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Submission + - SPAM: FOSSA - Now we need feedback from real Free Software experts

Noonian Soong writes: The "Free and Open Source Security Audit" (FOSSA) is a project by the European Union whose aim it is to increase security of Free Software used by European institutions. Unfortunately, after initially asking the public for feedback, communication broke down while the EU was reviewing information and their report now is full of misconceptions and factual errors.

Because the report shows such a lack of understanding of the underlying issues, the Free Software Foundation Europe is asking for feedback from people who are actually involved in Free Software so they can pass that information on to the EU who will hopefully rectify the current situation. The alternative is letting the EU spend the money dedicated to code review without any real impact.

Link to Original Source

Comment Re:Surprised? (Score 1) 583

I agree. However, there is really no reason to trust other developers of non-free software. Only free software shifts the power from the developer to the user so there is a balance. With non-free software, you never know what you get and from experience we know we get a lot of hidden non-features. With free software this is still possible, but it is less likely and we, the users, can do something about any problem we discover.

Comment Re:I just wrote this guy an email: (Score 1) 973

I agree with your statement that there is a difference between morality and legality. But legality without morality is not oppression.

Legality is the state in which people have to do what is right because they would face a penalty otherwise (in order to combine everyone's personal freedom). Morality goes further than that because morality does not just look at people's actions but also at people's motivation, their thinking, etc. Legality can be enforced by a state, morality cannot because no one can actually make someone else think a certain way. (I can prevent them from saying what they think, but their inner convictions cannot be controlled by anyone.) There are of course actual states that try to regulate the morality of their citizens but such attempts are futile. That is why actual laws can never be based on morality.

That said, actual laws need to comply with legality and since morality demands the same things as legality (plus things regarding motivation etc.), laws that are in accordance with legality are also in accordance with morality (but do not cover all areas that morality does).

So that means legality and morality are two mostly independent systems and while I would rather live in a moral world, I have to (and can) deal with the fact that I live in a world with people who are not completely moral and since morality cannot be enforced, I have to settle for legality (which is enough most of the time because it guarantees my freedom).

I totally agree with you in respect to copyright being unjustifiably used against society, though.

Comment Re:The "fairest" thing since affirmative action (Score 4, Informative) 375

it's making everyone else's vote count as 1/6th the vote of people "selected" by the government.

If that was the case, cumulative voting would be bad, yes. But it doesn't work that way. What cumulative voting is, it gives everyone more votes to distribute among candidates. So everyone's vote is basically split into fractions, but everyone's ballot has the same weight overall. So if I (and everyone else) got 10 votes, I might chose to give 3 (respectively 3/10 of my vote) votes to candidate A, 2 (2/10) to candidate C, D, and J and 1 (1/10) vote to candidate X. This way, I can show that I like candidate A the most, but I'm also ok with candidates C, D, J, and X, but not with everyone else on the ballot.

Comment Is it really that bad? (Score 1) 602

I really don't get it. I have watched a couple of games so far and even though my hearing is good, I didn't feel like there was an unusual high level of noise in those games. The commentator is obviously always louder than the background noise because the station creates the audio mix that way. And for the sound of the vuvuzelas: It's an unusual sound, but at least on TV doesn't seem to be any louder than other noisemakers spectators often use. It seems to me that using horns and other noisemakers have been a part of soccer games for quite some time and the vuvuzelas, traditional or not, are just another instance of a noisemaker. They might be louder in the stadium, but on TV, they don't bother me at all.

Comment Are all of them necessarily abuse? (Score 1) 10

I totally agree that the first two are bad moderation. With the latter two though, I can see how someone could see them as flamebait. They are short and provocative and since you didn't add another sentence or two describing why you see things that way, it looks a lot like flamebait.

I've been following your comments for quite some time, so I wouldn't have rated them flamebait, but if I had to meta-moderate and couldn't see the author or if I hadn't been following your comments, I might rate the latter two the same way.

Having read many of your comments and journal entries, I agree that all of them are bad moderation, but with the last two, I don't see any abuse, just bad moderation (which might have happened due to the lack of knowing your other comments).

Comment Re:Wait... (Score 1) 386

Unfortunately, you're trying to use "technical difficulties" as a term to make it sound as if it was all unavoidable and just a complete accident rather than saying "yeah, the rights management fucked itself again. It's a known issue and completely unnecessary but that's what's causing the problems."

But I was trying to explain that it was avoidable and DRM "fucked itself up again". I don't disagree with you; I think we just have a different understanding of the term "licensing issues".

There are two different reasons for licensing issues: One are merely technical reasons (the system is somehow broken). The other one is that the system legitimately refuses to work, for example because someone didn't pay the licensing fee. The poster I replied to suggested that the theater or the DRM service had not paid for the license and I was trying to argue that this was not the case, but that the system itself was/is broken.

So what I did was restrict the term "licensing issue" to the meaning "the system is working correctly, but it cannot play the movie because we do not have the right to show it". Maybe this usage is too narrow. Sorry about that! I hope I could clarify what I meant.

Comment Re:Wait... (Score 5, Informative) 386

No, it is not a licensing problem. I read the German article and it clearly states that everyone paid, but the company providing the final keys (it is a process with several stages) could not produce the correct key. It was due to technical difficulties, not licensing issues.

Here is my non-Google translation of the important part that explains what went wrong technically (sorry for the slightly unidiomatic English; I tried to stay as close to the original as possible so that the text would not become my interpretation of the original):
Apparently, the DRM-keys for the film files were the cause of the problem. The distributor of 20th Century Fox sends the JPEG2000-encoded and AES-128-encrypted movies on external hard drives via courier. After that, the data (in the case of Avatar 150 GByte) needs to be copied to the theater server. Each digital projector/server combination generates a different certificate and transmits it to the DRM service in charge. The DRM service creates an individual key for each movie and sends it back to the theater. The key is always only valid for one copy of the film as well as one projector and can be limited to specific time periods and times of day.

Yesterday (Wednesday), the transmission of the correct keys for the 3D screenings did apparently not work in several cases, though. Theater technicians tried for several hours to decrypt the gigantic pile of data, but apparently the service responsible for the digital distribution of the film, Deluxe, could not provide valid keys yesterday.

Submission + - MacBook Air Competitor, Eee PC 1008HA Seashell (hothardware.com)

MojoKid writes: "Asus recently launched a new Eee PC netbook that looks nothing at all like its predecessors. In fact, it's likely that Asus included this machine in its Eee PC line simply due to brand recognition of their popular netbook lineup. At one inch thick, the Eee PC 1008HA Seashell is an elegant ultra-light netbook with a 92% full-size keyboard, a special scratch-resistant "infusion" coat finish and a trackpad that supports multi-touch gestures. Weighing in at a mere 2.4lbs, it's relatively firm competition for the likes of the MacBook Air."

Submission + - Unix Turns 40

wandazulu writes: Forty years ago this summer, Ken Thompson sat down and wrote a small operating system that would eventually be called Unix. An article at ComputerWorld describes the the history, present, and future of what could arguably be called the most important operating system of them all.

Submission + - Sequoia Disclosing Voting System Source to D.C. (washingtonpost.com)

buzzinglikeafridge writes: After Sequoia voting machines registered more votes than there were voters in D.C.'s primaries last September and the city threatened a lawsuit as a result, the company agreed to disclose technical details of the system (including source code) to the city. Although this isn't the first time the company has disclosed the source code of its' machines, it is the first time the machine's blueprints will be handed over as well.

Submission + - Microsoft Trying to Patent Parallel Processing 2

theodp writes: "Microsoft may have been a Johnny-come-lately when it comes to parallel programming, but that's not stopping the software giant from trying to patent it. This week, the USPTO revealed that Microsoft has three additional parallel-processing patents pending — 1. Partitioning and Repartitioning for Data Parallel Operations, 2. Data Parallel Searching, and 3. Data Parallel Production and Consumption. Informing the USPTO that 'Software programs have been written to run sequentially since the beginning days of software development,' Microsoft adds there's been a '[recent] shift away from sequential execution toward parallel execution.' Before they grant the patents, let's hope the USPTO gets a second opinion on the novelty of Microsoft's parallel-processing patent claims."
Role Playing (Games)

Submission + - Homework!?

An anonymous reader writes: With all the talk about Blizzard lately, I was asked a question about Guild Wars and World of Warcraft. While both games address different aspects, how would you get Blizzard to drop the monthly fee for WoW without trying to generate a force needed to compensate for the entropy of the players' need to play the game? After all, the no monthly free works for Guild Wars, so the model itself is fine. Or perhaps the question should be stated, how would you get this model to be the accepted form for all MMORPGs? Also, assume that the person asking me will not accept impossible for an answer. I would like to know your thoughts.

Submission + - Wikipedia Blocked by Schools

Malkara writes: "Apparently my school system, in Central Florida, has blocked Wikipedia access on all school computers. I had known wikipedia was blocked for the last week, but I was just recently informed that it had indeed been a conscious decision. Apparently they're worried about people quoting directly from Wikipedia, and decided to take the easy way out by simply completely blocking the website in all schools from Elementary to High School."

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