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Comment Marketing hash ruins the lede (Score 4, Informative) 83

That is one disappointing summary. Marketing cut-and-paste mixed with a bunch of irrelevancies.

This is RISC-V. That crucial fact and what it means is completely omitted from the summary. RISC-V is an open ISA (Instruction Set Architecture) out of Berkeley. By open I mean you can go over here and get the stuff you need to make a real CPU without any license costs or other IP entanglements. Open and free from the silicon up. RISC-V is a new 32/64/128 bit ISA with a clean, comprehensive design that is free of legacy cruft, bad ideas and other flaws, and the core instruction set has recently been permanently frozen so it's no longer a moving target for developers.

SiFive is a fabless semiconductor company "founded by the creators" of RISC-V to produce real silicon. HiFive is a little demo board with a (rather fast) RISC-V SOC. Some people have gotten hung up on the FTDI thing; that's just a UART to provide USB; it doesn't mean this is some kind of proprietary trap. Because the ISA is fully open competitors are free to make their own RISC-V designs as well and embed/attach whatever UARTs they want. Competitors are also free to use Eagle, gEDA, damp napkins are whatever they wish to design boards for their RISC-V chips, so that Altium hang up in summary isn't particularly relevant either.

Google has been a sponsor of RISC-V work and has been hosting conferences for the platform. They are also actively developing Go on RISC-V and there have been some rumors about Google using RISC-V to displace proprietary CPUs in their operations.

Comment Re:what the hell? (Score 1) 177

but you couldn't send a message to someone's phone number that they receive as an SMS message

Yes you could. I've texted my wife's phone and others many times over the years using Skype on Linux. I've been using Skype on Windows for the last 18 months, but the last version of Skype I used on Linux (skype- by the RPM name) sent text messages to phones just fine. You needed a account with a balance and you had to setup your Skype account with your phone's number (such that caller ID identifies the caller/sender,) but I know for a fact that it worked.

So yeah, this huge Break Through! technology isn't all that amazing to me.

Comment Re:Is this proof (Score 1) 32

Is this proof of iOS's security or does this correlate with the value of the holders of the iPhones?

It's both. Apple has apparently hardened devices that are popular with high value targets to the point where remote exploits are now costly to obtain. The market is factoring in both of these properties.

Comment Re:Increase in hospital visits after legalization (Score 1) 258

Here is another story about Colorado marijuana legalization:

Marijuana charges filed in Colorado courts fell 81 percent between 2012 and 2015, from 10,340 to 1,954. Those dramatic changes saved thousands of people from unjust punishment and channeled law enforcement resources toward activities with a bigger public safety payoff.

I'll take a few knuckleheads that hurt themselves over thousands upon thousands of persecuted people, a distended justice system that thrives on a huge supply of drug cases, a violent underclass of contraband dealers and a militarized police force to deal with it. Idiots hurt themselves with illegal drugs every day; until you're ready to operate a large scale gulag system your laws can't prevent that.

Comment Re:Tried and failed? (Score 2) 68

Television is broadcast in VHF and UHF; well above 30Mhz.. These SDR receivers won't pick up any broadcast television. If any AM radio stations care enough to sue over this (something they haven't bothered to do so far, despite WebSDR existing) it's easy to filter the broadcast AM bands, or anything else that has to be blocked.

In other very interesting SDR news; last month David Rowe did a presentation that covered his work on fully open source (from the boards and firmware through the protocol stack) digital VHF radio. This will ultimately lead to cheap (sub $100) and powerful TDMA repeaters for VHF and UHF. Essentially this brings cellular radio technology to amateur radio bands.

Comment undocumented gzip (Score 5, Informative) 79

There are undocumented gzip command line switches (-m, -M) that control embedding timestamps in gzip archives. They're not mentioned in the man page or --help output, but you can see them in the source here (line 344):

" -m, --no-time do not save or restore the original modification time",
" -M, --time save or restore the original modification time",

I learned about this because I had to ensure consistent hash values of build artifacts for regulatory reasons and I believe it is a misfeature. For me the Principle of Least Surprise would have gzip produce this exact same output given the same input, by default. As it is you get a slightly different output each time you compress the same set of bits, and that is entirely down to this timestamp. I think the fact that switches to achieve that behavior exist yet are undocumented belies some conflict about this.

Comment Re:You must be new here (Score 5, Interesting) 1839

"controversial" comments

The comments are a symptom. One easily ameliorated by the existing comment moderation system once the cause is addressed.

The real place "controversy" needs to be addressed is the stories. No amount of comment moderation will suffice to deal with the squabbles created by mdsolar's anti-nook crap, global warming click bait and gamer gate grievance mongering, among many other sad themes that have damaged Slashdot. That stuff needs to stop so the malcontents that live for it go away and let the place heal.

And no, just turning over story selection to the (existing) crowd will not work. They'll squander their employers time indulging their favorite cause and keep feeding in the same click bait. What is needed is a few people with good judgement and some patience to allow time for recovery.

As I write this it occurred to me to survey the last few days worth of stories. Except for the Clinton coin toss mistake — which promptly descended into a giant flame fest — it looks pretty good. Keep that up, add some more Linux/BSD/MCU/etc. related stories and something good could happen.

If I'm right and there really has been an editorial change, keep it to yourselves. Talking about it will just produce a giant sh*t storm.

Comment Re:Take back Slashdot (Score 1) 1310

Indeed. The political stuff has been very, very harmful.

Undo this mistake. Learn to identify SJW stuff, grievance mongering and other controversy click bait. Then ban it. After a few months of no global warming stories to squabble over the malcontents will get bored and wander off. Maybe then the place can recover.

Or don't. I've found my alternatives. And after a few more years of decline and the next sale some other owner will get a chance to fix it.

Comment Re:Why was package versioning left out? (Score 1) 185

One of Google's core Go developers addressed this "master" problem at a golang conference some time ago. He said Go developers are expected to keep master clean. Maybe that works inside Google, where employees must adopt the policies of their employer. For the rest of the world this has been a terrible policy; whatever time one is supposed to have saved with simple abstractions and fast compilers is utterly pissed away herding dependencies and fixing breakage due to changing masters.

Builds must be easily reproducible, and that requires enumerated, versioned dependencies. The fact that this appears to be lost on The Powers That Be behind Go is astonishing. I seriously studied Go; read the book end to end and drank all the necessary kool-aid. Then I tried to use it for something. Two weeks after starting to work on toy projects to evaluate the language I walked away. The experience of trying to wade through the mess that accrues when trying to leverage libraries still makes me nauseous. I can't imagine trying to explain / apologize for Go dependency management to a peer. Complete non-starter.

Comment Re:Why was package versioning left out? (Score 3, Informative) 185

I'd be a Go programmer today except for this. Every major programming platform in use today has a module system to manage dependencies except Go. Go gives you "go get" to haul gobs of source into your tree, after which you get to build and maintain the mess.

The Go folks cop-out and say this problem is one "for the community." Well, it has been six years and "the community" is still schlepping around, making messes with "go get" and inventing bad workarounds for the projects.

Got a plan for this? You should.

Comment Re:Subsidize the supply side (Score 1) 940

How in the hell is housing buying subsidized?

There are at least five major ways that "housing buying" is subsidized by government policy right now.

1. Home Mortgage Interest Deduction. This is a big one. A big fat sop to the "middle class" that knocks every home owner down a couple brackets of the income tax schedule. This one is so significant it drives "over" borrowing. The subsidy is paid in the form of interest on government debt accumulated by forgoing huge amounts of income tax revenue.

2. GSE backed loans. First time buyers and some subsequent purchases use GSE backed financing. That keeps down payments very low and interest rates low because the government backed GSEs are really carrying the risk. The subsidy gets paid in the form of bailouts when lenders fold.

3. Capital gains exemption; most sales of primary residences are exempt from capital gains taxes on money earned selling a home; that makes residential property very liquid. Without this people would move far less often due to the pain of capital gains taxes, and would therefore contribute less net demand. The subsidy is paid in the form of interest on government debt accumulated by forgoing this tax revenue.

4. Cheap money. The Fed, on behalf the the government, has been keeping our fake bubble economy propped up in part with near-zero interest rates since the debt bubble popped last decade. That's why anyone with a pulse can get a 30-year fixed at just over 4%. The subsidy is paid in the form of inflation.

5. Section 8 subsidizes $17 billion worth of purchases (not just rent) per year. Since all housing stock, rental or otherwise, is really part of the supply then one should also count Section 8 rental subsidy as well (another $20 billion per year.)

There are many, many lesser subsides as well (veterans programs, state subsidies, etc.), and I may have overlooked some other big ones.

Our real-estate bubble is public policy. You show me some part of the system where prices are spiraling up and I'll show you tax breaks and subsidies funding the buyers; health care and education are only the two other most obvious examples.

Submission + - Rust 1.0 released (

TopSpin writes: Rust 1.0 has appeared and release parties in Paris, LA and San Francisco are taking place today. From the Rust Programming Language blog; `Today we are very proud to announce the 1.0 release of Rust, a new programming language aiming to make it easier to build reliable, efficient systems. Rust combines low-level control over performance with high-level convenience and safety guarantees. Better yet, it achieves these goals without requiring a garbage collector or runtime, making it possible to use Rust libraries as a “drop-in replacement” for C.'

Comment Re:Snowball effect (Score 4, Insightful) 469

It's not a big mystery. Linus released a primitive kernel that worked, at the right time, with the right license, and then diligently kept rolling up contributions and releasing the result.

This is all true and important, but I think it's leaves out the really important part. Linus has good judgement in two critical areas; policy and people.

You and many others are correct about the timing, license and Linus's willingness to accept contributions without preconditions, and that part of it accounts for the early days. But it could have gone so wrong later and it didn't.

Had RMS been the shot caller Linux would be a curiosity today. People like him, while well intentioned, can't help but strangle babies in cradles in the name of their agenda. The kernel would be on GPL4 or 5 by now and about the only thing you might be able to use it for is a non-profit operation. The RMS mentality would have precluded set-tops, portables (binary blobs, DRM, etc.) the cloud and many other use cases. The best case would have been "for-profit" forks and then decline.

Also, Linus doesn't suffer fools. Over the years there have been contributors that, while possessing some talent, were destructive to the process. Linus has reliably kicked them to the curb and kept them from ruining Linux development. It's a simple, unfortunate truth; some people don't play well with others and if they get a foothold in something they ruin it.

These two aspects of Linus, good and firm judgement about policy and people, have ultimately been the most important because failure of either would have killed Linux long ago regardless of the early enthusiasm. That one person embodies the drive, talent and judgement to take Linux this far while protecting it from the bad ideas and fools that prevail is a small miracle.

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