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


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 Re:Those Who Ship Win (Score 3, Insightful) 298

ODT is as much of a de facto standard. If you give me an ODT file that conforms to the standard but triggers bugs in OpenOffice.org, what good is it? I'm not going to spend days setting up an OOo build environment, learning whatever awful framework they use, and bisecting this bug in order to read your few paragraphs.

The problem with .doc is not that it's a de facto standard -- all standards that are worth anything must be de facto at least as much as they are de jure -- but that it's a bad one, because it's hard for any program that doesn't share MS Word's internal data structures and algorithms to implement (because a .doc is, to first order, a memory dump of Word's data). HTML doesn't work like that, and it's hard to make it work like that if you tried.

Comment Virgin Mobile = $25/month unlimited SSH (Score 2) 359

Virgin Mobile has a nice $25/month "Beyond Talk" deal for unlimited data and SMS and 300 minutes/month for voice (with higher priced plans if you use more voice), motto Go crazy on Android. It's prepaid if you want it to be, so it's nice that way. They only sell a single phone, the Samsung Intercept, but I've found it to be really nice for what I do: it's got a slide-out keyboard with a separate number row and with separate buttons per key (no membrane keyboard). I spend lots of time on SSH via ConnectBot and have found it to be pleasant to use.

It's not the most powerful processor and the resolution isn't mindblowing and it's still Android 2.1, but I run my terminal at 80x21 and am quite happy with it, especially for the price.

Comment Re:Try having an original idea (Score 1) 494

There have been attempts at arguing "look and feel" copyrights. It's not clear to me where caselaw stands (see Lotus v. Borland and Apple v. Microsoft, both of which you could read either way in this case) and how the DMCA affects that, but it definitely seems to me that it is not completely obvious that there is no infringement, in which case (IANAL) Namco isn't wrong to file a takedown notice, and certainly isn't doing so in bad faith.

Comment Re:Also from the article (Score 5, Informative) 402

No, incorrect. This is a modification to your .bashrc, which is (already) run every time you start a bash process, within that process (i.e., not a new process). Nothing needs to be spawned on every single process.

Admittedly the bash script does spawn some processes, but a) that's the way .bashrc works, and you have dozens of those in there, and b) it's only one process, a mkdir. The echo and the conditional run within bash itself.

The way that the configuration works, whether done in the kernel or in your .bashrc, is to associate all processes spawned from a single bash shell with a single new scheduling group. This gets you better performance when you're running processes from terminals, by associating logically-similar groups of processes in the kernel instead of letting it see all the processes as a giant pile.

The intended use case, which is pretty clear from the LKML discussion, is to make performance between something intensive (like a compilation) in a terminal and something non-terminal-associated (like watching a movie) better-balanced.

Comment Akamai (Score 1) 269

You can explain a good chunk of this as the result of Akamai's world-wide content caching/load balancing solution. The default Akamai plan doesn't get you SSL support, but the thousands and thousands of web servers they have (which host a good 10% of the Internet's web traffic, last I heard) will all reply on the SSL port, and will present a certificate for an Akamai domain name, whether you connect to ocw.mit.edu or www.whitehouse.gov or www.mtv.com or whatever it may be.

In general, this can also be explained by servers that happen to listen on port 443 but aren't intended to do SSL.

Comment Re:I sense scaremongering (Score 1) 185

Informative? What the hell? Have you guys ever been to debian-legal? You will never find a more lacking-in-legal-training-whatsoever hive of scum and villainy. This is the place that honestly can't decide if a mere "You can use this code in whatever way you want, as long as you don't try to claim you wrote it." suffices for free software.

Comment No, this is missing the point (Score 3, Informative) 374

The GPL doesn't require that hardware that has GPL code be modifiable to include updated versions of code. Build systems are a distraction here: a more direct form of the problem is that the GPL code is burned into ROM, and even the GPLv3's Tivoization section (number 6, paragraph starting "If you convey...") explicitly permits that. It would be dumb if it didn't. While it may well be the case that for GPLv3 (and not GPLv2) failing to give you a usable build environment for compiling modifying code so you can run it on your "User Product" is a violation, this is forgetting a large part of the purpose of free software.

The point of free software is that the software, the code, is free for the community to use. Thinking about free software as simply the ability to modify code within its original context causes us to forget opportunities for reusability that benefit the entire free software community, well past the lifetime of this one device, and encourages behavior where modified code isn't usable on other devices or in entirely different contexts. I've written a bit more about this on my blog, with some examples of times when thinking about "free software"/"open source" only within the context of the original product has caused the free software ecosystem as a whole — the thing that's causing large companies to want to embed free software in their hardware devices in the first place — to be left behind.

Comment People have done this before (Score 1) 356

Some group named "Hacktivismo" decided to make a license that protected human rights. GNU, rightly,
called it out on not being a free software license (and it's not free in Debian's eyes or open source in OSI's eyes either):

If we were ever going to make an exception to our principles of free software, here would be the place to do it. But it would be a mistake to do so: it would weaken our general stand, and would achieve nothing. Trying to stop those particular activities with a software license is either unnecessary or ineffective.

[...] Also, at least under US law, a copyright-based source license can't restrict use of the program; such a restriction is not enforcible anyway. [...]

Comment Re:load of wank (Score 2, Interesting) 211

Actually, Ksplice provides live patches. The ones Uptrack distributes are all to the kernel, and obviously not restarting the system requires not restarting the kernel.

The Ksplice technology itself is free software, and can be ported to userspace (but that hasn't been implemented yet by the Ksplice people). But if your network service is an NFS server or something, or you're fixing a security bug in the kernel, then Ksplice can apply it to a running system without affecting existing sessions / connections.

Comment Re:Difference between Linux and Windows (Score 2, Informative) 211

Well, let's look at the issues raised in the article.

Windows actually can replace a DLL that is in use by renaming the original then copying the new file into place. However, the Windows world prefers not to do this.

Ksplice updates the running code of your kernel (by waiting until no thread is using the function to be patched, then calling the kernel's stop_machine_run function -- the same thing it uses when loading a new module -- while it edits the object code); it doesn't touch your /vmlinuz file on disk. If you want the patches next time you reboot, either recompile /vmlinuz, or have an initscript (like Uptrack's) apply the patches at boot.

Even if you're updating just a single DLL with no dependencies, there are still potential problems since the DLL has to interoperate with previous versions of itself.

One reason Ksplice wins here is that it updates the kernel, which is a single thing, but more fundamentally it avoids this problem by atomically patching every piece of affected code at once. You could actually port the Ksplice technology to userspace, provided you do some userspace equivalent of stop_machine is and patch every process at the same time.

Even if you haven't changed the structure itself, you may have changed the meaning of some fields in the structure. If the structure has an enumeration and the new version adds a new value to that enumeration, that's still an incompatibility between the old and new.

Again, Ksplice has the advantage of updating everything atomically. But there is explicit support for having a hook to be called at patch time, that either updates all existing structures, or does something fancy to mark structures that have been updated, so you know that any unmarked structure needs to be updated before being used.

The Ksplice paper (PDF) outlines about how you'd go about writing a data structure transformer to address this (as well as talks about how to solve a host of other problems). See also the CVE evaluation, which links to some examples.

So it's not that Windows has to restart after replacing a file that is in use. It's just that it would rather not deal with the complexity that results if it doesn't. Engineering is a set of trade-offs.

which is why this engineering problem is not something Linus Torvalds personally does, but a separate company, Ksplice Inc., is working on full-time. :-)

Slashdot Top Deals

"There is no statute of limitations on stupidity." -- Randomly produced by a computer program called Markov3.