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User Journal

Journal Journal: Problems with SCO IP License for Linux

Here is a list of problems I have with the SCO IP License for Linux (SIPLL). I'll update this as I get angrier.
  1. It's vaporware. There are lots of press releases and documents about the license, but no actual description of what you're buying. I.e. what are the terms? What do you have to agree to? The only way to buy it is to call SCO at 800-726-8649. Hey, SCO, if you want me to even consider buying a license, post the EULA! I'm not gonna shell out money when I can't see what I'm buying.
  2. It's leeching. There have been *many* hours of effort put into Linux other than what SCO claims. Why do they get the money?
  3. It's against the GPL. SCO themselves have distributed Linux after they were well aware that their (claimed) IP was included in the kernel. If they weren't willing to distribute it under those terms, they shouldn't have.
  4. The SIPLL requires activation. Huh? Does this mean that there's going to be some extra software installed on my computer that won't function without calling SCO? I thought a license is a legal agreement, i.e. information.
  5. It's extortion. The only purpose for buying a license is to keep SCO from suing you. But there's no proof that they'll even win. It's just the threat of the lawsuit that they're using to try to sell the licenses.
  6. It's binary-only. Need to recompile the kernel? Tough. You're only allowed to use their IP in binary form.
  7. No modifications allowed. Under their license, you can't modify the Linux kernel. Need something custom? Here's their advice:

    Consider migrating from an in house customized version of Linux to a shrink wrap, off the shelf version of Linux or to an alternative operating system. If you are unable to migrate, consider outsourcing the development of the customized Linux distribution.

    So basically, you should hire someone who's willing to violate SCO IP to do the work. Doesn't that constitute contributory infringement?

    Technically, they can only restrict you from modifying their part. However, they won't identify what that is, so you basically have to assume that any modifications you make might violate SCO IP and aren't legal.

  8. It applies to embedded systems. I might not even know that the device I've bought contains Linux. And I'm supposed to pay them $32? Their claimed IP seems more applicable to large scale systems than small embedded ones, so I doubt that it's even included in the small kernels used in these systems.
  9. It costs $500 to have an SSH server. This I don't understand. So long as I'm just running a desktop machine, it's $199. But as soon as I have some kind of server process running, like sshd, it's a server and costs $699. That's a lot of money to just be running a program that SCO had nothing to do with (and doesn't claim otherwise).
  10. Distributing Linux is not allowed. Yep, you heard it. Red Hat is violating SCO IP. Not only that, but SCO isn't going to offer any license to cure this. Of course, this is SCO's best source of revenue, being as "they have no real products" (unproven quote going around the net). So I doubt SCO will do anything to shut down this free revenue stream.

That's all I have time to write down now. Leave comments if you think I should add things to the list. -- Snags


Journal Journal: Complaints about the DMol software from Accelrys

This journal entry is a work in progress.

DMol3 is quantum chemistry software that calculates properties of molecules and crystals using density functional theory (DFT). It's currently sold by Accelrys. The version I have used is part of the Cerius2 software suite. Cerius2 is used to build molecules in a GUI and set up a calculation, then DMol3 crunches the numbers.

This type of software is hard to write and has a limited market. That makes it expensive. In addition, a support maintenance contract is usually required. Even with the complexity of the software, with all of that money I have high expectations.

Here is my list of complaints about the software.

  • Cerius2 often crashes when being displayed on a Linux XFree86 screen. I have correlated these crashes to use of the mouse wheel.
  • You can run DMol3 directly from Cerius2, but you do and Cerius2 crashes, it takes down you DMol job with it.
  • There is no way to specify a spin singlet in a spin-unrestricted calculation. Yes, it should produce the same answer as just doing the spin-restricted calculation, but I'd like to see it to make sure.
  • If you're running two unrelated MPI-parallel DMol3 jobs and one crashes, it sometimes kills off the wrong parallel processes, thus crashing both jobs. Update: This was my fault. I was using a modified dmol3 startup script which cleans up the /usr/tmp directory where dmol3_mpi leaves some files.
  • The MPI parallel version leaves temporary files in /usr/tmp, and that directory is not configurable.
  • The new version of DMol3 has some features we'd like to use, but it is only available as part of Materials Studio. Unfortunately, this software requires a Windows client, in addition to the server where the calcs are done. That makes it useless to me, as I run Linux 24/7. Why not allow a Linux or X11 client?
  • This version of DMol3 fails to print the Kohn-Sham eigenvectors in a periodic calculation with multiple K-points (esp. using the Monk method).
User Journal

Journal Journal: Linux is safe from SCO

This is my reasoning as to why the Linux community, especially users, have nothing to fear from SCO.
  • Linux is distributed under the GPL, giving people rights which cannot be revoked by the grantor.
  • "But wait", SCO says, "Linus, etc. didn't have the right to grant that license, so it is null and void." This may or may not be true, but even if it is...
  • But SCO did/does claim the rights to the Unix code, including the right to distribute it under the GPL. Not only that, but they have done so, in their own version of Linux. Any Linux kernel that they have posted on their ftp/www sites should be legally free and clear of any of their IP arguments, even if it includes Unix code.
  • Novell claims that they actually own the Unix copyrights. They seem no be a linux friend, according to this letter, but it's not legally binding. I wonder if they ever distributed Linux. They've definitely made products for Linux.

That's my summary.

United States

Journal Journal: Why Bush pisses me off

This is going to be a record of things Bush has done that tend to piss me off.
  • 2/5/03 - Gee, whaddya know, the proposed budget has a deficit almost equal to the amount of money spent on the divident tax elimination. I thought these Republicans encouraged fiscal responsibility.
  • 1/31/03 - I won't even go into the State of the Union address, where he spends a trillion dollars on political purposes and only a billion on Hydrogen. But an article in USA Today mentions that he lifted a ban on snowmobiles in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks even though his own study supported the ban. He just doesn't care.
  • 1/13/03 - His administration failed to put the Miami Blue butterfly on the endangered species list, even though there are only an estimated 50 left in existance, a tiny number for an insect. Luckily, his brother's admin put it on the state endangered species list.
  • 1/7/03 - Eliminating the Dividend tax, at a cost of $370 Billion, while spending only $100 Billion to increase the child tax credit. Clearly the dividend tax favors the wealthy who have the money to make risky investments worth it. Plus, it encourages those who need a more reliable place to put their money to do the wrong thing. Bush knows this is the most problematic part of his proposal, as the press release spends the most time defending this idea.
  • 1/6/03 - About a year ago, changed FDA policy on misleading drug ads to delay sanctions against the company until after the ad campaign is over. This is from an Op/Ed in USA Today. Search for "Misleading drug ads slip under regulators' radar".
  • 2002 - Pushing a war with Iraq when clearly the Israel-Palestine conflict is a greater threat to peace
  • End of 2002 - Strong rhetoric against N. Korea which only inflaims a bad situation.
  • End of 2000 - Stole the presidency by using his brother's influence in Florida

Journal Journal: Man-made meteors possible?

Could NASA create a man-made meteor shower by throwing marbles from the Space Shuttle?
  • Leonid meteors travel at about 72 km/s.
  • A bullet travels at about 1 km/s.
  • Both friction with the air and friction within the compressed air in front of a meteor cause heat. I.e. the meteor feels a friction force much greater than that due to the air density. It "sees" a higher density because it compresses the air a bit.
  • Bill Cooke is a meteor expert at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center. He gave the above information in a space.com article.
User Journal

Journal Journal: Morning news

So this morning, there were 2 car bombings in Spain. The second was in Marbella, where Bob and Betsy were staying last night. Talk about close.

Also today, Yasser Arafat says he's ready to accept a mideast peace plan proposed during the Clinton administration. Israel shot some civilians, claiming they were violating a curfew.

The FBI warned that terrorists might use fuel tanker trucks in attacks in the US.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Plans for this journal

I plan to use this journal as a sort of diary of world events, so that I can look back and remember what "really" happened (or what was reported to the public) on certain dates.

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