Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:Cue the trolls... (Score 1) 580

As RMS mentioned, the danger is not in Linux becoming a locked down system, the danger is in people using Linux because it costs nothing rather than because it gives its users freedom. Whether you agree with RMS's stance on freedom or not, it is pretty clear that making Steam on Linux a major selling point of the platform would detract from the message of freedom.

I would also remind you that the choices we hold so dear as Linux users are a direct result of these freedoms, such as the freedom to change the software you run as you see fit. Linux itself, and the GNU tools that run on top of it, will always remain free. But Linux is also a tool for promoting the idea of freedom, and Steam on Linux might weaken that.

(Personally I can't wait for it, though.)

Comment a nice company, too (Score 4, Interesting) 820

Me and my brother recieved the silver Buckyball cubes as Christmas gifts a few years back. These things are a blast to play with.

When one of the balls on my brothers set shattered, we called one of the listed numbers for the company to ask about maybe purchasing a replacement ball. The person on the other end was extremely interested in how this happened (apparently they hadn't had a report of a ball shattering before), and offered to send us an entire new set for free. On Christmas day. This was excellent, excellent support for an awesome product.

It's sad to hear about this.

Comment Re:Excellent! (Score 2) 53

In IP geek circles, Manfred is legendary; he's the guy who patented the business practice of moving your e-business somewhere with a slack intellectual property regime in order to evade licensing encumbrances. He's the guy who patented using genetic algorithms to patent everything they can permutate from an initial description of a problem domain – not just a better mousetrap, but the set of all possible better mousetraps.

-- Accelerando , by Charles Stross

Comment Re:Dropping the GPL ~= worse. (Score 1) 711

BSD does not guarantee access to the source; it defers this choice to whoever is distributing it.

BSD lets distributors decide whether the user has access to the source, while the GPL guarantees it. You can't do both: it's impossible to let the distributor decide whether to give the source to users and also guarantee users have access. Often, authors of BSD-licensed code choose to distribute the source for free, and it's quite possible to create a much freer environment than you can with the GPL. But the GPL guarantees access to the source and the ability to run modified sources, on every project. With BSD, you have to research each individual project to see if these rights are available, then worry about whether they will be taken away.

Comment Re:Dropping the GPL ~= worse. (Score 2) 711

I always thought about it this way: the GPL is about user freedom, and BSD is about developer freedom. If you're using GPL'd software, you are explicitly given the right to know what it's doing and the right to change it. If you're developing with BSD software, you're given the right to control how it's integrated into your project and how it's distributed. Unfortunately it's impossible to guarantee both rights at the same time; the correct choice for each project depends a lot on how that project is meant to be used.

I lean towards GPL, because there's nothing more frustrating for me as a programmer than not being able to control or fix something that's running on my computer. So when I write software, I try not to put anybody else in that position. I appreciate the appeal of BSD, though, especially when I'm working on something to sell, or on a restricted platform (like iOS).

Comment Re:Method Syntax (Score 1) 437

Personally, I like the fact that the Objective-C parts of the code look completely different than the C parts of the code.

C++ tries really hard to look like a natural extension to C, and in some respects that's an admirable goal. Sometimes, though, it can be confusing. Consider the following bit of code:

void test_func() { SomeObject obj; }

In C, this function does nothing, and after a quick glance you'd be tempted to say it does nothing in C++ too. But in C++, declaring a variable calls its default constructor, which could actually do something. It looks like C, but it acts nothing like C.

With Objective-C, you avoid the problem entirely because it looks nothing like C. You're never tempted to think "oh, I know how this works in C so it must work similarly here". You might not like it, but I happen to fall into this trap a lot, so I appreciate the syntax.

Comment Re:UDP for a connection which has to -reliably- se (Score 2) 158

Bullshit. With UDP you have to abstract the connection so that the source IP can change. With TCP you can do the exact same fucking thing. Close the old socket when you get a connection attempt from a new client with the right handshake.

I'm a little out of my depth here, but I'd imagine it'd be much easier with UDP because UDP is connectionless. With this sort of roaming, the server isn't expected to change addresses, but the client is. So, have the client sign everything with a negotiated public key, and the server doesn't even have to care where each packet is coming from, or even open any new connections when the client moves across IPs.

Since this is an SSH replacement, I'd expect the key signing to be done already, so once you build an ordering and reliability protocol on top of UDP you essentially get the roaming for free.

Comment Re:007087 (Score 1) 510

But once you start writing very formal Python where the type of every argument is declared in comments, and error handling being done with exacting precision and logging, and so on, you might as well be writing in C++ or Java.

Minor quibble. That sounds a lot like you're writing Python like it is C++ or Java. Python is well suited to duck typing; generally (though not always) if you use isinstance(), you're doing something wrong.

Comment Re:Scan for quality? (Score 1) 172

Comparing any old Android app to Winterboard isn't exactly fair, in my opinion.

Winterboard has to implement a ton of hacks to work on iOS, because there's no official API for theming. You can call this a fault of the OS if you want, but my point is Winterboard necessarily employs more hacks than your average app. It uses MobileSubstrate which (I'm not even exaggerating) dynamically changes how existing applications work by changing their code when they start.

Comment Re:Windshield wipers (Score 4, Informative) 97

I believe one of the major problems is that dust on Mars can become very, very fine. There's no rain to clear dust from the atmosphere, so the little grains just keep hitting things and breaking apart, over and over. Martian fines can get down near 1 micron; for comparison, your red blood cells are about 8 microns wide. This stuff gets on everything. It goes through everything.

Comment Re:What Does This Mean? (Score 1) 414

In a more Contact way of thinking, if you were programming a complex formal system capable of producing sentient machines and wanted to leave a signature, the dimensionless physical constants would be a great place to hide them.

And yes, it's hopelessly unlikely we would ever find them even if you think it likely that they're there. It still makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Comment Re:No, they aren't. (Score 2) 111

I've read the essays by RMS and ESR describing the "hacker ethic", and I've read Steven Levy's "Hackers", and those are literally the only places I've ever seen "hacker" used with the positive meaning of unorthodox, enthusiastic, and highly skilled programmers, aside from the occasional references to RMS, ESR, and Levy, to complain about the prevailing usage of the term

The positive definition of the word "hacker" is in wide use in the new DIY community, and I've seen it in Make and of course BoingBoing. It's still in wide use in the subculture that it applies to. Personally I think the media has been getting (slowly) better as well, with the occasional story about hackers that isn't in the negative sense.

Normally I'm a strong supporter of dynamic language, where words mean what they're accepted to mean; I'm just emotionally attached to this particular word and it's hard to let it go. I'm still hoping we don't have to.

Comment Re:This just makes sense (Score 1) 1345

I'd say religion and science are pretty orthogonal.

Science kinda just tells you what is likely to happen when you do X. That's it.

Religion is simply your own personal reason that you do X.

Science and (most) religion both tell you what happened in the past. This is where the conflict comes from.

Slashdot Top Deals

The wages of sin are high but you get your money's worth.