Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


Forgot your password?
Slashdot Deals: Deal of the Day - 6 month subscription of Pandora One at 46% off. ×

Comment Re:Why are you a vigilante? (Score 2) 161

I thought this worthy of just popping in to comment even before the real interview because the question is so ludicrously misinformed.

I am a strong supporter of personal privacy and freedom of speech. Based on everything that I have seen so far, Eric Snowden will go down in history as a hero. I have been reading lots about him, including his youthful posts to Ars Technica. I think it really interesting to think about the process by which the young man who made those posts became the man we see before us today facing down all the might of the US intelligence services based on a strong belief that mass surveillance is wrong and illegal.

My actions at Wikipedia around this were perfectly honorable and noble and did not violate any rules of any kind. I invited a discussion of information that is already completely public - the user accounts that he used at Ars Technica have been widely reported. I was curious (and am still curious) to find more of his past writings. I am working through various connections to try to talk to him - I had hoped to do so in person when I visit Hong Kong in August, but obviously he's gone from there now.

I think he needs strong support from people well positioned to provide that support. I think that what he did was illegal - quite clearly so. I highly recommend the book "Concerning Dissent and Civil Disobendiance" by former US Supreme Court justice Abe Fortas for a very interesting analysis of the ethics around breaking the law deliberately in the interests of justice.

The knee jerk reaction by some in the Internet community has been, as usual, annoying. They call it anonymous "coward" for a reason - it's easy to sling mud and pretend to have the high moral ground if you feel completely and utterly unconcerned about the facts of reality.

Comment A better philosophical approach (Score 5, Insightful) 397

Learn to think in the wiki way.

Rather than make it hard for users to do what they want to do, on the (very valid) assumption that some of them will do bad things, or things they don't really want to do, it is better to make it easy for users to recover from those mistakes, and for others to recover easily from any side effects of those mistakes.

This is not always possible. But it usually is.

Jimmy Wales -

Comment Prioritize by file size (Score 5, Insightful) 440

Since the objective is to recover disk space, the smallest couple of million files are unlikely to do very much for you at all. It's the big files that are the issue in most situations.

Compile a list of all your files, sorted by size. The ones that are the same size and the same name are probably the same file. If you're paranoid about duplicate file names and sizes (entirely plausible in some situations), then crc32 or byte-wise comparison can be done for reasonable or absolute certainty. Presumably at that point, to maintain integrity of any links to these files, you'll want to replace the files with hard links (not soft links!) so that you can later manually delete any of the "copies" without hurting all the other "copies". (There won't be separate copies, just hard links to one copy.)

If you give up after a week, or even a day, at least you will have made progress on the most important stuff.

User Journal

Journal Journal: in which i am a noob all over again 17

I haven't posted a journal here in almost three years, because I couldn't find the button to start a new entry. ...yeah, it turns out that it's at the bottom of the page.

So... hi, Slashdot. I used to be really active here, but now I mostly lurk and read. I've missed you.

Comment Thanks for all the Fish Wrapper (Score 5, Interesting) 1521

In 1997, right after Chips n' Dips had faded away, to be replaced by the enigmatically named http:///, all of us free software nerds hung on its every story, comment and poll like it was carved on tablet and flung from a burning bush. A year later I had started at hardware maker VA Research and /. was falling down for lack of machinery, so we rummaged through our returns piles and sent Rob and Jeff some 2u servers to help out. That was for me the beginning of some of the most important friendships in my adult life.

Its hard to explain how important Slashdot was to all of us 10 years ago. Indeed, without it it would be hard to imagine HN, Reddit, Digg, Fark or any of a thousand lesser sites. The editorial perspective of Rob and the other editors of /. is what kept people coming back and for a long time that perspective was Rob's, then Rob and Jeff and a bunch of us (some, like Timothy and samzenpus, still around!), but then Jeff left, now Rob. In some way I see this as a passing of an era in free software.

Throughout, while some have left for those greener shores, slashdot abided even while buffeted by the markets and the de/evolving internet news world, and it has remained a default tab in my and many others' browsers.

I didn't mean this post to be about Slashdot though, but about my friend Rob. I'll only say that while the site will be the lessor for you leaving, I firmly believe that computer science will gain my. While this note reads like an epitaph or the last pages of a book, it is really no more than a thank you note from me and many I know to your for your decade+ of work on the site. So...



Quantum Physics For Everybody 145

fiziko writes in with a self-described "blatant self-promotion" of a worthwhile service for those wishing to go beyond Khan Academy physics: namely Bureau 42's Summer School. "As those who subscribe to the 'Sci-Fi News' slashbox may know, Bureau 42 has launched its first Summer School. This year we're doing a nine-part series (every Monday in July and August) taking readers from high school physics to graduate level physics, with no particular mathematical background required. Follow the link for part 1."

New Linux Petabyte-Scale Distributed File System 132

An anonymous reader writes "A recent addition to Linux's impressive selection of file systems is Ceph, a distributed file system that incorporates replication and fault tolerance while maintaining POSIX compatibility. Explore the architecture of Ceph and learn how it provides fault tolerance and simplifies the management of massive amounts of data."

Comment The story from Google... (Score 4, Informative) 140

Hey, the fellows in netops asked me to clarify for you folks here's the story: is a Google-owned domain name used to identify the servers in our network. Following standard industry practice, we make sure each IP address has a corresponding hostname. Starting in October 2009, we started using a single domain name to identify our servers across all Google products, rather than use different product domains such as,, and We did this for two reasons: first, to keep things simpler, and second, to proactively improve security by protecting against potential threats such as cross-site scripting attacks. Most typical Internet users will never see, but we picked we picked a Googley name for it just in case (1e100 is scientific notation for 1 googol).

So there you go!

Comment Lots of comments on's coverage (Score 5, Informative) 354

If you head over to LWN, we've already gone back and forth on this a bit. The short form is that if they don't like how we use the kernel, we're unlikely to be accepted upstream. It's all still released as source code to the world, but the mainline is not interested in most of what we've with to the kernel.

Comment Re:Wash your hands! (Score 1) 374

This is good advice, and gives me an opportunity to speak to the community at large: some of us who go to cons and are in a position to shake tons of hands politely decline. It's not because we're being dicks, it's because we know it's a good way to substantially decrease our chances of catching and spreading any germs.

Honesty is for the most part less profitable than dishonesty. -- Plato