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As smart-phones go, my phone is ...

influenza I have a savant-phone (519 comments)

My phone is supposed to be a smart phone, the Openmoko Neofreerunner. In reality I've found it to be very good at some things like running Free Software, but when it comes to social things like phone calls and text messages it's often left not knowing what to do. I still love it though.

more than 3 years ago

Do Build Environments Give Companies an End Run Around the GPL?

influenza Re:Obvious answer, old answer. (374 comments)

But couldn't he sue because he is a customer? The company sold him a device that includes software for which the license is GPL, but is not respecting his rights under the GPL. The rights that the GPL grants are primarily to the user, are they not?

more than 4 years ago

The Telcos' Secret Anti-Net Neutrality Strategy

influenza Re:Hooray! (457 comments)

RIght on!

I would mod you up for this but I don't get points anymore.

Thank you for calling the telcos robber barons, that is exactly what they are. Net neutrality isn't about government regulation, it's about not ceding power to regulate the internet to corporations.

If the government cannot be trusted to regulate the internet, how can we possibly trust a handful of corporate giants? It's ridiculous to argue that the interests of the telcos are in line with the interests of everybody else.

A free internet is just as important as a free market. Without net neutrality, innovation on the internet will be crippled once only the incumbent giants can afford to pay premium for the fast lane.

I'm no fan of big government, but I cannot understand why so many advocates of small government are not also afraid of the big business trampling all over their rights and freedoms. The reality is that the Fortune 500 are integral part of how the world is "governed", whether they fall under the category of government or not. Where is the Tea Bagger uprising against the corporate establishment?

more than 4 years ago

iPad Is a "Huge Step Backward"

influenza Re:Dear FSF (1634 comments)

It's worth nothing that you cannot run arbitrary code on a Tivo because they use DRM to prevent unsigned kernels from being loaded. "Tivo-ization" was a primary motivation for the FSF to write the GPL3.

Myself, I don't understand why some people draw the line for software freedom at embedded systems. I can understand it if most people would want to use the ROM that came with their phone/media player/ebook reader/DVR unaltered. But we should have the right to do whatever we want with our devices.

more than 4 years ago

Canadian Android Carrier Forcing Firmware Update

influenza Re:open means closed for cellphones (238 comments)

The Openmoko community is a breeding ground for mobile Linux distros and and the FSO middleware. FSO and these distros, like SHR, Hackable:1, QtMoko will eventually be ported to other devices. That's one reason why Openmoko is still relevant. The work being done on Freerunners now will eventually result in being able to replace the proprietary parts of the Pre or the n900 with all Free software, or potentially replace the OS on an Android phone with a Linux distro that runs a server.

The people using and developing for the Openmoko phones are very familiar with its faults. They use the phone and develop for it because the Freerunner is the most open handset available. It's a labour of love, and there are a lot of folks in the community that are very committed to Free Software.

If nothing else, Openmoko gave a bunch of nerds a crack at creating their own mobile operating system. It had the potential (and maybe still does through FSO and SHR) to enable the kind of built in the garage innovation that brought about companies like HP and Apple. That's a bit of a long shot, but a lot of great work has come out of the Openmoko community and things are still moving along.

more than 4 years ago

Python Essential Reference 4th Ed.

influenza Re:she? (94 comments)

I'm pretty sure that 90% of /. is somewhere on the aspergers syndrome. 74 comments when I loaded the page, and I had to scroll down the last 10 or so to read any that weren't about the reviewer's choice in pronouns.

more than 4 years ago

Nokia Fears Carriers May Try To Undermine N900

influenza Re:You can buy unlocked phones from Nokia today (307 comments)

Except that you'll be paying the same monthly rates as customers who did get a subsidized phone from their carrier. That's not fair. Those of us who buy their own phones should get lower rates. When I brought my Openmoko Neo Freerunner to Fido (in Canada), it was actually cheaper to get a Nokia feature phone than to just get a SIM card.

about 5 years ago

Facebook Faces the Canadian Privacy Commissioner

influenza Re:Canada? Does it matter? (140 comments)

Are you sure about that? From the quick facts side-bar on the CPIC overview page:

The Automated Canada United States Police Information Exchange System (ACUPIES) provides CPIC users a link to the U.S. National Crime Information Centre data banks, and all U.S. users access to the CPIC files. Currently, this link is processing over 12 million transactions per year.

Wikipedia links to a reference that claims that the "wandering persons" database (for tracking alzheimers patients) is not shared with the US. So they don't get complete access, but they can access CPIC.

more than 5 years ago

Facebook Faces the Canadian Privacy Commissioner

influenza Re:Canada? Does it matter? (140 comments)

Actually, police records are shared between Canada and the US. The police keep a file on you if they've ever spoken to you (and taken your name, birthday and address) whether you're actually in trouble or just a witness. American police have access to those files. If a Canadian is pulled over by the police in the US, the US police officer will see their Canadian police file when they do their check.

more than 5 years ago

ArenaLive, an Open Source MMOFPS

influenza why not AGPL? (95 comments)

It's too bad this isn't under the AGPL. Maybe it has to be GPL2 because of what it's based on. But with the GPL2 source only has to be shared with people who receive binaries. This does not include visitors to a website, or an in-browser game in this case.

The AGPL got me thinking about the relevance of FLOSS if everything moves to cloud computing. If this project takes off, it would be a "cloud" that is based on FLOSS. Meaning that others could take the code and run their own "clouds". It would be the same as it is now, only instead of connecting to player-run servers through the game menus you would surf to them in a browser.

Either way, I'm far to crappy on FPS, so unless the game has safe-zones for hippies that don't like killing it won't be very fun for me.

more than 5 years ago

Kindle, Zune DRM Restrictions Coming Into Focus

influenza Re:And the lesson, children, is... (311 comments)

You're right that we just shouldn't give them our money, but there's something to be said for cracking DRM and making all the work they did irrelevant. Developing DRM becomes less and less attractive when every time a new system is used it gets broken.

more than 5 years ago

Kindle, Zune DRM Restrictions Coming Into Focus

influenza Re:Don't by DRM protected media... (311 comments)

I think the point of complaining about DRM to is raise awareness about the issue amongst people who don't yet understand the ramifications. And complaining is pretty fun... this is Slashdot after all.

more than 5 years ago

Liberal Party of Canada Comes Out In Support of Net Neutrality

influenza Re:Now... (142 comments)

What's wrong with more elections? I say the more the better and I can't really understand people who complain about having to vote too often.

Seriously, it's better for us to get more opportunities to elect our government... right? Better than being stuck with a bad government for four or five years and not being able to do anything about it.

And for those that don't know, voting in Canada is very easy. You can register at the polls (if you're not already registered) and there's only one ballot with a single question (you choose one candidate, there are no propositions). It takes 5 minutes if there's no line.

more than 4 years ago

FCC To Probe Exclusive Mobile Deals

influenza Re:What could possibly go wrong? (159 comments)

I assume that this is what you're referring to, so this is for those that don't get the joke.

Ted Kennedy is on the TSA no fly list is consequentially hassled at airports. This was covered on Slashdot a few years back.

more than 4 years ago

Wine Project Frustration and Forking

influenza Re:red and white wine? (470 comments)

Not even if the Merlot is free as in beer?

more than 5 years ago

Wine Project Frustration and Forking

influenza red and white wine? (470 comments)

Maybe if there is a fork, it can be White Wine and the original can be Red Wine.

And then if they merge back together, it'll be a blush!

more than 5 years ago

ODF Alliance Warns Governments About Office 2007 ODF Support

influenza Re:It's already been stated... (312 comments) is released under the LGPL. Doesn't that mean that if Microsoft wanted to they could link to and include OO.o binaries, and only have to provide the source code for any changes made directly to LGPL code?

They're legally allowed to use the library functions from in their products, they probably aren't too worried about looking at the code. Even if accidental copying happened, surely they could afford to have the code audited for copyright violations.

Microsoft is in no position to blame lack of reference material for their failure to fill gaps in the 1.1 version of the standard in a way that is compatible with all the other ODF applications.

more than 5 years ago

Graphic Artists Condemn UK Ban On Erotic Comics

influenza Re:Standard (408 comments)

I think that the reasoning behind bans on child porn illustrations and fiction has more to do with fears that it encourages pedophilia than whether or not children are harmed directly by the creation or distribution of such works. The fear is that fictional child porn is like a sort of gateway drug leading to more serious deviances. Potential pedophiles could start out with "no children harmed" kiddie porn, develop an appetite for the real stuff and eventually be unable to stop themselves from molesting children.

The idea that fictional child porn could act as a gateway leading to behaviour where real children are harmed isn't really that far fetched. It's very common for non-pedophiles to experiment with porn and masturbation before moving to the real thing. Even after losing one's virginity I bet lots of people jerk off to porn of sex acts (with consenting adults) that they've been fantasizing about before trying them out in real life. For lots of people doing it alone first lets them get more comfortable with the fantasy, and could also fuel their desire and confidence to act the fantasy out. So it's not really that hard to see why some might be afraid that even fictional child porn can eventually, indirectly harm children.

Another fear is that potential molesters will find acceptance and reinforcement of their fantasies in the communities they get the fictional porn from.

It might not actually work that way. Or maybe it does for some perverts but not others. Maybe some pedophiles who have still only fantasized about molesting kids would actually benefit from fictional child porn. It could be enough of an outlet for them, allowing them to manage their urges instead of serving as a gateway. I'm not saying either way. I'm just saying that the argument could be made that even fictional depictions of child pornography harm children indirectly by encouraging perverts.

What's not clear is whether such a law will have such an effect. Will limiting access to fictional child porn actually reduce the number of child molestations? What if it merely drives pedophiles even further into the underground making them that much harder to detect? I certainly don't know the answers to these types of questions. The whole issue of what to do with child molesters woefully complicated, and probably one that humans will have to deal with until our extinction.

What's absolutely tragic about this particular law is its lack of focus. There's no reason at all for this law to contain language banning anything that is not child porn. Banning important cultural works like Watchmen or South Park is pathetic and embarrassing. I will never cease to be amazed at how politicians can continuously advocate such idiotic ideas without the normal human reaction of eventually being shameful and apologetic, and somehow manage to stay in office. It's very difficult to have any sort of hope for humanity when we keep giving power over our lives to morons and crooks.

more than 5 years ago

Android Gathers Steam Among Open Source Developers

influenza Re:OpenMoko (176 comments)

I agree with you about FSO, it is shaping up to be pretty cool. For those who don't know, Openmoko is sponsoring development of which is an API for smart phones meant to complement the work done at

Phone, GPS, power, PIM and eventually wifi functions are all controlled by a d-bus api. This means that that developers can choose whatever gui toolkit they see fit.

FSO is cool, but I wish they had started with it. Instead they released a stop-gap gsm daemon called neod, then they ripped the phone functions out of Qtopia and ported it to X11, and now they're moving to FSO.

It seems to me that the biggest problem with Openmoko is they don't know how to communicate effectively. I bought the phone thinking it would work as a phone and they were letting developers access it early to start writing apps. WRONG! They released it early to get help diagnosing apm/suspend issues, poor GSM functionality, poor wifi... just about everything worked but only intermittently and not with the kind of results I was expecting.

But FSO development seems to be moving ahead. And at least with Openmoko the whole stack (multiple stacks!) are completely Free. With Android some parts aren't included in the open source release. And LiMo... I expect the most open source compliance we'll see out of them is a tar ball full of patches to the Linux kernel once a device finally ships.

What I see happening is Openmoko derived distros and Debian with FSO being somewhat similar to how Linux is on the desktop now. People will buy phones with Windows Mobile or Android and install GNU/Linux because that's what they're looking for. So even if Openmoko fails, its legacy will be a decent open source phone stack for Linux.

Still, I wish them the best. And if they could make my Freerunner into a usable phone (without Android) then even better!

more than 5 years ago


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