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Comment: systemd is hypocritical (Score 5, Interesting) 552

by beaverdownunder (#48815911) Attached to: SystemD Gains New Networking Features

It annoys me that someone like Poettering, who only had PulseAudio come into use because of the ability distributions had to easily change core operating system components (and wouldn't have had the existing audio-subsystem been entrenched), would then proceed to develop something specifically intended to lock down its own existence and prevent its replacement by something else. It's hypocritical.

While I totally understand why he did it -- nobody wants to put a great amount of time into something only to have it superseded -- it flies in the face of open source in general, where you contribute to an evolving 'thing', and that while your specific contribution may not exist in the future, you can be happy that you took part in the evolution of the whole, and not feel the need to stamp your face on it for perpetuity.

It also sets a dangerous precedent. What's going to be locked down next, in the name of stability, or speed, or whatever else (when it's really about someone trying to 'make their mark'?) Do we lock down the file system? Only one file system for Linux, full stop? Do we lock down the network transports? The window manager? The terminal? The command-line applications?

Then what? Do we then create a global committee, made up of people who maintain the existing components (of course), to make decisions about those components and whatever's left into the future?

I mean, yes, I agree in that case something else will surely (and quickly) rise in Linux's place (I mean, who wants to put in the time to help projects who only exist to serve their creator's vanity) but it seems a shame that Linux should end this way.

Comment: Re:So is the Internet Archive just a piracy site n (Score 1) 198

by beaverdownunder (#48753025) Attached to: Archive.org Adds Close To 2,400 DOS Games

I think they think that by not allowing you to download the binary they're in the clear. Unfortunately you _are_ downloading it, to the emulator running in your web-browser.

There was a conference down here in Australia on game preservation last year and one of the most discussed subjects was precisely this -- and the conclusion was simply that what archive.org is doing in this context can't be considered as anything other than illegal.

Now whether or not anyone complains or not is something for IA to deal with, but let's not have any confusion that using the site to play games is in no way any more legal than just finding a torrent or an 'abandonware' site and downloading them.

Comment: Rights holders (Score 2) 110

by beaverdownunder (#48545957) Attached to: Spectrum Vega: A Blast From the Past

I'll be interested to see how many rights holders agree to contribute their games for free, especially when the unit itself is being sold for such a tidy profit. I can't imagine it would be very many.

Or maybe they plan on shipping the games of 'uncontactable' (ie those who don't reply) rights holders and 'remove' them if they later turn up and complain? Kind of shifty if this is the case.

Comment: Re:Not resigning from Debian (Score 4, Insightful) 550

It should be obvious to anyone that RedHat has a vested interest in making the vast majority of Linux distributions dependent on technology it controls. Linux is its bread-and-butter.

It appears RedHat has realised that, through systemd, it can readily provide preferential support for its own projects, and place roadblocks up for projects it does not control, thus extending its influence broadly and quickly. By using tenuous dependencies amongst its own projects it can speed adoption even faster.

Once it has significant influence, and the maintainers of competing projects have drifted away either out of frustration or because they are starved of oxygen, RedHat knows that they can effectively take Linux closed-source by restricting access to documentation and fighting changes that are not in their own best interests.

At this point, they can market themselves as the only rational choice for corporate Linux support -- and this would be perfectly reasonable because they would have effective control of the ecosystem.

Linux (as in a full OS implementation) is an extremely complex beast and you can't just "fork it" and start your own 'distro' from scratch anymore -- you would have to leverage a small army to do it, then keep that army to maintain it. It's just not practical.

At the same time, Linux has matured to the point of attaining some measure of corporate credibility, and from RedHat's point of view, it no longer needs its 'open source' roots to remain viable. RedHat also, understandably, fears potential competition.

Through systemd and subsequent takeovers of other ecosystem components, RedHat can leverage its own position while stifling potential competition -- this is a best-case scenario for any corporation. It will have an advantage in the marketplace, potential customers will recognise that advantage, and buy its products and support contracts.

I hope you can understand why many see this as an extremely compelling case. Arguing that RedHat has 'ethics' and would 'never do such a thing' is immature and silly -- RedHat is a corporation, it exists to profit from its opportunities, just like any other company. To attempt to argue that it would not do so is contrary to what we can assume is its default state.

It's no 'conspiracy theory' to assume that a corporation will behave like a corporation; arguing that it is just makes one look like a naive child. systemd is one large step toward RedHat gaining the ability to reap what it has sewn -- for its benefit and not necessarily ours.

Comment: Re: Administrators dislike constraint based system (Score 4, Insightful) 863

Whether one dislikes systemd or not isn't necessarily because of what it does or doesn't do. The issue for many people (myself included) is simply that it's a monolith that keeps trying to grow larger in an "open" world that was meant to stand for a certain amount of platform agnosticism and component independence.

I realise that systemd can make life easier for some more novice users but to be true to the spirit of the open source community I would expect it to be optional where it can be so. When it starts to intrude into critical areas and make itself mandatory in some releases, that bothers me. It makes me think that the whole business is a sneaky attempt to subvert the Linux kernel and eventually take control of Linux as a whole.

Comment: Got a Commodore 64? ZX Spectrum? (Score 1) 167

by beaverdownunder (#47794999) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Phone Apps?

It's a pretty niche app, but the Slashdot crowd has a pretty large percentage of retro-computer collectors, so I thought it might be worth a mention...

tapDancer is an Android app that encodes .TAP / .TZX and many more and plays the audio out through the headphone jack. You can either direct-connect your device or use a 'cassette CD adapter'.

https://play.google.com/store/...

Programming

Famo.us: Do We Really Need Another JavaScript Framework? 104

Posted by Soulskill
from the let's-create-a-javascript-framework-to-find-out dept.
An anonymous reader writes Front-end developer Jaroen Janssen has a post about Famo.us, "a custom built JavaScript 3D rendering and physics engine meant as a replacement for the standard layout engine of the browser." The engine effectively replaces a big chunk of HTML5 in order to render more efficiently by using technology based on WebGL. Janssen questions whether the world really needs another JavaScript framework: "Is it a bad thing that Famo.us replaces major parts of HTML5? To be honest, I'm not sure. As a Front-end developer I have to admit it makes me slightly uneasy to have to use a custom API instead of 'standard' HTML5. On the other hand, like almost everyone that makes web apps for a living, I have been terribly frustrated by some of HTML5 limitations, like slowness and browser incompatibilities. Either way, it might be a good thing to try a fundamentally different approach so I'm keeping an open mind for now.

Famo.us chases another holy grail, namely the 'write once, run anywhere' dream. Instead of having to write different code for different platforms, like iOS and Android, developers can write one application that works and looks as good on all platforms, in theory anyway. This of course saves a huge amount of time and resources. Unfortunately, this idea is not without its problems and has never really worked very well with earlier attempts like Java-applets, Flash and Silverlight. In the end native applications have so far always been faster and slicker and I'm pretty skeptical Famo.us will be able to change this."

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