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Letters to the editor should be sent to email@example.com. 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.
October 4, 2001
From: <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: <email@example.com> Subject: Audio editors Date: Mon, 1 Oct 2001 23:15:23 -0400 (EDT) Sir, In last week's "On The Desktop" the opinion was expressed that Linux has lots of sound file editors, but none that are realy useful. Never was a truer word spoken!! I frequently need a sound editor to cut and mix sound effects for a local amateur dramatic society, and obviously I try to do it in Linux. Sadly, I am often sorely tempted to give up and do it on Windows. If you go to Freshmeat you will find at least a dozen progams which claim to edit sound files and let me tell you that I have tried all of them. They either won't install, or won't compile, or crash, or have incomprehensible user interfaces, or zero documentation or don't provide even the simple features which I require. However, almost without exception they have a web site which says "This is going to be the Linux CoolEdit2000 / Sound GIMP but its still in the early stages of development" If I were reading this letter, I would say at this point, "This is free software. If you don't like it get off your ass and write some code." But that's not the problem. There are plenty of people writing sound editors. The problem is that instead of writing 80% of two editors they have written 15% of 12 editors. As a user who just wants a simple reliable sound editor with a modern look and feel can I send a plea to sound editor authors to get together and concentrate their efforts on just one or two projects. It will hurt some egos, but what Linux needs most is quality applications. Thank you, Richard Simpson -- --- Richard Simpson @ home
From: Fred Mobach <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: Linux Weekly News <email@example.com> Subject: Linux DA Date: Thu, 27 Sep 2001 10:37:20 +0200 Hello, Regarding LinuxDA you wrote "The GNU GPL did not seem to be included." I've also downloaded the source tarball and posted my comments on Linux Today (see http://linuxtoday.com/news_story.php3?ltsn=2001-09-25-012-20-NW-EM-LL). One of my comments was "And before I forget, the contents of the file -rw-r--r-- 1 fred users 18458 Jul 13 1998 linux/COPYING seems quite usual." That happens to be the GNU GPL with Linus' remark on top of it. Regards, Fred -- Fred Mobach - firstname.lastname@example.org - email@example.com Systemhouse Mobach bv - The Netherlands - since 1976 Fight terrorism, be it killers or software patents.
From: Leandro =?ISO-8859-15?Q?Guimar=E3es?= Faria Corsetti Dutra <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com Subject: Gartner: dump IIS Date: Thu, 27 Sep 2001 13:39:40 -0300 > Apache is the dominant web server platform; anybody wishing to attack > large numbers of systems via a web server would look at Apache first. > The "obscure and uninteresting" argument will not wash here. The argument is weak because it is hypothetical: no one know for sure how many crackers have tried their hands at Apache and failed. So it's nearly impossible to prove it. But it is also impossible to disprove it. While Apache is the most used web server, it is also uninteresting to attack, since the source code is available. Not only that, IIS has a much bigger presence in the really interesting sites to attack, those of hated multinational companies or organisms making commerce or propaganda over the Net with little technical qualification in house. In other words, using Apache has some correlation to being "a nice guy" who won't be cracked, but a much bigger correlation to being a technically knowledgeable organization with whom perhaps a script kiddie shouldn't meddle. -- _ / \ Leandro Guimar„es Faria Corsetti Dutra +55 (11) 246 96 07 \ / http://homepage.mac.com./leandrod/ BRASIL +55 (43) 322 89 71 X http://tutoriald.sourceforge.net./ mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org / \ Campanha fita ASCII, contra correio HTML mailto:email@example.com
From: Billy Tanksley <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: "'email@example.com'" <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Linux security debate Date: Thu, 27 Sep 2001 13:33:50 -0700 I'm puzzled by the people claiming that the Linux security API should include an automated check for free software. My problem isn't a dislike of free software; rather, I'm puzzled that people are proposing a modification to a free software product which can easily be removed. If a company wants to distribute a closed-source "security" plugin, they simply have to modify the Linux kernel to allow closed-source. Nothing easier. Therefore, this debate shouldn't be about automated mechanisms; it should be about whether a security module is the same thing as a kernel module, or whether security modules should get the same exclusion from the GPL which the kernel modules enjoy. And I won't even go there. :-) OTOH, it occurs to me that perhaps the error was in the story (or my understanding of the story), rather than in the arguments. This issue certainly deserves better coverage -- I hope you'll discuss it in greater length. -Billy
From: <anonymous> To: <email@example.com> Subject: SSSCA Date: Sat, 29 Sep 2001 22:18:39 -0700 Honorable Gentlemen: I read the following on the internet (http://www.linuxnews.com/stories.php?story=01/09/17/9591923): A controversial law was recently drafted, although not yet introduced, by U.S. Sen. Fritz Hollings (D-South Carolina), chairman of the Senate Commerce committee, and Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), titled "The Security Systems Standards and Certification Act" (SSSCA). If made into law, the proposed bill would make it illegal to "manufacture, import, offer to the public, provide or otherwise traffic in" digital devices that do not use "certified security technologies." The SSSCA, if enacted, will have serious negative affects on free software, most specifically to open-source operating systems such as Linux. I find this extremely disturbing. I work at Intel and this bill is coming on the heels of some related requests recently made by Microsoft of Intel (I don't feel comfortable going into details). Frankly, it appears that not only has Microsoft gotten away with alleged anti-competitive behavior with only a token "slap on the wrist", but now wants to make it illegal to even compete against them. If this bill is passed, I will seriously start to wonder whether Microsoft is the only software lobby in Washington. Please consider this letter the voice of another lobby -- the open source community. If you feel you must pass a law to protect copyright material on computing platforms, please develop a law that allows all software writers and hardware developers the ability to comply without the threat of financial ruin by an alleged monopolist such as Microsoft. My definition of "ability to comply" would be a law that follows a standard software file format and standards for encryption/decryption algorithms/hardware mechanisms. Either the military and/or the university system should develop these standards such that no licenses would have to be obtained from or fees paid to private companies such as Microsoft. If ideas are taken from private industry for incorporation into this standard, then it should be up to the government to compensate contributing private companies for the intellectual property incorporated into the government standard. An individual or company should only be charged a fine if they are found to be out of compliance. It should not be that a company should have to wait for government certification before issuing software. This avoids a situation in which a large company such as Microsoft has a dedicated inspector that can make timely certifications verses a small developer who may have to wait months to get a non-dedicated inspector to certify the software. Developers that are found to be in compliance with the standards should be immune from lawsuits that may arise from damages caused by hackers.
From: Charles Cazabon <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com Subject: "Non-discriminatory" patents will kill the web Date: Tue, 2 Oct 2001 08:06:57 -0600 Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org Dear sirs, The W3C is currenty bandying about the idea that incorporating patented technologies in proposed W3C standards would be acceptable, providing that the patent holder agreed to license the patents to all comers for a reasonable and "non-discriminatory" fee. What leap of logic led to this great fallacy? How did the W3C come to propose this absurdity which could lead to the destruction of not only itself, but of the web in toto? Patents serve one purpose -- they allow the patent holder to exclude others from manufacturing or using an "invention" of the patent holder. The patent holder can then use this government-granted permit to either monopolize a market legally, or to extort money from all other parties interested in participating in a market. The W3C, on the other hand, has always tried to promote technical interoperability and sane standards. It has done an admirable job of this. Without royalty-free standards such as those that underpin the web today, where would we be? How advanced or useful would the web be if HTML or other standard were encumbered by patents? How diverse would the content of the web be if the only organizations that could publish content were the ones that could afford to purchase patent licenses? The actual dollar amounts are immaterial; any patent license fees at all would have completely eliminated all but the commercial players, and the commercial players are not what have made the web a success today. The W3C must reject this RAND proposal; it must refuse to endorse any proposed standard that uses patented technologies or methods unless a royalty-free license is granted to all interested parties. Charles Cazabon -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Charles Cazabon <email@example.com> GPL'ed software available at: http://www.qcc.sk.ca/~charlesc/software/ -----------------------------------------------------------------------