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Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

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?"
Education

Ask Slashdot: Finding Work Over 60? 306

Posted by timothy
from the speak-up-sonny dept.
First time accepted submitter Hatfield56 writes "I've been in IT since the mid-1980s, mainly working for financial institutions. After 16 years at a company, as a programmer (Java, C#, PL/SQL, some Unix scripting) and technical lead, my job was outsourced. That was in 2009 when the job market was basically dead. After many false starts, here I am 3 years later wondering what to do. I'm sure if I were 40 I'd be working already but over 60 you might as well be dead. SO, I'm wondering about A+. Does anyone think that this will make me more employable? Or should I being a greeter at Walmart?"
Medicine

Do Recreational Drugs Help Programmers? 878

Posted by timothy
from the help-them-what? dept.
jfruh writes "Among the winners of last night's election: marijuana users. Voters in both Washington and Colorado approved referenda that legalized marijuana for recreational use, though the drug remains illegal under federal law. There's been a long-standing debate among programmers as to whether recreational drugs, including pot and hallucinagens like LSD, can actually help programmers code. Don't forget, there was a substantial overlap between the wave of computer professionals who came of age in the '60s and that era's counterculture." (There's even a good book on that topic.)
AMD

AMD Closes OSRC, Lays Off Several Linux Kernel Developers 94

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the reversal-of-fortunes dept.
From the H reporting on LinuxCon Europe comes news that several Linux kernel developers have been laid off by AMD as part of its workforce reduction. From the article: "OSRC staff primarily worked to develop the Linux support for AMD's server processors, but they also wrote code and extensions for related desktop and notebook CPUs – for example, they looked after the code to support CPU frequency scaling for the PowerNow and Turbo Core technologies. While working on the kernel's IOMMU and KVM support, one of AMD's former employees contributed to the development of the "IOMMU groups" feature that was integrated into Linux 3.6; this feature provides the basis for a new Linux 3.6 technology that allows a host's PCIe devices to be passed through to virtual machines and can also be used with Intel CPUs." Looks like the group was doing interesting research on hypervisors, lockless data structures, and multi-core synchronization primitives among other things. The Open Source Radeon driver developers are not affected by this at least.
Businesses

GM Brings IT Dev Back In House; Self-Driving Caddy In the Works 171

Posted by timothy
from the oh-christine dept.
dstates writes "Want a good job in IT? Detroit of all places may be the place to be. GM is bringing IT development back in house to speed innovation. Among other initiatives, a self driving Cadillac is planned by mid decade. Ford is also actively developing driver assist technology and is betting big on voice recognition. Ann Arbor has thousands of smart cars wirelessly connected on the road. Think about all those aging baby boomers with houses in the burbs and no desire to move as their vision and reflexes decline. The smart car is a huge market. Seriously, Detroit and SE Michigan have good jobs, great universities, cheap housing and easy access to great sports and outdoors activities."
Technology

Nokia "Suspends" Its Free Developer Program 136

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the only-the-best-fart-app-developers-need-apply dept.
jbernardo writes "Nokia has put in deep freeze its free developer program, the launchpad. Now, in the Developer Programs page, one can only see a pitch for a paid 'Nokia Premium Developer Program,' and below, in the Nokia Developer Pro and Developer Launchpad box, there is a text merely stating that Nokia are not currently accepting new applications for Nokia Developer Launchpad and Nokia Developer Pro programs. With most (if not all) Launchpad memberships already expired, seems like Nokia no longer is interested in the developer community, which once was one of the mainstays of its domination of the smartphone market. Of course, that domination was destroyed by Elop and its 'burning platforms' memo, together with the failed bet on Windows Phone 7, so maybe giving up on developers would also be expectable."
Programming

What's the Shelf Life of a Programmer? 388

Posted by samzenpus
from the ending-the-game dept.
Esther Schindler writes "Why is it that young developers imagine that older programmers can't program in a modern environment? Too many of us of a 'certain age' are facing an IT work environment that is hostile to older workers. Lately, Steven Vaughan-Nichols has been been noticing that the old meme about how grandpa can't understand iPhones, Linux, or the cloud is showing up more often even as it's becoming increasingly irrelevant. The truth is: Many older developers are every bit as good as young programmers, and he cites plenty of example of still-relevant geeks to prove it. And he writes, 'Sadly, while that should have put an end to the idea that long hours are a fact of IT life, this remnant of our factory-line past lingers both in high tech and in other industries. But what really matters is who's productive and who's not.'"
Programming

Why Coding At Fifty May Be Nifty 317

Posted by timothy
from the because-that's-when-you-join-the-singularity dept.
theodp writes "Enough with the dadgum naysayers. Google's Vivek Haldar lists some good reasons for why you would want to program at fifty (or any other age). Haldar's list would probably get a thumbs-up from billionaire SAS CEO Jim Goodnight, who had this to say about coding when interviewed at age 56: 'I would be happy if I just stayed in my office and programmed all day, to tell you the truth. That is my one real love in life is programming. Programming is sort of like getting to work a puzzle all day long. I actually enjoy it. It's a lot of fun. It's not even work to me. It's just enjoyable. You get to shut out all your other thoughts and just concentrate on this little thing you're trying to do, to make work it. It's nice, very enjoyable.'"
Operating Systems

Dragonfly BSD 3.2 Released 85

Posted by timothy
from the with-wings-to-fly dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Dragonfly BSD recently announced the release of version 3.2 of their operating system. Improvements include: USB4BSD, a second-generation USB stack; merging of a GSoC project to provide CPU topology awareness to the scheduler, giving a nice boost for hyperthreading Intel CPUs; and last but not least, a new largely rewritten scheduler. Some background is in order for the last one. PostgreSQL 9.3 will move from SysV shared memory to mmap for its shared memory needs. It turned out that the switch much hurts its performance on the BSDs. Matthew Dillon was fast to respond with a search for bottlenecks and got the performance up to par with Linux."
Facebook

Facebook's Prism, Soon To Be Open Sourced, Gives Hadoop Delay Tolerance 17

Posted by timothy
from the and-eventually-smoke-signals dept.
snydeq writes "Facebook has said that it will soon open source Prism, an internal project that supports geographically distributed Hadoop data stores, thereby removing the limits on Hadoop's capacity to crunch data. 'The problem is that Hadoop must confine data to one physical data center location. Although Hadoop is a batch processing system, it's tightly coupled, and it will not tolerate more than a few milliseconds delay among servers in a Hadoop cluster. With Prism, a logical abstraction layer is added so that a Hadoop cluster can run across multiple data centers, effectively removing limits on capacity.'"

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