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Comment: Re:track record (Score 1) 232

by shutdown -p now (#48937507) Attached to: US Air Force Selects Boeing 747-8 To Replace Air Force One

The Soviet Union adopted with the AK-74 in 1974

He was speaking about AK-74M, which was adopted in early 1990s.

But anyway, even if you look at AK-74, it was already in many ways outdated back when it was introduced. Only two locking lugs, and not in a barrel extension, craptastic safety, slow iron sights, a large open gap in the receiver when bolt is closed permitting dust and dirt in, very inconvenient optics quick mount on the side rail (on AK-74M with its folding stock, if you use the rail, you can't fold the stock - WTF?) etc. Also pretty heavy in its basic configuration, and even heavier with optics because of that aforementioned side rail necessitating heavy mounts.

A good example of a modern AK-derived design is SIG SG 550. Same basic action, but it uses modern layout, modern ergonomics, and is much more accurate and flexible while being every bit as reliable.

and most Eastern European and former Soviet Republics use it today.

Most Soviet republics - true, but which of them are "allies"?

Most Eastern European states - not really true anymore, and wasn't really true even when USSR was still there. The only two I can think of that still use AK chambered in 5.45 round are Bulgaria and Romania (and for Romania it's not AK-74, but their own independently developed variant), and both are looking at options to migrate to, generally in 5.56 for NATO conformance. Poland uses the 5.56 Beryl, also not derived from AK-74, and significantly improved compared to the latter. All ex-Yugoslavian states either still use the original AK chambered in 7.62, or else have migrated to something in 5.56 (e.g. FN F2000 for Slovenia or VHS in Croatia). Czechs and Slovaks have both used their indigenous Vz.58 until recently, and are now switching to CZ-805. Hungarians use their own FEG AK variant, also in 7.62. Albanians use the original AKM. Did I forget anyone?

The only nation states I know of that still use the old AK-47 are in the Middle East, Africa, and Southeast Asia (including, I think, India). The big advantage of the AK-47 is that it is cheap enough to hand out like candy to guerrilla fighters, and it's reliable enough to still work after years of little to no maintenance (though it's effectiveness drops quite a lot when doing so).

Well, you kinda lump them together - it's not like there are a few nations in Middle East or Africa, and a great many of them use AK. But, as noted, in Europe, you're looking at least at Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia, Albania and Hungary. And if you look at who else uses AK-derived guns chambered in 7.62x39, you'll have to also add Czech Republic and Slovakia (tho not for long) and Finland.

FWIW, I don't see the point of differentiation. AK-74 is only marginally different from AKM in matters other than caliber (and muzzle brake, but that can be easily retrofitted). All ergos are the same, reliability is the same, and all deficiencies are also the same.

In any case, I don't see why anyone in a sane mind would adopt AK-74M as a new service rifle in 2015. There are far better options available for anyone not sorely short on cash and not running a guerrilla army.

I mean, sure, you could take AK-74 and modernize it - make the receiver cover non-detachable so that a rail can be put on top, replace handguards with rails or something else allowing different mounts, replace leaf sight with a peep, replace the safety with a switch that can be manipulated by a thumb, replace the stock with folding and length-adjustable one that also has a cheek riser for better weld.

Russians did just that in their own modernization program, and the result is now known as AK-12 and is undergoing trials. Though it has a bunch of other changes (like lightened bolt) that are suspect wrt reliability, especially given the results of the trials so far.

But then again, unless you're short on cash, you could just get SG 551, which was designed with all those things in mind from ground up.

Comment: Re:Lack of social ability at Microsoft (Score 1) 105

One thing of note is that this particular acquisition is not DevDiv, it's Azure ML. But Azure ML is, in some ways, even more F/OSS friendly - at least I don't know anyone else in MS running Linux servers in production for user-facing services, and it's where a lot of ex-MSR guys (like, from those labs that were closed) ended up. It's also where all the Python stuff now is.

Then again, after Satya's takeover, there was a strong push from top down to stop treating open source in general and Linux in particular as pariah, in all divisions. In no uncertain language, like "we've been acting stupid about this for a while now and let competitors eat our lunch; time to catch up while we still can". The recent slew of announcements, from .NET Core officially supported on Linux, to most open MS projects migrating to GitHub, is the outcome.

FWIW, I didn't think I'd ever hear a Microsoft lawyer utter the words "GPL is actually kinda cool" while explaining to developers the company's new open source policy in his official capacity. Yet, here we are.

Long and hard? Yes. But this kind of thing makes it worth it (and also shows that, perhaps, it's not quite all that long if you go fast enough).

Comment: Re:Why oh Why (Score 1) 105

There's one other aspect to it that is obvious when you see who the people on MS side talking about this are. It is, effectively, an acquisition by the Azure ML division - the sole purpose of which is to get the "big data" people to come to Azure and pay for burning CPU cycles.

Comment: Re:Well that suprised me ... (Score 1) 512

I always found it quite amusing that it's much easier to immigrate to US as a relative (and I don't mean someone really close like a spouse or a child, but e.g. parents?) than it is as a skilled worker. Of all the countries that I've looked into, US is the only one like that. All others (of interest to me) had shorter immigration tracks through work than through family.

Comment: Re:Yeah! (Score 1) 512

Hi, another libertarian-turned-liberal through life experience here. Well, not liberal, in truth, I prefer the term "left libertarian" as well - but hardly anyone in US knows what it is, and many people think it's like hot snow.

And the philosophy you describe is pretty much exactly what I came to espouse, as well. Freedom and minimum intervention as a foundation, but I've come to recognize that the degree of intervention that's necessary for a functioning society in practice is way more than most traditionalist libertarians consider their limit.

Also 100% in agreement on GOP needing to go libertarian if we are to see any true inter-party competition moving the society in the right direction. And I think this will happen sooner rather than later. They can try to cheat the demographic shifts for a while (with gerrymandering, voter ID laws and such), but those still give only a brief respite, and the clock is ticking. They'll have to go libertarian or yield the system to Democrats in its entirety. In fact, barring any tectonic changes in GOP platform, 2004 shall remain the last year this country had a Republican president for a long, long time.

And you can already see signs of the coming fracturing in the party. Sure, GOP "libertarians" are still insanely conservative, but the difference between a guy like Bush or Romney, and Rubio or Paul, is quite impressive. A few more electoral cycles and they will grudgingly accept that their "small government" platform contradicts their messaging on social issues - if only pragmatically, just to get more votes.

Or maybe we'll actually make electoral reform happen first, and then there will be more parties. I can't really call any specific one my own, but of all the small parties out there, the Modern Whigs approach and platform appeals to me most.

Money is its own reward.