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Comment You mean you still do business with Sony? (Score 1) 463

I chalk it up to youth not knowing their history—Sony (multiple divisions) has treated their customers badly for years. This is merely the latest chapter of this ongoing saga of mistreatment. The Sony fake film critic David Manning, the audio CDs that came with Windows Digital Restrictions Management, and related Windows rootkit (including apparent infringement of copyright) should have been enough to simply decide not to do business with Sony (again, I see no reason to distinguish between divisions; let them suffer the consequences of their "branding" choices and bad behavior).

It's time to add this episode to the list for the next time people forget the lesson.

Comment Ensuring freedom requires enforcement (Score 2, Informative) 237

Just as we come closer to ensuring no murders when we enforce laws against murder, we come closer to ensuring the software freedom described in the GPL when we enforce the GPL.

It's telling that Linus Torvalds said "I really think the license has been one of the defining factors in the success of Linux because it enforced that you have to give back, which meant that the fragmentation has never been something that has been viable from a technical standpoint." and hates enforcement ("Lawyers: poisonous to openness..."). The fork of the Linux kernel Torvalds distributes contains the "fragmentation" he claims isn't viable—Torvalds' variant of Linux contains proprietary binaries in it. These blobs of code are removed in the fully-free GNU Linux-libre kernel.

Linus Torvalds' position is more easily understood when you consider that Torvalds is a fan of the right-wing, proprietor-friendly open source movement which is a reaction to the older free software movement. The difference between the two movements has been described in writing (older essay, newer essay) and in every RMS speech for years.

You can see that difference playing out in Linus Torvalds' dig against GPL enforcement. Brad Kuhn, President and Distinguished Technologist of the Software Freedom Conservancy talked about the value of GPL enforcement in his most recent talk on the issue at linux.conf.au in 2016 in his talk "Copyleft For the Next Decade: A Comprehensive Plan", "Copyleft is not magic pixie dust; you don't sprinkle it on some code and then suddenly your code is liberated forever. I wish that were true but that's not how the world works." (9m2s). The way Torvalds talks about the GPLv2 you'd think the GPLv2 were magic pixie dust because that's what he wants Linux kernel copyright holders to believe—an unenforced GPL is fine—because Torvalds, like any good sycophant for proprietary software, knows what Kuhn reminds us of in Kuhn's talk, (around 13m1s), "If a copyleft license is not enforced it's indistinguishable from a non-copylefted license in practice.". But where Torvalds takes that as an instruction to not act in defense of the GPL, Kuhn says that as a warning against software proprietarism. Conservancy is the group doing that enforcement work to help assure all computer users actually get the freedoms of free software the GPL describes. That work includes GPL enforcement, specifically a coordinated compliance effort across multiple Conservancy projects.

Comment Proprietary software is unsafe building material (Score 1) 227

As well you should have, and so should have every car owner have the means to get complete corresponding source code with build instructions. Software freedom gives car owners the means to help themselves and prevent more outbreaks of this ridiculousness as Eben Moglen pointed out when we saw the first round of this.

Comment Trump asks for what US has long done (Score 1) 1017

As Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept reminds us, "Governments do spy on each other and do try to influence events in other countries, certainly the U.S. government has a very long and successful history of doing exactly that.". So hearing Americans, particularly Democrats, complain about Trump's request here reminds us the US has unclean hands and about far more important things than distracting us away from the ugliness the Democrats apparently sic on each other to win political races. Some of that increased ugliness includes voter shenanigans (possibly voter suppression) to make it harder for would-be Bernie Sanders voters to vote in the Democratic primary, collusion with news outlets to suppress unfavorable stories, and possible illegality from the DLC. These strike me as far more interesting considering the veracity of the DLC emails remains unchallenged.

The last thing the Democrats really want is people thinking about Hillary Clinton's voting record, or campaign funding sources. That analysis won't go down well with anti-war, pro-universal health care, pro-organized labor, anti-fracking, anti-TPP voters the Democrats seem to be losing. Such discussion might lead these voters to notice that the Democrats are apparently as interested as the Republicans in using a distractionary fear-based campaign against the only competition they're willing to admit to (no talk of Greens or Libertarians, for instance, people might defect or demand inclusive debates).

Comment Democratic Party lying? (Score 1) 704

A video edit comparing what Hillary Clinton claimed to what James Comey claimed after the FBI investigation highlights the distance between the two quite well and puts a fine point on the part where Comey says that if this had been anyone else who did what she did they might not get the same cushy response from the FBI she got.

And keep in mind that the US has very unclean hands here, according to Edward Snowden, former NSA contractor who would know what tools the NSA has available to look into this.

But of course the veracity of the documents leads us to the real story. Nobody claims the DNC emails were faked, just like nobody said the Snowden revelations were untrue. This helps us focus on what those documents show: Bernie Sanders was not lying to us when he said, "I told you a long time ago that theâ"that the DNC was not running a fair operation, that they were supporting Secretary Clinton.", and that he requests far too weak of a solution to remedy the problem (getting rid of Debbie Wasserman Schultz as chair of the DNC). And the emails show us that the DNC were telling amenable media outlets (such as NBC, if I recall correctly) which stories to not publish because they made someone they cared about look bad. Julian Assange's interview on Democracy Now is worth reading, it's quite revealing about how nasty the Clinton campaign is, sourcing the unnamed "experts" who told Robby Mook, Clinton campaign manager, that "Russian state actors broke into the DNC, stole these emails" and "are releasing these emails for the purpose of actually helping Donald Trump".

Comment /. should encourage sharing (Score 4, Insightful) 66

So why not encourage GPL violators ("pirates" too)? Instead we seem to cheer whenever we find a GPL violator.

First, we should understand what the propagandistic term "piracy" really means and understand that meaning as separate from sharing—a friendly, neighborly thing to do. As the GNU Project points out in it's list of terms to avoid on "theft": "In general, laws don't define right and wrong. Laws, at their best, attempt to implement justice. If the laws (the implementation) don't fit our ideas of right and wrong (the spec), the laws are what should change. A US judge, presiding over a trial for copyright infringement, recognized that "piracy" and "theft" are smear-words.". This difference gets to the heart of the problem in your point—you're conflating the legal with the ethical and then trying to get others to view all sharing as copyright infringement and all copyright infringement as equivalent because the law frames things in that way.

We should recognize that the terms of the licenses involved between, say, the GNU General Public License (GPL) and a typical Hollywood movie, are radically different when it comes to doing what friends do: share. One can and should share copies of GPL'd programs. It's easy to do, the GPL is easy to comply with simply by also sharing a copy of the complete corresponding source code of the program at the same time as one shares the binary. By contrast, other famously shared copyrighted items (such as most Hollywood movies) aren't legal to share even if done non-commercially and verbatim. So doing the thing that comes naturally with friends, non-commercial and verbatim sharing, is likely not allowed by that movie's license.

Since you mention the GPL, a free software license written by Richard Stallman, this is somewhat akin to what Stallman describes in his talks about the freedoms of free software specifically freedom #2: the freedom to help your neighbour. That's the freedom to make copies and distribute them to others, when you wish. This comes from a 2006-03-09 talk and you can see how the consideration here is akin to the dilemma one faces should a friend ask for a copy of a Hollywood movie:

Freedom two is essential on fundamental ethical grounds, so that you can live an upright, ethical life as a member of your community. If you use a program that does not give you freedom number two, you're in danger of falling at any moment into a moral dilemma. When your friend says "that's a nice program, could I have a copy?" At that moment, you will have to choose between two evils. One evil is: give your friend a copy and violate the licence of the program. The other evil is: deny your friend a copy and comply with the licence of the program.

Once you are in that situation, you should choose the lesser evil. The lesser evil is to give your friend a copy and violate the licence of the program.

[laughter]

Now, why is that the lesser evil? The reason is that we can assume that your friend has treated you well and has been a good person and deserves your cooperation. The reason we can assume this is that in the other case, if a nasty person you don't really like asked you for help, of course you can say "Why should I help you?" So that's an easy case. The hard case is the case where that person has been a good person to you and other people and you would want to help him normally.

Whereas, the developer of the program has deliberately attacked the social solidarity of your community. Deliberately tried to separate you from everyone else in the World. So if you can't help doing wrong in some direction or other, better to aim the wrong at somebody who deserves it, who has done something wrong, rather than at somebody who hasn't done anything wrong.

However, to be the lesser evil does not mean it is good. It's never good - not entirely - to make some kind of agreement and then break it. It may be the right thing to do, but it's not entirely good.

The only thing in the software field that is worse than an unauthorised copy of a proprietary program, is an authorised copy of the proprietary program because this does the same harm to its whole community of users, and in addition, usually the developer, the perpetrator of this evil, profits from it.

Comment High-tech users have a lot to learn here (Score 1) 639

There's a lot programmers, sysadmins, and other high-tech people could learn from those who are used to organizing politically for shared ends. Political advocacy is not one of the poorer high-tech person's strengths. There's a streak of undeserved independence in high-tech that doesn't reflect how much people have to work together explicitly for political ends, not dismissing politics as undesirable, unnecessary, or unimportant as you commonly see the high-tech set train each other to espouse.

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