26 Jul 2002 schoen   » (Master)


I got a lot of attention not long ago for my diary entry with notes from our meeting with the Microsoft Palladium developers. That was a surprise; I didn't know that so many people were reading my new diary. I guess even more are reading it now.

The meeting was about four hours at the EFF office in San Francisco, and some of the people who are in charge of Palladium answered our technical questions, with no NDA. So that was interesting, and I see I'm not the only one curious about the results.


We aren't going to have a new version of LNX-BBC ready for LinuxWorld. We'd been hoping to, but we got caught up in the strange world of pivot_root. I did manage to rewrite "rdev" in one line of Perl, even though I'm not a Perl programmer. :-)

We also had a hard time getting in-person meetings together, and our volunteer usability tester got pregnant! At present, we have a rough outline for a revamped boot sequence using linuxrc. The old version simply used an initrd and never changed the root filesystem to be anywhere other than the RAM disk, but now we're getting more ambitious, and we're using an incredible mix of filesystem types. We have found possible uses for tmpfs, FAT, ext2fs, iso9660, cramfs, romfs, and the cloop compressed block device driver all within the same project. So we are becoming true boot sequence geeks.

I do hope that the new LNX-BBC version will be out before people have forgotten about our project. It's gotten some nice reviews in the past, and thousands of people are still carrying them in their wallets, but as the old discs crack, memories will fade, too. We've got a big CVS tree using GAR, Nick Moffitt's cool build system (which is the basis for the much-more-famous GARNOME, even though GAR was actually designed for the LNX-BBC project).

Our GAR tree now builds about 90% of the binaries which we shipped on the previous version -- in a repeatable, reliable way, from upstream sources. As Nick says, it's like an equivalent of BSD ports, but for gmake on Linux.


I'm hoping to be at DEF CON, USENIX Security, and LinuxWorld in the next three weeks. After that, I don't have any concrete plans, but I'm sure I'll be back at CPTWG before long. We need more free software people at standards meetings and consortium meetings where DRM work is being done. A lot of the people who are doing DRM standards have never heard of free software before. (Some of them are actively hostile to it, but not all.)

In other news

You can find out lots of other news by reading Vitanuova. Of some free software interest: we are continuing to fight the "broadcast flag" mandate and other parts of Hollywood's legislative agenda. This also is something I wish more free software people would get involved in. The problem is that, when I describe how the broadcast flag works, people break out laughing. They apparently don't believe that something so silly could become Federal law. But I tell you that it's by narrow escapes and hard work that it isn't Federal law today.

The Palladium people are going to come back during USENIX Security to meet with us again and share more details, which I expect I'll write about in my web diary. I've also put in an inquiry with TCPA to ask the TCPA committee to visit EFF and give us their own overview. (Contrary to what some people believe, Palladium and TCPA are distinct and have different technical characteristics.)

That riddles archive is a lot of fun. I have found a horribly inefficient solution to the "100 prisoners and the light bulb" problem.

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