* Posts by DrXym

5182 posts • joined 18 Jul 2007

Graphical desktop system X Window just turned 38

DrXym Silver badge

Re: What I like about X

I suggest you break out wireshark and see what modern apps are doing when they run remotely over X. Clue - they're not invoking X drawing primitives. Instead they're just pushing huge pixmaps around over the wire. It's even more inefficient than RDP which will push differential changes.

Of course maybe your entire world is running some 30 year old X code, in which case why do you care what a modern desktop chooses to do to get rid of X?

DrXym Silver badge

Re: What I like about X

Wayland exists as a specification, a library and an implementation in various backends and compositors. Most modern dists are using it whether the desktop is KDE or GNOME based.

DrXym Silver badge

Re: What I like about X

You're free to fork a dist that does just that. I doubt many people will care to use it.

DrXym Silver badge

Re: What I like about X

Because X is arcane and filled with obsolete code and patched up with hack extensions to allow it to provide a passable desktop experience. Read the link I provided at the top, it explains it quite clearly.

XWayland is just the X running over Wayland for software that wants. i.e. you can run X11 apps if you want but the entirely desktop isn't crippled from also running it.

DrXym Silver badge

Re: What I like about X

Relent?

Wayland has always treated networking as an orthogonal problem. The compositor can offer RDP or VNC or whatever as a remote solution and the major compositors already do. Or you could carry on using X.

e.g. the Weston compositor offers RDP and there is a real world example of it doing exactly what you want of launching apps.

Microsoft's WSLg launches Wayland and X11 apps direcly on a Windows desktop. How does it work? It's a containerized Weston & XWayland dist that runs as a local display server. If I type "nethack-x11" from Ubuntu bash it finds this server, which in turn launches mstsc in Windows and my app just pops up on the desktop. It's virtually seamless.

If Microsoft can do it I assume others can too, using RDP remotely too if they wish. This is orthogonal to Wayland however.

DrXym Silver badge

Re: What I like about X

1) It's not hard to find such discussions. Most of X is untouched by modern libraries like QT, GTK3/4. They basically use X for receiving input, cut & paste, and shoving pixmaps around for compositing & rendering. Everything else is obsolete. Hence the reason they have Wayland backends.

2) Or just use Wayland since the purpose of it was to be a stripped down API that facilitates what modern libraries need and does away with the rest. Maybe they should have just called it X12.

3) Client and server already agree to use X11 or Wayland. Compositors like Kwin fire up XWayland during startup so if your environment sets DISPLAY and your legacy X application just runs. The likes of QT or GTK have ways to set which backend to use when apps launch.

DrXym Silver badge

Re: What I like about X

Obsolete in the opinion of the people who wrote and maintained X. Hence the reason that X is moribund and going nowhere because nobody is working on it and all the desktop dists are moving to Wayland. But fret not, since if you want X, you can just run XWayland. X is no longer the critical path but it's there.

Did you get that? X is still there, it just doesn't hamstring the entire desktop's performance for the handful of apps that still need it.

As for embedded, your reasoning is all over the shop. It is likely that the embedded board used Wayland since it resulted in better performance for the device - less context switching, closer to metal rendering. The whole purpose of Wayland existing. Not to mention the better input handling on devices with multi-touch displays and the like. And if you were desperately worried about rendering you wouldn't be using X or Wayland, you'd be using the direct rendering manager through QT embedded or similar. In fact I can't think of any sane reason to use X in an embedded device unless you had some old application that absolutely needed to run on it.

DrXym Silver badge

Re: What I like about X

The complete drop-in replacement for X is called XWayland. It is X that runs on Wayland. You don't even have to recompile your code.

DrXym Silver badge

Re: What I like about X

Exactly. Most modern code has little to no direct X dependencies because they'll use an intermediate library like GTK or QT. There might be some problem corner cases as there always are but most have already been fixed by now. This is past history.

DrXym Silver badge

Re: What I like about X

Erm, what is this stupidity? The vast majority of code is already Wayland friendly because GTK and QT have Wayland backends and will automatically use it or X at startup depending on your environment. And for code that isn't Wayland friendly, use XWayland.

This should not be hard to understand especially since it has already happened.

DrXym Silver badge

Re: What I like about X

I'm not sure what you think Wayland makes your client do that it doesn't already do in X. Virtually every single modern application is rendering into a pixmap whether you're using X or Wayland. That is because the likes of GTK and QT are not using the 1980s drawing primitives in X, but instead use their own hardware accelerated rendering libraries like Cairo / QT Render. These render into a pixmap and the pixmap is what is presented to the compositor to draw on the screen.

When applications run locally therefore they're doing pretty much the same from a memory standpoint albeit with less context switching in Wayland. When X apps are running remotely they're also shoving pixmaps around. Wayland leaves it to the window manager to implement RDP or VNC instead of doing it as part of its own protocol.

About the only difference in Wayland is that the windows decorations (frame, buttons etc.) are rendered client side. In X, the client renders the contents of the window and the window manager renders the frame around it. From that point of view it's probably using even more memory since you have 2 surfaces - frame and frame content instead of a single surface containing both.

DrXym Silver badge

Re: What I like about X

I suggest you read the link I provided to understand what Wayland is. It has nothing to do with your graphics card. It is a protocol that facilitates communication between clients and window managers. e.g. it allows an application to tell the desktop that it wants to create a surface, and that it wants to render its surface, or listen for events etc.

But how the client draws into the client or how the window manager composites are their own business. Most will render with OpenGL ES and will expect a driver capable of doing this. That goes too for however XWayland work which is going to assume a functioning driver.

So if there is an issue with a driver, e.g. NVidia then the issue is with the driver. And yes you can point the finger at NVidia if things function well with in other drivers whether they are hardware or software based.

DrXym Silver badge

Re: What I like about X

The issue isn't that X is unstable, it is that it is obsolete. Huge chunks of it aren't used and haven't been used for years - the drawing primitives, fonts, damage model etc. Yet it all has to be maintained or it isn't the same protocol any more. And to do things approaching modern desktop requirements it had to be patched up by extensions which have to jump through hoops to function and had their own limitations and complexity.

That is why everyone including the people who wrote it have abandoned it for Wayland. It doesn't stop X running over Wayland, but X is no longer underpinning the desktop itself. This means you can still run X software but your desktop as a whole benefits from being more responsive & efficient.

There is a good overview of what Wayland is on its home page.

https://wayland.freedesktop.org/architecture.html

Windows 11 22H2 is almost here. Is it ready for the enterprise?

DrXym Silver badge

I hate the lack of task manager

It's very annoying to right mouse and not see that option. I made the taskbar align left and work more or less the same as 10 so I don't mind the default because I can change it. I think switching from spatially arranged tiles for a flowing list of favourite apps in the start menu was a terrible idea. I can live with it but I still hate it since I have about 30-40 apps all grouped in Windows 10 and it's all lost in 11.

Record players make comeback with Ikea, others pitching tricked-out turntables

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Re: Not unexpectedly..

Yeah well my digital audio sounds better through my PC speakers than vinyl through a pair of poundland earbuds. I hope you see the point of me ignoring that point.

DrXym Silver badge

Re: Not unexpectedly..

No it doesn't "sound infinitely better" and it's hard to understand why you think so. Virtually every vinyl LP produced in the last 40 years has been digitally mastered so you're playing digital after it has been converted & compressed as analogue and then when you replay it you get all the pops, crackles, wow and flutters on top. And by "compress" here I mean altered dynamic range.

If you have a collection of vinyl records then enjoy them but don't for a second think they sound better than CD pressed from the same source because they don't. And people buying new players or vinyl are just hipster idiots if they think otherwise.

Tough news for Apple as EU makes USB-C common charging port for most electronic devices

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Meanwhile in Cupertino...

... I bet they're already thinking of ways to be dicks about this. Maybe getting rid of tethered charging altogether, or DRMing their chargers / cables to enable functionality other than charging that incentivizes people to purchase them to use with Apple phones, or some fugly dongle with USB in it that nobody will want to use.

Majority of Axon's AI ethics board resigns over CEO's taser drones

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Exploiting a school shooting to pitch that idea is just evil. And now every police department needs to spend tens of thousands on taser drones? Wtf is wrong with America?

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

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Russia's secret weapon

I bet Taiwan forgot to ban exports of a turbo switch.

Version 251 of systemd coming soon to a Linux distro near you

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Re: They call it progress

1) Because if something depends on something else you want the something else to start first. Duh.

2) No it doesn't. This is absurd, especially comparing to what it replaces.

3) They are fixing stuff which has demonstrable limitations or weaknesses.

Honestly I find the systemd hatred just stupid on multiple levels.

DrXym Silver badge

Re: They call it progress

Shifting goalposts. Systemd is the bootstrap to the rest of the system. It doesn't need to have stable interfaces any more than the kernel does.

DrXym Silver badge

Re: They call it progress

It does do all that well and it isn't monolithic. There is no conspiracy to why dists use it - it works.

DrXym Silver badge

Re: They call it progress

None of them quite obviously. Systemd is a replacement of upstart which itself was a replacement for init scripts. It is quite clear what it intends to do and why it succeeds in doing it.

1. starting services in the proper order, and concurrently

2. bringing up or shutting down dependent services properly

3. declarative

4. principle of least privilege

5. security

6. auditing & logging

There is a reason that all the major distributions are using it and will continue to do so.

DrXym Silver badge

People don't run codebases, they run processes. And so what if it is built from one repository?

Perl Steering Council lays out a backwards compatible future for Perl 7

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Re: Backwards compatibility

More desirable is they should just implement a decent chrono package where there are no surprises and where if you ask for *any* date you can do stuff like durations, offsets and so forth.

DrXym Silver badge

Sensibly written

What does that even mean in the context of perl which is renowned for unintelligible lines of code?

Pentester pops open Tesla Model 3 using low-cost Bluetooth module

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Not a new attack

People have had keyless entry cars stolen through similar attacks for years - they stick the keys on the hall table, thieves boost the key signal & jack the car from the outside the house. Any kind of proximity system is vulnerable to this.

The mitigations to this sort of thing are fairly simple. Don't enable this keyless entry by default and require constant contact between the car and the key. If contact is lost the car should slow to a halt and alert the owner. The app could even track the vehicle, call the police, putting the car into a "distress" mode or whatever.

The sad state of Linux desktop diversity: 21 environments, just 2 designs

DrXym Silver badge

Re: Why are they all the same? - Working for IBM.

Ironically Lotus Notes is probably the most arcane, impenetrable, unusable heap of shit ever inflicted on users. Even to this day it's hot garbage from a usability perspective.

DrXym Silver badge

Re: Brilliant and exhaustive work of research

I think GNOME 3 is markedly different from Windows, more close to OS X than Windows although not close to that either. There are extensions that have made it more Windows like but I'm quite comfortable using the vanilla implementation. I think Windows 11 has some design beats which are quite close to GNOME & OS X so there is some influencing going back the other way.

DrXym Silver badge

Re: Why are they all the same?

I used to do contracting for IBM in the 90s and CUA was already obsolete by then. It influenced early Windows software but by the 90s Windows had things like property dialogs, toolbars, status bars, progress bars etc and there was no mention of that stuff in CUA. Also people expecting cut/copy/paste/undo to work the way it was on Windows & Mac would just get confused by the weird keybindings CUA used at the time.

OS/2 didn't even provide common controls either. So if you wanted a toolbar you had to write it from scratch in your codebase and that obviously meant every application would be different to the next. This was most obvious in OS/2 Warp and the Bonus Pak which was a mess.

DrXym Silver badge

The curse of overchoice

Overchoice is actually a term for when a consumer is given so many options, often varying in ways which are meaningless or confusing that they end up making no choice at all.

Linux has always had that issue and it is illustrated in the article in all the desktops that exist or existed. I expect most prospective Linux users just want to install the thing and use it for something. They really don't care what desktop is powering their experience providing it is easy to use, discoverable, familiar, doesn't throw any nasty surprises at them and lets them get on and do stuff.

China reveals its top five sources of online fraud

DrXym Silver badge

Remember news stories about people receiving packets of seeds?

That was the brushing scam. There was some mad panic that this might be some kind of bio attack but it was just vendors sending low value crap to random recipients so it could post fake reviews with their name on it.

Infusion of $3.5bn not enough to revive Terra's 'stablecoin'

DrXym Silver badge

Re: And People Still Fall For This?

Welcome to the world of digital currency. It's all ponzis & pyramid schemes. Suckers have to buy in for others to exit with profit. Then it collapses and resets. The people profiting are those who can afford to buy in at the reset and kick off the BS & hype again, or the likes of Elon Musk who can shift the market with a tweet one way or the other.

And NFTs are a whole new level of scams. The "rug pull" is the classic one - selling bullshit NFTs and then disappearing with all the money.

DrXym Silver badge

So to summarise...

... this "stable" coin existed to exactly track the US dollar, and people actually bought this digital scrip instead of actual dollars, because *mumble* reasons? In hindsight that didn't seem like the smartest of ideas. Or in foresight.

San Francisco police use driverless cars for surveillance

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Well that's kind of stupid

Driverless cars are very obviously going to be griefed and destroyed in no time.

Clustered Pi Picos made to run original Transputer code

DrXym Silver badge

I went for an interview with Perihelion a very long time ago. I wasn't aware they developed the transputer until they said it and I geeked out about the Atari Abaq. They had a converted old building out in the middle of nowhere where they did their work. They seemed like nice folks. Got a pub lunch out of them although I didn't get a job.

RAD Basic – the Visual Basic 7 that never was – releases third alpha

DrXym Silver badge

Re: Other BASICs

I think Gambas would have enjoyed more success if it ran on Windows and was a close to or a superset of Visual Basic's dialect.

Personally though I think the biggest issue for any Visual Basic clone is that the language is only half the picture. VB was so very limited so that Microsoft basically augmented the language with OLE2 automation and ActiveX controls and of course many 3rd party controls appeared too. So any clone would have to support that too.

Starlink's Portability mode lets you take your sat broadband dish anywhere*

DrXym Silver badge

Re: "If Starlink detects a dish isn't at its home address, there's no guarantee of service"

Oh I bet they are whether they say it or not. And if a place is outside city then contention isn't an issue worth charging a fee for.

DrXym Silver badge

Re: "If Starlink detects a dish isn't at its home address, there's no guarantee of service"

If Starlink can't cope with a thousand people camping in a field then how would it cope with many tens of thousands in a mid size city? This isn't an excuse.

As for doppler shift, this is already a thing. The satellites are constantly moving towards or away from you. It might be a technical limitation of the 1st gen terminal that it's not designed for trucks / boats but that has nothing to do with roaming per se.

DrXym Silver badge

Re: "If Starlink detects a dish isn't at its home address, there's no guarantee of service"

People moving around with their satellite dish are most likely moving to places with less contention, not more. e.g. someone driving out of a city to go on a camping trip. I very much doubt it makes any difference to contention in those sparsely used areas.

And if there were some potential for abuse then I'm quite certain that Starlink could stop it with a reasonable usage policy, e.g. roamers only get 30 days in a year or more aggressive bandwidth throttling.

DrXym Silver badge

Re: Why

You aren't comparing like with like. Inmarsat uses satellites in geostationary orbit 22,000 miles away. There is only a dozen of these satellites spread around the earth so they are expensive what with high contention and limited bandwidth. Starlink satellites are in low earth orbit constantly moving over the sky. That means that regardless of where you are on earth (barring the poles), you're going to have a multitude of satellites overhead. You could be in the middle of the ocean, a desert, a city, anything with a clear line of sight and there will be one overhead.

Now it may be that the 1st generation of Starlink terminal (dish and box) isn't so great if you mount it to a boat because it is not gimballed & motorised. But if you're stationary in a marina, a campsite, or a cabin in the woods then there is absolutely no reason the existing dish shouldn't function exactly as it does at home - lock onto a passing satellite, handshake, authenticate, internet happens. Any additional charge imposed for "roaming" is nothing to do with any technical issue, it's merely a cashgrab.

DrXym Silver badge

Hmmm

When Starlink launched Musk was saying that they were going to follow a single price model regardless of static / moving dishes. Presumably they've decided they can just screw people for some extra $$$ by discarding that idea.

TurboTax to pay $141m to settle claims it scammed millions of people

DrXym Silver badge

Welcome to America

A country which thinks it is smart that people have to do their own tax returns, vastly increasing the amount of auditing the IRS has to do and the amount of grief everyone suffers on annual basis. And so there is a massive industry of accountants and software there to relieve the grief that shouldn't even be there.

It should be like most other modern countries - the majority of people are paid through wages and so taxes can be deducted at source. So a much smaller % of people need to file returns or claim some other kind of tax relief.

Don't hate on cryptomining, hate the power stations, say Bitcoin super-fans

DrXym Silver badge

Re: Nah

Regulation means a legal framework and a set of rules for any financial institution that wants to trade in that "currency". A definition of what digital currency is - is it money or property or what? - rules for money/property laundering, auditing, deposit / withdrawal, foreign transactions, marketing, complaints & ombudsmen. Plus tweaks to any regulations concerning bank deposit guarantees, ownership, custodianship, theft, fraud, etc.

And most importantly, energy consumption rules. e.g. a CO2 tax on transactions. This would naturally favour "proof of stake" style currencies and put "proof of work" currencies at a severe disadvantage.

DrXym Silver badge

Nah

If it's all the same to these crypto mining jerks I'll just blame them. They can prattle on about building power stations & mining operations on the side of volcanoes or whatever libertarian fever dreams their minds can come up with, but the reality right now is they're using inordinate amounts of power to mine for digital scrip. Crypto currencies need to be heavily regulated and favour "proof of stake" style currencies which at least use a lot less power than the traditional mined "proof of work" style currencies.

Microsoft points at Linux and shouts: Look, look! Privilege-escalation flaws here, too!

DrXym Silver badge

Re: Many certified experts have warned for this

I don't believe systemd is trying to be a jack of all trades. It's a facilitator of services and low level system functionality and that is what it does via processes running via the principal of least privilege. Some people seem to conflate systemd being a single package with it being a single executable doing all this stuff when that is not what is happening. It's gotten to the point that its kind of boring even bothering to respond to these stupid flamebait stories because people will negative people down for pointing out reality.

DrXym Silver badge

Re: Many certified experts have warned for this

I'm not understanding the paranoia here. If your computer uses UEFI and it exposes useful info (e.g. serial nrs, BIOS info, CPU temperature, fan speed etc.) then why shouldn't systemd provide a mechanism to read that information?

Fedora starts to simplify Linux graphics handling

DrXym Silver badge

I still use fbdev for some embedded devices I support although I'd hardly be expecting a full fat dist intended for a modern PC to support it.

There are nearly half a billion active users of Start news feed, says Microsoft

DrXym Silver badge

Until they turn it off

The first thing I did in Windows 11 and in Edge is turn off all the shit it inflicted on me without asking first. No I don't want to see a bullshit feed laced with clickbait ads throughout.

Elon Musk set to buy Twitter in $44b deal, promises stuff

DrXym Silver badge

Re: Does anyone really believe ...

It's only free speech when you agree with his inane ideas and stupid memes. If you disagree with him, then it's not free speech. Or perhaps he expects his army of nerd fanboys to dogpile anyone who dares criticize him, the crypto ponzis he promotes, or the products he makes.

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