For many years now I’ve watched debates on sharia and copyright—and specifically copyright on works of `ilm al-din—go round and round with very little new progress made. This is, I suppose merely reflective of the same ground reality of near-universal disregard of copyright which shapes the general debate.

But what’s surprising is that some of what seems to draw the most ire from those in favor of protecting content creators’ investments is the habit—especially in the Arab world— of “unscrupulous” publishers reprinting the texts of critical editions prepared at great expense. We’ll ignore the fact that many critical editions are actually masters and doctoral theses. The simple, plain truth is that a critical edition of a public domain work (and it would be extremely rare to find a critical edition of a non-public domain work) is not a copyrightable work in itself. Frontmatter, footnotes and so on will be subject to copyright, but the text itself is merely a reproduction of something already free to all—no matter how much effort and cost was expended in preparing it. I suspect that even those footnotes which point out variations between manuscripts are also part of the public domain as they constitute facts, and one can not copyright a list of facts. Yes, a pdf of a scanned copy of a critical edition is probably a copyright violation, but printing a separate edition based on the text prepared by the editor should be perfectly legal. And unless the proponents of shar`i copyright—which in my opinion has no leg to stand on aside from local law—are willing to contend that the sharia’s protection of creator effort and intellectual property extends beyond what the relevant statutes and treaties require, it must be ceded that this action is entirely permissible.

The Dawat-e Islami IT team has done something incredible in putting together their Fatawa Rizwiyya Sharif application. Unfortunately, this team seems to be an all Microsoft shop. We’ll make dua for them on that.

Meanwhile, there seems to have been a slight oversight in releasing the software. Insha’ Allah we can get them to devote a few minutes of tawajjuh to this and rebuild the executable they distribute.

The problem is this: the app depends on [something related to] the Jet DB Engine, which is not only deprecated, but does not run natively under 64 bit versions of Windows. This does not mean that the software cannot run under 64-bit OSes, but rather the OS needs to know to run it app as a 32-bit app. Unfortunately Visual Studio compiles apps by default as platform agnostic, and 64-bit users receive an error. IIRC the error is something like “Microsoft.Jet.OleDb.4.0 provider is not registered on the local machine.”

While we wait for a fixed version, there is a fix you can perform locally. To change the 32-bit execution flag, just run:

CoreFlags.exe FatawaeRazaviya.exe /32BIT+

(Determining the full path for each of these executables is left as an exercise for the reader.)

CoreFlags is a part of the .NET SDK. If this is not already installed, download the latest version of the installer. (You can use the “for Windows 7” version on Vista – and it will probably correspond to the version of .NET you have installed.) In the installer, you only need to check: Developer Tools > Windows Development Tools > .NET Development Tools.


After changing this one flag, the app will work beautifully, assuming you have taken the necessary language setup steps.

Allah reward Ala Hazrat رضی اللہ عنہ and Hazrat Maulana Ilyas Qadiri and all of those working for Dawat-e Islami, and especially the programmers and ulama who have taken part in this effort a thousand times for every click of every user, and 100,000 times for every time someone acts on a point learned from a work prepared or question answered using this software.

I’m not really a Windows or .NET person, so if I’ve made any mistake in my explanation, forgive me and correct me.

Worse than Who’s Who

November 19, 2009

The recently released report entitled “The 500 Most Influential Muslims” would barely be acceptable as an IB MYP Personal Project from a 10th Grader. I certainly hope that the people who did the actual work were undergrads and not doctoral candidates or – Hasha lillah! – Esposito and Kalin themselves.

Aside from my personal biases, the most jaw-grind-inducing problem was the sheer inconsistency. There was apparently no criterion for deciding how individuals were assigned to the various categories. This was really noticeable with religious scholars who were haphazardly assigned to three or four different categories. There was also no consistency in the amount of detail or the extension of meaning of terms used in the sidebar. National placement was also fluid – Shaikh Nuh Keller (US born, resident in Jordan for two decades) is listed under the USA, while Shaikh Gibreel Haddad (Lebanon born, US educated, longtime resident of Syria, and settled for about 5 years in Brunei) is listed under Brunei.

The “top 50″ are ranked, and the rest simply listed by country and region in their categories. The most offensive category is that for “women.” All of the women included are shoved in this category, no matter what their field. Sheikh Hasina Wazed – the Prime Minister of a country with a population greater than those controlled by the four “most influential” combined is not only relegated to this category but even has her name mis-Arabized. (I suspect the editorial hand of John “qital=killing” Esposito there.) The only exception is Sheikha Munira Qubeysi (!!!?!!1!1!) who makes it as the token woman in the top 50. Read the rest of this entry »

$ convert *.gif mydoc.pdf

Thanks again, ImageMagick.

Say you were using purely gcj from forever but you run across an application which discriminates against it. If you install Sun’s java (jdk/jre/jwhatever) and out of caution or nostalgia don’t uninstall gcj, how do you make sun-java the new system default?

#update-alternatives --config java

While we’re on an OpenWRT kick, let me mention that Amazon has the guaranteed flashable WRT-54GL for less than $50 again. I won’t even provide a non-referral link, so as not to raise eyebrows at wordpress.[non-]com[mercial]. I’m sure you could find it.

Possibly the best reason someone who’s not interested in getting to know their network or doing fun things with it is the possibility to use just one OpenWRT/DD-WRT/Tomato device (along with any standard wireless router) to extend internet connectivity to another part of the house without running wires or using shaky (and unencrypted) Power-Over-Ethernet.

On my list of future projects to waste my money on, though, is a set of cheap 802.11n devices, replacing the “G” bridges I’ve had for the last few years. Apparently, that day is near or already here. Of course “N” speeds only matter if you’re concerned with moving data between machines in the home. For a normal residence, any available residential networking technology is faster (in most cases orders of magnitude faster) than even the best of the universally crappy available residential internet connections, and so the bottleneck will always be at the WAN side (especially for upload.) Of course these days, most small businesses are actually paying more for even crappier Internet service. But I digress…

On a last OpenWRT note, if I had known about this contest in time, I definitely would have put together a team and devoted a few months. Maybe it really does pay to read Slashdot.

OpenWRT Kamikaze 8.09 processes /etc/config/dhcp and appends the settings specified there as command line options when running dnsmasq. To properly configure dnsmasq to point to your LTSP server you will both need to specify options in this file, and modify the dnsmasq init script for these new settings. (Note that you can also—right now—add an /etc/dnsmasq.conf with these options in standard syntax. But that’s not the way OpenWRT is heading, and there’s inconsistency across the various packages as to the use and naming of non-uci config files.)

The following worked for me with Debian Lenny running LTSP 5.1.10 installed fromt the repositories, other distros may require different paths:

In /etc/config/dhcp, add in the “config dnsmasq” section:

option dhcp_boot ltsp/i386/pxelinux.0,$LTSP_SERVER_HOSTNAME,$LTSP_SERVER_IP
option dhcp_option 17,'$LTSP_SERVER_IP:/opt/ltsp/i386/'

The first path is relative to /var/lib/tftpboot, the second is the ltsp chroot directory which should be in /etc/exports. The second option is equivalent to the root-path option offered by dhcpd (AFAIU) and solves the “need path” error. Apparently this is not necessary when the DHCP and LTSP servers are the same.

Etherboot clients may require different path information. And if you have a mixed set of clients, you can use the dhcp-vendorclass syntax demonstrated here (the paths in the dnsmasq section of this document are out of date, though they have been fixed in the rest of the page.)

In /etc/init.d/dnsmasq add in the “dnsmasq()” function:

append_parm "$cfg" "dhcp_boot" "--dhcp-boot"
append_parm "$cfg" "dhcp_option" "--dhcp-option"

# /etc/init.d/dnsmasq restart

Then boot one of your thin clients, hopefully to an LDM login screen.

(Credit where credit is due: This post on general PXE booting with Kamikaze got me halfway to getting this to work.)


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