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Confidence Shaken In Open Source Security Idealism

ReeceTarbert Re:I don't buy it (265 comments)

Heartbleed was caused by a FreeBSD bug,

No. Heartbleed is a security bug in the OpenSSL cryptography library. OpenSSL, in turn, is an open-source implementation of the SSL and TLS protocols vailable for most Unix-like operating systems (including Solaris, Linux, Mac OS X and the various open source BSD operating systems), OpenVMS and Microsoft Windows. See? Not OS specific.

Shellshock was caused by a GNU bash bug.

Correct but, again, not OS specific.

Both projects are independent of the Linux Kernel Project. That's the project managed by Linus. So blaming Linus management for the lost confidence on open source security is, at least, unbased.

True, but the article didn't mention either and, let's face it, a kernel with no applications to run wouldn't be much fun -- or useful.


about a month ago

Confidence Shaken In Open Source Security Idealism

ReeceTarbert Re:I don't buy it (265 comments)

And the bugs this article refers to are BSD's and GNU's fault.

Would you care to elaborate? The article talks about Heartbleed and Shellshock bugs which, affecting userland components, aren't OS specific.

Actually, I find it odd that you singled out the BSD family, especially considering that bash is not part of the default FreeBSD install and, even if a user decides to install it, /bin/sh is not the same executable as /bin/bash (or rather /usr/local/bin/bash). The FreeBSD went even as far as to disable the "export function" feature by default on 20140926:

AFFECTS: users of shells/bash
AUTHOR: bdrewery@FreeBSD.org

Bash supports a feature of exporting functions in the environment with
export -f. Running bash with exported functions in the environment will
then import those functions into the environment of the script being ran.
This resulted in security issues CVE-2014-6271 and CVE-2014-7169, commonly
known as "shellshock". It also can result in poorly written scripts being
tricked into running arbitrary commands.

To fully mitigate against this sort of attack we have applied a non-upstream
patch to disable this functionality by default.
You can execute bash
with --import-functions to allow it to import functions from the
environment. The default can also be changed in the port by selecting the


about a month ago

How Poor Punctuation Can Break Windows

ReeceTarbert Re:Shellshock is way worse (94 comments)

For the record, Yahoo, running FreeBSD, was compromised via Shellshock.

No, not really:

Earlier today, we reported that we isolated a handful of servers that were detected to have been impacted by a security flaw. After investigating the situation fully, it turns out that the servers were in fact not affected by Shellshock.

Also, are you sure that Yahoo is running FreeBSD on every server? I can't find anything more recent than this piece from 2011, but it would appear that 75% of Yahoo’s Web sites and services run on Linux".


about a month and a half ago

Net Neutrality Is 'Marxist,' According To a Koch-Backed Astroturf Group

ReeceTarbert Re:What's so American (531 comments)

In particular, Marx does not "view labour as something nobody really wants to do" - wtf do you get that from?

Where are the mod points when you really need them?!? +several million to you for saying something sensible rather than repeating something heard somewhere -- over and over. I just wonder if the people talking in favor or against net neutrality are as clueless as they are when they talk about Marxism or, for that matter, any other sufficiently complex subject.

Oh, and why did you have to post this as AC? I think it was well reasoned and worth reading, actually.


about 2 months ago

California May Waive Environmental Rules For Tesla

ReeceTarbert Re:So, such rules are bad for keeping people worki (327 comments)

If *most* people were content with one job and a reduced income things would start to really improve - the labor market would be dramatically slashed, and the law of supply and demand means that wages would rise across the board as businesses compete for a limited labor pool.

Apologies for being blunt, but you are delusional. Have you heard about Ireland? People have "accepted" wage cuts just for the privilege of keeping their job BUT:

1) The labor market has NOT improved;

2) Cost of living has NOT gone down;

In other words: things are tough all over.

And dot get me started about the mythical "law of supply and demand", because we might as well be talking about Santa Klaus, the Tooth Fairy or, since I mentioned Ireland, Leprechauns.


about 3 months ago

Online Skim Reading Is Taking Over the Human Brain

ReeceTarbert Re:It's not taking over "the human brain" (224 comments)

The really scary part is that these Twitter minds lack the ability to see outside themselves. If it happens to me, then it happens to all of humanity.

Worse yet, the article uses the plural "researchers" but quotes none except Mrs Wolf who, in turn, is just relating her own experience rather than any factual research. Examples:

Researchers are working to get a clearer sense of the differences [...]

Before the Internet, the brain read mostly in linear ways [...] researchers said.

Some researchers believe that for many people [...]

Researchers say that the differences between text and screen reading should be studied more thoroughly [...]

But, hey, who needs to refer to any research when you can fill an article with anecdotal evidence from Claire Handscombe, Brandon Ambrose, and Ramesh Kurup? I mean, that should plenty to convince anyone, no? ;-)


about 8 months ago

UK Government Pays Microsoft £5.5M For Extended Support of Windows XP

ReeceTarbert Re:Why not upgrade to Chromebooks? (341 comments)

The UK government should follow the example of the London Council and upgrade to Chromebooks and Chromeboxes. London Council Dumping Windows For Chromebooks To Save £400,000

Let's see: the summary mentions that "last September 85% of the NHS's 800,000 computers were running XP" which translates to 680,000 computers. A Chromebook is like $200 a pop, so migrating all of them would cost $136,000,000. Not such a big saving, is it?

Not to mention that being tied hands and feet to [insert any company here] is no better than being tied hands and feet to Microsoft, you'd have a ridiculous amount of local storage and no control whatsoever over how (and where) your other data is stored. And I can easily imagine that they also have lots of custom-made applications that wouldn't run in Chrome OS anyway.


about 8 months ago

PC Game Prices — Valve Starts the Race To Zero

ReeceTarbert Re:It's not free (212 comments)

The "race to zero" has done nothing but create a wasteland of crappy "freemium" games. Dungeon Keeper is the culmination of developers' efforts to move the pricing model away from initial purchase and into in-app purchases. The practice has absolutely decimated gaming. I don't necessarily see Steam's move as a good thing.

Speaking of Dungeon Keeper and the flood of "freemium" games I'd like to see less and less of, here's a much a more sane (as in opposite) take on the subject: How In-app Purchases Have Destroyed The Industry

And now, I don't think that what's good good for Apple or Valve is going to be necessarily good for gamers and game developers.


about 9 months ago

Apple Drops Snow Leopard Security Updates, Doesn't Tell Anyone

ReeceTarbert Re:False (241 comments)

This update had one security fix. The fix for the recent SSL bug. This bug did not affect OSX Snow Leopard or earlier, therefore this update is not needed.

Right so far...

It's not at all a sign that Apple no longer supports Snow Leopard.

But very wrong about this one. This table says that OS X Mavericks is indeed a security update for OS X v10.6.8 and later (18th row in the table). Also, the issue has been discussed before


about 9 months ago

Math Models Predicted Global Uprisings

ReeceTarbert No shit, Sherlock! (265 comments)

Do we really need complex systems theorists to tell us that "if food prices continued to climb, so too would the likelihood that there would be riots across the globe"?!?

Okay then, where do I apply for D.O.T.O.M.O.O. (Department of the Obvious Made Obviously Obvious)?


about 9 months ago

Mathematician: Is Our Universe a Simulation?

ReeceTarbert Re:Some possible ways (745 comments)

John 4:8 tells us God is love

The Hittites (among many others) would have beg to differ:

Deuteronomy 20:17: But thou shalt utterly destroy them: the Hittite, and the Amorite, the Canaanite, and the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite; as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee;

Deuteronomy 7:1: When the LORD thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and shall cast out many nations before thee, the Hittite, and the Girgashite, and the Amorite, and the Canaanite, and the Perizzite, and the Hivite, and the Jebusite, seven nations greater and mightier than thou;

Exodus 32:2: And I will send an angel before thee; and I will drive out the Canaanite, the Amorite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite:

Love, you say? Well, if there is one thing that I love is how people cherry-pick quotes (from the very same source, no less) to prove the others wrong which, incidentally, it's exactly what I did here -- and no, the irony is not lost on me.


about 9 months ago

Spotify's Own Math Suggests Musicians Are Still Getting Hosed

ReeceTarbert Re:Your call (244 comments)

That the artists are being robbed by streaming. I don't know

As I see it, the whole concept is wrong. Why should a song played on the radio or streamed by services like Pandora be considered a performance? And why should royalties be payed for every listener? I mean, there's been EXACTLY ONE performance and that performance has been recorded ONCE. The fact that is being played over and over again should be irrelevant. And yes, of course writers don't expect money if I read a novel again, actors and directors get absolutely ZERO if I watch a movie more than once, etc.


about a year ago

EU To Allow 3G and 4G Connections On Planes

ReeceTarbert Re:Phoney issue (106 comments)

Apparently rules against phones being on during flight isn't an FAA thing, it's an FCC thing. You pass from cell tower to cell tower so fast it confuses and stresses the system.

More to the point: Not only is the summary wrong, the TFA is wrong too. A different (and somewhat contrasting) Press Release from the European Aviation Safety Agency clearly states:

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) will publish by the end of November 2013 guidance which will extend to all phases of flight the possibility to use personal electronic devices (PED) such as tablets, smartphones, e-readers and mp3 players as long as the devices are in ‘Flight Mode’ or ‘Airplane Mode’. [...] In the long term, the Agency is looking at new ways to certify the use of mobile phones on-board aircraft to make phone calls.


1 year,10 days

Why Does Windows Have Terrible Battery Life?

ReeceTarbert Re:Sony Vaio Pro (Windows) vs. 2013 Macbook Air (558 comments)

The battery life per Watt-Hour of the Sony Vaio Pro 13 (Haswell, Windows 8) vs. 2013 Macbook Air (Haswell, OS X) are pretty similar, according to Anand's own tests

This morning I spotted an interesting update: Microsoft Surface Pro 2 Firmware Update Improves Battery Life:

Shortly after general availability of the Surface Pro 2, Microsoft pushed out a firmware update that allowed the Marvell WiFi solution to drive down to even lower power states. I spoke with Microsoft after the update went live and immediately re-ran both of our battery life benchmarks on the Surface Pro 2. The improvement is significant.

Also, and not to defend Microsoft here, but benchmarks of Windows running on a Mac, especially those about battery life, should always been taken with a grain of salt: the drivers provided by BootCamp are neither the latest, nor the better optimized. And don't get me started on the futility of comparing entirely different CPU architectures. Battery life on the Surface Pro 2 still lags far behind Android and iOS tablets?!? Quick, stop the press! ;-)

Last but not least: I'm a bit sad to see that Mr. Coding Horror himself has resorted to write something I've come to expect from less reputable authors.


1 year,23 days

Battlefield Director: Linux Only Needs One 'Killer' Game To Explode

ReeceTarbert Re:YOLD! (410 comments)

The main reason is that the other two main contenders seem to be moving towards a more 'controlled' sort of environment where they get a cut of all software sold and can allow or disallow whatever they want.

How is that any different from Valve's business model?

That 30% cut looks pretty good to them.

You mean that Valve let games in the store just because they're a bunch of nice guys?

Valve can see what's happening and wants to get ahead of the pack.

Call me jaded but, as I see it, this is just Valve's pushing for more control and a bigger slice of the pie -- just like any other company. The fact that they say Linux (but mostly SteamOS, really) might make us feel all warm inside, but it doesn't change that.

Oh, and let's not forget for a moment that STEAM is, in fact, a subscription service. Try to not to accept the next change to their ToS and see how many of those games you'll be to play.


about a year ago

Chrome OS Remains Undefeated At Pwnium 3

ReeceTarbert Re:Does it do anything at all? (178 comments)

Things that take fifteen seconds in Interface Builder can take hours or even days to do correctly with HTML/CSS, assuming you're designing to accommodate variably sized browser windows.

Not really a fair comparison, considering that there are no authoring tools worth mentioning for HTML5/CCS. Or, to rephrase that: would it still take 15 seconds to do the same things if you'd have to code everything yourself?


about a year and a half ago

Apple Files Patent For "Active Stylus" For Use With Capacitive Touchscreens

ReeceTarbert Re:First Touchscreen Laptops, Now This? (112 comments)

I would say that St. Jobs must be rotating furiously in his grave by now...

I don't know about that, but for sure he can't blush or try hard to keep a straight face about his "Who wants a stylus?" remark from Macworld 2007!


about 2 years ago



VirtualBSD 9.0 Released

ReeceTarbert ReeceTarbert writes  |  more than 2 years ago

ReeceTarbert (893612) writes "VirtualBSD 9.0 is a desktop-ready FreeBSD 9.0-RELEASE built around the XFCE Desktop Environment for good aesthetics and usability, and is distributed as a VMware appliance (that can also be made to work with VirtualBox) so even non techies can be up and running in minutes. The most common applications, plugins and multimedia codecs are ready since the first boot and chances are that you'll find VirtualBSD very functional right out of the box. However, it should be noted that VirtualBSD is more a technology demonstrator than a fully fledged distribution, therefore is squarely aimed at people that heard about FreeBSD but have never tried it, didn't have enough time to build the system from scratch, or have since moved to a different OS but still need their FreeBSD fix from time to time."
Link to Original Source

VirtualBSD 8.1 and VirtualBox together at last

ReeceTarbert ReeceTarbert writes  |  more than 3 years ago

ReeceTarbert (893612) writes "VirtualBSD 8.1 is a desktop ready FreeBSD 8.1-RELEASE based on the Xfce 4.6 Desktop Environment distributed as VMware appliance to let you try FreeBSD as quickly as possible. The best part? Not only are the most common aplications available out of the box, this is a genuine FreeBSD 8.1-RELEASE, which means that if you go past the desktop you'll be dealing with The Real Thing. The even better part? At long last there's a tutorial to explain how to run VirtualBSD in VirtualBox!"
Link to Original Source

Curious about FreeBSD? Try VirtualBSD

ReeceTarbert ReeceTarbert writes  |  more than 3 years ago

ReeceTarbert (893612) writes "If you are curious about FreeBSD but don't have the time or the resources to install it and customize it, VirtualBSD might be right for you: it's a VMware appliance based on FreeBSD 8.1-RELEASE that comes with the Xfce 4.6 Desktop Environment and some of the most common applications so it can be used right out of the box. The best part? This is a genuine FreeBSD 8.1-RELEASE, which means you can either stick to the desktop or dig around in the knowledge that you are dealing with The Real Thing. If the screenshots whet your appetite why don't you got to the download page and grab the torrent file right away?"

Sun Aims High with Java Store

ReeceTarbert ReeceTarbert writes  |  more than 5 years ago

ReeceTarbert (893612) writes "At the 2009 JavaOne conference Sun unveiled the first public demonstration of the Java Store and, according to Java's creator James Gosling, if this store realizes its full potential it will make the Apple's App Store look like a "rounding error". Big words for sure, but eWEEK's interview is revealing, especially when the possible Java Store policies are discussed: "The one we built that I liked the most was one where the software is always free to download, but the software and the right to use are independent things. And what you buy at the store is not the software; you buy a right to use. So you get a little license token. And we built a license management server. So when you say 'buy that,' what you get is a license token.""
Link to Original Source

A taste of FreeBSD, virtual style, with VirtualBSD

ReeceTarbert ReeceTarbert writes  |  more than 5 years ago

ReeceTarbert (893612) writes "If you wanted to try FreeBSD but didn't have the right hardware, or enough time to make it useful on the desktop, VirtualBSD might fit the bill: it's a VMware appliance based on FreeBSD 7.1-RELEASE and features the Xfce 4 Desktop Environment and a few of the most common applications to make it very functional right out of the box. If you're curious you can have a look at the screenshots, or proceed to the download page and grab the torrent file right away. (Note: VirtualBSD also works in VirtualBox 2.x as long as you create a new virtual machine and select the virtual disk from the archive instead of creating a new one)."

Introducing VirtualBSD

ReeceTarbert ReeceTarbert writes  |  more than 4 years ago

ReeceTarbert (893612) writes "VirtualBSD is a desktop ready FreeBSD 7.1 RELEASE based on the Xfce 4 Desktop Environment and is distributed as a VMware appliance. The intended audience is people with VMware Player or better who:
  1. Have never tried FreeBSD so far;
  2. Wanted to, but didn't have the right hardware;
  3. Used FreeBSD in the past, but have since moved to a different OS and are struck by nostalgia from time to time;

Many of the most common and useful applications are ready to run, and the desktop has been styled to look a bit like Mac OS X. Interested readers can download the virtual appliance via BitTorrent, while the curious can just check the screenshots."


ReeceTarbert ReeceTarbert writes  |  more than 7 years ago

ReeceTarbert (893612) writes "Although Windows Vista provides a built-in benchmarking solution to assess component and system performance, the guys at Tom's Hardware are cautioning users that: 'the Windows Experience Index is welcome, because it helps provide a general impression on of component and system performance and capabilities. It cannot, however, replace traditional benchmarking, due to its limited benchmarking horizon'."


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