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


Forgot your password?
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×

Comment Re:Why? (Score 1) 519

If you've ever used Lotus Notes then you know where most of that support comes from. What a steaming pile of crap.

IBM uses a ton of custom in-house applications that they can't sell to other companies because they're such garbage, and I'll bet 90% of that crap doesn't work on Macs.

Buying a bunch of Macs is probably one IT group's way of getting out from under another IT group's crap.

Comment Re:"Times Less" Makes No Sense (Score 1) 519

It's a semantics thing, 1/x is definitely better, but most people understand that when someone says "x is 3 times less than y", they mean it would take 3 x's to equal 1 y.

And it does make some sense logically. 1/3 y is still multiplication, so "3 times less than y" is just a slightly odd way of denoting that the multiplication is inverted, saying "1/3 times y". Just like "3 times more than y" is kind of an odd way of saying "3 times y".

Actually saying these things in the most correct way sounds the strangest in conversation, IMO. "X is 3 times y dollars" just makes you sound a little off.

Comment Re:Were the users randomized? (Score 5, Interesting) 519

That actually costs your company a lot more, then, not less.

The trick, of course, is that it's a hidden cost that is virtually impossible to tally on a spreadsheet: your productivity is lost while you fix that problem. Did it take you an hour, where a tech might have taken 10 minutes? Did it take you several days when a tech might have had it cleared up in an afternoon? Who gets paid more for their time, you or the tech? That's a cost that's really hard to quantify, and so gets completely ignored.

My favorite example of this is when I worked as a hardware depot manager for one site of a huge global corporation. IT management issued a mandate that said hardware depots could only keep X amount of stock on hand at any given time and could only order new stock when it was gone. New stock orders also required the personal approval of the #3 guy in IT management.

I regularly went through my stock in about a week, week and a half, and it would take two weeks or more to receive a new pallet of computers to refresh my stock. Furthermore, as you might expect, the #3 guy in IT is a pretty busy guy, so he would sometimes take up to a week to approve my stock orders.

In the end, IT saved millions globally because their stock orders were drastically reduced, yet on the local level you had engineers being paid upwards of $1000 a day to twiddle their thumb while they wait for their $500 computer to arrive. But IT doesn't see one dime of that cost. In fact, unless a department gets hit with a flood of new hires who need new computers, it's likely none of the local departments will see a big enough impact on their budget to formally complain to IT about the process. Yet the company's cost saving methods caused a $500 computer to cost upwards of $20,000, and all of it is hidden from the bean counters.

Comment Re:I object to some of your comments.... (Score 1) 267

NO, it is not. Mac OS is not either. Free as in beer means free as in beer - no cost. You cannot LEGALLY get Windows for free. Which leads to the OTHER free, which is free as in freedom - which clearly the other two are not either.

Buy a new computer that someone else built, like most people do, and Windows or OS X comes with, no extra purchase necessary. For most people, it's free. It's not even a hidden cost, as it's often compensated for via bulk agreements and pre-loaded software. Deleting the software does not delete the OS, so it's effectively free. Most people never buy a standalone copy of Windows or OS X.

Most people just want to use their computers to run the software they need to run. Your idea of "free as in freedom" is pointless to them, because it affects them not at all.

What kills Linux for most people (including me), is the fact that, to do anything even slightly different than what ten thousand other Linux users have already done is an absolute nightmare.

Want to install a piece of software that isn't' in your OS's repository? Hope you know your way around Make and the GNU compiler! You need to be a wannabe programmer just to install software? Really?

Got a piece of hardware with no built-in driver? Hope you don't wreck your machine when you re-compile the kernel! Again, seriously?

Hope you know your thousands of config files inside and out, so you can re-configure your system when a piece of software mucks a bunch of them up!

In my experience, Linux is best when nothing ever changes on the system. No new software, no editing settings, once it's set it's set and nothing changes. That makes it perfect for many kinds of servers, and embedded systems where the user is sandboxed away from the core system. In fact, I prefer Android as a phone OS, and in that case I think it is an excellent experience.

I'm glad Linux exists, but I used it as my personal desktop for two years and honestly, if you tried to pay me to use it I'd probably look for another job.

I want to use my software, not fight my OS. As much as people bash Windows in nerd forums like slashdot, in the long run it gets out of the way a hell of a lot better than Linux does.

Comment Re: That's, for better or worse, for a court to de (Score 1) 218

Copyright is transferable. OP's suggestion changes nothing about that aspect of the law. Such works are produced under contract, with the copyright going to whatever entity produced the film (studio, uber rich guy, whatever).

So for example, take Mickey Mouse. That original creation, and all of the films produced involving MM, was owned by Walt Disney. He didn't personally create most of it, but the people who did create it did so under contract, transferring their claim of ownership on to him. The MM copyright therefore lasts until 70 years after his death.

Incidentally, this is why Disney re-releases, re-masters, and re-imagines all the old films every few years. They are creating a veritable minefield of copyright, so that when the original claim is no longer valid in 50 years or whatever, any independent attempt to re-create these stories will probably run afoul of one of their copyrighted works.

Comment Re:That's, for better or worse, for a court to dec (Score 2) 218

3) Give the "under penalty of perjury" part some teeth. If the content is not actually owned by the claimant, covered by fair use, or in any other way determined to be non-infringing; the individual from step 2 above goes to jail for perjury. I think a nice schedule would be:
1st false claim: 30 days in county.
2nd false claim: 90 days in county.
3rd false claim: 1 year in state, plus felony conviction on their criminal record and disbarment if the claimant is a lawyer.

Those teeth are too sharp. You would swing the balance too far in the opposite direction, which would gut any industry that legitimately relies on digital copyrights having value. Conceptually, the DMCA is a necessary thing, and legitimate claims are beneficial to society at large. It just happens that it was written in an absurd way that allows incredible levels of abuse, and that needs to be fixed.

IMHO, either 1 or 2 that you suggest would effectively solve the problem, though I think it would be better if 1 were simply made more sensible, rather than removed completely. Not requiring automatic take downs would stop the lions share of false claims though, and requiring legitimate identification would make counter-claims much more effective.

If you really want to add teeth, provide a mechanism for determining an intentionally false claim, and make issuing one wire fraud. Then you get sensible criminal charges for intentional abuse of the system automatically.

Comment Re:Why is competition not a good criterion? (Score 1) 237

That was the American anti-trust trial, and America ultimately fell on its face when it came to enforcing the antitrust issues it was pursuing.

Right, which is why IE still dominates the browser market, and there are no insanely popular alternatives like Firefox or Chrome or Safari. Most importantly, MS can still leverage it's OS dominance to force retailers to not bundle other products.

Oh wait, that's not true, because the anti-trust case did exactly what it was supposed to do - it severely punished MS for extorting computer retailers into not bundling specific third party software (i.e. Netscape Navigator). Note that there is no IE mentioned there, at all. This would be just as harmful if IE never existed, and MS was simply extorting retailers to be assholes to Netscape. IE's poor showing in the market, despite coming for free with the OS, was the reason MS did bad things, but IE itself was basically irrelevant. It's the bad things we don't want, and the bad things we should punish. Or are you contending that an OS shouldn't come bundled with, say, a file browser? Or a text editor? Or a calculator? After all, these and many more products bundled with MS have third party counterparts that are not bundled.

The problem was never bundling, and the EU was far too stupid to realize that. The problem was MS abused its dominance in the OS market (NOT the browser market!) to force retailers into not bundling Netscape with their computers. MS wanted this because IE was losing the browser wars. In spite of being bundled, most people paid for a browser instead of using IE, and most people who paid for a browser bought Netscape. MS used its market dominant position to force Netscape out of the market not via bundling, but via extortion!

It's the EU that failed miserably by not understanding where the problem was. Unbundling is stupid. You want a default browser, else how do you download a different browser? Duh. Even the EU's unbundling still has to allow bundling, precisely because the idea is so idiotic. Who gives a shit about bundling? It's the extortion that you need to prevent.

Comment Re:EUgle? (Score 1) 237

You are still fixated on the competition aspect.

The competition aspect is the only one that matters. With healthy competition, other services can come in and hit the niche that you prefer, and everyone is happy. You simply don't use Google if you don't like the way they operate. There are other options to everything Google provides, and you know what? Thanks to competition, they are all pretty good. There is nothing to suggest competition for these services is anything but healthy.

If you don't like Google+, you can delete your profile and go back to not having one. I do admit, they make it difficult to sign up for a new account without Google+, but you can always use a fake name and set everything else so that it isn't shared, so I really don't see that it matters. Syncing and sharing are options you can set for every service Google provides. If you still don't like it, then don't use Google!

The EU's other concern is that companies like Google try to tie you in to all their services when you sign up for one.

If that's what most people prefer (which is what it means when one leader dominates a market with not artificial restrictions), why in the hell should the EU want to restrict it? WTF? I mean, seriously! What business is it of theirs? Why is this at all a concern?

Again, this problem is solved with healthy competition. If there is a market for people who don't like the bundling Google does, someone will (and already has) provide an alternative. It's not going to be one company though, and it won't have any of the interconnectivity features bundling makes possible either. You can't have both, and forcing Google to unbundle just fucks over the (apparent) majority of people who prefer the bundle. Thanks for that.

Comment Re:EUgle? (Score 1) 237

The point is that as a society we deemed that tying products was harmful.

When did this happen, and where was I? If this is true, society is fucking stupid and needs to take some economics courses. Bundling, when it is not exploited to artificially restrict markets, is almost always more efficient, and therefore more beneficial to everyone, than disparate entities attempting to provide the same service. Interconnection between services is a very, very good thing. I was on the internet in the 90's. I remember what it was like when advertisers couldn't target ads. It was like the internet was a used car salesmen's convention, with syphilis included for free.

I'll grant you that if we could somehow get complete integration between disparate services, that would be ideal. I don't see how that will ever happen, though, and eliminating bundling definitely won't get you there. You'll need some kind of legitimate market pressure to make interconnection between companies the most profitable direction to take. I can't see how that would ever happen. It would have to be a government entity, and they'd almost certainly screw it up.

In any case, tell me which of these scenarios do you prefer:
1.) You've been wanting a laptop. You've been talking about it all day. You get home from work and the first thing you notice is your open mailbox, clearly stuffed so full with crap that it won't close and you can hardly get anything out. You do pull out the crap, and lo and behold your mailbox was filled two dozen full size posters in garish colors. Six of them are for some stupid children's toys you aren't interested in. Five are identical posters for different companies that say you're the 10,000th customer and have won a prize, even though you've never bought anything from any of those companies. Interspersed among these eleven posters are five posters with a graphic picture of a penis, apparently offering to sell you penis enlargement pills. The last eight posters are incredibly graphic porn advertisements. Worse, they've got some kind of sticky goop on them that makes it really hard to get them into the trash once you've accidentally grabbed them. FML. You spend all evening cleaning the goop off your hands. Maybe tomorrow you'll go see Jim at your local computer store about a laptop.

2.) You've been wanting a laptop. You've been talking about it all day. You get home from work and check your mail (which is not stuffed full of anything) to find a handful of letters. A couple are from your bank, telling you about a new service they provide that could save you money. You aren't particularly interested right now so you ignore them and check the last three letters. It's three legitimate offers for a laptop, and you're definitely interested. Ultimately though, you decide that you can get a better deal from your buddy Jim at the local computer store.

Scenario 1 is the internet without trackers for advertisements. I was there, reality was worse than that. Please, PLEASE don't make us go back to that!

Scenario 2 is the internet with trackers for advertisements. Just look at your internet now. Some websites still suck at advertising, but for the most part it is clean. Particularly with sites that use Google ads, you don't get the glaring, flashing banners when you hit a new site, there aren't dozens of links everywhere, there are just a line or two of text advertising something that you actually might be interested in. I swear it seems like once every couple months or so I'm thanking God that Google fixed the internet. And I'm an atheist!

So yeah, watch Google like a hawk, because they are in a position to do some incredibly bad things. However, thanks to bundling, they make a shitload of money doing GOOD things for users, and thus far have no reason to do bad things. All of Google's non-business products are FREE. They have always been free and we can expect them to always be free. Not only are they free, in most cases they are better than what (if anything) came before. Granted, if this were Google forcing out competition and cornering the market so that it could later exploit its position and charge ridiculous prices for services that only it could now provide, it would be a Bad Thing. However, the services started free, and have remained free. This is clearly a net gain. If the market values your product at $0 and you can't figure out how to make money off it, it's your own problem to deal with. Calling in the politicians to artificially break the market just so you can compete in an area you are clearly incapable of competing in is wrong. It's worse for everyone involved. It's bullshit. The fact that there are exceptions to the trend of Google offering superior products for free, like Google+ doing so poorly against Facebook, shows they clearly aren't abusing their position. Yeah, they advertise their own services, but it's not like Google+ comes up in a search for Facebook. That would be evidence of abuse, and it just isn't there.

Comment Re:EUgle? (Score 3, Insightful) 237

If your bank forces you to open savings accounts and credit cards with them to have a mortage that bundling is anti-consumer and illegal... period.

When did Google ever start forcing users to sign up just to search? I'm pretty sure that's not a thing. Just like banks don't force you to have savings accounts and credit cards with them in order to have a mortgage with them, Google doesn't force you to sign up for anything to either search, or to show up as #1 in search. For the latter, all you've got to do is be the most popular thing for that search query on the internet.

If you want to show up in a prominent place on the search page for a particular query, even though you aren't #1 (or even #10, or whatever) on the internet for that query, well, that's going to cost you.

For Google's services, I don't see what search has to do with any of it. Is Google artificially bumping themselves in the rankings? I'm not sure if the EU is aware, but Google is absurdly popular. I'd be shocked if Gmail didn't come up #1 in a search for email, and low and behold it does. #1 on Google and #2 on Bing, somehow Yahoo comes up first on Bing, while MS takes up #2 and #3 on Google. However, Google's cloud service comes up #4 on their own engine and #7 on Bing. iCloud is the first commercial service on both (actually #1 and #3 on Bing).

So pretty similar results, and MS certainly isn't going to fix Google results in Bing. The EU is full of shit. Bundling isn't harmful unless it is exploited, period. It often leads to a greater overall benefit, as products are more likely to be able to interconnect. If there is evidence of exploitation, that's different, and the EU should drop the hammer on them. But there isn't any evidence that that is going on here that I've seen, so this is almost certainly just politicians being dickweeds at the behest of people who paid them a lot of money.

Comment Re:How badly coded are Windows applications? (Score 1) 349

How badly coded are Java applications?

There, fixed that for you.

Seriously, it's Java apps and other poorly coded apps, and I'd wager all of them break because the code says "if os.name startswith("Windows 9") throw RuntimeException". It looks like all versions of OpenJDK have this as their version check before running. And there's no way for Oracle to fix it, because the problem is in each individual Java app written using OpenJDK. Which, of course, means MS can't fix it either. They normally just slap an exception on this kind of bullshit and move on, but it won't work this time. And really, I'm not even sure there is an incentive for Oracle to fix it anyway. They aren't the ones who will be losing sales because of their fuckup.

Way to go Java!

Submission + - SPAM: Hackers found flaw in OS X, control 17,000 computers via Reddit

An anonymous reader writes: When a Mac is infected with Mac.BackDoor.iWorm, the program tries to make a connection to a command server. The iWorm reportedly uses Reddit's search function to find comments left by the criminals in a Minecraft discussion section of the site. (Minecraft is the block-building video game published by independent publisher Mojang, which Microsoft purchased for $2.5 billion in September.)
Link to Original Source

Comment Re:Bullshit reason (Score 1) 349

Someone at MS is just pulling this out of their asses to try and cover that Microsoft has no clue what they are doing.

So they were able to easily query the code for a few thousand applications online that made this version check mistake. Big deal.

Pay attention. It's not a few applications. It's all Java apps. All of them. Anything written using OpenJDK is going to fail, because it checks the runtime version and throws an inappropriate error. Hell, if the JVM uses the same libraries as the JDK, those aren't even going to run. That's not a few thousand apps online, that's millions of apps, online and off, professional and amateur.

So the Java devs wrote shitty code, and it's Microsoft's fault? Nice. What a fucked up way of looking at things. It's clear you hate Microsoft for some obscure, personal, bullshit reason, but that's a huge stretch. All the Java guys had to do was look for "Windows" and the actual version number instead of "Windows 9" and there is no problem. But no, they had to be dumbfucks about it. It's not even easier than the better alternative - it takes MORE code to write it the shitty way instead of thinking for a whole minute and coming up with a better solution.

I imagine what actually happened at Redmond was something like this: MS dev starts installing applications, testing compatibility, and starts seeing messages like this "This program is not compatible with Windows 9x". Oh shit. Test some more apps, and "Runtime error - wrong OS version, please use Windows XP or later". MS dev can only sit there and say "Oh fuck". Turns out thousands of shitty programmers everywhere used the dumbest possible version discovery method (that they almost certainly didn't even need in the first place) and the only fix for all of these programs is a fix in their own code.

I'm not sure if you're getting this or not. Java apps built on OpenJDK will put a runtime error on Windows 9. All of them. Microsoft didn't write that code, Sun did (at least I'm pretty sure they did). Microsoft has had API's for accurately getting the version number since Windows has been a thing, and Java doesn't make them available.

I honestly can't think of a way for Microsoft to work around Java's shitty libraries, or any other program parsing the OS version from text in this stupid way, in any way except to rename the OS.

Compare this to how many applications out that that have broken because of other minor OS changes combined with bad programming. I've seen piles of that myself, and Microsoft never bothered this hard to keep compatibility for any of those.

Really? MS is the only OS that does care about compatibility!

Microsoft has always bent over backwards for compatibility. That's the one thing that sets them apart from OSX and Linux, and why businesses love Windows so much. We're running a critical Windows 98 application on Windows 7 right now, with no compatibility issues whatsoever (not even compatibility mode). Try updating OSX and after two or three revisions shit starts breaking, because Apple doesn't give a shit about backwards compatibility. Not so with Windows.

Plus, with every Windows release, a software maker can get a beta version of the OS and test their software on it. If their software is intrinsically broken, all they have to do is contact MS, tell them what's up, and MS will put in a workaround. Even if that workaround only works for that specific software, they'll do it. The most famous example of that was SimCity 2000, which had code written in I think XP specifically for it.

This isn't like when programmers rely on a bug in an API to perform their tasks. MS can get around that by spoofing the bug, and they do it all the time. No, there is no way for Windows to know that Java is throwing a runtime error based on shitty logic, so MS can't fix that problem. In a perfect world, MS could say "fuck em, it's their bug, they need to fix it" and release Windows 9. Java apps wouldn't work, Oracle would release patched versions of OpenJDK (they'd have to do it for ALL versions that were released), and Java programmers would fix their damn apps using the patched versions of OpenJDK.

Unfortunately, there is no way that is going to happen. And who is going to lose millions of sales because, through no fault of their own, Java doesn't work on Windows 9? That's right, Microsoft is. It's possible Oracle could patch the JVM to catch that code, but you can bet your ass Java programmers aren't the only ones who have been this retarded. So the only real solution is to avoid the problem altogether, and skip version 9.

Slashdot Top Deals

Real programmers don't write in BASIC. Actually, no programmers write in BASIC after reaching puberty.