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Comment: Re:Party like it's 1999 (Score 2) 264

by spauldo (#49111391) Attached to: Linux Kernel Switching To Linux v4.0, Coming With Many New Addons

NT 4.0 came out in 1996, not 1999. Earlier versions had the same look and feel as Windows 3.x, which would have been _really_ out of place in 1999.

We had it installed on a 166MHz Alpha back in '97, I think. Funny thing - flood ping the thing and it's like a pause button. Everything just stops. Stop pinging, the clock skips forward and everything goes on as normal.

My friend with the Aplha wasn't amused. He was less amused every time he left and came back to Linux running on it.

Comment: Re:An OS RNG? (Score 1) 105

by spauldo (#49092749) Attached to: FreeBSD-Current Random Number Generator Broken

Sure, you've got good points about failures in /dev/random. Surprise, there have been problems - just like there's been problems with pretty much all code everywhere at some time.

But what exactly do you expect kernel developers to do? /dev/random exists, and a lot of stuff uses it. It's expected to be there. Kernel developers (especially BSD developers, who tend to view UNIX much more conservatively than Linux developers) are going to make sure that the service is available and as bug-free as possible. You might not like /dev/random, but it's not going to go away any time soon.

I don't use Linux for anything important (I'm a BSD guy these days - Linux is for desktops in my opinion), so I don't know what to tell you about rngd. I have noticed that a lot of "system" level stuff seems to be on the backburner compared to nifty convenience features. If you need a working rngd, it's up to you to find a working configuration and push it to your servers. Treat it like ntpd or any other service that requires site-specific configuration. I do know that I would expect something like random number generation to be working flawlessly in BSD, but Linux today... I can't say I'm surprised.

Comment: Re:An OS RNG? (Score 1) 105

by spauldo (#49084291) Attached to: FreeBSD-Current Random Number Generator Broken

/dev/random has been part of UNIX for ages. It's part of the system, and expected to be there. The kernel developers take it seriously, because most UNIX software that needs random numbers uses it.

If you don't trust it, that's fine, but pretty much all UNIX software uses it - and UNIX runs the 'net. Certificates are generated using it. If you want to avoid it, install Windows and unplug your internet connection.

Comment: Re:You shoulda seen programs before Djikstra! (Score 1) 677

by spauldo (#49044971) Attached to: Empirical Study On How C Devs Use Goto In Practice Says "Not Harmful"

I can second the whole "thinking in gotos" thing.

I learned BASIC on various micros in the 80s (mostly C64 and Atari 800) and it was pretty much the same thing. The most "structured" you got there was using the GOSUB statement.

Then I sat down in front of a PC and tried writing a program in QBASIC - and some bastard stole my line numbers! How was I to structure my code? What's all this looping crap? Learning Pascal in high school was even more of a culture shock - I kept looking across the room at the rows of Apple ][e machines and missing my GOTOs.

Oh well, I'm all cured of that now. I'm just glad I wasn't started on COBOL. The damage may never have been undone.

Comment: Re:anti-science??? (Score 1) 580

by spauldo (#49043003) Attached to: Low Vaccination Rates At Silicon Valley Daycare Facilities

Protip: either post coherently, or use proper punctuation. Seriously, half your post is gibberish, and the conflicting run-on sentences make it all the worse.

Your point of view (as far as I can tell) requires you to care more about the strength of the species than you care about your own children. Either you don't have children, or you don't deserve them. You want to belive that aliens shot JFK? Fine. We'll just laugh at you behind your back. You want to ignore the proven evidence of the effectiveness of vaccines and risk your child's health over what's essentially an overblown old wive's tale? Your idealogy is more important than your children? Then do your unborn children a favor and get a vasectomy.

Comment: Re:FDA shouldn't even exist in the first place (Score 1) 123

by spauldo (#47397989) Attached to: FDA: We Can't Scale To Regulate Mobile Health Apps

That's all very nice and all, but that's just not the way it works, or really how it's ever worked.

The federal government can pretty much do as they please, powers-wise, and leave it up to the courts to sort out. Because departments like the FDA, Agriculture, Energy, Education, etc. are in generally deemed necessary by most of the people whose opinions actually matter (i.e. not pee-ons like us), they get a pass. You could certainly challenge their constitutionality, but you'd better have a team of very good lawyers and be willing to wait a decade or so for the final decision.

Politicians, in practice, tend to treat the constitution more as a guideline or an obstacle. What really matters is how the powers of influence flow, not what some dusty old piece of eighteenth century vellum has written on it.

Don't like it? Well, you could always move to... wait, everywhere else is pretty much the same way if not worse. The moon, maybe?

Comment: Re:hive mind? (Score 1) 123

by spauldo (#47397921) Attached to: FDA: We Can't Scale To Regulate Mobile Health Apps

A friend of mine works in a lot of internet marketing and used to do things like search optimization and whatnot. Trust me, no matter what user-based system you set up, people will work day and night to subvert it to push their products. Any sort of review or rating system would be corrupted very quickly.

And really, user reviews aren't a good source for medical data anyway. Half the people who leave reviews think streptococci is on special at the fancy italian place downtown.

Personally, I think the FDA just needs to come up with guidelines on what an app can or can't do health-wise without going through the FDA approval process. Something that keeps track of your calories or measures how much you walk in a day should be fine. Something that keeps track of your heart rate might be acceptable with a disclaimer that it's not "medical quality" or something. Programs that interact with medical devices (pacemakers, etc.) probably should be vetted in some way.

Comment: Re:Good news (Score 1) 123

by spauldo (#47397883) Attached to: FDA: We Can't Scale To Regulate Mobile Health Apps

I don't see an "information age" government happening for another twenty to thirty years, and that's probably optimistic.

Those in power tend to be older and more conservative (in general terms, not talking about politics). They're often lawyers, who are used to working on months- or years-long projects where rapid response isn't possible or (to their mind) necessary. Getting them to accept that drastic change is necessary is difficult. When they do try to implement change, there are levels upon levels of management and employees below them that resist the change and undermine it in small but cumulative ways. Add to that the fact that an "information age" government would also be a "privacy invading" government by most standards, so there would be a lot of political pressure to leave things as they are.

That said, out innovating the regulatory state has been happening for quite some time now. Just look at the patent system, for instance.

Comment: Re:Worth trying out? (Score 1) 124

by spauldo (#41700881) Attached to: NetBSD 6.0 Has Shipped

Slackware might not be source-heavy now (I haven't used it in years), but it used to be, if you actually wanted to do anything with the system.

If you wanted to install something that's not in the package sets (most everything, since Pat wasn't superman), you had to download and compile the source code. I never touched a line of C before I started on Slackware, and it was a trip learning to coax code into working. This was back before GNU autoconf was popular. Also, this was back when compiling your own kernel was recommended for performance reasons if nothing else (it was a lot less modular in those days).

It got worse when Pat didn't update to glibc when all the other distros did (yes, he had his reasons, I know). A lot of code was being written with glibc in mind and would require a lot of work to get it to work with libc5. Then you had RedHat's hacked-up version of gcc that caused problems for everyone else... oh, and did I mention imake? I'm just glad I jumped in on the Linux bandwagon after the ELF switchover - some people in here could tell you some horror stories about that.

Anyway, thanks to Slackware's lack of a large package repository, I learned how to get C code to compile, even though I didn't (at the time) know the language. I learned all about how libraries and dependancies worked. I learned how to massage a makefile to see my include files. All that has served me very well over the years, and in these days when Debian's package system spoils me so well, I still get to use these skills (so a small degree) on BSD.

Comment: Re:end of slashdot (Score 4, Insightful) 254

by spauldo (#41690677) Attached to: Former Australian Cop Wants Jail For Internet Trolls

You know, it'd be funny, if so many of you weren't actually stupid enough to believe this.

There's a lot of /. users. Anyone who gets some karma has mod points they can use. Anything you say will likely have someone who disagrees with you on this site. Unfortunately, some people are just a bit too quick with the "troll" tag on the moderation system. Usually other mods will compensate, but shit happens sometimes. That doesn't mean you're a troll, and no one (well, hardly anyone) thinks you're a troll unless you're actually trolling.

Some guy on another story was whining about how /. has this huge socialist bias and was made up of people who feel guilty working for corporations so they demand higher taxes and more restrictions on the GPL. He apparently just doesn't see all the libertarians cluttering up the place in here, just like you don't see all the anti-RMS, pro-Microsoft, and even pro-religion comments in here. They are there, and if they're in the minority, well, that's just the way it goes. You're going to have a minority any time there's more than a few people who disagree.

These posts are meant for discussion, not syncophantic circlejerking. People are going to disagree with you. Yes, some assholes are going to abuse the moderation system. If you don't like it, you're free to create your own private IRC channel and rant to yourself all day long where no one can disagree with you.

Comment: Re:why is this release announcement buried? (Score 1) 124

by spauldo (#41690585) Attached to: NetBSD 6.0 Has Shipped

how exactly do you access a kernel from the network without going via an application?

Hrm, I'd guess you're probably twenty-five or younger, given that question. You missed some good times.

Back in the day the TCP/IP stacks had quite a few bugs in them. Just about everyone lifted code from BSD 4.x (yeah, the original BSD). Once exploits for those started coming out, it was a race to see who could fix them the fastest. Linux (and I assume the BSDs, although I didn't follow them then) usually had a fix out within hours - Microsoft usually didn't have a fix for months, which did a lot for their poor security reputation back then.

The funny bit was when Microsoft released a fix for one of the exploits, which opened up another exploit, so you were guaranteed any Windows machine could be brought down by one or the other. I used that against IRC trolls back in the day. One little ping o' death would lock their machines hard. Not that I'd do that these days...

Anyway, check out this page for more info on it. Nowdays, of course, most of the TCP/IP bugs have been worked out, so this type of thing hasn't really been much of an issue for a while now. However, it's still possible there's bugs that haven't been found.

As an aside, my roomates and I discovered that NT 4.0 on Alpha would just stop if you flood pinged it. We called it the "remote pause button," because it would go on as if nothing had happened as soon as you stopped pinging it. Our friend who had the Alpha on the network was not amused.

Top Ten Things Overheard At The ANSI C Draft Committee Meetings: (9) Dammit, little-endian systems *are* more consistent!