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Slashdot Posting Bug Infuriates Haggard Admins 262

Last night we crossed over 16,777,216 comments in the database. The wise amongst you might note that this number is 2^24, or in MySQLese an unsigned mediumint. Unfortunately, like 5 years ago we changed our primary keys in the comment table to unsigned int (32 bits, or 4.1 billion) but neglected to change the index that handles parents. We're awesome! Fixing is a simple ALTER TABLE statement... but on a table that is 16 million rows long, our system will take 3+ hours to do it, during which time there can be no posting. So today, we're disabling threading and will enable it again later tonight. Sorry for the inconvenience. We shall flog ourselves appropriately. Update: 11/10 12:52 GMT by J : It's fixed.

Dvorak On Microsoft/Novell Deal 218

zaxios writes, "John C. Dvorak has weighed in on the recent Novell-Microsoft pact. Among his insights: 'Microsoft has been leery of doing too much with Linux because of all the weirdness with the licenses and the possibility that one false move would make a Microsoft product public domain at worst, or subject to the GPL at best.' But now, 'the idea is to create some sort of code that is jammed into Linux and whose sole purpose is to let some proprietary code run under Linux without actually "touching" Linux in any way that would subject the proprietary code to the GPL.' According to Dvorak, it's only a matter of time before Linux is 'cracked' by Microsoft, meaning Microsoft figures out a way to run proprietary code on it."

Aggressive Botnet Activities Behind Spam Increase 194

An anonymous reader writes, "A spam-sending Trojan dubbed 'SpamThru' is responsible for a vast amount of the recent botnet activity which has significantly increased spam levels to almost three out of every four emails. The developers of SpamThru employed numerous tactics to thwart detection and enhance outreach, such as releasing new strains of the Trojan at regular intervals in order to confuse traditional anti-virus signatures detection." According to MessageLabs (PDF), another contributor to the recent spam increase is a trojan dropper called "Warezov."

The Next Three Days are the x86 Days 589

Pinky wrote in to note that "Today, tomorrow and the next day are the only days we'll get dates like this: 2/8/6 3/8/6 4/8/6 like the x86 computers :-)" And yes folks, in the August news cycle vortex, even this strikes my fancy. In recent years we've seen numerical giants like 3/1/4, 6/6/6 and 1/2/3, but now really, what do any of us have to look forward to? Is our future dull and meaningless without cool numbers in dates? Oh the humanity of it all ...

Open Source is 'Not Reliable or Dependable' 504

Exter-C writes "News.com is reporting that Jonathan Murray, the vice president and chief technology officer of Microsoft Europe has made claims that 'some people want to use community-based software, and they get value out of sharing with other people in the community. Other people want the reliability and the dependability that comes from a commercial software model.'"

100 Million Pixels of Virtual Reality 190

Roland Piquepaille writes "It's ironic that Iowa State University (ISU) announced a big upgrade of its C6 virtual reality (VR) room the same day as SGI filed for bankruptcy. Back in 2000, this 10x10x10 foot room was powered by SGI Onyx2 computers. The new version of this six-sided VR room will use 96 graphics processing units from Hewlett-Packard. And with its 24 Sony digital projectors, the researchers at ISU will immerse themselves into images of about 100 million pixels in the most realistic VR room in the world. Of course, this upgrade is not cheap. But with this $4 million addition, this new C6 should lead to new advances in urban planning, genetics, engineering or unmanned aerial vehicles."

Bearshare Shut Down by RIAA 269

Pichu0102 writes "According to WebProNews, Bearshare has been shut down by the RIAA." From the article: " Online file-sharing service BearShare, along with operators Free Peers Inc., is packing it up due to a $30 million settlement with the recording industry. The conditions of the settlement were agreed to by the P2P company to avoid further copyright infringement litigation."

ODF Offers MS Word Plugin to MA 263

Goalie_Ca writes "Groklaw just posted that the OpenDocument Foundation is offering Massachusetts a plugin that could 'allow Microsoft Office to easily open, render, and save to ODF files, and also allow translation of documents between Microsoft's binary (.doc, .xls, .ppt) or XML formats and ODF ... The testing has been extensive and thorough. As far as we can tell there isn't a problem, even with Accessibility add ons, which as you know is a major concern for Massachusetts.'"

BlueSecurity Database Compromised? 375

EElyn writes "Numerous users of Blue Security's anti-spam system now report of a new form of aggressive spam. An unknown group of spammers claim to have derived a way to extract the member email addresses of Blue Security group's anti-spam system, called Blue Frog. Blue Frog, a small tool which once installed on the user's computer, enables Blue Security to systematically flood a known spammer's website with opt-out messages; much to the headache of the spammer. Tens of thousands of users have already signed up, so can it really be true that spammers now possess this database? Or is this yet another frail attempt by spammers to intimidate the user?" Another reader sent the text of the letter; read more to see.

FOSS Is Not Free if It's Not Free From Complexity 523

A reader writes:"This article argues that freedom from complexity is an essential part of the first FOSS freedom - the freedom to run a program. Freedom to run means nothing if the exercise of such right excludes people who do not possess high technical knowledge or advanced skills sets. Without the guarantee of "ease of use", the freedom to run FOSS for most users is a hollow promise. " (My own bias ensues here): I think that there are some valuable points in here; what good is a good if it cannot be used, but OTOH this argument seems simplistic.

Will Sun Open Source Java? 700

capt turnpike writes "According to eWEEK.com, there's an internal debate going on at Sun whether to open-source Java. (Insert typical response: "It's about time!") Company spokespersons have no official comment, as might be expected, but perhaps we could hear confirmation or denial as early as May 16, at the JavaOne conference. One commentator said, "Sun should endorse PHP and go one step forward and make sure the 'P' languages run great on the JVM [Java virtual machine] by open-sourcing Java." Would this move Java up the desirability scale in your eyes? Could this be a way to help improve what's lacking in Java?"

Working at Microsoft, the Inside Scoop 437

bariswheel writes "Responding to the public interest, a long-time Apple and UNIX user/programmer, and a JPL/Caltech veteran, writes an insightful, articulate essay on the good, the bad, and the in-between experiences of working at Microsoft; concentrating on focus, unreality, company leadership, managers, source code, benefits and compensation, free soft drinks, work/life balance, Microsoft's not evil, and influence."

34 ISPs Subpoenaed By U.S. Government 391

seanonymous writes "The Justice Department, in their continued effort to revive questionable legislation, has subpoenaed dozens of ISPs for files. Considering that ISPs generally host their users' mail, this seems like it could be a larger issue than their fight with Google over search queries. Some, like Verizon, even resisted the call for information." From the article: "Representatives for McAfee and Symantec confirmed that the companies had received and complied with the subpoenas. A spokeswoman at LookSmart did not immediately return a phone call. Many of the subpoenas asked for information related to products that can be used to filter out adult content for underage Internet users. Symantec's subpoena, dated June 29, asked for a wide range of information about the price and popularity of the Internet filtering products it sells and how the products are used by customers. " Information Week has a number of the documents involved, including the letter of objection from Verizon.

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