[UFO Chicago] debian woody on an imac rev. b -- success! (fwd)

Larry Garfield larry@garfieldtech.com
Fri, 10 Jan 2003 18:28:56 -0600

presence wrote:

>>	Modify and redistribute, of course.  Are you lost?
> The point being? Modify and redistribute sounds like a chain letter
> scheme, or just the shouts of an ignorant crowd with litle clue or real
> ability and nothing better to do but cry "modify and redistribute!!!"
> Where exactly does "modify and distribute" get you? Great now your b0x
> runs some little rebel version of root compromise man. Good work. Much was
> accomplished.

Modify: Bradley M. Kuhn, an individual of my aquaintance, was once 
working in a computer lab back in the early 1990s.  All the systems were 
running GNU/Linux, an old 1.x version.  They wanted to keep users from 
Ctrl+Alt+Deleting and restarting the system.  (Security reasons.)  There 
was no BIOS or boot flag for it.  However, they had access to the source 
code.  So Brad went into the source code, MODIFIED it to comment out the 
block of code that responded to the Ctrl+Alt+Del command, recompiled the 
kernel, and installed it on all of the lab machines.  That effectively 
and completely prevented users from Ctrl+Alt+Deleting to reboot the 
system.  Had he not had access to the source code or not had permission 
to MODIFY it, he would have not been able to complete the task.

Redistribute: In most cases, this takes two forms.

1) Take a snippit of the code in the program that does one task and drop 
it into another program to do the same task in a different program. 
(Eg, a sorting algorithm, a thread parser, etc.)

2) Immediate fix.  A bug in man, if released, can be fixed at any time 
by any of a few hundred thousand people and uploaded.  Such fixes are 
usually in place in a matter of hours, days at the most.  If the code is 
not available to be modified and REDISTRIBUTED (in this case, back to 
the original author), then there are perhaps 5 people who can fix it and 
upload it, and they generally have other things on their minds. 
Everyone then gets a very quick turnaround time on bug fixes.

What you are talking about is "forking", which does happen but not as 
often as you would expect.  (Surprisingly little, actually.)

I'm not even a Free Software advocate, and even I understand these 
things. :-)

Larry Garfield			AIM: LOLG42
larry@garfieldtech.com		ICQ: 6817012

"The world's most dangerous terrorist is at large in the US.  He has his 
sights set on making the entire American population cower in fear.  He 
has ordered his people to assassinate American citizens.  Do you know 
him?  His name is George W. Bush."