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Journal: Do the Goatman!

Journal by IntlHarvester

I'm here today to introduce the next phase
The next step, in the big anus craze
I've got a thing real easy to do
I learned it with no problems and so can you

So stretch it out if you got the notion
Pull left and right in a jerking motion
Now that you got it if you think you can
Do it to the music - that's the Goatman

Everybody if you can do the Goatman
Stretch that hole turn it out if you're bad man
Open up pull the sides yes you can, can
Everybody in the house do the Goatman

Everybody if you can do the Goatman
Stretch that hole turn it out if you're bad man
Pull to the front back, and sides yes you can, can
Everybody in the house do the Goatman


Journal: The classic X argument

Journal by IntlHarvester

This is the classic X argument (Score:4, Insightful)
by Featureless (599963)
03:37 PM March 8th, 2003

(#5469153) Someone comes along and points out X's shortcommings and calls for its replacement. Someone else (who fancies themselves older and/or wiser) comes along and disagrees strenuously, and tries to make X11 out to be the greatest UI ever created. Look... it's "network transparent," it's "flexible," it's "fast," we can just extend it to give it whatever features it lacks, etc. etc.

Ugh. I don't buy it.

To put it in perspective, lots of Unix has a big organization problem. X is just emblematic. It's "lower-level" APIs are a big stinking mess. Ever tried to program against it without a super-high-level bit of middleware? Then let's talk about how nice it is. If you're not up on this, try reading JWZ's rants on it (many written as he was porting Netscape)? X is a 4 foot high sandwich of crap, layer after layer between you and the display, full of massive, sucking complexity, the bugs, inefficiency... even during this supposedly wonderful "network transparent" windowing this foul stew shows its colors, as no combination of two applications or X servers quite looks the same. It's a verifiability nightmare, too, of course (and for instance, disabling X's many attempts to listen and talk on the network are one of the first things you do to secure a machine properly - and for real security, you avoid installing X altogether).

The API design itself is atrocious. The much-touted "flexibility" is really code for laziness - it was a lot of work to do a proper GUI, so no one did it. The mishmash of X server extensions, window managers, font handling systems, etc. that's been cobbled together has led to a nightmare for both programers and users, as any given application doesn't just require "X", but a complex recipe of libraries and versions, and an end-user experience where no two applications look or act the same... or even remotely similar... Where cutting and pasting between windows is a pipe dream, and young geniuses still struggle to configure fonts properly for linux distributors.

Or to just put it plainly, as my friend (who from time to time would write X windows gadgets) would say, it's only about twice as hard as managing the video memory yourself.

"And thank god it's not all standardized, or we'd never have had all those wonderful experiments with different ways to do a GUI that never actually happened." In practice, no system is immune from its initial design choices, and it's been an endless series of awful MacOS knockoffs, multi-button madness, color-pallete spinning goofiness. Is X11 a "GUI experimenters toolbench?" Then I think it's time for something a little more grounded in everyday realities of computer use.

I'm not even warmed up yet. I mean, X is still peppering the filesystem with a hedge-maze of exotically formatted text files describing the hex colors of every pixel of the trim of every window for a variety of appliations and classes in a complex inheritance and assignment scheme that few X developers even understand. Check it out, your XDefaults are "human readable."

Shall we even discuss its security model?

Modern Linux has tried to make its peace with X through wrappers, and we write against Tcl/Tk, Qt, inside the Gnome or KDE framework, and yet still the focus groups come back crying... we try to blame overfamiliarity with windows, but the problems are bigger... all of Unix (and of course Linux) suffers from the same class of problems that X does; as, for instance, an application needs to prompt you to insert a series of CD's, but there is no "single, authoritiative, standard" place to go find out what CD drives are installed on the computer, and what their device names are (yes, we know what they _usually_ are), and finding out if any of the CDs are already inserted involves parsing the text output of a proc file or a mount command, and so on and so forth... And all of this is being done by a messy bash script... so it's no surprise this functionatlity is broken even in, for instance, RedHat's own v8 package manager... I hope you can grasp the metaphor.

It's a mess. Patches won't clean it up. Frankly, it's time we took the whole GUI back to the drawing board. But even if MacOS is the end-all/be-all, we can do it a hell of a lot better than we do in X.

Following are some choice quotes from Don Hopkins' [] essay:

X-Windows is the Iran-Contra of graphical user interfaces: a tragedy of political compromises, entangled alliances, marketing hype, and just plain greed. X-Windows is to memory as Ronald Reagan was to money. Years of "Voodoo Ergonomics" have resulted in an unprecedented memory deficit of gargantuan proportions. Divisive dependencies, distributed deadlocks, and partisan protocols have tightened gridlocks, aggravated race conditions, and promulgated double standards.

X has had its share of $5,000 toilet seats -- like Sun's Open Look clock tool, which gobbles up 1.4 megabytes of real memory! If you sacrificed all the RAM from 22 Commodore 64s to clock tool, it still wouldn't have enough to tell you the time. Even the vanilla X11R4 "xclock" utility consumed 656K to run. And X's memory usage is increasing. ...

X was designed to run three programs: xterm, xload, and xclock. (The idea of a window manager was added as an afterthought, and it shows.) For the first few years of its development at MIT, these were, in fact, the only programs that ran under the window system. Notice that none of these program have any semblance of a graphical user interface (except xclock), only one of these programs implements anything in the way of cut-and-paste (and then, only a single data type is supported), and none of them requires a particularly sophisticated approach to color management. Is it any wonder, then, that these are all areas in which modern X falls down? ...

As a result, one of the most amazing pieces of literature to come out of the X Consortium is the "Inter Client Communication Conventions Manual," more fondly known as the "ICCCM", "Ice Cubed," or "I39L" (short for "I, 39 letters, L"). It describes protocols that X clients ust use to communicate with each other via the X server, including diverse topics like window management, selections, keyboard and colormap focus, and session management. In short, it tries to cover everything the X designers forgot and tries to fix everything they got wrong. But it was too late -- by the time ICCCM was published, people were already writing window managers and toolkits, so each new version of the ICCCM was forced to bend over backwards to be backward compatible with the mistakes of the past.

The ICCCM is unbelievably dense, it must be followed to the last letter, and it still doesn't work. ICCCM compliance is one of the most complex ordeals of implementing X toolkits, window managers, and even simple applications. It's so difficult, that many of the benefits just aren't worth the hassle of compliance. And when one program doesn't comply, it screws up other programs. This is the reason cut-and-paste never works properly with X (unless you are cutting and pasting straight ASCII text), drag-and-drop locks up the system, colormaps flash wildly and are never installed at the right time, keyboard focus lags behind the cursor, keys go to the wrong window, and deleting a popup window can quit the whole application. If you want to write an interoperable ICCCM compliant application, you have to crossbar test it with every other application, and with all possible window managers, and then plead with the vendors to fix their problems in the next release.

In summary, ICCCM is a technological disaster: a toxic waste dump of broken protocols, backward compatibility nightmares, complex nonsolutions to obsolete nonproblems, a twisted mass of scabs and scar tissue intended to cover up the moral and intellectual depravity of the industry's standard naked emperor.

                Using these toolkits is like trying to make a bookshelf out of mashed potatoes.
                - Jamie Zawinski ...

The fundamental problem with X's notion of client/server is that the proper division of labor between the client and the server can only be decided on an application-by-application basis. Some applications (like a flight simulator) require that all mouse movement be sent to the application. Others need only mouse clicks. Still others need a sophisticated combination of the two, depending on the program's state or the region of the screen where the mouse happens to be. Some programs need to update meters or widgets on the screen every second. Other programs just want to display clocks; the server could just as well do the updating, provided that there was some way to tell it to do so. ...

What this means is that the smarter-than-the-average-bear user who actually managed to figure out that

snot.fucked.stupid.widget.fontList: micro

is the resource to change the font in his snot application, could be unable to figure out where to put it. Suzie sitting in the next cubicle will tell him, "just put it in your .Xdefaults", but if he happens to have copied Fred's .xsession, he does an xrdb .xresources, so .Xdefaults never gets read. Susie either doesn't xrdb, or was told by someone once to xrdb .Xdefaults. She wonders why when she edits .Xdefaults, the changes don't happen until she 'logs out', since she never reran xrdb to reload the resources. Oh, and when she uses the NCD from home, things act `different', and she doesn't know why. "It's just different sometimes."

Joe Smartass has figured out that XAPPLRESDIR is the way to go, as it allows him to have separate files for each application. But he doesn't know what the class name for this thing is. He knows his copy of the executable is called snot, but when he adds a file Snot or XSnot or Xsnot, nothing happens. He has a man page which forgot to mention the application class name, and always describes resources starting with '*', which is no help. He asks Gardner, who fires up emacs on the executable, and searches for (case insensitve) snot, and finds a few SNot strings, and suggests that. It works, hooray. He figures he can even use SNot*fontList: micro to change all the fonts in the application, but finds that a few widgets don't get that font for some reason. Someone points out that he has a line in his .xresources (or was it a file that was #included in .xresources) of the form *fucked*fontList: 10x22, which he copied from Steve who quit last year, and that of course that resources is 'more specific' than his, whatever the fuck that means, so it takes precedence. Sorry, guy. He can't even remember what application that resource was supposed to change anymore. Too bad. ...

On the whole, X extensions are a failure. The notable exception that proves the rule is the Shaped Window extension, which was specifically designed to implement round clocks and eyeballs. But most application writers just don't bother using proprietarty extensions like Display PostScript, because X terminals and MIT servers don't support them. Many find it too much of a hassle to use more ubiquitous extensions like shared memory, double buffering, or splines: they still don't work in many cases, so you have to be prepared to do without them. If you really don't need the extension, then why complicate your code with the special cases? And most applications that do use extensions just assume they're supported and bomb if they're not.


Journal: Top Nine Reasons to Quit 1

Journal by IntlHarvester

#9. Slashdot is a plot by Microsoft to destroy the productivity of Linux users.

I have friends who were once tremendously productive programmers, until they started reading Slashdot. Then, the endless stream of links, updated a dozen times a day no less (so you don't go once a day to get your fix; instead, you keep a window open and hit reload every twenty minutes or so), steadily seduced them, until they eventually became babbling idiots, dribbling saliva from the corners of their mouths, ranting on the forums about the relative merits of Karma Whores and Anonymous Cowards. Can there be any doubt that this website is anything other than a nefarious ploy to destroy Linux by undermining the productivity of its developers? And is there any organization that would like to destroy Linux more than Microsoft? (Well, maybe the Santa Cruz Operation...) Is it any coincidence that just as the Feds were working out Microsoft's sentence, Microsoft sued Slashdot, resulting in a firestorm of geek ire that totally overshadowed the monopoly ruling?

#8. Screaming 14-year-old boys attempting to prove to each other that they are more 3133t than j00.

Need I say more?

#7. Technical opinions refereed by popular vote means lousy technical opinions.

Before the Internet, a certain breed of deconstructionists had a lot of fun telling everybody that "privileging of dominant paradigms" was wrecking the world. The Internet has taught us that privileging certain views is absolutely crucial to avoid drowning in the ravings of idiots. On Slashdot, many articles discuss technical issues---but comments are refereed by popular vote, and even though the populace of Slashdot readers knows somewhat more than your average set of people off the street, they still tend to promote (as in "moderate up") a lot of technical nonsense. Reading Slashdot can therefore often be worse than useless, especially to young and budding programmers: it can give you exactly the wrong idea about the technical issues it raises.

The pre-Internet publishing world had magazines, newspapers, and journals with editors. Respectable publications hired qualified editors. Those qualified editors were educated enough to make intelligent decisions about the quality of content. The Slashdot model removes the editors and substitutes popular vote, and the result (unfortunately) is that the quality level becomes incredibly inconsistent. It was an interesting experiment; it didn't work, not for Slashdot (though it might work in some other population of users). Too bad. Now, it's time to quit.

#6. Community myth that Linux is technically superior to any other operating system in the known universe.

People who do operating systems research, of course, think this is a joke. Dissent from this view in Slashdot, however, and you'd better be wearing your asbestos fatigues.

#5. Butt-ugly visual design.

Of course, this one's a matter of taste. However, in my analysis, the visual elements of the Slashdot site are basically hopelessly confused and wrong. From the cryptic links in the left margin, to the drop-shadowed graphics (hello, digital design cliche circa 1994?), to the offensively lousy color scheme (let's use circuit board green, because it's "News for Nerds", right?) I can't find much to like about the design of Slashdot.

#4. Gullible editorial staff continues to post links to any and all articles that vaguely criticize Linux in any way.

Blowhards (like the flock of irresponsible columnists over at the Windows-boosterism rag InfoWorld) have had tons of fun taking advantage of this tendency to drive hits to their site. On any given day, Slashdot readers are treated to another link to another column by another self-proclaimed pundit declaring that Linux is (pick one) unreliable, not scalable, not user-friendly, doomed, piracy-inducing, foul-smelling, or un-American. And irony was that the editors of Slashdot are falling right into the pundits' trap: inciting the Slashdot community is the one surefire way to drive up your hit count and hence your revenue from ad banners. Did the Slashdot editors ever wise up? Not that I ever saw. Given how tiresome the endless pro-Linux jihad had become by the time I quit, I have very little desire to go back and find out whether that's changed.

#3. Gullible editorial staff continues to post links to bogus pseudoscience articles by crackpots.

At the time I quit, the editors were posting links to theories of alternate consciousness, unified theories of the universe made up by people in their garages, and the like at a rate of two or three a week. And the number was only increasing. If I want to read articles that promote totally bogus pseudoscience, I'll open up the Village Voice. We don't need another webzine filling that role.

#2. Editorial/comment system pretends to be democratic but in reality most content remains firmly in the iron clasp of the editors.

The above problems with editorial could be solved if stories could be moderated as well as comments, or if editors paid attention to negative feedback about the posting of certain articles. However, the editorial staff, while pretending to be ideology-free selectors of any "interesting" content, in fact exert tremendous power over the content of the site, because they are the only ones who can select top-level links. They have furthermore demonstrated, for all the reasons above, that they cannot use this power wisely.

In fact, if you think about it, the links on Slashdot are easily an order of magnitude less interesting, on average, than those of Suck, Hotwired, or FEED---all of which are run by smart editors with good taste (and two of which are dead---thus proving that only the good die young). If you've read any of these webzines, you'll probably agree. Rob and Hemos simply don't compare, as editors, to Stephen Johnson or Joey Anuff.

So, really, it's time to ask yourself: why should I read Slashdot? Because it targets my demographic? That's a silly reason. So why not quit today?

#1. Two words: Jon Katz.

Every community has its resident gasbag. The difference between Slashdot and other communities is that they have the means to kick their village idiot off his soapbox, but they lack the will. If Jon Katz is not the single worst writer for any webzine, anywhere on the planet, alive today, then I am a penguin. His writing manages to be endlessly meandering and verbose, and simultaneously utterly content-free.

Notice, by the way, that I have not said a word about his technical acumen. It's not necessary to. Katz (who, like all opportunists, likes to paint himself as an innocent victim whenever he's criticized) makes a big deal about how there are "technical snobs" in the Linux user population who blast him for not being a technical genius. To tell the truth, Katz's inability to install even recent Linux distributions (which are arguably as easy to install as MacOS or Windows) on a run-of-the-mill x86 PC does testify to his general cluelessness. However, Katz is not a programmer or sysadmin; he's a writer. He must stand or fall based on the quality of his writing. And his writing is totally the pits. He would never have gotten published anywhere but Slashdot; even WIRED, cheerleaders of all things "digital" and "decentralized", finally got tired of his babbling and let him go. The cheesiest, most blatantly pandering "Hookers Who Read Proust" article on displays more literary skill than the finest Katz screed ever to see the light of day.

To make things worse, Katz is also a shameless opportunist who regularly uses Slashdot to promote his books. And the Slashdot admins go right along with it. You can't criticize someone for their taste in friends, but you can criticize them for continuing in a relentless and blind nepotism that destroys the quality of the site.

No single factor wase more pivotal in driving me away from Slashdot than Jon Katz. Even when I registered for an account and filtered Katz out, still he made it into news items not labeled Jon Katz---presumably to promote sales of his book. What other webzine displays such a blatant disrespect for its readers?

But then again, Katz's pandering, one-note "Ich bin ein Geek" spiel may be exactly what the Slashdot audience deserves.

Simply put, it's time to quit Slashdot, once and for all.


Journal: Token Ring LAN

Journal by IntlHarvester

Token Ring LAN (Score:2)
by crayz (1056) Alter Relationship on 06:59 AM -- Sunday April 16 2006 (#15137828)

( the tune of "Particle Man")

Token Ring LAN, Token Ring LAN
Doing the things a token ring can
How does it work?
It's not important
Token Ring LAN

Is it a drag or is it a waste?
When it's installed
Does it get replaced?
Or does that admin get axed instead?
Nobody cares
Token Ring LAN

Ethernet LAN, Ethernet LAN
Ethernet LAN hates Token Ring LAN
They have a fight
Ethernet wins
Ethernet LAN

Internet WAN, Internet WAN
Size of the entire Internet, man
Usually kind to the smaller LAN
Internet WAN

It's got a link with PPP band,
A T1 band, and an OC3 band
And when they're together it's a happy LAN
Powerful WAN, Internet WAN

Workgroups LAN, Workgroups LAN
Formerly known as MS LANMAN
Lives its life in a garbage can
Workgroups LAN

Is it depressed or is it a mess?
Does it feel totally worthless?
Who came up with Workgroups LAN?
Degraded LAN, Workgroups LAN

Ethernet LAN, Ethernet LAN
Ethernet LAN hates Token Ring LAN
They have a fight
Ethernet wins
Ethernet LAN


Journal: Sympathy for the daemon

Journal by IntlHarvester

Sympathy for the daemon (Score:3, Funny)
by k98sven (324383) on 04:41 AM January 15th, 2004

Please allow me to introduce myself
I'm an OS of wealth and taste
I've been around for a long, long year
Stole many a man's soul and faith

And I was 'round when Gary Kildall
Had his moment of doubt and pain
Made damn sure that Bill Gates
Washed his hands and sealed his fate

Pleased to meet you
Hope you guess my name
But what's puzzling you
Is the nature of my game

I stuck around Digital
When I saw it was a time for a change
Killed VMS and its decendents
The VAXen screamed in vain

I rode my way
through USLs day
when the lawsuit raged
and the licenses stank

Hope you guess my name, oh yeah
Ah, what's puzzling you
Is the nature of my game, oh yeah

I watched with glee
While your kings and queens
Fought for ten decades
For the OSes they made
I shouted out,
Who killed System V?
When after all
It was you and me

etc... my apology to the Rolling Stones..


Journal: Software is not a career field. 1

Journal by IntlHarvester

Software is not a career field. Software development is a sequence of jobs. Your skills will soon be obsolete. With 31% of software projects ending up being canceled and 52% branded as failures for late delivery, over cost and under delivery of functions (1995 Standish Group study), you will end up on a cancelled project if you have not done so already. During your time spent on the canceled technology, the field keeps moving forward. You'll stick your head up for air and discover that you are an expert in a now canceled technology and you are falling further and further behind. The software industry uses developers as if they are a consumable resource, hence, the "shortage" is merely a shortage of raw recruits. In fact, according to U.S. Census data, there are today 6 million fewer 20 to 29 year olds than there were from about 1980 to 1993 (which accounts for the actual reason unemployment is low - it has nothing to do with egotistical political idiots who claim credit for all successes they have nothing to do with).

The solution: Do NOT go into software as a career in the U.S. Software development will move to those countries with a comparative economic advantage, especially India and perhaps China. Both countries have the primary raw material needed for software develpment - smart people. Both countries have populations over 1 billion and substantial government programs to make this happen. The H-1B program is a training program for Indian software developers who, by law, must return to India where they will be our future competitors, at 1/5th the cost (India has a very low cost of living).
If you want a career, do NOT choose software development. The ONLY career options are to move into management or marketing. If you do not have the right training for those positions, then get it, or leave the field (you'll be forced to anyway). I spent 18 years in the software field working at high tech companies from Silicon Valley to Redmond (yeah, that one). Now I'm finishing an MBA. Congratulations to those of you that have figured this out early in your careers. At the present time, I strongly discourage U.S. students from studying computer science - it is not a career field EXCEPT for those who have the right training (PhD) to do research, or who can move into management or marketing (MBA). Ed,


Journal: Model of a Slashdot Personality 1

Journal by IntlHarvester

I am a bigshot Slashdot editor! (Score:-1, Offtopic)
by MondoMor (262881) on 04:41 PM March 16th, 2003 (#5525815)
Watch me misquote, mislink, misunderstand and make an ass of myself with my story submissions! I hope you like my commentary and extreme bias, along with my total inability to do anything along the lines of those traditionally called "editors".

Here's a poem about, well, about you likely:

    to the tune of: "Model of a Modern Major General", with apologies to
Gilbert and Sullivan...

Model of a Slashdot Personality

I am the very model of a Slashdot personality.
I intersperse obscenity with tedious banality.
Addresses I have plenty of, both genuine and ghosted too,
On all the countless topics that my drivel is cross-posted to.
Your bandwidth I will fritter with my whining and my sniveling,
And you're the one who pays the bill, downloading all my driveling.
My enemies are numerous, and no-one would be blaming you
For cracking my head open after I've been rudely flaming you.

I hate to lose an argument (by now I should be used to it).
I wouldn't know a valid point if I was introduced to it.
My learning is extensive but consists of mindless trivia,
Designed to fan my ego, which is larger than Bolivia.
The comments that I vomit forth, disguised as jest and drollery,
Are really just an exercise in unremitting trollery.
I say I'm frank and forthright, but that's merely lies and vanity,
The gibberings of one who's at the limits of his sanity.

If only I could get a life, as many people tell me to;
If only Mom could find a circus freak-show she could sell me to;
If I go off to Zanzibar to paint the local scenery;
If I lose all my fingers in a mishap with machinery;
If I survive to twenty, which is somewhat problematical;
If what I post was more mature, or slightly more grammatical;
If I could learn to spell a bit, and maybe even punctuate;
Would I still be the loathsome and objectionable punk you hate?

But while I have this tiresome urge to prance around and show my face,
It simply isn't safe for normal people here in cyberspace.
To stick me in Old Sparky and turn on the electricity
Would be a fitting punishment for my egocentricity.

I always have the last word; so, with uttermost finality,
That's all from me, the model of a Slashdot personality.


Journal: Slashbot Rhyme

Journal by IntlHarvester

Re:Missing (Score:4, Funny)
by Eberlin (570874) on 12:09 PM August 17th, 2004 (#9994109)

Slashbot Rhyme

I make a dash to the Slash to the D-O-T
Coz them news for nerds makes sense to me
So let this serve as a warning to the spammers and trolls
You may have a fat pipe but you ain't got bawls.

There's a new manifesto by ESR
And the stats of the watts of a hybrid car
I gots love for Perens and miguel, et al
And I voted CowboyNeal on the Slashdot Poll

I'm Microsoft bashin' like every single day
Coz the OS got holes and Exploder's teh gay
Now SCO's talkin' trash so I give firefox a ride
To reply as a Coward so I can hate on McBride

I will flame you with language I won't say to your face
And I bet you can't guess who gots all your base
There's one way to know if your server is rotting
Just post a link and you'll get a slashdotting

You can mod me down coz I'm a karma whore
And I'm a decorated veteran of a recent flame war
Where they fought about an app with a K or a G
And a heated debate on what was meant by "Free"

As a slashbot, when Linux receives a threat,
My palms begin to sweat and my evil bit is set
You best believe I'll be posting a rant
And I'll be surfin' Slashdot 'til my mom says I can't.


Journal: Motif -- Bringing the ease of use of MS Windows 3.1 to Unix

Journal by IntlHarvester

Re:What Windows got from Unix (Score:2)
by paul.dunne (5922) on 08:18 AM March 24th, 2002 (#3216110)

You understand wrongly. The Motif docs themselves state:

"On December 30, 1988, OSF announced that the user environment
component offering will be based on several leading technologies:
Digital Equipment Corporation's toolkit technology (widgets)
and the joint Hewlett-Packard/Microsoft submission of H-P's 3-D
appearance and Microsoft's Presentation Manager-compatible behavior
(window manager)."

Or, to paraphrase: we copied Windows. If you want to be picky,
you can say instead: they copied a joint IBM/Windows standard (CUA,
isn't it?), but it amounts to the same thing.


This turns out not to be the case.

The *look* of Motif was pretty much fixed in 1989, and was inherited from
HP's widget library. See Shiz Kobara's book for a nice summary of the
history that led up to the existing design. Windows's 3D look came later.

The *feel* of Motif was carefully, even assiduously, designed to be the
same as the Windows/Presentation Manager family. A great deal of effort
went into ensuring that every gesture you might make had the same (or
analogous) effect on the two families of systems. The rationale was that
people quickly acquire muscle memory, and the concept of "page down" or "go
to end" or "default button" should be converted to a physical movement at
the subconscious level, once learned.

This results on Windows and Motif users being able to switch from one
system to the other without going through the effort of training in a new
set of movements.

The Motif Style Guide retains a 1988 Microsoft copyright, and this is why.
David Brooks, Manager, Quality Engineering
X Consortium
Commit planned giving and daily acts of compassion.


Journal: Linux at CMU 1

Journal by IntlHarvester

Linux Sucks (Score:1, Funny)
by Anonymous Coward on 06:09 AM October 11th, 2003 (#7189224)

This past year, I was accepted into Carnegie Mellon's School of Computer Science. It has been a remarkable experience that I would like to share with the Slashdot community. Here's an account of my experience.

Week 1, Sunday: I moved in today. My roommate, a sophomore CS student, had
already moved in two days before me. The floor is already completely covered
with garbage. He also smells. I think he might be gay too. He's already asked
me if I like the color he painted his toenails. This should be interesting. I
am almost completely settled in. Techno music is playing in every room in every
floor of my dorm. There are computers and other types of trash out in the
common areas. What a mess. Tomorrow, I am going to go sign up to get my network

Week 1, Monday: I got hooked up to the CMU network today! I jacked into the
network, only to find that the hostname and address assigned to me were
colliding with another system. I'll just increment the network numbers a few
times. I am really eager to get on.

Week 1, Tuesday: I am still looking for a free IP address. Can't anybody here
properly configure their systems?

Week 1, Friday: I finally found a free IP! It's mine! You sons of bitches can't
have it, I found it, I keep it, it's mine! To hell with all of you! Head hurts
really bad. I've slowly been developing a headache since I first arrived.
Everywhere I look there are these Lucent Technologies wireless access points. I
wonder if that's the problem.

Week 1, Saturday: I sat down at my computer today. My desktop wallpaper is now
the guy. Pleasant. Scattered over every directory on my C: drive are
thousands, possibly millions, of files titled "J00AR30WN3DBITCH-phj33r-" and
then some random hacker's name. Don't these people have lives? Maybe they need
laid or something. It'd take days to clean this out. I mentioned to my roommate
that I needed to reinstall Windows, and immediately he jumped up and shouted:
"NO! Do NOT use Windows!" Suddenly, two dozen other guys (all of them possibly
homosexuals) appeared at the door, each touting an operating system called
Linux. Half of them got into a fight over which was better, Debian, RedHat,
Slackware, and a bunch of others I couldn't recognize. Some kid who appeared to
not have showered since he was born was touting "Linux From Scratch", saying
that only losers used pre-made distros. A crowd of people in the back kept
quiet about how I'd be sorry if I used Linux instead of BSD on the network. Who
the fuck are these people? Classes start next week. Hope I have my computer
working so I can do my assignments.

Week 3, Friday: People are still trying to get Linux to work on my system. They
keep telling my that my hardware sucks. We go through about four or five
distributions a day. Every now and then, I notice a little devil on my screen.
Stickers for every of these distributions have been plastered on my case.
Suddenly, my room stinks a lot more with these people in here. I ask them why
they never shower, and the usual response is something along the lines of
"showering is like rebooting" and "I don't want to lose my uptime."

Week 3, Saturday: There's a troop of men running naked in a circle around
McGill Hall. I am not even going to ask.

Week 4, Wednesday: Linux is FINALLY working on my computer! I have a pretty
slick desktop too. I think I might like this. I can finally work in my room
instead of the labs, although considering the every increasing layer of garbage
on the floor...

Week 4, Thursday: My computer flashes messages about how I am "0WNX0RED" and
how I should "PHJ33R" whoever and how "L4MEX0R" I am for having an insecure
box. A kid suggests we reinstall Linux after discovering about 17 rootkits.

Week 5, Friday: Someone got BSD working on my computer. I wonder if this will
last. The stress has been building and I forgot to take a shower this morning.

Week 6, Tuesday: Seems I have been "0WNX0R3D" again. Took longer this time.
Minutes later, so meone comes in with a "Bastile Linux" install CD. He gets
started installing. I am feeling very suspicious of these guys.

Week 6, Thursday: Everyone seems to know more about my system than I do. It's a
bit unnerving. I guess anyone could feel upset from this sort of treatment.
They hack my box, trash it, then reinstall everything. I guess they think
they're being funny. My dirty clothes are piling up and I am out of clean ones.
I don't have time to do laundry, I'll have to wear something out of the pile.

Week 6, Friday: I got up this morning, sat at my machine, and stared at it
blankly. An icon ap peared on my desktop for Quake III. I suppose it couldn't
hurt to play some. I have been very stressed lately.

Week 6, Sunday: I lost track of time! I started playing Quake III on the
network with some other CMU students (who killed me hundreds of times in the
course of 10 minutes) and completely lost myself. There's a bag of chips that
has been sitting here for a few weeks. I think I'll finish those off for
breakfast and then go to sleep.

Week 7, Wednesday: I masturbate every day now. Not a single girl comes near me.
This is so depressing. Do I really smell? Oh well, I have the task of learning
how to secure my Linux box to keep me busy. Who has time for the opposite sex
after all?

Week 8, Tuesday: I got into a fight with this little shit who kept telling me
RedHat was great. What a fucking moron! Anybody who knows Linux knows that
Debian kicks its sorry little ass. I'll be getting my judiciary papers for the
incident in the mail. Doesn't this school get it? I can't let someone go around
converting people to RedHat! WtF!?

Week 8, Friday: My roommate squeezed my ass today! At first I was shocked and
appauled, and I told him off for it. Thinking about it later though, there was
just something that seemed too strong about my reaction. I'll talk to him later
and appologize for getting so upset, it wasn't really so bad.


Journal: "We had no choice but to implement XUL" Is The Big Lie

Journal by IntlHarvester

Why AC trolling can sometimes be valuable ...

Re:If...(Score:0, Troll)
by Anonymous Coward on 07:41 AM July 16th, 2003 (#6452427)

Netscape a.k.a Mozilla got flushed because Mozilla sucks. Check the Register for what really killed Mozilla ( ) []

Long live Opera!


Re:If...(Score:1, Interesting)
by Anonymous Coward on 07:50 AM July 16th, 2003 (#6452528)

I actually agree with The Registers analysis. When Netscape and AOL needed a great browser to battle with Microsoft, the Mozilla developers gave them an entire "application framework" that they didn't need, and a bug tracking system that could simply have been done with a commercial offering or even a few PHP scripts & a MySQL database. Mozilla developers were trying to be a "platform" instead of a damn browser; if they had worked on the portable Gecko completely and forgotten (Or at the very least, pushed right back) things like XUL and skined interfaces, they could have written a handful of application shells for their supported platforms and dropped in an excelent browser engine. They could have done it, from scratch, in two years. Instead we got Mozilla, the framework no one wants. Gecko is great and if it had been earlier, could have held Microsoft in check.

JZW was right, in a way. Starting from scratch is not always the best thing to do. With Gecko, they were probably right to do it. Did they need to throw away their existing Netscape applications & write XUL though? Did they really need to re-write Netscape Mail? Probably not.


Re:If...(Score:5, Insightful)
by Gerv (15179) on 07:58 AM July 16th, 2003 (#6452624) (

if they had worked on the portable Gecko completely and forgotten (Or at the very least, pushed right back) things like XUL and skined interfaces, they could have written a handful of application shells for their supported platforms and dropped in an excelent browser engine.

So, Mr. Know-It-All Anonymous Coward, pontificating from on high, here's a pop quiz. If you have to implement an entire widget set in your browser to have any hope of supporting styleable form controls etc. (as outlined in CSS2 and above), is it better to:

a) Write one user interface for all platforms using those same controls, and use that UI as another testbed for them
b) Write five or more separate user interfaces, and have to keep them all up to date and in sync?

Without XUL, there would have been no Netscape help in doing Mozilla for Linux, Mac, BSD etc. because there would have been no incentive to chase such a small part of the browser market.



ask a stupid quesiton...(Score:5, Insightful)
by Doktor Memory (237313) on 11:56 AM July 16th, 2003 (#6454939)

So, Mr. Know-It-All Anonymous Coward, pontificating from on high, here's a pop quiz. If you have to implement an entire widget set in your browser to have any hope of supporting styleable form controls etc. (as outlined in CSS2 and above), is it better to:

a) Write one user interface for all platforms using those same controls, and use that UI as another testbed for them
b) Write five or more separate user interfaces, and have to keep them all up to date and in sync?

Guess what, hotshot? The answer to that question is: Whichever one will not take 4+ years to ship in a working form while the world's largest and most predatory corporation is working overtime to dig your grave.

Please notice that despite the nonstop handwaving from the Mozilla team about how maintaining seperate native interfaces for the assorted Gecko frontends was supposed to be some sort of impossible herculean task that no reasonable person could be expected to tackle, in the time that it took to produce ONE semi-functional version of Mozilla, Opera Software, a company with not even a tenth of AOLNSCP's resources, produced multiple versions of a fully functional web browser, for all of Mozilla's major target platforms. Not only did they produce, maintain and upgrade native Windows, MacOS and Linux versions of Opera, but they increased their market share, and made money doing it.

"We had no choice but to implement XUL/XPFE" is the Big Lie of the entire Netscape saga. The fact that mozilla team members are still stating it with cultish earnestness suggests not that you all came to a reasoned engineering decision, but that your project management was not merely incompetant, but downright pathological. If 1% market share and the firing of your entire development team isn't enough to convince you that somewhere, somehow, you made the wrong decision, you are simply delusional.

Hopefully, some of the core Mozilla developers and managers will use some of their newly acquired free time to read Fred Brooks' "The Mythical Man-Month." When Brooks talks about the Second-System Effect, he's talking about you.


Re:Opera now has an XPFE though!(Score:4, Insightful)
by Doktor Memory (237313) on 03:39 PM July 16th, 2003 (#6456871)

For the record, I have nothing against the concept of cross-platform development toolkits. They can be great, time-saving things.

But. Priorities. Opera developed a functional product that could be used by the vast majority of their paying customers first. Then they prototyped and shipped versions for secondary platforms. After they started seeing revenue (or the potential for revenue; I'm not privy to their books, merely aware that they're apparently still in business, unlike the Mozilla team), they then wrote the minimum amount of glue to allow them to ship their releases in lockstep. And they did it in what...a quarter of the time it took to build a functional XPFE browser? An eighth?

Second point: XUL was more than just a cross-platform widget set. If that had been all that it was, Moz 1.0 would have shipped in 1999, maybe even 1998. People write cross-platform toolsets all the damn time, and it rarely takes half a decade to do. No, XUL/XUI/XPFE were the logical result of Netscape drinking its own "it's not a web browser, it's an application platform! []" kool-aid. It's an API, it's an application framework, it's a development toolkit, it's an XML parser, it's a widget set, it'll walk your dog and it gets your whites whiter!

Just search for comments from users with and addresses on slashdot for the past few years: Mozilla wasn't just going to be a better web browser, it was going to be the foundation for an entire industry of "mozilla-based web applications" that someone, somewhere, was sure to write.

See, as far as I can tell, it's the not-so-secret desire of just about every developer who ever lived to write The One Universal Cross-Platform Middleware Library That Everyone Will Use Forever. Therefore, except in the exceedingly rare instances where doing that is the actual stated and understood project plan from the CEO on down (ie: win32, java, .net, openstep), the job of every project manager in the world is to stand behind that developer's back with a rattan cane, and smack them across the shoulders everytime they start to try it. Netscape's management completely failed in this critical task, and Microsoft's near-total control of a market that 5 years ago they were an also-ran in is the entirely predictable result.


Re:If...(Score:3, Insightful)
by hixie (116369) on 01:27 AM July 17th, 2003 (#6459404) (

Ok that's it. Gerv, you need to stop talking utter garbage as if you were some kind of authority on the subject. You aren't.

Let's get some facts straight. First of all, CSS (any version) does not require that you style form controls. That is a myth, perpetuated by people like me, who used to want to see that level of control available to authors (As you can tell from the recently released CSS3 UI draft, the CSS working group is in fact moving away from stylable controls altogether).

Secondly, it is quite possible to develop multiple products for different platforms, and in fact, for some platforms it is the best way. In particular, the Mac. The Mac's UI is SO different from other platforms in key, if subtle, ways (menu bar placement, order of menu bar items, the fact that you can have an application running with no windows, etc) that it is significantly EASIER to write an application specifically for that platform rather than try to continually fix XUL to work on the Mac.

Sure, some platforms (Win32, Gnome) are similar enough that you can use one widget set and a few #ifdefs to support both platforms. But that is by no means a requirement.

So please, get some perspective, get your facts right, and stop posting with "" in your sig as if it meant anything more than "I used to intern at Netscape and they never took away my mail account". The sad fact is you're only on because the rest of staff are too chicken to ask you to leave.

-- Ian Hickson
(Editor of Mozilla's XBL spec, Mozilla's XUL spec, the W3C's CSS2.1 spec, three W3C CSS3 modules; Invited Expert to the W3C; QA contact for a dozen or more Bugzilla components; Mozilla contributor for 4+ years; Intern at Netscape for 4 times longer than Gerv; and currently employed by Opera software. But no fancy e-mail address.)


Re:If...(Score:1, Interesting)
by Anonymous Coward on 09:11 AM July 16th, 2003 (#6453265)

b) Write five or more separate user interfaces, and have to keep them all up to date and in sync?

I choose B.

Why? Because it took you guys 5+ years to implement basic features like a customizable toolbar. It took 3 years before you got all 9000 platform-specific key commands and behavors sorted out. It even took a couple years before the fuckin Mac Menu Bar was in the right place. All of that crap is done - a solved problem. No need to do it again.

Meanwhile, I hire one MFC guy and he's hacked together Netscape's UI in about a week. Add a GTK guy and a Mac guy, and I'm set. OS/2, BeOS, etc can fuck themselves.

Maybe you did need your own widgets for web form controls, but there's a big difference between that and an entire application framework that supports a big app like Netscape. The amount of time it took proves it.

First Person Shooters (Games)

Journal: Lets talk about Jon Carmack

Journal by IntlHarvester

Lets talk about Jon Carmack. Jon is the legendary programmer of such classic PC games as Wolfenstein, Doom, Duke nukem 3d, Quake 1, 2, and 3, unreal, and the upcoming doom3. Jon has single handedly created the genre known as the first-person-shooter. He has also popularized the Direct3d 3d format over Microsoft's competing Opengl format, as well as caused public interest in 3d cards when he first released accelerated quake for the s3 virge chipset. Jon carmack has redefined gaming on PC's.

Now stop for a moment and think, What would have happened if Albert Einstein had worked creating amazing pinball games instead of creating the theory of relativity? Humanity would suffer! Jon carmack is unfortunately doing JUST THIS, using his gifts at computer coding to create games instead of furthering the knowledge of humanity. Carmack could have been working for NASA or the US military, but instead he simply sits around coding violent computer games.

Is this a waste of a special and rare talent? Sadly, the answer is yes.

Unfortunately, it doesn't stop there. Not only is Jon carmack not contributing to society, he is causing it's downfall. What was the main reason for the mass murder of dozens of people in columbine? Doom. It's always the same story: Troubled youth plays doom or quake, he arms himself to the teeth, he kills his classmates. This has happened hundreds of times in the US alone. Carmack is not only wasting his talents and intelligence; he is single-handedly causing the deaths of many young men and women. How does he sleep at night?

Carmack is a classic example of a very talented and intelligent human being that is bent on total world destruction. Incredibly, he has made millions of dollars getting people hooked on psychotic games where they compete on the internet to see who can dismember the most people. I believe there is something morally wrong when millions of people have computerized murder fantasies, and we have Jon Carmack to thank. Carmack has used his superior intellect to create mayhem in society. Many people play games such as quake so much that their minds are permanently warped. A cousin of mine has been in therapy for 6 months after he lost a 'death match' and became catatonic.

It is unfortunate that most people do not realize how much this man has damaged all the things we have worked hard for in America. Jon has wasted his intelligence, caused the deaths of innocent children, and warped this country forever. To top it off, he got rich in the process and is revered by millions of computer users worldwide. Perhaps one day the US government will see the light and confine Jon Carmack somewhere with no computers so he can no longer use his intelligence to wreak havoc on society.

Sun Microsystems


Journal by IntlHarvester

by Anonymous Coward on 11:43 PM October 23rd, 2002

IDE zealots must die. I must put them in schpizers and make dirty other IDE zealots be kapo for them. They must burn. And I will grind them into bone meal and fertilize my garden with them. I will harvest their organs and sell them. I will rape them before they go to the oven. I will bottle the fatty human fat deposits on the chimney wall and will lube up underage IDE using kids and rape their asses with my human fat lubrication. And then I jerk off and spoon feed IDE zealot babies my come to make them grow up strong so I can tear their vaginal zealot walls and anuses many years before they have even a single PUBE. DEATH!

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The Matrix

Journal: Gateway OSS 1

Journal by IntlHarvester

Re:What about WEB DEVELOPERS? (Score:2)
by shobadobs (264600) -- Sunday June 26 2005 (#12912975)

People romanticize the "Browser Wars", but it's really a big battle over nothing -- a bunch of almost zero-revenue eyeballs using a free product. The strategic value is what people build on top of the browser technologies.

Exactly! Which why we must fight against the Mozilla organization, for it distributes a "gateway OSS", which leads users down the path towards more powerful OSS, such as perl and emacs, which can be downright dangerous, leading to all sorts of permanent afflictions such as repetitive stress syndrome (featured in the well-known film, "Ctrlfinger"), as well as a gluttonous addiction to loosely typed programming languages. Over time, they tend to turn into "hackers," exploiting and even distributing OSS from their basements. This is just the first stage.

In Stage II, they join nefarious communities, with alien names such as "comp.theory," even wasting weeks and weeks to learn foreign languages just to communicate in locations such as "ruby-dev". They also begin typing in tongues. Just the other day, at our clinic, I walked across one addict with a window open, or I think it was a window -- the screen was all weird with footprints and insignia all over it, and in it he was writing material which looked like text yet did not read like text. It looked like he was trying to express something with a violent combination of chomps and chops and splices!

At Stage III, they begin idol-worship -- of demons and penguins, displaying their idols in public with stickers on their laptops. They begin to find pleasure in strange, alien activities, like changing their keyboard layouts around so that nobody else can use them, and buying calculators that read in input in some backwards order, with no equals key, and then they become fanatics who insist that everybody should learn this backwards method! If you ever see somebody lend out a calculator and then smirk when a borrower innocently walks away, you know they have reached Stage III.

At Stage IV, they wonder how to emulate their freshly bought calculator on their computer, in one of the tongues that they have learned. Those who have spent weeks of using the powerful and addictive OSS called perl begin to write "" in progressively smaller scripts, using that violent abortion of chops and slices. First, they make one that works in twelve lines, which is unhealthily short already. Then they naturally levitate towards three lines, two lines, one and a half lines, exhibiting some obsession towards achieving their goal in less than 80 characters. Some succeed, but only after several nervous breakdowns and complete distachment from spouse and family. Some begin their ramblings with references to primates, as seen in one quotation I've seen,

        perl -ape
        )[/^ [-+*\/]$/])for(@F);$_="$s[-1]\n"'

If they succeed, this usually means that Stage V has been reached. It is believed that they begin to realize that they are seriously damaged, because they rather suddenly start mumbling about the "brainfuck" they're enduring. This realization dies away quickly, as they type out long meaningless random strings.

Occasionally, they manage to come out from their mental ruts, but only for short periods of time. These spells give our researchers a rare glimpse at what happens to their minds, as they make repeated references to things that don't exist, except perhaps in their hallucinations. They still have connections to their dreamworld. For example, I mentioned to one patient about how my niece got an A++ on a recent examination in school. And the patient replied, "She got a B? Well, better luck next time." He must have misheard, or so I thought, so I answered, "No, she got an A++," enunciating the A + + slowly. And the patient smiled knowingly, responding: "Exactly. I hope she gets an A next time." I gave up on that conversation.

There are further stages of this terrible affliction, but they would be too graphic to list here. My point is, this "Firefox" isn't just a harmless OSS that causes minor but and temporary impairment; it is the first step of a path towards destruction, and we must fight its spread with all our resources.

Refreshed by a brief blackout, I got to my feet and went next door. -- Martin Amis, _Money_