Category: "Web media"

What the case is really about 28-sept-06 28-sept-06

Everybody’s been saying lots of things about the case, especially that the Belgian newspapers should have used robots.txt to tell Google what not to index. And that the fact they did not use robots.txt clearly show all they were interested is in getting money from Google…

Well, friends, I’m no lawyer or legal expert of any kind, but I’m French… and that lets me read and “almost” understand the terms of the ruling… I guess…

I think the ruling makes it pretty clear what the Belgian newspapers want, and I think this has been mistunderstood:

  • The papers welcome Google to index and display their news as part of Google News! (or at least they don’t care)
  • The papers’ particular online business model is that news are free, but access to archives require payments. Example here.
  • Once an article falls out of the news category and into the archives category, it should not be freely accessible any more.
  • Google, via its world (in)famous Google Cache, often makes the content available forever, or at least for a very long time after is has gone off the official site’s free area.

I guess that’s it: what the Beligian paper really want is a way to get the content out of Google News once it is no news any more.

Now, I’m no robots.txt or Googlebot expert either, but from what I understand there was no convenient way for the papers to tell Google that it is okay to index some content for, let’s say 2 months, but not keep it in cache after that delay.

Goggle made some general comments on the case on their blog, but:

  • They are not allowed to comment specifically on the ruling, so it’s not that useful;
  • They failed to show up at the trial, which is quite unbelievable… but would make it almost believable they fail to understand the real issue that has been raised… :roll:

Note: again, I’m no legal expert. Just trying to make a little sense of all this noise…

Be social: digg this! ;)

Status of PHP 5

Here are a few bits of information I collected at PHP Forum (Nov 9 & 10, 2005):

  • It is estimated than no more than 5% of the servers running PHP have switched to PHP 5 yet
  • PHP 5.0 is a feature release, not a performance release. Therefore it is slower than PHP 4.x. Therefore it makes no sense running apps designed for PHP 4 on PHP 5.0.
  • PHP 5.1 should almost match the performance of PHP 4.4
  • Rasmus will probably migrate Yahoo's servers from PHP 4 to PHP 5 once PHP 5.1 has undergone a few weeks without any major issue.
  • It is extremely painful for everyone to make code that works on PHP 5 as well as PHP 4, especially because you cannot redefine the clone statement in PHP 4 for compatibility.

Okay, that's all I can recall right now! :P

The Flash Virtual Machine

Sometimes I wonder if Macromedia isn't going to succeed with Flash where Java failed... on this particular topic of harware and OS abstraction. Flash Lite makes their virtual machine (aka "player") more real than ever. Russ has all the details so I won't even try to repeat them here! :P

IE 6 not refreshing

Just stumbled upon yet another funky IE6 "bug" (if I may say so...

When you want to automatically refresh to another page, you send a header that looks something like:


The funky thing is that if that header exceeds the maximum size of 263 characters, IE won't do the refresh!

Okay there's got to be a limit, but why so low? And why "263" ??

No need to say, auto refreshes work fine in Firebird with headers much longer than that.

I guess this is why you still need to put some dirty message underneath like 'if nothing happens, please click here! :/

PS: Please don't tell me to use a Location: instead. This would make it impossible to set cookies.

Microsoft killing the browser: scary movie...

Sometimes I fear that Microsoft stopping the development of IE 6 is a lot worse than we think...

It looks more and more like they have a master plan beyond terminating the free browser program... (we don't care, we have open source browsers, right?)... Actually, it looks like they plan to terminate the browser concept itself.

With their .NET client technology, they actually intend to promote applications that directly and transparently connect to web-services. You don't "see" the internet any more. What you see, is the funky XP GUI interface of a native Windows application!

Once most online services will work only with their dedicated Windows client (yeah the providers don't care, that's 95% of their market anyway), what's the use of a free open source browser going to be? Oh yeah... it will let you browse the old, poorly maintained, "compatible" w-e-b-site (which already only works well in IE! :/)

Wow! Waking up... I just had a terrible nightmare! Luckily something like this could never happen... right?   right?

2015 update: something like this is actually happening with phone apps... Ironic? ... or did someone take a page out of Microsoft's early century book?