* Posts by Ami Ganguli

25 publicly visible posts • joined 30 Sep 2008

Steve Ballmer: Get the Facts. I 'love' SQL Server on Linux

Ami Ganguli

What's the use case for this?

Is there anybody here who would actually use this product? If so, what would be the reason?

As a Linux/Unix person, I've never worked in a Microsoft shop, so I don't know how they think, but the places I've worked have never used MS SQL Server and wouldn't have any incentive to try it out.

I imagine a Microsoft shop with a bunch of Windows admins already on staff isn't going to go out install Linux for this either.

So who's the customer?

Oh, Obama's responded to the petition to pardon Snowden. What'll it be?

Ami Ganguli

He's unlikely to be able to speak out

This is the basic problem. If he's arrested in the US then the government will likely declare that anything he says is classified. They'll cut him off from society and have a private trial.

The ideal that whistle-blowers should let themselves be prosecuted is quaint, but it comes from happier times before Bradley/Chealsea Manning.

Mozilla's ‘Great or Dead’ philosophy may save bloated blimp Firefox

Ami Ganguli

Gecko Embedding

Mozilla lost me a few years back when I needed an embedded html rendering engine. I really wanted to use Gecko, if only because I support the Mozilla mission and figured I might someday be able to contribute something back to the project if I got familiar with Gecko.

Alas, the API was horrible, and there was no real documentation. When I asked about this on the mailing list I got a testy message back from a well-known Mozilla dev telling me that embedding wasn't a priority. They weren't planning to put any effort towards embedding and I should do the work myself if I wanted better docs.

So I gave up. The Webkit API is easy, well documented, and broadly used. I was willing to swim against the tide, but not without any support at all from Mozilla.

I think that's a big part of how Mozilla lost developer mindshare. Webkit is easy to embed, so it's everywhere.

Amazon enrages authors as it switches to 'pay-per-page' model

Ami Ganguli
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Seems like a great idea

I don't understand why this is even controversial.

They're not changing the total paid out to authors (as far as I can tell from the article). Rather they're changing how they allocate the payout.

In a subscription model, there's nothing stopping me as a reader from sampling 20 different books before settling on one I actually want to read. I used to do this all the time with O'Reilly's ebook platform. It makes sense that the authors whose books I actually spend time with should get a greater percentage of my subscription money than the authors whom I look at and then toss.

If you write crappy books with nice covers, then this is bad news, but if you write good books that readers want to keep reading, then you're in line for a pay raise, as the pool of available money is the same, but your cut will be bigger.

Munich considers dumping Linux for ... GULP ... Windows!

Ami Ganguli

Lack of integrated email/contacts/calendar?

I can't believe that's really the reason. I can understand that migrating FROM Outlook might be a pain for a lot of companies, so they suck it up and stick with it. But if you're not tied to MS ecosystem already, why would you willingly adopt it?

There are a ton of solutions, both Open Source and proprietary. Gmail, Zimbra, and Evolution, just off the top of my head.

BlackBerry inks deal with Amazon to get Android apps on its mobes

Ami Ganguli

Re: Audible?

I haven't tried it, but I read somewhere that Audible doesn't work. I think due to DRM.

Thing is, Audible is owned by Amazon, so if Amazon is officially supporting Blackberry then I think there's hope that they're fixing this.

Ami Ganguli


Does anybody know if this will make Audible available for BB10?

I've been holding out for somebody (Motorola?) to release a decent Querty Android phone, but if Audible runs on Blackberry I'll happily buy a Q10.

Google forges a Silver bullet for Android, aims it at Samsung's heart

Ami Ganguli

Well, the manufacturers could actually try adding value

Here's a novel concept. Instead of trying to differentiate themselves merely through branding, the manufacturers could actually attempt to add real value to their products.

Put another way: if your business is getting Foxconn to build a generic phones and putting Google software on it, then you don't deserve massive margins. If, on top of that, you actually degrade the performance of the phone with your "branding", then you're destroying value and deserve to lose money.

There's plenty of room for a company like Samsung to do original R&D and push the limits of what a phone can be. Give me a lighter phone with a better display and longer battery life than your competitors and you'll deserve some extra margin. Better yet, come up with a new form of awesomenesss that I can't even imagine.

Baby's got the bends: LG's D958 G Flex Android smartie

Ami Ganguli

"strange text on the back"

The strange text is definitely not Korean. It appears to be "hello" backwards.

Microsoft welcomes OSI open source to Win8 store

Ami Ganguli

What they're worried about in this case is probably that Microsoft could be seen (depending on a court's interpretation) to be the distributor the app. If that app then includes some GPL code along with some close-source bits of Microsoft runtime, then a court could conclude that Microsoft has violated the GPL, and require that the source to the runtime be distributed as well.

I doubt this is really an issue, but lawyers get paid big bucks to think of every possible way their customers might be screwed.

GNOME emits 'head up the arse' desktop update

Ami Ganguli

> The GNOME Project has updated its desktop barely six months

> after the controversial introduction of version 3.0.

Not the best choice of lede, IMHO. Gnome has been on a six month time-based release cycle forever. There was never any doubt about when 3.2 would be release, nor is there much question about when 3.4 will come out. Or 3.6, or 3.8, etc.

45% of Android users to upgrade to rival phone OSes

Ami Ganguli

Something amiss

The article seems to conflate loyalty to Android with loyalty to a particular phone manufacturer.

This line suggests we're talking about manufacturer loyalty:

> The next highest figure was 39 per cent, the number of HTC handset owners who will said they'll stay with that vendor when they upgrade.

But then it goes on to talk about Android vs. iOS:

> But that still leaves nearly half of people currently owning an Android handset who will defect to iOS, BlackBerry or Windows Phone.

Since there are several vendors of Android phones, these don't amount to the same thing at all.

Facebook, Twitter: Doing better than before Google+

Ami Ganguli

It's a feature

Not being able to post on other people's walls is a feature. It means that your drinking buddy can't write embarrassing stuff on your wall for your boss to see.

I missed being able to do that as well, at first. But the added control over who gets to see what makes me far more comfortable sharing stuff on G+ and adding relative strangers to my circles.

It's a bit of a trade-off between privacy and social interaction. The Facebook model is like being in a big noisy party with everybody you know all in the same room. Fun in a way, but a little unnerving.

Has Google wasted $12bn on a dud patent poker-chip?

Ami Ganguli


Inventing your own language or making he UI different wouldn't help. Software patents are so broad and trivial that everybody infringes on everything. You can't avoid them. The only way to stay in the game is to have your own portfolio of obvious patents to wave about.

So the defensive patent portfolio doesn't need to be of high quality either. Just enough force the other side to settle instead of risking a fate similar to Samsung.

The Nokia example is actually pretty informative. Sure Apple only ended up paying 400M or so, but without Nokia's patent portfolio Nokia would have had to pay Apple instead. Obviously the strategy worked for Nokia.

Nokia ditches letters for all-number names

Ami Ganguli
Thumb Up

Dead on...

I think this is the only one of Andrew's Anti-Nokia rants that I've ever agreed with.

Nokia's product naming has been a disaster, basically forever. Which is odd because all of their phones have internal code names, many of which would be perfect as real product names. The N900 is called "Rover" internally, for example. A brilliant name. Why couldn't they keep it?

Acer turns to trains for imports

Ami Ganguli

Go through Finland!

Beijing to Moscow: 7 days,

Moscow to Helsinki: 1 day

From Helsinki you still have to get to the rest of Europe, but there are lots of boats/trains/trucks along those routes. I think anywhere in Europe can be got to within a couple of days.

ARM scooping in cash but remains cautious

Ami Ganguli

re: Peanuts

Remember that a large part of the cost of chips goes into the foundry, which ARM doesn't have. That means less profit, but also less capital tied up.

Google: The one trick pony learns a second trick

Ami Ganguli

Copying other peoples products is a proven business model...

... with Microsoft being the most successful example.

For those of us who were around to see the likes of WordPerfect and CPM eclipsed by inferior MS products, what Google is doing feels like poetic justice.

And the Google products are often damn good, which is a truly novel twist on the old copy and undercut business model.

Motorola buys own mobile Linux firm

Ami Ganguli

Flash on ARM

The Nokia N900 has Flash - not sure what version, but everything I've tried works.

Nokia and Intel defensive on MeeGo Linux patents

Ami Ganguli

It doesn't need to make sense

Wile E: you're assuming that these patents make some sort of sense and actually embody some sort of innovation.

In reality anybody can file a patent for anything software-based and have it approved. Then it's up to the patent victim to prove (and pay the needed legal fees) that the patent is obvious/has prior art/etc. That's why Microsoft keeps the details of the claimed infringement a secret. If they let the cat out of the bag then a few interested parties with deep pockets can start challenging the patents in court. As long as nobody knows what the patents are, they can be used for FUD.

So using *BSD won't help. Just take any 40-year-old software technique, tack "on a mobile phone" on the end, and you've got a patentable innovation useful for patent trolling. "Multitasking", not patentable. "multitasking on a mobile phone", a goldmine! *BSD on a phone infringes too.

World smartphone sales: Apple closes on RIM...

Ami Ganguli


Which s60 device do you not consider a smart phone? Can't think of a definition of SmartPhone that includes the iPhone but excludes any S60 device.

Fring cops to unchangeable passwords

Ami Ganguli

Password changing is security theatre

Nobody has ever explained to me why I should change my password regularly. I much prefer to choose a good, secure password once, and then keep it. If I have to change my password regularly, inevitably I have to resort to simpler passwords, since there's no way I can come up with a new memorable-but-secure password every few months.

Yes, I have had to resort to this on several occasions - I choose a nice secure password the first time I create an account, then some brain-dead administrator forces me to change it. After three or four password changes, I end up having to resort to "StupidFirstPassword", "StupidSecondPassword", etc., or writing the password on a post-it in my desk drawer. Not very secure, but the only realistic way to keep all the passwords straight.

Obviously this assumes you don't do stupid things, like enter your password into unencrypted forms. But if you do that sort of thing, changing your password regularly isn't going to help you.

Intel to EU watchdogs: 'It's AMD's fault'

Ami Ganguli

It has to be big enough to hurt

If the fine is to act as a deterrent, it has to hurt. And since it's a company and not an individual, it has to be big enough to cause real anguish for the executives, who make the decisions even though they're not personally paying the fine.

So how big is big enough for the CEO and the board of directors to think "wow, that was really stupid, I could lose my cushy job over this, and other companies will be afraid to hire me because I do stupid shit"? Certainly more than a billion. Maybe 10 billion would be enough to get some of the top management fired and put a good scare into the ones who are left.

What is a Linux distro worth?

Ami Ganguli

Wildly underestimates the cost.

Linux inherited a well-tested basic design (though no actual code) from Unix in 1991 and has accumulated 17 years worth of real world experience since then. X and the GNU tools have matured for over twenty years (I remember installing the GNU toolset on Sun boxes in 1990 because they were so much better, even then, than what Sun offered at the time with SunOS). There's no way to value that experience.

Plus, Linux vendors choose what they think is the optimal subset of the universe of free software to include in their distributions. Most software (whether Free or commercial) is crap. The fact that the code has been included in a distribution means that it's much better than average.

If you just gave a team of 2000 thousand developers the money and time to produce something like a Linux distribution (as suggested by these models) 1) the code wouldn't have the decades to mature and learn from mistakes, 2) it would be of merely average quality (mostly crap, some good stuff) and not comparable to a distribution that only chooses the best software to include.

To make it more concrete, there's a huge selection of Free window managers to choose from (http://xwinman.org/). They all work (they do what a window manager needs to do). A Linux distribution gets to choose the best from these pre-existing applications.

If you had to create a window manager from scratch you could give some money to developers and get something that worked. But if you wanted to duplicate what goes into a Linux distribution, you'd have to pay 20(ish) teams to develop window managers and then choose the best.

Germans give peeking Google one in the eye

Ami Ganguli

Obvious solution

Have the entire city go nude when the StreetView car is town. That way they can't publish the photographs (at least not in the more prudish countries, like the U.S.).