By timothy from Slashdot's perfect-for-piracy department
shutdown -p now writes: Microsoft has released the first public preview of RTVS (R Tools for Visual Studio), an extension for Visual Studio that adds support for the R (GNU S) programming language. The product is open source, and while most of the code is under the MIT license, some components are GPLv2, in accordance with the R license.
That's not the first time this week (or this year) that Microsoft's open source efforts have been front-page news; with its new role in the Eclipse Foundation, too, the company's angling toward being one of the largest open source companies around, even if that's a small part of its business model.
Update: 03/09 19:03 GMT by T : Speaking of which: reader Salgak1 writes with his first submission, linking the Register's report that Microsoft has released a Debian-based Linux distro, called SONIC. "It is optimized for network switching, and apparently is a localized version of the
"Azure Cloud Switch" released into the Azure cloud hosting system. Question is, is it just another Microsoft "Embrace, Extend. Extinguish" strategy in action?"Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's there-would-be-this-car-that-would-drive-itself department
SmartAboutThings writes: We've just been given a glimpse of what the future of motoring could look like, with BMW showing off its latest concept car, and it's self-driving. The Vision Next 100 was unveiled on Monday, at a ceremony celebrating BMW's 100th birthday, at Munich's Olympic Hall. This comes just a few days after BMW made official its intentions of competing with Google to build software for Self-Driving cars. The Vision Next 100 has two driving modes, a driver mode and an autonomous mode, or 'ease' as its known. In driver mode the car operates mostly like cars do now, except the BMW indicates the ideal driving line and speed, but when the car is set to autonomous mode the steering wheel retracts and the two front seats turn to face each other. Perfect for two people to have a chat, and if it's only you in the car, put your feet up and relax.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's they-aren't-alone department
dcblogs writes: Evans Data Corp., in a survey of 550 software developers, asked them about the most worrisome thing in their careers. A plurality, 29%, chose this answer: "I and my development efforts are replaced by artificial intelligence." Surprisingly, this concern about A.I. topped the second-most identified worry, which was that the platform the developer is working on will become obsolete (23%), or doesn't catch on (14%). Concerns about A.I. replacing software developers has academic support. A study by Oxford University, The Future of Employment, warned that the work of software engineers may soon become computerized. Machine learning advances allow design choices that can be optimized by algorithms. According to Janel Garvin, CEO of Evans Data, the thought of obsolescence due to A.I., "was also more threatening than becoming old without a pension, being stifled at work by bad management, or by seeing their skills and tools become irrelevant."Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's classified-revisions department
An anonymous reader writes: The FBI has quietly revised its privacy rules for searching data involving Americans' international communications that was collected by the NSA, US officials have confirmed to the Guardian. The classified revisions were accepted by the secret US court that governs surveillance, during its annual recertification of the agencies' broad surveillance powers. The new rules affect a set of powers colloquially known as Section 702, the portion of the law that authorizes the NSA's sweeping "Prism" program to collect internet data. Section 702 falls under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, and is a provision set to expire later this year. A government civil liberties watchdog, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, alluded to the change in its recent overview of ongoing surveillance practices. The PCLOB's new compliance report, released last month, found that the administration has submitted "revised FBI minimization procedures" that address at least some of the group's concerns about "many" FBI agents who use NSA-gathered data. Sharon Bradford Franklin, a spokesperson for the PCLOB, said the rule changes move to enhance privacy. She could not say when the rules actually changed -- that, too, is classified. Last February, a compliance audit alluded to imminent changes to the FBI's freedom to search the data for Americans' identifying information. "FBI's minimization procedures will be updated to more clearly reflect the FBI's standard for conducting US person queries and to require additional supervisory approval to access query results in certain circumstances," the review stated. The reference to "supervisory approval" suggests the FBI may not require court approval for their searches -- unlike the new system Congress enacted last year for NSA or FBI acquisition of US phone metadata in terrorism or espionage cases.Read Replies (0)