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Comment Misuse of the term "open source"? (Score 1) 98

I welcome the existence of free-of-charge textbooks. But it seems to me that much of what is available on various textbook repositories does not meet the "open source" definition. For example, it is common for textbooks to have a copyright licence that does not grant people the right to use a book commercially. That is against the open-source definition. Likewise, it is common for the textbooks to be provided only in a read-only format, such as PDF or as HTML that can be browsed on a website. It is very rare to be able to download the "source" of the book, for example, as a LaTeX, Word or Libre Office document. Thus, even if the copyright license allows people to modify a book, the lack of source code makes this infeasible.

Comment Re:Cruelty to animals plain and simple (Score 2) 62

I mean, the only rational explanation is that the Nazis were using mind control devices on their own people to force them to be inhuman monsters. There was probably some resistance among the ranks, but that was quickly countered with the electrodes and Jewish antennae. As an American, I find it impossible to believe that an entire nation could voluntarily have chosen to have done the things that Nazi Germany did.

On the other hand, if they weren't controlled by mind control, then the only logical explanation is that Germans are monsters that enjoy doing horrible things to humans.

You might want to read the excellent book "Obedience to Authority" by Stanley Milgram, or at least the Wikipedia article that summarises it.

Also, it is worth noting that Hitler did not suddenly start the Holocaust. Rather, when he came to power in 1933, he put in several years of preparation to demonise Jews. He did this by a combination of techniques, including: introducing increasingly more severe anti-Jewish laws; changing the school curriculum to teach his theory about racial hierarchies; taking control of the German newspapers and radio stations so he could disseminate propaganda to the German population; censoring any woks of art, literature, music and science that had been created by Jewish people; and requiring all children to join Hitler Youth.

Comment The next step forward (Score 1) 252

It is an important stepping stone to have the "viie" (Vim Implemented in Emacs) editor. The next step is to implement Emacs using vim's built-in scripting language, thus giving us the "eiiv" editor. Then it should be a trivial final step to get the "eiiviie" (Emacs Implement In Vim Implemented In Emacs) editor. This tool will serve two important purposes:

1. It can be used to teach the concept of recursion (and mulual recursion) in Computing 101 courses at university.

2. It will give Linux an opportunity to play catch-up with Microsoft bloatware.

Comment Re:The term "documentation" is subjective (Score 1) 188

Are you sure you're really receiver-focused when you write all that stuff? Most people don't want to read that much text to use, say a configuration parser. If it takes people 10 hours to dig through your documentation and 1 hour to actually write the code, you're probably not doing it right. Sometimes less is more.

In the case of my configuration-file parser, a new user just needs to open the Getting Started manual and read two short chapters: Overview of Config4* syntax and Overview of the Config4* API. I would be surprised if doing that would take more than 30 minutes. And having done that, it would then take the new user about 5 minutes to write working code.

Comment The term "documentation" is subjective (Score 5, Interesting) 188

There is an old joke: "The definition of promiscuous is somebody who has more sex than you do". From reading TFA and some of the comments on slashdot, I get the feeling that the definition of documentation is equally subjective and self-serving for developers. Some developers think that writing documentation means adding comments to code. Others feel it involves writing Javadoc/Doxygen-style comments at the start of every class and method, and then generating HTML from that. Yet others feel that documentation hasn't been written unless it involves an architectural description.

When I am working on my own open-source projects, I feel that documentation isn't complete until I have written a few hundred pages of text that aim to be cover most/all of the following: (1) API reference guide, (2) programming tutorial, (3) user guide, (4) architectural guide, and (5) suggestions for "future work" that I hope other people will volunteer to do. Yes, I recognise that I am a bit extreme in the amount of effort I put into writing documentation. However, it does enable me to elaborate on the thesis of TFA: attempting to write such a comprehensive amount of documentation often highlights not just coding bugs, but also architectural flaws. This causes me to work in an iterative manner. I implement a first draft version of the code. Then I start documenting it, and when I encounter a part of the software that is difficult to explain, I realise that I need to re-architect the code base a bit. So I do that, and then get back to writing documentation, which causes me to notice another difficult-to-explain issue with the code. Working in this manner is slow, and I suspect it wouldn't work in a business with time-to-market pressures, but I find it gives excellent results in my own, non-time-pressured open-source projects. I touched on this issue in the documentation for one of my open-source projects.

Comment Re:No Carrier (Score 1) 462

I stopped for about a year and a half and recovered my health. However, as time went on my social and work circle as well as my family were too difficult to be around since they all are either wine snobs, after work happy hour drinkers, or simply unwilling to not drink around me. I didn't feel the desire to drink as strongly as before, but I felt left out of pretty much everything they were doing.

I don't drink alcohol because I have some sort of allergy or intolerance to it. As a teenager and young adult, I tried socialising with friends in bars. They would drink alcohol while I drank a soda or water. Eventually I gave up trying to socialise in such places. It boiled down to something somebody one said to me: "Those who are sober don't make good company for those who aren't. And vice versa."

Comment Re:Why I don't like Creative Commons (Score 1) 210

I also have concerns about the Creative Commons set of licenses.

First, four of the six Creative Commons licenses are not "open source" since they prohibit modification and/or commercial use. There is nothing wrong with that per se; my gripe is that Creative Commons seem happy to let people assume that their licenses are open source.

Second, Creative Commons do not provide txt/Word/RTF/LaTeX/whatever versions of their licenses that you can download and embed into a book you are writing. Instead, the copyright page of your book is supposed to just tell readers that they can find the text of the license on a website or by writing to a specific postal address. So what happens if: (1) the Creative Commons organisation's postal address changes, and (2) they forget to renew their domain name and a cyber squatter buys it and holds it to ransom for millions of dollars? (More realistically, what happens if in, say, 20 years time, the Creative Commons organisation goes bankrupt and shuts down operations.) Now the license page of your book tells readers that it is licensed under terms that they cannot verify.

Third, the Creative Commons have gone through 5 versions of licenses (1.0, 2.0, 2.1, 2.5 and 3.0) in just over 4 years and (as far as I know) there is no forwards or backwards compatibility between the different versions.

Comment Re:Why was the contract unsealed? (Score 5, Informative) 130

"Angered at Righthaven’s behavior, a Las Vegas federal judge unsealed the company’s heretofore confidential agreement [...]"

Not that I'm complaining, but... what did Righthaven do to anger the judge? Were their lawyers being dicks? Was the contract itself what angered the judge? Truly, I'd like to know.

You can find the answer to your question in the final two paragraphs of the first link in the /. summary. I'd like to quote those two paragraphs for your convenience. But then, according to the thrust of the article, I might be sued for copyright infringement.

Comment Re:I don't know what to think (Score 1) 222

I would hope that everyone would find something even more important to do during their last weeks than fix gnome bugs.

The article written by Adrian Hands' son states, "Adrian Hands loved free software / open source." This means Mr Hands spent the last few weeks of his life working on something he loved, and which happened to be of benefit to others. Off hand, I can't think of a better, more important way for a person to spend the last few weeks of their life. Sure, you might say that he could have spent some time talking to loved ones. But who says he didn't do that too?

Comment Re:it was (Score 1) 452

you know that it was as such, when the perpetrators of the case first merrily publish blog posts titled 'how to take revenge on him through legal system', telling how disgruntled women should abuse the legal system to exact revenge on males, and then delete the post once the internet community becomes aware of it.

That is untrue, and the newspaper article you cited when asked for a source is incorrect. The woman did write a blog article that offered advice on how to get revenge, but the blog article did not suggest using (or abusing) the legal system to do so.

Read an English translation of the blog article if you want to check.

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"'Tis true, 'tis pity, and pity 'tis 'tis true." -- Poloniouius, in Willie the Shake's _Hamlet, Prince of Darkness_