* Posts by Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

229 posts • joined 21 Oct 2019


Hate speech row: Fine or jail anyone who calls people boffins, geeks or eggheads, psychology nerd demands

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: Context

Does the right you assert complement the misspelling of compliment? That atrocity features more than once in this page, including the post up to which you followed.

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: these terms are "divisive and humiliating,"


I think she's missed the point completely. Hate speech happens when you use a derogatory term to put down an 'other' group. Words like 'Remoaner' should need no explanation. Or 'Patriarchy' from the supremacist wing of the Feminist agenda.

On the other hand, perhaps there's another point in there re: the weaponisation of Offence. I was rather bemused by the plebgate nonsense, having described myself as a pleb for as long as I can remember. After all, it's factually indisputable.

Of course context matters. Any of these words should be just fine used in a context (such as academic discussion) where it's clear there is no prejudice or hatred, no divisive "us vs them".

FUSE for macOS: Why a popular open source library became closed source and commercially licensed

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: @AC - I understand where the dev is coming from but ....

Two answers to that.

One, it's nowhere near your claim of GPL code being derivative of BSD code and causing problems for the latter. Unless you're going to claim something about MySQL's heritage?

Two, the issue I mentioned was one of ASF policy never to distribute code whose licence is in any way more restrictive than Apache's own. So we arrived at a point where Apache could bundle a generic SQL interface with drivers for open source (eg PostgreSQL), closed source (e.g. Oracle) and for third-party standards (e.g. ODBC), but a MySQL driver could only be distributed by a third-party. The effect of the FOSS exception was to permit the MySQL driver to be distributed under the Apache Licence, and thus by Apache itself, so lowering the barriers to adoption.

See here for the Debian angle on it (a few months later, the ASF accepted it under the FOSS exception too). And further down the thread, a more serious problem (also here - it didn't go away from non-Debian user-land just because Debian dealt with it) having nothing to do with licencing.

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: Licence

It worked so well for MySQL they got bought out for (from memory) two billion dollars. I'd be well-pleased if my startup had been half as successful.

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: @AC - I understand where the dev is coming from but ....

Some serious nonsense there.

Citations needed on subjects like adverse effects on BSD code.

Oh, and I think I can claim some authority on the subject. It was my work, and discussions over licensing it with folks at Apache, Debian and MySQL, that led to MySQL's FLOSS exception to the GPL (back when MySQL was still an independent company), which in turn eventually led to the Universal FOSS Exception (though I only just now found out about the latter).

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: Licence

Someone already mentioned MySQL, which is one of the most famous projects to take advantage of GPL copyleft. If you want to distribute it, either you contribute back your changes (participate in the open source community) or you buy a commercial licence.

And GPL has a track record that includes being enforced in courts. I'm not sure that applies to any of the attempts to write a licence that says "free for non-commercial use". Such clauses can beg questions like defining non-commercial use, and are sometimes associated with unrealistic expectations.

Wham, bam, thank you scram button: Now we have to go all MacGyver on the server room

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Isn't molly-guard the usual term for such protection, when this story appears in this column?

The trains have had "in emergency break glass" hammers for as long as I can remember, but they're well-protected against accidental access.

I think my personal nearest to this anecdote is leaning on the wall in an overcrowded conference room.

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change
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Re: Coathangers are handy.

Long and short of it, we had a $TELCO tech out 45 minutes after I hung up the phone.

Good for you.

Brits can only dream of that kind of response from Openreach. Let alone from Virgin's Kafka-inspired castle.

Cops storm Nginx's Moscow offices after a Russian biz claims it owns world's most widely used web server, not F5

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Yes, nginx was always free software. The company nginx was set up to support it on a similar business model to Redhat with Linux, or Covalent with Apache.

Indeed, you can see other commonality. Just as certain Silicon Valley bigcos have packaged and supported Apache, so Taobao has its own nginx-derivative tengine. Fully API-compatible but with some extra goodies the Taobao folks wanted. I expect there's two-way traffic between the two, though until nginx backports tengine's support for loadable modules, the latter has the edge as a developer platform.

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: Prior Art

I didn't say interchangeable, just that they have common roots. Though they are indeed sufficiently similar that pretty-much anything from Apache 1.3 just needs "changing the plug" to port to nginx.

In fact nginx is probably closer to Apache 1.3 than either of them is to Apache 2.x, but that's because of the different directions the servers have taken, with Apache 2 having added things like its more sophisticated filtering, database connection pooling, etc.

Yes, some of it is entirely different: nginx was way ahead of apache in adopting an event-driven core processing model (which may well have been Syseov's #1 motivation for a new server). But if you want to make an IP claim, you'd have to figure out what's new vs what's adopted from elsewhere. I was wondering whether Rambler has undertaken that not-inconsiderable task.

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Prior Art

There's a family tree of mainstream open-source webservers. There's a common grandparent (NCSA) and parent (Apache 1.x) to three modern children. Apache 2 (obviously), but also both lightppd and nginx have deep roots in earlier NCSA/Apache. They took common roots in different directions: Apache 2 focussed more on making itself a versatile applications platform, while lightppd and more successfully nginx concentrated on a high-performance core on the premise that applications would be separated out - for example in PHP.

Even today after so many years of divergence, common roots become abundantly clear from the respective APIs if you write modules for these servers.

I wouldn't want to belittle Syseov's own work and the value he added, but in the best traditions of open source (among other things) he was standing on the shoulders of giants. I wonder if Rambler has done (or even attempted) the groundwork to identify IP that can be attributed to Syseov rather than prior art?

The underlying issue - an employer's claim over an employee's work - is one that's been widely known and guarded against in Open Source since the 1990s. For example, the ASF requires legal consent on file from both contributors and their employers before contributors can be granted commit privileges.

Why is the printer spouting nonsense... and who on earth tried to wire this plug?

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: The user replied: "The same electrician who changed that plug rewired my house last week!"

I've a creeping suspicion that's who wired my house.

Turning the radio on or off in the office room causes my desktop 'puter to wake from suspend! And it's not even plugged into the same power outlet! That is, if a wired keyboard is plugged in.

Iran says it staved off cyber attack but doesn't blame US

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Grownups in the room?

If they had said [foo] did it, commentards would naturally question how they know and whether there was an Agenda underlying the pointing finger.

Can we infer any such thing from the absence of specific accusations?

Bad news: KeyWe Smart Lock is easily bypassed and can't be fixed

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change


For what it's worth ...

When I moved house in August, I was interested in installing a keyless lock. Not one I could operate from an app (I'm not that dumb), but one where I could key in a combination to open it from the outside. Keyless was because keys in the pockets are annoying, and it would be great to be able to dispense with them (and with phones too) when going out "light". I've lived with a combi lock on the door to the communal hall of an apartment building in the past, and that was good - though sadly my own front door still had a regular key.

But my bottom line was that the lock had to be British Standards compliant, and have the kitemark recognised by insurers. Turns out there's none available. So any combi lock could only have been secondary, which rather defeats the purpose.

When is an electrical engineer not an engineer? When Arizona's state regulators decide to play word games

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: Rename the terms?

He got stung over things he's been doing for years. At the time of the offence (erm, sorry, felony) he presumably had no idea it would be an issue.

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: AKA Libertarians

Once upon a time, I was on the academic staff in a University CompSci department.

Most of the staff were of a generation where we were educated in other subjects, at a time when compsci itself was far from mainstream. Technically speaking we were not qualified in our own subject, and could not tick those important boxes our students (just a decade younger) automatically could when they graduated.

Behuld – zee-a internet ouff tuilet tissuoe at Meecrusufft Sveden. Bork bork bork!

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Demarcation, Comrades!

Hey, isn't the bog supposed to be Dabbs's territory? Is this story a land-grab in Reg internal politics, or shouldn't Dabbsy have marked that lamppost so emphatically in the first place?

In tribute to Galaxy Note 7, BBC iPlayer support goes up in flames for some Samsung TVs

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Monopoly Abuse

I've said it before (e.g. here) and I'll say it again. This is the BBC's fault. They should be supplying contents, and leaving it to the market (and healthy competition) to develop and support viewers.

The iplayer is a blatant abuse of monopoly powers and the BBC's privileged funding model. How do they get away with it?

Two can play that game: China orders ban on US computers and software

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

How many wrongs?

My parents used to teach me that two wrongs don't make a right. The fact that Trump's a total arse doesn't make it right for China to do similar.

Though it does make it at least somewhat understandable, and a lesser-of-evils argument could perhaps be made.

As for software, China has lots nowadays. Seriously. Home-grown, global open-source, and indeed home-grown open source. In the latter, we've seen a massive catchup in recent years, as the floodgates have opened on Chinese-origin open source projects going global. Assuming they don't go so mad as to deny themselves established, stable platforms like Linux and BSD - with a native Chinese layer on top 'cos ASCII does a poor job with their language[1].

And I expect all the US "usual suspects" can set up shop in China, too, to protect their market positions.

[1] I hope that comment doesn't apply to Unicode, and it would be nice to think that modern *X does i18n properly. Maybe the native layer for most things could in principle be as thin as a Chinese-language packaging and installer? But in real life we know much deeper layers proliferate.

Elon Musk gets thumbs up from jury for use of 'pedo guy' in cave diver defamation lawsuit

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: Surprised

I really didn't think he'd get away with that.

Whyever not?

Under any sane legal system, it would never have come to trial. Libel should be reserved for cases where there's not merely something potentially-defamatory said, but an expectation that third-parties might take the remark seriously causing them to believe ill of the subject. Did anyone here take some dumb tweet in earnest and believe [sorry, I've forgotten his name] was a pedophile?

Noone's name has been defamed. We get to point and laugh at Musk and at the absurd legal processes, but they demonstrably deserve it. As for the guy who fed the lawyers so richly - well, he's demonstrated a level of idiocy comparable to those who handed their money to this guy.

WebAssembly gets nod from W3C and, most likely, an embrace from cryptojackers online

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change
Thumb Up

I was getting deja-vu at the browser sandbox. Yeah, looks like Java has come around again.

But then, back in the Java era, I was getting deja-vu from the promises of ADA, as reflected in Java's oft-touted aspirations. These things are cyclical.

Asteroid Bennu is flinging particles of dust and rock from its surface – and scientists can't work out why

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: Er ...

Shirley that's not Magrathea, it's the cheap knock-off!

My house emits space dust, too. It's hard work for the vacuum cleaner.

VCs find exciting new way to blow $1m: Wire it directly to hackers after getting spoofed

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: Considering it's $1m...

I expect they did, but that "we'll confirm that by email" figured regularly in 'phone conversations. Language barriers may have played a role, too.

Note - the report is silent on whether there was a MITM on the phone. If they were filtering email it would've presented opportunities to tamper with phone numbers and other contact details.

To think that PGP has only been with us since 1991!

123-Reg is at it again: Registrar charges chap for domains he didn’t order – and didn't want

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: a complete dog's breakfast

Does this comment assume all dogs should be poverty-stricken?

Very suspicious that the "innocent" mistakes always seem to end-up to the benefit of the mistaken.

There's a perfectly good reason for that. The customer seeing a mistake in his own favour is much less likely to take the trouble to complain about it.

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: Did these people actually READ their own statement?

That's so nonsensical as to smell of careless editorial snips somewhere between source and reader.

At least, that was my reaction as I read it.

Atlassian scrambles to fix zero-day security hole accidentally disclosed on Twitter

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Grab the private key?

For the benefit of readers who don't twitt ...

Who exactly can grab this private key, and how? Surely a private key that can be accessed by an unauthorised person is a big no-no, but orthogonal to an idiosyncratic DNS usage?

DNS is designed for performance over security, which is a major reason we don't rely on it for secure transactions and have SSL certs. When you describe a DNS entry as a vulnerability, it looks as if you're suggesting a misplaced reliance on something that's inherently insecure. Or in other words, propping up the edifice by painting over the cracks.

Former Oracle product manager says he was forced out for refusing to deceive customers. Now he's suing the biz

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: Selling vaporware ?

Marketroids promising the undeliverable is of course widespread throughout the industry. Doesn't make it right or honest.

It's one of the things that drives a vast wedge between techies and suits. I think it was one of the drivers for the rise of open source, as developers sought out a community where they could do decent and honest work and get respect for it.

Silicon Valley Scrooges sidestep debt to society through tax avoidance to the tune of $100bn

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: Ok but how much tax is fair?

Starbucks may be a particular case: for many years they were contrasted with UK-owned Costa paying their full whack of corporation tax here.

It may be instructive that Costa was recently sold to a US megacorp (Coca Cola). So in principle at least, they can now play all the same tricks as Starbucks. I don't know what happens in practice, but this is a particular case-in-point where being British-owned appears to have put Costa at a tax disadvantage compared to a major rival.

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: Ok but how much tax is fair?

Higher taxes on dividends would be one way.

Do we have any figures on how many shareholders pay tax on our dividends? I don't (I make extensive use of tax avoidance measures including a Pension, an ISA, and VCT and EIS breaks). Neither do the many foreign shareholders who are not UK taxpayers.

Corporation tax as it stands now is not fit for purpose. How to fix it (short of abolition) is above my pay grade.

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: Profits?

If you look at our governing party's donors, Big Tech is not sponsoring them. Their biggest donors are all global money-laundering operations, headed by Russian and other ex-Soviet regions and the Middle East. See Private Eye for a lot on the man who owns them (an Israeli, but one who has had fraudulent business closed by the courts in his own country).

From memory, the only other bigger donors are hedge funds benefiting from brexit volatility and British-dependent tax havens. Not big tech.

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change


But this is a lie, since the original article talked about tax rates on profits

By whose definition?

I don't know if it applies in this case, but very often tax advocacy pressure groups arrive at 'profit' figures by calculations that are a whole lot more bogus than the tax-avoidance the companies themselves use.

Anyway, it's for governments to set the rules, and for people and companies acting within those rules to avoid over-paying. If a big company is breaking the rules, they should be prosecuted - and that's a threat that tends to keep businesses in order where there's anything (like real-life profits) to lose. If they're not breaking the rules, then it's not them who are wrong, it's the rules and/or the critics.

Den Automation raised millions to 'reinvent' the light switch. Now it's lights out for startup

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

EFF warns of 'one-way mirror' of web surveillance by tech giants – led by Google

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: tracker tax

No one would accept ...

I take it you don't have a mobile phone? Never drive a car? Always pay cash? And wear tinfoil when out and about?

Hang on, you're posting right here on social media. Whoops!

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: why it works

Or alternatively, because it's what we expect.

I was brought up in the Cold War era, and as a child enjoyed thrillers. The protagonists would routinely find their offices, hotel rooms, etc bugged, or be followed, by the villains, and sometimes vice versa (yes, the goodies did it too). So while I knew that I wasn't such a high-value target that some evil spy would be watching and listening, I never had any expectation of privacy.

Surely that kind of thing is very widespread (especially if we include those for whom God sees everything/Santa knows if you've been good/etc), and it makes anonymised (or at least identity-agnostic) tracking for non-threatening purposes like advertising look entirely benign in comparison!

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change
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Re: "The problem is complex"

Upvote for the seed of a really interesting idea.

The question, as ever, is "how?"

Russian FaceApp selfie-slurper poses 'potential counterintelligence threat', FBI warns

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Who does this threaten?

Am I bothered if the Russians get my mugshot? Nope. I don't do selfies, but they can grab a passport photo from some publicly-available places. Or if I travel to Russia, they'll surely scan it (and likely me) at the border, just as other countries do. And they have neither motive nor legal power to do me harm.

More worrisome, UK spooks, who do have legal power to make my life hell. Or US spooks, whose boots TPTB in the UK would happily lick if they wished me harm. But I don't lose sleep over them either (though I may let it influence me on the margins).

Nope, if this (presumed hypothetical) risk threatens anyone, it's not me, the private citizen of a Western country. But it might be someone else who sees it as their prerogative to gather all my data.

Now ordinarily I wouldn't let that worry me too much either. But if they're so paranoid about it that they see it falling outside their own jurisdiction as a threat, perhaps that's the time to start worrying!

BBC tells Conservative Party to remove edited Facebook ad featuring its reporters

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: Who Is The Boss

This morning's news on BBC radio, facebook have taken it down over copyright. So I was, erm, wrong.

This morning's commentary on that news: facebook were asked to take it down not over copyright but over misrepresentation and fake news. So I was, erm, right.

The more disreputable elements of the Tories[1] now crying unfair over being singled out. If this gets taken down over copyright - as opposed to fake news - then why doesn't every other use of BBC material get taken down for the same reason? Technically they would appear to be right, at least while facebook hold on to that copyright story.

[1] Not a tautology. They may all be thoroughly disreputable since the Stalinist purge of the moderates, but some are still more disreputable than others.

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: Who Is The Boss

Fair use is about copyright: what/how much of someone else's material you can quote/reuse.

AIUI this case is not about copyright, it's about misrepresentation. Fair use is not a relevant concept.

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

I'm not one of the downvotes (only just read the article), but the simple explanation of Farage is he's a media personality.

Back in the days before anyone took him seriously, he got more BBC airtime than any (other) politician, even media-loving then-prime-minister Blair. And for the first decade or so, Farage's airtime was uncritical - lacking the probing questions journos ask of serious politicians. That's where he got his momentum from. And still has much of it, even since the journos started treating him like a real politician and asking the questions he doesn't want to answer.

Oh, and talking of blatant censorship, there's certainly precedent. UKIP's working-class predecessors the National Front and BNP never had airtime even when they had electoral success. The difference with UKIP is that an era of white immigration enabled them to detach their agenda from the "racist" label that had successfully marginalised earlier nationalists when the immigration they opposed was non-white.

Vote rigging, election fixing, ballot stuffing: Just another day in the life of a Register reader

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Too much time? Perhaps he'd spent the intervening years tutoring aspiring vote-fixers with good budgets, and by then was sitting back saying "job done". Or ... should we have a suggestions thread?

We've found it... the last shred of human decency in an IT director – all for a poxy Unix engineer

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: Champagne

When I moved (about three months ago), the agent gave me a bottle of well-chilled prosecco along with the keys.

Quite apart from having lots to do, it was too early in the day for booze. I just put it in the corner of the kitchen before returning to my old house (where all my stuff still was for another week or so before the actual move). It's still there, awaiting an excuse to open it. On a couple of occasions I've had dinner guests and served them something better, such as regular wine suited to the dinner.

Maybe I should take it to the next bring-a-bottle event where I can offload it anonymously?

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change
IT Angle

Pub o'clock?

You must be a lunchtime drinker. Or does the phrase mean something subtly different in .za?

(Looks to me like pubtime for east Asia and Oz timezones).

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: Champagne

Let your missus wield it. Ditch the champagne for some real pain.

Go on, downvote me. I've never seen the point in champagne: there are so many drinks I'd rather have.

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: Burnout

This was a Unix person. So presumably someone who believes in always scripting a job? Yet here he didn't until after the incident had happened. Is that not utterly out of character?

Possible diagnosis: burnout. A Unix engineer who is a pale shadow of his former self. I know all about that - at first hand.

I'll raise a pint for rescuing the situation.

Why can't passport biometrics see through my cunning disguise?

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: Habitual glasses wearer

If I get killed in such (or any other) circumstances, it really will have ceased to matter to me who identifies me or how much time&effort they put into it.

RuneScape bloke was wrongly sacked after reading veep's salary details on office printer

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: Odd But

There seems to be pressure for openness coming from some of the forces of Political Correctness. They expect it to show a "gender pay gap", and help deal with it.

Could be interesting. I wouldn't care to anticipate the outcome, except to note there are sure to be lots of anomalies at the individual level, and it'll lead to lots of redefining of what counts as 'comparable' or 'equal value'.

RISC-V business: Tech foundation moving to Switzerland because of geopolitical concerns

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: So obvious, why doesn't everyone do it?

I've said before that I don't understand why so many open source projects are incorporated in the US.

Some years back I heard a conference presentation where MySQL addressed that question. Cultural reasons why the project had to have originated in Scandinavia, but also why it had had to move to the US for growth to happen. Events that led to a profitable buyout in the US.

I was only partially convinced by the presentation (was that WayForward Technologies' Reason speaking?), and I don't recollect details. But it kind-of fits with the US being home to so much.

Planets may lurk in harshest environments. Not that Novell NetWare server you can't unplug – black holes

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Seems intuitively reasonable. Lots of matter swirling around: some of it might look like planets.

But .. why "up to 10 times the mass of Earth"? That's not a giant: Jupiter is just next door and over 300 times the mass of Earth!

From July, you better be Putin these Kremlin-approved apps on gadgets sold in Russia

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: What is it with The Register and Apple Inc?

Hmmm, I think you've had a rather good answer. But downvotes just for asking seem a bit harsh!

Have an upvote for provoking Waseem's brilliant reply (which I already upvoted this morning).

Taxi for Uber: Ride-hailing app giant stripped of licence to operate in London

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Means the picture is phoney even by Reg standards.

Shirley the idea that they're hailing a cab comes purely by association with the subject of the article?



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