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Comment CDDL and GPL don't mix (Score 2) 156

Regardless of what Ubuntu has convinced themselves of, in this context the ZFS filesystem driver would be an unlicensed derivative work. If they don't want it to be so, it needs to be in user-mode instead of loaded into the kernel address space and using unexported APIs of the kernel.

A lot of people try to deceive themselves (and you) that they can do silly things, like putting an API between software under two licenses, and that such an API becomes a "computer condom" that protects you from the GPL. This rationale was never true and was overturned by the court in the appeal of Oracle v. Google.

Comment Dash Computers are Suboptimal (Score 1) 309

In 10 years, it will still be a fine car but the dash computer will be an antique. My car has bluetooth and a phone jack, and that will allow me to hook up the latest equipment to navigate and entertain me, for a long time, and replace it on my own schedule.

Comment Good, kinda. (Score 4, Insightful) 394

It is a good thing when high profile and medium profile people get caught in these stupid things.

When celebrities, including political celebrities, get caught by government aggression it draws a spotlight on the programs that are harassing millions. With the spotlight on them, they tend to withdraw or become legally curtailed.

Sadly many of the abuses committed by government are against the dregs of society, the people already in trouble with the law, the despicable criminals, drug dealers, child abusers, rapists, murderers, and more. Most of society doesn't care when government abuses these people, which is why so many lawsuits are filed against agencies and officers that people dismiss as just another attempt to get out of being caught. If those same abuses were publicly made against people of celebrity status the programs would be quickly curtailed, or pushed further into the darkness of secrecy.

Good job DHS, keep targeting popular people. Best thing you can do for the country.

Comment Re:Unionize (Score 1) 348

It depends on the union contract.Unionization doesn't automagically mean lazy employees abound.

What you describe is my observation as well. Unions can cause problems, but they can also solve problems. Unions can solve very broad problems that individuals cannot.

Some unions are more powerful and effective than others. Some are very good at helping union members, others not so much.

I see two big difficulties in a programmer union.

1. Skills are different and hard to quantify. One person is highly skilled in one tool, another is highly skilled in another tool. Both are very productive, but they are not directly interchangeable. Alice is an expert in MySQL, Bob is an expert in PostgreSQL, Charlie is an expert in Oracle. While any of them can likely write up a solution for generic SQL problems, for other problems one of them is going to be the best choice for your specific workplace. Similarly, Dan knows DirectX and Emma knows OpenGL, both are great graphics programmers, but they are not directly interchangeable.

In other fields, unions have less degree of specialization. You can roughly exchange teachers by domain: elementary school teachers are roughly interchangeable. Secondary education teachers are roughly interchangeable by field, a HS math teacher can be replaced by another HS math teacher. Among plumbers, two journeyman plumbers are roughly interchangeable, two master plumbers are roughly interchangeable. Classes of workers are roughly interchangeable. This is harder to isolate in software development. You can start by dividing people by programming languages and experience levels, but it quickly falls apart. I daily use four different programming languages, routinely use 8 over the course of my job, and have worked with around 20, mostly custom languages and scripting languages on our wider project. So it isn't like "HS math teacher", but "Java/C#/SQL/Python programmer who also knows Lua, ActionScript, HTML, PHP, JavaScript, etc." In general terms programmers bundle together neatly, but specifics really muddle any equivalency test.

2. Too many programmers have giant egos, thinking they are a special snowflake that is irreplaceable. Often they imagine there might be a bell curve or other distribution, but whatever the distribution is, they are skewed at the highest top 1% of them all. A little dose of reality, it is a bell curve and the vast majority of people are average. This is largely fed by the first problem, where they look around the workplace and notice that they are a domain expert. The thought "I am the domain expert on my team", wrongly translates to "I am the domain expert globally". Whatever your specific domain, you are easily replaced by others who are expert in that domain.

It is easy to get caught up in that. I am the only person with my exact skill set, so feel I'm highly valuable and difficult to replace. While it is true that my EXACT skill set is difficult to replace, others with SIMILAR skill sets can more or less overlap my job duties and replace me, with others in the team filling in the gaps.

Other tasks done by unions, such as group negotiation of salaries, become a little more difficult because of the individual variability. As a programmer I can potentially leverage my own specialty for higher pay, but in practice that rarely happens, in most workplaces the programmer is just a cog in the machine paid in the same bucket range as others.

Submission Man Who Found Missing Dr Who Episodes Teases "More To Come"->

BigBadBus writes: In late 2013, Philip Morris announced that he had found 9 missing episodes of 1960s Dr.Who, which completed the 1968 story "Enemy of the World" and most of "The Web of Fear." He has now gone on record to talk about the only episode of these stories that he didn't find — namely part 3 of "Web of Fear" and teases of more episode finds to come.
Link to Original Source

Comment Re:Doctor what's wrong with me? (Score 1) 111

Those genes are not expressed, and we don't have copies of those viruses floating around our bloodstream.

Probably, and for the most part. But we used to think the genome was mostly "junk DNA" before we understood that much of it was homeotic in function. It seems to me that virus copies would not be conserved over time unless they were serving some function.

Submission U.K. researcher applies for permission to edit embryo genomes->

sciencehabit writes: A researcher in London has applied to the United Kingdom’s Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) for a license to edit the genes of human embryos. Several techniques developed in recent years allow researchers to easily and accurately add, delete, or modify genes in cells. This has stirred debate about using genome editing in ways that would pass the changes on to future generations. The application filed with HFEA would involve only embryos in the lab, however, not any intended to lead to a birth. Many scientists say such lab experiments are crucial to understanding more about early human development, which could lead to new approaches to help infertile couples.
Link to Original Source

Comment Re:I don't care for Elsevier, but ... (Score 2) 125

... Which isn't all of what you need, but it is a better start than nothing at all. I'd rather see a link to a journal I can't read than no link at all.

Tend to agree.

I would prefer to have links to stuff I can actually use. But if I cannot view the actual citation, I would like the citation to be verified in a reputable source, perhaps a book (which I also generally cannot click to read), or a journal I cannot freely access on the subject.

Wikipedia's guidelines ask that editors should use independent resource, but the policy notes that it isn't always the case. While the ideal is to cite references that are publicly available, sometimes those don't exist. In their guidelines, "For example, many books are not available online at all, and subscriptions to academic databases such as JSTOR can be fairly expensive." Editors should use free resources if they can find them, but sometimes out-of-print books and pay-to-view journals are the only sources.

That is also part of the reason Wikipedia prefers secondary sources. The primary sources tend to be journal articles, research notes, reports, and complex research-related books. Secondary sources tend to be online writeups that are much more accessible.

Comment Late-Breaking News: IT'S HAPPENING! (Score 5, Funny) 261

An emergency session of the Council, something not held in the better part of a yeernak, has just concluded.

K'Breel, Speaker for the Council of Elders, emerged from Council chambers, and addressed the planet thus:

"IT'S HAPPENING!" thundered the Speaker's voice across the frozen plains. "The first blueworlders came in their natural static form, sending stationary representatives to orbit our world and settle onto our plains. You said that if all they could do was remain in high orbit or dig a little trench that was so tiny that any freshly-hatched podling could cover it over in an afternoon, that the obese and sedentary blueworlers were mostly harmless."

"WE TRIED TO WARN YOU, BUT YOU DIDN'T LISTEN! Then came the mobile ones. Brave fighters for the Martian Defense Force have deflected a few of them into deep space, shot others down in fiery blazes of glory, but still the invaders came. Their mechanized terrors evolved rapidly in size and capability with every wave - the first a small short-lived rock-pushing prototype, the second two larger and armed with gelsac-shredding drills, which left a trail of destruction in their wake during yeernaks of struggle, and the latest one descended from a skyhook, powered by Pew-238, and armed with a fully operational photonic weapon system."

"And now - now, after our atmospheric scientists have confirmed the effectiveness of their hundred-yeernak small-scale test on their own world - we have their declaration of intent to use chain reactions of core annihilation to scour the snows and release so much carbdiox that they create a greenhouse effect here - in order to saturate our elegantly-dessicated sands with the toxic and corrosive dihidrox filth that now covers three quarters of their hot, blue, gellhole of a world. THIS IS THE FUTURE YOU CHOSE!"

"BUT YOU CAN STOP IT, PODMATES! All it takes, all it takes, podmates, is an investment in advancing the tribalism of the organic self-replicators that tend to the blueworlders. The Blueworlder Social and Physical Sciences Committee reports that the self-replicators are flawed, critically so, and tend to devolve into tribal groups prone to infighting, primitive displays of aggression, and intertribal warfare. The only flag their mechanized monsters shall raise will be our own red flags, and they will raise our flag over their own world, hoisted by their own proverbial petards. REJOICE, PODMATES! WE SHALL BURY THEM!"

When a junior analyst reminded K'Breel that maybe the real threat was the self-replicators, and that the creatures the Council had spent a full 30% of the planetary budget fighting, were not, in fact, the primary threat -- that their rapid evolution was actually the result of the controlled and directed guidance of thousands of organic minds working in concert -- and that his report, "Organic Blueworlders Determined to Strike in Homeland" had been summarily ignored, K'Breel had the reporter's gelsacs nailed to two small white rectangular posts and promptly incinerated in carbohydrox fires. Slithering back to the Council chambers as the posts smoldered in the background, the Speaker was heard to mutter "As if a small group of thoughtful, committed organics could change the fate of the world for the better or the worse; as if it ever has..."

"Don't tell me I'm burning the candle at both ends -- tell me where to get more wax!!"