25 February, 2008

We-Hey! ;D



Se her ja, Valve viser endelig interesse for Linux-plattformen! Dette lover bra ;P


http://www.hardware.no/artikler/valve_viser_interesse_for_linux/43251

Så har vi også dette med at Incomniac Games skal slippe koden for spillmotoren deres 0_o Ikke at dette er noe negativt i-og-for-seg, kan jo bety at noen snapper opp koden og utvikler neste generasjons 3D-spill ;) Har jo andre eksempler på det samme, som f.eks. når ID Games slapp "Quake III"-motoren som åpen kildekode, men man måtte ha spill-CDen for å kunne bruke motoren som Quake-motor. De utgir rett og slett rammeverket rundt spillet, ikke selve spillet.


http://www.hardware.no/artikler/deler_spill-koden/48906

Hacker/Cracker/Phraker...What's the difference?

As my interest for computers and computer networks are expanding, so is my understanding of certain words and phrases used in these environments.

I've used expressions wrong in the past, concerning computer crime, intrusion, misuse and words describing the methods, etc. I even used the word "cracker" wrong, claiming it was the new official word for a criminal hacker, which it (as explained below) isn't.

Things that really pisses me off, are the uses and abuses of the words "hacker" and "cracker". But i won't go into detailed specifics on the subject. I'm more interested as to how the expressions originated, and how they have BEEN used in the past, to the present, to better understand the heritage.

――――――

The hacker subculture spun from the "phreaking" period in the 60's, according to The Jargon File (now an online reference for computer jargon). Phreaking was basically tampering with, or finding "hacks" in public telephone systems to initiate free transmission over the Public Switched Telephone Network. John Draper realized that a toy flute from boxes of the "Cap'n'Crunch" breakfast cereal, could easily be modified to generate a 2600 Hz tone when blown, this allowed operation of AT&T's telephone lines that used SF, or Single Frequency, controls. It also gained Draper his handle "Captain Crunch". When phreaking was introduced to the masses, Bell Labs had published a technical journal, describing their MF, or Multi Frequency, control-system. This was not intended for the masses, but found it's way to various colleges anyway. Draper acquired a copy, and as a result "The Little Blue Box" was created. And following this, Esquire Magazine published "Secrets of the Little Blue Box".

Then, by the 70s, computers had become popular amongst hobbyists. Especially when the
MITS Altair saw the light of day (an early personal computer, of which Microsoft actually created the first programming language for: "Altair BASIC", which later became the base for their founding company product at the time: "Microsoft BASIC"). Since these activities were sub-cultures, or "special interests", phreaking was often associated with hacking. This led to the term "H/P culture" (H standing for hacking, and P for phreaking).

By the 80's, breaking of computer security had already been used in computer jargon. But the 80's also saw it's own form of hacking, with the microcomputer and BBS scene.

With the introduction of "free software" in the 80's (most prominently GNU), open source also saw a form of hacking. But this form of hacking was deemed as "aestethical and playful cleverness", which was also by coincidence the original meaning of the word coined by the MIT students in the 70's. A hacker in these terms, was a person who enjoys designing software and building programs, or tinkering with technology, making it do things it was not designed to do, or do the thing it was designed to do in another way or approach.

Nowadays, "hacking" is usually used in situations where the actual individual doing the "hacking" is a person focused on security-mechanisms in computers or computer networks, and the word has been heavily abused in the media, defining hackers, as "cyber criminals". What is not commonly known about hacking, is that it has two sides: White / Black, or so-called White-Hat hackers and Black-Hat hackers. Black-Hats use their knowledge to break or bypass security mechanisms with malicious criminal intent, while White-Hats use it to prevent Black-Hats from exploiting security holes. Thus showing that like all other human-related culture, it's all about HOW you use the knowledge, not IF you use it.

Wanna learn more? https://www.black-hat.com

Update 29.02.2008:

A friend of mine, who's actually a frequent gamer (WoW) and fellow computer enthusiast, claimed that a hacker, in his own words; was a person that modified software-code. And that a person trying to break a security system was a "cracker". Well, yes and no. This is the most common misconception out there today... The term "cracker" was an attempt to create a definition for criminal hackers (CR-iminal h-ACKER). Though this term IS used today, what I've seen and read using the word, describes a "cracker" as an individual that "cracks" protection mechanisms in software (mainly copy protections, password protections and the like), so, most cases I've found actually refer to software piracy. There's so much diffusion between the two expressions, that I'm actually not sure which is the right one for the specified acts. But from my understanding, "cracker" never took on as the de-facto definition for criminal hacking. At least not in the computer communities, mainly because the phrase is very frowned upon.

Update 01.03.2008:

Actually, the term "cracker" was coined by the founder of FSF: Richard Stallmann, the self-proclaimed prophet for "free software" to oppose the already-existing term "hacker", which he deems as a positive term in all regards from his experience at the MIT A.I. Lab / Computer lab where "hacker" originated back in the 70's.

Update 03.03.2008:

After further investigation in the matter, I've found another criminal definition, "Grey-Hat", referring to those with ethical and moral values, but who are more lenient towards criminal techniques, to for example get things done more effectively, faster/optimized, or generally just complete a task at hand. The different jargon definitions "Black/
Grey/White-Hat" and "cracker" were all coined by people in the computer community to distinguish these modus operandi from the (proclaimed) legally correct term "hacker", which is NOT the definition for criminal computer acts as indicated in the media and press.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hacker_definition_controversy

Conclusions about the matter seem to lean against the word hacker being a shibboleth:

[...] any language usage indicative of one's social or regional origin, or more broadly, any practice that identifies members of a group.

Meaning:
"hacker"

Should be considered a descriptive word for identifiying members of a practice-/social-group.
Update 04.03.2008:

The Hacker Manifesto:
http://www.mithral.com/~beberg/manifesto.html

A hacker definition:
http://www.mithral.com/~beberg/hacker.html



24 February, 2008

NOC: Non-Official Cover (espionage)

I was actually looking for normal operation information on a Network Operation Central (NOC). But I came across this article explaining the espionage aspect of 'NOC'. Interesting stuff.

It is reserved for the situation where agents assume covert roles in an organization without ties to the government for which they work. Such operatives are named in espionage linguo as a NOC (pronounced "knock").

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-official_cover

23 February, 2008

SpooOOooky


Morgue? Institution? Guarded prison? Containment center?

...or just a construction site outside my work office, in the dark morning hours of February? :-P hahaha, Norway can look pretty gloomy sometimes.

"...a catch 22..."

Catch-22 is a term coined by Joseph Heller in his novel Catch-22, describing a paradox in a law, regulation or practice in which one is a victim regardless of the choice one makes. Just wanted to find out where the expression "Catch 22" originated from.

I knew the basis, like in a "hopeless" situation, any choices made would generate a negative lunge on oneself.



Og på Norsk: Catch-22 er en betegnelse fremstilt av Joseph Heller i novellen "Catch-22", som beskriver et paradoks i en lov, regulasjon eller praksis hvor en blir offer uavhengig av hvilke beslutninger en tar.

Ville bare finne ut hvor uttrykket "Catch 22" kom fra. Visste egentlig at det handlet om f.eks. en "håpløs" situasjon, hvor alle alternativer ville gi et negativt utfall.

Men da jeg leste litt mer om dette, viste det seg at det finnes allerede, mange fastsatte beskrivelser for mange logiske situasjoner. Ble enda mer engasjert når jeg så uttrykket "Høna eller egget?", det fortalte en del om dette engelske uttrykket.

Vi har vel mange uttrykker om slike situasjoner i det Norske språk? Ikke vet jeg.


Det jeg ble mest interessert i var data-avsnittet om "Deadlock" (dødlås) i data-terminologi, oversatt fra engelsk:

I data vitenskap, er en deadlock (dødlås) en situasjon hvor to konkurrerende prosesser venter på en ressurs den andre har kontroll over. Hver prosess vil bare frigi ressursen den har kontroll over dersom den mottar kontroll over ressursen den venter på. Derfor, vil en ressurs bare bli tilgjengelig for en av prosessene dersom den andre frigir sin ressurs - som ingen vil gjøre, inntil den mottar kontroll over ressursen den andre har.

For eksempel, la oss si prosess A har en minneblokk, og trenger disk-aksess. Imens, har prosess B kontroll over disk-aksessen, og trenger å legge sin informasjon i minnet - spesifikt, trenger den minneblokken prosess A kontrollerer. Prosess A vil holde på minneblokken og vente på at disk-aksess blir tilgjengelig. Begge prosesser er avhengig av hverandre, og vil derfor vente på hverandre uendelig inntil datamaskinen legger merke til deadlocken, velger et deadlock-offer og tvinger offeret til å frigi ressursene sine.

Denne situasjonen blir derfor en ond sirkel og er derfor et godt eksempel på en Catch-22. Denne typen situasjon har også blitt referert til som en "deadly embrace" (dødelig omfavnelse). En deadlock er, selvfølgelig, en uønsket situasjon i et datasystem.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catch-22_(logic)

Everex "Cloudbook" running gOS ("Google Linux")

Everex Cloudbook:
gOS:

From the Everex website:

Think CloudBook

Experience the Ultimate in Mobility 9 Inches, 2 pounds, 5 hours of battery life. Surf, email, blog, IM, Skype, compute. Cloud computing makes it simple and easy for everyone.

Based on the latest gOS Rocket operating system, the ultra-mobile Everex PC comes with popular applications from Google, Mozilla, Skype, OpenOffice.org and more.

Find your $399 CloudBook at
Walmart.com and ZaReason.com.

Additional Preinstalled and Linked Software

Mozilla Firefox, gMail, Meebo, Skype, Wikipedia, GIMP, Blogger, YouTube, Xing Movie Player, RythemBox, Faqly, Facebook and OpenOffice.org 2.3 (includes WRITER, IMPRESS, DRAW, CALC, BASE)

Hardware Specifications
1.2GHz, VIA C7®-M Processor ULV, 512MB DDR2 533MHz, SDRAM, 30GB Hard Disk Drive, 7" WVGA TFT Display (800 x 480), VIA UniChrome Pro IGP Graphics, VIA High-Definition Audio, 802.11b/g, (1) 10/100 Ethernet Port, (1) DVI-I Port, (2) USB 2.0 Ports, (1) 4-in1 Media Card Reader, (1) .3MP Webcam, (1) Headphone/Line-Out Port, (1) Microphone/Line-In Port, (1) Set of Stereo Speaker, (1) Touchpad, (1) 4-Cell Lithium-Ion Battery
http://www.everex.com/

Specifications:
http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.do?product_id=8245470#Specifications

What's even more exciting about Everex, is their desktop computer featuring gOS, the "gPC".

I think "free computing" is becoming more and more attractive to a lot of users in the US. It's always been an accepted principal to use open source software in Norway, authorities are even considering "open formats" for official state documents nowadays. We've even seen groups and initiatives form as a result of open source software being more and more talked about in the media, etc.

I think this is all really encouraging.

Since I use all-Google web-apps for my daily 'webbing', this wouldn't be a bad choice, despite the extra $200 compared to the OLPC. This unit actually CAN do computer tasks, as well as basic gaming and emulation. Worth mentioning is also the 5 hour battery life expectancy, this really won my vote.

"gOS" on the web:
http://www.thinkgos.com/

gOS mezmerizes me. It is a complete platform to do basic computing, as well as development! ;) Includes desktop-shortcuts to well-known online resources and web-applications, from Google online apps, to web-based instant messaging services like meebo.com, and a lot more. Native, locally installed applications and environments include: Openoffice.org for office tasks, Enlightenment as a window manager giving the GUI a really updated and fresh look, the standardized web-suite from Mozilla; Firefox (browsing) and Thunderbird (mail), Pidgin and Skype for P2P instant messaging and the GIMP for image manipulation.

gOS provides a complete desktop environment for general use, without overloading the system with unnecessary overbloated software-packages.

gOS IS considered beta-software, but computer-manufacturers dispatching systems with gOS have all given positive feedback from customers, and the first stock at Walmart were sold out at launch and over 2000+ developers downloaded the distribution in the first 48 hours of launch. All good notions about this system. And using gOS, gives you freely available system updates, nice ;-) open source at it's best!

Allthough I'm still waiting for Acer's contribution to the Ultra Mobile-scene, this candidate has won my attention for the time being... and sporting all this hardware for under 2200 NOK, not bad at all ;P

In comparison, my Playstation 3 40GB cost almost double that.

Looks like my luck has turned ;P



Creative SoundBlaster X-Fi Xtreme Audio

Turns out my Digital I/O Module-purchase wasn't a total loss. Just caught a glimpse of an article describing the OSS driver (Open Sound System) working on some of the X-Fi series soundcards. As I went deeper into X-Fi support research, being intrigued by this news, I found that the ALSA project (Advanced Linux Sound Architecture) already had a module in-code that is supposed to support the Xtreme Audio version of the X-Fi cards, module "ca0106", the Creative developer describing the module on the open source website of Creative, had not tested the module himself. And, after reading some technical specs of the card, I realized it had an I/O port! Woohoo! Finally! Optical and coaxial SPDIF input and output! ;D

Allright, I'm aware of the fact that this card is a spin-off on the Audigy-chip, and supposedly "half-supported in ALSA, but not mentioned in ALSA support-pages". But further research into this comment revealed that the ALSA project had fixed playback bugs in their new alsa-1.0.15 branch. Despite these negative remarks, I'm going for this card, firstly because it's based on the last Audigy-chip (of which I am perfectly content with), it's not too expensive and it incorporates the Digital I/O port needed for my Digital I/O Module.

If I'd opted for the version above this card, I would have to fork out double the price just for the addition of the X-Fi chip with it's sound crystalizer and EAX Advanced HD capabilities.

As i'm using this card strictly for home cinema viewing and music purposes, I'm not really that concerned about perfect latency or near-noticable distortion reduction.

As I see it, if a source has shit quality, it will sound like shit, no matter how many DSPs (Digital Sound Processor(s)) you pass the source through. And since I'm now using optical SPDIF sources, sound distortion is a non-effect (the superb' wonderful thing about optics compared to copper wiring when it comes to audio, or maybe all transmission purposes I guess).


One thing I came to think about, is the analogue jack-connections I use to connect my VCR-equipment to my computer with, but then again, I could always run a dual-soundcard setup and just patch the stereo-ouput of the Audigy 2 SZ to the X-Fi Xtreme Audio, or maybe even setup an SPDIF bridge internally between the two cards to get complete digital resampling of all my sound-inputs ;P I love cross-connecting equipment.

http://us.creative.com/products/product.asp?category=209&subcategory=669&product=15855


22 February, 2008

20 February, 2008

*Ahem* OpenGL, anyone?

Now ain't this encouraging and interesting? ;)

Horde3D, a "next-generation graphics engine" for creating 3D-based games, seems promising. Their main focus is on a graphics engine that performs better with multiple characters in view at the same time (in "next-generation quality", highly detailed and shadowed), thus the name "Horde".

http://www.nextgen-engine.net/home.html

18 February, 2008

OpenGL/OpenAL or DirectX ?

A lot of people would probably just stare at me with a stupid look if I ever mentioned the sentence "OpenGL versus DirectX?". But for those of you out there that know what I'm talking about, comments are welcomed! ;)

I believe that putting a compatability layer on top of a complex API is a good thing. But when that layer constricts to only one platform and system, what's the point?

When designing 3D games for DirectX (3D/2D/audio compatability layer for Windows developed especially for games and multimedia applications), you program the game/application to only work under Windows, unless you use wine on Linux for example.

But if you program the 3D to work under OpenGL, you make the code cross-platform, i.e.: it works under every system that supports OpenGL APIs, and that's about every computer that has an OpenGL compliant graphics card installed. I've always admired ID Software for doing this, because when they eventually released Doom III, they just had to release a rather small client application for running the game under Linux/BSD/OS X, rather than adding yet another API layer between Windows-only software to make it work on Linux platforms.

It's the same thing with audio using
OpenAL, developed by Creative (yes, the big-time gamer soundcard manufacturer and audio-effects technology company). Same concept, only, using the native OS sound-drivers to make use of audio resources, like OpenGL utilizes embedded APIs in graphics cards to perform optimized. OpenAL even supports Windows Vista at the time of writing, so, what is holding back cross-platform development in this area?

How about an embedded audio layer API in soundcards, just like OpenGL in graphics cards? Then we can just deprecate DirectX as useless and overbloated technology alltogether, and live together i harmony? Not that I foresee this happening...

Personally, I believe if game developer companies realized the market potential of Linux gamers, they would have cashed in on this market years ago. If they don't have the programmers needed to create this kind of software, they could always have open source developers create client applications for them.

The question(s) then becomes:

  • Should game developer companies roll out the cash for this unusual programming-style in their games if already set on DirectX approaches?
  • Reverse the 3D API and audio API approach and base everything on OpenGL and OpenAL?
  • Or just continue as before, basing everything on Microsoft's proprietary API layers?
Well, I don't have any applicable answers, I'm not a game programmer. Actually I'm not that good a programmer at all, it's more of a hobby than an ambition. But I have burning desires and visions about game programming in general.

Cross-developing is not a bad thing, both commercially and ethically. It makes the games more accessible for a wider usergroup, than restricting it to a specific platform or system.

Game programming is much like application programming, if you develop code to run in a specific environment, it requires a lot of third-party support to run elsewhere.

This article covers best what I'm trying to explain here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Direct3D_vs._OpenGL

Microsoft (DirectX creator and advocate) and SGI (OpenGL creator and advocate), engaged in a so-called "API War" after both API layers were created. The result boiled down to an optimization-battle; which API out-performed the other? No questions about which API would be the best to implement for business, or which would encourage more development of computer games, no, it was simply a performance-question. Stupid...

My main basis for this post, are the questions:

"Why use DirectX, when OpenGL gives a direct API for controlling the graphics card natively through the OS?
Why go the long-run and use DirectX making the whole process jump two APIs before ending at the specified resource?"

and

"Like OpenGL, OpenAL provides an API compatability layer that controls audio-resources at lower levels for better output results just like DirectX, only, it's freely available to redistribute, AND it's developed by one of the biggest soundcard manufacturers out there.., Creative. Is this not a better solution?"

What's even more frustrating, is that both these APIs offer free developer kits for both Linux and Windows. (OpenAL even offers developer kits for Xbox 360 and MacOS! Check out developer.creative.com)

I was recently made aware that DirectX is not only used on computers running Windows OSes, it is also used in their console-systems Xbox and Xbox 360. Well-well "M$", splitting the market are we...?

I can understand the arguments "it makes development easier and faster" and "DirectX provides API functions even before the equipment incorporates it", but these are not really valid points in my book. Firstly, making things "easy & quick" ain't the same as doing it right. And providing API functions before the hardware? Please.., what the hell is the point of that?

You could argue for the use of DirectX on the basis of it implementing audio-features not available in for example OpenAL. Then again, why not put all that development effort into open source projects JUST LIKE OpenAL instead of DirectX? It's all for a common goal! To let people regardless of operating systems and platforms to enjoy the same entertainment! Is this so extremely bad for business?

In my opinion, this is exactly like the battle regarding CSS encryption on DVDs a few years back, not letting Linux users enjoy the same entertainment as the rest of consumers that OWN standalone DVD-players or DVD-ROMs with DeCSS software, forcing Linux users and developers to reverse engineer the algorithm and implement it using copyleft code.

...Instead of the movie-industry just allowing Linux users the right to use their own DVDs on their computers, they just said: "Well, that's not our responsibility, if you want to view DVDs on a computer, buy Windows..."

Can I presume a conflict of interest between the computer and entertainment industry?
*Sigh* ...ain't THIS old news...shiiit...

UMPC



Wikipedia-innslag om UMPC:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UMPC

Acer, kjent som en meget bra maskinvare produsent de siste årene, har jo de siste 3-4 årene satset mer og mer på laptop-markedet. Bra modeller til lave priser, gode testresultat og lang levetid. Fokus ser nå å ha planert litt ned i spesial-maskin markedet, altså underkategorier, mer spesifikt på UMPC-konseptet, eller: Ultra Mobile Personal Computers.

Blir morsomt og meget spennende å se hva vår nordiske PC-produsent kommer ut med her, har lurt lenge på å få meg en ultra-portabel datamaskin, så jeg tror jeg venter litt med dette innkjøpet og ser hva som kommer ut de neste kvartalene.

Linux Loop artikkel (Engelsk):
http://www.linuxloop.com/news/2008/02/15/acer-joings-the-growing-inexpensive-umpc-market/


Oppdatering 23.02.2008:

Artikkel på zdnet.com (Engelsk):
http://blogs.zdnet.com/computers/?p=116

Bluefish



Tekst redigering for programmering og markup (webdesign). Åpen kildekode prosjekt, basert på GTK2+ (utvikler-pakke for brukergrensesnitt), altså, fungerer både på Linux, Windows og OS X. Støtter mange forskjellige markup-språk (understrekede elementer er web-relaterte språk):


  • Python
  • HTML
  • PHP
  • C
  • Java
  • JavaScript
  • JSP
  • SQL
  • XML
  • Perl
  • CSS
  • ColdFusion
  • Pascal
  • R
  • Octave/MATLAB
Fler-koding av tekst-formater (UTF-8, osv.), basert på GNOME/KDE brukergrensesnitt-prinsipper for et gjennomført og gjenkjennelig utseende. Fokus på lettkjørt programvare er også prioritert, der mer kjente web-applikasjoner bruker mye minne, altså i oppstart, bruker Bluefish fra 40-45% mindre minne, og ved full sesjonsavslutning, mindre enn 33% i forhold til programmer som Quanta Plus og Screem.

17 February, 2008

SCO lives again... unfortunately.

After suing IBM and Novell for inserting their licensed, and copyrighted Unix code into Linux, SCO gained major infamy, and not only did they loose their cases, they also saw some Unix copyrights solidified under Novell as a result. Now it seems they are due for a comeback, recieving 100 billion USD from Stephen Norris Capital Partners and "its partners from the Middle East". http://www.electronista.com/articles/08/02/14/sco.receives.100.million/


Artikkel på Digi.no
http://www.digi.no/php/art.php?id=510102

12 February, 2008

Hahaha!


Format-krigen var latterlig fra dag 1, Sony gjorde det rette da de la Blu-Ray som standard for PS3 og reduserte maskinen i pris.
Faktisk er ikke ekstra tilbehør og spill så hemningsløst dyrt heller, har til og med benyttet Playstation Online Store, hvor jeg kjøpte klassiske PS-One spill for 30/45,-/stk, hele PS3-titler utviklet for PS-Store og spesielt online-gaming, for alt fra 40,- til 199,-. Jeg liker Sony ;)

Microsoft kan forsåvidt også smile siden de ikke la inn noen spesiell form for HD-spiller i sin konsoll, det må anskaffes som ekstra-utstyr.

http://www1.vg.no/teknologi/artikkel.php?artid=510739

IF---

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same:
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

--Rudyard Kipling, 1895.

Standup YouTube search-string ;D

YouTube search for Steven Wright! Man is this guy funny ^_^

Or not... ;P

10 February, 2008

Friend's studydesk



Hahaha... uhum...study?
Yeah, studydesk...*cough-cough*

Spintables, I'm jealous


Spin!-Spin!!-SPIN!!! Mayn, can't wait until I can afford a decent setup. I really enjoyed watching Christian rippin'up tunes on this ;P

09 February, 2008

A true music composer


The whole studio-setup ;] me like... Go on Tommy-Boy! ;D

08 February, 2008

...mystery...

...a man is only a mystery to himself...

--uknown source
(heard on Star Trek NG; Jean-Luc Picard remarks)

OSS...? FSF....?


Åpen kildekode, og fri programvare, forskjellene?

Innen Linux fellesskapet, er det to hovedsaklige ideologiske bevegelser:

  • "The Free Software movement", som har bidragsyteren "Free Software Foundation" (Fri Programvare bevegelsen og FSF), arbeider for å gjøre all mykvare fri for proprietære restriksjoner. Følgere av denne bevegelsen mener at disse restriksjonene ødelegger for teknologisk forbedring og jobber mot målet for fellesskapet.

  • "The Open Source movement", som har bidragsyteren OSI (Åpen kildekode bevegelsen (OSS) og OSI), som arbeider for mange av de samme idealene, tar et mer pragmatisk fremsteg for å oppnå disse. Følgere av denne bevegelsen foretrekker å basere argumentene sine på de økonomiske og tekniske merittene av å lage åpen kildekode fritt tilgjengelig, i motsetning til de moralske og etiske prinsippene som driver Fri Programvare bevegelsen.


I den andre enden av spekteret, er gruppene som ønsker å vedlikeholde strengere kontroll over mykvaren sin. Skal ikke nevne noen navn her, men alle burde egentlig assosiere ordet "Vinduer"
med en godt kjent utvikler som hører til denne gruppen.
Fri Programvare bevegelsen er ledet av "The Free Software Foundation" (Fri Programvare Stiftelsen, heretter kalt FSF), bidragsyteren til GNU-prosjektet. Fri programvare er egentlig mer en ideologi. Deres mest brukte motto er: "free as in speech, not free as in beer" (kan ikke direkte oversettes til Norsk, da ordet "free" i sammenhenger kan bety både "gratis" og "fri" på engelsk, det er her misforståelsene ofte oppstår). I essens, er fri programvare et forsøk på å garantere hvisse rettigheter for både brukere og utviklere. Disse frihetene inkluderer friheten til å kjøre programmet for en hvilken som helst grunn, til å studere og modifisere kildekoden, til å redistribuere kildekoden, og til å dele alle modifikasjoner du lager. For å garantere disse frihetene, ble GNU General Public License (GPL) opprettet. GPLen, kort fortalt, sørger for at alle som distribuerer et program under lisensen også må tilby kildekoden og retten til å modifisere den så lenge de som modifiserer koden tilbyr modifikasjonene sine, altså kildekoden, tilbake til fellesskapet. Dette garanterer at når et program først blir "åpnet" til fellesskapet, kan det ikke bli "lukket" uten medtykkelse fra hver eneste forfatter av hver eneste kodebit (til og med modifikasjonene) innen kildekoden. De fleste Linux programmer er lisensiert under GPL.

Det er viktig å notere at GPL ikke sier noe om pris. Selv om det høres merkelig ut, kan du kreve avgift på fri programvare. Den "frie" delen er i frihetene du har med kildekoden, ikke prisen du betaler for programvaren. (Men, har noen først solgt, eller gitt deg, en kompilert versjon av et program som er lisensiert under GPL, kan du kreve kildekoden på dette programmet også.)


I fronten av den yngre Åpen Kildekode bevegelsen, er organisasjonen "The Open Source Initiative" (Åpen Kildekode Initiativet), det eneste som bare eksisterer for å få støtte for åpen kildekode programvare, som betyr, programvare som har kildekoden tilgjengelig i tillegg til ferdig-kompilerte kjørbare utgaver. De tilbyr ikke en spesifisert lisens, men støtter istedenfor de forskjellige typene av åpen kildekode lisenser som er tilgjengelige. Idéen bak OSI, er å få mer firmaer/selskaper med på åpen kildekode ved å tillate dem å skrive sine egne åpne lisenser og få disse lisensene sertifisert av OSI. Mange firmaer/selskaper vil slippe kildekode, men vil nødig bruke GPLen. Siden de ikke drastisk kan forandre GPLen, blir de tilbydt muligheten til å eie sin egen lisens, og få den sertifisert av denne organisasjonen.

En annen populær lisens er BSD lisensen. I kontrast til GPL, krever ikke
BSD lisensen at kildekoden skal bli utlevert. Programvare under BSD lisensen tillater redistribusjon i enten kilde eller binær form så lenge et par vilkår innfris. Forfatternes akkreditiver kan ikke bli brukt som reklame for programmet. Dette frir også forfatterne fra ansvar for skade som kan oppstå fra bruken av disse programvarene. Mesteparten av programvaren inkludert i Slackware Linux er BSD lisensiert.


Selv om FSF og OSI arbeider for å hjelpe hverandre, er de ikke det samme. FSF bruker en spesifik lisens og tilbyr mykvare bare under denne lisensen. OSI søker støtte for alle åpne lisenser, inkludert den fra FSF. Grunnprinsippene dem i mellom, om å gjøre kildekode tilgjengelig splitter noen ganger bevegelsene, men faktumet om at to ideologisk forskjellige grupper arbeider mot det samme målet, gir tillit til begges innsats.

Digital audio I/O connection module

I've decided I'm going for a Creative® Digital I/O Module.
To complete my sound-setup with all audio-connection abilities. Mature connection-plugs let's me rid myself of the clumsy RCA-2-Jack cables lying all around as well... I just hope the soundcard processes the signals through hardware, and not software.

If it happens to be software, I may be in the dark for a while, cos' I'm running all-OSS (Open Source Software) on the machine in question. Let's just cross our fingers ;P the module only costs some £19 = approx. 205 NOK.

Read more about my audio-setup here.

Update February 13, 2008
As it turns out, it DOES pass through hardware, BUT...it doesn't work on my SB Audigy 2 ZS, mainly because what I THOUGHT was a digital I/O port, was in reality just a digital out port :( Looks like I've got to wait for the Creative X-Fi open source drivers and go for an X-Fi card. Oh Creative, why did you assemble a digital I/O port on the Value-version, and not the original?

Ah well...(ballz!)...

01 February, 2008

Home cinema setup



My Hitachi PJTX100 3-panel LCD HD-projector, which can produce from 30 to 300 inches of 720P High Def imagery ;-) I know, it's not FULL HD, but who f****n' cares, I DARE ya to find a projector that can produce that kind of quality for right under 6000 NOK = approx. 1100 USD (used, and not that bad a price, considering it's only 2 years old, well, 1 when I bought it, and it's been to service 1 time).

02.02.2008 - A little update on my setup:

Connected to the projector:
2 x computers via S-VIDEO switch
1 x Playstation TWO via component
1 x Playstation 3 via component
1 x VCR (which amplifies the TV-cable input) via SCART-2-composite

The sound-part:

I'm currently using my desktop-computer (running vanilla Slackware Linux 12.0) as a sound-hub, dispersing analogue 5.1 sound through a Creative Audigy 2 ZS (v1, NOT VALUE!)
soundcard. Best PCI-card I have EVER bought! Bargain really, considering I bought it unboxed ;P at 400 NOK = $73. It has a plethora of different audio connectors I've never seen on a card that wasn't meant for studio-production. Allthough, newer soundcards incorporate both mature Coax & Optical SPDIF's, this card presents the connection-abilities I need. It can be frustrating for a person with absolutely no experience with audio-connectors, since it requires some rather unusual RCA-2-Jack connectors for Coaxial SPDIF-input. In it's day, it was the only commercially available soundcard to sport 24Bit/96Khz audio sampling for home-users, and it has more than enough audio processing power to not even diffuse the superb' TOSLINK audio quality of my Playstation 3 (that serves as the CD-audio, DVD-audio and MP3-audio playback unit in the setup)...



...and it connects through jack-connectors to my "NOT-so-outdated" Creative Inspire 5800
speaker-set, according to a friend @ work. He told me the company takeover Creative did on speaker manufacturer "Cambridge SoundWorks" (note the "Creative" signia-logo on the site) liftet their stand on the Hi-Fi market. And surprisingly, my speaker-set incorporates some pretty decent speaker-elements ;D For a 5.1 Hi-Fi set at 800 NOK = $145. "A budget-system, but nonetheless it out-rivals other systems of same quality at higher prices!"



Also running from the soundcard, using a jack-splitter on the center/subwoofer channel, is a DIY 10" subwoofer w/monoblock amplification.

All-in-all the system setup sports the ability to decode the following surround formats using hardware codecs: Dolby Digital / Dolby Digital EX / DTS / Dolby ProLogic and Dolby ProLogic II, giving flexibility as well as superb sound quality for petty cash ;D

Connected to the soundcard:
1 x notebook via jack-2-coaxial SPDIF
1 x Playstation TWO via component-RCA
1 x Playstation 3 via TOSLINK
1 x VCR via SCART-2-RCA

RCA connects via cheap sound-switch.

And yes, I don't go to the cinemas anymore, it's just not worth the price they charge. Freedom of choice bit***s! ^_^