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Comment Re:It's okay (Score 1) 1469

There's a fair amount of evidence around false accusations of rape; rates are estimated from 1.5% to 90%, with the academic consensus supposedly being at 2% to 8%; it's an odd consensus, since almost all researchers seems to come with a higher number, even the ones that only include rapes that have been thoroughly investigated and concluded that nothing happened.

Since you don't mention this at all, it seems that the absence of evidence is the absence of you looking for evidence at all, and this evidence being less pushed in your face than the evidence of rape happening. The unfortunate situation is that while most rapes are not reported to the police, many of the alleged rapes that are reported to the police never happened - in fact, from the way I superficially read the articles I've looked at, it may be that the situation many places is that while most rapes are not reported to the police, most rapes that are reported to the police never happened. This, of course, means that the police has to be diligent in investigating whether an allegation is true or not - and again, that makes it harder for real victims to report :-(

Comment Re:MSYS (Score 1) 635

The Windows environment is not set up for easy tools writing; the command line environment there sucks.

In my experience, the MSYS CLI for Windows is close enough to the CLI of GNU/Linux for it not to matter much. (MSYS is a lightweight counterpart to Cygwin designed to complement the MinGW port of GCC.) Plus I can run all the applications and drivers that work with Windows.

To me, that's not particularly interesting - the applications that I want to run work worse on Windows, and there's a bunch of stuff I could in theory buy that probably work nicely, but only if I'm messing around in a GUI. But which is more comfortable has a fair bit to do with what you're most experienced with.

I've not tried MSYS; but cygwin was clearly annoying, and when I last ran Windows for a while (about six to three years ago), I found I still preferred to have a Mac or Unix system at the end.

I suspect PowerShell too might be nice; there's some clean design work done in it. However, the problem (from my point of view) is in the apps - they're not designed to work nicely as building blocks, and when you run five-ten (not to mention five or ten thousand) machines, it gets to be a pain. And there is one special pain point: There is no source code. Anything fails, you have to experiment based on the docs, or, I assume, step into asm. I love being able to mod source code for the things I run, and then run it again with more logging or other changes.

This way to thinking is shared by a lot of people that write their own software, leading to the Unix environment at least attracting those of us that think that way.

Is there more money in selling home PCs to the edge case of "people that write their own software" or to the majority who do not?

I have no delusion that selling home PCs to the Unix market is a sane business model. I'm just communicating what I perceive as problems with working on Windows, and why I am attracted to Unix. It don't even have to be an accurate model of how things work - for once, it should be an adequate answer that that's how I perceive things :-)


Comment Re:Ready... set... Troll! (Score 2) 362

As I recall, Microsoft's reasoning was made explicit at least once. MSFT believes that, by supporting issues such as same-sex marriage, it can attract the most talented gay people in the software industry as employees, who may see the company's support of such an issue as a reason to work for MSFT rather than a competitor.

Silly question: shouldn't MSFT be interested in the most talented people in the software industry as employees, PERIOD ?? Software engineering and development doesn't care if you're gay, straight, or even reproduce by fission. . . .

Sure. But software developers care if you're tolerant; and this may be an important point among gay potential employees, and for most straight potential employees supporting same-sex marriage is a minor but positive point. I work for a different top-tier software organization; there's lots of pro-gay-marriage stickers around the office, mostly put up by people I know to be straight. Software developers are rationalists; so there's fewer fundamentalist religious than among the average population, and thus more support of gay marriage.

Comment Re:Writing software on Windows (Score 1) 635

From my perspective: The Windows environment is not set up for easy tools writing; the command line environment there sucks.

The good command line environment on Unix leads to it being easy to write lots of small tools, and everything extending from small and simple through complex. It's made for programmers writing software for programmers. Windows is made for programmers writing software for customers; significant difference.

This way to thinking is shared by a lot of people that write their own software, leading to the Unix environment at least attracting those of us that think that way.

Comment Re:It's not confusing anything (Score 1) 634

You show clearly why it shouldn't be called theft - it leads to confusion in people like yourself.

Copying is not taking. If somebody looks carefully at your hours and builds an identical house to the one you had, you are not deprived of your house.

When my jobless friend copied 17,000 books last year, authors and publishers were not deprived of their books. Neither were they deprived of the income from selling 17,000 copies of books - he could never afford it. They may ultimately be deprived of some purchases of their books (he can afford to do some purchases); but this is through competition. If he use the collection as his only source of reading material, he's unlikely to run out for a long time - so both authors in the collection and out of the collection will be hit. The same as if he used the public library as his only source of reading material. And it is possible he'll get into series or authors and buy more of them from having copied; and possibly even buy more overall. I know that I bought much more music when I started using Napster than I did before, and bought much less music after Napster closed and I stopped having a ton of music at my fingertips.

The situation is complicated, and there is no "taking" - there is only copying, and its positive and negative effects. Collapsing that to "taking" and "theft" is unlikely to lead to a good resolution for anybody.

Comment Re:RMS thinks giving other people's shit away is g (Score 1) 634

Using "stealing" or "theft" to refer to copyright infringement brings over associations from physical theft. This leads to a less clear way of thinking, and my general impression is that *everybody* that misuse the words that way are fuzzy on the actual effects of copyright infringement.

Can you please list a few cases where copyright infringement is of benefit to the copyright holder, to jog in place and clean up your mind?

For your help, I'll start with listing the case where it is directly deterimental: When the infringer does not buy a copy of the original work, but would have bought a copy if (s)he did not have the infringing copy.

Comment Re:RMS thinks giving other people's shit away is g (Score 1) 634

RMS would agree with most of what you say. The musician Alice can take $2 for giving a copy to Bob - the question is if the musician ethically can ask society use violence[1] to enforce that Bob cannot give a copy to Carol.

RMS would, as far as I've understood him, say that it is never appropriate for society to use violence for this.

You seem to say that it is more or less generally appropriate.

I consider it to be appropriate if Alice is engaged in large scale copying for profit, but consider the collateral damage from using violence in cases of private copying to be too high. In economic-speak, the transaction cost for getting justice through the justice system is so high that having this be an offense leads to people that are accused paying a "settlement" even if they're innocent. I would also have to - the standard settlement is less costly than the risk of having the system fail.

I also consider private copying to be unlikely to be possible to regulate. It is fairly simple to do piracy securely; and over time, it will only get easier. In ten to thirty years, every teenager will have a digital copy of every song, book and movie ever made - if necessary, they'll just copy hard drive to hard drive (or SSD to SSD) when they meet up.

And the problem in regulating this is that it don't fit with people's feeling of justice. There is no harm in making a copy of something. The harm is in not buying something - but we don't try to regulate away "not buying", we try to punish copying.


[1] Including monetary confiscation, which is based in violence or the threat of violence; without the government's monopoly on the use of violence, this could not be done through the courts.

Comment Minor misevaluation in the filing (Score 1) 166

I think the filing is very well argued and makes a good case (that's a non-lawyer opinion.)

However, there is one minor point where it seems to miss the point: In talking about being in the same swarm at the same time not (always) leading to communication, it assumes the swarm is large. If the swarm is very small, being in it at the same time can force communication - the trivial example being if the only members of the swarm are the investigators and the downloader. In this case, there would seem to be a separate defense, albeit a weird one: The downloader only downloaded from the investigator (and only uploaded to the investigator), and has to be authorized to access and distribute the content in order to do the investigation, so the downloader cannot be in violation.

Comment Moving it elsewhere may not help (Score 1) 284

I would not immediately assume that moving it somewhere else will increase uptime; it puts uptime requirements on the Internet link(s) instead of on the server or software setup. Unless the present setup is quite unreliable or he has a surprisingly good link, I think that would likely be a worse problem.

Now, the idea that you can't afford multiple server nodes: Servers can be very, very cheap. For my home server I use an Acer Revo 3600 I paid 200 euro for; the closest available today seems to be (at about $220 including shipping.) Assuming you don't have a license cost problem, this allows you to create a cluster for a very low cost.

Apart from that, I'd analyse what your costs are for a failure, and what the odds of a failure are, and whether your tinkering increase or decrease the odds. I'd assume the odds were fairly small to start with; in that case, it may not make any sense to tinker with the setup to create something that is supposed to be more available. I've easily had several years of uptime on single systems; introducing complexity makes that harder, and if you lack the experience with how to deal with these systems, that's likely to increase the risk. (What happens if somebody start your failover by mistake? What happens if both instances are running? etc)

For your particular use case, it sounds like I'd rather have a good alternative system for handling it if your system fails (pen and paper sounds good), and try to beef up the single machine - place it somewhere it won't have dust, vibration and heat problems, use multiple network cards to avoid risk of cable failure, use reliable disks & RAID, have a good UPS with monitoring, etc.

Comment Re:in related news (Score 1) 126

"Each patent is a restriction on all humanity except the one who was granted exclusive ownership."

For each patent, the patentee PAID a significant amount of money to give YOU an accurate description (the patent) of exactly how the invention works

I have a couple of nice bridges for sale: One in Brooklyn (a neo-Gothic style bridge; it's a suspension/cable-stay hybrid bridge with granite pillars), and another one in San Francisco (a classical steel suspension bridge from 1933, painted a bright orange, and inspiration for many later bridges). The former has *no road tolls* applied, and the latter has low tolls (down to $3). These can be raised, and there's a nice income opportunity. The bridges are also designated as historical landmarks, so you have a separate income stream available by charging tourists for pictures and guided tours.

Of course, given the above descriptions you could easily copy them yourselves without having to invent anything, but I know that since you got the descriptions from me, you'd never do that.

What's your best offer?


Comment Re:Lets Stick to Software Patents (Score 1) 126

It's not entirely clear that they're good for whoever holds them. IBM is the largest patent holder in the world; a statistical sample all by itself. One of the high up guys in IBM[1] claimed patents where 10x more valuable to IBM as defense against other companies suing them compared to licensing revenues. Another way to look at this is that if 10% of patents transfer to non-practicing entities (patent trolls), then patents are a net negative for IBM.

And this ignore all indirect costs of patents on society that hit IBM indirectly.

[1] Lead patent attorney or CFO or similar; it was credited when I originally read about this, but I don't remember the name or exact source.

Comment Re:for artists? (Score 1) 713

The point is that the owner of copyright should be free to dictate the terms under which others can access that content. There's no ethical or moral argument that really holds water to contradict that.

I disagree with that. If the work has influence on a person, that person has a moral interest in it.

Let's start with a simple ethical hypothetical, just to demonstrate that there exists situations where your dictum fails completely:

Postulate a religion based on an obscure science fiction book; say, Roger MacBride Allen's Torch of Honor. (We've already got that kind of thing going on with Scientology.) Say they consider the book so important that they will kill those that can't answer questions about it - and their families. Say this religion gets significant in an area. Say Rober MacBride Allen choose to raise the price of a copy of the book from $8 to $200000 because he finds that's the price that's likely to make him the most money.

I postulate that it would ethical for a parent to get hold of a pirate copy of the book to protect their children.

"But that's completely made up!" I hear you say. Yes. That's not at issue. The issue is that we can construct situations where it is ethical to use a work in violation of the terms a copyright owners wants to dictate, because the copyright holder is behaving unreasonably.

So the question up for debate is "What are these situations, and does any of the common pirate copying fit with such a situation?"

Comment Re:$1200 is not a good price (Score 3, Insightful) 299

For what I need, I'm probably going to install Unix (FreeBSD or Linux) on it and be paying an extra $1000 or so primarily for a better trackpad and an easier to connect/disconnect power supply chord - and that is worth it to me.

I've just got to say, holy fuck!

I usually have a computer for 3 to 5 years; let's say four years on average. That's less than 70 cents a day. I use it for a fair bit of time every day, and I immediately appreciate a better trackpad (and regularly appreciate slot loading as opposed to tray loading DVD; forgot that annoyance point). I also am more likely to move to a better spot (more ergonomically wise) if there's no hassle with the power supply cord, and I'm less likely to get the machine damaged or trip from the power supply cord with the better connection.

All in all, it's worth 70 cents a day to me. If I was extremely money constrained in general, it might not be - but I have a comfortable income and having the computer I spend a lot of time on be comfortable to me is worth it.

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