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Comment: Re:Is this Google's fault? (Score 1) 397

by swillden (#49635253) Attached to: Google Can't Ignore the Android Update Problem Any Longer

Your notion of "optimizing for the hardware" is something that isn't real. According to your theory, Linux also shouldn't perform well because it also is hardware-agnostic.

As for what OEMs have to do, a modern mobile device is immensely complex, consisting of dozens of processors, many on the SoC (system on a chip) but many not. All of them have to be configured, which is a complex and tedious operation, and easy to get wrong -- and every custom board requires a custom configuration. In addition, there are drivers for all of the bits and pieces that have to be assembled and tested together. Plus there's also typically a complex, multi-stage boot process that has to be orchestrated to bring up all the bits and pieces of the hardware in the right way and in the right order. And other stuff that I don't know about because I'm not a hardware systems guy.

Some of the above doesn't depend on the OS, and can be done before it's available. But much of it does depend on OS requirements and has to wait.

And then if the OEM decides to customize Android they have to do that, with whatever skin, and default apps they want, plus whatever changes they need deep in the system to support the hardware and their changes to the software. Finally there is lots and lots of testing, because such complex, custom devices always expose new interactions between components that have to be debugged and fixed. Oh, and lots of hardware testing as well, including endless burn-in tests to validate that the stuff not only works but that some subtle design flaw doesn't stop it from working.

And I'm sure there's still more that I don't know about at that level as well.

Then they have to run Google's compliance tests, to find out what they've broken with all of their changes, or what they missed in configuring their device for proper support (actually, this is something they do throughout, not at the end), and then go back and fix what's broken until it passes... or else negotiate with Google for waivers on things they think should be okay.

Then comes carrier validation and testing, more rounds of fixes, etc.

Little or none of this has anything to do with "optimization". That's mostly the compiler's job, and it does that job well.

Comment: Re:Brand? (Score 2) 191

For a more reliable product, the door's interlock would first signal the microprocessor to shut things down normally, but then manually cut power if the processor doesn't respond. For similar behavior on high voltage products (for example), the hardware has like 60 ms or so to become safe after the interlock opens. For a product I worked on recently, we budgeted around 1/3rd of that for the standard digital system to operate and bring things down cleanly, and only if it didn't would the analog circuit kick in and pull the rail down hard. (The analog circuit could damage the board by discharging capacitors too fast, but if digital is dead that's what we had to do to protect the users.)

Comment: Re:LOL ubuntu (Score 0) 95

by gfxguy (#49633245) Attached to: Ubuntu May Beat Windows 10 To Phone-PC Convergence After All
Agreed... an Ubuntu phone will not succeed. There will be very few apps for it... even if this convergence works (and I use Ubuntu as my desktop), it needs to function as a smart phone, which means it can't just be useful when docked as a desktop. I just don't see developers rushing to develop for it. It will only serve to be a proof of concept. At the same time, I surely don't want an MS based phone, but at least they have some app market share.

Comment: Re:and all three users will be overjoyed (Score 1) 95

by gfxguy (#49633213) Attached to: Ubuntu May Beat Windows 10 To Phone-PC Convergence After All

This move strikes me as being more like Jack of All trades, master on None.

Yes... exactly, just like the smartphone itself (Consumer Reports, for example, rates NONE of the current smart phones as have very good or excellent voice quality). People want this. Most people don't need high powered 3D gaming platforms, number crunching, or to be able to recompile a kernel, or do anything but the most simple video and photo editing. My current phone is so slow, I wouldn't possibly want it to act as my desktop - but in the future, new hardware, full desktop use (keyboard and mouse on a large screen), then it would make no difference.

Comment: Re:Why do companies keep thinking people *want* th (Score 1) 95

by gfxguy (#49633183) Attached to: Ubuntu May Beat Windows 10 To Phone-PC Convergence After All
I think that's very shortsighted. If you get what you want in a phone... all the things you want, that great, small, portable device that can do so much for you while your away from your desk... AND not have to buy a desktop or laptop, because when you dock it to something like a large screen, all the features of those applications you'd have on a desktop become available, then who wouldn't want that? I think the vast majority of users would love that - developers and games, not so much, but the rest of the world that just surfs, emails, youtubes, and does simple office apps... yes, I think they'd want that. Surely, as a parent, I'd love to be able to get my kids one thing to go to college instead of two or three.

Comment: Re:Why do companies keep thinking people *want* th (Score 2) 95

by gfxguy (#49633131) Attached to: Ubuntu May Beat Windows 10 To Phone-PC Convergence After All
Maybe not phones, but tablets are already doing this, and I don't think phones are that far behind. I think it'll be less than 10 years. I'm actually looking right now to replace my "portable workstation" with a dockable tablet. Some of my programming includes GUIs, so remote development hasn't really been all that feasible. If the phone can dock to something with large screen, keyboard, and mouse, and if it's still works great as a smartphone, then why not?

Comment: Re:Sort-of-worked. (Score 2) 49

by Bruce Perens (#49633129) Attached to: SpaceX Launch Abort Test Successful

What I am getting from the videos is that this test was a success but that there was indeed an engine failure and the system recovered from it successfully by throttling off the opposing engine. There was less Delta-V than expected, max altitude was lower than expected, downrange was lower than expected, and that tumble after trunk jettison and during drogue deploy looked like it would have been uncomfortable for crew.

This is the second time that SpaceX has had an engine failure and recovered from it. They get points for not killing the theoretical crew either time. There will be work to do. It's to be expected, this is rocket science.

It sounds to me like the launch engineers were rattled by the short downrange and the launch director had to rein them in.

Comment: Re:Licensing, mostly (Score 2) 309

by swillden (#49632957) Attached to: Why Was Linux the Kernel That Succeeded?

Other than Xenix what do you mean by Microsoft

Er, nothing actually. TFA mentioned "Microsoft's take on Unix", which I took to mean NT's stab at POSIX support, or maybe something else equally ridiculous. Looking at the article again, it actually says "Xenix, Microsoft's take on Unix". Not being more than vaguely aware of Xenix, I didn't realize it was bought by Microsoft and I took that text as two separate items in the list (should have paid closer attention to commas vs semi-colons).

Also you forgot SCO if you are including commercial Unixes for 386

Indeed. There I claim selective memory, driven by the massive stain on the Unix world left by SCO's successor-in-ownership, The SCO Group.

Also one that gets forgotten about but was quite good in those early days was: Coherent

I heard good things about Coherent back in the day, but never touched it.

Comment: Licensing, mostly (Score 5, Interesting) 309

by swillden (#49632065) Attached to: Why Was Linux the Kernel That Succeeded?

It was because Linux more or less worked, and people could use it and add to it because of the GPL. The competitors all had problems:

* Minix was cheap but not free, and couldn't be redistributed with modifications. People worked around that by maintaining patch sets, but that was even more painful then than it is now (we have better tools now).
* The BSDs were in a quagmire of legal uncertainty and competing claims. Nobody knew for sure if BSD was free or not, so everyone assumed it wasn't.
* Xenix: Not free.
* Microsoft: Are you kidding me?
* SYSV: Not free
* HURD: Didn't work, and had such an elegant architecture that it wasn't clear if it could ever work.

That was the space when Linus Torvalds started hacking around (except HURD didn't even exist yet). If he'd been able to hack on Minix, he would have. But the license prevented it, so he took the opportunity to start his own. Lots of other people saw exactly the same situation and joined him in hacking on something that (a) worked, more or less and (b) they could hack on.

It's not that Linux lucked out and the rest of the competition failed. There was no other competition that satisfied the requirements of being free and hackable. It was also important that Linus was an excellent Benevolent Dictator that gave people few reasons to fork. Actually, on that last point it's rather impressive that Linus is still in charge, even after it's become an incredibly valuable property, used and contributed to by lots of megacorps.

Comment: Re:FTYF, Submitter (Score 4, Interesting) 465

by SydShamino (#49630151) Attached to: The Medical Bill Mystery

And God forbid you should need surgery and the surgeon brings in his "out of network" business partner to consult in the surgery and you get hit with an uncovered four or five figure bill from them, too.

We had something similar happen. The lead surgeon for a scheduled surgery never told us that he would need to bring in a second doctor, and of course his partner wasn't on our network. With no negotiated discount on service rates, his partner was paid more by insurance company (at 70% "out of network" payment on the full charge) than he was (at my 90% in network rate, after the massive "negotiated" discount). This was for a multi-hour invasive procedure where the book rates for the primary and secondary doctors were in the $40-50k range each.

Supposedly we owed the 30% coinsurance for the partner ... but it's been five years now and he never sent a bill. I only know about this at all because of the insurance statements. I think they aren't going after us as I have a better fraud claim against them. (We confirmed in writing that the primary doctor was on our insurance prior to the surgery. I could argue that he should have mentioned that his partner wasn't. We never once met or even saw the partner though maybe he did show up during the surgery itself when no one was awake to notice.)

A mathematician is a device for turning coffee into theorems. -- P. Erdos

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