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Bill Gates Promotes Vaccine Projects, Swipes At Google

DragonWriter Re:Idea (481 comments)

> I've been here to long to be any kind of fan of Bill, but I do admire his focus on charity that makes a concrete difference to people with real and immediate problems.

Access to communication networks helps address lots of real and immediate problems.

> Lets not get so obsessed with "first world problems" that we forget that millions still die of easily curable and preventable conditions.

Let's not get so obsessed with narrow, paternalistic solutions that we don't direct efforts toward things that empower people by giving them access to resources/tool that they can use to address their own concerns, like microcredit-fueled economic development or improved communication infrastructure.

about 8 months ago
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Github Finally Agrees Public Repos Should Have Explicit Licenses

DragonWriter Re:GPLv3, section 6 (120 comments)

> That section says that if you give someone a device with software that's supposed to come with the freedom to run, study, modify, and redistribute, then you can't prevent them from modifying the software on that device and running it

Well, no. It says that a product sold in a certain market that comes with GPL-licensed software must come with the tools to enable running modified software on the device.

> Where's the controversy?

"Controversy" wasn't an issue. "Anti-business" was. And that restriction is anti-business.

> GPLv3 didn't create the problem of locked down devices.

No, it just adopted a mind-bogglingly stupid approach to addressing them. It doesn't require certain features in certain markets for software integrated with GPL software, it requires legal freedoms and availability of the preferred form for making modifications, without regard to markets.It could have taken an open-hardware approach for hardware integrated with GPL software, which would have been sane and connected to software freedom, but instead it adopted a system of market-based restrictions on features, which isn't just anti-business (as, to an extent, any mechanism of preventing the continuation of an emerging business model is likely to be), but also anti-software-freedom, as it constrains the utility of GPL-licensed software for particular uses.

about 9 months ago
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Github Finally Agrees Public Repos Should Have Explicit Licenses

DragonWriter Re:"regrettably" (120 comments)

I don't think anything that allows downstream licensees to relicense freely subject to only a third-party actor and not the licensor should be the default. Other than the FSF, no one benefits from that.

about 9 months ago
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VLC For iOS Returns On July 19, Rewritten and Fully Open-Sourced

DragonWriter Re:Gratuitous license are revocable (203 comments)

> Under which country's law?

The United States (I think this is a common law principle of licenses not specific to copyright, so it may apply in other common law jurisdictions, to the extent that copyright licenses have not subsequently been excepted from the general principle.)

> In most places, I'd expect promissory estoppel to apply.

Promissory estoppel is, as I understand it, limited; generally, it restricts the ability of a party to seek remedies from another party where the second parties action was taken in foreseeable reliance on a promise of the first party to the extent necessary to prevent injustice, it might to an extent, and for a period, mitigate the effect of revocation of a gratuitous license. I've never heard of a case of it being held to make a gratuitous license permanent in the face of the licensor acting to revoke it,

about 9 months ago
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VLC For iOS Returns On July 19, Rewritten and Fully Open-Sourced

DragonWriter Gratuitous license are revocable (203 comments)

> As a copyright holder you can only request that the app is removed if distributing it violates the license under which you contributed.

Or if you contributed it under a gratuitous license rather than a contracted-for license, since gratuitous licenses are revocable at will.

about 9 months ago
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Scientists Silence Extra Chromosome In Down Syndrome Cells

DragonWriter Re:Practicality? (230 comments)

> In America, about 90% of diagnosed DS fetuses are aborted. That is an interesting percentage, since polls indicate that more that 20% of Americans think abortion should be illegal under all circumstances. At least half of those people are apparently hypocrites

That doesn't follow. There are about 6000 down syndrome births per year, or about 60,000 DS fetuses given your 90% abortion rate, so about 0.02% of Americans give have down syndrome pregnancies each year. Its quite possible for all the people that have ever had a down syndrome pregnancy to fit well within the 80% of Americans who don't think abortion should be illegal under all circumstances.

about 9 months ago
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Generic TLDs Threaten Name Collisions and Information Leakage

DragonWriter Re:Why not use real domains instead? (115 comments)

> Have you ever worked for IBM or any other big corporation? You will have to go through 7 levels of approval, impact analysis, cost analysis, get about 50 people involved etc. and wait several months

I can't understand why big organizations can't delegate responsibility for subdomains so that this isn't a problem. Once an internal unit of Example Corp (example.com) is goes through the internal hoops to get foo.example.com subdomain, they ought to handle the process when someone wants bar.foo.example.com.

about 9 months ago
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Github Finally Agrees Public Repos Should Have Explicit Licenses

DragonWriter Misleading on substance of MAI Systems v. Peak (120 comments)

This is a misleading statement of the holding in MAI Systems v. Peak Computer; at the time, US software law already had an exception for the owner of a copy of a copyright-protected work making a copy as necessary to use the work (as is the case with making a copy to RAM from storage), which was put in place specifically because this kind of thing was clearly viewed as copying before MAI Systems even if it had never been an issue in a case; the real substantive issue with regard to copyright law was that Peak was *not* the owner of the copies in the machines storage, since it was a third-party repair/maintenance firm. (And, a new exception was created specifically to address this case in response to the MAI Systems v. Peak ruling.)

about 9 months ago
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Github Finally Agrees Public Repos Should Have Explicit Licenses

DragonWriter Re:No, you can't use it. (120 comments)

> Copyright is about distribution.

No, its about copying (which is why its called "copyright" and not "distributionright".)

about 9 months ago
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Github Finally Agrees Public Repos Should Have Explicit Licenses

DragonWriter Re:Why copyleft is important, and LLVM helps Apple (120 comments)

> What part of GPLv3 is anti-business?

The market-based restrictions on hardware products are anti-business (except in the B2B market that they exclude from the restrictions.)

about 9 months ago
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Github Finally Agrees Public Repos Should Have Explicit Licenses

DragonWriter "regrettably" (120 comments)

> but regrettably encourages the use of the GPLv2 (without the "or later version" clause)

The GPLv2 is a much simpler and easier-to-understand license without the market/use-based restrictions of the GPLv3, and the "or later version" clause allows other people to relicense your code with you having no control of the terms (it basically involves trusting whoever ends up running the FSF for the remainder of the copyright term of your code,

So, I don't think that encouraging the GPLv2 without the "or later version" clause is in any way regrettable.

about 9 months ago
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Microsoft To Add Ads To Smart Search

DragonWriter Re:Just copying. (169 comments)

Also, didn't Ubuntu add an option to opt-out of the advertising after the backlash?

No, the search provider that sent queries to Amazon and included Amazon product listings in the desktop search was always a separate package that could be disabled (and which, IIRC, has a very clear name and description), when people raised issues about it, Ubuntu provided information on how to disable it, but it wasn't a new option, it was there from day one.

about 10 months ago
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Microsoft To Add Ads To Smart Search

DragonWriter Re:Douchebags! (169 comments)

The difference between MS and Ubuntu here is that:
1) MS expects me to pay money for a license and then pay again by being subject to ads, and
2) Ubuntu gives me the OS for free, and lets me turn off the ads (or, even better, just install Kubuntu, which doesn't have the ads and works better.)

about 10 months ago
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Firefox Takes the Performance Crown From Chrome

DragonWriter Re:unfortunately, neither work (326 comments)

Did anyone notice that Chrome has never been able to draw webpages correctly or basically use flash at all

No.

In fact, I've noticed quite the opposite on both of those points.

about 10 months ago
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Firefox Takes the Performance Crown From Chrome

DragonWriter Re:Sadly, no ... (326 comments)

and Firefox continues to be the only browser that supports extensions

Firefox may support a more robust extension model than other browsers, but it certainly isn't the only browser that supports extensions.

about 10 months ago
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Employers Switching From Payroll Checks To Prepaid Cards With Fees

DragonWriter Re:How is this legal? (1103 comments)

Besides, isn't this a form of a Truck System [wikipedia.org]? Which is illegal in many countries, but apparently not in the US.

In most US jurisdictions (while there are federal labor laws, most labor law is state law) a simple truck/scrip system would illegal, but this seems to be designed to skirt around the provisions in the laws which are designed to prohibit such systems. (Particularly, its structured as a deposit into an account with a banking institution that the employee agrees to use.)

So, it probably is technically legal -- or at least close enough to the boundary that those employing it might not unreasonably believe they can get away with it -- in some US jurisdictions, but not because those jurisdictions haven't prohibited truck systems, but because this is a new way of structure employment to have the effects of a truck system without the structural elements that have been prohibited because of past abuses.

about 10 months ago
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Employers Switching From Payroll Checks To Prepaid Cards With Fees

DragonWriter Re:How is this legal? (1103 comments)

I don't understand how this can be legal - fees for withdrawals is basically a pay cut.

In the absense of applicable laws governing the mechanism of payment, the fact that a mechanism of payment results in certain fees for the employee if they choose to use their pay in certain ways isn't illegal. OTOH, I'd expect that most jurisdictions inthe US have adopted some laws that might apply to this, given the former prevalanc eof the extreme form of this -- payment in company scrip only redeemable at face value in the company store (which had heavy markups) and, if redeemable for cash at all, only at a significant discount. (It might be noted that Wal*Mart was recently, in 2008, forced by the Mexican Supreme Court to stop employing that "extreme form" in Mexico, so its pretty clear that if there weren't barriers in the US to the extreme form, we'd still see it.)

At the same time, I suspect this new form is deliberately designed in light of existing laws, though it may well be designed to push them right to the edge and get away with as much as possible (with some risk of getting struck down) rather than being designed to be legally safe for employers.

about 10 months ago
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U.S. Army Block Access To The Guardian's Website Over NSA Leaks

DragonWriter Re: A real distinction, which they're bungling (331 comments)

There have been an ongoing series of Guardian articles that cover much more than what the President addressed in his comments.

Right, but blocking the Guardian isn't acknowledging everything that the Guardian says is true, its acknowledging that there is some classified information there. Which has already been publicly acknowledged by the President and DNI.

about 10 months ago
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Google Adds Microsoft Word, Excel Editing To Latest Chrome OS Build

DragonWriter Re:Not just for the web anymore (72 comments)

Umm, you're aware this is about Chrome OS the operating system, not the web browser, right?

Actually, its about a Native Client extension for the Chrome browser that is currently only available for (and bundled with) the dev channel of Chrome OS.

about 10 months ago

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