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Comment: why does a decoder need execheap? (Score 5, Interesting) 212

by mrvan (#46434357) Attached to: <em>Portal 2</em> Incompatible With SELinux

Why does a decoder need execheap? Is there some sort of optimization that causes the processing and data to be not separated? It sounds like an invitation for all kind of exploits (which is presumably why it is banned by execheap).

Also, is there a reason to use a specific MP3 decoder? Is it because of licensing, or are there technical reasons?

Comment: Re:Absolutely (Score 4, Interesting) 212

by mrvan (#46420931) Attached to: Fedora To Have a "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" For Contributors

Maybe it's a stupid question, but can't you "launder" code by routing it through a third nation and recommitting the code from there?

What is the export restriction on anyway? The bits? The IP? And does it extend to any derived work of an export restricted IP burdened work? Because if any piece of code on which any citizen of a restricted country has copyright, I'm pretty sure the linux kernel would contain at least one line, meaning all android phones and most routers, servers etc would be illegal?

Also, DADT sounds really stupid as company policy. I don't know a lot about US law, but in the Netherlands corporate liability extends if the management knew or was in a position to know that law was breached, and having policy to conceal such breach is good evidence that management was in a position to know. Any US lawyers care to comment?

Comment: Re:Levelles design (Score 2) 253

by mrvan (#46344223) Attached to: Blizzard To Sell Level 90 <em>WoW</em> Characters For $60

Vendetta Online has a system of license levels which unlocks content, but combat success is 90% skill and 10% equipment (after the first couple of levels which probably take an experienced player less than an hour). Smart use of low level ships/weapons in the hands of a skilled player will kill a relative noob with top-notch gear every time.

What I'm trying to say: levels aren't really the problem, making "level" the most important determiner of success is the problem.

Comment: Re:Like it matters? (Score 1) 255

by mrvan (#46302311) Attached to: Ubuntu 14.04 Brings Back Menus In Application Windows

I use xmonad as window manager, which AFAIK is not installed out of the box on any distro but on ubuntu takes me around 2 minutes to set up (using existing .files). I use it mainly for programming but also some gaming, but I never have bleeding edge hardware.

I figure I could just as well use debian or mint, I don't really think I would notice any difference as long as the package repository is reasonably stocked. I use ubuntu because it is my first linux experience that I used for more than a week, and because of the enormous amount of support, stupid forum questions with non-stupid answers, etc. It helps if an answer to a problem is directly applicable.

Genuine question: Besides the desktop environment, are there any real differences between all the Debian derivatives?

Comment: Re:And how will they bring him to justice? (Score 4, Informative) 325

by mrvan (#46276317) Attached to: N. Korea Could Face Prosecution For 'Crimes Against Humanity'

Even ignoring the problem of getting him from power, ICC has no jurisdiction as Korea isn't a signatory and the UN security council is needed either to refer the case to the ICC or to create an ad hoc tribunal. Even if China might as some point decide to stop propping up its neighbour, it is not very likely that they will allow them to be tried in court.

Comment: Re:Boycott (Score 2) 250

by mrvan (#46175681) Attached to: The Bitcoin Death Star: KnC Plans 10 Megawatt Data Center In Sweden

Hmm, that is kind of stupid, but that should be easy to solve, no?

The 'moderate' link/button is also stupid, but that's quite minor.

One of the lessons I learnt last year is "never change more than one thing at the same time if it can be avoided". Why did they not just change the ui, keeping the system intact, or change the system, keeping the ui intact? Then, if the new system works, they can always change the ui...

Comment: Re:Boycott (Score 2) 250

by mrvan (#46175301) Attached to: The Bitcoin Death Star: KnC Plans 10 Megawatt Data Center In Sweden

Slashdot Beta fundamentally breaks the classic Slashdot discussion and moderation system

Warning: stupid question ahead!

Okay I've seen beta and browsed for about 5 minutes. I seems to me like a fairly trivial redesign from something that is ugly (but feels like home) to something that is just plain ugly. Below the articles are the familiar comments with mod points in a tree structure that most of the time doesn't make a lot of sense, and a way to filter on comment quality (moderation). I don't see how this is so difficult from the current system, so I probably missed something somewhere.

  Can you explain how it is breaking the discussion/moderation system?

Comment: Re:No, because they are not compatible (Score 4, Informative) 551

by mrvan (#46163927) Attached to: Should Nuclear and Renewable Energy Supporters Stop Fighting?

According to the wiki on Pumped-storage hydroelectricity (PSH), 'PSH accounts for more than 99% of bulk storage capacity worldwide: around 127,000MW, according to the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), the research arm of America's power utilities.' Since in pumping the size of the reservoir is not the limiting factor, but rather the throughput of the pumps, this means that PSH can be used to store the daily output of 127GW worth of power plants. Britain's consumption is 35.8GW on average, and 57.490GW at peak (, so the global installed PSH's could easily absorb the UK's production.

In the UK, however, there seems to be only one plant (, costing 425M GBP in 1974 capable of absorbing around 1GW worth of power, so nowhere near 50% of base load, so it seems that PSH costs around 425M/1G = 0.5 pounds per watt capacity. Apparently, a new nuclear plant costs about US$ 5,339/kW., or 4 pounds per watt capacity, while windmills cost around 1-2 pounds per watt. So, assuming enough sites for PSH can be found, the costs for power storage capacity seems to be 5-25% of the cost for generation capacity.

According to the wiki, "The stalling of the UK nuclear power programme in the late 1980s and the coincident "dash for gas" increased the network's ability to respond to changes in demand, making the use of pumped storage for day/night load balancing less attractive. As a result, a similar facility planned for Exmoor was never built.[2]"; so it seems that at the time the demand is what limited PSH construction, not cost or environmental factors.

Comment: Re:Don't know about you guys... (Score 1) 503

by mrvan (#46132853) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Are Linux Desktop Users More Pragmatic Now Or Is It Inertia?

xmonad all the way! I switched a couple years back. The lack of a nice settings file* or UI dialog meant that it took me a couple days to get everything the way I wanted, but now I am completely happy. I just never realised how little a window manager really needs to do. If I see people working with actual windows (i.e. floating windows with borders, close icons etc) it just looks so clumsy.

For me, having a numbered desktop for each task I'm working on and not having to bother with moving/resizing windows, plus a WM that is fully functional within half a second after logging in, even on a 4 year old computer, is a great boon to productivity.

*) for those not fluent in Haskell...

"If value corrupts then absolute value corrupts absolutely."