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Comment: Immaterial (Score 1) 26 26

I choose not to measure my year by how much I got done, but instead by whether I am enjoying it. Since I got fired earlier in January and have been able to do more or less what I wanted to do since then, I think this year is going better than average so far. The only real downside has been my former employer harassing me with legal threats.

Comment: Re:still ruined the best years of his life (Score 4, Interesting) 31 31

I've had similar happen to me. When I was let go they did not make me sign a non-compete, but when I was in talks with another company that was a possible competitor to them, they claimed (wrongly) that I had possession of their intellectual property and called in the lawyers demanding that I give it back. I didn't have any, so I was unable to do so. But then reading more carefully, what they were saying is that they gave me education on my particular area of expertise which I had been doing for 6 years before they hired me specifically for that knowledge and now they are claiming all of my knowledge in that area and claiming that I cannot work for a competitor because all of the knowledge I have belongs to them merely because they augmented it in some small way.

Comment: Re:Unchanging UIs? Not just for old people (Score 1) 232 232

Implied buttons must be the peak incompetence of UI design.

And yet mobile app developers think it is the pinnacle of UI design. White words on a black background, and four or five of them are live links, but you can't tell which ones without clicking on them. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb.

Comment: Re:When it has no value (Score 2) 42 42

The best things to open source in this scenario are the things that you would buy from a third party, if you trusted the supplier enough. For proprietary software, a second source is almost always impossible. For hardware, it's often quite difficult, depending on the component. Switching from Intel to AMD is quite easy in a lot of cases, switching from a Qualcomm SoC to a Samsung one is more effort. Switching other components can be very hard. Service companies are a lot easier (switching from one law or accounting firm to another is much easier than retooling a production line).

Apple's involvement with LLVM is quite a good example here. Their ecosystem absolutely depends on high-quality compilers existing for OS X and iOS. With Classic MacOS and early versions of OS X, they outsourced this to Metrowerks, who produced quite a competent IDE and set of tools. Then Metrowerks, their sole supplier, was bought by Freescale and development on the Mac versions basically disappeared. They had some involvement in GCC development inherited from NeXT, but GCC was problematic for IDE integration (the parser is designed in such a way that it's impossible to use for syntax highlighting, for example - it does constant folding very early so you can't differentiate 4 and 2+2 in the source). They decided that they needed to bring compiler development in-house, but it was a lot cheaper to do so as part of an open source ecosystem. Apple now contributes something like 40% of the code to LLVM and that vast majority of what other people do directly benefits them, so they're effectively halving their costs. And, of course, giving away the IDE and compiler tools for free (rather than charging, as Metrowerks did) makes people more likely to start developing for Apple platforms.

Comment: Re:When you're not making money from it anymore (Score 1) 42 42

It's not always about spite, it's often defensive. If you're competing in one market and a competitor has a big advantage by having a near monopoly in a complementary market, then your best strategy is to commoditise their market and open source is usually a good way of doing this.

Comment: Re:Duh (Score 1) 431 431

Really? How does a shell script get notifications from the kernel that the swap space is almost full? Or are you suggesting that they should write a program that gets the notify(3) events, but then replace the three lines of C required to create a file and add it as swap with a shell script?

Comment: Re:"as a Service" = you have to buy it Every Year? (Score 1) 171 171

I do not suspect so. People are used to getting Windows bundled with their computers. If those people suddenly have to start paying for Windows, they would get annoyed and start digging deeper for free alternatives. Eventually they would find Ubuntu and that would begin to hurt Microsoft's business.

The only way linux is ever going to hurt Microsoft's business is if people start releasing software on linux instead of Windows. WINE isn't going to cut it. Too much overhead.

Comment: Re:From a user standpoint (Score 1) 431 431

Try this. Launch the same applications on Yosemite and Snow Leopard and see how quickly to can tell which one is the currently active one. After SL, they dramatically reduced the visual clues (the big shadows on the active window that made it stand out were 'ugly') and they've reduced more each release. After SL, the instances where I typed things into the wrong window jumped up for me. It's a shame, because Apple used to be the company that measured this stuff...

Comment: Re:Duh (Score 1) 431 431

OS X users the same underlying functionality from a UNIX-like VM subsystem, but has a dameon that monitors the amount of used swap space and creates new swap files when they're required. This gives you the flexibility of the Windows model, without the complexity in kernel space.

Comment: Re:Duh (Score 3, Informative) 431 431

Windows threading and synchronisation primitives

What windows synchronisation primitive allows:

  • Timed wakeup (i.e. try to lock, time out if you fail).
  • Adaptive mutex behaviour (spin in userspace for a bit before calling the kernel).
  • Can atomically be released when you sleep on a condition variable and reacquired when you wake.

Give up? So did the developers of the Microsoft C++ stack, which is why their std::mutex uses something custom, whereas implementations for POSIX systems just use pthread_mutex.

Comment: Re:Duh (Score 1) 431 431

Well, except that NT4 had a fun bug with the uptime counter, so if you actually did manage to go around 47 days without a BSoD, you'd get one when the counter overflowed. The fact that it took several years for anyone to discover this bug shows how 'eliminated' BSoDs really were by NT4. Oh, and NT4 moved the graphics drivers back into the kernel (including font rendering, which is why the TTF parsing vulnerabilities found a year or two ago were kernel exploits on Windows), so there was a lot more badly-written software running in kernel mode. I mostly got BSoDs on NT4 from the Soundblaster drivers - Creative Labs should never be allowed near ring 0.

Why did the Roman Empire collapse? What is the Latin for office automation?