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Comment: Re:This does pose the question: (Score 1) 195

by Ben Hutchings (#47664551) Attached to: Facebook Seeks Devs To Make Linux Network Stack As Good As FreeBSD's

ASICs generally aren't flexible enough that you could simply emulate another controller in firmware, while FPGAs suck too much power to use on commodity network adapters. Writing a new driver (or bringing an existing neglected driver up to scratch) is going to be quicker than trying to make hardware that's compatible enough to work with a driver written for another vendor's controller.

(Besides which, as that other driver is probably maintained by your competitor, do you really think they're going to make an effort to ensure that their later updates are compatible with your clone controller? You'll still have to maintain your own fork.)

I have often wondered why there isn't a vendor-neutral register-level standard for Ethernet controllers, along the lines of AHCI and xHCI. There is the virtio networking standard, but as it's designed for VMs I assume it does not cover Ethernet link management. I seem to remember that VMware tried to promote a common interface for SR-IOV virtual functions at one time, but that didn't get very far. Again that would not have included link management.

Comment: Meanwhile, in reality... (Score 2) 201

by Ben Hutchings (#45692771) Attached to: Under the Hood of SteamOS
It's a stock Debian kernel with some minor packaging changes and support for a new game controller. All those realtime patches? Not actually used by default. The full list of exciting changes:
  • Make the binnmu regexp also reconize our build suffixes
  • New XBox controller driver
  • Disable Intel P-State driver as it causes issues with sound being choppy during BigPicture trailer video playback.
  • Hard-code parallel build for now since our OBS infrastructure doesn't know how to set these options yet.
  • Add postinst step to touch /var/run/reboot-required

Comment: Re:But can SVN merge a branch yet? (Score 1) 378

by Ben Hutchings (#44056933) Attached to: Subversion 1.8 Released But Will You Still Use Git?
Repeated merges have worked well for a while now (maybe since 1.6?). It's not quite as good at merging as git is, but it works well enough. But I have to agree with the general sentiment against merging from release to devel branches. Merging should be considered an expert-only operation (not expert in version control, but in the code base). Cherry-picking/backporting fixes from devel to release is safer because then you know exactly what you're changing.

Comment: Re:Online Advertising Response (Score 1) 369

by Ben Hutchings (#42995725) Attached to: Firefox Will Soon Block Third-Party Cookies
Whenever a web site has a form, some other site can set up another (hidden) form pointing to the same URL and with any values they like. Someone who visits both sites can unintentionally submit that form (together with their cookies from the first site, so it's properly authenticated). This is 'Cross Site Request Forgery' and the usual way to avoid is to check the Referer header.

Comment: Who leaked my card details? (Score 1) 163

I personally haven't experienced abuse of my card details - so far as I know. But if I did, how could I tell who was responsible - especially when there are vast leaks like this? It seems like it would be more fair to have an industry-wide fund to compensate victims, which the leaking companies would pay into proportionately to the number of valid details leaked.

Comment: Re:Damn you kids, get off my lawn. (Score 1) 207

by Ben Hutchings (#39630205) Attached to: Demoscene: 64k Intros At Revision Demoparty

There's not 64k of assembly pumping bytes into a framebuffer and twiddling the PC speaker port to synthesize digital audio.

Of course. But all the creative work is squeezed into 64K.

One thing I couldn't find in there (and I've been out of the scene for a LONG time, so I don't know how this works on new-fangled fancy computers...) -- do these write directly to the video hardware? Or do they use OS services like DirectX11, etc?

They use DirectX, because that is the only way to support a reasonable range of hardware. (Also, you can't hit the hardware without installing a new driver or exploiting a kernel bug. Neither of which is very friendly.)

But are people still getting down and counting clock cycles?

Cycle counts aren't even documented today. Now it's all about avoiding cache misses and cache invalidation.

Comment: Re:Where's the 10GbE? (Score 1) 96

by Ben Hutchings (#39271331) Attached to: Intel Releases Sandy Bridge-based Xeon E5 Series
I think you're mistaken about PCIe link speeds, and you're also failing to account for the transaction layer protocol (TLP) overhead which can be quite substantial. PCIe 2.0 link speed is 5 GT/s but that's with 8b10 encoding; the data rate is only 4 Gb/s. PCIe 3.0 doubles the data rate to 8 Gb/s. Two 10G ports require 20 Gb/s plus some overhead, hence 8 lanes on PCIe 2.0 or potentially 4 lanes on PCIe 3.0.

Comment: Re:TTL value (Score 1) 58

If browsers don't impose such a minimum, devices with embedded web servers (think printers and home routers) become vulnerable to Cross-Site Request Forgery. They can potentially defend against this by checking the Host header on requests, but since these devices are only manageable through the web there's no good way to establish what the correct value is.

Comment: Re:sort of like? (Score 1) 375

by Ben Hutchings (#37303520) Attached to: Windows 8 Desktop 'Just Another App'?
Explorer isn't the window manager, although it does have some integration to make minimised windows appear within the task bar. The window manager largely runs as a library within the application (USER32.DLL). Windows 2000 added the feature that lets you force minimisation or kill the window's owner if it doesn't process window management messages quickly. (I don't know what component or process handles this.) More recently DWM.EXE was introduced to handle some window management and particularly compositing.

Organic chemistry is the chemistry of carbon compounds. Biochemistry is the study of carbon compounds that crawl. -- Mike Adams

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