Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


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 Tolerance towards intolerant religions (Score 2) 894

Because that's also what the pontiff is asking of us.

On the one hand, when feeling less judgmental I think it can be a wise approach. It seems normal that so many people always want to keep things the way they are. Adapting to change is not as easy for some as it is for others and one could argue that the more progressive types sometimes need to be more tolerant and patient towards the less adaptable conservative types, many of whom are also religious.

On the other hand, when those same conservative, religious types maintain arbitrary, strange, discriminatory and often cruel beliefs that they strongly feel should also be respected by everyone else, then I become less tolerant of them. The Pope needs to recognize that there are limits to what can be expected even from peaceful, civilized non-believers.

Comment Re:An opportunity for Debian? (Score 1) 555

You are joking, right?


The reason people use RHEL not Debian is primary because tons of commercial software built on SAP, Oracle and similar are *supported* on RHEL.

Interesting. That would explain part of its appeal. I'm a long-time Debian user who happens to have obtained an RHCE recently. RHEL left me with many positive impressions, but there's much that I have yet to learn about it.

... People use RHEL because they need to have support for the apps they are running. Not because it uses this init system or other - none of RHEL admins really care about it as long as it is supported by the business apps they need to operate.

Well, I've seen comments from RHEL admins who would disagree with that statement (I believe here on Slashdot).

And also I don't quite get the shitstorm going on about systemd. I think compared to sysvinit it is a great step forward. ...

For me, Linux is about control. That's the great thing about Linux, and the Unix philosophy in general: it's resulted in an incredibly stable system that at the same time is possible to tune in a very fine-grained manner. That's why I like Debian. The systems that I've been building and maintaining with it over the years just keep getting more complex. My favorite ones are usually the cheapest ones: built on a shoe-string budget, but running everything including the kitchen sink. Importantly, I've managed to get it all to boot up and behave just the way I want precisely because of the extent to which I can control sysvinit, cron, rsyslog, udev, fstab, networking, and so on. I've accomplished much that way and so it's worth a lot to me.

Apparently, systemd replaces all that and more with a single monolithic structure, which seems more akin to the Windows way of doing things. It's main selling point appears to be boot-up speed, and while I can understand how laptop users (Ubuntu, Linux Mint, etc.) would appreciate to that, IMO the cost that we must all pay for that extra speed is just too high. Don't get me wrong: I'm all for improving the Linux boot process, but not at any cost. I can appreciate the idea that sometimes it's necessary to take the bull by the horns, but in this case I think an incremental approach is still the better way.

Comment Seems reasonable to me (Score 1) 399

As we all know, it's still very expensive to put a kilo into low Earth orbit, so sending a kilo to Mars will only be that much more expensive. Therefore, even as a guy, the line of reasoning seems plenty reasonable to me. Ideally, we would put the crew in stasis while en route, but in lieu of that, having a crew that will not have to take nearly as much food with them makes a lot of sense. Besides, including men in the mission "just because they can lift heavier things" would be tantamount to admitting our inability to plan ahead and solve certain technical problems. Putting boots on Mars is going to be hard enough as it is, so clinging needlessly to old ideas and refusing to think outside of the box will not get us there any sooner.

Comment An opportunity for Debian? (Score 3, Interesting) 555

Having used it almost exclusively since 2001, I've always regarded Debian as a distro for more tech-savvy and conservative types -- system administrators, for example. However, their recent move towards systemd seems very unlike them and, as a professional sysadmin, this worries me. Perhaps it's what we can expect, every once in a while at least, from a bunch of people who are not system administrators.

Luckily, they seems to be having second thoughts about the matter and this could be an opportunity for them. Their main competitor, which IMO is Red Hat, have already committed to systemd, which I'm not happy about either and find just as surprising. Therefore, since so many people have expressed their misgivings about it, if Debian were to reverse their earlier decision and go back to sysvinit (or at least make systemd optional), then I think we could see many sysadmins converting their RHEL systems to Debian jessie.

Comment Soon, this will be normal (Score 5, Informative) 83

With so much corporate money involved in US politics these days and the revolving door being such an integral part of the system, we should have expected this. After all, the difference between the revolving door and what Dowd is doing now -- being on both sides of the door at the same time -- is only a matter of perception. If nobody in power objects, then this will soon become normal.

If we want to fix things, then there's only one solution: Get money out of politics! Vermont and California are the first two States to call for an Article V convention to amend the Constitution to require all election campaigns to be publicly funded and end corporate personhood. It may seem radical to some, but this is the only way to reverse the series of disastrous Supreme Court decisions, ending with Citizens United and McCutcheon, that got us into this mess.

Comment Re:As long as certain rules are kept (Score 1) 383

I'm ready to switch passwords for anything else as long as:
1 - It can't be extracted from me by an easier method than torture or blackmail.
2 - It stops working forever if I'm dead.

Agreed. Other authentication factors can be taken from you without much difficulty, but password access requires actual conscious cooperation.

On the other hand, I know where they're coming from. For the last five years I've been working on getting as many network services as possible to work with Kerberos authentication. So far, I've got OpenLDAP, OpenAFS, Netatalk (AFP), NFS, OpenSSH, Exim (SMTP), Dovecot (IMAP) and Apache (HTTP) to work with it, which has eliminated a lot of password use, as well as improved security. It would be fun to add MFA to the equation, but I'd still prefer to somehow remain consciously involved in the authentication process. Finally, people may hate having to remember new passwords all the time, although they get used to it, but the fact that they are so easy to change is also an advantage.

Comment Re:Environmental impact: sea snakes in the Atlanti (Score 1) 322

The lake they plan to use is above sea level. They would need at locks on either side of it to use the lake.

Oops, I missed that. Running a set of locks so large will require a huge amount of fresh water, and Lake Nicaragua is much larger than Gatun Lake in Panama, but I still wonder if they will have enough to prevent the lake from slowly draining. If not, I reasoned, a lockless approach, bypassing the lake, would be the only solution... and an environmental disaster.

Comment Environmental impact: sea snakes in the Atlantic (Score 4, Informative) 322

If the Nicaragua canal does not contain any locks, as does the Panama canal, one particular sea snake species, Pelamis platura , will almost certainly enter the Caribbean, the Atlantic and the Mediterranean where there are currently no sea snakes. So far, Pelamis and other sea snake species have been prevented from entering the Atlantic due to the cold waters in the north and south, the higher salinity of the Red Sea and the system of locks and fresh water of the Panama Canal. If the isthmus of Central America is breached by a lockless canal, I see no reason why P. platura (just this one snake species) and many other unwanted tropical denizens of the Pacific will not make it through to the Caribbean, the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, while many from the Caribbean will get through to the Atlantic. In other words, without any locks, this will be a recipe for an environmental disaster. Let's hope I'm wrong and they're planning to build a minimum set of locks anyway.

Comment Re:Not as original as they claim (Score 1) 218

(...)because $24k is hardly unaffordable.

It's not unaffordable. It's uncompetitive. A Dacia Sandero costs $9k, runs on LPG, transports 4 plus luggage. $16k covers a lot of cost for the fuel price difference, and you get a lot more use cases out of the vehicle.

The Lit C-1 doesn't compete head-to-head with cheap cars, like the Dacia Sandero. Yes, the Sandero has all of those advantages over the C-1, but cars like that are much more expensive to own in the longer term, will never be as environmentally friendly, are less agile in traffic, probably less fun to drive and certainly don't look as nice. Those are also the reasons (in descending order) that I would have for buying a C-1.

Perhaps I should also mention that I live in the Netherlands where the gas price is currently about $9.00 a gallon (the highest in the world, mostly due to excise tax) and commuters tend to spend a lot of their time stuck in traffic -- another reason why I find the C-1 so appealing. Also, the Dutch government has extra taxes for people with cars than run on diesel and LPG, so cars that burn those fuels only makes sense for people who expect high mileage.

Comment Re:wow....200 whole orders??? (Score 1) 218

200 pre orders?? Screw that. The Elio has 20,000 pre-orders, and it's not built yet, has a nice low (projected) cost of $6800 and gets 84mpg. And I'd much rather have the Elio than the C-1 (although for a brief moment, I considered the C-1)... But for the long range I need, the Elio fits my requirements better.

An interesting concept, and at less than a 3rd of the price of a C-1 I can see why this is a popular idea. However, the Elio is still a gasoline-driven vehicle and even if it were possible to get 85 MPG all the time, that would not even be twice as efficient as my old Honda Civic and nowhere near as efficient as will be possible with the C-1 (0.6 cents per mile). In fact, the C-1 is so much more efficient, that here in the Netherlands it could mean saving the cost difference between an Elio and a C-1 within four years (note, however, that in the Netherlands gasoline currently sells for about $9.00 a gallon -- the highest price in the world). The C-1's 200-mile range-limit may make it an unacceptable option for you today, but battery technology has come a long way and performance is only getting better. And I've been told that battery upgrades for the C-1 will be possible.

Comment Re:This is Awesome (Score 1) 218

Does it come with air conditioning? Wonder if you could have a two-seater?

See this FAQ. I was told a while back that the C-1 will also include air-conditioning, cruise-control, and even a head-up display (HUD), but I wonder how much of that will make it into the final production version. However, they also wanted to make many of its parts upgradeable, so perhaps it will be possible to add some of those bells and whistles later on. It will be possible to take a passenger, but they say you will only want to do that for relatively short distances (whether this is due to excessive battery drain or discomfort, I don't know).

Comment Re:I prefer more tires for more contact with the r (Score 3, Insightful) 218

I like it when my brakes stop me before I slide into something.

Motorcycles are actually better at stopping than most cars. Ever heard of a stopee?

(I ride a motorcycle, I find riding in the rain to be unpleasant for a variety of reasons)

Yes, because if you manage to get your motorcycle's front wheel to slide, it usually means you fall will over. But, that's exactly one of the reasons why the C-1 is so cool: it's gyroscopically stabilized, so if it slides for whatever reason it won't fall over. In that respect it will behave much like a car.

Comment Re:Suspension? (Score 1) 218

The wheels are very close to the chassis. I wonder whether the vehicle has any suspension at all.

Yeah, I saw that too. But, remember that the one in the video is only a prototype. I have little doubt that any production version will have more suspension travel. For example, I suspect that the latter will have slightly smaller wheels.

Comment Re:So it's a gyrocar? (Score 2) 218

Gyrocars are nothing new. ... What makes this one so special and why do they think this gyrocar will succeed where others have failed?

Thanks to the fact that the C-1 is electric and makes use of modern computer technology, it's simpler, lighter and cheaper to produce than its conceptual predecessors and has the potential to be much more reliable. Oh, and a gyrocar in production... that would be something new.

Comment Re:Not as original as they claim (Score 4, Interesting) 218

They are not as original as they claim. There was a similar concept in kit car magazines in the 90's. There is a Youtube video (Yes, it is Flash but so is the video on the story)-

Yes, and over 30 years before that there was the Ford Gyron, which was much more like a car, and even it was not original. However, nothing like that has ever made it into production. If the C-1 does, it'll be the first gyroscopically stabilized vehicle ever to make it to market. And I figure it has a good chance of success, because $24k is hardly unaffordable.

Slashdot Top Deals

God made machine language; all the rest is the work of man.