Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 Internet speed test! ×

Comment Lest we forget... (Score 1) 616

"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." -- Maybe Gandi (

We're on the verge of the "you win" stage. Large companies and governments are adopting GNU/Linux and FOSS applications as their defaults. FOSS companies have been successful for years. Red Hat, Inc. was founded 19 years ago. IBM has fully embraced GNU/Linux, contributing code to projects and lawyers to the defense in the SCO case.

The Microsoft Halloween Documents started in August of 1998. Microsoft felt threatened at least 14 years ago. Back then it was just GNU/Linux, but now it's Android, LibreOffice, Chrome/Firefox, Postgres, Eclipse, ... You better believe they're going to do whatever they think they can get away with to fight to keep their business alive. The only weapons Microsoft uses are acquisition, litigation and marketing.

TL;DR - apply extra critical reading skills when reading and responding to comments on threads like these.

Comment Re:Kind of Like It (Score 2) 444

"Change for the sake of change" is necessarily bad because if it weren't, it would be "change for the sake of improvement." Stasis is always better than deterioration. That's why "staying the same for the sake of staying the same" is a good thing. Either keep things the same or make them better. If you're changing something and it's not getting better, you're making it worse.

More importantly, if the change is additive (augmenting) rather than destructive (replacing) then it can only make things better. More choices or liberties are always better because the people may choose the best option to suit their current context. In this case, according to the linked article, the change is destructive. Something that worked well enough for people for 17 years is being removed in favor of something else. The something else is probably better in some cases, but definitely not always. This is one of the reasons some people (me) have an anti-Microsoft bias. They impose changes (start menu, ribbon, 'Metro', ...) on their customers. Most companies do this. It's cheaper and easier for them and in most cases and they have no meaningful competition. Users' choices are "keep running unsupported software" or "use a worse tool". That's bad.

I hope that answers your question.

Comment Re:If you point out the difference between terms (Score 1) 412

I know what you mean, but I object. If I say something ignorant I want someone who knows more about the subject to correct me.

If I didn't know the difference between a transmission and a differential, and I incorrectly referred to one as the other, I would want to be corrected. If I didn't know the difference between Africa the continent and the countries it contains, and made some broad over-generalization about conditions in Africa, I would want someone to set me straight. I can't give an example about whatever stuff I am ignorant about because I don't know them well enough to make examples out of them.

Apparently most people want to live in ignorance and admittedly people can live in ignorance and be functional members of society, but isn't it better to encourage each other to be better informed and to use our languages more accurately and precisely (and to know the difference)? Nothing is lost by knowing more. It's not good to be a dick about it, but we can educate each other without being dicks.

Comment Re:adults living together (Score 1) 804

having a sexually normal and healthy male and female psyche in the house is critical for raising healthy offspring

[citation needed]

gays cannot adequately provide that

[citation needed]

they are assaulted with messages from culture saying not only that it's ok to be feminine

You are implying that there is some harm in people with Y chromosomes displaying behaviors popularly associated with people who lack Y chromosomes. You will need to provide a citation defending that assertion. Good luck with that.

Comment Re:Before a knee jerk posts... (Score 1) 43

And now the worst news of all for you: the HTML engine (or any other portion) of the browser can and often does contain exploitable unpatched vulnerabilities. So even if you disable JavaScript you can get infected.

I was going to call "citation needed", but then I Googled around and found an example.

The bottom, line the best way to protect yourself is honor the following three golder rules:

1. Keep your browser and OS updated with security fixes.

2. Don't visit suspicious websites and don't open suspicious email attachments.

3. Use a good antivirus that monitors your internet traffic.


I'm not a fan of antivirus software, but otherwise I completely agree. Defense-in-depth is the only defense.

Comment Re:Having read aboutthe charges and Assange's answ (Score 2) 612

But there's too much weirdness about this case to just say "let's hold a trial like we normally would anyway." For my part, I think the extradition will proceed and I don't think he's going to make it to Sweden. He will be "lost" along the way and never heard from again. His supporters will say he was black-bagged (but no body will be found) and his detractors will say he escaped and staged it in such a way as to martyr himself.

People say "if the US wanted to kill him, they would just kill him." The problem with that is that unless they can stage it in such a way where it might look like an escape, he definitely will become a martyr and it will mess up their proceedings elsewhere. Other people will say, "If he wanted to escape he would just escape." The problem there is that it would unravel everything he has worked for, personally and globally.

I would love to see Assange delivered safely to Sweden and tried. If he does make it to court in Sweden I have confidence that his trial will be fair. If he is found guilty I think four years in prison could be good for him (you are not above the law, Julian) and the rest of the world (he's not a mythical creature, folks). I just don't think it's going to happen.

One more thing: just because someone's an asshole doesn't mean they can't also do good things, and just because someone's nice doesn't mean they can't do awful things. People are complex.

Comment Re:Ooooooook. (Score 1) 101

"BTW mods; there is nothing wrong with the occasional question from our simian relatives."

Questions from the subjects are prejudicial to good simian discipline.

Order requires credible threat of force, so I spank my monkey constantly.

That's reasonable, but I exhort you to exercise caution to ensure you don't rustle your monkey's jimmies.

Comment Re:Different kind of anti-social (Score 1) 440

Sounds like a happy ending to the story for you, but I wonder why you couldn't deal with this through your property manager? Surely a loud tenant is something they should deal with? Back in '92 my upstairs neighbor complained about my guitar playing to the apartment office. They asked me to use headphones or stop playing. I did just that because I didn't want to get kicked out.

Or are you in some sort of condo arrangement where everyone "owns" their portion of the building? In which place there must be some kind of condo union or something for managing these issues?

Seems like it shouldn't be a city issue unless the noise is loud enough to be disruptive to activity outside the building.

Comment Re:Wait, hang on (Score 2) 336

Furthermore, though the initial nuclear blast is highly visible, the ongoing damage is largely invisible. Folks visiting a blast site days or weeks later run a high risk of dramatically reducing their life expectancy and they won't know whether they are in danger unless they bring a Geiger counter with them. The damage from fire is short lived and obvious, but nuclear fallout is prolonged and difficult to detect.

Even more frightening for some, while fire must get through the skin and lungs to damage the rest of a person, some kinds of ionizing radiation penetrate the entire body, often resulting in reduced fertility and increased birth defects. Nuclear attacks don't just destroy buildings and kill those caught in the blast, they also attack future generations. In as much as we are machines for propagating our genes, this is the most terrifying aggression possible.

Comment Re:I think the key... (Score 1) 213

I agree with your conclusion, but wish to provide a different reason that you're right. You say, "Without me the crime wouldn't have happened," but that's not the deciding criterion. The reason you are at fault in this hypothetical scenario is because you made the choice to do harm to another. You have agency. You are responsible for your actions. The decision to do harm was yours. The decisions of all those who made your decision possible (the manufacturers who produced the tools) were not decisions which caused harm. They had no reasonable expectation that their actions would necessarily lead to you harming your victim.

To put this in terms of the classic crypt-analysis characters, if Alice makes knives, she has no reason to think doing so will harm Bob. If Charlie buys a knife from Alice, she has no reason to think he will do use it against Bob. If Alice wishes Bob to come to harm, she must attack him herself, rather than just making knives and hoping someone will eventually hate Bob as much as she does. On the other hand, if Eve is a known transgressor, especially fond of knives and hateful of Bob, and if Alice is known to hate Bob, then for Alice to provide Eve with a knife might be seen as evidence of Alice being partly culpable in Eve's attack on Bob. In this case it is not Alice's creating or providing the knife which is the crime, but her intent to use Eve to get to Bob and reasonably expecting it to work. More evidence of Alice's guilt would be if she refused to provide Bob with a knife to defend himself with.

Enabling others to do harm cannot be consistently criminalized because the world is a dangerous place and humans can always do each other harm. If we wish to criminalize enabling harmful actions we must prohibit all tools rope (a strangling hazard) and the wheel (which can be used to crush a person).

Comment Re:nothing and everything's a law of nature (Score 4, Insightful) 173

This is why all notions of property are arbitrary.

Could you give me my wallet, there in your pocket?

Will you do the same for me later? If so, yes, you may have the wallet in my pocket.

Just because you and I currently have an agreed on notion of property which says that the wallet in my pocket is mine doesn't mean we can't re-negotiate it right now, if it suits us both. If anyone could take my stuff at any time I might not have any food to eat at the end of the day. But if I can take anyone else's stuff too (without them minding), then that's not a problem any more.

I still prefer our current model (the wallet in my pants is mine) because I don't know who you are and don't trust you to support me when I need it, but I do share with the people I trust. The concept of property is not a fundamental trait of the universe. It is something some animals develop to optimize resource management. It is something which could always be improved. Its boundaries are negotiable and arbitrary.

Slashdot Top Deals

Optimism is the content of small men in high places. -- F. Scott Fitzgerald, "The Crack Up"