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Submission + - Maximizing economic output with linear programming ... and communism (medium.com)

mkwan writes: Economies are just a collection of processes that convert raw materials and labour into useful goods and services. By representing these processes as a series of equations and solving a humongous linear programming problem, it should be possible to maximize an economy's GDP. The catch? The economy needs to go communist.

Submission + - Sharkey: a service for managing ssh certificates (github.com)

alokmenghrajani writes: Sharkey is our team's intern summer project. We are open sourcing it today.

In the enterprise world, engineers often ssh into hosts for the first time on a daily basis. This trains them to acknowledge the trust on first use prompt on a daily basis. It's even worse when dealing with VMs which get regularly re-imaged/move around.

Sharkey removes the prompt by signing the openssh certificates.

Submission + - Software Freedom Conservancy: Distributing Linux with ZFS is illegal (phoronix.com)

LichtSpektren writes: Phoronix reports that Bradley M. Kuhn and Karen M. Sandler at the Software Freedom Conservancy (SFS) have posted a blog post today arguing that Canonical's plan to distribute Ubuntu 16.04 LTS "Xenial Xerus" with support for the ZFS file system violates the Linux kernel's GPLv2 license.

On February 18, Dustin Kirkland at Canonical wrote on his blog: "We at Canonical have conducted a legal review, including discussion with the industry's leading software freedom legal counsel, of the licenses that apply to the Linux kernel and to ZFS. And in doing so, we have concluded that we are acting within the rights granted and in compliance with their terms of both of those licenses...The CDDL cannot apply to the Linux kernel because zfs.ko is a self-contained file system module — the kernel itself is quite obviously not a derivative work of this new file system. And zfs.ko, as a self-contained file system module, is clearly not a derivative work of the Linux kernel but rather quite obviously a derivative work of OpenZFS and OpenSolaris. Equivalent exceptions have existed for many years, for various other stand alone, self-contained, non-GPL kernel modules. Our conclusion is good for Ubuntu users, good for Linux, and good for all of free and open source software."

The SFS's blog post of today states: "We are sympathetic to Canonical's frustration in this desire to easily support more features for their users. However, as set out below, we have concluded that their distribution of zfs.ko violates the GPL."

Submission + - Gravitational waves spotted for the first time. (sciencemag.org)

NecroBones writes: Long ago, deep in space, two massive black holes—the ultrastrong gravitational fields left behind by gigantic stars that collapsed to infinitesimal points—slowly drew together. The stellar ghosts spiraled ever closer, until, about 1.3 billion years ago, they whirled about each other at half the speed of light and finally merged. The collision sent a shudder through the universe: ripples in the fabric of space and time called gravitational waves. Five months ago, they washed past Earth. And, for the first time, physicists detected the waves, fulfilling a 4-decade quest and opening new eyes on the heavens.

Submission + - Man spanks himself to death

phrackthat writes: Clifford Ray Jones of Detroit died in a Darwin Award worthy fashion. In the ultimate case of distracted driving, he was spanking it to porn on his phone while negotiating a turn on a ramp and rolled his 1996 Toyota. He was partially ejected from his car's sunroof because he wasn't wearing a seat belt. He also wasn't wearing any pants. He died at the scene. Nothing in the story about whether the car was stick(y) shift or automatic. Additional details here.

Submission + - Chicago Professor's P vs. NP Breakthrough? (chicagomag.com) 1

djupedal writes: László Babai, a legendary mathematician and computer scientist at the University of Chicago, seems to have made “potentially the most important theoretical computer science advance in more than a decade."

He has proven that any two networks, no matter how complex, can be compared in “quasi-polynomial time"—not polynomial time, but not bad.

Submission + - Climate change is make the earth spin slower (www.cbc.ca) 1

jfbilodeau writes: With human-caused climate change, we puny creatures are having some powerful effects on our entire planet, including one you might not imagine was possible — making it spin more slowly. The melting of glaciers near the Earth's poles and the resulting rise in sea level is slowing down the Earth's rotation and making each day a little longer, a new study confirms.

Submission + - No More QA: Yahoo's Tech Leaders Say Engineers are Better Off Coding With No Net (ieee.org)

Tekla Perry writes: A year ago Yahoo eliminated its test and quality assurance team, as part of project Warp Drive, its move to continuous delivery of code. The shift wasn't easy, Yahoo tech execs say, and required some "tough parenting." But the result has been fewer errors because "when you have humans everywhere, checking this, checking that, they add so much human error into the chain that, when you take them out, even if you fail sometimes, overall you are doing better.” And the pain wasn't as great as expected. Yahoo's chief architect and SVP of science and technology discuss the transition.

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

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.

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Buy or Build a high end gaming PC? 2

An anonymous reader writes: Looking at some Black Friday ads, I'm seeing some good deals on Alienware and other gaming rigs that would be cheaper than building them from scratch. If you built or were to build a high end gaming rig, what would you suggest? Or would you just get a prebuilt system and customize it to your needs? I'm not looking for cheap, I want best quality and performance, but not overkill that would rival supercomputers and at the same time break my bank account. It would be a Windows system to keep my family happy, but possibly dual boot with Linux to keep me happy. It will be located in the livingroom hooked up to a regular monitor and the big screen TV, replacing a budget PC that's in there now.

Submission + - Did scientists pick up their first intelligent radio waves from aliens? (express.co.uk)

schwit1 writes: Astronomers have picked up five mysterious unidentified radio signals that could originate from outside the Milky Way.

The "fast radio bursts" included one "double signal" never heard before and have left astronomers buzzing with excitement over the possibility of it being a message with alien origins.

Only 11 of the unidentified transient radio pulses have been recorded before around the world.

And it is the curious new double blast — which was accompanied by four "singles" — which has baffled astronomers analyzing data from the Parkes radio telescope in New South Wales, Australia.

Submission + - The War on Campus Sexual Assault Goes Digital

HughPickens.com writes: According to a recent study of 27 schools, about one-quarter of female undergraduates said they had experienced nonconsensual sex or touching since entering college, but most of the students said they did not report it to school officials or support services. Now Natasha Singer reports at the NYT that in an effort to give students additional options — and to provide schools with more concrete data — a nonprofit software start-up in San Francisco called Sexual Health Innovations has developed an online reporting system for campus sexual violence. One of the most interesting features of Callisto is a matching system — in which a student can ask the site to store information about an assault in escrow and forward it to the school only if someone else reports another attack identifying the same assailant. The point is not just to discover possible repeat offenders. In college communities, where many survivors of sexual assault know their assailants, the idea of the information escrow is to reduce students’ fears that the first person to make an accusation could face undue repercussions.

"It’s this last option that makes Callisto unique," writes Olga Khazan. "Most rapes are committed by repeat offenders, yet most victims know their attackers. Some victims are reluctant to report assaults because they aren’t sure whether a crime occurred, or they write it off as a one-time incident. Knowing about other victims might be the final straw that puts an end to their hesitation—or their benefit of the doubt. Callisto’s creators claim that if they could stop perpetrators after their second victim, 60 percent of campus rapes could be prevented." This kind of system is based partly on a Michigan Law Review article about “information escrows,” or systems that allow for the transmitting of sensitive information in ways that reduce “first-mover disadvantage" also known to economists as the "hungry penguin problem". As game theorist Michael Chwe points out, the fact that each person creates her report independently makes it less likely they’ll later be accused of submitting copycat reports, if there are similarities between the incidents.

Submission + - Is curl|bash insecure? Sandstorm.io thinks not (sandstorm.io) 2

taikedz writes: I can see several flaws in these arguments, so much so that where I previously dismissed the curl|bash offer as non-indicative of Sandstorm's security otherwise, I am now not so sure.

What do you think? From the article:

Sandstorm is a security product, so we want to address that head-on.

When you install software on Linux, no matter what package manager you use, you are giving that software permission to act as you. Most package managers will even execute scripts from the package at install time – as root. So in reality, although curl|bash looks scary, it’s really just laying bare the reality that applies to every popular package manager out there: anything you install can pwn you.

Realistically, downloading and installing software while relying on HTTPS for integrity is a widely-used practice. The web sites for Firefox, Rust, Google Chrome, and many others offer an HTTPS download as the primary installation mechanism.


Submission + - Cox HSI ends unlimited internet, introduces cap system

Junior J. Junior III writes: Today, Cox High Speed Internet customers received the following communication:

Dear [Cox HSI Customer],

We spend more time online today than ever before, streaming movies and TV shows, downloading music, sharing photographs and staying connected to friends and family. As Internet and data consumption grows, Cox continues to improve our network to ensure a quality experience for all our customers.

To better support our customers' expanding online activity, we recently increased the amount of data included in all of our Cox High Speed Internet packages. About 95% of customers are now on a data plan that is well-suited for their household. In the event you use more data than is included in your plan, beginning with bill cycles that start on June 15th, we will automatically provide additional data for $10 per 50 Gigabyte (GB) block for that usage period. Based on your last 3 months of data usage and our increased data plans, it is unlikely you will need additional data blocks unless your usage increases.

What this means for you

To help our customers get accustomed to this change, we are providing a grace period for 3 consecutive billing cycles. During this period, customers will not pay for additional data blocks for data used above their data plan. Customers who exceed their data plan will see charges and a matching credit on their bill statement. Beginning with bills dated October 15th and later, grace period credits will no longer be applied, and customers will be charged for usage above their data plan.

Understanding and managing your data usage

You are currently subscribed to the Preferred package which includes a data plan of 350 GB (Gigabytes) per month. To help you stay informed about data usage, Cox will begin to notify you via email and browser alert if you use 85% of your monthly data plan and again if you use 100% of your monthly data plan. Additional blocks of data will only be provided if you exceed your data plan. This will not change your Internet package and there will be NO change to the speed or quality of your service for data usage above your plan. To better understand your household's historical and current data usage, you will find your household's data usage meter and other helpful tools and information here.

Thank you for choosing Cox.

Sincerely,

Cox High Speed Internet Team

In the wake of FCC's ruling reaffirming Network Neutrality, is this what ISPs will be doing to squeeze more money out of its customers?

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