Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


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

Interview With 'Idiot' Behind Key Software Patent 223

An anonymous reader writes "Last week, an appeals court ruling opened the door to making it easier to kill software patents. It turns out that the guy whose name was on the actual patent didn't even realize it was at the center of the debate, and doesn't like software patents very much. 'So I was thinking — great they invalidated software patents, lets see what crappy patent written by an idiot they picked to do it — then I realized the idiot in question was me.'"

The Death of Booting Up 557

theodp writes "'Booting up was a bear,' recalls Slate's Farhad Manjoo, 'something to be avoided at all costs.' But now, he adds, 'It's time to rejoice, because all that's in the past. Computers these days can go from completely off to working within 30 seconds, and in some cases much faster. Apple's MacBook Air loads up in 16 seconds, and machines based on Google's cloud-based Chrome OS boast boot times of under 10 seconds. Even Windows computers are fast — with the right set-up, your Windows 7 laptop can load just as quickly as a MacBook.' Perhaps at home, but how's that working out for you at work? Have reports of the death of long boot times been greatly exaggerated?"

MS-DOS Is 30 Years Old Today 433

An anonymous reader writes "Thirty years ago, on July 27 1981, Microsoft bought the rights for QDOS (Quick and Dirty Operating System) from Seattle Computer Products (SCP) for $25,000. QDOS, otherwise known as 86-DOS, was designed by SCP to run on the Intel 8086 processor, and was originally thrown together in just two months for a 0.1 release in 1980 (thus the name). Meanwhile, IBM had planned on powering its first Personal Computer with CP/M-86, which had been the standard OS for Intel 8086 and 8080 architectures at the time, but a deal could not be struck with CP/M's developer, Digital Research. IBM then approached Microsoft, which already had a few of years of experience under its belt with M-DOS, BASIC, and other important tools — and as you can probably tell from the landscape of the computer world today, the IBM/Microsoft partnership worked out rather well indeed."

Apple Hits 15b App Store Downloads, But Loses "App Store" Name Skirmish 183

Coldeagle writes "Apple has been dealt a blow in its 'App Store' trademark case, with a federal judge denying its request for an injunction to stop Amazon from using the term." Apple probably wouldn't trade the name exclusivity it seeks, though, for the success they've found with the business model; the company announced today that the App Store has reached 15 billion downloads.

AMD Rejects SYSmark Benchmark 118

Deathspawner writes "In an unusual move, Advanced Micro Devices has issued a press release rejecting its endorsement for the industry recognized benchmark SYSmark 2012. Developed by BAPCo and backed by industry heavyweights such as Dell, Intel and Hewlett-Packard, AMD has stated that BAPCo both has tuned SYSmark to create bias in favor of its competitor, and that its benchmarks are not relevant for the audience it targets. Also noted is a complete lack of heterogeneous CPU+GPU testing. Techgage tears apart AMD's claims to see if they are valid, while also evaluating the overall usefulness of SYSmark and the impact it can have on consumers."

Stallman: eBooks Are Attacking Our Freedoms 510

Barence submitted note of a paper written by RMS called The Danger of eBooks saying "Free software guru Richard Stallman claims consumers should reject eBooks until they 'respect our freedoms.' He highlights the DRM embedded in eBooks sold by Amazon as an example of such restrictions, citing the infamous case of Amazon wiping copies of George Orwell's 1984 from users' Kindles without permission. He also rails against Amazon for forcing people to identify themselves before buying eBooks. His suggested remedy? Distributing tax funds to authors based on their popularity, or 'designing players so users can send authors anonymous voluntary payments.'"

The Insidious Creep of Latency Hell 297

Twinbee writes "Gamers often find 'input lag' annoying, but over the years, delay has crept into many other gadgets with equally painful results. Something as simple as mobile communication or changing TV channels can suffer. Software too is far from innocent (Java or Visual Studio 2010 anyone?), and even the desktop itself is riddled with 'invisible' latencies which can frustrate users (take the new Launcher bar in Ubuntu 11 for example). More worryingly, Bufferbloat is a problem that plagues the internet, but has only recently hit the news. Half of the problem is that it's often difficult to pin down unless you look out for it. As Mick West pointed out: 'Players, and sometimes even designers, cannot always put into words what they feel is wrong with a particular game's controls ... Or they might not be able to tell you anything, and simply say the game sucked, without really understanding why it sucked.'"

San Francisco Opening Computer & Video Game Museum 56

An anonymous reader writes "A team of game scholars, game journalists, and plain old geeks have gotten together to put together San Francisco's first and most comprehensive non-profit museum dedicated to the design, creation, history, and play of computer and video games. The museum is currently raising funds and shopping around for a San Francisco space, but they've already managed to get some obscure relics — including the only copy in existence of 1984's never-released Atari Cabbage Patch Kids game. As a scholarly resource, the museum is also dedicated to making its entire collection playable by visitors."

Cutting Prices Is the Only Way To Stop Piracy 620

Stoobalou writes "The only way to stop piracy is to cut prices. That's the verdict of a major new academic study that reckons copyright theft won't be halted by 'three strikes' broadband disconnections, increasing censorship or draconian new laws brought in under the anti-counterfeiting treaty ACTA. The Media Piracy Project, published last week by the Social Science Research Council, reports that illegal copying of movies, music, video games and software is 'better described as a global pricing problem' — and the only way to tackle it is for copyright holders to charge consumers less money for their wares."

Google Releases Stable Version of Chrome 10 169

An anonymous reader writes "Google has released version 10 of the Chrome Browser. The update brings hundreds of bug fixes as well as many features that have been available on the Chrome beta and dev channels to users interested in using Chrome's latest builds. Chrome 10 also addresses 23 security vulnerabilities in the WebKit-based browser (easily more than Google has ever fixed before): 15 rated as High, three rated as Medium, and five rated as Low."
Open Source

USB Autorun Attacks Against Linux 274

Orome1 writes "Many people think that Linux is immune to the type of Autorun attacks that have plagued Windows systems with malware over the years. However, there have been many advances in the usability of Linux as a desktop OS — including the addition of features that can allow Autorun attacks. This Shmoocon presentation by Jon Larimer from IBM X-Force starts off with a definition of autorun vulnerabilities and some examples from Windows, then jumps straight into the Linux side of things. Larimer explains how attackers can abuse these features to gain access to a live system by using a USB flash drive. He also shows how USB as an exploitation platform can allow for easy bypass of protection mechanisms like ASLR and how these attacks can provide a level of access that other physical attack methods do not." I've attached the video if you are curious. Skip the first 2 minutes if you don't care where the lost and found is.

Firefox 4, A Huge Pile of Bugs 481

surveyork writes "Firefox 4.0 beta 9 (AKA 'a huge pile of awesome') was released on January 14, 2011. Firefox 4's release schedule includes a beta 10 and a release candidate before the final launch in late February. However, one wonders if this schedule won't slip again, since there are still more than 100 'hardblocker' bugs, more than 60 bugs affecting Panorama alone and 10 bugs affecting the just-introduced Tabs-on-Titlebar. Some long-standing bugs won't be fixed in time for Firefox 4 final either (example, example). Many startup bugs are currently pending, although Firefox 4 starts much faster than Firefox 3.6. As a side note, it's unlikely that Firefox 4 final will pass the Acid3 test, despite this being a very popular demand amongst Firefox enthusiasts. Perhaps we'll have to wait until Firefox 4.1 to have this 'huge pile of bugs' (mostly) fixed."

The Ambiguity of "Open" and VP8 Vs. H.264 493

An anonymous reader writes "With all the talk about WebM and H.264, how the move might be a step backwards for openness, and Google's intention to add 'plugins' for IE9 and Safari to support WebM, this article attempts to clear misconceptions about the VP8 and H.264 codecs and how browsers render video. Firefox, Opera and Google rely on their own media frameworks to decode video, whereas IE9 and Safari will hand over video processing to the operating system (Windows Media Player or QuickTime), the need for the web to establish a baseline codec for encoding videos, and how the Flash player is proprietary, but implementation and usage remain royalty free."

Google To Drop Support For H.264 In Chrome 765

Steve writes "Google just made a bold move in the HTML5 video tag battle: even though H.264 is widely used and WebM is not, the search giant has announced it will drop support for the former in Chrome. The company has not done so yet, but it has promised it will in the next couple of months. Google wants to give content publishers and developers using the HTML5 video tag an opportunity to make any necessary changes to their websites."

Marvelous! The super-user's going to boot me! What a finely tuned response to the situation!