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Microsoft takes .NET open source and cross-platform
2375 points by ethomson  10 days ago   893 comments top 154
jpgvm 10 days ago 7 replies      
I'm a hardcore *nix guy but boy do I love me some C#. Up until now it's been the best language I have worked with but the worst platform due to it's lack of 'nice things' that we just expect from languages/ecosystems these days.

Where 'nice things' is defined as being open-source, having open-source ecosystem of developer tools etc.

This isn't so much the beginning (as good stuff has been happening for a couple of years now) but it's a huge step.

Thankyou Microsoft.

jacquesm 10 days ago 10 replies      
It's funny how Nadella has moved the needle more for developers in 9 months than Ballmer did in the last decade or so, and all that without running around like a madman too. Pretty good. I'll never switch back to MS for what they've done in the past but it is nice to see them try hard to become a nicer player in the software eco-system.

Google and Apple need some other party to keep them sharp, it might as well be MS.

WorldWideWayne 10 days ago 4 replies      
The key points seem to be:

"Available Wednesday, Visual Studio Community 2013 is a free, fully featured edition of Visual Studio including full extensibility."

So, it sounds like this will replace the Express edition and let you install extensions like you can in the Pro version.

"Visual Studio 2015 and .NET 2015: build for any device -Built from the ground up with support for iOS, Android and Windows, Visual Studio 2015 Preview makes it easier for developers to build applications and services for any device, on any platform."

It almost sounds like you're going to be able to run VS2015 on different platforms, but I doubt it. Maybe you'll run the web version of VS2015 to develop from Mac/Linux?

"To further support cross-platform mobile development with .NET, as part of their strategic partnership, Microsoft and Xamarin announced a new streamlined experience for installing Xamarin from Visual Studio, as well as announced the addition of Visual Studio support to its free offering Xamarin Starter Edition available later in the year. "

This is very interesting - .NET is going fully cross platform but they haven't bought Xamarin...are they planning on competing while keeping their frenemies close or something else?

JeremyMorgan 10 days ago 4 replies      
I feel like the last couple years I've been cheerleading for MS and telling people how much they've changed, how open things are becoming, and how awesome the development experience is. It's fallen on deaf ears or met with resistance, but today's announcements are really gonna drive the point home. Developers need to start looking more seriously at C#/.Net.

The Scotts (Hanselman/Guthrie), Miguel De Icaza and so many others have worked tirelessly on this, and we (.Net Developers) owe them a ton of gratitude for helping to make sure this ecosystem doesn't wither on the vine.

danabramov 10 days ago 2 replies      
I know it's silly but I'm tearing up. I grew upwith .NET but neglected it for years because of moving to OS X, iOS and web dev. I played for some time with Xamarin and I'm so happy this is where MS is going. <3 Scott & Miguel, I'm sure they both had a lot to do with it.
_stephan 10 days ago 1 reply      
According to Scott Hanselman they are also open sourcing their new RyuJIT and even the GC. Incredible!




alkonaut 10 days ago 1 reply      
I have been working with .NET for 11 years since 1.0beta (On the same application, i.e. have been continously pushing a massive codebase through every released version of the framework yet!), so to me this so huge. It has felt like I would have to go do Javascript, or go back to java, if I wanted to leave the .NET ecosystem or do something radically different. Not anymore. Feels like not just Windows-based server (asp.net) and desktop (WPF/WinForms) apps are .NET based in the future, but a good chunk of what today is Node.js, Java, Objective-C and so on will be .NET, and hopefully F#, in the future.

If you want a high-level lang runtime with good IDE support, you can just use .NET now. You know, unless you want Ask toolbar.

eyeareque 10 days ago 5 replies      
If you would have shown me this headline 15 years ago I would have thought it was an onion article. Who would have thought they would have come this far?
pjc50 10 days ago 4 replies      
The politics of this are interesting, and IMO related to the decline of the PC as a platform. Suddenly Microsoft is the outsider crying for "openness" and "freedom" while hammering on the gates of the Google/Apple ecosystem.

For Microsoft, it's less bad if everyone switches to an uncontrolled platform than if they switch to a platform locked in by a competitor. The embrace/extend/extinguish logic works the other way when Apple are driving it. (They've done fairly well at killing off Flash, and Silverlight never stood a chance in this environment)

Someone1234 10 days ago 9 replies      
It will be interesting to see how this will work in practice.

C# will port over just fine. But the .Net libraries? System.Windows has little to nothing in it, and right now using things like System.IO.* on Linux and Mac is just asking for trouble.

What are they going to do, hack in System.IO.* Linux support after the fact? Or just add Linux.IO.* which is even more of a hack. In either case you're going to get very messy very fast.

The .Net libraries absolutely could have been designed with cross platform in mind, for example if they put the IO libraries in System.Windows.* and several of the other Windows-specific APIs.

As it stands the .Net framework/libraries are very Windows locked. So much so you'd almost have to scrap them and start over to make it more platform agnostic.

FlyingSnake 10 days ago 4 replies      
This is epic. Peter Thiel was right about creative Monopoly.

The new Microsoft under Satya Nadella has totally changed the direction of Microsoft in just a few months. They had one of the best and rock solid development platforms and research division, and loyal customers. The new Azure cloud (Online + On Premise) along with the opening of .Net will change the playing field.

I'm sure this is a great new for us developers. The change to work on one of the best runtimes, on a platform of our choice and on one of the best programming environments.

Great job Microsoft!

sytelus 10 days ago 3 replies      
Here's Github repo: https://github.com/dotnet. Wow, these things are being released under MIT licence - who would have thought .Net would be more "free-er" than Java?

In other news:

* Visual Studio 2015 and ASP.NET 5 will support gulp, grunt, bower and npm for front end developers.

* OmniSharp is a family of Open Source projects, each with one goal - To enable great .NET development in YOUR editor of choice - http://www.omnisharp.net/.

BloatControl 9 days ago 2 replies      
So here is a 700+ comments thread about MS products without one single occurance of the word that is associated most with anything MS: bloat.

We have a serious problem with generations of so called software engineers growing up with the perception that this kind of code flatulence is ok to be released to the world.

We need more programmers with real knowledge to solve the problems the world has today. These really good guys feel offended by such bloated systems and like minimal, efficient solutions. MS has lost the ability to attract these elite programmers forever and it is today a propagator of an anti-concept of software and software development.

Already too many people are not seeing the obvious. They believe MS produces acceptable operating systems, while anybody with real knowledge can only laugh about these caricatures of computing systems - this is doing so much harm to the whole IT world and therefor to the real world.

Bloat, bloat, bloat. Incredible. We must actively prepare to not let this illness float into the world of elegant, slick and efficient open source products. This is a dangerous bloat attack against the world of free thinking - be prepared to fight the invasion of miriads of dumb zombies! Neanderthalers are still out there, many of them, to fight the evolution of homo sapiens sapiens.

agarden 10 days ago 0 replies      
According to the announcement on visualstudio.com about the Community Edition, it isn't just for students and open source developers. Basically, only enterprises or companies with more than five developers need to pay.
cwyers 10 days ago 1 reply      
"To further support cross-platform mobile development with .NET, as part of their strategic partnership, Microsoft and Xamarin announced a new streamlined experience for installing Xamarin from Visual Studio, as well as announced the addition of Visual Studio support to its free offering Xamarin Starter Edition available later in the year."

Well that should make a lot of people around here happy.

jordanilchev 10 days ago 0 replies      
http://tirania.org/blog/archive/2014/Nov-12.html here is what Miguel of Xamarin has to say
korobool 10 days ago 1 reply      
C# is the most modern, and one of the best languages we have in the market. Linux is the best platform. Hope to see them truly together. Thank you MS guys for the contributing into world industry.
sytelus 10 days ago 1 reply      
I seriously hope this pushes out Java closer to graveyard of forgotten languages. Java had been rotting for a long time without significant progress compared to modern languages including C#. It's only advantage had been that it was cross platform. Now it's owned by lawyers-driven Oracle which is as worse as things can get. Also I really want to stop worry about having my mom install crapware like Ask toolbar and say No to Update Java every single day.
SwellJoe 10 days ago 2 replies      
Microsoft only acts right when they're losing. It took the loss of dominance on the web to begin to produce a standards-compliant, modern browser. Silverlight never really took off because it had such limited OS support. And, now that they know beyond a shadow of a doubt they can't win the mobile device market (and are even losing some of the laptop market to Chromebooks, and Android hybrid devices), they'll grudgingly open up their developer tools and support other platforms.

I am, of course, happy to see it. But, let's not get too excited about what good Open Source citizens Microsoft have become. Let's let their actions going forward determine that.

lawl 10 days ago 2 replies      
Can anyone clarify for me, does this include WPF?I remember I wanted to run a few apps off github on linux and they used WPF, which mono doesn't support.

Otherwise mono seemed to run pretty much everything i threw at it. Can someone with .NET experience clarify for me what this will enable that mono doesn't (yet)?

In other words, if .net will continue to be riddled with windows only API's I'm not really interested.

The article seemed to mostly focus on the server side of things, but I'm not really sure if they can pull many devs over to writing application servers on .net. It will be hard competing against Java there.

tdicola 10 days ago 1 reply      
Great news, but I think people need to realize this is really just Microsoft pledging to merge and support what Mono has already been doing. You won't magically be able to take a WPF app and run it on your Mac. You will however be able to write a server app or maybe simple command line tool that runs on Mac & Linux. It's great news to see Microsoft acknowledging and supporting Mono, but there isn't a magic switch that will flip and everything suddenly works on every platform.
perlgeek 10 days ago 2 replies      
This is huge.

A few months ago, we decided to write a big new software component at $work, basically a service layer that is going to accumulate lots of business logic. We discussed several programming languages, and thought that a statically typed language might be a good fit (we mostly did perl and python so far). C# was dismissed pretty quickly, because .Net was closed source, and Mono had the reputation of being a bit second rate (possibly not well-founded, but also hard to debunk for somebody not in the community).

I mentioned that Roslyn was also open source, but it was hard to convince anybody when the "main" implementation was still closed source (and we're very much an open + linux shop).

If this had come a year earlier, we might have picked C#. Maybe there'll be another project here in a few years...

_stephan 10 days ago 1 reply      
"We are open sourcing the RiyuJit and the .NET GC and making them both cross-platform."

That's incredible!

NicoJuicy 10 days ago 1 reply      
Being a fan of Android and Microsoft for years... I truelly hope that Google would discuss about changing from Java to C#... They don't have to change to c#, but this would be a win for both of them (Microsoft and Google) and a huge loss for Oracle/Apple.
fsloth 10 days ago 1 reply      
Hot toes in springwater! I had figured out that since .Net was proprietary I really should ween myself away from the sweet, sweet F# and learn some clojure but it seems Microsoft has stumped on my plans for self improvement. Immutable by default, algebraic datastructures with pattern matching to boot, great concurrency story and now actually open with permissive licence. Mind. Blown.
plq 10 days ago 1 reply      
I see so much emotion in this thread. Yes, I was there to witness what M$FT (ha! take that Mr. Gates!) did around the dawn of this millenium as well, but we had all felt that the times they were a-changin' when Slashdot retired the Bill-the-evil-Borg image already. It's just Microsoft refused to adapt until now, which e.g. made them miss The Mobile in its entirety.

So, Microsoft is finally adapting. But what are they actually doing? Why did Microsoft finally decided to make .Net cross-platform? What's in it for them?

Look at what's in this shiny new package: They've open-sourced just the core runtime. They are not open-sourcing Visual Studio. Or WPF. Or SQL Server. Or Active Directory. Or Office.

There's one thing the Linux ecosystem is pretty good at: Scaling, both up and down. There are technical reasons for that, but none could possibly be an issue for a software powerhouse the size of Microsoft. There are also commercial reasons for that, most important being: You just can't beat free.

So that's what Microsoft is finally moving against -- Dear startup founder who is afraid that licensing costs will eat him/her alive while his/her "Growth Hacking" strategy is working, dear embedded programmer whose tiny IoT device that just can't cope with the whole Windows mumbo-jumbo, welcome to the Microsoft platform -- You can now safely run your C# on these free platforms as well.

So, Microsoft is finally back in the game. They even seem to be playing nice. But the question in everyone's mind is: For how long?

tasnimreza 9 days ago 0 replies      
It is really a big news, I'm a .Net guy over couple of years. When i started with .Net i thought why i have to buy everything for development ? Now the day have changed and we found Microsoft in the open source community race. Thank you Microsoft.

Visual Studio is awesome, specially debugging when it is in Symbol server debugging.

Though i hate the thing 'Not Responding' and your OS is freeze. When your solution growing with 50+ project, it took 4-5min to open and by any chance if you click the solution it will hang.

elchief 10 days ago 1 reply      
"Oh, shit", said Oracle.
FreakyT 10 days ago 1 reply      
I hope this positively affects projects using outdated versions of Mono, like Unity. I'd love to see them move to a more up-to-date version of .NET, and I wonder if this could enable them to do that.
dschiptsov 10 days ago 0 replies      
First we have to see it as a standard Debian package.

Then we have to look at its memory usage, GC pauses, locking issues.

It is much easier to say than to port correctly a large, very complex code-base to an alien platform. (Mono has been written from scratch, if I recall correctly).

_random_ 10 days ago 3 replies      
2015 is going to be a year of Microsoft.
mnkypete 10 days ago 0 replies      
This is really a great move. C# is an awesome language and deserves to have a future on Mac & Linux. Microsoft is changing for sure.
mnglkhn2 10 days ago 1 reply      
At the moment .NET is making great inroads into all mobile platforms (mainly due to Xamarin's iOS and Android platforms). The one area where Microsoft needs to push more i son the server side: to be able to develop ASP.NET apps and push them to Linux servers. You can do it now but not as smooth and stable as it should be. When this happens, then the circle is complete: you can write both client and server code in C#/F# from within Visual Studio.

Quite a powerful combo at that point!

reitanqild 10 days ago 1 reply      
Now, with a patent promise amd a MIT license, any chance that android could build on .Net going forward?

That would take more than a few non public meetings betweenn G and MS I guess but possibly better than having to tiptoe around Oracle in the long run?

colbyh 10 days ago 0 replies      
Microsoft people correct me if I'm wrong - but this feels like a decision Ballmer never would have let pass?

This feels huge to me as someone that has always been on *nix variants but that has been told the .Net environment is amazing as long as you're willing to pay/work on Windows. I still probably won't switch over to C# or F# any time soon but it's good to know I could actually work on a WinMo app if needed.

Animats 10 days ago 2 replies      
Is this an abandonware move? Does it mean .NET is on the way out, and Microsoft's way forward is something else? A year or two ago, Microsoft was talking about the future of application development being Javascript/HTML/CSS.
AndrewDucker 10 days ago 0 replies      
This is massive. I love the C# language, and hopefully this will lead to wider adoption, and usage on more architectures/operating systems.
wilsonfiifi 10 days ago 0 replies      
This is such a bitter sweet announcement for me! I had just made up my mind to stop language hopping and settle/focus on Python and Go for backend development. But now C#, my first love, has come back to whisper sweet nothings in my ear!

Still this is great news and kudos to Microsoft for taking this bold step in the right direction.

skittles 10 days ago 1 reply      
This is going to be a huge boost to ClojureCLR, IronPython, and F#. I think F# especially is going to take off in popularity now that its best VM target is going to run on Linux and Mac.
dkopi 10 days ago 1 reply      
Together with the Visual Studio Community announcement https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8595855, this is great news.

I've always missed the power of visual studio when programming for open source platforms. This can change things a lot.

jot 10 days ago 0 replies      
Could work on this have started before Steve Ballmer left? Maybe he took my 2007 email to him more seriously that his response let on:


untog 10 days ago 0 replies      
This is amazing. But I really, really wish Microsoft would buy Xamarin. I know it sounds counter-productive - they're doing great work on their own - but the subscription costs associated with Xamarin hold it back. MS would have every motivation to release it for free to try to corner the app development market.
codeshaman 10 days ago 7 replies      
Good move, but (too) late.

The move is designed to attract iOS and Android Devs to .NET.

But let's see:

As an iOS developer, I've invested years in learning Objective-C and Cocoa, UIKit, etc. Now I'm starting with Swift.I'm sure a lot of iOS devs feel this way. Besides, if I can't use it from OSX, then I'm out.

Why should I forget everything and learn C#/.NET ? If I want a write-once-run-everywhere thing, then I could go for one of the miriad Javascript or HTML5 cross-platform frameworks or C++ with Qt, JUCE or the likes.

Same thought pattern applies for Android/Java - why would a seasoned Android/Java developer want to learn a whole new framework and programming language ?

Is C#/.NET so much better than Java/Android or ObjC/Swift that it mandates switching to it ?

Someone 10 days ago 1 reply      
Great news, but something else drew my attention: the related stories. I got, among others:

"Microsoft Announces Windows 2000 Certification For Microsoft Certified Systems Engineers"

"Microsoft and Samsung Reveal Windows Powered Pocket PC For GSM/GPRS Networks"

"Microsoft Office 97 Family of Applications Honored With Industry Awards"

"Microsoft Invests in General Magic"

"Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.0 Beta Download Demand Overwhelming"

Ignoring the time machine aspects, I wonder what made their algorithm come up with these stories. They mention "Microsoft" and "Net", but that is about it.

giancarlostoro 10 days ago 0 replies      
I really wish they'd make Visual Studio run on other platforms as well... I suppose they'll work on making Office run on Linux next, or at least a full version of Office that's entirely web enabled would be nice too.
blt 10 days ago 0 replies      
Holy shit, now I don't feel like I wasted so much time learning C# and .NET.
omarish 10 days ago 0 replies      
Link to source code: https://github.com/microsoft
archagon 10 days ago 7 replies      
Does this mean that Mono will no longer be necessary for cross-platform C# use?
rjsamson 10 days ago 1 reply      
Wow - I have to say I'm impressed. I wonder how extensive the cross platform support is, and what sort of work has gone into targeting iOS? What does this mean for Xamarin and Mono?
none_for_me_thx 10 days ago 0 replies      
simonmales 10 days ago 5 replies      
No mention of which license they are using?
f055 10 days ago 1 reply      
Wow, writing in C# for Mac, that's almost like heaven.
tomp 10 days ago 6 replies      
I want to believe this, but I just don't. .NET is so much more than just the core libraries. There will be a long time until it's on the same level as Java. I hope Microsoft proves me wrong, of course (C# is an awesome language, F# is not bad either), but I will believe this when I see a distribution of Visual Studio running both on Mac/Linux and on Windows (i.e. the same executable, same as Java).
curveship 10 days ago 1 reply      
I started as an open source programmer. Then I got a job as a .NET programmer. Now I'm an open source programmer again.

Feels good :)

Fede_V 9 days ago 1 reply      
I know this won't convince many hardcore Unix people who are used to the command line, but Visual Studio is still an absolutely incredible piece of software, and I really, really wish I could run it under Linux.

Even if you are a command line ninja, amazing autocompletion, magical debugging with inspection are pretty wonderful.

claystu 10 days ago 0 replies      
Finally! One of the major players has finally decided to really push cross-platform.

Looks like it's time to finally learn F#

jayvanguard 10 days ago 0 replies      
Never in Microsoft's history have they ever followed through on a promise of multi-platform support for their infrastructure. They've tried multiple times but they always end up bailing on it or half-assing it to death.

I wouldn't believe them this time either.

codegeek 10 days ago 0 replies      
Loving this. Recently started working on a project with my brother who loves MS .NET stack and I have no experience in it. I was really skeptic due to the reputation MS has of being closed source and license heavy. I could not have chosen a better time hopefully!!
jnem 10 days ago 1 reply      
This completely caught me by suprise. Will .NET see a comeback now? Or is it too little too late? In any event, this is a huge move for Microsoft who has historically avoided open source(ive always thought of yhem as the anti-open-source company).
radioact1ve 10 days ago 0 replies      
Faith in C# restored. Amazing.
jpetersonmn 9 days ago 0 replies      
Is there going to be a Visual Studio for the mac? I write a lot of vb.net utilities in Windows for my day job. It would be awesome if I could work on that stuff natively on my MacBook.
presty 10 days ago 0 replies      
This is pretty cool. Java (the platform) is finally getting a much needed competitor and alternative. And a VM that was built from scratch to support multiple languages.

The next decade will be interesting.

talltofu 10 days ago 2 replies      
What happens to Xamarin business model now?
diltonm 10 days ago 0 replies      
I didn't think I'd ever see this happen. Java is my bread and butter but this could be a game changer.

Edit: It probably won't be for me but just saying who knows, some developers might prefer C# over Java on Linux and Mac. Too bad Microsoft is 13 years to late for me on this. They had my interest when I was beta testing Visual Studio .NET 2002 but by 2005 when I saw how far Java had come and got a taste of the power and Cadillac nature of Eclipse; it would be tough to turn back now.

jxm262 10 days ago 1 reply      

     Developers can get started with Visual Studio Community 2013 here.
<<link is not working>>http://www.visualstudio.com/en-us/products/visual-studio-com...

I think they meant here?http://www.visualstudio.com/news/vs2013-community-vs

Rapzid 10 days ago 0 replies      
This is fantastic! I've been waiting for the .net train to pull all the way into the OSS station(as a Linux engineer) :) I wonder if .Net native will also be open sourced.
buf 10 days ago 0 replies      
Excellent job, Microsoft.
jangid 10 days ago 0 replies      
Microsoft had designed .NET to be independent of platforms. But the strategy advices they got were mostly wrong; so they did not release it for other platforms. Open Source alternatives existed (Mono) but due to unavailability of committed support enterprises did not endorse it. Now there is very little hope that the *NIX users will now use .NET languages.

It was a great platform though. I was impressed by the it when I first went to Teched in year 2002.

NicoJuicy 10 days ago 1 reply      
Considering Scott is probably watching this.. What do you think about the near future about running vNext projects on a simple Raspberry Pi (= low-end configurations).
logn 10 days ago 0 replies      
Neat. Maybe eventually they'll open source the OS too, but .NET is probably more significant.

I wanted some more specifics regarding licenses and found this page helpful: http://www.dotnetfoundation.org/projects

Hopefully one day they'll support the entire Java runtime so that I can deploy Java apps to the JRE or .NET.

joelthelion 10 days ago 2 replies      
This is really big news. I'm not sure why Microsoft is doing it, though? Seems like a great way to completely kill Windows in the server market.
sauere 10 days ago 0 replies      
AdventureJason 10 days ago 0 replies      
Microsoft's CVP Soma Somasegar will be answering questions about today's announcements on TechCrunch article -- in comments -- at 2:30pm Eastern today.


AdventureJason 10 days ago 0 replies      
Microsoft's CVP Soma Somasegar will be answering questions about today's announcements on TechCrunch article -- in comments -- at 2:30pm Eastern today.


stplsd 9 days ago 0 replies      
So that does that means for linux developers like me, who want to start dabble in .NET ecosystem. Where MONO stand in this?
MrBra 9 days ago 2 replies      
.NET newbie here. Could someone explain me if thanks to this it is currently possible to write GUI multiplatform apps?
silveira 10 days ago 3 replies      
Any guarantees about patents? Can using and extending .Net will cause in the future claims of software patents violations?
HelloNurse 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'll believe in cross-platform .Net when Microsoft releases Sharepoint for Apache.
tdsamardzhiev 10 days ago 0 replies      
I'm glad the new CEO isn't stuck in the 1980s! Props to Microsoft. I hope it isn't too late for them.
aespinoza 10 days ago 0 replies      
These are different articles, they might related to the same news, but very different takes. This one comes from the founder of Mono.
zmmmmm 10 days ago 0 replies      
For a long time I have held off on embracing .NET even though it offers certain advantages over the JVM ecosystem because it was clearly a Windows-first, everything else second ecosystem. If this changes that then I might for the first time in a long time take a second look at it.
delhanty 9 days ago 0 replies      
Does anyone know whether the full-server side .NET stack open sourcing includes C++/CLI?

My experience has been that .NET interop with C++ code bases using C++/CLI was much smoother than with PInvoke. It would be if that were cross-platform too.

Illniyar 9 days ago 0 replies      
What happens to mono now?

Also its great to have an engineer at the helm of microsoft again.

bkeroack 10 days ago 1 reply      
Next up (hopefully): Windows core subsystems (basically everything minus the GUI shell, a la Darwin)
MagicWishMonkey 10 days ago 3 replies      
Does anyone know if this means an OSX/Linux version of Visual Studio might one day be possible?
scotty79 10 days ago 1 reply      
They faked being kind of opensource so many times that I'll believe it when I'll see it.
MangoDiesel 10 days ago 0 replies      
It will be interesting to see how this works out, and how many resources are put behind it. If it does allow developers to choose to work on Linux/Mac for .NET development, it will put a lot of pressure on Windows to create a great product.
KedarMhaswade 10 days ago 0 replies      
In general, open sourcing is helpful decision (it's also a practical business decision in several cases)! And the possibility of running C# on *nix really creates opportunities in a way that contributors grow. It's a win-win.
rocky1138 9 days ago 1 reply      
All this reads like great stuff, and as a developer I applaud the work. But, I haven't read anywhere how they intend to make money off this stuff. How does going open source and cross-platform make them money?
Tiktaalik 10 days ago 1 reply      
Potentially great news for Unity game developers. Unity uses an ancient version of Mono that doesn't support all sorts of sensible things. Maybe now some future version of Unity will have a more cutting edge .NET library.
venomsnake 10 days ago 1 reply      
I welcome it. And still think it is 10 years too late. 2.0 was a blast and provided higher quality of life and speed of contemporary JAVA. If they had made it multiplatform back then the world would have been different.
datashovel 10 days ago 0 replies      
Congratulations Microsoft. Welcome to 2014! :) Although I will say, since it took so long I would still expect the community to be somewhat skeptical / cynical, and / or slow to adopt / buy in.
alediaferia 10 days ago 0 replies      
This is a huge amount of tech resource. Don't know if it will actually bring to something working on the other platforms, but for sure it will help projects like Mono which deserved a little help.
anta40 10 days ago 1 reply      
"the full server-side .NET stack and expanding .NET to run on the Linux and Mac OS platforms"

so that means I can write GUI-based desktop apps for Linux in C#, right?

cool :D

programminggeek 10 days ago 0 replies      
This makes a lot of sense for Microsoft. It doesn't in any way cheapen or lessen the .NET business at all, if anything more things will be built on .NET which will lead to higher sales of things like Azure, which for a lot of non .NET devs has almost 0 mindshare.

I've never heard a Ruby or PHP developer list Azure as a potential deploy target. That is a real problem for Microsoft, even though Azure can do a lot of the same things AWS or Google's cloud does.

Smart move Microsoft.

kelvin0 10 days ago 1 reply      
Read the article, looking for the download link to the open sourced code. Is is bundled with the VS2015 preview (4.4GB iso)? If not, were and how can we access the code?
laveur 9 days ago 0 replies      
Does anyone know if this builds for anything but Windows yet?
Immortalin 10 days ago 0 replies      
Good strategy Microsoft!
jacquesm 10 days ago 1 reply      
hrasyid 10 days ago 0 replies      
Good news :)

For Microsoft though, doesn't this mean (ironically) loss of business, because many people will no longer have a reason to run Windows?

tiedemann 9 days ago 0 replies      
Next step is to change all "\" to "/" and make drive letters optional to enable a better cross-platform experience :)
sciurus 10 days ago 0 replies      
MrBra 10 days ago 0 replies      
It would be a great moment to restart the Iron Ruby project http://ironruby.net/
edpichler 10 days ago 0 replies      
Good to us, and good to Microsoft.

Great news, but this platform should be born as Open Source since the beginning. Anyway, before late than never.

chenster 10 days ago 1 reply      
what does iOS developer get out of it? What's the implications for iOS & Mac developers? It would be nice that I can finally develop iOS and Mac apps using C# and .NET coming from a seasoned .NET developers to iOS developer. But doesn't Mono can just do that already? Besides Apple will never approve apps not written in Swift or Object-C (exclude PhoneGap).
Slackwise 10 days ago 1 reply      
If only this included a revival of IronRuby.

And, moonshot, but giving IronRuby/IronPython as much prominence as PowerShell.

penguindev 10 days ago 0 replies      
So when are they going to stop suing android for having the nerve to try to interoperate with their shit FAT filesystem?
michaelvkpdx 10 days ago 2 replies      
Oregon legalized marijuana on Tuesday. Microsoft open sources .NET today. They say miracles come in 3. What's next?
anonyfox 10 days ago 0 replies      
Great. Now release visual studio "native" for OS X and I'd have a look at it. Having to run an emulated windows just to fiddle around in a fairly heavyweight IDE sucks.

As nice as C#/F# is, the real fun comes from the powerful IDE. And I just don't do windows anymore, except for occasional gaming (and this only until I finally buy the new retina iMac and throw the last PC at home away).

bonsai80 10 days ago 0 replies      
It's like slashdot on april fools day!
SonicSoul 9 days ago 0 replies      
The dream of writing c# on a mac without having to fire up a VM is so so close :))

good work MS!

icc97 9 days ago 1 reply      
This is a good move by Microsoft, but from what I can tell this is only happening because Microsoft no longer has its dominant position.

Now that Microsoft has proper competition from Apple and Google it has to start playing nicer.

It would have been much more benevolent of them if they were still the monopoly power of 20 years ago.

Yay for competition.

enlightenedfool 10 days ago 0 replies      
Does nvidia NSight now work with VS community edition? They say VS community is fully extensible edition.
foolinaround 10 days ago 0 replies      
How does this impact the future growth and adoption of mono as an alternative open-source platform?
bmurphy1976 10 days ago 1 reply      
I just want to add my $.02. It's about fucking time. They should have done this 15 years ago.
dda 7 days ago 0 replies      
Is is the clear yet when Microsoft will deliver .NET for Linux?
elliotec 10 days ago 1 reply      
Finally. Do you think this will significantly hurt the virtual machine industry?
FrankenPC 9 days ago 0 replies      
Does this mean WPF will be made available on Linux and Mac desktops?
jitbit 9 days ago 0 replies      
I'm starting to like MS without Ballmer (no offence Steve)
yohanatan 10 days ago 0 replies      
I see this as a last ditch attempt by Microsoft to stay semi-relevant. Of course this was the great promise of .NET to begin with, but it seems rather late to exercise the option now (some 15 years or so after .NET was created)-- a very desperate move by a dying empire.
pjmlp 10 days ago 0 replies      
Also as part of the announcement clang will get some Visual Studio love!
vastinfest 10 days ago 0 replies      
Someone somewhere is spinning at mach 1 in his grave..
noobermin 10 days ago 0 replies      
I'm curious what this means for mono, then.
SEJeff 10 days ago 2 replies      
I do wonder what this means for the mono project
yarrel 10 days ago 0 replies      
Will this wipe out Mono?

Please say yes.

biafra 10 days ago 0 replies      
The way I see it, I still need a Windows machine to run VS. I will consider their platform when I can develop for it on MacOSX.
skykooler 10 days ago 3 replies      
What does this mean for ReactOS?
derengel 10 days ago 2 replies      
If the support for osx and linux depends on xamarin, the future of .NET on those platforms is very dubious.
jbverschoor 10 days ago 0 replies      
But it was already opensource more than 10 years ago.I remember compiling the ms .NET runtime on FreeBSD.
cyber1 10 days ago 0 replies      

Thankyou Microsoft.

api 10 days ago 0 replies      
Wow. The new Microsoft indeed.

If there are any MS people in this thread: I would pay for Visual Studio for Mac and Linux if I could also use its GUI designers on those platforms. If I could write a GUI front-end in C# and design it with VS and ship it for Windows, Mac, Linux, and possibly others, then I'd definitely pay money for that.

Right now we've got Qt, Java, and possibly HTML5+node-webkit for that, and none of those are anywhere near as good as MS's GUI tooling and IDE.

fit2rule 10 days ago 1 reply      
This demonstrates the importance of documentation in the framework wars. What could Microsoft possibly gain from open-sourcing .NET? They already have a few thousand great developers working on their jeweled prize, designed to lure developers to the brand as resolutely, and immutably, as possible.

.NET going open source is Microsoft admitting that, despite its best efforts, developers still want to know whats going on behind the curtain, whether the mirror really works, and just what kind of smoke is being blown up their ass in the effort to capture their minds and bind them to the brand.

sorpaas 9 days ago 0 replies      
Thank you Microsoft!
bosky101 10 days ago 1 reply      

    '...show me the code.'

maerF0x0 10 days ago 0 replies      
Hacker news karma jackpot! ~200 karma to 1800 in one link.
jbob2000 10 days ago 3 replies      
aka "We're actually facing competition from open source now, so we're going to listen to what people have been saying for years. Love us?"
FiveTimesTheFun 9 days ago 0 replies      
What a day :)
tn13 9 days ago 0 replies      
I am not so much enthu about the open source part but more fascinated by the fact that it is cross platform.
notastartup 10 days ago 0 replies      
I guess it's now easier to create cross platform desktop apps using Visual Studio 2015? Does this mean I can finally make iOS apps on Windows? I'm downloading the 2015 preview to try it out.
everydaypanos 10 days ago 0 replies      
iamjustasking 10 days ago 0 replies      
iamjustasking 10 days ago 1 reply      
iamjustasking 10 days ago 0 replies      
aarongray 10 days ago 0 replies      
A couple decades late to the party, but surprising nonetheless. ^_^
Jacky800 9 days ago 0 replies      
This is a very bad news. .NET and Microsoft must die after apppl.
anthony_barker 10 days ago 0 replies      
MSFT Pls fix ODF before you claim to be open!


iamjustasking 10 days ago 0 replies      
Self advertising by ms... What a surprise!
robodale 10 days ago 0 replies      
Well, fuck me and call me Shirley...this is awesome news.
gjvc 10 days ago 0 replies      

True to form, the links to github are broken.

grandalf 10 days ago 1 reply      
After recently using Microsoft's online tools (OWA, web-based office, etc.) and the IOS version of OWA, I'm shocked at how bad the UX has become.

Recently, there was a bug that makes the IOS OWS client replace its standard icons with emoji. It's been over 90 days and the bug is still not fixed.

There have recently been a lot of bold decisions at Microsoft. If anything can turn around a dying company it's this kind of approach.

fapjacks 10 days ago 1 reply      
Too little, too late. At the end of the day, you're still being forced to pay a company to use their shitty software. Once you lose developers, you lose the race.
tosseraccount 10 days ago 2 replies      
I've reverted to WIN32 because users can run a single file, bare bones EXE without the Permission Police blocking you.

Too often users aren't allowed to install programs.A simple program that can run on anything since XP is a good solution around Microsoft's sandbox strategy and DLL hell and install programs are big problems.

With wine you can even run your simple EXE on Linux and Mac.Native x86 means you run faster than these virtual machine based solutions.

Launching in 2015: A Certificate Authority to Encrypt the Entire Web
2013 points by mariusz79  4 days ago   455 comments top 55
digitalsushi 4 days ago 15 replies      
This certificate industry has been such a racket. It's not even tacit that there are two completely separate issues that certificates and encryption solve. They get conflated and non technical users rightly get confused about which thing is trying to solve a problem they aren't sure why they have.

The certificate authorities are quite in love that the self-signed certificate errors are turning redder, bolder, and bigger. A self signed certificate warning means "Warning! The admin on the site you're connecting to wants this conversation to be private but it hasn't been proven that he has 200 bucks for us to say he's cool".

But so what if he's cool? Yeah I like my banking website to be "cool" but for 200 bucks I can be just as "cool". A few years back the browsers started putting extra bling on the URL bar if the coolness factor was high enough - if a bank pays 10,000 bucks for a really cool verification, they get a giant green pulsating URL badge. And they should, that means someone had to fax over vials of blood with the governor's seal that it's a legitimate institute in that state or province. But my little 200 dollar, not pulsating but still green certificate means "yeah digitalsushi definitely had 200 bucks and a fax machine, or at least was hostmaster@digitalsushi.com for damned sure".

And that is good enough for users. No errors? It's legit.

What's the difference between me coughing up 200 bucks to make that URL bar green, and then bright red with klaxons cause I didn't cough up the 200 bucks to be sure I am the owner of a personal domain? Like I said, a racket. The certificate authorities love causing a panic. But don't tell me users are any safer just 'cause I had 200 bucks. They're not.

The cert is just for warm and fuzzies. The encryption is to keep snoops out. If I made a browser, I would have 200 dollar "hostmaster" verification be some orange, cautious URL bar - "this person has a site that we have verified to the laziest extent possible without getting sued for not even doing anything at all". But then I probably wouldn't be getting any tips in my jar from the CAs at the end of the day.

Karunamon 4 days ago 1 reply      
This is awesome! It looks like what CACert.org set out to be, except this time instead of developing the CA first and then seeking certification (which has been a problem due to the insanely expensive audit process), but the EFF got the vendors on board first and then started doing the nuts and bolts.

This is huge if it takes off. The CA PKI will no longer be a scam anymore!!

I'd trust the EFF/Mozilla over a random for profit "security corporation" like VeriSign any day of the week and twice on Sunday to be good stewards of the infrastructure.

lambada 4 days ago 3 replies      
Looking at the spec [0] I'm concerned about the section on 'Recovery Tokens'.

"A recovery token is a fallback authentication mechanism. In the event that a client loses all other state, including authorized key pairs and key pairs bound to certificates, the client can use the recovery token to prove that it was previously authorized for the identifier in question.

This mechanism is necessary because once an ACME server has issued an Authorization Key for a given identifier, that identifier enters a higher-security state, at least with respect the ACME server. That state exists to protect against attacks such as DNS hijacking and router compromise which tend to inherently defeat all forms of Domain Validation. So once a domain has begun using ACME, new DV-only authorization will not be performed without proof of continuity via possession of an Authorized Private Key or potentially a Subject Private Key for that domain."

Does that mean, if for instance, someone used an ACME server to issue a certificate for that domain in the past, but then the domain registration expired, and someone else legitimately bought the domain later, they would be unable to use that ACME server for issuing an SSL certificate?

[0] https://github.com/letsencrypt/acme-spec/blob/master/draft-b...

Animats 4 days ago 9 replies      
The EFF has a bad track record in this area. The last time they tried something to identify web sites, it was TRUSTe, a nonprofit set up by the EFF and headed by EFF's director. Then TRUSTe was spun off as a for-profit private company, reduced their standards, stopped publishing enforcement actions, and became a scam operation. The Federal Trade Commission just fined them: "TRUSTe Settles FTC Charges it Deceived Consumers Through Its Privacy Seal Program Company Failed to Conduct Annual Recertifications, Facilitated Misrepresentation as Non-Profit" (http://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2014/11/truste...) So an EFF-based scheme for a new trusted nonprofit has to be viewed sceptically.

This new SSL scheme is mostly security theater. There's no particular reason to encrypt traffic to most web pages. Anyone with access to the connection can tell what site you're talking to. If it's public static content, what is SSL protecting? Unless there's a login mechanism and non-public pages, SSL isn't protecting much.

The downside of SSL everywhere is weak SSL everywhere. Cloudflare sells security theater encryption now. All their offerings involve Cloudflare acting as a man-in-the-middle, with everything decrypted at Cloudflare. (Cloudflare's CEO is fighting interception demands in court and in the press, which indicates they get such requests. Cloudflare is honest about what they're doing; the certificates they use say "Cloudflare, Inc.", so they identify themselves as a man-in-the-middle. They're not bad guys.)

If you try to encrypt everything, the high-volume cacheable stuff that doesn't need security but does need a big content delivery network (think Flickr) has to be encrypted. So the content-delivery network needs to impersonate the end site and becomes a point of attack. There are known attacks on CDNs; anybody using multi-domain SSL certs with unrelated domains (36,000 Cloudflare sites alone) is vulnerable if any site on the cert can be broken into. If the site's logins go through the same mechanism, security is weaker than if only the important pages were encrypted.

You're better off having a small secure site like "secure.example.com" for checkout and payment, preferably with an Extended Validation SSL certificate, a unique IP address, and a dedicated server. There's no reason to encrypt your public product catalog pages. Leave them on "example.com" unencrypted.

lowglow 4 days ago 7 replies      
Free CA? This is cool. Why this wasn't done a long time ago is beyond me. (Also please support wildcard certs)

An interesting thing happened at a meet-up at Square last year. Someone from google's security team came out and demonstrated what google does to notify a user that a page has been compromised or is a known malicious attack site.

During the presentation she was chatting about how people don't really pay attention to the certificate problems a site has, and how they were trying to change that through alerts/notifications.

After which someone asked that if google cared so much about security why didn't they just become a CA and sign certs for everyone. She didn't answer the question, so I'm not sure if that means they don't want to, or they are planning to.

What privacy concerns should we have if someone like goog were to sign the certs? What happens if a CA is compromised?

teamhappy 4 days ago 2 replies      
I couldn't be happier about the news, the EFF and Mozilla always had a special place in my heart. However, the fact that we have to wait for our free certificates until the accompanying command line tool is ready for prime time seems unnecessary. Another thing I'm interested in is whether they provide advanced features like wildcard certificates. This is usually the kind of thing CA's charge somewhat significant amounts of money for.
mangeletti 4 days ago 5 replies      
So, one CA to rule then all?

There's a scenario (simplified for illustration, but entirely possible) that's normally not a huge risk because there are many CAs, and they are private, for-profit companies that have an economic incentive to protect you and your certificate's ability to assure end users that a conversation's privacy won't be compromised.

1) browser requests site via SSL

2) MITM says, "let's chat - here's my cert"

3) browser asks, "is this cert legit for this domain?"

4) MITM says, "yes, CA gave us this, because of FISA, to give to you as proof"

5) browser says, "ok, let's chat"

I'm not trying to spread FUD, but if you're NSA and you've been asking CAs for their master keys for years, doesn't a single CA sound great (free and easy == market consolidation), and doesn't EFF seem like the perfect vector for a Trojan horse like this, given its popularity and trust among hacker types gained in recent years?

overshard 4 days ago 5 replies      
The "How It Works" page, https://letsencrypt.org/howitworks/, has me a bit worried. Anytime I see a __magic__ solution that has you running a single command to solve all your problems I immediately become suspicious at how much thought went into the actual issue.

If I'm running a single web app on a single Ubuntu server using Apache then I'm set! If I'm running multiple web apps across multiple servers using a load balancer, nginx on FreeBSD then...

All the same I'm really looking forward to this coming out, it can be nothing but good that all of these companies are backing this new solution and I'm sure it'll expand and handle these issues as long as a good team is behind it.

xxdesmus 4 days ago 1 reply      
Who will handle abuse complaints and revocations of known bad actors? I'd be curious to see who's abuse department will be handling those issues.
tatterdemalion 4 days ago 1 reply      
This seems like a really great step toward an HTTPS web. It will be an immediately deployable solution that can hopefully TLS encryption normal and expected.

However, it doesn't do anything about the very serious problems with the CA system, which is fundamentally unsound because it requires trust and end users do not meaningfully have the authority to revoke that trust. And there's a bigger problem: if EFF's CA becomes the standard CA, there is now another single point of failure for a huge portion of the web. While I personally have a strong faith in the EFF, in the long term I shouldn't have to.

byuu 4 days ago 2 replies      
Here's my current issue with moving to TLS: library support.

I do a lot of custom stuff and want to run my own server. I can set up and run the server in maybe 50-100 lines of code, and it works great.

I know, I should conform and use Apache/nginx/OpenSSL like everyone else. Because they're so much more secure, right? By using professional code like the aforementioned, you won't get exposed to exploits like Heartbleed, Shellshock, etc.

But me, being the stubborn one I am, I want to just code up a site. I can open up a socket, parse a few text lines, and voila. Web server. Now I want to add TLS and what are my options?

OpenSSL, crazy API, issues like Heartbleed.

libtls from LibreSSL, amazing API, not packaged for anything but OpenBSD yet. Little to no real world testing.

Mozilla NSS or GnuTLS, awful APIs, everyone seems to recommend against them.

Obscure software I've never heard of: PolarSSL, MatrixSSL. May be good, but I'm uneasy with it since I don't know anything about them. And I have to hope they play nicely with all my environments (Clang on OS X, Visual C++ on Windows, GCC on Linux and BSD) and package managers.

Write my own. Hahah. Hahahahahahahahah. Yeah. All I have to do is implement AES, Camellia, DES, RC4, RC5, Triple DES, XTEA, Blowfish, MD5, MD2, MD4, SHA-1, SHA-2, RSA, Diffie-Hellman key exchange, Elliptic curve cryptography (ECC), Elliptic curve DiffieHellman (ECDH), Elliptic Curve DSA (ECDSA); and all with absolutely no errors (and this is critical!), and I'm good to go!

I'm not saying encryption should be a breeze, but come on. I want this in <socket.h> and available anywhere. I want to be able to ask for socket(AF_INET, SOCK_STREAMTLS, 0), call setsockcert(certdata, certsize) and be ready to go.

Everything we do in computer science is always about raising the bar in terms of complexity. Writing software requires larger and larger teams, and increasingly there's the attitude that "you can't possibly do that yourself, so don't even try." It's in writing operating systems, writing device drivers, writing web browsers, writing crypto software, etc.

I didn't get into programming to glue other people's code together. I want to learn how things work and write them myself. For once in this world, I'd love it if we could work on reducing complexity instead of adding to it.

vbezhenar 4 days ago 1 reply      
We have DNS system in place which should be enough to establish trust between browser and SSL public key. E.g. site could store self-signed certificate fingerprint in the DNS record and browser should be fine with that. If DNS system is spoofed, user will be in bad place anyway so DNS system must be secured in any case.
mike-cardwell 4 days ago 0 replies      
Glad I don't work for a CA right now.
fsiefken 4 days ago 2 replies      
Will these certificates work with Internet Explorer and Chrome?
justcommenting 4 days ago 1 reply      
from the ACME spec, it looks like proof of ownership is provided via[0]:

>Put a CA-provided challenge at a specific place on the web server


> Put a CA-provided challenge at a DNS location corresponding to the target domain.

Since the server will presumably be plaintext at that point and DNS is UDP, couldn't an attacker like NSA just mitm the proof-of-site-ownership functionality of lets-encrypt to capture ownership at TOFU and then silently re-use it, e.g. via Akamai's infrastructure?

[0] https://github.com/letsencrypt/acme-spec/blob/master/draft-b...

chunkiestbacon 2 days ago 0 replies      
The real problem here is that http is unencrypted by default. It really should be encrypted so that passive listeners can't see the traffic. I know that this is no protection against man in the middle attacks, but at least WiFi sniffers and similiar would be stopped. State Actors would have to actively do something which might be registered.It would be a great improvement, because in the current system, most websites are going to stay unencrypted because it takes money and effort to set up a certificate.The millions of shared hosters won't do it by default.

What we can do:- Change the http protocol to be encrypted?- create an apache module that automatically does this and needs no setup time (generate private keys automatically?)

Of course there shouldn't be any indicator of this encryption in the adress bar of the browser.

Maybe it's too late.

ademarre 4 days ago 1 reply      
This is great news! I'd also like to see a push for technologies like DANE (and necessarily DNSSEC) which address the flawed CA trust model.

While we're at it, let's get a non-profit domain registrar going.

Aardwolf 4 days ago 8 replies      
My website only contains publically available stuff for people to read.

Is there any reason why I would want to use https for this use case?

Or what does "entire web" mean?

niutech 2 days ago 0 replies      
Even today you can have all your HTTP traffic encrypted and compressed, using Mozilla Janus[1] or Data Compression Proxy[2].

[1] https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/janus-proxy-c...

[2] https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/data-compression-p...

tmmm 4 days ago 3 replies      
Won't people need to have LetsEncrypt CA certificate installed on their computers to not get that red SSL incorrect certificate thing? Other than that, this is awesome.
fixermark 4 days ago 0 replies      
"With a launch scheduled for summer 2015, the Lets Encrypt CA will automatically issue and manage free certificates for any website that needs them."


So we're replacing owning people by snooping on their HTTP traffic with owning people by directing them to fake websites digitally signed by "m1crosoft.com"?

... actually, yes, that is kind of an improvement.

sschueller 4 days ago 6 replies      
A little vague on details.

Apache only or also Nginx?

Who is the CA?

No way I am running something like this on a production machine.

I like the idea but I would rather have the client just output the certificate and key in a dir so I can put the files where I need them and I can configure the changes to my webserver.

Also this does not solve the issue of a CA issuing certificates for your domain and doing MITM.

balabaster 4 days ago 2 replies      
How does a CA that's formed by a conglomerate of U.S. companies (under the jurisdiction of the NSA) make us any safer than we are currently? It doesn't. The chain of trust chains up all the way to a U.S. company, which can be coerced into giving up the certificate and compromising the security of the entire chain. I'm on the side of the EFF trying to encrypt the web, but this is not the solution.
mkhpalm 3 days ago 0 replies      
I don't want to be a full-fledged sponsor but I'd love to see a donate function to their site. Once this is released if the CA is trusted by all the major browsers I am more than willing to shift all the money we spend in certs from all these other "authorities" to something constructive like this.
xs 4 days ago 0 replies      
While this is nice and I'm happy to see such a product coming, I still don't see a free TLS solution for my smaller projects. Heroku will still charge me $20/mo for TLS even if I have my certificate. Cloudflare will also want to charge me to inspect TLS. I could drop both and get a Linode but then that costs too and is a pain to setup a server myself.
steven2012 4 days ago 1 reply      
This is an awesome idea. But I thought the whole idea of a certificate authority is so that we can trust that the CA has vetted the person/site that they have given the certificate to. If all they do is issue certs for free, all we get is encryption, but no identity verification.
chmike 3 days ago 1 reply      
Wouldn't this result in putting all the eggs in a single basket ?

Beside, as an European, I'm not so excited that such initiative is under control of American Law. I suspect that American interests will prevail.

jfindley 4 days ago 3 replies      
It would be nice to have support for ECDSA certificates. I've not found a CA yet who'll provide one of these, despite the fact that many clients to already support them. Unfortunately, after a brief look through client.py I can't see any support for this.Is there any good way of filing an RFE or contributing a patch?

ECDSA certs are much cheaper to decrypt, and there's still some places (especially mobile) where TLS is a noticeable overhead - it'd be great to have a CA that provides them.

drderidder 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is a great initiative. On the other hand, I'm beginning to think that security models based on any central authority will always be at risk of getting compromised from within. Techniques that allow trusted security to be established between two parties without the need for a third-party authority to validate them would be nice to see.
mike-cardwell 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'm hoping that one day soon, I'll be able to remove this line from my nginx config:

  ssl_certificate /path/to/file.crt;
My web server will notice that I want SSL, but haven't specified a path to a cert. It will then go off and generate one and get it signed automatically using an API like the one being discussed. It will also handle renewing automatically when the time comes.

cm2187 4 days ago 1 reply      
That's a great idea and I'm a big fan of the EFF. But what browser support will this have? Even if all browser on all platforms add this to their root certificates, how many years will it take before even half of the devices in use support it (remember the number of people still using windows XP!)
silvenga 4 days ago 2 replies      
Whatever happened to http://www.cacert.org/?
spindritf 4 days ago 0 replies      
ACME sounds great. Copying codes from emails is suboptimal at best. Free certificate from command line and free revocation from the same client sound even better.

I just don't know about the automatic configuration tool. Like webpanels for managing a server, it has never worked for me.

darka 4 days ago 1 reply      
How does this compare to StartSSL?
iancarroll 4 days ago 1 reply      
Very interesting, it looks like they're working with IdenTrust on this. I wonder if it supports wildcard certs.

Like StartCom selling Class 2/3, running a CA is very expensive and I wonder how they plan on recouping the fees for this.

nodata 4 days ago 0 replies      
And all because people like YOU donated :)

Thanks :)

btw if you want to donate too, here is the link: https://supporters.eff.org/donate

JoshTheGeek 4 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder how many of the cheap web hosts will impelent this. I think the increased hosting cost on top of the certificate itself also discourages people from using TLS. Wishful thinking, perhaps...
jpetersonmn 4 days ago 0 replies      
I just setup a ssl certificate on my website for the first time and it only took like 10 minutes all together. I don't get any warnings from any browsers and it was only. $10
tacojuan 4 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, I had a goofy idea a few months ago that one day we could have some sort of non-profit/charity that just runs a free, as in beer and freedom, "common good" CA.

Looks neat.

king_magic 4 days ago 2 replies      
It's an interesting idea, I'm just not clear on how it works (even when looking at the "How it works" section) - e.g., how do I integrate this with... say, nginx?
mattste 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm so excited for this. I know both the people working on the team from the University of Michigan, and both are extremely smart people passionate about web encryption.
eyeareque 4 days ago 2 replies      
This is great news, but I am wondering how they will handle revoking certificates. For example: Do we really want malware sites popping up with valid Ssl certificates?
neals 4 days ago 0 replies      
Finally! Man, is getting and managing certificates a pain in the *ss for our small shop that does a great number of small websites.
andrewbarba 4 days ago 0 replies      
This news put a huge grin on my face. Let's hope Heroku drops that ridiculous $20 charge for SSL endpoint as well.
bmahsh 4 days ago 0 replies      
Hi. This such an amazing project to work on. Who started this? Who came up with this idea?
general_failure 4 days ago 0 replies      
I hope they do wildcard certs as well.
dutchbrit 3 days ago 0 replies      
Wondering how they're going to cover the costs of being a CA.
higherpurpose 4 days ago 2 replies      
> Let's Encrypt will be overseen by the Internet Security Research Group (ISRG), a California public benefit corporation. ISRG will work with Mozilla, Cisco Systems Inc., Akamai, EFF, and others to build the much-needed infrastructure for the project and the 2015 launch

What's Cisco's role in this? I'm quite worried about that. It has been reported multiple times that Cisco's routers have NSA backdoors in them, from multiple angles (from TAO intercepting the routers to law enforcement having access to "legal intercept" in them).

So I hope they are not securing their certificates with Cisco's routers...

itistoday2 4 days ago 1 reply      
Kudos to the EFF for making an easy-to-use tool to generate TLS certs!

Kudos also for creating the second CA to issue free certificates (the first being StartSSL).

The next step needs to be to man-in-the-middle (MITM) proof these certs. We still have to address that problem. We'll be talking about how the blockchain can be used to solve this problem tonight at the SF Bitcoin Meetup, if that interests you, you're welcome to come:


A primer can be found here: https://vimeo.com/100433057

peterwwillis 4 days ago 0 replies      
Two things:

1. I really hope this is hosted in a non-FVEY territory.

2. Why can't we set a date (say, 5 years?) when all browsers default to https, or some other encrypted protocol, and force you to type "http://" to access old, unencrypted servers?

zobzu 4 days ago 3 replies      
Whos auditing the ca?
ilaksh 4 days ago 1 reply      
So this means that GoDaddy, Namecheap, Verisign and other sellers/resellers of SSL certificates will need to lower their prices soon, right? Because in a short time many websites won't need to purchase one since they can get it free.

Also, have they built this system with a completely scalable distributed architecture? For it to be practical it needs to be performant.

Also, does the NSA have access to the core of this system?

sbierwagen 4 days ago 0 replies      
Uh oh, this looks like it kills sslmate.com

Sorry agwa.

mangeletti 4 days ago 1 reply      
One possible solution is a BitCoin-like block chain of certificate proof, so that a website's certificate can be verified against the domain without a central authority.
jgrahamc 4 days ago 4 replies      
Can wait until summer 2015 for a free cert? CloudFlare offers Universal SSL: https://www.cloudflare.com/ssl
Letter to Amazon Board from Fired Ad Exec
1256 points by kvargs  9 days ago   558 comments top 83
DevX101 9 days ago 25 replies      
Looks like Kivin was surprised when HR told his manager that he requested to be transferred. His manager then used this information against him, by putting him into a 'performance improvement program' which blocks transfers to any other group for some period of time.

Let me let Kivin and any one else working for a company in on a little secret. HR is not your friend. HR is not there to protect you and your career. HR is there to protect the company AGAINST you.

To the extent that your goals and the company's do not conflict, HR can be helpful. (Need some help with your health insurance or your 401k? HR is awesome!)

But if you're going to HR about an issue that could be damaging to the company, HR will gladly listen to you sharing confidential information while quietly working with the leadership to build a case against you or protect themselves. If you're caught in a situation that could potentially lead to a legal dispute with the company (serious conflict with mgmt as seen here, discrimination, etc), make sure you document EVERYTHING, put as much in writing/email as possible and tread carefully before sharing too much info with HR. They won't be in your corner when shit hits the fan.

tomp 9 days ago 10 replies      
Interesting and pretty damning. Some key excerpts:

> Amazon gave me their nal offer: 4 weeks of severance for 18 months of adhering to the broad non-compete that would not allow me to earn a living in my eld, and further explained that if I didn't accept their nal offer, Amazon would sue me for tens of thousands of dollars in relocation expenses.

Employee complained, was fired, Amazon insists s/he can't work for another 1 1/2 years (I know that's legal in the US, but it's still asshole-ish behaviour).

> What we found was that there were tens of thousands of Kindle e-ink owners, the vast majority who hadnt even seen the promotion details (as customers had to click on the ad to see the details), were qualifying for the $10 Gift card because every day, there are thousands of customers who own a Kindle and already have Discover set as their 1-click default card, that buy a digital good on Amazon in the ordinary course of their activity.

> Meanwhile the promotion continued to run and within a few more days we had gone over the $500,000 budget.

Discover Card pays $500 000 for a campaign that gives $10 to each user who switches default 1-click card to Discover. Amazon gives $10 mostly to users who already have Discover as default. Munira, the manager, lies to Discover about that.

> Munira was forced to admit under oath in deposition [...] that she falsied her educational record on her resume to Amazon and all her previous employers - claiming to have earned a Bachelors and Masters degree in Computer Science from Stanford when in fact she earned no degrees at all.

Munira is a liar/cheater, and still employed at Amazon.

downandout 9 days ago 2 replies      
The tl;dr version is this:

Discover Card, which spends ~$15M/yr advertising with Amazon, wanted to give a $10 gift card to Kindle users that changed their default Amazon 1-Click purchase settings to use a Discover card. Instead, Amazon gave the gift cards to everyone that used Discover for a 1-click digital purchase, the vast majority of whom already had Discover as their default 1-Click purchase card. Discover's $500K budget was predictably drained in rapid fashion, and they barely got any of the actions they had agreed to pay for. The author of this letter was encouraged to hide this fact, pitch it as an overwhelming success of the campaign, and to ask Discover to expand the budget. He was fired after complaining about being uncomfortable with participating in obvious fraud against their 2nd largest advertiser, and is now suing Amazon.

The failures here occurred in every department. First, at a fundamental technical level, I don't understand how this could happen in the first place if it wasn't intentional. This was a simple CPA campaign. When someone changed their default card to Discover, they got a gift card. So it begins with their "ad execution team". Second, the moment the problem was discovered, they should have simply credited the campaign such that they were only charged for the actions they agreed and intended to pay for. Third, any employee actively involved in encouraging fraud, let alone fraud against their 2nd largest advertiser, should be fired. Their engineering, marketing, legal, and HR teams all failed miserably on this one.

I don't envision myself ever having a need to run a CPA campaign through Amazon, but based on this I would stay away from them as much as possible. They had to have multiple internal discussions about whether or not they should commit a crime against a multi-million dollar advertiser. That's certainly enough to scare me away.

throwawayamz 9 days ago 1 reply      
I was a dev on a partner team (but have since moved on....) and there is a bit more backstory. Kivin wasn't an exec at Amazon, he was 1 of 4 product managers at the time. Only Pinsky remains from that group still on the team. Kivin wasn't my favorite person to work with, but he also clearly had different expectations about the job and responsibilities than what he actually did. He often was frustrated and felt dejected.

Munira has retaliated against others, and it's my understanding she has had "high" churn in her org over the years. Hence throwaway/AC.

For those who want to see the advertisement creatives, they are available here:


Also, note that while the copy on the ads talk about "Receive a $10 gift card when you spend $20 on your discovery card", it was widely understood that the actual goal was to get customers to set their discover card to 1-click. This was the working assumption across the team.

You'll note in the description of the campaign, below, the excellent designer confirms this understanding:

    "Their main objective was to get customers to change their default payment method on Amazon.com to Discover."
This aligns with what Kivin contends.

Amazon Payments privately objected since Discover cards cost more to process than other cards, and so they contended that the advertising campaign would be a net loss for the company since the $500k or so in ad spend would not be made up by the $1MM or so in increased merchant costs. Since Amazon Payments and Amazon Ads are in different orgs and have separate budgets, only someone at Jeff's level or at Discover would see the net... and hence the reason Amazon Ads and Discover would do the deal.

The whole amazon ads program is one unmitigated disaster, both in terms of tech and business. It's a shame. So much of the rest of the company is really good, but it's the few bad orgs like this that tarnish what otherwise could be a neutral employment brand.

CSMastermind 9 days ago 11 replies      
My experience with Amazon HR is this: my ex-girlfriend had an internship with Amazon in the summer of 2013. While there her manager friended her on Facebook then sent her some messages suggesting that if she slept with him he would make sure she got a full time offer and explicitly describing his fantasies about her.

She ended sleeping with him and true to his word he got her the full time position. About a month later I found out about the whole thing and broke up with her.

I submitted the transcripts of their conversations to HR. They conducted an investigation and he admitted to everything. The guy got to keep his job. They transferred him to another group and wanted her to sign a statement saying that nothing improper happened. They strongly suggested that her full time offer might be rescinded is she didn't sign the statement.

She signed and has been working there the past 6 months.

grellas 9 days ago 4 replies      
So you are an Amazon board member and you receive this letter.

The letter is said to be directed to you in confidence. It is not. It is openly published on scribd for all the world to see.

The letter is said to be written by an ex-executive of the company. It is not. Or, if it is, it is written in a style that has "lawyer-written" stamped all over it.

The person making the claims is saying he is doing this to uphold company values but is far from disinterested. If he was fired for whistleblowing, that is wrongful and he gets large damages. Otherwise, not. So, maybe it is sincere and maybe not. But who knows?

The person also waited two years to write this letter. Does this undercut its premise that its goal is to correct wrongdoing? Or was it now put out opportunistically to further some litigation goal instead? Again, who knows?

Ditto for a complaint being made just now to the Washington agency responsible for fraud. Why now and not earlier if the problems were serious and pressing?

Then too, the alleged victim (Discover Card) is hardly a naive consumer, knows how to defend itself, and had known enough about this to ask questions going as far back as 2012. Is there, then, less than meets the eye concerning the claims of its having been overtly cheated?

Everything stated in this letter may be true and damning as it appears. I don't know what happened, nor do I know the people involved. But I do know when something is framed insincerely and this letter is framed insincerely. It may all be true but its style and timing do not ring true.

This has to have another side to it, in my view, and it is wrong to take it as self-evidently true without hearing that other side. What we have now is only a one-sided story that is heavily slanted in its presentation.

Certainly if I were a board member to whom this was purportedly directed, I would be highly skeptical. I would assume instead that I was not even the intended audience for the letter. And I would probably be right.

mgraczyk 9 days ago 7 replies      
Off topic: Why does Scribd have a perfectly functional mobile site that allows me to read half the PDF before rudely graying out my screen and insisting that I download their app to finish? I was reading with my phone rotated to landscape so at first I couldn't even see the pop up, the PDF just went gray. I call that borderline psychological abuse. At the very least I'm going to subconsciously associate the Scribd brand with that horrible experience.
moe 9 days ago 1 reply      
What a fascinating insight into the guts of a MegaCorp. Their scale (Discover alone paying $13MM/yr for ads), politics and inner workings. Very well written, too.

The most interesting aspect to me, apart from the main plot, was how far detached from reality everyone is operating.

Someone discovers a fatal flaw (5 second latency) in a multi-million dollar ad campaign.

You'd think this is a no-brainer; file a bug with the engineering team and have this fixed, right?

Instead, at Amazon, it eventually escalates into someone desperately "asking for the contact information for the person that manages latency for amazon.com". That alone is the stuff that comedy TV shows are made of.

Stories like these make me feel real pity for the little engineers all the way down the food chain. The ones who had to implement and test this adserver. The ones who likely weren't happy at all with 5 second latencies either.

I wonder if their voices were squelched by management in the same way, or if there's just an established culture of resignation and nobody cares anymore.

oskarth 9 days ago 3 replies      
What I didnt know at the time was the the HR Business manager was a good personal friend of Munira, and in what seems to be a betrayal of trust, informed my manager that I was trying to get a transfer. At my next 1:1 meeting Munira explained You think youre going to get a transfer out of my group? Im putting you into a Performance Improvement Plan which prevents transfers for 12 months.

This reads like it came from a dystopian MegaCorp sci-fi story. Is this for real?

xiaoma 9 days ago 3 replies      
>"Amazon gave me their final offer: 4 weeks of severance for 18 months of adhering to the broad non-compete that would not allow me to earn a living in my eld, and further explained that if I didnt accept their final offer, Amazon would sue me for tens of thousands of dollars in relocation expenses."

It's because of stories like this that I'd never work at Amazon. They have a history of suing their own employees soon after parting ways.

monochr 9 days ago 4 replies      
> Munira had falsified her educational record on her resume to Amazon and all her former employers - claiming to have both a Bachelors and Masters in Computer Science from Stanford when in fact she had earned no degrees at all.There is more detail on this issue and Muniras pattern of ethical lapses and misleading and deceptive practices later in this letter.

Why is this person still employed, let alone have any responsibility?

pja 9 days ago 2 replies      
"At my next 1:1 meeting Munira explained You think youre going to get a transfer out of my group? Im putting you into a Performance Improvement Plan which prevents transfers for 12 months."

I remember michaelochurch making almost exactly this point about PIPs on HN in the past - that it was far too easy for them to be used a tool for employee abuse & finding yourself under a PIP was a strong signal that should move on as soon as possible, regardless of the professed reasoning behind the PIP.

MrBuddyCasino 9 days ago 6 replies      
In Germany, you would be laughed out of court for trying to enforce an 18-month noncompete clause, at least if its too broad - that would be equal to an occupational ban. Is this really standard practice in the US?
r0h1n 9 days ago 1 reply      
The entire letter reads like an allegory about the politics, insecurities, coverups, overinflated egos and outright lies that are commonplace in large companies. Only reinforces my desire to stay clear of big co. "careers".
alexggordon 9 days ago 0 replies      
> Amazon gave me their nal offer: 4 weeks of severance for 18 months of adhering to the broad non-compete that would not allow me to earn a living in my eld, and further explained that if I didn't accept their nal offer, Amazon would sue me for tens of thousands of dollars in relocation expenses.

The most interesting part to me is the lack of foresight by Amazon. Obviously this is a pretty big coverup, but with a pending lawsuit, and obvious wrongdoing to Amazon's 2nd biggest ad revenue generator, I'm particularly surprised more work wasn't put into solving/covering up this issue as soon as it started blooming. I know Bezos is crazy in his desire to make Amazon the biggest giant on the block, but it doesn't take a genius (which Bezos probably is) to realize a potentially huge problem when it happens.

However, the fact that this wasn't dealt with in a better way, AND Bezos ignored emails from Kivin [0], leads me to two possible conclusions.

A. Bezos didn't know the full situation, and Blackburn deceived him.

B. Bezos knew the full situation, but chose to side with Blackburn (I suspect Munira didn't even cross his mind) because he values Blackburn more than morality.

Either of these situations show that there was a decision made by Blackburn that this could be covered up cheaper than it could be remedied--a decision I find to be Occam's Razor here. The reason I think it was Blackburn, is I think Bezos is smart enough to just remove Kivin's non-compete just to make it go away without even costing Bezos any of his precious little revenue.

I tend to evaluate companies based on how they treat their employees and if Munira and Blackburn are the typical managers and VPs at Amazon, then I think really find myself not needing Amazon's services anymore. Let's hope this hasn't happened to anyone else.

[0] "Ive sent two letters to Jeff Bezos (as these are serious issues that I believe he would care about as the founder of the company and keeper of the culture)" (pg 2).

jorgecastillo 9 days ago 3 replies      
I had more esteem for Amazon, after this I definitely view Amazon in a different light. I am glad the only thing I buy from Amazon is books. In a few years when I have more time & money, I'll keep this in mind and maybe go directly to the publishers. I don't forget this sort of thing. Some time ago there was an article titled 'Motorola cell phones are regularly phoning home'. Not that I was too fond of the Motorola brand before, but since then if I know a someone is buying a smartphone, I advice then not to buy Motorola.


adam-a 9 days ago 5 replies      
> Munira is a liar/cheater,

> Why is this person still employed, let alone have any responsibility?

It should be remembered that this is an accusation, and potentially fabricated or editorialised. It's probably ruined this woman's career by now and doesn't justify a witchunt or personal abuse.

The author, having been fired, has a very good reason to seek revenge, and we shouldn't take his word as gospel.

toli 8 days ago 1 reply      
I went to Stanford with Munira, she was a few years older but we overlapped, and she was a CS Section Leader (CS198) which means she taught my intro CS class when I took it, and helped me (and others) when I was stuck writing my first programs.

I subsequently became friends with her, and I can personally vouch that she took all the requisite CS classes, and she was pulling all-nighters in the same lab as me, writing code for her classes. I remember Munira being wicked smart - and an honest conscientious person.

Now, she may not have officially graduated - but keep in mind that she was finishing Stanford in the heady dot-com days, and she was likely a few units short of getting a full degree when Epiphany (a high-flying startup at the time) lured her in, and she never went back to finishing it. Similar story happened to me - i was 3 or 4 units short of required 45 units to get my CS Masters when i was graduating (I did the same co-term program where you get a BS and MS at the same time); and Stanford wanted me to pay the remaining $4k to get my degree. I paid, but quite possible that Munira was in the same boat, went to work for Epiphany and never bothered to finish her remaining units.

I don't work for Amazon, and I don't know the full details of the story - but it sounds a lot like ramblings of a disgruntled employee. I would definitely like to hear/see the Amazon side of the story before I draw any conclusions.

Keep in mind - I'm heavily biased, I was friends with Munira at Stanford and afterwards before she moved to Seattle, but i'm very skeptical to be taking all of the allegations at face value.

Official degree or not, I'd hire her to work at my startup in a heartbeat without any worries.

side note: Munira is not exUSSR from Tajikistan - good guess, but she just worked there for one summer. Nor Bangladeshi either. Either way, it's not in any way material to this conversation. I, on the other hand, am from former USSR, in case that makes any difference.

kvargs 9 days ago 1 reply      
Hi All - Kivin here - thanks for the words of support - it really helps. Yes I thought HR was at a minimum neutral. In Amazon, your HR contact is called your "HR Business Partner" which in retrospect is completely bogus. They are there to do what the exec management chain wants them to do.
akclr 9 days ago 2 replies      
Here's a link that says that he has won the litigation against Amazonhttp://www.advocateslg.com/blog/2013/07/litigation_success_a...
aetherspawn 9 days ago 1 reply      
Remember kids.

Anyone who will steal for your company,will steal from your company.

morky 9 days ago 1 reply      
I find it odd that so many in the tech industry idolise Amazon so much, they are just like many other aggressive retailers such as Walmart or Tesco.

Interestingly Kivin sounds like the type of person you ideally want working and managing your product but most corporations are actually staffed by people like Munira and Kotas.

sidcool 9 days ago 0 replies      
Saddest statement in the entire write up:

>My manager did not communicate to her management chain the positive impact I was having on the product - in fact, she once told me Youre here to make me look good - youre doing an awesome job

mrtree 9 days ago 0 replies      
This is a GIANT, epic scale burn to Munira Rahemtulla.
ericd 9 days ago 1 reply      
Side note, but Scribd is garbage. Got to page 3 or 4 before it demands that I install their mobile app to keep reading. I don't know why people keep posting on there.
gnu8 9 days ago 1 reply      
Haha, why would anyone ever agree to an unfunded non-compete clause? If you're required not to work for 18 months, you need to be paid for 18 months.

Any of you who accept an unfunded non-compete clause are suckers and any of you who try to trick your employees into agreeing to them are ass pirates.

paulhauggis 9 days ago 0 replies      
This sort of behavior at Amazon does not surprise me. If you are a third-party seller, they will eventually use your own sales data to go around you, buy whatever you are selling at bulk, and put you out of business.

This past September, they had major server issues, which cost sellers lots of money in sales. They refuse to admit it.

As a seller, you also don't own your customers (you are given the privilege of selling to amazons customers). Which means that at any point in time, Amazon could take it all away and all of the hard work you put into pleasing the people buying your products goes to waste. They have been recently making it more and more difficult for the average user to even continue their business. So many people that have been selling for years are prevented from continuing without paperwork from distributors (which as I've seen in the past, is just a trick to find out where they can compete with you)

With thaw business practices, they should have been out of business years ago.

logicchains 9 days ago 1 reply      
So they basically tricked Discover out of something like $400,000? I wonder what Discover thinks of this...
ChuckMcM 9 days ago 0 replies      
Good luck with the lawsuit Kivin. Sadly I didn't see anything in the letter that I would not have expected to be true at any large company. Given what you know of the company I'm pretty sure you can ignore the non-compete for now, if they want to enforce it they have to sue you, and if they sue you they have to have all of this come out in court. Which they won't, so you're fine there.

Not a great resolution I know.

akclr 9 days ago 1 reply      
Here is link that says he has won the litigation against amazon.http://www.advocateslg.com/blog/2013/07/litigation_success_a...
pseingatl 8 days ago 0 replies      
What's this case about? An employee who had a dispute with his supervisor. As in most cases, the supervisor won. The employee's future with the company is destroyed. The supervisor is protected by the company. The employee sues.

There may or may not be long-term collateral damage. The alleged victim, Discovery, isn't talking and may already have settled with Amazon outside the context of litigation. The supervisor's fraudulent resum is now a matter of public record. She will be kept on at least until this lawsuit is over because Amazon needs her as a witness. After the case is resolved, she will resign.

Could this matter have been resolved any other way? Probably not. It's sad to see that legacy companies are just as bureaucratic as legacy ones. Jeff Blackburn is culpable for not censuring Munira R. after Kivin V. brought this matter to his attention--after all, he was the one who insisted on a fix. Kivin should have tried to convince Munira R. to go with him to Jeff Blackburn. If she said no, then he would have to weigh her probable reaction. Clearly, Kivin miscalculated. He didn't realize how powerful Munira R. is at Amazon and what allies she had--and I say had because her time at Amazon is numbered. A person in Munira's position, who has to keep a secret, must weigh the possibility that secret will get out. Her miscalculation was thinking that Kivin would get fired and go away and her secret would remain hidden.

Matters like this are clearly not serious enough for board intervention. It's for that reason that you have management in the first place. The board does not manage day to day affairs of the business and relies on management to do so.

For Amazon, this squabble is a distraction that harms the company. What happens when companies get sued is that they circle the wagons. Whatever you might say about throwing attorneys at a problem, those attorneys know that because of Munira, their case is vulnerable. Munira's lies will be Exhibit #1 during her cross-examination. Indeed, her own attorneys will have to bring out her c.v. falsification--and not through the weasel-worded, "she had yet to complete the degree" nonsense spouted by Jeff Blackburn during his deposition. He was poorly coached by Amazon's attorneys. He should have simply admitted that she lied. Otherwise the follow-up--when you drag in twelve strangers off the street and make them sit together and call them a jury--will be, why can't you admit the obvious? Are you trying to hide something? What might that be? Amazon was probably blindsided by Munira's lies: as a top executive under a clear policy to tell the truth and an HR department that could easily have followed up, Amazon's general counsel and attorneys could not have expected that she would have lied. If you think you can't lose a case because a single witness lied about an unrelated matter, try rewinding the OJ tapes and listen to the cross of Mark Fuhrman.

So what now? Amazon's smart move is to ignore the sit-in because all an arrest or eviction will do is bring more unwanted attention to the case. They may ask the judge in the case for an injunction preventing the sit-in because it is arguably an unethical settlement move not provided for by the Rules of Civil Procedure, and Kivin agreed to follow those rules by filing suit.

Amazon has already backed down from the non-compete clause. I'm sure they would love to settle the case. But guys who camp out on your doorstep are usually difficult to settle with. Maybe Kivin sees millions of dollars--an executive paid $250k/yr. with thirty years of work, plus injury to reputation, plus interest would be entitled to a substantial sum. My guess is that Kivin doesn't want to settle. He feels hurt, wants to prove he's right, wants his day in court.

My advice to both sides: settle. Kivin: take less than what you think they owe you, get them to agree to give you a glowing reference (though in the publicity-heavy context of this case I don't know valuable this will be immediately) and agree not to disparage Amazon. Amazon: despite the fact that your lawyers have told you this is a winnable case, it will only get worse. You have nothing to gain.

To both of you: don't you guys watch Star Trek? Don't you remember the lesson of the Kobayashi Maru? Litigation is like that test that only Captain Kirk ever beat: the only way to win is not to play the game. If you win, you still lose heavily.

empressplay 9 days ago 0 replies      
All the ethics principles in the world won't help you if you rock the boat in a company entrenched in nepotism and communal ass-covering. Everyone's happy to do the right thing if their ass (or their buddy's) isn't on the line.
kvargs 9 days ago 3 replies      
jan_g 9 days ago 2 replies      
Interesting read. I've had my share of office politics in my career so far and it still baffles me how often it happens that people who add little or no value to the company become so entrenched and powerful. It's like the upper management and/or owners are blind to what happens within the company, despite the clues and complaints from the staff.

Meanwhile, best people leave the company.

lhnz 9 days ago 0 replies      
This reflects very poorly on Amazon.

They should promote those that speak out about fraud that they witness and not fire them.

If people like Munira Rahemtulla and Paul Kotas are still employed, it suggests to me that advertisers should be very wary about the nature of their advertising relationships with Amazon and whether they're getting good value for their money.

swombat 9 days ago 0 replies      
Disclaimer: I haven't read through the entire thing (just the first 3 pages or so), but I have been on the receiving end of entirely spurious threats of lawsuit.

All of this needs to be read with some measure of skepticism. However, the complaint provides a fair amount of evidence, not just claims of wrongdoing... that gives it a fair amount of credence in my eyes.

If so, that is very damning of the top-down, strongly hierarchical culture that Amazon is well-known for - but I would argue it is inevitable for any company that has a very hierarchical top-down culture...

You can't make up for the downsides of top-down management with pretty words and values and employee handbooks. Hierarchical, power-based management will always lead to serious ethical lapses like this.

kvargs 9 days ago 2 replies      
Follow @kvargs on twitter for more detail
matwood 9 days ago 1 reply      
More proof that the only relationship you want with Amazon is as a customer. You do not want to be an employee, a vender, or any sort of partner.
jnsaff2 9 days ago 0 replies      
The further I read the more it reminds me The Gervais Principle. http://www.ribbonfarm.com/the-gervais-principle/
awjr 9 days ago 0 replies      
Have to say some of the behaviour does appear to come across as psychotic within the upper echelons of Amazon. I'm guessing to get high up in Amazon you have to play quite a vicious game?
igonvalue 6 days ago 0 replies      
Did anyone else find the document difficult to read because of the tortuous writing style?

> Though I was assured the internal investigation at Amazon was independent and thorough, we later found the investigation around the matters I raised while employed at Amazon was directed by the same internal Amazon lawyer that was helping my manager terminate my employment based on the same issues I raised in the internal complaint - so Amazons counsel was essentially directing the investigation around serious issues that she had been responsible for handling herself - far from independent and thorough and a surprising lack of internal controls for a public company like Amazon.

glifchits 9 days ago 0 replies      
Its very disappointing to see that this behaviour continues to exist in organizations, even with a leader like Bezos (I'll optimistically assume he practices the ethical standards he preaches). It seems like a fundamental tension in business. How can mistakes ever be admitted when shareholders react aggressively on any indication of poor management performance? Meanwhile today, in light of this news, AMZN stock is up. How disheartening.
atmosx 9 days ago 0 replies      
This is a prominent example of how things can go wrong in big companies. That's exactly what happens in the (so globally hated) Greek public sector. The fact that it happens at companies like Amazon (probably MS, FB, GOOG, APPL, SONY, etc. ) says a lot about politics in big corps/orgs.

Unfortunately skills are not all that relevant after all in our modern liberal society.

throwawfromlv 9 days ago 0 replies      
The document does not have the image of the ad itself or how it was advertised to customers. What was stopping customers with discover card to temporarily remove and re-add it? Promotions like this are picked up by coupon blogs, with detailed steps to get the deals. This would explain the ad budget getting over before the forecast and also, gift cards being awarded to users, who had not even seen the ad.

The document does acknowledge that the team responsible for forecast "ad execution team", admitting the fuck up and using amazon cash to fund the the remainder of the promotion. Meanwhile implementing the workflow to require ad click requirement.

Given the context that this was a secretive gen 1 kindle tablet project, people should have been working hard to pull it off by deadline. And you have this whistleblower shooting emails to SVP looking for "who is responsible for latency on amazon.com". I am an engineer at an equally big company in bay area, I hate to work with PMs like OP.

drderidder 9 days ago 1 reply      
This isn't the first story of bad behavior from Amazon. Another story [https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6104571] from a contract worker appeared over a year and a half ago. I haven't used them since. But I'm wondering what are some good alternatives for book purchases?
jessaustin 9 days ago 0 replies      
Regarding the Bezos quotes, it is striking that instead of saying "we will do X and we will not do Y", he opted for the considerably more weaselly "X is cool and Y is not cool". To those whose careers depend on doing Y, he might as well not have mentioned it, which was probably his intent.
wrd 9 days ago 0 replies      
As scandalous as this letter is, the politics, intrigue, and retaliation follow to a T the description of corporate mangers' logic and ethics as written in Moral Mazes by Robert Jackall. I highly recommend it for a better understanding of why people act the way they do in a corporate context.
bphogan 9 days ago 0 replies      
It wouldn't be called "Human Resources" if that department were on the side of the worker. They wouldn't be calling the workers "resources."

My wife's studying to go into this field and that's basically what she's taught - you're in HR for the company.

jmomo 9 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder if Michael Woodford (Olympus scandal) would be interested in having this brought to his attention.
chj 9 days ago 3 replies      
Since no one else asked -- isn't this confidential?
swamp40 9 days ago 1 reply      
What's the legality of Kivin releasing internal emails like this to the general public?

I would never do something like that.

Even if I was completely and horribly screwed over, I would only share information like this with my attorney.

dang 9 days ago 0 replies      
We changed the title from "Letter to Amazon Board from Ad Exec Fired for Refusing to Lie to Customer" to the largest subset of it that any of us is in a position to confirm is accurate.
tdsamardzhiev 9 days ago 0 replies      
Well that's it, I'm done with Amazon. I hope everything goes well for Kivin. As for Munira, I am ashamed of myself, but sometimes I really want certain peaple to step on a landmine.
moogleii 9 days ago 1 reply      
There are some odd policies here. There's the crazy non-compete clause (if those are allowed, the former company should pay for however long the clause lasts). Then there's the "Performance Improvement Plan." I don't really understand the purpose of preventing transfers. If an employee truly needs improvement, how does preventing transfers have anything to do with that?

Based off other former employee anecdotes, Amazon is starting to sound like the Walmart of the internet.

jotjotzzz 9 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, this is horrible. Munira needs to be fired. And to be honest, I lost a lot of respect for Amazon and for Jeff Bezos over this. So much so that I sold all my Amazon stocks just now.
andyjohnson0 9 days ago 0 replies      
According to this [1] article (dated today) in Business Insider Australia, Kivin Varghese has been camping outside Amazon's HQ until it addresses his complaint.

It also has a more readable explanation of who/what/when than the linked pdf.

[1] http://www.businessinsider.com.au/amazon-employee-lawsuit-ki...

abalone 9 days ago 1 reply      
Poor guy.

First, writing a letter to the board asking for their help while simultaneously threatening that you've filed it with the attorney general's office is disingenuous. While that will call attention to yourself it is unlikely to produce a positive outcome. Which seems to be a pattern at the heart of his difficulties.

Second, the initial incident of 5 second latency with displaying an ad was addressed prior to launch. He was reprimanded for sounding an alarm 3 levels up without first researching a solution.

Third, and most importantly, his central ethics claim re: Discover is questionable. The promotion was to give $10 to people who used Discover. Much of his claim rests on his editorializing of the aims of the promo, specifically that it would be useless and mere "subsidy" unless targeted specifically at 1-click setting conversions. But that's debatable. He's the only one saying that. He admits the promotion was not set up that way, and Amazon reports that Discover was ok with it proceeding as long as it was narrowed to Fire users and capped at the original budget.

It doesn't sound like Amazon's finest hour but when you strip out the one-sided editorializing these break more towards bugs and campaign issues that occasionally arise and get addressed in the course of development / advertising, and he breaks a little bit toward a messiah complex.

mistermumble 9 days ago 0 replies      
so Kivin is taking the fight to the streets, or at least to the front door of Amazon HQ, with a daily protest vigil.


rebootthesystem 9 days ago 0 replies      
It sure sounds like the wrong person was fired.

I have experience with the Amazon advertising platform. Not on the Kindle side but what I'll call "Amazon main". And I can tell you it ain't pretty at all.

I don't know if I should characterize this as fraud. Not sure what the legal designation might be.

Here's a hypothetical example to try to explain the problem:

Imagine you are selling product on Amazon. Products you manufacture. And, in order to drive sales you purchase ads on the Amazon ads platform. You only pay when someone clicks. Ads accomplish two missions: sales and ranking improvement. Ranking on Amazon is important. The closer your product is to the top of page one the more sales you'll generate. Ads can help you accomplish this.

So far so good.

Now imagine someone is teaching a course on how to scam Amazon buyers and make money in the process. The course teaches you to find successful listings on Amazon and, effectively, add your name to the product page as an additional seller. Amazon encourages this. It's ridiculously easy. Once you have a seller account it takes all of one minute to pick a product and list against it.

But, wait, you don't actually make that product. You don't even have any in stock. How do you do this? Simple, when a customer makes a purchase you send them some crap product that is similar enough. If you do your homework your fake product will not be returned and you just made some money.

Here's the problem. The legitimate product manufacturer spent thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of dollars advertising the product on Amazon to get it well ranked and generate enough sales that the product has a good reputation (reviews, etc.). Amazon, in turn, allows ANYONE to list against ANY product and, effectively steal the time, money and effort expended by the rightful product producer in making that product a success in the Amazon ecosystem.

In other words, if you just spent $100K advertising your product on Amazon they allow Joe Blow to come in and take away 25% to 50% (or whatever) of the sales you generate with that ad spend. And there's NOTHING you can do about it.

Imagine Amazon spending millions of dollars to advertise their Kindle tablet during the Superbowl or the Olympics. Now imagine the TV network allowing Apple and Microsoft to display a link to their tablets FOR FREE within the Amazon Kindle ad. Crazy, right? Amazon wouldn't put up with that for a microsecond. They'd say: If Apple and Microsoft want to sell their tablets they need to pay for their own advertising on their own time slot. And they would be correct in pushing for this. The networks would, effectively, allow Amazon's competitors to steal Amazon's advertising budget for their own financial gains. Wrong. Well, this is EXACTLY what Amazon is doing today to every single one of their advertisers.

If you advertise on Amazon your ad budget is very likely to generate sales for competitors. That is wrong beyond description and Amazon seems to have zero interest in fixing the problem. The solution is very simple: A listing that has an active spend budget needs to be locked out from any other sellers. It becomes a single seller listing for as long as the seller is spending even a single dollar a day in Amazon ads. Problem solved.

After reading most of the posted letter I've come to realize that the problems within Amazon are much greater than I thought. You see two faces of this corporation when you work with them as a vendor. The public face looks clean, organized and inviting. The "back office" side is in constant chaos, is disorganized, has ethical problems, is clueless, does NOT have the seller's/advertisers best interests at heart and, it seems, is perfectly comfortable with conducting business in unethical and fraudulent ways, perhaps unintentionally due to dysfunction, yet the consequences to those engaging with that side of the organization are the same.

Where is Jeff Bezos in all of this? It would seem he needs to become very visible and push forward a major reform in a very public way, at least public to their advertisers. Almost like what Domino's Pizza did:


kohanz 9 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, what a terrible experience. The evidence does seem to show that this guy was just trying to do the right job and do it ethically and he was basically tarred and feathered for doing so by his superiors, who are just a rung or two below Bezos.

I wonder how AMZN employees feel, reading this.

usaphp 9 days ago 1 reply      
If Munira has never attended Stanford, then why is her alumni card exist on Stanford website? : http://cgi.stanford.edu/group/mfp/cgi-bin/mfpalumni/may_view...
nl 9 days ago 1 reply      
major launch partners paid $1.2MM each to be part of the launch

Woah! I had no idea Amazon was making that much from advertising on the Kindles at launch (although I guess it's a little unclear what they are paying for there).

I wonder how many launch partners they had?

p4wnc6 8 days ago 0 replies      
Oh, oh, I know this one! I read about this in Moral Mazes: < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moral_Mazes >!
sidcool 8 days ago 0 replies      
I feel like coining a new phrase 'Pulling of a Munira', defined as 'Successfully but falsely convincing people of having a degree from a coveted university over a long period of time'
rburhum 9 days ago 1 reply      
Sorty for the side note, but is anybody else having trouble reading this opened in a browser in an iPad? I don't understand why something as simple as scrolling through a doc has to be impossible in 2014
graycat 9 days ago 0 replies      
A classic case of goal subordination, astandard topic in courses in organizationalbehavior and/or public administration.

So, the definition of goal subordination isan employee acting in a way that helps thembut hurts the company. That is, the goal ofhelping the company is subordinated to, that is,made less important than, the goal of helping the person engaging in goal subordination.

In the case of the OP, it was not nearly justthe fired employee who was hurt but 2-3 levelsof management above that employee, the wholecompany, Bezos, and the stockholders.

Gee, some parts of the roll out were notready on time! Like this is the first timein projects? Gee, even for the pyramids,the project leaders needed enough in workers,food, stone cutting tools, wood, rope, etc. --lack of any one of these inputs could stopthe whole leaders whole project. That'spart of what we now call materials requirementsplanning, right, MRP. And for getting all the parts ready on time, there is methodologyfor that, in part, an application of linearprogramming with critical paths, etc. USaerospace got good at such things. So, thatlittle project at Amazon fumbled the ball onhaving the ad parts ready? They hired thepeople straight out of what, kindergarten?

And, after the project went forward, Amazonsent in a staff group, in an independent part of the organization, to analyze what wentright/wrong? In Tunisia, Ike did that afterKasserine and the other battles in the Tunisian campaign, and soon Rommel was permanently backin Berlin, and the Allies had captured about 300,000 Axis soldiers and driventhe Axis out of North Africa, from Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, toEgypt and the Suez Canal.

Apparently in the US Army, such analysis of whathappened is called an after-action review,e.g., as at


not nearly new stuff, and Amazonshould be able to do well with such a process.

Managing, planning, executing, reviewingprojects is not nearly new stuff; Amazonjust blew it. Not so good for Bezos.

The most serious sources of goal subordinationare middle management: The worker beesdon't have enough power seriously to hurtthe company, and the work of the C-levelguys is too visible to the CEO and the BoD.

It's totally dumb for the company to haveHR blindly back middle management possiblyengaged in goal subordination, playing politics to "look good" while, really,making a mess, etc. E.g., she was messingup and reported to a guy who knew herresume was wrong -- can anyone guess whatmight have been going on here? I mean,anyone who at least went through junior high?Bezos made it through junior high, right?

Also there needs to be a company culture ofhonesty, hard work, good ideas, etc. Forsuch a culture, need to be sure that a middle manager won't dump on a subordinatewho does really good work.

A lot is known about how to manage, e.g.,to reduce goal subordination.

For the employee who got fired, when I getaround to needing a guy to work with major advertisers, I'll consider him in amillisecond. "Black list"? Sure, finewith me; the other companies can black listhim while I hire him!

But he might sue my company? If my company messed up asbadly as it appears Amazon did, then heshould sue us; if he didn't, that would beagainst him. I'd hope that we wouldn'tmess up like that.

Yes, that ad guy might report some reallygreat successes to me. Okay, I mean, terrific, if they arereal. Of course, I'd also get independentconfirmation, say, directly from appropriatepeople at the company paying for the ads.If he did really well, then, sure, presto,bingo, bonus time, say, early in December.

I know; I know; this idea of such a bonusdoesn't go along with the Ben Horowitzlecture, just yesterday or some such, in Sam's course, right? Sorry, Ben. The US militarycan give battlefield promotions, decorations,etc., so I'll be willing to hand out aDecember bonus.

If the ad guy didn't do so well, then have a projectto understand why and do better the next time.If he needs to go to a week long seminar"How to Be a Good Ad Exec 101", and it's actuallya useful seminar, then fine. If he can't reallydo the job, then help him learn to do his job.

Why might he not be able to do his job? One reason:He worked really hard on some of his last jobswhile the world changed. So, e.g., he needsto get caught up on, say, the business of mobile ads. Okay;let him get caught up.

Notice I said he's an "ad guy" and notan "Ad Exec". I just want him to do hisjob and not hang on titles that can causeproblems (here Ben was roughly correct).

And the manager? Largely to heck withthat nonsense: In a good university, usually adepartment chair doesn't get to rule overthe professors as if they were subordinateworker bees. Instead, the chair does somecoordination, etc., and the job is notalways coveted and not necessarily apromotion!

Basic fact: Each instance of good workis first done between just one pairof ears. Sorry 'bout that. Fora team, all the good work is of justthis kind. What we really want now isjust such good work. For the routinecoordination, etc. can leave that tomanagers, but that is inferior work.E.g., the coordination needed to getall the pieces done on time for thebig roll out is work that was doneat least back to the pyramids and, thus,has to be regarded as routine.

Some of this is controversial? Yup.YMMV. Sorry 'bout that.

hrasyid 9 days ago 0 replies      
Forgive this stupid question, but how do we know the letter as seen on this scribd link is authentic, let alone verify all the screenshots, emails and transcripts in that letter?
tw04 9 days ago 0 replies      
Well... Discover is fully aware now.
devanti 9 days ago 0 replies      
Anyone know how Discover responded to this? Are they still working with Amazon?
g8gggu89 8 days ago 0 replies      
I like how he's unhappy with 2 weeks' severance pay when the rest of us little people get nothing when fired or leaving a job.
iblaine 9 days ago 0 replies      
Another result of this witch hunt is Munira Rahemtulla will forever be tied to this lawsuit whenever someone googles her name.
kordless 9 days ago 0 replies      
Nice timing on this story.
khrist 9 days ago 0 replies      
is there any comment from amazon on this yet?
RomanPushkin 9 days ago 2 replies      
pessimizer 9 days ago 1 reply      
I'm surprised this story got so many comments (I flagged it, and I rarely flag.) It seems like a minor internal dispute between an conscientious employee and their bad, less-conscientious manager, over a very small amount of money.

I can't detect a larger issue involved here except that when people screw up in a way that loses money, they will sometimes try to come up with a way to cover their ass rather than admit it and attempt to rectify it and therefore show everyone that they messed up.

Whoever posted it has exposed Amazon to a lawsuit, though. When eventually negotiating to fix this quietly with Discover, Amazon will be at a serious disadvantage.

opendais 9 days ago 1 reply      
In case anyone was wondering why I bash Amazon's non-AWS technical staff...

They screwed up the promotion, to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars, and 3-5s latency for ads? :P

That is the only part of this complaint I find interesting.

yahya94 9 days ago 0 replies      
MrBuddyCasino 9 days ago 1 reply      
His company won - they violated the NDA and misappropriated trade secrets, why would that lawsuit have been frivolous?
john_smiths 9 days ago 0 replies      
While one thing's for sure, I am blacklisting him from my company.
mozboz 9 days ago 0 replies      
TL;DR: 'I was surprised to learn how online advertising works, my manager in a big corp made me sad.'
dkarapetyan 9 days ago 2 replies      
This is dramatic but nothing unusual at a large company like amazon. This shouldn't really be on the front page.
machrider 9 days ago 0 replies      
Amazon does actually sue former employees occasionally: http://www.geekwire.com/2014/amazon-sues-employee-taking-goo...

Everyone likes to point out how unenforceable they are, but can you afford to take Amazon on in court?

colinbartlett 9 days ago 5 replies      
Regardless of whatever happened, the letter comes off like the whining ramblings of a former employee.

This all refers back to a 2012 lawsuit: http://www.geekwire.com/2012/kindle-ad-team-member-sues-amaz...

President Obama Calls for a Free and Open Internet
1218 points by jordanmessina  12 days ago   432 comments top 72
AndrewHampton 12 days ago 13 replies      
Here's the thing that bothers me the most about a lot of the talk about net neutrality by government officials:

> If a consumer requests access to a website or service, and the content is legal, your ISP should not be permitted to block it.

Specifically "and the content is legal" is what raises a flag for me. I've seen similar phrases in nearly everything I've read coming from any government official regarding net neutrality.

If this phrasing makes it into eventual laws regarding net neutrality, it seems to me that it could easily require inspection of all traffic by ISPs to ensure the legality of traffic.

DigitalSea 12 days ago 9 replies      
As per usual with all politicians, these are just words. Nice words, but until a bill is passed and there is movement in the senate to make something like this closer to a reality, words are meaningless.

My question to Obama is: why now? This whole net neutrality debate has been going on long before Obama started his first term of presidency, why wait until you are almost out of the White House to act upon something as important as this? He has had six years to act on this. Could it perhaps have anything to do with the fact the Democrats took a heavy blow recently with Republicans being popular with the voters in the recent election? Is Obama merely trying to save some face with the voters for his party to mitigate risk at the next presidential election?

Maybe, maybe not. It probably is not fair of me to try and make connections to speculative thoughts like that. I am passionate about net neutrality and it just feels weird Obama is going public on a subject like this not long after votes were casted.

But you know what? Either way, if Obama can get a bill deeming internet to be classified as a utility within the next two years, maybe he will leave behind a legacy that we talk of in the years to come. It might be six years too late, but if anyone can make something like this happen, it is the president.

I am aware that the FCC can change things without any bills needing to be passed and while I am speculating here, the FCC is not exactly known for being honest and transparent. An independent agency with some suspicious ties to lobbyists and corporations trying to protect their monopolies like Comcast. The issue here is the FCC can change things and should change things but ultimately will not change a thing unless the pressure is there from the right hands. Obama speaking up is great, do not get me wrong, but I think the likes of the FCC will need more than gentle words to start changing things. Action needs to be taken.

I simply refuse to believe that an agency can run itself to the point where it controls what can and cannot happen with something as important as the internet which in my opinion is a basic human right to have access to.

kyro 12 days ago 1 reply      
Because TC doesn't bother with the editing process anymore, here's a direct link to the letter: https://medium.com/@PresidentObama/my-plan-for-a-free-and-op...
padobson 12 days ago 8 replies      
I hope no one is getting excited about this.

President Obama is a lame duck. His party just got tossed out of the Senate, relegating his political capital to basically 0. In the wake of this, he's decided to take maybe the most important economic issue of the next 20 years and politicize it.

Neither the red team nor the blue team could say they owned this issue, but one of the most divisive voices in politics just stuck the blue flag in it - at a time when he has less influence over policy than any other time in his presidency.

I would have preferred him to just keep his mouth shut.

joezydeco 12 days ago 3 replies      
And it's already getting worse:


"Net Neutrality" is Obamacare for the Internet; the Internet should not operate at the speed of government.

yc1010 12 days ago 15 replies      
I am not American (feel free to ignore my opinion) but this is just a bad joke from someone who seems to be an utmost failure.

Especially in light of last week FBI/NSA/DHS undermining TOR and killing its utility for any dissidents and free speech in authoritarian states. Under his watch the surveillance state has expanded and has become downright creepy

25 years after the fall of the Berlin wall we should be saying "Ich bin ein Ost-Berliner" :(The Stasi would be proud of the surveillance state that western countries have created with Obama at the helm.

edit: Oh i see the cult of personality is still strong in this one, downvoted in under a minute.

rlpb 12 days ago 1 reply      
It seems to me that introducing net neutrality law is a band-aid over what is really just monopolistic behaviour because last-mile providers don't have competition.

Why not fix the root cause? Force last-mile providers to provide transit to third party ISPs like they do in the UK, or otherwise regulate them specifically.

I don't see why rules should apply across the board to markets where there is healthy competition. There is no problem elsewhere, is there?

zoba 12 days ago 1 reply      
I am excited Obama is getting in on this, however, I'm concerned Net Neutrality may become a partisan issue. Ted Cruz has stated that Net Neutrality is like Obamacare for the internet (http://www.businessinsider.com/ted-cruz-net-neutrality-is-ob...) which just enrages me. Please get the message out to your conservative friends/family before the right has an opportunity to brain wash them.
philovivero 12 days ago 5 replies      
Huh? Is this the same President Obama that put Tom Wheeler in charge of the FCC? In case it isn't obvious (and since no-one else has mentioned it yet, I guess it's not), Tom Wheeler was a huge lobbyist for the very people who are trying to end net neutrality.

I don't get calling for X then performing actions that negate X.

Edit: there's another front-page story to Bloomberg that actually explicitly mentions the Tom Wheeler connection: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-11-10/obama-calls-for-reg...

stephengoodwin 12 days ago 1 reply      
The current Chairman for the FCC is Tom Wheeler. He is a former lobbyist for two telecommunications associations:

* National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) (from 1976 to 1984, becoming president in 1979)[1]

* Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association (CTIA) (from 1992 to 2004, serving as CEO)[1]

[1] http://www.fcc.gov/leadership/tom-wheeler

mbrubeck 12 days ago 0 replies      
This is very similar to Mozilla's proposal to the FCC last spring: http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2014/05/mozilla-offers-fc...

Mozilla: "The petition calls on the FCC to designate last-mile delivery of edge provider communications as remote delivery services, and as telecommunications services under Title II of the Communications Act."

Obama: "I believe the FCC should reclassify consumer broadband service under Title II of the Telecommunications Act."

pvnick 12 days ago 2 replies      
Yes, let's give the government control to dictate how we may use the most powerful system for free-speech and keeping governments/corporations in check that has ever existed in all of human history. Despite the US government's insistence and profound ability to commandeer the internet for military/spying uses, I'm sure this time they will act in our best interests...

And I know the control Obama's saying he wants the FCC to exert over the internet does not yet appear directly tied to the NSA, but after the past year of Snowden revelations I just want the government to keep the hell as far away from technology as possible. Because the only way this policy becomes politically feasible is when there's a way net neutrality could somehow be perverted to weaken the internet's ability to shine light on corruption.

crazy1van 12 days ago 4 replies      
First, let me say that my local ISPs have left a lot to be desired. Comcast and Verizon have driven me crazy in the past. But making them a utility scares me. As bad as my ISPs have been, looking back 15 years, I was on a 56k modem. Now I have 50 mbps broadband. When I look at other utilities like power and water, I've seen zero innovation and my bill continues to rise.

Something should be done, but I'd rather the focus be on removing barriers to more local competition by getting rid of ordinances that create a defacto monopoly by constricting access to utility poles and right-of-ways. When Verizon offered fios to my area, overnight comcast dropped their prices and then raised their speeds significantly. I want more of that.

DominikR 12 days ago 1 reply      
His administration literally started the process that will ultimately be the end of the open internet in the next few years.

Now everybody is working on a national/regional "Internet", even the EU is going the first steps into this direction.

Him calling for open and free Internet is absolutely bizarre. Who knows, maybe he'll call tomorrow for the end of torture and drone executions without trial.

gorhill 12 days ago 0 replies      
> "Regulating Internet Like Phone Companies"

There is this other headline which came to my mind when I read the above headline: "Retroactive Amnesty for Telecoms".


tjaerv 12 days ago 3 replies      
Because that worked so well with the phone companies.
sejje 12 days ago 1 reply      
This headline is in such stark contrast to the other, which reads "President Obama calls for a free and open internet."

Which reads more like the actual intent?

Edit: The two submissions got merged, so my comment is now outdated.

bko 12 days ago 4 replies      
I don't think I fully understand the argument for net neutrality. I try to think about it from a few different perspectives:

Broadband intensive services like Netflix:I think a problem that they face is that their connection is often slow, not only intentionally, but also because developing infrastructure is expensive. Why would an ISP bother building out the infrastructure if they can't extract a higher value from those that it most benefits (Netflix)? In fact, Netflix thinks it's worth it to pay Comcast directly. If that was not beneficial, I don't see why Netflix would have done so. Sure, they would probably prefer to get that service for free, but it must be mutually beneficial for both parties to go along. If Netflix were not allowed to make sure a deal with a company like Comcast, would that really benefit anyone?

Smaller Websites:There is the risk that ISPs try extracting a toll but I think it may not be worth it a lot of the time for the ISP. I think this fear is overblown, although I could be wrong.

Consumers that don't use broadband extensive services:Why should those consumers be subsidizing those that use broadband heavy services?

Consumers using broadband extensive services:Why should Netflix not be allowed to help subsidize the cost of providing broadband? Why should this fall solely on the individual?

Government:The obvious concerns of more governmental control of the internet.

I could imagine a scenario where Netflix was not allowed to pay Comcast directly for increased bandwidth. Instead, Netflix would spend that money to lobby politicians to force Comcast to build out their infrastructure. I don't see how that's a better scenario than currently exists.

I think a better solution to very little competition in ISPs would be to decrease the barriers it takes to compete. Further regulation would only increase the barriers.

Netflix paying Comcast:http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2014/04/after-...

Starting an ISP is Really Hard:http://arstechnica.com/business/2014/04/one-big-reason-we-la...

baldfat 12 days ago 2 replies      
Have ZERO understanding how the Republicans are going to hold off on Anti-Net Neutrality. I am sure this is something that Libertarians will fight tooth and nail and well I would say over 12% of currently republicans labeled themselves as such. With 30 congressmen in the House Liberty Caucus things are not so easy for the G.O.P.

I feel that there is a strong likely hood that G.O.P. will have a switch for Net Neutrality once they see that this policy has such a strong vocal majority.

binarray2000 12 days ago 1 reply      
1. Net neutrality (NN) is of essential importance for the free Internet, now and in the future.

2. Barack Obama (BO) can "call for" many things, but after the latest elections he cannot do much. Even if he, personally and as a POTUS, would want to do something to protect NN.

3. If you hope GOP will do something about it... well, harsh reality is this: Republicans will do what corporate interest wants them to do. Democrats (along with BO) were doing the same. Now that GOP has the majority in both the congress and the senate they MIGHT pay lip service to the issue, but, nothing will change in essence.

4. Maybe you think/hope, people will go out on the streets, write petitions, fight for NN. If recent history teaches us something it's this: Snowden revelations didn't move much US citizens on to the streets. And, compared to NN, it was a larger issue.

(Hope for a better world is something to strive for, but after all these years, I've realized that there is only one reality: Interest. And Big Money has a lot of it to fight NN)

higherpurpose 12 days ago 6 replies      
Since I have zero trust in Obama these days, I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop - or to see what's Obama's angle in this. Is he doing it because he already knows a Republican-backed Congress and FCC have already made up their minds against net neutrality - and he just wants to be remembered that "he tried"?

Or is he supporting full net neutrality because that would give the government much more control over the Internet?

Either way I don't think he's doing this because "he cares". Whatever his angle/hidden agenda, it's probably a bad one for us.

pconner 12 days ago 0 replies      
This proposition (implementation of some of the regulations required for telecommunication services under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934) is taken directly from a notice published by the FCC in 2010


It has been argued previously that the FCC lacks the authority to reclassify Title II common carrier, and that such a reclassification could actually be damaging


forrestthewoods 12 days ago 0 replies      
"So, as I have before, I am asking for an explicit ban on paid prioritization and any other restriction that has a similar effect."

Does that work? Is that implementable and/or good? Isn't peering a pretty reasonable thing to do in a lot of cases?

ajcarpy2005 12 days ago 0 replies      
>And then you encounter things like this by Senator Ted Cruz:

The biggest regulatory threat to the Internet is "net neutrality."

In short, net neutrality is Obamacare for the Internet. It puts the government in charge of determining Internet pricing, terms of service, and what types of products and services can be delivered, leading to fewer choices, fewer opportunities, and higher prices for consumers.

The Internet should not operate at the speed of government

>How does one even begin to engage with people that find this in any way intellectually valid?

>It doesn't even make sense and yet I have family that shares his status.

daveloyall 12 days ago 0 replies      
What do these statements mean, specifically parts I've marked?

> To do that, I believe the FCC should reclassify consumer broadband service under Title II of the Telecommunications Act while at the same time forbearing from rate regulation and other provisions less relevant to broadband services.


> If the FCC appropriately forbears from the Title II regulations that are not needed to implement the principles above principles that most ISPs have followed for years it will help ensure new rules are consistent with incentives for further investment in the infrastructure of the Internet.

vegancap 12 days ago 0 replies      
He presided over some of the worst breeches of data privacy in contemporary political history, how exactly does he expect anyone to trust him? Would he have made these bold statements, had he not have been found out?
quakershake 12 days ago 0 replies      
Why should we care about what the POTUS has to say about internet freedom? It's not like the POTUS or politicians in general have a good track record of trustworthiness.

IMO, anytime officials are talking about it, they are guaranteed to screw it up.

I am actually surprised that they aren't talking more about having it be $Free and under government control. Maybe that is step 2.

Either way, the less authority the ISPs and the Government have over your network traffic the better.

davidholmesnyc 12 days ago 0 replies      
This is a good thing everybody. Lets see what happens going forward.
mfisher87 12 days ago 2 replies      
Do NOT be fooled. An explicit ban on paid prioritization is the only way to preserve the system we have today. If you allow paid prioritization, there will no longer be a "vibrant" tech sector (as we think of it today) in the US. If you only ban paid prioritization, ISPs will continue to hold monopolies, price-fix, offer inferior service, not invest in their infrastructure, and fuck over their customers with fraudulent charges. But, hey, Netflix will stay in business, so all's well, right?!

The goal with this move is to AVOID common carriers and AVOID competition. Paid prioritization is a minor symptom of the problem that ISPs are not common carriers. I say this because without common carriers, if the only ISP has paid prioritization, a there is no competitor to switch to. Banning paid prioritization will do nothing to address the actual problems with American ISPs. Our cable lobbyists and therefore our government will do anything to avoid common carrier legislation being passed.

Common carriers would not be allowed to control the content on their wires at all -- they would be forced to let ISPs purchase bandwidth and compete on the same wire. Granting wire ownership and content control to one company is a natural monopoly: In almost every locale new ISPs cannot use the wires someone else owns, new ISPs cannot dig trenches for new wires, and new ISPs have no common wires to offer service on. Therefore, no new ISPs can form under normal conditions, and competition cannot exist. The only logical conclusion is that we are being denied a free market, on purpose.

diminoten 12 days ago 2 replies      
I'm glad the president is giving a hoot about this issue, because it's an issue I care deeply about and follow closely.

That said, I'm still not convinced a "no slow lanes" policy is possible. Peering is a huge part of the Internet, and without it, the Internet doesn't work. Paid peering is a private network owner's right to ask for, and it's every other person's right to deny.

em3rgent0rdr 11 days ago 0 replies      
Obama's comment "and the content is legal" comes the same day we hear the government seizes TOR nodes: http://arstechnica.com/security/2014/11/law-enforcement-seiz...
misingnoglic 12 days ago 1 reply      
I know nothing about politics, but my guess is that this is a reaction to the majority republican house/senate. There's no way in hell a bill like this can be passed through congress (with all the special interests and whatnot), so by being at the front of this movement which is important to so many people, they'll opt to blame the republicans (who are now in charge).
doctorshady 12 days ago 0 replies      
This is almost a little sad. Even on HN, a discussion about net neutrality seems to be devolving into a discussion of partisan politics.
JediWing 12 days ago 0 replies      
This is huge. The head of the executive branch just telegraphed one of his appointees that nothing less than Title II would meet his mark, at a time when the rule making process is in full swing. I think people need to dial back the cynicism a few notches. Call me overly optimistic,We could have true net neutrality within the next few years.
drawkbox 12 days ago 0 replies      
I hope this isn't just hope and words, Obama needs to make this his legacy issue.

No segregation or discrimination online. There are no fast lanes, only slow lanes and tolls roads in our future if this isn't preserved. The internet is one last place of freedom in the US, don't turn it into a class/caste based system.

jflatow 12 days ago 0 replies      
There's a lot of confusion about net neutrality and regulation of the internet at large.

I'd love to see a poll of the HN community to see the distribution of support, amongst what should be a relatively knowledgable group of people. Unfortunately I don't have enough karma to create it myself.

SergeyB 12 days ago 0 replies      
Getting rid of 'throttling' and 'extra fees' not a bad idea. However, "Free and Open" is a way off. "New ISP Regulations for Internet Access" would be closer to reality. I am sure they will slip in some shady unconstitutional Section in the new Law as they always do.
BatFastard 12 days ago 0 replies      
This was a positive statement on an issue we all feel strongly about. Don't listen to all the B.S about the president being a "lame duck", he is still the most powerful man in the world. So give credit where credit is due. And stop listening to all the negative B.S.
dschiptsov 12 days ago 0 replies      
..while all the major manufacturers of network equipment are trying their best to implement and even standardize logging, tracking, data collecting and traffic filtering "features" requested by governments of different countries, including US.
MarkMc 12 days ago 2 replies      
Can a net neutrality advocate please help me understand why the internet is different to physical roads and bridges?

UPS and FedEx are free to charge a different price when delivering a package from Amazon.com compared to Walmart.com.

So why should an internet service provide be prevented from charging a different price for delivering data from Amazon.com compared to Walmart.com?

Is it simply a case of there not being enough competition between internet service providers? If so, should net neutrality still be required in areas where there IS competition? For example, where I live in Australia I can get a 4G mobile data plan from any of 3 different providers (Telstra, Optus and Vodafone). Competition between them seems very effective, so is there really a need to require net neutrality in this case?

bengrunfeld 12 days ago 0 replies      
Yeah, and then he goes and signs an order expanding the permissions of the NSA and FBI to bypass constitutional rights and international law in the pursuit of being able to access and store private and confidential user data.
trvz 12 days ago 1 reply      
1) Him having to interfere against the bs of the ISPs makes me sad, as it's one more sign of the politicisation of the internet.

2) I welcome Obama being well advised, but he remains the spy master of the world.

sidcool 11 days ago 0 replies      
I am ready to vote for the President for a third term only on this policy stance. But again, I am from India so can't vote in the US and Presidents can't have a third term in the US.
NiftyFifty 12 days ago 0 replies      
Now if he can call for free and open travel to Cuba. Maybe we can have an open dialog about US influence on a country that might be more "open" if we shared our culture with them. Oh well ...
jaked89 12 days ago 0 replies      
"Free" and "neutral" can't co-exist."Free" means that the government controls it.This by itself implies that it's not neutral.


emjaygee 12 days ago 0 replies      
It's a trap! I want net neutrality as much as the next person but having the federal government oversee it like it oversees utilities is a cure far worse than the disease.
morky 11 days ago 0 replies      
Oh you mean the dude who has been persecuting journalists in a more aggressive manner than any previous president. Yeah trust him and his opinion.
cranklin 12 days ago 0 replies      
I think this statement is just a disclaimer by the president for what's to come. Does anybody truly believe that he's in favor of net neutrality?
vegancap 12 days ago 1 reply      
So on one hand he calls for state regulation of ISP's, yet on the other he calls for a "free and open" internet. So which is it to be?
transfire 12 days ago 0 replies      
If the FCC rules against Net Neutrality, there is only one thing to be done: All the network administrators in the country must band together and bring the Internet to a screeching halt. Neither the politicians, the lobbyists, nor the corporate suits have any idea how to keep these systems running. But all the system admins that do, they know full well what is at stake here. So I have no doubts about this. As long as all of the admins can organize in action, Net Neutrality will soon become the law.
mac01021 11 days ago 0 replies      
Is the proposed policy designed to fix problems that real people are having right now? If so, who is being blocked from what?
Selfcommit 12 days ago 0 replies      
How is Tom Wheeler not mentioned once in this article?

Is there not a direct connection between his appointment by Obama and this issue?

coupdejarnac 12 days ago 1 reply      
I'm going to see Sen. Cruz speak on Saturday. If I get the chance, I'll ask him about his net neutrality stance.
andyl 12 days ago 0 replies      
Should have had support for Net-Neutrality years ago. Nevertheless glad to see it now. I hope it makes a difference.
kolanos 12 days ago 0 replies      
Probably shouldn't have appointed a former Comcast exec as the head of the FCC, Barry.
aidenn0 12 days ago 0 replies      
I feel like he has just guaranteed that Title II won't happen; the Republicans just got elected on a platform that essentially boiled down to "We aren't Obama" and now control a majority of the legislature.
whoisthemachine 12 days ago 0 replies      
Obama supports it? Now this is DEFINITELY not going to happen.
mickrussom 12 days ago 0 replies      
Yeah, one that he controls and regulates.
jjtheblunt 12 days ago 0 replies      
As usual, in the general case, President Obama verbs for a noun phrase. (Not that it's bad, just routine.)
Animats 12 days ago 0 replies      
Unfortunately, he's saying this at the point he has no chance of getting it through Congress.
graycat 11 days ago 1 reply      
On 'network neutrality', I'm lost: Someone please clear this up for me, say, with this 'scenario':

I pay my ISP for 15 Mbps download bandwidth, andsome Web site with video clips pays their ISP for10 Gbps upload bandwidth. So, I connect to thatWeb site and download or 'stream' a video clip.

Then the Web site better get their 1 Gbps upload bandwidth,if they want to send that much, and if they sendme 15 Mbps of video then I better get the full15 Mbps I paid for.

So, what's the role of 'fast lane', 'slow lane',the Web site paying my ISP for 'more', 'slow downs',etc.

Or as far as I can see, if I'm getting my 15 Mbps(from any Web site sending me that much)and the Web site is getting their 1 Gbps, everythingshould be okay. Otherwise, either my ISP or theWeb site's ISP is not delivering what they were paid for, and I have a tough time believing that thatwould be common.

I'm failing to see the opportunity for funny business.

Or, yes, if use the Internet as a video phone, thenthere could be issues of dropped packets, out of orderpackets, latency, jitter, etc. -- is that what the talk is about?

tn13 11 days ago 0 replies      
He is not calling for a free and open internet. He is essentially bringing it under government control by painting ISPs as bad guys.
fit2rule 12 days ago 1 reply      
This just provides more impetus for us to get out ahead of the government and implement the next-generation communication technologies that make it impossible for anyone to spy on us.. of course, if that happens, there'll be further battles upstream .. as well as a few submarine battles we probably don't know we have to fight, already, as advocates of peace and communication - but nevertheless the time has never been as ripe as it is now for the new shit to drop.

Question is, how? What? These are the sorts of answers we have to find. A DHT over a P2P with no central control? It still seems so out of reach ..

tn13 12 days ago 0 replies      
The usual horror of the phrase

"I am from government and I am here to fix things for you".

Now, the government is in-charge of how we consume internet. This is bad and very bad. I cant see any scenario where this would be good for us. Expect the prices to go up and service to go down.

tn13 12 days ago 0 replies      
The usual political propaganda where a politician pretends to be "champion of freedom" while doing something that is exactly opposite. (In past he had described Tax Cuts as Tax Subsidies, implying all money belongs to government by default).

Here is the more relevant part

"In a letter and a video posted on the White House website, President Obama said he believes "the FCC should reclassify consumer broadband service under Title II of the Telecommunications Act," allowing Internet Service Providers to be more heavily regulated. According to Obama, the change would acknowledge that "the Internet has become an essential part of everyday communication and everyday life."

This basically would mean government will now have a much bigger control over how new players enter this space and how they operate and how much profit they can make. When was the last time you heard PG&E doing something innovative ?

The real problem with net-neutrality has not been that the operators are bad. The real problem is existing government regulation does not facilitate entry of new players. More government regulation would only mean slowing down of innovative services like Google Fiber or SpaceX's internet satellites.

This sort of regulation would destroy the internet as we know it and will give more control to Government as to how we consume internet.

notastartup 12 days ago 0 replies      
Free and Open Internet Vouched by NSA
dang 12 days ago 0 replies      
byEngineer 12 days ago 0 replies      
screwed up medicare. screwed up with russia. screwed up with Iraq. Time to screw up the internet!
aosmith 12 days ago 0 replies      
Hahahah this is laughable...
Cr3w 12 days ago 1 reply      
"Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it." Ronald Reagan
yc1010 12 days ago 0 replies      
"... Obama asked for no blocking of websites ..."

So no blocking of torrent sites? yeh as if thats going to happen, rolls eyes

antocv 12 days ago 2 replies      
What an asshole.

It was under his Presidency that NSA expanded their programs.

WhatsApp Co-Founder Donates $1M to FreeBSD Foundation
1230 points by swills  5 days ago   204 comments top 21
tiffanyh 5 days ago 13 replies      
From the announcement:

>>"This marks the largest single donation to the Foundation since its inception almost 15 years ago"

First, I'm extremely excited to see this announcement. FreeBSD is fantastic and extremely underrated.

Secondly though, isn't it sad to hear that in FreeBSD existence - this is the largest donation ever ... given that Yahoo use to run it's entire company on it, OS X is based on it, Juniper is based on it, Netflix deploys on it, NetApp, EMC, etc.

Edit: typo

datashovel 5 days ago 2 replies      
While donations from corporations is great, my hope is that developers will jump on the micro-payment bandwagon. If every developer who uses FreeBSD in one capacity or another donated $1 per month, the FreeBSD Foundation would likely never need to ask for donations again.

I currently do quarterly donations to FreeBSD Foundation and Apache Foundation, and some hand-picked developers in the technologies I use regularly, whom I would consider indispensable in the open source community. While it's not $1M, if everyone were doing it, none of those groups would depend on corporate donations.

I have even thought of a project that I may bring to life one day, if enough interest exists. Find the most indispensable members of the open source community and put crowdfunding efforts together to buy them out. In other words, put enough money on the table that they won't need to work for 1,2,3 years at a time. Working tirelessly on open source projects is something these people have already proven they love to do, and will almost certainly continue if suddenly they came across a windfall like this.

My guess is these kinds of things have been attempted, but for one reason or another have never really gained the support they would need.

ChuckMcM 5 days ago 2 replies      
Nice move. I think it is awesome when folks do that.

Has anyone thought what an 'opensource' endowment might look like? I'm thinking an endowment manager and a policy for distributing 2% of the endowment annually to folks who contribute and against costs (like hosting repos and mailing lists etc.) The thought being you end up with some "project" with a $100M - $250M endowment and it operates 'in perpetuity' on a budget of $2 - $5M annually.

debacle 5 days ago 3 replies      
It's always intriguing to me how critical the BSDs and BSD programmers are to the Linux ecosystem, even though their user base is fairly small.
epistasis 5 days ago 1 reply      
> Find out more about Jan's reasons for donating here. https://www.facebook.com/jan.koum?fref=nf&pnref=story

That page is inaccessible to me, does somebody have a mirror?

drawkbox 5 days ago 1 reply      
A great example to others who have success because of open source. It should be a common thing that once you find the coveted golden parachute in the sprawling game of life, you give a percentage back to OSS as a tradition to others on the adventure.
lamby 5 days ago 3 replies      
Good grief, that's a statement. And bravo.

(However, what can they really do with that money? Operating systems aren't the sexiest of free software projects to work on, so I would be tempted to think that manpower is FreeBSDs biggest limiter.)

dummyfellow 4 days ago 0 replies      
Companies like Facebook, Google should give 100$ to each employee to donate, will be petty cash for them, but will reach many project the company is really benefiting from.
otterley 5 days ago 1 reply      
Looks like the mantle has passed from Yahoo! being FreeBSD's biggest advocate and sponsor (not in direct cash donations, but employing their maintainers) to WhatsApp. Nice to see the Y! alumni are keeping the tradition alive.
vayarajesh 4 days ago 0 replies      
>> "This marks the largest single donation to the Foundation since its inception almost 15 years ago"

Al though it is awesome that they have received this donation but it is such a shame it took 15 years to get a $1M donation for such a great work they are doing.. and on the other side silly small apps get millions of funding which go in total waste and those apps might be using FreeBSD for their production servers or development

Its nice to see FreeBSD getting appreciated

jason_slack 5 days ago 0 replies      
This inspires me to give FreeBSD another shot. I haven't used it in a few years in favor of CentOS.

There was a point I had my laptop running FreeBSD as my main OS.

jaxx345 5 days ago 1 reply      
Why don't other large companies also contribute to FreeBSD? I know Netflix is a large consumer. It seems they would want to contribute more.
sandGorgon 4 days ago 0 replies      
There are lots of comments on how sad it is that nobody donates to the FreeBSD foundation.

Part of the blame lies with the foundation itself - they don't know how to ask! Fundraising is a full time, yet unsexy job...and very few people do it well. The key thing is to be top of mind by asking frequently and nicely.

Personally, when the time comes, I default towards Wikipedia because Jimmy Wales does a great job of asking. This is a problem not just with FreeBSD, but many others like OpenSSL,etc. If nothing else, I wish these guys just run a yearly kickstarter just for outreach.

Siecje 5 days ago 0 replies      
Interesting that he got more value out of FreeBSD (Job at Yahoo!) than Erlang.
jmiller_com 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is great news.

People bashing other companies, keep in mind some of them employ people that work near full-time on FreeBSD.

But, some deserve the bashing.

FractalNerve 4 days ago 0 replies      
What will they do with that huge amount of much money?

Personally: I hope they make an UI to FreeBSD on par with OS X, because it already seems to be so stable that no change except security fixes is neccessary in my nave eyes

Sorry, if this was asked before.

vidoc 4 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder how much money a million dollar for this guy would be for me.. I'm thinking it should probably be in the neighborhood of $.10

Either way, brilliant business plan from this whatsapp co-founder :P

jaxx345 5 days ago 0 replies      
I'm really excited to see the community gain more traction, especially financially right now.
pnathan 4 days ago 0 replies      
Congratulations to FreeBSD; mad props to WhatsApp's founder.
rodgerd 5 days ago 0 replies      
pessimizer 5 days ago 2 replies      
"With this donation, and the generosity of all those who have donated this year, we have shattered our 2014, million dollar fundraising goal! But this does not mean we can stop our fundraising efforts. Only by increasing the size and diversity of our donor pool can we ensure a stable and consistent funding stream to support the FreeBSD project."

Is this very, very dry humor?


So nobody thinks that there's anything funny about reaching a million dollar fundraising goal, but noting that they might want to expand the size and diversity of the donor pool in future after getting a million dollar donation from a single person.

Of course they reached the goal, and of course they might want to raise the size of the donor pool it took to reach the goal [one person] and the diversity [the donors that put them over the top all have the same Social Security number.]

Feel free to interpret the comment as "why donate to them, they just got a million dollars" or whatever bizarre impression people are getting, but if I meant that, I would have just said that.

Philae has landed
1165 points by talltofu  10 days ago   299 comments top 28
kartikkumar 10 days ago 8 replies      
Absolutely stunning feat of engineering. My bosses are on the drill team for Philae and were amongst the nervy faces being beamed all over the world. Great example of what European nations can do when politics don't get in the way. ExoMars [1] and Bepi-Colombo [2] are perfect examples of the inverse.

Look forward to the first pictures from the surface. I'm at the Division on Planetary Sciences (DPS) meeting [3] in Tucson at the moment, and there are already incredible results being presented based on data acquired by Rosetta. Stay tuned for a whole lot more!

[1] http://exploration.esa.int/mars/46048-programme-overview

[2] http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/BepiColombo_...

[3] http://aas.org/meetings/dps46

bd 10 days ago 0 replies      
First images from Philae's ROLIS camera:


1) 3km above comet:


2) Few seconds before landing:


3) First surface image?


4) Possibly a new image from the descent?


Edit: no, here is the source (Rosetta's NavCam from yesterday):



Rosetta Lander Imaging System (ROLIS)


sktrdie 10 days ago 2 replies      

  More analysis of @Philae2014 telemetry   indicates harpoons did not fire as 1st thought
Ouch, seems like it didn't land? https://twitter.com/esaoperations/status/532575061543485440

edit - the landing is confirmed, however the harpoons did not fire: https://twitter.com/ESA_Rosetta/status/532579871202238464

bsaul 10 days ago 9 replies      
Anyone knows where i could find some info about the software stack this kind of probes are being built with ? Languages, programming methods, patching methods,os, runtime, etc.

I'm really curious to know how different it is from the web or enterprise development worlds.

the_rosentotter 10 days ago 2 replies      
Coverage of this has been very confusing.

The ESA live feed at most times show people in some kind of control room staring at screens. There is no apparent way to see any highlights, unless I want to try scrolling back and forth through the hour-long video stream.

At any given time, various forum threads seem to have more information than the ESA site, which seems to communicate mostly through either lighthearted tweets, one-line headlines, or general background articles.

All I want is a simple timeline of events, constantly updated with latest news and images. Instead we have forum threads where you have to dig through comments to find out what is the newest info.

ajuc 10 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, I listen to the solutions they invented to hibernate the probe safely - to save on the electricity they had to hibernate it, but then it could have change orientation relative to sun, and wouldn't have enough energy to wake up.

So they disabled the orientation system to save energy, but first they made the probe rotate quickly to stabilise it like a gyroscope.

That's stuff from sci-fi books / Mc Gyver movie :)

spdy 10 days ago 2 replies      
For anyone who wants to see how they got there


pretty mind blowing for me to plan ahead 10 years

talltofu 10 days ago 2 replies      
Live streaming of the event here http://news.yahoo.com/video/abc-news-plus-special-report-220...

Thanks @brianpgordon - Check out this gif of the orbital maneuvers required for Rosetta to reach its destination:https://i.imgur.com/TUkKuhf.gif

Live twitter feed of ESA https://twitter.com/esaoperations

It looks like @Philae2014 made a fairly gentle touch down on #67P based on amount of landing gear damping #CometLanding

k-mcgrady 10 days ago 17 replies      
Amazing job! This might be a silly question but are their any ideas as to the actual real world benefits we could see from this? The director-general of the ESA said "This is a big step for human civilisation" so I presume there is some idea of what they expect to gain from this mission?

Edit: Thanks for all the replies! I'm at work now but will take a look at them this evening.

humanfromearth 10 days ago 0 replies      
I highly recommend this video that explains how Philae works:


Killah911 10 days ago 0 replies      
It is just me or has the story evolved into something a bit less jubilant in the course of the last two hours. It's an amazing feat, but this stuff is always a huge gamble.

As someone's who's worked on a few spacecraft project I feel really bad for the team(s) (recently worked on one which didn't go so well, years of work down the tube). Even if it didn't go perfectly I hope they're commended for the work they've done so far & the landing they achieved.

neiled 10 days ago 1 reply      
Seeing their faces on the live feed when it landed was amazing. It must be so exciting.
anExcitedBeast 10 days ago 0 replies      
Science is amazing. I'm glad to be living in a period where I get to be around for stuff like this.
adregan 10 days ago 4 replies      
Hope this isn't a dumb question, but how does Philae stay put? If the gravity strong enough to keep it on the surface? Also, as the comet nears the sun and parts of the comet start flying off, is there a threat of Philae getting swept along with it?
FlyingSnake 10 days ago 0 replies      
This is an incredible day for science and Humanity. ESA, CNSA, ISRO, SpaceX etc have done a great job so far to carry forward the legacy of NASA and ROSCOSMOS to new levels.

Still can't believe ESA planned and landed a robot on a comet. Bravo!

rabino 10 days ago 2 replies      
we just landed a friggin' robot into a friggin' commet

mind blowing

jmccreery 10 days ago 0 replies      
No announcement yet, but just now in the ESA webcast of the control room everyone stopped, gathered around a guy that I assume is the team lead, and are now going home. I have a bad feeling about this.
jnem 10 days ago 0 replies      
Total non-sequitor but...I'm surprised no one else has yet made the observation that Philae Lander put together is philaender, or philander. Juvenile post of the day award anybody?
ommunist 10 days ago 0 replies      
This is huge. In both technical and political ways. And bringing all the details into live online event is twice as huge. I just watched the guy reporting the unsuccessful initial anchoring of the probe, and I felt so happy that I could see this. Incredible. By the way the lander software runs on Harris RTX2010 processors -- the US contribution.
shitlord 10 days ago 1 reply      
Awesome! Think of all the nice desktop backgrounds I'm going to have.

I am wondering what this will mean for humanity. Do you guys think the insights we gain from Philae will be as impactful as the ones from other space missions?

rodolphoarruda 10 days ago 0 replies      
"Philae has made the first, historic landing on a comet, after descending from its mothership"

To me, no other statement could be more impacting. Earth is finally sending motherships to space. feeling mind-boggled

india_congrats 10 days ago 7 replies      
Congratulations Europe. But why don't we hear people saying that the EU should focus on their poverty first and would be better off putting this money into getting the Greece, Spain, and Italy economies in order?
apa-sl 9 days ago 0 replies      
Awesome! Launched over 10 years ago (our "smartphones" back then had 1mpix cameras, youtube was not born yet, etc), travelled +6,5b km and nailed a target 3-4km wide...
Sven7 10 days ago 0 replies      
Big congrats to all involved! What an achievement!
jarmitage 10 days ago 0 replies      
Three.js version of the comet http://cabbi.bo/rosetta/
Gravityloss 10 days ago 2 replies      
"where were you when Philae landed?"
JulianMorrison 9 days ago 0 replies      
First successful unintended lithobraking in the history of space ;-P
pbhjpbhj 10 days ago 1 reply      
ITT downvoting to invisibility because you disagree with someone honestly held and cogently expressed opinions.

Silencing diverse opinions is quite possibly the worst facet of HN.

Unicode Text Converter
907 points by sysk  3 days ago   229 comments top 76
Systemic33 3 days ago 4 replies      
Well that definitely takes the for most noticeable Hacker News submission.

Suggestion (if you are author): There are a lot of chars that look like another char, often used on the web, so i think that there are more advanced versions to be made. I think i read that a lot of thai signs and cyrillic look like latin chars.

GregBuchholz 3 days ago 3 replies      

            1               if n = 0;     F(n)  1               if n = 1;            F(n-1) + F(n-2) if n > 1.         D =               B = 0              E = -B/t         H = J + D/t                   = 2 1-x dx              1 0 1      0 1 0      1 0 1 k      t:S    S<:T      (T-Sub)          t:T               1      = lim 1+              n 

emillon 3 days ago 5 replies      
Funny how it triggered a bug in Firefox. When the tab is unfocused, its title in the handle is "", but when it gets the focus it becomes "<D835>" (in a square box). The next codepoint is U+1D48F whose UTF-16 BE encoding is d8 35 dc 8f.

I'd say that the truncation algorithm operates on bytes and that it can't make sense of d8 35, but I'm not too sure how to fix that since graphemes can have arbitrary length (right?). Do you have to compute the width in advance?

gus_massa 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is similar to the pseudolocalization (), that adds random accents to English word to test the localization capabilities of a program without requiring another language knowledge.

An online version: http://www.pseudolocalize.com/

A library: http://code.google.com/p/pseudolocalization-tool/

hbbio 3 days ago 4 replies      
Oh, no !

The cat should have stayed in a box, if this gains too much popularity, HN will read like MySpace back in the days.

And top HN news will be: "A browser plugin that translates Unicode back to ASCII".

robjh 3 days ago 8 replies      
For others without that specific font or what have you:"Unicode Text Converter"

On my windows box with chrome all i see are empty boxes.

MrBuddyCasino 3 days ago 3 replies      
This surprises me, what exactly is the point of encoding what are essentially different fonts in unicode? Isn't that the job of the presentation layer?

(the Fraktur variant is awesome btw, and is apparently in the valid unicode range for Java...)

horse_continuum 3 days ago 0 replies      
One of my friends, moving to China for a semester to teach, was thinking of using a proper Chinese name to make it easier for students to address him. He had a good idea, even, which he shared on Facebook.

I proposed that we should name him after the lack of unicode support in our browsers, and we ended up calling him "Box Boxbox" for a couple of months.

mxfh 3 days ago 0 replies      
Since it wasn't mentioned here earlier, it's worth to take a look at shapecatcher to see what glyphs might resemble latin letters.

Scribbling something resembling the latin capital letter A returns for example any of these codepoints: A4

http://shapecatcher.com/ https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5150107)

Also the Unicode Consortium has some reports on security:



listing all kind of spoofing methods you haven even thought of.

qeorge 3 days ago 0 replies      
I was once bilked into buying some scraped content as original work by this method. It passed copyscape, and my test of Googling a a random sentence in quotes didn't bring anything up. I let it go because I had already accepted the work, and the lesson was worth more than the article anyway.

Don't be fool as I was! Had I manually transcribed a sentence into Google instead of copying + pasting the Unicode chars, I would have found hundreds of copies of the same article.

jfmercer 3 days ago 0 replies      
I couldn't help but notice that this converter was copyrighted by Eli the Bearded. Google "Eli the Bearded", but not from work. You'll get some very interesting results.


TorKlingberg 3 days ago 1 reply      
Does anyone know why there are separate Unicode code points for letters in bold, bold italic and Fraktur? Normally this sort of thing should be handled by different fonts / font variants. Is it for compatibility with some legacy encoding?
sthlm 3 days ago 1 reply      
In Javascript, many unicode characters are allowed [0], so h is a valid variable name [1].

Note: The number of lllVl [2] used in your production code is inversely proportional to the number of friends you'll make in the maintenance team.

[0] https://mathiasbynens.be/notes/javascript-identifiers

[1] https://mothereff.in/js-variables#h%C3%A1%C4%87%E1%B8%B1%C3%...

[2] http://www.panix.com/~eli/unicode/convert.cgi?text=illegible...

cgranier 3 days ago 4 replies      
What I need is something that takes all the extended characters (think Spanish or Swedish) and turns them into alternative safe versions.

For instance, into a, into n, into a, etc.

Had my hopes up when I saw the title.

Does anyone have any ideas or links to working scripts that I can turn into something useful? I need to "sanitize" a database of foreign documentaries before uploading to YouTube (their metadata input system chokes on extended chars). Thanks!

edgarallenbro 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is great, but why is the Australian translation called 'upside down pseudoalphabet'?
pud 3 days ago 3 replies      
I made an iPhone app that does kind of the same thing, but converts letters to their upside-down unicode equivalent. It's fun for sending upside-down texts.

Free and ad-free, just a fun project:


lazyjones 3 days ago 2 replies      
Great, now we'll have to rely on IDEs with clickable drop-down lists of variables and function names because simple text input just got a lot harder for languages where Unicode is allowed for symbols!


kcorbitt 3 days ago 0 replies      
Just a PSA for discoverability: since the replacement characters use different code points than their more standard equivalents, the default HN search (https://hn.algolia.com) at least doesn't find this submission when searching for "unicode."
petecooper 3 days ago 0 replies      
My iOS/Safari shows squares in the page itself, but a row of boxed aliens in the `Bookmarks and History` list:


(image is safe for work, though other stuff on imgur.com is likely not)

Immortalin 3 days ago 0 replies      
On iOS 8.1 safari all I see is a bunch of squares ;(
grimgrin 3 days ago 1 reply      
My friend made a similar tool that you may enjoy:


tezza 3 days ago 1 reply      
yAnonymous 3 days ago 0 replies      
rossy 3 days ago 0 replies      
I wish this worked on Windows/Chrome, or I knew why it didn't work so I could star the issue on their bug tracker.
hesselink 3 days ago 1 reply      
Strangely, for me on Firefox 33.1 on OS X, the title shows up fine on the main page. But when I click through to the comment, I get boxes only, and from then on, the main page also doesn't work anymore until I restart Firefox. I suspect an extension, but I'm not sure.
spindritf 3 days ago 1 reply      
Also, strike-through. Which is the one I find genuinely useful because I like the suggestive way to say something then visibly correcting to something else.


guardian5x 3 days ago 2 replies      
I only saw boxes in the title with Chrome 38. Tried out IE10 and it works just fine.
geekam 3 days ago 0 replies      
This fails to show up on my iPhone 5S Safari and I thought it supported Unicode.
gojomo 3 days ago 1 reply      
Hey! I was just thinking about this site, and visited it for the first time in years, after mentioning the old San Francisco ransom-font in another thread.

By randomly mixing these Unicode letter and letterlike characters, you can simulate a cut-and-paste ransom-note. For example, an acquired company could announce changes to its privacy policy:

  wE ve yuR rIvy n a iNdwleSs om,  & a  o nSaKble his t t

huuu 3 days ago 1 reply      
sovok 3 days ago 0 replies      
Very cool. Although the upside-down text doesn't work with mlauts and numbers. A reverse function would also be nice.

I wrote a similar tool that does this (http://lunicode.com). It's on Github if you want to use the code: https://github.com/combatwombat/Lunicode.js

cturner 3 days ago 2 replies      
Different problem, but someone who knows about unicode will probably know this -

When I paste from microsoft documents into putty, characters will often be transformed to weird versions. Example - emdash is a different character to '-'. It comes through as a weird tilda character instead of a dash. Mmm. Frustating.

Is there a robust program you can run on putty to catch such type and flatten it to ascii?

anjbe 3 days ago 0 replies      
Ive never been a fan of this sort of thing. The Unicode characters in these font blocks are not letters for making words; at least the doublestruck, fraktur, bold, italic, and bold italics are semantically for use in mathematical equations.

This can have some strange effects if you try to use them like letters. Example: Whats the lowercase transform of ? ! Not .

netheril96 3 days ago 2 replies      
. ' .
petercooper 3 days ago 1 reply      
If you like this sort of thing, you might like this piece I wrote some time back about writing a Ruby script using whitespace for all identifiers: http://www.rubyinside.com/the-split-is-not-enough-whitespace...
edent 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is the worst best use of Unicode!
hliyan 3 days ago 1 reply      
Impressive! Hopefully, this won't end with HN sanitizing everything except latin + latin extended from submissions.
calineczka 3 days ago 0 replies      
Finally a way to express myself on facebook properly ;) I wonder if bold text would lead to better conversion from ads using this trick. And I wonder when is facebook going to ban this because obviously it works :
dsjoerg 3 days ago 3 replies      
y - x x?
grayclhn 3 days ago 1 reply      
I look forward to a Hacker News front page that looks like a ransom note.
arikrak 3 days ago 0 replies      
See https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7383672 though they changed my title to normal text.
codemonkeymike 3 days ago 0 replies      
Continued use of this would be a good way of making me not use HN.
DanBC 3 days ago 0 replies      
Chrome on iOS is giving me the character unavailable boxes. Normally I'd just change the font but I can't do that here.

This doesn't feel like the future.

rplnt 3 days ago 0 replies      
Does not really work for characters like , not sure if there isn't anything similar in those "styles" or it was just ignored.
parasj 3 days ago 0 replies      
darkstalker 3 days ago 0 replies      
I've used this page for a long time.
seqizz 3 days ago 0 replies      
tempodox 3 days ago 1 reply      
It works :)

comes in a fancy bold italic font in my HN list. I love this hack.

jrometty 3 days ago 0 replies      
It should be mentioned that this returns a blank title on the android app.
jackmaney 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'd like to buy a vowel, please. Let's go with "e".
cm2012 3 days ago 0 replies      
On my android all the unicode characters (including the title) are blank.
Flott 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is not good news if it bypasses the spam filters! Does it?
sjwright 3 days ago 2 replies      
The question I have is, what's the easiest way to strip this out of unicode strings submitted by web users? With a nod to Cunningham's Law, surely the right answer is a regular expression?
aruggirello 3 days ago 0 replies      
!Tli mAq o T w loHw A b iHT ,o HO
gpvos 3 days ago 0 replies      
I do feel that Unicode is slowly jumping the shark.
seba_dos1 3 days ago 1 reply      
getdavidhiggins 3 days ago 0 replies      
edem 3 days ago 0 replies      
Can you do zalgo as well?
JulianMorrison 3 days ago 0 replies      
noobermin 3 days ago 0 replies      
ck2 3 days ago 1 reply      
Note that XP cannot show

    Negative Circled    Squared    Negative Squared    Double-struck    Bold    Bold italic    Bold script    Fraktur
At least not with the fonts I have.

gojomo 3 days ago 0 replies      
Interesting; the title displayed OK minutes ago, on the main page, in Firefox/OSX. But now it's showing as unsupported-glyph boxes inside the page... but still looks OK in the titlebar of the item (comments) page.

Did some automated or administrative process mutate the characters? Or is this just Firefox drifting, in choice of font?

ryanjmo 3 days ago 0 replies      
shaurz 3 days ago 2 replies      
What is the point of having different codepoints for FONTS in Unicode? What a load of nonsense.
vjvj 3 days ago 0 replies      
sakri 3 days ago 0 replies      
fun for passwords
tmmm 3 days ago 0 replies      
How does it work?
tibbon 3 days ago 0 replies      
It appears to work on Facebook and Twitter.

NoMoreNicksLeft 3 days ago 1 reply      
I don't really speak/read Russian, but I have a passable understanding of Cyrillic, and those always look dumb. It doesn't look like "the" to be, it looks lik "guh-buh-yeh" or something.

Same thing with the Borat DVD cover.

fiatjaf 3 days ago 0 replies      
.u dns s s
PSeitz 3 days ago 0 replies      
Kiro 3 days ago 0 replies      
Twitch chat will love this.
kalops 3 days ago 0 replies      
teh cancer that is HN.predicting next post someone shows off rageflipping text
Houshalter 3 days ago 0 replies      
Firefox Developer Edition
975 points by tazer  12 days ago   295 comments top 76
callahad 12 days ago 49 replies      
Hi! Just a heads up that folks from the dev tools team will be monitoring this thread and are on-hand to answer questions. We'll try not to thread sit too much. :) In brief, the Developer Edition is a new release channel for Firefox, replacing Aurora (our pre-Beta channel). Everything else about the release cadence is the same.

There are four major new features here:

1. The Firefox Tools Adapter ("Valence"), which lets you use the Firefox dev tools to inspect and debug pages in Chrome for Android and Safari for iOS. The goal: one set of tools to debug any browser.

2. Side-by-side profiles. The Developer Edition defaults to a profile named `dev-edition-default`, which makes it easier to run Developer Edition at the same time as a normal release version of Firefox. You don't have to deal with the profile switcher each time.

3. Developer-friendly defaults. Developer Edition ships with things like remote debugging and browser-chrome debugging enabled by default.

4. And, for all of you who hated Australis, a compact theme with square tabs.

But those are just consequences of the single biggest change:

5. We have a new channel, which new rules. And we want to use it to build the best possible browser for web developers. We can ship new tools that aren't yet ready for the Beta channel, and we can change the browser's appearance and defaults specifically for web developers.

We'll be watching this thread during launch, but you can always submit feature requests on UserVoice. The right people will see them: https://ffdevtools.uservoice.com/forums/246087-firefox-devel...

This isn't a finished product. It's an invitation.

What tools do you need?

Walkman 12 days ago 0 replies      
Angelina Fabbro introduced this tool on a Web developer conference in Hungary [1] a couple of days ago. Here is a short summary as far as I can recall:

- a couple of decades ago alert() was used by pretty much everybody for debugging, even her :) [2]

- most of the developers use(d|s) Chrome for web development

- this is the first serious dedicated tool for web developers which is not just a browser plugin

you don't have to close a million tabs during development

- they worked together with the Firebug team, there will be no duplicate functionality in the plugin and the browser

- seamless Firebug integration. You can switch between Firebug and default theme, it will not break your workflow

- NOT a new browser which you have to support, same engine as in Firefox, nothing new or special about it

- multiple profiles

- developer friendly default settings like enabled experimental CSS features, etc.

- UX improvements for changing config, like switches for features, so you don't have to dig about:config

- support debugging Android, even the iOS simulator or attached device real time

- the dev team is really looking for feedback, they want to make web developers' life easier and put in features based on feedback

- there will be no built in REST API tester tool like Postman REST Client at first, but I was not the first dev who asked for it, so they will consider it for sure

- it will replace the firefox dev channel

- themeable

- much stable than nightly, but you can try out experimental browser features, so it's a good compromise

[1]: http://instagram.com/p/vIiNp_vRXD/

[2]: https://twitter.com/hopefulcyborg/status/530033632636055552

tbassetto 12 days ago 2 replies      
I think it really should not prompt to be the default browser when you launch it (and maybe never show this prompt like Chrome Canary).

A colleague had a weird race condition (I guess) with this prompt + the "how-to" overlays and Firefox Developer Edition stopped responding to clicks 3 seconds after launching it

Kudos for using a different profile than the classic Firefox/Nightly :)

realusername 12 days ago 1 reply      
I'm taking advantage of the fact that there's a few Mozilla developers around to say a big thank you to the team.

I've never used most of the features of the developer edition except the console and everything is great on this developer edition.

I'm a proud owner of a Firefox OS phone and the simulator is really good and fast, I think I'm going to make an app or two during my spare time !

A big thank you to all the team for your great work !

grk 12 days ago 4 replies      
For those not liking the dark UI, you can switch by opening the dev tools, clicking the gear icon on the right and selecting "light theme".
nickpresta 12 days ago 1 reply      
If a member of the dev tools team is watching, when first launching Firefox Developer Edition, I get a modal on top of a modal:


This wouldn't be a problem usually (although strange) but I have to click the partially hidden box under the top most box to dismiss anything.

jekrb 12 days ago 0 replies      
There's no need to download this if you're already running firefox aurora. Just update and you'll find that firefox aurora is now firefox developer.
zenocon 12 days ago 1 reply      
Doesn't look like I can debug websockets? Chrome's network tab allows you to see websocket frames, but you have to navigate away from it and back to it again to refresh it -- which is a pain.

I'm not seeing where/how to view frames in the network tab here, but perhaps I missed it?

rdebeasi 12 days ago 3 replies      
Exciting stuff! If you're already on Aurora, when you auto-update to developer edition, you'll switch over to the new dev profile and your bookmarks and settings will be gone. You can get at those by opening the profile manager and switching back to the default profile, or by using a stable version of Firefox.


kolme 12 days ago 0 replies      
I have a few problems with this.

First, using a browser which includes fancy experimental features might result in the page looking or behaving differently in the users' (stable) browsers. I see this as kind of risky, that's why I usually develop against stable browsers and use the nightly/aurora for personal browsing.

Second, having browser-chrome debugging on by default is not very helpful for web developers, it actually gets in the way. It might be more useful to activate these features in the nightly channel, where people are more actively debugging the browser itself.

Third, if this channel is the intended one for developers, why ship the development tools with the stable release?

andyfleming 11 days ago 0 replies      
It would be great to see something like JSON View be built in.


(There could be an option to disable "automatic JSON formatting" for those who don't like it for whatever reason)

_jomo 12 days ago 1 reply      
If you don't like setting up your Browser again, you can go to about:preferences#general and uncheck Allow Firefox Developer Edition and Firefox to run at the same time

This will cause Firefox Dev to use the Firefox profile with all your settings and Addons.

tshadwell 12 days ago 2 replies      
I noticed the logo loads slowly and it actually loads a huge x1024 image https://mdn.mozillademos.org/files/9069/firefox-dev-ed_logo-...
Gracana 12 days ago 2 replies      
I noticed there's a checkbox for "make FirefoxDeveloperEdition my default browser," is that just a vestigial thing from the regular FF installer, or is it actually safe for me to use FFDE as my regular browser?
px1999 12 days ago 1 reply      
The developer tools are the only thing stopping me from switching back to FF from Chrome.

The tooling in Firefox does seem to be improving rapidly (kudos to the devs for that, I'm not trying to trivialise the hard work that they've been putting in, by any means), but there are still several basic(?) features missing from the script debugger. Calling this a "developer edition" is IMO a misnomer until you can reasonably use it to develop pages/sites/applications - currently every other major "not-for-developer edition" browser already gives you almost everything this does, and in some areas quite a bit more.

What would make it a developer browser to me:

* Folder grouping on resources

* Allowing webide or the script web tools tab to work with local folders (Chrome workspace equivalent)

* Dynamic updates to scripts (Chrome workspace/dev tools equivalent)

* The ability to open and/or display more than 1 script at a time. Tabs in developer tools should operate like browser tabs (orderable, poppable etc)

I hope that this isn't just a re-branding exercise - the video, site and fanfare make it sound like Mozilla's aiming to make something great for developers (not to mention that the FF tools are headed in the right direction), but the first release and associated posts/comments seem to indicate that it's essentially a nicer packaging of what used to be aurora.

timdorr 12 days ago 1 reply      
Here's the prettier link to download: https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/developer/
fiatjaf 12 days ago 0 replies      
I've always used Chrome since I started developing, and I liked their Developer Tools. Since I switched to Firefox four months ago I've had a lot of trouble with FF DevTools:

* debugging is too slow (or my computer is weak, but Chrome DevTools run smoothly);* debugging is very slow;* the debugger has some unpredictable behavior, like stopping at all calls that lead to some error, when I expected it to stop at the error properly.

wkdown 12 days ago 0 replies      
For some reason, I convinced myself that Valence was going to allow us to change the engine to Webkit and Trident as well as Gecko. While testing iOS and Android is awesome, this would have been downright incredible.
KyleSanderson 12 days ago 2 replies      
Not to be the guy to bring this up again, but if this is targeted for development why are sessions still limited to consuming 2GB of memory? Why is nightly still the only branch with 64bit builds?
bigbango 12 days ago 1 reply      
For those who like me are wary of running unverified binaries:

- checksums: https://ftp.mozilla.org/pub/mozilla.org/firefox/nightly/late...

- signatures: https://ftp.mozilla.org/pub/mozilla.org/firefox/nightly/late...

- signing key: https://ftp.mozilla.org/pub/mozilla.org/firefox/releases/lat...

edit: reformatting

2nd edit: added https

mariusmg 12 days ago 0 replies      
Is the theme available to use it with "regular" Firefox ?
tzgrish 11 days ago 0 replies      
Editing JavaScript functions on the fly is the main feature I hear devs complain about Firefox devtools (anecdotal). Chrome allows you to edit the JavaScript in the script tag which is amazingly intuitive. I realize editing variable values is possible while debugging, there are console commands and Scratchpad is neat, but it's not the same. Being able to edit the JS directly in the tab, save and see the changes on the page is a huge time saver.

I was able to find a firebug feature request with applicable bugzilla links: https://code.google.com/p/fbug/issues/detail?id=5083

Edit: changed reload to save

nartz 12 days ago 0 replies      
Firefox already does a lot - how about a website similar to 'RailsCasts' that takes different use cases and shows how to do them with FireFox plugins?

I think its important to differentiate different users / use cases, because 'Web Developer' is pretty broad.

bad_user 12 days ago 1 reply      
Wow, so Firefox's Preferences panel is being redesigned, or is this a "Developer Edition" thing? I like it - hopefully they'll also add searching capabilities. Yes, like in Chrome, that was a good design choice.

On the theme, I personally don't like dark themes for my browser. But I like that this theme is space efficient, so I hope to see an equivalent for the stable Firefox, as I for one would use it, but please make it light instead of dark :)

I do hope to see Electrolysis get some love. It's available in Nightly, but not in this developer preview. From what I understand, the next version (36) is the first version in which Electrolysis starts being moved between channels.

Anyway, great job.

blowski 12 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks! I've essentially been using a developer profile in Firefox for some time, but the OSX dock doesn't play well with profiles, so this makes things a lot easier.
hassanzaheer_ 12 days ago 1 reply      
I would really like to see a good javascript profiling tool in FF. Chrome has one but I think it can be improved upon.
philo23 12 days ago 1 reply      
I managed to get this when downloading Firefox Aurora over the weekend while reinstalling my OS. I wasn't expecting the dark UI when I opened it. I personally found it a little garish and I couldn't immediately see a way to turn it off. Anyone know if there's a way to switch it back?
robertschultz 11 days ago 0 replies      
Some of the same points other are bringing up.

1. HTTP Request Builder (i.e. Postman)2. Web Proxy3. Make the Web IDE for anything like Atom or SublimeText4. CSS media emulation

The release looks great, congratulation guys. Looking forward to the future of this model.

dschep 12 days ago 2 replies      
Will https://launchpad.net/~ubuntu-mozilla-daily/+archive/ubuntu/... switch to this new build or will there be a new PPA for Firefox Developer Edition?
daphneokeefe 12 days ago 2 replies      
Can I run this Dev Edition side-by-side with the regular version of Firefox, on the same machine?
kristopolous 12 days ago 0 replies      
I'm going to complain that it doesn't work on my tiling window manager. Usually I can't do this because I'm not the target audience.

But this time I am!!! So yeah, menu doesn't work in notion. There you go!

alwayslearning 11 days ago 0 replies      
Why all the negativity? It's an early release and a great idea, not to mention they're actively soliciting feedback and answering questions in the thread. Thanks for this, Mozilla!
sergiotapia 12 days ago 2 replies      
Unfortunately, I can't acces HackerNews with this new browser. Just a heads up to the team, liking the browser so far!

Secure Connection Failed

An error occurred during a connection to news.ycombinator.com. The OCSP response contains out-of-date information. (Error code: sec_error_ocsp_old_response)

    The page you are trying to view cannot be shown because the authenticity of the received data could not be verified.    Please contact the website owners to inform them of this problem.

JetSpiegel 12 days ago 3 replies      
Just a rebranding of Aurora, focused on developers?

I was expecting something more from all the fanfare.

rpwverheij 12 days ago 1 reply      
Just downloaded it and gave it a try. I've been using chrome for development for a long time and I must say this looks really good and I'd really like to switch cause I like the firefox image/mission much more. However I'm experiencing some problems editing my .less files directly from the browser. They don't show up in the list of style sheet files, even though I have "show original sources" checked. Where do I submit an issue for this?
alanh 12 days ago 1 reply      
The annoying experience of launching this for the first time: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8585522

Direct link: https://s3.amazonaws.com/f.cl.ly/items/2O3M10153r1h3A1P3T3T/...

groovecoder 12 days ago 0 replies      
BTW, there are also some sweet new demos at https://developer.mozilla.org/demos/
cavneb 12 days ago 0 replies      
Thank you for making this available. Great job Mozilla!
gear54rus 11 days ago 0 replies      
That's really cool. Big thanks to the team behind this!

The biggest feature for me was that it can run alongside the normal version of Firefox so I could tinker with it without disrupting day-to-day workflow.

Not like it's a big deal or anything, but it still shows a warning when you enter about:config even though it's targeted at devs :)

Walkman 8 days ago 0 replies      
Here is the first talk about it by Angelina Fabbro if you are interested:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-LPZMgRIXJc
Illniyar 12 days ago 1 reply      
I love firefox, but this looks like a simple rebranding of the experimental beta version.

If that version is going to be the same version that regular users get 12 weeks from now, it's hardly "tailored" for developers.

Though I'm assuming getting rid of "unstable beta" marker gets a whole new group of unknowing beta testers.

chrift 11 days ago 1 reply      
The only issue I have with the inspector tools in its current guise, is the fact you can't open an XHR request logged in the console in the network tab so you can view the nicer layout of parameters and stuff.

Which is really annoying and the main reason I stick with firebug.

pherocity_ 12 days ago 1 reply      
Well, I'm getting a 404 when trying to download. I'm guessing the new toolset doesn't help with this?
Superia 11 days ago 0 replies      
I don't know if this belongs here, but my Aurora installation automatically replaced itself with Developer Edition, which would be fine if it did not also delete all history, bookmarks, saved passwords, plugins etc. Is there anyway to get that stuff back?
anonfunction 12 days ago 1 reply      
What is this "hello" thing I see in the top right as the smiley chat icon? I've started a conversation, here's the link: https://hello.firefox.com/#call/fmX1j62g-P4
art-of-code 11 days ago 0 replies      
I honestly thought that Valence was a way to view renderings of the desktop versions of Chrome, Safari, Opera and IE within Firefox. Anyway, congratulations at the team at Mozilla for creating this. Can't wait to try the WebIDE for editing remote code.
lechevalierd3on 12 days ago 0 replies      
I get a kernel Panics when I move a fullscreen window from one screen to another one.If this can help https://gist.github.com/3on/cf6464e0ecb9f73aad6f
fpgeek 12 days ago 0 replies      
Is there an Android version? I can't find a download link when browsing from my Nexus 7.
sergiotapia 12 days ago 1 reply      
Just to clarify is this the tool they announced a few days ago with that small video?
gsam 12 days ago 0 replies      
Looking forward to see how much of a 'Web IDE' can actually be achieved. I continually feel like I should be making things in the browser, but there's no adequate editor still.
mattfrommars 11 days ago 0 replies      
Please tell me there is a feature like in chrome when you do shift-esc. I really would like to see CPU usages in a browser a memory breakdown like about:memory
IanCal 11 days ago 0 replies      
Is it possible to create regular static websites using the webIDE? I couldn't find anything but it seems like everything is there to be able to do this.
ecaron 12 days ago 0 replies      
zobzu 12 days ago 0 replies      
"you are using an outdated version of firefox"Sup mozilla im on freaking nightly - detection seem to need work :)
pandog 12 days ago 1 reply      
Getting a 50kB/s download rate for the Linux bzip. If anyone's going to find that annoying, it's developers!
plainOldText 12 days ago 1 reply      
Why the black theme? I think that as developers/designers we should use environments which closely resemble that of the users we're creating for. Colors influence people's emotions, as well as how they perceive a specific design. Even if you are a designer, you're still a user; a user of your own creations. And when you change the mindset to that of a user, why not change the environment as well?

(just a thought)

amelius 12 days ago 0 replies      
Does it support multiple browser profiles? Can I easily switch between Gecko/IE 8,9,10/Webkit/etcetera?
GUNHED_158 12 days ago 1 reply      
So, Safari on iOS setup is only available for Linux and Mac users?!Is there any plan to support IE simulation?
g4k 12 days ago 0 replies      
A key feature that is missing is having the option to open a private window with all extensions disabled.
cturhan 12 days ago 2 replies      
As it is developer edition, would you give us option to enable/disable CORS policy.
pimlottc 12 days ago 0 replies      
A little sad they didn't go with "Firefox Gold" for old time sake...
ganeshk 11 days ago 0 replies      
HI there i need full download file to install in my system how do I?
bmoresbest55 12 days ago 0 replies      
The download is taking so long! Apparently this is highly desired?
k__ 12 days ago 0 replies      
WebIDE isn't for normal web-apps?
pluc 12 days ago 2 replies      
That's great. Now if everyone else could have an up-to-date, experimental-feature-activated browser, this would be useful.
fz7412 11 days ago 0 replies      
i can't install the firefox developer edition on ubuntu despite all efforts !
geniium 12 days ago 0 replies      
Will see if that new version will bring us (web developer) anything helpful.
ganeshk 11 days ago 1 reply      
i need a full .exe file how do I get that?
SnaKeZ 12 days ago 1 reply      
esro360 12 days ago 0 replies      
why isnt firebug installed by default ?
abhishekkr541 11 days ago 0 replies      
Great for porn, I guess. :-/
mariusmg 12 days ago 1 reply      
WebIDE still feels like a toy for now. Very little customization for the text editor for now. Also the browser has a shiny new dark theme but the text editor doesn't seem to support themes (and has a light theme as default).
UncleCarbs 12 days ago 1 reply      
Am I the only one here

<insert image of Walter>

Who doesn't get how Dev Edition is different to normal firefox?

towelguy 12 days ago 3 replies      
Why emphatize on the download button that it is a "free download"? Maybe they'll add a payed option in the future?
dz0ny 12 days ago 2 replies      
They bundled theme otherwise all old stuff. I was at least expecting remote API, more UI fixes with dev tools.

/me Loves Chrome Dev tools, anything less is a waste of time...

warcode 12 days ago 2 replies      
Will this version survive months of usage with multiple open tabs without performance deteriorating massively like the regular firefox? I left FF after my 10th profile reset / reinstall to get back to "normal" performance.
Facebook Launches Flow, Static Type Checker for JavaScript
813 points by davemo  4 days ago   276 comments top 50
DigitalSea 4 days ago 4 replies      
What a great tool. Facebook are absolutely killing with the last year or so with all of their open source contributions and releases. First HHVM, Haxl, React.js (amongst other things) and now Flow, this is fantastic. I am really liking how companies like Facebook & Google are concentrating their efforts on the web language of the future: Javascript. The support for JSX alone is a MASSIVE feature (expected given React.js and JSX).

Good job Facebook.

ep103 4 days ago 9 replies      
This looks like such a better step in the right direction than than the types of tools MS and Google have been putting out. Dynamically discerning the underlying code, and allowing optional type annotation works _with_ javascript, as opposed to attempting to turn js into a completely different (and weakened) language.

That said, I am curious what solutions this solves that isn't already solved by enforcing good code coverage. Full disclaimer, the largest js projects I've worked on were in the tens of thousands of lines, not hundreds of thousands, but type checking just seemed completely unnecessary provided a good coding guide and test coverage were maintained and enforced.

paulddraper 3 days ago 1 reply      
Similar to the Google Closure Compiler (https://developers.google.com/closure/compiler/), which has been around for years, just with fewer features.

It has static type checking with optional type annotations and type inference.

It doesn't have compiler-time constants, dead code removal, inlining, or other optimizations.

But....still really cool.

slashnull 4 days ago 2 replies      
Another comment that just occurred to me: JavaScript becoming gradually typed is an interesting reflection of the recent history of the optimization of JavaScript interpreters, which consist of deducing where semantically dynamic objects behave like static class instances, then inlining the accessors and where beneficial, the "class methods", and specializing && JITing the semantically dynamic functions that almost always take as argument "instances" of this "class".

(ref this absolutely fascinating paper


and this piece of V8 dox quoting the aforementioned paper


It seems that adding a type system to a dynamic language has little real drawbacks compared to designing language and type system at the same time, for both performance and type safety considerations.

slashnull 4 days ago 4 replies      
At last!

This all seem extremely cool.

I went straight from hacking Scala and Haskell as a hobbyist to doing (mostly) front-end JS job, and I've always found that my code, and a lot of good libraries I read, naturally emulate something close to Hindley-Milner typing, by using objects as tuples/records and arrays as (hopefully well-typed) lists, as well as the natural flexibility of objects as a poor substitute for Either types.

I'm definitely pleased to see that the designers of this library have also realized that strongly-typed javascript was just a few annotations and a type inference algorithm away.

I'm just wondering why are nullable types inmplemented as such and not as a natural consequence of full sum types, which are inexplicably absent.

drapper 4 days ago 4 replies      
How this compares to TypeScript? At the quick glance I noted:

- more powerful type system (union types, hurray)

- support for JSX

- no windows binaries

- supports more of ES6 stuff

- ...but has no support for modules yet

- no generics (??)

How about performance? and workflow? Didn't yet find this: does it use a normal "write then compile" model like TS or has something like Hack (if I'm not mistaken it has a daemon running in the background, checking the code as you write it).

Wonder why FB decided to roll this on instead of using TS.

fdomig 4 days ago 4 replies      
From my perspective, the static type checking is more or less the same as TypeScript's `--noImplicitAny` option as the first example on flowtype [1] shows, the same can be achieved with

    tsc --noImplicitAny hello.tsc
which will result in

    hello.ts(2,14): error TS7006: Parameter 'x' implicitly has an 'any' type.
I do not see much difference.

[1]: http://flowtype.org

drderidder 4 days ago 7 replies      
Static analysis is definitely preferable to cross-compilation and this looks like a great tool. That said, the idea that static type checking makes developers more productive and prevents tons of errors is overstated imho. Type inference is supposed to make coding simpler and more productive (particularly in functional languages) - even C++11 has added it. I'm sure static type checking can benefit some organizations, but in my experience, type related errors are usually easy to find and fix and have rarely if ever been the root cause of our most difficult problems. Dynamic type checking and implicit conversion is one of the more powerful features of JavaScript and certainly no less prone to error or counter-productive than type-casting, making variadic functions or class templates are in other languages.
hippich 4 days ago 1 reply      
Make sure to checkout http://ternjs.net/ too. It does not have types validation I believe, but it does many other things and in combination with eslint allows catching most errors before packaging.

Tern.js actually detect types, and may be it would be possible for eslint to incorporate it somehow to detect invalid use of types.

One big ternjs plus for me is the fact that tern.js knows about require.js modules and can look in other require'd files.

mjackson 4 days ago 2 replies      
This is HUGE!

Thanks to everyone at Facebook who worked on this. You guys are awesome.

Also: The fact that this is written primarily in OCaml (as opposed to JS) is an excellent example of people choosing the right tool for the job.

chrisan 4 days ago 0 replies      
Found a nice comparison of the various "things"(?) adding static typing to JS: http://www.2ality.com/2014/10/typed-javascript.html
tadruj 3 days ago 0 replies      
I really like how Facebook went about getting as much information about types as possible without the coderess, not forcing her to do unnecessary stuff. Behavior design on the code level at its finest.

And on the side note, I bet Facebook did this just to make nerds install OCaml and show them the light :)

antoinelyset 4 days ago 0 replies      
Flow seems to be close to a true application of type theory and is written in OCaml. Well done Facebook.
leopoldfreeman 3 days ago 1 reply      
Just tried it. Not good for projects depending heavily on 3rd party libs. I have to define all the interfaces in a 'interface file' to keep 'flow' silent. This seems an impossible job for our project.
pgroves 4 days ago 2 replies      
Does someone know how these types of projects come to fruition in a big company like Facebook? Are people working on them full time (with no other workload)? Do engineers build them on the weekend? How do they get 'funded'?
emmanueloga_ 3 days ago 2 replies      
There's some tremendous effort being poured into making a crippled language like javascript usable, but when talking about solutions for maintainable frontend code, I'm more excited about compile-to-js languages like haxe [0], purescript [1] or ceylon [2].

The caveats I heard about transpilers often boil down to difficulty of debugging and lack of libraries. But with the amazing browser dev tools we have, debugging potential issues is not that painful. Every language compiling to js provides FFI and/or some escape hatch so you can write javascript manually, for performance tuning or for using 3rd party libs.

Even if you do write "raw" javascript, some sort of compile step is unavoidable, for running jshint, concatenating, minifying, etc. Why not walk the extra mile and use a better language?

BTW, I'm not saying a tool like this is not super-useful, specially if you already have thousands of lines of js code that you can't get rid of. Congrats to the Facebook team for the release!

0: http://haxe.org/

1: http://purescript.org/

2: http://ceylon-lang.org/

swalsh 4 days ago 3 replies      
Question, in the doc it shows a code snipped that has the functioned defined as such "function foo(x: string)"

What mechanism ensures this becomes valid javascript? does the code need to be compiled?

jenius 4 days ago 0 replies      
I know it's very early, but just curious if anyone is working on a node binding for this, or if one exists already? Would love to try it out in our stack, but it would require a javascript interface.
Bahamut 3 days ago 2 replies      
Whatever people's thoughts on the language itself, JavaScript has built itself into a juggernaut in the amount of tooling available that fit into various opinions that developers can choose from. The number of large frameworks (in terms of popularity and usage) is not really found elsewhere. The number of smaller plugins are vast.

It helps that companies like Google and Facebook have invested a significant amount of research power into designing frameworks and tooling around it. Just from there two companies alone, we have tools like React, Angular, Karma, JSX, Jest, and now Flow. Tooling that involves the browser more include Polymer and Traceur (ES6 to ES5 transpiler).

To contrast this, I have been doing development with Cordova the past week & writing Cordova plugins to fill in missing functionality - the plugin ecosystem with Cordova is horrid, and the documentation is often awful. To compound it, Android developers don't seem to believe in documenting their libraries well.

I will take the JS ecosystem any day when confronted with a choice like that.

pspeter3 4 days ago 1 reply      
Does it support structural typing? That seems to be the strongest advantage of TypeScript.
kaonashi 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is what I wished Typescript was.

Looks really handy.

quest88 4 days ago 0 replies      
Great work, no doubt.

My personal preference is to have annotations because it helps future readers and maintainers understand the code better. Instead of looking through the function to see that the variable is in-fact a number, I'd rather just read "@param x {number}". And at that point, one may as well as use closure.

void_star 4 days ago 2 replies      
This is really cool. Does anyone have pointers to relevant papers that inspired/influenced their type system?
davemo 4 days ago 0 replies      
If you are interested in learning more about Flow check out the docs [1] and github repo [2].

[1] - http://flowtype.org/

[2] - https://github.com/facebook/flow

hyp0 3 days ago 1 reply      
Static types without performance benefits. So far, all popular static type systems have had the performance benefits, so it's unclear how much people value the other benefits (quality and documentation).

I wonder which will have the most impact: code quality or types as documentation (esp for tooling)?

They are adapting to common idioms, rather than designing it from the ground up. This ad hoc approach is a great way to build useful tools (and startups), but it's also usually a mess. Like NN4. But, they seem to be type experts - plus they're using ocaml. Maybe ad hoc by experts is the way to get these ideas adopted?

slackstation 4 days ago 2 replies      
I wonder, how does this compare to Google's Dart.js? Like Dart, it introduces a type system into JS and like Dart, it requires a compile step between Flow code and JS that will run in a browser. What does Flow do differently than Dart?
skybrian 4 days ago 1 reply      
Apparently this is just type checking. It's not going to do any dead code removal like Closure Compiler in advanced mode or provide a better syntax like TypeScript. Whether that's good or bad depends on what you're looking for.
gregwebs 4 days ago 1 reply      
Even without the flow analysis and better typing, incremental compilation is a huge improvement over TypeScript, which re-parses type declarations on every compilation. That quickly leads to large compile times when you have type definitions for third-party components (even though you may only be using one definition in the file, the entire definition is parsed).

The existing available definitions from the DefinitelyTyped project is a huge productivity booster. Apparently Flow also has similar .d.flow files, but it will probably be a while until they exist for common projects.

hyp0 3 days ago 0 replies      
This looks great, in typesystem/tooling/presentation, and sounds perfect for facebook; but for mainstream adoption, it needs to meet (or be closer to) the ideal of free-benefits:

(1) zero-work: works instantly with existing code and esp third party libraries; and

(2) instant-benefit: provides some compelling benefit in that zero-work case above (of course, it's OK if it provides more benefit if you do more work, adding type annotations etc).

szx 4 days ago 0 replies      
This might be a stupid question, but is there a way to leverage object annotations [1] for runtime checks of data coming from e.g. an API or FFI call (node.js module calling C++ code)?

[1] http://flowtype.org/docs/react-example.html#general-annotati...

eric_bullington 4 days ago 0 replies      
Best tech news I've seen this year, in terms of potential to directly improve my workflow and my clients' applications.

I'm surprised I didn't hear more about this before since it was apparently unveiled at the "Flow" conference. Wasn't at the conference and somehow I missed any prior mention of it.

hyp0 3 days ago 2 replies      
One of the authors of Flow offered to answer questions, but their comment is greyed out as a dupe (and it isn't a dupe - something went wrong):


elwell 4 days ago 2 replies      
Is the type syntax friendly with CoffeeScript?
alkonaut 4 days ago 1 reply      
How does static checking work with dynamic types? Can the type checker figure out if a field/method exists on a type given that it can be added dynamically?

Edit: I assume it just checks bool/number/string and doesn't care about prototypes?

MrBuddyCasino 4 days ago 2 replies      
That is quite impressive. No type annotations needed, and control flow is taken intro consideration (hence the name I guess).

If I am not mistaken, this tech could be used to build IDEs roughly similar to whats available for Java, couldn't it?

poxrud 4 days ago 1 reply      
Looks like a great tool. The documentation at http://flowtype.org/ is excellent. Should be easy to add it to a Gulp/Grunt workflow.
sebastianconcpt 3 days ago 1 reply      
Can someone explain in simple words what is the problem that this would fix? I've never felt the need for this, why should I care?
applecore 4 days ago 1 reply      
In terms of layering a static type system on top of JavaScript, how does this interact with Coffeescript and other languages that compile to JavaScript?
aikah 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'm really curious about the accuarcy of that tool,really really curious given how javascript "types" work.
smartpants 3 days ago 0 replies      
avik 4 days ago 0 replies      
Hi, I'm Avik Chaudhuri, I'm one of the authors of Flow, and I'll be happy to answer questions.
szx 4 days ago 0 replies      
Awesome. FYI, the Language Reference Next/Back links don't match the order in the left navbar.
aliakhtar 4 days ago 1 reply      
Or you can just use GWT which saves you from having to use javascript at all, and lets you write java (along with all its IDEs, type checking, code structure, and other benefits) which is compiled to highly efficient javascript: http://www.gwtproject.org/learnmore-sdk.html
phazelift 3 days ago 0 replies      
Static? I use my own type-checking/enforcing lib as a base for everything I write in JS or CS (https://github.com/phazelift/types.js). It's only 1.8kb, dynamic and never fails on me.
dgreensp 4 days ago 1 reply      
Looks nice. Is it written in ML?
lechevalierd3on 4 days ago 0 replies      
Has any one tried to make it work with a google closure code base?I am still trying.
zghst 4 days ago 0 replies      
Waiting for more ES6 support! I am spoiled by 6to5.
debacle 4 days ago 0 replies      
Man, I really want to work at Facebook. If only they didn't require relocation.
UnixHakr 4 days ago 2 replies      
Very nice. I wonder how hard this would be to throw into Jasmine/QUnit type scenarios.
noobplusplus 4 days ago 2 replies      
Who writes JS these days? Will it go with Angular/jQuery?
Node.js in Flame Graphs
777 points by stoey  3 days ago   239 comments top 41
ChuckMcM 3 days ago 11 replies      
The moneyquote:

"We made incorrect assumptions about the Express.js API without digging further into its code base. As a result, our misuse of the Express.js API was the ultimate root cause of our performance issue."

This situation is my biggest challenge with software these days. The advice to "just use FooMumbleAPI!" is rampant and yet the quality of the implemented APIs and the amount of review they have had varies all over the map. Consequently any decision to use such an API seems to require one first read and review the entire implementation of the API, otherwise you get the experience that NetFlix had. That is made worse by good APIs where you spend all that time reviewing them only to note they are well written, but each version which could have not so clued in people committing changes might need another review. So you can't just leave it there. And when you find the 'bad' ones, you can send a note to the project (which can respond anywhere from "great, thanks for the review!" to "if you don't like it why not send us a pull request with what you think is a better version.")

What this means in practice is that companies that use open source extensively in their operation, become slower and slower to innovate as they are carrying the weight of a thousand different systems of checks on code quality and robustness, which people using closed source will start delivering faster and faster as they effectively partition the review/quality question to the person selling them the software and they focus on their product innovation.

There was an interesting, if unwitting, simulation of this going on inside Google when I left, where people could check-in changes to the code base that would have huge impacts across the company causing other projects to slow to a halt (in terms of their own goals) while they ported to the new way of doing things. In this future world changes, like the recently hotly debated systemd change, will incur costs while the users of the systems stop to re-implement in the new context, and there isn't anything to prevent them from paying this cost again and again. A particularly Machievellan proprietary source vendor might fund programmers to create disruptive changes to expressly inflict such costs on their non-customers.

I know, too tin hat, but it is what I see coming.

thedufer 3 days ago 7 replies      
> Its unclear why Express.js chose not to use a constant time data structure like a map to store its handlers.

Its actually quite clear - most routes are defined by a regex rather than a string, so there is no built-in structure (if there's a way at all) to do O(1) lookups in the routing table. A router that only allowed string route definitions would be faster but far less useful.

I can't explain away the recursion, though. That seems wholly unnecessary.

Edit: Actually, I figured that out, too. You can put middleware in a router so it only runs on certain URL patterns. The only difference between a normal route handler and a middleware function is that a middleware function uses the third argument (an optional callback) and calls it when done to allow the route matcher to continue through the routes array. This can be asynchronous (thus the callback), so the router has to recurse through the routes array instead of looping.

rwaldin 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm surprised nobody has mentioned that express has a built in mechanism for sublinear matching against the entire list of application routes. All you have to do is nest Routers (http://expressjs.com/4x/api.html#router) based on URL path steps and you will reduce the overall complexity of matching a particular route from O(n) to near O(log n).
remon 3 days ago 4 replies      
I wonder what the thought process was behind moving their web service stack (partially?) to node.js in the first place. For a company with the scale and resources of Netflix it's not exactly an obvious choice.
elwell 3 days ago 2 replies      
TIL, SVG's can display labels on element hover: http://cdn.nflximg.com/ffe/siteui/blog/yunong/200mins.svg

Nice, contained way to show data like this.

vkjv 3 days ago 3 replies      
> ...as well as increasing the Node.js heap size to 32Gb.

> ...also saw that the processs heap size stayed fairly constant at around 1.2 Gb.

This is because 1.2 GB is the max allowed heap size in v8. Increasing beyond this value has no effect.

> ...Its unclear why Express.js chose not to use a constant time data structure like a map to store its handlers.

It it is non-trivial (not possible?) to do this in O(1) for routes that use matching / wildcards, etc. This optimization would only be possible for simple routes.

tjholowaychuk 3 days ago 0 replies      
Sounds like a documentation issue, or lack of a staging environment. I've written and maintained countless large Express applications and routing was never even remotely a bottleneck, thus the simple & flexible linear lookup. I believe we had an issue or two open for quite a while in case anyone wanted to report real use-cases that performed poorly.

Possibly worth mentioning, but there's really nothing stopping people from adding dtrace support to Express, it could easily be done with middleware. Switching frameworks seems a little heavy-handed for something that could have been a 20 minute npm module.

_Marak_ 3 days ago 1 reply      
I read:

"This turned out be caused by a periodic (10/hour) function in our code. The main purpose of this was to refresh our route handlers from an external source. This was implemented by deleting old handlers and adding new ones to the array"

refresh our route handlers from an external source

This is not something that should be done in live process. If you are updating the state of the node, you should be creating a new node and killing the old one.

Aside from hitting a somewhat obvious behavior for messing with the state of express in running process, once you have introduced the idea of programmatically putting state into your running node you have seriously impeded the abiltity to create a stateless fault tolerant distributed system.

clebio 2 days ago 2 replies      
> I cant imagine how we would have solved this problem without being able to sample Node.js stacks and visualize them with flame graphs.

This has me scratching my head. The diagrams are pretty, maybe, but I can't read the process calls from them (the words are truncated because the graphs are too narrow). And I can't see, visually, which calls are repeated. They're stacked, not grouped, and the color palette is quite narrow (color brewer might help here?).

At least, I _can_ imagine how you could characterize this problem without novel eye-candy. Use histograms. Count repeated calls to each method and sort descending. Sampling is only necessary if you've got -- really, truly, got -- big data (which Netflix probably does), but I don't think the author means 'sample' in a statistical sense. It sounds more like 'instrumentation', decorating the function calls to produce additional debugging information. Either way, once you have that, there are various common ways to isolate performance bottlenecks. Few of which probably require visual graphs.

There's also various lesser inefficiencies in the flame graphs: is it useful (non-obvious) that every call is a child of `node`, `node::Start`, `uv_run`, etc.? Vertical real-estate might be put to better use with a log-scale? Etcetera, etc.

TheLoneWolfling 3 days ago 1 reply      
> benchmarking revealed merely iterating through each of these handler instances cost about 1 ms of CPU time

1ms / entry? What is it doing that it's spending 3 million cycles on a single path check?

wpietri 3 days ago 2 replies      
From the article:

> What did we learn from this harrowing experience? First, we need to fully understand our dependencies before putting them into production.

Is that the lesson to learn? That scares me, because a) it's impossible, and b) it lengthens the feedback loop, decreasing systemic ability to learn.

The lesson I'd learn from that would be something like "Roll new code out gradually and heavily monitor changes in the performance envelope."

Basically, I think the approach of trying to reduce mean time between failure is self-limiting, because failure is how you learn. I think the right way forward for software is to focus on reducing incident impact and mean time to recovery.

drderidder 3 days ago 0 replies      

  > our misuse of the Express.js API was the   > ultimate root cause of our performance issue
That's unfortunate. Restify is a nice framework too, but mistakes can be made with any of them. Strongloop has a post comparing Express, Restify, hapi and LoopBack for building REST API's for anyone interested. http://strongloop.com/strongblog/compare-express-restify-hap...

ecaron 3 days ago 2 replies      
My biggest takeaway from this article is that Netflix is moving from Express to Restify, and I look forward to watching the massive uptick this has on https://github.com/mcavage/node-restify/graphs/contributors
forrestthewoods 3 days ago 2 replies      
If I had to pick one line to highlight (not to criticize, but was a wise lesson worth sharing) it would be this one:

"First, we need to fully understand our dependencies before putting them into production."

Fishrock123 3 days ago 0 replies      
I would like to mention that Netflix could have consulted the express maintainers (us) but didn't.

Source: myself - https://github.com/strongloop/express/pull/2237#issuecomment...

augustl 3 days ago 1 reply      
A surprising amount of path recognizers are O(n). Paths/routes are a great fit for radix trees, since there's typically repetitions, like /projects, /projects/1, and /projects/1/todos. The performance is O(log n).

I built one for Java: https://github.com/augustl/path-travel-agent

degobah 3 days ago 0 replies      

* Netflix had a bug in their code.

* But Express.js should throw an error when multiple route handlers are given identical paths.

* Also, Express.js should use a different data structure to store route handlers. EDIT: HN commentors disagree.

* node.js CPU Flame Graphs (http://www.brendangregg.com/blog/2014-09-17/node-flame-graph...) are awesome!

bcoates 3 days ago 0 replies      
It's not just the extra lookups -- static in express is deceptively dog-slow. For every request it processes, it stats every filename that might satisfy the URL. This results in an enormous amount of useless syscall/IO overhead. This bit me pretty hard on a high-throughput webservice endpoint with an unnoticed extra static middleware. I wound up catching it with the excellent NodeTime service.

Now that I look at it, there's a TOCTOU bug on the fstat/open callback, too: https://github.com/tj/send/blob/master/index.js#L570-L605

This should be doing open-then-fstat, not stat-then-open.

jaytaylor 2 days ago 1 reply      
I am upset that the title has been changed from "Node.js in Flames". Which is not only the real title of the article, but also a reasonable description of what they've been facing with Node.


ajsharma 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is the first I've heard of restify, but it seems like a useful framework for the main focus of most Node developers I know, which is to replace an API rather than a web application.
codelucas 3 days ago 3 replies      
> This turned out be caused by a periodic (10/hour) function in our code. The main purpose of this was to refresh our route handlers from an external source. This was implemented by deleting old handlers and adding new ones to the array. Unfortunately, it was also inadvertently adding a static route handler with the same path each time it ran.

I don't understand the need of refreshing route handlers. Could someone explain they needed to do this, and also why from an external source?

hardwaresofton 3 days ago 0 replies      
Responses are already firing in:https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8632220
MichaelGG 2 days ago 0 replies      
Would someone explain what I'm missing about the flame graphs? Why are they indispensable here? In a normal profiler, you'd just expand the hot path and see what had the most samples. Apart from making recursion very explicit, what special aspect do flame graphs expose?
pm90 3 days ago 0 replies      
I love these kinds of investigations into problems in production. I mean, you really have to admire their determination in getting to the root of the problem.

In some ways, these engineers are not that different from academic researchers, in that they are devising experiments, verifying techniques, all in the pursuit of the question: why?

hit8run 3 days ago 0 replies      
I would have written my apis in golang and not nodejs. Go is way faster in my experience and it feels leaner to create something because creating a web service can be productively doneout of box. Node apps tend to depend on thousands of 3rd party dependencies which makes the whole thing feel fragile to me.
sysk 3 days ago 0 replies      
> We also saw that the processs heap size stayed fairly constant at around 1.2 Gb.

> Something was adding the same Express.js provided static route handler 10 times an hour.

Why didn't it increase the heap size? Maybe it was too small to be noticeable?

BradRuderman 3 days ago 1 reply      
Why are they loading in routes from an external source? Is that normal, I have never seen that before.
bentcorner 3 days ago 0 replies      
Interesting article. I have a lot of experience dealing with ETLs in WPA on the Windows side - it's an awesome tool that gives you similar insights. I haven't used it for looking at javascript stacks before though, so I don't know if it'll do that.
drinchev 3 days ago 0 replies      
NodeJS Project has already a similar issue about recursive route matching.


pcl 3 days ago 0 replies      
Second, given a performance problem, observability is of the utmost importance

I couldn't agree with this more. Understanding where time is being spent and where pools etc. are being consumed is critical in these sorts of exercises.

dmitrygr 3 days ago 3 replies      
So the lesson is to actually know the code you deploy to prod? Is that not obvious?
debacle 3 days ago 1 reply      
Doesn't this seem like a bug in the express router? All of the additional routes in the array are dead (can't be routed to).
revelation 3 days ago 1 reply      
Crazy talk. In 1ms, I can perspective transform a moderately big image. NodeJS cant iterate through a list.

We really need a 60 fps equivalent for web stuff. You have 16ms, thats it.

Pharohbot 3 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder how Netflix would perform with using Dart with the DartVM. I reckon it would be faster than Node based on benchmarks I've seen. Chrome DartVM support is right around the corner ;)
coldcode 3 days ago 0 replies      
I must admit I could enjoy just doing this type of analysis all day long. Yet I hate non computing puzzles.
exratione 3 days ago 0 replies      
The express router array is pretty easy to abuse, it's true. For example, as something you probably shouldn't ever do:


I guess the Netflix situation is one of those that doesn't occur in most common usage; certainly dynamically updating the routes in live processes versus just redeploying the process containers hadn't occurred to me as a way to go.

qodeninja 3 days ago 0 replies      
wow. I love that Netflix us using Node and even more curious that they would use express.
notastartup 3 days ago 1 reply      
this is why you stick to tried and true methods folks. this is such a typical node.js fanboy mentality. "reinventing the wheels is justified because asynchronous". or "i want this trendy way to do things just because everyone else is jumping on the bandwagon".

Give me flask + uwsgi + nginx anyday.

talkingtab 3 days ago 1 reply      
an unfortunate title. Ha ha "flames" ha ha "Node.js" but the article is really about express. Not so "ha ha"
general_failure 3 days ago 0 replies      
A very good reason to go with express is TJ. He was the initial author of express and he is quite brilliant when it comes to code quality. Of course, TJ is no more part of the community but his legacy lives :-)
gadders 3 days ago 3 replies      
OFFTOPIC: "Today, I want to share some recent learnings from performance tuning this new application stack."

The word you want is "lessons".

Help the Gnome Foundation Defend the Gnome Trademark Against Groupon
722 points by PaulSec  11 days ago   208 comments top 27
cs702 11 days ago 2 replies      
Wow, all evidence suggests that the team in charge of this at Groupon is acting in bad faith, trying to bulldoze over a non-profit with fewer financial resources. (I doubt Groupon would ever attempt something like this against a financially-well-backed brand such as, say, "Apple.")

Consider: (1) it's essentially impossible that no one involved had ever heard of the Gnome desktop (it's the top result when I search for "gnome" on Google); and (2) after being contacted by the Gnome Foundation, Groupon filed even more trademark applications.

There are a lot of decent, hard-working hackers at Groupon, and quite a few of them, I'm sure, regularly visit HN. They won't be happy to find out about this.

Are there any Groupon insiders here willing to comment on this, maybe anonymously?


UPDATE: Groupon just released an official response: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8590343 -- they now say they will be "glad to look for another name." If they really mean it, kudos to them for changing their position!

jevgeni 11 days ago 1 reply      
Groupon takes the pole position for the amount of douchebagery they dished out within such a short period of their existence.
skratlo 11 days ago 4 replies      
I don't get it either. If GNOME (the desktop environment and the foundation) have a trademark on GNOME, why do they need $80k to defend it? Shouldn't the trademark office then simply reject any further application for GNOME name related to computers, software and operating systems? Is this because of the idiotic defunc. justice system the US is imposing on themselves? Where you can sue mall owner for millions because you slipped on his floor? sigh
JoshTriplett 11 days ago 9 replies      
I'm one of the folks working on the GNOME defense campaign. Happy to answer any questions people might have.
Andrenid 11 days ago 3 replies      
Couldn't someone like Google, Apple, or any of the other huge companies who have made billions with the help of *nix and OSS in general step in and help out with what, to them, is a trivial drop in the bucket of money?

Also how is it even legal for someone to so openly and malicious intrude on a trademarked name? I thought that's the entire point of trademarks.. it protects you from this?

jessaustin 11 days ago 3 replies      
I had thought Groupon's core competence is scamming small businesses, not providing POS terminals for them? Do those two things go together?
alasdair_ 11 days ago 5 replies      
Official Groupon response: https://engineering.groupon.com/2014/misc/gnome-foundation-a...

"There is some recent confusion around Groupons intended use of a product name that the Gnome Foundation believes infringes on their trademarks.

We love open source at Groupon. We have open sourced a number of projects on github. Our relationship with the open source community is more important to us than a product name. Weve been communicating with the Gnome Foundation for months to try to come to a mutually satisfactory resolution, including alternative branding options, and were happy to continue those conversations. And if we cant come up with a resolution, well be glad to look for another name.

We will continue to have an open line of communication with the Gnome Foundation until this matter is resolved."

robmccoll 11 days ago 0 replies      
I feel bad that reason I'm donating for the first time to a project that has benefited me and so many others over the years is to help then fight a legal battle not to help support development.
VMG 11 days ago 1 reply      
I really don't know what happened over there at Groupon: http://gnome.groupon.com/#intro/index

Did they truly not know? Did they just think the Gnome project wouldn't care? That they'll win the lawsuit?

rasengan 11 days ago 2 replies      
One of the lead security people at Groupon has a big GNOME sticker on his laptop in a pic on LinkedIn. This tells me that groupon is about to get pooped on.
vayarajesh 11 days ago 2 replies      
How is it possible for Groupon to not know about GNOME? they probably have so many development machines running GNONE in their offices..

I find it hard to believe that none of their tech team has never heard of gnome..

Infact they should be grateful for GNONE for it being a huge part of linux operating systems and they must have surely used it during the course of groupon's existance

mahouse 11 days ago 3 replies      
What's the point on trademarking something when later you need to pay $80,000 to defend it? The US... smh
steventhedev 11 days ago 2 replies      
IANAL, but legal protection for trademarks extends to any usage wherein it would create sufficient consumer confusion.

Great example: Apple v. Apple. The computer company agreed to not enter the music industry. To the extent of which they got sued when they added a sound card and multimedia features to their computers. They settled for a boatload of money rather than let a judge decide that they couldn't add any sound/media features.

The bigger issue is that the GNOME foundation lawyers are attempting to deal with these competing registrations individually, rather than as a class, and trying to convince a judge that Groupon is acting in bad faith and attempting to use the legal system to force them to abandon the trademark in the face of excessive legal fees.

gnurag 11 days ago 0 replies      
Shame on you Groupon. Allow me to suggest an alternate name for your PoS tablet: iPad
rectang 11 days ago 0 replies      

I hope that Groupon finds its ability to attract and retain engineering talent substantially degraded.

lucb1e 11 days ago 1 reply      
In laymans terms, can someone explain why does it costs 80 grand to protect something you registered to be legally yours 8 years ago? If they registered the GNOME trademark in 2006, isn't that supposed to protect them from this kind of shit instead of cost them more money when some big guy comes along and tries to take it?
xrjn 11 days ago 0 replies      
I've created a snapshot of some of the related pages, in case they ever get taken down:

Original GNOME page: https://archive.today/glAva

Groupon Gnome press release: https://archive.today/MQk7o

USPTO page 1: https://archive.today/xWlTk

USPTO page 2: https://archive.today/FpeeU

USPTO page 3: https://archive.today/CpI0s

Groupon Gnome page: https://archive.today/yGhPF

lbredeso 11 days ago 0 replies      
Did I miss the announcement that Darl McBride was taking over as Groupon CEO?
swang 11 days ago 1 reply      
Does Paypal still randomly freeze accounts when they get an influx of money?
towelguy 11 days ago 0 replies      
If only there was some sort of blockchain technology that allowed us to declare ownership over things and used algorithms and cryptography instead of policies and lawyers...
StevePerkins 11 days ago 1 reply      
How is this trademark infringement? Generally speaking, you're allowed to use a trademarked word in a different field (and even trademark in that field yourself!).

The classic example is Dominos pizza vs. Domino sugar:


Here, "Gnome" is being used in two "technical" contexts... but that's a pretty broad brush to paint with for claiming overlap.

ommunist 11 days ago 0 replies      
Donated few bucks. I encourage everyone to do more than me. Lads, this tiny bit of freedom is in your hands. Please do the proper thing.
buster 11 days ago 0 replies      
I love Gnome and use it daily but obviously it's not a desktop environment and doesn't copy Gnome.I don't think real words like gnome (or windows) should be trademarks and surely not when two companies do two completely different things.

For sure, the gnome foundation doesn't want to sue garden gnome manufacturers as well.

1945795 11 days ago 0 replies      
IMHO gnome should spent the money on the people who create and maintain the software, I don't see how funneling resources into the legal system is in any way beneficial to open and free software.
kristoiv 11 days ago 0 replies      
higherpurpose 11 days ago 0 replies      
Groupon still exists? Wasn't it on a death spiral a few years ago?
voidz 11 days ago 6 replies      
Ehm.. so.. GNOME wants our help now. But how did they behave when GNOME 3 was announced to not work without systemd? Or hey, anyone remember that discussion on a GNOME developers' mailing list, where they planned to take out theming support, because "it is going against the ubiquitous experience we envision GNOME 3 to be"?

This smells fishy to me. (I said it more harshly, but realised that I went too far, sorry about that.)

Feel free to shoot holes in my theory.

Go is moving to GitHub
686 points by davecheney  9 days ago   236 comments top 19
DigitalSea 9 days ago 5 replies      
I think this is Google quietly admitting that Google Code is all but dead. They will not completely get rid of it, but I would not be surprised if they switch it to read only mode sometime soon.

This is a momentous move for Github, especially with Microsoft moving .NET to Github as well. As someone who loves Github immensely, this makes me happy knowing that my favourite service is going to be around for a very long time.

Kudos to the Github team for well and truly making it as the premier code hosting and collaboration tool for developers and lovers of open source. It only goes up from here.

bbx 9 days ago 9 replies      
Google hosting Go on GitHub. Microsoft hosting .NET on GitHub. It must feel like an accomplishment to be implicitly endorsed by these companies.

Considering open source's history, you'd think its primary management tool would be open source as well. I guess it's GitHub's combination of accessible design + performant version control + lack of ads + reliability that made it the premium source for anything open source.

I'm impressed.

mholt 9 days ago 1 reply      
This is a huge compliment to GitHub, for Google to be moving one of its premier open source projects off of Google Code and onto GitHub.

More importantly, though, this is a significant compliment to the Go community, for Go to uproot itself and move to where the majority of its users are.

yid 9 days ago 4 replies      
The writing's on the wall for Google Code. I don't think I've seen a new feature in several years.
annnnd 8 days ago 3 replies      
I think these are two separate issues:

  1) Go is moving from Google Code to Github  2) Go is moving from Mercurial to Git
To echo another user in the thread: "am I the only one who prefers Mercurial to Git?" In my view Mercurial is on par or even superior to Git, but lacks "Linus made it" fame. Too bad... I have used both Mercurial and Git and find hg command line interface much more intuitive to use. As for GUIs, there really isn't much difference between the two (too bad GitHub only supports git though).

jeffreyrogers 9 days ago 2 replies      
It is great to see so many projects moving to git and GitHub in particular. GitHub is incredibly helpful for quickly taking a look at a project and figuring out what areas of a project are still evolving and being actively developed.
TheMagicHorsey 9 days ago 1 reply      
Google Code has a really bad user interface. This migration makes sense. I wish they stuck with Mercurial and moved to Bitbucket instead, but Github is still better than Google Code.
ChuckMcM 8 days ago 2 replies      
Now all we need is Jeff Bezos to buy Github :-) That would be funny.

But on the story this is a great move, Github is much nicer than Google Code and more actively supported. I had not heard of Gerrit before and that was a really pleasant discovery. Now to figure out how to get that setup at the office.

sandGorgon 8 days ago 0 replies      
It is so sad that Google Code has not been given some love. Their bug tracker is far, far superior to Github. The review mechanism is also quite, quite good (Gerrit I presume). The UX was too, too Sourceforge-ish and could not compete with Github or (what I think is best of breed) Bitbucket.
stephenitis 9 days ago 0 replies      
Props on the move, it shows that golang is flexible to make moves for what's best for the community rather than stick it out in google code. I hope this results in benefits to the iteration cycle.
xkarga00 9 days ago 0 replies      
I was hoping for this transition for a long time!Github is far more accessive and user-friendly than the Google repositories.Great move.
Laremere 8 days ago 0 replies      
I think this move is great for 2 big reasons:

1. This fits better with the workflows I know and are common for Go programmers. I use Github and Git regularly for a variety of things, and I only ever use Google Code and Mercurial for things dealing with the Go source or tool repositories. Along with the change of the much of the compiler source code from C to Go, this will make it a lot easier to get involved with the core of Go.

2. Simplifies using import paths for Go's tools. There's a bunch of different repositories in Google Code's Go project, and using them is slightly more painful because Go Get then requires mercurial to work. Reducing developer friction is a good thing, especially in odd places such as when a github repository uses a Google code repository and suddenly you need mecurial to import something using git.

virtue3 9 days ago 5 replies      
Does anyone know what code review system they are using with github?
bigtunacan 8 days ago 1 reply      
As someone who uses Ruby as my primary language; I'm totally jealous of this move. While there is a github mirror, it sucks having to use Subversion for the "one true repo" when everything else I work with these days is on git.
Spitfire777 8 days ago 3 replies      
Hi Go team,

if you want an alternative for Gerrit code review, you can also use http://review.ninja. It's also open source, so you are welcome to contribute.


sdegutis 8 days ago 2 replies      
> The world today is quite different from the world then.

Not really. Everyone used Git and Github 5 years ago too. That's why it was so annoying that Go chose to use Google Code for everything, although not surprising considering it's a Google project.

patrickaljord 9 days ago 1 reply      
Really? You've managed to mention the lack of generics on a thread announcing moving go to github? Is this a parody comment or are you serious?
mwsherman 8 days ago 0 replies      
Im concerned that it wont get any stars.
tsmarsh 8 days ago 2 replies      
I guess its official, misogyny is ok in our industry.

Have we forgotten about: http://lmgtfy.com/?q=github+misogyny ?

I'm not sure github even experienced a dip in traffic.

There are github alternatives, it took me 30 minutes to remove my github subscription and migrate my repos to bitbucket.

Rosetta comet landing live stream
629 points by fla  10 days ago   102 comments top 24
sidcool 10 days ago 6 replies      
Updates: (Animation of where Rosetta is : http://sci.esa.int/where_is_rosetta/)

1. Comet is warmer than expected, estimating presence of dust.

2. Comet has Ammonia based gases in atmosphere and Magnesium in the soil. There is water in small amounts.

3. The gravity is one ten thousandth of that of earth.

4. NASA has a few instrument mounted on Rosetta. The microwave instruments, plasma instruments and Electron analyzer.

5. The landing site has clearly been identified. Rosetta will send 5 high-res images every hour. There were some minor hiccups last night.

6. Many high profile science experiments will be conducted during the first 48 hours after landing. This will be followed by the long term experiments whose results will take time.

7. Rosetta has executed a successful separation phase. The team is ecstatic :)

8. Team has lost contact with the lander, but the spokesman said this was expected and the contact will soon be reestablished.

9. It will be few hours before some new updates.

svckr 10 days ago 4 replies      
Here's _the real_ live stream: https://xkcd.com/1446/
frabcus 10 days ago 2 replies      
The pins puncturing the cold-gas jet system on Philae have apparently failed - which will make it harder to stay on the surface.


Still has two harpoons and ice screws!

kkitay 10 days ago 1 reply      
Philae landing confirmedreceiving data"harpoon fired and rewound".
Sami_Lehtinen 10 days ago 2 replies      
Is it just me, or do you find it silly that ESA live stream shows Jessie J advertising. I find it rather strange, but maybe they're just so cash deprived. Hmm? Maybe corporate executive investor dashboard should also show random high end product ads? Would it be a good or bad idea? - Maybe the mission failed, and they thought that showing music videos instead of something bad would be cool. Isn't that great idea for future space missions? Let's show "cool" music videos, if things go bad. So people can just be happy and don't need to worry or care what happened.
makeusz 10 days ago 0 replies      
In the meantime: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H08tGjXNHO4 Ambition the film
franzb 10 days ago 4 replies      
Am I the only one noticing, and wondering, why the operations center is nearly empty? Lunch time?
tempodox 10 days ago 0 replies      
Yes! This is the kind of news for HN :) We should have something like this every month or so.
hughes 10 days ago 0 replies      
The live chat in ##cometlanding on irc.freenode.net is pretty good.
welshguy 10 days ago 1 reply      
It's down. Harpoons fired. Telemetry active.
flexie 10 days ago 0 replies      
Landed!!! Awesome :-)
fabriceleal 10 days ago 0 replies      
Ah, the pictures here https://www.flickr.com/photos/europeanspaceagency/sets/72157... remind me of Eraserhead :)
edgartheunready 10 days ago 0 replies      
Must be watched while listening to this on repeat: https://soundcloud.com/fauzkhan/hanszimmerinterstellardayone...
edgartheunready 10 days ago 0 replies      
car 10 days ago 0 replies      
The DLR telemetry page, for the technical inclined: http://www.musc.dlr.de/philae/telemetrie.html
Icybee 10 days ago 4 replies      
Is it just me, or does it keep buffering for anyone else?
donmb 10 days ago 1 reply      
Does anyone know where exactly Tschuri is right now in our solar system? Couldn't find any map or sth that illustrates that.
joering2 10 days ago 6 replies      
Can someone actually explain me how is it possible to even rendezvous with an object that moves so fast and is so violent? I mean, this is not a Moon orbiting a Planet, but rather a very violent object storming through the Universe.
Cowicide 10 days ago 0 replies      
I just now watched their reaction after the successful separation where it's now on its way to landing on the comet. Very cool, thanks for posting this! The video stream was flawless, by the way, with great quality audio and video. Apple and others should learn from them how to do streaming right.
nsxwolf 10 days ago 1 reply      
Is there actual video of the landing? I'm still just seeing talking heads on the live stream. Did I miss it?
fla 10 days ago 0 replies      
Landed !
moioci 10 days ago 0 replies      
new meaning for separation anxiety.
5414h 10 days ago 0 replies      
i think its going to explode
toblender 10 days ago 0 replies      
They should play some music.

I'm watching this with pop music in the background, and it's way less tense...

Uber Executive Suggests Digging Up Dirt on Journalists
587 points by uptown  5 days ago   342 comments top 53
Asparagirl 4 days ago 12 replies      
Attempting to blackmail the press if they challenge your company's PR? Specifically targeting parents' worst fears by threatening to reveal details of the location of their children? Openly rifling through the location metadata of another female journalist, a customer of theirs, without her consent? Implicitly saying they'll leak customer data of Uber customers who are journalists, the kind of thing that can potentially endanger sources and compromise whistleblowers?

These people are scum. Uber was a neat app, but I have PLENTY of alternatives these days.

I opt out at airports, I donate to the EFF, I don't use Uber or any other app that targets people's privacy and actively threatens the freedom of the press.

(Oh, and like Sarah Lacey, I'm a mom of young kids too. Reading that article induced such a shudder of horror, and will likely do the same for any parent who reads, or even hears about, that story. Uber has done major, major damage to their brand on a visceral level.)

drivingmenuts 4 days ago 1 reply      
If I say: "I wish that guy/girl would get exposed" - that's a pretty non-specific statement. You can laugh that one off and it can be spun all kinds of ways.

If I say: "I should dig up dirt on that person" - that's much more specific, but not always. It's harder to ignore and it's far more difficult to put a just-kidding spin on it.

If I say: "I should spend a million dollars and hire four researchers to dig up opposition research on this person to expose their private life" - that's pretty damn specific. You can't unsay that. There's no way to spin that that it doesn't sound like a threat, especially if it's known, or at least believed, that you have the resources and connections to pull that off.

Michael may be a guy who was just spouting off in frustration without thinking first, which is fine - it happens from time to time. But he's also in the top tier of a very valuable company and he's paid to pay attention and be on his toes.

And he wasn't.

He then tried to laugh it off by saying "he doesn't think that way". Well, it came from somewhere in his brain. There weren't any flying monkeys dropping notions from the sky; no random inspiron from a long-dead galaxy just collided with a neuron and LOL I SEZ STUPID STUFF.

He screwed up badly. He needs to be held to account for that and harshly, because that idea is out there now. It might not be acceptable now, but sooner or later, given enough repetition, it will become acceptable.

thesystemis 4 days ago 5 replies      
I am surprised not to see the word misogynist on this page. Here, a SVP is not only threatening a reporter and her family (which is truly repugnant) and reporters generally, he's also discussing sexual assault in such a trivializing way:

"He said that he thought Lacy should be held personally responsible for any woman who followed her lead in deleting Uber and was then sexually assaulted."

The top comment on this page talks about a "visceral" feeling, I had the same one. I had the same feeling I had when I heard things like Todd Akin (a politican in the US) talking about "legitimate rape." Do we really want people like this shaping our future?

justinv 5 days ago 6 replies      
Personally, I've stopped using Uber because of the lack of the company/management's lack of ethics. Lyft comes off as a much friendly, consumer-focused company & frankly, my experiences have been better in a Lyft than an UberX.

Also - I'm not one to usually browse Buzzfeed, but this was their story to break, so props to them for getting it out there.

bhouston 4 days ago 10 replies      
I can see how being assholes, intimidating the press, undermining rivals via dirty tricks, and other such behavior, can maximize shareholder value.

So maybe we just have to accept that this is the new normal and we should all focus on how we can play dirty tricks on our competitors, how we can intimidate the journalists who have written bad stories on us or haven't covered us. Where does the strategy to use intimation via oppo-research stop? Can we apply this to any dealings with politicians, angles, VC, policy makers? I bet it can be effective in these areas as well. Maybe a company's strategy to "force outcomes" should be a required slide in all pitch decks now?

I wonder if Uber stops at just using intimidation in less developed countries where things are rougher and governments are more pliable than in the US and Canada? If there are few limits to Uber aggressiveness and they have money, you can easily pay people in a lot of developing nations to improve outcomes in a large variety of "creative ways", and you can easily distance yourself from how those outcomes are achieved.

It does seem that Uber teaches us that this is the new normal and if we are not doing this, we are not maximizing shareholder value.

dreamweapon 4 days ago 1 reply      
The executive, Emil Michael, made the comments in a conversation he later said he believed was off the record. In a statement through Uber Monday evening, he said he regretted them and that they didnt reflect his or the companys views.

They "don't reflect his or the company's views?" How can they not be 100% reflective of his views? And how can we possibly take anything said by anyone at the executive level at Uber seriously at this point?

Panino 4 days ago 5 replies      
When Godaddy came out in support of SOPA, after a string of other obviously bad actions, I thought for sure it would harm their business. It didn't.

Unfortunately I don't think this Uber story will be different. Most people don't take a stand on anything (unless it involves consuming even more fast food, like a Chick-fil-a "reverse boycott").

justinv 4 days ago 0 replies      
Also, it was Travis who said Were in a political campaign, and the candidate is Uber and the opponent is an asshole named Taxi,"

Well, it seems we have come full circle. Who's the asshole now?

metaphorm 4 days ago 0 replies      
I think its abundantly clear at this point that Uber is an immoral company with a greed driven management team that has no ability whatever to properly think about the social consequences of their actions. Or worse still, perhaps they deliberately pursue malfeasance, as was suggested by the executive who made the comments discussed in this article.
casca 4 days ago 1 reply      
While in SF earlier this month, I noticed that people were using Lyft and Uber interchangeably and given the consistent stories about Uber's management, it seems likely that people will switch to Lyft as a primary option with Uber as a backup.

It's quite possible that Uber will create the market by and then be eclipsed by other players who are less unethical.

ingenieros 4 days ago 1 reply      
You know what I find the most disturbing about this whole story?? "He also sits on a board that advises the Department of Defense"
QuadDamaged 4 days ago 1 reply      
Just looking at my uber rides, I am pretty certain Uber could already infer some interesting facts about my life.

Cross-referencing with geo-data, time, and weekly occurences, I am pretty sure Uber could infer who's in my social circle, and under which category (coworker, wife, arm-candy...)

The day Uber links its userbase with Facebook we are doomed.

xorcist 4 days ago 1 reply      
There's been a number of negative articles about Google during the past years. Some for good reasons, some for bad. Some honest, some paid shills.

Imagine Larry Page saying: We'll sift through whatever data we've got on you and see what dirt we can find.

No need to imagine the threats against family. No need for any of the more nasty details. Just the basic premise, but in the setting of an established Silicon Valley company.

Done yet? No. Because you couldn't. Because any serious CEO worth their salt simply wouldn't.

And all those of you whose natural reponse is to defend these people, please imagine yourself doing it for Page as well. Would you, really?

lettercarrier 4 days ago 0 replies      
We used to laugh when our CEO/Head went to extremes to put customers first with things like creating a "Customer Bill or Rights." We thought it was overreaction after some glitch or dumb one-off call center rep violating PC correctness. But now I think Uber should get a transfusion.

All rides free New Years Eve and Halloween.No ride will ever cost more than $X (should not be hard to figure out - with an * too)To show good faith, ride once, the next is on us (for x weekend).Publicly terminate knuckelheads ("Jimmy the Greek") [1]Establish & Invite consumer, safety and the driver community to form an oversight group to ensure Uber holds itself to community standards.

My Luddite world has no idea what a Uber is, but they sure know how to ask and find out. New things to my Luds come from hearing human voices - asking neighbors/friends is still #1. Nothing out there now says "Uber has cleaned up its act" First impressions have to be disproven and last the longest.

[1] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WzB7IsmOegE

bakhy 4 days ago 1 reply      
Uber's only purpose and meaning is exploitation. Yes, the app is handy, but it's no disruption. The disruption is in destabilizing the taxi cooperatives and weakening the drivers' position.

We should all cut the crap, there is nothing to be surprised by here.

ddalex 4 days ago 0 replies      
Uber is just not a nice company, they skirt laws around the world, and do very shoddy business.
wpietri 4 days ago 1 reply      
Actually, Uber is about ethics in tech journalism.
joelrunyon 4 days ago 0 replies      
I get the competitive nature that Uber's taken against Lyft / Sidecar, but this seems like the worst thing yet.
ghshephard 4 days ago 2 replies      
I would love to know if http://blog.uber.com/applepay means that Uber won't be able to track who they are taking to various locations. That alone would be a big win for Apple Pay.
unohoo 4 days ago 5 replies      
Someone @Lyft PR needs to be on this stat. I've hardly seen Lyft take any advantage of fuckups like these by Uber.
johnsmith32 2 days ago 0 replies      
It seems that most are commenting on why Uber executive shouldn't be doing this. But none has viewed this from Uber's perspective. If your startup was being threatened by a brown-nosing bonus-loving trigger-happy reporter, what are you going to do? Publish a press statement? Hire more reporter to spread positive propaganda? A cost-benefit analysis would show it is simply cheaper to hire a hitman to take her out. Before you argue with me over ethics and human rights, this isn't the first time a company has did this. Do a google on volkswagon and Glaxo-smith klein cost-benefit analysises and they are equally expedient. So why our society allows large corporations to trade capital for human lives while we condamn a startup for doing the exact same thing?!?
jongraehl 2 days ago 0 replies      
As wrong-footed as Uber appears lately, don't take buzzfeed's word for anything. Dishonest trash-talking + a financial conflict of interest. Headline-baiting 'journalists' trying to steal attention+emotion for profit w/ gossipy attacks do need to consider their own glass house, especially when their sole productive output is stirring up drama.

Being agnostic on the Uber CEO's character (don't know him) I'd caution him to stop giving material to a nascent angry mob and those stoking it.

pja 4 days ago 0 replies      
Looks like it's time to a) uninstall Uber and b) subscribe to PandoDaily.
peterjancelis 4 days ago 0 replies      
I think making comments this stupid as a SVP is a fireable offense and I can somewhat see how the "family" mention makes Sarah Lacy worried about her children, but I totally don't get where this gender angle is coming from in this story. I don't read any of that in the original comments by Emil Michael.
Umn55 2 days ago 0 replies      
"I opt out at airports, I donate to the EFF, I don't use Uber or any other app that targets people's privacy and actively threatens the freedom of the press"

Freedom of the press cannot exist under capitalism, who controls the hiring and firing and owns the organization controls the information.

cwkoss 4 days ago 0 replies      
I think this article is relevant context- Sarah Lacy is a professional troll:http://www.cnet.com/news/journalist-becomes-the-story-at-mar...
general_failure 4 days ago 0 replies      

All this overreacting and exaggeration is getting to me. Such terrible writing and she really is going overboard with all this.

caboteria 4 days ago 0 replies      
Just one more shining example that the easiest way to be successful in business is to be a sociopath.
PhantomGremlin 4 days ago 1 reply      
There is another recent HN article. It links to a Pando post by Sarah Lacy, the journalist being threatened. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8622187
chrischen 4 days ago 0 replies      
A better idea is to reveal potential special interests or personal biases of the journalists, especially if it compromises their professional integrity.
jarnix 3 days ago 0 replies      
I won't use Uber (I live in Paris), because of what they did with Lyft, because some executive harassing a woman (story of yesterday on hn), because of this story as well. There are a lot of competitors who do not have their hands that dirty. I'm using Chauffeur Price here, never had to complain.
imgabe 3 days ago 0 replies      
So they would investigate the journalists's private lives and publish all their embarrassing details in order to cause drama and controversy to further their own goals.

You mean like the media does with every public figure, ever? Like the media is doing with this exact story right now?

blackdogie 4 days ago 2 replies      
Despite being an impressive company, generating sales, growth fast, expanding internationally, it seems that these founders are a little immature. This isn't the first story about the lack of ethics of the company, and if I was them I would worry about this potential shift in widespread support. Today's shining light can easily be changed into the tomorrows demon. Maybe they could spend $1M on PR to improve the image.
kubiiii 4 days ago 1 reply      
Are there legal reasons why this SVP does not apologize to the journalist he specifically targeted while recognizing he threatened her and regreting it?
microcolonel 4 days ago 1 reply      
> A senior executive at Uber suggested that the company should consider hiring a team of opposition researchers to dig up dirt on its critics in the media and specifically to spread details of the personal life of a female journalist who has criticized the company.

Is it at all relevant that the journalist is female?

cseelus 4 days ago 0 replies      
Publicly considering such STASI tactics for me is the last nail in the coffin, I'll never use a product of this strange company. (I'm from Germany, maybe we are more sensitive to such threats)
softdev12 4 days ago 0 replies      
The most interesting thing to me about all this is that the tech media is probably about 50 percent responsible for pushing out tech start-ups to the wider world. If you go back and look at the beginnings of companies like Twitter (blogged about by prominent bloggers) and Facebook (published by the Harvard student newspaper), the initial snowball effect to get these companies going is largely based on journalists pushing these startups to their readership.

And now we have the case where a company that has successfully navigated the hardest part of the cycle (becoming a big enough snowball to be self-sustaining) that they can turn around and challenge the journalists.

It's like a child who has grown up and now comes back to challenge the parent. Fascinating in an abstract general way.

ascendantlogic 4 days ago 1 reply      
As long as the valuation keeps going up, the VC's will keep making excuses and looking the other direction. Remember, profits make everything all better.
baxterross 3 days ago 0 replies      
Let's call it like it is. Yellow journalists are going to stop at nothing to smear any company with a libertarian founder.
iblaine 4 days ago 1 reply      
Poke a bear with a hot stick and you might get bit. I don't see what the big deal is.
ssully 4 days ago 0 replies      
Just deleted uber from my phone and installed lyft. This kind of behavior is unacceptable.
hero454545 4 days ago 2 replies      
This story is plummeting suspiciously fast from the HN front page...
rhizome 4 days ago 0 replies      
I have to wonder if this guy is executing a David Plouffe strategy to take a severance payout and become a lobbyist. That's one way people wouldn't know any developments from this were driven by Uber.
dang 4 days ago 2 replies      
Buzzfeed stories are normally penalized, but we take the penalty off for major stories. We've done that here. HN tends to frown on media controversy, but since this story seems destined to be above the line in any case, it may as well be the original source. We've demoted the other posts on the same story as duplicates.
rikacomet 4 days ago 1 reply      
On a side note, Uber should also sue all those companies piggy-backing on its name, dragging its name down. What I mean is, that every other month, I'm seeing a case of "Uber-for-X", like Blowhorn, is a startup that claims to be uber for mini-trucks.

What is happening is that, UBER is still going through its real challenge and hasn't established itself as a household name, like Microsoft, Apple, Google. Lot of people are still critical of its intent (including me perhaps), and its ultimate success, but these small startups that are piggybacking on its name are making matter's worse.

Most of these Uber for X startups, are not going to succeed, generally speaking, and when a start-up fails, brand value gets hit as people associate "failure" "didn't work" "not so good" with that name. Uber in that sense, is taking a hit on its brand name due to failure of other businesses (which I think is a bit unfair).

tedks 4 days ago 1 reply      
I hope all the people commenting with pitchforks in hand have also never said (or have been alleged to have said) anything at a private dinner between friends that could be construed in any way to be similar to these remarks.
omouse 4 days ago 0 replies      
The US government, FBI and NSA don't mind doing that, why should Uber and other companies obey the law if federal agencies refuse to?

/devil's advocate.

nailer 4 days ago 1 reply      
Misleading headline, from article it wasn't in any way a serious suggestion.
Edmontonian 4 days ago 3 replies      
The most recent Pulitzer Prize winner for journalism (Glenn Greenwald) says journalism is an "adversarial" process. However, adversarial is by nature a two way street. Journalists who go digging into the lives of people and businesses need to be prepared for adversarial response.

If I'm a business owner that's being investigated by a journalist, I want to find out the who, what, where, when and why.

I am entitled to investigate the people who are investigating me.

journalism startups are businesses. they make money by investigating businesses like uber. Uber is entitled to investigate in return

webXL 4 days ago 0 replies      
Here we go again, more Uber drama. The only reason why this is a story is the (pardon the term) disruption of a protected industry, and the misplaced attention on the supply-side. Consumers are awash in convenience and choice right now, but the media and the politicos protecting the industry are ignoring that and going after the biggest member of the disruption so that it can be controlled.

I'm sure there are sleazy execs at Uber, but if the media pointed its glare at any other similar-sized company, I'm sure it would find them there, too. Uber may have more because it has grown so fast. It would behoove of them to start cleaning house so that this type of story doesn't kill the golden goose.

spindritf 4 days ago 1 reply      
I cannot treat complaints from journalists about digging up dirt seriously. This has essentially become their job.

Were was this criticism when some guy's personal phone calls were broadcasted and dissected? When Gawker was buying people's sex tapes? And not months ago, although then too, last week[1].

This is the world you created. Enjoy.

EDIT: And if you're downvoting, I'd love to hear why.

[1] http://defamer.gawker.com/somebody-is-selling-an-usher-sex-t...

sbuk 4 days ago 0 replies      
Not necessarily a bad idea...

Edit FWIW, I personally do not and refuse to use Uber. I think that they are vile. But...

I find that too many journalist hide behind 'freedom of the press' when they are axe-grinding. A lot of online tech reporting that I encounter is knee-jerk reaction and factless click-bait. Personal blogs, where you'd expect to find this behaviour, in my experience tend to be far more credible...

just2n 4 days ago 2 replies      
Why is this here? This is a non story. All I see in this article is that someone was ranting in a conversation that was entirely assumed to be off the record (they go to great lengths to justify talking about it, as if private dinners require contracts of nondisclosure). I find it beyond hilarious that here Buzzfeed stands appalled that someone would joke about hiring people to dig up dirt when they find their way into private dinners and report every unsavory thing said in confidence and without context, essentially writing off that context as "this is never appropriate." Does anyone else see the outrageous hypocrisy here? One man is joking about something because he's frustrated with poor media coverage (which is arguably of questionable ethical validity) while Buzzfeed is actually doing that thing and now everyone here on HN is joking about how terrible Uber is and how they've distanced themselves. This is HN.

This is gossip about a man's frustrated rant at shitty media coverage. It's a non story and is totally off topic. If there was evidence he had hired people to dig up dirt with intent to blackmail, extort, or otherwise coerce people, we could be talking about criminal proceedings. But seeing as there's no mention of any criminal wrongdoing, this is complete and utter trash, and they know it. Another in a very long list of reasons never to read Buzzfeed.

I'm not here in a position in support of Uber because I literally have no idea what is and isn't fact. If every article negative of them is as misguided and useless as this one, I can't possibly hope to form a coherent and well informed opinion about a company. Definitely not based on clickbait headlines and opinion pieces without solid evidence of wrongdoing. You can hate Uber for all the valid reasons you can find, but getting angry at someone for expressing frustration is truly next level pathetic. This clickbait shit. What the fuck.

Some people are linking a Pando article, which says, as a direct quote:

> Earlier this evening, a bombshell story by Buzzfeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith proves the reality is way worse than anyone on our team could have expected.

In reference to this article. You can see why this shit can't be taken seriously. Referring to garbage like this article as a "bombshell" or "proof" of activity is completely divorced from reality.

Rules for Creating Gorgeous UI, Part 2
529 points by jgrodziski  2 days ago   106 comments top 26
bshimmin 2 days ago 2 replies      
I think this, and the previous part, are probably most usefully viewed from the perspective of "The design zeitgeist dictates that I must do $DESIGN_TREND; here is how to do $DESIGN_TREND and make it work well" (where $DESIGN_TREND is, for example, having a huge image and making the overlaid text readable), rather than from the perspective of critiquing whether these trends in design are actually necessarily a good idea.

I say this as someone who routinely does get asked to build sites that are (to put it kindly) heavily indebted to other current sites; I can definitely confirm that overlaying text on top of images and making it readable genuinely is quite hard work - especially if your clients are choosing the images! - and these tips are certainly very helpful for those occasions when you can't hire a designer with a natural instinct for making this stuff work.

So, I say: great pair of articles with some great tips.

julianz 2 days ago 1 reply      
Some good tips, published on a site that moves all the fucking content out of the way every time you click the mouse and makes it impossible to easily figure out who wrote something. Love the message, hate hate hate the Medium.
lomnakkus 2 days ago 3 replies      
Rule #N: Use black and opaque text for your main text, not RGBA(0,0,0,0.8) or some such[1]. Please.

[1] http://contrastrebellion.com/

bdavisx 2 days ago 3 replies      
Rule #x - Test your design on lower resolution/quality screens. I see a lot of articles/blogs/whatever that look like crap on my Dell 1680x1050 (non-ips) work display.
mattkevan 2 days ago 3 replies      
While there's some useful stuff in these articles, there is a problem in that they are about technique, perpetuating a narrow style of design, without exploring the underlying principles of what makes a UI good or bad.

Techniques are good as they make it possible to implement a design well, but a collection of good techniques do not add up to a great design.

AndyNemmity 2 days ago 2 replies      
Rules like this are often for websites without a lot of actions on a given page. Does anyone have a link to a site with tips or can give their own thoughts for extremely action heavy sites?

I run an extremely complicated game with a ton of actions and complexity, and I find it very difficult to provide even a not terrible UI, let alone a Gorgeous one.

jxf 2 days ago 9 replies      
Instead of creating "gorgeous" UI, shouldn't we be creating usable UI? Just because something is wonderful to look at in no way guarantees that it's functional or usable.

I feel like these articles miss the point that ultimately, UI is about people. If people don't actually enjoy it and have a better experience, then it doesn't matter how nice it looks.

eneifert 2 days ago 3 replies      
Top notch article thanks for posting. Thanks for pointing out those fonts, I feel like finding good fonts is always a struggle for me. Anyone have any other suggestions like these?
johnchristopher 2 days ago 2 replies      
> iOS 7 has really made background blurring a thing recently, though Vista used it to great effect too.

That's not how I remember `bloggers` talking about it when Vista came out.

skrebbel 2 days ago 3 replies      
I'm absolutely not a designer, but I have serious issues with many tips in the first half of this article and the design trends that they support. They're all about putting text over images and keeping it readable.

So basically, you're first going to increase my cognitive load with a big flashy unrelated photo, and then you're going to blur and dropshadow and opacity-gradient it just so much that I can kind of read the text again? What for?

Fullscreen photos are nice, but they're just a picture. Very nice blurred bridge there in the background, but how is that going to sell me a route planning app? I feel like a lot of these examples are aesthetic-only designers gone wild without any place for feedback from their peers.

Is it good when it's pretty and you can just about read the text without squinting your eyes? No! It's acceptable at best. But if you try, and I bet if you actually do user tests, then you'll find that you want to ditch the image. Or at least put a big black box around the text (admittedly, also listed as an example).

Can we stop the cognitive overload already? Don't make me think! Don't make me search past the blurs and the street lights and the flowers to find the text I'm supposed to be reading.

(unless, of course, you sell a blur plugin, a street light or flowers)

gqvijay 2 days ago 1 reply      
For me, it's a great read. Yes, I cringed when I saw the word "Rules" when we are talking about beautiful UI. However, after reading the article, he is just using it as a framework to convey the message. And it works for him (and me) who are not "designers" but still aspire to create great designs.

I say read it lightly. To me, an engineer realizing the importance of great design is a huge thumbs up for me. I would hire him in a heartbeat.

blaze33 2 days ago 0 replies      
valevk 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is very interesting to read. Can somebody point me to other resources? Especially for people who have not that much experience.
rtkwe 2 days ago 1 reply      
Ironically for me right now the CSS completely fails to load due to massive numbers of 403 errors (probably something on my side due to corporate firewalls it works fine on my phone).

I think there needs to be a Rule Zero: Fail gracefully.


enjoy-your-stay 2 days ago 0 replies      
Very informative to someone who's not a designer. I found the part on text on images especially interesting, and like the arrow in the FedEx logo, once you know about white text on images, you'll probably start noticing it everywhere...
mkramlich 2 days ago 2 replies      
The most gorgeous UI to me looks something like this:

  cmd arg1 arg2 ...

  shell> cmd  response  shell> cmd2  response2
The simplicity, clarity and composability is hard to beat. And though you do gain certain benefits when you present a GUI (esp with pointing device), of course, you also lose a lot. Beauty is not just in the eye of the beholder, it's also in your brain.

l33tbro 2 days ago 4 replies      
Eww. Stop saying 'gorgeous'. That goes for 'bespoke' and 'beautiful' as well when it comes to desicribing your design and UI.

Seriously, it's 2015 in a couple of months.

TrinnyLopez 2 days ago 1 reply      
UI and UIX are never 'beautiful' or 'gorgeous' nor can you 'love them'.

Kids nowadays. So emo.

clay_to_n 2 days ago 0 replies      
Small nitpicky point: For method 4 floor blur, the image caption says "Look mom, no overlay!" But I think there is an overlay. The image looks quite darkened. Putting white text on a blurred image doesn't work without making sure the blurred image doesn't have too-light whites.
netstag 2 days ago 0 replies      
Neither of part 1 or 2 render on my iPad2... Just a blank white screen. I'm gathering, from the conversation here, there's something more to see
codyb 2 days ago 0 replies      
Very enjoyable read. Enjoyed the tips. Laughed audibly a few times. I'll be incorporating some of these tips in my future.
lhnz 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is a great series of articles but I couldn't help and think that if you have to be so analytical about this, you will do better to trade with a designer that gets it more intuitively.

A lot of these rules exist simply because something looks or feels better (or is more readable, or simpler, or more historically consistent, etc.) Unless you can empathise with the underlying reasons, you will be memorising and misapplying a lot of rules.

tormeh 2 days ago 1 reply      
I propose outlawing words like "gorgeous", "beautiful", "delightful" etc. when talking about app UIs. Really. It's an app - it's not gorgeous and never will be. It may be nice, pleasant or even look good, but an app is never gorgeous.
pistle 2 days ago 0 replies      
There's a lot of space dedicated to laying text over pictures proving that the words are weak enough that a big image, possibly unrelated, is really important to obscuring the message. Give me something to feel before I try to think about the content.

Even when done well, words overlaying images means that neither is quite important enough to stand on their own and the added complexity of dealing with making it work and curating it, when the content manager doesn't know one of the more technical 'rules', means constant intervention from technical or design support.

Images, when not adding value are distractions from the lack of value in the content and add to the download size and content handling complexity (slower, less usable, higher dev costs).

Good design is hard enough vs. following Apple style guides for "light from the sky."

jcampbell1 2 days ago 1 reply      
One feature missing from every modern browser except Internet Explorer is text shadow size. Most browsers support x,y, spread, and color. IE has x,y,spread, size, and color.

While I am not a huge fan of text overlays on images, it would be nice if browser vendors gave us an easy way to scrim the text a bit.

diziet 2 days ago 2 replies      
Rule #8: Use Retina images whenever possible and your audience includes people with rMBP computers!
AWS Lambda
523 points by cpenner461  9 days ago   158 comments top 42
jedberg 9 days ago 5 replies      
Ive had a chance to use the service for a couple of weeks. My quick summary review is that its a little tricky setting up the IAM roles and security groups, but once you have that going, it works great! I see a ton of potential here in transforming the way people use AWS.

I also put together the Netflix use cases in the keynote so if you have any questions Ill try to answer them!

MBlume 9 days ago 5 replies      
Right now the only language/runtime supported is js/node, but they intend to include others.

(figured people would want to know this, and you have to scroll a ways to find out, so)

makmanalp 9 days ago 9 replies      
I'm so torn - on one side this is a very neat thing that'll save a lot of boilerplate, and on the other it screams of vendor lock-in.
spitfire 9 days ago 5 replies      
I wish they hadn't named the units of computation "Lambda functions". Cause, you know there's already something known as a "Lambda function" in computer science.

But kudos for Amazon for furthering the datacenter-is-the-computer approach. It is simply the right thing to do.

marknadal 9 days ago 1 reply      
Holy mind blowing awesomeness, this changes everything, yet I feel like this was such an obvious thing to do. So obvious that I can't believe it is real. This, ladies and gentlemen, is why AWS defines the cloud, they are so far beyond everyone else and still innovating, even and the most basic level.
tomcart 9 days ago 1 reply      
Seems like a much more interesting announcement than the container service. Can see the architectures of dozens of our systms collapsing down with this.
mathgladiator 9 days ago 0 replies      
This is way cool especially considering S3's event notification will enable a ton of interesting workflows: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8602955
hackerews 9 days ago 0 replies      
You can rip out quite a bit of logic into separate services with this.

Will definitely be interesting to see how Lambda actually works.

Try out Blockspring, you can play around with your usecase now (and no vendor lock-in).

cperciva 9 days ago 1 reply      
Something I want: AWS Lambda code which responds to S3 PUTs by issuing Cloudfront invalidations. Anyone want to write this?
numlocked 9 days ago 2 replies      
Should I think of this essentially as an abstraction that can replace my asynchronous task queue + workers (e.g. RabbitMQ + Celery workers, obviously assuming you aren't using MQ for additional messaging)? I hate managing those pieces and would be happy to hand that infrastructure to Lambda, but are there additional benefits or use cases that are opened up?

I guess I would have expected others to describe this the same way ("replaces your distributed task queue"), but since I'm not seeing that description I wonder if I've misunderstood.

dk8996 9 days ago 2 replies      
Is it me or AWS is releasing too many services... there is a service for everything. I wounder if they are just throwing stuff out there see what sticks... kinda like landing pages.
jameshart 9 days ago 3 replies      
Claiming that your code is a 'lambda function' makes it sound sexy, but.. isn't it really just a procedure? Unless I'm missing something and there is some higher-ordered capability for composing AWS lambda functions together in a way that permits the platform to perform lambda reductions or optimize resource allocation...
debaserab2 9 days ago 1 reply      
I'm excited for this. This replaces what I wanted to use SQS for.SQS always felt like too much vendor lock-in to me to justify not using something like RabbitMQ or Beanstalkd.

With Lambda, the resource consuming the queue is managed for me - that is huge. Also, the pay by time model is perfect for this - instead of managing when to stop/start resource intensive instances, I don't even have to think about the problem. I only get charged what I used, which can be crucial during growth stages of a business or prototype.

The big penalty is the vendor lock-in, but this tips the scales for me for certain things.

turingbook 9 days ago 0 replies      
cschmidt 9 days ago 1 reply      
> You can use any third party library, even native ones. [1]

I realize they are starting with node.js, but I wonder how this will work? It sounds like they plan to support arbitrary dependencies. Will you upload a Docker container with your necessary dependencies? They talk about milliseconds until your code is running, and containers may be (?) slower than that. Or am I hoping for too much.

[1] http://aws.amazon.com/lambda/details/

rajatchopra 7 days ago 0 replies      
Good stuff. Basically it seems to do the bind+listen for you if you are the trigger subscriber. If you are the trigger generator, then it does socket.write for you. But the big deal is that you dont pay for 'listen', just pay for the function execution.The one thing that will surely happen with this is that the code written will be 'locked in' to run only on aws territory.
amelius 8 days ago 0 replies      
One difficult part of doing event triggered processing is in the progress reporting and keeping the code related to it simple. I wonder how they deal with that.
ColinCera 9 days ago 0 replies      
I'd pretty much given up on AWS for compute and moved most everything to Linode and some bare metal servers, but this service looks very compelling for discrete compute tasks.

The ability to pay only for the fractions of seconds actually used, and the ability to scale quickly without provisioning (or over-provisioning) EC2 instances, is awfully attractive.

Plus, Amazon has priced this pretty aggressively i.e., it looks shockingly cheap.

jlrubin 9 days ago 0 replies      
How is this different from CGI?
dkarapetyan 9 days ago 3 replies      
All these announcement are making me feel sorry for all the other players in the cloud game. The other guys don't even come close.
hendry 9 days ago 0 replies      
I tweeted that it's a PITA to transcoded uploaded media yesterday and today AWS solve the problem!



JoshTriplett 9 days ago 0 replies      
This looks quite interesting, and a lot more fun to work with than maintaining a pool of servers ready to handle events and spinning up new ones based on capacity.

Anyone know of any similar mechanisms for the OpenStack world, or more generally for any cloud infrastructure other than AWS?

hcarvalhoalves 9 days ago 0 replies      
Full-circle back to mainframe era.
adelevie 9 days ago 3 replies      
Is this comparable to IronWorker?
james33 9 days ago 1 reply      
It sounds like this is essentially what Joyent's Manta is, which we've been using in production for the last year and have found to be absolutely fantastic. Are there differences that I'm not seeing?
riobard 9 days ago 1 reply      
How is it different from Google App Engine? Conceptually the two seem very similar to me, that is, developers do not have to worry about the underling infrastructure at all---just write code and deploy.
luminati 9 days ago 1 reply      
Haven't had much time to read the docs. Sorry if it's already evident, but does it allow for running Lambda code on cron as opposed to listening to some event?
impostervt 9 days ago 1 reply      
I love that it uses Node.js to start, but does it support NPM?
motoboi 9 days ago 0 replies      
AWS Lambda announcement video:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9eHoyUVo-yg
Zaheer 9 days ago 0 replies      
This reminds me of http://www.Webscript.io

Similar single event -> function service

nivertech 9 days ago 1 reply      
Does AWS Lambda supports cron-like periodic triggers?
jbaudanza 9 days ago 2 replies      
It would be nice if a lambda could respond to web requests. Maybe an Elastic Loud Balancer could be an "event-source".
dominotw 9 days ago 2 replies      
Would this be useful for build services like setting up a jenkins instance using lambda compute resources as slaves?
davidw 9 days ago 0 replies      
From a casual glance: it's kind of like Heroku but with Node.js, and it scales automatically?
Apoplectic 9 days ago 1 reply      
Huh? Shared server infrastructure? That's really what this sounds like. Welcome to web hosting in 1999 guys. Most of the point of AWS was that you have your own dedicated resources. Sure, this is a scaling solution, but revolutionary?
squidcactus28 8 days ago 0 replies      
How to get this on private cloud?
salimmadjd 9 days ago 0 replies      
Amazon Echo (voice interface of IoT) + Amazon Lambda (the cloud services of (IoT) = Amazon disrupting home appliance IoT products.
GIFtheory 9 days ago 1 reply      
Sounds a bit like Mirage OS to me (http://www.openmirage.org).
sly010 9 days ago 0 replies      
IaaS -> PaaS slowly but surely
waitingkuo 8 days ago 1 reply      
How can it compare to zappier?
hyperliner 8 days ago 0 replies      
I finally have stored procedures and triggers for my DynamoDB database!
notastartup 9 days ago 0 replies      
What about dependencies. What if you need a specific environment setup first in order to process. Would you end up paying 1 minute for each request just so that it can start installing bunch of stuff? Is it possible to just setup a VM of some sort and use that environment each time?

If thats possible Lambda would be like PiCloud but without Python, and will stick around (hopefully).

Open Whisper Systems partners with WhatsApp to provide end-to-end encryption
504 points by charlieok  4 days ago   146 comments top 25
eyeareque 4 days ago 5 replies      
I trust Moxie more than governments or companies, so this really makes me happy. If you've read things on his website (http://www.thoughtcrime.org) you'll know how important remaining secure from the government is to him. This is a huge step in the right direction. I'd also like to congratulate WhatsApp on their decision, I have a lot more respect for them now.

Congrats Moxie and team. You guys are doing a great thing for humanity.

dmix 4 days ago 0 replies      
Since this doesn't seem to be ready to be fully announced yet, I checked last week and Open WhisperSystems is still looking for iOS developers to help. Moxie mentioned on twitter that security and crypto experience is not required, but they are looking for f/t devs not just p/t help.

Also they have a browser extension that could use some help from front-end devs:


It is still pretty early but the project has Bithub as well. From my understanding, this is their planned desktop version.

morsch 4 days ago 2 replies      
The Verge had an article about this, whatever "this" is: http://www.theverge.com/2014/11/18/7239221/whatsapp-rolls-ou...

But that's also 404 now, here's a cached copy: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:NAz9uOi...

And here's a copy of the article text: http://pastebin.com/Y5CUPqDJ

They talked to Moxie about it, so it doesn't look like a hoax. More like it wasn't supposed be announced yet.

It goes without saying that this would be a big deal. And it would explain a lot of the slow movement w.r.t. an iOS client. Although The Verge wasn't sure if and when the encryption would be available on iOS. And WhatsApp is closed source software, something that's unlikely to change, which really isn't what we want from a secure messenger. So I might keep Text Secure installed for the time being.

But still. OTR (and the enhanced/modified version of it TextSecure is using) is probably the easiest to use way to communicate in a reasonably secure fashion, and it'd would be fantastic to see it used by hundreds of millions of users all of a sudden -- even if it's sitting on top of insecure mobile operating systems and untrusted-yet-privileged hardware.

furyg3 4 days ago 1 reply      
"[...] and our roadmap for our own products remains unchanged."

What is that roadmap? TextSecure for iOS is stalled...

Awesome for Moxie and team, his is huge news. But the world still needs a cross platform, open source, end-to-end encrypted platform... It's just too important to trust Facebook with.

lgierth 4 days ago 0 replies      
Incidentally, the WhatsApp cofounder donated $1M to the FreeBSD foundation today.

The other link posted, theverge.com, is 404 as well, btw.

orblivion 4 days ago 0 replies      
I don't suppose they will open source the WhatsApp client as part of this. Assuming so, that sounds like a compromise for Open Whisper Systems.
justfane 4 days ago 1 reply      
But wait... Didn't Facebook Inc; Buy whats app for 19 billion? So does this mean Whisper Systems is working with 'facebook' on this...? Maybe i'm wrong...
MatthiasP 4 days ago 2 replies      
If this is true and has no strings (backdoors) attached this is huge. This means end-to-end encryption for messages from more than half a billion people and an incredible privacy win compared to SMS usage. Brought to you by facebook.
13 4 days ago 6 replies      
Why do all of these services insist on you giving them your mobile number? Even Telegram, which claims to be the all giving god of encryption and privacy, insists on having it no matter what. It's a massive barrier to entry which I'm not willing to cross, and I'm sure other people aren't either.
g8oz 4 days ago 0 replies      
Great news, WhatsApp needs all the help it can get on security matters.


derwiki 4 days ago 1 reply      
I recently tried WhatsApp alternatives that provided end-to-end encryption on Android (I use TextSecure, but only 1% of my contacts do). Wickr was the best, but a little too paranoid for daily use. WhatsApp has a better UI and sends messages faster. I would love to trust that their end-to-end encryption is legit, and WhisperSystems being involved helps, but.. seems I'm still skeptical.
higherpurpose 4 days ago 2 replies      
Not only is this huge by itself (600 million users with E2E encrypted messages by default), but I'm hoping this will put a big pressure on Google, Microsoft and others to adopt TextSecure's protocol (or something very similar), too.

This is how you deliver strong security to the masses. Not by convincing all your friends to adopt some weird and obscure chat app with the only benefit that it's "more secure" (most won't care), but by getting large service providers to adopt it and push it to hundreds of million of users without them even noticing.

Oh, and I assume that if Whatsapp adopted it, Facebook Chat isn't too far behind...right?

Spearchucker 4 days ago 1 reply      
I need convincing. Facebook can't monetize end-to-end encryption, and WhatsApp doesn't ask before uploading my contacts. Encryption from the client to the server is a start, but there's not enough here to make me use it.
gonetone 4 days ago 1 reply      
can't find any official statement from WhatsApp anywhere. Most of the sources just cite Marlinspike.
patcon 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is so unbelievably awesome.
unicornporn 4 days ago 1 reply      
So, does this mean that users of the Android TextSecure app (and perhaps even Signal for iOS) will be able to communicate with WhatsApp users?
robmccoll 4 days ago 1 reply      
So how does the initial key exchange work here?
Tepix 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is a huge improvement and I'm very glad that WhatsApp is going this route.

However, from my point of view, TextSecure isn't there yet. The ideal solution should be decentralized, like XMPP. That makes gathering meta data so much harder.

otoburb 4 days ago 4 replies      
The submitted link (https://whispersystems.org/blog/whatsapp/) is 404. Also, at this time, the Whisper Systems blog doesn't actually show a blog entry referencing WhatsApp.
therealmarv 4 days ago 0 replies      
Also the article from The Verge went offline http://www.theverge.com/2014/11/18/7239221/whatsapp-rolls-ou...
thewarrior 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is going to backfire big time on WhatsApp and get them banned from many countries like India , Saudi Arabia etc.
estefan 4 days ago 0 replies      
...and once this is rolled out, they'll add auto-deleting messages, et voila! Snapchat destroyed over night!
nodata 3 days ago 0 replies      
First a million bucks to FreeBSD, now this? Keep it coming WhatsApp!
secfirstmd 4 days ago 0 replies      
Amazing news!
tptacek 4 days ago 0 replies      
That is not why Moxie was "hatin' on" Telegram.
The Founders Guide to Selling Your Company
440 points by sinak  12 days ago   52 comments top 16
tptacek 12 days ago 2 replies      
This is really great, probably required reading.

I wrote some thoughts about the company acquisition process (I've been involved in 3):


About the only thing I could add to Kan's guide here is, when he talks about riding the lawyers, to be aware of how much you are going to spend on legal in a real acquisition. When I meet founders who've sold companies, I usually ask them how much they had to spend to close the deal, and every answer I've ever gotten squares with my experience: it's a price you can measure in Maseratis.

I never thought about hitting up VCs for term sheets during the process. That's clever.

Remember, deals are made to fall through!

JangoSteve 12 days ago 1 reply      
Having just gone through my first acquisition process from beginning to end, this was great reading and a lot of it range very true for us.

One thing that it seems people often forget is that, in business, if you're truly entering in to mutually beneficial agreements (whether it's hiring someone or being acquired), both sides generally will try to come to some sort of arrangement that makes sense for both sides. In other words, when it's understood that an agreement is win-win, then both sides are motivated not just for themselves but for the other side as well.

Of course, the sentiment is a bit idealist, as the hard part is actually figuring out when someone is being genuine and knowing exactly what value you're providing to them and they will provide to you. If a company really wants to buy you, and they're not trying to pull one over on you (e.g. intentionally offering much less than your value), then they won't try to strong-arm you into doing something you don't want to do. I think this is what the author is getting at when they say that it's okay for you to push back on things such as offer price, deadlines, etc. The key is to also be genuine and not try to pull one over on them.

Of course, this sentiment is also a bit idealist, as the hard part is knowing what your actual value is to the other party, as there's seldom an absolute value of something; it usually depends on the situation of the environment and other party, which constantly changes and which you won't have the full story.

This also assumes that genuine parties are wholly genuine and that they're not being led astray by other parties, whom they absolutely trust but who may not be genuine or as capable as they have led the primary parties to believe. I've seen plenty of deals fall through, or almost fall through, because of good people being influenced by outside factors.

I kind of lost my point in all that. I think it was simply that, while acquisition talks are stressful and time consuming, they can also be scary. That fear however, usually comes from doing a deal in which you may feel you're misrepresenting your value (and thus trying to get more from the other party than the actual value you're providing), or in trying to do a deal or negotiation which you feel you absolutely cannot walk away from. Both of these situations lead to more volatile negotiations which fall apart more easily. And this can lead to making the wrong concessions or agreements, which gets us back to one of the points in the article, which is that the best time to solicit an acquisition is when you don't need it and can easily walk away.

hard-road 12 days ago 1 reply      
So, Justin and or YC, maybe another guide and or a short post that would be helpful to entrepreneurs would be...

"What to do when tech companies come knocking at your door?"

For example we are a small start-up on the east coast. We have had oodles of tech companies reach out to us. One invited us out west to demo, saying would you let us buy it from you, please come out and demo your tech. Then when we get there they treat us like dirt, bait us for how we accomplished our tech and after we tell them they quickly show us the door.

Following that demoralizing event others tech companies reached out asking how we accomplished X. Well after being squashed by one company, we don't take any other companies minor advances seriously.

Thus, before spending the thousands of dollars to go out west (filed a provisional & some travel costs) we wish there was a resource to have helped us say ... Umm, no do not go out to the valley they have not offered you a term sheet. We did reach out to our network, it's not too small and those in our network said, "You should pursue it and or sorry I've never been in that situation before."

jacquesm 12 days ago 3 replies      
I spent some time curating a hacker news thread, it's one of the most read posts I ever put together:


It's a bit more nuts-and-bolts than Justin's (excellent) post here, add to taste for best results.

anatari 12 days ago 1 reply      
"As the startup, you have all the leverage before you sign a term sheet. Once you sign, you have almost no leverage at all."

A breakup fee would help mitigate this. Is that uncommon and difficult to negotiate for?

icelancer 11 days ago 0 replies      
I sold 40% of my company and I got insanely lucky to find a partner who fit all the holes that I have in my approach. He's now the CEO and I'm the President. I was losing hope for a long period of time even though my business was solidly in the black with large cashflows and zero debt, because it's such a niche business where no one is interested (sports science).

The guy dropped into my lap and made me a reasonable offer, which now "looks bad" because he's doubled revenue in six months. Not, obviously, that I'm complaining....

Luck is a huge part of the whole process. I went months and even almost 2 years resigned to the fact that I would be turning in 80 hour work weeks while having two kids and a wife to try and please, and that my personal health would be the sacrifice. I am not sure how I'd survive or if I could even continue to run the company under those conditions for much longer than I did.

I feel for the sole owner of a startup gaining traction and nearing an inflection point. I just wish I had more advice.

inmygarage 12 days ago 1 reply      
As someone who just went through an acquisition I hope that people will begin to write more about the acquisition process -- there's so much out there about raising financing, especially a seed round, and very little about M&A.

Thanks for putting this together, Justin.

porter 12 days ago 3 replies      
How do you stop a competitor from making a fake offer just to get a look into how you do things?
joeblau 12 days ago 1 reply      
> Like TechCrunch articles, bullshit offers are a vanity metric, not an actual measure of success

Justin; Could you touch on some other vanity metrics that you see companies measuring their success by?

jmathai 12 days ago 0 replies      
> in order for a company to want to buy you, an internal champion will have to internalize one of these reasons

Truth. Identify who that person is and focus your energy on making sure they have everything they need to stay motivated to sell their company on buying yours.

shenoyroopesh 12 days ago 0 replies      
Completely agree - you always get a better deal if you are ready to walk away from the negotiation table.

This applies not only for selling a company, but even consulting gigs, job offers, partnerships, etc.

applecore 12 days ago 1 reply      
> Do not enter acquisition talks unless you are ready to sell your company.

Isn't this obvious? If you don't want to sell your company, don't talk about selling your company.

emiliobumachar 12 days ago 0 replies      
The whole post is off-white on white in my Android phone, unless I click an icon which opens a text box over the main text. If I close the box then the main text gets low-contrast again.
bentoner 12 days ago 2 replies      
I don't get why you say that investment bankers are expensive at 1 to 2%. If they can't improve the deal by at least 2%, they can't be worth dealing with at all.
talltofu 12 days ago 0 replies      
'Like TechCrunch articles, bullshit offers are a vanity metric, not an actual measure of success'

Thank you for putting techcrunch where it belongs

notastartup 12 days ago 1 reply      
well this will never happen to me so I'm just going to close this window and go back to work.
What an Uncensored Letter to M.L.K. Reveals
420 points by rooster8  10 days ago   202 comments top 24
declan 10 days ago 2 replies      
Much of this was known before, including the FBI's anonymous letter attempting to provoke a suicide. As others said elsewhere in this thread, documents came out during the Church Committee. I wrote this 15 years ago when I worked at Time:

      The FBI's campaign to destroy Dr. Martin Luther      King began in December 1963, soon after the      famous civil rights March on Washington. It      started with an extensive -- and illegal -- electronic      surveillance of King that probed into every corner      of his personal life.       Two weeks after the march, the same week King      appeared on the cover of Time magazine as "Man      of the Year," FBI agents inserted a microphone in      King's bedroom. ("They had to dig deep in the      garbage to come up with that one," FBI director J.      Edgar Hoover said of the Time cover story.) Hoover      wiretapped King's phone and fed the information to      the Defense Department and to friendly      newspapermen.       When King travelled to Europe to receive the      Nobel Peace Prize, Hoover tried to derail meetings      between King and foreign officials, including the      Pope. Hoover even sent King an anonymous      letter, using information gathered through illegal      surveillance, to encourage the depressed civil      rights leader to commit suicide.       "The actions taken against Dr. King are      indefensible. They represent a sad episode in the      dark history of covert actions directed against      law-abiding citizens by a law enforcement      agency," a Senate committee concluded in 1976.    []      History reveals that time and again, the FBI,      the military and other law enforcement      organizations have ignored the law and spied on      Americans illegally, without court authorization.      Government agencies have subjected hundreds of      thousands of law-abiding Americans to unjust      surveillance, illegal wiretaps and warrantless      searches. Eleanor Roosevelt, Martin Luther King      Jr., feminists, gay rights leaders and Catholic      priests were spied on. The FBI used secret files      and hidden microphones to blackmail the      Kennedy brothers, sway the Supreme Court and      influence presidential elections. 

comrade1 10 days ago 5 replies      
This was in the 1960s. Imagine the projects being conceived now for targeting individuals and population subsets to change opinion, mood, etc. using things like social media, targeted communications, etc.

The US then and now was totalitarian and authoritarian. Some of you, especially here on hn, may not fall into those mind-sets but it doesn't matter - you've lost - you're barely scraping by, working 60 to 80 hours a week and you have no time to change your environment. Meanwhile the political class is able to work full-time on perpetuating their power while taking away yours. You have no power, no rights, because they have been chiseled away the last 30 years by the authoritarians.

I've said this before and I'm always downvoted but I don't care. Just leave. Go to Berlin, or London (not much better though), Switzerland, or anywhere else. Even if you go to someplace like the UK that isn't much better than the u.s. you will at least no longer be contributing to a government spending 10X to 100X of any other country on arguably evil pursuits. Take your wealth-creation skills to somewhere else where you won't be contributing to your our demise.

I know that many of you will discount this one event as a one-off - MLK was certainly special. But it's only a one-off because it was the start of this sort of campaign against someone that can bring change.

Mikeb85 10 days ago 8 replies      
It continually amazes me that Americans can perpetuate the myth that their government is a democratic, moral force in the world given everything they have done, and are still doing...
samirmenon 10 days ago 3 replies      
The New York Times actually broke the story.


alukima 10 days ago 2 replies      
I spent an obsessive night searching through documents via online 'reading rooms'. I don't have the links anymore but theres mounds of documentation showing intelligence agencies doing shady shit like this to try to break up civil rights groups. Fun look ups are 'blank panthers', 'san francisco', 'socialist', any black leader.

San Francisco seems like a broad term but there's so much interesting stuff, they were watching school teachers in the 60s and 70s and trying to create distrust within communities that were too left leaning.


zabuni 10 days ago 13 replies      
Rather. Hackers political values, as stated in the jargon file, have politics:

"Formerly vaguely liberal-moderate, more recently moderate-to-neoconservative (hackers too were affected by the collapse of socialism). There is a strong libertarian contingent which rejects conventional left-right politics entirely. The only safe generalization is that hackers tend to be rather anti-authoritarian; thus, both paleoconservatism and hard leftism are rare. Hackers are far more likely than most non-hackers to either (a) be aggressively apolitical or (b) entertain peculiar or idiosyncratic political ideas and actually try to live by them day-to-day."

Mapping this to any political ideology would be difficult.

mynameishere 10 days ago 4 replies      
Eventually we'll know what's in his file:

The FBI spied on Martin Luther King Jr. in an unsuccessful effort to prove he had ties to Communist organizations. In 1963, Attorney General Robert Kennedy granted an FBI request to surreptitiously record King and his associates by tapping their phones and placing hidden microphones in their homes, hotel rooms and offices. A 1977 court order sealed transcripts of the surveillance tapes for 50 years.


...some people think he made extensive use of prostitutes, but I expect the FBI would have pulled an "Eliot Spitzer" on him had that been the case. Still, there's something there or they wouldn't be covering it up to protect his saintly image.

scintill76 10 days ago 0 replies      
The unredacted version is really interesting historically, but I don't think it reveals much more about the lengths the FBI went to. I believe it was already well-known and believed that King was being sexually blackmailed specifically. The redacted portions all seem to deal with that exact nature of the blackmailing.

The redaction reveals more about what the FBI wouldn't do: how at least one person was reluctant to release public documentation proving that's what the FBI did.

johnny99 10 days ago 0 replies      
Snopes has a good explainer largely debunking one of the nastier pieces of misinformation circulating about MLK, which touches on FBI surveillance of him:


rglover 10 days ago 6 replies      
Something that's always confused me about the world and people as a whole. Why are so many people hell bent on implementing some "moral standard" that everyone needs to follow? Honestly?

There's this bizarre projection of the individual and his/her motivations onto every living being that fails to make any logical sense.

Is there any psychological premise for why we feel the need to dictate the behavior of others such that they perfectly mirror how we behave (or in many cases, wish to)?

There appears to be a tipping point where someone agrees with a certain set of values and as opposed to stopping at enforcing those values on themselves (reasonable), they go absolutely nuts trying to push it onto everyone else.

A sort of: how dare you.

wyager 10 days ago 1 reply      
Let this serve as a demonstration that government agencies actually can be comically evil.

A lot of people dismiss accusations against government agencies or fail to consider hypothetical legal abuse scenarios because "the government would never do that". Yes, the government would ever do that.

neue 10 days ago 1 reply      
When was the letter written? What marked the significance of '34 days later'?
rooster8 10 days ago 0 replies      
The URL was changed to the NY Times article that originally broke the story, but this post originally linked to an EFF interpretation of the article:

FBI's "Suicide Letter" to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Dangers of Unchecked Surveillance


jack-r-abbit 10 days ago 0 replies      
If this hadn't been labeled "suicide letter" I never would have read into it that the writer wanted King to kill himself. "You know what to do" is actually pretty vague. Do what? Come clean about his affairs? Leave the country? Quit being a pain in the ass for the government? Quit working on civil rights?
sopooneo 10 days ago 0 replies      
Do we have a guess as to why they wanted him dead? Was it that those in power believed the rise of African American citizens would disrupt the power structure and their position in it? Or was it purely racist, with the powerful just believing it was wrong for black people to have equal rights?
josho 10 days ago 0 replies      
This puts in context why privacy is so important. If for some reason you were to become a leader of a movement and the NSA had swept up every digital bit about you for the last 30 years then they could potentially have a goldmine of information to soil your name and put the movement into disarray.
codezero 10 days ago 0 replies      
Wow the redacted parts read like modern day news article comment sections. I wonder, was it meant to look like it was sent from a crazy person, but to include specific facts to scare MLK, or is this aligned with the typical kinds of personality attacks done by people at the time?
dangayle 10 days ago 0 replies      
How hard would it be to create a fake internet paper trail containing pornography, chat rooms, etc., as is mentioned in the article? It seems that would be relatively trivial for a sufficiently motivated state actor to perpetrate.
opendais 10 days ago 2 replies      
Tbh, this is what scares me about tech illiterate juries. Many of these cases hang on key pieces of evidence that are literally the FBI's word against the defendants.
pitt1980 10 days ago 0 replies      
maybe we should compare some of these misdeeds to the misdeeds of the various communist governments that inspired those misdeeds
jqm 9 days ago 0 replies      
To me, the most ironic part of the whole situation is Hoover's private behavior...

That aside, there is very little doubt in my mind Hoover was a bad man. The sad part is, many people eventually are bad given the chance and they never even know it. This is why impartial rules and transparency are important.

This may not be a common sentiment, but I look forward to the day when we are governed by machines rather than monkeys. I mean... the constitution, the rules of state and religion, they are algorithms no? Designed to remove as much as possible the corruptible human element from the equation? So why not take this concept a level further?That's my thinking.

Eventually there will always be another Hoover. But the next one might have better tools. But I think the human race can build a better system based on principals of efficiency, impartiality and beneficence. And maybe after a bit more waste, abuse and needless suffering caused by greed (that is the bottom line with the people who run the Hoovers of the world no?) it will.

baxterross 10 days ago 1 reply      
The government does more harm than good
daveloyall 10 days ago 0 replies      
Is there any indication that the modern FBI et al would use a strategy like this?

OMG STOP THE PRESSES I figured out the men's rights thing!

diminoten 10 days ago 0 replies      
I find myself afraid to criticize this submission, because I don't feel an honest discourse about this submission can take place on Hacker News.

That should sadden you, as it saddens me.

Show HN: Meet me, I'll buy you coffee
426 points by milesokeefe  11 days ago   199 comments top 46
sillysaurus3 11 days ago 12 replies      
What does clicking "Let's meet" do? I clicked it to find out and it said "Message sent, thanks! I look forward to meeting you."

I, too, look forward to meeting you! But that probably won't happen. Good luck with your experiment, though.

Also, a few things to remember: You're much more valuable than your first employers would have you believe. Don't let that go to your head. Do go to university. I know how eager you are, having been in that position myself, but it's a mistake to drop out of one of the most effective social networks ever devised by humankind. Go for the social experience and the social doors it opens. If you're still not convinced, take a hard look at the background of all of the YC partners and realize that all of them seem to have attended some good schools. While you can make it without university, and you can lead a happy life and do whatever you want and be in the upper 1% of quality of life across all of humanity without attending university, you only get one chance to choose not to follow "The Path," which is high school -> good university (undergrad) -> better university (graduate student) -> learn how to be around rich people and convince them of your way of thinking. Normal people who don't attend university simply don't get this opportunity. Specifically, the opportunity to test out what works and what doesn't, socially, with wealthy people. Why is this important? Well, if you want to do something big, and you don't have any money, wealthy people are by definition the only ones who can help you. Even at absurdly high salaries, it's very hard to save up money to do something that involves hiring other people. Possible, but difficult. So where do you turn? Investors, of course. Except, crap, they're wealthy, and you have no idea how to be around them as equals. But wait, you attended university, and so maybe they have some shared ground with you... Hm, nope, you didn't. Well, of course, your website demonstrates traction, and traction is what matters to an investor. But what else do investors care about? Your team. Where (or whether) you went to university says a lot about you, fortunately or unfortunately.

Really, there's no reason not to go. Make some reasonably intelligent decisions and you'll have a great time while getting the debt paid off in a reasonable timeframe.

But if you don't go, you may find you'll want to later but never really get the opportunity. Not in the way you once had. Once you depart from The Path, you'll have to beat your way back onto it, surmounting bills and work and all kinds of annoying stuff that people fresh out of highschool don't really have to worry about just yet.

Speaking of bills and debt: whatever you do, don't get into credit card debt. Don't get into credit card debt! I can't emphasize this enough. It's so tempting, but just don't.

Do use a credit card though. Just pay it off every month. Otherwise you may not be able to get services (internet, phone, whatever) at a new apartment, or buy a car. Had it happen to me once, and it sucks. No credit history = unknown risk = "I'm sorry but we will never do business with you."

Kind of an awkward place to end a ramble, but whatever. Maybe some of the ideas might be useful.

Maybe consider leveraging this particular experiment to help you attend one of the local top-tier universities as an undergrad. Ask people if they have any advice on this, and maybe you'll find someone who could help with the admissions process. Who you know matters more than what your highschool history was like, so maybe some strings could be pulled somewhere.

peteforde 10 days ago 0 replies      
There's a lot of folks in this thread that are posting "go to school" comments without knowing a whole lot about you. I'm sure that from their perspective it's the obvious best advice. I am commenting to say that people who have invested the most valuable years of their life in school tend to spend the rest of their lives hunting for evidence that they made a great decision.

The simple fact is that their answers are more about their own confirmation bias than giving actionable advice.

While it's true that lots of successful people went to college, the simple fact that you taught yourself to code and you're hanging out on Hacker News puts you into a completely different category than 99.9% of people that don't go to college.

I've seen people talk here about ROI on degrees and "the path" and what makes a good student. I've seen far less about how people are highly unlikely to know what they should be doing with the rest of their lives right out of high school. That there's so much focus on 18 year olds paying crazy tuition to get a piece of paper that proves they attended some generic lectures on a generic subject is criminal.

Anyhow, I'm ranting. I'm projecting. I didn't go to college and I have been very successful. It's because I decided early on to feed my intellectual curiosity and give myself permission to fall in love with things that themselves lead to other things. It's way more important that you learn about music and travel and optimize for interesting than push your square peg through a round hole.

That's not to say that you won't ever go. But if you don't think this is the right time, then you are the best person to know that. Just don't be idle; try to imagine that your life will be a series of well executed five year plans.

Don't let yourself get burnt out along the way, it sucks.

What I recommend is that you join a startup and work there for about a year. Then get the hell out of California for a year; I recommend that you go work at a startup in Berlin or Amsterdam for a year. Get a global perspective.

Hacker News is an incredible resource, but it's also really full of people that buy into a California tech ideology that can be self-limiting. It's just one of many lenses through which you can see the world.

Good luck; I'm really excited for you. Just remember: no person has ever been on their deathbed and thought, "man... I wish I'd made fewer interesting decisions".

zippergz 11 days ago 2 replies      
I have to say, as someone twice your age, I'm humbled by how many projects you've put out there. Sure, a lot of them are small and simple, but there's something to be said for just doing stuff. I spend too much time agonizing over whether my ideas are good enough, big enough, will make me money, etc. I'd probably learn more and have more fun if I allowed myself the freedom to do small interesting projects without any expectation of what they'll turn into.....
edw519 11 days ago 0 replies      
I love it! It's interesting, inviting, and shows great initiative.

I don't live in the bay area, but next visit I'll make sure to put this on my schedule.

2 pieces of feedback:

"See more about me here." doesn't do you justice. I didn't even notice it, but I found your website from your hn profile. Once I visited your site, you went from "mildly interesting" to "must meet". Is there some way to make the link to your site more prominent, perhaps with a mini-graphic of your front page a little higher up.

I know this may sound controversial, but "Here's my offer: I buy you a coffee..." and "Free" actually turn me off a little. I've heard this so many times now, I'm practically immune to it. You obviously have much to offer without buying coffee. Anyone should be happy to spend time with you without that. You may actually want to reconsider that offer to stand out from the crowd of posers (who you are obviously not a part of) and allow yourself to stand on your own merits. Don't sell yourself short. You clearly don't need to pay to meet interesting people in the bay area. Something to think about.

Best wishes on this and on your move, Miles. Looking forward to hearing great things about you and hopefully having coffee (dutch treat) soon someday.

milesokeefe 11 days ago 3 replies      
I stole the concept from tg3 who made this:https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6674987

Don't worry though, I got his blessing before making this site.

jack-r-abbit 11 days ago 1 reply      
The form at the bottom is a little confusing for several reasons.

1) You say things like "Here's my offer: I buy you a coffee" and "Tell me about your..." but then the form is all "I'm ________ and I'll meet you ______". Notice the change in who I and you refer to?

2) Adding to the confusing of #1, you have an email address placeholder that is not very obviously a placeholder. It is your.email@gmail.com but what if that is actually your gmail account. Perhaps using the classic something@example.com would make it a little more obvious that it is placeholder. It kind of looks like you have put your own email address since this I'm is you if they were all consistent in this section... but they aren't. This is a classic conundrum of web design. (ie, should a site use "your cart" or "my cart" in the nav?)

Having said that, I work in Berkeley and could probably meet up some day. I don't drink coffee though.

pnathan 11 days ago 2 replies      
I thought this was like a match-making service which would pair up people quasi-randomly who lived in the same city.
alain94040 11 days ago 0 replies      
Just launched, similar idea for lunch: http://colunchers.com

EDIT: whoa, take it easy, don't overload my VPS instance :-)

EDIT2: fine, I'll do my own Show HN here https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8592812

issa 10 days ago 0 replies      
How people feel about the "going to college" question is usually just a reflection of their own experiences and nothing more. You can't live life twice.

IF you want to be a doctor/lawyer/etc where a degree is required, then by all means you must go to school.

For anything where only results matter (for example, the open source software world) no one will care one way or the other what you do.

A lot of things will fall in between. Some doors will open, some will close. It's impossible for anyone to say which is a better choice.

Certainly, no matter what, there is no pressing need to go to school NOW. School will still be there in a year. Or two. Or even 20 if you find a reason to go later in your life.

The only thing you should avoid at all costs is wasting time. If you're skipping school to get high and play video games (doesn't sound like you!) then you are going to pay a heavy price as the years slip by. Be sure to make use of the time you "save"!

Good luck!

partisan 11 days ago 1 reply      
This guy is silicon valley's dream. Self re-locating, driven and talented, and young enough to pay peanuts in salary. You late twenty-somethings have an expiration date now.
tomahaug 11 days ago 1 reply      
Hi Miles, I really like the page and the idea behind!

Do you know www.startuptravels.com? There's approximately 42 entrepreneurs at the moment of writing in the bay area who'd like to meet other entrepreneurs for a coffee and a chat.

Direct link to the SF search: http://www.startuptravels.com/search?location=San%20Francisc...

Edit: If anyone wants to show a little support. Show HN: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8592850

zaporozhets 11 days ago 0 replies      
I'd like to think i'm a relatively successful 20 year old.

I left high-school and jump straight into a front-end dev role at a branding agency.

Two years on I'm not building a creative agency, hireable anywhere and I have a business network that most people would kill for.

I think that what you're doing is great but you'll do better by getting some business cards made, going to events and networking with every single person you can. That relaxed environment usually yields for more exciting and organic business relationships. Simultaneously, work hard in places that are versatile in their offering. You'll get broader and ultimately more valuable experience rather than taking a higher paying job somewhere where you're not growing properly.

Also I recommend you jump into some fast-paced, crazy work at an agency before you move into a product focused team.

stockkid 8 days ago 0 replies      
Seeing this website reminds me of myself. I too have been building computer stuff since I was a 5th grader. I was going to study CS in college. After I was rejected by my dream school, I went on to study economics and mathematics instead, because it was the one of the best program that my school offered.

I've seen your projects and they speak for your passion. I think it's amazing that you are doing what you are doing. I'm not going to lecture you about whether to go to college or not. College has its merits and demerits. All I can say is keep up the good work!

philip1209 11 days ago 0 replies      
I know somebody who did something like this in St. Louis and was quite successful:


It helped build her network, find a new job, and meet people doing cool things.

terramars 11 days ago 1 reply      
This is an awesome networking hack! If you're looking to "meet" a bunch of employers, check out Hired - http://join.hired.com/x/WF25Mp. We placed someone with a very similar background to you (18 years old, web dev) a while ago. Everyone loved him, they'd be excited to meet you too.

Side note, I'd be happy to chat over coffee and discuss the valley, opportunities, and how to not get screwed over, regardless of your interest in Hired.

davb 11 days ago 2 replies      
This is a great idea.

I really wish we had half the community community you guys have, here in Aberdeen, Scotland. You could throw a rock and hit a tech guy in SF. Here, the only groups of any prominence are MS .Net groups.

I've been struggling to find or build such a network here. I'm an open source, Linux, Python type of guy and feel I don't fit in the myopic tech culture here. I'd emigrate to SF in a heartbeat.

Good luck networking, I reckon you'll do alright. If you ever visit Scotland, hit me up!

lowglow 11 days ago 0 replies      
I tried this with burritos last year. The results were mixed. I got a lot of great people, but even with screening, I had a ton of very weird characters come through because I got some press on it.

I found a lot of people just wanted a free burrito. Not a problem, but not the community I hoped to build out of the experiment.

Needless to say I had put on about 20lbs in burritos.

[edit] sent you an email! :)

smegel 10 days ago 0 replies      
I suspect this is just a ploy to get to the top post on HN which is surely of more value than this webpage in and of itself...so congrats I guess.
yurylifshits 10 days ago 0 replies      
Hey Miles, we have Mission Hackers meetup this Wednesday. Come join us tomorrow: https://www.facebook.com/events/1549813885231948/

Everyone else is welcome too! We are a group of hackers and entrepreneurs who get together in Mission District, work on our own projects and have fun.

agentultra 11 days ago 0 replies      
I've went more or less a similar route as you. I've met people who swear by going to university. Many who went and dropped out. Others like myself who didn't go.

We're all in roughly the same spots not far from some imaginary standard deviation.

Best of luck with this interesting idea. How do you vet the people you intend to meet? Do you get any spam or trolls?

brimtown 11 days ago 2 replies      
Great idea. Just a heads up, the email validation in your index.js isn't functioning; it accepts any arbitrary string (or none at all).
drawkbox 11 days ago 0 replies      
You are gonna go far kid, scratch that adult. Keep those hands firmly gripped on the wheel, noone else driving it but you.
BrandonY 11 days ago 0 replies      
This would be cool as a generic tool, like a 1:1 version of Meetup. Which I guess is what dating websites are, but explicitly focused on just talking one time with an interesting person about stuff they are really excited about over coffee instead of dating.

I would like to have coffee with interesting people from time to time.

Blahah 10 days ago 0 replies      
You can basically ignore any life advice you're being given on this thread - you've got your head screwed on better than anyone here. Keep doing what you're doing; you're doing it all right.

I'm not in SF, but if you're ever in the UK (London/Cambridge) feel free to look me up.

cblock811 10 days ago 0 replies      
Good for you! I'm from the South and moved out here without knowing anyone before. I would love to meet you and hear how things are going. I would be happy to introduce you to people too. Included my email when I responded to your web app but my personal email is listed in my profile. Coffee is on me though ;P
pcthrowaway 11 days ago 1 reply      
I love that you have overandoverrickandmortyadventures.com! I just binge watched season 1 and checked every domain name; surprisingly there are a few mentioned in the show that are still unclaimed (I think one was mentioned by the fake door salesman in a later episode where they watch interdimensional television)
V-2 10 days ago 0 replies      
While the main website is very aesthetic...


- this is not a particularly good design. Project descriptions are hardly readable and it looks plain ugly, to be frank

yawz 10 days ago 0 replies      
Many commented about the merits of college already. I'm just going to say college life was great. There's more to life than money and professional success. If you have the opportunity, go through college and experience the social benefits.
eddotman 11 days ago 0 replies      
Pretty cool stuff, dude. I filled out the form (which, I assume, sent you an email). I'll be around Berkeley in January, so if you like chatting about science stuff, then that could be fun. You have really good initiative (especially normalized for age).
michaelq 10 days ago 0 replies      
The college experience for most Millenials can fit into 14 lines of JavaScript: https://twitter.com/freecodecamp/status/531824655573602304
rglover 11 days ago 0 replies      
Might be too late, but would be cool to show off your dev schools by adding some sort of slot/budget feature that shows how many cups (or money left) you have open for people to "book."
gniquil 10 days ago 0 replies      
Your Meet me at "noon" placeholder got cut off (reads "no" right now). Had to pull up the trusty inspector to resize the input element to see the full word... Otherwise awesome!
tuxguy 10 days ago 0 replies      
Very impressive Miles !

You should speak to Sahilhttp://sahillavingia.com/

Wish you all the very best !

tempodox 10 days ago 0 replies      
If you're one of those strange people who do social networking, this approach is really cool. I like it :) I'll let you know when I'm in the vicinity.
trekky1700 10 days ago 0 replies      
I'd love to take you up on this, but I'm afraid I'm thousands of "Miles" away.

Sorry I had to.

Nice Rick and Morty site on your portfolio!

voltagex_ 11 days ago 0 replies      
Have you thought about letting other people put up subdirectories/subdomains on this site? It'd be really useful for a friend of mine (in Australia)
mattlogan1 11 days ago 0 replies      
F the haters, you're clearly doing something right.
afar 11 days ago 1 reply      
I like the .coffee domain. Nice get. Although, with 190+ points, "I'll buy you coffee" might get a bit expensive.
chrismorgan 10 days ago 1 reply      
http://miles.codes/ doesnt work well in Firefox, by the way.
Pinn2 11 days ago 0 replies      
Neat! Just remember that it's not just who you know--it's what you know! You'll go far.
imaginenore 11 days ago 1 reply      
Your page is way too tall for the amount of information you put. And the most important stuff is at the bottom.
jclish 11 days ago 0 replies      
Welcome to California.
Multiplayer 11 days ago 1 reply      
How are you marketing this page?
ashah 10 days ago 0 replies      
go to college, dont miss your chance to have sex with human women
martinvol 11 days ago 0 replies      
beautiful website, by the way!
Cache is the new RAM
433 points by aristus  3 days ago   94 comments top 17
temuze 3 days ago 16 replies      
The database I want still doesn't exist.

Here's what I want:

- Easy sharding, a la Elasticsearch. I want virtual shards that can be moved node to node and an easy to understand primary/replica shard system for write/reads. I want my DB nodes to find each other with an easy discovery system with plugins for AWS/Azure/Digital Ocean etc.

- Fucking SQL. I don't want to learn your stupid DSL. I want to give coworkers a SQL client a say "go! You already know how to use this!". If I want a new feature, then dammit, build on top of SQL the way PostgreSQL has. Odds are, regardless if its some JSON API or SQL, my language will have a client for it that will be superior than writing raw queries anyway.

- Easily pluggable data management systems. For example, if I do a lot of SUMs and I know I'm not doing writes very often, I want to use CStore. If I'm storing a bunch of strings, I want to able to index it anyway I please - maybe one index with Analyzer/Tokenizer X and another with Analyzer/Tokenizer Y - all in a nice inverted index. Good, I can make an autocomplete now. Oh, and sometimes I want a good ol' RDBMS.

- Reactive programming! It works well in the front end and it'd be amazing in the backend. For example, I want to make a materialized view that's the result of a query, but that gets updated as new rows get inserted or as the rows it uses gets updated. Let's call it a continuous view or something. Eventual consistency is fine. Clever continuous views can solve a lot of performance issues.

- I want to be able to choose if a table/db is always in memory or not. I don't care about individual rows - that sounds like someone else's problem.

- Easy pipelining - these continuous views mean that an insert can span a lot of jobs because one continuous view can be dependent on another. I want my database to manage all of this for me and I want to forget that Hadoop ever existed. I want to be able to give my database a bunch of nodes that are just for working jobs if need be. Maybe allow custom throttling for the updates of these "continuous views" so the queries don't get re-run every update if they're too frequent.

- While I'm at it, I want a pony, too. But I'd settle for this being open source instead.

There's a lot of possible directions for the DB world in the next decade. Me, I think the line between DBs and MapReduce/ETL/Pipelining is going to be blurred.

jandrewrogers 3 days ago 3 replies      
A couple points I would make with respect to the article:

- In-memory databases offer few advantages over a disk-backed database with a properly designed I/O scheduler. In-memory databases are generally only faster if the disk-backed database uses mmap() for cache replacement or similarly terrible I/O scheduling. The big advantage of in-memory databases is that you avoid the enormously complicated implementation task of writing a good I/O scheduler and disk cache. For the user, there is little performance difference for a given workload on a given piece of server hardware.

- Data structure and algorithms have long existed for supercomputing applications that are very effective at exploiting cache and RAM locality. Most supercomputing applications are actually bottlenecked by memory bandwidth (not compute). Few databases do things this way -- it is a bit outside the evolutionary history of database internals -- because few database designers have experience optimizing for memory bandwidth. This is one of the reasons that some disk-backed databases like SpaceCurve have much higher throughput than in-memory databases: excellent I/O scheduling (no I/O bottlenecks) and memory bandwidth optimized internals (higher throughput of what is in cache).

The trend in database engines is highly pipelined execution paths within a single thread with almost no coordination or interactions between threads. If you look at codes that are designed to optimize memory bandwidth, this is the way they are designed. No context switching and virtually no shared data structures. Properly implemented, you can easily saturate both sides of a 10GbE NIC on a modest server simultaneously for many database workloads.

GrinningFool 3 days ago 5 replies      
> It pisses me off to no end these developers have to out-think SQL and re-invent the whole damn new wheel for "efficiency's" sake.

Worked with someone who did this a couple years ago. I keep trying to get him to explain why he was reinventing sql, and never did get a clear answer to that.

> just waggles their dick around saying

Sorry to be the one to say it, but I don't think that part was necessary or appropriate to this community. Also, using the collective gender-neutral "their" in conjunction with dick waggling is just funny, now that I think about it.

nemo44x 3 days ago 0 replies      
This article is full of so much logical fallacy I'm surprised it made it here. And it's an advertisement none the less.

Creates a red herring by stating he's been doing this a long time and has seen it all.

Creates straw man after straw man in the trashing of memory caches (avoids their use cases), Dynamo (there's a good reason tons of people use various NoSQL Databases) and Hadoop (C'mon, now).

He also creates more logical fallacy in calling various concepts silver bullets that ended up having problems. I don't think anyone serious about technology thinks replication, sharding, load balancing "solves everything". Nothing is a silver bullet and anyone who says something is is selling you something...

And then he fails to really address the MemSQL uses replication, sharding (in a limited sense since the core SQL concept of a JOIN is wrecked here and they have a big warning on their troubleshooting page about an error you users must see often).

SQL is great but I have plenty of great reasons to use other data stores. SQL isn't a silver bullet for data.

Point is, he is calling MemSQL a silver bullet and is obviously trying to sell something while ripping plenty of great ideas and concepts by picking the worst implementations of them and largest misunderstandings of them.

brendangregg 3 days ago 0 replies      
Yes. Or as I've said: memory is the new disk. This is why PMCs (performance monitoring counters) are more important than ever, to provide observability for cache and memory analysis. (I'd like some PMCs made available in EC2. :)
hcarvalhoalves 3 days ago 2 replies      
> Its been 65 years since the invention of the integrated circuit, but we still have billions of these guys around, whirring and clicking and breaking. Its only now that we are on the cusp of the switch to fully solid-state computing.

Am I missing something, or should it read "hard disk" rather than "integrated circuit" here?

yason 2 days ago 0 replies      
That's how it has always been. We take different storage/memory technologies, sort them by their speed and price, put the fastest but most expensive closest to the CPU and the slowest but cheapest as far as possible. Minimizing memory footprint allows us to do more work on the faster end while minimizing storage cost allows us to store terabytes of data on your bookshelf.

There might have been just two or three levels initially: cpu register(s), system ram, and external storage. Now the spread has several more steps: registers, L1 cache, L2 cache, maybe L3 cache or part of memory as disk cache, SSD (either as a standalone drive or as an on-disk cache inside a traditional hard drive), and the good old spinning platter. We've mostly let go of tape storage by now but those are still sold for their capacity.

However, from the programmer's point of view, nothing has necessarily changed.

We have several levels of storage, more than before, ranging from the fastest on-chip cache ram to the mechanical storage and we still optimize our programs to run mostly in the fastest tip of this memory pyramid. What has changed is the size of the spread itself: the gap between the fastest and the slowest is huge in numbers. But relatively, not so much.

A quick guesstimate of the ratio of microseconds needed for a zero-page read in C64 vs. reading a byte from the 1541 floppy drive versus a read from cpu cache vs. a read from a spinning platter tells that the relative difference still roughly on the same order of magnitude. From various sources, I get a figure between 50-100 million times faster between the fastest and slowest read.

That is also what makes programming so much fun: everything gets redone all the time and the pace of advancements is crazy yet some things don't change. We just do more complex things but still bump into essentially the same tradeoffs.

kephra 2 days ago 1 reply      
I once learned, in the good old mainframe times, that there are 3 sizes of databases: Small size that fit into RAM, medium size that fit on one computer, and big databases, that require a cluster of computers.

The relational model, and SQL databases play their strong roles in medium size databases, but are to much overhead for a fast small database, and do not scale well for big databases.

It was hoped at that time, that Moors law will beat Wirths law (who claimed this law much later), that big databases will soon be medium sized, nobody would care about performance of small databases that much, and we could happy use SQL for all problems. This was true for surprisingly long time, and still is, if your problem fits into a medium size database.

Unfortunate, computer history turns in cycles, and tends to forget lessons from the past. Coding access to a bunch of different databases was at least standard under COBOL. Coding for half a dozen NoSQL databases now, is a complete mess.

maerF0x0 3 days ago 2 replies      
Amazon doesnt expose much of these statistics (how fast of ram do i get with a M3.large or a c3.med etc) . Does this mean real performance is for those who own their servers?
xacaxulu 3 days ago 0 replies      
Laughing so hard at this line:

"Bringing you yesterday's insights, TOMORROW"

Roboprog 3 days ago 0 replies      
I have been saying this since the late 90s.


Small code & data fit in cache, and run full speed. Fortunately, I can get at the GB that used to be (mainly) on my hard drive faster, now.

mmphosis 3 days ago 0 replies      
It means that caching is often more trouble than its worth.
alexjarvis 2 days ago 0 replies      
http://crate.io is pretty much the system described towards the end of the article.
farresito 3 days ago 1 reply      
I've always found very unfortunate that memsql is not open source. It looks very interesting. VoltDB seems to fill a similar niche. Has anyone tried both?
graycat 2 days ago 0 replies      
Okay, if the title is correct, then to heckwith traditional RAM and, instead, have very longaddresses, say,

     a(i).b(j).c(k) ...
stored in, say, a key-value store. Then, as usual forcaching, just hash that long address.

Why do that? Mostly no one really wants the sequential addresses, and a lot of work in software and the processor is calculating thosesequential addresses nearly no one really wantsanyway. So, e.g., software collection classes,just let the keys be the long addresses andf'get about AVL trees, red-black trees, etc.And for sparse matrices, just use the row andcolumn indices as the addresses and f'get about allthe tricky addressing for sparse matrices. Etc.

contingencies 3 days ago 0 replies      
Database vendor frames history of computing in database evolution, makes snide remarks about competing technologies, admits it has no idea where the world is going while invoking the 'history repeats itself' notion. Well, duh.

OTOH, databases are only one component of modern architectures, which the article correctly asserts are largely limited in terms of scalability by throughput and latency. However, scalability is often secondary to functionality. And in terms of functionality, the long list of database types trawled out through the article only serve to highlight the real chokepoint: cognitive overhead.

Perhaps what we really need are tools that enable us to more easily stop and think about the problem. Ideally, tools to test, profile, compare and switch between storage or other subsystem architectures without having to delve in to infinitesimal intracacies of each.

Success really depends on the conception of the problem, the design of the system, not in the details of how it's coded. - Leslie Lamport

aesede 3 days ago 0 replies      
how come nobody noticed qwantz.com's T-Rex yet!
Show HN: Projects from Stupid Shit No One Needs and Terrible Ideas Hackathon
422 points by saaaam  5 days ago   96 comments top 40
yogiHacks 4 days ago 3 replies      
I was at Stuipd Hackathon. I've never been to anything so unabashedly motivated to be pointless and irreverent. Workshops included: "3d printed sex toys", "how to be come alan ginsberg in 30 minutes", and "pissing off my landlord".

All the projects there were so beautiful because they were liberated from the whole motif in tech of products constantly "revolutionizing field-xyz and solving 1000 major world problems".

If we are going to enter into a truly tech-literate, post-internet phase of humanity, we gotta be making dumb, hilarious junk like this.

unclesaamm 4 days ago 1 reply      
This is incredible. I think a few things are worth noting:

1) these "terrible idea" hackathon projects were so much more _sexual_ than your typical hackathon. This goes with the indications that the sex-tech space is anathema more for market reasons (VCs want to stay family friendly) than because sex-tech isn't fun or interesting to people. With the chance of funding not on the table, a healthy mix of projects veered toward sex. Maybe humor can actually be a way for a few sex-tech startups to take off. :)

2) the funniest projects all involved hardware. There's something extra-ridiculous about juxtaposing our own bodies into these stupid projects. I recommend anyone interested in a solid philosophical grounding in humor to read Henri Bergson's early 20th century treatise on laughter (http://www.templeofearth.com/books/laughter.pdf). He writes that we find use laughter as a way to draw attention to the rigid, mortal, and physical in all of us. That is why impersonating someone's habits is funny-- because the rigidity of their personality is made super clear. I wonder what it says about us that strapping ipads onto people's faces makes me laugh out loud.

if_by_whisky 5 days ago 2 replies      
This is already over? DAMN. Now what am I going to do with my idea to build a payment gateway on top of snapchat...
blhack 5 days ago 0 replies      
This is always my hacker's-block-breaker. If I'm stuck on something, and not feeling particularly creative, I'll make something intentionally useless, and funny, and it usually cheers me back up and gets me working again.
andrewstuart 5 days ago 2 replies      
Aren't we all participating in this hackathon on a global scale except for a very small number of us who build something people want?
cheepin 4 days ago 3 replies      
I wish I knew about this. I wrote a file server that serves your webroot directory over League of Legends chat. Any time you request a file that is more than a few bytes, your chat gets flooded with base64 strings... The extraslow web.
StavrosK 5 days ago 1 reply      
Aw, I should have entered my rotary mobile phone...:


blairanderson 4 days ago 0 replies      
This looks rad.

A very similar hackathon I went to a few months back is http://www.comedyhackday.org/ They matchup comedians and hackers to create beauty.

Easily the most fun hackathon i've ever been to/

bbcbasic 4 days ago 2 replies      
The Stupid Font is actually very cool. I am going to use it for my blog title. So sorry Stupid Font creator: You failed - I find your idea useful.
JacobAldridge 4 days ago 0 replies      
I learnt some great definitions around creativity and innovation at a conference I was involved with recently. To wit, "Creativity is the generation of novel and useful ideas."

The speaker (Dr David Hall) recommended that the search for Creativity often needs to start with generating something novel and useless - this can then inspire the useful application to emerge. Only when we pursue the novel, however useless, do we really open ourselves up to surprising creativity.

This Hackathon seems to fully embrace that principle, so I wouldn't be surprised at all if many of those who participated take the germ of an idea and develop it further into the useful space.

[1] http://jacobaldridge.com/business/3-blockages-to-creativity-...

hiou 5 days ago 4 replies      
How is this different from every other Hackathon?
tormeh 5 days ago 0 replies      
This is awesome. Especially the beautified intellectuals.
softdev12 5 days ago 1 reply      
Wow. 100,000 projects submitted? With that many projects, you'd think the odds would make it that one wasn't terrible.
dmix 4 days ago 0 replies      
Where is the "Intellectual Babes Calendar" I'd like to buy this...
2511 4 days ago 0 replies      
Please note:This is NSFW
dzhiurgis 4 days ago 1 reply      
This is incredibly funny.

Just today I was reading i am devloper tweets and just started wondering are there communities for developer jokes? Reddit comes to mind, but it become too mainstream. Anything else?

stockkid 4 days ago 0 replies      
The food bite tweet is my favorite.
bonobo3000 4 days ago 0 replies      
Ahhhh this is beautiful :) Reminds of the days when blogs and websites were creative absurdities and programming was a cool hobby.
Dragonai 4 days ago 1 reply      
How regularly is the Stupid Hackathon held? Fall and spring? Georgia Tech student here, I would seriously fly up to participate.
mistercow 4 days ago 2 replies      
The rearview mirror one is actually a really cool experiment. I wonder if eventually you'd just get used to it (although you probably wouldn't get used to all of the neck and joint pain from trying to do things so awkwardly).
normloman 4 days ago 0 replies      
That "tweet from food" thing reminds me of Vessyl.https://www.myvessyl.com/
mkhpalm 4 days ago 1 reply      
If they sold it, I might buy that thing that tweets my food bites. It would also make twitter more useful / entertaining for me.
andyidsinga 4 days ago 0 replies      
kudos to the "Kim Kardashian On A Newton" team.

...thats some non-trivial archeology to get that running :)

jbaudanza 4 days ago 1 reply      
That "Focus Tools" chrome extension looks like it could potentially help me from getting distracted. Disqualified!
binarysolo 4 days ago 0 replies      
Any equivalent of this sort of a Hackathon in the SF Bay? If not, wanna organize one together? :)
sleepyhead 4 days ago 0 replies      
So it's like a normal hackathon?
rajacombinator 3 days ago 0 replies      
Ahh unintentional hipster self-parody at its finest.
sirances 4 days ago 0 replies      
Really hope this type of event spreads - looks like a lot of fun.
boomlinde 4 days ago 0 replies      
A very honest hackathon!
androidb 4 days ago 1 reply      
DO NOT click to watch the drone delivery video. Trust me.
joshu 4 days ago 0 replies      
Can someone do this in the Bay Area? I'll help.
ddeger 4 days ago 0 replies      
This Hackathon should be international :)
askinakhan 4 days ago 0 replies      
Hahaha! The Focus Tools one is great! looool
thebouv 4 days ago 0 replies      
We need more Hackathons like this.
snarkyturtle 5 days ago 0 replies      
Yeah... might want to mark this NSFW
thejaredhooper 4 days ago 0 replies      
anddddddddddd NSFW
saaaam 5 days ago 1 reply      
Well, I organized the hackathon. Does that count?
kenkam 4 days ago 0 replies      
can we please have a NSFW tag
dschiptsov 4 days ago 2 replies      
This is about systemd, I suppose?
tempodox 4 days ago 0 replies      
If no-one needs stupid shit, then what do we have Facebook for?
New Search Strategy for Firefox
427 points by Osmose  3 days ago   343 comments top 39
DevX101 3 days ago 10 replies      
This is why Google built Chrome. Google's strategy has been to remove the layers between the user's intent to search and Google's own server. Every intermediate layer that Google does not control is a risk to their business.

When viewed through these lens, many of the seemingly ancillary Google business units start to make strategic sense. Android (control the device), Chrome (control the browser), Fiber (control the tubes).

Each of these channels is an opportunity for disruption by some competitor search engine and Google wants to make sure they don't get blindsided. Or one of the gateways could demand a massive tribute for Google to pass through (cable companies are pushing for this via the war against net neutrality).

If Google didn't have Chrome and Firefox was the leading browser, they'd be in big trouble with this news. Lucky for them they thought about this a long time ago and built a browser which now accounts for 50% of market share.

Yahoo NEEDS this deal. For Google, it's a nice to have.

nnethercote 3 days ago 5 replies      
Some more details:

* This is a new, more flexible partnership strategy.

* Continuing the existing relationship with Google was an option, but Mozilla chose to end the Google relationship.

* All the options Mozilla considered had strong, improved economic terms (but the concrete numbers are not public). Because all the options had improved economics, that allowed Mozilla to really consider the strategic outlook.

* The Yahoo agreement in the US is for five years.

* Yahoo will be rolling out a new, improved search tool soon.

* Mozilla has agreements with Yandex and Baidu for Russia and China.

* Google will remain an included option in Firefox and Mozilla will continue to support its use.

sroerick 3 days ago 4 replies      
Mozilla is making some major moves these days. They've ditched Google as their main revenue source, partnering with Tor and Yahoo.

Yahoo is angling to be a digital magazine, which I like as a business model much more than Google's.

Firefox is making a strong case for itself as the privacy centric browser.

I still remember when Firefox started gaining market share. Even non-tech-savvy people were getting firefox, because IE was so bad for security, and so hard to maintain.

Excited to see what the next few months brings.

throwawaymoz 3 days ago 12 replies      
(throwaway account)

While I believe the party line is probably true ("Mozilla decided not to go with Google"), it's also disingenuous.

Mozilla chose not to go with Google because Google wasn't willing to pay what they were before. They straight up told Mozilla this 3 years ago when they signed the billion dollar contract; Mozilla had 3 years to become profitable. That's why they switched focus to FirefoxOS; they thought that by now they'd be profitable via selling phones and the app store. (At the time, Bing was bidding against Google, however Mozilla went with the smaller check from Google because they knew using Bing would seem like selling out.)

For the record, Google made billions off being Firefox's default search engine. They paid Firefox $300mil a year for three years, but that was only a small fraction of how much Google profited from Firefox searches. Not sure if it's still true, but three years ago they made more from Firefox than they did from Chrome.

So, yes, Mozilla could have gone with Google still. It's not like Google said "nope, you can't use us as the default!". However, they went with Yahoo! because Google wasn't willing to pay what Mozilla needed. The whole "Mozilla picked Yahoo! to enable choice" has been tweeted by every Mozillian I know (and said multiple times in this thread), but it's a meaningless statement. If they really meant that, you'd be prompted when you opened Firefox the first time to pick a search engine.

kibwen 3 days ago 4 replies      
It's always seemed as though Google's and Mozilla's relationship would weaken over the years, though honestly I expected Bing rather than Yahoo to be the one to step up and fill Google's shoes. Also surprising is that apparently Mozilla was the one to initiate the switch.

As a Firefox user, all in all I'm rather pleased. I've just tried a few of my typical searches on Yahoo and though the expected links aren't the top results (seeing links for Rust-the-game instead of Rust-the-language...), they're on the first page. Let's see if that improves with time as I use it more. And I'm happy to support some more diversity in this space.

_pius 3 days ago 1 reply      
Note that Mozilla is making Yahoo reinstate support for Do-Not-Track, which it had dropped earlier this year.


spikels 2 days ago 1 reply      
Yikes I never realized Mozilla was so dependent on Google

  % of Revenue from Google Search Royalties:  2013 Not released yet (usually 11 months! after end of year)  2012 88% (90% of 304,539/311,005)  2011 84% (85% of 161,904/163,474)  2010 83% (84% of 121,109/123,206)  2009 84% (86% of 101,537/104,305)  2008 98% (91% of 83,600/77,737)  2007 80% (88% of 68,238,803/75,125,640)  2006 78% (85% of 61,561,496/66,840,850)  2005 91% (95% of 50,516,268/52,906,602)

2012 - https://static.mozilla.com/moco/en-US/pdf/Mozilla_Audited_Fi...

2011 - http://static.mozilla.com/moco/en-US/pdf/Mozilla%20Foundatio...

2010 - http://static.mozilla.com/moco/en-US/pdf/Mozilla%20Foundatio...

2009 - http://static.mozilla.com/foundation/documents/mf-2009-audit...

2008 - http://static.mozilla.com/foundation/documents/mf-2008-audit...

2007 - http://static.mozilla.com/foundation/documents/mf-2007-audit...

2006 - http://static.mozilla.com/foundation/documents/mf-2006-audit...

2005 - http://static.mozilla.com/foundation/documents/mf-2005-audit...

andreastt 3 days ago 1 reply      
The correct link is https://blog.mozilla.org/blog/2014/11/19/promoting-choice-an.... Seems the link was changed.
s4sharpie 3 days ago 5 replies      
Looks like a smart move by Yahoo to be the default search for a major browser: google/chrome, bing/ie. This also means that Firefox will likely get some serious support from Yahoo in $$s to build back market share. Question is can they catch Google?
opinali 3 days ago 2 replies      
Yahoo! is OK, but... Yandex and Baidu are not exactly recommended company for an organization that pretends to hold the Open Web's moral higher ground. They practice large-scale censorship, they are instruments of repressive regimes. How does that make any sense?
andrewl-hn 3 days ago 1 reply      
Note that is affects only U.S.-based users of Firefox. Good move for both parties, and I hope they can struck deals with regional search engines in other locations as well. Diversification is good for everybody.
dec0dedab0de 3 days ago 5 replies      
The real question is did Google stop paying? did Yahoo offer way more? Or did Mozilla want to break out from Google's shadow?

Edit: I mean to say did Google decide to end it, or did Mozilla, and why?

ihuman 3 days ago 1 reply      
Haven't they done something like this before? I remember Yahoo promoting a Yahoo-branded Firefox. It's default search and homepage were Yahoo, and every titlebar had "Firefox and Yahoo" at the end instead of just "Firefox."
drewda 3 days ago 1 reply      
"Google will also continue to power the Safe Browsing and Geolocation features of Firefox."

It's disappointing to hear that Firefox isn't yet using Mozilla's location services project [1].

Background: These are the services that will, say, take the SSID of your current WiFI access point and map that to a latitude/longitude. My understanding is that almost all commercial users subscribe to Skyhook Wireless's database[2], other than Google, which has built its own WiFi AP maps using its StreetView trucks.

I think Mozilla's "open" service, contributed by individual users, is a welcome alternative, since it means you no longer have to send your location to a large corporation on every look-up.

[1] https://location.services.mozilla.com/

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skyhook_Wireless

mrschwabe 3 days ago 0 replies      
This seems like a positive step forward for Mozilla (away from Google) but there's no denying how much more awesome this announcement would have been if the new default search provider was DuckDuckGo :)
sp332 3 days ago 2 replies      
I'd swear this happened already... I updated Firefox on an old Android tablet yesterday and the default search was already switched to Yahoo. Edit: ah, now that you mention it, it was a Beta version.
jlebar 3 days ago 0 replies      
math0ne 3 days ago 0 replies      
For me at least then moving away from google is a huge selling point. I think if they marketed themselves as a googless web experience it could be really good for them.
digitalnalogika 3 days ago 0 replies      
What will be the default engine in countries not listed in post? It is not exactly clear, apart from saying that Google will be pre-installed (but not default?).
AshleysBrain 3 days ago 1 reply      
Does this mean Yahoo outbid Google for being the new default search? How much is the deal worth? What about outside the US?
pwnna 3 days ago 4 replies      
One question: wasn't Yahoo supposed to be a part of Bing at some point?
mnemonik 3 days ago 0 replies      
Related blog post: https://blog.mozilla.org/blog/2014/11/19/promoting-choice-an...

More details, Yandex in Russia and Baidu in China, etc.

cwyers 3 days ago 1 reply      
I can't get at the post, so maybe they answer this, but... in this thread, I'm seeing that it's Yahoo! in the U.S., Yandex in Russia, Baidu in China. That seems to leave... a lot of the globe unspoken for. What's the default search for those places?
ngokevin 3 days ago 0 replies      
FWIW, Bing has looked similar to Google for a very long time.
briholt 3 days ago 5 replies      
Anyone have any insights into this? From the outside it looks like Mozilla is parting ways with Google because of Chrome. Interesting they went with Yahoo and not Bing.
panabee 3 days ago 0 replies      
google has been apple's greatest competitor for a while. apple has > $160B in cash. mobile bing is comparable to mobile google. the strategic value of weakening google seems to far outweigh the financial value of defaulting to google search (assuming google is willing to outbid microsoft). so why hasn't apple defaulted to bing yet, and when will it?
agumonkey 2 days ago 1 reply      
It would be nice to have search engine keybindings too. Stupid example Ctrl+K Ctrl+<Initial> to pick an engine (hopefully not too many starts with the same letter).

Even better, hell revolutionary : multiple search at once. /s/m

patcon 2 days ago 0 replies      
Anyone interested in search engine alternatives should look into yacy! Its distributed and runs locally. You can share your node with others of you really want to help :)
kevincox 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm really curious about the financial angle of this. I'm wondering how much was gained/lost based on the decision they made versus making a deal with Google for a similar system as in the past.
Osmose 3 days ago 0 replies      
FYI blog.mozilla.org is down, IT people are working on it.
jimmaswell 3 days ago 2 replies      
Is this why Firefox mobile started using Yahoo as the default and I can't change it? I tried changing it and it just kept using Yahoo.
victor27 3 days ago 1 reply      
Curious - do people here view the Yahoo! Search Experience to be better or worse than Google Search?
tn13 3 days ago 2 replies      
Honestly I dont see how this is a "choice". In fact this sounds exactly opposite of the choice. In this particular case Firefox has made the choice on our behalf that we are better off using Yahoo's crappy search results instead of market leader Google.

If you are making a browser which is focused on giving freedom to users you are supposed to :

1. Either let the users chose the search engine as an on-boarding step. 2. Offer industry best/leader as default.

In this particular case Firefox has made a suboptimal choice on our behalf in the name of "choice".

How exactly is this different from :

1. Comcast taking more money from Netflix to give them better bandwidth ?

Now my grandmother will end up seeing 0 organic search results above the fold and will have to learn to either change the search settings or simply use that icon with Red Green and Yellow around a blue dot (Chrome).

mcintyre1994 3 days ago 0 replies      
To be blunt, where's the innovation in Yahoo! Search? They're using Bing data and the result page images in the article look like a clone of Google's.
tn13 3 days ago 1 reply      
It is hard to figure out what a "strategic partnership" really means at the moment but ..

- I hope this strategic partnership does not mean 0 organic search results above the fold. That is what Yahoo is doing at the moment. - I hope FF does not come up with any Yahoo spyware/Toolbars etc.

Search is a weird thing on internet.

huhtenberg 3 days ago 4 replies      
Here's the option to suppress the change - http://i.imgur.com/HwHqQU9.png
agapos 3 days ago 1 reply      
Doesn't that mean that Google giving up on one of the biggest markets means they no longer need Mozilla and it can ditch it's support altogether?Will Yahoo be able to support Moz as Google did?Will this became precedence for other countries too (aside from exceptions like Russia's yandex)?
Osmose 3 days ago 2 replies      
You're assuming that Yahoo is paying more, assuming that money was the motivation for making the deal, and assuming that Mozilla employees believe that partnering with Google is better for the open web than partnering with Yahoo.
rdl 3 days ago 4 replies      
This makes me less likely to use Mozilla, but I was already a Chrome or Safari user (despite supporting the Mozilla mission).

Seems like a bad decision for Mozilla.

Bringing SSD Performance to the DIMM form factor
409 points by djoldman  11 days ago   201 comments top 27
NamTaf 11 days ago 10 replies      
I can't wait to see the programming paradigm of memory vs permanent storage begin to blur in the next 5 or so years. It's going to make some major assumptions about how you program stuff change quite significantly and it's really exciting.
IgorPartola 11 days ago 5 replies      
This is sort of the opposite of the RAM-based battery backed drives [1]. I can see this being immediately useful for things like large database servers: instead of re-priming caches on reboots you just have them already warmed up. You can also suddenly have a whole lot more "RAM" at the cost of its speed.

I do have a hard time picturing what this will look like if it was as fast as traditional RAM. If I can store everything in RAM, from the OS binaries, to the running processes, it certainly has a kind of elegance to it. Lots of microcontrollers already act this way: all your hardware has an address in a single address space, be at a hardware port, ROM, RAM, NVRAM, etc. However, I wonder how the modern UNIX OS will work with a system like this without block devices at all. I wonder if what it'd do is actually just use RAM disks, and years from now we'll still be doing this the way we do double emulation of the TTY. That'd be kind of sad since it means we can never get away from the concept of old block devices.

On the other hand it's damn convenient to be able to just append to a file and not have to worry about reallocating it. This means that perhaps all we'd need is a filesystem that's designed to work over RAM rather than over block devices.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I-RAM

mrb 11 days ago 1 reply      
You can tell SanDisk's performance numbers do not add up and that they are likely misrepresenting the true performance of their device. (Those red asterisks next to the numbers correspond to a footnote that is conveniently missing from the page...) A "read latency of 150usec" translates to maximum possible read IOPS rate of 1/150e-6 = 6.67K (with one outstanding I/O). But they quote a "random read IOPS of 140K". That would only be possible if their DDR3-based DIMM could process 21 concurrent read I/O operations. But to the best of my knowledge, DDR3 is limited to 8 banks/DIMM, so there could not possibly be more than 8 concurrent read I/O at any one time. Far from 21.

So SanDisk is likely quoting a worst case read latency and/or a best case read IOPS. Customers are left to themselves to figure out which of these numbers is most likely to represent the average performance...

PS: here is a paper with some more details but that still fails to explain this discrepancy: http://www.snia.org/sites/default/files/SanDisk%20ULLtraDIMM...

petercooper 11 days ago 2 replies      
I appreciate this might not be the right way to look at it, but from a trivia POV, in terms of raw performance, what era of regular memory would be comparable with it? (i.e. "typical desktop memory in 2004", say.)
fpp 11 days ago 0 replies      
More info on the UlltraDimms at:http://www.anandtech.com/show/8396/fms-2014-sandisk-ulltradi...(developed together with Diablo, some benchmark links).

and a video interview and demo with a SanDisk manager at a computer fair - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jarsTLGXx9c(currently only available for OEM, requires special bios setup)

ctz 11 days ago 1 reply      
'reliability rate of one unrecoverable error in 1017 (sic) bits read'

So about 4 unrecoverable errors per sector. Seems legit.

Do people not read their own copy?!

bitL 11 days ago 3 replies      
What would be the advantage of this comparing to PCIe/M.2 PCIe SSDs? Is it all about reduced latency, i.e. very small reads/writes would benefit?
zrail 11 days ago 3 replies      
I don't quite understand. Does this act like a stick of memory or an SSD? Is it just using the memory controller as a super fast parallel bus? If it does act like normal memory, what happens at reboot?
kcarnold 11 days ago 0 replies      
For all of us who are thinking "it's just like RAM, just persistent!", here's some perspectives about what persistent RAM means for OSes and applications: http://lwn.net/Articles/610174/
snake_plissken 11 days ago 1 reply      
This is pretty cool, especially since the data is persistent. You could put an entire data warehouse onto one or of a couple of these things, update it once a week and get amazing response time.

But I thought the main drawback of SSDs was that eventually the individual memory cells will degrade and lose the ability to write new data. I don't see anything about endurance other than a MTBF of 2.5 million hours and the disk-writes-per-day (DWPD), which I had to look up. I have no idea if these are good or bad. I feel like these things will be great if you didn't write new data a lot, or you have deep pockets to replace them when you need to.

nine_k 11 days ago 2 replies      
How come read latency is 150 s, while write latency is 5s, 30 times shorter? Do they mean the latency to start a write operation? IIRC, flash memory is written block by block, with a pretty significant time to write one block.
userbinator 11 days ago 3 replies      
The capacities are very odd - you'd expect something in a DIMM format to have a power-of-2 size.

I think the market for this could be much bigger if it behaved like a regular RAM DIMM, only slower and nonvolatile; it somewhat reminds me of old machines that used magnetic core RAM. This could be useful for laptops, like a zero-power suspend-to-(NV)RAM. The only thing that is worrying is the endurance of the flash - especially if it's being treated almost like RAM in this application.

jgrodziski 11 days ago 2 replies      
I look forward to the point where 3/4 of business application code will go the trash when we'll have a persistant memory with the latency of actual RAM disk (Memristor !!). Exit all that "copy from RAM to Disk/Network" code.It will definitely change the way we code and look at code. That's why nowadays I think a good interface to your entities, like the Repository pattern, is a must have.
zitterbewegung 11 days ago 5 replies      
Is the advantage the low latency because the rest of the specifications seem to be pretty standard for an SSD. Does this require a BIOS patch of some sort?
Wildgoose 10 days ago 0 replies      
I would still say that the real performance bottleneck is ultimately the bandwidth between the CPU and this memory. This suggests that the next stage will be to incorporate heterogenous processors alongside that memory - thus upgrading your computer could then be as simple as plugging in an another combined non-volatile memory/CPU block into a fast inter-connector. Rather reminds me of the the old S100 bus where everything just plugged into the same channel, (which probably dates me quite well).
jpgvm 11 days ago 2 replies      
This technology is actually developed by a company called Diablo Technologies. They seem to have licensed it to Samsung.
unwind 11 days ago 0 replies      
Cool! And weird. I wonder what the OS support looks like.

Also available in a non-Brazilian page at http://www.sandisk.com/enterprise/ulltradimm-ssd/, of course. :)

robmccoll 10 days ago 1 reply      
I honestly can't imagine having something in my DIMM slots with this bad of latency and throughput. 150 microsecond reads? Doing a full POST would take forever. What OS and software use - case does this serve?
fastest963 10 days ago 0 replies      
Apparently once you hit 3.2TB the IOPs falls to only 200K. Typo? http://cl.ly/image/2J0u182D3229
egillie 11 days ago 2 replies      
SSDs as RAM + projects like Tachyon are the future of big data processing -- current workflows are still way too slow. I wonder how this will affect Spark.
joelthelion 11 days ago 0 replies      
Do OSes already support this? Do they support it as memory, a storage device, or both?
rlpb 11 days ago 1 reply      
What OS support exists for this, and how does it work?
Fando 11 days ago 0 replies      
What implications does this have for us simple folk?
imaginenore 11 days ago 0 replies      
We have PCIe SSDs approaching 7.2 GB/s. While that's lower than DDR3 speeds, it's not that far off.


mohap 11 days ago 2 replies      
What's the catch here?
gr3yh47 11 days ago 1 reply      

"Reduces total processing time, compared to hard-drive drives (HDDs)."

i loled.

lowlevel 11 days ago 0 replies      
Mind blown.
Announcing .NET 2015 .NET as Open Source, .NET on Mac and Linux
400 points by asyncwords  10 days ago   4 comments top 2
carlesfe 9 days ago 1 reply      
Sorry for the slight off topic, but am I the only one not seeing any comments here? Is something wrong? It's weird since the link has 350+ votes.
u04f061 9 days ago 0 replies      
Dear Microsoft,

Please stay away from Linux.


Linux User

Police Use Department Wish List When Deciding Which Assets to Seize
403 points by molecule  12 days ago   162 comments top 21
lazaroclapp 12 days ago 9 replies      
U.S. Bill of rights, article 7: "No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger;[...], nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law;"

I am not a lawyer, but I do have to wonder, how is 'civil forfeiture' as a whole compatible with the U.S. constitution (or for that matter, that of any country with both rule of law and capitalist property rights)?

declan 12 days ago 2 replies      
Police abuses of civil asset forfeiture have been around longer than many HN readers have been alive. Here's an example of civil asset forfeiture abuse in 1991 (the practice extends back to at least 1985), which was the subject of congressional testimony in 1996: https://www.aclu.org/technology-and-liberty/statement-rep-he...

I remember going to DC policy seminars on the topic that groups like the ACLU and the Cato Institute held 10-15 years ago, and Cato published a lengthy paper about these abuses in 2006: http://www.cato.org/sites/cato.org/files/pubs/pdf/balko_whit...

There's even an organization devoted to ending civil asset forfeiture abuses: http://fear.org/

But after roughly three decades of this practice, and over two decades of well-documented abuses, nothing has changed. Why this remains the case, even though every politician and judge is aware or should be aware of these abuses, is left as an exercise for the reader.

adamnemecek 12 days ago 1 reply      
John Oliver's show had a segment on this very topic not that long ago https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3kEpZWGgJks
Everlag 12 days ago 3 replies      
It says 'the value of assets seized has ballooned to $4.3 billion in the 2012 fiscal year' which means that, spread across every American, is an extra $1400 tax which is off the books. For perspective, on the highest minimum wage of $9.32 per hour, that's around 150 hours of work. THAT'S AN EFFECTIVE MONTH OF 40 HOUR WORK WEEKS TO AN ILLEGITIMATE, OFF THE BOOKS, EFFECTIVELY UNREGULATED, AND FOR PROFIT TAX.

Disgusted should not even begin to describe the mood of the American people.

EDIT: My math is bad and I feel bad. Its ~$14 a year which is still an hour but oh my, that was an order of a magnitude error!

antmldr 12 days ago 2 replies      
IANAL, but in Commonwealth countries this seems to be mitigated by the use of consolidated revenue funds[0].

It's explicit in s81[1] and 83[2] of the Australian Constitution that all revenues must be deposited into the CRF and you then need a law to appropriate the revenue elsewhere. Similarly, state law seems to point to revenue from civil seizure is paid into treasury.[3]

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consolidated_Fund[1] http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/cth/consol_act/coaca430/s...[2] http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/cth/consol_act/coaca430/s...[3] http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/nsw/consol_act/cara199027...

sremani 12 days ago 0 replies      
This is John Oliver's commentary on this issue.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3kEpZWGgJks

note: Not sure if we can post youtube videos here, but the commentary on the video very relevant to the topic

ObviousScience 12 days ago 3 replies      
> If you want the car, and you really want to put it in your fleet, let me know Ill fight for it, Mr. McMurtry said, addressing law enforcement officials on the video. If you dont let me know that, Ill try and resolve it real quick through a settlement and get cash for the car, get the tow fee paid off, get some money for it.

> In an interview, Mr. McMurtry acknowledged that he exercises a great deal of discretion. The first offense, if its not anything too serious, well come up with a dollar amount, depending on the value of the car and the seriousness of the offense, he said. I try to come up with a dollar amount thats not so high that they cant afford it, but not so low that it doesnt have an impact. If its a second offense, they dont get it back.

What a fucking asshole. That guy is a thug stealing from the public, and he doesn't even try to hide it. He even admits that he's using the practice to impose fines without due process, in direct violation of the constitution.

He's a criminal, and should be treated as such.

> Prosecutors estimated that between 50 to 80 percent of the cars seized were driven by someone other than the owner, which sometimes means a parent or grandparent loses their car.

They're even aware that they're stealing from innocent people, and that they'd likely never get any sort of seizure upheld through having to actually file charges.

Criminals, all of them.

stephengoodwin 12 days ago 0 replies      
I am not a lawyer, but I have heard that cases literally suing property (as opposed to the property owner):

* United States v. $124,700 in U.S. Currency[1]

* United States v. Approximately 64,695 Pounds of Shark Fins[2]

* United States v. Forty Barrels and Twenty Kegs of Coca-Cola[3]


[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_v._$124,700_in_U....

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_v._Approximately_...

[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_v._Forty_Barrels_...

zaroth 12 days ago 1 reply      
It's great the media at least has woken up to this. So they crank out an article every month or so, basically saying the same thing over again. But even the media isn't willing to fully recognize how much the system has turned, how stacked the deck, how all-seeing, and highly discriminatory, lady justice has now become. "The practice of civil forfeiture has come under fire in recent months..." just comes off as a meek response to the truth on the ground.

Is the system so overrun by spineless pricks there's literally no one left to inject some sanity? No prosecutor who can't understand the irony of sizing up citizens like a thug on a smash-and-grab (go for the flat screens!) Not a soul left in the justice department with enough common decency to make a career out of killing this?

The legislators aren't willing to kill the goose which lays the golden eggs. Is it up to referendums? Who is organizing the offense, and what is the game plan? Where is the coordinated counter-attack? Because without one it's not going to curtail this. I don't think you can simply shame these departments (police and prosecutor) into taking the handcuffs off their belts and slapping them on their own wrists where they apparently belong.

dan_sullivan 12 days ago 1 reply      
Combine this sort of behavior with the fact that they now have unchecked surveillance powers and what do you get?
lukev 12 days ago 1 reply      
What is the likely outcome if a victim of civil forfeiture were to file a lawsuit against the law enforcement body for restitution, on constitutional grounds? Is that legally possible, or is there a precedent for this?

Seems like the ACLU would be all over funding such a suit and taking it as far as necessary.

lsaferite 12 days ago 0 replies      
Reading this article made me sick to my stomach. I'm truly ashamed of my country.
mathattack 12 days ago 0 replies      
The challenge here is that people fighting this have to be convinced to pay higher taxes rather than "Stick it to the criminals." When you ask people to pay for higher principles, sometimes they balk. Of course we know about the road to hell, and today it's a drug dealer's car, and tomorrow it's the opposition party's mayoral candidate.
ck2 12 days ago 0 replies      
We should stop saying seize. It's "steal". It is outright theft.

Even if by some chance the people they were taking it from were doing something wrong, it is still theft because it is done as them being judge, jury and executioner.

PythonicAlpha 12 days ago 0 replies      

What kind of training get the police men? Is it police training or training how to be a crook?

There is one saying in the bible -- I don't want to preach, but some wisdom can be even found in old books -- "A man reaps what he sows".

It seems, this state sows crooks.

forgetaboutit2 12 days ago 0 replies      
The Bill of Rights, Constitution, Constitutional Ammendments haven't been enforced for over 10 years!!
Paradigma11 12 days ago 0 replies      
Why are there no specialized Law firms that take the case for a cut of the assets?
Istof 12 days ago 0 replies      
Can civilians thieves use civil forfeiture, in small claim court, for example?
viggity 12 days ago 1 reply      
Harry Connelly, the one discussing "little goodies" to be seized can be contacted at harryc@las-cruces.org

I've sent him an email expressing my displeasure at his use of Civil Asset Forfeiture.

I'd like to send a similar email to Sean McMurtry, but came up empty trying to find his email address.

misiti3780 12 days ago 0 replies      
anyone what the "last night with john oliver" special on this ?- he got some great video clips of police employees saying some outrageous stuff.
ender89 12 days ago 0 replies      
Always wanted to live in a police state.....
Welcome to a comet
387 points by jbogp  9 days ago   78 comments top 17
gokhan 9 days ago 3 replies      
From Reddit[1]:

"Got fresh news from the team, they are broadcasting live right now on french TV ! Philae landed, and bounced slowly for (1-2-? hours), and travelled 1km away the targetted site. Yes 1000m. Then know this because of the datas from the radar. It's now stopped slanted, some cams are shooting the sky, other the ground, and other nearby rocks, as seen on the first photo. It's inside some kind of cave/hole, not much sun for the solar panels.

EDIT1: It landed on the core of the comet, it sees the light from the sun for about 1 to 2 hours per day. In the next days/week the angle of the comet will change/sun, and it very likely the solar panel will get more sunlight so more power for the probe.

EDIT2 : Many labs are performing right now and performed the whole night. For now they put the drilling on hold since they don't know if it's tied to the ground or not. Drilling op was also power hungry so it's kinda a good thing it's on hold since there's not much sun available for the panels. Battery life been re-estimated to 50-55hours due to the lack of sunlight. This time includes the 7 hours of descent.They are constantly adjusting missions goals, depending on conditions, power available, etc,

EDIT3 : The probe has been working to gather scientifict datas the whole time, including during the bounces. There's already a large amount of datas available, whatever happens next.

EDIT4 : It's resting on "hard" ground, with a layer of dust about 30cm, and that's good news because it allows measurements to proceed as planned. As in, it's not burried into soft soil.

EDIT5 : Solar panels are deployed, radio link is up and running, but the fact the probe is slanted/in a hole/random ground limits the time it can communicate with the orbiter, but that's not jeopardizing the mission. There's already a lot of datas transmitted successfully to the orbiter. Contact between the orbiter and the probe can be approximately done twice per day.

EDIT6 : The first place it touched the comet was exaclty where it was planned, flat and cosy, too bad it didn't harpoon there.

EDIT7 : Next contact will be near 19:30GMT, until 23:45GMT approx. This night they made contact with the probe (from the orbiter) at about 4:00GMT, and at 5:30GMT they had safely recovered all the datas from the first batch of tests."

[1] http://www.reddit.com/r/space/comments/2m63hd/first_civa_ima...

Lrigikithumer 9 days ago 5 replies      
You know I have some bad days some times, but seeing shit like this just makes me think "What a fucking time to be alive!" It's truly incredibly and is sometimes that kick in the pants I need to keep on going. We are living in a golden age of humanity right now, at no point before in human history have so many people had such an incredible quality of life and never before has man been doing such incredible feats and have the ability to reach a worldwide audience almost instantaneously. The fact that just a few hours ago a human designed space craft landed on a comet, after decades of work and I can receive the images fresh from the great minds that brought us this feat, while laying in bed dicking about on my phone, it's just pure and simply astounding.

For all our flaws I love humans and I am so excited to see what the future holds.

Back to the comet, any word on what happened to the harpoons? I heard there was a misfire or they didn't fire or something? Any idea how that's affected the landing as of yet?

jbogp 9 days ago 1 reply      
That's a great achievement in any case. I'm just slightly worried from the looks of this picture that Philae actually stabilized on its side.

Also the large amount of shadow in the area is worrisome for the solar panels to function properly.

Press conference with the release of a full panorama (which will hopefully not confirm the side landing) is scheduled for 1400 CET.

jbogp 9 days ago 2 replies      
Also very interesting, if you look at the high-res picture and zoom at the bottom right, you'll notice some sort of cable on the ground/boulder.

This could be the cable from one of the harpoons that may have fired but didn't anchor themselves, or it could be a feature attached to Philae that's in the field of vision.

binarymax 9 days ago 0 replies      
The sheen coming from the surface where light hits is indicative of some interesting materials on that comet. Looking forward to more photos and especially analysis of the surface composition!
muyuu 9 days ago 2 replies      
Does it have a colour camera? or maybe it's a bandwidth-saving decision to transmit only B&W? or because of the lighting?
lentil_soup 9 days ago 1 reply      
Curious question, is the light in the picture all from the Sun or do they use something artificial?
IndianAstronaut 9 days ago 2 replies      
Moon, Mars, Venus, Titan, and now comet 67p.

Absolutely amazing.

jamesfisher 9 days ago 2 replies      
Possibly stupid question: why are all the images greyscale? Could we not send a color camera? Or is the comet very grey? Or does color not work in space?
rurban 9 days ago 1 reply      
So "Armageddon" was right. A comet looks much more interesting than the Moon or Mars. No boring dunes and flat sands, really rocky.
zachrose 9 days ago 2 replies      
It almost seems like "landing" is too strong a word: Philae has a mass of 100kg and the gravity of ChuryumovGerasimenko is estimated to be 10e3 m/s2, which comes out to a weight of 3.5 ounces, or the equivalent of 100 grams on earth. Let's hope it holds!
netcan 9 days ago 0 replies      
This is exciting. I'm excited.

My reaction to this photo is a little funny. Basically: "Rocks! We have rocks too! Yours look a lot like ours."

I have this desire to find things in common. Like flirting.

TomGullen 9 days ago 2 replies      
I'm curious to know, how far will the landing affect it's orbit?
lostInComm 9 days ago 1 reply      
Ok this has been bugging me...

What is a "CIVA Image"? Everyone is using the term - but not explaining what it is!

afoot 9 days ago 0 replies      
That single image is quite impactful if you know the background to the project. It's like something out of a movie.
harisamin 9 days ago 0 replies      
This is pretty crazy and awesome!
fit2rule 9 days ago 0 replies      
Looks like a pretty rough place to land - I wonder though if this is one of the 'bounce' phases of the landing, and maybe what ended up happening was that it was more of a tumble, due to surface features snagging a leg, or something.. I must admit that during the approach, the landing site looked to me like it might have been 'pretty smooth', like it was a plane of material that didn't look too jagged and nasty, but this photo just looks like we landed in a pretty rough spot. Regardless, seems like some science is going to get done anyway, and that sure is exciting! Can't wait for 14:00 and see some new pics ..
Our landers asleep
392 points by jonnyscholes  7 days ago   160 comments top 14
jordanthoms 7 days ago 3 replies      
It appears to be largely political issues that prevented this mission from using a Radioisotope thermoelectric generator , which would have eliminated this particular problem since solar panels would not be required. [1] This is how the Curiosity rover is powered.

If that is the case it's a massive shame - irrational fear of nuclear technology does a lot of damage.

1 - http://www.space4peace.org/ianus/npsm2.htm#2_3

ThePhysicist 7 days ago 2 replies      
Each night, when I go to sleep, I die. And the next morning, when I wake up, I am reborn. - Mahatma Gandhi

Let's hope it will wake up and be reborn.

The chances for this seem not that bad, since the comet will heat up considerably as it approaches the sun, which will make it unnecessary to preheat the interior of Philae before starting to charge the batteries, while at the same time increasing the solar power reaching the panels (due to the sun being closer), so the lander might actually generate enough power to recharge the batteries and come alive again. Let's keep our fingers crossed.

anvandare 7 days ago 5 replies      
Anthropomorphizing machines somehow always manages to twang my emotional snares.http://xkcd.com/695/

Good night, little lander. Hope you dream of electric sheep.

tete 7 days ago 0 replies      
I'm really curious about the results. This is the first time something like this has happened, but with the results, actually knowing a lot of variables, not even from the lander itself other missions will have something to base their work upon.

The first programming languages (static, duck typed, ...), database systems, web frameworks, anonymization frameworks, ... all had a lot of things that were either far from perfect or are now considered stupidity. But when nobody did what you did, when you are a pioneer everyone following would be a fool not to look at your work.

Also a nice example: Operating Systems. In the early days they were considered a waste of energy, time, resources. Why would you want to emulate computers on other computers (no, not visualization, but running multiple programs) or why would you use that valuable memory/storage space to have multiple programs on a machine at once? Those used to be actual questions. But that's a bit far fetched.

The project was/is a real pioneering project and I have lots of respect for people investing all their lives (more than two decades in this case!) so passionately into landing on a comet. Not too long ago that was science fiction.

The first message on the internet (arpanet) was meant to be "login", but it crashed after the o. I think those people got further, even though without doubt it didn't run as hoped for.

stinos 7 days ago 4 replies      
Everytime I read about tech like this I cant help but wonder What kind of mainboard does this run? What CPU? What temp spec? what OS does it run? What is the main laguage? Would it use open source code?

Anyone has a clue or educated guess?

edit thanks to all answers provided, exactly the info I was looking for! And very interesting as well.

Gravityloss 7 days ago 1 reply      
I wish there were a lot more of missions like these. We should accept some failures as well. If the cost can be lowered, the increased risk can be offset by more tries. It's better for the science as well if the missions are more diverse and the lead times are shorter.

I hope humanity grew up, so that failures would not produce so much backlash. Seems everybody feels so entitled in this age.

bitwize 7 days ago 1 reply      
Do not go gentle into that good night, Philae. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
valevk 7 days ago 2 replies      
What kind of data did the lander gather, and will it be open to the public?
splitbrain 7 days ago 2 replies      
I assume that Philae isn't meant to be powered directly by sunlight but has an intermediate battery? So wouldn't it make sense to simply wake him once this battery is full, do some experiment, send the data and go back to sleep until recharged again? Shouldn't that work even with low light conditions, just that the sleep phases would be much longer than planned?The article sounds like they aren't sure Philae will ever wake up again.
erre 7 days ago 3 replies      
Rosetta wouldn't have some mirrors, or even reflective surfaces, would it? It could position itself to reflect sunlight onto Philae.

I mean, I'm sure Rosetta has neither (in useful conditions), but there's a thought for next time :/

guscost 7 days ago 0 replies      
This was a very interesting mission, and sticking the landing alone means that it was a success.

Well done, let's hope some interesting data was collected as a bonus.

guelo 7 days ago 1 reply      
Is that a grammatically correct contraction for "Our lander is asleep"?
ForFreedom 6 days ago 0 replies      
We shot that fridge from earth and guided it for 10 years and prior to launch we had it in planning for another 15 years or so to have a battery depletion on the second day?

Why didnt they just use nuclear energy?

justsee 7 days ago 22 replies      
As late as 12 November, the ESA's own FAQ [1] was stating that Philae's minimum mission target was one week of surface operation (powered entirely by primary batteries), with even more operational time powered by back-up batteries (themselves recharged by solar) - resulting in an expected surface operation period measured in months.

They airbrushed the FAQ on 12 November to remove mention of the minimum one week mission target, and inserted among other things '2.5 days'. [2] A diff of the two versions would probably be interesting.

Now with the lander mission prematurely ended an associated scientist is tweeting a very rosy summary [3]:

"What a perfect ending. All the science completed, data received. Primary mission successful. Well done everybody."

How can a week of carefully-planned scientific activities be 'completed' in only 2.5 days? It seems implausible.

How did the primary and secondary batteries not power the lander for the calculated one week+ of operation?

Why aren't they open about what clearly seems to be a major failure with the scientific mission?

It seems a case of intense bureaucratic / political pressure to change targets after they aren't met, and the fact scientists are participating in this is pretty disappointing.

[1] https://web.archive.org/web/20140805030451/http://www.esa.in...

[2] http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/Rosetta/Freq...

[3] https://twitter.com/rocketeddy/status/533421309553016832

396 points by uptown  4 days ago   85 comments top 18
orand 4 days ago 2 replies      
There are actually 4 different types of Apple Watch apps:

1. Glances

2. Actionable notifications

3. Extension WatchKit apps (extension runs on iPhone, view runs on watch)

4. Fully native apps

It appears 1, 2, and 3 will be available for the initial launch, while #4 will be available later next year, probably starting with a beta released at WWDC.

apike 4 days ago 1 reply      
Particularly interesting are the Human Interface Guidelines for Apple Watch: https://developer.apple.com/library/prerelease/ios/documenta...

They feature various previously unknown details about the watch, for example that the two sizes have different display resolutions, 340px and 390px respectively.

wiremine 4 days ago 4 replies      
Am I groking this right? The Watchkit app actually runs on the iPhone as an extension, and just the UI component runs on the watch hardware?

Edit: better direct link: https://developer.apple.com/library/prerelease/ios/documenta...

"The Watch app resides on the users Apple Watch and contains only storyboard and resource files; it does not contain any code. The WatchKit extension resides on the users iPhone (inside your containing iOS app) and contains the code and resource files for managing your Watch apps interface."

jmduke 4 days ago 6 replies      
An interesting tidbit from the HIG (https://developer.apple.com/library/prerelease/ios/documenta...):

Create prerendered animations using a sequence of static images. Store canned animations in your Watch app bundle so that they can be presented quickly to the user. Canned animations also let you deliver high frame rates and smoother animations. Creating animations dynamically from your WatchKit extension and transferring them to Apple Watch adds a delay before playback can begin.

This is not a good sign as to the power of the watch, unless I'm drastically misinterpreting things.

arihant 4 days ago 4 replies      
I would buy this watch, but I'm completely convinced that Android Wear is more spot-on for the watch UX with their card based user interface. It does have all these features, the glaces, the actionable notification, extension apps, but from UI standpoint it is just a card. Also, the UI on Android Wear is prettier. I'm not sure why Apple is using black ugly buttons that remind me on very first Nokia multimedia color phones.
gdubs 4 days ago 1 reply      
There's a lot of groaning about the constraints of the platform (battery life, available interface components, etc), but I for one am excited by these constraints. It can be a really fun and interesting challenge to design within constraints, and in this respect the watch reminds me of the early days of mobile computing. Those tiny little battery-limited devices forced one to think differently about what a UI is, compared to the gargantuan desktop computers and their nearly cinematic display resolution.
pavlov 4 days ago 4 replies      
Based on the typography guidelines, the DIN-like font used on the Apple Watch is named "San Francisco":https://developer.apple.com/library/prerelease/ios/documenta...

Here's hoping it will replace Helvetica on iDevices and Macs as well...

drewying 4 days ago 1 reply      
A quick scan makes it look like you don't have direct access to create your own UI elements, you are stuck to the prebuilt stuff.

This definitely is designed to maximize battery life

RamaCat 3 days ago 3 replies      
I think they've gone about this the wrong way, architecturally. I would have streamed draw commands to the watch and received touch events back, with the watch hardware essentially being a display client with no compute power of it's own. That would cut silicon real estate, remove the need for local wifi, etc - and placed the development focus on a super low latency wireless command stream. That way, the watch, as a product, would last much longer between upgrades, and your UI complexity would be bound by the host phone, not the little SoC.
Hopka 4 days ago 3 replies      
Following that link consistently makes my Firefox crash. Anybody else experiencing this?
k-mcgrady 4 days ago 0 replies      
Yay! This will keep me busy next weekend I'm sure. Quickly glanced through the catalog of objects available and it doesn't seem to be borrowing UI from iPhone the way iPad did. Some similar UI elements but judging by the names they are different implementations and not just differently scaled/laid out.
iamandybarnard 4 days ago 2 replies      
Do you think we will be able to build custom watch faces at some point?
rmcpherson 4 days ago 2 replies      
Are they allowing access to the sensor data from the watch? I'm particularly interested in heart rate.

A brief scan of the documentation didn't show anything obvious.

sunnynagra 4 days ago 2 replies      
Anyone have a link to available APIs?
seivan 3 days ago 0 replies      
You can cache images on the watch using WKInterfaceDevice.currentDevice() but there is no way to check if an image has been cached, lol.

Can store up to 20 mb.

gajeam 4 days ago 0 replies      
Looked like there were a lot of motion detectors on the Apple Watch. Any guesses on whether they'll expose that in the SDK soon?
Taek 4 days ago 2 replies      
I'm happy to see new products and a competitive landscape but frustrated to see Apple (and others) using different development processes. It's already painful to write apps that work on all 3 major mobile OSes, but now watch app developers have a huge set of watches they need to develop for too.

Frustratating to see products each trying to compete using their own closed ecosystem, because it hurts developers and it hurts innovation.

How to reward skilled coders with something other than people management
389 points by koopajah  1 day ago   137 comments top 25
dmfdmf 23 hours ago 2 replies      
This is a problem not just for coders but almost any technical area. A loooong time ago when I was still in engineering I worked for Big Corp, Inc. and they had a designation for master technical talent, I forget the name, so let's just call them Jedi Masters. It was a non-management path for those who didn't want to go the management route but it recognized their value to the company. If you reached this level you had no manager and had no assigned work but people from other projects could come to them for advice, help, consultation, etc. and they could choose what they wanted to work on.

Often the Jedi Masters were tapped to teach intro engineering course to new engineers on the specifics of the type of projects this company worked on, so this was a quasi-academic and quasi-consulting gig for the best of the best engineers.

As a fairly new engineer, I got assigned to a new group and invited to a meeting that could impact the system I was working on. I show up and it is a meeting with an engineering partner (outside company) that was contesting some calcs regarding the pipe strength and mounting requirements for an installation (multi-billion dollar project). Their engineering team was insisting on assumptions that would have quadrupled the cost of a system that our group was responsible for, not to mention weeks or months of delays to recalc and redesign the system. Unbeknownst to me, this dispute had been at logger heads for months with no resolution.

One of the Jedi's, let's just call him Fred, taught me years before in the intro courses and I had remained in contact with him over time. Based on the courses Fred taught I thought he might have the expertise and interest in this area to take a look at this problem so I met with him and gave him the technical details. He agreed to attend the next meeting and advise but he made me do all the calcs, presentation and etc. for the next meeting but all under his guidance. So I go through my PPT presentation and at the end the other company's engineers have all sorts of objections, disagreements, etc. So our Jedi steps in and starts fielding questions and asks them to justify their position. It turns out that their reference text they were using to justify their position was actually written by Fred! I can still hear the other engineer say, "you mean you are Fred XYZ that wrote book ABC" with awe and respect in his voice. It turns out they were missing some important exceptions and qualifications later in the book that Fred cited and the meeting and conflict was resolved.

So the moral of the story is to always have a Jedi in your corner? No.

The moral of the story is that engineers and problem solvers (and I assume coders) have different motivation than the "success" of big, showy career managing a lot of people. We (technical people) love to solve problems and management is projecting their values onto technical people when they offer them management positions as "promotions".

mathattack 10 hours ago 0 replies      
When I was at BigCo, they officially had 2 paths - one involved people leadership, the other technical leadership. The reality was technical leadership stopped a level below director, and only 2 or 3 even managed to make it that far. After 3.5 years there, it had a formative impact of pushing me away from both the company and technology. I recovered on both, but it's something one should take seriously on taking a job. I'm not sure that creating "Mega-consultants" works either, as it takes the emphasis away from delivery ownership.

That said, here are a few ideas in rank order from easy/feasible to crazy/radical:

1) Technical leaders of a certain level can not be overruled on technical decisions by non-technical leaders in the department.

2) Encourage the best to share their work outside the firm.

3) Smart people like to be with smart people. Pay up for a culture or cohort of superstars, not an individual superstar.

4) Provide time and monetary budget for architecture and technical debt that is owned and allocated by the best in the organization.

5) Allow technical stars to have the ability to change assignments at their will with a given notice period. (Yes it may cause problems, but the free market is always giving them offers)

6) Enable managers to raise technical pay without concern for bands. For example, the VP should be able to say, "I can hire 4 engineers for 100K each, or I can hire someone in the open market for 200K. Instead I will pay my internal superstar 220K since she will do it the best, even though it's way out of bands of someone with her seniority and level."

zobzu 23 hours ago 6 replies      
One thing that always fails with that is that management always get more money.

Wanna be a tech leader paid 150k? (fancy title, +- same salary as before)

Or wanna be a director paid 250k? (fancier title, way bigger salary)

Kinda difficult not to choose the "free tesla every year" isn't it? Plus.. the directory job is generally going to mean a more relaxed job (albeit less interesting for an engineer maybe, but that's why you have open source projects right?).

jefffoster 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Whilst I agree that technical leadership is one aspect that skilled engineers can develop (and I agree that it's important for all engineers) there are many more.

For example, developers can grow into great product managers. Some can deep-dive into a topic and develop by sharing that knowledge through conferences, blogs etc. Some are interested in the people management side of things (scrum, kanban etc). All of these (and much more) are incredibly valuable and increase the value to the company they work for.

The challenge for companies is to recognize all these degrees of value (and reward them appropriately). I did some work to try and capture this with a visualization called a skills map (http://blog.red-gate.com/skills-maps/). Any feedback greatly appreciated!

JimboOmega 23 hours ago 5 replies      
Am I the only coder who's always wanted to move into the business side eventually? I go back and forth on if I want to pursue an MBA every couple years or so (though I doubt the education would be worth it, it'd be a stamp on my resume for wanting to go that direction).

Working with brilliant people and managing people problems are very complex and interesting to me.

morgante 9 hours ago 3 replies      
A lot of people in this thread are pointing to the possibility of a technical track, but I just don't buy it.

Any technical track stops far short of the management track, even in the most enlightened of companies. Taken to an extreme, you don't get to be CEO off the technical track.

Ultimately, if you want more money and influence, you have to choose the management track. The technical track just exists to keep technical talent from leavinglook at any companies with technical tracks (ex. Facebook) and you won't find their top earners on it.

fein 1 day ago 5 replies      
For me its pretty simple:

Pay me what I'm worth. None of this managerial shite, just dollars. I will be happy.

smenko 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Err... Money???

Most people will (rightfully) settle for money. Because people need love, and to demonstrate love you need to show that you care, that you're willing to give something up in a hard situation. And the only thing a company cares for is money. So, I want said company to give me money. More money than the 'manager'. Because I can do their job just as badly as they are doing it, but they can't do mine at all.

I don't want your stupid titles and shit - those are cheap. Cash is what will hurt you. Pay up if you care!

And when people realise they have to pay you or lose you, then you get respect. Priceless!!!

chuckcode 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I really like the idea of "handoffs" that the article discusses It indirectly brings up what I see as a major problem for some of the most talented engineers I've worked with which is that some point they get too bogged down with the incremental features and maintenance on all the amazing stuff they've done in the past to work on new things. When it would take them a couple days to implement/fix X but weeks for someone else to come up to speed management just can't resist assigning it to them and eventually they become burnt out. Code reviews and mentoring can help this to reduce the time for new folks to spin up and contribute but I think a formal notion of handoffs is a really interesting idea.

Having been both an engineer and a manager, yes different tracks for different people are really helpful. The main thing I've learned is that different people want different rewards an there is no substitute for spending the time with people to figure out what sparks joy for them. Usually there is some baseline of money but often freedom, respect, and cool projects are just as important.

vinceguidry 20 hours ago 2 replies      
As a coder that's soon to be taking on a management responsibility, I definitely feel the weight of it, but I'm up for the task of figuring out leadership. I might well be more suited to it than a lot of engineers would, but I also think that management and leadership is less hard than it seems and that engineers would actually be better at it than their superiors if they would just give themselves a chance.

The trick to it is to realize that it's not, actually, a skill, when you break it down. It's an opportunity to structure part of the operation of the company the way you want to structure it. You can take all those ideas you have about how to run the company better and put them into practice on a small scale. You do not have to give up engineering, you're just also engineering at a bigger level than just with machines. You can and should still program, and still avoid pointless meetings by bringing your laptop to them and working through them.

You're engineering human systems now too. There's no conflict with the other machine-type engineering, because the two are intended to work in concert. So don't create one where it didn't before exist. Humans are easier to engineer than machines in many ways. You can tell a human to do what you mean, humans are smart and machines are stupid, a machine will only do what you tell it to do. You can't tell a machine to exercise judgment or grant them power or flexibility, they wouldn't know what to do with it. But grant flexibility to a human and he'll make your job much much easier.

Power necessarily involves freedom and flexibility, if you've an expectation to meet a responsibility without giving yourself the latitude to meet that expectation your own way, including the willingness to put your foot down to ensure your turf is protected, then you are putting yourself through hell. It's simple, decide what you need to get the job done, then acquire the resources, then follow through. If the expectation is unreasonable, then change the expectation. It's not hard, all you have to do is explain to people that it's unreasonable and offer an alternative. As an engineer, you should have already learned the skill of dazzling people with techno-babble. As a manager, they have to take your arguments seriously and compromise with you. You can't promote someone to management and then proceed to ignore their opinions. That's the whole point of the promotion.

I go home after eight hours. My boss will put in ten hour days but I won't volunteer to. I fully expect my new report will go home after eight like I do. When I wanted to move to flex time I just started coming in later and when my boss noticed, I just said I was going to choose my hours from here on out. My boss insulated me from office politics until I was ready to deal with it and I will extend the same protection to the new guy. I was somewhat worried that the promotion would come with strings attached. If anything they're more worried that I'll get cold feet than they are that I won't measure up. So they've been kissing my ass extra hard lately.

icyfenix 1 day ago 0 replies      
Well yeah on the dollars++ and the equity++ - often that's a harder sell, existing managers usually have to have some kind of thing to point at in order to make those things manifest - a lot of non-coders don't know how to quantify your contributions- these strategies are supposed to add up to raises, promotions, bonuses, etc., and make getting the tangibles you want easier. Plus, if the tangibles don't come with the thought leadership recognition, someone else will usually come along, and recognize you in the way you want to be recognized.
azimuth11 1 day ago 1 reply      
Thanks for this, it helped me think through some very specific things that I have been struggling with at my startup. I joined out of school as one of the first engineers excited as hell, but have been somewhat sad/depressed/etc. over the last few months because I've felt a lack of direction and proper guidance.

Over lunch, president asks me if I wanted to become an engineering manager or something of that nature as well as take management coaching classes. It was a very sad thing to hear someone say to an engineer.

We want to lead by example. Thought, learning, and then code. We want to set or be a part of an engineering culture that has the freedom to be creative in our space. Some roles that jump out at are the developer advocate type roles. Not just "Hey, look at what you can do with our APIs", but be learning and sharing that knowledge with our peers and others around the web (recruiting).

Maybe it's time for a change.

Whitespace 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Having just become a co-manager for ~50 engineers, this is really interesting and timely advice. I don't pretend to have all the answers about how to reward great engineers, so hearing more people speak about this is really useful to me.

My initial reaction is "reward them with more things they can say no to" but that ends up being project management-y if not outright manager-y. I'm very curious to hear more specific examples where this isn't the case.

If anyone in NYC and is in a similar situation to me, I'd love to meet up for coffee to share notes. Or in SF, for that matter (I'm here about once a month). Email in my profile.

gvb 11 hours ago 0 replies      
My summary/option: Technical leaders should be front-running the team so that, when less experienced engineers run into problems, the technical leader knows in what direction to point the team to find the solution to the problem.

Having technical leaders stuck on legacy Sisyphean tasks (a) sucks up the time that should be used front-running the team for solutions to future problems and (b) removes opportunities for less experienced engineers to learn new ideas and skills, hindering their education and development.

jaunkst 1 day ago 1 reply      
Give me equity stake. I don't want to manage, I want to come out of the end ready to start my own venture or retire and do what I love and build and awesome open source project to give back to the community.
Bahamut 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I think the most important thing is to have a conversation with your employees - ask them what do they want to do, and how do they want their career to evolve. Constantly keep in sync with your employees' desires, and you should be fine.
atlantic 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I worked for a while with a software consultancy, as a .NET consultant. One of the nicest things about the company what that they had two distinct career paths for developers - one technical, the other in project management - and they asked us up front what our preference was, and directed our work accordingly. I always thought other companies could take a leaf from their book in this respect.
ZenoArrow 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Perhaps more companies would benefit research teams, who work on the next generation of products with less management interference. Being promoted to the research team could be a useful incentive to keeping talented engineers around. If they do stick around, the maintenance team could still consult the research team about the previous system they built.
luckydude 21 hours ago 0 replies      
It's late so I'm going to screw this up but there are coders and there are leaders. The leaders think about other people and how to make those other people be successful. The coders are more about themselves. Which is fine, I'd just look for people who are trying to make other people be awesome.
clueless123 23 hours ago 6 replies      
If a sales guy sells 10x, he gets 10x commision.. If a coder produces 10x, pay him 10x.

What is so hard to understand about that ?

icedchai 10 hours ago 0 replies      
My experience has been that most managers wind up going to meetings all day and stop contributing technically.

I briefly (a couple years) managed a small team (<5 developers) and it was torture. Not worth the relatively small increase in $.

How do you reward your skilled coders? Let them do real, interesting work and not deal with bullshit (this includes all the time wasting "agile" meetings.)

firebones 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Compensation, equity and when those are ultimately satisfactory, autonomy.
known 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Pay his taxes
girldevninja 1 day ago 0 replies      
Great article!
icyfenix 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ah sweet, thanks for the share. I hope this helps engineers do things that make them happy.
       cached 23 November 2014 03:11:02 GMT