Digg Annoyances

So everyone's claiming Digg is going to overtake Slashdot, but I'm not so convinced... I've read it occationaly for the last couple months. Then the other day I noticed them promoting some new features, and upon clicking the link I was welcomed with a "You must upgrade Flash" notice as I keep seeing all over the web. The problem is that Adobe has still yet to release any version of Flash beyone version 7 for Linux users. So, basically Digg has made it clear to me that Linux/Unix/BSD users are pretty low on their priority list. I'm tired of being spit in the face of by all these sites, and I expected better from the so called tech site that is Digg.com.

Then today, strike 2 happens. I noticed an aricle talking about how AMD is considering open sourcing their ATI drivers and that there were no articles about it on Digg yet, so I made my first submission. Well, oddly the "diggs" came alot slower than I expected for such an important topic, and when I came back to check if it had gotten enough votes to show up on the front page I found that it had, BUT it had been marked as a duplicate by many users... some even felt the need to tell me in the comments, and then one of them put a link to the supposed post that I duplicated. Then I quickly saw that the article with much more diggs was posted over an hour after mine was, yet somehow they shot up and now I was being marked as a duplicate.

Sure, this is something pretty silly to get upset over, but it's also very disheartening to have this happen on my very first submission. Being the guy that I am, I quickly came up with a simple solution. Whenever someone marks an article as a duplicate they should also be required to provide the URL of the article that has been supposedly duplicated. Then a simple script can check the times they were posted and determine who the real dupe is. Then I guess they can even take it one step forward and place all the duplicate reports on the actual dupe instead of the real original. It sounds like a lot of trouble for something so silly, but it would have meant a lot to me if my first post wasn't treated so poorly by something that could be so easily corrected :(

I've submitted a bug report for both of these issues, but I'm not holding my breath that they'll actually do anything... so for now, I'll stick with Slashdot ;)


GPL v3 & DRM

From what I've seen so far, the biggest change to the upcoming version 3 of the GPL is inclusion of anti-DRM clauses. This is the thing that has so many people up in arms about what Stallman and the FSF are doing. To me, this makes no sense. The GNU GPL and LGPL are the most commonly used open source/free software licenses, but this move could change that. The way I see it is that DRM is a feature of the software, and does not belong in such a license regardless. The whole point of the GPL license is for development and to make sure everyone plays fair with their use and contributions. Something like DRM should be a decision made by the developers, not the license their software is distributed under. One of the biggest reasons people like OS/FS is because it offers them choice, and this move is restricting choice. If the Free Software Foundation feels this strongly about the issue they should offer two versions of the GPL v3, a standard GPL with no mention of the issue and then a "GPL-no-DRM" license. Since the GPL license itself is open to change as well, the clauses to prevent DRM from being used in a particular piece of software should be listed as optional, and a developer can include them if they so choose, but the standard license has no business doing this.

My final verdict on the use of DRM is still out. As while I don't usually like it and I think it can be a major pain in the ass, I still can see why content producers would want such technology. Technically the use of serial numbers, which has been done for decades now, is a form of DRM, and I never really minded it. It's just when the DRM system gets in the way of me legally using the things I've bought that it becomes a problem. And software licencing isn't going to fix this, it's going to be up to us convincing the content producers to use better practices.

I read a very interesting article today. I'm now not so sure of my prior thoughts. It seems the DRM that the FSF is worried about isn't necessarily the type placed on media files, but rather for in situations like the TiVo, where they have made it almost impossible to modify their GNU/Linux based software by use of a verification key, but are still technically legal according to the GPL v2 :(