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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.
September 6, 2001
From: Torsten Howard <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: SourceForge Date: Thu, 30 Aug 2001 20:33:16 -0500 Dear Editor: I read with some concern your subtopic, " VA Linux goes proprietary?" It is a critical failure to concenctrate too much power in the hands of a few. Good systems are engineered without such a single point of failure. Politics has usurped power from dictators. Microsoft has bore the condemnation of the courts for abuse of its power. And thus the saying, "Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely." Dr. Albert Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results each time. At some point, I begin to wonder. Exactly when do we learn from the mistakes past? From the politics of GPL radicals, one would take a look and realize there is a huge concentration of power in the sourceforge website. The same company owns two of the most visible advocacy sights, Freshmeat and Slashdot.org. In addition, sourceforge is abusing their power. Let me explain. When I download non-sourceforge GPL software and wish to communicate to the author or mailing lists, I do so. Sourceforge has hidden all communication to its projects behind a "login." It is the attempt to control communication, mailing lists, and access to emails which is an abuse of power. It is this very communication which is the lifeblood of open-source contributive projects. Now we see the insanity of repetition, and failure to change the way things are done. We have not learned that concentrating power is a poor choice. So what does this topic have to do with SourceForge.net adding proprietary extensions? Only that they have the power to do so - the power to undermine the ideas upon which they stand without falling over - because nobody is pushing. And one final quote - "Power concedes nothing without demand." Thank you for your time. Sincerely, Torsten Howard
From: Michael Carniello <email@example.com> To: <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: VA Linux Date: Thu, 30 Aug 2001 21:18:32 -0500 To The Editor, Your recent piece on VA Linux (8/30/2001) was interesting, as most of your leading items are ... and it reflects a fact which you and most of this community truly believe, yet with a strange duality, fail to recognize. And that fact, reflected in a quote from your article, is this: "VA is ... just finding a way to more readily sell its free software..." Somebody may think of a clever of selling free stuff in the future, but it hasn't worked in the past. I'm not saying that free software isn't good or right, I'm saying that (right now, with current business models), it's impossible to make money off that which can be had for free. Mike Carniello email@example.com
From: "jacob navia" <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: <email@example.com> Subject: Selling free software Date: Sat, 1 Sep 2001 14:04:17 +0200 Dear Sir: I would like to point you to this sentence in your magazine: "According to Eric, VA is not changing its focus as an open source company in any way, it's just finding a way to more readily sell its free software" Excuse me but if it's free of charge it can't be sold, and if it is sold, int can't be free of charge. I am sorry but I think logic should at least play a part in this discussion. VA Linux is beginning to fail financially, because there is no way around logic, no matter how many lengthy explanations you come up with. Yours sincerely --- Jacob Navia Logiciels/informatique 41 rue Maurice Ravel 93430 Villetaneuse France
From: Seth David Schoen <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com Subject: LNX-BBC and LBT Date: Wed, 29 Aug 2001 23:57:57 -0700 Thanks for the nice review of the LNX-BBC project! We've also enjoyed the reaction from people at LinuxWorld who came by to pick up copies. Your article says that Linuxcare is no longer developing a bootable CD project. Although we thought that might be the case when we sent our CD to press, it turns out that Linuxcare has done a new version of their project, now called LBT (Linuxcare Bootable Toolbox). They have been giving these out at LinuxWorld; that means there are now two maintained projects derived from the Linuxcare Bootable Business Card, their project http://lbt.linuxcare.com/ and our project http://www.lnx-bbc.org/ -- Seth David Schoen <firstname.lastname@example.org> | Its really terrible when FBI arrested Temp. http://www.loyalty.org/~schoen/ | hacker, who visited USA with peacefull down: http://www.loyalty.org/ (CAF) | mission -- to share his knowledge with http://www.freesklyarov.org/ | american nation. (Ilya V. Vasilyev)
From: "Toni SOUEID" <email@example.com> To: <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Fighting the DMCA and the Like. Date: Thu, 30 Aug 2001 18:04:13 +0200 Dear reader, It is with sorrow and anger that I read the news about Dmitry Slyarov's case. What a shame for all of us if researchers and developers will begin to be threatened just for writing a good paper or publishing a good piece of software. Some of us think the DMCA is good (especially governments and big corporations) and some think is it bad. Those who think it is good are enforcing it by every mean imaginable. So what can we do, we who think the DMCA is bad ? The answer is pretty simple. Fighting fire with fire. Fighting law with law. We all need to get involved in Free/Open Source software and/or in Free/Open Content documentation movements. While donating money for such initiatives is fine and necessary it is not enough. Contributions should be made by writing, using and reviewing such software and documentation. People should be educated about the GPL, the FDL, the OPL and other similar licenses. They should also be encouraged to use such licenses. Who will need to buy copyrighted material protected by a restrictive license when Free alternatives exist ? If just everyone of use could write a little piece of software or a little piece of documentation in one of his areas of interest, and release it under Free/Open licenses we could build a huge alternative library of software and documentation that could benefit all of Humanity and at the same time protect it's rights. I've decided to release all of my own written tutorials under the OPL and all of my own written software under the GPL to help protest against what's happening out there. On another hand I've decided to erase every piece of proprietary file formats from my website and replace them with standards compliant ones. Can you do the same ? Toni SOUEID, Beirut - LEBANON.
From: email@example.com To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Financial customers are not conservative Date: Thu, 30 Aug 2001 15:30:55 -0400 (EDT) The financial marketplace is "conservative" in their financial attitudes, not their computer purchasing. They have long been Unix strongholds. Sun workstations, Thinking Machine supers, and other leading edge hardware has a long history of penetration of these financial markets. The IBM sale to SIAC is signficant for Linux, not for the Unix family. Several major stock market functions are Unix based. More than 10% of the world stock settlements traffic has gone through SCO Unix based systems for several years. So while the SIAC sale is important and worth publicizing, do not read too much into it. R Horn
From: Vulture <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Terabyte disks and Linux kernels Date: Mon, 03 Sep 2001 18:51:11 +0100 Hello, some weeks ago I got my sweaty palms on one of the Barracuda-180 disks and fitted it into a system. However, I see a problem lurking on the horizon: SCSI commands have a 32 bit block address in the command, and can be formatted for blocks of size of any power of 2 bits, up to 2**35. However, Linux systems (and many others) have so far used "sector" sizes of 4096 bit (512 bytes), and aggregated these into "blocks", typically 2, 8, or 16 sectors per block. File systems and paging work in these block sizes, but at the device driver level it will go down to the smaller sectors again. Now 4 billion blocks times 4000 bit gives 16 Tb or two Terabytes, and that is only 12 times as big is as currently available disks, and will probably be surpassed in 4 years or so. We could start making the sectors bigger, up to 32 kb (8 kilobytes) for 64 bit systems with an 8 kilobyte page size, but how many disks will take kindly to a format-unit command specifying anything but 4096 bit blocks is anybodies guess. Disk manufacturers could also start to subdivide their disks into up to 8 "logical units" for another 4 year's leeway or so. However, it might be a good idea to start thinking now about that particular limit and how to handle it in the kernel. A quick Google search yielded many articles on "Terabytes", but I found none that discussed it as a problematic limit. N.B. IDE drives have their next limit at 137 Gigabytes (according to http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/Q114/8/41.ASP), which should become a problem in weeks rather than months. Thomas * Why not use metric units and get it right first time, every time ? * * email: cmaae47 @ imperial.ac.uk * voice: +4420-7594-6912 (day) * fax: +4420-7594-6958 * snail: Thomas Sippel - Dau * Linux Services Manager * Customer Relations Group * Information and Communication Technology * Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine * Exhibition Road * Kensington SW7 2BX * Great Britain