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Comment Re: Manjaro rolling release (Score 1) 346

Have you tried dealing with major transitions in a rolling release? e.g. sysvinit to systemd or upstart?

As a Sabayon user who just went through this, it was fairly trivial. `eselect sysvinit set systemd` to change, `eselect sysvinit set sysvinit` to change back.
SystemD is the default on new installs, but existing ones remain on OpenRC, which is still supported.

The trick to major transitions like these is to not force them; the users should have the choice to keep using the old version until it's unsupported. (It doesn't hurt that all major versions of most packages are still available in Portage.)

Comment Re:Mathematical explanation (Score 1) 1216

I've implemented the thought experiment above as an Octave script, if anyone feels like playing around with it.

function y = main()
        clc; clear; close all;
        gen = 20000; %no of iterations
        N = 50; %no of people
        limit = 12; %net worth cap is this times min net worth
        y = ones(N, gen);

        for i=2:gen
                y(:, i) = y(:, i-1);
                selection = select(y(:, i), i);
                %y(selection, i) = 1.01*y(selection, i);
                y(selection, i) = min(1.01*y(selection, i), limit*min(y(:, i)));

        grid on;

        y = y(:, gen);

function i = select(y)
        %selects an element from the vector y using proportional selection
        n = rand()*sum(y);
        count = 0;

        for i=1:length(y)
                count += y(i);

                if(n <= count)

        i = length(y);

Comment Re:Can we get rid of the "grading on a curve", ple (Score 1) 204

Someone wrote that grading on a curve works in academia but not in industry. Why should it work for grading exams when it doesn't for ranking the workers? Especially the academics that are using it should know better.

The use of a curve in academia is more practical because the student's primary output is the grade, which is numeric. In contrast, the primary output of an employee is the work they do, which can only be (poorly) measured by metrics. Whether or not it's a good idea is a separate question though.

Finally, the second fallacy why this is fundamentally broken is the assumption that the skill distribution in a work team or class is normal (follows a bell curve). There is absolutely no guarantee of that, because, heck, you aren't hiring the idiots, are you? I am sure that the company is hiring only "rock star" developers. Same with the students - they have to pass stringent exams and fulfill admission criteria that the majority of the population isn't able. So you have a sample here that isn't representative of the entire population (where the bell curve would be valid) and all bets are off, because the system was built on an invalid assumption.
The most extreme example of this is the constant distribution - the case when all students turn in blank sheet of paper (identical "skill" level) for their exam and still pass. You would have to pick the students or hire employees randomly out of the entire population if you wanted to have a normal distribution of skill. Not very practical, though.

This isn't quite true, and seems to be based on the idea that people are reducible to one-dimensional numbers. Yes, the ability of the individuals (as measured by the admission/hiring process) will be a truncated bell curve (the highest N candidates from the applicant distribution). But the quality of the work done will be normally distributed, because there are countless other factors that contribute to the result. The only exception to this is when they operate collectively to alter the distribution, as in the example you gave above.

My opinion on the subject (as a student) is that relative grades are somewhat useful, since they help to normalize for the difficulty of different units, which would otherwise penalize students who took harder units. However, the scaling or change in grades should be monitored, since a change of more than 15% indicates something very wrong with the unit.

Perhaps more fundamental is the idea that the grade distribution should only be translated, not made to fit any particular distribution. This ensures that the average mark can be adjusted, while ensuring that the relative grades are retained.

Another line of thought is that scaling should only ever increase marks, not decrease them, so as to avoid demotivating students. Increasing the difficulty of the unit in future years is the preferable solution for that.

Comment Re:..and mouse scroll. (Score 1) 326

It's been a while, so I don't remember the full details, but I believe I did try this. IIRC, the issue was that I had a backup of everything except C:\Users from one installation, and backups of C:\Users from a different installation. Windows didn't like this because the SSIDs in the per-user registry hives were wrong. The only way that I was able to get it to work was completely deleting the accounts and recreating them, but that caused it to change the locations of the profiles (which was a problem since the Users folder was shared across the network and a bunch of stuff depended on it).

In the end I just got frustrated with trying to fix a system that Microsoft clearly didn't want me to understand, and gave up on getting the installation to work. Linux actually worked much better than I'd expected - Office worked almost flawlessly under Wine, most of my commonly used programs were cross platform anyway, and KDE is way more functional than the Windows desktop.

Comment Re:Gee, they're going to build an ARM-based comput (Score 4, Insightful) 176

A port expander is *not* the same thing as GPIOs - it means you incur the delays associated with doing things over USB/I2C/etc. Maybe that's ok if all you want to do is flash some LEDs or turn on a relay, but for timing constrained applications, that's not feasible.

Comment Re:..and mouse scroll. (Score 4, Interesting) 326

I'm still not confident in Linux's ability to remain stable/repair itself easily without having to frequently re-install.

I would say Linux is superior to Windows in that regard. I used to need to reinstall Windows yearly to keep the system running well, but after I changed to Linux the only times I've needed to reinstall it were when upgrading to the latest version of Ubuntu*, or changing distros.

Actually, the main impetus for the switch came when my user profiles under Windows got corrupted and there was no way to recreate them without reinstalling it. Under Linux, the same problem is trivial to fix - just delete/rename the home folders and everything gets regenerated.

*While you can upgrade without reinstalling, I've never trusted it after doing the same with Windows a few times ended badly. Since then I've changed to a rolling release distro, and now I don't even need to do that.

Comment Re:And nothing of value was lost... (Score 2) 330

I'd like it to be open, but at the very least it HAS to be less privacy invasive than Skype. I'm not ditching skype for Google+ Hangouts or Facebook Messenger or something like that.

Honestly, I'd say Skype and Google Hangouts are equally invasive. In both cases, your conversation goes through $BIG_CORP's servers and gets data mined. That said, I would trust Google over Microsoft or Facebook - the latter will happily sell my data to other companies, but it's worth more to Google to keep it to themselves.

On a more practical note, I've found Google Hangouts to be the easiest to get working cross platform, and it has better audio/video quality than Skype too. I actually tried using XMPP/Jingle before this, but there are no good FOSS cross platform clients for it - you need to use different software under Windows and Linux, and good luck getting video to work under Windows. Hopefully someone will eventually write a WebRTC frontend for it to simplify things.

Comment Re:Physical keyboard (Score 1) 112

The design for Project Ara consists of what we call an endoskeleton (endo) and modules. The endo is the structural frame that holds all the modules in place. A module can be anything, from a new application processor to a new display or keyboard, an extra battery, a pulse oximeter--or something not yet thought of!

Submission + - Debian to Adopt New Init System (

rdnetto writes: Debian developers have been in a very polarized discussion recently about replacing their default SysVinit system with a more modern init system; namely, Debian developers are evaluating whether to use systemd or Upstart.

Debian wants to switch a modern event-based init system that is more robust and provides more features, provides stable support for advanced environments (e.g. SAN), being more similar to the likes of Ubuntu and RHEL, and modern open-source packages like GNOME 3.x are easier to package. Among other reasons, Debian hasn't been quick to switch init systems over lots of work needing to be accomplished.

In one of the latest init system discussions, it was stated "since the init system strongly shapes many other packages, there has to be only one and no other supported options."

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