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Comment Re:Scheduled programming is doomed. Maybe ads too. (Score 1) 228

no advertising is bad as well

I've been living without ads just fine for about 10 years now. I don't miss them at all. In fact, when I'm at a friend's place and they're watching TV (or youtube on their playstation), I find the ads intolerable.

I keep abreast of movies I'm interested in by using the internet and word of mouth. It's great - I can go to a sci-fi movie website and look at news about movies which I'm likely to be interested in. Then I can go to youtube and watch the previews for any that I'm interested in. It's immensely superior to ads for movies which I have no interest in bombarding me in the middle of something I'm trying to watch.

Yes, there are movies that I've missed and only heard about via word of mouth later, but given that my home experience is almost on par with a cinema experience, missing a movie while it's in the cinema isn't a big deal like it used to be.

When I need a product, I know that I need it, so I go looking for it. I use reviews and feature lists to make a comparison and decision.

I have zero need for advertising, and ads boil my blood. No advertising is awesome

Comment Re:Weasel Words (Score 2) 79

Mr. Burns: I see. Well, I- ...Oh, that reminds me, it is time for your annual contribution. How much should I give?
Male Admissions Officer: Well frankly, test scores like Larry's would merit a very generous donation. A score of 400 would require new football uniforms. 300 would require a new dormitory. And in Larry's case? We'd need an international airport.
Female Admissions Officer: Yale could use an international airport, Mr. Burns.

Comment Re:Honestly Linux (Score 1) 110

If only I had mod points today. This is probably the best rebuttal to the old "GNU/Linux" whinge I've ever heard. Bravo!

While I do use GNU tools every day, I also use steam and apache and a bunch of other software every day. Maybe I should be calling it Xine/Audacious/Apache/MySQL/XOrg/Eclipse/Steam/GNU/Linux.

Comment Re:1600 (Score 4, Informative) 110

As you say it's getting better for the bigger titles. Here are some of the bigger games you forgot to mention:
* Borderlands 2
* Borderlands The Pre-sequel (linux version on launch day!)
* XCOM: Enemy Unknown
* All the valve games (Half-Life + all addons, HL2, Team Fortress 2, Left 4 Dead, counterstrike, portal 1+2, etc etc)
* KOTOR 2 got a port not long ago
* Shadow Warrior (the reboot/remake thing, it's awesome)
* Serious Sam 3
* Saints Row 4 (announced, I can't wait)
Also the ones you mention: Civ 5, Bioshock Infinite, X3, etc

Also the next Crysis engine will have Linux support, as does Unreal Engine 4 and the new Unreal Tournament (which is open source and community built! You can sign up, clone the git tree, and compile it now).

There are also a bunch of really great not-so-huge titles:
* Oddworld: New & Tasty
* Grim Fandango Remastered
* Postal 1+2 (available before steam)
* Duke Nukem 3D
* Shadow Warrior (original)
* Psychonauts (available before steam)
* Goat Simulator
* Spec Ops: The Line
* Kerbal Space Program (I think this just might be the best game ever made)

As an exclusive Linux user, I have a huge backlog of games I haven't gotten around to playing yet. It's awesome!

Comment Re:This is it! (Score 1) 578

1) Quit being such an OS bigot. I am bilingual, two languages is definitively better than one... I can get work done on a computer as long as it is not a Mac

I'm entitled to express my opinion and somewhat qualified to have one: I've run large windows networks, written tens of thousands of lines of code for windows, and had productive work environments on windows. I've run large websites on many flavours of Linux and I don't particularly care what distro I'm using. I've administered BSD and Solaris machines. I have administered ancient legacy government UNIX servers that everyone else was afraid to touch. I can even get stuff done on a Mac and I'm familiar with mac servers. I've configured and administered just about every type of server you can imagine - database, web, mail, LDAP, VPN, DNS, proxies, routers, firewalls, etc etc - even active directory. I've built a secure government network (which involved defending my design against a panel of technical/security people asking hard questions). I've worked with huge ESX clusters and even a small beowulf. I've used just about every toy OS out there (minix, ReactOS, AROS, Morphos, MenuetOS, etc). I can use OS/2 and AmigaOS, CP/M and DOS v2. And these are just the ones that spring to mind immediately. I can use pretty much any desktop/server OS. I'm qualified to have an opinion. Granted, I'm not qualified to talk about supercomputers...but who rules that niche again?

In my (limited) experience and (not very professional) opinion, windows is the worst of them all (except maybe some of the toy ones). If having an opinion based on 25+ years of experience makes me a bigot then so be it. If you haven't managed to get butthurt over anything then congratulations. I suspect you're not doing anything particularly complicated or important, and/or you're not doing anything MS hasn't anticipated, or being a "big Linux guy" you're doing everything important elsewhere). Or perhaps you're just not very passionate. I endured a lot before I vowed never to touch it again. I could give you a list of things to get butthurt about but I don't have the next decade free for typing and I'm sure slashdot has some kind of size limit on posts.

But my point when I said "We don't really care what you use that much" is that I really don't care what you use, because I don't - they're your computers and you can run what you like on them. If you like windows, then use it, more power to you. But do not complain at me when you do inevitably get butthurt, because I will have zero sympathy. And don't spread FUD.

(not being able to move the minimize/maximize/close buttons to the right side of the window? really?).

This is particularly funny given that windows has no option to move the titlebar buttons either. Hence my use of the term "unconfigurable".

2) Quit spreading anti-M$ FUD.

Everything I said is true and has nothing to do with being anti-MS or FUD. It's horrible, it's unconfigurable, and it's spyware. Granted, the first is an opinion, but the rest is demonstrable. Granted, I am anti-MS, but it took about 10-15 years of their abuse for that to happen.

M$ makes stuff that works

Sure, it works. For you. At the moment. And it will just as long as MS supports solving the problem you're trying to solve. And as long as you don't run into arbitrary restrictions based on the license you have. And assuming you have something in place to deal with rebooting every time you install an update. And assuming that the next update/version doesn't remove features you rely on. And as long as you pay. Every couple of years.

heck I am even impressed with Windows 10 and I never have nice things to say about M$

Contradiction much?

If you're impressed with windows 10 you're either not paying attention to the news (e.g articles like this one),'re not paying attention to the news (e.g articles like this one). Or maybe you just don't care.

3) I just had to laugh when you said "Enjoy your horrible unconfigurable spyware" because I immediately thought of systemd! That is the main reason I am standardizing on CentOS/Scientific 6, thanks to systemd BSD may become my next OS.

It's funny that you mention systemd while praising the virtues of Windows 10 spyware edition. I'm no systemd fan either, but forks and alternatives exist (devuan, BSD, others) if you want to excise systemd - how do you plan on excising the spyware and ads from Windows 10? And if you say "disable it", what about the next update which installs automatically and turns it back on? The example you give is an excellent demonstration of why open source operating systems are superior to proprietary ones - you can rip out systemd if you really want to. Good luck ripping out the bits of windows you don't want. Hence my use of the term "unconfigurable".

Comment Re:development process for can NOT fail? (Score 1) 76

Testing, well-specced requirements, testing, and then more testing.

Every piece of the software is tested to exhaustion by a separate group to the one who wrote it.

During the Rogers Commission to investigate the Challenger disaster, Richard Feynman was critical of NASA's approach to engineering. The only group he had good things to say about was the software team.


The software is checked very carefully in a bottom-up fashion. First, each new line of code is checked, then sections of code or modules with special functions are verified. The scope is increased step by step until the new changes are incorporated into a complete system and checked. This complete output is considered the final product, newly released. But completely independently there is an independent verification group, that takes an adversary attitude to the software development group, and tests and verifies the software as if it were a customer of the delivered product.

To summarize then, the computer software checking system and attitude is of the highest quality. There appears to be no process of gradually fooling oneself while degrading standards so characteristic of the Solid Rocket Booster or Space Shuttle Main Engine safety systems. To be sure, there have been recent suggestions by management to curtail such elaborate and expensive tests as being unnecessary at this late date in Shuttle history.

...And that second quote pretty much answers the rest of your question too: "Are some of those processes applicable to other types of software development"

The answer is that technically it's possible, but just try getting a manager or client to approve the expenditure for this type of process and an entire separate testing team. It generally only happens where there's a potential for lives to be lost.

Interestingly, all NASA spacecraft still have all their debugging routines left in them when they fly. The reason for this is that removing the debugging routines would require another round of testing an certification, and that wouldn't be possible without the debugging routines.

There's a link to feynman's full report in the article, too ("Avionics" is the relevant part).

Comment Re:This is it! (Score 1) 578

You're welcome, happy to help :)

A VM is a good place to learn and play around without worrying about breaking things. Take a snapshot when it's in a good state and restore it if you break something. Set up a bunch of VMs and try a bunch of different distros, see which one you like. VirtualBox is free and works well.

Comment Re:This is it! (Score 2) 578

if the guy is building his own boxes, as he said in his post, he's likely going to be messing around configuring hardware.

I missed the "builing his own boxes" bit. But I disagree about configuring hardware - It would need to be pretty exotic hardware to actually need configuration, especially requiring the command line. You slap in your live cd, run the installer, and you're set. You'll be prompted to install the proprietary driver for your graphics card. You click 'Activate' and enter your password, and that's about it. There are GUIs for just about everything. You don't even need to understand partitioning these days - the installer has an option labeled 'use the entire disk'. I haven't configured hardware in a long time.

I imagine pretty much any Slashdot reader, even one who's not already using Linux in 2015, is going to be the kind of person who ends up having to use the command line almost immediately

Quite possibly, but you can get a lot of basic stuff done without it. It comes down to preferences and if the user really wants to avoid the command line it is very often possible. I'd argue that it's more like one percent of "an inconceivable amount of command line" where it's mandatory and there's no gui conig tool for it.

I'm not advocating avoiding the terminal - I adore my terminal, but I think you'd get along fairly well without it if you were in the 'terminal is scary' crowd. As I say, there are GUIs for most things these days. Personally I find the command line more convenient, But living without the command line is much more possible than it used to be.
Yes, the instructions they're likely to get from people will tend to be command-line, but that's due to the preferences of the people giving the advice and it's also done to minimise dependencies (i.e "you can use the command line or install this gui").

I would amend "ls -la" to "ls -lah" - human-readable file sizes are much better to deal with

Comment Re:This is it! (Score 3, Informative) 578

I know how you feel, I had a similar experience at first. I think Linux is actually more difficult for advanced windows users than for novices - advanced users are used to feeling like they know all the answers and being able to just get things done, so it's more daunting coming to an unfamiliar environment.

If you want deep knowledge and you're technical and patient, you might want to check out Linux From Scratch, which is a book that goes through building your own Linux system from the ground up. It's probably more involved than what you're looking for at the moment - it's probably something better suited to someone with at least a few years Linux experience under their belt, but it does give you a really good understanding of a lot of stuff.

There are a lot of guides out there. Search engines are your friend. Search for [distro] [problem], e.g "ubuntu install software". also searching or "howto" is helpful, e.g "ubuntu apache howto".

One site I have used is the linux documentation project. They have a bunch of guides. In particular, Linux Filesystem Hierarchy Sounds like one which would be good for you. I have referred back to their advanced bash scripting guide many, many, many times over the years.

On the command line, man is your friend: type "man [command]" to get the documentation for most commands, e.g "man ls". There is also "man -k [searchterm]" if you don't know what command you want. It's dry reading but usually pretty detailed.

But I think perhaps what you really want is IRC. Pick a distro and jump on to the freenode IRC server and look for a relevant and active channel, e.g #ubuntu. Ask questions. You'll find someone (or a group of someones) who will be happy to answer questions. An advantage of IRC is speed - you get a response more quickly than on a forum.

In terms of installing software, it's not like windows - It's much, much better. most distros have a pretty user-friendly GUI for it these days. It'll offer you tens of thousands of apps with search and screenshots and ratings and all kinds of bells and whistles. And if you use the command-line you'll soon get the hang of apt or yum (depending on which distro you choose).

Go with a distro aimed at newbies. They are all very configurable and it's unlikely you'll need to switch for a technical reason, the community is the biggest difference IMHO - the distros aimed at newbies have better documentation and more helpful communities. I don't want to tell you what to choose (it's all about it being your choice after all), but IMHO you should choose ubuntu or one of its variants/derivatives.

It's not easy at first, but as your knowledge builds up it gets easier and easier. You will hit a point where you feel comfortable and then you will start learning a lot of things really quickly and then suddenly you'll feel really comfortable and you'll never want to go back. Don't give in to the initial frustration - stick with it, it's worth it.

Comment Re:This is it! (Score 1) 578

That's some nice snark there.

So none them.

Community Help Wiki
Ubuntu Desktop Guide
Community Help & Info

Yep, horrible, nonexistent documentation. The community help wiki is particularly useless, what with the comprehensive guides to just about anything you can imagine. Would you believe it's actually text? I mean - they expect you to actually read! They're so crap that they don't even beam knowledge directly into your brain with zero effort on your behalf. Sheesh.

The whole point of asking questions is because one doesn't know and/or hasn't been able to find the answer elsewhere.

Not always. People are lazy, and will ask a question to which they could easily find the answer by typing the exact same text into a search engine. Hence my "try not to be lazy" comment. Asking questions is fine - it's why the community exists. All I'm saying is that you should always make at least a minimal effort to find an answer yourself before imposing yourself on someone else's time (which they are giving you for free). You will get a better response if you say "I googled for 'X' but didn't find anything useful". Also in many cases you'll find the answer you need by searching, and if you do it's faster and easier for you than posting on a forum and waiting for a response.

Sometimes you find the answer but it's so convoluted you still don't know how to do what is being said (I've seen tons of such documentation).

So you ask questions about the answers. You put a post on the community saying "I found documentation X but I'm stuck at Y. Can somebody help? I don't understand Z". You will get an excellent response to this kind of question.

Considering everyone at some point in their lives has asked a stupid question, telling someone who doesn't know the answer not to ask a stupid question is essentially telling them not to bother asking in the first place.

You seem to have missed a critical word which I included in my sentence: try. I didn't say "don't ask stupid questions", I said "Try not to ask stupid questions". Everyone asks stupid questions, it's inevitable. But you will get a better response from the community if you put some minimal effort towards thinking for yourself and try to avoid asking stupid questions. I know, it's difficult, but if you use the energy which you'd otherwise expend spewing vitriol you'll manage to figure a surprising number of things out by yourself.

I'm outta here.

Good, off you go. Enjoy your horrible unconfigurable spyware. We don't really care what you use that much. Just don't come crying to us when you're butthurt about (insert this week's awful thing forced on users).

This is one of many reasons there will never a Year of Linux on the desktop.

It was 2003. Sorry you missed it.

Comment Re:This is it! (Score 4, Informative) 578

I can't recommend a book. My advice is to pick a commonly used distro with good documentation and more importantly a good community. Ubuntu is good in this respect (or xubuntu or kubuntu if you want a more familiar interface). I've also heard good things about mint and arch. Introduce yourself, say you're a newbie, and ask questions. Be polite and try not to be stupid or lazy if you can help it - try to read documentation, and always do a search before you ask a question (it's faster than waiting for a forum response anyway). There are also rooms on IRC where you can get help. In my experience people tend to be friendly there. I think the days of "RTFM" are mostly over. You might still get the occasional "RTFM" response or links to the relevant manual, but you'll usually get a helpful response.

IMHO the easiest way to learn Linux is to not have windows installed. It forces you to learn rather than being lazy and retreating to familiar territory.

It's not that scary these days anyway, there's a GUI for most things and you're rarely forced to use the command line (unless you want to) or mess around configuring hardware.

Comment Re:Why (Score 1) 80

Sometimes I just add an "exit;" command after the opening PHP tag at the very top of wp-login.php. It just kills the file dead and so no login attempt using it will ever succeed, it doesn't even show the form, just a blank page. Drives the bots crazy, lol.

Rather than just putting in an 'exit' you might consider being more sophisticated to get better results:
* return a 404. That way, the bot knows even less. Many bots and scanners seem to look for wp-login.php before they do anything else. Returning a 200 tells the bot there's something there. return a 404 and they'll likely assume there's no wordpress there and move along.
* Add a second authentication factor via a querystring. something esoteric and non-standard like ?answer_to_ultimate_question=42. If the querystring isn't provided or has the wrong value, show a 404. If it's there and valid allow wp-login.php to run normally.
* Another suggestion: put your wordpress install in a subdirectory if you can, and put up a honeypot wp-login.php in the web root. Have it look like a wordpress login page but log IP addresses etc. Bonus points for automatically adding iptables rules to block repeat offenders.

Comment Re:What?!?!? (Score 1) 48

Tolkien's cover for the Hobbit was used in the original and many more recent editions

Oh that is his cover? And it was the original cover? It does look like his work. I seem to recall reading something that said there were issues around publishing it with his cover initially. Or perhaps it was the illustrations? Or maybe it was a point of contention but he got his way in the end? I read about it a long time ago and my memory is fuzzy. I did know that he had done a bunch of illustrations and the cover design.

I have an illustrated edition with all his illustrations but no copy with that cover. Pity, it's awesome.

Comment Re:What?!?!? (Score 3, Informative) 48

That's not quite right.

Tolkien himself admitted--in Letters if not other commentary--that he was no artist

That was JRRT being self-deprecating and humble. Some of his art was actually quite good. It all came down to how much time he put into it - there's a big difference between his finished works and his crude sketches. I think what he means when he says "I'm no artist" is more along the lines of "I'm not on par with picasso" rather than "I can't draw". If you want to see some awesome art by JRRT, check out J.R.R Tolkiien: Artist And Illustrator, which has some awesome stuff. This new book seems to be focusing more on the rough sketches.

and that Chris did most of the artwork associated with the maps and early sketches that went with his work.

Chris only did the maps IIRC. The other illustrations tended to be JRRT. The original (intended, I don't think it was published in the end) cover of the hobbit was entirely JRRT's design.

God is real, unless declared integer.