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Open Source

A Gentle Rant About Software Development and Installers 338

Posted by samzenpus
from the listen-up dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "This is the story of the comparison that just wasn't meant to be. It's a story of everything that can go wrong in the customer end of the software world, and some thoughts on what needs to be done, especially in an area known as Installers. I'm a software engineer with 25 years of experience, and for years I've wanted to point out some of the shortcomings of my own industry to help make it better for everyone involved—not only for the end-users, but also for the IT people who have to support the products; the salespeople who have to sell and later, possibly, apologize for the software; for the executives whose hands are tied because they don't have the technical knowledge to roll up their sleeves and help fix problems in the code; and for the programmers themselves who might get stuck with what some consider the absolute worst position for a programmer: maintenance of crappy code written by programmers who have long since left the organization."
Education

Rise of the Online Code Schools 98

Posted by samzenpus
from the from-the-comfort-of-your-own-home dept.
Barence writes "When it comes to programming, the classroom is moving online. A new wave of start-ups has burst onto the scene over the last year, bringing interactive lessons and gamification techniques to the subject to make coding trendy again. From Codecademy — and its incredibly successful Code Year initiative — to Khan Academy, Code School and Udacity, online learning is now sophisticated and high-tech — but is it good enough to replace the classroom? 'We are the first five or six chapters in a book,' says Code School's Gregg Pollack in this exploration of online code classes, but with the number of sites and lessons growing by the week that might not be the case for long."
Games

What Nobody Tells You About Being a Game Dev 181

Posted by Soulskill
from the internet-people-curse-your-mother dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Alex Norton is the man behind Malevolence: The Sword of Ahkranox, an upcoming indie action-RPG. What makes Malevolence interesting is that it's infinite. It uses procedural generation to create a world that's actually endless. Norton jumped into this project without having worked at any big gaming studios, and in this article he shares what he's learned as an independent game developer. Quoting: "A large, loud portion of the public will openly hate you regardless of what you do. Learn to live with it. No-one will ever take your project as seriously as you, or fully realize what you're going through. ... The odds of you making money out of it are slim. If you want to succeed, you'll likely have to sell out. Just how MUCH you sell out is up to you.' He also suggests new game devs avoid RPGs for their first titles, making a thorough plan before you begin (i.e. game concepts explained well enough that a non-gamer could understand), and considering carefully whether the game will benefit from a public development process."
Australia

Another Player In the World of Free, Open Online CS Courseware 64

Posted by timothy
from the teachers-yes-but-fewer-dirty-looks dept.
dncsky1530 writes "UNSW professor Richard Buckland, lecturer of the famous Computing 1 course on YouTube, is now running a large scale open online Computer Science course for the world. UNSW Computing 1 — PuzzleQuest and the Art of Programming starts off with microprocessors and works it way through C with interactive activities while taking students on an adventure of hacking, cracking and problem solving. It's based around a three month long PuzzleQuest with grand and suspiciously unspecified prizes as well as fame and glory for the intrepid. The next class starts December 3rd 2012."
Firefox

Mozilla Makes Prototype of Firefox OS Available 101

Posted by timothy
from the more-than-a-concept dept.
Thinkcloud writes "Even though the operating system hasn't arrived in a version for smartphones and tablets just yet, Firefox OS is available as a prototype module that you can run on Windows, Mac or Linux computers (download page). The initial Firefox OS phones are expected to arrive in 2013, and it's been reported that Alcatel and ZTE are the first manufacturers on board."
Businesses

Hounded By Recruiters, Coders Put Themselves Up For Auction 233

Posted by timothy
from the even-uncle-sam-wants-you dept.
An anonymous reader writes "When Pete London posted a resume on LinkedIn in December 2009, the JavaScript specialist stumbled into a trap of sorts. Shortly after creating a profile he received a message from a recruiter at Google. Just days later, another from Mozilla. Facebook reached out the next month and over the course of the next two years, nearly every big name in tech – attempt to lure him to a new employer. He received 530 messages in all, or one every 40 hours ... the only problem? Pete London didn't exist."
Microsoft

Microsoft Complains That WebKit Breaks Web Standards 373

Posted by timothy
from the this-pot-is-extra-black dept.
Billly Gates writes "In a bizarre, yet funny and ironic move, Microsoft warned web developers that using WebKit stagnates open standards and innovation on the Web. According to the call to action in its Windows Phone Developer Blog, Microsoft is especially concerned about the mobile market, where many mobile sites only work with Android or iOS with WebKit-specific extensions. Their examples include W3C code such as radius-border, which is being written as -WebKit-radius-border instead on websites. In the mobile market WebKit has a 90% marketshare, while website masters feel it is not worth the development effort to test against browsers such as IE. Microsoft's solution to the problem of course is to use IE 10 for standard compliance and not use the proprietary (yet open source) WebKit."
Software

It's Hard For Techies Over 40 To Stay Relevant, Says SAP Lab Director 441

Posted by timothy
from the cannon-fodder dept.
New submitter NewYork writes with this chestnut from an article about the role of age in the high-tech workplace: 'The shelf life of a software engineer today is no more than that of a cricketer — about 15 years,' says V R Ferose, MD of German software major SAP's India R&D Labs that has over 4,500 employees . 'The 20-year-old guys provide me more value than the 35-year-olds do.'" The article features similar sentiments from Mukund Mohan, CEO of Microsoft's India-based startup initiative.
Education

Computer Science vs. Software Engineering 322

Posted by timothy
from the distinction-vs-difference dept.
theodp writes "Microsoft's promotion of Julie Larson-Green to lead all Windows software and hardware engineering in the wake of Steven Sinofsky's resignation is reopening the question of what is the difference between Computer Science and Software Engineering. According to their bios on Microsoft's website, Sinofsky has a master's degree in computer science from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and an undergraduate degree with honors from Cornell University, while Larson-Green has a master's degree in software engineering from Seattle University and a bachelor's degree in business administration from Western Washington University. A comparison of the curricula at Sinofsky's and Larson-Green's alma maters shows there's a huge difference between UMass's MSCS program and Seattle U's MSE program. So, is one program inherently more compatible with Microsoft's new teamwork mantra?"
Businesses

Star Citizen Takes the Crowdfunding Crown, Raising More Than $4M 123

Posted by timothy
from the just-like-to-thank-all-the-little-donors dept.
Zocalo writes "Star Citizen, Chris Roberts' attempt to reboot the Space Sim genre, hit a major funding milestone earlier today, exceeding the previous record of $4,163,208 secured by the game Project Eternity and more than doubling the initial funding target set by the producer of the Wing Commander series. With Stretch Goals now being passed every few hours bringing new features to the planned game, and David Braben announcing a new installment of the classic Elite using a similar funding model at Kickstarter could this be a wake-up call for the big game publishers to take another look at the genre? There are still two days left for Star Citizen funding as well, so if you feel like taking part, you can chip in either at the main RSI site or on Kickstarter."
IT

US Justice Dept. Sues eBay For Anti-Competitive Hiring Practices 66

Posted by timothy
from the scratcha-my-back dept.
McGruber writes "The Associated Press is reporting that the U.S. Justice Department is suing eBay for allegedly agreeing with Intuit not to hire each other's employees. According to the article, 'eBay's agreement with Intuit hurt employees by lowering the salaries and benefits they might have received and deprived them of better job opportunities at the other company,' said acting Assistant Attorney General Joseph Wayland, who is in charge of the Justice Department's antitrust division. The division 'has consistently taken the position that these kinds of agreements are per se (on their face) unlawful under antitrust laws.'"
Android

Google Targets Android Fragmentation With Updated Terms For SDK 154

Posted by timothy
from the eula-do-what-we-say dept.
SternisheFan writes "Google has expanded its legal agreement with developers working on Android applications to specifically prohibit them from taking any action that could lead to a fragmentation of the operating system. The prohibition was added to the terms and conditions for Google's Android SDK (software development kit), which developers must accept before using the software to build Android apps. The previous version of the terms of service, published in April 2009, didn't address the issue, but the new terms published on Tuesday include this new paragraph: 'You agree that you will not take any actions that may cause or result in the fragmentation of Android, including but not limited to distributing, participating in the creation of, or promoting in any way a software development kit derived from the SDK.' Google did not respond to several requests for comment. The issue of Android fragmentation has been gaining increased attention, but it's happened largely as a result of actions taken by Google and Android handset makers, not developers. It's a problem because it means that Android applications may not run properly across all Android devices. 'It continues to be a problem, both on smartphones and tablets,' said Avi Greengart, research director at Consumer Devices. 'Google has talked about multiple initiatives for dealing with it, but none of them have successfully addressed it.'"
Microsoft

Sinofsky Dismisses Trying To Take Over Windows Phone, Developers 70

Posted by timothy
from the that's-the-technical-term dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "When Steven Sinofsky stepped down as head of Microsoft's Windows division earlier this week, multiple publications cited friction with other executives as the primary reason behind the departure. Whether or not that's the case—neither Sinofsky nor Microsoft has offered an official explanation, aside from the usual platitudes—someone with connections to Microsoft is claiming that Sinofsky's departure stemmed from a failed attempt to bring additional parts of the company under his control. 'Steven had apparently lost recent battles to bring both Windows Phone and the Developer Division under his control,' Hal Berenson, president of consulting group True Mountain Group and a former Microsoft executive, wrote in a Nov. 13 blog posting. 'I suspect that he saw those [losses] both as a roadblock to where he wanted to take Windows over the next few years, and a clear indication that his political power within Microsoft had peaked.' The departure, he added, was the 'outgrowth of conflict.' Berenson's claim was enough to draw Sinofsky himself into the discussion. In the comments section below the posting, Sinofsky left a short note suggesting that rumors of a multi-product takeover were, frankly, malarkey."
Input Devices

Kinected Browser Lets You Flick Through Websites 46

Posted by timothy
from the whoa-there-cowboy dept.
mikejuk writes "The Kinect is well supported by a good and evolving SDK on the desktop, but until now using it in a browser wasn't easy. Now Microsoft Research has a free JavaScript API, Kinected Browser, that lets you integrate the Kinect with HTML. The bad news is that it only works on Windows 7 and 8 and in desktop mode only. In addition the browser has to be IE9 or IE 10. The good news is that more programmers know how to do HTML5 graphics than know how to work with DirectX or .NET. As a result this could lead to another burst of innovative Kinect applications."
Data Storage

Red Hat Developer Demands Competitor's Source Code 394

Posted by samzenpus
from the let-the-drama-begin dept.
sfcrazy writes "A very serious argument erupted on the Linux kernel mailing list when Andy Grover, a Red Hat SCSI target engineer, requested that Nicholas A. Bellinger, the Linux SCSI target maintainer, provide proof of non-infringement of the GPL. Nick is developer at Rising Tide Systems, a Red Hat competitor, and a maker of advanced SCSI storage systems. Nick's company recently produced a groundbreaking technology involving advanced SCSI commands which will give Rising Tide Systems a lead in producing SCSI storage systems. Now, RTS is blocking Red Hat from getting access to that code as it's proprietary. What's uncertain is whether RTS' code is covered by GPL or not — if it is then Red Hat has all the rights to get access to it and it's a serious GPL violation."
Open Source

Oracle Makes Red Hat Kernel Changes Available As Broken-Out Patches 104

Posted by Soulskill
from the hey-why-not dept.
Artefacto writes "The Ksplice team has made available a git repository with the changes Red Hat made to the kernel broken down. They are calling this project RedPatch. This comes in response to a policy change Red Hat had implemented in early 2011, with the goal of undercutting Oracle and other vendors' strategy of poaching Red Hat's customers. The Ksplice team says they've been working on these individual patches since then. They claim to be now making it public because they 'feel everyone in the Linux community can benefit from the work.' 'For Ksplice, we build individual updates for each change and rely on source patches that are broken-out, not a giant tarball. Otherwise, we wouldn't be able to take the right patches to create individual updates for each fix, and to skip over the noise — like a change that speeds up bootup — which is unnecessary for an already-running system.'"
Education

Ask Slashdot: How To Catch Photoshop Plagiarism? 284

Posted by timothy
from the when-google-images-isn't-enough dept.
First time accepted submitter jemenake writes "A friend of mine teaches electronic media (Photoshop, Premiere, etc.) at a local high-school. Right now, they're doing Photoshop, and each chapter in the book starts with an 'end result' file which shows what they're going to construct in that chapter, and then, given the basic graphical assets (background textures, photos, etc.), the students need to duplicate the same look in the final-result file. The problem, of course, is that some students just grab the final-result file and rename it and turn it in. Some are a little less brazen and they rename a few layers, maybe alter the colors on a few images, etc. So, it becomes time-consuming for her to open each file alongside the final-result file to see if it's 'too perfect.'" How to look for images closer than they should be to the original? Read on for more details.
Microsoft

Windows Chief Steven Sinofsky Leaves Microsoft 417

Posted by timothy
from the sinofsky's-all-haiku-now dept.
CWmike writes with this excerpt from Computerworld: "Steven Sinofsky, the executive in charge of Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system and the driving force behind the new OS, is leaving the company effective immediately, Microsoft announced late Monday. Sinofsky was also the public face for Windows 8 and its new Metro interface, posting constant updates in a Windows 8 blog that charted its development. His last post, fittingly, was entitled 'Updating Windows 8 for General Availability.' The OS was officially launched at the end of last month. According to the All Things D blog, there was growing tension between Sinofsky and other members of the Microsoft executive team, who didn't see him as enough of a team player. But Microsoft's official position is that the decision was a mutual one. Sinofsky had only good things to say about his former employer." Also at SlashCloud.
Programming

Emscripten Compiler Gets Optimizations, Now Self-Hosting 60

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the because-they-said-we-couldn't-do-it dept.
Emscripten is an LLVM-based compiler from dozens of languages to JavaScript (previously demoed as a repl and used to port Doom to the browser), and some recent changes have made it a bit faster, and allowed it to compile itself. Some highlights include a redundant variable eliminator, parallelization of the optimizier and compiler, and a new relooper. From the developer's weblog: "With all of the emscripten optimization passes now in JavaScript, I then worked on parallelizing that. ... The speedup can be close to linear in the number of cores. ... For the LLVM to JS compiler, I made the emscripten compiler parallel as well: It splits up the LLVM IR into 3 main parts: type data, function data, and globals. The function data part is unsurprisingly by far the largest in all cases I checked (95% or so), and it can in principle be parallelized - so I did that. Like in the optimizer, we use a Python process pool which feeds chunks of function data to multiple JavaScript compiler instances. There is some overhead due to chunking, and the type data and globals phases are not parallelized, but overall this can be a close to linear speedup. ... [On the new relooper] Note that this update makes Emscripten a 'self-hosting compiler' in a sense: one of the major optimization passes must be compiled to JS from C++, using Emscripten itself. Since this is an optimization pass, there is no chicken-and-egg problem: We bootstrap the relooper by first compiling it without optimizations, which works because we don't need to reloop there. We then use that unoptimized build of the relooper (which reloops properly, but slowly since it itself is unoptimized) in Emscripten to compile the relooper once more, generating the final fully-optimized version of the relooper, or 'relooped relooper' if you will."
Programming

Ask Slashdot: Developer Or Software Engineer? Can It Influence Your Work? 333

Posted by Soulskill
from the it's-harder-to-chant-software-engineer dept.
ctrahey writes "Many of us disregard the impact of our titles on various aspects of our lives, both professional and otherwise. Perhaps it's appropriate to ask two questions about the difference between a couple titles familiar to the Slashdot community: Developer vs Software Engineer. What are the factors to consider in the appropriate use of the titles? And (more interesting to me), what influence might the use of these titles have on the written code? Have you observed a difference in attitudes, priorities, or outlooks in talent as a corollary to their titles?"

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