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Submission + - Do Unlicensed Modifications to A Copyrighted Work enjoy copyright protection?

An anonymous reader writes: Hey armchair lawyers! If someone makes a modification to an existing copyrighted work(without being licensed to do so) what effect does this have on the work which has been created? Does the original author actually infringe copyright by making the mod in the first place? What about distribution of said file by the world at large? In case anyone is wondering, the game is Minecraft. There has been a lot of buzz in the Minecraft community as of late and the two sides seem equally justified in their arguments. Who is right?

Submission + - Just write the tests, yo mofo!

Shlomi Fish writes: "A short entry titled “Just write the God-damn tests, m****f***” where I discuss why the artificial distinction between the scopes of the tests (unit tests, integration tests, system tests), etc. does not matter, and you should just write more tests when they are needed. ( Largely inspired by Zed Shaw’s Programming, M***f***. )."

Submission + - How Your Ears Do Math Better Than Mathematicians (

pigrabbitbear writes: "The assumption was that ears use something akin to a Fourier transformation. A Fourier transform, named after the French mathematician who also identified the Greenhouse Effect, is essentially when a sound wave is stretched way out until its details are revealed. In more mathy terms, you take a signal, which is a mathematical function of time--a mechanical thing of air molecules traveling through space--and turn it into an array, or series of different frequencies. The Fourier transform is found all over science, and not just sound.

The transformation is done through what's called an "integration" of the original, mechanical function of time. (If you've taken calculus, you should remember integration.) Basically, this is taking that function and recovering information from it by mathematically slicing it up into tiny bits. It's pretty neat. This, it turns out, is how we get meaning (words, music, whatever) from sound (that big wave in the ocean). Or so scientists have thought.

Turns out this might not be quite the case. Researchers at Rockefeller University devised an experiment to test the limit of this kind of analysis via Fourier transformation.

Rockefeller researchers, Jacob Oppenheim and Marcelo Magnasco, took a group of 12 composers and musicians and tested them to see if they could analyze a sound beyond the uncertainty limit of Fourier analysis. And guess what? They busted it down. "Our subjects often exceeded the uncertainty limit, sometimes by more than tenfold, mostly through remarkable timing acuity," the authors write in Physical Review Letters."

Submission + - LibreOffice 4 Released (

Titus Andronicus writes: LibreOffice 4.0.0 has been released. Some of the changes are for developers: an improved API, a new graphics stack, migrating German code comments to English, and moving from Apache 2.0 to LGPLv3 & MPLv2. Some user-facing changes are: better interoperability with other software, some functional & UI improvements, and some performance gains.

Submission + - Microsoft Looking At Office For Linux In 2014 according to Phoronix 2

Foldo writes: Michael Larabel, a journalist at Phoronix, reported: "From a source in Brussels, Belgium during the Free Open-Source Developers' European Meeting (FOSDEM) this past weekend, I was informed that Microsoft is having a "meaningful look" at a full Linux port of Office thanks to Linux showing signs of commercial viability on the desktop. Right now some versions of Microsoft Office will work under Linux via the use of Wine or CodeWeavers' CrossOver to varying extents, but this port being evaluated internally at Microsoft is a fully native implementation. Evidently there's already some port to unknown completion that has been done internally at the company. " This rumor sounds plausible since Microsoft is very likely to release Office for Android, along with iPhone and iPad the platform gaining popularity thanks to recent commercial gaming initiatives (e.g. Steam for Linux). But with Linux users already using LibreOffice and other office suites, would Microsoft really have a chance to make money with?

Submission + - Researchers opt to limit uses of open-access publications (

ananyo writes: "How open do researchers want open-access papers to be? Apparently, not that open — when given a choice of licenses, most opt to limit the use of data and words in their open-access publications, according to figures released by the open-access journal Scientific Reports.
Since July 2012 the journal has been offering researchers a choice of three types of license. The first, most liberal license, CC-BY, allows anyone, even commercial organizations, to re-use it. A more restrictive version, CC-BY-NC-SA, lets others remix, tweak and build on work if they give credit to the original author, but only for non-commercial (NC) purposes, and only if they license what they produce under the same terms (SA, or 'share-alike’). A third licence, CC-BY-NC-ND, is the most restrictive, allowing others to download and share work, but not to change it in any way (ND, ‘no derivative works’), or use it commercially.
The results from Scientific Reports shows that, for the 685 papers accepted by the journal, authors chose either of the more restrictive licences 95% of the time — and the most restrictive, CC-BY-NC-ND, 68% of the time."

Comment My opinion. (Score 1) 215

This is a stream of thought comment. I remember QBasic, and MS-DOS vividly (though I did not study them as much as my friends - and I had started with XT BIOS BASIC, BASIC.COM, and GWBASIC on an old PC XT machine), and the world now requires more training. I think that it is now best to start either by learning Python (which is relatively easy to learn and minimalistic and still widely useful and used), or by learning Perl 5 or Ruby (which are more pluralist, easier to express oneself, and less lock you into The One True Python Way). See what we wrote about it in the Freenode ##programming FAQ (which you are welcome to visit).

Anyway, there are few entry level jobs, and I think that you can try building a reputation by learning one or more of those languages and contributing to open source projects, chatting on IRC in order to learn and help, helping on mailing lists, web forums, Stack Overflow/etc. and even starting some blogs (blogs should be as specialised as possible). Some people tease me that at 35 (1977-born) I am now too old to be a programmer, but I feel that I have improved in most aspects, and have a more solid methodology and more discipline than I used to have (and also have some knowledge). I don't think it's ever too old to start or to continue because you should learn as if you were going to live forever. (See what I wrote in “Advice for the young (or the young at heart)".

Good luck!

Comment Not "Truth"++ - but "Mysticism"-- (Score 1) 386

This is not a question - it's a comment. We should not strive to find “the truth” because it is a static assertion that has no basis in reality. We should strive to read ourselves of mysticism, i.e: the belief that “willed realities” can replace the actual reality outside. It's hard to instill positives, but it is easy to liquidate negatives. And mysticism exists in all domains of life: art, relationships, philosophy, language, science, computers, law, etc.

How was mysticism vanquished? I think now (and it could be stupid because I'm a little hypomanic now) that the final blows were delivered by a few 90s-2000s popular Television shows: Friends, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and naturally Buffy, the Vampire Slayer. Those shows were fun and entertaining, and featured many good and attractive actors and actresses, but they were subtle and direct in their undermining of mysticism. Since then all the action moved to the Internet: to email, IRC, blogs, microblogs, social networks, source sharing sites, web comics, lolcats/captioned images, video-sharing sites (YouTube), wikis, etc. etc. Now, Television may be entertaining and good, but it's no longer subversive. It no longer pushes the boundaries of knowledge.

I have called the people who have conquered mysticism from inside permanently, Qs after the Qs in Star Trek, who are omnipotent. I have written Star Trek: “We, the Living Dead” as my own fan fiction episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, where it is mashed up together with Objectivism and Neo-Tech, with Judaism and Israeli culture, with all parts of history, with geek hackerdom, with some parts about love, sex and relationships, and with crazy Illuminati/Elders-of-Zion/vampires theories. It features a friendly talking vampire cat who is older than Planet Earth, and yet still likes human affection ; the still alive version of Moses who has married girls who were 40 times his junior, and testifies that they were more mature than him in most respects. “Deborah the prophetess” who had lived in the same place in Israel since before the Israelite conquest, and is now the chief ambassador of Earth at the Q continuum; and Katie Jacobson - a female software developer in her twenties, originating from Berkeley california, who is a big admirer of Jake Sisko's stories, and a graduate of the Technion in Haifa, who joins the Star Trek crew, and in a typical millenial manner finds everything she encounters to be exhilirating.

Thing is, that such shows as those featured a lot of supposedly mystical, unethical, and irrational elements (demons, vampires, lies, innocent deaths, superpowers, etc.) while still maintaining a healthy dose of rationalism, objectivism and individualism. Note that the new age (and we have entered the new age) rationalism and individualism is pluralistic: some Roman Catholics are value producers, while some Randian Objectivism fanatics are value destroyers. The pope now has a Twitter account, because back at the time, Gutenberg's Bible was so clearly inferior to the one written by Monks, that people thought the Printing Press was a fad and that it would never catch on. But it did, and changed everything in Europe. Twitter and Facebook now face similar criticisms, in part because they are very quick and have a low barrier of entry. The pope (and most other spritual leaders) don't want to stay behind the times, and instead wish to endorse change. Only Totalitarian countries such as Iran and China, try to block Facebook, Twitter, the Cheezeburger network, YouTube, GitHub, and other subversive mediums. My guess is that it won't help them a lot because the Internet is distributed. Wikipedia is now unblocked because it's no longer so subversive, and that's because it became mainstream and the Internet has become slightly more subversive as a result.

You should dedicate your life to fight mysticism (from within and from without) instead of exposing certain "Truths" about lame (and not so harmful) conmen.

My personal philosophy is now Rindolfism (after my nickname on some IRC networks and because Shlomifism sounds silly), and it is my own, dynamic and changes in time, expands and expressed in my various online writings. You shouldn't say you're a "Rindolfist", but instead build upon Rindolfism and other inspirations, because we're pluralists, and competitive and cooperating (like GitHub or Bitbucket or whatever). As much as I like fans, I derive more value from people who criticise my work and who try to outcompete me.

Oh, and as awesome as Aristotle was (And he was awesome), I want to crush that Greek fool-on-the-hill like the bug that he is (and you should too). ;-)

Comment Thank you, Dr. Stallman (Score 1) 527

I'd like to thanks Dr. Stallman for taking the time to reply to all these questions in a coherent, easy to understand and interesting manner, and thank him for replying to my question, even though someone else in the original slashdot feature replied to me while giving citations from Dr. Stallman's online writings. I find Stallman's interviews interesting to read, even though I differ with him on many opinions and also prefer using permissive licences (such as the MIT/X11 licence) for my code instead of the GPLv2, GPLv3, LGPLv2.1, LGPLv3, or AGPLv3. I do the latter not because I approve of proprietary software (the fact is that I actually don't trust it but still think that non-free software should be legal and legitimate to author and distribute), but because I want people and companies to have as few reservations as possible about using my software, building upon it, learning from it or whatever, and think that often (usually?) using copyleft licences and especially strong copyleft ones works against the cause of FOSS. I'm not going to argue with you if you prefer copyleft licences, but that's my modus operandi. I don't have reservations for contributing to FOSS projects under copyleft licences which I find interesting, useful or necessary enough, but in that case I disclaim all explicit or implicit ownership from all of my original contributions, or licence them under the MIT/X11 licence to allow for easy relicensing of my code later on if the project desires it.

Anyway, thanks again, and sorry for getting carried away. Feel free to Moderate down.

Comment Re:What do you think of non-free, non-software wor (Score 1) 573

Hi csolisr,

Thanks for the message. Can you cite all that?

Regarding using CC-By-ND for essays of opinion - I don't think it is necessary (I'm not a lawyer naturally). For example, I've written an essay titled The Case for Drug Legalisation (and other essays) and published it under CC-by along with the DocBook/XML source, so it can be of maximal use. Even if we take it into account, I don't think someone has the artistic licence to build upon it a completely different essay (say “The Case against Drug Legalisation”) and claim that I have written it. I don't mind people doing something like that, while giving me credit and a link to the original essay, but they still need to indicate that the original essay had a different them, or else it is defamation and misappropriation.

Comment The nmap Interpretation of the GPL (Score 2) 573

The nmap security scanner's licence is the GPL version 2, along with an opening comment where they give their interpretation. It seems that this interpretation is draconic, and among other things requires programs that parse the output of nmap to be licensed under the GPL or a compatible licence as well. This seems to stand against the Free Software Definition, which among other things specifies that one has "The freedom to run the program, for any purpose".

If we (or the courts) is going to accept nmap's interpretation of the GPL, then we can expect all hell to break lose, because that will mean that the output of such programs such as GCC (the GNU Compiler Collection), GNU awk, GNU sed, and many other GPLed programs of the GNU project or otherwise, must be under a GPL-compatible licence, while in fact, the GNU project approved of using them to build free software and proprietary software that was not.

Do you approve of the nmap interpretation, or do you think nmap are misusing the GPL as a way to apply the free software figleaf to their work, without complying with the spirit of free software?

Comment What do you think of non-free, non-software works? (Score 1) 573

Dear Dr. Stallman,

In this Slashdot feature “Stallman is quoted here saying that game engines should be free, but approves of the notion that graphics, music, and stories could all be separate and treated differently (i.e., "Non-Free.")”. However, this feature does not give a citation from you for that. To add to the confusion in a post to the Creative Commons Community mailing list, Rob Myers said:

RMS's views on culture are coherent and consistent with his views on software. But he's treating game assets as a matter of functionality (software) rather than speech (culture). There is an issue with the latter not being free..

So I'm a little confused. Do you approve of people using non-free licences for cultural works, including the CC-by-nc, CC-by-nc-sa, CC-by-nd, and CC-by-nc-nd licences? If so, when?

This is especially important given the fact that in the process for formulating the latest version of the Creative Commons licences (4.0), there has been some requests to deprecate the non-commercial (nc) and/or no-derivatives (nd) options (which I doubt will happen, but is nonetheless some thing some people feel strongly about).

Submission + - Besy Buy lays off 400, closing 50 stores (

An anonymous reader writes: The U.S.-based electronics chain said it would close 50 big-box stores this year, test new store formats in San Antonio and Minneapolis, and lay off 400 corporate and support workers as part of a plan to trim $800 million in costs and restructure its ailing business.

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