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Comment: Re:Here's the interesting paragraph (Score 1) 305

by gbjbaanb (#47727915) Attached to: Would Scottish Independence Mean the End of UK's Nuclear Arsenal?

We do have precedent - Czechoslovakia is now 2 countries, as is Sudan and Yugoslavia.

I just hope Scottish independance goes better than the latter two.

Scotland may have some issue if they decide to get out of the nuclear game, mainly because of the number of jobs that will be lost when the base (and supporting businesses) gets closed.

At that point, Britain will almost certainly move the base to somewhere else in the UK, probably somewhere with lots of unemployed, ex-heavy industrial workers. As a result, they do have very good political value.

There is talk of just scrapping it completely, and relying on nuclear cruise missiles and bombers instead. I'm not sure how practical this is, but given the relatively stable state of nuclear politics (ie who would we potentially nuke today with our deterrent?) it doesn't seem so bad an option. The money could be funneled into traditional forces that end up being heavily used for peace keeping and humanitarian purposes.

Comment: Re:Here's the interesting paragraph (Score 2) 305

by gbjbaanb (#47727877) Attached to: Would Scottish Independence Mean the End of UK's Nuclear Arsenal?

Salmond thinks exactly one thing would change on independence - he'd become king.

I think this is the reason he has zero alternative plans, he's too busy running this wet dream over in his head.

Spain for one will stop Scotland joining the EU, they don't want to give the Basque and Catalan regions any ideas.

Comment: Re:Why focus on the desktop? (Score 1) 673

by gbjbaanb (#47715939) Attached to: Linus Torvalds: 'I Still Want the Desktop'

Its true, and the reason that happens is (partly) because those devices are pretty fixed hardware, hence pretty fixed device driver requirements.

When you go to most desktops you have to support a lot of different bits of kit, which Linux does support, but the lack of a stable kernel interface for drivers makes vendor support difficult (to them), and as a result, you get sub-standard drivers for a lot of devices

the PC became popular because you could mix and match whatever you wanted to put in there, upgrades for everything. Until you can go to the shops and buy a new graphics card and install the driver that came with it (because the vendor refuses to open source their driver) then Linux will never be fully ready for the desktop.

Comment: ABI (Score 1) 101

by gbjbaanb (#47713481) Attached to: Interviews: Bjarne Stroustrup Answers Your Questions

Well, I'm slightly disappointed he side-stepped the issue of an ABI as I think its probably the most unglamourous but most essential aspects of a platform. Its not a cool language feature, but for big software comprising lots of modules, it would make life much easier and I think C++ adoption more popular.

I work with C# as well, which has such a thing as an ABI, and using libraries is a real doddle - just drop the assembly dll in the bin directory, add a reference to it with a corresponding #import in the source files you want to use it... and you're done. C++ lacks this, though I would be fine having to include a header file too, its the ubiquity of dynamically loaded modules that could be written in any language (or more likely, they calling into my c++ library).

When you have several hundred modules in your program, you realise how nice it would be.

The issue of vendors is a non-issue I think. I recall building a program using Sun's compiler, then we upgraded and nothing would link - because Sun had changed their ABI between versions. I think Microsoft doesn't change it, but only because its stable, not for any other reason. Standardising wouldn't be much of an issue anyway - they'd probably have a flag that said "generate old or new" exports and leave it up to the user if they wanted the old, compatible ones (doubt it, most people recompile everything every time anyway due to the lack of an ABI!).

Meanwhile Microsoft comes up with their own versions (first COM, now WinRT) and they're inferior, being based on a funny sort of C for the first, and a funny sort of C# for the latter, leaving C++ binaries only practically accessible to other C++ programs.

Comment: Re:"Dance" = rolling blackouts (Score 1) 436

by gbjbaanb (#47690637) Attached to: Is Storage Necessary For Renewable Energy?

Only to a point, if all you have is solar for example, then any demand after sunset isn't going to help, no matter how much you attempt to manipulate demand.

As it is, solar helps with businesses during the day, though you still have to manage the difference between peak output and cloudy days, plus wind that might work best on the coast at around sunset and sunrise. We do need more renewable energy sources that are always-on, wave for example (the moon disappears or we stop rotating, we've got bigger problems). The trouble is that it is way more expensive than wind or solar which is probably why its not been implemented in any large scale system.

Comment: Re:Name and Shame (Score 1) 456

by gbjbaanb (#47684047) Attached to: Web Trolls Winning As Incivility Increases

Unfortunately, not, none of the idiots who spout rape and death threats against someone would actually do it in reality. When you see them finally prosecuted you see them for what they are: sad little individuals who obviously find an outlet for their internal impotence by being "big men" on the internet and making these threats.

So that's the definition of a troll in my book.

Now I imagine the police and authorities already have the powers to ask for the details of anyone on the web already, its just a time consuming process that many just don;t bother - not unless it gets really bad, and/or affects someone in the public eye (ie us ordinary plebs will not get the cops to do anything about online abuse). Making the process easier doesn't affect anyones rights as the police already have that power. I just hope that making it easier would make them use it more effectively (not forgetting that any prosecution still has all the judicial checks in place to go anywhere) or at least remind the trolls that they can be held accountable for what they say online just as if they'd said it to someone's face.

Comment: Re:Name and Shame (Score 1) 456

by gbjbaanb (#47677393) Attached to: Web Trolls Winning As Incivility Increases

maybe moderation tools for all is a good thing, and meta-moderation too (to stop the trolls from abusing their moderation powers). If there's one thing slashdot gets right, its this.

Notice how mr PC World has disappeared, as has the GNAA.

The alternative is to allow trolls, but ensure the police have easy access to the 'source' metadata for all accounts. It wouldn't be hard for Twitter (for example) to provide special user accounts to all police forces that can show the IP address and date and time, plus linked accounts (eg those used from the same IP) and similar. Then instead fo having to ask the site ops who someone was, the police can look it up themselves and then ask the relevant ISPs for that IPs account details.

If we allow all but the most obnoxious trolls to hide behind anonymity, then they'll stick around and continue to harrass the sites with enough anti-social behaviour that the site becomes a chore to use.

Comment: Re:My 0.02 (Score 5, Insightful) 456

by gbjbaanb (#47677351) Attached to: Web Trolls Winning As Incivility Increases

Unfortunately that doesn't quite work either - look at the Twitter trolls, who spew forth such abuse that several high-profile twitter users cancelled their accounts. The trolls didn't give up, but simply moved on to another part of the web (or different twitter users). So we can ignore them, but only by ignoring the sites and services we want to use.

Of course, I'd say the trolls did those users a favour by getting them to stop using twitter!

Comment: Re:Header files (Score 1) 427

by gbjbaanb (#47676599) Attached to: Interviews: Ask Bjarne Stroustrup About Programming and C++

all true, and if you look at alternative languages *such as C# for example) you'll find developers are creating their own version of header files (I refer to file containing an Interface that is to all intents and purposes close enough to the concept of a C++ header to make little difference).

However, C++ headers also contain private stuff. I think a good advance would be to allow private declarations to the cpp file instead, but doing that would mean the public stuff could also be moved too and so headers would become obsolete. Maybe this would be a good thing, but then you'd need some way to extract the public definition from your binaries (as today to compile a shared C++ dll you need a lib/so to link, and the header to compile). So this would have to be changed too, and as C++ doesn't have an ABI, you pretty much can't do it.

I suppose it might be nice to have the IDE generate the headers, but then, you'd be restricting your coding to those IDEs that support this- no more writing a bit of C++ in notepad or vi. So I guess that's out too.

Comment: Re:Is the complexity of C++ a practical joke? (Score 1) 427

by gbjbaanb (#47676325) Attached to: Interviews: Ask Bjarne Stroustrup About Programming and C++

Ah, but the "won't get used much" means "will be quite a surprise when you see it being used". I guess a smaller language with fewer features is a good thing, because you just can't remember all the bits n bobs that are possible.

I agree rvalue references are not pretty - but maybe they could have used the ^ symbol and screwed Microsoft's C++/CLI over :-)

C with classes - I haven't got a problem with this, but many people do. You see some code written like C and some people shout out "write it in C++" meaning use stl algorithms and suchlike. I think C with classes is a good thing as it introduces the best bits of C++, but then I also think it means learning the better bits won't get done as people will have learned to think in a procedural way, rather than the more functional way the best STL aspects provide.

Maybe its all an intractable problem, and only solvable by removing the few ugly bits around the edges. Things that you can say "but that's only a small problem" but add upto being a mess in the whole.

Do not simplify the design of a program if a way can be found to make it complex and wonderful.