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Comment: Re:nonsense (Score 1) 465

by shutdown -p now (#49635545) Attached to: The Medical Bill Mystery

I wholeheartedly agree that US government is very inefficient. I'm an immigrant in US, and before that I was one in Canada, and dealing with government services in two countries is night and day. Just to give a simple example: in Canada, I was issued a SIN (the local equivalent of SSN) on my second day of arriving to the country, and it was all done in about 2 hours in the local government office. In US, it took almost a month from request to issue, and two trips to the local SSA. And when I asked why, they told me that they needed to send a request to USCIS to confirm my visa validity etc, and that takes over a week - seriously? They actually push papers around, instead of having automated query handling directly against the database? This is a recurring theme, by the way... US seems to have a lot of government organizations, which are very much disjoint in how they operate, and whenever anything needs to cross the boundary between the two, there are copious amounts of red tape (and, I would imagine, the associated expenses).

But I think a big problem with the government in US is that people are kinda expecting it to fail to begin with, and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Even worse is the "starve the beast" crowd who are basically saying that because it is likely to fail, not only we should let it, but we should actively encourage that.

I think it would be more productive to operate from the assumption that government should be doing certain things, and that it should be doing them well (seeing how other governments are perfectly capable of doing so) - and if it doesn't, then it's the problem with this particular government rather than the general idea of having it do those things, and the fix should therefore be on the government side.

Comment: Re:Freedom is an illusion (Score 1) 179

by shutdown -p now (#49633027) Attached to: French Version of 'Patriot Act' Becomes Law

This "they fought for freedom" thing... you know, when e.g. Americans volunteered to "fight for freedom" in WW2, a hundred thousand of their fellow citizens were in concentration camps simply on account of their ethnicity, and it wasn't exactly secret knowledge - and popular sentiment was largely in favor of that. So it was part of the "freedom" that they fought for. Somehow, I don't think that they would have been outraged by the Patriot Act.

(Note, I'm not saying that it's a good thing - but don't seek moral approval in history when it's largely retconned.)

Comment: Re:More religious whackjobs (Score 1) 282

Have you actually read it yourself beyond the title? It doesn't permit the US government from granting anyone titles of nobility. It doesn't prevent anyone from holding or claiming such a title on other grounds.

I suspect that you're confusing it with the Titles of Nobility amendment, which went further by stripping citizenship from anyone who would accept a title from a foreign country (so even under it self-claimed titles wouldn't count) - but that amendment was never ratified and is not standing law. Some people claim that it "has actually been ratified", and hence is part of the Constitution "that the government doesn't want you to know about" - usually this is claimed by fringe right-wingers, the type of guys to the right of the Tea Party.

Comment: Re:Technically C++ (Score 1) 227

My Slashdot username predates my current employment arrangement by about 5 years, I think. But, yeah. Back then I ran FreeBSD (which is where the name is from) on my servers, and Gentoo on my desktop. Things change :) (well, some of them; some of my home servers are still FreeBSD - ain't broken and all that...)

By now, though, it's not really all that surprising, given the amount of work specifically targeting other platforms (Linux among them) happening throughout the company. My team, for example, is actually specifically looking for people with a Linux background right now, because we're building a service running on it, using Docker containers for isolation.

Comment: Re:Technically C++ (Score 1) 227

In this particular case I just happen to know exactly what they were thinking when they were implementing this feature, because they are my colleagues (even if I don't work on the team that works on C++) :) The list of features that they did was based on some specific libraries that they had most complaints about on Windows, and then filtered down further based on ease of implementation. If I remember correctly, one major beneficiary of those changes is supposed to be ffmpeg.

This all might make more sense if you remember that Office in some incarnation or the other now ships across three non-Windows platforms (OS X, iOS and Android), then there is the OneDrive client etc. Basically there's a whole bunch of stuff that has suddenly gone cross-plat in the past couple of years, and that's a lot of C++ code that now has to play ball with the libraries that are the de facto standard outside of the MS ecosystem. In many cases, once you start doing that, it makes sense to use the same library on Windows as well, but then you start running into those conformance issues with C99.

The other aspect is that we want people to write cross-platform C and C++ code, because it's the kind that, right now, is most easily portable between all mobile platforms - and seeing where Windows phones and tables are in terms of popularity relative to iOS and Android, MS has to encourage portability as a way to get more apps ported to Windows. You see things like Apache Cordova tools and Clang/LLDB support in VS 2015 for the same reason - they make it easier to write Android apps, for example, but more importantly, the way they encourage writing those apps just happens to be the one that emphasizes portable code. Now that is more geared towards C++, but the question of popular libraries written in C also comes up there.

Comment: Re:Technically C++ (Score 1) 227

VS2013 seems to understand a bit more or C99, but that isn't because Microsoft would suddenly have started caring about their C compiler. Their C++ compiler got a bit of an upgrade wrt. more recent changes to the C++ standard, and the C compiler understanding a few C99 idioms is largely a side-effect/waste-product of that process.

Not quite. VS 2013 actually saw a bunch of C-specific C99 features such as designated initializers for structs. The main reason why this was done is because there are now quite a few popular open source libraries that use those features, and VC is the only compiler that cannot handle them, which made it a pain to port them to Windows.

Comment: Re:That's C code (Score 1) 227

stdio.h and cstdio are both valid in C++. However, there is a slight difference - cstdio is only guaranteed to define the identifiers that it provides in namespace std, while stdio.h makes the same guarantee only for the global namespace. In practice, they are usually both backed by the same header that does both, so you'll get both - but relying on that is non-portable. Since he doesn't use std:: to refer to those identifiers, "stdio.h" is the correct header for him to include.

Comment: Re:That's C code (Score 1) 227

"stdio.h" searches the directory containing the current source file first, then the include directories.

The standard itself doesn't have any notion of "directory containing the current source file" or "include directories", actually. It just says that "..." does some form of implementation-defined search, which, if it fails, falls back to <...>.

Comment: Re: That's C code (Score 1) 227

It's still not the same thing. In C, you can declare a function without specifying the argument types, but then define it with specific types in a different translation unit. In C++, the definition and the declaration must match - if you declare it as int foo(...), then you must also define it in the same way (which renders it effectively useless, since without any named arguments you won't have anything to pass to va_*).

A mathematician is a device for turning coffee into theorems. -- P. Erdos