Slashdot Deals: Deal of the Day - Pay What You Want for the Learn to Code Bundle, includes AngularJS, Python, HTML5, Ruby, and more. ×

Speed Test: Comparing Intel C++, GNU C++, and LLVM Clang Compilers 196

Nerval's Lobster writes "Benchmarking is a tricky business: a valid benchmarking tries to remove all extraneous variables in order to get an accurate measurement, a process that's often problematic: sometimes it's nearly impossible to remove all outside influences, and often the process of taking the measurement can skew the results. In deciding to compare three compilers (the Intel C++ compiler, the GNU C++ compiler (g++), and the LLVM clang compiler), developer and editor Jeff Cogswell takes a number of 'real world' factors into account, such as how each compiler deals with templates, and comes to certain conclusions. 'It's interesting that the code built with the g++ compiler performed the best in most cases, although the clang compiler proved to be the fastest in terms of compilation time,' he writes. 'But I wasn't able to test much regarding the parallel processing with clang, since its Cilk Plus extension aren't quite ready, and the Threading Building Blocks team hasn't ported it yet.' Follow his work and see if you agree, and suggest where he can go from here."

New Framework For Programming Unreliable Chips 128

rtoz writes "For handling the future unreliable chips, a research group at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory has developed a new programming framework that enables software developers to specify when errors may be tolerable. The system then calculates the probability that the software will perform as it's intended. As transistors get smaller, they also become less reliable. This reliability won't be a major issue in some cases. For example, if few pixels in each frame of a high-definition video are improperly decoded, viewers probably won't notice — but relaxing the requirement of perfect decoding could yield gains in speed or energy efficiency."
Operating Systems

Linux 3.12 Released, Linus Proposes Bug Fix-Only 4.0 274

An anonymous reader writes "Linus Torvalds announced the Linux 3.12 kernel release with a large number of improvements through many subsystems including new EXT4 file-system features, AMD Berlin APU support, a major CPUfreq governor improvement yielding impressive performance boosts for certain hardware/workloads, new drivers, and continued bug-fixing. Linus also took the opportunity to share possible plans for Linux 4.0. He's thinking of tagging Linux 4.0 following the Linux 3.19 release in about one year and is also considering the idea of Linux 4.0 being a release cycle with nothing but bug-fixes. Does Linux really need an entire two-month release cycle with nothing but bug-fixing? It's still to be decided by the kernel developers."

River City Ransom: How an NES Classic Returned 20 Years On 39

An anonymous reader writes "River City Ransom: Underground is the latest high profile game campaign on Kickstarter but as an interview with the title's creators this week highlights, it's not exactly a new game. Rather, it's an official sequel to a Nintendo Entertainment System/Famicom classic, belt-scroller River City Ransom. Remarkably, getting the license and the help of original River City creator Yoshihisa Kishimoto proved easy for the team, indie developers who were submitting game designs to Atari in crayon, aged six. 'I asked for the license and I asked Kishimoto-san if he had an interest in helping us make a better Kunio-kun game,' producer Daniel Crenna says. 'It's not particularly dramatic to say that, but I asked.' As the author points out, it's interesting to imagine what other games could be resurrected with a little bit of polite curiosity.""

Inmates Program Logistics App For Prison 98

schweini writes "Inmates in an Oklahoma prison developed software that attempts to streamline the prison's food logistics. A state representative found out, and he's trying to get every other prison in Oklahoma to use it, too. According to the Washington Post, 'The program tracks inmates as they proceed through food lines, to make sure they don’t go through the lines twice... It can help the prison track how popular a particular meal is, so purchasers know how much food to buy in the future. And it can track tools an inmate checks out to perform their jobs.' The program also tracks supply shipments into the system, and it showed that food supplier Sysco had been charging different prices for the same food depending on which facility it was going to. Another state representative was impressed, but realized the need for oversight: 'If they build on what they’ve done here, they actually have to script it out. If you have inmates writing code, there has to be a continual auditing process. Food in prison is a commodity. It’s currency.'"

Larry Page and Sergey Brin Are Lousy Coders 204

theodp writes "Don't tell Business Insider's Nicholas Carlson about Santa and the Easter Bunny just yet. He's still reeling after learning that Larry Page and Sergy Brin are actually pretty lousy coders. That's according to I'm Feeling Lucky: The Confessions of Google Employee Number 59, a book about the company's startup days by Douglas Edwards. 'I didn't trust Larry and Sergey as coders,' Google engineering boss Craig Silverstein recalls in the book. 'I had to deal with their legacy code from the Stanford days and it had a lot of problems. They're research coders: more interested in writing code that works than code that's maintainable.' But don't cry for Larry and Sergey, Argentina — even if the pair won't be taking home any Top Coder prizes, they can at least take solace in their combined $50+ billion fortune. And, according to Woz, they certainly could have kicked Steve Jobs' butt in a coding contest!"
The Almighty Buck

Oracle Shareholders Vote Against Ellison's Compensation Package (Again) 213

angry tapir writes "A majority of Oracle shareholders have once again voted against the company's executive pay practices, including for CEO Larry Ellison. The vote at Oracle's annual shareholder meeting is nonbinding, and follows complaints from some large shareholders and their representatives who say Ellison is overpaid compared to his peers. Ellison is paid US$1 in salary, receiving the rest of his pay in stock options. In Oracle's past fiscal year, that totaled $76.9 million. Shareholders voted against Oracle's executive pay practices at last year's meeting as well."
United States

Tech Titans Oracle, Red Hat and Google To Help Fix 404

wjcofkc writes "The United States Government has officially called in the calvary over the problems with Tech titans Oracle, Red Hat and Google have been tapped to join the effort to fix the website that went live a month ago, only to quickly roll over and die. While a tech surge of engineers to fix such a complex problem is arguably not the greatest idea, if you're going to do so, you might as well bring in the big guns. The question is: can they make the end of November deadline?"
GNU is Not Unix

MELT, a GCC Compiler Plugin Framework, Reaches 1.0 58

karijes writes with news that the Middle End Lisp Translator extension for GCC has hit 1.0: "MELT is a high-level domain specific language for extending, customizing and exploring the GNU Compiler Collection. It targets advanced GCC users, giving them ability to hook on almost any GCC stage during compilation or interpretation phases. This release brings a lot of new things." New features include defmacro and changes to the antiquote operator.

How Your Compiler Can Compromise Application Security 470

jfruh writes "Most day-to-day programmers have only a general idea of how compilers transform human-readable code into the machine language that actually powers computers. In an attempt to streamline applications, many compilers actually remove code that it perceives to be undefined or unstable — and, as a research group at MIT has found, in doing so can make applications less secure. The good news is the researchers have developed a model and a static checker for identifying unstable code. Their checker is called STACK, and it currently works for checking C/C++ code. The idea is that it will warn programmers about unstable code in their applications, so they can fix it, rather than have the compiler simply leave it out. They also hope it will encourage compiler writers to rethink how they can optimize code in more secure ways. STACK was run against a number of systems written in C/C++ and it found 160 new bugs in the systems tested, including the Linux kernel (32 bugs found), Mozilla (3), Postgres (9) and Python (5). They also found that, of the 8,575 packages in the Debian Wheezy archive that contained C/C++ code, STACK detected at least one instance of unstable code in 3,471 of them, which, as the researchers write (PDF), 'suggests that unstable code is a widespread problem.'"

Infosys Fined $35M For Illegally Bringing Programmers Into US On Visitor Visas 201

McGruber writes "The U.S. government fined Infosys $35 million after an investigation by the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department found that the Indian company used inexpensive, easy-to-obtain B-1 visas meant to cover short business visits — instead of harder-to-get H-1B work visas — to bring an unknown number of its employees for long-term stays. The alleged practice enabled Infosys to undercut competitors in bids for programming, accounting and other work performed for clients, according to people close to the investigation. Infosys clients have included Goldman Sachs Group, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Cisco Systems Inc. Infosys said in an email that it is talking with the U.S. Attorney's office, 'regarding a civil resolution of the government's investigation into the company's compliance' with employment-record 'I-9 form' requirements and past use of the B-1 visa. A company spokesman, who confirmed a resolution will be announced Wednesday, said Infosys had set aside $35 million to settle the case and cover legal costs. He said the sum was 'a good indication' of the amount involved."

Telegraph Contributor Says Coding Is For Exceptionally Dull Weirdos 453

mikejuk writes "The UK Government is trying to figure out how to teach children to code by changing what is taught in schools. The Telegraph, a leading UK newspaper, has put the other side of the case: Coding is for 'exceptionally dull weirdo(s).' The recent blog post by Willard Foxton is an amazing insight into the world of the non-programming mind. He goes on to say: 'Coding is a niche, mechanical skill, a bit like plumbing or car repair.' So coding is a mechanical skill — I guess he must be thinking of copy typing. 'As a subject, it only appeals to a limited set of people — the aforementioned dull weirdos. There's a reason most startup co-founders are "the charming ideas guy" paired with "the tech genius". It's because if you leave the tech genius on his own he'll start muttering to himself.' Why is it I feel a bout of muttering coming on? 'If a school subject is to be taught to everyone, it needs to have a vital application in everyday life — and that's just not true of coding.' Of course it all depends on what you mean by 'vital application.' The article is reactionary and designed to get people annoyed and posting comments — just over 600 at the moment — but what is worrying is that the viewpoint will ring true with anyone dumb enough not to be able to see the bigger picture. The same attitude extends to all STEM subjects. The next step in the argument is — why teach physics, chemistry, biology, and math (as distinct from arithmetic) to anyone but exceptionally dumb weirdos."

Oracle Eyes Optical Links As Final Frontier of Data-Center Scaling 14

An anonymous reader writes "Oracle is exploring silicon photonics, an optical technology drawing widespread interest, as a potential weapon in the battle against data-center power consumption. Advances in CPU and memory design could boost efficiency dramatically over the next few years. When they do, the interconnects among components, servers and switches will effectively become the power hogs of the data center, according to Ashok Krishnamoorthy, architect and chief technologist in photonics at Oracle. Oracle isn't often associated with networking and may not even manufacture or sell the technologies it's now studying. But as a big player in computing and storage, it could benefit from fostering a future technology that helps make faster, more efficient data centers possible."

GCC 4.9 To See Significant Upgrades In 2014 191

noahfecks writes "It seems that the GCC developers are taking steps to roll out significant improvements after CLANG became more competitive. 'Among the highlights to look forward to right now with GCC 4.9 are: The Undefined Behavior Sanitizer has been ported to GCC; Ada and Fortran have seen upgrades; Improved C++14 support; RX100, RX200, and RX600 processor support; and Intel Silvermont hardware support.'"

Ask Slashdot: How Do You Choose Frameworks That Will Survive? 227

First time accepted submitter waslap writes "I have a leading role at a small software development company. I am responsible for giving guidance and making decisions on tool usage within the shop. I find the task of choosing frameworks to use within our team, and specifically UI frameworks, exceedingly difficult. A couple of years back my investigation of RIA frameworks lead me to eventually push for Adobe Flex [] as the UI framework of choice for our future web development. This was long before anyone would have guessed that Adobe would abandon the Linux version of Flash. I chose Flex mainly for its maturity, wealth of documentation, commercial backing, and the superior abilities of Flash, at a time when HTML 5 was still in the early stages of planning. Conversely, about 15 years ago I made a switch to Qt for desktop applications and it is still around and thriving. I am trying to understand why it was the right choice and the others not. Perhaps Qt's design was done so well that it could not be improved. I'm not sure whether that assessment is accurate. I cannot find a sound decision-tree based on my experiences to assist me in making choices that have staying power. I hope the esteemed Slashdot readers can provide helpful input on the matter. We need a set of fail-safe axioms" Read on for more context.

Surgeon Simulator: Inside the World's Hardest Game 64

An anonymous reader writes "In the space of a few short months, Surgeon Simulator 2013 has attained cult status. A sort of spiritual successor to the maddening QWOP, the PC game requires you to operate the individual fingers of a hapless surgeon in an increasingly absurd set of gore-filled scenarios. What's so remarkable is the turnaround time: the initial prototype came out of a 48-hour game jam, and was released as a commercial game just a month and a half later. A new profile of the studio's founder looks at how Bossa Studios, the London-based development team behind SS 2013, iterates so quickly, as well as what's next from the team, including an iPad version of Surgeon Simulator, and a cross platform MOBA that's half League of Legends, half Mario Kart battle mode."

Firefox's Blocked-By-Default Java Isn't Going Down Well 362

JG0LD writes "The Firefox web browser will, henceforth, require users to manually activate Java objects on sites that they visit, Mozilla has confirmed. This even affects up-to-date versions of Java, which you can see on the block list. The change is aimed at improving security and moving away from a dependence on proprietary plug-ins, but critics say it will cause untold headaches for developers, admins and less-technical end-users. "
Social Networks

What Employee Lock-In Means At Facebook 391

theodp writes "In the early days of Facebook, the company would go into what CEO Mark Zuckerberg called lockdown, where no one is supposed to leave until the task at hand is done. Speaking on Saturday at Startup School 2013, CNET reports, Mark Zuckerberg remarked that the practice persists to this day. Facebook doesn't lock people in the office, but it comes "as close to that as we can legally get," Zuckerberg said to an eruption from the crowd. The lockdown isn't the first at-home-in-a-Bangladesh-garment-factory management technique Zuck's touted at Startup School. Back in 2007, Zuckerberg drew fire for advising company founders "you should only hire young people with technical expertise" if they want to be successful. And while there are no reports of Facebook hiring 9-year-old bosses yet, the LA Times reports that only young undocumented immigrants are welcome at the hackathon hosted by Zuckerberg's next month where "tech CEO's like Mark Zuckerberg, Reid Hoffman, Drew Houston and Andrew Mason will be sitting side-by-side with undocumented youth [with technical expertise] creating tech products to help the immigration reform movement" (invitation to 'day (and night) of working')."

Ask Slashdot: Do You Use Markdown and Pandoc? 204

BartlebyScrivener writes "I am a author, screenwriter, law prof, and a hobbyist programmer. I love MacVim and write almost everything in it: Exams, novels, even screenplays now that Fountain is available. I use LaTeX and WordPress and so on, but several years ago I discovered Markdown and the wonderful Pandoc. I searched Slashdot expecting to find lively discussions of both Markdown and Pandoc, but found nothing. Do Slashdotters look down their noses at these tools and do their work in HTML and LaTeX? I can't imagine computer geeks using Word instead of their favorite text editors. If not Markdown and Pandoc, what tools do Slashdotters use when they create documents that probably need to be distributed in more than one format: HTML, PDF, EPUB or perhaps even docx?" And then there's DocBook, LyX, and a host of other markup languages. What do you use, in what context?

Teachers Get 1 Week To Test Tech Giants' Hour of Code 81

theodp writes "In a move straight out of's playbook, teachers won't get to preview the final lessons they're being asked to roll out to 10 million U.S. students until a week before the Dec. 9th launch of the Hour of Code nation-wide learn-to-code initiative, according to a video explaining the project, which is backed by the nation's tech giants, including Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, Google, and Amazon. The Hour of Code tutorial page showcased to the press sports Lorem Ipsum pseudo-Latin text instead of real content, promised tutorial software is still being developed by Microsoft and Google, and celebrity tutorials by Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg are still a work-in-progress. With their vast resources and deep pockets, the companies involved can still probably pull something off, but why risk disaster for such a high-stakes effort with a last-minute rush? One possible explanation is that CS Education Week, a heretofore little-recognized event, is coming up soon. Then again, tech immigration reform is back on the front burner, an initiative that's also near-and-dear to many of same players behind Hour of Code, including Microsoft Chief Counsel Brad Smith who, during the Hour of Code kickoff press conference, boasted that Microsoft's more-high-tech-visas-for-U.S.-kids-computer-science-education deal found its way into the Senate Immigration Bill, but minutes later joined his fellow panelists to dismiss a questioner's suggestion that Hour of Code might somehow be part of a larger self-serving tech industry interest."