* Posts by alcalde

37 posts • joined 16 Dec 2012

GNU means GNU's Not U: Stallman insists he's still Chief GNUisance while 18 maintainers want him out as leader


Do you understand what the word "offensive" means? It offends, by definition. This is like saying you wished you lived in a world in which people weren't outraged when outrageous things were said.

Why should some people have the right to say whatever they want, but others not have their right to express their own thoughts on what was said? You want a world where free speech is free of CONSEQUENCES. Sorry, that's never going to happen. If you don't want a horrible fate, don't do or say or advocate for horrible things. Richard Stallman controlled his own fate here. He wasn't tricked into making the comments he did and it wasn't necessary for him to comment on the situation at all. He waded into the ocean and got swept away with the tide. Don't blame the ocean.


Re: empowering users?

RMS hasn't done *anything* for 20+ years except occasionally embarrass the open source movement. If an alien ship took him away tomorrow, open source would go on just fine without him - and if fact, we'd have less negative publicity stories like this one.


Having interacted with him, he's an intelligent man.. until you hit a point which would cause him to question some of his beliefs, then he goes into "robot mode" and just keeps repeating the same thing over and over like the proverbial broken record.


Re: A great iconoclast with his needle stuck in a groove

It's written in "The Origin Of Species" by Charles Darwin.

Seriously, you're actually questioning the idea that businesses and organizations need to adapt to the circumstances they find themselves in?

Delphi RAD tool (remember that?) gets support for Linux desktop apps – again


it remains (marginally) viable because of the people who have large code bases that (they believe) they don't have the time/money to rewrite and there are no other vendors so they're held hostage. And then there is the "cult of Delphi" who still believe that automatic memory management is evil, Java is slow, open source is all crap, and Delphi will rise again. Their numbers are dwindling with attrition though.

Lately the Delphi package manager server went down and has stayed down for weeks, suggesting Embarcadero isn't keen on spending resources on Delphi. That's in addition to the new type inference language feature having broken IDE Intellisense and refactoring for almost a straight year now with no fix. And then EMBT failed to deliver a 64-bit Android tool on time for Google's cut-off regarding 32bit apps, and then failed to have 64-bit ready for a beta, and then finally negotiated an extension "on a case-by-case basis" for Delphi users who officially plead to Google. And they still don't have 64bit OS X support either.

It's all falling down around users' ears at this point, but there are still some who remain undeterred and tell met brag that Delphi is used for products such as "Nero Burning ROM" so Pascal is alive and well. Sigh.


Re: Ahhh, TeamB... :-)

He was and still is!

AMD agrees to cough up $35-a-chip payout over eight-core Bulldozer advertising fiasco


Re: Spin and bullcrap

What is a core? Go back to when we had single core CPUs - THAT's a core. Why is everyone pretending that "core" is some made-up word? You're not allowed to define what a core is. It means a whole CPU. a two-core CPU has two CPUs on the same package; not bits and pieces of a CPU.


Re: Advertising

It did not have 8 physical cores. It had four cores, each of which had two integer decoding units stuck in it. An integer processing unit is not a core. This is like having a four-room house, sticking 8 beds in those four rooms, and calling it an 8-bedroom house. A bed is not equal to a bedroom.

Accused Brit hacker Lauri Love will NOT be extradited to America


Re: Excellent news

You make it sound like America is North Korea. A "hostile foreign country"? Or one where Asperger's isn't treated like ALS?

US reactor breaks fusion record – then runs out of cash and shuts down


Non big deal. Lockheed-Martin is working on fusion now and claims they'll have a working reactor in 10 years and a proof-of-concept in 5.

Their page even leads "it's closer than you think".


From Zero to hero: Why mini 'puter Oberon should grab Pi's crown


Re: Author comment -- could you lot miss the point any more widely?

Wow. This is like a doctor blaming his patients because he administered the right treatment and they simply refused to get better.

If none one got the point of the article, the fault rests with the author who failed to convey it.

Virtually none of the argument made here is present anywhere in the article originally posted.

>We should start over, using the lessons we have learned.

No one's clamoring for a new operating system, so once again, you're going to need to make a case for that.

> We should give kids something small, fast, simple, clean, efficient.

We do... Linux on Raspberry Pi. Young kids are not going to be dissecting the operating system of any equipment they're running and they've been using computers since they could walk anyway. My nephew taught me how to launch applications on an Android phone when he was between 2 and 3.

If kids do want to learn about the operating system they can go as far as "Linux From Scratch" and compile their entire operating system themselves from source code, and then eventually use "Beyond Linux From Scratch" to really make it their own. There are plenty of nice, tiny Linux distros such as Puppy if you want something simple and graphical for kids.

I'm just not seeing where this sudden zeal comes from for building entirely new operating systems with entirely new languages just to teach kids how to code or how computers work.

In the end, what this article was really about - i.e. what the text within it actually talked about - was a $140 computer that runs a fringe OS that doesn't run any software other than its own. Maybe a better subject would have been what the heck they're thinking and, Pascal fan though I am, how the rest of Wirth's career has been like a one-hit wonder trying to recapture the magic as he keeps releasing slight retreads of his original language.

In regards to teaching kids using real-world tools - few people, kids or not, want to learn something they can't use in the real world (that includes theory). They're not going to get excited about using a language or OS that leaves them with the skills to produce nothing useful. Now if they can take what they're learned and program software for their smart phones - they're going to be much more excited.

Microsoft tool-crafter Idera buys database, app firm Embarcadero


Re: Show's Delphi's worth!

The funny thing is that on the official forum they ridiculed TIOBE... until it started to turn in their favor. :-)

TIOBE is a "lagging indicator". Part of its rating process includes the total number of pages about a language. The problem is, those pages might be ancient pages that haven't had a hit in 10 years. As such, it is slow to reflect recent trends and tools like Visual Basic end up higher on TIOBE than on more leading indicators, such as using Google Trends to see what languages people are actually searching for (as used in the PYPL index).

There's no reason that Delphi users can't open source their code - heck, the Mormot framework, Omnithread Library, Spring4J, DWScript, etc. are very successful Delphi open source libraries. The *culture* hasn't changed since the 1990s though - most Delphi users write a library and then try to sell it online for $60-$300. Delphi is the only language I can think of where users *pay* for database drivers, even for open source databases!

As for a reasonable and balanced view, I find the idea that Delphi is as widely used as Python to hardly be reasonable. Nick Hodges, former product manager, once wrote something to the effect of "Delphi may be as popular as C or C++ - we just don't know." David Heffernan, the man who answers almost EVERY Delphi question on Stack Overlfow, replied that someone would need to be delusional to believe that Delphi is as popular as C++. You can check job boards, Stack Overflow, message boards, repositories, etc. to gauge language popularity. Heck, Delphi hasn't had a commercial book published since 2005 (Mastering Delphi 2005). If Delphi was as popular as Python, why would no publisher publish a book on it? There have been a few dozen Python books published in 2015. In the entire United States, Dice.com turns up 67 (!!!) job hits, and that's without throwing out the ones for Delphi Auto Parts or the Delphi hotel management system. Python returns 6,452. Reddit has 696 subscribers to /r/Delphi and 112,555 for /r/Python! So no, I don't apologize for believing that a Delphi user claiming that Delphi is as popular as Python makes the Delphi community look silly.

"One of Delphi's problems is the internet community of people who seem viciously against it, posting at every opportunity that it is bad, unused, etc. "

No, one of Delphi's problems is that so many of its remaining users can only program in Delphi, have never used any other language, never talk to any non-Delphi programmers, and otherwise live in their own bubble that's trapped in the 1990s. Feeling persecuted and paranoid is another symptom. People aren't "viciously against it"; most of the world forgot it existed. The others are just trying to inject a dose of reality to those who believe everything is rosy when the language has sunk to extreme niche status and has been overpriced and mismanaged for quite some time. The "interested critics" are Delphi users who have been burned by putting all their eggs into one basket. Criticizing the language is the most useful thing any Delphi user can do right now. We can't fix things until we agree on what's wrong. No other language community forbids people from discussing its flaws or only wants to hear praise. And if our community thinks it's as popular as Python then it doesn't have a clue about where it needs to improve.

"As for Google, Facebook etc: I have no idea if those companies use it."

They talk about the tools they use all the time - they even create some of their own! You have to know that they don't use Delphi. A multinational using a language for an internal infrastructure project is considered one of the metrics that a new language has succeeded. I don't believe Delphi ever achieved that point.

>I also know, from personal knowledge, that Delphi is used by several space institutes

That it was used for one project in the 1990s by NASA doesn't count. When you limit things to 2010 onwards, it becomes a very different picture. Much of what's present on "made with Delphi" lists becomes disqualified as a result.

> by many scientific software companies doing things you may not have heard of but with core, high->tech customers, etc. (I know because I've worked on several of those software products.)

Given that R and Python dominate the scientific computing field right now, I'd be very interested in what scientific software today is based on Delphi. Heck, the array/statistics/machine learning libraries from Dew Research alone cost a combined $1600.


Re: Show's Delphi's worth!

Delphi is not more widely used than many people think - it's less widely used than the few Delphi diehards tell themselves (with no numbers or facts). You have to be kidding that Delphi is as popular as Python. Python is the #1 teaching language now, surpassing Java, for CS 101 at top schools. Pascal was out of schools between '98-'99. Dice.com found that Python was the only language in its top 10 list of most sought-after tech skills, and it was also narrowly the highest paid developer language for job ads that posted salaries. It powers everything from Mercurial to Dropbox and continues to grow.

Earlier research showed Delphi was #34 for new projects at Github in 2012 and #39 in 2013. I crunched the numbers myself and found it was at #44 for 2014. I've also crunched numbers myself and found that Python's repository adds more packages/libraries in one year than Delphi's repository, Torry.net, did in all the years of its existence! I've also crunched Stack Overflow numbers and shown that Delphi questions, as a percentage of total questions asked, has been on the decline almost since Stack Overflow began.

I also crunched the numbers from Stack Overflow's developer survey this very evening. Out of 26,087 respondents, only 121 replied that their primary tools include Delphi or Pascal. That's just under 1/2 of one percent.

I'm an outcast from the Delphi community because I actually seek facts rather than worship it like a religion. Please don't go around claiming that Delphi is as popular as Python or that it's the sixth most used language. It only makes Delphi developers look foolish.

Delphi users are a tiny minority and most are using it solely to maintain legacy software. No international company uses it for internal infrastructure projects, which is often considered a mark that a language has "made it" into the big league. When Google or Facebook or Twitter code in Delphi, then you can talk about it being a major player.

Chrome, Debian Linux, and the secret binary blob download riddle


I'm a full-time Linux user for five years, and I'm still surprised by the amount of paranoia and tin-hat thinking in the Linux community. Assuming the least likely thing is the most likely thing is the realm of conspiracy theories. Unless you're a known target of industrial or political espionage - bank, defense contractor, etc. - one should assume all code is exactly what it appears to be unless you have an actual reason to believe otherwise. Who realistically thinks they're important enough that Google wants to personally spy on them? This tempest-in-a-teapot stuff distracts us from things that are really important - such as the forthcoming Windows 10 and the degree to which it has borrowed from Linux, from package management to virtual desktops to a free upgrade, and the potential rehash of the UEFI-may-lock-out-Linux problem that surfaced with Windows 8. That will really affect Linux users. "OK Google" has no bearing of any import whatsoever.

Embarcadero’s cross-platform XE8 RAD Studio targets iOS 8, IoT


Re: native code compilation in VB

Delphi does not run at "close to C++ performance". Its desktop compiler is ancient, over a million lines of old-style C code with no comments. In addition, much of it still follows Wirth's single-pass compiler design, which is fast but precludes many modern optimizations. In recent benchmarks on items such as the Tiger Hash, Delphi managed to achieve 1/2 of C++'s performance. It beat C# with lots of optimization, but not Java. Similarly, on SciMark Delphi not only scores far below C++, but is beaten by both Java and C#. The desktop compiler doesn't even use bit-shifting for division; in a simple benchmark that involved integer division gcc was 3x faster and even JITted Python was faster! For the record, TinyC, designed to fit on a floppy disk along with a bootable Linux kernel, only has 3 optimizations - one of which being bit-shifting.

This fascination with a single deployable exe has never seemed to exist outside of the Delphi world. I've always been unclear as to why this was important, and worse, for most applications it simply wasn't true. Everyone seems to forget that Delphi's intended niche was as a CRUD interface to databases. For many years this required the use of the Borland Database Engine, or BDE. This was *far* from a minimal dependency. The earliest versions of Delphi shipped with a copy of InstallShield that was capable of installing the BDE. No one at the time bemoaned this fact. It wasn't until .NET appeared and began capturing Delphi's market share did this notion of "not installing stuff" suddenly become the new mantra. Even then, trusting your users to copy your file(s) into the right place and be able to create icons and/or start menu launchers for them is risky and you'd probably still want an installer anyway, in which case runtime library issues become moot anyway.

OpenSUSE 13.2: Have your gecko and eat your rolling distro too


Re: Avoid btrfs like the plague

Just put OpenSUSE 13.2 and BtrFS (/ and home) on a new PC build. With a cheap SSD it boots in about 8 seconds past the boot menu. It definitely doesn't add "minutes" to booting.

>Btrfs must surely qualify as one of the worst filesystems in computing history.

You had a bad experience with alpha-level software and you feel this qualifies to pronounce judgement on its current form?

> It's a resource-sucking pig

For kicks I've had BtrFS running on a circa-2005 laptop with a 32-bit, single core AMD Sempron processor, 512MB of RAM, and a 4200RPM(!!!) 75GB IDE hard drive. It works just fine, but the system does slow down if snapper is attempting to do a diff after making an automatic snapshot. Turning that off resulted in no noticable performance/resource difference from ext4 with LVM.

> that thrashes hard drives

The only thrashing on the laptop is caused by swap file usage when too many tabs are open in FireFox. On my new 18GB desktop, no thrashing at all.

>The fact that the kernel crew are committed to abandoning ext4 in favour of this junk is simply


Or they're not dummies and know what they're doing.

Linux systemd dev says open source is 'SICK', kernel community 'awful'


Linus got called out on just this by a rare female kernel contributor. Linus kept essentially saying he didn't want to talk about it and treated it like a joke. Meanwhile the nerdrage overflowed online and lots of filthy misogynistic comments followed on the Internet. Linus also began ranting about needing to wear a suit and tie and be an a$$-kisser and all sorts of stuff like being asked to think about what he says/writes before doing it would be the end of the world.

Greg K-H answered a question about the best thing about open source with being able to berate kernel developers. Poettering is 100% correct; Linus has set an example. He behaves like the Ann Coulter of Linux and in the same way his minions cheer every time he says something horrible to someone. I used to admire the guy but now I say that I greatly admire some of the things he's written about software design but the things he's written about people are terrible and simply unacceptable in 2014 in regards to bullying. I've seen him tell people to go kill themselves after a rash of teen/young adult suicides due to bullying made national news. Sadly I've discovered he's not a man I'd like to sit down and have dinner with for fear of what would come out of his mouth if I or anyone else had a different opinion. Now take Steve Wozniak - another tech genius, but also a kind, warm-hearted human being who I would love to talk with. He builds people up rather than tearing them down.


Re: Tired old racial angle

Wow boltar, you really exhibit the angry intolerant bullying that's the real subject here.

The point, when one takes time to think about it, is that kernel development is a "good old boys club" of homogenous people who think alike and act alike - just as you're sounding like Torvalds now. The good old boys club attacks anyone who thinks or acts differently and tries to tell itself that they did it because they "deserved it" just like you do in your post. As a result, they only attract people who behave just like they do and they force anyone out who wants in anyway by bullying them.

The "POS systemd" is now going to be in use by essentially every major Linux distro. That means it's not a POS; it means there's something tragically wrong with those who have to keep calling it thus - perhaps a clinical aversion to change?

As Poettering goes from success to success and proves his ideas right time after time the nerdrage grows and grows. If he's not careful they may go Reiser on him.


Hans, some Linux forums are indeed friendly and helpful, such as the ones you cited. i've also known Sabayon and OpenSUSE forums to be friendly and helpful. But the phenomenon does exist. Remember Sidux Linux? It was infamous for treating users terribly. There was a giant FAQ about exactly how you should install and uninstall programs, what programs you should run, what file systems you should use, how you maintain your systems, etc. Some of it was common sense; other parts were like weird pseudoscience. Regardless, it was stated that if you didn't do all of these things then any problems weren't bugs; they were your own fault and you wouldn't be helped. They had a completely rigid ideology about many things - for instance a 64bit distro had to be completely 64bit with no 32bit libraries for compatibility, even if it meant you couldn't run some things at the time like Opera, Flash, etc. Object and you'd get banned. Do anything differently and you'd get banned.

It was a joke among other distros. Eventually they had a fight with their own governing board and forked the distro. Now it's called aptosid and spends its time actively discouraging anyone from remastering it and banning users from IRC.

Arch is another place I've heard hasn't been historically friendly to newbies (few realize its "keep it simple" means for the developers, not the users). Of course, nothing tops sidux/aptosid.

So yes, there are friendly and hostile places for newbies.


Re: Indeed

1. This has nothing to do with code quality!!! Poettering is being bullied BECAUSE HE EXISTS. Because PulseAudio is different. Because Systemd is different. Because he's actually putting his money where his mouth is and showing what he can do and really fixing problems. He could announce the sun sets in the West and 50 tweets would go out calling a bunch of four-letter words. It's disgusting.

2. Poettering has "delivered" more than most any other developer in open source.

3. If Poettering handed in a bunch of spaghetti code written in BASIC, it would not justify DEATH THREATS. Why is that so hard for the Linux community to understand - or do they not want to understand because then they'd have to realize it's time to demand Torvalds get therapy for his anger issues or be shoved aside for someone who can behave like a professional? '

3B. That's the real irony with your post - it's Linus who's behaving like a 16-year-old intern and needs to learn how to behave in the workplace. In fact the last time he was asked to treat people nicely he went off on a tirade about maybe he should wear a suit and tie and kiss a$$es and tell people what they want to hear and blah, blah, blah. He's got some serious unresolved issues with anger and with authority.


Re: Yes

Marcus - not every large development process engenders bullying. Not even the majority. Software development doesn't cause bullying. Bullies cause bullying.

Could we please stop with glorifying verbal violence and mental torture? Linus doesn't "take names and kick a$$es" - he unneccessarily verbally abuses anyone who has an opinion different than his. He's lucky he has the kernel and I guess somebody pays him for it - he'd be fired and unemployable otherwise unless he got some professional help.

Nobody "deserves" to be treated the way Linus treats people. If there's a bug in your code, you don't deserve to be told to kill yourself. Have you been watching the news lately? People take that advice.

You're blaming the victim for the crime, just like saying rape is the woman's fault. Poettering doesn't need to "be taught humility". Linus needs some sort of therapy to deal with his lack of human empathy and anger management issues. It's Linus who does the bashing, not Poettering. Making Linus and his henchmen out to be the poor victims of an evil Poettering is a real sick twist. I'd be ashamed to have my handle attached to a statement like that, let alone my real name.

It seems Linus really has engendered a spirit of anti-social bullying in the Linux community. It's a shame, and at least there are many open source communities where it would be unacceptable. Can anyone imagine Guido van Rossum telling people to go kill themselves?


"Called out" - first of all, Poettering has contributed some amazing code that's in use throughout the Linux world, and he puts up where others were content to talk. Second, there's no need to "call out" anyone. That's bullying. Last, the attacks on Poettering have nothing to do with code quality. They have to do with the hyper-partisan ideological purity that's engendered by that other dysfunctional bookend of Linux, Richard Stallman. Poettering is hated and reviled because he dared to change things. He dared to make something better, and for that he has to put up with THREATS ON HIS LIFE.

We just had a Linux gaming writer step down from actively participating on the site he created because of intense bullying from a Linux podcast - all because he dared to suggest they weren't the best when someone was looking to send a game review copy out.

This is madness. This is 2014 and bullying is no longer socially acceptable, period. Linus' "I tried and it just isn't me" isn't going to cut it. Admitting you're a mean-spirited SOB doesn't make it better and he'd be fired today for talking to co-workers like he does. In a time when there have been high-profile suicides caused by teen bullying, telling the OpenSUSE security team to kill themselves reveals that there is something stupefyingly wrong with Torvalds' common sense. Perhaps too many sycophants around and no one ever told him no? How would he feel if a teacher treated one of his children at school the way he treats others? What if a teacher ripped up their work in front of them and then suggested they commit suicide? Linus really, really needs to work on his empathy. And when he's been called out on this by a contributor, he insisted on changing the subject. For all his brashness, I don't think he can stand personal scrutiny himself. The Linux kernel would probably be a lot better today if Linus wasn't like a toxic substance to those who consider contributing.

The bullying needs to end. The defending of Linus needs to end - he's becoming as much an embarrassment now as Richard Stallman has been (such as when Jobs' body wasn't even cold and Stallman was proclaiming it was good for software that he was dead).Linux is bigger than any one person - even Linus. As it is, he now has Greg Kroah-Hartmann answering a question about the best thing about open source by saying it's being able to insult kernel developers. Linus needs to clean up his act, get some therapy (and possibly be screened for sociopathic tendencies) or hand the reins over to someone who doesn't freak out and start ranting about suits and ties and kissing up when he's simply asked to watch his language.

Programming languages in economics: Cool research, bro, but what about, er, economics?


Re: Depends what you are optimizing for...

>Pick a metric that is entirely objective, mathematical and easily comprehended

A metric can't not be objective or quantifiable and still be useful.

> Productivity and maintainability are arguable, speed is not.

They said this in the paper - they're subjective. The paper talked of a cost/benefit analysis - the benefit is speed, the cost is how hard the language is to learn and use. The cost is subjective, and of course depends on what the user themselves is already familiar with. The benefit, however, can be codified and quantified and that's what this paper did.

>In any case, you can be assured that the average economics prof won't understand that runtime

>speed is not that important.

How so? Other programmers tell me that run time speed is all that counts because, to hear them tell it, actually typing code is only a few percentage points of the time it takes to write a program. They tell me that it's the productivity you talk about that can safely be ignored. I personally think people are trying to ignore uncomfortable results on both ends, but hey....


>No, their paper is not on execution speed of languages, it is on choosing the best language for a

>macro-economic model

This is simply incorrect. The paper is not about "choosing the best language". The title simply calls it "a comparison of languages". The authors state that there is a lot of folk wisdom out there, such as "Fortran is the fastest language". The paper attempts to formalize and benchmark these claims.

>Our goal is not to overturn the experience of knowledgeable programmers, but to formalize

>such experience under well-described and explicitly controlled conditions and to report the

>information to others.

>We do not comment on the difficulty of implementation of the algorithm in each language,

>for a couple of reasons. First, such difficulty is subjective and depends on the familiarity

>of a researcher with a particular programming language or perhaps just with his predispo-

>sition toward a programming paradigm.... the reader is invited to gauge that difficulty for himself. >The main point of this paper is provide a measure of the “benefit” in a cost-benefit calculation for

>researchers who are considering learning a new language. The “cost”part will be subjective.

THAT'S the actual point of the paper. It objectively answers a very real question people seem to be bizarrely downplaying here, which language is fastest for certain types of calculations?

> and yet they chose to measure a metric that is irrelevant for choosing the best language for a


How the heck is performance "irrelevant"? If it is, someone needs to talk to their brethren Delphi programmers. To every discussion of this type, they give the exact opposite answer in their official forum. I've been told again and again that it's completely irrelevant if language X takes 1/10 the lines of code or 1/5 the time to develop because, paraphrasing, the total time to develop involves design and interviews and testing and writing documentation and the time actually spent typing code is trivial. It seems like both sides are minimizing the area they perform most poorly at.

>By critically examining their paper for these logical inconsistencies you can determine that their

>experiment did not produce valid test results

Well, one of us actually examined their CODE to determine valid test results, and it wasn't you. Their work was indeed valid and I'm working on implementing it in some additional languages they omitted from testing.

> since they only measured execution time, which TFA explains is not worth measuring.

I don't know what world you live in where execution isn't even worth thinking about, even if it has a 900X difference. In the real world wr live in, this paper performed an invaluable service of providing quantifiable numbers and confirmed fact rather than intuition and conjecture. The paper shows that Fortran isn't the king of numerical performance anymore and it shows, at least for one representative example, that those who say Python is too slow (apparently not you since speed is irrelevant to you) are also incorrect - with JIT, Python was one of the fastest programs and outperformed gcc's C++ performance on Windows. Speaking of which, it also demonstrated that choice of compiler has a significant effect on performance and that the same compiler can perform very differently on different OSes. This is all very useful information and they performed a service by validating it.

Apple: We'll tailor Swift to be a fast new programming language


Re: complexity and obsequiousness

1) Your code should be using tabs, not spaces.

2) There would be an obvious reason why because simply looking at the code will reveal the problem. The indentation can't lie to you.

3) Try having code where the indentation does not match the brackets. Raymond Hettinger tells of a large, complex C project with a huge cascading if section. The developers knew this was trouble, ran it through a prettifier (yes C developers recognize in their hearts the importance of indentation) and used extra scrutiny on this section of code. The indentation STILL managed to lie to them and ended up costing them over a million dollars thanks to the error!

4) Whitespace defined blocks are not "an abortion"; they've not only been adopted by one of the most successful languages but other languages like Haskell have (optionally) adopted it as well. Today it's seen as a bold and innovative move and one the major strengths of the Python language.


Re: Python done right

1. It's static typing that's screwed up, not Python's. About 80% of all "patterns" exist to get around the static typing straitjacket that one chooses to slip on if the first place to avoid errors that almost never exist and if they do are easily spotted.

2. Indenting CAN'T be screwed up in Python. It's syntactically significant. With braces the indentation can lie to you. In Python, it can never lie to you.

for (i=0; i<10; i++);

printf("Good morning\n");

The indentation is lying to you about what's going to happen. This can't happen in Python. What will happen is always what it looks like will happen.


Re: complexity and obsequiousness

This doesn't follow for me at all. It's not about "typographical conventions"; it's about indentation levels. It's about the human eye. Even with brackets or begin...end pairs it's expected to indent properly anyway. Sadly, that's once for the compiler, once for the human. Syntactically significant whitespace lets you employ one means for both. Try reading a block of code with all of the spacing removed. As someone once put it, if you have a "lawyer's eye" you'll eventually be able to parse out what's going on. Now take the same code and leave the spacing but remove the block delimiters (braces or begin...end). Its meaning will still be crystal clear to you. Hence, it's absurd to argue that bracket syntax is in any way more satisfying.


Re: If one company "owns" a language..

Oh, now you've done it. You're going to get the Delphi users hounding you about why you should indeed use a corporate-controlled language (and pay $1500+ to do it). If you're in luck they'll also tell you that automatic memory management is for stupid people, type inference is "impossible" and that modern language constructs are "fads" added to "look cool" (all things I've been told on their forum).

Microsoft: Office 2013 license is for just one PC, FOREVER


Re: So if the PC dies @eadon

@BlueGreen giggling at open source quality

PostgreSQL is used on the International Space Station, NOAA, FAA, Instagram

NASA used Python to streamline Shuttle mission planning

Python is also used to run YouTube, by Google, Netflix, HP, Dropbox, NYSE, Disney Animation Studios, everywhere throughout Industrial Light and Magic, Lucasfilm, etc.

Open Source powers all of the world's major stock exchanges, it's on the Air Bus, the United States military:

Brigadier General Nickolas G. Justice: "Open source software is part of the integrated network fabric which connects and enables our command and control system to work effectively, as people’s lives depend on it. When we rolled into Baghdad, we did it using open source."

It's in your phones, your routers, your cars, it powers Amazon, Facebook, Google; ALL of the current "big data" solutions are open source. The number one and two most used tools in data mining per the 2012 KDNuggets (biggest data mining website) survey of practitioners were open source: R and RapidMiner. The majority of web servers (63%+) are running Apache. The One Laptop Per child project and the Raspberry Pi are putting open source OSes and software into the hands of millions of children.

I could go on; but it's estimated that open source is at least somewhere in 80%+ of businesses today. I find it hard to believe that anyone's laughing anymore.


Re: @AC 02:46

Maybe you can't, but I know I can because I made quite a long list after my first year with Linux encompassing the install experience on up, from organizational matters like the frequency of releases to technical issues like copy-on-write for process spawning.

Goldman Sachs: Windows' true market share is just 20%


Re: @Trevor

> of which have no viable Unix/Apple equivalants (Avaya ASA, Business Objects, Visio).

You're honestly going to contend that there's no equivalents for telephony, data mining and charting on non-Windows platforms? Really?

1) Asterisk

2) Too many to list but Actuate BIRT, Jaspersoft, Pentaho and SpagoBI come to mind, although my BI preference is for a mix of a few different tools rather than one suite

3) Dia, LibreOffice Draw, possibly inkscape depending on usage


Re: Few use the "smart" features of smart TVs

>Almost nobody uses a windows PC as a TV. They use XBoxes and other STBs to add value to TVs. Therefore,

>there's hardly any market share to lose.

Nobody's watching YouTube videos on their PC? Netflix? Hulu for tv shows? Amazon Video On Demand? Bittorrent for... well, you know? Why is XBMC still in existence if no one is using their PC to watch tv? What about the periodic articles on Lifehacker and elsewhere about how to get rid of cable and just use your PC/the Internet?

I got RID of my tv years ago and my PC does double duty... well, it's also my stereo, my phone, my DVD player, and I guess it's also my mail box thanks to e-mail and online bill pay.


Re: Err really?

Google "Linux Munich" - they switched 20,000 PCs to desktop Linux and to LibreOffice from MS Office, finished ahead of schedule, and their support calls have gone DOWN as a result.

>and with money being the way it is, the situation is unlikely to change anytime soon.

Isn't that MORE reason to adopt open source software? With money being the way it is, I see more reason than ever to adopt a lot more open source. Take PostgreSQL - fantastic enterprise-class client/server SQL database. RedHat published a comparison against Oracle without naming Oracle and PostgreSQL performed better, especially under high loads. It has GIS, full-text search and unique features like being able to create new data types and associated indexes, open source plugins available to add new types, indexes and functionalities, the ability to code stored procedures and triggers in at least 12 languages from java and C++ to python and R, etc. It also includes several features only available on the enterprise version of SQL server - data compression, partitioning and replication. The enterprise version of SQL server has to be licensed per server core with a 4-core minimum at over $6K per core. That means a minimum entry point for SQL Server Enterprise of $25K vs. $0 for PostgreSQL plus being more standard-compliant and extensible. SQL Server Enterprise costs can easily hit six digit figures. Yes, I think things WILL be changing anytime soon.


Re: Off with their heads!

>Oh yes, and then all the hundreds of real Linux distributions, that work -so- well throughout corporate

>structures. Yes, that's the tomorrow I people want to see.

Yes, the Linux distributions that DO work well throughout corporate structures. Go tell Red Hat and SUSE they must be missing something that you're not. Oh, and Google, which are running their own version of Ubuntu. The only problem Linux ever experiences in corporate structures is when it bangs into the wall of a proprietary, embrace-extend-extinguishified Microsoft "standard". Open standards, no issues. Period.


Re: Goldman Sucs

You're missing the point... today phone=computer, tablet=computer. And yes, if everyone began biking to work or using mass transit or fuel-efficient scooters auto manufacturers WOULD be worried.

>Can anyone do all their work on a eBook reader,

If it involves reading... yes. :-)

>Portable Media Player

I can, but then mine runs Android and has a 5" screen and I'm going to get it to run desktop Linux soon. Just last night I remotely connected as root to a desktop PC via WiFi and SSH and killed a hung process and then later rebooted the system remotely. Is that work?

>, Tablet,


> or Phone (my MP3 player can't run an MS-OS.

You seem to be under the delusion that the only OS that counts is an MS-OS. In the Linux world they call that MTBS (Microsoft-Trained Brain Syndrome). It's the mistaken belief that Microsoft products are the only way to do something or that the way Microsoft does something is the only way it can be done. Symptoms include saying things like "I need to use Excel" instead of "I need to use a spreadsheet" or "I need to type this on Word" instead of "I need a word processor". In one vexing case I had a person insist to me she couldn't switch to desktop Linux "...because I can't sync my iPod with iTunes", which she repeated about three times in eight sentences. I then began to administer the cure by explaining to her that the operative phrase there was "...with iTunes". The Linux world doesn't use iTunes. But it does use Amarok, Banshee, Clementine, gtkpod and several other programs, all of which will sync to ipods just fine.

While your phone may not be able to run a Microsoft OS (but it would if you had a WinPhone 8 model) my media player does run the Linux kernel, as does every Android device. Ubuntu is also completing work on "Ubuntu for Android". One would slip an Android phone into a dock which is connected to a monitor, keyboard and mouse and the device would immediately switch over to Ubuntu complete with a desktop interface. The OSes would be integrated to the degree that pages open on the Android browser would be open when launching the browser in Ubuntu! Contacts, etc. would be shared and the phone would still be able to take calls in this mode. No Microsoft necessary. Also, unlike WinRT, Linux has been ported fully to the ARM architecture including applications, most of which merely need to be recompiled. For instance, while Office runs on RT minus VBA script, LibreOffice continues to function normally including its support for its own basic script and the superior options javascript and python. Linux, not Microsoft or Apple, is the only option today if you want to run your desktop software on an ARM mobile device.

In addition the Asus Transformer line of tablets have an optional keyboard dock with extra battery that turns the tablet into an ARM laptop as well as extending the runtime to about 14 hours. Given its unlocked bootloader you could install an ARM Linux distribution instead of Android and run regular desktop apps on it. Of course with VNC, SSH, etc. you could remotely connect to a server and use the tablet/laptop as a thin client.

> I suppose (if you care enough) you could ask what's the percentage of things that can actually run an

>MS-OS actually using an MS-OS ? - oh, 97% you say - well there you go.

Sadly, I have absolutely no clue what this even means unless one assumes that you only regard Microsoft Windows as a "real" operating system, which is just ridiculous.

I've seen new benchmarks of Linux on the Exynos dual-core ARM chip and in most benchmarks it blows away both the mobile and desktop versions of the Intel Atom chip and on many benchmarks places about half the results of an Intel i3 (although some were worse and a few better than that). About two years ago someone connected told me ARM was four years away from a chip with the same processing power as that year's entry-level x86 chip. It looks like they've made good progress towards that goal and possibly are even ahead of schedule depending on how the newest 64bit ARM architecture performs. This is the world we are heading towards: a mobile phone/computer that you simply plug into a small dock on your desk and which transforms into a normal desktop for large screen/keyboard use. Between increased storage densities, ubiquitous wifi and the cloud, you'll be carrying your only computer and its data with you wherever you go. The whole point is that it's looking more and more like Windows won't be the OS you'll be carrying around with you. MS could have tried to do what Ubuntu is doing and given us Windows in our pockets and it would have been an iPhone killer, but instead Ballmer's doing the only thing he's ever known how to do: leverage the existing monopoly to create another one. Between Win8 and the rumored Windows 9 "Blue" update next year, he's trying to force anyone who wants to develop for the Windows desktop to make apps compatible with the phone and tablet as well or be locked out of the Windows Store. Personally I think this is going to backfire big time. Either way, you need to understand that many phones today are now more powerful than the netbooks of a few years ago and they're eventually going to replace desktops for most users. Your (odd) thinking that it's not a computer unless the OS is from Microsoft is at least 10 years out of date.


Re: Microsoft USP

Beyond that Microsoft has deliberately tried to hide that alternatives even EXIST, as crazy as that is. When the secure boot controversy came up and Red Hat put out a white paper, Microsoft responded to it and continually used the term "alternative operating systems". Red Hat was the author and only sells one operating system, but about five times it was "alternative operating systems" in their response, not "Linux". "Alternative" apparently is meant to invoke the impression of non-mainstream, unusual, outside the norm. aberrant. It's similar to how some politicians leading a race refuse to acknowledge their opponent by using his/her name, with the idea that doing so acknowledges them as a contender. I envisioned a Microsoft PR person smirking as they kept saying "alternative operating systems". Even on the Microsoft partition manager it labels Linux partitions as "unknown". They're not unknown; every partition on a disk has a hex code that identifies what type it is and Linux was assigned two codes for its data and swap partitions many years ago. Use any 3rd-party partition manager and its correctly labels them Linux partitions; however Microsoft is essentially "terra incognita" and "here there be dragons". :-) It's ridiculous, but even among Windows trolls the line is always that Linux isn't a "real" operating system and doesn't count/isn't ready (although they'll try to do this to a lesser extent with OS X too). And I'm not sure the Windows OS installer will EVER acknowledge that other OSes exist; at least as of Win7 it had no problem attempting to create a boot partition on the primary drive if you tried installing it on a secondary drive and overwriting the primary boot sector WITHOUT ASKING or even telling the user; I only caught it because there were already the maximum number of primary partitions on the main drive. Someone once noticed me using Linux on a laptop and asked me about it and after I explained she said, "I didn't know you could run anything else on these things", which is the way Microsoft apparently likes to keep it.


Re: chemist

>Pushing aside a severe lack of subtlety, it is quite obvious that you cannot be considered as being

>representative of anything but a tiny minortity of computer users.

Incorrect. He's representative of the MAJORITY of business computer users. The majority are crunching numbers at their desks - accountants (budgeting, accounts payable/receivable, cash flow projection, etc.), logistics (analyzing bids, optimizing carriers, freight consolidation, etc. along with freight payment), demand forecasting, purchasing is analyzing vendor bids, etc. The other major task is working with data - transforming it (ETL), accepting it, recording it, outputting it, reporting it, analyzing it. It's things like AutoCAD and Photoshop that are not being used by most businesses, let alone most departments or most employees.

As such, many of the tools Chemist is using are useful for all sorts of numerical data analysis in addition to any field-specific software. And the reality is that numerical analysis and data manipulation in no way, shape or form depend on Microsoft products.

>There are far more secretaries, spread sheet users, accountants etc in this world than there are Chemists,

>Physicists etc....

And these people, per above, can be quite happy using LibreOffice Writer, Calc, and many other options. In fact, many popular ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) packages which combine everything from accounting and supply chain/logistics to payroll and HR as different modules in one suite use the browser as an interface or are Java-based rendering them OS-agnostic on the client end. Replace Microsoft? Solutions like this enable desktops themselves to be replaced with thin clients or a Chromebook.

What I do in business intelligence/data mining today is quite easily done without any help from Microsoft - in fact, given that many Microsoft products such as Excel are historically so buggy that numerous published papers by statisticians warn that Excel simply should not be used for statistical work at all and show Excel failing numerous benchmark tests with some broken functions taking a full FIFTEEN YEARS to fix and getting to the point of having sub-headings like "Does Microsoft Ever Fix Bugs In Excel?" not using Microsoft products is considered the smart move just on pure accuracy reasons. Anyone choosing to employ Excel today - in fact, anyone choosing to continue to patronize a company that lets reported bugs languish (or "fixes" them in ways that make them worse, which is also documented) for a decade or more should be fired for incompetence. They're just choosing the default without doing research. That's without getting into Word's incompatibilities (with itself) and its broken Master Document feature which has also remained broken since Word '95 and leads to data corruption in large documents, Access' various incompatibilities with earlier versions, stripping out features to force the use of MS products, non-adherance to standards, VBA being deprecated, etc.

With tools like python (cross-platform), Qt (cross-platform framework), Rapidminer (second-most popular Java-based BI suite), R (amazing mathematical programming language that can essentially do anything math-related and should be used instead of Excel for all but the most trivial tasks and the #1 tool in BI right now), sqlite3 for local databases, PostgreSQL for enterprise-class client/server database functionality (including the unique ability to code stored procedures in python and R), BIRT for web-based reporting, the python modules pandas for class-leading ETL data manipulation (developed by a trading firm and used heavily in financial and scientific areas) and sqlalchemy for ORM, etc. there's no need (or room) for Microsoft products anymore. The R Studio IDE and RapidMiner (via RapidAnalytics) can also run in the browser for use beyond the desktop.

I've got more enterprise-class data mining, data analysis, programming, database and machine learning firepower on my desktop today than I did when performing analytics at the HQ of a major billion-dollar U. S. retailer with close to 1000 stores just a few years ago. It's all running on Linux, with one exception it's all Big Three cross-platform (that one exception is a Mathematica-like program that runs on Linux and OS X but NOT WINDOWS), and it's all open source. That's in addition to all of the "glue" from e-mail and browsing to disk burning, backup, mind-mapping, VoIP etc that's also on the system. With slight reconfigurations my setup could be used for developers (replacing the python and IDE with Java/Eclipse, etc.), accountants, authors (slip in Scribus for desktop publishing), everything I used to do in my previous field of logistics, etc. Any general-purpose business task is quite capable of being performed today in Linux or OS X and much of it on more mobile devices as well.

There's nothing the masses are doing that they couldn't be doing today on Linux or OS X. In fact, give them Linux and the KDE desktop, and they might not know they're not using Windows!


Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020