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Comment Re:public domain (Score 1) 210

Until the first instance of a friend snitching to an author AND the author caring and suing the gifter the answer is a solid yes. Technically the terms require it, technically you probably broke 15 laws before breakfast especially if you assume officers won't give the benefit of the doubt in cases where they have discretion. Either way, given that you have access to the source how difficult is it to toss it in?

The real case for this was a bit more complex. It wasn't a friend compiling it, it was a Linux distribution. Compile the code and ship packages. Definitely useful, yes? Except that according to the GPL, the recipient of the code is allowed to demand the source code and the distribution in question hadn't kept a copy and upstream had gone away. They had to scrabble to find a copy from a mirror, or face legal action. As a result, distributions that provide binary packages now also mirror the source code and keep it around for a long time. That adds cost to everyone that ships binary packages of GPL'd code. GPLv3 explicitly addressed this because it was a real concern that was costing money.

Your other cases are all about trying to find loophole conditions under which you can steal the code without sharing code back under the same terms. Yes, if you start trying to find ways to dodge sharing back code you'll start running into the legal clauses designed to make this difficult since it is the entire point of the license.

Why is it fine for me to ship a binary-only program that's tightly coupled to a GPL'd library via a pipe, but not when it's via linkage? The GNU GPL FAQ specifically makes this distinction, but it's an entirely arbitrary one based on a specific execution model.

Comment Re: back end servicesin JavaScript (Score 1) 152

Not sure about v8, but it's worth noting that JavaScriptCore's intermediate representation for paths that make it to the second-tier JIT is a CPS representation, so I'd argue that JavaScript probably isn't an unsuitable language for writing CPS code: at least then there's less impedance mismatch between the programmer and the optimiser...

Comment Re:back end servicesin JavaScript (Score 1) 152

Code reuse. If you're validating form input, for example, it would be nice if you can use the same code for client-side and server-side validation. The server-side version protects you against invalid date, the client-side gives more immediate feedback to the user, but both will give the same result. There are basically two solutions to this problem. The simplest is to use JavaScript on the back end, the other is to use something like GWT or similar that lets you write the back end in one language and then synthesises the front end by transforming some of that code into JavaScript.

The other big reason is that companies have invested a huge amount of developer time in optimising JITs for JavaScript. You're typically not just choosing a language, you're also choosing an implementation of a language. JavaScript may be a pretty bad language in a number of ways, but v8 is a very fast implementation of a language (to the extent that C code compiled to JavaScript and run with v8 is often close in performance to natively compiled code, and sometimes faster).

Comment Re:OSS Business. (Score 1) 210

Really? Which of these business models makes more sense to you:

Option 1: Create a complex piece of software for free. End up with something that is trivially copied by unskilled labour. Charge people for copies.

Option 2: Charge people to for writing the software (which requires skilled labour). Give away copies for free.

The first one is the proprietary off-the-shelf model, the second is the open source model. And you think that the second one hasn't solved the 'how to make money' aspect?

Most people who work on successful open source projects are paid to do so, because people need the software to do things that it doesn't already.

Or are you really saying that open source software doesn't make it easy for middlemen to make money? In which case, I'd argue that that's a feature and not a bug.

Comment Re: (Score 1) 210

I'd even dispute the assertion that most open source development goes unpaid. It might be true if you look at total lines of code written, but I'd be very surprised if it's true if you weight it towards the projects that people actually use. Most companies get very nervous depending on volunteers for anything business critical and would much rather have someone paid to be responsible for it. I contribute to several open source projects (and I'm paid for quite a lot of that) and the most successful ones all have most code written by paid individuals. A lot of the unpaid work is effectively advertising for the developers in question: 'hey, you need an expert in this? I wrote a load of it, you should hire me!'

Comment Re:public domain (Score 3, Insightful) 210

Am I free to compile, without modification, a copy of the code that I receive and give it to a less-technical friend? (GPLv2: Only if I give him either a copy of the source code or a written offer good for 3 [I think] years to provide him with the source code on demand. GPLv3: yes, if I also give him a link to where he can download the source).

Am I free to link against it in a proprietary program and call a single function that consumes a string and produces a string as output? (No).

Am I free to write an BSD-licensed wrapper around the library that runs in a separate process and receives a string from stdin and writes the result to stdout, publish that, and use it from my program? (Not 100% sure, but the FSF lawyers believe that the answer is yes)

Am I free to create some well-defined interfaces, ship a proprietary program that uses them and can load another module, wrap the GPL'd library in some BSDL code that exposes these interfaces, and have my program load it at run time (Yes, probably, though not tested in court - lots of lawyers agree that this one is fine though).

Am I free to ship a proprietary program that can optionally load a GPL'd library and use its functionality directly, as long as I don't distribute the GPL'd code? (Maybe, depending on the copyright status of the interfaces that I use, which Oracle vs Google has now made a lot more murky. Probably 50:50 which way a court would go on this one.)

Yup, the GPL is very simple.

Comment Re:destined to fail (Score 1) 248

Europeans love to hate on American companies. Just see all of the court cases the European Union brings against American companies (Apple and Microsoft being the first two to spring to mind).

Have you looked at the list of court cases the European Union brings against companies? I'm guessing not, and I'm also guessing that you read about these court cases only in the tech press where they're reporting only on cases brought against big tech firms where American companies tend to dominate, and not against other markets where EU companies dominate.

Comment Re:Here's an idea (Score 2) 248

That was the thing that made me cringe whenever I read about the Munich migration. Trying to move everything at once was a political statement, not a practical one. Windows should be the last proprietary software product that you abandon, and when you do it should be easy. First, move all of your back-end stuff to alternatives that use open protocols and work with different clients. Then move the clients for these over. Then start moving to LibreOffice or OpenOffice - have both installed, but mandate that new documents must be in the OpenOffice file formats. Then move to having MS Office on one machine per office that's used for legacy documents that don't open correctly. Move all of your other apps over to portable alternatives. When it comes time to replace Windows, you aren't running any Windows-only software and if you pick a DE with a Windows-like theme most of your uses won't even notice.

Comment Re:Is this unexpected? (Score 1) 217

Where are the laptop variants of those?

Our big build machines have been 24 or 32 core for quite a few years, so neither of these gives us a huge performance improvement. We'll evaluate them when we get around to buying more, but from what I've seen they just mean that our next upgrade will be cheaper, not significantly faster.

Comment Re:Is this unexpected? (Score 1) 217

No, but I can imagine doing it on a bluetooth keyboard and a phone. I wrote about 20-30 articles on my old Nokia 770 and ThinkOutside folding keyboard. The 770 is pretty limited, but was able to run an xterm and vim quite happily. For a couple of summers, I'd wake up, stroll across the park and along the beach to a cafe overlooking the sea, read and drink coffee for half an hour to an hour, and then get out the keyboard and machine and write for an hour or two. The keyboard and 770 would fit in my pockets, so were more convenient for me to take than my laptop. My phone is vastly more powerful than my 770, and smaller.

Comment Re:Is this unexpected? (Score 1) 217

On the other hand, remote terminal usage has become a lot better. When I first used vim over ssh, its tendency to completely redraw parts of the screen made it noticeably slow, even with a machine not far from the other end of my dial-up link. nvi was a lot more useable. Over Christmas, I was using vim on a machine in a different country via SSH and even with pretty crappy WiFi at my end it was fine - and the rebuild times on the 24-core machine with 256GB of RAM that I was ssh'd into made it a much better experience than working on my laptop.

Comment Re: Is this unexpected? (Score 2) 217

I remember shitty laptop keyboards. I remember ones with so little travel that your fingers hurt after 20 minutes of typing. I remember ones with a spring right in the middle and a really crappy mechanism so if you hit them slightly off centre they'd bend and not register a key press.

I haven't seen a shitty keyboard on any laptop for about 10 years. There are a few really nice ones but most, including the Macs, have been good enough for a long time.

I haven't used a Mac with the OLED bar, but some of my colleagues have them. If you're in the terminal, they'll show the function keys (though that's configurable and a few command-line apps do modify the display). For most other things, they show context info that is more useful than having to remember what F5 does in this particular application (for example, in XCode they'll show things like 'run' and 'debug').

Comment Re:Is this unexpected? (Score 1) 217

In the corporate office we have PC's on 5 year replacement cycles

How long have you been doing 5-year replacements? We used to do 3-year replacements, but that's been gradually extended. My work machine is now over four years old and is eligible for replacement, but there's nothing really compelling to replace it with. The same is true for everything from laptops to our big build servers. On our old one, I tried running poudriere and rebuilding the entire FreeBSD ports collection. It took 24 hours, but the last 4 hours were spent downloading the Vega Strike game data files from a very slow upstream source. On the newer machines, it's closer to 16 hours, but that's not really a compelling upgrade - for most things, we get a bigger return from buying more machines, rather than replacing old ones (we can never have enough continuous integration machines, for example).

Comment Let's simplify this (Score 1) 178

Ideally, you would pay sales tax to the state where the retailer (or e-tailer) is located. I consider it to be exactly like buying an item when you're on vacation. You pay tax on the item in the store where you bought it. You carry it home in your own car instead of shipping it by UPS.

My own home state is so greedy that they expect you to pay sales taxes even on items you bought on vacation! Screw that! They didn't invest anything in the sale.

States with low or no sales taxes would have an advantage over states with high sales taxes, but that's the way competition is supposed to work. Let them compete to lure internet businesses to their state. 4% of something is way more than 100% of nothing.

I think sales taxes are a very regressive way of funding government. The low to middle income families pay a disproportionate part of their income in sales taxes.

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