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Comment Re:User error. (Score 1) 467

I basically agree with you. However, if they are going to give the advice out to idiots, they really should make it idiot proof

A simple way to do this is a 2 stage BIOS with a starter PROM that does VERY minimal duty so i'ts hard to screw up. The starter PROM does only TWO things. 1. It tests one specific on-board USB port for a device with a specific code being present. If present, it will check for a partition containing a checksummed image that is not the same as the one already present. If the checksum validates, it will use that image to perform a re-flash maybe followed by a hard reboot. 2. Jump to the flash entry point.

Manufacturer provides the image file with integrated checksum, and an optional utility program for lamers to use that wipes the USB MBR, makes one partition the size of the file, and copies the file to that partition. If they want to prevent others from making these, they encrypt the image or checksum with something the first state boot PROM can decrypt.

The idea is an idiot can download the new image file and the USB transfer program. The idiot runs the program tells it where the file was stored (this may be hard for some idiots). When USB is complete, plug USB into the special on-board port (can be extended out to the back on some machines), and hard boot (reset or power cycle). It gets automatically flashed. If it fails, do over. Idiot may need a 2nd computer if yet another file needs to be used.

A smarter machine will have 2 flash spaces to keep a backup.

Manufacturers need to support idiots as those are now their largest customer base.

Comment Re:It was a fail safe (Score 5, Informative) 210

It apparently did it's job. But apparently it was given the wrong job. It is accused (by the manufacturer, of course) that someone entered the wrong amperage that it should do its job at. Unlike home circuit breakers which come in specific amperage levels (and vary from unit to unit by plus or minus 10 percent which is considered acceptable), these relay devices, which are a component in an overcurrent protection system, cannot be made at fixed amperage levels due to economics. They are quite expensive to replace with another just to tweak the settings due to changes made elsewhere in the power distribution network, and the number of different amperage values needed would be very large. They can be expensive also because either they directly connect to current transformers that have high open circuit voltage potential, or operate from digital sensors on the current transformers. They are also expected to have accurate at better than one percent.

Comment Re:good thinking HA! (Score 2) 311

I suggest 2 different consoles, neither of which would need to be there for the kernel to do it's thing of running user space processes. One would be an optional in-the-kernel console complete with an in-the-kernel shell. Trim down it's capability and keep it small. The other would be an optional all-user-space console which can use the many user-space shells we already have, or any other program we want. PTY's definitely need to be pure user-space.

Comment Re:Unneeded (Score 1) 311

The only use for a console when the kernel is so hosed it cannot run any user space is to see the kernel's panic message. The console NOW is not useful unless user space is working. The issues I see are just details on how the console functionality gets moved to user space. It needs to support BOTH framebuffer and text mode displays. But definitely, all those things like cooked line input and such should be in user space, and even pluggable with a clean well defined interface that can be used in C as well as higher languages like Python.

OTOH, a completely kernel-only escape and recovery system would be nice, too. We do not have it, yet. That would require a kernel shell (with commands sufficient for emergency recovery only ... keep it a small optional module that the kernel does not need for day to day running so it can be left out if not needed).

Comment Re:They would have more primes to choose from ... (Score 1) 254

Maybe we could have more success with certainty by searching for non-primes. If you got the factors (even one factor is enough), such as 23*89 for 2^11-1, which some people think has to be prime because 11 is prime, then we could have more numbers. Why are primes so great? I can get tons of very large non-prime numbers by generating Pascal's triangle.

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