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Comments

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WSJ Reports Boeing To Beat SpaceX For Manned Taxi To ISS

Teancum Re:Translation...and I'm a Guest, not a Coward.... (194 comments)

In the press conference that was held after the announcement, the NASA PR rep actually mentioned "other competitive crewed spaceflight operators" could be considered in the future. In other words, SNC is not completely out of the picture. Indeed they will still be funded for CCiCAP as they complete the final milestones under the current agreements... SNC just missed the big funding and actual spaceflight missions which SpaceX and Boeing are now being funded for with CCtCAP.

5 hours ago
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WSJ Reports Boeing To Beat SpaceX For Manned Taxi To ISS

Teancum Re:Translation... (194 comments)

Except for the nit-picky fact that they've said nothing of the sort.

On the contrary, they even prepared the lay-off notices to most of the staff working on the CST-100:

http://www.spacenews.com/article/civil-space/40931boeing-preparing-layoff-notices-in-case-of-commercial-crew-loss

It was a prudent business move none the less, but Boeing certainly didn't seem ready to compete in general commercial spaceflight endeavors. Now that they've won the award, I guess all of that paperwork gets burned, which should be a relief to those working on the CST-100.

yesterday
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WSJ Reports Boeing To Beat SpaceX For Manned Taxi To ISS

Teancum Re:Translation... (194 comments)

And the award to the biggest asshole on slashdot goes to businessnerd, who can't tell time to see that I posted before the official announcement. Not only that, but besides the raw "Boeing and SpaceX got the award", Mr. Pasztor got nearly everything else in the article flat out wrong.

It should also be pointed out that NASA has yet to select a "prime contractor", if any is to be selected at all.

yesterday
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WSJ Reports Boeing To Beat SpaceX For Manned Taxi To ISS

Teancum Re:Translation... (194 comments)

Slow down there..... you don't know who has received what, if there is even a "prime contractor", or what is going to happen. Assuming that Mr. Pasztor is 100% accurate (his previous record of accuracy in reporting about the space industry suggests strongly otherwise), it would still be pretty good for SpaceX. Although I would say it is just at the beginning of the fireworks as whatever deal actually comes from this announcement today (4 PM EDT according to NASA) is going to be reviewed by congressional committees in the future and may even change. It will still remain competitive between the companies in the future and I can see the down selected company getting business in the future from NASA if they continue development and independently get passengers into space.

The interesting thing is that Blue Origin is rumored to be potentially purchased or some sort of stock swap with Boeing with a merger. The future of Boeing and whatever they are going to do in the future will be interesting, and I think Boeing is going to feel the pinch to be competitive. Both SpaceX and Sierra Nevada have promised that they will continue with development of their vehicles even if they don't get selected, which I hope is not a criteria being used for selecting Boeing if this proves to be true.

yesterday
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WSJ Reports Boeing To Beat SpaceX For Manned Taxi To ISS

Teancum Re:Translation... (194 comments)

Boeing paid off Andy Pasztor to write this hit piece. Basically it is being done, I would guess, to push up stock prices so somebody else can make a bunch of money shorting the stock afterward or something silly like that. This "reporter" has rarely been right and deserves to be embarrassed if everything he says fails to happen.

BTW, I agree with you in regards to Dreamchaser. It is a good enough vehicle that the ESA is even looking at using it, and Sierra Nevada is already on record saying they will continue the development of this vehicle even without additional development money from NASA. Indeed the only company that has said they will stop any further development if their vehicle isn't selected is Boeing.

yesterday
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Court: Car Dealers Can't Stop Tesla From Selling In Massachusetts

Teancum Re:Car Dealers should ask why they're being bypass (146 comments)

Some of the issue with automobile manufactures is that the vehicles are so complex and need so much capital that almost everybody who tries to build a new manufacturing company in this industry usually goes bankrupt. Tucker and DeLorean are really good examples of this, in spite of conspiracy theories that suggest ulterior motives of existing manufacturers.

The other issue is simply complying with government regulations in the industry. Some of those regulations certainly have been established because of major screw-ups in the past, but many of them (in spite of the manufacturers complaining about them) are enacted explicitly to discourage new entrants into the industry. At the very least the existing manufacturers only offer token resistances to things like seat belt and safety laws that add complexity as long as it hits everybody in the industry equally... and keeps new companies busy trying to catch up if they tried. If somebody built an exact replica of the Ford Model T, it couldn't be driven today except as a historical re-creation for off-road usage and certainly not something for mass production.

2 days ago
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Court: Car Dealers Can't Stop Tesla From Selling In Massachusetts

Teancum Re:Car Dealers should ask why they're being bypass (146 comments)

The point of the dealership is to have a local representative who can help with compliance with local regulations. A hundred years ago, selling stuff was a whole lot more complicated in terms of trying to keep track of things each state wanted or didn't want, not to mention often even different laws for each city even in the same state. Communication was also a bit slower as well... and more importantly the system simply worked for almost everybody.

The problem is that once you have the franchisee in place, getting rid of them is nearly impossible, even if the situation has changed. This is why several historic systems still stick around years, decades, or even centuries after they are obsolete. Some places in Europe still use Roman aqueducts for their water supply... because they still work. There may be more efficient ways to get the same thing to happen now, but why change if it still sort of works?

2 days ago
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Court: Car Dealers Can't Stop Tesla From Selling In Massachusetts

Teancum Re:Car Dealers should ask why they're being bypass (146 comments)

You are the one who made the first mistake.

If you do that kind of research by looking stuff up on-line, reading Consumer Reports, and digging up information about the automobiles before you show up to the dealer.... what is the point of the dealer in the first place?

I agree with you so far as that is the best way to avoid getting screwed over by incompetent salesmen, but you can intelligently use sales reps to get more information about their products. This is not strictly about the automobile industry either, and I've done that with electronics, software, and even groceries.

2 days ago
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Court: Car Dealers Can't Stop Tesla From Selling In Massachusetts

Teancum Re:Car Dealers should ask why they're being bypass (146 comments)

Tesla doesn't have dealerships, which is part of the problem though. They have stores... like stores which sell soap or drugs like aspirin. That is also the point of the ruling as they are trying to tell these mega-dealerships who own the rights to every automobile brand that they simply can't add Tesla to their list.

The reason why Tesla doesn't want these dealers to have their cars is primarily because they are afraid that these dealers will throw a couple of Tesla cars in the corner of their showroom and be pushing the other brands instead. Elon Musk has explicitly stated this as his primary objection, and why he felt it was necessary to go outside of the dealership model.

2 days ago
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Congress Can't Make Asteroid Mining Legal (But It's Trying, Anyway)

Teancum Re:LOL (213 comments)

Yes, Douglas Adams had a really good way to describe such things. I miss the guy.

4 days ago
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Congress Can't Make Asteroid Mining Legal (But It's Trying, Anyway)

Teancum Re:Possession is nine-tenths of the law... (213 comments)

I haven't forgotten the multiplicitive nature of human reproduction or how life will spread. Millions of years from now mankind is likely going to be spreading to other Galaxies and doing things you would not even comprehend at the moment. Human populations also seem to somehow stabilize when constrained with resources (sometimes in ugly ways, but it does happen). Space is huge and there will be many other places to worry about than a mined out Moon.

Who knows, there may even be a lunar restoration group wanting to make it look as pristine as when Neil Armstrong first walked on it.

4 days ago
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Congress Can't Make Asteroid Mining Legal (But It's Trying, Anyway)

Teancum Re:LOL (213 comments)

Everybody thought the era of pirates was over.... until they started to show up again in the 21st Century here on the Earth. If the opportunity presents itself, there will always be people who will take advantage of a power vacuum and try to take that which is undefended.

No, it won't be like Star Trek or Firefly..... those are too slick and clean cut. It will be far more ugly and different still. This isn't chest thumping, it is facing reality instead of burying your head in the sand and thinking none of this is going to happen. I'll also say that a couple hundred years is nothing in terms of human history too. If you don't make longer-term plans, your civilization is simply doomed to extinction.

4 days ago
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Congress Can't Make Asteroid Mining Legal (But It's Trying, Anyway)

Teancum Re:LOL (213 comments)

The reason you can make a claim in North America and have it stick is due to the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Army. They are the guys that make it possible to make a mining claim and not have to worry about having some 2-bit thug come along and take your mine from you. That is what makes civilization possible. As much as Canada wants to assert their independence, they are dependent upon the U.S. military to make sure Russia doesn't go and sack the northern part of their country (or the whole country for that matter). Ditto for Mexico (in spite of the gangs in northern Mexico.... proving my point and the GP poster above).

The problem with the assumptions about those hoping for peace and tranquility in space is that you don't have sovereignty claims, thus no military of any kind except for pirates and thugs who don't give a damn about treaties or the United Nations. This also includes opportunistic nations that may want to take any space-based assets. That is not an environment you want to be investing billions or perhaps even trillions of dollars worth of money to develop space-based mineral assets.

Yes, space is big, far bigger than you can imagine. None the less, once you start sinking resources into developing a location in space, it becomes a target for aggression. That becomes a fixed point that can be occupied and stolen. Thugs will beat you up simply to steal ten bucks out of your wallet.... what will they do for assets worth billions? That is why you need to have available some friends who are far bigger and badder than any potential thug to allow civilized behavior to flourish.

4 days ago
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Congress Can't Make Asteroid Mining Legal (But It's Trying, Anyway)

Teancum Re:Barriers will fall once the money comes rolling (213 comments)

I wonder what the lobbying budget of Planetary Resources is at the moment? There are other space mining enterprises, but they are the ones that are furthest along with actual hardware capable of doing something with the idea. Their short-term goal is to simply map the Solar System, and not even trying to pretend that it is for purely scientific purposes.

4 days ago
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Congress Can't Make Asteroid Mining Legal (But It's Trying, Anyway)

Teancum Re:Congress can repeal treaty (213 comments)

Unless the treaty has an "escape clause", which the Outer Space Treaty has. Basically Congress can force a renegotiation of this particular treaty or simply set it aside by legislation. There is a one year notification period where the USA will need to abide by the restrictions of this particular treaty, but once that year is up.... it is as if the treaty never existed in the first place.

Not everybody is happy with that clause, and many people talking about this in the past have argued that this clause will never be invoked without another treaty with all of the current signers agreeing to a new treaty, but it still there.

Also, Congress can pass legislation requiring the President of the USA to engage in various actions. This is even fairly common place where legislation is written like "The Secretary shall..." or "The President shall..." Such legislation could certainly be drafted that in effect makes it an impeachable offense for the President to refuse to denounce a treaty (and very likely the President would simply do what Congress has asked in this case too). While technically it would still have to pass through the hands of the President, the policy decision itself can be decided simply by Congress.... much like how in the UK Parliament passes legislation that gets the Queen's assent but the Queen really didn't get to decide what was in that legislation.

4 days ago
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Congress Can't Make Asteroid Mining Legal (But It's Trying, Anyway)

Teancum Re:As a private citizen (213 comments)

The Outer Space Treaty doesn't even make it illegal. It only prevents sovereign claims upon the territory. It can be debated as to if a U.S. citizen claiming extra-terrestrial real estate might constitute a sovereignty claim as well, and certainly a group of citizens forming a town out of their privately held land and applying for U.S. territorial status will constitute a sovereignty claim, but that is still up in the air.

Besides, the USA can also simply state openly to all of the signatory parties "I don't want to be in this treaty anymore", wait a year, and that treaty will have zero impact of any kind. Basically, all Congress needs to do is take a private territorial claim and wait a year before it can be formally recognized or even granted statehood. It took longer than that for California to become a state.

4 days ago
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Congress Can't Make Asteroid Mining Legal (But It's Trying, Anyway)

Teancum Re:As a private citizen (213 comments)

The problem is that the treaty obligations of the USA are silent on the matter of private ownership of extra-terrestrial real estate and minerals. In other words, there are no obligations to get in the way. On the other hand, the major spacefaring nations of Mexico and Australia do have treaty obligations that prohibit their citizens from engaging in this kind of mining operation.

I wonder how long it will take for Mexico and Australia to back out of those treaties and get into the gold rush in the Solar System?

4 days ago
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Congress Can't Make Asteroid Mining Legal (But It's Trying, Anyway)

Teancum Re:Possession is nine-tenths of the law... (213 comments)

The Moon has more surface area that North America. Even if all of the nations of the Earth conspired and made a deliberate effort to explode the Moon, it can't be done. Mining operations that would produce minerals in quantities equal to the entire mining production of humanity from before the Sumerian empires until now and doing that on an annual basis would take billions of years to mine out enough of the Moon for you to even notice something was happening.

Relax, the Moon is going to be just fine even with extensive strip mining, and arguably it is better to have it happen up there than down here on the Earth while killing habitat for many animals and destroying whole ecosystems.

Only the smallest of asteroids will ever be completely mined out before mankind will have settled and occupied the rest of the Milky Way Galaxy.

4 days ago
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Congress Can't Make Asteroid Mining Legal (But It's Trying, Anyway)

Teancum Re:Is it just me... (213 comments)

There is current application of space law in terms of being an extension of international law though. Commercial enterprises working in a space environment or having a significant part or feature of their business (speaking about just space-related assets) is now a multi-billion dollar enterprise. Much of that is of course in the telecommunications industry (where it gets tricky to distinguish what is an Earth-based asset and what is space-based), but it also includes some emerging industries including mining operations.

It is a real academic discipline, and surprisingly the University of Mississippi is one of the major centers. Giggle all you want, this guy is cited in professional journals and taken seriously by executives at companies who conduct business activities in space. The guys that have the bucks matter, not some casual poster on Slashdot.

4 days ago
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Russian Military Forces Have Now Invaded Ukraine

Teancum Re: Send in the drones! (848 comments)

Neville Chamberlain was in a tough position as the United Kingdom had pretty much disposed of their military in the aftermath of World War I. Their navy was certainly world-class, but the army and anything which could be used to stop Germany was basically non-existent. Ditto for the U.S. Army (which even had serious legislation going before Congress to completely disband the U.S. Army altogether and rely strictly on the state militias for national defense). The rest of the world was disarming at the time Germany was moving into the Rhineland and elsewhere.

Military intelligence was also miserable at the time, where Germany purposely inflated the numbers of their soldiers by marching the same units across prominent bridges (easily seen by observers)... only to ship them by train back to Germany to have them march again over the same bridge several times. Basically the UK & France thought Germany had many more soldiers involved in those early occupations than really was the case and something that might have been stopped simply by calling Germany's bluff.

I don't know if it is too late to do that with Putin's Russia or not... which I suppose is the question some are asking right now.

about three weeks ago

Submissions

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

Teancum Teancum writes  |  about 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."
Link to Original Source
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Italian Wikipedia Shuts Down for the Day

Teancum Teancum writes  |  more than 2 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."
Link to Original Source
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RKK Energia confirms private trip to the Moon

Teancum Teancum writes  |  about 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."
Link to Original Source
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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."
Link to Original Source
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ARCA's Helen 2 rocket launch successful

Teancum Teancum writes  |  more than 3 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."
Link to Original Source
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Haliburton Patents Patent Trolling

Teancum Teancum writes  |  more than 5 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."

Link to Original Source
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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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