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Spam

Judge Rules That I Own Slashdot 386

Bennett Haselton wrote in with this weeks amusing and shocking story of high finance, judicial discretion, and oh so much more... he writes "People still ask me if I make enough money suing spammers in Small Claims court to make it worthwhile. I say: What about the entertainment value? Recently I received an e-mail with the subject line: 'Reminder: Link exchange with your site http://slashdot.org' Finally, I thought, someone else who agrees that I'm carrying the site's entire success on my shoulders. I even hurried off to check the registration of the slashdot.org domain to see if they had made the transfer official in honor of my contributions, but apparently the domain is still being squatted by some outfit calling itself "SourceForge"." I'm shocked that a legitimate businessman would make such an error. Read on to see what Bennett does about it.
Microsoft

Microsoft Forces Desktop Search On Windows Update 579

An anonymous reader writes "The Register is reporting that the blogosphere is alight with accusations of Microsoft forcing Windows Desktop Search on networks via the 'automatic install' feature of Windows Update — even if they had configured their systems not to use the program. Once installed, the search program began diligently indexing C drives and entire networks slowed to a crawl."
GNU is Not Unix

Richard Stallman Proclaims Don't Follow Linus Torvalds 965

StonyandCher writes "Here is an interview with Richard Stallman about a range of free software topics including GPLv3 and comment on the Microsoft patent issue. Stallman has a go at Linus Torvalds even suggesting that if people want to keep their freedom they better not follow Torvalds. From the interview 'Stallman: The fact that Torvalds says "open source" instead of "free software" shows where he is coming from. I wrote the GNU GPL to defend freedom for all users of all versions of a program. I developed version 3 to do that job better and protect against new threats. Torvalds says he rejects this goal; that's probably why he doesn't appreciate GPL version 3. I respect his right to express his views, even though I think they are foolish. However, if you don't want to lose your freedom, you had better not follow him.'"
Media

Viacom Says User Infringed His Own Copyright 404

Chris Knight writes "I ran for school board where I live this past fall and created some TV commercials including this one with a 'Star Wars' theme. A few months ago VH1 grabbed the commercial from YouTube and featured it in a segment of its show 'Web Junk 2.0.' Neither VH1 or its parent company Viacom told me they were doing this or asked my permission to use it, but I didn't mind it if they did. I thought that Aries Spears's commentary about it was pretty hilarious, so I posted a clip of VH1's segment on YouTube so that I could put it on my blog. I just got an e-mail from YouTube saying that the video has been pulled because Viacom is claiming that I'm violating its copyright. Viacom used my video without permission on their commercial television show, and now says that I am infringing on their copyright for showing the clip of the work that Viacom made in violation of my own copyright!"
Businesses

FOSS License Proliferation Adding Complexity 201

E5Rebel writes "Business is embracing open source like never before, but the effective demise of SCO's claims against Linux doesn't mean an end to licensing problems, an analyst warns. The debate on Slashdot seems to focus on the GPL and its virtues, but there are 1,000-plus open source licenses (according to analyst Saugatuck), and businesses face having to manage multiple licenses within a single open source product. What can be done to minimize multiple-license pain for corporate open source adopters?"
Censorship

Submission + - Web sites liable for some user-generated content

spiritraveller writes: The New York Times reports on a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals case (PDF) holding that website Roommates.com can be held liable for some content that user's post on it. The court seems to rely on the fact that Roommates.com created checkbox choices which are alleged to violate the Fair Housing Act. The court also held the web site could not be liable for submissions in the "additional preferences" field because the website was not involved in creating that content.

Does this mean we'll be seeing fewer textareas and more checkboxes from now on?
Software

Submission + - GnuCash now available for Windows

keeblerelf writes: Open source personal and small-business financial accounting software GnuCash (http://www.gnucash.org/) used to be one of the most difficult programs to install on Linux. If it wasn't included in your distribution of choice, installation probably required compiling and installing around 20 different dependencies... not fun.

Until recently, a Windows version seemed unlikely...

But with beta version 2.1.0, GnuCash is now available in a Windows self-installing executable. I installed it on my wife's Windows laptop yesterday and it seems quite stable for a beta version.

The current stable version (2.0.5) can be installed on Mac OSX using the Fink installer (http://finkproject.org/) or on Debian Linux with "aptitude install gnucash gnucash-docs" (as root of course). GnuCash can also be installed on Ubuntu fairly easily ( http://www.ubuntugeek.com/install-gnucash-financia l-accounting-software-in-ubuntu.html).

GnuCash is a great free program with features that rival its ad-infested, monopoly-owned rivals. Why not try it out?

PS — It looks like now there is a complete suite of open source software that runs on both Windows and Linux. There is OpenOffice.org for an office suite (sans Outlook), Evolution (or Thunderbird with Lightning) for an Outlook replacement, Firefox for a web browser, the GIMP for photo editing, PidginIM for instant messaging (formerly called Gaim, but renamed to avoid a trademark dispute), and now GnuCash for accounting.

If you're thinking about switching to Linux, switching to these applications first could be a great way to prepare yourself and your data for the move.
United States

Uncle Sam Spoils Dream Trip To Space 656

gollum123 writes about a dream come true and a dream dashed. Brian Emmett, a software consultant from the San Francisco Bay area, entered a contest sponsored by Oracle in 2005. He answered some questions on Java coding, won a free trip into space, and then reluctantly gave it up. The latter decision came once he had computed the taxes he would have to pay on the $138,000 prize — roughly $25,000. From the article: "Since the Internal Revenue Service requires winnings from lottery drawings, TV game shows, and other contests to be reported as taxable income, tax experts contend there's no such thing as a free spaceflight. Some contest sponsors provide a check to cover taxes, but that income is also taxable."

Tolkien Enterprises To Film Hobbit With Jackson? 152

cyclomedia writes "TheOneRing.Net has a new scoop on the ongoing Hobbit Movie saga, sourced from elbenwald.de. Apparently the rights to make the Hobbit film fall back to Saul Zaentz 'next year.' He claims that, under their stewardship, The Hobbit will 'definitely be shot by Peter Jackson.' For the whippersnappers amongst you: Mr. Zaentz is the head honcho of Tolkien Enterprises, which originally acquired exclusive rights to productions of the LOTR and Hobbit material in 1976, prior to overseeing the Bakshi animated version of LOTR."

Windows Chief Suggests Vista Won't Need Antivirus 361

LadyDarth writes "During a telephone conference with reporters yesterday, outgoing Microsoft co-president Jim Allchin, while touting the new security features of Windows Vista, which was released to manufacturing yesterday, told a reporter that the system's new lockdown features are so capable and thorough that he was comfortable with his own seven-year-old son using Vista without antivirus software installed."

Anti Videogame Judge Seeks Re-election In Missouri 76

nevarre writes, "US District Judge Stephen Limbaugh (yes, he IS related to Rush) along with other local judges will be up for retention vote status this November 7th on the Missouri state ballot. You may remember him from his ruling in 2002 that videogames are not a conveyance for ideas and are therefore not protected as 'free speech' even though he felt that stopping fax spam would violate 'commercial speech' protections under the First Amendment."

The Future of Closed Source Software and Linux 566

slashy writes "What is the future of closed source software and Linux? OSWeekly.com delves into the subject and emerges with a possible answer. Quote: "I have been struggling with one major problem lately with the Linux operating system and that problem is the amazing lack of new and exciting software. It's frustrating because by the time said software does finally make its way down to the Linux user, the Windows crowd has been using it for nearly a year or longer. Perhaps some of this is because there does not appear to be a clear, simple to follow outline cooperative for companies to design for the open source operating system. Arguably this is because of the perceived need to keep things "open," however, I feel it's time for Linux to grow up and find some kind of common ground with the closed source community. I am a firm believer that both parties could learn a lot from each other; unfortunately I don't see that happening any time soon."

The Question of Robot Safety 482

An anonymous reader writes to mention an Economist article wondering how safe should robots be? From the article: "In 1981 Kenji Urada, a 37-year-old Japanese factory worker, climbed over a safety fence at a Kawasaki plant to carry out some maintenance work on a robot. In his haste, he failed to switch the robot off properly. Unable to sense him, the robot's powerful hydraulic arm kept on working and accidentally pushed the engineer into a grinding machine. His death made Urada the first recorded victim to die at the hands of a robot. This gruesome industrial accident would not have happened in a world in which robot behavior was governed by the Three Laws of Robotics drawn up by Isaac Asimov, a science-fiction writer." The article goes on to explore the ethics behind robot soldiers, the liability issues of cleaning droids, and the moral problems posed by sexbots.

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