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Firefox 30 Available, Firebug 2.0 Released

NickFortune Re:Release early, release often (270 comments)

Is it really the release cycle, or is it that you feel that Firefox isn't listening to its customers.

Oh, it's the customers, definitely. Actually, can we say "users" rather than "customers?" Otherwise we get into the whole basis of the customers being advertisers and buyers of profiling data and the users being the "product". I couldn't care less about the "customers" by that definition. But I think they could usefully listen to their users rather more than they do.

And who are the customers, really? The extension developers, or the people that use it on a daily basis to surf the web?

That's an easy one. The customers are me. I mean, I'm not the only user (or ex-user really, although all my machines aren't quite switched over yet). Anyway, I'm not the only user they had, but I'm the main one that I'm prepared to get annoyed about. Of course, if it was just me, I'd probably have moved to (say) Pale Moon and forgotten about it. But there do seem to be an awful lot of Mozilla users who share my disappointment with the project overall.

In my opinion, the customers are the people who browse the web.

Can't fault you there, mate.

And if I look at it as that kind of customer, I am quite happy with Firefox and its release schedule.

Whoa, whoa, whoa! If the important thing is the users, then what does the release schedule have to do with anything? Much less your personal opinion of the release schedule. I mean I can see "happy with the release schedule, irrelevant as it may be" but you kind of lost me on the "happy with Firefox" bit. As if that followed automatically from the definition of "customers". And the way you made it sound like "the users are important, therefore Firefox is still cool and Australis isn't a widely loathed abomination inflicted upon the userbase by an increasingly out-of-touch dev team".

I mean I'm sure that's not what you meant, but it certainly came across like that.

Sure, sometimes something breaks, but they are keen to fix many of these problems.

Cool. Now if only the problems they were keen to fix were the ones their users were keen to see fixed, this wouldn't be controversial at all.

about 3 months ago
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The Coming IT Nightmare of Unpatchable Systems

NickFortune Re:Repetitive (broken) OS abandonment (240 comments)

People shouldn't HAVE to pay for bug fixes

Well yeah. If I sell you a potato peeler and it doesn't peel potatoes, you shouldn't have to upgrade in order to peel a spud.

The trouble is it's harder to clearly define requirements in the software world. In IT a lot of those bug reports would concern the peeler's inability to cope with Grapefruit. Or with Potato 2.0 the peel of which is made from 4 inch steel for security reasons. Or with a potato three miles in diameter.

You can't reasonably expect a single product to cover all those use cases. I won't deny that some vendors take advantage, but the situation is far from as cut and dried as you suggest.

about 3 months ago
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The US Vs. Europe: Freedom of Expression Vs. Privacy

NickFortune Re: The Problem Isn't "Free Speech vs Privacy" (278 comments)

Individual speech is the thing protected by the Constitution. Organized pressure to fire somebody from their job is not free speech, it's mob rule.

Hum. My own personal vision of "mob rule" involves fewer petitions and more burning cars, looted stores and people hanged from lamp-posts for wearing the wrong colour socks. Maybe that's just me.

So, just to clarify: are we free to say anything we like, so long as there's no danger of anyone losing their job? Or is it that we're free to say "so and so ought to get the sack" so long as we don't talk to anyone else about it. To the extent that that isn't a contradiction in terms, obviously.

Seriously: how do you distinguish between "organized pressure" and a genuine grass roots movement. I can't imagine any definition that doesn't boil down do "organized pressure groups are the ones I don't like".

Personally, I happen to think Mr. Eich got a bit of a raw deal. I still think you're barking up the wrong tree with this approach.

about 3 months ago
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In the New Age of Game Development, Gamers Have More Power Than Ever

NickFortune Re:Bullshit (101 comments)

Every good example you gave had mod tools released by the developers. Those aren't free to make, ya know.

True, but not always relevant.

You have to take into account that some of these tools, Skyrim's Creation Kit for example, are used in house by the developers to create the game in the first place. So while they do have a development cost, that cost is part of the cost of developing the game. By the time the tools are released to modders, they don't owe the developers a penny, nor is there any particular saving in keeping them in-house.

The cost of releasing the tools to modders is still non-zero, of course. In the case of Skyrim, Bethesda had to remove integration with Perforce and with the Havok SDK (the name of which escapes me) before they could legally release the CK. But that's just a fraction of any costs incurred in developing the tools.

Now if you're talking about a company that uses one toolset in-house and develops a separate tool for the modders, in that case you'd have a much stronger point. But but it doesn't apply to Skyrim, Fallout 3 or the other Bethesda/Obsidian games.

about 3 months ago
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Microsoft: Start Menu Returns, Windows Free For Small Device OEMs, Cortana Beta

NickFortune Re:Gee, so only a year of screaming (387 comments)

If I was a fanboy, I'd be telling you that there was nothing wrong with metro. And you were simply too incompetent to use the "improved UI."

Heh. The linux community has it's fair share of those, too, sad to say :)

I just find it funny (and I'm not pointing a finger at you here) how the same people can view something as a damning indictment in one context and a saving grace in another. I've thought this for a while, it was just your post brought it to mind.

Ummm... "mod trolls?"

about 5 months ago
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Microsoft: Start Menu Returns, Windows Free For Small Device OEMs, Cortana Beta

NickFortune Re:Gee, so only a year of screaming (387 comments)

And really, if you couldn't be bothered to replace the awful UI for something else, that's your own problem.

You know, that makes you sound a lot like a Linux fanboy: "All you have you have to do is recompile the kernel. And if you can't be bothered to change something as simple as a desktop environment, then there's no hope for you."

I always thought Linux was supposed to be bad because users couldn't be expected to have that knowledge and that windows was supposed to be better because that sort of hackery was generally unnecessary.

Funny how times change :)

about 5 months ago
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Google Sued Over Children's In-App Android Purchases

NickFortune Re:Protecting us from the stupid (321 comments)

If you don't know who has your credit card data, at any given time, including your children, perhaps you should start there! Why yes I do take due diligence and confirm every charge on my credit cards, debit cards, and bank accounts. Do you not? If not, do you trust your children with that information?

Not a problem I have, really. I don't have kids, and the cats haven't learned how to use my plastic yet. But, hey, you just congratulate yourself for being so diligent. I'm sure it's relevant to the discussion somehow.

This a technological window kids are exploiting because their parents gave them sufficiently advanced technology. Sometimes parents should tell their kids no. Don't do that, or I'll take that smartphone away.

I think the issue is more that the payment system didn't allow enough feedback for the parents to determine that their credit cards remained authorised for in-game purchases. And While it's all very well to read the riot act to your teenage son for abusing your card, it's hard to do that to a six-yearold that didn't realise all that extra time on candy crush was costing his mother actual money.

I'm also not convinced that disclaiming purchases on a card is an adequate substitute for a payment system that allows you to manage access to cards securely.

As much as people want to lambast Google for this, and I'm sure they'll now change it to auth for every app install, the idea of controlling this problem starts in the home.

I don't know about lambasting them, and I agree that if they've got any sense they'll fix this asap. I just I don't think they're entirely without responsibility. And I certainly don't think you can dismiss the issue by saying "ho hum - all the parents fault" as the GP attempted to do.

about 6 months ago
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Google Sued Over Children's In-App Android Purchases

NickFortune Re:Protecting us from the stupid (321 comments)

No, it whould be : create a different account for your child without access to your mails, facebook, [...] and credit card !

None of which would have made any difference in this case. The problem is not that the credit card authorisation is stored on the device. The problem is A) that once authorised, further transactions are accepted without the need for further authorisation for a 30 minute period, and B) that there doesn't seem to be any any way for a parent to determine that in advance, or to cancel the authorisation.

So they way to be responsible here comes down to "don't make in game purchases to your child". Which brings us back to the point that you might as well avoid Google devices and choose something that doesn't have this exposure.

Or, you know, they could say "whoops, our bad" and just fix it. That would work too.

about 6 months ago
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Google Sued Over Children's In-App Android Purchases

NickFortune Re:Protecting us from the stupid (321 comments)

Ho hum. Try exercising some parental responsibility for a change.

I suppose then that the responsible thing for a parent to do would be avoid using Google products and services wherever possible, given Google's apparent disinterest in providing software support for responsible parenting.

Do you suppose they'd be OK with that?

about 6 months ago
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As the Web Turns 25, Sir Tim Berners-Lee Calls For A Web Magna Carta

NickFortune Re:It would be unenforcable (80 comments)

Therefore its a meaningless gesture and nothing more than a publicity stunt for the anniversary.

I'm not sure I agree with that. I mean the idea of racial equality was unenforceable at one point in time. Did that make campaigning for equal rights a meaningless gesture? There are any number of systematic injustices that have been largely eliminated, and in most cases it started out by someone asking for something they couldn't enforce.

I guess if you want something to change, a good first step is probably setting down what you actually want.

And equating it to human rights is an insult to all the people in the world currently having their rights abused or taken away completely. Oddly enough billions of people manage to live quite fulfilled lives without going near a web browser. The same can't be said for those being oppressed ,tortured, starved or massacred. While I respect Berners-Lee, I think he's lost a bit of perspective on things.

I suppose on that basis, claiming free speech as a right is an insult to all those being murdered. Or claming a right to life could be an insult to those being brutally tortured to death. If you're comfortable quantify things in that way, at any rate. I'm not sure I am.

And really, I can't see what's wrong with demanding a right to live our lives free from pervasive government or corporate surveillance. It's not so much saying that we don't think the oppressed and tortured are important. Just that we think this is important, as well.

about 6 months ago
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Crytek Ports CRYENGINE To Linux Support Ahead of Steam Machines Launch

NickFortune Re:Linux sales figures (132 comments)

I think there's more value than an extra sale here.

Valve is offering game developers a single target in Steam OS.

Your're not wrong - but I think there's more to it than that, even.

Valve's concern is Microsoft's app store. They feel that MS are looking to lock down the platform, Apple style, and use the Ap store to charge a surcharge on any software installed, and to control what can and cannot be released. That impacts Valve both as a game developer, and as a distributor via Steam. I seem to recall they went on record to that effect not so long ago.

So Valve are throwing resources at turning Linux into a viable gaming platform. It's an investment in the future for them. And from the look of it, Crytek have come to more or less the same conclusion.

That's how I read it, anyway.

about 6 months ago
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China Deploys Satellites In Search For Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight

NickFortune Re:Thoughts (142 comments)

So NOW do you see the advantage of a flat Earth?

OK, You win.

How soon can you implement changeover?

about 6 months ago
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Why Games Should Be In the Public Domain

NickFortune Re:Picasso (360 comments)

Sorry, but it just boils my p**s that everyone these days just thinks they have a God*-given right for unfettered access to anything they like for free,

Well, if you RTFA you'll see that the Mr. Walker spends considerable time explaining that this is not what he is advocating. No one is suggesting unfettered access. The law gives you a temporary monopoly over your own creative output. That is not in dispute.

What we are suggesting is that you don't have any innate right to stop other people reproducing or altering copies of that work, and that any such privilege is, and should remain, strictly time limited. And we're suggesting that the current length of this monopoly is perhaps too long, and that because of this it has become counter productive, stifling rather than encouraging creativity.

Why? Why the hell should that be the case?

Well, the legal tradition is that ideas are automatically in the public domain. Copyright law is a specific alteration to that state for a limited time. If you're a US citizen, then this is written into the Constitution. So the question really is "why not?" Common law, tradition, constitution, all argue for the public domain. If you want to make the case for changing that, fine. But you're going to need more than "why?" to make it stick, I'm afraid. (Full disclosure: IANAL).

If I pour loads of MY time and MY effort and MY resources into creating something, then it's MY creation and I want to keep it then I can, because it's MINE.

Sure. No-one is suggesting that a work of art shouldn't be considered as yours if you create it. Just that "ownership" may not carry as many privileges as you think it does when the concept is applied to art. And that those privileges should perhaps not apply for as long as you seem to think they should.

about 7 months ago
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Decision, EA: Judge Reverses Multimillion Dollar Award To Madden Dev

NickFortune Re:As usual, the rich win. (125 comments)

Your comment is meaningless since it has no connection to reality or any of that actual facts of the case.

Umm... about this concept of "meaning". I don't think it means what you think it means. In particular, I don't think "meaningless" means the same thing as "metaphorical". It doesn't mean "as yet unsupported by actual evidence", either.

True, the judge may be "wrong". But you are suggesting a "payoff", which is extreamly unlikly.

See? You even managed to extract some meaning from the GP post yourself. Even if you did try and hide it inappropriate use of quotation marks.

about 7 months ago
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Physicist Peter Higgs: No University Would Employ Me Today

NickFortune Re:kind of ruins the point....... (308 comments)

What is the university? Does it exist apart from the people giving it being? The "university" is nothing but shorthand for a group of people

I don't think that's under dispute. The objection seems to be to the needless anthropomorphizing of such organisations. Much the same way that Dijkstra objected to people anthropomorphizing computers, and for much the same reasons - it leads to sloppy patterns of thinking. Some people on this board have the same reaction to "Information wants to be free" as well.

The actual composition of the organisation, computer or data in question is not the point in any of those cases,

Pedantic troll is overly pedantic.

It's a subtle distinction, but I think it's a valid one. Certainly I didn't get the impression it was raised for purposes of trolling or of pedantry.

about 9 months ago
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Torvalds: SteamOS Will 'Really Help' Linux On the Desktop

NickFortune Re:Not happening (304 comments)

Nobody is going to ditch Windows for Steam OS and then only play games on it

Well, the folks who only play games on Windows might. Or they might dual boot, and use Steam on Linux. And a lot of people cite the absence of Triple-A games on Linux as being the big thing stopping them from migrating.

Certainly, it isn't going to hurt anything :)

unless Steam somehow starts being the "app store" as well, and cloud-saving extended to it.

Seems to me that Steam is already an "app store". Distributing non game software through it shouldn't be a problem, really.

about 10 months ago
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The Dark Mod 2.0 Standalone: Id Tech 4 GPL Yields a Free Thief-a-Like Game

NickFortune Re:"by even Debian" (98 comments)

I guess I'm dealing with a first-class pedant here.

I strive to be clear. Perhaps if you did the same, you would find me less pendantic.

Vaccine research is a vital part of that effort, so to destroy lab samples before the job is done is akin to shooting oneself in the foot.

And at the risk of being pedantic, you didn't say anything about destroying the lab samples before eradication. Although even if you had made that stipulation, it still wouldn't indicate hypocrisy. A foolish extremeism, maybe, but then we're disucssing your words rather than mine at this point.

Yes, eschewing copyright gives us certain abilities, but that serves little purpose. To make decompilation more difficult, cautious vendors will turn to obfuscation, encryption, and compression techniques.

Hmmm, ok. Explain to me how that is different from what commercial software houses already do. And why it would be more effective post-GPL than it is at the moment. If you can do that I may have to concede the point.

The main aspect of RMS's open-source religion is that freedom is a choice.

Sure. Which means that you're free to choose the freedom of a small subset of software over the freedom of all creative works in the whole of our culture. Does that really sound like a good deal to you? Really?

Forcing short copyright (though not necessarily shorter) terms on an author is no more free than forcing long terms on the rest of us.

Are you really saying that continuing under the current restrictions on creative output is "freedom" while abolishing those restrictions constitutes "force"? Does that not seem more than a little Orwellian? "War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength" and all that.

There must be a balance between the rights of the public and the rights of the individual, and the ability to choose a license gives us the ability to pick where on that scale we wish to be.

It's a question of what you value most. From what you've written so far I'm not at all sure I share your priorities in this matter. I'm not sure many people would.

Just out of curiosity, does the term "goal displacement" mean anything to you?

about 10 months ago
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The Dark Mod 2.0 Standalone: Id Tech 4 GPL Yields a Free Thief-a-Like Game

NickFortune Re:"by even Debian" (98 comments)

A more appropriate analogy is to be a hypocrite for pushing a law requiring all known malaria to be destroyed, including the samples used for vaccine work.

That word: I do not think it means what you think it means. Merriam-Webster defines hypocrisy as follows:

the behavior of people who do things that they tell other people not to do : behavior that does not agree with what someone claims to believe or feel

According to that definition, I don't see anything hypocritical in your analogy. In fact the poisition you suggest is admirably consistent. Now if your hypothetical malaria researcher was keeping his or her own stash of the disease for purposes of later backmail and extortion, that would be hypocrisy. But unless you think I'm capable of keeping a breeding culture of legislation in a test tube somewhere, it's really, really difficult to see how your analogy is more appropriate in any way at all.

Of course, M-W also defines the word thusly:

a feigning to be what one is not or to believe what one does not; especially : the false assumption of an appearance of virtue or religion

But the only way I see that applying is if you're considering Free Software as a religion (which may be well be the case for rms, of course). But I still don't see how it applies to me, since I don't claim to subscribe to the religion in question.

Without copyright laws, anyone could compile open-source software into a closed-source product, with no restriction. Since the redistributor has default permission to do anything (thanks to the lack of copyright), the GPL never comes into play, so it can't require that the software stays open-source.

On the other hand, we gain the freedom to decompile closed source, patch it and redistribute it as we see fit, distribute abdandonware and orphan works without any legal impediment. Obviously, it requires an opposition to software patents as well, but I don't see any inconsistency in that.

And, of course, that's just considering the benefits for software.

This inextricable dependency is why it's silly to promote the GPL while arguing entirely against copyright.

Only if you assume that ability for force a small subset of all software writers to publish their source code is worth more than freeing the 70 years of culture from creeping privatisation. Otherwise, it seems like more than a fair trade.

about 10 months ago
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The Dark Mod 2.0 Standalone: Id Tech 4 GPL Yields a Free Thief-a-Like Game

NickFortune Re:"by even Debian" (98 comments)

As for RMS's views on copyright itself, I also recall an interview where he rightly lambasts the anti-copyright GPL-loving folks as hypocrites.

I've always thought that was a bit of an odd position. I mean, I think malaria should be eradicated. Am I therefore a hypocrite for thinking that malaria vaccine is a good thing?

Then again, I guess I'm not in the malaria vaccine business...

about 10 months ago
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DNA Sequence Withheld From New Botulism Paper

NickFortune Re:I know the scientist... (182 comments)

Never mind. I didn't see the AC trolling and thought you were replying to the point above. Fair point in context :)

about 10 months ago

Submissions

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BBC Wants DRM on HD Broadcasts

NickFortune NickFortune writes  |  more than 4 years ago

NickFortune (613926) writes "Over on BoingBoing, Danny O'Brien has pointed out that, the BBC has asked the regulator for permission to add DRM to their High Definition broadcasts.
Apparently this is at the behest of "content providers".

Offcom, the regulatory body in question, has asked for comments, but the window closes today. So if you don't want DRM added to the Beeb's broadcasts, read the
proposal and explain why this is a bad idea."

Link to Original Source

Journals

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Setting Up As An Indie Games Developer.

NickFortune NickFortune writes  |  more than 2 years ago

I've been looking for paid employment since the start of the year. Jobs have been harder to come by for a while now, but a recent Slashdot article about how IT workers in my age group are being hit particularly hard by the recession. In particular, one of the links in that story describes a lady who had a series of excellent interviews, none of which resulted in a job.

That's been my experience, too. And it occurs to me that if I want to stay in work as I get older, I'm going to need to be my own boss. So that's what I've decided to do. I'm going to try my hand in the indie games market. I'm not expecting to get rich - it's too competitive a market for that. But I don't see any reason why I shouldn't be able to make a living with a little hard work.

No big scoop here, nothing for the front page. But I intend to follow up this entry with some thoughts on the process, not to say some blatant market research, and maybe start some discussion on the pros and cons involved.

That's it for now.

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