Loud ramblings of a Software Artisan

Monday 19 November 2007

Reading Books, TNG

I guess, I'll stick to paper, still for quite a while. Or using the Gutenberg project with FBReader. Whether the Kindle runs Linux or not does not matter.

Wednesday 2 May 2007

Wining numbers

Today's winning numbers are:

09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0

That could be your old-style GPG fingerprint. That could be something else.

See BoingBoing for a related story.

Friday 4 August 2006

Digital Restriction Management and iPod

Cory Doctorow has a very good article on Why Apple DRM is bad for both business and consumers. It is actually a very good explaination on how DRM are bad, be they flexible like Apple's or not. It basically shows that Apple DRM is to protect Apple's business...

Friday 28 July 2006

All about the French DMCA-like law: DADVSI

Jean-Baptiste Soufron has a good commentary in Emglish on how the French law about digital rights and media is now even worse than proposed.

There is also a lawyer commentary by Maitre Eolas in French (Maitre Eolas is an attorney at law[1] [2]).

And as of Free Software, I'm worried about a few Free Software packages whose developers are mostly in France.

Notes

[1] Avocat à la cour in France, which is the jurisdiction that matters

[2] just to make some people happy

Monday 27 February 2006

Levy

FYI, here is the official tariff for for the Levy on blank media for music reproduction in Canada:

3. (1) Subject to subsection (2), the levy rates shall be
(a) 29¢ for each audio cassette of 40 minutes or more in length;
(b) 21¢ for each CD-R or CD-RW;
(c) 77¢ for each CD-R Audio, CD-RW Audio or MiniDisc.

DVD-R are not considered as audio media.

Tuesday 24 January 2006

All your rights are belong to us

Looks like it is DRM (Digital Restriction Management as says the GPLv3) season, with a deal of bad news.

When RIAA and MPAA want to control consumer electronics or when the broadcast flag is back, both being closely related. But now there is an attempt to control the analog media. That show that 2006 will need a lot of fight to preserve users rights.

Friday 6 January 2006

Market Dumping by bundling

I'm not impressed at all, but at least this company listen to their customer, even if they don't satisfy it.

I got a nice Executive Customer Relations from Lenovo Canada on the phone. She called me following my request of refund for the operating system that came with my ThinkPad Z60t, operating system I don't want to use and was required to acquire with the hardware.

I'm not surprised by the answer: no.

She claims that in 5 years nobody asked to not have the operating system, on which I doubt, or she never got the information. She also claims that it is required to use the hardware. I can tell that it is not as I directly booted on my Linux installation CD without ever running that software.

What can we do? Apparently nobody in Canada has taken the care to investigate and enforce the law. And we should tell the proper authority (in Canada) about that problem. If every customer that buy a hardware bundled with software he does not use, like Windows with a laptop computer, complains, then it my open some eyes, at least I hope. If you have any case of a precedent in Canada, I'm willing to hear. The only attempt I know about in Canada is Yannick Delbecque's, still without any answer.

The law is here (direct link to the "offences" section). I'm not a lawyer, and therefore do not provide an advice, but my understanding that law is that bundling software in order to help prevent competition is somewhat considered as an offence to Competition Act. That company has also been found guilty, or somewhat responible on unfair licensing agreement with OEM. Settlements for 23M$ because some OS vendor couldn't bundle its product due to an already unfair agreement with OEM, or refunds obtained in small claim courts in the US.

sigh

Just remember that case is almost specific with each manufacturer and in each country. I'm making a case of Canada and its federal law. There could still be a provincial ruling of some sort. Anyway this is to my eyes a clear case of monopoly abuse

Tuesday 8 November 2005

One more reason to not buy "copy protected" CDs

Some reports tell us that a big music publisher had produced CDs that installed a malware on users' Windows PCs with a cloaking device. They acknowledge the problem and released a fix to remove the cloaking technology (but still keep the malware!). The purpose of that software is to prevent you from exercising the right to private copy that is granted in several countries, including but not limited to: France, Canada, etc. Fortunately the problem is only on MS-Windows, as usual.

Off course, the $BIG_COMPANY don't seem to talk about replacing said defective CDs. It is just one more case of a big brother company willing to remove the rights granted by the country you live in, for a product you purchased. The paradox is even bigger when the same companies lobby governments to collect a tax for blank medias and music players (like the 50EUR tax on iPod Nano in France.

Personaly, I decide that I would not buy a CD that I can't rip to put on my computer. There is no reason why I wouldn't be allowed to do that anymore, mostly because the price hasn't gone down in almost 20 years. And some will argue that the protection can be worked around, I'll just make it a matter of principle.