TCLP 2010-09-26 News

This is news cast 225, an episode of The Command Line Podcast.

In the intro, thanks to Steve for his latest donation which also means he gets the signed copies of Wizzywig 1 & 2. Also, an announcement of audio and feed changes to go in effect on October 3rd.

This week’s security alert is a more in-depth look at the Stuxnet worm.

In this week’s news Intel to use DRM to charge for processor features and why that is problematic, an Ubuntu designer shares his thoughts on a context aware UI, a course on the anthropology of hackers (one I wish UMD’s MITH would offer), and the FCC finalizes rules for white space devices (including details on those rules) prompting one commissioner to speculate we no longer need net neutrality rules.

Following up this week the MPAA wants to know if it can use ACTA to block WikiLeaks and one judge quashes a US Copyright Group subpoena.


View the detailed show notes online. You can also grab the flac encoded audio from the Internet Archive.

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feeds | grep links > MPAA May Takedown TPB, No More Official ACTA Drafts, Facebook Crisis Meeting, Judge Rules Against Software Liability Waiver and Historical Examples to Inform Broadband Plan

  • MPAA gets injunction against The Pirate Bay’s ISP
    TorrentFreak has the story that they claim to have verified with credible sources. It seems reasonable given the years of taunting by The Pirate Bay in response to C&D and other demand letters. What remains to be seen is if the site will move on to another provider or the injunction will have its intended effect.
  • ACTA official draft may be a one time deal
    Mike Masnick at Techdirt points out the comments from one of the negotiators that indicates the troublesome trade agreement may scurry back beneath its veil of secrecy. The only silver lining is that suspicions about contention at the negotiating table appear to be accurate.
  • Facebook gathering internally to discuss privacy complaints
    All anyone knows, including Curt Hopkins at RWW, is that privacy will be at the core of the meeting and it will take place at 4PM, PDT, tomorrow. It would refreshing to say the least if they heed the advice of Kurt Opsahl at EFF and follow the principles they set out earlier on when trying to deal with user backlash.
  • Judge rules waiver of software liability not reasonable
    The Register has details of the case which I find a bit unsettling. The disclaimer in the vendor’s license is uncomfortably close to the “as is” clause in most free software and open source licenses. I believe the key difference is the software in question was sold, triggering a law covering sale of goods, and that there may be some issues around other claims of fitness for purpose implied by the vendors actions. All the same, it makes you wonder how a similar suit would fair for an open source project.
  • History of infrastructure policy as it informs broadband
    Mike Masnick links to an article of a kind I especially enjoy, pulling in historical examples that can serve to inform our current policy debates over technology. The examples are not always perfect but at least the tension between public good and markets is always helpful to consider in my view.

What We’ve Forgotten about Software Maintenance, The Pirate Bay Shuts Down Its Tracker, and More

  • MPAA, Sony ask courthouse to restore its wireless access
    Mike Masnick has the follow up at Techdirt, including that the industry folks followed up with an offer to help filter against future infringement. I think the quote from Broadband Reports has it right and I am a little less skeptical than Mike. If they can learn to have conversations after the fact, it is possible they may choose eventually to start with them.
  • The Pirate Bay permanently shuts down its BitTorrent tracker
    It is important to understand what this means and TorrentFreak has an excellent explanation. The site is still operating and it still intends to aid in file sharing. The shutdown is to move to newer capabilities in BitTorrent that make it much, much harder to attack a central weak point in the system. This escalation is one of the bigger risks of big content fighting against innovation rather than trying to figure out how to harness it.
  • Tim Berners-Lee announces new Worldwide Web Foundation
    Ars has the story, not to be confused with the story yesterday from RWW about Berners-Lee’s fund raising efforts for the existing Web Foundation. The new foundation looks like it will go beyond the goals of its predecessor which focused on issues of access to server as an incubator for programs fostering positive change.
  • What we have forgotten about software maintenance
    An excellent piece from Communications of the ACM that look at the challenges, technical and otherwise, of maintaining software over time. It suggests a continuous approach that feeds back into design and implementation to develop a self descriptive, versioned system that far better supports changes over time than more naive approaches.
  • Results of Brazil’s adversarial testing of its voting machines
    Mike Masnick has the follow up at Techdirt. Apparently, none of the teams were able to crack the systems but did generate findings that the government will be using to improve procedures.
  • Papert, Logo in your browser
    This is in a similar vein to Resig’s interactive, advanced JavaScript tutorial I linked yesterday. I like this for much the same reason as well as the nostalgia of seeing the turtle running around on a web page. This is free software, to boot, if you want to download and run your own copy.
  • Canada’s copyright consultation provides blueprint for reform
    That’s a pretty ambitious headline but Michael Geist’s analysis of the public comment period seems to support it pretty well. There is much to rejoice in the short list he has assembled so far. Critically, just the admission that copyright is a mainstream concern and has broader implications on policies for digital and network technologies is immense.
  • Safari Books Online disappoints with use of Flash
    Glyn Moody points out this message from the FSFE mailing list. This is really a shame considering how well O’Reilly Media has been support books in offline formats, especially their amazing support for ePub.
  • Review of comic on Bertrand Russell
    I linked to the first mention of this before it was released and now that it is available, Mark at Boing Boing has a nice review that fulfills my initial expectations. Even though the volume is large, the price is decent and is a great idea for any geek’s Holiday gift list. Hint, hint.

A Directory of Public Participation, Microsoft Patents sudo, and More

  • A directory of public participation
    Via Nat’s Four Shot links for today, on O’Reilly Radar. The project is open to limited browsing but the ultimate plan looks like being fully open to contribution, too. Some good information in their FAQ, already. Wonder if I can get an alpha invite?
  • Brazil to allow private copying, mashups
    Glyn Moody has the link and some initial comments. This is amazingly enlightened and I hope that the distinction between private and non-private use can be kept a bright line as they go forward with this policy. Even only Hollywood didn’t have a death grip on the American legislative body, I’d hold out a hope we might be able to follow suit.
  • MPAA shuts down municipal wifi over infringement
    As Mike Masnick explains at Techdirt, it seems to be just a single access point or a small mesh, though one at a courthouse. This goes so far beyond even the bogosity of a three strikes policy it is ridiculous. Worse, that the MPAA won’t even cop to this being an overreaction and entirely unfair to the majority of users who use this service.
  • Microsoft patents sudo
    PJ has an excellent analysis, complete with some justifiable snark. The novel elements, adding a GUI, aren’t even novel as there have been GUI front ends for sudo on Linux for years. I love how the community has already responded and pushed back the date of the prior art here a decade or more.
  • Individual reports self to anti-piracy group
    Torrentfreak has the details of what seems like a bit of activism motivated by frustration. The anti-piracy group in question has promised a response but hasn’t said much else so far. They admit to not dealing with reports of infringement in quite this manner. There have been days when I myself have been tempted to bate a lawsuit in the hopes of possibly sparking more concrete reform.
  • Mozilla’s new plugin framework gets a gallery
    RWW has the details. This should accelerate adoption and no doubt incent more developers to consider using JetPack as an alternative to the more heavy weight extension system. I like that there is an interactive tutorial built into the about:jetpack page itself that makes it pretty easy to get started.

MS Pulls Tool Suspected of GPL Infringement, SFLC Technical Directory Deals with Such Infringements Once a Day, and More

  • Trying to understand what Murdoch is thinking
    Cory has updated his original post about Murdoch’s madness in taking his sites out of Google and decrying fair use. On the former point, I think Cory’s hypothesis is reasonable, that Murdoch is trying to create leverage for an ill conceived exclusivity deal like he managed with MySpace. On the latter point, I also think this explanation holds water as it does indeed smack of a very thinly grasped academic understanding of normalization and international copyright conventions.
  • SFLC technical directory finds 1 GPL violation a day
    At Ars, Ryan Paul has an excellent consideration of a blog post that Bradley Kuhn wrote partly in response to a recent claim of possible GPL infringement in Windows 7. The bulk of the post covers the fair mundane and calm handling of surprisingly common violations, like this might be, and likens it to nothing so much as fixing bugs in code. Both Ryan’s comments and Bradley’s original post are well worth the read.
  • MS pulls tool accused of infringing GPL
    Emil Protalinski follows up on Ars a story that several folks, including myself, picked up last week. We still have no confirmation that Microsoft actually did violate the license and the site where the tool was available now merely presents an error, not explanation whatsoever.
  • Dissecting Hollywood’s latest messaging campaign
    Matthew Lasar has a beefy post up at Ars that is well worth a perusal if you are curious about the multiple rhetorical fronts on which the MPAA and its allies are pushing to suppress file sharing and more chillingly technological innovation. The first few paragraphs are the most mind boggling, the completely unsubtle and one sided presentation by 60 Minutes who should know better than to swallow this pill without any critical thought.
  • Understanding what the coinage NoSQL represents
    This is a pretty good piece on the pressures that led to coining this term, some discussion of the drawbacks of a negative definition, and then one of the more recent round ups on technologies out there that are within or help define the category.

Following Up for the Week Ending 11/8/2009