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Comment: Re: Antecdotes != Evidence (Score 1) 357

by jd (#48043385) Attached to: Will Windows 10 Finally Address OS Decay?

Agreed about anecdotes. However, I can say that I have to reboot my Windows 7 PC weekly because of serious degradation in performance. I have installed a fair bit of software (the PATH can no longer be extended) but there's only about three games (Freeciv, Kerbal Space Program, Elite: Dangerous) and no apps, toolbars or junk. The rest of the software on there? MariaDB, Ingres, GRASS, QGIS (OSGEO is basically Cygwin, so I've now three incompatible Cygwin distros on Windows), HOL 4, Active Python, Active Perl, Erlang, Rust, Blender, PoVRay, BMRT - the sort of stuff you'd expect to find on any PC, nothing fancy.

And Netscape. Which is a horrible resource hog and is honestly not usable in its current form. I have abandoned all efforts to get Chrome usable. I'll probably deinstall both and switch to Amaya. Which barely does anything, but it does it tolerably.

Comment: What, wait?! (Score 2) 49

by jd (#48043267) Attached to: Leaked Docs Reveal List of 30 Countries Hacked On Orders of FBI Informant Sabu

You mean to tell me that the US doesn't even trust the other Five Eyes nations' spy agencies to be able to do this?*

*Yes, I know, to get round legal restrictions, it was very normal for the US to spy on the citizens of the other four and to exchange that data for information collected on US citizens by other members of Five Eyes. However, we now know all the agencies DO spy on their own citizens, routinely. So the US can ask GCHQ to wiretap British citizens in Britain, it doesn't need to spy on Britain itself. This behaviour suggests wheels within wheels.

You mean to tell me that the US isn't all caught up in the US-UK "Special Relationship" stuff?**

**Most Americans were unaware there even was one and get horribly confused when the British talk about it.

Comment: Re: Who cares? (Score 2) 205

by jd (#48043165) Attached to: Why did Microsoft skip Windows 9?

Linux is indeed better. Not because of Open Source (the code doesn't care) but because it has fewer bugs (about 0.1% of the bugs per kloc), non-intrusive strong security (rated EAL 5+ on conformant hardware, conforms to B2 Orange Book standards), superior multi-processor support, superior memory management and superior networking.

Graphics? Not an OS issue. That's a GUI issue. Never confuse how something gets data with what it then does with it. The GUI is not central to Windows (as demonstrated by console mode startup, but should be obvious to anyone running it as a headless server). The core OS functions are, and always have been, resource management, virtualization, security and stability. (Filesystems are virtual layers on top of physical disks, so are resource management and virtualization.)

Linux is better at the things an OS is meant to do. Windows has an adequate GUI, but the OS is abysmal. Besides sales, the only reason the game industry likes Windows is that it has useful libraries - DirectX (an alternative to the functions the GUI itself provides) and easy access to GPU functions (bypassing the OS altogether, running on bare metal).

The reason Linux doesn't have these? Look in the mirror. The face you see was quite capable of working on GGI, KGI or Linux Framebuffers, of helping in the Berlin project, of submitting patches for SDL or Avagadro, or even hacking Wine to improve support for DirectX, CUDA or other graphical features.

I'm no innocent myself, but I own up to my guilt, I don't blame the OS (which IS innocent).

Comment: Re:Where can I find the except clause? (Score 1) 443

by Dutch Gun (#48043075) Attached to: Obama Administration Argues For Backdoors In Personal Electronics

The US Constitution was founded on the principle that you do, in fact, have inherent rights. "Inalienable" is the phrase used, and it's been described elsewhere as "natural rights". Whether or not a judge or the state protects those rights have no bearing on whether those rights exist for an individual. The most important thing in our society is a general understanding of these principles, because our only real protection is a general societal agreement that these rights need to be protected and defended.

In practice, unfortunately, I agree that it's little consolation to one who's rights are defined them. But I still think it's a distinction worth making. If everyone gives up and says it's hopeless, then the battle is certainly lost. As it is, it's still an ongoing struggle. Human nature being what it is, it's *always* going to be a struggle, and so we can't ever afford to give up the fight.

Comment: Re:Update to Godwin's law? (Score 1) 443

by Dutch Gun (#48042989) Attached to: Obama Administration Argues For Backdoors In Personal Electronics

I'd posit that, as a general rule of thumb, many conservatives tend to distrust the government except for the military and law-enforcement / national security agencies. It was Reagan who quipped that the nine most terrifying words were "I'm from the government and I'm here to help." Many liberals seem to have the opposite view, mostly trusting the government (or supporting a bigger role for the government in many cases, at least) except for military, security, and law enforcement.

Other than that, the big difference is in how much rage is directed at the head-of-state. There's obviously more of a tendency to directly blame the guy in charge if you're of an opposing political ideology. For those of the same ideology, you'll hear stuff about blaming "the government", "the bureaucracy" / agency in question, or the individual announcing the policy - Holder in the case.

In this particular case, I was actually surprised to see the title specifically call this out as the "Obama Administration" rather than using a more politically-neutral term. So, there are always exceptions to any generalization or rules of thumb.

Comment: This one is easy. (Score 2) 205

by jd (#48042917) Attached to: Why did Microsoft skip Windows 9?

Windows 10 IS Windows 9. Microsoft engineers are even still calling it Windows 9. The source tree is the same, there have been no major changes.

What has happened is that Windows 9 has been getting very bad press and is still riddled with bugs. Instead of releasing a version number nobody will buy and would only have to patch almost immediately anyway, OR getting slagged off for Yet Another Delayed Release, Microsoft is renaming it version 10 and delaying the release until the bugs are sorted.

You will observe Microsoft has been talking up Windows 9 for some time, but now all talk (and apparently all memory) of it has ceased. Newspapers suffering amnesia is amost acceptable. Slashdotters??? WTF??? I'm sorry, but there is no-one in or around IT that has a single, solitary excuse.

Comment: Re: Same conversation at GM a while back. (Score 2) 124

by jd (#48042777) Attached to: Boeing Told To Replace Cockpit Screens Affected By Wi-Fi

There have been cases of Boeing 777s and modernized 737s developing unexplained system faults. Do not be so sure that RFI was not to blame. These have had much worse reliability than other Boeing models in recent years and as no other faults have been offered by Boeing as explanation, it is illogical to simply dismiss the one fault we know about as unrelated to the unusual number of abnormalities and crashes specific to these two models.

Obviously, Boeing has no interest in being honest about the problems they know about, be they software or hardware. Nor are they likely to Open Source anything, so there is no possibility of scrutiny by an independent party.

Simple logic (and self-preservation) says they have an unattributed defect capable of causing catastrophic failure, and a defect that can potentially cause catastrophic failure, therefore fixing the defect is essential.

The cost? The cost is insignificant. Boeing is hardly poor and is quite capable of covering the airlines' cost as this is a manufacturing defect. The airlines? They're making enough money that they can afford riots on board when seats are tilted. Besides, this is the cost of doing business. There's a price for bad decisions, all other sectors (except, apparently, banks) are expected to take the rough with the smooth. If several go bust because they chose unwisely, that's how life in business goes. You pay your money, you take your choice. Besides, they'd still be doing better than the German in Last Crusade.

If I went into business and made bad choices, would you be telling people to ignore my expenses? No? Good. If I'm not fit for purpose as a businessman, I've no business expecting support. So why should Ryanair, a notoriously incompetent company, deserve better? Because they're too big to fail? Not a good reason.

Comment: Re:Antecdotes != Evidence (Score 4, Insightful) 357

by Dutch Gun (#48042565) Attached to: Will Windows 10 Finally Address OS Decay?

I used to have to do a clean install of Windows every few years to keep things performing well, but I don't recall doing that since the switch to NT-based systems (starting with 2000 for me personally). For users that keep installing malware/adware/spyware on their systems, it seems entirely likely that they'd have to do a clean re-install to get rid of all the cruft every once in a while. Some of that stuff is pretty hard to remove, and can really cause issues with system stability and performance.

When people talk about "OS decay", they're probably dealing with systems that have either a huge amount of software churn, a lot of crapware, or very often both. It's not so much about "learning how to use Windows 7" so much as not installing free, sketchy utilities that contain system-hogging spyware. Or perhaps it's better termed "learning not to abuse your operating system". People do the same sort of nonsense with their phones - install dozens of apps that all want do stay resident for whatever reason, and then they wonder where the battery life went. Same deal - if you give people the freedom to customize their device, some people will inevitably make bad choices.

I don't know if this applies to you parents or not, but I've certainly seen plenty of cringe-inducing systems for people to know just enough to be dangerous. My parent don't know enough to really do anything of consequence on their computer other than check e-mail, surf the net, and play solitaire, so their system (Windows XP) has stayed nice and tidy for the last seven or eight years (I think) they've had that machine.

Comment: Re:Economic versus political resistance (Score 1) 812

by Dutch Gun (#48042221) Attached to: David Cameron Says Brits Should Be Taught Imperial Measures

My family owns a business in light manufacturing. When one of the workers gets a new tool set, they literally throw away the metric tools, because they're completely worthless in typical industrial use. Multiply that imperial-unit inertia by about a million small hardware-related businesses and manufacturers across the country, and you can see why no one has been eager to swallow the cost of that conversion.

I agree with you about the tooling and infrastructure issue. Go to a local home depot and check out the selection of nuts, bolts, washers, screws, pins, connectors, etc. Most of those are still in imperial units. Some people "pooh, pooh" the actual cost of a real, complete conversion from one unit system to another. Most of those people tend to neglect the actual hardware in use today, and how pervasive those units are throughout the entire US manufacturing base. It would literally cost billions of dollars in conversion costs, and in the end, all we'll end up with is a more "mathematically pure" measurement system - zero functional difference. To local businesses and firms, there is literally no benefit to the conversion in the short term - only cost. The government would literally have to mandate a change by law to kickstart this, and it would be a short-term but real hit on the US economy.

It would be great if the US could switch to metrics. Most people - educated ones at least - understand it's a saner system and is better both for internal consumption and for international interoperability. But it's not what we have, and no one currently believes the conversion is actually worth the price we'd pay. It's one of the prices the US pays for having such a large, isolated infrastructure. It's harder for us to adapt to changes in some ways because of our sheer size, and there's much less pressure externally than with smaller, individual markets. The cultural resistance is not insignificant either, but that could be overcome with time.

Probably the best way to make it happen is for the government to provide some tax benefits to companies willing to do the conversion, and allow the transition to occur a bit more naturally over time. That would help to disguise the cost (there's no free lunch there, though), and eliminate some of the grumbling, and as such, some of the political opposition. It's not enough to just label things in different but equivalent units. Until you make the internal conversions in the low-level infrastructure, all you're doing is creating more work by superficially labeling things less efficiently.

"It is better to have tried and failed than to have failed to try, but the result's the same." - Mike Dennison