* Posts by Jim 59

2047 publicly visible posts • joined 24 Jun 2009

Linux has nearly half of the desktop OS Linux market

Jim 59

It's all unix.

The crime against humanity that is the modern OS desktop, and how to kill it

Jim 59

Re: My OS/Computer journey

Liked this list. Composing my own indicated Colin and I are about the same age, with common points including Dragon 32, Vax, Ubuntu, Kubuntu, but I stayed on Mint, with the '95-like MATE desktop.

Battle of the retro Unix desktops: NsCDE versus CDE

Jim 59


Loved those Apollo Domain systems, including the Window Manager (wm) shell at the bottom of the screen, where you could issue direct commands to the window system, similar to dtksh, perhaps.

HP VUE was also nice. A bit basic, even at the time, but solid.

Brit MPs vote down bid to delay IR35 reforms, press ahead with new tax rules for private-sector contractors

Jim 59

I think companies will divide into two camps. Some, like BAE and HSBC, will take fright and create blanket rulings to avoid non-compliance in the short term. Banks in particular are terrified of non-compliance ever since the credit crunch, and their first reaction is to jump under a stone. The second set of businesses will pause, look more closely at the rules and build an effective IR35 assessment infrastructure, perhaps stealing a march their more timid competitors. Which camp will win? Not sure. Hopefully the second.

Another factor is increased working from home after the virus, which might provide yet more "unforeseen consequences". Not only can a client have you as a zero-rights "employee", but he can ask you to provide your own equipment and office too, something genuine contractors will be quite happy with.

In hilariously petulant move, Apple shuts Texas stores and reopens them few miles down the road – for patent reasons

Jim 59

Re: Perhaps an empty gesture

"Apple is so infuriated at having repeatedly been found to have infringed VirnetX's patents that it redesigned its entire FaceTime system to get around the relevant patent and even cut off existing customers from the video-conferencing system if they didn’t install its "update.""

Translation: Apple made changes to comply with a legal verdict.

I was caught speeding on the M1 in 2004. I was "so infuriated", I paid the fine.

Password managers may leave your online crown jewels 'exposed in RAM' to malware – but hey, they're still better than the alternative

Jim 59

Online password managers


Secret mic in Nest gear wasn't supposed to be a secret, says Google, we just forgot to tell anyone

Jim 59

Re: Don't be........

Just more of the same. Google isn't learning.

Boss of venerable sect with millions of devoted followers meets boss of venerable sect with... yeah, you get the idea

Jim 59

A pop at the Pope. Brave journalism. Take that, Frank!

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

Jim 59

Re: snapd and systemd

@David132 Yes. Both apt-get and yum provide almost perfect solutions to the software update/install problem. On the other hand, snapd provides a doubtful answer to a question nobody asked.

Regards updating beyond your distro, as a Linux systems admin I would say either (a) don't do it, stability is better, (b) Consider moving to Mint 19, (c) Do it in a virtual machine. The free vmplayer is fine these days, hardware acceleration and everything.

Take your pick: Linux on Windows 10 hardware, or Windows 10 on Linux hardware

Jim 59

Ramble warning - Microsoft

Off topic, but one thing I like about Microsoft is the effective way they have changed as conditions demanded it. Change is almost impossible for large organisations, and failure to change quick enough is what kills them off, or at least shrinks them to a nubbin. Facebook can't change. Neither can Google, probably. Not fundementally, not culturally. EDS couldn't, nor could IBM, and even Nokia, once the kings of change, almost died of intransigence. Apple needs a change now, as the smartphone market it founded saturates and cools off. They have done it before, in the 80s, but that was a long time ago.

Microsoft has widened its interests effectively and with great forethought. If its PC dominence collapsed tomorrow, it would still survive as a tech giant. That would have been unthinkable in the 90s. But they have entered new markets and flourished there in a very impressive way. If the Zuck hasn't studied the history of Microsoft, he probably should.

Jim 59

Re: Year of the Linux desktop?

"What it flows from is that practically every bit of serious commercial software that businesses need to be productive is written for Windows"

Indeed. And why are so many business apps written for Windows? Because the market for that software is huge. Because there are so many PCs running Windows. Because every PC comes with a forced Windows purchase.

(notwithstanding the rise of SAAS - As stated I run a business on Mint 18.3, the accountancy software is SAAS)

Jim 59

Re: Year of the Linux desktop?

I agree that Mint is stable enough for true desktop use. I run a business using Mint 18.3, which also covers the household computing. No Windows, no problems, for me.

Mint could provide a desktop for the masses, and doesn't need any particulay "year" in which to do so. What's required is an end to the business agreements that force every PC buyer to purchase a Windows license. All Windows' domination flows from that: The games, the corporate hegemony, all of it. However, the tech giants do not want to rock the boat, for now, and you can hardly blame them.

Personally, I quite like the current situation. We Linux gurus can enjoy being contrarians while also having full control of our tech experiece. More seriously, it is good to have two systems in competition. The losers are those Windows users who have a poor computing experience. When family and friends ask for PC help, they often talk about problems which simply wouldn't arise in the Linux world.

Don't flame an old penguin. As I say, I'm happy with Windows, I just don't use it personally. And I like Bill Gates and Microsoft generally, for all that they have done.

Mini computer flingers go after a slice of the high street retail Pi

Jim 59

Re: Mould breakers

Business wise, it doesn't make much sense. The store is probably just a focal point for publicity, and might work in that capacity, particularly if it continues to generate stories like this. Hopefully it will keep the Pi buzz going. Maybe they could do some live streaming from the store or summat.

Upton't already said there will be nothing this 14th March, but he would say that, wouldn't he?

Intel to finally scatter remaining ashes of Itanium to the wind in 2021: Final call for doomed server CPU line

Jim 59

As I recall, HP bought Apollo, makers of high end workstations powered by Motorolla CPUs in 1989 (same chip familay as the Amiga?), and continued to make engineering workstations, but with their very own PA RISC cpus. Perhaps they should have gone with the Apollo/Motorolla tech instead.

PA-RISC was replaced by the HP/Intel Itanium which they continued to put into blade systems. But in later years I think HP-UX was all that could run on these. Perhaps fortunately for HP, their chassis systems also supports Intel blades.

Chang'e 4 wakes and Yutu 2 stretches its solar panels for another day... on the friggin' MOON

Jim 59

Re: Fine article but

I just miss the old Register, when headlines were snappy, accurate and often funny without straining to be so. I guess it was the era of Lester Haines (RIP) and his contemporaries. The Register, it seemed to me, was popping out top quality stuff. And the waybackmachine seems to agree, broadly speaking.

Times change, and the wacky humour has petered out somewhat. No problem with that. And I know I am in no position to lecture professional writers, especially when the stuff is free. And in any case the articles themselves are fine. But these headlines are... well, embarrassing. Sorry to critisize an old friend but in my view, they simply make your front page an unintelligible mess, give it an air of desperation and discourage further reading. Dear headline writer: (a) remember that brevity is the soul of wit, (b) no more multi-sentence headlines and (c) go easy on the patois.

On the other hand, if the Reg readership is sky rocketing, then shut ma' mouth.

Jim 59

Fine article but

A shame to see a fine article like this under such a wierdly terrible headline.

Ooh, my machine is SO much faster than yours... Oh, wait, that might be a bit of a problem...

Jim 59

Re: Well that was an invisible problem

Quite impressed you had 100 MB/s in 1990. Being a priveliged Unix lad, we had token ring at the time. I don't think it can have had individual switching either, since every host reads the token on every it goes round the ring. Guessing wildly here.

Big Red's big pay gap: $13,000 gulf between male and female Oracle staffers – reports

Jim 59

Re: All else being equal...

Marilyn again, on being shocked to find a colleague is paid 20% more:

"I just couldn't believe it. I was angry," she told The Guardian. "I felt like I had been punched in the gut."

Angry eh? I interviewed and hired a database guy once and, reviewing the hiring letter, was shocked to find he was to be paid more than me. Rather than call the police, I bided my time and found another job paying about 20% more than him. I think this is a normal part of people's careers.

Jim 59

Re: All else being equal...

"... Marilyn Clark, alleged that she had discovered a colleague was making about $20,000 (22 per cent) more than her when she found a pay stub he had left behind in a common area."

Welcome to the party pal. I'm a man and have often worked with colleagues earning way more then me, Usually because they were more experienced and better software engineers, but sometimes just because they negotiated a better deal or joined when the job market was high. This is the norm in business, I'm afraid.

Apple hardware priced so high that no one wants to buy it? It's 1983 all over again

Jim 59

Re: Limped after Apple II

"...Audi. In the 80s they were quirky aero styled saloons that lecturers might drive, and rally bred coupes. A leftfield choice being left behind by BMW and Mercedes. The B5 A4 took the fight to the 3 series, and the TT gave them a fashionable trendy model. They never looked back."

Not entirely true. The Audi 100 5-cylinder was lovely, and deservedly successful in the early 80s. At the time, the luxury saloon market was highly competative, with BMW, Audi and Mercedes facing stiff competition from the likes of Citroen, Peugeot, Lancia, Volvo. Not to mention Ford and Vauxhall. But by the late 90s, all but the Germans had virtually pulled out of that sector.

Jim 59

1 MB of RAM ?

A little more research could make this an interesting story. Check the bill of materials. My first Google hit for "price of 1 mb of ram in 1983" leads to a site listing the price of 1MB in January 1983 as $ 2,296. And at the start of the quoted Lisa development period (1978) said item was priced at $24,000 (July 78).

Then you have the 2 x twiggy drives, Motorola 68000 and other chips. No doubt Apple could get good deals from suppliers, but even so, components were eye wateringly expensive in that era.

The Large Hadron Collider is small beer. Give us billions more for bigger kit, say boffins

Jim 59

Re: One ring to rule them all?

+1 just for "One ring to rule them all"

Begone, Demon Internet: Vodafone to shutter old-school pioneer ISP

Jim 59


+1 for honesty.

Jim 59

Interesting to hear that people were surfing the baby web with non-PC equipment. My first browser experiece was again Mosaic, but on an Apollo DN unix workstation at work.

The D in SystemD stands for Dammmit... Security holes found in much-adored Linux toolkit

Jim 59

"much adored" ?

Hey Reg, *we'll* do the trolling thanks very much.

Techie basks in praise for restoring workforce email (by stopping his scripting sh!tshow)

Jim 59

Re: Accidental DOS on my employer

Should have CP/M'd 'em.

Jim 59

Re: Beware recursion

"...when trying to make it recursive."

Madness. The guy should never have attempted anything recursive, or with the potential to become recursive, on a live server. And probably not even on his own laptop. Absolutely bonkers.

The eulogising of The Mother Of All Demos at 50 is Silicon Valley going goo-goo for gurus again

Jim 59

Article seems a bit small minded, it's main thrust being that somebody, at some point, might have got more credit than they deserved. An uncharitable view taken for its own sake. And a small thing even if true.

Personally I found the demo interesting, thanks. It is hard to think, now, that there was a time when just editing a file, in memory, and on a screen, was huge. But it was.

On the other hand, Silicon Valley is indeed becoming increasingly annoying. Please continue to point that out.

Doom: The FPS that wowed players, gummed up servers, and enraged admins

Jim 59

Re: Stanger in a strange land..

Jamie Jones is outed as a Perl programmer

"It was a list: "British, not Jewish,..." not a clairification ("British - not Jewish")"

Don't anybody come at me with Python nonsense.

Jim 59

Re: Stanger in a strange land..

One of the wiser posts to appear in El Reg forums.

"It's amazing what you can get away with if you simply act like you belong somewhere (and are a cocky gobshite like me!)"

We should all read this three times a day, especially the younger chaps on here.

Jim 59

Re: 386DX

Original Doom was fully playable on a Dan 486DX with 4MB of RAM and a Spea V7 video card, I can report. As was original shareware Quake.

That PC was a snip at only £1700, and that's 1993 money.

Jim 59

@Franco +1 for mentioning "Pantera"

Jim 59

Re: 3D Monster Maze

Hunt the Wumpus. All down hill from there.

Jim 59

"Really? I worked for Sun at the time, and someone decided that Doom would be a cool demo for the new SPARCstations."

Excellent, and not surprising that somebody at Sun would do this, being an innovative place by nature. However, Unix Doom must have come some time after Doom was launched on the PC, which is the era I was talking about. By the time I left in '95, Doom had not made it to our Sun network, but the software engineers had written themselves a version of network Battlezone, seemingly.

Jim 59

Re: Niggling correction

"Wustl stands for Washington University of St. Louis, a private uni in Missouri, while the University of Washington is a state uni in Washington state."

Well well. I never knew that. All that FTP grabbing was actually from Missouri and not Washington. The Wustl archive was an excellent resource at the time, and very large.

Jim 59

"It's amazing to think there are only 12 months between Wolfenstein and Doom. I wish we could still see leaps like that."

That is amazing. Some similarities to the home computer boom of the early 80s perhaps. Huge differences between products launched a year apart. I was lucky enough to have a Dragon 32 and an Amstrad cpc464. Admittedly, the latter was slightly more expensive and launched 20 months after the Dragon, but the difference was enourmous. Double the RAM, almost 5 x the MHz, much improved BASIC, larger keyboard, bundled tape recorder, monitor...

For that matter, look at the Sinclair ZX81 vs the Spectrum. An even starger contrast, only 13 months apart.

Jim 59

When Doom launched in 93, I was a Unix systems administrator. We had no Doom plague on the Unix estate for obvious reasons. What we did have was pre-web Internet, enabling us to grab doom via FTP, copy the zip file and take it home on a floppy (or 3). University of Washington kindly had it in their FTP archive IIRC, one of the biggest on the Internet. What was it? www.wustl.edu or something.

Okay we might have had the Mozilla browser by that time. Memory fades.

Here's 2018 in a nutshell for you... Russian super robot turns out to be man in robot suit

Jim 59

Re: Overlords

"And that is the world in 2018: where people go to great lengths to persuade you of one reality and then, when it is exposed, insist that they never did any such thing and it's all of you that are at fault for claiming it ever happened like that in the first place"

And that has been Russia since 1917.

For fax sake: NHS to be banned from buying archaic copy-flingers

Jim 59

Re: Good Enough

@MyffyW I don't think that cost is the driving factor. Did anybody say it was?

Efficiency and safety seem to be the question, and pieces of paper can go missing. Referrals for life threatening conditions, for example, should probably not lie around in fax trays.

Jim 59

Re: Ban a system that works and is malware free*...

A short lived star, but not as short as Telex.

It's official. Microsoft pushes Google over the Edge, shifts browser to Chromium engine

Jim 59

No members of U2 were harmed in the making of this article.

Awkward... Revealed Facebook emails show plans for data slurping, selling access to addicts' info, crafty PR spinning

Jim 59

"Would you like to login using Facebook", that question that pops up on many non-Facebook sites, is so obvioualy a bad idea that most rational adults will click "no" 10,000 times, even without stories like the above. You really have no idea what Facebook is doing behind the scenes, but you sure don't want it to involve your authentication credentials for any other sites, or any other personal secrets for that matter.

Some will do it though, eg. children, perhaps young people or just the less cynical among us. Therein lies the problem.

Do not adjust your set: Hats off to Apple, you struggle to shift iPhones 'cos you're oddly ethical

Jim 59

"Apple sees nothing from second-hand trade"

...except a replacement purchase by the seller ?

"Apple represents a strong alternative to people creeped out by Google's disconcerting data slurping."

The implication being that Apple is better than Google in this regard. If true, it is an excellent reason for Android users to make the switch, and could be Apple's salvation.

Like Microsoft, who were workstation based and just never "groked" the network, Google is network based and cannot grok people's privacy concerns, and never will. And there is the key to Google's eventual downfall. If Apple or another FAANG can make privacy their main product, they will dominate into the future.

Montezuma's Revenge can finally be laid to rest as Uber AI researchers crack the classic game

Jim 59

Now try it on Roland in Time.

Mobile networks are killing Wi-Fi for speed around the world

Jim 59

Home broadband is predictable. LTE data isn't. Yes, you might stumble upon an urban location where high 3g/4g speeds are available. Perhaps in the middle of a car park, in a half empty business estate, after 6 pm. On one such UK location, I measured LTE upload speeds faster than my home broadband. A novelty but not all that useful.

In places where you actually spend time, so do other subscribers, and the rate drops.

Bomb squad descends on suspicious package to find something much more dangerous – a Journey cassette

Jim 59


It was a DAT tape? Booo! We all wanted it to be a good ol' compact cassette, as did the Reg picture editor, apparently.

Techie was bigged up by boss… only to cause mass Microsoft Exchange outage

Jim 59

"“I had just finished with five minutes to spare, but instead of hitting 'sign-out', I accidentally hit 'shut-down' on the primary server,” Freddie said."

Placing the logout button next to the button for "shutdown" is one of the worst pieces of design in the entirety of Windows, and that's saying something. Freddie must be one of thousands of people who have made and continue to make this mistake.

With Windows 10, the buttons have been parted (but only by half an inch), and are no longer in the same submenu. And they are better marked, but it is still one of the most obtuse and needless mistakes ever to come out of Microsoft. Putting a massive risk at customers' feet for no reason.

RIP Paul Allen: Microsoft cofounder billionaire dies at 65 after facing third bout with cancer

Jim 59

Re: Say what you will

RIP Paul Allen and well done. 65 is too young.

Regards Zuck being a hoarder, Ellison a cretin, Bezos a miser, I think ALL these guys will be giving their riches away sooner or later.

Your RSS is grass: Mozilla euthanizes feed reader, Atom code in Firefox browser, claims it's old and unloved

Jim 59

Re: re: I read this news first from the RSS feed

Sage was once a great RSS reader for Firefox. It was discontinued after Quantum unfortunately, and I still miss it.

Samsung Galaxy A9: Mid-range bruiser that takes the fight to Huawei

Jim 59

@Mat Bettinson - True. Six years after purchase, I am *still* trying to wipe the bloatware from my Samsung S3. Titanium does a good job, but there is so much rubbish to wade through.

These days, Android phones have a life expectency of only about 3 years. After that, you are 2 OS levels adrift, and the first apps start complaining that your OS is not compatible, so bye-bye. A shocking situation that makes buyers of £800 flagships look a bit daft. This is the situation I faced in 2015 with my £500 S3 "flagship".

With that in mind, I am looking at the Android One on the Nokia 6.1. A reasonable midrange phone, but its the device's long and functional future that really attracts, and the absence of bloatware. Gravelly voice: "Someday, all watches will be made this way".