The Media

LWN.Net Celebrates Its 20th Birthday (lwn.net) 24

Free software/Linux news site LWN.net just celebrated its 20th birthday, with publisher Jonathan Corbet calling the last two decades "an amazing journey." LWN published the first edition of their weekly newsletter on January 22, 1998, and Corbet (who also contributes to the Linux kernel) writes today that "It has been quite a ride. We in the free-software community set out to change the world, and we succeeded beyond our wildest expectations."

Here's how he described their second edition the next week... We were arguably helped by the lead news in that edition: Netscape's decision to open-source its "Communicator" web browser. That quickly brought the world's attention to open-source software, though that term would not be invented for a few months yet, and to Linux in particular. LWN was a shadow of what it is now, but it was evidently good enough to ride on that wave and establish itself as a part of the Linux community.
Corbet reviews the highlights. ("Companies discovered our little hobbyist system and invested billions into it, massively accelerating development at all levels of the system...") But he also adds that "Through all of this, we also got to learn some lessons about successfully running a community information source on the net." For the last 16 years the site has supported itself with $7.00-a-month subscriptions, offering early access to their Weekly Edition plus subscriber-only mailing lists, "allowing our content to quickly become part of the community record."

Plus, through events around the world, "we have met -- and become friends with -- many of our readers and many people in the community as a whole. This community is an amazing group of people; it has been a honor and a joy to be a part of it..."

"The free-software community's work is not done, and neither is ours. "
Television

What's The Best TV Show About Working in Tech? (gizmodo.com) 197

An anonymous reader writes: Recently Gizmodo hailed "the best show ever made about Silicon Valley", asking its readers one question: why didn't you watch it? They're talking about AMC's Halt and Catch Fire, which their Senior Reviews Editor says "discovered the fascinating, frustrating human side to the soulless monsters who built Silicon Valley." Unfortunately, "nobody watched it. The show never cracked a million live viewers after the pilot episode. It sat firmly on the bubble every season, getting greenlit only by the grace of AMC."

Today Netflix is making that show's fourth (and final) season available -- but is it the best show about working in tech? What about Mr. Robot, Silicon Valley, or The IT Crowd -- or that short-lived X-Files spin-off, The Lone Gunmen?

Has there ever been a good show about geeks -- besides those various PBS documentaries? Leave your own answers in the comments.

What's the best TV show about working in tech?
Mozilla

After 19 Years, DMOZ Will Close, Announces AOL 60

Its volunteer-edited web directory formed the basis for early search offerings from Netscape, AOL, and Google. But 19 years later, there's some bad news. koavf writes: As posted on the DMOZ homepage, the Open Directory Project's web listing will go offline on March 14, 2017. Founded in 1998 as "Gnuhoo", the human-curated directory once powered Google and served as a model for Wikipedia.
A 1998 Slashdot editorial prompted Richard Stallman and the Free Software Foundation to complain about how "Gnu" was used in the site's name. "We renamed GnuHoo to NewHoo," a blog post later explained, "but then Yahoo objected to the 'Hoo' (and our red letters, exclamation point, and 'comical font')." After being acquired for Netscape's "Open Directory Project," their URL became directory.mozilla.org, which was shortened to DMOZ. Search Engine Land predicts the memory of the Open Directory Project will still be kept alive by the NOODP meta tag.

The site was so old that its hierarchical categories were originally based on the hierarchy of Usenet newsgroups. As it nears its expiration date, do any Slashdot readers have thoughts or memories to share about DMOZ?
Netscape

Mozilla To Drop Support For All NPAPI Plugins In Firefox 52 Except Flash (bleepingcomputer.com) 163

The Netscape Plugins API is "an ancient plugins infrastructure inherited from the old Netscape browser on which Mozilla built Firefox," according to Bleeping Computer. But now an anonymous reader writes: Starting March 7, when Mozilla is scheduled to release Firefox 52, all plugins built on the old NPAPI technology will stop working in Firefox, except for Flash, which Mozilla plans to support for a few more versions. This means technologies such as Java, Silverlight, and various audio and video codecs won't work on Firefox.

These plugins once helped the web move forward, but as time advanced, the Internet's standards groups developed standalone Web APIs and alternative technologies to support most of these features without the need of special plugins. The old NPAPI plugins will continue to work in the Firefox ESR (Extended Support Release) 52, but will eventually be deprecated in ESR 53. A series of hacks are available that will allow Firefox users to continue using old NPAPI plugins past Firefox 52, by switching the update channel from Firefox Stable to Firefox ESR.

Businesses

HPE Acquires SGI For $275 Million (venturebeat.com) 100

An anonymous reader writes: Hewlett Packard Enterprise has announced today that it has acquired SGI for $275 million in cash and debt. VentureBeat provides some backstory on the company that makes servers, storage, and software for high-end computing: "SGI (originally known as Silicon Graphics) was cofounded in 1981 by Jim Clark, who later cofounded Netscape with Marc Andreessen. It filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2009 after being de-listed from the New York Stock Exchange. In 2009 it was acquired by Rackable Systems, which later adopted the SGI branding. SGI's former campus in Mountain View, California, is now the site of the Googleplex. SGI, which is now based in Milpitas, California, brought in $533 million in revenue in its 2016 fiscal year and has 1,100 employees, according to the statement. HPE thinks buying SGI will be neutral in terms of its financial impact in the year after the deal is closed, which should happen in the first quarter of HPE's 2017 fiscal year, and later a catalyst for growth." HP split into two separate companies last year, betting that the smaller parts will be nimbler and more able to reverse four years of declining sales.
Technology

Marc Andreessen Describes Vision of 'Ambient Computing' (telegraph.co.uk) 106

An anonymous reader writes: Marc Andreessen, co-founder of Netscape, is one of the biggest investors in technology. In an interview with The Telegraph, he spoke about how he envisions the future of computing. It's essentially an extension on the idea of the "Internet of Things." He thinks mobile phones will begin to be replaced in just 10 years. "The idea that we have a single piece of glowing display is too limiting. By then, every table, every wall, every surface will have a screen or can project." Within 20 years, he expects most new physical objects to have some sort of chip implanted within them. "The end state is fairly obvious — every light, every doorknob will be connected to the internet." The term for this is "ambient computing." There will obviously be a transition period — perhaps the so-called internet of things is just an early phase of that transition. But with powerful chips and sensors becoming incredibly cheap, Andreessen's scenario seems possible. I guess it's time to get cracking on those security and privacy concerns.
Communications

Replacement For Mozilla Thunderbird? 388

maxcelcat writes: I've used Thunderbird for about a decade, and Netscape Mail before that (I have an email from 1998 from Marc Andreessen, welcoming me to Netscape Email, telling me different fonts can add impact to my emails). Thunderbird has served me well, but it's getting long in the tooth. Given the lack of development and the possibility that it's going End of Life, what should I use instead? I have multiple email accounts and an archive of sixteen years of email. I could get a copy of Outlook, but I don't like it.

Things I like about Thunderbird: Supports multiple email accounts; simple interface; storage structure is not one monolithic file; plain text email editor; filtering. Things I don't like: HTML email editor; folders are hard to change and re-arrange.
Google

Google Earth API Will Be Retired On December 12, 2015 75

An anonymous reader writes Google [on Friday] announced it plans to retire the Google Earth API on December 12, 2015. The reason is simple: Both Chrome and Firefox are removing support for Netscape Plugin Application Programming Interface (NPAPI) plugins due to security reasons, so the API's death was inevitable. The timing makes sense. Last month, Google updated its plan for killing off NPAPI support in Chrome, saying that it would block all plugins by default in January and drop support completely in September. The company also revealed that the Google Earth plugin had dropped in usage from 9.1 percent of Chrome users in October 2013 to 0.1 percent in October 2014. Add dwindling cross-platform support (particularly on mobile devices), and we're frankly surprised the announcement didn't come sooner.
Chrome

Google Chrome Will Block All NPAPI Plugins By Default In January 107

An anonymous reader writes Google today provided an update on its plan to remove Netscape Plugin Application Programming Interface (NPAPI) from Chrome, which the company says will improve the browser's security, speed, and stability, as well as reduce complexity in the code base. In short, the latest timeline is as follows: Block all plugins by default in January 2015, disable support in April 2015, and remove support completely in September 2015. For context, Google first announced in September 2013 that it was planning to drop NPAPI. At the time, Google said anonymous Chrome usage data showed just six NPAPI plugins were used by more than 5 percent of users, and the company was hoping to remove support from Chrome "before the end of 2014, but the exact timing will depend on usage and user feedback."
The Internet

CSS Proposed 20 Years Ago Today 180

An anonymous reader writes: On 10 October 1994, Opera CTO Hakon Lie posted a proposal for Cascading HTML style sheets. Now, two decades on, CSS has become one of the modern web's most important building blocks. The Opera dev blog just posted an interview with Lie about how CSS came to be, and what he thinks of it now. He says that if these standards were not made, "the web would have become a giant fax machine where pictures of text would be passed along." He also talks about competing proposals around the same time period, and mentions his biggest mistake: not producing a test suite along with the CSS1 spec. He thinks this would have gotten the early browsers to support it more quickly and more accurately. Lie also thinks CSS has a strong future: "New ideas will come along, but they will extend CSS rather than replace it. I believe that the CSS code we write today will be readable by computers 500 years from now."
Mozilla

JavaScript Inventor Brendan Eich Named New CEO of Mozilla 112

darthcamaro (735685) writes "Mozilla today announcedthat Brendan Eich would be its new CEO . Eich had been serving as Mozilla's CTO and has been with Mozilla since day one — literally day one. Eich was a Netscape engineer when AOL decided to create the open-source Mozilla project in 1998. The choice of Eich as CEO seems obvious to some, after a string of recent short-tenured CEOs at Mozilla's helm."
Programming

The JavaScript Juggernaut Rolls On 505

JThaddeus writes "An article in TechWorld Australia summarizes the latest opinions on JavaScript from ThoughtWorks: 'There is no end in sight to the rise of JavaScript... "I think JavaScript has been seen as a serious language for the last two or three years; I think now increasingly we're seeing JavaScript as a platform," said Sam Newman, ThoughtWorks' Global Innovation Lead.' The article touches on new additions to JavaScript tools, techniques, and languages built on JavaScript. As the fuller report (PDF) says, 'The ecosystem around JavaScript as a serious application platform continues to evolve. Many interesting new tools for testing, building, and managing dependencies in both server- and client-side JavaScript applications have emerged recently.'"
Displays

Oculus Raises $75 Million To Make VR Headset 114

An anonymous reader writes "The company making the VR headset that has John Carmack and many others in the gaming industry excited has just received another $75 million in funding to make it happen. Netscape founder Marc Andreessen is joining the company's board, along with fellow investor Chris Dixon. Dixon had seen a prototype earlier this year, but it wasn't good enough to spark his interest. After recently seeing how the device has progressed since then, he was blown away, comparing it to early demos of the iPhone. 'The dimensions where you need to improve this kind of VR are latency, resolution and head tracking, and they have really nailed those things.' Now that the device is in good shape, Oculus is going to work on turning it into a product they can produce and ship for gamers."
Chromium

Google Dropping Netscape Plugin API Support In Chrome/Blink 170

An anonymous reader writes "Google today announced it is dropping Netscape Plugin Application Programming Interface support in Chrome. The company will be phasing out support over the coming year, starting with blocking webpage-instantiated plugins in January 2014. Google has looked at anonymous Chrome usage data and estimates that just six NPAPI plug-ins were used by more than 5 percent of users in the last month. To 'avoid disruption' (read: attempt to minimize the confusion) for users, Google will temporarily whitelist the most popular NPAPI plugins: Silverlight, Unity, Google Earth, Google Talk, and Facebook Video." Google offers NaCl as an alternative, and "Moving forward, our goal is to evolve the standards-based web platform to cover the use cases once served by NPAPI."
Wine

Netflix Comes To Linux Web Browsers Via 'Pipelight' 303

An anonymous reader writes "With Netflix continuing to rely upon Microsoft Silverlight, the video streaming service hasn't been supported for Linux users as the Mono-based 'Moonlight' implementation goes without Silverlight 5 DRM support. However, there is now Netflix support for Linux-based web-browsers via the open source Pipelight project. Pipelight supports Netflix and other Silverlight-based web applications by having a Netscape plug-in that in turn communicates with a Windows program running under Wine. The Windows program then simulates a browser to load the Silverlight libraries. Netflix then works as the Pipelight developers implemented support for the Netflix DRM scheme within Wine."
The Internet

Apache Web Server Share Falls Below 50 Percent For First Time Since 2009 303

darthcamaro writes "Apache has always dominated the web server landscape. But in August, its share has slipped below 50 percent for the first time in years. The winner isn't nginx either — it's Microsoft IIS that has picked up share. But don't worry, this isn't likely a repeat of the Netscape/IE battle of the late 90's, Apache is here to stay (right?)" The dip is mostly the result of GoDaddy switching to IIS from Apache. Which is to say GoDaddy hosts a whole lot of sites.
The Almighty Buck

Demo Europe Hits Russia — and Start-ups Have To Beg 26

judgecorp writes "The Demo VC funding event has hit Europe (Moscow, specifically), and it is very clear that start-ups in Europe have to compete hard for any venture capital. In its 20 year history in Silicon Valley, Demo is famous for highlighting subsequent success stories such as Netscape, Skype and Salesforce.com. Demo Europe began with a venture capitalist waxing lyrical on how the shortage of funds means he gets plenty of choice where to put his money. Promising tech start-ups have a series of hoops to jump through including brief pitches. The most promising candidates so far include a Russian social VoIP network and a shared whiteboard."
The Internet

The Web Standards Project (WaSP) Shuttered 64

hypnosec writes "Aaron Gustafson and two of his fellow contributors, Bruce Lawson and Steph Troeth, have announced the closure of The Web Standards Project (WaSP). It was formed back in 1998 by Glenn Davis, George Olsen, and Jeffrey Zeldman to get browser makers support the open standards established by World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). The project described itself as a 'coalition fighting for standards which ensure simple, affordable access to web technologies for all.' Founded at a time when Microsoft and Netscape were battling it out for browser dominance, WaSP aimed to mitigate the risks arising out of this war – an imminent fragmentation that could lead to browser incompatibilities. Noting that '..Tim Berners-Lee's vision of the web as an open, accessible, and universal community is largely the reality' Aaron noted that it was time to 'close down The Web Standards Project.'"
Open Source

The Past, Present, and Future of OSS 150

CowboyNeal writes "The nature of the open source movement and its software over the years has changed considerably. From its humble beginnings in the early 80s to mainstream Android adoption, open source software along with computers and technology as a whole has gone from the sidelines to a prevalent position in the lives of modern consumers." Read below for the rest of what CowboyNeal has to say.
Slashdot.org

Making a Slashdot Omelet 101

It's been said that the mix of stories on Slashdot is like an omelet: linux and tech, mixed with science and Legos, and a few reviews and sci-fi folded in. It's not just the stories that are a good mix, however, it's the people behind them. Through the past 15 years, an unusual cast of characters have been responsible for keeping the site up and running and bringing you the stories you want to read. We've asked a number of them to write a few words about their time working here and to share a few memories. Below you'll find that some of our former employees don't know what "a few words" means, and a collection of what bringing you news for the past 15 years has been like.

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