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Submission + - Oracle Might Be Canning Solaris (phoronix.com)

lbalbalba writes: Oracle might be pulling the plug on the Solaris operating system, at least according to some new rumors. Rumors are circulating that Oracle is ending Solaris development at Solaris 11.4 with no major releases to follow. A tip on TheLayoff.com says in part:
Solaris being canned, at least 50% of teams to be RIF'd in short term
All hands meetings being cancelled on orders from legal to prevent news from spreading.
Hardware teams being told to cease development.
There will be no Solaris 12, final release will be 11.4.


Submission + - What will the upcoming C64 / Amiga reboot change? (commodoreusa.net) 2

An anonymous reader writes: Commodore USA is close to starting production of the new C64s and Amigas it has been designing around modern PC hardware. A new OS nobody has seen yet — Commodore OS 1.0 — is also in the works. COS will, amongst other things, allow "games for the Commodore PET, Vic20, C16, C64, C128 and AMIGA" to be played on the new machines in emulation mode. It also promises "a distinctive, attractive, advanced and stable operating system experience".

Will these machines only interest a few hundred thousand people who grew up with a C64 or Amiga at home and are feeling nostalgic? Or could the new machines become wildly popular, sell millions of units just like in the old days and possibly signify a true "return" or "resurrection" of the long extinct "Commodore Platform"? Could this "old-new" platform possibly then become a popular 4th choice for people who want neither a Windows PC, nor a Mac, nor a Linux box? Could the new Amiga lineup in particular, which features fairly powerful hardware, become a renewed magnet for cool audio, video, 2D/3D graphics, music apps and other creative software like the old Amiga was? Will we walk into game shops and see dedicated "Amiga Games" again?

Submission + - Katy Perry's cleavage pulled from Sesame Street (nwsource.com)

vortex2.71 writes: There is a minor war going occurring on YouTube regarding Katy Perry's cleavage on Sesame Street. The children's show says it won't air a taped segment featuring the "California Gurls" singer and Elmo. The pop star — who is known for her risque outfits — wore a gold bustier top as she sang a version of her hit "Hot N Cold." But some felt it was too revealing for the kid set, as reported by the Seattle Times and still available on youtube.
Data Storage

Submission + - Is how we allocate memory doomed in the long run? (wordpress.com)

ned14 writes: I am hoping that slashdot readers can help advise on a proposal for a "malloc v2" change to the ISO C and C++ language standards. The past twelve years have seen a 25x linear improvement in RAM access speeds versus a *250x* *exponential* improvement in RAM capacities (see graph at http://mallocv2.wordpress.com/). If these trends continue, in 2021 RAM capacity growth will have outpaced growth in its access speed by 3E13 times!

Such a mismatch, if it appears, has *profound* long term consequences for computer software design which presently overwhelmingly assumes that RAM capacity — not its speed of access — is that which is scarce. Virtual memory (Denning, 1970) was developed as a system which sacrifices access speed (especially first time access) for the ability to allow software to be written as if available RAM capacity is higher than it really is. Unfortunately, in the next decade it will be *access* *speeds* which will be far more scarce than capacity.

The ISO C and C++ memory allocation API (malloc(), realloc(), free() et al) is used by many languages and systems far outside just C or C++. Its design (which predates even the general availability of virtual memory) was crystallised in the Seventh Edition of Unix right back in 1979 (see http://cm.bell-labs.com/7thEdMan/v7vol1.pdf, page 297) and has been unchanged for decades. It has no concept of block alignment (useful for stream and vector unit computation), no concept of address space reservation (useful for creating space into which arrays can be extended without copy or move construction, a O(N) operation), no concept of speculative (i.e. non-moving) block resize attempts nor any concept of providing execution context awareness to the memory allocator such that non-constant time operations can be avoided in latency sensitive situations such as interrupt handlers. All of these limitations contribute significant and unnecessary additions to memory bandwidth utilisation, unnecessary VM page committal and therefore to average access latencies.

Obviously, in time, the whole concept of what virtual memory is and how it is implemented will need to be addressed, but we are not at that point yet. However, given that it can take up to a decade for ISO standard changes to become generally available to programmers, is therefore *now* the time to introduce the most obvious latency reducing API improvements? If so, what form should they take and how far ought they go? Is it even conceivable to have so much RAM capacity available? What could we possibly do with so much random access storage when accessing all of it takes so long?

The website http://mallocv2.wordpress.com/ contains a rationale with proposal texts for C at http://mallocv2.wordpress.com/the-c-proposal-text/ and C++ at http://mallocv2.wordpress.com/the-cpp-proposal-text/ along with a commenting and voting system thanks to Wordpress. I look forward to your comments.

Submission + - JDK 7 Unexpectedly Gets "Simple" Closures (infoq.com)

An anonymous reader writes: During his Devoxx talk, Mark Reinhold has announced that JDK 7 will have Closures. With the inclusion of this much debated feature, JDK 7 schedule will be extended until around September 2010.

This sudden change in plans has made people like Fabrizio Giudici skeptic about the decision process:

I don't want to discuss whether it's a good or a bad thing (you know I think it's bad I suspend any judgment as I understand that the proposal is neither BGGA nor CICE, but something new). I'm only appalled that after a few weeks that the final word of Java 7 had been said with Project Coin (the famous final five or so), somebody changed his mind all of a sudden. What kind of decisional process is this?

Ah, I got it — it's tossing a coin, now I get where the project name came from. I fear Java 7 could be the most chaotical Java release ever — a very good idea if you want to kill it prematurely (as it there weren't already many other sources of entropy, such as the Oracle deal or the Jigsaw / OSGi debate).

Similarly Geertjan Wielenga thinks that the inclusion of Closures was a very unexpected development:

Great news and maybe best if no one asks too many questions about how that process ended up throwing up this solution! First, we have a whole bunch of proposals, all of which get lukewarm reception. Then, suddenly, like a bolt from the blue, we have "simple closures". (I wonder if any of the existing proposals are called "complex closures". Isn't simplicity the whole purpose of closures in the first place?) OK, the closures will be simple in the sense that there will be no non-local return, no control statements, and no access to non-final variables. Still, how was that decision made?

Submission + - FOSS Alternative to Exchange for Small Business (slashdot.org) 2

CelticWhisper writes: "I'm the one-man IT department for a small manufacturing company. Recently, our support company (who provided all our IT support until I was called in, and still helps out with application development, ERP, etc.) has been making rumblings about installing Exchange to move our E-mail system off of the dedicated appliance it's on now and onto a proper mail server. I'm hoping to avoid this, as I've seen Exchange used in the past and it caused the sysadmins at that place no shortage of problems. Additionally there are the obvious matters of licensing costs. Thing is, while I've been here a year and a half, I'm still not as well established as the support company is and so countermanding one of their suggestions, while by no means impossible, has to be a careful process and I need a solid plan of action. What I'm hoping to do is introduce a FOSS alternative to Exchange that has E-mail and shared calendars at a minimum, is easy to administer and maintain, and plays nice with as many E-mail clients as possible (or, if not, whose native client is at least marginally Outlook-like). This way I can say to the management that not only will there be an improvement to E-mail/collaboration software, it will be done with significantly smaller licensing fees, or none at all.

I can't stress enough, though, that it needs to be easy to administer. Easy. Easy easy easy. I am still a one-person department and my time is extremely limited most days. I do not have the luxury of R'ing TFM for too long to figure out a problem or how to do something, and calls to the support company (who tend to be Microsoft-centric) are $150/hour. I don't want to install this thing and then realize we're stranded.

So, to recap, I'm looking for a recommendation for a FOSS alternative to MS Exchange that's reliable and easy to setup and use, has shared calendars, and will cause minimal user annoyance if/when the users are moved off of Outlook. Bonus points if it runs on Windows servers but I can get a Linux server in here if need be. Also, I'll deal with office-politics issues myself as needed. I'd like to keep this article to the technology as much as possible."


Submission + - OpenOffice.org 3.0 reaches Million Download Mark (ostatic.com)

ruphus13 writes: In just over 1 year, OpenOffice 3.0 has reached the '100 million download' mark! The Italian version has already seen 8 million downloads, and only 7 million new PCs were shipped. According to the post, "Was it you? Someone out there was the one millionth person to download the popular open source word processing suite OpenOffice.org 3.0 yesterday, just in time for a celebration at the community's annual conference in Orvieto, Italy next week. The milestone took just over one year to achieve once OpenOffice.org 3.0 was released October 13, 2008."

Submission + - Pliosaur skull found in Dorset

jayemcee writes: The skull of a sea dwelling reptile that could eat a T Rex for breakfast has been found in Dorset UK and will be displayed in the local museum. http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2009/oct/27/dinosaur-pliosaur-skull-found-dorset-coast Only the skull (2.4 meters long) has been found and the authorities (who bought the item for close to $32,000) will not release the site for fear that the area is too unstable. They speculate that the remainder of the 'monster' may lie under tons of rock and will wait patiently for nature to deliver the goods via landslides and other forms of natural erosion.
'Experts believe it could rival recent finds made in Svalbard, an archipelago in the Arctic Ocean, where beasts dubbed "the Monster" and "Predator X" were thought to have measured 15m, and in Mexico, where the "Monster of Aramberri" was discovered in 2002, and is believed to have been of similar dimensions.'
"We only have the head, so you cannot be absolutely precise," said Martill. "But it may be vying with the ones found in Svalbard and Mexico for the title of the world's largest."

Submission + - IBM's Answer to Windows 7? Ubuntu Linux (internetnews.com)

An anonymous reader writes: It looks like IBM isn't much of a friend of Microsoft's anymore. Today IBM announced an extension of its Microsoft-Free PC effort together with Canonical Ubuntu Linux. This is the same thing that was announced a few weeks back for Africa, and now it's available in the U.S. The big push is that IBM claims it will cost up to $2,000 for a business to move to Windows 7. They argue that moving to Linux is cheaper.

Dad Builds 700 Pound Cannon for Son's Birthday Screenshot-sm 410

Hugh Pickens writes "The Charleston Daily Mail reports that machinist Mike Daugherty built his son a working cannon for his birthday — not a model — a real working cannon. 'It looks like something right out of the battle at Gettysburg,' says Daugherty. The 700 pound cast iron and steel howitzer, designed to use comparatively small explosive charges to propel projectiles at relatively high trajectories with a steep angle of descent, has a 4-inch gun barrel that is 36 inches long mounted on a wooden gun carriage with two 36- inch diameter wheels and took Daugherty about two weeks to build at a cost of about $6,000. 'I've always been interested in the Civil War and cannons, so I thought it would be a good gift,' says Daugherty's 11-year old son Logan. Daugherty said he is not worried about the federal government coming to get his son's cannon because he spoke to the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and found it is legal to own such a cannon because it does not use a firing pin and is muzzle loaded so the government does not consider the weapon a threat. Two days after the family celebrated Logan's 11th birthday, father and son offered a field demonstration of the new cannon on top of a grassy hill overlooking Fairmont, West Virginia and on the third try, the blank inside the barrel went boom and a cannon was born. For a followup they popped a golf ball into the gun barrel, lit the fuse, and watched the golf ball split the sky and land about 600 yards away. 'Any rebels charging up this hill would be in trouble with a cannon like this at the top,' Logan says."

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