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Comment Why sell software? (Score 1) 350 350

Your trinity is entirely correct, so what is the business case for open source software? Clearly there is one: even Microsoft is getting in on the game.

Your examples of Linux software are a bit off base. In Debian's most popular packages, you have to go down to #259 to get to x11-common, and the first actual graphical program (iceweasel) comes in at #657. I understand that you're a desktop user and your business involves selling desktops, but I do wish that you would get past your myopic focus. Linux is a server OS, a development platform, an embedded and supercomputing platform, and while it can be used as a Desktop OS, there's really not much business interest in that.

I think you must be unaware that the majority of software is written to save money, not to make money. There's also a huge hidden cost to software: it doesn't exist in a vacuum. "Though a program be but three lines long, someday it will have to be maintained." The cost of maintaining software for which you don't have the source code tends to be "finitely large".

You're correct in what you say, up until you identify it as a flaw. Yes, it probably keeps Linux off the desktop. I'm sure that Mark Shuttleworth cries himself to sleep over that, but I'm sure Linus couldn't give a shit, and neither do the rest of the companies which have invested untold billions of dollars worth of developer time into the Linux ecosystem.

Comment Re:ABI (Score 1) 61 61

Failed driver model? By what definition of failure? Linux exists on millions upon millions of devices. Many Linux advocates may recommend NVIDIA hardware for gaming, but who cares? It's a tiny market. NVIDIA and AMD both have great Linux support for workstations and GPU computing, which is where the money is.

I hope that Linux never gets above 2% of the desktop, personally. Non-coders like you would ruin the platform, with exactly these kinds of moronic suggestions. I'd lay odds the majority of linux instances don't even have a video output connected. Why you persist in thinking of it as a desktop platform, to the exclusion of its actual uses, is beyond imagining.

Comment ABI (Score 3, Insightful) 61 61

Stick to what you know, hairyfeet. Linux has no ABI because it does not want to encourage having random binary blobs on the users' systems. It's an ideological principle that will never change.

You clearly only understand the desktop arena, which is fine, but most Linux users are pretty happy with its current niche. The Linux ecosystem is probably better described as a set of tools for building an OS, and so you see things made from it like Android, Maemo/Meego/Sailfish/Whatever, SteamOS, various container-style projects, and the normal run of distributions. It's a development platform, mostly for server applications. Yeah, it would be nice in some ways if everyone was programmer enough to use Linux, but it's essential to no one, and the minority of people who have aftermarket video cards is not sufficient justification to bend over backwards for closed development models. Gamers may keep you in business, but they are a tiny part of the computing market. Now if you could point to something like ABI compatibility being an issue with GPU supercomputing, that might be more compelling.

There are arguments for a stable ABI. They are never going to get traction in a very successful open development paradigm, and desktop market share is not one of them. I'm sorry you've been riding this hobby horse for however many years, and I hate to tell you how silly you look doing it, but if that's your thing I guess you can keep it up until doomsday.

Comment Red Herring (Score 1) 484 484

Hanford was not a power plant, it was a bomb-making facility. The first bomb-making facility, in point of fact, which is why it's such a mess now. Thanks for being an alarmist on this issue, it really helps the level of discussion to drag in FUD about plutonium production when talking about power production.

Comment Congestion (Score 1) 247 247

No. You want that, go to Panama City. I'm told the taxi license costs about $300, and there are very little requirements about roadworthiness, but that's not really the point. The good points are that you can almost always get a cab, you agree on a fare before you get in, and taxis will pick up more than one fare at a time.

The bad parts are that the drivers are free to discriminate using prices or refusal of service, and do so as a matter of course, and that even if you get the cab, they may not take you more than a few blocks because of congestion. Traffic is awful down there, even after the introduction of the subway. This is due in no small part to the financial incentive which puts thousands of taxis on the roads. Also, the fares are absurdly low, which is good for the passenger, but without regulation you're going to end up with poorly maintained vehicles and drivers that are barely scraping by, because you can't really cut costs any other way.

All Panama City needs is an app, and then it will be Uber's Utopia. I don't know if I would want to take a cab in that world, but I sure as shit wouldn't want to be a driver.

Comment Empirical Evidence (Score 1) 273 273

Yes, we have moved to verification. That's kinda the point. Science is empirical, religion is not. If you want the religious perspective on social issues, you use received knowledge (religious texts) or rationalism (logic). You do not conduct an experiment to measure God's opinion on the matter.

Science does not deal in absolute truth. It deals in empirical truth, in other words, things that match observations. Empirical truth is limited therefore to what can be observed, and more typically what can be measured.

I do not know of an objective basis for privileging empiricism over rationalism over religion. However, for me personally, if it can't be observed I'm not going to assign a truth value to it, and if it doesn't match observation, it's wrong. It is unquestionably the case however that religion is not under any condition a science, and cannot be evaluated scientifically. Frankly, I cannot imagine the confusion of ideas that led you to espouse that, but if this is an apology for your unscientific beliefs, rest assured that they have a different basis and scope than your scientific ones, and as you say, there's no reason from a philosophical perspective to prefer either system.

Comment Empiricism (Score 2) 273 273

No, natural sciences have started from observation. Science is empirical, and theology is without empirical evidence. It relies on received knowledge and rationalism. There is no observational test which can be used to determine the existence of any given god or religious belief, therefore science can not be used to evaluate theological truths.

This is not to say that theological truths are better or worse than empirical ones, but for me personally, I will consider anything that contradicts empirical evidence to be wrong. I don't have a sound basis for telling other people how to determine truth, and empiricism is not without its flaws: things are only true to the degree to which they can be observed, which always leaves some sort of error factor. There are a number of moral and social phenomena which are either intractable or undecidable by empiricism. Religion does happen to be one of those areas.

Science is not the categorization of knowledge, it is the search for truth, specifically empirical truth. A little knowledge of epistemology would go a long way towards settling disputes about science versus religion.

Comment Transsexuality (Score 4, Interesting) 273 273

I could explain that gender is mostly a social construct, or a mental one (as opposed to biological sex, which has some fuzzy boundaries but is otherwise more clearly defined). I could explain transsexualism in terms of foreign hand syndrome, where your brain is telling you that your body is wrong and the difference between your mind and body is a continual torment. I could tell you about years of secret anguish and desperate struggles against one's self, as often as not leading to suicide.

But I'm pretty sure you have an unshakable faith in a baseless opinion. I'd wish some dire situation on you for your close-mindedness, but I can't actually think of a worse curse than being willfully ignorant and without compassion.

Comment Init is a misnomer. (Score 4, Informative) 187 187

The job of the init system is actually to change the system state, and hopefully to be able to guarantee that it does so. Scripts have some inherent limitations in this regard, which is why even OpenRC relies heavily on C libraries. Understanding why people have been trying to replace SysV init for the last two decades would make a lot of Systemd's design decisions more clear to you, I feel. However, I do feel you are entirely mistaken if you think there is some propaganda movement to label it as 'just' an init system. System initialization is only a subset of the problem at hand, and even the name was chosen to reflect that.

Comment Portland (Score 2) 383 383

Hi Linus!

So I've read you live somewhere near Portland, and as shocking as it is to consider you amongst the flesh-and-blood mortals that I might encounter in this life, I believe I might just be able to keep from frothing and gibbering were it to happen. No promises. But in any case I'd be nice to know if there were any social or tech events in the area that you might attend. Also, breaking the rules about multiple questions, but possibly relevant to the above: what sort of beer do you drink?

- J. Random Linuxuser

Comment Re:Reconciling faith with science (Score 1) 305 305

I understand there is a general trend towards denigration of religion by empiricists; having a different idea about how truth is to be determined is a wonderful way to begin and sustain arguments. Frankly, I'm not all that well prepared to have such arguments, and consequently I avoid making value judgments about such things: I think we actually strongly agree on that point.

However, I must disagree with your underlying point: science is empirical by definition. We're a bit hampered in discussing scientific truth because to some degree there is no such animal: mostly science is concerned with disproving hypotheses. However, the point is that if some statement is contradicted by observation, it is considered false, and the scientists' logic, reason, or beliefs are neither here nor there.

Contradiction between the two sets of true statements is almost inevitable, but I'm not sure how much sense it makes to compare such things. Empiricism isn't going to have much to say about Christ's divinity, or much of anything else that doesn't lend itself to being expressed in SI units: morality, government, or number theory. Empiricism is flawed in many other ways, of course: our senses are imperfect, even when extended by tools. Proving statements is difficult and time-consuming, and proving something true in an absolute sense is more or less impossible. Other systems of truth-finding, however, have the ability to prove statements which may not agree with empirical evidence.

Humans need rationalism, empiricism, and (presumably) religion. They are all useful in their own sphere. They do not all share the same set of true statements, more or less by definition, and I trust that your statement to the contrary was a simple misapprehension.

Comment Re:Reconciling faith with science (Score 1) 305 305

It's entirely possible to believe in religion and still be a grounded person...

That is actually not in dispute. However, if you believe that truth is determined by experiment and observation, this conflicts with the ideas that truth is determined by logic and axioms, or e.g. what is written in the Bible. For Catholics, truth is determined by revelation and received wisdom: no amount of experimentation will have any effect on matters of faith. The set of truths provable by each system do not have to conflict, and each is more or less equally valid as a philosophy. For a further discussion touching on this matter, you might see the article 'Rationalism vs Empiricism' in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

Comment Reconciling Empiricism with Religion (Score 0) 305 305

It's very easy to distinguish what makes religion and science incompatible: how they determine truth. Science is empirical, religion is a combination of rationalism and 'received wisdom'. That is to say, with science truth is determined by what can be repeatedly measured, and with religion truth is determined either by rational argument building on chosen axioms, which are generally received from textual sources or from religious leaders.

It is not to say that either one is "correct"; both have their limitations. Empirical truth always has a degree of error, and with anything unmeasurable it is arguable whether it can be assigned a truth value at all -- although I will note that with any truth-finding method, it is a valid philosophy to regard the unprovable as false. Rational truth is independent of our possibly-erroneous senses, it can describe things which cannot be measured (e.g. morality), and things can be true in an absolute, provable sense. Its limitation is that you can make logically true statements which do not correspond to observable reality, especially with badly chosen axioms.

Religion, especially Catholicism, is not empirical. That does not mean that everything it considers true is automatically contradicted by empirical truth, it means that what is true from the standpoint of Catholicism is ultimately decided by faith and not by experiment. There absolutely is a conflict between these philosophies. I'm not going to make a value judgement about any of this; my choice of empiricism does not invalidate or lessen anyone else's choices, although if your choice of truth conflicts with empirical reality you're probably gonna have a bad time. I just wish that the discussion of all of this on Slashdot wasn't so sophomoric: I don't think most peoples' educations has prepared them to have a very elevated discussion on the matter. That as well is not intended to denigrate; I have no college education to speak of and my ignorance is unbounded. I think you make a wonderful, lucid, intelligent, passionate argument, which would be improved by a slightly different conceptual framework. I also agree very much with your motivation; I determined very early on that Catholicism was not for me, but I try very hard to give them their proper respect because we disagree at such a fundamental level, and even if I wanted to disrespect religion, there is never any cause to misrepresent history.

Thank you for writing, as well: whether or not we agree on all matters, I think you do credit to the community here.

You will lose an important tape file.