GPLv3 versus Tivoization – will it prevent this in the future?

June 30, 2007

So I sat down yesterday and tried to read the GPLv3 to make some sense of the ongoing furor over it and whether or not it is better or worse than GPLv2. To be fair, I am a relative newcomer to GPL, FOSS and the whole free software movement. I think that this actually may give me a little more insight into the GPLv3 debacle because I am not generally biased for or against free software.

Read the entire piece on my Opinions page


GPLv3 Released!

June 29, 2007

For those new not in the know or new to Open Source, GPL is an acronym for General Public License. Today marks the release of version 3 of said license, hence GPLv3. The GPL is licensing similar to, but almost completely opposite from a standard Microsoft End User License Agreement.

Read the GPLv3 here

Where Microsoft’s EULA’s are to prevent you from sharing or using their software other than specfically directed, the GPL generally protects you to allow you to copy, modify and distribute the software in any way you see fit, so long as you give proper credit where it is due, and you provide the original source code along with your modifications.

What’s new in v3? Lots, but not much really. The core is still the same as the first two, it adds a few more restrictions on corporate cross pollination (Microsoft/Novell) and tivo-ization in an attempt to further protect the contributions of free software developers and end users alike.

Here’s the biggest change, straight from the Preamble talking about these two very things:

“Some devices are designed to deny users access to install or run modified versions of the software inside them, although the manufacturer can do so. This is fundamentally incompatible with the aim of protecting users’ freedom to change the software. The systematic pattern of such abuse occurs in the area of products for individuals to use, which is precisely where it is most unacceptable. Therefore, we have designed this version of the GPL to prohibit the practice for those products. If such problems arise substantially in other domains, we stand ready to extend this provision to those domains in future versions of the GPL, as needed to protect the freedom of users.
Finally, every program is threatened constantly by software patents. States should not allow patents to restrict development and use of software on general-purpose computers, but in those that do, we wish to avoid the special danger that patents applied to a free program could make it effectively proprietary. To prevent this, the GPL assures that patents cannot be used to render the program non-free.”

Update: My opinion on how this deals with Tivoization can be read hereĀ 

The next President and Linux

June 28, 2007

I just stumbled upon this rather interesting blog.

I’m not only a techie, but I’m also a bit of a watcher of politics. I think it’s interesting to note that of all of the currently registered candidates, 57% of them are using FOSS (48% Linux, 9% FreeBSD) to run their campaign web sites. More interesting (and boringly predictable) is the ratio when divided by party:

Democratic Candidates: 90% FOSS (70% Linux, 30% FreeBSD), 10% Windows

Republican Candidates: 69% Windows, 31% Linux (No Republicans are using FreeBSD).

So who’s the standout Democrat that blew the trend? It’s Hillary of course!

Actually, I can’t blame her, if asked if she knew which operating system and web server her campaign was running the response would likely be, “I can’t answer that question, I would have to refer you to my IT planning committee.” Likely followed by “Are you serious, there are nutjobs out there that CARE if I use Windows for my website? Wait… are they a constituency?”

Gutsy Gibbon getting better…

June 28, 2007

Tribe-2 of Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon) was released today. For those that aren’t familiar, Canonical/Ubuntu refer to “Release Candidates” as “Tribes.” That makes this release, for the rest of us normal people, Release Candidate 2.

For more information read Martin Pitt’s post to the ubuntu-devel-announce mailing list.

Here’s a list to the LiveCD’s:

Arrr… If it be a mirror ye be lookin’ for, try here instead

Some caveats from Matt’s post:

“The desktop installer on the LiveCD may hang when choosing manual partitioning.”
Solution is close the installer (wait to force if necessary),

sudo killall ubuquity


sudo ubiquity

If you enable restricted drivers for your video card while using the LiveCD then choose to run the installer it will not properly install X. Solution is to restart the LiveCD and not use the restricted drivers before running the installer.

Compiz-Fusion is included and enabled by default but may suck slighty. If it sucks, whine about it here.

Why can’t I edit a marqee selection in * photo editor?

June 27, 2007

Here’s a question I’ve pondered for a while. I thought it was just me, but a friend was over this evening and on the off chance he asked the same question…

In Photoshop or GIMP (or whatever photo editing tool you use) why can’t you edit your marquee selection after you have unclicked it? By marquee selection I mean the round selection tool or the square selection tool.

Sure, you can drag it into shape, but once your finger comes off that mouse button all you can do is nudge it with the arrow keys. A little up, over to the left a smidge maybe. But what if it isn’t quite the right size? What if I got this corner correct but I want it a little wider on that side, or a little taller or narrower?

So, can anyone tell me why this is? I think this would be a good suggestion for future version of GIMP. It would be remarkably useful for the crop command too.

And that’s what really bugs me. You can do it with the Photoshop Crop tool, but not with the selection tool. Why would you want something as obvious as this left out?


More on the new Boomslang, straight from the Razers Mouth

June 26, 2007 had a chance to sit down and interview Theo Sanders, the Product Director in charge of the release of the new Boomslang. It’s about 50% interesting and 50% corporate marketing hype with crapspeak like

Today, our technology has evolved to where we can engineer a worthy successor to the mouse that started it all. So it was high time we tossed our sales projections and marketing wisdom aside to bring the Boomslang back”

And as I guessed, it will be based on their 3G infrared sensor technology. Beancounters tossed aside my ass. Don’t get me wrong, I am really looking forward to this mouse, I just cant stand corporate doublespeak.

Read the whole thing here.

Linux kernel 2.6.22 almost here

June 25, 2007

Linux kernel 2.6.22 RC6 released today. It’s a release candidate but apparently is close to completion with only regressions pending. Among other things covered in this release candidate apparently one of the devs needs a break:

Jonathan Corbet (1):
      "volatile considered harmful"

Ahhh geek humor, don’t you love it?!? For the full skinny check out Linus’ complete post on the Linux Kernel Mailing List.