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Comment Re:Give up PCs? Not likely... (Score 1) 222

"This technology isn't reliable. [...] The people who want your computer to include a back door are evil and you can't trust them."

Sure, that's the actual situation, but most people are just going to hear "secure boot" and think it makes them secure. Mix in a bit of "I don't do anything complicated with my computer, so it's ok if nobody can do anything complicated with their computers" and oh dear.

Today, I'm told, the ratio of computers to kids is almost 1:1

My old school is similar, but all their computers are heavily locked down, with an application whitelist that limits what you can run to just authorized binaries. Which is a pretty good example of the problem.

Comment Re:Give up PCs? Not likely... (Score 1) 222

It's a big if, sure. But phrase it as something we need to do to stop terrorists/paedophiles, and suddenly you'll have lots of support from people that don't know better. "EFI firmware should check PCs for known checksums of child porn and report them to the authorities, and why would you want to disable that unless you're a paedophile yourself?"

And the resulting monopoly-related lawsuits in every nation that would support them, not to mention almost inevitable regulatory action in jurisdictions like the EU, would most likely be the final nail in the MS coffin.

Yet we have none of this for the machines that are locked down today. (After all, it's not even MS's fault that these machines come with unconfigurable Secure Boot. They just set the Secure Boot requirement for Windows certification, they didn't force anybody to put it in!)

A new generation has grown up never not knowing what it's like to have their own PCs and consoles and mobile devices

The sad part is that this isn't true any more. A lot of children these days grow up with only a mobile phone, not a PC... and you can hardly call the phone theirs when it's so locked down that it may as well still belong to the manufacturer. And they consider that normal, because that's what they grew up with, and probably won't see how bringing the same situation to the desktop would be any worse.

I realize I'm being pessimistic here, and I really, seriously hope that you turn out to be right, but I fear I'm just going to discover that I'm not being pessimistic enough.

Comment Re:Give up PCs? Not likely... (Score 1) 222

I feel you are overly optimistic.

If we want to do this kind of lockdown, we'd need some way to make computers only run authorized software. We'd need a standard for digitally signing OSs, and the BIOS would need to check the signature and enforce that only signed OSs can run. Then the OSs would need to run only whitelisted software.

How hard would it be for governments to coordinate getting a lockdown feature like that into every computer? Well... they don't need to. We already have it. MS has already bludgeoned everybody into supporting Secure Boot, which is exactly this feature/misfeature, in all new computers that ship with Windows (which is most of them -- and the rest support it too because nobody's going to make a separate motherboard just for computers that ship with Windows).

Sure, you can disable Secure Boot... except for when you can't. There are machines (often, not always, laptops) out there right now which don't let you disable Secure Boot, so you're stuck running only approved OSs on them. (MS do the approving, in case you were wondering.) It wouldn't take much at all to expand that to every machine; all it'd take would be MS adding "in order to keep machines secure, don't allow disabling Secure Boot" to the Windows Hardware Certification requirements

Given that we already have systems that will only run approved OSs, it doesn't seem like such a huge leap to "you can only run the software we let you run", especially when all the technology to make that happen is already in place. And, for that matter, being used routinely on tablets and phones.

The coming war on general-purpose computing and The Coming Civil War over General Purpose Computing are a good idea to read. I really wish I had my tinfoil hat on here, but sadly this is looking all too realistic.

Comment Re:Sadly.. (Score 1) 352

The GIMP is a very useful, highly functional, stable and reliable piece of software.

...written by developers that think it's ok to piss off a sizeable chunk of their user base.

You're right, I think there should be a word for it.

Comment Re:What's next? (Score 5, Informative) 316

That article is talking about plugins. The GP is actually talking about extensions. They're two very different types of add-ons.

Of course, they're also dropping support for extensions (and replacing it with support for slightly-improved Greasemonkey scripts). You can't make this stuff up, folks.

Comment Re:Disaster "surges" (Score 3, Insightful) 75

In theory. In practice, the result is that the provider is strongly encouraged to under-provision their network so they can charge extreme rates for normal use, citing "high" utilization as an excuse. So you end up with a poor experience at all times, rather than just during disasters.

It'd work well if we had some kind of requirement in place that mandated capacity upgrades such that the system only approaches max capacity less than x% of the time, where x is small. But that's not going to happen.

Comment Re:Always seemed redundant to me. (Score 1) 267

Except getting rid of XUL doesn't mean no more XUL-based extensions, because XUL-based extensions are actually Javascript-based extensions and Javascript isn't going anywhere. (Some of these extensions do manipulate the main Firefox UI, which is written in XUL, but if it was written in HTML instead then it wouldn't make any difference to extensions -- they'd just be manipulating an HTML document instead of a XUL document.)

No, the reason that "XUL-based extensions" are going is because Mozilla just plain doesn't want them anymore, so they're removing support for them. It's not because they're dropping XUL and "XUL-based" extensions have to go as a dependency.

If I was feeling cynical, I'd suggest that the only reason Mozilla decided to call them "XUL-based extensions" in their announcement (I've never seen them use that term before) is because they wanted to give the impression their hands were tied.

Comment Re:IPV6 magicall makes routing tables better (Score 1) 435

You, or your equipment, is doing something wrong, because v6 is far easier to set up and maintain than v4 is.

Also, you sounded sarcastic, but v6 does indeed improve the routing table situation. "Being really big" is all it needs to reduce fragmentation; that allows ISPs to get a single, contiguous allocation that covers all their needs, compared to v4 where they need to keep getting tiny allocations from all over the place. You can look at Comcast's announcements for an example: they have an order of magnitude fewer v6 prefixes, and the v6 prefixes are mostly empty at the moment, compared to their v4 ones that will be mostly full.

16.5 feet in the Twilight Zone = 1 Rod Serling