In the summer of 1999, Bruce Perens became our very first interview subject, answering questions about open source licensing. Almost 14 years later, Bruce is still one of the most influential programmers and advocates in the open source community. He's graciously agreed to answer all your questions about the state of things and what's changed in those 15 years. As with previous interviews, we'll send the best questions to Mr. Perens, and post his answers in a day or two. Ask as many questions as you'd like, but please keep them to one per post.
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Gunkerty Jeb writes "Initially thought to be merely a module of the now-infamous Flame malware, MiniFlame, or SPE is, in reality, a secondary surveillance tool deployed against specially identified targets following an initial Flame or Gauss compromise. MiniFlame/SPE was one of three previously unseen pieces of malware discovered during a forensic analysis of Flame's command and control servers. Researchers at Kaspersky Lab and CERT-Bund/BSI determined that the program, which has compromised somewhere between 10 and 20 machines, can stand alone as an independent piece of malware or run as a plug-in for both Flame and Gauss."
jrepin writes "KDE has released the 3rd stable version of Plasma Active, KDE's device-independent user experience. The Plasma Active user interface is touch-friendly and works well across a range of devices. Its Activities function gives users a natural way to organize and access their applications, files and information. Plasma Active Three noticeably improves the user experience with its enhanced and expanded set of apps, improved performance and a new virtual keyboard."
puddingebola writes "From the article, "Amazon is reportedly in 'advanced negotiations' to acquire Texas Instruments' OMAP chip division, bringing chip design for its Kindle tablets in-house, and helping TI refocus on embedded systems. The deal in discussion, Calcalist reports, follows TI's public distancing from its own phone and tablet chip business in the face of rising competition from Qualcomm, Samsung, and others, though Amazon taking charge of OMAP could leave rivals Barnes & Noble in a tricky situation.'"
concealment writes "In the face of the violence that frequently results from anti-religious expression, some world leaders seem to be losing their patience with free speech. After a video called 'Innocence of Muslims' appeared on YouTube and sparked violent protests in several Muslim nations last month, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon warned that 'when some people use this freedom of expression to provoke or humiliate some others' values and beliefs, then this cannot be protected.' It appears that the one thing modern society can no longer tolerate is intolerance. As Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard put it in her recent speech before the United Nations, 'Our tolerance must never extend to tolerating religious hatred.'"
sfcrazy writes "Good (and bad) news for Raspberry Pi lovers, the Model B has been upgraded to 512MB RAM from 256MB. Bad news is for those who already got their Model B shipments because all those who have outstanding orders with either distributors will get the *upgraded* version of the device, means with 512MB RAM instead of 256MB. The upgraded devices should be arriving to customers from today onwards. Raspberry Pi team will be pushing a firmware upgrade soon so these news devices can detect and use the additional RAM."
Hugh Pickens writes "The Seattle Times reports that exactly 65 years to the minute after becoming the first human to fly faster than the speed of sound, retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Chuck Yeager flew in the back seat of an F-15 Eagle as it broke the sound barrier at more than 30,000 feet above California's Mojave Desert — the same area where he first achieved the feat in 1947 while flying an experimental rocket plane. Asked by a young girl if he was scared during Sunday's flight, Yeager joked, 'Yeah, I was scared to death.' Yeager made the first supersonic flight in a rocket-powered, Bell X-1, known as the XS-1 for 'experimental, supersonic,' attached to the belly of a B-29 aircraft. Hiding the pain of broken ribs from a midnight horse race after a night of drinking at Pancho Barnes' Happy Bottom Riding Club, Yeager squeezed into the aircraft with no safe way to bail out. Soon after the rocket plane was released, Yeager powered it upward to about 42,000 feet altitude, then leveled off and sped to 650 mph, or Mach 1.07. Some aviation historians contend that American pilot George Welch broke the sound barrier before Yeager, while diving an XP-86 Sabre on October 1, 1947 and there is also a disputed claim by German pilot Hans Guido Mutke that he was the first person to break the sound barrier, on April 9, 1945, in a Messerschmitt Me 262. Yeager's flight was portrayed in the opening scenes of The Right Stuff, the 1983 movie, based on the book by Tom Wolfe that chronicles America's space race. For his part Yeager said nothing special was going through his mind at the time of the re-enactment. 'Flying is flying. You can't add a lot to it.'"
cold fjord writes "A large protest planned by as many as 800 imams was held today at Google's London headquarters to protest the video, 'The Innocence of Muslims,' which is available on Google's subsidiary YouTube. There may have been as many as 10,000 protesters in what is said to be the first of several planned protests. From the story: 'Speeches by more than a dozen imams . . . urged Muslims to honor the name of the Prophet and not to back down in the face of Google's continuing reluctance to act, and were met with passionate cries of "God is Great" and "Mohammad is the Prophet of God" in Arabic. . . One of the speakers. . . told The Daily Telegraph: "Terrorism is not just people who kill human bodies, but who kill human feelings as well. The makers of this film have terrorized 1.6 billion people." A YouTube spokesperson said: "We work hard to create a community everyone can enjoy and which also enables people to express different opinions. "This can be a challenge because what's OK in one country can be offensive elsewhere. This video — which is widely available on the Web — is clearly within our guidelines and so will stay on YouTube."'"
An anonymous reader writes in a story about a neat potential use for spider silk. "Many people have heard that spider silk is a sort of supermaterial: stronger than steel, tougher than Kevlar, and yet incredibly malleable and flexible. But the silk has other properties that make it ideal for use in electronic devices. Light can travel through a silk strand as easily as it does through a fiber optic cable. 'When we first tested spider silk, we didn’t know what to expect,' said physicist Nolwenn Huby of the Institut de Physique de Rennes in France. 'We thought, "Why not try this as an optical fiber to propagate light?'" Huby and her team were able to transmit laser light down a short strand of the silk on an integrated circuit chip. The silk worked much like glass fiber optic cables, meaning it could carry information for electronic devices, though it had about four orders of magnitude more loss than the glass. Huby said that with a coating and further development, the silk could one day have better transmission capabilities. She will present her results at this year’s Frontiers in Optics conference, Oct. 14 to 18 in Rochester, New York.
First time accepted submitter rycks writes "Following on the success of the various Humble Bundles for DRM-free video games and eBooks, there is now a pedagogical offer. It includes Mulot for mouse training, Fubuki the brain breaker with mathematical problems, Mental Calculation to learn and train with mathematical tables, Raconte-moi to share voice over pictures stories, and a package with drawings to paint on. The software is GPL'd, without DRM :) As with the Humble Bundles, you can choose how much you'd like to pay, and how the proceeds are split between any of the authors and others."
cheesecake23 writes "In an admirably concise piece in The Atlantic, Rebecca J. Rosen summarizes Einstein's subtle views on religion and profound respect for the inexplicable, along with the news that a letter handwritten by the legendary scientist that describes the Bible as a 'collection of honorable, but still primitive legends' and 'pretty childish' will be auctioned off on eBay over the next two weeks. Bidding will begin at $3 million."
SternisheFan writes in with this Times article about more trouble brewing between the U.S. and Iran. "American intelligence officials are increasingly convinced that Iran was the origin of a serious wave of network attacks that crippled computers across the Saudi oil industry and breached financial institutions in the United States, episodes that contributed to a warning last week from Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta that the United States was at risk of a 'cyber-Pearl Harbor.' After Mr. Panetta's remarks on Thursday night, American officials described an emerging shadow war of attacks and counterattacks already under way between the United States and Iran in cyberspace. Among American officials, suspicion has focused on the 'cybercorps' that Iran's military created in 2011 — partly in response to American and Israeli cyberattacks on the Iranian nuclear enrichment plant at Natanz — though there is no hard evidence that the attacks were sanctioned by the Iranian government. The attacks emanating from Iran have inflicted only modest damage. Iran's cyberwarfare capabilities are considerably weaker than those in China and Russia, which intelligence officials believe are the sources of a significant number of probes, thefts of intellectual property and attacks on American companies and government agencies."
First time accepted submitter pseudorand writes "I have a 3 year old that I've so far kept away from TV and computers. I met a gamer who has a 1 year old that plays xbox (probably better than I do). I believe kids should experience the real world first, but computers will obviously be a basic job still for the foreseeable future and I'm afraid I'm letting my kid fall behind. I'd like to responsibly introduce my son to computers so he can start developing hard-eye coordination, typing skills and learning UI concepts. What's the best (Linux, of course) game to get a kid started with? Shoot-em-up's are obviously out, but I'm more concerned with something that will help him understand how to interact with a mouse, keyboard and screen and hold his attention rather than something 'educational' because there's plenty of (probably more effective) ways to teach math, reading, etc. that don't involve a computer. So far I've tried Tux Racer, which held his attention for 10 minutes or so. He doesn't quite get pressing multiple keys simultaneously yet."
MrSeb writes "Felix Baumgartner has successfully completed his stratospheric skydive from 128,000 feet (39km), breaking a record that was set 52 years ago by Air Force Captain Joe Kittinger — that much we know. From the balloon, to the capsule, to the gear that Baumgartner wore during his 730 mph (1174 kph) free fall, the technology behind the scenes is impressive, and in some cases bleeding edge. ExtremeTech takes a deep dive into the tech that kept Baumgartner alive during the three-hour ascent and (much shorter) descent — and the tech that allowed us to watch every moment of the Red Bull Stratos mission live, as captured by no less than 15 digital cameras and numerous other scientific instruments."
The final mission of the Endeavour has been completed. The shuttle has arrived at its final home, the California Science Center. From the article: "After a dramatic three-day parade through city streets, Endeavour arrived at its new home at the California Science Center shortly after 1 p.m. Sunday amid cheers from thousands gathered to witness a piece of history. 'Mission 26 — Mission Accomplished,' Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said at a news conference at Exposition Park, the shuttle rising behind him as a backdrop. The mayor was referencing the shuttle’s 25 space missions and its journey across the city. The 85-ton orbiter pulled up next to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and ground to a halt so that the mayor and others could officially mark its arrival at the park near the USC campus. 'Today everyone in the city of Los Angeles is an astronaut,' said L.A. Fire Department Chief Brian Cummings at the news conference."