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Comment Re: more reason for https as default for all sites (Score 1) 111 111

The GP's point is that if you contract with the makers of the phones, you can insert your own root certificate and make yourself a CA without anyone else signing your root cert. You'd expect third-party browsers on Android to reject the MITM though, and I doubt whether you could suborn Apple into helping you on iOS; it's possible in principle, but it looks pretty unlikely to me.

Comment Re: Sheeit, journalist (Score 1) 149 149

I thought the article unfairly patronized Knuth too, but it makes an interesting point -- that if the kind of history Knuth wants to see is to continue, it will have to be done in Computer Science departments. It also provides examples of other disciplines, like mathematics, that have made space for historians internally.

I'd love to see this happen, but I don't know if it's politically viable within the academy.

Comment Re: Slackware (Score 1) 303 303

I don't know why they still use sendmail. I wrote a sendmail configuration file once in my life: never again.

Also, you should check out the new package system if you haven't already. (It was called pkgng while in development; now it's just pkg, but pkgng is probably more googleable.) Ports still work fine, but there's been a lot of movement toward making binary packages the "cultural default" now that the tooling is better.

Comment Re:Obj-C (Score 2) 316 316

I wrote a toy Lisp interpreter in Objective-C, on Linux without any of the NS* libraries. It was great for that, because it gave polymorphism while at the same time letting you mess with object internals. My root class had a method that would overwrite the object's isa pointer, changing it into an object of another class, for use by the garbage collector; try that in most languages.

The basic layer is C, which is a small and relatively clean language, with a small and relatively clean Smalltalkish object model layered on top of it, with tools that let you bridge the gap when you need to do so. That's awesome. But Apple wants people to use it as an application language, and so they keep layering features and tying syntax to their runtime libraries to make up for the fact that it's a systems language at heart. Modern, Apple-influenced Objective-C is much less beautiful than the old language, though it may be more convenient for application development.

Comment Re:The FSF/GNU folks overreached with GPL v3 ... (Score 2) 99 99

I don't follow the compilers very closely, so my recollection may be fuzzy, but I think this is what the grandparent was getting at:

In the past some people have proposed giving GCC a clear, serializable intermediate code so that one could use GCC front ends and back ends independently of the rest of GCC. The leadership viewed this as an end run around the GPL, because whatever produced or consumed this intermediate code would not need to link to the invoked portions of GCC. Tight coupling between the front ends and back ends was therefore treated as something to be encouraged for licensing reasons.

LLVM's design by contrast centers around its bytecode. Since it has a BSD-like license the question of whether you link to the compiler's code or fork/exec it is unimportant.

Since the emergence of LLVM, it's my understanding that the GCC leadership have softened their views -- the alternative to invoking GCC in a separate process is now to use LLVM, rather than to link to GCC and release one's source code; thus purely technical concerns can determine the design of GCC also.

Comment Work the way down to no license (Score 5, Insightful) 301 301

It would make the most sense to require fewer qualifications as the technology becomes more proven; it could start requiring a driver's license with an endorsement and, as the cars become more capable and the kinks are worked out, go down to no license. But gradual deregulation tends to run counter to a bureaucracy's instincts and when the political process steps in it tends to do so suddenly, so I don't know if the idea would work in practice.

Comment Re:And any idiot with a soldering iron can bypass (Score 1) 765 765

Until I see someone cite an actual statistic of how many people are disarmed and shot with their own weapons, I'm going to continue to see these sorts of claims as hyperbole, and rightfully so.

I agree that this is a silly concern for the average citizen; for policemen it's a real concern -- in that they often have to grapple with resisting people while their sidearms are in plain sight -- and it's telling that police departments are totally uninterested in smart guns.

Comment Re:Marriage is about property and other rights. (Score 1) 564 564

In the old days, people would get married by the state (coiurt house or whatever) and then have another marriage in the church.

It was condensed later on.

This has never been the tradition in the English-speaking world. Some European countries have moved to this model since the nineteenth century.

Comment Re:So... (Score 4, Insightful) 564 564

His donation to Proposition 8 has been known literally for years. He was CTO before his promotion to CEO; he had a seat on the board of the Mozilla Foundation, as is natural for its co-founder. None of his gay subordinates or coworkers seems to have levied any accusations of unfairness against him in all that time. One of the Mozilla bigwigs commented that she was surprised to learn of the donation when it came out, because Eich's friendliness and evenhandedness toward gay employees defied her stereotype of a Proposition 8 supporter.

Eich had no trouble getting along with those who didn't share his views, but it seems that not everyone reciprocated.

Comment Re:Liberal arts professors' worst nightmare (Score 1) 134 134

A paragraph that uses the 3 part structure that is overemphasized in elementary school, i.e.: opening statement, middle sentences, summary. It results a fractured flow between paragraphs, with unnecessary summary, and an overemphasis on length instead of brevity.

As for your score, the average SAT score was 1498 in 2013, take from that what you want.

Well yeah, that's because they added an essay portion that's scored separately. You'd expect the average score for the two-part test to be about 1,000 and the average score for the three-part test to be about 1,500.

Comment Re:That's not a student loan, it's Pay It Forward (Score 1) 304 304

If there is no risk to the bank whatsoever, then why do they deserve any profit through interest payments?

They are offering the use of their money, which they could otherwise invest in some profitable enterprise; that is worth some interest. Without risk, one would expect it to be low interest -- like treasury bonds -- but certainly nonzero.

Do not underestimate the value of print statements for debugging.