* Posts by Hawkeye Pierce

85 posts • joined 30 Jun 2015


GitHub merges 'useless garbage' says Linus Torvalds as new NTFS support added to Linux kernel 5.15

Hawkeye Pierce

Good to see I'm not the only one for whom Mornington Crescent immediately sprang to mind...


30 years of Linux: OS was successful because of how it was licensed, says Red Hat

Hawkeye Pierce

Re: Linux is not an OS

No. An OS may consist of nothing more than a kernel.

The earliest computers most certainly had an operating system. But they didn't have - by any contemporary meaning - a shell or a collection of system utilities.

The "operating" word in an OS refers to the operating *of the hardware". It does not mean the operating *by the user*. An OS is the software that operates the hardware.

After all, an embedded OS may well have no shell or "system utilities".

An OS may typically contain a kernel, a shell, and other applications/utilities. But to suggest that a kernel on it's own is not an OS is just factually - historically and currently - false.

Hawkeye Pierce

Re: Linux is not an OS


My pet peeve is people talking about an OS when they don't actually mean the OS, they mean the applications running on the OS. Bash - for example - has nothing to with the OS. It's an application. I can run Bash on my Windows PC, but that doesn't make it Linux.

The OS is - or should be - the kernel, the internal nuts and bolts, with next-to-no (or even just 'no') "things that a user can run". Because things that a user can run can - practically by definition - be replaced with "other things a user can run" and if you replace one such thing with another, that would obviously *not* mean you're now running a different OS.

Magna Carta mayhem: Protesters lay siege to Edinburgh Castle, citing obscure Latin text that has never applied in Scotland

Hawkeye Pierce

Re: Sumption is wrong

As the well known historian Tony Hancock once said:

Does Magna Carta mean nothing to you? Did she die in vain?

Debian 11 formally debuts and hits the Bullseye

Hawkeye Pierce

Re: Benefits vs. features

It's hard to benefit from something that's not been provided, ergo a feature is there to be used should you wish, and in using it, you may benefit from it.

If you frequently get an urge for fresh Italian-derived cuisine while driving your new Tesla 4XXX, then the inclusion of a built-in pizza oven is indeed something you will benefit from. If you only use your Tesla 4XXX to pop down to the corner shop once a week, then you're not really going to benefit from the extended range.

Happy 'Freedom Day': Stats suggest many in England don't want it or think it's a terrible idea

Hawkeye Pierce

Re: Spoke with worried NHS staff

Worth reading this by an anonymous NHS respiratory consultant:


To quote: "well over half of our Covid admissions have been vaccinated".

(S)He goes on to say that the people presenting are less unwell than previously... but they're still unwell enough to need to be in hospital! So yes, "go vaccines..." but it seems there is a significant proportion of people who think that vaccination==immunity let alone those who refuse to be vaccinated.

Hawkeye Pierce


But there is next to no "economic and psychological harm" caused by making it mandatory to wear masks in certain places. In fact given how that's only likely to cause more people to either have Covid or to self-isolate, there's a case to be made that removing that requirement will actually cause more of both of those.

As to what the "right date" is, so why wasn't it last week? Cases weren't as bad then after all. The only change for the better is a relatively small uptick in the number of people being either single or double vacinated. Hmm, maybe schools finishing as well helps, to be fair. But at the moment, the situation is worsening day on day, and we have the fourth highest number of cases per head of population in the world. That doesn't sound to me like the ideal time to do away with factors which have a beneficial impact such as mask wearing,

I agree with a lot of your post, but removing the legal requirement to wear masks has absolutely nothing to do with economic reasons and everything to do with politics and popularity within a certain group of people.

Sing a song of Office, a pocketful of why: ARM64 version running in a Pi

Hawkeye Pierce

Re: You Guys Should be Songwriters

As far as I know (* meaning someone will be along and correct me shortly *), The Sun were first following Caledonian Thistle's dramatic 3-1 win against Celtic in 2000, leading to their backpage headline of "Super Caley go ballistic, Celtic are atrocious".

That said, fair play to El Reg for inventiveness for continuously getting appropriate wording to fit.

'Biggest data grab' in NHS history stuffs GP records in a central store for 'research' – and the time to opt out is now

Hawkeye Pierce

Re: Get your tin foil hat on!

Complete agree with @Graham Cobb.

An individual's medical record pretty much uniquely identifies them. If the data set is rich it can be de-anonymised. If it's not rich, it's of limited use.

Sure you if you gave me a random record plucked from millions, would I be able to identify the person it related to? No. But if you gave me a set of records of 30-year old women giving birth to a boy in central London on 9th Feb 2021 and being discharged three days later, I would lay odds on being able to identify a certain royal princess (glossing over the fact that I doubt she'd appear in NHS records...).

Best of FRANDs: Judge allows Apple retrial following $506m patent infringement ruling

Hawkeye Pierce

I could be completely wrong but if Apple's lawyers thought they were going to win the original case without mentioning FRAND then it's not necessarily a bad strategy to hold that back and so if they did lose (as they did), they could plead for a retrial (or at least what they've now got).

MPs slam UK's £22bn Test and Trace programme for failing to provide evidence that it slows COVID pandemic

Hawkeye Pierce

Re: Online test registration

Self driving cars is (perhaps) the answer*. More succinctly:



Chancellor launches £500m business software subsidy in the UK. What's 'approved' software then?

Hawkeye Pierce

Re: Would do better to abolish corporation tax

> So it raises very little money

Are you kidding? It raises around 10% of the total receipts to HMRC which is hardly "little money" in anyone's terms. And that will rise with the announcements in the week's Budget.

It's also completely incorrect to say "Foreign owned businesses just do not pay it". Foreign owned businesses have lots more opportunity to reduce their declared UK profit (and hence the corporation tax they pay) but many foreign owned businesses in the UK pay corporation tax. Also many British business pay zero or next to zero by the same schemes that help the likes of Starbucks - since you quote two coffee shops, try looking for Caffe Nero's tax payments (a British company). You might need a magnifying glass.

Seagate UK customer stung by VAT on replacement drive shipped via the Netherlands

Hawkeye Pierce

Re: scotland then

Errr.... London voted remain, second only to Scotland in terms of regions.

What's that, Lassie? Dogs show signs of self-awareness according to peer-reviewed academic study?

Hawkeye Pierce

As Mark Twain [*] said:

“The more I learn about people, the more I like my dog.”

[*] Quite possibly misattributed [**] given the number of quotes that are falsely attributed to him.

[**] "Don't believe everything you read on the Internet" as Abraham Lincoln once said.

Negative Trustpilot review of law firm Summerfield Browne cost aggrieved Briton £28k

Hawkeye Pierce

Re: One Star Review

Not having been in a McDonalds for years, so don't know if they still do this, but there used to be a customer service questionnaire on the back of the receipt that had a question "How accurate did we deliver your order". The options went something like "5 = Excellent, 4 = Good, 3 = OK, 2 = Poor, 1 = Very Poor".

Now if I order a burger and fries, the acceptable accuracy of my order is a burger and fries. I'm curious as to what would constitute "Good" instead of "Excellent" (or, come to that, "Good" and "Excellent" over "OK").

(Actually, now I come to remember it, they also pulled off the trick of it only having four possibly responses - not the five I said above. Was 4=Excellent, 3=Good, 2=OK, 1=Poor. Thus three out of the four options are neutral or better and thus human nature being what it is, you are naturally drawn to option 3 or above if you have a non-negative experience)

United States Congress stormed by violent followers of defeated president, Biden win confirmation halted

Hawkeye Pierce

Re: ...and where exactly do you live in the US?

If you seriously cannot see the differences between the 2018 protest and what happened yesterday then I'm practically speechless. In 2018 there was no storming of any building (they didn't enter). In 2018 nobody died. In 2018, the protestors were not being encouraged by the president. In 2018, no looting took place.

After ten years, the Google vs Oracle API copyright mega-battle finally hit the Supreme Court – and we listened in

Hawkeye Pierce

Re: almost certainly prevents me writing down the list of names myself and going from there

Hmmm, just as Oracle *COPIED* the AWS S3 API and claimed that because Amazon released an *SDK* under an open-source licence which __called__ the API, they were legally on safe ground on by reimplementing that exact API?

If Oracle win this, Amazon will release their lawyers on Oracle.

Financial Reporting Council slaps Autonomy auditor Deloitte with £15m fine over audit 'misconduct'

Hawkeye Pierce

@katrinab Re: Outside Auditors

Not true. They have to put the audit out to tender after 10 years but can reappoint the same audit firm until that firm has been in the role for 20 years.

Hawkeye Pierce

Re: Outside Auditors

Completely agree. The mere fact that Deloitte had been doing the audit for at least the five years that the senior partner had been working with them rings alarms bells.

I get that big firms have complicated structures and that there's a cost in chopping and changing auditors frequently. But it really should be mandatory to change auditors at least every three (?) years, as some small mitigation to avoid auditors becoming entrenched and working for the company - when they should technically be working for the shareholders.

Yes I know shareholders vote to employ the auditors at each AGM but it's pretty unarguable to state that the system isn't working.

Error-bnb: Techies scramble to fix Airbnb website bug that let strangers read each others' account messages

Hawkeye Pierce

Re: Funny how...

The thing is, for almost any website which has a significantly large and global number of users, the majority are NOT using the system at any point in time.

And so a problem which would affect ALL users will actually only be affecting a "small subset" - even if that happens to be 100% of all those actually using the system during the affected period!

Stock market blizzard: Snowflake set for £33bn IPO as valuation bubble keeps on expanding

Hawkeye Pierce

Re: No way Buffett is considering this

Er no it's not a false rumour.

He bought $250m of stock at $105/share so is currently sitting on a very nice profit if he were to immediately cash out...

... which I would certainly do given my humble assessment of the company being **way** over valued.

(But yes, it is an odd purchase for him in more ways than one).

Who cares what Apple's about to announce? It owes us a macOS x86 virtual appliance for non-Mac computers

Hawkeye Pierce

Cloud-based virtual machines

Personally I suspect that Apple won't get out of the mindset that macOS is what you get when you buy a Mac - they don't see themselves as a software company and the software they do produce is with one intention - to sell Apple hardware.

However... I'd be surprised if they hadn't considered offering up cloud-based virtual Macs, rentable perhaps even by the day. That way, they don't have to sell macOS as a standalone piece of software and they don't have to provide consumer support of the OS on virtual machines, and they do keep tight control over it (it only runs in their data centres). But it does provide a stopgap for when the ARM based Macs come out and people find they have some Intel-only based software they need and it would also be a godsend for developers of iOS and macOS software for whom even using cross-platform technologies are still more or less forced to use a Mac in a couple of places in the development lifecycle.

Help. The political process is corrupted, full of lies and state-sponsored deep fakes. Now Microsoft's to the rescue

Hawkeye Pierce


Are you telling me that having said that it adds "digital hashes and certificates" to content and that it provides a "high degree of accuracy" of authenticity, that not once could they shoehorn the work "blockchain" in there?

This is either fake news or standards at Microsoft's PR division are slipping.

Utes gotta be kidding me... University of Utah handed $457K to ransomware creeps

Hawkeye Pierce

Re: On The Other Hand...

Unfortunately that article you link to regarding Citigroup is incorrect in a number of places.

First and most importantly, the deal was arranged by the Bush administration not Obama. Secondly the Government did not "give" $306 billion. The total sum handed over amounted to some $45 billion over two tranches with the headline $306bn coming from the value of the loans that the Government agreed to take any losses on... potentially that could have amounted to $306bn but realistically was going to be nothing like that amount. Also the bailout was not a gift - it was a loan and the Government received a sizeable stake in Citigroup itself as part of the deal.

And - albeit with the benefit of hindsight - a pretty successful financial transaction too for the Government as they've made around $15bn profit on the repaid loan and the sold shares in Citigroup.

Transport for London asks Capita to fling Congestion Charge system into the cloud

Hawkeye Pierce

Re: To be honest...

I agree, but I'll also add that whilst not problem-free, the Oyster system (contactless card for TfL public transport) seems to have held up well over the many years it's been in place. It has had its crashes but I believe the last significant one was more than four years ago and the one (or two as it happened) was eight years before that one.

I imagine the Oyster system must be way more complicated than the CC system. Don't know about the volume of data (guessing more people travel on public transport in any one day than enter the CC zone?) but the complexity and nature of the Oyster data must be way more.

Remember when we warned in February Apple will crack down on long-life HTTPS certs? It's happening: Chrome, Firefox ready to join in, too

Hawkeye Pierce

Re: Will this be a problem for embedded device certs?

Well you either had a mechanism already in place for updating the certificate every 27 months, so you just need to do this twice as frequently as you previously did, or you've spun up your own CA/certificate in which case as the article states, the new lifetime doesn't apply.

Health Sec Hancock says UK will use Apple-Google API for virus contact-tracing app after all (even though Apple were right rotters)

Hawkeye Pierce

Re: NHSX devs apparently superior to Google devs

I do hope you meant X PLUS 0.00000000001 because what you've stated makes a pretty huge change to the parameter. That is likely to completely screw up the app and make it useless... oh hang on, nope, as you were...

Play stupid games, win stupid prizes: UK man gets 3 years for torching 4G phone mast over 5G fears

Hawkeye Pierce

Re: 3 years for a terrorist offence ?

No need to post where this information came from regarding his large number of convictions for a larger number of offences including assault of a police officer and possession of a firearm...

... As The Register had kindly done it for you in a link to the local paper's reporting on the case right there at the top of the article.

You know it's almost as if you have an instant knee-jerk reaction to anything that anyone posts which you disagree with and rather than question yourself and maybe do all of ten seconds research, you just immediately discount it with no reason other than you don't want to believe it.

And on a different topic to those commenting on the length of his sentence, I would imagine his past convictions would have had a large part to play on this.

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

Hawkeye Pierce

Re: Doomed to eternal limbo

No people didn't "go to those lengths... in order to avoid IPv6". They went to those lengths because - at the time - very few people were on IPv6 and so the problem had to be solved for IPv4. And not too much has changed since.

NAT is horrible. The fact that various things work at the IPv4 level doesn't change that.

Papa don't breach: Contracts, personal info on Madonna, Lady Gaga, Elton John, others swiped in celeb law firm 'hack'

Hawkeye Pierce

You must have been dealing with some pretty unusual lawyers.

All the lawyers I know would have found ample opportunity to bill multiple clients for the time they spent attending free seminars...

Eclipse boss claims Visual Studio Code is an open-source poseur – though he would say that, wouldn't he?

Hawkeye Pierce

"Respect for a global telemetry setting" could be a requirement as you say, but even if it were, without full audit of every component and on each update, I will bet you anything you like that the lawyers would take one look at the fact that Microsoft were facilitating third-party add-ins and would still require that exact same wording. Yes, in that scenario, the components shouldn't be collecting telemetry otherwise they'd be sent to the naughty step, but that still doesn't mean that they're not.

... just as the Eclipse Foundation can't guarantee that none of the Theia add-ins collect telemetry.

Now we know what the P really stands for in PwC: X-rated ads plastered over derelict corner of accountants' website

Hawkeye Pierce

Re: I don’t understand...

My guess is you're all wrong (as is the article).

If you go and host something on Azure (or AWS or...) you'll have some resource running on an IP address. When you've then finished with your Azure resource and you stop paying Azure for that resource, that IP address is now freed up and can be assigned to someone else.

If you don't change/take down your DNS entry, then that entry is now pointing to an IP address that you now don't control. So when someone else spins up an Azure VM and it randomly gets assigned the IP address you were using, then that VM can now be referenced by your redundant-but-still-defined DNS entry. Simple enough for that person to then spin up a web server responding to your (sub) domain name or to redirect to another server.

Unlikely to happen? Perhaps. But with free resources available from the cloud providers, easy enough to keep spinning up a VM and see if you "get lucky" with someone else's domain (although it's unlike IMHO to actually gain you any real benefit other than for the lolz).

So no, sub-domains don't get deregistered and they don't need to be "hijacked" for the circumstances described here to happen. And from the article I see no indication that is was anything more than the above - and sloppy adminstration on the part of PWC.

NASA to launch 247 petabytes of data into AWS – but forgot about eye-watering cloudy egress costs before lift-off

Hawkeye Pierce

Re: Just charge the users

Assuming that we're talking about data held in AWS S3 buckets then that already supports "Requester Pays" buckets. Yes it means that the requester has to have an AWS account but that's not unreasonable.

Is technology undermining democracy? It's complicated, says heavyweight thinktank

Hawkeye Pierce


I don't think most people "are extremely sceptical about everything".

I think there is a significant proportion of people who fall into that category - those with the knowledge/education/learning/intelligence (delete as you see fit) to question what they read but in my experience there is a large proportion of people who simply believe what they read.

People are reading newspapers less and watching the news less whilst spending more and more time on social media platforms. Their "news" comes from the likes of what they see on Facebook (et al) and so their views are formed by whoever has the biggest marketing budget. I bet you that more people "learned" about the £350m we'd get back following Brexit from social media platforms than from newspapers or news websites.

Google says its latest chatbot is the most human-like ever – trained on our species' best works: 341GB of social media

Hawkeye Pierce

Re: Don't understand...

That's a good point about the Kardashians...

If you go to a Wikipedia page of your choice, and click on the first link in the main body of text for that page, and keep doing that, more often than not you end up on the Philosophy page (pro-gamers: count how many clicks it takes you...).

So yes, I wonder if you engage the chatbot for long enough, do all conversations lead to the Kardashians?

Hawkeye Pierce

Don't understand...

Sorry, they're aiming for realistic intelligence and yet they trained it using social media posts????

Is this some new definition of intelligence that I'm not aware of?

Cool 'joke', bro, you could have killed someone: Epilepsy Foundation sics cops on sick flashing-light Twitter trolls

Hawkeye Pierce

@Anonymous Coward (aka moron/troll)

I downvoted you for your idiotic comment but didn't feel the need to add a "you're a moron" post so left that to everyone else. But given that you've come back for more, let me directly respond to your two main points:

1) Yes there are legal grounds. I don't know if you're in the UK but you'd find similar in every country to the Malicious Communications Act 1988 which details the offence of "sending letters etc. with intent to cause distress or anxiety". Other cases in the UK have resulted in successful prosecutions under the offence of causing Actual Bodily Harm which includes psychological injuries.

2) People also have to take responsibilities for their own actions if they deliberately and with intent, cause or may reasonably cause, harm to others. It is completely unreasonable to expect someone to avoid using the internet for fear of what they might see. It is NOT completely unreasonable to expect someone to avoid intending to cause harm to another person.

Escobar Fold 1 snort all it's cracked up to be: Readers finger similarity to slated Chinese mobe

Hawkeye Pierce

That is some website

Rather concerning imagery on the home page and an unflattering photo of the founder with the words underneath saying:

"Former accountant and chief of assassinations of the Medellín Cartel."

Wow, just wow.

Mozilla returns crypto-signed website packaging spec to sender – yes, it's Google

Hawkeye Pierce

Re: Can we get Web caching back, please?

> Then HTTPS-everywhere mania kicked in, and now every single load has to go back to the origin!

Absolute 100% codswallop. Your local browser is more than capable of caching HTTPS resources and will be doing so on every HTTPS site you visit unless that site is explicitly instructing the browser not to.

And to pick up on one other comments made here... Using HTTPS does not prevent a man-in-the-middle from seeing what DOMAINS you're accessing but does prevent them seeing what PAGES within that domain you're reading. That anti-government Facebook page you read - no the MITM can't see that you're accessing that.

We've read the Mueller report. Here's what you need to know: ██ ██ ███ ███████ █████ ███ ██ █████ ████████ █████

Hawkeye Pierce

Re: The Mueller report was one big nothingburger

Oh for goodness sake.

First off, there were were more 14 lawyers on the team so stop selectively referring just to the 14 whose political registrations are known. Secondly being a registered Democrat alone does not make you a "rabid Clinton supporter". Thirdly, going with your 14, I note you "forget" to mention who the non-"rabid Clinton supporter" is known to be... the registered Republican... I'll give you a clue... Mu*ll*r.

But most importantly, so bloody what? Way to go as an example of "if you don't like the message, shoot the messenger"! There is plenty of stuff in the report that is extremely alarming even if it doesn't pass a determination of criminal activity. Or would you like to try and justify every one of the acts in the report?

Or are you saying that the investigators were biased? In which case perhaps you'd like to share with us the bits in the report that are false? Or exaggerated? Or what evidence was overlooked?

No, you can't actually do any of that, can you? So you just parrot the "it's all fake", "it's all a conspiracy" statements as loud as you can to try and drown out what you don't like hearing.

Happy Thursday! 770 MEEELLLION email addresses and passwords found in yuge data breach

Hawkeye Pierce

@Sotarr Re: Interesting, but. . .

I don't know what site you've entered your password on to find out it was compromised but it can't have been Troy Hunt's Have I Been Pwned if you think there's a pay service to get more details.

Facebook to appeal against ICO fine – says it's a matter of principle not to pay 18 mins' profit

Hawkeye Pierce

@ratfox: Re: "it's a matter of principle"

No it's not. If you don't keep data secure you can expect a fine if you get caught. Doesn't matter if you didn't actually leak data, although you might reasonably expect a fine more towards the lower end of the range depending on how negligent you were. They quite clearly had a practice which broke UK data protection laws irrespective of whether they did or didn't share UK data.

After all, how ridiculous it would be if everyone was allowed to keep data completely insecure but you ONLY got fined if someone did actually get hold of it. The fine is there (or at least should be there) to ensure people take the correct steps, not as some money-making, after-the-incident, activity on the part of the authorities.

Your RSS is grass: Mozilla euthanizes feed reader, Atom code in Firefox browser, claims it's old and unloved

Hawkeye Pierce

@Sam Adams: Re: I've always liked RSS

ElReg does still allow you to get an RSS feed by querying the author, for example:


Equifax IT staff had to rerun hackers' database queries to work out what was nicked – audit

Hawkeye Pierce

Monitoring isn't monitoring...

Just as a backup isn't a backup if you don't (albeit periodically) prove you can restore it, neither is a monitoring system monitoring if you don't periodically test that it's working as desired.

Put another way, if a software system test doesn't throw up any bugs, my first instinct is to question how thorough the testing was. Likewise if I don't get any alerts from a system designed to raise alerts, in any given period, I need to question whether it's working!

Princely five years in US big house for Nigerian biz email scammer

Hawkeye Pierce


I've read the article but it's unclear... am I going to get my $10 million or not now?

Intel hands first Optane DIMM to Google, where it'll collect dust until a supporting CPU arrives

Hawkeye Pierce

Re: Purley Microarchitecture?

Reminds me of the story that back in the early days, IBM used to name their internal and highly-secretive projects by picking the name of a road around their research establishments. Cue journalists also selecting road names at random and asking some IBMer "How''s project XYZ" going, to much consternation about how said journalist knew about that project!

Amazon meets the incredible SHRINKING UK taxman

Hawkeye Pierce

Re: Dividends/Tax/Profit/Revenue/Van Drivers & Box Packers?

Not true - assuming the shares are in an approved incentive plan. Up to £3.6K in shares can be given per year and if kept for five years, they are tax, NIC and CGT free.

See https://www.gov.uk/tax-employee-share-schemes/share-incentive-plans-sips

Hawkeye Pierce

@Thoguht: Re: Just say No to Amazon

The paragraph you quote is not "a duty" and there is no such requirement under UK law. The word "prosperity" does not feature at all in the in the Companies Act 2006 which codifies a director's responsibilities.

The closest requirement is as follows and clearly involves more that simply "maximising the company's profits":

"A duty to promote the success of the company (including considering the interests of the company’s employees, the community and environment, the company’s reputation, and the company’s members)."

Hawkeye Pierce

Re: How it works:-

No employees won't "have to pay personal tax on the value of the shares they receive". Depending on how long they hold them, they will be tax free.

TSB boss: We know everything's working, you just can't see that

Hawkeye Pierce

Banks == IT Companies

I read an article some time back (Cringley perhaps?), the premise of which was that there are many companies around who are IT companies but don't realise it.

This particularly applies to banks and quite frankly if you view them as being an IT company and they screw up on the IT, you wouldn't look to use them again.



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