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Comment Not Free (Score 1) 108

Affero GPL does not meet the conditions of the FSF's Free Software definition. In particular, it fails on Freedom 0. A few years ago, they never would have approved this, but they took an uncharacteristically pragmatic turn and decided to ignore their ethics in favor of achieving a result they desired that could not be achieved with Free Software licenses alone.

The basis of the FSF's definitions are their view that it is unethical for one to have a program but not have the ability to use it, study it, and modify it. When the program is on someone else's server, you don't have it, so the ethical issues do not arise. As Stallman once explained:

a proprietary program on a web server that somebody else is running limits his freedom perhaps, but it doesn't limit your freedom or my freedom. We don't have that program on our computers at all, and in fact the issue of free software versus proprietary [only] arises for software that we're going to have on our computers and run on our computers. We're gonna have copies and the question is, what are we allowed to do with those copies? Are we just allowed to run them or are we allowed to do the other useful things that you can do with a program? If the program is running on somebody else's computer, the issue doesn't arise. Am I allowed to copy the program that Amazon has on it's computer? Well, I can't, I don't have that program at all, so it doesn't put me in a morally compromised position

He's talking about proprietary programs there, but that doesn't make a difference. His point applies to any software running on someone else's server.

Comment Re:It depends on contracts (Score 1) 243

Unless the artists self-financed it and didn't make contracts with record labels, it basically is work for hire.

Nope. To be a work for hire it has to either by a work prepared by an employee in the scope of his employment, or it has to be "a work specially ordered or commissioned for use as a contribution to a collective work, as a part of a motion picture or other audiovisual work, as a translation, as a supplementary work, as a compilation, as an instructional text, as a test, as answer material for a test, or as an atlas, if the parties expressly agree in a written instrument signed by them that the work shall be considered a work made for hire. For the purpose of the foregoing sentence, a “supplementary work” is a work prepared for publication as a secondary adjunct to a work by another author for the purpose of introducing, concluding, illustrating, explaining, revising, commenting upon, or assisting in the use of the other work, such as forewords, afterwords, pictorial illustrations, maps, charts, tables, editorial notes, musical arrangements, answer material for tests, bibliographies, appendixes, and indexes, and an “instructional text” is a literary, pictorial, or graphic work prepared for publication and with the purpose of use in systematic instructional activities" (17 USC 101).

Your typical artist is not an employee of the record company and so their work would not fall under the "employee in the scope of his employment" option. That leave the other option. To fall under that option the work must fall under one of the specific categories enumerated in the statute and the contract must state it is a work for hire. Note that is an and, not an or. If the work does not fall into one of the enumerated categories it CANNOT be turned into a work for hire via contract.

Comment Re:Ron Paul 2012 (Score 5, Insightful) 499

Ron Paul follows the Austrian school of economics. They believe that mathematical models and statistics can't be used to analyze economics, and that you cannot conduct tests are experiments to determine the validity of economic theories. You just have to reason it out from first principles. It is basically a rejection of the idea that economics can be developed as a science or based on real world data.

They are essentially the economic equivalent of creationists, rejecting science. A Ron Paul economy would be a disaster.

Maybe he'd be better on non-economic issues. Oh wait--he's tried three times now to use an underhanded legislative trick (jurisdiction stripping) to make it so the Constitutional prohibition of establishment of religion would not apply to the states. Yeah, state sponsored religion--that's just what we need.

How about education? He supports spending public money on vouchers for Christian schools, but voted against vouchers for DC schools. I guess he thinks public schools are good enough for Black kids.

Votes no on pretty much anything designed to encourage development of clean energy or to reduce our dependency on oil.

Do Ron Paul supporters ever actually look into his record? Nearly all of them I've seen on the net seem to support him because he agrees with one or two of their pet issues, and they have no idea of how terrible he is on so many things.

Comment Re:Florian Mueller a patent expert? Really? (Score 1) 230

Mueller's writing falls into two categories. First, there is where he makes claims of fact about patents and their impact. This is almost always accurate and useful. Second, a small fraction of his writing is his opinion on whether or not a particular patent might be infringed. This is almost always clearly labeled as opinion, and is almost always backed by creditable sources to give a basis for that opinion. Still, the opinion may sometime turn out to be wrong, of course.

There's also a large anti-Mueller FUD effort, which likely originated at IBM (IBM is extremely pro-software patents, going so far as having told the Supreme Court that software patents are the only way to protect software innovation, and that it was this protection that allowed the explosive growth of open source). There's a secondary FUD effort that seems to largely come from the Boycott Novell people. Their motivation seems to be that Mueller posted in favor of an open source project that was being attacked on patent grounds, but Boycott Novell found that someone associated with the open source project once worked at Microsoft, and so that means it isn't really open source and is really a Microsoft trojan, and so Mueller must be paid by Microsoft to defend that project.

This idiocy somehow has gotten traction on slashdot.

Comment Can driving be made safer? (Score 1) 453

I understand that on average driving is more dangerous than flying. However, there are two factors that make me wonder how accurate this is for long trips.

First, on a long trip you spend most of your time on the freeways outside of crowded urban areas. The accident rate on the interstates outside of urban areas is much lower than the urban accident rate, and it is the former that should be compare to the flying accident rate, not the later in this case.

Second, you have much more control over the time and route of a car trip. That is, you can specifically chose routes that are safer, and you can chose times to drive when accidents are less likely. This should let you ensure that on your particular trip, your chances of a safe trip are much better than average. With flying on the other hand, you have much less control, so you risk is much closer to the average risk.

It would not surprise me if these two factors were sufficient to make it possible to arrange for a drive of a few hundred miles or more to actually be safer than commercial air travel.

Comment Re:Should be easy to prove innocence (Score 1) 315

I have an honest question. I'm going to assume the program is compiled into an executable, and not a scripting language like python. How do they determine if code from an open source program was used from the binary program?

They took sections from the open source programs where those programs did things in particularly clever or unique ways (such as some special checks Crafty did to optimize its handling of en passant captures, and things like that), then found the corresponding code in a disassembly of of the binary program, and compared them. The disassembly appeared to be doing the exact same thing in exactly the same way--it looked in fact like what you'd get from a compiler compiling the open source code.

Comment Re:And this is why virtual objects have no real va (Score 1) 142

This is why when companies decommission their software, they should just open source it and let everyone go nuts. Someone somewhere is bound to maintain a gaming server for this game. However, companies like Sony have the mentality where if they can't make money off it then no one shall have it.

An open source SWG with non-Sony servers would compete with Sony's other MMORPGs (EQ, EQ II, and Vanguard) and also with their non-MMORPG games. Why would they want that? If they were exiting the game market completely, then maybe open sourcing would make sense.

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