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Software

+ - Open Source forum software that isn't phpBB?

Submitted by
Anthony Boyd
Anthony Boyd writes "After writing dozens of mods for phpBB, I've decided to move on. But I've had a hard time finding replacements. MyBB and SMF were promising until I read their licenses (not truly Open Source). Vanilla looked like a nice little OOP codebase, but the actual forum it provides is a bit anemic. I found PunBB only to learn that it had recently lost all its developers to a fork (FluxBB), and those developers are missing their deadlines. So I went from "can't find phpBB competitors" to finding a few that had problems, and I knew there were more competitors & problems I had yet to unearth. I realized that the Slashdot community might collectively have far greater insight. Is there a phpBB competitor out there? Is the license good? Is the community good? How's the feature set? What's the codebase like? If you have an opinion, I'd like to hear it."

Comment: Re:Someone will greasemonkey it. (Score 1) 508

by Anthony Boyd (#23853723) Attached to: Netflix To Eliminate Profiles Feature
Yeah, that was my immediate thought. I have a handful of Greasemonkey scripts, and when I saw this article I wondered what it would take to re-create the feature. To do it right, you'd need a central server of your own that Greasemonkey could use to store which items were flagged as yours. Then you'd need to provide some kind of labeling feature to the page ("10 of the movies on this list are for me, 30 are for my spouse, and 20 are for my kids"), and finally a "rebalance" option that would take the single queue and intersperse your items with your spouse/kids items. That would roughly simulate the feature.

There's a simpler way if you can assume that only 2 people are using one account -- you'd use Greasemonkey to store all the items you flag as your own, and then when you rebalance, it would just put your own items every-other-one in the list. It "assumes" that everything not flagged as your own would be from one other person, so it could split the list 50-50. No central server needed in such a case.

Having thought it through, I think I'll leave it to others. I'd want to do it the "right" way with the central server, which would take more time to put together than I have. It seems very useful, though. I hope other Greasemonkey developers are considering it. Heck, maybe there is a better way that is less investment for the developer. Better minds will find it.
Programming

What Makes a Programming Language Successful? 1119

Posted by timothy
from the users-programs-books-community dept.
danielstoner writes "The article '13 reasons why Ruby, Python and the gang will push Java to die... of old age' makes an interesting analysis of the programming languages battling for a place in programmers' minds. What really makes a language popular? What really makes a language 'good'? What is success for a programming language? Can we say COBOL is a successful language? What about Ruby, Python, etc?"
Databases

Sun May Begin Close Sourcing MySQL Features 509

Posted by samzenpus
from the closing-up dept.
An anonymous reader writes "From the MySQL User's Conference, Sun has announced, and former CEO Marten Mickos has confirmed, that Sun will be close sourcing sections of the MySQL code base. Sun will begin with close sourcing the backup solutions to MySQL, and will continue with more advanced features. With Oracle owning Innodb, and it being GPL, does this mean that MySQL will be removing it to introduce these features? Sun has had a very poor history of actually open sourcing anything."
Networking

Doctorow Tears Up ISP Contract Over Net Neutrality 322

Posted by kdawson
from the schedule-2-numbers-1-j-and-k dept.
Burz writes "As a reaction to Virgin Media CEO's promise to violate the concept of net neutrality, Cory Doctorow is declaring his ISP contract void, canceling the service, and calling on other Virgin customers to do the same. He isn't alone. Charlie Stross counts the ways the gang that became Virgin Media is trashing Sir Richard's brand. Myself, I am thinking of stopping my Virgin Mobile service in protest."
Books

Why Your e-Books Are No Longer Yours 295

Posted by kdawson
from the i-am-not-a-lawyer-but-they-are-or-at-least-will-be dept.
Predictions Market sends us to Gizmodo for an interesting take on the question: when you "buy" "content" for Amazon's Kindle or the Sony Reader, are you buying a crippled license to intellectual property when you download, or are you buying a book? If the latter, then the first sale doctrine, which lets you hawk your old Harry Potter hardcovers on eBay, would apply. Some law students at Columbia took a swing at the question and Gizmodo reprints the "surprisingly readable" legal summary. Short answer: those restrictive licenses may very well be legal, and even if you had rights under the first sale doctrine, you might only be able to resell or give away your Kindle — not a copy of the work.
The Courts

Court Says You Can Copyright a Cease-And-Desist Letter 349

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the chilling-day-for-free-speech dept.
TechDirt has a follow up to a case they covered back in October where a law firm was trying to claim a copyright on the cease-and-desist letters they sent out. Public Citizen poked a number of holes in this claim and invited the lawyers to "try it." Well, unfortunately the lawyers decided to bite and what's more, they actually got a judge to buy it. The news was announced by the victorious lawyer who now claims he can sue anytime someone posts one of his cease-and-desist letters. "The copyrighting of cease-and-desist letters is an easy way for law firms to bully small companies who have committed no wrong, but who have no real recourse to fight back against an attempt to shut them up via legal threat. Until today, many companies who were being unfairly attacked by companies and law firms misusing cease-and-desist letters to prevent opinions from being stated, had a reasonable recourse to such attacks, and could draw attention to law firms that used such bullying tactics to mute any criticism."
Media

NPD Group Says "Wait! HD-DVD Isn't Dead Yet" 279

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the get-on-the-cart dept.
The NPD group, owners of the not-quite-as-popular-as-they-had-hoped HD-DVD format, attempted to battle back against the tide of "naysayers" who claim that the format war is over and have declared Blu-Ray Disc the winner. "While select articles have implied that HD-DVD as a format is doomed and the sky is falling for the format's supporters, the NPD Group this afternoon reinforced that sales results from a single week do not necessarily indicate a trend, and that the week in question had several intriguing variables that have gone unreported."
Mozilla

Mozilla Reponds - We Call the Shots, Not Google. 222

Posted by Zonk
from the two-great-tastes-fight-it-out dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Recent articles in the New York Times and at CNET have highlighted the growing concern that Google holds significant power and influence over Firefox's development. In an interview published today, Mozilla's technology strategist Mike Shaver did his best to proclaim Mozilla's independence. Yes, Google pays Mozilla $56 million per year, Google is the default search engine, and supplier of many of the browser's features (anti-phishing, anti-malware, incorrect URL resolution). Shaver insists that in spite of these ties, Mozilla still calls the shots over Firefox's development."
Role Playing (Games)

+ - Is 2007/2008 another golden age for RPGs? 2

Submitted by
Anthony Boyd
Anthony Boyd writes "First there was the foul-mouthed review, "Mask of the Betrayer — so good even the Codex likes it!" Then those same cynics at the RPG Codex almost immediately began gushing about The Witcher, a RPG based upon the novels by Andrzej Sapkowski. Couple that with upcoming role-playing games such as The Broken Hourglass (a throwback to Baldur's Gate style of gameplay) and The Age of Decadence, and we may be in a RPG renaissance. All of these games offer what has been lacking in recent years — choice and consequence. The storyline(s) branch out, and how you play your role actually matters. In addition, the games don't appear to be dumbed-down for mass audiences. They involve difficult battles and engaging intellectual dilemmas. Are these games flukes? Are they less than they seem? Or are they, as one reviewer put it, "a wake-up call for mainstream RPGs?""
Role Playing (Games)

+ - Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition Announced

Submitted by
Anthony Boyd
Anthony Boyd writes "The official D&D page over at the Wizards of the Coast site now has a counter running with a few hours left (as I write this). It hints at something having to do with the number 4. Well, the cat's out of the bag. One company published an article a day early. And Wizards itself apparently left a hidden forum open to the public for an hour or two. By the time this hits the Slashdot front page, much more may have been revealed: 4th edition of D&D is coming. Nerds, get out your d20s. It's a whole new party."
Sun Microsystems

SCO Fiasco Over For Linux, Starting For Solaris? 264

Posted by Zonk
from the wheel-turns-turns-turns dept.
kripkenstein writes "We have just heard that the SCO fiasco is finally going to end for Linux. But Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols at DesktopLinux.com points out that the favorable result for Linux may cause unpleasant consequences for rival open-source operating system OpenSolaris: 'At one time, Sun was an SCO supporter ... Sun's Jonathan Schwartz — then Sun VP of software and today Sun's president and CEO — said in 2003 that Sun had bought "rights equivalent to ownership" to Unix. SCO agreed. In 2005, SCO CEO Darl McBride said that SCO had no problem with Sun open-sourcing Unix code in what would become OpenSolaris. "We have seen what Sun plans to do with OpenSolaris and we have no problem with it," McBride said. "What they're doing protects our Unix intellectual property rights." Sun now has a little problem, which might become a giant one: SCO never had any Unix IP to sell. Therefore, it seems likely that Solaris and OpenSolaris contains Novell's Unix IP.'"
Privacy

RIAA & MPAA Seek Authority To Pretext 263

Posted by kdawson
from the lie-if-we-want-to dept.
msblack writes "The RIAA and MPAA are lobbying California legislators for an exemption to proposed legislation that would outlaw pretexting. Pretexting is the practice of pretending to be someone else in order to obtain personal information on a person, such as telephone or banking records. According to an article in the LA Times, the RIAA and MPAA sometimes need to lie in their pursuit of bootleggers. They would like the legislation to exempt anyone who owns a copyright, patent, trademark, or trade secret from restrictions against pretexting. An interesting line from the article is, '[RIAA's Brad] Buckles said the recording industry had never, nor would it ever, assume someone's identity to access that person's phone or bank records.' Fortunately, Senator Corbert, the bill's author, is unlikely to accept these hostile changes."
Google

Ballmer Says Google's Growth Is 'Insane' 420

Posted by Zonk
from the doubling-the-doubled-growth-rate dept.
eldavojohn writes "Steve Ballmer spoke to the Seattle PI this week, commenting that Google's pace of employee growth is 'insane,' and the company has few successful businesses outside of Internet search and advertising. He referred to Google's non-search efforts as 'cute.' Google's current number of employees is nearly doubling each year. 'I don't really know that anybody's proven that a random collection of people doing their own thing actually creates value.' Mr. Ballmer went on complain that, in general, competition for good programmers has become an issue. Even 'hedge funds' are looking for skilled coders, making the HR fight between the two companies that much more challenging."

"We learn from history that we learn nothing from history." -- George Bernard Shaw

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