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Comment Re: (Score 1) 210

I'd even dispute the assertion that most open source development goes unpaid. It might be true if you look at total lines of code written, but I'd be very surprised if it's true if you weight it towards the projects that people actually use. Most companies get very nervous depending on volunteers for anything business critical and would much rather have someone paid to be responsible for it. I contribute to several open source projects (and I'm paid for quite a lot of that) and the most successful ones all have most code written by paid individuals. A lot of the unpaid work is effectively advertising for the developers in question: 'hey, you need an expert in this? I wrote a load of it, you should hire me!'

Comment Re:public domain (Score 3, Insightful) 210

Am I free to compile, without modification, a copy of the code that I receive and give it to a less-technical friend? (GPLv2: Only if I give him either a copy of the source code or a written offer good for 3 [I think] years to provide him with the source code on demand. GPLv3: yes, if I also give him a link to where he can download the source).

Am I free to link against it in a proprietary program and call a single function that consumes a string and produces a string as output? (No).

Am I free to write an BSD-licensed wrapper around the library that runs in a separate process and receives a string from stdin and writes the result to stdout, publish that, and use it from my program? (Not 100% sure, but the FSF lawyers believe that the answer is yes)

Am I free to create some well-defined interfaces, ship a proprietary program that uses them and can load another module, wrap the GPL'd library in some BSDL code that exposes these interfaces, and have my program load it at run time (Yes, probably, though not tested in court - lots of lawyers agree that this one is fine though).

Am I free to ship a proprietary program that can optionally load a GPL'd library and use its functionality directly, as long as I don't distribute the GPL'd code? (Maybe, depending on the copyright status of the interfaces that I use, which Oracle vs Google has now made a lot more murky. Probably 50:50 which way a court would go on this one.)

Yup, the GPL is very simple.

Comment Re:destined to fail (Score 1) 249

Europeans love to hate on American companies. Just see all of the court cases the European Union brings against American companies (Apple and Microsoft being the first two to spring to mind).

Have you looked at the list of court cases the European Union brings against companies? I'm guessing not, and I'm also guessing that you read about these court cases only in the tech press where they're reporting only on cases brought against big tech firms where American companies tend to dominate, and not against other markets where EU companies dominate.

Comment Re:Here's an idea (Score 2) 249

That was the thing that made me cringe whenever I read about the Munich migration. Trying to move everything at once was a political statement, not a practical one. Windows should be the last proprietary software product that you abandon, and when you do it should be easy. First, move all of your back-end stuff to alternatives that use open protocols and work with different clients. Then move the clients for these over. Then start moving to LibreOffice or OpenOffice - have both installed, but mandate that new documents must be in the OpenOffice file formats. Then move to having MS Office on one machine per office that's used for legacy documents that don't open correctly. Move all of your other apps over to portable alternatives. When it comes time to replace Windows, you aren't running any Windows-only software and if you pick a DE with a Windows-like theme most of your uses won't even notice.

Comment Re:Is this unexpected? (Score 1) 217

Where are the laptop variants of those?

Our big build machines have been 24 or 32 core for quite a few years, so neither of these gives us a huge performance improvement. We'll evaluate them when we get around to buying more, but from what I've seen they just mean that our next upgrade will be cheaper, not significantly faster.

Comment Re:Is this unexpected? (Score 1) 217

No, but I can imagine doing it on a bluetooth keyboard and a phone. I wrote about 20-30 articles on my old Nokia 770 and ThinkOutside folding keyboard. The 770 is pretty limited, but was able to run an xterm and vim quite happily. For a couple of summers, I'd wake up, stroll across the park and along the beach to a cafe overlooking the sea, read and drink coffee for half an hour to an hour, and then get out the keyboard and machine and write for an hour or two. The keyboard and 770 would fit in my pockets, so were more convenient for me to take than my laptop. My phone is vastly more powerful than my 770, and smaller.

Comment Re:Is this unexpected? (Score 1) 217

On the other hand, remote terminal usage has become a lot better. When I first used vim over ssh, its tendency to completely redraw parts of the screen made it noticeably slow, even with a machine not far from the other end of my dial-up link. nvi was a lot more useable. Over Christmas, I was using vim on a machine in a different country via SSH and even with pretty crappy WiFi at my end it was fine - and the rebuild times on the 24-core machine with 256GB of RAM that I was ssh'd into made it a much better experience than working on my laptop.

Comment Re: Is this unexpected? (Score 2) 217

I remember shitty laptop keyboards. I remember ones with so little travel that your fingers hurt after 20 minutes of typing. I remember ones with a spring right in the middle and a really crappy mechanism so if you hit them slightly off centre they'd bend and not register a key press.

I haven't seen a shitty keyboard on any laptop for about 10 years. There are a few really nice ones but most, including the Macs, have been good enough for a long time.

I haven't used a Mac with the OLED bar, but some of my colleagues have them. If you're in the terminal, they'll show the function keys (though that's configurable and a few command-line apps do modify the display). For most other things, they show context info that is more useful than having to remember what F5 does in this particular application (for example, in XCode they'll show things like 'run' and 'debug').

Comment Re:Is this unexpected? (Score 1) 217

In the corporate office we have PC's on 5 year replacement cycles

How long have you been doing 5-year replacements? We used to do 3-year replacements, but that's been gradually extended. My work machine is now over four years old and is eligible for replacement, but there's nothing really compelling to replace it with. The same is true for everything from laptops to our big build servers. On our old one, I tried running poudriere and rebuilding the entire FreeBSD ports collection. It took 24 hours, but the last 4 hours were spent downloading the Vega Strike game data files from a very slow upstream source. On the newer machines, it's closer to 16 hours, but that's not really a compelling upgrade - for most things, we get a bigger return from buying more machines, rather than replacing old ones (we can never have enough continuous integration machines, for example).

Comment Re:$30+ fees? (Score 4, Insightful) 135

Gold is a good conductor and doesn't corrode in air. These two things mean that there is a real demand for gold for electrical connectors and jewellery. It's relatively scarce, so the demand is high in proportion to the supply. If gold were cheaper, then we'd plate a lot more things in gold (e.g. pretty much every electrical connector - gold isn't quite as good a conductor as copper, but it's a much better conductor than copper oxide). That gives a lower bound on the price of gold: if it were plentiful then we'd use it for a lot more and its price would drop to close to that of copper or aluminium, but not to zero.

Salt hasn't been a viable currency for quite a long time, but that doesn't mean that people don't still trade salt in futures markets.

Comment Re:Greater Fool Theory (Score 5, Insightful) 135

It can take a long time though, and while you're riding the upwards curve and selling slowly you can make a lot of money. The thing that people always forget when they read about the tulip bubble and he wall street crash is that as many people became rich as went bankrupt. It's a zero-sum game, so every dollar someone loses will be won by someone else. In many ways, it resembles a poker game where both players are bluffing. Eventually either one will fold or they'll call and whoever has the higher card will win.

I have not speculated on bitcoin, because I don't have any confidence that I can predict the inflection point well enough to find a greater fool before it does.

Comment Re:SAT & ACT don't measure competency (Score 1) 180

The test had little to nothing to do with what she learned in high school or what she's learning in college right now

Note that this is intentional. The SAT is intended as an aptitude test. As such, it is intended to measure your ability as independent of knowledge and learned skills as possible. This is obviously impossible, but tests like the SAT and IQ tests try to get as close as they can. Unfortunately, it is often possible with such tests to learn for a particular style of test (and you can't significantly change the style without compromising reliability). There's some research that indicates that you get much more useful information by making people take a lot of these tests and comparing their best and worst marks, but that is not normally practical.

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