etoys now available in Debian's non-free repository
K. K. Subramaniam
subbukk at gmail.com
Wed Jun 25 23:13:52 EDT 2008
On Wednesday 25 Jun 2008 12:08:44 am Albert Cahalan wrote:
> > *All the source code* for *every* piece of byte code in the
> > image is available, and not only that, we even *ship* it
> No. This is not true. You ship a binary blob. That doesn't
> count, even if so-called "source code" is viewable from
> within the blob.
You are confusing "binary" as in "secret encoding" with "binary" as
in "encoding based on freely available specifications". A UTF-8 encoded file
containing Mandarin or Hindi text would be unreadable on an ASCII text
editor, but that doesn't make it a closed binary blob. A video file encoded
using a secret patented codec would constitute a closed binary blob in the
first sense since it cannot be decoded with publicly available readers nor
can one be written without overriding someone's legal rights.
Squeak image is not a blob in the first sense. One can write a program to
decode any image file and recover any data stored in it. The problem with the
blob is not that it is closed, but it is monolithic and limited in capacity.
The limit is not that restrictive for personal computing purposes, but it
will hurt when one has to deal with audio/video clips, 3-D simulations or
large databases. There is no checksum to verify integrity. Objects are stored
higgedly piggedly making even partial recovery difficult. However, these are
programming limits, not that of policy.
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