The Linux Mark Institute, now part of OSDL it seems, is attempting to
charge organisations which use Linux in their name - even non-profits
I think we should resist this move on principle. It may only be US
$200 per year at the moment for a non-profit, but I don't think it's
really in the spirit of free software to go round mugging people for
money like this. I thought the name Linux was trademarked to prevent
it from abuse.
> I continue to get requests to purchase RBX1600 but have not figured
> out what to do about the inquiries.
> Some random thoughts in no particular order:
> - Seed a development community with free RBX1600's.
> - Sell RBX1600 at steep (50% below actual costs) as audio
> development systems with limited or no support.
A third option could be to sell them at cost (why should you lose
out?) as part of an open source project for pro-quality media
servers. That way the software stack could continue to be developed,
even if the RBX1600 hardware isn't in production.
The software could then run on other embedded hardware, or even a
recycled PC, although I appreciate that the CD jukebox control
hardware is probably specialised. Is there an equivalent interface on
a PCI card or perhipheral? I don't know of a low-cost way to provide
multiple optical inputs either, but I suspect as the cost of storage
continues to fall, RAID arrays will take the place of CD jukeboxes.
There are other projects working on media servers and broadcast
automation which you could augment, for example:
> The current RBX1600 software stack is dependent on a Linux port
> from MontaVista and a propertary JVM from IBM. I no longer have
> access to updates from MontaVista. I do have rights to some 900+
> IBM licenses but this is not an open source solution.
You might like to consider embedded Debian as an alternative:
> I thought maybe there is still something going on with the RBX
> I own one and still use it - I would be delighted to see the ball
> rolling a little bit further with the RBX 1600, do you have any
I'm afraid not, I only know what's on the website. In the absence of
any further developments from the company, what I suggest is that you
put together your own web page for RBX 1600 owners, find a free
software project that is working on similar media jukebox systems, or
maybe start your own.
That way you can collect and archive source code for and information
on these devices before streetfiresound.com disappears off the
internet. At the very least it would be a good idea to take a backup
of that site with wget -r or similar.
> Glad to have this opportunity to go into more detail with you.
Yes, I do think there are some points which need to be clarified.
> I'm not going to take things in any particular order here, but
> would like to begin with the discussion of the Sourceforge
> DVD-Audio software. I stated that this is based on reverse
> engineering of commercial discs, and would like to quote from the
> project overview:
> */These pages contain a description of the contents of the AUDIO_TS
> directory on a DVD-Audio disk. The official specifications are not
> publically available and no reference has been made to them during
> the writing of this documentation. All information has been gained
> from the examination of the content of DVD-Audio disks produced by
> commercial authoring software.
> /*IE, back engineered.
I agree there has been some reverse engineering done on DVD-A - it's a
common enough practice in all kinds of software development, not just
free software. My point was that as this particular code does not
support MLP, it is no use for people who want to infringe copyright
by transcoding commercial DVD-A discs.
> The reason MLP is not supported, not breach of watermarking, is
> purely because this will be very expensive to develop, and cannot
> be done without specs. You certainly cannot do this from back
> engineering commercial titles.
All kinds of copy protection and encoding schemes have been
compromised by reverse engineering - if they hadn't, there wouldn't
have been any need for laws against it. Turing reverse engineered the
Enigma code, so the practice is as old as computers themselves.
> In addition, this can never, ever produce anything that is DVD-A
> compliant. It cannot, as the spec books have not been consulted.
On the contrary, I could point you towards several successful examples
from the world of software. The Samba file/print server does the job
so well that Microsoft engineers study it to find out how SMB works.
> As to the illegality of this, I do not know what country you are
> writing from.
It's the UK. I live on the Isle of Wight.
> Here in the UK this is a criminal offence under the
> 2003 review of the Copyright & Related rights regulations - an
> amendment of the original Copyright, Designs & Patents act of 1988,
> which was itself updated in 1996. The 2003 amendments have now made
> criminal offences of reverse engineering of systems that have any
> copy protection schemes applied at all.
Does that even apply if you don't reverse engineer the copy protection
> It is even an offence to
> own equipment capable of circumventing copy protection schemes.
I confess, I bought a region-free DVD-A player from Amazon. I think
the police are a little too busy to arrest me right now though.
> it is still a criminal
> offence in the UK to illegally copy software.
Agreed, but as I pointed out, it's not the same crime as theft.
However, I wasn't advocating copyright infringement - you seem to
have missed that I was talking about software which I am allowed to
copy and distribute under licence. These are free software licences,
such as the GNU GPL.
> As for the rest of it, I won't go near open source - no support, no
> guarantees, no comebacks.
You are already near it. The Sound on Sound website runs on it, as do
many others, including Google. It's quite likely to be in your next
phone. It's in the Korg Oasys and the Hartmann Neuron.
If you want support, ask IBM or any other major IT firm and they will
provide it. As for guarantees or comebacks, I think you'd be very
lucky to get more than the purchase price out of a proprietary
software firm, if that. Has anyone you know sued Microsoft and won?
> > I would like to write this as a direct response to your letter in
> > the SOS issue of August 2005, as it seems to me you have got some
> > serious issues badly wrong.
It does appear we disagree on some points.
> > You quote the open source folks - let me point you directly at
> > the open source project dealing with DVD-Audio - based around
> > reverse engineered commercial discs by the authors own admission.
Do you mean http://dvd-audio.sourceforge.net/ ? That site explicitly
says that the code does not support Meridian Lossless Packing used in
> > This is illegal - it is a criminal offence to do that.
If you could point me towards the law that says that, I'd appreciate
it. I understood that reverse engineering for the purposes of making
systems compatible was legal in many countries, but not in the USA if
it circumvents a copy-protection mechanism.
> > And the argument that software is not property in the same sense
> > as house contents is also either naive or stupid.
If you can invent a physical property replicator, you could make a
fortune on eBay. Maybe someone has, and they're keeping it quiet for
this very reason.
> > Just because it is technically possible to burn an illegal copy
> > still does not make it either right or desirable to do so
Please note that I was talking about free software. It's explicitly
legal to burn a copy.
> > it is still theft, according to the terms of laws in the UK.
No, it's not. Even if it's proprietary software, it's copyright
infringement - different law. Free software also depends on copyright
to enforce its licensing terms, so I'm not knocking the validity or
usefulness of copyright.
> > It
> > is absolute twaddle to suggest that, say, Steinberg would rather
> > you use a stolen copy of Nuendo as opposed to a legal copy of
> > Logic.
Do you have any evidence for this statement, or have you done any
research? You might like to read Selective Enforcement of Copyright
as an Optimal Monopolistic Behavior:
> > And the closing arguments made about the cost of Nuendo being
> > extortionate? I think not.
I didn't say it was extortionate, I meant that if people pay that much
for a single copy of an application they might expect to get bugfix
updates included in the price. That's just good customer service.
> > When you consider that out of the box you get full AES31, OMF and
> > AAF import/export included for the cost, where if you use digi PT
> > LE that same functionality will cost you another £575 for the
> > Digi Toolkit (you don't even get timecode as standard with PT
> > LE), plus yet a further £285 for DigiTranslator, making a total
> > of £860 just for OMF and AAF support alone.
I didn't say ProTools was better value. I wasn't making a comparison
between different proprietary applications.
> > As for the "known
> > bugs" dig, I also suggest that you go read the comments on any
> > forum about any software and it's failings.
No need, I know that software has bugs - that's one of the points I
> > And as a regular in the Nuendo forums, I am constantly
> > amazed by just how many people use stolen copies and then have
> > the brass neck to try & claim bugs when the odds are very high it
> > is the stolen copy that is faulty.
I'm not defending people who infringe copyright, quite the opposite. I
would rather people used free software than infringe copyright.
> > I can give many examples of
> > this with the current Nuendo. Yes, there are issues. And yes,
> > they do get fixed. But with more like you in the world, it will
> > take a lot longer.
Oh please! I'm not even a Nuendo user.
> > And Audio apps are not the only ones either. I also moderate at
> > another well known companies forums, and yet again we see on a
> > daily basis the users of stolen versions pissing and moaning
> > about a repeatable bug that existed only in the pre release
> > versions. Ask then for their build number, and like the fools
> > they are they give it - and we can instantly spot the stolen beta
> > copy.
I'm sure that happens a lot, but it never happens to me. I use Linux
and free software for nearly everything. I do have a copy of Adobe
Reader, but I downloaded that from Adobe's own site.
> > You state you won't "just lend your guitar to anyone" in one
> > sentence, and in the next deny software companies the same right.
I'm not denying anyone anything, and in fact I would like to see
proprietary software companies make it difficult to copy their
software - reintroducing hardware dongles, for instance. Their
userbase would probably drop to a tiny fraction of what it is now.
> > Our industry needs thieves like it needs an extra hole in the
> > head.
We agree on that. There's more than one kind of rip-off though.
> > I wonder how much stolen software is installed to your
> > system??
None at all. I don't even have a copy of Windows, so I'm not sure how
I could run it even if I had it. Would you like a package list from