Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! ×

Comment Re:What printer? (Score 5, Insightful) 310

You can't grep dead trees.

There are still plenty of legitimate uses for a printer, even among the technologically inclined. I'm the admin for a laser printer for a dorm that houses 80 students at caltech, and we've gone through over 300,000 pages in the past four years. Most of this is probably on research papers; it's hard to have a thorough group discussion about a paper without being able to throw it across the table and physically show others exactly what you're talking about. Additionally, I have yet to find software that allows me to mark up a PDF with the same level of flexibility and intuitiveness that a pen can give you. When you're in the zone, it's pretty important to be able to make whatever notes you need to without diverting your attention to some UI in order to do so.

And then there are always the profs who want you to print out 5000 lines of source code... And even their reasons probably reduce to the same issues with flexibility of markup.

Comment New Techonlogy? (Score 2) 85

This can't be the first software of its kind... Five years ago, NASA was using much more subtle feature detection software in detecting interesting rocks and regions from satellite imagery of Mars. It seems like life jacket detection in oceans would be a much simpler reduction of that problem.

Comment Re:Hipsters (Score 3, Insightful) 320

I have to admit, this makes us sound an awful lot like hipsters trying to be on the edge and always being different.

This isn't the first time that analogy has been appropriate. Geeks are, after all, known for having huge egos and being a quite exclusive lot. Prior to mainstream acceptance of comic book movies and other aspects of geek culture, just look at how we snubbed script kiddies and noobs on our IRC channels. Much like hipsters snubbing others when outsiders adopt their music or aspects of their culture.

Comment Re:Embracing and extending (Score 4, Interesting) 158

look a bit like a push towards Chrome.

Funny, I've also heard this argument the other way around. A lot of people seem to think that Chrome is actually meant simply to push every browser developer to build faster JavaScript support and to catalyze other technologies that will allow Google to develop better web applications. Maybe this release is also a push towards those goals.

Comment Re:Mission Option: It already isn't.... (Score 1) 804

To me Health Care is more of a "human right" than free public eduction. Although both are.

Public education is provided to all citizens in the United States primarily because it is a necessity for a modern democratic society to work properly, not because it is a human right. This is not to say that it always works properly, but ideally a universally educated electorate would yield a much stronger democracy.

The Health Care debate isn't about human rights either, despite the highly publicized rhetoric. It's the same sort of question: is a universal, government-provided health care system a requirement for a modern democracy to work and specifically for the US economy to continue to function? On the other side, could government-provided health care further wreck the US economy and with it our government?

If you get to the core of the issue, Obama and his plan's supporters work most to ensure that the plan will be a benefit to US economy and government. The opponents argue that it will wreck the US economy. It is the same debate as public education, but with a much less obvious conclusion.

Comment Reputation, Love of Programming (Score 1) 4

I would recommend that you read The Cathedral and the Bazaar or at least skim it. Homestead the Noosphere is a good summary of open source programmers' incentives as well. According to Eric Raymond, it's all a reputation game similar to Lockean property ownership theory. In short, it's not about the money; open source developers have their own economy in isolation from the rest of the world's.

Support for open source software as a business model is usually in addition to this phenomenon, and the reason it exists is not because the software is bad. Both the software support market and trademarks like Red Hat exist to satisfy the business world's demand for quality assurance. The average business owner is not going to download a Debian ISO, load it up on his server, apt-get everything he needs, and set up a cron job for security updates. The open source businesses step in here to give the small businesses a friendly package and someone to call if something goes wrong. Telling them that things won't go wrong as often as on Windows will not cut it. They don't want to have to deal with it at all.

Oh, one more thing. Besides the reputation game, open source programmers do what they do because they enjoy doing it. I'm a casual contributor and I personally enjoy tracking down annoying bugs in my spare time and writing in small features that I've been wanting. Everyone who programs for open source projects regularly has this same love for problem-solving and programming.

Slashdot Top Deals

The means-and-ends moralists, or non-doers, always end up on their ends without any means. -- Saul Alinsky