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Comment Re:Still Crap on Linux (Score 2) 48

It wouldn't surprise me if at some point the open source driver would catch up to the closed source one. AMD would do well to direct their driver-related efforts in converging the two. That is: if they feel a closed source driver is needed, base it on open source components as much as practical. And put improvements back into those open source parts where possible.

From what I've read, AMD has already made some moves in that direction. Which is a good thing. Shared effort (community <-> AMD), limited resources, etc. Regardless of what products AMD kicks out, software is a significant part of making those products successful. And the open source crowd should NOT be ignored in that process (luckily that's not the case, but hey there's always room for improvement :-). Even if it were just a way to offload some of the work to 3rd parties.

Comment Re:Mars isn't going anywhere. (Score 2) 169

Along the same lines, we should establish a permanent Moon base first. The Moon is much, much, much closer to Earth than Mars, but having a permanent base there presents many of the same challenges:

Temperature extremes, radiation, micro-meteorites (common to any space mission, I suppose). Needing to lift gear much further up than a 300~400 km low orbit. Actually succeeding in landing that gear undamaged. Gravity - but lower than on Earth. Redundant and/or extremely reliable life support systems, since Earth will be 'close' but still too far away for actual emergencies.

Not to mention the advantage that (some) raw materials could be dug up on site, or even sent back to Earth for analysis. While the latter may not be feasible on a Mars mission, it wouldn't hurt for practice / research purposes. And communication lines would be 'low' latency and easy to set up. Also in case of the Moon, we don't have to wait for a launch window in which Earth & Mars are lined up for a shortest-possible trip time.

Oh and btw what about other destinations? Read somewhere that the upper atmosphere of Venus might be an option? What about humans on one of the many other moons in our solar system? When talking about manned missions, would those options all be dropped in favour of a Mars mission? (if so, I'd pick the "send more robots" option...)

Comment Re:Nothing to see here... (Score 3, Insightful) 76

Ehm.. a backdoor doesn't program itself and then ends up in firmware because of a 'programming mistake', or because 'corners were cut'. For whatever reason it was done, a backdoor has to be intentionally put there.

That automatically turns "incompetent" into "malicious". Unless end-user was informed of the presence of said backdoor and the reason(s) for its existence, and was okay with that. Which of course is never the case.

Comment Motives? (Score 2) 728

What are the motives of these terrorist groups?

Strike fear in the heart of infidels?
Help erode the freedoms that citizens in most Western countries enjoy? (especially those freedoms that enable lifestyles hated so much by Islamic State supporters).
Revenge for whatever wrongs they think were done to them? (regardless of justified or not).
As a show of force? Letting everybody know they're still here, and capable of carrying out coordinated attacks abroad.

Just to name a few - surely there's more. In the end they will not accomplish their goals. First and foremost because Islamic State seems incapable of leaving peace-loving 'neighbours' alone. Action = reaction, a law of nature. If they'd just pick some limited area to call theirs, focus on primarily peaceful (r)evolution, and leave their neighbours in peace, they might have a chance at getting just that. But if they want to conquer the world through violence, and stop at nothing in the process... well then: nope, not gonna happen.

Second, because declared enemies of Islamic State aren't going to give up their lifestyles, countries, democracies etc NO MATTER WHAT. As a typical Westerner, personally I could care less what they do in Syria, Irak or neighbouring countries. But any Islamic State fighter is welcome to try and pry my freedoms from my dead fingers in a fight on my turf. Likewise, when their actions cause millions of refugees to "invade" our countries, how could they possibly expect us to not care? Again: action = reaction.

Lastly, because no matter how many crazies are out there, they are vastly outnumbered by regular / reasonable / peace-loving people. And quite a few of those have guns too. And planes. And bombs. And an intelligence apparatus. It's like a car picking a fight with a freight train... yes it'll be ugly, but the outcome is certain: a car cannot possibly win that fight.

What does killing people randomly accomplish?

In the context of these Paris attacks, you may want to re-think in how far victims were chosen "randomly". Not to suggest in any way that victims were known or specially selected. But hey if you start shooting on a busy Paris street, you're pretty likely to hit French people, right?

Comment Re:The farther left you go, the more you lose (Score 1) 284

Once your country has been up and running for 200 years, there shouldn't be that many policies left to make.

Riiiiight.. because once a policy has been set, or a decision has been made, everything else stays the same?

NOT... Change is the only constant. That also goes for countries, populations, governments, and the (political / economic / ...) environment they operate in. So it's good to be able to base today's decisions on today's facts & numbers (and future trends in those). Not to mention that since governments are always running behind on the facts, many rules are due for an overhaul anyway.

Comment Ah yes, a cable... (Score 1) 206

... that isn't just a cable, but includes electronics (even if it's just a resistor). Never liked that stuff anyway, poor choice of standards imho.

But when talking about cheap, we (as consumers) kind of get what we pay for. Most consumers look for the cheapest they can find, sellers respond to that by buying from manufacturers that can make products the cheapest, and yes in that process, often some corners are cut. Surprise surprise.

Biggest problem there isn't that cheap crap on the market, after all: buyers can choose. But sometimes that cheap crap is so ubiquitous, that manufacturers who make better stuff get squeezed out of the market. Such that after a while, it becomes almost impossible to find better product even if you're willing to pay for it. That's apart from the problem of determining what's crap and what isn't - sometimes there's no relation with price at all.

Comment Re:The winner? (Score 5, Interesting) 61

Those end-users that are 'lucky' enough to actually receive updates once in a while.

That is THE problem with Android right now imho: leaving updates to the OS to 3rd parties that are just interested in selling a phone or call/SMS/data package, is a totally broken model. Those 3rd parties should be required to provide working drivers for the hardware in their phone, in source form, and whoever maintains the OS (Google I suppose, or maybe some industry co-operation) should take it from there. Including the distribution of updates.

Those 3rd parties have too big a tendency to sell the phone & walk away. That is easy to foresee, and has been proven time and time again. So you simply CAN NOT rely on phone makers or providers to supply updates. Period. Trying to fix the problem when it's too late, doesn't help much: even if Google changes Android update model to how it should be, that still leaves hundreds of millions of phones out there which will never ever see an update again, but still be used for a long time to come.

Comment Obsolete (Score 5, Insightful) 104

MINIX is obsolete.

Even if assuming that's the case: okay, so what? Things that are considered 'obsolete' are used in many places, every day, doing their thing. Often better than if done by a modern 'equivalent'.

From what I've read, MINIX has some unique features that mainstream OS'es don't have. For that reason alone there's a place for it. And it's useful as a way to learn the inner workings of an OS. Not as big and complex as an OS that supports everything under the sun.

Still not good enough hey? How about as a research vehicle? To try some new concepts that haven't been tried elsewhere. Do things that have been done elsewhere just a little different, and see how that works. Or just for the fun of it.

Especially us /. users should applaud and appreciate projects like this. There used to be a time when it seemed as if every company were working on some OS or programming language of their own. When hobbyists where beating bare metal of their PC's in assembly, even up to a GUI or 3D games. These days... not so much. Most software news these days is new releases of existing software. New versions of existing operating systems. Some new way to make existing software X work with existing software Y. Projects like MINIX that are still developed (even if slowly) are few and far between.

Last but not least: if you're not interested: fine, that's OKAY. But no reason to mock an interesting project simply because it's not your cup of tea.

Comment Totally unenforceable (Score 2) 418

This is plain and simply the gubberment desperately trying to keep all windows of the Panopticon open. Clueless old 19th century minds trying to legislate against the future and maintain their failed baboon style pyramid hierarchy.

Indeed, this smells like government either not understanding technology and where it's moving, and/or conspiring with spy agencies to get (keep?) their fingers in everything - including where they shouldn't be.

Unfortunately for them, there is no middle ground here. If the plebs can use general-purpose computers, there will be ways to get strong encryption software on it. If it's agreed you should be able to have a strongly secured connection between you and your bank (or your webmail, or your doctor, or a business partner, etc, etc, etc), then you can have such a connection between you and say, some 3rd party outside the country. If there even were a way to 'allow what goes through the pipes' (other than a North Korea-like totalitarian regime), only allowing weak encryption would make a lot of present-day applications impossible, to the point where businesses would be forced to set up shop elsewhere. Of course we all know that even a government with a half a brain cell wouldn't let that happen.

Which simply leaves the other option: strong encryption in the hands of the public, possibly outside of the reach of government, law enforcement or spy agencies. Not to mention that if not allowed, technology together with the public will find ways around that.

Which would force those parties to either accept a more reasonable approach, attack encryption-using criminals through the legal system, social engineering and such, or attack implementations and endpoints of encryption use. Oh wait.. wasn't that the easiest method anyway? lol :-))

Comment Re: blah blah blah (Score 2) 100

If you didn't have the memory of a goldfish you would have noticed that only a few of the many battery improvements written about ten years ago have made it to market at all.

There, FTFY.

The road from lab to product is long and full of speed bumps (or rather: unexpected craters in the road). If you look at actually available products, battery tech is a steadily improving but SLOW moving market. A good analogy is open source software: on a regular basis there's important releases (that actually bring something new to the table), and the occasional surprise. But overall, it's a very gradually evolving ecosystem.

Comment Cheating? (Score 1) 109

Care to explain how? If you mean by hacking a driver such that it produces more fps, then (by that logic) simply plugging in a faster GPU would qualify as cheating too. Note that the 'faster-GPU-cheat' is considered perfectly acceptable for online gaming, only exception being pro gaming tournaments where I'd expect all participants to have same-configured machines.

In case you were thinking about see-through-wall hacks, mods that help with aiming etc: those things are in game engines not graphics drivers.

Comment Why keep Catalyst around? (Score 1) 109

What I don't understand is why AMD bothers to keep Catalyst around, when a) they've already shown to be supportive towards open source, b) Catalyst drivers have always been considered crap compared vs. their Nvidia counterpart (by most gamers anyway), and c) the open drivers have made leaps & bounds of progress in the last few years.

Supporting both the open and closed source drivers will surely take more resources than focussing the effort on one of them. And I kind of doubt that AMD has much resources to spare for this kind of thing. The open drivers have caught up to Catalyst quite a bit lately, why not work towards replacing Catalyst with it? That would make everybody on AMD side of the fence happy I think (not to mention future buyers of AMD videocards / APU's).

Comment Re:Gonna need a reference here... (Score 3, Insightful) 52

"... US$75,000 and $120,000 to mount a viable attack using freely available cloud-computing services"

That would be the quick & dirty method then, I suppose? (which admittedly is often the method of choice for black hats)

But speaking as devil's advocate here: if I were serious / determined enough to throw 75~100K$ at 'cracking some code', wouldn't it make more sense to buy some serious FPGA boards and do it in hardware? This looks like the kind of job where an FPGA-based setup could do it a lot faster, cheaper, or more efficient than some software running on cloud services.

Sure setting that up is specialist work. But hey with 75K to blow on it you can hire and/or bribe people, right? And buy a few $5 wrenches while you're at it... ;-)

Btw. that might also mean that for a determined attacker (one that makes the effort to investigate methods more efficient than a software-based method using cloud services), this 75K figure may actually be lower. Read: if there's profit to be made from doing it, someone probably will - soon enough.

Make it right before you make it faster.