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Comment: originally file extensions were never hidden (Score 1) 522

by John_Sauter (#49173955) Attached to: Why We Should Stop Hiding File-Name Extensions

We gave them extensions for a reason - to let people easily tell what kind of code it was.

Historically, that isn't correct. File extensions were invented in the 1960s to distrnguish files for the same program but with a different purpose. For example, I might have a program named FOONLY. It is written in Fortran, so its source file is FOONLY.FOR. When I compile FOONLY.FOR the output of the Fortran compiler is FOONLY.REL. When I link FOONLY.REL the output of the linker is FOONLY.EXE.

In a system like this, hiding the file extensions would be counter-productive.

Comment: even older (Score 1) 522

by John_Sauter (#49173849) Attached to: Why We Should Stop Hiding File-Name Extensions

The idea of using file name extensions as a means to denote content/application association dates to the 1970s (or even earlier).

I first encountered filename extensions in 1966, on a DEC PDP-6. We had 36 bits (six characters) for the file name, and 18 bits (three characters) for the extension. Early extensions were .FOR (for Fortran) and .REL (for relocatable binary). The .EXE extension on executable programs was invented in the late 1960s for the Execute command, which would compile and link your program if your sources were newer than your executable.

Comment: Re: Who cares what RMS wants? (Score 1) 551

by John_Sauter (#49021661) Attached to: RMS Objects To Support For LLVM's Debugger In GNU Emacs's Gud.el

Because of the GPL, GNU/Linux does not fragment, as Unix did.

Of course it does. You think say Android's version of Linux is the same as the Linux mainline? Or Oracle Linux's version of the Linux kernel is the same as the mainline?

Android's version of the kernel is available in source form, and there are rumblings of an effort to integrate it into mainline. Even if this doesn't happen now, it can happen in the future because the source is available, unlike computer manufacturer's proprietary versions of Unix.

I don't know anything about Oracle's kernel, but unless they are violating the GPL their source is also available.

Comment: Re: Who cares what RMS wants? (Score 2) 551

by John_Sauter (#49016519) Attached to: RMS Objects To Support For LLVM's Debugger In GNU Emacs's Gud.el

It didn't solve it, it just created yet another entry to the UNIX wars, it didn't supplant the major players BSD, Darwin, HP-UX, AIX, Solaris. The problem was that developers had many systems to target, Linux hasn't solved that, it is solved by having multi-platform frameworks and language standards.

And yet today GNU/Linux is the premier Unix-like system which everyone targets, after Microsoft and Apple. IBM actively supports it, even on their mainframes, though they haven't forgotten AIX. Dell advertises GNU/Linux on some of their offerings. Oracle offers a distribution of its own, though it hasn't forgotten Solaris. HP offers GNU/Linux on their Integrity servers along with HP-UX. Because of the GPL, GNU/Linux does not fragment, as Unix did.

Comment: Re: Who cares what RMS wants? (Score 2) 551

by John_Sauter (#49015203) Attached to: RMS Objects To Support For LLVM's Debugger In GNU Emacs's Gud.el

BSD-style license does not guarantee these freedoms, and Stallman sees wider adoption of projects using those licenses as a threat to free software.

But why is that the case? I know there is the contrived case of a codebase being improved and re-packaged under a proprietary license but that just doesn't happen, part of the reason is the original codebase is still there and other people can still use and improve upon it. The most popular web server in the world is licensed under this model and it hasn't happened there.

The standard example is Unix. Each computer manufacturer ported it to his computers, then improved it to make his product (hardware plus software) more appealing in the marketplace. The improvements weren't shared, so there was fragmentation: applications would run on some Unix systems but not others. POSIX and Single Unix System were attempts to fix the problem by standardizing certain parts of the user-mode API, but they weren't enough.

The problem was finally solved by a clean-room reimplementation of the utilities (GNU) and the kernel (Linux). Both are available under the GPL, which requires improvements to code to be released in source if the binary is distributed.

Comment: non-free formatter is risky (Score 3, Insightful) 178

by John_Sauter (#48390949) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Is Non-USB Flash Direct From China Safe?

The SD Association has a special formatter which avoids this problem.

Interesting that the special formatter is only available for Microsoft Windows and Apple Macintosh, and apparently only in binary form. Even if I had such a computer I would not be comfortable formatting my disk with non-free software. Who knows, it might be putting an encrypted child porn picture on a hidden part of the disk, exposing me to the risk of prosecution. No thanks.

Comment: euphemism (Score 1) 120

by John_Sauter (#48384819) Attached to: No, You Can't Seize Country TLDs, US Court Rules

Basically it works like this. 1) Amy has a contract to wash Bob's car for $100 month. 2) Carl sues Bob for murdering his dog. 3) The courts can not give Carl a contract with Amy. The courts can only award Carl with property and money taken from Bob. Basically the courts can't force Amy to work with Carl. They can't force ICANN to work with the plantiffs.

A very thought-provoking post. I had trouble understanding why Bob would pay $100 a month to have his car washed, until I realized that washing his car is a euphemism. Upon realizing that, your argument became much more persuasive.

Comment: Re:Yes, but the real problem is being ignored. (Score 2) 461

by John_Sauter (#48349285) Attached to: Washington Dancers Sue To Prevent Identity Disclosure

Too bad the license costs $75/year. If it were free, we could fix this problem really quickly by everyone applying for stripper licenses.

Hell, $75/annum is only six bucks a month. I'd get one if I lived there, just for the novelty value....

In 2002 I found the same licensing regime in Houston, Texas. One of the dancers I talked to said she worked illegally because she knew that registration created a public record, which could follow her the rest of her life. In response, I registered as a nude dancer. The people at the licensing bureau were remarkably polite, even though an audience would pay to not see me nude. I still have the identity card: call me 007735 Robert.

Comment: Re:Only the beginning (Score 1) 236

by John_Sauter (#48002293) Attached to: First Shellshock Botnet Attacking Akamai, US DoD Networks

...You can check if you've been scanned for exploitable CGIs using something like (adjust apache logs path accordingly):

grep cgi /var/log/apache2/access*|egrep "};|}\s*;"

And you can check if your bash is vulnerable using:

env x='() { :;}; echo vulnerable' bash -c 'echo Testing...'

If 'vulnerable' appears, it is.

Thank you for the grep. When I ran it on my little web site I found I had been probed. The log line looked like this: - - [25/Sep/2014:01:53:59 -0400] "GET /cgi-sys/defaultwebpage.cgi HTTP/1.0" 404 224 "-" "() { :;}; /bin/ping -c 1"

I wonder what would happen if we all starting pinging that last IP address.

Comment: Re:solution (Score 1) 290

by John_Sauter (#47910647) Attached to: German Court: Google Must Stop Ignoring Customer E-mails

A budget is a statement of what's important. (A more-or-less clerical friend of mine said that the most important theological document a church has is its budget.) If a company is required by law to do something, then that something will be held to be important, and an unwillingness to devote the resources to doing it will not necessarily fly with the judge.

That is why you hire the judge's granddaughter. The judge will be reluctant to declare the effort insufficent, because she won't want her grannddaughter to lose her cushy job.

Comment: Re:solutionn (Score 1) 290

by John_Sauter (#47892065) Attached to: German Court: Google Must Stop Ignoring Customer E-mails

And within a few days the girl will file a report informing about the volume of work she is facing and the number of subordinates she needs to hire to get the work done, along with the suggested salary for herself and the subordinates. All of it to be paid by Google, of course.

And her supervisor will reply that there is no money in the budget for hiring more people, so she should do the best she can with the resources she has been allocated.

Refreshed by a brief blackout, I got to my feet and went next door. -- Martin Amis, _Money_