Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Polls on the front page of Slashdot? Is the world coming to an end?! Nope; read more about it. ×

Comment: Re:Labour laws (Score 2) 422

by ranton (#49803307) Attached to: Mandriva CEO: Employee Lawsuits Put Us Out of Business

When the assets are liquidated, the ex-employees are paid first along with all the other liabilities. The company will pay. If they don't have the money to pay off all of their liabilities the shareholders get nothing at all. Not one cent. This is accounting 101 here.

If the shareholders really thought the company could survive they could have simply paid off some of the liability and avoided bankruptcy. Instead they chose this route.

I can't claim to know how bankruptcy laws work in France, but in the U.S. secured creditors get paid before priority unsecured creditors, which include employee claims for wages. So employees get paid last, since any corporate debt is sure to be secured. This is a company with only $600k per year in revenue that has already filed for bankruptcy once, so I doubt it is standing on a pile of cash.

If the company had the money to pay these severance payments, they wouldn't have had to declare bankruptcy as soon as the courts ruled against them.

Comment: Re:So, the other side? (Score 1) 422

by ranton (#49803261) Attached to: Mandriva CEO: Employee Lawsuits Put Us Out of Business

Here in the more libertarian US, lots of employees have been hung out to dry when the employer goes BK.

I assume employees are hung out to dry when their employer goes BK in France too. Unless the government pays them on behalf of the bankrupt company, or there are assets left over after creditors have been paid (which is very unlikely if the company went bankrupt).

Comment: Re:So, the other side? (Score 1) 422

by ranton (#49803255) Attached to: Mandriva CEO: Employee Lawsuits Put Us Out of Business

Hold on a second. The employees were looking after their own best interests, the shareholders decided to bail instead of pay their debts, and you are saying it is the fault of employee protection laws. How absurd. Pay your debts or go under. That is true for every human being. It is true for every corporation too in a sane society.

If the company had these debts because of negotiations they made with the employees then I would blame the company's negotiators for the debts. If the company had these debts because of laws, then I would blame the laws for those debts, or perhaps the people who decided to start their company in France and/or not leave the country if these laws were enacted after it was founded.

Regardless, the company would not be bankrupt if the country's laws didn't force them to pay employees who don't even work there anymore. I don't think the company should be able to get out of paying them because that is the law, but it is still the fault of those laws that the company went bankrupt.

Comment: Re:Fuck 'em (Score 1) 422

by ranton (#49803111) Attached to: Mandriva CEO: Employee Lawsuits Put Us Out of Business

Sure, it's a net win. The assets will be sold, and the employees will be paid their severance package. They also get paid for unused vacation days, and after the vacation days are over they also get paid unemployment benefits.

You seem to be suggesting that failing to pay what is owed to some (and maybe more than the initially laid off people if they would have run out of money later anyway) would somehow have been better.

That's a really nice fantasy you have there. The employees will likely get absolutely nothing now, because the actual creditors will have priority over any liquidated assets. If they had the money to pay off the workers, they wouldn't being going bankrupt in the first place.

This is the scenario where everyone loses. That is why Mandriva was hoping the courts would allow them to pay in installments.

Comment: Re:Labour laws (Score 3, Interesting) 422

by ranton (#49803075) Attached to: Mandriva CEO: Employee Lawsuits Put Us Out of Business

Boo hoo. A corporation didn't get to leave its employees holding the bag.

No sympathy whatsoever.

The employees were left holding the bag anyway, since the company filed bankruptcy and won't be able to pay them. Literally no one won in this scenario. Probably the only people who won were the executives who can now get another CxO job at a company that can give bigger bonuses.

Comment: Re:So, the other side? (Score 2, Informative) 422

by ranton (#49803063) Attached to: Mandriva CEO: Employee Lawsuits Put Us Out of Business

First off, it's the fucking law that they have to pay severance. So, by law, they sure as hell do owe employees something ... your idiotic belief that workers should be grateful to a have a job and suck it up if they get fired is irrational libertarian drivel.

From what the article says, the CEO wasn't trying to get out of paying anything to the workers. The company was asking to be allowed to pay installments so they could avoid bankruptcy. The government either wasn't legally able to bend on this, or hoped investors would invest more money after they exhausted all other options. The investors decided not to put more money in, and the company filed for bankruptcy. So basically everyone loses, which sometimes happens in a game of chicken.

This is what happens when your labor laws are too heavily weighted towards the worker. It generally hurts overall GDP because companies suffer, but that is counterbalanced by the population's desire to give up a little GDP to have a better quality of life. I would like for my country (the U.S.) to give up a little GDP for better worker rights too (not as good as France though), but it is naive to think we can have these better worker rights without companies failing because companies cannot be as "agile".

Comment: Re:Exodus (Score 1) 686

by ranton (#49802977) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Happens If We Perfect Age Reversing?

At entry level I am considerably higher than the region for software engineers. I went to a private college (thanks GI Bill!), still came out with 40k in student loans, and needed a 4 year technical degree to land that job. Adjusted for inflation, I earn the same as an 8th grade educated automotive line worker did in the 50s and 60s.

Based on this forum thread entry level automotive factory workers made less than $30k per year adjusted for inflation in 1957. Are you really that poorly paid as a software developer? Perhaps you were comparing your entry level salary to non-entry level factory workers, but even then the average salary was a little over $40k per year. Even with their better benefits you should be making at least 50% more than an entry level factory worker of the 50's.

What I would agree with is that a BS degree is the new high school diploma, and by the time my daughter is working an MS degree will likely be the new BS degree (unless MOOCs really are as disruptive as I hope). In 1957 I'm sure it took a high school degree to do what could be done with a grade school degree in 1900, so it isn't like progress is anything new.

Comment: Re:Exodus (Score 1) 686

by ranton (#49802913) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Happens If We Perfect Age Reversing?

And at least part of the reason your mom's parents lived in the great school district that allowed that fortunate chain of success to happen was a government commitment to great school districts - and subsidized universities, etc.

Not really. At least where I live, school districts are good because upper middle class people find walled gardens where they can limit affordable housing to ensure the tax base in their school district consists of all wealthy families. The median home value in my school district is almost $600k, but it is surrounded by school districts with a median home value of $180k. That is why our high school is the top public school in the state.

These walled garden communities run their schools almost completely independently of the state or even county governments. They don't have to worry about many regulations because they are high performing anyway, and they don't rely on the state / federal funding because 90% of their funding comes from local taxes.

So saying these quality school districts benefit from government commitment is a bit disingenuous. They are generally successful because they distance themselves from everything but very local government involvement.

My mom was very lucky that her parents lived in an area that became much for affluent a decade after her parents moved in. They obviously couldn't kick people out, but through attrition most houses in her old neighborhood are McMansions now.

But fuck, can't you at least acknowledge that the deck is stacked?

I did agree with you that the deck is stacked. That is why both I and my children have had the advantages I mentioned. Although I guess I do disagree with the analogy of a stacked deck since it implies the poor don't have a chance. Thinking of it as the upper class starting the game with a larger stack of chips is a better analogy IMHO.

Comment: Re:Exodus (Score 2, Insightful) 686

by ranton (#49799309) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Happens If We Perfect Age Reversing?

Maybe if you spent less time complaining about the things other people have, and more time improving your lot in life, you wouldn't be so poor?

Maybe... and maybe not. The relevant cartoon:
https://imgur.com/gallery/h82v...

While I also hate when people don't admit to the help they have been given by family and society, I still feel the advice to stop complaining and work hard to improve your lot in life is good advice.

IMHO people need to understand that social mobility is a multi-generational affair. My grandparents were poor / working class, but my mom's parents lived in a great school district and 4 out of 5 of their children had successful middle class careers. They all had careers that didn't really take off until their 40's, so their kids (me included) had childhood that straddled the lines between working class and middle class. Now it is my generation's opportunity to move into the upper middle class, which a few of us have.

My kids will now have a life so different than my grandparents, parents, or I did. They will probably never eat food from Aldi's and will think a good steak dinner comes from Morton's Steakhouse not Outback Steakhouse. They will go to a high school where 96% of students test above the state average instead of 50%, like my high school. They will have family who can get them great internships (like I just did this summer for my wife's cousin) and fast track their career. This is not because of any hard work my kids will do, or even because of the hard work I have done. It was a generational effort by my grandparents, my parents, and myself.

Any poor individual today has the ability to work hard and provide their children a better life. I still believe that every poor person in America can be two generations from the upper middle class with no luck but just good old fashioned hard work. Society should still try and improve social mobility, but claiming there is none today is disingenuous.

Comment: Re:Exodus (Score 1) 686

by ranton (#49798459) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Happens If We Perfect Age Reversing?

On the flip side, you are saying that without Rich people, the poor will just utterly destroy the world as we know it. Interesting.

No, he is saying the poor will be left in a world with too many people and not enough resources. The rich will be able to afford walled garden societies, and hopefully enough automated security to keep the poor out effectively. Everyone else will be left to destroy the world. I'm not saying he is right, but that was his assertion.

Comment: Re:Where the H-1B wage levels come from (Score 1) 124

Those are some insanely low wages. It put the highest level of wages for Software Developer: Applications in the northwest Chicago suburbs at $91,624. While that is well above entry level wages, it is nowhere near what a senior level developer in that area makes. Add another $30k to get into the ballpark.

Comment: Re:You know what would REALLY motivate kids? (Score 1) 207

by ranton (#49787519) Attached to: Clinton Foundation: Kids' Lack of CS Savvy Threatens the US Economy

I think you missed the previous poster's point. "Programming" is a way in which a task can be automated. As such, it can be viewed as a tool. If someone can come up with a way to get things automated without writing a program, then the tool called "programming" is no longer required.

Almost anything can be viewed as a tool. It was the previous poster's insistence that programming is not a profession, and the comparison of it to a hammer, that led me to refute his statements.

Every job can be automated. Every single job. Some programming jobs will be automated in the future, although usually when tools like compilers take away certain programming tasks it only makes development more affordable so even more programmers are hired. Programming, like most careers which require critical thought, will likely be among the last jobs to be fully automated away.

Programming as we know it will almost undoubtedly change significantly over the coming decades. Programming 50 years ago will probably be more foreign than using punch cards is now. But until strong AI becomes a reality we will still need people to design future applications.

Comment: Re:You know what would REALLY motivate kids? (Score 1) 207

by ranton (#49784169) Attached to: Clinton Foundation: Kids' Lack of CS Savvy Threatens the US Economy

Coding is a tool, not a profession.

"Programming" is not a profession any more than a "hammer" is a profession.

Both of these analogies are silly. They should read Computers are a tool, not a profession. and "Computers" are not a profession any more than a "hammer" is a profession..

Programming is a set of skills that utilize computers, just like carpentry is a set of skills that utilize saws and hammers. Programming is most certainly a profession.

Programming is not a skill that is limited to those who choose it as a profession, just like carpentry. People who choose it as a profession are usually much better at it though. I have done quite a few carpentry related tasks to help renovate the house I bought last year, but I still had professionals build my new cabinets. Just like my wife does some VBA programming in her analyst job, but leaves most of that work to the developers and DBAs at her company.

Comment: Re:You know what would REALLY motivate kids? (Score 1) 207

by ranton (#49784093) Attached to: Clinton Foundation: Kids' Lack of CS Savvy Threatens the US Economy

I think you missed out on a few things and underestimated the complexity of the law and of accounting (beyond simple bookkeeping/process execution)... plastic pipes don't replace plumbers who are still needed to install them. You still need HVAC techs to do the install/replacement, and shipping 100 pounds of copper overseas, is insanely expensive.

I think you missed out on a few things and underestimated the effect on an industry when perhaps 50% of the jobs go away. No one will claim there will be no electricians or plumbers in the near future, but new technology could displace a large number of those jobs. So telling kids to become a plumber when in 10 years they may be competing in an industry with 30% unemployment and a protectionist union presence that values senority is no different than telling them to go into STEM which is being invaded by H1B's.

I don't actually believe plastic pipes will put many plumbers out of work, just as I don't believe H1B's are significantly endangering our STEM jobs, but even if I did your arguments still don't make sense.

Comment: Re:You know what would REALLY motivate kids? (Score 1) 207

by ranton (#49784035) Attached to: Clinton Foundation: Kids' Lack of CS Savvy Threatens the US Economy

Why would a CS grad want to be a software developer? That doesn't make any sense. They should have studied software development and programming. That's like an MD hoping to get a job as a medical tech... a noble profession, but the MD can earn much more, be more fulfilled properly applying their education as a doctor, and the same is true of a CS grad. Their ideal employment will have little to do with coding.

Do people really believe this nonsense or do they just want to sound smart because they understand what pure computer science is?

The fact of the matter is CS education in the U.S. (and probably abroad) is primarily treated as a way to train software developers at the vast majority of universities. I couldn't find any statistics on how many CS graduates work in pure CS related jobs after graduation, but I would bet it is under 5%. Perhaps even under 1%. The vast majority work as software developers, IT workers, or move into an entirely different industry.

A computer science BS graduate is not the same as a doctor; they probably are closer to the medical tech you mention in your analogy. I would agree with you that PhD CS graduates are similar to MDs, and that these CS graduates likely do not want to work as LOB programmers. But this is a very tiny minority of CS graduates.

Things are not as simple as they seems at first. - Edward Thorp

Working...