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Why is OSS Commercial Software So Expensive? 718

An anonymous reader asks: "Our startup honestly wanted to use OSS products. We do not want to spend time for any OSS bug fixing so our main requirement was -official support for all OSS products-. We thought were prepared to pay the price for OSS products, but then we got a price sticker shock. Now behold: QT is $3300 per seat. We have dropped the development and rewrote everything to C# (MSVS 2005 is ~$700). Embedded Linux from a reputable RT vendor is $25,000 per 5 seats per year. We needed only 3 seats. We had to buy 5 nevertheless. The support was bad. We will go for VxWorks or WinCE in our next product. Red Hat Linux WS is $299. An OEM version of Windows XP Pro is ~$140. A Cygwin commercial license will cost tens of thousands of dollars and is only available for large shops. We need 5 seats. Windows Unix services are free. After all, we have decided that the survival of our business is more important for us then 'do-good' ideas. Except for that embedded Linux (slated for WinCE or VxWorks substitution), we are not OSS shop anymore." Why are commercial ports of OSS software so expensive, and what would need to happen before they could be competitive in the future?

GeV Acceleration In 3 Centimeters 151

ZonkerWilliam writes, "Here is a very interesting article, for the scientific community at least, on an advancement in laser wakefield particle accelerators. Being able to accelerate electrons to 1 Gev in the space of 3.3 cm calls up visions of portable devices that can be used anywhere: think of portable cancer therapies, if they can do the same for positrons, portable PET scans, possible use in compact fusion devices, capturing the dearly departed, etc. The uses are mind boggling." From the article: "By comparison, SLAC, the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, boosts electrons to 50 GeV over a distance of two miles... The Berkeley Lab group and their Oxford collaborators... achieve a 50th of SLAC's beam energy in just one-100,000th of SLAC's length." I doubt that this tech will fit on a table top anytime soon. The article quotes the Berkeley researcher: "We believe we can [get to 10 GB] with an accelerator less than a meter long — although we'll probably need 30 meters' worth of laser path."

Gran Tourismo HD Cars Sold Seperately? 329

KDR_11k writes "1up reports on a Famitsu article discussing the future of microtransactions for PS3. According to the article, Gran Tourismo HD will require all cars to be bought via microtransactions. More specifically, the 'classic' package will come with no cars or tracks and the 'premium' package will include 30 cars and a measly 2 tracks to race on. Additional cars cost between 50 and 100 yen ($0.43-$0.85) and tracks go for 200-500 yen ($1.71-$4.26) a piece. No pricing was given for the game itself." From the article: "Now, is it possible that the game will be a full-priced title with a built-in download system that allows users to download cars and tracks equal to the number of the game's retail price? We hope the model ends up similar to this. However, right now, details are extremely sparse, and Sony has to have an answer to these questions -- most of the people who can answer are over in Tokyo, we'll update if we hear back. Welcome to next-gen."

Google News Removes Belgian Newspaper 381

CaVi writes "Following a judicial action (link in French) by the 'French-speaking Belgian Association of the press,' Google.be has removed all the French-speaking press sites from its index, as can be seen by doing a search. The court order to Google is posted at Chilling Effects. In summary, the editors want a cut of the profit that Google News makes using their information. No such deal exists for the moment. Google has been ordered to remove all references, or pay one million Euros per day if it doesn't comply. Net effect: they removed all link to the sites, from Google News, but also from Google's search. Will Google become irrelevant in Belgian, and be replaced by MSN? Or will the newspapers, which gain from commercials, and thus net traffic, change their position when they'll see the drop in traffic that it is causing?" There's also a link to a Dutch news article on the subject; one of the key issues was evidently that some of what Google was carrying was no longer available on the newspaper's website itself, so rather then linking to the newspaper, Google was displaying it on their own.

Space Shuttle Atlantis Delayed Again 174

eldavojohn writes "An electrical short cause the space shuttle Atlantis to be delayed since a lightning strike to the pad and Tropical Storm Ernesto caused delays. From the article: 'Liftoff was only hours away Wednesday morning when engineers reported a short in one of three fuel cells that supplies electricity for all the on-board systems, including the crew compartment.' It also points out that 'The faulty cell is currently operational even with the short. But after the 2003 Columbia disaster, which killed all seven astronauts, NASA says it has adopted an aggressive, safety-conscious approach to launching.' It causes one to wonder whether pre-Columbia-disaster NASA would have just replaced the fuel cell on the fly without telling anyone — and whether or not that is an ethically sound choice."

New Lego Mindstorms Dissected 136

Turismo writes "The new Mindstorms NXT robotics kit from Lego is put through the ringer by the guys at Ars Technica, and they like what they find. From the article: 'the NXT brick can communicate with three other Bluetooth devices at any one time. This means that if you had four Mindstorms kits, you could create a mega-robot with four brains, twelve motors, and sixteen sensors — all of it coordinated through Bluetooth. The setup also works with cell phone and PDA Bluetooth systems, meaning that you can use your phone as a remote control or an output device.'" Update: 08/31 18:54 GMT by Z : Fixed absent submittor.

AT&T Breached, Exposes 19,000 Identities 143

mytrip writes to tell us News.com is reporting that a recent attack on AT&T's systems saw thousands of customers' personal data compromised. About 19,000 customers of AT&T's online store who purchased equipment for a DSL connection were affected. From the article: "AT&T is offering to pay for credit monitoring services for customers whose accounts have been impacted because they could be at risk of identity fraud. The company also has made available a toll-free number to affected customers to call for more information."

Diebold Flops in Alaska 255

lukej writes "From the Anchorage Daily News, During yesterday's preliminary and ballot measure election across Alaska, Diebold built voting machines failed to 'phone home' causing a hand recount. As a party spokesperson said: "I can say there are many systematic problems with Diebold machines that have been identified in many contexts." Additionally, the state itself has mandated some hand counts of all electronic results, and the Democratic Party is simply suggesting voters request paper voting."

Does the NSA Need More Electricity? 324

An anonymous reader writes "The Baltimore sun (NSA watchers can't live without it) reports that the NSA worries about overloading the Baltimore energy grid if it were to install new computing capacity at it's Fort Meade HQ. This includes two multi million dollar supercomputers. Some systems are reportedly not getting the cooling they need. The temperature in NSA buildings is raised two degrees to conserve energy, according to the article. The NSA is Baltimore Gas and Electric`s (BGE) biggest customer the sun reports. Former NSA employees fear that a power outage at Fort Meade would have worse consequences than the 2000 "information overload" related outage. The NSA does apparently not have the backup power generation capacity to power the whole facility during power outages. Some point a finger at a new mall build in the area, but a BGE spokesman says the mall is "fairly easily accommodated". Some sources say the problem was identified in the late 90`s. But "keeping the lights on" wasn't a priority. A $4 million computer upgrade to the system that allocates power was postponed for budgetary reasons. (the NSA budged is estimated at $8 Billion) The article reports that the budget documents for listening posts around the world report similar infrastructural problems, in the budgets for 07 as well as previous years. It should be noted that the huge "groundbreaker" IT infrastructure upgrade program is reportedly over budget and late, but not yet fully operational."

Congress vs Misleading Meta Tags 473

Krishna Dagli writes "The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday approved a bill that would make it a federal felony for Webmasters to use innocent words like "Barbie" or "Furby" but actually feature sexual content on their sites. Anyone who includes misleading "words" or "images" intended to confuse a minor into viewing a possibly harmful Web site could be imprisoned for up to 20 years and fined, the bill says." Terrible news for the Barbie/Furbie fetishists out there, to say nothing about being completely impossible to enforce globally.

McAfee Quietly Fixes Software Flaw 65

Chris Reimer writes "The San Jose Mercury News is reporting that McAfee fixed a serious design flaw months ago in their enterprise product without notifying businesses and U.S. government agencies until today." From the article: "McAfee said its own engineers first discovered the flaw, which lets attackers seize control of computers to steal sensitive data, delete files or implant malicious programs. McAfee produced a software update in February but described it only as offering new feature enhancements. Many corporations and government agencies are reluctant to update software unless necessary because of fears that doing so might introduce new problems."

Windows Rootkit Wars Escalate 342

An anonymous reader writes "The rootkit wars have started to escalate with a rootkit named Rustock which is able to remain hidden from all the popular anti-rootkit tools. It uses some new techniques including not only putting itself in a ADS (NTFS alternate data stream) which isn't seen by normal file system enumeration tools, but even blocks ADS aware tools from seeing the stream. Works in Vista, too! Analysis in both Symantec and F-Secure blogs."

Northrop to Sell Laser Shield Bubble for Airports 648

NeoPrime writes "CNN Money web site has a story about Northrop Grumman forecasting development of a laser shield 'bubble' for airports and other installations in the United States within 18 months. The system will be called Skyguard — a joint venture with Israel and the U.S. Army. It will have the capability to generate a shield five kilometers in radius."

Athens Breeding "Super Mosquitoes" 458

Chemisor writes "Air pollution and cramped housing conditions in Athens, Greece, are creating a new breed of mosquitoes which are bigger, faster, and can smell humans from farther away. The super insects have color vision and detect humans from 25-30 meters, which is about 50% farther than the ordinary mosquitoe. Beating their wing 500 times a second provides them with extra speed, and the larger bodies (by 0.3ug) presumably allow larger bloodsucking capacity." And in a similar vein (har har) New Scientist had a piece about what mosquitoes like or hate about people.

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