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Debian Votes Against Mandating Non-systemd Compatibility

Slashdot - Wed, 11/19/2014 - 8:16am
paskie writes: Voting on a Debian General Resolution that would require packagers to maintain support even for systems not running systemd ended tonight with the resolution failing to gather enough support. This means that some Debian packages could require users to run systemd on their systems in theory — however, in practice Debian still works fine without systemd (even with e.g. GNOME) and this will certainly stay the case at least for the next stable release Jessie. However, the controversial general resolution proposed late in the development cycle opened many wounds in the community, prompting some prominent developers to resign or leave altogether, stirring strong emotions — not due to adoption of systemd per se, but because of the emotional burn-out and shortcomings in the decision processes apparent in the wake of the systemd controversy. Nevertheless, work on the next stable release is well underway and some developers are already trying to mend the community and soothe the wounds.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

Firefox Kicks Google To The Curb To Make Room For Yahoo

ReadWriteWeb - Wed, 11/19/2014 - 8:03am

Mozilla and Yahoo announced Wednesday that they've inked a deal that swaps Google for Yahoo as Firefox’s default search engine in the U.S. for the next five years. The move will apply to both the desktop and mobile browsers.

Yahoo’s search result pages are designed by that company, but the results themselves actually come from Microsoft Bing. Microsoft's Internet Explorer was once Firefox's mortal enemy. But now it's Google Chrome, not IE, that's eating into Firefox usage. 

The search switch is just one of the changes in store for Firefox users. Next month, a new version of the browser will launch with a “clean, modern interface” for search and a new “Do Not Track” setting, so privacy-minded users don’t have to worry about advertisers watching their every move. 

See also: Mozilla's Firefox Browser For Developers Has Arrived

Firefox, which just celebrated its 10-year anniversary earlier this month, has used Google as its default search engine in most of the world for its entire existence. As such, its switch to Yahoo marks a major turning point—even if the organization is presenting the switch as a mundane matter. 

"Our agreement came up for renewal this year,” Mozilla CEO Chris Beard wrote on the organization’s blog, "and we took this as an opportunity to review our competitive strategy and explore our options.”

Those options led him to Yahoo, whose CEO, Marissa Mayer, holds search traffic as a top priority. 

"At Yahoo, we believe deeply in search,” The Verge quotes her as saying. “It’s an area of investment, opportunity and growth for us.”

Browsing The Numbers

For Yahoo, the arrangement may hold the most benefit on computers and laptops, as Firefox holds 12% of the desktop browser market. On mobile, its share only comes to 0.32%. The disparity stems from one simple reason: availability. Apart from its own Firefox OS, Mozilla is only available on Android, where it competes with Google's built-in Chrome and other browsers installed by carriers and phone makers. Mozilla ended support for its Windows Phone version last year, and it never made a full Web browser for iPhones or iPads.

Even Firefox's desktop share has eroded significantly in recent years. In June 2013, for instance, Firefox accounted for 19% of the market. That’s a drop of 7 percentage points in a little over a year. 

See also: 7 Reasons To Switch To Firefox, The Browser With A Conscience

That still accounts for a prodigious amount of search traffic, though. According to Mozilla's Beard, Firefox users conduct Web searches more than 100 billion times each year. In 2012, Google conducted 1.2 trillion searches, so it's hardly going to cut into Google's control of the search market, but for Yahoo, which has consistently lost search traffic for most of the past decade, it could add up to significant growth. 

Yahoo needs all the help it can get. According to comScore, it trails both Google (with 67.3 percent market share) and Microsoft’s Bing (with 19.4 percent), coming in third with 10 percent.

Users willing to embrace change can check out the new Yahoo default search next month, when a new browser update rolls out. If you don't cotton to Yahoo, don’t worry: Firefox hasn’t removed Google as an option. The old default will remain—along with Bing, DuckDuckGo, eBay, Amazon, Twitter and Wikipedia—as alternatives.

Categories: Technology

Algorithms Are Great and All, But They Can Also Ruin Lives

Wired - Top Stories - Wed, 11/19/2014 - 8:00am

A single human showing explicit bias can only ever affect a finite number of people. An algorithm, on the other hand, has the potential to impact the lives of exponentially more.

The post Algorithms Are Great and All, But They Can Also Ruin Lives appeared first on WIRED.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

Fantastically Wrong: Unicorns Dig Virgin Women, and Other Lessons From Medieval Bestiaries

Wired - Top Stories - Wed, 11/19/2014 - 7:30am

The fable of the unicorn was one of the more famous passages in what are known as bestiaries, gorgeous compendiums of creatures both real and imagined that sold like mad---second only to the Bible itself. While they were passed off as solid knowledge, bestiaries were almost always wildly wrong about the natural world. Nonetheless, these charming tomes were indispensable to the beginnings of modern science, helping lay the groundwork for the field of zoology as we know it.

The post Fantastically Wrong: Unicorns Dig Virgin Women, and Other Lessons From Medieval Bestiaries appeared first on WIRED.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

Nothing But 8 GIFs of the Dodge Challenger Hellcat Doing Burnouts

Wired - Top Stories - Wed, 11/19/2014 - 7:20am

We turned off traction control, put it in first gear, held on the brakes, and slammed on the gas.

The post Nothing But 8 GIFs of the Dodge Challenger Hellcat Doing Burnouts appeared first on WIRED.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

Hacker Lexicon: What Is the Dark Web?

Wired - Top Stories - Wed, 11/19/2014 - 7:15am

With the rise and fall of the Silk Road—and then its rise again and fall again—the last couple of years have cast new light on the Dark Web. But when a news organization as reputable as 60 Minutes describes the Dark Web as “a vast, secret, cyber underworld” that accounts for “90% of the Internet,” it’s time for a refresher.

The post Hacker Lexicon: What Is the Dark Web? appeared first on WIRED.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

11 Futuristic Ways to Improve Our Cities, From Robotic Rats to Talking Trash Cans

Wired - Top Stories - Wed, 11/19/2014 - 7:00am

As smartphone-toting citizens prod municipal officials, cities around the world are embracing high-tech solutions to lots of problems.

The post 11 Futuristic Ways to Improve Our Cities, From Robotic Rats to Talking Trash Cans appeared first on WIRED.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

How Facebook Is Influencing Who Will Win the Next Election

Slashdot - Wed, 11/19/2014 - 5:13am
An anonymous reader sends this excerpt from Forbes: [Facebook] announced yesterday that it was shutting down a feature that the Obama campaign used in 2012 to register over a million voters. During the election supporters shared access to their list of Facebook friends list with the campaign through an app. Researchers have found that while people view often political messages with skepticism, they are more receptive and trusting when the information is coming from somebody they know. The feature was credited with boosting Obama’s get-out-the-vote efforts which were crucial to his victory, but Facebook has decided to disable this ability in order to (rightfully) protect users from third-party apps collecting too much of their information. The company insists that it favors no particular ideology and that its efforts are “neutral.” The first part is likely true, but the second is not possible. The company’s algorithms take into account a proprietary mix of our own biases, connections, and interests combined with Facebook’s business priorities; that is the farthest thing from neutral. Facebook says it just want to encourage “civic participation,” but politically mobilizing the subsection of people that are on their network is not without its own impacts.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Open Source, Technology