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Comment: Re:This could be really good for Debian (Score 4, Insightful) 208

by Bruce Perens (#48188887) Attached to: Debian's Systemd Adoption Inspires Threat of Fork
I am beginning to be wary of systemd, but no. I am talking about anal-retentive policy wonks who believe they only make the distribution for themselves and have (perhaps without intending to) systematically marginalized Debiian and made the project a whore to Ubuntu.

Comment: Not so much winding down as becoming moot. (Score 1) 56

by aussersterne (#48151411) Attached to: KDE Releases Plasma 5.1

The Linux desktop wars mattered when Linux was the future of the desktop.

Now that the desktop has a much smaller future, and Linux clearly doesn't play much of a role even in this drastically reduced future, it's just that KDE and GNOME really don't matter much.

Desktop Linux is a niche product, and it behaves like one—adoption is vendor-driven, and clients use whatever the vendor supplies.

For individual Linux users, things haven't moved in half a decade or more. Linux is still a mostly complete operating system with mostly working desktops. None of it is very polished (polish, as always, is just a couple years off in the future). Significant time and customization are required to make any stock distro+DE work well, things are generally cluttered, kludgy, and opaque, and for the hobbyist that fits the profile—the sort of person that will actually put up with and use this kind of computing environment—one or the other (KDE or GNOME) is already a clear favorite and this isn't likely to change.

Of course there is also the developer group, probably Linux's largest cohort of "serious" users on the desktop, but they just plain don't care much about which DE is installed. They're much more concerned with toolchains and versions of environment components.

So the KDE vs. GNOME thing is just plain...not that big a deal any longer, for most anyone.

The only possibly interesting development in a very long time is Elementary OS, which appears to have adopted a different philosophy from the one traditionally associated with Linux development/packaging groups. But whether this will ultimately translate into an important operating system and user experience, with its brand that supersedes the branding of the desktop environment itself, remains to be seen.

Comment: Re:Protection Against Incumbent Players (Score 1) 177

Let me preface this with the fact that I'm an intellectual property specialist. I bill $450/hour, and still have lots of time to work on my startup without having to take venture capital.

I thought about some educational answers for your questions, but the insult at the start of your comment rubs me wrong and I decided I don't owe you anything. So, I'll save them.

Comment: Re:Protection Against Incumbent Players (Score 1) 177

The first symptom of a new but incomplete understanding of patents is gold fever. That is when you have an idea that what you are holding is extremely valuable and that you must protect it from others at all costs. People tend to get irrational about it.

So here is some reality: The fact that you have even published your video (which is "use in commerce" under patent law) invalidates future patents that you might file on that same art. Then there is the prior art (including art you are not aware of), and the recent court finding in Alice v. CLS Bank that invalidates most process and method patents which describe software. These all work against the potential that your thesis is going to make you rich through patent licensing.

You can get a patent awarded, perhaps, that you can use to hoodwink an investor, but forcing an automotive company to pay you? Much less likely and it will cost $10 Million in attorney fees to get there.

Probably your school wants 51% of the revenue and your grant funding sources (and those of your college department) may have their own policies on patents.

Comment: Slashdot Takes Next Step After "Anonymous Coward" (Score 3, Insightful) 177

Slashdot, obviously, has to innovate in order to stay current. Thus, they are now taking the next step after "Anonymous Cowards". The new "Identified Troll" feature will include interviews of people who have prostituted their personal credibility to some company's calculated disinformation campaign.

Comment: You're mistaking "we" in "we need." (Score 5, Insightful) 283

by aussersterne (#48088317) Attached to: Glut of Postdoc Researchers Stirs Quiet Crisis In Science

You mean study something that enhances profits for the very, very wealthy.

Academic research works on an awful lot of problems that *the world* needs to solve, yet it makes no money for the propertied class, so there are no investment or funds available to support it.

Many fighting this fight aren't fighting for their pocketbooks; they're fighting to do science in the interest of human goods, rather than in the interest of capitalist kings.

Comment: Close, but I think it's simpler and more normal (Score 3, Insightful) 460

by aussersterne (#48020019) Attached to: Scientists Seen As Competent But Not Trusted By Americans

than that.

It's not that the public doesn't trust the abilities of scientists.

It's that they don't trust their motives. We have a long literary tradition that meditates on scientists that "only cared about whether they could, not whether they should," and the politicization of sciences makes people wonder not whether scientists are incompetent, but whether they have "an agenda," i.e. whether scientists are basically lying through their teeth and/or pursuing their own political agendas in the interest of their own gain, rather than the public's.

At that point, it's not that the public thinks "If I argue loudly enough, I can change nature," but rather "I don't understand what this scientist does, and I'm sure he/she is smart, but I don't believe they're telling me about nature; rather, they're using their smarts to pull the wool over my eyes about nature and profit/benefit somehow."

So the public isn't trying to bend the laws of nature through discourse, but rather simply doesn't believe the people that are telling them about the laws of nature, because they suspect those people as not acting in good faith.

That's where a kinder, warmer scientific community comes in. R1 academics with million-dollar grants may sneer at someone like Alan Alda on Scientific American Frontiers, but that sneering is counterproductive; the public won't understand (and doesn't want to) the rigorous, nuanced state of the research on most topics. It will have to be given to them in simplified form; Alan Alda and others in that space did so, and the scientific community needs to support (more of) that, rather than sneer at it.

The sneering just reinforces the public notion that "this guy may be smarter than me, but he also thinks he's better and more deserving than me, so I can't trust that what he's telling me is really what he thinks/knows, rather than what he needs to tell me in order to get my stuff and/or come out on top in society, deserving or not."

Comment: Re:I still don't get this. (Score 0) 304

by aussersterne (#48009859) Attached to: Consumer Reports: New iPhones Not As Bendy As Believed

I frankly don't see any difference. Big, fat force, tiny little space. That's not good for a sheet of glass, a sheet of metal—hell, you've seen what happens to a sheet of paper after spending all day in your pockets. People learn that in grade school.

If it really has to be on your waist somewhere, get a holster. Otherwise, just carry the damned thing, or put it in a shirt or coat pocket, briefcase, backpack, etc.

Since the '90s, I've never regularly carried a mobile device in my pants pockets. Obviously, it would break, or at least suffer a significantly reduced lifespan. On the rare occasions when I do pocket a device for a moment, it's just that—for a moment, while standing, to free both hands, and it is removed immediately afterward because I'm nervous the entire time that I'll forget, try to sit down, and crack the damned thing.

Scientists will study your brain to learn more about your distant cousin, Man.

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