are region coded. We might get the hardware that is region specific, and no other method of opening data (music, files, movies).

    I think the world will move in that direction. What other reason would Sony or Universal have for forcing regions with DVD's? Why are they opposed of me buying movies from Spain or Germany? And if a company is so paranoid, just imagine nation-states that are worried their culture is being corroded away.

    • We already have that situation. I believe it's illegal to sell DVD players that ignore region coding in the US, while it's a challenge to find a player that doesn't ignore them in Sweden. Copyright has a different number of years in the US and Europe, meaning that there's material that's perfectly legal to copy and spread in the Europe (I believe some early Elvis recordings are coming up just about now) that are still under copyright in the US. You are specifically allowed to break protection schemes in Swe
    • I know in this instance France wants Apple to open their DRM.

      No they don't. They want Apple to support Microsoft's DRM. Apple's comments about "state-sponsored piracy" come from the conclusion that being forced to allow third-party software to remove their DRM (for the presumed purpose of applying other DRM) will invariably lead to a gaping unsealable hole that they have no control over.

      If you look into it, this bill is actually pro-DRM/anti-P2P.
    • Why do we have region codes? We pay $15US (or more) for a DVD here in the US. In China they sell pretty much the same DVDs (sometimes without the extra commentaries etc, what a big loss) for $2-$3US [], a fraction of the cost we pay. Obviously, taking into consideration how much the average citizen of China makes, that's a lot for them. But relative to our $15+ DVDs, even if we had to not only buy the DVD in China but pay for shipping back here, it would be cheaper to buy it in China.

      So basically, we hav

  • From previous experience, the Fedora installation has been painfully slow. You can see the (lack of) activity when it's copying over packages from the CDROM. It copies the package, installs it to the hard drive, copies another package, installs that, and so on.

    It would be soooo much faster if it actually made use of parallel processes. One process copying from the CDROM, and another installing to the hard drive when the package is available. I mean, how hard can it be?! I've written perl scripts which
    • Do it over NFS. It takes about 10 minutes to install a machine from start to finish that way.
    • There are many situations where you want to either complete something totally or not at all. That's why some installers copy a load of packages and then install them. It's also faster to copy things linearly off the CD onto the HD and then work with them. Error recovery is easier when you serialize things. Also, in some cases, the CD and HD will compete for access to a PATA bus, making parallel slower than serial.
    • by Illbay ( 700081 )
      PREFACE: We COULD be looking at a hardward problem here, but...

      This is the first time since I've been using Fedora Core (and I've used it since Core 1) that I failed to be able to upgrade my server from the DVD-ROM.

      I don't know what the deal was with it. At first it would "hang" at various stages of the install. Then, my system didn't seem to recognize the DVD as "bootable."

      Finally, I tried a Yum upgrade [], but it's just too soon after release for that--I actually had an easier time getting the DVD-R image v

  • by hayden ( 9724 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @08:53PM (#14977330)
    I think this comment from one of the engineers at ArsDigita directed to one of the VC suits that flew the company into the side of a mountain is appropriate:

    "You talk like a press release."
    -- David Rodriguez

    He was also "laid off" due to economic pressure (ie the new directors turned a profitable $20 million a year in revenue company into something that burned through twice that amount in less than a year before imploding). If you want to see the whole story it's here [].

  • by Paranoia Agent ( 887026 ) <> on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @08:56PM (#14977363) Homepage
    Call it "Freedom DRM".
    • Call it "Freedom DRM".

      Yeah, but sooner or later that just becomes absurd.

      I mean, imagine ... "Freedom Ticklers" (or a "Freedom Safe" ;-) ... "Freedom Kissing" ... "Freedom Toast" ... "Freedom Cuisine" ... "Say Chowduh Freedom-y".

  • S.O.P. for Microsoft (Score:5, Interesting)

    by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @08:58PM (#14977377) Homepage
    They somehow think "competing" involves impeding the competitors rather than simply trying to be superior. And I think that's the crux of most people's problem with Microsoft.

    I am referring to, of course, Microsoft's strange participation in the subcommittee involved in getting ODF ISO approved. They declined any and all participation in creating ODF and yet somehow they are involved in getting it ISO approved? Microsoft is now something along the lines of the fox guarding the henhouse.

    And when I discuss Microsoft's "competitive" activities, I tend to think of elementary school kids running the 100 yard dash where Microsoft, instead of simply running as fast as it can, resorts to tying the laces of the shoes of other kids or to tripping them in some fashion.

    Although "Competing" and "Impeding" rhyme nicely enough, they are certainly VERY different approaches when trying to win and one of them is often cause for legal retaliation.
  • Britannica... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tktk ( 540564 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @08:59PM (#14977379)
    Was Britannica ever a big deal? I used it in elementary school and stopped once I got to junior high. In high school, our teachers specifically told use not to use encyclopedias for our papers. And this was in the 80s.
    • Teachers say that because encyclopedias are too good; kids would get all the answers in one place and they're done. They limit encyclopedia use not because they're worthless, but to handicap the student.
      • No, the problem is with citing encyclopedias. Instead, you may read the article to get a general idea of whatever you are looking up and get further informations from the sources listed by the article.
    • Re:Britannica... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Rank_Tyro ( 721935 )
      Britannica is feeling REALLY threatened by wikipedia.

      Britannica pays over 4,000 contributors and editors, and only prints a new version every couple of years. Wikipedia, has way more contributors, and publishes almost DAILY, without paying for the research.

      The hype about no one being accountable for any of the information as well as the uproar about recent political attacks on certain entries are all designed to try to get people to distrust Wikipedia and embrace Britannica as the "One TrueReference
  • This is a perfect reason why people should be happy with what they have.

    This guy had a great distro. A lot of people cut their teeth on it. A lot more used it religously. He had a great user base.

    But, could he be happy? No! He *needed* to go public. He *needed* the money so that he could grow his company. He *needed* money to compete with RedHat and MS in the global market for server domination.

    Look, I have no pity for you. You saw RedHat (and a lot of others) get rich in the late 90s. You wanted a
  • Britannica response (Score:5, Interesting)

    by teslatug ( 543527 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @10:02PM (#14977757)
    It's funny, Britannica says the reviewers did not provide any sources for their ascertions, and then they go and say for every criticism "We do not accept this." Well, as long as the all knowing Britannica does not accept it, it must be invalid. All bow to the true keepers of knowledge.
  • by olman ( 127310 ) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @06:28AM (#14979283) ikipedia_nature_study/ [] Register has nice write up about it all. Apparently Nature cooked the study in a manner worthy of WMD spinmeisters pre IRAQ invasion.

    And why should anyone be surprised? 14-year-old with too much time on his hands has as much weight in wikipedia as some 50-year-old senior academic in a given subject. More in practice as the said teenager can sit all night making revisions whereas the prof probably has classes and schoolwork to go over..
  • by prizog ( 42097 ) <> on Thursday March 23, 2006 @10:52PM (#14985372) Homepage
    Reviewer comment: Yes, [Nature reviewer unclear here] in using the language of individual-level fitness and selection; but this was also a shortcoming of Hamilton's original formulation. Thus to say `They all carry the same genes...' (para 1) is misleading because what matters is not the totality of genes shared but the probability that relatives share a specific gene (strictly allele), in this case the one coding for the altruistic trait. By the same token, `individual fitness' is a proxy for allele fitness, again, in this case, specifically the allele for the altruistic trait. Kin selection is THE paradigm of the gene selection argument; it actually makes no sense when couched at the level of individual fitness. The problem cascades through the piece, thus: Par2, lines 4-5 - should be `A parent has a probability of 0.5 (or a half ) of sharing any given gene (again actually allele) with each progeny ...' and last line - should be `...because it increases the probability of transmission of the parental gene for caring.'

    Britannica response: There is no inaccuracy here. We stand by our author, Francisco Ayala, who insists that the reviewer is wrong through and through: the altruistic behavior is favored by natural selection because relatives share (in fractions depending on the degree of relatedness) all their genes.

    I can't see the original article (Britannica attacks Nature for not making their data available, but they're guilty of the same thing).

    But it sounds like the reviewer was saying that the Britannica article conflates individual fitness with allele fitness.

    Example: imagine a species S. A grenade is thrown at five individuals of species S. If one of them jumps on it, she will die but the other four will live. Else, each will die with probabilty 0.5. Should she do it? If we are looking at things from her individual point of view, she should not do it *no matter her relation to the other individuals*. Nobody's individual survival is benefitted by dying. But if we are looking at things from the point of view of her alleles, then her relation to the other four do make sense. If they are her clones, then the allele has a 0% chance of dying off at this moment if she does it, and a 1 in 32 chance if she doesn't. The average numbers of survivors is also higher: 4 vs 2.5.

    It's true that the presence of altruistic individuals increases everyone's survival odds -- nonetheless, altruism is not justified on an individual level -- if it were, it wouldn't be altruism.

    Ayala is wrong that altruistic behavior is favored by natural selection. Genes coding for altruistic behavior are favored; the behavior itself is not favored.

    The thing is, I'm pretty sure Ayala understands this. Ayala thinks he's saying the right thing: in his brain, "altruistic behavior" is a shorthand for "genes coding for altruistic behavior", because he's an expert in kin selection and thinks about this all day. He just forgot that he was writing for a general encyclopedia. At least, that's the only theory I can come up with for why he insists that he's right..

    Of course, if I later read the Britannica article and discover that it is correct, I'll be glad to retract this. Also, I'm not a geneticist -- I just like to think I understand some of genetics because I've read a bit about it; and this bit is basically game theory anyway. Perhaps a real geneticist will tell me that Ayala is using terms in the standard way, so the criticism fails on those grounds. If so, I'll accept that correction too.

"The pathology is to want control, not that you ever get it, because of course you never do." -- Gregory Bateson