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Comment Re:What is ITA Software? (Score 4, Informative) 93

Airfare search is hard. Really hard. The guy most responsible for ITA's (now Google's) flight search engine wrote up a presentation:


See in particular "Some complexity results": http://www.demarcken.org/carl/papers/ITA-software-travel-complexity/img24.html

Comment Re:Another Earlier - ERLANG! (Score 1) 80

- Erlang didn't get less than a second of downtime in a year, an application written in Erlang got less than a second of downtime in a year. I bet people clever enough to write such an application in Erlang could have written it in another language. Would it have been more difficult? Probably. But just because you use Erlang doesn't mean that your application is going to magically never going to have downtime - you're still going to have to work hard at it.

- Erlang is not necessarily the right choice for "high-end multi-core multi-system clustered application development". Erlang is not fast at math, and if you have a clustered application that computes fluid dynamics or cracks RC5, you'll probably keep writing it in C or C++ or Fortran because they do math fast. Don't believe me? The n-body benchmark over at the Computer Language Benchmarks Game is all double-float arithmatic, and the Erlang version takes almost six times as long as the version in Common Lisp and almost eight times as long as the version in Fortran.

Comment Re:"Right" to a private cell phone? (Score 1) 232

I'm not explicitly granting permission for people to find me; I'm letting a select group of people try to get in touch with me. I don't give my number out to just anyone, and even if I do give it to you, I'm not always going to choose to pick up the phone when you call. I do have my phone configured to give location information to emergency services, but not to anyone else.

Comment Re:Why NetBSD? (Score 1) 129

"The package system. A huddle of shell scripts without a strict API. Can be forgiven since nothing essential depends on it. A big plus sign for Linux."

pkgsrc works, but it's nowhere near as nice as apt. There's a Debian port to use the FreeBSD kernel (http://wiki.debian.org/Debian_GNU/kFreeBSD) that looks promising - the more operating systems that get something like apt, the better.

Comment Re:ZFS (Score 3, Insightful) 316

FreeBSD has ZFS. My understanding is while ZFS is a good filesystem, it isn't without issues. It doesn't work well on 32-bit architectures because of the memory requirements, isn't reliable enough to host a swap partition, and can't be used as a boot partition when part of a pool. Here's FreeBSD's rundown of known problems: http://wiki.freebsd.org/ZFSKnownProblems.

On the other hand, the new filesystems in the Linux kernel - ext4 and btrfs - are taking the lessons learned from ZFS. I'm excited about next-generation filesystems, and I don't think ZFS is the only way to go.

Comment Re:How does Stallman use the web? (Score 1) 747

"I wonder, too ... does Mr. Stallman's PC have a proprietary BIOS, or did he write that code, too?"

Yes, he uses a free BIOS.

Stallman is pragmatic, it's just that his line between pragmatic and unrealistic isn't quite where you (or I) would draw it. Before the Linux kernel came along, the GNU project had existed almost a decade - he surely used a computer then in order to write (or help write) the first versions of GCC, emacs, and a host of other essential free software programs. Now he doesn't have to, so he won't go back, and I'm sure he jumped onto a free kernel as quickly as it became remotely practical to use. Remember, GNU was working on a kernel of its own before Linux came on the scene. Again, this is not the pragmatism you or I might have chosen, but it is pragmatism. Same thing with FreeBIOS - he was in the news a year or two ago about switching the FSF over to computers that could run a completely free software BIOS. He's also been one of the many campaigning for free firmware, and the FSF has made that an important issue recently. CPU microcode? Haven't heard him talk about that yet, but I'm sure it will come.

Stallman has been working 30 years on getting a completely free system, and he's lead the way for a lot of us that use a kinda-sorta free system and are better off for it. There's a discussion to be had here about the intersection of Javascript, free software, software as a service, and cloud computing, but that sort of snarky comment doesn't help. He's been right on so many other issues - copyright, patents, free software - when he says something is a problem, we ought to at least listen.

Comment Debian's solved this (Score 1) 174

Debian's bug tracker deals with this well. It understands many different types of bug trackers - IIRC, among them launchpad, bugzilla, trac. If a bug is opened with Debian, it can be forwarded upstream, and when it's resolved, Debian's bug tracker will mark it as 'resolved upstream', and it can be closed when a package with the fix is uploaded.


Submission + - iPhone Hacked Within Minutes

ancientribe writes: It took security researchers at Errata Security longer to get their iPhone service activated than it did for them to find security flaws in the new handheld mobile device. Within a matter of minutes, the researchers say they found multiple vulnerabilities in the iPhone, including a bug in the Safari browser, the Bluetooth feature, and in its WiFi capability, according to an article in Dark Reading. Interestingly, the researchers say they found the iPhone actually more secure than any other mobile devices, mainly because Apple will offer security updates through iTunes. But they expect the bad guys to target the iPhone big-time.

http://www.darkreading.com/document.asp?doc_id=128 169&WT.svl=news1_1

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