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Operating Systems

Submission + - A Linux desktop for non-techies? 2

karstux writes: I'm sure this is a problem that many of the slashdot crowd have run into, and I'd like to hear your solutions. I'm tasked with providing a notebook to a completely non-technical friend, for exclusively mundane activities such as web browsing, e-mail correspondence and composing the odd letter. The recipient is of course indoctrinated to Windows ways.

I'd like the solution to be as maintenance-free, secure and easy to use as possible. I don't want to have to "teach" the usage of the system, and I won't be around to fix things if anything breaks. Under these circumstances, is Linux a good idea? If so, which flavor? Are there alternatives? (OS X won't run on the hardware.)
The Courts

Looking Back At Copyright Predictions 148

Techdirt has an interesting look back at some of the more interesting predictions on copyright. The article looks at two different pre-DMCA papers and compares them to what has happened in the world of copyright. "The second paper is by Pamela Samuelson, and it discusses (again, quite accurately) the coming power grab by "copyright maximalists" via the DMCA, entitled The Copyright Grab. It clearly saw the intention of the DMCA to remove user rights, and grant highly questionable additional rights and powers to copyright holders in an online world. Samuelson lays out many concerns about where this is headed -- including how these proposals appear to trample certain fair use rights -- and in retrospect, her fears seem to have been backed up by history. Samuelson, by the way, has just written a new paper that is also worth reading pointing out how ridiculous current copyright statutory rates are -- an issue of key importance in the ongoing Tenebaum lawsuit, which (thankfully) the judge in the case is going to consider."

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As in certain cults it is possible to kill a process if you know its true name. -- Ken Thompson and Dennis M. Ritchie