* Posts by Dr. Mouse

1228 posts • joined 22 May 2007

Debian 6: Have your Debian and eat your Ubuntu too

Dr. Mouse
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I'm not sure...

exactly what you mean by this, but Debian has been able to upgrade in place for a long time.

I normally specify the version name (e.g. etch/lenny/squeeze/sid) in my repository sources, to make sure I don't accidentally upgrade, but if you specify "stable" then, when a new version comes out, all you need to do is "apt-get dist-upgrade" and it will upgrade everything*. All it would need is a reboot (or kexec) to load the new kernel and you are away. It's one of the things I have always loved about Debian, and why I run all servers on it (when I have the choice).

*When I say everything, there are occasions when it doesn't work, for example a package has been dropped from the new release. It sometimes needs a bit of care to do this, so doing a dry-run first is a good idea, as well as checking there are no configuration changes needed.

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Watson? Commercial – not super – computer

Dr. Mouse
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Please...

Either structure your equations in an easily -understandable way or use brackets.

So, do you mean:

194 = ( 4e6 / 14 ) * ( 4.2 / 3600 )

or:

194 = ( 4e6 / (24 * 4.2) ) / 3600 = 4e6 / ( 24 * 4.2 * 3600 )

or even:

194 = ( 4e(6/24) * 4.2 ) / 3600

I know I could figure it out by working through the calculation myself, but why should I?

Sorry, rant over. It just riles me when people don't make their equations or calculations clear, especially in programming (I know the orders of precedence are set in stone for a particular language, but a few brackets make the thing SO much easier to read!)

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Google opens curtain on 'manual' search penalties

Dr. Mouse
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Yep

I used to HATE that with a passion. For many search terms you had to go to page 3+ to find anything which was not a price comparison. An attempt to find the support page for a laptop, for instance, required me to try 6 different queries before it appeared on page 1, and then right at the bottom.

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Fifa, Uefa lose free-to-view footie challenge

Dr. Mouse
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Good for the most part

I am not into football at all. When the World Cup was on last, a reversal happened: it was my girlfriend forcing me to watch the footy. So I don't particularly care about this WRT football.

What I am into is Formula 1. I can see a day when this ends up on Sky Sports. At that point I will be faced with a problem.

I don't mind paying to watch it. What I do mind is having to pay for all the other stuff (football etc.) that's shown on Sky JUST to watch my F1. I don't want to watch ManU play Arsenal or whatever else, just F1, but I would be forced to subscribe to the Sports package and shell out a big chunk of my hard-earned just to see the one sport I am interested in.

I am sure many people would be prepared to pay to watch the sports they want, but don't want to pay for those they will never watch.

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Sarkozy: Microsoft represents all that is great about France

Dr. Mouse
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Joke

Or to Microsoft...

calling them a bunch of "Cheese-eating surrender monkeys"

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Watchdog turns a blind eye to Danish fu*king

This post has been deleted by a moderator

Gov will pay £2.25m compo to ID card suppliers

Dr. Mouse
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Hmmm...

The people who bought a card knew a different govt would scrap them, and knew they would not be compensated if that happened.

The companies involved also knew a different govt would scrap them, so ensured they would not be out of pocket by putting clauses in the contract to cover this eventuality.

To give you an example, I once took a 6-month contract with a company the other end of the country. To do this, I rented a flat, which required a 6-month lease. When negotiating my contract with the company, I made them put in a clause which would cover paying out the landlord if they got rid of me before the 6-month period. These clauses are fairly standard throughout business.

However, in this case I see a more sinister reasoning. Blunket negotiates a large cancellation clause as insurance for himself. He knows Labour is unlikely to win the next election. When they loose, and the next govt decides to scap the project, he can point out how much money the govt is spending just to get out of the contracts, quietly ignoring how much money will be saved by doing so.

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Fort Wayne officials refuse to slap Harry Baals on public building

Dr. Mouse
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So funny :)

"The city had thrown open the choice of moniker for its latest erection to the people"

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Firefox 4 goes to 11 (betas)

Dr. Mouse
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DNT header not useless...

...but it's only a start.

I think the main point of this is that it provides a starting point for a possible legal case.

In this situation, a person has turned on the DNT header, then (somehow) discovers that he is still being tracked.

In every transaction with every server, he is specifically telling the server "I do not give permission for you to track me". This is clear and direct. If the server ignores this, it is like a company ignoring the "don't use my details for marketing" tick-box on an application form. Therefore, a legal case may be able to be brought, which in turn would allow a precedent to be set (one way or the other).

The danger is that people may assume this header is being used by everyone straight away and give a false sense of security.

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Big stink over Malawi farting ban

Dr. Mouse
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Coat

Whoever said the rhyme...

... did the crime (quite literally!)

Mine's the one with the sound-proofing and air-tight seal.

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BOFH: There's no 'I' in team, but there's a 'u' in suck

Dr. Mouse
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He's back!

I was getting withdrawal symptoms!

Cheers Simon, top notch!

(I! seem! to! have! come! over! all! Yahoo! today!)

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ISPs and Vaizey set to bump heads over default porn filter

Dr. Mouse
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Beg to differ...

"It's got nothing to do with raising kids, or abrogating responsibility, and everything to do with being sensible. How many people use premium rate services as a proportion of the population ?"

I would say this has nothing to do with the argument.

Any "filtering" system which blocks access to legal content of any kind should be opt-in.

If you wish to have premium-rate numbers blocked on your phone, it should be up to you to ask for it. If you wish to have internet porn blocked on your connection, you should set it up. If you do not want your little girl playing with Barbie dolls because they "promote an unhealthy body image" (or some such reason), don't lobby the toy shop to stop selling them or place them in an out-of-the-way corner, it's not your place to dictate to others.

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ICO drops BT, ACS Law probe

Dr. Mouse
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It's true

I do wish people, especially tech rags like El Reg, would stop saying they were hacked. I can understand it from the tabloids, but come on, the Register is supposed to be written and read by those who know what they are talking about.

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Republican reps push for mandatory gun ownership

Dr. Mouse
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Very similar...

I believe many states in the US do the same, but in the UK it is mandatory to have insurance if you drive a vehicle on the road. I see no problem in this. I sometimes wince (especially recently) at the prices I am forced to pay, but in the end I agree with the reasoning behind the rules, and would prefer this system to having to take people to court to claim back the damage they cause to my vehicle (or me) by their carelessness.

I know there is a difference. Nobody is forced to own a car, so you have a "choice" (although not much of one when the only other option would be 5 trains and 2 buses to get to work, taking approx 4 hours each way). But having a mandatory health insurance will not only lead to benefits to society (less people dying of curable illnesses just because they can't afford treatment), but should also lead to lower insurance premiums.

I'm just glad I live in a country where I don't have to worry about this. The NHS has it's faults, but it's better than the alternatives (IMHO)

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Mexico demands apology for Top Gear outrage

Dr. Mouse
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Fair and Ethical Comedy...

There is only one fair and ethical way to do comedy:

Either everything is fair game or nothing is.

If you are going to take the mick out of Christians, you should be prepared to take the mick out of Jews, Buddhists, Muslims and all other religious groups. If you are going to take the mick out of the Germans, you should be prepared to do the same for the French, Americans, British, Mexicans and any other nationality. If you are not prepared to do so, or at least accept others doing so, you should never have made the first joke.

The same goes for laughing at those jokes: If you find one funny, you should not be offended by another.

I just wish Top Gear could find a way to loose it's "factual" status. It is a comedy, centred around the banter between the hosts, with a few cars thrown in. As Clarkson said at an awards show recently, there hasn't been a fact on Top Gear for years.

And, as with any comedy: If you are easily offended, don't watch it.

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UK.gov braces for Anonymous hacklash

Dr. Mouse
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@ Matt Bryant

Oh, one more thing:

'Sorry, but that's just the get-out clause of all anarchists and extremeists - "what I'm doing is for your own good and you'd know that if only you weren't so oppressed/stupid"'

This is not what I was saying. Your previous post seemed to imply that people were "wasting their time" holding to beliefs unless they could convince a majority to support their ideals. This should not be the case. Everyone is entitled to both hold to beliefs and to try to convince others, should they choose to, so long as it is done correctly. As I said, if one person feels strongly about something, and nobody opposes it, why should their view be disregarded?

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Dr. Mouse
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@ Matt Bryant

Most of your points are well made, and I even agree with most of them. But I must point out, I did not call you a fascist. I said that particular comment was authoritarian. I should probably not even have mentioned it, although I was merely pointing out that it bordered on a fascist point of view, in my own personal opinion.

Added to which, I so not see it as a personal attack. Even true fascists are both entitled to their opinion and entitled to voice that opinion.

And no, I am not part of Anonymous, and for the most part I disagree with their methods. I was merely standing up for the right to protest and the right to hold a set of beliefs, even if you are in the minority, which your previous post seemed to be outright against.

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Dr. Mouse
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Security testing

I downloaded it to test the new DDoS defences I was putting in place. Simples.

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Dr. Mouse
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@ Matt Bryant

Although you do have a couple of good points within your post, I find the views one-sided and rather authoritarian.

Let us start with this:

QUOTE: ".....Independent party - With our FPTP voting system? Please....." Yes, it's called democracy, also known as the will of the majority. If your ideas are such hokum that you cannot raise even a percent of the populance to support you then it should be a very indicator to you that you are talking male bovine manure.

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The point is that even if your ideas can raise a percent of votes within the UK populace, you will not gain a seat in parliament. 1% equates to about 6 seats, but you will be unlikely to gain even one, unless all your support is concentrated in a few constituencies. This is the reason for the unfairness of the FPTP system, and is the reason smaller parties, though having a fair amount of support from the voters, have no say in parliament. So what is the point of starting your own party?

By the way, this would probably not change even under the AV system. We would need a real PR system to redress this.

QUOTE: "......There's a reason there's a long history of direct action protest." There's also a long list of minority groups that tried to force their views on the majority by direct action, such as the Animal Liberation Front and CND, and they usually fail. We still have hamburgers and Trident. It's that democracy thing - no matter how much you think your idea is The Unvarnished Truth, unless you can convince a large portion of the electorate to your beliefs then you're wasting your time. Should you get upset at the lack of support and go for "direct action" and commit a criminal act, all you will do is portray yourself to that majority as criminals and further erode any support. The Anonyputzs should have stuck to themes that had support amongst many, such as their attacks on the Scientologists, but now they just look like petulant skiddies being led by the nose by the self-serving Assange.

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While I agree that some groups go too far, any member of the public should have the right to protest against that which he feels is unjust, whether a large group with thousands of people's support, or just you on your own.

All protests, even peaceful protests, cause some form of damage. If a group of protesters congregates outside a supermarket, protesting their use of battery-farmed chickens, it causes damage to:

* The supermarket, in lost custom, damaged reputation etc

* The UK Government, in the form of policing costs

* Nearby businesses, once again from lost custom

* Other citizens trying to use the area, who will at least be impeded in trying to access the supermarket.

Yet this is an accepted form of protest.

A DDoS could be thought of in the same way. Yes, there will be collateral damage, but the main aim is to prevent access to a particular server. It may cause problems for other sites, but it should not cause permanent damage (on it's own), and can be seen in the same light. (N.B., I am not saying I agree, just that it could be seen in this light)

However, back to a specific point you made:

"unless you can convince a large portion of the electorate to your beliefs then you're wasting your time"

Whether or not this is true could be debated, but the fact is it shouldn't be the case.

Most people do not care either way about anything which does not directly affect them, or at least not enough to do anything about it. But if 1 person in the entire country supports an idea, and nobody opposes it, then why should that person's view be ignored? That person's idea is as valid as anyone else's, and without opposition should be viewed as a strong case (100% of people with an opinion about it are in favour).

Peacefull protest is a legitimate way to publicise your idea, and should be allowed. Without it, it would be very easy for governments to hide opposition to their ideas, and present a face of country wide support for a widely unpopular idea.

Oh, one last thing:

"The Anonyputzs should have stuck to themes that had support amongst many, such as their attacks on the Scientologists, but now they just look like petulant skiddies being led by the nose by the self-serving Assange."

Not only is this a very authoritarian (or even fascist) point of view in my oppinion, but the way you have worded it does not portray you in a very good light. When a debate deteriorates to name-calling and personal attacks, it has lost it's way. I am not saying you are wrong, but you damage your own side of the argument with comments such as these.

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UK tech retailers are rubbish

Dr. Mouse
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RE: Just like Tesco

Gotta agree.

When I was in 6th form, I worked at the local Asda. We were always told to take a customer to the product if they asked where it was, rather than just point it out.

One day on elderly gentleman asked me where he could find the Calgon. It was accross the other side of the store, so on the way, I enquired why he wanted a water softener when he lived in a soft water area. He had just seen the adverts, and wanted his washer to last longer.

After a brief explanation, he agreed that he didn't need them, and carried on with his shopping.

Later that day, my boss collared me. The gentleman in question had stopped him and praised my efforts, something which would normally have earned me a pat on the back. Instead it earned me a bollocking for stopping a customer spending money.

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Harder to read = easier to recall

Dr. Mouse
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The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits

"When asked how they felt about the teaching materials, and if they'd be happy to use them again, the pupils showed no preference for the clearer fonts."

This could be modified for any given situation.

"When asked how they felt about the <INSERT SUBJECT>, and if they'd be happy to use them again, the pupils showed no preference for the <INSERT ONE OF THE CHOICES>."

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Fit your old MacBook Air with turbo flash, bitchslap the new ones

Dr. Mouse
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Thumb Up

LOL

I missed that

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ICO waves stick at climate boffins over FoI compliance

Dr. Mouse
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Hmm...

"Maybe I should just have a personal e-mail and use that for work purposes as well, and then this becomes pointless?"

I'm fairly sure this would be against "company" policy in most cases.

I don't have it to hand, but our own policy basically says all company comms must go through company channels. So using your personal email for sending/receiving work emails is not allowed.

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Councils show true grit in the face of ... FOI requests

Dr. Mouse
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But...

"In fact I would say that democracy requires transparency to be really effective."

Who said we were living in a democracy?

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Microsoft ARMs Windows for iPad assault (allegedly)

Dr. Mouse
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Joke

RE: Available does not mean usable

"I had the chance of playing with Windows on Power at some point in the 90-es. Average uptime - 2h. This probably says it all."

Sounds pretty good for Windows!

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MEGA DINO-WHALE from 'Valley of the Whales' exhibited

Dr. Mouse
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Damnit!

You beat me to it! Erm...

You got in there first... No, not much better

I can't think of a phrase without innuendo!

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Anonymous hackers' Wikileaks 'infowar' LATEST ROUNDUP

Dr. Mouse
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Coffee/keyboard

Classic

"Register management, having witnessed the disasters befalling other online organisations which have angered Anonymous, would like to point out that Lewis Page is an unimportant, low-paid employee who is in no way representative of the Reg as a whole. Only a certain misguided sympathy for his cripplingly expensive alcoholism and many other personal problems has led to his continued employment, and they would ask that this charitable impulse not be punished too harshly."

You owe me a new keyboard

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PARIS concocts commemorative cocktail

Dr. Mouse
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Classic old geek...

How's about a recursive acronym?

PARIS Alcoholic Refreshment Is Sweet!

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Police back ends must be slimmed, says Home Sec

Dr. Mouse
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Yep

My brother is a mechanic and used to work at a VW dealership. They often had cop cars in for work doing. I don't know whether it was ALL work on the car, or what sort of deal the cops got on it, but I do remember my bro telling me how much fun it was cause of all the "extras" he could play with on it :)

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Apache loses Java showdown vote to Oracle

Dr. Mouse
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Well D'UH!

"Oracle - despite its talk of community and of moving on - will be seen as pushing a roadmap that serves Oracle's interests more than those of anybody else"

Oracle is a large corporate entity.

Large corporate entities want to create shareholder value (in fact it is their obligation).

Shareholder value does not come from being nice, but by putting their own interests before anyone else's.

I really don't understand why anyone is surprised at this.

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NASA to make MAJOR ALIENS REVELATION this week

Dr. Mouse
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I didn't say it

I just thought it... :P

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Those govt cuts - slasher horror or history-changing brilliance?

Dr. Mouse
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The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

"Unfortunately, this logic will fall on deaf ears for all those people who don't look further than the time since the last election. Shame, 'cos it might mean we're doomed to be stuck on this merry-go-round forever."

This is one of the strongest arguments for Proportional Representation (and NO, the AV system is NOT PR).

It slows the swings in power, stopping the radical shifts in policy seen under a FPTP system.

No, it doesn't produce "strong governments" in the way this country is used to. The majority of the time it results in coalition governments, as this one, where parties are forced to compromise and work together.

But it stops the horrible Labour-Tory swings that happen in this country, which end up with Labour overspending but helping the country to grow, and then the Tories cleaning up the mess they left behind but stifling growth. It presents more stable governments, as shifts from one ideology to another happen gradually, and this allows the government to take a longer-term view of the situation.

Of course, it also lets the public feel they have more influence, as their votes all count, unlike the current system where many feel there is no point voting for their chosen candidate, as one or two parties have such strong support in their area that a vote for anyone different will make no difference.

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Dr. Mouse
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Cheers Tim

That's a nice, well balanced opinion piece there. Highly unusual these days. No propaganda, fearmongering etc, just your interpretation of the facts. Thank you.

My own personal opinion is that there is a good chance the govt's plans will work. It will be shit for a few years, but we will come out of it stronger. My opinion of the Labour plan is that it would also have a good chance of working, and the conditions would be slightly better for those few years, but the shit would last for longer. I would prefer the former, and I hope it does work...

I know it makes no difference to what we do now, but when it comes to blame, I lay the majority at the door of the previous govt. They treated the boom they were living in as normal conditions, didn't save the extra money they were bringing in, and left us in the situation where, once the recession kicked in, we didn't have the money to continue. Pure good sense says you save in the good times so you have money for a rainy day, but the storm's came, and the piggy bank was empty.

Just my opinion. I can't name sources (cause I can't remember where it all came from), but I have read enough info about this (from both sides as well as "impartial" sources) to be relatively informed.

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Royal Wedding: Prince Charles is a ZX81, Wills is an iPad

Dr. Mouse
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Wouldn't it be...

PILF?

She's not a queen yet, but I think she'll a Princess when she marries Bill.

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Dr. Mouse
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Coffee/keyboard

QOTD!

Sir, I nominate you for Quote of the Day (if not year)!

<- At least, that is, when you buy me a new keyboard...

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Giffgaff says some subscribers yakked for 9 days a month

Dr. Mouse
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Really?

I use a lot of data on giffgaff, for a phone user anyway. Say, 2GB/month at the top end. I have never had so much as a warning.

One thing I know people have been kicked off for is tethering, which is against the T&Cs. They do look for unusual usage patterns. I don't really see how you could do more than 2GB/mo on a phone without tethering.

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Democratic phone network turns dictatorial

Dr. Mouse
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I must say...

... the main thing I would be upset about would be if I had "sold" giffgaff to a friend on the back of the £30 goodybag.

I have recently switched to giffgaff, and I never really thought it was run by us. They save costs by having the community provide support and sales/advertising, and they do canvas opinion on the forums, but ultimately they will make the decisions.

I am perfectly happy with them. They save me a lot of money, and just a small amount of time spent helping people in the forums can make you a fair amount of money in "payback". And, as it's pay as you go, there's no contract. If you find a better deal, you can switch at any time.

I must add that, AFAIK, the free data you are refering to which will end soon is free for everyone, and isn't unlimited. They will still be including free unlimitted data in "goodybags" (bundles) over £10. (This is what I have been told. If I'm wrong, I'll be jumping ship when it does... my Android phone gobbles data, unless you disable it... but whats the point of a Droid phone without data connection?)

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Did UK.gov break the law with its child database?

Dr. Mouse
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Thanks

Cheers for that, Jane

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Dr. Mouse
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Maths?

I may be wrong, and it may be due to rounding errors, but you state that the number of people able to access the info would be 25% higher than originally stated. However, the numbers are 300k and 400k which, if exact, would give a 33% increase.

Any chance of a clarification?

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Elon Musk vs NASA and the US rocket industry - ding ding!

Dr. Mouse
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Deception Point

Having only just finished reading Deception Point last night, I find the appearance of this article today rather a coincidence...

(by the way, fantastic book, well worth the read)

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Hacker unshackles Kinect from Xbox

Dr. Mouse
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Not quite...

MS realised that the Wii controller was a step change in how people can control games.

The Kinect will be used for other games, eventually, including "big lad's" games. Imagine playing a FPS with it, it'll be a big change to get used to but will be a lot of fun. I can also imagine it just being a step down the road, although I can't yet imagine what the next step will be...

As for the article: Good news about the search for a hack. It could be VERY useful in grown-up scenarios. Even something as simple as controlling your HTPC with a few gestures. This tech is wasted on a games console!

This is just like the PS3: an incredibly powerful piece of kit... just for playing games? Nah, lets buy a ****-load of them and make a supercomputer!

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Dr. Mouse
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Dunno, but I can guess...

I guess it's like the PS3: They subsidise it, and make their money back in the games. If it's hacked to work on the PC, they won't make their money back, so they make a loss on each one sold for a purpose other than intended.

That said: Tough shit Microsoft (and Sony)

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Asda prices up Elonex 7in Android tablet

Dr. Mouse
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Also,

try using a capacitive screen with gloves on.

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MYSTERY of vanished PARIS spaceplane, playmonaut

Dr. Mouse
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Paris Hilton

Latest update

Just seen on Tw@tter

"Vulture 1 recovered intact. Completely intact. Playmonaut safe and sound."

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Dr. Mouse
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Paris Hilton

Sacrilege!!!

See title

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PARIS HAS LANDED!!! Epic supra-atmos flight ends

Dr. Mouse
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Where are they going?

They seem to have got lost in San Martin de Whateveritis, turned round, then decided to go for a joy ride, completely forgetting where they are aiming for. By my reckoning they should have turned left about 3 miles ago.

They been at the celebratory vino a little early? Or just as good at navigating as my mother (who often mixes up left and right, and has thrown the map out of the car window on the motorway before)?

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Vulture One PARIS spaceplane telemetry LIVE ONLINE

Dr. Mouse
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Paris Hilton

Looks like she's down

See title

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Prosecutors prep decision on BT-Phorm case

Dr. Mouse
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RE: Stealth: Intent to Avoid Being Detected

Actually, AFAIK "intent" in this case is "They intended to do something", and that something was against the law.

This does not mean they "intended to break the law".

Ignorance of the law is no defence. It can be used in mitigation at sentencing, to reduce the sentence if they were unaware something was illegal.

The facts of the case: They DID break the law. They did not think they were breaking the law (having received home office guidance saying it was OK), but that doesn't change the fact that they broke it.

DISCLAIMER: IANAL, so I may be wrong, but I believe what I have said is correct.

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New pocket-sized smartbomb - just for killer robots

Dr. Mouse
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Flame

Religious intolerance and misinterpretation.

'Is this the same chap who actually wrote ... to "Kill the unbelievers wherever you find them"'

I am not a Muslim (nor a follower of any religion), but it is taking passages such as this in ALL religious texts out of context which has cause so much war and death throughout the world. I do not have time to research this fully, but I hope someone who actually knows the Qu'ran comes on here to explain the context.

Take a passage from the King James version of the Bible, for instance.

Numbers 31:17-18

"Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves."

This appears to be advocating killing women and male children, and raping little girls. Does the bible really say this is OK? No, when taken as a whole, the Bible, and most other religious texts prohibit murder and rape.

Yes, there are some in EVERY religion who use it as an excuse to be dicks to each other, but that does not make the religion bad. It makes people bad, and we know this already.

So sod off with your intolerant, ill-informed view of the Islamic faith! It is people like you who take things to extremes and perpetuate wars, hatred, persecution and misery throughout the centuries!

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Google slips $3.1bn through 'Double Irish' tax loophole

Dr. Mouse
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Not so

"Tax avoidance is just tax evasion that hasn't been found out yet."

Tax avoidance is using legal loopholes to pay less tax. Most of these loopholes are known by the govt. Therefore they have already been found out, but what they are doing is perfectly legal.

Tax evasion is, basically, just not paying the taxes you owe. This is NOT legal.

I am not saying it is right, moral or just. I am saying there is a distinct difference. If the govt wants to, they can introduce legislation to close the loophole. They (effectively) endorse tax avoidance (glad I proof read this, I initially wrote 'evasion' here) by not closing the loopholes.

Many people avoid tax by legal means, for example setting up a limited company, taking minimum wage for them and their spouse, and then taking the rest in dividends avoiding national insurance and higher rate income tax. If you found a way to pay less tax on your wage, would you not do so?

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