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Comment Re:Idea (Score 3, Insightful) 481

> I've been here to long to be any kind of fan of Bill, but I do admire his focus on charity that makes a concrete difference to people with real and immediate problems.

Access to communication networks helps address lots of real and immediate problems.

> Lets not get so obsessed with "first world problems" that we forget that millions still die of easily curable and preventable conditions.

Let's not get so obsessed with narrow, paternalistic solutions that we don't direct efforts toward things that empower people by giving them access to resources/tool that they can use to address their own concerns, like microcredit-fueled economic development or improved communication infrastructure.

Comment Re:GPLv3, section 6 (Score 1) 120

> That section says that if you give someone a device with software that's supposed to come with the freedom to run, study, modify, and redistribute, then you can't prevent them from modifying the software on that device and running it

Well, no. It says that a product sold in a certain market that comes with GPL-licensed software must come with the tools to enable running modified software on the device.

> Where's the controversy?

"Controversy" wasn't an issue. "Anti-business" was. And that restriction is anti-business.

> GPLv3 didn't create the problem of locked down devices.

No, it just adopted a mind-bogglingly stupid approach to addressing them. It doesn't require certain features in certain markets for software integrated with GPL software, it requires legal freedoms and availability of the preferred form for making modifications, without regard to markets.It could have taken an open-hardware approach for hardware integrated with GPL software, which would have been sane and connected to software freedom, but instead it adopted a system of market-based restrictions on features, which isn't just anti-business (as, to an extent, any mechanism of preventing the continuation of an emerging business model is likely to be), but also anti-software-freedom, as it constrains the utility of GPL-licensed software for particular uses.

Comment Re:Gratuitous license are revocable (Score 1) 203

> Under which country's law?

The United States (I think this is a common law principle of licenses not specific to copyright, so it may apply in other common law jurisdictions, to the extent that copyright licenses have not subsequently been excepted from the general principle.)

> In most places, I'd expect promissory estoppel to apply.

Promissory estoppel is, as I understand it, limited; generally, it restricts the ability of a party to seek remedies from another party where the second parties action was taken in foreseeable reliance on a promise of the first party to the extent necessary to prevent injustice, it might to an extent, and for a period, mitigate the effect of revocation of a gratuitous license. I've never heard of a case of it being held to make a gratuitous license permanent in the face of the licensor acting to revoke it,

Comment Re:Practicality? (Score 1) 230

> In America, about 90% of diagnosed DS fetuses are aborted. That is an interesting percentage, since polls indicate that more that 20% of Americans think abortion should be illegal under all circumstances. At least half of those people are apparently hypocrites

That doesn't follow. There are about 6000 down syndrome births per year, or about 60,000 DS fetuses given your 90% abortion rate, so about 0.02% of Americans give have down syndrome pregnancies each year. Its quite possible for all the people that have ever had a down syndrome pregnancy to fit well within the 80% of Americans who don't think abortion should be illegal under all circumstances.

Comment Re:Why not use real domains instead? (Score 1) 115

> Have you ever worked for IBM or any other big corporation? You will have to go through 7 levels of approval, impact analysis, cost analysis, get about 50 people involved etc. and wait several months

I can't understand why big organizations can't delegate responsibility for subdomains so that this isn't a problem. Once an internal unit of Example Corp ( is goes through the internal hoops to get subdomain, they ought to handle the process when someone wants

Comment Misleading on substance of MAI Systems v. Peak (Score 1) 120

This is a misleading statement of the holding in MAI Systems v. Peak Computer; at the time, US software law already had an exception for the owner of a copy of a copyright-protected work making a copy as necessary to use the work (as is the case with making a copy to RAM from storage), which was put in place specifically because this kind of thing was clearly viewed as copying before MAI Systems even if it had never been an issue in a case; the real substantive issue with regard to copyright law was that Peak was *not* the owner of the copies in the machines storage, since it was a third-party repair/maintenance firm. (And, a new exception was created specifically to address this case in response to the MAI Systems v. Peak ruling.)

Comment "regrettably" (Score 1) 120

> but regrettably encourages the use of the GPLv2 (without the "or later version" clause)

The GPLv2 is a much simpler and easier-to-understand license without the market/use-based restrictions of the GPLv3, and the "or later version" clause allows other people to relicense your code with you having no control of the terms (it basically involves trusting whoever ends up running the FSF for the remainder of the copyright term of your code,

So, I don't think that encouraging the GPLv2 without the "or later version" clause is in any way regrettable.

Comment Re:Just copying. (Score 1) 169

Also, didn't Ubuntu add an option to opt-out of the advertising after the backlash?

No, the search provider that sent queries to Amazon and included Amazon product listings in the desktop search was always a separate package that could be disabled (and which, IIRC, has a very clear name and description), when people raised issues about it, Ubuntu provided information on how to disable it, but it wasn't a new option, it was there from day one.

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