* Posts by Gordan

653 publicly visible posts • joined 15 Oct 2008


Fujitsu warns HMRC Projects team that 30% of them could be out of a job come April


Re: Still waiting for HMRC to get to the 21st Century


"The government is under no obligation to give you free stuff."

Is it not? So why are taxpayers under obligation to give the government free stuff?

GlaxoSmithKline ditches IR35 contractors: Go PAYE or go home


You are not buying the cost of a training course when you are hiring a contractor - you are buying a decade or two of experience. You cannot magically imbue that into an employee you already have in time for a project you have to deliver in less than a year.

Another senior Gov.UK bod makes a dash from public sector, falls into AWS's arms


Non-compete / non-poaching / conflict of interest clauses?

Why don't public sector employment contracts have them? Most private sector employment contracts state that for the period of 6-24 months after leaving the job you must not go work for a supplier / customer / anyone introduced to you as part of your job after leaving the job.

Royal Bank of Scotland IT contractor ban sparks murmurs of legal action


Re: Just the start

You would be amazed just how much higher the salaries in North America are compared to Europe.


Re: Never mind

Why move? There is a reasonable amount of remote work around.


Is that because of dictat from above that there are to be no contractors? I figure it must be because you will find most will be very happy to move to a statement-of-work arrangement.

How to lose a UK contractor in 10 days: Make them commit after upcoming IR35 tax upheaval, apparently


Re: Some are considering moving to another employer

"Because the clear cases of tax evasion don't go to tribunals, obviously. People who are caught red handed tend to be keen to settle instead of facing criminal charges."

Of the cases that don't make it as far as tribunals, the HMRC success rate is even lower. QDOS have a success ratio of 99.6% (they lost 6 cases of the ~1500 IR35 enquiries they defended):


So what you just stated has no basis in fact whatsoever. HMRC's success rate of ~10% at tax tribunals is positively towering over their success rate of 0.4% of the cases that never make it as far as the tribunal.


Re: It would be much easier if...

It has existed since forever. It is called "fixed term employment".

Contractor association blasts UK.gov guidance on hated IR35 tax law's arrival in private sector


Quite true - and this is why it is unlawful to pre-emptively or blanket assess the role as inside IR35 without assessing what else somebody is doing, since it cannot be determined without assessing the individual contractor.

The problem is that HMRC have publicly on many occasions given advice that this blanket assessing is OK despite the fact that it is outright unlawful by the letter of the legislation that HMRC are expected to not only understand but actually enforce.


It's what they call the latest chapter of IR35.


Re: Impossibly complicated

It just about covers it (look up how much it costs to have professional indemnity insurance if you are working on development of medical, process control, or oil and gas industry components). Then there is the cost of certifications that have to be renewed every three years, and cost thousands and require taking a week off billable time work to attend the update certification course, which if you are permanent you would get paid for at no cost to you if particularly relevant to your work.

In addition to having none of those cost overheads, permanent staff get paid holidays, sick pay, and employer's pension contributions, all of which add up to about 20% - which roughly covers the difference. So yes, contractors are being scapegoated with what is purely a tax on competence.

If contracting was such a win-win, everybody would be doing it. And before somebody suggests that they do permanent work because they like to "contribute more to society" through higher taxes, there is nothing stopping you from going contracting and then writing a cheque for the difference in tax to your preferred charity. But I have yet to see anybody partaking in such a whinge actually doing that.

Therefore, the bitching can only be a result of the politics of jealousy.

Canonical adds ZFS on root as experimental install option in Ubuntu


Re: Wow

Depends on the exact use case. ZFS performs better than most file systems on relatively dumb flash devices like SD cards with a bit of tuning. If you get an A1 or A2 rated card, the performance even on random writes is actually pretty decent.

Of course there is no reason you couldn't hang a SATA disk off it with a USB-SATA adapter if you need it for some intensive workload.


Don't know about that, I abandoned ext4 in favour of ZFS close to a decade ago and have been living happily ever since.


Re: Wow

Err, no, apparently you didn't, judging by your explanations.

ZIL turns sync operations into async operations. It is only ever read on an unclean shutdown. It isn't a write cache. Buffering is done in RAM.

L2ARC is populated by what is evicted from ARC and reset on export/reboot. Unless you have a very long running system with a working set that significantly exceeds your RAM, L2ARC will be we get even populated, let alone used.

Various things never get cached in ARC (e.g. IIRC sequential reads), because the win is typically not big enough. If it doesn't get cached in ARC, it will never be in L2ARC. So I'll hazard a guess your testing didn't account for anything but the naive case of cat-ing big files to /dev/null.


Re: Wow

It sounds like you don't fully understand how L2ARC and ZIL work. I'm going to let you do your homework yourself on that, but the "replacement" you are looking for is probably data allocation classes, which is in ZoL 0.8.x.


Re: Wow

DreamPlugs(*), Raspberry Pis and Toshiba AC100 laptops on the low end. RedSleeve 7 on <= ARMv6, CentOS 7 on >= ARMv7.

CentOS 7 on big stuff (aarch64 and x86-64).

(*) zfs-fuse on ARMv5 due to a really obscure issue when building kernel based ZoL for armv5tel, kernel based ZoL on ARMv6+.


Re: Lovely.

Not sure what you are alluding to here. ZFS runs very well on tiny systems with minimal RAM. I use it on everything from tiny 256MB ARM machines to servers with the thick end of a terabyte of RAM.


Re: Wow

I can tell you never tried it. Memory requirements are no greater than any other file system. I have it running on ARM machines with 256-512MB of RAM just fine.

You only need tons of RAM if you use deduplication - and if you are using deduplication you better make damn sure you know what you are doing because if you merely _think_ you know what you are doing you will find yourself buying more disks and restoring from a backup as soon as your data size grows to a point where restoring from a backup is inconvenient.

Fantastic Mr Fox? Not when he sh*ts on your lawn, kids' trampoline and your soul


Have you considered...

... taking up archery?

It's happening, tech contractors: UK.gov is pushing IR35 off-payroll rules to private sector in Finance Bill


Re: "This measure is expected to impact 170,000 individuals" . . .

SEP - Someone Else's Problem. :-)

As HMRC's quarterly deadline for online VAT filing looms, biz dogged by 'technical difficulties'


Good find. I'm using this:


It charges £7.50 per submission, but we are a 0-Microsoft business so no Excel here to use the filing tool you mentioned.


Re: Digital VAT

It just sends the same 6 numbers over a REST HTTP API instead of a HTTP form submission. There is literally no other difference. Except now you have to pay for compatible software to submit your VAT return with whereas the use of the web form was free.


Re: But apparently ...

MTD makes no difference whatsoever for the availability of this data.

All MTD does is force you to submit the 6 boxes of your VAT return via a REST API instead of via the web form. That's literally it - no other difference. The only difference is that I now have to pay for MTD compatible submission software. In my case, I use a bridging spreadsheet plugin that costs me £7.50 every time I submit a return.

So the process hasn't changed, the visibility of anything else to HMRC or anyone else using their data hasn't changed, the only thing that has changed is that now there is effectively an overhead of at least £30/year per VAT paying business being paid to providers of 3rd party software for submitting the VAT.

This was purely a crony money grab for big companies selling accounting software. There is no other possible explanation given that it does absolutely nothing but change the API for submitting the same 6 numbers as before.

Ok Google, please ignore this free tax filing code so we can keep on screwing America


Same here in UK with MTD

It's funny that MTD does effectively the same thing here. It basically forces people to buy MTD certified commercial software to submit their VAT returns instead of just entering the data into the web form for free.

Brekkie TV host Lorraine Kelly wins IR35 ruling against HMRC, adds fuel to freelance techies' ire over tax reforms


By extension of your logic, you should also get private medical insurance and not use the NHS under any circumstances, and never claim your state pension. If taking advantage of legally ratified benefits such as salary sacrifice schemes is tax evasion, then conversely by the same logic taking advantage of benefits you get in exchange for your tax contributions is equally frownable upon sponging off the state.


So just because something is defined internationally that makes it OK?

Regardles, pension contribution limits and tax advantages vary massively between tax jurisdictions, just as tax rates vary between them.

Sole traders don't pay a meaningfully different total of tax+NI than ltd companies in a like-for-like comparison. Self employed don't pay employer's NI - specifically the thing that IR35 is trying to squeeze out of people by pushing them into false employment. I suggest you actually look at the tax rates and do the maths before waving your jealous ignorance around.


@AC: How much tax do you dodge by putting money aside into a pension fund? After all, pension contributions are completely tax exempt. If you are going to mouth off based on your politics of jealousy, I suggest you go pay tax on your pension contributions at your top rate of tax. I'm sure HMRC will forgive you for that error on your tax return.

Small Brit firms beg for 'light touch' as only half are ready for digital tax reforms due next month


"Last week's myth-busting document, though, claimed HMRC had written to every business by the end of February"

Two months notice for something that may require uprooting the entire established process and associated software doesn't seem like a reasonable amount of time.

IR35 contractor tax reforms crawl closer to UK private sector with second consultation


Re: Tax loss for HMRC

"The tax take goes up if everyone just went permie."

No it doesn't. Perm roles pay half as much because employers have higher additional obligations to cover, such as sick pay, holiday pay, employer's pension contributions, and employers' NI. IR35 is specifically supposed to be about employer's NI, but employers pay way more in in sick pay, holiday pay and mandatory pension contributions than in employer's NI - and those are all coming off the employer's bottom line, making it the cost of doing business and thus not subject to tax.

And then there's the flexibility premium for contractors.

So actually, the overall total tax take would go down dramatically - possibly by more than half.

Let's be frank about it, this isn't about total tax collection, this is a beggar-thy-neighbour politics of jealousy.


Re: I love the spectacularly timing of it all

"They're deemed to take everything as pay for purposes of taxation but they can leave however much of the post-tax in the company as they want to pay sick leave etc. Yup, that makes perfect sense if you're a weasel."

It makes no sense even in weasel speak, because what's left in the company should be subject to corporation tax, not to PAYE and NI. They are fundamentally different things.


The threshold is something along the lines of:

1) Fewer than 50 employees

2) Less than 10M annual turnover

3) Less than 5M in assets

Vast number of companies fall under that classification.


Re: Companies will take the easy & safe choices

Cool, so now there's nobody left who does anything productive.

Linus Torvalds pulls pin, tosses in grenade: x86 won, forget about Arm in server CPUs, says Linux kernel supremo


Again, different context. The problem with the ARM SoC manufacturers is that they produced terrible code that just about compiled, threw it over the fence at device manufacturers and walked away. If they stood by their product enough to get their code cleaned up and upstreamed, they would have been welcomed rather than berated.

It is only now, years later, that things have improved, because of pressure from the device manufacturers. They realized that their customers want security updates for their devices, and that meant that they started using best supported SoCs rather than the most cost effective ones. That finally kicked off the competition among the SoC manufacturers and got them to own their code, at which point it was cheaper in the longer term to actually do things right, clean up their code, and get it upstreamed.

The original point stands, though - the SoC manufacturers at the time of Linus' infamous rant absolutely deserved his ire.


Re: Well currently the problem with ARM is not the CPU

"The problem is that every SoC is completely different. Therefore you cannot have one image for (nearly) all ARM-servers. To contrast this on the PC-platform everything is standardized well enough so you can just install any OS on (nearly) any server and it'll run."

Not true any more. UEFI has come to ARM to bring the much needed standardisation. I have a CentOS 7 install DVD (with a custom mainline kernel to support more SoCs than the distro kernel) that will boot the installer on just about any UEFI aarch64 machine, including Gigabyte MP30-AR1 and Raspberry Pi 3 (you have to make it boot the UEFI boot loader from the SD card, but that's no big deal).

Standards have in fact come to ARM. It happened a couple of years ago.


Re: Tere's simply no rational reasons to run ARM servers.

ARM is different because it has worked it's way up from being the underdog, from embedded devices where it is unstoppably ubiquitous, through laptop grade hardware up to server grade hardware more recently. I have an ATX form factor ARM board under my desk with 128GB of RAM and a couple of PCIe x16 slots, with a clock-for-clock performance per watt on server loads that is about double compared to a reasonably equivalent Xeon, and very comparable cost, too.

Previous competitors like SPARC, POWER, MIPS and Alpha fought with very little underlying deployment base. Unlike those, ARM is _everywhere_, and is not going away. Intel tried and failed to compete in the market where ARM dominates. ARM is eating it's way up toward server deployments like creeping doom.


@AC 02:49

I agree with you on the first part, but the point you make about Linus' comment on ARM SoC manufacturers is misguided. He was absolutely right in what he said, in the context it was in. The simple fact is that various SoC manufacturers produced appalling code to make the kernel work on their SoCs, they hardly ever bothered to upstream it, and were responsible for a situation where there was a total of one kernel that ever works on a particular SoC, which is then immediately orphaned and will never receive any further fixes for various issues that are later discovered in that branch.

You don't have to look far for evidence if this - just look what version of the kernel various embedded devices are using, and look at the last triplet of the version number. It is never even the latest mainline version for that kernel series, let alone a something that us supported for any length of time after the device is shipped.

Fire icon because: "Worked in dev. Ops problem now."

After outrage over Chrome ad-block block plan, Google backs away from crippling web advert, content filters


Re: So, basically, no change there

Use FF instead of Chrome, it really is that simple.

All of my critical FF plugins work on Android the same as they work on desktop operating systems:

- Ghostery

- Ad Nauseam

- NoScript

- HTTPS Everywhere

HMRC: We 'rigorously tested' IR35 tax-check tool... but have almost nothing to show for it


What a CEST pool...

Already getting my coat...

Staff sacked after security sees 'suspect surfer' script of shame


Re: I had the opposite

Most considerate of you. Some serious karma hoarding going on there. ;-)


Re: Access Denied

It works for some people - namely those that like all the work prevention devices that enable them to spend an hour on some work, half a day on admin to actually work around the security measures, and the rest to slack off.

Of course it will drive everyone who actually enjoys being productive nuts in days and they'll probably choose to leave guilt free on 1 day's notice before their probation period is up.


Re: And that's why...

You are overthinking it.

ssh -D 1080 user@your.server

Set Firefox to use localhost:1080 as socks5 proxy with remote DNS lookups.

No need to mess about with DNS or anything of the sort. You just have to find a port that isn't filtered by the firewall and run sshd on that port on your.server.


South Park Season 20?

Isn't this the core theme of the entire season 20 of South Park? Holding the entire world to ransom by threatening to publish everyone's browsing history?

Troll Trace. :-)

London Gatwick Airport reopens but drone chaos perps still not found


In this case it doesn't matter whether he meant possibility or probability, as it doesn't reduce either.


TV Detection Vans?

If the authorities cannot find an active transmitter for controlling the drone, how on earth is anyone supposed to believe that they have the technology to pinpoint people watching TV (passive receiver) without a licence?


"Does it stop people using cars as weapons against people and infrastructure? No, but it massively reduces the possibility."

I don't see how licensing drivers in any way reduces the possibility of a driver deliberately using a vehicle as a weapon against people and infrastructure. At a push it might slightly reduce incidence of incompetence, but certainly not of a deliberate act.

The Palm Palm: The Derringer of smartphones


Re: Oh look, they re invented the HTC Touch Diamond.

Or the original ZTE Blade.

3 is the magic number (of bits): Flip 'em at once and your ECC protection can be Rowhammer'd


Re: Bravo! *slow clap*

Sure - rowhammer can be made to work - on certain hardware. I've yet to own a device on which it was reproducible using various test programs in 8 hours, and I doubt I'm that lucky. But if it can be made to flip 1 bit statistically in n seconds, then it follows that in n^2 seconds you should be able to flip 2 bits in the same row, and in n^3 seconds, flip 3 bits. But since we are into O(n^3) territory, I wouldn't lose sleep over it.


Bravo! *slow clap*

"But if three bits could be changed simultaneously, ECC would not catch the modification."

Wow! So they actually read up on how ECC memory that has been in used in servers for 30 years works! Are they hoping for some praise medals for participation?

It must be a really slow day if this is news.

Apple might be 'collateral damage' in US and China trade dust-up


Re: Shooting onself in the head

"A fair point, but lets face it, at the moment somebody in China would copy your product anyway if there's a significant domestic market."

Similarly with Zotye SR9 (Porsche Macan clone). Interestingly, the Porsche dealers in China aren't at all concerned, and for a very good reason - anybody who can afford even a used Porsche won't be buying a Zotye knock-off.

The thing to take away from this is that competing on the cheap end of the market in a place where labour is much cheaper is a foolish thing to be attempting at the first place. If you can't compete on quality first, at least earn some good karma by not expending more of the finite planet on making yet more worthless tat.


Re: Shooting onself in the head

"Up until a local copycat product (that's copied to such a point as including your copyright marks) goes on sale for less than your product"

Cost of doing business in China, it seems. The only winning move is not to play.

For what it's worth, some headway toward addressing that had been made at some point, as short lived it may have been: