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PHP

PHP 5.5.0 Released 219

Posted by Soulskill
from the onward-and-upward dept.
New submitter irventu writes "The long-awaited PHP 5.5.0 has finally been released, bringing many new features and integrating Zend's recently open-sourced OPcache. With the new Laravel PHP framework winning RoRs and CodeIgnitor converts by the thousands, Google recently announcing support for PHP in its App Engine and the current PHP renaissance is well underway. This is great news for the web's most popular scripting language." The full list of new features is available at the Change Log, and the source code is at the download page.
Firefox

Foxconn Betting Big On Firefox OS 94

Posted by timothy
from the ok-but-where's-the-ice-weasel-phone? dept.
jfruh writes "Foxconn is firmly identified in the public mind as the company that manufactures iPhones and iPads. But the company is looking to forge its own identity, and sees Firefox OS as the means to do so. To that end, Foxconn is hiring thousands of developers to help work on the open source phone OS and Foxconn's own suite of cloud services."
Java

Java 6 EOL'd By Oracle 115

Posted by timothy
from the this-too-shall-pass dept.
Tmack writes "Not completely unexpected, Java6 has reached EOL. This tidbit shows up in Oracle's Java6 FAQ page, recommending everyone update to Java7: 'Oracle no longer posts updates of Java SE 6 to its public download sites. All Java 6 releases up to and including 6u45 have been moved to the Java Archive on the Oracle Technology Network, where they will remain available but not receive further updates. Oracle recommends that users migrate to Java 7 in order to continue receiving public updates and security enhancements.' Apple just pushed its update 16 which is Java6u51, likely to be one of their last Java6 updates."
Open Source

Are You Sure This Is the Source Code? 311

Posted by timothy
from the not-as-simple-as-md5-sum dept.
oever writes "Software freedom is an interesting concept, but being able to study the source code is useless unless you are certain that the binary you are running corresponds to the alleged source code. It should be possible to recreate the exact binary from the source code. A simple analysis shows that this is very hard in practice, severely limiting the whole point of running free software."
United Kingdom

Fixing Over a Decade of Missing Computer Programming Education In the UK 117

Posted by samzenpus
from the we-don't-need-no-education-well-maybe-we-do dept.
For around a decade programming was not part of the computer curriculum in the U.K.. Through a lot of hard work from advocates and the industry this will soon change, but a large skills gap still exists. Tim Gurney is just one of many working on closing that gap. His Coding in Schools initiative aims to "work with schools and students and inspire the next generation of computer programmers and software engineers by creating and spearheading schools based programming clubs." I recently sat down with Tim to talk about who's working on the problem and what yet needs to be done. Read below to see what he's doing to change the state of things.
Programming

Java API and Microsoft's .NET API: a Comparison 319

Posted by Soulskill
from the similar-and-yet-not dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Previously, developer Jeff Cogswell focused on the respective performances of C# and Java. Now he's looking at yet another aspect of the languages: the runtime libraries—what exactly the libraries are, how they are called, and what features the languages provide for calling into them. Examining the official Java API (now owned by Oracle) and the official .NET API owned by Microsoft, he finds both pretty complete and pretty much a 'tie' with regard to ease-of-use and functionality, especially since Java version 7 release 6 allows for automatic resource management. Read on and see if you agree."
Security

Millions At Risk From Critical Vulnerabilities From WordPress Plugins 145

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the just-use-ur-web dept.
First time accepted submitter dougkfresh writes "Checkmarx's research lab identified that more than 20% of the 50 most popular WordPress plugins are vulnerable to common Web attacks, such as SQL Injection. Furthermore, a concentrated research into e-commerce plugins revealed that 7 out of the 10 most popular e-commerce plugins contain vulnerabilities. This is the first time that such a comprehensive survey was prepared to test the state of security of the leading plugins." It does seem that Wordpress continues to be a particularly perilous piece of software to run. When popularity and unsafe languages collide.
Software

Subversion 1.8 Released But Will You Still Use Git? 378

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the darcs-for-life dept.
darthcamaro writes "Remember back in the day when we all used CVS? Then we moved to SVN (subversion) but in the last three yrs or so everyone and their brother seems to have moved to Git, right? Well truth is Subversion is still going strong and just released version 1.8. While Git is still faster for some things, Greg Stein, the former chair of the Apache Software Foundation, figures SVN is better than Git at lots of things. From the article: '"With Subversion, you can have a 1T repository and check out just a small portion of it, The developers don't need full copies," Stein explained. "Git shops typically have many, smaller repositories, while svn shops typically have a single repository, which eases administration, backup, etc."'" Major new features of 1.8 include switching to a new metadata storage engine by default instead of using Berkeley DB, first-class renames (instead of the CVS-era holdover of deleting and recreating with a new name) which will make merges involving renamed files saner, and a slightly simplified branch merging interface.
Digital

PDP-11 Still Working In Nuclear Plants - For 37 More Years 336

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the great-architectures-live-forever dept.
Taco Cowboy writes "Most of the younger /. readers never heard of the PDP-11, while we geezers have to retrieve bits and pieces of our affairs with PDP-11 from the vast warehouse inside our memory lanes." From the article: "HP might have nuked OpenVMS, but its parent, PDP-11, is still spry and powering GE nuclear power-plant robots and will do for another 37 years. That's right: PDP-11 assembler programmers are hard to find, but the nuclear industry is planning on keeping them until 2050 — long enough for a couple of generations of programmers to come and go." Not sure about the OpenVMS vs PDP comparison, but it's still amusing that a PDP might outlast all of the VAX machines.
Programming

Lobster, a New Game Programming Language, Now Available As Open Source 153

Posted by Soulskill
from the hello-world dept.
Aardappel writes "Lobster is a new programming language targeting game programming specifically, building on top of OpenGL, SDL 2 and FreeType. The language looks superficially similar to Python, but is its own blend of fun features. It's open source (ZLIB license) and available on GitHub."
Programming

Revisiting Amdahl's Law 54

Posted by Soulskill
from the looking-for-new-loopholes dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A German computer scientist is taking a fresh look at the 46-year old Amdahl's law, which took a first look at limitations in parallel computing with respect to serial computing. The fresh look considers software development models as a way to overcome parallel computing limitations. 'DEEP keeps the code parts of a simulation that can only be parallelized up to a concurrency of p = L on a Cluster Computer equipped with fast general purpose processors. The highly parallelizable parts of the simulation are run on a massively parallel Booster-system with a concurrency of p = H, H >> L. The booster is equipped with many-core Xeon Phi processors and connected by a 3D-torus network of sub-microsecond latency based on EXTOLL technology. The DEEP system software allows to dynamically distribute the tasks to the most appropriate parts of the hardware in order to achieve highest computational efficiency.' Amdahl's law has been revisited many times, most notably by John Gustafson."
GNU is Not Unix

MySQL Man Pages Silently Relicensed Away From GPL 243

Posted by Soulskill
from the gimme-it!-it's-mine! dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The MariaDB blog is reporting a small change to the license covering the man pages to MySQL. Until recently, the governing license was GPLv2. Now the license reads, 'This software and related documentation are provided under a license agreement containing restrictions on use and disclosure and are protected by intellectual property laws. Except as expressly permitted in your license agreement or allowed by law, you may not use, copy, reproduce, translate, broadcast, modify, license, transmit, distribute, exhibit, perform, publish, or display any part, in any form, or by any means. Reverse engineering, disassembly, or decompilation of this software, unless required by law for interoperability, is prohibited.'"
Open Source

Ask Slashdot: How To Start Reading Other's Code? 254

Posted by timothy
from the first-hire-some-polish-mathematicians dept.
BorgeStrand writes "I'm reviving an open source project and need to read up on a lot of existing code written by others. What are your tricks for quickly getting to grips with code written by others? The project is written in C++ using several APIs which are unknown to me. I know embedded C pretty well, so both the syntax, the APIs and the general functionality are things I wish to explore before I can contribute to the project."
Businesses

NY and SF Mayors Announce Joint Tech Summits 27

Posted by timothy
from the guiding-hand-of-the-state dept.
First time accepted submitter Clarklteveno writes "New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his San Francisco counterpart, Ed Lee, said at a news conference Friday that they are sponsoring a pair of technology summits over the next year. The mayors said the 'digital cities' summits — one in New York in September and another in San Francisco early next year — will seek to find ways to use technology to solve problems the cities face. The mayors made the announcement after touring the office of San Francisco-based mobile payment company Square with co-founder Jack Dorsey, who also helped found Twitter. Bloomberg pointed to power outages and dangerous winds and flooding from Hurricane Sandy as examples of issues the summits would seek to address."
Oracle

Larry Ellison Rejuvenating Hawaii's Sixth-Largest Island (Which He Owns) 297

Posted by Soulskill
from the go-big-or-go-home dept.
McGruber writes "In June of 2012, we discussed news that Larry Ellison, co-founder and chief executive of Oracle, purchased the Hawaiian island Lanai for $300 million. Ellison now owns nearly everything on the island, including many of the candy-colored plantation-style homes and apartments, one of the two grocery stores, the two Four Seasons hotels and golf courses, the community center and pool, water company, movie theater, half the roads and some 88,000 acres of land. (2% of the island is owned by the government or by longtime Lanai families.) Now Ellison is attempting to win over the island's small, but wary, local population, one whose economic future is heavily dependent on his decisions. He and his team have met with experts in desalination and solar energy to change the way water and electricity are generated, collected, stored and delivered on the island. They are refurbishing residential housing intended for workers (Mr. Ellison's Lanai Resorts owns and manages 400 of the more than 1,500 housing units on the island). They've tackled infrastructure, such as lengthening airport runways and paving county roads. And to improve access to Lanai, Mr. Ellison bought Island Air earlier this year and is closing a deal to buy another airline."
Databases

Transgendered Folks Encountering Document/Database ID Hassles 814

Posted by Soulskill
from the flipping-bits dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Most of us hear the equivalent of 'let me bring up your record' several times a week or month when dealing with businesses and government agencies; sometimes there's a problem, but clerks are accustomed to dealing with changes in street address, phone numbers, company affiliation, and even personal names (after marriage). But what about gender? Transgendered folks are encountering embarrassing moments when they have to explain that their gender has changed from 'M' to 'F' or vice versa. While there are many issues involved in discrimination against transgendered individuals, I have to confess that the first thing that came to my mind was the impact on database design and maintenance."
Mozilla

POTI, Creators of the Songbird Media Player, Call It Quits 67

Posted by timothy
from the but-you-can-reuse-bits-of-it dept.
ilikenwf writes "Pioneers of the Inevitable has announced on their blog that they will be folding on June 28. Started in 2007, the company went on to create the Songbird Desktop and mobile players, as well as the Songbird.me Facebook app. Their legacy lives on in Nightingale, an open source fork of the Songbird Desktop player that runs on Linux, Windows and Mac. No word yet on whether or not their currently closed source code will be opened up or not, but their contributions to the world of open source software are appreciated, and won't be forgotten."
Programming

Ask Slashdot: Self-Hosting Git Repositories? 165

Posted by timothy
from the that-sounds-recursive dept.
mpol writes "We're all aware of PRISM and the NSA deals with software houses. Just today it was in the news that even Microsoft gives zero-day exploits to the NSA, who use them to prepare themselves, but also use the exploits to break into other systems. At my company we use Git with some private repositories. It's easy to draw the conclusion that git-hosting in the cloud, like Github or Bitbucket, will lead to sharing the sourcecode with the NSA. Self-hosting our Git repositories seems like a good and safe idea then. The question then becomes which software to use. It should be Open Source and under a Free License, that's for sure. Software like GitLab and GNU Savane seem good candidates. What other options are there, and how do they stack up against each other? What experience do people have with them?"
Databases

A Database of Brains 25

Posted by Soulskill
from the quickly-DDOSed-by-zombie-botnet dept.
aarondubrow writes "Researchers recently created OpenfMRI, a web-based, supercomputer-powered tool that makes it easier for researchers to process, share, compare and rapidly analyze fMRI brain scans from many different studies. Applying supercomputing to the fMRI analysis allows researchers to conduct larger studies, test more hypotheses, and accommodate the growing spatial and time resolution of brain scans. The ultimate goal is to collect enough brain data to develop a bottom-up understanding of brain function."
Red Hat Software

Red Hat Ditches MySQL, Switches To MariaDB 203

Posted by Soulskill
from the market-share-sinking dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Red Hat will switch the default database in its enterprise distribution, RHEL, from MySQL to MariaDB, when version 7 is released. MySQL's first employee in Australia, Arjen Lentz, said Fedora and OpenSuSE were community driven, whereas RHEL's switch to MariaDB was a corporate decision with far-reaching implications. 'I presume there is not much love lost between Red Hat and Oracle (particularly since the "Oracle Linux" stuff started) but I'm pretty sure this move won't make Oracle any happier,' said Lentz, who now runs his own consultancy, Open Query, from Queensland. 'Thus it's a serious move in political terms.' He said that in practical terms, MariaDB should now get much more of a public footprint with people (people knowing about MariaDB and it being a/the replacement for MySQL), and direct acceptance both by individual users and corporates."
Perl

Learn About the FRDCSA 'Weak AI' Project (Video) 52

Posted by Roblimo
from the let-us-run-your-life-for-you dept.
Today's interviewee, Andrew Dougherty, has a Web page that says he is "...an autodidact mathematician and computer scientist specializing in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Algorithmic Information Theory (AIT). He is the founder of the FRDCSA (Formalized Research Database: Cluster Study & Apply) project, a practical attempt at weak AI aimed primarily at collecting and interrelating existing software with theoretical motivation from AIT. He has made over 90 open source applications, 400 (unofficial) Debian GNU/Linux packages and 800 Perl5 modules (see http://frdcsa.org/frdcsa)." Tim Lord says Andrew's project "brings together a lot of AI algorithms, collects large sets of data for those algorithms to chew on, and writes software to do things like ... guide your whole life." As you might guess, Andrew occupies a pretty far edge of the eccentric programmer world, as you'll see from this video (and transcript). He calls himself "a serious Stallmanite" (his word), and has chosen the GPL for his software in the hopes that it will therefore help the greatest number of people. (Speaking of help, he's looking for interesting data sets and various "life rules" that can be integrated with his planning software, and one of the reasons he presented at the recent YAPC::NA was to solicit help in putting his hundreds of Perl modules onto CPAN.)
The Almighty Buck

The $200,000 Software Developer 473

Posted by timothy
from the of-course-those-are-the-blackmail-rates dept.
itwbennett writes "You can make a decent living as a software developer, and if you were lucky enough to get hired at a pre-IPO tech phenom, you can even get rich at it. But set your sights above the average and below Scrooge McDuck and you won't find many developers in that salary range. In fact, the number of developers earning $200,000 and above is under 10%, writes blogger Phil Johnson who looked at salary data from Glassdoor, Salary.com and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. How does your salary rate? What's your advice for earning the big bucks?"
IT

Ask Slashdot: What To Do With New Free Time? 299

Posted by timothy
from the when-you're-finished-gloating-at-least dept.
An anonymous reader writes "After 25 years of doing IT (started as a PC technician and stayed on technical of IT work through out my career) I've been moved to a position of doing only on call work (but paid as if it is a normal 9-5 job). This leaves me with a lot of free time... As someone who's used to working 12+ hours a day + the odd night/weekend on call, I'm scared I'll lose my mind with all the new free time I'll have. Any suggestions (beyond develop hobbies, spend time with family) on how to deal with all the new free time?"
Java

Oracle Reinstates Free Time Zone Updates For Java 7 61

Posted by timothy
from the mistakes-were-made dept.
twofishy writes "The internet has been buzzing this week with the news that Oracle has ceased to provide free time zone updates outside of the standard JDK release cycle. However, at the end of yesterday the firm appeared to have a change of heart. 'We never intended for a support contract to be required to keep JDK 7 up to date. TZUpdater was made unavailable on March 8 as part of the End of Public Updates for JDK 6, and as soon as we learned that this affected JDK 7 users we initiated the process of making it available for JDK 7 again.'"
Ruby

The Rails Girls Are Coming to a City Near You (Video) 162

Posted by Roblimo
from the programming-not-trains dept.
So far, the Rails Girls have groups in cities ranging from Warsaw to Wellington, with U.S. gatherings in Washington D.C., Charlotte NC, San Francisco CA, and... let's make it easy: Here's a map. OMG! They're everywhere! Actually, mostly Europe, being as they started in Finland, same as the Leningrad Cowboys and a popular computer operating system. But they're spreading like mad. Would you believe the reason one of the two founders originally got interested in Ruby on Rails was because she wanted to make a fan page for American politician Al Gore? Our interviewee, Magda (from Rails Girls Warsaw), swears this is true. She also tells us about their upcoming Washington D.C. workshop on June 13th, 2013, in conjunction with the June 14-15 RubyNation event. Sounds like fun, doesn't it. Maybe you need more of this kind of fun where you live, eh? If there isn't a Rails Girls group near you, maybe you should start one and help more women and girls get into programming. This is the Rails Girls' goal. Any particular ages? Not really. And their workshops are all free of charge: "You just need to be excited!"
Apple

Apple Shows Off New iOS 7, Mac OS X At WWDC 607

Posted by samzenpus
from the round-up dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Apple CEO Tim Cook kicked off his company's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco with a short video emphasizing the importance of design, particularly that which evokes some sort of emotional connection such as love or delight. But that sentimental bit aside, this WWDC was all business: huge numbers of developers attend this annual event, packing sessions designed to help give their apps an edge in Apple's crowded online marketplace (some 50 billion apps have been downloaded from the App Store, Cook told the audience during his keynote). Apple also uses its WWDC to unveil new products or services, attracting sizable interest from the tech press.

This time around, the company introduced Mac OS X 'Mavericks,' which includes 'Finder Tabs' (which allow the user to deploy multiple tabs within a Finder window—great for organization, in theory) and document tags (for easier searching). Macs will now support multiple displays, including HDTVs, with the ability to tweak elements between screens; Apple claims the operating system will also interact with the CPU in a more efficient manner.

On top of that, Apple rolled out some new hardware: an upgraded MacBook Air with faster graphics, better battery life (9 hours for the 11-inch edition, while the 13-inch version can draw 12 hours' worth of power). Apple has decided to jump into the cloud-productivity space with iWork for iCloud, which makes the company's iWork portfolio (Pages, Numbers, and Keynote) browser-based; this is a clear response to Office 365 and Google Docs.

And finally, the executives onstage turned back to iOS, which (according to Apple) powers some 600 million devices around the world. This version involves more than a few tweaks: from a redesigned 'Slide to Unlock' at the bottom of the screen, to the bottom-up control panel that slides over the home-screen, to the 'flat' (as predicted) icons and an interface that adjusts as the phone is tilted, this is a total redesign. As a software designer, Ive is clearly a huge fan of basic shapes—circles and squares— and layering translucent elements atop one another."
Programming

Ask Slashdot: What To Do When Another Dev Steals Your Work and Adds Their Name? 480

Posted by samzenpus
from the all-due-credit dept.
An anonymous reader writes "I have had an interesting situation arise where I built some web apps for a client about 2 years ago. I have no longer been working with the client and a new developer has taken over purely for maintenance work. Currently I have been looking for new work and have used the said apps as part of my portfolio. During one interview I was informed that I not telling the truth about building the apps and I was then shown the source of a few JS files. It seems the new developer had put a copyright header on them, removed my name as the author and put his own. Now this is grey territory as it the client who owns the source, not the contracting developer. It put me on my back foot and I had to start explaining to interviewers that the developer stole the work and branded it. I feel it makes me look like a fool, having to defend my position in an interview with a possible client and I feel I had lost the chance of directing the outcome of the interview. I have cut the apps from my portfolio, however they are some of my best work and a real testament to my skills. I decided to cut my loss and move on, I am not looking for a fight or any unnecessary heartache. So what you do in my situation?"
Education

MIT President Tells Grads To 'Hack the World' 86

Posted by timothy
from the but-gently dept.
theodp writes "On Friday, MIT President L. Rafael Reif exhorted grads to 'hack the world until you make the world a little more like MIT'. A rather ironic choice of words, since 'hack the world' is precisely what others said Aaron Swartz was trying to do in his fateful run-in with MIT. President Reif presumably received an 'Incomplete' this semester for the promised time-is-of-the-essence review of MIT's involvement in the events that preceded Swartz's suicide last January. By the way, it wasn't so long ago that 2013 commencement speaker Drew Houston and Aaron Swartz were both welcome speakers at MIT."
Oracle

Oracle Discontinues Free Java Time Zone Updates 405

Posted by timothy
from the now-you-won't-know-when-you-are dept.
New submitter Noel Trout writes "For a long time in the Java world, there has been a free tool called the 'tzupdater' or Time Zone Updater released as a free download first by Sun and then Oracle. This tool can be used to apply a patch to the Java runtime so that time zone information is correct. This is necessary since some time zones in the world are not static and change more frequently than one might think; in general time zone updates can be released maybe 4-6 times a year. The source information backing the Java timezone API comes from the open source Olson timezone database that is also used by many operating systems. For certain types of applications, you can understand that these updates are mission critical. For example, my company operates in the private aviation sector so we need to be able to display the correct local time at airports around the world. So, the interesting part is that Oracle has now decided to only release these updates if you have a Java SE support contract. Being Oracle, such licenses are far from cheap. In my opinion, this is a pretty serious change in stance for Oracle and amounts to killing free Java for certain types of applications, at least if you care about accuracy. We are talking about the core API class java.util.TimeZone. This begs the question, can you call an API free if you have to pay for it to return accurate information? What is the point of such an API? Should the community not expect that core Java classes are fully functional and accurate? I believe it is also a pretty bad move for Java adoption for these types of applications. If my company as a startup 10 years ago would have been presented with such a license fee, we almost certainly could not have chosen Java as our platform as we could not afford it."
United Kingdom

BBC Clock Inaccurate - 100 Days To Fix? 487

Posted by samzenpus
from the one-tricky-clock dept.
mikejuk writes "The BBC home page has just lost its clock because the BBC Trust upheld a complaint that it was inaccurate. The clock would show the current time on the machine it was being viewed on and not an accurate time as determined by the BBC. However, the BBC have responded to the accusations of inaccuracy by simply removing the clock stating that it would take 100 staffing days to fix. It further says: 'Given the technical complexities of implementing an alternative central clock, and the fact that most users already have a clock on their computer screen, the BBC has taken the decision to remove the clock from the Homepage in an upcoming update.' They added, '...the system required to do this "would dramatically slow down the loading of the BBC homepage", something which he said was "an issue of great importance to the site's users". Secondly, if the site moved to a format in which users across the world accessed the same homepage, irrespective of whichever country they were in, it would be "impossible to offer a single zonally-accurate clock."'"
IT

Why Your Users Hate Agile 597

Posted by Soulskill
from the they-prefer-strength-or-charisma dept.
Esther Schindler writes "What developers see as iterative and flexible, users see as disorganized and never-ending. This article discusses how some experienced developers have changed that perception. '... She's been frustrated by her Agile experiences — and so have her clients. "There is no process. Things fly all directions, and despite SVN [version control] developers overwrite each other and then have to have meetings to discuss why things were changed. Too many people are involved, and, again, I repeat, there is no process.' The premise here is not that Agile sucks — quite to the contrary — but that developers have to understand how Agile processes can make users anxious, and learn to respond to those fears. Not all those answers are foolproof. For example: 'Detailed designs and planning done prior to a project seems to provide a "safety net" to business sponsors, says Semeniuk. "By providing a Big Design Up Front you are pacifying this request by giving them a best guess based on what you know at that time — which is at best partial or incorrect in the first place." The danger, he cautions, is when Big Design becomes Big Commitment — as sometimes business sponsors see this plan as something that needs to be tracked against. "The big concern with doing a Big Design up front is when it sets a rigid expectation that must be met, regardless of the changes and knowledge discovered along the way," says Semeniuk.' How do you respond to user anxiety from Agile processes?"
Open Source

Indian FOSS Evangelist Atul Chitnis Dead At 51 39

Posted by timothy
from the sad-news-travels dept.
New submitter knwny writes "Atul Chitnis, the man who popularized open software in India, died on 3rd June of intestinal cancer. As a technology mentor, writer and public speaker he promoted Linux and FOSS since the late 1980s through his association with various tech magazines and conferences. He introduced Linux to thousands of PC Quest magazine readers by convincing them to carry the first ever Linux distribution in India on its cover CD in 1996."
Programming

How Unity3D Became a Game-Development Beast 115

Posted by samzenpus
from the right-tool-for-the-job dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "In the early 2000s, three young programmers without much money gathered in a basement and started coding what would become one of the most widely used pieces of software in the video game industry. 'Nobody really remembers how we survived in that period except we probably didn't eat much,' said David Helgason, the CEO and co-founder of Unity Technologies, maker of the Unity3D game engine. A decade later, untold numbers of developers have used Unity3D to make thousands of video games for mobile devices, consoles, browsers, PCs, Macs, and even Linux. The existence of Unity3D and similar products (such as the Unreal Engine and CryEngine) helped democratize game development, making the kinds of tools used by the world's largest game companies available to developers at little or no cost. This has helped developers focus less on creating a video game's underlying technology and more on the artistic and creative processes that actually make games fun to play. In this article, Helgason talks about how Final Cut Pro helped inspire his team during the initial building stages, how it's possible to create a game in Unity without actually writing code, and how he hopes to make the software more of a presence on traditional consoles despite Unity3D being several years late to supporting the PS3 and Xbox 360."
Education

Ask Slashdot: How To Start and Manage a University LUG? 66

Posted by timothy
from the you'll-need-a-lug-wrench dept.
New submitter ckugblenu writes "I'm an undergrad computer engineering student in Ghana with some Linux knowledge under my belt. How do I start a Linux users group at my university and what kind of activities should occur? The engineering department is willing to provide meeting space, but that's about it. The other computer groups are into mobile web and not as specialized as I would like. How do I successfully achieve it and build a following, since it will be the first in the university?"
The Courts

Opposition Mounts To Oracle's Attempt To Copyright Java APIs 187

Posted by timothy
from the but-larry-wants-it dept.
An anonymous reader writes with a bit from Groklaw: "The remarkable outpouring of support for Google in the Oracle v. Google appeal continues, with a group of well-known innovators, start-ups, and those who fund them — innovators like Ray Ozzie, Tim O'Reilly, Mitch Kapor, Dan Bricklin, and Esther Dyson — standing with [Thursday's] group of leading computer scientists in telling the court that Oracle's attempt to copyright its Java APIs would be damaging to innovation." As usual, Groklaw gives a cogent, readable introduction to the issue.
Programming

Too Many Smart People Chasing Too Many Dumb Ideas? 376

Posted by timothy
from the your-ideas-might-be-dumb-but-mine-are-great dept.
theodp writes "In The Unexotic Underclass, C.Z. Nnaemeka argues that too many smart people are chasing too many dumb ideas. 'What is shameful,' writes Nnaemeka, 'is that in a country with so many problems, with such a heaving underclass, we find the so-called 'best and brightest,' the 20-and 30-somethings who emerge from the top American graduate and undergraduate programs, abandoning their former hangout, Wall Street, to pile into anti-problem entrepreneurship.' Nnaemeka adds, 'It just looks like we've shifted the malpractice from feeding the money machine to making inane, self-centric apps. Worse, is that the power players, institutional and individual — the highflying VCs, the entrepreneurship incubators, the top-ranked MBA programs, the accelerators, the universities, the business plan competitions have been complicit in this nonsense.' And while it may not get you invited to the White House, Nnaemeka advises entrepreneurs looking for ideas to 'consider looking beyond the city-centric, navel-gazing, youth-obsessed mainstream' and instead focus on some groups that no one else is helping."
The Almighty Buck

Funding Open Source By Donations: Lighting the Path 56

Posted by timothy
from the getting-things-done dept.
New submitter BryanLunduke writes "One week ago I Open Sourced my — previously commercial — software (GPL) and comic books (creative commons). I am now documenting my journey to fully fund their continued development with the first week's results of funding via donations. I am publishing this information here to give others the facts they need to help decide if they can afford to do something similar."
Bug

The Case For a Government Bug Bounty Program 53

Posted by Soulskill
from the 40-cents-for-a-cockroach,-75-cents-for-a-bedbug dept.
Trailrunner7 writes "Bug bounty programs have been a boon for both researchers and the vendors who sponsor them. From the researcher's perspective, having a lucrative outlet for the work they put in finding vulnerabilities is an obvious win. Many researchers do this work on their own time, outside of their day jobs and with no promise of financial reward. The willingness of vendors such as Google, Facebook, PayPal, Barracuda, Mozilla and others to pay significant amounts of money to researchers who report vulnerabilities to them privately has given researchers both an incentive to find more vulnerabilities and a motivation to not go the full disclosure route. This set of circumstances could be an opportunity for the federal government to step in and create its own separate bug reward program to take up the slack. Certain government agencies already are buying vulnerabilities and exploits for offensive operations. But the opportunity here is for an organization such as US-CERT, a unit of the Department of Homeland Security, to offer reasonably significant rewards for vulnerability information to be used for defensive purposes. There are a large number of software vendors who don't pay for vulnerabilities, and many of them produce applications that are critical to the operation of utilities, financial systems and government networks. DHS has a massive budget–a $39 billion request for fiscal 2014–and a tiny portion of that allocated to buy bugs from researchers could have a significant effect on the security of the nation's networks. Once the government buys the vulnerability information, it could then work with the affected vendors on fixes, mitigations and notifications for customers before details are released."
Programming

When Smart Developers Generate Crappy Code 195

Posted by Soulskill
from the my-code-works-fine-so-it-must-be-your-fault dept.
itwbennett writes "If you've ever worked on a team you can probably recall a time when, as a group, you produced work that was not as good as any one of you could have done on your own. Sarah Mei had this sort of sub-par teamwork experience, which she shared in her session at the O'Reilly Fluent Conference this week. Mei 'spoke about a time she worked on a team with really expert developers. Every one of them was someone whom you'd admire, who had previous written code that you and I would boast to have created. Yet, these smart people created modules that didn't talk to each other. And its quality was, to be kind, on the rotten side.' It's not an uncommon story, but why and how does it happen? The answer, says Mei, is that code quality 'is defined by its patterns of dependencies,' not all of which have equal weight. And, as it turns out, team communication is the heaviest dependency of all."
Education

Ask Slashdot: How Important Is Advanced Math In a CS Degree? 656

Posted by Soulskill
from the math-is-easy-for-most-people,-they-just-don't-know-it dept.
AvailableNickname writes "I am currently pursuing a bachelor's in CompSci and I just spent three hours working on a few differential equations for homework. It is very frustrating because I just don't grok advanced math. I can sort of understand a little bit, but I really don't grok anything beyond long division. But I love computers, and am very good at them. However, nobody in the workforce is even going to glance at my direction without a BSc. And to punish me for going into a field originally developed by mathematicians I need to learn all this crap. If I had understood what I was doing, maybe I wouldn't mind so much. But the double frustration of not understanding it and not understanding why the heck I need to do it is too much. So, how important is it?"
Programming

How Did You Learn How To Program? 623

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the emacs-plus-glibc-infotex-manual dept.
theodp writes "'Every programmer likely remembers how they learned to code,' writes GeekWire's Taylor Soper. 'For guys like Bill Gates and Paul Allen, the magic began on the Teletype Model 33 (pic). For others, it may have been a few days at a coding workshop like the one I attended for journalists.' If you're in the mood to share how and in what ways your own developer days began, Soper adds, 'cyborg anthropologist' Amber Case is collecting stories to help people understand what it takes to learn how to code. Any fond computer camp stories, kids?"
Businesses

$30,000 For a Developer Referral? 189

Posted by Soulskill
from the i'll-send-you-a-dozen dept.
itwbennett writes "Are good developers really that hard to find? Cambridge, MA-based inbound marketing company HubSpot seems to think so. The company has upped its developer referral bonus from $10,000 to $30,000 — and you don't have to be an employee to get in on the deal. Beats a free puppy. What has your experience been with referral bonuses?"
Programming

Dao, a New Programming Language Supporting Advanced Features With Small Runtime 404

Posted by Soulskill
from the not-to-be-confused-with-the-chinese-sword dept.
New submitter NeoHermit writes "This language (Dao) has never been mentioned on Slashdot before, but it might be interesting to many people here. As it has recently become feature-complete and just made its first beta release, it may be the right time to mention it here. Dao is an optionally-typed programming language that supports many advanced features with a small runtime. The feature list is probably as long as that of Python, but they are supported by a much smaller runtime (somewhere between Lua and Python, but closer to Lua). Besides optional typing, the other major features that worth mentioning include: built-in support for concurrent programming for multicore computers, very friendly C programming interfaces for embedding and extending, a LLVM-based JIT compiler, a Clang-based module for embedding C/C++ codes in Dao, and a Clang-based tool for automatic binding generation from C/C++ header files. You can also see many familiar features from other languages."
Education

A Commencement Speech For 2013 CS Majors 144

Posted by Soulskill
from the enjoy-all-of-your-debt dept.
blackbearnh writes "Most commencement speeches are long on platitudes and short on practical advice. O'Reilly blogger James Turner has tailored a speech aimed specifically at the current batch of graduating CS majors. Among the advice that the 35-year industry veteran offers are to find a small company for your first job, but not one that is going to burn you out. Also, keep learning new things, but don't fall into the trap of learning the flavor of the day technology. Quoting: 'Being passionate about software is critical to being successful, because the field is a constantly moving target. What will net you $130K today will be done by junior programmers in five years, and unless you're constantly adding new tools to your belt, you’re going to find yourself priced out of the market. ... You are rarely going to get an opportunity to have your current employer pay for you to learn things, so learn them on your own and be in a position to leverage the skills when a new project comes along. But if you have a passion for technology, you'll already be doing it, and enjoying it without needing me to tell you to."
Programming

Ask Slashdot: What's the Best Way To Work On Projects While Traveling? 273

Posted by Soulskill
from the build-an-office-inside-a-rental-truck dept.
An anonymous reader writes "I really want to go travel the world with the money I've saved up at my day job, but I also want to grow as a developer in the process. This is a long-term engagement: 2-3 years or more depending on whether my software is successful. I'll probably be hopping from hostel to hostel at first, with a few weeks at each. How do I find a good work environment in these conditions? Do hostels generally have quiet areas where work could be done? Is it OK to get out your laptop and spend the day in a cafe in Europe, assuming you keep buying drinks? What about hackerspaces — are those common on the other side of the globe? (Apartments are an option for later on, but I'm concerned about losing the social atmosphere that's built in with the hostel lifestyle.) I've never done anything like this before, but I'm really excited about the idea! Any advice would be greatly appreciated."
Bug

PayPal Denies Teen Reward For Finding Bug 318

Posted by timothy
from the alice-in-wonderland-rules dept.
itwbennett writes "You have to be 18 to qualify for PayPal's bug bounty program, a minor detail that 17-year old Robert Kugler found out the hard way after being denied a reward for a website bug he reported. Curiously, the age guideline isn't in the terms and conditions posted on the PayPal website. Kugler was informed by email that he was disqualified because of his age."
Software

Java Developer Says He Built, Launched Basic Open Source Office Suite In 30 Days 266

Posted by Soulskill
from the quick-and-dirty dept.
alphadogg writes "A freelance Java developer claims it took him only 30 days to build and launch a basic open source office suite that runs on multiple OSes. Called Joeffice, it works on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux as well as in browsers, according to the developer, Anthony Goubard. It includes a very basic word processor, spreadsheet program, presentation program and database software, Goubard said. The office suite was built with NetBeans and uses many popular open source Java libraries. That allowed him to built the program in 30 days, he said, a process that he documented daily on YouTube (video). The suite was released as an alpha version, which means that not everything works yet. Goubard's Amsterdam company, Japplis, launched the suite, which is available under an Apache 2.0 license. This license allows companies to change and redistribute the code internally without having to share the new code publicly, he said."
Google

Six Months Developing Software For Wearable Computing 28

Posted by Soulskill
from the i-need-a-HUD-that-points-out-youtube-commenters-in-real-life dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Twilio's Jon Gottfried has written an article about the lessons he's learned after six months of developing software for Google Glass. He has some insightful points: 'I expected it to be very similar to building mobile applications for Android. In fact, I began learning to build Android applications in preparation. My efforts were for naught, because the Mirror API is a RESTful web service. This means that developing applications for Glass is actually more similar to building a website than it is to building an Android application.' He also talks about how this fits in with the future of technology: 'I would argue that Google took the only option available to them. The only truly scalable products of the future will be developer platforms. Facebook, Twitter, Twilio, Google, Apple, Microsoft, Arduino – all of these products have been successful in large part by embracing and empowering their developer communities. No company is omniscient enough to imagine every potential use of their products. This gives developers an immense amount of power to define the success or failure of an entire product line.'"
United Kingdom

World's Biggest 'Agile' Software Project Close To Failure 349

Posted by Soulskill
from the be-careful-not-to-learn-anything-from-this dept.
00_NOP writes "'Universal Credit' — the plan to consolidate all Britain's welfare payments into one — is the world's biggest 'agile' software development project. It is now close to collapse, the British government admitted yesterday. The failure, if and when it comes, could cost billions and have dire social consequences. 'Some steps have been taken to try to rescue the project. The back end – the benefits calculation – has reportedly been shifted to a "waterfall" development process – which offers some assurances that the government at least takes its fiduciary duties seriously as it should mean no code will be deployed that has not been finished. The front end – the bit used by humans – is still meant to be “agile” – which makes some sense, but where is the testing? Agile is supposed to be about openness between developer and client and we – the taxpayers – are the clients: why can’t we see what our money is paying for?'"

Take care of the luxuries and the necessities will take care of themselves. -- Lazarus Long

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