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Comment: Re:Payment Gateway Access is No Accident (Score 2) 57

by grcumb (#49107623) Attached to: Iran Allows VPNs To Make Millions In Profit

But merely purchasing a VPN is no proof of illegal behavior.

Yes, yes it is. The very first sentence of the summary says so. I think you win some sort of /. prize for ignoring even that.

Spoiler alert: The story is set in Iran. Turns out the bad guys are actually helping people get around their own laws because they get rich doing it.

Comment: Re:It is not about technology (Score 2) 182

by grcumb (#49102547) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Can Technology Improve the Judicial System?

All laws should be in a central repository, unique and complete for each jurisdiction.

They are, pretty much everywhere else in the World. It's ironic that the Legal Information Institute, the first attempt to collect legal materials online, is based at Cornell, but it's severely limited in what it can publish, because most jurisdictions can't or won't agree with the idea that cases, legislation and regulation should be freely available to anyone, any time. Free access to law is considered by some to be a basic right. But not in the USA.

Elsewhere, we have thriving online legal resources, including CanLII, AustLII, SAFLII, WorldLII, CommonLII, AsianLII. And my own favourite, because I worked on it for a few years, the Pacific Islands Legal Information Institute. Ironic, isn't it, that Fiji and Solomon Islands should have easier access to their own laws and judgments than that shining city atop the hill?

Comment: Re:It is not about technology (Score 1) 182

by grcumb (#49102489) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Can Technology Improve the Judicial System?

Federal judges are usually appointed for life.

No, that's a common misconception. According to the Constitution, Federal judges "... shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour..." There's absolutely nothing in there about the appointments being for life.

Practically speaking, 'during Good Behaviour' means, 'You can't fire this person for any reason but malfeasance.' In other words, there is no term of employment. In other words, it's an appointment for life.

Comment: Re:errr. huh? (Score 1) 532

by grcumb (#49097257) Attached to: Stephen Hawking: Biggest Human Failing Is Aggression

Non-aggression also implies a courage that even some of the people who practice it don't understand. In the end, you have to be willing to accept that you can't make an attack to proactively stop a terrible outcome that you know is going to happen.

This is where I think a lot of people have misinterpreted Hawking's point, and the nature of the problem itself. Not indulging in aggressive behaviour doesn't imply passivity. 'Turn the other cheek' doesn't mean what a lot of people think it means. It actually means that making the aggression obvious and one-sided (by making sure that everyone sees the second shot) ensures that the problem becomes obvious and usually gives rise to social opprobrium.

As I'm sure a smart man in a wheelchair would know, there are a ton of other options available to a resourceful person to keep someone else's aggressive behaviour in check. A lot of it has to do with making it clear that there's nothing to be gained (and sometimes, a lot to be lost) from indulging in chest-thumping etc. Historically, 90+% of politics has actually consisted of finding ways not to resort to blows while still getting one's way. (And yes, recent American politics is illustrative—in the negative—because it shows us what happens when people subvert the political process.)

Comment: Re:Ummmm.... (Score 1) 318

by grcumb (#49083219) Attached to: Java Vs. Node.js: Epic Battle For Dev Mindshare

The summary doesn't explain node.js , but node.js is a server side javascript solution So now you can code both backend and frontend in javascript

On the face of it, that's a pretty useful thing. There's a pretty big fly in that ointment, though, because the whole node.js development environment is still quite young. It's improving by leaps and bounds, and happily, people are learning from others's experience and mistakes. NPM, Grunt and a few other tools make packaging and deploying Node applications easier day by day.

So while developers—and sysadmins especially—have every right to gripe about Node as it stands, it's clearly in the ascendant. JavaScript as a language is increasingly useful as well. I happen to hate how laden it is with syntactical salt and pepper, but I can live with it the same way I learned to live with Perl: I apply a little discipline and a lot of white space. The reward is a relatively workable mix of functional, OO and procedural logic. JavaScript is increasingly becoming the awkward, weird-looking kid who's actually kinda cool.

My feeling is that within a few years, most new web apps will have a significant Node component on the back end, and Angular (or similar) component on the front end. By that time, I expect we'll be saying, 'If you don't know JavaScript, Node, Bower, Grunt and NPM, you're probably not a web developer.'

And Java can go fuck itself. :-)

Comment: Re:Business problem != technology problem (Score 3, Interesting) 343

by grcumb (#49076001) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Version Control For Non-Developers?

Throwing more technology on the pile won't help without a lot of user education, and if you had that you would not need the technology anyway...

1) Create a rational naming convention and use that.

Go no further than this. I've worked in office environments where we had dozens of editors and sub-editors proofing and editing tens of thousands of legal documents (legislation, judicial decisions and regulation), where even a single character out of place was unacceptable. After years of trial and error, the single most foolproof way of working with these documents was using the file system to define where they were in the editing process, and using filenames to indicate their status and ownership.

It's primitively simple. But simple is an abundantly good thing in this context. Make some basic rules. Enforce them. Bob's your uncle.

Comment: Re:The headlne and the text say different things (Score 2) 114

The headline that they are "tied to NSA"... but TFA says that "researchers stopped short of saying Equation Group was the handiwork of the NSA."

In fairness, by 'stopped short' they mean that the Kaspersky guys essentially said, 'We're not saying it's the NSA - we just can't imagine anyone else on the face of the earth who has the resources necessary to do this kind of thing.' So yes, the report was released with a nod in the direction of the NSA.

Comment: Re:Pointless (Score 1) 754

by grcumb (#49069595) Attached to: Removing Libsystemd0 From a Live-running Debian System

But systemd is, because it's of questionable quality and design

I don't see how the adhoc solutions that exist under initd are better quality and design. That's been beaten to death but the heterogeneity you are arguing for led to solutions where there wasn't proper attention paid. What existed wasn't good.

I won't dispute that. To suggest, as some have, that different is necessarily better than that dog's breakfast is another thing entirely, though. And that's where I rankle.

by people who treat dissent as enmity

I don't see that. Debian was never the target of the systemd crowd. They had few if any connections to Debian. The debate within Debian was not between systemd proponents for Debian not the actual systemd funders / developers. We know the funders and developers didn't care very much what Debian did.

I meant that in a wider context than just Debian. It's abundantly clear that several of the developers at the heart of systemd simply do not play well with the other children, and reflexively treat dissent as opposition for its own sake, and use that excuse to ignore valid objections. I think you're probably right that Debian is merely collateral damage in their campaign, but I also think it's quite fortuitous for them. And let's face it: Debian is the refuge of a certain kind of sysadmin/developer who is conservative in nature and curmudgeonly in attitude. They're not the sole inhabitants of Debian-land, but they're a significant subset of the population.

Hence the crescendo of noise when Debian announced the move.

Comment: Re:Pointless (Score 1) 754

by grcumb (#49063659) Attached to: Removing Libsystemd0 From a Live-running Debian System

First off the FOSS distribution ecosystem was just simply a way of packing upstream. That's how it has always worked. What upstream FOSS software does determines what the distribution do.

I'll grant you that the upstream developers often have the upper hand, but distros do have a role to play in adjudicating the popularity contests that inevitably arise when you've got competing products.

But I don't want to over-emphasise that. You're right that distros are sometimes circumscribed in terms of options. This is pretty much exactly why Debian moved when it did. If I understand correctly, they saw the writing on the wall—that GNOME was aligning and integrating with systemd—and decided to walk before they were forced to run.

The distributions have a 30 year track record of trying to set standards and failing when upstream didn't support those standards. TexInfo as the universal way of handling documentation being a good example of distribution driven.

Well to be fair, standards is a bit of a special case. But yes, you're right about that. Largely.

As for the move to process management being a change in philosophy. That's true. It is not a change for Unix, most of the commercial Unixes had it.

You mean managed processes in an operating system, right, and not systems development process management?

The departure that I spoke of was not from one particular init system to another. I was speaking of the move from heterogeneity to homogeneity. Poettering's goal is unification. Systemd is simply one means to that end. Read his blog for more about his grand design.

When Linux decided to go after killing off the big box Unixes they also decided to absorb their functionality.

I'd dispute that. I don't think there ever was a decision to kill off big box Unix. Nor do I think there has been (until quite recently) any particularly concerted, coordinated effort to replicate the kind of functionality typically seen in mainframes and minis.

As for historical evidence. I don't know of any historical evidence that process management is a bad.

Managed processes are not intrinsically bad. But systemd is, because it's of questionable quality and design, and it's developed by people who treat dissent as enmity. Which is very much a Sin Of The (Unix) Father's that we, apparently, have failed to learn from.

Comment: Re:Pointless (Score 4, Informative) 754

by grcumb (#49062347) Attached to: Removing Libsystemd0 From a Live-running Debian System

I'm not philosophically opposed to what you're suggesting here. I am incensed, though, that it should be necessary.

So you think that you're entitled to getting software, free of cost, which is exactly the way you want it to be. The people who actually invest their time and effort into making these distros should, instead of doing what *they* think is the best course of action, do what *you* think is right, even though you don't feel like investing your time and effort into the project.

No, I think that people should follow my fucking example and listen to others, perhaps learning a little humility in the process.

I already told you I write FOSS; I scratch that itch when I need to. I have a fucking right to talk about this because I've walked the fucking walk. And I won't do you the indignity of asking whether you have as well.

I am trying to suggest that writing code is not the only useful role to be played in FOSS development. I am trying to suggest that we can't write all the code, all the time, so it behooves all developers to listen to their peers, if only to learn from their mistakes.

And now, you can perhaps go back and respond to the main question, which is why you think numbers matter in FOSS development?

All the people who maintain distros have considered and discarded your arguments. So why should I value your opinion over theirs?

Well, given that I told you that I've been a distro maintainer, your assertion is incorrect. Not all of us have discarded these arguments. Your assertion is a textbook case of No True Scotsman. But don't take my opinion in isolation; why not go ask Ian what his reservations are?

See, this is pretty much precisely my point. It's not that people's opinions are getting ignored. That happens all the time. It's that people aren't listening at all. And more to the point, that really critically important lessons of the past are being set aside merely because a small number of people have become convinced that they know a better way.

Again: in and of itself, that's not necessarily a problem. The problem here is that these particular people are wrong.

Comment: Re:Pointless (Score 5, Insightful) 754

by grcumb (#49061863) Attached to: Removing Libsystemd0 From a Live-running Debian System

The systemd complainers are just a vocal minority. If they were representative of a large fraction of Linux users, then we would see several prominent distros not using systemd or making non-systemd versions.

You need to explain your reasoning here. You seem to think that minorities don't determine the outcome when it comes to designing FOSS. But the Freedom of FOSS is not populism. It never has been. It has always been the case that a vanishingly small minority of developers have decided the fate of thousands—and more recently, millions—of users.

It's a fact that Poeterring, Sievers and co. represent a tiny minority of Linux developers. Over 90% of the systemd code base has been written by 10 or so people. The groups that decided to include systemd in Debian and RedHat are also very small, and while Debian's is nominally consultative, they declined to send this particular decision to a popular vote.

So why do you think that numbers suddenly matter?

That's why the anti-systemd people are so pissed off: everyone else is just ignoring them.

It's not that people are being ignored. It's that 20+ years of historical evidence is being cast aside.

Make no mistake: What we're talking about here is a fundamental change in our approach to systems software. The distros have been dragged along for numerous reasons, some of them technical, some of them ideological. But to pretend that the demographic that is being left behind is of no consequence is disingenuous arrogance at best.

This is Linux: if they don't like it, they can just fork an existing distro, but do you see any of them doing that? Nope.

You know, I've done that before. I've worked for a company that developed a Linux distro purpose-built for people who couldn't manage systems for themselves. I still write the bits and pieces that I need, when I need to.

I'm not philosophically opposed to what you're suggesting here. I am incensed, though, that it should be necessary. As someone who so clearly doesn't understand the first thing about how the FOSS ecosystem works, you should have a care before you begin discarding the viewpoints of those who have gone before you, and you should think twice before presuming to suggest what's good for us.


Comment: Re:New research find's water wet (Score 1) 411

by grcumb (#49033185) Attached to: Your Java Code Is Mostly Fluff, New Research Finds

Yes, but the point is silly anyway.

The notion that everything that isn't core functionality is "fluff", gives the impression that it is non-essential.

Yep, you've got to worry about reductivist thinking like this. If that were the case, then A Tale of Two Cities would, in its entirety, be: 'Sydney Carton had a twin.'

The rest is mere extrapolation.

Money may buy friendship but money cannot buy love.