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Linux 3.14 Kernel Released

MSG Re:WOW! (132 comments)

... all the while running Linux on their servers.

about three weeks ago
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Prominent GitHub Engineer Julie Ann Horvath Quits Citing Harrassment

MSG Re:One side of the story (710 comments)

You do not badmouth your former employer, no matter what they did

To quote Chris Rock, "Ain't nobody above an ass whoopin."

It's certainly true that if you publicly air your grievances against a former employer, you'll probably never work there or with those people in the future. However, there is definitely a time when you are certain that you no longer want to work with those people, and a time when it's appropriate to warn the community that they hire from that employment comes with serious issues.

Personally, I think we have just as much responsibility to our community of co-workers as we do to our employer. People who never speak up are abdicating the responsibility that we have to each other.

about a month ago
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Apple Demands $40 Per Samsung Phone For 5 Software Patents

MSG Re:"The Last Lone Inventor" by Evan I. Schwartz (406 comments)

I don't think TV would be less patentable with a digital circuit. I am advocating abolishment of software patents. That is, the software itself should not be subject to patent. If I have a general purpose computing device, I should be able to create software for any function that the device is capable of.

about a month ago
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Apple Demands $40 Per Samsung Phone For 5 Software Patents

MSG Re:"The Last Lone Inventor" by Evan I. Schwartz (406 comments)

So you FULLY support software patents, wherever the software in question controls a (finicky) physical object?

I said software patents should be abolished. I'm not sure what led you to the conclusion that I support software patents.

about a month ago
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Apple Demands $40 Per Samsung Phone For 5 Software Patents

MSG Re:"The Last Lone Inventor" by Evan I. Schwartz (406 comments)

Concrete examples: GIF was patented, but PNG was not, and is superior.

RSA was patented, but AES (Rjindael) is not.

I don't think it's at all accurate to say that "nobody" will invest in advanced computing algorithms without patents.

about a month and a half ago
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Apple Demands $40 Per Samsung Phone For 5 Software Patents

MSG Re:"The Last Lone Inventor" by Evan I. Schwartz (406 comments)

My understanding is that active matrix displays refresh one line at a time, but display the entire image during the scan. In any case, that isn't really the point. The point is that his invention has been fundamental to display technology since the time of the invention. It is an excellent example of technology worthy of patent.

If you have something valuable to contribute, I'd be happy to respond to it.

about a month and a half ago
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Apple Demands $40 Per Samsung Phone For 5 Software Patents

MSG "The Last Lone Inventor" by Evan I. Schwartz (406 comments)

I finished a book a while ago that I think really illustrates why software patents are objectionable, and what's wrong with the patent system as a whole, today.

The book is "The Last Lone Inventor" by Evan I. Schwartz. It describes the work of Philo T. Farnsworth to create television. During the time that Philo was working on television, many scientists employed by the radio industry were also working to develop usable video transmission technology, with inferior designs. Most of their work involved mechanical television cameras that used spinning wheels. Philo's invention was all electronic. It scanned, transmitted, and displayed a line at a time to create a two dimensional image. This remained the fundamental technology in displays at least until LCD and plasma screens replaced CRT.

Now, while many other patent related problems were well demonstrated by the book, the one most clearly related to software patents pertains to the intent of the patent system. Patents are not, as they are often regarded today, a recognition that an inventor owns his ideas. Ideas are not property, and have never been recognized as such. Patents are a recognition that some inventions rely on information that isn't obvious. Some inventions require the inventors to test and improve their inventions for years before they can be brought to market. Underlying the patent system is the belief that this work will not be done, that inventors will not fund years of experimentation and development, if they don't believe that they'll be able to sell that invention to recover the costs of its development. In a free market, competitors will be able to offer the same invention at a lower cost than its inventor, because the competitors did not have to invest in the development of the invention. Patents attempt to create an incentive to invent by ensuring that inventors who do invest in development are given a limited monopoly on their invention.

However, patents aren't free. It is not enough for the inventor to merely offer his invention to the market to receive patent protection on it. An inventor is also required to completely disclose how the invention works. After the patent period expires, the public must be able to continue using the invention independent of the inventor.

That is the fundamental purpose of the patent system: to benefit the public by providing it with the knowledge required to reproduce the invention. It is the public's benefit, not the inventors, that is the goal of the patent system. The inventor's benefit is simply the means to achieve that goal. The Constitution of the United States reflects this:
To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries

Philo's work was exactly the progress of science that the patent system was intended to promote. His invention required tremendous investment to create. His idea was sound, but a great deal of experimentation was required to create a working device. Other highly skilled scientists were not able to create a working device on their own, or created working devices of significantly lesser quality. The exact properties of the materials and components used in the camera and television set were not previously known, and were discovered through Philo T. Farnsworth's experimentation and development.

The invention of television was worthy of patent protection.

Software development isn't like the invention of television in ANY way.

Software development does involve testing cycles, but otherwise almost never involves the kind of experimentation involved in the invention of television, because the exact properties of computer operations are previously known. Computers perform a limited number of operations, exactly according to a specification, and exactly the same every time. Because the behavior of the system is known in advance, the uncertainty inherent in real world material inventions does not exist in software development.

If you give a computing task to a large number of expert programmers, you will probably get a variety of results, but you also expect a great deal of overlap in those results. Software components frequently independently implement solutions that have previously been patented. When this happens, it is evidence that the patented invention is, in fact, obvious. When this happens, it is evidence that the public did not need the description provided by the patent. The frequency with which this happens is evidence that software patents are not a benefit to the public, and should be abolished. The public has no reason to provide patents when it receives nothing of value in return.

An earlier verdict in Apple's suit against Samsung is an excellent illustration of this flaw. The suit found that Samsung infringed Apple patents that described a) a means of indicating to the user that they were scrolling past the edge of some scrollable surface by "bounce back" scrolling behavior, b) using one finger to scroll and two fingers to zoom, and c) tapping to zoom. If you asked a group of experienced developers how to indicate to a user that they had scrolled too far, snapping back to an edge would almost certainly be one of a handful of other indications. You probably would also get a haptic indication (vibration), an audible indication (beep), and several visual indications such as bouncing back, texture vibrating, edge highlighting, and using a standard background behind the scrollable surface. If you asked experienced developers to allow users to scroll and zoom, likewise, you would find several that suggesting pinch to zoom and touch to scroll. These things don't need to be discovered, they merely need to be implemented.

Granting patents on those methods prohibits competitors from using similar methods, which significantly inhibits progress in the field, contrary to the goals stated in the Constitution of the United States, and does not benefit the public by providing them with information that they would not otherwise have. Software patents should be abolished.

about a month and a half ago
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Comcast Turning Chicago Homes Into Xfinity Hotspots

MSG Re:So what happens (253 comments)

Why would you presume that? These modems typically have just one IP address, and I would presume that they NAT using the same one for the XFINITY wireless and for the home user. If a third party records a download of child porn or copyrighted material, they don't have access to the internal identity of the machine, they would only have the IP address Lacking clarification, I think the prudent thing to do is assume that the IP address is going to be the subscriber's, and that this could create the appearance of liability.

IPv4 space is very limited. I really doubt that Comcast is going to double their required network size by assigning separate addresses to the home subscriber and to the XFINITY wireless user. This could be a real problem.

about a month and a half ago
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Bug In the GnuTLS Library Leaves Many OSs and Apps At Risk

MSG NSS (231 comments)

So can we all get on the bandwagon with Fedora and start using NSS instead?

http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/...

about a month and a half ago
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Why Does Windows Have Terrible Battery Life?

MSG Re:Anyone have this link? (558 comments)

Found it: http://www.cs.auckland.ac.nz/~pgut001/pubs/vista_cost.html

"In order to prevent active attacks, device drivers are required to poll the underlying hardware every 30ms for digital outputs and every 150 ms for analog ones to ensure that everything appears kosher. This means that even with nothing else happening in the system, a mass of assorted drivers has to wake up thirty times a second just to ensure that⦠nothing continues to happen"

So there you go, your video and audio drivers have to poll the hardware repeatedly, which takes all of the CPU, video, and audio hardware out of low-power state when they could otherwise be idle.

As far as I know, this remains the spec for drivers, and does partially explain why Windows would use more power at idle than other operating systems.

about 6 months ago
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Why Does Windows Have Terrible Battery Life?

MSG Anyone have this link? (558 comments)

I vaguely recall someone from AMD (??) writing a paper back when Vista was introduced that went over the implementation of driver signing in Windows, and how that was going to impact battery life. Basically, as I recall, in order to implement DRM the OS will repeatedly check the drivers and the hardware to make sure that all signatures remain valid, so it doesn't really idle well at all.

about 6 months ago
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Carbon-Negative Energy Machines Catching On

MSG Re: no thats carbon neutral (228 comments)

If being wrong about electric vehicle pollution makes you an eco-tard, congratulations. You're an eco-tard.

Sierra Club

Popular Science

Or maybe we can all just conduct ourselves with a little more respect. That would be really nice.

about 6 months ago
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Mark Shuttleworth Complains About the 'Open Source Tea Party'

MSG Re:The reason people attack you, Mr Shuttleworth (419 comments)

On the one hand, Ubuntu has seriously improved desktop Linux, particularly in hardware auto-detection and driver support.

No, it didn't. All of the software used for auto-detection and auto-setup of hardware originated and has been largely developed in Fedora. Ubuntu's first releases took place after Red Hat had worked out a lot of the bugs, and the Fedora releases at that time were just as good. Some of the releases before the release of Ubuntu did not have those tools fleshed out.

The only place where you are marginally correct is proprietary drivers. Ubuntu had options to enable repositories for third-party proprietary drivers, where Fedora adheres to Free Software principals.

about 6 months ago
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Fedora Project Turns 10

MSG Re:User since '97 (83 comments)

OK, so there were two things I wanted Red Hat to have that Debian did, back then: more community involvement and apt.

Apt came along eventually, and then was replaced by yum.

At the same time, there were a lot of things that I liked better about RPM. RPM packages were PGP signed long before debs. As far as I could tell from the documentation, debs were either all or mostly built by hand where RPM packages were built using a script included in the src.rpm. Last, Debian used to have mirrors for everything except for updates that fixed security problems. I never could make any sense of that; it seemed completely backward.

about 7 months ago
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Fedora Project Turns 10

MSG Re:User since '97 (83 comments)

Your recollection is off. PAM was in the distribution at least as early as version 4, and has never checked complexity at login. The old cracklib module that was used to check complexity doesn't even offer that service.

about 7 months ago
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Fedora Project Turns 10

MSG User since '97 (83 comments)

My first Linux distro was Slackware, and it was damn educational. I had to do a lot of stuff on my own. A little less than a year later, I tried Red Hat Linux (4.2) and never turned back.

I tried Debian a few times early on, and the system would always break when I applied updates. Break, as in, it would either no longer boot or I could no longer log in.

Debian was what I wanted in a distribution: committed to Free Software. Red Hat angered a lot of users when it split off Fedora, but I never understood that. Fedora was the distribution that I wanted Red Hat to be. Free Software and community driven. Since apt and yum came into the picture, Red Hat's distribution has been the best of the bunch. The company maintains their commitment to Free Software, releasing the code to acquisition after acquisition, and leads all others in developing GNU/Linux.

Thank you Red Hat. There are too many negative comments here. I love Fedora.

about 7 months ago
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SSD Failure Temporarily Halts Linux 3.12 Kernel Work

MSG Re:Really? (552 comments)

Can you provide a reference for the Seagate failure you mentioned? Offhand, it almost sounds like you're thinking of the Samsung laptop UEFI bug:

http://mjg59.dreamwidth.org/22855.html

about 7 months ago
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Fixing Fukushima's Water Problem

MSG Re:20/20 hindsight is often terribly embarrassing. (111 comments)

1% greater chance of dying from cancer for 77 people

Even that's exaggerated. There are an estimated ~2000 people who face an elevated risk of thyroid cancer. Even with that elevated risk, there is never expected to be a statistically measurable increase in the actual development of thyroid cancer.

And thyroid cancer is treatable. It has a 97% survival rate. Those people are going to be screened annually. They're probably going to be just fine.

about 7 months ago

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