MJR's slef-reflection

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To contact me, email mjr AT dsl dot pipex dot com.

Bits from debian-legal between 2004-08-23 and 2004-08-30

MJ Ray <mjr@dsl.pipex.com>
  1. Date index for period
  2. Threads with more than 4 posts:
    • Suggestions of David Nusinow, over 60 posts this week to 27 Aug, link
    • NEW ocaml licence proposal by upstream, will be part of the 3.08.1 release going into sarge, around 60 posts this week to 26 Aug, link
    • GPL "or any greater version", over 50 posts from 26 Aug to 30 Aug, link
    • Does the "GPL version choice" impact GPL-compatibility?, around 10 posts from 25 Aug to 27 Aug, link
    • CeCILL again..., over 5 posts this week to 24 Aug, link
    • MontyLingua license, around 5 posts from 23 Aug to 23 Aug, link
  3. Bits author picks:
    • Microsoft Sender-ID: "This isn't a license, it's a bloody contract [...] And it's a bloody PDF", link
    • A very short summary of what's needed to get into non-free, link
    • Anyone seen Andrew Saunders this week?


MJ Ray <mjr@dsl.pipex.com>

[...] I wouldn't trust [Jörg Schilling] to interpret the meaning of a bowl of oatmeal, much less EU Authors' Rights law.

Brain Sniffen, on debian-legal cdrecord thread

I wonder if someone will make a T-shirt out of that.


formmail, tola, walks

MJ Ray <mjr@dsl.pipex.com>

Just before bank holiday weekend, users uploaded formmail scripts to web server we support. We caught them after 4000 emails went out. Didn't show up on the IDS: tweaking required, it seems. Agreeing harsh-but-fair plan with server owner to avoid a repeat.

Congratulations to tola for his A-grades.

Have put up a few web pages about the Walks and the work I'm doing about it. Amazed how many mistakes there seem to be, so not publishing until double-checked. They can't fell entire avenues of mature trees based on buggy research, can they?


power cycle

MJ Ray <mjr@dsl.pipex.com>

Incredible: I like cycling but only just heard about the Tour of Britain, back after 5 years away. Seems it was covered on otherwayup while I was away. Not found any TV yet.

Microsoft ads are "misleading" - ASA. Told you so.

Another HLF-critical parks story mentioning the Walks problems.

Signed up for LinuxExpo on a page titled "New Page 1". Yuck. Feel worse about this event every year.


Off the edge

MJ Ray <mjr@dsl.pipex.com>

It is however arguable as to whether the facilitation of this more direct form of communication will lead to any greater understanding ...

Source: Phil Stoneman, Fanzines: Their Production, Culture and Fiction, Chapter 6 - From Zine to E-Zine

Is it inappropriate to call someone's home number to tell that his smudged phone number screenshot is readable? Thankfully he was on IRC. Wonder what answerphone message. Maybe "Hi. Thanks for publishing your phone number. Love from your stalkers. Bye!"

Had another junk phone call yesterday. Too busy to use the full range of attacks against them then. Next time!

More medals for GBR at Olympic velodrome. They say it might be the start of something bigger. Said that about Boardman and Millar too IIRC. Still only TdF on terrestial TV here and not FTA on UK sat. Watch German FTA for La Vuelta.

Another nutty thing: www.gnu mirrors seem all not updated. Even old pages on mirrors link to crucial things that only work on slow slow www.gnu. Are GNU website mirrors no more? Bah.

sourceforge's bug tracker seems broken. Again. Grrr. Why do people still use that terrible thing?

Just sorted some of my web references. Invented a classification system based on Bliss, as there are few good ones online.


spam fonts

MJ Ray <mjr@dsl.pipex.com>
One feature of correct font configuration is the ability to read the cyrillic-alphabet spam that I get. At least I know I'm not missing anything important.

Bits from debian legal for 2004-08-16 to 2004-08-22

MJ Ray <mjr@dsl.pipex.com>
  • Index for this date range: link
  • The 7 most active threads:
    • NEW ocaml licence proposal by upstream, will be part of the 3.08.1 release going into sarge, over 100 posts this week to 22 Aug, link
    • Choice-of-Venue is OK with the DFSG, over 20 posts from 16 to 22 Aug, link
    • Web application licenses, over 15 posts this week to 17 Aug, link
    • Bug#265352: grub: Debian splash images for Grub, over 20 posts this week to 20 Aug, link
    • GPL-licensed packages with depend-chain to OpenSSL, over 10 posts this week to 20 Aug, link
    • A short licence check, over 10 posts from 21 to 22 Aug, link
    • CeCILL again..., over 5 posts from 22 Aug, link
  • Bits author picks:
    • Debian project leader Martin Michlmayr asks about making a debian logo DFSG-free: link
    • The tail of the Netatalk/OpenSSL thread lives on: link
    • Glenn Maynard on the trouble with new copyleft licences for documentation: link
  • Please send comments/corrections/offers of help to mjr at dsl.pipex.com and cc syntaxis at gmail.com - this is week 3 of the beta.


MJ Ray <mjr@dsl.pipex.com>

Painted floor. Damaged floor. Ooops.

Irritated by lack of FTA live football, then remembered other reasons for satellite. Watched Zurich race on RAI Sport who postponed Tennis to make room. Yay RAI, but why not on SFi anyway? Next big race looks like Vuelta a España which is on Eurosport. No link for Eurosport because they don't link to the Vuelta site. Grr.


funny old day

MJ Ray <mjr@dsl.pipex.com>

Andrew and John noticed air problems too, like cam.misc. All thought they were only ones, like me.

BR has possible reasons for the "dead daily" server. Try fixing all-but-two today. Hope it works. Last two are really ugly fixes.

Lack of anywhere to put waste water saves Coate from university, but now STFC consider building there.

Hope to send another Scheme Gazette today. Email me if you want a copy.


Advice for dealing with the flamepit

MJ Ray <mjr@dsl.pipex.com>

I've tried being sensitive to the feelings of other people, but there are six billion other people stomping around the planet, and each one is completely different. My brain is barely big enough to know what my own body is feeling. I mean, sometimes when I get an itch, I scratch three different body parts before I find it. [...]

There is only one effective response when accused of insensitivity: Accuse your accuser of a sin called political correctness. Political correctness is a totally meaningless phrase, similar to "insensitivity." Neither has any useful meaning because they both describe every person on earth. [...] Yet many people are so bothered by the label "politically correct" that they will withdraw their accusations of insensitivity and apologize for being so testy. This is another case of stupidity triumphing over stupidity. It shouldn't work, but it does. You might as well take advantage of it.

Source: Scott Adams, "Dilbert: The Joy of Work"



MJ Ray <mjr@dsl.pipex.com>

Wake up to phone ringing. Don't answer it. It rings again soon. Answerphone tells tales of broken boxes. Spend two hours fixing them before breakfast. Spend another hour checking security. Some oddities: need to check with client. Other client has bigger problems, including nfi what last consultant did to what, which looks like also being a breach of copyright. Yay. You just know that days like this aren't good. Car computer mechanic tells tales of leaky capacitors and memory failures. Car must be old, as it now needs nursing. Bah. Need more money. Customers for koha, perl, scheme, writing, training: email me.


more work

MJ Ray <mjr@dsl.pipex.com>

New bits from d-l author trying his wings. Faxed bill to remote customer. Did SSL processing for another. Debugged MTA for another. Told one customer how to bill another. Two more urgent tasks today: one moodle and one custom CGI. Have to get car computer checked. More nasties from the flamepit. Need to file lots of stuff. Found another telco, but need them to fix a bug before I can use them.

Complained about corrupt disc to supplier and got "yeah but what can we do" reply. Told them some things they can do. Noticed that smaller lorry collected rubbish last week, so maybe talking to the council chap did do some good. Should call, ask and thank him. Got reply from OIC saying SMS spammer slapped, so kiboized mailbox and prodded some other things I want done.


London and Oxford Beer Prices

MJ Ray <mjr@dsl.pipex.com>

What are the prices for Fosters, Stella Artois, John Smith's Smooth (the green pump bitter) and Guinness in typical, non-chain pubs in London and Oxford? Please email mjr at dsl.pipex.com with answers and any questions. Thanks in advance.


Secure Training Centre, noun: Prison

MJ Ray <mjr@dsl.pipex.com>

Yesterday's Indy said over 2500 under-18s are in "secure training centres" and 85% reoffend within two years of release. They are privately-run state prisons. Why are we doing this?

Conservatives party leader called to scrap e-tagged early releases and generally punish more severely on the same day news broke of the new record youngest prisoner suicide. A masterpiece of bad timing.


Bad web site, good web site

MJ Ray <mjr@dsl.pipex.com>

moodle site annoying if you are trying to find someone to do commercial work. (I am.) Have to register to send webmaster feedback AFAICT! Maybe later. koha better thanks to katipo liberal attitude.


consider this (2), satellite (2)

MJ Ray <mjr@dsl.pipex.com>

Vast numbers of pages containing digital references to deceased people, created for that purpose or not, float in cyberspace waiting for someone to update or remove them. It isn't difficult to imagine a virtual world in which Web browsers have to sift through oceans of data left behind by the dead. In fact, it's already happening.

Source: CityPaperOnline, "Ghosts in the Machines" via apophenia and greg

Details of lidl sat system offer. Asked for comments on EC TV PR. Prayer break in Saudi channel 2 film had English translation: change from a news break. If "prays like us" broad, it was against killing any god-worshipper.


consider this, debian

MJ Ray <mjr@dsl.pipex.com>

Unfortunately, many people now fear and mistrust politics and feel that participation in the democratic arena is obsolete (thus leaving decision-making to those without such doubts).

-- Doug Schuler, "How to kill community networks" in The Network Observer, January 1996.


Satellite, walks, newsletters

MJ Ray <mjr@dsl.pipex.com>

Lidl selling digital satellite sets for 80 quid from 19 August. Install it yourself - I did. Get BBC* and some others. Not itv/c4/c5 - not free-to-air on Astra 2. Bahrain TV news in English (not on Astra 2) interesting. The king uses Arabic subtitled. Head of football speaks Arabic unsubtitled.

Talked more about the walks and got some fun info. Saw exhibition: feared hedge and gates planned. AFFS newsletter delayed. Glad someone likes bits from d-legal. Someone else said they'll do next week's.



MJ Ray <mjr@dsl.pipex.com>

Work work work. Two new client negotiations at once. AFFS treasury and newsletter prep (because no-one else did it). Got email address suffixes on affs.org.uk thanks to Alex - should help. First bits from debian-legal. Lots of email about debian-women: 45k outbound yesterday at a quick count. Still really unsure about that.

Weekend with library, picnic (in walks), saw boat, stroll along quay, crossword, phone to most immediate family.


Bits from debian-legal between 2004-08-02 and 2004-08-08

MJ Ray <mjr@dsl.pipex.com>
  1. Date index for period
  2. Active threads with over 4 posts:
    1. Please pass judgement on X-Oz licences: free or nay?, over 40 posts, last post 8 Aug link
    2. RPSL and DFSG-compliance - choice of venue, over 10 posts, last post 8 Aug link
    3. RPSL and DFSG-compliance, under 10 posts, last post 8 Aug link
    4. Periodic summaries, under 10 posts, started 7 Aug, last post 8 Aug link
    5. Web application licenses, under 10 posts, last post 5 Aug link
    6. Acceptable copyright, under 10 posts, started 3 Aug, last post 8 Aug link
    7. Free non-software stuff, around 10 posts, last post 3 Aug link
  3. Bits author picks:
    • evan offers to summarise W3 software license link
    • Tail of a htdig licensing thread link
    • Mozilla relicensing progress link


MJ Ray <mjr@dsl.pipex.com>

Got back from the alps. New-found hatred of Anglian humidity. Snowed under email. Foolishly chased up reply to "debian women supporter" questionnaire. Noticed debian-women list seems sexist. Apparently widely accepted. Linuxchix held up as good example, but they allow sexism. Tried to write explaination and questions. Seemed to fail. Probably shouldn't write emails on such emotive topics right after lunch. Repeatedly accused of trolling (I'm not). Abused off-list. Mostly unwelcoming silence on list. Not fun.

Work on easier stuff instead, mostly free-software-related local work. Also, more news on the walks in a local paper but done nothing much yet. Wonder what the possibilities are.


Software Patents for Young Hackers

MJ Ray <mjr@dsl.pipex.com>

DD (and suffer-of-bad-web-forms) Wookey has posted the text of his software patents talk which I think was given at a university CS department (I lost the link to it, oops).


I hate politics

MJ Ray <mjr@dsl.pipex.com>

Rather, I hate the current state of politics. Sinfest has captured the typical reaction. Sadly, it feels appropriate if wrong. I could enumerate the nightmares I have seen, and what the damage has been, but that won't help us move on.

This may surprise some, who think it's most of what I do. I can't help that. The political has a big impact on our lives. We have to correct mistakes like EUCD that stop people modifying their hardware (actual judgment), and policies using public money to prop up obsolete business models. Basically, I'm trying to bugfix, the same as before. This is just a much bigger challenger and one many want to ignore.

Please don't ignore it. Go bugfix a politician today. Maybe you can get ideas from AFFS.


Want EUR19bn?

MJ Ray <mjr@dsl.pipex.com>

I linked a UK DTi consultation from the AFFS government page. If you're in the UK and can send a supportive reply from your organisation or yourself, by Monday, please do. There's a web form.

Did many other updates to the affs site and probably broke tols of stuf.


Work today

MJ Ray <mjr@dsl.pipex.com>
  1. Minor success: I persuaded a packager to use a path configuration file for python instead of needing PYTHONPATH set.
  2. Lunacy: I bought a digital-tuning 160-memory 4-band world-time portable clock radio for under a tenner from lidl. I already have a stupid number of radios (at least 10), but this one actually picks up a decent range of stations, although the SW tuner doesn't seem sensitive enough to get R.Polonia.
  3. Patenting: gov.uk issue new guidance about the infamous Bromcom patent, which is a nice software patent on using wireless networking for school registration, IIRC. It's a (urgh) MS Word file from teachernet.
  4. Creativity: gov.uk launched a "Creative Industries" forum which doesn't directly include anyone who does the creative work, as far as I can tell. It's going to face "challenges such as file-sharing and piracy" down :-/

Campaigners Training Day

MJ Ray <mjr@dsl.pipex.com>

AFFS members Graham Seaman, Tim Williams and MJ Ray attended a campaigners training day at RISC in Reading on 17 July. The event was organised by Tom Chance for AFFS, the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII) and Campaign for Digital Rights (CDR) members and the day structured by Matthew and Patrick of Seeds for Change Oxford. During it, we discovered some attributes of a good campaign, learnt methods for planning campaigns and discussed some practical matters common to all three groups. Hopefully, we will see these new skills put to good use in the near future. Ask us questions if you would like to know more about the day.


Debian Oddments

MJ Ray <mjr@dsl.pipex.com>
NM BOF notes
The NM problems feel like a running sore. As you may remember, it took me over a year through NM. While some of the problems were fine and explained (AM distracted), I never did know whether any of the process problems were ever fixed. I was left stuck in DAMnation for ages, with no indication about progress, and then a NM-committee member asked me duplicates of things already asked by the AM. I'm not sure what the fix is, or whether it is being fixed. Ideas welcome. I questioned on -www whether the nm stats page is broken, showing ?? for some fields. I jumped into the DAM FIFO processing thread on -vote, retitling it.
Taking on another sponsored package, but I bounced it back to the maintainer with some small bugs again. He's gonna love me!
Summary of...
I congratulate Roger Leigh about his Summary of the LSM Free Software Printing Summit. I agree that this should be on d-d-a and is very good. I guess I ought to post a summary of my AFFS post-holder work for the the next AFFS newsletter. And get the current one online.


MJ Ray <mjr@dsl.pipex.com>

There's a CC-style info page for the GPL, so there is at least one free CC licence. The "legalcode" link just goes direct to the FSF page, so doesn't have the presentation-FU of include CC's trademark terms apparently in the licence. I don't think it's good to give CC too much publicity until they behave better, though, so I probably won't link it from my own software yet.


Marco d'Itri is still unclear on the concept of sniping and why snipers are not helpful. It's also amusing to him to link unrelated posts to his point. I wonder what his definition of "fanatic" is that doesn't apply to him.

Yes, Matthew Garrett helps immensely, but Florian Weimar is more mixed (less clear and less well-supported claims from a FDL-in-main advocate who said they'd ditch debian for FreeBSD if they don't get their way IIRC) and Marco d'Itri helps there not one jot.

Fixing debian-legal summaries

Because of recent problems with debian-legal summaries, I proposed some changes to the summary drafting process. So far, they are mostly ignored. Maybe I should post them to d-d-a and see if that wakes people up.

Firebird moves to fix

A fix for the need to run /bin/firefox with access to X was posted which should make packaging it much easier. Thanks!

Schemer's Gazette

This is the new name for SWN, as it's never been weekly, really. Tuesdays look the best day for it just now. Latest edition sent.


Finally, I have something which looks like a working debian unstable builder. I uploaded two sponsored packages today, after some fun and games hunting bugs in the builder. Old version of debsign, it seems. Let's see if this works now.


EP "exhausted" on swpat???

MJ Ray <mjr@dsl.pipex.com>

Troubling fsfe-uk list post (predicted URL) from Alex Hudson saying that the Conservative "national brain" has decided that the EP has "exhausted" its influence over swpat and we must now try to get the ridiculously pro-swpat British government to U-turn.

Conservatives, are you really that spineless? It may be unlikely to happen, but MEPs still have a chance of influence, instead of just sending back "go pester someone else, children".

The Guardian published an article about swpat this week, although that was before the Netherlands move.


ALUG meeting

MJ Ray <mjr@dsl.pipex.com>
Apparently there was an ALUG meeting last night. In the end, I didn't go again, because my head felt bad, Rob didn't reply to the lift offer early enough (and would have needed to come back early) and I wonder if this illness is something catching. Hopefully a report will be posted soon. On the plus side, I spent a bit more time trying mozilla building. :-/

Vertical backlash

MJ Ray <mjr@dsl.pipex.com>

After a news magazine noted the increasing tension between traditional hierarchical opposition groups like the Socialist Worker Party and the relatively new "horizontal" movement (who form ad-hoc associations and try to involve as many people as possible - think peer-to-peer or many flat orgs), its postbag apparently has a lot of complaints from SWP-types.

Maybe horizontalism is growing faster than I thought. SWP members seem worried, judging from the ugly insults they're throwing. I think the challenges for the horizontals are to have a sustained effect and figure out how to fund their activities, given the lack of long-term orgs.


Learning with Cantankerous Software

MJ Ray <mjr@dsl.pipex.com>

Upgrades on a system that I use broke its Mozilla browser, which had undocumented dependencies on a lot of the upgraded packages. So, I helpfully tried to rebuild it. Those of you who have built Mozilla packages will be laughing really really hard now.

If you have never tried building a really cantankerous piece of software and you have a few gigs to spare, then this is a good one to try. It requires a few minutes of hacking every hour or so, between the failed builds. It's quite a learning curve. Almost a brick wall. I have overcome:

  • No specific build instructions for firebird, as far as I can tell (yes, I know they call it firefox now, but still no dice);
  • No source link on the download page (trim bits off the end of the binary URL);
  • Two makefiles, just for fun AFAICT;
  • Doesn't compile with gcc 3.4.0 as shipped (patch in mozilla bugzilla)
  • Doesn't compile against current Freetype (got patches af-al, an, ao and by out of the netbsd pkgsrc tree);
  • Need to set environment variables and the right configure options to avoid silly build failures (read debian and gentoo build rules, then reread them, then get it wrong again, then reread them);
  • Amazing amount of disk space required to compile a 57Mb target - at one point I was trying to figure out how to share my "DVD image store" (distributions not films, bad people) disk to the build system, but I managed to find some free space;
  • gtk2 frontend option not in configure's help output (not sure how I got the right one... maybe read configure);
  • takes a long time to do each compile run: woe betide you if you need to make clean;

.but I now have a working build.

This just makes me think that if someone can put qemacs's CSS-based rendering engine into links, it would be a very good thing. No idea if it's possible. A year on, I've still not looked properly.

Thanks to mak, Noodles, dododge, lijon and Bill Burdick for answering questions. (And even though I thank 5 people, I've done a *lot* of reading around too!)



MJ Ray <mjr@dsl.pipex.com>
  1. Assuming:
    • People selecting option 4 ("rescind") as first choice in the sarge-release GR are Sanders-backers
    • People selecting option 6 ("reaffirm") as first choice are those Sanders means by "fringe fanatics" in his rationale
    • Fanatics will not compromise and will rank "Further Discussion" second
    • Options 1-3 were compromises
  2. Notice: A lower proportion of those ranking 6 first ranked FD second than Sanders-backers
  3. Suggestion: Sanders-backers are more fanatical than those Sanders calls "fanatics"
  4. Supplementary: debian-legal regulars seem to mostly vote for compromise above FD: are debian-legal pragmatic after all? (Not checked numerically - involves subjective decisions about who are regulars.)

I know: let's all kick debian-legal some more!

MJ Ray <mjr@dsl.pipex.com>

On mjg59:

The copy in libcwd doesn't [specify Oslo].

That's not the QPL itself, is it? Really, looking up the actual QPL is not difficult.

We can happily construct a fringe case [...]

You can, but you need to link it back to the DFSG if you want me to believe that it's a problem. This is the same reason I'm not sure about the venue clauses. They're actually quite tricky to understand and not obviously linked to DFSG.

If an licensor claims that the licensee has no valid licence, arguably the licensee might not have agreed with the terms, so didn't consent to the venue, and it looks like some courts need that consent before they accept they are the right one to hear the case. So, the licensor must argue that the defendant has a current licence, which seems like what they are arguing against, in most cases. Otherwise, normal rules (defendant's local court, AFAICT) seem likely to apply.

Oh. Have we started listening to the FSF when it comes to freeness again?

I can't speak for you. I do listen to them. I just don't listen to them about software being a synonym for programs.

Of course there is [evidence given to favour changing standards]

Reread your post. You gave no evidence. This is why I said "under-researched" not "buggy".



MJ Ray <mjr@dsl.pipex.com>

In addition to a fairly succinct post on debian-project, Matthew Garrett posted under-researched commentary. For starters: QPL specifies Oslo; the desert island test is commonly also linked to DFSG 1 (as it costs to notify), 6 (because private study is often accepted as a field of endeavour), 7 (because we may be able to send to people who cannot send back), or directly to the FSF's four freedoms; there is no evidence given to favour debian-legal changing standards over debian-legal increased effort and increased capacity to investigate border cases instead of just leaving them to the "no consensus" catch-all.



MJ Ray <mjr@dsl.pipex.com>
Today's breakage was upgrading and then not having anti-aliased fonts. Or any fonts at all at one point. It seems that xft now uses fonts.conf instead of xftconfig and you need to fc-cache -v /path/to/fonts too, which I don't remember before. On the plus side, it was a lot easier to get working than the whole libart/nfont/back-art combination so far and had a positive effect on other programs too.

French and Free Software

MJ Ray <mjr@dsl.pipex.com>

As posted to debian-legal by Lucas Nussbaum, there's a draft of a French Free Software Licence. It's backed by CEA, CNRS and INRIA, who you might have heard of. It's also been posted in French on fsfe-france. Let's see what happens.

I was told again today that French has no word for "software", only "logiciel" which is closer to "programs". Is that correct?


Tour de France coverage

MJ Ray <mjr@dsl.pipex.com>
Roadcycling.com has a javascript popup with map and ticker. tdfblog has analysis and gathers from other news sites.
LeTour.fr has English commentary from OLN, but only online as Windows Media (or maybe this can be played with GNU/Linux with mplayer). For Francophones, Radio France-Inter has full commentary, but is only online as Windows Media It can be heard in the UK on 162 kHz long wave, which is how I listen. RTBF VivaCite is broadcasting a magazine show each day and has an mp3 stream online.
On the Astra satellite at 19.2E for Europe, Eurosport and ARD/ZDF have coverage in German. RTBF sat broadcasts their journal of the tour in French. Euronews includes results in their regular sports segments. If you have Murdoch's Sky pay-TV, you can also see British Eurosport on 28E and get highlights on ITV (also on terrestial, but at 1am on ITV1... ow!).
If you know of more coverage, please post it to the web and drop me an email. mjr at dsl.pipex.com

A question on the ethics of email

MJ Ray <mjr@dsl.pipex.com>
At what point should I tell a correspondant that I am quoting from my unpublished works? [Regular readers: I seem to have deleted a number of posts which were in preparation. Never mind.]

And by the way...

MJ Ray <mjr@dsl.pipex.com>

otherwayup actually has data and I read it a couple of times a day. Send all ideas for further development in this direction, please.


All Party Internet Group and Microsoft

MJ Ray <mjr@dsl.pipex.com>

Really, the All Party Internet Group should do better than making people download virus-capable binary files and run strings or a converter to view their press release about the computer misuse act. At least there's PDF of the report.

Quoting from "Revision of the Computer Misuse Act: Report of an Inquiry by the All Party Internet Group", PDF available from address above:

"18. Microsoft specifically requested that the definitions within the CMA be extended to include Digital Rights Management systems (DRMs) [...] We also observe that there has recently been a lively debate on `Technical Protection Measures' in the context of the Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Directive.

"19. We do not consider it appropriate to attempt to shoehorn the, rather different, issue of legal protection of DRM systems into the confines of the CMA. However, we recommend that the Government move promptly to set out proposals for a legal framework for Digital Rights Management Systems (DRMs) in a consultation document upon this important topic."

So, watch this space for more DRMmage. If you spot it first, please let us all know.


Diallers and telcos

MJ Ray <mjr@dsl.pipex.com>

I don't often read the register, but I spotted links to a German dialler scam, which seems relevant to recent posts. Also spotted that FranceTelecom needs to pay back 1bn euros.



MJ Ray <mjr@dsl.pipex.com>

Someone posted a message from Catalonia to Ireland on the UK indymedia, grumbling about catalan's omission from the EU constitution.


BBC, universal access, open standards

MJ Ray <mjr@dsl.pipex.com>

Remember my complaint that BBC ignores DVB-S standards? Well, this just in from BBC's "Future of the BBC":

We will develop consistent, easy-to-use navigational tools based on open standards, so that audiences can make the most of the ever-increasing choice of programmes and information available, whatever platform or device they choose to use.

Here's hoping that this includes DVB-SI Event Information Tables (EIT, aka "the EPG") and DVB-TXT.

EIT is being broadcast on some freeview transmitters, so why not digital satellite?

There's also stuff on the creative archive in there, with mixed messages but including some reference to anti-commercial licensing, apparently. Grr, yuck.



MJ Ray <mjr@dsl.pipex.com>
Didn't make it to ALUG's last meeting. My offer of a talk seemed quietly forgotten until after the event and nothing else seemed to happen, so I'm not too bothered. Did make it to PLUG, saw some very old hardware and a debug of a misfiring Kickstart installation. Someone at ALUG has suggested investigating recycling old hardware at one of their meetings, so maybe I'll learn interesting things to take from one group to the other.

BBC charter review

MJ Ray <mjr@dsl.pipex.com>
In a speech by the new director-general, it was mentioned that some BBC websites will be axed. Good. I have long been of the opinion that BBC is wasting its money and stifling independent development of some websites. I wonder if they'll axe the right ones?

Recycling Toner UK

MJ Ray <mjr@dsl.pipex.com>

I just replaced the laser printer's toner cartridge for the first time. It's given a pretty good life for one included with the printer (which often have lower capacity, as I've discovered in the past). I also try to print as little as possible and use recycled paper.

Naturally, I wanted to send the cartridge for recycling, as I used to when I worked at the uni. It seems the recyclers now generally only want to deal with you if you have enough empties to be worth a courier collection, which I don't of course.

I found two firms run collections through charity shops: OfficeGreen for Sense, Shelter and some others; Envirocare for Scope. Go recycle your toner cartidges.



MJ Ray <mjr@dsl.pipex.com>
Star rising in the east
The plans for an environmental centre on land near Norwich's rail station have been shown in the EDP. The architect is Will Alsop, who I think is sometimes great, sometimes goofy, but definitely different. There's a saying "In Norfolk they do things different." Pretty much sums up the standard of English, too.
Any more Beckham jokes?
I think making a joke on Monday morning about a game on Thursday evening is pretty damn slow. I know I remarked at the time about the penalty landing in row Z, but Reuters reports it was row Q, actually. At least Beckham didn't bet on it, else there might have been some consequences for Posh.
No Brits On Tour :-(
David Millar has been banned by tour organisers, following their rule that anyone suspected of drugging is banned (which would probably ban 5-time winner Lance Armstrong) and Bradley Wiggins hasn't been selected by his team. The Observer says he's still hopeful for the Olympics.
Deadline: Freedom of Information
Interesting little docu-drama for anyone who doesn't know about the UK's Freedom of Information act coming into force at the start of next year. Probably intended as training for government workers, but airs on Information TV at the moment, lasting about 40mins or so. Viewable with all Astra2-capable satellite systems (even Sky) in this highlighted area.
MS gets out of gaol again
The EC have suspended sanctions against Microsoft while a request to suspend them during the entire legal battle is being heard, reports the BBC.
Second-best to Delia Smith
A text message of mine appeared on the BBC last night, after the last quarter-final. I identified myself as a Norwich City fan, which prompted someone to say I must now be the most famous canary fan after Delia Smith. I don't think they were serious.

Extreme reaction to England exit

MJ Ray <mjr@dsl.pipex.com>
A house in my street had been flying an England flag from its upstairs window since early in the Euro 2004 tournament. Today I noticed that it has been replaced by a solid red flag. I am not sure whether they have defaced a Swiss flag in protest at yesterday's referee, it's just a curtain which has been pulled out by the wind or the defeat shocked them into turning communist!

Problem with debian fan sites? (defamation perhaps?)

MJ Ray <mjr@dsl.pipex.com>

We interrupt our normal programming to bring you a joke in very bad taste:

As you may or may not know, debianHELP and other fan sites has been infiltrated by a bunch hostile to debate. If one didn't know any better, one would say that they are doing their best to kill debian. Here is a small excerpt from Glanz that illustrates the situation very well. Unfortunately, the trolls on these sites are so sickening with their fear of discussion and their attempts to kill debian that some serious developers have been deceived.

Their tactic seems to be declare, in a fashion worthy of the Iraqi Information Minister, that debian-legal has issued some consensual verdict on the "purity" of licences, then declare themselves correct unless proved wrong to their addled brains. They seem to take any discord for a challenge their imagined journalistic omnipotence.

Here is the excerpt from glanz:

I very strongly criticized MJ Ray's examination of the Mozilla Public Licence and introducing a discussion at debian-legal on whether or not Mozilla should be excluded from Debian Release. What a fucking twerp! This is one of the twits that was OK with removing firmware from the release, and most of the documentation, delaying the release of SARGE, nearly ready, for years possibly.

(MJR: My examination? I didn't examine the licence until well after the draft summary was posted, as I didn't get time. I definitely didn't start a discussion on debian-legal about excluding Mozilla, as you can see on the archives. I'd be unhappy with the sarge release being delayed for years, although I am comfortable with progressively removing non-free software from debian. This is sloppy reporting and misrepresentation, which any journalist worth their salt would be ashamed of.)

I was using Debian before this wuss was old enough to use a PC. Happily, many developers have spoken against this idiot...., this overly grouped Stallman groupie.

(MJR: older but not my better, eh? Can't even check simple facts? You'd see that I don't follow Stallman and some of the non-free software you complained about is copyright of FSF, moron.)

[...] I would confine that diaper-pooping little loud-mouth twit to a kindergarten for twenty years for a re-education. Then I'd beat him to a semi-sweetened pulp with a wet sponge soaked with his favorite "natural" fruit juice.

(MJR: this is just one mild example of the abuse that glanz directs at people who don't agree with him. I've had a few of this sort of insult directed at me. Thankfully, idiots online don't really get to me. I should serve the pillock with a cease-and-desist before he attacks someone he can upset, but it's more fun to ridicule him and his private little slashdot-clone.)

Update: the above main article has been removed but still has virtually the same abuse in a comment.

Now, let's see if we can get back to fixing the bugs in debian-legal and the weaknesses in the summaries that this sort of 31337 5OCI4L H4X0R are trying to exploit. Help most welcome.



MJ Ray <mjr@dsl.pipex.com>
Things you never want to hear about your canteen
"Poor hygiene maintenance."
Death to IM Interop!
Yahoo have shut out non-Yahoo IM clients again, according to Greg Narain's post. They say it's part of their spim battle, but do you believe it?
Comdex Cancelled
Skipping a year because of falling visitor numbers and specialist shows, say the BBC.
Tractor activist in gaol
It seems that it's not just East Anglian farmers who use their tractors in protest. I doubt an English judge would rule "I have concluded you are a nice guy" as the BBC report says the US one did.
German national football manager quits
This was always likely to happen after they were eliminated from Euro 2004 while their Czech and Dutch neighbours went through. More on DW-World and ARD.
German HE funding problems
This problem divides the UK too. Just how do you prioritise University funding? Is it right to divert funding to promote "elite" universities. No says the CDU's Peter Frankenberg, according to this DW report.
16% civil disobedience claim over UK ID cards
A significant number are strongly opposed to the mandatory biometric ID cards being talked up in the UK, says this report by yozzee.
Oxford Commuter Challenge: Cycling wins
These challenges are run by various groups in various places. This one faced off cars, bicycles, unicycles, motor-wheelchair, bus riders and pedestrians. One car was only just faster than the pedestrians, in results given by this report from Cyclox's co-ordinator.
Never attribute to malice what you can ascribe to incompetence
The Embassy of Greece have been sending infected emails to protestors, says this report from a Free Simon Chapman Campaign member.

Debian-legal and MPL

MJ Ray <mjr@dsl.pipex.com>

I sent the "Summary Update" about the MPL which I've been working on, and discussing with various people, to debian-legal. It's incomplete, but basically advocates the "check each case" view expressed about similar licences in the past. MPL seems possibly free or non-free depending on the software and licensor views. Here's my current rationale:

The patent clauses are no-ops if there are no patents. If there are patents, the MPL isn't sufficient. This seems consistent with most past comments on debian-legal.

The claim notification clause is a lawyerbomb. Clarification from a MPL licensor seems necessary. The referenced claim notifications seem slightly different, with mostly clearly non-free or practically awkward.

The choice of venue clause seems debatable and has odd side-effects for some MPL licensors. I'm trying to get this discussed a bit more.

There seems to be a practical problem for debian with the MPL, where source has to be available for a particular time. That's probably for ftpmasters to handle/decide on.

Now is it clear that this discussion continues? The "draft summary" was posted only 2 days after the latest discussion began. I think it's unhelpful that some are ignoring bugs in debian-legal instead of fixing them.

I need to sleep again. See you in a few days, all being well.


HowTo appendix: Not an analogy

MJ Ray <mjr@dsl.pipex.com>
If spotted saying that something irreligious is religious, something apolitical is political, or something asexual is sexual, claim it was an analogy. (Further, I got all three antonyms wrong first time. Fusxlingvo!)

Dark Trademark Thoughts

MJ Ray <mjr@dsl.pipex.com>
Probably because of the wide range of other trademarks named "Firefox", it seems the Mozilla trademark only covers browsers. There is no companion to the Mozilla merchandise trademark yet. Got any Firefox plush toys for sale, anyone?

HowTo Dismiss a Discussion: Politics, Religion and Other People's Wives

MJ Ray <mjr@dsl.pipex.com>

It used to be said that you should never discuss politics, religion and other people's wives (at least that's the version in the region I came from, as you might expect). These days it seems that if people disagree with you about a subject, they will try to label the whole discussion as political, religious or somehow sexual, instead of trying to put out their view properly.

Exhibit One: The whole "debian-legal conspiracy" thing. I've probably written enough about this in recent days, but if you read back, you'll see that it's called politicking, religion and glanz finally completed the set with his bizarre "offended virgin" claims.

Exhibit Two: Food comments and reviews. Daring to mention food near wildduck usually gets an odd response, which I tease her a little about. Now it seems starting to mention food directly has finally sent her off the deep. Really, I agree with some of what Desmond Morris writes, although he has an overblown sense of fighting "them", the all-purpose evil hordes, which he instantiates in many forms. I don't see much need to comment on this item beyond "DUR!"

I'm not actually sure what wildduck's real view is. This is the same person who told me off yesterday for drinking beer while watching the football. At least I try to make sure I drink good beer instead of whatever poison is handy. I'm sure wildduck hasn't stopped thinking about food completely just because she once thought about it too much. That'd be like "I once tripped up, ergo I'll not try to walk again" (or maybe "I once had a nightmare, so I'll never sleep again").

Now, of course, low-fat in extremis is not going to work for most people. Ditto low-sodium. Ditto low-carb. Ditto high any of those. It doesn't make any of them "religions" though, unless you're being silly. I think wildduck objects to my view of cooking as a fruitful hobby, really. Now, how long will I wait to be told that cookery is political and sexual too?


Book review: Healthy Eating, GBP2.99 from The Works

MJ Ray <mjr@dsl.pipex.com>

Spotted this one in the window of the remaindered book store The Works, reduced from 12.99. Never spotted it before, so it's really that The Works did a good window display, rather than the price.

Basically, this seems to be like my favourite 1001 recipe books, but healthier. Very good range of fish recipes. Some questionable inclusions IMO (quiche!) but even those seem more balanced than the other recipes of their type in my other cookbooks. It contains helpful intros to nutrition, potatoes (which must be stored correctly to taste nice) and rice as well.

Verdict: get it if you can. It's cheap enough. I'll review some recipes from it later.


Bunch posting

MJ Ray <mjr@dsl.pipex.com>
Posts are coming in batches to reduce the amount of time taken, and to reduce the number of times my mugshots appear on planet debian.


MJ Ray <mjr@dsl.pipex.com>

Ross Burton pointed me towards New Hitchhiker's Radio Shows which will be on BBC Radio 4 on 18:30 Tue 21 Sep 2004. BBC Radio 4 broadcasts in Europe on 198 LW and the Astra 2B Satellite, in the UK on the Astra 2D, and in some of the UK on FM. MP3 preview on the main site (yay) but only RA on BBC (boo).


LSM 6-10 July

MJ Ray <mjr@dsl.pipex.com>
Why did no-one say more about LSM being 6 to 10 July in Bordeaux? Probably can't get there now.

Laptop and roaming

MJ Ray <mjr@dsl.pipex.com>

Julien wonders what to config network on a laptop. I have a simple solution in a bootscript. First of all, the laptop tries to dhcp on eth0. If that fails, it brings wireless up like I'm near its home AP, ready for a reconfigure if needed. I also have a script tries some pings on eth0 (.1 on each private range, then broadcasts) and suggests likely settings.


Debian GR voting

MJ Ray <mjr@dsl.pipex.com>

A few people have expressed interested in how people vote and this is a published vote anyway, so here's what I think of each option.

  1. (Sep 2004 postponement) I don't like knowingly producing a release that depends on and contains non-free work, but it seems the alternative may be no release. This proposal gives a target that is Simple, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-limited and I think it's the best of the ones I don't like, so is second choice.
  2. (Post-sarge postponement) This is essentially 1 without the time-limit, so is fourth choice.
  3. (Apology until sarge+1) This seems an alternative form of 1, again without a time-limit and is third choice. I rate it above 2 because it doesn't play SC tennis as much as 1 or 2. Shame there's no time-limited version of it.
  4. (Revert to old SC and imply approval of the newspeak interpretation) I don't agree with this proposal or rationale at all and I think its proposer is incapable of sensible discussion about free software without his anti-Stallman red mist descending. This is particularly funny when you think the wording was changed partly because the FSF only calls programs software. Internally inconsistent, he's sick of discussion, but extended discussion by introducing an amendment. Last choice.
  5. (Transition guide) I don't really want another foundation document. You can often strangle an organisation with its own rule book, so let's not make more rope. Better than 4 only because it is consistent and sane.
  6. (Reaffirm new SC) I actually think it was essentially right and the sarge release problem is down to people realising what they should have been doing anyway. First choice.
  7. (Further discussion) By elimination, this comes in position 5, below stuff I don't agree with but isn't really that bad, and above stuff I hate.

I hope that helps someone. You can vote/revote up until 2 July with your DD gpg key and I may do so too ;-) Maybe there'll be a side discussion during the SPI AGM, which I think is on 1 July (anyone got a date?).

Other vote comments: Pierre Machard; Joe Wreschnig; Julien Danjou; and finally, for balance, the two "d-l conspiracy" daydream believers and non-compromising queens (and, once more, I explain a joke in advance because there are some hard-of-humour readers: I think these two need to wake up!): Mike Beattie, and Marco d'Itri.


Veggie Food Guide

MJ Ray <mjr@dsl.pipex.com>

Just found this Veggie Food Guide site. I'm not actually vegetarian, but I do cook quite a lot of veggie food and often find veggie food is one of the best things on the menus around Cambridge. It's still quite small, so please give it a hand if you can.


Huh? Why the 2002 pic?

MJ Ray <mjr@dsl.pipex.com>

Thanks to whoever disembodied my head for planet debian but can you use a more recent picture next time, please? That one is from 2002. I only use it on my web site still because a black shirt looks better with the blue borders... or laziness ;-) 2003 photo is more accurate these days.


On England

MJ Ray <mjr@dsl.pipex.com>
England football team won their final group game and will play Portugal in the Thursday quarter-final. They really hadn't adjusted to the harder ball in the cooler weather of the evening, overhitting many passes. Speaking of overhitting: quite a few newspapers have been claiming that the existance of an EU foreign minister means they will take the UK's UN permanent security council seat. This sounds very suspicious: why would they take the UK's and not France's? Time to read on.


MJ Ray <mjr@dsl.pipex.com>

Just found a blog by Morgan Spurlock, maker of Super Size Me, a film that is getting quite a lot of press here even without any release date AFAIK. I'll add his blog to my reader for a bit and see what happens.

I feel strongly about food. I'll describe some of the more interesting stuff I eat and you can email me if you want any more info. I'm no nutrionist (and you really should see one if you think you might need to), but I have been eating pretty well for most of the last decade.

Yesterday, I baked a UCLA medical centre carrot cake. You can find the recipe easily on the net if you search. It's not low-fat, but it's OK for an occasional treat made with unsaturated fat and organic ingredients. Also, I omit the frosting: too much sugar for me. Just remember to cook it in a shallow pan, fairly high in the oven.



MJ Ray <mjr@dsl.pipex.com>
An unavoidable consequence of working in an entrance area while workers are replacing windows in the building is freezing while you work. Fortunately laptops are also lapwarmers if you thrash them... and mozilla thrashes them.

Yes, avoiding politicking

MJ Ray <mjr@dsl.pipex.com>

Yes, I really don't care about politicking until it starts to hinder my work. All this "crusade" and "Stallmanesque purge" rhetoric irritates me because it is obstructive and hypocritical, more than anything. It hinders my work because idiots are scaring users away from debian with scaremongering about having decided to remove Mozilla.

I particularly like the way I've been called both fascist and sovietist for having private discussions about MPL for all of a week. One guy glanz also called me an "offended virgin" nfiy, but that guy is also the sort who seems to think using German allo-allo-style is funny. Glanz, bitte koennen Sie nicht ein arschlock sein...

The privacy is so I can develop things in peace before the politicians attack it again. Last I checked, most people use a little privacy/obscurity to hack in, or does everyone want access to my revision control working copies too? Damned if you do, damned if you don't, so might as well do as you please and ignore the fuckwits.


On trademarks

MJ Ray <mjr@dsl.pipex.com>

At times I wonder whether we are discussing the registered trademarks I am familiar with or some Holy Trademark Of Antioch described in the Book of Armaments that kills Killer Rabbits should they daub blood on their side in a debian swirl pattern. Please, read around the subject and things like the MobiliX case to familiarise yourself with what trademarks can and cannot do, their uses and abuses.


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