* Posts by Adair

729 posts • joined 23 Jan 2008


Google: Linux kernel and its toolchains are underinvested by at least 100 engineers

Adair Silver badge

Re: Fool

It is very far from 'ludicrous'. That very attitude demonstrates the validity of my point - failure to understand that 'value' is not necessarily based on money. The fact that some people choose to try and make that attribution contributes significantly to the ills of humanity.

Yeah, sure, you can put a price on anything, but does that monetary value necessarily reflect true 'value/worth', no of course not. Just as compelling someone to put a price on their work, if they choose not to do so is grossly oppressive - who are you to tell me that I must put a price on what I do?

'Materialism' is a very ancient problem, one that goes to the heart of the human condition. It leads to treating people as objects, and defining objects only in terms of what monetary value they are ascribed.

Adair Silver badge

Re: Fool

Not everything in life is valued in 'money', and not all valuable things have a monetary value.

A reductionist approach to life seldom leads to happiness, and certainly doesn't lead to a wholesome understanding.

'Linux' (kernel and stack) is, of course, not 'free' of cost, whether financial or otherwise, but the user certainly has freedom to access it, adapt it, share it and use it in ways that those tied to proprietary systems are largely excluded from. Perhaps that is what makes it worth the 'cost' for many of its users.

Ex-health secretary said 'vast majority' were 'onside' with GP data grab. Consumer champion Which? reckons 20 million don't even know what it is

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NHS Digital said: "We know we need to take people with us on this mission which is why we have committed to putting even tougher protections and safeguards in place and stepping up communications through a public information campaign before the new programme begins.

"Data is only shared where there is a clear benefit to healthcare planning and research. This benefits all of us, but it is only as good as the data it is based upon which is why it is absolutely vital that people make an informed decision about whether to share their data."

IOW - "Look what I just pulled out of my arse."

'Trust' doesn't just magically occur because some policy wonk recites a spell. Trust is earned through actions matching words time after time. Another word for the process is 'integrity'.

This stuff really isn't rocket science, although looking at the behaviour of those who presume to lead us one would begin to think that it is. And their attempts have 'FAIL' stamped all over them.

Bill for HMS Vanity Gin Palace swells by £50m in two months

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The UK is running on empty when it comes to electric vehicle charging points

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Re: Recycled battery risks

Absolutely true, but then electrolysis by sunlight leaves a lot of headroom for final entropic stasis when set against the scope of human existence.

Adair Silver badge

Re: Hmm....

In the history of battery technology 40 years is practically yesterday, i.e. 'relatively recently'.

Adair Silver badge

Re: Recycled battery risks

Wow, maybe try saying that to the mirror.

The 'bollocks' comment is simply because you are making assumptions about how the future will be on the basis of what you understand about the present, and that has a long history of being a mug's game.

The fact that something is 'hard' or 'complicated' today doesn't mean it's those things tomorrow, as I'm sure you know full well if you look back on the history of technological progress.

If you think something with a lethal half-life measured in thousands of years is something to cheerfully bequeath to your descendants because we can't be arsed to deal with it properly now, we'll look around. We're busy inheriting the results of other people's greed and ignorance right now.

Saying that EV battery packs can't be recycled safely is no different to saying high level nuclear waste is somebody else's problem. They are both our problems and the fact that we made them means we can, if we choose, find effective ways to 'unmake' them.

Not necessarily easily, or inexpensively, but that's called taking responsibility for the consequences of our actions. If we really need this stuff we really need to find ways of dealing properly with the downsides, even if that means deciding to drop the idea and take a radically different approach.

Unfortunately greed and power have a nasty habit of getting in the way, until things really have got out of hand - and even then greedy and power hungry people continue to make selfish stupid decisions that ruin other people's lives.

Adair Silver badge

Re: Recycled battery risks

At this stage I don't think we are in a position to say what the costs of recycling battery packs will be in 20 or 50 years time. It may be as unaffordable as burning hydrocarbons, OTOH R&D may come up with an acceptably 'cheap' solution - stranger things have happened.

Once upon a time people seriously believed there would never be more than a dozen or so 'computers' in the world due to their vast costs - but then transistors were discovered, then integrated circuits, and look where we are now! Hmmm, maybe we should have thought that through, and quit while we were ahead?

Anyway, it's early days; with EVs we may be simply rehashing the same mistakes we made with ICE tech (we tend to be very slow learners), but we can't yet take that as a given.

Adair Silver badge

Re: Recycled battery risks

Who said it was simple? The fact remains: if it can be made it can be unmade.

The financial expense and overall 'cost' in time, energy, environmental impact, etc. all has to be factored in (which too often it isn't), and then decisions made about the 'value' being gained, against the 'cost'.

High level nuclear waste is probably about the most 'expensive' stuff human beings make, and that cost continues to be paid long into the future, because we aren't prepared to pay it up front and unmake what we have made.

EV battery packs? Of course they can be unmade, they only question is whether we are willing to pay the actual costs of doing it in a way that dosen't shove those costs onto our descendants, especially in ways they will curse us for.

Adair Silver badge

Re: Recycled battery risks

Bollocks! It's all the same - physics and chemistry. If it can be made it can be unmade. The only question is whether we believe it's worth the cost in money, time and whatever we think we gain.

High level nuclear waste is just the most 'expensive' to 'unmake' - the less we have of it the better, especially in the midst of greedy, foolish, selfish human beings.

So, what wil human beings choose, in the face of global warming and ecological breakdown - life, or business as usual?

Adair Silver badge

Re: Hmm....

It's very clear why it's 'not happening' - people don't like change, they especially don't like change when their existing investments are at stake.

Greed and selfishness - the human condition - but just wait for when fear kicks in.

Adair Silver badge

Re: Hmm....

While others are no doubt on the optimistic side, you seem determinedly pessimistic. There's no particular reason why battery packs cannot be cost effectively recycled. As far as I am aware the technical know-how is already well known, what is missing is the investment, the infrastructure and the legislation to make it happen - in which case there is still a lot of work to do.

There also remains the question: are 'cars' as we currently know them, really the way we should continue to go?

Most people, most of the time, don't really need anything much more than a powered shopping trolley, or something capable of handling the daily commute. Instead we have thousands of pounds tied up in something that spends most of its life sitting still, and when it moves it just pootles 'around the block'.

All those advertisements of wide open spaces and the thrill of the 'open road' is just marketing bollocks - and we fall for it every time.

Adair Silver badge

Re: Hmm....

'Electric' doesn't just mean 'battery', nor does it imply a 'heavy steel box' - that is mere convention, and convenience for the mass producers.

'Battery' tech may be, as you suggest, near the limits of its development - it's been around longer the ICE - but we don't really know, because real R&D has only been spent on it relatively recently.

'Fuel cell' tech may have considerable more scope for development, but again, we don't really know.

What we do know is that ICE tech, short of switching to sustainably produced hydrogen, is almost certainly at the end of the line - technically and ecologically.

Bikes are great - I use one myself, but struggle to cover 500k in a convenient length of time, much less with family on board, plus the luggage.

My God, we may have to change the way we live to save the planet - say it isn't so!

Adair Silver badge

Re: Hmm....

Because the 'car industry' is fundamentally conservative, i.e. much prefers to maintain the status quo while it wrings every last penny out of the infrastructure it has very expensively put in place, whilst maintaining shareholder interest.

There is much more scope for 'disruption' by radical players using electric tech than there is with ICE technology, but then the 'customers' tend to be conservative too. It can be a difficult chicken and egg conundrum to break through.

Witness British housing as another example of the unholy symbiosis between 'big developers' and 'customers'. People's idea of what constitutes a 'house' is generally very restricted, something that is actively reinforced by the big developers, who are loath to do anything that might endanger their ability to build and sell crap houses at rip-off prices. The 'market' knows what a 'house' is, and has very low expectations, because, on the whole, they know nothing else.

Adair Silver badge

Re: Hmm....

So let's all just walk, eh? Problem solved.

In practical terms the ICE system is reaching the end of the road in terms of technical sophistication and efficiency, but EV technology is just getting going.

If we must have personal transportation vehicles capable of shifting us and our friends 500km cross country then, on the face of it, there seems a lot more potential for doing that relatively sustainably using electricity than using hydrocarbons.

Or, we could all just walk - it really would sort out a lot of our problems.

Thinking about upgrading to Debian Bullseye? Watch out for changes in Exim and anything using Python 2.x

Adair Silver badge

Like it or not, I have fond memories of Lilo, as I learned the Linux landscape.

Apologetic Audacity rewrites privacy policy after 'significant lapse in communication'

Adair Silver badge

Let's take the following at face value...

'The wording has also been updated to emphasise that no additional data is being collected for law enforcement purposes and that no personally identifiable information is being stored.'

1. '...no additional data is being collected for law enforcement purposes...' - so data is being stored (where: locally/uploaded?) and this pre-existing data collection is/maybe being used for law enforcement purposes.

2. '...no personally identifiable information is being stored.' - so, as above, information is being stored (where, and for what purpose, etc.?); and is not 'personally identifiable', i.e. Trust us on this.

Now call me paranoid, but what is bumpf like this actually worth, given the realities of corporate and personal behaviour we are exposed to on a daily basis?

Maybe Muse have made a straight up and monumental PR cock up of things, maybe they are just not very practised at being dishonest, maybe... - who knows?

What we do know is that once upon a time, in a more innocent age, 'Audacity' was just audio editing software that went about it's business on a local machine in a pretty usable kind of way, i.e. it wasn't crap. And that was about all there was, and needed, to be said.

Verified: UK.gov launching plans for yet another digital identity scheme

Adair Silver badge

Re: Infinitude of Primes

Yes, but it's the finding of it - like looking for a tiger in the long grass. It could be right there, about to rip your head off, or you could go for months and still not find it.

Adair Silver badge

It's the 'One Ring To Rule Them All' approach to 'Identity authentication' that really fucks everything up - it's like trying to reach the last Prime Number: you know there's almost certainly another one out there somewhere.

Likewise with an all embracing 'Identity' scheme - there's always going to be another almighty, hair tearing, life destroying, freedom stifling, corrupt as hell fuck-up out there somewhere, that will demonstrated conclusively that the concept of of a 'One Ring To Rule Them All' identity scheme is a crushing monument to political hubris and stupidity, not to mention greed (that always fits in somewhere).

Ubuntu on a phone, anyone? UBports reaches 18th stable update, but it's still based on 16.04

Adair Silver badge

For those on Android who prefer to minimise their Google contact - but without the buttock clenching frisson of going full Lineage on their precious hardware - there is Aurora (see F-Droid (other APK repos are available)), which basically anonymises your access to the Playstore - and works very well in my ongoing experience.

England's controversial extraction of personal medical histories from GP systems is delayed for a second time

Adair Silver badge

Here's the keys to my house, feel free to have a good rummage through. What, you want to make a list? You'll only use it for legitimate purposes. Well, I guess that's okay, yeah, sure, go ahead.

What happens between me and my GP is nobody else's business without my explicit consent.

The the Govt. wants to aggregate NHS and GP patient data for statistical analysis pertaining to health-care, all well and good, but they can have the responsibility and social decency to do it through a really well worked out, well publicised and well tested system that does what it says on the tin, and only what it says on the tin; AND that anyone can easily opt out of, and stay opted out of, for no reason that they have to speak of.

Wanna feel old? It is 10 years since the Space Shuttle left the launchpad for the last time

Adair Silver badge

Re: I always think of the great history of NASA backwards

Sadly, I don't propose anything, it's simply a sobering statement of fact - chemical rockets are nothing more than overgrown fireworks. They really are very sloooow and massively inefficient. Until we come up with something considerably better we really are pretty much grounded.

Adair Silver badge

Re: I always think of the great history of NASA backwards

While we continue throwing oxidised reaction mass out of a pipe at the back end we're not going anywhere fast enough to matter.

Move along, nothing new to see here, just more of the same.

NHS England staff voice concerns about access controls on US spy-tech firm Palantir's COVID-19 data store

Adair Silver badge

Re: So the government has agreed not to expand Palantir's work without "notifying" the public

Money + Cronies = Profit (simples)

Audacity is a poster child for what can be achieved with open-source software

Adair Silver badge

Of course I can 'work for free', so long as I am free to make that choice. There is no law that denies me that right.

Likewise, I am free to release my code at no financial cost to the user, although I may choose to impose a usage licence, which is a 'cost' to the user. There is no law that says I cannot do this.

You have taken a particular situation and used it to impose a general rule, which simply isn't true. So, what is your agenda? What are you afraid of?

Presumably you are concerned that a commercial outfit, having invested heavily in producing some piece of software, can see its market evaporate because some bunch of 'hippies' allow their code to be available for 'free'.

Wow, who gave the commercial outfit a 'right' to own its market? No one. If I choose to monetise a particular 'market opportunity', good luck to me, but I have no right to 'own' that market, and if someone else comes along with a 'better' product that's just my tough luck. I will need to go away and think again. The fact that the 'better' product is better because it costs the user no money is irrelevant, and you/I have no business complaining. I am quite entitled to produce a 'better' product that in terms of capability and customer service is well worth the financial cost of owning, compared to the 'free' product. How the producers of the 'free' product choose to actually earn their living is up to them.

Adair Silver badge

Why do 'all developers have to be compensated'? Presumably you mean 'compensated via payment of money'. That is a very narrow/reductionist view of 'compensated'.

Am I not entitled to choose to release my code gratis, or however else I please?

If someone else doesn't approve of that choice, who are they to complain? I may not approve of their choice to charge for their work - what is that to them?

If neither party is doing anything 'illegal' then 'the Law' has no interest in either case.

Are people not free (within the scope of what society allows) to choose how they will dispose of the fruits of their labour for use by other people?

Adair Silver badge

No where is it written in stone that software must be paid for, or that it must be available free of charge.

You or I can write a book. If we want to make it freely available we can release it, with or without some form of attribution license, for zero charge. OTOH, we may feel we deserve/need some financial reward for our labours, but likewise the licence by which that work is made available for money is up to us (and our publisher).

In either case - 'free' or 'paid for' - there is a cost, both to the user and to the producer. It simply depends on what cost you are willing to accept to make your work available to others, and, in both cases, what conditions are legally applied to the usage of the work.

The only 'problem' is when people decide to enforce their particular agenda on others, so that a perfectly valid choice is denied, e.g. 'All software must be paid for', or 'All software must be available at no financial cost to the user'. Both positions are ethically/morally selfish.

Adair Silver badge

'...the idea that software should be cheap or free.'

'Should' is your problem. How about 'may be' or 'can be'? FLOSS is principally about the freedom to choose.

You want to have people pay for your work - excellent, go for it. You are under no obligation to work for free, or to release your software at no financial cost to users.

Other people make other choices.

What's your problem?

UK urged to choo-choo-choose hydrogen-powered trains in pursuit of carbon-neutral economic growth

Adair Silver badge

Sailing trains is nothing new - in fact North-South routes would work given the prevailing winds are westerlies/easterlies.

And for proof, try the 'sail train' that used to run - when the wind was right - from Withernsea to Spurn Point, serving the lighthouse community. Good fun was had by all.

Scale may be an issue.

Adair Silver badge

Re: Huh

Nope, 'Green' is an absolute - like hitting the buffers at the end of the track.

But you can be 'getting greener', as you head down the track towards those green buffers. Asymptotedly you may never actually hit the buffers, so never become completely 'Green', but you can still be 'greener' than you were yesterday.

So, the question is: Are you moving in the 'Green' direction?

USA's efforts to stop relying on Russian-built rocket engines derailed by issues with Blue Origin's BE-4

Adair Silver badge

Re: ULA And Blue Origin

It would seem that a 'looser' is someone who 'lets things go loose', as in become unruly or escape.

Whereas, a 'loser' is someone who persistently 'loses' in the game of life, and is therefore seen as hopeless, or an easy mark.

FYI: There's a human-less, AI robot Mayflower ship sailing from the UK to US right now

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The news is that Mayflower has developed a fault and is returning to base.

Well, that's what they are reporting.

Actually they clearly have a party animal rogue AI on their hands.

Adair Silver badge

Not if it continues its present heading (1430 on Friday) - currently been heading back the way it came for some time now (assuming the tracking is accurate).

Perhaps a singularity has been achieved and the 'Mayflower' has decided "What the hell am I doing out here when I could be back partying dockside?"

European Parliament's data adequacy objection: Doubts cast on UK's commitment to privacy protection

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Re: Consequences?

There may generally be no 'consequences' so far as individuals paying a price or individual victims receiving compensation.

OTOH, there is clearly potential for a hefty price to be paid at an international level in terms of commercial and governmental 'trustworthiness'. If a nation finds itself being shut out of certain levels of access and/or favoured status because of its lax to abysmal treatment of data (personal or otherwise) they must make the choice to either suck up the consequences to their business effectiveness and political status, or make efforts to clean up their act.

Obviously, responses will vary, and this also depends on sufficient nations of any economic and political substance actually standing up for the rights they say they believe in.

Twas always thus.

The Audacity: Audio tool finds new and exciting ways to annoy contributors with a Contributor License Agreement

Adair Silver badge

I only wear my sweatshirt occasionally. They tell me it's made by kids sold into slavery by their desperate parents. WTF does that have to do with me?

Okay, so far as we know Audacity is not coded by slaves, but anyone who can't see the parallel clearly lives in an irresponsible moral vacuum.

Whether or not we choose to install and use <arbitrary software> is our responsibility; which includes taking notice of the back-story to that software if/when that information is available to us. If the circumstances surrounding the software don't bother us then at least have the moral courage to own that choice - including saying, "As far as I am concerned how they produce this shit (or make it available) has fuck all to do with me! Hey, Mum, get off your lazy arse and bring me another beer!"

Adair Silver badge

Re: "No, he is are trying to appropriate (steal) other people's work without compensation. "

'propitiatory' - totally the wrong word, should be 'proprietary' - obviously! :-P

Adair Silver badge

Re: "No, he is are trying to appropriate (steal) other people's work without compensation. "

'That's what open source is about, isn't it? That's what led Stallman in the first place to promote it. Otherwise he would have simply paid someone else's work.'

No. No. And no. You have not done your homework. Stallman was/is not at all interested in 'stealing other people's work' - that was exactly what he was/is opposed to: the corporate theft of the work of those who provide the fruits of their labours gratis for anyone else to use, as needed.

You don't have to buy into that way of providing software - nobody does, but equally nobody has any right to prevent others from doing so if they choose.

If you don't like the licence Libreoffice or the GIMP are provided under then don't use the software; write your own or 'buy' the right to use some propitiatory alternative.

Whatever you do you are going to have to 'pay' in some form - just find the 'price' you are prepared to pay.

AMD promises to spend $1.6bn on 12nm, 14nm chips from GlobalFoundries

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Your name is Gartner, and I claim my £5.

Audacity's new management hits rewind on telemetry plans following community outrage

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Get ready to stick a fork in it ...

this one could be nearly done.

NHS-backed org reacted to GitHub leak disclosure with legal threats and police call, complains IT pro

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'Someone in Dyke’s position in future may be better off asking a trusted organisation or confidante to disclose a security hole on his behalf rather than doing it personally, ...'

This seems the key bit of good sense. Is there/are there already 'official' bodies willing/able to take this role formally, so that everyone knows where to go, and things are handled reliably and consistently?

Microsoft loves Linux – as in, it loves Linux users running Linux desktop apps on Windows PCs

Adair Silver badge

Re: So when will we hit the "Extinguish" phase?

On the premise that all OSes are crap, this is clearly a case of: 'Let's take someone else's pile of crap and put it on top of our pile of crap.'

Now we have the pleasure of all the crapness of one OS being added to all the crapness of another OS - as if one lot of crap isn't enough to be dealing with! As we all learned in school: a negative plus a negative equals more negative (never a positive).

So, if you are desperate enough, or manglement are mangled enough, this may be seen as a 'solution', but, ask yourself, is this the kind of solution anyone would actually choose if they were trying to minimise the 'crap' quotient?

The lost visitor asks the local: "How do I get to Dublin?" and gets the gnomic reply, "Well, I wouldn't start from here"

God bless this mess: Study says UK's Christian beliefs had 'important' role in Brexit

Adair Silver badge

Re: Lies, damned lies, and statistics...


Since when does any sensible and serious outfit undertake a fundamental change of direction, requiring genuine understanding and support from the 'members' on the basis of 50%+1?

The only people who resort to that are the incompetents, the desperate and the purveyors of snake-oil (it is possible to be all three at once).

GB could have left the EU in a mature, well supported and planned manner. Instead we have 'Brexit', it is not encouraging and certainly does our political system no credit at all.

Adair Silver badge

Re: Lies, damned lies, and statistics...

There is leaving the room by getting up, politely excusing oneself, opening the door and walking out; then there is leaving the room using a chainsaw to cut a hole in the wall, after having first taken a dump in the middle of the floor (and even that demonstrates some level of forethought, whilst Brexit appears to have simply been an opportunistic shambles).

Adair Silver badge

Re: Lies, damned lies, and statistics...

For the record [anecdotal evidence alert] I look after six C of E congregations in rural villages, and no one I have spoken to about 'Brexit' seems impressed, and all voted Remain. I'm am sure there are 'Leavers' amongst the flock, but they seem hard to find.

Amongst the villagers in general, however, it seems much more evenly spread between Leave and Remain.

And amongst my Christian friends generally 'Brexit' is seen as a very shabby bit of un-democratic, unplanned idiocy. 'Leaving the EU' folk seem more open to, but leaving via 'Brexit' - not impressed - and most seem to think it would have been better to get our own house in order while remaining in, with a seat at the table.

Adobe co-founder and PostScript co-creator Charles Geschke dies, aged 81

Adair Silver badge

Re: Passes what?

All that is true, but 'pass' as a euphemism for 'died' has only sprung into common parlance in the last twenty years or so. Folk used to often say 'passed away' which still skates around the truth, but is at least passably specific as we don't use that phrase in any other context. But 'pass' and 'passed' are just hopelessly and sadly signs of human unwillingness to deal with reality in a meaningful way. Are we really so fragile and unable to cope with the 'human condition' that we have to hide the reality of our lives behind words that are functionally meaningless because they are so ambiguous?

Adair Silver badge

Re: Passes what?

Yes, that's true, but that doesn't make the current usage any less prissy and phobic.

Pentagon confirms footage of three strange craft taken by the Navy are UFOs (no, that doesn't mean they're aliens)

Adair Silver badge

There you go - 'proof'. Some people demand proof (in the empirical sense) on a matter that that is fundamentally about 'faith', NOT about 'proof'.

So, already they are demonstrating a misunderstanding, or a determination to only engage on their terms.

It's like walking into a specialist camera shop to buy a professional night vision system and saying to the assistant, "I'm not buying that rubbish."

"Why is it rubbish, it's one of the best systems on the market?"

"It's not blue."

Debian devs decide best response to Richard Stallman controversy is … nothing

Adair Silver badge

Re: Not very accurate

Which kind of leaves us with: 'Has Stallman been charged with any crime?"

The answer, I think is: No.

Which leaves us with a bunch of accusations from others, along with statements by Stallman (in and out of context) that many/some/a few people find reprehensible/worrying/inconvenient/disturbing/mildly distracting.

In other words, people are free to make up their own minds, for better and for worse based on whatever they believe to be the truth, and to act accordingly. If the FSF makes a decision to re-instate Stallman, it would seem they are perfectly entitled to do so.

Is Stallman a 'nice' person? I have no idea. In truth very few of us are all that nice, and plenty of us have plenty of reasons to be ashamed of ourselves over things said and done; and yet we still have to earn a living, look after others and try and find our way in the world in spite of our failings - hopefully a way for the better.

That's it really - another outrage de jour will be along directly if we do not find this one adequately diverting.



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