2007-05-16 11:16:21

EPLA with the jimmy through Switzerland?

According to the swiss german news paper «Der Bund», the swiss patent law revision is also supposed to introduce EPLA-style law in Switzerland. Through this patent revision, the European Union shall be forced to adopt EPLA as well in order to remain compatible to the driving economic force Switzerland.

It is our duty now not to let ourselves get abused as a tool to get what the mega corporations want in Europe. A Patent Litigation agreement would legalize more 30'000 trivial software patents in Europe, which have been granted illegally. If this article is correct, then we need to stop this law, not only on behalf of all software developers in Switzerland, but also on behalf of all software developers in the European Union.

The original article can be found at http://www.espace.ch/artikel_356747.html. The PDF version can be found at[...]/08208Wirtschaft20070410_1.pdf. More information on the EPLA can be found at http://epla.wikidot.com/.

Posted by Tonnerre Lombard | Permanent link | File under: general, news, politics

2007-05-15 23:24:58

WinSock socket option SO_EXCLUSIVEADDRUSE?

Microsoft has introduced a new socket option in their Winsock framework, which is called SO_EXCLUSIVEADDRUSE. From the explanation, it doesn't get very clear what the advantage of this option is over binding to a specific IP and not using any options at all.

It appears that the only purpose of this option is to use Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (the DoS story) to make people believe that they should use this option. This again makes their code incompatible with the POSIX API.

More can be found on http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms740618.aspx.

Posted by Tonnerre Lombard | Permanent link | File under: programming, standards

2007-05-15 22:15:23

ETH Zurich in "concurrence" with EPFL?

The ETH Zurich is still looking for a new President. So far they have refused every single candidate. The council of the ETH is now being critizised. Not because people fear a vacuum of innovation – but because they fear losing ground in the competition with the EPFL. Some even claim that the President of the EPFL, Patrick Aebischer, is building his EPFL on the expense of the ETH Zurich.

The question remains what a cruel world we're living in when two of the best technical universities on the continent are pestering each other in trying to compete with each other. The main purposes of these universities ought to be to educate students.

Also, the EPFL is a swiss french university, where all lessons are held either in french or in english. It is very unlikely for someone to pass the EPFL if he or she is not capable of speaking french. The ETH Zurich, on the other hand, is a swiss german university. It would therefor be a likely assumption that there is only a small fraction of the swiss population who would actually be equally well off on both universities.

But it appears that the people of the ETH Zurich want their university to be the only true swiss polytechnical university. It's the same sad story of swiss german cultural imperialism that can be observed in most areas of daily life. Hopefully, at some point, we can agree to just live next to each other without any attempts to conquer each other. But it appears that this situation has become more unlikely in the past.

Until a couple of decades ago, it was a normal proceeding for every swiss german adolescent to spend a couple of years in the french-speaking part of Switzerland. It was a necessary step to get one's education degree, and to become an adult. Equally, every swiss french adolescent had to spend a couple of years of his education in the german speaking part of Switzerland. But it seems that this tradition is extinct nowadays. This and a lot of other things serve to make the Rösti rift deeper than ever.

The whole story can be found at http://www.nzz.ch/2007/05/13/il/articleF6FJP.html.

Posted by Tonnerre Lombard | Permanent link | File under: general, politics

2007-05-13 20:17:40

Vergeltung: coming soon

After a couple of first tests, it appeared that vergeltung.ffii.org was running pretty well already. However, as it seems, there still have to be some tests with the GPIO functionality. The cable which was attached to the reset button may cause major problems when power is switched on via gpioctl. This can be solved by the use of a resistant.

The purpose of vergeltung.ffii.org is to create a remote reset and console solution for the server vic.ffii.org, which was meanwhile upgraded to Debian Etch. The proceeding is about the following:

If something goes wrong on vic, it should be possible to ssh into vergeltung and get a serial console. Using this console, it should also be possible to modify BIOS settings et al. However, there is still a lack of a remote reset solution.

This solution is provided by GPIO. GPIO provides a simple interface to short-circuit a jumper on demand, exactly like a reset button. Thus, one can ssh into vergeltung and do a quick

% gpioctl 1 1; sleep 1; gpioctl 1 0

This will have the effect of pushing the reset button: vic.ffii.org will be rebooted. At the same time, the booting problem will also be resolved: vic.ffii.org didn't boot with the old kernel unless the serial port FIFO was filled from the terminal side. Thus, one always had to type ahead in order to get through the kernel boot.

Posted by Tonnerre Lombard | Permanent link | File under: chaos

2007-05-13 20:12:47

DRM - to be renamed?

During a lecture on Digital Restrictions Management and its timely appearance (CD protection by dead blocks, the DVD CSS algorithm and the broken 128-bit HD-DVD key), it was mentioned that apparently the wording «Digital Restrictions Management» was already sufficiently tainted so the makers of these policies are now going for something more ambiguous: DCE.

DCE is supposed to mean «Digital Customer Enablement», or even «Digital Consumer Enslavement» for those who like the pun.

The problem with this abbreviation is that those of us who work in telcos and networking know DCE as «Data Carrier Equipment». It is indeed a good question whether this ambiguity was chosen in order to confuse the term even more?

Posted by Tonnerre Lombard | Permanent link | File under: chaos, network