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Comment Re:So what? (Score 4, Informative) 271

I've occasionally daydreamed a fun academic paper would be to collect sets of password hashes, rub them up against a rainbow table, and make graphs and correlations and wild assumptions about the correlation coeff of IQ and rate of easily cracked pwd vs site etc etc. Sounds like fun so its probably been done before.

Yes, it's been done on 70 million passwords. See

Comment Re:adoption associated with.less productive employ (Score 1) 116

The rules of academic publishing are that you have to cite relevant related work. This includes both fresh results and old classics. Where possible, we tried to cite the most recent studies. Some studies that are appear dated indicate a research opportunity to update the corresponding area. Also, it would be wrong to dismiss a paper because of its age. Some of the older studies we cite present theoretical frameworks of enduring value and importance, demonstrated by the thousands of citations they have received over the years. For instance, the 2003 study by Venkatesh and his colleagues on the user acceptance of information technology, which we cite, has received almost five thousand citations. It would be wrong to ignore it, just because of its age.

Comment Re:adoption associated with.less productive employ (Score 2) 116

You have a point here. And you haven't mentioned the huge cost associated with procurement processes for proprietary software, especially in the public sector. These can drag on for months. In contrast, acquiring an open-source product is often simply a matter of a one-click download. Even if the organization's legal has trouble understanding open source licenses, this is a hurdle you have to overcome just once.
Open Source

Submission + - How do Big US Firms Use Open Source Software?->

Diomidis Spinellis writes: "We hear a lot about the adoption of open source software, but when I was asked to provide hard evidence there was little I could find. In a recently article we tried to fill this gap by examining the type of software the US Fortune 1000 companies use in their web-facing operations. Our study shows that the adoption of OSS in large US companies is significant and is increasing over time through a low-churn transition, advancing from applications to platforms, and influenced by network effects. The adoption is likelier in larger organizations and is associated with IT and knowledge-intensive work, operating efficiencies, and less productive employees. Yet, the results were not what I was expecting."
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Leave a Message, Go To Jail 486

Okian Warrior writes "A man in Weare, New Hampshire was charged with felony wiretapping for recording the police during a traffic stop — based on a cell phone call he made as an officer approached his vehicle. From the article: Police considered it wiretapping because the call was being recorded by a voice mail service without the officer's consent."

Submission + - Content poisoning in p2p networks->

Diomidis Spinellis writes: "Two UCLA researchers published a paper in the prestigious IEEE Transactions on Computers that describes a technique for p2p content poisoning targeted exclusively on detected copyright violators. Using identity-based signatures and time-stamped tokens they report a 99.9 percent prevention rate in Gnutella, KaZaA, and Freenet and a 85-98 percent prevention rate on eMule, eDonkey, and Morpheus. Poison-resilient networks based on the BitTorrent protocol are not affected. Also the system can't protect small files, like a single song MP3. Although the authors don't say so explicitly, my understanding is that the scheme is only useful on commercial p2p distribution systems that adopt the proposed protocol."
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Submission + - The Art of Debugging with GDB, DDD, and Eclipse

Diomidis Spinellis writes: "In common with programming, debugging is a skill we develop through experience. However, whereas we can become better programmers by studying algorithms, data structures, implementation patterns, style guides, APIs, and even existing open source code, there are few resources we can tap into to improve our debugging abilities. Matloff's and Salzman's book "The Art of Debugging with GDB, DDD, and Eclipse" fills this gap by presenting three powerful debugging tools, background knowledge, and essential techniques.

The three tools discussed in the book span the whole range of tool support for debugging. GDB is a command-line based tool, which is difficult to master, but can be extremely powerful. DDD provides a GUI front end to GDB, and can thus be a reasonable compromise between power and usability. Eclipse, as a full-featured IDE provides additional facilities that cover more software development activities.

The book starts with a discussion of debugging techniques, an overview of the tools, a comparison of their distinct interfaces, and a sample of a debugging session performed on each of them. This allows readers to decide which tool is most appropriate for them.

The book's main part covers in detail the facilities typically used for debugging programs: breakpoints, watchpoints, variable inspection, and examining a failed program's memory image (core dump). Each topic includes simple and more detailed examples covering GDB, DDD, and Eclipse. The text then moves on to more advanced topics: the debugging of threaded code, parallel applications, GUI programs, as well as debugger-specific quirks. Where required, the authors present the theory behind a particular behavior, such as a memory protection fault.

Somewhat paradoxically for a book whose title focuses on three specific tools, the text also covers other important debugging tools: the text editor, the compiler, C's error reporting, strace, ltrace, splint, and Electric Fence. Two additional tools this reviewer would have liked to see included in the presentation are valgrind and dtrace. The book ends with a discussion of how DDD, GDB, and Eclipse can be used to debug code written in Java, Perl, Python, SWIG, and assembly.

C programmers working on Unix systems will benefit most from reading this book, but many others can learn valuable techniques and tricks."

Submission + - Microsoft tries a new ad agency->

Diomidis Spinellis writes: "An article in this week's Economist outlines Microsoft's marketing response to Vista's travails and Apple's hip Get a Mac campaign. Describing the recent Mojave Experiment as "Microsoft at its worst", the article''s writer wonders whether hiring a new hot ad agency, Crispin Porter + Bogusky, to put together a $300m campaign can make Microsoft look cool. Can money buy you love?"
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Submission + - Microsoft after Bill Gates->

Diomidis Spinellis writes: "This week's Economist cover story discusses Microsoft's future after the departure of Bill Gates. The article argues that the firm, having conquered the goal Bill Gates stated almost 30 years ago "a computer on every desk and in every home", is now facing a middle age crisis, struggling to find a new purpose in its life. Its shares perform worse than the industry average, its online offerings seem unable to compete with the ones of Google, and Vista hasn't impressed the market. A move to services and cloud computing are touted as the new road ahead, but the large size of Microsoft's empire may make it difficult to perform this turn."
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Comment Re:"Code quality" is bunk (Score 1) 252

A few hours after replying to the "code quality is that it 'works'" comment, I read Joseph Bergin's Do the Right Thing design pattern in an IEEE Software article. I found it quite funny.

The absolute worst part of critiques like yours is the ideas it gives pin headed MBAs who bungee jump into engineering departments, book in hand, with no practical experience. The ideas spouted by the book become the drive, not the product. It is an almost certainty the project will be dreadfully late or never finished.
I absolutely agree.

Submission + - Open and closed source kernels go head to head->

Diomidis Spinellis writes: "Earlier today I presented at the 30th International Conference on Software Engineering a research paper comparing the code quality of Linux, Windows (its research kernel distribution), OpenSolaris, and FreeBSD. For the comparison I parsed multiple configurations of these systems (more than ten million lines), and stored the results in four databases, where I could run SQL queries on them. This amounted to 8GB of data, 160 million records. (I've made the databases and the SQL queries available online.) The areas I examined were file organization, code structure, code style, preprocessing, and data organization. To my surprise there was no clear winner or looser, but there were interesting differences in specific areas."
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Submission + - What would you tell Bill Gates?

Diomidis Spinellis writes: "Bill Gates is visiting Athens on January 28th to give a talk and inaugurate a so-called innovation center that is part of a Strategic Partnership Agreement that Microsoft has signed with the Greek Government. (In return the Greek Government has promised to purchase at least 70,000 Microsoft licenses.) As an open-source advocate, I've been contacted by the Greek Sunday newspaper magazine Epsilon, to give them in 100-words what I'd tell Bill Gates if I met him. While preparing my scoop, I thought that some help from the Slashdot readers would be interesting and entertaining. What would your 100 words be?"

Submission + - AMD's Abu Dhabi cash infusion->

Diomidis Spinellis writes: "The October 22nd issue of The Economist has an article on the recent $622m, 8.1% purchase of AMD by Abu Dhabi's Mubadala Development investment arm. The article explains that AMD requires the cash to address three handicaps it has in its fight against Intel: its smaller number of fabs, which increases its exposure to manufacturing problems, its lack of Intel's dominant position, and its need to pay for strategic acquisitions, like that of ATI. The article ends by warning that in a, widely expected, industry slowdown resource-rich countries will be able to buy big chunks of US's high-tech industry at bargain prices. Following the recent descriptions of attacks against cryptographic algorithms based on CPU backdoors, will these purchases end-up to be the high-tech equivalent of the Dubai Ports World controversy?"
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"The fundamental principle of science, the definition almost, is this: the sole test of the validity of any idea is experiment." -- Richard P. Feynman