44 posts • joined Wednesday 9th May 2007 15:26 GMT
Stephen Fry responds to Andrew Orlowski. Ouch.
For the (I suspect) three people who have both bothered to read this far through the comments and haven't yet seen this:
Your call Andrew.
Re: Eloi Cam
@Anonymous Coward "replace with a static photo, of, say, Mr Huggers." Heh! :-D
Intel marketers: "As for our potential customers, a third feel crushed by current level of surveillance economy pwnership and so will just shrug and meekly go along, another third think that allowing a business to surveil their family in their living room is a fair exchange for a more convenient login process, the last third will think they'll be able to circumvent this with a piece of gaffer tape, not stopping to think that we might ever restrict available content based upon what the camera can see. They're in no condition to resist".
OK, it may be the world's most security challenged operating system, but...
...at least after installing you can fire up the package manager and download your favourite apps!
How about before we hand over Gary, you stop spewing pr0n and spam?
The comments above make it sound as if our relationship with the US is a one-way street. Not so. Don't forget, we receive about 90% of the world's spam from the USA and, IIRC, the country is also responsible for a similar proportion of global Internet pornography output.
I look forward to the day when the US government puts as much effort into convicting those responsible for filling millions of childrens' inboxes with hard-core pornography, as they have done in securing the extradition of a naughty, UFO-hunting nerd. How about it Yanks? instead of spending millions going after a symbolic geek in a futile attempt at saving face, how about putting more resource into tracking down those holding the firehoses that shower your allies with filth and garbage 24/7?
Oh, and if we need any more perspective on Gary McKinnon's crimes and the "damage" he caused the US military, let's not forget this:
Less "information economy" workers, more plumbers, please.
I agree with Dam and Luis Ogando, if someone wants to pull an open trolley with gold jewellery on it through crowded market places on a regular basis, he has no right to insist that the authorities force everyone in the market to wear straightjackets just so that his absurdly nickable product and daft behaviour behaviour remain viable.
That said, I certainly don't condone breaking licence agreements, but fortunately I'm rarely tempted thanks to a combination of running unrestricted software and finding most contemporary music boring.
If you work with software, you'd better start thinking "services" rather than "shrinkwrap". If you just can't adjust to that idea, it's probably advisable to retrain as a plumber, or something similar. You'll earn decent money and you'll be doing something genuinely useful with a long-term future.
Paris, because she understands what happens when you parade your warez on the Internet.
Get ready for regular gratuitous electrocution of citizens
The American experience has shown that Tasers, rather than being employed as a replacement for lethal force, are instead most commonly used as augmentation for batons. We will see thousands of cases where Tasers were used not to protect police officers from gun-wielding crims, but to control and meter out extra-judicial punishment-by-electrocution for citizens who officers find noisy, unruly or simply those that they find irritating.
Here's a wonderful early example from last year:
"Police accused of firing Taser into head of innocent man"
I'm willing to bet that there will be *plenty* more where this came from.
I attended the NUJ rally outside new Scotland Yard last week, and given the stories I heard from journalists and photographers about police behaviour at the "Climate Camp" last year, it's just as well (for those protesting) that they weren't armed with Tasers then.
I hope that the use of Tasers will be one of the issues that is highlighted at this weekend's Convention on Modern Liberty.
Now who's being cynical, eh Jacqui?
Pathetic. Jacqui Boot whining that opposition to the New Authoritarianism and the database state is "Tory rabble rousing". She really needs to get out of Whitehall, take an ideology enema and start mingling with real people again.
A couple of corrections to my comment above.
"Resenting Shuttleworth for starting to deliver on the often-made promises is about as disingenuous as it gets"
Resenting Shuttleworth for starting to deliver on the often-made promises is about as perverse as it gets".
"They don't need to write code to be useful community members"
"They don't need to write code to contribute to the community"
"Personally I expected a billion people"
"Personally I expect a billion people"
As encouraging as recent adoption rates have been, I think we've got a way to go before we see the one billionth Linux desktop user ;)
The "Ubuntu hoards"
Anonymous Cowherd wrote:
"The Ubuntu hoards have really dumbed down the average Linux user"
Good. That means that Canonical are achieving their stated goals. If there's one community that needed to "get out more", it was the echo chamber that was desktop Linux. Listening to the promises over the years was like listening to LibDem party politicals, Linux's breakthrough was always "just around the corner". How many years did we hear that "this will be the year of Linux on the desktop"? It was never going to happen without someone like Shuttleworth and Canonical.
In terms of spreading Linux to the masses, while others delivered posturing and rhetoric, Shuttleworth has delivered new users, millions of them. And in my view, a large part of his success is his approach to less technical users; you'll never hear him spout unhelpful, elitist sentiment like the above.
Resenting Shuttleworth for starting to deliver on the often-made promises is about as disingenuous as it gets. So some of the new users are ungrateful and presumptuous. Frankly, so what? What did you really expect? The overbearing ones will just end up ignored and will sooner or later learn that the only way forward with Free software is by being constructive and pitching in (evangelism, mutual support, financial donations, docs, bug reports, etc. all available to "ordinary" users. They don't need to write code to be useful community members).
Besides, even if one accepts the claim that the masses are ungrateful and clueless, they are forming a critical mass that is clearly causing established industry players to take Linux on the desktop more seriously.
To those who moan about the mentality of the "Ubuntu crowd", pray tell, exactly what was your expectation for mass Linux adoption? Did you really expect a billion people checking code into to an SVN repository on a regular basis? Personally I expected a billion people the majority of whom would use software and knowledge in the public domain to do stuff like browse the Web, check their email, word process a doc, all without being beholden to a proprietary company for the privilege.
Stop moaning already. Your bluff is being called. Did you want wide-spread adoption and mass popularity, or were you just posturing?
"It’s like Appa Sherpa upon returning from Everest dying by falling of a curb."
It's also like surviving a trip over Niagra Falls in a wooden barrel, only to later slip on a piece of orange peel and die.
Anyway, my money's on the meteorite theory.
Permission to land denied?
An anonymous coward wrote:
"There were rumors that Columbia was not "allowed" to land because they did some classified "experiments" whose results would have been (in whatever way) disastrous for earth, at this time."
Err, but Columbia *did* land, albeit in "offnominal" conditions across a large swathe of Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas.
"The world's most dangerous hacker"?
The following article provides a bit of perspective on the claimed damage done by Gary McKinnon's activities. In the light of this, are the US prosecutors really going to persist with claiming that Gary is the "world's most dangerous hacker"?
"I can't help thinking that looking at their stuff from a user's perspective would be a giant leap forward in gaining acceptance by the "average user" and maybe even making linux's share of the desktop something to be proud of."
Pete, isn't that what Ubuntu is for? After all, Ubuntu is an African word meaning "can't be arsed to configure Debian".
Rubber chicken: check, fez: check....
"Londoners can sleep safe in their beds tonight after the London Ambulance Service confirmed that it has no plans whatsoever to migrate to Windows Vista anytime soon."
Presumably because they can't get their existing drivers to work with the operating system?
Will be applying for my liberty permit on Sarturday
The very fact that people are nervous about demonstrating, and are even nervous about using their cameras in front of the police is clear proof (if any more were really needed), that we are indeed entering a very authoritarian era.
I'm going to the events on Saturday and it seriously concerns me that many people clearly feel that the only "safe" way to protest is by using the Internet. If the exercise of our civil liberties depends on being able to access the network, then we really are in trouble and our liberties have effectively been corralled into a place where they can be snuffed out at the throw of a switch.
It should go without saying that the optimal time to object to someone forcing you to wear a straightjacket is *before* they put it on you and start tightening the straps!
On Saturday, I will not be threatening or intimidating anyone, I will not be hurling abuse at the police or rocks at MacDonalds restaurants. I will not be causing trouble in any way (unless "trouble" is now defined as an ordinary, middle-class bloke and his female partner swanning around the capital with a camera and a rucksack containing their packed lunch.)
My seditious activities might, however, stretch to taking a few photographs, but then this isn't North Korea, what's the worst that could happen? /sarcasm.
Hope to see some of you there.
Loving one's captor
Hilarious. Microsoft permit holders claiming that no one else gets it (again) while each offers his own interpretation.
Many did the same thing when Vista was released. One can only assume that they are suffering from a software user equivalent of Stockholm Syndrome.
Wake me up when it's over. Zzzzz
"Amoeba with a blog"? Ooooh! You really feel that criticism and lack of love, don't you Bill?
Grandma apart, desperately unfunny. It's symbolic, Microsoft has nothing to say: no message, no audience, no relevance, no charisma. A creative void and utterly pointless. Thank god they're no longer spending my money on such futility.
@ David Hicks - agreed!
"They may well be, but by joining the torrent swarm you are doing the distributors of linux a favour - you're not directly using their bandwidth or costing them money. They have to pay heavily for hosting their content, and switching from http to torrent (or other swarm/peer based system) makes it just that little bit easier and cheaper to get a small distro out there."
I agree. And it's exactly why I now use torrents whenever possible, to try to meet the distributors half way, so to speak, to help reduce the burden upon them.
As "uncool" as it might be to admit this, like others here, I don't download music, video or other works which I have no right to view via torrents, other P2P apps, or HTTP (or by any other means). I don't want copyrighted data which I have no right to view on my disk, any more than I want proprietary code polluting free/open source software.
Filesharing is a legitimate and perfectly legal activity. It's an important part of Internet functionality and potential. The attempt to make the phrase "filesharing" synonomous with "illegal filesharing" is insidious, an attack on the freedom of network users and is often just a propaganda term, spread by or on behalf of "Big Content".
So BT is an HSP not an ISP
So BT is essentially an HTTP Service Provider and not a true Internet Service Provider.
Bandwidth caps I can sympathize with (provided their existence and nature is made perfectly clear), but discriminating against traffic that uses ports other than 80? Pretending that only Web browsers and email clients matter? That's just Chav Internet. Pros and enthusiasts are going to look for alternatives.
@ Byelection tomorrow
"All it takes is an agent provocateur or two and the MET and kick the crap out of you."
You mean like these three?
Thanks for the heads up. Just added that date to my calendar. I only hope that the black-clad griefers don't start chucking MacDonalds restaurants at the police and ruin it all. This is far too serious for that.
Liberty is so-ooo last century
The deteriorating civil liberties and privacy situation in this country is absolutely awful. And considering that many of those now in power forged their political careers in opposition to the politics of the '80s, what's happening now is almost beyond comprehension. Has an alien race usurped our government and subverted its traditional political views?
Central and local government, the police and other branches of our state are replacing traditional, "humane" relationships with citizens, with surveillance, snooping, spying and wire-tapping. Forget ethics and the expectation of moral behaviour, they're too unreliable (and the government clearly believes, unattainable), we now have TECH! We'll replace all that fuzzy stuff with fining the citizenry by computer each time they drop a sweet wrapper in the wrong recycling bin, fail to renew a licence, or are seen picking their nose in their vehicle within 50 metres of a box junction.
Anyone protests, taze 'em like cattle (that's coming), or else detain them using the powers of the "Terrorism" Act. Just what is happening? Watching this continual loss of liberty is like watching a boa constrictor wait for its prey to breathe out, only to then tighten its coils, and again, and again, and eventually we won't be able to exhale, or inhale any more.
But hey, the government is "consulting the stakeholders" with each click of the ratchet, so it's all OK. Apparently, each time we're asked (funny, no one's ever asked me), we reply "Yeah, fine, tighten the straightjacket a bit more please - and would you like my web access records too?". Still, at least we can alleviate our fears by posting our exasperation on sites like El Reg, thus feeling like we're protesting in a meaningful way. I'm sure someone in a position of influence who can stop this descent into slavery is reading these comments ... aren't they?
To infinity -- and beyond!
The Ubuntu project is going from strength to strength and it's wonderful and heartening to see. It appears to be very targeted and methodical about which areas to concentrate its resource within. If it (together with the greater FOSS community) could just crack the games nut, I think we could realistically start talking about the end of the era of proprietary OS domination (yes, yes, I know...)
Like many, I'm waiting slightly apprehensively to see how the proprietary software players (oh alright, Microsoft) will respond to Canonical's rise. It regularly targets the likes of RedHat and Novell, but Canonical has so far escaped its attentions. Obviously, having fewer commercial offerings helps keep the target small, but I'll be surprised if the big guns aren't trained on it soon.
I don't think FOSS can be beaten ideologically or technologically, but there's still the very real threat of government-corporate partnership measures aimed ostensibly at controlling "copyright piracy" (e.g. measures such as these: http://tinyurl.com/5lheva ) which could easily be employed cynically (or ignorantly) to cause problems for users of non-commercial and non-proprietary software in general.
This I feel is a very real possibility, not least because of the influence of the professional lobbyists working on behalf of IP holders and those that regularly donate large amounts of hardware and commercial software to schools and other worthy recipients. It is clear that such lobbying and other forms of pressure influenced the measures outlined in the document I've linked to above.
We've already seen high-profile examples of both the UK government and police force misusing the powers bestowed upon them by the Terrorism Act. I have little confidence that comparable powers aimed at controlling alleged copyright infringement wouldn't be similarly misused - and such misuse could have serious ramifications for all users of free software.
But anyway I'm digressing, and people are making increasingly animated gestures at me for having ignored the red light on the podium for so long...
Oh, jolly good show!
There's a lot of facetious stuff on El Reg, but you guys/gals have done important work on the Phorm issue. If ever there was an outfit that needed a good journalistic shoeing, it was those Pheckers. Oh, and BT, we won't forget your cynical role in this. What were you thinking??
Tipping hat and raising glass of strong continental lager to El Reg staff as I type this (not simultaneously, obviously, I'm a bloke and I suck at multi-tasking).
I wish I could join in with the excitement...
... but unfortunately my operating system, being free, wasn't supplied with this feature. No joy in the repositories either. Is there a commercial add-on available?
Beer as in three, three as in beer.
I agree with Jon Green above. Calling this a rip-off demonstrates a serious lack of proportionality. The admin, materials, and distribution alone will probably soak up much of that $20.00. As for the amount being a rip-off for 60 days of support, c'mon peeps, again a sense of proportion please, you can't buy three beers in a London pub for that! It's a bargain, however you look at it.
I recently donated five times this amount to Canonical, and I still feel like I'm freeloading (I don't contribute to the code-base). People complaining about Canonical covering their costs are just ungrateful. If Ubuntu (or any other distro/OS) isn't worth $20.00 to you, seriously, don't use it. The community is unlikely to miss you.
Who controls your computer?
@ Frank Thomas
I couldn't agree more. I eventually ditched XP for Ubuntu and haven't looked back. I'm now in control of my machines (and not, as you say, MS, HP, Adobe and the other corporate upgrade and bloatware pushers), These days I run unrestricted computers that don't issue me with 'permits' for the tasks I wish to perform and the tools I wish to use. I've spent the last year and a half learning real skills that in many cases will last for decades as opposed to MS's next marketing campaign or upgrade drive. I've broken out of the proprietary software trap and it feels great; computers are fascinating again!
Any regrets? Perhaps inevitably, games, and one or two industry standard graphics tools. But then that's what consoles and Macs are for, isn't it? (Besides, who has time for games?) ;-)
"The Met recently ran a campaign that pointed a finger of suspicion at photographers. This cannot help but whip up public fear of anyone with a camera."
How absurd! These days *everyone* is a photographer! From 8 year olds to 80 year olds, everyone is snapping away with anything from camera phones through to the high-end DSLRs. Christ, you get digital cameras with petrol and in Chirstmas crackers these days. What will they do when wearable video becomes the norm, or when the first 17 megapixel contact lenses become available? "I'm sorry sir, you'll have to hand over your spectacles - and you, that wi-fi exoskeleton with the eight integrated lenses, come, on, get it off!"
Silly King Cnuts, the lot of 'em.
Plus 1 for the mandatory security training idea
Frederick Karno wrote above:
"It would appear that all government departments need to run an intensive security course and dismiss people who do not comply."
I agree. We live in an information economy & society for gawd's sake. Our politicians and public servants should be obliged to obtain and *demonstrate* a working knowledge of data security technology and practices, together with performance appraisal to ensure that they can not only talk the talk, but are also walking the walk. As we know, security is as much about behaviour as technology.
Despite the fact that we live within an information society and are dependent upon an data-driven economy, we are still being governed by a generation of people many of whom barely understand the difference between hardware and software. Time for a forest fire. If you don't understand encryption and other security-related technologies, if you don't observe best security behavioural pratices, away for re-training with you! If you fail the courses, thanks for your efforts, but this is an information society we're living in here. Here's your (analogue) carriage clock. Next generation please!
Fear not sir, it's password protected!
We received a letter this morning from St Georges Healthcare NHS Trust informing us that details about our son (who recently underwent minor surgery) were among those on laptops recently stolen from St Georges Hospital in South London:
In the light of yet another government data security fiasco, I thought I'd share the following paragraph in the letter with El Reg readers:
"It is our policy to store such data on secure central network drives which saves data away from the hardware of a computer. However, due to a problem with the network drive this data was being stored temporarily on the laptops until the problem was resolved. We have now fixed this issue and we are reinforcing all security measures across the Trust to protect our patients' confidentiality.
As all computers were password protected, only authorised staff who had the correct password could access the data. Therefore, there is only a very small chance that any patient details have been passed on"
It would be interesting to know how long that period of "temporary" storage lasted, wouldn't it?
You had a good run son. You almost made it to 3 years of age before your medical records escaped onto London's trash-strewn streets like so much, errr, trash.
Products vs collaborative projects
@ Doug Glass
"The man whose product has a dismal sales record is telling one of the world's most successful corporations how to run their monopoly and stay afloat."
There, fixed it for you.
It could do with a couple more edits too. Ubuntu is not Mark Shuttleworth's "product". The Ubuntu project's success is not defined by its "sales" (and neither is it defined by how effectively it practices extortion).
Canonical's revenue and the "commercial" question
@Anonymous coward asked "How do they make their money"
This wiki article:
originally written by Mark Shuttleworth a couple of years back, should give you something to go on. I'm surprised this article isn't referred to more often by journalists and commentators as It addresses not only your question, but also many of those commonly asked about Ubuntu. It provides plenty of detail regarding the distribution's essential non-commercial nature, its organizational setup, its public pledges, motivations, funding arrangements, relationship with Debian, and quite a bit more besides, it's quite long!
Whether you're a friend or foe of the project, if you're going to publicly comment and engage in conjecture about Ubuntu, you should really read this first.
For the "commercialism" cynics out there, here's a snippet:
"Will Ubuntu ever demand licence fees or royalties?
No. Never. I have no interest in taking Ubuntu to join the proprietary software industry, it's a horrible business that is boring and difficult, and dying out rapidly anyway. My motivation and goal is to find a way to create a global desktop OS that is *free*, in every sense, as well as sustainable and of a quality comparable to anything you could pay for. That's what I'm trying to do, and if we fail, well then I will go and find some other project to pursue rather than get into the proprietary software business. I don't think any of the core Ubuntu developers, or much of the community, would stick around if I went loony and decided to try the latter, anyhow.
If that isn't enough for you, then you will be happy to know that Canonical has signed public undertakings with government offices to the extent that it will never introduce a "commercial" version of Ubuntu. There will never be a difference between the "commercial" product and the "free" product, as there is with Red Hat (RHEL and Fedora). Ubuntu releases will always be free."
The commercial world's battle to insinuate itself into our every digital transaction continues apace.
I've already paid BT handsomely for my connection to the Internet, thank you. Will *definitely* be saying hasta la vista to them if/when they introduce this.
I feel I should write a letter to BT customer service (perhaps sending a copy to their legal department) demanding to know in unequivocal terms (i.e. not encoded using UTF-marketing-b***ocks) whether or not they have handed over any of my data to Phorm or to any other third party without my knowledge or permission.
Aaron Crane, would you care to share your provider's name? (You might want to provide some "affiliate" details, if you have any, for I suspect you'll be drumming up a significant amount of new business for them).
For all BT's faults (no pun), I never expected them to exploit their customers in this way. As for Phorm, it's going to be a case of "talk to the Adblock Plus".
Oh, and another thing, what's the difference between flogging "anonymized" HTTP data and "anonymized" voice data? That is, how long before the latter is also contemplated (or admitted to)?
And finally.. would be very interested to hear the opinion of anyone with legal training comment on the data protection points raised by The Mole in his/her comment above.
Don't forget to keep taking your vitamin supplements
While I've no problem with vegetarianism (although I'm not a vegetarian myself), the nutritional attitudes and behaviour of the vegans I've known has more closely resembled a type of obsessive-compulsive disorder, than a rational philosophy.
As for health and longevity, if that is a key goal just eat plenty of fish.
Besides, as some wag once wrote,
"There is not a single pleasure in life worth forgoing in order to obtain another couple of years in some Weston-super-Mare care home".
Microsoft consultants have done their work well
All credit to Dr John Pugh for raising this matter in such a public fashion.
As others have said above, what matters in terms of standards compliance, cross-browser compatibility and accessibility is the nature of the content served up to the user's browser, not the back-end systems used to generate that content. Whether proprietary or open source, custom built or off-the-shelf, any server-side content generating system worth its weight will be able to pump out standards-based Web content. If it can't, the people responsible for implementing it should be summarily fired.
Any use of Microsoft-only components should, in my utterly humble opinion, be regarded as clear evidence of incompetence and/or corruption within public sector IT procurement. There is no excuse for including IE-only components or content on the pages of publicly-accessible web applications. For the government to be locking up public information within proprietary formats is unforgiveable. Perfectly good, standards-based and open alternatives exist. And why even describe standards-based delivery as an 'alternative'? It should morally be the default choice.
On the subject of security, some of the most secure systems on the planet are built entirely using open source tools and languages. Does Angela Eagle even know this I wonder? She ought to be hauled in front of a committee of inquiry in order to explain her "Some open source projects cannot meet our needs for quality or security, and we are not prepared to compromise on those" remark!
Campus cynicism is so
TimeTraveller, well said sir/madam. I wanted to write something very similar but just didn't have the energy to have to deal with mentality of many of those above.
As for the glib commenters who seem to delight in the statistical liklihood that it will be someone else and not them who gets cut apart by the next successful nail bomb, hiding behind odds is not moral, wise or brave. Will any of you have the courage to face the families of the inevitable dead and maimed and express your mocking cynicism to them, telling them how 'death happens, so get over it', or will you just wait 18 months for it all to simmer down and start anew the whole process of ridiculing and pouring scorn upon those whose jobs it is to remain vigilant? Hang on, I'll answer that for you, you'll all take the latter course of action.