* Posts by Gordon 11

336 publicly visible posts • joined 27 Jul 2009


Will anybody save Linux on Itanium? Absolutely not

Gordon 11

how much faster it would be because you'd optimise code at compile time rather than runtime. That struck me as being a "better" way to do things

That was the theory.

In practice we tried out a system for an HPC application. On running the compiler with an analyser for ~10 hours overnight the result was <1% improvement from not using the analyser. With no guarantee that it wouldn't actually be worse for a different input. And it wasn't any faster than the 64bit MIPS systems we had.

And this application's code was updated about once a month

It just wasn't worth the effort.

Then AMD came along with amd64 and we all breathed a sigh of relief.

Mozilla treats Debian devotees to the raw taste of Firefox Nightly

Gordon 11

Ubuntu has a "normal" package too.

The leading distro based on Ubuntu, Linux Mint, makes a point of maintaining its own native Firefox package for Mint users.

Which is odd, as it seems that Ubuntu does the same.

Since my HOMEs are not under /home I can't (or couldn't last time I bothered to look) use snaps. But I do install Firefox from a ppa at https://ppa.launchpadcontent.net/mozillateam/ppa/ubuntu/ and when I look at About/Help in Firefox it says:

Mozilla Firefox for Ubuntu


Resilience is overrated when it's not advertised

Gordon 11

I remember a failover cluster for a server to run an Oracle database.

Whereas the cost covered configuring the system and database to failover, it didn't cover anything else we had running there. Such as the Web server - and other bits.

So, after a quick course on how to do it (and, thankfully, the documentation) I wrote the scripts to do that. But was never able to test them before putting them into place (the system was already running by then...)

Over the next year my scripts all worked, but the vendor supplied ones (or our own central IT config) always seemed to have some problem.

So after a year we had two separate systems - the downtime caused by the failover's failures wasn't worth it.

Linux lover consumed a quarter of the network

Gordon 11

Sort of the reverse

Some years ago I was looking after some Research Scientists Linux/Unix systems

Just by chance I noticed that someone was pulling a lot of data across the "private" line from the US to the UK. A quick check showed it had been running for >12 hours, but probably only had an hour to go. It would have been more efficient to compress it, send it, uncompress it so I made a note to have a chat to the user (as we actually had a utility that woudl do this for them).

About 10 mins later I had a 'phone call from someone in the network support team.

"It seems that someone is pulling a lot of data across the Atlantic - do you know anything about this?"

I apologized, said it could have been done more efficiently and I was going to chat to the user in question.

The reply to that was somewhat unexpected.

"No, we're not complaining - the network is there to be used."

After I got up off the floor (mentally) I discovered that they were interested in why it was going at twice the speed as any file transfer they could do.

(The answer was not to use FTP on a Solaris system. FTP on Irix or Linux was noticeably faster - probably to do with window sizes).

Linux has nearly half of the desktop OS Linux market

Gordon 11

If someone said "Android is not a Linux," that is defensible. You can't easily download it for free, and you can't run it on your own generic off-the-shelf computer.
I've run it in a VM on my Kubuntu systems.

On its native platform of smartphones and tablets, you can't run ordinary Linux apps on Android
I also have a command-terminal text-editor (microEmacs) which I build for and run on my Motorola phone. OK - it doesn't display to the phone screen - I have to ssh into it and run it in a Konsole terminal - but it is running on an Android installation (which is the only reason I build it - because I can and it works).

Microsoft kicks Calibri to the curb for Aptos as default font

Gordon 11

It's actually picking a typeface.

A font is a typeface at one point size.

The article actually starts by getting this right, then wanders off curse in the same sentence.

Don't panic. Google offering scary .zip and .mov domains is not the end of the world

Gordon 11

Speakin of .com

I remember trying to send a DNS zone dump of a .com domain to a work colleague.

Text file, so I simply added it as an attachment (on Linux) and named it "example.com".

He never received it. After the third attempt I realized that the virus scanner on his mail system (he was on MS Outlook) thought a .com attachment must be an attempt to send an executable. The fact that the mime-type was "text/plain" mattered not one jot. Presumably MS looked at names, not actual information (standards - what are they?)

Fans of original gangster editors, look away now: It's Tilde, a text editor that doesn't work like it's 1976

Gordon 11

Re: Not for me, thanks

Two features that I use a great deal appear to be missing:

* ability to pipe a range of lines through an arbitrary pipeline of commands

* multiple copy/paste buffers

Microemacs can do that (well, nuemacs on github can). Very small. Useful if you like emacs keying.

Can Rust save the planet? Why, and why not

Gordon 11

Re: The language is not that important

FORTRAN also supports the very wired concept of multiple entry points to a given sub-routine.

This is not weird. PL1 (or at least PRIME's SPL) allowed this.

All that is required is to know what you are doing. If you don't. why are you "writing" code in the first place?

Gordon 11

Re: I wish this madness would just stop

In Rust it will beat you at compile time until you learn. In C/C++ it will beat you at runtime (NPEs, crashes, memory leaks) until you learn.

Compile time is mine. Runtime is yours....

I know which I prefer when robustifying code (hint: not the latter).

Gordon 11

There seems to be a suggestion that being easy is better than being efficient?

Dragging everything down to the Highest Command Factor (usually much lower than the Lowest Common Multiple) is not a good model.

There's a reason that "rocket science" is not easy. Try to make it "easy" and things tend to blow up in your face.

Can we stop pandering to those who thing that everyone should be able to program and try to accept that it is a skill?

To be learnt and practised by those who can do so.

The rest can teach it (badly?).

Intel audio drivers give Windows 11 the blues and Microsoft Installer borked following security update

Gordon 11

A pity the required TPM2.0 chip can't protect you form Microsoft themselves.

Computer scientists at University of Edinburgh contemplate courses without 'Alice' and 'Bob'

Gordon 11

So Alice Walker never existed.

Nor Bob Moses.

Hacking the computer with wirewraps and soldering irons: Just fix the issues as they come up, right?

Gordon 11

Re: Computer O Level

Back in those days doing all that and only getting a C sounds like something bordering on psychopathic by the exam board.

Nowadays it would have to be a C++ at least.

Happy with your existing Windows 10 setup? Good, because Windows 11 could turn its nose up at your CPU

Gordon 11

Re: What gen?

I must be imagining the fact that I have 21H1 installed on two 3rd gen and one 4th gen Intel chipped devices then.

I have it running on an i5-2500K in a 9-year old desktop.

Perfectly fine (as far as Windows is ever "fine").

Was creaking 2 years ago, but replacing the HDD with an SSD fixed that.

NHS COVID-19 app is trying to tell Android users something but buggy notification appears stuck on 'Loading...' screen

Gordon 11

Neither does the venue check in but no check out fill me with much confidence
I've always been able to check out of a venue once I've checked in.

United States Congress stormed by violent followers of defeated president, Biden win confirmation halted

Gordon 11

Re: Unfortunately ...

Trump can't be charged with Treason, because our Constitution only provides for that charge in times of War.
Aren't most of us still at war with North Korea?

There's been a ceasefire for ~65years, but no declared peace.

Gordon 11

Re: ...and where exactly do you live in the US?

I'm old enough to remember LBJ's last year in office. Now that really was a scary sh*t year.

Obviously, as Nixon was on his way in.

'Following the science' rhetoric led to delay to UK COVID-19 lockdown, face mask rules

Gordon 11

Re: The Institute for Government, a bunch of non-scientists

Basically what has come to pass for being locked down to long.

I think you mean, "for being locked down longer than they would like".

An even longer lockdown was actually needed.

TalkTalk marches OneTel users into a brave new email world

Gordon 11

Re: Begging for Trouble

Can't imagine why anyone ever used an ISP email account.
Perhaps because that was what was available when the ISP for first used ~20 years ago, and it continues to work?

All I want is some place that lets me download via IMAP and send with SMTP.

This TalkTalk migration seems to be affecting all of their legacy domains. And whereas OneTel seems to have a valid SPF record after migrating, Pipex does not.

This follows on from Pipex having an invalid MX record earlier this year (it pointed to an Alias, which isn't allowed and some other ISPs refused to play ball as a result).

No doubt a result of lots of GUI admin tools, and hence less understanding of the underlying reality.

Wow, Microsoft's Windows 10 always runs Edge on startup? What could cause that? So strange, tut-tuts Microsoft

Gordon 11

Slightly different Edge issue

KB4559309 is rolling out on Windows 2004 update.

When this "installs" (read on) after the restart it fires up Edge at the next login (for every user) and gets them to configure it.

But this has left my system believing that it always has a pending update for KB4559309! So Windows is always going to schedule a reboot for it. Since Windows doesn't believe it is yet installed I can't uninstall it.

After half-a-dozen reboots had no effect on this I decided to fire up Edge. When I got to the "About" screen it reported that it was 81.0.416.81 and then started to update itself. After that update it was 83.0.478.45.

Still had no effect on the status of KB4559309: Windows Update still thinks it has yet to do it.

Gmail and Outlook sitting in a tree, not t-a-l-k-i-n-g to me or thee

Gordon 11

I can never understand why people read email in a browser, rather than 'modern' it seems totally antiquated to me.
Whatever happened to the idea of separating data presentation and data display?

I expect a mail server to be able to supply the mail data, and then I may run whichever mail client I wish to display it to me in whatever way I can persuade it to do, in a way that best suits my needs/wishes.

Similarly, why do people assume that mail is sent from an application by a user typing at a keyboard?

I have a few dozen mails sent to me every day by the background process that check the health of my systems and backups (and this is just for my systems at home - when I worked I had far more doing similar things there too). How would I get that to work with OAuth (or similar)?

Microsoft decrees that all high-school IT teachers were wrong: Double spaces now flagged as typos in Word

Gordon 11

Re: memory's the 2nd thing to go

Re: memory's the 2nd thing to go

The first being memory.

It used to be the mouse balls....

Gordon 11

Re: Isn't it just a historical anachronism?

Today, with proportional fonts and justification, surely there is no need (and smarter programs might detect dot-space and leave a slightly larger gap?).
Agreed. Any reasonable word processor would put additional kerning after the end of a sentence. Whether MS Word does so I can't tell.

Decent type-setting software (such as TeX) did it for you...and couldn't care less how many spaces (or tabs) you put there.

We're in a timeline where Dettol maker has to beg folks not to inject cleaning fluid into their veins. Thanks, Trump

Gordon 11

Re: POTUS Supporters

Apparently 8% of UK voters in a survey believed 5G spread coronavirus.

Some of them believe there is no Coronavirus at all, and the whole thing is just a ploy so that the Government can implant a tracking device in everybody (and every body) under the guise of a vaccination.

The fact that this would require every NHS worker in the country to be in on the scam seems to pass them by.

Not sure what they think has happened to those who have died.

Android 11 Developer Preview 3 allows your mobe to become a router via USB Ethernet – if you can get a decent signal

Gordon 11

Re: Hasn't it been able to do this for ages?

Perhaps the difference is that "toggle a switch" bit. Which might mean it can become a router on its own, rather than requiring you to set that up on the system directly connected to it. Although how this works with a USB-C hub is something I'll need to get my head around. Perhaps you need one with a Ethernet port, then plug a switch/hub into that and then plug any other system into that.

Gordon 11

Re: Hasn't it been able to do this for ages?

No. https://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2018/10/three-uk-quietly-removes-tethering-caps-from-4g-mobile-plans.html

That's a phone operator removing a block - nothing at all to do with whether Android was able to do it.

And all they did the was to remove the usage cap - they was never an outright ban.

I'm with 3 and, as mentioned, was able to do this 5 years ago on Android 6.

Gordon 11

Re: Hasn't it been able to do this for ages?

My recollection of various methods of tethering over the years was that although the manufacturers often provided it, some (most?) carriers (e.g. Verizon) would disable it.

So how is this change going to make them change?

The 5-year old phone I've just replaced allowed me to do this, and it was running Andoid6.

And using this on a Windows system was a PITA, as Windows sees it as an Ethernet connexion and so doesn't allow me to mark it as metered. So feels free to download the next Windows10 update over it.

So what change has actually occurred here? It seems to imply some ability to connect it to a router for network sharing, but where is there an Ethernet port on the 'phone?

We regret to inform you there are severe delays on the token ring due to IT nerds blasting each other to bloody chunks

Gordon 11

Imagine a single tube carriage going round and round London's circle line forever.

That might have been true in the 1990's (well, not "might have", rather "was"), but not a good analogy for the younger members of the audience, for whom the "Circle Line" is now more @ shaped.

As for Token Ring speeds, Pr1me had one that was definitely faster then the 10Mb/s Ethernet that came along later.

Hyphens of mass destruction: When a clumsy finger meant the end for hundreds of jobs

Gordon 11

Re: SCO Unix

What about trying rm *.o, but leaving the shift key down for slightly too long after the "*"?

It becomes rm *>o - definitely not what was wanted. I ended up left with just an empty file called "o".

Devonitely not great: Torbay and South Devon NHS declares 'major IT incident'

Gordon 11

Are we sure this isn't just part of the Government's "Get ready for Brexit" campaign?

Micron's new 9300 SSDs are bigger, faster and simpler... which is nice

Gordon 11

Re: 16 TB. And if it fails?

RAID is a perfectly adequate backup.

Not if your system, or machine room, catches fire.

Man drives 6,000 miles to prove Uncle Sam's cellphone coverage maps are wrong – and, boy, did he manage it

Gordon 11

Why 40mph?

When I drove through Vermont the state-wide maximum speed limit was 45mph, so it might be to not scare the natives.

Windows 10 1809: Now arriving on a desktop near you (if you want it)

Gordon 11

Re: Edge in 1809

Some people have found Edge will not load websites if IPv6 is not enabled on their system after installing 1809. The current fix being to enable IPv6.

Surely a simpler fix is not to use Edge?

Gordon 11

No doubt it will probably tie my PC for the best part of a day...

My laptop has 16GB of memory and an SSD - it's pretty fast. It still took ~3.5 hours to update (I wasn't doing anything on the system other than watching it...) after the download started.

What are these updates doing for all that time?

Europe is living in the past (by nearly six minutes) thanks to Serbia and Kosovo

Gordon 11

Re: Mains powered clock

Is there such a thing at all nowdays? It is cheaper to throw in a quartz osciallator or a real time clock than to measure grid frequency.
I have one on my bedside table. I've had one (not the same one) there for the last 45 years.

Unlike a quartz clock it never needs to be reset (unless there's a power failure).

Bright idea: Make H when the Sun shines, and H when it doesn't

Gordon 11

Re: carbon monoxide as byproduct???

CO2 for plant growth CO for asphyxiation.
CO2 will asphyxiate - CO is poisonous (it binds to haemoglobin tighter than O2 does).

Gordon 11

Re: carbon monoxide as byproduct???

Probably the same as all cars used to do - release it into the atmosphere. It is short-lived and at sea-level pressures soon oxidises into carbon dioxide.
So the hydrogen may be a "zero-carbon fuel" but it's production produces a greenhouse gas, which is seemingly ignored?

Or is the assumption that it's OK because it's removing methane (which is worse)?

Your connection is not Brexit... we mean private: UK Tory party lets security cert expire

Gordon 11

Re: Leading by example?

...they just want their blue(?) passports back...
I always thought the most-liked part was the stiff cover, not the colour.

Microsoft emergency update: Malware Engine needs, erm, malware protection

Gordon 11

Because it is an out-of-band critical fix, however, it should be installed as soon as possible. For most users, this will happen automatically.
Odd then that when I fire up my two Windows systems to look for this, only one of them finds it.

And even that one has it scheduled behind a "2017-11 Cumulative Update" that has been sitting at a status of "Preparing to download - 100%" for over 15 minutes without progressing.

Official: Perl the most hated programming language, say devs

Gordon 11

The Human Genome Project...

...was saved by Perl.


What’s the real point of being a dev? It's saving management from themselves

Gordon 11

Essentially it added higher-level abstractions (databases, menus and reports) to what previous languages had had
You mean it added new syntax to the language to do things that could be (and in practice probably were..) done by library code.

What always amazed me was the unwillingness of academics and managers to believe that you could, and should, write commonly-needed functionality into callable library code.

Windows Fall Creators Update is here: What do you want first – bad news or good news?

Gordon 11

Re: Inivitably!

Nope. There is no option to turn it off completely in the GUI. Windows 10 ALWAYS warns you it's going to reboot for an update with an option to postpone.
What you don't get is an option to delay the patch/update in the first place. So once Windows has decided to "upgrade" you're forced to go through the let's-reboot-3-times reboot when you next shutdown.

In my case it was "worse" (it didn't really matter to me, but it could have done so).

Last night I asked my laptop to look for updates. It reported it had found none. I then looked at the Microsoft blog page about how to force an update (happy for my laptop to go first...) and suddenly the update page (open next to my browser) decided it had two updates - an Adobe Flash one (again) and Windows 1709.

That was the better part of 3 hours (and that's on a system with an SSD).

So it downloaded them and installed them. Except the 1709 download failed to install, so it downloaded it all again. This time it installed OK and I was left with a Restart option. Whcih I selected and 3 reboots later I had Windows 1709. I then had to go in a patch the registry to switch off auto-login on accounts with no password (which MS always decides to reset for me...how kind) and remove the login page image.

London Tube tracking trial may make commuting less miserable

Gordon 11

Do you seriously make sure you switch wifi off every time you leave the house / office / girlfriends house....
No. I only have it on when I want to use it (same for mobile data). That means when I am looking at it...

Big question of the day: Is it time to lock down .localhost?

Gordon 11

Re: Silly "private" dns stuff abounds.

Yes, reserving ".localhost" and ALWAYS returning "no such name" is probably a good idea.
Which is not the same thing as "localhost".

".localhost" is a DNS zone, and as such can have a large number of sub-entries (although putting in a wildcard match would handle returning a consistent reply with one config line).

"localhost" is a key within a zone (roughly - it will depend how you have your name resolver configured). So if you have name resolution configure to search zones, say, ".me", ".info", don't have a specific "localhost" entry defined, look for "localhost" and someone has defined "localhost.me", then you'll get that record.

Gordon 11

The relevant RFCs covering use of localhost say that the IPv4 block
Isn't it a class A subnet, so that would be

I've always though that 16777214 usable address was a little bit of an overkill for loopback...

Gordon 11

Re: I've just had to add our "companyname.com"

IMHO, besides "locahost" a local domain (".local", ".localdomain"?) should be reserved to create internal networks, and ensure they cannot be resolved from outside even if a mistake has been done.
Unfortunately .local has already been taken for the Zeroconf protocol.

Gordon 11

Re: Is localhost even needed?

I can't think of a single use-case where we wouldn't be better off using the machines real name or IP.
Machines don't have IPs - network interfaces do.

None of the interfaces on a system needs to be resolvable using the hostname.

systemd'oh! DNS lib underscore bug bites everyone's favorite init tool, blanks Netflix

Gordon 11

It "is legal" but not in hostnames.

Which is the source of the problem.

The assumption in the original DNS was that an A record (although this is an AAAA, since the offending item appears to be IPv6) would point to a host.

This was always wrong - it only ever pointed to an interface (given that you can have multiple ones on a single host it clearly can't be a hostname), but the rule was built into the RFC IIRC).

So bind 4.x disallowed it.

The workaround was to set up a PTR records containing "_" to your A record, which contained "-" instead (since thy were aliases they could be "anything").

Then someone added a compilation option to allow "_" in A records. That must have been in the mid 90's.

Along came bind8 and made it a run-time option.

For someone to have got this wrong 20 years later is just a terrible piece of coding.

Set your alarms for 2.40am UTC – so you can watch Unix time hit 1,500,000,000

Gordon 11

Re: Signed Integer

Uh, for an absolute value, why would you store that in a signed integer? In what scenario is a negative time since epoch useful?

Well, I was born before 1970, so it's useful to represent my date of birth.

And dates BC(E) are also times before a data point.