* Posts by Chewi

220 posts • joined 4 Feb 2013

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Removing an obsolete AMD fix makes Linux kernel 6 quicker

Chewi

There may have been clues a few years back

Some of you may recall the early Ryzen CPUs had an issue where they would just randomly freeze up after hours or days under Linux. It only seemed to happen when the system was very idle. I said half-jokingly that this wasn't seen on Windows because it never gets that idle. I then heard through the grapevine that people inside AMD thought that may indeed be the case.

I'm no expert, but I now reckon this kernel bug was causing it to happen more often than it otherwise would have. Maybe it's just as well. If it hadn't happened so frequently, AMD may have taken much longer to fix it.

Post-quantum crypto cracked in an hour with one core of an ancient Xeon

Chewi
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Oh well

At least they can afford a better computer now.

openSUSE Leap 15.4: The best desktop on the RPM side of the Linux world

Chewi
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It's a breeze

My wife and daughter are both long time OpenSUSE Leap users. Me? I'm a Gentoo developer, but when it comes to your nearest and dearest, you want something that just works. There's the odd issue now and then, usually due to newer hardware, but for the most part, it's a breeze. It was the first distro I tried things like EFI and Secure Boot on. I love how they continue to maintain a rich feature set while keeping it polished. Long may it continue.

Microsoft reanimates 1995's 3D Movie Maker via GitHub

Chewi
Happy

I was once a lousy bum, just like you.

You lousy bum.

(Anyone remember that?)

Devs of bcachefs try to get filesystem into Linux again

Chewi

LVM snapshots are slow

I'm surprised you didn't mention that LVM snapshots are really slow. Because it operates at the block level, it has to make a copy of each block before it gets modified. I still use them on the odd occasion but only for brief periods.

Apple seeks patent for 'innovation' resembling the ZX Spectrum, C64 and rPi 400

Chewi

Re: 1980s

Don't forget the MSX!

Time to party like it's 2002: Acura and Honda car clocks knocked back 20 years by bug

Chewi

Ford C-Max

My 2008 Ford C-Max seems to follow the Mayan calendar. It doesn't let you manually set any date after 2012, as it just wraps back round to 2000. Ford evidently didn't think this car would last longer than 5 years! You can work around it by setting the time and date to just before midnight on December 31st and letting it naturally roll over a few times, but you have to be really careful not to touch the year. Bloody annoying.

Reg reader returns Samsung TV after finding giant ads splattered everywhere

Chewi

My smart TV seems fine

The LG OLED55CX5LB I bought at the start of the year doesn't do anything like this, despite being connected to the Internet. I did opt out of a few things though. If I hadn't, it might have been worse. I definitely don't use the voice recognition feature, that just creeps me out, plus my employer insists on turning such things off. I do at least want mine connected to the LAN because I send it commands using a Python library.

Fatal Attraction: Lovely collection, really, but it does not belong anywhere near magnetic storage media

Chewi

I have a classic 160GB iPod with a spinning drive. It's old but I was using it in the car back when I did regular commutes. I had a dashboard magnet, designed for holding a phone, and it would have been perfect for holding the iPod. I knew it probably wasn't going to like it, but I couldn't resist the temptation to try. Sure enough, it made a horrible noise, and the screen glitched out. For a few moments, I thought it was totally buggered, but it eventually sprang back to life with seemingly no permanent damage.

Chiptune to brighten your afternoon: Winning 8-bit throwback music revealed

Chewi
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SID metal

Good stuff! If you like your tunes on the heavier side, check out Sweden's Machinae Supremacy. They really rock that SID. They do some amazing covers too. A Pinball Dreams and Pinball Fantasies mash-up? Oh god, yes.

Real world not giving you enough anxiety? Try being hunted down by the perfect organism in Alien: Isolation

Chewi

Re: Have you tested it on Parallels hosted Windows?

It natively supports MacOS and Reddit tells me the Steam version works fine on the M1.

I play it on Linux and it runs great there too. I have had the odd issue over the years but I think they were entirely driver-related, and not the game's fault.

Chewi
Go

Keep moving!

I've been playing this on and off over the years, not sticking to it because I found it so brutal. I think I had it on Hard to start with, then lowered it to Medium, but still struggled. It was only a few weeks ago that I realised what I'd been doing wrong all this time. Having left it for so long, I'd forgotten exactly what I was supposed to be doing so I watched a video on YouTube to recap. I watched in amazement as this player strutted around the ship without a care in the world, and no alien in sight. Surely they were playing it on easy? Apparently not. Just to check, I watched another video and saw much the same thing. I then tried this for myself, not slowly inching around the place, but casually walking about, just doing what I needed to do. I made it to the next save point without incident on the first attempt, despite having failed dozens of times before. Honestly, I was gobsmacked. It turns out that the alien takes time to home in on you. Stay in one room too long and it'll certainly find you. Keep moving and you'll probably be fine. I haven't had time to go back to it yet, but when I do, I'll probably crank it up to Hard again.

Radioactive hybrid terror pigs have made themselves a home in Fukushima's exclusion zone

Chewi

The great Okkoto rises again!

I look forward to hearing about the hybrid deer with a human face.

Microsoft warns of serious vulnerabilities in Netgear's DGN2200v1 router

Chewi

Re: The consumer brand networking gear is hot garbage

Their higher end stuff is no better. I'm no security researcher but even I figured out how to get root access through their telnet interface on the SRX5308 a few years back. It was enough to allow me to flash OpenWRT onto it, despite not being supported by the distro at all, though I never did get the weird network hardware working properly. I was going to report the issue but I realised they'd already fixed it in a subsequent firmware update, probably only by accident though, as they'd changed much of the software stack.

Google will make you use two-step verification to login

Chewi

Re: You've crossed the line

I may be misunderstanding here as the article isn't clear but if existing TOTP 2FA is still sufficient then that can be done entirely offline.

Shadow over Fedora 34 as maintainer of Java packages quits with some choice words for Red Hat and Eclipse

Chewi

He's right

Former Gentoo Java lead here. I totally feel his pain as I burned out some years ago. It's even worse when you're trying to allow users to build the stuff from source. I'm familiar with many languages, including those that are known to be particularly troublesome for distros (like Rust and Ruby) but trust me, Java is the worst of all worlds.

One reason for this is its approach to optional dependencies. Take log4j 2, for instance. When I last looked, it had about two mandatory dependencies but tens of optional ones, most of which hardly anyone would care about. That's fine if you're grabbing the precompiled jars with Maven or Gradle or whatever. Grab just the ones you need. Or hey, just grab them all, it's only a few more KB to download. If you need to build from source though, as Fedora policy dictates, you're screwed. Although it's possible, no one uses a preprocessor with Java so all those dependencies that are optional at runtime suddenly become mandatory at build time. And guess what, those dependencies have more dependencies and so on and so on, and before you know it, you've had to package and build half the Internet. Maintaining a single distro package, particularly in Gentoo, carries significant overhead that just doesn't scale in the context of the Java ecosystem.

Gentoo is not as strict about building from source as Fedora is so I considered just using precompiled jars where possible. You then have to ask what the point of packaging Java stuff is at all though. There are some small benefits but I didn't feel it was worth my time so I moved onto other things. I'm now the Gentoo Games lead. That's much more fun!

Nominet chooses civil war over compromise by rejecting ex-BBC Trust chairman

Chewi

Re: Who's the fool?

Wait, now I'm not even sure that article was fake. You linked to it in this article. This one is just about the decision being made formal?

Chewi

Who's the fool?

I felt foolish for falling for the April Fools article for a minute. Evidently I shouldn't have.

As battle for future of .UK's Nominet draws closer, non-exec director hits a nerve with for-profit proposal

Chewi

Re: To: support@ionos.co.uk

Thanks, I'll check them out. I meant to ask about this too as I really don't know who the good ones are. I use Zoneedit for DNS, who seem very good, but they don't sell .uk domains.

Chewi
Flame

To: support@ionos.co.uk

Dear IONOS,

As a very long-standing customer of yours, I was dismayed to learn that you have reportedly voted "no" in the forthcoming vote to oust the current Nominet execute board, despite years of despicable behaviour. If you have, in fact, not voted "no" then please declare your support for the campaign publicly immediately. I will otherwise be taking my business elsewhere at the earliest opportunity.

Regards,

James

P.S. I will be publicly posting this message to the recent article on this matter at The Register. You're lucky I don't use Twitter.

CD Projekt Red 'EPICALLY pwned': Cyberpunk 2077 dev publishes ransom note after company systems encrypted

Chewi
Linux

A good opportunity to open source these games? We could get some native Linux versions out of this! You never know, the community might even fix a few of those pesky bugs. ;-)

I'm only semi-serious, of course. Whatever they choose to do, this is still a shitty thing to happen to any company.

Tab minimalists look away: Vivaldi introduces two-level tab stacks

Chewi

Re: Some people

I try not to do this but it's hard. To be fair though, Vivaldi doesn't load the tabs until you click on them.

The API that will not die: Microsoft opens crypt to unleash Win32 on Rust

Chewi

FFI

I think this is basically what FFI gives you for many languages but this approach is never as nice as proper hand-crafted bindings.

Signal boost: Secure chat app is wobbly at the moment. Not surprising after gaining 30m+ users in a week, though

Chewi

I did wonder why 4 somewhat unrelated people among my contacts suddenly appeared on Signal within 24 hours. When one of them mentioned Elon Musk, it suddenly made sense. They are comprised of 2 physicists and 2 business leaders!

To put that in perspective, that's about the same number of new users I'd seen in the previous year. I've been using it for a while. It could be better in places but it's certainly not bad and it's long been my default SMS app.

Beagleboard peeps tease dual-core 64-bit RISC-V computer with GPU, AI acceleration, more for $119

Chewi

"…and include a GPU from PowerVR designers Imagination plus open-source video drivers."

I did hear of this a while back but I'll still believe it only when I see it.

Why make games for Linux if they don't sell? Because the nerds are just grateful to get something that works

Chewi

Sorry for posting again but I had another thought. The willingness of the Linux community to fix any issues could extend to them actually working with the code or even creating native ports in the first place. I know I'd certainly be up for the former and probably the latter if I had more time. Game studios generally aren't prepared to trust their crown jewels to third parties like that though. One fantastic recent exception is the original Unreal Tournament (99). Epic, of all studios, trusted their old code to a small group of community developers and https://github.com/OldUnreal/UnrealTournamentPatches is the wonderful result. Granted, it's an ancient game now but it still has a great following.

Chewi

When looking for new games to play, I certainly favour ones with native Linux ports over those that don't. Proton does work remarkably well these days but I'm always left feeling like a second-class citizen. What's even more frustrating is when games initially have Linux ports and then drop them later on, leaving them bereft of bug fixes and updates. One such game I've started playing with my daughter recently is Dungeon Defenders. Based on the Unreal Engine, it must have been one of the best-looking games on Linux at the time of its release. As is so often the case, Ryan "icculus" Gordon did the port, but seemingly on a one-off or time-limited basis. It was eventually left to rot with a heap of known bugs. Most of these bugs weren't even Linux-specific. It then lost multiplayer compatibility with Windows, a key feature in this game, and eventually multiplayer stopped working entirely when GameSpy was shut down. We were forced to give up and switch to the Windows version under Proton. Yeah, it's fine, but it still feels shitty and it's no thanks to Chromatic Games.

You don't hear it so often now but the other thing that annoys me is the assumption by some that Linux somehow cannot handle these AAA games. When Valve ported their games to Linux, they found they ran slightly faster than they did under Windows. I recently finished Shadow the Tomb Raider. I gather it looks every bit as stunning on Linux as it does on Windows. Kudos to Feral Interactive for their hard work on this and other games. There's even a somewhat unsubstantiated story that Doom 2016 was successfully ported to Linux during its development but that never saw the light of day.

How'd they do that? It's classified: Microsoft's Azure cloud goes Top Secret

Chewi

Re: Talking about Windows 95

I haven't tried it but I gather DOSBox is the way to go here.

Sod Crysis, can the 21-year-old Power Mac G4 Cube run Minecraft? The answer is yes

Chewi

Re: Why does minecraft need a beefy computer?

Java Edition is quite demanding but the alternative Bedrock Edition (generally the only option on consoles and tablets) is a bit speedier. Only Java Edition is officially supported on Linux and MacOS but the mcpelauncher project hacked Bedrock Edition into working. The difference is certainly noticeable. Although Bedrock Edition on the Xbox 360 is presumably built for PowerPC, I think mcpelauncher needs the Android version, so it wouldn't help in this case.

End-to-end encryption? In Android's default messaging app? Don't worry, nobody else noticed either

Chewi

+1 for Signal. I actually installed it to replace the stock SMS app more than to communicate with other Signal users, the latter of which I can count on the fingers of one hand. It excels at both.

CodeWeavers' CrossOver ran 32-bit Windows Intel binary on macOS on Arm CPU emulating x86 – and nobody died

Chewi
Linux

Re: I'm waiting for them to...

I can't top that but I can tell you that a few months ago, I ran Windows for Workgroups 3.11 under DOSBox on a 33MHz Amiga 1200 running Gentoo Linux. It took about half an hour just to start and moving the mouse was like shifting a boulder but it really did work. Unfortunately hardly anything on Linux besides the text framebuffer supports the Amiga's weird graphics hardware so I had to run it under Xvnc and view the results remotely but it was still running on the miggy all the same!

Japan testing sandwiches that discount themselves as they age

Chewi
WTF?

I'm more surprised that the Japanese eat sandwiches.

P.S. Watch the anime Yakitate!! Japan for the finest 69 bread-themed episodes you will ever see.

Linux kernel's Kroah-Hartman: We're not struggling to get new coders, it's code review that's the bottleneck

Chewi
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He's right

I can totally echo that. As a Gentoo developer, I get new pull requests on GitHub almost daily. I can barely find enough time to make my own changes these days, never mind review other people's. I do try though. I just wish they'd go that extra few miles and actually become bona fide Gentoo developers, then they can take responsibility for their own changes instead of getting stuck behind the bottleneck that is me.

A decades-old lesson on not inserting Excel where it doesn't belong

Chewi

Re: 65536

Indeed, I would be rather disappointed if anyone I worked with failed to spot that. Things do get a bit hazy with the larger powers of 2 though. Not so long ago, a colleague pointed out something interesting about the strange figure of 16777216 we were getting. "That's 2 to the 24." We all looked at him with eyebrows raised. "What, doesn't everyone know that?"

Burning down the house! Consumer champ Which? probes smart plugs to find a bunch of insecure fire-risk tat

Chewi

BOING!

You forgot to mention the comedy sound effect that followed!

Help! My printer won't print no matter how much I shout at it!

Chewi

Re: HP

It's HP's own glossy paper specifically for laser printers. *shrugs* I don't use it often anyway.

Chewi

Re: HP

Got to echo the above. We got sick to the back teeth of going through gunked up inkjet after gunked up inkjet. The HP lasted much longer than most but eventually suffered the same fate. We were maybe only printing once a month, if that, which is just not enough for any inkjet, it seems. We switched to a HP Color LaserJet MFP M180n and have never looked back. It's the smallest and cheapest colour laser with a scanner you will find, or at least it was a while back. It hasn't failed to print once. The proprietary scanner plugin even works perfectly under Linux on ARM. Sure, photos don't look that amazing, even on glossy paper, but we can live with that. I'll pop to Tesco and print photos there if I have to.

Before you buy that managed Netgear switch, be aware you may need to create a cloud account to use its full UI

Chewi
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Thanks Netgear

…for reminding me why I already swore never to buy your shit again. As if I'd forgotten anyway.

Amiga Fast File System makes minor comeback in new Linux kernel

Chewi

SFS

To be honest, if you're using a real Amiga hard drive for more than a few minutes these days then you really want something better than AFFS anyway as the performance is crap. SFS is one of the better alternatives. I do recall a (read-only?) Linux driver for this but I doubt it still works.

Anyone else noticed that the top countries for broadband speeds are well-known tax havens? No? Just us then?

Chewi
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Small islands are small

I can't speak for all the locations mentioned but Jersey's position is surely much more to do with it being a small island, which made ripping out all the old copper and laying fibre everywhere relatively easy. Before they did that, broadband speeds were relatively poor. It probably also helps that Jersey Telecom charges stupid amounts to dial into the island, even from the UK. 18p/minute from a pay monthly EE SIM!

Hats off to the brave 7%ers who dived into the Windows 10 May 2020 Update within a month of release

Chewi
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WSL2

Several of us at work have upgraded early for WSL2. Most won't get it for a few months. Some have had trouble actually getting it to start the upgrade in the first place but I haven't heard of any problems once upgraded. I've already switched my main dev environment from VirtualBox to WSL2. There's a couple of rough edges but the performance alone makes it worthwhile.

Microsoft emits a colourful Windows Terminal preview

Chewi
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They read my mind

I kid you not, I was literally thinking just yesterday that it would be really handy to have an "Open Terminal Here" option in Explorer just like Xfce has. Good job.

When open source isn't enough: Fancy a de-Googled Chromium? How about some Microsoft-free VS Code?

Chewi

Vivaldi?

Anyone know where Vivaldi sits in all of this? I knew of Chromium but didn't realise it was still quite so chatty with Google.

Contact-tracer spoofing is already happening – and it's dangerously simple to do

Chewi

Re: SMS falling out of use

Aww, a down vote? I should have been clearer in saying that I do still use SMS myself for that very reason and because I avoid social media in general. I do have Signal but no one else does. The Signal app also works well for plain SMS. None of this changes the fact that SMS is still falling out of use. Don't shoot the messenger. ;-)

Chewi

STIR/SHAKEN

As someone who helped to implement the STIR/SHAKEN protocol to allow telcos to block robocalls, I was wondering why it wasn't extended to SMS, but apparently it's being looked into. I guess they figured it was less of a priority because it's arguably less annoying and SMS is falling out of use anyway.

Linux-loving Windows 10 May 2020 Update squeaks in with days to spare before June

Chewi
Go

Re: No dice for me

I did get it working on the third attempt. Booting from the ISO to start the install instead seemed to do the trick. You don't get the opportunity to install the VirtIO network driver though and Windows seemed to have a hard time believing I didn't have Internet access. It literally asked 4 times.

> Let's connect you to the Internet.

I don't have the Internet.

> Are you sure? It's really useful!

Yes, I'm sure.

*REBOOT*

> Let's connect you to the Internet.

I don't have the Internet.

> Are you sure? It's really useful!

Yes, I'm sure.

> Okay…. so how about online telemetry?

Chewi
FAIL

No dice for me

I'm keen to try WSL2. I have a few systems to update so I downloaded the ISO. Most of my instances are QEMU VMs so I started with one of those. The first attempt failed and rolled back. The second attempt seems to be stuck in a blue screen + reboot loop. Good thing I made a complete backup beforehand! You'd think choosing the completely clean install option would be straightforward. I can only guess that it's having trouble with the VirtIO drivers or there's a more general QEMU problem. It wouldn't be the first time.

Could it be? Really? The Year of Linux on the Desktop is almost here, and it's... Windows-shaped?

Chewi
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My corporate environment has meant that I've had to run a CentOS development environment under VirtualBox on Windows 10. Unlike most in the company, I prefer to do nearly everything under Linux, not just building software. I am a distribution maintainer, after all. A few have broken ranks and booted straight into Linux but it isn't feasible for me as there are a couple of Windows-only applications that I need for my role. My new working arrangements at home made VirtualBox awkward to use and it's buggy as hell anyway so I switched to my own build of QEMU. It's still not the smooth experience that I'd like though. I know others have switched to WSL, which I've been curious about, but I wanted to hold out at least until WSL2, and even then I had my doubts. The mention here of graphical applications and Wayland is seriously encouraging though so I'm going to give it a really good look.

Surprise surprise! Hostile states are hacking coronavirus vaccine research, warn UK and USA intelligence

Chewi
Flame

Re: We're talking medical research, not nuclear launch codes.

I'm glad I'm not the only one thinking this. I was really angry when I saw this reported in the mainstream media. They're taking the totally wrong angle. Sure, they have cause to be concerned if the intent is malicious damage but that seems highly unlikely. The official warning talked about potential theft of "intellectual property" and that makes me sick. Placing more concern over that than the welfare of humanity makes them no better than Trump trying to score that exclusive vaccine deal.

Square peg of modem won't fit into round hole of PC? I saw to it, bloke tells horrified mate

Chewi

I did use a saw once...

I had one of those small Dell desktops that only took half-height PCI cards. I needed to fit a small card, can't remember what it was, but it had a full size bracket. A hacksaw did the trick!

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