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Comment: Lazarus saves the day, FoxClocks, Netcraft (Score 1) 353

by Guy Smiley (#49080597) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Most Useful Browser Extensions?

I work with a lot of web-based tools (bugzilla, Jira, wikis, etc.) that include a lot of writing. Being able to autosave and recover web form input has saved me many hours of effort after the browser crashed, laptop ran out of battery, accidentally closing a tab, etc.

I also work with people all around the world, so Fox Clocks is very helpful by adding clocks for various cities to the Firefox status bar and/or a mouseover popup.

Haven't seen Netcraft Anti-Phishing bar mentioned yet either. It is helpful to detect malicious sites, and always interesting to see a bit of info on websites I visit (Slashdot currently ranks 8806 and has been around since March 2002 it tells me).

Also using NoScript, Tabmix Plus, WOT, Cookie Controller.

Comment: OSS projects are great for hiring developers (Score 4, Interesting) 45

by Guy Smiley (#48656229) Attached to: Using Your Open-Source Contributions To Land a Full-Time Job
When I worked at a small (Linux-centric) startup, we almost exclusively looked for contributors to OSS projects related to our business when trying to hire developers. I was even hired originally due to my OSS contributions (which had been more of a hobby before that point) and have worked for the past 15 years on very interesting (and highly paid) projects as a result.

There are many reasons to look for developers via their OSS contributions:

  1. Their contributions and interaction with the rest of the community (either as founder of their own small project, or contributing to another project) were much more easily visible than any resume or job interview, since it made it much more clear what kind of person they were in real life and not what they were faking up for show.
  2. The code contributions showed the quality of the developer "doing their own thing", and not their hand-picked and cleaned-up portfolio, so it gave a much better idea of what kind of developer they really were. Did they know the details of some code and could solve complex problems? Was their code completely crap and clueless? That is difficult to judge otherwise.
  3. That they even spend time contributing to OSS projects means that they actually enjoy software development, and hacking on code in that area, and aren't just looking for a job to make ends meet.
  4. It allowed us to find a large number of people that would never have applied to our company, but were interested in working for us once contacted.

For the first 3-4 years of that company, we only ever hired developers via our own searching, or other top notch developers they knew from previous jobs.

I would strongly recommend that developers contribute to OSS projects as a result. One of the difficulties of new grads is that they aren't able to get experience in some area, but contributing to an OSS project is "free experience building" for the developer in whatever marked segment they want to learn about. Becoming well known in a particular project (starting small and taking over progressively more complex tasks) not only builds a lot of experience, it increases their reputation in that community, and will make them a much better hiring candidate even if they aren't cherry-picked in the manner I described above.

It may even be that whatever OSS project they get involved in will become a startup of its own and they can get in on the ground floor and make their own job.

Comment: Re: So.... (Score 5, Interesting) 170

by Guy Smiley (#47849871) Attached to: Fedora To Get a New Partition Manager

In typical open source fashion, their replacing a tool (GParted) that doesn't support a few features they want with a new one that (at least initially) didn't support _any_ features at all because it was written from scratch.

Why not just fix GParted to add the few missing features instead of writing a completely new too? The new one will of course itself not support all the features GParted had, but instead be chok full of new bugs that will take years to find and fix...

Why is it that everyone wants to reinvent the wheel instead of using and improving the tools we already have?

Comment: Re:And in other news... (Score 1) 506

by Guy Smiley (#46362611) Attached to: Quebec Language Police Target Store Owner's Facebook Page
And just to point out, I live in Alberta and all three of my children, and the children of all my friends, go to French immersion schools since kindergarten, so I'm not anti-French. I also speak German.

My point is that Quebec needs to let go of the "French Only" mantra and join the 20th^W21st century. Why should Chinese restaurants not be able to have larger Chinese writing than French? Why should KFC be renamed PFK or whatever, when they don't even want to be called "Kentucky Fried Chicken" in English anymore because "Fried" is bad for business. They should rename their company to "Kiosque Frit Canada" to have initials "KFC" :-).

Languages evolve over time, but Quebecois has stagnated. Even the French call email "email", instead of "couriel." Even "facsimilie" (the root of the word "fax machine") is a valid French word, but the language police had to invent "telecopie" (sorry, my accent's are not happy) just to avoid polluting the language with an "English" word.

Did the language police make up new words for "samurai" or "sushi" or "glasnost" or "naan"? No, just for English words.

Comment: Re:They should have stolen some more recent plans. (Score 3, Insightful) 131

by Guy Smiley (#46236089) Attached to: China's Jade Rabbit Lunar Rover Officially Declared Lost

The US leads everybody in their belief in astrology, and their disbelief in evolution as scientific fact.

The government is dominated by individuals that care more about enhancing their personal fortunes or agendas than about the long-term success of the country.

I don't think this bodes well for the future.

Comment: ... or "by 2015 nobody will be allowed to sleep" (Score 5, Insightful) 53

by Guy Smiley (#45350939) Attached to: Your Digital Life Will Only Get More Crowded... If You Let It
This seems like extrapolation gone mad. People will consume almost 16h of media every day excluding work hours so they'll either be watching two shows simultaneously in the 8 non-work, non-sleep hours in the day? Or they will watch 16 hours of media and never sleep? Ah, "consumption" in the original paper means media delivery to the household, with no guarantee anybody is even paying attention (I'd guess set top box on but TV is off, click on 1h YouTube video but stop after the first 20 seconds).

Comment: Re:Obligatory Flash bitching thread (Score 1) 40

Works fine on my iPhone 3GS with iOS 6.0. The special YouTube app is also gone in iOS 6, and one can view YouTube content directly in Safari. So either iOS 6 has flash video support, or the servers are offering it in a format that can play on devices w/o flash?

Comment: Re:Don't sell project itself but its future (Score 2) 167

by Guy Smiley (#41683935) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Get Paid For Open-Sourcing Your Work?

I'm also a 10+ year open source company veteran, and we have survived 1/2 on customers paying us for feature development, and 1/2 on ongoing maintenance and support in production environments.

The one thing that I think is the linchpin in _customer_ value is that there is no vendor lockin on their part. If our company were to go bankrupt or become money grubbing idiots, then they are free to go their merry way an continue I use our software without any license or support from us. They can hire someone else to provide their support, or do it on their own via mailing lists. There are many smaller sites that so not pay for support, but the larger ones pay us because their system uptime and stability is more important to them than the annual support fee, and they know that money paid to us makes their product better.

Comment: Re:You're in the wrong business (Score 1) 167

by Guy Smiley (#41683791) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Get Paid For Open-Sourcing Your Work?

Sorry, you don't know what you are talking about. I've worked on open source software for over 10 years, and our customers pay us _because_ our software is open source.

They don't want vendor lockin that makes their system useless if we went out if business or decided to stop developing the product they are using.

We also get some contributions from non-company developers, both bug fixes and features. Not a ton but it helps the users in areas that we are not focussing development, and in turn helps us move into markets that were not central to us in the past.

Comment: Linux and ZFS licensing (Score 1) 56

by Guy Smiley (#41660001) Attached to: Interviews: Ask Free Software Legal Giant Eben Moglen

The ZFS filesystem is a robust, modern filesystem originially developed on Sun Solaris that contains many advanced features and is being used (among other things) on the largest computer in the world, LLNL Sequoia, which is running Linux.

ZFS is licensed under the Sun CDDL, which is an OSS-approved license. As ZFS was originally developed for Solaris, it is not a derived work of Linux or other GPL software. There is little hope of getting the ZFS copyright owner (Oracle) to relicense it under GPL. Since open source software is intended to increase users' freedom instead of restrict it, there is still a broader community of users would like to make ZFS on Linux available to the masses as part of easily-used Linux distributions.

It seems relatively clear that combining ZFS and Linux source code and compiling it on your own is permissible under the GPL if one does not redistribute the combined work, but there is uncertainty about whether it is legally safe to distribute ZFS and the Linux kernel together in either source or binary form.

Unlike issues with binary kernel modules that have proprietary licenses and/or are closed source, in this case the ZFS code is open source and has none of the objections that traditionally surround binary kernel modules, and it is in fact the GPL license that prevents distributing two open source components together if they do not both use the GPL license.

Under some interpretation of the GPL, ZFS is an independent work and can function on its own without the Linux kernel (there is a userspace component that can be used to run regression tests on the code independent of any kernel), but the Linux-compiled ZFS kernel module itself is not useful to users without the kernel.

Would you consider distributing ZFS binary Linux kernel modules (together or separately from the kernel) a violation of the GPL? Would the binary ZFS kernel module be considered "not based" on the Linux kernel per the GPLv2 section 2, the last paragraph that allows "mere aggregation" of another work packaged independently on the same media or download site? Would it be permissible if the ZFS code were distributed as a source package together with the binary kernel and compiled on the end-user system at installation time? Failing that, would the FSF be willing to make a special exemption to the GPL to allow ZFS to be bundled with Linux?

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