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Sherlock Holmes Finally In the Public Domain In the US

Eivind Eklund Re:Clemens and Copyright (207 comments)

You got an extra zero in there, right? As in 7 years sounds about right?

I know some authors protest that seven years is too long, and the majority of income is made in the first three years and after five it would be advantageous to have the works available in the public domain (but the publishers don't want the competition from previously released works), but I think that varies from author to author, so doing a compromise of seven seems reasonable - we can experiment with shortening it further after having seen what happen when we cut it to seven.

about 9 months ago

An Anonymous US Law Enforcement Officer Claims US Wouldn't Arrest Julian Assange

Eivind Eklund Re:Sure... (399 comments)

Anwar al-Awlaki - intentionally executed without trial.
Samir Khan - unintentionally executed as part of the execution of Anwar al-Awlaki.
Jude Kenan Mohammad - intentionally executed. Had previously been convicted of terrorism conspiracy, but not to a sufficient degree to actually be imprisoned.
Abdulrahman al-Awlaki - 16 year old with no personal involvement in terrorism, but who had a father (Anwar al-Awlaki) who was involved. Robert Gibbs, former White House press secretary, stated that he "should have had a more responsible father." Unclear at what level the execution was a mistake.

Three of the four are arguably "bad guys" - but they should still have gotten a proper trial, so we could determine if they are. The last one doesn't even seem to be a bad guy, just somebody that happened to be born to an unfortunate father.

about 10 months ago

Facebook Comment Prompts Arrests In Cyberbullying Suicide Case

Eivind Eklund Re:And I blame my parents (734 comments)

Now for a side rant. Suicide is a pussy way out.

That's a common meme for people that don't know the psychology of suicide. Suicide generally takes a fair bit of strength of character. The problem is not being "a pussy" or "taking a pussy way out" - it's an unfortunate evaluation, often from wrong premises. A common one is that a bunch of psychological or life situation issues are permanent/long term, while they are usually possible to change. Another is overestimating how much the person is a burden to other people in their lives, and wanting to lighten their load.

about a year ago

Data Center Managers Weary of Whittling Cooling Costs

Eivind Eklund Re:Fuck those companies (198 comments)

What have you and your countrymen done for the world? I'd seriously like to know what country you even come from. For all the stupid shit we americans do, have you ever looked at the amount of financial aid we give to countries that have absolutely no strategic value?

Yes, I have. It's embarrassingly low. A little less than what Greece gives, about half of what Germany gives, about 1/5th of what Sweden gives.

There's some stats over at

The US has a lot of good points. Foreign aid isn't one of them, and neither is consumption patterns.

(Oh, and I live in the US and am originally from Norway, if that makes a difference.)

about a year ago

Ask Slashdot: Would You Accept 'Bitcoin-Ware' Apps?

Eivind Eklund Re:So It's An Indirect Intangible Gamble? (232 comments)

The transaction costs for paying bitcoin are fairly high. I'd need to find somewhere to buy bitcoin (Mt Gox, I presume), find out how to pay with it, probably install some software, etc. So that's a hassle even though I know a bunch about Bitcoin, as I haven't used them before - and hassle is a major part of transaction costs.

If you're looking for more technical transaction costs, they're about $6.59 per transaction at the moment, paid by the entire network through expansion of the monetary base (using today's block payment of 25 bitcoins per block, the rate of one block every ten minutes, yesterday's transaction count of 51923, and this moment's cost of bitcoins of $95) . That transaction cost will drop if the hashing power compared to buying activity goes down.

about a year ago

Ask Slashdot: Would You Accept 'Bitcoin-Ware' Apps?

Eivind Eklund Re:So It's An Indirect Intangible Gamble? (232 comments)

Or the transaction costs of paying money is higher than the transaction costs of paying CPU time.

If I'm installing something, the transaction cost of letting it run a task on my machine is very close to zero. The transaction cost of having to get my credit card, key in the number, verify that the site I'm keying it into isn't too shady, keying in my address, and the risk of having my credit card hit one more site is significantly higher.

about a year ago

HBO Says Game of Thrones Piracy Is "a Compliment"

Eivind Eklund Re:No shit (447 comments)

For 96% of the world's population, there is no access to "Amazon Instant".

And the comment here is that legal access would lead to less piracy. I believe that; I actually buy and rip DVDs or Blurays for everything I watch, but it is an utter pain and I am oh so tempted of going for the much easier route of just pointing my computer at the right torrent files and getting it pre-ripped and quicker. There's so much hassle put in the way of a good experience for those of us that want to stay legit.

about a year and a half ago

Oracle Clings To Java API Copyrights

Eivind Eklund Re:Unix (207 comments)

That's a myth from the BSD community. Absolutely the LAMP stack wasn't the BAMP stack. Possibly you can argue that Linux was ahead in 1994 because of the lawsuit but what about the 18 years since then?

There were niches like embedded where BSD was well established that they lost to Linux. BSD lost to Linux because:

a) They didn't care much about appealing to Windows power users who became the base of Linux. They focused on recruiting from the smaller Unix community.
b) They didn't have the GPL so they never got the industrial cooperation from hardware players that Linux got, contrary to their theories about licensing.
c) Their product is too damn hard to use, even today twenty years later.

That like your opinion, man.

There's a million different ways to argue this, from "Stallman poisioned the well by using propaganda techniques to make people into GPL zealots" to "The Linux community had a structure that was better able to scale development and evangelization". The truth is that there were many different causes, and we'll almost certainly never know how important each was, and how much of this was basically random chance.

I can counterfact some of your hypotheses above, in case you're interested in having a clearer picture, though:

For the "because of the lawsuit" argument, you seem to be arguing against a straw man. The argument was about being on a similar exponential curve, and Linux getting ahead, and the idea of network effects has always been included - ie, Linux got bigger, and because Linux got bigger it got a bunch of advantages that is just because of it being bigger, leading to extra growth for Linux and less growth for BSD. (I think this is a very partial truth, myself, and that there are structural differences that are much more important.)

There was very little focus on recruiting in the BSD community - there was a "put it out there and let them use it if they want to" and recruiting developers from the existing set of BSD users. There was no focus on recruiting from the Unix community - it just happened to that kind of people that discovered BSD.

Your GPL view may be biased by what side you've been following - you may well have seen companies that would contribute to GPLed projects because they would "get protection" - I've been on the opposite side of the fence, and seen a lot of contributions that were from companies that did this because they could have the freedom to do whatever they wanted, and would contribute the parts they wanted to contribute, and would have used a proprietary codebase to work from if they hadn't been able to use BSD licensed code. Overall, it is very hard to estimate which of these effects is larger - what I personally have seen (from watching the BSD community from the inside and the Linux community from the outside) would make me estimate the positive effect of freedom on company contributions to be much larger than the positive effect of restrictions, but people on the opposite side tend to consistently make the opposite estimation.

As for user friendliness: I switched from Linux to BSD back in 1996 because I found BSD easier to use than Linux, almost immediately after install. For many definitions of "ease of use", Linux has now beat BSD - but back then, BSD seemed at least to me to be much easier to deal with.

about a year and a half ago

European Carriers Complain To EU About Anti-Competitive Contracts With Apple

Eivind Eklund Re:Compensation (146 comments)

If I understand the article correctly, the problem isn't that Apple has an overall minimum - it's that Apple is setting a minimum per carrier and using that to force market share, somewhat similar to the per-CPU licensing that Microsoft did in the 90s.

Assuming I understand the implications of the article correctly (and it doesn't spell this out), the Apple trick works somewhat like this:

Carrier X has 100,000 customers, 10,000 of which are super-Apple-fanboys as customers. If they don't get their iPhone, they'll go elsewhere.
There's also another 5,000 customers that will buy the iPhone if Carrier X does a hard sell, but where carrier X would be better served by selling these customers something else (e.g, because the customers would be happier with something else, and that's good advertising.)

Apple will run their numbers and say "Carrier X has 15,000 customers it can make buy the numbers, we will offer them a minimum buy of 15,000 units". If carrier X says no to buying 15,000 units, they're losing 10,000 customers. If carrier X says yes to buying 15,000 units and don't do a hard sell of the iPhone to the 5,000 (e.g, leading them to buy a phone that they'll be more happy with), carrier X is out the cost of 5,000 phones. The only reasonable option for carrier X is to buy the 15,000 units and do hard sell for 5,000 - leading to a worse outcome for those customers (or for the carrier, depending on why the carrier wanting to sell another phone.)

If the number of Apple fanboys was really small, then this wouldn't be an issue - the carrier would just take the loss of those customers. However, if the number is relatively large - and supposedly is - then this is using their (state granted) monopoly on the iPhone directly to extend into a larger market share, which may be against anti-trust laws. Or at least that seems to be the hypothesis. (This is not legal advice, I'm not a lawyer, and even if I was a lawyer I would not be your lawyer.)

about a year and a half ago

By the Numbers: How Google Compute Engine Stacks Up To Amazon EC2

Eivind Eklund Re:A non techy benefit of Amazon (76 comments)

Thanks for this - that means that my information at the very least was out of date.

about a year and a half ago

By the Numbers: How Google Compute Engine Stacks Up To Amazon EC2

Eivind Eklund Re:A non techy benefit of Amazon (76 comments)

I've read somewhere that seemed reliable that Amazon is not using AWS for most of their internal services. Unfortunately, a quick search did not find me the reference for that again. I also assume that this gets less true over time, as some of their services would certainly fit.

about a year and a half ago

'Download This Gun' — 3-D Printed Gun Reliable Up To 600 Rounds

Eivind Eklund Re:The World is not entirely filled with idiots (582 comments)

When I'm in a firefight, the last thing I want is my weapon "harmlessly" disabling it's function.

When you're in a firefight? So this is something that happen to you regularly? Remind me never to be around you, if chance ever comes up.

about a year and a half ago

AT&T: Don't Want a Data Plan for That Smartphone? Too Bad.

Eivind Eklund Re:Too bad. (798 comments)

So you need to split your charges into "Smartphone support tax" and "Data plan", and not bundle them.

about a year and a half ago

The Mathematics of 'Legitimate Rape' and Pregnancy

Eivind Eklund Re:It's okay (1469 comments)

There's a fair amount of evidence around false accusations of rape; rates are estimated from 1.5% to 90%, with the academic consensus supposedly being at 2% to 8%; it's an odd consensus, since almost all researchers seems to come with a higher number, even the ones that only include rapes that have been thoroughly investigated and concluded that nothing happened.

Since you don't mention this at all, it seems that the absence of evidence is the absence of you looking for evidence at all, and this evidence being less pushed in your face than the evidence of rape happening. The unfortunate situation is that while most rapes are not reported to the police, many of the alleged rapes that are reported to the police never happened - in fact, from the way I superficially read the articles I've looked at, it may be that the situation many places is that while most rapes are not reported to the police, most rapes that are reported to the police never happened. This, of course, means that the police has to be diligent in investigating whether an allegation is true or not - and again, that makes it harder for real victims to report :-(

about 2 years ago

John Carmack: Kudos To Valve, But Linux Is Still Not a Viable Gaming Market

Eivind Eklund Re:MSYS (635 comments)

The Windows environment is not set up for easy tools writing; the command line environment there sucks.

In my experience, the MSYS CLI for Windows is close enough to the CLI of GNU/Linux for it not to matter much. (MSYS is a lightweight counterpart to Cygwin designed to complement the MinGW port of GCC.) Plus I can run all the applications and drivers that work with Windows.

To me, that's not particularly interesting - the applications that I want to run work worse on Windows, and there's a bunch of stuff I could in theory buy that probably work nicely, but only if I'm messing around in a GUI. But which is more comfortable has a fair bit to do with what you're most experienced with.

I've not tried MSYS; but cygwin was clearly annoying, and when I last ran Windows for a while (about six to three years ago), I found I still preferred to have a Mac or Unix system at the end.

I suspect PowerShell too might be nice; there's some clean design work done in it. However, the problem (from my point of view) is in the apps - they're not designed to work nicely as building blocks, and when you run five-ten (not to mention five or ten thousand) machines, it gets to be a pain. And there is one special pain point: There is no source code. Anything fails, you have to experiment based on the docs, or, I assume, step into asm. I love being able to mod source code for the things I run, and then run it again with more logging or other changes.

This way to thinking is shared by a lot of people that write their own software, leading to the Unix environment at least attracting those of us that think that way.

Is there more money in selling home PCs to the edge case of "people that write their own software" or to the majority who do not?

I have no delusion that selling home PCs to the Unix market is a sane business model. I'm just communicating what I perceive as problems with working on Windows, and why I am attracted to Unix. It don't even have to be an accurate model of how things work - for once, it should be an adequate answer that that's how I perceive things :-)


more than 2 years ago

What If There Was a Microsoft Appreciation Day?

Eivind Eklund Re:Ready... set... Troll! (362 comments)

As I recall, Microsoft's reasoning was made explicit at least once. MSFT believes that, by supporting issues such as same-sex marriage, it can attract the most talented gay people in the software industry as employees, who may see the company's support of such an issue as a reason to work for MSFT rather than a competitor.

Silly question: shouldn't MSFT be interested in the most talented people in the software industry as employees, PERIOD ?? Software engineering and development doesn't care if you're gay, straight, or even reproduce by fission. . . .

Sure. But software developers care if you're tolerant; and this may be an important point among gay potential employees, and for most straight potential employees supporting same-sex marriage is a minor but positive point. I work for a different top-tier software organization; there's lots of pro-gay-marriage stickers around the office, mostly put up by people I know to be straight. Software developers are rationalists; so there's fewer fundamentalist religious than among the average population, and thus more support of gay marriage.

more than 2 years ago

John Carmack: Kudos To Valve, But Linux Is Still Not a Viable Gaming Market

Eivind Eklund Re:Writing software on Windows (635 comments)

From my perspective: The Windows environment is not set up for easy tools writing; the command line environment there sucks.

The good command line environment on Unix leads to it being easy to write lots of small tools, and everything extending from small and simple through complex. It's made for programmers writing software for programmers. Windows is made for programmers writing software for customers; significant difference.

This way to thinking is shared by a lot of people that write their own software, leading to the Unix environment at least attracting those of us that think that way.

more than 2 years ago

RMS Responds To NPR File-Sharer's Blog

Eivind Eklund Re:It's not confusing anything (634 comments)

You show clearly why it shouldn't be called theft - it leads to confusion in people like yourself.

Copying is not taking. If somebody looks carefully at your hours and builds an identical house to the one you had, you are not deprived of your house.

When my jobless friend copied 17,000 books last year, authors and publishers were not deprived of their books. Neither were they deprived of the income from selling 17,000 copies of books - he could never afford it. They may ultimately be deprived of some purchases of their books (he can afford to do some purchases); but this is through competition. If he use the collection as his only source of reading material, he's unlikely to run out for a long time - so both authors in the collection and out of the collection will be hit. The same as if he used the public library as his only source of reading material. And it is possible he'll get into series or authors and buy more of them from having copied; and possibly even buy more overall. I know that I bought much more music when I started using Napster than I did before, and bought much less music after Napster closed and I stopped having a ton of music at my fingertips.

The situation is complicated, and there is no "taking" - there is only copying, and its positive and negative effects. Collapsing that to "taking" and "theft" is unlikely to lead to a good resolution for anybody.

more than 2 years ago

RMS Responds To NPR File-Sharer's Blog

Eivind Eklund Re:RMS thinks giving other people's shit away is g (634 comments)

Using "stealing" or "theft" to refer to copyright infringement brings over associations from physical theft. This leads to a less clear way of thinking, and my general impression is that *everybody* that misuse the words that way are fuzzy on the actual effects of copyright infringement.

Can you please list a few cases where copyright infringement is of benefit to the copyright holder, to jog in place and clean up your mind?

For your help, I'll start with listing the case where it is directly deterimental: When the infringer does not buy a copy of the original work, but would have bought a copy if (s)he did not have the infringing copy.

more than 2 years ago

RMS Responds To NPR File-Sharer's Blog

Eivind Eklund Re:RMS thinks giving other people's shit away is g (634 comments)

RMS would agree with most of what you say. The musician Alice can take $2 for giving a copy to Bob - the question is if the musician ethically can ask society use violence[1] to enforce that Bob cannot give a copy to Carol.

RMS would, as far as I've understood him, say that it is never appropriate for society to use violence for this.

You seem to say that it is more or less generally appropriate.

I consider it to be appropriate if Alice is engaged in large scale copying for profit, but consider the collateral damage from using violence in cases of private copying to be too high. In economic-speak, the transaction cost for getting justice through the justice system is so high that having this be an offense leads to people that are accused paying a "settlement" even if they're innocent. I would also have to - the standard settlement is less costly than the risk of having the system fail.

I also consider private copying to be unlikely to be possible to regulate. It is fairly simple to do piracy securely; and over time, it will only get easier. In ten to thirty years, every teenager will have a digital copy of every song, book and movie ever made - if necessary, they'll just copy hard drive to hard drive (or SSD to SSD) when they meet up.

And the problem in regulating this is that it don't fit with people's feeling of justice. There is no harm in making a copy of something. The harm is in not buying something - but we don't try to regulate away "not buying", we try to punish copying.


[1] Including monetary confiscation, which is based in violence or the threat of violence; without the government's monopoly on the use of violence, this could not be done through the courts.

more than 2 years ago



Eivind Eklund Eivind Eklund writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Eek writes "All Hail Eris! Robert Anton Wilson, author of The Illuminatus! Trilogy, editor of The MIT Encyclopedia of the Cognitive Sciences (MITECS), well known philosopher, and overall weird guy, has passed away. His last words to the world were "Various medical authorities swarm in and out of here predicting I have between two days and two months to live. I think they are guessing. I remain cheerful and unimpressed. I look forward without dogmatic optimism but without dread. I love you all and I deeply implore you to keep the lasagna flying.""



Nice signature!

Eivind Eklund Eivind Eklund writes  |  more than 9 years ago > These are breasts; this is source code.
> Why do you have a problem with those two things belonging to one person?

I love this signature - it nciely twahps my prejudices. Though I've got female friends that are programmers (including some that are very good programmers), I always get surprised[1] when a new techie reveals herself to be female.


[1] It is a positive surprise, though. I think getting closer to gender parity in computing is a very good thing.

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