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Comment Re: Twitter pledge is too weak (Score 1) 49

An irrevocable patent pledge is intended to be precisely that; it's a legal document that is written to carry weight regardless of changes of ownership or management. Whether it will stand in court when tested remains to be seen, but that problem applies also to free content and open source licenses and other legal tools for sharing of information and ideas. KA can be expected to at least do one thing, which is to use the best available legal tools to create a broader framework of reuse consistent with its mission. It should reach out to experts, such as Creative Commons, to determine which tools to use, rather than relying on a weak implementation drafted by Twitter.

KA can also reject the idea of patents entirely. It has enough goodwill globally that any patent lawsuit against it, aside perhaps from highly protected areas such as video codecs, would likely to be suicidal for the entity bringing it, and a fundraising boon for KA.

Comment Re:Either-Or (Score 1) 49

Although Blackboard has filed patent lawsuits against competitors (and was briefly boycotted for it), it at least has issued an irrevocable patent pledge not to sue open source projects. I suspect ignorance, not foul play, on the part of Khan Academy is the cause.

Ironically, nonprofit Khan Academy's Twitter pledge is less permissive than that of the corporate behemoth, since it reserves the right to sue anyone, for any reason, provided company and "inventor" agree. Not sure OIN is a good fit for its needs given its close tie to usage of patents within "Linux systems". Something like CC's model patent license or a simple, broad pledge never to use patents offensively against anyone may be a better fit.

KA's policy error here is likely the result of swimming in the Silicon Valley ideological soup, where Twitter's pledge is considered remarkable. KA has never been an especially awesome organization when it comes to open source citizenry. For example, it uses the "non-commercial use" restriction for its materials, which is widely rejected within open source and free culture circles like Wikimedia, Linux, etc. Hopefully this will change over time as the organization becomes more aware of the policy discussions around these issues, since a lot of its work is otherwise excellent and world-changing.

Comment Twitter pledge is too weak (Score 4, Insightful) 49

As the summary states, Khan follows Twitter's patent pledge. This is a good first step as far as it goes, but it still explicitly allows for offensive litigation if the "inventor" agrees. That's not sufficient. At the very minimum, Khan should adopt a clear, irrevocable policy never to enforce patents against open source projects, like many Patent Commons participants. Ideally it should partner with Creative Commons to work out an even stronger patent license, consistent with its mission. CC has previously developed model patent licenses and I'm sure they'd be happy to help.

If the Khan Academy user who originally posted in Slashdot in response is reading this -- please bring these resources to the attention of management.

Comment Zenbook UX305 (Score 1) 237

I've been running Fedora on mine for a few months. I had some early problems with wireless, but on my most recent trip (a few kernel updates later) it was fine. The touchpad seems to be working better too. My only real gripe at this point is that the battery doesn't quite last all day like my 13" MBA can, but then the Zenbook's considerably cheaper than most in the under-three-pound category so I guess sacrifices had to be made somewhere.

Comment Re:Why would you want this? (Score 4, Insightful) 66

It's because they throw out a lot of POSIX features/requirements - e.g. nested directories, rename, links, durability/consistency guarantees. In other areas, such as permissions, they have their own POSIX-incompatible alternatives. These shortcuts do make implementation easier, allowing a stronger focus on pure scalability. The theory is that the combined complexity of POSIX semantics and dealing with high scale (including issues such as performance and fault handling) is just too much, and it becomes an either/or situation. As a member of the GlusterFS team, I strongly disagree. My colleagues, including those on the Ceph team, probably do as well. The semantics of object stores like S3 have been designed to make their own developers' lives easier, and to hell with the users.

Not all POSIX features are necessary. Some are outdated, poorly specified, or truly too cumbersome to live. On the other hand, the object-store feature set is *too* small. I've seen too many users start with an object store, then slowly reimplement much of what's missing themselves. The result is a horde of slow, buggy, incompatible implementations of functionality that should be natively provided by the underlying storage. That's a pretty lousy situation even before we start to talk about being able to share files/objects with any kind of sane semantics. You want to write a file on one machine, send a message to another machine, and be sure they'll read what you just wrote? Yeah, you can do that, but the techniques you'll have to use are the same ones that are already inside your distributed object store. Even if both their implementation and yours are done well, the duplication will be disastrous for both performance and fault handling. It would be *far* better to enhance object stores than to keep making those mistakes . . . or you could just deploy a distributed file system and use the appropriate subset of the functionality that's already built in.

A semantically-rich object store like Ceph's RADOS can be a wonderful thing, but the dumbed-down kind is a disgrace.

Comment Re:Why would you want this? (Score 3, Interesting) 66

That is very untrue. I'm on the GlusterFS team, and we've had users providing "POSIX style FS access in a cloud-like environment" for years. Amazon recently started doing the same with EFS, and there are others. It's sure not easy, I wouldn't say any of the alternatives have all of the isolation or ease of use that they should, but it's certainly possible.

Comment Re:Slashdot videos suck! (Score 3) 117

Videos/podcasts and similar formats are definitely not for every setting, but they do allow you to get to know a person a bit better than a simple transcript does. In a video, you can see a person's facial expressions, you can hear emphasis, and you may be able to make more of an emotional connection. For a podcast, you can listen in the background, during your commute, etc. Each format has its advantages/disadvantages.

I agree a transcript would be awesome though; sorry that I've not gotten around to that yet (I do these in my spare time and suggested to Roblimo that he might want to run a shorter version). If you want to help, I've set up an Amara import here. In general, Passionate Voices is a community project (the videos are under CC-0, i.e. free to reuse), and help is always welcome, including with doing itnerviews.

Comment "Pipeline" by Sumana (Score 1, Insightful) 117

A few days ago, Sumana released this video, Pipeline, a critique of the tech industry's treatment of women. It's relevant to the overall discussion re: hospitality and worth watching (the main point being, "getting women into tech" doesn't really solve any problems if the actual experience in the industry is a terrible one).

Submission + - Apple's "Spring Forward" Event Debuts Apple Watch and More

samzenpus writes: There was a lot of news at Apple's Spring Forward keynote today. Here's a list of some of the most eye-catching announcements.
  • HBO Now standalone streaming service coming to Apple TV and iOS apps in early April for $14.99 a month.
  • Lowered price of Apple TV to $69.
  • Apple Pay accepted at up to 100,000 Coca-Cola machines by the end of the year.
  • ResearchKit Announced: Is open source and allows medical researchers to create apps, and use the iPhone as a diagnostic tool.
  • New MacBook: Lightest ever at 2 pounds, 13.1mm at its thickest point. 2304x1440 display, consumes 30% less energy. Fanless, powered with Intel's Core M processor. 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.0. and 9 hours of web browsing battery life. Supports many protocols through one connector USB-C. Ships April 10, starting at $1,299.
  • iOS 8.2 is available today
  • Apple Watch: Accurate within 50ms of UTC. Read and delete email, built-in speaker and mic so you can receive calls. It tracks your movement and exercise. Use Apple Pay, play your music, use Siri and get any notification you get on iPhone today. 18 hour battery life in a typical day. Sport model starting at $349, stainless steel price: $549-$1049 for 38mm, 42mm is $599-$1099, and gold edition starting at $10k. Pre-orders begin April 10th, available April 24th.

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