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Comment Re: Mint (Score 1) 325

What is with this obsession of Linux users to want everyone to be "advanced users"? It's precisely because of that, that Linux doesn't have a bigger marketshare

Same reason we don't teach primary school pupils and university degree math in the same classroom or why NFL teams don't want to train against high school freshmen or Michelin chefs aren't interested in advice from their colleagues at McDonald's. You're not contributing anything useful at this level, you're just in the way. It's open source, people don't get paid per copy they sell. Most aren't trying to win a popularity contest. They're looking for a professional community/tool to support them and don't want it dumbed down to be newbie friendly.

And some of them aren't exactly going to apologize for it either, in their minds you're the one butting in on a place you don't belong, like trying to get advice at a doctor's conference instead of scheduling an appointment. It doesn't help that some users act like you're their support staff and expect them to drop whatever they're doing to help you. It's very tempting to basically say we don't give a shit. Of course there are some will also immediately jump to the conclusion that any problem you have is because you're an idiot, just like all the other idiots.

Most software try to separate newbies from experts, developers from users with varying degrees of success since they're not exactly crystal clear definitions or mutually exclusive categories. And without one bishop in the cathedral to swing the ban hammer, it's not so easy getting rid of destructive elements. It usually takes some rather extremely obnoxious behavior to make a whole community throw you out. But if this is approaching TL;DR, well they don't want you there and market share isn't an important metric for them. Why should it be?

Comment Re:You don't want this to succed (Score 1) 261

Leaving aside the fact it's rarely the case you can just sign away liability..

The GPL only applies if you decide to accept its conditions. Just installing Ubuntu doesn't mean you've agreed to the GPL and, as such, Canonical has anything to point at if your Nuclear Reactor has a meltdown because a bug in Unity swapped the "Drop fuel rods/Raise fuel rods" buttons by accident.

Sure, you might give up your right to sue if you subsequently redistribute Ubuntu to others. But even then... like I said, it's rare you can just sign away liability.

Comment Re:Wow (Score 1) 261

Scrollwheels used to work fine. Then some idiots at Canonical and GNOME decided to redesign the scrollbar, on the grounds we don't need it any more because we have scrollwheels, despite the fact that, actually, no, quite often we don't, and in the course of effing up the scrollbar they managed to eff up the mousewheel at the same time.

I still don't know why they didn't just revert to how things were. They fixed a problem that doesn't exist, and appear to be too stubborn to admit they made a mistake.

Comment Depends on the car analogy (Score 1) 325

I've been lurking here for years and seen many recommendations for a Linux flavor that works. What I'm really looking for is Linux that works without constant under-the-hood tweaking

I think the question really requires taking a step back and looking at what a distro is and does. Because if you're coming in from another OS I'd say there's three levels of changes and the distro-level is probably the least important.

1. Applications: Do your applications run under Linux or do they have functional equivalents like web services you'd be happy with. If you've heard about WINE, then stop because Windows emulation is full of quirks. It's a tool for users that really, really don't want to run Windows even if it has 10x the issues of running Windows software on Windows. No distro is going to help you if after banging your head on GIMP and Krita you realize that no, I really need Photoshop or anything else with less than a platinum rating on WINE. And even then it can break in the next update.

2. Desktop environment (DE), this is pretty much how the OS part of the interface will look like for you. No matter which one you pick it won't be like Windows or OS X. If a distro ships a DE, it'll probably look and feel pretty much the same across distros. If you don't like Gnome or KDE on Ubuntu there's not much point trying them again on SuSE, Mint or Debian. Granted, a few of these are almost like picking distros as I'd take Mint for Cinnamon and Ubuntu for Unity but far from all.

3. Quality of packaging, testing, support, upgrades, security patches, availability of backports and third party repositories, release schedule etc. basically a lot of the boring housekeeping and problem solving. For the most part, this is what distros do - they take what developers have made and wrap it up in packages for you. But if the developers haven't made the apps you want, you'll be tweaking your work process a lot. If they haven't made the DE the way you want, you'll be tweaking your OS interaction a lot. A good distro doesn't create fuss for you, but it doesn't really mean it'll work for you.

I'd just start with Ubuntu with Unity (the default) only because it's super common and see if you get past #1. If you do and don't like Unity I'd try Cinnamon, KDE, Gnome and XFCE, as far as I know they're all available as packages on Ubuntu. If you find something that looks right for you I'd move on to #3 and ask "What distro is the best to run [Cinnamon/Gnome/KDE/Unity/XFCE]?" Though I suspect that the answer will probably be one of the Mint or Ubuntu spins in most cases. There's not much point in going outside the beaten path if you just want to get started.

Comment Re:Ways to go yet (Score 1) 274

Then don't buy from there. They get the hint eventually.

But thinking about it, I've haven't seen any places with the tap and go hardware acutally doing a surcharge or a minimum. There might be some sort of agreement in the background with regards to that.

Plenty of places stick 50 cents on "normal" eftpos transactions if the amount is less than $10 though.

Comment Re:It will not happen (Score 2) 90

How the hell do you re-write something like that? An "if" statement keys on the value of a single variable and conditionally executes a function. There are some things for which there is only one solution. Someone might suggest "just cold-room it!" But how are they supposed to do that?

You mean cleanroom. Copyright protects one particular expression (implementation) not the underlying idea (functionality), so the point is not necessarily to come up with a different solution but to document that it has been done independently. Yes, that means they must find an "untainted" developer to write the new code but you can in great detail describe the functionality as long as you don't impose a particular implementation. It's even been done "after the fact" as evidence:

The court relied heavily on evidence NEC presented that compared a "clean room'' program with both the V20/30 and Intel 8086/88 microcode. NEC hired an independent engineer (Gary Davidian) to develop a set of microcode for the V20/30 without access to any other microcode. Because Davidian's version of the microcode was similar in many regards to both the Intel and NEC microcodes, the court found it likely that those similarities were dictated not by copying of Intel's microcode, but rather by functional constraints of the hardware, the architecture, and the need for 8086/88 compatibility.

The documentation is a pain in the butt, but the legal reasoning around it isn't so bad.

Comment Re:What was the old license model? (Score 1) 90

No issues linking to OpenSSL so long as you obey the terms of the OpenSSL license in the binary distribution of OpenSSL, and the GPL in the terms of the distribution of the software linking to openssl.

Doesn't work that way... then you could say that your "licensed for non-commercial use" code is distributed for $0, I'm just charging for my code and your restriction can't extend to my code. You'd get rid of all license restrictions by "librarifying" it. Distribution is not the only exclusive right in copyright, so is preparing derived works and running something as one program in the same memory space is definitively that.

Granted you've moved the primary violation over to the end user, who may or may not be able to claim fair use but as an organized means of license circumvention I'd say you'd get in legal trouble for vicarious copyright infringement. That's the legal theory they've used to go after centralized P2P and torrent sites, even though the torrent sites themselves don't commit primary violations they just benefit from them.

Consider it a bit this way, many things can be created from legal chemicals. That doesn't mean you can create one-click "meth lab kits" and act like you're just selling bits and pieces that by themselves are legal. Not even you split them into "Meth lab part 1" and "Meth lab part 2". It would be the same with OpenSSL and GPL code, legally you can distribute one or the other. But once it becomes a DIY copyright violation kit, you get in trouble.

Comment Knoppix (though maybe not a distro) (Score 1) 325

I suggest running Knoppix from a CDROM or DVD.
Unless you specifically tell it to it's not going to change anything on your hard disk. You are not going to mess anything up by accident.
If you want to keep stuff save it to a USB disk, or even run Knoppix from a USB disk.
I've seen a lot of people who had never used linux before run knoppix with no trouble.

Comment Re:They are concerned about lost tax revenue? (Score 1) 274

Where is it written that a government *MUST* tax sales?

Because relying on import duties caused pissed off shipowners to send the Fourth Crusade to hit Constantinople and relying on a single commodity has really fucked over Venezuela. The simple, all eggs in one basket ways have been tried so if a society wants to fund infrastructure their governing body has to grab cash wherever they can find it while pissing off the minority of the people.

This also gets into the "mark of the beast" territory from Christian tradition ... religion does play a part in this

Oh fucking hell get a grip - NRA shit has rotted your brain. As for your sig, your popgun is not going to protect you from artillery deployed by the National Guard (you know the guys, the militia the second amendment is actually about and not some rifle club gone feral while run by a traitor (Oliver North)). You are free because a LOT of people around you value freedom and your popgun has nothing to do with it no matter how impressive it looks.

Comment Backhoe - public enemy number one! (Score 1) 274

It doesn't even need a disaster. In a few situations it's required no more than someone digging in the wrong place to kill a link between a city and where the funds are being processed. The trend is towards processing in less locations so fragility is increasing.
I expect a major storm hitting Manilla would fuck up the payment processing of a large number of US based banks and a few others. Consider the hard drive shortage when Bangkok got flooded only for communication.

Comment Re:tracking (Score 4, Informative) 274

For those Americans confused by the above "chop-chop" is tobacco sold outside the mainstream so not subject to very high rates of tax on over the counter tobacco products. While there is likely to be a massive black market it's probably less than the tax even just Apple avoids in Australia.

Comment Re:tracking (Score 2) 274

What this kind of paranoid person doesn't understand is that they can already track you to an incredible degree

In Australia not so much. People disappear all the time just because they don't want to be found. Sometimes (eg. battered wives with a homicidal spouse looking for them for extreme examples (which do happen)) it's not a bad thing.
I think you'll find it's not unheard of in the USA either despite efforts to track people getting onto busses etc.
There are still a lot of cash in hand jobs so it's possible to get by with no identification in a lot of places apparently.

Comment I concur I saw a similar effect (Score 1) 300

Not only if you put a lot of people from Muslim country concentrated in the same place their culture will tend to dominate, but my (french catholic) family living in a dominant Muslim area of France (banlieue of Paris with HLM) was influenced back by the culture. We ate couscous with merguez , and in fact sometimes my mother was saying "Inch'Allah" in place of the equivalent french expression. We were all born in other palce... But after living there 20 years some aspect imprinted onto us. I don't find that negative either to be frank, I am happy I had aspect of the muslim culture imprinted onto me.

Comment Re:4k? (Score 1) 130

There are two ways a game can respond to screen resoloution changes. One is to keep the view the same but draw it in more detail. That works pretty well for realtime-rended 3D games but for 2D tile based games like starcraft it would mean having extra copies of all the artwork or using ugly scaling.

The other is to give players with higher resolution screens more stuff on-screen at once (like how most desktop environments worked). The difficult thing with that is especially in a combat-focussed game seeing more at once gives you an obvious advantage.

Or they can just choose to design for a fixed resolution. Starcraft was fixed 640x480.

Comment Re:I really don't understand the scale model thing (Score 1) 136

We should probably be designing things to not fail.

Testing is part of that. About the most obvious example is Edison not designing a perfect lightbulb on day one.
Refer to my post above about why aircraft scale models are still used. Simulating how the design works on a computer is still prone to producing results that diverge from reality unless you get a bit of feedback on what sort of modelling applies. Turbulent flow is a pain, laminar flow is not as simple as you would think and once things go supersonic many things that you would think are obvious get turned inside out (eg. subsonic nozzle converges, supersonic diverges such as the nozzles on the Saturn V).

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