Stellarium and the Homeland Security cottage industrialists

To quote myself from before: I occasionally search for Stellarium in Google when I’m bored. It’s a good way to find out what good (or bad) things software reviewers are saying about Stellarium (and sometimes about me). It’s also a good way to catch bugs that haven’t been reported to Stellarium’s bug tracker.

Some of the stuff I come upon during these vanity searches is rather amusing, though. This time, it is a comment to a blog story about the two teenagers being denied entry into the US because of Twitter jokes. The part concerning Stellarium:

(…) And I think the real bad guys are ROFLMAO’ing right now. I think they no longer use channels that can be intercepted, no longer use patterns of association that can be flagged, stay clear of surveillance satellites and (maybe) even drones… So they basically nullify all the vastly expensive apparatus employed by the US in lieu of real intelligence (which was very embarrassingly highlighted by wikileaks – is this the best you can do, really?) An example of this is Stellarium – go ahead and use the add-ins that track satellites and asteroids, see what happens to your computer as the Homeland Security cottage industrialists (ineptly) borks your computer. All this does is ruin a great FOSS program for everyone and drive the baddies into using other tools… (…)

(spelling and formatting preserved from the original)

The same author shortly followed with:

And what seems to have happened to Stellarium is shameful.

Unfortunately, that website requires registration to comment, otherwise I would have jumped at the opportunity to procrastinate a little more and ask “what seems to have happened to Stellarium”. Am I misreading something, or this person really thinks that Homeland Security “borked” the Satellites plug-in so that terrorists couldn’t use it to dodge spy satellites? O_o

I suspect that the paranoid commenter encountered bug #894752, which causes Stellarium to freeze when the user turns on satellite hints (a spent rocket stage that decayed from orbit causes an endless loop). A workaround of the problem is described in a forum post. The other option is to wait for the next release of Stellarium or to download a test build from Stellarium’s download page at Launchpad. The test build also finally introduces a convenient way for adding new satellites from the update lists.

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