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Torben Weis
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Torben Weis

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Nice quote about multithreaded programming:

"... a folk definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again
and to expect the results to be different. By this definition, we in fact require that programmers of multithreaded systems be insane. Were they sane, they could not understand their programs"

(http://www.eecs.berkeley.edu/Pubs/TechRpts/2006/EECS-2006-1.pdf)
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The Sorry State of Open Source in the Age of Cloud Computing

Today we are using more open source software than ever. Web browsers, operating systems, data bases, libraries, compilers, editors, ... there is more open source than ever and everybody is using it. BUT there a fewer and fewer user facing open source apps. All those phone apps and fancy web pages are full of open source, but the actual application is not open source. Over time this could become a problem. Seeing means believing. People see Apple and Facebook. They do not see what powers this software.

So what happened? Cloud computing happened.

Let's assume that some idealistic programmers come up with a new productivity application that runs on the web, phones, tablets, etc. Being idealistic, these guys do not aim at becoming the next Instagram. Instead, they want to make their software available to everybody. Back in the good old days when I was among those creating KDE, we just needed some FTP server at the university to upload our tar balls. As the project took on momentum, project members created mirrors across the globe. Eventually distributions started shipping it on CDs. Everything we had to achieve back then was to ship some static content.

But today users do not download software. They upload their content. The architecture of cloud applications assumes that DATA STORAGE and processing is carried out by some server in the cloud. Data storage AND data processing are provided by the same company. They are tightly coupled. Thus, the users of my imaginary new productivity application will expect that this application will store their data, because this is what they are used to and it is very convenient. No need to do backups. Data is available everywhere and anytime. Sharing data with others is easy, and so on.

My imaginary open source programmers could of course rent some compute instance from Amazon or host some server at their university. But if their application is really successful, eventually three things will happen:
a) People start storing really important data on this server
b) Many and more people want to store their data
c) Some f***ing bastards try to store and share data that is legally and ethically not acceptable.

a) means that these developers will start to worry that a loss of data could become devastating as people start to rely on these servers. They fear that unauthorized people could get hold of the private data stored on the servers.
b) means that they need more servers which will eventually cost real money that they do not have
c) they need to filter and monitor the data hosted on their servers and there is always the danger that a judge in some country on the other side of the world finds them guilty of serving copyrighted material, or of hosting text that lampoons jesus christ, or any other god you have never heard of.

What could be done?

A) We need to come back to an architecture where users are responsible for their data again. Storage services such as drop box, box.com, spideroak, skydrive, google drive etc. could eventually come to the rescue. Most users have an account at one of these services. Some even pay for additional storage. What is missing is a powerful API that allows open source apps running in the browser or on the phone to save data there. Ideally there is some common API such that users can choose whom they want to trust with storing their valuable data. We are not there yet entirely, but we are getting close. An important building block is cross-domain support in web browsers. This could allow my imaginary open source folks to serve the static HTML, JS, CSS content from servers hosted at some university while storing user data on the likes of DropBox. Modern browsers with CORS can do this. For many apps this will do the trick and points a, b, c are solved.

B) You may argue that cloud servers do more than just storing data. They process data and prepare it for queries by storing it in databases. I argue that modern phones have more horse power than the PC I used to compile the first versions of KDE 15 years ago. Modern web browsers are very powerful. They feature multi threading, they have integrated databases (IndexDB or Sqlite). They can draw in 2D and 3D. They can process video etc. We need to do more of the heavy lifting on the client and less on the server.

C) Now you may still argue that some features require knowledge of the entire user data. For example, to search for other people, cake recipes, song recommendations that others have published, some server must index all data to make it available. I argue that this job can be done by a federation of servers operated by my imaginary open source fellows, because points a), b) and c) do not really apply here. If data can be searched by everybody, then this data is (most of the time) public anyway. Thus, the indexing servers would deal with public data. If the index servers crash, this is awkward, but no data is lost. The real data is still stored by dropbox, skydrive, etc. Because of A) and B), most of the load that cloud servers carry today has been redistributed already. What remains is much less load. A large open source project can easily come up with a federation of servers that can crawl user data and index it. With respect to legal reliability: The indexing servers do not store any infringing documents. In the worst case they point to other servers which in turn store the infringing data. While this is still not 100% save, it is legally much safer.
Finally, search engines might be interested in helping out with searching and indexing, because this is what they are supposed to.

To conclude, successful user-facing open source apps could still be possible in a world dominated by phone- and web-apps. We just need to rethink our software architecture and rely less on servers and more on clients. The most difficult issue to solve is enabling users to take care of their data themselves again. Technically this is possible. The user-facing cloud service providers just need to provide proper APIs. There is hope that they will do so eventually.
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Thanks for this good article and its ideas. I think you are absolutely right - where to store data is the actual problem for every content centered startup.
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Torben Weis

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Press release from the Church of Kopimism

The Church of Kopimism is recognized by the state of Sweden


Just before Christmas, the Swedish governmental agency Kammarkollegiet registered the Church of Kopimism as a religious organisation. This means that Sweden is the first country to recognize kopimism as a religion.

The Church of Kopimism have tried to become registered as a religious organisation by Kammarkollegiet for more than a year.

- Since Kammarkollegiet has been strict with formalities, we had to apply three times, a happy Gustav Nipe – board chairman for the organisation – says. He continues, I think it might have something to do with the governmental organisations abiding by a very copyright friendly attitude, with a twisted view on copying.

For the Church of Kopimism, information is holy and copying is a sacrament. Information holds a value, in itself and in what it contains, and the value multiplies through copying. Therefore, copying is central for the organisation and its members.

Being recognized by the state of Sweden is a large step for all of kopimi. Hopefully, this is one step towards the day when we can live out our faith without fear of persecution, says Isak Gerson, spiritual leader of the Church of Kopimism.

The Church of Kopimism is a religious organisation with roots from 2010. The organisation formalizes a community that’s been well spread for a long time already. The community of kopimi requires no formal membership. You just have to feel a calling to worship what is the holiest of the holiest, information and copy. To do this, we organize kopyactings – religious services – where the kopimists share information with eachother through copying and remix.

Copy and seed.



Link

http://kopimistsamfundet.se
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Two hunters are out in the woods when one of them collapses. He doesn't seem to be breathing and his eyes are glazed. The other guy takes out his phone and calls the emergency services.

He gasps: "My friend is dead! What can I do?" The operator says: "Calm down, I can help. First, let's make sure he's dead." There is a silence, then a gunshot is heard. Back on the phone, the guy says: "OK, now what?"

http://articles.cnn.com/2002-10-03/tech/joke.funniest_1_jokes-humour-sense?_s=PM:TECH
The world's funniest joke has been revealed after a year-long search by scientists.In an experiment conducted in Britain, people around the world were invited to judge jokes on an Internet site as
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Rob Pike: Systems Research is Irrelevant.

http://herpolhode.com/rob/utah2000.pdf

An insightful and depressing read
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Mizta j-veen originally shared:
 
Magic of Math...
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Windows Phone 7 ... what the F***

For a student program I bought a Samsung Omnia 7 for the University for just 229 EUR. Fine. Since we are a C# shop this seemed the natural thing to do.

The Samsung Hardware is ok, the display is excellent, camera is acceptable, BUT the software ... OMG, can someone please undo my day?

On first glance the phone looks nice, especially because of the Metro UI design. BUT never ever think about connecting it to a Windows machine. Your phone will then become a REAL windows machine, i.e. you have to reboot several times (your PC and your Phone). Device driver installation will fail. It will suggest to download Zune although it is already installed. I spare you the nasty details.

After rebooting my machine 3 times and the phone 2 times, all updates were installed. But now the marketplace does not work any more. So I decided to rollback the updates. Does not help, Marketplace reports I should update in Zune. I updated again. Nothing changed, and so far and so on ...

This is the worst piece of software I have seen for years. There is no need to argue whether WP7 looks nice or whether there are enough apps or what so ever. It is simply broken. So do yourself a favor and keep away from this.
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You forgot android, but you own 3 wp7 devices? You'd rather blame my hardware for rebooting a bunch of times than blame windows update? You do come off as a little biased.

I agree that Win7 is much better than its predecessors, but from a technical standpoint, there's no reason why my computer needs to reboot at all. I'll begrudgingly allow a single reboot, because of how much engineering it would take to remove that last reboot. But please; rebooting more than once to update software screams 'bad architecture'. It falls out of windows's file locking system. (An architectural mistake that linux and macos don't share). As far as I can tell, the million reboots was expected behaviour for the update, which was probably a service pack or something. I don't even care.

I'm too nervous to connect windows to the internet, unpatched. And I do all my online purchasing from my mac.

I have 2 linux servers, one of which has an uptime of 280 days. The other one had (like you said) a bunch of problems last time I updated it.

For me, the biggest difference in OSes is the development environments. And tbh, I don't understand how anyone can be productive on windows. Aside from VS, the tools are just so primitive. There's no decent console with grep, bash, etc. There's no package manager. Installing development libraries with visual studio is so unbelievably time consuming. And half the OS tools I want to use simply aren't available. (Like Redis. They have NodeJS now, but still...)

Maybe I'm too harsh on microsoft, but I have only had bad experiences with windows mobile. My iphone 3g was ok until ios4 made it basically unusably slow. And so far, ICS seems to actually be really good. I think pretty soon there'll be 3 decent phone ecosystems that are all reasonably feature-complete and thats great. But I am skeptical of wp7.
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Please click 'Start test'. Thank you!
http://dnssec.vs.uni-due.de
DNSSEC Resolver Test. This test determines whether your DNS resolver validates DNSSEC signatures. For this test you need JavaScript turned on. derp. Start test. Most people will experience a negative ...
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Don't try this if you have still some work to do:

http://www.cuttherope.ie/
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Alternatively, you can get the second version "Cut the rope: experiments". So far I managed to resist, but Easter is right around the corner and I am sure it is worth the 76ct.
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"LISP programmers know the value of everything but the cost of nothing"

(if you don't get it, read here: http://mitpress.mit.edu/sicp/)
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Ever wanted to know how a browser works inside?

http://www.html5rocks.com/en/tutorials/internals/howbrowserswork/
A resource for developers looking to put HTML5 to use today, including information on specific features and when to use them in your apps.
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Best Android Phone for Development?

To teach programming mobile devices I need some Android Phone. Any suggestions which one to buy? In the meantime I still try to "buy the permission" to deploy applications on WP7 for just $99 per year -- robbery.
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Here in Italy we have the SonyEricsson Xperia X8 on sale, just 49€!
I think... a good deal for those that want to put their hands on Android.
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