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Comment Re:because desktop linux is a toy and novelty (Score 1) 1215

Well, what about that lab? What do they do with Windows? I tried a quick Google search but all the results I got were related to cold fusion research and the infamous Pons & Fleischmann affair. That poor department, I bet it must be difficult for them to do proper research nowadays and get it seen in its true light, because it must be constantly drowned by all the (continuing) coverage of that fiasco!

Comment Re:because desktop linux is a toy and novelty (Score 5, Informative) 1215

Yeah, in science, it's usually rare to have serious development done on Windows, except for the occasional data acquisition station or for some control computer attached to a commercial lab apparatus. Just have a look at the Top 500 supercomputer clusters, most of them run a flavor of Linux or UNIX. I've worked for genomics companies and now I'm at a neurological institute, and all the heavy duty HPC pipelines are designed to integrate with such clusters, and the scientists themselves work on Linux desktops. We're shuffling terabytes of medical images back and forth, with large data trees on shared filesystems that are continuously updated by scripts in bash, Perl, Ruby, Python, and Java. If Microsoft had the power to force us to switch to Windows for everything, science would grind to a halt for 15 years while we re-code everything, and even then it would probably still not be as functional as what we have right now. There is great beauty and power in command-line processing, when done well.

Does anyone know of any big science project that's all done on Windows? Really, I'm asking because I'm curious. As far as I know, in physics, chemistry, astronomy, geology, medecine etc, any project that requires complex custom HPC pipelines are created on Linux (or UNIX). Windows? Never heard of one. But it might exist, I suppose.

Comment How does Sophos do this? (Score 4, Interesting) 133

He tried to open a quarantined file, once with the 'cat' command
and once with vi, as root, and both times Sophos warned him and
prevented him from proceeding. Now, the code for the 'cat'
command is quite simple, it basically just does a open(2)
of the file and then issues a series of read(2). My question
is: Does Sophos actually intercept the system calls in order
to make sure no application opens an infected file? If so,
wouldn't that introduce a HUGE performance penalty on the
everything happening on the machine, since these system calls
are so crucial?

Comment Re:I don't even think it's that well-defined. (Score 1) 597

Hey, are you Peter Seebach? If so, just a few comments above yours, I provided a link
to your insightful (and funny) Hacker FAQ. I've always recognized myself in it.

Have you ever considered reformating it to a more modern HTML document? It's simply
that in its present form, it really DOES look like a text from 1999... it shows
its age. :-)


Why Windows Must (and Will) Go Open Source 555

Attila Dimedici writes "Charles Babcock of Information Week published an interesting article suggesting that Microsoft will have to at least to some degree take Windows open source if they want to stay in business. He suggests that the money to be made from the things MS builds on top of Windows (Office, Server, SQL Server, Exchange, Sharepoint, etc.) is so much greater than what can be made from Windows itself that MS will have to give up the revenue stream from Windows in order to maintain these other, more valuable, revenue streams."

Comment Re:Earth's Orbit? (Score 3, Interesting) 280

Your computation actually has some errors in it. The amount of energy required to increase the earth's speed from what it is (about 30,000 m/s) by 1 m/s is not the same as the amount of enery needed to increase it from 0 to 1 m/s (which is what you computed, except that you also made a mistake by a factor of 2).

A better estimate (with same mass, but increasing the speed from 30,000 m/s to 30,001 m/s) yields
1.7921e29 joules needed. That's 5 orders of magnitude greater than your solution.

I once computed that to remove the top 1cm of topsoil or water from all the worlds land masses and oceans, and throw them out into outer space at escape velocity, we'd need to perfectly use the energy of 100 billions bombs like Hiroshima's. I wanted to see whether exploding a planet like the Death Star does in Episode 4 was realistic. It isn't. At escape velocity, the chunks of the planets would take 6 minutes to double the planet's volume (so the explosion would look very very slow).

Fear is the greatest salesman. -- Robert Klein