Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?

Comment Thinkpad T-series (Score 4, Interesting) 237

I still highly recommend the Thinkpad T-series line, now owned by Lenovo, for running Linux on a laptop. I've been running Linux on various generations of the T-series since when IBM introduced the line (T21 running Fedora Core 1-4, then Gentoo), and I've never had any significant or insurmountable problems. They use mostly Intel parts and Intel tends to be fairly open source friendly which leads to them being easy to support. My current laptop is a T430s running Gentoo, and my prior laptop was a T400 also running Gentoo. Sleep/hibernate both work as does all the other features (video camera, ultrabay, etc.). The build quality is quite solid too (I only replaced my T400 because I wanted more than 8GB of RAM).

I have less experience with the other Thinkpad lines, but I would imagine both the X-series & W-series would also work well. If you go with a different brand, I generally recommend going straight to the business line (i.e. Dell Latitues, etc.) of the laptops for better build quality.

Comment Re:I vote Samsung Galaxy Tab S (Score 1) 283

I went from a Nexus 7 (2012) to a Tab S 10.5 this year, and I am very satisfied. The original Nexus 7 was woefully underpowered in my opinion (particularly in terms of RAM) so the Tab S feels substantially quicker. As others have mentioned, the screen is gorgeous; it's also easy to root and has a decent rom community. The new model (Tab S2) just came out however it's not much of an upgrade (lower resolution, no flash, slightly smaller & faster) so you stand a good chance if scoring a deal on the original Tab S right now. On a side note, I am coincidentally typing this post from my Tab S.

Comment Secondary Effects (Score 1) 155

It will be interesting to see how this impacts third party retailers like Best Buy, Costco, etc. I doubt the higher price per customer will make up for the volume of customers who will delay or avoid purchases at full price (particularly at the mid-to-high end). Will retailers continue to offer discounts on phones as a loss leader or take the hit to their revenue? Likewise, I expect demand for second hand phones to increase as well (leading to higher prices there).

It will also be interesting to see how this impacts VZW's customer numbers in the long run. They're somewhat safe in the short term as people are going to still be on their current contracts for a while. As the LTE phones are substantially more portable than the previous generations of CDMA phones and now new customers are no longer in a monthly contract, I would expect a decrease over time. I think they're over estimating their market power, but I guess only time will tell.

Comment Re:systemd is also a major battlefield... (Score 3, Insightful) 146

I completely agree; systemd is in my opinion one of the greatest threats to Linux in particular and open source in general. From a competitive strategy perspective, systemd appears to me as a deliberate envelopment attack(pdf) to give RH substantial control over a huge portion of the Linux stack; in fact it's so strategically targeted that I wouldn't be surprised to find out years later that a Big 3 consulting firm recommended it to Red Hat. I have a lot of respect for what RH has done for Linux (and OSS in general), but if everyone switches to systemd, their level of control over the Linux ecosystem will be too much. Personally, I'm on Gentoo (have been for over a decade) and run OpenRC and eudev, but if Gentoo/Slackware fall, then I'm off to the BSD land.

Comment Re:Watches - Jewelry, Not Functionality (Score 5, Insightful) 141

There are some functional benefits to a wrist watch over a pocket watch such as the ability to tell the time even with your hands full, but really, watches (particularly at the higher end) are more about being a piece of jewelry than funcitonality. Consider the fact that a $10,000 Rolex or Omega automatic is typically substantially less accurate than a $100 Seiko with a quartz yet people still pay the substantial premium. Heck, I've found myself guilty of wearing an automatic watch set to the wrong time because I was in a rush in the morning and wanted to wear the watch for the look.

There's tons of better, more accurate sources to tell time, but people wear watches anyway. When you start viewing watches as just a piece of socially acceptable (typically male) jewelry, they tend to make much more sense.


Denuvo DRM Challenges Game Crackers 187

jones_supa writes Now that the PC gaming community has grown very large, it has become only a matter of hours before the copy protection of a major AAA title is cracked and put up for download after its official release, or sometimes, even before. However, it looks like CI Games is having great luck with its recently launched next-gen video game known as Lords of the Fallen, as its PC DRM still remains uncracked now after 3 days of release. The DRM solution that the game uses comes from a copyright protection company known as Denuvo, and it is apparently the same one that has been used in FIFA 15, which is also yet uncracked. While this DRM has kept the game from being pirated until now, it has also been speculated that this solution is supposedly the main cause behind several in-game bugs and crashes that are affecting users' gameplay experience. To improve stability, the developer is working on a patch that is aimed at fixing all performance issues. It remains officially unconfirmed if the new DRM solution is really causing all the glitches.

Comment Re:I run Gentoo (Score 2) 106

Pre-compiled binaries do exist as ebuilds in portage for some very large apps (i.e. libreoffice, firefox, seamonkey, etc.) however they are not very common (only ~100 ebuilds out of ~17K available on my laptop running unstable aka ~amd64) however there's another option called BINHOST that lets you take prebuild packages on one system and distribute just the binaries to other clients.

There are both public and private binhosts, however Gentoo doesn't officially provide any so you're somehwhat using them at your own risk. It's actually pretty easy to set up your own binhost, and if you are doing anything in scale, it's definitely the way to go (especially if you have standardizes hardware).

The big issue with using binhost, and at least part of the reason why it's not popular (and why you want standard hardware), is because you have to sacrafice optimizations to do so. Unless all the client systems have the same CPU, you have to go with the least common denominator when it comes to optimizations (aka CFLAGS). i.e. if one of your clients is a Core 2 Duo and doesn't support sse3 or newer, you can't build any packages with that CFLAG without risking broken packages on the C2D system. Additionally you have to sacrafice customization with binhosts as all your builds will have the same USE flags.

As both optimization and customization are both features that often attract people to Gentoo, the lack of binhosts and minimal formal binary builds makes a lot of sense.

Comment Re:I run Gentoo (Score 1) 106

Yeah, I'm in the same boat; it's approaching the point where I'm debating just unmerging the damn thing as I mostly use FF. It's gotten to the point that I've masked* Chromium and am now only updating it monthly when I manually unmask it. I'm on a fairly recent laptop CPU (i5-3230M) and building Chromium takes so long it reminds me of emerging gnome2 back when I had a Pentium3 800MHz.

* for non-Gentoo users, masking a package basically hides it from future updates. You can mask specific versions or anything going forward.

Comment Re:Gentoo (Score 3, Interesting) 303

I have been using Gentoo for over a decade now across multiple systems (starting with an IBM Thinkpad T21 with a P3 800MHz) and completely disagree. I have ran unstable for that entire time and while there was occasional breakage, it was never so bad that I couldn't fix it myself within a day (and usually learn a ton in the process).

With modern multi core processors, compiling is hardly endless, and maintaining multiple systems using one build server is fairly trivial.

Don't get me wrong, Gentoo does require some dedication and a willingness to learn. However it's a great distribution that's fairly easy to maintain for years, and it provides endless flexibility.

Also it's one of the few distributions willing to put up a fight over systemd which is important to me as a believer in the Unix philosophy.

Comment Re:Butt-hurt (Score 1) 993

I disagree that it's hard; all it really takes is a USE="-systemd" in make.conf and a hard mask of systemd in package.mask

Also you're misinformed about udev, xorg-server, & nfs-utils; I am running the latest in ~amd64 with the following use flags and no issues:

[ebuild R ] sys-fs/udev-216 USE="acl firmware-loader gudev kmod -doc -introspection (-selinux) -static-libs" ABI_X86="(64) -32 (-x32)" 3530 KiB
[ebuild R ] net-fs/nfs-utils-1.3.0-r1 USE="ipv6 libmount nfsidmap nfsv4 tcpd uuid -caps -kerberos -nfsdcld -nfsv41 (-selinux)" 0 KiB
[ebuild R ] x11-base/xorg-server-1.16.1:0/1.16.1 USE="glamor ipv6 nptl suid udev xnest xorg xvfb -dmx -doc -kdrive -minimal (-selinux) -static-libs -systemd -tslib -unwind -wayland" 0 KiB

The only systemd related issue I can think of is that upower (used for suspend/resume from a desktop environment by a non-root use) had been displaced by systemd. This issue was quickly fixed by the Gentoo team by replacing upower with upower-pm-utils (more info here which fixed the issue.

Comment Funny, I Left GNOME 3 Mainly Because of Systemd (Score 5, Interesting) 403

I used GNOME as my primary desktop environment for almost a decade starting with 2.4 on Fedora Core 1. I watched as many features I cared for were either hidden or removed for simplicity's sake, but I kept with it because for the most part I could restore the features with minimal hassle and I liked the overall look & feel. I even put up with early GNOME 3 as I felt 3.4 & 3.6 were progressively improving. However by 3.8 I was getting fed up of having to constantly figure out how to restore features I want, and I had absolutely no interest in running systemd just to run a damn GUI. I had enough, jumped to XFCE4 and have it customized to a very similar setup to GNOME 2 and have been very satisfied.

It takes a lot to alienate someone who has used the same software for a decade, but they've managed to it. I felt like each released "dumbed" the product down more and more and I kept thinking to myself that old saying, "If you make something idiot proof, someone will just make a better idiot". I don't know what kind of consumer they want to attract, but apparently I'm no longer it.

At least with Debian, the default desktop doesn't necessarily mean much as it's quite simple to install an alternative.

Comment Is Sapphire Glass Supposed to be Shatter Resistant (Score 1) 207

I swear by sapphire glass for watches (which have been using it even for midtier models for ages) as it's incredibly scratch resistant, but I didn't think that necessarily translates to shatter resistant. I am curious though in terms of scratch resistance how sapphire crystal compares to gorilla glass (and similar products).

Comment Re:Strongly Felt Here (Score 1) 135

It was felt relatively strongly here in Walnut Creek (also CC county, about 25 miles from the epicenter). I've lived in CA my whole life (over 30 years) and it's definitely one of the longer quakes that I remember. Fortunately no damage here, just a couple scared dogs. My brother in west Berkeley slept through it, but I'm guessing it's because he's on a different fualt line.

Comment Re:Bullet-Proof Glass (Score 1) 234

Must be location dependent. My closest Comcast location (now Concord, CA) has no glass at all -- completely open air although it does have cameras. I try to avoid it as much as possible as it's near some relatively low-income areas and is often filled with people who pay their bills in person (in cash/cashiers' check I would assume) so the lines are always 30 mins to an hour. I've also been to their Livermore, CA & Walnut Creek, CA (now closed) office and also didn't see any barriers. I will say that for the most part, banks in these areas don't use glass barriers either, but are much more secure. I'm sure things are different in lower income areas like Richmond, Oakland, Compton, etc.

In Nature there are neither rewards nor punishments, there are consequences. -- R.G. Ingersoll