Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:And so what? (Score 2) 212

I'm still struggling to understand the use case for this.

in 2006 i worked for NC3A Research, where windows had been made mandatory some years before (through offering them a uniform pricing discount... that of course did not involve future products. or upgrades). this made it an absolute bitch to do any kind of development, so i investigated installing a wide range of software, including Cygwin, MSYS and other tools which made my life bearable. i even at one point installed userspace linux.

being able to install straight debian on top of the POSIX subsystem would have been great. so yes: where organisations are stupid enough to have been fooled by microsoft and have forcibly made specific OSes mandatory, even for developers, being able to say "oh yeah, these are just apps, sir" is a huge relief.

Comment Happy with DynDNS until they sold to Oracle (Score 1) 27

I had a domain registered to DynDNS for 10 years (5 at a time) because I was really happy with them, particularly back when they did free domains based off of subdomains on that was a really helpful and useful feature so I supported them by actually paying for a domain long-term.

However the moment they were bought by Oracle I *IMMEDIATELY* put in a Transfer Request. The reason: Oracle I consider to be one of the world's most unethical companies, up there with Broadcom and Qualcom for various semi-illegal corporate practices and outright power-abuses. If you're not familiar with the stories behind OpenOffice, MySQL, VirtualBox (which forces people to sign over total rights and ownership of code contributions), and BerkeleyDB (change of license to an unacceptable one that's incompatible with Software Libre, forcing Debian to pull latest versions: many projects have converted to LMDB as a result) - the list goes on and on. If you're not familiar with these stories I recommend you *get* familiar, fast, and drop all dependency on Oracle as fast as you practically can. They poison every company they buy, including, sadly, Sun Microsystems.

Comment looks exactly the same size as EOMA68! (Score 5, Interesting) 80

i'm the creator and guardian of the EOMA68 standard, and someone just brought the intel compute card to my attention on the mailing list. the intel compute card is *exactly* the same size as EOMA68, which in turn is based on legacy PCMCIA casework and connector re-use: credit-card-sized at: 54 x 86 x 5mm. fortunately, from the BBC video, if you check 30 seconds in the connector is completely different (otherwise intel would have a Certification Mark infringment case on their hands): it looks like it's Mini-PCIe which, if that's true, would be a very sensible choice as it contains USB2, one PCIe lane, some GPIO and power.

i do wonder if my discussions with intel over the past couple of years, as well as the crowd-funding campaign which i'm here in taiwan presently to fulfil, have spurred them to go "i know! let's make our own computer card standard just like that guy did because he said "NO" when it came to having hardware-level spying capability in the BIOS through the Intel Management Engine, with the resultant *complete* meltdown from a security perspective as outlined here "

i'll be watching this with interest, because standards, i've learned, live and die by whether the designers have enough foresight to design it with upgradeability in mind, as well as have the balls to say NO when it comes to "adding options" that are not backwards-compatible.

Comment Trademarks (Score 1) 103

okay, so this is about trademarks. canonical's trademark is being brought into disrepute by the irresponsible action of some cloud providers: it's perfectly reasonable for them to sort this out. now, here's where i have an issue with canonical: why do they think it's okay to have *canonical* not brought into disrepute, when they are themselves acting in a criminal capacity, bringing the *linux* trademark into disrepute by illegally distributing linux kernel source code after they lost their right to do so under the GPLv2, by including the (binary) incompatible ZFS kernel module?

Comment OSHWA Certification is an accident waiting to happ (Score 1) 57

i tried explaining the problem to the OSHWA group: they didn't get it. the problem with their Certification Programme is that there's nothing in their document which covers liability if a design causes injury or death (deliberate or accidental). the OSHWA group is therefore setting themselves up for a class action lawsuit where some incompetent person designs something extremely badly, slaps an OSHWA logo on it, then a chinese company goes and copies it (logo included... without bothering to find out what the logo's actually for), somebody dies in an electrical fire and the family gets an aggressive lawyer to sue and blame (rightly in this case) the people they deem to have been responsible.

what's particularly troublesome is that the OSHWA's Programme is "self-certifying" Certification Programmes *NEED* to actually have clout behind them, with money put aside to be able to take legal action against people who bring the Certificate into disrepute (using Trademark Law - not patents, not copyright), and there needs to be clauses and phrases that define and assign responsibility and liability. the OSHWA document has been written by well-meaning and unfortunately very naive people who cannot comprehend how much of a risk they are taking, who have not thought things through properly. they haven't taken legal advice, and they have no idea of the distinction between "Libre" and "Open".

what is useful however is that their mailing list is a focus for like-minded people to congregate and communicate.

Comment "consumption" of video??? (Score 2) 48

". According to the report, an estimated 279m music tracks, 56m TV shows, 34m movies, and 5m video games were consumed in the three month period."

how were they "consumed"? did they print them out on rice paper, frame by frame and then and only then manage to EAT them?? this is how the cartels manage to make it look like people are criminals - by using words like "pirate" and "consumption". videos are not "physical objects". copies can't be "stolen". or CONSUMED. the watching of a video does NOT subtract any physical substance from the universe (except perhaps indirectly reducing brain matter due to complete boredom and lack of stimulus). we're being duped here. time to take back control.

Comment Re:If all you have is a hammer... (Score 1) 153

I won't waste my time explaining you why NoSQL databases are suitable for many use cases

at the request of a client i did an evaluation of a range of databases, mongodb, postgresql, mysql, and after none of them matched up to the required performance tried leveldb and lmdb (which ended up the winner by a long, long margin). mongodb's performance was the worst of the worst. it wasn't so much that it was below the performance of the other databases, it was the *MASSIVE* pauses which began after about 90 seconds of continuous INSERTs, and continued to increase to over THIRTY SECONDS, that really put the nail in its coffin.

so after only ten minutes of INSERTs i gave up on the testing because it was clear that mongodb had some form of internal cacheing and administrative overhead that took absolute precedence over data entry. as the use-case was for the storage of real-time data, having massive pauses that effectively took the entire database offline was completely unacceptable, and i will not be using mongodb, ever.

Comment In other news... (Score 1) 524

... Hardware bought from costs even less than Macs because it's pre-vetted by their 3-man company to "Just Work". the only "support" calls that they get are down to flaky USB host chipsets, BIOS DRM/whitelisting which prevents certain WIFI cards from being recognised, and the *very* very occasional request for driver support for OSes that are getting on for 15 years old. they sell ACM dial-up modems because they get calls from people who have upgraded from windows xp only to find that their old conexant softmodem is "so old" it no longer works. they buy and sell printers that don't require firmware uploads and have "generic" drivers - postscript, PCL and so on. we don't *have* to live on the treadmill: it's a choice, to tolerate the pain, cost, stress and distress of living with hardware that's designed for obsolescence, trapped by our own desire to pay less for less.

Comment Re:This isn't a thing. (Score 2) 117

I don't see them keeping the schematic to themselves as being a real solution

schematics are not protected by copyright law. as in: they are uncopyrightable, by definition of them being a "functional description". it is a common mistake (even amongst the open hardware community) to assume that schematics may be copyrighted. what *may* be copyrighted is for example an aesthetic layout of a PCB, because that is a creative process.

Comment let's rewrite that to reflect reality... (Score 1) 199

Two senior Democratic lawmakers with access to classified intelligence on Thursday accused Russia of "making a serious and concerted effort to influence the U.S. election,"


Two senior Democratic lawmakers (because all the Republican ones were "out to lunch") with access to classified intelligence (which they shouldn't have revealed even the existence of, if they're really and truly classified) on Thursday (the best day for reporting viral news) said that the people (who were actually aliens wearing face-masks) who came to them (without providing any concrete verifiable proof of their credentials) put some bits of paper in front of them (without any way for those lawmakers to verify the authenticity of the documents) which had some words in it *claiming* to "accuse Russia of making a serious and concerted effort to influence the U.S. election,"

what a complete crock. over how many pairs of eyes do these people *really* think that this can be pulled? oh wait.... they've probably run the numbers, and they only need to make it look like *DEMOCRAT* Lawmakers are incompetent, so that a large enough percentage will vote for Republican.... and the rest they can swing by manipulating the numbers using that new-fangled "percentage" adjustment they added into the backdoors after the last time some of the vote totals went NEGATIVE. i wonder if they remembered to do rounding to integers? we'll find out soon enough, if the number of votes comes out to "25012.79" won't we!

Comment just install skype (Score 1) 87

y'know... skype used to have this feature, y'know? it wasn't completely undetectable, but it *used* to have the ability to disguise itself as pretty much anything, so that it would "just work" in the face of badly-configured firewalls, DNS servers, idiot companies that blocked *all* incoming and outgoing traffic stone-dead including ICMP (including BGP and other absolutely crucial traffic) with the statement "you've got unrestricted access to port 80, that's the 'internet' isn't it, what the hell are you complaining about yer lame-techie-wannabe-tuck-fard??"

it also had the ability to create any kind of tunneling over pretty much any port and any protocol (TCP, UDP, you name it, it could do it) such that it was pretty much impossible to shut it down.

AND THEN.... for no good reason WHATSOEVER [1], skype changed hands not once but THREE TIMES in succession. now it's under the "control" of microsoft, and anyone considering installing it now is a fool. it's been turned into a "cloud is all" protocol. there's no peer-to-peer capability. that leaves it vulnerable to being mass-IP-range blocked. anyone can work out what the IP range(s) are of the various "cloud" servers used by microsoft are... and just block them (regardless of consequences).

so i *would* have said "just tell them to install skype". except we can logically deduce that it was SOME FUCKWIT IN THE U.S. GOVERMNENT who caused skype, in its current release, to lose its inherent firewall-busting capabilities to be COMPLETELY REMOVED.

and with skype being proprietary, and the "startup" (bootstrap) nodes no longer being run or "supported", we cannot even run older versions of skype any more because the older versions have been shut down. oh, and it's proprietary, so it would be man-decades before it is properly reverse-engineered. oh, and the original creators are likely to have been asked (or threatened) to enter into some serrrrious non-compete contract which, even if it wasn't legally enforceable, they probably understood the full implications were that if they wanted to keep all their body parts, they'd better like, y'know, not even *think* about writing a replacement / competitor, y'ken. they did try setting up a company called "joost", but interestingly, it "failed". i don't wonder why, not any more.

so, this appears to be a golden opportunity for software libre and proprietary software writers alike, but honestly it's a poisoned chalice. one department in the U.S. does *NOT* want such software to even *EXIST*... another is offering money to anyone willing to CREATE such software.... it's either a case of "left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing", or it's just plain entrapment: the NSA wants to know if you have the CAPABILITY to write such software (and you're going to tell them who you are for god's sake!)

bottom line is, there's a phrase which covers this scenario in the security world - it's called "a honey pot". my advice to anyone who reads this: stay the FUCK away from this "offer" unless you're such a huge software libre team (over 100 people would do it) that it would be clearly obvious if one or more people suddenly "went missing", or "received sudden lucrative job offers" or "went on holiday" or "won the lottery" or "had an accident". what would *really* do it is if EVERYBODY who is capable of collaborating on this (including people from proprietary software companies) joined *ONE* single software libre team (with a single person allocated as the front-man), where everybody else used anonymous two-way communications with that front-man), and through them proposed one single entry for the "competition". 100, 200, 300 people, the more the better. if the application *requires* that every single person on the "team" be named individually and separately (either before or after the application), then you can logically deduce that it's extremely likely to be a honeypot. if the application's mysteriously "denied" when there's only the one entry, you can logically deduce that it's extremely likely that the exercise was a honeypot.

[1] when you see 3 companies in a row throwing of the order of magnitude of a billion dollars at a single company for a single piece of software with such a limited use-case (chat, voice, video), you cannot possibly expect anyone to believe that they're each doing so because it's "financially justified". the logical conclusion is that there was some other factor involved... such as HEY WE'RE THE NSA, WE'LL GIVE YOU LOTS OF EXTRA BUSINESS IF YOU GET THAT SOURCE CODE AND GIVE US A COPY. remember: the original creators of skype were extremely clever, and utterly paranoid: they let NOBODY see the source code. back when it was initially created, the core library was ONLY made available in BINARY form EVEN to the GUI front-end developers(!) and it had a "protection" mechanism where it could detect that it was running under a Virtual Machine, detect if it was being "debugged" (single-stepped), and it would self-destruct and shut down automatically. the NSA even offered a million dollars to anyone who was willing to "break skype". yes, really, that's a matter of public record! nobody managed it. all the "social engineering" tricks and presumably various trojans that are normally successfully used to perform industrial espionage presumably failed... so they had to go to the drastic lengths of actually inducing some lame-fool company to buy the ENTIRE company. for a billion dollars. well done the founders of skype is all i can say!

Comment failure of the three laws of robotics (Score 1) 68

what many people do not appreciate is that asimov's books were a logical demonstration spanning asimov's lifetime and beyond that the three laws of robotics were a FAILURE. this is only really truly and clearly spelled out in the works written under contract by asimov's estate, for example in the book by Greg Bear. the three laws were so hard-wired into the positronic brain with billions upon billions of checks being carried out to ensure strict compliance with the three laws that there was no room for creativity - at all - and secondly that no robot could possibly allow a human being to take *any* form of risk because it *might* result in "harm", be that physical or psychological.

it would appear that BSI is unaware of this and is intending to force the three laws of robotics onto us without understanding the harm that that will do.

Slashdot Top Deals

Don't steal; thou'lt never thus compete successfully in business. Cheat. -- Ambrose Bierce