InformationWeek Weblog

“If you’re getting into open source because you see it as a career path, you’re doing something wrong.” It’s not that Linux creator Linus Torvalds thinks open-source programmers should work for peanuts (he doesn’t), but rather that they should be properly motivated. Call it software with a soul, if you like. Only the truly passionate need apply.

InformationWeek Weblog

As I type this there are 41 comments, and it seems like I disagree with all of them.

Perhaps the subject of a future podcast.

Copyright the Eiffel Tower?

Contraband Image!Over at BoingBoing, David Pescowitz noted that taking pictures of the Eiffel Tower at night is now illegal, as the gents who installed the new stylish lighting system copyrighted the design, and will charge a license fee for any image of it taken after dark.

I think to myself, “that can’t be true”, but sure enough, if you go to The Eiffel Tower FAQ, you are treated to this explanation:

Q : Is the publishing of a photo of the Eiffel Tower permitted?

A : There are no restrictions on publishing a picture of the Tower by day. Photos taken at night when the lights are aglow are subjected to copyright laws, and fees for the right to publish must be paid to the SNTE.

Wow. Amazing. And contrary to what I know of copyright law. Consulting my usual tome that guides me in such situations (Fishman’s The Public Domain), it asserts that copyrights do not protect any building constructed before Dec. 1, 1990. This means that unless a building is trademarked (a separate issue entirely), anyone is allowed to draw or photograph the building, and indeed, construct a replica from such photographs.

But the plot thickens: this applies only to buildings, which is loosely described as “structures that are habitable by humans and intended to be both permanent or stationary”. In particular, things not destined for human occupation aren’t covered. These are covered as “works of sculpture”, and different rules apply to them. Different, and more difficult to parse rules.

Screw ’em, I say. Come sue me.

We offer free next day shipping!

I just completed ordering a product from a website which claimed “free next day delivery!”. “Golly”, I think to myself. “It will be nice to have this gadget sooner rather than later.” I eagerly click, and imagine the box being here on Friday.

Just got the confirmation email. The item (mind you, not built to order or anything) is scheduled to ship on Feb 9, and should be delivered on Feb 10. Next Thursday. Sigh.

I imagine that I could use a similar tactic to write my own operating system in a single day. Expect delivery sometime in 2030.

Addendum: Allright, I’m too grumpy. Checking their status again reveals that they have shipped it today! Woohoo! Tomorrow!

The Mac Mini as a Server: Good idea?

Over at Flutterby!, Dan Lyke was baiting comment by suggesting that you could do better than a Mac Mini for a small server. I’ll try to bait some comments out by asserting the same thing: small servers like this one are pretty cost effective, and if what you really want is a server, FreeBSD or any of a number of Linux variants will foot the bill nicely.

If, on the other hand, you want to run iLife, by all means, get the Mac Mini.