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Comment ZFS and GPL (Score 5, Informative) 207

An AC said: "Which could get Canonical into hot water with the GPL."

Whether or not this is a licence violation depends on Linus Torvalds and The Linux Foundation. They are the ones that set the terms for how Linux is licensed. Under U.S. law at least, it's the copyright owner's intent that matters, and not some third party interpretation interpretation of the licence text.

Torvalds has previously stated that a kernel module can't violate the kernel licence agreement unless it is a derivative work of the kernel (and the module licence violates the GPL). At the very least, it needs to have been designed with knowledge of the Linux internals. Since ZFS was developed independent of Linux, it seems unlikely that The Linux Foundation will be suing Canonical.

If you want to thoroughly understand the issues, you could read Eben Moglen's opinion (he's the lawyer behind the GPL 3):

Comment "tough" vs "hard" (Score 1) 2

There is a difference between tough and hard. There is usually a tradeoff between the two qualities.

Super hard materials resist drilling and sawing, like this phone. But they break rather than flex, so they are brittle.

Tough materials are not brittle. They withstand flexing forces without breaking.

For a cell phone, I want the phone to not break if I drop it, which requires toughness.

Comment Hurd is the kernel component of GNU Emacs (Score 1) 312

Seriously, if you google "GNU Guix", you'll see that system startup scripts will be written in Lisp, the package manager will use Lisp to describe packages. Also, I note that the microkernel architecture will allow code that is traditionally part of the kernel to run in user mode and be written in Lisp.

It looks to me that they are building a new system that combines the best aspects of Unix and the legendary Lisp Machine. Which would be kind of cool.

Comment Lost wax and lost PLA (Score 2) 49

One of the hackers at my makerspace has successfully used lost-PLA casting to cast steel. The result was a functional part used in a battle bot. That's using a standard consumer 3D printer.

Jewelers have been using 3D printers for lost-wax casting for years; there are specialized 3D printers sold for this.

Comment Summary (Score 1) 201

The slide at 24:49 in the video summarizes the argument:
* Open Hardware licensing attempts to work using copyright but is unsuccessful in doing so. (You can't actually enforce an Open Hardware license in the courts, where the mechanism is a copyright on an electronic circuit. You can't really copyright a circuit.)
* Open Hardware licensing only works as the developers would have it work when there is a *patent* on the design.
* Patents are expensive to pursue, and not particularly attractive to people who work on Open things.
* If the law was changed to allow electronic circuits to be copyrighted, that would actually cause more harm to the community than good. (The reasons for this are discussed later in the video.) We could, through our own actions, make that happen.

Submission + - Google finds D-Wave machine to be 10^8 times faster than simulated annealing (

An anonymous reader writes: From Google Research blog:
We found that for problem instances involving nearly 1000 binary variables, quantum annealing significantly outperforms its classical counterpart, simulated annealing. It is more than 10^8 times faster than simulated annealing running on a single core. We also compared the quantum hardware to another algorithm called Quantum Monte Carlo. This is a method designed to emulate the behavior of quantum systems, but it runs on conventional processors. While the scaling with size between these two methods is comparable, they are again separated by a large factor sometimes as high as 10^8.

Comment Re:License (Score 4, Informative) 255

No, LLVM/clang is all about having a superior architecture to GCC, so that a lot of new applications become possible. One of the key ideas is that the optimizer and code generator are libraries with a C++ API. One cool application of this is that you can use the LLVM library to implement a JIT compiler for your interpreted language: you generate the machine code directly into memory (instead of to a file), then execute it.

LLVM has many more developers than GCC, and is evolving and improving more quickly than GCC can. This is because of the licence: it turns out that corporations like Apple are more willing to provide developer resources for this open source project if the licence isn't copyleft. For this particular project, this means that the BSD license is more successful than the GPL. Of course, there are other projects for which the GPL produces better results in the real world.

If you want to make a GPL fork of LLVM just for the pure pleasure of fucking over the original project due their heresy in choosing a license you don't approve of, well, good luck with that.

Comment Re:Intermediate formats (Score 2) 255

Clang can compile to the LLVM "IR" format, which is a mostly machine-independent Intermediate Representation. Kind of like bytecode.

The IR file format has two variations: a human readable text format, and a more compact binary format.

Given an IR file, you can optimize it, which produces another IR file, or you can compile it into an object file.

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