Wednesday, February 23, 2005 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

The whole Ginsparg on your hard disk

Paul Ginsparg, the founder of arXiv.org, used to be one of the staunchest warriors against the robots. One of Paul's secret weapons was the automated "seek-and-destroy" procedure against your site that many stupid robots and visitors of my blog carelessly clicked at. Please don't click at this sentence otherwise your domain will be disconnected from the arXiv's!

He believed that the internet was entering a new era - an era of websites such as arXiv.org that contain a huge amount of stuff and can't be mirrored. Consequently, he disliked the search engines because they were attempting to mirror the whole archive of Ginsparg which was clearly impossible: it would take an infinite amount of affine time. However, a search engine called

suddenly showed that it was not only possible, but in fact very easy to reproduce the whole archive. Later, Google has also introduced a version of an interdisciplinary SPIRES with a full-text search capabilities

While Google was the first company to defeat Ginsparg's no-go theorem, the second defeat has been even more spectacular. She's called

(guess who took the picture on the website above) and she's, together with Alanis Morissette and a few more friends, a Canadian girl who rocked the world. What is her answer to Google.com?

It sounds great, does not it? How many of you have been sitting in the aircraft with your laptop, before you suddenly got a great idea, but you needed a formula that you knew could only be found in hep-th/0301173 - but where can you get this paper 6 miles above the middle of the Atlantic?




Because of Joanna, this won't happen to you anymore. It's the end of this most frequent kind of nightmare.

In fact, you can upload the "hep-th" archive to your iPod or Zune, if you have one (Steve Jobs tells you Thank you!) - it's just 8 GB or so. So far, Joanna only offers a demo - the year 2004 which is roughly 850 MB. What kind of technology do you need to download these gigabytes to your MP3 player or laptop?

Because Joanna is surrounded by the fans of the amateurish software (also known as Open Source software) - this category includes her brother as well as boyfriend - the answer had to be as obscure as BitTorrent - but that should not discourage you. Enjoy! :-)

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reader Quantoken said...

I don't know why Lubos would be amazed by stuffs of downloading data and such. It's child's play. BTW the 8 GB archive of arxiv.org/hep-th is HIGHLY compressible, because many of the articles are duplicates and redundances that copy each other without much new stuff to say. So there is not much useful information there. Based on Shannon information theory, where there is so much redundant information, the whole stuff could be easily compressed to just one CD, using a little bit Huffman encoding :-)

BTW, the reason I want to insert here is I have now furthered my research from the previous best result of obtaining the neutron/electron mass ratio up to 10 decimal places accuracy and completely agree with the experimental value.

I have applied the same logic and obtained a very high accuracy value of the muon/electron mass ratio as well. My result is 206.760, versus the experimental value of 206.768. So I have 6 effective decimal places accuracy.

See:
http://quantoken.blogspot.com

I also obtained the muon delay lifetime as:
exp(40-alpha)

(The value is in my natural unit set, where the unit of time is 9.399637148x10^-24 seconds)
No theoretists had been able to calculate any particle mass based purely on first principles. But I have succesfully calculated the masses of proton, neutron, muon, W and Z bosons, etc, all with amazing accuracy. That on top of the precise calculation of CMB temperature, solar constant, as well as the Pioneer Spaceship Anormalcy Acceleration. All those are derived from QUITAR.

Quantoken


reader Anonymous said...

Yes, Lubos, but have you noticed how incredibly *bad* google scholar is? It misses up to half of citations, for one thing. For another, a friend of mine who works at a certain institution located on Freylinghuysen Road found that he has a new collaborator: the mysterious, multi-talented, Professor F. Road. I hear that his friend O. Lane has also wreaked havoc. In short, Google Scholar is garbage at this point, though it may improve eventually.....


reader Matthew said...

the amateurish software (also known as Open Source software)
I find it really amusing that you'd say that, given that most (98% or so I'd guess) of the submissions to the arxiv are done in TeX. TeX of course is open source software, and I'm not sure I'd call it amateur.

For that matter, the whole arxiv is run on Linux/Apache, and, in the early days at least, the whole thing was a bunch of Perl scripts. I wouldn't be so quick to knock open source software, it has a very large place in physics.


reader Lumo said...

I am not knocking open source software; and indeed, I am using many of its products, too.

But I am also not knocking commercial software.

And yes, TeX is a very sophisticated program that I admire and use; on the other hand, yes, it is also amateurish software. It's simply because it was not made for profit, and all such things share certain features - for example less-than-perfect user interface and a lack of evolution after a certain amount of time.


reader Matthew said...

I am not knocking open source software
Well, it certainly sounded like you were no big fan of bittorrent :) Which is odd, because it really has no equal if you want to distribute large files for download.

it is also amateurish software. It's simply because it was not made for profit
Perhaps you should investigate the "for profit" alternatives before you make such a bold statement. For example, try to compose your next paper in Word.

a lack of evolution after a certain amount of time.
There's a very good (and professional) reason for the "lack of evolution". Evolution = bugs. TeX is probably the closest to bug free that any complex software package is.


reader Lumo said...

Dear Matthew,

I don't know why you seem to feel so nervous about my remarks.

I've never used BitTorrent, and it's hard to imagine why I ever will.

Transfer of a large file in 2005 is a complete triviality. The most necessary assumption is high bandwidth. Transferring 260 MB for Windows XP Service Pack 2 has not been a problem at all. I don't know anyone who would be admiring Microsoft for its ability to transfer 260 MB big files. If I were transferring 8 GB of important data, and there would be a problem or risk with trasferring the whole bulk, it would still be OK to split it to 250 MB big pieces and click 30 times. Not a big deal.

I just don't see anything nontrivial about transferring files in 2005, and please don't expect from me that I will get excited about BitTorrent.

TeX is a completely different level - it's a highly sophisticated program, a kind of programming language for word processing. Big deal, masterpiece. But if you ask me - yes, I would prefer if we were writing the papers in a Wysiwyg environment today and I believe that the technology we're using - including TeX - has become obsolete. It has seen virtually no development for the last 10 years.

Your opinion "Evolution = bugs" is exactly a textbook example of the communist viewpoint that has stopped progress in Eastern Europe for 50 years. It's just incredibly irresponsible and kind of stupid what you say.

Everything in our modern world of science and technology must evolve if it wants to remain useful and competitive. Windows XP, for example, is definitely not just Windows 3.1 with bugs corrected. The far left-wing Linux fundamentalists and similar people just can't understand the basic features of capitalism: the forces that drive progress.

If someone wants to offer Linux, TeX, or anything else as the "ultimate" solution that is supposed not to evolve anymore because it is "perfectly bug free", then you can be sure that he's offering a system whose value will decay with the lifetime of 1 year or so.

You sound exactly like the comrades in the 1950s who proposed the "perfect" system called the communism that was producing the perfect steel in the perfect factories forever. This approach just can't lead anywhere. You're selling a dead cat. Bugs usually don't matter - one can fix them later. But the ability to develop DOES matter. If someone thinks that something should be permanently used because it is "bug free", then he may be thinking about some small, irrelevant bug - but he himself has a huge bug, namely the inability to make any progress.

This is incidentally one of the intellectual differences that have made Bill Gates more important than the Linux fundamentalists by many orders of magnitude. He simply knows that the progress must go on and one can never be satisfied with what we have right now. He's one of the leaders of the industry and he always tries to think about the future and propose visions.

Many Open Source proponents may be viewed as symbols of universal stagnation.

All the best
Lubos


reader Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

reader Matthew said...

I don't know why you seem to feel so nervous about my remarks.
Nervous? Not really. I do find your opinions about computing somewhat amusing though.
The most necessary assumption is high bandwidth.
And there's the rub. See, bittorrent allows you to do away with that assumption. This is important, because most people don't have high upload speeds.
I would prefer if we were writing the papers in a Wysiwyg environment today
Well, desipite the fact that it's communistic, and has a TeX backend, you could try LyX. It's a WYSIWYG frontend to TeX, and has a lot of fans. There's even a Windows XP port.
It has seen virtually no development for the last 10 years.
Not virtually, none. There's a reason for that you know, the basic problem that TeX set out to solve (typeset mathmatics) is solved.
Your opinion "Evolution = bugs" is exactly a textbook example of the communist viewpoint that has stopped progress in Eastern Europe for 50 years.
Wow, umm, no. "evolution = bugs" is a fact of software development. Many programs have to evolve (to meet changing user expectations, for example), but that doesn't change the *FACT* that when you add more code, you add more bugs.

For a piece of software like TeX, which does everything it was designed to do, there's no need to add new bugs. Linux on the other hand, which you seem to want to dump on, is still evolving at a rapid rate, bugs and all.
It's just incredibly irresponsible and kind of stupid what you say.
Yes, silly me, I forgot, you know more about string theory than me, ergo you must know more about computers and programming too. Sorry, I forgot.
The far left-wing Linux fundamentalists and similar people just can't understand the basic features of capitalism:
Yes, I'm sure those hippies at IBM and Novell don't understand capitalism.
If someone wants to offer Linux, TeX, or anything else as the "ultimate" solution that is supposed not to evolve anymore because it is "perfectly bug free", then you can be sure that he's offering a system whose value will decay with the lifetime of 1 year or so.
How long have people been using TeX in physics and math? Seem to me to be over a year now.

You seem to be confusing Linux and TeX. TeX is not changing because it doesn't need too. The basic problem is solved. Linux on the other hand, has not "solved" the basic problem. Partially because the problem is much larger (a stable, secure, portable, etc, operating system), and partially because the target (i.e. hardware) keeps changing.
He's one of the leaders of the industry and he always tries to think about the future and propose visions.
Really? That's news to me. Name one visionary thing please. Windows was a clone of the mac OS, .NET is a clone of Java, DOS was a (bad) clone of UNIX, IE was a clone of Netscape,
Word was a clone of Wordstar, Excel was a clone of Lotus 123 (which was itself a clone of visicalc) etc.

Bill Gates is *really*good* at cloning others. In many cases, he even does a better job than the people he's cloning, but original vision?

Note, before you go off on some anti-linux rant, I'm not claiming linux is particularly orginal (being basically a clone of unix, it can't be).


reader Lumo said...

Dear Matthew,

I will look at Lyx again when I will have time for it. Last time I was excited, but it was not yet in the shape to help us.

"Not virtually, none. There's a reason for that you know, the basic
problem that TeX set out to solve (typeset mathmatics) is solved."

It may have solved *a* problem, but it does not mean that it is an important problem. As progress goes, many new challenges and problems emerge and the older ones become irrelevant. In 2005 it's just not up-to-date to require software *just* to typeset math. This may have been an interesting cutting-edge problem in the 1970s, but not 30 years later.

"... but that doesn't change the *FACT* that when you add more code,
you add more bugs."

Sure, but it's PROGRESS and it is exactly what must be done by anyone who matters in the computer industry. New code to do new things must be done, and it also adds bugs - in this sense, bugs are symptoms of progress. What you're saying really looks like that you think that people should not try to make new software because it also creates new bugs. Are you serious?

"Yes, I'm sure those hippies at IBM and Novell don't understand
capitalism."

What does it have to do with IBM and Novell? Incidentally, yes, IBM has shown a striking misunderstanding of capitalism in the 1980s - which has led, after many twists and turns, to its surrender in the computer industry in 2005 (Lenovo). But that's another topic.

"How long have people been using TeX in physics and math? Seem to me to be over a year now."

The decay rate does not mean that after 1 year, it will disappear completely.

"You seem to be confusing Linux and TeX. TeX is not changing because it doesn't need too. The basic problem is solved. Linux on the other hand, has not "solved" the basic problem. Partially because the problem is much larger (a stable, secure, portable, etc, operating system), and partially
because the target (i.e. hardware) keeps changing."

You misunderstand most of the really important problems that drive further development of the operating systems. Your list is very far from complete.

Your attack on Bill Gates is dull. Of course that everything that someone starts to produce somewhere is similar to something else in the past. It's because the nature of progress is evolution. But he has put the right pieces together.

Bill Gates is a phenomenal person in the computer industry. As a kid, I started with Commodore 64. At that time, I did not know that the author of the BASIC that was running on it was Bill Gates himself. No plagiarism here. These BASIC languages have improved the life of "our" generation of the computer enthusiasts by 100%. This is how it got started. So did MS-DOS - well, it was not made by Gates, I admit - and its extensions, Windows - with all the developments that followed. Integration of Office, WM Player, formats, games, .NET technology.

I don't want to recall the whole history of the software industry here. Note that for Linux, you're not worried that it is more or less a *completely* stolen concept. You're using very different standards when you evaluate politically convenient and politically inconvenient software makers.

Cheers
Lubos


reader Matthew said...

Last reply, since you once again don't seem to read what I write

It may have solved *a* problem, but it does not mean that it is an important problem.
Well, it's important to me (and you).

In 2005 it's just not up-to-date to require software *just* to typeset math.
Really? What else do you think TeX should do? Brew your coffee in the morning?

What you're saying really looks like that you think that people should not try to make new software because it also creates new bugs. Are you serious?
I seriously meant what I wrote, which is not what you think I wrote. Back up and read it again. I said some problems, such as those with a well define scope, have complete solutions, that once arrived at don't need to be worked on further. Other problems (and these types of problems are in the majority) do need constant work.

That being said, there is a tendancy in the software industry (both open source and closed source) "evolve" software just for the sake of evolving it. The oft cited example is that most people don't need most of the new stuff they put into MS Word, for many people the mid-nineties version is all they'll ever need.

What does it have to do with IBM and Novell?
Both have made huge investments in Linux.

which has led, after many twists and turns, to its surrender in the computer industry in 2005
Not building personal computers is not the same thing as "surrendering in the computer industry". For example, IBM is (and will continue to be) a strong player in supercomputing.

Your attack on Bill Gates is dull. [...] But he has put the right pieces together.
I didn't say he didn't. But that's different than being a computer visionary.

the author of the BASIC that was running on it was Bill Gates himself. No plagiarism here.

True, that's the one orginal Microsoft contribution (Paul Allen was a co-author, and wrote much of the original Altair BASIC interpreter).

These BASIC languages have improved the life of "our" generation of the computer enthusiasts by 100%. This is how it got started.
Well, that's one of the threads of modern computing. There are others (UNIX culture, XEROX PARC, etc.).

Note that for Linux, you're not worried that it is more or less a *completely* stolen concept. You're using very different standards when you evaluate politically convenient and politically inconvenient software makers.
You didn't read what I wrote. The last thing I said was "linux is a copy of unix". That doesn't "worry" me at all, just like it doesn't worry me that windows was a copy of MAC OS (it does bother me when people claim that windows was "visionary" though, since it wasn't). I'm not claiming Linus Torvalds is a "visionary" for writing Linux. I would claim that his approach to project management is novel, but that's different.


reader berti-k said...

It's fun to watch ppl fighting about which one of those medioce OS, Linux or Windoze, is worse. Usually this is ppl who have not yet seen a real decent OS, read Nextstep which eventually turned into MacOSX. At any rate, I second Lubos point that open source software tends to suck. To stir up religious war and give some ammunition to Lubos, I advertize this link:
http://daringfireball.net/2004/04/spray_on_usability
There are some good viewpoints in it, esp further down.


reader Lumo said...

"It's important for me and you."

Matthew, let's not overestimate or underestimate it. TeX has been fun - I used it to write a textbook and many papers. On the other hand, it's just a technicality: various Office-based and other tools are also fun and potentially usable. And once again, computer typesetting math is a very small fraction of our lives, even professional lives.

"Really? What else do you think TeX should do? Brew your coffee in the
morning?"

I don't say that TeX should do these things. I say that computers should do many more things than what you suggest. It's necessary for a usable computer today to create presentations; play music and videos; record and edit music and videos; deal with hundreds of new - and still emerging - types of external devices; offer a usable, efficient environment to deal with a large number of files, including photographs, PDF documents; allow to copy one format into another; do symbolic mathematical operations (Mathematica etc.) and allow one to transfer various types of data from one place to another; integrate all these things with communication, e-mail, web, blogging.

Concerning your ideas about "no-need to develop things that are already perfect", I apologize to say, but it reminds me of lattice QCD a little bit, too. You thinking is based on the idea that problems will always be equally important, and therefore these problems' solutions are gonna be permanently important, too. It's not the case.

"Both have made huge investments in Linux."

Well, yes, if you mean this particular thing, I agree that it shows that they did not get the point of capitalism too well - and certainly in the case of IBM, their battle has officially be declared as a lost one. Do you still doubt that the computer section of IBM has made serious errors?

"For example, IBM is (and will continue to be) a strong player in supercomputing."

Does it mean that you believe that this supercomputing is based on Linux? ;-) I can't believe you're serious. The "lost battle" of IBM was exactly based on bad decisions such as investments in Linux.

"But that's different than being a computer visionary."

No, it's not different. Every vision is about putting the right pieces together.

"Well, that's one of the threads of modern computing. There are others
(UNIX culture, XEROX PARC, etc.)."

I hope that you allow me to say that XEROX PARC turned out to be less important for the development of computer industry than the Microsoft thread.

I agree that Linus' approach to software management is novel, but we would probably disagree whether it's the most viable one. ;-)

And yes, I also appreciate Steve Jobs et al. for their visions, and give them credit for introducing the concept of windows and this kind of GUI.


reader Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

reader Lumo said...

I'm erasing comments in other languages than English as well as comments that only show disagreement without presenting new arguments.


reader Lumo said...

Incidentally. There are many alternatives to BitTorrent, too. Let's not pretend that this stuff is a miracle.

...

For example, see

...

http://dijjer.org/...

A good programmer needs a few days to create a good server program to host large files.


reader Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

reader Anonymous said...

> A good programmer needs a few
> days to create a good server
> program to host large files.
You fail to understand that the
problem is not the server program
but the server.
BitTorrent distributes the load and
this is the main point ...


reader Quantoken said...

I would like to comment on the software development because my daytime job happen to have something to do with it, even just partially.

People who write open source code are the best computer programmers that big corporations like Microsoft would want to hire but couldn't.

That's because when you do it for the JOY instead of for PROFIT, you are inheritantly one level HIGHER than those people who do it for making a living!!! Computer virus programmers, for example, are absolutely best of the best programmers, because there is absolutely no profit whatsoever and it's every bit fun (evil fun). A small piece of code of just a few hundred bytes could hide, duplicate itself, pretend, trick the users, and wrac havoc throughout half of the earth, causing tremendous damage. Could you not say marvelous genius on the part of those evil people?

It's true in the whole human society, those do it not for the money are always better off than those do it for making a living. Einstein was best when he was an amateur scientist, and became second grade once he joined the profession to make a living. DeBroide (?) was a historist not a physicist when he discovered the matter quantum waves.

So it is really unreasonable for Lubos to call open source "amateur" software, implying immaturity and unsophistication by the word "amateur".

However, you really can not compare a piece of commercial software against a piece of open source software. The two may contain similar features but they serve totally different purposes. Microsoft Word and Tex both has word processing capability. But none of them are designed for end user as their first purposes. MS Word is a commercial commodity and it's first purpose is for profit. Usability is only a secondary purpose for the goal of marketability to the general public. As for TeX, "marketability" is a total alien word. TeX does not serve the need of the end user who does not write it. TeX serves the need of the ones who wrote it. It's their code and they tweak it anyway they want and it never occur to the author of TeX how a dummy is going to use TeX at the end of day, because he does not need to sell TeX to dummies! And when it comes to computer virus, certainly the "usability" would be the less the better, totally invisible and misterious would be key for a virus.

So I think it is really not a fair game comparing commercial products against open source ones.

I would also add that both Windows and Linux are based on the same awkward hardware architecture, the x86 CPUs that started as 8086/8088 and now they call it pentium or other cryptic names. It's outdated already and will eventually go away. On the other hand, architectures like MIPS, which I work on, are much superior and has far more superior computating performance than x86, at a much lower cost!!! We are already working on 128 bits code, and the x86 platforms are still struggling to get a 64 bits operating system out. Maybe that will never happen. I do not know why the science and engineering community is not already developing a MIPS general purpose computer for their usage.

Quantoken


reader Matthew said...

Well, I'm not sure wether you're trolling me, or you're really this collosally ignorant about computers. In any case, I'll rise to the bait

it's just a technicality: various Office-based and other tools are also fun and potentially usable
Prove it. Write a research quality paper, with lots of mathmatics, using Word.

Do you still doubt that the computer section of IBM has made serious errors?
Once again, not reading what I said. I never doubted that IBM has made serious errors. That being said, they're currently a profitable company, and they're stock price is high.

Does it mean that you believe that this supercomputing is based on Linux? ;-)
Well, actually, yes. Again let me remind you that being good at string theory does not automagically make you an expert in computing. Now as it happens, you can go to the list of the top 500 supercomputers and see for yourself what operating systems they run.

Unsuprisingly, Microsoft doesn't make the top ten (or it looks like the top 40, though I didn't check each one). Linux systems on the other hand are #2,#4,#5,and #10 (and maybe one more, the Navy doesn't seem to give out a lot of info on their machine). The rest of the top ten are some sort of UNIX system (including OSX at #7).

I can't believe you're serious.
I can't believe how arrogant you are. I'm not only serious, I'm right. Linux (and IBM) is a major player in the supercomputer idustry, go ahead and check the top500 list 4 out of the ten fastest computers in the world run Linux.

I hope that you allow me to say that XEROX PARC turned out to be less important for the development of computer industry than the Microsoft thread.
You can say whatever you'd like. But it's pretty clear you don't actually know much about what they did at XEROX PARC if you actually believe that. Much of what we consider modern computing (bitmapped displays, ethernet, laser printers, object oriented programming) was invented at PARC.

I guess the difference between you and me is that you believe the person who puts things in a nice package is more important than the actual inventor.


reader Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

reader Anonymous said...

Quantoken man, I thought you were a software engineering/programmer or something along those lines. It also explains your obsession with numbers to very many decimal places:) Let me say that Tex is the most fantastic progress ever made by humans!:) And anyone old enough to have ever endured the agonising medieval TORTURE of writing a large mathematical
/technical thesis on a TYPEWRITER will agree with me! Open source code is usually very good. The ones I have used have been better than most commercial stuff.


reader Anonymous said...

Yep, Mathews is correct about Linux and TeX. Without a doubt, TeX/LaTeX is the best (and most portable) program I have used. Although no work is being done in TeX per se, lots of nice packages in LaTeX are being constantly developed.

Perhaps Lubos would prefer BSDs (FreeBSD, NetBSD, and OpenBSD) because their licence is not 'communistic' (BSD license (not GPL, unlike Linux): people are free to use the code in their own programs and do not have to release their own code. Incidentally, MacOSX is based on BSD.

I think FreeBSD (and variants) is better (and more stable) than Linux, but that is whole different story.

However, almost all new applications, commercial programs (and drivers) in *NIX are first developed for Linux and then ported to BSD. So I end up using Linux most of the time (for desktop).


reader Lumo said...

Indeed, the supercomputers may run Linux, but it's not their primary goal to run Linux. The primary virtue of supercomputers is that they offer powerful hardware that is supposed to do a lot of boring machine code operations all the time, and you need some code that allows to share the CPU time, and you don't need any complicated operating system for most of this activity, which is why it can run on Linux or anything like that.

You can't really argue that the existence of supercomputers justifies IBM's decisions to team up with Linux. The operating system is a totally negligible part of the supercomputers - unlike for personal computers where the OS costs a significant fraction of the computer. Sure, some people will argue that the financial ratio is not important, and I don't want to argue with these people because they're coming from a different planet.

And yes, I do think that the ability to produce affordable computers that could eventually use the "pieces" invented under XEROX PARC (icon, mouse, laser printer) and other frameworks was more important than these small pieces themselves. This viewpoint of mine is correlated with the fact that I consider the progress of the computer industry in the 1980s, dominated by home computers (Sinclair, Commodore) and IBM (plus Microsoft) to be clearly more important and pronounced than the progress in the 1970s that is associated with the frameworks such as XEROX PARC. In the 1980s, we simply saw breakthroughs that allowed many more breakthroughs to appear more rapidly - which is an important factor in judging their importance.

Of course that the progress in the computer industry is largely about making things and inventions usable and affordable - and if someone does not care about these aspects, then he's unlikely to drive progress forward systematically (maybe by accident). People used to think that the computers were something that could never belong to regular individuals. They were proved wrong by the heroes of the boom in the 1980s. You can downplay the importance of these people because they were "just capitalists", but I don't care about these misjudgements.

Henry Ford also invented "only" new management style how to produce affordable cars. He's still a hero of the car industry. Some people are not willing to appreciate the heroes of capitalism because they believe that the management and choosing the right ideas, pieces, and technologies is a "trivial thing". It's not a trivial thing at all, and most people would fail miserably.

Best
Lubos


reader Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

reader Quantoken said...

Matthew was right on the point in his comments. XEROX PARC was VERY IMPORTANT in the development of computer technology and making it accessible to the general public who may not be so technology oriented. Too bad Lubos does not know it. He knows how to click on a mouse but does not know who invented the mouse. This invention alone made XEROX PARC that important already, not to meantion numerous other things developed by XEROX PARC.

Being a string theoretist himself, I would thought Lubos must know how to use a computer to do calculations related to string theory. And he should know about super computers and the trend of super computing through clustering and grid computing technology. Linux is very important in the development. IBM is a pioneer in grid computing. Lubos has a lot to learn.

Me, I do write computer code and do use Linux on a daily basis. But that's only part of my job. I am more interested in doing research. I wrote some of the fastest RSA code in the world and have some encryption and grid computing related patents pending. I am also interested in stuff like speech processing, data compression, pattern recognition, structured audio and stuff like that. If you look around yourself you probably will find one or two things that I have worked on, though you will never know what they are. Fundamental physics research is but just a small portion of my spare time hobby.

Quantoken


reader Lumo said...

The amount of disinformation that various commenters are posting here is simply overwhelming. It would take just far too much time to debunk all of them.

Let me take this particular example that several confused posters mentioned - the computer mouse. The computer mouse was invented (and patented) in 1964 by Douglas Engelbart, another hero of capitalism in the computer industry, six years before Xerox PARC was founded.

DE founded the lab called ARC. The role of Xerox PARC was that it stole talented workers from Douglas Engelbart.

The idea that XEROX PARC was where the mouse was invented in the 1970s is a double lie, to say the least. Once again, it was invented by DE in 1964. And I could go on and on and on.


reader Lumo said...

What I want to say by this example is that every piece of progress is incremental, in some sense. XEROX PARC may have used the GUI for the first time, but it only became usable after Steve Jobs visited their labs and made the idea meaningful. This is why Apple is often praised for "inventing the windows".

On the other hand, XEROX PARC itself was just a company that was "stealing" the inventions of others - namely the computer mouse in this particular case.

Progress in technology always looks like this. However, some people add special degrees of criticism against Bill Gates and Microsoft - simply because they don't like the fact that BG is the richest capitalist in the world today. They say that his contributions were made by someone else - but if you look carefully, you see that these "someone else" also took it from a third party; the latter fact is however never mentioned.

XEROX PARC did a bad job in spreading and commercializing these inventions - partly their own inventions, partly inventions of others - which is a reason why the PC progress in the 1970s was less spectacular than in the 1980s.


reader Anonymous said...

LUBOS U RAGING HOMOSEXUAL

(this is so gonna get deleted by that "anti-communist" fag)


reader Lumo said...

Shockingly, I decided not to delete the last comment so that the reasonable visitors of my blog have an idea what kind of stuff I am erasing most of the time. ;-)


reader torbjorn said...

"the amateurish software (also known as Open Source software)"

What a fashinating mismap of reality! For example, the company I work with base 90 % of the technical and perhaps 20 % of the business software on Open Source. The intention is of course to move towards more OpS, both for economic (cheaper) and technical (smaller, better, flexible) reasons.


reader Quantoken said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

reader Zelah said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

reader Lumo said...

Come on guys, don't be silly.

This is a private blog. The owner thinks that the open source philosophy definitely *is* an example of communism. Your contributions are reviewed from this perspective.

If you find these rules of the game bad, you should be visiting other blogs. There are thousands of communist blogs around where your contributions will be appreciated.

I am definitely not the first person who says that the open source approach is communism. See

http://www.pintmaster.com/essays/marx.htmlhttp://www.architexturez.net/FILES/essays/maze-kspori.open.source.shtmland most of 64,000 pages that you find by looking for "open source" and "communism" on Google.


reader Anonymous said...

Lubos,

but following your logic physics is pretty
close to communism as well.
I mean, most of your stuff is "open software".


reader Zelah said...

Hi lubos,

My EXTREMELY long previous post was not about open source at all!!!

It was about your misunderstanding of CAPITALISM.

Capitalism is not EVOLUTIONARY. Period.

It is driven by OPTIMIZATION of PROFIT. In particular capitalism has many periods of rapid change like recessions, technological upheaval etc .

Now, you may belive that there is no real difference. This will only lead to anyone who really understands evolution to think you are stupid.However, I wanted to give you the chance to understand this very important difference.

Now, if you are to change the subject to the communistic values of 'Open Source' here is my response.

You have unfortunately associated Capitalism with Evolution. Well, by your own folly, you make Open Souce a type of Capitalism!!! Open Source does evolve!!! Look at the Code of Linux in 1998 and compare to today!!!

However by the CORRECT definition of Capitalism, Open Source is Communistic!

An Amateur Mathematician.


reader Plato said...

Sorry to diverge from the topic.

Lubos could you put a search feature in your menu bar?

The Cathedral and the BizarreHad the Internet itself been proprietary it would have never reached the millions of people it did now; a prominent evidence on the successfulness of the Free Software model. This also resembles the de-facto standards that grow and get acceptance in different sectors of the industry. No one in specific does have the sole control on the details and the future of the free software industry.What is evolutionary, and I do not quite have the time, is that there are two paths that represent two things as has been suggested. One is capitalism in terms of microsoft, and, the second, a method for the poor man?:)


reader Anonymous said...

I guess you've spoken out before doing the research to realize there is a Latex 3 underway. And the team has been standardizing and fixing Latex to the current version over the last decade. "Lack of evolution" indeed...

Note also that WYSIWYG doesn't necessarily mean good or modern. The philosophy of Latex encourages marking up by structure, whereas (say) Word does not emphasise this. Thus in WYSIWYG programs you often see the "dog's breakfast" approach to formatting (no standard markup within a document), or writers spending more time on formatting than writing. Surely the philosophy is more important than how pretty it looks.

Lastly, I hope you were using the original Latin meaning for "amateur" (lover). Programs written for the love of it are often better written than ones for a paycheck.


reader Quantoken said...

I am having something to say about one of the Seven Millenium Mathematics Problems, namely, the proof of existence of a mass gap in the Yang Mills Theory.

I have solved it! The solution, surprisingly, is NOT that there exists a mass gap in Yang Mills Theory, but rather, it does NOT exist. The physical mass gap does exist in the physical world, but it does NOT come from the Yang Mills Theory, but rather, it comes from the finiteness of spacetime of the universe.

See more on my BLOG:
http://quantoken.blogspot.comQuantoken


reader Anonymous said...

I've always been rather surprised that math typesetting hasn't progressed much since LaTex/Tex.
It seems to me to be a rather trivial task. I think most people who actively publish in math and who are presented with all the annoyances of Latex/(insert wp) just haven't bothered to make a serious effort to make a commercial high end/user friendly program.

Otoh, Microsoft Word is just totally pathetic. They have full teams of expert programmers who should in principle be capable of sending Tex to the wastebin of history. That they haven't succeeded is rather perplexing.

Incidentally as a scientist, I hate the use of all those old SUN workstations with archaic Linux code. Its rather baffling that we havent' succeeded in upgrading to the user friendly windows environment. It would spare many of us a lot of grief.


reader torbjorn said...

"I am definitely not the first person who says that the open source approach is communism."

lumo, that is completely ridiculous.

So is the reference; it doesn't define communism very well nor Open Source, or explain what the connection is. Apparently it has something to do with the software somehow being free. So air is a communistic commodity?

But the very first thing it states is that "The open source software movement is becoming one of the most influential parts of the computing industry as well as a large part of the U.S. stock market." contradicting its later reasoning.

And this is the very point. OpS is a great market that allow small players good profit, benefitting us all.

Calling it communism is akin to calling string theory communism. ("Every member of society would work for themselves and for every other member.") Would that make LQG the trotskistic party?


reader Anonymous said...

Dear Professor Quantoken,
I regret to inform you that, after the latest adjustments to the beam pipe at Tevatron, and collating with the data stream from the first run of LIGO, we have found conclusive evidence that the predictions of the GUITAR theory are completely wrong. See hep-ph/0502355 for details.


reader Leucipo said...

Free Software is Communist, but it ranges from anarchocommunism to socialcommunism depending on the license (ie depending on a politburo qualifying next versions, eg Darwin, and similar parameters)