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Submission + - antiX: a Debian-based Linux distro without systemd

DrJimbo writes: AntiX-Linux and its sister distro MX-Linux are both Debian-based and neither one uses systemd. The release of antiX-16 was just announced. It comes in three different sizes: core, base, and full. Even the largest still fits on a CD. It has extensive LiveUSB features including easy customization of the legacy bootloader and the UEFI bootloader. On fast hardware it can boot to Bash in as little as 5 seconds and to an X-Windows desktop in less than 10. YMMVG. Details are available in the links above. A quick overview is provided in this promo video. Disclaimer: I'm one of the devs.

Comment Re:Standard Operating Practice (Score 1) 634

If people treated their vote as a joke, then they don't deserve a re-vote. Simple as that.

That's not the way it works even if it is the way you want it to work. They deserve a re-vote if they are able to get a re-vote by going through the proper procedures.

The idea that a decision once made is locked in for ever and ever just because StillAnonymous happens to like it is absurd.

Comment This problem is 100% due to the music labels (Score 2, Insightful) 288

As has been obvious for over a decade, consumers overwhelmingly want to be able to use recent technological breakthroughs so then can listening music easily and conveniently. Most are willing to pay for this and most probably want to support the artist.

The music labels have been fighting this tooth and nail pretty ever since it was possible to download music via the internet. This is slightly bizarre since part of the service they are supposed to be providing to society is to streamline the distribution of music (hence the RIAA curve, etc). Instead, perhaps due to somewhat sociopathic CEOs, they try to cripple distribution of music in order to create false scarcity which harms society and harms the artists and only benefits the labels.

The only reason a 3rd-party can make money from this is because the labels are totally failing at the task of distributing music in the best and easiest way possible. The answer is not to close off 3rd parties who are doing the job the record labels are supposed to be doing. The answer is for the record labels to do their damned job and distribute music in a reasonable way given current technologies. The tighter the labels grip, the more revenue will slip through their fingers. There is no way consumers are going back to buying a vinyl album and then a cassette and then a cd of the same music.

The actual cost for distributing music has plummeted to near zero. If the record labels are not going to take advantage of this and distribute music in a reasonable way then good for Google and for anyone else who steps up and removes the artificial scarcity and artificial inefficiency create by the music labels.

While we're at it let's shorten the length of time copyright stays in effect. That way these rock stars won't be lumping their recent music together with music that was made back in the 30s and 40s by people who have long been dead.

Comment Re:Gee, I wonder why anti police sentiment exists (Score 1) 621

Okay. Fair enough. Thanks for clearing that up. I agree with you that the summary is wrong to lump bank accounts in with prepaid cards. On the other hand it was clear to me that UnknowingFool was talking about an account associated with a prepaid card. If UF had used "prepaid card" instead of just "card" then they would have been even more clear. Your post was misleading because it makes it seem like nothing has changed regarding seizing money.

I think we all agree that they can now seize money from prepaid cards and they weren't able to do this before. I thought that was the point UnknowingFool was making and you seemed to be refuting it.

Comment Re:Gee, I wonder why anti police sentiment exists (Score 1) 621

Now they are seizing the money in the account.

No, they're not. The summary is wrong.

The fine article also says the police are seizing money from accounts.

If a trooper suspects a person may have money tied to some type of crime, the highway patrol can scan and seize money from prepaid cards.
...
Troopers insist this isn't just about seizing cash.

Saying that the police are using this to seize money accurately reflects what is said in the fine article. If you think the summary and the article are both wrong on this point then please provide a link to evidence that refutes it.

Comment An *Oracle* win would have killed off FOSS (Score 2) 357

The Oracle lawyer has it completely backwards. If APIs could be protected by copyright then FOSS could be easily locked out of making compatible implementations. Oracle is not in this battle to get a few billion dollars from Google. They are in this battle to kill off all independent software development. As bad as software patents are, changing the ground rules so APIs can be protected by copyright would be much much worse.

Comment Re:The REAL Takeaway from this... (Score 1) 532

...is that the EM drive's thrust has been reproduced by several independent institutions. So now where are all the pedantic Slashdot experts that just recently were absolutely sure that the EM drive was bunk?

I agree with you, that was a key claim of the article. It made me extremely skeptical of anything else they had to say because the experimental results have absolutely not been reproducible. The results varied by orders of magnitude and even by direction! The results were always down near the noise threshold. It is true that many experiments got non-zero results that could not be fully explained by their analysis of all the sources of noise. The fact that the magnitude of the non-zero result scaled with the magnitude of the noise over orders of magnitude should be tip off that these claims are extremely fishy. Getting non-zero results right at the noise floor that vary over orders of magnitude and vary in direction is pretty much the exact opposite of reproducible results.

Whenever a new anomalous result is found it is always possible that it will upend established physics but in 999,999 cases out of a million, the cause is experimental error (incomplete analysis of all potential sources of noise). That is certainly what seems to be happening here. It appears that this is yet another entry in the Nobel Prize lottery -- and it has about as much chance of paying off as a lottery ticket.

But for the sake of argument, let's say that despite all of the experimental results to the contrary, the effect is real and this is the correct explanation for the effect. Two points:

1) It directly contradicts the previous "theoretical explanation".

2) The effect does not scale well and would be useless for any practical applications such as space-flight. The effect only occurs because the size of the acceleration is very small compared to the size of the apparatus (the units of size and acceleration are related through certain natural constants such as the speed of light).

Comment Re:Three words (Score 1) 460

Can anyone explain why the verbose arguments require 2 dashes?

It is to prevent name-space collisions when you "stack" short options as in "-rf" (which means the same thing as "-r -f"). The convention often used is that multiple letters after a single dash are stacked single character options while multiple letters after two dashes is a single verbose option. This convention makes things easier for the user and the designer because neither one has to worry about being able to spell out a verbose option with single character options.

Comment Re:somewhat deceiving numbers.... (Score 1) 128

Now with floating point 0.5*0.5 = 0.25 which is a smaller number as expected. If you multiply two positive integers like 50*50 you get 2500, so a larger value which requires further operations on it for it to be useful.

The only "further operation" needed is to look at the higher word of the result which takes zero extra effort. For example, if you multiply two 16-bit words then you get a 32-bit result. The "extra effort" is taking the upper 16-bits of the result and ignoring the lower 16-bits.

There may well be good reasons for FP16 to preferred over using integers but scaling the result of multiplications isn't one of them.

Comment Re:recently, we've just scaled down existing metho (Score 1) 124

I fully agree with you that if we are at the end of Moore's Law then it is because of physical limitations and not economics. As for no preceding tech breakthroughs, Intel's first CTO said (in 2008):

I compare Moore's Law to driving down the road on a foggy night, how far can you see? Does the road stop after 100 metres? How far can you go?

[...] That's what it's been like with Moore's Law. We thought there were physical limits and [now] we casually speak about going to 10 nanometres. We have work going on different transistor structures. Silicon has become scaffolding for the rest of the periodic table. We're putting these other structures into the materials. We see no end in sight and we've had 10 years of visibility for the last 30 years.

I think it is quite possible he is wrong about Moore's Law extending out to 2028 but I find it very hard to believe he is wrong about the history of Moore's Law leading up to 2008. He was in a position to see the tech breakthroughs first-hand. I don't see why he would lie about it.

Comment Re:Moore's law is dead; physics killed it (Score 1) 124

Your overall point may (or may not) be valid but this passage in particular is either incorrect or grossly misleading:

Making small fab processes is getting more and more difficult because these size scales are super tiny, and the difficulty means that Moore's law simply cannot keep going because we have to develop fundamentally new technology -- not just scaled down current technology.

We have had to develop new technology after new technology for decades to keep pace with Moore's Law. This is one of the things that makes Moore's Law so fascinating -- it has already spanned over five orders of magnitude (powers of ten). Take a look at the section on enabling factors and future trends on the Wikipedia page. It is possible we have finally reached the end of Moore's Law but to me it seems equally possible that we have not.

Comment How the US unleashed fundamentalist Islam (Score 1) 1011

[screed that equates a relatively small number of Islamic fundamentalists with the hundreds of millions of people throughout the world who practice the Muslim religion]

Here is a quote from the introduction of the 2005 book Devil's Game: How the US unleashed fundamentalist Islam by Robert Dreyfuss:

The United States played not with Islam -- that is, the religion, the traditional, organized system of belief of hundreds of millions -- but with Islamism. Unlike the faith, with fourteen centuries of history behind it, Islamism is of a more recent vintage. It is a political creed with its origins in the late nineteenth century, a militant, all-encompassing philosophy whose tenets would appear foreign or heretical to most of the Muslims of earlier ages and that still appear so to many educated Muslims today. Whether it is called pan-Islam, or Islamic fundamentalism, or political Islam, it is an altogether different creature from the spiritual interpretation of Muslim life as contained in the Five Pillars of Islam. It is, in fact, a perversion of that religious faith. That is the mutant ideology that the United States encouraged, supported, organized, or funded. It is the same one variously represented by the Muslim Brotherhood, by Ayatollah Khomeini's Iran, by Saudi Arabia's ultra-orthodox Wahhabism, by Hamas and Hezbollah, by the Afghan jihadis, and by Osama bin Laden.

As others have said, while some people who claim to be Muslims attack innocent civilians, so do some people who claim to follow other faiths or claim to have no faith. Generalizing to the larger group of all Muslims is extremely counter-productive (unless you goal is to increase the number of and ferocity of attacks against innocent civilians in the West). The mechanism for how fear-based anti-Muslim screeds in the West fuel fundamentalist attacks against the West was explained in the Adam Curtis documentary series The Power of Nightmares.

In addition, while nothing can justify attacks against innocent civilians anywhere in the world -- regardless of the race, nationality, or religion of the attackers or the victims -- by ignoring the causes of the attacks, by disavowing any responsibility for our own actions, and by instead opting for a fear-based knee-jerk emotional reaction, we only make the situation worse, not better.

Fear is the mind-killer. Often the purpose of attacks against innocent civilians is to instill fear and terror. If we drop our reasoning ability and indulge ourselves in these emotions then we are feeding the cycle of violence, reprisals, and incriminations. Over-generalizations, collective blame, xenophobia, and ignoring the obvious consequences of our own actions just fan the flames of conflict. They do nothing to quell it.

If you consider the people who perpetrated these attacks to be you enemy then know your enemy! Certainly avoid aiding and abetting them by reacting exactly how they want you to react! Blaming, attacking, or murdering other innocents just because they share a country, a religion, or a family with people who are responsible for the attacks fuels the conflict. The problem is not that group-A is mostly bad and group-B is mostly good by comparison. The problem is attacking, killing, and even blaming innocent people. This is happening on both sides of the conflict. For example, blaming Iraq for the 9/11 attacks led to the war on Iraq that killed over one hundred thousand innocent civilians and led to the destabilization of the entire area, the rise of ISIS and the massive refuge crisis. Absolving ourselves of any responsibility for the obvious consequences of our actions and instead continuing on the same path of blaming and punishing more innocent people will continue to have the same disastrous consequences.

You have a choice. You can either keep feeding the conflict or you can work to stop it. Even if your fear-based beliefs were correct and they are somehow morally worse than us then it is even more incumbent on us to stop the conflict instead of feeding it.

Comment Re:Why conceal it? (Score 1) 740

There are valid arguments for not including certain labeling. People that think they need to know if something is GMO should be grouped in with people that think vaccines cause autism. It has no place in labeling

So by avoiding GMO foods someone can cause harm to others via an outbreak of measles or other potentially deadly diseases? Can you explain how that works? Another difference is that people know when they are getting vaccinations and they have access to information about what is in the vaccinations.

The only similarity perhaps is that you think both groups are idiots. I have no sympathy for the anti-vaxers but I do have sympathy for people who want to personally avoid GMO foods, just like I had sympathy 40 years ago for people who had the far-out idea of avoiding non-organic foods. If people want to pay extra to avoid GMO foods then more power to them. I don't see how they are harming others by this choice.

An example of the common perception of organic/health food in the 1970s is illustrated in the lyrics of Escape (the Pina Colada Song):

If you're not into yoga, if you have half a brain
[...] I'm not much into health food

I don't know how to fix the anti-vaxer problem but one thing I do know is that restricting information about the vaccines (like information on GMO foods is restricted) will only make the problem worse, not better.

Comment Re:A minor correction (Score 1) 206

Great writers don't tend to be highly intelligent (if they were, they'd get work that pays better).

What you say may sound reasonable and obvious but it is based on the assumption that money is a good motivator for creative behavior which has been scientifically proven to be factually incorrect. Take a look at this TED Talk by Dan Pink for an easily digested explanation: On Motivation.

In a more global context, the fact that monetary rewards stifle creativity could explain many deep, systematic problems in our society. Perhaps it is unwise for us to put people who are strongly motivated by monetary rewards into positions of leadership. Not only is fear the mind-killer, it seems money is a mind-killer as well. If we want creative solutions to our problems then the last thing we need are leaders who are primarily motivated by fear and money.

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