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Larry Rosen: A Case Study In Understanding (and Enforcing) the GPL

DrJimbo The code was available under a commercial license (191 comments)

Versata chose to steal the code instead of licensing it under the commercial license or the GPL. Just because the GPL allowed the thieves to legally look at the code or use it unmodified does not magically transform this into a nightmare scenario. They are not being forced to either abandon their project or release their own code. They could just buy the commercial license like any responsible grownup would do.

The claim that this is a GPL nightmare scenario is just a stupid lawyer trick to try to fool people into blaming the victim instead of the unscrupulous bastards who stole the code and who still refuse to pay for it even after they were caught red-handed.

Think for a moment what would happen if the unscrupulous bastards prevail. The implications go far beyond the GPL. Imagine you let me see your commercial code without authorizing me to use it or copy it, perhaps through an NDA. Then I steal your code and put it in my products which I sell to a bunch of people. I get caught red handed and I still refuse to pay. Instead I hire a sleaze-ball lawyer who claims this is a nightmare scenario for commercial software licenses and NDAs. If the UBs win here, my lawyer's job becomes much easier because she can use this case as precedent. ISTM a win by the UBs would create a world where simply letting someone see your code dissolves any rights you have to that code.

about a week ago
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More Quantum Strangeness: Particles Separated From Their Properties

DrJimbo Re:Limits of Measurement (144 comments)

In addition to what DamnOregonian said, there is another problem with this quest to know what is ACTUALLY happening. For almost all people who voice this desire, "what is ACTUALLY happening" means a model That matches their intuition based on the non-relativistic 3+1 dimensional, classical world of their senses. This ain't gonna happen.

Maybe you misunderstand what the models in theoretical physics actually do. You say we will never understand the models well enough to make accurate predictions. While this may be true of some string theories, but that is a recent phenomenon and a strong deviation from the past. In general physics theories must make disprovable predictions or they are not taken seriously -- they are not physics, just metaphysics.

Whether you like it or not, the underlying theories of the Universe do not match our classical, non-relativistic intuition. But we can still model what happens and make predictions with these models. And people do develop intuitions based on these extremely non-classical models. Almost all progress in physics and math is based on a combination of intuition and turning a crank on complicated mathematical formalisms. Intuition is used for leaping ahead to a possible conclusion which is followed by the grunt work of turning the crank to make sure the intuitive leap was correct. Intuitive leaps are not always correct.

about three weeks ago
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More Quantum Strangeness: Particles Separated From Their Properties

DrJimbo Re:Limits of Measurement (144 comments)

I understand the mathematics involved in Fourier analysis, but that is the mathematics -- is the electron ACTUALLY doing that, or was that simply a mathematical/logical proof that correlates highly with what we see?

ISTM your question is meaningless. The best we have to offer on what the electron is ACTUALLY doing is with mathematics that correlates highly with what we see. I don't know what it means for there to be an actuality beyond that.

Even your question/remarks on the "correct conceptual framework" seems to miss the mark. The best we have there is the simplest mathematics that correlates highly with what we see.

All of this mathematical physics has its root in formulas that were derived based on data collected in labs, ..

Actually, a very big part of the theory is predicting new and unexpected results that have not been seen in the lab yet. Another big part is when the same mathematics can describe different phenomenon that were previously thought to be unrelated. Lee Smolin provides an excellent description of how this all works in his book The Trouble with Physics. I highly recommend it.

about three weeks ago
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Researchers Test Developer Biometrics To Predict Buggy Code

DrJimbo 64.99%, 84.38%, Really? (89 comments)

They tested 16 developers and gave statistics with four significant figures. I think you would need to test at least 100,000,000 developers to get such precise measurements. Who do they think they are? Dr. Spock on Star Trek?

about a month ago
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DARPA Successfully Demonstrates Self-Guiding Bullets

DrJimbo Re:We are winning! (188 comments)

In a society that's so fucked up, people will inevitably turn to radical ideologies that blame all their troubles on external enemies.

So true.

about a month ago
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Meet the Muslim-American Leaders the FBI and NSA Have Been Spying On

DrJimbo Re:Probable cause (223 comments)

After Ghandi got control of India he ordered _many_ killings in the future 'Pakistan' and 'Bangladesh'. Non violence is for when you don't have the power.

You mean when he personally visited the riot-prone areas to stop the massacres:

Gandhi suggested an agreement which required the Congress and Muslim League to cooperate and attain independence under a provisional government, thereafter, the question of partition could be resolved by a plebiscite in the districts with a Muslim majority. When Jinnah called for Direct Action, on 16 August 1946, Gandhi was infuriated and personally visited the most riot-prone areas to stop the massacres. He made strong efforts to unite the Indian Hindus, Muslims, and Christians and struggled for the emancipation of the "untouchables" in Hindu society.

Read the reasons given for his assassination:

Godse felt that it was Gandhi's fast (announced in the second week of January) which had forced the cabinet to reverse it's earlier recent decision not to give the cash balance of Rs. 55 crores to Pakistan on 13 January 1948.

[...] He also felt that Gandhi had not protested against these atrocities being suffered in Pakistan and instead resorted to fasts.

[...] In Godse's own words during his final deposition in the court during the trial, "...it was not so much the Gandhian Ahimsa teachings that were opposed to by me and my group, but Gandhiji, while advocating his views, always showed or evinced a bias for Muslims, prejudicial and detrimental to the Hindu Community and its interests.

If Gandhi had been ordering murders in addition to his fasts and prayers and actions to stop them, I would imagine this would have been added to the list of reasons given for his assassination.

about a month and a half ago
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Microsoft Takes Down No-IP.com Domains

DrJimbo Re:Sue them for all they're worth (495 comments)

but it's a company against company now.

That is an inherent feature of feudalism. The result has nothing to do with justice or fairness, just who is stronger and it makes no difference what happens to peasants caught in the crossfire.

about a month and a half ago
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Microsoft Takes Down No-IP.com Domains

DrJimbo Re:Sue them for all they're worth (495 comments)

Lawsuits should be flying in all directions.

Are you suggesting they sue the court? Good luck with that. ISTM the fundamental problem is that the US courts have become the corporations bitches. Who are you going to sue and where are you going to sue them?

The book Econned explains how people with a far right economic agenda have been stacking the US courts for years. The result is what you see, basically a feudal systems where corporations are treated like lords and everyone else is a serf.

about a month and a half ago
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Mass. Supreme Court Says Defendant Can Be Compelled To Decrypt Data

DrJimbo Re:Important Caveat (560 comments)

What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away.

about 2 months ago
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The Supreme Court Doesn't Understand Software

DrJimbo Re:bad logic (263 comments)

... computers most definitely can project themselves into the physical world. To the extent this is true, software should be considered as patentable as any other complex items which physically exist.

That argument is obvious nonsense. The problem is that the same software can run on lots of different hardware. Are you suggesting someone would need a separate patent for each possible hardware the software could run on? I don't think so. You want one patent to cover all possible hardware implementions. That is clearly patenting an idea, not a device/implementation.

[...] when encryption algorithms first came out, [...] they should have been eligible, since they took a non-trivial amount of effort to develop and had a number of practical uses.

Those are not good reasons for granting patents. A lot of effort goes into making many useful things but the effort and the usefulness do not make those things patent-eligible.

about a month ago
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US Supreme Court Invalidates Patent For Being Software Patent

DrJimbo Re:I'm really missing Groklaw (220 comments)

For example, in the fine article you linked to, Gene Quinn says:

Software can be described by reference to a series of physical actions operating through gates. This type of micro level description of what happens is going to be required, [...]

This is BS. Software that can run on different architectures cannot be described in terms of the physical hardware the software runs on. At best the patent that resulted would only be valid on the specific hardware that was described. I grant you, Microsoft (IIRC) did argue this nonsense successfully in a courtroom once but just because they were able to buffalo some lawyers and judges, that doesn't make it true.

about 2 months ago
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US Supreme Court Invalidates Patent For Being Software Patent

DrJimbo Re:I'm really missing Groklaw (220 comments)

Gene Quinn? Yes, an excellent reminder of how much we need PJ to cut through the BS for us. Thank you.

about 2 months ago
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US Supreme Court Invalidates Patent For Being Software Patent

DrJimbo I'm really missing Groklaw (220 comments)

We need someone who is familiar with the law to explain this to us techies. PJ we need you!

about 2 months ago
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Fixing the Humanities Ph.D.

DrJimbo unlikely to find a tenure-track job (325 comments)

It is normal for it to be "unlikely to find a tenure-track job". It would be extremely unusual for it to be otherwise unless students in general embarked on a policy of assassinating at least one professor after getting their doctorate.

about 2 months ago
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The Singularity Is Sci-Fi's Faith-Based Initiative

DrJimbo Re:Sentient machines exist (339 comments)

From the article you linked to:

[...] "the Chinese Room argument has probably been the most widely discussed philosophical argument in cognitive science to appear in the past 25 years".

Most of the discussion consists of attempts to refute it. "The overwhelming majority," notes BBS editor Stevan Harnad, "still think that the Chinese Room Argument is dead wrong."

[...] The Chinese room argument is primarily an argument in the philosophy of mind, and both major computer scientists and artificial intelligence researchers consider it irrelevant to their fields.

Even if it were not so controversial, Searle's argument does even come close to proving the creation of sentient machines is impossible. We do not yet know if it is possible or not. The GP makes a good argument that it might be possible but certainly doesn't prove it. As many others have said before, the Chinese room argument is not pertinent to the discussion of what is possible with AI.

about 3 months ago
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Why Snowden Did Right

DrJimbo Re:But that's not all Snowden did... (348 comments)

But doing a massive document dump that included things the NSA is *supposed* to do [...]

This was a lie when it was said about Chelsea Manning and it is a lie when it is said about Edward Snowden. Neither one of them did a "massive document dump" although they both had the opportunity. Instead, they did the responsible thing and disclosed what they found to news organizations to let the news organizations decide what was safe to publish and what wasn't.

If the only way you can support your world-view is with outright lies, perhaps you need to reconsider your world-view. Of course, those who most need to reconsider almost never do.

about 3 months ago
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Robbery Suspect Tracked By GPS and Killed

DrJimbo Re:ANOTHER DEAD BODY! SWEET JUSTICE! (450 comments)

You could get statistics by scrapping this page list of British police officers killed in the line of duty. I think it is roughly 71/248 or about 30%. I would not be surprised if the GP was correct and the percentage of British police officers killed by guns is greater than the percentage of US police officers. This could be due to the fact that British police don't have guns.

But the percentages are terribly misleading if you don't look at the absolute numbers or per capita numbers. In the US, 500 people per year are killed by the police while in Britain only 30 people total have been killed by the police (up until 2005). Since Britain has 1/5th the population of the US, the total (over all years) per capita number of people killed in Britain by police is less than 1/3rd of the per capita killed in the US every year.

Over 100 US police officers are killed in the line of duty each year while according to the page linked to above, the number of British police officers killed in the line of duty is 2 per year (this century). So on a per capita basis ten times as many US police officers get killed on duty than British police officers. If, as the GP states, roughly 30% of US police deaths on duty are due to firearms then it is 10 times more likely for a person in the US to gun down a police officer than someone in Britain.

Whatever the exact numbers are, it is clear that the amount of police related gun violence in Britain is drastically lower than police related gun violence in the US on a per capita basis.

about 3 months ago
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Court: Oracle Entitled To Copyright Protection Over Some Parts of Java

DrJimbo Re:lesson to be learnt (303 comments)

If all you want to do is use Java, or implement a compatible version, the license is good and you will have no problem.

This is completely false. Oracle changed the rules around for what it means to be "compatible" so that only projects that Oracle likes will be deemed compatible. Apache is being forced into a Java Fork:

The problem's core is that first Sun, and now Oracle, won't give Apache a chance to certify Apache's Project Harmony as being Java Platform, Standard Edition (Java SE) compliant.

Apache: I know my rights. I want my compatibility certification!

Oracle: How can you get a certification if you can't take the test?

about 3 months ago
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The Koch Brothers Attack On Solar Energy

DrJimbo Re:being against subsidies.... (769 comments)

Bullshit, in this they are against stupid laws trying to handwave the economic reality because "hurrr durrr green energy!!".

You are so far off base, you are on the wrong planet. The Koch bros are about screw the planet, screw everyone else, even screw themselves for a little short-sighted short-term monetary profit.

There are certain harsh economic realities that unfettered markets do not deal with correctly. Generating energy from coal has great negative externalities. IOW, the Koch bros are not paying for the cost of dealing with all the pollution their plants generate.

Another thing unfettered markets don't deal with correctly is limited resources. Those resources might be fossil fuels in the ground or the capacity of the atmosphere to hold carbon emissions without disastrous effects on the human race. If the wisest policy involves not using up these resources as fast as possible then unfettered markets don't do the right thing.

Even if we accept your unstated assumption that the subsidies of the fossil fuel industries do not dwarf those of renewables, it still makes sense to subsidize renewables. Partly due to the current subsidies, the cost of renewables is dropping. It is in the best interest of the human race to switch over to renewables before we run out of non-renewables and before the waste products of non-renewables make the planet uninhabitable.

Blind faith in the infallibility of markets is part and parcel of the greed is good mentality that continues to wreak havoc on our economy and on our social stability. These are the harsh economic realities the Koch bros are ignoring.

about 4 months ago
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HealthCare.gov Back-End Status: See You In September

DrJimbo Re:Healthcare.gov is really big deal. (251 comments)

a premium that went from $119 to $276 - a 231% increase in premiums

By your logic, a premium that went up by 1% from $100 to $101 would be a 101% increase.

about 4 months ago

Submissions

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Level Rises after TEPCO Pumps Out Radioacti

DrJimbo DrJimbo writes  |  more than 3 years ago

DrJimbo (594231) writes "Kyodo News is reporting that the water level in the tunnel near the turbine building for reactor No. 2 rose 4.5 cm and is now only 1.5 cm lower than it was before they pumped out 600 tons of highly radioactive water. A NISA spokesman said 'As there is believed to be around 20,000 tons of water (in the No. 2 reactor turbine building and the trench connected to it), we're feeling the difficulty of lowering the level of the water in a stable manner.' They want to pump out the tunnels before the turbine buildings to prevent more water from leaking into the ocean. The water in the No. 2 turbine building and tunnel is ten times more radioactive than the water in turbine building No. 3 that burned three workers."
Link to Original Source
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Severity of Fukushima accident to be raised?

DrJimbo DrJimbo writes  |  more than 3 years ago

DrJimbo (594231) writes " The Japan Times Online is reporting that "the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant had been releasing up to 10,000 terabecquerels [1 x 10^16 Bq] of radioactive materials per hour at some point [for several hours]". According to my calculations, this is six orders of magnitude higher than the numbers released regarding the radioactivity flowing into the ocean from the pit near reactor #2. Perhaps there was a mistake somewhere.

To put this into perspective, the Chernobyl accident released 1.4 x 10^19 Bq. So if the numbers from the article are to be believed then Fukushima was releasing almost 0.1% of Chernobyl's release per hour."

Link to Original Source
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IP Laws are blocking innovation

DrJimbo DrJimbo writes  |  more than 3 years ago

DrJimbo (594231) writes "The White House is asking us to give them ideas on what is blocking innovation in America. I thought I'd give them an honest answer. Here it is:

Current intellectual property laws are blocking innovation.

President Obama just set a goal of wireless access for everyone in the US, saying it will spark innovation. But that's only true if people are allowed to actually do innovative things once they are online.

You have to choose. You can prop up old business models with overbearing intellectual property laws that hit innovators on the head whenever they stick their heads up from the ground; OR you can have innovation. You can't have both. And right now, the balance is away from innovation"

Link to Original Source

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Netflix down since Tuesday

DrJimbo DrJimbo writes  |  about 6 years ago

DrJimbo (594231) writes "Reuters reports "Netflix shipped no DVDs on Tuesday. It shipped some on Wednesday but has shipped none so far on Thursday". Netflix sent me an email saying:

Our shipping system is unexpectedly down. We received a DVD back from you and should have shipped you a DVD, but we likely have not. Our goal is to ship DVDs as soon as possible, and we will keep you posted on the status of your DVD shipments.

We are sorry for any inconvenience this has caused. If your DVD shipment is delayed, we will be issuing a credit to your account in the next few days. You don't need to do anything. The credit will be automatically applied to your next billing statement.

I received a DVD that was shipped Monday but that's the last one I've gotten. The said they expect to ship the next DVD to me on Friday."

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HuffPo Headline Accuses Obama of Cybercrime

DrJimbo DrJimbo writes  |  more than 6 years ago

DrJimbo (594231) writes "The Huffington Post is running a story with the misleading headline How Did Obama Hijack Clinton's Web Site?. When you read the story you find out that the author is referring to Google ads the Obama campaign bought. They had already covered the ads with two previous stories. I informed the author of his mistake, explaining that "web site hijacking" refers to illegally breaking into a computer to alter a Web site. His response was "Lighten up. This is what bugs me about the kool aid set. You see everything in black and white." I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt that his original mistake was due to cluelessness instead of malice but I think it is illegal to knowingly and falsely accuse even a public figure of a serious crime. Is this legal? If it is legal, is it appropriate for a site that delivers political news?"
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New Hope for Jackson Hobbit Film?

DrJimbo DrJimbo writes  |  more than 6 years ago

DrJimbo (594231) writes "Almost just in time for the 70th Anniversary of the Hobbit (published September 21, 1937) Entertainment Weekly has a 5-page article on a possible reconciliation between Peter Jackson and New Line Cinema that may pave the way for the director of the Lord of the Rings trilogy to return and helm the filming of The Hobbit (New Line controls the film rights). It was previously reported here that Jackson would not be making the Hobbit film. The EW article says that Jackson wants to make two films: first the Hobbit in its entirety and then another film that bridges the roughly 60 years between the end of the Hobbit and the start of the Lord of the Rings. Unfortunately Jackson already has a lot on his plate with filming of The Lovely Bones scheduled to start this month and a live action Tintin film in the works."
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SFLC issues analysis of BSD + GPL licensing

DrJimbo DrJimbo writes  |  more than 6 years ago

DrJimbo (594231) writes "From the news-for-nerds-stuff-that-matters dept.

As reported by Groklaw, the SFLC has released their analysis of the recent BSD + GPL licensing kurfuffle. They have also issued guidelines for using BSD licensed code in GPL projects. Contrary to the views of many Slashdotters, they think it is important to keep the more permissive licenses intact when BSD code is used in GPL projects. They also suggest we avoid dual licensing and BSD + GPL code when possible. This is a must-read for anyone who wants to use BSD code in a GPL project."
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DrJimbo DrJimbo writes  |  more than 7 years ago

DrJimbo (594231) writes "Starting last night, I couldn't access my Earthlink pop server. This morning, not only was the pop server down (unknown host), all of Earthlink's servers were unknown. I was only able to get to their customer support phone number via Google cache. I called them and got right through (probably because most other customers were also having trouble getting the phone number with all their servers down). They verified that they were having major problems with their email servers and asked me to wait patiently for 24 hours while they try to get it fixed."
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DrJimbo DrJimbo writes  |  more than 7 years ago

DrJimbo (594231) writes "For example if I click on "Deceived by who?" I get taken to the comment above it called "Like a dog chasing its own tail".

I also noticed that the hilighting is borked in the same way. I'm using Konqueror 3.5.5.

I did spend a little time looking for a "contact us" page or "report problems" page but this was the the only thing I could find that let me submit information to you."

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