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Comment Re:Making it harder to pirate? (Score 1) 94

I could try to justify it by saying that I already pay for it, that I want it without DRM, that they should provide it in an alternative format, etc... Those aren't very good justifications, if they don't provide it in a format that I want then I should go without. It is their property and their right to determine how they sell it. They are free to make unprofitable business decisions. I have neither the individual power nor control of the collective to ensure that my wants are met by the content producers. I'd guess that 80% of the content I download never gets watched. I think I do it just because they tell me I'm not allowed to.

The "go without" argument will never work. The problem is that it is only unprofitable for the business if the majority of people care about the content. In the real world, most people don't care about the format their content comes in; they don't care if their software is open source; they don't care if there is DRM. They care about exactly one thing: Does the movie I just bought play? If they cannot get the content for free (or it is inconvenient), then they'll just pay whoever will play it.

In other words, the reality is we geeks do not have enough market share to influence the bottom line.

But the real problem here isn't one of profit. Piracy is an excuse to power grab -- and I know that because they've been making the same claims since well before the internet came along, for the same reasons. As long as the content providers have enough power to push for anti-piracy laws (which ultimately give them more power, and do nothing to actually stop piracy), they will do exactly that, whether it is common or not.

Comment Re:Outdated (Score 2) 191

Correct me if I'm misunderstanding something, but a particular application should not depend on what desktop environment is running, since Gtk is primarily responsible for drawing. They may not interoperate with other applications, but they should run.

Having said that, it seems like there are basically two ways to go if Gtk+3 applications won't run outside of Gnome. The one I hope for is that the smaller window managers will support Gtk+ 3 (or, conversely, distributions continue to support Gtk+ 2). The alternative is that I'm forced either into using Gnome/KDE or using outdated software. The latter option bothers me deeply, so whatever work I am able to contribute to prevent it, I do.

Comment Re:Outdated (Score 1) 191

I have found that Gnome3 has some significant irritants that Gnome2 did not have. I found it cumbersome to actually get work done with, not completely unlike the way Unity is difficult to work with. The changes that were made (such as removing the taskbar, for example.) are arbitrary as far as I can tell. We've had literally decades to figure out good fundamentals, and while I'm not opposed to experimenting with user interfaces, doing it to the most widely used interface seems obnoxious. Especially among geeks, who develop habits and scripts around the tools they regularly use, such changes either need to be rolled out slowly or presented as an option.

I'm not trying to say that Gnome3 is useless. It is pretty much standard now, but saying that "it won't bite" ignores some significant problems. There are other options, whose only limitations are that Gnome and KDE applications seem to like their respective desktop environments to be running, and they're worth paying attention to. After all, this is Linux, these are geeks -- being "the standard" has never been a good reason to use something before, why start now?

Comment Re:Outdated (Score 3, Interesting) 191

I've found that pulling tools together from desktop environments other than KDE and Gnome and just using a few of the indispensable apps from them is the best way to go. For example, I use Thunar instead of Nautilus or Dolphin. The simpler desktop environments tend to have more portable components, not as tied to their parent.

Then again, except for a web browser, e-mail, and feed reader, the majority of my time is spent on a terminal anyway, so I may be the outlier here.

Comment Re:Deja Vu (Score 1) 404

My problem with DRM is not that I'm a pirate -- I'm not. I try whenever possible to abide by copyright law. But it DRM legitimately gets in the way of getting things done.

Consider, a few days ago, my VirtualBox drive with windows XP died (primarily human error, admittedly.). Restoring to a previous point didn't fix it, so I had to reinstall. But -- Oh Noes! -- I had used my product key too many times. Even if they don't give a limit, there clearly is one -- the same key stopped working. (For the record: I purchased this copy of XP.)

I had to turn to an activation hack to get my legally purchased, still functional, still useful software running. Microsoft, of course, won't restore my key.

This is why I steadfastly avoid any and all DRM-crippled software whenever and wherever I can. The End-Of-Life from the company's standpoint is likely to be long before I think the product is dead.

Comment Re:Fake? (Score 1) 258

While I generally agree, it should be noted that, in practice, bitcoin is already marginalized, and any connection to criminal activity could shed a bad light on it. If it loses reputation this early in the game due to bad/inaccurate reporting, or the inability of irrational sheep to distinguish the currency from the means of obtaining it, then that would be very bad for bitcoin.

Comment Re:Stupid (Score 1) 413

Correct me if I'm wrong, but Wayland doesn't claim to replace X -- at least not entirely. It's suggesting that X should be an add-on component, rather than the core process.
From the FAQ:

This doesn't mean that remote rendering won't be possible with Wayland, it just means that you will have to put a remote rendering server on top of Wayland. One such server could be the server, but other options include an RDP server, a VNC server or somebody could even invent their own new remote rendering model. Which is a feature when you think about it; layering on top of Wayland has very little overhead, but the other types of remote rendering servers no longer requires, and experimenting with new protocols is easier.

It sounds to me like X is supposed to be an optional component, to support legacy code and/or remote machines, etc. -- but isn't the only option. Wayland just takes over the one particular part of the process (just compositing on screen).
Admittedly, I haven't read a lot about wayland. Until this article, I'd never heard of it (perhaps showing how little I've kept up on tech news lately). But, out of genuine curiosity, how is this going to ruin the flexibility of X?

Comment Re:Thus spoke Ben (Score 1) 553

They are not, actually, antonyms of one another. Consider a web of trust, using pseudonyms. That is an anonymous system. You are accountable based on who is willing to trust you -- if you behave badly, and lose your reputation, you lose trust in your communications. Even if this isn't explicitly coded, it happens almost by accident -- common forum dwellers are known by their handles, and trusted for their previous work, for example.

What anonymity implies is a lack of ability to provide civil/criminal/physical accountability -- psychological and social accountability still remain.

Or, phrased another way, it's a question of who you are accountable to. If you need to have accountability from the government, educational institutions, corporations, etc. -- then, of course, anonymity is impossible to maintain. However, if you need behavioral accountability, accountability to the community (whatever community that may be), then reputation is sufficient, along with filtering or web-of-trust-type systems to enforce it. Anonymity does not prevent this.

Comment Re:Yes. Reputation matters, not ID (Score 1) 213

A) The rest of the solution would be to use reputations, cryptographic keys (optionally), and so forth. Reputations seems to be sufficient, most of the time.

B) Well, an easy way would be to prevent one IP address from registering more than one username per, say, a day -- which would be fine for a household of users that want accounts, but not useful to spammers.

If someone is willing to put up the effort to run a botnet and register on that many different accounts -- well, why wouldn't they just use automated software like Rig to create 1,000,000 fake identities that are equally acceptable as a real name (leaving aside impractical requirements like presenting a passport to get an account). Not much you can do to stop someone determined enough to spam, but then you just rely on reputation to weed out the bad accounts, as per A) above.

Comment Re:A better question: Do we need social networking (Score 1) 213

I have generally felt that social networks are besides the point. Real Life(tm) is the ultimate social network, and any communication medium -- be it forums, e-mail, snail mail, talking on the sidewalk, or phoning a friend -- all contribute to that network, without the assistance of Facebook or the like.

If you want to find a person, Facebook (may be) a free way to do it, assuming they use it and were willing to give their real name to them. But other methods exist -- including: Search engines, public networks, potentially shared acquaintances (finding someone from high school? Try asking other friends from high school. Or their parents, if you're that sort of person.)

Pseudonyms do NOT interfere with this. If I tell my friends that I am "jakykong" online, they can tell their friends to contact Jakykong for something. Thus the two-step distant people don't know my real name, but the one-step distant people do. No technology involved, and no real name required.

Of course, our modern concept of social networks that allow you to search for someone by name, rather than by common acquaintances or activities, probably need the real name to facilitate that. But I don't require that functionality -- the ability to meet my friends' friends is useful, whether or not I know their names. Facebook and now Google+ deny this functionality when they deny pseudonyms.

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