* Posts by Waseem Alkurdi

1242 posts • joined 16 Apr 2018

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Concern over growing reach of proprietary firmware BLOBs

Waseem Alkurdi

Re: Well, like it or not

All well and good - except that it'll end up being an insurance company scenario, with them finding every conceivable excuse under the sun to refuse liability.

A Snapdragon in a ThinkPad: Lenovo unveils the X13s

Waseem Alkurdi

That'd require Qualcomm either building their proprietary drivers for specific Linux kernel versions (and we all know how fun binary kernel modules are), or them releasing the BSP to the general public (which they admittedly can't).

Waseem Alkurdi

99.9999999999999% of people don't. Most people aren't using an ARM tablet simply to SSH into servers.

Therefore, it *is* entirely useless. Your use case is already covered with an Android tablet running Termux or pmOS, or something like the Pine64.

Waseem Alkurdi

It claims to be a PC ... while it clearly isn't, being nowhere as open. Qualcomm not releasing the BSP (why would they?), and ARM not having a PC-like unified architecture means that it'll never truly "be" a PC laptop.

Waseem Alkurdi

Believe me, the bootloader is the least of your worries. With the current Windows-on-Snapdragon tablets, you do have an unlocked bootloader, Linux aarch64 can boot, but there's no graphics acceleration, making the thing entirely useless. Blame Qualcomm for that one.

See: https://github.com/aarch64-laptops/build

Waseem Alkurdi

Re: Pricing

I'd beg to differ as for Apple kit being well-built. How is that relevant when it's not repairable at all? Do I throw away a one-year-old laptop just because Apple was greedy and made TI sign an NDA for the USB-C controller chip?

Waseem Alkurdi

Re: Is this price tag correct ?

Microsoft marketing is a disaster.

Waseem Alkurdi

Re: Seduced and abandoned by yet another attempt at a non-x86 Windows?

Surprisingly, there's also an early build of Windows NT 5.0 (which later became 2000) for PowerPC PReP out there ...

Microsoft: Russia invasion of Ukraine ‘unlawful, unjustified’

Waseem Alkurdi

Re: What about Apple

That same Apple that has thoroughly submitted to the China regime?

Too thin of a backbone to take a stand.

Samsung: We will remotely brick smart TVs looted from our warehouse

Waseem Alkurdi

Re: Bye bye Samsung

Perhaps Hisense exports much premium stuff to the UK, but the only fridge in my experience not to do five years of service (which is heresy for a white-goods item) was a Hisense.

Waseem Alkurdi

Re: Who is daft enough...

Also: Tesla cars - they have a "free" SIM card in there (the recent ones have an embedded, non-removable SIM)

Waseem Alkurdi

Re: Missing ONE thing

Technically, they could be sending one payload for all devices as usual and in compliance with all privacy rules, but do the bricking at the client-side with a serial number lookup.

'Not great, but usable': GNOME desktop boots on Asahi Linux for Apple M1

Waseem Alkurdi

Re: Why?

Building Android, off the top of my head.

It's not "what you could do" though, the problem is having the option to run what you want on the computer that you paid $1000+ for.

Waseem Alkurdi

Re: Time for an ARM standard architecture

There is an infosec angle to locking things down though, namely Measured/Trusted Boot or whatever. Basically it's to make sure that every component of the software stack (and sometimes, hardware) hasn't been tampered with.

Waseem Alkurdi

Re: Great work so far

OP obviously meant "the best ARM processor available for personal computing"

About locking out OSes: that would void their earlier promise at the announcement to keep the bootloader unlocked and not lock out other OSes.

Razer ponders how to fix installer that grants admin powers if you plug in a mouse

Waseem Alkurdi
Devil

Nicely played ...

... with the order you've put the two Apple incidents in!

Waseem Alkurdi

Re: Razer went full evil back in about 2013 or so

You might like this then: https://github.com/CalcProgrammer1/openrazer-win32

BOFH: They say you either love it or you hate it. We can confirm you're going to hate it

Waseem Alkurdi

Re: So he was "visiting" during working hours

I don't miss no hotplug and easily bendable pins.

Right to repair shouldn't exist – not because it's wrong but because it's so obviously right

Waseem Alkurdi

Spot-on analysis

But that first paragraph is way off the mark. Those stereotypes ...

Microsoft has a workaround for 'HiveNightmare' flaw: Nuke your shadow copies from orbit

Waseem Alkurdi

Re: Time to 'Nuke' Microsoft

Linux is flexible, free / FOSS, light, tinkering-friendly, but not secure.

https://madaidans-insecurities.github.io/linux.html

Bill Gates lays out a three-point plan to rid the world of COVID-19 – and anti-vaxxer cranks aren't gonna like it

Waseem Alkurdi

"The self-interested thing and the altruistic thing," he said, "are one and the same."

Huh? Has someone forgotten to disconnect this thing before they left for home?

United Arab Emirates’ Mars probe successfully launched and phones home

Waseem Alkurdi

Honestly no idea what are they proud of

but the mission is significant as it is the first interplanetary effort mounted by an Arab nation. As such it is the source of considerable pride.

If the technology is sourced from Japan, the actual probe was built in the United States, and the expertise is sourced from the West, where's the "Arab" angle? That they funded the project?

It's good that they did *something*, but had they channelled these funds to actually train people who would build the aircraft and manage the mission from top to bottom (perhaps like the Mangalyaan project), it would have been a source of actual pride. Until then, it's just another demonstration of how rich these guys are, not of their actual will to contribute.

Everything must go! Distributors clear shelves of ALL notebooks in Q2, even ones gathering dust over last 12 months

Waseem Alkurdi

Re: Do you ever change your mind, based on data?t

Jewellers?

Waseem Alkurdi

Re: Still plenty of good used laptops on eBay

Second- or third-gen Core i5? Runs hotter than an oven, battery lasts 30 minutes, if one is being generous.

'It's really hard to find maintainers...' Linus Torvalds ponders the future of Linux

Waseem Alkurdi

Re: I wonder why?

Will never be? After Torvalds steps aside, just give it a few years and watch them do it.

It's already time to choose from one of the BSDs.

Leaked benchmarks from developer kit for Apple's home-baked silicon appear to give Microsoft a run for its money

Waseem Alkurdi

Of course it won't have the same chip.

"Another point worth noting: there's no guarantee the A12Z chip in the Developer Transition Kit will appear in the first consumer Arm-based Macs, which are expected to land later this year. "

The other well-known Developer Transition Kit, the one for PowerPC to x86, had a Pentium 4, while the final release had a Core Duo chip (which was much more powerful).

Apple said to be removing charger, headphones from upcoming iPhone 12 series

Waseem Alkurdi

Re: There is no price...

An HP laptop I presume?

http://forum.tabletpcreview.com/threads/hps-usb-c-charger-lock-crisis-explained.69523/

Capture the horrors of war in razor-sharp quality with this ruggedised Samsung phone – or just lob it at enemy forces

Waseem Alkurdi

Re: Does it phone home

It's more for consumers who like rugged stuff. The military surely has something more, er, fitting?

But then again, the UK army used WhatsApp for orders so ...

Waseem Alkurdi

Re: It's ugly

Of course it has <strikeTouchWiz</strike> OneUI - see the navigation bar.

The rumor that just won't die: Apple to keep Intel at Arm's length in 2021 with launch of 'A14-powered laptops'

Waseem Alkurdi

They would be better off porting to ARM and releasing an ipad pro-pro with full macos.

Won't happen, at least currently.

What I would note is that MS' attempt at ARM laptops have not been a spectacular success and the only place I've seen a lot of Google's devices are those dumped on kids in school.

What about phones, which are pretty much mini PCs without a keyboard?

What about the Raspberry Pi and its clones?

What about ARM servers? (I know that ARM servers tend to be specific-purpose as opposed to general-purpose, but hey, it's there)

Welcome to life in the Fossa lane: Ubuntu 20.04 let out of cage and Shuttleworth claims Canonical now 'commercially self sustaining'

Waseem Alkurdi

Re: Go Ubuntu!

Don't want to be a spoilsport, but you can.

Thought you'd go online to buy better laptop for home working? Too bad, UK. So did everyone. Laptops, monitors and WLANs fly off shelves

Waseem Alkurdi

Re: Mr downvoter

You really shouldn't. Not only the elderly die. There have been deaths in otherwise immunocompetent adults.

This is also hedging lots of bets on your perceived immunocompetence.

It's a little like playing Russian roulette.

Nation's home workers hitting refresh on 7 April can buy... Honor's bargain-basement Ryzen ultrabook

Waseem Alkurdi

Re: The machine bears an uncanny resemblance to the 13-inch MacBook Pro

"But it's Apple and we all know Apple laptops don't break!"

- somebody

Look ma, no Intel Management Engine, ish: Purism lifts lid on the Librem Mini, a privacy-focused micro PC

Waseem Alkurdi

As far as it's known from Intel documentation, Intel MEI loads its firmware from an SPI chip on the motherboard, the same one that holds the BIOS/UEFI.

This project's whole point is to keep only a minimum of MEI components that would still permit the CPU to boot (while obliterating ME functionality).

Waseem Alkurdi

I said x86 (the architecture), not Intel CPUs themselves. Your question was about how the choice of architecture could affect backdoor presence.

Backdoors could be built in any hardware including open-source hardware. You have to have perfect control of the supply chain, from the individual silicon wafers, even the machinery used to cut and process the wafers, to the couriers transporting your finished CPUs. An impossible amount of control, plain and simple, even for nation-states.

Same goes for software. You have to write your own assembly code if you want to be 100% guaranteed to be free of backdoors.

As you can't, there's still an element of inherent trust.

Waseem Alkurdi

Re: Good but not great

A stateless laptop isn't a Chromebook. It has persistent storage, but that persistent storage is external to the laptop.

The whole concept of stateless means that the laptop itself doesn't have any chips capable of storing anything (including malware) - everything is moved to an external USB stick. Therefore, malware can't persist in firmware on the machine because the user can replace the stick on demand.

Waseem Alkurdi

x86 is well-documented, despite not being open-source, and aside from MEI there's no persistent storage on the CPU (so a reboot should be enough to remove any malicious code provided that it isn't reintroduced on boot).

Waseem Alkurdi

Good but not great

Purism is the ideal candidate for designing the stateless laptop.

Don't know why they don't ... the concept surely makes sense.

All roads lead to Bork in Kansas as Windows puts on a show for motorists

Waseem Alkurdi
Thumb Up

This is simply gorgeous.

See title.

HMD Global revamps infamous commuter-botherer, the Nokia 5310 XpressMusic

Waseem Alkurdi

The only reason these are called 'reboots' are to get them to sell.

Otherwise they are a disgrace to the original phones.

Apple updates iPad Pro with a trackpad, faster processor. Is it a real computer now?

Waseem Alkurdi

Re: Still not a real computer.

These omissions are the result of progress. The above are the result of arbitrary lockdown.

Waseem Alkurdi
Thumb Up

You pretty much nailed it here.

Maybe they have a skunkworks project to get their chip to run a full version of macOS, but they haven't demonstrated anything yet.

To be honest, some "practical" proof exists.

Ages ago, the original iPad Air (only the iPad Air) can run Mac OS X Mavericks, because Apple had included ARM binaries of the whole system in the Mavericks release.

Tutorial

Waseem Alkurdi

Still not a real computer.

Unless you can totally control every partition of that flash storage.

Until you can change out the operating system for anything you might see fit.

Until you can swap out parts, because thin 'n' light != not repairable. They don't make them the same way nowadays.

Until it runs a real operating system, not a mobile operating system wearing a T-shirt five sizes too big.

Waseem Alkurdi

The previous release was faster than an i7-8700U, so faster than basically all laptops on the market at the time except gaming laptops and workstation laptops running H-Series chips.

These figures are very suspicious. They are based on benchmarks, which are prone to all sorts of fiddling. And that's for the same SoC on the same OS ... let alone when both are different.

But on the other side, perhaps this is why ARM Apple laptops are coming in 2021 or thereabouts?

Google halts Chrome, Chrome OS releases to avoid shipping flawed code, prioritizes security fixes amid coronavirus crunch

Waseem Alkurdi
Trollface

Will they have a development reset

Like Longhorn?

Official: Apple debugs MacBook Air of sucky Butterfly keyboard

Waseem Alkurdi

Recently refreshed with Intel CPUs

How would that affect their (supposed, expected) ARM offer next year ... if that offer is also supposed to be a MacBook-Air-class machine?

Who needs an iPad Pro? Look everyone, Windows Terminal has mouse input

Waseem Alkurdi
Trollface

That translucency stuff?

Linux has had that for ages now. Move on, nothing to see.

(Icon: Trolling .. but isn't it?)

Hello, sub £-100 Moto: Lenovo punts 6.1-inch display e6S at low-cost crowd

Waseem Alkurdi

Re: Aged?

. *glances at old Nokia n810, single core 400Mhz CPU with 128MB RAM*

And Real Actual Linux, unlike 99% of current Android phones. It's (was?) even being mainlined.

Waseem Alkurdi

Re: Can you root it?

It's a MediaTek chip - so a mixed bag, it may be very easy or nigh-on impossible. And Motonovo phones are traditionally anti-modding.

There are no-root solutions that use a dummy local VPN (that routes your traffic to an app on your device) ... but that's fishy unless the one you use is open source.

If you want a really moddable phone, go for a used flagship model (or low-end if it really has to be new) that has a Qualcomm chip and a leaked/available factory programmer. Xiaomi even officially supplies them (instead of them being leaked like LG's or OnePlus's ones).

XAML Hot Reload sounds like a gun you need for the 2050 zombie apocalypse – but it's a Visual Studio 2019 16.5 feature

Waseem Alkurdi
Devil

XAML Hot Reload sounds like a gun you need for the 2050 zombie apocalypse

More like the COVID-19-pocalypse, judging by how the masses are in a frenzy.

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