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Comment Re: There is more to this story... (Score 1) 397

This isn't actually true. Not all GNU projects have copyright assigned (although many of them do).

The point is that GNU is trying to build a coherent system. If it takes a project it will sometimes continue with it, even if the people who originally developed decide that they no longer want it to be part of GNU. In this case, as RMS says, this was not the right route because libreboot had not been part of GNU for long (so removing it causes no issues), nor did they have anyone who wanted to maintain it as part of the GNU policy.

If you think that this is weird, it is one of the cornerstone freedoms. Likewise, you could take any GNU project, and create a competitor with a different name today, using their code. It's happened before.

Comment Re:First Victory! (Score 1) 355

"Clinton has a private and a public position, which part of that is unclear?"

The part where you think that other politicians do not.

The question with TPP is whether it will die (and trust me, it was struggling anyway, thanks to the many people who campaigned, protested and highlighted it for years before the US election took it up), or whether it will be replaced. Bit early to say yet. Especially early to say what Trump will actually do.

Comment Re:Genuine question - Why Modal Text Editors? (Score 3, Insightful) 131

Emacs -- provides a functional and highly customizable editor. It's got a lot of very nice packages (org and magit, for example, are both superb). It also has a different user interface paradigm -- it's usable entirely from the keyboard. Once you are used to this moving back to something with all that clicking around is rather hard to cope with. And it's very easy to add new functionality.

VIM -- like Emacs, it is entirely usable from the keyboard. It's not as functional as Emacs, but is it very regular. The main editing commands are very predictable which makes the raw editor of text very efficient.

That's about the best quick description I can give -- I am mostly an Emacs user, and use VIM for systems administration, so there is a bias in what I say. They are both fantastic tools and it's worth trying them out.

Comment Re:Oh yeah? Then what are you gonna do about it? (Score 1) 410

Brexit happened for many reasons -- including 350 million for the NHS, which pretty much demonstrates that many people in the UK cannot add up.

Dredging, no, that doesn't help. If you dredge upsteam, then the water goes downstream quicker and floods somewhere else. The solution is to slow water down, so that drains over time.

At least that's what the experts say. But, you know, they are just people who have studied and experimented with these issues over a lifetime and so have good knowledge, rather than people who just think of an idea that they suppose is good. It's no wonder that the British people are tired of experts.

Comment Re:Oh yeah? Then what are you gonna do about it? (Score 1) 410

Not really. If you got a tax bill for 0.005%, then you might think that something was potentially wrong. The argument, "well I paid it in good faith, and you cannot retrospectively ask me for more cash" does not really hold water.

In Apple's case, it really doesn't hold water, because they are not short of a tax lawyer or two.

Comment Re:SubjectIsSubject (Score 1) 564

It's nothing to do with an American company. As you know, the complaint is against two companies, Apple Ireland, which is a subsidiary of another company called Apple based in Bermuda, I think.

Nothing to do with the US at all, which is why neither of these companies pay tax in the US.

Comment Re: Good (Score 2) 564

Asserting the tax law as it always stood is not retroactive. It's quite normal when tax has not been levied as it should have been. Obviously, if Apple can show that the late demand is going to cause it difficulties, it should be given a year or two to pay.

Apple has access to plenty of lawyers and tax consultants; they should have advised it that paying a 0.005% corporate tax rate was likely to be wrong, and might come back to haunt them. I mean, the rest of us can work this out, why can't Apple?

Comment Re: It was user error, not a spreadsheet problem . (Score 2, Interesting) 349

No, this would be a disaster. The acronyms have the advantage that they are, relatively, semantics-free., If we turned them into long hand, then they would describe the gene in some way. Which means that the descriptions in the knowledge would go out of date, or would have to be changed. It's a recipe for instability.

It is very easy to laugh at biologists and think that you know how to manage data better than they do. In some cases, you may be right, but in this case it is not so. Identifiers are there to identify and not describe. This is something we learned with Linneaus, and have stuck with since.

Comment Re:It was user error, not a spreadsheet problem .. (Score 2) 349

The problem is that the not all tools require a ' to stop this behaviour. And, in fact, adding this may well break these tools.

Ultimately, this is not a new problem. It was first noted about a decade ago in yeast (which uses a lot of very date like gene names). It's a bit depressing it's still happening.

I'm unconvinced that this can be classed as a user error, though. Excel is using a heuristic to determine the data type of a field (probably on a per cell, not per column basis). And that heuristic is failing.

Comment Re:As it's been said... (Score 1) 621

The situation is not equivalent. If remain had won, then yes, there could have been calls in the future for a new leave vote. The leave vote on the other hand, if it is enacted, is very hard to reverse, although, if we leave then yes, there will have to be a campaign to re-enter.

It may not happen. It all depends how quickly the economy gets screwed, both by the uncertainty, by the significant cost of rewriting 40 years of laws, as well as half the countries IT systems, aside from the problems that will occur when very little of what we voted for actually comes to pass.

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