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Comment Re:No real place for it (Score 1) 307

I'm always on the hunt for ideal archival formats for digital media.

The ideal archival format has a few properties, ranging from most theoretical to most practical:

- a completely unencumbered specification and a completely unencumbered implementation
- a highly portable, f/oss reference implementation
- excellent quality vs. usability (e.g. lossless quality, but small to store and fast to decode)
- support in popular general purpose computing environments
- supported in popular dedicated hardware devices

FLAC gets the first few of those, but not the last one -- plenty of dedicated hardware audio players don't deal with FLAC.

Because of this, I use MP3 for audio - which theoretically gives up the first few points, but as a practical matter, those points are irrelevant, and MP3 completely dominates the industry on the last few points.

If Vorbis or FLAC or any of the things that get the first few points correct had ubiqoutous device support, I might be willing to re-rip everything into those formats for a great blend of long-term archival and easy-to-consume on any device convenience. But nothing is like that for audio.

Similarly, if I thought there was going to be a fantastic lossless image format that did everything well and was going to be massively supported and was completely unencumbered, i'd want to move everything over to it. I'd want my future digital cameras to start shooting it. I'd want my whole tool stream and whole life to just be about that format.

Submission The Principles of Community-Oriented GPL Enforcement->

Jeremy Allison - Sam writes: The FSF and the Software Freedom Conservancy have announced "The Principles of Community-Oriented GPL Enforcement".

"This document, co-authored with the Free Software Foundation (FSF), outlines basic guidelines for any organization that seeks to uphold copyleft licenses on behalf of the public good."

Link to Original Source

Comment Re:The next chapter (Score 1) 254

I know you're just a random slashdot poster, and I really shouldn't expect any better, but would it hurt you to look at the list of Document Foundation (the Org behind LibreOffice) and look at the list of supporters:


"Chris DiBona, Open Source Programs Manager at Google, Inc., has commented: "The creation of The Document Foundation is a great step forward in encouraging further development of open source office suites. Having a level playing field for all contributors is fundamental in creating a broad and active community around an open source software project. Google is proud to be a supporter of The Document Foundation and participate in the project".

Hint - supporters mean we fund them. I represent Google on the Board of Directors, and yes, nagging them about getting a full Android port is something I do *every* meeting.

I now return you to your regularly scheduled slashdot poster 2-minute-hate on "Big Corporations".

Comment Re:DMCA reform (Score 1) 224

I'd be surprised if it was against anti-spam laws. CAN-SPAM applies specifically to messages advertising a commercial service or product, though I suppose this tactic could fall foul of other countries' laws. I'm curious as to how you'd get around them if it did. Claim you have an existing business relationship with Vimeo because you watched a video that someone posted there?

Comment Re:DMCA reform (Score 1) 224

There are penalties, but only for things that aren't usually in dispute. When you send a DMCA takedown notice to YouTube or Vimeo or wherever, you're essentially saying, "I own the copyright in work X (or am the authorised representative of the owner of X). You are hosting work Y, which infringes the copyright of work X, and I demand that you remove Y." If you're not the owner of X or his authorised representative, that's perjury. But if Y doesn't actually infringe the copyright of X, that's just, "Oh well, c'est la vie." I suppose the thinking is that the question of whether you own the copyright in X is a matter of public record (look it up at the Copyright Office), but the question of whether Y infringes on X's copyright (if X and Y aren't the same thing) is a matter for a court to decide.

So other than the overhead of doing the paperwork (very small if you program your computer to file the notices) and possible bad publicity (which probably comes out of some other department's budget), there's no disincentive to filing millions of bogus notices. Of course, since Vimeo don't seem to be doing any checking of the notices Columbia are sending, that suggests it wouldn't be too difficult for disgruntled independent filmmakers to disrupt the online publicity for Columbia's next big release...

Submission Could the Slashdot community take control of Slashdot? 10

turp182 writes: This is intended to be an idea generation story for how the community itself could purchase and then control Slashdot. If this happened I believe a lot of former users would at least come and take a look, and some of them would participate again.

This is not about improving the site, only about aquiring the site.

First, here's what we know:
1. DHI (Dice) paid $20 million for Slashdot, SourceForce, and Freecode, purchased from Geeknet back in 2012:
2. Slashdot has an Alexa Global Rank of 1,689, obtaining actual traffic numbers require money to see:
3. According to Quantcast, Slashdot has over 250,000 unique monthly views:
4. Per an Arstechnia article, Slashdot Media (Slashdot and Sourceforge) had 2015Q2 revenues of $1.7 million and have expected full year revenues of $15-$16 million (which doesn't make sense given the quarterly number):

Next, things we don't know:
0. Is Slashdot viable without a corporate owner? (the only question that matters)
1. What would DHI (Dice) sell Slashdot for? Would they split it from Sourceforge?
2. What are the hosting and equipment costs?
3. What are the personnel costs (editors, advertising saleforce, etc.)?
4. What other expenses does the site incur (legal for example)?
5. What is Slashdot's portion of the revenue of Slashdot Media?

These questions would need to be answered in order to valuate the site. Getting that info and performing the valuation would require expensive professional services.

What are possible ways we could proceed?

In my opinion, a non-profit organization would be the best route.

Finally, the hard part: Funding. Here are some ideas.

1. Benefactor(s) — It would be very nice to have people with some wealth that could help.
2. Crowdfunding/Kickstarter — I would contribute to such an effort I think a lot of Slashdotters would contribute. I think this would need to be a part of the funding rather than all of it.
3. Grants and Corporate Donations — Slashdot has a wide and varied membership and audience. We regularly see post from people that work at Google, Apple, and Microsoft. And at universities. We are developers (like me), scientists, experts, and also ordinary (also like me). A revived Slashdot could be a corporate cause in the world of tax deductions for companies.
4. ????
5. Profit!

Oh, the last thing: Is this even a relevant conversation?

I can't say. I think timing is the problem, with generating funds and access to financial information (probably won't get this without the funds) being the most critical barriers. Someone will buy the site, we're inside the top 2,000 global sites per info above.

The best solution, I believe, is to find a large corporate "sponsor" willing to help with the initial purchase and to be the recipient of any crowd sourcing funds to help repay them. The key is the site would have to have autonomy as a separate organization. They could have prime advertising space (so we should focus on IBM...) with the goal would be to repay the sponsor in full over time (no interest please?).

The second best is seeking a combination of "legal pledges" from companies/schools/organizations combined with crowdsourcing. This could get access to the necessary financials.

Also problematic, from a time perspective, a group of people would need to be formed to handle organization (managing fundraising/crowdsourcing) and interations with DHI (Dice). All volunteer for sure.

Is this even a relevant conversation? I say it is, I actually love Slashdot; it offers fun, entertaining, and enlightning conversation (I browse above the sewer), and I find the article selection interesting (this gyrates, but I still check a lot).

And to finish, the most critical question: Is Slashdot financially viable as an independent organization?

Comment Re:Undergrad only? (Score 4, Informative) 264

All of the numbers in this article are very believable.

I have a BS degree from the University of Nebraska. And not the prestigious Raikes school, but the normal old pre-Raikes degree program.

After a summer internship, I got an offer from McDonnel Douglas for 48k.

My offer from Microsoft was more like the 60k figure. I took that one, because it didn't involve living in St. Louis.

The year: 2000

So, 60k to start right out of college was a going rate for top-tier companies... fifteen years ago.

Some companies paid much more, and sometimes that was a company decision, and sometimes it was a reality of where the position was located. For instance, before I had even finished my degree, I was recruited for a position with a 99k starting salary. That firm, however, was in NYC. When you adjust for NYC cost of living, it's not such an eye-popping number.

Subsequent to these numbers from 15 years ago, I have been involved in lots of hiring at Microsoft in the years I've been here.

Starting salaries have adjusted upward significantly since I was hired.

If you can score an engineering position with a top software/services company like Microsoft, you will be paid exceptionally well. For someone fresh out of college, there is just an obscene amount of money on the table.

Different companies target different spots in the industry pay curve. Microsoft by no means targets the top of the salary scale, but neither do we target the bottom. At times, Microsoft has been seen as, to put it mildly, "pretty uncool". At times, there has been lots of startup money and equity available for top quality grads to go after.

In those time periods, Microsoft has to offer more money to continue to attract new talent.

If you want to work at a company where lots of people want to work (e.g. a games company, or SpaceX), those organizations don't have to compete as much with offer packages, since their brands have a high intrinsic draw.

While I don't know what a Netflix offer package is like, Netflix states that their policy is to pay very high wages - the wage they'd be willing to pay to keep someone excellent who wanted to leave.

Finally, it's important to consider the type of organization you're looking at joining. Do they do software/IT, or is that a cost of doing business for them? If a company is in the business of selling shoes, but has an unavoidable need for software engineers, they're going to treat software engineers as a cost of doing business.

If a company is in the business of building software, they're going to think differently about compensation and retention.

Finally, companies that aren't well established players in the software space can have difficulty making big offer packages. At times in my career, I've been frustrated and have looked elsewhere, and the smaller, less profitable companies I've spoken with are offering tens of thousands lower than what I was already making.... making the friction of leaving financially tremendous.

(my personal financial plan is to expect a 50% paycut when something happens to my MSFT employment)

In summary, I have no problem believing the numbers. Top quality CS people at top quality organizations are paid outrageously well.

However, I get that lots of people are expressing disbelief. Let's talk about why that may be. The survey data could be skewed by multiple factors:
- the locale of the person responding
- the self-selection bias of the person responding (e.g. are people happy with their comp more likely to fill out a survey?)
- the kind of organization the survey respondants work for...

If you surveyed internal apps developers at regional insurance offices, in the Midwest, you would get a different picture from a survey of facebook engineers...

Comment Re:They are trying to get off... (Score 1) 104

I cannot deny that much of what you've said about the mob is true. I didn't mean to say that the mob never did anything well, never provided benefits to neighborhoods or people, etc.

Everyone understands that the mob can "Get things done". And, what's ironic is that, IIRC, you and I have very different ideas about government, but we apparently agree that in some situations, the mob is more effective and occasionally preferable to local government.

That said, I think you are papering over the intimidation, violence, and property destruction done by the mob.

(I'm not papering over the intimidation, violence, and property destruction done by governments, fwiw)

Comment Re:They are trying to get off... (Score 4, Insightful) 104

Have you ever lived anywhere where there was a significant mob presence?

I haven't, and for good reason.

Your plan is a really great plan if you assume that the mob has absolutely no penetration whatsoever into the local police department.

I don't know why you'd assume such a stupid thing, though.

So here is how your suggestion really goes.

You walk into the local PD. On your way there, some kid recognized your face. He has instructions that say that if he sees a guy who looks like you walking into the police station, he calls a number and gets a bonus.

When you come home, something is different. Either your family is already dead, or, there's a note that makes it clear that your family is vulnerable and that you've fucked up - but there is still a chance to not get your family killed. Who knows what the knob is set at for the "first contact" - but there's a clear indication that you don't want to continue talking to the police.

Now, if someone inside that building is actually connected - and usually, somebody is - maybe they're the person who interviewed you. Maybe they're the person who looks at the signin/signout sheet at the station. Maybe they are somebody who files paperwork or types things up for other people.

Zillions of little people are needed to make the machine of government operate, and the mob targets precisely those people to be their eyes and ears. It uses combinations of carrots and sticks to keep them cooperating with mob goals, without letting them get too familiar with what those goals are or who is executing them.

Point is, if the mob has any power in your city, that includes eyes and ears within, or effectively within, the police department.

Part of the mob's effectiveness is that it destroys trust in the normal functioning institutinos of society. You never know for sure who is and isn't. It effectively isolate frightened individuals from the facets of society that might help or protect them. It always makes it seem like it's 1 person against the entire mob - it paints that same picture to lots of separate people.

Comment Re:Usually has to be earned (Score 1) 318

I doubt there's a company in the land that would recruit an unknown, straight off the street, give them a salaried post and let them work 100% from home.

This is false. A very good friend of mine works exclusively out of his house as a developer. Many of the developers at his company are work-from home types and have always been work-from home employees.

Additionally, there are software jobs that are true work from home positions and are advertised as such. I've had recruiters start to approach me about such jobs.

Finally, I've had a 15 year career at Microsoft. In the last 6 months, I've been given the flexibility to WFH as much as I like to. I'm currently at home for the summer.

When I asked earlier in my career, the answer was no. I'm slightly more valuable than I was then, but, the nature of my team and my work has changed such that a WFH role is more plausible than it once was.

I know a handful of other Microsoft employees who are full time WFH and who have no Microsoft office anywhere. I still have an office and I use it about 50% during the school year.

As far as how you get this arrangement

1) if you're a high value contributor with the right kind of manager on the right kind of team, even in an organization that doesn't really do remote work, you can basically play the card that says, "I am moving. I would like to keep working here, for you, and I understand what that will do to my long term career velocity here, but, whether you keep me or not, I am moving"

Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn't. If you get a new team or a new manager, you can be let go. "The deal can be altered", so to speak. Of course, the deal can (and is) altered anyway, even for office people. So, it's a matter of priorities and risk tolerance.

2) There are a few organizations that are explicitly pro WFH. If you're prioritizing WFH ahead of other things, look at doing something that isn't your ideal role and not at your ideal salary, but gives you the WFH goodness that you desire. Ideally, you pick an organization that has the sorts of roles (and money) that you'd ideally want, and you grow into that role within that organization.

3) When LinkedIn emails you and says "Bob from Google wants to talk to you", email Bob back and say, "Bob, I would love to chat with you, but I am only considering WFH arrangements. Please let your hiring managers know that there is good, affordable talent available to them, but who are unwilling to relocate."

I do this with every big name brand that contacts me via Linked In. I usually tend to tailor the message to something about how the business in question heavily relies on open source (and I name the pertinent technologies) and how those were developed via distributed engineering mechanisms, proving that such approaches can build world class software.

I hope people like me can create enough data points that eventually more traditional shops hear the "I won't relocate for you" argument often enough that they start entertaining people who demand remote work.

Anyway, my employer gets way more output out of me when I am at home than when I am in the office. I have a nice laptop, and everything is in source control or cloud fileshares, so I can move back and forth between office and home office easily.

My kids understand that when I am working, they don't come into the basement. I go upstairs and take breaks and hangout with my family, or take advantage of the nice weather. If I don't have scheduled meetings, I can shift weekend/evening tasks (like yardwork) to mid afternoon, when the bugs aren't as bad and the sun is shining. Email and code will be there during peak mosquito hours or when the weather is bad.

I live on an isolated 14 acre farm that is about 25 minutes from my employer's office building. Commuting isn't bad at all, but if I don't have to, why bother?

If it has syntax, it isn't user friendly.