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Comment Re:What the hell is "rust"? (Score 3, Insightful) 236

The Accidental Tech Podcast had an interview with Chris Lattner where he discussed the future of Swift as a systems language and compared it to Rust. Rust has a very upfront memory ownership model that requires programmers to be explicit about memory management. This allows Rust to have great performance and allows the compiler to ensure memory is used safely that is not an option with C.

With Swift, either you pretty much don't think about memory (it uses Automatic Reference Counting so you only need to care about cycles), or you need to go down to C-style memory semantics with the various Unsafe constructions. There are cases where you could get much better performance because the programmer knows the lifecycle of the objects being used, but that can't currently be expressed in Swift. It can be expressed in Rust.

To be a good systems programming language, Chris said that Swift will need to create a memory ownership model (and mentioned Rust as having ideas that might apply). He would like that ownership model to be opt-in for specific pieces of your code that require it: most people could use ARC, while people that need performance in a specific piece could be more detailed about the memory management. It's on his list of things that Swift will acquire over the years so it can achieve world domination.

So there are really pretty good reasons that Mozilla put together Rust. The browser is probably the most widely exposed attack surface right now, and the history of buffer overloads means there needed to be a safer way to code.

Comment Re:No Subject (Score 1) 29

I personally have to wonder if Samsung made the product recall because of a truly flawed device or if it was because of the overwhelming negative perception about the device.

They shipped software updates that limited charging to 60% of battery capacity, which might also have reduced the fires. I'm betting yes, it was a truly flawed device.

Comment Re: Too Bad the Screen is Crap (Score 1) 535

Try using one for a while... People who have won't go back. HiDPI screens (call them Retina or whatever) basically take things so there aren't any pixels. The text is perfectly clear. Vectors are perfectly clear. When people don't have the right image assets, you notice they're blurrier than everything else.

For text, it's a godsend. I can use vector fonts to get things just right instead of trying to find the right bitmap font (because on non-HiDPI screens, they get blurry with antialiasing). PragmataPro is simply gorgeous. That means I can use a slightly smaller size font and still have everything readable than I could otherwise, fitting more on screen. It means image editing is way better.

I spent four months working on a non-HiDPI 27" display and was driven crazy. Now that I have a 4K 27" display, things are so much clearer.

Comment Re:Are linux adverts still bad adverts? (Score 2) 535

Well, here are my reasons.

1. Runs macOS. I used Linux exclusively from 1994 to 2008. I like macOS better.

2. Better hardware for my uses. I move around with my laptop everywhere (rarely use a desk) so battery life and weight are priorities to me. The hidpi display is something I will never give up. The trackpad performs way better (on Linux, I preferred the IBM capacitive tracepoint). Generally, you get better specs and lower price on a Linux machine only if you give up on having a lightweight device.

3. Better hardware support. Suspend/resume ALWAYS WORKS. Getting a device from System76 that was specifically specced for Linux will get rid of a lot of problems, but as Ars Technica noticed recently there are ongoing problems with new hardware. Power management in general works much better under macOS and battery life is better as a result.

Comment Re:Mac flamewar starting now ... (Score 1) 183

So basically, stop buying cheap ass bargin basement Windows laptops and get a Mac? Thats what you're saying?

No, it's worse! The touchpad hardware in those trackpad is probably fine, but the drivers or interface hardware probably isn't. If they just upped to this new API Microsoft has in Windows, the trackpads can suck less.

(Most Windows laptops have smaller trackpads than Macs, which hurts, but that can be fixed.)

Comment Misleading article (Score 5, Informative) 21

This study looked at the email addresses in the data breaches, and looked for email addresses associated with large companies. They then assumed that the passwords used would match the passwords used for corporate resources. The real nature of the study is that "People signed up for services with their work email addresses" which isn't nearly as interesting or clickbaity.

Comment Re:Provide your phone number for extra security? (Score 4, Interesting) 150

Having password reset happen with a text to your phone is more secure than the typical security questions that websites and (worse) CSRs ask. The text message is intended to help prevent what happened to Mat Honan, where his google account, twitter, and Apple ID were hacked, and his MacBook and phone erased remotely. This happened because a hacker was able to convince help desk folks he was the legitimate owner of the accounts, using info scraped from different places.

Cell phone numbers aren't as good as hardware or software-based authenticators for applications that require more security. It's part of a continuum, where the more security is needed, the more of a hassle it can be to get in.

Comment Re:Better vs. Perfect (Score 2) 150

Not many organizations are required to follow NIST security standards. Those that do are in a better situation than most to switch to physical tokens or to software-based tokens of one sort or another. Note that " Out of Band Verifiers" does not deprecate sending a notification to a smartphone app that can then authenticate the user and provide a secondary authenticator.

Comment Re:What's wrong with using COBOL? (Score 1) 217


The software ends up extremely rigid and hard to change. Changing the length of a field from 9 to 10 characters can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars of development time, as you update VSAM or ISAM files and copybooks across a zillion different places. Hopefully you have enough padding everywhere if you want to add something to a request.

It has all sorts of annoying legacy limitations. CICS transactions are limited to 4 character names. Was it S320 I was supposed to call or H614? Did anyone bother to update the software to support lowercase, let alone UTF-8? (it's possible, yes, but rarely done.)

The dev environment has huge limitations in the way you work. With modern stacks, you can spawn, wipe and respawn the entire stack on your laptop. You can't spin up a clean z/OS on your development machine to run tests. You can't download a VM to do some playing and learning. (Hercules tries, but....)

The hardware is expensive, since you're usually using some sort of mainframe or another. We commonly run into fights at our company about whether we can enable some sort of functionality because the cost of executing it on the mainframe at peak hours will be so expensive in MIPS and thus dollars, and there's no convenient way to move that processing onto a lower cost platform. I can't use that source code on an elastic cloud provider, I can't easily migrate or replicate that data, etc.

The hardware usually works, but when it goes down it goes down hard. We recently had an instance where a component that was redundant and hot swappable was swapped, and it caused some electrical fault which brought down the entire mainframe, corrupting the disk. It was completely down and not processing transactions for 12 hours and was having data inconsistency issues on lesser priority transactions for a week. But it's been at least two or three years since the last time some large-scale problem like that happened. (IBM said it shouldn't have been possible. Twice.)

If you have a COBOL system and it's doing exactly what you want it to do, awesome. It's probably pretty solid. If you want it to do something else, you'd better know beforehand if it's worth it. You won't have the ability to cheaply experiment on new ideas.

It's been noted that big companies find it hard to innovate. I think that COBOL systems are often a reason why.

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