Slashback tonight brings you a boatload of updates and amplification to previous Slashdot stories, including: the outcome of the RIAA-driven administrative crackdown on file trading at the U.S. Naval Academy, the legal status of ambiguously labeled Microsoft "gimme" software, more information on the insecurities of Blackboard's card-based payment system, and more. Read on for the details!
Every day, in every way, I am becoming a better and better Lt. Junior Grade. alanjstr writes "The Baltimore Sun reports 'The Naval Academy has disciplined 85 students who used a military Internet connection to illegally swap copyrighted music and movies, but it stopped short of carrying out its threat to impose the maximum penalties of expulsion or court-martial, an academy document shows.' It goes on to say that the raid was spurred less by the RIAA and more by the threat of losing the internet connection due to the enormous amount of bandwidth consumed. The academy had given students several warnings before raiding the dorm rooms. Some of the hard drives seized last November were found to contain one or two copyrighted files, while others ran into the hundreds or thousands."
I bet they could make a better agreement with Xiph.org Magnetic Confinement writes "In an effort to make life more difficult for civic-minded Mac users, NPR has decided to drop Quicktime from its available streams. Nothing specific on their webpage addresses it, just some suspicious vacancies remain. Their helpdesk response is officially:
'NPR.org had been offering some of its audio in the Apple QuickTime format under an arrangement with Apple QuickTime. We regret that we were unable to reach mutually acceptable terms for a new arrangement with Apple QuickTime. As a result, NPR is unable to continue offering its content in this format.
You can also contact Apple QuickTime directly at: email@example.com
A note that got lost in the bin for too long ... JulesVD writes "Microsoft has agreed to tweak its Windows XP operating system in response to recent feedback from the Justice Department over its antitrust settlement with the federal government. (See news on Yahoo!) Microsoft will give more prominent display to a button in Windows that allows computer users to remove the company's Internet Explorer browser, company spokesman Jim Desler said. The Justice Department is overseeing Microsoft's compliance with the settlement. Placement of the button in a hard-to-reach spot in Windows was one of several complaints Microsoft's rivals made to the department last year."
Proportionality isn't just for the personals. You may still be boggling (I am) at the recently announced RIAA suits alleging that colleges and college students are liable for billions of dollars in damages to the music industry for facilitating online file trading. Reader Derek Lomas writes in with another editorial indicating "growing support at Yale for legal alternatives".
Even biggerness. The Gathering is billed by some as the the world's largest computer party. MC68040, though, writes "I'd like to remind everyone to have a look at dreamhack, that 'also' is the largest LAN in Sweden twice a year ... Which had over 5000 participants in 2001 and even more in 2002.. *arhem* Biggest you say?"
If you want to fight about "LAN party" vs. "Computer party," leave me out of it!
How about calling it "900t"? An anonymous reader writes "As previously reported, mozilla.org's Phoenix browser has been renamed to Firebird. This hasn't pleased supporters of the Firebird relational database project. In an Australian LinuxWorld article, one of their administrators calls the name change "one of the dirtiest deeds I've seen in open source so far." In a MozillaZine article, the same person accused mozilla.org of "theft" and "corporate bullying". They don't explain how it was different when they picked a name that was already used by a BBS, financial software manufacturer, Fenix IDE and games company. Meanwhile, IBPhoenix, an organisation that supports the development of the Firebird database, has put up a protest page, encouraging people to spam the MozillaZine forums (even though MozillaZine had nothing to do with the decision) and send masses of email to many Mozilla developers (most of whom were not involved in selecting the new name). I find it rather hypocritical that the Firebird database people are accusing Mozilla of "the filthiest of dirty tricks" while at the same time advocating the harassment of many Mozilla developers."
Point of clarification. batkid writes "In response to the article 'Microsoft pirating their own software,' Seems like MS is taking it pretty seriously. I got the following response from Microsoft (I am a faculty member, but the response should be the same to students).
April 9, 2003
RE: Visual Studio .NET Professional Edition and Windows XP Professional software distributed during the Microsoft Faculty Seminars
Dear Faculty Member, Thank you for attending the recent Microsoft Faculty Seminar. The purpose of this letter is to clarify questions concerning the legal use of the Visual Studio .NET Professional and Windows XP Professional software distributed to faculty who attended the Seminar. The software received is governed by the electronic license embedded in the product set up that appears prior to installation and no additional documentation is required.
Notwithstanding language on the CD label for the copies of Visual Studio .NET Professional Edition and Windows XP Professional Edition that you received during your attendance at the Seminar, which appeared to indicate that a separate license document was required in order for you to legally use the software, this letter will confirm that use by you of the software received is governed by the electronic license embedded in the product setup that appears prior to installation.
You are required to agree to accept the terms and conditions of this license prior to proceeding with the products' installation. Acceptance by you of these "Click to Accept" licenses is the only license required for your use of the copies of Visual Studio.NET Professional Edition and Windows XP Professional Edition received. We recommend that you keep a copy of this letter in your personal files for future reference."
Thanks for passing that along.
What if Masterlock security was assured this way? Monday, you read that security researchers Billy Hoffman and Virgil Griffith (known as Vergil and Acidus) were were prevented from speaking at a security conference by means of a Cease and Desist order from Blackboard, Inc.. The two planned to talk about security flaws found in Blackboard's Transaction System.
In a mail posted at Declan McCullagh's Politech mailing list, David Yaskin of Blackboard responds to the criticism that the company's legal action has drawn. John R. Hall has posted a FAQ explaining some particulars of the Blackboard Transaction System which Virgil and Acidus aren't at liberty to discuss, as well as contradicting some claims that Yaskin makes in the posted email.