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Comment Re:System restore stinks. Image your disk (Score 1) 449

He's probably using etckeeper, which is a wrapper that does keep permissions, ownership, and empty directories. It generates the commits automatically on update and daily for manual changes. Yes, I use it too. Very nice to be able to say "oh, looks like I broke the VPN configuration when I forgot to restart it last week... how did it look before?"

Comment Re:At least they have started selling music online (Score 1) 949

If this is actually the only thing keeping them back, a good solution is to just watermark the downloads with the purchaser's name/email/account name. Do it in an obvious manner (like a comment field) in addition to a hidden watermark that at least requires some work to remove.

This won't stop the pirates, of course - I don't know of any watermarking scheme that is resistant to a coalition of people with different watermarks - but it will require another step of comparable difficulty to ripping the DVD if you don't want to share the watermarked version.

Once that's done, they just have to send threatening letters to (or cancel the accounts of) people who uploaded in order to force people to put in the effort to remove the watermarks. Maybe they'll get a few convictions of the people too stupid to remove the watermarks prior to uploading to p2p, but those people (should) understand the risks involved with uploading.

I know I would jump at getting unencumbered versions of various movies, they're a lot easier to use than DVDs or DRM'd downloads.

Comment Re:Changing the voltage supply req. HW access, rig (Score 5, Insightful) 173

Depends on what the DRM is trying to protect. Music players, video players for downloadable content, and basically anything where the content isn't tied to a physical object like a game disc will need a private key of some kind to encrypt the data on their volatile storage. While most of this will probably be done using symmetric encryption, you still need some way for the server that hands out the content to prove that it is a real device and not an emulated device, and that's normally done with a locally stored private key.

Comment Re:Too often is bad too. (Score 1) 499

The cookie is not to identify you (what do you think your username is for?) but to identify the browser/computer that you are using. Obviously, since you're signing in to an account, the privacy issues of storing a cookie are rather irrelevant.

At least on all the systems like this that I have used, the username and password are still required; the cookie just bypasses that additional email/question/whatever. That means that stealing the cookie doesn't get you anywhere useful, as compared to not having the system at all. Requiring this cookie does make some attacks harder (for example, phishing attacks that impersonate/proxy the real site), so it's not a useless measure or just to irritate you.

Comment Re:What Has Changed? (Score 1) 900

You can turn off overcommit in Linux if want to - most people find the default behavior more useful since many applications allocate memory they do not need to use, and don't handle out of memory errors gracefully. Change the sysctl "vm.overcommit_memory" to 2, and see "Documentation/vm/overcommit-accounting" in the linux kernel source for related sysctls.

There are occasions where you might want to use a lot of swap, if there are one-time-run applications that use a ton of RAM to do something like image manipulation/scientific computing/whatever. Those might be rare, but it would be very irritating to get out-of-memory errors just because the kernel doesn't feel like using swap.

When the OOM killer is invoked, the application isn't usually allocating memory - it's using memory that it has allocated before and that the kernel overcommitted on. So there's no good way to send an out-of-memory error other than by something like a signal handler. I think the reason this isn't done is because the signal handler would likely need to allocate RAM to run (maybe to get its code paged off disk) and this wouldn't help with the memory pressure.


China Vows to Stop the Rain 214

Since the Olympic stadium doesn't have a roof, the Beijing Meteorological Bureau has been given the task of making sure the games remain dry. According to Zhang Qian, head of weather manipulation (best title to have on a business card ever) at the bureau, they've had success with light rain but heavy rain remains tough to control. I see a hurricane cannon in some lucky country's future.

Schneier's Keynote At Linux.conf.au 138

Stony Stevenson writes "Computer security expert Bruce Schneier took a swipe at a number of sacred cows of security including RFID tags, national ID cards, and public CCTV security cameras in his keynote address to Linux.conf.au (currently being held in Melbourne, Australia). These technologies were all examples of security products tailored to provide the perception of security rather than tackling actual security risks, Schneier said. The discussion of public security — which has always been clouded by emotional decision making — has been railroaded by groups with vested interests such as security vendors and political groups, he claimed. 'For most of my career I would insult "security theater" and "snake oil" for being dumb. In fact, they're not dumb. As security designers we need to address both the feeling and the reality of security. We can't ignore one. It's not enough to make someone secure, that person needs to also realize they've been made secure. If no-one realizes it, no-one's going to buy it,' Schneier said."

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