* Posts by Gerhard Mack

437 posts • joined 4 Apr 2007


Linus Torvalds pines for header file fix but releases Linux 5.8 anyway

Gerhard Mack

What is wrong with Makefiles?

I don't understand what is so wrong with Makefiles? They are great when you want to build on a machine that isn't yours. For example, I code on my PC, but test on a sever (or other people compile onsite) Makefiles are great for dependency checking.

For example, My Makefiles let the user know each step of the process with short descriptive messages, combine the source from the src folder and the includes from that folder (and sub folders) it also only re compiles only the needed source files if I make a header change.

Admittedly there is some dark magic in the regex to make some of that happen but once written, it's done. I generally just reuse the Makefile with minor modifications on new projects.

Linus Torvalds banishes masters, slaves and blacklists from the Linux kernel, starting now

Gerhard Mack

Re: Lovely.

Denylist would be better

Linus Torvalds drops Intel and adopts 32-core AMD Ryzen Threadripper on personal PC

Gerhard Mack

Re: AMD Dreams

"The big gain in the move to x86_64 was the ability to directly address more than 4G of RAM."

A larger gain was in having more registers. A lot of time gets lost to swapping memory into registers and back again and X86_32 was notoriously short on registers.

Apple drops a bomb on long-life HTTPS certificates: Safari to snub new security certs valid for more than 13 months

Gerhard Mack

Re: I understand

You don't even need to flip it. Just provide public access to .well-known and restrict access for the actual website.

BSOD Burgerwatch latest: Do you want fries with that plaintext password?

Gerhard Mack

Re: Surprised they don't use *NIX

"I did ask about window managers, Gnome and the like rather than Linux itself. How do they take touch-screen inputs and translate them into HID inputs like key presses and mouse movements, click and drag etc.? Are they functional with touch out-of-the-box or does it require tweaks and configuration of the installation?"

Years ago I worked on POS systems and it was a huge pain. Every POS had to be calibrated and the Linux commands to get that working were annoying (it didn't help that the POS manufacturer couldn't even be bothered to orient the touchscreens the same way each time) so it was with much nervousness that I got a touchscreen laptop 2 years ago.

I hunted and hunted for documentation and couldn't find it, so I tried catting the input device and touched the screen to see what would happen. The mouse jumped to my finger position. It seems every Linux distro for the past few years just enables touch by default.

Gerhard Mack

Re: Surprised they don't use *NIX

"They are very insecure for the simple reason that nobody ever bothered securing them. Unless you consider a simple key lock on a street box that is accessible by anybody to be secure."

Indeed, and quite often all lights in a given region will have the same key. I had a friend in high school who found one of the keys in a "hidden" box and started handing out copies to all of his friends.

Whoa, whoa... Tesla slams brakes on allegations of 'unintended acceleration' bug: 'Completely false and was brought by a short-seller'

Gerhard Mack

Re: Sure, deny it and point to the evidence that supports your position...

"The thing is, Musk wails about "short sellers" all the frigging time. Anytime Tesla gets any kind of not-totally-rave press, it's malicious lies planted by short sellers. It's getting old."

To be fair, they tend not to let up for even a moment. Every possible bit of bad news and Tesla is doomed. Last year we had someone cry about a "demand cliff" in California, they turned out to be very wrong. Now this year the exact same person is claiming there is a demand cliff in California and he made sure he got quoted by all of the media. Never mind that Tesla is back ordered 5 weeks and prioritized deliveries to make sure customers in the Netherlands didn't lose out on rebates before they expired. Some of the other hit pieces from Dec/Jan: "excluding the Netherlands, Tesla sales are down."

So now we have a guy, who trolled the NHTSA database for things to complain about. Most of these were already investigated.. One of the highlighted complaints is something the car can't physically do for regulatory and safety reasons. Another case is where the data recovered from the car showed no break press and 45 degrees on the accelerator when the "unexpected acceleration" happened. And of course, he goes out and contacts the media and of course, he just happens to have a short position in Tesla. Why exactly should we take him at his word?

Somewhere short selling became a game to drive the stock down and it's not just Tesla that has suffered from this.

Gerhard Mack

Re: Sure, deny it and point to the evidence that supports your position...

The flaw in your reasoning, is that this petition was filed by Brian Sparks who has self identified as having a short position in Tesla. He claims to have heard about the problem but doesn't seem to own a Tesla himself. The petition covers 2013 - 2019 (6 years) and complains about 127 issues. That's 21 complaints a year, hardly a widespread problem even if all of the complaints turn out to be true.

To top it off, one of the complaints involves the Tesla not allowing the driver to override the steering wheel, which is something that the steering assist is designed to not be strong enough to do.

In my view, this short seller is being squeezed by the latest short burn and is trying to recover his losses.

It's a no to ZFS in the Linux kernel from me, says Torvalds, points finger of blame at Oracle licensing

Gerhard Mack

Re: To dual-license, wouldn't they need...

Unless Oracle was assigned the copyrights, that is correct. Relicencing is even less likely for Linux though, since there are far more contributors and some of them are no longer alive.

Y2K quick-fix crick? 1920s come roaring back after mystery blip at UK's vehicle licensing agency

Gerhard Mack

Re: 2038

"The simplest 'fix' for 32-bit is to treat the integer as unsigned (but possibly -1 as special error case)"

No! Negative values are for expressing dates before 1 January 1970. Your "fix" would break a lot of software.

A Notepad nightmare leaves sysadmin with something totally unprintable

Gerhard Mack

Re: Octal? You lucky bastard!

“Why do programmers always mix up Halloween and Christmas?”

“Because Oct 31 = Dec 25.”

Sorry, had to be done.

Huawei with you! FCC's American Pai proposes rip-and-replace of scary Chinese comms kit

Gerhard Mack

Re: Shop Local

The trouble is that the "compatible U.S. made components" are also made in China but have a much larger markup and cost 3x to 4x what the Chinese brands charge for a similar feature set.

Kiss my ASCII, Microsoft – we've got one million fewer daily active users than you, boasts Slack

Gerhard Mack

A quick viewing tells me that Teams is supported on Windows, Mac, IOS and Android.

Oracle demands $12K from network biz that doesn't use its software

Gerhard Mack

From my reading of the Oracle DB license: if you are virtualizing Oracle DB installs, Virtualbox is pretty much your only option if you want to have your Hyper-threads not count as full cores are far as licensing is concerned.

Mind you I went bare metal to avoid the trouble entirely.

Consumer campaign to keep receiving printed till receipts looks like a good move – on paper

Gerhard Mack

Re: Evil Thermal

"b) The thermal ones fade too quick."

Exactly this. I have thermal receipts I keep in my lockbox for warranty purposes that are unreadable after just a few months.

This major internet routing blunder took A WEEK to fix. Why so long? It was IPv6 – and no one really noticed

Gerhard Mack

Re: What transition?

"Well they **COULD** have dedicated one (1) IPv4 address for use as a flag that a 128 bit address will be found elsewhere in the header. That's probably not the best answer, but it's what pops immediately to mind. Truth is surely that the IPv6 designers thought (incorrectly) that they were dealing with a captive audience that had no choice but to follow the IPv6 game plan."

So adding a branch to the middle of packet hadling code forever. Congrats. Your plan slows down packet processing. A branch may not seem like much, but consider what happens with a device is used for routing and/or exists on a high speed interface. Those branches add up.

The IPv6 designers knew the transition was going to be painful and there was no other way around it (you can even read their logic if you bothered to look) so they went out of their way to make it only needed once. You could try looking it up yourself instead of assuming the worst possible motives for people you haven't met.

Gerhard Mack

Re: What transition?

"My suggestion. IPv6 people should recognize that they screwed up. Cancel the "transition" Come up with something serious and effective to tame IoT problem (which they didn't cause, but truly must not enable). Then design a new protocol compatible with both IPv4 and IPv6. And give a lot of thought to ease of implementation this time."

Please explain how to extend a fixed 32 bit header field without slowing down packet processing or introducing incompatibilities.

Bloody vultures! Cheeky Spanish paraglider firm pinched El Reg's mascot

Gerhard Mack

Cheap web designers

Years ago, the company I worked for at the time got a phone call: "look, we don't mind you ripping off our site design, but could you at least remove our name from the html comments?" Web dev thought no one would ever notice.

If servers go down but no one hears them, did they really fail? Think about it over lunch

Gerhard Mack

Re: "EU" plugs

Luxury! I stayed at a place in Spain 8 years ago that had a two prong euro style plug with two wires going to the exhaust fan kind of poked into the holes.

California's politicians rush to gut internet privacy law with pro-tech giant amendments

Gerhard Mack

Re: It's just more of the usual

Go one step further. Cap the maximum amount. Up here we banned Corporate and Union donations and put a cap on personal donations. The result is that the elections are annoying, but not anywhere near as bad as they used to be.

Bloke thrown in the cooler for eight years after 3D-printing gun to dodge weapon ban

Gerhard Mack

Re: But Background Checks Don't Work!

What crimes should she be charged with?

Oh Snapd! Gimme-root-now security bug lets miscreants sock it to your Ubuntu boxes

Gerhard Mack

Re: snapd and systemd

"I just had the displeasure of making a .service and .timer instead of a nice cron script to run a little python thingy, what a f_ckup the insidious systemd is."

What could you have possibly been doing where the cron script wasn't an option? I still create them all of the time regardless of whether the OS install has systemd or not.

Oregon can't stop people from calling themselves engineers, judge rules in Traffic-Light-Math-Gate

Gerhard Mack

Re: A lot of snobs in here today.

"Also, train drivers don't do the maintenance on the engines they drive (and probably never have done)."

When trains ran on steam, if they didn't run the boiler properly they could explode and kill people. The Engineer title is a throwback to the days when the day to day running of the train was a lot more complicated.

Error pop-up? Don't worry, let's just get this migration done... BTW it's my day off tomorrow

Gerhard Mack

Re: took the day off

The maintainers for the date function etc hacked in some weird Y2K compliance by allowing the 2 digit field to overflow to 3 digits. It makes for some amusing output, but it mostly worked.

Linux.org domain hacked, plastered with trolling, filth and anti-transgender vandalism

Gerhard Mack

The real lesson is never use NetSol

Seriously, WHY would anyone still have their stuff there? NetSol is notoriously easy to steal domains from and NetSol have argued in court that they have no responsibility for fixing the results of their own mistakes.

Sysadmin’s plan to manage system config changes backfires spectacularly

Gerhard Mack

Re: Automation does have its place

"I currently administer a small compute server used for teaching and research, and I have never been able to replicate these kinds of errors when using "adduser" to create new accounts."

Adduser is designed to be easy to use, on the other hand, useradd has a ton of fun ways to let you screw things up.

Deck the halls with ... oh, no. DXC tells staff they may not have a job in the New Year

Gerhard Mack

I just interviewed there

2 weeks after I interviewed, the first round of layoffs were announced. And now this is the second round of redundancies I've heard from them since then. I don't think I've ever been so happy to not get a call back after an interview.

Smartphone industry is in 'recession'! Could it be possible we have *gasp* reached 'peak tech'?

Gerhard Mack

Re: Market saturated, no new must-have function, and prices are crazy

"How do you continue to use the phone when the battery is gone? Hold the wireless charger to your head?"

In many cases, you have both wired and non wired options so if you still need to use your phone, you can plug it in. In my case however, it's not often I'm charging my phone when using it (once every other month maybe) and most of the wear happens when I plug my phone in at night and unplug in the morning and plug it in at work again and unplug before I go home so I can eliminate the vast majority of the wear and tear by switching to wireless charging.

Gerhard Mack

Re: Market saturated, no new must-have function, and prices are crazy

Don't knock wireless charging. The only reason I'm considering a new phone right now is that the USB port has worn out after several years of constant abuse. Even if I have to be careful about what chargers I get, at least I could have a charger at home and at work with the result being that my next phone lasts several years longer than my current one.

Pirate radio = drug dealing and municipal broadband is anti-competitive censorship

Gerhard Mack

Re: The true face of democracy....

Lobbyists as an idea are good. It can be helpful to be able to hire someone who knows exactly who to talk to to get things done or know how to advocate a position.

The problem in the US is that they are able to provide campaign contributions or arrange payments for giving speeches. Any civilized country would consider that illegal since it's outright bribery.

Gerhard Mack

"Yeah, that's a familiar idea, and I seem to recall it was killed in the USA by the oligopolies more than decade ago."

It was killed because it didn't work well for internet access. I ran into the same issue here in Canada where I got a job implementing ADSL2+ over rented copper. What ended up happening, was that the telco only had to rent us space in the CO and there were no (nor could there be) regulations allowing access to the "remote co" (FFTN). The result was that Bell Canda was more often than no, able to offer double what we could.

I'm 80% sure that's why the telcos up here don't want to offer FFTH, because then they would have to offer the fibre itself up for rental the way they do for copper and suddenly the other ISPs would be able to compete.

Shingled-minded Western Digital insists its latest hard drive sets disk capacity record

Gerhard Mack

"WHY the heck would I get this when Samsung and others are offering 60 Terabyte SSD Drives (YES! SIXTY TERABYTES!) on ultra fast way-beyond-spinning-disk transfer speeds."

For the same reason I prevented my previous employer from storing backups on their brand new FCAL SAN: Cost where it doesn't need to be spent ($30/TB CAD at the time vs $1000/TB) These things are cheap, and throwing a bunch of them in a NAS is still cheap and perfectly good for data that does not need to be accessed often.

Gerhard Mack

Re: Reliability

"'I'd hope that a 15TB archive drive would be at least as fast."

You haven't been paying attention then, SMR drives sacrifice write speed to gain the extra capacity.

Web browsers sharpen knives for TLS 1.0, 1.1, tell protocols to dig their own graves for 2019

Gerhard Mack

Re: Web browsers are not the problem

We kept a VM with an old version of Windows just for internal management stuff. I mean, even some of the most recent (and expensive) purchases (I mean YOU Broadcom) don't handle modern browsers very well. Some of our 2017 purchases still required a working Java plugin with no web start option.

Microsoft's Jet crash: Zero-day flaw drops after deadline passes

Gerhard Mack

180 days ?

It's fun to see Microsoft revert back to it's old, insecure ways.

Judge: Georgia's e-vote machines are awful – but go ahead and use them

Gerhard Mack

You have equipment that unvetted people by law can't be supervised while using. All it would take is one person to plug in something extra and your private network suddenly isn't private anymore.

Trump shouldn't criticise the news media, says Amazon's Jeff Bezos

Gerhard Mack

Re: Poor Jeff is so right, nobody takes his leftist hate pamflet seriously anymore

I'm not even going to get into how stupid it is to take Breitbart's word on a Washington Post article says. Breitbart is deliberately over the top with it's "news pieces."

"They've been filtering out all of the good things he's done (economy, trade, N. Korea, etc.) "

What good things?

Economy: He inherited an economy on the way up (I'm not going to give the previous president credit for something he didn't control either) and juiced things along with debt fueled tax cuts.

Trade: Hes made some tweaks and is currently crying about how big bad Canada, who the US has a trade surplus with, is not being fair by protecting their dairy industry from American subsidized farms who sell their product below cost. He still can't get his head around the fact that services matter as much as goods when it comes to trade.

North Korea: He started a shouting match that seems to have only ended because the North Koreans managed to damage their nuclear nesting facility to the point where China has warmed them of dire consequences if the facility blows up and spreads radiation into China. For all of the nice talk, they are still upgrading their nuclear facilities and have shown no tangible sign that they will change their ways.

HTTPS crypto-shame: TV Licensing website pulled offline

Gerhard Mack

They don't care

They obviously don't care so the only things that will change their mind will be:

1. a fine.

2. a lawsuit

3. public humiliation.

If you want to solve the problem, find out which of those levers you can pull.

Huawei elbows aside Apple to claim number-two phone maker spot

Gerhard Mack

Re: There's noticeable value ... upgrading from a $200 or $300 smartphone

"Like cable TV, it's all about the bundles. You want microSD, headphone jack, and a lot of LTE bands so the phone works in urban US, rural US, and Japan. $400 in other features come along for the ride."

You have really not been paying attention to what's been going on with the non brand name phones. I just did a quick check on Amazon and right smack in the middle of your price range (in CAD no less) is the Xiaomi MI A1 which has dual cameras, dual band Wifi, dual SIM, multband 3G/4G, headphone jack and a microSD slot.

Experimental 'insult bot' gets out of hand during unsupervised weekend

Gerhard Mack

Re: Costly? No...

I had some lab admins in high school play the kill the other admin game where they would both log in to the Novel server and kill the other guy. Unfortunately, one day they rushed in, sat down and managed to send the kill command with exactly the wrong timing and caused a deadlock. Both PCs were useless until the Novel server was rebooted.

IPv6: It's only NAT-ural that network nerds are dragging their feet...

Gerhard Mack

Re: It's hideous for home users to set up on routers.

You are correct, RADVD does not support static IPs, however, you can set your IPv6 address directly on the endpoint as a static address the same way you would for IPv4.

Gerhard Mack

Re: Second class netizen

"And therein lies the problem. It appears that the engineers were not consulted and the IPv6 protocol was designed to be incompatible with IPv4 - not a good idea."

Are you honestly saying that when AT&T, Microsoft, DEC, Cisco and NTT all participated in the working group that helped decide on IPv6, they didn't send engineers?

Gerhard Mack

Re: It's hideous for home users to set up on routers.

The first question you would need to ask your ISP is if the IPv6 prefix is static. After that, you can actually just assign the IP either on the router if you are using DHCPv6 or on the client machine if not. Static IPs are done the same way as IPv4, it's only the dynamically assigned addresses that are optionally different (Router Advertisement vs DHCPv6)

Gerhard Mack

Re: Mobile devices / 4G networks

"Is that likely to be significantly different from having to check 128 bits for an address instead of 32?"

64 continuous bits for actual routing. In practice, IPv6 is sometimes faster than IPv4. Think of it from a CPU perspective: You are taking action based on a header flag (if x ,read y memory space), slowing down the CPU's ability to process the packet. That's not going to be as big of a deal on endpoints, but on core ISP routers, the timing difference would be noticeable.

Gerhard Mack

Re: Obvious need for..

"There are plenty of ways to kluge a protocol so that old systems think it means one thing, and new systems can find the extra info and do something else with it. Phone companies have been doing it for years."

Not the best example. Phone numbers are really just the equivalent of DNS at this point. And thanks to the fact that there is no central authority, the the phone companies ended up with a completely insecure setup that has allowed attackers to reroute calls and SMS. The vulnerabilities are well known and have been used in the past to intercept bank's 2 factor authentication SMS and break into people's accounts. Also, people would be royally pissed if it took as long to connect to a website as it does to establish a phone call.

Also, the rest of your argument is nonsensical. You can't route packets with extended features without upgrading the core routers that would need to route based on those very extended headers.

Gerhard Mack

Re: Mobile devices / 4G networks

"In retrospect, it would've been better to just cram the additional adress space somewhere in some(rarely) used IPv4 field or something (with an prepend part and append part), so IPv4 carrier routers could just route it. Then support between the client and endpoint router would be sufficient to bring advantages. Then later, the prepended adress space could be used by the carriers when they're ready."

And you are left with something that routes far slower than IPv4 since every router on the internet would need to have to check a flag followed by the prefix, and then the prefix and would still have all of the same compatibility issues of IPv6. In short: All of the disadvantages of IPv6 with none of the advantages.

Gerhard Mack

Re: Big deal, huh

"It does not seem rocket science for a v6 configured NIC to run a parallel v4 emulator and direct traffic internally to the appropriate process. "

We have that now, it's called dual stack and it's pretty much the default. Very few devices are IPv6 only for the time being and that's unlikely to change until IPv6 is supported by a strong majority of endpoints.

Cheap NAND nasty: Flooding market with chips threatens prices

Gerhard Mack

I'm not American so the less you guys buy, the more of a market glut there is for the rest of us.

'Fibre broadband' should mean glass wires poking into your router, reckons Brit survey

Gerhard Mack

Same in Canada

Here we have "Bell Fibe" which usually means fiber to somewhere and could mean 25 mbps max.

Oracle wants to improve Linux load balancing and failover

Gerhard Mack

Re: Stop fiddling with other peoples stuff

I'm not talking bad performance, I'm talking about crashes involving data loss.



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