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Comment Re:GPL (Score 1) 176

I don't get why you think taking a portion of a GPL-licensed work means that portion wouldn't itself be GPL-licensed. Of course it is, like the whole work is.

The stance of the FSF is that game assets are not software and thus having a GPLed engine bundled with non-free assets is ok. The assets and the engine doesn't form a complete work that as whole has to be GPL licensed. Going by that interpretation taking the assets from a GPL game and including them in a proprietary work would be ok, as it's just the reverse direction of what is already common practice (see Doom, Quake, Dosbox, ScummVM). The GPL would apply to the art, but not to the engine.

The license follows the graphics no matter how you get them.

That's not the issue, the graphics will obviously stay GPL, the issue is if it does force other parts of the program to fall under the GPL. In a statically linked C project the issue is clear because all the used library become part of the resulting executable. In a lot of other context the coupling between the GPL code and the proprietary code is not so tight. Using a GPLed grep in a proprietary shell script is for example considered ok, but using a GPLed grep() function loaded from a dynamic library would be considered a violation going by the common interpretation, even so it's essentially the thing. The proprietary code wouldn't need to contain any GPLed pieces, it would just call them. In the case of graphics the only thing that couples the code with the assets would be a filename.

Things get even more complicated when you are dealing indirect couplings by third parties, not by the distributor of the proprietary application. For example assume a proprietary application provides support for themes and then a user builds a theme from GPLed assets. Is that a violation or not? What about plugins or scripts?

This whole situation really isn't clear and even the official GPL FAQ is a little vague when it comes to how to deal with plugins and basically leaves the user with a "it depends".

Comment Re:GPL (Score 1) 176

If you use GPL code, you take on that license. It's really that simple.

The only area where the GPL is clear is statically linked C code, everything else is very open to interpretation. Take for example a GPLed game. Now somebody comes along, takes all the graphics and releases a proprietary game with them. Is that a violation or not? What if he doesn't actually include the graphics, but loads them from the web or straight out of your git repository or their fork of your git repository? What if it's not graphics, but interpreted code code? At what point do the assets require the rest of the code released under GPL? You can go with "never", "always" or "up to a judge's interpretation".

Even the FSF can't manage to get a conflict free interpretation out of it. On one side, if you use one of their GPLed libraries, your main app shall be released as GPL as well. But on the other side they want the right to clone proprietary APIs without adhering to the license. So what is it? Shall APIs have copyright or not? The FSF wants it both ways.

Comment Re:Not quite the same thing is already being done. (Score 2) 71

why is the test of worthiness for a medical procedure whether it can be "mass marketed"

Because someone has to pay for the research and development - which, please remember, involves large-scale clinical trials to get regulatory approval - and they're not going to front the money for a treatment that has no chance of recouping their investment, unless they have some other personal interest. You can wring your hands all you want about society's priorities, but new medical procedures aren't magically exempt from basic rules of supply and demand.

Comment Re:Why does this matter? (Score 4, Interesting) 246

Did Youtube demand money from her in exchange for fire, theft, and kneecap insurance?

Yes, that's one of the main points of her open letter. Youtube has a system in place, Content ID, to stop piracy and it works quite well. The crux is that they only allow it's use to musicians who have agreed to license their content to them or at least that's assumed, as they don't publish any rules. Everybody else gets left in the dust and isn't allowed into Content ID and thus their content can be shared on Youtube without permission. Which according to her argument violates the requirements for "Safe Harbor" protection and makes Youtube guilty of mass copyright infringement, as that "Safe Harbor" law requires technical measures to be made available to everybody.

Comment Re:A Change in Society (Score 2) 157

I think before we see any large social changes we will see a lot of laws and regulation put into action against such technology. Social networks for example can lock away access to peoples photos behind a login and when logins are only given out to people who have verified their identity spidering becomes much harder. That's not even far future, many services already require a mobile phone number for id and some countries don't give you a mobile phone number anonymously. Collecting the data will still happen, but it will be much more troublesome and could be made illegal on top. So whenever somebody would offer a public search service, they could be shutdown relatively fast (unless Bitcoin and Tor make it commercially viable to put in the effort).

Given the advances in computer graphics I could also imagine that social networks will get flooded with lots of fake data. Face swap yourself into all kinds of photos and it will become much harder to find who you really are, since lots of information about you online will be fake. So maybe we end up with a general distrust about data we found online about a person.

Comment Re:C for insecurity (Score 3, Interesting) 104

I'd blame the OS instead. Giving each process full access to the system just isn't a good way to do things and constantly leads to problems like this. Python can stop some those problems, but it provides by no means a secure sandbox. If you access the filesystem in Python, you still have full access to the filesystem. In cases such as this the process should be limited to exactly the data it needs to get the job done, meaning an input image, an output location and a bunch of configuration parameter.

Comment Re:Only 40 years?? (Score 1) 122

I wonder what kind of unmanned probes we could have by now if we didn't have to spend it on a military? If you don't have to worry about life-support and could afford redundant probes to deal with the risk of high-speeds, those things could be really fast, and we perhaps could be getting close-up data from the nearest star systems by now.

Sorry, not even close.

The estimate that I've seen for Project Icarus, which is one of the most thorough realistic concepts for interstellar exploration, was $100 trillion. (For comparison, global GNP is around $70 trillion, and US military budget is probably on the order of $1 trillion at most once you include stuff like the NSA - DoD alone is more like $700 billion. Some of which we do actually need for national defense.) That probe would have been unmanned and taken 50 years to reach Barnard's Star (only about 5 light years away), plus at least a 20-year development time. It required technology that, while theoretically possible, isn't even remotely close to working; it also required installing orbital infrastructure around at least one of our gas giants to mine the isotope(s) required for its particular flavor of fusion.

If we restrict ourselves to current-day or very-near-future technology, we might be able to get something to a nearby star in a few centuries for a much smaller sum. I'm totally in favor of starting work now, but I think the political will for spending large amounts of tax dollars on such a project is near zero.

Comment Re:Why? (Score 1) 127

The lack of a packaging format for third party apps has been one of the biggest and most persistent problems in the Linux landscape for ages. I have no idea of the quality of the work Ubuntu is doing here and it does seem to duplicate the work going on with xdg-app, but I really wouldn't mind getting rid of tarballs and shelf extracting shell scripts. The monolithic dependency trees that package managers require at the moment just don't scale and never provided a good way for third party apps to plug into them (just adding random third party repos is inherently fragile and insecure).

Comment Re:Stop complaning already, remove the tinfoil hat (Score 1) 515

I have done that, but the update didn't carry over the applications from Windows7 for some reason, it presented a mostly blank install. The only two application it did carry over where some old copies of Word and Excel, both of which failed to run in Windows10. The rollback to Windows7 however seems to have worked. Given how aggressively Microsoft is pushing Windows10 update I would have expected a better tested upgrade routine.

Comment Re:You consented to the install... well sorta (Score 4, Interesting) 515

Yep, that is my experience as well. When you click the "download and install later" option, that's it, the update will now be carried out and you have no way to cancel it. The dialog box that is presented to you before the final update does not have a cancel button or a close button or any other means to not carry the installation out, you can delay the installation by some days, but you have to set a date for the install, there is no "ask me later".

Comment Modern games are dumb (Score 1, Interesting) 45

I don't think modern games would be a good choice for an AI training, as most modern games are extremely simplistic and build in such a way that the player can hardly fail at all. You have endless respawns, navigation markers and all that stuff to help you. They often also have level up mechanics that could be exploited by an AI. Old games like Doom and Quake seem to be a much better fit, as in those you have to actually navigate on your own instead of just following a magic quest marker. Those games also tend to have direct player control instead of the fly-by-wire you have in Assassins Creed where the character walks on his own and player input is just a lose suggestion for where he should go.

Comment Re:Will it ever get cheap again? (Score 1) 107

Price per GB has resumed dropping [cbsistatic.com] since the effect of the Thailand flooding and HDD consolidation in 2011-2012.

The most frustrating part isn't so much the price per gigabyte, as that is back to pre-flood levels, but that you only get that good GB/$ rate in the $100 price range, while you used to get that in the $50 range. If you only need 1 or 2TB you are still paying quite a bit more then five years ago, it's only with 3TB-8TB drives that you get a slightly better rate then pre-flood.

Comment Will it ever get cheap again? (Score 4, Insightful) 107

Back in 2011 I could get a 1.5TB drive for 45€, now five years later the best I can get is 3TB for 90€. Double the storage for double the price. If I just want to spend 50€ I only get 1TB. It's nice that we now have 6TB and 8TB drives, but they aren't cheap and so far haven't really lowered the price of the smaller drives and given how long this has already taken I am not even sure if HDDs will ever get cheap again before SSDs will take that space.

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