* Posts by MacroRodent

1895 posts • joined 18 May 2007

In Rust We Trust: Microsoft Azure CTO shuns C and C++



C and C++ are very different things by now. C++ stopped being a C super-set a long time ago.

Stroustrup of course gets this right in his reply, he does not mix the languages.

(IMHO C still has its uses, but C++ should be drawn and quartered, then buried at a cross-roads at midnight)

Document Foundation starts charging €8.99 for 'free' LibreOffice


Nothing new

Charging for open-source programs in app stores is nothing new. It is Good that LibreOffice gets a share directly in this way. you can still get LibreOffice gratis for Windows, Linux and probably also for the Mac if "side-loaded" (? I have no idea if Macs still permit it, for me the Apple universe is alien).

I do occasionally send a donation to Document Foundation, as should anyone who wants to ensure there remains at least one full-featured office suite that works locally, and does not make your documents hostage to the whims of some Corporation.

The next deep magic Linux program to change the world? Io_uring


Odd subject

io_uring is an API, not a Linux program.

PanWriter: Cross-platform writing tool runs on anything and outputs to anything


Ted Re: Linux: Abiword??

Have to issue a correction about Ted: It uses the more modern gtk2 GUI toolkit, not Motif. Just for fun tried to build it from source on a Fedora Linux system, and it went smoothly following the build instructions, and without having to modify anything, which is NOT typical of large Linux programs last updated in 2013. The build did print out lots of deprecation warnings about some gtk2 API features, but these did not prevent compilation.

Here at least is a word processor that starts instantly.


Re: Linux: Abiword??

Sadly, Abiword seems to be be an almost abandoned project. The source is at https://gitlab.gnome.org/World/AbiWord but the last change was 9 months ago. I think LibreOffice ate its lunch. I used Abiword on Windows ar one time, but there were some deficiencies that caused me to drop it (mainly poor Finnish support and no document encryption option). But it is the only relatively modern FOSS word processor that is not too bloated and starts quickly.

Another, although not as featureful was Ted. There are many editing programs with that name, but this one was a word processor that used RTF as the native format and was based on the Motif toolkit. Think FOSS reimplementation of old-school Wordpad. Homepage https://nllgg.nl/Ted/ (but this is even more abandoned less than Abiword).

Draft EU AI Act regulations could have a chilling effect on open source software


Yes, they disclaim

Yes. For example, the old and widely used MIT License says in big friendly letters:


That should do it.

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


Linux desktops

Sure, major desktop projects like Gnome like to change things, but you also have the choice of using stable alternatives. XFCE still has much the same UI it had originally, in fact it largely follows the original CDE. That is it's niche: a desktop for people who don't want to waste too many resources on frippery, and have better things to do than learn a new desktop every few years.

Deepin prepares to leave Debian base and move to fully independent distro


Re: Welcome disruption

> For example, I use Ubuntu and that has moved some browsers (chromium? and firefox since 22.04?)

Have you checked if Linux Mint fills your needs? It does not use snap for browsers, even though it is based on Ubuntu.


Re: Welcome disruption

No one is forcing you to use Flatpack, Snap or similar on Linux. I never use them myself, despite having had Linux as my only desktop OS at work since 2019. I too heavily dislike the concept of bundling all libraries in a package.

Universal Unix tool AWK gets Unicode support


Still work in progress

Doesn't look like the Unicode support is yet merged in the master branch, but there is a working branch unicode-support with notes like "more to do".

Will be interesting to see how the old Master has managed to retrofit Unicode. I once looked at the problem in the context of another very old piece of code, and thought it too much work. If a program does anything except copy the strings, it has to parse the UFT-8 encoding, and on top of that many old programs assume characters have only 7 bit of data, and use the MSBs for something, or get negative array index errors if it is set (often crashing the program).

W3C's planned transition to HTTPS stymied by legacy laggards


Whats's the point?

Wonder why would the force HTTPS? Just for foolish consistency? In the case of XML schemas etc. published by W3C, there are no secrets, they are maximally open data by definition.

DoE digs up molten salt nuclear reactor tech, taps Los Alamos to lead the way back


Re: REstart?

Uh, the top of the tower is bright enough even in the picture to cause headache. I suspect you cannot look at that with unprotected eyes when the sun is shining!



Always wondered how you restart a molten salt reactor that has cooled down. The salt obviously has become a solid. Actually, how do you even start it in the first place? you need some way to pre-heat the whole thing to a high temperature (hundreds of degrees C).

NetBSD 9.3: A 2022 OS that can run on late-1980s hardware


Re: Reminds one

> In my day we had 7-bit ASCII and maybe EBCDIC

At least you had brackets and backslashes, you rich bastards!. When I started, most Finnish terminals used a hacked ASCII where [\]{|} was replaced by ÄÖÅäöå. Have fun writing C in it.

if (strcmp(line, "fooÖn") == 0) ä

arrÄiÅÄjÅ ö= 1;


Some ADM3A terminals in the Helsinki University of Technology had a little retrofitted switch that flipped between ASCIi and the Finnish character set ROMs. If you used it, the text on the screen would change instantly between brackets and letters.


Reminds one

If you want to get a feel of what installing Linux was like with the very earliest Linux distros, such as SLS, installing NetBSD is a very similar experience. I have occasionally done it for nostalgic reasons, but never used it for long before leaving it to the shelf (many of my machines have some NetBSD VirtualBox VM sitting around for this reason).

One problem with NetBSD (and an itch I should scratch some time) is installing non-English keyboards and UTF-8. You can ask for a Finnish keyboard in the installer, but affects only the bare console and has no effect in the X11 session. This needs a separate setting (I think it involved XDM setup files).

(Icon? There wasn't the nice BSD daemon in sneakers available, so I had to use that)

Rocky Linux 9 and its new build service enter the ring


Re: I don't get it

> having been bitten by the RPM-hell back in the days,

That must have been before RPM-based distros also got dependency-aware package managers, like Red Hat's dnf (previously yum), and SUSE's zypper.

Russia fines Google $374 million for letting the truth about Ukraine be told



Yandex, yes. But I believe DuckDuckGo is American.

Improve Linux performance with this one weird trick


Deals with bloatware Re: Disable swap

I usually keep a classic swap partition just in case. With a 8Gb machine, it is almost never used (one can check this with "top" for example), and consequently does not cause any performance degradation.

However, there is one situation where it is useful: You have some modern piece of desktop bloatware with lots of data open, and you wish to use something else for a while with the intention of getting back. So you launch the other program, things are sluggish for a while (swapeti-swap) but then you can do your thing in the other program and then return to the original bloatware. Again things are slow for a while, but you do get eventually to a state where you get work done, after the necessary pages have been restored from swap.

In other words, you swap from one big task to another and back. Like the name "swap" says. If I did not have a swap partition, the dreaded OOM of Linux might have decided to kill the first program. (Or something else).

Of course, the idea of using swap to run two active, huge programs in an interleaved fashion does not work nowadays, you might as well be running Babbage's mechanical computer.

CP/M's open-source status clarified after 21 years


Re: Bootnote

CP/M was originally written for the 8080 (no Z80 back then), and even after Z80 became available and popular, the OS and utilities, and all older programs written for it ran on 8080 (and the 8085, which was practically identical from the programmer's point of view). Later many applications started requiring the Z80 with its extensions.

Even as late as 1981 Nokia introduced a CP/M computer, the Nokia MikroMikko 1, that was built around the 8085, and CP/M most applications still worked on it.

SpiralLinux: Anonymous creator of GeckoLinux puts out new Debian remix


Re: FrankenDebian shootout

(ideally their KDE/Plasma variants, as that's what real programmers use)

Nah, Real Programmers use the text mode console. GUIs are for wimps.


Just a better installer?

Interesting. If I understood correctly, the distribution (either SpiralLinux or GeckoLinux) primarily consists of a better (or at least more user-friendly) installer, and the rest is like in the base? Not a bad idea. We don't really need more separate distributions, unless they implement something really new (most don't).

RISC OS: 35-year-old original Arm operating system is alive and well


Re: Not the only one...

Isn't OS/2 also still around, now named eComstation? Although that is based on the OS/2 Warp version that is very different from the original 16-bit OS/2 that was released in the eighties.

Arguably all the various BSD versions also date from that era, being derivatives of Berkeley Unix.

The PainStation runs Windows XP because of course it does


Bene Gesseret technology

The PainStation sounds like something from Dune...

I did visit what was probably the same museum in 2017 or so, but I don't recall seeing the PainStation then, clearly they have updated the exhibition. Certainly on my if and when I get to Berlin again.

Google engineer suspended for violating confidentiality policies over 'sentient' AI


Re: If it was sentient

I wonder if it just needs a kind of feedback loop that would stimulate it when not talking to a human. Or continuous inputs from the environment like we have. Come to think about it, the AI is in now in a kind of sensory deprivation tank, a state of affairs that is known to make humans crazy if they stay in the tank too long...

Europe's most powerful supercomputer is an all-AMD beast



I don't know the actual details, but I don't think it it just has wires going to some hydroelectric plant. Far more likely it is in the local "Fingrid" system like everyone else here, and uses hydro just in the sense of paying to hydroelectric companies in preference to other types of energy suppliers. Fingrid gets its power from a mix of sources, you can see a fascinating near-real-time display of Finnish energy generation broken down by energy sources (nuclear, hydro etc), consumption, exports and imports here:


Taiwan bans exports of chips faster than 25MHz to Russia, Belarus


Re: Crazy World

With the need of Russian Federations raw materials to actually make the chips,

There is really no resource in Russia that cannot also be found elsewhere. And chips do not require large amounts of raw materials anyway, they are a rather extreme example of a product where all the value is created in the design and manufacturing.



The requirement for faster hardware and more RAM comes from the inefficiency of the code that's written.

Amen, brother. My most hated bloatware is a local application that is essentially a search-and-replace that can handle a bunch of files, including ones in zip, gz etc archives. Somehow the implementers had managed to make it require both Java and Python scripts, and deliver it in a container that naturally contains a particular version of both run-times. And of course it is slow and pretty hard to use. It probably could be reimplemented as fairly straight-forward Perl script. But it is not in my department.

But it must be said most problems do become far easier it you can assume at least 32-bit address space, so even though I like efficient, non-bloated solutions, I do not pine for the 16-bit days. Been there, good riddance.

Keeping your head as an entire database goes pear-shaped


Re: recursive fork bomb

It creates processes, not threads (which is even worse, because starting a process is a heavier operation than creating a thread).

Lonestar plans to put datacenters in the Moon's lava tubes


Re: RE: Simple question: if knowledge is so completely lost...

Data meant to be accessed by some unknown people (or other beings) in the future surely should not be encrypted, and It should be encoded in as straightforward way as possible.

As for explaining coding etc, I think such really-long-term storage must be accompanied by material that bootstraps the deciphering from the basics. Like explaining binary coding at elementary level (01 = o, 10 = oo, 11 = ooo), then ASCII A = 0100 0001 B = 0100 0010 ...

Of course there is the risk whoever finds your carefully prepared optical disks will use them for jewellery... But less likely if they are on the Moon, because stone-age level people will not get there.

Export bans prompt Russia to use Chinese x86 CPU replacement


Re: Military implications?

Not much. These weapons applications do not need ultimate CPU speed. Power consumption and robustness against adverse environment are probably more important.

Voyager 1 space probe producing ‘anomalous telemetry data’


Re: "Voyager 1 is now 45 years old"

The first modem I had at home ran at 300 baud in both directions. With patience, I could edit with Emacs through it, after I had thoroughly optimised the termcap for my adm42 terminal. Emacs wad really smart in reusing bits of text already on the screen.

Workstation, server, IoT? No worries. Fedora 36 is out – all 13 editions of it


Not a problem, and inherent in Linux (or Open source in general)

Linux (as a desktop or server) is for people who like to have a choice. Not some BigCorp telling them what the next OS version is like. Don't like the direction Fedora is going? Use some other distro. Actually even this is not usually necessary, because you can customise Fedora to you liking. I mostly use Fedora, but hate the Gnome desktop, so I use XFCE (conveniently, there is a ready Fedora "spin" with this, but even if there were not, I could install XFCE myself).

Contrast this with the moaning one heard from Windows users whenever MS makes some change existing users do not like. Sometimes the moaning causes MS to change its mind, but usually not, and you just have to swallow the new version. (And there is no alternate Windows "spin").

As to the huge number of distros, most of them do not matter for a beginner. They tend to be derivatives of the three or four big ones. (Usually born of someones dislike of how the original distro evolved! Or a pet customization of it). I would tell a beginner to pick well-known one with a good user community, learn to use it, and then, after maybe a year, perhaps sample others, if interested in alternatives.

Only Microsoft can give open source the gift of NTFS. Only Microsoft needs to



I have used it largely for handling NTFS-formatted removable media, which i often find has to be readable on Windows as well. Also for accessing a Windows partition years ago when I dual-booted (no longer doing so, as VM:s are a more flexible solution, so I now give the whole machine to Linux). Never problems with these tasks, but I agree more extensive usage might expose problems.

Not blessed by MS is not so relevant. The popular Samba file server software isn't either, it was created by a combination of reverse-engineering and reading incomplete MS documentation. MS is not in the business of helping open source interoperate, I don't expect them to ever help any NTFS project, at least not on terms that would be acceptable to the Linux kernel guys.



Sounds like the author had not heard of NTFS-3G, which has worked pretty problem-free for years. Mounting, reading and writing NTFS works just fine, and it comes with all major distros. OK, it is a FUSE-based system, but that is transparent to users, and the performance is quite OK, unless you for some reason want to use it as your main FS (and why would one want to do that on a Linux system?).

Unity and Trinity: New releases for forks of abandoned Linux desktops



Actually XFCE did not start by aiming to replicate Windows 95, but CDE (nobody remembers that, but it was used on Unix workstations, and pre-dates Windows 95). You can configure XFCE to be fairly Windows95-like, but it has its own feel, and is in no way a clone.

Beijing-backed gang looted IP around the world for years, claims Cybereason


Re: Who'd write logs in a binary format?

Haha, sure. Anyway the systemd log format is openly documented here: https://www.freedesktop.org/wiki/Software/systemd/journal-files/

Off the grid, Day 10: Yandex's only datacenter outside of Russia still running on diesel


Strike not connected

The strike at Nivos is a part of a wider industrial action of ICT staff in Finland, that has reduced service in several companies. So not connected to Yandex in any way.

Google cancels bi-annual performance reviews, shifts to GRAD system


Don't mention the war

For me (sitting in a country next to Russia) the rocket launcher was also the first thing that the acronym reminded me of.

Meet Moeco, Ukrainian-led biz using IoT trackers to follow supplies into invaded land


Re: Deposits and re-usable

I also wonder if they will run out of cellular phone numbers if the disposable tags connect via cellular networks and there are millions of tags. Of course you can reuse the number if the tag is disposed or otherwise rendered inactive, but you don't know when that happens, unless the end-of-life is managed somehow. The deposit you propose would be one good solution.

Fedora starts to simplify Linux graphics handling


Don't worry.

Just means some day Fedora will not work on old machines. But I'm pretty sure there will be other Linux distros that will. Probably even a Fedora fork or respin will, as some Fedora users will decide they will not give up BIOS and x.org, unless you pry it from their cold, dead hands (I myself might be in that group, x.org still has the advantage over Wayland that it works with all desktops envs, not only the most bloated ones).

Netflix to crack down on account sharing, offer ad-laden cheaper options


Re: 'Peak Netflix'

Yes, the content has been going downhill. However, one reason Netflix cannot really do anything about is studios setting up their own streams, and taking their content out of Netflix. So no Disney properties on Netflix, which sadly now includes much more than Mickey Mouse (like the Marvel, Starwars and Pixar franchises).

To see all I would like to stream, i would have to subscribe to HBO, Disney+, Amazon, Apple in addition to Netflix. The monthly bill would start getting serious.

The Register gets up close and personal with ESA's JUICE spacecraft


Re: Don't contaminate Ganymede either

I wonder why they worry about that at all. Jupiter has famously fierce radiation belts. After wandering in the vicinity for years, the spacecraft is surely totally sterile.

Nokia quits Russia over Ukraine invasion



I recently heard Ukraine received antiship missiles from the UK. The Russian Black Sea fleet may soon not be fit for use as a payment.

AlmaLinux comes to Windows Subsystem for Linux


Devs chained to Windows

Article: "particularly for developers in environments that have standardized on RHEL but prefer Windows for their code-wrangling tools."

A more likely use-case is developers in corporations where everyone is forced to work on a Windows desktop, despite developing for Linux-based environments. Linux does not lack development tools, and it is more efficient to work on the same or very similar system as your target. No "impendance matching" problems with file handling, for example.

Russia bans foreign software purchases for critical infrastructure


Re: Software with western components

That is also my take on what probably will happen. Open source is effectively sufficiently Russian, if it can be supported locally. The point is ensuring you don't become dependent on a foreign company and its servers for updates (and there is no practical way to prevent Russia from obtaining updates for open source), and to ensure the source can be audited.

UK spy boss warns China hopes Russia will help it take over tech standards


Re: IT Airbus

Not completely true, there are some semiconductor fabricators in Europe, although sadly very few compared to China, USA, or Japan. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_semiconductor_fabrication_plants

A major lithography equipment maker, ASML, is Dutch (www.asml.com). Stuck to my mind because a fund I invest in has shares in it.

C: Everyone's favourite programming language isn't a programming language


Re: Interfacing to OS has to work at low level for maximum flexibility

C is low-level, in the sense you can twiddle bits without resorting to libraries or non-standard features, and with good efficiency. And it does not require a complex run-time system to work. None of which is true of languages like Lisp, Java or JavaScript.

There aren't many C standards, except for successive versions of the standard, like with any other standardised language (C89, C11, ...). C leaves some things implementation-defined, which is in line with its low-level nature.

It is "lowest common denominator", because it is implemented for almost any CPU architecture anyone cares for. Not true of any other langauge (Assembler does not count, because it is by its nature totally different for each architecture).

ASN.1 is not a good comparison because it explicitly is designed for defining data for interchange between systems, and for nothing else. You cannot program in ASN.1. You also cannot use it to define an arbitrary data structure at bit level, because the data defined in ASN.1 is BER or DER encoded in the implementation, which uses particular rules and metadata to ensure the receiving end can reconstruct the high-level data. By contrast, in standard C you can use data types with fixed sizes from the stdint.h header to lay out your struct very precisely and portably. Really the only things you cannot define is endianness and padding, but the last can be avoided by ordering the fields of different sizes suitably.

JavaScript is not Lisp by any stretch. It lacks the key innovation in Lisp: using the same simple and elegant representation for both data and code.

(Hmm, looks like I disagree with almost all your statements).


Interfacing to OS has to work at low level for maximum flexibility

So they are complaining Rust or Swift has to adapt to C calling conventions to interface to the OS? That actually is far prefereable to the alternatives, simply because C is sufficiently low-level!

If the OS interface were defined in a more high-level language, it would be even worse for other high-level languages than the one true language preferred by the OS writers, because of the added complexities related to the language's preferred calling sequence and memory management. In fact, implementers would likely find the OS interface a strait-jacket even for further development of the preferred language itself!

There is precedent. Have you seen any "Lisp machines" lately? They had an OS and CPU tuned for Lisp, which made using something else pretty difficult.

And Lisp isn't that fashionable these days. By contrast, "C machines" are going strong.

The IBM System/360 Model 40 told you to WHAT now?


Re: No rude but I always laughed

> "man true" says there's a --help and a --version option,

It definitely needs adding option --false, to invert the returned status code. Then we don't need the false command, and would allow writing chrystal-clear shell code like

while ! true --false; do



Russian chip makers face uncertainty as war drags on


Re: Nobody is ever *that* neutral

RISC-V International does not manufacture chips, nor even design them. It is just a custodian of the RISC-V architecture specs. So, a physical RISC-V chip is in no sense their product.


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