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Comment Re:Butt-hurt (Score 1) 993

As a Gentoo dev, your comment made me chuckle (though I'm sadly out of mod points). I know we're a small community - both dev and user - with an ever sticky reputation of having ricer users (http://funroll-loops.org/ anyone? though the site looks dead).

Back on topic, he does seem to like singling Gentoo out, and has done so on numerous occasions (including TFA).

Why Gentoo in particular? Beats me. Maybe it's because of eudev (I don't know anyone running it)? Maybe it's because OpenRC is still the default? Maybe it's because he's been trolled by someone "representing" the entire Gentoo community? I really don't know, but I definitely don't like have mud slung at the entire project/distribution when we have 200+ active developers.

Comment Let's put things back into perspective (Score 5, Interesting) 111

Not to sound too pedantic, Shinkansen started out far from 320km/h. In fact, the original "bullet trains" back in 1965 were limited to 210km/h (about 130mph y'all non metric folks). The mighty Penn RR had GG1s pulling trains from NYC to DC at 100mph around the same time. Back in (my beloved old) Europe, SNCF class BB 9200 electric locomotives were pulling 200 km/h (120mph) trains in 1967 on part of the way from Paris to Toulouse; in Germany, Class 110 were pulling express trains at speeds similar to that of the GG1s.

Now, if anything should be remembered from JR of yesteryear was their bet against air and road traffic. It truly was against all odds that JR executives fought for proper rail infrastructure. For a completely new standard-gauge network, that did not exist. Unlike other countries, Japan's high speed standard-gauge network was built from scratch, with connections to the narrow-gauge network being done in the late 90's. This high-speed network has since then been upgraded to 320km/h operations over the past decades. Regardless of top speed, this is what Shinkansen should be remembered for: 20/20 hindsight.

As a Frenchman proud the national TGV network, I tip my hat off the Japanese engineers and executives who envisioned and built the Shinkansen.

Comment Re:at the mercy of the owners (Score 1) 319

I'll bet a pound of nickels and dimes that Oracle changed the license to screw BDB users and get them to move on to something else. Either Oracle's own products or just anything else really. The corporate overlord probably just wants to stop having to care about BDB and figured a license change was as good a plan as any.

Comment Re:Let's have some real stuff (Score 1) 240

A couple of benchmarks have been done over the past 2 decades. Though it's a shame they're not mentioned in the article.

The reference paper on the topic is Keith Packard's and Jim Getty's USENIX 2003 paper on LBX (Low Bandwidth X), a compression proxy for the X protocol. This paper compares LBX against the standard X protocol (both with and without a compressed SSH tunnel). A couple of key findings from the article:

  • SSH compression is almost as good as LBX (which is probably why nobody bothers with it)
  • X11 is pretty efficient on bandwidth for everything except raw image data
  • X11 is very sensitive to latency

Now some of those issues have been (somewhat) mitigated in various libraries such as xcb, Qt and Gtk+, X11 can only be used comfortably over low-latency links.

While searching for that first article, I came across a more recent presentation which compares X11 against VNC and NX. Again, the author(s) conclude that X11's performance suffer greatly whenever latency increases. As for my own daily experience working company X terminals, remote X even on speedy gigabit networks is a major PITA and I'm planning to work on comparing alternatives (VNC, RDP, SPICE, ...)

X still has value, it's the lingua franca of GUI protocols on UNIX and I don't think anyone expects it to disappear anytime soon. But it is an antiquated protocol, both for local operations and for remote displays.

Comment Re:Wow. Quite a lot of users, really. (Score 3, Informative) 58

The core network of Minitel was owned and operated by the company now known as Orange. However, the device itself is a really dumb text terminal based on ITU-approved standards: V.23, ASCII, videotex, etc. Most Minitel terminals even have a serial port and thus can be hooked to recent computers.

Even back when the core network was still being operated, nothing prevented people from operating their own Minitel server/service. You could directly dial any standard number (not just the short 36xx ones).

Comment Re:HTML5 on YouTube? (Score 4, Interesting) 393

Quite a mess.

Not quite.

You can support almost all browsers out there with only two codecs: H.264 + your choice of ogg/theora or webm/vp8. And the H.264 will of course still work with Flash. This URL http://caniuse.com/#feat=webm is very handy if you want to see for yourself.

At least that's the situation for static streaming / VOD. Live broadcast is where the mess is with Apple's HLS, Microsoft's HSS, Adobe's RTMP, MPEG's DASH along with IETF-standard RTSP (15 years old but still somewhat alive) and various less-known protocols. AFAICT, none of the recent protocols (that support adaptive bandwidth and work over HTTP) support open audio/video codecs. If Google/Mozilla/etc want patent-free codecs to get traction, they should work on a version of DASH that works with theora/VP8.

My 0.02€ as a former employee of a large video-streaming-oriented CDN.

Comment Re:Strange... (Score 5, Insightful) 899

Ok, I'll bite this one for a change.

I don't expect any slashdotter to actually even care for the original article (yes, the one in French) but just the summary ... let alone try and translate it with babelfish.

Here's basically what this fellow French dude says : Google, an american company, is trying to digitalize books, let's team up as europeans to continue to bring our own litterature on the web as well.

Of course his first few lines sound very anti american, just as the first few posts talked about frogs and all :)

This is not as much towards google as it is towards the French government and other EU countries.

If God had not given us sticky tape, it would have been necessary to invent it.

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