Archive for June 14th, 2007

The crazy post 9/11 world

A TV director was arrested a few days ago in LAX because when he was asked “what is the purpose of your visit to LA” he replied “to shoot a pilot”. While this was just an arrest snafu that might had a bit of merit, this one was not. Read and weep.

Software politics

I have trouble trusting or acknowledging greatness in individuals. Especially in the OSS world which is filled with fanatics. However, besides my scarily intelligent husband, there are some bright spots: Miguel, Havoc, Linus. Even if I don’t agree with Linus on every point (he doesn’t care much about making the kernel more Joe-User-proof in terms of backwards compatibility or better testing), he is a very smart guy.

Currently in the lkml there is a war between a Red Hat engineer/FSF evangelist who wants the kernel to move to GPLv3 and Linus explaining that for him the GPLv2 works best for what he wants to do. The Red Hat guy is an idiot, obviously, bringing the TiVo example over and again without understanding what he’s talking about. He basically endorses GPLv3’s software restrictions to achieve “open hardware” (that’s similar to change the electric current on people’s homes so they all go out and buy a new fridge). However, between the back and forth of emails, Linus said something that showed how smart he is: “The real issue is open content“.

Exactly. The GPLv3 does not take into account at all the core of the issue, which is open content. Especially as more and more apps will become web-based, there is nothing guaranteeing you that you can get back your emails, or blog posts etc from the GPLv3-based web service you signed up thinking that it’s “more free and open”. FSF doesn’t see the real issues at hand to create a modern license that is actually practical. Allowing someone to modify hardware is something that only 1 person every 1000 can achieve with his/her technical knowledge, but everyone and his dog has a blog and they can’t move that data elsewhere, or even archive. THAT’s the kind of freedom the FSF should be striving for, not a high-level utopian kind of thing of social-restructure that it’s impractical.

YouTube update

YouTube has updated their site tonight with a somewhat new user interface. While seeking problems remain, the most welcome new feature is that now you can get in and out of fullscreen mode without having to restart your video. However, don’t be fooled by the bigger video window on the new pages. You see, now the video size in windowed mode is 480×362 instead of the old size of 450×338.

Unfortunately though, they still use a 320×240 version as the source video and then they resize on the fly during playback, so in reality all you are going to get is more artifacts, not a better quality. Nevertheless, it’s amazing how you can fool your less technically inclined readers that you now feature “a bigger video window” implying that quality will be better, while it won’t. As long as YouTube still re-encodes in QVGA mode during upload, the output quality won’t be better when resizing. The only positive point about moving to 480 pixels wide is that it’s 1/2 more than the original 320 pixels (so that would be 160×3=480), and that’s a cleaner number for the Flash algorithm to work and offer better resizing quality.