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Comment Re:Hello Streisand (Score 1) 505

Somebody above pointed out the fact that what he said could be grounds for a lawsuit under unfair competition laws. So Microsoft was left between a rock and a hard place. If they didn't say anything, Apple could try to take them to court over copying their specific look and feel ideas (the 1990's case covering this is also mentioned above), but if they did try to officially retract his statement, the Streisand affect comes into play.

They were in a damned-if-they-do-damned-if-they-don't situation, because let's face it: they did copy a lot of ideas from other operating systems. Perhaps they should try to come up with their own ideas instead of playing follow the leader/s (Apple and the KDE team) in UI design.

Comment Re:are you kidding? (Score 1) 542

I used X forwarding over SSH from my school's computers to run Firefox to get access to websites behind the school firewall (the VPN software didn't work with my computer - they switched from the Cisco VPN, which had a nice plugin for NetworkManager, to Juniper, which needed a bunch of messing with and still didn't work on my standard Ubuntu desktop - yes). Without the networking functionality of X, I would have had to call up a friend and divulge my password to the school's computers (which would have voided my agreement to use the network to begin with) or drive the 20 minutes to school to use the computers for 5 minutes and then drive back home - roundtrip time: 45 minutes of my life, 40 of which I thankfully spent doing other (admittedly sometimes non-productive) things.

Do not underestimate the utility of networking functionality in today's software environment; Bill Gates wrote an email to his employees in the *90's* about the rise and usefulness of the internet, and when his employees did not share his vision, Google - a company that also recognized the potential of the internet and the browser - managed to become Gates' worst nightmare: a relevant and *widely successful* competitor to the entrenched monopoly that is Microsoft. To successfully compete against a monopoly is difficult, to surpass the monopoly makes the feat even more impressive (even though Google may turn into a bad monopoly in the future, much as Microsoft did).

I am not familiar with the architecture of X, but somebody smarter than I needs to sit down and think about the architecture of X, whether or not it can improve, and whether or not it needs to be rewritten from scratch. FOSS should not fall into the trap of rewriting everything as pointed out by somebody smarter than I (I think it was Jamie Zawinski, who has criticized the X project for quite awhile, perhaps not the best reference).

Comment Re:"Free Software" vs "Open Source" vs... whatever (Score 1) 542

The more people you have, the more hardware manufacturers and software companies take notice and actually care about Linux. When hardware companies release open source drivers (and even proprietary drivers - look at nVidia) and when software companies release software for Linux (Wolfram's Mathematica, MathWorks' Matlab, National Instruments' LabVIEW), Linux users do benefit. As more applications become more available on Linux, it becomes a more mainstream desktop OS and the interest in Linux grows and quality of software for Linux improves. Once Linux is mainstream, more and more hardware will "just work" because the Linux kernel includes more drivers. The more the hardware "just works", the easier it is to configure for everybody using clickable GUI tools instead of looking up commands and command options (the command line, while sometimes easier to use than GUIS, is not necessarily hard to use for everything, but it is hard to initially learn). The easier it is to configure, the more "Regular Joe" users will be able to use Linux, not only making Linux a more visible solution to Windows, but making all of FOSS a more visible solution to proprietary software. Finally, as the number of Linux users increases, presumably the number non-duplicate bugs are reported (as some users are technically inclined enough to submit a bug, but not enough to fix it - something even Linus, if I remember correctly, has noted as an advantage of FOSS), making architecture errors easier more visible, giving developers to improve the architecture, which hopefully leads to happier developers and users. All of these changes, while insignificant when standing alone, lead towards a better world of software for everybody, including you. So whether or not Linux developers are aiming for world domination or not, the "Regular Joe" users of the Linux desktop are as important as the developers themselves.

Comment I personally (Score 1) 281

Like Agilent scopes better. At my school, the physics department has two different models of Tektronix scopes, the only difference being that one model can save results to a usb drive. The only problem I've had with them is that they sometimes format the damn usb drive, so you sometimes have to continually swap it out and download the data to a computer, which kind of defeats the purpose (a bit). So, to minimize the problem of people's usb drives and data getting eaten, the lab profs decided to get their own usb drives, which promptly resulted in a few of the usb drives rapidly evolving legs and running out of the room (they were stolen for those of you with no sense of humor). Both models of Tektronix scopes will lie to you if you hit the autoset button.

The engineering department at my school has Agilent scopes, and while they are larger (though they aren't stationary), they have a slightly more intuitive interface. They also don't format usb drives willy nilly without warning you and making sure you know whats going on. They autocalibrate their own probes, and they have storage space for the manual and probes in a compartment on top. Their autoset buttons are better than the Tektronix scopes, but still ended up giving me garbage settings on a few signals. I do vaguely remember somebody having to learn to use the interface and having a little trouble with it, but in a class of 18, that was probably not statistically significant.

My impression was that the Agilent folks had to use their own instruments, which gave them the incentive to go that extra tweak in UI improvement. They also had a spinning wheel for when the drive was being accessed, similar to the Apple beachball. Which looked cool even if it didn't serve a useful purpose.

Disclaimer: I have a few friends that work at Agilent, and love it. I had tried to get a job at Agilent for the summer, but was turned down. I even baked them a cake.
The Internet

Submission + - EFF releases report of Comcast, Wireshark

andruk writes: The EFF has released a report detailing their analysis of Comcast's packet filtering of BitTorrent traffic. They also included a howto of how you can test your connection for TCP reset packets using Wireshark.

Submission + - Yahoo + Adobe = Dynamic Ads in PDFs

andruk writes: Adobe is working with Yahoo to put contextual ads in PDFs, from the article:
This is how it will work: Publishers will upload to an Adobe/Yahoo portal the PDF files on which they want to display dynamic ads. The vendors will send the files back after reconditioning them to display dynamically generated Yahoo text ads whenever a Web site visitor calls them up.

Submission + - Verizon opens up a bit

andruk writes: Evidently Google's Android is already forcing companies to open up. According to the article: "With the introduction of the iPhone from Apple, one of the first mainstream multimedia devices, and Google's plan to make the software that runs cellphones, the industry is being pushed toward a more open approach."

Submission + - New Nerve Gas Antidotes ( 1

SoyChemist writes: Scientists from Korea and the Czech Republic have discovered new drugs that can counteract the chemical overload caused by nerve gas. All of the experimental medications belong to a family of chemicals called oximes. Those molecules reactivate the enzyme that is damaged by the chemical weapons. Last year, the FDA approved the first combined atropine and oxime auto-injector for use by emergency personnel. Israel has been providing them to their citizens since the first Gulf War.

Submission + - Report: EMI looking to cut funding for RIAA, IFPI 1

ozydingo writes: EMI is reportedly considering to significantly cut funding to trade groups like the RIAA and IFPI. Coming at the heels of certain setbacks in the RIAA's ongoing legal campaign against P2P users, this move may be an indication of the label's dissatisfaction with how the RIAA has been handling the changing scene of music distribution. If followed through, it may force the RIAA to reassess its methods of approach in dealing with P2P music distribution.

Submission + - Spammers hack and hijcak Al Gore's climate site 1

Stony Stevenson writes: Al Gore's Climate Crisis website has been hacked by spammers using an interesting technique to affect Google's rankings. Hackers inserted links into the source code of the web pages of Gore's site. These links were not visible to regular users as they were buried in the source code, but they were picked up by search engine software to affect the position of another site altogether.

Symantec fears that a vulnerability in WordPress web publishing software has left many bloggers open to attack by the same method.

Submission + - Is it Time to Start Ignoring Microsoft? ( 3

jammag writes: "It's time for GNU/Linux advocates to quit casting Microsoft as the Great Satan, opines Bruce Byfield, a leading GNU/Linux pundit. "Things were different ten years ago...Back then, the community was fragile," he writes. But now, FOSS thrives in data centers everywhere. However, "over the years, we've developed a culture of hate, where bashing Microsoft proves our membership in the club. We've come to count on this opposition as a central part of our identity." Give it up, Byfield writes: "If you value FOSS, there are aspects you should be promoting — not the taunts more suitable to a high school locker room.""
The Courts

Submission + - FBI Doesn't Tell Courts About Bogus Evidence

dprovine writes: According to a joint investigation by series of articles in The Washington Post and 60 Minutes, a forensic test used by the FBI for decades is known to be invalid. The National Academy of Science issued a report in 2004 that FBI investigators had given "problematic" testimony to juries. The FBI later stopped using "bullet lead analysis", but sent a letter to law enforcement officials saying that they still fully supported the science behind it. Hundreds of criminal defendants — some already convicted in part on the testimony of FBI experts — were not informed about the problems with the evidence used against them in court. Does anyone at the Justice Department even care about what effect this will have on how the public in general (and juries in particular) regards the trustworthiness of FBI testimony?
The Internet

Submission + - Google Building Its Own !0 Gig Ethernet Switches (

1sockchuck writes: "Google is now building its own energy-efficient 10 Gigabit Ethernet switches for its data centers, expanding its program to use customized software and hardware to improve the power and efficiency of its back-end operations. Google already builds its own servers and power supplies, and uses customized operating system and web server software. Google's switch development was unearthed by analyst Andrew Schmitt, who says that Google's switch development efforts could have a disruptive impact on the market for 10GbE switching equipment. It also explains reports that Google has been hiring staff from Cisco."

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