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Comment Ill effect on Free software (Score 1) 83

The question I'm most worried about is not whether there will be enough apps, that there will be enough competation between telcos, I'm worried about how this will affect Free software
The telcos hate free software. It cuts into their profit margins
Apple doesn't even all Free software in their app store for iPhone. What if this were to happen to GNU/Linux netbooks?
And if this is the general direction GNU/Linux is going (towards netbooks and smaller, embedded devices, controlled by telcos and hardware vendors) I think that we need to start protecting ourselves. We may just end up with another Windows.
Sure, the kernel must stay Free, but what good does that do us if it has a proprietary GUI with a proprietary App store selling proprietary apps encumbered by proprietary DRM? Are we really any more free?
The worst part is that this IS what the telcos WILL try to do. They are cunning and ruthless and refuse to give users any glimpse of freedoms that they may have. The main problem with cellphone companies today is that they still believe they are Ma Bell (charging outrageous prices for SMS 1 2, probable prcie fixing between companies, exclusive carrier deals, cdma vs. gsm, etc) and, like Ma Bell, are doing everything they can to control users.
Sure, GNU/Linux will always be 'free,' but if the people who have their hand in bringing Linux to $telco_subscriber decide that they want to control their users they WILL. even if they have to develop their own libraries for UI, networking, etc. If these telcos start to limit Free software for the benefits of their shitty little app store profits, there will be little we can do as $telco_subscriber will see this as a nice little benefit.
There will be no way telcos would be happy with the user having the ability to install tarballs of the same applications they may SELL in their appstores. And that sucks. If it comes between peddling 'barely free' linux, just to get it into the hands of regular users, we really have to question "what is important: The distributions,' manufacturers' and telcos' profit margins, or the freedoms of the user. Is getting Linux into the hands of users more important than getting Free software into the hands of users?"
Plus, with more people running GNU/Linux saying "Hey, I run Linux" will become far less cool :(

Comment Re:The Real Question is (Score 1) 503

That's what metapackages do: They pull in an entire working DE, whether you want all the applications or not.

apt-get install kde installs a BUNCH of crap as well.

Which is why no one should ever install those metapackages in the first place. Tomboy isn't getting included in the default install, only in the GNOME metapackage.

Comment Re:Red hat/Fedora improve, Debian/deb-based regres (Score 1) 503

I think I'd have to agree with the OP. Ape-ing microsoft is not where I'd personally like to see linux and its various desktop environments go. I'd prefer we do it *better*. Evolution, as far as I see it, is the former. Same goes for mono. If only all environments would take the best ideas from the others and choose to either get rid of or push aside the other stuff.

First off, I don't use evolution, I only cited it as an example.

Second, this is not about "ape-ing" anyone. It's about getting the job done and creating great applications that rival Microsoft and other desktops. What tool someone uses should be a nonissue, in the long run. There is little issue with the Mono runtime, it's been around since (believe it or not) before the Novell Microsoft agreements, it has had no legal trouble in the four years of its development, and there is little reason that it should. This simply comes down to the issue of what a developer wants to develop from, and nothing more.

What if Microsoft had created C++? Would you be shunning GNotes?

If it wasn't the Gnotes developer that had started this little war, I may be more open to consideration of the issue, but there is a HUGE COI in that, imo. Comes across to me that he is just trying to get back at the Tomboy team because they made it into the dependancies and not him. And instead of one-upping the application with new features, etc, he decides to simply attack the framework which the application is based on.

And, for the record, I don't use any mono applications; I just have the ability to look at things objectively and not judge things on the company that may or may not be related to a piece of software's development language. Modding the OP +4 insightful just goes to show how narrow minded /. commenters really are.

The Almighty Buck

Submission + - Pre does not get US tethering either ( 1

fermion writes: The Register is reporting that the Pre Dev Wiki has been sent a note asking it to stop discussing tethering. Evidently Sprint is none to eager to have users tether the game changing tetherable smart phone. The development forum is evidently eager to avoid lawsuits, so has rapidly agreed. Perhaps, like the iPhone, the Pre is going have a vigorous underground. What is interesting is that the Pre, like the iPhone(allegedly), can be tethered in the non-US domain, but even those customers are being denied apparently lawful information to satisfy the US exclusive agents.

Submission + - Why Dell Should Buy Palm (

CWmike writes: "Palm needs money to survive. Dell needs a handset business to compete. Dell should acquire Palm immediately, writes Mike Elgan. The union would benefit both companies, as well as investors, the industry and, most of all, users. As part of Dell, Palm could continue its trajectory with the Pre, the now-threatened Pixie project (which is a low-cost candy bar phone that runs Palm's WebOS and could sell for $99 or less) and the WebOS itself, which has enormous potential. Palm needs the time to cultivate a developer community and ecosystem around the WebOS. It needs power and influence over Asian parts manufacturers and U.S. retail stores. Above all, Palm needs somebody to pay the salaries and electric bill until the new direction can bear fruit. So what's in it for Dell? Dell is the world's only major PC and laptop manufacturer to not offer a cell phone of any kind. Back in January, rumors were flying that Dell would launch a new Android-based handset at Mobile World Congress. In late March, reports surfaced that carriers and others who saw the prototype were disappointed."
Operating Systems

Submission + - Xandros Moblin with Exchange Capabilities (

TLS writes: Xandros' Moblin Build adds Microsoft Exchange Capabilities as well as a wealth of social media features such as integrated Twitter and Facebook support.
The 3.30min video is of an interview with Pat Suwalski from Xandros who gives an overview of the latest build.
There's also a quick look on a new touch UI called clutter which is using a half circle as the user interface which can be rotated around on the screen.

Comment Re:Red hat/Fedora improve, Debian/deb-based regres (Score 1) 503

(/. mangled my last paragraph) irrational? zealots? hm, this whole argument was blown out of proportion by the GNOTES DEVELOPER. Sounds more like a whiny developer pissed that his package wasn't included rather than a real issue.
"These are *APPLICATIONS* and forcing me to install them is, to my mind, antithetical to the open source ideal." No one is forcing you to install anything. Every reasonably competant debian user knows NOT TO INSTALL THE METAPACKAGES! Anyone else should run Ubuntu.
"Evolution serves no useful purpose in today's world" huh? Right, so the only thing that is going to ever get GNU/Linux accepted as a replacement for MS Windows in corporate settings is useless?
"It's just like Wine and DOSEmu: a gateway to viruses that originated on Microsoft platforms." ...what? It's not a fucking interpreter or an emulator, it's a compiler for Christ's sake! Read your fucking code before you compile it if you're that scared of the "M$ BOOGY MONSTER."
Altogether, this whole argument just goes to show that users, even GNU/Linux users can be grossly uneducated on topics, hearing Microsoft, and jumping on the attack. We should mysteriously drop F-Spot and GnomeDo and Evolution and see how these morons react.

Comment Re:Red hat/Fedora improve, Debian/deb-based regres (Score 1) 503

And ubuntu even threatening their users to install a lower quality Mono-dependent music player to replace Rhythmbox just because the Mono zealots are very, very loud about how they want to push this MS technology on everybody using free software.

Almost as loud as the people opposed to "MS technology," developed before Microsoft had anything to do with Novell or any other GNU/Linux.

I like bashing Microsoft as much as the next guy, but only when it's necessary. If anyone on /. actually kept up with the Debian blogosphere and Planet Debian, they'd see that there are two sides to every issue, and those sides aren't always political. "These are *APPLICATIONS* and forcing me to install them is, to my mind, antithetical to the open source ideal." "Evolution serves no useful purpose in today's world" Altogether, this whole argument just goes to show that users, even GNU/Linux users can be grossly uneducated on topics, hearing Microsoft, and jumping on the attack. We should mysteriously drop F-Spot and GnomeDo and Evolution and see how these morons react.


Burglar Bites Through Steel Bars 12

Police were shocked when they discovered a number of robberies were being committed by someone who was biting through steel window bars. "Through our investigations, we found the grids had been cut but with deep tooth prints," a local police spokesman said. They were tipped off by a man who was sharing a hotel room with another man who could crack walnuts with his teeth. After questioning, 23-year-old Xiong, who grew up in a mountain town with abundant walnuts, confessed to the burglaries. Xiong claimed he could chew through any steel bar up to 1 cm in thickness by chewing on welding spots. "I only failed once in the past two years. Once I bit on a 2cm thick steel grid, and the first bite nearly dislocated my jaw. I never take other tools with me when breaking in. That's why I never got stopped by patrolling officers at night," he said. I'm sure he has a lucrative toothpaste spokesman career ahead of him when he gets out of jail.

Submission + - Palm Pre root image released, hacking insues

PhreakOnALeash writes: "LemonadeRDX over at the forums posted a link to a official Palm, Inc. tool for flashing the Pre's root image to a device. The 200mb download contains a full webOS.tar of the Pre's Linux-based operating system. Matthew Garret over at Planet Debian has provided basic details about the distro and its structure and tools. Hackers have assembled in #webos-internals on to discuss the image and go over its details, and it has already emerged that MSN and AOL may supported in future updates along with XMPP and libpurple plugins. Pretty soon we may see an unofficial native SDK, a la the original iPhone Unofficial SDK, though Palm, Inc. developers in #webos-internals have already warned users not to post any code that they don't own the copyright to in public forums.

On a semirelated note, seems to be under construction and will most likely hold a wealth of information regarding the OS and its internals."

Comment A bit regarding Maricopa County, AZ elections (Score 1) 171

I'm a member of the Phoenix Arizona GNU/Linux user group.

Back in November a few days before elections, one of the group's members Jim March (if you google the name + Diebold, sequioa etc, you see that he is the real deal) sent a request to the group looking for volunteers to help monitor processes in the voting systems which were not being adequately tracked, such as "monitoring the 22 "regional receiving stations" where ballots come in from the field for modem uploads to the central tabulator" and "Those able to pull only a shorter shift can visit a polling place as it closes and photograph the end-of-day vote tallies as they come out of the precinct voting machines...before those votes can be hacked either in-route via memory card manipulation or at the central tabulator's MS-SQL database"

What went on on the list after this was a disturbing expose of the Maricopa County and Pima County arizona electronic voting systems. While these are not of the "download, vote scan and upload" variety, the similarites, and how "secure" voting systems may soon be implemented, raise many questions about the validity and security of using, among other things, unprotected access and ms-sql databases (with a protected front-end, mind you, but they are easily subverted by using Access or direct SQL commands on the databases, with NO PASSWORDS in some cases)

* On election night, observers spotted an MS-Access manual being referred to by the lead operator. MS-Access is banned from voting systems (ain't approved) and the Diebold central tabulator database is in MS-Access format. If you get to it with Diebold's front-end, it looks secure enough. Get to it in Access and all security falls apart can do anydamnthing you want.

* When we got the audit logs in December 2006, there was what appeared to be data manipulation plus they had peeked into who was winning and losing based on the mail-in vote five days *before* election day. This was illegal as hell, and they did this consistently across most elections - not just the RTA.

* We fought a public records suit, won, and found yet more rotten stuff including a lot of memory card re-uploads, more than any normal election ever. I'll go into details if anybody wants but let's just say, it looked bad.

>> MS-Access is banned from voting

>> systems (ain't approved)

> This is a very refreshing change from the status quo! Out of curiousity,

> what are the approved DBs for voting systems?

You're asking the wrong question :).

ONLY those pieces of software specifically used for elections can be used in elections, in most states anyhow, AZ being one of 'em.

The proprietary database front ends by Sequoia, Diebold and ES&S are approved. Sequoia uses an MS-SQL back end, Diebold uses the MS-Access runtime back end (they're switching to MS-SQL on the back end "soon") and I forget what ES&S is doing. But it's basically the same: proprietary front-end application, likely an MS back end.

In the case of Diebold, the MS-Access front end (the boxed consumer product) can communicate with the existing back-end and back-door the whole election. By diddling with the data files (which are .MDB extension) in MS-Access, you can tweak the audit log, tweak vote totals, basically do whatever you want, no password needed, no audit trail even created.

On a more serious note: banks have procedures to prevent insiders from hacking accounts. You can't absolutely block people from doing it, but you can block people from tampering with the discovery/oversight mechanism. Serious computer accounting takes the term "audit log" seriously.

Diebold put the audit log into the MS-Access database as just another table.

Basically, if you can't trust the physical machines, how on earth will you be able to trust online voting? Sure, it isn't the "download, vote, scan and upload" type of voting that March writes about, it is scary to think how easily such "secure" systems can be completely 0wned. How hard would it be to manipulate the online votes, either en route or once they are counted and in one of the mentioned voting systems?

Voting systems such as was described in the OP are a thing of the past. They will soon be replaced with such lovely proprietary and "secure" technologies I've described above. Hell, who knows, we GNU/Linux guys may not even get a say in the online voting if such systems are purely M$ powered technologies.

The real question is: Do you trust someone else with your vote? Are any voting measurements safe to hacking/changing (Paper or not)?


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