* Posts by unimaginative

239 publicly visible posts • joined 12 Sep 2009


Version 252 of systemd, as expected, locks down the Linux boot process

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Re: This is the best advertisment

Also Void, Gobo, Guix, Alipne, Gentoo, Artix and others:

BSDs are another option.

https://nosystemd.org/ has a partial list

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Re: For a second....

Its a good example why not to standardise on American English: "fall" confuses the rest of us while Americans would know perfectly well what is meant by "autumn".

User unambiguous words wherever possible. Avoid ambiguous ones.

Why I love my Chromebook: Reason 1, it's a Linux desktop

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I think a lot of people do not really understand the distinction between system software (and configuration) and the hardware it runs on.

They also often think that computers get naturally slower as they get older - a bit like a car engine becoming less powerful with age.

'Fully undetectable' Windows backdoor gets detected

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Re: To be fair

Not natively, AFAIK, but there had long been third party networking (such as Netware) and even third party TCP/IP stacks had been around for a few years.

Once that happened "You know what would be great? If we could embed executable code in a web page." has no excuse.

Meta gives up fight to get $400m Giphy buy approved

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Finally, competition authorities are doing their job.

Children should have separate sections in social media sites, says UK coroner

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Re: Why is age verification an invasion of privacy ?

If you want to buy alcohol, you need to adult.

If you want to enter a night club, you need to be adult.

In neither of those cases are any checks carried out if you look like an adult. Nor is it usual for records to be kept afterwards.

In the third case it is only checked if the police want to see your driving license, which may or may not be for that reason.

In the third case there is also a high risk that you will kill or seriously injure someonThese are all less intrusive. From someone's social media profile you can find out a lot about them, even things they do not state explicitly: political views, religion, sexuality, location. Its bad enough already.

Some people have good reasons to want to say things anonymously.

From today, America and UK follow new rules on how they can demand your data from each other

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Re: CLOUD act

That was no loophole.

The act as originally enacted gave local authorities that power, very clearly. Local authorities do no investigate serious crimes, so what did parliament intend them to use it for?

These powers were originally handed out very freely - to local authorities, the NHS, the ministry of agriculture.....


The list has been considerably trimmed down since:


Still far too long a list IMO.

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Re: "Britain benefits most"

As far as I can see from the analysis linked to the difference applies to citizens and residents outside each country.

The other big difference is that the ECHR provides less protection than the US constitution with regard to privacy.

Given that so much of the data is either in the US or controlled by American companies they negotiated from a position of strength - the US has a unique position of power with regard to the almost anything IT, from hardware to services, particularly when it comes to security and privacy.

PayPal decides fining people $2,500 for 'misinformation' wasn't a great idea

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Re: It doesn't even seem legal in any way

However, they *do* have a right to protect themselves from fraud perpetrated against themselves by individuals, including their customers.

In the UK banks now also have a duty to verify that their customers are not being defrauded. So if you have been persuaded to, for example, transfer money to someone, withdraw cash (or gold) to handover to someone, if the bank fails to check the person you are sending money to is not defrauding you and you have been scammed they have to refund you.

Loads of PostgreSQL systems are sitting on the internet without SSL encryption

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Linster pointed out that PostgreSQL has a built-in firewall of sorts called the pg_hba.conf.

Its not a firewall of sorts. Its just a configuration file, and just like the configuration files for just about any software that accepts network connections, you can tell it what addresses and ports to listen to. You can use this to configure it to only listen to a unix socket or loopback address and its not open to the network at all - and others have already pointed out that this is the default. In the case of Postgres you can limit what IP addresses it will accept connections from. A reasonably careful person would also place it behind a firewall.

He's only gone and done it. Ex-Register vulture elected to board of .uk registry

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What can he actually do as a none executive director? He has a voice yes, but no power to do anything (hence none exec) or force anything through, other than persuasion.

Non-executive directors have a voice and a vote at board meetings and a right to be informed. Their entire purpose is to make sure part of the board is independent of the management.

Most of the Nominet board are non-executive by the way, so non-executive directors control it - however, some obviously support the management.

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Re: Dissent

A Director and the Board of which he or she is a member is legally required to act in the best interests of the shareholders.

Nominet does not have shareholders it is a company limited by guarantee, not shares.

USB-C iPhone, anyone? EU finalizes charging standard rule

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Re: The EU fails in IT.

"what happened to European rationality?"

As Gandi said (when asked what he though of western civilization"), "that would be a good idea!

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Re: By the time it is standard

The problems are

1. Its not necessarily the best charging technology for all the devices it covers. Is USB-C really a good way of charging bigger laptops, for example? The law will not initially cover laptops, but it will eventually.

2. If you are not allowed to sell a device with a different charging connector, how can one gain traction? Manufacturers may try out new tech in other markets (most likely the US or China) and then ask the EU to allow them. Reduces the incentive though.

Manufacturers have largely standardised on USB-C anyway. Except Apple - but Apple users are largely stuck in their ecosystem so will buy another Apple device anyway.

Like a lot of tech legislation, well intentioned, but not thought through, with a large element of virtue signalling. It keeps happening, and not just in the EU: Cookie law, VATMOSS, Online Safety BIll, etc.

I love the way the thumbnail for the video shows a pile of chargers, vs a single cable plug, when most people would largely need a new cable for a new device anyway.

Serious surfer? How to browse like a pro on Firefox

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IT Angle

Re: And this is so relevant to browser development.

It does fit in with the The Register's new obsession with US culture wars. Even a lot of the technology stories are not IT. Even a lot of IT articles have a political spin. Just glancing down the front page, there is an article about drones, two space related, one about a book being removed from a few schools in the US and one about protests in Iran.

Its gets people worked up and keeps discussion going, Facebook style.

G7 countries beat UK in worldwide broadband speed test again

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IT Angle

Re: What is "enough"?

Also, why the obsession with download speeds? I find latency to be more important. Higher upload speeds would also be more useful - offsite/"cloud" backups would be faster, so would outgoing video. Faster outgoing plus IP6 (so everyone had static IPs) would make home servers more practical which could allow a lot of new things to happen.

The very use of the terms "upload" and "download" assumes the main use of home internet connections is to consume media.

EU proposes regulations for tablet battery life, spare parts

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Its also a problem for people creating niche devices that sell in small numbers. Its reasonable to expect Samsung or Apple to do this, but not Pine64 or ClockworkPi.

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Re: Please do it.

Ideally, also make it possible for users to change the OS. Not many will do it, but there is potential to extend for far longer. I use laptops for a decade or more this way. My oldest is 14 years old and sees intermittent use for trying things out.

Just wait until people have to junk cars because the software is no longer supported - or even having to pay a fortune for upgrades because the car is out of warranty.

Open source databases: What are they and why do they matter?

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Re: MariaDb and BSL

The .com site is perfectly clear too. The author of the article got confused for no good reason.If you hover on "products" or click "pricing" or "downloads" in the main navigation its made clear, and if you go to the licensing FAQ

In fact MariaDB cannot make changes to the core product license because the copyright belongs to Oracle. Not unlike Apple and Google and others with Blink/Webkit browsers derived from KHTML.

Cockroach DB is partially BSL, but note that the BSL now means features are released as proprietary and automatically relicensed as open source a few years later. Its somewhat like the terms for Qt - although that is enforced by a contract with the KDE Qt Foundation AFAIK rather than being part of the license.

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

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Too many or too few desktop UIs

We had Register articles recently complaining (completely incorrectly) that Linux desktops were all like Windows 95.

Now we have someone saying all desktops should look like Windows 95.

Linux desktops are flexible enough that you can make them look very like Windows 95 if you want to.

An example for XFCE

And a Windows XP look for KDE

OK, an UI is about more than a look, but the start menu is an important element, as is the taskbar. You can make the behaviour of the desktop more like Windows 95, and use apps consistent with that too.

No one does that. I do not think it is what users necessarily want. Different users want different things. I do not want a Windows 95 like UI, and my desktop does not look anything like it. Some of the changes are for functionality Windows 95 did not have (e.g. switching KDE activities and virtual desktops).

There is also a marketing problem - for example if MS never changed their UI it would look bad when compared to something more modern. If Linux or MacOS had a desktop that looked like Windows 95 the reaction of most people would be that they were obviously years behind Microsoft.

The average user (whether an individual buying for themselves, or management in a business) has no clue about improvements under the hood and will buy on the basis of visible features and bling.

We were promised integrated packages. Instead we got disintegrated apps

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Android does have a command line. Just install a terminal app.

The problem is that unless you root your phone, what you can do is restricted.

You can also run a real Linux distro on top of Android with a full set of tools, and no restrictions with its directories. There are a few ways of doing this, but Termux is a good one.

Android also has the ecosystem around F-Droid which gives you a whole lot of repositories and clients using a common packaging system. Most of the software FOSS.

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Using the system UI controls or path system so remote paths can be treated like local ones is pretty standard providing the application developers use them, which is the usual problem.

The *nix ways of doing this work even if the application developers do not use them.

KDE, in particular also provides a lot of components, and a lot of apps that use them.

Weighing the less mainstream Ubuntu remixes: Including China's Kylin

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Some of us like theming, and I like being able to customise the desktop even more. Gnome sounds like it is becoming unbearable. It has been going this way for a long time though. It looks like it is increasingly aimed at corporate buyers rather than geek users. People who do not care about theming or customisation, who want to reduce support costs but do want support contracts/licences, and minimise training costs too.

The article contains another link to the article that claims (entirely wrongly) that Linux desktops all look Windows 95. The fact that the author does not change themes or default config explains this.

Enlightenment is an excellent, and very different, lightweight DE so I look forward to seeing what Budgie do with it.

That said, I choose a desktop for functionality and configurability rather than bling or initial config. I like being able to configure it so I have what I want on screen at a glance (e.g.. time and stats widgets) or at a click (clipboard, switch desktop, some shortcuts etc.) without take up a lot of screen space and eliminating the unnecessary (no need for a taskbar/icon bar/whatever) when you can use the keyboard or "present windows" or a few other things to switch between applications.

Googlers demand abortion searches ‘never be saved or treated as a crime’

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Re: Just for starters

Wow. That is a clever idea and great law.

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Re: Just for starters

Agreed, they are fine with all evil uses of search data (and everything else Google vacuums up) except for one that is a current American culture war issue.

I would argue that the ruling makes the US the same legally as the EU (states decide) except that the US has states that will take this to extremes.

The law in most European countries (typically a limit around 13 weeks or so, except where the mother's life is endangered) would not be something either side in the US could live with: state limits (on demand, that is) in the US now range from zero to up to birth, and because its a "the other side are evil and we are definitely right" issue so a reasonable compromise is possible.

Your AI-generated digital artwork may not be protected by US copyright

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Re: Protecting AI-generated works with copyright is vital

It apparently means that the human who set up the computer (or their employer) holds the copyright:


It looks like gaming videos are illegal in the UK, unless you get the permission of the game's author. Most of Twitch and large chunks of Youtube are illegal here? It says.

"In the important case of Nova Productions Ltd v Mazooma Games Ltd [2006], it was held that individual frames shown on a screen when playing a computer game where computer-generated artistic works. The author of these frames was the person who had devised the rules and logic used to create them."

That is weird and silly.

Google's ChromeOS Flex turned my old MacBook into new frustrations

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Re: Alternatively

Pretty much my first reaction.

The only advantage of ChromeOS Flex over a more normal lightweight Linux is the familiar Google branding. A lot of people who are scared of Linux will be happy with ChromeOS.

Against that there are many disadvantages: the reliance on web apps instead of local software, the worse performance and resource usage because you are not using native applications, the UI has been designed for different hardware, you are very tied to Google and so on.

Nancy Pelosi ties Chinese cyber-attacks to need for Taiwan visit

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Re: The only acceptable form of government is a democratic one!

Yes exactly. having lived in a country, Sri Lanka, with a compromised democracy (nothing like as bad as China) the west has amazingly good levels of democracy, freedom of speech, etc.

There is a huge difference between "imperfect" and "oppressive".

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Re: Call China’s bluff without quarter

Tell that to Jesus College Cambridge and other apologists for the CCP. You know the college that made a huge fuss trying to take down a plaque about someone with a vague connection to the slave trade, but happily takes money from the Chinese government (slavers and genocides) to back it.

Also MPs and other taking money from Chinese agents.

They have corrupted our system.

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Re: China's just testing the waters

"Mainland China would now be a slave trader's paradise."

So more like China than like Taiwan then?


So how come Taiwan is not a slavers paradise, is not committing genocide, and did not have to go through things like the cultural revolution and the great leap forward?

Sage accused of misselling perpetual licenses it knew would soon be obsolete

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Re: Asked whether customers would lose access to their data

The customers will complain, but the cost of moving to a new system will keep them buying.

Most new customers will have no idea this happened.

If tricky pricing actually lost a lot of sales the software (and cloud services) industry would look very, very different.

Your job was probably outsourced for exactly the reason you suspected

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Paris Hilton

As fas as I can make out, phonics does better in classroom settings: does not require individual attention, and people tend to learn at more of the same speed (so you get less of a gap between the fastest and slowest to learn in a class).

The problem is that it is a boring chore and is slower for a lot of kids.

Whole word recognition can be a game. Its fun to try and recognise words on flashcards. The you can move fairly quickly to books with actual stories (Peter and Jane) and you can easily be reading proper books for fun at 6 or so. My kids did not think it was any different from any other game they played.

It is how my mother taught me and my sisters, it is how I taught my kids. We all love reading because it was fun from the start.

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Re: And yet

There are some very good developers in Sri Lanka, and I have worked with them. Some incredibly good ones.

The problem is that good developers either:

1. work for a few companies with good reputations, pay, and that look good socially and on your CV. I worked for https://www.lseg.com/resources/perspectives-global-markets/capital-market-technology/millenniumit-delivering-speed-stability-and-success

2. get promoted into management

3. emigrate

4. demand higher salaries (which overlaps with 1)

The end result is that if you outsource to the cheapest supplier you get rubbish developers.

Pay say half a UK salary in Sri Lanka (or India, or a lot of other places) and you can take your pick. Pay a 5th and one of the other options looks better. Pay a full UK salary and you can probably find brilliant people.

The problem is that people offshoring are looking for cheap, and only cheap.

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Re: "Shri" Lanka

Its not true though. Shri is an alternative spelling or Sri, and was for a few years the Sri Lankan government's preferred transliteration.

it might have been easier just to stick to Ceylon as the name in English - it took older people a while to make the switch..

Battle of the retro Unix desktops: NsCDE versus CDE

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Re: You can not be serious, man ...

"That's why about 18 of the leading 20 Linux desktops now are (mostly fairly poor) re-implementations of Windows 95, whereas there are a grand total of, er, _no_ re-implementations of WPS."

Not true. A lot of desktop environments are very flexible and may default to looking like Windows 95 because its simple and familiar to new users but this is very superficial - but they are far more flexible and can look and feel completely different. None of the DEs I have used in the last few years (KDE, XFCE and Enlightenment) need to be anything like Windows 95, and I find them better with a different configuration. I do not think Gnome even looks like Windows 95 by default in most cases, does it?

I think the problem may be is that making DEs look superficially like Windows (taskbar, start button, in a single panel etc.) creates false expectations which lead to a poor experience when they do not work like Windows. Maybe distros should use more adventurous defaults?

Get over it: Microsoft is a Linux and open source company these days

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Re: 'The Evil Empire' hasn't been evil for about eight years now

I am quite happy to judge MS by what it does today, as described in this Register article from last week.

Meta's AI-based Wikipedia successor 'may be the next big break in NLP'

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Doing what search engines already do.

Google already does this.

Google's results contain a summary at the top

Google's result seems more informative to me.

It looks like a search engine with extra buzzword compliance.

Even robots have the right to learn from open source

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Re: The complaint isn't about the use of FOSS code, it's about attribution

There are numerous occasions where I have found code functionally identical to what I've written on a commercial project inside an Open source project. My code came first. Should the open source project license my code from the company I worked for?

If the author of the open source code had seen yours before writing theirs, then a court might well find it is a breach of copyright.

This is why people write clean room reimplementations of code. This applies to Copilot as much as to a human programmer, with the added danger that someone using copilot does not know when it might do this.

Copyright law was designed for books, does not work all that well for them, and when it comes to software it is -------->

Systemd supremo Lennart Poettering leaves Red Hat for Microsoft

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Re: Depart, I say, and let us have done with you.

I suspect the fast boot is important to people running large numbers of cloud servers they scale up and down rapidly.

It also standardises the boot system, whereas if RH had gone for one and Debian for another it would have complicated things.

FedEx signals 'zero mainframe, zero datacenter' operations by 2024

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Thumb Down

Re: "where it hopes to save an estimated $400 million annually"

Why not run an open source OS and an open source database on your own hardware? Even IBM hardware can run your choice of OS and database.

Is it cheaper to pay the premium for having that ability to increase peak capacity when needed rather than to just have it year round?

That is assuming the capacity is available when you need it: https://www.theregister.com/2022/07/04/azure_capacity_issues/?td=rt-3a

As for being able to easily switch, cloud providers will do their best to make it as hard as possible.

I was fired for blowing the whistle on cult's status in Google unit, says contractor

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Its more than that. The whole cult is very much of a certain mindset. Californian/silicon valley. From the link to the NY post in the article:

"preaching that one should immerse oneself in the finer things in life, abolish negative thinking"

Very contemporary American self-help ish.

"Athletic activity, humor, eyeglasses, mixed-breed pets and using the word “I” were all verboten. Women, deemed spiritually inferior, allegedly were forbidden from getting pregnant. "

A bunch of stuff male nerds are scared of!

From their own website: https://livingpresence.com/the-tradition-of-schools/

Going on about esoteric ideas, secrets, and how everyone else is is corrupt is a red flag. It is part of how cults cut people off from outside influence.

"The school was founded upon the basic Fourth Way principle that the work takes place in the normal circumstances of life and does not require special conditions, such as joining a monastery or ashram. Making this work a “way of life” means learning to bring the practice of being present to every waking moment, not just to special occasions, "

Implying no one else has come up with this idea. Most religions and quite a few non-religious ways of living have come up with this idea.

"There is a fee to join the Fellowship, paid on a month-to-month basis. "

The only other "religion" I know of that requires fees is Scientology. Some communities (some evangelical Christians, some Muslim communities. probably others) require income related donations . In some cases it is a sign of an exploitative cult, in others there is transparency and accountability (e.g. people actually know the money goes to the poor or whatever it is supposed to).

Leading Arch Linux derivative Manjaro puts out version 21.3

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Its a trade-off. Latest and greatest vs stability. Occasional breakages vs big upgrades between versions.

My preference at the moment is to use Manjaro on desktops and Debian on servers.

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Manjaro IS easy compared to Arch, BUT "easier than Arch" can be a long way from "easy".

Manjaro is for people who can fix the occasional glitch. You should also be able to check build scripts if you install things from the (untrusted but vast) AUR repo.

I switched recently and am happy with it. The odd thing needing a fix once every few weeks is fine by me (noting that too much time so far).

In general rolling releases are not great for beginners.

If Twitter forgets your timeline preference, and you're using Safari, this is why

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Re: Ermmm...

Twitter does not let you do very much without logging in. I there is away to see a timeline without logging in its well hidden.

Also the whole point of the timeline is that it is personalised.

Cookie consent crumbles under fresh UK data law proposals

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Re: Will this current government's blatant corruption ever cease?

I Don't Care About Cookies plus Cookie Autodelete plus blocking third part cookies gives you far more privacy than the cookie law could.

I used to use Cookie Whitelist but the cookie law made it impractical because I need to allow cookies on most sites so the cookies recording cookie consent (or not) can be set.

As for GDPR what I would like to see is exemptions for smaller businesses and organisations that have customer data for internal use. Facebook and Google may need strict regulation but a business with a few thousand customers should not need to worry about GDPR, nor should a parish church maintaining a contact list of its congregation. Both real examples.

Indian government issues confidential infosec guidance to staff – who leak it

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Re: Whoa there

Its probably intended for IT departments too.

Its a set of national government guidelines, so probably applies to departments that run their own IT.

Its an improvement on our own government in the UK which used Zoom for meetings that must have included discussions of at least some top secret information.

Not a GNOME fan, and like the look of Windows? Try KDE Plasma or Cinnamon

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Re: All this fuss about the desktop......

Yes, KDE is flexible, but most distros make it look like Windows to start with (which is the reason for the rather misleading article title) so I think people can start with it and learn incrementally how to configure it.

I recently switched back from XFCE to KDE and while there is nothing wrong with XFCE (which is also very configurable) I find KDE works more smoothly (at least now, there was a time when it was less reliable) and is more productive (not massively, but noticeably) for me for much the same reasons you do.

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Re: All this fuss about the desktop......

The difference is that you are using software installed on your desktop.

Its close to seamless: for example you can have a local directors and a remote one open in different panes of a split window in a file manager and drag and drop between them.

You do not to need to have the software installed on the remote machine. You can use anything you have installed. You can edit a text file in a GIU text editor you have installed locally. You can view an image in a viewer you have installed locally.

You can use it on machines on which you cannot install software, or where you do not want to install everything you need for a GUI.

This is not unique to KDE, but it works a lot better in KDE.

Indian developer educator Scaler moves to America with $11k online courses

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They have got to be better than bootcamps

They may be underestimating the competition at that price level though.

Dear Europe, here again are the reasons why scanning devices for unlawful files is not going to fly

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Re: Porn's effect on real life

What about faked child porn? With CGI and deepfakes I would guess its quite easy.

I cannot imagine much public support for legalizing it, even if the the safety valve argument is true and outweighs the risk of encouraging people to develop a taste for it - there is plenty of evidence that people copy behaviour from porn.