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Comment Read the whole report! (Score 5, Informative) 117

Quite apart from the geoblocking issue - there's a whole tonne of interesting recommendations in the draft report.

For those who aren't familiar, the Productivity Commission is a major Australian Government advisory body/think tank that conducts public inquiries into matters of economic policy. The Government requested a broad report into the economic effectiveness of the intellectual property system.

This report is a draft - the Commission is presently taking public submissions that will be considered for the final report later this year.

Highlights from the findings and recommendations:

  • 70 years after death is far too long a term for copyright - it would be more appropriate to limit copyright to 15-25 years after creation (noting that this has implications for international copyright treaties)
  • Repeal Australia's "parallel import" restrictions on books
  • Replace Australia's present "fair dealing" exemptions with a US-style "fair use" clause which would be much broader in scope
  • Ban software patents and business method patents
  • Reform pharmaceutical patents in various ways
  • Government should adopt an Open Access policy for publicly funded research

All of which seems in line with what I consider sensible policy reform. Of course, whether the Government will consider any of these recommendations at all is a completely different question...

Comment Re:Not clear if this is really totally open source (Score 1) 117

(Disclosure: IBMer working in Power Systems, opinions my own)

For the BMC, it appears that they're looking to use OpenBMC, a project started by Facebook and now being continued by IBM.

They're also going to use the OpenPOWER firmware stack - Hostboot for system initialisation, Skiboot for runtime firmware/BIOS and the OCC firmware for on-chip thermal and power management. All of this is Apache-licensed.

POWER8 processors do require an external CPU to boot them - either an IBM Flexible Service Processor or a third-party BMC. This is the case with all current Power Architecture server chips, though not with Power embedded (Book 3E) chips. Booting a POWER8 chip is a bit more complex than comparable Intel CPUs in this regard, but as far as I'm aware it's primarily a design choice to put the initialisation complexity in firmware rather than hardware.

Can't comment about the other components of the system - I imagine it'd be fairly challenging to find a hard drive with open source firmware, but I wish them luck... FSF will still certify them as Respects Your Freedom nonetheless, I imagine. I'm still quite excited by this machine, as POWER8 is definitely the best choice for a high-performance libre system.

Comment Re:ADA? (Score 1) 267

I'm a bit sad that Ada is on the way out, though it's not entirely dead - a friend of mine who is currently in his 3rd year of a CS degree was just hired as a part-time developer at a local Ada startup - possibly the only time I've ever seen a job ad for an Ada web developer who also knows JavaScript...

Comment Re:Ada? (Score 1) 387

I'm currently studying for my bachelor's in CS, and I've taken two courses taught in Ada. Quite an alright language, IMHO. I'm also aware of at least two private-sector companies in my relatively-small city who are starting new projects in Ada (in addition to all the established defence contractors around here). So it's not completely dead! Mostly, but not completely!

Comment Re:THANKS!!! (Score 1) 121

While on that topic, Debian also should be commended for joining OSI and embracing Open Source as well as their own FSG.

Well, the OSI's Open Source Definition was actually based off the DFSG, just with the Debian-specific references removed.

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