Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Last Chance - Get 15% off sitewide on Slashdot Deals with coupon code "BLACKFRIDAY" (some exclusions apply)". ×
Open Source

Desktop Linux Is Dead 1348

digitaldc writes with this quote from PCWorld: "It kills me to say this: The dream of Linux as a major desktop OS is now pretty much dead. Despite phenomenal security and stability — and amazing strides in usability, performance, and compatibility — Linux simply isn't catching on with desktop users. And if there ever was a chance for desktop Linux to succeed, that ship has long since sunk. ... Ultimately, Linux is doomed on the desktop because of a critical lack of content. And that lack of content owes its existence to two key factors: the fragmentation of the Linux platform, and the fierce ideology of the open-source community at large."
The Internet

Bookmark Synchronizer Xmarks Hangs Up Their Hats 225

krulgar writes "On January 10, 2011, Xmarks will be closing their doors. A free service being replaced by free software. It would still be nice to have a single way to keep my bookmarks from my work machine in sync with my home machines and my mobile devices without exerting much effort. Xmarks seemed to be the only ones with that clear vision, maybe the replacement tools can grow into this space, but it's still a little sad to see a useful tool wave goodbye."

Sonic Skydive's Real Aim Is To Help Astronauts Survive 140

mattnyc99 writes "Earlier this year came reports that Felix Baumgartner (the daredevil who flew across the English Channel) would be attempting to jump from a balloon at least 120,000 feet altitude, break the sound barrier, and live. Now comes a big investigative story from Esquire's issue on achieving the impossible, which details the former NASA team dedicated to making sure Baumgartner's Stratos project will instruct the future safety of manned space flight (including Jonathan Clark, the husband of an astronaut who died in the Columbia disaster). From the article (which also includes pics and video shot by the amateur space photographer we've discussed here before): 'that's also precisely what makes Stratos great. It's more like Mercury than the shuttle: They're taking risks, making things up as they go along. But they're also doing important work, potentially groundbreaking work. They're doing what NASA no longer has the balls to do. Hell, he'd do it for free. He is doing it for free. Stratos only picks up his travel expenses. Clark looks at his friend, shrugs. "This is new space."'"

Consumer Reports Can't Recommend iPhone 4 507

jbezorg was one among many readers to send word that Consumer Reports has concluded that they cannot recommend the iPhone 4. (They still enthusiastically recommend the 3G S.) "It's official. Consumer Reports' engineers have just completed testing the iPhone 4, and have confirmed that there is a problem with its reception. When your finger or hand touches a spot on the phone's lower left side — an easy thing, especially for lefties — the signal can significantly degrade enough to cause you to lose your connection altogether if you're in an area with a weak signal. Due to this problem, we can't recommend the iPhone 4. ... Our findings call into question the recent claim by Apple that the iPhone 4's signal-strength issues were largely an optical illusion caused by faulty software that 'mistakenly displays 2 more bars than it should for a given signal strength.'" The comments on the article don't display any of the vitriol the Apple faithful have been known to unleash upon anyone daring to question the Cupertino way. Perhaps they are moderated.

25th Anniversary of Hackers 149

theodp writes "Sharks gotta swim; bats gotta fly; hackers gotta hack. On the 25th anniversary of Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution, author Steven Levy has penned an interesting where-are-they-now follow up on the original digital revolutionaries for Wired. 'Some of my original subjects,' writes Levy, 'are now rich, famous, and powerful. They thrived in the movement's transition from insular subculture to multibillion-dollar industry, even if it meant rejecting some of the core hacker tenets. Others, unwilling or unable to adapt to a world that had discovered and exploited their passion — or else just unlucky — toiled in obscurity and fought to stave off bitterness. I also found a third group: the present-day heirs to the hacker legacy, who grew up in a world where commerce and hacking were never seen as opposing values. They are bringing their worldview into fertile new territories and, in doing so, are molding the future of the movement.' Here's hoping Google reads this and gets inspired to let Andy Hertzfeld ship whatever the hell he wants!" Glyn Moody pulls out one poignant detail from Levy's account: rms's thoughts of suicide.

Venezuela's Last Opposition TV Owner Arrested 433

WrongSizeGlass writes "AP is reporting the owner of Venezuela's only remaining TV channel that takes a critical line against President Hugo Chavez was arrested Thursday. 'Guillermo Zuloaga, owner of Globovision, was arrested on a warrant for remarks that were deemed "offensive" to the president,' Attorney General Luisa Ortega said. This comes on the heels of last week's story titled Venezuela's Chavez To Limit Internet Freedom."

PC-BSD 8.0 Release Focuses On Desktop Use 154

donadony writes "Last Monday PC-BSD 8.0 was released. PC-BSD is based on FreeBSD and uses KDE as its default desktop environment. PC-BSD is designed to make BSD much easier for desktop use. The 8.0 release includes support for 3D acceleration with NVIDIA drivers on amd64 and improvements in the USB subsystem. The PC-BSD team has also developed a friendly package manager system with a simple-to-use GUI tool (see the screenshots tour). For a full list of changes, refer to the changelog."

NZ School Goes Open Source Amid Microsoft Mandate 305

Dan Jones writes "Kiwis have built an entire school IT system out of open source software, in less than two months, despite a deal between the New Zealand government and Microsoft that effectively mandates the use of Microsoft products in the country's schools. Albany Senior High School in the northern suburbs of Auckland has been running an entirely open source infrastructure since it opened in 2009. It's using a range of applications like OpenOffice, Moodle for education content, Mahara for student portfolios, and Koha for the library catalogue. Ubuntu Linux is on the desktop and Mandriva provides the server. Interestingly, the school will move into new purpose-built premises this year, which include a dedicated server room design based on standard New Zealand school requirements, including four racks each capable of holding 48 servers for its main systems. The main infrastructure at Albany Senior High only requires four servers, suggesting an almost 50-fold saving on hardware requirements."

Failed Games That Damaged Or Killed Their Companies 397

An anonymous reader writes "Develop has an excellent piece up profiling a bunch of average to awful titles that flopped so hard they harmed or sunk their studio or publisher. The list includes Haze, Enter The Matrix, Hellgate: London, Daikatana, Tabula Rasa, and — of course — Duke Nukem Forever. 'Daikatana was finally released in June 2000, over two and a half years late. Gamers weren't convinced the wait was worth it. A buggy game with sidekicks (touted as an innovation) who more often caused you hindrance than helped ... achieved an average rating of 53. By this time, Eidos is believed to have invested over $25 million in the studio. And they called it a day. Eidos closed the Dallas Ion Storm office in 2001.'"

Organ Damage In Rats From Monsanto GMO Corn 766

jenningsthecat writes "A study published in December 2009 in the International Journal of Biological Sciences found that three varieties of Monsanto genetically-modified corn caused damage to the liver, kidneys, and other organs of rats. One of the corn varieties was designed to tolerate broad-spectrum herbicides, (so-called 'Roundup-ready' corn), while the other two contain bacteria-derived proteins that have insecticide properties. The study made use of Monsanto's own raw data. Quoting from the study's 'Conclusions' section: 'Our analysis highlights that the kidneys and liver as particularly important on which to focus such research as there was a clear negative impact on the function of these organs in rats consuming GM maize varieties for just 90 days.' Given the very high prevalence of corn in processed foods, this could be a real ticking time bomb. And with food manufacturers not being required by law to declare GMO content, I think I'll do my best to avoid corn altogether. Pass the puffed rice and pour me a glass of fizzy water!"

Half of All Data Centers Understaffed 211

alphadogg writes "Fifty percent of IT executives say their data centers are understaffed, and companies are still looking for more ways to cut costs, according to Symantec's latest 'State of the Data Center' report. Sixteen percent of survey respondents said their data centers are extremely understaffed, and another 34% called their data centers somewhat understaffed. At the same time, data centers are becoming more complex and harder to manage, with more applications, data and increasingly demanding service-level agreements. 'Data center complexity has led to a lot of staffing challenges,' says Sean Derrington, director of storage management and high availability at Symantec."

Submission + - EA denies DRM problems with Sims 2

Fizzlefist writes: "For the past 2 weeks there has been an uproar on the Sims 2 forums concerning the inclusion of Sony's SecuROM DRM software in the latest expansion pack, Bon Voyage. It seems paid customers have been having problems since day one of release, but EA is only now, 5 weeks later issuing an official statement on the matter. A lot of what's in the statement is outright fiction with proven reports of issues with disabling of disc burning software, optical disc drives, printers, cameras, system slowdown and even system crashes. Fan responses have been cold to say the least.

Interestingly enough, the expansion pack was cracked and up on the internet less than 24 hours after it's release."

Our informal mission is to improve the love life of operators worldwide. -- Peter Behrendt, president of Exabyte