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Comment Re:And obviously, Ireland will rebate on the taxes (Score 1) 87

>For any normal person you don't come to an agreement with the government, they state how much tax you owe and you have to pay it or you go to jail, there's no negotiation.

That's not actually true. The IRS will sometimes negotiate with you:

In the case of Google, the settlement amount is so small, I suspect the UK knew it would lose in court, since Google has been very clever with its tax strategies.

Comment Re:This Will Never Happen (Score 1) 317

>Enough people fail to grasp the concept of a variable that I can confidently predict that the "anyone can code" mentality will hit an unassailable obstacle and be abandoned. The only question is how long it will take for this particular neurosis to metastasise and die.

Based on my personal experience teaching introductory CS to a great many students over the years, I would say the percentage who CAN learn is actually pretty high, probably around 80% to 90% of college freshmen or high school seniors who have passed algebra.

So yeah, not everyone. And it can be hard to grasp. But it's really no different than the number of students who seem to just never be able to grasp algebra or composing iambic pentameter or whatever.

Certainly an introduction to programming is going to be useful for more students in more walks of life, than pretty much any other high school class they take. You don't need to be a quote programmer in order to make use of programming in a job.

Comment Re:This is driving me away from Windows (Score 1) 720

>But after a disastrous stab at Windows 8 (fought with it for three weeks, ended up reloading 7) I've come to the conclusion that Microsoft has lost the ability to write an operating system. I have no intention to ever go to 10.

Oddly enough, some of the most exciting developments in operating systems I've read about recently have come from Microsoft Labs. The Midori project was interesting, with some really good ideas coming out of it:

Really smart guys working on it, and they managed to pull off some really impressive feats with it.

Microsoft killed Midori, though, so there you go.

Comment Re:If it weren't for games (Score 1) 314

>From one old school UNIX guy to the next you know you can't give a good judge of an OS on weak hardware.

The Pi 2 really isn't that weak. It's about six times more powerful than the original RPi B, and is about 1/10th as fast as a i7-6000K on the benchmarks I was looking at. It certainly should be capable of doing things like drawing windows and web browsing. I can't imagine any user these days would put up with a smartphone with these sorts of issues, and that's basically all an RPi is, just in different dress.

>Windows won't even load on a Pi

It actually runs Windows 10's IoT version. I haven't tried it out (because why, right?) but I can't imagine that it fails at basic functionality as much as Raspbian does.

The main thing that irritates me is that the bugs, ugliness and slowness is due to bad software settings, which can be fixed. (Remember, a smartphone can drive a 1080p display without slowdown.) Since this is the first glimpse many people will have of Linux Desktop, we should really (as a community) be putting our best foot forward on this experience.

Comment Re:another spam hosting isp gets bit in the ass (Score 1) 55

>Ok so the users are people who pay you to run things on your linode? Why wouldn't they just get their own?

They're computer science students. I host a UNIX server for them on my own nickel because I don't want to graduate CS majors who don't know an ls from an rm. But being CS majors they occasionally do goofy things that need to be clamped.

And I do hope they get their own - a number have installed Linux on their PCs, or bought a RPi or whatever.

Anyhow, my point is that Linode doesn't seem to be the kind of place where a spammer would last very long.

Comment Re:another spam hosting isp gets bit in the ass (Score 2) 55

>I always find it amusing when a big spammy hosting provider gets pwned. Companies that ignore their spam problems usually tend to ignore their security problems too.

Seriously? If any of my users does anything even remotely annoying, like running Nmap, I'd immediately get a notification from their netops people. I'd shut the user down, and they'd write back and thank me.

I can't imagine a spammer lasting very long at all in an environment like that. They take their stuff very seriously there.

Comment Re:If it weren't for games (Score 1) 314

>I don't think that a Linux distribution that is focused on an embedded environment is a good representation of the state of the art on Linux.

An RPi with Raspbian is not an Arduino. It's a fully functioning computer that is supposed to be used in a K-12 school setting to teach programming via Scratch and Python. Very high level stuff, actually. While I'm going to be teaching assembly using it, that's not the most common use of the system.

But what these kids are going to actually learn is that the Linux Desktop is ugly, slow, and can't do basic functions correctly. When it doesn't have to be! Because with tweaking it's not.

I might do it myself, I dunno. But I am not confident that they would accept a patch that would ruin the simplicity of their UI.

Comment Re:If it weren't for games (Score 1) 314

>I wouldn't say the Raspbian on RPi is representative of 'desktop Linux'.

I agree, as I said in my post. But also as I said, it is going to be the first desktop Linux experience many people will have, and the first impression is bad.

Would you go and install Linux on your home PC if you thought it was going to look like crap?

Comment Re:If it weren't for games (Score 3, Interesting) 314

>It would be the year of another desktop.

I think other issues are actually a bigger deal.

Interestingly enough, I set up my first Linux desktop last night in 10-ish years. I am very much an old school CLI Unix fellow, but since I'm going to be doing some stuff with the RPi 2B with my assembly students, I thought I'd give the GUI a try and see how much it'd changed in the meantime.

My first impression was that it was terribly ugly and slow. Slow I could deal with, since it's a $35 computer the size of a wallet, but it was still annoying watching it struggling to redraw a web page just because I scrolled down a bit and then scrolled back up. The default UI was bland and terrible. The default web browser ("Web", which is the worst name ever for a web browser, since it makes it impossible to look for solutions for it online, i.e. Epiphany) is slow and terrible. Oh, the ability to set your start page? Yeah, we removed that a while back. For a while we had the ability to set it via the CLI, but then, yeah, we removed that as well. We want everyone in your class to see what the last couple things you Google searched right there when you start it up. (Including, "How do I set the start page for Web?".) Double clicking in the top left corner of a window doesn't close the window, despite the window decorations by default otherwise being cloned exactly from Windows. Wi-Fi Supplicant is terrible (and help on the web on how to fix Wifi for the RPi can actually break it much worse), and I eventually switched to a wired connection to avoid its random crapouts. Changing the picture for the background in the appearance settings didn't change the actual background. Neither did right clicking an image from the web in Web (again, terrible name), and choosing "Set image as background". No audio settings (for setting the volume) obvious by default. Playing Youtube videos in Web is shit. The default clock in the bottom right of the screen has the rightmost number clipped in half.

Not to say this is the end of the story (I fixed all of the above, even the slowness), but these are reasonable, sane actions that developers should expect an end user to try, and when very simple things like setting desktop backgrounds and wifi settings don't work, or when you can't set your fucking start page in a web browser, it's enough to make the whole thing look like amateur night at the OS vendor faire.

To be fair, it IS a RPi, which is a very weak system, but it *is* the first Linux GUI that most people will see, and very probably the last as well for many of them, and a quad-core 900Mhz processor is many many times faster than the 68000 processor that ran the GUI for my first X11 system back in the day. So it shouldn't be that shitty.

And as it turns out, it doesn't really have to be. As I said above, I fiddled with everything (because that's what you do, natch), reset OpenBox, got a lot more settings appearing, got the desktop background change to work, fixed the window decorations so that they look nice and slick (and not something from the aforementioned 68k running X11), ditched Web, got Iceweasel, and the system not only didn't run slower, it actually ran noticeably smoother with the better window manager. I have it set so I can switch it from 1080p over HDMI to a touchscreen with a popup keyboard that makes for an only slightly awkward tablet computer. I installed tons of dev tools and while, again, it's not a CPU workhorse, it works just fine. I've got it set up as a class server for my assembly class, and it should work just fine for those purposes.

But would the average user go through all that? Would they be happy having to flash their SD card and start over to get another shot at Wifi working? Or would they ragequit out of frustration? In all frankness, the idiotic decisions and awkward user experiences is really no different than what it was like in 2005. Different set of frustrations, maybe, but the overall experience is still the same.

Anyhow, that's my review of the RPI Linux Desktop, reporting live from the year 2016.

Comment Re:That old chestnut? LOL. (Score 1) 145

>Yawn. The world has moved on. I used Perl 15 years ago but Perl 6 has taken far too long. Why should I use it now over anything else?

To be fair, the first C++ standard took forever to come out (in '98), and then they didn't come out with a significant revision again for 13 years, but C++11 was well worth the wait.

Comment Re:Photoshop, please! (Score 1) 117

What I've found is that success in introductory computer science is highly correlated with a student's pre-existing knowledge of "how to think like a computer" - i.e. being able to logically break down a task into a series of steps. I think that the hour of code activities are pretty good at teaching that.

Comment Re:Photoshop, please! (Score 1) 117

> I think being able to type moveForward(100); is a far cry from actually being able to code.

It's not even as good as that. The Anna and Elsa skating thing he did used block programming, that would generate JS code for you based on how you clicked the lego blocks of code together.

We did the exercises with 1st and 3rd graders during the Hour of Code this week.

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