Strong opinions, weakly held

Month: March 2000 (page 2 of 11)

Today I managed to blow up Linux Mandrake 7.0 trying to get TrueType fonts to work. I read this document and some of the documents that are linked to it, but all I managed to do was get X to crash and never come back again. Back to the drawing board.

Chalk this one up as a big win for sanity: a federal judge has ruled that it’s not illegal to link to pages within another Web site without permission.

Slate is running a fascinating dialogue among writers from Texas Monthly magazine about George W. Bush, Jr.. They have a lot of insight into Bush, since they’ve been covering him extensively for the 6 years he’s been Texas governor. Probably the most useful thing I’ve read about Bush in the entire campaign.

It’s looking like CDNow might die an ugly death. Someone will almost certainly buy them out before they just go out of business, but this is a real warning sign, I think. Perhaps this will cause other people to realize that you can’t piss away money indefinitely while promising some ephemeral future returns. To get an idea of how serious this is, in February, CDNow served the most buyers on the Web, according to PC Data.

The Mattel vs. cphack case is becoming more and more byzantine. It turns out that the GPL may not protect people redistributing cphack if the authors didn’t assign their rights to the software to the FSF in writing. It looks like this one is going to have to be hashed out through litigation. Of course, Mattel is clearly playing the part of the evil jerk here, they should just give up and accept the fact that people have a right to know which sites their product filters. Declan McCullagh has a Wired News story that attempts to provide the details.

Odd company renaming of the day: Accompany.com now goes by the name MobShop.com. The Salon article about the new name points out some problems with the name “Accompany” that hadn’t occurred to me.

Here in North Carolina, the government has started a Hitler Youth type program to get kids in school to spy on each other. It was developed for our wonderful state by Pinkerton (a private security agency). The program was announced in a press release on February 10. I think that the most galling part of the program is that kids who inform on their classmates will be rewarded with prizes like T-shirts and hats. Jon Katz has picked up the story at Slashdot as well.

The Motley Fool examines Red Hat’s earnings for last quarter. Not good.

You know I’m a sucker for computing history. The O’Reilly Network has posted a real gem of an article: 20 Years of Berkeley Unix: From AT&T-Owned to Freely Redistributable. I now see that the article is from Open Sources, a book that’s on my list but that I haven’t yet purchased.

Mattel’s ongoing efforts to keep the public from learning which sites they block with their censorware package CyberPatrol are making them look like the eToys of the year 2000. Their latest attempt to squelch the distribution of the cphack software that reveals the list of blocked sites involved acquiring the intellectual property rights to the software. Unfortunately, it looks like Mattel’s lawyers failed to read the GPL, which prevents the copyright holder from restricting distribution of software released under that license. Sorry, suckers. The question that springs to mind when I think about censorware is, “Why is it important to keep the list of blocked sites secret?” If I were a parent, I’d want to know which sites this software blocks.

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