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Bodacious Boxes that go Bing!
20031205(Computing):SCO Misdirection or Redirection?
I think the details of the SCO debate (statement: Daryl McBride, rebuttal: Lawrence Lessig) is straying from the original point. While all this discussion about how the GPL may or may not violate the US Constitution is interesting, the issue was originally about how IBM stole some SCO code and placed it in Linux.

The GPL issue appears to me to be an attempt by SCO to cover a fall-back position -- that is, even if SCO (or someone in one of the companies they acquired) contributed code with the approval of whomever was in charge at the time, the resulting code was 'licensed' under the GPL; and being unenforceable, the release was therefore illegal. More likely though it is an attempt to muddy the waters and get a whole lot of free anti-GPL press.

The problem is that you can't separate the GPL from copyright any more than you can separate Microsoft's license from copyright -- the same mechanism is what makes those licenses enforceable. The law is that creators can attach whatever conditions they like to their creations. The Microsoft position is that you cannot use their creations in yours, period. The GPL says you can -- but attaches conditions to the resulting hybrid product. Don't like those conditions? Don't use the GPL creation in the first place. Simple. You are under absolutely no compulsion to use the GPL creation in the creation of your own product.

Why is this such a hard concept for people to wrap their brains around?

As I said, on the face of it there is no reason for the SCO litigation to attack the viability of the GPL. It is either a distraction, FUD, or laying the groundwork for an alternative fall-back legal theory we have not seen yet. In either case, it is a sign that SCO knows that their efforts are in trouble (witness all the detailed analysis of their alleged evidence of stolen code).

20031020(Computing):Spam Control: a user problem
After careful consideration, I have decided that the burden of filtering spam should fall on the individual, and on systems directly (and best exclusively) controlled by that individual.

Read More:You've Got (Junk) Mail

20030924(Computing):Please Get A Clue (Part One)

You do not, and never have, "logged on" to a public web site. The phrase "logging on" implies that you are presenting some credentials, such as a username and password, so that the computer on the other end will know who you are for the duration of your session.

There are two key deviations from this meaning: first, you don't present identification to a public web site; they don't know you from Adam, and they don't care to know you from Adam. Second, as soon as the icon dealie thing stops changing on your web browser (ie the M in mozilla, or the spinning e/globe thing in IE) you are disconnected from the web server. When you click on a link, a completely new connection is initiated.

It really really irritates me when clueless market-droids invite you to "log on to our website at www-dot-i-dont-have-a-clue-what-this-means-dot-com". Makes me cringe.

20030917(Computing):Vacation Over: Must Work Now.
Security Wednesday!
  • Security Fix: OpenSSH 3.7.1p1
  • Critical Security Fix: Sendmail 8.12.10

Other things which happened:

  • Bind 9.2.2p1 (anti-VeriSign wildcarding patch)
  • Rebuilt the entire DMZ kit about a million times due to silly syntax errors in the MimeDefang section of the Makefile (and a self-inflicted full-build-on-RC-releases policy).

I should have rolled in the Apache 1.3.28 release as well, but I'm chronically lazy. I don't think there are any major bugs with 1.3.27, so I'll let it slide a little more.

I guess my vacation really is over.

20030917(Computing):No it isn't
Hot on the heals of yesterday's article comes a dissenting opinion.

This hinges on the theory that when someone connects to your computer for the purposes of copying a song, it is your computer which creates the copy -- which is aparrently infringement. This is violates the principle that if the person obtaining the copy is the one making the copy, then the copy is legal.

No doubt about it, this needs to be tested in court.

20030916(Computing):The Law Of The Land
Aparrently, file sharing may be legal in Canada.

Interesting (mandatory NAFTA digs asside). I knew there was a good reason I was paying too much for blank CDs.

20030604(Computing):The Definition of Irony
Irony is leaving a large company because it isn't moving in the direction you want it to, building a product that takes market share away from your own employer, who then buys you.
20030118(Computing):Redhat 8.0 Sucks
Bugs found thus far with RedHat 8.0, download edition:

Read More:always buggy

20021105(Computing):More Tales From The Sun Console
Sun doesn't make anything unnecessarily easy, do they.

Read More:Always More.

20021027(Computing):I hate computers
This is the kind of thing I spend my days figuring out.

Read More:Arrrrgh!

20021004(Computing):I'm not dead yet, it's just a flesh wound.
Remember where I said I'd chosen a dead OS for my second computer?

What a difference a couple of months makes! First comes news of Sun's new intel based servers which will be available with Linux, or optionally Solaris 9 for x86; and now comes the news that Sun is going to sell Solaris 9 for x86 separately!

Now I know I'm going to have to find another OS to run. Anyone know where I can find AmigaDOS?

20020806(Computing):Forward the Future
I must be a glutton for punishment. Apparently, the complexities and problems involved in running a Linux system as my main system were not enough for me, and I have abandoned Linux as a primary computing platform at home.

In favor of a dead OS.

Read More:I love a good funeral

20020217(Computing):Aparrently, I'm an idiot
The state of Linux today is a culture in deep, deep trouble -- and the real tragedy is that the movers and shakers of that culture cannot see the truth of their situation. Those close to the "linux revolution" are so blind to the state of the art that they cannot see how their world looks to outsiders and to those just entering for the first time.

Let me step back a minute and tell you a tale of a user and a kernel.

Read More

20011215(Computing):Mandrake Sucks Harder
In which our hero becomes even more disappointed with his Mandrake system.

Read More:round and round and round the bowl

20011127(Computing):Windows Solution Matrix
In my quest for computing excellence, I have managed to fuXor up my big system at home. The fault for this undoubtably lies in my hands, but I think that Mandrake can take some of the blame.

Read More:lather, reboot, reinstall.

20011120(Computing):A Journey of Enlightenment
I have undergone a right of passage, a journey from the blind ignorance of the initiate through to the enlightenment of the acolyte; a transition forced upon me through a strange set of coincidences, wilful ignorance, and blind stupidity.

And now I know. But I get ahead of myself.

Read More:a deep lesson of the universe

20010727(Computing):Thoughts On Usability Principles
Sun did a usability study on Gnome. Ignoring for the moment that they picked some computer neophytes (primarily unix neophytes), they ended up with a bunch of usability principles it is worth examining in detail.

Read More:we are sooo user friendly

20010727(Computing):Mundi Mouths More Misleading Muck
A report on Craig Mundi's panel discussion at O'Reily Open Source Convention 2001 noted that

...he said that we basically don't see economic reality and we don't know about business, and while we have good points we should abandon most of our philosophical ideas.

Read More:but we have the cleanup solution.

20010726(Computing):Change In Email Policy
To: all Outlook users
From: the rest of the internet

OK, we've had enough. What was funny when it started with the Melissa virus has now become painfully annoying with the SirCam virus.

Read More:877: Sender Is An Idiot, Mail Refused

20010627(Computing):Linux is free?
Seen on Unix Haters:
Linux is only free if your time is worthless.

My counter opinion:

Well, you are going to end up spending time fucking around with whatever crap you select anyways, won't you? Linux, Solaris, AIX, or god help you, HPUX will each cost you tonnes of fiddle-time. Therefore, the time you spend is a cost of getting the task done -- not of the OS chosen to do the job. Sure, you could argue that on average you'll spend time on Linux than on something else -- but since to save that time you'd have to spend money, you can probably place quite a high value on your time and still come out ahead.
20010620(Computing):Web Browsers Suck
Our hero JWZ has some thoughts about web page design which are interesting. This is sort of similar to something I've been thinking about recently, what with all the Microsoft Smart Tag nonsense going on.

Read More:This site best viewed with your eyes

20010303(Computing):Java Hype Machine
Over the last six years, I have been watching and reading the various media hype about Java. Remember Java? Java was going to change the world. Everything was going to run in a Java Virtual Machine and the underlying operating system, nay the entire underlying physical hardware, would be irrelevant. Developers would write once, and users would run everywhere. Well just in case you are living in a cave, that hasn't quite happened. One excellent article on the subject is on salon.com, Simon Garfinkel's Bad Java (and the follow-up companion article, Java fans fight back) which detail a lot of the lies that the Java Hype Machine fed the media back in the mid '90s and examines how almost none of them are true.

Originally published to NerdPerfect.

Read More:what lies?.

20001106(Computing):How To Learn Computers
K5 has an article today on how we might improve technical education. The article is more of a request for comments than a source of ideas, and it is in the comments that we do find some ideas which may or may not be worthy of examination.

Being a "computer guy", I get asked by friends and family how they might go about "learning computer skills". The problem is that there is no easy, simple answer to this question.

Originally published to NerdPerfect.

Read More:There will be a test later.

20001106(Computing):New Rights for Old Work
Our good friends at Yahoo! News are reporting that the US Supreme court is being asked to examine the rights that freelancers have in the electronic universe. In a nutshell, electronic news publishers are claiming that they have the rights to reproduce freelancer material on the web without seeking the approval of the original authors. The freelancers, obviously, disagree. The initial legal exchange has been a draw thus far, with the publishers winning round one, but the freelancers winning on appeal.

What gets me is the argument being put forth by the representatives of the publishers.

Originally published to NerdPerfect.

Read More:Sign here to surrender your immortal soul.

20001009(Computing):Compaq Needs A Clue
Would-be mondo computer manufacturer Compaq added another foot to their corporate mouth today with comments published in ZDNN to the effect that Linux was risking losing their market momentum because of an inability to move out of their narrow niche. The article says twice that Linux's enterprise server role today is limited to being a cost-effective platform for specific tasks such as mail and print servers. Further, the items required for Linux to continue progressing in the market are a 2.4 kernel, a Linux64 project, and something referred to as a "larger skills base".

Uh... what?

Originally published to NerdPerfect.

Read More:How many feet can they get in there?

20000627(Computing):I Hate PDF
I was reading an article recently -- the exact context escapes me -- and the author went off on a rant about how these idiots kept sending him MS-Word documents. "Keep your choices in Word Processors to yourself", he thunders. As a handy alternative, he proposes the PDF format.


Originally published to NerdPerfect.

Read More:Share the hatred

While surfing through some recent history, I discovered this article: Visor sales pull ahead of Palm, 1 May 2000 at MercuryCenter.com. With that and a QuckShot from our intrepid leader a few weeks back, I got to thinking.

So what is it about handhelds that fascinates geeks? Is it about having all your friends' email addresses and phone numbers at your fingertips? Is it about keeping track of your to-do lists, your appointments, your little scribbles to yourself? Or is it about the hardware.

Originally published to NerdPerfect.

Read More:Holding your future in your hands

20000601(Computing):Spam: It's not just for breakfast any more.
Just for fun, I read some of the spams that clog my administrative email box at work. Some of them are real jems -- just when you think you've seen it all, some other idiot tops them. There are some things you just can't learn anywhere else.

Read on for today's winner.

Originally published to Nerd Perfect.

Read More:Nutricious and delicious.

19970719(Computing):Why Mackintosh Computers Suck
One of my less diversity-tollerant screeds.

Read More


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