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Comment: Re:SAVE US AND THE WEB FROM MOZILLA! (Score 1) 324

by Xtifr (#49602337) Attached to: Mozilla Begins To Move Towards HTTPS-Only Web

Well, yes. But the paranoid Social Injustice Warriors who believe that Mozilla has become part of an ebul liberal plot to undermine western society and force us to all become devil worshippers and give Hugo awards only to registered members of the Communist party also believe that he was secretly forced to resign, and since the question wasn't relevant to my point, I decided to skirt the issue. But that is why I chose the (admittedly ambiguous) phrase "let him go." No matter who actually made the decision, the foundation certainly allowed it. :)

Comment: Re:SAVE US AND THE WEB FROM MOZILLA! (Score 1) 324

by Xtifr (#49595329) Attached to: Mozilla Begins To Move Towards HTTPS-Only Web

You mean the way we never hear the end of it now? I mean, here we are discussing it how many years later? :)

Seriously, I'm surprised the bigots didn't get together and fund him enough money to retire on, the way they did that pizza owner who said he'd refuse to cater a gay wedding recently.

And then there's the whole blaming Mozilla for the situation, when they were facing a massive boycott. The browser may be free, but the foundation depends on money from third parties (like Google), who only pay if the brower actually gets into people's hands. He thus became a liability to the foundation, quite literally, and even he clearly knew it.

1. The point of the foundation is to promote the use of Firefox.
2. Eich's appointment had the opposite effect; it was causing people to switch away from Firefox.

You can say all those people who were organizing the boycott are evil if you want (that's another debate), but I don't see how anyone with two brain cells to rub together can blame the foundation for taking what was the only reasonable way out of the no-win corner they'd painted themselves into. They either kept him, and faced widespread outrage and an ongoing boycott, or they let him go and faced widespread outrage. So, they picked outrage, because that was already unavoidable.

Comment: Difference between "need" and "want" (Score 1) 301

Technically, I only need one. I can always attach a hub. And, in an emergency, one is enough that I could suck out its power to recharge my phone. However, it would have to have a truly outstanding set of other features to make up for its lack. I'm not sure I can imagine a laptop with only USB that I'd actually be willing to buy, but I can't say it's not possible. But I do need at least one.

Want, however, is another issue. I want probably at least four, and would be dubious about buying anything with less than three. :)

Comment: Re:Seems he has more of a clue (Score 5, Insightful) 703

by Xtifr (#49578403) Attached to: Pope Attacked By Climate Change Skeptics

Ah, I see. The rights of gay people, people of color, and women are "bullshit to get people worked up over petty, unimportant, feelgood crap." Let me guess: you're not gay, of color, or female. Because I assure you that to people who do fall into at least one of those categories, those are not unimportant issues! For that matter, weed, while much less important, is still a fairly big issue to many sick people who don't respond well to other medications; a not insignificant number of people. But, of course, to you, anyone who cares about weed must be a useless stoner...

You're correct to suggest that the parties are identical on a lot of important issues, which is sad, because they're quite often both on the same wrong side. But they're on different sides on a lot of other issues, which, despite your lack of interest, are actually important to a lot of people. And on those issues, it seems to me, as someone faced with chosing between them on a regular basis, that the Dems are on the correct side the overwhelming majority of the time. Not always--I judge candidates by their stands on the issues, and I have voted for Republicans in the past, and may do so again if moderate fiscal conservatives ever manage to take back the party from the religious, anti-science nutjobs that seem to be running it now--but usually.

Comment: Re:What is or is not a religion? (Score 1) 700

by Xtifr (#49486961) Attached to: 'We the People' Petition To Revoke Scientology's Tax Exempt Status

So, for capital crimes, relying on people's judgement is ok, but not for money matters? I think your priorities may be a bit screwed up.

The simple fact is that the government is already making those judgements. As someone who has founded three religions (one of which had as many as five members at one point), I assure you my ability to write off church expenses is precisely nil.

I agree, "common sense" is not sufficient by itself for such matters, but since these judgements are already being made (see my earlier reference to the Mormons), why can't they be applied to Scientology? I don't know the gory details, but I'm pretty sure the criteria for becoming a tax-deductable church are rather more complicated than "just some guy who decides". I'm pretty sure there are laws and precedence.

If some random guy (like me) could just declare himself a church and stop paying taxes, and the government weren't allowed to decide whether that's a valid claim (as OP seems to think), I'm pretty sure the amount of taxes collected in this country would be pretty close to zero! :)

Comment: Re:They have been, but there's a snag (Score 1) 309

by Xtifr (#49483389) Attached to: NVIDIA's New GPUs Are Very Open-Source Unfriendly

As someone who has been using AMD Linux drivers (the built-in ones in the kernel) for the past year+, without noticing any of these problems you mention, I'm curious if you can document any of this. I'm certainly not going to claim you're wrong, since I don't push the drivers, and they may well have problems I've never noticed. But all I know is they've sped up incredibly since 3.9 or so, and now seem to do everything I ask of them. If there are problems I should be wary of, I'd really like to know.

Comment: Re:What is or is not a religion? (Score 1) 700

by Xtifr (#49480017) Attached to: 'We the People' Petition To Revoke Scientology's Tax Exempt Status

how are we deciding what is or is not a religion?

Using these things called "judgement" and perhaps even "common sense". The same tools used to distinguish Murder One from mere Manslaughter (fer example).

If there's no legal criteria to refer to, then you're setting a precedent for revoking the legal protections for any religion that you don't like.

There's already precedent: the LDS church was not considered a valid religion for a long time. Once they cleaned up their act, the decision was reconsidered.

Comment: Re:What? Why discriminate? (Score 1) 700

by Xtifr (#49479891) Attached to: 'We the People' Petition To Revoke Scientology's Tax Exempt Status

Actually, it's not that silly (though I admit it is silly). God is supposed to have miraculous powers, and, in theory, could accept some of the money thrown in the air, if He so desired. The poor, on the other hand, have no such ability. So the sillyness levels are not equivalent.

But yes, what he's describing is not what is formally known as a tithe, although the word has come to have a much broader meaning over the last century or so. And what he's describing is quite silly--a fact I'm sure he's aware of.

Comment: Re:Dark Matter? (Score 1) 59

by Xtifr (#49231359) Attached to: The Milky Way May Be 50 Percent Bigger Than Previously Thought

So if they haven't even accounted for a significant fraction of our own galaxy, what does that mean about dark matter?

As far as I can tell from a bit of quick research, absolutely zilch. Since dark matter is mainly hypothesized to explain the observed motion of galaxies, and most of the evidence for it comes from observing other galaxies and, especially, galactic clusters, the size of the Milky Way has no bearing.

Also, as someone else pointed out, this is about volume in any case; the actual mass of the Milky Way is probably not a lot different from previous estimates—but all estimates of the size and or mass of the Milky Way are necessarily rough in any case, since it's too close to see very well.

Comment: Re:The correct word is FEWER! (Score 1) 592

by Xtifr (#48848663) Attached to: Why Run Linux On Macs?

The article you link to, amusingly, contradicts the point you think you're trying to make.

"Less has always been used in English with counting nouns" (emphasis mine).

It may help you to understand that article if you realize that to actual linguists and lexicographers, the term "prescriptivist" has the same connotation as the word "creationist" does to a biologist. :)

Comment: Re:Debian on shiny Retina Macbook Pro (Score 1) 592

by Xtifr (#48848639) Attached to: Why Run Linux On Macs?

I don't know about OP, but for me, the main reason I avoid OSX is that I haven't found a way to turn on focus-follows-mouse and turn off autoraise. As far as I'm concerned, that alone is more than sufficient reason to avoid the system completely. Of course, there may be a way--I haven't looked very hard, since I don't actually own any Apple hardware. But more to the point--I'm familiar with and happy with Linux and my heavily customized environment, and don't have much interest in trying to learn how to duplicate all the things I like/want/need on some other system. So if I did get Apple hardware for some reason, I'd still probably run Linux, as the path of least resistance. But if I could find a way around the broken focus system, I'd at least begin to consider OSX as a possible-to-use system, rather than avoid-at-all-costs. :)

Comment: Re:Book Analogy (Score 1) 260

by Xtifr (#48343461) Attached to: Computer Scientists Ask Supreme Court To Rule APIs Can't Be Copyrighted

Except that only the names have been copied. Google provided their own story. (Which is proven by the fact that Oracle didn't allege copyright infringement on any of the actual code except one trivial function, which was dismissed as de-minimus, especially since it had already been replaced.)

The thing you seem to be overlooking is that functionality is something that is specifically excluded from copyright protection. (Which is why trying to make book analogies for software is usually a complete waste of time and highly misleading. Functionality is almost never found in works of fiction; in books, it appears mainly in "how-to" works and the like. And you can't copyright "telling someone how to install a door".) Google may have copied the functionality, but that's perfectly legal, as long as they didn't copy the code. Which they didn't, except for the names.

Comment: Re:I mean, aren't (Score 1) 260

by Xtifr (#48342157) Attached to: Computer Scientists Ask Supreme Court To Rule APIs Can't Be Copyrighted

More akin to words (or perhaps standard phrases). The programmer uses them to express something creative (a program), but they themselves are simply tools of creativity, not creative expressions in themselves.

This is why computer languages have been ruled non-copyrightable. And APIs are simply extensions of a computer language. In some languages (e.g. tcl), the boundary between language element and API is arbitrary and subject to change without notice.

Comment: Re:Number is irrelevant compared to severity (Score 1) 170

by Xtifr (#48320187) Attached to: NSA Director Says Agency Shares Most, But Not All, Bugs It Finds

The NSA's mandate includes both data penetration and data protection! For this reason, I suspect it's not the severity, but the obscurity that matters. A vulnerability that's easy to find is going to make government machines easier to penetrate, so they're likely to want to close them. A vulnerability that requires standing on one leg while juggling two white cats and wearing a clown nose is something they can keep to themselves, because it's so unlikely that anyone else will stumble across it.

Work expands to fill the time available. -- Cyril Northcote Parkinson, "The Economist", 1955