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How to Explain DRM to Your Dad

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Misc

My friend John was trying to think of a way to explain the problem with digital rights management to his dad and friend of ours who don't see what's wrong with it. He compiled a list of examples of DRM-related problems to help people understand what the big deal is with DRM.

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"1. I want to watch an Egyptian movie for my Middle Eastern studies class. But it is region coded not to play on my DVD player, in an effort to stop piracy. Now I have to hack my DVD player and break the law to get it to play. The movie isn't released in the U.S. This is the only version that was ever published. Since it isn't published in the US, and it's for academic purposes, I can rip it make copies for my classmates. That's fair use. But since I have to break the DRM to copy it -- I've broken the law anyway.

"2. My mom bought a phone that was a "music player" from Verizon. The manufacturer (LG) created a great phone to play all sorts of music. Verizon crippled the phone to only play music bought from the Verizon music store. If I hack my mom's phone, that she bought legally, to play music that she legally owns because she bought it on CD, I could be breaking the law my modifying a DRM scheme.

"3. In the Comcast situation

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OSS Leftovers

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    Instead of trying to reinvent management from first principles, we can turn to other areas with experience navigating distributed teams with individuals managing competing commitments. Open-source software communities—which also are remote communities connected by the internet—have long included the role of community managers. These are the people who tend to the health of the community, by maintaining communication, motivation, efficiency, and engagement. It’s a well-honed practice that remote managers can learn a lot from. [...] A pandemic is an interesting mix of people who are over-socialized (such as people with families denied their usual down or alone time) and under-socialized (like singles living alone denied their usual social interactions). While there is a certain amount of camaraderie and shared experience that may come from those who navigated the switch from office to remote together, what about new people? Think about the experiences of your team, and outline the goals that you might want to achieve. Then, you can come up with options that might help support those goals. Remember to be deliberate about what should be async, and what should be opt-in (or out).

  • Is Proprietary Software Really Better Than Open-Source?

    Software development for statistical, analytical, or empirical purposes was dominated, for the first 30 years, by companies like SAS, SPSS, Minitab, Stata, and others. These companies developed products and sold licenses or tiered-price packages for their data-analytics software. But beginning in the mid-1990s, and especially after 2000, the open-source movement began encroaching into what was once the sole purview of pay-per statistical software. Python jumped from traditional programming into analytics, and the new, stats-specific programming language R arose from the remnants of Fortran and C. These products were freely available, constantly updated, and enjoyed near-instant worldwide distribution. The most dramatic difference between these new products and the proprietary hegemons of analytical programming, though, concerned development. Open-source languages’ source codes were freely available for modification by any user. This approach departed markedly from the traditional software development model, i.e., hire the best minds from computational statistics or social science, concentrate their talents at or near corporate headquarters, and jealously guard professionally developed source code. In line with Eric Raymond’s essays, two paradigms of statistical programming have thus arisen. Which is preferable? Of course, both have costs and benefits. In lieu of simply looking at the price of statistical software in monetary terms, though, consider some of the largest non-pecuniary costs for comparison. I argue that the largest perceived costs of open-source software relative to proprietary software are actually not drawbacks at all. Namely, conversion from proprietary legacy to open-source, security risks of open-source relative to proprietary, and the learning-curve gradient of open-source versus proprietary are all either overstated as costs or actually turn out to be long-run benefits.

  • Is Open Source the Way Forward for SD-WAN?

    The dream of SD-WAN is pretty simple: make networking faster, better, cheaper, and more secure. The problem is proprietary technologies simply can’t scale to meet these aspirations, says Sorell Slaymaker, principal consulting analyst at TechVision Research. Speaking during a recent webinar, Slaymaker joined flexiWAN Founder and CEO Amir Zmora, whose company is the first to develop and launch an open source SD-WAN platform, in discussing the state of the SD-WAN market. They specifically discussed how an open source approach can address the technology’s most pressing challenges. According to Slaymaker, many of the problems facing the SD-WAN market are born out of the lack of any kind of Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)-style industry standard.

  • Lanner Whitebox uCPE Certified by flexiWAN Enables SD-WAN in Open Architecture

    Lanner Electronics Inc, the leading uCPE and MEC Whitebox Solutions™ provider, today announced its partnership with flexiWAN, the pioneer in open source SD-WAN software, to offer SD-WAN solution in an open, modular and vendor-agnostic architecture which allows for dynamic loading of router and management networking applications bringing to networking the concepts of the mobile application (different from the VNF concept that is also possible). With this strategic partnership, Lanner's white-box uCPE hardware NCA-1510 becomes pre-validated for flexiWAN's SD-WAN to liberate enterprises and service providers from vendor lock-in equipment, allowing the implementation of third-party VNF and simplified management in traffic routing and application-optimization.

  • Avoiding the lock-in trap - The financial impact of perpetual support contracts

    The discussion around open source and saving money has been going on for as long as open source has existed. While there are definite benefits that open source can provide in terms of controlling your data and fully understanding the code that is in place, cost saving are often seen as the biggest reason to move from proprietary software. However, how can those cost savings be achieved in practical terms, and why are they still possible so many years after open source was first developed? One of the greatest challenges is understanding and quantifying the impact of software licensing for proprietary software, and how this can lead to problems over time. The issue is not whether suppliers should be paid for their support services, or be able to license their software in the way that suits them. Instead, problems occur through lack of clarity around historical support contracts. This is where open source solutions can provide immediate savings.

  • How PowerDNS turned 'abysmal failure' into open source success

    However, here's some hope for those open source developers who can't seem to figure out how to turn their code into copious quantities of cash: PowerDNS. In a conversation with Bert Hubert, founder of PowerDNS, a leading provider of open source DNS software, services, and support, he detailed how the failure of PowerDNS as a proprietary product eventually led to open source success. This despite one VC telling Hubert, "Bert, you made a product for people with no money that don't want to buy it from you."

  • [Satire] Huge if true... Trump explodes as he learns open source could erode China tech ban

    The Register has obtained the following transcript of a recent White House conversation between US President Donald Trump and advisors regarding the ban on American technology reaching Huawei.

  • InnovateEDU Develops Free, Open-Source Data Extraction Tool for Google Classroom During COVID-19

    Today, InnovateEDU, a non-profit organization whose mission is to eliminate the achievement gap in K-12 education by developing innovative models and tools to serve, inform, and enhance teaching and learning, announced that they are offering a free, open-source Google Classroom Connector to any school or district that utilizes G Suite for Education. Realizing that teachers and administrators are facing challenges in gaining insights into students’ performance and engagement during remote instruction, InnovateEDU developed a data extraction tool that can be used in a school’s Google Cloud environment ensuring that data is secure and interoperable.

  • Elecard Joins SRT Alliance for High Quality, Low Latency Video Streaming Over the Internet

    Milpitas, California, May 21, 2020. Elecard, a leading provider of components and software products for analysis, monitoring, encoding, decoding, and streaming digital video and audio data, today announced that they have joined the SRT Alliance, the open-source initiative dedicated to overcoming the challenges of low-latency video streaming.

Data and Databases Leftovers

  • Why Technology Should Take a Backseat for Data Projects to Succeed

    Data driven is a nice buzzword. We run around our organizations shouting that we need to be data driven and try to wade through all our data to find the nuggets of gold we’ve been promised. We convince ourselves, as technologists, that we have big data, massive streams of data on par with Uber and we need the latest open source projects to handle this. Businesses have empowered engineering teams to drive data projects. At the same time I, like many in the industry, had been guilty of focusing on technology in order to further my career, worried we would fall behind the rest of the market unless we adopted the latest open source. [...] Where I have seen success is when powerful open source technologies have been used while giving business users with domain knowledge the ability to self-serve their data access. A ubiquitous language, such as SQL, makes it possible for a wider array of users to serve themselves and get visibility into the data platform and data applications. Business experts who were able to discover, explore, visualize and build using data in an accessible way advanced the organization’s goals and optimized data in ways I couldn’t because they were the domain knowledge experts. The best role for a technologist is to be a technology partner to the business and enabler of the business goals. Without building integrated data teams of business analysts and technologists, we will continue to see this high project failure rate — which isn’t acceptable in any other industry. Imagine 85% of, say, construction projects being abandoned?

  • Percona CEO: Take an unbiased (multi-cloud) approach to cloud databases

    Database misconfigurations in the cloud are a problem, one might even say that it’s becoming a common problem. As founder and CEO at Percona, Peter Zaitsev said this week during his organization’s Percona Live Online conference, you can’t just slap a database into a cloud and think that everything is all going to fall in place and be okay.

  • MongoDB Gets a New Distribution, as Percona Grasps the Nettle

    Open source database specialist Percona today announced its very own MongoDB distribution (and managed services for it); an unusual move given the latter’s somewhat restrictive license terms, and one likely to put the cat among the pigeons at MongoDB’s headquarters. MongoDB, an $11 billion (by market capitalisation) non-relational database specialist, offers a bare-bones open source version of its software that customers are free to download and use; but makes its money providing managed services for/licenses to more proprietary, all-singing, all-dancing versions of the database; with other tools plugged in. As a result, MongoDB (the database) is a bit of a MongoDB (the company)-only show, despite the cloud hyperscalers’ best efforts.

  • DB or not DB: Open-sourcer Percona pushes out plethora of SQL and NoSQL tweaks in bid to win over suits

    Open-source database support and distribution biz Percona has flung out new versions of MongoDB and Postgres and a managed database service as it looks to win over more enterprise folk. In its first distribution of MongoDB - the document-oriented NoSQL database - Percona has included enhancements to support in-memory storage HashiCorp Vault for data access control, data at rest encryption, audit logging, external LDAP authentication and hot backup support for enterprise. It is also releasing separate backup and restore functionality for clusters and non-sharded data sets.

Openwashing and Entrapment

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    The Open Networking Foundation's SDN Enabled Broadband Access (SEBA) platform describes how to assemble a collection of open source components to build a virtualized PON network to deliver residential broadband and mobile backhaul. SEBA uses a disaggregated white-box approach for building next-generation access networks by using open source. With SEBA, functionality that traditionally ran on chassis-based OLTs and on BNG routers is run in the cloud while the hardware is a collection of white-box optical line terminals (OLTs), switches and servers. SEBA blends together the collection of open source hardware and software into a comprehensive platform that exposes northbound FCAPS interfaces, making it easier to integrate a SEBA POD with an operator’s OSS/BSS system.

  • FOLIO Library Services Platform Launches Fameflower Release

    FOLIO, a community collaboration to develop an open source Library Services Platform (LSP), has launched the Fameflower Release. The FOLIO Fameflower Release is the sixth in a series of named releases that define the features and functionality of the open source LSP and represents a significant list of workflow features for library staff.

  • SD Times Open-Source Project of the Week: Code Defect AI [Ed: But supporting GitHub is perpetuating a Massive Attack against FOSS]

    The solution currently supports GitHub, but it can also be integrated with other source-code management tools.