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Gaming Companies Remove Analytics App After Massive User Outcry (bleepingcomputer.com) 111

An anonymous reader writes: "Several gaming companies have announced plans to remove support for an analytics app they have bundled with their games," reports Bleeping Computer. "The decision to remove the app came after several Reddit and Steam users noticed that many game publishers have recently embedded a controversial analytics SDK (software development kit) part of recent updates to their games. The program bundled with all these games, and at the heart of all the recent controversy, is RedShell, an analytics package provided by Innervate, Inc., to game publishers."

The app is intended to collect information about the source of new game installs, and details about the gamer. Following a massive user outcry in the past two weeks, several game makers have given in to pressure and are removing this SDK. Game makers and games who announced they were removing RedShell include Bethesda (Elder Scrolls), All Total War games, Warhammer games, Magic the Gathering Arena, and more. [This Google Docs spreadsheet and Reddit thread have a list of games containing RedShell.]

Programming

America's Former CTO Remembers Historic Coders (bard.edu) 88

Long-time Slashdot reader theodp writes: In her Bard College commencement speech, ex-Google VP and former U.S. CTO Megan Smith revealed to graduates that she gave President Obama a computing history lesson on the same day he learned to code in 2014. "I walked into the Oval Office to do coding with President Obama, and, interestingly, Prince William had just stepped out," Smith explained (YouTube). "They had just had a meeting. I said to President Obama, you know what you and I are about to do is related to Prince William, and he said, how's that. Well, the Prince's wife Kate, her mother and grandmother were codebreakers at Bletchley Park, where they cracked the Nazi Enigma codes...." [Presumably Smith meant to say Kate's great-aunt, not mother — Carole Middleton wasn't born until 1955.]

To be fair to the President, Smith once confessed to not knowing much about computing history herself, explaining in a 2012 Official Google Blog post that she and other visiting tech luminaries were embarrassingly clueless about who Ada Lovelace was in a 2011 visit to England. "Last year, a group of us were lucky enough to visit the U.K. Prime Minister's residence at 10 Downing Street, as part of the Silicon Valley Comes to the U.K. initiative," Smith wrote. "While there, we asked about some of the paintings on the wall. When we got to a large portrait of a regally dressed woman, our host said 'and of course, that's Lady Lovelace'... You can imagine our surprise when we learned she was considered by some to be the world's first computer programmer -- having published the first algorithm intended for use on Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine." One imagines Smith might also have been surprised to learn that many programmers older than Smith were already very aware of Lady Ada at that time thanks to the Department of Defense, who tried in vain to make Ada a household name for decades, but had little success popularizing the Ada programming language, which was named after Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace.

Programming

Eric Raymond Shares 'Code Archaeology' Tips, Urges Bug-Hunts in Ancient Code (itprotoday.com) 103

Open source guru Eric Raymond warned about the possibility of security bugs in critical code which can now date back more than two decades -- in a talk titled "Rescuing Ancient Code" at last week's SouthEast Linux Fest in North Carolina. In a new interview with ITPro Today, Raymond offered this advice on the increasingly important art of "code archaeology". "Apply code validators as much as you can," he said. "Static analysis, dynamic analysis, if you're working in Python use Pylons, because every bug you find with those tools is a bug that you're not going to have to bleed through your own eyeballs to find... It's a good thing when you have a legacy code base to occasionally unleash somebody on it with a decent sense of architecture and say, 'Here's some money and some time; refactor it until it's clean.' Looks like a waste of money until you run into major systemic problems later because the code base got too crufty. You want to head that off...."

"Documentation is important," he added, "applying all the validators you can is important, paying attention to architecture, paying attention to what's clean is important, because dirty code attracts defects. Code that's difficult to read, difficult to understand, that's where the bugs are going to come out of apparent nowhere and mug you."

For a final word of advice, Raymond suggested that it might be time to consider moving away from some legacy programming languages as well. "I've been a C programmer for 35 years and have written C++, though I don't like it very much," he said. "One of the things I think is happening right now is the dominance of that pair of languages is coming to an end. It's time to start looking beyond those languages for systems programming. The reason is we've reached a project scale, we've reached a typical volume of code, at which the defect rates from the kind of manual memory management that you have to do in those languages are simply unacceptable anymore... think it's time for working programmers and project managers to start thinking about, how about if we not do this in C and not incur those crazy downstream error rates."

Raymond says he prefers Go for his alternative to C, complaining that Rust has a high entry barrier, partly because "the Rust people have not gotten their act together about a standard library."
Microsoft

Microsoft Program Manager Mistakenly Tweets Office 365 Will Be Rewritten in JavaScript (thurrott.com) 94

"A Microsoft employee claimed publicly that 'all of Office 365' was being 'completely rewritten' in JavaScript," writes Paul Thurrott, adding "And then all hell broke loose." First things first. It's not true. So if you were freaking out that Microsoft was somehow abandoning C# and C++ for its most mission-critical offerings, freak out no more. It's not happening. So what is happening? A Microsoft program manager named Sean Larkin perhaps got a little overly-exuberant on Monday... he tried to clarify things in follow-up tweets when his original missive exploded intro controversy. Which shouldn't have been a surprise. And yet, somehow, it was...

[H]e finally corrected himself on Reddit, blaming Twitter's character limitations for his many factual errors. "We are not abandoning C++, C#, or any of the other awesome languages, APIs, and toolings that we use across Microsoft," he clarifies. "Nothing [in Office 365] is converting to 'all/completely' JavaScript/TypeScript."

Thurrott, a long-time Windows blogger, concludes that "getting something this big this wrong is inexcusable."
Businesses

Most Organizations Are Not Fully Embracing DevOps (betanews.com) 295

An anonymous reader shares a report: Although many businesses have begun moving to DevOps-style processes, eight out of 10 respondents to a new survey say they still have separate teams for managing infrastructure/operations and development. The study by managed cloud specialist 2nd Watch of more than 1,000 IT professionals indicates that a majority of companies have yet to fully commit to the DevOps process. 78 percent of respondents say that separate teams are still managing infrastructure/operations and application development. Some organizations surveyed are using infrastructure-as-code tools, automation or even CI/CD pipelines, but those techniques alone do not define DevOps.
Privacy

Apple Tries To Stop Developers Sharing Data On Users' Friends (bloomberg.com) 21

Apple has updated its App Store guidelines to close a loophole that let app makers store and share data without many people's consent. The practice has "been employed for years," reports Bloomberg. "Developers ask users for access to their phone contacts, then use it for marketing and sometimes share or sell the information -- without permission from the other people listed on those digital address books." From the report: As Apple's annual developer conference got underway on June 4, the Cupertino, California-based company made many new pronouncements on stage, including new controls that limit tracking of web browsing. But the phone maker didn't publicly mention updated App Store Review Guidelines that now bar developers from making databases of address book information they gather from iPhone users. Sharing and selling that database with third parties is also now forbidden. And an app can't get a user's contact list, say it's being used for one thing, and then use it for something else -- unless the developer gets consent again. Anyone caught breaking the rules may be banned.

While Apple is acting now, the company can't go back and retrieve the data that may have been shared so far. After giving permission to a developer, an iPhone user can go into their settings and turn off apps' contacts permissions. That turns off the data faucet, but doesn't return information already gathered.

Programming

Four Years On, Developers Ponder The Real Purpose of Apple's Swift Programming Language (monkeydom.de) 262

Programming languages such as Lua, Objective-C, Erlang, and Ruby (on Rails) offer distinct features, but they are also riddled with certain well-documented drawbacks. However, writes respected critic Dominik Wagner, their origination and continued existence serves a purpose. In 2014, Apple introduced Swift programming language. It has been four years, but Wagner and many developers who have shared the blog post over the weekend, wonder what exactly is Swift trying to solve as they capture the struggle at least a portion of developers who are writing in Swift face today. Writes Wagner: Swift just wanted to be better, more modern, the future -- the one language to rule them all. A first red flag for anyone who ever tried to do a 2.0 rewrite of anything.

On top of that it chose to be opinionated about features of Objective-C, that many long time developers consider virtues, not problems: Adding compile time static dispatch, and making dynamic dispatch and message passing a second class citizen and introspection a non-feature. Define the convenience and elegance of nil-message passing only as a source of problems. Classify the implicit optionality of objects purely as a source of bugs. [...] It keeps defering the big wins to the future while it only offered a very labour intensive upgrade path. Without a steady revenue stream, many apps that would have just compiled fine if done in Objective-C, either can't take advantage of new features of the devices easily, or had to be taken out of the App Store alltogether, because upgrading would be to costly. If you are working in the indie dev-scene, you probably know one of those stories as well. And while this is supposed to be over now, this damage has been done and is real.

On top of all of this, there is that great tension with the existing Apple framework ecosystem. While Apple did a great job on exposing Cocoa/Foundation as graspable into Swift as they could, there is still great tension in the way Swift wants to see the world, and the design paradigms that created the existing frameworks. That tension is not resolved yet, and since it is a design conflict, essentially can't be resolved. Just mitigated. From old foundational design patterns of Cocoa, like delegation, data sources, flat class hierarchies, over to the way the collection classes work, and how forgiving the API in general should be. If you work in that world you are constantly torn between doing things the Swift/standard-library way, or the Cocoa way and bridging in-between. To make matters worse there are a lot of concepts that don't even have a good equivalent. This, for me at least, generates an almost unbearable mental load.

Programming

Should Developers Abandon Agile? (ronjeffries.com) 435

An anonymous reader quotes InfoQ: Ron Jeffries, author, speaker, one of the creators of Extreme Programming (XP), and a signatory of the Agile Manifesto back in 2001, shared a post on his blog in which he advocates that developers should abandon "Agile". The post further elaborated that developers should stay away from the "Faux Agile" or "Dark Agile" forms, and instead get closer to the values and principles of the Manifesto. The terms "Faux Agile" and "Dark Agile" are used by the author to give emphasis to the variety of the so-called "Agile" approaches that have contributed, according to him, to make the life of the developers worse rather than better, which is the antithesis of one of the initial ideas of the Agile Manifesto...
Jeffries writes that "When 'Agile' ideas are applied poorly, they often lead to more interference with developers, less time to do the work, higher pressure, and demands to 'go faster'. This is bad for the developers, and, ultimately, bad for the enterprise as well, because doing 'Agile' poorly will result, more often than not, in far more defects and much slower progress than could be attained. Often, good developers leave such organizations, resulting in a less effective enterprise than prior to installing 'Agile'...

"it breaks my heart to see the ideas we wrote about in the Agile Manifesto used to make developers' lives worse, instead of better. It also saddens me that the enterprise isn't getting what it could out of the deal, but my main concern is for the people doing the work..." He argues developers should instead just focus on good general software development practices -- like regularly producing fully-tested software and consciously avoiding "crufty" complex designs.

But what do Slashdot's readers think? Should developers abandon Agile?
Java

Survey: JavaScript is the Most-Used Language, But Java is the Most Popular (sdtimes.com) 136

An anonymous reader quotes SD Times Java remains the most popular primary programming language, but JavaScript is the most used programming language overall. That is according to a recently released report from JetBrains on the State of the Developer Ecosystem in 2018. The report surveyed more than 6,000 developers from 17 countries to reveal the trends driving the world of coding this year... According to the report, Java, JavaScript and Python are the top three programming languages this year, and Go is the most promising language. Twenty percent of developers use multiple versions of Go at the same time, and 26 percent set up their GOPATH per project. The top Go frameworks include Gin, Beego, Echo and Buffalo.

While 38 percent of developers have no plans to adopt any new languages this year, the top languages respondents have started to learn in the last year include Python, JavaScript, Java, Go, TypeScript and Kotlin... Eighty-two percent of respondents use IDEs while 69 percent use editors. Of those using IDEs and editors, only 12 percent cited that they don't customize their IDE/editors. In addition, 77 percent use the dark theme for their editor or IDE... Some fun facts about developers include 77 percent listen to music while they are coding; the top music to listen to includes electronic, pop and rock; 53 percent sleep seven to eight hours a night; 85 percent code on the weekends; and 57 percent prefer coffee over tea.

Businesses

Linux Foundation Celebrates Microsoft's GitHub Acquisition (theverge.com) 162

The Linux Foundation has endorsed Microsoft's acquisition of GitHub. In a blog post, Jim Zemlin, the executive director at the Linux Foundation, said: "This is pretty good news for the world of Open Source and we should celebrate Microsoft's smart move." The Verge reports: 10 years ago, Zemlin was calling for Microsoft to stop secretly attacking Linux by selling patents that targeted the operating system, and he also poked fun at Microsoft multiple times over the years. "I will own responsibility for some of that as I spent a good part of my career at the Linux Foundation poking fun at Microsoft (which, at times, prior management made way too easy)," explains Zemlin. "But times have changed and it's time to recognize that we have all grown up -- the industry, the open source community, even me." Nat Friedman, the future CEO of GitHub (once the deal closes), took to Reddit to answer questions on the company's plans. "We are not buying GitHub to turn it into Microsoft; we are buying GitHub because we believe in the importance of developers, and in GitHub's unique role in the developer community," explains Friedman. "Our goal is to help GitHub be better at being GitHub, and if anything, to help Microsoft be a little more like GitHub."
Privacy

Facebook Gave Some Developers Access To Users' Friends After Policy Changed (usatoday.com) 31

Facebook granted a select group of companies special access to its users' records even after the point in 2015 that the company has claimed it stopped sharing such data with app developers. USA Today reports: According to the Wall Street Journal, which cited court documents, unnamed Facebook officials and other unnamed sources, Facebook made special agreements with certain companies called "whitelists," which gave them access to extra information about a user's friends. This includes data such as phone numbers and "friend links," which measure the degree of closeness between users and their friends. These deals were made separately from the company's data-sharing agreements with device manufacturers such as Huawei, which Facebook disclosed earlier this week after a New York Times report on the arrangement. Facebook said following the WSJ report it inked deals with a small number of developers that gave them access to users' friends after the more restrictive policy went into effect.
Programming

Company Takes Over Well-Known OSS Developer's Name Because the Domain Was Free 99

New submitter Fatalis writes: Substack is a venture capital funded startup for subscription-based newsletters, and it admittedly chose its name following the advice from a Paul Graham (co-founder of Y Combinator) article to prefer names not registered in the .com zone. The same name has also been the user handle for a prolific open-source developer who now finds themselves competing for recognition in the tech space with a capital backed company. The lesson seems to be for developers to protect their personal brand by registering a domain name with the .com extension due to it being perceived as the default.
Microsoft

Microsoft Addresses Pressure From Developer Community, Promises To Rename GVFS 158

DuroSoft writes: Earlier this week an article ran about how Microsoft's multi-year refusal to rename its terabyte-scale Git extension "GVFS" (Git Virtual File System) had drawn the ire and dismay of the GNOME GVfs project (Gnome Virtual File System) which predates the Microsoft project by years. Thanks to Slashdot coverage and community pressure, Microsoft has now officially promised to rename GVFS to something else, and is asking the community for suggestions for a new name. Is this an official sign that MIcrosoft is finally listening to developers (albeit with a Slashdot-level of negative attention), or are they simply trying to appease the crowd while they are still in the news due to their acquisition of GitHub?
Java

Oracle Lays Off Java Mission Control Team After Open Sourcing Product (infoq.com) 65

Kesha Williams, reporting for InfoQ (shared by numerous readers): The Java Mission Control suite of tools, also known as JMC, was open sourced by Oracle on May 3rd to much applause and excitement from the Java development community. The excitement was replaced with unease as sources reported that the entire JMC development team had been laid off. JMC is a well-known profiling and diagnostics tools suite for the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) primarily targeting systems running in production. It is used by developers to gather detailed low-level information about how the JVM and the Java application are behaving. The official open source announcement came on May 5th from Marcus Hirt, a member of the Java Platform Group at Oracle. "Just wanted to say thank you to everyone who helped open source Java Mission Control in the relatively short period of time it was done in." According to Hirt, the intent behind open sourcing JMC was to provide the community with the opportunity to add new features and capabilities to the tools suite.
Programming

Apple Deprecates OpenGL and OpenCL in macOS 10.14 Mojave 269

In macOS 10.14 Mojave, which Apple unveiled on Monday, the company is deprecating OpenGL and OpenCL technologies in its desktop operating system. In an announcement post to developers, the company wrote: Apps built using OpenGL and OpenCL will continue to run in macOS 10.14, but these legacy technologies are deprecated in macOS 10.14. Games and graphics-intensive apps that use OpenGL should now adopt Metal. Similarly, apps that use OpenCL for computational tasks should now adopt Metal and Metal Performance Shaders. PCGamer reports that several developers have expressed disappointment over the decision. AnandTech reports that the company is doing away with OpenGL and OpenCL in iOS and its other operating systems as well.

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