Municipal fiber networks stumble

News.com: Quest for ‘Utopia’ hits a roadblock. The mayor of Salt Lake City says one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard:

>”I just don’t see the social good in using taxpayer money to fund a network that provides more television and bandwidth for illegally downloading files,” he said. “We should spend money on getting people fit, rather than deteriorating their quality of life with higher bandwidth to surf the Net.”

Gosh, he’s really on to something here. Now that I think of it, people are spending too much time reading, let’s get rid of libraries so they can get outside and get some exercise! And really, all public sewers do is keep people from walking to the outhouse, what are we wasting taxpayer dollars on that for? Sheesh. [via boing boing]

IETF to lead anti-spam crusade

IETF’s MARID working-group will make a decision between the competing email caller-ID systems.

>The IETF already has received several proposals outlining ways to reduce spam by authenticating e-mail servers. Microsoft says it will submit to the IETF its Caller ID for E-mail Specification, which outlines a scheme for thwarting e-mail address spoofing. Yahoo is expected to submit an alternative proposal called DomainKeys, which use digital signatures to authenticate e-mail servers. Despite market pressure, IETF officials say they are unlikely to adopt a proposal from Microsoft or Yahoo without making significant changes to it.

Linux Insurance

Salon: Making the world safe for free software.

>Insurance is crucial for Linux, Egger says. Unlike proprietary software, the free operating system is vulnerable to third-party infringement claims. When large corporations buy applications from proprietary software firms such as Microsoft, they are usually sold rock-solid “indemnification” packages — clauses that let the customer off the hook in the case of any legal question surrounding the software. But it’s not the same for Linux, which was written by many developers all over the world and can’t be guaranteed by a single firm. It wouldn’t be fair to ask Red Hat, say, to indemnify you of any claims against Linux, Egger points out. “You would be asking them to guarantee something which they have no more knowledge of than you do,” he says. “You’re asking them to do something where they might be in the position of having to guarantee what their competitors wrote.”

It’s So Simple, It’s Ridiculous

Reason: Taxing times for 16th Amendment rebels.

>All that is small beer compared to his latest crusade. Since 1999 Schulz has presented his contentions regarding the income tax’s illegality to the IRS, the president, the Department of Justice (DOJ), and every member of Congress. He has humbly beseeched them to answer a list of questions regarding whether he, or any American citizen, has an actual constitutional, statutory, legal obligation to pay the federal income tax.

Desktop Linux

The Economist on Linux on the desktop:

>Within the past month, some of the world’s most powerful technology firms have pledged considerable support for Linux on the desktop. Hewlett-Packard (HP), which runs neck-and-neck with Dell as the largest seller of PCs in the world, said it will begin shipping some machines that run on Novell’s flavour of the free operating system, called SuSE Linux. And Sun Microsystems, an arch-rival of Microsoft, announced–even as it was preparing to bury the hatchet with Microsoft officially–that it had persuaded Wal-Mart, the world’s biggest retailer, to sell cheap PCs using Linux and Sun’s StarOffice suite of application programs, instead of the ubiquitous Microsoft Office. This follows a deal that Sun struck last autumn with several Chinese ministries to ship up to 1m PCs with Sun’s Linux package to China this year, rising to “tens of millions in future years,” according to Jonathan Schwartz, Sun’s chief operating officer.

Neal Stephenson

Interview with Neal Stephenson:

>Cyberpunk has been over for a long time. Some would say it was already over by the early ’90s. It’s over because it became part of the main current of science fiction. One way of thinking about cyberpunk is that it was a process by which SF belatedly came alive to the importance of information technology, and re-evaluated not only the future but also the past in that light. Similar things have been going on more recently with nanotechnology and biotech. Anyway, for the last 10 years or so, money and markets have been inseparable in my mind from other themes that are of great interest to contemporary SF writers.