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Comment Not sure I buy his argument (Score 1) 144

I strongly agree that the FCC should not ban aftermarket firmware and I am involved (albeit in a minor capacity) in OpenWRT development. However, I don't buy ESR's argument about why. He states that "The present state of router and wireless-access-point firmware is nothing short of a disaster with grave national-security implications," and his argument revolves entirely around us needing the ability to fix the situation. Unfortunately, we do have the ability to fix the situation today, with loads of flashable routers out there and many choices for quality after-market firmware, but we're not actually doing it at any meaningful scale. Even among routers that can run a superior after-market firmware, only a tiny fraction actually are. Of the ones that are, even fewer are regularly updated to address security concerns. If we're not solving the problem today when we do have the capability, how are we made weaker if the capability is taken away from us?

Comment Re:Terms of the agreement? Ad blocking issues? (Score 1) 103

I'm a little worried about the terms of the agreement not being disclosed. We're launching a search ad blocker that removes all but one ad per page on Google. Bing, and Yahoo search results. We're trying to re-introduce the idea that most of the screen space should be content, not ads, and we put some teeth into that idea with ad blockers. (Yes, you can block all the search ads if you want.)

I used to work for Mozilla. One thing I can say with confidence is that Mozilla would not have signed this agreement if it restricted their freedom in such a way that they'd start blocking ad blockers or other plugins. Mozilla is very much focused on user control, and is not going to let a third party restrict what a user can do with their software. Google and Mozilla have definitely not always agreed in the past, and I'm sure Mozilla will continue doing things that it believes are in the end-user's best interest. Keep in mind that Mozilla introduced the Do-Not-Track http header, which which Google (last I knew anyway) still hasn't added to Chrome.


Comment Re:Netgear WNDR-3700 (Score 2) 334

Seconded. I've got WNDR3700 and I love it. I'm running a custom build of OpenWRT that has all the following built in to the squashfs image:

  • ISC bind9, including slaving some authoritative zones from my master
  • racoon for ipsec
  • xinetd running munin-lite for metric graphing
  • radvd for IPv6 router advertizement

It's really pretty impressive what you can pack in this thing. Note that I save a bunch of space by not including the web interface at all.

Comment Re:Or, maybe Linux is dying... (Score 1) 330

I disagree with most of your comment, except the bit about OS X. Purely from my own experience and observations, I feel like lots of people who would otherwise be driving the state of the art in Linux desktop development have instead switched to Mac OS. These people aren't necessarily the folks who would be doing the development of the desktop apps, though many are. Many of them are simply power users or people with good ideas for how usability could be improved. They would be active contributors on mailing lists and forums, and they would contribute ideas, suggestions, and bug reports. But instead of working to improve the Linux desktop, they've become happy consumers of a Apple's desktop. They're perfectly content, and Apple continues to develop their software, so I suppose there's not a lot to complain about except from idealistic points of view.

In reality, though, I think the Linux desktop has made amazing strides over the years. Yes, I think things could be better, but there are a lot of really dedicated people doing very good work. Rather than lamenting what we could have had, we should celebrate the best of what we've got, as a community. The Linux desktop is certainly not dying.

Comment Re:Fallacy (Score 1) 246

Yeah, I don't have any references either, but I definitely remember a day of protest. The idea was to add some proprietary netscape-only markup to your pages such that netscape users would get a black, content-free page, but users of standards-compliant browsers would see the content as usual. I think that was post 2.0, though, but I could be wrong.

Comment Re:I used to be a Firefox fan (Score 1) 585

Huh. On Linux, there is simply a symlink in ~/.mozilla/plugins that points to a .so file that provides the Adobe Reader plugin. (I'm at work right now, where my Linux box doesn't have Adobe Reader and my Windows box is, well, a Windows box, so I can't tell you the name of that symlink or .so file.) It has Just Worked for quite some time. If I use the Firefox Plugin Check and it reports that there's a new Adobe Reader plugin, I install the new one. That hasn't really ever broken. My firefox installation has survived the rapid release cycle, and things seem ok.

I'm not sure if Adobe Reader has a built-in updater or not, but it might be worth it to use that to check for updates. Failing that, maybe just download a new copy of it?


Comment Re:I used to be a Firefox fan (Score 1) 585

But at this point, the shift away from Firefox is gaining momentum, and it's largely due to the perception of firefox being bloated and leaky. (Though I'm sure google's significant advertising push hasn't hurt, either.) It's not clear yet what Mozilla needs to do to draw users back. I might suggest, though, that dropping version numbers from the browser probably won't go along way toward that end... :/

Comment Re:Rejoice (Score 1) 585

No, Chrome is not open source. It contains lots of source that's pulled from Chromium, but open source is makes up only some unknown subset of Chrome. It may be a lot of it, but the amount also may vary and it may be extensively modified. There's no way to know for sure.

Comment Re:I used to be a Firefox fan (Score 3, Interesting) 585

The memory issues people have with Firefox must be really frustrating for the devs, because they've got to be insanely subtle. They clearly don't affect everybody. For example, I use firefox (still at 6 here) and currently have 37 tabs open in 3 "tab groups" (OMG I love this feature). Some of the tabs contain embedded Adobe Reader plugins that are viewing PDFs. I have several addons, including flashblock, cookie monster, foxyproxy, and delicious. Firefox has a resident size of 260 MB, and a shared size of 700 MB. By modern measures, that's downright lean. Other people have vastly different experiences.

As as already been covered here, Mozilla is looking to address the memory usage issue. I wish them luck, as it's obviously not an easy problem to tackle.


Comment Sad to see you go (Score 1) 1521

I've got to admit I'm surprised at how sad this makes me. I've been a slashdot reader since the early days. I don't remember how I found the site, but I remember that I was sitting in a dreary general-purpose (i.e. non-CS) Mac lab at school in about 1997. I scrawled the URL inside the front cover of the copy of Lucifer's Hammer that I was reading at the time, because the site was just so damn cool and I didn't want to forget about it. One of the early headlines I remember was "Microsoft scanning IP space" (OMG, what underhanded thing could they possibly be up to? I bet they're going to build a search engine!)

Anybody else remember the dark days of Jon Katz? (sorry Jon! :D)

Though speaking of Katz, I'm surprised taco didn't mention the Colorado school shootings from 1999. Those stories (the "Hellmouth" articles here) have to be high up in the list of all time most comments. After some douchebag misfits decided to shoot their classmates, the nationwide paranoia directed at all sorts of geeks and other socially outcast people really was amplified. Slashdot became a place for people to share stories and get support.

It's amazing how much time has passed. Thanks Taco. You'll be missed.

Comment Re:Patent Trolling (Score 1) 267

Microsoft uses its patents against others offensively, Google doesn't.

I never said anything to the contrary. I simply said that Google is stockpiling patents like this as ammunition for use in patent wars. Possibly purely for defensive purposes, but stockpiling none the less. Armed with patents such as this, Google is well positioned to launch a counter attack, as I described earlier in this thread, should some more litigious company decide to come after them for something.

If Google really was using this patent to demonstrate the brokenness of the system, don't you think they'd be drawing more attention to it? You'd think they'd at least have said something on their public policy blog. There's not much point in protesting if you don't tell anybody you're doing it.

God is real, unless declared integer.