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Journal Journal: Intellectual Property

There's an interesting discussion going on today on Slashdot about intellectual property. Some of the posts in response to the main article are quite funny while others really just make weak arguments to justify the wholesale piracy of copyrighted materials.

Here's the deal folks: for the time being, it is considered illegal in many countries to distribute copyrighted material (be it songs, books, movies, etc) to others without obtaining permission from the copyright holder. You might not agree with these laws but that doesn't mean they don't exist. As such, if you're going to violate the law, you should be prepared to pay the consequences of doing so without complaint.

I hear many people say that pirating music from the internet is a "civil disobedience" issue and their way of "striking the industry where it hurts". Bull. There are other legal ways to do the same thing. Want *only* the songs you want? Consider iTunes or the other legal music distribution services. Want to buy a whole CD but don't want to pay $15-$17 and put money in the pockets of the RIAA? Buy it at a used music store. They're all over the place and CD's go for as little as $3 USD. Whatever you do, stop justifying a weak moral position by trying to disquise it as some sort of moral holy-war. Nobody buys it. If you want *free* music then say you want free music and be man/woman enough to simply say you are aware you're breaking the law but are willing to do so. But don't try to make it a socially relevent issue where you look like you're only doing it to help free society from the evil bonds of the RIAA. That, my friend, is being intellectually dishonest about intellectual property.


Journal Journal: Windows source code leaked?

Well, it seems like the source code to Windows 2000 and Windows NT might have been leaked to the Internet. I think it's incredibly interesting that this "leak" comes only a day after one of the worse security holes ever discovered was announced by Microsoft or maybe I'm just a paranoid freak. What could this mean for the future of Windows? A lot actually.

Having access to the source code of Windows -- even illegally as this would be -- allows ANYONE to create a patch for the OS when a new hole is discovered. This could actually spawn a whole new domestic software market that specifically targets creating patches for Windows NT and 2000. Personally, I'm going out looking for it now :-)


Journal Journal: Remote tech support for idiots

I used to be a "live and let live" kind of guy. I hated Windows and chose Linux instead but I really didn't have anything against Windows users per se save for me thinking they were a bit naive about the corporation that controlled their destinies. All that changed this week as I attempted to help a friend 1200 miles away diagnose and fix a Windows system crash.

What occured has basically convinced me that many Windows users are not simply naive but also careless. I have been warning my friend not to download software from unknown people and sites for well over 10 years. And yet, for some inexplicable reason, he felt it was a wise idea to download and install an "upgrade" to ZoneAlarm obtained from a near total stranger on IRC. The software hosed his system and I've spent the last 3 days trying desperately to reconstruct what happened from a series of phone calls with someone who didn't even understand why downloading software from strangers was bad.

In the end, we were able to restore his system to a stable and functional state. But this was hopefully a wakeup call for him and I hope we never have to go through this again because of his stupidity and carelessness. I can now understand why many Windows users are staying away from Linux: you have to take responsibility for your actions when running Linux. If your system is hosed it's probably your fault. Maybe the best weapon against Windows is the education of its' users. Just maybe...

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