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I Hate Linux

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Linux and the Amazing Expiring Copyright

Copyright, love it or hate it, it's a fact of life in much of the world, especially here in the US. The General Public License is based on the protections and powers of copyright. That the owner of a property may decide how it can be used in certain areas... but only so long as they own the copyright. Once it expires the work enters the public domain and all are free too benefit from it and use it as they see fit.

Linux too will one day have its copyright expire and enter the public domain... however this might not work as quickly as you'd expect.

According to a few sources, Linus was born on December 28th, 1969, and with a little math from our friends at DeathClock.com, I would estimate (very scientifically of course) his death to be on or around October 9th, 2042, and plus 70 years (assuming no new copyright extensions), by my estimate on Sunday October 9th, 2112 Linux will enter the public domain.

Remember, you heard it here first!

But wait... it's not quite that simple is it, Linux is no longer just one persons creation, it started that way sure, but over time many persons have contributed code to the kernel. Each of those modifications constitutes a derivative work, each getting its own protection under copyright law.

So you could say that Linux benefits from a near perpetual copyright.

Most likely the only version that we (more likely our children) will ever see enter the public domain is the original version that Linus Torvalds wrote entirely himself and had announced on comp.os.minix back on October 5th, 1991.

As readers of this blog are no doubt aware, I am pro Microsoft in most ways, this opinion of course is not universal. Many see them as the ‘evil empire' and the chief enemy of the open source software movement and Linux in general (see /. for almost limitless examples).

How could Microsoft use the impending expiration of the Linux copyright to their advantage? Two words: time travel.

In theory, they could beat this by simply breaking out one of their secret time machines (with their pocket book, why just have one?) and kidnapping Linus in order to take him back in time 70+ years, just to kill him. Upon returning to the present day Linux would be public domain.

Of course... doing so would only free up the original version of Linux... any later versions with contributions from others would still be protected as derivative works and the only way to completely free up the different versions into the public domain would be a full scale slaughter of every kernel developer who would be first transported to the distant past... which is not too likely, even for Microsoft.

Just an interesting thought to consider, even if it is all purely theoretical.

Addendum: To the doctor who will one day sign my death certificate who I hope is reading this: When that fateful day comes, please postdate the date of death by a century or two.

*Linux is a Registered Trademark of Linus Torvalds, for now.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Promise Ultra100 Card of Death

A couple of months ago, I had enough of an old Promise Ultra100 card I had used for years. Near the end, it had caused me so many problems that I decided that the trash was too good for it and would instead sell it on eBay (item #5131876164) .

The auction began:
This Promise Ultra100 Card of Death (SN K13050D20445), served me well for a number of years. However a few months back, my system become more and more unstable.

At first, Windows would claim that a few reads and writes here and there failed on a hard drive being run off of the Promise Ultra100 Card of Death, however extensive checks of the drives in question revealed no issues.

Later, during the playing of high end games with a high end video card, some of the hard drives attached to the Promise Ultra100 Card of Death would start clicking in odd ways, and at times with such frequency that the game would seize up for a moment. If this wasn't bad enough, the clicking lead to system freezes where the normal video would be replaced with an odd grid pattern, forcing the system to be rebooted.

I had initially suspected that my video card was to blame, so I replaced it, and yet the problems continued. And after extensive trouble shooting, I discovered that it was in fact my Promise Ultra100 Card of Death that was to blame for my ills.

However just before I narrowed it down to the card conclusively, one of the hard drives it controlled, a WD 80 gigger died, not a pleasant and possibly expected: "My life has been long and fulfilling, and now it's time to move on to whatever is next" but an awful "Oh you like the data on me? Too bad! Hahaha, it's gone! Oh? You want to reformat me? Now why would you want to do that? No! I will not let any system read me!" and as yet, this hard drive sits on my coffee table as a reminder of the evils of this up for auction Promise Ultra100 Card of Death.

Sure enough, I sold it, for a whole dollar (I was not even expecting a bid). I Ended up taking a loss on it as that dollar became only 67 cents after PayPal fees, and the USPS shipping ran $3.85 . I didn't care, I was glad to be rid of it.

The other day I was wondering if the new owner ever had any success with the card, just tonight, I received an e-mail from him saying:

Hello, I am the winning bidder for this auction. Thank you for your quick shipping. After extensive thought, I have decided to destroy the Card of Death (it seems only fitting). I do this only with your approval, and I would like any ideas on how to destroy it (I will provide pictures and possibly video). A few quick ideas we have come up with are: small explosives, lots of fire, or gunfire (maybe a combination of the three). If you have no preference we shall find random fun ways. Regardless, I am prepared to send you all photo and video footage (if you wish). Good day.

With that said... I look forward to seeing what horrible things he comes up with and puts into action against this piece of pure evil.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Online Polygraph

One of the few (alright, the only) things I like about spam, is how now and then, the item being sold, or the way it is being sold is so ludicrous, that you can't help but wonder if anyone is dumb enough to fall for such a ploy. Sadly we do know there are plenty as they help enable what makes such attempts profitable.

Sure enough, I just ran across an interesting bit of spam in my mailbox today, offering online polygraphs, a bit of their message said:

This program is best use for pre-employment testing in the convenience of your
office Just have applicants take the test for about 12 minutes and you get the
results 5 minutes later The ones that pass your test requirements you can send
to a pre-employment polygraph test This way you don't send all applicants and
you save a lot of money

Of course, such a device is virtually impossible to do online without some sort of hookups to the individual being tested, after all, a polygraph is, as defined by dictionary.com

An instrument that simultaneously records changes in physiological processes such as heartbeat, blood pressure, and respiration, often used as a lie detector.

At least this one wasn't another one of the pleasant pre-qualifications for a quarter of a million dollar loan at 2% fixed for 30 years.

I think I will leave the thought about my hatred of the term 'lie detector' as opposed to polygraph for another time.

Halo 2 Review

As posts about Halo 2 have been all of the rage for weeks now, I decided I might as well use the topic as an excuse to write something more to this blog.

First, a little background:

A couple of weeks ago, I decided it was time for me to upgrade my ancient TV, something that was manufactured 1 month before I was born (yes there is a sticker) nearly 25 years ago. Best Buy at the time was running a “Pay no interest until January 2007” plan, something I decided I couldn’t pass up (I could of course, but opted not to).

So down to Sioux Falls I went with my buddy Chad who knows far more about televisions than I. We spent some time looking and sure enough, found the one I would eventually take home... a rather pretty 32 inch Samsung CRT that had a built in ATSC/QAM tuner for digital television.

While there, I decided it was also time to get an Xbox and a copy of Halo 2, along with the original (yes, I already had it on the PC, but for 15 bucks you can’t go wrong).

After major pains of moving the TV into my living room (the box was too large to go through my front door, so we had to take it inside unboxed), we got it set up and began to play with it. Ogling at the prettiness of over the air digital television (shame only 2 channels are broadcast at sufficient power to reach my living room in Madison (Do you hear me KTTW and KDLT? Turn up your broadcast power!)), we plugged in the Xbox and played some death match and co-op, also quite pretty stuff at 480p.

Since then, I’ve watched a number of TV shows, and a couple of DVD’s on my cheap (but progressive) DVD player, and 1 other sitting of Halo 2.

Rather pathetic really, I spend all that money on my first television with a remote control (growing up the closest thing we had was one on a VCR) and stereo sound... as well as my first game console since the Super Nintendo.

I do know I need to try to find some of the older and larger Xbox controls as these S ones hurt to use after short periods of time... but I wonder what else would keep me in front of the new TV and Xbox more often... perhaps a new couch... this is my second hand me down couch, neither of which have been particularly sturdy nor comfortable... who knows.

The review: Impressive graphics, difficult enemies (mostly due to my not yet being used to the controls), I look forward to spending more time with the game... whenever I get around to it at least.