* Posts by sbt

643 posts • joined 9 Aug 2017


GNU means GNU's Not U: Stallman insists he's still Chief GNUisance while 18 maintainers want him out as leader

sbt Silver badge
Thumb Up

In practice, there's a difference between theory and practice.

The existence of BSD licensed software was just being used to disprove, by counter-example, that Free Software (by Stallman's definition) is the only way to do serious computing. He claims (and you explain succinctly), that liberal Open Source licenced code is not Free Software.

Anyway, thumbs up. Your decisions about how to licence your code are in no way challenged by making this example or refuting the claim.

sbt Silver badge

What case does the letter make as to why RMS should go?

I already quoted it here.

That there's even a letter makes the case for some response on Stallman's part. See the rest of the thread for further arguments.

sbt Silver badge

You need to make an argument if you want me to respond

Isn't this exactly the same position you're doing your best to refute in another part of this thread?

No. I've argued consistently that it's reasonable for people to make complaints and it's reasonable to expect a response from people that lead you. I've also consistently pointed out that an argument has been made to RMS as to why he should go (i.e. the harm to GNU project).

The quote you referenced was in reply to a post that simply said I should go, without making a case as to why I should. That is the difference I was pointing out, without rejecting the commenter's freedom to tell me to go. I'm free to say no. They're free to make an actual argument. I'm free to make a rebuttal. RMS is, too. He's free to ignore it, if he's willing to accept the harm to himself and the blame from the GNU project stakeholders that reap the whirlwind with him. I think failing to respond would be disrespectful on his part. But he's not known for it, so I'll not hold my breath.

sbt Silver badge

It's almost 10%, but really not the point

Again, thanks for the detailed response. Again, I can only pick up a few points:

Correct, I did mean "minority". From the numbers I've seen quoted, GNU has at least 300 and probably more likely 500 maintainers. So lets go with 250 maintainers - those making the complaint are still less than 1%. If it's 500, they're less than 1/2% (<0.05% in case my notation is unclear).

24/250 would be about 9.5%. As I said earlier it's not the percentage, it's that it's more than a few malcontents.

I dislike what you have to say. I dislike what you stand for. Therefore you should go.

That's the level of argument you're making.

No. I suggested RMS should consider, and make a reasonable reponse to, the opinions of more than a few of the GNU maintainers that his actions directly ran counter to the stated goals of the GNU project.

Not because of his opinions. Because of the harm to GNU.

I'm not harming GNU or another widely admired long standing volunteer based project or its maintainers by being on the Internet. That's the difference between me and him.

So if he was to address it (which is often a very stupid thing to do in these cases sadly - defend yourself and people will only throw more negatively your way even if you can show yourself to be wholly innocent of the charges - "trying to prove you're innocent just shows you have something to hide", "no smoke without some fire" etc etc etc) - if he was to address this stuff you'd back off from demanding he leaves

I can't speak for what would satisfy the maintainers, given they're adamant he quits, but given how Linus Torvalds handled the complaints about his conduct on the mailing lists, there's possibly a way out for RMS that doesn't involve him quitting.

My comments in this thread have overwhelmingly been about how GNU has been run long-term and issues such as leadership styles, succession planning and user satisfaction awareness. Not about the mailing list fracas. So what I'd like to see him do to win back support to remain is likely different to the other folks. I'm focused on the long-term problems and long-term solutions.

Not getting into the substance of the complaints; I added the link to Andy's blog post as a counterpoint to the anecdotal evidence here about how people have got on well with RMS. If you look past the complainants' obvious distress at how their interactions have gone and the resulting hyperbole, there's still quite a big red flag here for me. There is a clear pattern here of behaviour which at best is boorish and at worst, abusive. Certainly, disrespectful and insensitive. That's for RMS to work out with them, though. I understand you are not persuaded by their reports.

I put it to you that just because how people perceive their interactions with others is necessarily subjective, that does not invalidate it. It seems like you've taken a particular but uncommonly strong attitude to the blows that have come your way. I applaud your fortitude, but I've seen many others who have not dealt with such knocks in the same way. It's hard to see things from other people's perspective, especially if they are not like you. I hope that does not mean you are defending RMS because you think you are like him.

Again, no direct experience with RMS so going to leave it there. Just to be clear. This is not the concern I raised that RMS should address. I was focused on the management of the project.

sbt Silver badge

Re: Should his freedoms be stifled just because he's famous?

I appreciate the detailed reply. I can't be as detailed but I'll try to pick up the points not covered previously or elsewhere, where a specific rebuttal can be made.

It is up to them to speak up for themselves if they disagree with what someone else is saying from within their project.

Well 24 of them did sign the open letter, and others like Andy made their own statements. The system seems to be working.

It's famous people who've spoken "out of turn", added their name to the fight, that has helped.

The amount of help provided can be hard to define. We may remember the famous people who stood up after victory is won, but I think that's a disservice to the people taking the larger personal risk. Sure, they can spend some of their cachet to advance a personal cause or espouse a view to a ready audience. But there's a cost/benefit analysis each person has to make: Do the benefits to this particular cause (such as trying to defend my friend's reputation) outweigh the harms to my life's work, where people will stop working with me or working on it?.

Maybe celebrities are only messing with there own careers and marketability, but founders and leaders

need to consider the costs to their own projects/organisations/companies, members/employees, and users/customers. What they're spending is not necessarily all theirs to spend.

That's why it's important to encourage people to speak up for what we believe regardless of whatever "brand damage" may be done.

Well, see above. It's not just about brand damage.

But, if he were not in some sense 'famous' he'd just be another voice in the wind that could easily be ignored...

Sure there's a difference between using your "fame" to get a hearing and using your "authority" as a shortcut to trust. But I don't take healthcare advice from Hollywood A-listers, any more than I do my plumber. Even if I trust my plumber more in general (because I've met him), I'd still only consider seriously his views on drainage and not flu remedies.

It's worth remembering that the objections I raised (as have others) to RMS's ongoing tenure of GNU go far beyond the particular remarks made in the mailing list, even if those specific remarks were misquoted.

For what it's worth, I read the leaked thread PDF rather than replying on the outraged third party reports, because of the apprehension of bias in the complaints. What follows does not rely on misquoted reports but on RMS's own mailing list replies.

I think there's legitimate questions around whether RMS made a useful contribution by weighing in on the subject, whether he lacked credibility due to his friendship with the accused, his own reputation in respect to women and the blunt and hair-splitting approach he took to making his points about a sensitive subject, particularly given the profile of the recepients of the list.

I wasn't going to go there, but famous or not, you want your cause to be advanced by competent and persuasive orators. From what I read there, RMS is not one, on these issues at least. The Dunning-Kruger effect may be in play here. But it doesn't matter if I was convinced or not. The harm lies elsewhere. I'm not going to venture any further into the substance of RMS's views on matters outside of Free Software. You are welcome to the last word on this point, if you want it.

Your subsequent points on honesty and trust show there are differences in the ways in which people evaluate each other and build relationships, in which trust and honesty play a part. I don't particularly like that courtesy, respect and social norms "work" on people, or that we all can't be totally frank and honest all the time. In some ways, life would be simpler. But again, the psychological factors I mentioned a few posts back mean we're not all the rational actors we'd need to be for that to be as consequence free as you or I might wish.

sbt Silver badge

Kiwi's Kooky Kake Kafé

Because my religious beliefs don't support divorce, I should have the freedom to exclude these people or anyone else I wish from my shop/refuse to serve them.

No, to this example, or any other grounds for discrimination between customers. Your shop doesn't exist in a vacuum. It's a part of the market-place you enter, where you can freely buy safe ingredients at honest weights and have people browse your wares without the constant threat of looters from the next village just grabbing what they want off the shelves.

You get the benefits of food safety regulations and inspections that stop your competitors from undercutting you on price by not hiring someone to wash their cake pans or treat their rat infestation (Because you wouldn't want to mistreat your customers, naturally). You get the efficiencies from trust when customers, knowing your ingredients are not tainted, your kitchen is clean and they won't get mugged outside your shop door, will buy your cakes with confidence, even if they don't know you.

That marketplace is the gift of your fellow citizens and taxpayers via the government. They don't get to discriminate based on your beliefs, neither should you. This is a basic quid-pro-quo and the government has a compelling interest in non-discrimination in marketplaces. For both customers and employees.

You can hire people to work in your shop, and there are candidates available with the education and skills you need. They're willing to provide labour because they know labour laws ensure they get paid and there is some protection* against mistreatment.

*subject to country. NZ standards should be pretty up there.

sbt Silver badge
Big Brother

There is no slope

Yes, I'm well aware of the dangers to freedom, health and happiness we face at the hands of governments (both foreign and domestic), corporations and other powerful organisations and movements.

I don't treat lightly the sacrifices made in war to liberate my forebears from a multitude of tyrannical kings, bishops or dictators. Or the hardships endured to build better lives for later generations via back-breaking labour, overcoming educational disadvantage or fighting injustice and inequality. I understand each freedom I have was hard won at great cost and is precious to me.

It's perfectly possible to accept or reject legal changes that impact on freedom or privacy on a case-by-case basis. ID cards are a good example. People accept passports are necessary here, for travel, but not ID cards for accessing public services. The fact that majority of folks aren't uncomfortable with the proliferation of CCTV in public spaces is just that they understand they may be observed when out in public places and there's no right to privacy there. They still reject emphatically cameras in private spaces such as restrooms, changerooms and airbnbs, for example.

I certainly reject warrantless government surveillance of any kind. That fight is ongoing but there is no slope. Warrantless is warrantless. It was never acceptable. There's a clear line. There needs to be clear, independent and transparent judicial scrutiny of LEA intrusion into the private spaces, thoughts and communications of citizens. Proper warrants should always be based on probable cause and have identified subjects. No fishing.

I don't see how it can be "selfish" to want to protect others from these things

You misread. He asks people to use non-free (his term) resources like javascript enabled Web sites on his behalf so he can avoid the surveillance (but throwing the people he asks to help him under the bus, surveillance wise. Selfish, in my view).

sbt Silver badge

Should his freedoms be stifled just because he's famous?

No, because he represents a larger idea than himself.

Just because he's achieved more than most of the rest of us could even dream of?

No (assuming that's true), but because what he's achieved is precious and valuable and shouldn't be destroyed. And the achievements built by the hundreds of GNU maintainers are also precious and valuable and are worthy of protection.

His opinions on some things are invalid just because he's well know for his opinions on other things and people look up to him?

Not at all, but because sharing his opinions on controversial matters (valid or invalid doesn't matter) unrelated to Free Software risks the stated goal of GNU to empower all computer users.

It's not tall-poppy syndrome, it's a unfettered free-speech sacrifice public figures can make to further their other goals (in this case, GNU). There are more qualified people than RMS to speak out on correct usage, legal terminology and the psychological harms of abuse. His silence on these topics is no loss to the commonweal when set against the potential harm to the GNU project, and others will surely make those arguments if needs be.

Obviously if RMS were not the figurehead of GNU (or until recently FSF) I'd absolutely agree with his speaking freely on any subject and I'd agree with your first para "I don't agree with ... regardless of his position." without qualification.

I've found honesty is, rather strangely to you perhaps, the greatest basis for trust.

I don't find it strange at all. But a simple evaluation of honesty in the moment of a conversation or other transaction is not always possible. To return to the psychology aspect, we use courtesy, respect and adherence to norms as a short-hand if imperfect way to judge the trustworthiness of otherwise unknown persons to us, where we cannot independently check the honesty of that person or their statements. It happens all the time, subconciously. You might be rationally evaluating their honesty, but under the hood, you're absorbing the messages from their conduct. You could be misled if they can fake it, but that's not your fault.

sbt Silver badge

Re: Shouldn't have to ask; well run orgs already know

Well, considering some of the cultish responses from (ironically mostly ACs) here on folks merely questioning whether RMS should listen to and address these concerns, I can see why some would be reluctant to speak publicly.

So wait.. The "decent thing" is to quit when a tiny majority of people say you should consider it?

I assume you meant tiny minority. The decent thing is to consider quitting when you're no longer an asset and before you destroy your own legacy. If only 1 or 2 people said it, well that could be a personality clash or rivalry or the complainant's issue. 24 people may be a small number in absolute terms, but it signifies there's at least a question to be asked. You can't explain away that many disgruntled maintainers, can you? Why rock the boat if it's all made up? Why burn it down if there's no fire?

I think you should consider quitting the internet. Now, "do the decent thing" and leave.

Thanks for the suggestion, but in the absence of any argument as to why we'd all be better off if I did, I think I'll stay. RMS need only address the argument that has been made to him as to why he should go, and we're all on the same plane. I have no issue with you making your request. Do so as often and as loudly as you please. Make an argument. Convince me. Why shouldn't the same apply to RMS? Is the being a Hall-of-famer really getting a hall pass?

Look, don't take my word for it; have a look at Andy Wingo's take on the whole thing.

sbt Silver badge

Adapt or die

@jake: Do you? Where is this written?

It's written right here. If that's not enough and you want arguments from authority, you may be too conservative. Particularly if you don't like change.

If you don't move with the times, how can you shape them?

sbt Silver badge

We're starting to repeat ourselves

...so I'm going to leave this here.

So a minority of people have an opinion and are unable or unwilling to back it up with any evidence or even elaborate a well-thought-out rationale for why they think he is harmful and should go.

Yes, it's an open letter, not a science report. Yes, it's their opinion. But it's an inside opinion. I acknowledged in my response to the top AC comment that the open letter makes an ambit claim, without supporting data. I'm agreeing with you there. That's why I said legitimate next steps included a counter-letter of support from other maintainers, a survey, a meeting, etc. RMS of course has the right of reply, but how he responds is telling in itself. He can reject the call for change and either deny that his leadership is causing an issue, or deny that it's a problem he wants or needs to solve.

The letter does express a well-thought out rationale:

Stallman’s behavior over the years has undermined a core value of the GNU project: the empowerment of all computer users. GNU is not fulfilling its mission when the behavior of its leader alienates a large part of those we want to reach out to.

We believe that Richard Stallman cannot represent all of GNU.

I thought the argument was about there was evidence whether RMS' behaviour "alienates a large part of those we wish to reach out to." But I'm not sure you accept the premise, evidence not-withstanding. If you don't, I guess we'll never find common ground. I think it matters what leaders do, but also how they are perceived. That isn't always fair or free, but it's a cost of leadership, set against the privileges.

Also, since the concern is with "all computer users", it's clearly not about internal polling of the maintainers or (now) 24 vs. 3-400. It's about the wider consumers of GNU project software. This is a much broader demographic than the maintainers.

That's why I said the lack of evidence was a red flag, not what the evidence actually pointed to. It could be that a survey of GNU software users reports they love the way things are. But as I've stated before, that neither side has ready access to such results already is on the project's leadership. This is not-for-profit 101. Not understanding this is one of the dangers I've been banging on about.

This is why these kinds of decisions should be looked at dispassionately and factually.

I never claimed otherwise. But there are facts about how people feel. And there are facts about how GNU has been run. And there are facts about the extent to which best practices for managing not-for-profits, succession planning and public relations have been followed, or not, in this case. Those are the costs and dangers I've been commenting about this whole time.

it's the fault of the project management (i.e RMS) that this mob can't be bothered even making a solid claim, let alone backing it up with facts or even an opinion poll.

It's a criticism of the project's management that the data isn't readily to hand. It should be anyway. That was my criticism. I'm just not sure you'd accept the results if they supported the letter writers' position.

But this organisation is not a political organisation doing outreach and he's not a spokesperson and it's not a role he "accepted", it's a project he created. It's also not a democracy...

It is doing outreach, and he is effectively its spokesperson. Not everyone can separate people's personal opinions on controversial topics from their professional role and some will naturally object to the platform effect that gives hall-of-famers like RMS an outsized soapbox for their views. I don't personally care what RMS's political or moral views are, but it would have been better for GNU if he had never opened his mouth about it, as you say. That's only one criticism I've made of his management of the GNU project, and it's not the reason I think he should consider resignation or reform.

The fact that he created it means the ball is very much in his court. But hundreds of other people have contributed their time and energy to the GNU projects and it's reasonable to consider their stake in the outcome.

He can carry on as before and risk GNU withering into irrelevance, or he can take the concerns seriously and address them. It's long past time to consider the future of the project. Does RMS want it to die with him? Is he willing to make a sacrifice to protect the long term future of his legacy?

That doesn't necessarily mean resignation, it could be reform to the leadership structure or the appointment of a different public face, if RMS doesn't want that responsibility or to otherwise stay mum. Many FOSS projects started by one person or a small team wrestle with this transition and grow to accommodate their size and reach. Many have blazed this trail ahead of GNU, which given its age, is telling.

There is already at least one fork, freesw.org. But the GNU brand has a value that will be diluted by forking. Forking the code doesn't make the GNU project better.

sbt Silver badge

That'd be great, except...

... people are human. We're not Vulcans.

If you build organisations, processes or laws assuming rational actors with perfect information and ignore how human minds actually work, with all our biases, fears and emotions (and the variations thereof), you're going to have a bad time.

Consider that it may be optimal (for example) for there to be a social norm around not flashing your bum at people, because most people would feel that was unpleasant. Do you still insist we're not all better off if you keep your bum to yourself? No man is an island, as the saying goes. You want to live in the world, there are trade-offs. Some sacrifice is necessary. Trust is massive boon to efficiency, and it flows from courtesy, respect and an adherence to certain behavioural norms. You don't care about trust? Enjoy your moated castle. Anarchy is ideologically pure, but miserable in practice.

sbt Silver badge

A great iconoclast with his needle stuck in a groove

I'm no disciple, but I can admire the man's insight into new ways to deliver freedom to people. But you have to move with the times and you can't keep dining out on old victories. Even Einstein struggled with developments after his big insights into relativity. His famous quote about God not playing dice with the universe encapsulated his struggle with the probabilistic nature of quantum mechanics.

I don't buy the slippery slope argument. That's lazy thinking. Life is complicated, you have to incorporate new information into your world view and adapt to changing attitudes and times. You can accept or reject each step based on principle and pragmatism. This is the same problem folks have with considering anything beyond truth or merit.

Some of RMS's rigidity around security and surveillance comes across as pretty selfish (e.g. insisting others access non-free sources for him) and paranoid.

sbt Silver badge

Way to miss the point about servers

Again, the portion of the claim I was discussing was about Free Software, serious computing, and servers. The billions of IoT edge sensors and Android devices are not servers. The dominance of OSS on the Internet is freely acknowledged elsewhere, but its size relative to the whole IT estate is over-estimated. There are other non-free, proprietary OSs than Windows used in the last few decades. HP-UX, for one. There is plenty of Windows in the Cloud, even it's mostly Azure.

I haven't used Windows recently for serious computing either, but that doesn't mean folks aren't doing it. I don't claim it "must be done from proprietary", only that people can, and do. I prefer BSD, but that's just as anecdotal as your reports.

sbt Silver badge

That's not how proof by counter-example works

In logic, only one example is required.

sbt Silver badge

A single piece of data

That 22 people were prepared to state publicly that RMS was harmful and should go.

When it comes to feelings, perception is reality. I'm not commenting here, shrilly or otherwise, calling out any particular failing on RMS's part. I'm commenting about the dangers and costs of running organisations in the manner in which the GNU project and FSF have been. It's a matter for the GNU contributors to make their case and present their evidence. I haven't claimed I think RMS should go. I'm just not surprised that others think so.

For what it's worth, I'm a strong believer in freedom of speech and thought. I don't mind a disagreement and I'm prepared to judge the opinion and not the person. I'm pretty leery of any suggestion that employers should be able to discriminate against staff based on their political views, just as I would be for any other non-work related attribute such as their ethnicity, sex or orientation.

There's a caveat, though. If the person concerned is a spokesperson or leader with a public profile in an organisation, I think the organisation has a stake in that person's public statements when it's possible those statements might conflict with the organisation's stated principles or policies, otherwise offend or cause embarrassment. In that case, I think it's a reasonable trade-off for the person to accept a need to at least stay silent on such matters for the duration, if they accept this role.

sbt Silver badge

The deep IT

You keep forgetting the claim. The only way to do serious computing. For decades. It's rubbish.

IT is not just the Internet. Think industrial control and manufacturing. Think utilities. Think three letter agencies. Brokers, traders and arbitrage merchants. ERP and CRM. Call centres and telephony. Desktop publishing and media. Software defined networking.

Sure FOSS is making in-roads in some of these areas and it's definitely leading on the Internet. But in most parts of IT&C, it's a proprietary world. I'm not saying I like it; I love open source. I like to know what I'm running, and that I can fix and improve it if I need to, or give something back. But it's a hand-waving dismissal of all the software engineers that work in these spaces to deny they're on serious computing, like the Internet is the only thing that represent progress or the cutting edge.

sbt Silver badge

Remember the strength of the original claim in dispute and the use of counter-example:

AC: "the only way to do serious computing..."

boltar: "most of ... those ... are not running Windows"

That's an acknowledgment that there are *some* servers running Windows. The details of market share aren't needed to accept the "only" claim is hyperbole, to put it politely.

Anyway, all this is a distraction from the point that free software, open source and proprietary software have their place. My argument is that a more pragmatic approach with less purism might have gotten us further. Additionally, an ability to move with the times might have led to a better and more unified approach to the cloud service provider loophole.

sbt Silver badge

Shouldn't have to ask; well run orgs already know

It's a data point that suggests an organisational disfunction that is common to orgs run in this way. And clearly there are at least 22 (and counting) folks much closer to the project that also think renewal is the answer. To me, that justifies the demand for action. They could run a survey, hold a vote, etc. Of course the other hundreds of stakeholders that didn't speak up are free to sign their own petition, and it appears RMS is free to reject the call to go.

But I wouldn't assume everyone who didn't sign on didn't agree with the need for change; maybe they were reluctant to speak out, hoped RMS would do the decent thing without them having to nail their colours to the mast. I'm not suggesting a veto has been invoked over discussions, but long standing leaders shape their organisation's cultures and the leadership around them. That has its own influence on the openness of the culture, particularly when it comes to challenging the leader.

HP to hike upfront price of printer hardware as ink biz growth runs dry

sbt Silver badge
Paris Hilton

10 pages a month. It could have been 1 if I'd gone mono.

Yes, 90% of this volume is non-business related. Once someone sees a nice colour page, it's "ooh, can you just print this for me...?"

sbt Silver badge

Costs per page vary by volume

Sorry that was confusing, yes when I calculated last time the PP cost is higher due to higher printer and toner cartridge costs, with lower volumes to amortise the unit costs over. The TCO was lower for my use case because the wastage is less than with IJ. There's some variance depending on page coverage, but it's not that huge. Page volume has a bigger influence. The upfront unit costs on colour lasers have come down to the point where the payback period is not too bad. If it helps, I print less than 10 pages a month, on average.

I could do IJ cheaper if I went the third party tank units, but didn't really need the volumes or want the mess and hassle. I've heard reliability is a problem with these things.

I haven't looked at IJ costs that recently, and it wouldn't surprise me if that changed. It may also depend on which country you're in.

sbt Silver badge

Classic FUD; meanwhile, the world's most expensive liquid used as a cleaning agent

The claims, made with a straight face, about the benefits of "genuine" cartridges included

... security, in that hackers can exploit a "vulnerability where the supply chip meets the printer"

How about you don't put any fancy-pants code in the cartridge interface, cretins?

Inkjets are no good now that I print so little. Constant head cleaning wastes too much.

Colour laser or bust. Sure it's a more per page, but it doesn't care if there's months between print jobs. And there's no bleed.

Father of Unix Ken Thompson checkmated: Old eight-char password is finally cracked

sbt Silver badge

GPU crackers run in parallel;

Even massively parallel brute-force searches have to run through the search space in a certain order. Not all at once.

I'm counting on the guess that 'aaaaaaaa' will be checked really early, long before ';;;;;;;;', which I'd expect to be later, at least for combinations of that length. That is unless the algorithm checks repetitive combinations before pseudorandom ones, which would be a good idea.

sbt Silver badge

Well, there's your problem

No capital letters.

On second thoughts, I imagine the iterations over character classes goes lc, digits, uc, symbols, based on common usage patterns. So you can probably still get the complexity benefits for brute-force resistance of uppercase letters even if you don't actually include them, but still use symbols. The uc letters will be checked anyway, but more symbols puts the check of your password at the back of the list; brute forcing "aaaaaaaa" must be pretty fast, but ";;;;;;;;" slow.

China and Russia join to battle 'illegal internet content,' which means what you fear it does

sbt Silver badge

A Silicon curtain is descending...

Well, I guess we'll have to dig out the hams with their short wave packet radio thingies and it's back to the good old days of Lord Haw-Haw vs. Radio Free Europe. Inter-continental-ballistic podcasts.

The cold war returns. Sheesh.

Mr. Putin, tear down this firewall!

Twitter: No, really, we're very sorry we sold your security info for a boatload of cash

sbt Silver badge

Re: Can't it be both?

Thanks. That was closer to my original wording, too. But my mistake was calling them customers, I should have said users. As Headley_Grange pointed out, in this case the real customers and shareholders did OK.

I think there are enough examples of happy customers leading to happy shareholders to refute your take. "Only" is a strong claim.

sbt Silver badge
Paris Hilton

Can't it be both?

The interests of customers and shareholders often align only incidentally.

Mission Extension Vehicle-1 launches to save space from zombie satellites

sbt Silver badge

The up shot...

Sadly, lawyers and co are still people, and there is a lot of embodied economic investment there. Is there no way to safely disarm and redeploy these missiles of misery?

sbt Silver badge
Paris Hilton

approach from behind

That's a clever approach, design wise to adapt to units with differing shapes and sizes; to grab the nozzle which is going to be a more uniform shape and size, and is also designed as a thrust point.

How about a reach around?

Forget Brexit, ignore Trump, write off today: BT's gonna make us all 'realise the potential of tomorrow'

sbt Silver badge

*checks date*

Hmm, it's not April 1st.

This timeline is crazy! Next it'll be dogs and cats, living together.

That said, pretty sure tomorrow is where the potential has always been kept.

Second MoD Airbus Zephyr spy drone crashes on Aussie test flight

sbt Silver badge

First SkyLab...

... now this.

Still, there's a whole lotta nothing to crash on.

Virtual inanity: Solution to Irish border requires data and tech not yet available, MPs told

sbt Silver badge

This is why we can't have nice borders

A lot of interesting and informative posts. But I'm sorry I raised this. It's not OCD or nuthin', but I like tidy lines. Sorry.

Peace out, y'all.

sbt Silver badge

Re: In event of Brexit emergency, break grass

Well you say that, but other seemingly intractable enemies have done area swaps in the past. Their motivations were often around military defense, but still.

sbt Silver badge

Re: In event of Brexit emergency, break grass

Well since the partition was ill-judged, you either should fix it or remove it, yes?

sbt Silver badge

Never said it would be easy. Just sayin'

In fact, might sharpen a few minds over the benefits of re-unification.

But as a practical matter, the fact remains as katrinab points out elsewhere the number of crossings is impractical, and reducing the number implies boundary changes as a practical step. Not preferable, not desirable, but necessary if NDB takes place.

Just to be clear, not a supporter of Brexit, reunification or other; that's for the locals to negotiate.

sbt Silver badge
IT Angle

In event of Brexit emergency, break grass

It's not unheard of for borders to be regularised or smoothed out by mutual agreement, particularly where exclaves exist. It would be one approach in the event of NDB.

What? No way. Apple? Censoring iOS 13 to appease China? Gosh. How shocking. Who'd have thought it?

sbt Silver badge

Weaker countries, not weaker minority groups

Sorry to hear that. I think the peace theory only holds between soverign entities. There is little to no protection for internal minorities since 9/11. Some wailing perhaps, or maybe a little teeth gnashing, but that's about it.

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I am altering the deal. Pray I don't alter it any further.

Well he wouldn't be the first one to get Vadered by the CCP.

One empire, two systems. Ring a bell?

Of course the CCP should also remember that the more they tighten their grip, the more systems will slip through their fingers.

'We go back to the Moon to stay': Apollo vets not too chuffed with NASA's new rush to the regolith

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That's one giant leap

I'm certainly not suggesting one way. It was just the use of the word "stay".

But is it realistic, after a ~50 year absence, to immediately establish permanent occupation? Surely you've got to make a whole bunch of supply runs, establish life support, protection from cosmic rays, escape systems, redundant power supplies, etc?

Or it is going to be like when rich folks go on a short camping trip but take 10 suitcases and a few trunks?

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..to stay

For some reason my first thought was of the Safire memo, if 11 didn't get home.

Fate has ordained that the men who went to the moon to explore in peace will stay on the moon to rest in peace.

Surely extended visits are in order before a permanent base can be established.

SUSE tosses OpenStack Cloud to double down on application delivery

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How to upgrade your cheerfully posted blog

So, now it's

rm -rf *

Sorry, folks. Mine's the one with the BSD jails.

US games company Blizzard kowtows to Beijing by banning gamer who dared to bring up Hong Kong

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Free speech, no matter where you are or what the platform.

No, free speech does not mean anyone needs to provide you with a live-stream, forum post or blog page. These are private spaces, open to the public, like malls, rather than parks. They're privately owned and controlled.

In the public realm, on the "commons", no one owes you a soapbox, a crowd, or any attention, either.

It just means you can stand on street corners with a sandwich board, or hand out leaflets or visit Speaker's Corner in your nearest park without the threat of violence or restraint. It doesn't give you the right to step into traffic or obstruct or harrass people, though. If you want to stay on-line where the people meet, you can run your own Web site, or send out e-mail newletters. Speech is made of words, not actions. Arguments are won with facts, not fists.

If you don't have free speech, then first you may need to reform or overthrow your government. This may involve loud, disruptive protests and is legitimate. This is where the CCP falls down. By suppressing free speech and democracy, they legitimise revolution.

Is any wonder that such protests take place on on-line forums...

No surprise that people try. Just don't expect corporates with competing loyalties (e.g. profit) to provide those platforms freely.

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The dangers of speech filtered by corporate interests

The issue here is not what he said. It happens I agree with him and you can check my other posts on the CCP if you don't believe me.

It's that he needed to use a corporately controlled platform to say it when the broadly written conditions of entry, written to suit the authors and interpreted on the whim of the corporation, banned it. His forfeit was civil, not criminal. I could wish corporations would stay out of these issues, but they are obliged to act in the best interests of their shareholders. A boycott of a substantial market is not done lightly. They Streisanded the ever-loving f*ck out of this one, though.

Corporations are not responsible for providing people with a platform for their speech.

The danger is if the public square is subsumed into a series of corporate spaces and all our public interactions happen on private platforms, we'll lose freedom to corporations and governments.

We should return to the distributed Web with local site operators. Run your own servers, folks.

Remember the FBI's promise it wasn’t abusing the NSA’s data on US peeps? Well, guess what…

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Discovering the chain of evidence

The "beyond reasonable doubt" bar is high. The prosecution has to prove its evidence is legit. In demonstrating its veracity, it's hard to hide the source of the evidence from a defence attorney in the discovery process and cross-examine the prosecution's LEA witnesses under oath about how they got the evidence.

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Now imagine what it'll be like with mandated encryption back doors

If they're not just limited to the NSA's "incidental" scoops of data, the sky's the limit!

It's not that I'm just afraid of bad guys getting access to my back door. It seems I can't even trust the so-called good guys. Although, it seems they are also bad.

Nix to the mix: Chrome to block passive HTTP content swirled into HTTPS pages

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It's been in Firefox for a little while

I only notice it causing issues occasionally with broken image links. Mostly in old technical forums with in-line images. It's a pain for sites with legacy content and no way to upgrade the off-site links.

Euro ISP club: Sure, weaken encryption. It'll only undermine security for everyone, morons

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The private sphere needs to be defended, even though sometimes bad things happen in secret.

I've said before that TPTB want you to forget that the time period in which it's been possible for them to monitor your private communications is incredibly short in historic terms; an abberation due in large part to the primitive nature and "wild west" development of telecommunications from the telegraph down (a century or so). Mass surveillance even shorter (a decade or two). It's not and should not be the norm.

Tough luck, Jupiter, you've lost your crown for now: Boffins show Saturn has more moons

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Annoyed modern-day druids are scary

Thanks for this most informative and excellently foot-noted answer.

However, I am now nervous that a druid might harm me with a twig waving or incantation, much as I am nervous of acid attacks by homeopathy adherents.

Game over: Atari VCS architect quits project, claims he hasn’t been paid for six months

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The departure could put the entire affair in doubt

Could put? It was already well in doubt. It couldn't more doubtful if its name was Thomas and it was the president and CEO of the Skeptics Society.

Otherwise, great reporting as usual.

Do you run on a cloud Down Under, where data's shared and governments plunder... Oz joins US, UK in info search-warrant law

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