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


Forgot your password?
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×

Submission + - Saturn's Rings Formed from Large Moon Destruction (spacefellowship.com)

Matt_dk writes: The formation of Saturn's rings has been one of the classical if not eternal questions in astronomy. But one researcher has provided a provocative new theory to answer that question. Robin Canup from the Southwest Research Institute has uncovered evidence that the rings came from a large, Titan-sized moon that was destroyed as it spiraled into a young Saturn.

Submission + - Ubuntu: we won't moan to EU about Microsoft (pcpro.co.uk)

Barence writes: The company behind the Ubuntu Linux distro says it has no plans to follow Opera's lead and file a complaint against Microsoft to the EU. Ubuntu 10.10 is the most "consumer-friendly" version of the Linux distro to date, but it faces an uphill battle against Microsoft's marketing machine. Even high-profile supporter Dell has dropped Ubuntu machines from its website in recent months, while continuing to remind visitors that "Dell recommends Windows 7" at the top of every PC page. However, Canonical won't take inspiration from Opera and complain about anti-competitive behaviour to the EU — a move which saw Microsoft forced to offer rival browsers to Windows users across Europe. "I don't think we've ever considered it," said Steve George, vice president of business development at Canonical. "The improvements we're making to Ubunutu... are a better route for us to reach out to users and get a bigger user base."

Submission + - Book Review: OpenGL SuperBible (Fifth Edition)

asgard4 writes: Statistics
Title: OpenGL SuperBible (Fifth Edition)
Author: Richard S. Wright, Jr., Nicholas Haemel, Graham Sellers, Benjamin Lipchak
Pages: 969
Rating: 9/10
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Publishing http://www.awl.com/
ISBN-10: 0-32-171261-7
ISBN-13: 978-0-32-171261-5
Price: $59.99 US
Book Website: http://www.opengl.org/superbible, www.informit.com/title/9780321712615
Summary: Quite possibly the best introduction to OpenGL 3.3 programming that focuses exclusively on graphics programming using shaders.

The OpenGL SuperBible (www.informit.com/title/9780321712615) in its fifth edition is almost a complete rewrite. The authors threw out the discussion of old-style, fixed-function programming and replaced it with an introduction to OpenGL that is exclusively focused on using shaders from the very beginning. All the things that got deprecated with the advent of OpenGL 3 got removed, making it a more relevant and up-to-date book than the previous editions. The OpenGL SuperBible still strives to be the "world's best introduction to OpenGL" according to the authors. Let's see if it can keep that promise.

With the removal of the fixed-function pipeline, the OpenGL SuperBible is no longer quite the heavy-weight it used to be. It shrunk from more than 1200 to about 970 pages, which is not necessarily a bad thing. The book starts out with a basic introduction to 3D graphics, coordinate systems, and some basic math concepts, followed by short rundown of the history of OpenGL and a first little example program that renders a triangle. The authors even provide instructions on how to setup the C/C++ projects to build the example on Windows and MacOS. The writing is to the point but still verbose enough to easily follow the text. The authors analyze the example program in detail making it easy for a beginner to follow and understand the code. Overall, I really like the writing style and the flow of the book.

The next few chapters gradually introduce more and more OpenGL API functionality intermixed with new 3D graphics concepts, such as rendering points, lines, and polygons in various ways, alpha blending, how to use geometric transformations and projections, and how to move objects and the camera. Eventually, basic texture mapping is introduced with most of the basic things you need to know about the topic. In particular, specifying textures coordinates, sampling textures in the fragment shader, the various filtering modes (even anisotropic filtering), and texture compression are discussed. In a later chapter the authors do another deep dive into the topic of textures, in particular rectangle textures, cube maps, multitexturing, point sprites, and using texture arrays

Until this point the authors used haven't really talked much about shader programming yet. Most of the examples use simple pre-made shaders that don't really do much. This changes with chapter six titled "Nonstock Shaders" where we get a first glimpse of how to write our own shaders in GLSL, the OpenGL Shading Language. In particular, a fragment shader that uses a simple lighting model to light objects is developed.

After these introductory chapters presenting the basics of OpenGL programming, the next part of the book focuses on more advanced topics, beginning with buffer objects and how to use them to make your OpenGL programs run much more efficiently on modern hardware. Some of the examples presented in this part of the book include using render-to-texture to do reflections, tone mapping, and bloom. This part of the book closes with two fairly long chapters on advanced usage of the shader pipeline, in particular the transform feedback and the geometry shader stages. There is also some discussion on more advanced effects achievable with fragment shaders, in particular applying filters to images, such as a Gaussian blur or a Sobel filter. Finally, rendering geometry efficiently with vertex buffer objects and rendering many objects via geometry instancing is presented.

The final part of the book consists of 4 chapters explaining how to integrate OpenGL with the underlying operating system, in particular with Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux plus various other Unix flavors. The last chapter of this part of the book is about OpenGL ES, which is a version of OpenGL designed to be used especially on embedded system devices, in particular mobile phones and PDAs, to render real-time, interactive 3D graphics.

The book has a lot of images and diagrams throughout, though unfortunately not all of them are in color. There are however 24 color plates of the most interesting images in the middle of the book. The complete source code of the book, and even precompiled binaries for Windows and Mac OS X, can be downloaded from the book’s webpage http://www.opengl.org/superbible.

If you are new to both 3D graphics programming and OpenGL with a bit of C/C++ programming experience and you are eager to learn how to develop interactive programs with OpenGL, then this book is exactly right for you. The book is written in an easy to understand style without skimming the details (or even more advanced topics). It is the most comprehensive introduction to OpenGL that doesn’t require a lot of previous knowledge I have seen to date. The decision to completely drop any discussion of the fixed-function pipeline turned out to be an excellent choice. Finally there is a book that no longer wastes the reader's time with the parts of OpenGL that nobody who does serious graphics development uses and instead presents up-to-date information on how to do 3D graphics on modern graphics hardware.

All in all, the OpenGL SuperBible in its fifth edition succeeds very well in keeping its promise to be the best introduction to OpenGL and 3D graphics programming. Even after you’re done working your way through the main parts of the book you will always come back to the handy OpenGL API reference in the appendix of the book.

About the review author:
The author has been involved in real-time graphics programming for more than 10 years and works as a professional game developer for High Moon Studios http://www.highmoonstudios.com/ in sunny California.

Submission + - A Look at Facebook's New "Social CAPTCHA" Auth (zeltser.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Facebook is using an innovative technique to authenticate users when the login from unusual sources. The mechanism relies on the user's ability to name his friends when presented with their photos. It's not as easy as it sounds, as this article shows with screen shots.

Submission + - Spanish Copyright Society Under DDoS Attack (securityweek.com)

wiredmikey writes: Today around 2:30PM EDT, an anonymous group calling for free file-sharing across P2P networks launched a distributed denial of service attack (DDoS) against the Spanish copyright protection society (SGAE). PandaLabs says it has witnessed more than 20 service interruptions to SGAE's site, as well as four interruptions to a second Spanish site, mcu.es.

In a public statement today to the media, the group said:

"The SGAE has as slogan 'Believe in culture', while they restrict new creativity by preventing that creativity is shared. They lobbied this Canon Law, which states that suspected piracy websites can be taken down without a court order. This is a danger to freedom of speech, since any site can just be taken down with the excuse that intellectual property is hosted. The 'Ministerio of Cultura' should get a message that their current course will only lead to more controversy and protest."


Submission + - Gaping holes remain in US cybersecurity plan (networkworld.com)

coondoggie writes: It's a huge undertaking but the overarching strategy to protect US assets from cyber attack remains pretty much just a paper plan. Of the 24 recommendations for online infrastructure protection in President Obama's 2009 cyber policy review, only two have been fully implemented, 22 are partially implemented, according to a report today from the watchdogs at the Government Accountability Office.

Submission + - Spinning the BRM (tbray.org)

tbray writes: "I spent the last week in the ISO OOXML Ballot Resolution meeting. Jason Matusow, who wasn't there, says it was "An Unqualified Success". Andy Updegrove, who also wasn't thre, writing up says "OOXML fails". I reported from inside the room, and so did a Malaysian attendee. Draw your own conclusions."

Submission + - Thermaltake DuOrb CPU Cooler Review (ngohq.com)

NGOHQ writes: Apparently, the masses were very happy with the Thermaltake DuOrb VGA Cooler, so much so, they decided to introduce the same idea for CPU cooling. It's been a awhile since Thermaltake introduced a high-end CPU Cooler. In the last few years, many manufacturers have entered the high-end CPU cooling market making competition now more intense than the past. Thermaltake has been hard at work to make their products more attractive and one of these efforts has appeared as the new DuOrb CPU Cooler.
The Internet

Submission + - Class Action Against Network Solutions & ICANN (spider-mind.com)

Pabugs writes: "Network solutions gets jammed up — in a story we started watching on 1-8-08 http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/01/08/1920215 Network solutions is now being sued for the practice of Front Running — http://www.domainnamenews.com/featured/class-action-suit-against-network-solutions-and-icann-underway/1450 — Not a surprise — but it's going to be settled the hard way it looks like-"
Operating Systems

Submission + - Desktop Development for OLPC Laptop

LinucksGirl writes: This article shows how to develop and debug a graphical activity in Sugar using Python. The XO laptop includes many innovations such as an inexpensive and durable hardware design, the use of GNU/Linux as the underlying operating system, and an application environment written in Python with a human interface called Sugar, accessible to everyone (including kids).
The Courts

Submission + - Trees Shading Solar Panels Ordered Cut Down 3

Makarand writes: A landmark case pitting trees against solar panels was fought in the courts of sunny California recently. A judge ordered some towering redwoods cut down so that sunlight could shine on solar panels installed by a neighbor even though the redwoods were planted before the solar panels were installed. A three decade old Solar Shade Control Act passed in California when solar systems were rare now requires homeowners to keep their trees from shading more than 10 percent of their neighbor's solar panels between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. The solar system owner is happy with the outcome of this judgment because he thinks that it would take around three acres of similar trees to reduce carbon dioxide emissions as much as the solar panels he has installed.

Submission + - Major of Florence Tries to Take Wikipedia in Court (hackademix.net)

Giorgio Maone writes: "Major of the beautiful Italian city Florence has just filed a complaint to take Wikipedia in court for defamation, because of a story of favoritisms in public contracts reported by the online encyclopedia. But did he try to rectify it first on the wiki itself? And who's legally responsible for freely editable content which is supposed to derive its authority from external references?"

Journal Journal: Researchers discover gene that blocks HIV

A team of researchers at the University of Alberta has discovered a gene that is able to block HIV, and in turn prevent the onset of AIDS. Stephen Barr, a molecular virologist in the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, says his team has identified a gene called TRIM22 that can block HIV infection in a cell culture by preventing the assembly of the virus.

Submission + - Intel's 45nm Wolfdale Core 2 Duo E8500, 4.3GHz OC (hothardware.com)

Spinnerbait writes: "Intel recently released an updated Core 2 Duo processor design based on their 45nm fab process technology like their high-end quad-core CPUs. The first batch of Wolfdale-based processors recently hit the streets and this article covers their features and performance in depth. The Core 2 Duo E8500 seen here uses Intel's 45nm Penryn-derived Wolfdale core, with a 3.16GHz clock speed, 6MB of L2 cache, and support for SSEE4. Overall, even in its stock configuration, this processor offers solid performance and consumes less power than Intel's previous generation of 65nm Core 2 Duo chips. However, overclocked to 4.3GHz on standard air-cooling alone, it put up some truly impressive benchmark scores."

Slashdot Top Deals

If it is a Miracle, any sort of evidence will answer, but if it is a Fact, proof is necessary. -- Samuel Clemens