* Posts by Robert Halloran

70 publicly visible posts • joined 12 Aug 2008


John Deere urged to surrender source code under GPL

Robert Halloran

Re: why is it so hard to follow a simple license?

Which is why groups like SFC, backed by some of the heavyweights in OSS-based code such as Red Hat & Google, are a help because they *have* the resources to push back on stubborn corp's playing stubborn about following the rules.

Fedora 38 will still support framebuffer X11 and NIS+

Robert Halloran

>> One of the things that helped kill NIS+ (beyond the complexity) is the Sun Directory Server. Now some of that code lives on in the 389 Server project.

"Sun Directory Server" was rebranding of the Netscape Directory Server (written in part by Tim Howes who co-wrote the LDAP spec) they acquired when Sun & AOL jointly took down the Mighty Mozilla late 90s. When "iPlanet" broke up a few years after, AOL took their copy of said code and eventually released it to the world as the 389 Server.

Gartner: Oracle probes orgs for Java compliance after new licensing terms

Robert Halloran

At this point Red Hat, IBM & Microsoft all offer no-cost support for OpenJDK on their respective platforms. Unless your procurement crew insists on a single "throat to choke at 0300" for such things, why in the name of Everything Round would you continue to pay the Danegeld to Oracle?

Unix is dead. Long live Unix!

Robert Halloran

Re: Are you ok?

Vanilla AT&T UNIX didn't include TCP/IP networking until late in the System V series after it merged in Sun's BSD-based code. It was a common add-on by third parties as a selling point.

If you look at source from the day, you'll see IfDefine statements for a shedload of *IX variants because there were that many versions with differing options based on what that build had/hadn't optioned in.

Wonder why Xinuos dropped their BSD-based update to SCO-the-undead's OpenServer; licensing problems after they resurrected their parent's lawsuit?

Foxconn shows off pair of EVs, boasts of bulk orders for last year's model

Robert Halloran

I've debated a plug-in as the next vehicle buy, but all the ones I've seen to date seem to give you around 30 miles/50 km on the battery before you're back on the ICE; helps the fuel economy numbers but doesn't seem all that compelling. May as well make the fuel tank a bit bigger and be done with it.

Robert Halloran

The two items that seem to be on potential buyers' minds here in the States are how far you can go on a charge (the specs here line up well with what's already available) and how quickly you can recharge (there's a big push for DC fast chargers to be set up at least along the major roadways to get you back on the road ASAP); nothing in the PR here about compatibility. Most of the newer EVs coming out for the US market are touting charge-up to the nominal 80% in the 15-20 minute timeframe via DCFC, which on a road trip gives you time to visit the facilities, grab some snacks for the next leg then be on your way. In practice most driving will happen locally and you'll charge up at home off the mains, but that occasional long haul is a show-stopper to many potential buyers.

BOFH: All hail the job cuts consultant

Robert Halloran

Re: Job hunting

>> Numerous times a consultant has come in with grandiose plans and lots of bells && whistles - which culminated in their receiving a senior (aka high paying) position in said company.

Saw this more than once; they come in as a senior exec, get their plans started with great announcements of good things Coming Real Soon, then get out before the issues start to show up and the Grand Plan runs into reality and craters.

They notch another firm on their CV, and move on to some other firm; lather rinse repeat...

You can easily secure America's e-voting systems tomorrow. Use paper – Bruce Schneier

Robert Halloran

Re: Instant Gratification

>> In the US there should be a delay, as people would still be voting on the west coast as the first results come in from earlier time zones.

Typically the initial results start coming in shortly after the polls close in a given state (optically scanned ballots allow for quick reporting of what was on the paper), This may have some marginal influence on voters further west where polls may still be open, but hasn't proven to be a game-changer in any elections I'm aware of.

[ There was a bit of a fuss a few years back when the pundits started reporting on Florida just after the polls closed in *most* of the state, which straddles Eastern & Central timezones, and the western panhandle region was still open. ]

Robert Halloran

The US Constitution leaves management of elections to the states; the state legislative houses draw up the district boundaries based on the decennial census, typically to the advantage of the majority party at the time. Some states have been dragged into court for blatant gerrymandering to maximize their party's representation across those districts, with mixed results. In some states, the problems left behind by racial discrimination mean the boundaries must be vetted by the Feds to ensure minorities have a fair shake at the polls.

BOFH: You drive me crazy... and I can't help myself

Robert Halloran

Re: "Does this carpet pull up?" I ask.

Not the lift; the BofH will have locked the car at the top of the shaft and all Shannon will see on the doors opening is an empty void right before the feel of hands against the back...

SCO v. IBM settlement deal is done, but zombie case shuffles on elsewhere

Robert Halloran

Re: Am confused

If you look back, there was a case brought by Red Hat against SCOX effectively for libeling their software business as being tainted (Lanham Act), which got frozen when bankruptcy was declared. With the settlement, which apparently explicitly leaves out Red Hat as a participant, I wonder if there's a chance of restarting that case and clawing some of those millions back?

Dutch officials say Donald Trump really did protect his Twitter account with MAGA2020! password

Robert Halloran

Re: less than a month before no one has to care what appears on Trump’s Twitter feed ever again

While the Federal authorities may pass on the plethora of likely charges to avoid the appearance of political persecution, the state attorney in NY has been after Trump's companies for some years about taxable value of his properties there. He apparently quoted one number to the state tax authority and another larger number as collateral value for loans taken with Deutsche Bank shortly after.

And the President's pardon power only applies to Federal crimes, not state-level.

2024 may find him under house arrest if not doing the orange jumpsuit perpwalk.

Robert Halloran

Re: Gators!

a) I'm at the other end of the state (300 mi/450 km) from him and I don't want him here...

b) I learned after moving here 30 years back that any open freshwater bigger than a kiddie pool can be presumed to hold gators, and to never let your small pets or toddlers anywhere near waters' edge as a result. The tragic case of the child killed at Disney walking the lakefront with her parents comes to mind.

Oi! You got a loicence for that Java, mate? More devs turn to OpenJDK to swerve Oracle fee

Robert Halloran

Oracle v. Eclipse Foundation: strong-arm tactics failed

check the post https://headcrashing.wordpress.com/2019/05/03/negotiations-failed-how-oracle-killed-java-ee/ about the 'negotiations' between Oracle & Eclipse about moving the javax.* classes over; Oracle only wanted Oracle or Oracle-approved JDKs to be permitted, which would have broken neutrality from Eclipse and might have jeopardized their non-profit status. Pretty obviously concerned about alternate suppliers such as IBM, Azul, etc.

The vote went completely against Oracle's proposal (theirs the only vote in favor), and the process requires unanimity so the only option was what will probably be labeled as "The Great Renaming". Any mods to javax.* now require renaming to avoid legal fireworks. EJB, JAX-RS, JPA will all have to change as well. Forklift upgrade coming.

With the shift to lighter frameworks like Spring, Oracle has successfully executed a footgun maneuver to alienate dev's from bothering with EE going forward.

Gin and gone-ic: Rometty out as IBM CEO, cloud supremo Arvind Krishna takes over, Red Hat boss is president

Robert Halloran

Rometti dropped big bucks to bring in Red Hat, whose cloud products are actually selling. Now Whitehurst is named company president. They probably couldn't hand him the reins so soon after the acquisition without the old-timers' shorts getting bunched, but they're clearly marking him as the next chief exec near-term.

From Soviet to science fiction icon, the weird life of Isaac Asimov 100 years on

Robert Halloran

Re: Asimov was a letcher

Asimov was a guest at an SF convention my now-wife was involved with in the early 80s while a graduate student. She said sharing an elevator with the man became a strenuous exercise in self-defense, and her female co-workers all shared similar experiences with her.

Oracle and Google will fight in court over Java AGAIN and this time it's going to the Supremes

Robert Halloran

IIRC, Apache Harmony -> Dalvik re-implemented the Java API calls with new code, rather like taking the chapter headings of a book and writing new content under each of them. As has been said earlier, the Sun bigwigs had effectively blessed the effort as a way of spreading Java further. Then came the buyout (it's well reported that Ellison had originally only wanted the software side of Sun, intending to monetize Java, but McNealy & co insisted on an all-or-nothing deal), and suddenly Dalvik -> Android, which has won the handset war by numbers, is a blatant act of plagarism. I suppose Larry needs to pay for the secret submarine base under his Lair of Eeeevil, er, private tropical island. That or those Dr Evil Nehru jackets are getting bid waaaay up on EBay...

Pro-Linux IP consortium Open Invention Network will 'pivot' to take on patent trolls

Robert Halloran


The only useful thing about the SCOundrels was that it triggered a shedload of anti-FUD tactics such as OIN to prevent further rent-seekers.

Other than that, they need a stake through the heart, cremation at a crossroads and the ashes scattered across a field of garlic. Then nuke 'em from orbit 'cuz it's the only way to make sure...

It's Black Hat and DEF CON in Vegas this week. And yup, you know what that means. Hotel room searches for guns

Robert Halloran

US gun ownership

The historical mindset is that the US was founded in armed rebellion against His Brittanic Majesty, and we need to remain well-armed should "the gummint" become too oppressive. The possibility that such an uprising would be winnable, even with the level of weaponry available to the average USian, is dubious at best.

The arms industry has peddled their wares with a mix of defending one's home (primarily against "the Other"), appealing to the above fantasy and down in the fine print, the legitimate uses of hunting and target shooting. Given the number of weapons at hand in the US, it can honestly be said that 99.9999% of gun owners are harmless, even the doomsday preppers stockpiling weapons afraid that The Aforesaid Gummint is coming in their Black Helicopters to seize them. That said, the loopholes in the existing rules for gun sales allow people who have no business owning firearms to do so, with the disastrous results we've seen over the years. Closing these loopholes up, including 'red flag' laws for legitimately disarming people under domestic restraining orders, judicial psych eval, etc would hopefully at least slow the rise in such tragedies.

Robert Halloran

Vegas? because...

The reality is that Vegas has an almighty shedload of available rooms, at reasonable cost (cheap rooms == more disposable dollars to lose at the tables...), cheap airfare to/from for the same reason, any amount of entertainment options (including the naughtier places off-Strip), and within driving distance to the southern California population centers, leading to it being a VERY popular locale for conferences.

IBM drags Websphere devs towards Kubernetes with Kabanero package

Robert Halloran

If IBM just swept up Red Hat for their cloud offerings, including their on-prem Openshift stack, where exactly does this fit in? Are they trying to wedge their 'legacy' Java offerings i.e. Websphere/Liberty into there, or are they trying to compete with it?

Don't tell Alice and Bob: Security maven Bruce Schneier is leaving IBM

Robert Halloran

Typical acquisition: keep the former execs on in a consultancy role for a time while you integrate the staff, then they cash out and move on.

Between BT buying up Counterpane and now IBM with Resililent, I doubt he has to worry about the next grocery tab. Good luck in your next gig, Bruce.

Delphi RAD tool (remember that?) gets support for Linux desktop apps – again

Robert Halloran

The idea of running your IDE on one platform and attaching to another for deployment is questionable. Lazarus gives developers a native option, is not dependent on the survival of a particular vendor, and is obviously more affordable. I don't see how this Embarcadero product can remain viable in light of that.

Oracle splats 300 vulns in MySQL, Database, Fusion, etc, pours fresh brew of Java SE terms

Robert Halloran

It's pretty well known that Ellison originally only wanted the software side of Sun Micro and have the hardware fall to the wayside. McNealy properly insisted on an all-or-none deal. The presumption has always been that Larry wanted to monetize Java, but the availability of Too Many Other Options sank that, especially after Google took the almost-compatible Apache Harmony project and built Android on it. The Oracle v. Google legal battle is Ellison's attempt to get money for it anyway, despite it flying in the face of decades of reverse-engineering practice.

This latest spin on Java licensing is to get enterprises to cough up for support to avoid turning over Java versions twice yearly; Red Hat is undercutting that by offering LTS on OpenJDK running on RHEL or their JBoss middleware, and starting to offer support gigs for same on Wintel. Amazon is doing likewise on AWS with their 'Coretto' offering. Oracle appears to be successfully shooting themselves in the foot, and their Java offering may become irrelevant before long.

Oracle asks Supremes to snub Google's Java API copyright protest – and have a nice cuppa tea, instead

Robert Halloran

basis of reverse engineering

Google used the clean-room-developed Apache Harmony project for Android, which yes, used the same API call structure. They re-wrote all the content of those APIs to match up, but not using any of the actual Sun code. This is how reverse-engineering works (see BIOS, Linux, ... for examples).

If I took, say, one of the Harry Potter books, grabbed up the chapter titles BUT wrote new material under each, and put it out under a new title, would Rowling have any grounds for infringement? Doubtful.

Oracle is widely believed to have bought up Sun specifically to monetize Java (initially they'd only wanted the software side of the business and not SPARC; McNealy insisted on the whole bundle). Then Android went and took over the mobile world and Larry got peeved no one wanted to pony up for Java ME, so he unleashed the lawyers. Until Oracle threw in the patent issue, which sent it to the patent-friendly appeals court, they'd been losing consistently. Now Google is trying to hold onto that by begging the Supremes to ignore common engineering practice and make Google pay out.

There was yet another net neutrality hearing today in America, and it was all straightened out amicably and smoothly

Robert Halloran

Re: "Congress is a joke."

Another Twain quote on the matter:

"Politicians and diapers must be changed often, and for the same reason..."

US Supremes urged by pretty much everyone in software dev to probe Oracle's 'disastrous' Java API copyright win

Robert Halloran

The problem is that this jeopardizes most cases of reverse engineering, etc. Seattle Computing re-implementing the CP/M interface for 86-DOS (look where *that* went...), Compaq/AMI/Phoenix/... re-implementing the original BIOS for All Those Clones, hell Torvalds re-implementing from the AT&T docs to get Linux (good God, nobody tell SCOX or they'll wake up again).

The previous poster talking about taking an album and writing new music to the song titles and releasing it as new content is probably best; Oracle's claim that API design is Hard Work and should be subject to copyright is so much rubbish. The potential impact to the software industry in general if reverse engineering is effectively banned would be tremendous.

Billionaire Buffett's Berkshire liquidates $2.1bn stake in Oracle – months after buying the shares

Robert Halloran

It's pretty much a given that Larry bought out Sun intending to monetize Java; the scuttlebutt at the time was that Oracle had come in only wanting the software side of Sun, but McNealy & co insisted on them buying the whole package.

Given the spectacular failure Oracle's had re: squeezing cash out of dog+world for Java, and the apparent failure to squeeze the Googleplex for the Java API copying in Android (thankfully for the sake of future reverse engineering...), you see last quarter how they've basically pushed most folks over to OpenJDK vs. their own release. My Current Employer, while having Oracle support, is wrangling how best to deal with all the third-party kit coming in built to OpenJDK vs. Oracle and whether to go with the flow and jump over themselves.

With sorry Soyuz stuffed, who's going to run NASA's space station taxi service now?

Robert Halloran

Re: No worries

or at worst case, the current ISS crew can camp out on Thunderbird 5 until the next supply run from Tracy Island... FAB

Internet engineers tear into United Nations' plan to move us all to IPv6

Robert Halloran

Re: Mapping plan

"And why is UN involved of all entities?"

The ITU is basically All The Legacy Telcos, who are still miffed that the ever-so-elegant OSI protocol stack [/sarcasm] lost out to a bunch of neckbeards who actually did *engineering*, and have been trying to claw back some validity ever since. "rough consensus & running code" >>>> kilopage specs with zero interoperability.

[ I was *at* AT&T late 80s, they had an OSI package for their nascent 3B midrange line, and a third-party TCP stack for 'transitional purposes'. Shocked the feces out of them when World+Dog ignored the former, even/especially inhouse... ]

Good news: It's still legal for Apple to keep its MacBook, iPhone batteries from melting

Robert Halloran

Alsup competency

This is the judge who actually invested some time during the Oracle v. Google case to learn basic C coding, and told the Oracle people how far off base they were during the trial. One Of The Good Ones...

Happy as Larry: Why Oracle won the Google Java Android case

Robert Halloran

If API declarations are in fact copyrightable...

Consider this, folks: if the API declarations can be copyrighted, even if you create new code underneath to implement the actual functionality, then

a) all those developers creating clean-room BIOS' for the IBM PC market back in the early 80s would be subject to penalties and the compatibles market would have been stillborn

b) a certain Finnish grad student would have been in trouble for creating an O/S kernel mimicking the UNIX docs (Ghod, don't let the SCOX zombies hear about this...)

c) Hell, *ANY* reverse-engineering effort where you take spec XYZ and create a call-compatible version is doomed.

The potential hit to the engineering & software industries here is tremendous; trying to replicate *ANY* existing functionality with new code is a potential legal minefield for the developers. Do these feckwit judges understand the impact of their ruling, or are they too busy slipping on their kneepads as they step into Ellison's secret island lair?

South China waters are red, Brit warships are blue, HMS Sutherland's sailing there

Robert Halloran

The point of these FONOPs is exactly to state that the waters around these artificial islands *ARE* international waters and not territorial waters of the PRC. The Hague confirmed the Philippines' contention that piling sand on a rock doesn't make it an island or give it territorial rights. The various naval pass-throughs in the area are meant to pointedly ignore the squatters' claims China seems to be making for large swaths of the SCS.

Icahn't get right Xerox Fuji merger spoils, cries activist investor Carl

Robert Halloran

That Xerox took an alternate route to Icahn's typical vulture-capitalist tactic of sell-off-the-good-stuff for a quick stock bump then turn out the lights, ignoring His Learned Advice (ptui), has tarnished his street cred as a great investor. Couldn't happen to a better person. He's burned enough companies to the ground for a quick buck, about time someone told him to p* off & figured out a long-term solution without him.

Oracle users meet behind closed doors: Psst – any licensing tips?

Robert Halloran

Re: "the murky world of licensing and software asset management"

Extend that now to the world of Linux containers: as soon as you fire up a containerized instance of Some Oracle Product on your Measurable-Gravity-Field Kubernetes cluster, the red-clad ninjas of Oracle Legal descend upon you wanting license fees for all the cores therein...

Microsoft's Windows Phone folly costs it another billion dollars

Robert Halloran

Re: The very high price of loyalty

That idiot Elop, who no doubt got a pretty signing bonus going into Nokia from MS and an equally sharp golden chute as it was assimilated by the Borg. In the meantime a major handset mfr was driven into the ground at warp speed thanks to WP.

Zombie SCO rises from the grave again

Robert Halloran

Let's see:

Bandolier of rosewood stakes and a circus mallet, check.

100 shotgun rounds of silver flake & garlic powder, check.

Super Soaker filled with holy water, check.

Sterling silver daggers, er, letter-openers, yes that's it, tucked into the boots, check.

Five kilos of aged garlic in a zipper baggie, check.

Homing beacon for orbital nuke (it *is* the only way to be sure, after all), check.

to riff on the immortal Elmer Fudd, "Be vewy vewy quiet, I'm hunting SCOndwels, he he he he"....

Confirmed: IBM slurps up Bruce Schneier with Resilient purchase

Robert Halloran

Bruce says in his own blog ( https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2016/02/resilient_syste_2.html) that he's optimistic about them leaving his existing work alone.

SCO's last arguments in 'Who owns Linux?' case vs. IBM knocked out

Robert Halloran

They made a deal with Boies Schiller for a flat-fee payment to take this zombie case through final appeals, with a cut of whatever payout they made from IBM. Then they lost the IBM & Novell suits and filed bankruptcy before the countersuits could empty the bank accounts. I'm sure the law firm saw the writing on the wall at the time; at this point I'm guessing what little work they're doing is being handled by interns.

Robert Halloran

Re: "SCO code" in Linux?

STREAMS were introduced as an abstraction layer for networking in the later SysV versions back when AT&T was sure the ISO protocol stack would end up on top and this cobbled-together TCP/IP thing was just a stopgap [ remember, telco, of *course* ISO standards trump others, right? ]. And yes, I was *at* AT&T Labs mid-80s and remember the damfool thing coming in.

As of the Unix System Labs venture, Novell had access to the full SysV codebase and whatever they licensed to then-Santa Cruz Operation would have been based on it and not the older V7-based Xenix. Recall your history, there were any number of companies offering pure-play UNIX on Intel in the late 80s.

SCO slapped in latest round of eternal 'Who owns UNIX?' lawsuit

Robert Halloran

Re: WANTED - URGENT : Vampire hunter with gatling holy-water crossbow to end useless sucking

Let's do this properly; stake through the heart, beheading with a silver dagger, stuff the mouth with garlic and sew shut, boil in holy water before cremation at a crossroads and scattering the ashes in running water. None of this halfway shite.

(Sorry, too many Hammer horror flicks in my misspent youth...)

Hollywood given two months to get real about the price of piracy

Robert Halloran

physical vs. online

If I stroll into the local Big Box Store and try shoplifting the boxset for the original Star Wars movies (not that later whaledrek with Jar Jar and emo-teen Anakin) and get caught, I'm up for a misdemeanor crime that the store will probably not pursue if I go ahead and pay up.

If I torrent the same content and get caught in the US, I'm theoretically liable for $150K per film, my network connection cancelled, etc etc.

Proportionality ? Heard of it...

Congress strips out privacy protections from CISA 'security' bill

Robert Halloran

Re: Great Idea

There's an apocryphal comment attributed to John Adams: "One useless man is called a disgrace, two a law firm, and three or more a Congress"...

Zombie SCO shuffles back into court seeking IBM Linux cash

Robert Halloran

Re: A few corrections.

And after IBM gets done with them, Red Hat has their own case against SCOX The Undead for false advertising and deceptive trade practices, and asking for a declaration of non-infringement by Linux.

Of course once the Nazgul (aka IBM Legal) gets through with them Red Hat will be litigating against a greasestain on the Utah sands...

Google v Oracle: US Supreme Court turns to Obama in Java copyright war

Robert Halloran

Reverse engineering in tech goes back decades; as others have said, Linux implements the legacy AT&T UNIX APIs but does it with fresh code underneath, BIOS vendors vs. IBM, etc etc etc. In a previous life I worked at a vendor reverse-engineering IBM 3270 terminals & controllers, and we did it damn well thankyouverymuch.

In this case Android does many of the Java APIs with their own code, which means Larry E can't collect royalties, so one more place he's failed to monetize Java after paying for Sun. Instead they've unleashed the lawyers trying to overturn said decades of existing practice, where *an* implementation can be copyrighted but can't stop a reverse-engineered counterpart.

This would be an unmitigated disaster for the industry, and cause many projects to grind to a halt in fear of similar suits for infringement.

Ten Linux freeware apps to feed your penguin

Robert Halloran

Re: smplayer

FWIW, smplayer is also supported on Windows, which makes it a very useful replacement for WMP that doesn't need a shedload of "codec packs" to handle the various media types.

Yet more NSA officials whisper of an internal revolt over US spying. And yet it still goes on

Robert Halloran

Part of the reasoning for voting down the recent bill, as noted in your associated article, was its having been severely watered down in committee to the point of status quo, with the addition of continuing the sanction of metadata collection for an additional two years past the current mid-2015 expiration.

Amazon loads Docker app containerization into its cloud

Robert Halloran

Docker lets you run an application image on top of a basic Linux kernel; think of it as a 'chroot jail' on steroids. The kernel can be running in a VM or against bare metal.

typical use might be something like a webserver, or a JVM with the associated app code; this gives you isolation from other instances on the same OS with minimum overhead, and reduced resources since they're all sharing the same OS. Should let you get better density on servers.

TV sales PLUMMET. But no one's prepared to say what we all know

Robert Halloran

Echoing earlier comments: the first wave of folks replacing analog, tube TVs for digital LCD/LED screens has certainly run its course. The second wave of upgrades to bigger/shinier/smarter screens is pretty well through as well.

Given the longer life of these units and the utter failure of 3D or 4K to gain any serious foothold, there's no realistic "third wave" of purchases happening to drive production. There will be the incremental traffic for the last-adopters, the added-screen-for-the-kids-room, and the occasional replacement. This isn't going to justify the past production levels that went into replacing all those CRT units.

Red-soaked Systemax kills Euro jobs and US PC factory

Robert Halloran

Re: CompUSA storefronts?

Going to the compusa.com site, they have "Powered by TigerDirect" beneath the logo.

Before the CompUSA acquisition, they had had a couple of TigerDirect-branded storefronts; I suppose they're just going to order up a pallet of new signage. Glad to hear they're not closing.