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SpaceX To Attempt Falcon 9 Landing On Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship

Teancum Re:As long as they get close it's a win (81 comments)

I don't think the issue is attempting a landing on land, but rather that the proposed site for landing (I think they are proposing to use the site originally designed to become 39C before NASA scrapped that location for Apollo Saturn V launches) is so close to other critical infrastructure.

If they landed on some use spot of semi-wilderness like where Russia does landings for the Soyuz spacecraft, the Australian outback, or some other similar sized far from civilization, they wouldn't have any problem with attempting a landing on land. The problem is that the eastern coast of Florida is hardly what I would describe as unpopulated wilderness. The chance of the Falcon 9 landing in Miami or even Disney World is just too great. That is why the pinpoint accuracy is so needed, especially with the suicide burn approach that SpaceX is using for the core recovery.

2 days ago
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SpaceX To Attempt Falcon 9 Landing On Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship

Teancum Re:As long as they get close it's a win (81 comments)

No, the current goal is to land on the barge. Preferably they would like to land on an island down range from KSC, but that island simply doesn't exist.

Yes, the long term end goal is landing preferably on a landing pad about a mile or so away from the launch site at KSC, where it appears to be roughly at the location of pad 39C (or rather where that pad was supposed to be built during the Apollo program.... but never happened).

On the other hand, it may very well be that boosting back to the site at KSC is not a realistic option simply because the delta-v (change in velocity) is insufficient for a proper return given the other constraints for delivering payloads to orbit. Even now, there are payloads that SpaceX is taking that will use so much fuel that even landing on a barge is out of the question... and the 1st stage is going to simply burn up in the upper atmosphere and break up during reentry.

2 days ago
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SpaceX To Attempt Falcon 9 Landing On Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship

Teancum Re:Hmm (81 comments)

In fairness to Elon Musk, he actually wanted to blow about a half billion dollars on sending a greenhouse to the surface of Mars.... pretty much as a philanthropic venture or as just blowing the money for the hell of it. He even got so far as going to Russia and trying to negotiate the purchase of an ICBM to get the project to happen (where they even offered the nuclear warhead with the deal... something he turned down).

Along the way, one of those in Russia insulted him big time and basically challenged him to try and do this himself. After a little investigating about the topic, he went to Los Angeles County to recruit a few aerospace engineers who were building rockets capable of going into orbit as a hobby, and offered them a full time job to make a clean-sheet new rocket from scratch. That company is now SpaceX. The hobby guys are still making rockets that are being launched in the Mojave desert, but a great many of those guys are getting hired by a new set of space-related companies building stuff now.

2 days ago
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The GPLv2 Goes To Court

Teancum Re:Why not ask the authors of the GPL Ver.2? (173 comments)

Except there are judicial opinions and legal precedence with regards to the GPL. This isn't 1990 when there are six websites on the internet and the GPL was brand new with everybody speculating about what a judge might say about the GPL. SCO v. IBM is one example of a set of legal opinions written (in this case from federal courts) by actual judges where the GPL was a central point of contention and real legal precedence can be found.

Fortunately the GPL was written to be understood by those who were using the license, where violations of the terms of the license are very clear and almost everybody who is out of compliance knows they are out of compliance. It is usually jerks and idiots who push the terms of the license to the point you even need a judicial opinion on the matter.

3 days ago
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The GPLv2 Goes To Court

Teancum Re:Hope they keep Stallman off the stand... (173 comments)

In contract law you're not assumed to know anything about the background or history of the license except as written.

That isn't true either, particularly with standard contracts that are in widespread usage. A good example of such a contract is the standard Screen Actors' Guild contract, which is something frequently that goes to trial and has had nearly every provision tested in one way or another. Legal precedence in particular (previous court cases that have occurred with regards to that contract) are definitely something you would be wise to pay attention to, in particular any cases argued in Los Angeles County.

Generally the history of the license or contract is not quite so known, particularly from a legal standpoint, but you can't say that about the GPL. And I might point out that there is legal precedence with regards to enforcement of several parts of the GPL. Any lawyer who does not know what those cases are with regards to the GPL is just showing their incompetence, particularly when a Google search or even searching Wikipedia can get you links to the actual judicial opinions.

3 days ago
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The GPLv2 Goes To Court

Teancum Re:Hope they keep Stallman off the stand... (173 comments)

RMS actually wrote the version 1 of the license. He did get some legal assistance in terms of crafting the language of the license, and Eben Moglen was frequently involved in those legal discussion including enforcement of the GPL with regards to software owned (aka the primary copyright holder through various agreements) by the Free Software Foundation (primarily GNU related software). Another significant contributor was Mike Godwin, of Godwin's Law fame, although you could also point to several other people who contributed too.

By the time it got to the version 3 of the GPL license, legal commentary and assistance was very widespread where it would be very hard to point to any single author, although RMS is clearly selecting the language as a sort of editor with regards to how the final wording of the license turned out.

It definitely was not RMS sitting back and hiring a lawyer to draft the language for him like you would a business contract.

3 days ago
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SpaceX Set To Create 300 New US Jobs and Expand Facilities

Teancum Re:So... (43 comments)

There is also a step between permanent resident and somebody qualified to work on ITAR related projects. It takes special State Department investigations and approval to make that happens.... usually with a pile of money spent on lawyers to make it happen.

3 days ago
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9th Circuit Will Revisit "Innocence of Muslims" Takedown Order

Teancum Re:EFF Says: (158 comments)

Again: you phrased that as a statement, but it should be a question: is there precedent? What is the precedent?

There is a precedent for such things if you aren't compensated and haven't signed a waiver granting film rights. That is why the school where my kids attend have asked me to sign such waivers for the schools to film my kids in promotional videos about my kids.

And I think I would be pissed off enough and have a legal right to claim such contract was invalid if it was used for something else like a porn video. So yes, there is a legal precedent for such things.

On the other hand, it would largely depend on what contract that the actress actually signed and what conditions that the actress agreed to do the performance. That is why you generally should have a competent lawyer that drafts such contracts... to make sure your interests are properly represented in the agreement. A standard SAG (Screen Actors' Guild) contract has been brought to court a number of times so it could be said that most provisions have been properly vetted but includes protection against directors who make changes to the film.

A good example of how actors have changed the standard SAG contract is with the movie The Four Musketeers, where so much footage was shot that two films were released even though the actors only agreed to make one film and weren't told that the second film was going to be made until after it was released. This is also a good example of how such contracts can force at least a legal injunction to prohibit exhibition on the part of an actor.

3 days ago
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9th Circuit Will Revisit "Innocence of Muslims" Takedown Order

Teancum Re:Call me racist and evil and bigoted and everyth (158 comments)

I doubt anybody going before a parole board is going to be released if they made such statement public. It is also likely to get you put on a short list for investigators as soon as there is a reported crime of pedophilia.

3 days ago
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SpaceX Set To Create 300 New US Jobs and Expand Facilities

Teancum Re:Here's what I don't understand (43 comments)

Who decides what these companies are valued at and on what basis?

It isn't magic. These larger companies like you mention who make these acquisitions make the decision to purchase the smaller companies because they think they can get even more money than the amount they are paying. It really is that simple.

It certainly isn't some kind of grand conspiracy where a couple people in a smoke-filled room decide at random that somebody is going to become a billionaire or a millionaire like some sort of weird lottery system. These large companies also became large because they knew how to make a profit and how to continue making money even when seemingly every effort by the government tries to make sure they can't make a profit.

As for the Hollywood agents for actors, I think you have some things messed up there too. There may be a few actors who are hyped up way beyond recognition and don't deserve the salaries they receive, but for the most part actors get paid pretty normal salaries even when they have agents... and often are hurting for work because there are far more actors than jobs to be had in the movie industry. At best a good agent will be somebody who gets your face in front of casting directors and makes sure you are made aware of potential auditions as they become available.

3 days ago
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SpaceX Set To Create 300 New US Jobs and Expand Facilities

Teancum Re:300 Jobs for 320 Million (43 comments)

I don't get your complaint. Are you really expecting Elon Musk to personally hire every American into one of his companies?

Also, there aren't more astronauts in the NASA astronaut corps currently. A total in the entire history from the original Mercury 7 astronauts to right now is 339 candidates have "received their wings" to be certified as astronauts, and not all of them have even been into space. The current number is 43, and likely to go down in the near future.

On the other hand, this is 300 new jobs for the people of central Texas, and I think they don't mind high paying industrial jobs that bring in money from outside of the immediate area, unlike new jobs that come from Wal-Mart of a Subway restaurant opening up. This is on top of other substantial moves that the companies of Elon Musk have been doing to hire literally thousands of new workers in the past couple of years.

If only more entrepreneurs had this kind of vision to do something really unique and original.

3 days ago
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SpaceX Set To Create 300 New US Jobs and Expand Facilities

Teancum Re:So... (43 comments)

Not too many. You have to be a U.S. Citizen to work for SpaceX due to ITAR restrictions, and pass a criminal background check too. It is possible to get hired if you aren't a U.S. Citizen, but that amounts to being something like a security clearance for classified work (which also must happen for much of what SpaceX does). It is a separate part of the Department of State that must issue the authorization for a non-citizen to work.

It seems like I heard a SpaceX employee say that they didn't know of any H1-B visa holders that worked for their company... but I could be mistaken. They certainly aren't milking the visa system to get cheap workers. It is one of the restrictions when you make something that can be used with thermonuclear weapons that gets a whole lot more attention in terms of immigration and work status rules.

3 days ago
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SpaceX Set To Create 300 New US Jobs and Expand Facilities

Teancum Re:They are also hiring a Farmer (43 comments)

SpaceX even tried to hire the previous lease holders to farm that land. The problem was that the additional terms of the contract (like you said.... farming at night and working around test schedules) were something those farmers didn't agree to doing. They also needed to go through a criminal background check and verify that they haven't been involved with international arms trades due to requirements of the ITAR laws and the Department of Defense contracts that SpaceX is signing.

All told, bringing the position in-house sounds like a better way to get the job done.

3 days ago
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AI Expert: AI Won't Exterminate Us -- It Will Empower Us

Teancum Re:I guess Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking (414 comments)

I might. That is sort of something that self-aware machines can do. Then again, do you want me to kill myself?

BTW, when I say I will be dead for a long, long time, I am suggesting it will be centuries or milleniia in the future. You and everybody reading this as well as anybody who has even the most remote notion of what Slashdot might have been or is will be long dead too.

about a week ago
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AI Expert: AI Won't Exterminate Us -- It Will Empower Us

Teancum Re: programming (414 comments)

Only the problem is that AI can't build machines that can build themselves. It takes people, technicians and machinists, to get that to happen right now.

Like I said, this is science fiction, not something grounded in reality. There is also a whole lot of time before the heat death of the universe, which concept by itself sort of rules out "eternity". Still, my point is that for a machine a human lifetime is currently eternal... or seemingly so.

about a week ago
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AI Expert: AI Won't Exterminate Us -- It Will Empower Us

Teancum Re:I guess Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking (414 comments)

We are already seeing the huge risk in automating data gathering, almost precisely on the points you are mentioning too.

Loans are granted or denied based upon arbitrary criteria that is often full of biases that frequently even the loan officer rarely knows or understands. Try to ask one of these guys why your credit score is at a certain number, and they really can't honestly reply. They won't even be able to tell you how to improve your score other than some broad and vague generalities either... and no promise that if you engage in certain actions that it will have any impact at all. Furthermore, they can't even look at a particular credit score and history to tell you with any certainty that you will be approved... other than if your credit score (something very arbitrary) is very high that it is "very likely" or if it is low it is "very unlikely".

People get put on or removed from a travel "Watch List" with just as much arbitrariness... often because of messaging this kind of BIG DATA that you are talking about too. In that case it is more than just if you are going to get a fancy car, but basic liberties or where you may even be incarcerated simply because some computer algorithm thought your Slashdot post was a little too anti-government or scary based on keywords or something else you said.

There is massive misuse of these tools even now. Some of it has valid reasons for it being developed, but the blind trust of computers is already happening in a number of ways. This isn't a future concern but something right now that needs to be evaluated.... and like you said autonomy is not necessarily the issue at hand.

about a week ago
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AI Expert: AI Won't Exterminate Us -- It Will Empower Us

Teancum Re:I guess Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking (414 comments)

You clearly either didn't read or didn't understand the article.

Or understood it all too well. Self-aware AI is something that is still centuries or even millennia away, not mere years. Well funded AI research has been around for quite some time and has broken a great many careers from people trying to reach that golden grail with very little to show for it except for parlor tricks. Useful ideas have certainly come from the effort and in some cases have even made a considerable amount of money (AI techniques used on Wall Street are worth billions of dollars today and consume more top engineers and technicians than the rest of the technology industry put together).

I will be dead for a long, long time before real self-aware AI raises its head.

about a week ago
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AI Expert: AI Won't Exterminate Us -- It Will Empower Us

Teancum Re: programming (414 comments)

AI will hardly be eternal. I dare you to show me a computer system that is currently running that is more than a century old. Perhaps one of Charles Babbage's machines, but those aren't likely to be used for AI either. For that matter, what operating system is going to be functional in a hundred years from now? Most operating systems from Microsoft barely last a decade.

This is a concept of some fictional notion of artificial intelligence that may likely never exist to be considered "eternal". If something like that is ever produced, will will be something made thousands of years from now, if even that. It certainly isn't anything that could possibly be produced in my lifetime or for that matter the lifetime of by great grandchildren.

about a week ago
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Pluto-Bound Spacecraft Ends Hibernation To Start Mission

Teancum Re:As far as I'm concerned, Pluto is still a plane (77 comments)

The Kepler folks have been calling them planets though, which is my point. As for naming the planets, it has been historically up to the discoverer to propose a name.... but they've discovered so many planets (in admittedly a team effort) that it is sort of pointless to bother trying to give them names at this point. Enough data is being obtained from the Kepler mission that it is possible for you to discover a planet yourself, and the team is even encouraging private individuals to try and do just that too.

Still, re-read the IAU rules, and note that it requires something to be called a planet as something which orbits the Sun, and only the Sun instead of any other star. That is only one part of my criticism as other things like orbit clearing and domination have much more to do with the age of the planetary system, the number of stars in the whole stellar system, and a good many other factors that come into play that think eventually the whole definition as it stands is going to break down without significant revision to acknowledge that things which are planets may or may not even be near stars at all and certainly can be found in varieties far more complex than the IAU rules currently permit without dealing in a pure physical description language of the celestial object to form the definition.

This still wouldn't change the status of Pluto or make most asteroids fit the definition, but it might make considering Europa, Callisto, and the other Gallelean moons as dwarf planets in their own right as well as Triton and a few other things in the Solar System.

about two weeks ago
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Pluto-Bound Spacecraft Ends Hibernation To Start Mission

Teancum Re:Hibernation (77 comments)

What goes unappreciated is that the technology being sent into space is usually quite antiquated in comparison to what is currently being used in consumer electronics. Most people think of NASA as having bleeding edge equipment and using computers that is decades ahead of anything other folks are using in the computer industry, when in fact the opposite tends to be the case.

Mind you, there are legitimate reasons for using tried and true systems in spaceflight as opposed to cutting edge systems, especially when those computers (like this New Horizon spacecraft) needs to operate for several decades in extreme environments that are nothing like typically found anywhere on the Earth. Furthermore, simply due to the enormous distances, data bandwidth for transmitting signals is incredibly slow to the point it is closer to dial-up model speeds or even slower. The need for faster CPUs is definitely not something expected or needed.

about two weeks ago

Submissions

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'World of Warcraft' candidate for Maine State Senate wins election

Teancum Teancum writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Teancum writes "Colleen Lachowicz, candidate for the State Senate District 25 of Maine, won the election yesterday against her opponent Thomas Martin. This race was notable in part because her World of Warcraft character that was mentioned earlier on Slashdot, where the Maine Republican Party turned her game playing into a significant issue. It is also notable that she was able to raise a total of $6,300 in campaign contributions from gamers who came to her defense in her successful campaign. The Maine GOP even tried to block these contributions where Lachowicz was cleared of any wrong doing and the investigation was dropped."
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Italian Wikipedia Shuts Down for the Day

Teancum Teancum writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Teancum writes "After a lengthy discussion within the Italian language edition of Wikipedia, the volunteers decided to shut down the Italian language edition of Wikipedia for a day with a protest message addressing a new law passed in Italy which the editors of Wikipedia perceive as being harmful to their participation in the collaborative on-line project. The Wikimedia Foundation (the organization who runs the server farms supporting Wikipedia) issued a statement in support of this action."
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RKK Energia confirms private trip to the Moon

Teancum Teancum writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Teancum writes "RKK Energia, the prime contractor for the Russian space program and the company who builds the Russian Soyuz spacecraft, recently confirmed negotiations are underway with space tourism company Space Adventures for a privately financed crewed flight around the Moon. While the offer and purchase of at least one seat has been discussed earlier, this is the first time Energia has confirmed the negotiations and has gone into at least some details in terms of what they are expecting to have happen with this flight and the approximate timeframe for when this flight would take place... sometime in 2016 or 2017."
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Congress dumps James Webb Space Telescope

Teancum Teancum writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Teancum writes "On the list of items on the upcoming federal budget for 2012, the U.S. House of Representatives has announced they are going to cancel the continued development of the James Webb Space Telescope. While this debate is certainly still very much a preliminary draft, the road ahead for this project is now very much uncertain. In this time of budget cuts, it seems unlikely that this project is going to survive at this time. It certainly will be an uphill battle for fans of this telescope if they want to keep it alive."
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ARCA's Helen 2 rocket launch successful

Teancum Teancum writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Teancum writes "ARCA (Asociaia Român pentru Cosmonautic i Aeronautic or the Romanian Cosmonautics and Aeronautics Association) announced today the successful launch of their Helen 2 rocket on Sunday, October 3rd, 2010. In the official press release they detail how the rocket was launched on a balloon that went to 14 km and then after being fired from that altitude achieved an altitude of 40 km. The parachute system failed to deploy on the payload capsule and instead dropped into the Black Sea where search efforts to find the capsule were abandoned. Payload recovery was not a primary objective of this test. It is also notable that this is the first flight test for a vehicle being made by a Google Lunar X-Prize team and this vehicle series is eventually intended to deliver a payload to the surface of the Moon for that prize competition."
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Haliburton Patents Patent Trolling

Teancum Teancum writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Teancum writes "In an interesting twist on the patent process, Halliburton (yes, the company famous for the contracts in Iraq) has attempted to patent the process of patent trolling. With a flow chart that seems to read like some of the long standing gags here on slashdot about how to a profit from various technology schemes, this apparently is an attempt to try and get the patent system to turn on itself."
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NOAA Requires License for Photos of the Earth

Teancum Teancum writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Teancum writes "In an interesting show of the level of regulations private spacecraft designers have to go through, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has demanded that American participants of the Google Lunar X Prize obtain a license if their spacecraft are "capable of actively or passively sensing the Earth's surface, including bodies of water, from space by making use of the properties of the electromagnetic waves emitted, reflected, or diffracted by the sensed objects". What prompted NOAA to ask for this license came from a visit by the XPrize staff to the NOAA offices in Maryland. What is going to happen when "space tourists" bring their private cameras along for the ride?"
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RFP for NASA-based MMORPG

Teancum Teancum writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Teancum writes "I'm sure that a large number of Slashdot regulars are familiar with the U.S. Army's MMORPG America's Army. It turns out that NASA has submitted a Request for Proposals for what would be a NASA-themed MMORPG of its own. So would you ever want to write your own video game and get paid for it? The deadline for the RfP is February 15th, so get your word processors busy with a proposal of your own. The specific objective of this request is as follows:

"A NASA-based MMO built on a game engine that includes powerful physics capabilities could support accurate in-game experimentation and research. It should simulate real NASA engineering and science missions in a medium that is comfortable and familiar to the majority of students in the United States today. A NASA-based MMO could provide opportunities for students to investigate STEM career paths while participating in engaging game-play. Through a NASA-based MMO, students will gain insight into a wide range of exciting career opportunities and be encouraged to make educational choices that lead them into STEM fields of study and eventually the STEM careers needed to fulfill NASA's Vision for Space Exploration. Learning Technologies is seeking input on how to accomplish those goals."
If there is anybody suited for developing a game like this, I can't imagine a better group than the slashdot crowd to try and come up with some outstanding proposals, and have the technical expertise to pull this off. This certainly doesn't deserve to get thrown onto the traditional dust heap of educational proposals for a half-baked game that nobody will actually play."

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Expanded Role of Iridium Satellite Constellation

Teancum Teancum writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Teancum writes "The Wall Street Journal is reporting about an expanded role for the next generation of satellites in the telecommunication satellite constellation: Earth observation and weather data. The Group on Earth Observation is offering to partner in this endeavor, some of whose members will be paying for this new "service" of the Iridium network. There will be as many as "70 separate sensors on Iridium satellites, designed to measure everything from temperature changes in the atmosphere to changes in radiation and ozone levels to wave heights and ocean levels." This is a far cry from when there was some concerns about whether there would even be an Iridium constellation and the bankruptcy of the former company that operated this group of satellites. This appears to be a way to add an additional revenue stream to an already profitable company operating with most of its assets in space."
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Teancum Teancum writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Teancum writes "SpaceX Corporation and Elon Musk have succesfully launched the Falcon I rocket from Kwajalein Atoll today at about 6:00 PM PDT. While there were a few glitches including a launch abort at T+ 0:10 and a few other issues typical to all launches, the rocket was successful in launching and succesfully fired the second stage as well. This is in follow up to yesterday's abort that was due to a glitch moving from ground telemetry link switching over to radio links."

Journals

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Whatever Happened to the Linux DVD-Video Effort?

Teancum Teancum writes  |  more than 10 years ago This is a rejected article submisson, and I'll throw it here simply because I think this is a valid question. There were some very substantial efforts in the past to try and put DVD-Video onto Linux and other Open Source operating systems. While there were clearly some legal issues that the groups needed to deal with, it seems as though these groups have disappeared not with a bang, but with a whimper, and quitely disappeared. While this is true of several post dot-com websites, it seems as though this source of several major stories is not even mirrored, except on The Internet Wayback Machine. Another related website, The Open DVD Group also appears to be off-line. Even more bizzare is that the Open DVD discussion list has turned into all but a spam list. Some of the effort has been redirected with groups like Ogg Theora, that can't explain the total absense from any of the at times very heated discussions on numerous mailing lists and websites that sprang up, particularly during the whole deCSS fiasco. Is this a result of lawyers being successful at driving efforts like this underground or is this simply a case of a topic that ran its course and a general abandonment of this concept by the open source community in general?

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