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Comment Re:Savvy business dealings (Score 1) 398

it doesn't buy them the ability to develop new technologies.

Sure it does! All new technologies are just small steps from existing technologies, and can be reverse-engineered. The "lone genius inventor" myth perpetuated by the monopoly-making patent system will be the death knell of all existing economic powers.

Comment Re:Bugs are an error in the... (Score 1) 596

Bugs are an error in the process, not the code. If you find a bug, you need to find the process error that allowed that bug to occur.

Well bugs can be created at the code level, such as with typos or indirection mistakes, but otherwise I think your point is sound. I would still reword it to better apply TFA by saying it this way:

More interested observers ("eyeballs") can make flaws ("bugs") in every part of the development process shallow, not just code.

A more valid point can be made than what is in TFA by talking more about process transparency and documentation, in terms of making all those "eyeballs" more effective than they are now. TFA utterly fails to make any such points. Instead, they go on a diatribe against a hand-picked list of OSS projects, on the false assumption that any flaws in the example competing systems makes their own system better.
        I think the counter-point to the "shallow" rule, that better applies to the claims here, is that projects that lack "eyeballs" (i.e. proprietary projects, which automatically lack transparency to the interested consumer base) leave open the existence of "deep bugs" at every process level. If any of the few eyes deigned worthy of access to the project misses those bugs, the ability of nefarious third parties to exploit these bugs after release goes up significantly. Lack of transparency at every process level, including code, means that these bugs will be exploited before helpful interested third parties can discover them (i.e. white hats). This simple fact about disparity in process transparency makes proprietary development inherently flawed, and the "eyeballs rule" is a method of simplifying the reasoning behind this fact.

Comment Re:Plagiarism and copyright violation (Score 1) 449

Copy rights don't exist -- they are complete legal fictions, currently designed to make sure the Disney Corporation can keep profiting from any configuration of 3 intersecting circles.

The only valid concern here is attribution rights, which are natural in a social sense, and act as a consumer protection against fraud. Plagiarism is usually defined more in terms of proper attribution than "copying", because uses of the terms with the root "copy" are so ambiguous and problematic (esp. in the digital age) as to make it unusable in enforcement, even when limited to enforcement of social norms. Quotes, citations, footnotes, bibliographies, and now hyper-links are all valid methods to lend attributions to originating sources. None of these attribution methods were used in this case, which makes finding of fault very simple.

Please don't let this debate devolve into "fair use" definitions, which are still ambiguous after centuries of contradictory court findings. Defining fair use as less than 140 characters, a few sentences, a chorus, a bar, a frame, an act, or a page are all equally subjective and ambiguous. The variety of potential valid reuse contexts are just far too great to simplify by numerical means. Copyright laws in the U.S. have always been in conflict with the First Amendment, and "fair use" has never been a sufficient work-around.

Let's talk about attribution rights and forget the copy right fiction.


Learning and Maintaining a Large Inherited Codebase? 532

An anonymous reader writes "A couple of times in my career, I've inherited a fairly large (30-40 thousand lines) collection of code. The original authors knew it because they wrote it; I didn't, and I don't. I spend a huge amount of time finding the right place to make a change, far more than I do changing anything. How would you learn such a big hunk of code? And how discouraged should I be that I can't seem to 'get' this code as well as the original developers?"

Texas Textbooks Battle Is Actually an American War 1252

ideonexus writes "I've been lackadaisical when it comes to following stories about Texas schoolboard attempts to slip creationism into biology textbooks, dismissing the stories as just 'dumbass Texans,' but what I didn't realize is that Texas schoolbooks set the standard for the rest of the country. And it's not just Creationism that this Christian coalition is attempting to bring into schoolbooks, but a full frontal assault on history, politics, and the humanities that exploits the fact that final decisions are being made by a school board completely academically unqualified to make informed evaluations of the changes these lobbyists propose. This evangelical lobby has successfully had references to the American Constitution as a 'living document,' as textbooks have defined it since the 1950s, removed in favor of an 'enduring Constitution' not subject to change, as well as attempting to over-emphasize the role Christianity played in the founding of America. The leaders of these efforts outright admit they are attempting to redefine the way our children understand the political landscape so that, when they grow up, they will have preconceived notions of the American political system that favor their evangelical Christian goals."

Comment Re:Where can I read the leaked copy? (Score 1) 124

A leaked copy was posted on wikileaks, but they took everything offline due to their financial problems.

I think you may have accidentally buried the lead here. All the wikileaks.org URL sub-paths are failing, except for their secure submissions page, and their home page where they plead for financial help. One of the lines on http://wikileaks.org/ says this:

"Even $10 will pay to put one of these reports into another ten thousand hands"

So I take it from this that you could probably get access to their ACTA leaks for a measly $10, and share it with 9,999 fellow Slashdotters to boot. You can request bank information for electronic transfer donations at wl-supporters@sunshinepress.org. Speaking of Slashdotters... everybody here should think deeply about this section on the wikileak.org plead page:

Support us technically

Wikileaks is currently overloaded by readers. This is a regular difficulty that can only be resolved by deploying additional resources. If you support our mission, you can help us by integrating new hardware into our project infrastructure or developing software for the project. Become patron of a WikiLeaks server or other parts of our technology, adding more pillars to the stability and balance of the WikiLeaks platform. Servers come trouble-free and legally fortified, software is uniquely challenging.

If you can provide rackspace, power and an uplink, or a dedicated server or storage space, for at least 12 months, or software development work for WikiLeaks, please write to wl-supporters@sunshinepress.org

I would say they are perpetually suffering from the "Slashdot Effect." I would be very surprised if no one here could help them out a bit with their technical issues. This seems like an excellent opportunity to test a new International distributed cache system, kind of like what Coral Cache was supposed to be. I wonder if my local hosting company would get mad if I actually took them up one their "unlimited storage and bandwidth" offer...

Comment Re:Stop the madness (Score 1) 35

Ahh ok so it's an issue of it being a linear development of an existing invention, rather than a new invention in and of itself.

No, it's not even a linear development of an existing invention -- it's the SAME invention, just done over TCP/IP now instead of the pre-ARPA network he described. Here's the part you must have missed:

"A company I worked for over 30 years ago had just such a PBX phone system. They routed phone calls along with other data over their own microwave system, leased telco lines and various other media in what looked very much like an Intranet."

This describes prior art in voice data being sent over a network of mitigated circuits. It doesn't matter whether the network is circuit switched, packet switched, or delivered on a bicycle. Voice data over (choose-any-delivery) has been done, it's obvious, it's the opposite of novel, and it has never deserved patent monopoly status.

I'm not sure if I agree with him about VOIP, but I can see the logic of the argument.

The USPTO is supposed to work by non-subjective evidence of things like obviousness to those "skilled in the art", novelty, and exhaustive prior-art searches. It shouldn't matter who anyone agrees with.

      This is another case that shows that reality of the bureaucracy inverts the stated ideals: these judgements within the USPTO are completely subjective, based on lack of effort toward finding prior art, and most often completely wrong in favor of validating patents for old and obvious "ideas." They are far more interested in handing out synthetic monopolies than protecting the public [domain] interest.


Submission + - Windows 7 stability fix breaks stability 2

Dave writes: Last week, Microsoft posted a slew of non-security updates for Windows 7, one of which was titled as follows: "An update is available to improve the stability and the reliability of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2." Unfortunately, according to a thread on Microsoft TechNet, the update (KB977074) is actually breaking the stability and reliability of the operating system.


Submission + - Making You Own Portable Gaming System (thekartel.com)

darklordzor writes: Tired of waiting for your favorite games to finally be ported to your handheld system? These videos will show you how to convert your older game consoles into a convenient portable system so easily even MacGyver would be envious.

Submission + - SPAM: US Patent Office to review VoIP patent

alphadogg writes: The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has agreed to review a controversial patent issued in 2001 that is claimed to cover much of the technology underlying VoIP.

The patent, held by a small company called C2 Communications Technologies, is one of 10 that the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has been trying to strike down for several years through its Patent Busting Project. [spam URL stripped] On Friday, the patent office granted the EFF's request for a re-examination, the EFF said. The digital civil-liberties organization argued that another applicant had submitted basically some of the same technology to the patent office before C2 did. Patent No. 6,243,373, [spam URL stripped]"Method and apparatus for implementing a computer network/Internet telephone system," is credited to David L. Turock as inventor and is owned by C2, previously called Acceris Communications Technologies.

Link to Original Source

Submission + - Archos Unlocks Android Internet Tablet for Linux (archos.com)

SocPres writes: Archos has unlocked it's latest Generation 7 Android Internet Tablet, allowing a Special Developer Edition firmware for the Angstrom distribution of Linux to be installed. Unlike the unlocking of the company's previous non-Android generation of tablet, there doesn't seem to be any mention of voiding the warranty this time around. There are also seemingly simple instructions on how to return to a default version of the Archos firmware once the playing is done.

Comment Re:Doh! (Score 1) 74

Throttling does not affect packet latency.

The data has to get there in some form, whether in UDP or TCP packets, so any need to resend does affect session latency. One way to work around packet drops in games is to send absolute positions instead of motion deltas, but that takes more data and affects transmission speed. Latency IS affected.

Another related issue is any ISP can suddenly decide to privilege their own VoIP service packets in congestion cases, over any other latency or drop sensitive data, like voice chat or other non-ISP VoIP services. Network Neutrality affects fairness in all forms of competition online.


Powerful Linux ISP Router Distribution? 268

fibrewire writes "I'm building a Wireless ISP using commercial grade, low cost equipment. My main stumbling block is that I cannot find a decent open source ISP class routing distribution. Closest thing to even a decent tool is Ubiquiti's AIRControl — but even it doesn't play well with other network monitoring software. I've used Mikrotik's RouterOS for five years, but it just isn't built for what I need. I don't mind paying licensing fees, but $300K for a Cisco Universal Broadband Router is out of my budget. Has anyone seen any good open-source/cheap hardware/software systems that will scale to several thousand users?"

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