Archives for posts with tag: Open source

Very very good article, and I wrote a response from a similar perspective in my own blog at, in reaction to the editor’s letter for the latest ACM Communications edition.

I would only amend this one by “svpow” with this.

Corporate profit-making (disdainfully called “greed”) has driven science and technology into new heights for centuries now with accelerating results. There are many of us who would pursue our own ideas if we had support for them, and open source software is an example of this, and a fantastic good for all of us.

I would call profit-making as “greed” when it passes the line of respecting other people’s own rights to enjoy the fruits of their labor.

The profitability model that pits publishers against the rest of us is crumbling from the onslaught of the Internet, and even from the new realization that the “gatekeepers” are actually choking out new ideas, new combinations of old ideas, and holding us back.

It worked once because academic publishers had a limited audience and needed a bottleneck. No more.

Throw it open to everybody in the world. Put the profit motive to work for us by letting anybody in on it that wants to. If it’s funded by taxes it sure should be open, but the actions of government agencies and the diversion of research funds to politically decided causes means taking your money to fund their own interests whether you like it or not. Politically selected “independent experts” are not independent at all.

For example, if you listen to government-funded peer-reviewed climate scientists, you might not even know that one of the hottest summers in decades comes timed together with one of the hottest, most active solar cycle maximum in decades.


Skype replaces P2P supernodes with Linux boxes hosted by Microsoft (updated):

Microsoft has drastically overhauled the network running its Skype voice-over-IP service, replacing peer-to-peer client machines with thousands of Linux boxes that have been hardened against the most common types of hack attacks, a security researcher said.

The change, which Immunity Security’s Kostya Kortchinsky said occurred about two months ago, represents a major departure from the design that has powered Skype for the past decade. Since its introduction in 2003, the network has consisted of “supernodes” made up of regular users who had sufficient bandwidth, processing power, and other system requirements to qualify. These supernodes then transferred data with other supernodes in a peer-to-peer fashion. At any given time, there were typically a little more than 48,000 clients that operated this way.

Kortchinsky’s analysis, which has not yet been confirmed by Microsoft, shows that Skype is now being powered by a little more than 10,000 supernodes that are all hosted by the company. It’s currently not possible for regular users to be promoted to supernode status. What’s more, the boxes are running a version of Linux using grsecurity, a collection of patches and configurations designed to make servers more resistant to attacks. In addition to hardening them to hacks, the Microsoft-hosted boxes are able to accommodate significantly more users. Supernodes under the old system typically handled about 800 end users, Kortchinsky said, whereas the newer ones host about 4,100 users and have a theoretical limit of as many as 100,000 users.

“It’s pretty good for security reasons because then you don’t rely on random people running random stuff on their machine,” Kortchinsky told Ars. “You just have something that’s centralized and secure.”

Kortchinsky discovered the Linux supernodes using a Skype probing technique he and colleague Fabrice Desclaux first demonstrated in 2006. (PDF versions of conference presentation slides are here and here.)

Kortchinsky’s discovery comes as Microsoft said it’s investigating recent demonstrations of an exploit that exposes the local and remote IP addresses of users who are logged in to the service. The attack reportedly relies on the open-source SkypeKit package.


Open source programmed, uses a simple sensor that can attach to a simple pair of glasses or sunglasses, he built it himself while doing his senior year of high school, got accolades in fairs for it, and he’s selling it to support his way through college:

Honduran Teen Invents Cheap, Simple Eye-Tracking Device For Disabled:


You can invest here:
The Eyeboard – Low cost eye tracking system by Luis Cruz — Kickstarter:

I think this is the Do-It-Yourself kit for just $99.00: