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Submission + - Penalise HTC's GPL violation by call flooding (

duncan bayne writes: Freedom to Tinker reports a willful GPL violation by HTC. I suggest that we could impose a financial penalty on HTC for such a GPL violation by flooding their call centers, worldwide, with repeated and insistent requests for the source. If enough people get behind this, we can raise the cost of GPL violation so high that they won't do it again ... and perhaps other companies will take note, too.

Comment OBZVault: runs on Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows (Score 2, Informative) 1007

I recommend OBZVault. OBZVault is a cross-platform encrypted text editor; with it you can secure sensitive information like passwords, quotes and messages, and access them from any operating system.

We use OBZVault in-house to store all our important company secrets (passwords, PINs, etc.) in a single file that gets checked into our source control system. Using OBZVault we can access that file on any of the operating systems we use (Linux, Mac OS X, and MS Windows).

It's licensed per physical machine, not per operating system, so e.g. a dual-boot Mac OS X and Ubuntu machine will only need one licence.

(Disclaimer: I co-founded OffByZero, the company that produces OBZVault.)

Comment Hoping for some examples to back up your claim (Score 1) 550

I didn't miss your point; rather, I was asking you to enumerate some examples of worker exploitation by large companies in America. Specifically, some examples that you think need correcting by the Government.

Since your argument seems to hinge on that claim, I thought you'd have a good number of examples to hand.

Comment I smell Marxism (Score 1) 550

> Voters usually only manage to convince government
> to correct the grievous exploitation of workers
> or customers by business if it wouldn't be too
> damaging to the politician's campaign
> contribution network.

Care to give some examples of this 'grievous exploitation' that needs 'correct[ion]?'

Comment Freedom? Hardly, although it cuts both ways (Score 1) 550

Ah, America, land of the free ... unless you're in business, in which case voters think it's acceptable for the Government to force you to do business with whomever they please, in whatever way they want.

Mind you, it works both ways, with Sony illegally installing rootkits on PCs and lobbying the Government for favours in the form of Copyright legislation.

Perhaps they deserve each other?

Comment Re:CAS isn't supposed to be DRM anyway (Score 1) 5

Er... couldn't you always do this with ILDASM + Notepad + ILASM? Tools to modify IL have been part of the .NET SDK forever.

Quite possibly, but up until now no-one has produced a plugin that makes it literally a ten-second operation for an almost totally unskilled user.

They have a credit card and address on file, and damage will be apparent when the car is returned (or theft, when it's not returned), so they can both discourage damage in the first place and recover the costs of damage when it occurs. ... That model doesn't work with software. You can't tell when someone is copying or modifying your software, and you don't necessarily know who your customers are anyway.

But mostly you can, if you have a decent licensing system built into your software.

Sure, it's still possible that someone might be able to break the licensing & put that cracked version up on Pirate Bay or something, but for the most part businesses won't let dodgy pirated software from an untrusted source anywhere near their networks.

This means that a reputable company who wants your (licensed) software then has two options: pay for it, or hire a developer to crack your licensing. A good licensing system raises the bar for cracking sufficiently high that the latter option becomes too expensive.

If piracy is preventing you from selling enough copies to make a profit, maybe it's time to stop relying on selling copies and switch to a different model.

Only if you've tried a good software licensing system, and it's failed (or of course if you personally prefer the different model anyway).

Comment Re:CAS isn't supposed to be DRM anyway (Score 1) 5

You're right in that once you've shipped your app, there's no way to completely prevent tampering; every form of DRM is simply a means of raising the bar higher and higher. The trick is to make the bar sufficiently high by structuring your application well and using high-quality licensing and obfuscation tools.

The reason it's news is that Microsoft has been plugging CAS as a means to tamper-proof applications targeting the .NET Framework. Up until recently (i.e. the release of the Reflexil plugin for Reflector) there was no easy way to perform step 2 - that is, remove the strong-name requirement from the .EXE.

Now there is, which means that companies that depend upon CAS for DRM need to change their approach. Note that companies depend upon this aspect of CAS for more than just licensing; e.g. some rely upon CAS to prevent tampering in the case of scientific instruments that handle legally and clinically sensitive data. It's important for those companies too to consider ways of raising the bar.

The only solution is to realize that once someone has a copy of your program, he can do whatever he wants with it, and choose a business model that's compatible with that reality.

That's akin to saying that you must realize that when you lend your car to someone, he can do whatever he wants with it, so car rental companies should just choose a business model that doesn't involve cars being returned in working order.

If you want to implement an open-source business model, then go right ahead & do so. Many companies do, and are successful. In fact as a strong proponent of free markets I'll be fascinated to see if either the open-source or proprietary model comes to dominate; my suspicion is that both models are viable and will wind up servicing different sectors of the market.

Some individuals and companies choose to follow the proprietary model, and stipulate restrictions on the use of their software (such as not giving away copies of it). Ideally people would abide by the terms of use they agreed to when licensing proprietary software; in practice many people don't, so there's a market for licensing and obfuscation tools.


Submission + - .NET CAS Tamper-Proofing is Broken ( 5

duncan bayne writes: "If your .NET application relies on Code Access Security to prevent tampering, bad news: there's a free tool called Reflexil that allows anyone to bypass such protection. TFA explains what Microsoft says CAS tamper proofing does, how it's broken with Reflexil, and what the consequences are for applications that depend upon it, in particular software licensing solutions. (Disclosure: I wrote TFA, and it contains a plug for our product which doesn't rely on CAS)."

Comment Re:Anti-trust punishes success (Score 1) 186

The economic well being of this nation certainly didn't benefit from it.

A business is run for the benefit of its shareholders (if a listed company) or owners (if not). Are you seriously arguing that the Government should force businesses to regard 'the common good' or 'the national good'?

That is, not just enforce laws against force & fraud, but actually force businessmen to run companies for the benefit of others?

Comment Anti-trust punishes success (Score 5, Informative) 186

Yet another case of punishing business for success. Alan Greenspan had it right back in 1966 when he wrote this memo on anti-trust legislation:

The world of antitrust is reminiscent of Alice's Wonderland: everything seemingly is, yet apparently isn't, simultaneously. It is a world in which competition is lauded as the basic axiom and guiding principle, yet "too much" competition is condemned as "cutthroat." It is a world in which actions designed to limit competition are branded as criminal when taken by businessmen, yet praised as "enlightened" when initiated by the government. It is a world in which the law is so vague that businessmen have no way of knowing whether specific actions will be declared illegal until they hear the judge's verdict -- after the fact.

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