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Comment: Re:I Don't Get It (Score 1) 149

by ewhac (#48561383) Attached to: Ubuntu Gets Container-Friendly "Snappy" Core

He's implying that developers will specify a complete environment where every DLL available to the application within the environment is exactly what the developer used. There is no DLL hell because you run what the developer ran, and it doesn't matter if you have seventeen different incompatible versions of (to pick windows example everyone's familiar with) mfc42.dll, because things inside the container won't know that you have those dlls.

In that case, why bother with dynamic linking at all? Why not statically link everything? The effect is essentially the same -- you get exactly what the developer had. You also get no shared code pages -- even if you're using exactly the same library as someone else -- and bloated memory and disk usage since you have your own private copy of everything. Disk may be "cheap," but it's still surprisingly easy to fill up a 16GB eMMC device.

Comment: I Don't Get It (Score 5, Insightful) 149

by ewhac (#48560879) Attached to: Ubuntu Gets Container-Friendly "Snappy" Core
Am I getting hopelessly old and unable to appreciate new things, or is this not anywhere near as whoop-de-doo as they're making out?

"You can update transactionally!!" Great. What does that mean? Is it like git add newapp; git commit -a? If so, how do I back out a program I installed three installations ago?

Transactional updates have lots of useful properties: if they are done well, you can know EXACTLY what's running on a particular system, [ ... ]

dpkg -l

You can roll updates back, [ ... ]

dpkg -i <previous_version>

...lets you choose exactly the capabilities you want for yourself, rather than having someone else force you to use a particular tool.

#include <cheap_shots/systemd.h>

Because there is a single repository of frameworks and packages, and each of them has a digital fingerprint that cannot be faked, two people on opposite ends of the world can compare their systems and know that they are running exactly the same versions of the system and apps.

debsums

Developers of snappy apps get much more freedom to bundle the exact versions of libraries that they want to use with their apps.

...Did this guy just say he brought DLL Hell to Linux? Help me to understand how he didn't just say that.

I bet the average system on the cloud ends up with about three packages installed, total! Try this sort of output:

$ snappy info
release: ubuntu-core/devel
frameworks: docker, panamax
apps: owncloud

That's much easier to manage and reason about at scale.

No, it isn't!! What the hell is OwnCloud pulling in? What's it using as an HTTP server? As an SSL/TLS stack? Is it the one with the Heartbleed bug, the POODLE bug, or some new bug kluged in by the app vendor to add some pet feature that was rejected from upstream because it was plainly stupid?

Honestly, I'm really not getting this. It just sounds like they created a pile of tools that lets "cloud" administrators be supremely lazy. What am I missing here?

Comment: Well, Now I Have to Read The Thing... (Score 1) 323

by ewhac (#48501747) Attached to: DOOM 3DO Source Released On Github

I worked for NTG/3DO for just under five years, so I know (knew) the machine inside and out. It will be interesting to go through this code and see what kind of tradeoffs were made.

Some comments on the README:

My friends at 3DO were begging for DOOM to be on their platform and with christmas 1995 coming soon (I took this job in August of 1995, with a mid October golden master date), I literally lived in my office, only taking breaks to take a nap and got this port completed.

*snerk* I could have told you at the time that a ten-week dev cycle was crazy talk.

Shortcuts made...

3DO's operating system was designed around running an app and purging, there was numerous bugs caused by memory leaks. So when I wanted to load the Logicware and id software logos on startup, the 3DO leaked the memory so to solve that, I created two apps, one to draw the 3do logo and the other to show the logicware logo. After they executed, they were purged from memory and the main game could run without loss of memory.

An interesting and valid approach (3DO's OS had full memory tracking). I'd be interested to know which of the 3DO libs was leaking memory on you.

The verticle walls were drawn with strips using the cell engine. However, the cell engine can't handle 3D perspective so the floors and ceilings were drawn with software rendering. I simply ran out of time to translate the code to use the cell engine because the implementation I had caused texture tearing.

Were the floor/ceiling textures not power-of-two dimensions on each side? As I recall, you only got texture cracking when the dimensions were not power-of-two.

You could have decomposed the floor/ceiling textures into strips as well, but ultimately the lack of perspective correction meant you were going to have to do some heavy lifting somewhere.

I had to write my own string.h ANSI C library because the one 3DO supplied with their compiler had bugs! string.h??? How can you screw that up!?!?! They did! I spent a day writing all of the functions I needed in ARM 6 assembly.

Ah, yes, the Norcroft compiler (or, as I always called it, Norcruft). It was a piece of shit. It was also the only thing available that would run on the Mac. It was never anything but a C compiler, but kept throwing unblockable warnings about constructs that C++ would have problems with (such as implicit cast from void*). There was no MacOS port of GCC, and there were no usable ARM backends for GCC available at the time, anyway. (Bear in mind, this was before the Web existed in any familiar form, and you had to go trawling through USENET for clues -- not even AltaVista existed yet).

I hope that everyone who looks at this code, learns something from it, and I'd be happy to answer questions about the hell I went through to make this game. I only wished I had more time to actually polish this back in 1995 so instead of being the worst port of DOOM, it would have been the best one.

I'm sure many memories will come flooding back.

Comment: Anti-Spam Measure? (Score 3, Insightful) 245

by ewhac (#48365367) Attached to: ISPs Removing Their Customers' Email Encryption
Didn't this very topic come up a few days ago? I recall the general consensus being that it's an anti-spam measure, and (is supposed to) only happen when connecting on port 25 to a non-local machine (port 25 is supposed to be for server-server communication only). Normal clients are supposed to be able to avoid the issue by changing your MUA to submit mail on port 465 (smtps) or 587 (smtp). I suspect people running their own SMTP servers will probably need to negotiate with their ISPs, or relay their mail through their ISP's SMTP server as a smarthost.

Comment: Thanks to Everyone! (Score 1) 928

by ewhac (#48286095) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Can You Say Something Nice About Systemd?

Well... All told, I think that went rather well.

I wanted to chime in and thank everyone for participating in what was clearly an insane exercise in trying to cut through the acrimony and vitriol and get some actual information on what systemd is and what it's trying to do. You can't always grok what complex things are about just from the docs. That's why I wanted actual first-hand experiences from people who could point to actual gems they'd found.

To respond to some recurring remarks throughout the comments:

  • "Obviously a pro-systemd shill."
    No, I'm not shilling for RedHat or Poettering. In fact, I gave Poettering some stick for the whole corrupt-binary-logs-aren't-a-bug thing a couple weeks ago. I was being forthright in the opening paragraph: The simple fact that systemd has been widely adopted despite widespread protest made me genuinely wonder what I was missing that I hadn't figured out from the docs I'd read. So, no, there's no conspiracy here.
  • "Who are you to establish posting rules?"
    Well, gosh, sorry, but I was trying to save everyone time. Seriously, tell me you haven't gone, "Oh, ${DEITY}, another systemd thread; there goes my afternoon as I pick through the rat's nest of comments." So I hoped -- perhaps naively -- that requesting some organization would let us all get to the meat of issues of interest fairly quickly. And enough people did choose the follow the rules that the discussion overall turned out valuable (for me, anyway).
  • "Why do you dislike something you admit you know nothing about?"
    For largely the same reason I dislike Windows without having comprehensively pored over the "design" docs for COM, DCOM, MFC/ATL/WTL, WDM, NTFS, NTLM, Direct${THING}, Active${THING}, etc. etc. etc. Poorly-designed systems seem to have a certain "pattern" to them, and systemd at first glance seemed to match that pattern (the use of Windows-style INI files syntax didn't help, either). But the people adopting systemd are clearly not idiots, so I hoped people with actual experience with the thing could convey insights that (for me) the docs so far have not.
  • "You're thinking of the ads for Miller Lite, not Bud Light."
    *headdesk* I would like to apologize to a no doubt deeply irritated TV ad executive for completely misattributing their fifteen-odd years and millions of dollars worth of loud beer ads to the wrong company (I think this speaks well to my socially-isolated geek cred, though :-) ).

In the best tradition of USENET, I thought I'd summarize the highlights of what I got out of the whole thing. Most of the good posts have already been modded up, but the ones that especially stood out for me were these:

Thanks again to everyone who chimed in. You've given me a lot to read up on...

Comment: Re:It freakin' works fine (Score 1) 928

by ewhac (#48285843) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Can You Say Something Nice About Systemd?

Think back to the epic holy wars of the past. Emacs vs. Vi. Big vs. Little Endian. Motorola vs. Intel. Amiga vs. Atari ST. ASCII vs. EDBIC.

vi*. Little-endian. Motorola. Amiga. ASCII**. Obviously.

(* with great respect to those who are able to use EMACS well.)

(** Seriously, who not using punched cards ever actually liked EBCDIC?)

+ - Say Something Nice About systemd 4

Submitted by ewhac
ewhac (5844) writes "I'm probably going to deeply deeply regret this, but every time a story appears here mentioning systemd, a 700-comment thread of back-and-forth bickering breaks out which is about as informative as an old Bud Light commercial, and I don't really learn anything new about the subject. My gut reaction to systemd is (currently) a negative one, and it's very easy to find screeds decrying systemd on the net. However, said screeds haven't been enough to prevent its adoption by several distros, which leads me to suspect that maybe there's something worthwhile there that I haven't discovered yet. So I thought it might be instructive to turn the question around and ask the membership about what makes systemd good. However, before you stab at the "Post" button, there are some rules...

Bias Disclosure: I currently dislike systemd because — without diving very deeply into the documentation, mind — it looks and feels like a poorly-described, gigantic mess I know nothing about that seeks to replace other poorly-described, smaller messes which I know a little bit about. So you will be arguing in that environment.

Nice Things About systemd Rules:
  1. Post each new Nice Thing as a new post, not as a reply to another post. This will let visitors skim the base level of comments for things that interest them, rather than have to dive through a fractally expanding tree of comments looking for things to support/oppose. It will also make it easier to follow the next rule:
  2. Avoid duplication; read the entire base-level of comments before adding a new Nice Thing. Someone may already have mentioned your Nice Thing. Add your support/opposition to that Nice Thing there, rather than as a new post.
  3. Only one concrete Nice Thing about systemd per base-level post. Keep the post focused on a single Nice Thing systemd does. If you know of multiple distinct things, write multiple distinct posts.
  4. Describe the Nice Thing in some detail. Don't assume, for example, that merely saying "Supports Linux cgroups" will be immediately persuasive.
  5. Describe how the Nice Thing is better than existing, less controversial solutions. systemd is allegedly better at some things than sysvinit or upstart or inetd. Why? Why is the Nice Thing possible in systemd, and impossible (or extremely difficult) with anything else? (In some cases, the Nice Thing will be a completely new thing that's never existed before; describe why it's good thing.)

Bonus points are awarded for:

  • Personal Experience. "I actually did this," counts for way more than, "The docs claim you can do this."
  • Working Examples. Corollary to the above — if you did a Nice Thing with systemd, consider also posting the code/script/service file you wrote to accomplish it.
  • Links to Supporting Documentation. If you leveraged a Nice Thing, furnish a link to the docs you used that describe the Nice Thing and its usage.

We will assume out of the gate that systemd boots your system faster than ${SOMETHING_ELSE}, so no points for bringing that up."

Comment: Re:Congratulations, FTDI, You Just Killed Yourselv (Score 1) 700

by ewhac (#48207355) Attached to: FTDI Reportedly Bricking Devices Using Competitors' Chips.

The chips are not destroyed.

Yes, the bricked chips can (allegedly) be restored to working order through the use of a utility. "Hang on. Would this utility be furnished by the very same company that wrecked my device in the first place?" Why yes; is that relevant? "Very fscking hilarious; I'll be looking elsewhere for my USB-serial adapter needs from now on..."

This is a distinction without a difference, as they say. You wouldn't cut any slack to a malware author who tried to claim, "Oh, the files aren't destroyed. They're merely encrypted, and can be restored to their previous condition through the use of this handy-dandy decryption key, available exclusively from me... for a modest fee..."

Comment: Congratulations, FTDI, You Just Killed Yourselves (Score 4, Insightful) 700

by ewhac (#48206865) Attached to: FTDI Reportedly Bricking Devices Using Competitors' Chips.
Assuming FTDI manages to weasel out of lawsuits for willful destruction of property (do NOT let them hide behind the so-called EULA), they have basically made themselves the vendor to avoid for either chips or drivers for said chips.

Can you tell, by merely looking at it, whether a given device is using GenuineFTDI(TM)(R)(C)(BFD) chips, or whether it's a counterfeit? Can you tell by using whatever the Windows equivalent of lsusb is? No? Then there is a random, non-trivial chance that plugging in your serial-ish device will either:

  • Work (old non-destructive drivers),
  • Not work (new, non-destructive drivers),
  • Ruin the device (new, destructive drivers), so that it not only Not Works, but also Stops Working on every other machine on which it previously worked.
  • Thus, in the mind of the user, FTDI == Flaky. And Flaky == Avoid.

    Congratulations, FTDI. Ten points for avoiding your feet, but minus several million for shooting yourself straight in the head.

Comment: This Is Lennart's Defense? (Score 4, Insightful) 774

by ewhac (#48097261) Attached to: Systemd Adding Its Own Console To Linux Systems
Every time the systemd thing comes up, I want to hate it, but I don't truly know enough about it to actually hold a defensible opinion.

One of the defects constantly levelled against systemd is its propensity to corrupt its own system logs, and how the official response to this defect is to ignore it. The uselessd page has a link to the bug report in question, which was reported in May 2013 and, over a year later closed and marked NOTABUG. However, it seems Mr. Poettering is getting annoyed by people using his own bug reports against him, and added a comment to the bug report today purporting to clarify his position.

Unfortunately, his "clarifications" serve only to reinforce my suspicion that systemd is a thing to be avoided. To wit:

Since this bugyilla [sic] report is apparently sometimes linked these days as an example how we wouldn't fix a major bug in systemd:

Well, yeah, corrupt logs would be regarded by many as a major bug...

...Now, our strategy to rotate-on-corruption is the safest thing we can do, as we make sure that the internal corruption is frozen in time, and not attempted to be "fixed" by a tool, that might end up making things worse. After all, in the case the often-run writing code really fucks something up, then it is not necessarily a good idea to try to make it better by running a tool on it that tries to fix it up again, a tool that is necessarily a lot more complex, and also less tested.

Okay, so freeze the corrupted data set so things don't get worse, and start a new data set. A reasonable defensive practice. You still haven't addressed how the corruption happened, or how to fix it.

Now, of course, having corrupted files isn't great, and we should make sure the files even when corrupted stay as accessible as possible. Hence: the code that reads the journal files is actually written in a way that tries to make the best of corrupted files, and tries to read of them as much as possible, with the the subset of the file that is still valid. We do this implicitly on every access.

Okay, so journalctl tries to be robust, assumes the journal data might be crap, and works around it. So we can assume journalctl is probably pretty solid and won't make things worse.

Hence: journalctl implicitly does on read what a theoretical journal file fsck tool would do, but without actually making this persistent. This logic also has a major benefit: as our reader gets better and learns to deal with more types of corruptions you immediately benefit of it, even for old files!

....Uhhhhh-huh. So, yeah, newer tools will do a better job of working around the corruption, and we'll be able to recover more data, assuming we kept known-corrupt logs around. But what I still don't understand is WHY THE LOGS ARE CORRUPT. And why aren't there log diagnostic and analysis tools? If you already know your logs can turn to crap, surely there are structure analysis tools around that let you pick through the debris and recover data that your automated heuristics can't.

And why do I get the feeling that implied in the above is, "You don't need to know the log structure or how to repair it. We'll write the tools for that. We'll release better tools when we get around to it?"

File systems such as ext4 have an fsck tool since they don't have the luxury to just rotate the fs away and fix the structure on read: they have to use the same file system for all future writes, and they thus need to try hard to make the existing data workable again.

....AAAAnd you lost me. Seriously, this is your defense: "Filesystems are more important than system logs, so they have to try harder?" I find this insinuation... surprising. You do realize that btrfs didn't become worthy of general use overnight, right? (Some might argue it still hasn't.) It took years of development, and hundreds of people risking corrupt or destroyed filesystems before the kinks got worked out, and the risk of lost or corrupt files approached zero. More significantly, during this long development time, no one ever once suggested making btrfs the default filesystem for Linux. People knew btrfs could ruin their shit. No one ever suggested, "Oh, well, keep a copy of the corrupt block image and format a new one; we'll release better read tools Real Soon Now." No one suggested putting btrfs into everyday use until it proved its reliability.

Likewise, until it can demonstrate to the same level of reliability as common filesystems that it doesn't trash data, systemd is experimental -- an interesting experiment with interesting ideas and some promise, but still an experiment. I would appreciate it if you didn't experiment on my machines, thankyouverynice.

I hope this explains the rationale here a bit more.

No, sir. No it does not.

P.S: Is there any evidence to suggest that systemd log corruption issues have since been solved?

Comment: Re:HP (Score 1) 118

by ewhac (#48075339) Attached to: HP Is Planning To Split Into Two Separate Businesses, Sources Say

- the Windows 8 era machines include Windows 7 AND 8 installation disks - choose whatever you like.

If you custom-build a machine from their ZBook "Mobile Workstation" line, you can even configure a machine to not have Windows installed at all. Saves you about $100.00. Still rather pricey, though...

Comment: Re:ARE YOU LIKE STUPID???? (Score 1) 577

by ewhac (#48042889) Attached to: Will Windows 10 Finally Address OS Decay?

1) fix the PAGEFILE. Go inot the settings and change ti to fixed size - 2x-3x size of ram - both of minimum and maximum size. Do not let WInodws manage it! [ ... ]

Better still, move PAGEFILE.SYS off of C: entirely, preferably on to its own spindle if you can. That way the swapper isn't having a fight with every other application in the system for accessing system files; and PAGEFILE.SYS itself won't become fragmented.

Consider moving %TEMP% and %TMP% off of C: as well.

4) Dump the System Restore from time to time. This is just junk removal. [ ... ]

Sadly, this appears to be an all-or-nothing affair -- on XP, you can either delete all restore points or none of them. It would be nice to delete those that are, say, more than a year old.

Thus spake the master programmer: "Time for you to leave." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"

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