Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).

×
Businesses

LinkedIn Restricts API Usage 69

Posted by samzenpus
from the keep-your-hands-off dept.
mpicpp points out LinkedIn's new API policy. "LinkedIn is restricting access to most of its application programming interfaces (APIs) to companies that have struck up partnerships with the social networking company. 'Over the past several years, we've seen some exciting applications from our developer community. While many delivered value back to our members and LinkedIn, not all have,' wrote Adam Trachtenberg, director of the LinkedIn developer network, explaining in a blog post the change in the company's API policy. Starting May 12, LinkedIn will only offer a handful of its APIs for general use, namely those that allow users and companies to post information about themselves on the service. After then, only companies that have enrolled in LinkedIn's partner program will have API access. Samsung, WeChat, and Evernote have already struck such partnerships. Currently, the social networking service offers a wide range of APIs, which allow third-party programs to draw content from, and place content into, LinkedIn. APIs have been seen as an additional channel for businesses to interact with their users and partners. A few companies, however, have recently scaled back access to APIs, which provide the programmatic ability to access a company's services and data. Netflix shut its public API channel in November, preferring to channel its user information through a small number of partners. ESPN also disabled public access to its APIs in December. LinkedIn's move is evidence of how the business use of APIs are evolving, said John Musser, founder and CEO at API Science, which offers an API performance testing service."
Sun Microsystems

Five Years After the Sun Merger, Oracle Says It's Fully Committed To SPARC 190

Posted by timothy
from the wish-they'd-bring-back-the-sun-name dept.
jfruh (300774) writes "Sun Microsystems vanished into Oracle's maw five years ago this month, and you could be forgiven for thinking that some iconic Sun products, like SPARC chips, had been cast aside in the merger. But Oracle claims that the SPARC roadmap is moving forward more quickly than it did under Sun, and while the number of SPARC systems sold has dropped dramatically (from 66,000 in Q1 '03 to 7,000 in Q1 '14), the systems that are being sold are fully customized and much more profitable for the company."
Programming

Empirical Study On How C Devs Use Goto In Practice Says "Not Harmful" 677

Posted by timothy
from the not-as-catchy dept.
Edsger Dijkstra famously opined in 1968 on the danger of Goto statements. New submitter Mei Nagappan writes with a mellower view, nearly 50 years later: By qualitatively and quantitatively analyzing a statistically valid random sample from almost 2 million C files and 11K+ projects, we find that developers limit themselves to using goto appropriately in most cases, and not in an unrestricted manner like Dijkstra feared, thus suggesting that goto does not appear to be harmful in practice. (Here's the preprint linked from above abstract.)
Education

WA Pushes Back On Microsoft and Code.org's Call For Girls-First CS Education 288

Posted by timothy
from the when-parity-approache-parody dept.
theodp writes On Tuesday, the State of Washington heard public testimony on House Bill 1813 (video), which takes aim at boy's historical over-representation in K-12 computer classes. To allow them to catch flights, representatives of Microsoft and Microsoft-bankrolled Code.org were permitted to give their testimony before anyone else ("way too many young people, particularly our girls...simply don't have access to the courses at all," lamented Jane Broom, who manages Microsoft's philanthropic portfolio), so it's unclear whether they were headed to the airport when a representative of the WA State Superintendent of Public Instruction voiced the sole dissent against the Bill. "The Superintendent strongly believes in the need to improve our ability to teach STEM, to advance computer science, to make technology more available to all students," explained Chris Vance. "Our problem, and our concern, is with the use of the competitive grant program...just providing these opportunities to a small number of students...that's the whole basic problem...disparity of opportunity...if this is a real priority...fund it fully" (HB 1813, like the White House K-12 CS plan, counts on philanthropy to make up for tax shortfalls). Hey, parents of boys are likely to be happy to see another instance of educators striving to be more inclusive than tech when it comes to encouraging CS participation!
Mozilla

Firefox To Mandate Extension Signing 196

Posted by samzenpus
from the changing-things-up dept.
First time accepted submitter x0ra writes In a recent blog post, Mozilla announced its intention to require extensions to be signed in Firefox, without any possible user override. From the post: "For developers hosting their add-ons on AMO, this means that they will have to either test on Developer Edition, Nightly, or one of the unbranded builds. The rest of the submission and review process will remain unchanged, except that extensions will be automatically signed once they pass review. For other developers, this is a larger change. For testing development versions, they’ll have the same options available as AMO add-on developers. For release versions, however, we’re introducing the required step of uploading the extension file to AMO for signing. For most cases, this step will be automatic, but in cases where the extension doesn’t pass these tests, there will be the option to request a manual code review."
Open Source

Elementary OS: Why We Make You Type "$0" 208

Posted by samzenpus
from the drop-a-dollar-in-the-bucket dept.
jones_supa writes Open source software can always be acquired without charge, but can still incur significant development costs. Elementary OS wants to make people aware of this, and have changed their website to suggest donating when downloading, and make users explicitly enter "$0" if they want a free download. This is the same strategy Canonical has used when offering Ubuntu. The Elementary OS blog explains: "Developing software has a huge cost. Some companies offset that cost by charging hundreds of dollars for their software, making manufacturers pay them to license the software, or selling expensive hardware with the OS included. Others offset it by mining user data and charging companies to target ads to their users. [...] If we want to see the world of open source software grow, we should encourage users to pay for its development; otherwise it'll be underfunded or developers will have to resort to backdoor deals and advertising. And nobody wants that future." Currently the only people who have received money for working on Elementary OS have been community members through their bounty program.
Java

Your Java Code Is Mostly Fluff, New Research Finds 411

Posted by samzenpus
from the mostly-filler dept.
itwbennett writes In a new paper (PDF), researchers from the University of California, Davis, Southeast University in China, and University College London theorized that, just as with natural languages, some — and probably, most — written code isn't necessary to convey the point of what it does. The code and data used in the study are available for download from Bitbucket. But here's the bottom line: Only about 5% of written Java code captures the core functionality.
Input Devices

Building the Developer's Dream Keyboard 146

Posted by Soulskill
from the where's-the-button-that-finds-the-missing-semi-colon dept.
New submitter mondalaci writes: This article is about building the Ultimate Hacking Keyboard step by step, starting with an Arduino. Lots of pictures and nerd talk included. It's a mechanical keyboard that can split down the middle and re-merge, and it has four layers of keymappings to keep the design compact. It will support custom keymaps as well. They're planning to release the firmware and design files under the GPLv3, and they're working on repair instructions, too.
Businesses

Which Freelance Developer Sites Are Worth Your Time? 55

Posted by Soulskill
from the coding-for-fun-and-profit-(but-mainly-profit) dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes: Many websites allow you to look for freelance programming jobs or Web development work. (Hongkiat.com, for example, offers links to several dozen.) The problem for developers in the European Union and the United States is that competition from rivals in developing countries is crushing fees for everybody, as the latter can often undercut on price. (This isn't a situation unique to software development; look at how globalization has compelled manufacturing jobs to move offshore, for example.) With all that in mind, developer David Bolton surveyed some freelance developer marketplaces, especially the ones that catered to Western developers, who typically need to operate at price-points higher than that of their counterparts in many developing nations. His conclusion? "It's my impression that the bottom has already been reached, in terms of contractor pricing; to compete these days, it's not just a question of price, but also quality and speed." Do you agree?
Education

Arkansas Declares a High School CS Education State of Emergency 120

Posted by Soulskill
from the send-in-the-national-guard dept.
theodp writes: Aiming to deliver on Governor Asa Hutchinson's inspired-by-Code.org-and-others Plan For Job Creation Through Technology Education, the Arkansas House voted 99-0 last week to require high schools to offer [but not require] a course in computer science, either in a traditional or online setting, starting this fall. Hutchinson learned last December that the state has only 6 qualified instructors to teach CS to high school students, so it's envisioned that the courses will be offered online through Virtual Arkansas ("where AR kids are Our kids").

Interestingly, House Bill 1183 includes a pretty dire-sounding Emergency Clause: "It is found and determined by the General Assembly of the State of Arkansas that computer science and technology skills are of vital importance to meet the growing needs of the workforce; that public school students need opportunities to develop computer science and technology skills in order to be competitive in the future; and that this act is immediately necessary to ensure that the Department of Education has the time necessary to develop and modify academic standards for computer science courses before beginning of the 2015-2016 school year. Therefore, an emergency is declared to exist, and this act being immediately necessary for the preservation of the public peace, health, and safety shall become effective on: (1) The date of its approval by the Governor."
Education

Will Elementary School Teachers Take the Rap For Tech's Diversity Problem? 493

Posted by timothy
from the would-blame-middle-school-teachers-myself dept.
theodp (442580) writes "Citing a new study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research (free to Federal employees), the NY Times reports on how elementary school teachers' pro-boy biases can discourage girls from math and science. "The pipeline for women to enter math and science occupations narrows at many points between kindergarten and a career choice," writes Claire Cain Miller, "but elementary school seems to be a critical juncture. Reversing bias among teachers could increase the number of women who enter fields like computer science and engineering, which are some of the fastest growing and highest paying. 'It goes a long way to showing it's not the students or the home, but the classroom teacher's behavior that explains part of the differences over time between boys and girls,' said Victor Lavy, an economist at University of Warwick in England and a co-author of the paper." Although the study took place in Israel, Lavy said that similar research had been conducted in several European countries and that he expected the results were applicable in the United States."
Wikipedia

The Bizarre and Complex Story of a Failed Wikipedia Software Extension 94

Posted by timothy
from the mythical-man-month dept.
metasonix writes Originally developed by Wikia coders, "Liquid Threads" was intended to be a better comment system for use on MediaWiki talkpages. When applied to Wikipedia, then each Wikipedia talkpage or noticeboard would become something resembling a more modernized bulletin board, hopefully easier to use. Unfortunately, the project was renamed "Flow" and taken over by the Wikimedia Foundation's developers. And as documented in this very long Wikipediocracy post, the result was "less than optimal." After seven years and millions of dollars spent, even WMF Director Lila Tretikov admits "As such it is not ready for 'prime time' for us."
Bug

RMS Objects To Support For LLVM's Debugger In GNU Emacs's Gud.el 551

Posted by timothy
from the purity-in-body-mind-and-spirit dept.
An anonymous reader writes with the news that Richard Stallman is upset over the prospect of GNU Emacs's Grand Unified Debugger (Gud.el) supporting LLVM's LLDB debugger. Stallman says it looks like there is a systematic effort to attack GNU packages and calls for the GNU Project to respond strategically. He wrote his concerns to the mailing list after a patch emerged that would optionally support LLDB alongside GDB as an alternative debugger for Emacs. Other Emacs developers discounted RMS' claims by saying Emacs supports Windows and OS X, so why not support a BSD-licensed compiler/debugger? The Emacs maintainer has called the statements irrelevant and won't affect their decision to merge the LLDB support.
Education

AP Test's Recursion Examples: An Exercise In Awkwardness 252

Posted by timothy
from the best-practice-or-best-illustration dept.
theodp writes "Yet another example of how AP exams are loaded with poor coding practices," quipped Alfred Thompson, referring to a recursive code example that prints the numbers 0 to 6, which was posted to the (closed) AP Computer Science Facebook group. "We are often forced to use code examples that are not ideal coding practice," Thompson notes. "We do that to make things clear and to demonstrate specific concepts in a sort of isolation that we might not normally use. We seem to do that a lot with recursion because the examples that require recursion tend to be fairly complex." So, while asking students to use recursion instead of a loop to print '0123456' serves the purpose of teaching recursion, Thompson opines that it's also a poor example of code practice. "Someone raised on functional programming where recursion is a pretty standard way of doing looping might disagree of course," he adds. "There is a saying that when all you have is a hammer all your problems look like nails. This seems, in a way, to be the case with recursion and loops. If your first tool of choice (or what you have learned first) for iteration is loops you tend not to think of recursion as a solution. Similarly if you start with recursion (as is common with functional programming) you are a lot more likely to look at recursion as a tool for iteration." So, do you tend to embrace or eschew recursion in your programming?
Programming

Ask Slashdot: Is There a Web Development Linux Distro? 136

Posted by timothy
from the best-of-brood dept.
Qbertino writes I've been a linux user for more than 15 years now and in the last ten I've done basically all my non-trivial web development on Linux. SuSE in the early days, after that either Debian or, more recently, Ubuntu, if I want something to click on. What really bugs me is, that every time I make a new setup, either as a virtual machine, on concrete hardware or a remote host, I go through 1-2 hours of getting the basics of a web-centric system up and running. That includes setting PHP config options to usable things, setting up vhosts on Apache (always an adventure), configging mod_rewrite, installing extra CLI stuff like Emacs (yeah, I'm from that camp) walking through the basic 10-15 steps of setting up MySQL or some other DB, etc. ... You get the picture.

What has me wondering is this: Since Linux is deeply entrenched in the field of server-side web, with LAMP being it's powerhouse, I was wondering if there aren't any distros that cover exactly this sort of thing. You know, automatic allocation of memory in the runtime settings, ready-made Apache http/https/sftp/ftp setup, PHP all ready to go, etc. What are your experiences and is there something that covers this? Would you think there's a need for this sort of thing and would you base it of Debian or something else? If you do web-dev, how do you do it? Prepareted scripts for setup? Anything else? ... Ideas, unkown LAMP distros and opinions please."