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Submission + - Microkernel Proven Formally Correct Against Bugs

Hugh Pickens writes writes: ZDNet reports on SeL4, the first microkernel verified using Formal Methods, meaning it is possible to "prove the code" and guarantee against bugs. SeL4 lead designer Dr Gerwin Klein sees the world's most popular operating systems (Microsoft Windows, Linux and Apple) as bloated with millions of lines of code offering users massive levels of functionality, but opening a swathe of security vulnerabilities. "It is ubiquitous: from high-level Linux, to Microsoft, they are all the same — they are way too big," says Klein. "They have forgotten what the operating system was meant to be; they have left their past behind." By comparison, SeL4 has about 10,000 lines of code, all verified using Formal Methods, that allows software stacks to be isolated, meaning trusted software can run adjacent with untrusted applications. The software has the potential to provide a secure and reliable environment for mission-critical defence data, operating on the same platform as everyday applications like email or protect medical devices from hackers because the formal proof of functional correctness implies the absence of whole classes of common programming errors including buffer overflows, null pointer dereferences, pointer errors in general, memory leaks, and arithmetic overflows and exceptions. According to Gernot Heiser "verification of operating-system kernels has been attempted since the 1970s, we pulled it off."

Submission + - What Steve Jobs Learned in the Wilderness

Ponca City, We Love You writes: "According to the mythology surrounding Steve Jobs, he’s the prodigal who returned to Apple in 1997, righted a listing ship and built it into one of the most valuable companies in the world but as Randall Stross writes in the NY Times, after he left Apple in 1985 Steve Jobs spent twelve years in the wilderness and without the lessons Jobs learned during his twelve years of failure at Next, Apple might never have arrived at the pinnacle it has reached today. "The Steve Jobs who returned to Apple was a much more capable leader — precisely because he had been badly banged up," writes Stross. "He had spent 12 tumultuous, painful years failing to find a way to make the new company profitable." For example, Jobs has always been able to attract great talent but one thing he learned before returning to Apple was the necessity of retaining it. In 1992-93, seven of nine Next vice presidents were shown the door or left on their own while one aspect of Apple’s recent story is the stability of the executive team — no curb filled with dumped managers. Another thing Jobs learned from Next was not to try to do everything himself. “He’s the same Steve in his passion for excellence," says Kevin Compton. "but a new Steve in his understanding of how to empower a large company to realize his vision.” Stross concludes that it took 12 dispiriting years, "much bruising, and perspective gained from exile" but if Jobs had stayed at Apple in 1985, his huge success at Apple since 1997 would probably never have happened."

Submission + - Apple Losing iAd Clients

adeelarshad82 writes: Apple iAd's 17 launch partners are now down to only 15. Chanel and Adidas have both decided not to continue their advertisment campaigns with the company due to slow progress and creative differences. Adidas is the bigger blow of the two to Apple; the company's advertisement campaign was worth $10 million. But it's not as if iAds haven't brought success for companies that have managed to get their advertising off the ground. Both Nissan & Unilever are happy with the way their ads are performing.

Submission + - Video Game Helps Solve Protein Structures (sciencemag.org)

sciencehabit writes: Science reports: People playing a simple video game can match, and even surpass, the efforts of a powerful supercomputer to solve a fiendishly difficult biological problem, according to the results of an unusual face-off. The game isn't Pac-Man or Doom, but one called FoldIt that pushes people to use their intuition to predict the three-dimensional (3D) structure of a protein.

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C'est magnifique, mais ce n'est pas l'Informatique. -- Bosquet [on seeing the IBM 4341]