DRM, DMCA and OST (Other Scary Things)
It's obvious to most Linux users that Digital Rights Management (DRM) is a really bad idea. It's not just because DRM-encoded media usually won't play with our operating system, but rather because we understand the value of openness. The really sad part is that DRM, at least on some level, is attempting to do a good thing.
Take Wil Wheaton for example. You may know Wil from television or movie acting, but he's also a successful writer. Along with writing books, he often performs them and sells the audiobook version of his work. Because Wil is against DRM, his books are available as unrestricted MP3 files. That's great for those of us who like to listen to such things on Linux or a non-iPod MP3 player. Unfortunately, some users confuse DRM-free with copyright-free. When otherwise decent individuals don't think through the ramifications of redistributing someone's copyrighted work, you end up with situations like this: tinyurl.com/stealfromwil.
If you put yourself in Mr Wheaton's shoes for a second, you can see how tempting it is for authors—and, more important, publishing companies—to DRM-encode their work. Theoretically, if a piece of media is “protected” with DRM, only those people who purchase the rights to enjoy it can enjoy it. Unfortunately, as everyone but the big companies that insist on using it know, all it manages to do is punish the honest people. People who have tried to play Amazon Video on Demand videos on their Linux desktops or listen to Audible audiobooks on their no-name MP3 players know exactly what I mean.
The truth of the matter is, if people are dishonest enough to use copyrighted materials they haven't paid for, DRM does little more than give them an “excuse” for their pirating ways. Right now, users are given the choice of paying money for limited, restricted access to media, or to download illegally fully functional, cross-platform, unrestricted media for free from torrent sites. I have two messages for two different groups:
1. Media publishing companies: make it easy for users to buy access to your media, and make that media flexible, archive-able and affordable. Yes, people will pirate your stuff—just like they do now. The difference will be that your honest clients won't hate you, and you'll actually gain some clients because you will be offering what people really want.
2. Frustrated users: look, I'm with you. DRM frustrates me too. Although I'm not expecting to convert those among us who choose to pirate media, I would hope that we'd all support those companies (and individuals, in Wil Wheaton's case) that “get it”. The only way we'll be part of the solution when it comes to eliminating DRM is actually to buy non-DRM stuff. At the very least, every time you pirate something because you can't buy it legitimately, e-mail the companies and let them know. If they see lost sales, perhaps they will rethink their approach to digital media.
I could go on and on about the insanity of Blu-ray DRM and the like, but I don't have the energy. Plus, I want to go watch the hi-def movie I just ripped on my Linux laptop. I'll have to remember to e-mail the movie producer about my morally justifiable, but legally questionable ways....
Practical Task Scheduling Deployment
July 20, 2016 12:00 pm CDT
One of the best things about the UNIX environment (aside from being stable and efficient) is the vast array of software tools available to help you do your job. Traditionally, a UNIX tool does only one thing, but does that one thing very well. For example, grep is very easy to use and can search vast amounts of data quickly. The find tool can find a particular file or files based on all kinds of criteria. It's pretty easy to string these tools together to build even more powerful tools, such as a tool that finds all of the .log files in the /home directory and searches each one for a particular entry. This erector-set mentality allows UNIX system administrators to seem to always have the right tool for the job.
Cron traditionally has been considered another such a tool for job scheduling, but is it enough? This webinar considers that very question. The first part builds on a previous Geek Guide, Beyond Cron, and briefly describes how to know when it might be time to consider upgrading your job scheduling infrastructure. The second part presents an actual planning and implementation framework.
Join Linux Journal's Mike Diehl and Pat Cameron of Help Systems.
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With all the industry talk about the benefits of Linux on Power and all the performance advantages offered by its open architecture, you may be considering a move in that direction. If you are thinking about analytics, big data and cloud computing, you would be right to evaluate Power. The idea of using commodity x86 hardware and replacing it every three years is an outdated cost model. It doesn’t consider the total cost of ownership, and it doesn’t consider the advantage of real processing power, high-availability and multithreading like a demon.
This ebook takes a look at some of the practical applications of the Linux on Power platform and ways you might bring all the performance power of this open architecture to bear for your organization. There are no smoke and mirrors here—just hard, cold, empirical evidence provided by independent sources. I also consider some innovative ways Linux on Power will be used in the future.Get the Guide