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


Forgot your password?

Slashback: SmoothWall, Gopher, Be 296

Slashback tonight on the slipping of Be through the fingers of Palm, further squashing of ZeoSync, the age of gophers, the invention of everyone's favorite electric-powered pronoun, and more -- just read on.

But can you backtrack through a google cache? pointym5 writes "Checked out the ZeoSync web site lately? Remember all those PhDs on the scientific staff? Well, like I'm sure others did, I sent e-mail to a few of them expressing interest in more technical details. All that I contacted responded with absolute disclaimers of any relationship whatsoever with ZeoSync. This morning I note that most names are gone from the 'org chart' and the scientific team list. There are only five left, including Dr. Piotr Blass, 'developer of one of the world's first web sites.' Wow!"

How smooth is smooth? juct writes: "I appreciate it, that Slashdot gave the SmoothWall Team an opportunity to answer to the concerns in my review of their firewall. But it is full of errors and might leave a wrong feeling of security. So I invite everybody to my Tour on SmoothWall where you can judge for yourself."

Whispered words of wisdom, 'Let it be.' Sander van Dragt writes: "Many BeOS news lately. Not all so good for the BeOS community though. BeUnited, the organization which tried to license BeOS from Palm, has received today a final answer from Palm: '...we have made a firm decision NOT to license any part of this technology other than that which we incorporate into the Palm OS.' It is already known that the new 32-bit PalmOS will feature some elements of the Be technology, but that OS is built for PDAs, not for the desktop."

You can read that letter and the rest of the article on OS news.

And take this as you will -- An Anonymous Coward writes: " is reporting that there is a new version of BeOS on the way... A German company called 'yellowTab' is said to be ready to ship a new version of BeOS (Just when everyone thought it was dead, and the final shovel full of dirt laid on top), get the full article here ... Hrm, I sure liked BeOS, I hope this one works out."

Dig, my brethren -- the Gopher Palace is almost complete! SuperguyA1 writes "Lwn is reporting that the gopher team has done it again with a 3.0 release marking Gopher's 10th anniversary. Happy birthday gopher. Thanks for helping me find all the muds I wasted so much time in college on:)"

"Bad connection, say again, you invented WHAT?" mi writes: "Yahoo! reports a potential problem, the Segway Scooter may have in Japan -- a Japanese robotics professor seems to have a patent on something very very similar since 1996. On the other hand, the USPTO knew about, when granting the patent to Segway's Dean Kamen, but still found Mr. Kamen's invention worthy of a patent in 1999. My favorite is the Kazuo Yamafuji's words: 'I would hand over my patent for one dollar if Mr. Kamen admitted that we were first.' Indeed, he just sat on the invention for 15 years."

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Slashback: SmoothWall, Gopher, Be

Comments Filter:
  • by Tattva ( 53901 ) on Monday January 14, 2002 @08:03PM (#2839112) Homepage Journal
    Let us dump this web silliness and return to the age of ftp and telnet.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I agree. My packet sniffers haven't been catching anything lately with all this god damned encryption. Between SSL, SSH, secure POP and IMAP, etc. I can't get any accoutz anymore. I'm going to have to go back to paying for internet access! :-(
    • Re:Gopher's Alive! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mini me ( 132455 )
      This isn't as far fetched as it may sound!

      The first time I tried Freenet I instantly thought of Gopher. A Gopher like protocol that runs over Freenet is exactly what it needs to make it more user friendly.

      Freenet doesn't need the depth of the WWW, it just needs simple resources to navigate around to find stuff. Something like Gopher just seems perfect to me.
  • Compression (Score:5, Funny)

    by athakur999 ( 44340 ) on Monday January 14, 2002 @08:04PM (#2839117) Journal
    Remember all those PhDs on the scientific staff? ... There are only five left

    The others didn't leave, they were simply compressed down to only 5 people using their revolutionary compression algorithm.
    • Re:Compression (Score:3, Informative)

      by the_quark ( 101253 )
      This IT World Article [] notes that Steve Smale (the Berkley Prof that's one of the five yet remaining) says he's spent "one hour" working for ZeoSync and that he is "in no position to say anything about these claims."

      St. George (the ZeoSync founder) also basically says (in classic snake-oil-salesman style) that the reason everyone says it's bunk is because they have a vested interest in the status quo. That tends to be one of the classic hallmarks of a "false" visionary.

      I also love it when the article quotes him:
      "For every person who says it might not work, there are 10 saying it does," he said, adding that he's received many congratulatory e-mails since the announcement.
      Uh, yeah. I bet if we put up a /. poll, we'd get 10-1 the other way, and it's be just as scientific. Even better, he's holding up as evidence in favor of his claim the opinion of a bunch of people who no nothing about compression, and haven't even seen the technology. Wow, that's convincing.
      • That article is a hoot.... unfortunately, ZeoSync does not seem to be a publicly traded corporation, so we can't short their stock.
      • Uh, yeah. I bet if we put up a /. poll, we'd get 10-1 the other way, and it's be just as scientific.

        The other way? You mean, Cowboy Neal?
  • Can whoever contacted the ZeoSync "scientific advisory board" give more details about the responses? I don't know why I'm so interested, I guess I just find fraud really fascinating.
  • Yeah, I remember seeing something on a Japanese gopher site about the "Segway Sukuutaa" seven or eight years ago.

    Heck with patents -- Open-source it all!!

  • BeOS as Embedded OS (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cliffy2000 ( 185461 ) on Monday January 14, 2002 @08:11PM (#2839148) Journal
    BeOS makes quite a capable OS for embedded systems. It seems completely logical that a portable computing company would want an interest in them. It's one of the most efficient OSes (on a operation/cycle) level and it's compatible with many different boards (x86, PPC, 68k, etc). It's really a waste that Palm's letting it go... in some ways, it's the wave of the future, but I guess (to Palm) it's also a relic of the past.
    • I agree. It makes perfect sense. What doesn't make sense is how a superb piece of technology like BeOS winds up in the dustbin of computing history. A sleek and lean desktop OS. Who knows how things might have turned out if there was such a thing as competition in the desktop market?

      I was hoping that Palm would consider doing something else with it. Too bad. It's the perfect answer for those Mac people who hate PCs.
      • What doesn't make sense is how a superb piece of technology like BeOS winds up in the dustbin of computing history.

        Well I hate to say it but 'I told you so.' I swore I would never get burned again after Amiga. I found Linux and *BSD a few years later and realized that these are systems that will always be here while they are useful. They are not vulnerable to pricks in suits.

        BeOS had some interesting ideas and some great implementations, but I'm glad I didn't invest time in it only to have my heart broken again.

        • Exactly. It's the choice of being given $1000 today or $1 a day for the rest of your life. Though the single dollar may be less attractive now but in the end it's the smarter choice.
      • WARNING: blind zealot-like advocacy ahead!

        Too bad. [BeOS is] the perfect answer for those Mac people who hate PCs.

        Yeah, it's got the same dearth of available software as the Mac, but it runs on x86 hardware! Splendid!

        Honestly, I would imagine the perfect answer for Mac people who hate PCs would be... a Mac?
    • In the first week in February, Palm [] is having it's annual developer's conference called PalmSource [] in San Jose. This year it looks like they are going to be releasing details about the new PalmOS [] v5.0 which is the next generation, 32-bit Palm OS incorporating bits of BeOS. (They started working on the OS before they bought Be.) Remember that Palm is also spinning off their operating systems division soon, so I assume that they are going to try to use this conference as some sort of launching pad. Here's a link to an InfoSync article about the new Palm OS [].

      • I doubt there will be many bits of BeOS used in PalmOS 5.0 - as you say, Palm started working on 5.0 before buying Be, and Palm have said publicly that they bought Be for its packaging technology and its developers.

        The best hope for BeOS is that Palm licenses it on reasonable terms. I'd never heard of Yellow Tab in earlier Be discussions, so I'd be interested to hear how it got a license, though.

        All this excitement about licensing and the death or continued life of BeOS does go to show that if you want a dull life, you should use an open source OS - it will just be there, quietly being enhanced and bugfixed, while companies are born and die around it :)
  • Gopher (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Syre ( 234917 ) on Monday January 14, 2002 @08:11PM (#2839153)
    back before I had SLIP (or PPP), the choice was Gopher or WWW via Lynx. Of the two, I found Gopher much easier to use.

    If asked, I would have said that WWW was going to be a flash in the pan, and that Gopher was the future.

    Oh well...
    • Werd. I was all about gopher holes... made it all the way around the world through gopher holes one day, and was so stoked I just left the connection up for a while. All the way around the world!, I told my Mom. And it's a local call!

      But the WWW included gopher. That's what I thought was so cool about the Web. You had all those protocols under one roof, with one uniform method of accessing them! telnet, gopher, ftp, the archie servers...

      Funny how I use my web browser for http almost exclusively now.

      But wow, when I fired up Mosaic for the first time and went to the Louvre's site... that was a real kick. "Look! You can view their collection on the Internet!" *clickclickclick*

    • Re:Gopher (Score:3, Interesting)

      by daviddennis ( 10926 )
      I was going to start running some kind of Internet server back in 1994. The folks who developed Gopher wanted a $ 500 license fee which I wasn't sure whether I had to pay or not, but I sure knew I couldn't afford.

      So I fired up the NCSA web server and never looked back. And once I started using the web and taking advantage of its power, I knew it would soon surpass Gopher.

      And, of course, I was right.

  • I remember the first time I used gopher. It was a search for ascii pr0n. Of course by 1998 ascii pr0n was scarce.
  • by john82 ( 68332 ) on Monday January 14, 2002 @08:12PM (#2839155)
    The Yahoo article says that the Segway patent mentions Yamafuji's patent. It does not make clear whether the note was made by the USPTO or Kamen. i.e., did Kamen come up with the same idea independently or based on advances over Yamafuji's work? There's also an aside in the article that casts further aspersions on Kamen's stair-climbing wheelchair. That too is patented in the US.
  • Segway vs Yamafuji (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TheMCP ( 121589 ) on Monday January 14, 2002 @08:14PM (#2839164) Homepage
    Kazuo Yamafuji's words: 'I would hand over my patent for one dollar if Mr. Kamen admitted that we were first.'

    Since I think Kamen actually cited Yamafuji's invention in his patent application, that rather implies that he does acknowledge that Yamafuji was first. I don't get what Yamafuji is upset about.
    • by ImaLamer ( 260199 ) <john.lamar @ g m> on Monday January 14, 2002 @09:52PM (#2839600) Homepage Journal
      From what I'm reading Yamafuji isn't all to upset.

      He could of course sue Kamen and his company to the point where releasing the product isn't possible.

      He just wants the nod, and he should get it. Kamen should at least give him two bucks to show that he appreciates Yamafuji's view of IP and patents.

      Look at it from this side: he could be like Prodigy and try to shut everyone down that uses the hyperlink. eBay and the rest should take note from Yamafuji.

      He seems to be someone who won't let progress be stopped because of a piece of paper sitting in the patent office.

      Hell, why not have the two get together and work on another invention. Kamen on the surface seems to be a nice guy. Yamafuji seems to be even nicer.

      Kamen: Get Yamafuji on your staff. Don't turn this into a Xerox-Apple-Microsoft battle.

      Note:I'm sure if Kamen repackaged Yamafuji's invention and tried to market it as all his own - Yamafuji might not be so open about this deal
  • Hey! I went looking only last month for a Gopher that could run on an old MacOS or Win9x/2k box only to find none still extant. Now there's a whole new release :)

    Anyway, check out gopher:// [] for the news properly gophered.

    Now I want a good TurboGopher 3D client rereleased :)

  • Gopher (Score:4, Insightful)

    by crisco ( 4669 ) on Monday January 14, 2002 @08:17PM (#2839179) Homepage
    I noticed the gopher update in sid a few days back. In a fit of nostalgia months earlier I put the gopher daemon on my linux box and set about learning how to 'create gopher sites'. Surely it couldn't be as easy as dropping some files in some directories :)

    Its really amazing how quickly gopher dried up as http took off. The gopher clients for windows are all written for Windows 3.1 or NT 3.1 and the major browser vendors seemed to have left the code in a state of neglect.

    I was also amazed to find CGI like scripts for handling gopher+ (or something like that, my memory is hazy and in true /. fashion I'm too lazy to recheck facts) forms. If everyone wasn't so busy re-inventing the wheel gopher might have made a good base for all the low bandwidth wireless devices running around today instead of WAP. A few modifications and it might have worked. Problem is, 'gopher' just isn't as sexy on the resume as all those modern TLA's...

    • Re:Gopher (Score:4, Insightful)

      by RetroGeek ( 206522 ) on Monday January 14, 2002 @08:44PM (#2839297) Homepage
      If everyone wasn't so busy re-inventing the wheel...

      Like a Web based message board where NNTP would do?
      • [Reinventing the wheel] Like a Web based message board where NNTP would do?

        NNTP doesn't support mass moderation or metamoderation. NNTP doesn't readily support banner advertisements that keep the server free. NNTP servers often don't have very long retention of old discussion. NNTP doesn't have server-side search. Slash supports all of the above.

        • by Phexro ( 9814 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2002 @02:17AM (#2840483)
          "NNTP doesn't support mass moderation or metamoderation."
          ...which are completely broken and cause more problems than they solve.

          "NNTP doesn't readily support banner advertisements that keep the server free."
          i'll grant you this, but it wouldn't be too difficult to hack an article-ad-interruptor, where the first (or middle, or a random) bit of the article has a textual ad (with http link) inserted.

          "NNTP servers often don't have very long retention of old discussion."
          ...which isn't a problem if you run your own.

          "NNTP doesn't have server-side search."
          yes, it has working client-side searching, rather than broken/incomplete server-side searching.

          seriously, have you ever tried to find something you saw on slashdot, say, two months ago? what if it was a comment, not a story? it's virtually impossible. you can't even query for all the posts that user xyz has posted. i wanted to find an old (~1 year) post of mine - couldn't. if i search for "phexro" in "stories", i get some stories i submitted. if i search in "comments" i get nothing. if i search in "users", i get me, and the last 24 posts i made. if i search for some key words in my post, i get page after page after page of incorrect results. if i search for a specific phrase, i get the same thing.

          i've been meaning to bitch about this... thanks for the chance to let me do it on-topic. :)
          • [Slashdot's M1 and M2] are completely broken and cause more problems than they solve.

            At least it keeps the gay porn [] out 95% of the time.

            [retention] isn't a problem if you run your own.

            And restrict your audience (although this may not be entirely a bad thing). Many users don't know how to switch their NNTP server. Others use newsreaders that support only one NNTP server per installation. Some users can't switch it at all (such as users of America Online).

            [Usenet] has working client-side searching, rather than broken/incomplete server-side searching.

            Client-side searching requires the user to have downloaded multigigabytes of Slashdot's previous stories. Not all users who want to search Slashdot have the T1 to download the whole site.

            i've been meaning to bitch about this... thanks for the chance to let me do it on-topic.

            Another place for complaining about Slashcode bugs: Slashcode Bug Tracker []

          • I agree that the /. search engine is pretty weak, so I just use google. Here's [] a search for you by google. It looks like it might miss some posts, but I can't really tell for sure without knowing how many posts you have per average story you post in.
    • Its really amazing how quickly gopher dried up as http took off. The gopher clients for windows are all written for Windows 3.1 or NT 3.1 and the major browser vendors seemed to have left the code in a state of neglect.

      Mozilla and all versions of Internet explorer support gopher. Just type in gopher:// and then the rest of the URL the way you normally would. You don't need to go digging up ancient software to browse.
      • dang, they snuck this in starting in 0.8 and completing the code in 0.9.x milestones. And I didn't notice. At least it wasn't in there when I first was looking around...

        Thanks pr0ndud!

    • Gopher vs. WAP (Score:4, Insightful)

      by dangermouse ( 2242 ) on Monday January 14, 2002 @11:46PM (#2839995) Homepage
      You know, that was my first thought when I read about WAP and WML and all the other weird contortions people are coming up with in the "net-enabled device" scene.

      Come to think of it, I still don't get why the hell they don't just use gopher. The protocol is there, it's lightweight, and it's perfect for providing text-based menus to access text content.

      Oh, wait. These are phone companies...

  • SmoothWall (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Corvidae ( 162939 ) <> on Monday January 14, 2002 @08:19PM (#2839188)
    Not trying to be a karma whore here (well, not REALLY trying), but this site [] really is worth a look if you're thinking about using Smoothwall. IMO, the REAL security concern with it is not the package itself, but the developers in charge of it. I, for one, refuse to support a product led by a group of developers with their heads that far up their ass when it comes to dealing with potential customers. Especially when they beg as loudly as they do for donations...
    • Re:SmoothWall (Score:2, Redundant)

      by ikekrull ( 59661 )
      Come on, it's a fucking *FIREWALL*.

      If you want GCC, then grab it from and use it.
    • No one is threating lawsuits here. Just because the guy flamed you dosn't mean you have to get all bitchy about it. So he's a dick? So what? Does it make any real diffrence in your life?
      • by TellarHK ( 159748 )
        Well, the problem isn't with me needing to grow some skin, it's with people needing to understand just what sort of person Richard Morrell is. If you're going to consider trusting your security to someone who uses tactics like these, both in a personal manner and in his use of Open Source as an excuse to try and make a fast buck, you should be aware of the situation. His blatant demand for donation before support is a really poor example for the Open Source community to be showing, a true poster child for unpleasantness.

        It costs me just a little bit of time to whip up a page like mine [], and even less time to respond to comments like this. Richard didn't threaten lawsuits so much as he threatened (and attempted) to have me falsely accused of hacking. He threatened, repeatedly to "make this personal". My only point in bringing up the specter of legal action was to simply get that on record, if nothing else, to show the scorn and rudeness so often displayed in Richard's correspondence. I have seen other erratic behavior from Richard and others at SmoothWall, such as posting to a mailing list by both Richard and one other, saying that the developers of SmoothWall don't read the list(!). Not only this, but Richard and said other team member were -regulars- on the list.

        As I've said a number of times, I may have made some mistakes. But nothing deserving of what occurred, and I'm quite pleased that the majority of responses from people who've read the site have been positive and in some cases informative.

        Prior to the 14th, I had no knowledge of the SourceForge forked project "IPCop", and am pleased to say that I wish that team well, and hope that other members of the SmoothWall team with less of a temper issue find a more respectable leader.
        • Well, I didn't read through the whole thing, just the first few messages. But what I don't get is why you kept replying with these long emails when it was mostly obvious that the guy didn't really want to do anything other then piss you off.
          • For either side, really. Tempest in a teapot, but it did make for amusing reading.

            Can you imagine what would happen if everyone overreacted like this every time there was a slight?

            We'd have lots of publicity, pop stars arguing about the boils on each other's arses... (Oh wait, they're like that now...)

    • Re:SmoothWall (Score:2, Insightful)

      by k8to ( 9046 )
      This is pretty silly.

      1) User comes onto some IRC channel, and makes some foolish requests.

      2) People on the channel give less then amazingly helpful answers.

      3) User gets his back up because he doesn't undertand the unhelpful answers.

      4) IRC channel people kick him out.

      5) Ego brused, poor user writes longwinded complaint to project staff.

      6) Project lead is far more juvenile than user; a pissing contest ensues.

      short form: foolish and juvenile users should stay away from pissy and volatile developer retards.
  • by Mr. Uptime ( 545980 ) <> on Monday January 14, 2002 @08:20PM (#2839196) Homepage
    As the final project for my Engineering Law class last semester, we studied this issue at length and even read the documents the PTO released under FOIA justifying their acceptance of the Kamen patent. Some of the major points we found were:
    • Kamen has been working on the Segway for a lot longer than 15 years. Most people don't realize how old Dean Kamen is; Yamafuji probably was just a young tot when Kamen introduced his "cripple cart."
    • The Segway employs a sophisticated transmission system that adjusts gear ratios depending on how difficult the terrain is (uphill, flat, or downhill) and the desired speed. This improves battery life and performance. Kazou's project had no such feature.
    • As was clearly stated in the patent, Kamen used a gyroscope while Yamafiji used a clumsy set of concentric rings and Hall effect sensors. It's like the difference between using GNOME 1.0 and KDE 2.0 - there's just no comparison.
    • Kamen's software was considerably more streamlined because it was written as a true embedded system, in pure ASM. Yamafiji's model used C++ because, well, it was just a model and it would have been useless if it were not hooked up to the portable computer he used to build it.
    Kamen deserves every penny he can make frmo Segway, both here and in Japan. For once, the USPTO did the right thing - and the media owes it to DK to stop complaining.

    Mr. Uptime

    • I thought it was possible for two people to have a patent on the same thing from different countries. there is now such thing as a world wide patent system.

      Think of how many people invented the car in the various countries around the world.

    • by markj02 ( 544487 ) on Monday January 14, 2002 @09:21PM (#2839470)
      If the basic design for a two-wheeled scooter with wheels side-by-side was patented by someone else prior to Kamen's patent, then Kamen doesn't "deserve" a patent on it. If Kamen came up with improvements on the basic design, he deserves a patent on those improvements. And if the improvements are essential to making the device useful, then his patent will be valuable. If his improvements are not useful or essential, his patent will be worthless.

      And if you actually took an "Engineering Law Class" and you were taught that people deserve patent protection because they implement their controller software in "ASM" as opposed to C++, you should ask for your tuition back. But perhaps you just made that up.

      • Someone brought up the irrelevancy of the language below, but I think the poster meant to indicate something else. Yes, a product is not significantly different (and deserving of a seperate patent) because it is implemented in a seperate langauge. But, to quote the original post:
        it would have been useless if it were not hooked up to the portable computer he used to build it.

        It sounds like the earlier machine relied on an external computer system running a piece of homade software to fiddle the inputs from the sensors and produce the balancing effect. The new machine has a built in computer, integral to the device, that implements the logic to operate the scooter either in hardware, firmware, or embedded software. At any rate, the new scooter does not require an external computer connected to it in order to operate correctly.

        Of course, this is just an incrimental improvement over the external-computer model, but combined with the other improvements, could warrant a different patent. More importantly, it represents more of a difference between the two systems than just being implemented in a different language. So we can all stop ragging on the original poster now ;)
        • I believe the Japanese robotics professor built the original version 15 years ago, a model scaled down in size. A lot of research robots back then were tethered. Fitting equivalent hardware into a full size device 15 years later doesn't seem like a big technological advance.

          Don't get me wrong: I'm sure Kamen made real technical contributions, and those are then protected by patents.

    • I find it hard to believe that there is only one patent involved in the Segway.

      As mentioned in the Yahoo article, "the basic ideas incorporated in the Segway scooter are the same: a computer processor to detect minute shifts in balance to keep the machine upright on two parallel wheels." That is hard to refute (at least according to the patent dates), but yes, they do differ in actual implementation.

      As mentioned, the gyroscope is a lot different from using an outrigger or pendulum sensor, and that's probably what distinguished the Segway from Yamafuji's enough to justify a patent.

      But that's just implementation (as is the transmission). The basic idea is still Yamafuji's.

      If I were Kaman, I'd swallow my pride, admit that Yamafuji invented the thing first and buy his patent for a buck. This would prevent anyone else from implementing the Segway differently (for instance, with a pendulum, accelerometer, or mere tilt-switch) and trying to market it even in the US.

      Rather, the Segway patent can't be for the parallel wheel bicycle since that's what Yamafuji's patent is (prior art). So Kaman better have that patent if he wants to protect himself from cheap Taiwanese/Chinese knock-offs that don't use such expensive things as transmission systems, solid-state gyroscopes and redundancy.

      I figure that Yamafuji is doing the decent thing: he realizes he hasn't done anything to capitalize on the patent and Kaman may very well deserve it, so the way to save face for essentially giving away a potentially lucrative patent is to seek recognition from his peer.
    • i'd pay the Japanese guy anyway. It is just a buck and Kamen could get a laugh from it by paying with his pi note (his own currency from his independent island Northern Dumpling) and demanding proper change.
  • by imrdkl ( 302224 ) on Monday January 14, 2002 @08:22PM (#2839206) Homepage Journal
    I had never pointed IE at a gopher server. Dare I say I am just ever so slightly impressed? Perhaps not. When UMinn decided to charge, I wrote them a perl script [] which implements a gopher client in about 50 lines.

    I dont guess they ever made any money of gopher at UMinn, but perhaps we shouldn't have been so hard on them for trying. Bygones.

    • Web browsers have always handled gopher pages. That's a big reason why people switched over so quickly -- using a web client allowed you to access gopher pages, but not vice versa.

      But. They still haven't fixed the bug I found so irritating when I first started using the web. Web clients just don't grok the fact that Gopher keeps the page title in the directory, not in the page file itself. So all Gopher pages display with a URL in place of a title. This would be a scandle -- if anybody gave a shit.

  • Don't forget (Score:5, Informative)

    by eclectro ( 227083 ) on Monday January 14, 2002 @08:23PM (#2839210)
    the Be auction [] the day after tomorrow for those who are lucky enough to be near menlo park.

    Who knows, maybe some of that stuff will become collectible.
  • by Da Penguin ( 122065 ) on Monday January 14, 2002 @08:24PM (#2839217)
    I have recently become quite interested in Gopher and I got to reading "The Whole Internet" which was basically the first internet book. When I got to the chapter on Gopher, it also mentioned the "Web" and said that:

    "Admittedly, Web servers and hypertext editors are scarce; but the potential here makes the World-Wide Web one of the most interesting new tools on the Internet."

    Oh how the tables have turned.
  • by swuser ( 549815 ) on Monday January 14, 2002 @08:26PM (#2839222)
    Just downloaded smoothwall 0.9.9se and had a search on google.

    bash$ id
    uid=99(nobody) gid=99(nobody) groups=99(nobody),14(smoothwa)
    bash$ ls -l /usr/sbin/pppoe
    -rwsr-x--- 1 root nobody 23888 Aug 6 12:36 /usr/sbin/pppoe
    bash$ /usr/sbin/pppoe -D /etc/test
    bash$ ls -l /etc/test
    -rw-rw-r-- 1 root nobody 367 Jan 10 03:11 /etc/test

    Though it's not surprising it's full of holes with code that the smoothwall people write:

    if (setgid(0)) { fprintf(stderr, "Couldn't set GID to 0\n"); return 0; }
    if (setuid(0)) { fprintf(stderr, "Couldn't set UID to 0\n"); return 0; }
    snprintf(command, STRING_SIZE - 1, "/var/patches/%s/setup", argv[1]);
    if (!(p = popen(command, "r")))
    return -1;

    etc. etc.
    It's full of setgid(0);setuid(0);system(command);
    absolutely unbelievable.
  • "segue" is a verb [imparitive, intransitive] or a noun.

    "Segway" is a proper noun as of a few weeks ago. Don't worry timothy, i suck at grammar too.

    Speaking of backtracking, allow me to segue (teehee) into this offtopic question: Does anyone have any good techniques for backtracking, through google or otherwise, your old slashdot posts? it seems you can search by everything else but you're own name.
    • Re:hrm. (Score:2, Funny)

      by jeffehobbs ( 419930 )
      "you're" is a contraction of the words "you are".

      "your" is an adjective, and generally connotes possession of something.

      neener, neener...


  • by dotderf ( 548723 ) on Monday January 14, 2002 @08:34PM (#2839261)
    Tech support is free, as long as you donate! (huh?) Just check out this IRC log [].

    So it's free, but only if you pay for it. Why don't they just use a pay model?

  • Frankly, I'd love to go and pick up a BeBox just to toy with. It starts tomorrow, and all the bidding stuff [] is on Wednesday....

    That being said, it's in Menlo Park, Ca. Don't buy your plane tickets tonight. Some of these auctions end up WAY overbid...

  • by mmu_man ( 107529 ) on Monday January 14, 2002 @08:46PM (#2839307)
    So yes it's really over. well that goes only for the Palm deal, since there are already some projects to make an OpenSource BeOs:
    And those surely won't stop their efforts !

    That's yet another example of the dangers of closed source systems... :-(

  • ZeoSync's Claims (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MathJMendl ( 144298 )
    ZeoSync really should look up the pigeonhole principle. You can't fit n pieces of data into n-1 slots with one piece of data in each slot.

    Basically, if you can reduce 1 million bits to 10,000, then you can only represent 2^10000 different outcomes. But, they need to represent all 2^1000000 outcomes! There are only so many outcomes in there that can be compressed, and that means that the other outcomes take up more space.

    In other words, their data is not random.

    If a 12th grade high school student can figure this out, surely people with PHD's can see how this idea is flawed. I am surprised that such an absurd idea is even being taken seriously in the news.
    • Re:ZeoSync's Claims (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Azog ( 20907 ) on Monday January 14, 2002 @11:14PM (#2839861) Homepage
      You are correct, they should look up the Pigeonhole principle.

      The "Layman Process" explaination of their technology is worth a read just for the amusement value. They claim that it is not a compression technology, but that it works by "sending more data across less bandwidth while saving time", and that it "stores massive amounts of data compared to standard binary compression". Well, that sounds like compression to me. You might think that maybe they're referring to a different encoding method, but no, they also say that the data is able to "move rapidly on a fixed set of binary carriers through existing digital transmission devices".

      So: They take binary data, do something magical to it, and then it can go across a digital, binary network, faster than any standard binary compression. OK, so what kind of magic is this?

      Moving on to the "Technical Process", they have some astonishingly blatant smokescreen to their impossible claims.

      First of all, they talk about the "solution to the Pidgeonhole Principle". Well, that's not something you solve, it just is. That's like saying you've learned to fly by "solving" gravity.

      And then they "define" the pidgeonhole principle:
      Given a number of pidgeons within a sealed room that has a single hole, and which allows only one pigeon at a time to escape the room, how many unique markers are required to individuall mark all of the pigeons as each escapes, one pigeon at a time? After some time a person will reasonably conclude that: "One unique marker is required for each pigeon that flies throught the hole, if there are one hundred pigeons in the group then the answer is one hundred markers".
      Well, that's not what the pigeonhole principle is. The pigeonhole principle is simply: If you have more pigeons than holes, then there must be more than one pidgeon in at least one hole. Conversely, if you have less pidgeons than holes, then there must be at least one hole with no pidgeon.

      Getting this basic theory wrong proves that they are either hopelessly ignorant or total frauds.

      Furthermore, the reason the pidgeonhole principle disproves ridiculous compression claims is there are exponentially more long bitstrings than short bitstrings. So if you claim to be able to represent every long bitstring (the pidgeons) as a short bitstring, (the holes) then there must be at least two long bitstreams represented by one short bitstream. (Two pidgeons in one hole). But that means you can't tell which long bitstream was represented by the short bitstream, and you don't have a real compression algorithm - at least not a lossless one.

      And then, Zeosync's alleged "technical explanation" veers off into the most amazing bullsh*t I've read in a long time:
      In higher, multi-dimensional projective theory, it is possible to create string nodes that describe significant components of simultaneously identically yet different mathematical entities."
      Simultaneously identical yet different. Sure. Uh-huh. Giggle.

      But wait! Reading further, I see that they use the word "lossy". The surrounding context simply doesn't make sense, but if you're talking about lossy compression, the pidgeonhole principle is irrelevant, because it's OK to not know exactly which long bitstream a shorter bitstream encodes - that's the whole point of lossy compression - you loose some detail. But then why discuss the pidgeonhole principle at all?

      I hope someone sues these hucksters into a smoking crater. I hate it when people lie about fundamental mathematics.
      • Re:ZeoSync's Claims (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Azog ( 20907 ) on Monday January 14, 2002 @11:42PM (#2839965) Homepage
        Digging around I found some more interesting stuff. First of all, if you get the PDF org chart, the information on that essentially contradicts the Flash propaganda - the technical staff seems to be divided into two teams, one "Advanced Compression Technologies Team" and one "Singular Bit Varience [sic] Encoder Team".

        The org chart also mentions Wavelets, Fractals, and Sub-band compression... So much for the website that claims their technology isn't actually compression...

        Maybe, just maybe, the scientists actually do have some sort of interesting compression technology, but the marketing / business people have spun and hyped it up, totally out of control and totally out of touch with reality. But I don't think so - marketing people alone wouldn't be able to come up with the pseudo-scientific drivel on that website.

        Moving on, you see that Dr. Burko Fuhrt and Dr. Piotr Blass are from Florida Atlantic University. Sure enough, doing a search of the university website turns up a few computer science classes... but that's interesting... All of Fuhrt's classes for Fall 2001 were cancelled, and they don't seem to be teaching anything in Spring 2002... Blass is an Instructor, apparently not a tenured professor, while Furht is a professor. They don't seem to have home pages so it's hard to know much about them.

        Dr. Steve Smale of Berkely, on the other hand, looks like the real thing - a serious mathemetician. Someone should contact him and find out if he knows he's on the Zeosync org chart, and if so, what he thinks of their web site... I'd hate to see a genuine researcher inadvertently associated with something phony.

        The Zeosync website claims that John Post of the University of Arkansas is on the Zeosync team, but a search of that University's directory turns up no hits for that name, and he doesn't have a home page there.

        Very strange indeed.
    • "In other words, their data is not random."

      Again, I must ask, who would want to compress truly random data? What would be the point of that?

      Something that can compress data people actaully want to download, like movies or music or whatever, better than currently used algorithms, is a good thing. It remains to be seen by the public if this will do that. But I think y'all are focusing too hard on the term "random".
  • Copyright failure (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 14, 2002 @08:56PM (#2839342)
    So it looks like BeOS is going to be lost forever -- the modern day equivalent of being bulldozed into a pit, burned, and buried under concrete.

    Think of this as another example of the failure of modern-day copyright law. The purpose of copyright law is to place fine examples of the arts into the public domain -- if instead of computer software, BeOS consisted of a series of patents, then 20 years from now we would all have complete, free, access to BeOS, because the patents would have:

    (1) been disclosed when the monopoly was granted
    (2) expired

    However, in the case of copyrighted computer object code, in exchange for granting a government monopoly of 95 years, the public gets nothing. Zilch. Nada. Copyright law hasn't just "tilted" to the side of copyright holders, it has no other master. The public interest is completely removed from consideration. Modern copyright law is NOTHING more then corporate welfare. It no longer benefits the public, and like all laws that work directly against the public interest, no longer deserves respect. Want to get rid of ancient, outdated, overreaching copyright law? Disobey it. Sit in the front of the bus -- in the seat labeled "for corporations only."

    Take this as a warning. No matter how "cool" a piece of software is, if it is proprietary software, it is absolutely worthless. It can disappear at any moment, and it contributes nothing to the progress of computer science. nothing. Sure, you can pretend that you're part of the future by playing with a "cool" proprietary OS, but you're just wasting your time and energy on someone else's game. ... and in the end you have no one but yourself for getting fucked over and spit out.

    Score: -1: Troll
    • I have to disagree.

      Modern day copyright is only problematic because it lasts so long. 95 years is longer than the life of most people. It will inevitably be extended again and again (thanks Disney!).

      If copyright were for 7 years, it'd be pretty damn good - a nice balance between rights of holders to profit and advancement of the arts and sciences. That way when a new band writes some music or I write some software it can be sold as a commodity for a period. I make some money, and write some more code or make some more music. After people have been exposed to the product long enough (again, maybe 7 years), it becomes free and everyone else can benefit.
    • So it looks like BeOS is going to be lost forever -- the modern day equivalent of being bulldozed into a pit, burned, and buried under concrete.

      You're talking about someone's private property. Its theirs to sell or destroy as they see fit. You're talking like you were swindled out of something you had rights against.

      Please explain further.

      • You're talking about someone's private property. Its theirs to sell or destroy as they see fit. You're talking like you were swindled out of something you had rights against.

        In some sense, that is what happened.

        Intellectual property, unlike physical property, is not real and natural. We (society) have laws/conventions to pretend that it exists, because it is in our interests to do so. Giving IP creators some artificial rights that they otherwise would not have, gives them incentive to create. But the only reason we want to give them that incentive, is because there is something in it for us. We get to buy/license it from them and then both sides benefit from the deal, and then we all get to use it for free 14 (oops, somebody redefined the constant) years later when it falls into PD. Everybody (both the creator, and members of the society that gives additional rights to the creator) comes out ahead. It's a very clever and good invention, and we're better off as a result.

        But when IP is buried and the time-timits are extended to ridiculous durations, there isn't anything in it for us. It's a one-sided contract, and that's no contract at all.

      • You're talking about someone's private property.

        Of course, you cannot force anyone to publish the source code they've written. Just like you can't force anyone to tell the world about the inventions they've made. But, if you don't tell about your inventions, you don't get a patent either. The same principle ought to apply to software -- if you want the monopoly that copyright grants to you, you'll have to publish the source code.

        The code is your property, but copyright law artificially increases its value, and I think the public should get something in return.

  • by instinctdesign ( 534196 ) on Monday January 14, 2002 @09:04PM (#2839373) Homepage
    This wasn't one of the mentioned Slashbacks, but it probably could have been. The NY Times [] is running a story on Time Canada's [] (free reg...) apparent faux pas on the new iMac announcement. The article is a bit more about the content of the article than the error which was oh so recently immortalized here on slashdot, but its still a good read.
  • God damn do they have an annoying site! has anyone visited it?
    I always cringe when, in movies, they show someone at a computer. inenvitably, the computer beeps, whines, or makes some sort audible response at the slightest keystroke or button press. I sometimes explain to the geek friends that i'm watching with how f*cking annoying it would be if computers actually did this, i'm sure it's something everyone here as thought about at least once. (as an aside, a friend of mine once went so far as to create a new term for those operating systems; MOS, or Movie Operating system) anyway, their site is like a web based version of mos.
    I Just put my mouse over the damn menu, and I know i did that because you're wasting my cpu with this crappy flash animations, I DON'T MY COMPUTER TO BEEP AS WELL!
    *beep* *beep* *beep*
  • by markj02 ( 544487 ) on Monday January 14, 2002 @09:34PM (#2839534)
    There may be other problems with SmoothWall but this doesn't look like one. Even if the files were completely readable, it shouldn't be a big deal. People aren't supposed to log into firewalls. If you buy a proprietary firewall, it likely stores all that stuff in plain text and "world readable" as well, if it even has a notion of file protection and users in its embedded OS.

    The part I can't figure out is why anyone would bother with a Linux software firewall running on a PC if you can get good firewall appliances with web-based configuration for little more than $100.

    • Even better, I've seen good quality ones for closer to $60. But I've asked the same question you did, particularly on the local LUG mailing list. The answer? It comes down to someone having an extra PC (usually old), the free software, and plenty of free time, versus someone having the $60 for the firewall. Some people just want to tinker, which considering the OS in the first place, shouldn't be a shock to anyone.
  • What kind of asshole builds their site entirely in Flash? Have they never heard of usability? My hand has painfully cramped up from clicking on their stupid down arrow 100 times. And what's with the new-age meditation soundtrack coupled with the jarring beep everytime you hover over a link? This is the most annoying, unusable site I've seen since the Cyborg Manifesto []. At least they had the decency to give you a scrollbar, even if they had no concept contrast between text and background.

  • by Hunsvotti ( 546739 ) on Monday January 14, 2002 @10:36PM (#2839748)
    Q: Why isn't the horse moving or whinnying or anything?


    Does yellowTab really think anyone wants to pay some tens of dollars U.S. for an O/S that has far less application support than damn near everything else?

    Or that they'd want it for free for use as anything other than a toy, like AtheOS?

    Hmm. Maybe we could use it to power an Internet applia-- oh, wait, Be already went there. Buying into BeOS is like learning Latin: it's cool and all, but unless there is some killer app (which is doubtful), it's just cool, pretty perhaps, but not the optimal choice.
  • by Arkaein ( 264614 ) on Monday January 14, 2002 @11:07PM (#2839838) Homepage
    After seeing the renewed comments about ZeoSync's supposed compression technique I decided it might be worth checking out their site to read whatever technical info they might have that wasn't deeply disscused here the last time around.

    The most interesting thing I read is in their Technical Description, where they state that they "will have for all intents and purposes successfully encoded lossy universal compression". No where in their description can I find anything that explicitly states that their algorithm is lossless.

    They also talk about mapping binary strings into higher dimensional spaces, but that these spaces cannot become super saturated or their "multi dimensional circumvention of the pigeonhole principle breaks down". In other words they do claim to be able to compress all strings of equal size down to smaller strings.

    This makes me look at them in a different light. I'm still skeptical because they have offered no proof of their algorithms, but at least in their "technical description" they do not seem to make claims that have already been proven impossible. I also find their talk about multi dimensional representations intriguing, because lots of typical information does become more compressible in higher dimensions. Look at how much better video compression works when encoding just the changes between frames rather than encoding frames individually. An ideal compression algorithm would find such representations in any kind of data (maybe that's where the marketspeak about "random" data came in) and be able to compress it, since all meaningful data is full of patterns.

    Think of music, specifically 74 minutes of 16 bit, 44.1 kHz audio. Uncompressed = 650 MB, or about 5e9 bits. That means 2^(5e9) possible 74 minute sound samples. Now think about how many of those are likely to match anyone's idea of music. I don't know if ZeoSync has actually found a way to extract that kind of pattern from arbitrary data, but it seems like the way to go for a universal lossy compression algorithm.

    • As far as I can tell, the materials on the web site have changed. I curse myself for not saving any of the original stuff that was out there when their press releases went out. It's hard to recall clearly whether they used the term "lossless" originally, mainly because all the information on the site is such obfuscated gibberish.

      Search around for articles based on the original press release, however, and you'll note that they all discuss "lossless compression". Indeed, that fact is what made it so obvious a scam in the first place.

      They've revised their bogus org chart, so it would not surprise me at all if they'd rescind the claims of lossless "hundreds to one" compression. Way less interesting in that case, of course.
  • According to Google's USENET timeline [], Gopher is actually younger than the World Wide Web. That was news to me.

    I was just thinking about Gopher last night: when I installed my first home UN*X system a couple of years back, I was anxious to try out every kind of server on it: NNTP, HTTP (plug []), NFS, NIS, SMTP, DNS, and just about anything I knew about. It wasn't until last night, though, that the thought of running a Gopher server ever occurred to me.

    My first CSE textbook contained the statement, "It is possible to spend many exciting hours in Gopherspace." I never found that to be the case; I started my degree in 1996.

    Another interesting subject in that same textbook caught my eye, though: USENET via tin. I owe a gigantic chunk of my education to USENET. It sure saddened me when my University shut down our news server. I was a little jealous that the gopher server was (and still is) left in operation.

    Congrats to the Gopher team; I had no idea you guys were still going. Best of luck.

    Hmmmm. The next event in the Google timeline is the announcement of Linux. Maybe early Linux development was spurred on by Linus' secret desire to run his own Gopher server. :)

    Hmm. After reading the Gopher Manifesto [], I now have an appreciation for what Gopher could give us. This seems promising.

  • Apparently after this article by c't [] came out, some action was taken by the smoothwall team.

    They now have a new patch [] released for it. Interestingly enough, it seems to fix a few things mentioned on here that should be fixed. From the patch release:


    From: William Anderson
    Date: Mon, 14 Jan 2002 17:35:00 +0000 (GMT)
    Subject: Info file for fixes7

    * Patches pppsetup CGI to further increase security of ppp secrets file

    * Upgrades passwd file to shadow passwords

    * This patch removes the capability to connect to the web admin interface
    over the RED (external) interface by DNS name - you must use the IP
    address instead, e.g. https://213.123.312.231:445/ instead of

    Apparently the exploit c't found involved the admin of smoothwall visiting a page on the Interent, directly after establishing a connection with the admin interface of the smoothwall (all on the green or internal, safe network). It did have a few caveats to it, like needing to know the name of the smoothwall box (often default set to 'smoothwall'), but apparently was severe enough to warrent a fix. Details on the proof of concept attack can be found in this article [] on the smoothwall site.

    However, the team leader, Richard Morrell still seems to mock the individual at c't as evidenced in this article []. Odd that he berates the individual for shoddy reporting, and yet they still release a patch.

    Regardless of the pissing match between various individuals and the smoothwall team, I'd suggest all the users of said program head over and update their machines.

    -A non-productive mind is with absolutely zero balance.
    - AC
  • I think the title of this was supposed to be "SmoothWall, Gopher Be"--yoda.

    Doesn't he tell Anakin this in the second prequel?

"To take a significant step forward, you must make a series of finite improvements." -- Donald J. Atwood, General Motors