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Comments

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Ask Slashdot: Handling Patented IP In a Job Interview?

FireFury03 Re:You guessed it: It depends (224 comments)

I can't give anyone a non-GPL licence to this work, which is what they were demanding.

IANAL, but are you sure this is the case? I believe that in my country (Norway) at least, you're still the sole proprietor of your IP.

I am the owner of any code I sumbit to the Linux kernel, *but* it is also considered a "derived work" of the rest of the kernel (which means, legally, I'm not the *sole* owner) and therefore the GPL applies.

Did they want to gain exclusive rights to code you'd already published under the GPL?

The contract was non-specific on what code they were talking about - it was a blanket "you will give us a perpetual nonexclusive licence to do what we want with any IP in your ownership which you produced before, after or during your employment with us" (or words to that effect - I can't recall the exact wording).

I don't know how legal it was - as I mentioned, the company in question was already ignoring their TUPE obligations. However, legal or not, I saw no merit in signing it, so I didn't.

Does the GPL preclude that you grant, for instance, a BSD or Apache license for code which you wrote yourself?

The GPL doesn't prevent dual-licensing code for which you are the sole owner (i.e. you wrote it, or the copyright was assinged to you; and it is not derived from anyone else's code). This even extends to commercial licences - i.e. I can write some code and release it under GPL, at the same time as selling a paid-for licence with non-GPL terms to a few people. However, when you contribute code to an existing project, it is usually considered to be a "derived work" since it almost always makes use of existing parts of that project's code - therefore the writer of contributed code would seldom be considered the sole owner, so whatever licence it is released under would need to be fully compatible with the licence used on the rest of the project. This generally precludes dual-licencing code that has been contributed to a GPLed project.

Much like other copyrighted stuff like music - if you make a song that is derived directly from someone else's song then you can't just blindly release it yourself - generally to release a derived song you need to get a licence to do so from the owner of the original song.

2 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: Handling Patented IP In a Job Interview?

FireFury03 Re:You guessed it: It depends (224 comments)

The obvious problem with that is that your past work may very well be someone else's property.

You may simply have no standing to grant a license to your past work.

Yes, one of the reasons I cited for refusing to sign it is that a lot of my past work is stuff like Linux kernel coding (which automatically inherits the GPL) - I can't give anyone a non-GPL licence to this work, which is what they were demanding.

But aside from that - if someone wants a licence to all the work I do over the entire course of my life outside of my employment with them, they can damned well pay me a salary for my entire life too! As far as I'm concerned, an employer is entitled to any work I do during my contracted working hours (usually 37.5 hours a week - 09:00 - 17:30, excluding lunch hour); if they want to claim ownership on anything I do in the other 130.5 hours a week then they are going to need to pay me 3.5 times as much for the same hourly rate.

FWIW, this was during a contract renegotiation after my department had been sold off - in theory the new owner needed to comply with TUPE legislation but they had issued a "sign the new contract or be fired" order (which is illegal). However, when I refused to sign, they did reword the contract to remove that clause, so I guess they were trying to do *something* to avoid getting sued.

4 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: Handling Patented IP In a Job Interview?

FireFury03 Re:You guessed it: It depends (224 comments)

It's worse than that. If the company you apply for a job at has any interest in the patents, chances are that they will not offer you a job.
The problem is that you selling/licensing patents to them while an employee will easily be seen as a conflict of interest.

If they want you and the patents, I believe they may require you to sign over any and all IP to them as terms of employment, compensated by a signing bonus.

I've not got any patents, but at one point I was handed an employment contract that demanded I grant a licence to all my past and future work (which I refused to sign), so you could very well be right. (I'm in the UK, although the company in question was headofficed in Canada)

about a week ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Would You Build a Home Network To Fully Utilize Google Fiber?

FireFury03 Re:Wire adds value to your house (279 comments)

It does not add measurable value to your home to be fully wired. It does help a house stay on the market a shorter amount of time.

I'm not convinced enough people care about a wired house for it to make a measurable difference on anything at all. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that the vast majority of people don't understand why they might want wired rather than wireless (and an increasing proportion of the population are using computing devices that can't even be connected to a wired network these days too).

As a techy, whether or not a house is wired is probably something that I would care about, but there are an awful lot of other far more important things I would be interested in too, to the point that I doubt that the wiring is likely to make much of a dent in my decision making process.

More likely, I suspect, is someone non-technical looking at my house and concluding that the neatly installed comms cabinet containing the patch panel, VDSL modem, etc. is an unsightly waste of space and that they need to do work to remove it.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Would You Build a Home Network To Fully Utilize Google Fiber?

FireFury03 Re:Check your phone wiring (279 comments)

I've seen what normal electrical subs do with cat5. It's not pretty. It's downright scary. It's the stuff of nightmares. Assuming that you can just use cat5 used for phone runs may not necessarily work out for you.

This is why I had my house wired with structured cabling. That kind of dense cable bundle can't quite be abused as readily as a single strand of cat5.

I'm not sure I would trust a normal sparky to do networking stuff... Friend of mine just got an office rewired - sparky was told to put in a phone socket and 2 ethernet sockets per desk. Cat6 was specified throughout, but it sounds like the bosses (who were telling the sparky what to do) never actually gave him that specification. Ended up with cat3 for the phones and cat6 for ethernet.

Even given that the sparky seemingly hadn't been explicitly told to use cat6 for the phones, who the hell cables up a modern office in cat3 these days?! Half the Ethernet sockets were punched down with the pairs in the wrong order, and next to no slack cable was left at the patch panel end (which meant they all had to be extended through a punch block).

Some of the blame can certainly be placed on my friend for not staying on top of exactly what the sparky was doing, but at the end of the day the sparky obviously had no clue. Nope, get a real network cable installer to do this stuff!

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Would You Build a Home Network To Fully Utilize Google Fiber?

FireFury03 Re:Combine the 2 (279 comments)

If you're doing it yourself, you can probably do the job equally well as I can, but you'll need to go down to home depot or lowes and get the cheapest RJ45 crimper you can find (about $20) maybe a 300 foot spool of cat5e wire (as cheap as $20) a box of RJ45 terminators (about $20) modular jacks (about $5 each) and modular faceplates (about $1 each.)

Go spend about an hour on youtube to see how to crimp RJ45 ends (it's actually easier than it sounds) and stick with the 568-b standard for all ends. Don't worry about crossover, straight through, etc. Every time I hear people try to be "smart" and talk about doing it "right" I kind of chuckle, and here's why: Part of the gigabit ethernet standard (that is, to receive IEEE 802.3 certification for gigabit) the switches AND the ethernet ports MUST provide the auto-MDIX feature, so fretting about crossover is pointless.

105 metres of cable doesn't sound like a lot for a 5 bedroom house to me. I have part-wired my 2 bedroom house (finishing the job is on my todo list) and 105 metres of cat6 got me 4 sockets in the living room and 3 sockets in the office, all running back to a cabinet in the office. At some point I will finish the job to a total of 4 sockets in the living room, 2 in each bedroom, 2 in the kitchen, 2 in the stair well (for one of the wifi APs), 2 in the attic, 6 - 10 in the office.

As for crossing over - IMHO it's important to do straight through everywhere, because you may not always be running Ethernet over the structured cabling. My POTS/VDSL is terminated in the living room, but I don't want equipment there so that gets patched straight into the structured cabling and the VDSL modem and PBX is in the data cabinet. Similarly I have a POTS handset plugged into the structured cabling (which the PBX automatically bridges directly to the POTS line if there's a power outage).

The biggest pain is running hidden cables - running them under the upstairs floors involves removing furniture and pulling up carpets and floorboards, and getting the cable from the floor space into the stud walls involves drilling a hole with a 90 degree bend in it because the floor cavity of each room has a support beam at the edge, and the stud walls are capped with timber, so any cables need to go through the support beam, make a 90 degree bend, then go through the cap. I'm sure it was fine when the power cables were put in during construction since it would've been done before the plasterboard was put up, but trying to retrofit is a problem.

Secondly, my living room has a load of sound insulation bonded to the back of the plasterboard on one of the walls, filling the cavity - I've pretty much written off any idea of putting sockets in that wall since it would involve chasing the cable into the wall rather than just running it through the cavity. I might reconsider when it's time to decorate, but I'm not about to trash the existing decor. There are a couple of places where I've just ended up putting a section of surface conduit on the wall because there was just no sane way to run hidden cables without doing serious damage to the decor.

about two weeks ago
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Chimpanzee "Personhood" Is Back In Court

FireFury03 Re:Does that mean they'll get to vote? (385 comments)

If chimps are people, will they be able to vote? Hold political office? Cue the jokes.

Also, does that mean we have to jail them when they commit crimes against each other? (E.g. stealing each other's food, etc).

about two weeks ago
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GNOME 3 Winning Back Users

FireFury03 Re:change is baaaaaaaad (267 comments)

Windows 8, bad.

PulseAudio, bad.

Wayland, bad...

You know, AC has a point there. It seems that every slightly larger framework coming to Linux gets opposed. To me the funniest part is that many of the opponents do not even seem to precisely know why they are opposing the thing, they just quickly learn to robotically chant the same thing than everyone else.

I think Pulse Audio got a bad reputation because it was pushed on people way too early. I can certainly remember upgrading a few systems and finding my audio completely broken in a practically unfixable way (short of wiping and downgrading again) because distros had rolled out PulseAudio and it was so well integrated into stuff that you couldn't just rip it out again. These days it seems to work well and more or less sets out to do what it was designed to do (although I don't think I get a huge amount of benefit from PulseAudio over plain ALSA in day to day use).

I've only used Windows 8 once, but for me it fell down on the "discoverability" criteria - in a GUI, things need to be easily discoverable without googling or consulting the manual - at least, the simple stuff does. First time I used Windows 8 I got presented with the start screen, clicked on the IE logo and up popped the Metro version of IE.... Now what? There's no "Start" menu or anything especially obvious to get you back to the start screen. I pressed ctrl+alt+del and was pleasantly surprised to find that after I killed off IE I was left at a familiar classic Windows desktop. GUIs shouldn't ever leave you in a situation where it isn't obvious how to get back to wherever you came from, and IMHO Metro failed on that count - sure I would've figured it out and got used to it through constant use, but the initial impression is bad, and first impressions count.

Stuff like systemd and udev probably get some backlash because they are quite complex, and are replacements for very simple systems so there is a really steep learning curve that practically never existed before. You get a lot of "I just need to do $trivial_thing, it would've been easy under $old_system but now I'm having to spend forever reading the manual for $new_system!" I wouldn't stand by the "people hate change" argument, more "people hate change when things don't work". Nothing worse than wasting 2 hours trying to fix a problem with the new system that would've been sorted in 5 minutes if you were using something more familiar.

about two weeks ago
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GNOME 3 Winning Back Users

FireFury03 Re:I'll take another look at it. (267 comments)

Gnome's reduction of customizability began in the early millennium when it partnered with some large companies who had carried out formal UI studies and found that for the vast majority of users, options only confuse them.

And it's probably true - give most people a system that is set up for them and they are probably happier than having lots of options. The problem with this, of course, is that "set up for them" is different for each user, and out of the box it isn't really set up right for anyone.

They also made some bonkers design decisions that didn't reduce the configurability but not the complexity of the UI - for example, for a long time they claimed no one needed to turn off DPMS, so the "turn off screen" option just had a list of timeouts (5 minutes, 30 minutes, etc). Sticking a "Never" option in there wouldn't have increased the complexity at all because thats exactly where you would expect to find that option.

And bonkers design decisions that increase the complexity of the UI for no reason - for example, how do you suspend a machine? Oh that's right you press alt while the system menu is open and the power-off button changes to a suspend button. That's a completely non-discoverable design - the only way you're going to figure that out is by reading the manual. How is it better than just sticking a "suspend" button in the menu too, or adding suspend options to the power-off dialogue?

I still haven't figured out how to properly control the screen brightness when on battery power - as of a few versions ago, my laptop screen automagically goes dim when I unplug power. I can turn it up again, but the next time I unplug it it goes dim again. There's nothing in the power or display settings to configure this - the "power" config page doesn't specify separate settings for mains or battery mode; there's just one slider for screen brightness which doesn't seem to control the default brightness for when you're on battery.

And how do you get stuff like you IM client to start automagically when you log in? When Gnome 3 first appeared, it had empathy built into the UI so it was running all the time. These days I have to manually start it up when I log in - can't see any "auto start" button anywhere.

I wouldn't consider things like disabling the DPMS, suspending a laptop, telling the screen not to go unreadably dim every time you unplug the power, or wanting to auto-start background stuff like your IM client on login, to be "power user" tweaks.

about two weeks ago
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GNOME 3 Winning Back Users

FireFury03 Re:Responding to feedback (267 comments)

The interesting trend is that it seems to take losing users/slow adoption in droves and mass rioting to get the ball rolling.

Both gnome 3 and windows 8 have seen their user bases outright revolt over their UI changes, and both largely ignored it as "people hate change but they'll learn to love it" until numbers started actually dropping significantly and people started leaving.

It seems to be really good PR actually... Everyone says "Windows 10 is really good", and quietly ignoring the "...because they ripped out all the crap Windows 8 introduced, leaving it identical to Windows 7" bit. :)

To be honest, I don't really buy the "people hate change" thing - sure, some people hate change, but a lot of the time changes are good. Change for the sake of change is often bad, but a lot of change doesn't fit into that category and actually improves things. From my perspective, I think Gnome 3's UI is pretty good - I really like the fundamental design. What I dislike about Gnome 3 isn't the basic design, its that they seem to think that making everyone use dconf is more "user friendly" than providing a proper configuration UI that actually lets you.. uhm.. configure it.

about two weeks ago
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Vax, PDP/11, HP3000 and Others Live On In the Cloud

FireFury03 Re:Free Emulators for PDP-11 and VAX (62 comments)

There's lots of useful free stuff for people who want to emulate ancient computers at pdp11.org.

Yeah, but that's not in the cloud, and if you're not doing it in the cloud you might accidentally get too much reliability.

about two weeks ago
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US Says It Can Hack Foreign Servers Without Warrants

FireFury03 Re:So what they are saying... (335 comments)

So what they are saying is that anyone outside the US can freely hack US servers without a warrant too. Surely they don't expect special treatment?

However, if a US government employee who was somehow involved in cracking a foreign server visited that country, they would presumably still be subject to arrest and prosecution?

What about extradition? The US has extradited people from their homes after they cracked US servers so they might struggle to argue that US citizens shouldn't be extradited in similar circumstances. Or has "I was breaking the law as part of my job" suddenly become a valid defence?

And of course "somehow involved" doesn't necessarily mean they were the ones doing the actual cracking - anyone who knew about it and didn't blow the whistle or put a stop to it is surely still responsible. The constitution doesn't apply to non-US nationals, but there are international treaties that say the US has to respect the laws of other countries too.

about two weeks ago
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NASA Asks Boeing, SpaceX To Stop Work On Next-Gen Space Taxi

FireFury03 Re:Ridiculous (139 comments)

It also has to safely escape on the launch pad and shortly afterward, the very problem the shuttle had. Boeing and Spacex have well defined and soon to be tested approaches to escape from launch accidents. I haven't seen how Sierra Nevada plans on solving this.

I believe they have onboard bipropellant rockets for both second-stage propulsion and abort.

I don't have any particular hard-on for SNC, although I do think that competition is good so having their craft as well as Dragon 2 and CST-100 would be good (especially since they are offering something quite different). However, I'm just taking a bit of an exception to superficial statements like "they should be disqualified because it looks like the shuttle" rather than actually giving a damn about the technical detail.

about two weeks ago
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NASA Asks Boeing, SpaceX To Stop Work On Next-Gen Space Taxi

FireFury03 Re:Ridiculous (139 comments)

It looks a lot like a cross between the shuttle and the old project Dyna-Soar (I think that was a skunkworks project). Most who remember the TV show 6 million dollar man, that was footage of a DynaSoar's unsuccessful landing

Yep, rockets are hard - there are lots of examples of non-shuttle launch vehicles exploding and capsules reentering in non-survivable ways too. I don't see "it looks like the shuttle so it should be disqualified" as having a lot of merit - you could equally say that the Atlas V or Falcon 9 "look like" a Proton rocket, and therefore should be disqualified because Proton rockets have been known to explode at times. Or the CST-100, Dragon 2 and Orion capsules "look like" a Soyuz capsule and they have been known to fail so they should be disqualified too.

How about evaluating each craft on its technical merits rather than what it's appearance resembles?

about two weeks ago
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NASA Asks Boeing, SpaceX To Stop Work On Next-Gen Space Taxi

FireFury03 Re:Ridiculous (139 comments)

My thoughts exactly, which is why I had added "Sierra Nevada's orbiter resembles a mini space shuttle. That alone (remember the problems with the tiles) should have been enough to disqualify them."

Sorry, but what's wrong with how it looks? Yes, it's a space plane, but its mode of operation is pretty different to the shuttle - for one thing it sits on top of the launch vehicle, which makes it a hell of a lot safer!

about two weeks ago
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The Single Vigilante Behind Facebook's 'Real Name' Crackdown

FireFury03 Re:What an asshole (305 comments)

As for myself, I'll be happy once the world learns to build systems that don't break on the apostrophe in my last name. I still come across plenty of systems that don't, and every time I am tempted to go "Johnny Tables" on their ass.

I'm still waiting for computer systems that can handle my address, which has a y with a circumflex in it... I frequently get letters and packages arrive that has "ŷ" printed on the address label! (Yes, even big international websites like Amazon, SagePay, etc. are incapable of using a valid UTF-8 character... In fact ISTR SagePay's API only supports ISO8859.

about two weeks ago
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UK Government Tax Disc Renewal Website Buckles Under Pressure

FireFury03 Re: No alternative system is available ? (145 comments)

I agree about the MOT btw, I find it a royal pain in the arse because it's not like the tax disc where you get a reminder and do it online

When I let mine lapse by accident, I was sorting out the MoT for my car when I thought "I don't remember doing the van this year... oh crap", checked and discovered that I had indeed not done the MoT for the van 6 months earlier.

IMHO an annual check is a good idea, no matter how many miles you do - things still corrode when sat on your drive. I find the tax disc annoying because it's tied to emissions and claimed to be a "green tax" to discourage people from having vehicles that do poor mileage, yet I still have to pay that (quite expensive) same amount each year for my van despite the fact it only does a few hundred miles a year - I don't have a big problem with "green taxes" but I think they should be proportional and I don't see how charging the same for a vehicle that does a few hundred miles a year as one that does tens of thousands of miles is proportional at all. I would prefer the annual tax to be abolished and a proportional rise in fuel duty so that the total tax revenue would be unaffected. Although I know that if they did abolish tax discs they would use it as an excuse to increase fuel duty disproportionately.

the 25,000 mile a year car frankly never passes it's MOT so probably isn't really technically roadworthy for a short while before it's MOT given that it's being driven around with those failures prior to the test, whilst the 3,000 mile a year one hasn't failed an MOT for about 5 years now and never needs anything doing to it so it shows what a farce the MOT system really is - it's highly inconvenient and doesn't solve the problem it's meant to solve, low mileage cars are getting penalised for the sake of it, and high mileage cars are driving around unsafe regardless.

Last MoT for my van (which, as mentioned, does a few hundred miles a year): new brake pads + discs (corroded discs - something that low mileage vehicles suffer from), insecure headlamp (a plastic clip had aged, gone brittle and snapped. Official replacement VW parts would have involved replacing the entire headlamp mount for about £80, so it has been replaced with a couple of stainless steel nuts, which cost pennies and will probably outlast the official plastic thing :)

In fact, everything my car has failed on in the past few years (which does significantly higher mileage) has been essentially age related rather than mileage related - all the mileage related stuff tends to get checked and replaced when I service it, so the higher mileage actually just ensures that parts have been replaced reasonably recently and therefore won't be failed.

about three weeks ago
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UK Government Tax Disc Renewal Website Buckles Under Pressure

FireFury03 Re: No alternative system is available ? (145 comments)

The authorities are actually pretty good on this, a friend completely forgot to renew his altogether and drove around for 6 months before realising, he phoned the DVLA to admit his mistake and they just told him not to worry, that people forget and as long as he's happy to pay it there and then that they wouldn't see any reason to pursue it

Sounds nicer than the message you get from the website... I let my tax lapse by about a month a few years back, renewed on the website (paying the full amount from the date the old disc expired). The website displayed a warning after I'd paid which essentially boiled down to "you've paid now, but you screwed up and so we might come after you at some point in the future and fine you £oodles".

my father forgot to display his new disc once, got pulled, but they took no action after checking he had renewed online

My wife spent about 2 months over seas a few years ago, her tax disc expired while she was away and she didn't realise. Caught a flight home on Christmas eve and got pulled over between the airport and home. Received a fine and points.

FWIW, the MoT is a bigger problem anyway since they don't send out reminders - I managed to let mine lapse by about 6 months one year by mistake. I've not looked into the new "paperless" tax disc system - are they still sending out paper reminders for tax discs or are they assuming people are going to remember to renew?

about three weeks ago
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Popular Wi-Fi Thermostat Full of Security Holes

FireFury03 Re:Technology not needed in thermostats (103 comments)

I am afraid we are using technology where technology is not needed.

Wireless gizmos are becoming very common since they mean you don't need to dig holes in your walls to run the cables.

I have 2 wireless thermostats - the wireless isn't used to set them remotely, it is used for them to communicate with the boiler. On the whole they work pretty well (and yes, I'm sure the protocol is so trivial that someone could probably sit outside my house and turn the boiler on/off if they cared enough). That said, if I could point my browser at the thermostat instead of having to fiddle with a UI that has a limited display and only a few buttons, that'd be pretty useful.

I have a wireless doorbell too. It has to be said that this doesn't work so well because the range isn't great - it certainly won't reach my office. Again, probably really insecure and someone who cared enough could probably make my doorbell ring remotely.

As we get more and more wireless gizmos like this, having them all use common infrastructure, such as the wifi network, rather than communicating using their own point-to-point links is probably a pretty sensible idea - it cuts interference between devices as well as extending the range (by virtue of the wifi network usually covering the entire house anyway, so being able to relay the traffic, possibly via multiple access points). The problem here is twofold:
1. Moving from proprietary protocols to a standard protocol like wifi suddenly means off-the-shelf hardware and software can be used to attack the devices. The old proprietary devices were really insecure too, but no one cared enough to engineer hardware to attack them - now your phone or laptop comes with the hardware you need.
2. These wifi-enabled devices are more powerful and can therefore do nefarious things that the older devices couldn't do - i.e. attacking an old wireless thermostat allowed you to turn the boiler on and off, attacking a new one lets you send spam, etc.

about a month ago
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Popular Wi-Fi Thermostat Full of Security Holes

FireFury03 Re:Will this internet of things die already? (103 comments)

Hopefully people will exercise their legal rights to correct this kind of thing. For example, goods must be "fit for purpose" and of "reasonable quality". In other words, security must be reasonably effective.

Could be even more interesting if you paid to have it installed.

Unfortunately warranty legislation never seems to apply to software - how often do you hear people getting their money back from Microsoft because Windows is buggy (that would be a design or manufacturing flaw, which is certainly covered for physical goods).

about a month ago

Submissions

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New rules for government departments' compliance with open standards

FireFury03 FireFury03 writes  |  about 2 years ago

FireFury03 writes "Effective immediately, all British government departments are to comply with a set of Open Standards Principles (OSPs) when procuring for IT contracts. This follows a public consultation in which around 70% of respondents said they believed it would improve innovation, choice and value for money. Government sources say that although some suppliers have expressed reluctance to move towards OSPs, very few were able to articulate why they wouldn’t be beneficial.

Hopefully this will lead to fewer monolithic multi-million pound IT contracts going to the same old big businesses time after time, and more opportunity for small businesses to participate. Carving up a project and handing it to small businesses is likely very beneficial — less risk since the risk is spread amongst many suppliers, cheaper since there is more competition so less chance to overcharge like the big contractors currently do, and supporting small local businesses also helps the economy."

Link to Original Source
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Illegal downloaders 'face UK ban'

FireFury03 FireFury03 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

FireFury03 writes "The BBC is reporting that the UK government may be planning to force ISPs to ban customers who are using their internet connections to infringe copyright. Apparently about 10% of the UK population regularly infringe copyright over the internet and there is no comment on how the ISPs are expected to detect infringement."
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Active glacier found on Mars

FireFury03 FireFury03 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

FireFury03 writes "The European Space Agency's Mars Express spacecraft has spotted an icy feature which appears to be a young active glacier. Dr Gerhard Neukum (what a cool name :), chief scientist on the spacecraft's High Resolution Stereo Camera said "We have not yet been able to see the spectral signature of water. But we will fly over it in the coming months and take measurements. On the glacial ridges we can see white tips, which can only be freshly exposed ice". Estimates place the glacier at 10,000 — 100,000 years old."
Link to Original Source
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Another warning over IPv4 address exhaustion

FireFury03 FireFury03 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

FireFury03 writes "The BBC is running a story on the IPv4 address exhaustion problem. The chairman of ICANN is warning that IPv4 addresses will probably run out in 2-3 years and we really need to roll out IPv6 now. The article notes that he is also Google's chief internet evangelist (Google still don't publish an IPv6 address for their search engine).

We keep getting these warnings, but very few ISPs and domestic router manufacturers seem to act (is it even possible to get a domestic ADSL router that does IPv6 without putting custom firmare on it yet?) Will we see a large scale roll-out of IPv6 soon, or will the industry wait until the sky falls in before acting?"

Link to Original Source
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Google Sky launches

FireFury03 FireFury03 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

FireFury03 writes "The BBC is reporting that Google have launched the Google Sky add-on for Google Earth. It will allow astronomers a chance to glide through images of more than one million stars and 200 million galaxies.

"Click a button and the world flips round and you see the sky from that particular location," explained Mr Parsons. "[The view] would be the constellations that you would see oriented in the sky on that particular day at that particular time." Users can overlay the night sky with other information such as galaxies, constellations and detailed images from the Hubble Space Telescope.
Although so far I've been unable to find any information published by Google."

Link to Original Source
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UK petition for government IT projects to be open

FireFury03 FireFury03 writes  |  more than 7 years ago

FireFury03 writes "There is a Petition on the UK government's website calling for publicly funded IT projects to be implemented as Free software. From the petition: "This would allow for more of the public to benefit from the development of the software since the code would be available for anyone to use and improve. Furthermore, compatibility with other Free licences (such as the GPL) would promote rapid development and reduced costs through the reuse of existing code.""
Link to Original Source
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OSC threatten BBC over Microsoft tie-in

FireFury03 FireFury03 writes  |  more than 7 years ago

FireFury03 writes "After the BBC Trust approved the BBC's development of a Windows-only video-on-demand service in April, the Open Source Consortium is threatening the BBC with a complaint to the European Commission, since it gives Microsoft an unfair advantage and is not in the public interest. They have also complained to the regulator (Ofcom) and the BBC Trust comparing the situation to the BBC only making programmes that can only be watched on one particular brand of television.

As a licence fee payer, I feel that I should have the right to withhold a portion of my licence fee since the BBC obviously feels it appropriate to artificially restrict the content and therefore prevent a proportion of licence fee payers from legitimately accessing it. It is also interesting to note from the article that the BBC seems to consider supporting only Windows and Mac to be "platform agnostic", with no mention of other operating systems."

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FireFury03 FireFury03 writes  |  more than 7 years ago

FireFury03 writes "There is a petition on the British government's website calling for software projects funded by the tax payer to be released under a Free licence so that the tax payer can re-use the code they paid for and also examine the progress of the project. All to often these projects seem to over run and cost many times the original budget. This blog on the subject suggests that this is a common practice in the US — if corporate America can do it, why not everyone else?"
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FireFury03 FireFury03 writes  |  more than 7 years ago

FireFury03 writes "An unprecidented 19 countries have now responded during the contradictions phase of the ISO/IEC standardisation of Microsoft's OpenXML document format. At this time the responses haven't been made public and ECMA have the opportunity to propose resolutions, before the end of the month, to the problems cited. The question has to be raised — what will Microsoft do if the specification is rejected? Can they pressure the relevent people or will they have to withdraw the specification and work up a new, more sane one? In any case, it's good to see that there are some sane people who aren't completely under Microsoft's thumb involved in the standardisation process."
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FireFury03 FireFury03 writes  |  more than 7 years ago

FireFury03 writes "The British Standards Institute has issued a contradiction to Microsoft's OpenXML document format, blocking it's fast-track ISO standardisation for 90 days. The article states that "Proponents of the rival Open Document Format" are opposed to the format as there is "no point in having two document standards." This seems to miss the true problems with the (incomplete) OpenXML specification and the British Standards Institute have not yet stated the reasons for their objection."
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FireFury03 FireFury03 writes  |  more than 7 years ago

FireFury03 writes "linux.com has an article about how eBay are discriminating against Linux users after revising their Sell Your Item web tools.
"The tool is the sellers' auction setup wizard officially named Sell Your Item. eBay rolled out Sell Your Item 3.0 at the end of the summer, adding some more AJAX-ified flair and polish. It was October before I dusted off a relic in need of selling and tried the new form for myself, and found that it didn't work in Linux."
The article goes on to say that kludging your browser's User-Agent string to pretend to be Windows works around the problem, although I haven't got it to work (it serves up a different version of the page but it's still broken). Whilest you can still use the old system to list new items, there doesn't seem to be any solution for those of us who listed items with the new tool and now want to go back to revise the listing without any access to Windows machines."

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