* Posts by cdegroot

80 posts • joined 1 Dec 2014

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Config cockup leaves Reg reader reaching for the phone

cdegroot

Nothing new...

cd /tmp

rm -rf *

I always typed that on the machine after completing an installation or upgrade on-site (I worked for a company making mid-office software for a bank and we supplied the stuff including a server and a tape drive for backups - all they needed to do on-site was swap tapes according to the schedule we gate them). Of course, back in the day, your Unix shell (this was Xenix) would just respond with

#

Nothing like the modern shells for wussies that will tell you where in the file system you are - I still consider that cheating. Anyway, I lied about what I typed. What I actually typed was

cd / tmp

rm -rf *

Helpfully, the change dir command ignored the extra argument causing me to wipe the whole box. By the time I realized what I done, it was too late - the box was firmly hosed and my day suddenly became a lot longer reinstalling Xenix, our database package, our systems software, and replaying the tape that, luckily, I used to make a backup of the customer's data just before I started the upgrade. Yes, that "please make a backup of your data before commencing this upgrade prompt" you always ignore? I learned pretty early in my career the value of not doing that :)

AI caramba, those neural networks are power-hungry: Counting the environmental cost of artificial intelligence

cdegroot

Re: Human alternative

Just what I wanted to say - the consensus seems to be that the brain uses around 20 watts. I'll call this applied mathematics stuff "artificial intelligence" as soon as they approach the intelligence of, say, a dog using, say, 20 kilowatts.

The web was done right the first time. An ancient 3D banana shows Microsoft does a lot right, too

cdegroot

Re: "would often have included all of the library"

The solution isn't really gorgeous either, although it works very well. I'm talking about Nix/Guix, which can run multiple versions of the same dll together so that you can recreate the exact binary copy of what was used to compile/test your app.

It's not gorgeous because now you have to run garbage collection on old versions of dlls, and your root filesystems suddenly becomes a lot more space hungry.

But, as far as I know, the only thorough solution against DLL hell. Everything else I know still suffers from it.

Electrocution? All part of the service, sir!

cdegroot

Happened once to me. I was invited to a hackathon in Redmond (you can guess the company), and because I was then as much against using Windows for software development as I was now and laptops weren't a thing (this was mid '90s-ish), I carefully put my favorite box - a DEC AlphaStation - in the middle of my suitcase, checked it in, and prayed that the fancy new Alphas were as well bit as the old VAX machines. Arriving at the site, we were helped to an office, I got a loaner keyboard and monitor, an Ethernet connection, and then turned the unit on - nothing.

Slapping my head I turned the power off again, moved the selector switch from 220V to 110V, and everything came to life. Two weeks of hackathoning ensued before the workstation was put - now padded by dirty instead of clean laundry, but just as safe - back in my suitcase and I flew back to Europe.

You know, I'm not even gonna bother with explaining what happened next, y'all are smart enough. Let's just say that DEC replaced the power supply under the repair warranty even after I explained why it sorta exploded :)

Do you come from a land Down Under? Where diesel's low and techies blunder

cdegroot

Re: looking at the DNS log

I had something similar, late '90s. We installed some internet-facing stuff at a customer site and a couple of weeks later, during a follow-up call, complaints about performance. I got sent in to troubleshoot and of course started with a traffic log analysis, conveniently available from their outgoing gateway (an AS/400, but that's a different story). Within ten minutes, it was clear what caused the performance issues, and the logs also gave with the IPs of the culprits' PCs where company time and resources were spent, well, "watching gerbils".

Wasn't the most fun chat with management to tell them what I found. And, indeed, I said that while I could give them the IPs of the offenders (I didn't tell them I already had the data), I strongly suggested that they would operate under the assumption that that info did not exist and just send a stern warning email around.

Which, luckily, they did.

AWS tops up the Bezos rocket fund thanks to more money from Brit tax collection agency

cdegroot

Re: "that still doesn't make tax avoidance ethical"

So where in that text does it say "should act ethically even if it comes at a large cost to [members]"? (Where I take it that "members" is UK legalese for "shareholders").

Also, Amazon is a US company, not a UK one.

While I don't like this situation either, I do think it's gonna need international cooperation and/or new tax laws (like the "digital taxes" that some countries are introducing) to rectify this, not shaking your finger "bad big company" and hoping for the best. And given that a lot of corporation tax laws have to fit within existing international frameworks, that's gonna take a while.

How do you fix a problem like open-source security? Google has an idea, though constraints may not go down well

cdegroot

Or see the apparent fact that they have vetted, hardened forks of important packages that they keep to themselves. Google is only interested in Google and this is an excellent example.

Revenues are up, the boss is about to give his keynote, and results are due. Time to sell shares, says Salesforce CFO

cdegroot

Re: Normally, you can't just "willy nilly" buy/sell as an insider

Worse, if you're that high up your trading window is effectively perpetually closed, and the only way to trade in your own stock is to file 10b5-1 trading plans with your broker, which basically instructs them to do X in three months, Y in six, ... (I think the minimum look-ahead is three months). I'd be very surprised if this is not just a pre-scheduled trade from a 10b5-1 plan.

AMD performance plummets when relying on battery power, says Intel. Let's take a closer look at those stats

cdegroot

Popcorn time

Don't you love some good competition? 2020 is interesting: AMD overtaking Intel, Apple tossing ARM into the competitive mix, and all that will happen is that we, the users, get better chips (whether that means faster, better performance/watt, cheaper, it'll be better whatever your preferences are). Competition is good, and I think it's good Intel's hegemony got broken.

Typing this on an XPS15 because, heck, whatever you buy is "fast enough" these days and more than the CPU core counts.

There ain't no problem that can't be solved with the help of American horsepower – even yanking on a coax cable

cdegroot

I didn't have a blanking plate when faced with the same conundrum, so quickly taped some ducktape over the switch. It'll be gone when I remember to grab a blanking plate from the hardware store which, knowing me, will be another decade or so.

I can 'proceed without you', judge tells Julian Assange after courtroom outburst

cdegroot

Re: The Much Bigger Picture Show ....

That is mixing politics and law. There is a legal basis, a current extradition treaty, which spells out on what grounds Assange can be extradited and it's a matter for the courts to interpret existing law.

The US refusing to sign up for the ICC may be a reason to end the extradition treaty in your view. Then you need to yell at Downing Street 10 and Parliament for that, not at a judge. Separate processes, and be glad for it :)

The Honor MagicBook Pro looks nice, runs like a dream, and isn't too expensive either. What more could you want?

cdegroot

Re: It's in The Book.

Look at the XPS 15. It's so compact, when I got the box in the mail I thought they sent me the wrong model because "surely, a 15" laptop won't fit in there". It's smaller than my employer's 2019 fruity gear.

What would you prefer: Satellite-streamed cat GIFs – or a decent early warning of an asteroid apocalypse?

cdegroot

Not just money

Having high speed internet everywhere in the world can be a game changer and one of the biggest equalizers we have seen. I’m in rural Canada and already have trouble getting the internet I need for work, can only imagine what difference it would make in less developed parts of the world. If it works and if it is somewhat affordable, of course.

Astronomy has survived worse, like our enormous light pollution. I’m sure we’re creative enough to fix this little setback as well.

Backup a sec – is hard drive reliability improving? Annual failure rate from Backblaze comes in at its lowest yet

cdegroot

Re: care to share?

I had to check, my fileserver runs a Seagate from 2012 and a WD from 2011. If anything, this article prompts me to start thinking about replacing them ;-)

cdegroot

Re: It's only been 65 years

Random guess: larger platters at 10krpm have huge linear velocities on the outer tracks, and are harder to make stiff enough to not wobble which is not good if your drive head sits that low.

(Even waaay back in the late '80s, someone made the comparison that a drive head is a 747 flying at cruising speed at 50ft altitude and a speck of dust is a 12 story appartment building)

Huawei Matebook X Pro 2020: Nothing too crazy but at least it's more fixable and cheaper than comparable Apple wares

cdegroot

Re: Complete ?!?

Which is why I'm typing this on a Dell XPS15. They sell them (still, I think) with Linux preinstalled in the States. One of the simpler installs I did, the only driver hunt was for the fingerprint scanner but I see that as entirely optional anyway.

An axe age, a sword age, Privacy Shield is riven, but what might that mean for European businesses?

cdegroot

Re: No Shit Sherlock

I've yet to work at a tech company in the SaaS/web/... area where there was actual IP to rip off in the technology area. Frankly, often, competitors had objectively better tech than where I worked. It is mostly branding, marketing muscle, stuff like that that makes you win and I think that that's where Sillycon Valley differs from European efforts: the realization that throwing lots of money at marketing, sales and biz dev makes the difference.

No, the franchise idea won't fly because of all the tech debt: no way that another company can host the, let's say it nicely, somewhat organically grown software that got written. Didn't MS try it with Deutsche Telekom?

It could be 'five to ten years' before the world finally drags itself away from IPv4

cdegroot

I am on a wireless ipv4 rural isp as well. But with a Digital Ocean droplet, an OpenVPN tunnel, and a he.net tunnel from the droplet I’m back in the 21st century. It’s not for everybody but for those interested in ipv6, not very hard to setup.

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

cdegroot

Re: @Long John Silver - Nothing to do with Linux, all to do with Windows.

Indeed. Smaller slice of a bigger cake.

I run Linux everywhere, even on my old MacBook, but win10 is pretty much a requirement for gaming. Hate dual boot but virtualbox under win10 works just fine. I toyed with WSL, even bought Xming, it worked all fine but I’m either gaming or hacking code, no need for some seamless experience there and the Win10/WSL/Xming desktop fell much short of my full Linux desktop experience.

In colossal surprise, Intel says new vPro processors are quite a bit better than the old ones

cdegroot

Re: How much?

I just bought a dirt cheap E5-2650v3 based workstation. 10 Xeon cores and 64GB RAM for less than CA$1500. It feels every bit as fast for “product development” purposes as the MacBook Pro my employer provides at three times the cost.

Moore’s law is well and truly dead.

Vivaldi browser to perform a symphony of ad and tracker blocking with version 3.0

cdegroot

Nothing new...

For me, the country selector is right there next to the safesearch and time settings. https://pasteboard.co/J4Zud1R.png for visuals

IBM exec told that High Court evidence in Co-Op Insurance case wasn't 'truth, whole truth, and nothing but the truth'

cdegroot

The A-word

I learned the hard way that doing "Agile Software Development" with a customer that isn't all in will end in tears. I worked on a project where the customer had requirements analysis done by a third party, and as part of our bid we proposed to shred it and start over. Frankly, the requirements docs were nonsensical and had little bearing on what the customer actually wanted. They agreed, and we drafted a contract where we came to demo every two weeks, they would sign for acceptance of the sprint or not, and with signature two weeks of payment were due (the customer could also bail out at any point in time). Some 30 odd sprints later, we declared the project done and a success, even though it was in no way what that original requirements analysis proposed.

So cue our unbelief when months later (IIRC half a year) we get a legal summons to finalize the project "according to the original requirements analysis" or else. Apparently someone higher up didn't understand what we had been doing and/or tried to get the org's money back (it was a small government shop). Luckily we had a good paper trail and nothing bad happened to us, but the project was declared a failure by their head honchos and got never used.

Just saying that while I'm always happy to lambast IBM, I'm not entirely sure that they're wrong in saying "the customer didn't cooperate with this agile thing".

Shipping is so insecure we could have driven off in an oil rig, says Pen Test Partners

cdegroot

Nothing new...

I wouldn't be surprised if shipping containers would be a very low margin business. You have mega capital expenses (Google "MSC Gülsün") and a bunch of very large players that all offer pretty much exactly the same product: pick up container in Shanghai, drop it off in Rotterdam. That's the sort of business where you want to cut all non-essential costs.

Git takes baby steps towards swapping out vulnerable SHA-1 hashing algo for SHA-256

cdegroot

Re: "The concept of hashes in Git was never "for security" "

Torvalds is all about good ideas, meh execution. Linux was (and is) entirely unoriginal, replicating even then decades-old and largely outmoded ideas about how to build an operating system (we could have something nice that wouldn't need to reboot with every change; yes, Tanenbaum was right). Git is a great concept but very, very rough at the edges. The UI is a mess (go through all the command line arguments and options and try to make sense of it) and any decent designer wouldn't have spared a second to conclude that yes, you do want to make that hash algorithm pluggable.

But, to be fair, everybody is abusing Git as just a faster SVN and that does not help a lot either. It was meant, like Mercurial, as a distributed version control system where the primary mode of interaction would be exchange of deltas between (mutually trusting) parties. I bet not 1% of Git users out there know how the email integration works, or even that you can quickly push a commit to a colleague over ssh or something. I do think that that makes hash weaknesses worse, because now there's a single point of attack (Github, Gitlab, Gitorious still around? You should be able to work without any of these)

BSOD Burgerwatch latest: Do you want fries with that plaintext password?

cdegroot

Re: Surprised they don't use *NIX

I'm a big fan of Nerves (https://nerves-project.org/) in that space. OTA updates without downtime if you want to. Downside is that you need to develop in Erlang or Elixir, upside is you get an extremely reliable and cost efficient system.

But yeah, I guess it's easier to stick with the Windows knowledge you have if your primary business is cooking burgers, not IT.

cdegroot

Re: Surprised they don't use *NIX

I saw a job posting a couple of years ago by a local nuclear supplier asking for PDP-11 and RSX experience. I guess they're a tad more conservative in their hardware than MacD :)

Electron devs bond at Covalence conference: We speak to those mastering the cross-platform tech behind Slack, Visual Studio Code, etc

cdegroot

Funny that a Slack engineer 'fesses up about bad quality software. A quick comparison: HexChat (for the youngsters, a client for a predecessor of Slack called "IRC") uses 57M real, 600M virtual after having ran for a couple of days. I just launched Slack (that hipsterware to keep you off work at work) - 300M real, 2.4G virtual. And I know that HexChat will stay the same and Slack will probably at least quadruple. That's progress for you. And I'm not even touching on the vast difference in usability - one of them I can extend in a bunch of different programming languages and has nifty things like custom hotkeys.

The whole "multiplatform is hard" thing is bollocks anyway. There are only three platforms left, and I think all of them have decent Qt bindings (at the least; I think Gtk is available as well and I once did a cross-platform thing in Wx that looked surprisingly better than I anticipated). It's sheer laziness that Slack refuses to make a decent client; that, and - of course - being enterprise-directed the CIO, not the user, is the customer. CIOs don't sign cheques for optimized code (so in that sense they're rationally right to sling Eletron crap at their users). So it's a bit more work, would never impact Slack's bottom line but nobody who matters complains loudly enough. And I think that _that_ is the real thing wrong in our industry.

Boeing aircraft sales slump to historic lows after 737 Max annus horribilis

cdegroot

Re: Flying

Flying also never has been cheaper (unless you're taking a domestic flight here in Canada but that's an entirely different topic). Back in the late '70s/early '80s, my parents took us to Spain for the summer vacation. A charter ticket Amsterdam - Alicante cost NLG 600, or EUR 275. In today's money that'd be at least 500-600 Euros, an amount for which Air Canada will fly me not to Alicante (2 hours), but to Toronto (7-8 hours).

Apparently airlines are making the correct trade-offs. People want cheap tickets and will take a bit less legroom in turn. Grumbling is a favorite sport of our species (I guess really the only think that sets us apart from chimps?), so they're probably right to ignore it and just look at the rising passenger numbers.

Whoooooa, this node is on fire! Forget Ceph, try the forgotten OpenStack storage release 'Crispy'

cdegroot

"Yeah, whenever"

I ran a small ISP in the early naughts that had a similar hardware replacement policy. Once, one of our switches broke down - one of these expensive 24 port 19" Cisco thingies. I realized that a) we didn't use all 24 ports, b) we didn't yet use any of its management facilities beyond basic port monitoring, so c) I yanked the cables from the 12 port no-name switch on my home office desk, hopped in the car, swapped the switches (the no-name one wasn't rack-mountable but luckily had magnetic feet so I just attached it to the side of the rack enclosure) and went to bed. Next day, dropped off the Cisco at the office asking my admin to send it in for a warranty repair and picked up a fresh no-name switch for at home at the local PC store.

A year or so later, I noticed a box with a Cisco brand on it in our office. The admin had forgot to tell me that the repaired switch arrived (a mere week or so after the incident) and I forgot that our little ISP was still running an important chunk of traffic on a cheap no-name switch...

If I ever get dumb enough to start another company that actually has to spend $$$,$$$ on hardware, I'll make sure I'll have something better than an "yeah, whenever" replacement policy in place :) (I wont. Ever. The smell of data center in your clothes after another 12 hour shift standing behind a tray-mounted keyboard still makes me sick)

It's Hipp to be square: What happened when SQLite creator met GitHub

cdegroot

Hardware, operating systems, version control, what's next?

When I started in the industry, everybody made their own chips - then Intel won. At least, everybody still made their own operating systems - then Linux won (at least in my current line of work, SaaS/Cloud style stuff - but that seems where we're all moving). They go under the heading of "solved problem" coupled with "80% is good enough" (or "less is more", if you want to), and that's it.

I've been using tons of version control systems, starting with RCS and ending with Git. Git is the first one to qualify as "good enough", there are usually bigger fish to fry in any development team, so everybody starts using Git (including MS, and I think pretty much for the same reasons).

I wonder when that'll happen with programming languages as well. Most of them are roughly similarly productive, with a large group clustering around "fast for computers, somewhat slower for humans" (C, C++, Java, Golang, Rust, ...) and a large group sitting at "fast for developers, somewhat slower for computers" (PHP, Ruby, Python, these days Elixir - although the latter is only marginally slower for computers). And of course, the front-end lingua franca, Javascript. There's really no differentiator anymore for a team to choose any of these, none of them will - if you're brutally honest - get in the way of success although some of them will make for a more fun time than others (and some of them in the hands of an unskilled team will make a mess much quicker than others).

It's a sign of maturity, in my opinion. People learn to leave their tech religions at home and have a somewhat more realistic look at the sort of tools that make a real difference for a team. And often, they rightfully conclude that "it just does not matter". We've mostly made that decision for hardware, operating systems and clearly version control; I'm curious what's next.

In Rust We Trust: Stob gets behind the latest language craze

cdegroot

Re: Think I'll pass

The problem with that usually starts when I want to refactor - small steps, keep tests running, and intermediate results may not be perfect but I'll fix the edge cases later. In this very strict languages, everything in between simply refuses to compile, I lose my safety net, and often just give up and leave the bad code in place.

No wonder Bezos wants to move industry into orbit: In space, no one can hear you* scream

cdegroot

No Sci-Fi needed

I am not a celestial mechanics specialist, but as far as I understand it, it'll work with little energy because you're going down, gravity-wise - first from the very low gravity of the asteroid field to the low gravity of the moon, and then all you need to do from there is to drop finished product down to earth.

Compare the massive Saturn V rocket needed to get the Apollo capsule from Earth to Moon, and the tiny little rocket engine that got said capsule back again. I think that for a factory-style setup, you can just do some electromagnetic catapult on the moon and stuff will just drop to Earth for free.

We are absolutely, definitively, completely and utterly out of IPv4 addresses, warns RIPE

cdegroot

Re: The internet will be privatised

There will be a point where obtaining IPv4s and/or setting up "carrier grade NAT" is going to be more expensive than just enabling IPv6. It's just happening slower than the RIRs want.

US games company Blizzard kowtows to Beijing by banning gamer who dared to bring up Hong Kong

cdegroot

" centralized and authoritarian political system"

I read somewhere that the technical term is "fascist" and if you look up the definition, it fits surprisingly well. Seems the differences between "far left" and "far right" are much smaller than I was taught at school :)

Scotiabank slammed for 'muppet-grade security' after internal source code and credentials spill onto open internet

cdegroot

Indeed. Well before the term was coined, I worked on projects in the pharmaceutical industry, heavily regulated code (Good Clinical/Laboratory/Manufacturing Practice, FDA inspections, that kind of fun), and we could still be light on process and heavy on rapid learning and quick delivery; the acceptance criteria just specified lots of testing, including automation, and including printing out test reports that the project lead had to sign and file. I had similar experience building software for some banks.

However, now that "agile software development" has turned into "Agile for Enterprise" and all sorts of nonsense (SAFe anyone?) - that sort of stuff just makes project managers fight different political battles and QA is still out the door. Quality is a mindset, not a process.

For real this time, get your butt off Python 2: No updates, no nothing after 1 January 2020

cdegroot

Nothing new...

It's not well-suited - it's slow at computation and basic string processing and heavily relies on libraries to keep up appearances. But, it's easy to learn for data scientists (which are usually not full-fledged computer programmers), has a very rich ecosystem in the area, and said data scientists like the workflow that things like Jupyter bring. So it's mostly an ecosystem thing, I guess started by Google (and everybody wants to do what Google does, for some reason). To me, running Python AI/ML in production is equivalent to running Excel sheets in production. Yes, it can be done. No, you probably don't want it.

Alternative languages (like Julia) are trying to get a foothold in the space, personally I think that Common Lisp is much better suited (certainly from a performance standpoint), but "Python in AI/ML" is a bastion that will prove very hard to capture.

Captain, we've detected a disturbance in space-time. It's coming from Earth. Someone audited the Kubernetes source

cdegroot

With the ubiquity of tools like "cloc" that count actual lines of code (iow, statements; it will also report blank lines and comment lines separatly), I'd hope that this is what they're talking about.

Golang is one of these languages that really likes to pull in lots and lots of library dependencies; I wonder whether all these dependencies, recursively, have been audited as well.

Thunderbolts and lightning very, very frightening as loo shatters, embedding porcelain shards in wall

cdegroot
Thumb Up

Re: Cloud Processing

I have a septic tank. I was a bit of a skeptic at first but it's actually fine. Also, I don't need to read the rules of your local sewage company which had, for example, in my previous place a ban on in-sink garbage disposal units ("garburators"). I flush whatever I want and every other year (better safe than sorry) have the thing pumped for less then what I paid for sewage in the city.

All I still need is one of these outhouses with a garden gnome taking a dump while reading a newspaper to mark the spot where I have to dig up my wife's garden when the truck comes. And, apparently, a lightning rod.

Low Barr: Don't give me that crap about security, just put the backdoors in the encryption, roars US Attorney General

cdegroot

Nope

Unless you go full one-time pad (with the associated key exchange headaches), I think that these book-based ciphers won't work anymore against a state-sponsored actor. It's just to easy to suck in a digital version of the library of congress and try every possibility. Much, much easier than even cracking DES.

(how many books? a billion? With magazines, round it up to four? Searching through 2^32 options for stuff that sounds like not gibberish is something my laptop can probably do)

This major internet routing blunder took A WEEK to fix. Why so long? It was IPv6 – and no one really noticed

cdegroot

Re: "If anything, it is a demonstration of how robust IPv6 can be in the face of such mistakes."

The numbers work, of course (I have a /56 and use only one /64 in that - calculate the number of addresses I'm not using!). Say my ISP gets a /32, that means that we can have 4,294,967,296 ISPs on the planet. Each of them can hand out 2^(56-32) = 16,777,216 customers (and once you get over that, you nab a new ISP block).

The biggest advantage of this very sparse ("wasteful") allocation strategy is that you can have very small (compared to IPv4) routing tables. "The internet" only needs to know about active ISP prefixes, ISPs only about what prefix they handed out to customers. I guess that once the designers of IPv6 realized just exactly how mindbogglingly vast the space of 340,282,366,920,938,463,463,374,607,431,768,211,456 addresses is, they realized that this wasteful approach could actually make things much more efficient without risking another address space problem.

Also, I like all the addresses I have at my disposal. My laptop's WiFi adapter has a bunch active: a link-local one, for low level techie stuff (fe800::...); a network-local one for things that, well, shouldn't leave my network or be accessible from outside (fd00::...); and a proper publicly addressable one. Plus temporary versions of the latter two to help thwart (ad) tracking - a lot of the 2^64 address space I have is used for that - and a predictable version of each based on my device uid. Initially, it all smells like horribly over the top but once you dive into it it starts making more and more sense.

You're not Boeing to believe this, but... Another deadly 737 Max control bug found

cdegroot

The funny thing is that you can - and probably should - do a development style that gives you increments and quick feedback (I'm careful around the term "agile" these days since the consultants kidnapped and raped it); it's probably gonna be a style of work that's much heavier on initial specifications and testing, etcetera; but most of the principles would apply (I know - I worked in this style in heavily regulated industries which were heavily regulated because people would otherwise die).

The issue is that agile does not mean "deploy crap to production and let your customers be your QA staff". It means that you iterate, learn, and that way develop the code that your business/customers needs - including the level of quality required. Re-read the manifesto for agile software development. Nothing there about "ship fast and fail fast", that's only appropriate in some contexts.

'Bulls%^t! Complete bull$h*t!' Reset the clock on the last time woke Linus Torvalds exploded at a Linux kernel dev

cdegroot

Nothing new...

Sorry - he was a moron when he debated Tanenbaum in a highly, err, "interesting" way and he's a moron now. I still am sad that we have to deal with Linux and not some well-architected kernel lead by competent people. Linux was just an accident - the wrong code at the right place and time, like that other horror show from Finland, MySQL. Both filled a gap where quality did not matter and both have been picked up and cared for by competent people that are not their original creators. In Linux' case, only to be yelled at.

The _real_ gem that Torvalds created, and I grant him that, was Git. Design-wise, then, as in "this is how a distributed version control should work". Alas, the UI is obtrusive, even by Unix command line standards, and I blame that as being a major reason that the distributed aspect of Git is hardly used and we're in a situation that development teams "can't work, Github is down". Still hoping that someone will fix that but with M$ now having $$$$$ interests in a centralized development model, not holding my breath.

How much open source is too much when it's in Microsoft's clutches? Eclipse Foundation boss sounds note of alarm

cdegroot

Nothing new...

It's indeed pragmatism of the "less is more" type. Do I like the default Ubuntu/Gnome experience? Nope. Do I hate it enough to spend oodles of time tweaking it and then again for my other machines? Nope. And the same thing goes for a ton of stuff (systemd is the other big one). People stick with the defaults because they're good enough and the default becomes Linux, then Ubuntu, then Ubuntu with Gnome, and so on.

Also, I don't understand VS Code. Barely beyond notepad. Spacemacs here, it's the only IDE I can bear

;-)

Free online tax filing? Yeah, that'll soon be illegal thanks to rare US Congressional unity

cdegroot

Nothing new...

Still, as a relatively new inhabitant of the Greath North, I don't find it that much more complicated than my returns I formerly did in the Netherlands. There are differences and it feels slightly more complex, but if you keep some minimal receipts (health, charity/political contributions) and pre-fill from the info that the CRA already has accumulated from your employer and your bank, you're done in an hour. Friendly people on the phone, too, when I was locked out from their on-line services.

(in the Netherlands, I think there's an app for that - your return is prefilled, you log in with government id, and press "yup, that's about right" ;-)).

Hams try to re-carve the amateur radio spectrum in fight over open or encoded transmissions

cdegroot

Nail. Hammer.

I mean, I do want to learn Morse. I wish spark-gap radios were still legal. It's sort of "romantic" if you can talk to someone else using not much more than a battery and some copper wire. Just for the sheer minimalism of it I really want to learn Morse one day.

But it's 2019 now and software defined radio is dirt cheap and promises to make so many things better that we should embrace it. I'm sure there are a bazillion things you can do with digital that nobody has thought of, and a lot of tinkering by radio amateurs has made it into the mainstream. Progress needs to be fully embraced.

Thanks for so eloquently explaining it -- VA3CGR

Cheap as chips: There's no such thing as a free lunch any Moore

cdegroot

Nothing new...

...which is best described as "blazingly fast for its time".

The real problem here is software developers that have stacked abstraction on top of abstraction and always got their butts saved by Moore's law. We had snappy GUIs on hardware that's so laughably primitive, people call it a "microcontroller" these days and refuse to even put it in your watch.

This is purely a software problem.

Redis kills Modules' Commons Clause licensing... and replaces it with one of their own

cdegroot

Re: Wow, they finally got it!

The Affero version of GPLv3 fixes that, not? However, it still wouldn't make a difference - GPL only requires you to make code available, including your changes; it would not block Amazon from hosting it on their cloud and profiting from it. The GPL always made it very explicit that making money as a third party was not only allowed, it was in a sense even encouraged; as long as you play ball and share your code changes back to the common code base.

Linus Torvalds pulls pin, tosses in grenade: x86 won, forget about Arm in server CPUs, says Linux kernel supremo

cdegroot
Linux

Torvalds is wrong. Film at 11

Sometimes I think he's a bit of an idiot savant - he's an ok-ish coder (I was around a lot in the early kernel sources, nothing to write home about) and he seems to be doing a decent job of corralling lots of developers into building something that, frankly, should not have been built (I'm with Tanenbaum here ;-)). I get it though that El Reg needs to run an article every time he opens up his pie hole.

Anyway, I think he's wrong. I'm a "cloud" developer and for the large part it's a "don't care about the processor" kind of business. Cloudy stuff happens in Java, Ruby, Python, Golang, ..., and in our case Elixir - modulo the odd native dependency which I all find compile fine for ARM. Things just run on both platforms. If ARM servers can save money at scale, I would be more than happy to spend the one or two days to figure out cross-compilation for our build systems; economics dictate it's a good investment.

I think that that's pretty much the biggest uncertainty - can ARM deliver more transactions per dollar than Intel? Everything else follows from there. I'm doubtful, to be honest, even though I'd love to see some competition and ARM and RISCV are pretty much the only game out there next to x86.

Having AI assistants ruling our future lives? That's so sad. Alexa play Despacito

cdegroot

Re: Nothing new...

You mean Facebook, that company that saw its userbase growth slow down markedly and saw its stock drop by over a third after all the scandals? It seems that at least some people care.

Also - Facebook's primary product is selling data about you. Amazon's primary product is selling stuff to you. There's less of a network effect and more alternatives in the latter, and as others have remarked - outright snooping in your homes is a tad worse than Facebook figuring out what you do and showing you ads in response. I use iPhones over Android for the same reason - I'm more the customer and less the product.

I guess everybody makes their own decisions in this area. It's a fine balance between trying to protect your privacy and enjoying some of the advantages of the modern age. YMMV, etc.

cdegroot

Re: Nothing new...

That doesn't mean I can keep an eye on when a "smart home assistant" is sending data and how much and whether that looks like transmitting voice data or just the occasional and expected "I'm still alive, any software updates for me?" packets.

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