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Comment Re: Mint (Score 1) 308

What is with this obsession of Linux users to want everyone to be "advanced users"? It's precisely because of that, that Linux doesn't have a bigger marketshare

Same reason we don't teach primary school pupils and university degree math in the same classroom or why NFL teams don't want to train against high school freshmen or Michelin chefs aren't interested in advice from their colleagues at McDonald's. You're not contributing anything useful at this level, you're just in the way. It's open source, people don't get paid per copy they sell. Most aren't trying to win a popularity contest. They're looking for a professional community/tool to support them and don't want it dumbed down to be newbie friendly.

And some of them aren't exactly going to apologize for it either, in their minds you're the one butting in on a place you don't belong, like trying to get advice at a doctor's conference instead of scheduling an appointment. It doesn't help that some users act like you're their support staff and expect them to drop whatever they're doing to help you. It's very tempting to basically say we don't give a shit. Of course there are some will also immediately jump to the conclusion that any problem you have is because you're an idiot, just like all the other idiots.

Most software try to separate newbies from experts, developers from users with varying degrees of success since they're not exactly crystal clear definitions or mutually exclusive categories. And without one bishop in the cathedral to swing the ban hammer, it's not so easy getting rid of destructive elements. It usually takes some rather extremely obnoxious behavior to make a whole community throw you out. But if this is approaching TL;DR, well they don't want you there and market share isn't an important metric for them. Why should it be?

Comment Re:Fakes (Score 1) 90

Yes and no.

I saw a counterfied iPad on my last trip to Thailand, but as I "knew" all model types of iPads, I recognized imediatly that it is not an iPad. (It was an Android tablet with Apple Logo etc. on it, made from plastics ... but looked quite convincing on the first glance, but the formfactors etc. were all wrong).

Comment Re:All I can say is good luck (Score 1) 82

As a nerd who is insistent on trying out the myriad of this-and-that technologies, I had a Windows phone a couple years ago. It was a fairly high end HTC device. While the interface is unique, the more I began to use it, the more it became obfuscated. It reached a point where it went from fairly cool and useable to finding myself lost on my own phone. Here I speak of the tiles and such. One thing I have noticed over the years, is that the elderly, who expect and do much less with and from their phones than myself, seem to have become the dominate user base. And yes, I do peek over shoulders just to see what platform different demographics are using. For me, Windows phone lasted a good couple months before going back to Android. I do not regret the experiment. But whatever they are planning with this surface phone, it had better be.... different in a good way. I will say this: I have a Windows 10 tablet. It is running a quad-core Cherry Trail with 4 gigs of ram. Quite simply, it is the best tablet experience I have ever had. It has a "tablet mode", but just using regular old Windows 10 on a tablet is pretty nice. Disclaimer: I own several tablets and they all have their uses (security cameras, persistent weather info, etc...) but my next favorite tablet is my Amazon Fire. It is simply the best for content consumption. It plays in my shop all day. I do not expect this post to be popular.

I completely agree, I have a Windows 8 tablet with a 10" screen, a low-power atom processor and 2gb of ram. I run it in Classic shell mode 99% of the time. It was less than $400 new, and is lacking performance, but is still the best tablet experience I have ever had. It's too bad that Microsoft hasn't figured out how to make a decent platform for a screen. Backwards compatibility with the x86 ecosystem is the best Microsoft feature and their phone OS doesn't have it. If they had a classic shell mode with x86 compatibility (by emulation or otherwise) on a Windows phone, I would probably buy it. It looks from some old news stories last fall that the new Windows Phone OS might get x86 emulation. Maybe they can pull it off. But they will probably fall on their face again somehow.

Comment Re:You don't want this to succed (Score 1) 259

Leaving aside the fact it's rarely the case you can just sign away liability..

The GPL only applies if you decide to accept its conditions. Just installing Ubuntu doesn't mean you've agreed to the GPL and, as such, Canonical has anything to point at if your Nuclear Reactor has a meltdown because a bug in Unity swapped the "Drop fuel rods/Raise fuel rods" buttons by accident.

Sure, you might give up your right to sue if you subsequently redistribute Ubuntu to others. But even then... like I said, it's rare you can just sign away liability.

Comment Re:Wow (Score 1) 259

Scrollwheels used to work fine. Then some idiots at Canonical and GNOME decided to redesign the scrollbar, on the grounds we don't need it any more because we have scrollwheels, despite the fact that, actually, no, quite often we don't, and in the course of effing up the scrollbar they managed to eff up the mousewheel at the same time.

I still don't know why they didn't just revert to how things were. They fixed a problem that doesn't exist, and appear to be too stubborn to admit they made a mistake.

Comment Depends on the car analogy (Score 1) 308

I've been lurking here for years and seen many recommendations for a Linux flavor that works. What I'm really looking for is Linux that works without constant under-the-hood tweaking

I think the question really requires taking a step back and looking at what a distro is and does. Because if you're coming in from another OS I'd say there's three levels of changes and the distro-level is probably the least important.

1. Applications: Do your applications run under Linux or do they have functional equivalents like web services you'd be happy with. If you've heard about WINE, then stop because Windows emulation is full of quirks. It's a tool for users that really, really don't want to run Windows even if it has 10x the issues of running Windows software on Windows. No distro is going to help you if after banging your head on GIMP and Krita you realize that no, I really need Photoshop or anything else with less than a platinum rating on WINE. And even then it can break in the next update.

2. Desktop environment (DE), this is pretty much how the OS part of the interface will look like for you. No matter which one you pick it won't be like Windows or OS X. If a distro ships a DE, it'll probably look and feel pretty much the same across distros. If you don't like Gnome or KDE on Ubuntu there's not much point trying them again on SuSE, Mint or Debian. Granted, a few of these are almost like picking distros as I'd take Mint for Cinnamon and Ubuntu for Unity but far from all.

3. Quality of packaging, testing, support, upgrades, security patches, availability of backports and third party repositories, release schedule etc. basically a lot of the boring housekeeping and problem solving. For the most part, this is what distros do - they take what developers have made and wrap it up in packages for you. But if the developers haven't made the apps you want, you'll be tweaking your work process a lot. If they haven't made the DE the way you want, you'll be tweaking your OS interaction a lot. A good distro doesn't create fuss for you, but it doesn't really mean it'll work for you.

I'd just start with Ubuntu with Unity (the default) only because it's super common and see if you get past #1. If you do and don't like Unity I'd try Cinnamon, KDE, Gnome and XFCE, as far as I know they're all available as packages on Ubuntu. If you find something that looks right for you I'd move on to #3 and ask "What distro is the best to run [Cinnamon/Gnome/KDE/Unity/XFCE]?" Though I suspect that the answer will probably be one of the Mint or Ubuntu spins in most cases. There's not much point in going outside the beaten path if you just want to get started.

Comment Re:It will not happen (Score 2) 85

How the hell do you re-write something like that? An "if" statement keys on the value of a single variable and conditionally executes a function. There are some things for which there is only one solution. Someone might suggest "just cold-room it!" But how are they supposed to do that?

You mean cleanroom. Copyright protects one particular expression (implementation) not the underlying idea (functionality), so the point is not necessarily to come up with a different solution but to document that it has been done independently. Yes, that means they must find an "untainted" developer to write the new code but you can in great detail describe the functionality as long as you don't impose a particular implementation. It's even been done "after the fact" as evidence:

The court relied heavily on evidence NEC presented that compared a "clean room'' program with both the V20/30 and Intel 8086/88 microcode. NEC hired an independent engineer (Gary Davidian) to develop a set of microcode for the V20/30 without access to any other microcode. Because Davidian's version of the microcode was similar in many regards to both the Intel and NEC microcodes, the court found it likely that those similarities were dictated not by copying of Intel's microcode, but rather by functional constraints of the hardware, the architecture, and the need for 8086/88 compatibility.

The documentation is a pain in the butt, but the legal reasoning around it isn't so bad.

Comment Re:What was the old license model? (Score 1) 85

No issues linking to OpenSSL so long as you obey the terms of the OpenSSL license in the binary distribution of OpenSSL, and the GPL in the terms of the distribution of the software linking to openssl.

Doesn't work that way... then you could say that your "licensed for non-commercial use" code is distributed for $0, I'm just charging for my code and your restriction can't extend to my code. You'd get rid of all license restrictions by "librarifying" it. Distribution is not the only exclusive right in copyright, so is preparing derived works and running something as one program in the same memory space is definitively that.

Granted you've moved the primary violation over to the end user, who may or may not be able to claim fair use but as an organized means of license circumvention I'd say you'd get in legal trouble for vicarious copyright infringement. That's the legal theory they've used to go after centralized P2P and torrent sites, even though the torrent sites themselves don't commit primary violations they just benefit from them.

Consider it a bit this way, many things can be created from legal chemicals. That doesn't mean you can create one-click "meth lab kits" and act like you're just selling bits and pieces that by themselves are legal. Not even you split them into "Meth lab part 1" and "Meth lab part 2". It would be the same with OpenSSL and GPL code, legally you can distribute one or the other. But once it becomes a DIY copyright violation kit, you get in trouble.

Comment Ya, and that will hold up... not (Score 3, Informative) 259

Here's the deal: All proprietary software has that in there as well. Every piece of software has an EULA that says they are responsible for nothing. Have a look at the MS EULA if you wish, there's all kinds of shit that supposedly limits liability, requires arbitration, etc, etc https://www.microsoft.com/en-u....

You can say it all you like, doesn't make it true. I can write an EULA saying "By using this software you agree I get to take your first born child," and yet if I tried, I'd still go to jail because just saying it in an EULA doesn't make it so. You can't disclaim all warranties, all damages, etc by law. For some info on it look up the Uniform Commercial Code.

Ok well all that aside when it comes to an issue like this courts are not known for applying the law one way in one case, and a different way in another. They don't say "Oh we like this nice OSS" and give it one rule and "We don't like this mean commercial software" and give it another. Thus if courts find that software makers are liable for incidental data loss then it will apply to ALL software. OSS has no special get out clause. You don't get to have it both ways where OSS gets a magic liability shield just by putting something in a text document but commercial EULAs aren't worth the bits used to store them.

In fact, OSS will be MORE vulnerable. Commercial companies have lawyers to help them wrangle out of things. They also can always go the real contract route, where you sign an actual contract up front with them before buying (you see this with some enterprise software) which can enforce more stringent terms. OSS that is just distributed on the web doesn't have all that.

Comment Re:It's time for Microsoft to give up (Score 1) 82

It really depends, they don't need to be cool. They just need to be X86 compatible! Their phones have been decent but poorly supported app wise, give me compatibility with X86 and I would get one tomorrow instead of my planned Galaxy S8 purchase.

And we know Intel cancelled the last iteration of that project, probably because Microsoft wouldn't commit to buying enough processors to make it worth it. So unless there's some supersecret project that's not on any roadmap it's not going to happen.

Comment You don't want this to succed (Score 4, Insightful) 259

Even if you are a rampant MS hater, this would set a really bad precedent: That software companies could be liable for data loss caused by things only incidentally related to their software. Talk about a ripe field for bullshit lawsuits.

Don't think OSS would be immune either. The argument of "but I didn't charge for it" doesn't eliminate liability. In fact, it would be something companies could use to try and bully OSS out of existence through bullshit lawsuits.

Comment Re: Not everyone is happy... (Score 1) 85

I used to think the same before I talked to some legal people -- you might be surprised.

It's the sort of thing legal people can blabber on and on about, but when you consider that anyone distributing this project can be sued in 100+ jurisdictions with different laws and legal systems most of them will get very quiet. And at least in the US there are statutory damages, who ever is "hurt" doesn't have to prove that, they just have to prove infringement and they can cash in which could be tempting for a greedy heir. And not necessarily just liability either, fraudulent removal or alteration of a copyright license is a criminal act under USC 17506(d) and possibly many other nations.

Basically it's the kind of thing they can bill lots of hours for but try asking them if they'll put their money where their mouth is and take the bill if their legal interpretation is wrong and I think you'll find them disappear in a puff of smoke. Get permission from those you can get permission from, rewrite the rest. Maybe even document a cleanroom implementation if you know some are militantly opposed to the re-licensing. My guess is the formulation is a legally meaningless taunt, it didn't say they would re-license without your permission. It just implied it so they'd provoke a response.

Comment Re:Since when (Score 1) 296

The bigger question is why aren't the British (and the Americans for that matter) insisting that new citizens (including their children) become CITIZENS of that country in heart and soul

And how would you define what being "British in heart and soul" is? I think a lot of people that feel pretty genuinely British even though they don't eat pork because they're vegetarians or vegans or don't drink or don't go to church or... And how would you test if people actually live "British" enough for you? And what would you do with a child born and raised in Britain that's too "un-British" but isn't a citizen of any other country? Imprison them? Send them to "reeducation camps"? Deport them? India for Hinduism, Thailand for Buddhism, Japan for Shinto? You can't force people on other nations, you know.

I think it would get rather hilarious to try this in America, ask all the people who aren't "real" Americans to go home. I think you'll get a lot of funny debates on who exactly that is... Mexicans? Africans? Non-Christians? Everybody but the native Americans?

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