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User Journal

Journal Journal: Copyleft Confusion

I just signed up with youtube and put up a few videos. (Under a CC BY-SA license.)

I searched for copyleft to see what other copyleft works were on there and found a lot of works tagged or otherwise marked as copyleft but with explanations indicating that they were not actually copyleft.

I am going to try and document Free, Open, and Copyleft confusions as I find them out in the wild. I invite you to join in if you wish.

Copyleft explained:

Youtube examples:

Found with a copyleft search on youtube but this is not copyleft: (
Copyleft - Creative Commons Deed:
The NC here makes this not copyleft.
"Multiracial Alliance Building Peace Conference and is 100% copyleft and
non-copyrighted so we encourage people to duplicate it and circulate it around
the world!"
Claims to be copyleft and non-copyrighted at the same time. If it is public domain, it can't be copyleft. What is really meant?
Tggged: copyleft.
"Cin Cin Man" was COPYRIGHTED and promptly COPYLEFTED (anybody is free to use it, improve, change, mutilate, but with NO commercial purposes/
No commercial purposes means this is not copyleft.



User Journal

Journal Journal: Some thoughts on a "Copyright Offensive" 3

Here are some thoughts for your consideration:

1. All 'non'marked' works get an automatic copyleft, not an automatic copyright.

2. Copyleft works can be registered for free, copyright works incurr a registration fee.

3. There is a yearly copyright tax imposed on copyright works, copyleft works are exempt.

4. The copyright tax is based on a percentage of the copyright holder declared value of the work.

5. The copyright holder will be encouraged to declare an honest value by having to sell the copyright to to work at the declared value or 5 percent above that value to any and all comers. At the value if the purchaser will put the work under a copyleft, 5 percent above if the purchaser will keep the work copyright.

6. Copyright status lasts for 10 years, then the works convert to copyleft for another ten then they go into the public domain.

7. Orignally copyleft works remain copyleft for the life of the author (and perhaps plys whatever.)

8. Works building on public domain works are not elegible for copyright status, only copyleft. (Does this make any practical sense??)

all the best,



Journal Journal: Microsoft to Pull Out of China for Humanitarian Reasons?

I thought this BBC article was fascinating. Apparently Microsoft is considering pulling out of China for humanitarian reasons. Yeah, right. I don't doubt Microsoft is considering the current political climate, but it's got nothing to do with protecting bloggers. After all, why aren't they pulling out of Saudi Arabia or Iran? I think it's obvious the real reason is China's lax IP laws, rampant software piracy, the government's pro-open-source rhetoric, and the Chinese government's general reticence to a) trust matters of national security to proprietary companies based in the USA and b) ship massive amounts of national wealth to the head offices of companies headquartered outside Asia. And it's not just Microsoft that's finding the business climate hostile, lots of other companies are too. But it's easier to make a sound bite out of persecuted bloggers than to argue in favour of stronger IP laws on behalf of one of the most profitable companies in the world.

User Journal

Journal Journal: RIAA Home Mortgage Corporation

RIAAHMC: So, Joe Suka, just sign here and you can have the money and get started building your new home today.

Joe: Uh.

RIAAHMC: Is there a problem?

Joe: Um, I am not sure, I am a little confused.

RIAAHMC: What is to be confused about, this is our standard contract. Everyone signs it. It is really very simple.

Joe: Well, what I don't get is that you lend me the money to build my house.


Joe: And then I have to pay you back the money you loaned me.

RIAAHMC: Right, that is standard.

Joe: And then after I have paid you back, you own the house and not me?

RIAAHMC: Sure, that's how we do it! It's standard.

Joe: I think I am gonna try one of them intarweb home mortgage companies. I heard that when banks compete, I win. Almost anything has to be better than this.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Money where my mouth is links...

Look like the original was posted March 24/05 - this edit is August 16/05:

Well, it looks like that idea went over like a lead balloon.

If it does not get some reasonable response soon, it will be consigned to the bit shredder.

I suggest those of us who support copyleft or other free programs/culture place "Money where my mouth is links" in our posts or sigs.


These would be links to some (even minor) example of our support.

I don't mean this as a means of tooting your own horn but rather as a means of getting to know a bit more about those we are discoursing with right in the posts themselves.


User Journal

Journal Journal: Jail time for corporations? 2

Can we figure a way to give "jail" time for corporations convicted of crimes that would send humans to jail?

OK, corporation not allowed to do business while in "jail." (Except where human would be allowed to carry on business from jail.

Objection: Employees will suffer.

Possible fix...

Employees, except those guilty of the crime keep runnig the company. They get their pay. All profits go to government to make good victims. First of the corporation/crime, then of other crimes.


I mean, why should a human face fines and jail time if they violate the copyrights of a corporation when a coproration only faces fines when it violates the copyrights of a human? What happened to equal protection under the law? (Is that the correct term?)

all the best,


Journal Journal: Ideas for slashdot improvements

I keep having ideas for improving slashdot. At least I would consider these changes/feature improvements. I keep forgetting to note them so I decided to put them here and work on them from time to time.

1. Some way for me to easily find and take posession of my AC posts. Issue: I often post from other machines that I do not trust or where I cannot remember my password at the time. I would like to be able to claim these posts.

2. Although "Subscribers can view entire comment history for all users" I think registered users should at least be able to see all of their own posts.

3. A way to search the text of comments for individual stories. I looked for something like this just now and thought I found it in "search discussion" but something is not working for me there. Ah, just did some experimenting, that seems to search in comment subjects and not in the actual text. I want to search in text.

4. A colour code (or some other means) when replying to comments to show the parent poster's standing as to your friend, fan, foe, and freak lists.

I have had more ideas recently that I cannot seem to remember at the moment. More as I remember or think of new ones.


Media (Apple)

Journal Journal: The IBM / Apple / Sony truimvirate?

It's beginning to occur to me that some things that are happening in the industry of late that I've been tracking separately are, quite possibly, directly related. IBM is pushing for Wintel independence. Apple is pushing for video through iTunes. Sony is pushing the PSP and PS3. But really, aren't these things intertwined? And do they hint at some back-room collusion between these three companies?

Why was Sony present at the release of the iPod Shuffle? Doesn't Sony hate Apple? Didn't Apple steal Sony's chance to own the digital music market? Why are they playing nice?

Why is the PSP shipping with a copy of Spiderman 2?

What is the future of PPC? I mean, we all know that IBM sold their PC division to Lenovo so that they could pump Linux on PPC, right? Well, what if we're wrong?

Well, we all know that IBM is frothing at the mouth over the concept of grid computing. Otherwise known as utility computing. "Grid" and "utility" are both terms used by the power industry and it's no coincidence they are being used here. IBM wants you to plug into computing the way you plug in a lamp. Plug and go. No fuss, no muss, you get a bill once a month only for what you use. And IBM wants that bill to always come from them. And the key to this dream? The Cell processor. Grid computing no longer as a concept, but as a concrete solution. An IBM solution. So in the long term, IBM doesn't want wintel independence for Linux/PPC, they want it for Cell. Okay, nothing too surprising here.

Now, Sony is showing up at the release of the iPod Shuffle. As Cringley has already said, this is likely because Apple wants to make a push into selling movies on ITMS. No doubt they would kill to have access to Sony's content, so they start to cozy up. Sure Sony wants to sell content online, so it's smart for them to play along, even in this limited a capacity. But does Sony want the Mac mini to be your digital entertainment hub? Hell, no. They want it to be the PS3. And does Apple want to be in the PC business? Personally, I don't think they want to be anymore. In fact, their introduction of a $499 PC actually serves to reinforce the idea that they've abandoned the PC as a major revenue stream. Would Apple and Sony come to an agreement that would have Sony content offered on ITMS with the Mac mini serving as a temporary platform until PS3 can be finalized and released? I don't think it's far-fetched.

So if the PS3 is intended as your new media hub, why is the PSP being sold with Spiderman 2? Well, a hub implies spokes, and you can rest assured both Apple and Sony want to tap into the media-on-the-go market. Apple owns that market for music, but have nothing on the market for video. Enter the PSP. But is the PSP really where these two companies want media-on-the-go to end up? I don't think so. I think the PSP is a bridge to fill a product gap much the same way as the Mac mini fills a gap before the release of the PS3. I wouldn't be surprised to see Sony and Apple in bed to transition the Mac mini into the PS3, with Apple offering some technology to help make it happen. Conversely, Sony would transition some technology to Apple to help them build out the iPod into a video-capable device. Maybe even a video *and* gaming capable device.

So in summary, where would this hypothetical situation leave us? Well, Sony would become the content provider. Apple would become the store-front through iTunes. Sony would provide the digital hub in the form of the PS3, and Apple would provide the media-on-the-go device in the form of the iPod. Apple would throw in some OS and usability experience to get an OSX derivative running on the PS3 or more likely the PS4, and you've got two companies divvying up the multimedia living room rather deftly.

So where does IBM fit in all this? Well, they make the processors that run all these devices. Yes, including the iPod Video. They power the grid, they send you the monthly bill. They also have powerful support behind the Cell processor which they use to attack wintel on corporate desktops, but more importantly eating away at HP and Sun in high-end computing platforms and services. They continue to rely on Linux as the business OS of choice, and cooperate with Sony and Apple to let them dominate the consumer space.

A long-shot? You betcha. Rest assured that if Apple sees the Mac Mini take off with the success of the iPod, they won't just walk away and let the PS3 become your multimedia hub. And if Sony sees the PSP selling like the Walkman, they won't hand those technologies to Apple for use in the iPod. And if IBM doesn't see huge acceptance of Cell, they'll continue to push their PPC architecture. But these scenarios are probably unlikely. People will adopt slowly, and it's unlikely anything in this first generation will be the "killer app." If not, I think what I've described above could certainly come to pass.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Observations on Words and Things

1. A word is not the same as the thing it describes.

There is an old dictum in mysticism: Ipsum Nomen Res Ipsa -- "the name itself [is] the thing itself." This is a rule for hypnotizing oneself or others to change our perceptions of the universe to fit our ideas. This rule is the opposite of the rule of science, which is to change our ideas (theories) to fit our perceptions of the universe (observations).

Corollary 1a -- Lincoln's Law: Calling a tail a leg doesn't make it one.

The practical conclusion of the above rule is that we cannot alter reality simply by changing the names by which we refer to things. There are good reasons for changing names sometimes, specifically when we find that the old names do not accurately reflect observations. However, when we change names out of wishful thinking (calling a dog's tail a leg) we set ourselves up for delusion and disappointment.

Worse, when we assent to others' redefinition of the words that describe the world, we are effectively under their spell. Who is doing Black Magick upon you? (What does the word "waffle" make you think of?) Reality is ultimately reality-based, not faith-based, and the credibility gap is a tension between the two. When it snaps, people do get killed.

2. There's always the chance the guy is lying to you.

This insight is famously ascribed to David Hume, but outside of credulous Christendom it may simply never have been needed: Whenever someone tells you that a miracle (or other unlikely event) has occurred, consider the following. There is a probability M that a miracle actually has occurred. There is also a probability L that the person who is telling the tale is lying or simply mistaken. As long as L > M, we have no reason to believe in miracles, wild advertising claims, or other unlikely stories.

3. Popularity and correctness are not strongly correlated.

Corollary 3a: Ten million people could be wrong.

Sometimes ideas are useful, but unpopular -- either because few people have heard of them or been convinced of them yet, or because they have gone out of fashion.

Corollary 3b: They laughed at Gandhi, but they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.

Being original is not, in itself, any guarantee of being right. Likewise, the fact of being rejected is no assurance that you're on the right track. Sometimes, first they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then you figure out you're being a dork and quit it.

4. People who sound totally sure might just be trying to convince themselves.

If a person is absolutely insistent on some point, it may well be that he (or she) is working under the rule of mysticism rather than that of science: rather than trying to come up with statements that accurately describe the world, he is trying to convince himself that the world is how he wants it to be.

It's not always the case, though. Sometimes we find that in order to prevent harm, we need to do some magic or politics -- same thing -- even for ideas that we have discovered by science. Otherwise we end up with creationism in the public schools and pi being declared equal to 3 by legislative fiat. Sometimes we do have to insist that we're right and the other guy is wrong. But we have to offer evidence, not just assertion -- and we have to be careful (not certain, but careful) that we aren't letting our ideas run away with us.

Media (Apple)

Journal Journal: Apple firing on all cylinders 2

Yeah, I was one of them. It was me. I'm sorry. I'm one of the people who predicted the demise of Apple in the 90's. It was a guilty pleasure, I watched their downward spiral with anticipation, eagerly awaiting that day they'd finally close their doors and no one would be able to stick their nose up at my PC again. Ha!

Of course, my prediction never came to pass. Love him or lump him, Steve Jobs brought them back from the brink of disaster. The iMac and Powerbooks brought them back to being a very successful niche player in the PC market. Very successful, but with the Mac alone they would always be nothing more than a niche player. Then one day, completely by accident, they stumbled upon the one thing that would be able to rocket them to the forefront of the collective consciousness. I'll avoid the melodrama and just say yes, it's the iPod. 8.2 million sales in 2004? 70% market share for online music sales? And that's against companies like WalMart! These are not the numbers of success, they are the numbers of complete domination.

So where am I going with this? Well, I just wanted to comment on the MacWorld announcements. I've never been an Apple fan (never used a Mac), but this week's announcements genuinely got me excited. Not necessarily in the sense that the products themselves were revolutionary, but rather in the sense that I think this company has finally caught its stride and is about to -- for the first time in its history -- become a real industry powerhouse.

Firstly, the iPod and iTunes sales results blew me away. Apple is now a major media company, and with their market share they're guaranteed to remain one for a long, long time. The iPod shuffle itself didn't amaze me, to me it's just an also-ran. Sure, I think they needed to release it so that they have a product at every end of the spectrum, but I still think iPod is about carrying *every* song you own, and the HD-based models will continue to dominate. But still, they filled a hole in their product line to prevent any surprises by the likes of Creative.

iWork is impressive because I think a lot of people who would love to use a Mac are turned off by the thought of having to use MS-Office on it. I know that sounds counter-intuitive, but I mean it. The Mac post-OSX has a lot of geek appeal, but those same geeks don't want to see any Microsoft labels on their toy. They'd gladly run Apple software, but MS-Office? No way! And at $79 the price is right.

Lastly, the announcement that really excited me was the Mac mini. Brilliant. A $500 Mac. A $500 Mac that's as cool and hip and stylish as that $3,000 Mac you've been drooling over but never bought because of the price. A $500 Mac that runs Unix. A $500 Mac that's the perfect accessory to that iPod you love so much. This thing will sell like hotcakes to geeks who've always wanted to dabble on a Mac. It will sell like hotcakes to non-geeks as an iPod accessory. It will sell like hotcakes to Mac enthusiasts who want another PC in the kitchen, or the den, or the family room. It's just plain-old going to sell like hotcakes. And spur more iPod sales. And more software sales. Apple will shortly become a major player in computer sales for the first time, in addition to already being a major media company. So in 5 years we'll all be running Macs and Microsoft will have faded into obscurity? No. But this MacWorld has convinced me that Apple will no longer be just a fringe player, but will soon be a popular and powerful alternative.

I have a confession to make. I love IT. And I love to see companies in my field that are doing well, that are ahead of everyone else, that are planning five years into the future instead of just planning for the next quarterly earnings report. The future of IT now sits in the hands of IBM, Dell, Novell (more on this later, but just trust me here) and now Apple. I'm genuinely enjoying watching this unfold.

It's funny.  Laugh.

Journal Journal: Achy Breaky DOCs 1

I don't think apologies to Billy Ray Cyrus are really necessary, but ...

Achy Breaky DOCs

You can send me spam
Or just fill up my RAM
With ancient cheesy forwards in my box
But if you give a screw
'Bout what I read from you
You'd damn well never send me DOCs!

Just don't send me DOCs
Those Microsoft .DOCs
I just don't want 'em in my mail
And if you send me DOCs
Those goddamn Word file DOCs
I'll have to send my answer back in Braille.

Just send me text/plain
It really is a pain
To see eight megs of binary to say:
"Good morning, how are you?
I'm doing lovely too,
I really must be going now -- good day!"

Or send HTML
I think it's really swell
And I can read it up in Firefox
But, sir or madam, please
I'm beggin' on my knees
Just lay off the Microsoft .DOCs!

Yeah, don't send me DOCs
Pro-pri-e-tar-y DOCs
Not everyone sucks Billy Gates's wang
And if you send me DOCs
Those freakin' Word file DOCs
Ya better know I'll just delete the thang.

Look, send me EXEs
Sure, give me Sobig -- please!
It won't even faze my Unix box
But if what you need
Is to send me stuff I'll read
Then don't bother sending it with DOCs.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Why ethicists don't sleep with other people's wives

I live with a philosophy graduate student. It's contagious. Note, none of these are particularly meant to be offensive, except possibly the Peter Singer one. Sorry, Pete, I just couldn't resist a zoophilia joke.

The moral realist doesn't sleep with other people's wives because it would be wrong.

The Kantian doesn't do it because if everyone did that, someone would be sleeping with his wife.

The natural law theorist doesn't do it because it would be a violation of the marriage contract.

The emotivist doesn't because -- ew, yuck, sleeping with other people's wives!

The consequentialist doesn't because he doesn't want to sleep with a woman who would cheat on her husband.

The cultural relativist doesn't do it because the culture he lives in rather arbitrarily happens to value sanctity of matrimony.

The utilitarian doesn't because he figures that extramarital affairs cause more bad than good.

The moral skeptic doesn't for no particular reason.

The hedonist doesn't because he doesn't feel like it.

Peter Singer doesn't do it because there's nothing that makes other people's wives ethically preferable over, say, goats.

The virtue ethicist doesn't do it because what kind of a person would he be if he did?

The feminist doesn't because other people's wives are usually straight.

United States

Journal Journal: #1 Reason to Hate the Religious Right 3

What I love about this election is that when all the political pundits had had their say, they agreed that the deciding factor in this election was "moral issues." The war in Iraq turned into a big red herring, with both candidates promising more of the same, but Kerry promising little more than to feel bad about it. The election came down to gay marriage and abortion.

You heard that right, folks. The "moral issues" in this election were gay marriage and abortion. The illegal invasion of a sovereign state that resulted in the deaths of 100,000 Iraqis never even figured on the morality bill. So what "moral issues" were at stake? Quite simply:

1. Whether or not we can forbid gays from marrying, and
2. Whether or not we can forbid a woman from making choices about her body.

How on earth did veto power over other people's moral choices become a platform advocating morality?

Don't get me wrong, I'm only mildly in support of gay marriage, and I'm very wishy-washy on abortion. I think it's totally warranted in some circumstances, but I'm not fond of it as a replacement for wearing a rubber. But I am not the ultimate power in the land. And I wouldn't presume to force my opinion on others. In situations like this the mature thing to do, the moral thing to do, is to err on the side of tolerance. Yet somehow this election equated "forcing your opinion down other peoples' throats" with "morals" and the murder of 100,000 Iraqis as a mere blip on the radar. I know that God doesn't exist because if he did, he would fry these hypocrites where they stand.

United States

Journal Journal: US Election 7

Well, I didn't want to put anything in writing while I was still hopeful that Bush may not win another four years, but now that it seems at least fairly likely I will put my opinion to paper. Or, electrons....

I went into this election with a bittersweet taste in my mouth. I knew that either Bush would be upset and the world would be a bit safer for four more years, or that Bush would win and the fall of the American Empire would be dramatically hastened.

Now, when I use the phrase "American Empire" I don't use it in the traditional sense of "evil American imperialism." I find that very passe. I use it in the sense of a government that is ruled by an omnipotent emperor where right of rule is hereditary. Somehow America has passed the age where they value democratic rule, and are instead looking for a king to rule them. Not unlike Ancient Rome after the rule of Caesar Augustus, but actually identically-so. If you hate to learn from history, please stop reading.

Anyways, Bush has a huge lead at this point. His moronic bumbling, war-mongering, and anti-islamic genocidal policies will be with us another 4 years. One-hundred thousand Iraqis have already died while we "freed" them. Let's stop calling it Iraqi Freedom and call it what it is: Eternal Freedom. If you're an Iraqi we promise to give you an eternity of freedom. When does invading a sovereign state to "free" them become genocide? Does a hundred-thousand deaths count? Surely if you asked them they've had enough "freedom" for one generation. Please call off the bombers.

And yet the downward spiral will continue. International relations will continue to decline. The deficit will balloon out of control. Defense spending will rise unabated and the trade deficit will widen. Blacks will suffer, Hispanics will suffer, everyone but the rich will suffer. The Nazis have taken control and they have done so by popular vote. There is nothing left for us to do.

China, EU, we look to you now for salvation. The fall of a superpower takes decades or centuries, but I want to live to see who ascends in the place of America.

It's funny.  Laugh.

Journal Journal: You might be a closed-source twerp if ... 1

You might be a closed-source twerp if ...
  • You've chosen a piece of software not for its features or benefits but because it is not open source.
  • Despite the numerous copyright- and patent-violation lawsuits that have been filed, adjudicated, and settled against Microsoft, you think it's more likely that Linux contains "stolen intellectual property" than that Windows does.
  • When someone in your organization proposes use of an open-source product, you've retorted, "Not everything has to be open source!"
  • You refer to a reasoned preference for open source software as a "bias" or "religion".
  • Despite the existence of Red Hat, Digium, MySQL AB, Zope Inc., and other open-source companies, you believe that open source software is "non-commercial" or "anti-corporate".
  • You have referred to open source software as "communist".
  • You have referred to Eric S. Raymond as a "socialist".
  • You have conflated open-source licenses with "the public domain", or claimed that open-source software is "not copyrighted".
  • You take Laura DiDio or Rob Enderle seriously.
  • You crack BSD/LSD jokes to imply that Unix or open-source programmers are insane or unreliable.
  • You believe that Linux or Unix cannot be used "on the desktop", but you have never tried it or asked anyone who does it about their experience.
  • When someone points out that Mac OS X is a desktop Unix system, you retort that it isn't "really" Unix -- despite the C shell, POSIX compliance, BSD kernel, X11 ....
  • You think that software users should bear liability for copyright infringement committed by software publishers, thus necessitating "indemnification" -- even though you would never claim that readers of the New York Times would be liable for a plagiarism committed by a Times reporter.
  • You think that Linux, in its present form, was cooked up by some college student in a basement.
  • You think that Linux, since it is based on the design of Unix, is "30-year-old technology" and therefore inferior -- as if software designs were to be judged on their novelty rather than their reliability.
  • Despite the number of Linux systems that Dell, HP, IBM, and other major vendors ship to large corporations and other institutions, you believe that "Linux is not ready for the enterprise".
  • You note that only a small fraction of the computers in the world run Linux or BSD, and conclude that open-source software is of little consequence -- selectively ignoring the fact that 60+% of all Web servers in the world run the open-source Apache software.
  • You think that open-source software is likely to contain Trojan horses, because anyone can modify it.
  • Although you know that The SCO Group's legal arguments are unfounded and that they have presented no evidence of their claims, you hope that they will win anyhow, to show those irritating open-source upstarts that business should be about power rather than mutual benefit.
  • You think that Sun Java Desktop is a Java-based product, not a Linux distribution.
  • You think that the GNU General Public License (GPL) is an end-user license agreement, or that using GPLed software involves giving up rights you would otherwise have.
  • You think that open-source projects are each the work of an individual volunteer programmer, so that when the one programmer responsible for Linux or PostgreSQL or Apache gets bored with it, there will be no more support available.
  • A security vulnerability in mySQL is a "Linux security hole", but a security vulnerability in Microsoft SQL Server is not a "Windows security hole". That is, the fact that Linux distributors ship more third-party software should be considered a problem, not a virtue.

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"If you can, help others. If you can't, at least don't hurt others." -- the Dalai Lama