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Comment: Re:He answered the most boring questions! (Score 1) 168 168

It blew up for *political* reasons, not for *technical* reasons.

Yes. And since we live in a political world where technology always have to bend to political realities, they cannot and should not be ignored.

Great thinkers, like Stallman, recognise this, and hence does "over the top" things like starting writing a free compiler and invent the very concept of software freedom, i.e. they focus on the political, that which out nothing much can exist. Lesser thinkers, like Linus Torvalds, doesn't, instead thinking that technology and the development of complex technical systems can exist in a vacuum, and hence puts himself, and the whole kernel community in difficult situations, that, like we guessed at the time, ended in tears.

Only the technology that can garner political support, can succeed. Because politics is what results when many people have to work together towards a common goal. It is in fact the very definition of politics.

Apparently Linus learned from this though, as git has the same license as the kernel, and hence arbitrary (political) restrictions like "you can't reverse engineer the protocol" (illegal in Europe I might add), or "you can't work on mercurial while working with Bitkeeper" (questionable in Europe) will not, and can not become an issue. And re: bitkeepers arbitrary licensing, Talk about letting your politics get in the way of technology...

+ - XKEYSCORE: NSA'S Google for the World's Private Communications->

Advocatus Diaboli writes: "The NSA’s ability to piggyback off of private companies’ tracking of their own users is a vital instrument that allows the agency to trace the data it collects to individual users. It makes no difference if visitors switch to public Wi-Fi networks or connect to VPNs to change their IP addresses: the tracking cookie will follow them around as long as they are using the same web browser and fail to clear their cookies. Apps that run on tablets and smartphones also use analytics services that uniquely track users. Almost every time a user sees an advertisement (in an app or in a web browser), the ad network is tracking users in the same way. A secret GCHQ and CSE program called BADASS, which is similar to XKEYSCORE but with a much narrower scope, mines as much valuable information from leaky smartphone apps as possible, including unique tracking identifiers that app developers use to track their own users."


"Other information gained via XKEYSCORE facilitates the remote exploitation of target computers. By extracting browser fingerprint and operating system versions from Internet traffic, the system allows analysts to quickly assess the exploitability of a target. Brossard, the security researcher, said that “NSA has built an impressively complete set of automated hacking tools for their analysts to use.” Given the breadth of information collected by XKEYSCORE, accessing and exploiting a target’s online activity is a matter of a few mouse clicks. Brossard explains: “The amount of work an analyst has to perform to actually break into remote computers over the Internet seems ridiculously reduced — we are talking minutes, if not seconds. Simple. As easy as typing a few words in Google.”

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Chicken Little (Score 1) 249 249

It has been called "climate change" since before 1988, when the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was formed. Today, people act like the name is some kind of knee-jerk defense against the switch between "global cooling" and "global warming" when in fact, there was no name change at all, nor was there ever a switch.

Especially as the gist of the theory is: anthropogenic global warming leading to climate change. (And the shift is sensible. If the global average temperature increase didn't lead to climate change, we wouldn't be that concerned with it).

That we don't use that mouthful all the time is no different than you lot calling para-acetylaminophenol, acetaminophen, and we calling it paracetamol. The full thing is just too much. It's just basically a name. The underlying "thing" is still the same. In both cases.

Comment: Re:He answered the most boring questions! (Score 5, Interesting) 168 168

I agree that Torvalds isn't the authoritative god of all that makes up a distribution and as such his opinion is one to be considered, but no the only one.

True. Those of us who were "there" remember when he didn't think it was that big a deal to develop the kernel using proprietary tools, esp. source code control systems (can you say "Bitkeeper"), and couldn't understand why everybody was whining about the risks.

We all know how that ended. It blew up all in the kernel developers faces. However, it also meant that he sat down and started writing git, and as a result we're all now better off than where we started.

So have faith. Either he's right, and systemd will not turn out to be that bad, or his faith in systemd will end in tears, and then, he'll sit down and write a new startup management system that will kick everybody else's collective asses!

In either case, we win! :-)

Comment: BIND (Score 1) 146 146

What's a superior DNS, in your opinion?

Point your Berkeley Internet Name Domain server at the root nameservers.

All the services that provide intermediaries to the real DNS are in the business of directing your traffic for their profit. If you are happy being a clueless end-user, the best you can do is (Google) since they are at least built to a reasonable scale.

But it's still not really DNS... it's asking somebody else to do your DNS for you. Which is OK for non-geek end users.

Comment: Re:That's good (Score 2) 146 146

Of course it has effect. There's such a thing as being too easy. Now, Jan Freese, the former head of the Swedish data inspection authority wrote a very good book on the subject, many, many years ago (in the mid eighties if memory serves), which unfortunately is in Swedish, so it won't do you much good. But one of his main points was that the existence of information isn't the main problem, but that manual barriers to its processing is.

It is my opinon that its become too bloody easy to find out too much about people today, for no good reason. In the important cases (not hiring child molesters at the day care) the data is still there, and still accessible for the concerned parties. That's not a problem. That everybody else should have access to the same data at the drop of a hat, needs to be argued. "Just because we can" isn't much of an argument.

So no. My original argument still stands. The data is there, no-one is arguing that is should be redacted. But that's not to say that the barriers to automatic processing should necessarily be as low as humanly possible. There aren't just benefits, there are risks as well.

P.S. And "information doesn't want to be free". If it wants anything it's to be $4.95, but even that is giving it much too much credit.

Comment: Re:That's good (Score 1) 146 146

This is about history being erased from public record. Don't you see the implications?

No its not. No-one is suggesting that the officially archived court proceedings be retroactively redacted. (Or the officially archived copy of the newspaper in question be redacted either, for that matter).

The public records are sacrosanct and still preserved.

Comment: Re:Dependencies (Score 1) 119 119

With current start-up management I meant "as it's defined by history and hence the system we've got to work with". Systemd is, as you say, trying to change that, and hence, have to change everything around it to suit. (And that's not popular, to put it mildly. :-) ) So they're going outside the current scope as what they're trying to achieve can't effectively be addressed within it. If it could be, and they hadn't try to expand the scope, there wouldn't be nearly as much wailing and gnashing of teeth, don't you agree?

Comment: Re: The point is that Russia's tech is crap (Score 1) 127 127

I didn't mean to be unfair to the British. They knew how to run an empire but they didn't uplift nations in their spheres for the mutual profit of those peoples. They invested in those countries to profit the empire or make controlling the territory easier.

Sure, don't get me wrong, I didn't say they did. However, they were much better than most of the "competition".

No one ran a global empire better or more benevolently than the British until the Americans came along.

That is up for debate I think. :-) I even said as much during your past and current debacle in Iraq. "You even had the British with you, the best imperialists there have ever been, and you still couldn't take their advice and do the smart thing." (They moved to have Abu Ghraib bombed for example, it being such a powerful symbol for Saddam's oppressive rule. Did you? No instead you made it a symbol of your oppressive rule. It's such a rookie mistake it's painful to see.

And then sending his army complete with political leadership home? WTF? You didn't even do that to the Nazis until after several months. German army units and US units even patrolled together all through the summer of '45, to ensure a stable and peaceful transition. It wasn't until after that was secured that you started hunting Nazis in earnest. So analogously, following your own example, in Iraq you should have rounded up the republican guard in short order and left the rest to simmer until done. Then dealt with it. You didn't and ended up with Iraq a vassal state of Iran, and the bloody Isis in the north.

So, I understand that you try and sell the current US as the empire that thwarts all other empires, but from outside I (and many with me) just can't see it. We see business acumen, and nothing else. No knowledge of actual facts on the ground, no sense or knowledge of history (local or otherwise), no shrewdness, no long term plan or direction. And by your own explanation, that's perhaps not surprising as the US leadership almost guarantees that there can be none of the above. To be a skilled imperialist, you need knowledge, direction, and being in it for the long haul. The US system, with everybody changing all the time, as you point out guarantees that that won't happen.

And hence you get the many messes that you get yourself involved in. Half heartedly and haphazardly. You can't seem to neither shit, nor get off the pot. From Vietnam to Iraq the symptoms and outcome are the same. And everybody else knows this, beating the Americans is easy. Just bleed them until they lose interest, as they inevitably will. The US have no staying power. (Compare that with the British if you will.) Even two-bit Somali war lords understood this, and managed to pull it off without much effort.

Now, why the US as imperialists are a failure, is a good question, and one we could write books on (as others have), but let me end with saying that of course this isn't all bad, or even overwhelmingly so. I'd absolutely hate for the current US to start behaving like the British, even as late as the late nineteenth century, don't get me wrong. I'd rather see an inept US that doesn't really want to be imperialist, than one that would and started doing that competently. But I'd also rather see a US that took an even more complete step in that direction and avoided clumsiness like Iraq altogether.

Comment: Re:Dependencies (Score 1) 119 119


No, that doesn't really count, as it's outside the scope of the current start-up management. It's not something that could be done with start-up management alone today.

Now of course, if we're allowed to fix the infrastructure, with hindsight there's a lot of things we could/should/would have done differently. But the world being what it is, that's unfortunately often not an option. I mean, Unix isn't that great, we could do a lot better today if we were allowed to start over. But again unfortunately we're not. So sd_notify while being "obvious" also falls far short.

Not that I'm married to SysV startup, it's a bit of a kludge. Likewise I'm not impressed with systemd either, it's arguably worse than the problem it's trying to solve. But again, that's not saying that SysV starup wasn't due for replacement.

Comment: Re: The point is that Russia's tech is crap (Score 1) 127 127

The British empire believed in the more traditional "win-lose" system.

That may be a bit harsh. I would say it was more a "we win, we don't care particularly what happens to you". If you look at e.g. the African nations that won independence from their European masters the former British ones usually did OK. The Brits had taught the natives how to actually run a country, as they needed the country to be run and didn't want to waste their own manpower on it.

You can contrast this to many of the smaller players, like Portugal or, horror of horrors, Belgium. They were more likely to just abuse the locals for sheer short sighted profit taking and to hell with everything, and everyone else. "The heart of darkness" was after all written as an argument against the abuses of King Leopold of Belgium.

Comment: Re:Obligatory reading (Score 1) 419 419

Whether the estimate is correct or not

It's not. It's based on the LNT-Linear No Threshold-model, that we today know is too conservative. Tjernobyl, Iran and Taiwan among others, have taught us as much.

Now, it's still a nice conservative model, and we don't know what to replace it with, or even if it should be replaced (being conservative and all), so everything is based on that. That has the nice side effect that we tend to err on the side of caution, but the downside is that people believe that "ultimately" there will be scores of cancers etc. from very low level dosages received by very large populations. That won't happen, we know that by now. If it did, then it would have already happened in the aforementioned instances and many more.

So, smart money is on basically no extra cases of cancer from long term exposure from Fukushima.

Getting the job done is no excuse for not following the rules. Corollary: Following the rules will not get the job done.