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Slashback: SGI, Exploding Dell, Gizmo

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the nothing-like-a-little-slashback-in-your-teeth dept.

110

Slashback tonight brings some clarifications, and updates to previous Slashdot stories including: the possibility of selling OpenGL to save SGI, a denial from Dell that it knew of the overheating battery problem, an update on the Skype competitor Gizmo, and a response from the Chinese folks that reverse-engineered the Skype protocol. Read on for details.SGI's McKenna Considers sale of OpenGL. delire writes "The Computer Business Review has an article on McKenna's strategies to salvage the flailing SGI from bankruptcy ... one of which may include selling assets like OpenGL. As Gnome developer Christian Schaller aptly put it, 'I hope this gets picked up by a friendly entity, especially if there are some patents still attached to OpenGL.'"

Dell Denies It Knew of Overheating Battery Problem. Billosaur writes "A report from ConsumerAffairs.com staties that according to inside information, Dell knew about the overheating problem in its laptop batteries for years. According to the report, an un-named insider 'leaked scores of documents to CRN, a computer industry publication, that indicated Dell knew of a dangerous battery malfunction for two years before a shocking video of an exploding laptop forced the company to recall batteries for about 22,000 laptops.' This on top of Dell's warning about lower than expected second quarter profits may cause the company some problems on Wall Street."

Gizmo: free VoIP to landlines in 60 countries. KrispyGlider writes "The more-standards-compliant Skype competitor Gizmo has launched a promotion in a bid to rapidly grow its userbase: free VoIP-to-landline calls to 60 countries, and even to mobiles in many countries. There aren't too many onerous catches to the deal Gizmo was previously covered in a Slashdot article from 2005 where it was noted that the Gizmo network has interoperability with other SIP networks, unlike Skype. However, the new version, 2.0 also has the ability to directly log in to open-source Asterisk VoIP servers, so you don't even have to use Gizmo's VoIP network any more."

When is it Okay to Reverse Engineer? Charlie Paglee writes "Last week Slashdot covered a story about a team of engineers in China reverse engineering Skype. Reaction on Slashdot was largely negative and raised many questions: Just when is it okay to reverse engineer and then innovate? The Chinese team issued a statement clarifying their actions: 'The domain of P2P innovation is limitless. We are very honored to work side by side Skype to promote P2P technologies in the VOIP industry. Our team is composed of the most talented P2P engineers in the world. We are working day and night to build a superior quality P2P network.'"

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slashback, pathetisad, friday (1)

(fagging beta) (983460) | more than 8 years ago | (#15760934)

Who among you is pathetic enough to post a comment on a slashback article on a Friday night?

Re:slashback, pathetisad, friday (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15760942)

not you

Re:slashback, pathetisad, friday (1)

EmperorKagato (689705) | more than 8 years ago | (#15760995)

I am

Re:slashback, pathetisad, friday (3, Funny)

Durrok (912509) | more than 8 years ago | (#15761011)

Well since all the cool kids are doing it, guess I will go write one too.

Re:slashback, pathetisad, friday (3, Funny)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | more than 8 years ago | (#15761100)

Who among you is pathetic enough to post a comment on a slashback article on a Friday night?
Uh...it's late-Friday afternoon where I am and I'm just killing time 'til the freeway dies down.

But you make a good point. Isn't Stargate SG-1 on? :^)

Re:slashback, pathetisad, friday (1)

56ker (566853) | more than 8 years ago | (#15761110)

In some parts of the world it's Saturday morning and the weather in England makes it too hot to sleep.

Re:slashback, pathetisad, friday (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 8 years ago | (#15761137)

Isn't Stargate SG-1 on?

at the risk of being modded -1 "putz".. sg1 has gone stale..with this recent season it seems like they just put season 1-8 into the vcr, hit rewind, then slapped a few new names and skins onto the goauld XD..

i'll tune back in in another 3 seasons when things start getting interesting again.

Re:slashback, pathetisad, friday (2, Insightful)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | more than 8 years ago | (#15761971)

I'll admit, I'm not as big a fan as I was. I miss Jack...

Personally, I'd've just shut it down. Send Jack into retirement, Jackson to Atlantis, Carter to Area 51, and Teal'C back to the Jaffa. Wait a year and try to talk Richard Dean Anderson into an SG-1 movie.

Re:slashback, pathetisad, friday (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 8 years ago | (#15762030)

well.. the biggest thing about sg1 s1 - 8 is they don't win because of technological superiority, but tactical superiority stemming from some habit of human nature.

Atlantis followed the same route.. where the interplay between the species hinges on differences in their propensities.

I'm not seeing that in 9-10.. im seeing tactical blunders a first grader could point out, blatant allusions to current politics.. in short.. its selling out and the writers are getting lazy.

Re:slashback, pathetisad, friday (1)

EtherealStrife (724374) | more than 8 years ago | (#15762399)

I agree completely. Except perhaps the end of s7 being the true death of the series. It started its decline before that, but the deus ex machina trend started around there (before which success was based on ingenuity -- a kind of scifi MacGyver :) ). At this point, a child could outwit carter and the bunch. I still watch the show, but out of a kind of morbid curiosity interlaced with boredom. That, and for claudia black (!!).

The show is dead and gone...all that remains is the shell.

Re:slashback, pathetisad, friday (4, Funny)

identity0 (77976) | more than 8 years ago | (#15761163)

Who among you is pathetic enough to post a comment on a slashback article on a Friday night?

Hey, I only came here because I thought SGI had come up with a Gizmo to make Dells explode :) I thought, "Finally an SGI product I'd buy!" but no, they're only selling stupid OpenGL.

Re:slashback, pathetisad, friday (3, Funny)

ggvaidya (747058) | more than 8 years ago | (#15761216)

Actually, it's Saturday morning here already ... and I try to be as unproductive as possible on Saturday mornings. Hence this post :).

Re:slashback, pathetisad, friday (3, Funny)

Rufus211 (221883) | more than 8 years ago | (#15761247)

Who among you is pathetic enough to post a comment on a slashback article on a Friday night?

Those of us still at work, "being productive".

Re:slashback, pathetisad, friday (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15762248)

I feel ya, I just finished a software deploy

Re:slashback, pathetisad, friday (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15761464)

You must be new around here...

Re:slashback, pathetisad, friday (0, Redundant)

VE3MTM (635378) | more than 8 years ago | (#15761553)

What else would I be doing? Something social, you say?

Slashdot's social, right?

tinker rights (5, Funny)

b4stard (893180) | more than 8 years ago | (#15760943)

When is it Okay to Reverse Engineer?
Always. Everybody should have the right to tinker with their gadgets and publish their results. Period.

PS tinkering with your gadget != masturbation DS

Re:tinker rights (1)

Poromenos1 (830658) | more than 8 years ago | (#15761037)

I tinker with my gadget frequently, but the results aren't post-worthy :P

Care to explain the lies in your sig? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15761116)

"Our packages start at $1 per month and include 20 MB space and 500 MB bandwidth"
"Our hosting policy is unlimited everything"

Do you get your bandwidth from an entity not of this universe? What other gotchas does your service offer?

Re:tinker rights (0, Offtopic)

Chuqmystr (126045) | more than 8 years ago | (#15761123)

Ha! Every time you tinker with your gadget God kills a kitten! -C

Re:tinker rights (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15761295)

Masturbation DS? Have they improved it very much since the GameBoy version? :-)

Re:tinker rights (1)

SCPRedMage (838040) | more than 8 years ago | (#15762074)

Well, the touch screen DOES greatly improve the interface... ;)

Re:tinker rights (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 8 years ago | (#15761918)

PS tinkering with your gadget != masturbation DS
I guess the folks who moded you up as "funny" didn't agree.

Re:tinker rights (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15762066)

I remember when I tinkered on that electric fence...

Boy! I felt that for days!

Re:tinker rights (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15763665)

I hate everyone who replied to you. And it's all your fault.

Backslash? Slashback? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15760950)

I propose a compromise: slushbuck!

Re:Backslash? Slashback? (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 8 years ago | (#15761213)

Blah... Just call for what it is: chumbucket!

Is Gizmo peer to peer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15760990)

Is Gizmo peer to peer, decentralized and secure like Skype? I couldn't find the answer on the site so that's why I'm asking.

Does Gizmo support multi-user chat, audio and video?

Re:Is Gizmo peer to peer? (1)

sholden (12227) | more than 8 years ago | (#15761030)

It looks like standard SIP.

Re:Is Gizmo peer to peer? (1)

lethalp1mpslapper (238264) | more than 8 years ago | (#15761297)

They also use the Jabber protocol for the IM side of things.

Re:Is Gizmo peer to peer? (4, Informative)

mikeisme77 (938209) | more than 8 years ago | (#15761250)

I just started using Gizmo because I was looking for a VoIP service and they had one of the cheapest Call-In numbers (free if you use 775 otherwise as low as $3 a day for select area codes). It also helps that they have builds for all my operating systems (OS X, Windows, and Linux). Anyway... Gizmo supports multi-user chat with audio, but so far I haven't seen anything about video chat so I'm assuming that's not part of the deal. I don't really know about the answers to your other questions but I don't know about the decentralization issue. Voice quality is pretty good though and the interface is nice and that with the low prices are what made me choose it (at least for now) over the competitors.

Even if it's decentralized though, it's not like the packets can't be intercepted... I don't think they encrypt the packets (but I could be wrong--and even if they did the NSA would be able to encrypt it). So if you're looking at general secured communication then I recommend meeting face to face.

Re:Is Gizmo peer to peer? (2, Informative)

lethalp1mpslapper (238264) | more than 8 years ago | (#15761283)

...$3 a day for select area codes.

You mean $3 a month.

Re:Is Gizmo peer to peer? (1)

mikeisme77 (938209) | more than 8 years ago | (#15761308)

Yep, that's what I meant. My bad, sorry. Guess I should learn to use the preview button. Thanks for the correction!

Re:Is Gizmo peer to peer? (2, Informative)

lethalp1mpslapper (238264) | more than 8 years ago | (#15761287)

Looks like Gizmo is now doing RTP encryption in the latest versions. Check your preferences, under "Advanced".

Re:Is Gizmo peer to peer? (1)

mikeisme77 (938209) | more than 8 years ago | (#15761319)

On the OS X client I don't see anything about encryption under the Advanced tab. I only just installed the client on my Windows Desktop (since my headset doesn't work with my MacBook), but maybe that client has the RPT encryption (since I think they updated it more recently).

Re:Is Gizmo peer to peer? (1)

lethalp1mpslapper (238264) | more than 8 years ago | (#15761328)

I believe both my Linux client and OS X client have the option to encrypt RTP.

Re:Is Gizmo peer to peer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15762095)

You really don't know much about "encryption" or "decryption" besides the fact that they're shiny keywords do you?

Heh, my catchpa is 'uncouth'. Crude, unrefined - but obviously true at least in this situation. ;)

Re:Is Gizmo peer to peer? (1)

mikeisme77 (938209) | more than 8 years ago | (#15762508)

I know about encryption and decryption. I took courses that explained how PGP and other such encryption algorithms worked. I've also had discussion about both with people in charge of researching how to break these encryption methods and those trying to find ways of better securing networks and finding better encryption techniques. I'm definitely not an expert on the matter, but I'm at least above the total layman level. I also know that just about any encrypted internet packet out there, the NSA has the ability to break if they want to. Some of the encryption methods, obviously, take them longer than others, but they can break it if they really want to--encryption just slows them down. If you just don't want a casual eavesdropper or any non-government agency listening in on your conversation, then yeah there are many encryption methods out there that would take them much too long to try to decrypt without having the key (assuming they can't do a man in the middle attack).

Re:Is Gizmo peer to peer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15762600)

So how would they go about breaking AES256?

Re:Is Gizmo peer to peer? (1)

mikeisme77 (938209) | more than 8 years ago | (#15762654)

I don't know the specifics, but based on this fact: "# Later in June 2003, the NSA extended their support for AES beyond belief. AES becomes NSA-approved for all US Government Departments and Agencies. In See paragraph (6) of the NSA National Policy on the Use AES to Protect National Security Systems and National Security Information. we read: * AES 128 bits and more are approved for up to "SECRET level". * AES with 192 and 256-bit keys were approved even for "TOP SECRET level" (later it has changed, and now it has to be 256 bits, see here). * The implementation must be reviewed and certified by the NSA. * AES is now part of suite B of recommended cryptographic algorithms (suite A, contains classified algorithms for National security). " (Google Cache [64.233.167.104]

I would have to assume that the NSA has a way of cracking it themselves, as historically the NSA does not approve any encryption method unless they can crack it themselves. Similarly, "The design and strength of all key lengths of the AES algorithm (i.e., 128, 192 and 256) are sufficient to protect classified information up to the SECRET level. TOP SECRET information will require use of either the 192 or 256 key lengths. The implementation of AES in products intended to protect national security systems and/or information must be reviewed and certified by NSA prior to their acquisition and use." (a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_Encryp tion_Standard">Wikipedia) confirms that it is the most secure currently used encryption standard, but it can still be cracked by the NSA and their crypto experts and multiple super computers. They would not encourage something to be a worldwide standard if they could not crack it themselves, but they also wouldn't approve the encryption for government documents unless they felt that few governments/people other than themselves could crack it. Just because a crack has not been published does not mean the NSA doesn't have a way of breaking the encryption.

Re:Is Gizmo peer to peer? (1)

labratuk (204918) | more than 8 years ago | (#15761385)

Is Gizmo peer to peer,

Peer to peer is really a buzzword. It doesn't actually mean anything definite and skype's approach buys you little in the VOIP world apart from annoying some router administrators by usurping the internet's regular 'peer to peer' protocol, IP.

decentralized

It's SIP. It's as decentralised as email is. Then again, skype's not really decentralised because if the developers of skype go belly up, that's the end of that. SIP depends on lots of independently run servers. Like jabber. It's just a protocol after all.

and secure

I don't think it is yet, but you don't actually have any evidence that skype is secure. It's a proprietary protocol. You have no way of knowing (apart from taking a company's word for it) whether someone who knows the protocol can eavesdrop on all your conversations.

Re:Is Gizmo peer to peer? (1)

Mark J Tilford (186) | more than 8 years ago | (#15761525)

IIRC, "peer to peer" has a definite meaning: the protocol is the same for both sides.

Hmm, who would buy OpenGL? (5, Interesting)

Nova Express (100383) | more than 8 years ago | (#15761006)

Hmmm, I wonder what computer company would want to buy OpenGL? It would have to be someone that doesn't have a DirectX license,or already used OpenGL in its operating system. I wonder who that could be?

(cough cough Apple cough cough)

Re:Hmm, who would buy OpenGL? (2, Interesting)

someone300 (891284) | more than 8 years ago | (#15761118)

Seriously though, I hope this goes the way that Blender did. If SGI could agree to give OpenGL to a non-profit organisation for a fixed amount, the non-profit organisation could appeal to the opensource community (and companies like RedHat, Novell) for donations.

Re:Hmm, who would buy OpenGL? (3, Interesting)

ewhac (5844) | more than 8 years ago | (#15761251)

Microsoft would buy it for the express purpose of killing it. It's been a thorn in their side for over ten years.

Since SGI needs money more than it needs OpenGL to survive, I expect SGI would acquiesce to such a deal even if Microsoft were up-front about their intentions.

Schwab

Re:Hmm, who would buy OpenGL? (2, Insightful)

Butterwaffle Biff (32117) | more than 8 years ago | (#15761317)

I think it's more likely the Khronos Group would buy OpenGL. They are already taking over management of OpenGL.org and handle lots of other "open" media libraries (OpenGL ES, Open ML, Open VG Open SL, ...). It's better than Microsoft but I suspect they would start charging a fee for access to the standard specification.

Re:Hmm, who would buy OpenGL? (2, Insightful)

Bottlemaster (449635) | more than 8 years ago | (#15761363)

Why would they charge a fee for access to the specification? Khronos is all about open standards. If they need to reimbursed for the purchase of OpenGL, I imagine they would just charge more for the conformance tests. You do have to pay to pay to put an OpenGLES/MX/VG/MAX logo on your implementation. Actually, it has always been that way with OpenGL too - this is why Mesa only claims to be "an API which is very similar to that of OpenGL".

Re:Hmm, who would buy OpenGL? (2, Interesting)

Butterwaffle Biff (32117) | more than 8 years ago | (#15762111)

First of all, I have to apologize. I've read several stories on open standards lately and I confused this story with another where I heard "RAND" (Reasonable And Non-Discriminatory) fees which can be used to effectively shut down open source software projects. So perhaps it's not as bad as I thought. However, Jon Leech's comments on OpenGL.org:
The OpenGL and OpenGL ES groups can communicate under the same set of intellectual property rules. IP rules are to standards like dental checkups are to you: unpleasant, but essential to avoid pain in the future.
didn't leave me with warm fuzzies. I'm not terribly familiar with Khronos and I am happy that they release specifications freely, but remain wary that perhaps they will allow submarine IP to creep into the specifications.

cough cough Apple cough cough (2, Interesting)

ElephanTS (624421) | more than 8 years ago | (#15761337)

That's the first thing I thought. Apple, I hope, will buy it if only to protect their quartz extreme investment. What would be the coolest thing would be for them to buy it, continue using as normal, and keep it open and free for anyone else that wanted to use it. The kudos from that would easily be worth the money they paid for it.

Re:Hmm, who would buy OpenGL? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15761390)

Apple has no history of being any better than MS when it comes to contributing to the open community. Apple buying OpenGL would probably be just as bad.

Re:Hmm, who would buy OpenGL? (1)

kevin lyda (4803) | more than 8 years ago | (#15762103)

Uh, bullshit?

Apple's no saint, but Microsoft doesn't have a site like this: http://developer.apple.com/opensource/index.html [apple.com]

Re:Hmm, who would buy OpenGL? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15762510)

True, Microsoft uses Sourceforge [sourceforge.net] , as their open source efforts aren't done to either fufil legal requirements (as in Webkit) or as not-overly-serious publicity stunt (as in Darwin)

Re:Hmm, who would buy OpenGL? (1)

Cal Paterson (881180) | more than 8 years ago | (#15762570)

Honestly, though. Apple aren't particulary good to the Free Software community. They do just enough so that we don't totally hate their guts, but never enough to redeem their value to us.

Re:Hmm, who would buy OpenGL? (1)

B0red At W0rk (876713) | more than 8 years ago | (#15763251)

cough cough SCO cough cough

I think... (3, Interesting)

jd (1658) | more than 8 years ago | (#15761021)

Open Cores, Sourceforge and Slashdot should get together to see if they can jointly buy OpenGL. SGI'll probably take anything at this point, most vendors already have OpenGL implementations of their own and don't need anything SGI still has, and I'd rather trust CowboyNeil with the specs than most of the vendors out there.


(Can you imagine what would happen if Microsoft bought it? Does anyone seriously believe ANY implementation would be safe, MESA included?)


Failing that, Google must have some spare change. Hell, they could probably buy SGI for less than the value of the machines in SGI's inventory, which would seriously boost their server power.

Re:I think... (1)

x1n933k (966581) | more than 8 years ago | (#15761054)

I say we all get together and pitch in a few bucks and buy it ourselves. We'll call it he x1n933k foundation. It will be non-profit of course (except to me). Anyone interested can reply below

[J]

Re:I think... (1)

Andrew Kismet (955764) | more than 8 years ago | (#15761131)

Despite Google's love or organizing and sorting, I doubt that a graphics tool will be of any particular interest to them - and if they do buy it, DirectX supports will whine about how Google are "leveraging their monopoly" or somesuch...

Eek! (3, Informative)

RyanFenton (230700) | more than 8 years ago | (#15761051)

I hope an entity like Microsoft doesn't end up buying rights to too much of OpenGL, and thus lock it up for years. It's a superb cross-platform language for development... pretty much all there is for high-end games or similar real-time rendering when you want to develop something open source. It would pretty much suck if no further standards could safely rely on a base of OpenGL/GLSL/GL* to attract an audience and technology base in the future. DirectX isn't bad on windows... but I'd hate for that to be all there is for upcoming years.

Still... perhaps a something new from the ashes could form a more lasting standard that's better than going through major-company approval process of the OpenGL ARB. Even if DirectX continues to be the basis of future graphics card development, new open-source standards can use the same hardware hooks for better ends. I can't imagine that the graphics card manufacturers wouldn't be interested in helping a new standard form if enough of the developer community had a hunger for newer cross-platform 3d graphics library. GLSL is very nice - but perhaps a better set of standard could be developed in conjunction with future hardware in mind.

Ryan Fenton (Who has been reading through the GLSL Orange book for the past few weeks)

Re:Eek! (0, Troll)

Deadguy2322 (761832) | more than 8 years ago | (#15761370)

I think you made an error in your post. It should read; Ryan Fenton (Self-important, under-endowed asswipe who either doesn't know how to use the signature preferences properly, or does, but thinks the world MUST see his lame-assed signature.) There, now it's accurate. Shithead.

Re:Eek! (4, Informative)

MasterVidBoi (267096) | more than 8 years ago | (#15761496)

SGI already sold most of the important OpenGL patents to Microsoft years ago, and it basically had no impact on OpenGL's development. The ARB has already announced that it is merging with the Khronos Group (which standardized OpenGL ES), and have taken the name and trademark with them. Basically, the OpenGL ARB have cut themselves loose from SGI, and SGI's future actions won't have any real impact on the development of the standard.

About the only part of OpenGL that SGI can sell at this point is perhaps their implementations (which would be specific to SGI hardware). And just about everyone who wants one of those already has one.

Wha...? (4, Insightful)

Cal Paterson (881180) | more than 8 years ago | (#15761055)

In what alternate universe did Slashdot react badly to reverse engineering?

Reverse engineering meaning what FOSS groups do every day...meaning WINE, Gaim, Samba etc...? I am actually shocked. This is a very good thing - I'm not sure if the Chinese group plan to release source code, but hopefully if they can, then others can, and we'll end up with FOSS Skype programs.

Re:Wha...? (1)

sholden (12227) | more than 8 years ago | (#15761244)

The "foreigners bad" attitude overpowered the "freedom good" attitude.

Re:Wha...? (1)

labratuk (204918) | more than 8 years ago | (#15761394)

Ah, but if people criticize the sacred cows of Apple and Skype, it might stop them getting the good juju like iPods and other fashion accessories.

Re:Wha...? (2, Informative)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 8 years ago | (#15761450)

Just run a google search for "China blocks skype" and you will understand why.

The problem with opening up the protocol means that the Chinese government can now effectively program their firewall to stop all Skype VOIP traffic going in and out of the country. The primary reason is so it does not cut into the government owned telcom industry. That's #1. Always follow the money trail first. Second, it's to censor the free flow of international communication as it will aid in dissent. The last think the CCP wants is a democratic movement to overthrow them.

Re:Wha...? (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 8 years ago | (#15762521)

Slashdotters don't always have a consistant opinion on reverse engineering (which is natural given the large number of us with differing opinions.) It wouldn't be the first time a vocal group opposed reverse engineering though - when Linus threw a hissy fit because Tridge had "reverse engineered" (ie telnetted in and typed "help") BitKeeper, with BitKeeper's control-freak creators terminating kernel developer's gratis usage as a result, there were enormous numbers of Slashdotters who sided with Torvalds. Indeed, he still seems to be surprisingly popular as an "open source" figure despite employing a policy for a while that was openly hostile to Free Software.

So no, if you can't even telnet to a proprietary repository for a free software project and type "help" without a large percentage of Slashdotters protesting, you can't really assume that Slashdotters are, as a group, pro-reverse-engineering. This is one of those things with vocal proponents on both sides.

Dell and exploding laptops (3, Informative)

56ker (566853) | more than 8 years ago | (#15761101)

Reading about Dell and the exploding batteries reminds me of the story about Ford and its Firestone tyres (oh and Cadbury's and its recall of chocolates because of salmonella). In the latter two cases both companies knew about the problem yet nothing was done (or things were just glossed over by management) until the bad PR forced them to do something. However I'm sure it's bad PR to have to do a product recall at all as it starts making people wonder as to whether your other products have major faults too.

diction nazi time.. (0, Troll)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 8 years ago | (#15761122)

tyre: an ancient nation whose land area was once home to carthage, which was conquered and plowed under by the romans.

tire: a generally rubber donut shaped object used to assist the traction of vehicle wheels.

diction nazi has spoken! *bows*

Re:diction nazi time.. (5, Funny)

Detritus (11846) | more than 8 years ago | (#15761166)

plasmacutter: a chauvinist who doesn't realize that the English language is used in countries other than the USA.

Re:diction nazi time.. (0, Redundant)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 8 years ago | (#15761173)

detritus: a humorless stone over which all jokes fly without notice Oo..

lighten up. not everything has to be intense =/

wow.. i must be doing something right. (0, Redundant)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 8 years ago | (#15761237)

an obvious troll of me modded up.. i must be doing something right to have so many of detritus's supporters spending modpoints just to rip on me ^^;

Re:diction nazi time.. (1)

absoluteflatness (913952) | more than 8 years ago | (#15761193)

Tyre is and was actually a city, one of the most important ones in the ancient Phoenician empire. Also, it still exists. It's in Lebanon, and probably getting bombed right about now.

Even if I assume your post was a joke and you knew that tyre is the British spelling of tire, you're still wrong.

Re:diction nazi time.. (0, Offtopic)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 8 years ago | (#15761209)

oh yeah.. that's right.. good call.. got my history mixed up there ; ).. i still find the concept of exploding ancient cities funny.

Re:diction nazi time.. (1)

56ker (566853) | more than 8 years ago | (#15761205)

I'm British so I use British spellings. We spell them tyres over here. Diction Nazi should also notice that sentences have capital letters at the start and so do proper nouns - eg Tyre and Carthage.

Re:diction nazi time.. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15761310)


You are talking to an American, you don't honestly expect to get any sense out of them do you ?

Re:Dell and exploding laptops (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15763336)

It's simple arithmetic.

It's a story problem.

If a new car built by my company leaves Chicago traveling west at 60 miles per hour, and the rear differential locks up, and the car crashes and burns with everyone trapped inside, does my company initiate a recall?

You take the population of vehicles in the field (A) and multiply it by the probable rate of failure (B), then multiply the result by the average cost of an out-of-court settlement (C).

A times B times C equals X. This is what it will cost if we don't initiate a recall.

If X is greater than the cost of a recall, we recall the cars and no one gets hurt.

If X is less than the cost of a recall, then we don't recall.


Chuck Palahniuk gets it.
(Note: That's from the book. I know it's a little different in the movie. I saw the movie first, just like almost everybody else.)

reverse enginnering bad? (2, Interesting)

fermion (181285) | more than 8 years ago | (#15761121)

Reverse engineering is always ok. Very little happens in technology without a community of development, some of which is poaching other peoples idea. We all like out cheap PCs, which is largely due to the effort of Compaq, and to a lesser extent MS. We all like Linux and BSD, which is in a way a reverse engineered version of Unix, except that the specs were largely published. We all like to use various messenging service, which is only possible because the protocols were discovered. We all like cheap replacement parts for our cars, which are only possible when unauthorized third parties are allowed to produce the parts. Same for printer refills.

Perhaps this has caused skype some problems. Oh well, it happens. Perhaps this has caused Skype users some issue with security. Well, if reverse engineering can break security,then that is what is called bad security. If they want to interface with Skype, that is as good wanting the messaging services to interface. If they want to block it, as much as we may not understand, i think that soveriegnty is something everyone can agree upon. After all, you do not give keys to your house to just anyone, or let just anyone put stuff on you lawn.

Reverse engineer, especially in software, is what is going to save this generation of computing technology. Can you imagine how much a PC would be if Dell did not have support MS 40% profit margin, if Dell were truly free to put whatever software it wished on the computer and charge for the privilege? This will happen when MS is forced to standardize, as is happening with the EU case, and a truly compatible WIndows runtime is present.

The catch to Gizmo (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15761292)

If you go to Gizmo's website and read the fine print, it's not really all it seems to be. In order to make free calls, the other person has to be registered and active on Gizmo as well. It should read "free calls to other Gizmo user's numbers."

Kind of pointless if you have to make everyone you want to call register and use Gizmo.

Why not another industry consortium for OpenGL? (1)

Bottlemaster (449635) | more than 8 years ago | (#15761331)

Why not sell OpenGL to the Khronos Group [khronos.org] ? They've done a fine job with OpenGL ES, and they also manage several other open APIs. NVIDIA and ATI are already on their "board of directors" (not to mention SGI). It sounds like a shoo-in to me.

Exploding batteries and closed minds (2, Insightful)

Moocow660 (975091) | more than 8 years ago | (#15761411)

I find it a bit frustrating how closed minded people are being about this exploding laptop issue.

Yes, its definitly possible that the battery exploded due to overheating or overcharging caused by failure of its protection circuit. However, it is also possible that it suffered impact damage. (e.g. someone dropped the battery while changing it, or the laptop was dropped but survived.)

It is a bit of a pity everyone tends to ignore other likely causes simply because they enjoy talking down the same companies over and over.

Re:Exploding batteries and closed minds (2, Insightful)

Jonny 290 (260890) | more than 8 years ago | (#15761645)

Just because there might have been mishandling of the laptop does not absolve Dell of responsibility.

If dropping a battery will cause it to later catch fire (which it will almost always not), they should build a motion sensor into it. You can't tell me that they can put a mechanism in a hard drive that will lock the heads before it contacts pavement from a 3 foot drop, but the MYSTERY OF THE FLAMING DROPPED BATTERY remains unsolvable.

Re:Exploding batteries and closed minds (1)

Moocow660 (975091) | more than 8 years ago | (#15762015)

Were it not for the fact it would be grossly irresponsible to do so, I would suggest you get a Lithium ion battery and throw it on the floor.

You might just be surprised at what sometimes happens.

Try this: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15762249)

Jump from something tall-ish (a 4-6 ft drop)

1) In hard-soled shoes
2) In bare feet

Which hurts most?

The battery is generally WITHIN a laptop.

Also, the vid doesn't show the battery being dropped. It is just sitting there.

If Dell can show that falling damage is the reason, why haven't they?

Re:Try this: (1)

Moocow660 (975091) | more than 8 years ago | (#15762605)

The battery is generally WITHIN a laptop.
Yes, but that doesn't make it immune to impact damage.

Also, the vid doesn't show the battery being dropped. It is just sitting there.
Lithium Ion batteries can explode significant lengths of time after being dropped.

If Dell can show that falling damage is the reason, why haven't they?
I highly doubt you'd believe any evidence they gave.

No, Dell screwed up. (1)

alizard (107678) | more than 8 years ago | (#15762313)

Dropping is part of the ordinary environment of a laptop. While one doesn't necessarily expect it to work afterwards, a reasonable person wouldn't expect one to spontaneously combust in a life-threatening sort of way afterwards, either. So there's no reason to give Dell a free pass because "it might have been dropped". Even if it had been, it shouldn't have blown up.

I suspect that the problem is that the lithium-ion technology is inherently unstable and should not be put in consumer gear.

(contemplating the 2 Li-ion powered devices I usually carry)

The sooner CNT supercaps or fuel cells are available to provide this kind of energy density without having to worry about it blowing up, the better.

Re:No, Dell screwed up. (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 8 years ago | (#15762411)

Assuming that supercaps or fuel cells are safe in this regard. I'd assume there'd be a lot of mechanical stress due to the electric charge in the former.

Re:No, Dell screwed up. (1)

Moocow660 (975091) | more than 8 years ago | (#15762631)

So there's no reason to give Dell a free pass because "it might have been dropped". Even if it had been, it shouldn't have blown up.
Does this apply to almost every other manufacturer of consumer electronics? Are they also denied "free passes" when batteries explode? Because its a hell of a lot more common than many posters seem to think.

I suspect that the problem is that the lithium-ion technology is inherently unstable and should not be put in consumer gear.
I am not a chemistry major, but I don't see how its possible to store energy without the possibility of that energy being released in an uncontrolled manner.

there is also ... (2, Informative)

dominic.laporte (306430) | more than 8 years ago | (#15761712)

another open source client [openwengo.com] out there that is way better for me. it also based on mozilla .. yay !

Re:there is also ... (1)

i_should_be_working (720372) | more than 8 years ago | (#15763122)

I just found out about wengo. And I've never sounded so much like an advertisment; I've been telling everyone about it. No more booting to windows just to make a call because skype keeps crapping out on the sound in Linux...yay!

Frist 5top (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15761762)

OpenGL - what is there to sell? (3, Informative)

Animats (122034) | more than 8 years ago | (#15762166)

SGI doesn't have any valuable rights in OpenGL. The specification is a public document. The reference implementation is open source. You can't copyright an API (SCO and Microsoft have both tried and failed). There's a charge to use the OpenGL trademark in a closed-source implementation [sgi.com] , and that's it.

SGI's higher level APIs, like Inventor and Performer, have little if any resale value.

Re:OpenGL - what is there to sell? (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 8 years ago | (#15762525)

But there are the patents. And yes, you can design patents such that they eliminate the possibility of implementing a certain API without being in breach. As I understood it, that's one reason why the Free Software community hasn't been that enthusiastic about OpenGL.

John Carmack could buy/"adopt" OpenGL (1)

Walter Carver (973233) | more than 8 years ago | (#15762412)

He is the one that brought it into greater attention in the gaming world. He has been releasing his engines with the GPL license. He likes to give back to the community, and that would be a big give-back.

In... (1)

dud83 (815304) | more than 8 years ago | (#15762709)

In communist China, working "side by side" means "in direct and absolute collision course to destroy the capitalistic ways of a corporation" *_*
Nice to know! :p

Is Slashback different than BackSlash??? (1)

VGfort (963346) | more than 8 years ago | (#15762822)

Because I have BackSlash marked as "dont display" in my preferences here. So now we have regular slashdot, then backslash and now slashback. Whats next, dotslash?

Bad analogy perhaps? (0, Offtopic)

cryptor3 (572787) | more than 8 years ago | (#15762873)

Would you buy a Ferrari and put regular gas into it?

I sort of resent this analogy. The reason you wouldn't put regular gasoline into certain expensive (sports) cars is that it is bad for the car if you do this. These cars were designed to use high-octane gasoline and if you don't, bad things will eventually happen. Using a cheap memory card won't damage your camera (unless it's incredibly defective).

The submitter implies in his or her intro that buying an expensive camera and a cheap memory card is a bad idea. I'm assuming that the implication is that this will cause reliability or speed problems. This isn't necessarily true. Any digital SLR (aka an "expensive camera") has a memory buffer, so the shot-to-shot time is primarily dictated by the camera hardware, not the memory card. Doing a *very* long burst will cause a slowdown. In this case, a faster memory card would help. But frankly, I find such situations to be exceedingly rare and generally avoidable.

If your camera is expensive, but doesn't have a memory buffer, then it's probably not very speed performance-oriented. Your price is probably going into some other feature, such as small size or image resolution.

Buying a fast memory card is more like putting a performance exhaust on your car, since it increases the speed incrementally.

Camera Ricers.

sorry, wrong article... (1)

cryptor3 (572787) | more than 8 years ago | (#15762930)

crap how did this get posted into the slashback article? was supposed to be in the memory card article.

SGI is as dead as SUN, er, DEC, I mean disco (0, Troll)

gsgiles (759069) | more than 8 years ago | (#15763412)

I told my brother to dump his SGI stock they day the announced their purchase of Alias and Wavefront (1995). I lived in Huntsville AL at the time and was watching Integraph melt down right in front of me. Why? No one but IBM makes money in hardware and software, it's simple. It was true in 1969, 1979, 1989, 1995, and 2006. Besides the exec's pocketed all the cash, the hits are being taken by stupid "hitech" investors and your 401K's. SGI's technology was always doomed, the MIPS chips were too expensive, and it was only a matter of time until cheap graphics processors for the PC became available because when all is said and done they implement matrix algebra, a technology that has been around for two centuries. SGI is following DG, Integraph and DEC into the same toilet of executive arrogance. Losing their ass in hardware which is a commodity and failing to innovate in software where the real fortunes are made. Once again Microsoft pulls their pants off and hangs them in a tree. Anybody holding Sun stock should sell it while it is still sellable (SUN executives sure are, they may not be as rich as they once were but they are not stupid, I'm talking to you Scott McNealy)
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