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United Kingdom

UK Government Signs New Deal With Oracle 54

An anonymous reader writes: The Crown Commercial Service (CCS) has signed a deal with Oracle that should allow it to cut down on spending and licensing costs with the software provider. The three-year partnership will see the two collaborate to deliver services to public sector bodies including the National Health Service. A few weeks ago the government announced it would be cutting back on its use of Oracle software, but the new deal instead extends the existing agreement. CCS CEO Sally Collier explained: "The enhanced MoU will deliver savings across government and allow easier and more effective procurement of Oracle products and services. It lays the foundation of a more collaborative relationship between government and Oracle."
Businesses

Do Old Programmers Need To Keep Leaping Through New Hoops? 242

Nerval's Lobster writes: In recent years, it seems as if tech has evolved into an industry that lionizes the young. Despite all the press about 21-year-old rock-star developers and 30-year-old CEOs, though, is there still a significant market for older programmers and developers, especially those with specialized knowledge? The answer is "yes," of course, and sites like Dice suggest that older tech pros should take steps such as setting up social media accounts and spending a lot of time on Github if they want to attract interest from companies and recruiters. But do they really need to go through all of that? If you have twenty, thirty, or even forty years of solid tech work under your belt, is it worth jumping through all sorts of new hoops? Or is there a better way to keep working — provided you don't already have a job, that is, or move up to management, or get out of the game entirely in order to try something startling and new.
Businesses

Evidence That H-1B Holders Don't Replace US Workers 414

Okian Warrior writes: In response to Donald Trump's allegations that H1B visas drive Americans out of jobs, The Huffington Post points to this study which refutes that claim. From the study: "But the data show that over the last decade, as businesses have requested more H-1Bs, they also expanded jobs for Americans." This seems to fly in the face of reason, consensus opinion, and numerous anecdotal reports. Is this report accurate? Have we been concerned over nothing these past few years? Remember, this is about aggregates, rather than whether some specific job has been replaced.
Google

Google Releases Version 1.5 of Its Go Programming Language, Finally Ditches C 221

An anonymous reader writes: Google has launched the sixth notable stable release of its Go programming language Go 1.5. VB reports: "This is not a major release, as denoted by the version number and the fact that the only language change is the lifting of a restriction in the map literal syntax to make them more consistent with slice literals. That said, Go 1.5 does include a significant rewrite: The compiler tool chain has been translated from C to Go. This means "the last vestiges of C code" have been finally removed from the Go code base. As for actual changes in Go 1.5, you'll want to read the full release notes. Highlights include improvements to garbage collection, the developer tools, the standard library, and new ports."
Open Source

Linus Torvalds Isn't Looking 10 Years Ahead For Linux and That's OK 108

darthcamaro writes: At the Linuxcon conference in Seattle today, Linus Torvalds responded to questions about Linux security and about the next 10 years of Linux. For security, Torvalds isn't too worried as he sees it just being about dealing with bugs. When it comes to having a roadmap he's not worried either as he just leaves that to others. "I'm a very plodding, pedestrian person and look only about six months ahead," Torvalds said. "I look at the current release and the next one, as I don't think planning 10 years ahead is sane."
Graphics

The Agonizingly Slow Decline of Adobe's Flash Player 220

harrymcc writes: Security and performance issues with Adobe's Flash Player have led to countless calls for its abandonment. But a significant percentage of major sites still use it--and many of those companies aren't eager to explain why. Over at Fast Company, Jared Newman investigates why Flash won't disappear from the web anytime soon. From the article: Despite the pressure from tech circles, the sites I spoke with said they simply weren’t able to start moving away from Flash until recently, when better technology become available. And even now, it’s going to take time for them to finish building the necessary tools. "Originally, Flash was necessary to solve a couple problems," says Adam Denenberg, chief technical officer for streaming music service iHeartRadio. "Streaming was difficult, especially for live stations, and there were no real http-supported streaming protocols that offered the flexibility of what was required a few years back."
Books

Jason Scott of Textfiles.com Is Trying To Save a Huge Storage Room of Manuals 48

martiniturbide writes: Remember Jason Scott of Textfiles.com, who wanted your AOL & Shovelware CDs earlier this year? Right now -- at this moment! -- he trying to save the manuals in a huge storage room that was going to be dumped. It is a big storage room and some of these manuals date back to the thirties. On Monday a team of volunteers helped him to pack some manuals to save them. Today he needs more volunteers at "2002 Bethel Road, Finksburg, MD, USA" to try to save them all. He is also accepting Paypal donations for the package material, transportation and storage room payment. You can also check his progress on his twitter account.
AMD

DirectX 12 Performance Tested In Ashes of the Singularity 96

Vigile writes: The future of graphics APIs lies in DirectX 12 and Vulkan, both built to target GPU hardware at a lower level than previously available. The advantages are better performance, better efficiency on all hardware and more control for the developer that is willing to put in the time and effort to understand the hardware in question. Until today we have only heard or seen theoretical "peak" performance claims of DX12 compared to DX11. PC Perspective just posted an article that uses a pre-beta version of Ashes of the Singularity, an upcoming RTS utilizing the Oxide Games Nitrous engine, to evaluate and compare DX12's performance claims and gains against DX11. In the story we find five different processor platforms tested with two different GPUs and two different resolutions. Results are interesting and show that DX12 levels the playing field for AMD, with its R9 390X gaining enough ground in DX12 to overcome a significant performance deficit that exists using DX11 to the GTX 980.
Programming

"Father Time" Gets Another Year At NTP From Linux Foundation 157

dkatana writes: Harlan Stenn, Father Time to some and beleaguered maintainer of the Network Time Protocol (NTP) to others, will stay working for the NTP another year. But there is concern that support will decline as more people believe that NTP works just fine and doesn't need any supervision. NTP is the preeminent time synchronization system for Macs, Windows, and Linux computers and most servers on networks. According to IW, for the last three-and-a-half years, Stenn said he's worked 100-plus hours a week answering emails, accepting patches, rewriting patches to work across multiple operating systems, piecing together new releases, and administering the NTP mailing list. If NTP should get hacked or for some reason stop functioning, hundreds of thousands of systems would feel the consequences. "If that happened, all the critics would say, 'See, you can't trust open source code,'" said Stenn.
Android

Android M's Official Name Is Marshmallow 92

An anonymous reader writes: As they've done in the past, Google has revealed the name for the upcoming version of Android with a new statue in front of its headquarters. Android's sixth version will be called Marshmallow. Dave Burke, Android's VP of engineering, unveiled the statue on Twitter. Google has also released the Android 6.0 SDK and the final M preview.
Programming

Rupert Murdoch Won't Be Teaching Your Children To Code After All 57

theodp writes: Plans for Rupert Murdoch & Co. to teach your children to code just hit a bump in the road. Murdoch's News Corp. last week announced it plans to exit the education business as it announced a $371 million write-down of the investment in its Amplify education unit, which aimed to reinvent education via digital tools, tablets and curriculum reinforced with snazzy graphics. The news may help to explain why Amplify MOOC, the entity that offered online AP Computer Science A to high school students, was re-dubbed Edhesive ("online education that sticks") a couple of months ago. Tech-backed Code.org, whose $1+ million "Gold Supporters" include the James and Kathryn Murdoch-led Quadrivium Foundation, announced a partnership with Edhesive to bring CS to schools in June, around the same time Edhesive LLC was formed.
Businesses

How 'Rock Star' Became a Business Buzzword 80

HughPickens.com writes: Carina Chocano writes in the NYT that once, a long time ago, a rock star was a free-spirited, convention-flouting artist/rebel/hero/Dionysian fertility god who fronted a world-famous band, sold millions of records and headlined stadium concerts where people were trampled in frenzies of cultlike fervor. Now 'rock star'' has made a complete about-face and in its new incarnation, it is more likely to refer to a programmer, salesperson, social-media strategist, business-to-business telemarketer, recruiter, management consultant or celebrity pastry chef than to a person in a band. The term has become shorthand for a virtuosity so exalted it borders on genius — only for some repetitive, detail-oriented task. According to Chocano, posting a listing for a job for which only ''rock stars'' need apply casts an H.R. manager as a kind of corporate Svengali; "That nobody is looking for a front-end developer who is addicted to heroin or who bites the heads off doves in conference rooms goes without saying. Pretty much anyone can be a ''rock star'' these days — except actual rock stars, who are encouraged to think of themselves as brands."
Programming

The 2015 Underhanded C Contest Has Begun 52

Xcott Craver writes: The 8th Underhanded C Contest is now underway. The goal of the Underhanded C Contest is to write C code that is as readable, clear, innocent and straightforward as possible, but which performs some malicious function that is not obvious from looking at the source code. This year's challenge is based on a real problem in joint development for nuclear treaty verification, and the prize is $1000.
Education

Is There an Ed-Tech Critic In the House? 61

theodp writes: Educational technology has been stuck for awhile, laments Hack Education's Audrey Watters in And So, Without Ed-Tech Criticism... (an accompanying 1984 photo of Watters making a LOGO turtle draw a square looks little different than President Obama 'learning to code' 30+ years later by making a Disney Princess draw a square). "We might consider why we're still at the point of having to make a case for ed-tech criticism," writes Watters. "It's particularly necessary as we see funding flood into ed-tech, as we see policies about testing dictate the rationale for adopting devices, as we see the technology industry shape a conversation about 'code' — a conversation that focuses on money and prestige but not on thinking, learning. Computer criticism can — and must — be about analysis and action."
Security

One Petabyte of Data Exposed Via Insecure Big Data Systems 50

chicksdaddy writes: Behind every big data deployment is a range of supporting technologies like databases and memory caching systems that are used to store and analyze massive data sets at lightning speeds. A new report from security research firm Binaryedge suggests that many of the organizations using these powerful data storage and analysis tools are not taking adequate steps to secure them. The result is that more than a petabyte of stored data is accessible to anyone online with the knowledge of where and how to look for it.

In a blog post on Thursday, the firm reported the results of research that found close to 200,000 such systems that were publicly addressable. Binaryedge said it found 39,000 MongoDB servers that were publicly addressable and that "didn't have any type of authentication." In all, the exposed MongoDB systems contained more than 600 terabytes of data stored in databases with names like "local," "admin," and "db." Other platforms that were found to be publicly addressable and unsecured included the open source Redis key-value cache and store technology (35,000 publicly addressable instances holding 13TB of data) and 9,000 instances of ElasticSearch, a commonly used search engine based on Lucene, that exposed another 531 terabytes of data.
Education

Federal Judge Calls BS On Homeland Security's 2008 STEM 'Emergency' 142

theodp writes: In 2008, the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security enacted 'emergency' changes to Optional Practical Training (OPT) to extend the amount of time foreign STEM graduates of US colleges could stay in the country and work ("to alleviate the crisis employers are facing due to the current H-1B visa shortage", as Bill Gates explained it in 2007). More than seven years later, U.S. District Court Judge Ellen Huvelle has found that the government erred by not seeking public comment when it extended the program, and issued a ruling that could force tens of thousands of foreign workers on OPT STEM extensions to return to their home countries early next year. Huvelle has given the government six months to submit the OPT extension rule for proper notice and comment lest it be revoked. From the ruling (pdf): "By failing to engage in notice-and-comment rulemaking, the record is largely one-sided, with input only from technology companies that stand to benefit from additional F-1 student employees, who are exempted from various wage taxes. Indeed, the 17-month duration of the STEM extension appears to have been adopted directly from the unanimous suggestions by Microsoft and similar industry groups." Microsoft declared a new crisis in 2012, this time designed to link tech's need for H-1B visas to U.S. children's lack of CS savvy.
Programming

UK Industry Group Boss: Study Arts So Games Are Not Designed By 'Spotty Nerds' 207

nickweller writes: John Cridland is the leader of the Confederation of British Industry, a group that represents over 100,000 UK businesses. In a recent interview, he spoke about his enthusiasm for adding arts education to more traditional STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) programs. Here's how he chose to express that: "One of the biggest growth industries in Britain today is the computer games industry. We need extra coders — dozens and dozens of them but nobody is going to play a game designed by a spotty nerd. We need people with artistic flair." Cridland also expressed support for an increased emphasis on foreign language education: "If we’re not capable of speaking other people’s languages, we’re going to be in difficulties. However, there is far too much emphasis placed on teaching French and German. The language we most need going forward is Spanish (the second most frequently spoken language in the world). That and a certain percentage need to learn Mandarin to develop relations with China."
Oracle

Oracle: Google Has "Destroyed" the Market For Java 457

itwbennett writes: Oracle made a request late last month to broaden its case against Android. Now, claiming that 'Android has now irreversibly destroyed Java's fundamental value proposition as a potential mobile device operating system,' Oracle on Wednesday filed a supplemental complaint in San Francisco district court that encompasses the six Android versions that have come out since Oracle originally filed its case back in 2010: Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich, Jelly Bean, Kit Kat and Lollipop.
Security

Facebook Awards Researchers $100k For Detecting Emerging Class of C++ Bugs 73

An anonymous reader writes: Facebook has awarded $100,000 to a team of researchers from Georgia Tech University for their discovery of a new method for identifying "bad-casting" vulnerabilities that affect programs written in C++. "Type casting, which converts one type of an object to another, plays an essential role in enabling polymorphism in C++ because it allows a program to utilize certain general or specific implementations in the class hierarchies. However, if not correctly used, it may return unsafe and incorrectly casted values, leading to so-called bad-casting or type-confusion vulnerabilities," the researchers explained in their paper.
GUI

GitHub Desktop Launches To Replace Mac and Windows Apps 167

An anonymous reader writes: GitHub today launched a unified desktop version for Mac and Windows — you can download it from desktop.github.com. GitHub Desktop will automatically replace the previous Mac and Windows apps and can be used alongside GitHub Enterprise. Venturebeat reports: "...GitHub was tired of the differences between its two apps and decided it was time to align them. The hope is that if Mac and Windows users have the same workflow, it will be easier for them to work together (and for individual users to switch between the two platforms)."