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Comment: Re:Easier to learn != easier to use (Score 1) 382

by peppepz (#49763549) Attached to: How Java Changed Programming Forever
To me, the pragmatic way to add generics to Java while ensuring backwards compatibility would have been to write a new collections library using reified generics, leaving the old collections library ungenerified for source and binary compatibility with old code. That's what MS did with .NET. It's certainly much less elegant because you can't retrofit the whole API with generics as Sun was able to do, but I don't hear many complaints from .NET programmers about this problem nowadays.

Instead, they chose the more sophisticated approach of type erasure - which added a lot of complexity, limitations, and even introduced the concept of compile-time warnings in the Java language - not because of backwards compatibility (adding new kinds of bytecode to the JVM is OK and it happens occasionally), but because they wanted indefinite interoperability between old code (which would see the collection objects “raw”) and new code (which would see the very same objects “generified”).

Now academics universally despise type erasure, but back then at least half of them thought that it was a good idea and you can still see it today if you search the web for their blog posts of the time, where they explained the tricks that they used to overcome the limitations of type erasure and why type erasure wasn't so bad after all.

Comment: Re:Windows 3.0 (Score 1) 386

by peppepz (#49759393) Attached to: 25 Years Today - Windows 3.0
DOS was kept around for compatibility reasons, because people WANTED to continue running DOS programs both under Windows and besides Windows. And that's mostly the reason why you might have had to fiddle with AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS, that is, if you wanted to run DOS programs and therefore you needed to squeeze each KB out of conventional memory, install DOS device drivers for your sound card (which were not required under Windows), install SMARTDrive and so on. Windows applications ran happily in Extended Memory and didn't need all that theatre.

The fact that you could go back do DOS isn't relevant to the definition of what is an operating system and what isn't. You could go back to DOS in Win9x, too. And you can shut down the OS and go back to the boot loader shell in many computer architectures, including the earlier models of IBM PC where you could go back to ROM BASIC.

Comment: Re:Easier to learn != easier to use (Score 1) 382

by peppepz (#49757289) Attached to: How Java Changed Programming Forever
You don't need to inspect upstream definitions for the second line when there's no operator overloading involved, it can only be an addition between two numbers or a string concatenation.

Also consider the following example. What does this do?
c = a * b;
Is it a vector product? Is it a scalar product? Is it a scalar multiplication? I need to look at the types of a, b and c to figure out. A method name in place of a single character could tell me more.

Comment: Re:Windows 3.0 (Score 1) 386

by peppepz (#49757097) Attached to: 25 Years Today - Windows 3.0
To be honest, at startup Windows replaced DOS' services to the point that it ran on its own, with no knowledge by the undelying DOS, program loading, process management, memory management, task scheduling, and most device drivers. This included even disk access in the later releases of Windows 3.x. It's not correct to say that Windows 3 wasn't an operating system, as it implemented almost all of the services that define an operating system, if not booting from the bare metal.

Comment: Re:I don't know why people still say Java is slow. (Score 1) 382

by peppepz (#49750153) Attached to: How Java Changed Programming Forever
On my laptop, a Sandy Bridge i7, on a cold start, Netbeans 8 takes 57 seconds to launch before it's clickable, Visual Studio 2013 takes 68 seconds. Netbeans is also more responsive while it's busy, with Visual Studio displaying the full hourglass cursor and triggering the "application not responding" behaviour if its window is clicked before it's ready.

Comment: Re:Easier to learn != easier to use (Score 5, Informative) 382

by peppepz (#49750075) Attached to: How Java Changed Programming Forever
The basic idea is that in Java programs, you can understand what's going on by looking at a fragment of code. Therefore the code is easy to read and to maintain. With syntactic sugar such as properties, operator overload and closures, you can't know which statements will cause side effects without inspecting upstream definitions.

Type erasure, on the other hand, is pure evil - to me, it's the representation of what happens when a pragmatic language ends up into the hands of computer scientists.

By the way, in Java all lists have the get() method with no exceptions (this includes Lists, HashMaps, Vectors) and all collections have the iterator() method with no exceptions. The At() method doesn't exist.

Comment: Re:"Easy to read" is non-sense (Score 1) 414

by peppepz (#49743759) Attached to: The Reason For Java's Staying Power: It's Easy To Read
No, it wasn't... in the old times it allowed you to skip whitespace in order to save memory, so programs used to become wall of characters, and you couldn't even call a variable "sprint" because it contained the reserved word "print". And its later incarnations were full of puzzlers. Just the first ones that come into my mind: "On Error Goto 0" means "throw an exception"; functions and procedures have a different invocation syntax and invoking a procedure as a function doesn't fail but results in a different operation; the assignment operator is different between objects and non-objects; function parameters are passed by reference by default...

Microsoft Confirms It Won't Offer Free Windows 10 Upgrades To Pirates 214

Posted by Soulskill
from the on-second-thought-they-like-money dept.
An anonymous reader writes: If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. All that talk about pirates getting free Windows 10 upgrades? Not happening. For genuine users, the free upgrade to Windows 10 means receiving "ongoing Windows innovation and security updates for free, for the supported lifetime of that device." Terry Myerson, Microsoft's executive vice president of operating systems, has clarified the company's plans were not changing for non-genuine users: "Microsoft and our OEM partners know that many consumers are unwitting victims of piracy, and with Windows 10, we would like all of our customers to move forward with us together. While our free offer to upgrade to Windows 10 will not apply to Non-Genuine Windows devices, and as we've always done, we will continue to offer Windows 10 to customers running devices in a Non-Genuine state."

Comment: Do not want (Score 4, Insightful) 198

by peppepz (#49704443) Attached to: European Telecoms May Block Mobile Ads, Spelling Trouble For Google
So they are going to peek inside my network packets, looking for ads? And modify them, in order to remove those ads? Sorry, but I don't need yet another big brother looking at my private stuff, whether it’s for my own good, for maintaining the order of society or for the sake of whatever replaced the STASI nowadays.

Besides, what if I’m using TLS? Are they going to require me to install rogue certificates just to make their inspection more comfortable? No thanks. Telecom companies had better learn already that with the advent of the Internet, their trade is to sell dumb pipes, competing with the others over the price of that service; the good times when they could milk their customers for “value added services” is over.


Firefox 38 Arrives With DRM Required To Watch Netflix 371

Posted by timothy
from the chinese-finger-trap dept.
An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from VentureBeat: Mozilla today launched Firefox 38 for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android. Notable additions to the browser include Digital Rights Management (DRM) tech for playing protected content in the HTML5 video tag on Windows, Ruby annotation support, and improved user interfaces on Android. Firefox 38 for the desktop is available for download now on, and all existing users should be able to upgrade to it automatically. As always, the Android version is trickling out slowly on Google Play. Note that there is a separate download for Firefox 38 without the DRM support. Our anonymous reader adds links to the release notes for desktop and Android.

Led By Zuckerberg, Billionaires Give $100M To Fund Private Elementary Schools 227

Posted by samzenpus
from the price-of-an-education dept.
theodp writes: AltSchool, a 2-year-old software-fueled private elementary school initiative started by an ex-Googler, announced Monday a $100 million Series B round led by established VC firms and high-profile tech investors including Mark Zuckerberg, Laurene Powell Jobs, John Doerr, and Pierre Omidyar. AltSchool uses proprietary software that provides students with a personalized playlist lesson that teachers can keep close tabs on. Currently, a few hundred students in four Bay Area classrooms use AltSchool tech. Three more California classrooms, plus one in Brooklyn, are expected to come online this fall, plus one in Brooklyn. "We believe that every child should have access to an exceptional, personalized education that enables them to be happy and successful in an ever-changing world," reads AltSchool's mission statement. For $28,750-a-year, your kid can be one of them right now. Eventually, the plan is for the billionaire-bankrolled education magic to trickle down. AltSchool's pitch to investors, according to NPR, is that one day, charter schools or even regular public schools could outsource many basic functions to its software platform.

The solution of this problem is trivial and is left as an exercise for the reader.