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Comment Open APIs renamed: APIs (Score 3, Insightful) 224

It's an API. Tacking "Open" onto doesn't change the fact that it's just an interface to a black box.

As Stallman's been saying for the last few years, having software freedom is about having control over your computing, and that requires that your computing is done on *your* computer:

http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/who-does-that-server-really-serve.html

Comment Involvment of the chosen site changes everything (Score 1) 247

> If we block all advertising that isn't self hosted, we'll get
> server-side systems that automatically copy adds from advertisers
> servers and then share tracking info back to the advertiser.

But the site I choose to visit would be a layer between my data and the harvester.

That changes everything because, not only could they decide to not pass on the data or to scramble identifying elements before passing it on, but they would also share responsibility - which means they would be answerable to questions about what is being collected, and could be criticised for nasty policies.

Adblock would continue to work. It'd just need regex's (which I think it already uses).

Comment Privacy is key, but doesn't seem respected here (Score 4, Insightful) 247

I'm not 100% anti-advertising, but the privacy issue is deeper than just being on a "Do not track" list.

If the ad is served from a host controlled by the advertiser, then they have my IP address, the date and time, the number of times I saw the ad, and (by the "referer" header) what page(s) I was viewing when I saw the ad.

For me, "acceptable" ads are those served by servers which I've opted into correspond with, either by typing into the address bar or by clicking a link.

Comment Yes, this is needed (Score 4, Informative) 108

From the point of view of technological progress, proposing the use of 20-year old technology is shameful, but it really is the only solution. (until software patents get abolished)

This was also suggested by Nokia during the html5 standard discussion of the video tag:

http://en.swpat.org/wiki/Use_software_and_functionality_from_20_years_ago

And remember, this problem is caused not by trolls but by the MPEG-LA signatories: Columbia University, Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute of Korea (ETRI), France Télécom, Fujitsu, LG Electronics, Matsushita (Panasonic), Mitsubishi, Microsoft, Motorola, Nokia, Philips, Robert Bosch GmbH, Samsung, Sharp, Sony, Toshiba, and Victor Company of Japan (JVC).

Comment IBM more of a problem than trolls are (Score 5, Informative) 93

It has to be remembered that IBM is one of the biggest pro-software-patent lobby groups in the world.

In the US Bilski case, they submitted a brief saying that free software needed software patents!

http://en.swpat.org/wiki/Fake_representatives_of_free_software#IBM

I saw them personally in the EU lobbying from 2003-2005 where they pushed with all their might for software patents.

And then recently, when New Zealand announced it would legislate to clarify that software *isn't* patentable, who stepped in to kneel on the government? IBM (with MS).

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/10/06/23/0235248/new-zealand-u-turns-will-grant-software-patents

So, yeh, I'd be happy if all patent trolls disappeared tomorrow, but trolls aren't even the biggest problem, and the existence of the whole problem is in a large part due to IBM.

* http://en.swpat.org/wiki/More_than_trolls
* http://en.swpat.org/wiki/IBM

Comment Summary of SFLC's submission (Score 4, Informative) 278

They've asked for a DMCA exception for:

Computer programs that enable the installation and execution of lawfully obtained software on a personal computing device, where circumvention is performed by or at the request of the device's owner.

So, for any device you buy, you can install GNU/Linux, or Rockbox, or OpenWRT, or Sugar, OpenMoko, etc.

Their argument is based on recognising the value of the jailbreak-exemption which was granted in 2009, and saying that SFLC's suggested exemtion is what's needed in 2012 and beyond to achieve that same sort of goal.

There's no dense legalese in the document. It's a readable set of arguments with numbers and examples to back them up.

Comment Did they contribute? Is this actually full source? (Score 4, Informative) 153

I downloaded the source for Kindle_src_3.3_611680021.tar.gz (randomly picked).

The contents of their tarball is the below list of files. Which of these sub-tarballs contains the Amazon reader and interface software? Or are they just releasing the bare minimum required by the GPL and keeping their stuff proprietary? Can Kindle owners blank their devices and use the published tarball to restore all functionality?

Put another way: is there a contribution here, or are they just doing what's necessary to avoid getting sued?

  • alsa-lib-1.0.13_patch.tar.gz
  • alsa-lib-1.0.13.tar.bz2
  • alsa-utils-1.0.13_patch.tar.gz
  • alsa-utils-1.0.13.tar.bz2
  • atk-1.26.0.tar.bz2
  • base-files_3.0.14.ipk
  • base-passwd_3.5.9.tar.gz
  • busybox-1.7.2.tar.bz2
  • cairo-1.8.6.tar.bz2
  • DirectFB-1.2.0.tar.bz2
  • dosfstools-2.11.tar.bz2
  • e2fsprogs-1.38_patch.tar.gz
  • e2fsprogs-1.38.tar.gz
  • enchant-1.4.2.tar.bz2
  • fuse-2.7.1_link.tar
  • fuse-2.7.1.tar.gz
  • gdb-6.6.tar.bz2
  • glib-2.22.2.tar.bz2
  • glibc-2.5.tar.bz2
  • gnutls-2.8.4.tar.bz2
  • gst-plugins-base-0.10.17.tar.bz2
  • gst-plugins-base-0.10.6.tar.bz2
  • gst-plugins-good-0.10.6.tar.bz2
  • gstreamer-0.10.17.tar.bz2
  • gtk+-2.16.5.tar.bz2
  • ifupdown_0.6.8.tar.gz
  • iptables-1.3.3.tar.bz2
  • libgcrypt-1.4.4.tar.bz2
  • libgpg-error-1.4.tar.bz2
  • libltdl-1.2.tar.bz2
  • libol-0.3.18.tar.gz
  • libproxy-0.2.3.tar.bz2
  • libsoup-2.30.0.tar.bz2
  • libvolume-id_092.ipk
  • linux-2.6.26-lab126.tar.bz2
  • lrzsz-0.12.20.tar.gz
  • module-init-tools-3.2.2_patch.tar.gz
  • module-init-tools-3.2.2.tar.bz2
  • mtd-utils-1.0.0.tar.gz
  • pango-1.24.5.tar.bz2
  • pango-1.6.0.tar.bz2
  • picocom-1.4.tar.gz
  • powertop-1.10.tar.gz
  • procps-3.2.7_patch.tar.gz
  • procps-3.2.7.tar.gz
  • syslog-ng-1.6.11.tar.gz
  • sysvinit-2.86.tar.gz
  • taglib-1.5.tar.bz2
  • uboot-1.3.0-rc3.tar.bz2
  • udev-112.tar.bz2
  • util-linux-2.12r.tar.bz2
  • webkit-1.1.7.tar.bz2
  • wireless_tools.29.tar.gz

Comment ITC rejection is usual, but damage is done (Score 4, Insightful) 81

The US-ITC rejects almost all such requests, so this is no surprise and doesn't necessarily mean the case has collapsed.

Some patent holders surely use these procedures just to smear product developers and scare investors - in the hope of a easy cash settlement.

More about the ITC:
http://en.swpat.org/wiki/United_States_International_Trade_Commission

Comment Re:Who cares what they're good at?! (Score 1) 240

> To play the devil's advocate [...]

If that argument has any value, then it has an equal negative value because by telling the child they're born to do one of the two sports categories, you're also telling them they're not born to the other category.

But I don't think the argument has significant value. Factors such as living near a pool/mountain/pitch, and whether their friends are involved in a particular sport, and whether their school has good (motivating) coaches are much bigger factors, and you're much better off letting the child do what they choose rather than guiding them to certain sports and away from certain others.

Comment Great! Depending on Mono is a mistake (Score 5, Insightful) 255

Mono has its uses - it could help people remove .Net dependencies from their software packages.

But for new software packages, choosing a Microsoft technology is a mistake. Microsoft calls free software an enemy - "cancer" to be "extinguished", so building on their technologies is folly, especially when there are lots of non-Microsoft languages and frameworks that we can use. The problems of software patents are only getting worse, so we need to prepare for the future by applying some caution today.

I hope this is indeed the real reason for taking Mono-dependent software out of Ubuntu.

http://en.swpat.org/wiki/Mono

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