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Submission + - "The internet poses one of the greatest threats to our existence" (zdnet.com)

An anonymous reader writes: "The internet poses one of the greatest threats to our existence," said [Australian] Senator Glen Lazarus on Thursday night. Hah! A former rugby player says something dumb, that's always funny, right? No. This mix of ignorance, fear, and sometimes plain laziness infests so many of Australia's lawmakers — and right now that's dangerous.
The Australan Senate was debating new national security laws for Australia. Those laws passed. They give the Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) expansive powers to spy on all Australian internet users, and dramatically restrict freedom of the press.

Australian spies will soon have the power to monitor the entire Australian internet with just one warrant, and journalists and whistleblowers will face up to 10 years' jail for disclosing classified information.

The government's first tranche of tougher anti-terrorism bills, which will beef up the powers of the domestic spy agency ASIO, passed the Senate by 44 votes to 12 on Thursday night with bipartisan support from Labor.
The bill, the National Security Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 1) 2014, will now be sent to the House of Representatives, where passage is all but guaranteed on Tuesday at the earliest.

Comment Re:Why "clear commercial use"? (Score 1) 108

It depends on whether they plan to use this feature to sell more TVs.

Merely allowing the site to be accessed through the product features is not commercial by itself, but if the links are included by default in a prominent place (and we know they will), that counts as product placement and branding; and it can definitely be considered a commercial purpose - people pay money to that kind of placement.

I'm not saying that this interpretation is necessarily wrong, but... it's quite wide in scope. It seems like you are saying that not only would hosting NC content on a site with ads be disallowed, but that merely prominently linking to such content from a site with ads would be disallowed, as would any advertising for any commercial software or hardware which implied that NC content could be accessed.

Furthermore, the suggestion that if some people sometimes pay for a particular activity, then all instances of that activity must be commercial in nature -- wow, now that has some implications!

Comment Why "clear commercial use"? (Score 4, Interesting) 108

This is exactly the problem with "NC". To you, this is "clear commercial use". Is it because a big company is involved? Two companies? We assume money is changing hands, but... maybe it's not. The license says "primarily intended for or directed toward commercial advantage or private monetary compensation". What if the money goes towards "supporting the community"? What exactly is "commercial advantage" in this context? I'd have to ask a lawyer, and... unless I was paying them to advise on a specific case, I doubt they'd actually give a straight answer.

Overall, "noncommercial" licenses are problematic and should be avoided. I understand the intention, but it's hard to make a license that actually gets there.

Comment Re:Editorial (Score 1) 475

I don't think it's size, exactly. The Boston urban area has roughly the same population as the Houston metro area (about 4 million), and we've got the 250MB data cap. And we even have (some) competition -- some of the richer suburbs have Verizon FiOS, and many neighborhoods (like mine) offer RCN (which, in my experience, is both faster and cheaper, but also more prone to outages).

Submission + - Canonical's Troubles with the Free Software Community (datamation.com)

puddingebola writes: Bruce Byfield looks back at the soured relationships between Canonical and the free software community. Partly analysis, partly a review of past conflicts, the writer touches on Mir and Wayland, and what he sees as Canonical's attempts to take over projects. From the article, "However, despite these other concerns, probably the most important single reason for the reservations about Ubuntu is its frequent attempts to assume the leadership of free software — a position that no one has ever filled, and that no one particularly wants to see filled. In its first few years, Ubuntu's influence was mostly by example. However, by 2008, Shuttleworth was promoting the idea that major projects should coordinate their release schedules. That idea was received without enthusiasm. However, it is worth noting that some of those who opposed it, like Aaron Seigo, have re-emerged as critics of Mir — another indication that personal differences are as important as the issues under discussion."

Submission + - Fire and leakage at WIPP, & what it means for defense nuclear waste disposal (thebulletin.org)

Lasrick writes: An underground fire and a separate plutonium leak at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) has left the US with no repository for transuranic (TRU) waste--that is, radioactive elements heavier than uranium on the periodic chart, such as plutonium, americium, curium and neptunium. WIPP is a bedded salt formation in New Mexico, chosen because of its presumed long-term stability and self-sealing properties, and it currently holds, among other things, 4.9 metric tons of plutonium. Despite assurances from the DOE that the plant would soon reopen, New Mexico has cancelled WIPP's disposal permit indefinitely. Robert Alvarez, who has served as senior policy adviser to the Energy Department's secretary and as deputy assistant secretary for national security, explores what happened at WIPP, and what it means for defense nuclear waste storage.

Submission + - Update on Fedora.next (starting with "Why?") (fedoramagazine.org)

mattdm writes: In February, I gave a talk at DevConf in the Czech Republic about Fedora.next — background on where it came from, what problems it’s trying to solve, what we are actually doing, and why we think those things address the problems. Video is online, but there was a lot demand for a text version. So, I'm writing a series of articles based on the talk (with updates). The first part, which covers the background, is up now on Fedora Magazine.

Submission + - How did Bill Nye become the Science Guy? (youtube.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Whether he's debating creationists, taking selfies with President Obama, or "Dancing with the Stars," Bill Nye the Science Guy is no stranger to the spotlight. But what about the man behind the public persona? How did Bill Nye become the Science Guy? Bill Nye has made his debut on the PBS series, The Secret Life of Scientists and Engineers, to reveal the story of how he rose from being a young comedian from Seattle to becoming a science icon. In his profile, Bill Nye talks about his early days impersonating Steve Martin, why bow-ties are important in the lab (and with the ladies), and how Carl Sagan's advice helped to shape his hit television show.

Comment holding a grudge (Score 5, Informative) 33

Back in the 1990s, I helped run one of several mirrors for CDDB. When the company suddenly took a proprietary turn, they shut all of those down. They sent message promising to give some sort of reward to everyone who had run a mirror, but nothing ever showed up.

I guess a couple of million would probably make it up....

In seriousness, this was an early wakeup call about contributing to "community" projects without clear licenses for submitted data. And here I will put in a plug for FreeDB, which forked the original and continues to run it in an open way, with submissions under the GPL. http://www.freedb.org/en/about...

Comment Summary (and article's first paragraph) misleading (Score 4, Insightful) 105

This makes it sound like a long-lost native civilization was discovered. Not the case. Early European settlers in New England devastated the native landscape and, basically, turned it into English sheep farms. As expansion pushed westward and agriculture shifted with it, that economy changed and native (and some invasive) species have reclaimed the landscape.

Still very cool and interesting, but a different story from what you might expect from reading the lede.

Comment Re:businessmen in software (Score 1) 74

I think we should focus discussion on the specifics of the guy's proposal.

Thanks, I appreciate that. :)

I could definitely have chosen "flexible" or "nimble" or some other random adjective. It didn't quite just pop into my mind, though -- I'm definitely familiar with the agile programming movement and have seen it in action in very positive ways. (I'm sure it can go horribly wrong, just like anything.) So, the title isn't completely an accident. I do want to evoke some of the agile manifesto: focus on interactions and individuals, responsiveness in the face of change, and so on. In general, I think we need to make some room for "worse is better" underneath the Fedora umbrella (while still keeping the core to a "the right thing" model) -- that's not agile in specific but is part of the same vein from which it developed.

Comment Re:Matt Miller is unhappy but unsure what about (Score 2) 74

Question all you like. I don't mind. However, I'd really prefer questions to the trolling. *

Which, given all the posts, by tibit, I have to assume is the case. If I were to take it seriously, though, I would say that probably what's happened is that much of the concrete part of the proposal uses labels which are unlikely to be familiar to someone not active in Fedora development (Fedora Formulas, Software Collections) without explaining them. You might know OpenShift, but "OpenShift Gears, decoupled" just sounds like gibberish. Even the term "base design" sounds vague but actually relates to a specific ongoing effort (http://sched.co/11El9OZ).

I didn't really think about how this would read to an outside audience, because Fedora developers are the intended audience, and because this is a presentation, not an in-depth white paper.

(* I know, I know, am I new here or what?)

Comment Re:Extra layers == epic fail (Score 3, Informative) 74

It would be hard to imagine a better recipe for epic failure. It seems that the proponents don't realize that the less baggage it carries, the more robust and easy to use a distro becomes.

I have to say, I'm not entirely sure you've read this proposal. Or maybe there is something that could be more clear? The audience here is really Fedora developers, so it's likely that some things aren't immediately apparent if you're more removed from that. Overall, this is a proposal for significantly less baggage.

And "excitement" is definitely not needed. An operating system isn't an electrical appliance needing new excitement and frills to shift product off the shelves each season. Boredom is a sign of stability and reliability, and those two are without doubt most important features a distro designer can provide.

Well, Fedora isn't ever going to be that completely safe kind of boring. For that, we have our downstream distributions, which are awesomely boring in all the way you describe. Fedora isn't supposed to be that, and is supposed to be in place where we are generating excitement, whether that's at the OS core or further out. But in general, the idea here is to separate out that "no frills" core from the language stacks and other areas where "be up to date" and "make available the exact things we need" are the demands. Then, we can address these needs differently.

If you're just interested in the base, awesome: we will put that together for you in a well-defined way and let you do whatever you want on top of that.

Having the separate ring 1 lets us focus on making that a coherent base which can be enhanced in an cohesive way which doesn't break everything for users as we go from release to release.

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