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SETI@home having Problems

CmdrTaco posted more than 15 years ago | from the and-I-thought-I-was-having-a-bad-day dept.

News 238

Foxman writes "Due to failures in coping with the overwhelming response from volunteers, the SETI@home project has been erroneously sending the same packets of radio data to its 500,000 participants." The scariest comment is the estimate that SETI@Home is using 8 tons of fossil fuel per hour.

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Re:Does this affect your group results (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1858748)

Please upgrade your client.

Re:Stress Testing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1858749)

Really? You test your software with 500,000 different client connections coming from different parts of the Internet?

Wow, you must be really good!

Lies, damn lies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1858750)

They claim that their pipeline is not up to speed and that UNIX users are cheating. First of all, 115 work units is nothing. They could have sent more data using Morse code. Secondly, even if users are sending duplicate data, it should be fairly trivial to filter it out.
Who are they trying to fool ?

Should have been expected. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1858751)

The beginning of the article seemed kinda rude. I don't see how anyone could possibly have expected the project to run perfectly smoothly when. 1)They had 5 time the number people download the client as anybody predicted. 2)The whole project is living off of a shoestring budget. and 3) There are people rude enough to cheat on the meaningless statistics (Which I think would be the true waste of time. The crackers are analagous to people trying to cheat the lottery by buying 500 tickets with the same number. The most sorry thing about it is that they fail to win the lottery in the process of wasting $500.)

but The Mothership is Behind the Comet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1858752)

and wont be back for 1435 years

Tough spot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1858753)

Maybe their hardware or operating system is causing them problems, but they can't blame their corporate sponsors who have generously donated stuff. Pleading for more/better servers would be an insult.

Yup (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1858754)

lame Lame LAME (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1858755)

Anderson said one advantage to having so many volunteers is that the project should easily catch up with the backlog of data once the problems are ironed out. On the downside, he said, some volunteers are cheating. Yeah its really nice to have so many volunteers, I wonder how long they're going to stay around when youre not only wasting their time and valuable resources but call them cheaters as well!

Re:Conspiracy theory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1858756)

Actually, they discovered the transmission was the source code for Windows 2000 and MS shut the whole operation down.

Re:"3l1t3 HaX0r D00d2" exploiting bugs is worse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1858757)

"Is nothing sacred?" is a rhetorical question which is always asked about something that's clearly not.

Re:Stress Testing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1858758)

and in case you cared to read the article you would have realized that they did do stress testing. their biggest problem is simply not having enough data for everybody. this has nothing to do with stress testing and there really is no easy way to prevent this. thankfully sun has donated some machines to them and this should help solve the problem, allowing them to prepare and serve enough data for everyone.

Re:"3l1t3 HaX0r D00d2" exploiting bugs is worse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1858759)

With crap like this going on to legitimate, not-for-profit science, is it any wonder the term 'hacker' gets bad press.

Won't argue with you there. It isn't any wonder, and it does kinda-sorta invalidate some of the utopian "we can all work together" propaganda. The people promoting stuff like this are shineing a really bright light on the whole OSS concept.

One world, one nation, one GNU. er... let me rephrase that....

Unix/Linux cround (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1858760)

>Anderson said that at least two of the top 10
>work groups have only reached the rankings
>because some of the members had cheated.
>"I don't want to name names," he said, "But it's
>fair to say the Unix and Linux crowds are causing
>most of the headaches. It seems to be the hacker

Come on folks, instead of pouting at that jab, why don't we just condemn the practice of deliberately undermining a worthwhile project? I don't doubt for a second that if someone is screwing with SETI@home it's us linux hackers. Very few others would be capable or interested in figuring out how. The fact that most of the cheating has come from unix/linux users is utterly beleiveable.

Now lets just be real and say "Stop it!", and quit defending obviously dishonorable behavior.


Sick to my stomach (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1858761)

'it's fair to say the Unix and Linux crowds are causing most of the headaches. It seems to be the hacker mentality.'

As a scientist, this type of crap makes me sick to the pit of my stomach. They are pulling out the old 'cop the blame on a suitable scapegoat' trick, and it stinks.
I hope these guys lose their funding, if not for being arrogant pricks, for their incompetence.

Re:In Perspective (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1858762)

And don't run Linux on your laptop. I've left my laptop running Linux beside my bed at night. The spinning up of the drive over and over and over again as it syncs has sort of a calming affect as I sleep. Except the time I came in the room to find the machine going "ack ack ack ack" as the hard drive worked furiously (near as I can tell there must have been a hard error on the drive media, and sync was pounding it to death). When I run Windows on said laptop, with power management enabled, it goes nicely asleep after some idle time.

Real OSes (tm) idle the hard drive, the monitor, and the cpu itself when nobody is using it. Of course, a server has to be ready to do work at any time, the ethernet has to be listening, etc. so it can't go into deep power management sleep. So people who run a server OS on their desktop (a few OSes come to mind...) are wasting quite a bit of power, logging that always lauded 'uptime' on machines they use maybe 5 hours a day.

Don't miss those cron jobs, dude. Keep it running. The electric company loves ya for it!

Re:Conspiracy theory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1858763)

It's all a conspiracy, man.

The Aliens figured out what we were up to and have us running in loops now.

Yup, its just you... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1858764)

Besides, if the people aren't using the HLT command, they're really not wasting anything

Actually the only OS's not using the HLT instruction are those based on DOS (like that dos app called Windows). So at least the Linux/Unix cheaters were wasting power (running WinDos of course is allways a waste of power).

(unless they're intentionally leaving their computers on longer than they otherwise would have;

You mean like everybody I know that are wasting their resources with this crap?

Re:Why I'm pissed off (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1858765)

Now I look like an idiot.

Let this be a lesson to you. Check your mirror regularly.

Re:Hey, give SETI a break (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1858766)

What would you have done with idle CPU time, anyway? Run Life simulations to generation Googol?

Use them for another distributed project.

Basically, these cowboys can get stuffed. Mersienne primes and RC5 are much better places for me to spend spare cycles; and to think, I'd stopped my efforts to help out the SETI@home people. Pity they're arrogant (we won't release the client, then it won't get cracked!) , obnoxious (Unix users suck!) and disorganised.

I'm sure will appreciate getting those dozen or so Pentium II and IIIs back.

Stress -> from 150,000 to 500,000 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1858767)

What's the deal?

They said they had prepared for 150,000 users, and that because they got 500,000 users it caused everything to behave wrong...

500,000 is about 3,5 times more thn 150,000. That's not a big deal...

It's not as if they had prepared for a crowd of, let's say 10,000 and then ended up with 50 times more volonteers. Not that's a difference.

What I mean is, when you get 3,5 more users, your system is supposed to become slower, of course... but it's still supposed to function.

What do you guys think?

FUD, FUD, and more FUD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1858768)

Furthermore, recent advances in RF technology have made it clear that it's positively idiotic to believe that alien life forms would be using the same modes of radio transmission we do.

so what your saying is that all potential alien life is and always has been more advanced than us? how do you know so much more about alien life than everybody else? please explain this because i', sure that many here would really like to hear your answer.

now it may be true that a more advanced life form could be using a radio signal that we cant detect but to claim that all potential alien life has and does use technologies that we currently cant detect is absurd. most scientist involved with these projects do realize that there is no way for us to detect all possible forms of alien communication.

stop spreading your FUD and get a clue.

Re:On hacking SETI.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1858769)

No, that would not work because public-key encryption is extremely CPU intensive... They already have load problems, this would only add more!

Didn't do their homework (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1858770)

If they were more familiar with distributed computing projects on the internet, they would have known to check for duplicate data being sent. has been doing this for years.

No I didn't cheat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1858771)

Better yet I haven't participated, now I know it wouldn't have been appreciated any way !!!
(Yes I'm a LINUX fanatic)

It seems to me the only time that calling people cheaters isn't offensive is when it's actually true.

Grow up? now that's a really matrure response. Who the f*ck are you anyway telling me when to take offence or not? And yeah there is something you should know about, actually there are a lot of things you should know about but you won't hear them from me. Get a clue, dumbass!

Re:Conspiracy theory SETI (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1858772)

This is all part of project echelon. SETI stands for Secret Echelon Technology Initiative. This is how they break everyones encryption. ;-)

SETI As Worthy Science (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1858773)

Is SETI worthy science? You bet.

Yes, the odds are very, very long. Yes, there's no way to ensure that a given extraterrestrial civilization uses similar radio technology as we do. And yes, we don't expect to start listening in on the Galatic version of CB Channel 19.

However, there IS a finite probability that there IS extraterrestrial life, and another finite probability that they DO use RF technology that we can both detect and recognise. Small perhaps, but finite. So we look.

Sure, all I've got is a very crude telescope, and some pendulums, and some sticks, and this inclined plane. Sure my technology sucks, and there's bound to be better ways to observe the universe, and to measure the passage of time, and speeds of objects, and whatnot. But if I'm Galilieo, I can still make some pretty amazing discoveries with my shitty technology and historical viewpoint.

The fact that success may or may not be likely is not something that should prevent the effort.

Conspiracy theory (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1858821)

Judging by the weakness of the excuses offered up by the fine folks at SETI@home, I am led to conclude that there must be darker, more sinister forces at work here; I suggest that important, perhaps earth-shattering evidence of some kind must have been discovered in the early data sets, and the rest of the data is being withheld while the SETI community (at the urging of the MIB and other secret government agencies, no doubt) scrambles to alter the remaining data or otherwise prevent the general public from becoming aware of the situation. Noting some recent /. headlines and the "coincidental" disparaging remarks in the SETI@home press release regarding hackers and the hacker mentality, it seems clear that alien transmissions must have been discovered to contain detailed instructions for the construction of a cold fusion device.


"Paranoia? No such thing, it's all a conspiracy by the mental health profession."

"3l1t3 HaX0r D00d2" exploiting bugs is worse (3)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1858822)

That SETI@Home has been Slashdotted and is having a little touble scaling is unfortunate, but understandable. They just need some time to fix the problems that the massive reponse they got dragged to light, No big deal.

But I find the fact that people are trying to exploit loopholes and bugs in the the client to be sickening, even revolting. Come on guys, SETI@Home is worthy science and a chance to demonstrate to the world how good and powerful we are when we co-operate, Can't you find some other place to vandalize?

Is nothing sacred?

Re:OSS and SW/Results validation (1)

Pug (21) | more than 15 years ago | (#1858823)

Netrek does that, for the most part. They distribute the source to all the clients, but most servers will only accept a "blessed" binary. A blessed binary is one that was personaly compiled by one of the coding gods. They used to verify it by sticking an extra .c file in just for that purpose, which was not distributed. Now, however, they use RSA keys. Methinks that once you have that done, signing the results should be trivial.

OSS and SW/Results validation (2)

KMSelf (361) | more than 15 years ago | (#1858827)

I was reading with some interest the notes at SETI@Home discussing why an open source client wasn't being distributed. Apparently there are concerns with what would happen if an OSS client were hacked to provide wrong answers. I have two key thoughts.

First, closing the source apparently isn't preventing exploits based on the existing client. Whether or not anyone's tried to reverse engineer the code or not I'm not sure, but it's probably a matter of time before an RE or exploit-capable client is produced.

Second, this problem is something which OSS must face in general, particularly in a distributed computing environment. While digital signatures can be used to validate individuals and email, I'm wondering if similar means can be used to verify a program and its results. What SETI@Home needs is a way to distribute its source (to get benefits of OSS development), but to be able to mark the "canonized" version of the code in such a way that a non-forgeable signature can be attached to results and not just the code.

I'd be interested in knowing how or whether this issue is being persued elsewhere.

Some people say the damndest things.. (1)

gavinhall (33) | more than 15 years ago | (#1858833)

Posted by frogbert:

Anderson said some groups are claiming credit for processing the same data packet over and over..


Does this affect your group results (1)

smartin (942) | more than 15 years ago | (#1858836)

My machine has been pumping in results all week but my totals haven't been going up. Also if you add up the number of results sent in for every one in a group it doesn't seem to match the result for that group.

Re:Does this affect your group results (1)

smartin (942) | more than 15 years ago | (#1858837)

Since I upgraded my client to 1.2, none of my results have registered!

Re:Is it just me... (1)

Derek (1525) | more than 15 years ago | (#1858842)

Nope, it's not just you. Here's the snippet of text that Fizgig is referring to. (In case some of you missed the second page of the article.)

Anderson said that at least two of the top 10 work groups have only reached the rankings because some of the members had cheated.
"I don't want to name names," he said, "But it's fair to say the Unix and Linux crowds are causing most of the headaches. It seems to be the hacker mentality."


SETI @Home (1)

Sabby (1759) | more than 15 years ago | (#1858843)

Biggest problem I have with this group is that they're yet another Distributed-type project. It would be nice if we could have some sort of concerted effort on one distributed project before we spawn another. has a lot of experience with this sort of thing, and so they've got the infrastructure to handle it. We're spawning ANOTHER group, and they're reinventing the wheel as far as the organization, the client, etc. (Although, I admit, the screen saver IS pretty -- and I'm tempted to run SETI@Home on my home PC alng with the client.)

For now, I just run SETI@Home at work, where I don't want to explain (or even have a possibility of having to explain) "Code cracking" on my work computer.

Re:OSS and SW/Results validation (1)

flea (1941) | more than 15 years ago | (#1858844)

Yes, they'll check out the "positive" results to see if they're faked, but what about the negative results? I've seen a lot of posts on this subject saying that it's a waste of time. Suppose someone wants to sabotage the project (just in case they're wrong) by sending negative results at a fast pace in an attempt at preventing others from doing a legitimate scan of the data?

Every packet sent back to them should be verified, not just the "good" ones.

Re:Well, that's not nice (1)

Gregg M (2076) | more than 15 years ago | (#1858845)

You know how I feel about it!

and I'll quit and join - where they don't blame Linux users for their problems.

and where we are slowly catching up!

The hacker mentality (2)

mmontour (2208) | more than 15 years ago | (#1858846)

To me, the "hacker mentality" is to look at something, figure out how it works, and see how it might be adapted to other purposes. Anything that relies on "security through obscurity" is a prime target, and the Seti folks should have realized this.

IMHO, distributed computing will ultimately have to rely on open protocols and software. It seems to me that redundancy is probably the easiest way to validate data; send the same block to 2 or more randomly-selected clients around the world, and compare the results (ideally, there would be some sort of checksum returned rather than just a Yes/No result). I would also think that participants could "earn" trust over time if their blocks were always legitimate. I know it's nowhere near as simple as this in the real world, but I think this is the direction in which people should be heading.

BTW, I downloaded their client for Linux/x86 but it wouldn't talk through my SOCKS5 proxy server. My other computer is a Netwinder, and I didn't see a Linux/ARM client there. And I don't have anywhere *near* enough free time to try to spoof their servers, so I've abandoned the whole project.

Linux / Unix user cheating or BROKEN Clients? (2)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 15 years ago | (#1858847)

I thought that the reason that Windows clients were not cheating was due to the fact the the Windows client did NOT have the bug in it that caused it to do a WU ever 5-10 minutes. From the article - Anderson said that at least two of the top 10 work groups have only reached the rankings because some of the members had cheated. "I don't want to name names," he said, "But it's fair to say the Unix and Linux crowds are causing most of the headaches. It seems to be the hacker mentality."

Re:Screw them and their crappy project. (1)

mikpos (2397) | more than 15 years ago | (#1858848)

Not to mention they have no respect for the people putting their CPU cycles into this. They close up their software totally, cut off all communication. I'm sure they had good intentions, but they did it to themselves. Many people in the free software community were willing to help with developing clients, but they basically ignored them; now they're using a shortage of manpower as an excuse. I do not consider these people a part of the scientific community, and from what I understand, neither do many scientists.

Per the SETI@HOME FAQ it's entirely possible (1)

SpiceWare (3438) | more than 15 years ago | (#1858853)

Section 3.11 of their FAQ states that if they don't have enough data then multiple users will receive the same data.

If their servers are being overwhelmed(as their site indicates) then it's entirely possible that they didn't have enough data online to send to all the clients.

I think they mean... (1)

Skip666Kent (4128) | more than 15 years ago | (#1858856)

I think they're referring to 'cheating' in the sense of 'team slashdot' utilizing the slashdot effect to gain the lead. They shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth, is what I think. They should admit "Wow! We weren't ready for that kind of response! But give us some time and we will be...". They should be grateful that this resource pool is being offered to them.

A Cure for Cheating? (1)

Skip666Kent (4128) | more than 15 years ago | (#1858857)

SETI@home should consider NOT posting ANY user/team related stats publicly. Situations like this, wherein one can get his or her "name in lights" INVITE DISASTER.

Seti@home probably posts these statistics in the hope of generating a spirit of competiton in order to get more people involved. Understandable but unnecessary. Let those who wish to contribute do so for their own reasons. Your pool of players may shrink considerably, but the quality of the players will rise dramatically.

Remove the "game" aspect of it and you'll rid yourselves of most of those who seek only to play games.

Post only the most fundamental overall statistics, to give contributors an overall idea of how much work is getting done.

When you believe that 'Contact' has actually been established, THEN you can say who processed the data in question, when, where and so on.

SETI@Home (1)

Pulsar (4287) | more than 15 years ago | (#1858859)

From the wired article...
"I don't want to name names," he said, "But it's fair to say the Unix and Linux crowds are causing most of the headaches. It seems to be the hacker mentality."
"Fair to say"? Hah! I don't think that is anywhere near fair to say. Before reading this portion of the article, I had planned on posting in defense of SETI@home, it seems basically they suffered from a massive /. effect. However, he (project director David Anderson) states in the paragraph before the one I quoted about *some* members of the teams had cheated. Then in this paragraph he makes it sound like the entire Unix/Linux userbase has a "hacker mentality" that somehow equates to a desire to cheat.
I certainly will discontinue running the client until they fix these problems so we're not all wasting our cpu cycles and even after the bugs are fixed, in light of the attitude of SETI@Home expressed through the project director, I may never run it.

Re:In Perspective (2)

Juggler (5256) | more than 15 years ago | (#1858862)

> And 8 tons of fossil fuel a day? Like all those people would have otherwise turned off their computers.
> Waiting patiently for contact,

Please keep in mind that under Real OSes (tm) idle CPU
time actually does use signifigantly less power then CPU
time used for computations, because the "noop" or "halt"
commants repeatedly given to the CPU during the idle
loops uses almost no power.

Haven't any of your overclocker friends noticed how their
CPUs run colder under Linux than Windows? Thats why.

So don't run seti@home on your laptop. :-)

SETI@Home is OSS? Hrm? (1)

MenTaLguY (5483) | more than 15 years ago | (#1858863)

> Won't argue with you there. It isn't any wonder,
> and it does kinda-sorta invalidate some of the
> utopian "we can all work together" propaganda.

No argument there. Anyone who thinks that people won't be real jerks at least some of the time (even where there is considerable counterincentive) need to get in better touch with reality.

> The people promoting stuff like this are
> shineing a really bright light on the whole OSS
> concept.

Are they? Last time I checked, SETI@Home certainly was not OSS, and their decsision to avoid OSS doesn't appear to have helped them significantly either.

You can maybe say something about shining a really bright light on the inherent good of mankind concept, but this is neiter a vindication nor an indictment of OSS specifically. OSS depends on the same kinds of you-scratch-my-back-i'll-scratch-yours economic exchanges we're used to, just as much as it does on altrusim.

[ n.b. economic != monetary ]

Very few people would do OSS if they couldn't realisitically expect to get something back, and that's usually more than just a clean conscience. However, neither is it World Domination...

> One world, one nation, one GNU. er... let me
> rephrase that....

Godwin's law, you lose.

I don't understand the big deal... (3)

John Fulmer (5840) | more than 15 years ago | (#1858870)

The article starts out implying that due to the some kind of bug, all the effort so far as been wasted. THEN it states later that the SETI people have been trying to get it to scale to 500,000+ systems (which is 3x the origional number expected) and have been sending out the same information to everyone for testing and sanity checks.

Why all the negative vibes because of this? People volunteer and then get mad because SETI stopped to try to get the system to scale?

It's very hard to do testing on something like this. How could you stress test a new distributed system with 500,000 nodes beforehand? You probably can't. had to start over a couple of times due to programming errors. Granted, the communication about this could have been better, but do they HAVE to tell you that they are in a test mode? Cut the ET watchers some slack.

On another note, does anyone have any information about the "Unix and Linux" uses that are 'cheating'? If you know anyone doing that, SLAP THEM HARD!

First Carmack getting mailbomed, now this. Some people on the Internet are REALLY starting to suck...


SETI is an extremely long term project

Re:"3l1t3 HaX0r D00d2" exploiting bugs is worse (1)

trog (6564) | more than 15 years ago | (#1858871)

To some, this may not be "worthy science". If you don't agree with the project, don't participate.

What it does have is what we used to call "hack value". The joy of the attempt at finding alien signals justifies the attempt itself. Who cares if it's not successful? Seems to me that all scientific discoveries are lead up to by mistakes and failure. No one has ever gotten it right the first time.

As for the little script kiddies who tamper with the client and the data...I believe that a real hacker has an ethical responsibility to find the loopholes, and instead of exploiting them, present his findings to the SETI people. This would benifit the project as a whole.

Only children with no ethics would distroy something simply for the sake of distruction.

Re:lame Lame LAME (1)

trog (6564) | more than 15 years ago | (#1858872)

grow up....if you didn't cheat, then you shouldn't take offence.

Do you feel guilty? Is there something we should know about?

cheating? (1)

DarkClown (7673) | more than 15 years ago | (#1858875)

"I don't want to name names," he said, "But it's fair to say the Unix and Linux crowds are causing most of the headaches. It seems to be the hacker mentality."
Well that's pretty thinly veiled.
Whatever- get it together before you launch such an ambitious project.
The linux and mac boxes I have working on it have been chugging along (45 units returned) for a couple weeks, that sucks if they're just chewing on redundant data.

Cheating? (1)

Miskatonic (8445) | more than 15 years ago | (#1858877)

Ow, that's low. We're getting our place by cheating?

Now let's see... I've noticed that on my dual-boot machine, the Seti@home client runs about twice as fast under Linux than under Windows 98. (Maybe it's the pretty graphics.) This is clearly going to give Unix users a hand.

Second, uh, the Slashdot effect. I suspect Unix/Linux types are disproportionately represented among Seti@home users, more sci/tech enthusiasts or something.

Unix/Linux implies hacker (read: cracker) mentality? Yeah, it's a good thing that there is no such thing as a Windows hAXX0r d00d. (sarcasm)

My letter to SETI@Home director David Anderson (2)

Angst Badger (8636) | more than 15 years ago | (#1858879)

To SETI@Home project manager David Anderson:

I am not concerned with the recent technical problems with SETI@Home. While the decision to continue accepting new clients before the system was ready for the load demonstrated dubious judgment, problems of this sort are to be expected with a large distributed project during the early stages.

What was not expected was the poor judgment to make the following statement, among others, to _Wired_:

>"I don't want to name names," he said,
>"But it's fair to say the Unix and Linux
>crowds are causing most of the
>headaches. It seems to be the hacker

I have the SETI@Home client running on eight or nine workstations at present, some of which are Linux boxes. I was about to take three backup servers that are currently idle -- an IBM RS6000, a Compaq Proliant, and an IBM PC Server, all of which are running one flavor of Unix or another -- and devote them wholly to SETI@Home until such time as they are needed for other purposes. I thought it would be a nice project for my "hacker mentality". That plan is no longer on the burner. I don't know if I will go as far as many Unix admins already have and take the trouble to pull SETI@Home off the machines it's already running on, but I'm giving it some thought. It certainly won't be going on any new servers. You guys clearly don't want any of us hackers burning CPU time for you.

The next time you have problems with a few individuals, you might want to address them directly, rather than the largely innocent and devoted demographic to which they belong. If you have problems with a businessman who happens to be Jewish, you would not launch a polemic against Jews as a class, would you? Yet, faced with a few problematic vandals who happen to use Unix and style themselves "hackers", you denounce law-abiding, honest Unix hackers as a class. That was stupid and indecent. Shame on you.

If we do someday manage to achieve contact with extraterrestrial intelligence, it is my devout hope that their first impression of humanity does not come from the likes of you.

--Eric O'Dell
Director of Information Services,
The Gadget Guru, LLC

Stupid PR mistake (3)

Angst Badger (8636) | more than 15 years ago | (#1858880)

That they are having problems is understandable for a new project struggling to scale to unanticipated load levels, and it doesn't bother me at all. I wasn't using those CPU cycles for anything else anyway, and I think SETI@Home is a great idea -- certainly more important in the broad scheme of things than the encryption projects run by, which are merely political rather than cosmic in scope.

On the other hand, their wholesale slam against the Unix/Linux crowd on the basis of what are probably a tiny percentage of idiots was just plain stupid. I won't end my participation in the project because of it, but I'm insulted enough that the next time they screw up I'll give it some serious thought. It's precisely because of my hacker mentality that I'm participating in the first place.

Re:"3l1t3 HaX0r D00d2" exploiting bugs is worse (4)

alhaz (11039) | more than 15 years ago | (#1858885)

Worthy science? You're kidding.

This is a guy, with no ties to SETI, with a prerecorded chunk of data, that most astronomers believe is of dubious value. It comes from a very slim section of the radio spectrum. just a handfull of Khz wide, if i remember right.

You're not searching for a needle in a haystack. You're searching for a quark in a haystack.

Furthermore, recent advances in RF technology have made it clear that it's positively idiotic to believe that alien life forms would be using the same modes of radio transmission we do.

Take for instance ultra-wide-band transmissions. They broadcast across the entire spectrum with exceptionally high power, but they do so in picosecond pulses, and the FCC says they can't discern them from background radiation. They don't know how to classify UWB because, while it does interfere with important things like air traffic controll, you never know you're being interefered with.

So lets say aliens use ultra wide band transmissions. is the granularity of SETI data finer than picosecond? Doubtful.

As humans we seem to have an understanding of amplitude modulation, frequency modulation, and phase modulation. phase modulation is still experimental and of questionable value. We're just starting to understand pulse modulation. How many more kinds of modulation are there?

The man who discovered frequency modulation was branded a mad scientist and fired from RCA for wasting precious corporate resources on his hair brained ideas. How many people are quietly researching modes of transmission that don't currently fall into recognizable catagories of reasonable physics?

We're not going to pick up interstellar cell phone calls and listen in on greys discussing family matters. At best we're likely to hear the RFI generated by their equipment. And that's assuming their technologies are vaguely similar to ours. An optical processor doesn't emit RFI. Maybe they use an energy form that doesn't fit into our concept of physical law.

The neat thing about history is, we build upon the past. Having started from an entirely different point, why would a completely foreign culture do things anything like we do?

Re:Piss-poor administration (1)

dxkelly (11295) | more than 15 years ago | (#1858887)

"I've sent three requests for help for a problem with using a solaris client behind a standard firewall, and haven't recieved a single response."

If you'd read their page you'd see:

We're a bit overwhelmed with emails and bug reports, and won't be able to respond to them

Re:In Perspective (1)

pspeed (12169) | more than 15 years ago | (#1858888)

We're still probably talking about less power than it takes to keep the porch light on.

Re:Sick to my stomach (1)

coldnight (12780) | more than 15 years ago | (#1858889)

I understand everyone is upset over what the director of seti@home has said. I'm sure he's getting flamed from many sides and I'm suspecting is going to be appologizing to the volunteers shortly. I wonder if the wired people might want to link back to this thread to see the reaction from thier article. I'm disapointed I've been doing the same blocks as other people, but it does let me take it off one of the computers here without 'loosing' a block. :)

If your going to give away cycles - they're gone don't be upset they were 'wasted'. Nearly all blocks are meaningless anyway. I'm still looking for the needle, its up to everyone to decide what they want to do.

help? Didn't seem to want's help (1)

Tas (13018) | more than 15 years ago | (#1858890)

Right now, Seti@home seems to be going through a lot of the same growing pains that went throught a couple years ago. hasn't had problems with issuing duplicate keyblocks, but we have had the problems with stats, bandwidth, and many other issues. Its a shame seti refused the offer to join projects. They might be doing better now...

Ironic if you ask me. They have a large ammount of corporate backing and are having tons of problems (which started when their network of users was far smaller then the userbase), yet is entirely vollenteer based with very little funding and doesn't have too much trouble with bandwidth and network stability.


Uh, guys, do the math (2)

Silverhammer (13644) | more than 15 years ago | (#1858892)

Arecibo produces one 35 GB data tape per day. The data is cut up into 350 KB blocks to send to the SETI@home clients. 35 GB divided by 350 KB supposedly gives us 100,000 blocks per day. With 560,000 registered SETI@home clients working at an average of 40 hours per block, we can handle 336,000 blocks per day.

336,000 is greater than 100,000.

Add to that the fact that anyone who actually watches the processing can see for themselves that the blocks have all come from Jan 7 and 8. What's the statistical probability of that?

Add to that the fact that SETI itself has said on the homepage since LAST WEEK, "Our 'data pipeline' is not flowing at top speed yet, so we're sending out the same work units (mostly recorded Jan 7 and Jan 8) repeatedly. This will be fixed shortly."


Even without the technical difficulties, the processing will outpace the input within a matter weeks. Such is the broad appeal of this project. If you guys are this upset now, I'd hate to see what you'll be like when it happens for real.

The moral of the story? Sit back, relax, boost your rankings while helping SETI to stress test the system. It's just a bloody screen saver, so your machines would have been on anyhow. Sheesh.

Well, that's not nice (1)

BiGGO (15018) | more than 15 years ago | (#1858893)

to blame other people for their mistakes.
It's Microsoftish.
(also, testing for bugs after the release, and they did that)

"We're having trouble and wasting everyone's CPU cycles for nothing"
would be much better than
"Unix hackers are fucking our systems".

I have used Seti@home just for a day,
(since I heard there is a slashdot team),
and I'll quit and join - where they don't blame Linux users for their problems.

Yeah, I rather waste my cycles on something useful. ;-)


Actually... (1)

BiGGO (15018) | more than 15 years ago | (#1858894)

People don't run their home computer all the time.

You have to remember,
Although most of the packets come from fast alphas and such, that would work all night anyway,
Most of the computers that run it are home computers,
used by people to play games and chat on IRC,
and would otherwise be turned off at night.
(or when not in use)

The people that conribute to Seti@home,
may leave their computer on for the night for that matter.
I know I did.
(Until I heard I'm wasting CPU, I thoguht I contribute to an important project)

As a proof for my claim,
you can see clearly the statistics that state that most of the clients are Windows/Intel ones,
and that almost everyone is runnig this project AT HOME.


Re:Does this affect your group results (1)

_Stryker (15742) | more than 15 years ago | (#1858895)

I upgraded to 1.2 and my results are doing just fine.

A Consistancy Check, Perhaps? (3)

Royster (16042) | more than 15 years ago | (#1858896)

I hope at least that they're getting the same answer from each client.

Is it just me... (2)

Fizgig (16368) | more than 15 years ago | (#1858898)

or did they allude to Slashdot as cheating? Oh well.

I don't know about that 8 tons of fuel per hour. For one thing, they gave no credentials for the guy giving the estimate--I estimate 4 tons, so there! Besides, if the people aren't using the HLT command, they're really not wasting anything (unless they're intentionally leaving their computers on longer than they otherwise would have; I don't put it past them). So they're really wasting nothing.

Re:Yup, its just you... (2)

Fizgig (16368) | more than 15 years ago | (#1858899)

Good point, but still, the majority of users are using a DOS-based OS, so the estimate is off. Don't blame me! I didn't cheat! I run!

And I don't run HLT either. It does not like a Peltier. My CPU turned green and stopped working!

Re:Lies, damn lies (1)

Gumber (17306) | more than 15 years ago | (#1858902)

I don't follow your logic.

Screw them and their crappy project. (1)

JosefWells (17775) | more than 15 years ago | (#1858915)

Well before they released the windows client I was having all kinds of trouble, servers timing out, the client crashing.. Then they go off prematurely releaseing the windows client, so their servers can be even more overloaded. If they are going to go around throwing blind generalizations about Linux/Unix + hackers, then screw it, they don't need my cycles.

On hacking SETI.... (1)

WareW01f (18905) | more than 15 years ago | (#1858922)

OK first of all, that over generalization if UNIX/Linux groups is uncalled for, but we know that. Secondly, they're writing the client and we don't have access to the source, so what's the deal, can't they just encrypt the stuff internally with a public key so people don't even know what's being sent. They have full control over this, why can't they monitor it?

"Hacker's"comment may be accurate! (1)

JohnnyCannuk (19863) | more than 15 years ago | (#1858925)

From the SETI@HOME web site:
"Dr. David P. Anderson, Project Director. David is Chief Technology Officer at Inc. A former member of the Computer Science faculty at UC Berkeley, he has authored 65 research papers in operating systems, distributed computing, and computer graphics"

I've glanced at some of those 65 papers and a great deal of them have to do with operating systems, distibuted computing and secure computing. IMHO if Dr. Anderson says the Linux/Unix crowd has done the "hacking" and is responsible for his headaches, I tend to beleive him.

And why not? Isn't /. the same place that derides Windows users for NOT having a hacking mentality, which states time and time again that Linux/Unix is a hacker's OS, that Windows users can't hack or that you can't hack with Windows? Should we then be surprised that when somebody is "hacked" they then blame it on members of the Linux/Unix community? Come on! Either were "hackers" or were not. We can't be "hackers" when its cool and be upset at being called "hackers" when its embarassing.

As for his aloofness about who is doing it and exactly what "it" is - I find it perfectly understandable. He's already been hacked/cracked. Telling people exactly what happend may invite others to try. Identifying specifically the pereps may have 2 unwanted effects:
1. A costly lawsuit for defamation or slander. I understand you guys dow there in the US sue people a lot. Seti@home has very little money for this kind of thing
2. The worst - the "hackers" launch a more vicious, destructive attack and destroy the whole project in some bizarre Cyberware, akin to what the FBI is going through right now.
In either case, the project ends. I suspect Dr. Anderson thinks this is too important a project to risk that. So he minimizes and acts aloof...

Perhaps a group of us here could do some "hacking" in DEFENSE of SETI@home instead of against it..."hacking" might even get it's good name back! (remember script kiddies, just because I 'can' cheat or f**k with a system, doesn't mean I 'should' or will. Everyone thinks 'hackers' are evil because a few bozos did some stupid destructive things - a few bad apples blah,blah,blah...)

Maybe the sending out of the same data packets is the result of a "hack" not a bug. Something to think about.

I for one will still support the project, since my conscience is clear...

Re:"3l1t3 HaX0r D00d2" exploiting bugs is worse (3)

JohnnyCannuk (19863) | more than 15 years ago | (#1858929)

First off buddy get your facts right..This project is very much associated with SETI and is governed by the SETI league and the members of other SETI organizations (Dr. Jill Tarter is on the board of SETI@home so I don't know how much more affiliated with SETI you can get.) Perhaps you should try reading their website, the Website of the SETI League,Project Serendip etc all of which mention an link to SETI@home.
As for dubious science, that is your humble opinion, and not one shared by a lot of the scientists in the field, it appears. So it you don't agree with the science, don't participate. Better yet put your money where your mouth is and design an experiment or system you think would work.
The point is that there are some people out there trying to destroy what science is going on because they think that damaging other people's data and messing with their systems is ok simply because the can. You really didn't address the 'hacking'/'Creacking' problems the project has encountered. If some won did this to or one of the projects to calculate PI, would you simply say 'well, chances are RC5 can't be broken so lets not try' ' PI will never be soleved to x digits so don't bother'?

With crap like this going on to legitimate, not-for-profit science, is it any wonder the term 'hacker' gets bad press - grow up, scrit kiddies nad go after MS. Leave the science alone.

Re:A Consistancy Check, Perhaps? (0)

Ellis-D (19919) | more than 15 years ago | (#1858930)

Actaully if you look at the highest peak.. You'll sell the same block, diffrent values outputed.... It's horible.. It could be the diffrence of a flake of dust or the end of the world!
I ate my tag line.

Piss-poor administration (0)

kramer (19951) | more than 15 years ago | (#1858931)

Let's be honest, the people running this Seti@home crap have screwed up in so many ways it's not even funny.

Their clients (particuarly the Winblowz) suck ass. The windows takes 2-3x the time to process a unit if you have the graphics on.

They're completely un-responsive, having not updated their news since the project began. I've sent three requests for help for a problem with using a solaris client behind a standard firewall, and haven't recieved a single response.

Then we find out that they've been sending the same 150 units to everyone.

While we're at it, let's discuss their excuse -- they said they couldn't run the servers to distribuite new worksets because all their load is being used by the webserver. Does anyone else think that their priority should be the worksets instead of the web page?

Guess that's what you get when you're more worried about the press releases than the science.

I think it's a great concept, but until they get the bugs sorted out I'm sticking with

Somehow I knew you'd say that (5)

Myxx (21264) | more than 15 years ago | (#1858932)

In all things there are complainers and there are doers. Here we have a project that is grand in scale. Just because someone else is doing this kind of distributed networking more efficiently has NOTHING to do with SETI's efforts. That's like saying that because the Commodore 64 was so wildly successful and efficient that all computers ought to be. Well, I would assume that all C-64's would be that efficient, but not something that does something totally different. Sure, computer hardware is essentially the same, but the way it is implimented is not.

And to say that "I will not waste computer cycles on this buggy program" is almost as laughable as the people who have gotten offended at the Unix/Linux slur. Am I not mistaken that the Linux/Unix version came out first? I don't see these folks being anti-Linux with this sort of evidence. And just what were you wasting your computer cycles on before SETI? This is like saying "I wasted my Saturday helping to search for a lost child and then I find out the parents hadn't looked hard enough for the child yet." Sure, it can be frustrating, but you volunteered, didn't you? No one meant to take advantage of you. You joined SETI because it was cool, not because you wanted reward.

I guess that some people just cannot mess up.

And about the hacking...if the hacking took place and it was verified to have been done by LINUX/UNIX then their statements are justified. Perhaps not the hacking statement, but the dig against the platform is justified. If he had said that "Widnows users seem to be the cuplprits, but that is probably because of the MS mentality" then we would have all cheered. But I guess the double-standard is ok?

In essence, I volunteered because I thought it would be the coolest thing since sliced bread. It has been. I like the screen saver. My computer is on anyway. Nothing is lost by me in any way shape or form. That I have been chewing on a duplicate packet is unfortunate, but they will fix the issue. Anyone invlolved with SETI knows that Congress has gleefully been chopping away at its budget for years and calling it a victory while they continue to pour funds into more "dubious" research. If I can help them out I will.


Stress Testing (1)

Rombuu (22914) | more than 15 years ago | (#1858935)

You know, before I release a production version of any software, I run it though some stress testing...

Re:Stress Testing (1)

Rombuu (22914) | more than 15 years ago | (#1858936)

No, but I simulate at least 3x the number of actual clients I have to support. There are programs to help you do this you know, smartass.

Still seems worthwhile to me... (3)

blyant (24690) | more than 15 years ago | (#1858938)

I don't care that they've managed to push out the same packets over and over again. At least they get to stresstest the system real hard (they must have one hell of a load if they only expected 150k users and got 500k users).

I'm still gonna keep on working on it. I don't care about the group results or the team results. Maybe It's just me, but I'm still stuck with the image of one day (not very likely to happen) checking the result output and find a spike kind of like the spike Jodie Foster found in contact. That's the reason why I personally stick to it. The hope and dream of discovering that we are not alone.

-Spaced out Blyant.

Re:Carmack was mailbombed? (1)

Jburkholder (28127) | more than 15 years ago | (#1858940)

This apparently happened on or before the 5th, as mentioned here:

Carmack's .plan []

But there are few details.
Graeme Devine was also bombed, he gives a little more detail:

Mailbombs suck. They can cause delays and make it hard to find the meaningful
emails from the noise. Please stop. I can't even read the language the email is
in to know what it says!

Re:Still seems worthwhile to me... (1)

Jburkholder (28127) | more than 15 years ago | (#1858941)

Exactly. Its good and all that they provide an incentive to ppl to do this in the form of team and individual statistics. But that should be icing. And c'mon, give em a break about the duplicates and "wasted" cycles. Assuming they get this corrected in the near future, this is kind of insignificant in that the project will likely run for years. This seems kind of a minor blip for the first few weeks of such a large undertaking.

I'm still running it on my 3 linux and 2 windows macines at home. If my machines are chewing the same data vs just shutting it off until they get it fixed, I feel like I'm at least giving them the room they need to play with it to get it right.

If/when it gets fixed, I am prepared to run this indefinately (sp?) and I could really care less if I get credit for every workunit processed, or if slashdot is the #1 team or if I have to process a few units twice.

People who are obsessed with getting credit for every unit processed or are cheating to have their team show up in the top ten or are pissed about redundant data being processed are, IMO, in posession of the wrong priority.

I feel that if you aren't in this to support the science experiment (regardless of its *initial* flaws), then you should probably be doing something else with your machines.

Having a statement that the Linux users are 'causing headaches' is a bad reflection on us and probably hurts the image of Linux quite a bit. Please stop it. If you are out to prove a point that the project is flawed and should be fixed, there have to be more constructive ways to go about this ( I would think).

Re:What's The Cheat? (1)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 15 years ago | (#1858943)

I don't remember the details, by I heard from the "grapevine" that it was done by tricking SETI@home into thinking existing users had joined a team when they hadn't. No data was fabricated, just team credit.

Re:I don't understand the big deal... (2)

hanway (28844) | more than 15 years ago | (#1858945)

So far it appears that the total communication from SETI@home to their half million volunteers, since the official launch on May 17th, has been 17 lines of text on their main web page. That's what has turned off some people, including me.

Given the big snafu with repeated data (is it still busted?) and their subsequent brushoff of the volunteer base, not to mention the tone in the Wired article which seems to blame the users for their own administration problems and faulty statistics, I don't think I'll be re-joining the SETI@home project until their lines of communication are much more open.

One thing I think about now is whether the data distribution, once the pipe starts flowing properly, will be truly random, or whether potentially interesting bits of the sky will be cherry-picked for their own analysis, while the masses of volunteers get the parts of the sky deemed less interesting. That's not to say that I wouldn't still participate if that were the case, but I'd like to know that up front. So far the masses have been treated like second-class citizens, otherwise this issue wouldn't have occurred to me.

A bigger problem on their hands (1)

TheDuke (29612) | more than 15 years ago | (#1858946)

I think the biggest problem with the whole Seti@Home program is that I have processed about 20 packets and none of them have ever made it BACK to the server (Ever since the windows version was released) Sheesh.. At least the screen-saver has a whole bunch of crazy movin' colors.

Re:SETI @Home (2)

untulis (30874) | more than 15 years ago | (#1858947)

Exactly. When word first got out about SETI, the folks asked if they wanted to use the existing client/server as a base or handle adminstration. SETI said no. Serves them right...

Jason "glad I didn't waste my time" Untulis

Too bad its not open source. (1)

Restil (31903) | more than 15 years ago | (#1858949)

This would be the perfect example of a project that should be open source. Seti is a public organization, not a corporation. They shouldn't need proprietary software. There are literally hundreds, if not thousands of programmers who would have been willing to develop, debug, and optimize both the servers and clients, not to mention stress testing, and the entire process could have been completed in a fraction of the time.

The algorithms in use for searching these signals shouldn't be secret, and practically everything else has been done before in one point or another, and reinventing the wheel is a pointless venture. I recall that had been in communication with the seti@home project over a year ago for incorporating it within their client, but they never heard anything from them.

As for cheating, I was under the impression that they set up teams, so group collaboration was permitted, or so I thought. And as for the real cheaters, I presume they keep records and would be able to make corrections, or disavow those who are cheating. Who really cares about rank anyways? Its nice to know, and maybe even fun to brag about, but in the long run it makes no difference at all.

Wasted fuel? PUH LEASE. People run their computers all the time. All we've done now is replace one screen saver for another. No additional loss has taken place.


Re:'The hacker mentality' (1)

Trojan (37530) | more than 15 years ago | (#1858952)

Intelligent life on planet Linux :)

Otherwise idle... (2)

Trojan (37530) | more than 15 years ago | (#1858953)

Idle machines use less energy. When idle, the
processor executes the halt instruction which
saves power. This does not hold for Windows 95.

Re:A Consistancy Check, Perhaps? (1)

HerrNewton (39310) | more than 15 years ago | (#1858954)

Never know... did Intel ever fix that floating point bug in the Pentium? (Yuck, yuck)

Seriously though, SETI's made a huge error: They didn't realise just how geeky the Internet still is.

Re:What's The Cheat? (1)

ROTZ (39387) | more than 15 years ago | (#1858955)

As I understand it, they process one work unit and just keep resending the results. The end result, take 9.5 hours to calculate one work unit then send it back to them 5000+ times. Thus putting yourself at the top of list.

Aparently it's easy to due with Unix clients, I don't know of a way to do it in Windows.

What's The Cheat? (1)

Dharma (41782) | more than 15 years ago | (#1858960)

OK. Color me stupid, but since I don't have the "hacker mentality" that they're alluding to, and since they don't come out & say how or what the cheat is, what exactly is it?

Are ppl hacking the results (I thought they were encrypted)? Is the client unsecure and so now ppl are using it as a backdoor into systems running it (God I hope not)? Are ppl copying the results files when they're almost complete, getting a new work unit, swapping the results out, and then sending them back to artificially inflate the numbers (most likely and probably easy to do since *we're all getting the same WU over & over*)?

Re:Stress Testing (1)

Airneil (43790) | more than 15 years ago | (#1858963)

however, they expected 150,000 people and got 500,000.

"Simulating" 500,000 simultanious connections might be a bit extreme.

Besides, my computers on all the time anyway.

Who the hell is this Keating guy anyway? (1)

LordRathma (44890) | more than 15 years ago | (#1858965)

He's just some user down in Florida that made some stupid statement about 8 tons of fossil fuel being wasted on this. What an idiot!

Everyone is running on fossil fuel? All the computers that were involved would have all been shut down and not be running?

Give me a break. That story only used that lunitic fringe guy to beef up the story instead of reporting on the facts and stating that this is a REASEARCH project....there WILL be some snags along the way.

Besides, it's not like Keating BOUGHT the program!


Well said...bravo! (1)

LordRathma (44890) | more than 15 years ago | (#1858966)

Very well said letter. Good job.

Re:OSS and SW/Results validation (1)

chillywilly (52873) | more than 15 years ago | (#1858971)

Not that faked results aren't a headache for the seti people, but anything that might be good they'll check against the original data and if it's good enough, check it with the telescope again. As far as signatures, I'm just starting to learn about encryption, and have nothing good to say about it, except go here [] and here [] !

Re:I don't understand the big deal... (1)

ErikZ (55491) | more than 15 years ago | (#1858975)

I get mad because from day two (I wasn't there on day one) the people who are running the Seti@home project have been talking to the general public as little as possible. The best they've done is ask for people to help program the client.
You'll note that the homepage doesn't even mention any of this. Joining made me feel like I was joining a team, joining Seti@home makes me feel like a tool.

For some strange reason I get the feeling that these guys went to the Microsoft school of management and public relations.

Erik Z

Why I'm pissed off (1)

Local Loop (55555) | more than 15 years ago | (#1858976)

There have been a number of comments in defense
of the seti@home project. Certainly, it's understandable that they were overwhelmed with users, that they had a few bugs to start with, and
(maybe) even that the windows version is snail-like.

I'm pissed off because I've been running this sucker in the _background_ on all my machines while I work. Needless to say, this has been mildly inconvenient, but I put up with it because I thought I was contributing to real research.

Now I find out that my efforts have been for naught, and further, they don't even have enough regard for the contributors to let us know that we're wasting our time.

Further, I talked my girlfriend into running it
on her computer, with a grand speech about contributing to furtherance of knowledge, and I've been promoting it to friends as a 'cool' thing to do.

Now I look like an idiot.

Those folks have completely ruined their credibility with me, and I definitely won't be wasting any more of my time with them.

Thanks for providing "vent" space,


'The hacker mentality' (1)

SmileyBen (56580) | more than 15 years ago | (#1858978)

Hope we all noted the bit in the article where he states that people have been cheating. The largest headache apparently 'obviously' has come from the Linux / Unix community. He says it's something to do with 'The hacker mentality'...

Hey, give SETI a break (2)

Enoch Root (57473) | more than 15 years ago | (#1858979)

I admit members of Team Slashdot of cheating in half-veiled words was uncool. I didn't read it to say that all of /. was cheating, but hey. We're a big bunch, the creation of teams and the publication of results has turned the thing into a big competition, so it's natural that some of us would go out and exploit loopholes.

I don't think the guys at SETI said they were pissed off at it, though. They just said it was a big headache. I think the whole point is that they're feeling overwhelmed with what has become a big fat Slashdot Effect.

SETI has been surviving all these years through abysmal funding, squatting radiotelescope time, and the only reason they haven't fallen through is because everyone recognises their research as being fundamental, although the chance of positive results are practically nill.

So I say: give them a break, guys. It's normal they take a little while to organise, and at least they're being honest about it.

What would you have done with idle CPU time, anyway? Run Life simulations to generation Googol?

"There is no surer way to ruin a good discussion than to contaminate it with the facts."

In Perspective (1)

mike_the_kid (58164) | more than 15 years ago | (#1858980)

The complaints seem kind of short-sighted.
People have to realize the odds against finding intelligent life through this project are pretty long, so these people are crying because they've lost a couple months of work?
Sure, maybe over the last three months the mothership has been transmiting messages about a utopian society, but transmissions will likely continue. If these people wanted to do it in the first place, they should cut such an ambitious project some slack.
And 8 tons of fossil fuel a day? Like all those people would have otherwise turned off their computers.
Waiting patiently for contact,

This is a research project. Get over it. (3)

Robert Hayden (58313) | more than 15 years ago | (#1858982)

I realize that the geeks of the Internet have been doing distributed processing for years now, but until SETI@Home, it has never been put in terms that the lay person could understand and want to particpate in. I'm glad to see this whole thing happening to move distributed processing into the masses.

As for the specific problems with SETI administration, yea there are some real problems with the adminning of the project, but you know, it's a research project run at (and maybe by) a research institution. Let them work the kinks out and move on. Instead of dwelling on how much fossil fues are wasted (which aren't really wasted since the computers would be otherwise idle), how about we all learn from this?

And maybe you nay-sayers could donate your time and expertise to the project.

-- Robert Hayden aka

I believe this was solved saturday (June 5) (1)

jay!!! (58336) | more than 15 years ago | (#1858983)

The Wired article may have been writen over the weekend when there were duplicate packets being sent, but users were reporting new blocks late Saturday and early Sunday.

Refer to the alt.sci.seti newsgroup for the blow by blow details of the problem and its passing (all with time and date stamps)


Carmack was mailbombed? (1)

Mike Caprio (93397) | more than 15 years ago | (#1858985)

When did that happen? What are the details?
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