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Comment: Re:SteamBox (Score 1) 107

I mostly agree with you but you have to consider that unfortunately there are a LOT of XBox systems out there and if a game dev wants to target that audience (which is a lot bigger than the PC gaming audience) then DX is required... no OpenGL API support on XBox (big surprise.)

This is why all the major game engines support both DX and OpenGL.

Comment: Re:Precisely how... (Score 1) 147

by nateman1352 (#46517101) Attached to: Shuttleworth Wants To Get Rid of Proprietary Firmware

It is true that the kernel is expected to load and run the ACPI bytecode in a trusted context... but your assumption that the BIOS is gone after the OS bootloader runs is inaccurate. SMM keeps BIOS code code resident forever and running at a higher privilege level than your OS kernel. And its impossible for your kernel to see what SMM is doing unlike ACPI which is pretty easy to inspect,

Your BIOS already owns the platform and getting rid of ACPI won't change that, it will just make it more difficult to firmware engineers (like me) to support all OSes with 1 firmware image.

I agree that ACPI sucks in a lot of ways, but you must admit that there is something to be said for a standard that has enabled WinXP (10+ year old OS) and brand new stuff like Win8.1 and all the countless Linux releases in between to run on practically any PC regardless of it being brand new or 10 years old.

IMO the trend towards having special firmware for each OS is disturbing and limits the universal and reusable PC. A lot of this is being driven by Google and thier insistence that Chrome OS systems be shipped without Legacy BIOS or UEFI support (locked down coreboot that only accepts OSes signed by Google unless run in "developer mode", btw even in developer mode you can't install a new coreboot payload to enable UEFI or legacy BIOS boot).

Comment: Re:Precisely how... (Score 1) 147

by nateman1352 (#46514391) Attached to: Shuttleworth Wants To Get Rid of Proprietary Firmware

What exactly was stupid about my post? Take it you have never heard of ACPI Source Language or the Embedded Controller?

Seriously where should you more worried about NSA exploits1) a de-compilable and OS visible byte code that controls thermal and power management or 2) An invisible micro controller firmware that converts signals from your scan matrix laptop keyboard into P/S 2 signaling?

Seriously dude, I write firmware for a living... I know a thing or two about what it does and the state of Linux's ACPI stack.

Comment: Re:Precisely how... (Score 3, Informative) 147

by nateman1352 (#46510995) Attached to: Shuttleworth Wants To Get Rid of Proprietary Firmware

Honestly Shuttleworth's reasoning "Binary blobs can contain NSA exploits" is completely irrelevant to ACPI since ACPI byte-code can be completely de-compiled back in to the original source language making it very easy for security researchers to detect any funny business.

Honestly the modern PC has several microcontrollers in it that contain code that the primary CPU never even sees. I personally would consider those a much bigger security threat than ACPI.

So lets ask ourselves... why does he really want to get rid of ACPI? The answer is pretty simple, it going to take a lot of coding effort to get the Linux ACPI stack ready to fully support ACPI 5.0 and Connected Standby found on a lot of brand new laptops. This is just a feeble attempt to mask the fact that puring all his resources in dumb projects like Mir and Unity doesn't leave much left to keep up to date on new open PC platform standards.

Comment: Re:Nobody cares (Score 2) 194

by nateman1352 (#46438321) Attached to: Ars Technica Reviews Leaked Windows 8.1 Update

The thing is there is a non-trivial number of computer users that used Win9x extensively and then 2000/XP and everything else after that who are used to that "old GUI". Honestly I think that old GUI is much better suited to any task that is complex enough to require the user to operate multiple different applications together to achieve a higher goal. I suspect that your teenage daughter's most complex computing task is typing her school papers. She probably doesn't create a whole lot of diagrams and pictures to go with them so she probably only ever has to look at Word and not do any context switching.

Really the users that do complex work flows involving multiple applications at once are Microsoft's core audience which for whatever reason they seem to have mostly forgotten about. Just to put things in to perspective, that kind of user is often referred to as a "power user" now... I remember when the term power user meant something meaningful.

And the thing is, it would be sooooo easy for Microsoft to make the "power users" happy. Here are the simple changes that would make everyone love Win8:

1. Bring the Start Menu back as an option. You don't have to make it the default, just make it an option.
2. Optionally allow Metro apps to run in a window on the desktop
3. Optionally allow the user to disable the charm bar
4. Allow the user to select between the Win8 Modern theme, Win7 Aero theme, or Windows classic theme.

Give the user the choice of how he/she wants the GUI to look and everyone will flock to Win8. It seems that Microsoft has forgotten one of Bill Gate's most important lessons, the power of the default.

If anyone from Microsoft is reading this, really guys please do this. The PC industry is in the shitter right now because of your arrogance NOT because of the iPad. The entire industry including you and including me would be better off if people started buying PCs again instead of $150 android tablets, the typical ~$400 PC + new software licenses to go along with it pumps a lot more money in to just about everyone's pocket (except maybe Apple and Google).

Comment: Re:No kidding (Score 5, Informative) 111

by nateman1352 (#46366079) Attached to: Intel's New Desktop SSD Is an Overclocked Server Drive

Citation Please.

In truth current gen PCIe SSDs appear to the OS as a PCIe bus connected AHCI controller with a single disk that supports TRIM. There makes it completely transparent... it works exactly the same as a SATA SSD from a software perspective.

Pretty soon we will start seeing next gen PCIe SSDs that expose themselves as an NVMe controller instead of an AHCI controller. Those SSDs will be backwards incompatible with AHCI but the command protocol and DMA interface enables extreme parallism so we will see pretty incredible performance for those SSDs. From a software stack perspective they use a new NVMe host controller and a new command set (ATA commands are completely gone!) So you need new drivers for it. They have OSS Win7/8/8.1 drivers available for NVMe but due to kernel limitations only the Win8/8.1 version of the driver is capable of supporting TRIM (Maybe that is where you got confused.) Win8.1 also have a NVMe driver in-box from Microsoft.

Don't worry though, AHCI PCIe/SATA Express SSDs will be with use for a very long time esp. since Win7 is rapidly turning in to the next WinXP (the version that everyone likes and uses despite Microsoft's best efforts.)

Comment: Re:Agreed (Score 1) 127

Speaking as someone who has been visiting this site daily for over 10 years, honestly I don't know what the hell they are thinking. If they want different fonts than make the make the article title sans serif and the article body serif like the really old slashdot from the 90s, not this bullshit of two slightly different sans serif fonts that clash with each other.

Oh I almost forgot: They even got the wrong fucking green color!

Comment: Re:What would be sweet... (Score 1) 222

by nateman1352 (#45972313) Attached to: TrueCrypt Master Key Extraction and Volume Identification

All the newer Intel SSDs have that exact feature. Built in hardware based encryption with the keys stored in the SSD's controller. The keys are completely inaccessible to the PC's CPU.

Combine that with a HDD password (the ATA/IDE password command that has been around since forever.) And this type of attack is pretty much impossible. The user has to input the HDD password through the BIOS before the disk becomes accessible (the SSD stores the password in its internal memory and won't allow read/write operations until the password is provided). You would need to get the user's disk password somehow.

My employer exclusively uses Intel SSD's for our corporate laptops for this reason.

Comment: Carbon Nanotubes == End of Moore's Law? (Score 1) 275

by nateman1352 (#45895665) Attached to: End of Moore's Law Forcing Radical Innovation

So... TFA says that the end of Moore's law will result in a ton of new innovations aimed at... making computers faster??? Last time I checked making computers faster is what Moore's law is all about.

I think a better title would be "End of Traditional Silicon/CMOS Technology Forcing Radical Innovation to Keep Moore's Law Going!"

Comment: Re:Any movement away from Microsoft is good. (Score 1) 564

by nateman1352 (#45804109) Attached to: PC Makers Plan Rebellion Against Microsoft At CES

Maybe I'm alone here, but I honestly think this is a really good idea. I personally own a Windows 8 tablet as well as an android tablet and android smartphone and have found myself thinking on several occasions how much more useful the Win8 system would be if I could run Android on it as well.

I agree with other posters here that Android 4.x as it exists today isn't a good desktop OS... but honestly it would not take a ton of extra work to make a desktop friendly interface for it. The Android 4.x UI changes slightly depending on if the device is a smartphone or a tablet, why couldn't it have a "desktop" UI mode?

Honestly all Google has to do it get rid of Chrome OS as a separate entity, merge the desktop functionality of Chrome OS into Android while keeping the ability to use 3rd party software sources and call it Android 5.0. If Google makes such a product honestly I think it would be devastating to Microsoft as well as the Windows ecosystem.

Comment: Re:Well... (Score 1) 340

by nateman1352 (#45744059) Attached to: Free Software Foundation Endorses a "Truly Free" Laptop

No, it's not truly free unless it comes with exactly zero mysterious binary blobs calling home (or NSA, which may be the same thing).

If that's the criteria then its pretty much impossible for these laptops to meet it. That coreboot firmware is going to carry microcode updates for the CPU which are encrypted and signed by Intel so it would be impossible to replace them with free microcode. I bet the EC and the bluetooth and the hard disk controller are still running the original binary blobs too.

But don't tell RMS, he hasn't realized how much embedded firmware has proliferated in the modern PC compared to the 1990's when the LinuxBIOS (now coreboot) project started.

What is worth doing is worth the trouble of asking somebody to do.

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