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Comment Fun facts about Rjukan... (Score 4, Interesting) 143

Rjukan is also the site of the museum of industrial labour, which is located in Vemork. In addition to being a very early heavy water plant which was sabotaged by the Resistance during the second world war to hinder the Nazi nuclear bomb project, it also currently hosts an exhibit of what is probably the world's only remaining Univac 1108 mainframe.

Comment Re:Better idea: (Score 1) 564

You aren't doing a degree in engineering to learn about "history, religion, literature, psychology", so yes if it takes away from your engineering subjects it is a bad thing.

That's an absurd notion, and very close to the archetype of what the guy in TFA was arguing against. History, religion, literature and psychology are integral and indispensible areas of knowledge if you want to take responsibility for your society by participating in it as a thinking person, rather than isolating yourself in the cubicle and leaving decision-making to someone else.

Education is supposed to be more than teaching you your job. It's also supposed to be basic training in democracy.

Comment Re:RIP VMS (Score 1) 238

The 11/730 was mostly made for small software developer houses who couldn't afford either an 11/750 or an 11/780, but needed access to VMS and the fairly comprehensive, 32-bit architecture of the VAX. It really was a terribly slow machine, but a neat hack.

Comment Re:How enthusiastic is our support for UNIX? (Score 1) 238

The point was genuinely a good one at that time. There were a lot of facilities in VMS that made some really elegant transaction processing, for instance, available with even a relatively few lines of code. Besides - keep in mind, Unix was seriously fragmented at the time. BSD/SysV and a ton of varieties of those. All immature and inefficient. Unix in the days of VAX and PDP-11 is nothing like Unix in the last two decades.

Comment Re:no (Score 1) 238

VMS had quite a few customers, but much like z/OS, they tend to be in use with systems that you don't notice until they fail - which means, you very rarely notice them. Banks, stock exchanges, power utilities, that sort of thing.

Comment RIP VMS (Score 5, Interesting) 238

There were few operating systems that handled loose-clustered networking as elegantly as VMS. Want to centralize user credentials? Easy, just place SYSUAF.DAT on a shared volume. And since the files could have structure, you could lock individual user records for editing rather than the whole file.

Another great feature was the concept of "quorum". Quorum, as in the organizational term of the number of people present at a meeting necessary for it to be an official meeting of an organization, was the number of reachable hosts necessary to conduct business. Say you had a redundant banking site - and the link between them would go down. If they are a redundant configuration, they would continue to process transactions - with their database quickly diverging. Using quorum nodes, you could set up three hosts on three sites - two major server setups and a simple workstation somewhere central - and voila, no single point of failure.

Besides, there is a magnificent book, "OpenVMS Internals and Data Structures", which so elegantly and wonderfully describes operating system design.

I really, really hope that OpenVMS could be open-sourced and this codebase might serve as the base for a community-written x86 port.

Comment Re:And... it's gone (Score 1) 636

Speaking as a social democrat living in Norway, a country which (like most socialized health care systems) beats the hell out of the US and most privatized health care systems, I have to say that granting everyone "the exact same level of care, regardless of ability to pay" - is a goddamned feature, not a bug.

Believing in market forces does not mean having to abandon belief in human dignity, for goodness' sake.

Comprehensive health care should be just as much a fundamental human right as the comprehensive justice care afforded by the legal system.

Comment Re:We need gas control! (Score 1) 1591

Of course there are other factors. But regulation of gun ownership is one of them, and regulation of gun types allowed for private use is another.

Most countries with high gun ownership rates and low murder rates tend to have hunting rifles, not assault weapons. They also have extensive systems that work to prevent guns from coming into the wrong hands.

Comment Re:We need gas control! (Score 1) 1591

This whole clichéd genre of "X is also potentially deadly, too, therefore weapons are unfairly singled out!" is absolutely free of any rationality. Guns make murder happen faster than other potentially deadly things. That's why people who want to be able to kill buy guns rather than propane tanks, as any cursory look at standard military equipment would indicate.

It's a matter of efficiency and scale. A spree shooter gets a lot more people before the police can disable him if he uses a gun. As it were: Duh.

The problem with your analogy is that lugging a propane tank into a classroom is probably going to get you some questions people would insist you answered. And you'd be hard pressed to stop them because you're busy lugging a propane tank.

Comment Re:Why? (Score 1) 599

My first thought is: Good luck syncing audio to that!

Second: Good luck doing meaningful digital compression!

In professional broadcasting - _unlike_ the camcorder a mortal can afford - rolling-shutter is under control, as is a lot of other Bad and Wrong stuff that consumer cameras do. (Here's one you can easily check at home: Point a TV remote at it, and press buttons. Do you see the remote LED lighting up? That means it doesn't filter IR, and that wreaks havoc on colour fidelity!)

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