Monday, 26 October 2015

The golden October in software

I have been somewhat busy over the past few weeks. It's not that nothing has happened in the world (and especially the software world), it's just that business. Anyway, without further delay some news that touched my interest in the recent past:
  • The whole Volkswagen emission cheating story is certainly a globally interesting topic, not only for software people. Most of the public rage regarding the incident seems to be quite undirected noise a la "Oh, these evil manufacturers. How could they?!" but won't people stop from buying the new car anyway. So my personal prediction here is that VW won't see any dramatic drop in worldwide sales figures.
    An interesting point, however, is made by Bruce Schneier: Executives will learn their lesson from this, and the lesson is that you can get away with cheating for a long time. In a world where executives' incentives are often fixed to quarterly results, this obviously favours short-term profits by cheating over long-term strategy and brand integrity. We will certainly see more of that in the future. Also I completely support Bruce's statement on transparency and verification: Manufacturers must provide the source code (and a way to build / install it) to the public for independent review and verification.
  • Chromium's tarball size has increased noticeably. Again. We are now at 327 MiB for chromium-46.0.2490.80. The earlier cry for feature freeze and cleanup remains (*surprise*) unheard.
  • None of my (private) Android devices (Nexus 4, Nexus 7 2012) will receive an official update to Marshmallow from Google. This is very sad news, given that even the (original!) batteries in these devices are still doing surprisingly well.
  • Flash. For the longest time, I lack the words to describe how much I loathe this prime example for how-not-to-write-software. I do use an older computer as a media center, but due to usage patterns (Chromecast, mpd, and so on), sometimes I happen not to start a browser on this thing for a week or so. The result: Every single time, and I am speaking literally here, not figuratively, I start that browser and point it to a page where flash is used, it prompts me to an upgrade. The whole flash situation has been ridiculous for years now. Please, for crying out loud: Let flash die.