* Posts by Adam Williamson

242 publicly visible posts • joined 16 Oct 2007


Fedora 11 leaps into filesystem unknown

Adam Williamson

No problem with ext4

That ext4 issue does not affect Fedora 11. It was patched.

Water utility auditor resigns, transfers $9m offshore

Adam Williamson
Thumb Down

New Westminster?

As a resident of Vancouver, I'm just scratching my head trying to figure out why anyone with $9m would do a bunk to New West...

Microsoft arms half-wit developers with PHP handgun

Adam Williamson
Thumb Down

@Chris Thomas

"As for most programmers, they are awful, in my entire 10 year programming experience, I have seen ONE project that was written "correctly" as in (incidentally, it's my current project)"

Ah, the classic "everyone sucks but me" approach? Historically speaking, the occurrence of such cases is very rare...how about you go back to your project in ten years and see what your successor thinks of it. In my experience (not being a coder, but talking to a lot of 'em) they mostly all think each other's code sucks.

And to Ted - I suppose you're thinking of a fairly well-educated Englishman. Who was brought up proper. And isn't currently drunk. Which rules out most of 'em! (rimshot, please...) All the rest would already have murmured something unintelligible about Redmond and Mountain View and glassed the American with the remains of their pint of Special Brew before he'd ever got the chance to punch them in the face...

Next Ubuntu alpha reveals video change

Adam Williamson

File a bug

"Switching to the open-source radeon driver (which claimed to support my chipset) resulted in my laptop booting to a blank screen. It later turned out that the driver cleverly defaults to the external VGA port on laptops, even when no VGA monitor is connected."

No, it doesn't. This is called a 'bug'. (It's usually caused by psychotically terribly designed hardware / video BIOSes which, quelle surprise, get worked around in the proprietary ATI driver and then carefully not documented anywhere...)

Did you file a bug on the problem, with logs, at http://bugs.freedesktop.org/ ? If no-one does that, it's not going to get fixed. The radeon driver developers aren't psychic, and can't tell what exactly the crack-addled monkeys at your graphics card manufacturer did to fuck the thing up until you send them a report.

Black hole swallows Barbarella rehash

Adam Williamson
Thumb Up

@M D Rackham

" Why did my mind jump to an unholy combination of Jar Jar Binks and Ron Jeremy?

On second thought, I don't want to know.

On third thought, why would I admit to this?"

That IS deeply worrying.

I'd guess the 70% of 40-something Star Wars geeks immediately jump to slave outfit Leia, the 20% of 20-something Star Wars fans immediately jump to Amidala in something tight and white, and the 'other' 10% (including me) jump to Mark Hamill back when he was still hot in a tank top, or Hayden Christensen on a windy balcony in a conveniently thin brown robe...ahh, good (not so clean) fun to be had all around!

USAF slammed for pranging Predators on manual

Adam Williamson
Thumb Up

@raving angry loony

"Perhaps if they fired a few more the rest might get the message? Can't go wrong firing a general, especially if you do it out of an artillery piece."

Pour encourager les autres, peut-etre?

Renault intros e-MPV

Adam Williamson
Thumb Down

@Albert, AC 15:37

Albert: "So for what do you need a gearbox in an electric car ?"

You may want to look into the concept of 'reverse'.

AC: "The battery car crowd like to tell us at every oportunity that the vast majority of journeys are short hops, that may well be true but how many people can afford a second car to do their occasional longer journeys?"

You may want to look into the concept of 'rental'.

Love on the buses: The S-100 and me

Adam Williamson
Thumb Down

I'm with AC

It's harmless enough, I s'pose, but what exactly was the value of that article? I mean, it didn't really make much of an effort at historical context, or relate things to the modern age in some interesting and heretofore little-known way. That might've been interesting. No, it just seems to be "I once owned a computer and now I will bore you to death with the details" hour. This guy must be a hoot at parties.

Her Majesty's CIO braces US for Obama HIT

Adam Williamson
Thumb Down


He seems to talk an awful lot of garbage, doesn't he?

"Take a single piece of fiber and you'll have 1,900 CDs a second"

Er, what? 1,900 CDs is, what, 1.235TB? What 'fibre' gives you 1.2TB/sec of bandwidth? And where do I go to buy one?

OCZ Vertex solid-state drive

Adam Williamson
Thumb Down


As my comment already said, small file random write isn't only useful in itself, it's a perfect proxy for small file random read. Which happens all the damn time. Like, whenever you launch any program - the executable (usually a fairly small file) is read into memory, and so are a whole bunch of ancillary files (again often quite small ones) - think data files, icons, shared libraries, all that garbage.

And, say, system bootup is just a series of executions of such fairly small processes, each of which gets read off the disk into memory.

You the user may not interactively shift around large amounts of small blocks of data on your disk very often, but the system's doing it all the damn time.

Adam Williamson

Random writes

Smart people tell me the only benchmark for any SSD that matters at all is random write speed; all SSDs are ridiculously fast at sequential and burst read and writes, so there's no point measuring those, but where SSDs really struggle in a way that translates precisely into real-world use is in random read and writes. Any drive that's good at random writes will be good at random reads, so all you need to measure is random writes.

So, um, could we see that graph please?

Angelina Jolie spied with Palm Pré

Adam Williamson
Paris Hilton

and here was me...

...wondering why Palm shares went through the roof this morning. Must be the infamous (on Wall St.) Jolie factor!

(Paris, because she wishes she was cool enough to get a Pre).

SLED 11: a distro for businesses, not idealists

Adam Williamson


Ah, so you're going on ingrained prejudice rather than a rational evaluation of the actual implications of the system Ubuntu uses.

I don't use Ubuntu, never have, never will, I'm famous in very small ponds for not liking Canonical much, but all the palaver over sudo has always struck me as a bit silly. It's a perfectly workable system, it just happens to be different. It achieves the goals it needs to in a perfectly sensible way, and if you really really really must do it the traditional way, it takes two commands to set up a root password. It's really not a big deal.

ilme: ah, neat - last time I checked was somewhere around 10.2, I think. Although, of course, the nvidia tool *would* work, just up until you next ran YaST - and it still might be OK if YaST knows how to interpret and write NVIDIA-managed xorg.conf files, which wouldn't be too hard to arrange.

Adam Williamson
Thumb Down


YaST also *still* rewrites every single config file it controls every time you use it to touch *anything*. So if you use YaST to look after your X config, don't go making manual changes to how NTP is set up.

I can't believe it's still that dim after all these years...

Ubuntu doesn't really make it a pain in the neck to get a root shell. 'sudo su' is all it takes, I believe.

Adam Williamson
Thumb Down


asdf: as AC@10:05 said, you're rather wrong there. Novell's a very big contributor to F/OSS development. It's one of the things they do right.

@Bassey: "I can't actually see the advantage here. Surely, the main advantage of Linux is that it is free."

No, not really. That's the main advantage of hacking up your own Linux infrastructure, which is generally done by small companies working on the cheap, or skunkworks projects. Or big companies who don't have enough control over their IT departments...

The market where Novell plays with SLES/SLED (and Red Hat with RHEL) is entirely different - it's a market of very large installations where people are entirely willing to pay rather large amounts for Linux (well, really, for good support, which is what they're actually paying for) if it actually works better. In this market, the advantage of Linux is that it's more reliable and efficient - and also somewhat cheaper. But definitely not free.

Adam Williamson

Not about idealism

It's not about idealism. That's not the point. The idealists run obscure distros because RMS believes the stock kernel is being evil by including binary firmware or whatever the hell he's on about this week.

The Microsoft / Novell patent deal is fundamentally dangerous to all free software development, because it lends legitimacy to Microsoft's "we own patents on all this stuff and you can't touch it" stance. That has nothing whatsoever to do with idealism.

Please get it right.

Jamaica cracks down on 'daggering' after broken todger upswing

Adam Williamson


That's not an 'accent' (journalistic convention is to render all accents into the conventional written form of whatever language is being spoken), it's Jamaican patois, which is generally recognized as a language in itself, or at least a very distinct dialect of English, and usually rendered in its own written form in the local press - as seen here (the Reg is just quoting the Jamaica Star).

'Let me use poo-flinging Roman siege engine against burglars'

Adam Williamson
Thumb Down


"In merry old, you can be sued by thieves if they trip over a carpet in your house while robbing it and hurt themselves..."

You can be sued by *anyone* for *anything* *anywhere*. The important question is whether the lawsuit actually succeeds. The one you're referring to was thrown out of court about as quickly as it possibly could have been.

Public rejects Time Warner metered-bandwidth tests

Adam Williamson
Thumb Down


Apart from anything else, the proposed prices are a rip-off. Many broadband connections are effectively capped by AUPs (Acceptable Use Policies), both in North America and elsewhere. MY connection with Shaw here in Canada is effectively capped at 100GB (this number is actually given in the AUP) - for CAN$47.50. US$75 for 100GB is just ridiculous. Bandwidth isn't that expensive. There might be a lot less outrage if the pricing/bandwidth tradeoffs were reasonable.

Microsoft courts the upwardly mobile

Adam Williamson

why yes

""Have you wished to see your Windows Mobile phone with new features 'magically' show up without you buying a new one?""

Yes, I have, and that's why my Titan runs a third-party firmware (Titan Reloaded) with WM 6.1, manila 2d, fixed gps and all manner of other crap.

Ironically, the HTC / Windows Mobile combination is one of the *most* 'open' of all smartphone setups in some ways. There's lots of stuff you can't do on iPhone or even Android that can be done on those phones, if you do your research.

Trafficmaster preps mobile phone drive

Adam Williamson
Dead Vulture

@AC 9:42

It's really not. Seeing the word 'download' used entirely wrongly in a tech piece is like, I dunno, reading a review of a new phone here that says it's powered by a tiny magic pixie. I mean, tech is supposed to be what they *do*. If they can't get that right isn't it a bit of a problem?

Adam Williamson
Dead Vulture

Downloaded over the air?

"a turn by turn route is downloaded over the air into the phone"

downloaded over the air into the phone? Good God, this is The Register, not Knitting Weekly. Get your terminology right.

(Actually, the tech issue of Knitting Weekly would be awesome. "Crochet your own NAS! Part 1 of a four part series.")

Student sentenced for F-ucked up grade hack

Adam Williamson
Thumb Down

Er, what?

"Because the changes to grades and residency status would have allowed students to receive lower tuition fees"

Residency status, fine.

But...grades affecting tuition? So grades given out *by the institution* directly affect the revenue received *by that institution*?

Anyone else see something wrong with this picture? Whoops, revenue's down a bit this year - better hand out fewer As!

eBay looks to flog useless stuff

Adam Williamson

@ACs 12:32 and 13:06

Note to the ACs at 12:32 and 13:06: revenue != profit.

MS blames non-Redmond apps for security woes

Adam Williamson
Thumb Down


I wouldn't mind this if Microsoft didn't *also* trumpet surveys which say it's "more secure" than Linux - because they compare vulnerabilities in just Windows versus vulnerabilities in an entire Linux distro (including tons of what would be third-party apps on Windows).

Can't have it both ways.

Obama CIO a confessed petty thief

Adam Williamson


"Obama CIO a confessed petty thief"

Hey, beats the grand larceny that tends to be the norm...

So, what's the f**king difference between a Netbook and an ultrathin?

Adam Williamson
Thumb Down

@other Adam

2kg isn't anywhere near 'featherweight'. I won't buy a laptop which weighs more than 1.5kg.

Adam Williamson
Dead Vulture


Bah. I own a Vaio P. This enables me to point out a clearly missing category above. If it's smaller than 13.3", worth more than $500, and doesn't have an optical drive, it's *clearly* a posetop.

Right-wing Oz politico in nude snaps rumpus

Adam Williamson
Thumb Down

@AC 14:09

so, AC - you're dead set against racism but apparently not above a bit of boorish male chauvinism. Good to know! Maybe you could set up a 'One Sex' party?

Ofcom slaps Bristol radio for uncoolness

Adam Williamson
Thumb Down

Get the hell off my lawn!

"Is there anything recorded in the last few years that has been anything more than a ringtone?

How can the company survive if they are condemned to playing the trash that masquerades as music these days?"

Alistair: congratulations, you win the "get off my lawn" award.

This is one like "kids today have no respect!" that's been going on at least since Ug the caveman turned 45 (they retired younger in those days) and laid down the trusty pointy stick for a life of cave-based relaxation and yelling at youngsters with their sabre tooth tiger earrings. *Every* generation thinks that the music of the next generation is crap.

This is because the music of every generation more or less is crap, obeying the tried and testing "95% of everything is crap" formula. 95% of today's music is crap. 95% of the 1990s music was crap, same with the 80s (well...more like 99%), 70s, 60s and so on back to Ug. As time goes by, your rosy-eyed filter kicks in. No-one remembers all the shit music from the 60s or the 70s, just the Beatles and the Stones and Zep and so on. No one PLAYS the shit music from the 60s or the 70s, the era's equivalents of the Cheeky Girls or Jason fucking Mraz or something. There was just as much crap back then, much of it at the top of the charts, it just got politely swept under the carpet of history in the mean time.

In thirty years, all that'll get played from the 90s and 00s is the good stuff, and those of us who are in our teens, 20s or 30s now will be bemoaning how crap all the music of 2039 is, and how they just don't make 'em like the good bands of our youth - Radiohead and so forth. At which point, someone please reprint this with appropriate updates to shut us the hell up.

There's plenty of excellent music available these days, as there always has been. Some of it finds its way into wide popularity, much of it doesn't - again, much as it always has been (many of the acts now agreed to have been the best of the 60s and 70s were fairly obscure at the time, see for e.g. Big Star or Nick Drake). If you want to find good contemporary music, it really isn't that difficult. If you're determined to just listen to whatever's on the radio, at least try and remember that 'whatever's on the radio' in 1967 was probably equally crap.

Homosexuality does for UK blue duck population

Adam Williamson
Dead Vulture


Chinstrap? Is THAT what the kids are calling it these days?

Google mistakes entire web for malware

Adam Williamson
Thumb Down


"Google mistakes entire web for malware"


40% of it wants to sell you crap you don't need, 40% of it wants to waste your time, and the other 20% is hawking viruses to take over your computer so they can sell you crap you don't need and waste your time ALL THE TIME.

I'd say Google's right on the money ;)

American Stereotype™ walks Google's mean Street View

Adam Williamson


Nah. More like UFC. Or NASCAR.

Microsoft IE8 rolls out the astroturf

Adam Williamson


'Astroturfing' refers to trying to fake the appearance of 'grass roots' support (it's quite a clever coining, really). So actions like paying off PR people to post in forums and discussion threads about how awesome your product is - without disclosing their status - come under the heading of 'astroturfing'.

I wouldn't say this is actually a case of astroturfing, because there's no fakery going on. The email states clearly that the sender works for Microsoft. So there's no misrepresentation going on here - just a really bad marketing idea.

Internet to Obama: 'Pass the joint'

Adam Williamson


"Still, I can't help but wonder how much the list was gamed by various internet groups."

Hey, it makes a change from being gamed by lobby groups, at least.

UK gov to issue child boozing guidelines

Adam Williamson
Thumb Down

"In their own homes"?

I've never quite got this "in their own homes" thing. Does this mean the Tories plan to legalize cannabis usage by people "in their own homes"? Crack? How about murder? How dare you tell me who I can and can't kill in my own home!

Livedrive's livewire, high-living CEO

Adam Williamson


"In 2003 he had Mis-Teeq, the Cheeky Girls and Louise Redknapp appear at his staff Christmas party."

How many people quit after that?

Raid yields 2800 'illegal' DS games copying kits

Adam Williamson
Thumb Down


Right, because everyone knows the best way to measure the value of a game is by its size in megabytes.

Never mind the gameplay, feel the volume!


How Warcraft reigned supreme in 2008

Adam Williamson
Thumb Down

Jedi franchise?

"But in 2009 when the powerful Superman and Jedi franchises jump into the fight backed by their massive marketing and development machines, WoW may finally meet its match."

You mean, like how Star Wars: Galaxies - the last time the 'Jedi franchise' tried an MMORPG - completely blew WoW out of the water?

Oh, er, wait.

Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah set for top two spots in Christmas Day charts

Adam Williamson
Thumb Up

Stevie and Dominic

I was going to say something along the lines of Dominic's post - comparatively few people have the original Cohen album it comes from, but those who do know it's a gigantic pile of 80s cheese: great songs, somewhat compromised by the poorly-recorded gospel choirs and synthesized *everything*.

Also, Stevie, no fair! I have that album, and have been diligently trying to bury the memory of that hideous, Godawful cover from the one time I accidentally let it play for thirty seconds. *shudders*

Microsoft releases first flaky iPhone app

Adam Williamson
Thumb Down

When's the first non-flaky one coming then?

"Microsoft releases first flaky iPhone app"

Unless you meant they carefully delineate their iPhone application product line into "flaky", "non-flaky", and...I don't know..."strawberry", you probably meant:

"Microsoft releases flaky first iPhone app"

Look, I'm sorry to nitpick, but grammar is important! Especially for journalists! Come on!

Native-Linux music player Amarok gets major overhaul

Adam Williamson
Thumb Down


"KDE is the UI layer, right?"


American 'football' goes 3D

Adam Williamson
Thumb Down


"the game will still be merely a dispiriting contest between the thoroughly embarrassing Oakland Raiders and the nearly equally woeful San Diego Chargers.

When there's a 3D broadcast of the English rugby team against the All Blacks at Twickenham, The Reg may pay more attention."

Why? Because then only 50% of the teams on display will be shit?


Tesla exec quits as rival clocks up major deals

Adam Williamson

Not the sharpest knife in the drawer

Elon Musk presumably hasn't yet quite worked out that this is a war of words only one side can possibly win.

On the one hand, anything Martin Eberhard says about Elon Musk has no implications for himself or whatever he does next.

On the other hand, Elon Musk's comment about Martin Eberhard begs the question "so, you're trying to sell us a car designed by the worst individual you've ever had the displeasure of working with?"

Whoops. Elon, open mouth, remove foot, then close mouth again and leave it that way.

Chinese police confirm Gome chairman quizzed over 'economic crimes'

Adam Williamson
Thumb Down

Not two names.

"Wong Kwong-yu, who also goes by the name Huang Guangyu"

Um. That's not two different names. It's the same name twice, converted to the Roman alphabet slightly differently.

Rock-solid Fedora 10 brings salvation to Ubuntu weary

Adam Williamson


Ubuntu uses its own repos, not Debian's. You can install Debian packages on Ubuntu, and often it'll work, but it's not supported, not guaranteed to work, and sometimes doesn't.

Adam Williamson
Thumb Down


"Ok, to clarify: Linux needs common packages and common package management across all distributions."

...but then you wouldn't have distributions any more. 99% of the difference between distros is, well, the packages. And I don't think it's a very good idea, anyway. There's different distros for different purposes. What suits a Fedora user doesn't necessarily suit a Debian user. You can't force a one-size-fits-all set of packages on all Linux users. They don't want it.

Stuart: you accuse me of "civil and reasoned discussion"? On the REGISTER?! How dare you, sir! *glove slap*

Adam Williamson
Thumb Down


A live CD can't break an existing OS. Sounds like that machine was screwed to start with.

Adam Williamson

Mario, Lars, Sam, Fraser

Mario: Again, you're confusing things. Whether the distro you choose happens to have a package for something you want to install has nothing to do with the package management system it chooses to use. To answer your initial question - on Mandriva, 'urpmi task-e17' installs e17, and 'urpmi enlightenment' installs e16.

Lars: Sure - awilliamson AT mandriva DOT com. Send the details there and I'll try and help.

Sam: Actually, a brand new Linux user who didn't listen to the crap spewed by old Debian users would never have to worry about this, because they'd read the instructions - like http://wiki.mandriva.com/en/Docs/Basic_tasks/Installing_and_removing_software - and never know that the terrible, inferior RPM-based system they were using was causing them so much trouble. Because it, um, wouldn't be. Heck, they'd probably never touch the 'rpm' command at all. It's only people who last tried an RPM-based distro in 2002 and are apparently under the impression that nothing ever changes who perpetuate this stupid 'apt is better than rpm' crap. And I write this way on the Reg because it's traditional. If I was actually nice to people they'd make me give up my subscription. ;)

And no, I don't live with Mummy. Thanks for caring, though.

Fraser: "I've said it before, and no doubt, I'll say it again: Linux needs a single package management tool across all distributions."

Why? What would that achieve?

You still can't install packages from one distribution on another, or at least not safely. That has nothing to do with the package manager they use, it's simply because everyone has different versions of various libraries available, and everyone has different conventions about package splitting and naming policies and so on. That's why you can't install a Debian package on Fedora, it's not because one uses .deb and one uses .rpm.

Having different package management systems on different distros doesn't cause any major practical problems, and using one single package management system on all distros wouldn't really solve any.

Adam Williamson

Daniel B.

"Why oh why no propietary nVidia support?"

Just because the NVIDIA drivers themselves don't work with the (very recent) X server Fedora ships. But, as has been noted by several commenters, a popular Fedora third party repo has patched packages, so you really shouldn't have any trouble getting it up and running.