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Linux Flourishes In 200-Year-Old Gold Markets

timothy posted about 5 years ago | from the neal-stephenson-themes-everyhere dept.

Linux Business 195

tbarkerload writes "H-Online [a spin off of a major German daily] reports on a gold trader managing over 15 tonnes of gold, worth $660m, with a platform built on open source tech. BullionVault operates a 24-7 electronic market in gold bullion open to both retail and professional traders. Their systems handle thousands of daily transactions from both human traders and bots operating through their API. If Linux has reached the world of hundred year old assaying firms, and Swiss vaults buried in mountains, can final world domination be too far away?"

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195 comments

I for one.. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27695079)

I for one Welcome our bullion vaulting open source Swiss overlords.

how much? (2, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | about 5 years ago | (#27695127)

660 million?

Pitiful.

Hey, guess what OS the stock exchanges of NY, London, Hong Kong, Mumbai, Tokyo, etc are built on?

If you REALLY want to talk about world domination, I'd start there instead of some two-bit (ok, 5.3 billion-bit) gold exchange.

Re:how much? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27695161)

over NINE THOUSAAAAAaaaaaaaaAAAND!

Re:how much? (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | about 5 years ago | (#27695193)

Not to mention server!=desktop. I think there's a natural ceiling on the server market. Somewhat larger than we have today, something less than IPV6 addresses available.

Re:how much? (0)

entgod (998805) | about 5 years ago | (#27695499)

And you anticipate the number of desktops to overcome the amount of available ipv6 addresses in how many years? :)
If I'd have to make a guess, I'd say the demand for servers goes up pretty much at the same pace as desktops. "Cloud" computing will take care of that.

Re:how much? (0, Troll)

sortius_nod (1080919) | about 5 years ago | (#27695697)

I'm not sure what you're getting at... Linux servers are already in nearly every house, all be it as routers and using an embedded form of Linux. It seems that people are slowly moving toward Linux as the backbone for their housing.

I have no less than 4 Linux devices/computers in my house, most people will have at least 1 or 2. The whole desktop thing will be a natural progression once people realise Vista SE, I mean 7, has fallen flat on it's face.

Re:how much? (0, Troll)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | about 5 years ago | (#27695925)

Backbone still isn't equal to desktop. I'll be impressed when Open Office is as ubiquitous as Microsoft office, and Gnome has replaced Windows 7.

Re:how much? (1, Flamebait)

Hucko (998827) | about 5 years ago | (#27696055)

I won't. Gnome is even more limiting in practice than Windows.

Re:how much? (1)

Chandon Seldon (43083) | about 5 years ago | (#27696629)

I won't. Gnome is even more limiting in practice than Windows.

Huh? I run Gnome. It does what it needs to do and keeps out of the way the rest of the time. What more could you ask for?

Re:how much? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27697445)

KDE?

Sorry, but you asked for it. :)

Re:how much? (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 5 years ago | (#27697539)

So don't use GNOME. The nice thing about Linux is, you have choice in your GUI. In Windows you don't, in OS X you don't, in Linux you do. Don't like GNOME? Use KDE, XFCE, IceWM, Fvwm, heck use obscure ones like Ion, or Afterstep. You are bound to find a WM that fits your needs or can be customized to fit your needs.

Re:how much? (1)

filesiteguy (695431) | about 5 years ago | (#27697973)

Well, that's not entirely true. Though it is ugly, uninspired and the complete antithesis to user-friendly, GNOME is not limiting. You can run KDE apps in GNOME, you can run X apps and you can even run GNOME apps under KDE. (Just don't try to use the file open/save dialog boxes with any success.)

Re:how much? (1)

Hucko (998827) | about 5 years ago | (#27698025)

heh, I submit, I submit!

I agree with pp. I did over-generalise; thank you to all those other suggestions of how I should use(utilise?) my OS -- I may keep them in mind as I use my KDE & WM desktops in future.

Re:how much? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27696067)

Yeah, not sure how this is news...

thousands of daily transactions

Thousands you say?

Re:how much? (4, Insightful)

superwiz (655733) | about 5 years ago | (#27696471)

But the whole point of the post was that Linux reached something so archaic -- not something at the forefront.

Re:how much? (0)

guruevi (827432) | about 5 years ago | (#27697953)

New York runs on Red Hat, London runs on .NET and MSSQL but already had some boo-boo's with it (out of personal experience: MS SQL clusters nor .NET performs well when the host's CPU peaks out), Mumbai and Hong Kong seems to run on some homebrew software on a Unix-like system, Tokyo is currently handled by a Fujitsu-built engine but will be replaced soon probably again by something proprietary.

Usually the basis of stock exchanges are Unix since mainframes don't come with Windows and converting the old programs (which could be cobbled together with COBOL, C, C++ and shell scripting (no kidding)) to a new platform would be a pain in the butt (unless you get Microsoft itself to build it for you as in the case of London). Linux is the cheap alternative since it's very similar to Unix and performance wise very predictable and stable (even under high load) however most exchanges don't go the cheap route and get something totally custom built on top of an expensive mainframe Unix.

Well, considering (1)

sammykrupa (828537) | about 5 years ago | (#27695137)

Well, considering that the other options are Windows, Solaris, or custom...it's not really that surprising. At least with Linux they know what they are getting into in terms of holes, etc.

Re:Well, considering (1)

ksheff (2406) | about 5 years ago | (#27695417)

That is if they bother to stay up to date with what bugs are out there on a day to day basis. For most businesses, it's just another OS where they wait for the vendor to release a patch, and then install it at some point.

Re:Well, considering (0, Troll)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | about 5 years ago | (#27695933)

But with linux (and I'd guess solaris) its easy to let apply just security updates without risking functionality, in fact very few distros would even try and give functionality updates to an installed system, the same can't be said of windows.

In other news (0)

mrbene (1380531) | about 5 years ago | (#27695141)

Millions of gigabits of internet data are handled every second by Linux based servers, worldwide, including a significant traffic for modern reworkings of the world's oldest profession [wikipedia.org] .

Re:In other news (2, Funny)

mcfatboy93 (1363705) | about 5 years ago | (#27695203)

world's oldest profession [wikipedia.org]

worlds oldest ptofession ... painting? [wikipedia.org]

Re:In other news (1)

Dyinobal (1427207) | about 5 years ago | (#27695289)

The term profession is applied to those persons who have specialized and technical skill or knowledge which they apply, for a fee, to certain tasks that ordinary and unqualified people cannot ordinarily undertake.

While I'm not sure prostitutes need specialized and technical skill or knowledge for what they do (I could be wrong, if I am could some prostitute please correct me?). They do get paid, where I doubt Mister stone age Picasso got paid for what he did.

Re:In other news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27695597)

He was a carving artist.

Re:In other news (2, Insightful)

thtrgremlin (1158085) | about 5 years ago | (#27696245)

I'm not sure prostitutes need specialised and technical skill or knowledge for what they do

There are always those without skill in any industry willing to get paid, but quality, D&D free sex workers put exceptional time and training both into their physical and social skills. Low barrier to market (no pun intended) always means more aggressive competition. Nobody makes or pays $500+ an hour without specialised skills. Nobody.

Prostitutes who don't play tabletop RPGs? (1)

tepples (727027) | about 5 years ago | (#27696585)

quality, D&D free sex workers put exceptional time and training both into their physical and social skills.

D&D? What does Dungeons and Dragons have to do with the sex trade?

Re:Prostitutes who don't play tabletop RPGs? (1)

thtrgremlin (1158085) | about 5 years ago | (#27696947)

If I were to pay for the services of a prostitute, I'd at least expect their full attention and for them to put down the dice. :)

and in case you weren't just trying to be funny, D&D, D/D, or sometimes just DD free in 'personal ads' means free of Disease free (technically illness free is what people mean / intend to communicate, but people still say disease anyway) and don't to any Drugs. :) In places where prostitution is not criminalised, such things are certified; workers are tested weekly and is a condition of their employment that they are clean, safe, and happy.

Re:Prostitutes who don't play tabletop RPGs? (1)

fractoid (1076465) | about 5 years ago | (#27698417)

Sounds to me like D/D would be diseased druggie, it needs a negation somewhere in there. :)

Sounds like (as with most other nominally 'victimless' crimes) prohibition has caused far more overall harm than simple regulation would have done.

Anyone else hoarding gold? (3, Interesting)

DriedClexler (814907) | about 5 years ago | (#27695291)

Quick question: Is anyone else buying up physical, in-your-possession gold? Given all that's been going on, it seems like it's virtually impossible for major currencies *not* to get severely devalued. The massive underfunded pension tidal waves, medicare programs, new spending, banks that will be unable to pay back loans...

I recently bought at Bullion Direct [bulliondirect.com] , a few Canadian Maple gold coins. Well, Bullion Vault just got some free advertising, because it looks like they offer a better deal on an ounce of gold. But I think you're best off buying in coin form since you may have some defense in the even the government decides to seize gold; it will probably exempt some small amount for "collector's purposes", which wouldn't apply to bars.

Re:Anyone else hoarding gold? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27695521)

The government would more likely refuse to pay their debts / print out 12 trillion dollars than steal gold.

Re:Anyone else hoarding gold? (1)

hitchhacker (122525) | about 5 years ago | (#27695819)

The government would more likely refuse to pay their debts / print out 12 trillion dollars than steal gold.

From Liberty Dollar [wikipedia.org] :

The Liberty Dollar offices were raided by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the United States Secret Service on November 14, 2007. Bernard von NotHaus, the owner of Liberty Services, sent an email to customers and supporters saying that the FBI took all the gold, silver, and platinum, and almost two tons of Ron Paul Dollars.

-metric

Re:Anyone else hoarding gold? (1)

pfleming (683342) | about 5 years ago | (#27696459)

They were really after the Ron Paul dollars - there are some things that just shouldn't get out... seriously though was someone getting into the minting business and minting unauthorized coins?

Re:Anyone else hoarding gold? (1)

rumcho (921428) | about 5 years ago | (#27696395)

The government would more likely refuse to pay their debts / print out 12 trillion dollars than steal gold.

Huh? Why not steal gold? The government already did it in 1933. FDR stole american's gold and then turned around and set gold from $22/ounce to $35/ounce, which automatically devalued americans' gold by 40%. Read some history buddy!

Re:Anyone else hoarding gold? (3, Insightful)

BitHive (578094) | about 5 years ago | (#27695553)

Why not hoard a commodity whose price is more stable? I'm amazed that in this day and age there are still people who think gold has inherent value and will suddenly be the default currency when everything goes Max Max Real Soon Now.

Let me guess, you bought a bunch of Ron Paul Liberty Dollars from NORFED too.

Re:Anyone else hoarding gold? (2, Interesting)

mcrbids (148650) | about 5 years ago | (#27695741)

What is the "price"? Most people think of price in nominal terms, EG: so many Dollars/Pounds/Marks/Sheiks/Yen/Whatever.

But when the amount of money available on the marketplace fluctuates, then the "price" of commodities fluctuates.

Gold, as valued in dollars, has fluctuated in price internationally roughly as much as other internationally traded commodities such as oil and iron, indicating that it's not the price of gold that's fluctuating so much as the value of the money used to buy it. On the surface, this appears to indicate inflation, but at the same time, the actual amount of money that the average joe takes home is dropping, which appears to indicate deflation.

Of course, the marketplace is all over the map, with all indications that we're seeing stagflation, which is really bad. [wikipedia.org]

Re:Anyone else hoarding gold? (2, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | about 5 years ago | (#27698267)

Where are the indication that we're seeing stagflation? I see mainly indications of deflation.

Re:Anyone else hoarding gold? (2, Insightful)

dlaudel (1304717) | about 5 years ago | (#27695899)

I'm trying to buy gold, too, but it has no "inherent" value. No object in the world has inherent value, just the subjective values due to people's wants. Gold has historically functioned very well as money, is fairly rare (though common enough that anyone could get a bit), and is durable. It is not easily counterfeited either. Thus, people assign a great deal of value to it as a medium of exchange or something to store value. It's not because we all believe it is magical or something, it's because it has emerged over time as the best available option for money. That's the market process at work.

Re:Anyone else hoarding gold? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27695957)

nice assertions

Re:Anyone else hoarding gold? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27696005)

"No object in the world has inherent value"

Actually every object in the world has value, whether humans recognize it or not. Oxygen has value, water has intrinsic value. To say nothing has "inherent value" is extremely flawed.

There's a difference between needing and wanting type of value, and instrinsic value.

Re:Anyone else hoarding gold? (1)

rumcho (921428) | about 5 years ago | (#27696375)

I'm amazed that in this day and age there are still people who think gold has inherent value

You're either stupid or joking - which one is it?
If gold had inherent value we'd be using it for something else than money, doh! Gold has all the qualities of money -it's easy to split, does not rust, corrode, it's easy to carry, does not smell, etc. etc. etc.
By your logic we should see people running to the grocery store with buckets of petrolium (because, according to you - it has "inherent" value) to buy milk or whatever.
Oh, and on the same note: what "inherent" value does exactly a $1 Federal Reserve note have? or a $100 Federal reserve note? except that it's pretty good at wiping your ass after you took a crap?
I suggest you go and read some economics before you come with this diarrhea about not having "inherent" value. In particular, read about the "definition of money" and also read about "barter economy".

Re:Anyone else hoarding gold? (1)

cruff (171569) | about 5 years ago | (#27696887)

You're either stupid or joking - which one is it?
If gold had inherent value we'd be using it for something else than money, doh!

Gold is used for other things than money. Besides the obvious uses in jewelry, it is used for plating electrical connectors to prevent oxidation. It is also used for coloring certain glassware (red). I'm sure there are others I haven't even thought of.

Re:Anyone else hoarding gold? (4, Insightful)

lawpoop (604919) | about 5 years ago | (#27696505)

Why not hoard a commodity whose price is more stable?

Which commodity are you recommending here? What's more portable, has better liquidity, or has better value density? What doesn't corrode or rot? You can take a piece of gold to any pawn shop or jeweler and get money for it -- try doing that with wheat or oil.

I'm amazed that in this day and age there are still people who think gold has inherent value and will suddenly be the default currency when everything goes Max Max Real Soon Now.

I'm surprised you didn't know that gold has been the most valuable commodity to any society that could get their hands on it. Why has gold been a universal currency for the past 5,000 years? Gold was valuable to the Incas, who had no connection to the east or west, until they were conquered by the Spanish.

What commodity is more easily transportable and has a better value density? Why is the word for 'money' or 'coin' or 'value' in many languages literally 'gold'? What do people take with them when they have to flee a country? What do people put in their safe deposit box? Why were ancient treasures filled with gold? Why does Fort Knox hold a bunch of gold? Why did kingdoms and governments use gold to back their paper currency -- which really does have no inherent value -- with gold, until very recently? If it truly has no inherent value, how come it's never completely lost its value, unlike paper currency, or tulip bulbs?

The answer is, gold is probably the closet thing we'll have to a perfect currency. It's malleable, divisible, and meltable -- unlike precious stones -- which means you can pay in exact change, and take your small denominations of gold, melt it down, and create a single unit out of it. It can't be arbitrarily multiplied, as a currency can -- no hyper inflation, unless we perfect the art of alchemy. Human beings are genuinely tickled by it's color -- it's used in jewelry and decoration, literal representations of value. It's pretty, unlike, say, lead. It doesn't corrode, like copper or iron. It won't rot, and can't be eaten, like wheat or rice. It can't be 'used up', like paper, especially printed paper ( currency) or toilet paper. It's not toxic and it won't spill, like oil. It's got a good value density -- Would you rather trade a 1 ounce gold coin ( value ~$1,000 ) or 1 ton of rice ( value ~$1,000) for something? And, it actually does have industrial applications, in electronics.It has inherent value as a medium of exchange.

What commodity would you recommend?

Re:Anyone else hoarding gold? (3, Insightful)

spasm (79260) | about 5 years ago | (#27697451)

Silver was the `universal commodity' for most of the last 5000 years. Gold is a Johnny-come-lately from the last 400 years at best.

The actual `use value' of gold (as decoration, malleable flexible material, conductor) is about US$80 an ounce. The other $900 is fluff value we've assigned to it because a few currencies were based on it for a while.

And I say this as someone who did drill & blast for ten years in gold mines in Australia, and hence has a health appreciation of the dot-com mentality that periodically envelops the industry every time there's a run on the stuff. Driller's pay-per-metre isn't called `silly money' for noting.

Re:Anyone else hoarding gold? (1)

Flavio (12072) | about 5 years ago | (#27698159)

The actual `use value' of gold (as decoration, malleable flexible material, conductor) is about US$80 an ounce. The other $900 is fluff value we've assigned to it because a few currencies were based on it for a while.

How did you get this $80 figure?

I don't understand how one could separate use value and market value, since if you're using something, then you obviously believe it's worth at least what you'd get by selling it at the market price.

Re:Anyone else hoarding gold? (1)

Trepidity (597) | about 5 years ago | (#27698257)

It's a hypothetical of course, but it's not incoherent to consider the matter. Gold doesn't trade mainly as a commodity, but as a currency, so it's interesting to ponder what its commodity value is, if it weren't used as a currency. For example, what would happen to the price of all central banks sold their reserves of bullion? It wouldn't go to zero, because gold does have value as a metal--- it's in demand for jewelry and various industrial uses. But it would be considerably lower than $900/ounce.

Re:Anyone else hoarding gold? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27695557)

I love the idea that after society crumbles, and there's no money, people are going to want to trade all of the food they've hoarded for a relatively useless mineral. Seems like it would be a lot smarter to be buying up guns and bullets, if you're seriously concerned.

Re:Anyone else hoarding gold? (2, Insightful)

BitHive (578094) | about 5 years ago | (#27695611)

It's a great way to make money off idiots during times of economic uncertainty. When demand drops after the crisis passes, you buy it back cheap for next time.

Re:Anyone else hoarding gold? (1)

Fallingcow (213461) | about 5 years ago | (#27695713)

Guns and ammunition also retain their value very well, so if things get way better you can always sell them, possibly at a small profit.

Re:Anyone else hoarding gold? (1)

trybywrench (584843) | about 5 years ago | (#27695595)

I've been hearing a lot about gold hoarding on some financial sites. The boardies at marketwatch.com are especially into it but they're pretty nutty anyway. The most common advice I hear is to make sure whoever you're buying from can actually deliver the gold. Some gold sellers are selling paper gold which will be just as worthless in a major event. Gold in hand is what you want not the "promise to deliver gold".

Re:Anyone else hoarding gold? (3, Funny)

Keith_Beef (166050) | about 5 years ago | (#27697507)

Gold in hand is what you want not the "promise to deliver gold".

I have, in my hand, a Piece of Paper, signed by Mr. Bailey, whereupon he promises to pay me, upon presentation of his Note, the Sum of Twenty Pounds.

I am sorely tempted to present this Note at his Banca, in the hope of receiving Twenty Pounds Troy Weight of pure Gold.

It is my Suspicion, however, that Mr.Bailey will simply substitute the Promissory Note I currently hold for another bearing the same Promise.

K.

Re:Anyone else hoarding gold? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 5 years ago | (#27695691)

While I haven't been, your post raises an interesting question about these guys, and similar operations.

If one wishes to invest in gold merely as another financial instrument, like stocks, bonds, etc. but with different behavior, then the whole "OMG physical storage of gold!" angle offered by these guys, along with egold and their ilk, is merely overhead, the more abstract representations are fine. If one wishes to invest in gold because they think they'll be able to trade it for dog food and buckshot after the black helicopters/UN/locust/whatever ravage the land, then "er, well, the gold is stored for you, in a distant locked repository that you can't get in to. Don't worry, you can stroke it over the internet" is completely useless. Only the gold under your bed will be available.

That being so, why do these players exist? Are they, in essence, just what the small scale face of investing in gold as a financial instrument looks like (i.e. for people who can't afford to buy in 400 ounce increments) or are there actually enough suckers drawn in by the virtual gold experience?

Re:Anyone else hoarding gold? (1)

BitHive (578094) | about 5 years ago | (#27695837)

Yes, but they haven't given it as much thought as you just did.

There are people who believe that the government wants to make it illegal to own gold because it 'competes' with the fiat money system, which they (the Fed'ral Gubbermint) use to rob you blind with inflation (via the Federal Reserve).

Most of these people don't have enough money to even buy one or two ounces of gold at a time, but they fear collapse so much and are tantalized by the prospect that it would drive gold prices higher so they 'invest' in the phenomenon of thousands of poor and poorly educated people just like them buying specious gold holdings online.

Re:Anyone else hoarding gold? (1)

plover (150551) | about 5 years ago | (#27696073)

Come the locusts, I'd rather have the dog food and the buckshot than physical gold under my bed. If I survive, I'll be eating dog food and fending off the people who are starving because they can't eat their gold. Once they die, I expect they'll drop gold and other phat lewt. But just like the games, if every dead body is dropping gold, the value of the gold will plummet.

Of course your point is still valid -- the gold under the bed is still far more valuable than trying to trade with eGold.

Re:Anyone else hoarding gold? (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 5 years ago | (#27697093)

> Come the locusts, I'd rather have the dog food and the buckshot than physical gold under my bed. ...and given the value density of gold: you can have the monetary value of that stockpile fit in your pocket.

Re:Anyone else hoarding gold? (1)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | about 5 years ago | (#27697425)

BullionVault's founder used to carry around a gold coin to demonstrate to people just how difficult it is to pay for something with gold. http://www.nowpublic.com/tech-biz/interview-paul-tustain-founder-bullionvault-com-pt-2 [nowpublic.com]

In recent cases of hyperinflation, the market has resorted to paper currency from neighboring countries: Deutschemarks in Yugoslavia, rand in Zimbabwe.

In the post-WWII chaos in Europe, you could buy a Volkswagen with cartons of cigarettes. Forbes has suggested that bottles of Scotch could become trade goods on the same principle.

People who worry about such things often (in the US) stock up on pre-1964 coins which were actually made out of silver, on the theory that more people would recognize those than would accept, say, a Krugerrand.

So why do I have all this information on tap? Does being a security consultant make you paranoid, or vice versa?

Re:Anyone else hoarding gold? (3, Insightful)

StikyPad (445176) | about 5 years ago | (#27695829)

Nope, but I sold mine recently, so thanks for buying it at nearly twice what I paid for it.

I'm no financial genius, but buying low and selling high. As Buffet puts it, "be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful." It means essentially the same thing. That said, gold seems to be rather high right now, while stocks are quite low. The only way it makes sense to pick gold over stocks is if you believe we're headed for Mad Max. Although personally, if that's the case, I'd rather have guns than gold.

Re:Anyone else hoarding gold? (2, Funny)

BitHive (578094) | about 5 years ago | (#27695891)

Gold bugs, meet the 'other side' of your shrewd 'investment' transactions

Re:Anyone else hoarding gold? (1)

rumcho (921428) | about 5 years ago | (#27696463)

That said, gold seems to be rather high right now, while stocks are quite low.

I think you forget about one very important factor. The governments of the world are manipulating gold. Gold should be a lot higher now than it is. I think gold should be ~ $2000/oz but the IMF and other central banks are selling gold to hold price low in hopes that somehow the current crisis will go away and then gold prices will crash and people will run back to stocks. I think this is not happening. The current financial system based of fraud and funny money is on its death bed. So it's still not late at all to protect one's savings.

Re:Anyone else hoarding gold? (2, Funny)

Alpha830RulZ (939527) | about 5 years ago | (#27697861)

The other thing that is neat about gold is that you can beat it into a very fine foil, from which you can make a neat hat to quiet the voices that tell you that the IMF and central banks (of which the IMF is NOT one) give a rat's ass about the price of gold. The price of oil, yes. The dollar, euro, and other major currencies, yes. But the price of gold simply doesn't matter in the world of economic stability that the banks and governments of the world care about.

Re:Anyone else hoarding gold? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27695893)

Well, some of us think the price of gold has peaked, will crash, and take forever to recover. But we could be wrong...

The Dollar (3, Insightful)

copponex (13876) | about 5 years ago | (#27695949)

Trust me. The dollar will not fail.

If China allowed the dollar to tank, the American economy would make the current crisis look like paradise. Oil would be unaffordable. Our reserves would be locked up for military use. The power vacuum left by a rapidly destabilized American military would fuck shit up. You'd probably have dozens of wars spring up, especially in the middle east, as Europe and Asia battle over the energy reserves currently under our control. Israel would probably end up dropping a pre-emptive nuke to make everyone think twice about moving in their direction. Who knows which way Russia would swing.

So, the world isn't going to let America fail at the moment, since no one knows how better or worse off they'd be. That's why the dollar is up since the crisis. China may have all of our money, but we still have more military power than the rest of the world combined.

And gold? Gold isn't going to get you to the border, or to any place of safety. You should buy a dirtbike and a shitload of ammunition if you think the dollar is going to fail. Gold won't buy much more than cash if everyone is starving.

Plus, your fears about spending are basically groundless. During WWII we drove up our deficit to unbelievable highs - wars are expensive, that's why taxes should go up when a country goes to war. McCain said in 2003: "The tax cut is not appropriate until we find out the cost of the war and the cost of reconstruction." That was, of course, before he starting toeing the line for the real political power in the GOP.

We can afford national healthcare, stimulus packages, more education, and ponies if we reduce military spending, which is currently at a trillion dollars a year. Empire is what is bankrupting the country, not social spending.

China (1)

copponex (13876) | about 5 years ago | (#27695983)

I meant to expand on this, but China doesn't actually have all of our money, just the most out of any foreign country, along with Japan. I still think they hold enough to do some damage, though, if they switch entirely to Euros or something else.

Re:China (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 5 years ago | (#27697087)

I meant to expand on this, but China doesn't actually have all of our money, just the most out of any foreign country, along with Japan. I still think they hold enough to do some damage, though, if they switch entirely to Euros or something else.

And who exactly would buy their dollars? China is worried about this, as they've recently come to the realization that they've been working on the cheap for America in exchange for nothing more than........paper.

Re:The Dollar (1)

turbidostato (878842) | about 5 years ago | (#27696385)

"If China allowed the dollar to tank, the American economy would make the current crisis look like paradise. Oil would be unaffordable. Our reserves would be locked up for military use. The power vacuum left by a rapidly destabilized American military would fuck shit up."

I see how this would be bad for USA (and western world, in general) but I fail to understand how can this be but good for China's government with its massive ammount of reserves and internal market. Oh! and while there is oil it won't be unaffordable, just as expensive as possible. If nobody is able to buy it but for peanuts, that will be its price.

Re:The Dollar (1)

copponex (13876) | about 5 years ago | (#27696589)

From what I understand, a collapse of the dollar would immediately lead to the pricing of oil in Euros instead of dollars. Both Iraq and Iran and Venezuela have threatened to sell oil in Euros instead of dollars, but if I remember correctly, it is still OPEC policy to only sell oil in dollars. I've read that a war against the Euro is one of the reasons we were drawn so easily into Iraq, but I digress.

Once oil is sold in Euros, lets say 100 Euros per barrel, and the dollar craters in value, it would cost possibly thousands of dollars to bring a barrel of oil into the United States. So even if oil triples due to lack of supply after that collapse (and inevitable war in the Gulf region), Europe is paying 300 instead of 100, but America is paying $9,000 instead of $3,000. At that price, gasoline would be $215 a gallon. (I know these figures are totally made up - I have not read any "predictions" that say they would be this high.) I doubt the Pentagon would allow anyone to touch the oil reserves - you'd see a shitload of bikes on the road, with a few ambulances and humvees.

China doesn't have the military capability to step in behind America. They spend 200 billion a year on their military, which has a larger number of troops with less than stellar equipment. Their economy would also partially collapse, as the demand for their products from the US disappear and Europe and the rest of the world would greatly reduce their imports as well.

Russia may have enough leftover equipment and proximity to take over Iraq and Afghanistan, but who knows where China would land in that scenario. Plus, China couldn't dump their US holdings slow enough to retain their full value, as any move in that direction would cause everyone else to sell theirs.

This is my totally uneducated opinion, but I'd be very interested to see what contingency plans our government has cooked up for this type of scenario. Maybe it was already put into play in 2001.

Re:The Dollar (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about 5 years ago | (#27697081)

The problem is the EU is hurting even worse than the U.S. right now. All evidence currently points to a complete collapse of the world economy if the U.S. economy craters (which is what it would take for the dollar to collapse)

Re:The Dollar (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27697261)

Makes no difference what it's sold in. The relative value is what's important. If the US can buy oil for the equivalent of $10 a barrel, and the EU pays the equivalent of, say $10 Euros,(if the currencies were equal, as they once were) they both compete, and the price is relative. Add in China and the rest of the world, and the price goes up. If the value of the dollar drops against the Euro, then the EU consumers can buy oil cheaper than US consumers. if the value of the Euro drops, then the US buys it cheaper. Of course, this is all only relevant if the countries themselves don't subsidize the oil or its transportation.

Re:The Dollar (1)

EdIII (1114411) | about 5 years ago | (#27696677)

You should buy a dirtbike and a shitload of ammunition if you think the dollar is going to fail.

Well, I do think the dollar is going to fail. Maybe I am to cynical and bitter about all the crap that has happened in the last 20 years, but that is the way I feel. I have zero faith in the U.S government.

You are entirely right about Gold. I have transportation, alternative fuel sources and energy, food, and medicine. Ohh, and a shitload of weapons and ammunition. Not to mention a place to go that is well of the beaten path. The food and medicine will be worth more than any piece of Gold when something happens. What can I do with Gold anyways other than trade it for something else? I would rather have the "something else" in hand already.

Re:The Dollar (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27698439)

You have been playing too much Fallout.

Re:Anyone else hoarding gold? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27696085)

I thought that it was illegal in the US to possess gold in other forms than jewelry or gold coins and considered that strange. Is coins and jewelry what you mean or am I wrong? I checked a wikipedia article [wikipedia.org] but that is obviously not a very reliable source.

Re:Anyone else hoarding gold? (1)

Estanislao Martnez (203477) | about 5 years ago | (#27696355)

I thought that it was illegal in the US to possess gold in other forms than jewelry or gold coins and considered that strange. Is coins and jewelry what you mean or am I wrong?

It was illegal for a long time (1933-1975). It has been legal for over 25 years now.

Re:Anyone else hoarding gold? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27696995)

yes, i am. i've been buying one ounce per paycheck for most of a year now. (it's wonderfully easy where i live now--the banks have gold counters where you can anything from 1gm bars to 1kg bars, plus the standard coins from 1/10 oz up. i also picked up $75 (face) of "junk silver" (i.e. old 90% silver american small change too worn to have value to collectors) last time i was in the states. (it's going to be pretty complicated to buy groceries with 1oz gold coins if it ever comes to that--they're worth way too much. silver dimes would be much better.) i rate the probability of actually needing physical gold and silver as somewhere below 1%, but that's a lot higher than i would have put it last year.

Re:Anyone else hoarding gold? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 5 years ago | (#27697153)

My estimate is that by September we will be seeing some pretty hefty inflation.

Did you pay attention last month to what happened when the Chinese suggest we move away from the dollar as the reserve currency? China had just come to the realization that their supply of dollars might lose value very quickly, and it was worrying them. All the other bankers in the world were very quick to assure that the dollar was going to remain the reserve currency, and yet, quietly, they've been selling their own dollars. Their reassuring words are not backed up by their actions.

Shortly after that, the IMF recently authorized the sale of $500 billion worth of its gold. Most of it will be sold to China and Russia, Russia also having most of their reserve in dollars.

In addition, although prices have come down somewhat since the summer, part of that is due to the lack of demand, causing suppliers to try to get rid of their inventory at a lower price. Eventually the excess inventory will be sold off, and prices will rise again.

I don't think physical gold is the best way to handle it, because the sellers will take a percentage in the transaction. There are a number of ways to protect against inflation: futures in almost any commodity, Treasury Inflation Protected Securities (TIPS), land (not that I would invest in land right now), and stocks or bonds (since stock represents ownership of an actual company, the company has actual value independent of the value of the underlying currency). Also, no need to worry about doomsday scenarios, since if that happens, we'll have a lot more to worry about than our investments.

Re:Anyone else hoarding gold? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27697657)

In the face of disaster, the only commodity worth hoarding is NATO ammunition.

Can final world domination be too far away? (0, Troll)

Rene S. Hollan (1943) | about 5 years ago | (#27695619)

Prety much already happened.

Just that no one really noticed.

What more evidence than M$FT laying off code monkeys do you need? It's all downhill from here. Hang on, it's gonna be one heck of a ride.

I don't think so... (1)

filesiteguy (695431) | about 5 years ago | (#27697105)

Honestly, I've been a Linux advocate since - oh - '96 or so, and a linux user fulltime since 2004. However, I've recently just about given up on Desktop Linux at least. I migrated my primary laptop from Linux (openSUSE) to Vista a few weeks back simply because there were too many things not working the way I felt they needed to be.

I could get around most of the constant need for IE by using Crossover Office or IES4Linux. However, more and more sites are requiring IE7 or plugins which don't work in Wine. Running VirtualBox or VMWare works but drags the computer down way too much. (And I could never convince RIM to make a Blackberry desktop program for Linux, in spite of four years of asking them at least monthly. Oh, and neither VirtualBox nor VMWare seems to let me synch my blackberry when running under Linux.)

I might be wrong, but I see the ease of use of Wintendo much more than of Linux, especially for desktops. Yes, it is true that *nix is already in use on embedded devices such as my DSL router, my ethernet router, my son's Didj handheld game system, my wife's TiVO and on our Satellite NAV system in the car. However, there just "seems" to be something missing from the desktop arena.

Since switching the laptop to Vista (after almost two years on openSUSE), I've noticed a few things. First, it never fails to connect to my wireless (WPA encrypted/no SSID broadcast) network at home. Under openSUSE, I would routinely connect instead to my neighbor's network and have serious trouble connecting to mine, unless I went to the CLI and typed in su rcnetwork restart.

Second, I can now finally fill in PDF forms and save teh data. You wouldnt' think this was a big deal, but it is for me. (I'm a PHB.) There is an OSS java program but it would routinely fail for me.

Third, I can actually get on my corporate WAN via the new Juniper web-based VPN. (Yes, I've written to Juniper to ask them not to use ActiveX for this.)

Fourth, flash based and java based web applications work faster and better. Though I use Firefox, I do have IE tab running.

Now, in fairness, I've had my share of issues. After installing Office2007 (only because OOo 3.x doesn't support comments and versions in documents) I started crashing. I even got a few bluescreens. Also, on about every other day, my laptop will simply shut off. I have no idea why.

Will I continue to use Linux? You bet! I have it running on another older laptop, which i use to SSH into my home network from work or whereever. (I have a static IP at home.) I can use this for a proxy or simply to diagnose an issue my wife or kids might be having.

However, I don't see it taking over the desktop anytime soon. Had this question been asked of me two years ago, I woudl have said and emphatic, "yes." However I think that the window of opportunity has slipped by and that the big money - Microshaft and The-Cult-of-Apple - have made it nearly impossible to let better technology succeed.

Mark me down as a troll if you wish, this is simply my $0.02.

(Oh, and I had to read this page in compatibility mode, because IE8 throws too many errors...)

Re:I don't think so... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27698003)

I think part of your problem might have been OpenSuse. I don't even remember the last time I encountered a truly IE-only site. I can connect just fine to my WPA2 connection at home (using Ubuntu and Gentoo with NetworkManager) as well as the WPA enterprise connection at my college. You can get Acroread for Linux, which should solve the issue you have with forms. I haven't had any real problems with Flash or Java. I suppose Flash is a bit slower, but I don't really notice it. OpenOffice 3 does support versioning, but just for ODF.

Of course it's your decision, but I'd suggest trying Ubuntu or Fedora before you give up on Linux on your main desktop.

Wait 'till ya find out about the encrypted money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27695739)

Announcing the first release of Bitcoin, a new open source peer-to-peer electronic cash system that's completely decentralized, with no central server or trusted parties. Users hold the crypto keys to their own money and transact directly with each other, with the help of the network to check for double-spending.

http://www.bitcoin.org/ [bitcoin.org]

(nothing stopping that being used with PM)

Cool stuff (1)

Datamonstar (845886) | about 5 years ago | (#27695909)

One of my Everquest guild mates (from a LONG time ago) was a security admin for a gold mine and he told me that they were training him in breaking Linux. Ironically, he played a rogue and he was a good one. Ever since then I've been thinking about how many high risk/high security places use OSS.

Thousands? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27695939)

Their systems handle thousands of daily transactions from both human traders and bots operating through their API.

Who exactly is impressed by this statement? I'm not. Even if it were hundreds of thousands of transactions per day that would still be virtually nothing. A DOS service running on a rusty 386 should be able to handle that with plenty of breathing room.

open source is for dick suckers (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27696045)

go die of aids faggots. open source is gay.

Why Linux? First Look in the Vault. (1)

oldsaint (736226) | about 5 years ago | (#27696137)

Systems that account for physical possession of gold, whether allocated and stored under individuals' identities, or unallocated and used in other transactions (as banks do with money) do not rely upon any specific accounting or transaction system. There are many ways of keeping track of gold accounts, including purely manual records on paper. They all work, if that is the intent. A gold trader that touts its linux system of accounting and trading as somehow essential, or as giving it some sort of advantage in the world gold market, is suspicious. The key point of this article is that apparently no one is allowed to confirm that the gold actually exists. Good luck.

Yeah, Linux can take over... (1)

lawpoop (604919) | about 5 years ago | (#27696261)

If Linux has reached the world of hundred year old assaying firms, and Swiss vaults buried in mountains, can final world domination be too far away?"

Yeah, we just need a few nuclear exchanges. Linux and roaches, FTW!

Is this really about Linux? (1)

Phizzle (1109923) | about 5 years ago | (#27696733)

Or is this just a clever commercial for BullionVault being pitched at the Linux loving Slashdot community?

Security (1)

KamuZ (127113) | about 5 years ago | (#27696971)

I don't know, when i see a story about handling a lot of money and open source i just can think it's probably because they prefer to have people auditing the code for "free" and fix them quickly. Something that is really hard to achieve with proprietary software as they sometimes go with security through obscurity or take a while to deploy patches.

Good news, everyone! (1)

martas (1439879) | about 5 years ago | (#27697101)

My doomsday device, sitting quietly in orbit above your precious little planet and patiently awaiting activation, runs linux! Celebrate, puny humans, for soon thou shalt be destroyed by the Great Old Penguin.

Geeks shooting themselves in the foot! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27697271)

Geek builds a robust OS and gives it out for free. Banker drops paid OS and uses the free stuff. Banker hires geek and pays peanuts for a support role.

Fail (1)

fat_mike (71855) | about 5 years ago | (#27697463)

I love this paragraph and the last sentence in the one before it:

For a while, they deployed OpenOffice as the word processing and spreadsheet application, but ran into problems. The wide range of multimedia documents and complex spreadsheets, often produced by Microsoft Office, that the company received were not reliably imported into OpenOffice. In the worst cases, some spreadsheets would crash OpenOffice Calc. As many of the documents were related to authenticating customers, pragmatism has meant that the company has switched to Microsoft Office, at least for the foreseeable future.

The foreseeable future...considering I heard almost that exact quote 10 years ago I don't think they'll be switching anytime in the next century. And the guy that said

But the whole point of the post was that Linux reached something so archaic -- not something at the forefront.

I hope you're being sarcastic because if not you're very sad and very, very dumb.

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