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Comment: Re:and all three users will be overjoyed (Score 1) 72

by BarbaraHudson (#49634103) Attached to: Ubuntu May Beat Windows 10 To Phone-PC Convergence After All
Win 8.1 is very decent. You never have to see the tiles UI from the moment you log in to the moment you shut down. It is also far and away better when it comes to assistive technology compared to even specialized distros such as Knoppix Adriane. And getting rid of Aero (which was a waste of cpu and made it harder for those with low vision to use Vista/Win7, as well as adding to the feel of desktop clutter) is great.

Comment: Re:Sort-of-worked. (Score 1) 49

by Bruce Perens (#49633129) Attached to: SpaceX Launch Abort Test Successful

What I am getting from the videos is that this test was a success but that there was indeed an engine failure and the system recovered from it successfully by throttling off the opposing engine. There was less Delta-V than expected, max altitude was lower than expected, downrange was lower than expected, and that tumble after trunk jettison and during drogue deploy looked like it would have been uncomfortable for crew.

This is the second time that SpaceX has had an engine failure and recovered from it. They get points for not killing the theoretical crew either time. There will be work to do. It's to be expected, this is rocket science.

It sounds to me like the launch engineers were rattled by the short downrange and the launch director had to rein them in.

Comment: Re:What's that ahead? (Score 2) 200

by drinkypoo (#49633113) Attached to: Self-Driving Big Rigs Become a Reality

I was driving in Nevada one dark, moonless night, when out of nowhere came a cow in the middle of the road... I'd like to see how an autonomous vehicle would deal with that.

That's out of nowhere to you, but the computer is going to be able to see in the dark far outside the range of your headlights. Its headlights are going to be a convenience to other drivers, and an IR source for its night vision — which will have automatic gain control far outside the range of your pupils. It'll also likely have radar and lidar so even if it can't see the cow, it'll know it's there.

Comment: Re:Licensing, mostly (Score 1) 222

by swillden (#49632957) Attached to: Why Was Linux the Kernel That Succeeded?

Other than Xenix what do you mean by Microsoft

Er, nothing actually. TFA mentioned "Microsoft's take on Unix", which I took to mean NT's stab at POSIX support, or maybe something else equally ridiculous. Looking at the article again, it actually says "Xenix, Microsoft's take on Unix". Not being more than vaguely aware of Xenix, I didn't realize it was bought by Microsoft and I took that text as two separate items in the list (should have paid closer attention to commas vs semi-colons).

Also you forgot SCO if you are including commercial Unixes for 386

Indeed. There I claim selective memory, driven by the massive stain on the Unix world left by SCO's successor-in-ownership, The SCO Group.

Also one that gets forgotten about but was quite good in those early days was: Coherent

I heard good things about Coherent back in the day, but never touched it.

Comment: Re:Surface? (Score 1) 123

by BarbaraHudson (#49632151) Attached to: NASA Will Award You $5,000 For Your Finest Mars City Idea

So you want to put the people underground where they'll be safe, and their source of food and fresh air (the greenhouses) where they're going to be, as you yourself say, vulnerable.

The greenhouses need to be underground as well. So does the power generation, which means a fusion plant. Good thing they're only 20 years away, just like they were 20 years ago.

Comment: Licensing, mostly (Score 4, Interesting) 222

by swillden (#49632065) Attached to: Why Was Linux the Kernel That Succeeded?

It was because Linux more or less worked, and people could use it and add to it because of the GPL. The competitors all had problems:

* Minix was cheap but not free, and couldn't be redistributed with modifications. People worked around that by maintaining patch sets, but that was even more painful then than it is now (we have better tools now).
* The BSDs were in a quagmire of legal uncertainty and competing claims. Nobody knew for sure if BSD was free or not, so everyone assumed it wasn't.
* Xenix: Not free.
* Microsoft: Are you kidding me?
* SYSV: Not free
* HURD: Didn't work, and had such an elegant architecture that it wasn't clear if it could ever work.

That was the space when Linus Torvalds started hacking around (except HURD didn't even exist yet). If he'd been able to hack on Minix, he would have. But the license prevented it, so he took the opportunity to start his own. Lots of other people saw exactly the same situation and joined him in hacking on something that (a) worked, more or less and (b) they could hack on.

It's not that Linux lucked out and the rest of the competition failed. There was no other competition that satisfied the requirements of being free and hackable. It was also important that Linus was an excellent Benevolent Dictator that gave people few reasons to fork. Actually, on that last point it's rather impressive that Linus is still in charge, even after it's become an incredibly valuable property, used and contributed to by lots of megacorps.

If God had a beard, he'd be a UNIX programmer.