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Comment: Re:High reliability? (Score 1) 91

by Pseudonym (#47933497) Attached to: New Release of MINIX 3 For x86 and ARM Is NetBSD Compatible

Incidentally, QNX has an interesting design in this respect, in that it maps the the source buffer (a page at a time, IIRC) into the address space of the receiving process, and does the copy directly. Or it might map the destination buffer into the address space of the sending process; not sure about that. This allows messages to be arbitrary-length.

Comment: Re:High reliability? (Score 2) 91

by Pseudonym (#47922697) Attached to: New Release of MINIX 3 For x86 and ARM Is NetBSD Compatible

Monoliths, e.g. Linux, don't have IPC latency [...]

In the case of non-memory-mapped I/O (e.g. anything that goes through a file descriptor), the major cost isn't context switching, it's copying data. Microkernels have to transfer all this data between address spaces. Macrokernels, on the other hand, have to transfer it between user space and kernel space. It's basically the same operation with basically the same cost, but it falls under a different heading.

Comment: Re: Government s a crappy investor (Score 2) 64

by TheRaven64 (#47918687) Attached to: Funding Tech For Government, Instead of Tech For Industry
Not really. They've increased a bit above inflation, but the amount I'm spending on electricity has remained pretty constant, increasingly slightly below inflation (increases in device efficiency offsetting increase in costs). The amount I'm paying for gas has gone up a bit more.

Comment: Re:If there was only one viable choice ... (Score 1) 156

by TheRaven64 (#47918667) Attached to: Court Rules the "Google" Trademark Isn't Generic
I switched to DuckDuckGo and haven't looked back. They used to be noticeably worse in results quality, but Google has gone a long way downhill. Occasionally I don't find things with DDG and try Google. When I do, I have to wade through pages of totally irrelevant stuff to find that there are no matches, whereas at least DDG tells me straight away that it can only find half a dozen possibly-relevant things. I especially like the way DDG integrates with a number of domain-specific search engines.

Comment: Re:What for? (Score 5, Interesting) 180

by TheRaven64 (#47915739) Attached to: Why Apple Should Open-Source Swift -- But Won't

I maintain the GNUstep / Clang Objective-C stack. Most people who use it now do so in Android applications. A lot of popular apps have a core in Objective-C with the Foundation framework (sometimes they use GNUstep's on Android, more often they'll use one of the proprietary versions that includes code from libFoundation, GNUstep and Cocotron, but they almost all use clang and the GNUstep Objective-C runtime). Amusingly, there are actually more devices deployed with my Objective-C stack than Apple's. The advantage for developers is that their core logic is portable everywhere, but the GUIs can be in Objective-C with UIKit on iOS or Java on Android (or, commonly for games, GLES with a little tiny bit of platform-specific setup code). I suspect that one of the big reasons why the app situation on Windows Phone sucks is that you can't do this with a Windows port.

It would be great for these people to have an open source Swift that integrated cleanly with open source Objective-C stacks. Let's not forget that that's exactly what Swift is: a higher-level language designed for dealing with Objective-C libraries (not specifically Apple libraries).

Objective-C is a good language for mid-1990s development. Swift looks like a nice language for early 2000s development. Hopefully someone will come up with a good language for late 2010s development soon...

Comment: Re:If there was only one viable choice ... (Score 2) 156

by TheRaven64 (#47915717) Attached to: Court Rules the "Google" Trademark Isn't Generic

It wasn't just about interface. People tend to forget how search engines did an absolutely horrible job of intelligently ranking the sites you wanted to see.

I find it pretty easy to remember - I go to Google today.

The UI was what made me switch both to Google originally and from it some years later. When I started using Google - and when Google started gaining significant market share - most users were on 56Kb/s or slower modem connections. AltaVista was the market leader and they'd put so much crap in their front page that it took 30 seconds to load (and then another 20 or so to show the results). Google loaded in 2-3 seconds. The AltaVista search results had to be a lot better to be faster. I switched away when they made the up and down arrow keys in their search box behave differently to every other text field in the system.

Comment: Re: Government s a crappy investor (Score 2) 64

by TheRaven64 (#47915703) Attached to: Funding Tech For Government, Instead of Tech For Industry
My 'precious electronic toys' use about a tenth of the power that the ones I was using a decade ago for the same purpose did. Even lighting power consumption has dropped. My fridge, freezer and washing machine are the big electricity consumers in my home - efficiency has improved there, but nowhere near as fast as for gadgets.

Comment: Re:Tricky proposition (Score 1) 64

by TheRaven64 (#47915695) Attached to: Funding Tech For Government, Instead of Tech For Industry

There's a lot more to government than military intelligence gathering and law enforcement (although it would be a good idea for someone to remind most current governments that those are two things, not one). And most government projects end up spending insane budgets. This isn't limited to the US. It amazes me how often government projects to build databases to store a few million records with a few tens to thousands of queries per second (i.e. the kind of workload that you could run with off-the-shelf software on a relatively low-spec server) end up costing millions. Even with someone designing a pretty web-based GUI, people paid to manually enter all of the data from existing paper records, and 10 years of off-site redundancy, I often can't see where the money could have gone. Large companies often manage to do the same sort of thing.

The one thing that the US does well in terms of tech spending is mandate that the big company that wins the project should subcontract a certain percentage to small businesses. A lot of tech startups have got their big breaks from this rule.

Comment: Re:why? (Score 1) 182

by TheRaven64 (#47907301) Attached to: Oculus Rift CEO Says Classrooms of the Future Will Be In VR Goggles
Add to that, about 10-20% of the population get motion sick using the kind of VR in Oculus Rift (myself included - I can use it for 2-5 minutes, depending on the mode). It's ludicrous to imagine building a school that would exclude 20% of the potential pupils on some random criterion. You might as well make schools that didn't let in gingers...

Scientists are people who build the Brooklyn Bridge and then buy it. -- William Buckley

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