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Valve Reveals First Month of Steam Linux Gains

u17 Re:DRM (295 comments)

It's about control. You give up control over your own games and your own computer and hand it to a third party. Regardless if you're doing anything illegal, they have the power you your property. Normally they're kept in check because abusing that power would lend them fewer sales, but occasionally, due to greed or a bug or a conflict of interest, you can be sure that they will.

about a year and a half ago

Strong Climate Change Opinions Are Self-Reinforcing

u17 Re:The real issue I have is (655 comments)

b) Why do you think what climatologists say isn't falsifiable?

It isn't falsifiable because if they come up with a theory that matches the recorded data, there is no experiment that you can repeat in order to falsify their claims.

about 2 years ago

Interview With Icculus on GNU/Linux Gaming

u17 What's the point? (74 comments)

The whole point of GNU/Linux is that you have complete control over and significant trust of your system. If you bring closed, proprietary, DRM-infested software onto it, you're just turning it into another Windows; you might as well just go back to it.

No, what we need to get these people to do is to give us the code to their engines (even if under a mostly proprietary license). That way we will be able to continue enjoying what makes GNU/Linux attractive and play games as well.

about 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Seamonkey vs. Firefox — Any Takers?

u17 I use seamonkey (302 comments)

I've used it ever since they renamed mozilla to seamonkey. I've always liked searching from inside the address bar, which has been the main reason I did not switch to Firefox. I don't talk about it much in the same way I don't talk about using libgettext: it's just a browser, it gets the job done. Browsers and web development are overrated and overhyped.

about a year ago

Radioactive Decay Apparently Influenced By the Sun

u17 Re:Oh. Oh no. (267 comments)

Look at the graphs in the article. The residual variations in the rate of decay are proportional to 1/R^2, where R is the Sun-Earth distance. Compare that to the force of gravity, F=GMm/R^2, where GMm is constant. Perhaps the Sun is helping to pull the atoms apart via inflicted gravitational force on a very slight level. It doesn't have to be anything fancy like neutrino flux.

about 2 years ago

Ask Joseph Palaia About Building Lunar Machines and Living On Mars

u17 Re:Can Mars ever hope to be self-sustaining? (107 comments)

A colony doesn't need to be fully self-sustaining. As long as there is something valuable on Mars that can be exported to Earth, it can form the basis for interplanetary trade and allow the colony to co-exist with Earth without unilaterally draining resources from her.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Bas Lansdorp About Going to Mars, One Way

u17 Re:Participant Psychosis? (540 comments)

I know that you're joking, but you have it the other way around. It is the pressure of the environment that causes people to do useful, productive work. Send all useless and lazy people to Mars and within a few generations Earth will be full of them again. But send all sorts of people to the Marsian frontier and there the rough environment will only reward the enterprising, useful and fit, and eventually most inhabitants will become like that. Well, until Mars becomes like Earth and we'll need to go out and colonise further planets.

more than 2 years ago

Star Trek Luminaries Behind the Fastest Funded Film Project On Kickstarter

u17 Re:Great (158 comments)

You don't know any prostitutes? You are very lacking in knowledge. But you are right that the depiction they get in sci-fi TV series is misleading. Here, let me show you what real prostitutes are like.

more than 2 years ago

What Various Studies Really Reveal About File-Sharing

u17 Re:P2P had no effect on music sales? (285 comments)

Did you miss the part of the GP's post where he says pirated versions of software are on sale, cheap, at his local mall? A company, musician, or artist takes a big risk in creating the data you seem to dismiss so lightly. Maybe it takes three months out of their life; maybe it requires years of full-time effort from 20 or more coders, artists and coordinators, but the only way they have to recoup that risk is for someone to give them money. Shareware has taught us that a very small fraction of people who download software will pay for it voluntarily (although certain well-established names clearly have a fan-base that will yield good returns).

Just because someone has invested a lot of time or effort into making a sequence of bits, it does not mean that they are entitled to profit from it.

The new thinking is that the right of people to share comes before the right of distributors to enforce payment for making copies. The old thinking reverses these priorities.

If the new thinking means that distributors (or creators) cannot make a profit, then so be it. They will have to put their sense of entitlement aside and adapt to the new market reality.

The same people who want to share also want new movies, games and music. If that means they have to pay up-front kickstarter/vodo-style, then they will. It's a new idea with lots of issues to work out, but faced with no other choice, the creators and the public will eventually settle into a functioning system.

There is no going back to strict copyright control without monitoring and censoring all private communications. This is why I think that it is only a matter of time before non-commercial copying is legalised and an alternative creator compensation system becomes everyday reality.

more than 2 years ago

Oracle and the Java Ecosystem

u17 Re:Oracle matters less thank you'd think (157 comments)

Really? You're list of "must haves" starts with "goto"?

I know that there are still some diehards out there who insist that unstructured branches (i.e. "goto") have a place in a modern programming language, but the only example I have ever seen where a "goto" actually provided some value was in a performance critical piece of system code (specifically, it was part of the Linux kernel). Given that Java is an application language, not a system language, I see absolutely zero value in introducing unstructured branches. The structured branch constructs are perfectly sufficient.

Adding unsigned types to the language would add very little value, but it would add at least some value, so I won't argue with that one.

Goto isn't used in Linux for performance reasons. It's used because C does not have exceptions and using goto to jump to clean-up code prevents code duplication. Any sufficiently experienced C programmer will encourage you to do the same.

Of course, Java has exceptions and the finally keyword, so goto is not strictly needed for this purpose.

more than 2 years ago

Israel Says It Will Treat Online Credit Card Theft As It Would Terrorism

u17 This is not theft (422 comments)

The original owners did not lose their credit card numbers. Therefore it's not theft, it's unauthorised copying! I'm surprised that this is pointed out so many times under articles about file sharing, but not in cases like this.

more than 2 years ago

No IPv6 Doomsday In 2012

u17 Re:Business as usual (233 comments)

Because all sorts of services won't talk to you if you are on a spam blacklist. And pretty much all dynamic address pools are on such blacklists.

more than 2 years ago

Doom 3 Source Released

u17 Re:License (187 comments)

The GPL3 does indeed state that. But isn't the purpose of section 7 only to allow the copyright holder to work around the fact that the header of the license states that changing it is not allowed? Section 7 explicitly mentions that you have to have permission from the copyright holder to add additional clauses. You may thus add restrictions to the license which are not counter to the spirit of the vanilla GPL3.

But the question is, how does this affect compatibility between "GPL3 with additional restrictions" and just "GPL3"? Since without permission from the copyright holder you cannot add or remove additional restrictions, you may not use the licenses interchangeably. Because the additional restrictions are not present in the vanilla GPL3 (which does not allow additional restrictions unless you are the copyright holder and these restrictions fall under section 7), if you combine GPL3 code and "GPL3 with restrictions" code, it seems to me that there is no possible way to satisfy the terms of both licenses simultaneously.

So the way I see it, although GPL3 allows you to add these terms, by doing so you make your license GPL3-incompatible. If this is the case then it is troubling, and I would welcome any clarification from someone who knows the details behind this.

more than 2 years ago

Doom 3 Source Released

u17 License (187 comments)

It seems that the licensing is a mess.

The header in the source files state that the code is GPLv3 or any later version, with additional clauses added.

In addition, the Doom 3 Source Code is also subject to certain additional terms. You should have received a copy of these additional terms immediately following the terms and conditions of the GNU General Public License which accompanied the Doom 3 Source Code. If not, please request a copy in writing from id Software at the address below.

However, it seems that it is only possible to apply these additional terms to GPL version 3 exactly (and not any later version):

2. Replacement of Section 16. Section 16 of the GPL shall be deleted in its entirety and replaced with the following:

These additional terms seem to be just disclaimers of liability and an indemnity clause, but it is entirely possible that they make the source GPL-incompatible, which, if true, would be a huge disappointment.

So not only is the license not self-consistent, it is likely also GPL-incompatible. The additional terms may further make the license non-free, and definitely non-DFSG-compliant. Thanks go to the corporate lawyers who have turned Carmack's good intentions into an abomination. I hope that they can re-release this under saner terms.

more than 2 years ago

Experts 'Convinced' Duqu Work of Stuxnet Authors

u17 'Convinced' (85 comments)

I can never tell if these words in quotes are meant to be taken as literary citations or an indication of sarcasm. I think this 'style' of writing should be 'retired'.

more than 2 years ago

Is the OMB Trying To End Planetary Exploration?

u17 Re:Waste of time and money (236 comments)

We don't need any breakthroughs; we already have good plans to get to Mars with existing technology. Have you heard of Mars Direct? It's a plan for routine manned flights to Mars accomplished with existing chemical rockets (actually the Shuttle launch stack), artificial gravity induced by spinning the spacecraft linked with a tether to an empty rocket stage around the common centre of mass, and using chemically propelled cars (why would we use electric if we can have something better?). If we had wanted to, we would have sent people to Mars by now. All the things you mention are completely unnecessary.

more than 2 years ago

Is the OMB Trying To End Planetary Exploration?

u17 Re:Waste of time and money (236 comments)

Considering the fiscal climate we are in I say the government should forget about going to Mars and just pick the project which would create the most high paying jobs. It seems like the new rocket will create the most and will greatly ease launching more satellites for both private and public use. The only thing on Mars is dirt and sending another probe wont change that.

This is exactly what NASA should not be doing. If you want to know why, you should read the 2003 testimony of Zubrin on the future of NASA.

more than 2 years ago

Google To Introduce New Programming Language — Dart

u17 Re:PARROT!!!! (250 comments)

Is there even one mature language that runs on Parrot? (not brainfuck, etc.) They seem to be in perpetual-development mode.

about 3 years ago


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