Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:Rent seeking (Score 4, Insightful) 98

If tax credits and rebates are what make wind profitable.

Lots of industries start with various forms of government subsidy. The mistake made in ontario was thinking that the price of wind turbines was going to remain as high as it was for a lot longer.

The government was trying to convince the public that wind generators weren't going to destroy property values, deafen children etc. They were willing to take a loss on this up front in the hopes that by the time generation came down in price people wouldn't put up a huge protest about it. Unfortunately for the government, the price came down far faster than anyone anticipated, which is good for basically everyone else.

Had they stayed hugely expensive the government would be basically subsidizing half a dozen wind turbines here and there to show off, which, on the scale of things costs basically nothing, and if it made it easier to convince people to install a few thousand of them 20 years from now so much the better. But the price came down much faster than they anticipated.

Comment Doesn't seem that complicated... (Score 1) 117

This seems straightforward.

HP paid 11 billion dollars for something. They are now claiming it is actually worth 2.2, and that difference is accounted for by fraud on the part of the seller (essentially lying in their books to hide what it was actually worth). It's like going on a date with a girl and telling her you make 100k a year when actually you make 70. Or, as the case may be, telling her you make 110k when actually you make 22.

Now the thing is, some of the 'asset' they were buying was a brand name and other intangibles, so those are always of questionable value (AMD wrote off a few billion dollars in their ATI acquisition for this reason). If autonomy presented its brand and existing sales relationships as worth 8.8 billion dollars when they weren't, that's fraud. If HP is now claiming that they really aren't worth 8.8 billion dollars anymore (when they are) they're essentially defrauding the government, potentially quite legally as HP can kill the Autonomy brand and make it worth less. And if it's actually worth 8.8 billion dollars less, then they just wasted a bunch of shareholder money.

With all acquisitions you're trying to find something you can buy for less than it's actually worth, or will be worth in the future with enough investment on your part. Lots of people were warning that HP was paying too much, but the whole idea is that they figured (rightly or wrongly) that there was something there worth paying that much for. If you spend 180 bucks a share on apple stock on dec 31 2007, and looked at the price of 85 a share in march of 2009 you would have been thinking that was a really bad investment. Until it hit 700 bucks a share in september of this year and is now down in the 510 range.

Comment Re:The real issue (Score 2, Interesting) 311

Although one has to wonder how big the market for iPhones really is. It's not the like the vast majority of consumers aren't stuck paying one of the big carriers for a monthly sub anyway, and for them how much cheaper is a stolen iPhone than the carrier price anyway?

But then with phones it's a little easier. The EU has been working on this, stolen phones should be blacklisted from carriers. If you can't resell them, what is the point of stealing them? There is still the overseas market but it eliminates a lot of the casual disorganized piracy, and the EU and US databases should be able to talk to each other.

Comment Re:Still.... (Score 1) 1051

Sinofsky was there and in charge. He has since been removed, because whatever choices he made prevented the feedback of "do not release a product like this" from reaching him. And that is exactly what we're trying to avoid in linux.

Good people who have their head on their shoulders being dissuaded from speaking their mind by asshole managers is a recipe for disaster.

Comment Re:Still.... (Score 1) 1051

He cares more about the product being right than other peoples' opinion of him.

He cares more about the product right this second than creating a culture that will create a great product 5 years from now, 10 years from now, or 25 years from now.

old boss may have been widely regarded as an asshole, he was an effective asshole,

Yes, and that's the problem. Linus is setting a tone that relies on his celebrity to enforce. No one else will get away with behaving like that, and suddenly their effectiveness will fall off a cliff if anyone else tries to pull the same stunt.

Those who get butthurt about being dressed down are free to find something else to do with their time.

Already addressed. The military, and microsoft hold out carrots of fat paychecks, pensions, health benefits etc. Linux has no such carrot to hold out, especially not to the voluntary organizations and their employees who keep it going as a serious project, and who can go and make their own if they get sick of putting up with it.

That and you're in a fantasy land of coloured glasses about your time in the military. Militaries have become much 'softer' for want of a better phrase since the advent of professional armies. Sodomy and the whip are no longer core portions of the navy experience, nor is it appropriate to treat enlisted men like they're chattel to be used at the discretion of their betters (the officers, naturally), hell, we don't even have 12 year old drummers on deck anymore or running ammunition. Unless you think 6th graders should be manning up and learning to stand to their guns.

Don't get me wrong, this is a spectrum of behaviour. You do need *some* sort blunt truth, but you can't be a dick about it and drive away all of your potential volunteers either.

Step right up if you can do it better or know others who can.

I run my own software projects just fine thank you. Not everyone wants to spend their days squabbling over operating systems though.

Comment Re:Still.... (Score 1) 1051

Or it looks like someone (i.e., you) has never encountered anyone from another culture.

I'm a mix between 3, and I live in a 4th.

Culture is exactly what this is about. What is acceptable for an israeli to do to another israeli is not a chinese guy should treat an american. In a voluntary organization you're pushing your luck being a dick to people you don't know. And you're really pushing your luck setting that as the tone for everyone who wants to follow you.

Because highly skilled, charismatic, outspoken arseholes are so few and far between in the FOSS community.

Precisely the problem, and the cause.

Comment Re:New Kickstarter Idea (Score 1) 210

It's not like 65k is a lot of money.

But therein lies the problem, and what I was getting at with windows 9. Depending on what MS does to fix their UI issues for windows 9 we could be seeing these guys come hat in hand to us again in a year or two, and this money will have been wasted.

Everyone here, you, me, every single VLC developer, should be vigorously resisting anything to do with windows 8 until MS gets its shit together. I don't really want to find out I've donated money to a plan that is going to become like silverlight, and basically abandoned, or, god help us, replaced back with silverlight since the whole mess that is windows 8 is largely a result of the internal MS shitstorm that was the battle between silverlight and WPF, where thus far silverlight has lost, but the people in charge of that choice are now gone.

Comment Re:Still.... (Score 5, Insightful) 1051

Or it looks like someone had a temper tantrum because he's a celebrity and doesn't have to be decent to other people.

And the thing is, that happens. A lot. Even at microsoft. "That's the stupidest fucking thing I've ever heard!" - Bill Gates. And that was in Paul Allens book, and apparently an oft used phrase.

Linux lives and breathes on its contributors, if you make too many public scenes you can end up with a lot of important people and companies saying it's not worth it to contribute to, or it's not worth it to contribute to under Torvalds, that would be a very ugly mess for the entire industry. Worse still is if this sort of behaviour sets the tone for everyone else trying to be the next Linus, and they try to copy his to behavior (and that definitely happened at microsoft) and you end up with an organization full of asshole managers who no one wants to work for. At least microsoft can hold out the carrot of a fat paycheck to put up with it, Linux relies on people volunteering to help.

Granted, it's not really a shock that Torvalds likes to... speak his mind. That's part of his thing. Still, it poses a lot of questions about the sort of person who's going to be around to succeed him if he gets hit by a bus so to speak. Certainly Tim Cook and Steve Ballmer have not been able to find the right magic replacing their more famous bosses, and one would hope Linux manages better than Apple and MS have, admittedly, those jobs are completely different.

Comment Re:65K? (Score 2) 210

We do student projects on this scale in 4 months with 5-6 kids. Doesn't seem like it's that big a deal.

It's just changing the UI to use the metro language, and performance optimization for ARM on windows RT and anything that crops up along the way. It's not trivial, but it's not like they have to write an entire media player, with codec support etc. from scratch, or at least, hopefully don't.

Slashdot Top Deals

There's no future in time travel.