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Comment: Re:Chilean Software Industry (Score 1) 146

I consider doing this even here in the UK sometimes.

My office shelled out, I estimate, around €30,000 for WinRAR licenses. Looking at the report justifying it's purchase, it's clear that 7-zip beats it out in basically every category of functionality that they assessed it on... but no-one sells 7-zip so you have no-one to point the finger at if it fails.

A small company selling support for F/OSS packages could really clean up (and probably not have to do very much real work), just by tendering prices a little under the "market leader" for F/OSS programs that occupy a commodity niche.

Comment: Re:Microsoft cannot compete in the marketplace... (Score 1) 146

running the stuff people want .... Windows does so, Linux doesn't.

Depends on the people, depends on what they want.

You could invert that sentence and swap "Mac" for "Linux" for many audiences ; particularly creative types that have specialist apps that only run on one platform.

For simple uses... there's no problem. Linux has browsers, email clients, and LibreOffice. For business purposes, anything written in Java or one of the other virtual runtimes should be easy to port to Linux, or run right out of the box.

For complex uses... it depends on the niche. Certainly for software development, Linux wins for basically everything except native and .NET Windows apps. For other uses, I will grant you, the professional-grade applications are not available (even if they run in Wine). But I'm not an artist. I'm a developer.

Gaming is one of the things that keeps Windows on my hard drive, but Valve are trying their darndest to make this irrelevant. I'm watching with interest, but Windows won't be going away just yet....

But that's it. All my real work is done on Linux. Windows has been relegated to the status of a toy for me. I find it frustrating and clumsy to work with - even more so once the IT department has shackled the vast suite of corporate malware they deem necessary to the chain around it's neck. The software I produce is a mixture of server processes and client tools that run on both Windows and Linux. I even *gasp* pay for software to run on Linux.

I agree there is a vast technical debt built up apps written on platform-specific toolkits, but they become obsolete eventually and there's no excuse for porting them to another platform-locked toolkit any more.

Comment: Re:Microsoft cannot compete in the marketplace... (Score 1) 146

It's really that most people have more experience of Windows.

I'd argue it's not actually any easier. Both have their quirks and complexities. I have a lot of experience with both ; I find Linux far easier than Windows.

My Mother had limited experience with both ; she finds Linux just as difficult as Windows, but I find it easier to support her on Linux. All things being equal she uses the same apps (Firefox, Thunderbird, LibreOffice), I'd rather she was on a platform I can support easily and is somewhat robust against security risks.

Microsoft know this ; which is why they are so aggressive about making sure that people's early experience of computers is with Windows - cheap deals for students and schools, etc.

Comment: Re:Publicly Funded Governments (Score 1) 146

This is true, but all things being equal, much of the data is held to ransom behind proprietary format at present.

"Open" implies that the format is accessible without prejudice ; beyond eliminating the need for a computer altogether (which is impractical), that means it should be accessible on the three big desktop platforms, probably the web as well.

Totally agree that for simple data like character delimited text tables it's not a problem, and Open Data should tend toward the simplest format practical to convey the information. But for complex things like office documents, there should be a F/OSS choice for the format chosen, because it's just not practical to ask people to code up their own viewer / editor for a given format.

And if there are F/OSS tools for your selected format, it would seem to be the logical choice to use them in public office, given that they are all about saving money, unless there are compelling reasons to use the proprietary software. And for open formats... there are usually compelling reasons NOT to use the proprietary software, because much of it almost seems designed to break open formats. (viz : all versions of Excel I've used have a tendency to completely ruin ODS workbooks containing formulas).

Comment: Re:Thoughtcrime (Score 4, Insightful) 361

by Dr_Barnowl (#47727293) Attached to: UK Police Warn Sharing James Foley Killing Video Is a Crime

Making it should be illegal. Viewing it arguably does no additional harm (if you presume that anyone who would view it it willingly is already irreversibly fucked up, and people who aren't fucked up are appropriately digusted).

Viewing it is illegal in my jurisdiction. Which paradoxically makes it impossible to report if you stumble upon it in a place where you didn't expect (or want) to find it, because if you do so you're now confessing to a crime. This arguably means that kiddy porn remains available for longer than it otherwise would.

It should certainly be illegal to make it. And illegal to knowingly distribute it. And illegal to pay for it (directly - paying for a service that happens to unintentionally host kiddy porn shouldn't count, paying for a service devoted to kiddy porn should). But making it illegal to view or possess means that if you accidentally stumble upon it, you both viewed it, and because your computer cached it, possessed it, which means that people are far less likely to report it for fear of incriminating themselves.

Comment: Re:Ready in 30 years (Score 1) 300

by Dr_Barnowl (#47723457) Attached to: If Fusion Is the Answer, We Need To Do It Quickly

Deuterium and tritium are *rare*, and their main sources are oil wells.

You're mixing them up with helium, which is extracted from a fraction of natural gas.

Deuterium is very common, it just requires effort to extract.

Tritium is the rare one. Less than 300kg of it has ever been made. It's radioactive, so it disappears. There's probably less than 100kg of it in the world now.

Comment: Re:suitable for home use? (Score 3, Interesting) 178

by Dr_Barnowl (#47676399) Attached to: Hemp Fibers Make Better Supercapacitors Than Graphene

Asbestos is just silicate rock. Structure makes a difference..

Graphene is just a sheet of carbon, but it's structure gives it novel properties - it wouldn't be a super-material if it didn't, just because it's all cool and awesome doesn't mean it's also inert and harmless.

Comment: Re:suitable for home use? (Score 1) 178

by Dr_Barnowl (#47676331) Attached to: Hemp Fibers Make Better Supercapacitors Than Graphene

There's another approach to this, but it's gone a bit quiet ; they use a novel dielecric and claim that they can get incredibly high voltages out of it which makes for high energy storage.


Since the dielectric is one part and the electrode another, I wonder what kind of advantages you'd get from combining the two? (Not sure if hemp electrodes would be compatible with their manufacturing process which uses metal foils as electrodes at the moment, as per traditional capaciptors).

Comment: Re:Of course (Score 1) 141

by Dr_Barnowl (#47661419) Attached to: Study: Firmware Plagued By Poor Encryption and Backdoors

> Who's going to hack your fridge?

If your fridge is tied into your grocery shopping (which would seem to be a major reason to have a smart fridge... really, a dumb fridge is just fine at turning the compressor on and off), then you might be able to hack it and buy neat stuff and get it delivered to a drop location (even the owners own driveway ... "Yeah, I'll be out, drop it behind the paper recycling bin...").

Comment: Re: Of course (Score 1) 141

by Dr_Barnowl (#47661403) Attached to: Study: Firmware Plagued By Poor Encryption and Backdoors

Yeah, they really are more short sighted, they only want *this* sale, which is the reason they cut the quality of things.

Of course, people feed this tendency by buying crappy products. Which sadly, makes the good quality products even more expensive because they can't benefit from the same economies of scale.

Keyboards, for example. When PCs cost $2000 (and $2000 meant something), $40 on a keyboard was barely noticeable.

Now the standard keyboard cost $5 and it shows. Issuing these keyboards to people expected to use a computer professionally is in my opinion, almost criminal, as they contribute to RSI and finger joint arthritis. A decent keyboard now costs even less than it did back then (in adjusted dollars) but they still ship the crap ones because they have to meet that price point.

"I may be synthetic, but I'm not stupid" -- the artificial person, from _Aliens_