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


Forgot your password?

Submission + - Check your Paypal buttons (

51mon writes: "Seems Paypal regard domain domain as defunct. Probably broken by recent infrastructure changes at Paypal (April 19th)

People with older Paypal buttons may find their pages slow or fail to load.

Paypal support seem to be relaxed on the issue asking me to supply them lists of their own documentation which use the old name. There appears to be no planning to the decommissioning, no use of HTTP redirects.

I can't find a start date for this problem, I can't find any other references."

Comment Re:I think the FSF might be a bit biased (Score 2) 277

We can't tell from Blackduck's data either since it isn't known what criteria are used by them.

We could pick other projects and see what the trend is in them, but ultimately all we would know is what the trend is in them. Google Code looks like a fairly easy place to gather some figures from and they host a lot of code these days.

Any such study is limited by the set of data it looks at. I presume the FSF chose Debian because it is (a) large (b) licenses are reasonably easily checkable (c) well documented historical versions, so they could quickly check if the there is a trend away from the GNU GPL in the kind of systems the FSF was created to create.

The changes in Blackduck's data are simply too large to reflect changes to say GNU/Linux distros, since software tends not to change license that often, so it seems likely they are just including more sources of free software from other places which simply have less GNU GPL software in them, in which case what you are seeing is their data becomes more representative of the totality of free software code rather than a trend away from the GNU GPL.

Thus it is possible both studies are correct and that GNU GPL usage is increasing in Debian (and probably other general purpose GNU/Linux desktops - not least a lot of them are based on Debian, and perhaps in general), and GNU GPL now forms a smaller part of the code base that Blackduck are keeping in their knowledge base.

Whilst I'm sure the FSF like people to use the GNU GPL, they are pro-free software, so if that the amount of free software Blackduck find is growing faster than the growth in GNU GPL software, it is unlikely to be keeping my friends in Boston up at night.

But what really matters is what software people use, not the proportion of software in repositories. I'm using Debian to write this, and I don't much care what free software license most of the software I use is, as long as Debian can inspect, package, fix and distribute it.

I care more when I write code, but mostly that the codebase I'm contributing to aims to remain free, a copyleft license is a guarantee of that, but it isn't the only such guarantee that makes me feel good. I'd happily contribute freely to the Apache project knowing me and my friends can expect to benefit from any such contribution in future even without a copyleft license.

Comment Re:Windows Cl is useless (Score 1) 780

You've never enabled the extra features in Bash auto-completion have you.

In Bash the tab auto-completion is programmable, with the typical configuration used on Debian it completes command names, file names (to nearest unambiguous match and then shows you the list of matching names), it will display the command line options to commands limited to those which match what you've typed so far, for various commands that take commons lists (like list of available software packages) it will auto-complete those arguments from those lists.

I believe Zsh does similar but also shows short extract from documentation on command line options in addition.

The problem is as a GNU/Linux user you can end up like me and just hit tab whenever the grey matter glitches and you forgot what you were going to type next.

Say you want to install a web server with PHP5....

$ apt-g[tab] completes "apt-get "
$apt-get i[tab] completes the "install" option
$apt-get install libapa[tab] saves typing the "che" (goodness you can get lazy)
$apt-get install libapache2-m[tab] saves typing "od" for mod
$apt-get install libapache2-mod-ph[tab] saves typing the "p5"
$apt-get install libapache2-mod-php5

So I've saved typing 15 characters (if I can count), got everything spelt right first time, and this one command will (I think) get you a webserver and PHP5 installed and ready for development work, of course usually you want to specify which thread model you want for the Apache webserver and probably want some other dev tools but it makes the points that you only need 16 key presses to install a webserver with PHP (no browsing to websites, downloading installers, or finding your original installation CD image to drag IIS off, or patching to get it up to date after running the command (since it'll install the latest versions). Only the command name "apt-get" is a file name.

It has been this way for a long time in Debian (although PHP5 wasn't around all that time), and you have to uncomment a line in one of the config files to enable the enhanced completion otherwise I think it is just filenames (including commands).

Comment Re:Obligatory quote (Score 1) 780

I was kind of worried about the opposite. It suggests someone at Microsoft has been doing some serious work making Windows easier to administrate, which might make it more popular amongst the IT literate crowd, and thus more popular generally.

This remote admin will make automaton of admin easier, and also discourage what we (and many others) are guilty of, which is logging in with VNC or remote desktop, and messing about as Administrator because we only have a few boxes. Until we realize actually we have far too many to be doing it all this way.

Comment Re:Reasonable Expectation (Score 1) 403

"That said... a reasonable expectation may not translate into something actionable in a court of law."

IANAL - but UK law explicitly implemented rules to govern consumer agreements where you can't negotiate contract terms. (Unfair terms in consumer contracts regulations) which were based on an EU directive from 1993, which effectively boils down to a reasonableness test (although there are restrictions on fields of reasonableness).

Whilst I don't have a problem boycotting Sony, perhaps such contracts probably needs some sort of proper legal redress in the style of the European directive, as otherwise it would be pretty much impossible to buy/lease any modern software or hardware without agreeing to similarly outrages terms and conditions as were used in this class action.

Comment Re:Pftt (Score 1) 487

Apple get called draconian because of the things they do.

Being a good citizen in free software doesn't just mean doing those things in your own self interest to do, of which we agree Apple do a lot, but also not doing things that might be perceived as in your own short term self interest that are unethical (of which Apple also do plenty).

Comment Re:A common annoyance, not just in gaming (Score 1) 349

I don't think registering a URL to an XML file does the trick.

The Linux distro's typically sign the packages, saying they were presented to the distro by someone they trust.

You need some sort of security in place, otherwise the system is effectively trusting all the web servers in all the URLs, and we know how safe web servers are.

But yes if Microsoft update updated everything, then people would have motivation for running it. Where as if it just updates a few system and Office - things that no one cares about till there PC is spamming - where is the motivation?

But it boils down to the same thing, trusting a single central authority, and since Windows users implicitly trust Microsoft, it might as well be them.


Submission + - Patch your DNS servers faster - Austrian CERT (

51mon writes: "Austrian CERT used data from one of their authoritative DNS server to measure the rate at which the latest DNS patche (source port randomization) is being rolled out to larger recursive name servers.

Whilst about half the traffic they receive is now using source port randomization, their data suggests that this is due to ISPs who roll out such fixes immediately and the rate of patching has fallen to disappointingly low levels since.

If your ISP isn't patched, perhaps it is time to switch.

Half your DNS belong to us."

Comment Re:A potential buisness model problem... (Score 1) 396

Let's face facts, there is tons of software that is not on Linux that people want.
You see the thing is most of the GNU/Linux installs I've done are because the software I (or my clients) wanted to run didn't run on MS Windows at all, and much of it still doesn't (or runs poorly - we fork() fork() fork() fork() fork() fork() fork() it is what we like to do).

So what you are saying is we should write non-portable must-have applications for GNU/Linux desktop, and we'll win the desktop share battle. Unfortunately for the adoption of GNU/Linux being wholly dependent on software that only runs on one platform is just the kind of situation many of the users are trying to avoid.

Submission + - Microsoft Offers Cash for Wikipedia Edit

An anonymous reader writes: Yahoo News: Jimmy Wales have blocked public-relations firms, campaign workers and anyone else perceived as having a conflict of interest from posting fluff or slanting entries. So paying for Wikipedia copy is considered a definite no-no. Microsoft Corp. landed in the Wikipedia doghouse Tuesday after it offered to pay a blogger to change technical articles on the community-produced Web encyclopedia site. Microsoft isn't the first to be blocked; after a some wrangling user MyWikiBiz was banned. Now the list of banned users is growing, has Wikipedida painted it's self into a corner — should the ban also apply to paid resarchers?
United States

Submission + - Gonzales actually Questions Habeas Corpus!

spiedrazer writes: In yet another attempt to create legitimacy for many of the Bush administration's questionable legal practices, US attorney General Alberto Gonzales actually had the audacity to argue that the US Constitution doesn't explicitly bestow habeas corpus rights on US citizens! In his view it merely says when the so-called Great Writ can be suspended, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the rights are granted. These statements were made while being questioned by Sen. Arlen Specter at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Jan. 18

While Gonzales's statement has a measure of quibbling precision to it, his logic is troubling because it would suggest that many other fundamental rights that Americans hold dear (such as free speech, freedom of religion, and the right to assemble peacefully) also don't exist because the Constitution often spells out those rights in the negative. It boggles the mind the lengths this administration will go to to systematically erode the rights and privileges we have all counted on and held up as the granite pillars of our society since our nation was founded.

Also of note is that virtually NONE of the major news outlets seem to be covering this development! A google news search for "Gonzales Habeas Corpus" turns up only 101 hits with no major outlets listed!

You can also See Stephen Colbert's coverage including excerpts from the testimony HERE, just select the third video down on "Exact Words"

One In Five Windows Installs Is Non-Genuine 481

snib writes "Microsoft disclosed Monday that, according to reports collected by the notorious Windows Genuine Advantage tool on millions of users' PCs, 22% of all Windows installs do not pass its validation tests and have therefore been deemed non-genuine. Quoting: 'Since WGA launched in July 2005, over 512 million users have attempted to validate their copy of Windows, Microsoft said. Of those, the non-genuine rate was 22.3 percent... [T]he Business Software Alliance... reports that 35 percent of the world's software is pirated (22 percent in North America)...'"
User Journal

Journal Journal: Sun SPOT: Enabler for the future?

eWeek is running an article on Sun's SPOT (Small Programmable Object Technology) that looks to be the start of something good, at least from the perspective of every geek that wished they had the tools to develop "the next big thing (TM)" in their basement.

Slashdot Top Deals

"You can't get very far in this world without your dossier being there first." -- Arthur Miller