How much longer will we have to endure this ?
I wonder how much longer it is going to take for companies to remove Borkzilla bloatware from platforms that don't need it and go with a rock-solid Linux implementation that Just Works.
Take a break from Microsoft's relentless plugging of the new with a glimpse of one of its operating systems of yesteryear doing what it does best: falling over into a heap. Spotted by Register reader Stuart at London's stately Greenwich station, the board, which is more accustomed to showing train schedules, was instead …
how often do you NEED a kernel update for Linux? (my experience - not at all, for many years)
Nearly all of the security patches are for userland stuff. I don't even remember a security vuln being in the kernel, and unless there's a serious instability in the kernel itself, you might be able to just do a driver update with a new driver [rare as it is], by removing the old one, and doing 'modprobe' [or similar] on the new one, and just keep going without rebooting.
[I was using modprobe and similar utilities to do that sort of thing back in the day, working on kernel drivers for wifi routers, when the kernel was 2.4something]
and last I checked the 'dpkg' and 'apt' systems will shutdown and re-start daemons after installing an upgraded package and dependent libraries. That should pretty much refresh things, without that reboot.
> [ ... ] and go with a rock-solid Linux implementation that Just Works.
I can't help but notice that Microsoft's troll bots are very busy downvoting this morning.
It's not like we aren't all looking at a photo of an eminently fucked XP box.
Are we sure that this isn't an art installation ?
Following the success of the "poems on the tube", whatever Network-South-East-Is-Called-Today asked artists to come up with something which embodied the spirit of transport in the suburbs of the Capital
"eminently fucked XP box"
Not that we haven't seen eminently fucked XP boxen, but if you look at the actual message XP has detected that the system is low on virtual memory and XP is going to resolve this automatically. It is just warning the user that this is about to happen.
Furthermore, getting low on virtual memory is probably a programming error.
> [ ... ] and XP is going to resolve this automatically.
If there's a modal dialog window waiting for user input - click on OK, as it is the case here - then the problem isn't being resolved automatically. In fact, the problem isn't being resolved at all. There is no user that can click on the OK button in this case. Therefore, increasing the size of the swapfile does not happen.
As it is usually the case with Microsoft Windows, the Operating System fucks itself into an unrecoverable state. We do not know if the offending process has been pre-empted, and can no longer request more memory, or if it keeps running in the background - while waiting for the OK modal dialog to be clicked - and keeps eating more memory.
If XP decides that it needs to increase the size of the swapfile, and pretends that it is performing an automatic corrective action, then it should just do it, without blocking on user input.
Automatic and waiting for user input contradict each other.
To make it even worse, there is no need for a modal dialog here in the first place. It's not like the dialog offers a choice of "Yes, do it" and "No, don't do it". The only choice is "OK". What is the point of asking the user to click on "OK" when there is no other option?
Horrible design. This should have been a notification - "As a result of pid <XYZ>'s monotonically increasing memory demands, XP has increased the size of the swapfile. Please check the status of PID <XYZ>." - and not a modal dialog.
In fairness, that error can indicate a hardware failure, or memory leak.
Linux is, no doubt, better protected against memory leaks, but it's not invulnerable to them, and unless you are running on enterprise grade hardware, with lots of redundancy (unlikely in this case), any OS is vulnerable to hardware failures.
If this is a memory leak, all it likely needs is someone to hit "reset". South Eastern, National Rail or whoever manages the computer should really upgrade though. Not good to be running XP, especially as the system really needs to be connected to a network. Not good to connect XP to a network, even if the network itself is well protected.
It may not be great to connect an old/unsupported system to a network, however it is very easy to do safely.
Don't forget that these are are "kiosk" or "appliance" type installations, they are not configured as a general network for general use. [Well, they shouldn't be anyway]
It is easy to configure networking such that each client is isolated from all other clients on the network and to only have very tightly controlled network connectivity to, for example, a central server system. There is often no need for a client to be able to communicate over the network with anything other than the control system.
Things get a little more complicated where remote access to the installed client is required, inevitably for support purposes, but this is far from difficult to configure either.
"In fairness, that error can indicate a hardware failure, or memory leak."
As a person who still uses XP (no point in upgrading an ancient PC that I don't use much these days), the few times I've seen that message, it was because Windows wanted to make the swapfile larger but the harddisc was pretty much stuffed. Cleaning out some old junk and defragging was the solution.
"a rock-solid Linux implementation that Just Works."
For something like a train schedule display, even XP is overkill. A Raspberry Pi is more than enough to accept and display a new page every 5 minutes or so. A linux master computer would be far more robust and also wouldn't have the same massive hardware requirements for such a simple task. There are a whole S-ton of applications that need very little (by today's standards) horsepower to run. Windows is a horrible choice other than for the droves of people that can write really hideous code that sometimes will run long enough to get a final payment check on the contract.
I really like the modularity of Linux. The downside is it takes more thought and design to take advantage of it. The upside is it will run really really fast on really really cheap hardware.
Although Linux or FreeBSD would be a good choice, I would actually expect them to go with an RTOS which might be better suited to signage.
VxWorks (commercial OS) or FreeRTOS (FOSS) would be good choices.
Both would certainly have a lighter hardware requirement and may even support legacy things that Linux distros might not...
(Linksys and others have used VxWorks for a lot of their wifi router firmware, though i haven't specifically worked with it in over a decade)
If the game is big sign with lightweight network-connected display that "just works", the RTOS could be the best choice overall.
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On a tangential note, my son left his minecraft session unnattended - but only on a menu screen - for about eight hours over the weekend.
About 11pm, after the tv had gone off, I thought: "Why on earth does the computer sound like it's thrashing the disk?"
By that stage, minecraft was up to 37.2GB in size  and presumably still trying to get bigger; it took me 15 minutes just to login in; and about another 15 to diagnose and fix it ... mostly involving waiting for the command prompt to return.
 About 10x the usual, as far as I can see
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