Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:Correction (Score 3, Informative) 73

by FireFury03 (#48239671) Attached to: First Commercial Mission To the Moon Launched From China

Really? Considering normal moon missions need a significant boost to get to the moon, how did a commercial satellite do that?

Inclination changes are really expensive. By comparison, a Hohmann transfer orbit to the moon and back can be cheaper and can use the moon's gravity to change inclination. The Apollo missions used a free-return trajectory rather than Hohmann transfer orbit since they needed to get to the moon quickly (don't want a bunch of astronauts spending a few months in deep space), which is why they needed significantly more delta-V. Its worth noting that a commercial satellite generally has a significant amount of station keeping fuel since its expected to stay in service for many years - sacrificing a few years of service is reasonable if the alternative is to completely abandon the satellite because its in the wrong orbit.

I think in the incident in question, someone (Lockheed?) ended up patenting the manouver...

Comment: Re:You guessed it: It depends (Score 1) 224

by FireFury03 (#48184583) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Handling Patented IP In a Job Interview?

I can't give anyone a non-GPL licence to this work, which is what they were demanding.

IANAL, but are you sure this is the case? I believe that in my country (Norway) at least, you're still the sole proprietor of your IP.

I am the owner of any code I sumbit to the Linux kernel, *but* it is also considered a "derived work" of the rest of the kernel (which means, legally, I'm not the *sole* owner) and therefore the GPL applies.

Did they want to gain exclusive rights to code you'd already published under the GPL?

The contract was non-specific on what code they were talking about - it was a blanket "you will give us a perpetual nonexclusive licence to do what we want with any IP in your ownership which you produced before, after or during your employment with us" (or words to that effect - I can't recall the exact wording).

I don't know how legal it was - as I mentioned, the company in question was already ignoring their TUPE obligations. However, legal or not, I saw no merit in signing it, so I didn't.

Does the GPL preclude that you grant, for instance, a BSD or Apache license for code which you wrote yourself?

The GPL doesn't prevent dual-licensing code for which you are the sole owner (i.e. you wrote it, or the copyright was assinged to you; and it is not derived from anyone else's code). This even extends to commercial licences - i.e. I can write some code and release it under GPL, at the same time as selling a paid-for licence with non-GPL terms to a few people. However, when you contribute code to an existing project, it is usually considered to be a "derived work" since it almost always makes use of existing parts of that project's code - therefore the writer of contributed code would seldom be considered the sole owner, so whatever licence it is released under would need to be fully compatible with the licence used on the rest of the project. This generally precludes dual-licencing code that has been contributed to a GPLed project.

Much like other copyrighted stuff like music - if you make a song that is derived directly from someone else's song then you can't just blindly release it yourself - generally to release a derived song you need to get a licence to do so from the owner of the original song.

Comment: Re:You guessed it: It depends (Score 1) 224

by FireFury03 (#48170923) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Handling Patented IP In a Job Interview?

The obvious problem with that is that your past work may very well be someone else's property.

You may simply have no standing to grant a license to your past work.

Yes, one of the reasons I cited for refusing to sign it is that a lot of my past work is stuff like Linux kernel coding (which automatically inherits the GPL) - I can't give anyone a non-GPL licence to this work, which is what they were demanding.

But aside from that - if someone wants a licence to all the work I do over the entire course of my life outside of my employment with them, they can damned well pay me a salary for my entire life too! As far as I'm concerned, an employer is entitled to any work I do during my contracted working hours (usually 37.5 hours a week - 09:00 - 17:30, excluding lunch hour); if they want to claim ownership on anything I do in the other 130.5 hours a week then they are going to need to pay me 3.5 times as much for the same hourly rate.

FWIW, this was during a contract renegotiation after my department had been sold off - in theory the new owner needed to comply with TUPE legislation but they had issued a "sign the new contract or be fired" order (which is illegal). However, when I refused to sign, they did reword the contract to remove that clause, so I guess they were trying to do *something* to avoid getting sued.

Comment: Re:You guessed it: It depends (Score 2) 224

by FireFury03 (#48157051) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Handling Patented IP In a Job Interview?

It's worse than that. If the company you apply for a job at has any interest in the patents, chances are that they will not offer you a job.
The problem is that you selling/licensing patents to them while an employee will easily be seen as a conflict of interest.

If they want you and the patents, I believe they may require you to sign over any and all IP to them as terms of employment, compensated by a signing bonus.

I've not got any patents, but at one point I was handed an employment contract that demanded I grant a licence to all my past and future work (which I refused to sign), so you could very well be right. (I'm in the UK, although the company in question was headofficed in Canada)

Comment: Re:Wire adds value to your house (Score 1) 279

It does not add measurable value to your home to be fully wired. It does help a house stay on the market a shorter amount of time.

I'm not convinced enough people care about a wired house for it to make a measurable difference on anything at all. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that the vast majority of people don't understand why they might want wired rather than wireless (and an increasing proportion of the population are using computing devices that can't even be connected to a wired network these days too).

As a techy, whether or not a house is wired is probably something that I would care about, but there are an awful lot of other far more important things I would be interested in too, to the point that I doubt that the wiring is likely to make much of a dent in my decision making process.

More likely, I suspect, is someone non-technical looking at my house and concluding that the neatly installed comms cabinet containing the patch panel, VDSL modem, etc. is an unsightly waste of space and that they need to do work to remove it.

Comment: Re:Check your phone wiring (Score 1) 279

I've seen what normal electrical subs do with cat5. It's not pretty. It's downright scary. It's the stuff of nightmares. Assuming that you can just use cat5 used for phone runs may not necessarily work out for you.

This is why I had my house wired with structured cabling. That kind of dense cable bundle can't quite be abused as readily as a single strand of cat5.

I'm not sure I would trust a normal sparky to do networking stuff... Friend of mine just got an office rewired - sparky was told to put in a phone socket and 2 ethernet sockets per desk. Cat6 was specified throughout, but it sounds like the bosses (who were telling the sparky what to do) never actually gave him that specification. Ended up with cat3 for the phones and cat6 for ethernet.

Even given that the sparky seemingly hadn't been explicitly told to use cat6 for the phones, who the hell cables up a modern office in cat3 these days?! Half the Ethernet sockets were punched down with the pairs in the wrong order, and next to no slack cable was left at the patch panel end (which meant they all had to be extended through a punch block).

Some of the blame can certainly be placed on my friend for not staying on top of exactly what the sparky was doing, but at the end of the day the sparky obviously had no clue. Nope, get a real network cable installer to do this stuff!

Comment: Re:Combine the 2 (Score 1) 279

If you're doing it yourself, you can probably do the job equally well as I can, but you'll need to go down to home depot or lowes and get the cheapest RJ45 crimper you can find (about $20) maybe a 300 foot spool of cat5e wire (as cheap as $20) a box of RJ45 terminators (about $20) modular jacks (about $5 each) and modular faceplates (about $1 each.)

Go spend about an hour on youtube to see how to crimp RJ45 ends (it's actually easier than it sounds) and stick with the 568-b standard for all ends. Don't worry about crossover, straight through, etc. Every time I hear people try to be "smart" and talk about doing it "right" I kind of chuckle, and here's why: Part of the gigabit ethernet standard (that is, to receive IEEE 802.3 certification for gigabit) the switches AND the ethernet ports MUST provide the auto-MDIX feature, so fretting about crossover is pointless.

105 metres of cable doesn't sound like a lot for a 5 bedroom house to me. I have part-wired my 2 bedroom house (finishing the job is on my todo list) and 105 metres of cat6 got me 4 sockets in the living room and 3 sockets in the office, all running back to a cabinet in the office. At some point I will finish the job to a total of 4 sockets in the living room, 2 in each bedroom, 2 in the kitchen, 2 in the stair well (for one of the wifi APs), 2 in the attic, 6 - 10 in the office.

As for crossing over - IMHO it's important to do straight through everywhere, because you may not always be running Ethernet over the structured cabling. My POTS/VDSL is terminated in the living room, but I don't want equipment there so that gets patched straight into the structured cabling and the VDSL modem and PBX is in the data cabinet. Similarly I have a POTS handset plugged into the structured cabling (which the PBX automatically bridges directly to the POTS line if there's a power outage).

The biggest pain is running hidden cables - running them under the upstairs floors involves removing furniture and pulling up carpets and floorboards, and getting the cable from the floor space into the stud walls involves drilling a hole with a 90 degree bend in it because the floor cavity of each room has a support beam at the edge, and the stud walls are capped with timber, so any cables need to go through the support beam, make a 90 degree bend, then go through the cap. I'm sure it was fine when the power cables were put in during construction since it would've been done before the plasterboard was put up, but trying to retrofit is a problem.

Secondly, my living room has a load of sound insulation bonded to the back of the plasterboard on one of the walls, filling the cavity - I've pretty much written off any idea of putting sockets in that wall since it would involve chasing the cable into the wall rather than just running it through the cavity. I might reconsider when it's time to decorate, but I'm not about to trash the existing decor. There are a couple of places where I've just ended up putting a section of surface conduit on the wall because there was just no sane way to run hidden cables without doing serious damage to the decor.

Comment: Re:change is baaaaaaaad (Score 1) 267

by FireFury03 (#48091527) Attached to: GNOME 3 Winning Back Users

Windows 8, bad.

PulseAudio, bad.

Wayland, bad...

You know, AC has a point there. It seems that every slightly larger framework coming to Linux gets opposed. To me the funniest part is that many of the opponents do not even seem to precisely know why they are opposing the thing, they just quickly learn to robotically chant the same thing than everyone else.

I think Pulse Audio got a bad reputation because it was pushed on people way too early. I can certainly remember upgrading a few systems and finding my audio completely broken in a practically unfixable way (short of wiping and downgrading again) because distros had rolled out PulseAudio and it was so well integrated into stuff that you couldn't just rip it out again. These days it seems to work well and more or less sets out to do what it was designed to do (although I don't think I get a huge amount of benefit from PulseAudio over plain ALSA in day to day use).

I've only used Windows 8 once, but for me it fell down on the "discoverability" criteria - in a GUI, things need to be easily discoverable without googling or consulting the manual - at least, the simple stuff does. First time I used Windows 8 I got presented with the start screen, clicked on the IE logo and up popped the Metro version of IE.... Now what? There's no "Start" menu or anything especially obvious to get you back to the start screen. I pressed ctrl+alt+del and was pleasantly surprised to find that after I killed off IE I was left at a familiar classic Windows desktop. GUIs shouldn't ever leave you in a situation where it isn't obvious how to get back to wherever you came from, and IMHO Metro failed on that count - sure I would've figured it out and got used to it through constant use, but the initial impression is bad, and first impressions count.

Stuff like systemd and udev probably get some backlash because they are quite complex, and are replacements for very simple systems so there is a really steep learning curve that practically never existed before. You get a lot of "I just need to do $trivial_thing, it would've been easy under $old_system but now I'm having to spend forever reading the manual for $new_system!" I wouldn't stand by the "people hate change" argument, more "people hate change when things don't work". Nothing worse than wasting 2 hours trying to fix a problem with the new system that would've been sorted in 5 minutes if you were using something more familiar.

Comment: Re:I'll take another look at it. (Score 1) 267

by FireFury03 (#48091311) Attached to: GNOME 3 Winning Back Users

Gnome's reduction of customizability began in the early millennium when it partnered with some large companies who had carried out formal UI studies and found that for the vast majority of users, options only confuse them.

And it's probably true - give most people a system that is set up for them and they are probably happier than having lots of options. The problem with this, of course, is that "set up for them" is different for each user, and out of the box it isn't really set up right for anyone.

They also made some bonkers design decisions that didn't reduce the configurability but not the complexity of the UI - for example, for a long time they claimed no one needed to turn off DPMS, so the "turn off screen" option just had a list of timeouts (5 minutes, 30 minutes, etc). Sticking a "Never" option in there wouldn't have increased the complexity at all because thats exactly where you would expect to find that option.

And bonkers design decisions that increase the complexity of the UI for no reason - for example, how do you suspend a machine? Oh that's right you press alt while the system menu is open and the power-off button changes to a suspend button. That's a completely non-discoverable design - the only way you're going to figure that out is by reading the manual. How is it better than just sticking a "suspend" button in the menu too, or adding suspend options to the power-off dialogue?

I still haven't figured out how to properly control the screen brightness when on battery power - as of a few versions ago, my laptop screen automagically goes dim when I unplug power. I can turn it up again, but the next time I unplug it it goes dim again. There's nothing in the power or display settings to configure this - the "power" config page doesn't specify separate settings for mains or battery mode; there's just one slider for screen brightness which doesn't seem to control the default brightness for when you're on battery.

And how do you get stuff like you IM client to start automagically when you log in? When Gnome 3 first appeared, it had empathy built into the UI so it was running all the time. These days I have to manually start it up when I log in - can't see any "auto start" button anywhere.

I wouldn't consider things like disabling the DPMS, suspending a laptop, telling the screen not to go unreadably dim every time you unplug the power, or wanting to auto-start background stuff like your IM client on login, to be "power user" tweaks.

Comment: Re:Responding to feedback (Score 2) 267

by FireFury03 (#48091085) Attached to: GNOME 3 Winning Back Users

The interesting trend is that it seems to take losing users/slow adoption in droves and mass rioting to get the ball rolling.

Both gnome 3 and windows 8 have seen their user bases outright revolt over their UI changes, and both largely ignored it as "people hate change but they'll learn to love it" until numbers started actually dropping significantly and people started leaving.

It seems to be really good PR actually... Everyone says "Windows 10 is really good", and quietly ignoring the "...because they ripped out all the crap Windows 8 introduced, leaving it identical to Windows 7" bit. :)

To be honest, I don't really buy the "people hate change" thing - sure, some people hate change, but a lot of the time changes are good. Change for the sake of change is often bad, but a lot of change doesn't fit into that category and actually improves things. From my perspective, I think Gnome 3's UI is pretty good - I really like the fundamental design. What I dislike about Gnome 3 isn't the basic design, its that they seem to think that making everyone use dconf is more "user friendly" than providing a proper configuration UI that actually lets you.. uhm.. configure it.

Comment: Re:So what they are saying... (Score 1) 335

by FireFury03 (#48090813) Attached to: US Says It Can Hack Foreign Servers Without Warrants

So what they are saying is that anyone outside the US can freely hack US servers without a warrant too. Surely they don't expect special treatment?

However, if a US government employee who was somehow involved in cracking a foreign server visited that country, they would presumably still be subject to arrest and prosecution?

What about extradition? The US has extradited people from their homes after they cracked US servers so they might struggle to argue that US citizens shouldn't be extradited in similar circumstances. Or has "I was breaking the law as part of my job" suddenly become a valid defence?

And of course "somehow involved" doesn't necessarily mean they were the ones doing the actual cracking - anyone who knew about it and didn't blow the whistle or put a stop to it is surely still responsible. The constitution doesn't apply to non-US nationals, but there are international treaties that say the US has to respect the laws of other countries too.

Comment: Re:Ridiculous (Score 1) 139

by FireFury03 (#48074253) Attached to: NASA Asks Boeing, SpaceX To Stop Work On Next-Gen Space Taxi

It also has to safely escape on the launch pad and shortly afterward, the very problem the shuttle had. Boeing and Spacex have well defined and soon to be tested approaches to escape from launch accidents. I haven't seen how Sierra Nevada plans on solving this.

I believe they have onboard bipropellant rockets for both second-stage propulsion and abort.

I don't have any particular hard-on for SNC, although I do think that competition is good so having their craft as well as Dragon 2 and CST-100 would be good (especially since they are offering something quite different). However, I'm just taking a bit of an exception to superficial statements like "they should be disqualified because it looks like the shuttle" rather than actually giving a damn about the technical detail.

Comment: Re:Ridiculous (Score 1) 139

by FireFury03 (#48073801) Attached to: NASA Asks Boeing, SpaceX To Stop Work On Next-Gen Space Taxi

It looks a lot like a cross between the shuttle and the old project Dyna-Soar (I think that was a skunkworks project). Most who remember the TV show 6 million dollar man, that was footage of a DynaSoar's unsuccessful landing

Yep, rockets are hard - there are lots of examples of non-shuttle launch vehicles exploding and capsules reentering in non-survivable ways too. I don't see "it looks like the shuttle so it should be disqualified" as having a lot of merit - you could equally say that the Atlas V or Falcon 9 "look like" a Proton rocket, and therefore should be disqualified because Proton rockets have been known to explode at times. Or the CST-100, Dragon 2 and Orion capsules "look like" a Soyuz capsule and they have been known to fail so they should be disqualified too.

How about evaluating each craft on its technical merits rather than what it's appearance resembles?

To thine own self be true. (If not that, at least make some money.)