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Comment: Re:Elon Musk vs Richard Branson (Score 1) 105

by bheading (#49313427) Attached to: Virgin Could Take On Tesla With Electric Car

I went for a quick look into this. Wikipedia reveals that Virgin Australia is owned by Virgin Australia Holdings, which in turn is owned by a consortium consisting of a number of other airlines (Ethiad, Singapore, Air New Zealand), plus Branson's Virgin Group with a 10% holding.

Virgin Mobile in Australia, much like the Virgin broadband/phone/TV operation in the UK, is no longer anything to do with Branson - he sold it to Optus in 2006 and that company is currently wholly owned by Singtel. In the UK, Virgin Media is owned by Liberty Global.

This reveals how, these days, Branson really does business. Virgin is basically nothing other than a brand. It's a respected brand - funky, hip, cool, relaxed, and so on. But that's all it is. Branson isn't really an entrepreneur. The way I think it works is that people with a business idea approach him, put up their own capital, and ask for the use of his brand and his personal involvement as a promoter. In exchange he receives a generous shareholding of the new company - which, if the company is successful, he later sells. If it fails, those who put up the capital are left carrying the can.

Comment: Re:Elon Musk vs Richard Branson (Score 3, Interesting) 105

by bheading (#49309343) Attached to: Virgin Could Take On Tesla With Electric Car

And Branson will lose any such competition.

The vast majority of Branson's business ventures have been failures. The places where he does well are in monopolies, such as international airline travel and running monopolized train services in the UK (Branson tried to run a regional airline in the UK called Little Red, but failed). Even then these are on shaky ground; Virgin Atlantic has only just begun to return to profitability, probably something to do with Delta taking a 49% stake in the airline over from Singapore Airlines, and he nearly lost his rail franchise, until his lobbying efforts revealed that the UK government had made mistakes in the allocation of the contracts.

The only reason why Virgin Galactic even exists is because the state of New Mexico ponied up massive subsidies (thanks to Bill Richardson) to build the thing there. Branson never risks his own capital on long shots. He's only involved because this is a way to create publicity for his brand. Likewise his Formula 1 efforts, and likewise this nonsensical idea that he has people building an electric car.

Branson is all showmanship and no substance. He wants people to think he is some sort of environmental activist as he believes it will benefit him and his company. You'll see - we'll never see or hear of any Virgin-manufactured electric car ever again.

Hats off to the guy - he's made himself a lot of money (nobody knows how much, though) - but excepting his long-past days in the recording business, he guy has never delivered a manufactured product in his life, and never will.

Comment: Re:More than curious, (Score 1) 188

by bheading (#49191689) Attached to: Software Freedom Conservancy Funds GPL Suit Against VMWare

Being forced to open-source their largest software project is a quite conceivable (even if unlikely) outcome.

It's neither conceivable nor likely. VMware includes a lot of very, very clever technology. (I note in VMware ESXi 6 that they can now do fault tolerance with 4-way SMP. FT, for those who aren't aware, means that two physical servers between them can keep a VM continuously available even if one server fails.

It sounds to me as if VMware are prepared to contest the matter, which comes down to whether or not a court will accept that VMware have complied with the terms of the license.

The most likely outcome is that they will settle out of court. That will, most likely, involve an agreement to pay the litigant's legal costs, and some sort of time-bounded agreement to modify their software in such a way that it no longer breaches the GPL.

Comment: Re:He tried patenting it... (Score 1) 986

Rossi's time in prison was due to uncleared allegations of tax fraud and toxic waste mishandling [], which even if true would have little to do with this story

He served time for them so they probably are true; and yes, this has everything to do with the story. This man lied to the government about his tax liability, and apparently lied to everyone with a false claim to convert toxic waste into oil.

Comment: Re:He tried patenting it... (Score 1) 986

Occam's razor sometimes shows that the seemingly improbable is actually the most likely explanation.

LOL. No it doesn't.

Occam's razor says (as a very basic summary) that in the absence of evidence or specific information, the proposal that requires the least assumptions is probably correct. Or, more conversationally, that in the absence of any better ideas, the simplest guess is probably the truth. The simplest guess here is that the guy is a fraud. The non-simple guess is that the guy is not a fraud and that our understanding of matter and energy to date (which is based on a huge body of actual scientific measurement and observation) is all wrong.

I think you are confusing this with Spock/Sherlock Holmes say that when all the impossible proposals are eliminated, the one remaining, however impossible, must be the truth. That's a good maxim to live by; the problem is that we haven't eliminated the possibility that the guy is a fraud.

Comment: Re:Yet Vinyl still endures (Score 1) 329

by bheading (#47003177) Attached to: Your Old CD Collection Is Dying

Back in the day, the cutting masters from which LPs were pressed were inferior (the sound had to be modified to make it fit on the LP - longer tracks had to have their levels cut so that the track pitch could be reduced to enable them to be pressed). There is absolutely no way any objective person could believe that the compromised masters, which were modified in order to fit on vinyl, were in any way superior to the clean digital copies - except for pop music which was exposed to the loudness problem.

These days I would have assumed that the same problem would exist so I don't get this about modern LPs at all. If I want the sound of an LP I'll listen to a CD while scrunching a packet of Rice Krispies next to my ear.

Comment: Re:They don't pay attention to Coverity (Score 2) 379

by bheading (#46799119) Attached to: OpenSSL Cleanup: Hundreds of Commits In a Week

I have used another major static analysis tool at work, one of Coverity's competitors. And more than once have had the "if you had paid attention to the static analysis reports this problem could have been solved much more quickly and cheaply" discussion. In one case several weeks were spent chasing a particularly subtle and nasty memory tramper - which was found to be showing up in the analysis results.

False positives are certainly a concern. There is a tradeoff here in terms of dealing with the time spent (re)structuring the program so that they do not occur - a matter for the project lead. The same is true of compiler warnings. Best invest the time to clean them up and configure your build so that it breaks if they occur. You'll kick yourself later if you hit a bug that was revealed by a warning which was ignored.

Comment: Are they still running it through Coverity ? (Score 3, Interesting) 379

by bheading (#46798677) Attached to: OpenSSL Cleanup: Hundreds of Commits In a Week

OpenSSL is on the list of projects scanned by Coverity.

I wonder why exactly Coverity did not catch the heartbleed bug. Most likely, the scan wasn't set up to deal with OpenSSL's use of it's own internal heap management routines. That's something that I would have thought should be fixed right away.

Is it possible that software is not like anything else, that it is meant to be discarded: that the whole point is to always see it as a soap bubble?