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Comment Re:GPL was a good choice for Linux (Score 2) 354

I think it's good that they choose a permissive license for their source code, but their reason for it, Why MIT? is just... someone is wrong on the Internet

The GPL is upstream-centric, the MIT license is downstream-centric. We happen to prioritize downstream more than upstream, since downstream is what really matters: the userbase, the community, the availability.

It is the GPL that is downstream-centric and MIT that is upstream-centric. The GPL was designed to ensure that the entire program, source code, and ability to use it, are available to the userbase and community. The MIT license is primarily about avoiding liability, so anybody upstream of the userbase has greater privileges than the community.

I wish them well, but it’s a hindrance when they get the community aspects so wrong.

Comment Re: No right to $500 rent in SF (Score 1) 729

My armchair solution to this problem is to reform rent control.

The new “affordable housing” rules are an interesting approach to rent control. For the new affordable housing projects, the rent is set at some low price, but only as long as the resident has an income within 2 times the limit to qualify for that rate. And I think the rates adjust over time to account for inflation. Once the resident’s income goes above the limit, then the unit’s rent goes to “market rate.” I heard about this in a presentation hosted by the city, and the city planner said the residents at that point typically have enough money that they want to move to another location, anyway. But this does not apply to pre-1979 properties.

One problem with the equity of rent control and Proposition 13 is that they are not indexed to the income of the resident. Your mother dies and leaves you a house, and you inherit her 1975 tax rate, even if you are a super-rich investment banker. You can’t do much to the property, though, because “new construction” will trigger a reassessment. So, the best thing for you is to rent it out as a low-density rent-controlled slum, and keep the fundamental supply/demand imbalance intact.

It would be good, both for tax revenue and for social justice, for the taxes and rent controls to take into account the resident’s ability to pay. But doing anything to those laws would draw out the NIMBYs like nothing else, and formulas that are too complicated would themselves be an unfair tax.

Comment Re: No right to $500 rent in SF (Score 1) 729

Well, I don’t think much about how to make MUNI better. I mostly ride bicycle everywhere. More bike lanes, and bike lanes that are separated by physical barriers against cars, would be good. Oh, how I hate dodging cars on Folsom, as they cross the bike lane to turn right or deliver something.

The Van Ness BRT is a decent start, but I would really prefer if they got fast vehicles that didn’t put out so much noise and soot. Preferably electric. They need more tunnels and more routes where mass transit is not delayed by car traffic. They could also run small buses during low-traffic times, instead of chugging those empty monsters across my window at midnight every night.

My major problem, in terms of user experience, is that I must budget 1 hour of time per transfer to get anywhere. When I’m going between residential neighborhoods, this frequently means I should budget 2 hours to reach my destination. The city is only about 10 miles across. It shouldn’t take 2 hours.

Comment Re:The real problem (Score 1) 729

Homeowners will not be happy, because they've lost money in the deal.

That's always a problem in California. An elderly neighbor brawled me out for having dead petunias in the front yard, causing the value of her house to drop by $25,000 in a rising market. Never mind that she wasn't selling the house, where the realized value may differ significantly from the perceived value.

The home ownership that Redfin was highlighting is part of the problem with housing prices in San Francisco. Half a century ago, when the US government made private home ownership a national priority, it seemed nice to the citizens that housing prices go up faster than inflation. That makes home ownership a sound investment. But several decades of home values steadily ratcheting up, and house prices become so expensive that only super-rich and banks can own them. We’re seeing this first in San Francisco, but it could become a problem in the entire country.

I’m fine with a house’s price going up if there are improvements. My grandparents installed a flagstone driveway and extensive skylights and a bunch of other improvements that made their home nicer than when they bought it. My problem is with pouring money into a mortgage, simply because the next schmuck has to pour even more money into the mortgage.

Teachers can’t afford to own a house in San Francisco, but maybe they shouldn’t own. They should rent.

Comment Re: No right to $500 rent in SF (Score 1) 729

The city is surrounded on three sides by water and all available land is full or reserved for precious little parkland.

Not 100% true.

Well, it is true that almost all the land is actually in use, but not all of it is. There’s that giant field of asphalt next to the Giants’ stadium, and there are those abandoned warehouses next to the asphalt field, both currently in the planning process to be converted into modern housing and commerce. And there are a number of other run-down neighborhoods and unused government properties. But most of the land is in use.

The big problem is... the big buildings. There are almost none. Most of the land in the city is under-utilized. A couple generations ago, the voters and politicians enacted a variety of strict building limits, so most of the city are these little 2-storey single-family houses. In January, a couple researcher at UCLA showed that height limits cause enclaves of super-rich. We see it now in San Francisco.

We need to abolish these height limits and let the market decide the shape of the city. Also, MUNI sucks: We need more efficient mass transit in this city.

Comment Re:In other words, quit buying Red Hat Linux (Score 2) 127

Why isn't this article entitled "Red Hat Linux executive tells the sheeple to quit buying Red Hat Linux - there are plenty of identical and cheaper alternatives available?"

No, it’s more like: Buy Red Hat. They employ the largest number of influential Linux hackers (Poettering, Sievers, Molnar, etc.), so you can be assured that open source stuff works best in a Red Hat distribution.

Comment DNSSEC (Score 1) 242

I strongly disagree with his recommendation for DNS. That’s because I want to spread DNSSEC.

The problem with services like Amazon Route 53 is they generate DNS records dynamically. That means they need the signing key to be online, on the DNS load balancer, and they don’t bother to do so. If you really need your DNS to be globally distributed (How many people actually look for your domain, anyway? How many times is the answer cached on Google public DNS already?), you should look into CloudFlare. CloudFlare uses a custom implementation of ECDSA to decrease the cost of DNSSEC signatures, making it practical to do online signatures and also very effective NSEC white lies.

Comment New boss, same as the old (Score 1) 123

The real problem with the WhatsApp affair is that it was even possible for the judge to shut it down. The Internet was invented as a decentralized system, and it would be extremely disruptive to shut it down for the whole country. But all these new technologies are designed for asymmetric computing, where the thing you have is only a terminal into someone else's computer.

Yeah, I know, there are technical reasons of battery life and network connectivity, why mobiles are not full peers on the Internet. Still, new applications should be designed so you can choose where it is hosted, even on your own home computer, not some centralized system that can be shut down.

Comment Re: The rants matter little, the votes matter (Score 3, Insightful) 556

The Republican Party in California is broken. Feinstein's reelection was so assured that they didn't bother to nominate a real candidate to run against her. And Boxer's most recent opponent was that horrible person, Carly Fiorina. The real problem is binary partisanship, a natural outcome of the winner-takes-all voting system. When both parties agree on all the structural issues, the American voters have no real choice.

Comment Re: So... (Score 1) 556

I voted against both Feinstein and Boxer. Feinstein rode in the success of Obama's reelection campaign against that horrible person, Mitt Romney, so much that the Republican Party didn't bother to nominate a real candidate to run against her. And Boxer easily defeated the challenge from that other horrible person, Carly Fiorina. In their most recent reelection campaigns, they each broke records for the most votes any senator has ever received, ever.

Comment Re:The unaccomplished always envy achievement, eh? (Score 2) 112

There aren't any turn-key devices that run OpenWRT out of the box. There are some Buffalo devices that run DD-WRT, but that's not the same thing at all. DD-WRT's approach to security and updates is even worse than some router manufacturers.

Also, I did buy a Buffalo router with DD-WRT and Atheros chipset (so it would have open-source drivers), expressly so I could wipe DD-WRT and install OpenWRT. What I discovered is that customizing a router means lots of research, which you have to do again and again when it's time to install updates. This is because you can't really fit a proper system on only 32MB of flash, running on 128MB of RAM, so you have to reflash the whole thing every time. And this is actually a large amount of memory; my Netgear router with the same chipset has 8MB of flash and 64MB of RAM.

If you don't customize your router, then upgrading it is much easier, but then it still doesn't have automatic security updates and all the fun features.

The Turris router has 4GB of flash and 1GB of RAM. This is immense. You don't need to play tricks with minimal overlays on top of compressed ROM filesystems. You can install and maintain the router like a normal system.

Comment Re: Waste of time and effort (Score 1) 112

I also wonder what about this project makes it more attractive than picking up a $59 Asus router and throwing open-wrt on it.

All the Asus routers I've looked at use Broadcom SoCs, which means closed source drivers and pathetic performance in OpenWRT. Also, for $59, you're not getting 802.11ac, plenty of RAM and storage for other tasks, or even enough processing power to route more than double digit Mbps (except maybe with hardware acceleration and no security).

Comment Re: And what does that cost for gigabit routing? (Score 1) 112

The problem Broadcom has in comparison with other SoC makers is they never open source their drivers except under extreme duress. The practical impact is that you can never fix problems in the firmware and you can never upgrade the kernel. It looks like they're building this thing on top of the Marvell Armada 385.

I don't know of any 802.11ac WiFi radios with open firmware, but the Qualcomm 9880 at least has an open driver. It looks like this Turris router will have Qualcomm radios.

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