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Comment: Re:Servers are for applications... (Score 1) 266

by david_thornley (#46783115) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: System Administrator Vs Change Advisory Board

Thing is, while you get hold of that third party whose application broke because they were dumb, top management still wants the invoices that application produces to go out on time. A sysadmin should keep things running, not screw the systems up and blame somebody else.

Comment: Re:Nonsense (Score 1) 266

by david_thornley (#46783033) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: System Administrator Vs Change Advisory Board

This wasn't a technical problem. This was an organizational problem. He was complying with a policy he'd argued against and couldn't get changed. Had he not complied with the policy, he would be leaving himself open to disciplinary action, if, say, a vice-chancellor had gotten annoyed at him, or somebody involved making the policy had resented him for being correct.

Very simply, the only solution he could offer was getting the University Senate to change the rules. Alternatively, he could have delayed any new pages until the policy could be changed, but that apparently wasn't satisfactory.

Organizations that get too deep into mandatory policies get into problems, and there's no way for a sysadmin to stop it.

Comment: Re:Uproar? (Score 1) 141

by david_thornley (#46782745) Attached to: Vintage 1960s Era Film Shows IRS Defending Its Use of Computers

Nope. However, the IRS is perfectly capable of correcting you if you enter the wrong numbers. I entered the wrong numbers once for interest and dividends (got them confused), and the IRS caught it. Then, when I explained my mistake, they sent me another polite letter informing me that they'd determined I was correct and owed no more than I'd paid, and how to appeal the decision if I wanted to.

Comment: Re:Not a surprise, but no reflection of O/S vs Pro (Score 1) 122

by david_thornley (#46781211) Attached to: Code Quality: Open Source vs. Proprietary

Another problem with the comparison is that the average closed-source project is four times as big as the average open-source project. I'd expect defect density to go up with size of codebase. (Of course, this may not be an issue with what Coverity detects, but if so that emphasized that Coverity doesn't find all the important defects.)

Comment: Re:Way to lose an easy case... (Score 1) 121

by david_thornley (#46780317) Attached to: Lavabit Loses Contempt Appeal

So what do you suggest? If somebody did something apparently illegal, but claims good reason for doing it, the courts aren't just going to say "Okay, you say you had a good reason and you look trustworthy". They're going to have to investigate. To work at all efficiently, the courts have to abide by procedures. If you want the judge to handhold people's hands in general, we're going to have to put a lot more money into the court system. This means that the alleged lawbreaker is going to have to do things on the court's schedule, and is going to have to know what sort of arguments to make. I suspect this gets into what you mean by harassment.

Also, saying that the courts should be about justice rather than legality is a dangerous way to go. Laws both restrict and protect you, but they're written down. It would be better to have the courts about legality with an eye to justice. If the courts are given discretion to dispense justice sometimes, they will do so to somebody who makes a clear argument of injustice and is otherwise cooperative. LavaBit was in contempt because they demonstrated contempt for the legal system.

Comment: Re:Procedural Rules? (Score 1) 121

by david_thornley (#46780169) Attached to: Lavabit Loses Contempt Appeal

That's for civil cases, mostly. A criminal defendant does have more or less competent representation, and if the representation was inadequate through no fault of the defendant, that's a legitimate reason to appeal.

That, I think, is why some criminal prosecutors (take the description as you will) bring up a big list of trumped-up charges and ask for a plea bargain: to avoid a trial.

Comment: Re:No. (Score 1) 1409

by david_thornley (#46774499) Attached to: Retired SCOTUS Justice Wants To 'Fix' the Second Amendment

His job as Supreme Court justice was to interpret the law and defend the Constitution. As a private citizen, he's entitled to any opinion he likes, stupid or not. He'd only have been remiss in his job if he'd interpreted the Constitution the way he wanted it written. Got evidence for that? (I honestly don't know.)

Comment: Re:This confirms my point of view (Score 1) 44

by david_thornley (#46774205) Attached to: Mt. Gox Ordered Into Liquidation

I don't know if they were thieves, but it seems more likely than that they were that incompetent. However, they could have done the same thing with any currencies, just as easily, except that when they're an explicitly financial institution it's harder to evade regulation. They failed to maintain the most basic auditing, for whatever reason, and they were not acting as any sort of regulated financial institution.

Never invest your money in anything that eats or needs repainting. -- Billy Rose