May 31, 2003

Video Art

The logical conclusion of MTV’s affect on music — a song that makes no sense out of the context of its video (N.B.: audio is not work-safe). Really rather amusing, and Sheareresque in its use of backhaul satellite footage. From Abby.

May 30, 2003

Cremaster as video game analog

Game Girl Advance has this rather remarkable essay by Wayne Bremser (creator of the wonderful comparing Matthew Barney’s Cremaster 3 (also mentioned here) to Donkey Kong. Richard Serra, in this analysis, is King Kong. While this sounds rather silly, and I have a feeling the essay is written at least with tongue near cheek, his point is a good one: Cremaster 3, like the Masonic quest narrative that underlies it, is structured like a classic side-scroller video game. It has climbing and jumping, the collection of objects that are required later in the game, various interesting monsters to avoid, and one big monster at the top. Moreover, it might be at least as effective as an interactive video game experience as it is in its current film form. Cool.

May 28, 2003

*growling noises*

My linux box was hacked, allowing whoever did it to run some perl script ( which ate all of my CPU and bandwidth (undoubtedly for some nefarious purpose) until I noticed. Fuckers. Happily, the process was running as www-data, so I’m probably not rooted. My apache installation, I admit, was not as secure as it could have been. Really rather annoying. So, my photos, which were served from that box, will be down until further notice, since the easiest thing to do is to just not run apache at all, and put them on a real server someplace when I get a chance.

UPDATE, 31 May 2003: I finally got around to looking through my Apache logs from the attack: – - [28/May/2003:02:22:24 -0500] “GET /errors/configmode.php?GALLERY_BASEDIR= HTTP/1.0″ 200 289 “-” “Mozilla 5.0 [en-US]“

It looks pretty certain that a security hole in the photo album script I use, Gallery, was exploited to turn my box into a drone in a distributed denial-of-service attack. Yup, I failed to install a released security patch and got bitten in the ass. Two geek demerit points.

Incidentally, the host that contacted me is itself a cracked box, indicating that it was “hacked by redmax” and sporting this lovely message.


The SCO Plot Thickens Further

So, now it appears that SCO doesn’t own the UNIX intellectual property after all. I’d thought they’d bought it from Novell, but this press release from Novell indicates that Novell still owns all of it, and that while SCO has rights to sublicense the code, it has no standing to bring a copyright or patent infringement claim against anyone. This seemingly hastily written response from SCO tips their hand a bit and weakens some of their FUD. All they’re able to do is take action against those in privity of contract with SCO, not Linux vendors or Linux customers in general. If everything SCO claims is true, which is doubtful, only IBM and other holders of UNIX-vendor licenses from SCO appear to be in danger of legal action. Everyone else — me, you, the Debian project, Red Hat — is in the clear.

I had sort of wondered, if their case was so strong, why they were proceeding on breach of contract and trade secret grounds instead of patents and copyrights. This takes care of that nicely; they don’t have any exclusive copyright or patent rights in UNIX at all.

May 25, 2003

Cringely on SCO

Cringely’s column this week is on the SCO debacle. I think the idea may be to keep this in litigation, and thus keep the legality of Linux “uncertain”, for long enough to keep Linux from completely taking over the corporate server marketplace. Of course, once it comes out that (as I suspect) Microsoft paid SCO to commit corporate seppuku, the damage will be done, and the Fortune 500 will be running Windows Server 2005. And the Ashcroft justice department will turn a blind eye.


Take a look at this post on ESR‘s blog. As should have been obvious, Terry Pratchett has the hacker nature.

May 24, 2003

Printing Geekery

This blog post amused the print-geek side of me.

May 23, 2003


Best comment yet on the SCO v. IBM fiasco, in which SCO has refused to tell anyone precisely what code is alleged to be infringing, said by Linus Torvalds:

“SCO is playing it like the Raelians, saying, ‘We’ll show you proof in a few weeks, through an expert panel that we trust.’ Let’s see if there is any baby or not.”

I have my doubts about the strength of SCO’s case. It would be rather unlike IBM to have failed to wall off the programmers touching the Unixware source from the programmers touching the Linux source, and my limited knowledge of trade secret law leads me to think that SCO may have messed up their trade secret claim by releasing the “ancient UNIX” System V source for free on the Internet, no NDA required. (For instance, I’m an SCO licensee for the System V source. And no, I’ve never hacked on the Linux kernel.) So perhaps this will all go away. Or perhaps IBM will buy SCO. At least Microsoft hasn’t bought SCO yet; that could lead to armageddon. Then again, Microsoft and SCO’s attorney David Boies haven’t gotten along so well in the past, and he’s probably advising SCO to avoid being bought by Microsoft because the FTC would have a fit, complicating matters further.

May 22, 2003


It’s finally happened: I’m the only one in the law library right now. It’s sort of a nice feeling.


William Gibson has posted his talk at the Director’s Guild of America Digital Day. I think he’s spot-on throughout, but especially here, where he makes the clearest statement I’ve seen of a very important idea:

Some futurists, looking at the individual musician’s role in the realm of the digital, have suggested that we are in fact heading for a new version of the previous situation, one in which patronage (likely corporate, and non-profit) will eventually become a musician’s only potential ticket to relative fame and wealth. The window, then, in which one could become the Beatles, occupy that sort of market position, is seen to have been technologically determined. And technologically finite. The means of production, reproduction and distribution of recorded music, are today entirely digital, and thus are in the hands of whoever might desire them. We get them for free, often without asking for them, as inbuilt peripherals. I bring music up, here, and the impact the digital is having on it, mainly as an example of the unpredictable nature of technologically driven change. It may well be that the digital will eventually negate the underlying business-model of popular musical stardom entirely. If this happens, it will be a change which absolutely no one intended, and few anticipated, and not the result of any one emergent technology, but of a complex interaction between several.

Disclaimer Haiku:
West wind seems to say,
"This is not legal advice;
I'm not your lawyer."

(And if you're a client with whom I have a preexisting attorney-client relationship, this still isn't legal advice.)

In case you're wondering, this blog is also not intended as advertising, as a representation of anything but my personal opinion, or as an offer of representation.

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