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Randell Jesup
Works at Mozilla Corporation
Attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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Randell Jesup

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Important stuff.
The linux-RT work, over the past 15 years, did much to keep lag out of Linux and the bandwidth-only boppers at bay. Many of the key innovations in it, became mainline kernel features that everyone uses today. Yet, the project struggles, like so much else that is needed, yet hard to understand and explain, for funding.

Without the ongoing work of the linux-rt project to keep a focus on reliable low latency in the kernel, I have grave doubts about the future of Linux in any mission-critical embedded system, be it in networks, robotics, spacecraft, aircraft, or cars. More prosaic usages - like doing low latency audio mixing - are also problematic without the patches in linux-rt.

Of the three names I recognise on the project, Tom Gleixner and Paul Mckenney are two of the most brilliant and innovative programmers I've ever had the chance to meet, and I've long suspected Ingo Molnar was not a person, but an AI.

I wish there were institutions on and of the Net that could recognize needed, bleeding edge work, and the innovators behind it, that could find ways to feed it and them. I don't understand why the benefits of linux-rt aren't obvious to all.

Then again I don't understand how the openssl project could suffer so with all the trillions of dollars flowing through it, either. And while I regard my own projects as important also, I think building an OS that won't inadvertently kill people while running a robot, or operating a cutting laser, is massively more important than what I'm doing, and having more people, eating regularly, while focused on improving realtime guarantees, is desperately needed.

Are humanity, government and big business so unfocused on basic safety concerns in the #internetofthings   as to let #linux -rt die?
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The well-funded systemd guys will fix it. 
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Randell Jesup

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Well said
Today, the Supreme Court ruled that closely-held private corporations can’t be required under the Affordable Care Act to provide insurance coverage for some forms of contraception if it would violate the religious beliefs of the owners.

Rather than jumping on reactionary headlines (many of which are wrong), lets take a breath and look at what this ruling is and what it isn’t, so we can be outraged about the right things.

The ruling doesn’t apply to all corporations—only private, closely-held businesses, and possibly only ones run by a single family. Justice Alito (writing the majority opinion) dismisses the possibility that large, public companies could claim this exemption:

For example, the idea that unrelated shareholders—including institutional investors with their own set of stakeholders—would agree to run a corporation under the same religious beliefs seems improbable. … The companies in the cases before us are closely held corporations, each owned and controlled by members of a single family, and no one has disputed the sincerity of their religious beliefs.

Nor does the ruling apply to medical procedures other than contraception:

This decision concerns only the contraceptive mandate and should not be understood to hold that all insurance-coverage mandates, e.g., for vaccinations or blood transfusions, must necessarily fall if they conflict with an employer’s religious beliefs. Nor does it provide a shield for employers who might cloak illegal discrimination as a religious practice.

The ruling only applies to four specific methods of contraception: two emergency contraceptives (Plan B and Ella) and two types of IUDs. The owners of Hobby Lobby believe, incorrectly, that these contraceptives cause abortions.

That this belief is demonstrably, factually incorrect isn’t relevant to the ruling. The opinion notes that the Court is not, and cannot be, in the business of deciding whether a religious belief is true or not—only whether it is a “sincerely held religious belief”. Plan B does not cause abortions; if you take it when you are already pregnant, nothing happens. IUDs do not cause abortions. All that matters is that Hobby Lobby’s owners think they do.

This is the bizarre part. Their “belief” is akin to insisting the moon is made of cheese, but the Court feels it must be accepted as true so long as the belief is both sincere and religious. But surely not all beliefs can be religious? You say your god exists; no one can prove otherwise. You say the moon is made of cheese; we know that it’s not. How can both beliefs be treated identically? And, yet, they are.

Nearly half of all pregnancies in this country are unintended. Faced with an unintended pregnancy, 42% of women choose to have an abortion. Researchers at Washington University have concluded that the ACA’s contraception requirement could prevent between 41% and 71% of abortions performed in the US. Why would those who oppose abortion object to preventing abortions? Why allow a “belief” contradicted by clear facts to make a connection with abortion in the first place?

Well, because it’s not about preventing abortions, is it? Erick Erickson over at RedState perhaps best summarized the real motivation of the right wing:

My religion trumps your “right” to employer subsidized consequence free sex.

And there you have it. It’s all about controlling women’s sexuality. Women shouldn’t be out having sex, and if they are, there should be consequences. That’s what their religion teaches. The rule doesn’t extend to blood transfusions, vaccinations, or antidepressants, because men use those things too.

So, what are the practical effects of the ruling? Maybe not as much as people fear. The Court noted that non-profits and churches currently enjoy a religious exemption to the mandate, but that employees of those organizations still receive contraceptive coverage at no extra cost. The insurance companies pick up the cost themselves—and why not? Contraception coverage reduces the cost of health care.

The regulation could be changed so the for-profit companies covered by this ruling could receive the same exemption. Hobby Lobby gets paperwork from the insurance company double-pinky-swearing that they’re not paying for those items, and the covered employees would get those items anyway.

Hobby Lobby, after all, insists that its employees are free to buy any contraceptives they want, so long as the company isn’t paying for them. This makes no sense: health benefits are part of an employee’s compensation for working, just like salary, so if an employee uses money earned at Hobby Lobby to buy Plan B, the company is paying for it in exactly the same way as if it had been covered under insurance. But since their belief that contraception equals abortion makes no sense, either, we can go with it.

Unfortunately, that exemption is currently facing legal challenge as well. Non-profit religious organizations contend that the mere process of filing the form to request the exemption from contraceptive coverage is an overt act that leads to employees getting those forms of contraception, and so their religious freedom is being infringed if they even have to ask, no matter who is paying the bill. So it’s not quite as simple as it sounds.

The ruling isn’t based on Constitutional principle, but rather on an existing federal law, so Congress is free to overrule the Court if it wants. The Republican House overruling a decision against the ACA? Fat chance.

What we do have is a further ruling for corporate personhood. The ruling holds that for-profit corporations are “people” under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, and that, in the case of a closely-held family-owned company where all owners share a religious belief, that the corporate “person” also holds that belief. At least, if that belief has to do with women’s sexuality, or abortion.

And, even if that belief is factually, provably false, it’s still protected by the RFRA. Maybe it’s time to start inventing a new, and very convenient, religion.
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Randell Jesup

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Really insightful... I wonder how poorly I'd do interviewing at most places in the Valley, even though I built a lot of amazing stuff over the years, in widely varied areas of software engineering. We need more diversity - Mozilla helps itself by hiring so widely, and with so many remoties - but we need to work harder to tap a more diverse talent pool, especially with regards to gender - and watch out for the cliquishness warned of here.
If spam filters sorted messages the way Silicon Valley sorts people, you'd only get email from your college roommate. And you'd never suspect you were missing a thing.
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Some very interesting stuff on lock-free programming here. Be interesting to see how some of the techniques xould be used in our GC/CC code, or in Rust
Speedtables uses lock-free update, insertion, and searching, but it kind of cheats on memory management by only allowing one process to allocate memory. The shared memory code is the most complex code I have ever written, and in retrospect it's right on the ragged edge of my skill set. Every time I have gone back to work on it I've had to spend a fair amount of time re-learning it before I'm confident working on it.

It doesn't use tagged pointers, rather it builds data structures that are atomically added and removed from the list. The list elements are almost completely updated, so that starting at the to-be-inserted element it's always safe to walk the list starting at that element, then the adjacent pointers are updated with a single atomic write to point to it, so another process walking the list will either skip that element, or walk through it, safely.

Deletion is handled in the reverse fashion, by removing the links to the element in order, then delaying the actual recycling of the element until it's known that no reader processes that were walking the list before the deletion was completed are still using the list. This is handled using a per-reader-process generation field that the reader copies from the master before it starts walking the list.

h/t +Jordan Henderson 
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It's like the power company telling you you must buy their lightbulbs and their refrigerator.  Or use their phones for the phone company (sound familiar?)  I remember being at a friends when an AT&T tech came to hunt down their illegal non-AT&T phone - didn't find it, but reduced current to the house to try to stop "extra" phones from working. 

There's a good reason for "last mile" common-carrier rules, and why cities set up or strictly regulated utilities that everyone needed - especially if there was a major shared-infrastructure cost.  Or for another: Roads.
"Throughout the country, companies like Comcast, Time Warner Cable, CenturyLink, and Verizon have signed agreements with cities that prohibit local governments from becoming internet service providers and prohibit municipalities from selling or leasing their fiber to local startups who would compete with these huge corporations. "
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Sorry I won't be there, but it should be good!
A few of us on the Chrome team are helping with the organization of an informal WebRTC meetup in SF. Read below from +Chris Koehncke and +Tsahi Levent-Levi and sign up at

WebRTC is enables web browsers to support Real-Time Communications (RTC) capabilities via simple JavaScript APIs allowing for P2P voice, video and data communication. Interested? Then please read on:

We are organizing a a free half-day event on Friday, June 27th starting at 11 a.m.  To attend, you must register via the event website ( No onsite signups for this one.

What will you learn? has the full details, but in short, we’ve got a great mix of speakers from Google, Yahoo, Mozilla and other folks we’ve found to educate, inform and inspire you.

We have practical speakers to provide basic and intermediate technical education on the interworking of WebRTC. We've also got speakers who've implemented WebRTC into their apps and will give you some core understanding of all their considerations. Finally, we've got speakers to inspire you with ideas about the possibilities for WebRTC as the web experience changes.

WebRTC is moving to mobile and we’ll be discussing mobile as well.

Where is the event?
The event will be held at Google’s 6th floor auditorium at their San Francisco offices 345 Spear Street starting at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, June 27th.

How much does the event cost?
This is a FREE event with lunch and snacks provided. 

How do I register?
While this is a free event (the primary event sponsor is Google with additional support from Tokbox and Atlassian) you must register in advance via the event website at

Note: Event registration will close 2 days prior to the event date. We anticipate a sold out crowd but will be accepting names on the wait list, so register today!
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Thanks :-)
We're doing our best to make it interesting and engaging.
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Have him in circles
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Do not believe that this ruling doesn't portend far larger changes in the future, if the reasoning used is followed in the direction it clearly goes, regardless of the protestations of Alito that it's "limited" in impact.  And, as pointed out in the DailyBeast, for the first time the Supreme Court has stepped onto the slippery slope of determining the "correctness" of religious beliefs, and allowing a person's beliefs to overrule facts.
The Supreme Court delivered a blow to universal birth control coverage on Monday, ruling that closely-held corporations can refuse to cover contraception in their health plans for religious reasons. But Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg sharply disagreed w...
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This is a horrible ruling. Why would this not allow other religious discrimination?

This will either be a radical problem or a very nasty bit of ruling to work around.
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Randell Jesup

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Great to see stuff like this getting open-sourced!
The formerly closed-source PDF code in Google Chrome is now officially the PDFium open source project, hosted on

By open-sourcing the Foxit’s PDF technology, the chromium team gives to developers a robust and reliable PDF library to view, search, print, and form fill PDF files. Therefore, if your next project is under the "New BSD License", I cannot recommend enough you go learn how simple it is to build¹ PDFium and see how Chrome uses² it internally.


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This is good news. 
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Randell Jesup

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+Peter Kasting  comments are an excellent extension of Gerv's blog post.
Cannot +1 hard enough.

As a Googler, I'd phrase this in terms of our company's first principle: "Focus On The User".  Mozilla's greatest chances for success, and for influencing the web, lie in making the products that best serve their users.

In the distant past -- before Firefox, in the days of the Mozilla Suite -- Mozilla seemed not only to not be focused on the user, but actively proud of not having an official "end-user product", as if making products was a dirty thing.  Firefox changed all that, and I believe its initial laser focus on removing everything in the Suite that wasn't great for users led directly to its early success.

However, it's always been tempting for Mozilla to stop treating Firefox as a product to serve users, and start treating it as an idealistic expression of where the web should go, a way of leading by example.  People hired to work at Mozilla have, in some cases, seemed to care more about what they believe the internet should be than what their users actually need and want.

Don't get me wrong here.  I'm idealistic as well (one of the first pieces of advice I received after arriving at Google was "pick your battles", which offended me mightily), and I respect Mozilla for being an organization with principles.  There's nothing inherently wrong with being principled or seeking to advance causes you believe are noble.

But Gerv is right here that success in advancing one's principles relies on having the influence to do so, and that in turn only comes from having successful Mozilla products.  That means that, if for no other reason, Mozilla has to consider its users' needs carefully in order to continue to be relevant to the question of what the internet should look like.

We've seen this play out recently in Mozilla's decision to implement EME, something they believed was against their principles, but was necessary for their users.  I'm not qualified to say whether those evaluations were correct, but assuming they WERE correct, Mozilla clearly made the right decision.  And the many people who excoriated them for it largely did so without any apparent understanding of the fickle nature of influence and success.

At a deeper philosophical level, we idealists should ask: why, in the end, do we hold the principles we do?  Isn't it because we believe they are better for everyone?  Don't we strive to create the best possible world?  And if so, doesn't it behoove us to continually listen to our users' needs and desires along the way, since it's ultimately for them and not just us that we act?  If we place our principles in opposition to what our users want, are our principles really correct?  Perhaps they are, but we need to be very careful to avoid arrogance and hubris (precisely the sorts of sins Google employees have often been accused of committing).

In the end, too many of us idealists are guilty of believing so firmly in our principles that we're convinced that, if only we state them clearly to the rest of the world, everyone will inevitably agree, awestruck by the supreme rightness of our viewpoints.  Gerv's post is a good reminder that this simply isn't the case; that listening to others, picking one's battles, and having some humility is in the end the best way to actually make the world a better place.
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Via the WRPI-alumns mailing list...
There's an epidemic we aren't talking about.
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Will this lead to even more annoying cars that sound like washing machines from 100' away?
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Software Engineer specializing in real-time communication (audio & video)
  • Mozilla Corporation
    Principal Software Engineer, 2011 - present
  • Commodore International
    OS Group Lead, 1988 - 1994
  • Scala Broadcast Multimedia
    Sr. Software Engineer, 1994 - 1998
  • Worldgate Communications
    Directory of Network Protocols, 1998 - 2011
  • PlayNet
    Programmer, 1984 - 1986
  • GE CR&D contractor
    Software Engineer, 1986 - 1987
Basic Information
Bragging rights
Programmer at PlayNet, the online system that was later ported to MSDOS and renamed America Online
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
    Computer Science, 1980 - 1984
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Randell Jesup's +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend.
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Excellent. Really good toppings, especially the mushrooms and sausage. Sauce is good; doesn't overpower other flavors by being too sweet. Looking forward to trying their other menu items. And delivers (hot!) to Valley Forge Mountain!
Public - a month ago
reviewed a month ago
Public - 5 months ago
reviewed 5 months ago
Fantastic food, great lunch buffet, super friendly. Been going there for 10 years.
Food: ExcellentDecor: GoodService: Excellent
Public - a year ago
reviewed a year ago
The best place in the Philadelphia area for Rhododendrons and Azaleas, and one of the best on the east coast
Public - 2 years ago
reviewed 2 years ago
10 reviews
Ate in the Japanese room upstairs. Wonderful sushi; especially the tempura lobster roll and the Rainbow roll. They have a few very nice traditional tatami rooms as well, and some nook-type western seating plus an area of tables (but not a huge expanse, it's reasonably intimate). Very nice.
Food: ExcellentDecor: ExcellentService: Very good
Public - a year ago
reviewed a year ago
Total hole-in-the-wall, crowded downstairs (there are more tables upstairs that get you away from the crush of people ordering). Wonderful food. We especially liked the Chicken Bhartha, the Paneer Chili Masala, their Naan, and the Paneer Saag. The Chicken Tikka Masala was quite good, and the chicken was especially tender. I would go there again in an instant. Anytime near dinnertime there's a serious crush downstairs to order. We ate there with two very young kids (upstairs), and they were very helpful and understanding about little kids not being very neat with eating rice.
• • •
Food: ExcellentDecor: Poor to fairService: Very good
Public - 2 years ago
reviewed 2 years ago
There is no better place to visit if you like custom woodwork and furniture
Appeal: ExcellentFacilities: Very goodService: Excellent
Public - 2 years ago
reviewed 2 years ago