* Posts by chasil

217 publicly visible posts • joined 18 Jul 2014


The X Window System is still hanging on at 40


RHEL 9, and its variants, are supported until March of 2021. This doesn't quite get us to the 50th anniversary.

I understand that RHEL 9 will quietly install Wayland on compatible hardware, but that didn't happen on my old box.

$ pps X


2069 tty1 Sl+ 0:03 /usr/libexec/Xorg vt1 -displayfd 3 -auth /run/user/42/gdm/Xauthority -nolisten tcp -background none -noreset -keeptty -novtswitch -verbose 3

$ cat /etc/oracle-release /etc/redhat-release

Oracle Linux Server release 9.4

Red Hat Enterprise Linux release 9.4 (Plow)

$ dmesg | grep DMI:

[ 0.000000] DMI: Dell Inc. PowerEdge R710/00NH4P, BIOS 6.3.0 09/20/2012

Let's take a look at Oracle's love and hate relationship with open source software


aspects of dedication

Oracle does a lot for specific open-source projects, that are of great benefit to the industry as a whole. Yes, there are a lot of people who have negative experiences with Oracle as a company, but that doesn't diminish the good that is done.

Oracle employs an XFS maintainer. People use XFS because it's fast, and Oracle's improvements have addressed problems and are bringing extensive new functionality. As a rising tide lifts all ships, a rising filesystem lifts all databases.


Oracle really holds the Linux filesystem landscape in its hands, via their influence on XFS, btrfs, and ZFS. I don't agree on their direction with this (and a lot of people have a problem with it), but IBM certainly didn't do this.

"Chris Mason, an engineer working on ReiserFS for SUSE at the time, joined Oracle later that year and began work on a new file system based on these B-trees."


Oracle has done a lot with NFS over ONC RPC, one result being RFC-9289.


In summary, there is a lot going on with Oracle contributions (and their lack). It's not as simple as some might assert.

ASML could brick Taiwan's chipmaking machines in case of uninvited guests


Re: They never learn

As I understand it, we could make this quartz synthetically, but it's cheaper to use what is in the ground in North Carolina.


Re: They never learn

Why the heck does North Carolina supply the purest quartz in the world, from which high-purity silicon ingots can be drawn?

Why the heck did Ukraine previously supply half of the world's neon gas, a critical resource for semiconductor manufacturing?

It takes a globe to make a 5nm chip.

Long-term supported distros' kernel policies are all wrong


IBM long-term vs. CIQ/SUSE/Oracle long-term

The industry has grown familiar with RHEL-compatible LTS kernels, the source of which is now controlled by IBM, who would very much like to monetize it more strongly.

The question is if CIQ/SUSE/Oracle (as members of OpenELA) are willing to provide an alternative.

Oracle already distributes their own custom kernel (the UEK), but it does not occupy the same niche and it has a much smaller development team.

RHEL stays fresh with 9.4 while CentOS 7 gets a Rocky retirement plan


Oracle Linux 7 - support until 12/2024

With the proviso "Expect no new version/functionality upgrades, only critical and security related fixes," Oracle will provide another six months of critical RPMs.


Oracle's UEK has much of the the hardware support that is removed from RHEL kernels, plus btrfs.

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Microsoft really does not want Windows 11 running on ancient PCs


You mean, like SQL Server?

Linux runs Microsoft's SQL Server, which is occasionally benchmarked faster on Linux. It is certainly competitive, in any case.


Linux kernel 4.14 gets a life extension, thanks to OpenELA


[missing] device drivers

I have Oracle Linux 9 installed on a Dell PowerEdge R710.

The SAS controller on this machine was explicitly removed by RedHat.

And because I can run OL9 on my older machine, I run it on my newer machines, too.

An extensively-tested kernel that will not run on my hardware does me little good.

Greener, cheaper, what's not to love about a secondhand smartphone?


my *really* old phone

I have a Oneplus 5, and only T-Mobile will allow it on their network (AT&T needs the final Oneplus 6 model, even though this supports VoLTE).

I was already running Lineage on it, but I wiped back to stock because I needed a phone for Cisco Duo (remote access . So I ran on Android 10 for 3 years or so until Duo ended support for this OS release. I mailed the corporate security people about putting Lineage back on with MindTheGapps Google support, and they said that they did not explicitly forbid it, so I brought it back to Lineage's release, currently on Android 14 after the upgrade this month.

Suprisingly, even Wells Fargo's app runs.

Many Android people say an unlocked bootloader is an insecure phone because it is vulnerable to the "evil maid" attack. However, an OEM-abandoned phone running the latest LineageOS release will have updated network security patches that might be more valuable in trade. Note that any firmware vulnerabilities with your WiFi, Bluetooth, LTE/5g modem might present an attack surface that cannot be patched, but a 3rd-party ROM allows you to keep at least *some* of the device up to date.

The Pixel is an even better device, so by all means try a custom ROM.


"unsupported" battery

My mother needed a new device, so I got her a used iPhone XS off eBay for $180 or so for Christmas.

It was in reasonable shape, but one of the "Finish setting up your iPhone" items was "unsupported(/non-Apple) battery."

For some reason, Apple thinks I should care.

I really don't care, since I don't buy Apple products. I don't know if she cares either.


Unlocked bootloader

On the other hand, if you have purchased an older Android phone with an unlocked bootloader and a large enthusiast community, you can choose from a number of updated 3rd-party ROMS that offer many features that you simply cannot obtain on any stock rom.

You will have the ability to remove Google almost entirely from your device. An enthusiast ROM will not bring OEM bloatware, which will make your device more responsive. You can add the ability to run apps with the UNIX root user (uid zero). The Magisk rooting tool enables a large library of extensions for customization. One extension will prevent your battery from charging above 80%, which will vastly extend its life. Another extension will enable you to change the custom font.

OEMs can see all of this activity, and they commonly make decisions that this functionality should not be available to their user community.

Don't buy phones from those OEMs.

Top five reasons to move from CentOS to RHEL (according to Red Hat)


Missing hardware

RedHat aggressively removes kernel code for hardware that they (somewhat arbitrarily) have decided that they will not support.

There are a few kernels that return this support, including ElRepo Mainline and the Oracle Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel.

It is also possible to load Fedora's kernel into RHEL, but that does have a larger blast radius.


Oracle adds another six months to CentOS 7

With the proviso "Expect no new version/functionality upgrades, only critical and security related fixes," Oracle will provide another six months of critical RPMs.


Adapting this might be as simple as adding additional yum repositories.

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Preview edition of Microsoft OS/2 2.0 surfaces on eBay


Re: Nice museum piece

"Single-sided, single-density" is likely the most durable format.

I remember using a hole punch to put the opposing notches on my 5.25" floppies, so I could flip them for single-sided drives and double my storage.

Things are going to get weird as the nanometer era draws to a close


Advanced Package

I found this interview to be quite interesting.


'We use a three generation older technologies and it worked very well... That was the first generation. Xilinx worked with TSMC on CoWoS. Their codename was CoWoS. It’s a funny name for TSMC’s silicon interposer. That was a first-generation advanced package technology.

'Qualcomm was our biggest customer... I talked to one of their VP. I talked to them many, many times, until one time, I had dinner with one of their VP, and he just very casually told me, he said, you know, “If you want to sell that to me, I would only pay one cent per millimeter square.” One cent per millimeter square. He said, “That’s the only cost I will pay for it.” I said, “How come you didn't tell me earlier?” He said, “You should know that. Why I should tell you? You should know that.” But, I didn’t know that.

"I said, “Please go to figure out how much that CoWoS costs us.” Seven cents per millimeter square. So that's why we couldn't sell it. I said, “Let’s develop something that costs one cent, and you can relax the performance, and you sacrifice performance.” Our second generation called InFO meet that criteria and it was sell like a hotcake. So that one word saved my life and the InFO was why Apple was hooked by TSMC. Earlier, why TSMC couldn't get Apple business, early stage, because Samsung offer them a package solution by wire bond DRAM on top of CPU, on top of the AP, and TSMC couldn’t do that.'

What if Microsoft had given us Windows XP 2024?


Themes must live forever.

Microsoft should be forbidden from ever removing a previous UI that they have introduced for the good of the product.

Witness the nostalgia of a Windows 7 theme for KDE:


The reason that Aero was removed was because it was not efficient phones and tablets, so Microsoft resorted to insulting it by calling it "cheesy" as an excuse for Windows 8:


If every previous Windows UI is "dated and cheesy," then there is no reason to grow attached to the current incarnation.

If they are all slated to die, then the faster, the better.

RHEL and Alma Linux 9.3 arrive – one is free, one merely free of charge


Re: Advanced Kernel

I have heard elsewhere that SuSE maintains its own set of custom backport patches for btrfs, since it is used as the root fileystem within their main distribution.

Oracle at one point actually distributed tools that would format btrfs with advanced hashes (sha256, xxhash, etc.), but their UEK didn't have the driver support for anything but crc32c - I don't think SuSE would have shipped anything so disjoint.

I'm assuming that Rocky doesn't really bring anything to the table from this perspective - they just rpm-rebuild whatever RedHat shipped. If Oracle and SuSE pooled their efforts, then I think the result would offer great advantages over stock rhel.

In the 90s, IBM/DEC/HP used POSIX to seize control of UNIX from AT&T and Sun. OpenELA would be able to do the same to IBM, if the advantages were compelling.


I actually used RedHat for many years, starting with the original RedHat 4.2. My company forced me onto Oracle Linux around 2009, and I haven't seen any need to go back.

I do find the rhel license changes disturbing, but this is an opportunity for OpenELA to make a better rhel than IBM can. The rhel kernel is highly objectionable.

I'm removing one of your downvotes.


Advanced Kernel

I am hoping that OpenELA releases a common kernel that takes the best from all the members.

It would include btrfs, io_uring (for rhel8 variants), all the hardware support that rhel kernels strip, and probably more features that RedHat would otherwise frown upon.

Alma's adoption of such a kernel would be a major blow.

Intel CEO Gelsinger dismisses 'pretty insignificant' Arm PC challenge


Hubris, thy name is Gelsinger.

This "pretty insignificant" competitive threat held the position as the top supercomputer in the Fujitsu design, and dominates mobile. The majority of this is fabbed at TSMC, who also dominates Intel.

ARM1 was 25,000 transistors, while the 80386 was 290,000 for a lesser-quality machine.

Does this guy need new glasses?

Microsoft gives unexpected tutorial on how to install Linux


Re: Windows isn’t needed for all home use any more

Many, many people have Android phones and tablets that completely suffice for app collections and computing needs.

Many others have iPhones and iPads in the same situation.

Microsoft has only one consumer environment - the desktop PC. An ocean has rolled both over and under that, which is why the old animosity is gone.



It would be very pleasant if Microsoft abandoned ReFS, and put all of the effort into btrfs instead.

ReFS has fewer features and is less capable, but the GPL on btrfs would be a major stumbling block.


NT "Personalities"

In this case, "personalities" does not refer to the plethora of Linux distributions, but instead to the NT kernel API interfaces.

NT was originally written as a foreign kernel (reimplementing VMS in C), meant to assume Win16/32, OS/2, and POSIX "personalities."

'Broad software compatibility was initially achieved with support for several API "personalities", including Windows API, POSIX, and OS/2 APIs – the latter two were phased out starting with Windows XP. Partial MS-DOS and Windows 16-bit compatibility is achieved on IA-32 via an integrated DOS Virtual Machine – although this feature is not available on other architectures.'


I understand that PostgreSQL will run better under Linux emulation because fork() is faster than the native Windows equivalent. I wonder how that was implemented under the "LXSS" service mentioned in the parent article, as opposed to directly interfacing with the NT kernel as the POSIX system did.

Assuming a stable system call interface, (modern) NT is able to run many Linux distributions. My Windows 10 PC at work tells me that the following are available:

C:\>wsl.exe -l -o

The following is a list of valid distributions that can be installed.

The default distribution is denoted by '*'.

Install using 'wsl --install -d <Distro>'.


* Ubuntu Ubuntu

Debian Debian GNU/Linux

kali-linux Kali Linux Rolling

Ubuntu-18.04 Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

Ubuntu-20.04 Ubuntu 20.04 LTS

Ubuntu-22.04 Ubuntu 22.04 LTS

OracleLinux_7_9 Oracle Linux 7.9

OracleLinux_8_7 Oracle Linux 8.7

OracleLinux_9_1 Oracle Linux 9.1

openSUSE-Leap-15.5 openSUSE Leap 15.5

SUSE-Linux-Enterprise-Server-15-SP4 SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 15 SP4

SUSE-Linux-Enterprise-15-SP5 SUSE Linux Enterprise 15 SP5

openSUSE-Tumbleweed openSUSE Tumbleweed

Chinese meme-makers crown US Commerce Secretary as Huawei brand ambassador


Low yeilds

SMIC has actually been able to manufacture a 7nm process node for over a year, but it uses deep ultraviolet (DUV) and the yields are low.

Extreme ultraviolet (EUV) is achieved by vaporizing molten tin with a laser in the latest equipment from ASML. This technology remains unavailable.

One problem with America's chip ambitions: Not quite enough staff


TSMC management in Arizona

There have been two fatalities in the construction effort so far. There is also a lack of clarity from the management organization.

This may be an ongoing problem with U.S. operations.

"People were told that there was an active-shooting drill, and they were running, and [told] to evacuate the area. So our guys got out of the area. And they found out later that it was a gas leak. And they were just trying to hide that. So no one trusts them."


GlobalFoundries claims German chip subsidies will 'distort competition'



Global Foundries has failed to deliver advanced process nodes beyond 14nm (despite contractual obligations to do so).

They have pursued litigation against IBM for the 2nm GAA research, and otherwise do not appear to be as productive as their peers.

The best outcome might be if they ended up inside of Samsung. That would solve most of the problems.

Red Hat's open source rot took root when IBM walked in


Re: It's about Oracle

Oracle actually contributes quite a bit to the Linux kernel. They are very active in XFS and btrfs development, and (briefly) held the role as top contributor.


Oracle is actually more expensive than Red Hat's lowest support offerings, charging $499/year for basic support, and $1,399/year for premier. Both tiers allow 24x7 access to file service requests (SRs).


Red Hat has a more complicated support structure, starting with workstation-self support: $179, workstation-8x5 support: $299, server-self support: $349, server-8x5 support: $799, server-24x7 support: $1,299.


Oracle is substantially undercutting both of the server supported tiers, but the question is somewhat more nuanced than at first glance.

Oracle has also indicated that they will never conduct hostile software audits over Linux licensing. That is a big reason to avoid Red Hat, as those audits are unpleasant.

Rocky Linux details the loopholes that will help its RHEL rebuild live on


Re: Oracle/RedHat pricing

I see that RHEL pricing is also tiered, on 8x5 and 24x7. I guess this is a more complete list:

Oracle Linux Basic: $499/year; Premier: $1,399/year


Workstation self-support: $179; 8x5 support: $299

Server self support: $349; 8x5 support: $799; 24x7 support: $1,299



Oracle/RedHat pricing

Oracle Linux support is not cheaper than Red Hat.

Oracle Linux Basic: $499/year Premier: $1,399/year


Red Hat Workstation: $179 Server $349


Oracle certifies its database for Arm architecture on-prem and in cloud


you forgot the biggest one of all...


Kinder, gentler Oracle says it's changed, and now wants you to succeed


Great language?

Run ADA with PostgreSQL and you will swear that you never left.


run SQLite...

...and they can both agree on zero.

I'm losing admiration for the idea of SQL involving thousands in licensing depending upon the number of my processor cores.

The challenges Intel faces to compete with TSMC, Samsung


A recent interview with Shang-Yi Chiang, former Vice President of R&D at TSMC (also held positions at TI, HP, and SMIC) had insightful commentary on the speed of bringing up a new node.

"We all take two years to develop one generation, how come you guys can do it in one or one-and-a-half year?" And they asked if some of your customer transfer technology to you or what not? And I told him, "No," I told him that, "That's not true." I think he probably implied we steal technology from customer, the way he talk.

And I say, "I'll tell you why." I said that, "When we develop one node, basically you have some learning cycles. First, you do some simulation. And you have some idea, then you run wafers to prove that. So, you run a group of wafers according to simulation and you have some splits. The wafer runs through the fab, they come out and you measure them, you analyze them, and you try to improve and you run this again. This again, you run. So, this is learning cycle." At that time, "It takes about six learning cycle, roughly, to complete one generation." Of course, you had some short loops and not just one. I said that, "My R&D wafer in the fab run much faster than yours, because my R&D engineer works three shifts and you only work one shift. So, your R&D wafer move eight hours a day, my work/move 24-hours a day. So, my wafers go three times faster, even if you are twice smarter than me, I still beat you up." <laughter>


Fancy trying the granddaddy of Windows NT for free? Now's your chance


Free VT240 terminal...

For the full effect, you can also get the ROMs for a DEC VT240 terminal, and emulate it on a telnet socket with MAME.


I ended up using these command line options to get it running (change 2323 below to 6666 for a VMS 1.0 install):

mame -rp . vt240 -window -nothrottle -host null_modem -bitb socket.target.hostname.com:2323


Kernel design

One major design decision shared by VMS and NT is hard file locking, and that has vast consequences on uptime/availability.

Linux is able to apply patches to underlying libraries that are in use. Processes that have linked in the older library report when their mapped libraries are unlinked:

# grep deleted /proc/1/maps | head -1

7ff80804e000-7ff80805c000 r--p 00000000 fc:00 201330314 /usr/lib64/libgcrypt.so.20.4.0 (deleted)

Because NT cannot do this, you get to enjoy "Patch Tuesday."


VMS 1.0...

...that is available for free (mentioned above) comes with Basic, Fortran and COBOL compilers. Alas, it does not appear to include C.

$ help fortran

FORTRAN - Invokes the VAX-11 FORTRAN IV-PLUS compiler to compile one or more source programs.

$ help cob

COBOL - Invokes the PDP-11 COBOL-74/VAX compiler. The /RSX11 qualifier is required.

$ help basic

BASIC - Invokes the PDP-11 BASIC-PLUS-2/VAX compiler.


Free VMS 1.0 for VAX

If you want to remember a very small amount of VMS, you can download this free OS image, and run it in the Simh emulator.

Dave Cutler wrote some of the VMS 1.0 kernel in assembler, which he later regretted after leading the Windows NT kernel project.

You will get: VAX/VMS Version 1.00 21-AUG-1978 15:54

I got it running on Oracle Linux 9. Direct networking isn't needed, as it will open a telnet socket on a "VAX780 simulator DZ device, line 0" within the host OS.

I don't think there is a TCP stack for VMS 1.0.


Warning on SolarWinds-like supply-chain attacks: 'They're just getting bigger'


Free Wordperfect for Linux

I doubt that limit applies to this version for X/Windows.


The quest to make Linux bulletproof


Columbus UNIX

This assertion by the author is not correct:

"In the Linux world, this first appeared with journaling file systems."

What is actually needed for databases is System V IPC - semaphores, message queues, and shared memory.

Columbus UNIX introduced these, long before journaling file systems.


"CB UNIX was developed to address deficiencies inherent in Research Unix, notably the lack of interprocess communication (IPC) and file locking, considered essential for a database management system... The interprocess communication features developed for CB UNIX were message queues, semaphores and shared memory support. These eventually appeared in mainstream Unix systems starting with System V in 1983, and are now collectively known as System V IPC."

Debian dev to the rescue after proposal to remove Itanium from Linux kernel


Alpha != Itanium

Alpha had several problems that precluded its adoption as a mainstream ISA.

The first was power, and DEC ended up choosing the winner themselves.


"According to Allen Baum, the StrongARM traces its history to attempts to make a low-power version of the DEC Alpha, which DEC's engineers quickly concluded was not possible."

The second was the weak memory barriers.


"Of relevance to this piece, however, is Alpha’s exceedingly lax memory model. Unlike ARM, which will respect data dependencies for reordering, Alpha can reorder reads regardless. This is really hard to reason about, even for people comfortable with lock-free programming."

The third was their own software licensing, which was outrageously expensive.

An AIX license for a single user was included in an RS/6000 purchase (participated in a 43p purchase in the mid-90s), while OSF/1 was over $40k, ruling the Alpha out. Third-party Alpha resellers with beta versions of Linux and Windows were not sufficient to overcome this.

ARM definitely deserved to be the survivor.

Microsoft switches Edge’s PDF reader to pay-to-play Adobe Acrobat


Re: firefox & pdf24

The Mozilla Javascript solution is generally available at this URL:


I have used it as an extension in Edge, where is was an option for me to view PDF attachments (the Edge PDF engine does not allow this).

The Javascript solution is likely more secure, and presents less of an attack surface. Adobe PDF has seen *so many security bugs* that I really do prefer something else.

Oracle cozies up to IBM, adds Red Hat Enterprise Linux


"Unbreakable" UEK

The Oracle "Unbreakable" Enterprise Kernel (UEK) is actually far superior to RedHat's for several reasons.

It adds full support for btrfs. RedHat explicitly removes this from Fedora, for motivations that are not clear at this point.

RedHat also removes many drivers and supported devices from later kernels, which the UEK retains. SATA RAID cards are notably back among other deprecated devices and modules, with no need to go to El Repo for a tainted driver.

The latest UEKs are all v5 kernels, much better than the v3 and v4 that we see on RedHat 7 and 8.

This does solve many different classes of problems on the platform, even when loaded into an upstream OS.

Experts warn of steep increase in Java costs under changes to Oracle license regime


Re: Right, but do all those businesses...

Oracle Linux also bundles OpenJDK, and support is certainly available.

Arm shells Qualcomm's Snapdragon launch party with latest salvo in license war


Qualcomm RISC-V "KomodoDragon"

Wouldn't it be interesting if a new SoC family were announced sometime this quarter, shipping next year, the lowest tiers of which were released as public domain?

Microsoft offers SQL Server 2022 release candidate to Linux world



Microsoft SQL Server was forked from Sybase 4.8, which was already multiplatform on all the commercial UNIXen of the time.

I understand that there is a "shim" layer for kernel services translation, but SQL Server is faster on Linux than it is on Windows.

In a way, it has finally come home.


Hope to see ISO compliance

Microsoft's lack of an implementation of the SQL/PSM standard is a real problem where I work. We have hundreds of thousands of lines of PL/SQL, and Db2 is a better porting candidate than all the SQL Servers that we run.

Microsoft, please implement the whole of SQL/PSM.


I also wish that my own management would start using SQL Server on Linux. It's faster, and the patching is far easier. Microsoft themselves publish leading TPC-H scores on Linux, with Windows a distant second (Exasol towers above both).


No longer prepared to svn commit: WebKit migrates to GitHub


All repositories are equal

A central tenant of git is that all repositories are equal.

To work on a single file in a repo, you must clone or pull the entire repository.

A central repository is not really special.

Open source databases: What are they and why do they matter?



This is not entirely true.

Fragments of PL/SQL have been adopted as an ISO standard, and implemented by several databases.

The exception is Microsoft.


Solaris is in maintenance mode – but Oracle added a significant feature anyway



I don't know of any Solaris descendants that fully support SPARC.

One of the BSDs is really the only option with a long term future for this platform, if Oracle Solaris is eschewed.


Solaris Premier Support

I just confirmed that Oracle Solaris support is $1,000 per year. You can find this on https://shop.oracle.com then browse products / operating systems.

There are plenty of versions of Solaris. A lot of people like OpenIndiana, and Samsung was such a fan of SmartOS that they bought Joyent.

Give some of these a try!