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+ - FreeBSD Project Falls Short of Year End Funding Target By Over 50%

Submitted by cperciva
cperciva (102828) writes "Perhaps a sign of our troubled times or a sign that FreeBSD is becoming less relevant to modern computing needs: the FreeBSD Foundation has sought $1,000,000 by year end to allow it to continue to offer to fund and manage projects, provide hardware used by the FreeBSD project, hire developers and system administrators, sponsor FreeBSD events and Developer Summits, and provide travel grants to FreeBSD developers. But with the end of this year fast approaching, it has raised just over $472,000, far short of its target."

+ - Slashdot and Hacker News raise $43,200 for the FreeBSD Foundation in three days!->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "The FreeBSD Foundation has posted blog article article talking about the remarkable surge in donations they've received in the last three days following a recent Slashdot article reporting on weak fundraising this year. Deb Goodkin reports that the FreeBSD Foundation, as with many non-profits, receives more than 50% of its annual funds at the end of the US tax year, but that the Foundation has never seen this rate of donations before, and will hit a new record for unique donors this year. She comments that it was Slashdot readers that made the difference! She does, however, appeal for further donations noting that they have a long way to go on their full goal."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Hospitals (Score 2) 136

by cperciva (#38696520) Attached to: A DNA Sequencer Cheap Enough For (Some) Doctors' Offices

The only reason they do instant strep tests at MD offices is that they want to know the results before you walk out the door. The same goes for rapid STD tests: If you walk out the door and have to come back to get the results later, there's a chance you won't return.

A DNA test is the ultimate in non-urgent tests, and is going to remain something you head off to the phlebotomist to get done... right up until the day where they are done routinely at birth and you leave the hospital jugging a baby, birth certificate, and a flash drive containing its DNA sequence.

Announcements

+ - FreeBSD 9.0-RELEASE is out

Submitted by cperciva
cperciva (102828) writes "FreeBSD 9.0-RELEASE is now available. This new major release brings significant improvements including a new installer, journalled softupdates, an updated version of ZFS, and the introduction of clang/llvm as the base system compiler to replace gcc. Install images are available for DVD, CD, and USB memory sticks, and AMIs for Amazon EC2 are also available."

+ - Jungle Disk remarkably insecure->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Insecurity in the Jungle (disk)
A few weeks ago, in the wake of stories about Dropbox's poor security, a user of my Tarsnap online backup service mentioned that he had heard Jungle Disk recommended as a secure alternative. This surprised me, since I remembered from the early days on the Amazon Web Services developers forums that JungleDave — as the author called himself — was always far more concerned with ease of use than with security. Had things improved? I decided to investigate, and I wasn't impressed with what I found.

Unlike most online backup / storage companies, Jungle Disk has released source code, here and here. They did this because in the early days of Jungle Disk, people wanted some assurance that they could get their data back if Jungle Disk went out of business; since the Jungle Disk client stores data directly to Amazon S3 and Rackspace Cloud Files, it is also possible to read files directly from those services. (This is also a feature which Tarsnap users frequently request, but the design of Tarsnap — including amortizing S3 PUT costs across blocks uploaded from multiple users — makes it impossible to provide such a mechanism for Tarsnap.)

Now, this code is not the code used in the actual Jungle Disk client — like most other online backup services all you get is a binary, and you have to trust that it isn't doing anything wrong (either due to intentional mis-features or accidental bugs) — but the fact that the published source code can interoperate with the Jungle Disk client code does at least provide us with some information about what Jungle Disk does cryptographically."

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:It is not impossible (Score 1) 333

by cperciva (#35884908) Attached to: Dropbox Can't See Your Dat– Er, Never Mind

Tarsnap's snapshotting model is a bit more sophisticated than how duplicity works, and its separate keys for writing/reading/deleting archives makes it possible to do some things you can't do with rsync.net (e.g., you can have a server which does daily backups with Tarsnap while still making it impossible for someone who roots the server to tamper with said backups).

But yes, tarsnap and duplicity+rsync.net are certainly more similar than, say, tarsnap and dropbox.

Comment: Re:It's all about entropy (Score 1) 467

by cperciva (#33630206) Attached to: Distinguishing Encrypted Data From Random Data?

If all you ever want to compress is files which contain the same byte repeated many times, then yes, that's how you would compress them.

But most compression formats are tuned to produce good results for the sorts of files which people are more likely to need to compress; so even when run-length encoding is used, it will typically have a low limit -- say, 255 -- on the run length.

Comment: Re:Go work for RethinkDB! (Score 1) 207

by cperciva (#33403002) Attached to: Skipping Traditional Recruitment, Going Straight To the Source

If you don't want to live in the bay area, then don't work for RethinkDB, I guess? I don't think they're hiring anyone remote (but I might be wrong).

And what's wrong with rsync for backups?

  1. rsync isn't backups, it's synchronization. It will happily synchronize corrupted files and (if you use the relevant option) file deletions.
  2. rsync requires you to trust the location you're syncing your data to.
  3. Because rsync is designed for synchronization, it doesn't store your data compressed.
  4. Because rsync works file-by-file, it can't take advantage of duplication between files.

Probably other things too, but those are the first ones which come to mind.

Comment: Go work for RethinkDB! (Score 1) 207

by cperciva (#33401394) Attached to: Skipping Traditional Recruitment, Going Straight To the Source

I've talked to Slava a lot, and he's a really smart guy. Unlike most startups, RethinkDB is actually doing innovative things. If you're looking for work in the bay area and you're good at algorithms, GO WORK FOR RETHINKDB!

(If I didn't have my own startup, I'd be working there right now -- instead I'm cheering them on from afar.)

Comment: Re: unintentionally? (Score 1) 414

by cperciva (#33180686) Attached to: Genetically Modified Canola Spreads To Wild Plants

When your own saved seeds include them, even if you would not select at all?

That's a good question, but it's purely hypothetical. This guy did actively select the Monsanto seeds to plant them. The court specifically said that they didn't believe it was accidental that 95% of his field ended up having Monsanto genes.

The meta-Turing test counts a thing as intelligent if it seeks to devise and apply Turing tests to objects of its own creation. -- Lew Mammel, Jr.

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