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Re: [News] Vista to take hard stand against piracy

"B Gruff" <bbgruff@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote in message 
> On Wednesday 04 October 2006 19:49 Hadron Quark wrote:
>> I think you might be surprised. In the same way that companies "own the
>> rights" to anything you dream up while in their employ, the companies
>> are responsible for anything a worker spews out onto the web using
>> companies resources.
>> Universities are not a haven for free speech : in the day and age of
>> league tables and the need for corporate sponsorship it would be wise
>> not to put them to the test.
>> By all means have a strong opinion, but don't lead a witch hunt.
> So you are suggesting that university staff (and presumably students?) in 
> an
> English university should have whatever they say or write approved by an
> American corporation before saying or writing it?

    While I'm not sure anyone would ever hold an employer responsible for 
the speech of their employee, there is some credence to this story (at least 
in North America). You'll occasionally see disclaimers here on USENET, and 
sometimes also in blog postings basically stating that the views expressed 
are the author's and do not nescessarily reflect the author's employers'.

    An additional anecdote: A friend of mine had a job for a while doing 
tech support for routers. He was explicitly instructed to EXACTLY follow the 
troubleshooting steps provided to him, and to not stray from it, even if he 
knew what the "real" solution was, and even if he knew that the solution he 
was providing over the phone would not work. It was mainly a liability 
issue: they didn't want anyone giving out advice that could possibly damage 
the hardware or cause data lost.

    When I did telemarketing part-time as a student, I was trying to sell 
telephone services to this woman when we got into a chat, and she was 
talking about how she wanted to share her Internet connection across two 
computers. My employers didn't explicitly forbid it, and I wasn't 
particularly concerned about my career as a telemarketer, so I advised her 
(gave her a "grocery list" of things to buy: two NICs, a hub, some ethernet 
cable, etc.) but before I started, I made it very clear to her that the 
advice I was giving was my own, and not AT&T's.

> Even if that were the case, presumably life could get a bit confusing if 
> the
> university was sponsored by (say) Microsoft AND IBM?

    Maybe I'm cynical, but in that case, I'd figure it's tough luck for you, 
and if you want to be safe, don't make any posts while at work at all. =P Or 
just discuss kayaking or something, and stay clear of all things 
computer-related. That's just if you want to be safe, though. Despite what 
others may claim here, I'm sure lots of people bend or break the rules, 
figuring they're never gonna get caught anyway.

> Interesting concept though.  Presumably university staff and students 
> should
> have been much more cautious in commenting on the dangers of smoking, and
> ought to be exercising even more caution now in views relating to the 
> ozone
> layer or global warming, in case they offend the oil companies etc?

    If you don't want to offend the tobaco industry, yes I'd avoid 
commenting on the dangers of smoking. If you don't care about offending the 
tobaco industry, then by all means, talk about how dangerous smoking is (on 
an appropriate newsgroup, please). If you don't care about offending the 
tobaco industry, and it turns out you're working for the tobaco industry, 
don't start complaining when someone higher up sees your post and fires you, 
unless there are laws in your country/state/whatever protecting this form of 
speech. And even then, don't be surprised if your employers try to game the 
system, finding other excuses to fire you. It's happened before.

> (... and still waiting, of course, for your list of the "oodles" of people
> opposed to Roy's postings...)

    Maybe it's subjective, but it seems like Roy's posts, when I first got 
here, had a lot more Linux content than they have nowadays. These days, it's 
Vista-this and Vista-that. I didn't come here to read about Vista. I'm here 
to read about Linux.

    I wouldn't mind reading the occasional Vista article here, but the 
information presented here is clearly biased. Roy stubbornly refuses to 
refer to products by their proper name (e.g. calling Vista "SP3") which 
makes his anti-Vista post lose a lot of credibility.

# Focus on what Linux has to offer. There is no need to bash the 
competition. Linux is a good, solid product that stands on its own.

# Respect the use of other operating systems. While Linux is a wonderful 
platform, it does not meet everyone's needs.

# Refer to another product by its proper name. There's nothing to be gained 
by attempting to ridicule a company or its products by using ``creative 
spelling''. If we expect respect for Linux, we must respect other products.

    - Oliver 

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