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Comment Why sell software? (Score 1) 353 353

Your trinity is entirely correct, so what is the business case for open source software? Clearly there is one: even Microsoft is getting in on the game.

Your examples of Linux software are a bit off base. In Debian's most popular packages, you have to go down to #259 to get to x11-common, and the first actual graphical program (iceweasel) comes in at #657. I understand that you're a desktop user and your business involves selling desktops, but I do wish that you would get past your myopic focus. Linux is a server OS, a development platform, an embedded and supercomputing platform, and while it can be used as a Desktop OS, there's really not much business interest in that.

I think you must be unaware that the majority of software is written to save money, not to make money. There's also a huge hidden cost to software: it doesn't exist in a vacuum. "Though a program be but three lines long, someday it will have to be maintained." The cost of maintaining software for which you don't have the source code tends to be "finitely large".

You're correct in what you say, up until you identify it as a flaw. Yes, it probably keeps Linux off the desktop. I'm sure that Mark Shuttleworth cries himself to sleep over that, but I'm sure Linus couldn't give a shit, and neither do the rest of the companies which have invested untold billions of dollars worth of developer time into the Linux ecosystem.

Comment Re:use this one neat trick (Score 3, Insightful) 352 352

Pretty much exactly that.

In my experience, people learning a little bit about programming tend to also learn to respect the fact that there's a ton of stuff they don't know. Yeah, I've run into some who think a single run through of some "Learn X in 24 Hours" book makes them a developer, but they're the minority.

What's really valuable about "everyone" being exposed to programming is that it helps them learn to think about problem solving in a usually different way. Where I work, we had our entire product management team go through a week long programming bootcamp and it's been AMAZING in improving the quality of the specs they write. They aren't under the impression that they're developers but they definitely have a better appreciation for what we do.

And, we developers went through a product bootcamp as well so that we had a better understanding of what they do and more insight into what is driving some of the things they ask for.

More knowledge and understanding is very rarely a bad thing.

Comment Re:ABI (Score 1) 61 61

Failed driver model? By what definition of failure? Linux exists on millions upon millions of devices. Many Linux advocates may recommend NVIDIA hardware for gaming, but who cares? It's a tiny market. NVIDIA and AMD both have great Linux support for workstations and GPU computing, which is where the money is.

I hope that Linux never gets above 2% of the desktop, personally. Non-coders like you would ruin the platform, with exactly these kinds of moronic suggestions. I'd lay odds the majority of linux instances don't even have a video output connected. Why you persist in thinking of it as a desktop platform, to the exclusion of its actual uses, is beyond imagining.

Comment ABI (Score 3, Insightful) 61 61

Stick to what you know, hairyfeet. Linux has no ABI because it does not want to encourage having random binary blobs on the users' systems. It's an ideological principle that will never change.

You clearly only understand the desktop arena, which is fine, but most Linux users are pretty happy with its current niche. The Linux ecosystem is probably better described as a set of tools for building an OS, and so you see things made from it like Android, Maemo/Meego/Sailfish/Whatever, SteamOS, various container-style projects, and the normal run of distributions. It's a development platform, mostly for server applications. Yeah, it would be nice in some ways if everyone was programmer enough to use Linux, but it's essential to no one, and the minority of people who have aftermarket video cards is not sufficient justification to bend over backwards for closed development models. Gamers may keep you in business, but they are a tiny part of the computing market. Now if you could point to something like ABI compatibility being an issue with GPU supercomputing, that might be more compelling.

There are arguments for a stable ABI. They are never going to get traction in a very successful open development paradigm, and desktop market share is not one of them. I'm sorry you've been riding this hobby horse for however many years, and I hate to tell you how silly you look doing it, but if that's your thing I guess you can keep it up until doomsday.

Comment Red Herring (Score 1) 484 484

Hanford was not a power plant, it was a bomb-making facility. The first bomb-making facility, in point of fact, which is why it's such a mess now. Thanks for being an alarmist on this issue, it really helps the level of discussion to drag in FUD about plutonium production when talking about power production.

Comment Congestion (Score 1) 247 247

No. You want that, go to Panama City. I'm told the taxi license costs about $300, and there are very little requirements about roadworthiness, but that's not really the point. The good points are that you can almost always get a cab, you agree on a fare before you get in, and taxis will pick up more than one fare at a time.

The bad parts are that the drivers are free to discriminate using prices or refusal of service, and do so as a matter of course, and that even if you get the cab, they may not take you more than a few blocks because of congestion. Traffic is awful down there, even after the introduction of the subway. This is due in no small part to the financial incentive which puts thousands of taxis on the roads. Also, the fares are absurdly low, which is good for the passenger, but without regulation you're going to end up with poorly maintained vehicles and drivers that are barely scraping by, because you can't really cut costs any other way.

All Panama City needs is an app, and then it will be Uber's Utopia. I don't know if I would want to take a cab in that world, but I sure as shit wouldn't want to be a driver.

Comment Empirical Evidence (Score 1) 273 273

Yes, we have moved to verification. That's kinda the point. Science is empirical, religion is not. If you want the religious perspective on social issues, you use received knowledge (religious texts) or rationalism (logic). You do not conduct an experiment to measure God's opinion on the matter.

Science does not deal in absolute truth. It deals in empirical truth, in other words, things that match observations. Empirical truth is limited therefore to what can be observed, and more typically what can be measured.

I do not know of an objective basis for privileging empiricism over rationalism over religion. However, for me personally, if it can't be observed I'm not going to assign a truth value to it, and if it doesn't match observation, it's wrong. It is unquestionably the case however that religion is not under any condition a science, and cannot be evaluated scientifically. Frankly, I cannot imagine the confusion of ideas that led you to espouse that, but if this is an apology for your unscientific beliefs, rest assured that they have a different basis and scope than your scientific ones, and as you say, there's no reason from a philosophical perspective to prefer either system.

Comment Empiricism (Score 2) 273 273

No, natural sciences have started from observation. Science is empirical, and theology is without empirical evidence. It relies on received knowledge and rationalism. There is no observational test which can be used to determine the existence of any given god or religious belief, therefore science can not be used to evaluate theological truths.

This is not to say that theological truths are better or worse than empirical ones, but for me personally, I will consider anything that contradicts empirical evidence to be wrong. I don't have a sound basis for telling other people how to determine truth, and empiricism is not without its flaws: things are only true to the degree to which they can be observed, which always leaves some sort of error factor. There are a number of moral and social phenomena which are either intractable or undecidable by empiricism. Religion does happen to be one of those areas.

Science is not the categorization of knowledge, it is the search for truth, specifically empirical truth. A little knowledge of epistemology would go a long way towards settling disputes about science versus religion.

Comment Transsexuality (Score 4, Interesting) 273 273

I could explain that gender is mostly a social construct, or a mental one (as opposed to biological sex, which has some fuzzy boundaries but is otherwise more clearly defined). I could explain transsexualism in terms of foreign hand syndrome, where your brain is telling you that your body is wrong and the difference between your mind and body is a continual torment. I could tell you about years of secret anguish and desperate struggles against one's self, as often as not leading to suicide.

But I'm pretty sure you have an unshakable faith in a baseless opinion. I'd wish some dire situation on you for your close-mindedness, but I can't actually think of a worse curse than being willfully ignorant and without compassion.

Comment Re:Victory for common sense! (Score 1) 91 91

If other judges follow this precedent, it will be the death knell of civil litigation involving the internet in any way. I don't like how trolls do business, but I don't think changing the rules like this is a good idea overall.

This isn't changing the rules. This is following the rules.

See my article in the ABA's Judges Journal about how judges had been bending the rules for the RIAA. "Large Recording Companies v. The Defenseless: Some Common Sense Solutions to the Challenges of the RIAA Litigation". The Judges' Journal, Judicial Division of American Bar Association. Summer 2008 edition, Part 1 of The Judges Journals' 2-part series, "Access to Justice".

Comment Re:Victory for common sense! (Score 1) 91 91

Remember, Malibu Media can just change venues too and start this all over again... This judge didn't do anything worth while for you and me and opened himself up to an appeal where he obviously will be slapped. About the only thing he accomplished is getting Malibu Media out of his courtroom and off his docket, for now. Nothing else will change.

I beg to differ.

Malibu Media can't choose the venue, or the judge.

If Judge Hellerstein's decision is followed by other judges, it will be the death knell of the present wave of Malibu Media litigation.

Comment Re:Victory for common sense! (Score 1) 91 91

I fully appreciate your perspective and I agree that the waters are getting pretty muddy when you start trying to tie an IP address to a person, but the issue here is the issuing of the subpoena and not letting Malibu Media pursue discovery. They must be allowed to protect their rights in civil court, and that means they must be allowed to subpoena third parties for information so they can move from "John Doe" to an actual name and in this case, that takes a subpoena from the court.

While your argument for discovery has some logic to it, it is based on a false assumption of fact : that Malibu Media, once it obtains the name and address of the internet account subscriber, will serve a subpoena on that person in an attempt to find out the name of the person who should be named as a defendant.

Malibu Media's uniform practice, once it gets the name and address, is to immediately amend the complaint to name the subscriber as the infringer/defendant and then serve a summons and amended complaint, not a subpoena, on the subscriber.

This is in every single case .

Five is a sufficiently close approximation to infinity. -- Robert Firth "One, two, five." -- Monty Python and the Holy Grail