And so it begins

This article by the AP scares the holy crap out of me. Evidently the Department of Homeland Security (DoHS) feels the part of its job mandate is to enforce patent and trademark rules on US citizens. Can anyone say “night watch?” Can someone please tell the DoHS that the US economy can take care of itself just fine. If a company is worried about a trademark infringement, they can do the same thing the rest of us would do; go to the courts to have it resolved. Unfortunately the focus of the article is on the fact that the patent had expired (making the DoHS look stupid) but the real focus of the article should be; exactly what business does the DoHS have pursuing trademark enforcement?

Managing code

Found an amazing document published by Connectiva on their revision control infrastructure an how they manage it.  Open Source projects have very few developers for the number of applications and the size of code-base they use.  Reuse and efficiency is required if a project of any size is to be managed.  CVS and Subversion (SVN) are two of the tools use to manage these projects; and their scriptability, flexability, functionality, and manageability are paramount to making this work. 

Also, here is a list of KDE CVS keywords for bugzilla management.  They allow you to open bug reports, close bug reports, add features, mark GUI changes, and cc bug reports based on keywords in you CVS commit comments.  These entries also effect changelog entires for packages when they are released.

Installs and Organisms

Couple quick tutorials that I have been looking at:

  • Genetic Algorithms – A tutorial in Perl on how to create a simulated multi-celled organism using Genetic algorithms. 
  • Installing Debian – A modified way of installing Debian Linux using a live CD based distribution like Knoppix and then manually bootstrapping Debian.  Good way to get Linux installed (and easily managed) on old hardware systems.

Software Flux

The software industry is in a state of rapid change.  The global connectivity provided by the Internet has put a damper on the ever archaic distribution and licensing methods of commercial software vendors.  This article by David Adams give a spectacular overview of the history of the software industry and the direction it is going.

Security by Design

A common rant of my concerns the mind numbing understanding the most tech writers (actually this applies to most periodical writers in general) have about the concept of system security.  This “everything I ever needed to know about computer security I learned from watching Hackers” is frustrating when so much good information is available about computer security.

The problem is only exacerbated by the fact that some organizations actively work to change the definition of security to their suite own benefit.  That is why I point out this article from the Register.  It is one of the best “general understanding” security papers on Linux I have read in a while.  The concepts it covers can generally be applied to all Unix-type OS’s, but the article talks about Linux (as well as Apache) in particular.  Read it and you will know more about software security for Linux than many in the computer business.

Equate This

Physics Web reports the results of their questionnaire for greatest equations ever.  My picks would predictively have been Euler’s equation (e + 1 = 0) or Einstein’s (E = mc2 ).  Also popular was the first equation almost everyone learns, 1 + 1 = 2.

Saving Cassini

Found a great article on the Cassini missions to Titan and how a single ESA engineer probably saved the entire mission.  With the impact that the Titan missions may have on our understanding of the universe we all owe Boris Smeds a debt of gratitude.

Where is this Candidate

Most of you have probably already been emailed the “Bill of non-Rights” (BNR) before; but it makes for some good reading on Monday morning. The BNR is commonly attributed to Mitchell Kaye, a Georgia state representative. In reality the original author is one Lewis Napper a 2000 Libertarian Senate candidate. In my years with an email account I have seen several different versions (the one below is the original) including such issues and English as the national language and Christianity as a core American belief. Overall, its something more Americans probably need to read.

“We, the sensible people of the United States, in an attempt to help everyone get along, restore some semblance of justice, avoid any more riots, keep our nation safe, promote positive behavior, and secure the blessings of debt-free liberty to ourselves and our great-great-great-grandchildren, hereby try one more time to ordain and establish some common sense guidelines for the terminally whiny, guilt-ridden, deluded, and other liberal bed-wetters. We hold these truths to be self-evident: that a whole lot of people are confused by the Bill of Rights and are so dim that they require a Bill of No Rights.”

  • ARTICLE I:

You do not have the right to a new car, big screen TV or any other form of wealth. More power to you if you can legally acquire them, but no one is guaranteeing anything.

  • ARTICLE II:

You do not have the right to never be offended. This country is based on freedom, and that means freedom for everyone” not just you! You may leave the room, change the channel, or express a different opinion, but the world is full of idiots, and probably always will be.

  • ARTICLE III:

You do not have the right to be free from harm. If you stick a screwdriver in your eye, learn to be more careful, do not expect the tool manufacturer to make you and all your relatives independently wealthy.

  • ARTICLE IV:

You do not have the right to free food and housing. Americans are the most charitable people to be found, and will gladly help anyone in need, but we are quickly growing weary of subsidizing generation after generation of professional couch potatoes who achieve nothing more than the creation of another generation of professional couch potatoes.

  • ARTICLE V:

You do not have the right to free health care That would be nice, but from the looks of public housing, we’re just not interested in public health care.

  • ARTICLE VI:

You do not have the right to physically harm other people. If you kidnap, rape, intentionally maim, or kill someone, don’t be surprised if the rest of us want to see you fry in the electric chair.

  • ARTICLE VII:

You do not have the right to the possessions of others. If you rob, cheat or coerce away the goods or services of other citizens, don’t be surprised if the rest of us get together and lock you away in a place where you still won’t have the right to a big screen color TV or a life of leisure.

  • ARTICLE VIII:

You don’t have the right to demand that our children risk their lives in foreign wars to soothe your aching conscience. We hate oppressive governments and won’t lift a finger to stop you from going to fight if you’d like. However, we do not enjoy parenting the entire world and do not want to spend so much of our time battling each and every little tyrant with a military uniform and a funny hat.

  • ARTICLE IX:

You don’t have the right to a job. Sure, all of us want all of you to have one, and will gladly help you along in hard times, but we expect you to take advantage of the opportunities of education and vocational training laid before you to make yourself useful.

  • ARTICLE X:

You do not have the right to happiness. Being an American means that you have the right to pursue happiness ” which, by the way, is a lot easier if you are unencumbered by an overabundance of idiotic laws created by those of you who were confused by the Bill of Rights.

Whip it, into shape

KDE Automated Test Report is a series of scripts that can be run against C++/QT/KDE applications to test for known problems before package release.  Not only are things like memory allocation bugs found but many tests find optimization bugs through the use of less-then-idea function calls for known object types.  The kind of bug testing and optimization scripts (along with uber powerful tools like KCachegrind and Kdexecutor) make for more secure, faster, more consistent, and more dependable applications.  The vast majority of application “shortcomings” can be found simply by using some or all of the above listed tools.