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Comment Re:How does this happen? (Score 2) 295

Thus, the final binary can be recreated from those tarballs just fine, because *technically* it's the full Emacs source code all right. Legally, though, it's not, because of the definitions in GPL.

Not so. If what you seem to be implying were true (that there's no ethical problem with this, just a legal one because of the wording of the GPL), people could simply compile their source down to assembly and distribute the "source" that way. The final binary could be created from the compiler-generated assembly just fine, but that's not the issue here. The goal of the GPL is to prevent distribution of any generated machine instructions (in any form or language) without distribution of the original (in any form or language).

This is exactly the kind of behavior that the GPL was intended to prevent.

Comment Re:Not blocked (Score 1) 203

It's the same on the iPhone. It's always a gamble whether you click the right link or just the blank space next to it because everything's a link and the phone can't guess where you meant to click anymore. Moreover, the JavaScript makes it so that it's always a gamble whether you'll be ably to type in the text box or not, and the comment submission process is just painfully slow. It's not just the quality of the articles on this site that's been steadily falling.

Comment Re:So what will happen? (Score 2) 65

The "standards" will be open, sure, but no one will use them. ODF is an open standard. MS uses OOXML, and would use it even if they hadn't messed with ISO. And just because they are the largest player in the market, OOXML would become the de facto standard that any other office suite would need to support. It's true this isn't a patent case, but I'd imagine the same applies.

Comment Re:Non sequitur? (Score 1) 274

The danger is that it slows down progress. Instead of seeing a good idea, and extending it a year or two later, now someone has to wait 20 years to make the same improvement. Instantly, technological progress slows down 10x, especially for the little guys. The big guys can cross-license their gigantic portfolios all they want, so that they aren't affected at all by the duration of patents. All they want is to keep the little guys little for as long as possible because it's easier to sit on top of an invention for 20 years than to keep making new things. Basically, competition is no longer free-market, but rather dominated by the players already in it (an oligopoly if there ever was one).

Comment Re:Did some wiki-browsing... (Score 1) 189

You know one answer to your problem. There are others. The state you put the system into describes the solution to your problem, You let the system evolve in time, and, assuming you don't add any energy (which would destroy your computation), the system will always describe *a* solution to your problem, but not necessarily the solution that you started out with.

Comment Re:Light spectrum beneath 400nm? (Score 1) 65

Also, diffract:

At the atomic level, x-rays at the right wavelength diffract around atoms (really, at that level, it's "electron clouds"), and you can use the diffraction pattern to estimate the localized density of the electron clouds, in an attempt to figure out what atoms go where (heavier atoms have heavier electron clouds). However, hydrogen atoms (protons) also tend to form a sort of cloud, but that's more of a physics limitation then a measurement one. And yes, the sample does "cook" in the process, often quite thoroughly.

My point is, the reflective/refractive/absorptive/transmissive/diffractive behavior of light doesn't depend on the frequency of the light. It depends on the characteristics of a given material for that frequency of light. That's where you get color from, incidentally.

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