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Archive for August, 2007

Bird Song: The bits and pieces.

Bumped up…links to all the files you might need to mash-up Project Bird Song, our history of music/demise of DRM cartoon video-fable.

…and updated with details of the
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States Creative Commons license we are using and how it works.

You can click on the link, but we just wanted to spell it out here, not out of overblown officiality, but because it is so clean and simply written.

Everything should read this well. It begins with “You are free…”

You are free:

* to Share — to copy, distribute, display, and perform the work
* to Remix — to make derivative works

Under the following conditions:


You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work).


You may not use this work for commercial purposes.

*Share Alike.

If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under the same or similar license to this one.

* For any reuse or distribution, you must make clear to others the license terms of this work. The best way to do this is with a link to this web page.

* Any of the above conditions can be waived if you get permission from the copyright holder.

* Apart from the remix rights granted under this license, nothing in this license impairs or restricts the author’s moral rights.

Your fair use and other rights are in no way affected by the above.

This is a human-readable summary of the Legal Code (the full license).

Below you’ll find links to all of the raw audio, video, and image files you need to proceed with your mashup. Let us know if there are any other formats that might be helpful.

As for how it was made, read this.

If you need anything else, please let us know (tdoddATredhatdotcom).

Treasure Trove of Intellectual Property Video

Video Bomb – thought.thieves : Videos

It’s really a pretty amazing collection.

The ISO can be yours for the low, low price of $2,444!

Microsoft accused of ballot stuffing in standards vote

Swedish internet pioneer Patrik Falstrom has accused Microsoft of bussing in local partners to a Swedish Standards Institute (SIS) meeting on OSI ratification of OOXML. The specification is already used by Microsoft in Office 2003, 2007 and XP.

The partners had not participated in the SIS’s earlier OOXML discussions but paid their admission fee and gave OOXML a resounding 25 “yes” votes compared to six “no” votes and three abstentions. It was believed OOXML was heading to a certain defeat had Microsoft’s supporters not turned out en masse.

How to buy an ISO

To be able to vote all you need is to pay the membership fee to SIS and the total cost for this was 17.000 SEK (2444 USD). Of the 23 new companies that showed up this last minute and where the majority hasn’t shown any earlier interest, only Google has a clear agenda regarding OOXML and they are against it.

Jonas Bosson who participated in today’s meeting on behalf on FFII said that he left the meeting in protest and so did also IBM’s Swedish local representative Johan Westman.

Bird Song: The Raw Materials

Now you can help us elaborate on “Bird Song: A cartoon requiem for DRM,” our Lighthearted Cartoon Funeral March for Digital Rights Management.

Below you’ll find links to all of the raw audio, video, and image files you need to proceed with your mashup. Let us know if there are any other formats that might be helpful. All of it is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States license, the terms of which you can find here translated into a jillion languages.

Now it’s your turn to add to the story. Here are the raw music and video files:

As for how it was made, we’ll let the designers speak.

Islam Elsedoudi, art direction and design:
We mainly used Adobe After Effects and Adobe Illustrator for the animation and GarageBand for the music.

All the illustrations were drawn in Illustrator using the pen tool for the sleek drawings and the pencil tool for the sketchy drawings. We then brought them into After Effects and built “sets” in a 3D environment with a camera. We put a light source on the background to maintain realism and texture. The solid components of the piece (bird, globe, leaves, chandelier) were treated to look as if they were painted on the background.

The background texture remained consistent and unmoving, while everything else moved as it would in real space. Some of the more crude animations, such as the line rolling into the record and the bird cage falling were conventionally animated, frame by frame, using Illustrator and and a lot of screenshots.

» Read more

Windows users labeled pirates thanks to DRM

Some XP and Vista users were sent into “Reduced Functionality Mode” over the weekend when Microsoft’s Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) servers failed. WGA is Microsoft’s anti-piracy tool that forces users to validate their copies of Windows in order to receive updates. Earlier this year, ArsTechnica reported on WGA’s high rate of false positives.

Microsoft’s answer to its users after this failure? Oops. Try again in three days. (In reality, it was fixed within 12-19 hours, depending on whose report you read.)

The result of Microsoft’s anti-piracy DRM was that people who actually forked over the money for Windows were affected, while pirated copies that had disabled WGA were fine. From PC Magazine:

One aspect of the nightmare scenario should be discussed now. What kind of system is this, anyway? There should be no way that a legitimate user of a product should be suddenly cut off from use of that product because of an authentication server error, ever.

All this proves is that these Web-based applications cannot be trusted. A hacker attack on the WGA servers could shut down literally millions of machines whose users stupidly subscribed to this supposed “advantage,” which does little more than look for pirated copies of the OS. And yes, some users are not stupid but were forced to use the system. Others were hounded or tricked.

If this WGA were designed right in the first place, the computers that found the server inoperative when they checked in to it should have internal code that validates their OS until the server comes back up. Maybe it is too hard for Microsoft’s 20,000 coders to manage this sort of thing. Too logical.

All the chatter on the message boards during the outage slowly got around to the subject of switching to Linux; there is no way such a thing could ever happen to Linux users. This is not what Microsoft wants to read, especially on its own forums. One could only imagine the screeching if the WGA server had still been down on Monday.

Dance on the grave of DRM with this awesome cartoon requiem video mashup challenge.

Download this video: [Ogg Theora]

This is a prototype of a video designed to tell the story of DRM. The life and death, the rise and fall, the here today, gone-tomorrow story of DRM.

So we start with a heartbeat and a bird, and tell as much as we can. If you think there’s more to say, add to the story. We’ll be posting music tracks later, and if you need higher quality video, that can be arranged (email me for now tdoddATredhatDOTcom).

All of it – the cartoon, the music, the elements, the story, etc. is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States license, the terms of which you can find here translated into a jillion languages, so have at it.

How many nails does the DRM coffin need?

Web radio had a small triumph this week in the royalty cap agreement between the music industry’s Sound Exchange and the Digital Media Association (DiMA). The agreement doesn’t make everything sunshine and roses for the webcasters, but a war has to be won by battles.

Also of note in the agreement was the elimination of Digital Rights Management (DRM) from this part of the discussion.

On the bright side, it doesn’t appear as if DRM is part of the terms this time around. Previously, SoundExchange stated that webcasters who agree to the deal must actively “work to stop users from engaging in 'streamripping'." This began a war of words between the Digital Media Association (DiMA) and SoundExchange, with DiMA accusing SoundExchange of using rate negotiations to push mandatory DRM. SoundExchange fired back, saying that DiMA only continues to spread misinformation about its requests. Earlier this month, however, two senators warned SoundExchange not to push DRM in its negotiations.

IT Conservative

IT Conservative

Choice quote:

Of course not. Microsoft is doing exactly what the GPL has been doing — growing like a cancer and silently killing an industry. Except now it’s Microsoft that is going to kill what has become an industry of its own: open source. Microsoft’s tactic is simple: stretch the meaning of the term open source.

Open source is already a stretched term. It started out as Free Software, you know, the brainchild of King Richard. However people found it too political and, frankly, extremist. So they created something more liberal: open source.

King Richard?

“Microsoft is doing exactly what the GPL has been doing — growing like a cancer and silently killing an industry.” ?!?!

Awesome. This is the best satire site I’ve seen. IT Conservative (Free software is for poor people!) is way more funny and informed than Dan Lyons.

Unless it isn’t satire, in which case King Richard has a worthy foe


Someone else smells the humor.

OOXML tastes the bitter sting of more failure. Washes it down with a steaming cup of rejection.

OOXML Approval Vote Fails in INCITS | Open Document

As I reported on July 23, INCITS, the US balloting body on the OOXML vote, put out a ballot to see whether the US should vote to approve OOXML, with the ballot to close on August 9. That ballot has now closed on schedule, and there is a public link that shows the vote – which failed, with 8 in favor, 7 opposed, and one abstaining. As I noted previously, a vote of 9 in favor would have been required for passage. That number is a simple majority of the 16 INCITS Executive Board members that have voting privileges on this ballot (in fact, the Board has 18 members, but due to attendance rules, only 16 of the 18 had voting priviliges on this ballot).

There is a second leg of the vote, which also failed: out of the total number responding (in this case, all 16), the abstentions (one) are subtracted, yielding a number (fifteen) of which two-thirds (in this case ten) would need to be in the affirmative.

We have a saying around here…

UPDATE: Much more detail at The Standards Blog.

Bug fix scorecard

The score is Linux: lots, Microsoft: zero

A Microsoft vulnerability report suggests that Microsoft wasn’t able to fix more Windows flaws than the number of open software flaws fixed by the major open source companies. Red Hat, having forty times less employees than Microsoft, did the best job, by fixing and closing the most security bugs, also closing even minor bugs – where Microsoft didn’t even fix one minor bug in the same period.

Read the vulnerability report.

vulnerability chart

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