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+ - Slashdot poll: Best cube 3

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "1. Rubik Cube
2. The Cube (movie)
3. Tardis Siege Mode
4. Lament Configuration
5. Weighted Companion Cube
6. Borg Cube
7. The Inhibitors (Revelation Space)
8. Icecube"

Comment: Re:I Don't Get It (Score 1) 149

by ewhac (#48561383) Attached to: Ubuntu Gets Container-Friendly "Snappy" Core

He's implying that developers will specify a complete environment where every DLL available to the application within the environment is exactly what the developer used. There is no DLL hell because you run what the developer ran, and it doesn't matter if you have seventeen different incompatible versions of (to pick windows example everyone's familiar with) mfc42.dll, because things inside the container won't know that you have those dlls.

In that case, why bother with dynamic linking at all? Why not statically link everything? The effect is essentially the same -- you get exactly what the developer had. You also get no shared code pages -- even if you're using exactly the same library as someone else -- and bloated memory and disk usage since you have your own private copy of everything. Disk may be "cheap," but it's still surprisingly easy to fill up a 16GB eMMC device.

Comment: I Don't Get It (Score 5, Insightful) 149

by ewhac (#48560879) Attached to: Ubuntu Gets Container-Friendly "Snappy" Core
Am I getting hopelessly old and unable to appreciate new things, or is this not anywhere near as whoop-de-doo as they're making out?

"You can update transactionally!!" Great. What does that mean? Is it like git add newapp; git commit -a? If so, how do I back out a program I installed three installations ago?

Transactional updates have lots of useful properties: if they are done well, you can know EXACTLY what's running on a particular system, [ ... ]

dpkg -l

You can roll updates back, [ ... ]

dpkg -i <previous_version>

...lets you choose exactly the capabilities you want for yourself, rather than having someone else force you to use a particular tool.

#include <cheap_shots/systemd.h>

Because there is a single repository of frameworks and packages, and each of them has a digital fingerprint that cannot be faked, two people on opposite ends of the world can compare their systems and know that they are running exactly the same versions of the system and apps.

debsums

Developers of snappy apps get much more freedom to bundle the exact versions of libraries that they want to use with their apps.

...Did this guy just say he brought DLL Hell to Linux? Help me to understand how he didn't just say that.

I bet the average system on the cloud ends up with about three packages installed, total! Try this sort of output:

$ snappy info
release: ubuntu-core/devel
frameworks: docker, panamax
apps: owncloud

That's much easier to manage and reason about at scale.

No, it isn't!! What the hell is OwnCloud pulling in? What's it using as an HTTP server? As an SSL/TLS stack? Is it the one with the Heartbleed bug, the POODLE bug, or some new bug kluged in by the app vendor to add some pet feature that was rejected from upstream because it was plainly stupid?

Honestly, I'm really not getting this. It just sounds like they created a pile of tools that lets "cloud" administrators be supremely lazy. What am I missing here?

+ - Comcast Forgets To Delete Revealing Note From Blog Post

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Earlier today, Comcast published a blog post to criticize the newly announced coalition opposing its merger with Time Warner Cable and to cheer about the FCC’s decision to restart the “shot clock” on that deal. But someone at Kabletown is probably getting a stern talking-to right now, after an accidental nugget of honesty made its way into that post. Comcast posted to their corporate blog today about the merger review process, reminding everyone why they think it will be so awesome and pointing to the pro-merger comments that have come in to the FCC. But they also left something else in. Near the end, the blog post reads, “Comcast and Time Warner Cable do not currently compete for customers anywhere in America. That means that if the proposed transaction goes through, consumers will not lose a choice of cable companies. Consumers will not lose a choice of broadband providers. And not a single market will see a reduction in competition. Those are simply the facts.” The first version of the blog post, which was also sent out in an e-mail blast, then continues: “We are still working with a vendor to analyze the FCC spreadsheet but in case it shows that there are any consumers in census blocks that may lose a broadband choice, want to make sure these sentences are more nuanced.” After that strange little note, the blog post carries on in praise of competition, saying, “There is a reason we want to provide our customers with better service, faster speeds, and a diverse choice of programming: we don’t want to lose them.”"

Comment: Well, Now I Have to Read The Thing... (Score 1) 323

by ewhac (#48501747) Attached to: DOOM 3DO Source Released On Github

I worked for NTG/3DO for just under five years, so I know (knew) the machine inside and out. It will be interesting to go through this code and see what kind of tradeoffs were made.

Some comments on the README:

My friends at 3DO were begging for DOOM to be on their platform and with christmas 1995 coming soon (I took this job in August of 1995, with a mid October golden master date), I literally lived in my office, only taking breaks to take a nap and got this port completed.

*snerk* I could have told you at the time that a ten-week dev cycle was crazy talk.

Shortcuts made...

3DO's operating system was designed around running an app and purging, there was numerous bugs caused by memory leaks. So when I wanted to load the Logicware and id software logos on startup, the 3DO leaked the memory so to solve that, I created two apps, one to draw the 3do logo and the other to show the logicware logo. After they executed, they were purged from memory and the main game could run without loss of memory.

An interesting and valid approach (3DO's OS had full memory tracking). I'd be interested to know which of the 3DO libs was leaking memory on you.

The verticle walls were drawn with strips using the cell engine. However, the cell engine can't handle 3D perspective so the floors and ceilings were drawn with software rendering. I simply ran out of time to translate the code to use the cell engine because the implementation I had caused texture tearing.

Were the floor/ceiling textures not power-of-two dimensions on each side? As I recall, you only got texture cracking when the dimensions were not power-of-two.

You could have decomposed the floor/ceiling textures into strips as well, but ultimately the lack of perspective correction meant you were going to have to do some heavy lifting somewhere.

I had to write my own string.h ANSI C library because the one 3DO supplied with their compiler had bugs! string.h??? How can you screw that up!?!?! They did! I spent a day writing all of the functions I needed in ARM 6 assembly.

Ah, yes, the Norcroft compiler (or, as I always called it, Norcruft). It was a piece of shit. It was also the only thing available that would run on the Mac. It was never anything but a C compiler, but kept throwing unblockable warnings about constructs that C++ would have problems with (such as implicit cast from void*). There was no MacOS port of GCC, and there were no usable ARM backends for GCC available at the time, anyway. (Bear in mind, this was before the Web existed in any familiar form, and you had to go trawling through USENET for clues -- not even AltaVista existed yet).

I hope that everyone who looks at this code, learns something from it, and I'd be happy to answer questions about the hell I went through to make this game. I only wished I had more time to actually polish this back in 1995 so instead of being the worst port of DOOM, it would have been the best one.

I'm sure many memories will come flooding back.

+ - What Does The NSA Think Of Cryptographers? ->

Submitted by mikejuk
mikejuk (1801200) writes "A recently declassified NSA house magazine, CryptoLog, reveals some interesting attitudes between the redactions. What is the NSA take on cryptography?
The article of interest is a report of a trip to the 1992 EuroCrypt conference by an NSA cryptographer whose name is redacted.We all get a little bored having to sit though presentations that are off topic, boring or even down right silly but we generally don't write our opinions down. In this case the criticisms are cutting and they reveal a lot about the attitude of the NSA cryptographers. You need to keep in mind as you read that this is intended for the NSA crypto community and as such the writer would have felt at home with what was being written.
Take for example:
Three of the last four sessions were of no value whatever, and indeed there was almost nothing at Eurocrypt to interest us (this is good news!). The scholarship was actually extremely good; it’s just that the directions which external cryptologic researchers have taken are remarkably far from our own lines of interest.
It seems that back in 1992 academic cryptographers were working on things that the NSA didn't consider of any importance. Could things be the same now?
The gulf between the two camps couldn't be better expressed than:
The conference again offered an interesting view into the thought processes of the world’s leading “cryptologists.” It is indeed remarkable how far the Agency has strayed from the True Path.
The ironic comment is clearly suggesting that the NSA is on the "true path" whatever that might be.
Clearly the gap between the NSA and the academic crypto community is probably as wide today with the different approaches to the problem being driven by what each wants to achieve. It is worth reading the rest of the article."

Link to Original Source

Comment: Anti-Spam Measure? (Score 3, Insightful) 245

by ewhac (#48365367) Attached to: ISPs Removing Their Customers' Email Encryption
Didn't this very topic come up a few days ago? I recall the general consensus being that it's an anti-spam measure, and (is supposed to) only happen when connecting on port 25 to a non-local machine (port 25 is supposed to be for server-server communication only). Normal clients are supposed to be able to avoid the issue by changing your MUA to submit mail on port 465 (smtps) or 587 (smtp). I suspect people running their own SMTP servers will probably need to negotiate with their ISPs, or relay their mail through their ISP's SMTP server as a smarthost.

Comment: Thanks to Everyone! (Score 1) 928

by ewhac (#48286095) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Can You Say Something Nice About Systemd?

Well... All told, I think that went rather well.

I wanted to chime in and thank everyone for participating in what was clearly an insane exercise in trying to cut through the acrimony and vitriol and get some actual information on what systemd is and what it's trying to do. You can't always grok what complex things are about just from the docs. That's why I wanted actual first-hand experiences from people who could point to actual gems they'd found.

To respond to some recurring remarks throughout the comments:

  • "Obviously a pro-systemd shill."
    No, I'm not shilling for RedHat or Poettering. In fact, I gave Poettering some stick for the whole corrupt-binary-logs-aren't-a-bug thing a couple weeks ago. I was being forthright in the opening paragraph: The simple fact that systemd has been widely adopted despite widespread protest made me genuinely wonder what I was missing that I hadn't figured out from the docs I'd read. So, no, there's no conspiracy here.
  • "Who are you to establish posting rules?"
    Well, gosh, sorry, but I was trying to save everyone time. Seriously, tell me you haven't gone, "Oh, ${DEITY}, another systemd thread; there goes my afternoon as I pick through the rat's nest of comments." So I hoped -- perhaps naively -- that requesting some organization would let us all get to the meat of issues of interest fairly quickly. And enough people did choose the follow the rules that the discussion overall turned out valuable (for me, anyway).
  • "Why do you dislike something you admit you know nothing about?"
    For largely the same reason I dislike Windows without having comprehensively pored over the "design" docs for COM, DCOM, MFC/ATL/WTL, WDM, NTFS, NTLM, Direct${THING}, Active${THING}, etc. etc. etc. Poorly-designed systems seem to have a certain "pattern" to them, and systemd at first glance seemed to match that pattern (the use of Windows-style INI files syntax didn't help, either). But the people adopting systemd are clearly not idiots, so I hoped people with actual experience with the thing could convey insights that (for me) the docs so far have not.
  • "You're thinking of the ads for Miller Lite, not Bud Light."
    *headdesk* I would like to apologize to a no doubt deeply irritated TV ad executive for completely misattributing their fifteen-odd years and millions of dollars worth of loud beer ads to the wrong company (I think this speaks well to my socially-isolated geek cred, though :-) ).

In the best tradition of USENET, I thought I'd summarize the highlights of what I got out of the whole thing. Most of the good posts have already been modded up, but the ones that especially stood out for me were these:

Thanks again to everyone who chimed in. You've given me a lot to read up on...

Comment: Re:It freakin' works fine (Score 1) 928

by ewhac (#48285843) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Can You Say Something Nice About Systemd?

Think back to the epic holy wars of the past. Emacs vs. Vi. Big vs. Little Endian. Motorola vs. Intel. Amiga vs. Atari ST. ASCII vs. EDBIC.

vi*. Little-endian. Motorola. Amiga. ASCII**. Obviously.

(* with great respect to those who are able to use EMACS well.)

(** Seriously, who not using punched cards ever actually liked EBCDIC?)

+ - Say Something Nice About systemd 4

Submitted by ewhac
ewhac (5844) writes "I'm probably going to deeply deeply regret this, but every time a story appears here mentioning systemd, a 700-comment thread of back-and-forth bickering breaks out which is about as informative as an old Bud Light commercial, and I don't really learn anything new about the subject. My gut reaction to systemd is (currently) a negative one, and it's very easy to find screeds decrying systemd on the net. However, said screeds haven't been enough to prevent its adoption by several distros, which leads me to suspect that maybe there's something worthwhile there that I haven't discovered yet. So I thought it might be instructive to turn the question around and ask the membership about what makes systemd good. However, before you stab at the "Post" button, there are some rules...

Bias Disclosure: I currently dislike systemd because — without diving very deeply into the documentation, mind — it looks and feels like a poorly-described, gigantic mess I know nothing about that seeks to replace other poorly-described, smaller messes which I know a little bit about. So you will be arguing in that environment.

Nice Things About systemd Rules:
  1. Post each new Nice Thing as a new post, not as a reply to another post. This will let visitors skim the base level of comments for things that interest them, rather than have to dive through a fractally expanding tree of comments looking for things to support/oppose. It will also make it easier to follow the next rule:
  2. Avoid duplication; read the entire base-level of comments before adding a new Nice Thing. Someone may already have mentioned your Nice Thing. Add your support/opposition to that Nice Thing there, rather than as a new post.
  3. Only one concrete Nice Thing about systemd per base-level post. Keep the post focused on a single Nice Thing systemd does. If you know of multiple distinct things, write multiple distinct posts.
  4. Describe the Nice Thing in some detail. Don't assume, for example, that merely saying "Supports Linux cgroups" will be immediately persuasive.
  5. Describe how the Nice Thing is better than existing, less controversial solutions. systemd is allegedly better at some things than sysvinit or upstart or inetd. Why? Why is the Nice Thing possible in systemd, and impossible (or extremely difficult) with anything else? (In some cases, the Nice Thing will be a completely new thing that's never existed before; describe why it's good thing.)

Bonus points are awarded for:

  • Personal Experience. "I actually did this," counts for way more than, "The docs claim you can do this."
  • Working Examples. Corollary to the above — if you did a Nice Thing with systemd, consider also posting the code/script/service file you wrote to accomplish it.
  • Links to Supporting Documentation. If you leveraged a Nice Thing, furnish a link to the docs you used that describe the Nice Thing and its usage.

We will assume out of the gate that systemd boots your system faster than ${SOMETHING_ELSE}, so no points for bringing that up."

Comment: Re:Just like "free" housing solved poverty! (Score 1) 262

by NewYorkCountryLawyer (#48265833) Attached to: Power and Free Broadband To the People

You know that you don't have to just add useless and uninteresting words to something that already had substance, right? At least borrow some quotes from Socrates' Dialogues to spice things up: There is admirable truth in that. That is not to be denied. That appears to be true. All this seems to flow necessarily out of our previous admissions. I think that what you say is entirely true. That, replied Cebes, is quite my notion. To that we are quite agreed. By all means. I entirely agree and go along with you in that. I quite understand you. I shall still say that you are the Daedalus who sets arguments in motion; not I, certainly, but you make them move or go round, for they would never have stirred, as far as I am concerned. If you're going to say _nothing_, at least be interesting about it, post anonymously, or risk looking more clueless / foolish. This is why the moderation system is in place, and mods typically don't listen to inanities like "Well said" when deciding on what to spend their points.

1. I'm too busy to sit around thinking up additional words to throw in so I can score "mod" points

2. The people I like on Slashdot are too busy to read a bunch of additional words I only threw in so I can score "mod" points

3. It's not in my nature to waste words, or to waste time

The number of UNIX installations has grown to 10, with more expected. -- The Unix Programmer's Manual, 2nd Edition, June 1972

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