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Archive for November, 2007

Interesting Audio on Antitrust Law and History

Here is a link to the origin.

Punishing the Honest People, Courtesy of DRM

Vinyl record

DRM is fortunately going away, at least as far as audio is concerned. With DRM, everyone is considered a so-called ‘pirate’ until proven otherwise, and even then (when proven innocent) the customer is mistreated while pirates enjoy DRM-free media, which is easy to obtain because DRM is flawed by design. At the end of the day, pirates enjoy media more than paying consumers, which is ironic.

Corollary: That’s why DRM is never the solution. It only introduces new problems.

DRM is broken. It needs to be shunned.

I’m Almost Done with ”Open Source”. It Lost Its Way.

WHAT would you say if someone offered you a car replacement that is merely the same car with a crowbar?

Open Source has begun losing — at least judging by what’s out there ‘in the wild’ — the goals considered throughout its inception stages. Open Source has assimilated too much to what we already have in many areas, so there is too little distinction. The value of approved “Open Source” does not matter as much as it used to and those suffering include those who stick to the roots.

Back to “Free Software”

What’s truly being ruined is Free software, whose impact is forgotten because of the success of open source, which is lenient. Open Source can claims success, but is it truly the open source that founders of OSI had in mind?

I think I’m about to give up on Open Source altogether. Not Free software. Not GNU/Linux. I’m only referring to the increasingly diluted and meaningless thing that is nowadays known as “Open Source”. It used to be better. The ‘club’ opened its door too wide and it now includes unwanted members that do something which is akin to freeware with a premium edition. The ‘club’ also opened to door to its worst foes.

As I take a look at my “Open Source” feeds I come to find “open-sources software” (not the same as Open Source), companies that suppress participation by the outside world but call themselves “Open Source”, companies that boast .NET technologies with Microsoft licenses (thank you, OSI, for shooting yourselves in the foot). The latter is a case where the software depends on a whole ‘fat’ proprietary stack just to be able to run. In order to just run this case, one needs to throw wads of cash at a monopoly abuser and then be locked in. There are many other examples, but generally, the distinction between truly Free (and open source) software and proprietary software is no longer there. It’s fuzzy and confusing. The words are abused for their hype.


If you call yourself “Open Source” and you also fulfill the conditions of Free software, then you are encouraged to rename and change your identity. Set yourself apart from the crowd that is too dense for you to be seen.

Case of point: The “assembly required” business model is among those that make open source software quite repellent and fuels FUD against it. Examples include quite a few popular packages (maybe even Asterisk). They really ought to learn from Red Hat’s model, but that said, Red Hat has, at some stage, made deliberate errors to earn money from support. It was a long time ago and it’s possibly just a rumour.

The Good Bits

This post is not a statement favouring BSD/GPL ans saying that it’s a case of “all or nothing at all”. It’s close to this though. There are exceptions to all of this however. Putting aside the nature of the licence at hand, Google’s Android seems quite exciting and the early video previews are impressive. Here is one article of interest:

Google releases Android SDK preview

As expected, Google has released an “early look” version of its SDK (software development kit) for mobile phones. The Eclipse-based Android SDK lets users write Java applications that run on Dalvik, a virtual machine designed to run on top of Linux in embedded applications.

What is interesting about this product is that it not only enables end users to control the code, but it also brings choice to the selection of a carrier. It represents openness. It’s not just open code, but actual portability, which many open source projects continue to lack (Open Solution Alliance, anyone? Not a twit heard from it).

Microsoft is already threatened by Android. Just as FUD was spread by Steve Ballmer about the iPhone before its arrival, FUD was being spread about Android before it was even understand.

Microsoft’s FUD is clearly a case of sour grapes. After so many years, Windows Mobile has an abysmal market share of 4-6% and Microsoft hides its mobile division (through merging) in order to hide corresponding losses from the investor’s eye.

In case you did not know, the future is mobile (the desktop loses its role and significance). The future of mobile devices is Linux, so Linux need never conquer the desktop. The revolution will come in a way that nobody foresaw when Linux was born (1991). Companies begin to realise and acknowledge this.

Smear Campaigns Against This Web Site

Well, well, well…

It turns out that a bunch of shills might be trying to shut up this Web site for no justifiable reason whatsoever. WebSense has just blacklisted after someone had been spreading lies in public forums and Web sites. Some anonymous voices spoke about this Web site (and another one of mine) launching DDOS attacks. This is utterly false. It is slander that has been spread in various forums by the same person with different identities or by the usual suspect (Gary Stewart). It’s a character assassination and image assassination attempt.

I’ve inquired to check with other sites, which I suspect suffer from the same people. Those responsible for this are probably long-time Microsoft shills (many observers are convinced). There are prior stories and cases in the past.

Update: It turns out that this happened in the past to other innocent Web sites too. Exact same scenario: “Websense and false accusations.”

If companies keep paying people to do such utter rubbish, then investigation ought to follow. I haven’t enough evidence, but let it all be said in public — for now.

Creative Commons Peer to Peer

AUTHORITIES seem to be cracking down quite blindly on P2P and bittorrent activities. This is fairly recent news. I use neither torrents nor P2P, but it’s worrisome nonetheless. While it may be true that copyright infringement thrives in such networks, shutting them down immediately (or throttling, aka “network shaping”, aka packet discrimination and tiered Web) is a case of throwing out the baby with the bathwater. There is a lot of legitimate and crucial data on those networks, such as Free software (e.g. GNU/Linux distributions).

There ought to be a better way to disseminate the vast amounts of art (music and video, for startes) that can be legally distributed. Consider various lenient licenses, public domain, Creative Commons, etc. Why not create a limited but huge catalog of music which can be shared legally and then only permit peers in the nwteork to exchange this trusted catalog? This would be perfectly legitimate. No need to hide anything, no need for warning letters from the RIAA, and so forth. Such a service/product would be the worst nightmare to a predatory media industry because no longer will people be required to buy new music the ol’ fashion way.

Many of us are willing to reuse and revive public domain material. We can listen to music that is no longer copyrighted. Why not share gigabytes of data that is perfectly legitimate music? At the moment it’s spreads in all sorts of places. It takes time to find it. But it’s there! There’s no point of centralisation and no peer exchange though, so the utility of the network’s potential remains low. It’s expansive to maintain from a single point. There’s not much choice or searching facilities, either. A service that is built as described here would be very valuable.

Netscape — Beyond 20,000


I can’t believe I did this, but I’ve submitted (manually) over 20,000 stories to Propeller, formerly known as Netscape. I only began in August 2006. The counter stands at 20057 at the moment. I’m only second to Technology Expert, I suspect, in terms of submission volume. When it comes to site ranking — however meaningless it may be — I’m currently 6th, among 390,479 registered users.

Interview with PJ on Groklaw and Beyond

GROKLAW’S founder, Pamela Jones (better known as “PJ”), has done an interview with me in Datamation. In the interview she explains her ambitions and drive in following the SCO case for several years. She also expands onto other areas and shed some light on the future direction of Groklaw. From the interview: “Obviously, patent cases are now stage front and center. But we also have an arrangement now where any lawyer can contact me and ask technical questions of our members.”

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