What should we give the Tuxmasters?

What should we give the Tuxmasters?

Summary: An interesting press release came in from the folks at Clarkson University today. (Go Golden Knights.

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TOPICS: Open Source
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Clarkson logoAn interesting press release came in from the folks at Clarkson University today. (Go Golden Knights.)

It celebrated the victory of grad students Todd M. DeShane and Patricia A. Jablonski in the second TuxMasters competition, sponsored by Unisys and the OSDL. Another Clarkson team finished second.

The winning entry was a database project, a system for learning from searches of large databases to make each subsequent search faster based on the results of previous queries. It's useful stuff.

But what really intrigued me was the prize list, which included a Sony Playstation and an iPod.

There was an unintentioned lesson here, a reminder that, because Digital Rights Management requires proprietary code, Linux and open source are being locked-out of the content arena. There is no Linux equivalent to the iPod or Playstation, nor is there likely to be.

I think that's a lesson we should not forget, and need to deal with.  

Topic: Open Source

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14 comments
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  • Definitions

    [i]There is no Linux equivalent to the iPod or Playstation, nor is there likely to be.[/i]

    Since the Playstation runs Linux, I'm not altogether clear on what you mean here.

    Likewise, Nokia is planning to use Linux as the core OS for its convergence devices (whether you call them cell phones or something else isn't clear.)

    Please clarify.
    Yagotta B. Kidding
    • No OSS games for PS

      The PS2 is DRMed, there's no way to play something non-SONY approved on an unmodified PS2.
      rpmyers1
    • Well...

      [i]Likewise, Nokia is planning to use Linux as the core OS for its convergence devices (whether you call them cell phones or something else isn't clear.)
      [/i]

      That if [b]and only if[/b] Cisco Systems doesn't buy out or merge with the Finish company.

      [i]Since the Playstation runs Linux, I'm not altogether clear on what you mean here.[/i]

      True, but I think that this part of the comments: [i]"There was an unintentioned lesson here, a reminder that, because Digital Rights Management requires proprietary code, Linux and open source are being locked-out of the content arena."[/i] Holds very true. Linux (and other Open Source alternatives) are being [b]deliberately[/b] left out of the DRM and consumer "mainstream", having the side effect of alienating it even more.

      I don't mean that I hope to see PPRacer (AKA TuxRacer), Chromium, Torcs, BZFlag, NetHack, etc ported over to the Playstation or available in a Playstation DVD-disk or anything, as you say, the Playstation already runs Linux (and IIRC Sony offered a Linux-pack).

      However I would like Apple computer to at the very least port their iTunes software to manage [b]their[/b] iPods in Linux computers. Yes, we do have OSS alternatives to write and retrieve songs from an iPod, but being realistic, no-one has come close to the functionality and quality of the iTunes software. C'mon! Apple is in this for buisiness, right? and there are enough geeks out there who I'm pretty sure own or would liike to own an iPod, I've got plenty ideas on how could they implement it (if they would like to). Bottom line is that media companies are alienating FOSS and even though the community has stood up and fought in the past to bring them to Linux/BSD, for how long will the community be able to bring these technologies to FOSS platforms, when ever tightet controls are being developed and implemented, even at hardware level to "prevent piracy" (and alienate other platforms). Sometimes this looks like a great conspiracy theory to leave Linux/BSD out of the Desktop arena.

      My 2?
      thetargos
      • Lest we forget

        OSX is a BSD based os, I would imagine that at least for the IPOD software someone out there has gotten it to work on other linux variants, or will as soon as OSX on Intel is released.
        jfp
      • I dunno

        I find GTKpod infinitely more appealling than iTunes, with ease of use and functionality. The only thing I cant do is update the firmware.
        I've had issue where iTunes would whack the itunesDB on the iPod and GTKpod can read it fine. I dont know if thats from going back and forth between windows and linux. but GTKpod has never screwed me over like iTunes.
        icorson1
  • Actually, isn't TiVo run on Linux?

    That would be a nice prize.
    ordaj@...
  • DRM & Proprietary code

    [i]because Digital Rights Management requires proprietary code[/i]

    Strictly speaking, no. The [b]code[/b] for DRM can be open, as long as the [b]secret keys[/b] aren't. It's the usual security-through-obscurity argument, and there's nothing wrong with OpenSSH or GnuPG in that regard.

    For platforms like the PlayStation this really isn't an obstacle because the bootloader can verify that the code image has been signed "correctly" without regard to who has access to the source; the GPL is no obstacle to code-signing or we'd have heard about it regarding Red Hat's signed RPMs.

    The iPOD goes one step beyond that in that the hardware isn't even designed to support general computing, so locking it down is even easier.

    I have reason to believe that quite a few consumer-products companies are basing their DRMed product lines on embedded Linux, and in at least one instance have cleared the whole "open code vs. closed keys" issue through Legal.
    Yagotta B. Kidding
    • Not entirely accurate

      DRM can not be OSS, since the key has to be public too. How else are you going to play it? A custom player can easily stream the content in an unecrypted manner.

      Cryptography can be OSS with no problems, since you can keep the keys secret there. The problem with DRM is that the authorized person and the attacker are one and the same. That is not true in conventional cryptography.
      rpmyers1
  • How about a voodoo doll of Bill Gates? j/k

    [i]Linux and open source are being locked-out of the content arena.[/i]
    OSS locked themselves out of the content arena. No viable business model. Why would companies go through all the hassle of trying to support 536 different variants (distros) of Linux?

    [i]There is no Linux equivalent to the iPod or Playstation, nor is there likely to be.[/i]

    iPod was researched, developed, manufactured and marketed by Apple. This costs a whole lot of money. Apple have (quite rightly) locked down their hardware to protect their investment.
    Sony's Playstation originated as a joint venture between Nintendo and Sony, and collapsed due to Nintendo doing the dirty on Sony and collabarating with Philips at the last minute. Both the SNES and Playstation are bereft with propriatory technology, but has this harmed the development of the Sony or Nintendo's offerings to the current market place?

    It's time the OSS community started to understand that the reason that Linux / OSS has no place in these markets is because they have no right to be there. If Apple do not want to support the OSS community with iPod compatible software, then that is their choice. IMHO they may feel that, with OS/X being *nix based, they want to drive OS/X as one of the leading *nix based OS's. iPod compatibility is a very effective "dangled carrot" sales incentive that they would not want to "give away".

    ..and this is what really irritates me about the OSS community. Instead of bleating "Huh, not fair. Let us jump on your bandwagon", why not come up with something unique to OSS / Linux, in effect come up with your own "dangled carrot".
    There is nothing stopping a major distro of Linux teaming up with a manufacturer like Creative, to provide a similar service to iPod/iTunes. Why hasn't this been done?

    Maybe the future Tuxmasters will be listening to their music on OpenTunes!
    Scrat
    • No content?

      <i>OSS locked themselves out of the content arena</i>

      They have? Check out Magnatunes.

      There's also books available via the Creative Commons (Lessig's work, Wil Wheaton's)
      rpmyers1
      • and the other thing that irritates me is...

        ...when people release things that the public DOESN'T want, and then moan when it fails.

        I checked out Magnatunes, and iTunes it ain't!

        NOW do you understand why there will never be a Linux / OSS iPod or Playstation?
        Scrat
        • So where do you start?

          Things don't leap into existence fully formed, especially without studio support.
          rpmyers1
  • MS and Apple

    two issues comes to my mind:
    1- the authors seems they had adopted th MS glasses. The fact is that MP3, the big success story in sound distribution, is free and open to anybody to use it. This very fact is what is bringing down the traditional labels and their business model.

    All this DMR'ing is just a contraofensive move to stop the instoppable: there is NO WAY JOE AVERAGE WILL GIVE UP is sacred right to duplicate/distribute wathever he wants.

    So free media/devices will continue to proliferate because that what people wants. They are trying to portray this as a criminal activity, the fact it is not; and because this has been a popular practice for the last 50 years I dont see how they will convince anybody to stop doing it.


    Second, I believe the minute Apple makes Itunes available for Linux, the same moment MS will stop office/mac development; and this is a very interesting issue, because, for the first time in history, Apple is in position to hurt MS big time, and survive retaliations.
    theo_durcan
    • MP3 is not open

      It is patented and requires a license fee.
      rpmyers1