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Comment: Re: Here's a question... (Score 2) 152

by Rob Y. (#48644551) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Is an Open Source<nobr> <wbr></nobr>.NET Up To the Job?

Umm. It was my question, and more for ammunition in a discussion with myself. I don't know much about .NET, but I know the web has done fine without it. And as an open source fan, that's good news. So, yeah, I'm not nuts about inviting Microsoft in - I'm sure their calculation is that they have nothing to lose and something to gain. Is there anything wrong with us making similar assessments?

+ - Ask Slashdot: So now that .NET's going open source...? 1

Submitted by Rob Y.
Rob Y. (110975) writes "The discussion on Slashdot about Microsoft's move to open source .NET core has centered on

1. whether this means Microsoft is no longer the enemy of the open source movement
2. if not, then does it mean Microsoft has so lost in the web server arena that it's resorting to desperate moves.
3. or nah — it's standard MS operating procedure. Embrace, extend, extinguish.

What I'd like to ask is whether anybody that's not currently a .NET fan actually wants to use it. Open Source or not. What is the competition? Java? PHP? Ruby? Node-js? All of the above? Anything but Microsoft? Because as an OSS advocate, I see only one serious reason to even consider using it — standardization. Any of those competing platforms could be as good or better, but the problem is — how to get a job in this industry when there are so many, massively complex platforms out there. I'm still coding in C, and at 62, will probably live out my working days doing that, but I can still remember when learning a new programming language was no big deal. Even C required learning a fairly large library to make it useful, but it's nothing compared to what's out there today. And worse, jobs (and technologies) don't last like they used to. Odds are, in a few years, you'll be starting over in yet another job where they use something else.

Employers love standardization. Choosing a standard means you can't be blamed for your choice. Choosing a standard means you can recruit young, cheap developers and actually get some output from them before they move on. Or you can outsource with some hope of success (because that's what outsourcing firms do — recruit young, cheap devs and rotate them around).

To me, those are red flags — not pluses at all. But they're undeniable pluses to greedy employers. Of course, there's much more to being an effective developer than knowing the platform so you can be easily slotted in to a project. But try telling that to the private equity guys running too much of the show these days...

So, assuming MS is 'sincere' about this open source move (big assumption),

1. is .NET up to the job?
2. Is there an Open Source choice today that's popular enough to be considered the standard that employers would like?
3. If the answer to 1 is yes and 2 is no, make the argument for avoiding .NET."

Comment: Re:Embrace (Score 1) 215

by Rob Y. (#48635945) Attached to: What Will Microsoft's "Embrace" of Open Source Actually Achieve?

...said as if 'wanting to port it to a platform' automatically means it will be ported effectively there, and kept up to date.

Releasing the source makes it about as Open Source as the OOXML file formats are open formats. The stuff's there, and 'documented' as thoroughly as it can be - but it's still practically unimplementable. Dumping a ton of source code on the public may be an interesting (and even a nice) gesture - but it's a rare Open Source project that is successful on multiple platforms without its original creators involvement. As of this announcement, all you can say is that they've shown a proof of concept for portability - without which the announcement would have been utterly meaningless.

Why anybody would think .NET without direct support from Microsoft would run equivalently on all platforms in all releases at the same time is beyond me. Java more or less does this because Oracle wants it to. Maybe Microsoft really wants .NET to be cross platform this time, but if so, it'll be a first...

Comment: Re:The handwriting's on the wall: Alice v. CLS Ban (Score 1) 215

by Rob Y. (#48635783) Attached to: What Will Microsoft's "Embrace" of Open Source Actually Achieve?

In this case, they only hurt them by threatening to sue over bogus patents when they were already down. But similar idea, no?

The only reason B&N was even able to attempt to fight MS in court is that B&N didn't require any 'preferred OEM' arrangements with MS in order to stay in business. Rather than air the details of the patents in question (there were leaks that hinted they were pretty lame), MS sensed an opportunity and bought their silence. Yeah, they didn't cause B&N's business to falter, but they did want them to base their next-gen tablets on an MS OS, which B&N had no interest in. And in any case, the MS vulture strategy worked for MS as intended. And BN bought some time.

So my ultimate point is that very few have the financial wherewithal to wait out Microsoft when they want to force your hand. They either force you by threatening to damage your MS-dependent business, by threatening to sue unless you pay them for stuff they don't really have valid rights to, or by standing by and watching you shoot yourself in the foot. In all those cases, the public loses.

And, oh, by the way. Barnes and Noble basically only 'shot themselves in the foot' by being an actual bookstore. Amazon competed unfairly for years by not charging sales tax that their customers actually owed - something B&N could not get away with due to the horrible mistake of operating actual stores. And then there was the silliness of the 'one click' patent. Amazon too has managed to succeed by being a bad actor on the assumption that the law wouldn't catch up with them until their competition was badly degraded - perhaps irrevocably...

And too many anti-tax ideologues think that's a good thing, simply because it involves a way around the 'evil' of paying taxes. But if you're going to be a Libertarian, at least insist on a level playing field. Fight taxes if you want, but not by cheering some who can cheat while others carry the freight.

Comment: Re:Grinch is not a flaw - has no CVE!!! (Score 3, Insightful) 116

by Rob Y. (#48628817) Attached to: Grinch Vulnerability Could Put a Hole In Your Linux Stocking

Do you need root to add yourself to the 'wheel' group? if so, not a security hole. And the 'wheel' trick only works from the physical console - presumably intended for server machines kept under lock and key with other access security in place. Now if it's enabled by default on desktop systems, that'd be pretty nasty.

I can't see anybody using this feature except possible admins of access-restricted servers. But even for them, how hard is it to use sudo? It sounds like a pretty dumb, unnecessary feature.

Comment: Re:The handwriting's on the wall: Alice v. CLS Ban (Score 1) 215

by Rob Y. (#48620901) Attached to: What Will Microsoft's "Embrace" of Open Source Actually Achieve?

Barnes and Noble were shaping up to test a few of em in court - then Microsoft sidled up and 'partnered' with them. That's another part of the MS modus operandi. Wait for a company who you've hurt to be on the ropes financially, and then offer to help if they'll kiss and make up. Happened with Apple and MS too.

Comment: Re:Embrace (Score 3, Insightful) 215

by Rob Y. (#48620775) Attached to: What Will Microsoft's "Embrace" of Open Source Actually Achieve?

They're not really open sourcing them. The Linux version's going to be some kind of collaboration with Ximian to extend their Mono implementation. Eventually they'll be marketing along the lines of "Now that you've chosen Azure, don't you want the real thing for your .NET platform - you can't trust those hippies to have implemented it right".

Comment: Re:Wildly premature question (Score 1) 81

by Bruce Perens (#48620117) Attached to: SpaceX To Attempt Falcon 9 Landing On Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship

If we look at jet aircraft, wear depends on the airframe and the engines, and the airframe seems to be the number of pressurize/depressurize cycles as well as the running hours. Engines get swapped out routinely but when the airframe has enough stress it's time to retire the aircraft lest it suffer catastrophic failure. Rockets are different in scale (much greater stresses) but we can expect the failure points due to age to be those two, with the addition of one main rocket-specific failure point: cryogenic tanks.

How long each will be reliable can be established using ground-based environmental testing. Nobody has the numbers for Falcon 9R yet.

Weight vs. reusable life will become a design decision in rocket design.

Comment: Re:I'm guessing that a lot of enterprise technolog (Score 1) 153

by Rob Y. (#48611755) Attached to: In IT, Beware of Fad Versus Functional

A developer in my group was asked to provide code from our system to another group for inclusion in their system. The code implements a complex algorithm that nobody quite understands (a PHD student at the time was trying to be impressive, and wrote up a 20+ page tech document to describe it). In any case, the code works, and they want to copy it.

So my boss comes back and says "the developer wants to know why this was written in C and not C#". Okay, I guess they're going for an all Microsoft solution, and I won't comment on whether or not that's a good, bad or indifferent choice (though you folks can...). My point is that the code in question was written before C# even existed, and while the offshore kid in the other group might not have known that, my boss certainly should have. So maybe what's left of .NET is a viable toolset to use to build "apps in the cloud" (did I mention that the other project is a complete rewrite of an existing system to be in the cloud - which i don't think is a particularly bad idea, btw). But maybe it's not. And obviously, the people deciding to use it probably have no idea even what .NET is (partially due to the Microsoft PR machine's history of not knowing what .NET was...).

Comment: Re:Cloud (Score 2) 241

by Rob Y. (#48585905) Attached to: Is Enterprise IT More Difficult To Manage Now Than Ever?

But that's exactly his point. All organizations have sensitive data infrastructure these days - most do not have IT staff competent to actually manage it once everyone's connected to the internet. And the staff they have was getting cut to the bone before IT got outsourced to the cloud. So, unless you're as tech savvy as the cloud majors, your data's likely to be less secure in house. Of course, that assumes you're a big enough target for hackers to take an interest in you. If Sony can be cracked, you can bet you can be too. So if you're as conspicuous a target as a Sony, you're probably better off in the cloud than relying on your IT staff to protect you. Odds are they're not as good as Sony's staff...

Comment: Re:YES !! (Score 1) 241

by Rob Y. (#48585837) Attached to: Is Enterprise IT More Difficult To Manage Now Than Ever?

Or, more likely, the company's merged a few times, so most of the IT folks got fired. And now the 2-3 people remaining are in a different location administering systems they're not familiar with.

When my company switched Manhattan offices last year (after a string of takeovers and mergers), they mandated that all servers be located in a cheaper New Jersey location - including file servers for the local network. Even with a pretty good amount of bandwidth between the two sites, the file servers are now essentially useless. I've resorted to doing all work on local copies on my desktop machine and then copying them to the servers for backup whenever I think I've changed enough stuff for it to be worth waiting 15 minutes for the copy operation. It was either that or wait 10 minutes every time I wanted to recompile a Windows app I work on. I suppose they could've hosted my dev environment on a Citrix box in New Jersey - except that all the Citrix stuff they have is in Kansas City.

These are New York only servers, and the New York office has a mostly-empty equipment room that houses the routers, phone system, etc. The only reason these servers are in New Jersey is that there's nobody left in the New York office to swap backup tapes every morning (and I guess there'd be some cost to arrange for offsite storage of those tapes). But they're probably paying me more to do my own backups than any real solution would cost.

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