Older blog entries for vorlon (starting at number 3)

"Once the bullshit speak is installed, instant denial a la Ghost Not kicks in, and we see the characteristic development of anti-altruism instead of selfishness, and anti-selfishness instead of altruism (where altruism and selfishness are actually the same thing). Hence the M0 dictionary definition of "selfishness" explicitly asserts that helping self is a zero sum game, and actually describes anti-altruism. Meanwhile M0 altruism is converted into anti-selfishness - the denying of benefit to self on the false assumption that reducing benefit to self automatically increases benefit to others (the reverse is true).

"Perhaps the idea that no matter what you do, you are doomed to help increase the complexity of the universe is a little odd sounding. Consider Microsoft. If their fervent practice of anti-altruism had been a little less intense, would there have been so many people stacked up, pissed off, and keen to help make Linux work? That's the hard way to do it. On the other hand, I doubt that Linus Torvalds is ever going to find himself without employment prospects at a high salary if he wants it! By helping others, he has (like a cosmological waste product) got loads of wonderful, complex opportunity falling right into his lap."

Profound stuff that I think many in the Free Software community will recognize the truth of. So many commentators on the "Linux phenomenon" try to sort developers' motives into the appropriate pigeonholes: are they selfish motives, or altruistic ones? Some commentators make it so far as to say that our motives include a mix of altruistic and selfish goals, but even this is only half the truth: many of us have goals that are simultaneouly altruistic and selfish. We know the world we live in is not a zero-sum game, and we are not constrained to choosing between helping others and helping ourselves. We recognize that some courses of action achieve both.

Oh, I can't resist joining in on the fun. Diary entries from the commandline? Yum.

Worked on php_pam a bit last night. This is all dead code, really, on account of the fact that I designed it badly and it works with neither pam_unix nor most web proxies; but there's still a lot of demand for the thing, so I went ahead and updated it to work with PHP 4.0.6+. Probably do a release today, then maybe the emails will stop. :)

Still need to find time to sit down and redesign the whole thing. Trying to cram this stuff into the PHP process is rather counter-productive.

The hard part about implementing a distance calculator based on zip codes, vab, is not the code; the actual code to do that is so easy, it's almost not worth the effort to find someone else's implementation for the borrowing. No, the hard part is getting an up-to-date zip code database that'll map to useful coordinates (such as latitude/longitude) that can be used in distance calculations.

I notice that Zipdy's description says it uses a database "created by the US Census". Does this mean updates are only available for this database once every ten years? The customers I've worked with who were using Zip codes for commercial projects (e.g., on their websites all seem to think that having all Zip codes in the database is important enough to pay a $1000 annual subscription fee to ensure it's updated quarterly. Certainly, though, Zipdy is a nice resource for those working within more limited budgets.

I consider it somewhat ironic that it's not until Slashdot becomes unusable for posting of stories that I post my first diary entry, even though I generally consider Advogato to have a much higher S/N ratio. ;)

I received the following spam email today, which I thought I might share with the group...

MONTREAL, QC - October 02, 2001 -- OpenNA Inc., Leaders in totally secured, totally optimized, ready to use Linux solutions, announce today the availability of "Securing & Optimizing Linux: The Ultimate Solution", the latest version and the successor to our very popular "Securing and Optimizing Linux: Red Hat Edition".

The latest release includes the new 2.4 kernel with IPTABLES NetFilter, Samba, BIND9, Sendmail, Qmail, IMAP, PostgreSQL, MySQL, OpenLDAP, Apache, with SSL support and many more topics like chroot jail environment for the majority of all important services under Linux OS. The new edition takes into account the feedback we received on the original book and is a complete rewrite from scratch. You can also get RPM packages of discuted topics in the book via the OpenNA website.


Pricing (in $ USD) and Availability for Securing & Optimizing Linux: The Ultimate Solution
Pricing: $49.50 USD.

Now why, I think to myself, would I want to pay $50 to have a spammer tell me all about technologies that I've personally hacked on?

But the real gem is this bit that appears at the bottom of the Spam:

Openna-news mailing list

Aha! They're using GNU mailman! Well, that gives me an easy solution, I'll just bop on over to their webpage and unsubscribe myself, hurray for Mailman!

...but no. These despicable spammers have ripped out all but the "important" mailman cronjobs; my emails to openna-news-request fall on deaf queues, and though I click on the 'email my password to me' button, it never arrives in my mailbox. Oh, but the mailing list definitely knows that I'm subscribed to it...

So not only are they spamming about Open Source, they're using GNU software to send the spam — carefully modified in the spirit of Free Software to render their victims helpless.

So I do the only thing I can do — I qvetch about it here. That, and I set up a script to repeatedly request my password from their list server. Hey, if they don't want me to push that button, they shouldn't have it there, right?

Openna, if you're reading: TAKE ME OFF YOUR MAILING LIST! It's not acceptable when the other guys do it, and it's not acceptable when Linux people do it, either!

New Advogato Features

New HTML Parser: The long-awaited libxml2 based HTML parser code is live. It needs further work but already handles most markup better than the original parser.

Keep up with the latest Advogato features by reading the Advogato status blog.

If you're a C programmer with some spare time, take a look at the mod_virgule project page and help us with one of the tasks on the ToDo list!