Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?
Slashdot Deals: Deal of the Day - 6 month subscription of Pandora One at 46% off. ×

Comment Re:Disagree with the language used... (Score 1) 576

What empirical evidence is that? Most people don't understand the idea of the regression to the mean (check out the Kahneman quote here at a href="">here if you want a good example of why punishment seems to improve performance, but doesn't really). Also, as a long-time Linux user (since 1994) I have to say that as much as I like the OS, its success has been largely based on the fact that it was mostly the only game in town in terms of free UNIX systems at the time it came out, and was able to capitalize on that momentum since. The free BSD variants were having legal issues that a lot of people thought would sink them, Minix wasn't really a full OS, and everything else that would run on x86 software (and there weren't many) cost money. But at the end of the day Linux isn't uniquely well-designed or superior as compared to say, OS X. If other modern OSes can get by without a tantrum-throwing diva like Linus, I think it's safe to say it's not a necessary part of the development cycle.

Comment Re:Disagree with the language used... (Score 1) 576

"The reason Linus communicated in such a rude way was to prevent people from using those functions ever again in his codebase, and I think it will probably work."

Why do you think it would probably work? Over-the-top insults and tantrums typically don't work; it creates resistance and anger, and is a very unproductive way to deal with things. It kills loyalty, it saps motivation, and it causes resentment. More importantly in terms of whether the mistake is going to be made again, it makes it more likely that it will happen again than if a softer approach had been taken, due to cognitive dissonance. The recipient of this kind of attack is more likely to think that the attacker is wrong in some way; the brain looks for a reason, and will probably find one. If the complaint had been conveyed more gently, in an explanatory rather than an accusatory claim, the coder would be far more likely to realize the error and not make it again.

Also just as a practical matter, it's not a great survival trait; one of these days Linus might very well mouth off to the wrong person and get a broken jaw in return.

Comment Re:Programming is a trade (Score 2) 300

If that's true why do so many talented programmers lack critical thinking skills when it comes to politics, economics, society, culture, and their personal lives? Seriously, I always thought that programming should teach critical thinking skills, but I've lost track of the number of clueless programmers who have great problem-solving skills on a computer but are completely incompetent outside that domain.

Comment Re:23% of the company (Score 4, Interesting) 471

Not really. The US actually has stricter regulations than the EU across a number of major areas, like air pollution standards for power plants (definitely not a "tiny, select area[]" by anyone's definition), The US' Endangered Species Act is stronger and more comprehensive than the EU's. Even where standards are technically higher under EU directives than US federal environmental policy, such as in drinking water, failure to meet those standards is rampant, particularly in Eastern European countries.

Comment Re:Yes? And? (Score 1) 275

Because Guantanamo was created for a specific purpose to house people accused specifically of violent acts, because the government has been desperately trying to shut it down for years and would have no interest in increasing the population, because it has not had a new prisoner in years, because it would be a massive reputation hit that would serve no rational purpose and would immediately result in numerous public and expensive lawsuits that the executive branch could very easily lose causing further embarrassment, it would be a political liability to all involved, and a massive diplomatic blunder.

I mean, if you were going to argue that the US might take some other extrajudicial action against Assange, I might believe it, but GUANTANAMO? SERIOUSLY?

In practice, failures in system development, like unemployment in Russia, happens a lot despite official propaganda to the contrary. -- Paul Licker