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Comment: Re:Democracy is NOT freedom (Score 1) 326

by Phillip2 (#47850803) Attached to: Stallman Does Slides -- and Brevity -- For TEDx

This is a silly argument. Democracy is a mechanism for ensuring that a society runs with the consent of the majority. The whole point of society is to put restrictions on what you can and cannot do. This can mean forcing you to do things you do not want. Most of the time, though, it involves stopping a few people from doing things that they want: whether this is murder, or driving too fast.

By your definition of freedom, pretty much everyone in our society is free for the brief period between birth and weaning. After that, it's downhill all the way.

Comment: Re:Where do I sign up? (Score 1) 327

So, patent examiners are employed by we the people, from who they could have nothing to fear. As a result their union is an evil vested interest.

On the other hand, taxes are collected by a vicious and cruel IRS, using the ever present threat of violence and death.

I'm glad that you cleared that up, because I thought it was the same organisation, the government, that both collect tax and employ patent examiners.

Comment: In what sense is this about software (Score 1) 171

by Phillip2 (#47465005) Attached to: Is the Software Renaissance Ending?

He is complaining that there is little room for independence, that everything is becoming owned by large corporations who control everything through a combination of their power in the marketplace, use of the law.

I am struggling to understand how this is an issue with software development. The same is happening everywhere. Once he's been writing for a while, he'll discover that this is mostly owned by a few large corporations. The same is true with music, science, education and so on.

We are sinking back into a "free market" feudal hierarchy. Software development is just following the rest of society.

Comment: Re:Scala (Score 2) 466

by Phillip2 (#47241757) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Rapid Development Language To Learn Today?

"Scala also runs on the JVM, so it's fast as opposed to Python."

This is so wide of the mark that I had to comment. The JVM is a fast virtual machine, but that is a poor benchmark. Java and Python run at roughly equitable speeds, but where Python wins out is that it has a much stronger interface to C or Fortran. For hard core number crunching, python wins because you can either call existing scientific or numerical libraries, or use tools like numpy which do the stuff that needs to be fast in C.


Comment: Re:Interesting (Score 1) 394

by Phillip2 (#46933519) Attached to: Richard Stallman Answers Your Questions

Slower moving is good sometimes. I can still compile 20 year old documents that I wrote in Latex, but cannot open 20 year old documents that I wrote in word.
"Innovation" is often used to mean "planned obsolescence" where the business model depends on software and hardware being replaced every three or four years.

A lot of the problems with recent desktop systems have also been about change, when it has been affecting things that people use all the time. I'm a scientist so I want to do innovative work on my computer; most of the time, I just need the desktop to get out of my way.

It's all a matter of degree. Stability is not the same thing as stability. Change is not the same thing as innovation.

Comment: Not enough eyes (Score 4, Insightful) 582

by Phillip2 (#46761183) Attached to: How Does Heartbleed Alter the 'Open Source Is Safer' Discussion?

So, the "with many eyes all bugs are shallow" notion fails. There were not enough eyes on the OpenSSL library, which is why nobody discovered the bug.

Except that someone did discover the bug, when they were looking at the code because it was open source. And they did report it. And it did get fixed. Later than anyone would want of course. But it happened. Maybe the similar errors would and are being missed in the Windows and Mac implementations.

Comment: Re:Biggest saving is... (Score 1) 193

by Phillip2 (#46646991) Attached to: London Council Dumping Windows For Chromebooks To Save £400,000

2300 Chrome machines vs. 4300 XP machines, I wonder what the true saving are. Since the totals doesn't add up, what did they do eliminate 2000 workers and 2000 machines, or are they going to make 2000 workers use pen and paper or am I missing some here?

Probably the numbers are real. Since we spent lots of our money on bailing out banks and wars, and big business doesn't pay tax any more, many areas of the public sector have been cut. Most local councils have shed workers wholesale.

Comment: Re:25% grant success rates? (Score 1) 126

by Phillip2 (#46531979) Attached to: Scientists Publish Letter Saying, "We Need More Scientific Mavericks"

Shocking though it may be to you, these scientists who were publishing a letter in a British Newspaper are by and large resident in Britain. I would hazard a guess that the majority of their research funding does not come from NIH, but from the UK research councils.

Trust me, mavericks or not, I bet all the signatories could tell you the success rate for all the grants schemes they apply to.

Comment: Re:How does evolution work like this? (Score 2) 431

by Phillip2 (#46417049) Attached to: Jewish School Removes Evolution Questions From Exams

There are lots of whats that speciation could occur -- one obvious one is that the population gets split into two which then evolves away from each other. If you had 100 different high related species then they would likely compete with each other or interbred. The end result of either is that you end up with fewer populations -- one wipes out the other, or the two interbred till they become one.

Comment: Re:PIZZA! (Score 1) 459

by Phillip2 (#46406331) Attached to: Low-Protein Diet May Extend Lifespan

Pizza is not that healthy, I am afraid. The problem is that most Italian pizza's have really significant amounts of salt in both the base and the topping. Of course, Italians tend to use rather too much salt to my taste anyway, but Pizza is where it is the biggest issue, because it doesn't taste really salty. The only reason you know is that you have to pee a lot afterwards.

Comment: Or not so misinformed (Score 2) 82

by Phillip2 (#46365937) Attached to: Github Rolls Out New Text Editor Atom

It's not quite that misinformed. Emacs lisp is a special purpose language. It's implemented in the Emacs core and is not implemented any where else. It's in the same family as the 1958 lisp, but is none-the-less as different language from all the others.

It's actually quite a nice language; it has some nice data types good for editors. And being a lisp, you can layer anything you want on top of it.

Comment: Re:What about Mercurial? (Score 1) 252

by Phillip2 (#45848791) Attached to: Emacs Needs To Move To GitHub, Says ESR

Why not mercurial? Two main reasons, I can think of. Firstly, some of Emacs (ELPA) is already hosted on git. And, secondly, because Emacs support for git (magit) is way ahead of that for mercurial.

ESR gives a third reason, which is that git has won and mercurial is not in great health, and may end up in the same position as bzr. Maybe, maybe not, but it's a factor.

"Turn on, tune up, rock out." -- Billy Gibbons