* Posts by Steve Graham

626 publicly visible posts • joined 21 May 2007


These days you can teach old tech a bunch of new tricks

Steve Graham

Booting DOS?

Just as a matter of interest, why can't you boot DOS on a UEFI machine? (In spite of the length of my grey beard, I am UEFI newbie, having acquired my first such PC only a couple of months ago.)

Intel NUCs find fresh life in Asus, but rights are 'non-exclusive'

Steve Graham

Reader, I bought one.

I bought a 12th-gen one recently, to replace my ancient i5 laptop. I'm very happy with it. There is a fan, but it only kicks in occasionally and is quiet enough for me, even sitting on the desk 50cm from my ears. I had no problems installing Linux on it, and Intel even maintain (currently) a .deb archive for firmware and video drivers.

Version 5 of systemd-free Debian remix Devuan is here

Steve Graham

It CAN be easy

Here's how I installed Devuan on 2 new Raspberry Pi 4s recently.

1. Downloaded a 4Gb system image.

2. Used the dd command to write it to a micro SD card.

3. Used gparted to resize the 4Gb partition to fill the 64Gb card.

4. Booted it.

What DARPA wants, DARPA gets: A non-hacky way to fix bugs in legacy binaries

Steve Graham

Re: Forgive me, please

Wouldn't Brendan "jumps-the-cheese" be closer translation?

Western Digital sued over claims of data-trashing SanDisk, My Passport SSDs

Steve Graham

Re: I lost 3 years worth of music and photography

"my data recovery company" means the company he selected to recover his data. That's where the "580$" comes in. (Oddly putting the currency sign after the digits. Not something a dollar user would do?)

Alarm raised over Mozilla VPN: Wonky authorization check lets users cause havoc

Steve Graham

Decrease the attack surface.

This is why I de-install polkit on any new Linux installation, and if any package imports it as an essential dependency, I nuke all the executables.

Orkney islands look to drones to streamline mail deliveries

Steve Graham

The Hebrides have tried rocket mail. In 1934, two solid-fuel rockets packed with letters exploded in the sky over Harris & Scarp.


Soft-reboot in systemd 254 sounds a lot like Windows' Fast Startup

Steve Graham

There were "versions" which weren't "released"?

Steve Graham

Re: Of course, hibernation predates systemd (been around a long time in Linux)

I have a little netbook which I use if I don't want to get out of the armchair...

The power button toggles suspend-to-ram, which means that it "boots" in less than a second if I need it. Obviously, if I don't charge the battery for a week, or however long it takes, once recharged, pressing the power button will do a normal cold boot.

I do have a script that does a suspend-to-disk if the battery gets very low, but of course, that only works when the device is alive. Historically, I've always created swap partitions larger tham memory size, but I'm pretty sure that suspend-to-disk does compression anyway.

Arc: A radical fresh take on the web browser

Steve Graham

Re: Off topic

I wrote a script which polls the council's website and scrapes the bin collection dates. It then changes an icon on my home page to tell me which bin to put out. It must save me literally seconds every month.

Of course, it will break if they make even a tiny change to the format of their page.

OctoX is a radical Rust implementation of a very old OS for RISC-V

Steve Graham

Re: Silly comments

Pertinent to Silly Comments but not v6: one of my colleagues prefaced a 60-character regular expression with the comment "Work this one out, you bastard."

Want to live dangerously? Try running Windows XP in 2023

Steve Graham

Re: nostalgic start

A couple of years ago I found a stash of installation floppies and even a CD in the attic (I was moving house) and got OS/2 Warp working except that if I booted it a second time, it thought it was being installed from scratch again and asked for all the floppies in turn. I fiddled with it for a while but didn't get any further before I lost interest.

Linux has nearly half of the desktop OS Linux market

Steve Graham

Re: I'd just like to interject for a moment

It's not the real GNU operating system unless it runs on the GNU Hurd.

Steve Graham

If ChromeOS is Linux...

...why have I never been able to get it running in a Qemu/KVM virtual machine? To install ChromeOS Flex, you had to tell it what the hardware was, and only some specific machines would be accepted.

Or has that changed?

If it's open source, I suppose I could build a version from scratch.

Intel pulls plug on mini-PC NUCs

Steve Graham

Just as I was thinking of buying one...

I've just replaced 2 home "servers" -- security and media streaming -- with Raspberry Pis. Both were antique laptops. (I was spurred into action by the fan failing on the Thinkpad for the second time.)

My everyday computer is also a laptop, driving two screens, but also long in the tooth. I was thinking that a small, fanless unit would be a good upgrade, but I'd want more power than a Pi.

I wonder what this decision will do to prices.

Free Wednesday gift for you lucky lot: Extra mouse button!

Steve Graham

Re: mouse that has a non-wheel middle key

Mine has a button behind the wheel, plus two more for the thumb (if you're right-handed). £4.99 from Home Bargains or somesuch.

What it takes to keep an enterprise 'Frankenkernel' alive

Steve Graham

Re: Missing fixes are hard to detect, one must not use these dangerous kernels

These were my thoughts too. Why not spend the same effort testing, and if necessary, debugging a kernel release from Torvalds?

I've been compiling my own kernels from kernel.org for almost 20 years now and have never had one that crashed or wouldn't boot. (Except once when I forgot to include the new-fangled ATA drivers.) OK, so I'm a hobbyist, not an enterprise.

Raspberry Pi production rate rising to a million a month

Steve Graham


I just bought a second-hand Pi 4 4Gb at about £10 over the new price, if you could obtain one.

(It arrived today. I booted it up, and of course, it has systemd. I felt unclean until I downloaded and installed a Devuan image.)

Fed up with slammed servers, IT replaced iTunes backups with a cow of a file

Steve Graham

Apple did this themselves

I remember that a version of iTunes would delete music files from local storage and use the "cloud" version instead. It worked from the song title and artist, and so it upset people who had an alternate or rare version of the music, and found that it had been deleted forever and replaced by a pointer to the mainstream version.

First ever 64-bit version of Windows rediscovered … and a C compiler for it too

Steve Graham

...the people creating NT were poached from DEC

Primarily Dave Cutler. We had the VMS source code and he had written most of it.

Asahi Linux developer warns the one true way is Wayland

Steve Graham

Re: Nope

Come back to me when I can run it across a network like I do with Xorg every day.

YouTube's 'Ad blockers not allowed' pop-up scares the bejesus out of netizens

Steve Graham

Re: The internet is in it's death throws.

Also, it's "its".

When it comes to Linux distros, one person's molehill is another's mountain

Steve Graham

My own quirk is that I dislike bloat. I've used Debian, and then Devuan for about 20 years, and I constantly strip out stuff that isn't necessary. Things like Avahi, which is installed by default, and appears to be a piece of software that runs constantly, waiting for me to buy a new printer. Consolekit claims to "keep track of seats". I have one seat. And so on.

Recently, I installed Devuan from scratch on an old laptop from the official ISO, and then spent about 2 days removing packages.

This led me to my current little project, which is to create a bootable image which has busybox, dpkg and apt-get, so that I can install a system by adding, rather than subtracting, packages.

Google halts purge of legacy ad blockers and other Chrome Extensions, again

Steve Graham

Re: user scripts, which allow the execution of arbitrary JavaScript

User scripts are installed by the user and live on his or her device. They aren't random bits of code that download and run.

On these web pages, I have one called "WiderReg", which I wrote to expand the content and remove useless white space on The Register.

Privacy fail: Pictures cropped, redacted by Google Pixel phones can be recovered

Steve Graham

The bug is in the image manipulation software, not the phone. I point this out because my phone is, in fact, a Google Pixel, but it runs the extensively de-googlified microG version of Android, and has no Google image-editing tools.

Vessels claiming to be Chinese warships are messing with passenger planes

Steve Graham

Chinese military: "Chinese warships are conducting sensitive manouevres in this area. Please divert."

Australian military: "Oh, a target for our suveillance aircraft."

Steve Graham

Re: Air safety is an International issue

In pre-GPS times, my first solo flight away from my home airport took me over the wide open, uninhabited areas of Georgia (USA). When I turned around to come home, the sun was lower and there was a haze and I couldn't see a fucking thing. The airport had an omnidirectional beacon at the end of the runway though, leading to happy landings.

A new version of APT is coming to Debian 12

Steve Graham

But hasn't non-free software always been available in the Debian repos? I used Debian from pre-1.0 days until moving to Devuan to avoid systemd. If I count the packages now with "nonfree" or "non-free" in their one-line description, there are 27 hits.

$ apt-cache search ""|grep -c "nonfree\|non-free"

How to get the latest Linux kernel on your Ubuntu box

Steve Graham

I've been compiling kernels from source for years now. Just because I like things lightweight and efficient. Obviously, distro kernels have to allow for a variety of hardware, mostly through modules, I suppose, but I can tweak other things as well. It's a very long time since I've produced a kernel which won't boot. In fact, I think the last time was when I forgot to include the drivers for the brand new SATA technology that had arrived.

I admit I enjoy tinkering too. I'm currently playing with an AMD-based 2007 laptop (came with Windows 7) and kernel 6.2.0, and the only thing not working yet is the ethernet. It seems to be the same chip as the wifi, which is working.

Ubuntu Advantage is being wired deeper into the distro

Steve Graham


If you dislike the promotional messages, you could use the apt package management functionality to override the dependencies, or make a "null" package to replace the annoying one.

But why would you bother? Just adopt another distribution. Most of the well-known ones offer the facility to try a desktop session from the installation media without installing.

Steve Graham

Re: Waiting on Bookworm.... (The "Windows" amonsgt Linuxes)

I've installed Debian dozens of times, since pre-1.0 era and never had issues. All my home machines are now on Devuan though.

Spotted in the wild: Chimera – a Linux that isn't GNU/Linux

Steve Graham

Re: Gnome and Wayland?

My thoughts too. Wayland is the systemD of graphical infrastructures.

Don't bore us, get to the Horus: Elementary OS 7 is here and looking good

Steve Graham

Re: 21st century folks do not think in hierarchies

I use the Vivaldi browser, and a few updates ago I noticed that the bookmarking mechanism had changed. When you clicked on the little icon in the address bar, there was no dialog to ask you where you wanted to put it. The bookmark was just instantly added to the same place in the heirarchy where the last bookmark had been inserted.

It turns out that you have to set a special flag (not accessible in the settings menu) to bring the bookmark dialog back.

BT taps Kyndryl to migrate mainframe apps to the cloud

Steve Graham

I'm glad it's in the past

For a time, I managed the team that did support and development of BT's mainframe-based billing system. In spite of the fact that I was a Unix person, didn't know any COBOL, and had never even logged into a CICS session (if that is what you do).

Riding in Sidecar: How to get a Psion online in 2023

Steve Graham

Re: Very interesting

"That was the day my grandmother exploded..."

LastPass admits attackers have a copy of customers’ password vaults

Steve Graham

Re: Sigh . .

I don't trust... well, anyone, really. That's why I keep my own KeePass password manager with the database on one of my own systems. I have backups, of course, but with my personal use cases, I don't need to sync across multiple devices.

In praise of MIDI, tech's hidden gift to humanity

Steve Graham

When mobile phones first gained the ability to use MIDI files as ringtones, overnight, all the user-submitted files on the internet were stolen and put up for sale. However, when smarter phones evolved, and could play MP3, many MIDI files reappeared for free.

Technically, I guess, if someone makes available a MIDI version of someone else's music, it's a copyright violation, because the MIDI is fully equivalent to musical notation. But that doesn't seem to make a difference in practice.

As very much an amateur musician, I have fun by downloading MIDI songs and singing or playing along. As it happens, I do own a 1980s Roland synth and a USB/MIDI interface, but mostly I use a software renderer and play from the PC.

Steve Graham

Re: Nice to have.

I was an Amiga A500 owner and wrote a lot of MOD music on Tracker programs.

You can hook your MIDI keyboard up to a website with Firefox 108

Steve Graham

This MIDI thing must have been possible for some time.

Chrome-based browsers have had an option to turn it off for a long time now, but I've no idea if MIDI works otherwise. It's something that I check is set to "Block" when I upgrade Vivaldi. Also I block access to my Bluetooth devices. Why would I want that?

What did Unix fans learn from the end of Unix workstations?

Steve Graham

I dumped a broken Sparc IPX which I'd kept for years intending to put a PC motherboard in, but never got round to it. That was before the Raspberry Pi was invented though.

Steve Graham

Re: Dissenting the Dissenting Opinion

I had an OSI Superboard (what was the UK board that was a direct rip-off of it?) and got to the stage when I could remember enough of the most common 6502 opcodes to patch code without needing the assembler. In fact LDA being 0xA9 is still floating round my brain.

Koch-funded group sues US state agency for installing 'spyware' on 1m Android devices

Steve Graham

Re: ASSuming

Yes, exactly HOW was tracking software installed? By carrier updates? By Android updates? How would you restrict it to one State? Technical details or shut up.

Eggheads show how network flaw could lead to NASA crew pod loss. Key word: Could

Steve Graham

Re: Question?

It's common for academic or commercial cubesats to be piggy-backed on a larger mission. I don't know if they are plugged in to the same network though.

Nitrux 2.5: The latest update to a radical Linux

Steve Graham

It's always interesting to hear about different approaches, but this project doesn't seem to have the critical mass that would give me the confidence to put my eggs in its basket.

(I'm having a scambled metaphors day.)

Linus Torvalds suggests the 80486 architecture belongs in a museum, not the Linux kernel

Steve Graham

Re: <raised eyebrow>

I imagine it's something like


use this register


lots of code to simulate the missing register


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

Steve Graham

Re: Security

Just so readers know: your problems are not universal ones. My phone runs MicroG LineageOS (i.e. no Google services, no Google telemetry) and is perfectly happy with my banking app and MFA verifier, along with everything else I had on my previous Googlified phone.

Ironically, my current phone is a Google Pixel...

Microsoft's Lennart Poettering proposes tightening up Linux boot process

Steve Graham

Re: *I* propose ...

I use mdev, which is in fact BusyBox, but I tolerate the violation of "do one thing and do it well" because it's still lightweight and does what I need. (Which is mainly auto-mounting a USB drive with a descriptive mountpoint name.)

Lash#Cat9: A radical new Linux UI for keyboard warriors

Steve Graham

Woof. There's a lot going on there. I don't think I have the mental flexibility any more to drive that. In fact, I think the last major change I made in command line was from VAX DCL to csh.

However, I'm very interested in any alternative to Wayland. As the article says, X functionality has been gratuitously discarded. Also, I don't like the way it's tightly integrated into the Red Hat architecture.

p.s. "#" for job id. What's a comment then?

20 years on, physicists are still figuring out anomaly in proton experiment

Steve Graham

Re: It's a facinating field

Beer is mostly composed of empty space. Perhaps that's where the taste comes from?

How I made a Chrome extension for converting Reg articles to UK spelling

Steve Graham

It occurred to me some time ago to write a browser extension which substituted "shit remake" for "remake" on IMDB and movie review sites. So here's the skeleton code on GitHub!