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Letters to the editor should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Preference will be given to letters which are short, to the point, and well written. If you want your email address "anti-spammed" in some way please be sure to let us know. We do not have a policy against anonymous letters, but we will be reluctant to include them.
August 16, 2001
From: Bob Kopp <r-kopp@DELETETHISuchicago.edu> To: email@example.com Subject: Fair use vs. right of first sale Date: Tue, 14 Aug 2001 21:32:32 -0500 On the front page of this week's LWN, you write: > Others chose to sell their texts and get some of their money > back. That is fair use, and that is what MetaText would deny to you. I beg your pardon, but that is not fair use. That is an application of the first sale doctrine, which is an entirely separate part of copyright law. Fair use is covered in section 107 of the copyright statue and allows use of reproductions for purposes such as "criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research." First sale is covered by section 109, and allows owners of copies of a copyrighted work to sell or dispose of their copy without authorization from the copyright holder. See http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/ch1.html for more information. This may seem like a trivial distinction, but if the open source and free software communities are to be taken seriously in the debate over the future of IP, they -- and especially their media outlets -- must exhibit a basic understanding of copyright law. Regards, Bob Kopp
From: Fred Mobach <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com Subject: On the astroturfing of Linux Today Date: Thu, 09 Aug 2001 12:24:23 +0200 Hello, In Linux Weekly News of August 9, 2001 you wrote : "We sincerely hope that LWN will have no further words to say on this matter. It is not for us to involve ourselves in how another site relates with its readers. It does seem, though, that nobody is likely to benefit from more public accusations or stories of ashamed penguins". I sincerely hope that this is the last time that such a shameful mess resulted in a lot of stories because, as you stated, nobody is likely to benefit. But in case something like this happens again it should get published again. Things like this hurt many people and might turn them away from the community. Which I consider even worse. Regards, Fred -- Fred Mobach - firstname.lastname@example.org - email@example.com Systemhouse Mobach bv - The Netherlands - since 1976 The Free Transaction Processing Monitor project : http://www.ftpm.org/
From: "Jay R. Ashworth" <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com Subject: Astroturfing... ok? Date: Thu, 9 Aug 2001 13:41:50 -0400 Hardly. In your front page editorial last week on this topic, you say > Quite a few people are highly upset and, seemingly, out for blood. > > It is interesting to ponder why that might be. Any site that allows the > posting of comments tends to get quite a bit of "interesting" material > posted under clearly pseudonymous, if not completely anonymous names. > All such postings should be taken with a substantial grain of salt, and > one would hope that most readers would know that by now. The fact that > a Linux Today editor felt the need to stuff the comment area is sad and > unfortunate, but, in the end, it's just comments. Not at all. I'm put in mind of a quote from Tom Clancy's _Executive_Orders_. Reporter Bob Holtzman takes news anchor John Plumber (obvious take offs on Bob Woodward and John Chancellor) to visit the 7-Eleven store run by the widow of Sgt Buck Zimmer, who died in Jack Ryan's arms in _Clear_And_Present_Danger_. Her son asks Chancellor, er, um, "Plumber" "Why should we trust *you*? You're *reporters*." Says it like a cuss word, mind you. the actual information is never the real produect in the journalism business. What it is that people are *paying* for -- something which has become *much* easier to see in the footloose environment of the Internet -- is opinions, selection, judgement, and honesty. Yes, the comment box may get stuffed. But by a *staffer*? Nope. I agree with those who believe that's beyond the pale. > The news reported by Linux Today remains separate from those comments. No, it really doesn't. Because it's being reported by those same people. Anyone who operates consciously -- and especially professionally -- in the public sphere has, in the final analysis, only their reputation to stand on. Reichard no longer has one, from what I can see, and that directly impacts internet.com. Negatively. Cheers, -- jra -- Jay R. Ashworth firstname.lastname@example.org Member of the Technical Staff Baylink RFC 2100 The Suncoast Freenet The Things I Think Tampa Bay, Florida http://baylink.pitas.com +1 727 804 5015 "So easy to use, no wonder the Internet is going to hell!" -- me
From: Bill Sneed <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Mono, .NET, & History Date: Fri, 10 Aug 2001 11:32:58 -0400 To the editor: I would simply remind Sr. Miguel de Icaza of a thought from the 20th century American philosopher George Santayana: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." And, with apologies to Homer, "Beware of geeks bearing gifts." ...bill sneed... prospect, maine
From: tom poe <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Mono and Petreley's InfoWorld Article Date: Mon, 13 Aug 2001 03:39:29 -0700 Cc: <email@example.com>, <firstname.lastname@example.org> I read the "Microsoft Bait and Switch" article, and agree with the author's logic that Ximian is flirting with disaster on one level, at least. http://iwsun4.infoworld.com/articles/op/xml/01/07/30/010730oppetreley.xml I'm not clear on just what .NET is supposed to do. Is it that Microsoft is promising a secure Internet with it? If so, how is that possible? More to the point, are companies such as American Express and Verisign really, sincerely pursuing such a course? Or, are they just along for whatever profits are to be made? Actually, when you think about it, Ximian is doing its thing, but it isn't the only game in town, as I understand it. As long as there are options, like, maybe not participating with the "Bad Guys". Isn't that the bottom line? I choose not to spend my money at Amazon.com. I choose to spend my money with Fatbrain.com. Will I need Passport to do so, at some point? Verisign and American Express and others will have to decide what limits they place on their market, or is this wrong thinking, anymore? Just a thought. Tom
From: Jan <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Land of freedom and whatever... Date: Thu, 09 Aug 2001 09:50:19 +0100 As a European I have been watching the news from the US with interest for a number of years now. Americans seem to have strong and brave viewpoints about things like freedom, justice, democracy, human rights and religion. A lot of the political rhetorics seem to be concerned with those subjects. It becomes more and more evident, though, that the beautiful words are merely words. In America, I hear, one can get arrested for speaking too loudly about things that might infringe on the sacred rights of the big copyright-holders. Luckily it is not all restrictions and tight laws that make people criminals for doing what they thought was right: the big companies can still lie in their adverts, steal from the small companies, buy politicians and pervert justice. Is it strange, if the rest of the world is a little bit reserved in their judgement of America? Recently your country has lived up to the worst designations that the communists used to label you with: Imperialism - just take the cases with Dmitry Sklyarov and Matthew Pavlovich. USA obviously feels that their laws reach outside the boundaries of America. Greedy capitalism with no trace of morality, exploiting everything and everybody as hard as possible. Am I wrong? Prove me wrong, please. I would sincerely like to be able to go to sleep every night without fearing the ravings of the world's biggest military power under the leadership of the country's big industries and the feebleminded Strawman Bush. /jan
From: email@example.com (Bryan Henderson) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Letters: Dmitry Sklyarov's rights as a non-citizen Date: Thu, 9 Aug 2001 20:29:16 -0700 Joe Klemmer laments in his letter to LWN, "As Mr. Sklyarov is not a US citizen, he is not entitled to the same rights as the rest of us." The context is the fact that Sklyarov was held without bail. I'd like to clarify that fundamental U.S. Constitutional rights such as the right to reasonable bail apply to everyone in the country, without regard to immigration status. Sklyarov's denial of bail was probably due to the fact that he lives in another country, which makes him a flight risk. I think we'd see the same result if he were a US citizen living in another country. As long as we're talking about travesties that the US criminal justice system may have committed against Sklyarov, I'd also like to respond to the outrage some have expressed that he was arrested in the US even though he didn't do anything wrong on his trip to the US and the acts he's charged with happened outside the US. First of all, it's well established, and makes sense, that you can violate US laws while standing on a foreign shore. Placing drugs on a ship bound for the US is a classic example. Putting a program onto a network that reaches into the US isn't much of a stretch from that. If he did violate a US law, then the FBI should pick him up at any opportunity -- I.e. any time he sets foot on US soil for any reason. -- Bryan Henderson Phone 415-505-3367 San Jose, California
From: "Anand Srivastava" <Anand.Srivastava@ascom.ch> To: email@example.com Subject: Why the E-Books are failing. Date: Fri, 10 Aug 2001 12:07:17 +0200 Hi, When I read of E-Books first I thought yes that was a nice thing. It would give the reader more capabilities (You could listen to them, with any voice synthesizer, you could search through them, you could print parts and incorporate their parts into something where you wanted, etc.), would be lighter than normal books. It would be good. But the Publishers, thought wow we have a new medium and we can reduce the capabilities as much as we want so that users can finally not resell their books. And they will have the maximum profit because they don't require to do any printing. But they forgot, that when you reduce the capabilities, you also take away the incentive to buy the books. Now the only incentive that is there is that they are light. I think for E-books to succeed, the publishers will have to do the following things. 1) Give more features than available with normal books. First and most important is that the E-book should be more usable than normal books. They should not be for a small time, because good books are friends forever, why would anybody want to read a book that has no potential to be a great book. They should allow basic facilities like, reading aloud, searching, printing excerpts, mailing excerpts, etc. 2) Make them more interesting to read from proprietory software. The proprietory software should be able to enhance the reading experience by providing something more than the normal features. If the basic features are missing, people would want to use some other means that will give them the features they want. So the proprietory software has to do something more for the book. And if people don't want to read with the proprietory software there are not enough incentives to buy a copy, when a pirated one can be got easily without a fee. 2) Make them easy to buy. If they are not, people will get them from the net free. People don't necessary steal because they can. But they have to know that what they are doing is stealing. So education is very important for the success of E-Books. 3) Use better encryption. Not the type Adobe etc use. Use open algorithms because they are known to give better encryption. But this can go only so far. You need only have one password to break the most solid encryption. So education is absolutely necessary. If the education is there, pirate copies will only be available from Warez sites. People will probably not trade on P2P services, if you give them decent value for their money, allow them to spend money easily, and make it not worth the guilt. Better encryption can only help in forcing people to the proprietory solution, if the proprietory solution is good enough and there is not enough incentive to use a different solution. Bottom line is that e-books need to be feature rich rather than feature poor. There was a time when customer was always right, now the customer is the first suspect. The publishers will need to learn that you need customers trust to win new businesses, otherwise only pirates will have the new businesses. -anand
From: Lamar Owen <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com Subject: PostgreSQL Global Development Group. Date: Tue, 14 Aug 2001 16:18:04 -0400 Speaking totally personally, and not representing anyone but myself: I read the LWN interview with Bruce Momjian with more than a little interest, being a member of the development community (in an adjunctant position). I started out with PostgreSQL in the spring of 1997, as a backend for the intranet server for WGCR Radio. We run AOLserver, which is an open source webserver with embedded tcl scripting and a powerful database API, and Postgres-95 was a semisupported database option for that server. (The side story of why AOLserver was used is long, and not relevant to this note...) After a few false starts, I finally got everything running with AOLserver 2.2.1, a beta PostgreSQL driver, and PostgreSQL 6.2.1, all on RedHat 4.2. Things worked fairly well even then, at least for our web applications that back the daily operation of a broadcast radio station, of which I am Chief Engineer. I quickly got frustrated with the pace of RPM releases of PostgreSQL. Version 6.3 was released, the first one with subselects. I badly wanted subselects, but no RPM was forthcoming. I could easily compile it myself, but I wanted the RPM installation to make things easier on someone who might have to replace me at a moment's notice if I became ill or disabled. Such a replacement wouldn't have the decade-plus Unix experience I have, and would have enough trouble with 'rpm -U', much less './configure;make;make install' and then sorting out why the files were in different places......and then moving it over to the compilerless production server. After a few cycles of this (6.5 was in beta before a general 6.4.x RPMset was in general release from RedHat, as part of RHL 6.0), I got really aggravated -- enough to be willing to do this thing of RPM maintaining myself. So, in the summer of 1999 I grabbed the bull by the horns (and made a number of missteps and verbal goofs along the way, for which the group was insanely patient with me and my naivete -- it's amazing how really naive someone with a decade of Usenet and Internet admin experience _can_ be...) and began attempting to maintain the RPMset. RedHat 6.1 shipped with a version of the the RPMset I had worked long and hard to make. The latest RedHat public beta's PostgreSQL RPM has very few differences from the RPMset I distribute from the PostgreSQL site --and most of the other RPM-based distributions have at least synced up with the PostgreSQL sets. Other developers, particularly a certain fellow at RedHat, have helped immensely in the maintenance. And I have alot left to do and learn about this thing of RPMset maintenance. Along the way, however, I've learned a great deal about the essential need for _community_. Just reading the PostgreSQL website (or the RedHat one for that matter) gives a deceptive feeling of 'nothing really going on.' But when you get inside the Open Source Machine, you find the gears of the mailing lists churning at incredible rates. The PostgreSQL HACKERS list, for instance, is rather busy -- and it's only one of many lists. The real action in an Open Source project happens on the developers' mailing list. There is a genuine sense of community in the PostgreSQL group. I feel that my contributions, while not very large, are still worthwhile -- and I am in this list mingling with software giants such as Bruce, Vadim Mikheev, Tom Lane, Jan Weick, Thomas Lockhart, as well as highly experienced admins such as Marc Fournier. I hesitate to mention any but the core developers, to keep from leaving anyone out, but you can see the list for yourself at http://www.postgresql.org/devel-contrib.html Fer cryin' out loud, MANY list posters on the HACKERS list have PhD's! My poor BSEET shrivels small in comparison. Yet, my small amount of help seems to be appreciated, with all the other talent that is out there. It is both humbling and uplifting at the same time to be amongst such talent. It is fulfilling and gratifying to be able to help, even in my small way, such a great example of a true OPEN Source project. JMHO. -- Lamar Owen WGCR Internet Radio 1 Peter 4:11