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OpenBSD Team Cleaning Up OpenSSL

gman003 Re:OpenSSL OR... (232 comments)

OpenBSD tries extremely hard to make the entire system BSD-licensed. AFAIK the only non-BSD items in a default installation is GCC, and that is an optional-but-default item. There are a few optional, not-compiled-by-default and rarely-used kernel modules that are GPL (an FPU emulator for very early x86 systems is the only one I recall), and of course you can install non-BSD packages as you wish, but the base OS and all components are BSD-licensed.

GnuTLS, naturally, uses the LGPL, which is probably why they went with OpenSSL (BSD-licensed) in the first place.

10 hours ago
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OpenBSD Team Cleaning Up OpenSSL

gman003 Re:Backport\Upstream? Seems unlikely (232 comments)

It's a fork specifically for OpenBSD. Why would they keep support for other OSes?

I agree that if they were trying to create a general replacement fork of OpenSSL, that those would be bad things, but for what they're trying to do, these are good decisions. They're trying to improve OpenBSD's security - OpenSSL is a big attack surface, and they're trying to make it smaller by removing the things they don't need.

This will complicate things both ways, going forward. Updates to OpenSSL might be harder to integrate with OpenBSD's fork (if it becomes an actual independent product, can we call it OpenOpenSSL? Or Open^2SSL?), if it touches upon the altered parts. Likewise, anyone trying to merge an Open^2SSL fix into OpenSSL might have difficulty. I expect that if OpenBSD's fork of OpenSSL becomes a separate project, one or the other will die off, simply due to all that duplicated effort.

What I expect to happen in that case is that Open^2SSH will maintain compatibility with all the platforms OpenSSH or OpenSMTPD (which are OpenBSD projects) support - pretty much any Unix-like environment, including Linux, BSD, OS X, Cygwin, and most proprietary Unices. If there's enough desire for support for other platforms, a second fork might happen to maintain them, but I honestly doubt it (Mac OS 9? Really?).

11 hours ago
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Russia Wants To Establish a Permanent Moon Base

gman003 Re:Annex? (309 comments)

Russia also signed a treaty pledging to respect Ukraine's sovereignty and existing borders. We've seen how well that turned out.

2 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: Are You Apocalypse-Useful?

gman003 Re:Specialization is for insects (718 comments)

I'm pleasantly surprised to say that I've done all of those except dying gallantly (for obvious reasons).

I was not particularly good at any of them save the programming and the equation-solving (my attempts to "cook a tasty meal" still fail as often as not when trying something new). And my invasion plans (as well as combat skills) are limited to simulations - "Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" and five iterations of "Civilization" for the strategy; paintball, HEMA and boxing for the combat skills.

3 days ago
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NSA Allegedly Exploited Heartbleed

gman003 Re:Fork it. (149 comments)

What OpenSSL needs is multiple independant line by line code audits of the paid variety, by teams of competent people. It may be an open source piece of software, but considering the countless billions of dollars at stake, there shouldn't be any fucking issue finding the money to make this shit happen.

What major corporations use SSL? Cisco? IBM? Anybody else like that? We could probably get them to foot most of the bill.

4 days ago
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Google Chrome Flaw Sets Your PC's Mic Live

gman003 Re:Temporary workaround (152 comments)

...but I challenge anyone who isn't a linguist to read and even vaguely comprehend the Navajo language Wikipedia article. :/

Challenge accepted - I'm not a professional linguist, nor do I have even an iota of formal training in the field, but I read most of that just fine, only having to look up "head-marking language". Just don't ask me how to pronounce the ejective consonants... I still can't figure that out. The written language certainly looks complex and intimidating, but that's at least partly because they're using a slightly-modified Latin alphabet rather than one that was designed purely for the needs of their language, making it less efficient.

It actually isn't too weird of a language, from the looks of it. A lot more precise than Romance languages, and the verb construction is complex, but there are no linguistic concepts in Navajo that I haven't seen elsewhere - even the stuff like a fourth-person verb tense or deverbal nouns. The vocabulary is completely unfamiliar, of course - they don't even seem to have many loanwords from any language I would recognize. But that only matters if I were trying to actually understand Navajo, rather than an article about it.

5 days ago
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LHCb Confirms Existence of Exotic Hadrons

gman003 Re:strange (99 comments)

It *is* made up of quarks - a charm quark, an anti-charm quark, down quark, and anti-up quark. The interesting thing is that this is a pairing never before seen - all previous hadrons were either two quarks (quark + antiquark of same color) or three quarks (three quarks or antiquarks, all of different colors). Two quarks and two antiquarks has been postulated but never observed, until now.

about a week ago
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How much do you spend yearly on mobile apps?

gman003 A few Humble Bundles (229 comments)

Several Humble Bundles included Android versions of the games, alongside the PC versions that I actually played. My phone, being an ancient piece of junk by Android standards (Motorola Droid 1, woo!), can't really run most of them, but I have a couple installed. Even counting them all purely as Android purchases, though, I don't think I've spent more than $10 a year.

about a week ago
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An SSD for Your Current Computer May Save the Cost of a New One (Video)

gman003 Re:user profile location (353 comments)

Or you can do similar command-line magic for NTFS symlinks (they call them junctions, probably because it tested better with focus groups).

I've done it both ways - on my laptop, I did the junction (C;\Users\gman -> D:\Users\gman), while on my desktop I only moved the library folders (docs, music, videos, pictures and downloads), so that things like AppData would be sped up (my desktop has a larger SSD that's bottlenecked by SATA2, so it was a logical tradeoff).

about two weeks ago
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Should NASA Send Astronauts On Voluntary One-Way Missions?

gman003 Different situations (305 comments)

If it's a permanent colony, then of course. That's one-way, but with a solid intent and good odds of dying only when old age catches up.

If it's a long-term mission, but with only X years of supplies and no plans for return, then there needs to be some strong benefit. Altering the course of an Earth-bound asteroid? Worth it. Perhaps some extremely useful science could also justify this - if we somehow get a sudden radio broadcast from Europa, sending a crew on a suicide mission to investigate might be worth it. But the xenogeology and such that we'd be doing on a Mars mission would not really justify a suicide mission, unless we can continually resupply them (but at that point, they're basically a colony without population growth).

If it's just a "put feet on the rock to claim it", hell no.

about two weeks ago
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App Developers, It's Time For a Reality Check

gman003 The real winners in any war are the arms dealers (161 comments)

The company I work for does a lot of contract work making apps (it's about a third of our business, the rest being traditional websites or a pair of large, ongoing projects). People come to us with an app idea, we charge them for us to build it (plus hourly rates for continued updates or changes), they get all the profits from it, if any.

As far as I've heard, very few have actually turned a profit for their owners. Most are genuinely useless apps, that nobody would ever pay to use. Others are decent ideas that compete with too many similar ones. And often they're poorly-designed or have other limitations that prevent us from actually making a good app (for one in particular, we did the app but the server-side code was done by another group of contractors, who seem to hail from Elbonia judging by the fact that it takes 15 minutes for a user login call to succeed - the app has a one-star rating even though we did everything we could to make it better, even offering to take over the webservice side).

Still, we get paid well to do it all. We're never going to make a massively-successful app (or if we do, we're not getting massive stacks of cash from it), but we usually turn a profit on each project because we get paid regardless of whether the app succeeds or not.

Like the old saying goes, the real winners in a war are the ones selling the guns. In a tech bubble, the real winners are the contract companies.

about two weeks ago
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NSA Confirms It Has Been Searching US Citizens' Data Without a Warrant

gman003 Re:wtf (274 comments)

No, the Chatroulette "feature" on here one a few years back was worse.

about two weeks ago
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Gunshot Victims To Be Part of "Suspended Animation" Trials

gman003 Re:"Victims" (357 comments)

Wow, that's sure taking "publish or perish" to new levels.

about three weeks ago
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NVIDIA Unveils Next Gen Pascal GPU With Stacked 3D DRAM and GeForce GTX Titan Z

gman003 Re:Isn't this very similar to the PS4? (110 comments)

Yes, as is the Xbox One and the latest APUs.

AMD has been focusing on tight CPU/GPU integration. They're pretty far along with it.

Nvidia was primarily focusing on power efficiency, and they're pretty good on that front right now. Their actual mobile stuff is selling like crap because they aren't quite there yet, but compare Kepler to GCN and you'll see how efficient it is. Maxwell is supposedly more so, but they haven't launched high-end parts yet so we can't really judge yet.

Nvidia did have CPU/GPU integration on their long-term plans, but the sudden importance of it (due to AMD's console wins) seems to have caught them by surprise. They haven't really had incentive to rush it - on the mobile side, nobody seems to care about it, and on the desktop they don't have CPUs to sell the way AMD does.

And yes, that feature probably will make the consoles fairly long-lived, although they really do need more graphical horsepower. The Xb1 in particular is struggling just to run at 1080p, and neither of them will be very useful if 4K takes off.

about three weeks ago
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NASA Puts Its New Spacesuit Design To a Public Vote

gman003 Re:Don't worry, no functional parts included (127 comments)

However, all of those have already been determined. All of the presented options are functionally equivalent in all of those regards (note how each of them have illumination, for instance). While you are definitely correct that the cover can be considered a functional part, there are no functional decisions between the options we have been provided.

about three weeks ago
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NASA Puts Its New Spacesuit Design To a Public Vote

gman003 Don't worry, no functional parts included (127 comments)

None of what's being voted on can be considered a functional part. All that we're voting on is the cover, basically some soft armor to protect the actual suit from damage. And then all that we're voting on is the coloration patterns.

Oh, and this is purely for the prototype - it will never even go into space. So all that the voting public is being trusted with is picking out the colors of a protective cover for a model that's only being used for testing, not actual spaceflight.

And since pretty much 0% of the voting public are experienced aerospace engineers, that's probably all we *should* be trusted with. I know the 150 hours I've put into Kerbal Space Program certainly does not qualify *me* for designing anything that actually goes into space and needs to work properly.

about three weeks ago
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White House To Propose Ending NSA Phone Records Collection

gman003 Why propose it? JUST DO IT (208 comments)

The NSA is part of the executive branch. President Obama could shut down the whole thing and fire everyone involved without needing to go through Congress. What he needs a law for is to find another way to do exactly what they're doing now.

If you want me to actually believe that you're changing, just issue the shutdown order.

about three weeks ago
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Cryptocurrency Exchange Vircurex To Freeze Customer Accounts

gman003 The cost of an unregulated currency (357 comments)

Bitcoin became popular in no small part because many people believe government-backed currencies are overregulated or poorly managed. Because there was a market demand for a non-government-controlled currency, Bitcoin took off. Other things definitely played bigger roles, but being unregulated was a feature, not a bug.

To an extent they were right. It's very difficult to handle money electronically without a middleman, and there are few enough middlemen that the costs can be prohibitive. That's just one thing that an unregulated currency could do better - there are dozens more, but they would be a bit complex to explain even though they boil down to "a managed currency can be ruined by bad management".

But an unregulated currency is also inherently risky, at a much lower level. Nobody with brains is saying that Bitcoin isn't risky to use. Bitcoin exchanges and banks will continue to fail, or be scams, or so on. While never good, they are a sign at least that the currency is working as designed - uncontrolled by any governing body. And eventually things may stabilize - the intense speculation is likely the driving force behind many recent failures and scams.

Is it worth it, to have a currency that is beyond the reach of all but the most oppressive of governments? I think it is, but that's a question that's subjective enough that there is no wrong answer.

about three weeks ago

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