Busy Week or Two Ahead

I’m going to be rather involved with school, so I’m not sure I’ll be posting to much, or accomplishing to much in the next week or two. Apparently I have Thursday off, so that should make a 4 day weekend, and make my life much easier. So hopefully I can gain the upper hand by Thursday and put myself in a more relaxing situation…. we can hope right?

Or perhaps Monday and Wednesday I’ll have really productive afternoons and get lots of work done with minimal effort…. that would be great.

I will of course be online for the Firefox launch as much as I can 😀 I’ve got a few classes, but I’ll be checking in throughout the day to see what the estimated download count is… and to share in some of the IRC fun that will follow.


Fun With Wordage 3.0 {Beta}

Last night I shut down this blog for almost 24hrs. It’s now open, but not fully restored. It will take me a while to put everything back, finish cleaning up, and debugging. There are known issues (I’ll talk about those and how you can help in a moment).

I’m no longer using MovableType. Instead I choose to go with WordPress. I choose it for several reasons (in no particular order):

  • Licensing (GPL) – Is very friendly and open source. I’m an open source kind of guy. So that makes me feel good.
  • Good HTML validation – Unlike MovableType, it doesn’t seem to want to put tags everywhere mangling the html. It’s very smart. I don’t need to do stuff like make posts all 1 line to get it to stop messing up my code.
  • Compatible – I’m was able to import everything with no real trouble.
  • Feature Packed – look at the comparison
  • Spam Prevention – I find it easier to hack with WordPress than MovableType. So I can put some good anti-spam solutions in place. Rather than wait for plugins to evolve. This isn’t an insult towards Jay Allen. I’ve said more than once his mt-blacklist saved this blog. I just don’t think it’s the best solution. Nor do I like being so reliant on others. His list goes down for a day and the spammers get the upper hand. I don’t like moderating all comments either.
  • Speed – fast UI. Database driven, no rebuilds. Very nice.
  • Learning – I plan to use WordPress a bit professionally, so getting acquainted with a blog is a perfect first step.

MovableType is good, and still is by far the most popular. It’s also the best choice for someone running a large install. If you have an organization for example, MovableType is bar far the best solution (as of this posting date). But for a geeky individual like me who likes to tinker, and likes features and open source, WordPress is better. I found WordPress to be more innovative and open. It’s administrative features are better. Though MovableType has a slightly nicer skin. The PHP based templates are far superior to those proprietary tags.

Overall, I’m pretty happy so far. Some new features already are in place, and more will be coming.

New Features

  • Smilies for your comments. As well as select html tags.
  • You should be able to view this site fairly well on a PDA or cell phone now.
  • RSS feeds galore. Including for comments on a specific post.
  • Lower Page Size. Should be much faster for my 56k friends.
  • Highlighting text on search.
  • Much more!

And more is on the way.

Known Issues

  • Images in some posts overextend the div (anyone know why?)
  • Some feeds still broke
  • Some toys on the left hand column are missing
  • Spam Prevention stuff is considered ‘beta’. Checking out how well it works.
  • Contact form hasn’t been brought into new system.


Well, I know this is a sensitive topic, but I’m going to blog about it anyway. The usual rules on comments (no flames, no fires, no matches, no gasoline or other flammable words) apply. If your smart, you won’t dare violate that warning. I’m tired and it’s late, so pardon the usual fragmented thoughts. With that said….

There is now talk about an EULA (End User License Agreement) for Firefox. Currently there is only a stricken (not going to be used) copy of the EULA posted. A new final version is still in the works. For the sake of this post, I’ll be looking briefly at the last publicly known proposal, and the bug itself. Sources to all quotes in this post are from the mentioned bug, and it’s attachment(s).

First Benjamin Smedberg makes a very valid point that everyone should be aware of:

——- Additional Comment #52 From Benjamin Smedberg 2004-10-28 09:52 PDT [reply] ——-
Juha: Your statement is not correct. Mozilla code is licensed under the MPL, LGPL, *or* MPL. The MPL is specifically a source-level license and redistributors may release binaries under whatever license they choose. But without an license attachment approved by mitchell, this whole discussion is moot.

Though this doesn’t mean there aren’t consequences… There are many different EULA’s. Some much more friendly than others. The following is from an (-) invalid EULA. One that shows how evil they really can be:

4. RESTRICTIONS. Except as otherwise expressly permitted in this Agreement, or in another Licensor agreement to which Licensee is a party, Licensee may not: (i) modify or create any derivative works of the Product or documentation, including customization, translation or localization; (ii) decompile, disassemble, reverse engineer, or otherwise attempt to derive the source code for the Product (except to the extent applicable laws specifically prohibit such restriction, or the underlying ideas or algorithms of the Product; (iii) redistribute, encumber, sell, rent, lease, sublicense, or otherwise transfer rights to the Product; (iv) remove or alter any trademark, logo, copyright or other proprietary notices, legends, symbols or labels in the Product;(v) use the Product in any way that violates any Terms of Service or Privacy Policy that apply to Licensee or any laws; (vi) authorize or assist any third party to do any of the things described in this paragraph.

Now as a non-profit, open source operation, this would be rather counter-productive. If this statement were in the EULA, it would effectively make Firefox proprietary, and based on open source code. Rather than an open source product. A true open source product is one that’s distributed in a manner that encourages further open source development. I know a line along these lines would make me pretty hesitant to contribute. Taken literally, unzipping a .jar file and hacking away at the chrome to fix a bug, or customize it would be a violation. Now I’ll be honest. That’s how I like to hack on Firefox myself. I then normally back-port to my cvsroot. I find it easier to work on the nightly build itself. Just zip and restart the browser. But under these terms, that would qualify as an “attempt to derive the source code for the Product”. Of course you can argue, it’s only meaningful if MoFo decides to go after me for legal action. But that’s actually not true. Say I work for Acme Corp. They want me to help them deploy Firefox in the office. When IT is testing they find a few little UI quirks that the boss doesn’t like. He doesn’t want 3,000 computers to have this silly bug. So he wants me to quickly deal with it. Now because I’m working on the clock for the company, I’m now subject to this regardless of what MoFo says. As long as the license exists, I’m responsible, and my employer could discipline me for violations. Even if it’s fixing a simple UI quirk. That simple method of fixing the bug can’t happen in the workplace regardless of what MoFo says. Acme Corp Legal says we have to go the long way… or I can be fired.

On the PR side, this also has serious impacts. Firefox to date has been marked as an “open source browser”, not “based on open source software”. There’s going to be the potential for some backlash if such a license is implemented.

My final statement is rather simple: limit the EULA to trademark and liability talk.

5. LICENSEE’S RESPONSIBILITY. Licensee may not use the Product while driving, operating hazardous equipment, or engaging in other forms of hazardous activities. Licensee may use the Product for lawful purposes only. Licensee hereby agrees to indemnify and hold harmless Licensor for losses incurred by Licensor or another party due to someone else using Licensee’s accounts or passwords as a result of Licensee’s failure to use reasonable care to keep such information confidential or as a result of Licensee’s failure to use reasonable care while using the Product.

This makes sense, and is understandable to include. So does the trademark stuff. I’d personally like to see a bit more about privacy, and “phoning home” some that concerns many people these days. Talkback, reporter, and update all fall into this category. I’d suggest attacking this earlier than later.

20. HIGH RISK ACTIVITIES. The Product is not fault-tolerant and is not designed, manufactured or intended for use in environments in which its failure could lead directly to death, personal injury, or severe physical or environmental damage, such as in the operation of nuclear facilities, aircraft navigation or communication systems, air traffic control, direct life support machines, or weapons systems (“High Risk Activities”). ACCORDINGLY, LICENSOR AND ITS LICENSORS AND OTHER SUPPLIERS SPECIFICALLY DISCLAIM ANY EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTY OF FITNESS FOR HIGH RISK ACTIVITIES. LICENSEE AGREES THAT THE MOZILLA GROUP WILL NOT BE LIABLE FOR ANY CLAIMS OR DAMAGES ARISING FROM THE USE OF THE PRODUCT IN SUCH APPLICATIONS.

Well, I guess this wouldn’t be moving from Mozilla to Firefox. 😀

Just to simplify: EULA should be used to protect ones ass, rather than to limit another’s ass. Limit liability and trademark issues. Not prevent people from hacking, modifying, learning, and having good geeky fun.

Also should be noted that Firefox may contain proprietary products that can’t be treated as Firefox can (like talkback).

This post is distributed under GPL. You can repost, quote, discuss more, ping, comment, whatever. I am not a lawyer. No legal advice was given in this post. You should consult a lawyer before coding, eating, or breathing.

In The News

Careful with those filenames

Anyone who works in the IT field should definitely read this article, and see how easy it can be to get fired. Make sure those file names begin with love, and end with love and a file extension. Also watch those comments in your code.


Yahoo Homepage on the day after the Election

Yahoo HomepageWell, if this doesn’t show the power of Firefox, nothing ever will. That’s right. Hours after the president announces he won the election, a nice “switch” style article right on the Yahoo homepage. It links to the syndicated feed of this PC World Article (link to PC World Article, because Yahoo links tend to break).

The article spends a bit of time on Firefox, which is great. What’s really great is this positioning. A day of elevated news coverage, and a browser article made the elite Yahoo Homepage News feed. That’s a big gain for Firefox.

On an odd note, the only direct link to something mentioned in the article is a link to IE Developers blog. Not a link to or, or

So the good press is coming along!

IMHO this is the biggest press event so far. It’s really the biggest article oriented at mainstream internet users. It’s not on Wired, Slashdot, CNet. It’s right on the Yahoo home page. So non-geeks can read.

This is big… and it’s only getting bigger.


Jay Allen takes a break and the Internet Chokes

Jay Allen takes a break, and myself, and many others are being pounded by spammers. His last update seems to have been 2004-10-30 16:18:38+01:00. Since then, it’s been a nightmare. At least 50 since I went to bed last night (at 2:00 AM). Now at 10:00 (no morning classes, so I slept in until 9:00), I’m cleaning up from a few hours sleep.

There’s got to be a real solution to comment spam.

I’m still considering switching to WordPress since I know PHP rather well, and use a nice CAPTCHA system to protect the blog.


What about non-voter rights

Since when has the rights of the non-voters in the US gone down the toilet? Btw, we statistically represent the majority of US Citizens living within the 50 states. The people who realize that “elections” are really pretty bogus, and meaningless. Not to mention a waste of time, money, and effort. They cost millions to run, and result in millions and millions in lost productivity on Nov 2. Despite the fact that they are completely worthless.

I hate politics. If politicians want to do something useful: outlaw politics.


3 Projects

I’ve got 3 ongoing projects at the moment consuming my time. Yes they are rather intensive projects….

not to mention I have school 😉

When they break, it will be big.

So this blog will be somewhat more quiet over the next few weeks.