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Comment: Re:"A hangar in Mojave" (Score 3, Informative) 30

by Bruce Perens (#48908157) Attached to: Virgin Galactic Dumps Scaled Composites For Spaceship Two

That's actually what it's like at "Mojave Spaceport". Hangers of small aviation practicioners and their junk. Gary Hudson, Burt Rutan, etc. Old aircraft and parts strewn about. Left-over facilities from Rotary Rocket used by flight schools. A medium-sized facility for Orbital. Some big facilities for BAE, etc. An aircraft graveyard next door.

Comment: Re:Modula-3 FTW! (Score 1) 452

by Zordak (#48907509) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Is Pascal Underrated?

You do understand that Pascal was first released in 1970, right? Many Pascal programmers in the 1970s asked the same question - why do we need C, with its dangerous string handling and obtuse preprocessor, if it doesn't solve any new problems?

Um, you realize that C came out at almost exactly the same time, don't you? Granted, I wasn't programming anything in the 1970s, but I know enough history to know that the Unix kernel was already being ported to C right around 1970.

Comment: Re:Block Styles [Re:Modula-3 FTW!] (Score 1) 452

by Zordak (#48907215) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Is Pascal Underrated?

I like the End-X style, such as VB's, because if the nesting gets messed up due to a typo, End-X carries info about which block ender went with which block starter. "End While" goes with "While", obviously, not an IF statement. Brackets lack this ability.

"Lacks" is a strong word; it's just not inherent. Back when I used to write software in C and C++ for money, I would religiously put "}//end if" to make sure I could keep track of which braces went where. If I needed even more context, I would put " }//end if(var1 == var2). It's not that hard. Like many things in C, you have plenty of rope to hang yourself if you really want to, but you can also make it tidy and sensible if you care to. C is not your friend, and is not your enemy.

C is like an M1 rifle. Sturdy, proved in battle many times over, occasionally finnicky, and ready to put a high-powered round precisely where you aim it without apology. Whether you aim at your foot is your business.

Comment: Re:The solution is obvious (Score 1) 456

So here's what we're actually dealing with. Google maintains the Android Open Source Project, or AOSP. Every handset manufacturer uses this as a base for their own "distribution". The only distributions that Google actually builds are for their own branded handsets and tablets (the Nexus line). All of the other handset manufacturers build their own distribution(s) for their hardware, which effectively makes them the OS vendor for that hardware. It's analogous to other situations in open source software, where, for example, the kernel is developed and maintained by one group, but the individual distributions' maintainers (Debian, Ubuntu, etc) will package/build the kernel for their own distros and release it through their own repositories (ie when I run apt-get on an Ubuntu machine I'm pulling updates from Ubuntu and not, for example, from kernel.org).

This leads to situations like the current one, where the updates have been rolled into new versions (in this case you upgrade 4.3 to 4.4.x) but not every vendor has chosen to build and distribute these newer versions to their customers; Google is no more able to push these updates than the kernel.org maintainers are of pushing new kernels onto your Slackware machine.

Comment: Re:If they break into people's homes.... (Score 1) 361

That's another advantage of forcing the snoops back to "direct access" methods -- every so often one of them will get caught red-handed snooping on the wrong (i.e. clearly innocent and rich/influential) target, re-focusing attention on them and forcing another round of retrenchment until it blows over.

Comment: Re:Cost/benefit ratio (Score 1) 361

Now, if a backdoor is found by the bad guys, it will be used almost immediately to destroy a company.

If it's found by really bad guys (e.g. North Korea on a day when Dear Supreme Grand High Panjandrum is feeling especially trollish), it can be publicly circulated to destroy every company.

Comment: Re:Think of the children! (Score 3, Interesting) 373

Going to cause a lot of collateral damage to start doxxing people who may or may not be pedobears

Call me when anonymous starts busting down doors without warning at 3 AM and kills occupants. Call me when they snag people rolling through town who just took out cash to buy a car, and confiscate the money. Call me when they drag people through the court for years, ruining their good name with no real conviction. Call me when they just shoot you on the street even though you're un-armed.

Those are all things the "real cops" have been doing. When the authorities aren't doing their job, alternatives start to look better.

Comment: Re:And is this a bad thing? (Score 5, Insightful) 361

Forcing them to switch to "direct access" methods puts pressure on them to follow the law. First, as I noted in my earlier comment, the non-scaling time and manpower costs (each tail, bug, etc requires significant additional resources) forces careful selection of targets. Second, "direct access" methods put the snoops at a nontrivial risk of getting caught and/or leaving recoverable evidence each time they use them illegally.

Comment: That's Exactly What They SHOULD Be Doing (Score 2) 361

"Direct access" methods (tailing people, planting surveillance devices, etc) do not scale anywhere near as easily as network surveillance -- each "direct access" target requires a significant fixed cost in resources and manpower. This imposes discipline on the snoops and forces them to pick and choose actual suspects instead of trying to scoop up everything.

Comment: Re:Translation ... (Score 3, Informative) 361

No-knock warrants are an anti-liberty product of the Drug War. Police know how to secure a building so the only way out is through them, but the suspects can easily dispose of "evidence" (illicit drugs) in the toilet. Since it was impractical to ban toilets, the courts decided to let them barge in and assault everyone they saw.

Everyone can be taught to sculpt: Michelangelo would have had to be taught how not to. So it is with the great programmers.