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Comment You mean you still do business with Sony? (Score 1) 460

I chalk it up to youth not knowing their history—Sony (multiple divisions) has treated their customers badly for years. This is merely the latest chapter of this ongoing saga of mistreatment. The Sony fake film critic David Manning, the audio CDs that came with Windows Digital Restrictions Management, and related Windows rootkit (including apparent infringement of copyright) should have been enough to simply decide not to do business with Sony (again, I see no reason to distinguish between divisions; let them suffer the consequences of their "branding" choices and bad behavior).

It's time to add this episode to the list for the next time people forget the lesson.

Comment Ensuring freedom requires enforcement (Score 2, Informative) 236

Just as we come closer to ensuring no murders when we enforce laws against murder, we come closer to ensuring the software freedom described in the GPL when we enforce the GPL.

It's telling that Linus Torvalds said "I really think the license has been one of the defining factors in the success of Linux because it enforced that you have to give back, which meant that the fragmentation has never been something that has been viable from a technical standpoint." and hates enforcement ("Lawyers: poisonous to openness..."). The fork of the Linux kernel Torvalds distributes contains the "fragmentation" he claims isn't viable—Torvalds' variant of Linux contains proprietary binaries in it. These blobs of code are removed in the fully-free GNU Linux-libre kernel.

Linus Torvalds' position is more easily understood when you consider that Torvalds is a fan of the right-wing, proprietor-friendly open source movement which is a reaction to the older free software movement. The difference between the two movements has been described in writing (older essay, newer essay) and in every RMS speech for years.

You can see that difference playing out in Linus Torvalds' dig against GPL enforcement. Brad Kuhn, President and Distinguished Technologist of the Software Freedom Conservancy talked about the value of GPL enforcement in his most recent talk on the issue at linux.conf.au in 2016 in his talk "Copyleft For the Next Decade: A Comprehensive Plan", "Copyleft is not magic pixie dust; you don't sprinkle it on some code and then suddenly your code is liberated forever. I wish that were true but that's not how the world works." (9m2s). The way Torvalds talks about the GPLv2 you'd think the GPLv2 were magic pixie dust because that's what he wants Linux kernel copyright holders to believe—an unenforced GPL is fine—because Torvalds, like any good sycophant for proprietary software, knows what Kuhn reminds us of in Kuhn's talk, (around 13m1s), "If a copyleft license is not enforced it's indistinguishable from a non-copylefted license in practice.". But where Torvalds takes that as an instruction to not act in defense of the GPL, Kuhn says that as a warning against software proprietarism. Conservancy is the group doing that enforcement work to help assure all computer users actually get the freedoms of free software the GPL describes. That work includes GPL enforcement, specifically a coordinated compliance effort across multiple Conservancy projects.

Comment Re:I don't get it (Score 1) 130

The funny thing being, of course, that I actually do thermal testing on spacecraft and therefore have a good idea of what's involved in their construction, whereas you are presumably a pale basement dweller who has zero real-world experience of any kind but believes he knows everything because he has read about it on the internet once.


Comment Re:I don't get it (Score 4, Interesting) 130

Dude, my job is doing thermal testing on spacecraft. I can tell you thermal design involves just slightly more than "wrapping a mylar blanket around it".

Also, the fact that rocket stages and habitats are both in some sense metal boxes does not in any way imply they are therefore interchangeable. Both are highly specialized parts that have very different goals. Rocket stages simply cannot afford all the extra weight necessary for them to function as a habitat (life support equipment, solar cells, meteorite shielding, access hatches, equipment for the astronauts to do useful work with, etc.). Besides, the biggest (lower) stages never make it into orbit anyway (only the top stage does, and why do you think that is?). The top stage is typically quite small. It's also not just a hollow shell; inside are multiple tanks (for fuel and oxidiser), the engine itself, pumps, electronics, etc. You'd have to remove all that.

So let's say you want to add all the necessary equipment later. How is it going to get into orbit? For that you need _another_ launch! And then you need to do a hell of a lot of precision engineering in one of the most hostile environments known to mankind, just to remove the old contents of the stage, and replace it by new contents which you might as well have launched ready to use from Earth (the weight is going to be the same, whether you pack it up tightly or not, after all).

You also have to come up with a plan to get rid of any remaining fuel. If it's hydrazine (not uncommon on upper stages), that's pretty toxic, and no, you cannot just open the hatch and hope it disappears into space.

Comment Re:doh! (Score 2, Informative) 526

Obama didn't release his birth certificate for one very good reason, he is very clever and Trump is very stupid.

The fact is that the Republicans will always invent some crazy idiotic 'scandal' that they obsess about and endlessly throw up smoke. The birther conspiracy was mind numbingly ridiculous. It would require someone to go back in time to plant the birth notice in the papers. Or for some group of conspirators to go to an enormous amount of trouble in order to make a particular black kid president.

So rather than release the birth certificate and let the Republicans invent a new scandal, Obama held onto it and let them obsess about a scandal nobody else thought made the slightest sense, knowing that he could knock their house of cards down any time he chose. Which of course he did a week before the Bin Laden raid which was guaranteed to end the story.

George W. Bush opened torture chambers across the world and collected photographs for a sick sexual thrill. Yet nobody ever talks about that. None of the people complaining about Hilary ever complained about GWB refusing to comply with Congressional investigation or the deletion of 5 million emails.

So here is what is going to happen. Trump is going to go down to the biggest defeat since Carter and he is going to drag the rest of his party down with him. And afterwards there is going to be a new civil rights act that prohibits Republican voter suppression tactics and the gerrymandering that give them a 5% advantage in elections. And by the time it is all done the Republican party will have two choices, either boot the racist conspiracy theorists and Trumpists out or face two decades in the wilderness.

Comment Re:I don't get it (Score 3, Interesting) 130

So an empty metal container made for storing fuel is also a great place to live? It has precisely the right properties in terms of structural integrity, heat and radiation shielding, etc.? Putting all the required machinery to sustain life inside is cost-free?

Or, if it is none of those things, changing all that stuff in orbit is actually cheaper and easier than launching a complete habitat from earth?

(hint: the answer to all these questions is "no")

Comment Re:You Can't Learn To Program In A Classroom (Score 1) 85

There's just such a mountain of crap on stackoverflow. Newbies are apparently all of them trying to reimplement std::vector or std::list, and they all want to do C-style strings. Worse, they get all offended when you point them towards the standard library solutions. Apparently there's some truly lousy teachers around... The weird thing about C++ is that it is actually bloody easy if you stay away from the crappy C parts, but since everyone seems hell-bent on doing things in as complicated a fashion as possible it makes it look like a difficult language.

Anyway, you should possibly have given that evidence to the manager in a private setting, so he could avoid losing face (and perhaps avoid some of the damage as well). Someone must have given that coworker access to production, after all...

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