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'[OT] Ubuntu Causes (Stupid) Girl to Drop Out of Co'
2009\01\15@171951 by solarwind

picon face
digg.com/linux_unix/Ubuntu_Causes_Girl_To_Drop_Out_of_College

People like this should not be allowed to breed.

--
solarwind

2009\01\16@100159 by Jeff Findley

flavicon
face

"solarwind" <spam_OUTx.solarwind.xTakeThisOuTspamgmail.com> wrote in message
news:.....a94764e0901151419p404d7fecn3a41b9d0e3665511KILLspamspam@spam@mail.gmail.com...> > http://digg.com/linux_unix/Ubuntu_Causes_Girl_To_Drop_Out_of_College
>
> People like this should not be allowed to breed.

1.  She was obviously ignorant when ordering her PC since she didn't know
what Ubuntu was.  Either that or she simply wasn't paying attention to the
options being presented to her when ordering online.

2.  She obviously isn't very assertive since she let the support/sales
people at Dell talk her into keeping Ubuntu when she really needed MS
Windows.  She should have stuck to her guns and asked to talk to the
person's supervisor and insisted on getting MS Windows for her PC.

3.  Linux supporters appear to be a rabid bunch, accusing her of being
stupid.  She may be stupid, but the evidence does not support that
assertion.  The evidence does suggest that she was defiantly ignorant of
what OS she was ordering.  Ignorance can be cured if the person isn't
stupid.  My guess is she's going to check on what OS comes with her next
computer.

4.  MS Windows still dominates the consumer PC market.

5.  Linux isn't typically useful for your average PC user because of #4.

Jeff
--
"Many things that were acceptable in 1958 are no longer acceptable today.
My own standards have changed too."  -- Freeman Dyson



2009\01\16@123714 by Peter

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solarwind <x.solarwind.x <at> gmail.com> writes:
> http://digg.com/linux_unix/Ubuntu_Causes_Girl_To_Drop_Out_of_College

This (the digg link) is likely the best example of negative (smear) viral
marketing I have seen in quite a while. On an irc channel posting such a thing
would be a 'troll'. There is no mention of Apple Macs in there (likely a valid
alternative option for boot-and-use systems), and they compare expensive beta
software (Windows) with a full Linux install (3000+ applications and a billion
options). Wonderful choice for a first user. Not. Also, any college requiring
students to use a certain operating system for a course should be forced to say
so  right next to the tuition fees, since the investment in those required tools
may exceed tuition by a good margin for many community college programs. A
recent m$ office and m$ operating system license together likely cost more than
the majority of the courses offered. So, unless the college is just acting as a
m$ sales booster, it should come up front and indicate the required tools, just
like any other vocational school does (e.g. 'full car service toolset required
for the completion of this course - e.g. Sears #xxxx - students purchase').
Without this, a $500 course could end up with $1500 of additional 'hidden'
expenses in computer upgrade and OS and software licenses.

Peter


2009\01\16@130000 by Peter

picon face
Jeff Findley <jeff.findley <at> ugs.com> writes:
> 4.  MS Windows still dominates the consumer PC market.
>
> 5.  Linux isn't typically useful for your average PC user because of #4.

This I keep hearing all the time ... why ?! The 'average PC user' uses the
Internet, QuickTax and the digital camera's and scanner/printer's software. All
the rest does not exist or requires a call to support. Tests done with unbiased
people of many ages (teen to 75+) who were new computer users showed no
difficulty in using either of the three prevailing GUI systems (Windows Linux
and Mac) for usual tasks (turn on/off, browse internet, write/read email, use a
voice/video communications program, write/read documents/attachments, print/scan
document). Ok, QuickTax does not (yet?) workon Linux (but I think that it runs
on Wine under Linux or BSD). More importantly, computer users can be divided
into 4 groups:

a - won't touch a computer even if held at gunpoint

b - average user who expects to plug in the computer and use it as above, and
who WILL bitch and sue if sold a system that does not work as expected, and with
good reason.

c - self proclaimed 'advanced' user who thinks he is computer savvy, does not
have a CS degree or any other relevant instruction, has strong opinions on most
things such as what software is 'best' and 'works for anyone', who is a m040n
and who isn't, and spends hours explaining to friends and foes how he 'fixed' a
problem after reinstalling version X.yy.6.8 of megapoop which *perfectly* fixed
his/her computer (thereafter suppressing any other messages about failures onhis
system, such as several OS reinstalls, lest he/she lose face). Such people often
sit on school boards and the like where they can exercise total control and
micromanagement over their unfortunate minions and impose their views, thus
getting the adrenaline and ego rushes they need to keep functioning without
permanent counseling and medication, and invariably call professionals who do
not agree with their opinions 'geeks', 'hackers', 'commies' or just m040ns when
nothing else works.

d - really advanced users who are goal oriented, educated (themselves of
otherwise), and know that they need to use the right tool for the right task,
and are not shy to switch operating systems or versions to do just that. They do
not have biases based on hearsay, internet blogs, commercial pamphlets or
'Communist Free Operating Systems' (which happen to be created and supported by
companies traded on the NYSE and by big name ivy league universities, besides
running some of the worlds biggest supercomputers and most of the internet).

Now, guess which category best describes the bright people who choose what needs
to be used for that college course, and to which category the student belongs.

Peter


2009\01\16@132010 by M. Adam Davis

face picon face
On Fri, Jan 16, 2009 at 12:36 PM, Peter <plpeter2006spamKILLspamyahoo.com> wrote:
> Not. Also, any college requiring
> students to use a certain operating system for a course should be forced to say
> so  right next to the tuition fees, since the investment in those required tools
> may exceed tuition by a good margin for many community college programs.

Most community colleges have computer labs that provide all these
resources for students.  Only in the case where the student cannot or
will not use the provided equipment do they need to spend money on
something else, and in that case the onus is on them the figure out
their options and costs.

These are adults we're talking about.  Sometimes when you don't
understand something you take a hard fall, but this isn't the end of
the world, and could have been sorted out the first week of class with
a minimum of fuss.

Your further points about the cost of the software being huge are not
valid either - Students can get all that software at a huge discount,
and larger schools have free licensing programs for it.

-Adam

--
Please rate and vote for my contest entry:
mypic32.com/web/guest/profiles?profileID=50331

2009\01\16@160732 by Peter

picon face
M. Adam Davis <stienman <at> gmail.com> writes:
> Most community colleges have computer labs that provide all these
> resources for students.  Only in the case where the student cannot or
> will not use the provided equipment do they need to spend money on
> something else, and in that case the onus is on them the figure out
> their options and costs.

I strongly disagree. The college provides what is needed on campus *and* for
home use *or* it specifies what is needed and must be bought by all students.
The availability of m$ office on college computers combined with the requirement
for it to be also used outside it (f.ex. for homework) is an invitation to
software piracy. I do not need to explain why.

> These are adults we're talking about.  Sometimes when you don't
> understand something you take a hard fall, but this isn't the end of
> the world, and could have been sorted out the first week of class with
> a minimum of fuss.
>
> Your further points about the cost of the software being huge are not
> valid either - Students can get all that software at a huge discount,
> and larger schools have free licensing programs for it.

Aha, and they are 'free' because m$ gives licenses away, or because their price
is built into the tuition ? What do you think ? So, a course in 'accounting'
using only software running on m$ is actually a pre-sales course in 'accounting
on m$ software only, and buying and upgrading that software forever after during
one's subsequent career', yes ? Does this sound like 'company town, company
school, company store' just to me alone ? How about doing it the other way
around, buying a m$ accounting  package and *then* selecting a course that
teaches it, so one reduces the confusion and maximizes the emphasis on the
actual program, since that, and only that, is what will be used anyway ? Of
course we all know why this is not done. A community college can charge more for
an 'accounting course' than for a 'm$ *** software course'. Oops. Oh, and it
looks better in statistics, for the college, the county, and for the taxpayer's
contribution (which covers a significant part of tuition costs for most local
and vocational colleges). I am sure they could not justify all that tax money
for buying licenses from a company without some kind of competition or other
type of competitive bidding. Re-oops. Which, by the way, may mean that community
taxes and tuition fees subsidize one and only one software maker twice over:
once directly, through the software cost that is in part covered by said tax
contributions (since it is 'provided by the college' - and the subject of a
mega-dollar bulk license purchase contract from said software company, without
any competition or bidding for alternatives), and a second time by making it
mandatory for all students and a limiting purchase option. I guess I just
godwin-ed this thread, by going into politics.

As a rather heavy computer user who has switched and is switching OS's as
needed between CP/M, MS-DOS, WfWG 3.11, W95, Vista, Linux, Solaris, NetBSD and
OpenBSD (and soon Opensolaris and Max OSX), and has had to underbid ridiculously
low offers to get things done more than once, I am disgusted by such
arrangements in 'higher education'. 19th century Dickensian pond scum is a high
life form compared to the political shenanigans pulled of by certain 'company
schools' who claim to be 'community' and 'public service' institutions (often
with disgusting tax benefits due to that).

Peter


2009\01\17@061713 by Gerhard Fiedler

picon face
You wrote:

> M. Adam Davis <stienman <at> gmail.com> writes:
>> Most community colleges have computer labs that provide all these
>> resources for students.  Only in the case where the student cannot
>> or will not use the provided equipment do they need to spend money
>> on something else, and in that case the onus is on them the figure
>> out their options and costs.
>
> I strongly disagree. The college provides what is needed on campus
> *and* for home use *or* it specifies what is needed and must be
> bought by all students. The availability of m$ office on college
> computers combined with the requirement for it to be also used
> outside it (f.ex. for homework) is an invitation to software piracy.
> I do not need to explain why.

You probably have a point, if such should be a requirement. OTOH, the
way the article in question is written, I'd not be surprised if the
requirement were "Microsoft Word compatible"; after all, that's what
seemed to have been the case after actually asking them. Only someone
who really read their requirements would know -- and apparently, from
what's written, neither the student nor the writer did make that effort.

As "Microsoft Word compatible" would of course count plain text files
(can be opened with Word), RTF files, according to the article they
consider OpenOffice documents compatible, and who knows what else... so
not really a problem, in this case, it seems to me.

Gerhard

2009\01\17@135413 by Peter

picon face
Gerhard Fiedler <lists <at> connectionbrazil.com> writes:
...
> way the article in question is written, I'd not be surprised if the
> requirement were "Microsoft Word compatible"; after all, that's what

Fwiw: 'Microsoft Word compatible' is somewhat ambiguous. The exact version must
be given, and, lacking that, the latest version available at the time the ad
(course start) was posted should be assumed (good luck with that). This is
because the rampant featuritis in Word precludes 100% compatibility with
previous versions of the same software. Anyone who tried to use advanced
features like table features and templates or embedded scripting for template
fill-out help knows this well. As to compatibility with 'other' Word
generators/readers, what a great April fool's joke. To quote my trusty
OpenOffice program, every time I save in .doc format I get that nice warning
about 'losing some formatting and features when saving in an external format'.
And yes, I know I can turn it off, but I wouldn't. There are *some* things I
like to be reminded of in perpetuity, for my own good. I have yet to see a 100%
compatible table layout or list length conservation (i.e. one that does not
cause the (very carefully adjusted) last output page to spill into the next one
when opened on the 'other' platform etc etc). Give me raw TeX and (g)roff markup
any day, at least I know there is some hope to get the documents formatted on
time. Admittedly the command languages are really hairy and I can't do much
without a manual but it *works*. Along the same lines, a few weeks ago I had to
create a nice and accurate document and tried OO and Word as well as Scribus and
another package, and had to resort to hand coding in html, followed by rendering
in Openoffice to pdf and doc. That was the only way I could tame the tables,
lists and flowed pictures without resorting to raw TeX and figs and all that.
Has anyone actually timed how long it takes to make a document that is truly
portable and can be rendered in pdf, doc, html and perhaps camera ready ps using
OO or Word, versus doing that using manual markup editing ?!

Anyway the vast majority of good-looking datasheets and documents out there seem
to be made with Adobe tools (at least the pdf ones). This is judging by the
document generator field shown in the pdf file properties in Acrobat reader.
Interestingly, many brand printer/scanners sold now have a 'PDF' button (scan
document directly to pdf). And PDF is not a panacea either. The language version
3.0 documentation book should convince anyone about that. Anyway Adobe is now
moving towards imposing some version of PDF as an ISO standard. This could be
good, as there is a huge amount of PDF out there.

 ref: http://www.adobe.com/devnet/pdf/pdf_reference.html

Peter


2009\01\18@054939 by Gerhard Fiedler

picon face
You wrote:

> Gerhard Fiedler <lists <at> connectionbrazil.com> writes:
> ...
>> way the article in question is written, I'd not be surprised if the
>> requirement were "Microsoft Word compatible"; after all, that's what
>
> Fwiw: 'Microsoft Word compatible' is somewhat ambiguous. The exact
> version must be given, and, lacking that, the latest version
> available at the time the ad (course start) was posted should be
> assumed (good luck with that).

If you want to comment on what I wrote, it would be prudent to quote the
relevant parts. The parts you left out (why?) are:

>> As "Microsoft Word compatible" would of course count plain text files
>> (can be opened with Word), RTF files, according to the article they
>> consider OpenOffice documents compatible [...]

I have yet to find a version that wouldn't accept RTF, for example.

> Has anyone actually timed how long it takes to make a document that is
> truly portable and can be rendered in pdf, doc, html and perhaps
> camera ready ps using OO or Word, versus doing that using manual
> markup editing ?!

You don't have to do this for submitting technical college texts. If you
do it, you do it because you want to do it. Slight differences in layout
are not relevant in this context. And if you have to do this, neither
Word nor OpenOffice are the right tools; this is professional
typesetting and you should use appropriate tools.

While there may be a problem in principle, in practice there mostly
seems only to be a problem with the principle :)

Gerhard

2009\01\18@082629 by Dave

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face
Crikey,
       All she did was let herself be duped into buying the wrong product for
her. I don't think she is stupid, maybe just a little ignorant of the
alternatives to windows out there. I know my wife would have mega heaps
of trouble with Ubuntu if I just gave her a laptop with Linux installed
and told her to go for it.
       All this girl knew was what she needed to know and that is how to get
assignments to the faculty of the school.
       How many of you guys know the intimate workings of a car? I bet you a
lot of you guys just jump in and turn the key, if it doesn't go you call
the mechanic and say "make it work please", there is no difference with
this girl, all she needed to know was how to turn the key and when they
changed "the car" on her understandably she was lost.

I have been using Linux for over 10 years, but I still remember vividly
the feeling of confusion, (and some excitement too), when I first left
Windows for Linux. Basically if you don't have any experience in a
certain field that doesn't make you stupid, I find too many of my fellow
"geeks" are all too ready to put down or flame someone who doesn't or
cannot yet understand the incredible feeling of software freedom. These
people need, (if they are interested), to be taken by the hand and shown
gently and respectfully the advantages of free software. This is where
the author of the article made a mistake. She is not stupid, she just
hasn't been exposed to Ubuntu before and I dare say she has no interest
either in finding out more about Ubuntu, she just wants to do her
assignments the way she always has... on Windows. I think DELL was wrong
in convincing her to stick with the Ubuntu machine, after all isn't the
customer always right?

2009\01\18@085847 by Tamas Rudnai

face picon face
> How many of you guys know the intimate workings of a car? I bet you a
> lot of you guys just jump in and turn the key,

Actually all car makers manufactures the cars in a way that all the
pedalling and steering system works in the same way. It was not that way all
the time, but can you imagine, that you sit in a Ford and the clutch is is
under your right foot? And if you buy a Mercedes the clutch has to be
handled by your right hand?

Currently we have a computing system where the way of working with computers
is pretty much patented but even if not everyone is doing their own way just
to look and feel different. Can a Win user use Mac straight away if never
done that before? Can a Mac user use Windows straight away  if never done
that before? However, both users are happy with their own computers and can
do everything they want to do. Same with Linux. It just matter of time to
get use to the "clutch".

Tamas


On Sun, Jan 18, 2009 at 1:26 PM, Dave <.....mechdaveKILLspamspam.....internode.on.net> wrote:

{Quote hidden}

> -

2009\01\18@091757 by Byron Jeff

flavicon
face
On Sun, Jan 18, 2009 at 08:26:00AM -0500, Dave wrote:
> Crikey,
>         All she did was let herself be duped into buying the wrong product for
> her. I don't think she is stupid, maybe just a little ignorant of the
> alternatives to windows out there. I know my wife would have mega heaps
> of trouble with Ubuntu if I just gave her a laptop with Linux installed
> and told her to go for it.

Exactly. And Dell customer service didn't help by not making the change she
requested when she requested it.

>         All this girl knew was what she needed to know and that is how to get
> assignments to the faculty of the school.
>         How many of you guys know the intimate workings of a car? I bet you a
> lot of you guys just jump in and turn the key, if it doesn't go you call
> the mechanic and say "make it work please", there is no difference with
> this girl, all she needed to know was how to turn the key and when they
> changed "the car" on her understandably she was lost.

Bingo. And while those who have used Linux for awhile learn how to
integrate to the rest of the Universe, someone who is clueless will find it
very daunting.

{Quote hidden}

In this instance they certainly are. BTW it isn't clear if she's a Windows
person or not. What was clear was that there was a Microsoft centric
expectation from both Verizon and the school. Changing to another platform
then shifts the expectation to the student, who in this case was poorly
equipped to handle the issue.

Look I just ran into such a problem last week. My 10 YO was given an
assignment on some school website or another. When accessing from Firefox
on Kubuntu, the compatibility failure box popped up, which isn't unusual. I
popped into the User Agent Switcher, which I have installed for such
situations, and changed the agent string to IE7 running on Vista. The
compatibility box disappeared but the start assignment button wouldn't
work. It was linked to some piece of JavaScript that wouldn't activate. i
fiddled with the agent strings, tried Konqueror, to no avail. Access the
same website from an XP box on firefox and it works no problem.

I'm annoyed with the site developers for being so Windows centric. But I
understand why they need to do it.

My process has been learned from hard experience. A novice would have been
stuck at the compatibility box. A novice would have probably blamed the
Linux/firefox combo for being incompatible.

That's one of dozens of annoyances you get when you switch. Tech people
love to work on those types of problem. Everyone else, it just pisses them
off.

But none of it makes anyone stupid.

BAJ

2009\01\18@094118 by Carl Denk

flavicon
face
Yes, just a few controls are that way, but anything besides the gas and
brake pedals: My 96 Ford Bronco windshield wiper/controls are on the
left turn signal stalk. The 2002 Mercury Cougar are on the right stalk,
and the rear washer/wiper are there too, try to keep that organized when
you are in traffic an the rear needs wash and wipe, and the front just
needs wipe. :) . On the Cougar the fog lights are, pull the knob, others
are separate. Panel lights can be turn the head light knob, other
separate. Having been a pilot for 40 years, I have sat for many hours in
a plane, memorizing each control to the point of using it was a reflex
reaction. Trying to do that, or even get the manual out on a rental car. ~)

And that doesn't get into the functionality of AWD, 4WD, part time, full
time, column mounted shifter, floor shifter, and now paddle shifters, 4,
5, 6 speed, reverse forward or backwards. I have had a hard time trying
to find a gear drive vehicle to teach the granddaughter how to handle
the clutch and gear lever.


> Actually all car makers manufactures the cars in a way that all the
> pedalling and steering system works in the same way. It was not that way all the time, but can you imagine, that you sit in a Ford and the clutch is is under your right foot? And if you buy a Mercedes the clutch has to be
> handled by your right hand?

2009\01\18@123424 by Peter

picon face
> I'm annoyed with the site developers for being so Windows centric. But I
> understand why they need to do it.

How come ?! This is not normal by any standards. 'Normal' for a developer of web
based software is, to verify his product with the 4 or 5 platform browsers which
are the state of the art at the time of the creation of his work. Those would be
Explorer latest version, previous version, Mac Safari, and the major competing
browsers (which hold 20% or more of the browser market in tech user areas -
something a developer, himself a tech user, should be well aware of), namely
Opera and Firefox. Surely if big name sites like eBay, NYT, Yahoo, Google etc.
can do it, so can a web developer who aspires to be good.

> My process has been learned from hard experience. A novice would have been
> stuck at the compatibility box. A novice would have probably blamed the
> Linux/firefox combo for being incompatible.

And should actually be threatened to be sued for libel if publishing that
anywhere, say, on a blog. No part of Linux or Firefox is responsible for the
problem, it would have occurred also with Firefox or Opera on Windows, and it
mostly boils down to the fact that whoever made the site could not be bothered
about standards or about checking standards compliance. A free click on the w3c
html validator would have answered that question for the developer. He did not
do it or he was told not to do it (say, for cost reasons, i.e. his boss told him
to get the product out the door asap, and who cares about compatibility). That's
how c**p is born.

>From the engineering point of view, as a paradigm, he built a bridge and tested
it just with his own car, and declared it fit for anyone. That is an accident
waiting  to happen. We now live times when it is nearly impossible to seek
medical information, book a flight, do banking or buy spare parts without full
access to a web browser and to the internet (and the same seems to be true for
education beyond primary school). 10 years ago a non-portable website would have
been an ugly omission. Today it can lead to loss of business and even disease
and death (for medical information), as well as multi-thousand dollar losses for
travel and banking information. Just what will it take to make some regulations
and compliance tests mandatory in this domain ? After all, in some countries a
tax for '911 service' is perceived on all GSM appliances that connect to the
telco network even if they cannot be used for speech (to make an emergency
call). When will regulation be mandatory for website formats and accessibility ?!

Peter


2009\01\18@201006 by Gerhard Fiedler

picon face
You wrote:

> Crikey,

Who's Crikey?

> All she did was let herself be duped into buying the wrong product for
> her.

How did you read this out of the article?

> All this girl knew was what she needed to know and that is how to get
> assignments to the faculty of the school.

Apparently not. She knew (says the article) that she needed Word. If I
weren't a computer guy and needed a computer with Word, I'd go and buy a
computer with Word -- especially if most of the "normal" computers out
there come with Word, and you really have to go out of the "normal" way
on the Dell site to find a computer that doesn't have the option to come
with Word.

> How many of you guys know the intimate workings of a car? I bet you a
> lot of you guys just jump in and turn the key, if it doesn't go you
> call the mechanic and say "make it work please", there is no
> difference with this girl, all she needed to know was how to turn the
> key and when they changed "the car" on her understandably she was
> lost.

If the driving assignment says "drive course A with a car that has the
steering wheel on the right side" and I show up with a car that has it
on the left side, I'm not sure who's to blame when I can't complete the
assignment -- no matter how much or how little I understand of the
mechanics involved :)

Gerhard

2009\01\19@003901 by Vitaliy

flavicon
face
Peter, I think it's customary to enclose such posts in <RANT> </RANT> tags.

;-)

----- Original Message -----
From: "Peter" <EraseMEplpeter2006spam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTyahoo.com>
To: <piclistspamspam_OUTmit.edu>
Sent: Friday, January 16, 2009 10:59
Subject: Re: [OT] Ubuntu Causes (Stupid) Girl to Drop Out of College


{Quote hidden}

> --

2009\01\19@004121 by Vitaliy

flavicon
face
"Peter" wrote:
> When will regulation be mandatory for website formats and accessibility ?!

Hopefully, never.


2009\01\19@150132 by Peter

picon face
Vitaliy <spam <at> maksimov.org> writes:
> "Peter" wrote:
> > When will regulation be mandatory for website formats and accessibility ?!
> Hopefully, never.

I hope you will never be in a situation where you will regret having written
that.  Achieving the freedom to choose does not consist in implementing a
labyrinthine jungle filled with mantraps and hungry wild beasts, countered by a
multi billion dollar racket/industry that sells protection for 'jungle'
explorers. Especially not when the actual standards exist and are used widely by
those in the know. </rant>

Peter


2009\01\19@172922 by Matt Pobursky

flavicon
face
On Mon, 19 Jan 2009 20:00:52 +0000 (UTC), Peter wrote:
> Vitaliy <spam <at> maksimov.org> writes:
>> "Peter" wrote:
>>> When will regulation be mandatory for website formats and
>>> accessibility ?!
>>>
>> Hopefully, never.
>>
> I hope you will never be in a situation where you will regret having
> written that.  Achieving the freedom to choose does not consist in
> implementing a labyrinthine jungle filled with mantraps and hungry wild
> beasts, countered by a multi billion dollar racket/industry that sells
> protection for 'jungle' explorers. Especially not when the actual
> standards exist and are used widely by those in the know. </rant>

So you would be good with those in power (whoever and wherever they may be)
selecting the "Microsoft way" as the official and legal standard?

I think that's what Vitaly was getting at... that governments are prone to
do things just like that when given a chance (or swayed, coerced, bribed or
otherwise influenced) rather than letting those who actually know what
they're doing take care of the job in the free market.

Matt Pobursky
Maximum Performance Systems

2009\01\19@181823 by Michael Algernon

flavicon
face
>
> On Jan 19, 2009, at 1:00 PM, Peter wrote:
>
> Vitaliy <spam <at> maksimov.org> writes:
>> "Peter" wrote:
>>> When will regulation be mandatory for website formats and  
>>> accessibility ?!
>> Hopefully, never.
>
I support Vitaliy 99.9345 %
MA
{Quote hidden}

2009\01\19@222910 by Peter

picon face
Matt Pobursky <piclist <at> mps-design.com> writes:
> On Mon, 19 Jan 2009 20:00:52 +0000 (UTC), Peter wrote:
> So you would be good with those in power (whoever and wherever they may be)
> selecting the "Microsoft way" as the official and legal standard?

Uhh. The standards I had in mind were testing standards (accessibility and
usability), not how exactly the sites are made. That is the point, i.e. if it is
called html then it should pass the test of a html syntax checker like that from
w3c (who make and keep the standard). Same for Javascript, css, pdf etc etc.
That was what I meant. (and the same for VHS tapes that do not respect technical
standards due to brain-dead copy protection schemes, same for virus laden dvds
etc - if it is called XXX then there should be a standard and testing that
ensures that it is XXX or else it should stop claiming to be 'compatible', and
forced to do so in court if needed).

Most precedents where regulators picked up a well-established de facto standard
and encoded it as a standard went rather well (think about the savings in time
and effort by the committees ...). Examples: Javascript/Ecmascript C->ANSI and a
few more I forget now.

> I think that's what Vitaly was getting at... that governments are prone to
> do things just like that when given a chance (or swayed, coerced, bribed or
> otherwise influenced) rather than letting those who actually know what
> they're doing take care of the job in the free market.

True, but see above. I think that the g's should adopt the 'meadow path'
principle. This refers to the path-less communal lawns in the center of small
towns which supposedly were allowed to be beaten down by horses and people and
later paved on those paths, to make them into roads, which exist until today. (I
wonder if non-microsoft [r] cars could be driven on microsoft [r] roads without
extremely bad things happening to the cars - shudder).

Peter


2009\01\20@081232 by Gerhard Fiedler

picon face
Peter wrote:

>> So you would be good with those in power (whoever and wherever they
>> may be) selecting the "Microsoft way" as the official and legal
>> standard?
>
> Uhh. The standards I had in mind were testing standards
> (accessibility and usability), not how exactly the sites are made.
> That is the point, i.e. if it is called html then it should pass the
> test of a html syntax checker like that from w3c (who make and keep
> the standard).

The HTML standard is not static. What we know as HTML has been evolving
over time -- and that was mostly not driven by w3c, but by the
implementations. Given a law that no site may present anything that's
not compatible with the w3c checker, there wouldn't have been much if
any development.

The development that would have been would have been driven by
government committees, pressures by industry lobbies etc. You don't
really think that the w3c would be the same w3c if it had the power to
define what is legal on the www?

Also, think about defining the boundaries. Would it be legal to have
something non-w3c compliant on my private LAN? On a company LAN? On the
internet, but over VPN? On the internet, but protected by a password?
Would it only apply to www subdomains (http://www.yourdomain.tld) or also to
standard domains (yourdomain.tld)? Would I be allowed to share
experimental non-compliant code with coworkers or friends on non-www
subdomains (trythis.mydomain.tld)? Or even on www subdomains, paying for
an exceptional experimental license?

Who would define how stuff should look like on the browser end? After
all, all the HTML definitions aren't worth a thing if the browser
creates crappy renderings from perfectly legal HTML. Would text-only
browsers even be allowed still? Would it be allowed to hack
(client-side) silly pages that restrict the rendering to 640x400 pixels
so that they fill the browser client area, or would this be illegal
under the millenium act (which definitely would be involved here)? Would
it be allowed to change the default font? Or the default screen
resolution (which messes up the rendering on some pages)? What about
disabling JavaScript (which makes some sites simply not work) or cookies
(idem)?

You're sure you want to go there? The questions I brought up are what a
non-lawyer mind can bring up in a minute or so. Think about what ten
lawyer minds can bring up in a year... (that's the minimum that would be
working on such a draft :)

If you think it's too much ruled by Microsoft right now, and think that
having the government regulate it would be better, I think you gotta
think again. I think chances are that if this were the case, the primary
result would be that all browsers would have to be IE compliant at all
times :)

Gerhard

2009\01\20@085156 by Tamas Rudnai

face picon face
> What about disabling JavaScript (which makes some sites simply not work)
or cookies (idem)?

Now I think there are many things mixed up here. The problem is not to
develop new stuff but to change the ones that was designed by someone else.
When a web site promise you to provide a HTML page it should also promise
the freedom you to choose which operating system and which browser you want
to see it's content - that's part of the freedom of the Internet. This,
however, only possible if web site developers keep standards. Standards that
can be followed by anyone and which is not propriatery. It means an HTML
contains nothing more than those element that are defined the w3c comitee.
As soon as they brake this - introducing new elements or attributes or what
not -, then that page is NOT HTML any more. Same as a Word Document - if
OpenOffice starts putting special formatting on a Word Doc format that
cannot be opened up by Microsoft Office, then that document is not a Word
Doc formatted any more. But as the Microsoft has the dominance on the
market, you will say OpenOffice is bad - however, if Microsoft brakes the
HTML standard, as again, MS has the dominance, you will say the HTML page is
Internet Explorer compatible... Can you hear the difference? If you remember
Microsoft also broke the language standard of Java - Sun had to fight
against MS to stop saying that they use Java, as that were not.
Unfortunately Microsoft has this attitude to brake things and then expect
everyone to follow them - instead of proposing their views or ideas to
comitees as change the stanrads democratically.

Tamas



On Tue, Jan 20, 2009 at 1:12 PM, Gerhard Fiedler <@spam@listsKILLspamspamconnectionbrazil.com
{Quote hidden}

> -

2009\01\20@152241 by solarwind

picon face
Very interesting to see what has become of this thread... Are we still
even discussing the subject or html standards now?

2009\01\20@202014 by Gerhard Fiedler

picon face
You wrote:

>> What about disabling JavaScript (which makes some sites simply not
>> work) or cookies (idem)?
>
> Now I think there are many things mixed up here.

Not really. Try to put things into a law, with rules to enforce it, and
you get a lot of things into the mix. It's not me who has mixed up
things, it's the proposal of making this a law.

> The problem is not to develop new stuff but to change the ones that
> was designed by someone else. When a web site promise you to provide
> a HTML page it should also promise the freedom you to choose which
> operating system and which browser you want to see it's content -
> that's part of the freedom of the Internet.

Or not... Come on, if everybody was forced by law to provide only pages
that look the same on all browsers on the market -- can you even imagine
what this means for developers?

> This, however, only possible if web site developers keep standards.
> Standards that can be followed by anyone and which is not
> propriatery.

The notion of a non-proprietary standard is largely unreal. While there
are national and international standard bodies, we all know who sits in
them (or who pays who sits in them): it's not you and me :)

> It means an HTML contains nothing more than those element that are
> defined the w3c comitee.

That's a starting point. However, it's not only about the elements, it's
also about what exactly those elements have to mean. Who defines that?

> As soon as they brake this - introducing new elements or attributes or what
> not -, then that page is NOT HTML any more.

That's how JavaScript was born, and a whole lot of other (good and not
so good) common features of today's web pages. There wouldn't be gmail
as we know it today if Netscape hadn't had the freedom to invent
JavaScript and put it out there, for example.

> If you remember Microsoft also broke the language standard of Java -
> Sun had to fight against MS to stop saying that they use Java, as
> that were not.

Sun "breaks" the Java standard every other year or so :)

> Unfortunately Microsoft has this attitude to brake things and then
> expect everyone to follow them - instead of proposing their views or
> ideas to comitees as change the stanrads democratically.

Oh boy... I'm not a fan of the Microsoft way, but I'm not a fan of the
committee way either. They don't "expect" anybody to do anything... it's
the people who either do it or don't do it. Microsoft provides tools
that people are free to not use...


You have been barking up the wrong tree... I agree that it would be
better if web developers placed more emphasis on compatibility. But
that's not the issue I was writing about. I was writing about what might
happen the moment this becomes a /law/. This is a whole different ball
game... technical issues become secondary, immediately. If you're
concerned about technical issues, a law is probably not what you want.

Gerhard

2009\01\20@205106 by solarwind

picon face
Did we just get into "Java standards"?

2009\01\20@212820 by Vitaliy

flavicon
face
"Peter" wrote:
>> > When will regulation be mandatory for website formats and accessibility
>> > ?!
>> Hopefully, never.
>
> I hope you will never be in a situation where you will regret having
> written
> that.  Achieving the freedom to choose does not consist in implementing a
> labyrinthine jungle filled with mantraps and hungry wild beasts, countered
> by a
> multi billion dollar racket/industry that sells protection for 'jungle'
> explorers. Especially not when the actual standards exist and are used
> widely by
> those in the know. </rant>

Peter,

I have plenty of experience with government-mandated standards (I was born,
and grew up in the former USSR). I prefer the chaotic capitalist way, where
the outcome is determined by millions of consumers making billions of
choices every day.

VItaliy

2009\01\20@230935 by Peter

picon face
Gerhard Fiedler <lists <at> connectionbrazil.com> writes:
> Also, think about defining the boundaries. Would it be legal to have
> something non-w3c compliant on my private LAN? On a company LAN? On the

The key is to understand that you cannot publically give
away/market/show/sell/allow to be consumed something that is marked, say 'milk',
but contains water and white paint, because that could lead to bad things
happening. Nobody really cares if one peddles 'white water, do not drink' but if
the white water is labelled 'milk' then things are different. Web and file
format standards are the similar. One cannot label a page 'text/html' if it can
contain markup that is not rendered by some browsers because a certain large
company decided to embrace and extend the standard, with the result that, say, a
pharmacy selling some drug online puts up a special warning label with regards
to drug incompatibility for a product, and that is simply not rendered by the
user's browser, with a few people ending up in hospital every month because of
that. Similar things apply to Javascript and DHTML (the first is used to
generate the latter).

Then there is the issue of defining what is milk and what is not milk. In some
languages there are 'milk' varieties which are not milk at all (f.ex. in German
'Kalkmilch' - that's diluted slacked lime - lime milk in English - ouch). So far
the HTML 'milk' definition is pretty well handled by w3c and whoever implements
browsers and content generators had better abide by its standards before someone
ends up in hospital or dead, or books a $1 flight with $900 intaxes around the
world instead of to the next city because the fine print rendered in pretty
incompatible DHTML markup did not show up in his browser. And my heart really
bleeds for the 'proprietary browser extension makers' who will eventually have
to stop doing that and get with the program (note that there is no prohibition
for making their own protocols - just leave the public protocols alone, please,
and stop *mislabeling* incompatible 'embraced and extended' pages as 'html' - it
is that mislabeling that should be outlawed or strongly discouraged).

There are enough big name sites that prove day by day that multimedia content
can be created to be platform-independent. I was just looking at the Maple Leafs
website yesterday and I could use all the media features fine using 'non
Micorsoft tools', and there are thousands of examples. So it can be done.

Peter


2009\01\20@232742 by Peter

picon face
Vitaliy <spam <at> maksimov.org> writes:
> I have plenty of experience with government-mandated standards (I was born,
> and grew up in the former USSR). I prefer the chaotic capitalist way, where

Ibidem, except I was born and raised in another (ex) Communist country in
Eastern Europe as you know from offlist messages. And I also prefer the
'capitalist' way, but WITH technical standards everyone abides by in areas that
affect the well-being and physical and financial health of the population,
please. You have regulated car safety features, regulated house and installation
codes, regulated power and appliances to go with it, regulated health
practitioners, regulated medical drug, procedure and remedy testing and
regulated roads and bridges, as well as regulated food quality and hygiene. Now
the web affects all of the above, since it is used to access said standards and
regulations, as well as for commerce with any and all of the items above, and it
has a set of standards which are well-known, public and most honest developers
respect.

Why must the ones who deliberately do not respect the prevailing de facto public
standard be encouraged to keep doing that ? Same thing for file formats and the
like (and this goes back to why a college student can be frustrated enough to
drop out because of her 'different' operating system).

Common file and web formats SHOULD be governed by PUBLIC standards since they
serve the PUBLIC, as in voters, democracy and all that. Non-public standard
compliant materials MUST NOT be marked using marks that are reserved for public
standards. For the same reason that calling chalk and sugar pills 'Aspirin' is
illegal and dangerous, calling something that is not w3c compliant in a
dangerous way 'html' and marking it 'text/html' should be illegal. Same for an
'accounting course' that is actually an 'm$ software only accounting course'
should not be called an 'accounting course' only, because that is misleading for
the student, imho (ok, this is a little far fetched, but, after all, I am just
ranting). </rant>

Peter


2009\01\21@002521 by Sean Breheny

face picon face
What about just having w3c or some other group trademark some name
(say CertifiedHTML ) so that they could sue anyone who used that term
to describe their web page if it wasn't compliant with the standard?
People could then look for that mark (similar to looking for the
Verisign logo or similar when doing business over the web). No new
government regulation needed, with all its attendant corruption,
slowness, and heavy-handedness.

Sean


On Tue, Jan 20, 2009 at 11:26 PM, Peter <KILLspamplpeter2006KILLspamspamyahoo.com> wrote:
{Quote hidden}

> -

2009\01\21@005822 by Peter

picon face
Sean Breheny <shb7 <at> cornell.edu> writes:
> What about just having w3c or some other group trademark some name
> (say CertifiedHTML ) so that they could sue anyone who used that term

I think that they can already sort of do that, since html is their 'trademark'
or the well-known public domain name of their standard, and 'misappropriating'
well-known names for other purposes is a no-no that can actually be enforced, I
think. But I am not lawyer.

In any case, it is pretty clear that a web page can kill. The prevailing
standards for html rendering require 'unrecognized tags to be ignored by the
browser'. Now it would take about 3 minutes to code a page for, say, some
medication for an online pharmacy, with the best of intentions (but using a
'mainstream' HTML generator from a certain software and operating systems firm,
and without checking for compatibility with other browsers or with the standards
proper, the one from w3c) and mark up a stern warning about the deadly effect of
using that medication with something else using a bright red flashing popup
non-standard DHTML markup, perhaps requiring a proprietary platform-specific
plug-in, like ActiveSomething or another. It would look great when looked at
with a non-standard browser. But any browser not supporting the
non-standards-compliant extensions WOULD NOT SHOW THE WARNING, since it would
represent an 'unknown tag', and at best show a small warning about a popup or
something like that. A couple of days later a certain percentage of customers
who would buy the medication from that outlet and also use the other item that
was warned against could start ending up in hospital or worse. and this is just
a lame example I made up for the occasion, it could be potentially much worse.

Similar things can be said about user manuals available only in certain closed
document formats, building and installation code as above, safety instructions
for chemicals and products as above, etc etc. The accuracy and accessibility of
information on the internet has simply become too important to be left to be
'regulated' by whichever 800 billion dollar gorilla happens to be 'ruling' the
field this week, or month or whatever. </rant>

Peter


2009\01\21@011336 by Peter

picon face
Gerhard Fiedler <lists <at> connectionbrazil.com> writes:
> If the driving assignment says "drive course A with a car that has the
> steering wheel on the right side" and I show up with a car that has it
> on the left side, I'm not sure who's to blame when I can't complete the
> assignment -- no matter how much or how little I understand of the
> mechanics involved :)

If someone says 'We are the legitimate community-supported tax-receiving
tax-exemption-receiving school UUU. To obtain our famous driving certificate C,
pay us $X and drive course A with a car of brand XYZ model year current or not
older than a year, and you must buy the car because it is illegal to rent it or
borrow ours', then, if the value the certificate C is less than a XYZ brand car,
one can say (and likely sustain in court), that school UUU is actually a sales
outlet for XYZ cars, and that, as a consequence, it should advertise its
certificates as 'C certificates for XYZ model year YYYY only', to avoid
confusing punters, and provide an explanation as to how exactly it ensures that
the generous tax allowances it receives from the public are carefully and
continuously managed such that they do not end up financing the company XYZ, and
such that any 'pork' dropped UUU's way by XYZ, for example in the form of cheap
bulk licenses and freebies for academic staff and as donations that happen to
further certain academic needs, does not influence the freedom of thought and
choice (in car brands to be 'taught' in) exercised by the presumably high and
respected administrators of UUU, lest they lose their precious tax breaks and
pay up retroactively in case there was some fraud or something (just suppose),
or even stay in jail for a round or two (just suppose). You know, there is this
saying in English: if it quacks like a duck and walks like a duck, then I say,
it is a duck. I think that it applies here. </rant>

Peter


2009\01\21@083318 by Tamas Rudnai

face picon face
> Or not... Come on, if everybody was forced by law to provide only pages
> that look the same on all browsers on the market -- can you even imagine
> what this means for developers?

You mean the web developer or the browser developer? I think for the web
developer everything would have been simplified down as they would not have
to worry about testing their work on every single browser on the market. For
browser developers it would have been a bit more challenge, however, they
are the minority so that's less problematic than the other way around.

> The notion of a non-proprietary standard is largely unreal. While there
> are national and international standard bodies, we all know who sits in
> them (or who pays who sits in them): it's not you and me :)

True :-) But then again, when someone is not sitting in it he/she/it should
not break the rules just like that. They can make their own and call them I
do not know, MSTML for example :-)

> That's a starting point. However, it's not only about the elements, it's
> also about what exactly those elements have to mean. Who defines that?

Good point. I think w3c has their etalon HTML browser written in Java, so
other browser developers need to follow that one. If their browser does not
display the sample web pages in the same or very similar way then they need
to fix that. Similar to that a proprietary standard like PDF: FoxitReader or
other PDF viewers supposed to display the same PDF in the same way as Adobe
would do.

> That's how JavaScript was born, and a whole lot of other (good and not
> so good) common features of today's web pages. There wouldn't be gmail
> as we know it today if Netscape hadn't had the freedom to invent
> JavaScript and put it out there, for example.

Maybe I am wrong on it but as far as I know JavaScript then was published
and everyone else had the right for implementing their very own JavaScript
engine. Is ActiveX published? Which other browser implemented ActiveX or
VisualBasicScript than Internet Explorer?

> Oh boy... I'm not a fan of the Microsoft way, but I'm not a fan of the
> committee way either. They don't "expect" anybody to do anything... it's
> the people who either do it or don't do it. Microsoft provides tools
> that people are free to not use...

My point is that when there are web sites that use IE only features then I
cannot browse those sites with other browsers. I can only use FireFox
because they are following Internet Explorer to be able to be cdo that.
Opera and many other browsers still stick to the w3c so you cannot use them
properly, only for limited services and sites.

Can you imagine if there was a car manufacturer that would produce the 70%
of the cars on the world. And they just think they change the colour of the
indicator to green, or the back light to yellow. Did they brake the rules?
Yes. Did you forced to buy their product? Technically did not.

Tamas



On Wed, Jan 21, 2009 at 1:19 AM, Gerhard Fiedler <RemoveMElistsTakeThisOuTspamconnectionbrazil.com
{Quote hidden}

> -

2009\01\21@091606 by Gerhard Fiedler

picon face
Peter wrote:

>> Also, think about defining the boundaries. Would it be legal to have
>> something non-w3c compliant on my private LAN? On a company LAN? On
>> the [...]
>
> The key is to understand that you cannot publically give
> away/market/show/sell/allow to be consumed something that is marked,
> say 'milk', but contains water and white paint, because that could
> lead to bad things happening.

You're barking up the wrong tree. The key for understanding my message
is to not assume that I don't understand your issue (I do), but that I
think you're not really considering the consequences of making something
like "text/html" a legally binding and enforced definition. What brings
me to this conclusion is that you snipped practically all parts of my
message that deal with the complications arising from this, and didn't
approach a single issue.

> So far the HTML 'milk' definition is pretty well handled by w3c

That's because they don't have legal impact, and are therefore not that
prone to industry pressure. Because of that, they also can follow the
market, rather than lead it.

> There are enough big name sites that prove day by day that multimedia
> content can be created to be platform-independent.

Nobody here doubts this, and it has nothing to do with the
(non-technical) complexities that would arise in the case "text/html"
became a legally binding and enforced definition.

> I was just looking at the Maple Leafs website yesterday and I could
> use all the media features fine using 'non Micorsoft tools', and
> there are thousands of examples. So it can be done.

We all know this, so what?

Gerhard

2009\01\21@094221 by Gerhard Fiedler

picon face
Tamas wrote:

>> Or not... Come on, if everybody was forced by law to provide only
>> pages that look the same on all browsers on the market -- can you
>> even imagine what this means for developers?
>
> You mean the web developer or the browser developer? I think for the
> web developer everything would have been simplified down as they
> would not have to worry about testing their work on every single
> browser on the market.

I was writing about the web developer. You seem to assume that together
with the law requiring that only legal elements appear in the text/html
stream, there is also a law that defines the visual consequences (the
rendering) of each of these tags. Ouch... can you imagine that law?

You guys seem so focused on the technical aspects of this. Few people
say that it wouldn't be a good thing if all browsers worked alike (that
is, rendered a text/html stream in the same way), and nobody in his
right mind says that it wouldn't be a good thing if sites would adhere
to common, public standards. (At least this would get us rid of Flash
sites, which alone would be worth it :)

But try to look at the non-technical aspects of making something like
this a /law/. There are many, many questions that need to be addressed.

> They can make their own and call them I do not know, MSTML for example
> :-)

So far, it seems that every one of the bigger vendors that sell browsers
and servers has come up with their own extensions, not only Microsoft.
Some are even standard now... so the process can't be all bad, right? :)

>> That's a starting point. However, it's not only about the elements,
>> it's also about what exactly those elements have to mean. Who
>> defines that?
>
> Good point. I think w3c has their etalon HTML browser written in
> Java, so other browser developers need to follow that one. If their
> browser does not display the sample web pages in the same or very
> similar way then they need to fix that.

So I guess that means that any text-only browsers would be illegal, and
whoever uses one is to be fined. Right? So would be special editions for
handicapped. Let's fine them all; it's always been better to be
mainstream :)

> Similar to that a proprietary standard like PDF: FoxitReader or other
> PDF viewers supposed to display the same PDF in the same way as Adobe
> would do.

Right... with the tiny but quite consequential difference that there is
no /law/ that they do. They are free to render PDFs better than Adobe,
or different, or whatever: it's up to the user to decide which renderer
is more adequate, without being fined.

>> That's how JavaScript was born, and a whole lot of other (good and
>> not so good) common features of today's web pages. There wouldn't be
>> gmail as we know it today if Netscape hadn't had the freedom to
>> invent JavaScript and put it out there, for example.
>
> Maybe I am wrong on it but as far as I know JavaScript then was
> published and everyone else had the right for implementing their very
> own JavaScript engine. Is ActiveX published? Which other browser
> implemented ActiveX or VisualBasicScript than Internet Explorer?

This is besides the point. If there had been a /law/ that extensions
like JavaScript are illegal, it doesn't really matter whether something
is published or not. The moment you're talking about /laws/ you need to
start talking about laws, and not about whether something is published
or not (which is a different issue).

> My point is that when there are web sites that use IE only features
> then I cannot browse those sites with other browsers. I can only use
> FireFox because they are following Internet Explorer to be able to be
> cdo that. Opera and many other browsers still stick to the w3c so you
> cannot use them properly, only for limited services and sites.

So don't use those sites. It's that simple.

Of course, it's not that simple: you /want/ to use those sites. And you
/want/ that they write the sites so that you can use /your/ favorite
browser. I understand all that: I do, too. But to make it a law? You
really need to think a bit deeper what it means for something being a
/law/.

It's not as simple as "let's make it a law, and then everybody does it".
There are many issues involved when something becomes a law.

> Can you imagine if there was a car manufacturer that would produce the
> 70% of the cars on the world. And they just think they change the
> colour of the indicator to green, or the back light to yellow. Did
> they brake the rules? Yes. Did you forced to buy their product?
> Technically did not.

You're right, in most countries, there are laws about those things, and
the manufacturers that want to sell in those countries have to abide by
them. FWIW, I think in the USA it's perfectly legal to have a turn
signal that's not yellow (which is a requirement in many other
countries). So in the USA you find turn signals with different colors,
which is something strange to people from countries where all turn
signals are the same color. Then, for example in Germany, even though
there is a law that all turn signals have to be yellow (well, I'm not
sure whether it is a law or whether it is a technical rule that is made
binding by a law... you see, when you get into laws, things do get a bit
complicated :), it is possible to get an exception for imported cars, so
you also can find US-made cars driving around there with red turn
signals. What does this mean for your analogy?

I'm not saying that it can't be done (making "text/html" a legally
binding definition); what I'm saying is that there are many consequences
that I haven't seen addressed by any of the proponents of making
"text/html" a legally binding definition.

Gerhard

2009\01\21@095804 by Gerhard Fiedler

picon face
Peter wrote:

>> If the driving assignment says "drive course A with a car that has
>> the steering wheel on the right side" and I show up with a car that
>> has it on the left side, I'm not sure who's to blame when I can't
>> complete the assignment -- no matter how much or how little I
>> understand of the mechanics involved :)

[Lots of ranting snipped]

> You know, there is this saying in English: if it quacks like a duck
> and walks like a duck, then I say, it is a duck. I think that it
> applies here.

If it quacks like a duck and walks like a duck, everybody is free to
hear and see this and draw their conclusions -- if they want a duck,
they should get it, and if not, they should look elsewhere.

I think legal action is only required if it is a duck but is made so it
doesn't quack like one and doesn't walk like one.

Gerhard

2009\01\21@131448 by Peter

picon face
Gerhard Fiedler <lists <at> connectionbrazil.com> writes:
> is to not assume that I don't understand your issue (I do), but that I
> think you're not really considering the consequences of making something
> like "text/html" a legally binding and enforced definition. What brings

I snip because my list client will not let me post fewer lines of text than what
I quote :)

The misunderstanding stems from the difference between my and your
interpretation of 'legally enforced'. Your idea seems to be that one would need
a license to write html, like a doctor's, and that any mistake in one's html
code would entrain SWAT teams moving in at half past three in the morning and
the author doing jail time for it. My interpretation is that html and other
public formats are technically in the enforced public domain and a well-known
'art' and cannot be misused or used to mislabel products or mislead the public
without breaking certain (which?) laws.

Thus a non-compliant *public* html page could potentially be identified by
anyone from the public for being dangerous (by incompatibility f.ex., thus
hiding or misrepresenting potentially life and health threatening information),
and the organization that put the page up brought to court if it will not
rectify the problem, in the same way a site owner can be sued today for
inappropriate content. This is in fact the current situation, as pages are taken
down and blocked (!) under duress from lawyers and even countries all the time,
as you know. So no change in law is needed, what is needed is a perception of
the danger represented by non-conforming pages and the legal precedent created
by a number of higher profile cases in this direction, such that takedown or
edit summons from lawyers for the sole reason of *dangerously incompatible
encoding* should start being workable.

Peter

(PS: I hope Mr. Moglen or someone like him reads this or similar messages from
time to time)


2009\01\21@132024 by Peter

picon face
Sean Breheny <shb7 <at> cornell.edu> writes:
> What about just having w3c or some other group trademark some name
> (say CertifiedHTML ) so that they could sue anyone who used that term
> to describe their web page if it wasn't compliant with the standard?

I strongly believe that the terms 'web' 'web page' 'html' and a few others are
in the well-known enforceable 'public domain', so a mark would not be necessary,
just enforcing the existing laws would do.

Peter


2009\01\21@132946 by Peter

picon face
Gerhard Fiedler <lists <at> connectionbrazil.com> writes:
> I think legal action is only required if it is a duck but is made so it
> doesn't quack like one and doesn't walk like one.

Ohh, but that's what this thread was about, no ? A $500 (likely) community
college course that requires $1500 in exectly defined version os and office
software purchases from one precisely specified company would be mostly a
purchase drive and less of a college course imnsho (strictly speaking it would
be 25% college course and 75% purchase drive). So it walks and it quacks.

Cynically speaking, the cheapest college course that 'requires' $1500 in
purchases, and that can be called a college course without lying (too blatantly)
should cost at least $1500 (the break even limit, by cost).

Peter


2009\01\22@055922 by Gerhard Fiedler

picon face
Peter wrote:

>> is to not assume that I don't understand your issue (I do), but that
>> I think you're not really considering the consequences of making
>> something like "text/html" a legally binding and enforced
>> definition.

> The misunderstanding stems from the difference between my and your
> interpretation of 'legally enforced'. Your idea seems to be that one
> would need a license to write html, like a doctor's,

No. I don't know where you get the idea from. Maybe because you only
read the parts of my messages that you quote? :)

> and that any mistake in one's html code would entrain SWAT teams
> moving in at half past three in the morning and the author doing jail
> time for it.

Neither this. See above. It would be helpful if you started to quote
properly to support your assertions -- helps you while writing (not to
make such mistakes) and the others while reading (to understand where
you get your ideas from).

> My interpretation is that html and other public formats are
> technically in the enforced public domain and a well-known 'art' and
> cannot be misused or used to mislabel products or mislead the public
> without breaking certain (which?) laws.

I understood exactly this, and all my comments were about exactly this.
Maybe you (re?)read them; judging by your comments, you seem not to have
understood much of it.

> So no change in law is needed, what is needed is a perception of the
> danger represented by non-conforming pages and the legal precedent
> created by a number of higher profile cases in this direction, such
> that takedown or edit summons from lawyers for the sole reason of
> *dangerously incompatible encoding* should start being workable.

You're wrong here: a change in law would be required. The change is
everything that is related to making HTML a legally binding definition
-- which it currently is not -- and to add a rendering specification
that is precise enough for legal purposes (which the w3c currently
doesn't have). My previous messages were exactly about the necessary and
possible consequences of this -- and you seem to carefully avoid all
that's related to these.

Here's another one (in addition to all the issues I wrote about before).
After such "takedown or edit summons for [...] incompatible encoding"
become a legal commonplace, it is rather obvious that one of the big
online service providers will get a foot (or several feet) in the door
of the w3c. Then it is just a matter of time until a "compatibility war"
starts, where a carefully crafted little change in the (legally binding)
compatibility definition renders most of the site complex of a
competitor incompatible, with quite a few days/weeks downtime (and the
associated loss in popularity) and quite a substantial cost of fixing
those "problems".

Now who will be the one with a foot or more in the door of the w3c is
anybody's guess. Two major contenders come to mind... neither of which I
would like to see in such a position. (This seems to be a bit like the
"war on drugs": while in principle it sounds like a good idea, the
consequences of attacking a mentality problem with legal measures can be
worse than the original problem.)

Again: you're sure you want to go /there/?

Gerhard

2009\01\22@072830 by Gerhard Fiedler

picon face
Peter wrote:

>> I think legal action is only required if it is a duck but is made so
>> it doesn't quack like one and doesn't walk like one.
>
> Ohh, but that's what this thread was about, no ?

No, not really. It seems it was pretty much everything established up
front and openly. Maybe not the kind of duck you like, but pretty
clearly a duck.

> A $500 (likely)

Assumption yours, it seems.

> community college course

>From where did you get the "community" part?

> that requires $1500

How do you reach this number? According to the article, any old computer
that is able to produce a remotely Word-compatible document (simple RTF
comes to mind) would suffice. You can get those for (almost) free in the
USA, including the software.

> in exectly defined version os and office software purchases from one
> precisely specified company

According to the article, this is wrong. It reported that the college
accepts OpenOffice documents. The article says that the girl said that
having Word was a requirement, but the college reps didn't say it
wasn't. You (anybody talking about this) should check with the college,
I think, before making any claims.

Have you tried to check the site of MATC for any facts? Or do you simply
like to rant, fact-less floating in free space? :)

There is their FAQ
<http://matcmadison.edu/matc/offerings/distancelearning/faq.shtm>. In
order to participate successfully in their online program (which is what
the person in question was trying to do, according to the article), they
recommend that you ask yourself the following questions:

------------------
* Do I have access to the computer technology and a connection to the
Internet?
* Do I have basic computing skills?
* Three credit classes may require 12 to 15 hours per week. Do I have
the time to take class online?
* Can I motivate myself to go to the virtual classroom at least five
days a week?
* Am I comfortable with my reading, writing and typing skills?
* Am I easily frustrated by technology?
------------------

She doesn't seem to posssess the basic computing skills they recommend
in the 2nd question. And she seems to be easily frustrated by
technology. So I wonder whether taking online classes is really what she
wants and should do, or whether that wasn't more than a pipe dream ("oh,
I'll take online classes, that way I can stay at home all day and smoke
whatever I like" :)


Ah, then there is
<http://matcmadison.edu/matc/offerings/distancelearning/requirements.shtm>.

No Linux there. Word (some pretty old versions) are in the "possibly
required" section. Again, it is quite possible that Word is only
required in the Word classes, which sounds reasonable; any other
assumption would have to be substantiated before making any arguments on
top of it. Bring this together with "basic computing skills" and "[not]
easily frustrated by technology" that are recommended and it seems that
getting the help that may be needed to do a course that is not
specifically about Word with Linux should not be too difficult --
assuming the discipline and auto-motivation that is required for taking
an online course anyway.

Also, even considering getting a computer according to the requirements
specifically for the course, I find it difficult to rack up the $1500
you claim. Your claim that this constitutes a hidden cost of $1500 is
not different from someone claiming that his $2600 Prada shoes are a
hidden cost for going to college. Both may be subjectively necessary,
but definitely are not objectively required. A computer that fulfills
the requirements can be had for under $500, probably for much less than
that, and possibly for free. (This excluding Photoshop, Excel and Word,
as they are not general requirements.)

> So it walks and it quacks.

But it seems you only hear your own rants, rather than the actual
quacking :)

Gerhard

2009\01\23@163114 by apptech

face
flavicon
face
>> Actually all car makers manufactures the cars in a way that all the
>> pedalling and steering system works in the same way. It was not that way
>> all the time, but can you imagine, that you sit in a Ford and the clutch
>> is is under your right foot? And if you buy a Mercedes the clutch has to
>> be
>> handled by your right hand?

Army Indian motorcycle:

Right twist grip = advance / retard.
Footlever = (I think it was) clutch
Hand shift for gear change.
Thrittle was ? - maybe thumb lever or left twist grip?
Bizarre anyway.

     Russell

2009\01\23@204100 by Peter

picon face
Gerhard Fiedler <lists <at> connectionbrazil.com> writes:
> you claim. Your claim that this constitutes a hidden cost of $1500 is

My *rant* was not directed at a particular, denominated, college, please do not
put words in my mouth. The thread has far exceeded the original subject's
boundaries, and imho you are not very objective applying what I wrote in general
to a particular college. Especially since you do not know what *other* college
and university I had in mind (unless you can read minds, that is).

Peter


2009\01\24@140308 by Peter

picon face
Gerhard Fiedler <lists <at> connectionbrazil.com> writes:
> No. I don't know where you get the idea from. Maybe because you only
> read the parts of my messages that you quote? :)

Maybe I use my right to select what I wish to answer to, and supply it as a
quotation ? Maybe I should not quote at all and let people guess what I am
talking about. That way, one could no longer complain about what exactly I quote
and what not.

> I understood exactly this, and all my comments were about exactly this.
> Maybe you (re?)read them; judging by your comments, you seem not to have
> understood much of it.

I understand that you did not understand that I understood what you wrote, but
also that you did not understand that this is not a beat-the-horse-to-death
discussion, but an exchange of ideas that slides and changes all the time as the
discussion progresses.

In that spirit, perhaps it would be good if responses would either add to what
is written in the message (quotes and all). There is no point in discussing what
others quote out of one's messages, and what not. Note that I do bother not to
truncate quotations when possible (f.ex. by not cutting phrases out of context).

> You're wrong here: a change in law would be required. The change is
> everything that is related to making HTML a legally binding definition

Again, HTML is a well-known art in the public domain that has a well-known
standard created and maintained by a recognized organization (the w3c). That
alone is enough to enforce it against being misused to label commercial products
which are incompatible, regardless whether they are distributed freely or not. I
am not a lawyer but I understand that in US law a precedent must be created
before such a thing can be enforced (usually by notes sent by the defending
lawyers to the infringers). Things go to court only when the perpetrators do not
react and then the result of the 'test lawsuit' becomes a precedent in future
litigations etc. It is possible that publishing certain medical and msds and
safety information in non-standard html or other formats constitutes a breach of
the law even now. Imho it will only take so long until someone badly hurt by
some medication will co-sue the people who made a website and the browser makers
because the information his browser showed about the product was incomplete or
misleading. Then, the html and the browser will have to be tested for
conformance with the standard. It is very clear to me which will win, and which
will loose.

Peter


2009\01\26@061843 by Gerhard Fiedler

picon face
Peter wrote:

>> you claim. Your claim that this constitutes a hidden cost of $1500 is
>
> My *rant* was not directed at a particular, denominated, college,
> please do not put words in my mouth.

Differently to you, I know where I get my ideas from. Your words:

: Ohh, but that's what this thread was about, no ? A $500 (likely)
: community college course that requires $1500 in exectly defined
: version os and office software purchases

What did you mean with the first sentence? /This thread/, what else, and
what started it? Come on... if you didn't mean the OP of this thread,
you should have expressed yourself a bit better. (I mean, writing here
has somewhat the objective of being understood, no? Or do you just want
to rant, for your personal pleasure?)

> [...] imho you are not very objective applying what I wrote in general
> to a particular college.

Well, this /is/ what this thread was about, no? Using the "was" (instead
of a possible "is"), you clearly referred to the original post. If you
didn't... the lack of objectivity and clear language is not on my part.
If you did, well, then... :)

> Especially since you do not know what *other* college and university I
> had in mind (unless you can read minds, that is).

The problem is that you don't seem to say what you mean. If you had that
"*other*" college in mind, why didn't you write about /that/ other
college? Because facts are inconvenient when ranting?

Gerhard

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