No Wonder Oracle Lost v Google. Oracle’s Lawyers Don’t Get FLOSS

“Google won a verdict that an unauthorized, commercial, competitive, harmful use of software in billions of products is fair use. No copyright expert would have ever predicted such a use would be considered fair. Before celebrating, developers should take a closer look. Not only will creators everywhere suffer from this decision if it remains intact, but the free software movement itself now faces substantial jeopardy.”
 
See Op-ed: Oracle attorney says Google’s court victory might kill the GPL
Whew! A lawyer emitting such foolish ignorant statements as a result of a loss in the heat of the moment is understandable but this is in public on the web.

First, Google didn’t make billions of copies of Oracle’s APIs, just one copy into the SDK which may have gone to a few thousand developers. SUN/Oracle made a particular implementation of those APIs available, but Google replaced that with their own. The issue shouldn’t have been fair use at all but the difference between an idea, the API, not copywriteable, and the implementation which is. Oracle fooled a court on that point but could not fool one on fair use. Oracle can’t tell the world we are free to use Java and the try to punish folks for doing so. That’s not fair.

The issue’s not about the GPL at all. No one can legally copy GPLed software and distribute it without compliance. That’s obvious to everyone except Oracle.

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Amen! Sweden Will Prefer FLOSS

“Public administrations must also be required to consider switching to free and open source alternatives, when procuring ICT solutions, and justify why they continue to use proprietary software.”
 
See Study: Sweden should boost open source competence
I recommended Canada do that ages ago, but Sweden is finally tuned into FLOSS. It’s the right way to do IT. Amen.

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The State Of Play Of Moore’s Law In China

“TSMC will be the industry’s first chipmaker to have its 7nm process technology certified, said Liu, adding that TSMC’s 7nm currently has 30-40% yield for 128MB SRAM.
 
As for 10nm, TSMC is scheduled to move the node technology to volume production by 2017, Liu indicated. TSMC will fabricate 10nm chips at the Phase-5 and 6 facilities at Fab 15, the foundry’s 12-inch wafer fab in central Taiwan.”
 
See TSMC to spend US$2.2 billion on R&D in 2016, says co-CEO
I’m considering buying IT made at 28nm this year. For some of it I doubt I can wait a year or two for the new improved stuff which will be near the end of the line for Moore’s Law. I’ll probably decide to buy mature technology instead of the newest. I know that will work for me without surprises.

RAM will be a major component of the new server. It’s cheap enough now to afford 16-32 gB RAM. More is better. Cached files have very little seek time.

On the global stage, these smaller resolutions will be state of the art and affordable in five years. This means almost everyone on the planet will have a smartphone and anyone who wants one will have a legacy PC able to run GNU/Linux well. SSDs will be pretty standard. I’m still not buying them because hard drives cached in RAM are more reliable and less expensive.

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Open Source Everything Engineering

“If governments and other organizations do not do evidence-based decision-making rooted in holistic analytics of true cost economics with the objective of creating affordable, interoperable, scalable engineering solutions – which is to say, open source solutions now known to cost one tenth what proprietary closed engineering costs, we will soon go well past the tipping points for catastrophic failure across multiple domains including bio-chemical and nuclear accidents, vanishing aquifers, and pandemics. Elective wars destroying entire societies, and the millions of illegal immigrants spawned by those wars are modest challenges, in this larger context. Acts of Man – not Acts of God – are changing the Earth for the worse at an accelerating rate – changes that once took 10,000 years now take three years or less.”
 
See Open Source Everything Engineering (OSEE) — a Nordic Manifesto
It’s a sweeping socialist concept but it makes good sense, sharing the wealth and keeping us all safe. FLOSS is a much narrower concept but it does the same thing, allow the whole world to create and to use software. Why not engineering and governance?

Such bold ideas will go right over the heads of guys like Trump but for the rest of us sharing is a good thing.

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Bad News

“The Egyptian military has released images of items found during the search in the Mediterranean Sea for missing Egypt Air flight MS804.”
 
See EgyptAir: Images released of debris found in plane search
One of the unfortunate consequences of decades of science/technology under my belt is the ability to analyze data for snippets of information that others might miss. Consider these pictures of the wreckage of this airliner found in the Mediterranean Sea:

Observation Conclusion
There are many parts of objects rather than whole objects. High-speed impact
There isn’t much there. The plane likely broke up at high altitude with multiple clusters of debris and this was only one.
Only one life-vest… Despite more than 100 being on the plane, only one being found suggests this cluster came from a rather small piece of the plane, like the tail or nose.

It’s possible this is only one boatload of debris from a much larger sample but if the above conclusions are correct, the chances of finding substantial parts of the plane in recoverable condition are poor. If the black boxes ping they might be recovered to supply more information but this sample suggests debris will be sparsely found on the ocean floor. Collection would be time-consuming and expensive, but it’s probably the only hope of determining causation. The ACARS data suggest smoke appeared very shortly before the crash but that still doesn’t mean a bomb was the cause. It’s possible fuel or lithium batteries caused a quick devastating fire preventing control.

I think it could be months or years before the cause will be known unless explosive residue is discovered on the stuff already recovered. This conclusion could be revised if soon much more wreckage is found. That should have happened already as there was radar tracking down to 10K feet. If there was a high altitude breakup it could take weeks to find all the flotsam and that might prevent a quick location of submerged wreckage.

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OMG! Mark Shuttleworth Mentions GNU and Linux and Ubuntu In A Single Sentence!

“I think without Ubuntu, it would be very difficult to use traditional Linux every day—not just Ubuntu as I enjoy it, but it’s full family of derivatives and the impact it has every day on Debian and competing distributions, essentially keep GNU/Linux relevant for the desktop and power developer.”
 
See Mark Shuttleworth: ‘Ubuntu keeps GNU/Linux relevant’
Remember how hard it was to even find “Linux” on Ubuntu.com, let alone “GNU”? Well, here we are in an interview and he uses all three terms in a single sentence! I like that even if his thesis wrong. GNU/Linux is plenty relevant. I only use Ubuntu GNU/Linux rarely, usually on others’ PCs. I think TLW has one instance on a notebook provided by a relative. That notebook wasn’t being used by its original owner. How’s that for relevance? She uses Debian GNU/Linux on her desktop. It’s been about a decade since I last used Ubuntu GNU/Linux seriously and that was a mistake. Debian is the way to go. Debian is about using your PC to its maximum capability, not stroking Mark’s ego…

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Chromebooks Gaining Share

“Global shipments of Chromebooks are expected to reach over two million units in the second quarter of 2016 and further expand to three million units a quarter in the second half of the year”
 
See Shipments of Chromebooks integrated with Google Play set to increase
Yes, in a world where shipments of legacy PCs have fallen to 60million per quarter, 3 million GNU/Linux Chromebooks per quarter is a lot. That’s just Chromebooks. Imagine all those other GNU/Linux PCs and thin clients piled on.

see also Chrome OS to get Android apps via the magic of containers

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ARM Leaps Into The Future

“Cambridge, UK, May 18, 2016 – ARM today announced the first multicore, 64-bit ARM®v8-A processor test chip based on TSMC’s 10FinFET process technology. Simulation benchmarks show impressive power and efficiency gains relative to TSMC’s 16FinFET+ process technology, which is currently used to implement chips powering many of today’s leading premium smartphones.The successful validation of the test chip (tape out completed in Q4 of 2015) is an important milestone in ARM and TSMC’s successful ongoing collaboration. The fully validated complete design enablement solution includes IP, EDA tools, design flow and methodology to enable new customer tape-outs on TSMC’s most advanced FinFET process. In addition, SoC designers can now use the foundation IP building blocks (standard cell libraries, embedded memories and standard I/Os) to develop the most competitive SoCs for the highest possible performance with lowest power and area.”
 
See ARM Drives the Future of Premium Mobile Computing with a Multicore Test Chip based on 10FinFET from TSMC
ARM has certainly driven the market for small cheap computers from tiny controllers to power-sipping servers but they are not resting on their laurels. They now have libraries available for 10nm and they and TSMC are working on 7nm.

They can produce smartphones that last longer on a battery and do things faster or they can produce products that will make the 28nm AMD A1100 look puny. AMD already has a K12 core up the pipe. It will be only a couple of years until ARM’s latest tech finds its way to AMD or someone else to make proper server/desktop chips with good bandwidth, SATA and RAM to replace Beast. To wait or not to wait, that is the question…

On the one hand, A1100 is good enough for my conceivable needs but K12 or 10nm tech will be superior. On the other hand, 10nm would clearly increase performance per dollar. Beast is using 45nm and heats the house…

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Oh-Oh. There Goes The NDA…

“Government spending through private companies to deliver works, goods and services to citizens is the single biggest item of spending by government, amounting world-wide to a staggering USD 9.5 trillion each year, or 15 percent of global GDP. This concentration of money, government discretion, and secrecy makes public contracting so vulnerable to corruption. Data on prosecutions tracked by the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention shows that roughly 60 percent of bribes were paid to win public contracts.”
 
See 40 governments commit to open contracting to fight corruption
M$ and others like to hide transactions behind “non-disclosure agreements”. Imagine a world where all governments agreed to openly publish the details of all procurement deals… Good-bye monopoly. Good-bye divide and conquer. Hello Free/Libre Open Source Software.

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Welds

“More bad news for Canada’s problem-plagued submarine fleet: two of the boats will be out of commission for most of this year because of shoddy welding.
 
HMCS Chicoutimi and its sister, HMCS Victoria, are stuck in their Vancouver Island port for months because several hundred welds can’t be trusted to hold tight when the boats dive.”
 
See Wonky welds keep West Coast submarines stuck in port
I know a thing or two about welds. You are far better off doing them right the first time. The guy doing the welding is best able to see that happens but still where welds are critical they should be checked by X-ray methods or some other objective test. A rule of thumb is that a weld that looks bad is bad. A weld that looks good can still be bad. My most critical welds have been in tractor frames and the hoisting frame I built recently. None of my critical welds has ever failed, but then I don’t make submarines.

These subs were bought at clearance prices from UK ages ago and have never performed. Our current Canadian government had better plan ahead to replacing them. They are just expensive anchors. With Russia rattling sabres in the Arctic and globally, Canada needs to beef up armed forces including navy and submarines. We have too much ocean to patrol with surface-ships. I would not recommend ever buying another sub from the UK.

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Summer Resumes

Well, that arctic blast has moved on and I moved all my potted plants out into the sunshine. It looks like it will be warm enough to spray the dandelions this afternoon.

I took a break to examine the alternator. To my surprise it’s the next smaller size to the one I ordered… Anyway, it’s plenty big enough and half the price asked locally. It wasn’t packed very well. An anchor bolt pulled out in handling. The crate suffered, not the alternator. As a bonus, they also supplied drive belts, so I have spares for the tractor and the alternator. I was going to use longer belts for a vertical drive with a twist, but I may just as well build the trailer to couple directly to the tractor. Then, it will surely drive my welder at full power.

Before fiddling with the alternator it’s time to do serious planting now: corn, beans, squash, grass and a few more trees. I will be busy all week. I just got a call that some grand kids will visit. Even my investments are working hard today. Everything’s finally coming together. My ToDo list will be a lot shorter by June, just replacing my IT-system with a new switch, a smaller but more powerful Beast, and new clients all running GNU/Linux on ARM.

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Slaves, Rejoice! You’re Going To Have To Do Twice The Work And Still Pay M$ For Your Servitude

“The Start menu ads, or as Microsoft calls them Promoted Apps, haven’t pleased everyone. It’s the space on Start menu tiles that Microsoft allocates to suggested apps. But instead of the current five suggestions Microsoft is planning to increase that to 10 in the Windows 10 Anniversary Update.
 
Microsoft caused a minor uproar when it introduced the suggested apps feature in the Start menu in a Windows 10 preview last year. Microsoft said that app publishers did not pay to be featured and that it was to help customers discover new features and apps from the Store.”
 
See Microsoft: We’re planning to double Start menu ads in Windows 10 Anniversary Update
Slaves have no doubt they are slaves when the slave-master beats them out of spite. M$ is clarifying the situation by increasing the number of ads displayed in “10”. Chuckle. Slaves, ask yourself if you are doing more for M$, why are you paying M$ and not the other way around? First there was shoddy code which would not run more than a few hours without crashing on its own, then there were waves of malware and re-re-reboots and restrictions galore. Is this the thing that will make the slaves aware of the slavery of M$, daily whipping with ads in the face?

Wake up! Use Debian GNU/Linux, the operating system that’s not out to make you a slave.

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