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* Posts by Vic

3073 posts • joined 7 Dec 2007

Attack of the clones: Oracle's latest Red Hat Linux lookalike arrives

Vic
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Re: Whenever you hear Oracle whine about Android

No.

Yes.

Source only has to be produced when requested by the user.

Source has to be produced when requested by *** ANY THIRD PARTY ***.

Don't take my word for it - go read the licence You're looking for section 3(b).

If you aren't a user, then Redhat doesn't have any obligations to you and never did.

Absolutely, fundamentally. 100% incorrect. Read the licence. It disagrees entirely with what you say.

This is how a company that creates GPL based derivative works for internal use doesn't have to give YOU a copy of what they have done

Wholly internal use does not constitute redistribution. But if they do redistribute, they must do so under one of the clauses of section 3. Pick one - the effect is much the same...

If you aren't a user, then Redhat doesn't have any obligations to you and never did.

Totally incorrect.

From GPLv2 section 3:

You may copy and distribute the Program (or a work based on it, under Section 2) in object code or executable form under the terms of Sections 1 and 2 above provided that you also ... Accompany it with a written offer, valid for at least three years, to give any third party, for a charge no more than your cost of physically performing source distribution, a complete machine-readable copy of the corresponding source code, to be distributed under the terms of Sections 1 and 2 above on a medium customarily used for software interchange

Do you see the phrase "any third party" ? It's important. It means exactly what it says - *any* third party. It does not matter whether or not you are a RH client - *any* third party is entitled to a copy of the source code of anything redistributed under 3(b). And IME, everything RH reditributes is under 3(b).

Rights to the source are only conferred upon the user of the program. If you aren't a user, then you're irrelevant.

Seriously - read the licence. It disagrees with you.

Vic.

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Re: Whenever you hear Oracle whine about Android

They can, but they would have to change how they deliver the binaries, such that the source is always delivered with them.

Even that would make little difference to anything - every single recipient of that combined source/binary package is entitled to redistribute it under the licence terms.

Even then Oracle could just buy a copy of the binaries.

Or ask someone else who has.

Vic.

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Re: Whenever you hear Oracle whine about Android

The use of GPL in a commercial product obliges the company to supply the source upon request.

The commercial nature of the product actually makes little difference - only that binaries and object files may be redistributed unmodified under section 3(c) if it is non-commercial. This is merely a convenience - in practice, it makes no difference to the distribution of source, because the Section 3(b) promise under which is was initially distributed holds true for everyone, not just the initial recipient.

So potentially RH could withhold parts of a dist (e.g. BSD licenced stuff) if they felt like it though it would cause bad feeling in the open source community if they did.

Only when those BSD-licensed bits do not form part of a larger, GPL-licensed program.

But more importantly, RH *gets* open source. That's why they make money - they're not trying to hoodwink anyone or run scams. They stick to the spirit of the license as well as the letter.

They could also dual licence something really important that they developed themselves to stop the likes of Oracle leeching off it

Dual-licensing wouldn't help - either license may be used. And if neither license is GPL-compatible, the code cannot be used in a larger GPL-licensed piece of code. That's unlikely to be of use to RH...

But all this is academic - Oracle really isn't a problem for RH. They're an annoyance, no more.

Vic.

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If Red Hat had a free version for dev/test where I could enable support if I chose, I'd be more sympathetic

You do know that there have been freebie rebuilds around for years, and that RH now backs the CentOS distribution, don't you?

Vic.

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Re: Whenever you hear Oracle whine about Android

I understand and agree with the point you are making, but does the GPL really require Redhat to release their source code to the *public*

Yes.

That's section 3(b) of the GPLv2.

I thought the only requirement was to release the source to *those using the binaries*

No. This is often believed, but isn't true.

The only time a GPL provider can restrict his requirement to provide source to those that get the binaries from him are when he performs a Section 3(a) distribution - which requires source to *accompany* the binaries. RH doesn't do this - and nor do most people.

You don't see SLES source available to the public

https://www.suse.com/download-linux/source-code.html

Vic.

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Reg Latin scholars scrap over LOHAN's stirring motto

Vic
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Re: Splorf

And I'm not sure about the genitive case; "full of" has the feel of an English idiom, but I can't think of a more appropriate case.

That's what the ablative case is for...

Vic.

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Re: Caliganote

I was hoping for "caligulanote", as it's only a little one, and it opens the door to a zillion nutjob jokes...

Vic.

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Home Office threw £347m in the bin on failed asylum processing IT project

Vic
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Re: Another contributing factor?

The explosive growth in real hardware performance over the last three decades has let us det away with abandoning fundamental principles of computer programming. Like tight, efficient code is better than bloatware.

The problem is widespread.

I was working at a place a while back where we were developing a wide-ranging Python application[1].

I saw one developer commit a piece of code that spawned a Java VM within the Python code. Why? The developer wanted to use a Java Hashmap.

Now I know that the Hashmap goes somewhat further that the Python Dictionary, particularly in things like type safety. But none of that was being used - it was just a key/value store. The Dictionary collection would have done the job perfectly, if only the guy in question had learnt enough of the language he was supposed to be using to have learnt it. Instead, he just used the tools he knew at the cost of *massive* run-time bloat.

Was he taken aside and shown the error of his ways? No, Management congratulated him on the substantial amount of code he had committed, and put pressure on the rest of us to hurry up and get it working...

Vic.

[1] Python was chosen by the then-head of Software Development, so it wasn't something I could argue with...

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Motorist 'thought car had caught fire' as Adele track came on stereo

Vic
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Re: Sometimes...

> in a C-130 people are treated as cargo

In transport aircraft, they're referred to as "SLC" - "Self-Loading Cargo".

Vic.

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Re: @NUmbers

> Observing the driving, one wonders whether they have any rules.

Everyone has rules - the alternative would be carnage. But the rules might not be what they appear to be...

I was driving in Crete a few years back. All the other Brits had been moaning about the state of car drivers there. I was pleasantly surprised.

It turned out that in Crete, the only road marking that matters at all is the centre line of the road. All other lane markings are ignored.

The Cretans then make as many lanes as fit onto the tarmac they're driving on. And their lane discipline was *perfect*.

Once I'd grasped the actual rules in use, it was a pleasure to drive there...

Vic.

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You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary

Vic
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Re: Cos, y'know, it's bad for business.

> Think of how much it would cost if it was good for business

Actually, according to the Swiss Government, it already is good for business...

Vic.

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Banning handheld phone use by drivers had NO effect on accident rate - study

Vic
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After all talking hands-free should logically be not much different than carrying on a conversation with a passenger

It is.

Compressed audio necessarily involves a delay. If this is <50ms, you won't notice.

But when the delay is ~150ms, the conversation is significantly distracting.

Next time you make a GSM call, think about the delay you're experiencing. It's not 50ms...

Vic.

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Police tend to be better drivers?

In what universe?

Ever driven with a P1?

It's enlightening...

Vic.

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EU's top data cops to meet Google, Microsoft et al over 'right to be forgotten'

Vic
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Re: ok, listen up, I'll say this one time only.

Web Architecture means Unicodes are the only thing which have "No right to be forgotten".

Amanfrommars does it so much better...

Vic.

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BT slapped down by BSkyB over O2 broadband 'switch off' porkies

Vic
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Joke

I guess switching to Sky can cause copper to spontaneously corrode overnight

Are you implying that exposure to the Murdoch Empire can cause corruption in coppers?

Wash your mouth out, sir. That's scurrilous.

Vic.

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Computing student jailed after failing to hand over crypto keys

Vic
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Re: @ A K Stiles

I'd like a system with 2 passwords where the alpha password lets you in normally, but the beta password 'obliterates' the incriminating stuff whilst allowing access to the innocent but private stuff...

That's called a "duress password". It's used in many situations.

It's entirely precluded by people insisting on biometrics as authentication...

Vic.

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Re: @ A K Stiles

So when they ask you for the password "You do not have to say anything."

No, you don't.

But you will go to prison if you don't.

As you can probably tell, I have significant reservations about this law...

Vic.

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Re: You do not have to say anything ..

You do not have to say anything. If you don't talk, then you can't hand over your decription keys

But if you take that line, then you are committing a specific offence (failure to comply with a S49 notice) in addition to whatever they wanted you for in the first place. Think of it like resisting arrest - i doesn't replace the original charge, it's something else for which you can get thrown in the slammer.

Vic.

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Re: A doofus, with weak lawyers, but the law is broken

S.49 is not a key escrow law. You are not compelled to disclose a key or plaintext if you demonstrably have no ability to do so.

Whilst that is probably how a judge would apply it, it's not how the law is *written*.

S49 makes it an offense to fail to hand over keys or decrypt a file when a notice is issued. An "appropriate person" makes the decision that it is an encrypted file, and it is not an absolute defence in law for the subject not to have the key, nor even for the file not to be anything of the sort.

And that's the problem I have with it: it criminalises someone else's errors.

Vic.

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If indeed you do need to be being investigated for terrorism or national security reasons for this law to apply

You don't.

S49(3) says :-

A disclosure requirement in respect of any protected information is necessary on grounds falling within this subsection if it is necessary—

(a)in the interests of national security;

(b)for the purpose of preventing or detecting crime; or

(c)in the interests of the economic well-being of the United Kingdom.

...Which is about as broad as it is possible to be :-(

Vic.

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Re: Hang on a minute ...

from my memory of the law, for the offence to be complete, it has to be shown the defendant was *able* to break the crypto, and that a forgotten password would not lead to jail.

I'm afraid your memory is inaccurate.

The material in question doesn't even need to be encrypted data - just that a "person with the appropriate permission" believes it is, and that the subject of the S49 notice has the key.

The law is extremely poor, and this case shows how easily it can be abused.

Vic.

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The Windows 8 dilemma: Win 8 or wait for 9?

Vic
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Re: Time for some truly revolutionary GUIs?

Why voice control is not the goal of the next level of PC and tablet UI design I don't know

Because many offices are open-plan.

Vic.

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Dead letter office: ancient smallpox sample turns up in old US lab

Vic
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Signage?

The box was in “an unused portion of a storage room” in an FDA lab in the NIH's Bethseda

It definitely required the sign "Beware of the Leopard"...

Vic.

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In space no one can hear you scream, but Voyager 1 can hear A ROAR

Vic
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Joke

> I've certainly been showered by all sorts of unpleasant things ...

Please keep that sort of thing to yourself...

Vic.

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FAKE Google web SSL certificates tip-toe out from Indian authorities

Vic
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Re: Longitude prize

You're facing the intractable First Contact problem, where Alice and Bob need to prove themselves to each other when they've never met before. The only way to do that is with a third party, Trent. Problem is, any Gene or Mallory can just impersonate or fool Trent.

Your point notwithstanding, the bigger problem IMO is that Alice has already decided to trust Gordon[1] and Mallory to boot. So the root of the web of trust is already compromised before we start.

The solution - as always - is education. But I've no idea how to get end-users to care about this[2], let alone get them to take action in terms of curating their root cert lists...

Vic.

[1] Who, as we all know, is a moron...

[2] Even after they've suffered personal losses, most users just think tha's how life works.

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Samsung in Brazilian strip: Robbers snatch $6.3m in gear from plant

Vic
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Re: "the loot might be worth up to $36m, Samsung put the price much lower at $6.3m"

> $6.3m manufacturing cost price. $36m selling price.

Nah. That's $36m "street vallue".

Nice to see cop estimates are the same the world over...

Vic.

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'BIGGEST BIRD EVER': 21-foot ripsaw-beaked flying HORROR

Vic
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Re: take off

But my carriersaur theory is still in it with a chance! Perhaps the things just evolved away their catapults, and forgot to upgrade the birds at the same time?

They were clearly expecting the VTOL-capable Pelagornis B to take over, but it wasn't ready in time...

Vic.

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F1? No, it's Formula E as electric racing cars hit the track

Vic
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Motor racing is a NON CONTACT SPORT.

You've not seen Anthony Reid drive[1], then?

Already we have drivers who grew up with that heap of crap that is BTCC crashing in to each other because they think its OK

I caught the tail end of a Touring Car race on telly the other day - it appears that the BTCC are clamping down on contact. Which is as it should be - it's supposed to be a demonstration of skill, not a test of armour...

"it was OK in BTCC so I thought it was OK in FFord"

Thankfully, open-wheel contact is usually expensive[2] enough that drivers tend to avoid it long before they get to the super-high speeds where they might consider it profitable

Vic

[1] Particularly when there are flint walls around.

[2] I caught up with an old friend the other day - he rented out his Jedi this year. The bloke that rented it crashed on his first race, taking the car out for the rest of the season while it had a £14K rebuild...

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We need to talk about SPEAKERS: Sorry, 'audiophiles', only IT will break the sound barrier

Vic
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Re: A perplexing article

The main benefit of "finagling the signal" is that it can be dynamically adapted - in near real-time or as part of a set-up procedure - to the acoustics of ANY room

You've never played the Railway Inn in Winchester, then?

Vic.

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Re: Hmmm

If you sample, such as what happens with D to A conversion, then you always get aliasing taking place

Not so. If your sampling frequency is at least twice the maximum frequency in your input, aliasing cannot take place.

That's not the same as saying that the reproduction will be perfect as long as the Nyquist criterion is achieved - but it isn't aliasing that causes you problems.

Vic.

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Re: Obviously for the same reason that

What's more important is the stability of the clock in the system

Absolutely so. That's why green felt-tip pen around the edge of the CD can have no effect whatsoever on the wow and flutter.

Which is what I said...

Vic.

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Re: The ear can't hear square waves.

To recreate a perfect square wave does require an infinite frequency response.

Yes it does. It's an infinite series.

You seem to be adopting the attitude of "It's not a perfect square wave so it's useless".

An imperfect square wave is indeed useful, and does not require infinite frequency response. But look at the line from your post that I quoted above - a perfect square wave does indeed require infinite frequency response.

Vic.

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Sonar and radar are all about accuracy, music should be all about emotion and pleasure.

Sound *reproduction* should be about accuracy; leave the emotion to the artists playing the instruments...

Vic.

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Re: There Are Audio Companies Who Care

The irony for those who use audiophile as a pejorative (for reasons I've never understood

The reason the word is used as a perjorative is that the *vast* majority of people who describe themselves as "audiophiles" know precisely sod all about sound...

Vic.

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Re: Obviously for the same reason that

There's probably some effect to the wow and flutter of the source

There isn't.

The data on a CD is reproduced in a synchronous fashion. Any variation in the rate at which it is read from the physical disk is compensated by a small buffer.

Vic.

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Re: Ancient technology

The class D amplifier contains only analogue electronic devices

That's only true inasmuch as all digital devices are made out of analogue devices.

There isn't a logic gate, a flipflop in sight.

Yeah, there is. It's all logic gates up to and including the PA stage. The audio is held as PWM info on a high-frequency carrier, meaning it can be processed in DSP or similar at any stage of the proceedings. The LPF at the tail end strips off the carrier - this is beyond the last active component of the amp.

Vic.

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Re: Ancient technology

> Never heard of a digital amplifier. Amps have to be analogue.

They don't. Class D Amplifiers are becoming more popular these days, as it allows you to be digital all the way through to the output, where your LPF strips the modulation away from the carrier and makes it analogue again.

HTH

Vic.

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Re: The ear can't hear square waves.

Tinnitus is (or at least some forms of it are) caused by some of these sensor cells getting activated for no reason

I wouldn't say "for no reason"...

The cochlea is a wet environment. The oscillators[1] within it will therefore have a low Q.

To overcome this, there is a positive feedback system.

When this misfires, you get spontaneous oscillation - that's tinnitus.

Vic.

[1] Stereocilia, apparently.

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Standby consumes MORE POWER THAN CANADA: IEA

Vic
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Apple's understanding of the device being "off" / in stand-by is to just turn off the video output. The processor still runs at full speed and the hard drive still spins at normal speed

Sky decoders used to be the same - putting the device into "standby" meant turning off the A/V outputs and turning the front-panel LED red.

These boxes need to be tuned to a stream, need to have their demux running, and need to have the CPU decoding some of the table information in the stream. This is how the Conditional Access stuff works, so I imagine it is still the case with current builds.

Does anyone know what the energy impact of DAB would be if anyone used it?

Vic.

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When PR backfires: Google 'forgets' BBC TV man's banker blog post

Vic
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Re: and so, ad infinitum

> you did know appealing an ICO decision is free, didn't you?

It isn't.

There may be no fee to the ICO involved, but that doesn't mean there are no costs.

Vic.

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Your Android phone is a SNITCH: Wi-Fi bug makes you easy to track

Vic
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Re: "this means your phone will fall back to the mobile data network while the screen is off...

Pfft, unless (as I do) I keep my phone switched off until I need to use it. My battery has lasted 19 days so far.

I keep the phone switched on, but BT/WiFi/Data switched off unless I'm using it.

I get about 8 or 9 days out of my Galaxy S2 :-)

Vic.

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Use Tor or 'extremist' Tails Linux? Congrats, you're on an NSA list

Vic
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Re: And if I actually USE Linux..........

However, I bet if I setup a linux distro, you'd be in, out, and shaking it all about before I could say "hokey cokey".

Actually, no.

The defaults for *most*[1] distros is to set up for secure operation, and let the admin punch holes in it as he sees fit. As long as you don't take stupid advice from idiots on fora[2], it remains pretty secure.

Windows, although perfectly securable these days, comes with many of the defaults set to "insecure" to make sure that users don't get confronted with any sort of "access denied" errors. That's a shame.

Vic.

[1] Not all. There have been moves to make Linux "friendlier". This invariably makes it a steaming pile of security nightmare in return for a very minor increase in (temporary) user satisfaction.

[2] The most common one is to chmod everything in sight to 777. This makes it writable by everyone - so the immediate errors go away. And it makes your server *trivial* to take over. I've had customers pay me big money to secure their boxes, then *insist* that I 777 everything because they read it from a starnger on a website. I need written instruction to do that...

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If I was exchanging semi secret stuff in the clear, I'd use brainfuck just to mess with them

It would be more effective obfuscation to use Intercal. But the revolution might be somewhat delayed while you got it working...

Vic.

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> Right - I'm contacting my MP and MEP

I spent Wednesday evening in a pub sat next to my (likely) next MP. She kinda impressed me with her superpowers of "listening" and "comprehension".

Then I looked her up on the web and found that she's been caught out telling porkies on her website on a number of occasions. Plus ca change... :-(

Vic.

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UK mobile sales in the toilet: Down by FIVE MILLION this year

Vic
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Re: Is this really a problem?

Do we really need to upgrade every year for a new handset that doesn't differ significantly from what came before?

Yes, you do.

And you need to put your one-year-old, high-end handset on fleabay for £100. Where I will buy it.

Ta muchly!

Vic.

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NHS delivers swift kick to Microsoft's wallet over fee demands

Vic
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Some authorities went with a Fuji solution, others went with Kodak. Nobody specified that the two digital formats had to be compatible - so they're not.

Does mogrify support both formats? What would be the cost to make it so that it does?

Vic.

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Oh SNAP! Old-school '80s Unix hack to smack OSX, iOS, Red Hat?

Vic
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Re: Confused...

It doesn't have to be a root user especially, just a directory in which one has sufficient rights to create a file AND (rather more importantly) some dumb person (with sufficient rights) who is likely not to notice a a file called '-rf *' or whatever before doing some wildcard rm anyway.

But that's not an exploit.

Even if the "-rf *" is interpreted as a file before wildcard expansion (as it is on my shell[1]), all it does is prevent the command from working properly; it doesn't give the file's creator any additional privilege unless it is being executed by some sort of command processor - i.e. the root user needs to type "python *" or something eequally idiotic.

In short, this can only catch out users with elevated privilege and not the slightest clue what they are doing. And there are easier ways to pwn them than this...

Vic.

[1] As follows :-

[vic@perridge wc_test]$ ls -l

total 4

-rw-rw-r--. 1 vic vic 0 Jul 4 11:05 foo

-rw-rw-r--. 1 vic vic 4 Jul 4 11:05 -rf *

[vic@perridge wc_test]$ rm -rf *

rm: invalid option -- ' '

Try `rm ./'-rf *'' to remove the file `-rf *'.

Try `rm --help' for more information.

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Re: dot and slash

The simple truth is, anyone with high-privilege access essentially owns the system at worst, the entire network at more worst. Hence, the story is nonsense fluff that warns about excessive privilege granting.

Exactly what I was thinking. Requiring root privilege to create a root escalation is a null problem - if you've already got the power, you don't need to nick it.

If you did want to exploit a temporary grant of root privilege, it would be a lot easier to copy /bin/bash to your home directory & then setuid it...

Vic.

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Windows 7, XP and even Vista GAIN market share again

Vic
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Re: Still asking why (anything post XP)

Little can bring a system to its needs quicker (ha) than multiple competing applications all running their own update check process every time the system starts

Microsoft could trivially - and perfectly legally - port yum or similar to Windows and get it adopted as the way to do software updates.

This would give Windows much of the update ease we G/L types crow about. It would also give users a single interface to find out what software is on their machines, what is out of date, and a method to update it.

It amazes me that they haven't done so...

Vic.

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