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Comment: mutual disarmament? (Score 3, Insightful) 36

by Trepidity (#48855497) Attached to: UK ISPs EE, Virgin and Vodafone Back Net Neutrality

In the UK case these ISPs mostly also run other media services: Virgin Media is a big media conglomerate that owns a bunch of TV channels, and Vodafone and EE both sell streaming-television services. A blocking/QoS war could be damaging to all of them, if they start preferring their own services and degrading other companies' services, so it might make business sense to just mutually agree not to do that.

Comment: Re:To curb terrorism (Score 1) 219

by Trepidity (#48847341) Attached to: European Countries Seek Sweeping New Powers To Curb Terrorism

Are the Slavs really more culturally similar than the Arabs, though? They feel at best "equally foreign" to me. Slavs are the eastern fringe of Europe, and Arabs are the southern fringe. They both intertwine with European history while remaining not quite entirely within it. And in the modern era, they are both more religious than the average Scandinavian, which manifests itself in fairly similar ways (the Slavs and Arabs both seem to hate gays). I'm not sure I would really prefer to have Slav neighbor than an Arab neighbor, all things considered. If anything the Slav seems more likely to try to sell my kidney to someone.

Comment: Re:Did Congress pass a law? (Score 2) 122

by Trepidity (#48845321) Attached to: Cuba's Pending Tech Revolution

Indeed, the parts of the sanctions that are required by law remain in effect. Congress did give the executive pretty broad discretion over parts of them, though, which is what Obama is using to modify the sanction regime (something previous presidents have also done, in both directions). Specifically the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000 (TSRA) authorizes exports to Cuba in certain areas, such as agriculture and medicine. The law directs the Treasury Department to come up with regulations governing such exports, such as procedures for receiving a permit, and/or annual quotas, but doesn't specify these procedures in any detail. The president therefore has quite a bit of leeway regarding whether he wants the export-licensing process to be easier or harder. A president who wanted to maximally restrict exports could institute a very onerous licensing process with low limits (effectively the current process), while a president who wanted to loosen the restrictions could institute a more streamlined licensing process.

Comment: Re:To curb terrorism (Score 1) 219

by Trepidity (#48839989) Attached to: European Countries Seek Sweeping New Powers To Curb Terrorism

Islam is opposed to the separation of church and state.

Eh, and so is Christianity generally. So much so that we do not even have separation of church and state in Denmark: the Church of Denmark is the official state church, which is written into the Constitution. There is freedom of conscience and worship, but one religion (Lutheran Protestant Christianity) is officially established, while the others are (according to the Constitution) merely tolerated, allowed to worship as they wish "provided that nothing at variance with good morals or public order shall be taught or done" (section 67).

Of course, in practice the church has lost almost all of its power in a gradual reform process spanning the past few decades. But I don't see this as some bit fundamental disagreement between Christianity and Islam, more a practical issue of which parts of each religion are dominant and what kinds of political power they have. In the current era, the temporal power of Christian theocrats is waning, so they are no longer much of a practical threat. But not because Christianity is doctrinally particularly great. Christian conservatives simply lost the political battle; if some things had turned out differently, they might have won, or at least come to more of a stalemate. But they didn't.

Comment: Re:To curb terrorism (Score 1) 219

by Trepidity (#48839041) Attached to: European Countries Seek Sweeping New Powers To Curb Terrorism

Is it really a large number? Here in Scandinavia as far as I can tell there are indeed Muslim extremists, but a quite small number. I work with a number of Muslims in a regular office job, and they are more or less normal people. More religious than the average Scandinavian, but then so are Americans.

And in terms of actual crimes committed, there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of terrorism going on here. There have actually been many more people killed by anti-Muslim nativists (like Anders Breivik) than by Muslim terrorists. Meaning that the people trying to "save" us from the Muslims are killing more of us than the Muslims are. In which case I would like to request that they stop trying to "save" us...

The biggest problems are more run-of-the-mill socioeconomic problems. A large number of young people in poor suburbs of Copenhagen and Aarhus end up committing petty crimes or joining street gangs. These are disproportionately immigrants, although it applies to Danes in those areas as well (who join biker gangs, which for some reason in Denmark are very white, and heavily involved in smuggling).

Comment: Re: When I see that [literaly] textbook mistake... (Score 4, Interesting) 329

by Trepidity (#48831557) Attached to: Steam For Linux Bug Wipes Out All of a User's Files

That tends to be too restricted for things to actually run, alas. For example, something in a chroot can't even see libc or use standard Unix utilities on its own files, because /lib and /bin are outside of the chroot. You end up having to install a whole second copy of Linux inside the chroot...

Comment: Re:When I see that [literaly] textbook mistake.... (Score 5, Interesting) 329

by Trepidity (#48831225) Attached to: Steam For Linux Bug Wipes Out All of a User's Files

Does show a longstanding problem with the Unix security model, though: nothing more fine-grained than per-user permissions. There's no reason Steam should be able to delete (or even read) anything in my home directory other than its own files, but the only real way to keep it from doing so using straight Unix permissions is to create a new local user for every application.

Comment: Re:Info about Gentoo, for those considering it (Score 2) 402

by Trepidity (#48823039) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Migrating a Router From Linux To *BSD?

I don't think it's really accurate to say the BSDs are primarily source-based from a user perspective these days. FreeBSD, NetBSD, and OpenBSD all use binary packages. You can build from source, but that's true on Debian too. The various BSD and Linux distributions differ a bit mainly in how strongly encouraged each option is, e.g. OpenBSD strongly recommends installing the official binary packages, not building your own.

Wherever you go...There you are. - Buckaroo Banzai