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Comment: you'll need to work (you or someone else) (Score 1) 264

by basiles (#36271452) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Linux Distro For Computational Cluster?
whatever you'll do, you will have to work, to learn more about your Linux system, or to subcontract someone to (or buy support) to run your cluster and help your users. The point is then: do you have a budget (time and money) for that? Are you interested yourself to learn more about Linux systems (hence to spend less time on numerical codes or science)? If not, you'll need to pay someone to do the work. If yes, you need to learn a lot.
Image

Woman Creates 3-D Erotic Book For the Blind 113

Posted by samzenpus
from the is-that-a-book-in-your-pocket-or-are-you-just-happy-to-see-me dept.
Lisa J. Murphy has written an erotic book with tactile images for that special visually impaired porn connoisseur in your life. Tactile Mind contains explicit softcore raised images, along with Braille text and photos. From the article: "A photographer with a certificate in Tactile Graphics from the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, Murphy learned to create touchable images of animals for books for visually impaired children. Then she realized that there was a lack of such books for adults only. 'There are no books of tactile pictures of nudes for adults, at least the last time I looked around,' says Murphy. 'We're breaking new ground. Playboy has [an edition with] Braille wording, but there are no pictures.' She says that while we live in a culture saturated with sexual images, the blind have been 'left out.'"

Comment: Re:improve the JVM bytecode (Score 4, Insightful) 667

by basiles (#31713856) Attached to: The Struggle To Keep Java Relevant
I was serious. Tail recursive call is one of the major feature lacking in the JVM. See http://blogs.sun.com/jrose/entry/tail_calls_in_the_vm http://openjdk.java.net/projects/mlvm/ And there is no way to implemnent tail-recursive call in its full generality (including tail-call optimisation to statically unknown code, e.g. thru virtual methods...) without a proper support from the JVM. This has nothing to do with addressing modes (which you don't need in a VM offering garbage collected values). And the Ocaml virtual machine bytecode does indeed show that other kind of bytecodes can be useful. JVM is not the perfect VM; it could and should be improved.

Comment: improve the JVM bytecode (Score 4, Insightful) 667

by basiles (#31713696) Attached to: The Struggle To Keep Java Relevant
I believe what would be significant is to improve the JVM bytecode, to add some additional instructions. Tail-recursive calls is an example. There are some others. If the JVM specification was improved (and implemented by Oracle & other major JVM sources), several new languages (or language feature) could flourish. And the important part is not the Java language; it is the JVM. Better languages (Clojure, Scala) can be implemented for the JVM, and if the JVM was improved, even better languages could be experimented, all able to use the legacy of Java. Regards.
Games

Decrying the Excessive Emulation of Reality In Games 187

Posted by Soulskill
from the plumbers-with-shrooms dept.
An editorial at GameSetWatch makes the case that game developers' relentless drive to make games more real has led to missed opportunities for creating unique fictional universes that are perhaps more interesting than our own. Quoting: "Remember when the norm for a video game was a blue hedgehog that ran fast and collected rings and emeralds? Or a plumber that took mushrooms to become large, and grabbed a flower to throw fireballs? In reality they do none of those things, but in the name of a game, they make sense, inspire wonder, and create a new universe. ... We’ve seen time and time again that the closer you try to emulate reality, the more the 'game' aspects begin to stick out. Invisible walls in Final Fantasy, or grenades spawning at your feet when you go the wrong way in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 are examples of kicking the player out of that illusion of reality, and letting them know that yes, this is a game, and yes, the rules are designed to keep you in the space of this world, not the real world. In reality, as a soldier I could disobey my orders and go exploring around the other side. I could be cowardly and turn back to base. Games shouldn’t have to plan for every eventuality, of course, but it’s not so hard to create universes that are compelling but where the unusual, or even simple backtracking, is not so unfeasible."

Comment: Re:gccgo? Why not LLVM? (Score 1) 831

by basiles (#30064978) Attached to: Go, Google's New Open Source Programming Language
One of the main reasons to go to GCC not LLVM is that Google has several top GCC experts (nice people like Ian Taylor, Diego Novillo, Rafael Espindola and many others). On the contrary, few Google employees seem to post on LLVM mailing lists. And I see a simple reason for Google to pay leading experts on GCC. Google has a big lot of servers running Linux, and most of Linux is GCC compiled (in particular the kernel). Put it in a simpler way: if their experts are able to improve GCC just by 0.03% (or perhaps 0.05%) the saving in energy bills alone is paying the entire team of GCC experts at Google. In GCC summits some Google guys mention a single binary executable of more than 700 megabytes. I don't think that migrating such a monster program to Clang is easy, and an easy decision to take. In addition, Google has several Linux kernel experts (and they have their own patched kernel). These guys need GCC to compile that kernel. Perhaps Google also invest effort in LLVM. I don't know.

Comment: Re:One word.. (Score 2, Insightful) 683

by basiles (#29200293) Attached to: Dirty Coding Tricks To Make a Deadline

Every control structure in C++ is equivalent to either a goto or jnz plus some syntactic sugar.

This is almost true, but I see one important exception: the exception machinery in C++ (that is the compilation of throw and catch C++ statements) is not exactly a goto (and neither is longjmp in C). And of course, any (method or function) call and return is not exactly a goto neither. Exceptions,calls and returns also change the stack pointer.

I would also notice that computed goto (i.e. the goto *p; GNU extension of C) is compiled as an indirect jump.

A more interesting concept is continuation Regards

Comment: Re:biggest mistake: PC = 8088 not M68000!!! (Score 1) 806

by basiles (#28336057) Attached to: Fifteen Classic PC Design Mistakes

If IBM had used a 32 bit processor then Microsoft would likely have failed.

But that would have made a better world... Microsoft succeeded not on technical grounds, but because of good lawyers.

I was suggesting a real operating system and that would have meant something better than QDOS (ie the first MSDOS).

Comment: biggest mistake: PC = 8088 not M68000!!! (Score 3, Insightful) 806

by basiles (#28335801) Attached to: Fifteen Classic PC Design Mistakes

I believe the biggest mistake was IBM using an Intel8088, instead of a Motorola68000.

Imagine for a moment what would have happened if IBM choose in the early 1980s a 32 bits processor for the first successful Personal Computer!

  • no infamous 640k memory limit
  • probably no MSDOS (or QDOS), and a real operating system instead
  • 32 bits computing would have become mainstream a decade earlier at least!
  • much less assembly written software

Comment: that was good management! (Score 1) 254

by basiles (#28243333) Attached to: Unix Turns 40

What is scary (or at least very sad) today is that very probably no manager would let a few brilliant programmers to develop their own system during a couple of years: in academia, publishing is much more important that working on a big software system, and in industrial R&D, one could no more work for a couple of years on a brand new software.

Current managers would look with scare at their spreadsheet and would not let that kind of things happen anymore in 2009, and I still think it is really a pity, and we could get some really innovative systems if R&D was managed differently today.

Comment: Re:I prefer (Score 1) 210

by basiles (#27952627) Attached to: Artificial Ethics

J.Pitrat does know (as I do) Godel's theorem, and did wrote some interesting pages on the relation between Godel's theorem and his view of AI.

J.Pitrat also explains how his CAIA system is in practice able to detect most of the looping situations, when it is stuck.

Regards.

Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must be first overcome. -- Dr. Johnson

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