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Comment: Re:See it before (Score 4, Interesting) 276

by Burz (#49666551) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What's the Future of Desktop Applications?

Anyone who looks back in my posting history will see that I have long, LONG advocated for tackling the UI and packaging paradigms on FOSS desktops because they choke-off interest from the type of creative person who develops apps. (Even worse, they scare away people who would like to experiment and become budding app developers, so those people cut their teeth on OSX or Windows almost as a rule.)

PC tools are supposed to link the user with the power and features of the underlying hardware, making them at least discoverable in the GUI; In other words, there must be lots of vertical integration. Also... the GUI must have a 'gist' or feel consistent because this is a sign of feature-stability in the OS.

What FOSS has is a bunch of developers who tinker with the OS itself (I include the GUI in this, as it rightfully belongs in the category of OS) and assume that anyone who understands how a system works internally can trivially design GUI features... a big, big flaw in what is not so much an articulated belief as an unhealthy attitude. This is part of the subconscious of the FOSS world, and it results in maladies like not being able to describe fixes and workarounds (or just general usage instructions) as GUI snapshots and walkthroughs (almost always, the user will be directed to the CLI); It means even seasoned tech support personnel will struggle to interpret DEs and other UI features they are not very familiar with. Just getting to the point where your cousin or boss can try out your creations is hell.

App developers should have the power to create exceptions for UI features in their *apps* (I said apps, not OS), because that embodies the two things app developers subconsciously look for: power and feature-stability. The default behavior is always the OS way (i.e. ONE way) out of respect for all users in general; If the default behavior/appearance is ten possible ways, then the app developer feels like they are managing chaos instead of power.

My 'remedy' for the FOSS OS problem would be for a distro like Ubuntu to shed its identity as a "Linux distro" because the Linux moniker just confuses people at this point; and to take full control over the UI design so that it conforms more to a single vision (something that is apparently already under way). Pretty much all of the OS except the kernel should be original to the project or forked and, as Google did for a while with Android, Canonical should threaten to fork the kernel if that is necessary to improve the UX.

I'll also point out that Ubuntu has gotten some meta-features that were typically missing from a Linux distro, like a full-blown SDK and extensive whole-system hardware compatibility tests and searchable database. What would remain to be done beyond this is to standardize on a GUI IDE (with capabilities like Xcode) and extend the hardware program to include a certification process (with licensed emblem) that system and peripheral manufacturers can use in a straightforward way.

Also, packaging is a whole other cup of worms, though I personally think emulating OSX app folders would be a good foundation for easily-redistributed apps. This means that an OS repository would have to stop at some well-defined point instead of trying to mash all the apps and OS together along with the kitchen sink.

Open Source

OpenBSD 5.7 Released 80

Posted by Soulskill
from the onward-and-upward dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Right on schedule, OpenBSD 5.7 was released today, May 1, 2015. The theme of the 5.7 release is "Source Fish." There are some big changes in OpenBSD 5.7. The nginx httpd server was removed from base in favor of an internally developed httpd server in 5.7. BIND (named) was retired from base in 5.7 in favor of nsd(8) (authoritative DNS) and unbound(8) (recursive resolver). Packages will exist for BIND and nginx. This version includes a new control utility, rcctl(8), for managing daemons/services, USB 3 support and more. See a detailed log of changes between the 5.6 and 5.7 releases for more information. If you already have an OpenBSD 5.6 system, and do not want to reinstall, upgrade instructions and advice can be found in the Upgrade Guide. You can order the 5.7 CD set from the new OpenBSD Store and support the project.

Comment: Re:OpenBSD proves the claim to be wrong. (Score 1) 58

by Burz (#49487769) Attached to: Why "Designed For Security" Is a Dubious Designation

You forgot AppArmor, which is one of the most widely-used on Linux. Of course, I'd much rather have Qubes' isolation mechanisms so that my banking, work and leisure activities (and even my NICs) don't even share the same virtual machine -- My data sets are kept separate and the interfaces between those domains are simple and very strong.

Comment: Re:on designed for "security" (Score 1) 58

by Burz (#49486829) Attached to: Why "Designed For Security" Is a Dubious Designation

When I am designing for "SECURITY" I want to simplify the critical protocols so that they can be described by a state machine and then implement them in silicon.

It would be interesting to see a Xen hypervisor implemented in silicon, as that is what Amazon EC2 and Qubes OS base their security on. Qubes doesn't even use kernel-based permissions for its single-user desktop model; It gives you the means to control dom0 and everything else resides in VMs.

Comment: Re:Still a useless exemption (Score 1) 74

by Burz (#49459537) Attached to: Amazon Gets Approval To Test New Delivery Drones

'Denial' isn't just a river in Egypt.

You're missing the point.

Quadcopters are dangerous

Sure, just like countless other objects. But if the FAA was worried about safety, they'd be expecting the recreational users of them to also be subject to the regulations they're putting on commercial operators using exactly the same 3-pound plastic quadcopter in exactly the same way. A guy checking out his own roof gutters with a consumer-grade quad, and a roofing contractor using exactly the same device in exactly the same way present exactly the same safety risks ... but the FAA only considers one of those two people to be subject to a $10,000 fine. How do you reconcile that?

Easy. For both the homeowner checking his gutters as well as a airplane pilot flying overhead, self-preservation is a big factor.

OTOH, third parties flying vehicles around other people is an inherently callous (and cowardly) act.

Comment: Re:Still a useless exemption (Score 1) 74

by Burz (#49451237) Attached to: Amazon Gets Approval To Test New Delivery Drones

This isn't about safety.

'Denial' isn't just a river in Egypt.

Quadcopters are dangerous, and those are just the toys that don't carry packages across town.

This is a question of public safety being sacrificed to suit Amazon's corporate goals and customers who will pay premiums for faster service.


Amazon Gets Approval To Test New Delivery Drones 74

Posted by Soulskill
from the probably-equipped-with-defense-lasers-and-defense-grenades dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Amazon has been vocal in its complaints about how slow the FAA is in approving drones for test flights. In March they were finally given permission to test a drone they had developed six months prior, and they said the drone was already obsolete. Their complaints appear to have worked — yesterday, the FAA gave permission to test a new, updated delivery drone. According to the FAA's letter (PDF), the drone must stay at an altitude of less than 400 feet and at speeds of less than 100 mph.

Comment: Re:It's been nice knowing y'all (Score 1) 417

Actually, no. Eventually you won't be able to go for a swim because the accompanying Canfield Ocean effect is leading to anoxia and eventually copious amounts of hydrogen sulphide gas being spewed from the oceans into the atmosphere....... You won't be able to breathe.

Comment: Exactly! Icons without context are meaningless (Score 1) 89

by Burz (#49420235) Attached to: The Problem With Using End-to-End Web Crypto as a Cure-All

Its like putting those large golden padlock images on e-commerce pages: Over time, people will absorb them as trust indications and then scammers will increase their success rate by draping their spoof pages in these symbols.

A user has to understand what a browser or email client is, and learn to look for trust indicators in the areas that frame the content.

Adding a PGP interface inside a content area is just STUPID.

The real problem that needs solving isn't hacking PGP into web-mail, it's making certificate management user-friendly. And that's not even that hard to do!

I completely agree. I think cert and key management *would* be a lot simpler if operating systems presented keys and certs as first-class objects instead of little scraps of gobbldeygook texts with an empty-page or question-mark icon.

Comment: Re:Patents? (Score 1) 223

by Burz (#49411305) Attached to: Mono 4 Released, First Version To Adopt Microsoft Code

Cases in point:

1. The ridiculous FAT long-filename patent
2. The subpixel rendering patent (despite prior art being shown)
3. Outright patent-troll behavior: Refusing to disclose a stack of patents its using to extort for-profit Linux distributors behind closed doors.

If MS comes out of the closet and enumerates #3 and opens a dialoge with the community about them, THEN I will believe their hype about being open-source friendly. Otherwise, they are in the business of growing their Android-derived revenue using submarine tactics.

Also, explain to us why MS shuts out FOSS AV and document formats (the consumer-oriented ones); Not only from their products but from standards-making processes.

Have a nice day, mods! :)

Any given program, when running, is obsolete.