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Slashback: Unenforceability, Conflagration, Cans

timothy posted more than 13 years ago | from the happy-birthday-eclaire dept.

Slashback 111

This is Slashback for the evening. Please be advised, through the following items, about ... how to turn that extra Pentium into a firewall running iptables; the state of the Symantec patent on software updates (uughh!); more on can satellites, and more.

a filtration system for your 2.4 goldfish Jay Beale points to this followup to his "Why iptables rocks" article of a few weeks ago: "It fulfills my promise to show how to actually build a home/SOHO firewall with Linux 2.4's iptables aka Netfilter. It contains the full code, explained piece by piece, to build a working firewall with 2.4, including all kinds of cool packet mangling for load balancing, redirecting stuff to transparent proxies, or avoiding nmap stealth scans ..."

Out of embarrassment, perhaps? An unnamed correspondent points out this bit of news regarding Symantec's patent on software updates. The upshot is, without pointing out that updating software incrementally is not a patent likely to win them a lot of favor from the industry they have simply decided not to enforce it. Smart move.

Not yet in the can, or the cube either Casey Ho of San Jose's Leland High wrote with some interesting information for those interested in tiny amateur satellites; Leland is one of the handful of schools whose students are designing experimental payloads for inclusion on an upcoming launch.

[We] are focusing on making a CubeSat. Leland High school officially has one satellite to launch, and there are four teams now competing to make a design that will be approved by CalPoly technicians. My own group will attempt to broadcast a powerful long term signal using only a small satellite. The project is not easy since there are a lot of scientific guidelines we must meet. We are discussing how to create a reliable circuit and transmitter that will function in extreme temperatures, vacuum, radiation, and most importantly, after an extra powerful rocket launch. The requirements are available here.

For some of you posters out there, sorry, no living organisms or explosives are allowed on the satellites. ;)"

Machinima makes the grade ILL Robinson writes: "Wanted you guys to know that our Quake II-based machinima film, Hardly Workin', received top honors at Showtime Networks' Alternative Media Festival - alt.sho.com. In an awards ceremony on February 8th at MTV Studios, Showtime awarded The ILL Clan with awards in both Best Experimental Short as well as Best of SHO for the festival. Using Machinima (films created with a PC game that can be modified with users' assets), The ILL Clan's film gained notice from the festival's judges - citing Hardly Workin' as a short with a high degree of innovation, design & creativity. We're pretty excited to receive the recognition, all the way from fans of ours who had been following us from the beginning and now, from a top-tier cable TV network. Cruise on over to our site for the official announcement, or to Machinima.com for more machinima works. And thanks also to the Slashdot readers, as they helped spread the word of what Machinima is all about."

Congatulations!

cancel ×

111 comments

Symantec is cool. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#419210)

It always bugged me that they licensed such cool technology to Microsoft years ago; (defrag, scandisk, etc.) I'm so glad that it didn't put Norton Utilities out of business.

Re:how is this patent thing so great? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#419212)

The certainly can change their minds at any time.

This is one more in a long list of improperly awarded patents.

If this patent remains unchallenged, it may gain legal weight as time passes. A future argument could be "since no one has disputed it in x years, it must have some validity".

The government is doing such poor administration in the tech fields that it will soon be time for the gov to be bypassed where necessary. I don't mean doing anything illegal, just something as simple as declaring en masse that a specific patent will not be recognized.

Re:Symantec is cool. (1)

Trepidity (597) | more than 13 years ago | (#419213)

Yes, but the original DOS defrag was licensed from Symantec.

You have no chance to survive make your time! (1)

Trepidity (597) | more than 13 years ago | (#419214)

You have no chance to survive make your time!

Re:The Big Problem with tiny spacecraft. (1)

armb (5151) | more than 13 years ago | (#419215)

> your grassblade starship won't have enough power to send a signal back to earth to report its findings.
But if nanotechnology gets beyond being a pipedream, that needn't be a problem. Your grassblade starship lands, builds a few self-replicating exploratory/survey craft, then switches to building transmitter builder builders so when the survey is finished it can transmit the results back.
This also assumes any inhabitants of the planet don't object to self-replicating nanobots reshaping a chunk of it into a huge antenna and power station, and that your spaceship drive scales in such a way that a small spaceship can get anywhere in the first place anyway.
--

Re:Not enforcing patent (1)

ethereal (13958) | more than 13 years ago | (#419216)

If they just wanted to use the patent defensively, they could have just published the technology unpatented. At that point it's prior art which they can use as a defense against claims of infringement, but it doesn't prevent anyone else from using it. That would be the ethical thing to do.

Just what we needed (1)

Sly Mongoose (15286) | more than 13 years ago | (#419217)

"My own group will attempt to broadcast a powerful
long term signal using only a small satellite."


Great. Interminable orbital QRM thanks to a buncha adolescents with more money than sense.

Re:how is this patent thing so great? (1)

mnelson (17017) | more than 13 years ago | (#419218)

Keep in mind, IANAL!

My uderstanding of the patent process is that it grants protection from someone using your patented "THINGY" (tm) for profit, but you, in turn must divulge the particulars of the "THINGY." Another condition is that you (or your company) must take it upon themselves to enforce the patent, and challenge any and all violations of that patent. If you don't, you lose patent protection, and can never get it back.

Why this is a good thing, is that if Symantec does not enforce, they cannot, and no one else can patent it to enforce it for their own evil purposes. Once it is patented, it is patented.

Re:IF I HAD A MICRO-SATELLITE... (1)

Chmarr (18662) | more than 13 years ago | (#419219)

Don't you mean 1,000,000 pico satelites? :)

Re:Prior Art? (1)

mwood (25379) | more than 13 years ago | (#419220)

Not to mention diff and patch.

Re:I'm rather dumbfounded (1)

mwood (25379) | more than 13 years ago | (#419221)

See also Digital's (now Compaq's) AUTOPATCH and SOUP/SOUPR. Quite old.

Re:With my microsatellite... (1)

Stavr0 (35032) | more than 13 years ago | (#419222)

It's derived from the opening of Zero Wing, generally considered to be the worst translation of a video game ever done.

... like a bad Star Trek script written by I.R. Baboon [cartoonnetwork.com] ...
---

Re:I'm going to file a shareholder lawsuit (1)

GreyLurk (35139) | more than 13 years ago | (#419223)

The patent bureau of the United States actually inhibits a free market economy. In a true free market economy, anyone can reverse engineer any process, and use it to whatever ends they wish, but the one who does it most efficiently ends up with the ability to make the most profit.

Unfortunately, government intervention via the patent process interferes with this and favors those with the itchiest trigger finger rather than those with the best and most efficient production solutions.

In other words, rather than fostering capitalism, the patent office is actually a mechanism of socialism, and undermines the American Ideal in a way that the Open Source movement could never hope to touch :)

I'm rather dumbfounded (1)

macdaddy (38372) | more than 13 years ago | (#419224)

Whomever granted that patent must have been a royal dumbass. Tell me something. Would GNU "patch" be prior art? I know what Symantec is talking about here. It's now part of InstallerMaker. I forget it's original name (UpdateMaker?) but you basically give it two files to compare and tell it which one you want it to look like in the end and it generates an installer to do just that. I've used it before on numerous installers I've built. That's not exactly a fancy thing though. In fact I would think it's pretty common. I write an AppleScript to take a binary (Apple binaries have two forks, data and resource--the resource contains stuff like sounds, picts, strings, menu info, etc...) and I have it take an pict file and binary and replace a specific ICON# within that binary with my pict file and set a few attributes. That's a patch on an application. That would violate their patent. What about patching a running kernel like MOL (Mac-On-Linux) can do? I'm a bit baffled by this claim. In the article they also say
"...may be also be used to update general computer readable files, which may include data files, program files, database files, graphics files, or audio files..."
So what, does that mean that CVS, rsync, and bk trample on their patent? They are applying updates to files, any file for that matter. What about VOODOO, a version control system for general documents for the average Joe. That could easily be construed as an app making changed to general computer readable files, which may include data files. I wonder if I would be breaching their patent if a buddy sends me a document to read and I send him back changes to make to it. I didn't create an app to it but I am updating general computer readable files, which may include data files. I really don't know what to say about this patent. I never knew Symantec to be like this. I'm glad they aren't enforcing it though. I know that you must enforce trademarks vigourously from day one or risk loosing them. That was spelled out in a quote from a recent discussion on /. I believe. I wonder if the same can be said about patents. Can they selectively enforce it? Can they say they won't enforce it and the next year start enforcing it?

--

Re:I'm going to file a shareholder lawsuit (1)

Afrosheen (42464) | more than 13 years ago | (#419226)

"but the one who does it most efficiently ends up with the ability to make the most profit.." That's not necessarily true. In Micro$oft's case, it's whoever markets it the best makes the most profit. Not to mention stifling innovation and buying out then burning the competition.

Cool Cryptonomicon reference... (1)

pq (42856) | more than 13 years ago | (#419227)

Its a pity the moderator didn't get it, and slapped you with a flamebait mod. C'est la vie, and all that stuff...

Re:Space and Opensource (1)

spencerogden (49254) | more than 13 years ago | (#419228)

So you don't think, for instance, that advances in BSD spur Linux developers to to improve Linux?

Re:Prior Art? (1)

vectro (54263) | more than 13 years ago | (#419229)

Since CVS falls under the patent, there's pretty clearly prior art into the 80s.

Re:Nanotech is little more than a pipe dream (1)

kiatoa (66945) | more than 13 years ago | (#419231)

As long as we keep the current taxation methodology technical progress will NOT free us from long hours and hard work - especially since population is still growing. Read the stuff and do the quiz at http://www.henrygeorge.org to understand why.

Re:IF I HAD A MICRO-SATELLITE... (1)

Bios_Hakr (68586) | more than 13 years ago | (#419232)

Do you think you'd get away with it? I realize that our government doesn't kill their internal enemies anymore (yeah, right), but if your bird bumped into their bird you would be held responsible.

Re:I'm rather dumbfounded (1)

Kishar (83244) | more than 13 years ago | (#419233)

I wonder if the same can be said about patents

No.
See the hotly disputed GIF patent discussions.

Can they selectively enforce it? Can they say they won't enforce it and the next year start enforcing it?

Yes
ibid.
--

Re:Schools sending up sattalites? (1)

Rares Marian (83629) | more than 13 years ago | (#419234)

What does designing payloads have to with sending?
What does students designing have to do with funding? all it costs is pencil and paper.
What does a small payload have to do with with NBC's or anyone else's large satellites? Nothing small payloads go up yearly. Did you think they'd show every payload launch on CNN? Do you truly think this is all that expensive?

C'mon use some sense.

Re:I'm going to file a shareholder lawsuit (1)

Rares Marian (83629) | more than 13 years ago | (#419235)

I patented your pancreas, pay up.

Re:Schools sending up sattalites? (1)

Rares Marian (83629) | more than 13 years ago | (#419236)

The students are writing the plans. That includes, reading, writing, and comprehension skills. Don't give me the learn to read crap when it's obvious that are reading, researching, analysing, synthesizing, and proposing ideas.

In the words of one of my favorite anime characters, "Gather your thoughts and then place them into words."

Re:what? no dynamite? (1)

jidar (83795) | more than 13 years ago | (#419237)

err... actually, I was just thinking it might be neat to try to blow something up in orbit...

If they were really nice... (1)

mcrandello (90837) | more than 13 years ago | (#419238)

They'd assign the rights to the patent to the FSF or some other organization as a safegaurd, or anti-patent if you will. I think it's nice that they made this statement, though, and it shows then in a little bit better light than simply letting it go without saying anything, then all of a sudden breaking out the guns.

Re:Schools sending up sattalites? (1)

emmons (94632) | more than 13 years ago | (#419239)

If you're going to overfund something, by all means it should be schools.

----

Re:I'm going to file a shareholder lawsuit (1)

emmons (94632) | more than 13 years ago | (#419240)

"shareholder lawsuits are settled out of court, and it's a great way to earn a quick buck from a bumbling company"

Unfortunately, by saying that in public you've probably just ruined your chance of becoming true for you. Learn to keep your mouth shut.

----

Re:IF I HAD A MICRO-SATELLITE... (1)

kiwaiti (95197) | more than 13 years ago | (#419241)

micro = 10e-6 pico = 10e-12 micro = 10e+6 * pico 1 micro sat is presumably 1 microunit cubed. or 10e+6 pico units cubed...ie, 10e+18 picocubes...or 10e+18 (1,000,000,000,000,000,000) picosats no just 10,000. I need a life.

Hey, were not talking cubic satellites here - well, yes, we are. But, er, its a different meaning of cubic.

If your unit is one satellite (not one cubic satellite, multiplying things by things by things is rather hard), a microsatellite is just a million picosatellites. Er.

"Out Of Cheese Error. Redo from Start" - Hex

Kiwaiti

You think Pentium is lowly? (1)

kcarnold (99900) | more than 13 years ago | (#419242)

> ... how to turn that extra Pentium into a firewall running iptables

You people must be RICH! My iptables router is a 486/66 with 8 MB of RAM and very very horrid I/O performance (yes, Timothy, it's the short little box I showed you when you dropped by). Easily saturates a modem line, though, and I can wait the ~1 minute it takes to telnet in, su, and run iptables to open or close a port.

I have inherited a Pentium-120 now (though I had to trade parts of my desktop box for it) so unless I get a cable modem or DSL before I get around to changing it out, that 486 is going to take a very long rest soon. Might resurrect it someday for realtime 3D rendering and video compression.

Yeah right (1)

athmanb (100367) | more than 13 years ago | (#419243)

And if we're lucky, we still have a 50% chance in 2010 of getting a space shuttle into orbit without it being shredded by one of those microsatellites...

--------------------------------------

How about dead ones? (1)

11thangel (103409) | more than 13 years ago | (#419244)

I'm sure your favorite goldfish would much rather take a nice airline trip to space than get flushed down the toilet.

Overclocking (1)

KirTakat (110620) | more than 13 years ago | (#419245)

Ya know, i'm just thinking that one of those CanSats would make the ultimate overclocking rig. "Yeah well, my Celeron 333A is overclocked to 10Gz, and its core temp is -300 degs C!!"

Re:Symantec is cool. (1)

stilwebm (129567) | more than 13 years ago | (#419247)

No, the original DOS defrag was from Central Point. Central Point was acquired by Norton about the same time as DOS 6.2 came out with the Central Point defrag and scandisk built in. AFAIK, it was 1997 before Norton was fully acquired by Symantec.

Re:Nanotech is little more than a pipe dream (1)

Infosquawk (131022) | more than 13 years ago | (#419248)

I'm not an expert on this or much of anything, who is Drexler?


OoO

Re:You think Pentium is lowly? (1)

puetzc (131221) | more than 13 years ago | (#419249)

My router is(was) a Dec Multia that I won in a contest at the Linux store. It has to be the slowest Alpha ever made, but it was small, quiet and chugged away. Alas, it has died and I can't figure out how to resurect it. It made a flexible and easily configurable firewall and router.

All your base are belong to us (1)

chrispgh (148328) | more than 13 years ago | (#419252)

All your What [stileproject.com] ?

Re:how is this patent thing so great? (1)

xcedrinod (148865) | more than 13 years ago | (#419253)

Then how did Unisys get to start enforcing its patent on GIF way after the fact? -x

Re:I'm going to file a shareholder lawsuit (1)

xcedrinod (148865) | more than 13 years ago | (#419254)

Nah. If there wasn't a protection of intellectual property, er... no mechanism for the inventor to recoup the effort put into developing a new product or whatever, then a lot of people would probably not try. Or at least I think that's the idea. I think this was an episode of The Simpsons.

-x

Re:With my microsatellite... (1)

SuperCujo (151089) | more than 13 years ago | (#419255)

+1, Funny...

Re:Space and Opensource (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 13 years ago | (#419256)

Advances in BSD encourage Linux developers to take BSD code, incorporate it into the Linux code (read: replace their crappy, buggy shit with the superior BSD code) then claim that the Linux code was written from scratch to justify re-releasing of the code under the less-free-than-BSD GPL license.

(anti-troll system engaging)
Lots of code has gone in both directions. Big deal.


--
ALL YOUR KARMA ARE BELONG TO US

Re:IF I HAD A MICRO-SATELLITE... (1)

Traxton1 (154182) | more than 13 years ago | (#419257)

lol @ your comment, I was starting to do the calculations before I read your reply. I swear I had a life, where did I put that thing?

Where's my will to live? I seem to have lost it.

Re:I'm going to file a shareholder lawsuit (1)

Ig0r (154739) | more than 13 years ago | (#419258)

It's ok, he wouldn't have to worry about ever violating the patent on thinking anyway.

--

Re:Overclocking (1)

Ig0r (154739) | more than 13 years ago | (#419259)

That'd be a little difficult, considering absolute zero is at -273 C and the 'vacuum' of the universe itself is at around -270 C so you'd actually be absorbing heat with that processor.

--

Re:I'm going to file a shareholder lawsuit (1)

dilvish_the_damned (167205) | more than 13 years ago | (#419260)

I think you're missing the whole point of not enforcing the patent.
By claiming the patent they can add to their net worth. Symantec gets to be in the news ( dont believe me? Just look it up on slashdot ). They protect themselves from someone else doing the same thing against them ( remember amazon.com? ).

But, the meat will likely turn rancid if they try to enforce the patent. If they were to challenge someone who was doing something similar ( Insert random networked software here ) then they will likely lose the case and maybe even eventually lose the claim. If that were to happen then they lose face, lose networth, and maybe, just maybe some customers.
In short, they likely win all they can win by claiming the patent but not enforcing. They lose if they give anyone a chance to challenge their claim. IMHO this is simply not a card Symantec can play.
As a share holder I am sure you want Symantec to have all the networth they can muster.

On an OFFTOPIC note: If they were to win in court then I am going to enforce my patent on controlled inbalance as a form of motivation (i.e. walking).

- The moon is smaller but farther away

MS Products (1)

codepunk (167897) | more than 13 years ago | (#419261)

If they started using linux instead of MS products they could afford to send 10 of them a year at least.

Re:Not enforcing patent (1)

TMiB (169465) | more than 13 years ago | (#419262)

If they're not going to enforce the patent, then why get it? ... Why not just not patent it in the first place?

Because this way they're protected against another company patenting the same process. If Barnes and Noble had patented one click shopping, but then hadn't enforced it, they'd have avoided the Amazon litigation.

Re:Karmawhoring drivel regarding Microsatellites. (1)

fatphil (181876) | more than 13 years ago | (#419263)

How on earth (no pun intended) did this get to +5?

The "putting things into near earth orbit" is already amost a commodity. The exploration of space is a totally different kettle of fish, and your syllogism just isn't valid.
Secondly, how do you know if I want the price of space launches to be brought down? You have no right to speak for "all".

You obviously have no knowledge of engineering.
Look at the size of the Apollo landers, and of the Saturn V rockets. Notice a difference in size? If you wanted to put one poxy nanobot into space you'd still need huge rocket, as for most of the time the rocket needs to propel itself with its fuel as well as the nanobot. The thing _does not scale linearly_.

Sheesh,
FP.
--

Re:what? no dynamite? (1)

fatphil (181876) | more than 13 years ago | (#419264)

Explosives provide their own O2. For most common explosives this is what the 'nitrates' are for.
XNO3 for X=almost anything (From Potassium to Toluene and beyond) will often part with its oxygen quite easily. (The Potassium version in the saltpetre in traditional gunpowder, and the toluene version wants three 'nitro's round it, and hey presto - nice almond smell and TNT)

FatPhil
--

Cryptogram (1)

CaptainZapp (182233) | more than 13 years ago | (#419265)

From Bruce Schneiers last Cryptogram Newsletter [counterpane.com] :
DirecTV scored a direct hit against pirates. Over the course of a few months it surreptitiously broadcast, byte by byte, a program that allowed it to permanently disable pirate DirecTV access cards. On January 21st, they triggered the program. Supposedly this knocked out 98% of cracked cards. My favorite tidbit is that they wrote "GAME OVER" into an affected area of memory. The pirate community is already working on hardware workarounds and, supposedly, the cracked cards that use emulation are easy to fix. So while DirecTV won this battle, the war goes on.

Re:You think Pentium is lowly? (1)

Cirvam (216911) | more than 13 years ago | (#419266)

man your computer must be shit. I have a microchannel IBM 9585 as my NAT machine on my cable modem and it isn't saturated at all.

Re:You think Pentium is lowly? (1)

Carl Drougge (222479) | more than 13 years ago | (#419267)

But like you say, the 9585 is an MCA machine. That counts for a sizeable increase in performance of anything not completely CPU+memory bound. (And besides, the 95x5s have a 64 bit memory-bus, a normal 486 doesn't. Or at least my 9595 has, and I would assume it did when it was a 486 too (same MB) (now P60).)

I have a crap ISA 486 (dx2/66) with two ne2k clones for my NAT-box, and it sometimes goes to about 10% time spent in interrupt-handlers, but otherwise it's about 1.5% max CPUuse for my cablemodem. A 486 is much better than needed for most (home) firewalls.

(Of course, with only 8mb RAM running a modern linux kernel is probably not so much fun.. A modern FreeBSD on mine (with 16mb) is fine though.)

Damn I write too much..

Re:Symantec is cool. (1)

alen (225700) | more than 13 years ago | (#419268)

Windows 98's defrag was from Intel. Windows 2000 disk software is from Veritas if I remember correctly. I'm not sure though.

Re:what? no dynamite? (1)

FreeMath (230584) | more than 13 years ago | (#419269)

I really don't understand the concern. It shouldn't be able to explode, no O2, and from what I've read the satelites aren't supposed to crash land. So what's the problem?

Re:MS Products (1)

Beowulf_Boy (239340) | more than 13 years ago | (#419270)

Would you please tell y tech. director that. I asked him if he had ever thought of using Linux, and he gave me this blank stare, I said "you know, the os", and he said something like, I do not feel as if it will adequately replace the effectiveness of Microsoft software. I also caught him one day saying Bill Gates "Coded all of Windows himself". This is coming from a man with an MCSE, so it was just pretty dang sad.

Re:Schools sending up sattalites? (1)

Faies (248065) | more than 13 years ago | (#419271)

$30,000 isn't *that* much. The teams are actually making a pitch to parents and companies in a week to start fundraising.

Re:Hee, Hee (1)

hughk (248126) | more than 13 years ago | (#419272)

Funny but definitely a troll. Symantec would upset far too many people by getting litigatious.

The author has a point that this one method of doing business that is well loved by certain companies and it helps to be there first even if you don't intend to enforce the patent to stop others from trying the same thing.

However, litigatious shareholders are not a joke - but it would take a significant chunk of the equity to force a response from a US company. Rather less than in a Japanese company which is why they have been subjected to pressure in return for hush-money to prevent embarassments at shareholders meetings.

With my microsatellite... (1)

digidave (259925) | more than 13 years ago | (#419274)

With my microsatellite I'm going to write a question for the ages; one that will puzzle future intelligent inhabitants of this planet for generations. I want to enlighten, provoke unimaginable debate and become immortalized for all eternity.

My microsatellite will contain a solitary piece of paper with the words:
"ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO US."

Re:Symantec is cool. (1)

geomcbay (263540) | more than 13 years ago | (#419275)

Windows 2000 Defrag is from Executive Software (they made DiskKeeper for NT).

Perhaps best known for the fact that the company has ties to Scientology, which caused some uproar in Germany when it came to Win2k adoption. In response, Microsoft posted instructions on MSDN on how to specifically remove the Disk Degfrag software.

I'm going to file a shareholder lawsuit (1)

Chuck Flynn (265247) | more than 13 years ago | (#419276)

When I heard the news that Symantec had filed for its patent, I was impressed. Here was a company that knew the business inside and out, one that had consistently performed above expectations and held the public eye. So what did I do? I went and bought a couple hundred shares of SYMC [yahoo.com] at about $47 1/8 per share. That was a bit more than a week ago. (February 9th.)

Since then, it's done well. Last closed at 50 11/16. It's gone consistently up [yahoo.com] over this period. A really sweet deal.

But now? Now they've squandered the crown jewel in their collection: the patent that distinguishes them from other companies in their field. Anyone can sell virus updates (though few have done as well as Symantec). Not everyone could have done so if Symantec had kept its wits about it and enforced the damn patent.

Who cares if it would've been unpopular?! That's what business is all about. That's what capitalism is all about: getting a limited monopoly from the government (a patent) in order to restrict the trade of your competitors in reward for a brilliant insight or idea. That's what patents are for. They're not something you play with in kindergarten. They're not like shuffleboard or parchesi. They're important stuff.

Now what am I supposed to do? Clearly, the only choice is to file a shareholder lawsuit against Symantec's board to overturn this situation. I'm a part owner now (albeit a small-time one) and thus have a say in deciding what sort of beaten path to bankruptcy the company shall trod.

Are there other like-minded Symantec-share owners in the audience who'd care to join me? Most shareholder lawsuits are settled out of court, and it's a great way to earn a quick buck from a bumbling company. Symantec has to learn that you shouldn't give away all your intellectual property for free like that. It just isn't profitable. They have to hang onto their brand image and they have to maintain their IP portfolios.

So are you with me?

Re:fp (1)

Aunt Mable (301965) | more than 13 years ago | (#419277)

I want screenshots. GIVE ME SCREENSHOTS! . [poophead.com]

-- Eat your greens or I'll hit you!

Re:Schools sending up sattalites? (1)

Myselfthethoom (303715) | more than 13 years ago | (#419278)

Can someone plese tell me what these "Someone set up us the bomb" and "all your base are ours" things are Suppose to mean?

Schools sending up sattalites? (1)

Myselfthethoom (303715) | more than 13 years ago | (#419279)

I don't know exacts but any school that can send up a sattalite in my mind is getting more funds than they should

Re:Nanotech is little more than a pipe dream (1)

Bobo the Space Chimp (304349) | more than 13 years ago | (#419280)

> For all the revolutionary talk about how it will
> free us from the burdens of work, now all we do
> is spend more time working, because computers
> have enabled us to do more!

Blame Walt Disney, not the economists. Increases in productivity are not turned into fewer work hours because of competition. Instead, they are turned into cheaper products (fewer paychecks needed for the same work) and more diversity in specialization of occupations (fewer people to do industry X means some people go find other stuff to do.) Both lift the standard of living.

Micro-satellites... (1)

wanton (310689) | more than 13 years ago | (#419281)

What about gyroscopes? ;)

Count+1 [networkessence.com]

what? no dynamite? (1)

JohnnyKnoxville (311956) | more than 13 years ago | (#419282)

I can understand the need to mention 'no living organisms' but it scares me that they need to explicitly say 'no explosives', like there are a bunch of kids who wanted to sent TNT into space.

Re:how is this patent thing so great? (1)

MikeyLikesIt! (313421) | more than 13 years ago | (#419283)

An unenforced patent is a Great Thing. That the company is not enforcing it now means that they won't be able to do so in the future (once the precedent is set, there's no changing it).

And since it has been patented, no other company will be able to come forward and claim rights to it. In other words, other companies are protected.

Whether this should be patentable at all is another story...

Re:I'm going to file a shareholder lawsuit (1)

Draykonis (313436) | more than 13 years ago | (#419284)

Hear, hear! This is one of the most pathetic examples of corporate brainwashing I've ever seen. Of course it's all right that Symantec patent software upgrades, more money for you...Of course, someday, when Symantec (which will, by then i'm sure, be owned by Microsoft) patents thinking, i'm sure you will not mind paying them for the privelige of thought, because that is just good business, right? It's nice to see that some people think that creativity means getting there first with a patent form.....

Re:I have an idea regarding Microsatellites. (1)

whanau (315267) | more than 13 years ago | (#419285)

Sending data to the satellite is also damn difficult. A grassblade size sat would need super accurate gyroscopes, to send data to earth, and given its tiny size, targeting and controling it would be damn near impossible

Re:Schools sending up sattalites? (2)

Skyshadow (508) | more than 13 years ago | (#419286)

Actually, your quotation is from the game Alpha Centauri by Sid Meier. It may sound like Toquville, but in reality I think it was (somewhat ironically, based on current right-wing conspiricy theory) ascribed to the leader of the UN faction.

The whole quotation is worthwhile:

As the Americans learned so painfully in Earth's final century, free access to information is the only safeguard against tyranny.

The once chained people whose leaders at last lose their grip on information will soon burst with freedom and vitality, while the free nation gradually constricting its grip on free discourse was begun its rapid slide in to despotism.

Beware he who would deny you access to information, for in his heart he dreams himself your master.

----

Re:Schools sending up sattalites? (2)

Millennium (2451) | more than 13 years ago | (#419287)

The correct quote is "ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO US" actually.

The quotes come from ZeroWing, an old space shoot-em-up by some company no one seems to remember. When it was rleeased for the Genesis, it had an opening sequence tackes onto it. This sequence is generally considered the worst-translated video game dialogue of all time, with at least one error in every single sentence, and often more.

Lately, thanks to a fandub OverClocked did of it, the opening has gained a cult following in gaming/geek circles.
----------

Re: Patents != Socialism (2)

PhilHibbs (4537) | more than 13 years ago | (#419288)

Since when do patents lead to state ownership of the means of production?

Re:what? no dynamite? (2)

Mashiara (5631) | more than 13 years ago | (#419289)

I really don't understand the concern. It shouldn't be able to explode, no O2, and from what I've read the satelites aren't supposed to crash land. So what's the problem?

The problem is that "things that detonate" ie. true explosives not just pyrotechnical compounds that burn relatively fast (few hundared meters/second as opposed to few kilometers/second) already contain all oxygen they need in they molucular structure. Most pyrotechnical compounds also contain the oxygen they need to burn in some form or another (salt peter [i hope this is the correct english name] is very common oxidizer)

The problem with explosives (or guns, or other things that go boom) is the fact that pressure is rather low in space which causes all sorts of problems like rather poor and non spectacular burn of pyrotechnics, explosives detonate allright but since there is no medium to carry the shockwave it's not much of fun.

Sure there are uses for detaching or welding and stuff for explosives in space but using them is FAR from trivial, you need VERY carefull planning for those things to work properly.

NOTE: I am a trained in handling pyrotechnical compunds and explosives, speciality in special effects (where real explosives have quite little use, pyrotechnics look and sound much, much better).

Re:Schools sending up sattalites? (2)

Ian Schmidt (6899) | more than 13 years ago | (#419290)

Hey, everyone remembers Toaplan [toaplan.com] . Or at least shmup [classicgaming.com] fans like myself do. They never made anything as classic as Gradius or Raiden II, but they did solid work.

Re:Nanotech is little more than a pipe dream (2)

GlenRaphael (8539) | more than 13 years ago | (#419291)

Nanotech is prompting interesting questions that are producing interesting answers. Much progress has been made, much work remains to be done. And are you really claiming the computer hasn't changed the world?

Anyway, here's one set of Top 10 Recent achievements in Nanoelectronics [mitre.org]

And a set of Top 10 Hard Problems [mitre.org] .

In recent years the Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology [foresight.org] has been awarded for experimental work as well as theoretical. Some people have been designing cool devices at the molecular level, other people have been building them, and they work. There's no reason to think progress of this sort will stop any time soon.

For all the revolutionary talk about how [the computer] will free us from the burdens of work, now all we do is spend more time working, because computers have enabled us to do more!
We may spend more time at work but I wouldn't say we spend more time working. For instance, consider time spent reading Slashdot! :-)

Re:what? no dynamite? (2)

Detritus (11846) | more than 13 years ago | (#419292)

Explosives are widely used in satellites and launch vehicles. Any place you need to cut or detach something is a possible application for an explosive device. It isn't that scary when you think about all of the other things that can go wrong and blow up on a launch vehicle.

Re:how is this patent thing so great? (2)

ethereal (13958) | more than 13 years ago | (#419293)

That is incorrect; an unenforced patent doesn't lose any power from the lack of enforcement. You're thinking of trademarks, perhaps?

If the major differences between trademarks, copyrights, and patents aren't already in the /. FAQ, they should be :)

Re:With my microsatellite... (2)

Teferi (16171) | more than 13 years ago | (#419294)

It's derived from the opening of Zero Wing, generally considered to be the worst translation of a video game ever done.

"If ignorance is bliss, may I never be happy.

Re:Prior Art? (2)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | more than 13 years ago | (#419295)

I was involved in developing code for a flash EEPROM-programmed device that was reprogrammable over the wire (i.e., downloadable software updates) about 12 years ago. Just like almost all these other software patents, the ideas are neither unique nor new.

Not enforcing patent (2)

psocccer (105399) | more than 13 years ago | (#419297)

If they're not going to enforce the patent, then why get it? Isn't that the point for a commercial entity to get a patent, to protect their idea? Not that I think it's bad that they aren't, it means that people can write code that the patent covers without worrying some other corp will come by and smash them in legal battles, but what's the usefulness to a corporation for having a patent but not doing anything with it? Why not just not patent it in the first place?

Re:IF I HAD A MICRO-SATELLITE... (2)

Lord Omlette (124579) | more than 13 years ago | (#419298)

Did Norad ever announce an upper limit on what they could track? I realize you were joking, but still, if someone wanted to DDoS the US Military, this is how they would do it, right?
--
Peace,
Lord Omlette
ICQ# 77863057

Symantec still ok (2)

TheTick21 (143167) | more than 13 years ago | (#419299)

Maybe they just patented it to cover their ass? Make sure some other retarded company didn't come along and patent it then try to charge them for it?

Defensive patent (2)

Dusabre (176445) | more than 13 years ago | (#419300)

Is Symantec perhaps preparing a defensive software patent warchest? This would allow them to counter-sue anybody launching a suit against them, a situation that could be dubbed MAUL (Mutually Assured Unprofitable Litigation), in other words "You mess with us, we'll mess with you so don't bother." Which I have to admit is certainly less objectionable than some the behaviour of other companies (above all BT's absurd URL patent threats).

Re:If they were really nice... (2)

Erasmus Darwin (183180) | more than 13 years ago | (#419301)

I think it's nice that they made this statement, though,

Honestly, it's not like they had much of a choice in the matter. There was tons of prior art (everything from rsync to Diablo I). They made the only business decision that made sense (as a court battle would've had a high cost and a low return).

www.diebyyourself.con (2)

SubtleNuance (184325) | more than 13 years ago | (#419302)

Who cares if it would've been unpopular?! That's what business is all about. That's what capitalism is all about: getting a limited monopoly from the government (a patent) in order to restrict the trade of your competitors in reward for a brilliant insight or idea. That's what patents are for. They're not something you play with in kindergarten. They're not like shuffleboard or parchesi. They're important stuff.

Either you are +1 Funny (Sarcastic), or -1 Troll.

Surely your not proposing that 'profit motive' is the only important factor in life? Maybe we should eliminate patents all together just to give Capatalists a little shake up - the system is not working - and what you propose is *MORE* corporate-power-hording.

Suggestion to Symantec: Give your Patent to the FSF. Release the patent GPL.

My advice to you: Re-evaluate your priorities, you'll be dead soon.. and no one likes a greedy, selfish, myopic jackass... you cant *buy* wisdom, peace or contentment - re-adjust your life-goals.. help re-adjust the goals of your country.

*BUT* im thinking you mean that as +1 funny... i hope.

how is this patent thing so great? (2)

capoccia (312092) | more than 13 years ago | (#419305)

how is an unenforced patent such a great thing? this yields a great deal of uncertainty to anyone who may be infringing on their patent. there is nothing to keep symentec from changing their mind and enforcing the patent tomorrow.

Cubesat !? (3)

Ernest (4173) | more than 13 years ago | (#419306)

Hopefully the Borgs didn't patent the Cube in space idea. I'd hate to have them come and claim there rights. Ernest.

Re:I'm going to file a shareholder lawsuit (3)

RelliK (4466) | more than 13 years ago | (#419307)

So let me get this straight: You are going to file a frivolous lawsuit because Symantec chose not to file a frivolous lawsuit based on an obvious and unenforcible patent. God bless America!
___

The Big Problem with tiny spacecraft. (3)

Christopher Thomas (11717) | more than 13 years ago | (#419308)

When you can manipulate the atom, there is no point having huge unwieldy craft several metres long - why not just build something the size of a blade of grass?

Because your grassblade starship won't have enough power to send a signal back to earth to report its findings.

This is the main factor that provides a final lower limit on the size/mass of space probes, be they in-system or interstellar. An in-system one that stays inside the orbit of Mars can get away with being big but light, as it can draw power from the sun. For the outer solar system or for deep space, it'll have to carry a radiothermal power source large enough to power a microwave beam that outshines background noise and instrument noise when seen from Earth.

The electronics for the transmitter aren't going to be small or light either.

Re:Overclocking (3)

sconeu (64226) | more than 13 years ago | (#419309)

A friend once showed me a procurement spec for a (foreign) military system that had a requirement to operate at -300C. We had a good laugh, and he confirmed it was a typo (the actual spec was for -30C).

Re:I'm rather dumbfounded (3)

sconeu (64226) | more than 13 years ago | (#419310)

I could see Microsoft getting rather upset about this patent... Can you say "Windows Update"?

Whether you use Windoze or not, same thing...

You're confusing Patents with Tradmarks. (3)

aidoneus (74503) | more than 13 years ago | (#419311)

Failure to enforce a patent does not result in the loss of a patent (take a look at the well discussed Unisys GIF patent of the even more slimy Rambus patents). If a trademark isn't vigorously defended, it can become diluted and therefore lose protection. A trademark exists for a word or form (such as the shape of an iMac, IIRC), while a patent is for an idea or implementation.

Re:Not enforcing patent (3)

Trepalium (109107) | more than 13 years ago | (#419312)

Unisys once said they would not pursue patent claims for the LZW technology in GIF against any software that was distributed for free. Overnight one day, Unisys changed their policy and started cracking down on even free products, and going so far as demand that websites that designed any graphics in .GIF format, employing LZW compression had to pay royalties to them.

The point is, there's a huge difference between a company publically stating that they don't plan to enforce, and granting an irrevocable royalty-free license to use the patent to the general public. Ten years from now, if Symantec sees their profits starting to dry up, what do you want to bet that this policy will change for the sake of a cash grab. Unlike other forms of intellectual property, such as trademarks (and to a lesser extent, copyright), a company isn't required to enforce their patent to maintain rights over it, and they're fully allowed to change their policies regarding the patents.

Suppose I should be thankful that Canada doesn't grant or respect software patents.

hmmm. (3)

slashdoter (151641) | more than 13 years ago | (#419313)

no living things?!?!

Note to self, withdraw bid for anthrax from EBAY and cancel the order for the micro-sat,

move to plan 2

MUhhahahah


________

Prior Art? (3)

Alien54 (180860) | more than 13 years ago | (#419314)

I am wondering about the concept of Prior art in regard to the Symantec Patents.

For Example, there is this Story [slashdot.org] about the war of DirectTV against hackers. Direct TV for the past FOUR YEARS did incremental upgrades to their systems to try to stop hackers from stealing their signal. They finally inmplemented a gradually update program that convertly set up a complete system upgrade, sort of like a digital jigsaw puzzle, with the last piece shuffling and re-compiling the pieces, and locking the pirates out when they pulled the final trigger.

So in any case, just the idea of online upgrades before this little bit of coding is demonstrated prior art by DirectTV

Re:iptables is no IP Filter (3)

abdulwahid (214915) | more than 13 years ago | (#419315)

Or you install OpenBSD and have a firewalling router with one line of configuration. ONE. I'm not kidding.

Or you install a Windows NT and pull the network cable out and have a firewalling router with no lines of configuration. NONE. I'm not kidding.

Space and Opensource (3)

Angreallabeau (263172) | more than 13 years ago | (#419316)

There seems to be many small projects going on of note that could use the support of many minds. The people should stop competing against each other (I am against the idea that competition spurs the advancement of technology) and these smaller teams should start working together. Better to have one succeed than all of them fail.

On that same note....

It would seem to me that NASA should open their arms to the brains of the world. A true international project, would be an opensource project, where all minds of can offer their guidence and help for free. Where getting more for your dollar seems to be something NASA is interested in, it would seem that they should look towards our community.

If the "Space Community (NASA...Smaller Projects)" start working together we might see real results a lot faster.

-Angreal

P.S. I just want to walk on the Moon before I die - a small vacation. :-)

Nanotech is little more than a pipe dream (3)

sharkticon (312992) | more than 13 years ago | (#419317)

And looks set to remain so for the forseeable future. Despite a lot of hype generated by Drexler and his fellow zealots, nanotechnology is still a purely theoretical psuedo-science, supported solely by a few developments in molecular manipulation that in reality have little to do with Drexler's ideas of nanoassemblers.

Until an actual working model is proposed I have little time for nanotechnology and its grandiose claims. Every two-bit prophet has claimed that their creations will change the world, and yet they rarely do. Just look at the computer. For all the revolutionary talk about how it will free us from the burdens of work, now all we do is spend more time working, because computers have enabled us to do more!

Nanotech is not the answer to all our future problems. Hell for now it's not the answer to anyone's problems, except maybe Drexler's bank balance and a few labs hoping for Government funding. Maybe you should be looking for a more scientific solution?

I have an idea regarding Microsatellites. (3)

Heidi Wall (317302) | more than 13 years ago | (#419318)

Microsatellites are an excellent idea, as they would be much cheaper to launch than normal satellites. This would mean that they would be brought within the reach of many more commercial entities, which would further commercialise the space industry. This commercialisation would further bring down the price of space launches, which is an outcome we all want, as it would make exploration of space cheaper and more frequent.

I would guess that exploration of other star systems in the far off future will be performed by very small nanotechnological space vehicles.

When you can manipulate the atom, there is no point having huge unwieldy craft several metres long - why not just build something the size of a blade of grass?

With nanotech, it would still be enormously powerful.
--
Clarity does not require the absence of impurities,

IF I HAD A MICRO-SATELLITE... (5)

GeneralEmergency (240687) | more than 13 years ago | (#419320)

...I'd use it to launch 10,000 Pico-Satellites!

Then I sit back and laugh while NORAD tries to track them boogers.


"A microprocessor... is a terrible thing to waste." --

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