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'Mauro, SHUT THE F**K UP!'

Plus: 'We firmly believe that it is our Hell Fire Belief'

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Quotw The week's chatter has provided fewer gems than usual and a lot more "Look at this great new product I launched at CES", but luckily you can always rely on Linus Torvalds to come out with a zinger.

The Linux kernel developer pulled no punches when Red Hat's Mauro Carvalho Chehab tried to pass off a bug in the kernel as something at fault with PulseAudio and other third-party applications. That was a position with which Torvalds was clearly at odds, and he proceeded to express his concern with this carefully worded statement:

Mauro, SHUT THE FUCK UP!

It's a bug alright - in the kernel. How long have you been a maintainer? And you *still* haven't learnt the first rule of kernel maintenance?

If a change results in user programs breaking, it's a bug in the kernel. We never EVER blame the user programs. How hard can this be to understand?

Meanwhile, Nokia chief Stephen Elop put his foot in it this week. The Finnish firm's CEO seemed to hint to Spanish newspaper El Pais that there might be room for a certain little green bot in the mobile-maker's future, or at least that Microsoft shouldn't take its relationship with Nokia for granted:

In the current ecosystem wars, we are using Windows Phone as our weapon. But we are always thinking about what's coming next, what will be the role of HTML 5, Android... Today we are committed and satisfied with Microsoft, but anything is possible.

But Nokia was quick to hustle its PR folks into action and quickly stated that of course Android wasn't going to be the new operating system for its mobes. Well, not exactly - let's just say it covered all its bases... The firm said:

[Elop's comments were] mistranslated... leading to some erroneous reports and speculation about our strategic direction.

In the UK, entrepreneur James Dyson was lambasting the UK government for being more interested in passing trends than "tangible technology". The vacuum-cleaner and heater designer said:

The government must do more to attract the brightest and best into engineering and science so that we can compete internationally. 26 per cent of engineering graduates do not go into engineering or technical professions.

More worrying is that 85 per cent of all engineering and science postgraduates in our universities come from outside the UK. Yet nine in 10 leave the UK after they finish their studies. British knowledge is simply taken abroad.

Engineering postgraduates need to be encouraged with generous salaries. A salary of £7,000 a year for postgraduate research is insulting.

He also made his feelings about Tech City known:

I am concerned that we are sometimes distracted by the glamour of web fads and video gaming rather than the development of tangible technology that we can export. There seems to be an obsession with Shoreditch’s so-called ‘Silicon roundabout’.

Meanwhile, the saga of John McAfee continues, as the IT security guru tells the world that during his time in Belize, he became a spymaster. As head spook of an extensive spy network, McAfee says he handed out hacked laptops to powerful people. He wrote in an blog post:

I purchased 75 cheap laptop computers and, with trusted help, installed invisible keystroke logging software on all of them – the kind that calls home (to me) and disgorges the text files. It also, on command, turns on and off the microphone and camera – and sends these files on command.

I had the computers re-packaged as if new. I began giving these away as presents to select people – government employees, police officers, cabinet minister’s assistants, girlfriends of powerful men, boyfriends of powerful women.

I hired four trusted people full time to monitor the text files and provide myself with the subsequent passwords for everyone’s email, Facebook, private message boards and other passworded accounts. The keystroke monitoring continued after password collection, in order to document text input that would later be deleted. So nothing was missed…

And finally, a Texan schoolgirl has lost her bid to stay at her school without wearing an ID badge. Andrea Hernandez refused to don the student tracking badge, which contains a RFID chip that tracks students, for both privacy and religious reasons, but a judge ruled that the school's offer to have her wear the tag without an RFID chip was a fair one.

Hernandez' family believes that the RFID tag represents the mark of the beast. Her father told the court in a letter:

We firmly believe that it is our Hell Fire Belief that if we compromise our faith and religious freedom to allow you to track my daughter while she is at school it will condemn us to Hell. ®

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