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Submission + - FSF's Richard Stallman Calls LLVM A "Terrible Setback" ( 2

An anonymous reader writes: Richard Stallman has called LLVM a terrible setback in a new mailing list exchange over GCC vs. Clang. LLVM continues to be widely used and grow in popularity for different uses, but its under a BSD-style license rather than the GPL. RMS wrote, "For GCC to be replaced by another technically superior compiler that defended freedom equally well would cause me some personal regret, but I would rejoice for the community's advance. The existence of LLVM is a terrible setback for our community precisely because it is not copylefted and can be used as the basis for nonfree compilers — so that all contribution to LLVM directly helps proprietary software as much as it helps us. "

Submission + - The Mac at 30: Original Reviews of Early Mac Models

snydeq writes: 30 years ago today Apple debuted the Macintosh, an iconic computer that among other things cost Steve Jobs his job. InfoWorld offers a retrospective of all the original reviews of the early Macintosh models, including the Macintosh ('will be compared to other machines not only in terms of its features but also in the light of the lavish claims and promises made by Apple co-founder Steven Jobs'), the Mac SE ('contains some radical changes, including room for a second internal drive and even a fan'), the Mac IIx ('a chorus of yawns'), and the Mac Portable ('you may develop a bad case of the wannas for this lovable [16-lb.] luggable'). Plus insights on the Macintosh II's prospects from Bill Gates: 'If you look at a product like Mac Word III on that full-page display, it's pretty awesome. ... But the corporate buyer is never going to be a strong point for Apple.'

Google Pledges Not To Sue Any Open Source Projects Using Their Patents 153

sfcrazy writes "Google has announced the Open Patent Non-Assertion (OPN) Pledge. In the pledge Google says that they will not sue any user, distributor, or developer of Open Source software on specified patents, unless first attacked. Under this pledge, Google is starting off with 10 patents relating to MapReduce, a computing model for processing large data sets first developed at Google. Google says that over time they intend to expand the set of Google's patents covered by the pledge to other technologies." This is in addition to the Open Invention Network, and their general work toward reforming the patent system. The patents covered in the OPN will be free to use in Free/Open Source software for the life of the patent, even if Google should transfer ownership to another party. Read the text of the pledge. It appears that interaction with non-copyleft licenses (MIT/BSD/Apache) is a bit weird: if you create a non-free fork it appears you are no longer covered under the pledge.

Submission + - Curiosity Rover On Standby As NASA Addresses Computer Glitch (

alancronin writes: NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity has been temporarily put into “safe mode,” as scientists monitoring from Earth try to fix a computer glitch, the US space agency said. Scientists switched to a backup computer Thursday so that they could troubleshoot the problem, said to be linked to a glitch in the original computer’s flash memory. “We switched computers to get to a standard state from which to begin restoring routine operations,” said Richard Cook of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the project manager for the Mars Science Laboratory Project, which built and operates Curiosity.

Submission + - Cisco looking to make things right with West Virginia (

alphadogg writes: Cisco has offered to "take back" routers it sold to West Virginia if the state finds they are inappropriate for its needs, according to this post on The offer is in response to a state auditor's finding that West Virginia wasted $8 million — and perhaps as much as $15 million — in acquiring 1,164 ISR model 3945 branch routers from Cisco in 2010 for $24 million in federal stimulus funds, or over $20,000 per router. The auditor found that hundreds of sites around the state — libraries, schools and State Police facilities — could have been just as suitably served with lower-end, less expensive routers.

Submission + - Kim Dotcom Plans White Label Version of Mega, Universities Get It For Free

An anonymous reader writes: Kim Dotcom made a very interesting announcement on Twitter this morning: Mega will soon offer white label versions of its service. Furthermore, he told TNW that his company “will provide this service for free” to universities. Dotcom told us he couldn’t offer too much detail, but he did say that he hasn’t partnered with any schools just yet. Mega has been approached “by one famous US university” recently, however, and the company concluded it “should offer them a tailored solution,” according to Dotcom. Yet this appears to strictly be a business decision. “We want to cooperate with universities all over the world,” Dotcom told TNW. “Their students are our potential future customers.”

Submission + - RIAA: Google Failing to Demote Pirate Websites (

Nerval's Lobster writes: "The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) claims that Google has failed in its attempt to lower the search-results rankings of so-called “pirate” Websites. “We have found no evidence that Google’s policy has had a demonstrable impact on demoting sites with large amounts of piracy,” read the report’s summary (PDF). “These sites consistently appear at the top of Google’s search results for popular songs or artists.” Last August, Google indicated that it would start lowering the search-result rankings of Websites with high numbers of “valid” copyright removal notices. “This ranking change should help users find legitimate, quality sources of content more easily—whether it’s a song previewed on NPR’s music website, a TV show on Hulu or new music streamed on Spotify,” Amit Singhal, Google’s senior vice president of Engineering, wrote in a corporate blog posting at the time. Google, which receives millions of copyright removal notices every month, also offers a counter-notice tool for those who believe their Websites have been unfairly targeted for copyright violations."

Submission + - Microsoft Azure overtakes Amazon's cloud in performance test (

alphadogg writes: Microsoft Azure's cloud outperformed Amazon Web Services in a series of rigorous tests conducted by Nasuni, a storage vendor that annually benchmarks cloud service providers (CSPs). Nasuni uses public cloud resources in its enterprise storage offering, so each year the company conducts a series of rigorous tests on the top CSPs' clouds in an effort to see which companies offer the best performing, most reliable infrastructure. Last year, Amazon Web Services' cloud came out on top, but this year Microsoft Azure outperformed AWS in performance and reliability measures. AWS is still better at handling extra-large storage volumes, while Nasuni found that the two OpenStack powered clouds it tested — from HP and Rackspace — were lacking, particularly at larger scales.

Submission + - U.S. Boys hitting puberty up to two years earlier: study (

SternisheFan writes: "Boys in the US are hitting puberty as much as two years earlier than in previous decades, according to a new study out Saturday from the American Academy of Pediatrics. The study suggests a well-documented trend seeing girls hit adolescence earlier than their historic counterparts has been mirrored among boys. However, the authors said the causes of change, or what it could mean for public health, remain unclear. African-American boys were generally the earliest to start puberty, with boys as young as nine years old showing signs of maturation, according to data on more than 4,000 boys in 41 states, provided by their pediatricians' offices. Non-Hispanic whites were next, with the average age of puberty onset coming at just over 10 years old, while Hispanic boys hit puberty on average a few months later, at just under 10 and a half. The ages were calculated based on when the pediatricians saw "stage two genital and pubic hair growth." "Following changes in growth and development is an important part of assessing the health of the nation's children," said study author Marcia Herman-Giddens in a statement. But this kind of data, laying out the ages that boys hit puberty in modern America, had previously been unavailable. "All parents need to know whether their sons are maturing within the contemporary age range, but, until now, this has not been known for US boys," said Richard Wasserman, director of the AAP's practice-based research network. The study, to be printed in next month's edition of the journal "Pediatrics" was put online Saturday to coincide with an AAP conference in New Orleans."

Submission + - Meet Siri's Little Sister, Lola (

waderoush writes: "Siri, the virtual personal assistant baked into the iPhone 4S, isn't actually an Apple creation — it was invented at the contract R&D outfit SRI International and spun out as a startup, which Apple purchased in 2010. Now SRI, working with Spanish banking giant BBVA, has come up with a speech-driven personal assistant that's far smarter than Siri, at least when it comes to questions about banking. Lola, which BBVA began testing on its website this week, connects to the bank's back end and can answer customers' spoken or typed questions about things like account balances and loan payment due dates. The two key innovations behind Lola, according to SRI, are deep integration with the bank's existing self-service infrastructure, as well as a new system for notating the user's intent (e.g., scheduling a mortgage payment) and intelligently maintaining (or abandoning) that context as Lola deals with successive questions. Like Siri, Lola is descended from a defense AI project called CALO, and could be the first in a series of 'vertical' personal assistants tailored for different industries. 'We felt we had to go beyond Siri because here we want a system that can really be an assistant, meaning software that knows us, knows what to do, knows how to do it, and then does it,' says Bill Mark, SRI's vice president of information and computer sciences."

Submission + - Big Brother, Mars eddition (

pesho writes: "A Duch company called Mars One has come with a bold new plan to establish and grow a permanent settlement on Mars. The 'new' part of the plan is that Reality TV will be used to finance and support the mission. According to BBC this

means turning the whole recruitment process into a reality TV show, following the contestants on their seven-month journey into space and finally capturing their Red Planet experiences on camera and beaming them back to audiences on Earth.

Paul Romer, one of the creators of Big Brother is also on board landing his expertise in converting the mundane into entertainment. Does this sound as credible plan for space exploration?"


Submission + - NVIDIA Responds To Linus Torvalds

jones_supa writes: NVIDIA's PR department has issued a statement following the harsh comments by Linus Torvalds last week where he referred to the graphics company as the single worst company they have ever dealt with, called them out on not supporting Optimus, and other issues. Basically the company replied they're committed to Linux using their proprietary driver that is largely common across platforms and, this allows for same-day Linux support with full OpenGL implementation. They also promote how they're active in ARM Linux for Tegra and support a wide range of hardware under Linux. Despite having not made any commitment to better support Optimus under Linux nor providing technical assistance to the Nouveau community, NVIDIA assures that 'at the end of the day, providing a consistent GPU experience across multiple platforms for all of our customers continues to be one of our key goals.'

Submission + - Inexplicable stellar disk (

Coisiche writes: A star has been found with an over-sized debris ring that's difficult to reconcile with current star system models. I expect that there will be a natural phenomenon behind it but just once I want to see "artificial" as the only explanation for something like this.

Without life, Biology itself would be impossible.