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Comment Re:Now I know who to blame (Score 1) 226

The problem being that if the book goes into the public domain immediately upon the author's death, what's the publisher's incentive to make a large up-front payment?

How many publishers would be willing even to publish, let alone pay a lot of money for the rights to, a book by an aged or ill author? Just wait till the author kicks the bucket, then everything is public domain. Age becomes a disincentive for everyone involved, author and publisher alike.

Comment MEPIS, to see what it was like (Score 1) 739

I used Mepis Linux first, the liveCD version (which was also an install CD). I had been making a concerted effort for some time prior to use only OSS on Windows, and had pretty much succeeded with that. So I thought it was time I checked out an open-source operating system. D/l'ed and burned Mepis, booted into it, and viola. I liked it and though I hadn't planned to, went ahead and installed it on my HD, which was pretty painless, thank goodness, because I didn't have much of an idea of what was going on. I did, at least, understand what I needed to about partitioning.

I think the only downside to the whole experience was that out-of-the-box KDE wasn't terribly well-configured back then and I thought it was ugly. Fonts, especially, were hideous. It was sometime later before I figured out that KDE can look quite nice, but I've never been much of a fan probably because of that first exposure.

Comment Re:To avoid this.. (Score 1) 396

Do that enough times, and you'll start to get horny when you see the object.

Personally, I find that repeated exposure to the same image/object results in loss of erotic stimulation. If what you're saying is true, there would only be about 100 or so porn flicks, and some combination of those would satisfy everyone forever.

A viewpoint held by a large number of people in society, is that homosexuality is not a good lifestyle choice.

People have lots of viewpoints. Should, say, Catholicism be suppressed because a large number of Protestants think it is not a good lifestyle choice? The fundamental values that inform our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution hold that we are entitled to self-determination, including the right to think, say, and be things that others might disapprove of. There has to be concrete, verifiable reasons to interfere with this entitlement. You have offered none. Instead, you reframe the issue as:

if someone's position is that homosexuality is not something society has vested interest in promoting,

This is where you are off-base. "Someone's" position doesn't matter except to that someone and his loved ones. "Society" doesn't require a vested interest in promoting anything to let people live their own lives as they see fit. "Society" must have a rational basis for restricting people's rights to live their own lives as they see fit. You are starting with the wrong default position, that there must be some good reason to allow liberty. This country was founded on the premise that there must be an iron-clad reason to restrict liberty.

Comment Re:Does anybody ever visit "linux.com"? (Score 1) 231

Well, I did, for one. Actually, I subscribed to the Linux.com feed and would regularly read the articles that interested me. There were a pretty fair number, usually focused on a particular topic, like round-ups of audio tagging tools available for Linux or vim tips or an introduction to services and run levels. I have a number of these types of Linux.com articles bookmarked and some I refer to still.

It was definitely haphazard and catch-as-catch-can, but I feel I got a reasonable amount of useful information from it. I tended to skip past the articles about this or that school or company switching to Linux. Not being a developer or programmer, I didn't read the more technical articles about kernel development and whatnot. I agree that I tend to rely more on sites like Slashdot and Ars Technica Open-Ended for Linux and OSS news stories. For me, Linux.com was good for tutorials and tips and ideas about things that aren't necessarily all that complicated but that I probably wouldn't have known about otherwise, certainly not stuff that Slashdot or other news sites provide.

Michael

Comment Re:Another one! (Score 1) 305

Just because a song is catchy, doesn't necessarily mean it's good.

Don't get me wrong, I like "Karma Chameleon" (there, I said it!) ... but I can think of other songs that got stuck in my head that I never liked. Excuse me, I'm now going to bang my head against the wall for a while to try not to think of them...

Comment Alternatives? What's a hapless *nix user to do? (Score 1) 450

Here's a funny thing. I was using Epiphany under GNOME, and discover that the mis-named "Epilicious" extension has not worked with Delicious for some time, but it did work with Magnolia. So I go to Magnolia only to discover that the service had just gone down (this was on or about 30 Jan. 2009 -- what timing!). So I'm still on Delicious, and now using Iceweasel (that's Firefox to most of the world) because it's the only thing that works with Delicious.

My question is: What other options are there? I have found some good links and some very useful information (especially in the area of *nix and OSS tutorials) on Delicious, but strictly speaking I don't need an account there to continue using it as a search engine. I do like having my bookmarks available from any computer I happen to find myself on and I'm aware that there are other ways to achieve this, but I'm not sure how or what the best methods are. When I say "hapless *nix user," I mean I can get by in Debian just fine, but I tend to keep things pretty simple ... no advanced server set-up, no tricky configurations. I no longer use GNOME, preferring a simpler Openbox set-up. I've gotten pretty good at navigating around my system in the terminal, using mc for file management, even writing a few very basic bash scripts, but networking especially remains something of a black art to me. I'm not a programmer or web designer and have no desire to be; I use Debian because I like the philosophy of OSS.

So what are the easier more-or-less "point-and-drool" methods of achieving remote access to one's bookmarks, without having to mess with SAMBA or NFS or similar complexities? Do they exist? If cloud services like Delicious and Magnolia are inherently risky and soul-suckingly closed, are there any safer, more open alternatives that are as easy to use?

Comment Re:Spontaneous upgrade for me... (Score 2, Insightful) 386

Generally speaking, it's a good idea to use the nicknames in your /etc/apt/sources.list, rather than the generic names. So use "lenny," "squeeze," "sid," rather than "stable," "testing," "unstable." That way you won't be surprised by a release.

Though, really, Debian releases are so few and far between, it's a pretty infrequent "surprise."

Check the release notes in advance of upgrading to be aware of potential issues. If you just change your current list from "stable" to "etch," you won't have any of the new stable flowing into your system. Etch will be supported with security updates for another year.

Comment Re:So wait a second... (Score 1) 501

"...there are so many packages included in the default desktop that I don't want."

I can understand this to a point, but I think people can get somewhat obsessive about it. I've yet to figure out the drawbacks of having a few extra bits of software here and there, at least not in proportion to the apoplectic state some *nix users are driven to when they discover some dependencies they don't like.

On Debian, I use Openbox as my WM, without a DE, but I do have GNOME installed, just because having GNOME installed takes care of a lot of background settings that I'd otherwise have to fiddle with. Sure, that means I'm sitting with Rhythmbox (never use) and a bunch of small games I never play and software for making internet phone calls (never done that), but so what? I have the disk space, none of these things are difficult or time consuming to update, and the added "ease of use" factor in not having to configure numerous things by hand is worth the minor accumulation of wasted bytes and bandwidth.

I guess it's just a matter of scale -- if I didn't use a substantial amount of GNOME and GTK2 software, I'd remove the DE. But I seem to run across a fair number of *nixers who use many of the same apps I use and yet refuse to install the full DE because they're afraid of cruft. I have to wonder, what are they so afraid of?

Comment Debian (Score 1) 133

Sept: "The Debian project runs into problems with firmware (again) along with an unclear general resolution ballot which causes discord, eventually leading to the resignation of the project secretary"

2008 was a typical year for Debian. By the time Lenny is released, it'll be retro-cool.

Comment Dr. John Snow (Score 4, Informative) 204

Not to take away from Nightingale's achievements, but the most groundbreaking and impactful innovation in graphical representation of disease vectors came from Dr. John Snow, who created a map of SoHo's (London) devastating 1854 cholera outbreak that convincingly made the case that cholera was water born and not the result of miasma. The medical establishment at the time largely dismissed Snow's findings, but the power of the graphical representation convinced the people it needed to in the end and Snow's theories were ultimately vindictated. Unfortunately, Snow didn't live long enough to see his ultimate triumph. Some speculate that his habit of experiementing on himself with ether and chlorophorm may have contributed to his early demise. (Snow was also a pioneering anathesiologist, and even assisted in the birth of Queen Victoria's eight and rather difficult childbirth.) All this is recounted in Steven Johnson's excellent book The Ghost Map (2006). He talks about Nightingale as well, though not about her charts and graphs. Nightingale was, at least through the 1850s a proponent of the eventually discreted miasma theory.
Networking

Submission + - Commercial firewalls overpriced for what you get?

Anthony Walters writes: "We recently did some traffic throughput testing on an OpenBSD server firewall using 'nttcp' and I would like to ask slashdot readers firstly if anyone has performed similar tests on commercially available firewalls and what sort of throughput they measured, and secondly if they think that expensive commercial firewalls are overpriced? We found that at worst case on the OpenBSD firewall, with a packetfilter rulebase loaded, we got a throughput of about 850Mb/s. Which means that, when disk I/O and protocol overheads are eliminated as much as possible, an 800MB file would get transferred in under 8 seconds. More details on the test setup and results can be found here"

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