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Comment: Re:Accepting Responsibility (Score 1) 349 349

People apologize when they, or the things they sell, make mistakes. Even if it was unforeseeable.

No, they don't. When everybody involved knows that they're looking at the spurious output of a young image recognition process, apologies don't, and don't need to happen.

Comment: Re:alogrithms aren't racist (Score 1) 349 349

To cite one example, ACORN staffer Clifton Mitchell was arrested and convicted (and did time) for creating fictional voters through thousands of bogus voter registrations. ACORN as an entity was fined $25k for its supervisory role in just his conduct alone. The entire organization dissolved itself while it was undergoing investigation for identical behavior in multiple states.

Comment: Systemd, pass II (Score 1) 166 166

Sure, no problem. If you dislike systemd that much, it certainly makes sense to move to a different software platform.

I don't particularly dislike systemd per se. I do observe the controversy around it, and the image of it and its project, painted by its opponents (some of whom have enough creds that it's unlikely that they're talking through their hats), indicates that the claimed issues are likely to be real problems, and this may be a tipping point for Linux adoption and user choice among distributions or OSes.

Your Snowden argument isn't particularly applicable in this instance, as you have access to the full source code for systemd. If you're not comfortable looking through C code, then any init system would be a problem for you. ... If you think that porting your laptop, home servers and desktops to a completely different operating system is less effort than learning how systemd works, then I can only conclude you haven't tried to learn how systemd works. Or you've severely underestimated the work involved in moving to another OS.

I did my first Linux drivers (a PROM burner and a Selectric-with-selonoids printer) on my personal Altos ACS 68000 running System III, wrote a driver for a block-structured tape drive for AUX - working from my own decompilation of their SCSI disk driver (since the sources weren't available to me initially), ported and augmented a mainframe RAID controller from SvR3 to SvR4, and so on, for nearly three decades, through hacking DeviceTree on my current project. I don't think C has many problems left for me, nor does moving to yet another UNIX environment - especially to one that is still organized in the old, familiar, fashion. B-)

As for trying to learn how systemd works, that's not the proper question. Instead, I ask what is so great about it that I should spend the time to do so, distracting me from my other work, and how doing this would meet my goals (especially the undertand-the-security-issues goal), as compared to moving to a well-supported, time-proven, high-reliability, security-conscious alternative (which is also under a license that is less of a sell to the PHBs when building it into a shippable product.)

Snowden's revealations show that the NSA, and others like them are adept, at taking advantage of problems in obscure corners of systems and using that obscurity to avoid detection. The defence against this is simplicity and clarity, avoiding the complexity that creates subtle bugs and hides them by burying them in distractions. Bigger haystacks hide more needles.

The configuration for systemd isn't buried. It's there for all to see and change, in plain text. Logging in binary form is _optional_. You can choose to direct logged messages to syslog, or use both syslog and binary, to have the "best of both worlds", albeit with the best of disk usage.

Unfortunately, I don't get to make that choice myself. It's made by the distribution maintainers. My choice is to accept it, open the can of worms and redo the work of entire teams (and hope their software updates don't break things faster than I fix them), or pick another distribution or OS.

Again, why should I put myself on such a treadmill of unending extra work? If I could trust the maintainers to mostly make the right choices I could go along - with no more than an audit and perhaps an occasional tweak. But if they were making what I consider the right choices, I wouldn't expect to see such a debacle.

Entangling diverse processes into an interlocking mass is what operating systems are all about! ;)

No, it's not. The job of an operating system is to KEEP them from becoming an interlocking mass, while letting them become an interacting system to only the extent appropriate. It isolates them in their own boxes, protects them from each other, and facilitates their access to resources and ONLY their LEGITIMATE interaction wherever appropriate and/or necessary. The job is to Keep It Simple while letting it work.

Your phrasing, and making a joke of this issue, is symptomatic of what is alleged to be wrong with systemd and the engineering behind it.

Comment: Re:Routing around (Score 2) 190 190

At a large scale, the internet was designed to route around individual problems such as this.
Can't this same principle be applied on a smaller scale?

Yes, it can. Just dig a whole bunch MORE trenches around the country at enormous cost.

The SONET fiber networks were designed to be primarily intersecting rings. Most sites have fiber going in opposite directions (with a few having more than two fibers going off in more than two directions so it's not just ONE big, convoluted, ring.) This is built right into the signaling architecture: Bandwitdth slots are pre-assigned in both directions around the ring. Cut ONE fiber run and the signals that would have crossed the break are folded back at the boxes at each end of the break, run around the ring the other way, and get to where they're going after taking the long route. The switching is automatic and takes place in miliseconds. The ring approach means that the expensive cable runs are about a short and as separated as it's possible to make them.

But cut the ring in TWO places and it partitions into two, unconnected, networks. To get from one to the other you have to hope there's another run between the two pieces, and there's enough switching where they join to reroute the traffic.

IP WANs have, in some portions, also adopted the ring topology as they move to fiber, rather than sticking to the historic "network of intersecting trees" approach everywhere. That's partly because much of the long haul is done on formerly "dark fiber" laid down in bundles with the SONET rings from the great fiber buildout (or is carried in assigned bandwidth slots on the SONET networks themselves), partly because the same economics of achieving redundancy while minimizing costly digging apply to high-bandwidth networking regardless of the format of the traffic, and partly because routers that KNOW they're on a ring can reroute everything quickly when a fiber run fails, rather than rediscovering what's still alive and recomputing all the routing tables.

= = = = =

Personal note: Back when Pacific Bell was stringing its fibers around the San Francisco Bay Area, I was living in Palo Alto. They did their backbone as two rings. There was only one section, perhaps a mile long, where BOTH rings ran along the same route. It happened to go right past my house, with the big, many-manhole repeater vault right next to the house. (I used to daydream of running my own fiber the few feet into the vault. B-) The best I had available, in those pre-DSL days, were dialup with Telebit PEP modems (18-23 k half-duplex) and base-rate (128k) ISDN.)

Comment: Re: Thanks Linus! (Score 1) 166 166

Anyway, I digress. Advantages of systemd are: [long list]

Those are all very nice things to have.

Unfortunately, for my needs, simplicity and understandability are far more important than a fast boot and feature-rich management of the runtime environment. I need to KNOW that things are being handled properly and securely. That's become far more important since Snowden showed us, not that the spooks were getting into our computers (which we'd already figured was happening), but how DEEPLY and EFFECTIVELY their technology and personnel are able to do so.

If the improved functionality is at the cost of burying the configuration and logging in non-human-readable form and entangling diverse processes into an interlocking mass under a complex and ever growing manager, the shark has been jumped.

Though Linux has been becoming (MUCH!) more usable with time, its configuration has been buried progressively more deeply under more and more "convenient and simplifying", but non-transparent, configuration management tools. Systemd is the continuation of the trend. But it is also a quantum leap, rather than another thin slice off the salami. So it has apparently created the "Shelling Point", where a lot of frogs simultaneously figure out that NOW is the time to jump out of the pot.

It's been a great ride. It had the potential to be even greater. But I think this is where it took the wrong turn and it's time for me to get serious about switching.

There's good reason to switch to NetBSD at work, on the product. (The code supporting the secret sauce is on the user side of the API and is Posix compatible, so it should be no big problem.) Porting my laptop, home servers, and desktops to OpenBSD now looks like it's worth the effort - and less effort than trying to learn, and keep abreast of, the internals of systemd.

Call me if somebody comes up with a way to obtain the key benefits of systemd in a simple and transparent manner, rather than creating an opaque mass reminiscent of Tron's Master Control Program. (Unfortunately, the downsides of systemd's approach seem to be built into its fundamental structure, so I don't expect it to evolve into something suitable, even if it's forked.)

Comment: Re:alogrithms aren't racist (Score 2) 349 349

Over here we live in reality, and the reality I that getting one of those IDs requires taking time off from work that we frequently either don't get or can't afford to take

Really. What sort of job do you have that didn't involve showing ID in order to submit the required federal tax forms as you were hired? What sort of paycheck are you getting that doesn't involve you using an ID in order to open a bank account or cash a check? Please be specific about the people who are working full time, so hard, that not once in their entire life can they be bothered to get a form of ID. And, out of curiosity, how on earth did they find time to go register to vote, or find time TO vote? You're saying that these are people who will have their routine trips to the polling place, year after year throughout their entire lives, thwarted because they couldn't take five minutes to stop once for a free ID?

Voter fraud is a literal non issue, a nonthreat to the integrity of the election process

So, you're asserting that there are no elections that turn on a matter of just a handful of votes? You're actually going to say that the many local and state elections (which do things like put congressional and senate representatives into power) don't sometimes get decided by only dozens of votes? And then you're going to assert that papers like the Washington Post, who have reported on elections as recently as 2012 where in just one local review there were instances of local voters fraudulently voting twice ... that, what, the Washington Post is lying? Is that because you think the WP is part of some vast, racists, right-wing conspiracy, and manufactured the records that were produced by the election officials, showing the felony-offense fraud?

Your anxious need to trot out the ad hominem shows how much you're aware that you're BS-ing, so I don't really need to go on. You know you're looking to defend fraudulent practices that primarily favor the one party whose activists have been caught red-handed generating tens of thousands of bogus voter registrations. And you're complaining about the person who suggests it's a good ID to make fraud harder to commit. Your opening comments about how difficult it is for full time workers to stop and get an ID that the already have to have was hilarious, though, so thanks for the entertainment.

Comment: The choice seems clear. (Score 1) 166 166

As I understand the three major forks:

One (OpenBSD) is for having as secure a desktop/server/embedded platform as the maintainers can manage - important in this post-Snowden era (as it was, all unknown, in the era preceding Snowden B-b). It is based outside the US so it can incorporate strong encryption without coming afoul of US export controls.

One (NetBSD) is for developing network internals software and networking platforms (typically ported, when possible and not part of a proprietary product, to the others and other OSes.)

One (FreeBSD), now that its original purpose of getting the code disentangled from proprietary accomplished and the other two projects forked from it, is for making an open unix-like system run on the widest range of hardware platforms and devices possible.

Unless you're using your machine for building networking equipment or it's a new hardware platform under development, the choice seems clear.

Comment: Re:Show me a counter example (Score 1) 131 131

The University of Phoenix is a direct counter-example. I'm also speaking from direct experience, having taken classes at half a dozen different public, private and for-profit universities, and having been in charge of hiring. Phoenix's education sucks - but it's better than the majority of the public universities out there that aren't at the top end of the spectrum.

It doesn't matter whether you are impressed, it matters if they are providing an education at least as good as their peers, in this context.

Comment: Re:alogrithms aren't racist (Score 1) 349 349

Which part? The part where left-leaning activist groups generate enormous numbers of bogus voter registrations? Among others, ACORN did just that (getting busted doing it was why they re-organized and changed their name so nobody would keep bringing it up ... and you're probably hoping nobody will remember actual criminal prosecution for those actions). Or are you saying that the coordinated efforts to talk out-of-state college students into double-voting haven't, despite extensive reporting of exactly that, occurred?

Or you could look to no less a bastion of right-wing win nuttery than the Washington Post, which reported on a review showing thousands of people registered to vote in multiple states, and in one local review, caught over 150 people crossing state boundaries just in the DC area to vote more than once on the same day.

One of the county election supervisors who took time to review information in that instance found an example of where someone had been crossing state lines and voting more than once on the same day in local and national elections for over a decade. He said that in a dozen cases he'd reviewed, the purposefulness of the election fraud was plain, and the actions were class 6 felonies.

In cases where congressional seats or governorships can turn on a mere handful of votes, it's no "pile of bull" to point out that people are deliberately, systematically taking advantage of weak ID requirements and a weak registration system in order to fraudulently corrupt elections.

Comment: Re:... run away, screaming like little girl. (Score 0) 166 166

Are we allowed to say that out loud?

According to the first amendment, the government of the United States can't stop you.

If the denizens of the largest religion of the Unitied States (Progressivism), or at least their media spokespreachers, decide to gang-shun you, there's still the other half of the population to interact with.

Fortunately, techies usually have to deal with real-world more than social issues. Unfortunately, PHBs have control of the money and have to interact with the fanatics. Fortunately, techies are noted for not being skilled on social fads and are given much slack. Unfortunately, that slack sometimes comes with a hook: The PHB tells his techies not to be a "lightning rod" and say/post things, in a way traceable to a particular employee of The Company, that might bring down the wrath of the pressure groups, make it look like his "herd of cats" really IS crazy and repell funders and customers, or otherwise make his job harder than it already is.

Which (mainly the "crazy cats" case) is why I started posting anything that MIGHT be controversial under pseudonyms. And a reference to the PHB's order is the origin of the slashdot pseudonym "Ungrounded Lightning Rod" (since slashed down to "Ungrounded Lightning" by changes to the slashcode that limited pseudonym size). And why, now that "ULR" has a large and valuable reputation (and though that reputation might help with job searches) I STILL don't out the corresponding "True Name" on any electronic medium.

(So now you know.)

In Linus' case, I doubt that even a gang-shun by the Politically Correct would have an impact, on his finances, his social standing, or the adoption of his work or technical ideas.

(Can you imagine, for instance, the luddites , or even Microsoft's PR department, trying to get people to avoid Linux and switch to Windows or MacOS, or avoid git and switch to Clearcase, Bitkeeper, ... because Linus once said "... run away, screaming like little girl" and therefore must be a Sexist Pig? Especially, can you imagine ANY tech company using THAT slander and thus inviting that kind of scrutiny of their OWN people? B-) )

Comment: Re:He answered the most boring questions! (Score 1) 166 166

So have faith. Either he's right, and systemd will not turn out to be that bad, or his faith in systemd will end in tears, and then, he'll sit down and write a new startup management system that will kick everybody else's collective asses!

Or maybe somebody ELSE will write a kick-ass init system, and Linus will say "Hey, that's cool!" and promote it. Or the maintainers of a major distribution will adopt it. Or those of a MINOR distribution will - and user will migrate.

Linus is great. But why does THIS have to be HIS problem? The init system may have a bit of extra-special status and privilege, but it's largely NOT the kernel's problem. Along with the system call API it is THE boundary between the kernel guts and the user/demon/daemon firmament. It says to the kernel: "Thanks, I'll take it from here."

Comment: This is why (Score 0) 190 190

the death penalty is still needed. These acts aren't being done by some random, clueless junkie trying to sell copper to get their fix. The number and location shows someone, or someones, are deliberately cutting the fiber whether because they're t'rrists (unlikely), general vandals (possible) or some neo-luddite who thinks it's fun to screw around (possible).

As the article relates, the penalties aren't severe enough. Well guess what is. . .

Comment: Re:alogrithms aren't racist (Score 2) 349 349

That said it is pretty obvious that the main proponents of voter laws are Republicans because they know it will benefit them in elections, and the main opponents of voter laws are democrats because they know it will not benefit them in elections.

Backwards. The Republicans know that the biggest source of bogus voter registrations, and the areas with the largest number of actively dead registered voters and turnout at polling places where the number of votes exceeds the eligible population, are in places where Democrat activists work the hardest to hold on to power. It's not that knowing people who vote are voting legally and only once isn't going to benefit Democrats, it's that such a process is counter to what liberal activist groups work so hard to put in place. Like huge efforts to get college students to register to vote where they go to school, but to also vote absentee in their home state. Stuff like that. When they pour so much work into it that it starts to show (like the thousands of bogus registrations routinely created by the former ACORN), you know they won't like having that work undone by basic truth-telling at the polling place.

If you're worried about people not knowing there's an election coming up, and not bothering to get an ID (really? you can't go to the doctor, fill a prescription, collect a welfare check, or much of ANYTHING else with already having an ID), then why not encourage the Democrats to apply the same level of effort they put into the shady practices described above, and focus it instead on getting that rare person who never sees a doctor, never gets a prescription, collects no government benefits of any kind, doesn't work (but whom you seem to suggest none the less are a large voting block) and, with YEARS to work with between elections ... just getting them an ID?

Comment: Re:Accepting Responsibility (Score 1) 349 349

I wouldn't go as far as to say they are saying that black people aren't smart enough to understand the situation

Sure they are. Because the only people who could possibly take actual offense at this would be those who, having it explained to them, still can't understand it. Those who are insisting that black people be offended by this are insisting that black people can't handle the simple information that would remove any perception of malice from the narrative.

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