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United States Software Linux

Pirate Banned From Using Linux 698

Posted by samzenpus
from the take-that dept.
dsinc writes "A guy who uploaded the latest Star Wars movie got arrested, pleaded guilty to 'conspiracy to commit copyright infringement' and 'criminal copyright infringement' and got jail and home confinement. As part of his home confinement, he agreed to install some tracking software on his computer. The problem is He's an Ubuntu Linux user and the gov't doesn't have any tracking software for Linux. So he's been told that he must use Windows for the term of his confinement. Looks like a case of cruel and unusual punishment to me"
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Pirate Banned From Using Linux

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  • And have Linux boxes behind it?
    • by Absorbed (1122443) on Thursday August 23, 2007 @05:28PM (#20335959)
      He could always use VMWare.
    • by ajs (35943) <ajs@ a j s . com> on Thursday August 23, 2007 @05:32PM (#20336021) Homepage Journal
      One presumes that he has been required to surrender his hardware (all of it) to the authorities for the installation of the tracking software which phones home to indicate what he's doing (at whatever level of granularity it tracks such things).

      He could probably get away with VMWare or the like running Linux under Windows, but that would just run the risk of landing him in jail.

      His best bet is Cygwin [cygwin.com], the suite of open source tools for Windows that includes everything you need to essentially subvert a Windows desktop and make it think it's a Unix-like OS. It's not 100% perfect, but it's a far cry better than pure Windows. I regularly use a Windows laptop with X running under it, ssh to my office with X-forwarding and several gnome-terminals running on my work desktop.

      Other than that, the only native Windows apps I use are Firefox and Thunderbird, so it's often hard to tell what OS it actually is.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mark-t (151149)
      Most likely not. I expect as a concession to even allowing him internet access at ALL, they probably strictly control what computer hardware the man is allowed to have in his own home. It might sound a bit tough, but bear in mind that this is not an innocent man here... he pled guilty to the charges and this is just part of the punishment.
    • by pudge (3605) * Works for Slashdot
      Maybe he can. That'd be super-sweet.
    • And have Linux boxes behind it?

      Brilliant. Your advice to this guy is turn a lightly supervised probation into a spanking-new charge of parole violation - playing against the two felony convictions already on his record?

      Go directly to jail, do not pass Go, do not collect $200.

  • Why... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by PunkOfLinux (870955)
    are they even allowed to do this? "Oh, well, we can't be bothered to make a system for your operating system, so we'll just force you to use something else!" Duh...
    • Re:Why... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 23, 2007 @05:30PM (#20335993)
      Take it in context...

      They probably offered him a deal to spend home time versus all jail time if he agreed to certain terms. They are not FORCING him to use windows, they are saying that if he wants the easy path of punishment, he has to abide by certain rules.

      Also the requirement would only be for if he uses a computer at all. He's perfectly welcome to simply not use one at all.

      All in all, he got off easy and just has to fullow the very simple rules in order to get the easy version of punishment.
      • Re:Why... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by euxneks (516538) on Thursday August 23, 2007 @09:15PM (#20338563)

        Take it in context...

        Yes, take it in context, he pirated a bunch of movies - clearly not something that should be jailtime. At most maybe a steep fine, but jailtime is to keep the freakazoids out of society until we can get them (hopefully) rehabilitated to work properly in said society - it shouldn't really be looked at as punishment.
         
        Frankly, I don't believe punishing a wrong works all that well -- you have to psychologically change the person to prevent them from doing it again. Of course, my opinion is my own, largely untrained, based upon a relatively quick judgement =P

    • Re:Why... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by shogarth (668598) on Thursday August 23, 2007 @05:30PM (#20335999)

      Why? Because he's a convict still serving his sentence (that's why he's under home confinement). If he doesn't like the terms of home confinement, he can always go back in the slammer and have even more restricted access.

      • Re:Why... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by db32 (862117) on Thursday August 23, 2007 @05:55PM (#20336309) Journal
        Yeah, damn dirty rapist murdering prick...oh wait...he uploaded the new Star Wars. Well, I guess this is the joy of treating copyright infringement as a criminal offense. Unless of course the infringement wasn't the offense, and that subjecting that many people to the latest Star Wars is considered a crime against humanity.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Egdiroh (1086111)

      are they even allowed to do this? "Oh, well, we can't be bothered to make a system for your operating system, so we'll just force you to use something else!" Duh...
      This is a probation, which means that the alternative is Prison, so I think that as long as they don't take away any more freedoms then would be taken away by sending him to Prison that they are allowed to do it.
    • by LWATCDR (28044)
      Yes. They could tell him that he couldn't use a computer at all or they could throw him jail. His can use a computer with monitoring software on it and it is only available for Windows.
    • Re:Why... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by gad_zuki! (70830) on Thursday August 23, 2007 @05:38PM (#20336111)
      >are they even allowed to do this? "Oh, well, we can't be bothered to make a system for your operating system, so we'll just force you to use something else!" Duh...

      No, the taxpayers cant be bothered to pay for more coding software. Hell, considering his crimes it just be better to not allow him computer use during probabtion, if he doesnt like that he cant spend those 5 months in prison. I know what I'd pick. Incredible how we coddle our criminals. Whats next a personal butler and compensation for jail time spent? Hot chocolate?
      • Re:Why... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by SCHecklerX (229973) <thecaptain@captaincodo.net> on Thursday August 23, 2007 @06:41PM (#20336961) Homepage
        installing software is the wrong way to go about this anyway. The gvt. should have an appliance that they stick between his router and the ISP connection. Have that box run whatever it is they want for monitoring and reporting. It'd be easy to make sure it isn't tampered with, and is always running that way too.

        Hmm...I wonder how lucrative starting such a business to provide these things to authorities would be, seems like a fun project.
    • by Chandon Seldon (43083) on Thursday August 23, 2007 @05:41PM (#20336137) Homepage

      Don't do the crime if you can't do the time.

      Sure, but he's done the jail time, and he's not complaining about the probation term at all.

      Just because someone has committed a crime does not mean that the government gets to impose arbitrary terms on them without an explicit court ruling. It especially doesn't mean that the government should be mandating specific non-optimal technical choices that interfere the livelyhood of an expert in a technical field.

      Mandating Windows to a computer expert so they can be tracked for piracy is like mandating a Chrysler mini-van to a farmer because he beat his wife. Sure, you can carry produce to market in a mini-van, but making the farmer buy a new Chrysler mini-van to replace his perfectly functional Toyota pickup truck is absurd.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Bastardchyld (889185)
        Actually he has not completed his sentence. His sentence was 5 months jail time and 5 months probation...

        These terms are hardly arbitrary... He committed a crime with his computer and now he is going to have his computer activities monitored. This is the same as having ignition interlocks on automobiles in response to a DUI. When you are a "ward of the state" which you are while you are under probation, you do not have freedom, at that point you have actually had your freedom revoked. Probation is a
  • He can run Linux in a virtual machine, I hope. That will not only get him back to using his favorite operating system, but might get him around the government's silly monitoring so he can get back to uploading the movies you and I enjoy.
    • Re:Virtual machine (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Chandon Seldon (43083) on Thursday August 23, 2007 @05:34PM (#20336065) Homepage

      People have made this comment on every single thread on this topic everywhere (Slashdot is the third site I've seen this story on), and it's still wrong and (frankly) nonsensical.

      The requirement is that they run software that can monitor his computer activities. The complication is that the software is Windows-only so it won't run on his Linux system. Your suggestion accomplishes neither party's goal: It wouldn't let them monitor his computer activity, and it wouldn't let him run Linux as the OS on his machine (he'd have to run Windows, and then screw around, and then maybe run some Linux apps in a VM while still paying for a Windows license and dealing with Windows crap).

  • Wow (Score:4, Funny)

    by rolfwind (528248) on Thursday August 23, 2007 @05:28PM (#20335973)
    I'm glad my tax dollar are so hard at work protecting the poor corporations. I was worried there for a second.
  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohnNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday August 23, 2007 @05:29PM (#20335985) Journal
    United States Magistrate Judge Carla Woehrle: After pleading guilty, you are hereby sentenced to confinement at your house ...
    Marc Hoaglin: No change in lifestyle there.
    Judge Carla Woehrle: ... and to serve up to 6 months jail time ...
    Marc Hoaglin: Sure, why not? I'll get a chance to lift some weights.
    Judge Carla Woehrle: ... and to install government monitoring software on your computer ...
    Marc Hoaglin: I guess that's only fair.
    Judge Carla Woehrle: ... that only runs on Windows.
    Marc Hoaglin: DO NOT WANT!!!
  • Damn them! (Score:5, Funny)

    by eln (21727) * on Thursday August 23, 2007 @05:30PM (#20335989) Homepage
    This is clearly a Ninja plot.
  • by rjshields (719665) on Thursday August 23, 2007 @05:32PM (#20336023)
    I read comments on here about video cameras in the UK and why don't we stick up for our rights. Here is a case of someone being sent to to jail for pirating a movie. This is not an offence worthy of jail time at tax payers' expense. When are you guys going to say enough of this bullshit?
  • by richdun (672214) on Thursday August 23, 2007 @05:34PM (#20336053)

    The problem is He's an Ubuntu Linux user

    And here I was hoping God used Mac OS X (yes, I'm sure there's a "daemon" joke in there, but I'll leave it at one bad joke per post).

  • by hax0r_this (1073148) on Thursday August 23, 2007 @05:34PM (#20336057)
    I've been wondering if that software works on Linux. Good to know that it doesn't.

    sudo apt-get install evil-government-monitoring-program
  • by Skiron (735617) on Thursday August 23, 2007 @05:34PM (#20336061) Homepage
    You will install MS Vista and install tracking software; you will also pay $300.00 licence fee to MS. You will also install MSOffice2007 _and_ also pay the licence fee. Once this is done, you will ALWAYS vote yes for ooxml.
  • by Oz0ne (13272) on Thursday August 23, 2007 @05:37PM (#20336089) Homepage
    See, if I was the judge, I'd say he wasn't allowed to use a computer, period, for the duration of whatever sentence is being carried out.

    • by kosmosik (654958) <kosNO@SPAMkosmosik.net> on Thursday August 23, 2007 @06:01PM (#20336407) Homepage
      Maybe because the judge wanted him to be punished (home arrest) but not exactly make him a retard.

      I mean nowdays Internet access is *essential*. It is like having a phone or a car. Imagine you have a job and do DUI. You will be only allowed to use car like 8-9am and 4-5pm (so you can go to work). Without your car you wouldn't be able to work and thus you will loose your job and become a citizen that parasites on others. I don't think that law system is built to punish citizens this way that they loose their jobs and became parasites on others. That would be stupid.

      So with that in mind the judge allowed the man to use Internet (maybe for working from home - quite usual) but he wishes to monitor his activity.

      I don't see anything wrong here.

      But I don't know why don't they force him (if he wishes to use the Internet) to just use a special broadband service for convicts which is monitored server-side. Such setup would not require any client side software.

  • by Mr. Lwanga (872401) on Thursday August 23, 2007 @05:37PM (#20336091) Journal
    Sounds like the latest "Catch a Hacker" episode of Dateline NBC. Ace investigative reporter Michelle Madigan uncovers a new operating system used by hackers, pirates and cybercriminals to go on an internet crime spree. What is Ubuntu and why is the government helpless to stop it?
  • by Torodung (31985) on Thursday August 23, 2007 @05:37PM (#20336097) Journal

    the gov't doesn't have any tracking software for Linux
    Gee. That sounds like a bulletproof marketing slogan for any distro.

    "Linux: The only operating system the NSA doesn't 0wn."

    --
    Toro
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dougmc (70836)

      "Linux: The only operating system the NSA doesn't 0wn."

      Clever, but who do you think developed SELinux [wikipedia.org], included in the 2.6 kernel source tree?

      pwned.

      Not that the NSA really cares about some movie pirate who got busted, and just because they wrote something useful for Linux and had it included in the kernel, that doesn't mean they're going to go write monitoring software for you too.

  • This looks like a job for a rootkit!

    Quick, someone call Sony, maybe they can help!
  • Linux is my life man (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kentrel (526003) on Thursday August 23, 2007 @05:38PM (#20336109) Journal
    "It isn't the fact that I have to be monitored that bothers me, it is the fact that I have [to] restructure my life (different OS, different software on that OS)"

    In jail for 5 months and he thinks changing Operating System needs more of a life restructuring.

    Perhaps, this sentence will give him the perfect opportunity to finally find a life outside of his linux box.

  • by Kazoo the Clown (644526) on Thursday August 23, 2007 @05:39PM (#20336119)
    Or are they going to buy a legit copy for him?
  • Are they that dumb? Sure, I'll run windows, I'll just partition the drive but leave the windows bootloader intact, and install grub to a boot floppy to just switch the compy to linux. Pull the floppy, compy loads windows.

    BRILLIANT!!!
    • by Lehk228 (705449)
      install wubi, it boots off the ntfs partition and installs without a boot loader other than the native windows loader.
  • (Office firewall doesn't like the site)

    What I really wonder . . . how is this conspiracy and *criminal* copyright infringement . . . aren't these usually civil cases? What's different here?

  • of all these linux newbs. jeez, you guys, l2wine already! kthxbye.

    (note how i resisted the urge to point out the wine-whine pun. wait...dammit!)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 23, 2007 @06:47PM (#20337011)
    So he decides to break down and install Windows. After he's finished, he calls up the FBI and says "OK, I've installed Windows. How do I install the monitoring software?" and the operators says "OK. Here's what you've got to do..." and gives a loooong list of instructions. So the guy says "Holy crap! I've got to do all that?!" and the FBI operator says, "I'm just kidding. It came with the OS. Have a nice day."
  • by SleepyHappyDoc (813919) on Thursday August 23, 2007 @09:38PM (#20338761)
    This seems ludicrous to me, not that he has to use Windows, but that they are depending on a program under his complete control to monitor him. What's to stop him from subverting the monitoring...sending back 'all clear' messages to the government and doing whatever the hell he wants? If they really want to monitor him, they should install some kind of locked packet-trapping box on the line coming in to his house...anything less than that is simply untrustworthy, especially considering the person has already shown an ability to do stuff with computers that they'd rather he didn't.

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