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Comment Re:Red Hat certification classes cost a small fort (Score 3, Informative) 201

If you round off their 2010 income numbers, subscription income totals to $639 million (85.3%), and training service income totals to $110 million (14.6%). That is all on page 40 of their 2010 Annual SEC (10-K) filing. The subscriptions had a 93% profit margin, and the training had a 36% profit margin this year. Which makes sense, I imagine training services cost quite a bit, you would probably have equipment and training material costs, as well as trainer's salaries. Then, at least some of the time, there would be travel and hotel costs incurred for the trainers themselves, anytime they are training groups.

According to page 48 of the same report, they spent $272 on sales and marketing, which the fancy training mailer pamphlets would fall under. However, that would also include expenses from sponsoring Open Source conferences under the same line item (its not all wasted on those fancy pamphlets).

Research and Development I imagine covers salaries for Kernel and subsystem developers. R&D costs total $148 million. Administrative costs were $104 million. According to the 10-K report, they have 3,000 employees globally.

Total operating expense for 2010 was $534 million, once you have tacked on taxes the Net income comes to $87 million.

There is a lot of boring stuff in SEC filings, most always something interesting to learn from them though. If you really want to find out what a company is all about, there are some interesting details, a lot of it is in there. It explains in brief detail what each line item in the Balance Sheets and Income Statements actually mean in mostly plain English. Plus, the executive summary gives you some insight into their management's frame of mind, business model, and strategies.

Comment Re:From another point of view (Score 1) 433

Don't know the employment law in Minnesota, but depending on how faculty/staff are classified (either state, or for-profit research division of the Uni.), I would think that the University would be liable for unfair termination. That is if Jerry Moore was not guilty of some legal or ethical breach of conduct, the University would be liable for unfair termination of a classified state employee without due process (hearing his side of the story). On the other hand, if he was an at-will research division employee then any perceived ethical breach could legally lead to a quick termination, and he doesn't even have to be guilty of any misconduct.

There is an off-hand comment in the story about the Westboro Baptist Church, and while that is a shallow comparison for the blogger in question, it does bring up a good point. We let those scumbags get away with their "protests" at military funerals in the name of freedom of speech. Freedom of speech does extend to the press when the reporting is based in fact, and is not libelous. Its a tiny bit hypocritical to not extend the same courtesy to a blogger, even if the blogger in question is just as much a scumbag. Briefly perusing his blog, he does seem to have a bone to pick with this guy. However, if you start putting conditions on freedoms, where do you justifiably stop?

I agree with you on two points, however. If the University fired Jerry Moore merely to save face (rather than some breach of ethical conduct prohibited by his employment contract) then that is wrong. In my opinion, that is the University's liability not the blogger in question. Also, 12 jurors agreed on this and anybody now reading this, only has some of the facts. Without having all the facts, I would like to place some confidence in a jury. Despite all the faults of the justice system, jury trials are one of the most direct ways to participate in government and actually test the law, more so than voting for representatives.

Comment Re:Old School Linux (Score 1) 539

I may have done (or at least attempted) an install of Slackware around that time direct from CD-ROM (w/ boot & root floppies). I distinctly remember having to RAWRITE more than just the 2 floppies, though. It could have been that I couldn't get my root disk to read from CD, or it may have just been not knowing any better. It is briefly mentioned near the end of the INSTALL.TXT in that release that it was possible. However, it would have been easy to glance over, and miss that part. The file does however stress the point several times, that you can install from: NFS, hard disk, or floppy.


There are other means of installation, such as CD-ROM. These should be self-explanatory as well.

Comment Re:Old School Linux (Score 1) 539

Certainly. As someone who loves computers and technology, I valued that struggle to get things working "just right". I am a better person and technologist, from what I have learned from those experiences.

My ramble wasn't a complaint reminiscing how bad things were. There are a lot of newer users of Linux, in my opinion, that don't really have any drive to learn anything about their systems. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with just wanting an easy-to-use system, I think they are missing out on something special, when all they do is complain and then give up so easily. I started using it because it was fun; its a rewarding hobby that turned into a quite enjoyable career.

Comment Old School Linux (Score 5, Interesting) 539

Friends that are newcomers to Linux, complain to me all the time about their wireless cards not working, right out of the box. Then I share my first experiences with Linux to put things into perspective.

A friend had bought a copy of Slackware 3.4 from Walnut Creek CDROM ( We also had to buy a box of 100 floppy disks from the local office-supply Big Box store. You see, there wasn't a lot of manufacturers with BIOS support for booting CDROM disks. In those days you couldn't just hop onto an OEM's website and download the latest BIOS flash image direct from the manufacturer, to get support for CDROM booting.

Even if you could have downloaded BIOS images from the manufacturer, I don't recall any OS installers to bootstrap directly from CDROM, that was still a fairly new idea at the time. Both Windows 95, and Linux distribution installers had to have a floppy bootstrap first, then load an ATAPI driver to read the rest of the installation files from CD.

In those days, if you hadn't bought the CD from Walnut Creek you had to stay up late, downloading floppy images and checksumming the downloaded images on your 14.4 modem. Even if you had bought the CD, you would have to take the time to image that big box of floppy disks. Then you would have to check the disks for consistency (so you wouldn't get interrupted by a bad floppy half-way through the install). So we would trudge on through the night, making floppy sets. The floppy sets break down like this:

  • A set (base) - 9 floppies
  • AP set (applications) - 6 floppies
  • D set (development/compilers) - 13 floppies
  • E set (emacs) - 8 floppies
  • F set (FAQs/documentation) - 3 floppies
  • K set (Kernel source) - 6 floppies
  • N set (networking support/applications) - 6 floppies
  • T set (TeX formatting) - 9 floppies
  • Tcl set (Tcl/Tk) - 2 floppies
  • X set (X Windows base) - 26 floppies
  • XAP set (X Windows Applications) - 5 floppies
  • XD set (X Windows Development headers/libraries) - 3 floppies
  • XV set (X View) - 3 floppies
  • Y set (BSD Games) - 2 floppies

So a full install would require you to image 99 floppy disks, not even counting boot and root install disks. So to get a Linux system capable of compiling the Kernel source, and networking with other machines, that would take at least 45 floppy disks individually imaged.

If you want a GUI and some windowed applications, that would be 37 additional floppies. That is 82 floppy disks in all. The first time I installed Linux, I didn't know what to do with it. It was comparable to DOS, or even the OS on my old Commodore. It was just a basic shell, blinking cursor, and the DOS commands I knew, besides "DIR" did not work. It was a proud moment to get the damned thing, installed and booted up. Even if you didn't know what the hell to do with it, once you got to that point.

A year, or two, later at University I could network install RedHat from a local NFS mirror in less than a few hours. Modern day, you can do a full network install in a few minutes. DVD images can be downloaded through bittorrent in less than an hour, and installed. You can even install Linux from a bootable USB flash drive that fits in your pocket.

Most everything works out of the box, from desktop to enterprise-grade server hardware. Most of the wireless cards will work, with a little bit of tweaking and hunting down external firmware. Those new to Linux may not realize, or may simply forget, how far the technology has come in just a few years. Anyone that complains about how "hard" it is to install and use Linux, should try installing from floppy sets to get a little perspective.

Comment Its a war, but not against small businesses (Score 1) 459

Small businesses aren't the reason administrators are blocking mail from Cable/DSL modem network blocks. Verizon and Comcast consumer-grade networks have a bad reputation for originating SPAM from infected hosts, that shouldn't be a surprise to anyone managing e-mail

If your company has a static allocated network block, and you follow best practices (i.e. accurate SPF/MX/reverse records, working Abuse contact for your allocated network block) you can talk yourself out of a reputation block list. Speaking of which, the last time I checked Verizon didn't even have a working Abuse contact. If you're on what is considered a dynamic consumer-grade modem network block, there is a fat chance getting de-listed.

If its been incorrectly listed as consumer-grade, you have to convince the reputation blacklist maintainers that you are on a business grade network. You will have to prove to them that you follow best practices, and that you have the infrastructure in place, necessary to get yourself de-listed. It may not be easy, but it is not impossible. I have been able to get a business-class A-block de-listed, however it had been incorrectly recorded as a consumer-grade Verizon modem block in a reputation blacklist. Our company had a directly allocated C-block, a working Abuse contact, etc.

Talk to Verizon and Comcast, if you're paying for business grade service, they may offer small business smart hosting. It may cost a little extra. See if there are any small IT consulting firms in your area offering similar services. Are there any Competitive Local Exchange Carriers in your area that could physically host your mail server in a co-location facility at a reasonable price?

Another option is to consider outsourcing to a SaaS model, Google and Microsoft may offer affordable smart-hosting with your existing mail server.

Finally, you have a myriad of cloud Virtualization hosting options, such as Rackspace, Amazon EC2, Slicehost, etc.

Comment Re:BCC required (Score 1) 366

FERPA does not automatically protect a student's "Directory Information" such as e-mail addresses, and phone numbers. FERPA only applies to the privacy of a student's academic records. There have been several FERPA cases tested in court with regard to what is, or isn't, a protected student record.

You can, as a student, request that your own "directory" information not be published by the school. I would say its probably easier to be safe than sorry, in this particular case. It would not be feasible for faculty to cross-reference every students directory "privacy flag" when sending a mass e-mail to many CC recipients.

There is a better way to send mass-recipient newsletter type announcements and retain privacy for recipients' e-mail addresses. For example, using a Mailing List Manager (Sympa, Mailman, Majordomo) intended for that purpose. If its just a one-time message, then BCC would beat having to set up and manage a mailing list.

Comment Re:How is userspace executable loading not native? (Score 1) 90

You tried to argue that Wine being foreign to the Operating System is like arguing that Qt and GTK are not native to Linux. If Win32 PEs were native to Linux, you wouldn't need Wine to run "Windows native executables".

Graphics are handled in the kernel and user space. File system drivers are handled by the kernel and user space. CUPS and SANE are system daemons and have nothing to do with the kernel, and your point is? You know what all your straw man arguments have in common, all those bloody things aren't Win32 PE executables.

Comment Re:How is Wine not native? (Score 1) 90

Last time I checked GTK and QT apps do use native ELF executable formats. Win32 PE is a foreign executable app, the Linux kernel can't load these directly like they can with ELF. Its really not the same thing at all.

Wine has improved quite a bit over the years. However, there is still a performance gap when running foreign Win executables through Wine. Performance issues aside, there are still areas where Wine has not yet fully implemented the Win32 API.

The post to which you replied never said anything about emulation. Until the day I can check a box in my kernel config to natively load Win32 PE binaries, its a foreign executable format.

Comment Re:How many ways are there to state the basics (Score 1) 484

The mathematical formula itself does not have the ability to be copyrighted. The descriptive text accompanying the formula in a journal/article/book however, is very much copyrighted. There are also four tenets of Fair Use: intent of use (is it non-profit or educational), nature of work, amount of work copied, its effect on marketability of the work.

You could not access knowledge if copyright hindered your ability to quote, cite, or access such information. Copyright was intended to give a limited commercial monopoly to publishers in the days of the printing press.

Here are some valid examples of Fair Use in education:

  • Summarize a passage of copyrighted text, in your own words. Cite the source.
  • Quote a sentence of copyrighted text, in exact words, use quotation marks. Cite the source.
  • Quote a paragraph of copyrighted text, in exact words, block quote the entire passage. Cite the source.
  • Reference a mathematical formula, or anything else regarded as general knowledge. Where general knowledge may be a scientific fact agreed upon by three or more sources. Cite nothing

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