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Comment Re:Ain't freedom a bitch... (Score 4, Insightful) 551

RMS isn't against commercial (for profit) software at all. He's against software that is not completely transparent to the user about what it's doing (and that you can't fix yourself if it breaks). The additional restrictions in the GPLv3 are present to help prevent a company from monopolizing an open source project that was developed by someone else via threat of patent litigation. It also prevents TiVoization - because free software is meaningless to the end user if you can't tweak it and load up your modifications. Both are pretty legitimate concerns. If Canonical started selling Ubuntu laptops which will only load signed kernels (which they could do if they wanted, as the kernel is just GPL2), there's nothing stopping them other than the community gathering it's torches and pitchforks.

I was curious one time a while back about trying to make my own compiled programming language, and was quite disappointed when I started fishing around in GCC and learned that it really is designed from the ground up not to be extensible. I'm pretty sure RMS quite the hacker, so it disappoints me to see his stubbornness get in the way of writing software with a technically superior design. He has the right intentions, but he's picking the wrong battles here. Free software ideally should be superior to proprietary software in every way. Nerfing GCC and Emacs is pretty reminiscent of Microsoft's (and co.) historic strategy of vendor lock-in via proprietary ill-defined file formats and refusal to implement open standards imho.

Comment Re:Zone of lawlessness: The U.S. government (Score 4, Informative) 431

I can see that you have never read the US constitution or passed a government and civics class. Do they even have those in high school any more?

I graduated in 2009 from a public school in New Jersey. To answer your question, no. There were no civics classes. Not even available as an elective. We were however required to take a mandatory class on Microsoft Office. Our priorities are completely screwed up, aren't they?

Comment Re: Honestly... (Score 1) 328

As a young American I fell very much the same. During my childhood there was a period where my country had no national debt, then all of a sudden we spend more within 8 years then the whole time since we we gained our independence. Then I became an adult. My generation was born into a 14 trillion dollar debt and that we will be paying off for the rest of our lives. For better or worse, sometimes I dream about us defaulting on this debt. It would be better then paying for the baby boomer's idiocy. If only taxation could work in a way where you could only be taxed for policies passed after the point you are allowed to vote.

Comment Re:nVidia Consumer Card (Score 1) 110

I picked up an nVidia GTX 970 about a month ago, and though I had to tinker a little bit with Debian to get it up and running, after I got the newest drivers installed it's been running rock solid and I haven't noticed much of a difference in performance between Debian and Windows 7 (Maybe 4 more fps in a game on windows where the game is running with the fps in the 290s. This wasn't an ideal test though because the renderer on windows was DirectX 9, while on Linux it was OpenGL). To get it going in Jessie, the upcoming stable release, all you need to do is add experimental to your sources and apt-get -t experimental install nvidia-kernel-dkms. Experimental should be pinned by default so things won't get installed unless you are explicit.

Before I put the 970 in, I had been getting by with the integrated graphics in my i7-4770k. If you haven't built a new PC in a while, the capabilities of Intel's integrated graphics will blow you away. Yes, dedicated cards are still miles ahead in performance, but on the Haswell HD Graphics 4600 GPU I was able to play some pretty modern games at modest settings. The coolest thing about it though is the completely open source graphics drivers and stack on Linux. If you're looking for the best performance possible on a completely open source stack, Intel is your answer.

I own a laptop with an ATi graphics chipset and their drivers are absolute garbage. Their Linux driver causes visual artifacts all the time on a composited GUI, and the machine to crashes on shutdown one out of 5 times with fglrx dumping core causing the machine to never shut off (and potentially turn my laptop bag into a toaster oven x_x). I guess I'm going to return to the open source radeon drivers now that I can scratch my gaming itch on the desktop.

Comment Re:bean counters ruin another company (Score 2) 230

I really don't see that. Manufacturing in the USA typically runs Lean and often Cell based with process changes made in minutes. The people also tend to have a wider range of skills and experience. The states with unions pretty much don't do any more manufacturing.

I don't know if all shops work this way, but I work as a CNC lathe toolsetter and programmer in a non-union shop in New Jersey and what you say is pretty accurate based on my experience. Most of our operators will typically run a cell of 2 to 4 machines. As long as there are more contracts than we have machines (which is always, or we'd be out of business) we are constantly breaking down setups and retooling our machines for the next production run. We produce hundereds of different parts for some of our clients, and print revisions happen somewhat regularly. When we get a revised print, it usually only means we have to change a couple numbers in the g-code to define the new toolpath and tool the machine exactly how we did before the revision. While it may present an oppertunity to re-negotiate, It is hardly something we are willing to loose a contract over.

Now, I'm sure making microprocessors is quite a bit more sophisticated, but I can imagine that the biggest difference between different model CPUs built on the same process would be the code controlling the machine (automagically generated by CAM software from a CAD model), and they can probably be switched without making significant physical changes to the machine itself. If I remember correctly, it can easily take a couple years of calibration before a fab can produce anything reliable consistantly. I imagine once those machines are set up, they probably spend most of their time worrying about an earthquake happening on the other side of the world, not about loading a new program onto it.

- Chinese companies have the capability of rapidly adjusting manufacturing processes as a result of last minute design changes. While technically US companies have this ability, most companies just won't do it (in some cases labor unions are the biggest hindrance because they only permit their members to do one job and one job only, and instead of re-allocating existing labor, they're forced to hire new people, which just isn't economical or practical.)

- Even though it is possible to find the required skill set in the US, often the workers you do find aren't as good at a particular task as some people who live overseas and do that kind of work all the time. For example, how many Americans do you know that are good at operating the machinery used for making textiles? Chances are, they're harder to find than in China, but if you really wanted to get it done here, you could, just you'll pay more, it'll take longer, and the craftsmanship probably won't be as good.

I'd never trust any of this crap. All of these captains of industry complain about how few skilled workers we have here in the US - be it tech, manufacturing, whatever. All they really want is to pay as little for the labor as possible, and as long as it costs less in China, they will keep making up excuses and funding think-tanks to support their point of view. If they were trying to have their products manufactured with the best craftsmanship possible, by the most skilled workers they could employ, they wouldn't be outsourcing them to the cheapest place they could find. I'm not going to be that guy that says we do everything best in the US, but doing things best is not why we are outsourcing to China either.

Comment Re:In IT, remember to wash your hands (Score 1) 153

This reminds me of my mechanic's old Snap-On MODIS II OBD2 diagnostics machine. The thing is literally a handheld computer (heavy and bulky) except instead of a keyboard and mouse it has 6 buttons. When you plug it in, it takes 5-10 minutes to boot up Windows 98, then eventually the front end software starts up. It's a terrible hack of a machine.

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