An anonymous reader writes in with a story about some of the ramifications of the Oracle-Google lawsuit. "You could hear a collective sigh of relief from the software developer world when Judge William Alsup issued his ruling in the Oracle-Google lawsuit. Oracle lost on pretty much every point, but the thing that must have stuck most firmly in Oracle’s throat was this: 'So long as the specific code used to implement a method is different, anyone is free under the Copyright Act to write his or her own code to carry out exactly the same function or specification of any methods used in the Java API. It does not matter that the declaration or method header lines are identical. Under the rules of Java, they must be identical to declare a method specifying the same functionality — even when the implementation is different. When there is only one way to express an idea or function, then everyone is free to do so and no one can monopolize that expression. And, while the Android method and class names could have been different from the names of their counterparts in Java and still have worked, copyright protection never extends to names or short phrases as a matter of law.'"
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theodp writes "In a move that would do Bill Lumbergh (YouTube homage) proud, Microsoft has been pulling in about $25 million a year through its unusual practice of charging its vendors for occupying office space on its campus while working on Microsoft projects, according to the real estate firm that manages the program. And that's before a planned July 1st rate increase that Microsoft informed vendors of earlier this week, which will boost the 'chargeback' rate for its 'shadow workforce' from $450 per month ($5,400 per year) for every workstation to $510 per month (or $6,120 per year). So, is there a discount if you're moved downstairs into Storage B?"
sfcrazy writes "ZFS on Linux has reached what Brian Behlendorf calls an important milestone with the official 0.6.1 release. Version 0.6.1 not only brings the usual bug fixes but also introduces a new property called 'snapdev.' Brian explains, 'The snapdev property was introduced to control the visibility of zvol snapshot devices and may be set to either visible or hidden. When set to hidden, which is the default, zvol snapshot devices will not be created under /dev/. To gain access to these devices the property must be set to visible. This behavior is analogous to the existing snapdir property.'"
hypnosec writes "The developers of the PostgreSQL have announced that they are locking down access to the PostgreSQL repositories to only committers while a fix for a "sufficiently bad" security issue applied. The lock down is temporary and will be lifted once the next release is available. The core committee has announced that they 'apologize in advance for any disruption' adding that 'It seems necessary in this instance, however.'"
Professor_Quail writes "Following a successful 2012 fundraising campaign, the FreeBSD Foundation is soliciting the submission of project proposals for funded development grants. Proposals may be related to any of the major subsystems or infrastructure within the FreeBSD operating system, and will be evaluated based on desirability, technical merit, and cost-effectiveness. The proposal process is open to all developers (including non-FreeBSD committers), and the deadline for submitting a proposal is April 26th, 2013." The foundation is currently funding a few other projects, including UEFI booting support.
angry tapir writes "When Oracle purchased Sun, many in the open source community were bleak about the future of MySQL. According to MySQL co-creator Michael "Monty" Widenius, these fears have been proven by Oracle's attitude to MySQL and its community. In the wake of the Sun takeover, Monty forked MySQL to create MariaDB, which has picked up momentum (being included by default in Fedora, Open SUSE and, most recently, Slackware). I recently interviewed Monty about what he learned from the MySQL experience and the current state of MariaDB."
New submitter reygahnci writes "I found a comprehensive summary of the developer-facing changes coming in Java 8 including: improvements to interfaces, functional interfaces, lambdas, functions, streams, parallels, date/time improvements, and more. The article includes example code with realistic examples of use as well as explaining the reasoning behind some of the choices made by the developers who are working on Java 8."
First time accepted submitter bobthesungeek76036 writes "On March 26th, Larry Ellison and always with fashionable haircut John Fowler announced the new line of SPARC servers from Oracle. Touted as the fastest microprocessor in the world, they put up some impressive SPEC numbers against much more expensive (and older) IBM hardware. Is the industry still interested in SPARC or is it too late for Larry to regain the server market that Sun Microsystems had many moons ago?" El Reg has a pretty good overview of the new hardware; the T5 certainly looks interesting for highly threaded work loads (there's some massive SMT going on with 16 threads per core), but with Intel dominating for single-threaded performance and ARM-based servers becoming available squeezing them for massive multi-threading, is there really any hope in Oracle's efforts to stay in the hardware game?
An anonymous reader writes "A Google engineer visiting Vietnam discovered a large portion of Vietnamese high school students might be able to pass a Google interview. According to TFA (and his blog), students start learning computing as early as grade 2. According to the blogger and another senior engineer, about half of the students in an 11th grade class he visited would be able to make through their interview process. The blogger also mentioned U.S. school boards blocking computer science education. The link he posted backing up his claim goes to a Maryland Public Schools website describing No Child Left Behind technicalities. According to the link, computer science is not considered a core subject. While the blogger provided no substantial evidence of U.S. school boards blocking computer science education, he claimed that students at Galileo Academy had difficulty with the HTML image tag. According to the school's Wikipedia page, by California standards, Galileo seems to be one of the state's better secondary schools."
jrepin writes "On day two of the 2013 Embedded Linux Conference, Robert Rose of SpaceX spoke about the 'Lessons Learned Developing Software for Space Vehicles.' In his talk, he discussed how SpaceX develops its Linux-based software for a wide variety of tasks needed to put spacecraft into orbit—and eventually beyond. Linux runs everywhere at SpaceX, he said, on everything from desktops to spacecraft."
First time accepted submitter Gerardo Zamudio writes with the news that Ur-distribution Slackware is replacing MySQL with MariaDB. From an update posted to the Slackware news feed yesterday: "This shouldn't really be a surprise on any level. The poll on LQ showed a large majority of our users were in favor of the change. It's my belief that the MariaDB Foundation will do a better job with the code, be more responsive to security concerns, and be more willing to work with the open source community. And while I don't think there is currently any issue with MySQL's licensing of the community edition for commercial uses, several threads on LQ showed that there is confusion about this, whereas with MariaDB the freedom to use the software is quite clear." (Here's a link to the mentioned poll.)
jrepin writes "Free Software Foundation president Richard M. Stallman announced the winners of the FSF's annual Free Software Awards at a ceremony held during the LibrePlanet 2013 conference. The Award for the Advancement of Free Software is given annually to an individual who has made a great contribution to the progress and development of free software, through activities that accord with the spirit of free software. This year, it was given to Dr. Fernando Perez, the creator of IPython, a rich architecture for interactive computing. The Award for Projects of Social Benefit is presented to the project or team responsible for applying free software, or the ideas of the free software movement, in a project that intentionally and significantly benefits society in other aspects of life. This award stresses the use of free software in the service of humanity. This year, the award went to OpenMRS, a free software medical record system for developing countries."
An anonymous reader writes "You see those stories popping up every now and then — new Dreamcast game released, first SNES game in 15 years etc — but an in-depth feature published today takes a look at the teams behind the retro revival, and looks at why they do what they do. Surprisingly, there seems to be a viable audience for new releases — one developer says his games sell better on Dreamcast than they do on Nintendo Wii. Even if the buyers vanished, the retro games would still keep coming though: 'I wager I'd have to be dead, or suffering from a severe case of amnesia, to ever give this up completely,' says one developer." Update: 03/23 18:28 GMT by T : If you want to play original classic games on new hardware, instead of the other way around, check out Hyperkin's RetroN 3, which can play cartridges from 5 classic consoles.
theodp writes "Its Code of Conduct describes PyCon as 'a welcoming, friendly event for all.' But will the post-conference fallout from this year's 'Donglegate' debacle and proposed remedies affect your decision — one way or the other — to attend next year's PyCon in ironically naughty Montreal? And even if not, could 'Donglegate' influence the-powers-that-be whose approval you'll need to attend? How about conference sponsors?"
There have been video editing apps available for Linux for years, from ones meant to be friendly enough to compete on the UI front with iMovie (like the moribund Kino, last released in 2009, and the actively developed PiTiVi and Kdenlive) to editors that can apparently do nearly anything, provided the user is a thick-skinned genius — I'm thinking of Broadcast 2000/Cinelerra. Then there's VJ-tool-cum-non-linear editor LiVES, which balances a dense interface with real-time effects for using video as a performance tool, and can run on various flavors of UNIX, including Mac OS X. Dallas-based developer Jonathan Thomas has been working for the last few years on a Free (GPL3 or later), open-source editor called OpenShot, which aims for a happy medium of both usability and power. OpenShot is Linux-only, though, and Thomas is now trying to kickstart (as in, using a Kickstarter project) a cross-platform release for OS X and Windows, too. I've been tempted by dozens of KickStarter projects before, but this is the first one that I've actually pledged to support, and for what may sound like a backwards reason: I like the interface, and am impressed by the feature set, but OpenShot crashes on me a lot. (To be fair, this is mostly to blame on my hardware, none of which is really high-end enough by video-editing standards, or even middle-of-the-road. One day!) So while I like the idea of having a cross-platform, open-source video editor, I have no plans to migrate to Windows; I'm mostly interested in the promised features and stability improvements.
hypnosec writes "GCC 4.8.0 has been released (download), and with it, the developers of the GNU Compiler Collection have switched to C++ as the implementation language, a project the developers have been working for years. Licensed under the GPLv3 or later, version 4.8.0 of the GCC not only brings with it performance improvements but also adds memory error detector AddressSanitizer, and race condition detection tool the ThreadSanitizer. Developers wanting to build their own version of GCC should have at their disposal a C++ compiler that understands C++ 2003."
coondoggie writes "Researchers at DARPA want to take the science of machine learning — teaching computers to automatically understand data, manage results and surmise insights — up a couple notches. Machine learning, DARPA says, is already at the heart of many cutting edge technologies today, like email spam filters, smartphone personal assistants and self-driving cars. 'Unfortunately, even as the demand for these capabilities is accelerating, every new application requires a Herculean effort. Even a team of specially-trained machine learning experts makes only painfully slow progress due to the lack of tools to build these systems,' DARPA says."
Cynic writes "Inspired by an earlier Slashdot story about Finnish teachers and students writing a math textbook, I pitched the idea of writing our own much cheaper/free C++ textbook to my programming students. They were incredibly positive, so I decided to move forward and started a Kickstarter project. We hope to release the textbook we produce under a CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 license and sell cheap hard copies to sustain the hosting and other production costs."
An anonymous reader writes "I'm an indie developer about to release a small ($5 — $10 range) utility for graphic designers. I'd like to employ at least a basic deterrent to pirates, but with the recent SimCity disaster, I'm wondering: what is a reasonable way to deter piracy without ruining things for legitimate users? A simple serial number? Online activation? Encrypted binaries? Please share your thoughts."
theodp writes "'Someday, and that day may never come,' Don Corleone says famously in The Godfather, 'I'll call upon you to do a service for me.' Back in 2010, filmmaker Lesley Chilcott produced Waiting for 'Superman', a controversial documentary that analyzed the failures of the American public education system, and presented charter schools as a glimmer of hope, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation-backed KIPP Los Angeles Prep. Gates himself was a 'Superman' cast member, lamenting how U.S. public schools are producing 'American Idiots' of no use to high tech firms like Microsoft, forcing them to 'go half-way around the world to recruit the engineers and programmers they needed.' So some found it strange that when Chilcott teamed up with Gates again three years later to make Code.org's documentary short What Most Schools Don't Teach, kids from KIPP Empower Academy were called upon to demonstrate that U.S. schoolchildren are still clueless about what computer programmers do. In a nice coincidence, the film went viral just as leaders of Google, Microsoft, and Facebook pressed President Obama and Congress on immigration reform, citing a dearth of U.S. programming talent. And speaking of coincidences, the lone teacher in the Code.org film (James, Teacher@Mount View Elementary), whose classroom was tapped by Code.org as a model for the nation's schools, is Seattle teacher Jamie Ewing, who took top honors in Microsoft's Partners in Learning (PiL) U.S. Forum last summer, earning him a spot on PiL's 'Team USA' and the chance to showcase his project at the Microsoft PiL Global Forum in Prague in November (82-page Conference Guide). Ironically, had Ewing stuck to teaching the kids Scratch programming, as he's shown doing in the Code.org documentary, Microsoft wouldn't have seen fit to send him to its blowout at 'absolutely amazingly beautiful' Prague Castle. Innovative teaching, at least according to Microsoft's rules, 'must include the use of one or more Microsoft technologies.' Fortunately, Ewing's project — described in his MSDN guest blog post — called for using PowerPoint and Skype. For the curious, here's Microsoft PiL's vision of what a classroom should be."
An anonymous reader writes "Security guru Bruce Schneier contends that money spent on user awareness training could be better spent and that the real failings lie in security design. 'The whole concept of security awareness training demonstrates how the computer industry has failed. We should be designing systems that won't let users choose lousy passwords and don't care what links a user clicks on,' Schneier writes in a blog post on Dark Reading. He says organizations should invest in security training for developers. He goes on, '... computer security is an abstract benefit that gets in the way of enjoying the Internet. Good practices might protect me from a theoretical attack at some time in the future, but they’re a bother right now, and I have more fun things to think about. This is the same trick Facebook uses to get people to give away their privacy. No one reads through new privacy policies; it's much easier to just click "OK" and start chatting with your friends. In short: Security is never salient.'"
An anonymous reader writes "I am a contract developer from a major U.S. city. My rate has never been the lowest, but it's nonetheless very competitive considering the speed and quality of the work I have always delivered, as well as the positive feedback I've received from most clients. In the past ~3 years, I have been working on a sizable project for a major client. For the most part it has been a happy arrangement for both parties. However, for various reasons (including the still ailing economy), starting this year they hired a fresh college graduate in-house, and asked me to teach him all 'secrets' of my code, even though they have the source code by contract. The implicit (although never openly stated) goal is of course for him to take over the project and hopefully reduce cost, at least in the short-term. I say 'hopefully' because I am pretty sure that, because they are unfamiliar with the software industry, they underestimated what it takes to make quality, production-ready code. I am not afraid of losing this particular client, as I have many others, but I want to ask Slashdot: how do you handle this type of situation — training someone whom you know will eventually replace you at your job?"
An anonymous reader writes "If you can make $10 and hour doing remote work, you can afford to live in Malysia. Make it $15 or $20, you can work 30 hours a week. Real money? Make it ten. This article talks about how John Hunter did it." Malaysia's not the only destination for self-motivated ex-pat programmers, of course. If you've considered doing this kind of sabbatical, or actually have, please explain in the comments the from-where-to-where details and reasons.
Trailrunner7 writes "Apple on Thursday released a large batch of security fixes for its OS X operating system, one of which patches a flaw that allowed Java Web Start applications to run even when users had Java disabled in the browser. There have been a slew of serious vulnerabilities in Java disclosed in the last few months, and security experts have been recommending that users disable Java in their various browsers as a protection mechanism. However, it appears that measure wasn't quite enough to protect users of some versions of OS X."
Nerval's Lobster writes "The one and only Jeff Cogswell is back with an article exploring an issue important to anyone who works with C++. It's been two years since the ISO C++ committee approved the final draft of the newest C++ standard; now that time has passed, he writes, 'we can go back and look at some issues that have affected the language (indeed, ever since the first international standard in 1998) and compare its final result and product to a popular C++ library called Boost.' A lot of development groups have adopted the use of Boost, and still others are considering whether to embrace it: that makes a discussion (and comparison) of its features worthwhile. 'The Standards Committee took some eight years to fight over what should be in the standard, and the compiler vendors had to wait for all that to get ironed out before they could publish an implementation of the Standard Library,' he writes. 'But meanwhile the actual C++ community was moving forward on its own, building better things such as Boost.'"
vu1986 writes "With the latest updates — announced in a blog post by BigQuery Product Manager Ku-kay Kwek on Thursday — users can now join large tables, import and query timestamped data, and aggregate large collections of distinct values. It's hardly the equivalent of Google launching Compute Engine last summer, but as (arguably) the inspiration for the SQL-on-Hadoop trend that's sweeping the big data world right now, every improvement to BigQuery is notable."
An anonymous reader writes "After running uninterrupted for 3737 days, this humble Sun 280R server running Solaris 9 was shut down. At the time of making the video it was idle, the last service it had was removed sometime last year. A tribute video was made with some feelings about Sun, Solaris, the walk to the data center and freeing a machine from internet-slavery."
First time accepted submitter kdogg73 writes "Jens Bergensten and the Mojang team have released the latest version of Minecraft — version 1.5, dubbed 'Redstone.' Changes and updates include an added redstone comparator, redstone block, hoppers and droppers, light and weight sensors, Herobrine removal, and many bug fixes. Videos detailing the changes and new redstone devices already litter YouTube."
An anonymous reader writes "Adobe has shut down its BrowserLab service, used by many for testing content across multiple desktop platforms. The company pointed its customers to two alternatives: BrowserStack and Sauce Labs. BrowserLab offered cross-browser testing by producing screenshots of websites from various browsers across Windows and OS X platforms. It was very useful for developers looking to support as many different users as possible."
Dishwasha writes "What do you do to stay fit? Probably like many of you, this code monkey has lead a fairly sedentary life consisting most on fritos, tab, and mountain dew. Every time I attempt to incorporate exercise in even the most modest amount it never really seems to work out. 'Just do it' or joining and going to a gym just doesn't seem to work and with time being my most precious resource at this point, I would like to incorporate exercise in to my daily work process. Our office recently switched to standing desks, which is great, and I would like to possibly bring in a flat treadmill that fits under the standing desk, but my bosses have balked unless the equipment is whisper silent. We are a small business in a traditional office park with no exercise facility. Do any other geeks out there have a similar set up and would like to share what they use to stay heart healthy and improve circulation during their work day? What other ways do you incorporate exercise in to your geeky or nerdy lifestyle?"
angry tapir writes "Open-source content management system Drupal has come a long way since it was initially released in 2001. Drupal now runs 2% of the world's websites — but Drupal's creator Dries Buytaert thinks that this could easily grow to 10%. I caught up with Dries to talk about Drupal's evolution from a pure CMS to a Web platform, cracking the enterprise market, and the upcoming release of Drupal 8, which features significant architectural changes — incorporating elements of the Symfony2 Web framework to replace Drupal's aging architecture."
MellowTigger writes "I work at a non-profit organization. I am looking for a site where we can register an account under our group's name, then spawn multiple projects to solicit programmer help for our organization. The current projects that we have in mind are small and probably not of interest to the wider world, although one very large project is possible. I need a site that emphasizes our non-profit as the benefactor rather than the wider world, since most projects are so specific that wider applicability seems slim. We would need help with various technologies including at least Powershell and SQL. At the moment, my available options emphasize individual projects of public interest, so we would have to spawn multiple independent projects, seeming to spam the host with 'pointless' minor tasks. We already have technical people seeking to donate time. We just need a way to coordinate skill matching, document sharing, and code submission out on the web. What do you suggest?"
DeviceGuru writes "Videos from four keynote talks and two-dozen sessions at the Embedded Linux Conference 2013 in San Francisco last month are now available for free viewing, courtesy of the Linux Foundation, which held the event. The videos cover a wide range of embedded Linux development, deployment, and marketing topics. One particularly interesting session was Andrew Chatham's presentation on Google's self driving cars."
Millions of pixels have been used to talk about Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer's decision to ban telecommuting and her reasons for doing it. Today's interviewee, Mårten Mickos, built MySQL AB into a billion-dollar company with 70% of its workers, all over the world, telecommuting instead of working in offices. Now he's CEO of another young open source company, Eucalyptus, and is following a similar hiring pattern. Mårten says (toward the end of the video/transcript) that he believes people working out of their homes is entirely natural; that this is how things were done for thousands of years before the industrial revolution.
mask.of.sanity writes "Annual Canadian hack fest Pwn2Own is famous for leaving a trail of bloodied software bits and today it did not disappoint. Security researchers tore holes through all major web browsers, breaking Windows 8 and Java, too (though the latter feat is not remarkable). Thankfully for the rest of us, the cashed-up winners will disclose the holes quietly to Microsoft, Mozilla, Google and Oracle, and the proof of concept attack code will remain in the hands of organisers only."
cylonlover writes "After a handful of days of furtive suggestion, spring made its presence felt in London today, where the second Technology Frontiers conference got underway. The Economist-organized event sees leading technologists and cultural figures take to the podium in front of some 250 ideas-thirsty business persons. Among them was Raspberry Pi Foundation founder Eben Upton, who extolled the benefits of learning to program for all professions. He went into some detail as to the inception of the Raspberry Pi and the need for more computer programmers."
Nerval's Lobster writes "Facebook's Graph Search, its new and powerful way of searching the social network for all manner of information, has drawn a lot of attention since its January unveiling. Some have praised its innovation; others have wondered openly whether its search abilities will end up threatening Google and LinkedIn. Still more have questioned what it all means for users' privacy—always a touchy subject in conjunction with Facebook. The social network previously revealed how it's adjusting its hardware infrastructure to deal with the spike in traffic that will come from interactions with Graph Search (short answer: the Disaggregated Rack, which will break up hardware resources and scale them independently of one another). Now, in a new blog posting, it's offering a bit more with regard to the software side of things, and how the company repurposed an existing system to solve Graph Search's enormous engineering challenge. Bottom line: Facebook's engineers and executives finally decided on Unicorn, an inverted-index system they'd had in development for quite some time."
dp619 writes "In an interview, Microsoft Regional Director Patrick Hynds says that avoidance of open source components by a large part of the .NET developer population is abating. '...While some may still steer clear of the GPL, there are dozens of FOSS licenses that are compatible with Windows developers and their customers,' he said. Hynds cites NuGet, an open source package management system was originally built by Microsoft and now an Outercurve Foundation project, as an example of FOSS libraries that .NET developer are adopting for their applications. Microsoft itself has embraced open source — to a point. It has partnered with Hortonworks for a Windows port of Hadoop, allowed Linux to run on Windows Azure, and is itself a Hadoop user."
New submitter gameweld writes "Software companies, such as Microsoft, create documentation for millions of topics concerning its APIs, services, and software platforms. Creating this documentation comes at a considerable cost and effort. And after all this effort, much documentation is rarely consulted (citation) and lacking enough examples (citation). A new study suggests that developers are increasingly consulting Stack Overflow and crowd-sourced sites over official documentation, using it as much as 50% of time. How should official documentation be better redesigned? What are the implications of software created from unruly mashups?"
tal197 writes "Zero Install, the decentralized cross-platform software installation system, announced 0install 2.0 today after 2 years in development. 0install allows authors to publish directly from their own web-sites, while supporting familiar features such as shared libraries, automatic updates, dependency handling and digital signatures. With more than one thousand packages now available, is this finally a viable platform?"
msm1267 writes "Oracle has once again released an emergency Java update to patch zero-day vulnerabilities in the browser plug-in, the fifth time it has updated the platform this year. Today's update patches CVE-2013-1493 and CVE-2013-0809, the former was discovered last week being exploited in the wild for Java 6 update 41 through Java 7 update 15. The vulnerability allows for arbitrary memory execution in the Java virtual machine process; attackers exploiting the flaw were able to download the McRAT remote access Trojan."
asjk writes "The controversial database includes millions of children and documents their names, addresses, disabilities other statistics and demographics. Federal law allows for the files to be shared with private companies. From the article: 'In operation just three months, the database already holds files on millions of children identified by name, address and sometimes social security number. Learning disabilities are documented, test scores recorded, attendance noted. In some cases, the database tracks student hobbies, career goals, attitudes toward school - even homework completion. Local education officials retain legal control over their students' information. But federal law allows them to share files in their portion of the database with private companies selling educational products and services."
glowend writes "I just listened to a fascinating podcast with Valve's economist-in-residence, Yanis Varoufakis, about the unusual structure of the workplace at Valve where there is no hierarchy or bosses. Teams of software designers join spontaneously to create and ship video games without any top-down supervision. Varoufakis discussed the economics of this Hayekian workplace and how it actually functions alongside Steam — a gaming platform created by Valve. I kept wondering: assuming that his description of Valve is accurate, can this model work for other tech companies?"
First time accepted submitter oxidus60659 writes "I currently work as a programmer for a small business. They have provided me with a laptop and a 27" BenQ monitor on a Neo-Flex stand. The problem is that my main screen is the tiny laptop right in front of me. The 27" monitor is on the left at a very different height position. I want to put the 27" monitor directly above my laptop so I'm looking up rather than to the left for all my coding on the bigger monitor. The stand does not have a high enough setting to accommodate this. What would be a good stand that can mount to a desk high enough to be above a laptop? What kind of monitor setup do you use when programming?"
An anonymous reader writes "Here we go again. A new Java 0-day vulnerability is being exploited in the wild. If you use Java, you can either uninstall/disable the plugin to protect your computer or set your security settings to 'High' and attempt to avoid executing malicious applets. This latest flaw was first discovered by security firm FireEye, which says it has already been used 'to attack multiple customers.' The company has found that the flaw can be exploited successfully in browsers that have Java v1.6 Update 41 or Java v1.7 Update 15 installed, the latest versions of Oracle's plugin."
theodp writes "By trotting out politicians (Bill Clinton, Mike Bloomberg, Marco Rubio, Al Gore) and celebrities (Chris Bosh, will.i.am, Ashton Kutcher), Tuesday's Code.org launch certainly was a home run with the media. But will it actually strike a chord with kids and inspire them to code? Dave Winer has his doubts, and explains why — as someone who truly loves programming — code.org rubbed him the wrong way. 'I don't like who is doing the pitching,' says Winer, 'and who isn't. Out of the 83 people they quote, I doubt if many of them have written code recently, and most of them have never done it, and have no idea what they're talking about.' Code.org's because-you-can-make-a-lot of-money-doing-it pitch also leaves Dave cold. So, why should one code, Dave? 'Primarily you should do it because you love it, because it's fun — because it's wonderful to create machines with your mind. Hugely empowering. Emotionally gratifying. Software is math-in-motion. It's a miracle of the mind. And if you can do it, really well, there's absolutely nothing like it.' Nice. So, could Code.org use less soulless prattle from 'leaders and trendsetters' and more genuine passion from programmers?" Just force all ninth graders to learn Scheme instead of Microsoft Word.
An anonymous reader writes "The Parallel Universe blog has a post about parallel data processing. They start off by talking about how Moore's Law still holds, but the shift from clock frequency to multiple cores has stifled the rate at which hardware allows software to scale. (Basically, Amdahl's Law.) The simplest approach to dealing with this is sharding, but that introduces its own difficulties. The more you shard a data set, the more work you need to do to separate out the data elements that can't interact. Optimizing for 2n cores takes more than twice the work of optimizing for n cores. The article says, 'If we want to continue writing compellingly complex applications at an ever-increasing scale we must come to terms with the new Moore's law and build our software on top of solid infrastructure designed specifically for this new reality; sharding just won't cut it.' Their solution is to transfer some of the processing work to the database. 'This because the database is in a unique position to know which transactions may contend for the same data items, and how to schedule them with respect to one another for the best possible performance. The database can and should be smart.' They demonstrate how SpaceBase does this by simulating a 10,000-spaceship battle on different sets of hardware (code available here). Going from a dual-core system to a quad-core system at the same clock speed actually doubles performance without sharding."