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Comment wire wrap serial interface (Score 2) 210

The Commodore 64 had a nonstandard serial port, meaning that I couldn't connect my standard RS-232 modem directly to it. Being just a kid, I couldn't afford the $50 or so that an adapter would cost.

My solution: I borrowed a family friend's RS-232 adapter, opened it up, examined the components and circuit board traces, bought the parts from a local electronics shop, and built the same circuit with perfboard and wire wrap. I cut a slot in the back of my C64, mounted a DB-25 connector in it, wired it to my frankenboard, and stuffed the whole thing into the free space inside the computer.

It worked like a charm. I was the only kid I ever met whose C64 had a standard serial port on the back.

Comment Re:Experts... (Score 1) 345

C++ gives a nice balance between high performance and relatively good safety.

Huh? Relative to what?

C++ was my primary language for quite a few years. I was very good at using it effectively while introducing far fewer bugs than most coders I encountered, but I would never call that language anything near safe.

Maybe you're talking about a subset of C++ that does not include things like pointers and arrays?

Comment Re:Why do people dislike systemd so much? (Score 1) 229

All it takes is the motivation, a group of likeminded individuals and the willpower to deliver a dist that does not use systemd. I expect most packages in the debian universe have no deps on systemd and therefore no work required to support those packages. So we're talking system packages, some daemons and maybe a few shims for edge cases.

You're implying that it would be easy. I'd like to think you're right. One group has already announced such a derivative. I'd love to see it succeed, but I'm not holding my breath. Maintaining a linux distribution as well as debian does, including timely security updates, package builds, downstream bug tracking, release management, and uniformity across so many installations as to form a vast support community, is a much bigger job than one might think. There's also the issue of various unrelated but popular packages developing dependencies on systemd, which means any such derivative distro would also be in the business of developing and maintaining forked versions of those packages; also not a trivial task. I guess we shall see.

As for why there are only 2 dists left not to have gone to systemd, perhaps that should serve as a clue in itself.

Many of them seem to be derivative distros that simply don't want to diverge from their upstream distribution's init system, so they have little choice. (Counting them as independent decision makers would be dishonest.) As for the upstream distros, I think it's more telling to note how very divided their communities were in the vote for/against systemd. A strong argument could be made that anything so integral to the core of an OS distribution should not be replaced with something so divisive to the community.

Speaking for myself, I'm a bit disappointed in the loudest factions of this disagreement. Most of what I see in these discussions is two mobs of people pushing for a decision *right now* (meaning this year, or next). The voices shouting "we need systemd!" or "we need nothing of the kind!" dominate the discussion, while a third option seems to have been forgotten: How about waiting until something can be developed that offers important core improvements over sysv init, but isn't as invasive as systemd? Most of us can obviously get by just fine with our existing init systems for a little longer; we've been doing it for years. The uproar over the topic is surely enough to motivate the development (or modification) of an init system that most of the community would find suitable. I'd love to see that happen.

In any case, I think the original question here has been answered. :)

Comment Re:Why do people dislike systemd so much? (Score 1) 229

This is where the exercise of free will kicks in. If you cannot contemplate learning something new, stick with what you have or choose a dist that chooses to do stuff the old way.

Thanks. You just provided yet another example of the same old fallacious argument. It completely ignores two important facts: The only alternative distributions left are either so anemic in their overall support that they would utterly fail as substitutes (debian's software archive is second to none) or are so different that a migration of any significant size would be unreasonably painful (let's see how long it takes you to migrate 50 machines to gentoo, let alone maintain it with 500 machines). Anyone who makes the argument you just made either has no grasp of the real-world issues, or is being disingenuous.

Comment Re:Why do people dislike systemd so much? (Score 3, Informative) 229

The reasons for disliking it vary, but there is at least one common thread among those who are upset about it: Systemd is being shoved down their throats, in that several of the most widely used, widely loved, deeply entrenched linux distributions have announced that they are adopting it. Many people who use those distributions do so for very good reasons, and since there are no equivalent alternatives, these people are being forced to either accept systemd (which will cause them unwanted trouble) or migrate to an inferior distribution (which will also cause them unwanted trouble). That kind of thing is enough to piss anyone off.

Be careful when a loop exits to the same place from side and bottom.