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Comment Re:Reminds me of XFree86 vs XOrg (Score 3, Interesting) 589

If that happens (and you may well be correct), I predict that Oracle will follow up by attacking LibreOffice with patent claims in order to re-assert OpenOffice's market position.

I think it's plain to see that Oracle is not interested in FOSS principles, fairness, "community spirit", free market competition, patent-free software (regardless of Ellison's past claims) or even (as it seems at present) their reputation with us technical folk; they want to be a highly-profitable, dominant force in big-business IT with reputation with management, and screw everyone else.

Personally, I think (hope) their current seeming disdain for the technical and FOSS community will be a problem for them in the long run, and they will probably end up back-pedalling on their stance to open community projects. I also think they bit off more than they could chew when they bought up Sun, SleepyCat, InnoBase, et al, and may be struggling to know what to do with all the projects they have inherited. After all, it's us geeks who are often in the position to choose which technologies to deploy in an organisation, and it seems there's a lot of us who are going off Oracle pretty quickly.

Comment Re:Dalvik is not a Java VM (Score 1) 341

Nope. Dalvik is not compatible with Java. It can not "correctly execute Java programs". There are tools that can *convert* Java class files and bytecode into Dalvik bytecode, so a subset of all valid Java programs can be converted to run on Dalvik, but the Dalvik VM is utterly incapable of running those programs directly.

It would be like trying to run, say, MIPS machine code on a SPARC CPU. They're very very similar architectures in many ways. Many of the instructions have the same names, and are semantically identical. You could convert it, but it ain't gonna work out of the box. But a MIPS processor is not a SPARC processor, even though they're similar in many ways.

That's not to say that patents on one don't cover the other, but what you said was just plain wrong.

Comment Re:Asperger's (Score 1) 268

But you can easily argue that the damage was done the second the system was left unsecured:

Let's say he *didnt* break in, or wasn't caught and left no trace. Eventually someone discovers the system is not secure: what do they do? Just close the holes and pretend that everything's OK? No, you assume someone may have broken in and perform the due diligence you just described, at the same cost. Nobody even has to break in for this cost to be incurred, there only needs to be the possibility of break in.

So, is it damage done by the hacker? Or is it damage done by the idiot who set up the system in the first place? Let the lawyers fight it out!

Comment Re:Asperger's (Score 1) 268

In Ireland, killing a human being is illegal.

If you were in Ireland, and you shot someone across the border (or anywhere), and killed them, then you are indeed guilty of a crime in Ireland. You were in Ireland. You shot somebody. You killed them. Therefore, you broke Irish law. It doesn't matter that the victim was elsewhere, only that your *act* was illegal, and your illegal action was instigated and took place in Ireland. It is the act of "deliberately causing death" that is illegal, not the "event of someone getting killed", or "the act of killing someone in Ireland, whilst in Ireland"! I confess that I know nothing of Irish law, but this would certainly be the case in Britain due to the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 (then Great Britain and Ireland) and I believe this act, or an equivalent, still stands in Irish law. If this wasn't the case then you'd be saying that "killing people is fine, so long as you don't kill anyone in Ireland", and that's not what we really want is it? (Obviously there are exceptions for lawful killing in combat at war, etc.)

Of course, from the point of view of Northern Island, you may *simultaneously* be considered guilty of a crime there too, as N.I. considers the murder of its citizens a crime regardless of the location of the murderer or the victim, but if you're not actually there, and the crime is already illegal in the jurisdiction where you are, then there may be little to be gained from extradition, and the jurisdiction is, in my mind at least, clear. (At least, if Justice truly is meant to be blind and the two country's legal systems are relatively compatible.) Perhaps there might be complications involving evidence, witnesses, etc. where extradition might be negotiated to facilitate justice, but in this case, the crime itself really isn't in doubt on either side. Similarly, in the McKinnon case, the crime is not in doubt on either side of the pond.

The real arguments would come when the countries involved have a completely different idea of what's illegal, or where the punishments for the same crime are at odds. It could be argued that this is the case with McKinnon, since the US is quite likely to dish out much harsher penalties than a UK court (in addition to the fact that he will be removed from his home country, family, way of life, etc.) There are also some political issues in that this extradition is being done under a one-sided agreement that the US would not honour if the roles were reversed. (My understanding is that the agreement was signed by the UK, but not by the US.)

Of course, IANAL, and I highly doubt that real-life international law is anywhere near this clear/sane.. Gotta keep it nice and complicated to keep up those international lawyers' fees!


Colliding Particles Can Make Black Holes After All 269

cremeglace writes with this excerpt from ScienceNOW: "You've heard the controversy. Particle physicists predict the world's new highest-energy atom smasher, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) near Geneva, Switzerland, might create tiny black holes, which they say would be a fantastic discovery. Some doomsayers fear those black holes might gobble up the Earth — physicists say that's impossible — and have petitioned the United Nations to stop the $5.5 billion LHC. Curiously, though, nobody had ever shown that the prevailing theory of gravity, Einstein's theory of general relativity, actually predicts that a black hole can be made this way. Now a computer model shows conclusively for the first time that a particle collision really can make a black hole." That said, they estimate the required energy for creating a black hole this way to be roughly "a quintillion times higher than the LHC's maximum"; though if one of the theories requiring compact extra dimensions is true, the energy could be lower.
The Almighty Buck

How Do You Measure a Game's Worth? 188

RamblingJosh writes "Video games can be very expensive these days, especially with so many great games on the horizon. So I wonder: how exactly do you get the most gaming entertainment for your dollar? '... the first thing I personally thought about when approaching this was money spent versus time played. Using Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions as an example: I bought the game for about $30 Canadian, and played it for roughly 85 hours. That comes out to 2.83 hours per dollar spent, a pretty good number. In this case, the game was a lot of fun and it was cheap, and so the system works fairly well. There are so many other things to think about, though. What if the game wasn't so good? What about the fact that it's portable? ... What about the new content? Multiplayer?'"

Game Developers Note Net Neutrality Concerns To FCC 74

eldavojohn writes "A list of notes from game developers (PDF) was sent in a letter to the FCC which represented a net neutrality discussion between the developers and FCC representatives. Game Politics sums it up nicely, but the surprise is that developers are concerned with latency, not bandwidth, unlike the members of many other net neutrality discussions. One concern is that each and every game developer will need to negotiate with each and every ISP to ensure their traffic achieves acceptable levels of latency for users. 'Mr. Dyl of Turbine stated that ISPs sometimes block traffic from online gaming providers, for reasons that are not clear, but they do not necessarily continue those blocks if they are contacted. He recalled Turbine having to call ISPs that had detected the high UDP traffic from Turbine, and had apparently decided to block the traffic and wait to see who complained.' It seems a lot of the net neutrality discussions have only worried about one part of the problem — Netflix, YouTube and P2P — while an equally important source of concern went unnoticed: latency in online games."

Disney Releases 3D Texture Mapper Source Code 83

dsavi writes "Ptex, Walt Disney Animation Studio's cutting-edge 3D texture mapping library which was first used on nearly every surface in the 2008 animated feature Bolt, was released under the BSD license on Friday. Quoting the announcement on 'We expect to follow Ptex with other open source projects that we hope the community will find beneficial. We will soon be launching a new Walt Disney Animation Studios Technology page under It will include links to our open source projects as will as a library of recent publications.' This looks good for open source 3D graphics."

Moscow Police Watch Pre-Recorded Scenes On Surveillance Cams 114

An anonymous reader writes "During several months of 2009, Moscow police looked at fake pictures displayed on their monitors instead of what was supposed to be video from the city surveillance cams. The subcontractor providing the cams was paid on the basis of 'the number of working cams,' so he delivered pre-cooked pictures stored on his servers. The camera company CEO has been arrested."

First MySQL 5.5 Beta Released 95

joabj writes "While MySQL is the subject of much high-profile wrangling between the EU and Oracle (and the MySQL creator himself), the MySQL developers have been quietly moving the widely-used database software forward. The new beta version of MySQL, the first publicly available, features such improvements as near-asynchronous replication and more options for partitioning. A new release model has been enacted as well, bequeathing this version the title of 'MySQL Server 5.5.0-m2.' Downloads here."

Lack of Manpower May Kill VLC For Mac 398

plasmacutter writes "The Video Lan dev team has recently come forward with a notice that the number of active developers for the project's MacOS X releases has dropped to zero, prompting a halt in the release schedule. There is now a disturbing possibility that support for Mac will be dropped as of 1.1.0. As the most versatile and user-friendly solution for bridging the video compatibility gap between OS X and windows, this will be a terrible loss for the Mac community. There is still hope, however, if the right volunteers come forward."

The Perfect Way To Slice a Pizza 282

iamapizza writes "New Scientist reports on the quest of two math boffins for the perfect way to slice a pizza. It's an interesting and in-depth article; 'The problem that bothered them was this. Suppose the harried waiter cuts the pizza off-center, but with all the edge-to-edge cuts crossing at a single point, and with the same angle between adjacent cuts. The off-center cuts mean the slices will not all be the same size, so if two people take turns to take neighboring slices, will they get equal shares by the time they have gone right round the pizza — and if not, who will get more?' This is useful, of course, if you're familiar with the concept of 'sharing' a pizza."

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