Andy Oram: A Nice Way to Get Network Quality of Service? Too bad about the six Dreamweaver ads, though... [Hack the Planet]
A while back on this blog I wondered where QoS had disappeared to. It appears the IETF has given up on it, and headed in a different direction. Read the article to find out why. The new direction is way cool. I'm simplifying, but it extends the notion of the nice command on multiuser UNIX systems to the entire Internet backbone. Cool!
If I understand the technology correctly, it works like this. Say I queue up a whole bunch of media files to download. It's gonna take awhile, so I'm going to do something else instead of waiting for the download to complete. All of the network traffic related to the download gets a special "scavenger mark," signifying that it's lower priority than traffic without the special mark. When a router somewhere along the path has a choice between sending my data and, say, somebody's live videoconference data, it chooses my data last.
It's like QoS, only voluntary.
Great Giveaway and Mashups
The Great Giveaway "There's something else written on the can, though, which sets the drink apart. It says 'check out the source at opencola.com'. Go to that Web address and you'll see something that's not available on Coca-Cola's website, or Pepsi's--the recipe for cola." [New Scientist]
Wow. How cool is that? Not just cool that the cola's recipe is open source, but cool that New Scientist put the whole story under copyleft (specifically, the Design Science License).
One thing in the article bothers me. It argues that musicians won't benefit from open sourcing their work. Well, if they only release entire songs in MP3, they probably won't. But what if they release the original multi-track recordings? Other musicians and producers could make their own remixes, or sample the percussion, bass, or vocal lines to make new songs. Advances in music-editing software make this much easier than it used to be.
But is there a market for that kind of thing? Would there be any benefit to the musician?
You bet there would. Bootleg remixes (called "mash-ups" in the UK) are recently become insanely popular. An album of unauthorized remixes, The Best Bootlegs in the World, Ever, has been climbing the charts in the UK. Some record execs have even been quoted praising it as the best album this year. A legal bootleg remix released by Island Records hit the British charts at number one.
Two Solutions to the File Sharing Problem
I should write a FAQ about arguing with Microsoft and how not to fall into their trap, as Mitch Wagner does here. [Scripting News]
I've followed this argument with interest. Microsoft is worried that Palladium / DRMOS / TCPA isn't going to be accepted by end users. They don't like the news coverage it's getting. They want to know what they can do to regain our trust. The answer: give up DRM altogether. Microsoft can't push DRM and regain our trust at the same time; we can't and shouldn't trust someone who is planning to hurt us.
How are DRM advocates trying to hurt us? There are just two solutions to the whole Hollywood vs. File Sharing problem. The first solution involves the entertainment industry adopting a sustainable business model that acknowledges the basic truth that bits are copyable. The second solution involves end users giving up fundamental rights (e.g. fair use, first sale and others) we've enjoyed since as early as the 1800s, and giving them up without getting anything in return.
Those are the only options. We have to choose. I know which solution Microsoft's chosen.
The moment we accept DRM we've chosen the second solution. We've told them it's okay to take our rights away. That's why we have no choice but to oppose copy protection in every form, wherever it is introduced. And we must reject it economically by voting with our wallets, because that's the only argument Microsoft and the entertainment industry understands.