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Comment Re:Apparently... (Score 4, Interesting) 421

What he said.

A few years ago, I handed a netbook to my 80-year old father-in-law. He was used to a Windows PC, but he was visiting and he wanted to check the BBC website. After about 10 minutes I asked him if he knew that it was running Linux (Xubuntu) and he was surprised, as he had no problems at all doing just what he wanted to do.

So Linux on the desktop Just Works. It is a genuine and viable alternative to anyone who wants to use a system that isn't continually monetizing *you* as the product to everyone's benefit except you.

Comment There's no need to teach CS grads about security. (Score 1) 173

There's no need to teach CS grads about security. Here's why:

If a cyber security breach happens, then the company that produced and sold the vulnerable software is never responsible. All end user rights have been signed away in a EULA or some other crooked scheme, so the end user gets to shoulder all the risk.

Since the company sees no impact of a cybersecurity incident, the company execs take no hit. Since they take no hit, the programmers and CS grads who wrote the crap software that caused the problem in the first place also see no impact.

Did people stop shopping at Target? Nope. Are any of the companies that have recently been breached seen senior executives going to jail? Nope. Maybe a few people got fired and stock prices temporarily dipped, but there's so many of these breaches lately that they are all getting lost in the noise.

So there's no point in teaching the CS grads anything about cybersecurity, since it doesn't mean anything to them. It doesn't make them any money and the companies that will be hiring them don't give a damn either.

Comment Re:Don't Be Evil (Score 3, Interesting) 432

All the "same laws" that apply to all other consumer products are pretty well useless. Read a cell phone contract or any so-called "warranty" carefully on any "consumer" product and you'll realize you have f-all rights. Manufacturers and vendors are continually chipping away at "consumer rights" with the willing assistance of their well-paid Congress, Senate and SCOTUS critters.

Try to take a broken toaster back to any big box retailer and get your money back: Unless they really want your repeat business they will make you suffer in a long line to get a "reconditioned" replacement that won't last a week.

The real advantage of F/OSS is that it gives you no warranty or promise of any kind, but that it DOES give you the capability of fixing it yourself and making the system do what YOU want. As long as your software is controlled by a vendor or any other third party that does NOT have your interests at heart, you remain at their mercy. And they will only act in their best interests, not yours.

Comment Well, so what? (Score 1) 551

Apple makes money selling hardware. That's their business model. So, they will do whatever it takes to encourage selling new shinies, including encouraging their customers to "trade up" to a newer model via hype, minor upgrades or "social engineering" to get their customers ready to buy.

Companies selling "durable goods" love to have their customers buy their products more often than necessary. They all use these sorts of tactics to make that happen to improve their bottom line. Apple is no different.

Comment Re:Hi Jack! a thread much? (Score 1) 458

I suspect that if there was a post about how the BB-8 droid keeps it's head on, sooner or later there would be a comment about systemd.

Respectfully, worrying about commenters staying on topic on Slashdot is like worrying about hurricanes: There ain't nothing you can do to stop them since they're gonna do what they're gonna do! :):):)

Comment Re:no thanks (Score 1) 458

Absolute NONSENSE. Stop spreading FUD!

Linux on the desktop has been a good and reliable alternative for both power users and home users for several years now.

There's a few choices to make and settings to configure (turn off UEFI as needed and select Mint/Xubuntu/Fedora/OpenSuse) but anyone can find a LUG or google the help they need to handle these easy steps.

These days the need for using a CLI is zero unless you have some weird hardware or very rare configuration.

And yes, the datamining IS a problem: Raping the customer's privacy is always a problem!

Comment This is stupid. (Score 3, Insightful) 347

The real bad guys ALREADY have strong encryption. PGP is free and widespread. Hizbollah operate a fiber network in Lebanon, just to make it hard for Israel to tap their traffic. Cyber criminals and terrorists know how to use strong encryption to protect their traffic.

So all you're doing by putting backdoors in all the products is to allow the bad guys to break into those devices and steal law-abiding citizen's data, while not affecting the ability of the bad guys to communicate securely. The backdoors ENABLE the criminal behaviour while doing NOTHING to help the victims of the bad guys.

When strong encryption is outlawed, only outlaws will have strong encryption.

Comment Re:iPad?!?!?! (Score 1) 366

Once upon a time, there were the DC-8-61 and DC8-63 which were stretched several over 36 feet to a length that looked ridiculous. They put a hardpoint under the tail which could drag on the ground if the pilot overrotated, which was VERY common on that bird. (Also, sitting near the rear in turbulence was sphincter tightening as you could see the fuse was wobbling at least 6 feet sideways in random directions.)

I flew in one to France in 1973, and it dragged the tail *hard* on takeoff: There was no damage because of the hardpoint.

So if tailstrikes are a problem, quit screwing around and put a hardpoint there to protect the aircraft. If it worked on a DC-8 40 years ago, it can work on a piddly little 737 now, FFS.

Comment Re:Offer paid support? (Score 5, Insightful) 213

Because business NEEDS to have the illusion that they "have a neck to choke" when something goes wrong, so they need to have a "contract" with a "company". I've heard this from the C-suite for years. (That is what Red Hat is selling, and why they're successful!)

It's nuts, really: Anyone who reads common software company contracts/EULAs knows that they have NO recourse if something goes wrong, but if they think they can somehow hang blame on a vendor if they have a problem, then that makes them feel safe.

In truth, the OSS model means that if something goes wrong and the vendor tells you to f**k off or goes bankrupt, you can find someone else to help you. If a closed-source vendor can't/won't help or goes under, you're screwed much harder.

Comment Yeah, that's not true. (Score 2) 568

"But fifty years' worth of attempts to turn software development into a legitimate engineering practice have failed."

Nobody has really tried to do this: There's more money to be made by keeping programmers as fungible low-level serfs and pumping out piles of "good enough" code, so all the pressure is against the creation of a proper professional practice.

Why are engineers professional? Because the failures in the past of unprofessional engineers killed a lot of people. (I'm thinking pre-Brunel, not recently.) So societal pressure pushed engineers to self regulate and/or be regulated, and that pressure forced a profession to emerge.

When a LOT of people start dying from bad software, then you'll see people wake up to the dangers: Hopefully you'll see a grassroots push to start to force liability on the producers of software and see some heads roll. That may lead to a push to regulate and control the standards that software needs to meet, and that may lead to some sort of professional software and ITSec organisation that will serve to raise the devs above serfdom and into a professional practice.

IMHO, Linus Torvalds is a heck of a lot closer to a "software professional" than anyone at Microsoft.

(If you take my tone as being critical of engineers, don't. I have the highest respect for engineers and I only wish that software developers and IT security people had the same level of professionalism!)

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