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Comment Down to the exact lane (Score 1) 61

The point of self-driving grade maps is to be precise down to the exact lane.

like "the two left lane are for turning left. the two right lane should be for 'straight ahead', except that the second from the right is currently blocked by construction works".

(i.e.: even more precise than what's available on commercial satnavs).

OSM doesn't go that precisely into details.

For that you need to crowdsource it from video feeds :
- the first time the car goes there (either in actual autopilot mode, or in 100% pure manual mode with the camera only working as a glorified dash-cam, like comma.ai's chffr android app), do object recognition on the video feed, notice the street signage, lane arrows and construction work, and beam the info up to the mothership.
- the next time one of the car goes there in autopilot mode while connected to the same cloud, the car knows to change to the right most lane, if the satnav's path finding calls for continuing straight ahead.

Google^H Waymo, Tesla, Comma.ai, and countless others are doing this kind of stuff now.

Comment Chipset (Score 4, Informative) 82

Their main arguments are around the chipset :

Most of the current smartphone use chipset (mainly Qualcomm) that have the modem integrated into the SoC.
That modem (for radio licensing reason) must run a closed proprietary blob, while having full access to the SoC's RAM.
Thus you're only an OTA live update away (not even installing an Android upgrade, just sending new bits to your modem to execute), before wire taping law get applied to you and your data start getting siphoned away.

Purism want to make a phone with most of the sensitive part shut away in separate boxes that only speak a standard protocol. i.e.: modem in a separate chip, that only speaks a standard protocol (e.g.: showing up as an ethernet network) with no access RAM. No matter what rogue firmware it runs, such a modem cannot see your data, only sees an ethernet connection (and you're encrypting what goes through that one anyway, unless you stupidly trust the entire internet to be secure).

Thus, for all you concerns, 100% of your system runs opensource auditable code. It's not guaranteed to be secure *yet*, but can eventually be reviewed and secured.

Comment Target: Fully opensource (Score 5, Insightful) 82

Their target is to make a phone that can run 100% on exclusively free/libre opensource code.

That severly limits which SoC they can choose :
- they need a chipset WITHOUT built-in modem, so the modem and its mandatory blob can be pushed out of the main system into an isolated box that only talks a standard protocol (so it doesn't have direct access to RAM. Unlike Qualcomm's chipset, where sometime the modem serves as the northbridge)
- they need a chipset with opensource drivers supported by upstream linux kernel.

Currently, only Freescale i.MX6 fits the bill (Vivante GPU supported by Etnaviv driver), and the Freescale i.MX 8 is their best hope of next chip to be similarly supported.

Yes, it's an old SoC, with low to mid perf, but it's about the only one that fits the bill.

(It might have also been possible with some of the Nvidia Tegra chipsets that are supported by nouveau, but they don't fit the power envelope.
Intel's is fully opensourced officially, but doesn't produce anything currently targeting the tablet/smartphone form factor.
Qualcomm is completely out of question : even if some are supported by Freedreno, the integrated modem running untrusted proprietary binary firmware, while having full access to RAM is problematic)

Comment The year of Linux on everything else but the deskt (Score 1) 223

Everything else? Nobody is running Linux on a day to day basis.

Yeah, nobody.
Except people using smartphone running Android (still a Linux kernel, even if coupled with a weird non-GNU user-space) or nearly any other alternative system (Tizen, Sailfish, ... all GNU/Linuxes. iOS (Darwin-like) and BlackBerry (QNX based) are the only exceptions).
Except people connecting to a modem/router to go online (Linux has a quasi-monopoly on home routers)
Except people using smartTVs, media players, set-top boxes
Except people having cars (although QNX is popular on the more critical processors CPUs in a car, the Linux kernel is more popular on the infotainment center)
Except people having ebooks (in Europe, the two most popular are Kobo [Linux + embed Qt] and Tolino [Android])
Except people using home NAS to backup their data (Linux is the most popular OS, see Synology for a concrete example)
Except people using a USB boot disk from an antivirus maker to scan an infected PC (lots of such recovery sticks actually run a GNU/Linux bootdisk. e.g.: Kaspersky).
Except people downloading photo from their camera over WiFi (there are even Wifi-enabled SD-Cards that feature a diminutive embed Linux webdav server)
Except people printing document (currently HP has switched to derivative of webOS on their printers)
Except people that use a high performance cluster, even for trivial reasons (hint: what did you think Youtube uses to re-compress videos to various formats ?)
Except people using SatNav (ever since the original Tomtom device that was Linux powered).

If a gadget has a CPU a little bit more powerful than a micro-controller, and it is not a desktop, chances are very high that it runs Linux.

The "year of Linux on pretty much every other fucking stuff except the desktop" has already passed for quite some time.

Comment Some data (Score 1) 135

Can you expand a bit on how very strong Nokia's position was, the moment that iPhone went on sale?

Here's an overly long rant by an analyst, with lots of details of what went wrong.

I certainly don't remember things that way.

Part of this boils down "In my tiny corner of the world, everybody flocked en masse to the Jesus Phone !" - "Yeah but not all the planet Earth follows what happens to be popular in California, and billions of people can't afford Apple overpriced iGadgets while these billions are still in need of some portable communication tools, and Nokia phones are serving them better than anything".

After the release of iPhone Nokia was basically insanely huge everywhere except in the US (more precisely in the specific sub-market of high range smartphone in the US).
In terms of absolute unit shipped or total revenue, that *still* put them ahead of every one else.

Comment You're not the rest of the population (Score 1) 191

Having famous people promote the cars is a sign to me that the cars are not reliable.

The problam is that *you* is not *the general population*.

Us /.ers, given our tendencies, will tend to be over-obsessed with facts, logic, etc. compared to average joe six pack.

On the other hand, random everyday people tend to fall in for quite a lot of social cognitive bias. And if they see a celebrity endorsing something, they'll unconsciously give it more positive attention (there must be something good to it if ${celebrity} endorse it, ${celebrity} must have seen something positive in it).

Comment Cloud vs. Local (Score 4, Informative) 180

None of the current crop of assistants (Cortana, Siri, Alexa, OkGoole!, or even just speech engines like Houndify and Dragon Dictate) does run locally except for extremely simple processing (like google detecting locally the "Ok, Google !" stanza, and only starts streaming the audio to the mothership afterwards).

The text commands and audio are transmitted to the company's cloud, and all further processing (full speech recognition when input is audio, then extracting the meaning/intention from the text, taking a decision, and suggesting actions) is entirely done there.

Means that for any kind of assistant to work, their company needs necessarily to have received all of your data (voice stream, chat log, etc.)

And due to the way these thing work (Deep Neural Nets need a big amount of data to train - basically replicating in silico the popular saying that you need to have been doing 10'000 hours of anything to be good at it) they NEED to be centralized on the cloud.
It's not possible to have the learning done locally on your smartphone : not only it lacks processing power (for the backpropagation in the neural net) but it also lacks the big masses of data to train on.

So it would NOT be possible to have your very own local copy of Cortana
(or at least not in learning mode. Maybe GPU acceleration could at least make possible to simply apply an already trained neural net depending on how big cortana is).

Comment Software I have to use (Score 1) 255

The choice is "an OS that runs the software I have to use" and "an OS that doesn't run the software I have to use."

And in some cases, mainly in "big data" analysis fields, even moreso in bioinformatics, the "OS that runs the software I have to use" tend to be flavors of Unix - so're basically limited to macOS X or Linux.

(With only very recently Windows starting to be able to run these same software, thanks to WSL).

Comment YMMV (Score 1) 255

If we don't use Windows 10, what other OS can we use instead? {...} Linux isn't really an option, especially with so many distros including systemd. I hate to say this, but I've found Windows 10 to boot more reliably for me than the versions of Debian and Ubuntu that use systemd! {...} We use Windows 10 because it's the only practical option.

On the other hand, *I* find Linux to be less of a nightmare whenever I upgrade storage (replace HDD with SSD, replace old busted optical bay with a bay holding an extra SSD, rebalance BTRFS on the fly to RAID1 across the 2 SSDs, etc.), compared to Windows 10 (Whenever you move windows partitions around. Or switch between BIOS and UEFI modes. Or replace DOS-partition scheme with GPT : Windows becomes unbootable and you must yet again get the recovery disk. Or you must do the above action using specially crafted tools by the manufacturer which often are... Linux bootdisks, actually).

So as the saying goes, "Your Mileage Might Vary".

In my case, I use openSUSE's Tumbleweed Linux disto because it's a very practical option for me.

Other users might have even other experiences.

Comment Drivers problem (Score 1) 304

Its ridiculous that Android phone I bought a year ago will never get a security update.

Part of this isn't due to Android, but to hardware manufacturers - drivers aren't avaible / updated.

The current tendencies for chipset manufacturers is to fork whatever Linux kernel version happens to be the base of the Android Letter of the day.
Then slap some binary drivers on it, and call it a day and never ever touch it again.

Hardware manufacturer come, and to be faster to market, basically just re-adapt an existing board design from the chipset manufacturer, and quickly botch some android user space on top of the above mentioned kernel. Once they sold the smartphones to retailer they abandon it and move to the next model.

By they time you want an update for your phone, the phone's manufacturer might not even exist anymore or they might have abandonned it long ago. Even if they wanted to make updates, there would by then the problems of getting a newer kernel + userland drivers set - but the chipset manufacturer has completely abandoned it.

Google might be happily still providing newer versions of android and fixes (currently all the way back to Android KitKat), it will take some tedious work by the people of LineageOS (formely CyanogenMod) to build an image you can actually use... ...as long as your phone will actually authorize you to flash it.

Moving to another OS isn't going to fix these troubles : you'll still be bound to the same binary drivers (running thanks to libhybris adaptation layer, because you want an actual GNU/Linux OS instead of the weird Android user space and driver API).

Case in point, the original Jolla 1 smartphone by Jolla Oy. It runs Sailfish OS (a descendent of Nokia's Meamo/Meego, and cousin of Samsung's Tizen).
As of 2017, the os itself is still getting the same upgrades as all the other devices officially supported by Jolla Oy (currently 2.1.1, with 2.1.2 coming out soonish).
But you're still stuck running on the Jolla whatever Linux kernel (3.4.xx) Qualcomm happened to fork back when they developped the drivers for the onboards Snapdragon 400.
And thus the provided android application compatibility (Aliendalvik by Myriad) is limited to Jellybean, not Kitkat like on the other devices supported by Jolla.

The only exception are a few chipsets by Intel (official upstream drivers in kernel - but they exitet the smartphone market), by Qualcomm (some of their GPU can work with Freedreno driver, if you're lucky) and a couple of chipsets by Freescale (some of their Vivante GPUs are supported by Etnaviv driver, or support could be comming soon. That's part of the reasons why they got picked up by Purism for their Librem smartphone).
But none of the sexier more powerful chipset is currently supported well enough by opensource drivers. Thus you're still stuck with manufacturer-provided, outdated "android" linux kernel and drivers.

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