The Haus

Friday, June 3, 2005

Apple Switching to Intel?

There's word up over at that Apple to ditch IBM, switch to Intel chips. This is *ahem* huge. Apple has been on either National Semi or Motorola type CPUs for ages. The PowerPC chip was a Motorola-IBM design. A switch to Intel will make things very interesting for those who have old software and want to run it on Intel, since the two chips are very different in architecture. We'll see if there's an actual announcement on this Monday.

Redhat Spins off Fedora

Word is out that Redhat is moving the Fedora project to a new organization known as the Fedora Foundation, in order to compete more effectively in the non-commercial linux market. They are also working on a patents common to try to stimulate some movement on that front. Interesting news, if it actually helps make Fedora better.

AOL Open Sources Nullsoft Code

AOL Opens Up Audio, Video Technology is a Betanews article discussing AOL open-sourcing of Winamp's Milkdrop and AVS visualization plugins, the Ultravox sound streaming protocol (formerly Shoutcast) and the Nullsoft Video format. Milkdrop and AVS were released under a BSD style license. There is no word currently on the licenses for the streaming technology.

Thursday, June 2, 2005

Carmack on Game Patents

John Carmack made an excellent post on Slashdot discussing his take on software patents in the gaming industry. This just proves how smart that man is:

I'm proud that there is "a relative dearth of patent applications for the video game industry, especially considering how technology-dependent the video game industry is, and given its size in terms of annual sales."

Before issuing a condemnation, I try hard to think about it from their point of view -- the laws of the land set the rules of the game, and lawyers are deeply confused at why some of us aren't using all the tools that the game gives us.

Patents are usually discussed in the context of someone "stealing" an idea from the long suffering lone inventor that devoted his life to creating this one brilliant idea, blah blah blah.

But in the majority of cases in software, patents effect independent invention. Get a dozen sharp programmers together, give them all a hard problem to work on, and a bunch of them will come up with solutions that would probably be patentable, and be similar enough that the first programmer to file the patent could sue the others for patent infringement.

Why should society reward that? What benefit does it bring? It doesn't help bring more, better, or cheaper products to market. Those all come from competition, not arbitrary monopolies. The programmer that filed the patent didn't work any harder because a patent might be available, solving the problem was his job and he had to do it anyway. Getting a patent is uncorrelated to any positive attributes, and just serves to allow either money or wasted effort to be extorted from generally unsuspecting and innocent people or companies.

Yes, it is a legal tool that may help you against your competitors, but I'll have no part of it. Its basically mugging someone.

Nexuiz Released

The Nexuiz website has posted their full game release yesterday for download. I gave it a quick spin, and discovered that on my system it was extremely laggy once the action started. From their forums, it looks like I have to turn off lots of the eye candy in order to make it run decently on Geforce FX hardware, which pretty much sucks. However, what I DID get to play was pretty cool. The weapon effects are excellent. The map I played had some awful light effects on it's stairs but the rest of the map was excellent.

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