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Slashback: IceWeasel, Online Gambling, GPU Folding, Evolution

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the playing-poker@home-or-folding@home dept.

214

Slashback tonight brings some clarifications and updates to previous Slashdot stories, including: The facts about Debian Iceweasel; A closer look at Folding@home's GPU client; David Brin's lament; Online gambling ban may violate international law; Human species may do whatnow?; and Another RIAA lawsuit dropped. Read on for details.

The facts about Debian Iceweasel. john-da-luthrun writes, "Debian Firefox/XULrunner maintainer Mike Hommey reports on the Firefox/Iceweasel wrangle, correcting various assertions that have been made in the assorted trollfests/flamewars currently raging over the proposed Firefox rename. Hommey confirms that Firefox in Etch will be renamed 'Iceweasel,' but this will only be a renamed version of the vanilla Firefox, not the GNU Iceweasel fork — though the Debian and GNU Iceweasel teams may work together in future."

A closer look at Folding@home's GPU client. TheRaindog writes, "Slashdot recently covered some impressive client statistics for Stanford's Folding@home project, but they don't tell the whole story. The Tech Report has taken a closer look at the GPU client, running it on a Radeon X1900 XTX against the CPU client on a dual-core Opteron. The results are enlightening, especially considering how Stanford has chosen to award points GPU client work units. Power consumption is more interesting, with the GPU client apparently far more power-efficient than folding with a CPU."

David Brin need not lament — KidBasic. sproketboy writes, "I was thinking about the recent slashdot story David Brin Laments Absence of Programming For Kids, and after looking around I found KidBasic. KidBasic is quite good and teaches all the basics of programming. My 4 year old nephew and I have been able to get a few simple games programmed with it."

Online gambling ban may violate international law. An anonymous reader writes, "As Slashdot noted earlier, Congress has passed an effective ban on online gambling in the U.S. This may not be the end of the story, however. The law may be struck down by the World Trade Organization on the grounds that it violates the United States' international obligation not to discriminate in favor of domestic casinos. If the WTO strikes down this U.S. gambling ban, it would not be the first time. In November of 2004, the WTO struck down a U.S. anti-gambling law as illegally discriminating against the nation of Antigua."

Human species may do whatnow?. jamie writes, "'I might have believed this nonsense could come from some late 19th century eugenicist, but now? Is there any evidence...?' That's biologist PZ Myers's comment on the BBC story that claims the human species may split in two. It was posted on Slashdot as humor, but Myers's comments are a much-needed sober appraisal of this kind of pseudoscientific claim."

Another RIAA lawsuit dropped. skelator2821 writes, "Another RIAA lawsuit has been dropped against a defendant who had been accused of illegally sharing songs online, according to Ars Technica. Looks like the Mob tactics are not paying off for our good friends at the RIAA anymore."

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214 comments

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F@H (5, Insightful)

slimjim8094 (941042) | more than 7 years ago | (#16511087)

I hope they make it run on other GPUs. Maybe, this will pressure gfx card manufacturers to make some sort of cross-compatible powerful scripting language to run any other embarrassingly parallel calculations... it would certainly be benificial

Re:F@H (1, Interesting)

donglekey (124433) | more than 7 years ago | (#16511913)

It's called OpenGL 2.0 and it rocks pretty hard.

Re:F@H (3, Interesting)

SETIGuy (33768) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512327)

Since, AFAIHBT, ATI is funding the port, a generalized GPU client might not happen for a while.

Most of the claims in TFA hinge on beleiving that the GPU client is (as Stanford has claimed) 20 to 40 times faster than the CPU client. It would be nice, and certainly beneficial to ATI, if the FAH team would allow the same work units to be processed by both the GPU and CPU versions. As it is, there is no way to test their claims, and it seems they've gone out of their way to be sure there is no way to test their claims.

Call me skeptical.

Something they forgot (4, Informative)

2.7182 (819680) | more than 7 years ago | (#16511101)

Penny Smith's supposed solution to the Millenium problem (Navier Stokes) turned out to be wrong.

International law? (4, Insightful)

RelliK (4466) | more than 7 years ago | (#16511123)

Since when does US care about international law?

Re:International law? (5, Funny)

chill (34294) | more than 7 years ago | (#16511181)

A: Since when does US care about international law?

When is "never", Alex?

I'll take "Obvious Questions for $1,000.

Re:International law? (3, Insightful)

Mike_ya (911105) | more than 7 years ago | (#16511217)

When does any country care about international law when it comes to its own interests?

Re:International law? (2, Insightful)

IWannaBeAnAC (653701) | more than 7 years ago | (#16511467)

Often. Don't project the faults of your own country onto others.

Re:International law? (0, Redundant)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512609)

Yes.

Re:International law? (4, Insightful)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 7 years ago | (#16511221)

You really ought to learn what "international law" actually is. Hint: the WTO does not have the power to "strike down" the laws of any nation.

Re:International law? (5, Informative)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 7 years ago | (#16511861)

the WTO does not have the power to "strike down" the laws of any nation.
True, but irrelevant.

They up the ante by having the ability to allow penalties on almost any of the violating country's exports.

The WTO does this by allowing the people making the complaints to place some decided amount of import tariffs on any of the [violating country]'s export goods. The country(s) making the complaint can decide the products they want to place tariffs on.

The net result is that you may get away with breaking the rules... but only until the complaint works its way through the WTO system. Even the U.S. has been forced to play along.

Re:International law? (2, Funny)

Best ID Ever! (712255) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512099)

Sadly the country bringing the complaint in this case is Antigua, so the imposition of tariffs by Antigua will probably not be effective.

Hey Idiots (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16511391)

The WTO is not "international law", it's just of club of countries that get together to set rules for trading amongst each other. WTO sanctions are hardly law or international.

In any event, anybody who thinks the concept of international law exists must believe in Santa Claus and the Tooth fairy.

Re:International law? (5, Insightful)

coaxial (28297) | more than 7 years ago | (#16511483)

Since when does US care about international law?

When it's convienent.

Re:International law? (2, Insightful)

guardiangod (880192) | more than 7 years ago | (#16511549)

As a Canadian, I am frankly annoyed by how US government ignored the US-Canada softwood dispute [wikipedia.org] NAFTA ruling, and how our new PM bent over.

Re:International law? (1)

topham (32406) | more than 7 years ago | (#16511583)


We don't discuss how our PM bends over in public. No, I don't mean we don't discuss it in public. We just don't talk about what he does in public.

Re:International law? (3, Funny)

rs79 (71822) | more than 7 years ago | (#16511719)

"NAFTA ruling, and how our new PM bent over."

Hey, that's Vice President Harper to you, buddy.

Re:International law? (1)

Aidski (875851) | more than 7 years ago | (#16511831)

Surely you meant governor Harper of the state of Canada? *shudder*

Re:International law? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16512115)

Oh, don't be alarmist. We'd take you in as 10 states and 3 territories. Well, maybe 9 states and 3 territories. ;-)

Re:International law? (2, Interesting)

JanneM (7445) | more than 7 years ago | (#16511579)

Since when does US care about international law?

Since you want to sell your products and services to other countries in turn.

Nonsense (2, Insightful)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 7 years ago | (#16511195)

> The law may be struck down by the World Trade Organization...

The WTO does not have the power to strike down any US law.

Re:Nonsense (4, Informative)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 7 years ago | (#16511323)

They can permit member states to impose trade sanctions that would otherwise also be against WTO agreements if they decide a member state is in violation. It wouldn't be the first time the US has caved.

There may be one interesting consequence of the WTO opposing this law, though. The US federal government cannot regulate gambling transactions that don't cross state lines, due to the Commerce Clause [wikipedia.org] in the US Constitution. This means that any federal law restricting online gambling must exempt, at least implicitly, online gambling transactions that take place all in one state. One of the grounds of complaint that other WTO members apparently have with this law is that it treats intrastate gambling transactions differently from international ones, and if the WTO rules that this part of the complaint is valid, then the US would never be able to restrict online gambling in any way, and still remain in compliance with treaty obligations, without a Constitutional amendment or without all 50 states imposing the same regulations on intrastate gambling.

Re:Nonsense (5, Insightful)

anthony_dipierro (543308) | more than 7 years ago | (#16511555)

The US federal government cannot regulate gambling transactions that don't cross state lines, due to the Commerce Clause in the US Constitution.

Oh c'mon. The Commerce Clause hasn't been taken seriously (by the Supreme Court) in decades. See Gonzales v. Raich for one of the most recent examples. If the federal government can regulate the cultivation of marijuana in a home garden, they can regulate gambling within one state.

The US federal government shouldn't be allowed to regulate gambling transactions that don't cross state lines, but they sure as hell can.

Re:Nonsense (5, Informative)

CaptainEbo (781461) | more than 7 years ago | (#16511559)

The US federal government cannot regulate gambling transactions that don't cross state lines, due to the Commerce Clause in the US Constitution.

In the wake of the Supreme Court's recent decision in Gonzales v. Raich, I doubt this is true. Raich essentially held that the government could ban all trade & production of cannabis in California, even that activity which involved entirely homegrown plants which never crossed state lines, on the theory that if local growers could introduce cannabis to a local marketplace, it would impact the nationwide cannabis market, and thus have a substantial cross-state effect.

(As a side note, I don't like the government banning medical marijuana, but there is no question that Raich was correctly decided. The same theory is also why landmark civil rights legislation, such as the act which forbids whites-only lunch counters, also applies to lunch counters which only serve local clients. One of the unfortunate things about constitutional law is that you often have to take the bitter with the sweet.)

The case for allowing interstate gambling to be banned is bolstered by the WTO. As has been correctly noted above, the WTO does not have the power to "strike down" laws, per se. It does, however, have the power to allow trade sanctions so onerous that any reasonable government would repeal the offending law on their own initiative. Given this framework (which is an international framework largely outside of U.S. hands), the federal government could likely defend an intrastate gambling ban on the grounds that, by banning intrastate gambling, the government avoids onerous trade sanctions, which itself has a substantial effect on interstate commerce.

Re:Nonsense (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 7 years ago | (#16511867)

Well, I suppose I could ultimately be wrong regarding the Commerce Clause, but it still presents Congress with the conundrum of abandoning the gambling regulations altogether, or imposing them uniformly on state transactions and incurring an almost certain legal battle, with an uncertain outcome, spanning multiple years and courtrooms.

Re:Nonsense (1)

CaptainEbo (781461) | more than 7 years ago | (#16511885)

I suspect the matter is more political than legal. Congress has the power to ban all gambling nationwide, but do they really want to do that? Would they get re-elected if they did?

Re:Nonsense (1)

Matt Edd (884107) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512361)

I already wrote to my congressman telling him I will vote against him come Nov. 7 for voting for the ban. Doubt it will make a difference but at least I did something.

Wickard v. Filburn (2, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#16511607)

The US federal government cannot regulate gambling transactions that don't cross state lines, due to the Commerce Clause in the US Constitution.

O RLY? The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that Congress can regulate wheat and marijuana production that does not cross state lines because they compete with products that do cross state lines. Wickard v. Filburn [wikipedia.org] ; Gonzales v. Raich [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Nonsense (2, Insightful)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 7 years ago | (#16511677)

The US federal government cannot regulate gambling transactions that don't cross state lines, due to the Commerce Clause in the US Constitution. This means that any federal law restricting online gambling must exempt, at least implicitly, online gambling transactions that take place all in one state.

They have set up a back door to get around this. Congress just has to state they want to stop or regulate interstate gambling, and also state that intrastate gambling is a part of that market. At that point they get to invoke "necessary and proper" [wikipedia.org] to take whatever powers that they want. This happens all the time. There are effectively no constitutional limits to Congress' power.

Re:Nonsense (1)

nebaz (453974) | more than 7 years ago | (#16511327)

The WTO does not have the power to strike down any US law.

Disclaimer, IDNKWIATA (I do not know what I am talking about), but I think that even though the parent statement is technically true, I believe the WTO can decide to take punative trading measures against countries that do not comply with these rulings. I do not know if the US has any veto power here, like they do in the security council.

Re:Nonsense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16511541)

..IDNKWIATA (I do not know what I am talking about)..

If you have to explain what the acronym means, why even use it in the first place?

Re:Nonsense (1)

Andrew Kismet (955764) | more than 7 years ago | (#16511593)

re-read the section you've quoted and I'll you see why he has to use an acronym that needs explaining.

Re:Nonsense (2, Funny)

Reverend528 (585549) | more than 7 years ago | (#16511723)

The WTO does not have the power to strike down any US law.

Congress responded to the WTO by stating, "If you strike us down now, we'll become more powerful than you could possibly imagine."

Thy shall not steal (-1, Flamebait)

mi (197448) | more than 7 years ago | (#16511203)

Nor give away something, that is not yours.

The folks at RIAA may be unpleasant, but they are in the right on this.

Re:Thy shall not steal (4, Insightful)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 7 years ago | (#16511241)

Unauthorized copying is not theft, nor is it even always illegal.

Re:Thy shall not steal (0, Offtopic)

mi (197448) | more than 7 years ago | (#16511505)

Unauthorized copying is not theft

Which part of the "nor give away something, that is not yours" was so difficult to grasp?

nor is it even always illegal.

Where/when it is not, RIAA loses...

Re:Thy shall not steal (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 7 years ago | (#16511595)

Which part of the "nor give away something, that is not yours" was so difficult to grasp?

Gee, I don't see anything going away. That song my friend just copied is still right here.

By now only idiots and fools with axes to grind try to apply the 'rules' of physical things to non-rivalrous and non-excludable things.

Re:Thy shall not steal (1)

kingkade (584184) | more than 7 years ago | (#16511713)

The fact that for the *other* person it's "there" now is the stealing part.

Re:Thy shall not steal (2, Insightful)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 7 years ago | (#16511943)

Let's say I have a paper origami crane. My friend has a piece of paper and proceeds to make a paper origami crane with his piece of paper. The end result looks exactly like mine. Did my friend just steal something? If not, then why is it considered "stealing" when magnetic bits are manipulated to the same state on hard drives?

Re:Thy shall not steal (2, Insightful)

kingkade (584184) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512181)

I appreciate your analogy, but I don't agree. One reason, as dopey as it sounds, is that your paper crane is not copyrighted, that music is.

Or I can go a different route and argue that you're not stealing something tangible such as a pattern of bits that is a song, but you are stealing a potential customer from the artist to whom they'd be able to sell their song. Let's go to the extreme.

If we decided to pass a law that it is not a crime to copy songs if you haven't bought them, and I can copy music without any worry of violating the law, I can't in good conscience convince myself that selling music would be profitable. Even with scarcity of artists following this crash, you can't really argue that the good old law of supply-demand will keep the music going in this case.

However, I do agree that there needs to be a balance of fair use such as being able to play music at a block party or make as many copies as I want on different mediums so that I can play my favorite music on my ipod, in my car, etc.

Re:Thy shall not steal (4, Insightful)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512311)

The problem we have here is an issue of semantics. Here's the crux of the problem: my origami crane is implicitly copyrighted [copyright.gov] . Thus my friend would be guilty of copyright infringement. If my friend took away my origami crane, that would be stealing because I no longer have the physical object. However, since he just made his own origami crane to look like mine, he's only infringing on my copyright of the crane. I still have my origami crane in my possession.

The issue here is that the RIAA/MPAA would like to have you believe that copyright infringement and stealing are the same thing when they are not. What they're trying to do is pound into the public that copyright infringement is stealing because, quite frankly, which term sounds worse? Stealing or copyright infringement?

Re:Thy shall not steal (1)

kingkade (584184) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512557)

I agree we have the problem of semantics, to me copyright infringement is a form of stealing. Whether it sounds worse that "copyright infringement" or not is irrelevant.

I disagree that your crane is implicitly copyrighted since I don't think it would be considered an "original work of authorship".

Re:Thy shall not steal (5, Insightful)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512335)

If you're going to extrapolate, you can't just stop at an arbitrary point.

Ok, so the abolition of copyright has lead to destruction of the music industry. Only the very few art-for-art's sake type musicians still release music.

Is there still a demand for music? Yes? Then there is the potential for a market. Obviously the market won't operate on the basis of selling a single song many times cheaply due to copyright. What would the artist do? Demand money up-front. Instead of working "on-spec", the artist works on commission. Either a rich guy commissions a song/album, or a coalition of moderately wealthy people (fans) pool their money to commission an album. End result: artist gets paid, music gets made.

Such a scheme wouldn't work know - why would any consumer go to that length of trouble when they can go to the CD store and just buy an album for $25? But if the current distribution method died, the commission-based system would become attractive as the only way to get new music. That sort of shift would also have a noticable effect on the end product. In the current model, artists must write to please studios, so they can get in to the global distribution and publicity network the studios offer. In the commission-based model, artists must write to please their fans, or they're not going to get another commission after the first. It would probably also put commercial radio out of business.

As long as there is significant demand for music - and there has been throughout all recorded history - then music will be made. What changes is how, why and how much.

Re:Thy shall not steal (1)

kingkade (584184) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512597)

The original dispute was whether violating copyright was stealing. The extreme scenario was not meant to be a dishonest mechanism to say that you couldn't take it further such as commissioned works as you describe. As an aside, a future where the only music is that commissioned by movie moguls and television producers seems terrible.

Re:Thy shalt not keep the music to thyself (1)

terminalhype (971547) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512601)

kingkade: "Or I can go a different route and argue that you're not stealing something tangible such as a pattern of bits that is a song, but you are stealing a potential customer from the artist to whom they'd be able to sell their song."

Or ANOTHER way of looking at it might be: by sharing a piece of music with a friend, a person might just cause that artist to GAIN a new customer that might never have heard of them otherwise. So sharing just as likely to create a potential customer. The only way you MIGHT be able to "steal" a customer would be to sell them your own music, but even then the word "steal" is a mighty big stretch.

Re:Thy shall not steal (1)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512283)

If not, then why is it considered "stealing" when magnetic bits are manipulated to the same state on hard drives?

Because "unlawful copyright infringement in the Nth degree" is hard for a layman to say?

It's illegal. You can go to jail for it, and will almost certainly be forced to pay actual damages. You might as well complain about why a priest calls aggrivated manslaughter "murder."

Copyright On Origami Cranes (1)

cmholm (69081) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512477)

If someone can copyright musical compositions or words on paper, I suspect I could copyright my particular folding crane, or at least a book illustrating the methodology.

Re:Thy shall not steal (-1, Flamebait)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#16511335)

Fuck off freak.

Re:Thy shall not steal (1)

cortana (588495) | more than 7 years ago | (#16511367)

s/Thy/Thou/

Re:Thy shall not steal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16511821)

Actually it shoule be Thou shalt not steal

Re:Thy shall not steal (1)

Kingrames (858416) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512611)

I have to ask, because I see comments like this everywhere...

what the fuck does that mean? Is that a scripting language? Where can I go to get a secret 1950's decoder ring so I can understand that?

Re:Thy shall not steal (1)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 7 years ago | (#16511527)

Here are some of my bits. Actually, they're Slashdot's, but I'll let you have them. Sue me.

Re:Thy shall not steal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16511553)

Moses will sue you for using words that are not yours.

Re:Thy shall not steal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16511697)

This is the single dumbest argument i've ever seen to justify being a common thief.

It may be illegal to share, but it's not "wrong" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16511639)

If I buy something and want to share it with others out of the kindness of my heart, that's my affair.

Just because it *may* reduce the studio's income (which is debateable, since sharing is also free promotion), this does not automatically make it wrong for people to share what they have bought.

It may be illegal, but that's just a distortion created by the law. It's not *wrong* to share. Mankind has been sharing since the dawn of time, and bloodsucking studios and lawyers and politicians aren't going to change that.

The rules of evolution... (1, Interesting)

GWBasic (900357) | more than 7 years ago | (#16511251)

The rules of evolution (from Darwin) are such that all species eventually split into seperate species. It's arrogant to suppose that humans are immune! Hopefully, we can stick together as one species long enough to populate distant solar systems, and thus let geographic boundaries be the cause of our branches.

Re:The rules of evolution... (3, Informative)

JanneM (7445) | more than 7 years ago | (#16511617)

The rules of evolution (from Darwin) are such that all species eventually split into seperate species.

Huh? Nope. You need some reason for speciation to occur, some form of genetic isolation (which may or may not mean geographical isolation, either is possible) as well as environmental or lifestyle differences large enough to actually push the groups in different directions, for long enough time for the groups not to be able to merge again.

There is nothing inevitable about those conditions arising, and there is nothing that says this will result in two daughter species rather than one surviving group and another that just goes extinct (most niches anywhere are already fully populated after all; if "you" as a group is pushed into a new niche, you're competing with species already very well adapted to exploiting it).

Re:The rules of evolution... (1)

mabinogi (74033) | more than 7 years ago | (#16511645)

Scientific "rules", even the ones we think are the most set in stone come from observation of what actually happened, they don't dictate reality.

So whatever will happen to the human race is whatever will happen to it, 1000 Darwins can't change that.

Not really... (1)

rdwald (831442) | more than 7 years ago | (#16511685)

All species diverge into separate species if some sort of reproductive barrier springs up to prevent two groups of such a species from interbreeding. Examples include the founder effect and natural disasters. Unless you think that the "Proto-Eloi" and "Proto-Morlocks" really will have no interbreeding whatsoever for thousands of years, the two groups won't diverge. In the case of humanity, I would actually argue that we're becoming less diverse. With more people moving from continent to continent in the past five hundred years than at any time in history (except maybe the Bering Strait), there's more inter-racial breeding and humanity is moving towards a center, rather than diverging into different sub-species.

Note: I'm casting no judgment on inter-racial couples; if you really wanted to look at things from a biological standpoint, arguments from hybrid vigor would favor such pairings.

Re:The rules of evolution... (5, Informative)

SpectreHiro (961765) | more than 7 years ago | (#16511691)

The rules of evolution (from Darwin) are such that all species eventually split into seperate species.

Where'd you get that idea?

Darwin's theory was beautiful because it was simple - Those specimens most fit to live in a given environment will prevale over specimens that are less fit for that environment. That's its only claim about the future of a species. We can infer that a species will, through natural selection, become more and more fit for its environment, but that's an inferrence. Mutation is a fickle mistress, and the vast majority of her works fail to produce viable specimens, let alone ones that are more fit than their predecessors.

Splitting isn't a necessity, but it is likely when (and only when) a population is isolated. In the absence of isolation, no speciation occurs since any viable mutations are folded back into the common gene pool. That's one of the many wonders of sexual reproduction. I believe you'll agree that if anything, isolation among human populations has nearly vanished in the past hundred years, and this trend looks (quite) likely to continue as we move into the future.

I'll grant that branching of our species is possible, but for the foreseeable future I think it's unlikely, and it's certainly not a foregone conclusion. If Darwin said otherwise, I'd love to hear about it.

Re:The rules of evolution... (1)

Baddas (243852) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512127)

I think the most likely speciator is distribution between gravity wells.

Once you realize how incredibly hard it is to get across a 1g (or even .38g for mars) gravity well, if you assume that there are going to be three different groups of people, I don't think speciation is out of the question.

The three groups that I would hypothesize are:
"down here"
stuck on the surface in a gravity well of some magnitude and size great enough to be inconvienient, I'd say maybe a Moon-like body or larger
"hanging around"
microgravity environments close enough to a massive body to profit from it, but not be tied to it (orbital earth, mars, venus)
"out there"
Distant colonies, 5+ AU, (asteroids, neptune/saturn, kuiper belt) where the sheer distance of transit becomes a barrier

Stolen name; nice one. (2, Insightful)

topham (32406) | more than 7 years ago | (#16511269)

Debian is being stupid if they use the Iceweasel name knowing the it will be confused with a current, ongoing project.

And you wonder why Mozilla doesn't want them abusing their trademark...

Re:Stolen name; nice one. (1, Insightful)

PsychicX (866028) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512009)

I don't get it. So they forked a project, then decided they didn't want to use the fork and applied the fork's name back to the original?

And they wonder why people are moving away from Debian. God damn.

Re:Stolen name; nice one. (1, Insightful)

Bishop (4500) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512553)

And they wonder why people are moving away from Debian.

The Devs aren't wondering. Most have their heads too far up their asses to notice. Others just don't care.

Re:Stolen name; nice one. (1)

xenocide2 (231786) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512603)

Guess where that project got the name: DEBIAN! But we'll conveniently ignore that part, cuz then there's no clearly right answer. If only they had trademarked the name...

Crapweasel (-1, Troll)

Chanc_Gorkon (94133) | more than 7 years ago | (#16511279)

DFSG Be damned....I'd rather see the Debian folks contributing TO Firefox. This will eventually create a fork. Sure, Iceweasel may be vanilla firefox now, but I would rather see a understanding. Not this weirdness with the logo causing "issues".

Re:Crapweasel (1)

cortana (588495) | more than 7 years ago | (#16511389)

Did you even read the explanation on Mike's blog?

Oh, wait... Slashdot.

Re:Crapweasel (5, Informative)

frogstar_robot (926792) | more than 7 years ago | (#16511453)

For the billionth time, this is more than the logo. Debian had an understanding that let them call the version in their repository "Firefox" if they used a different logo. The mozilla.com people say that isn't good enough anymore. To use the codebase and call it Firefox Debian must:

1. Submit all patches to mozilla.com for approval. This includes security patches.
2. Debian's policy is to stick with a version of a given package for a release and backport security and stability fixes only. Mozilla.com would rather have everyone running the latest version at all times.

Basically, the codebase ceases to be Open Source if any product compiled from it is to be called Firefox. Very few other projects engage in this sort of control freakery and branding. If all Open Source projects behaved as Mozilla does, we'd have a real problem on our hands.

To pin ALL blame for this on Debian shows no understanding of what the issues are.

Re:Crapweasel (2, Informative)

DaveAtFraud (460127) | more than 7 years ago | (#16511907)

2. Debian's policy is to stick with a version of a given package for a release and backport security and stability fixes only. Mozilla.com would rather have everyone running the latest version at all times.
I find it hard to believe that this is a problem. Red Hat has been using the same policy for quite some time:
[root@bend ~]# uname -a
Linux bend.local.davenjudy.org 2.6.17-1.2142_FC4smp #1 SMP Tue Jul 11 22:57:02 EDT 2006 i686 athlon i386 GNU/Linux
[root@bend ~]# rpm -q firefox
firefox-1.0.8-1.1.fc4
Yeah, FC4 just went unsupported but Firefox 1.5 was out for quite a while while FC4 was supported. Security and stability fixes got backported (note that this is 1.0.8-1.1). Same for RHEL 4.3 but Firefox was upgraded to 1.5 as of RHEL 4.4 or I'd have two boxes that were still running a prior release of Firefox. I also expect both Fedora and RHEL to stick with Firefox 1.5 for quite a while after Firefox 2.0 is released.

Cheers,
Dave

Re:Crapweasel (1)

Trogre (513942) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512163)

I find it hard to believe that this is a problem. Red Hat has been using the same policy for quite some time: ...in clear violation of the Mozilla Foundation's policy. The Fedora Project Board might not have a problem with that, but Debian likes to avoid breaking rules where possible.

Re:Crapweasel (2, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512199)

Basically, the codebase ceases to be Open Source if any product compiled from it is to be called Firefox. Very few other projects engage in this sort of control freakery and branding. If all Open Source projects behaved as Mozilla does, we'd have a real problem on our hands.

Not really. Trademark enforcement is separate issue than whether something is open-sourced. See, many open-sourced products have trademarks that they don't want other people using. You think the Debian people would like it if someone else put out something called "Debian Linux" that was not made from the real/authorized Debian packages or codebase? Really, think about it. If I started distributing my own version of "Debian Linux", which was really a rebranded copy of Redhat with spyware installed, don't you think the Debian people would want me to stop using that name?

But if it's open-sourced, no matter what trademark issues there are, you can always take the code and rebrand it. You rebrand it with your own trademarks, which you can then protect or not. But keep in mind that if you don't protect your trademarks, you lose rights to them.

It sounds like they had already forked earlier (2, Insightful)

dbIII (701233) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512243)

If they are developing on an older version it sounds like they have already forked and a dummy spit over a logo has just brought it to a head. Emacs forked over a trivial reason as well - although it took many months to find a new developer to actually do anything with the RMS fork when the existing developer starting including support for stuff like X windows which didn't benefit hurd in any way. Has RMS joined the debian board recently? What changes have their been recently which would make them more into a no compromise position? Remember here that firefox is not a Debian project and I think the mozilla conditions listed above are fine - although it would be nice to be allowed to backport patches I can see why they don't want it done. The above bold type "com" bit above by the previous poster I see as the sort of childish attitude we saw with the emacs split - the impurity of people getting paid to write software that is available to all under the GPL!

Re:Crapweasel (5, Insightful)

dircha (893383) | more than 7 years ago | (#16511751)

Do you even use Debian? When was the last time you contributed? What business should it be of yours that a group of volunteers choose to work together under a shared set of values? None of it, that's what.

If you don't want to allow distributions to make changes to software they redistribute to enhance system integration, user experience, and conform to distribution policies, perhaps you should instead spend your time petitioning the Mozilla project to consider going closed source.

And what is your problem with the DFSGs? They were influential in shaping what the very term Open Source means today.

brin link (1)

headonfire (160408) | more than 7 years ago | (#16511301)

the link to the david brin article be BROKEN. I can't find the link that was intended.

Re:brin link (1)

headonfire (160408) | more than 7 years ago | (#16511345)

Ah, I think the reference was to "Why Johnny Can't Code", from Salon. Link. [salon.com] He's a bit, er, condescending at times towards his audience, but all in all, I like David Brin. Kiln People and Earth are two of my favorite books.

My Own Followup to David Brin's Article (2, Informative)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 7 years ago | (#16511349)

I chose to use a Commodore 64 for educating my own son:

http://akaimbatman.intelligentblogger.com/wordpres s/archives/42 [intelligentblogger.com]

Re:My Own Followup to David Brin's Article (4, Funny)

Cylix (55374) | more than 7 years ago | (#16511519)

I prefer to use the belt.

"Someone's about to get some edumacation!"

Re:My Own Followup to David Brin's Article (1)

benplaut (993145) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512539)

I was given a TRS 80 (in 1995, when they were beasts) and told 'see what you can do with this old peice of junk!'
I'll always have respect for the beasts of the computer age.

LogoWriter (1)

cdogbert (964753) | more than 7 years ago | (#16511429)

I don't know how successful using LogoWriter was, or how many people used it, but it was used in my elementary school. Here's a link [siue.edu] as to what it was, but apparently it's so obscure that there isn't even a wiki page that I could find for it.

Ok so this is slashback so it's not offtopic (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16511459)

When are we going to see the tag cloud that stories are tagged with? Is it possible to make sure that some words are not used when tagging stories? I would bet that the current tag cloud has the words yes, no, fud, notfud, notnotfud as the largest taxonomies. Whilst I'm sure some /.'ers couldn't care about those words being the dominant words they really don't add any substance to a tagged story. How about tagging stories with useful concept-oriented tags and blocking non-substance words like 'no' or 'yes'? Those words should be elaborated on in the comments not as a tag.

The World Trade Organization can strike down a law (2, Informative)

anthony_dipierro (543308) | more than 7 years ago | (#16511481)

As much as I'd appreciate giving the WTO such a power in this particular case, I'm afraid the ability to strike down laws of sovereign nations is far too extreme to allow this organization.

Fortunately, it seems the WTO doesn't actually have this power. They can declare a law in violation of the WTO. They can convince the member nations to implement sanctions against countries which remain in violation. But they don't seem to have the power to "strike down" any laws.

Re:The World Trade Organization can strike down a (3, Interesting)

ranton (36917) | more than 7 years ago | (#16511641)

But they don't seem to have the power to "strike down" any laws.

The only power that anyone ever really has is military power. The only way that the US government can enforce any law on its citizens is to threaten them with force. The only way to actually "strike down" any American law would be to use force against the US government. Or at least threaten to use force.

Because the WTO has no military force, the only thing they can do is put sanctions against the US. It is the same thing that the UN is planning on doing to North Korea. It could still work if they can work up the guts, and I hope they do.

Im an American, but these gambling laws are rediculous. If it takes crippling our own economy to show our rulers that they are out of line then its a small price to pay. If I lose my job I could always become a professional gambler :-)

--

Re:The World Trade Organization can strike down a (1)

tony1343 (910042) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512189)

I think that is a bad analysis. It is true that in the end the only true way to enforce "striking down" a law may be military force. However, the Supreme Court can strike down a federal or state law because of constitutional reasons and it doesn't have an enforcement arm. Its rulings are almost always listened to (some exceptions though) because of the constitutional system and respect in the U.S. The WTO cannot strike down a law for the simple reason that it does not have such authority (as the Supreme Court does in certain cases). Its authority is that given to it by the agreements entered into by countries (GATT and all those Rounds that came after). It has the authority to rule that a law is in violation of the WTO requirements. The losing country will come into compliance, agree to compensate the winner, or if not, the winner will be permitted to retaliate. Hence, by saying it is in violation of international law, one means that it is contrary to an agreement entered by the United States. The agreement sets up consequences for its violation. The law isn't void as against international law though. I would analogize it to saying that the U.S. is simply in breach of its contract (possibly not the best analogy). Also, I believe that WTO panel decision was appealled to the Appellate Body setup by the DSU within the WTO. That decision held that the U.S. essentially could ban online gambling b/c of an exception that allows them to do such things for "public health and moral" (I think that is the quote). However, that defense was rejected b/c the law wasn't applied non-discriminatorily, since it allowed online placing of bets for horse racing. Subsequently, the U.S. changed the law and it is being challeneged once again.

Re:The World Trade Organization can strike down a (2, Interesting)

Teancum (67324) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512627)

The problem with the WTO and American law is that treaties are considered "the supreme law of the land" in the USA. Indeed, if a statutory law conflicts with treaty obligations, the treaty wins out and is what gets enforced by U.S. courts.

In other words, the WTO has real teeth in terms of overruling actions of the U.S. Congress.

About the only thing that the WTO can't do is to override the U.S. Constitution, which in theory trumps even treaties (and a prime factor to consider with copyright treaties, for example). The problem here is that the current members of the U.S. Supreme Court seem very reluctant to even override treaties based on this provision, nor does Congress really fight back hard if they are told "No" by international groups like the WTO.

So there are really two approaches that can be done in this situation:

  1. Withdraw completely from the WTO, as per treaty requirements - This seems incredibly unlikely to happen with the current political makeup of the U.S. Congress, and it is Congress that has to create and pass enabling legislations that would withdraw from the WTO. The President nor SCOTUS can do that.
  2. Pass a Constitutional Ammendment ignoring WTO sanctions - This is even more bizzare than withdrawing from the WTO and is even more unlikely to happen unless it is starting to cost elections by double digit margins on the issue. The process of making a consitutional ammendment is deliberately difficult (2/3rd of Congress + 2/3rd of all state legislatures). And people voting on this stuff tend to vote no simply to maintain the status quo.


In short, this is a big deal in the current American legal system. Hopefully this is going to be something that will be publicized so much that Americans will finally realize how much of their soverignty has been given up to silly groups of "international law experts", answerable to nobody other than themselves. There certainly is no check or balance to allow a group like the U.S. Congress to impeach these WTO judges if they abuse their position, nor any direct citizen involvement in deciding who gets to make these decisions.

Re:The World Trade Organization can strike down a (2, Informative)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 7 years ago | (#16511897)

They can declare a law in violation of the WTO. They can convince the member nations to implement sanctions against countries which remain in violation.
AFAIK, the WTO is there to act as a Judge.

They can only respond to complaints about unfair trading practices, ie they cannot go out & 'declare a law in violation' unless someone comes to them first.

Since that person came to them, the WTO doesn't have to convince anyone. The complaint wouldn't be made if the complainer wasn't seeking relief.

ah, more proof FF and moz is windows (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16511701)

to add to my at least half a dozen rants on this subject...this is down in TF Blog A "I'm not saying the Debian one was perfect, it also had its own problems, but that was a whole lot less than the blatant crap that was the official one, obviously written for Windows without any thoughts for unix, and especially linux distributions." YEP! What I have been saying

I am so glad Debian is forking and I hope it is a REAL fork, a browser FOR LINUX, and did ya see that other little gem, the same with seamonkey, which will be called ICEAPE!

I'm in......

MIKE AT SNC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16511709)

oh look i can use google. michael cavender you suck dick. do some real shit besides googling my nick and pulling my birthdate from your forum.
el_jewapo el_jewapo el_jewapo el_jewapo el_jewapo

WTO and international law (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 7 years ago | (#16511769)

IANAL but if I read my Constitution correctly, if there is a conflict between membership in the WTO and a newer US law, no court outside the US can invalidate the newer US law, not in the same way a US court can declare a law unconstitutional.

What such a court can do is pressure the US to repeal or at least not enforce the law, through sanctions or other means. Until Congress repeals the law, the law is on the books and enforceable.

If the US doesn't like the sanctions, they can withdraw from the WTO treaty.

First we demand the conclusion be true! (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 7 years ago | (#16511925)

Then we fabricate evidence the supports the conclusion. This wishful thinking is really no different than all the other faith based reasoning that is the cause of massive waste and inefficiency in our government, research, and educational ventures. We wish we had perpetual energy. We wish we that a homogeny was sustainable. We wish that there was someone who would answer our prayers and give us houses and cell phones and cool cars. We wish that the world was full of tall blonde pert breasted ubiquitous women.

But then, for the part of the population that is sane and rational, the real world intrudes. We realize that resources are limited, we have to live with others, even if they are different, we have to work for our toys, and, in a world where guys will resort to soft fruit, any person who is not extremely objectionable is fair game, at least long enough to procreate. Combine this with the fact that so many of these characteristics can be had by artificial means, and the artifice may not be detected until the bun is in the oven, and evolution seems to be quite out of play.

Wait a minute... (2, Informative)

Trumpet of Doom (1002887) | more than 7 years ago | (#16511931)

Did anyone notice the link provided for the RIAA case simply discussed the Elektra v. Wilke case, which has already been posted here to /. and is actually the topic of the story "RIAA Drops Case in Chicago," under the related stories? ...or am I the only one here who RTFAs?

(no link, you can click over on your own)

Yeah Yeah GPU Client (1)

code shady (637051) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512045)

That's cool and all, but how about a universal binary folding@home client?
Or at the very least, an intel compatible one. Running F@H under rosetta is barely worth it.

Lamenet? (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512047)

Did anyone else read that as "David Brin's Lamenet" and wonder what kind of lame-ass peer to peer network this was?
 

Re:Lamenet? (1)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512355)

Did anyone else read that as "David Brin's Lamenet" and wonder what kind of lame-ass peer to peer network this was?
LAME Ain't an MP3 Encoder [wikipedia.org] , that's what kind of lame-ass P2P network it is.

WTO beware (1)

Wuhao (471511) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512105)

If the WTO strikes down the anti-gambling law, it will become more powerful than they can possibly imagine.

lol? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16512117)

"My 4 year old nephew and I have been able to get a few simple games programmed with it."

I can't be the only one who laughed his ass out reading this.

kidBASIC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16512259)

Excellent! I always wanted to be a script kiddy! ... I mean now I will be teh 1337 H4x0r!!!

Ice Weasel? (1)

Gerzel (240421) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512453)

What's wrong with Frost Ferret?!

Folding GPU not friendly (1)

rickmus (872230) | more than 7 years ago | (#16512551)

The Folding@Home GPU really hurts my computer's performance - it doesn't play well in terms of idle / background threading, and about a week into it, my computer got to the point where I needed to reboot it to restore functionality. Not sure if it driver leaks, bad implmenation, or what, but not the greatest experience I've ever had.
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