magpiebrain

Sam Newman's site, a Consultant at ThoughtWorks

Archive for ‘August, 2003’

What is it with windows? When I tell it to kill a program, it should do what it says! Fine, bring up all the dialogs warning be that I might damage my data that you want, but when I say End Process it should end the process! When I kill -9 something on UNIX /Linux, it dies and stays dead. This problem seems to be indicitive of windows as a whole. Time and again it tries to do much for you. I wouldn’t mind if Windows was the Nanny State of operating systems, if it worked! If you are going to take control out of the users hands you’d better know what you are doing. Linux doesn’t try to do too much itself, but at least it works goddamit!

From a statement over at the “FSF(Free Software Foundation)”:http://www.fsf.org/

According to the Journal, Mr Heise announced that SCO would challenge the GPL’s “legality” on the ground that the GPL permits licensees to make unlimited copies of programs it covers, while copyright law only allows a single copy to be made. The GPL, the Journal quoted Mr Heise as saying, “is preempted by federal copyright law.”

This argument is frivolous, by which I mean that it would be a violation of professional obligation for Mr Heise or any other lawyer to submit it to a court. If it were true, no copyright license could permit the licensee to make multiple copies of the licensed program. That would make not just the GPL “illegal.” Mr Heise’s supposed theory would also invalidate the BSD, Apache, AFL, OSL, MIT/X11, and all other free software licenses. It would invalidate the Microsoft Shared Source license. It would also eliminate Microsoft’s method for the distribution of the Windows operating system, which is pre-loaded by hard drive manufacturers onto disk drives they deliver by the hundreds of thousands to PC manufacturers. The licenses under which the disk drive and PC manufacturers make multiple copies of Microsoft’s OS would also, according to Mr Heise, violate the law. Redmond will be surprised.

Not being one to blow my own trumpet (well, actually I am) but I made a “similar point(magpiebrain – SCO’s attack on the GPL)”:http://www.magpiebrain.com/archives/000066.html a while back.

Sun has a “on-line transcript(New Java Language Features in J2SE 1.5)”:http://developer.java.sun.com/developer/community/chat/JavaLive/2003/jl0729.html featuring a discussion with Joshua Bloch and Neal Gafter. It goes into some detail on the new language features, and also mentions the inclusion of metadata which I didn’t realise was making it into the Tiger release. The core of the meteadata specification is covered by “JSR-175(JSR 175 A Metadata Facility for the Java Programming Language)”:http://jcp.org/en/jsr/detail?id=175, with “JSR-181(JSR 181 Web Services Metadata for the Java Platform)”:http://jcp.org/en/jsr/detail?id=181 covering the use of metadata for web services. It doesn’t look like an early access compiler supporting metadata will be available for a couple of months, but I’ll read over the JSR’s and post more on the metadata concept soon.

The Inquirer has a piece detailing SCO’s plan to “challenge the validity”:http://www.theinquirer.net/?article=11031 of the GPL. Their argument hinges around a federal law which states that only a single copy of software may be made for backup purposes. By this reasoning the GPL’s is void, as it states that you can make as many copies of the software as you wish, as long as all copies (and derivative works) are also released under the GPL. Apart from the fact that the inquirer seem to confuse the whole issue of copyright (contrary to the article, just because you release software under the GPL it doesn’t mean that you don’t have copyright of the work, just that you’ve chosen to allow its use under the GPL), they also miss the point that SCO’s legal challenge to the GPL applies equally to other open source licenses, such as the Apache and BSD-style licenses.
I am sure that the original Federal law was drafted with commercial software in mind (the US government runs its fair share of Open source software), but it looks like we’re going to have to wait until next year at the earliest when the SCO-IBM case finally comes to court to see this point clarified.
_Updated (11:23am GMT)_: I sent some comments to the Inquirer and they seem to of updated their article a little, although the misleading comment concerning copyright seems to remain.

My occasional aid package from Amazon arrived today. Along with a copy of “Panda Anti virus Platinum”:http://www.pandasoftware.co.uk/ and some graphic novels (the latest “Transmetropolitan(Transmetropolitan – The Official Feedsite)”:http://www.transmetropolitan.com/ and “Hellblazer”:http://www.insanerantings.com/hell/) was the latest “Trust The DJ”:http://www.trustthedj.com/ compilation by “Giles Peterson”:http://www.trustthedj.com/GillesPeterson/ and the new “Coral(The Coral’s website)”:http://www.thecoral.co.uk/ album, Magic and Medicine. I haven’t liked the Trust The DJ stuff as much as Peterson’s excellent Worldwide compilations, but its worth picking up all the same if your a jazz-head, a hip-hop fan or a little strange. For a taster, listen to his Radio 1 “Worldwide”:http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio1/urban/peterson/ show, which you can listen to on the web assuming you have “RealPlayer”:http://www.real.com/ installed. The Coral album on the other hand is no-where near as diverse as their original (no sea-shanties!) but does seem more focused, if at the same time sounding a little more dreamy (think: stoned out on a beach dreamy). Very enjoyable all the same, Liezah being my favourite so far.