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User Journal

Journal Journal: Ok, I get the game 1

So, you upmod me with one of the non-karma affecting mods, then downmod me with a troll or whatever, rinse and repeat, and that's how you take away all the karma without actually changing the numbers.

Yet, one can troll anonymously all day.

Lame. No wonder the site just steadily declines in quality.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Fuck you too, CmdrTaco 1

So, my karma goes from positive to bad overnight, with no new down-mods in my recent posting history.

Whats up with that?

Taco, you may not necessarily like me or my opinions, but your mods don't seem to have such a problem with it.

Why not let the users decide? They made this site, not you. You'd be smart to keep that in mind. Your opinions and commentary are retarded, and you and the other "editors" consistently show yourselves to be technically inept pseudo-activists and astroturfing drones.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Why I troll: Slashdot is worthless 7

So today I wondered what it is about Apple, that they generate buzz when others dont. For a while, I was modded up, and had my karma back and was engaged in a little discussion about it. For a moment, it was like the old days - back when /. was a tech discussion site.

Then someone decided I wasn't toeing the line - I guess they felt I was criticizing Apple (I wasnt, but who cares, right?). Suddenly, not only the original post, but everything in my recent posting history is -1.

So, who can do that but the editors? I don't know, I don't care.

I know this is a paid Apple astroturfing site.

It just used to be better.

Not a complaint - I much prefer trolling bucketcunt jackasses than I do discussing technology with geeks.

Oh well, even with terrible karma I can piss you off twice a day.

And all it takes is a simple "apple sucks". And it enrages and infuriates you right to your brittle little bones, doesn't it? Your skin isn't thick enough to allow criticizm of your favorite company, is it? I can point out features Zune has that iPod doesnt, you will foam at the mouth. If I point out features my Treo has that the iPhone doesnt, you will shake with rage.

Well, live in fantasy land. Yeah, iPhone will revolutionize life what with its ability to make you buy more of Steve Jobs DRM bullshit. Maybe one day they'll even be a mainstream player! Hooray.

You keep dreaming, I'll keep wasting your mod points and pissing you off.

User Journal

Journal Journal: The G-String 2

A friend of mine is a music teacher. In one of the beginner classes, he was explaining the different strings on a guitar.

"This here is the G-String."

A kid pipes up, "Wow, I thought the G-String was just a myth."

"No son, you're thinking of something else"

User Journal

Journal Journal: American FUD

To the tune of Don McLean's American Pie.

A long long time ago, I can still remember
How Unix used to be so great
Tape drives were as big as cars
For saving files, known as tars
And perhaps, we could save it from its fate

But Richard Stallman surely shivered
When Windows NT was delivered
With icons on the desktop
And a flying toaster backdrop

But I can't remember if I cried
Such great relief I felt inside
We had IBM on our side
The day Caldera died

*Bye Bye Mr. Darl McBride
Claimed there's Unix in our Linux
But we know that you lied.
And them Redmond boys are cursing Samba and WINE
Thinking this'll be the way that they die
This'll be the way that they die.

Did you use the kernel source?
Well the GPL you can't enforce.
Just because I said it is so
We'll sue you if you don't desist
Its not a slap across the wrist
and that's the FUD that's coming out of SCO

Well, he belongs in a prison cell
Or in the fiery pits of hell
His name is Darl McBride
And he'll take you for a ride
His SCOsource license costs a grand
But no one's got one in his hand
We all told him to go pound sand
The day Caldera died, we were singin'

repeat *

Didio came to spread the FUD
And SCO was after Linus's blood
But that's not how its going to be
Cuz PJ came and did her blog
And Darl I'm sure, that dirty dog
Reads it all, quite religiously

In Las Vegas back in August
SCO tried hard, tried with earnest
To prove Linux wasn't free
But they showed us BSD
We all laughed and we all reeled
When we observed what they'd revealed
So now they keep their claims all sealed
The day Caldera died, we were singin'

repeat *

Then they released some header files
And that left them on the tiles
Cause the files contained not a line of code
You can't lay claim to 123
Its just a number you can see
That simply tells the program how to load

It's public knowledge, for all to know
That's what was told by us to SCO
But did those fools believe it?
They just could not conceive it.
We own Unix and all the works
All its traits and all its quirks
And then they called us stupid jerks
The day Caldera died, we were singing

repeat *

And now they're suing Novell too.
They'll sue me and they'll sue you
They're saying this in every place
They are fighting against our IBM
And fighting the owners of RPM
they don't have a solid case

It's gonna bust its gonna break
Investor's money they plan to take
stock won't be worth a dime
And it will be a crime
Insider trading we'll all cry
Linux was just their alibi
Darl and Kevin the feds will try
the day Caldera died, we're a singin'

repeat *

When times were dark and things were glum
Darl had Linux by the thumb
Someone had to save the day
But like an episode of Scooby Doo
PJ and friends all came through
And Linux is here to stay

But back in Utah, so it seemed
SCO did cry, and then they screamed
They couldn't match a token
No copyrights were broken
And the OS I admire most
Is free to all, from coast to coast
And SCO is but a distant ghost
The day Caldera died, and we were singin'

repeat *

It's funny.  Laugh.

Journal Journal: The Dot Com Boom (Those were the days)

Boy the way Steve Ballmer said,
Unix now is finally dead,
Windows was king they all said
those were the days.
Didn't need no business plan
so said the investor man
And now the stocks are in the can
Those were the days.
We all ran Windows 98
Blue screens that we had to hate
Gee our Packard Bell ran great
Those were the days
Everyone had a website then
And posted pictures of their kin
Mr. we can use a man like Linus Torvalds again
Those were the days!

Linux was coded in front of a live studio audience.

The Courts

Journal Journal: Why copyright isn't a fundamental right 1

A lot of people are arguing about copyright, and many are claiming that it is equivalent to physical property, not in that it resembles it (it doesn't really), but because they are both fundamental rights. Many others have declared that copyright is not a fundamental right. However, neither side has been particularly eager to show reasons.

To some extent, this is because fundamental rights are tricky things. It's not clear where they come from, or how to recognize them. Nonetheless, meaningfull arguments can be made, and, in the end, they are a lot more valuable than shouting matches.

So here are some arguments....

Copyright is rejected by the great philosophers of fundamental rights

John Locke, who formulated the modern western theory of human rights, did not propose any form of 'intellectual property'. This ommission is telling as Locke generally attempted to cover the field of natural rights exhaustively. More impressive is Thomas Jefferson, who declared that "The exclusive right to invention [is] given not of natural right, but for the benefit of society" even as he supported a strictly limited copyright clause in the US constitution. This perspective was written into the constitution and has been the consesnsus of legal scholars ever since.

I am not suggesting that everything a great phlosopher says is automatically correct. Nonetheless, Jefferson's word is often taken as authoritive on such matters. If we reject the views of Locke and Jefferson, we must reconsider whether fundamental rights exist at all. Furthermore, Jefferson gains credibility from the general success of his ideas at establishing a country. Can any of us claim to approach his achievements?

No religion acknowledges copyright

While I have not read every sacred text everywhere, I have read a great expanse of them. Every one of them that touches on the matter encourages the copying and distribution of wisdom (including themselves, of course!) If fundamental rights come from God -- any god -- they don't include copyright.

Copyright opposes the fundamentals of human culture

One of the few true universals of human society is folk art. Every human culture includes folktales and folk music. These are artistic expressions which have evolved as they are copied and modified throughout generations. Their original creaters are lost. They form the foundations of a culture. The very thing that makes us human is that we don't always follow copyright. So how can copyright be a human right?

"Works for Hire"

Copyright law acknowledges such a thing as a "work for hire" -- that if an employee creates something on work time the copyright is assigned directly to the employer, usually a corporation. If copyright were a human right, it would surely reside with the human in question. A truely fundamental right wouldn't be overridden by an employment contract, any more than a corporation can murder its employees.

Copyrights can be violated with no effect whatsoever on the holder

Let us take an extreme case, for neatness' sake. Consider an American musician in 1920, one whose work is played on the radio. The law at that time established finite copyrights, I think around 40 years. Suppose an extraterrestrial race built a giant radio telescope orbitting Vega. In 1956, the song, still under copyright, would reach that telescope and be illegally distributed among millions of alien scientests. However, special relativity forbids any effect of this piracy to reach the artist before 1972 -- 12 years after the copyright expired. It is therefore theoretically impossible for the artist to be harmed by this type of piracy.

Now, you may say that this is an unreallistic hypothetical (though how do you know?). I chose this as an extreme case. If the copiers simply did the deed in a remote village in the himilayas, there would be no practical effect. I chose Vega only so that harm would be totally impossible.

You may also argue that they are performing the deed outside of American juristiction. This blocks enforcement, but fundamental rights are not effected by borders. They persist despite governments. That's what makes them fundamental.

What sort of fundamental right is it that can be violated without effecting the 'victim'? Not any I'm familiar with.

The closest analogy is bloodlines

Many have argued by analogy to physical goods. This analogy is poor, because a physical object cannot be copied. A better metaphor is non-human bloodlines.

Suppose I were to buy a prize-worthy tomato plant. Thousands of person-hours had gone into selecing the finest tomato plants in the world and carefully cross-polinating them. The plant is very useful: its tomatos are excellent and plentiful.

Now, I could take cuttings or seeds from this plant and give them to my friends. My friends would get the benefit of those thousands of pperson hours for free. No law would stop me. It's just the nature of the product. I don't think anyone would argue that I had acted inappropriately (well, except Monsanto, who added DRM to their latest 'rice'. Some people argued that they could offer whatever products they liked however they liked, but I don't think anyone suggested those Chinese peasants shouldn't have been farming in the first place).

Now how is this different from copyright?

Most of history has had no copyrights, and didn't really miss them

Copyright first appeared only a few centuries ago. Innumerable great artists worked in that era. While many wished for a more effective way to make money, none argued that a fundamental right was being violated, not even those who thought very much in those terms, such as Beethoven.

In fact, the internal cultures of those artists tended to encourage copying, limited only by the desire of the copier to retain artistic control of his own work.

Copyright depends on a difference between speech and art

In theory anything anyone ever says is copyrighted. No one actually endorses following this rule. It is generally acknowledged that a conversation can be repeated, outside of primacy concerns. E-mails are repeatedly forwarded. Newsworthy statements are reported. All of these things are vital. It would be utterly unreasonable to ban such them.

And yet, what is the real difference between an anecdote and a short story? Any line is arbitrary. Furthermore, any such line is unmaintainable in the face of conceptual artists. Can four minutes thirteen seconds of silence be copyrighted? John Cage considers it a work of art, yet imagine the horror if no one was ever allowed to perform excerpts from it without Cage's permission!

I don't claim to have covered the field exhaustively, but I think I've made my point. I also have not addressed the question of whether copyight law is good policy. Please keep my aguments in mind in future debates on the topic.

Comments are appreciated.

Feel free to copy this article wherever you like, but please attribue me if at all convinient.

Journal Journal: This is how a real post is moderated..

Moderation Totals: Flamebait=1, Insightful=4, Interesting=1, Overrated=1, Total=7

We all know you cant please all of the people all of the time, so if you're doing so, you're doing something wrong..

If everyone agrees with you your argument is probably invalid or oversimplistic.

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