Recent blog entries for djm

fair use review in Australia

As seen on Slashdot, the Australian Attorney-General's department is conducting a public review into Fair-Use laws. You can bet that the recording and movie industry lobbies will be well represented, but there is no reason why free software developers shouldn't be.

If you are interested in or involved with free software development, please take some time to read and respond to their issues paper. I suggest that you ask for fair use rights for research (reverse engineering for compatibility) and reasonable personal use (time and format shifting) be enshrined in legislation and not left to the courts to decide.

raph: I share many of your feelings on the lack of appreciation that free software developers receive for their efforts. Compared to the thanks that I get in my day job, doing far less complicated things for money, unpaid work on free software seems to yield steady stream of demands and complaints.

I don't think that most of these people would behave this way if you were meeting them face to face - it is just so easy to make glib insults or armchair criticisms when you don't have to look your object in the eyes (I'm sure I have been guilty of this too, from time to time). It is doubly frustrating because one can't fight back, as this just escalates the situation (cf. old adages about wrestling pigs). Please don't become jaded - to do so would allow your behaviour to be determined by the lowest common denominator.

raph: I respectfully disagree - new software developed with government funds *should* be released as public domain, just so long as there is no prohibition of government funds being used to improve existing GPL software.

This would allow everyone equal access, including proprietary developers and all flavors of free developers. If people want to make GPL'd derivatives, they are free to relicense it. Likewise if a commercial developer or one of the BSD projects wants to incorporate code, they can do so too.

I wouldn't equate a recommendation to release government funded software as public domain as an attack on the GPL either, unless you happen to believe that *all* software should be GPL.

badvogato: If you want to cry over an Akira Kurosawa film, watch Ikiru.
25 Apr 2003 (updated 25 Apr 2003 at 09:25 UTC) »

Earlier this month, I was married to my partner of nearly seven years, Simone. We had a wonderful wedding, followed by two lovely weeks sitting on a beach in Far North Queensland doing very little beyond reading, swimming, drinking great wine and eating amazing food.

The reading was mostly Homer's The Odyssey (Ancient Greek Homer, not Matt Groening Homer). Apart from being an great story, this is considered one of the first works of Western literature and offers (thanks to Homer's prolix style) much insight into the ancients' way of life and thought. I am amazed that this story is so timeless, perhaps something is added by the competent translation.

During this two week honeymoon I was _completely_ Internet-free. Despite this being a near eternity for me, I didn't miss it much. Upon my return I was expecting some interesting stuff to have happened, maybe some cool new software released, but never this whole OpenBSD/DARPA fiasco.

Right now, it looks like the issue was precipitated by Theo speaking his mind on the Iraq war. The whole thing is bizarre, more in line with China, Singapore, or some other authoritarian society than the one with the Bill of Rights (which IMO should be considered one of the Wonders of the world). But then, the current US administration (and their side of politics is not alone) doesn't seem to care too much for Enlightenment values.

The way in which the funding was pulled; two weeks before a booked hackathon to which much of the team will be attending (not me, unfortunately) which was to be funded from the grant is doubly insulting and belies a petty and punitive attitude.

We live in dark and moronic times.

avriettea: Wow, way to post private email! That takes integrity, but then so does deliberately (or stupidly) misconstruing it.
3 Apr 2003 (updated 3 Apr 2003 at 07:37 UTC) »

hmm, BitTorrent seems pretty cool. I set it downloading RH9 as I left home this morning and when I came back (~4 hours) it had already fetched the whole ~2Gb of it.

I was somewhat put off by the line at the top of the INSTALL file: "install wxPython - http://wxpython.org/" (python is nice because I can generally avoid library-hell), bit I soon noticed the Curses and textmode clients (why aren't they mentioned?)

Otherwise, it seems excellent.

Life:
10 days ago, I lost my job of five years. I am pretty happy about this - I was planning on leaving by the end of the year, but this way I get a redundancy payout. I intend to take a couple of months off to relax, renovate out home further and decide what I want to do next. I'll probably get more of a chance to hack on free software during this time, but I have a wedding to prepare for first...
OpenSSH:
We are freezing for a release at the moment. This will close a lot of bugs, but the big PAM overhaul that I wanted to do didn't make it. This was due to insufficient testing and my general lack of time to devote to heckling the user community. I wish my ex-employer had sacked me a few weeks earlier :)

This Friday, I will be going to the Melbourne anti-war protest. I hope that other Australians reading this will consider attending one in their city.

I rarely get involved in public activism, but this situation is insane. If the stated objective is to "disarm the Iraqi dictatorship", then the first, best way to do this must be through peaceful means. Right now, those means have not been exausted, yet we have a bellicose few pushing for an invasion at an unknowable civilian cost.

Why not let the inspectors finish their jobs? Why immediately pour scorn on the France/Belgium/Germany plan? Why does our government ignore a real threat (North Korea), with real WoMD and real delivery systems on our relative doorstep?

Nowhere has the Australian government attempted to answer these question.

StevenRainwater: Don't bother trying to scan CT tranparencies, it is very difficult without a backlit scanner. You are better off calling the medical imaging lab and asking for them on CD-R. A while ago I got a CD-R of my MRI images (my brain on a CD, cool!). Be prepared to deal with funky medical imaging formats, but you are most likely to get DICOM. DICOM can be converted to PNM using the GPL'd DICOM Toolkit. You'll also be able to dump out the slice coordinates and lots more information.

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