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Submission + - Github under js based "greatfire" DDoS attack, allegedly from chinese goverment

An anonymous reader writes: During the past two days, the popular code hosting site Github has been under a DDos attack, causing hickups in the service. As blogger Anthr@X reports from traceroute lists, the attack originated from MITM-modified javascript files for the chinese company Baidu's user tracking code, changing the unencrypted content as it passed through the great firewall of china, requesting the urls "" and "".
People argue that the dislike of the chinese goverment of widespread VPN usage has caused it to arrange the attack, where only people accessing Baidu's services from outside the firewall would contribute to the DDoS. This wouldn't have been the first time of china doing this kind of "protest".

Submission + - Peer-reviewed Study: MS Word is Superior to LaTeX

An anonymous reader writes: A study recently published in PLOS ONE has compared MS Word to LaTeX and demonstrated that "...LaTeX users were slower than Word users, wrote less text in the same amount of time, and produced more typesetting, orthographical, grammatical, and formatting errors. On most measures, expert LaTeX users performed even worse than novice Word users... We conclude that even experienced LaTeX users may suffer a loss in productivity when LaTeX is used, relative to other document preparation systems. Individuals, institutions, and journals should carefully consider the ramifications of this finding when choosing document preparation strategies, or requiring them of authors."

Slashdot readers may also be interested in reading post-publication responses to the paper on PubPeer:

Submission + - Last day to check MIT mail from Open Source Client

gessel writes: In 2007, MIT began evaluating their email, which was, until today, served by Cyrus IMAP. The committee made some significant errors in failing to understand the FOSS email ecosystem as evidenced by their functionality matrix on slide 18 and settled on Exchange as a replacement. Cyrus access is being terminated today without even enabling Exchange IMAP support, thus completely severing ties with the open source community that began at MIT in 1971.

Comment Re:Markdown is gaining popularity again (Score 1) 204

"Feel like a programmer" isn't the problem. Knowing that something is technically correct, but being unable to instantly verify that it is aesthetically pleasing is a major hangup. Unless you're making a professional report, or writing a book, there's no benefit to: hand-encoding a text, rendering it, editing the code, re-rendering it, tweaking the code, re-re-rendering it, tweaking the code again, re-re-re-rendering it... ad infinitum. In order for all that work to be worth it, the project must call for absolute perfection.

For a vast majority of writings out there, "good enough" is good enough.

To me, "good enough" goes as follow: I type my text in LaTeX/org/rst/markdow depending on the context (scientific paper, random note, collaborative document, coding-related text) and that's it.

What I say when I learn LaTeX to someone is "LaTeX is there to make your life easy and save time, don't mess with the layout." The result is a nice layout and someone who didn't waste time wysiwyg-ing all the way, which takes a lot of time.


Submission + - 10 ways to celebrate international Pi Day (

alphadogg writes: Welcome to March 14 (3.14) – international Pi Day — a day to pay homage to the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. To celebrate, each March 14 math-heads around the world unite to celebrate the math holiday in a variety of serious and goofy ways. Here's a collection of suggestions.

Comment What about improving scientists career paths? (Score 5, Insightful) 147

If we want to have actual heroes doing the research that will lead to such prizes, why not give reasonable career path to scientists? Right now, heroes are first selected by "who is willing to stay in academia despite the working condition", which is not a very interesting criterion in my opinion.
Open Source

Submission + - Linux 3.8 released

diegocg writes: Linux kernel 3.8 has been released. This release includes support in Ext4 for embedding very small files in the inode, which greatly improves the performance for these files and saves some disk space. There is also a new Btrfs feature that allows to replace quickly a disk, a new filesystem F2FS optimized for SSDs, support of filesystem mount, UTS, IPC, PID, and network namespaces for unprivileged users, accounting of kernel memory in the memory resource controller, journal checksums in XFS, an improved NUMA policy redesign and, of course, the removal of support for 386 processors. Many small features and new drivers and fixes are also available. Here's the full list of changes.

Submission + - Half Life is now available natively on Steam for Linux (

Conzar writes: I loaded up my steam client for Linux tonight and found a pleasant surprise waiting in my library to be downloaded. That's right, one of the greatest FPS's in history, Half Life. I downloaded the game which didn't take any time at all. I fired it up, configured my options (max res is 1920x1080) and played the first 10 minutes of the game without any problems!

For those that have Ubuntu, Steam, and have Half Life (Beta) in their library, its a must play even if the game is over 10 years old.

Submission + - The Unreasonable Effectiveness of C (

Required Snark writes: Let the Language Wars Begin (Again). Damian Katz of CouchDB published a blog post entitled "The Unreasonable Effectiveness of C".

"For years I've tried my damnedest to get away from C. Too simple, too many details to manage, too old and crufty, too low level. I've had intense and torrid love affairs with Java, C++, and Erlang. I've built things I'm proud of with all of them, and yet each has broken my heart. They've made promises they couldn't keep, created cultures that focus on the wrong things, and made devastating tradeoffs that eventually make you suffer painfully. And I keep crawling back to C."

Among it's other virtues, he points out that it is a fantastic high level language that "makes it easy to reason about high level algorithms and low level hardware at the same time." It offers the best speed, debugging environment, consistency of execution, a uniform ABI, compatibility with other languages, and a fast build-test-debug cycle. It has many flaws, but as Katz says "Its flaws are very very well known, and this is a virtue. All languages and implementations have gotchas and hangups. C is just far more upfront about it."

So, Slashdot, is everything old new again?

Submission + - White House petition for free software in schools (

gQuigs writes: There are two days left for it to get 22,000 people. It's not the petition I would have written, but I think it's close enough.

"Each year our educational system wastes billions of dollars for the purchase and support of proprietary operating systems and application software in our schools. The software is rigid and inflexible, opaque in its design and mysterious to our children.

We advocate and propose the gradual replacement of privately owned software with restrictive licensing in favor of open source alternatives with GPL type licenses. In as much as possible we should have our students using software that complies with the definition of free software as defined by the Free Software Foundation.

The GNU/Linux operating system, underlying source code, tools and documentation are readily available to students already. Their use should be encouraged as the tools and code are available cost free."


Submission + - IBM creates first cheap, commercially viable, electronic-photonic integrated chi (

An anonymous reader writes: After more than a decade of research, and a proof of concept in 2010, IBM Research has finally cracked silicon nanophotonics (or CMOS-integrated nanophotonics, CINP, to give its full name). IBM has become the first company to integrate electrical and optical components on the same chip, using a standard 90nm semiconductor process. These integrated, monolithic chips will allow for cheap chip-to-chip and computer-to-computer interconnects that are thousands of times faster than current state-of-the-art copper and optical networks. Where current interconnects are generally measured in gigabits per second, IBM’s new chip is already capable of shuttling data around at terabits per second, and should scale to peta- and exabit speeds.

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Best Laptop With Decent Linux Graphics Support? 4

jcreus writes: After struggling for some years with Nvidia cards (the laptop from which I am writing this has two graphic cards, an Intel one and Nvidia one, and is a holy mess [I still haven't been able to use the Nvidia card]) and, encouraged by Torvalds' middle finger speech, I've decided to ditch Nvidia for something better. I am expecting to buy another laptop and, this time, I'd like to get it right from the start. It would be interesting if it had decent graphics support and, in general, were Linux friendly. While I know Dell has released a Ubuntu laptop, it's way off-budget. My plan is to install Ubuntu, Kubuntu (or even Debian), with dual boot unfortunately required. Thanks in advance, Slashdot!

Submission + - realMyst Interview with Cyan Worlds (

buffdaily247 writes: "Last week Cyan Worlds released their PC adventure classic Myst for the iPad. Titled realMyst, the game now features a fully explorable 3D world that retains all of the brain-bending puzzles and mystery of the original game.

We got in touch with Cyan Worlds Founder and CEO Rand Miller to talk about the development of the game, porting Riven to the iPad, and bringing new games to the App Store."

All Finagle Laws may be bypassed by learning the simple art of doing without thinking.