Treefinder Revokes Software License For Users In Immigrant-Friendly Nations 576

dotancohen writes: The author of bioinformatics software Treefinder is revoking the license to his software for researchers working in eight European countries because he says those countries allow too many immigrants to cross their borders, effective 1 October. The author states, "Immigration to my country harms me, it harms my family, it harms my people. Whoever invites or welcomes immigrants to Europe and Germany is my enemy."

(Over-)Measuring the Working Man 165 writes: Tyler Cowen writes in MIT Technology Review that the improved measurement of worker performance through information technology is beginning to allow employers to measure value fairly precisely and as we get better at measuring who produces what, the pay gap between those who make more and those who make less grows. Insofar as workers type at a computer, everything they do is logged, recorded, and measured. Surveillance of workers continues to increase, and statistical analysis of large data sets makes it increasingly easy to evaluate individual productivity, even if the employer has a fairly noisy data set about what is going on in the workplace. Consider journalism. In the "good old days," no one knew how many people were reading an article, or an individual columnist. Today a digital media company knows exactly how many people are reading which articles for how long, and also whether they click through to other links. The result is that many journalists turn out to be not so valuable at all. Their wages fall or they lose their jobs, while the superstar journalists attract more Web traffic and become their own global brands.

According to Cowen, the upside is that measuring value tends to boost productivity, as has been the case since the very beginning of management science. We're simply able to do it much better now, and so employers can assign the most productive workers to the most suitable tasks. The downsides are several. Individuals don't in fact enjoy being evaluated all the time, especially when the results are not always stellar: for most people, one piece of negative feedback outweighs five pieces of positive feedback.

Are Enterprise Architects the "Miltons" of Their Organizations? 131

StewBeans writes: InfoWorld recently pointed out that the "architect" part of enterprise architect is a misnomer, because what they are building can't be a static, unmoving structure or it will fail. Businesses need to remain fluid and flexible as technology and consumer behaviors evolve, so modern enterprise architects must "develop frameworks with constant change as a first principle." The business value of these frameworks, however, is often called into question, and EAs have even been called the "Miltons" (as in Milton from Office Space) of the enterprise. If the field of enterprise architecture is changing to focus more on digital transformation, how does that compete with or compliment IT's role in the enterprise, which is also focused on digital transformation? The enterprise architect of BJ's Wholesale breaks down his responsibilities and addresses some myths about the EA role in this article.

Ask Slashdot: Building a Software QA Framework? 58

New submitter DarkHorseman writes: I am looking into a new position with my employer and have the opportunity to work with the development and QA team to further the creation of a Quality Assurance Framework that will be used into the long-term future. This is software that has been in continuous development, in-house, for >10 years and is used company-wide (Fortune100, ~1000 locations, >10k users, different varieties based on discipline) as a repair toolset on a large variety of computers (high variability of SW/HW configuration). Now is the time to formalize the QA process. We have developed purpose-built tools and include vendor-specific applications based on business need. This framework will ideally provide a thorough and documentable means by which a team of testers could help to thoroughly ensure proper functionality before pushing the software to all locations. The information provided by along with other sources has been invaluable in understanding the software side of QA but I have seen very little in terms of actual creation of the framework of the process. What would you consider the best resources to prepare me to succeed? Even if your QA needs are for smaller projects, what advice do you have for formalizing the process?

LibreOffice Turns Five 147

An anonymous reader writes: Italo Vignoli, founding member of The Document Foundation, reflects on the project's five-year mark in an article on "LibreOffice was launched as a fork of on September 28, 2010, by a tiny group of people representing the community in their capacity as community project leaders. At the time, forking the office suite was a brave -- and necessary -- decision, because the open source community did not expect to survive for long under Oracle stewardship." The project that was does still exist, in the form of Apache Open Office, but along with most Linux distros, I've switched completely to LibreOffice, after some initial misgivings.

Romance and Rebellion In Software Versioning 86

joabj writes: Most software releases more or less follow the routine convention of Major.Minor.Bugfix numbering (i.e. Linux 4.2.1). This gives administrators an idea of what updates are major ones and might bring compatibility issues. As Dominic Tarr points out in his essay "Sentimental Versioning," a few projects boldly take on more whimsical schemes for versioning, such as Donald Knuth's use of successive Pi digits to enumerate new updates to TeX, or Node.js's punk-rock careening between major and minor releases. If you break convention, Tarr seems to be arguing, at least do so with panache.

Jeff Atwood NY Daily News Op-Ed: Learning To Code Is Overrated 300

theodp writes: Responding to New York City's much-ballyhooed $81 million initiative to require all of the city's public schools to offer CS to all students, Coding Horror's Jeff Atwood has penned a guest column for the NY Daily News which cautions that learning to code isn't all it's cracked up to be. Atwood begins, "Mayor de Blasio is winning widespread praise for his recent promise that, within 10 years, all of New York City's public schoolchildren will take computer science classes. But as a career programmer who founded two successful software startups, I am deeply skeptical about teaching all kids to code." Why? "If someone tells you 'coding is the new literacy' because 'computers are everywhere today,' ask them how fuel injection works. By teaching low-level coding, I worry that we are effectively teaching our children the art of automobile repair. A valuable skill — but if automobile manufacturers and engineers are doing their jobs correctly, one that shouldn't be much concern for average people, who happily use their cars as tools to get things done without ever needing to worry about rebuilding the transmission or even change the oil." Atwood adds, "There's nothing wrong with basic exposure to computer science. But it should not come at the expense of fundamental skills such as reading, writing and mathematics...I've known so many programmers who would have been much more successful in their careers if they had only been better writers, better critical thinkers, better back-of-the-envelope estimators, better communicators. And aside from success in careers, we have to ask the broader question: What kinds of people do we want children to grow up to be?"

Reports: Volkswagen Was Warned of Emissions Cheating Years Ago 161

An anonymous reader writes: More fuel was thrown on the Volkswagen fire today after two German newspapers reported that Volkswagen's own staff and one of its suppliers warned years ago about software designed to thwart emissions test. Volkswagen declined to comment on the details of either newspaper report. "There are serious investigations underway and the focus is now also on technical solutions" for customers and dealers, a Volkswagen spokesman said. "As soon as we have reliable facts we will be able to give answers."

Meet the Michael Jordan of Sport Coding 103

pacopico writes: Gennady Korotkevich — aka Tourist — has spent a decade ruling the world of sport coding. He dominates TopCoder, Codeforces and just about every tournament sponsored by the likes of Google and Facebook. Bloomberg has profiled Korotkevich's rise through the sport coding ranks and taken a deep look at what makes this sport weirdly wonderful. The big takeaway from the piece seems to be that sport coding has emerged as a way for very young coders to make names for themselves and get top jobs — sometimes by skipping college altogether.

The #NoEstimates Debate: An Unbiased Look At Origins, Arguments, and Leaders 299

New submitter MikeTechDude writes: Estimates have always been an integral part of the software development process. In recent years, however, developers, including Woody Zuill and Vasco Duarte, have begun to question the efficacy, and even the purpose, of using estimates to predict a project's cost and time line. A fierce debate has sprung up on Twitter, between those calling for an end to estimates and those who continue to champion their use in a professional setting. On the surface, it would appear that the debate is black and white. Proponents of the #NoEstimates Twitter hashtag are promoting a hard stop to all estimates industry-wide, and critics of the movement are insisting on a conservative approach that leaves little room for innovation. However, the reality of the debate has unfolded in far more complex, nuanced shades of gray. HP's Malcolm Isaacs digs deep and pinpoints where the debate started, where it now stands, and what its implications are for the future of software development. Meanwhile, Martin Heller offers his less unbiased approach with his post, #NoEstimates? Not so fast.

How Did Volkswagen Cheat Emissions Tests, and Who Authorized It? 618

Lucas123 writes: The method by which Volkswagen diesel cars were able to thwart emissions tests and spew up to 40X the nitrogen oxide levels set by the Environmental Protection Agency was relatively simple. It was more likely no more than a single line of code used to detect when an emissions test was being performed and place the emissions system in an alternate mode — something as simple as a software "on/off" switch. Volkswagen AG CEO Martin Winterkorn, who stepping down as the result of his company's scandal, has said he had no knowledge of the emissions cheat, but software dev/test audit trails are almost certain to pinpoint who embedded the code and who authorized it. You can actually see who asked the developer to write that code," said Nikhil Kaul, a product manager at test/dev software maker SmartBear Software. "Then if you go upstream you can see who that person's boss was...and see if testing happened...and, if testing didn't happen. So you can go from the bottom up to nail everyone."

Bjarne Stroustrup Announces the C++ Core Guidelines 262

alphabetsoup writes: At CppCon this year, Bjarne Stroustrup announced the C++ Core Guidelines. The guidelines are designed to help programmers write safe-by-default C++ with no run-time overhead. Compilers will statically check the code to ensure no violations. A library is available now, with a static checking tool to follow in October.

Here is the video of the talk, and here are the slides.The guidelines themselves are here.

Video Security is an Important Coding Consideration Even When You Use Containers (Video) 57

Last month Tom Henderson wrote an article titled Container wars: Rocket vs. Odin vs. Docker. In that article he said, "All three are potentially very useful and also potentially very dangerous compared to traditional hypervisor and VM combinations."

Tom's list of contributions at Network World show you that he's not a neophyte when it comes to enterprise-level security, and that he's more of a product test/analytical person than a journalist. And afraid to state a strong opinion? That's someone else, not Tom, who got flamed hard for his "Container Wars" article, but has been proved right since it ran. Tom also says, in today's interview, that the recent Apple XcodeGhost breach should be a loud wake-up call for developers who don't worry enough about security. But will it? He's not too sure. Are you?

Cassandra Rewritten In C++, Ten Times Faster 341

urdak writes: At Cassandra Summit opening today, Avi Kivity and Dor Laor (who had previously written KVM and OSv) announced ScyllaDB — an open-source C++ rewrite of Cassandra, the popular NoSQL database. ScyllaDB claims to achieve a whopping 10 times more throughput per node than the original Java code, with sub-millisecond 99%ile latency. They even measured 1 million transactions per second on a single node. The performance of the new code is attributed to writing it in Seastar — a C++ framework for writing complex asynchronous applications with optimal performance on modern hardware.

Google Launches Brotli, a New Open Source Compression Algorithm For the Web 215

Mark Wilson writes: As websites and online services become ever more demanding, the need for compression increases exponentially. Fans of Silicon Valley will be aware of the Pied Piper compression algorithm, and now Google has a more efficient one of its own. Brotli is open source and is an entirely new data format that offers 20-26 percent greater compression than Zopfli, another compression algorithm from Google. Just like Zopfli, Brotli has been designed with the internet in mind, with the simple aim of making web pages load faster. It is a "lossless compressed data format that compresses data using a combination of the LZ77 algorithm and Huffman coding, with efficiency comparable to the best currently available general-purpose compression methods". Compression is better than LZMA and bzip2, and Google says that Brotli is "roughly as fast" as zlib's Deflate implementation.