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Slashback: ODF Wars, Duval Layoff, French DRM

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the changing-the-world-one-commitee-at-a-time dept.


Slashback tonight brings some corrections, clarifications, and updates to previous Slashdot stories, including a response from Mandriva's CEO, Apple responds to French DRM legislation, Microsoft possibly undermining ODF ISO approval, a more in-depth look at Fedora Core 5, more thoughts on the GPLv3, and Britannica strikes back at Wikipedia -- Read on for details.

Mandriva CEO responds to Duval Layoff. UltimaGuy writes "Duval has detailed his side of the story, 'Fired. Yes. Simply fired, for economical reasons, along with a few other ones. More than 7 years after I created Mandrake-Linux and then Mandrakesoft, the current boss of Mandriva "thanks me" and I'm leaving, sad, with my two-month salary indemnity standard package. It's difficult to accept that back in 1998 I created my job and the one of many other people, and that recently, on a February afternoon, Mandriva's CEO called to tell me that I was leaving.' Mandriva's CEO has responded, stating that 'Gael was not fired. This term would imply something wrong on his part, which was not the case. He was laid off.'"

Apple responds to French DRM legislation. Sardon writes "In the aftermath of France's move to force companies to open their DRM, Apple has shot back. Calling the proposed legislation "state-sponsored piracy," Apple complained loudly about the prospects of opening up their DRM, arguing that DRM interoperability tools would just increase piracy. However, as the article points out, DRM interoperability isn't likely to make a significant contribution to piracy, seeing as how P2P networks are already flooded. If the measure passes the French Senate, Apple may consider closing its music operations in France."

Microsoft possibly undermining ODF ISO approval. Andy Updegrove writes "If you haven't been paying attention to the odf(oasis) vs. xmlrs(microsoft) format wars, here is what is happening... Both formats need iso approval. This process is very thorough all complaints and gripes are heard and reviewed, which takes quite a bit of time. It is easy for voters to slow this process down considerably. And, our good friends Microsoft joined a very small subcommittee called 'V1 Text Processing: Office and Publishing Systems Interface.' It just so happens that this small subcommittee (six companies - including Microsoft) is the entity charged with reconciling the votes that are being cast in the ISO vote to adopt the OASIS OpenDocument Format. So, presumably, Microsoft is going to delay ODF's ISO approval in hopes of xmlrs getting approval first and being the chosen format in Europe."

A more in-depth look at Fedora Core 5. LinuxForums has posted a much more in-depth look at the install process and functionality of the new Fedora Core 5 release. From the article: "I have to say though: this distribution impressed me in a way that no other distribution did before. Some things should of course be improved, such as the automatic hardware detection or, as mentioned above, the menus. But apart from these little details I can confidently say that Fedora Core 5 is the best desktop GNU/Linux distribution available at the moment."

More thoughts on the GPLv3. Guttata writes "Forbes has an interview with Richard Stallman on the upcoming GPLv3, which touches on Linus' stance on keeping the kernel at GPLv2. The article also shows Stallman's take on DRM, especially in reference to areas such as TiVo." Relatedly Glyn Moody writes "The FSF's General Counsel, Eben Moglen, explains why there is no situation in which the brokenness or otherwise of the GPL is ever an issue. Thanks to copyright law, GPL violators are always in the wrong."

Britannica strikes back at Wikipedia. tiltowait writes "Remember that study published by Nature magazine which likened Wikipedia's reliability to that of Encyclopedia Britannica? Well, Britannica has released -- not corrections -- but a corporate response stating that 'Nature's research was invalid [...] almost everything about the Nature's investigation was wrong and misleading.' So then, is this just one more example of how refereed journals can't be trusted?"

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FIRST POST (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14976977)

YEAH!!! [theniceass.com]

FIRST REPLY (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14977023)

YEAH!!! [thedumbass.com]

Gael was not fired. (2, Funny)

mctk (840035) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977008)

He was reassigned. He won't need to come into the office. He can do this job from home. Call it early retirement, but without pension.

Re:Gael was not fired. (3, Informative)

Baseball_Fan (959550) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977178)

He was reassigned. He won't need to come into the office. He can do this job from home. Call it early retirement, but without pension.

This reminds me of a movie Startup.Com (http://imdb.com/title/tt0256408/ [imdb.com] ). It was about a couple guys who had an idea- to have a website that sold city services. Instead of going to the city to buy a license plate sticker, they sold it on-line. Want to pay a parking ticket? Do it at their website. Good idea.

So, early on, one of the founders decides to cash in for a couple hundred thousand. His strategy was, be a founder but as soon as the company gets any VC money, that he will cash out. He also threatened the group with lawsuits if they did not pay him what he wanted. Everyone agreed, he was the prick who wanted money the first chance he could get it.

Of the 2 founders left, one was a MBA type, and the other was the programmer. So the MBA type did all the dealings with VC, he designed the company structure, everything. While the company was making money hand over fist, everyone was happy. The MBA type even shelled out for a vacation for ALL his employees, over a 100.

But the moment competition showed its ugly head, and profits were threatened, guess who got fired? The MBA type fired his best friend, the programmer. They talked about how they loved each other. I guess money is thicker than freindship.

So, what is the smart thing to do? Be the guy who cashes out in under a year? Be the guy who designs and programs the system but gets screwed? Be the MBA type who manages the company?

I think the company eventually went bankrupt. And the amazing things is, the programmer and the MBA type were able to remain friends.

I would have kicked his ass...

Re:Gael was not fired. (1)

Sqwubbsy (723014) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977494)

I would have kicked his ass...

You talk tough behind that keyboard...basking in the green glow.

Uhh (4, Insightful)

jb.hl.com (782137) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977025)

I'm not exactly a cheerleader for the P2P-ftw free-the-culture anarcho-whatever shite that gets punted around here sometimes, but for Christ's sake what is Apple on? People have been using Hymn and the like for ages, and if they're stripping the DRM out of bought files for use on other players they are still buying from Apple and giving Apple money for the privilege. By definition, they wouldn't be going to P2P. If anything, if they up and leave France, all that will happen is that either P2P will become the only option for iPod owners or people will buy Creative/Archos/other PlaysForSure players and Napster or whatever will get their money. The only way this could become a win for piracy is if Apple makes it one.

Re:Uhh (4, Insightful)

BillyBlaze (746775) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977249)

It used to be common to hear the argument, "Apple doesn't like DRM, they only use it because otherwise the popular music oligopoly wouldn't let them sell their music." Now we know that isn't true. Apple likes DRM just as much as the big music companies, just for a different reason - Apple wants iTunes purchases to work only on the iPod.

Re:Uhh (2, Insightful)

tbo (35008) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977257)

People have been using Hymn and the like for ages, and if they're stripping the DRM out of bought files for use on other players they are still buying from Apple and giving Apple money for the privilege

Apple doesn't make much money (directly) from the iTunes Music Store--Steve Jobs himself has said this. Primarily, the purpose of the iTMS is to help sell iPods. What Apple doesn't want to happen is for people to buy able to buy music from iTunes for use on third-party players. If the French iTMS stops being a vehicle for selling iPods, it stops being useful for Apple. Moreover, the conversion utility will inevitably spread outside of France, and hurt iPod sales everywhere. It clearly is preferable from Apple's point of view to close the French iTMS, rather than allow such a conversion utility to become widespread.

Oh, sure, people can use Hymn, but Joe User isn't that sophisticated. Also, AFAIK, the Hymn people haven't yet figured out how to crack iTunes v6 encryption, so it's not exactly a fully-functional solution.

You actually believe that? (2, Insightful)

Ahnteis (746045) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977398)

And for some reason people still believe that line.

Yet Apple refuses to license (for more money!) their DRM and let someone ELSE sale music that will play on the ipod.

They're obviously either making money or planning to make money from music sales.

Re:You actually believe that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14977654)

And for some reason people still believe that line.

Yet Apple refuses to license (for more money!) their DRM and let someone ELSE sale music that will play on the ipod.

They're obviously either making money or planning to make money from music sales.

It's all about control with their fairplay being the only DRM that works on the iPod they control the negotiations with the labels. Also, with the DRM they control the consumer, forcing them to buy only the iPod as their mp3 player.

Re:Uhh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14977549)

Also, AFAIK, the Hymn people haven't yet figured out how to crack iTunes v6 encryption, so it's not exactly a fully-functional solution.

And they probably never will, considering that they have never actually cracked anything. The only person who has ever cracked FairPlay is DVD Jon. Seeing as how he now lives in the United States, the Hymn people are going to be waiting for a long time...

Re:Uhh (1)

alienw (585907) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977596)

I am as big an Apple fanboy as anyone else, but let's admit it, they are being douchebags here. DRM that is not proprietary would be a good thing for the entire industry. The iPod can stand on its own merits, it's not like it's hard to find music for 99 cents. In short, there is no good reason for the iTunes DRM to stay closed, and the law would be doing the right thing. And I really doubt that Apple is losing money on iTMS. There is zero overhead, and the margin is big enough to make plenty of cash.

The real issue here is that the law will make it possible for iTunes competitors to sell tunes to iPod users. This is what Apple is really afraid of, since they get a nice solid revenue stream from the music subscription business. In short, it's a non-issue, and Apple is just afraid that the playing field will become level for the other competitors.

Re:Uhh (2, Insightful)

Krach42 (227798) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977425)

if they're stripping the DRM out of bought files for use on other players they are still buying from Apple and giving Apple money for the privilege. By definition, they wouldn't be going to P2P

The issue isn't that Apple would still get money for the music. The issue is that Apple wouldn't have to sell an iPod for someone to listen to their iTunes Music Store music portably.

Also, there's the issue that the music industry that grants allowances for Apple to sell their music would not stand for DRM-less music. Apple has already gone with the lightest DRM that they could, and still have the industry happy. If they had to allow for DRM work-arounds for France, then the Music Industry would pull support, and Apple iTMS is suddenly full of indy bands, and none of the popular music that sells tons of copies. (Which is the very definition of popular music. Whatever people are buying the most of.)

French pirate babes (4, Funny)

babbling (952366) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977029)

Ho ho ho. "State sponsored piracy!" I like it. It has a nice ring to it. A bit like "state sponsored terrorism". Those bastard French people are trying to take away our freedom by taking restrictions out of DRM! Oh, wait...

Yes, naughty little French pirates. They need to be punished. They need to know what it feels like. I implore all Slashdotters to head over to Google Video and pirate some Alizee music videos [google.com] . For those of you who have been living under a rock for the past couple of years, Alizee is a hot French babe... uhh, I mean, PIRATE!

Re:French pirate babes (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14977131)

Since it is stae sponsored wouldn't they be music-privateers?

Re:French pirate babes (1)

From A Far Away Land (930780) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977169)

They used the wrong term. State sponsored pirates are called Buckaneers. At least that's what I've learned they were, someone feel free to beat me over the head with Wikipedia.

Re:French pirate babes (1)

babbling (952366) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977195)

Phwoar. Hot French buckaneer Alizee!! For some reason, putting it in those terms does even more for me than when it was "French pirate babe Alizee!"

Good work! :-)

Re:French pirate babes (1)

strider44 (650833) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977470)

I believe the correct word is "Privateer [google.com] ". Yes like the wing commander game.

Let the beatings begin. (2, Informative)

Eevee (535658) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977482)

The term you want is privateer [wikipedia.org] . Privateers had letters of marque which legitimized their attacks as being sponsored by a government. (Except for the Spanish, who had a habit of refusing to honor letters of marque and just hanged them as common pirates.) Buccaneers [wikipedia.org] , on the other hand, were pirates who started out in the barbecue business.

No, seriously. Buccaneers were originally hunters who sold cooked meat, grilled over an open fire, to passing ships. Eventually, an enterprising band of buccaneers realized that the passing ships were poorly armed and captured the ship--much more profitable than selling barbecue.

Re:Let the beatings begin. (1)

From A Far Away Land (930780) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977545)

Thank you, after I posted I realized it was something else, but every other "eer" word I could think of I knew wasn't correct. I was expecting at least one Tampa Bay NFL joke by now, so I guess I'll have to make one:

How does a Tampa Bay Buckaneer pirate music?
He moves to France and uses DRM free iTunes.

Jeeezzz.. (2, Funny)

jd (1658) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977277)

You'll be telling us next that we should go round to France and collectively punish the French pirate babes by spanking them, or something. You're weird.

Re:Jeeezzz.. (1)

babbling (952366) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977287)

Do you want me to tell you to do that?

Re:French pirate babes (5, Informative)

Exaton (523551) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977358)

Take this video in particular [google.com] , for example. Gotta have some reason to love France... And my God guys, you should understand the lyrics... It's all about her relaxing in a bubble bath, her soft skin, etc. (not kidding). See that "2" logo in the top right ? That's France 2, the most important public channel (and in this country the public channels are neck to neck with the private ones for popularity). Still not kidding.

Now for the less jowful news. I happen to live in France, as you might have gathered, and I'm a bit surprised by the international analysis of the DADVSI law (since that's it name) that indeed got through Parliament tuesday evening.

The fact is that the government has :

  • legalized DRM,
  • set up a standard parking-ticket style fine for downloading pirated stuff and another for making content available to others (38 and 150 euros respectively, about 45 and 180 USD),
  • decided that P2P software makers were liable to pay 300'000 euros and spend 3 years in prison,
  • given up on the "monthly subscription to be allowed to download legally" deal, under pressure from the local RIAA associates that forced a vast majority of artists to back them,
  • completely forbidden copying of a DVD, even as a personal backup,
  • and simply required that DRM'd files be interoperable, which is where Apple's beef is.

I'm very flattered by all the positive light this is being shown in internationally, it's not every day the world has nice things to say about this country, but I must point out that IT enthusiasts over here are miserably decrying this law, and would probably be in the streets themselves if they weren't already chocablock with students demonstrating :-(

State sponsored gambling! (1)

repetty (260322) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977410)

>> Ho ho ho. "State sponsored piracy!"

Great. We already have state sponsored gambling. I think that leaves state sponsored whoring. Maybe the more politically savvy can update us on that.


It's an evil european ploy to destroy america! (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977428)

"State sponsored piracy!" I like it. It has a nice ring to it.

The French have a history of using corsairs [m-w.com] ; )

Re:French pirate babes (1)

martalli (818692) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977712)

Someone posts a link to a video of a hot girl and all anyone can mention is DRM?! I might note that Alizee's father is a computer scientist [wikipedia.org] . So all ya nerds out there might have a leg up on her - at least you might chat her Dad up more than the usual hunks on her arm =).

Microsoft shoots self in foot (1)

From A Far Away Land (930780) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977033)

MS is in danger of becoming the company on the outside looking in. Their document formats have been a nightmare to tech support and average people over the years, and with an open ISO standard looming in the next years, every office product under the sun will be able to read everything else, except perhaps Microsoft's. What companies are going to pay $70+/computer to have Office Vista, when they can have the same functionality and better interoperability with everyone else? North America won't flip to Open Document right away because of Microsoft's influence over both the Canadian and American governments, but Europe will turn as Brazil has, and every other location will follow.
I don't want Canada to be stuck in the digital darkage created by Microsoft and proprietary document format wars. I'm going to be pressuring my MP to require government offices to convert to Open Document when it becomes an ISO standard.

Re:Microsoft shoots self in foot (1)

moochfish (822730) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977184)

Your last sentence is exactly what MS is going to stall or prevent at all costs. MS is good at this game. Don't be surprised if they manage to stall ODF all the way until the next, NEXT version of Office is out.

Re:Microsoft shoots self in foot (2, Insightful)

rubies (962985) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977304)

The same thing will happen with government/ISO sponsored document formats as happened with the OSI network stack: We'll all wasted shiploads of time mucking around trying it out and everybody ended up using TCP/IP anyway. The "winning" document format will continue to be the one that's used by default by the most popular word processor: Word.

standards... (1)

ecalkin (468811) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977555)

a HUGH amount of the reason that TCP/IP won that battle is because it was an open standard.

It gives them a short-term advantage. (1)

jd (1658) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977348)

However, it could be problematic in the longer-term. With anti-trust appeals in Europe and South Korea, it's going to be very hard for Microsoft to claim to be playing fair, if they're seen to be maliciously tampering with the approvals process. They don't even have to be tampering, and the ISO process doesn't have to have anything to do with existing cases. If Microsoft is believed to be acting in a willfully anti-competitive manner, the appeals judges are less likely to be sympathetic. This is really bad timing, on Microsoft's part.

But what about America? Microsoft has employees in Washington State, but it's not a major factor for Massechusetts. If Mass. residents are influenced, in the November elections - and it's a big if - then it'll be over cost savings (if significant). Other than that, there really won't be any noticable impact until after any decisions by ISO.

If ISO opts for Microsoft's format and the Government of the time is much more strict on anti-competitive actions, we might see some DOJ action, but not unless or until.

Peer review? (1)

Bifurcati (699683) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977037)

I'd be a little more convinced by Brittanica's argument if they'd submitted it as a letter to the editor or some other peer reviewed article, either to Nature or somewhere else. Why should we believe their claims carry more weight than those written in Nature? Admittedly, they do make some good points, if they're true, but how do I know? And their demands for a retraction are rather bold - research is as research does, and if someone can correct it - then publish or perish.

On a minor note, they make a big deal of the fact that Wiki has "a third more errors", and how this is very significant. But I'm not convinced that this is particularly statistically significant in the scheme of things - both have very small numbers of errors, and indeed, Brittanica has at least some errors (they can't argue with that) and so both are important points, worth mentioning by the article.

Re:Peer review? (1)

SiliconEntity (448450) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977271)

Plus, what if Wikipedia went through all of the errors Nature found and asked the original authors of the text whether they were really mistaken? I'll bet a lot of them would "stand by their original statements".

I do think Nature should release all of the comments and criticisms and let people judge for themselves which ones are more serious.

Re:Peer review? (1)

ratsnapple tea (686697) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977316)

In the same breath, though, they point out that "Even if Wikipedia were 'only' a third more inaccurate than Britannica, this would be a large difference, especially in a study that focused exclusively on factual accuracy, disregarding other important
properties of encyclopedias, such as the organization of information, the quality of writing, and the readability of the articles." These arguments--organization, quality, readability--seem the strongest, to me, in favor of an encyclopedia with strong editorial control, and these are the precise reasons I avoid consulting Wikipedia unless faced with no alternative (not that I turn to Britannica).

Assuming the rest of what Britannica has to say is true--not a big leap of faith, I think, since their reputation is really all they have--they make a very strong case that Nature's study was terribly flawed. Some of their claims should be independently verifiable, like that some of Nature's representation of Britannica text was actually a poor pastiche of various Britannica sources, stiched together (badly) by Nature's editors [britannica.com] . Very disturbing stuff. I think the editors of Nature are going to have to respond to these claims, one way or another.

Re:Peer review? (1)

Gorshkov (932507) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977354)

I think it's more accurate to say that wikki has 1/3 more errors that they're aware of

THe thing I think you should be taking from this article is that a) from what little britanica DOES have to go on (what with nature not releasing the data - pretty well unheard of in the peer-reviewed world), and b) the discovery that Nature was editing the britannica articles themselves, that any and all conclusions reached by the survey are invalid ..... or more corectly, cannot be *considered* to be valid.

Is 1/3 more errors than .003 errors per hundred articles (numbers pulled from out of a hat) significant? I doubt it.

but with THAT little detail forthcoming from Nature, I'm willing to be there was a fair bit of cherry picking, and the entire exercise was simply a publiciy ploy.

We'll ignore how counter-intuitive it is that an unreviewed publication, that anybody can edit, is more accurate than a publication that has been reviewed, refined, re-edited, and published by acknowledged experts over the course of many, many years.

One of these days, I'm gonna go and look up Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Saddam Hussein et al and see just how slanted those articles are, one way or another ... and I'd fully expect them to be fully slanted the other way the next week :-)

Re:Peer review? (1)

Brushen (938011) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977691)

I could not help but notice how they commented on Mendeleev's article:


Declaring him the 17th child is either incorrect or misleading. He is the 13th surviving child of 17 total.


We disagree with the reviewer's implication that there is full agreement that Mendeleyev was the 13th surviving child. Our new article makes it clear that scholars are not uniform in their views on whether Mendeleyev was the 13th or 14th surviving child.

If you were thinking while you read this, you would notice this was simply a clever way of saying "We were wrong," while throwing some blame back to Nature itself.


Interestingly, Wikipedia originally stated he was the 14th surviving child. Not only did Wikipedia "correct" this instantly so that it read as "13th" for some time after the study had first been published, but at the end of January, on the talk page, someone independently noted that sources were in conflict over whether he was the 13th or 14th surviving child on the talk page and corrected in the article about two months before Britannica's recent response.

Britannica's error, saying he was the 17th surviving child, may have resulted from a typographical error within a New York Times article it used as a source.

Re:Peer review? (1)

dogwelder99 (896835) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977699)

I agree Britannica makes some good points against the Nature study, but they're extremely slanted to try to show "Britannica was far more accurate than Wikipedia". They fail to mention that many of the same types of errors are counted against Wikipedia -- possibly more. Compare the lists of errors for yourself: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v438/n7070/ex tref/438900a-s1.doc [nature.com]

The Wikipedia error list is full of many of the same objections over grammar, obscure details that the reviewer thought should be included, matters that could be considered opinion, etc. Compare the lists for the Paul Dirac or Stephen Wolfram articles, or the details on discussing motivation for the Nobel Prize Committee. Some of the "errors" logged against Wikipedia are truly silly:

Pythagoras' Theorem Reviewer: Geoff Smith, Senior Lecturer in Mathematics at the University of Bath, UK.

1. "This means that knowing the lengths of two sides of a right triangle is enough to calculate the length of the third - something unique to right triangles.'' is misleading. If you know two sides of a triangle and the included angle then you can always calculate the length of the third side.

Granted, there are some real questions about methodology here, but Britannica loses a lot of credibility trying to slant the whole thing as a one-sided attack on them.

Fired (2, Insightful)

Audent (35893) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977043)

let go...
relieved of command...
made redundant...
surplus to requirements...

it all amounts to the same thing at the end of the day: Yer Outta Here.

Different (2, Insightful)

JanneM (7445) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977588)

"Fired" is different, though. It implies you were canned because you were incompetent, or because you were engaged in something illegal, fraudulent or against company rules. You are fired when the problem is you, in other words, and presumably the company will need to hire or promote a replacement.

Most other terms (like the ones you list) is about the job disappearing. You were not doing anything wrong, but the job you were doing is either no longer necessary, or too expensive to continue doing at the current manpower level. You may be excellent at the job you were doing, but the result is no longer worth the expense for the company.

Special Offer (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14977047)

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Laid off!? (3, Insightful)

Spazmania (174582) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977127)

Gael was not fired. He was laid off.

I'm sorry but the founder is not laid off. He quits if he tires of the company's direction or he's fired if he becomes an obstacle but he's not laid off. It's a question of morale: If the founder himself is of so little value that he can be laid off then every other employee is worthless too. When your employer shows they don't value your presence its past time to jump ship.

Re:Laid off!? (1, Informative)

XaXXon (202882) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977181)

This is an irrational statement. Anyone who is in the position to be fired can be laid off. "Founder" doesn't mean jack once you start giving out bits of your company to other people. This puts you in a position where you aren't responsible for making the decisions.

If the people in those positions decide that you are a drain to the company (too high a salary, not enough work), then you are laid off.

There's no morale question here. The company decided that he wasn't able to provide value, but he hadn't done anything wrong. That's called being laid off. It has nothing to do with the other employees.

If you want to stay Mr. Big-and-Powerful, don't sell off shares of your company and you won't have to worry about being laid off.

Re:Laid off!? (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977308)

Well, whatever the case, the Mandriva still stucks, and only a really fucking moronic company would come up with such a severely idiotic name. He's better off going somewhere else and leaving these pricks to sink into inanity.

Re:Laid off!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14977568)

He is better off leaving those jackalopes. I was in a similar situation. I didn't start a company, but was an early employee. I was very dedicated to the cause, but with a recent management change, I was beginning to question what I was doing there. I was laid off, and could have scrambled and gotten a new position in a different group, but why? I feel better letting them let me go. A nice long vacation, and I get to collect unemployment. There are plenty of jobs for competent people these days. Move on!

Attribution and GPL (0)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977132)

Ever notice how the GPL doesn't say that anyone who uses GPL code must attribute the creators of that code? Ever notice how the LICENSE file distributed along with binaries of GPL programs typically doesn't have the name of the creators in it? Consider this, is it legal to remove someone's name from a GPL work? Not from the copyright declaration on the top of the source files.. that's obviously unlawful. But what about from the About box or the documentation? There's nothing in the GPL which prevents these kinds of modifications. Seems like a pretty big ommission. After all, if users of software are not guarenteed to know who the original copyright holder is they have no recourse if the distributer of the work refuses to hand over source code. Only the copyright holder can force the distributer to follow the license. If the distributer has stripped the software of its original name, made significant modifications and removed attribution to the original creators then, in practice, they cannot be forced to give up those modifications when they distribute the work in binary form as the users don't know who the copyright holders are. Also note that there's nothing in GPLv3 that addresses this. It's ironic really, as almost all BSD-style licenses include this:

Redistributions in binary form must reproduce the above copyright notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer in the documentation and/or other materials provided with the distribution.

So the length of the GPL compared to BSD-style licenses seems to be working against it.

Re:Attribution and GPL (1)

xenocide2 (231786) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977299)

An interesting theory, but most of the actual BSD software has been released from that clause. It's also not very specific; I could for example, bury the fact that my software uses a tweaked version of your software (perhaps altering some identifying strings) very deep in some obscure documentation, and you'd never even know that I used it unless someone takes the time to find and dig through that list of credits.

Re:Attribution and GPL (2, Informative)

faboo (198876) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977560)

attribution is intentionally left out of the GPL. in fact, the FSF's beef with the BSD license was the "advertising clause" - the attribution requirement.

the idea is this: on any given free software project, there may be work included from hundreds of authors. each of those hundreds of pieces has its own copyright controlled by a different person (the original author of that piece of the code). if the GPL required attribution (as the BSD license used to), a project would need to keep track of every contributor - every single one - in perpetuity.

for most projects, that's fine. most projects only have a handful of authors over their lifespan. but the kernel, for instance, probably has (copyrighted) contributions from thousands of people. were attribution required, a list of all of those thousands of people would need to accompany every binary and source copy of the kernel.

the FSF considers this a problem that is, in the general case, intractable, and attribution therefore impractical (and therefore a hinderance to modification and redistribution).

there may be other reasons, obviously, but that's the one I remember.

Re:Attribution and GPL (4, Insightful)

kryptkpr (180196) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977595)

I've moderated in this thread already, but I just have to respond to this.

I think it's sort of implied that when you license code under the GPL, you have set it "free". What this means is that the code is no longer really yours, it belongs to the collective pool of free software, from which anyone may draw freely.

It's true that there are some bad people out there who modify free software and re-sell it, but the problem is not them. It's is the people who have never heard of free software who are buying it. Why would you buy a copy of OpenOffice, or an office suite that looks exactly like it but is called something else?

The solution here is user education, not a tightening of the license..

Troubling statement from RMS.... (5, Insightful)

Swift Kick (240510) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977133)

After reading the RMS interview with Forbes, what really stuck out was the following question and his reply:

Would it be ethical to steal lines of unfree code from companies like Microsoft and Oracle and use them to create a "free" version of that program?

It would not be unethical, but it would not really work, since if Oracle ever found out, it would be able to suppress the use of that free software. The reason for my conclusion is that making a program proprietary is wrong. To liberate the code, if it is possible, would not be theft, any more than freeing a slave is theft (which is what the slave owner would surely call it).

Am I the only one that sees this statement as a dangerous precedent? I mean, for all intents and purposes, RMS feels that 'stealing' copyrighted code is justifiable, if it's done with the intent to "liberate it".

Maybe you might consider this a trolling or a flame, but I think that it is quotes such as these that may end up bringing the most amount of trouble for the RMS crowd... I think the man is losing touch with reality, and approaching a point where zealotry is clowding his judgment to a dangerous level. How can we convince businesses that using the GPL and open source is a GOOOD THING if one of the main characters is in effect condoning IP theft if done for the 'right reasons'?

Re:Troubling statement from RMS.... (5, Insightful)

aralin (107264) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977302)

If you don't consider making code proprietary to be ethical, you clearly cannot consider liberating the code to be unethical. But if you noticed, he is still aware, that although he considers it ethical, it is illegal and thus it should not be done. The comment is perfectly in check with his moral views and he could not in a clear conscience make any other statement. The fact that your moral values are different does not make him lunatic. You could call Christians lunatics, just because they hold different moral values. Not that some people wouldn't, but that does not make it right. Stop complaining and show some respect for man that has firm moral believes and stands up and speaks out for them. You might disagree, but do so respectfully.

Re:Troubling statement from RMS.... (1)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977515)

No one is obligated to respect anyone or anything. That's point one.

Point two: the GP was respectful, just incredulous. That's a fairly common reaction when one sees just how extreme RMS is in his views.

If you want a parallel, then consider me calling for you to respect the views of the people who bombed abortion clinics. Morally, it's the same idea (and I am not equating open source with killing people. Please don't draw that conclusion) because it's just people taking their ethics to the logical conclusion.

Re:Troubling statement from RMS.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14977602)

For the record, most Christians in the US are in fact lunatics. And not because of their moral beliefs. They just have a small problem with their brains being missing.

Re:Troubling statement from RMS.... (2, Interesting)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977313)

But, conversely, how can one claim to believe in something if they don't follow it through to its logical conclusions? What if 100 years from now the concept of intellectual property is long gone and considered archaic. We'd consider RMS's statement logical.

RMS considers the concept of intellectual property immoral. Therefore "freeing" code is a perfectly appropriate action (to him). I'd rather see people stand by their beliefs than bend for practical reasons.

Re:Troubling statement from RMS.... (2, Interesting)

ewhac (5844) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977352)

Am I the only one that sees this statement as a dangerous precedent? I mean, for all intents and purposes, RMS feels that 'stealing' copyrighted code is justifiable, if it's done with the intent to "liberate it".

It's not a "dangerous precedent," as you call it; merely the inevitable conclusion one reaches if you subscribe to the same axioms as RMS.

In the common (both senses of the word) world view, taking code written by someone else and redistributing it is considered bad; a violation of the rights of the code's creator. But in RMS's world view -- which, it is important to understand, has some very different basic principles -- writing code and failing to release it is bad; the redistribution of the code is therefore merely a correction to the selfish author's "crime" of not releasing it.

We've all seen the abuses that the monopoly of copyright has enabled, and it appears to be getting worse. So I personally tend to hew more closely to RMS's views. However, as stated, RMS's views certainly seem very extreme -- more extreme than many are willing to adopt wholesale -- and I wonder if there's any further nuance to RMS's views that aren't getting articulated well. Such as: If redistributing the code of another author is not unethical, what about redistributing the code of another author without any attribution to said author? What about claiming yourself as the author?

It seems to me that RMS's principle "copying is not theft" is part of a complete set of ethical principles which, taken together, may very well make good sense (the man is no dummy). But we're only shown but one of those principles and, taken alone, it causes people to go, "Wha...?" But this is entirely supposition on my part, and I would not presume to put words in the man's mouth...


Re:Troubling statement from RMS.... (2, Insightful)

ldj (726828) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977386)

Why should the words and actions of the author of a document affect my opinion of the document? I agree that it's hard to not be biased by the author's personality and/or history. But really, a document should be judged on its own merits.

For example, I've read that many of the great scientists and mathematicians in history were pretty big jerks. But that doesn't mean I'm going to shrug off the results of their work. Likewise, I'm sure that some of the U.S. Founding Fathers had personalities and at least some beliefs that I wouldn't care for. But that doesn't mean that I don't support the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.

If an individual or company found the GPL useful without knowing anything about the authors, why would they change their mind after learning about the authors? It's not like everytime someone uses the GPL, RMS gets a check. :)

Re:Troubling statement from RMS.... (2, Insightful)

jmv (93421) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977424)

How can we convince businesses that using the GPL and open source is a GOOOD THING if one of the main characters is in effect condoning IP theft if done for the 'right reasons'?

I hope you make the difference between ethical and legal. RMS never said it was legal or that peopel should to it (he specifically says it wouldn't work). He simply things it would be ethical if allowed by law. It just shows how the sense of ethics is different between people. Nothing to see here.

Oh, and there's no such thing as "IP theft", no matter what big copyright holders tell you. It's simply called copyright infringement. It's illegal, but it's not theft. The closest I can think of "IP theft" is doing some kind of fraud to steel copyright/patent titles from someone.

Re:Troubling statement from RMS.... (1)

ratsnapple tea (686697) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977473)

Yeah, and you forgot to mention there's no such thing as "identity theft," either. And don't even get me started on "theft of services." What we need is an Académie Anglaise to straighten this whole mess out.

Re:Troubling statement from RMS.... (1)

Swift Kick (240510) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977681)

Well, the problem is that he did say it should be done if the right oportunity came along, but it would be a hard thing to do because the big corporation (he used Oracle in his example) would catch on and stomp it with its big stick.

The problem I had with his statement is that he's effectively saying you're entirely justified in 'freeing the code', regardless of who it belongs to. If it's 'closed source', it needs to be free, plain and simply. That is the kind of position that would make companies think twice about moving to Open Source.... I mean, an employee with a more radical set of beliefs that mirror those of RMS could feel 'justified' to make public some modifications or in-house forks of Open Source projects, because after all, 'code should be free'.

Also, there is such a thing as 'IP theft'. Intelectual property can be defined as follows:

"Intellectual Property: A creation of the intellect that has commercial value, including copyrighted property such as literary or artistic works, and ideational property, such as patents, appellations of origin, business methods, and industrial processes."

This is taken from here: http://www.sandiegobusinesslawfirm.com/legal_defin ition [sandiegobu...awfirm.com]

While copyright infringement is part of IP theft, it spans a few more things, including 'business methods' and 'industrial processes' which I believe software development could fall under.

So, in essence, my point is that RMS is condoning source-code theft if you are doing it for the 'right reasons' (his reasons, that is), and you can get away with it. This to me is a very dangerous thing to say, which will end up alienating those who might be more moderate.

Re:Troubling statement from RMS.... (2, Insightful)

Hairy1 (180056) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977465)

I agree. The comparision of source code to slaves is terrible. We should be fighting for freedoms of people, not source code. Open Source brings freedom to developers, allows them to build their own culture not owned by corporations. We have a strong moral sense that people should be free to share if they choose. What I strongly disagree with is Stallmans misguided and unethical attitude to having the right to use the work of others even if its against their will.

Re:Troubling statement from RMS.... (1)

vux984 (928602) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977670)

What I strongly disagree with is Stallmans misguided and unethical attitude to having the right to use the work of others even if its against their will.

Misguided and unethical?

Totally. I mean the whole science thing, of publishing results for your peers to verify and build on -- bad idea that. We'd all be better off if scientists each worked in their little labs and refused to collaborate; and then patented and licensed anything they did find out about the universe; and sued eachother if they determined that someone else came up and used one of their results (even if they came by it completely independantly)...

I think THAT is misguided and unethical.

And the tragic part is that's where science is going. The physical sciences went their first -- chemistry, biology, physics, and now even the pure scienses like mathematics are getting into the game... we are letting them patent numbers for crying out loud.

Re:Troubling statement from RMS.... (1)

jb.hl.com (782137) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977750)

It IS misguided and unethical to, say, republish someone's book on the Internet for free under the pretense that books should be free for everyone, or to believe in that stance. It has nothing to do with scientific papers and everything to do with the moral rights of an author.

This is why so many people ignore RMS; because he wants to force his views on everyone whether they like it or not, and completely ignores the right of the author of a work to do whatever he/she friggin' well wants to do with it, be it keep it under lock and key, spread it to the masses or whatever. It's akin to saying that it's not unethical to steal TVs from shop windows, because TVs should be free.

Re:Troubling statement from RMS.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14977761)

Peer review is one thing. Source-code theft is another. They are not the same.

Please keep your sarcastic analogies to yourself.

Not really (1)

jd (1658) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977502)

And he is indeed correct. In 1770, there were people taken to court in England for theft for freeing slaves. The complaint was on the basis that the slaves were being taken between countries in which slavery was legal and that these should hold sway (making the freeing of slaves the deprivation of recognized property and therefore theft) even though England itself did not recognize slavery any longer.

It got to the House of Lords, where it was ruled that the laws of other nations were of no consequence in this matter and that the laws of England held sway for those on English soil, no matter what their status in other lands.

You cannot take this analogy much further, as Free Software is not a Constitutional or legal obligation in any country (yet) - but if it were, then "closed source" that passed through such lands could reasonably be Opened, and the argument that this is automatically "bad" or "evil" is clearly false.

Re:Troubling statement from RMS.... (1)

Jastiv (958017) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977577)

Legality does not equal morality. Anyone who has taken some history lessons should know this. Copyright is not that old. It does not predate the printing press. Unfortunately, sometimes people become so entrenched in the current reality, that they stop seeing the possibilities. Businesses are not the only ones who need convincing, users who make unauthorized copies of proprietary copyrighted works also need to be convinced. Probably more so since they make up a great deal of the population. In the end, users can demand the four freedoms, and then businesses will have to comply or die.

Re:Troubling statement from RMS.... (2, Insightful)

moochfish (822730) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977613)

I read that and thought the exact same thing.

The main power of GPL comes from copyright laws. First of all, his statement reeks of hypocricy. Besides, last time I checked, if I write something, it's mine to do whatever I want with. If I want to keep the source to myself or let others benefit from it, that's MY choice. If I want to destroy it or never look at it again, that's MY choice. Nobody has any right under any pretext to come over and forcably "liberate" my code. Slavery is the WRONG analogy. Slaves are people who are arbitrarily placed into servitude by people with more power.

The proper analogy is to normal property such as a house. Let's say I go out and buy a bunch of supplies (compilers and debuggers) and go to school to learn a bunch of architectural skills (programming knowledge). Then, using my new found resources, I build a house (program). It's my damn decision to live in it by myself, burn it down, rent it out, leave it empty, or give it away. What he's saying is that other people breaking into my house and stealing all or parts out of it at their leisure is okay as long as they're willing to share their loot with the rest of the world.

That's dead wrong. That's theft and that's CERTAINLY unethical.

Re:Troubling statement from RMS.... (1)

The Cisco Kid (31490) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977721)

Your house analogy is flawed. Copying program code is not even remotely close to stealing the physical materials of a house. Stealing your house, or real property, deprives you of that property. Copying program code does not.

It may be ILLEGAL, but wether it should be illegal, or wether it is ethical or otherwise, is debatable.

Re:Troubling statement from RMS.... (2, Informative)

ninjaz (1202) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977734)

Maybe you might consider this a trolling or a flame, but I think that it is quotes such as these that may end up bringing the most amount of trouble for the RMS crowd... I think the man is losing touch with reality, and approaching a point where zealotry is clowding his judgment to a dangerous level. How can we convince businesses that using the GPL and open source is a GOOOD THING if one of the main characters is in effect condoning IP theft if done for the 'right reasons'?
The only thing that has changed is RMS is being interviewed by Forbes now. If you had read his essay "Why software should not have owners", for instance, it would have been apparent that he has stayed true to his goals over the years.

Actually what I find disturbing is the "IP" proponents are proposing that DRM be sanctified as more precious than human life [freedom-to-tinker.com] . Personally, I would much prefer someone like RMS who would support giving me the source to any programs that run my company as an assurance of never being left high and dry or strongarmed to someone who says they would have no problems with killing me if it would help the bottom line the next quarter.

Also, I think it bears mentioning that RMS actually is in favor of the right to write your programs and keep them completely private, not releasing them to anyone. That's one of the reasons he entered the fray of the big Apple license debate some years back. The license was requiring that any changes be sent back to Apple, whether or not the resulting source/binary was released to anyone.

Further, when it comes to discussing the ethical basis of copyright, I think it bears repeating that the reason we have copyright at all in the United States is to "promote the progress of science and the useful arts". I'm not sure if you noticed, but it has been a trend lately amongst many technology and entertainment companies to injure the progress of science and the useful arts freely as long as they think it will keep them in the money. That includes activities such as subverting international standards organizations and activities such as subverting national governments so that they retroactively extend copyright, effectively "stealing IP", to use your terms, from all of humanity (or at least all of that country's citizens).

Re:Troubling statement from RMS.... (1)

argel (83930) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977779)

I think it is a bit semantics. When RMS talsk about ethics while answering that question I think he really means morals. It should read something like this: it would be morally correct to liberate the prorietary code but unethical to do so becuase it is currently illegal. I think that makes it more palatable yet really doesn't change his intent.

Re:Troubling statement from RMS.... (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977830)

Nothing has really changed here.

File this with the views of RMS on passwords (ie. don't have them and let anyone use your system) and realise that we don't need a hero to follow blindly, just some good ideas. RMS has some good ideas, but we don't have to follow the bad ones as well. He isn't losing touch with reality, he wants to change it. He does not appear to think that proprietry software has a right to exist and has major problems with commercially controlled open software (eg. xemacs, qt and X windows at different points). Take his viewpoint, accept it, ignore the ridiculous emotive language (treacherous, liberate, slave etc), and move on while agreeing to disagree. It does sound ridiculous to be a copyright advocate for your own personal licence and not respect the copyright of others, but think of it in his context where all software should be under his own personal licence. It's single issue politics - probably best kept confined to a staffroom at MIT where he can claim linux as his (LiGnuX then gnu/linux after the laughter died down) after being teased for the hurd taking so long to develop.

Privateer (2, Interesting)

HaeMaker (221642) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977141)

I believe the word Apple is looking for is "Privateer". A state-sponsored pirate is a privateer.

Re:Privateer (3, Funny)

Experiment 626 (698257) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977163)

I believe the word Apple is looking for is "Privateer". A state-sponsored pirate is a privateer.

I like it! Maybe France will start granting people Letters of Marque.

Exception (1)

Arandir (19206) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977166)

Thanks to copyright law, GPL violators are always in the wrong.

Except in those few cases where the GPL (and/or the FSF's interpretation of it) restricts something that (classic non-DMCA) copyright law does not. They are corner cases to be sure, but a few do exist.

Re:Exception (1)

SETIGuy (33768) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977775)

Except in those few cases where the GPL (and/or the FSF's interpretation of it) restricts something that (classic non-DMCA) copyright law does not. They are corner cases to be sure, but a few do exist.

Name one.

Er.. (1)

AWhiteFlame (928642) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977176)

If the measure passes the French Senate, Apple may consider closing its music operations in France.
They would kind of have to, no? (Seeing as it doesn't look like they are to comply..)

Re:Er.. (1)

arminw (717974) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977765)

...If the measure passes the French Senate, Apple may consider closing its music operations in France.
They would kind of have to, no?......

I don't believe for a moment why ipod sales nor downloads should suffer if Apple simply dropped all DRM on the ITMS. The RIAA companies couldn't get them for breach of contract, since laws trump business agreements.

Sales of ipods might actually go up because ipods could now access the other legal music services. ITMS purchases may also rise since the owners of other music players could buy files from there also. Once the music companies learn that DRM actually means fewer sales, they may drop it everywhere. If the companies stubbornly cling to DRM, it will die anyway, since anti DRM solutions will be legal. Once there are legal solutions for sale in France, the DMCA in the USA will become meaningless, because everybody who wants to strip DRM out of their legally bought content will just download the software.

GNU/Linux (1, Troll)

Ritz_Just_Ritz (883997) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977190)

heh...Stallman is still at his old game of "if I tell people it's mine over and over, someone will eventually believe it."

The FSF has already had its chance to bundle their tools around their own kernel with Hurd and that has failed miserably after MANY years of wasting resources on it. I wish he/they would stop trying to claim ownership of someone else's kernel to buy them the air of legitimacy needed to foist their political ideals on anyone who decides to use free software. The existing GPL isn't broken and weighing it down with political anti-DRM diatribe does not appeal to me, as a user, at all...even though I agree that DRM is not a great idea. I also don't agree with clubbing baby seals, but I don't think THAT needs to be part of the free software licensing scheme either...

Re:GNU/Linux (2)

BillyBlaze (746775) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977440)

It's unfair to say Stallman is trying to tell people something that isn't his is. He's just a stickler for precise thought, and doesn't like the (admittedly fuzzy, but convenient) practice of calling the Linux kernel, plus a bunch of stuff from GNU, (and the X people, and the KDE or Gnome projects, and tons of other groups), only "Linux."

As for the GPL, it seems to me to be not much more than fixing loopholes. Back in the day, all computers were general-purpose, and there was not much concept of "firmware." Now, most peripherals can run software, and our computers are about to become far less general-purpose.

It used to be, if you modify my software to run on some other system, just giving me your modifications is useful to me, because naturally the system could also run software that I modify still further. Now, with the advent of 'appliances' running firmware, and with the threat of computers refusing to run, or to communicate with others running, unsigned code, that assumption no longer holds.

Re:GNU/Linux (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14977541)

If DRM is permitted in works distributed under the GPL, then the GPL has no effect. A corporation can take your GPLed code, add DRM to it, and re-release it; then nobody else (including you) can modify/reuse that version as was intended by the GPL.

This is not some irrelevant issue. It's a significant loophole which the DRM-related clauses attempt to close.

Re:GNU/Linux (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977557)

It seems very much inconsistent with the original goal of GNU: Freedom. RMS is on record as stating that he doesn't care if GNU software is used by terrorists, pedophiles, or even (shudder) Microsoft. It's not a popular position, but it is consistent. Why? Not because he supports them, but because GNU is about Freedom; not about discrimination or censorship. Now it seems like the GPL has accepted discrimination and censorship in the name of Freedom.

State Sponsored Piracy (3, Interesting)

rossz (67331) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977210)

That would be "privateering". A country would issue a letter of marque to a ship-owner/captain giving them leave to attack all of their country's enemies". Sometimes a priviteer's definition of "country's enemies" was a bit loose, though.

Apple responds to French DRM legislation (5, Insightful)

Baseball_Fan (959550) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977237)

The world may close up tight. Imagine the day when different countries have different laws about how DRM can work. What is legal in the USA might be illegal in France. And what is legal in Canada might be illegal in England. China might decide to have government controlled DRM, a phone home system that tells government what you're installing and what you're doing. It might be somewhat easier for people to break the law, but when the law is directed at a company, the company must comply or shut down.

I know in this instance France wants Apple to open their DRM. But who is to say that another state might want to close DRM?

What we might end up with is worse than DVD's that are region coded. We might get the hardware that is region specific, and no other method of opening data (music, files, movies).

I think the world will move in that direction. What other reason would Sony or Universal have for forcing regions with DVD's? Why are they opposed of me buying movies from Spain or Germany? And if a company is so paranoid, just imagine nation-states that are worried their culture is being corroded away.

Re:Apple responds to French DRM legislation (3, Interesting)

JanneM (7445) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977635)

We already have that situation. I believe it's illegal to sell DVD players that ignore region coding in the US, while it's a challenge to find a player that doesn't ignore them in Sweden. Copyright has a different number of years in the US and Europe, meaning that there's material that's perfectly legal to copy and spread in the Europe (I believe some early Elvis recordings are coming up just about now) that are still under copyright in the US. You are specifically allowed to break protection schemes in Sweden for the purpose of archiving, format-shifting and for accessibility, while it is illegal in the US. Business patents are granted in the US but not honored in Europe.

The list is much longer than that, and that's just between two jurisdictions that I happen to know a bit about.

Re:Apple responds to French DRM legislation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14977659)

The world may close up tight. Imagine the day when different countries have different laws about how DRM can work. What is legal in the USA might be illegal in France. And what is legal in Canada might be illegal in England. China might decide to have government controlled DRM, a phone home system that tells government what you're installing and what you're doing.

The world may close up tight. Imagine the day when different companies have different laws about how DRM can work. What is legal in FairPlay might be illegal in PlayForSure. And what is legal in Creative Commons might be illegal in CopyLeft. Sony might decide to have advertiser controlled DRM, a phone home system that tells advertiser what you're installing and what you're doing.

I know in this instance France wants Apple to open their DRM.
Obviously you know only partially. France wants every company to open their DRM, because different DRM schemes are just an artificial way to limit competition and to build a cripleware-based monopoly.

What we might end up with is worse than DVD's that are region coded. We might get the hardware that is region specific, and no other method of opening data (music, files, movies). I think the world will move in that direction.
While you are busy accepting that, a country is busy caring about its consumers. You end up with what you want, I'm French and I want to end up with interoperable DRM so I can buy my music at the vendor of my choosing, and listen to it on the device of my choosing, without illegally circumventing DRM (yes, that is illegal now with that DMCA-like law), without resorting to time-wasting solutions (decode/burn/rip/encode), without my music being locked-in with one company for the rest of my life or the rest of the company's life.

What other reason would Sony or Universal have for forcing regions with DVD's? Why are they opposed of me buying movies from Spain or Germany?
Limiting the competition by imposing country-specific prices, release dates and so forth ?

Fedora Installation (1)

deek (22697) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977258)

From previous experience, the Fedora installation has been painfully slow. You can see the (lack of) activity when it's copying over packages from the CDROM. It copies the package, installs it to the hard drive, copies another package, installs that, and so on.

It would be soooo much faster if it actually made use of parallel processes. One process copying from the CDROM, and another installing to the hard drive when the package is available. I mean, how hard can it be?! I've written perl scripts which do that and more.

Anyway, I hope that Fedora 5 has improved this, but looking at the review, I don't think it's happened.

Re:Fedora Installation (1)

srn_test (27835) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977356)

Do it over NFS. It takes about 10 minutes to install a machine from start to finish that way.

Re:Fedora Installation (1)

Theovon (109752) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977409)

There are many situations where you want to either complete something totally or not at all. That's why some installers copy a load of packages and then install them. It's also faster to copy things linearly off the CD onto the HD and then work with them. Error recovery is easier when you serialize things. Also, in some cases, the CD and HD will compete for access to a PATA bus, making parallel slower than serial.

Brittanica's problem isn't accuracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14977322)

I'm willing to accept that Brittanica has perfect accuracy. It's accuracy has never troubled me. That isn't its problem.

I'm sitting on my comfy chair in the living room. On my right hand I have my laptop. The encyclopedia is sitting in the book case on my left side. I could reach out and get ten or so of the volumes without leaving my chair. Even so, I don't think any of the encyclopedia has been opened in a couple of years. For sure it hasn't been consulted this year. More and more I find my google searches including the word 'wiki'. (The wiki entries almost never appear near the top of a search unless I include the word 'wiki'.) I am almost never disappointed by the wiki articles.

In light of the above, my question is: "Who needs Brittanica?"

You could try their website (2, Interesting)

SteeldrivingJon (842919) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977503)

They do have it all on their website, you know. I think you have to pay for full access, but it's a lot cheaper than a set of encyclopedias.

Or you could buy the circa-$50 disk version, and install that, if you're running Windows or using a PPC Mac (as of yet their product doesn't run on Intel Macs due to some component developed by a third party which hasn't been made universal). Then you'd have access to it all without even needing to be online.

Love the quality of spin (3, Informative)

hayden (9724) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977330)

I think this comment from one of the engineers at ArsDigita directed to one of the VC suits that flew the company into the side of a mountain is appropriate:

"You talk like a press release."
-- David Rodriguez

He was also "laid off" due to economic pressure (ie the new directors turned a profitable $20 million a year in revenue company into something that burned through twice that amount in less than a year before imploding). If you want to see the whole story it's here [waxy.org] .

This is America (5, Funny)

Paranoia Agent (887026) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977363)

Call it "Freedom DRM".

In America DRM Frees you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14977706)

In Neo-America, DRM Frees you!

In Soviet Russia, DRM restricts you...huh? ah, In Russia, you restrict DRM?

In France, you free DRM?

S.O.P. for Microsoft (4, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977377)

They somehow think "competing" involves impeding the competitors rather than simply trying to be superior. And I think that's the crux of most people's problem with Microsoft.

I am referring to, of course, Microsoft's strange participation in the subcommittee involved in getting ODF ISO approved. They declined any and all participation in creating ODF and yet somehow they are involved in getting it ISO approved? Microsoft is now something along the lines of the fox guarding the henhouse.

And when I discuss Microsoft's "competitive" activities, I tend to think of elementary school kids running the 100 yard dash where Microsoft, instead of simply running as fast as it can, resorts to tying the laces of the shoes of other kids or to tripping them in some fashion.

Although "Competing" and "Impeding" rhyme nicely enough, they are certainly VERY different approaches when trying to win and one of them is often cause for legal retaliation.

Britannica... (2, Interesting)

tktk (540564) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977379)

Was Britannica ever a big deal? I used it in elementary school and stopped once I got to junior high. In high school, our teachers specifically told use not to use encyclopedias for our papers. And this was in the 80s.

Because... (1)

XanC (644172) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977683)

Teachers say that because encyclopedias are too good; kids would get all the answers in one place and they're done. They limit encyclopedia use not because they're worthless, but to handicap the student.

Re:Because... (1)

AnyoneEB (574727) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977814)

No, the problem is with citing encyclopedias. Instead, you may read the article to get a general idea of whatever you are looking up and get further informations from the sources listed by the article.

no, encyclopedias are not the one-stop source (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14977841)

When you grow up and do real research you learn that first-hand sources are the most important, and then journal articles, and then books with the most recent work being worth particular attention. At the very bottom of the barrel is the encyclopedia. What an encyclopedia can do is give you a brief, broad survey of a subject to get you going. If your research consists only of copying an encyclopedia article, then you are wasting everybody's time: the information is too old, too general, and too shallow.

I recently visited my father and his entire set of encyclopedia Britannica was in boxes in the driveway. Not even the Salvation Army would take them. Some customer who happened to be at the Sally Ann said he was interested but he never showed up even though they were free.

Mandriva (1)

Bios_Hakr (68586) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977528)

This is a perfect reason why people should be happy with what they have.

This guy had a great distro. A lot of people cut their teeth on it. A lot more used it religously. He had a great user base.

But, could he be happy? No! He *needed* to go public. He *needed* the money so that he could grow his company. He *needed* money to compete with RedHat and MS in the global market for server domination.

Look, I have no pity for you. You saw RedHat (and a lot of others) get rich in the late 90s. You wanted a slice. You knew that you were taking a risk.

Now, when you are the boss and you decide to let a Board of Directors come in and run things, you are no longer the boss.

That kinda defeats the purpose of starting your own company, doesn't it?

On the up side, just wait a few years. By then, Debian will be looking for a new project manager.

Oh, and if, by some chance, you read this, know that I really do hope things get better for you.

Britannica response (4, Interesting)

teslatug (543527) | more than 8 years ago | (#14977757)

It's funny, Britannica says the reviewers did not provide any sources for their ascertions, and then they go and say for every criticism "We do not accept this." Well, as long as the all knowing Britannica does not accept it, it must be invalid. All bow to the true keepers of knowledge.
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