Jun. 9th, 2012

holdthesky: (Default)

Is Zurker Open Source? Not yet. Bear in mind, we just entered alpha testing in December, 2011, and at this stage the risk and security issues outweight the benefits of releasing the source code. But open source is definitely the direction we want to move in. Running an open source project is actually quite complicated - there is a huge amount of coordination involved.



Last night zurker was attacked by hackers who were socially sophisticated even though their technical method was embarrassingly simple. This led to a plausible Phishing attack (which I fell for). All that is pretty much par for the course, but the response has been dreadful.

As of yet there has been no comment from anyone at Zurker beyond a personal "thanks" reply from a "liaison officer" despite numerous reports from many users. They've not even confirmed it happened. The issue (which was caused by terrible HTML cleaning) is still not fixed, as far as I can tell. I say "as far as I can tell" because I can't see the source, either.

(The correct approach to HTML formatting is to parse, represent in a limited data-structure, and regenerate, or else use a library from folk with a lot of experience of nooks and crannies. It looks like what they've actually got is a pile of regexps as if this were the 1990s).

All of this we could fix within a few hours if we had access to the source. As of now, we need to assume that the site remains in the control of hackers (there's no evidence to the contrary). I think this is a good example of why the FAQ above, from their site, is nonsense.

There's no need, if you're founding an Open Source project, to from day one embark on becoming some kind of cruel joke in how amateur bureaucracy and reading about society from books can make everyone miserable; no need to become the Apache Foundation or Wikipedia. People have taken this "we need structures" thing way too far on open source projects. Choose a licence, stick up a tarball, and then work on it from there. Either that, or find some funders with very deep pockets from day one.

There's this sad tendency for bad implementation of Free Software to become something like bad implementation of Health and Safety: good things drowned by dull minds.
holdthesky: (Default)
I was reading Geoffrey Howe's resignation speech in Hansard today (rock and roll) and I'd not remembered that there's quite an interesting quote in there from Winston Churchill, interesting because of his near canonisation by the right in English politics and the opinion it expresses over Europe.
"It is also possible and not less agreeable to regard" this sacrifice or merger of national sovereignty "as the gradual assumption by all the nations concerned of that larger sovereignty which can alone protect their diverse and distinctive customs and characteristics and their national traditions."1,2

Not all that interesting for the sentiment, but interesting for who said it, I think.

1 Commons 1990, Vol 180, Col 463. I have no idea how to cite Hansard, I'm afraid: I'm not that sad, :-).
2(unquoted section by Howe, quoted section by Churchill)

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