Richard Stallman speaks

A supply of tea with milk and sugar would be nice.  If it is tea I
really like, I like it without milk and sugar.  With milk and sugar,
any kind of tea is fine.  I always bring tea bags with me, so if we
use my tea bags, I will certainly like that tea without milk or sugar.

If I am quite sleepy, I would like two cans or small bottles of
non-diet Pepsi.  (I dislike the taste of coke, and of all diet soda;
also, there is an international boycott of the Coca Cola company for
killing union organizers in Colombia and Guatemala; see
killercoke.org.)  However, if I am not very sleepy, I won't want
Pepsi, because it is better if I don't drink so much sugar.

There’s more. A lot more.

Advertisements

Droning on about computer security

Good grief.

The US military’s unmanned Predator and Reaper drones are continuing to fly remote missions overseas despite a computer virus that has infected their US-based cockpits.
Government officials are still investigating whether the virus is benign, and how it managed to infect the heavily protected computer systems at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada, where US military pilots remotely fly the planes on their missions over Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.
“Something is going on, but it has not had any impact on the missions overseas,” said a source, who was not authorized to speak publicly.
Armed tactical unmanned planes have become an increasingly valuable tool used by the US military to track and attack individuals and small groups overseas, but the virus underscores the vulnerability of such systems to attacks on the computer networks used to fly them from great distances.
Rob Densmore, former US navy airman, told Al Jazeera that the infection was a common keystroke logging virus – which registers the keystrokes pilots use to control the unmanned drones from afar.
“It has to have a point of access, so we know that thumb drives – basically USB drives – are used to upload navigational information, guidance information to Predator and Reaper drones.
“And if there’s a way somehow that that information, or that thumb drive, can come into contact with a network or with the internet, that’s where the danger is because that basically means that information can be carried across from the Reaper drones.”

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/americas/2011/10/201110816388104988.html

Government approach to security can be described as designing an unsinkable boat that has no doors between compartments and then, to make it usable, cutting a random and increasing number of undocumented holes between compartments.

 

The multics file system

The design proposed in this paper is ubiquitous.

A file is simply an ordered sequence of elements, where an element could be a machine word, a character, or a bit, depending upon the implementation. A user may create, modify or delete files only through the use of the file system. At the level of the file system, a file is formatless. All formatting is done by higher-level modules or by user-supplied programs, if desired. As far as a particular user is concerned, a file has one name, and that name is symbolic. (Symbolic names may be arbitrarily long, and may have syntax of their own. For example, they may consist of several parts, some of which are relevant to the nature of the file, e.g., ALPHA FAP DEBUG.) The user may reference an element in the file by specifying the symbolic file name and the linear index of the element within the file. By using higher-level modules, a user may also be able to reference suitably defined sequences of elements directly by context.

A directory is a special file which is maintained by the file system, and which contains a list of entries. To a user, an entry appears to be a file and is accessed in terms of its symbolic entry name, which is the user’s file name. An entry name need be unique only within the directory in which it occurs. In reality, each entry is a pointer of one of two kinds. The entry may point directly to a file (which may itself be a directory) which is stored in secondary storage, or else it may point to another entry in the same or another directory. An entry which points directly to a file is called a branch, while an entry which points to another directory entry is called a link. Except for a pathological case mentioned below, a link always eventually points to a branch (although possibly via a chain of links to the branch), and thence to a file. Thus the link and the branch both effectively point to the file. (In general, a user will usually not need to know whether a given entry is a branch or a link, but he easily may find out.)

?