Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 Internet speed test! ×

Comment Software Freedom and SystemD (Score 4, Interesting) 359

I am someone who does not like the direction systemd goes in, as it replaces much of what I would call GNU/Linux (syslog,fstab,init.d,...etc) - I am not asking whether that point of view is correct. Assuming that it is, it seems to me that the scope and interconnectedness of the systemd changes is too much for any smaller organization to resist. The possibility of maintaining an ongoing form of GNU/Linux that still stays current seems to be an overwhelming task, although some (Devuan etc) are heroically attempting to do so.

Can the sheer complexity of a GNU/Linux distro like RedHat make it impossible to practically maintain a version with different technologies?

Comment working in Debian Sid VM (Score 4, Informative) 201

I was able to get this working using the instructions in the original post - with the following changes:

I first tried with Debian stable. The google-chrome-unstable deb installs OK, but I couldn't get the video to play.
I saw posts that it might work with sid. So I cooked up a sid vm.
My default NAT network was disabled, I found some instructions to re-enable it.
Once I had a sid vm, I found that there was no sound. I set it to ac97 in virt-manager but ended up abandoning virt-manager and using this command line
sudo qemu-system-x86_64 /var/lib/libvirt/images/siddy.img -cpu kvm64,+nx -enable-kvm -m 1536 -soundhw hda -usb

Once I had sound and networking going, I installed the google-chrome-unstable deb in the VM. Then I found the user-agent extension and installed that. I created a user-agent using EXACTLY the string given in the original post...

And now I'm watching a netflix movie.

Right now I have the chrome in the VM displaying to a Xephyr window in the host environment, will be interested to see if there is a better way.

And it's true we should not have to do crap like this to use our netflix accounts!

Comment Celebration (Score 2) 121

To celebrate, I enabled jessie(testing) in my sources.list, used aptitude to install a 3.10 kernel with RT (I was running 3.9) and rebooted - everything seems to be working great.This is on a Macbook Pro running wheezy(stable) with reFind boot manager. Thanks Debian!

Comment enlightenment e17 (Score 1) 169

I have been enjoying it for about 8 months. I put some. debs in a repo at vin-dit. Org for 64 bit wheezy and squeeze. has links to packages for other distros or it may be in yours already. doesn't cost anything to try it.

Comment Re:Some ideas on GPL / Freedom etc (Score 1) 266

I'm not talking about things that you are legally or practically blocked from using with GNU. I'm talking about what you do if you are really committed to the GNU philosophy. If you look at the all-in point of view of FSF/GNU, you should not run any software that is not free. So the Flash plugin for browsers is off limits. I guess you can visit youtube without flash, I don't think it'll work. (maybe I'm out of date here, but when youtube videos were in flash, that was the deal) Sites that use what is considered non-free software include Google Docs, Gmail , Dropbox. (Javascript apps that are obfuscated or sites that are tied to closed source programs etc)

Non-free products include any hardware for which the driver uses closed source "blobs" like broadcom wifi, some intel wifi, video cards - also video card drivers are a problem. "Most products" might be too extreme a word. But products that you need non-GNU software to use are pretty commonplace. Or the GNU software may not be equal in functionality to the proprietary ones.

Of course any OS that uses a kernel that is not free (meaning non-Linux,non-BSD, non Hurd) would be off limits.

Don't get me wrong, the GNU guys and girls are doing noble work - and many of their programs are BETTER than the proprietary ones or very innovative. I'm just trying to make the point that the word freedom is used to demand restrictions on behavior, which I find ironic.

Comment Some ideas on GPL / Freedom etc (Score 3, Interesting) 266

To restate the obvious:
There are two paradoxical possible twists to an open source license.
1. The user is allowed to use the source as part of a closed source product (which is a kind of freedom)
2. The user is obliged to make derivatives available as source (which ensures the greater freedom of other users/developers) (this is a restriction on the actions of user 1)

Neither one is complete freedom. They are both giving up something - the possible work of the downstream user or the business motivation of the first user.

The GPL's origin is in RMS' desire to be able to modify software that was produced by companies. It takes this to the extreme, basically by prohibiting closed source products based on GPL.

The benefit of this is mostly to developers, and within that, to developers who are independent. Software companies share code / secrets a lot as part of business, but under NDAs. The FSF has as a slogan "you deserve software that is free" but how many users want to exercise the freedom to modify and recompile their software?

More and more, FOSS is produced in a dual stream approach - Redhat/Fedora, Jboss community/pro, other things work this way like Jasper reports etc

The reality of this is that the code that is run in production is not "free" in an active way. When you pay for a supported version of RHEL or whatever you do not generally modify anything very deep inside it and then demand support for your modified version. The fact that you are paying for a supported version is a disincentive to using a modifed version, your own or anyone else's.

Also consider that the Linux kernel is largely developed by people working for IBM, Suse, Redhat, etc.

So while the lone developer wanting to add his improvements to the commercially produced and defective printer driver is a convincing story to argue for the GPL, the reality as it is today is different - it's more like the millions of Linux users who wish their hardware was supported but do not produce a driver for it. And I know they may not have access to the necessary information from the hardware maker, etc. Still, the number of people able and motivated to write OS-level code is small. I know I don't know enough to do it.

Nonetheless, the existence of (mostly) GPL OSes is an amazing thing. The access to knowledge for developers that that provides is awesome. But a lot of the requirements to stay GPL-pure do not sound like freedoms to me- requiring you not to buy certain(most) products, visit certain sites - it's ironic when, in the name of freedom, your freedom to act as you wish must be limited.

Comment Math is not as perfect as Plato said (Score 1) 404

The author of the study co wrote a book with George Lakoff on where math concepts come from, their history etc. Math is not as perfect as I used to think. For instance , we want our systems to be closed under their operations and ideally the inverse of the operations. An example of this would be addition on modulo 5 numbers where 1+5=1. You have the numbers 1-5 and the operation always produces one of them. If you allow for infinite extension, addition is closed on positive integers. But then you want the inverse of the operation, and then that leads to the need for "negative" numbers which are not an intuitive concept. Multiplication then leads to division, rational numbers, irrational numbers (ie square roots ), imaginary numbers-dividing by zero - as you try to expand the ideas to preserve closure more and more bizarre constructs have to be added. Then there's Godel and the inherent flaws in formal systems.

So math is really not as perfect as you might think. The book is interesting and I am not at all doing it justice. Also interesting is David Foster Wallace's math book "Everything and more" I think is the title.

Comment Re:FluxBox (Score 3, Interesting) 357

I also found fluxbox after trying to get used to GNOME 3. Fluxbox is really nice. I added some things I cobbled together for automatic hibernation upon low power, adding nm-applet to the flux taskbar,etc. The ease of use of multiple workspaces/desktops is great. I am however typing this on a Mac my work has provided me and it is kind of re-calibrating my perspective of what a good UI can be......

Comment Dell still has 4 laptops with Ubuntu on their site (Score 1) 473

There are still four laptops on the Dell US site with Ubuntu. No higher end stuff though. I'm typing this on a Dell XPS1530n (n="naked" ie no M$) which I enjoy a lot. When it comes time to replace it I hope there will be something as nice that is certain to work with Linux. (I prefer Fedora which can be another can of worms) Seems like HP and Lenovo don't support Linux much. Maybe System76 or ZAReason will be the way to go.

Comment Re:Apple MacBook Display repair (Score 1) 917

I guess my main point was that replacing the display on a $800 ($1000 if you prefer) laptop shouldn't cost $755. Just judging from the fact that the parts of the entire laptop including complete assembly can be had for $45 ($245) more. CPU, RAM, Video card, keyboard, blah blah. (In other words, just throw this one away and buy another one) The 755 price was confirmed by two of the engineers working in the store.

There was no question of diagnostics to be run, expert advice needed - the display got bonked, it had a ugly miscolored area, it needed to be replaced. A standard job for which there is a standard price. Which is too high.

The fact that they told me to go away and come back two hours later-- to hand them the laptop and ask them to do this-- when I was standing right there with the computer was just icing on the cake.

This is just one person's bad experience with the Apple way. It felt like what people seem to say about Apple- they were making the decisions for me, I had no alternative, and it was expensive. The appointment system seems kind of pompous, and finding out about the way I did was not a happy moment for me.

In real life I'm a Linux guy and I'm not any kind of anti-Apple zealot. Apple makes some stuff that works out great for certain people and applications. I love my iPod. My kids and wife love theirs. We have an iMac. I had my first Mac in 1988. etc etc.

  I consider their computers to be overpriced in raw hardware but to me you're really paying for the superior OS and support (not sure I still feel that way about the support) which can't be had on a PC for any price (Hackintoshes not worth anything). So I am used to thinking there is a Macintosh tax and I think it is justified. However in this situation I felt I already paid that tax when I bought the Macbook in the first place.

but a $755 repair on an $800 computer? Please, that's insulting.

Slashdot Top Deals

Executive ability is deciding quickly and getting somebody else to do the work. -- John G. Pollard