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Comment Re:Tabs are redundant these days (Score 1) 391

I believe you mean 4.8 MiB, not 4.8 MB.

Back then, the term mibibyte hadn't been invented, but yes, when they were referred to as 4.8 it was a binary and not a decimal unit.

Standard disk size then was 5 MB, which was about 4.8 MiB

When? The disks I'm thinking of came as a removable platter with a published capacity of initially 2.4 MB (or what would now be called mibibytes), increasing with later models to 4.8 MB.

Comment Re:Spaces are for people who don't understand tabs (Score 1) 391

When do you use tabs outside of the beginning of a line? The only time I've seen them elsewhere is when people are trying to align columns. And that's a problem with the editor not properly supporting column formatting, not a problem with tabs.

But how do you expect the editor to support column formatting? That is, not how does the editor effect it on screen, but how does it then save the result in a file?

Contrary to what the OP said, column formatting is precisely the whole point of tabs. That's what they were designed for, going right back into the days of mechanical typewriters.

I agree with OP. Tab-challenged people either never learned how to use them properly and make up arguments to excuse their ignorance/misuse, or just want to force their formatting preferences onto other people.

Bollocks! It's not a question of being tab-challenged, or ignorance or misuse. The whole idea of varying the size of tabs to produce an indent which adjusts to personal preference is terminally broken. Yes, it would theoretically be possible, but it requires incredible discipline from your entire programming team, keeping careful track of something which they can't even see! In practice, it just doesn't work.

As a wise other poster said, tabs work purely in theory - in practice they're a mess.

As soon as people started varying tabs from their default value of 8 spaces they lost their usefulness. Their only real value was as a primitive form of data compression, and it really isn't needed now.

Comment Re:Tabspaces? (Score 3, Insightful) 391

That is one of the most annoying things an editor can do IMO (and if someone has put it as a default in the global .vimrc they need to die a slow painful death). If my next line is in an outer block it means i have to delete the damn indentation which is a lot more labour intensive than putting some in in the first place!

Your average editor which does auto-indentation like this generally has enough smarts to realise it needs to go back a level when you finish a block. You keep typing and your desired and configured indentation just happens.

Even if it didn't (and why would you use an editor which couldn't manage it?) it would still be less work to reduce by one level of indent than to insert N-1 levels.

Comment Re:Spaces are for people who don't understand tabs (Score 4, Insightful) 391

It's a nice idea in theory, but it's never worked - nor is it the point of tabs.
If all indents were always solely at the beginning of a line, and always an exact multiple of whatever N you've chosen then it might have a chance, but they aren't and so it just breaks.

Don't mess with the size of a tab character - you'll just cause pain.

Comment Tabs are redundant these days (Score 1) 391

A long, long time ago, in a data centre far, far away...

Back in the day, a multi-user system might have had a single 4.8M hard disk, shared between the operating system and all its users. It made sense to use tabs instead of lots of spaces for indents, because each tab saved you 8 spaces - a pretty good compression ratio, and a worthwhile saving in disk usage.

Then came a period of chaos, where people started muddling up their desired indent with the size of a tab. Decent editors always let you separate the two, but poor quality editors confused them, and so you ended up with tabs being re-defined as 4 characters, or even sillier things.

Given today's disk capacities, there is really no point in bothering with characters in your source files to achieve indents. Be specific, and have however many spaces you want. A decent text editor will let you configure the Tab key to give you whatever indent you want, but for goodness sake configure it to do it by way of spaces.

Back before the sizes of tabs got confused, I've used editors which would do the following:

First press of Tab - insert 4 spaces.
Second press - remove the 4 spaces and insert a hard TAB
Third press - add 4 spaces.

etc. It was all very clever, but unnecessary now.

Comment Re: The problem with GPL (Score 1) 238

The buyer would be forced to give away the asset for free which is why the lawyers I met do not like it.

What makes you think it's their asset? It's GPL'd code; it's a derived work per copyright law, and belongs to the original author.

Not quite. Copyright in the original code vests with the original author. Copyright in the modifications vests with the modifier. The modifier has no requirement on him to redistribute the code at all - he can just use it in house for whatever reason he wants. No-one has a right to demand a copy of it.

If however the modifier chooses to distribute the modified version of the code - either free of charge, or charging as much money for it as he likes - then he must pass on the same permissions to the recipient. Even having distributed it, there is still no requirement on him to give copies to anyone other than those he chooses to give them to - either because he likes them, or because they have paid him loads of dosh. He does however have to pass on all the source code, either at the same time as he provides the executable, or with an offer to provide it later. This of course is how he got the source code in the first place.

Despite the GP's repeated claim, he doesn't have to give it away to anyone.

Comment Re: The problem with GPL (Score 1) 238

Technically if I sold my company that is a redistribution according to the GPL.

Presumably you mean, "If I were to take some GPL software, add to it, and then sell my rights in it to someone else, then I could not grant them permission to add restrictions to the use of the GPL software." Quite correct. That's the point of the GPL.

The buyer would be forced to give away the asset for free

You've promulgated this idea before, and it remains completely untrue. Read the GPL.

I am not saying I like EULa's from MS but I was making a point. I can link to com objects in a crappy VB written program but still can sell it.

And you can link to an LGPL library (the normal licence for a library) and still sell it. And indeed, you can link to a GPL library (if you can find one) and still sell it, albeit with some restrictions on the licence under which you sell it.

What if for example I use a GPL api call for printf (making this one up)

Yes, that's the trouble - you're making things up. It's called setting up a straw man. If you link to printf (typically coming from the library shipped with GNU C) then you are linking to an LGPL product and it imposes no requirements on you to open source your code.

You're muddling up two cases to try to make a non-existent point.

If you link an LGPL library into your code then there is no requirement for you to make your code open source.

If you take a GPL product (which generally isn't a linkable library - it's a complete implementation of something), modify it, and then want to sell it, you can't sell it under a licence any more restrictive than the one which you received it under. There is no requirement on you to let anyone else have a copy of it at all, nor is there any restriction on you selling it.

Nobody forces you to make modifications to a GPL product, but if you choose to do so, and want to redistribute it, then you can't take permissions away from others. That's eminently reasonable.

Comment Re: The problem with GPL (Score 1) 238

Who the hell would buy my asset if they had to give it away to competitors for free?

You don't have to give it away to anyone.

Sure the code is free for the user but not for the developers or owner which is my point. BSD is free for both as tax payers came from both.

It's anyone's guess what either of these sentences is meant to mean.

I think it's immoral to force people to do things they don't want to do.

True enough, but since no-one is forcing anyone to do anything, not really relevant to the issue under discussion.

I think perhaps you should actually read the GPL carefully. You have an awful lot of misconceptions about it. Summarised in a rather simplified form it says,

"Here's some code. You can do anything you like with it except restrict what other people can do with it."

Yes, that annoys freeloaders like Microsoft who would prefer to take free code and then put commercial restrictions on it, but it's an eminently fair arrangement.

Comment Re: The problem with GPL (Score 1) 238

No it does not. I can not use it at work.

There's nothing intrinsic in the GPL which prevents you using it at work. Your employer may have such a restriction, but that's a feature of your employer, not of the GPL.

If I write a program and want to link to a GPL library it then infects my programs forcing me to open source it.

Saying "infects" is using a deliberately emotive word to try to hide the truth.

Two points here.

1) Libraries generally use the LGPL for precisely this reason.

2) Even if you've found a library licensed under the GPL, it doesn't require you to open source your program. However, if you choose to distribute the program then you need to pass on the same permissions as you were granted. That's kind of the point of the licence.

I can not sell my product or company either which makes the asset value to 0.

Completely untrue. The GPL explicitly permits the sale of GPLed software.

Comment Re:Best response to telemarketers (Score 3, Interesting) 105

When a call says "Internat" in the caller ID, I answer in French and refuse to speak anything other than French. (The only people I know who are abroad and phone me by conventional means are French - all those living further afield use Skype.)

It's quite fun. My French isn't that good, but it's better than that of the average scammer.

Comment Re:Other poll ideas (Score 1) 599

Does it count if I used to help manufacture the original CGI cards for IBM PCs?

Don't you mean CGA rather than CGI?

I used to maintain an application which used its successor, the original EGA card, in IBM XT machines. That involved some quite clever assembler in order to be able to write text to the screen at an acceptable speed. The in-built BIOS/MS-DOS functionality was unusable crap.

Comment Re:Blame Digital's RT11 for the backslash (Score 1) 141

Would dir /s produce a listing of all subdirectories of the current working directory?

Yes. A space followed by a slash would always be interpreted as a switch introducer.

Directory separators generally occur in the middle of a string, the only exception being when you want to talk about the root directory of a drive, without specifying which drive you want.

You use "C:/" to mean the root directory of C. It would be quite natural to use ":/" to mean the root directory of whatever drive is current.

It's not as if all this hadn't been done before - Microsoft were just never very good at reading manuals and learning from what had gone before. (See their totally brain-dead handling of daylight saving time.)

Comment Re:Blame Digital's RT11 for the backslash (Score 1) 141

And indeed, it was used as a switch character in VMS too. The error however was in changing the directory separator character (which in underlying MS-DOS is still "/") to the totally unsuitable "\".

I remember the early OS/2 development kit tools, where clearly a dictat had gone out to the developers saying that both "-" and "/" were to be used as switch characters. The trouble was, they hadn't done it properly by implementing some library code, but instead each tool developer had done it himself. The end result was that some accepted "-", some accepted "/", some accepted both, and some would take one or the other, but not both in the same command line. A horrible mess.

It would not have been hard though to allow "/" to be used as a switch character to COMMAND.COM, whilst still retaining its use as a directory separator.

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