Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 Internet speed test! ×

Comment Please re-word: Jack Wallen's Best Linux Distros (Score 4, Interesting) 224

This article certainly does not reflect what I perceive are the best distros and certainly does not elaborate or go far enough to compare the different capabilities with an extended list of other distros in a matrix.

For me, the proposed comparison criteria would be:
-user able to create customized live thumb image with a reasonable amount of time
-user able to update the packages quickly and easily
-user able to find packages of interest quickly and easily
-user able to create own packages quickly and easily
-desktop agnostic. No default desktop. Users must choose themselves which one they want.
-user documentation up-to-date enough to most relevant and trending Linux Distros issues: security configuration for server and non-server alike, desktop, printer, network, filesystems, media player softwares, peer-to-peer softwares, digital-freedom and anonymity.

Arch IMHO is the best. It covers the above with archiso, pacman, yaourt, kde/gnome/other desktops, archwiki covers how to make packages easily and make them available through "Arch User Repositories"(AUR) and installing them through yaourt.
b2im tool for manjaro was the closest and fastest way to customize a thumb-image, but lacked support for customizing an image with AUR packages. archiso can be customized with AUR packages.

Debian Sid is equivalent, but I have classified it as second-best because it takes more time to create & customize a live thumb image especially with an extra persistent partition on the thumb itself. It should be straightforward to do and yet it still is not straightforward to do. live-build takes more than a couple of weeks to customize and it is complex procedure to succeed with both bios and uefi.

Antergos and Manjaro were inspired from Arch. Parrot, Backtrack, Kali, Ubuntu were inspired from Debian BUT ARE NOT DEBIAN. Dare I say a LINUX DISTRO is like a food to be prepared and consumed. If that is the case, which would you prefer depends on your personality. If you prefer to prepare your food yourself, you will go to a grocery store with fresh, unprocessed food products(i.e. Arch/Debian/Fedora), but if you are in a hurry/tired then you could possibly prefer something prepared for you(i.e. Redhat, Ubuntu, Parrot, Kali, Manjaro, Antergos.)

I wouldn't impose my opinion on others to use a particular distro, but I am of the opinion everyone would be healthier by preparing/using the fresh produce and straight from the source: Arch, Debian, Fedora. When you go with the faster food(i.e. Redhat, Ubuntu, Parrot, Kali, Manjaro, Antergos) there are always consequences/constraints, less-recent packages, vendor-lock-in/"take or leave it".

Comment how much smalltalk costed when reached market $$$ (Score 1) 343

Smalltalk "Object-Oriented" versus C++ "Object-Oriented" versus golang types versus other languages?
It's not that simple a question really.

We all use some programming languages and related grammar mechanisms to get some sense of a solution delivered.
Smalltalk may be valid as an OO language, but I recall why I did not adopt it as my primary tool when it was first introduced.
Crazy expensive!!! Software price to acquire it was more exclusive than other offerings.
GUI apis within the ide were text-based not Windows-based which wasn't impressive compared to existing X-Window/Unix offerings with C/C++ at the time. Documentation for it was a well-kept secret behind a paywall so there wasn't any motivation for anyone to learn it even if they didn't have the means to acquire it.
GNU smalltalk only appeared much later, but no killer open-source apps surfaced that used it and smalltalk didn't attract other developers to consider using by being inspired by example source code. Not enough useful sample source code out in the wild as open-source.

As an example of a killer open-source app with a great influence for developers to flock to it: bittorrent which uses python and gtk for the gui api.

As another example of another killer open-source app with a great influence for developers to flock to it: docker which uses golang(Google Go) and virtual machine & virtualization apis. golang is my go-to programming language to get things done these days. I prefer it over c++ or java every day of the week. golang lacks UML round-trip tools found in c++ and java, but developers are still flocking to it for certain niche purposes at the moment, but eventually the depth and breadth of the golang offerings will match everything found in c++/java.

Ultimately, if a proposed programming language tool isn't open-source and free and run on every piece of existing hardware by default, it will never fly and SMALLTALK did not fly. It crashed and burned.

Comment Re:A poor craftsman blames his tools. (Score 1) 531

I agree and would like to re-enforce this with a concrete example that recently occurred. I completed a first phase of an appliance using golang and it has been straightforward to design and implement. The second phase however needs a more enlightened view of the design from which I can quickly iterate behaviour and structure changes. I prefer UML collaboration/communication diagrams for such refactoring considering the grown file count and lines of code involved.
My brain can only remember so much in one shot so these CASE tools become essential after a while for me. I have failed to find a decent UML modeler tool for golang. There are no golang round-trip engineering UML CASE tools out there. Plantuml was very close, but lacked golang support and does not have collaboration/communication diagram capability. In tools like Rational and Visual Paradigm you can flip the view from sequential diagram to communication diagram, but layout tweaking is always necessary to better reflect the designer's vision of the behaviour/structure of a system/subsystem.

A lack of good tools slows our ability to improve systems. Time is precious. Golang is a great language, but some of its surrounding toolset to accelerate everybody's ability to maintain and build larger more complex systems are lacking and in this particular case golang lacks UML support. You can still achieve a great deal, but when communicating larger more complex systems to a team greater than one person, you need tools to communicate your proposed maintenance/requirements/use case changes effectively and UML for golang would be exactly that. I'm sure prodigies will state that "if you're missing the tool, just create it yourself". If a tool can be created within a reasonable time-frame by myself, I would. UML/CASE tools aren't something I can build over a week or weekend.

For those discussing php, even php doesn't have UML/CASE tools that provide round-trip engineering for it which constrains it to be used for smaller systems.
C++ and Java both have strong UML/CASE round-trip engineering support, but aren't as enjoyable to work with on smaller projects in my humble opinion. Smaller projects usually grow to involve more that one person and that's where UML/CASE tools shine.

Going back to the original question are the flawed languages creating bad software? The languages themselves might not be entirely flawed, but as we are human and are certainly flawed, we need support to prevent/warn us we are mistaken as early as possible before our handicrafts reach production.
UML/CASE helps us to clarify or perception of the behaviour/structure to others within a team. If there is no team or UML/CASE or decent tools surrounding the programming language, there is a higher probability things will get out of hand because of the inability to transfer the knowledge of the system away from the original creator of the system.

Comment don't forget the detailed pdf report (Score 1) 115

There is a more detailed pdf available to this:

Interactive Pollution Map shows Harbin, Changchun, Shenyang, Beijing among a multitude of others:

Perhaps the wind and precipitation levels and disrupt the ability to measure the actual emitted pollutions in the regions, but my personal experience going to China varied. I was able to live happily there for 3 years and my immune system slowly deteriorated to the point had coughs, sore throats, ear aches and ultimately constant sinus congestion. The locals that live there adapted by eating various foods and intaking known remedies to allow them to cope, but everyone would agree there are overcast(low stratus cloud) days we all feel like zombies and everyone is suffering. I recently returned to China for a two-week vacation in Changchun, for roughly half the trip I was bed-ridden because of pollution-related and jetlag. Perhaps it's just because I'm getting older and my body can't take it as much, but as soon as I returned back to Canada, everything cleared up in a week or so and I was healthy again.

I appreciate all this research about those polluted cities. It's certainly progress to help these polluted cities in order for everyone to not cope, but to enjoy healthy lives. I believe a great number of people don't have the courage to speak up about this issue mainly because many believe "that's life...live with it" and don't try to fix it. People are more productive when they have their good health; it's in their interest to fix this problem.

Hats off for mentioning this issue on Slashdot.

Comment Re:free as in libre not as in beer (Score 1) 268

Options 1, 2, 3 may seem reasonable, but when there is no open-source that is adequate, it is an opportunity for those who want it to make it happen within open-source. Identifying the missing feature is important and crowdsourcing that feature request among other like-minded individuals seems to be working.

You're absolutely right about "When you don't have possession of the object code either and can't even choose to stay with the version you liked, you well and truly have no freedom." Here is an example of having no freedom to stay with a certain version of the binaries as stated by Trevor Pott which I respect a great deal for his lucidity and ability to to express it:
1)microsoft office tool bar changed to ribbon bar when nobody wanted it breaking the original agreement of service.
2)microsoft "unlimited one drive" cloud storage to "limited 5GB one drive" cloud storage breaking the original agreement of service.
This isn't just Microsoft. This the big 5 software and the big 5 telecom not listening to their customers. This is the big 5 software and big 5 telecom simply saying "take it or leave it" attitude/approach with their customers. You can see it in their billing arrangements no pre-paid credit cards accepted. You can see it when you move to different software/telecom providers, the big 5 software/big 5 telecom make it very painful to move. This is about doing everything to take away your digital freedom in subtle ways, preventing competition and preserving their cash cows.

You're absolutely right about "software as a service" being a threat to open-source and digital-freedom. As an example, OFFICE365 is attempting to replace office by offering everything through the web-browser. Oddly enough open365 was released recently. Is open365 entirely opensource? Can we install open365 within the lan? Can we build the open365 binaries ourselves? If so as you said we do preserve our digital freedom.

As for the Linux Advocate promoting non-free software on Linux, I disagree with his point of view because it defeats the purpose of going with an open-source operating system. Non-free software is exactly that NO DIGITAL FREEDOM. There has been a compromise made already, BINARY BLOB hardware drivers especially for cpu/motherboard/graphics cards/network card are have always been present and made available in order to simply use the operating-system, but above that is where the line is drawn. Most software-developers would tend to want to make those binary blobs go away, but for the sake of practicality, many throw in the towel and use those binary blobs. Most gamer fans would tend to throw away the os and run windows to get their games running. Valve Steam is certainly a wonderful entry point for gamers to be introduced to Linux and is acceptable provided it resides in a strict jail ensuring the rest of the normal GNU/Linux software repos remain unaffected by its use and especially the learning and "under-the-hood" "do-it-yourself" aspects of GNU/Linux.

HOW DID THE BIG 5 TELECOM GET AWAY WITH THAT? "REGULATORY CAPTURE". "Regulatory capture" is another very subtle example of destroying digital freedom through the use of political power.
The thing about using non-free software and using the same-old same-old internet service providers means they remain cash cows without any breathing room for "incumbents" or disruptive technology players. The illusion of room for opportunity in those niche markets are there, but the reality is those big 5 software and telecom players in either U.S.A. or any other country just buy out/choke any of competition. Even anti-trust commissions don't stop these big 5 software and telecom players. Take a look at Europe's effort to suppress Microsoft and Google and China's effort to suppress Google. None of these place a significant dent on their abilities to quash their competitors or encourage competition in their dominant market spaces(os, office, search engine, mobile devices, telecom).
Everyone knows competition in telecom in the states is just an illusion, it's just Bell broken up into little subdivisions everywhere and the same with canada.

Here is an example of how the BIG BELL crushes their competition. Windmobile in Canada is a small player in the cell phone service and they can only use a specific frequency spectrum which limits their capability You can't use a windmobile phone in the basement or two floors down from the ground floor. You can't
a windmobile phone outside the city centres. They don't have the coverage, but more importantly they are not permitted to use the same frequencies that Bell/Rogers use that can reach the basement or two floors down from the ground floor. They don't have the license for these frequencies. So does the consumer have the freedom to choose? Not really, go with windmobile and you're stuck with make/receiving phone calls above ground and in city centres. Go in underground parking or out of town and you're stuck without a phone without realizing it.

Consumers need to become vigilant about this.
Consumers need to become politically active about these.

When some idiot says we shouldn't see non-free software as such a big deal damaging our digital freedoms, we shouldn't just let them say so otherwise just a few years from now everything you do digitally will require you to pay for including when your phone auto-tweets the fact you're in a shitter somewhere in kookabura land when you didn't want that. It will be too late because you let that happen because you didn't care when people were giving the heads up about digital freedoms.

Comment Pulling tight the money purse strings (Score 1) 45

Welcome to Capitalism. If there is no money to be made in placing effort to be duly diligent about security, then no effort will be placed. That simple.
That's what the SNAFU is in the U.S.A. and in Canada. I can't confirm anywhere else. I'm in a privileged position to influence and have the ear of some decision making clients on these matters, but if it hurts their pocket, they just stick their heads back in the sand and say "la la la I'm not hearing you." I got paid for providing them advice, they get paid to keep the company afloat by making the tough decisions.

Businesses buy hardware known to only be good for a couple of years, but stretch it for 10 maybe 20 years if they can get away with it.
Ditto for software PURCHASES. Companies stay afloat by continuously resolving crises rather than preventing them.

A strong percentage of businesses rely on I.T. to manage facilitate their workflow, but that doesn't matter. That's life.

I don't agree with this, but that's the observation about those holding the strings to the money purse.


Comment Re:Commence Pedantry (Score 1) 492

What you call "Pedantic" which means to be "overly concerned with minute details",
I call being vigilant towards the subtle hopefully under-the-radar tactics Microsoft attempts to use to "Embrace, Extend, Extinguish" GNU/Linux.
GNU/Linux represents our best interests with respect, preserve and protect to DIGITAL FREEDOMS. MICROSOFT and CANONICAL in this particular arrangement do not.

To demonstrate this further:
0)Microsoft Windows 10 is not open-source. The part that runs the win64 shell for the MS/Canonical stuff is not open-source either.

1)BUILDING YOUR OWN CUSTOMIZED ISO TO INSTALL YOUR CUSTOMIZED OPERATING SYSTEM: I will assume MS/CANONICAL are not going to port live-build, archiso, buildiso
or b2im. These tools are about building custom .iso images that you can build your own bootable thumb drives with. THAT IS DIGITAL FREEDOM. Will these be built to create win64-based CANONICAL iso images with windows 10 included? Let me know when this happens. WHEN HELL FREEZES OVER.

2)BACKWARD COMPATIBILITY/SUPPORT FOR LEGACY OS: Microsoft/CANONICAL do not have the consumers' interests at heart. They have only Microsoft's interests at heart. Their feature has not been demonstrated to work on legacy windows os' nor will Microsoft/Canonical invest any effort towards this. It makes no business sense for them. On the other hand, alternative capability called "MSys2" works on a greater number of Windows OS's NOT JUST Windows 10 in 32-bit and 64-bit. MSys2 behaves exactly the same as ArchLinux with respect to Linux Filesystem Hierarchy, package manager(pacman), compiler tools and GUI API's(GTK/GTKMM).

3)Microsoft's attempt to pollute the open-source code base with win64-only api calls encouraging vendor lock-in. As a result brainshare will increase their efforts/dependency on win64 api calls. That's not in the interest of DIGITAL FREEDOM to encourage or adopt any such thing.
4)Microsoft's attempt to EXTEND the bells and whistles(MOSTLY GUI or PRODUCTIVITY add-ons) with win64-only api calls with their offering further encouraging vendor lock-in.
5)Deliberately missing pieces in the GNU/win64 platform to further encourage/force developers to pay for those missing pieces which they had for free on the regular GNU/LINUX. THAT'S THE HOOK. That's not in the interest of DIGITAL FREEDOM either.

I wouldn't touch this stuff because the behaviour and the entire original offering which is the original GNU/Linux is not exactly the same with respect to preserving your YOUR DIGITAL FREEDOM.

SUMMING IT UP: Don't touch anything to do with Microsoft api's because it leads consumers/developers to a path of contraints/restrictions and vendor lock-in and some kind of Microsoft TAXES ultimately.

You won't find any such taxes within the original GNU/Linux with all its DIGITAL FREEDOMS preserved intact. The original ArchLinux/Debian/Fedora/Suse are what you are looking for. NOT WINDOWS 10.

Comment Re:Commence Pedantry (Score 1, Insightful) 492

If I recall correctly, the reason we call our usual distros like Fedora GNU/Linux or Debian GNU/Linux or Arch GNU/Linux is because the GNU part is the userspace stuff and the Linux part is the kernel.

Since the Linux kernel has been replaced with the Microsoft Win64 OS Kernel they could call it "GNU/MS-Win64". There is one huge problem with this.
It's the perfect definition of an oxymoron because GNU which in itself is the very definition of Libre Digital Freedom versus the very opposite that is Microsoft vendor restriction, lock-in hiding source code wherever Microsoft sees fit. Note how they haven't released it as open-source yet. Note they haven't released MS-Win64 as open-source yet either.

Consumers beware of Microsoft. I could understand Canonical's position. They're hurting for cash it seems. It reminds me of all the people working for Trump's propaganda machine to for him. They must have been paid a lot of money to help Trump gain so much reddit.com space and along with those paid to throw mud at Trump's opponents. It this case it's Microsoft doing their best to pay money for making Microsoft look like they love Linux when in fact and behind the scenes they are extorting people for patent violations because they are using Linux or using anything not Microsoft-based they haven't paid MS a levy/tariff for. Microsoft also likes to make all the other non-Microsoft affiliated GNU/Linux distros look less appealing by hiring people to throw mud at those non-Microsoft affiliated GNU/Linux distros. After all GNU/Linux is not aligned with Microsoft's ambitions of Canonical UBUNTU/Win64.

I wouldn't recommend anything Microsoft to anyone. That implies I won't recommend GNU/MS-Win64 or Canonical UBUNTU/Win64 to anyone anytime soon.

Comment impact of marijuana use on lucidity (Score 0) 307

More importantly is the impact on lucidity.
If you are under the influence of marijuana, odds are your capability to make decisions has been impacted.
For example, you're at a party, somebody first offers you some alcohol and you have a drink....LUCIDITY LEVEL DOWN.
Then, somebody offers you some marijuana and you inhale...LUCIDITY LEVEL DOWN.
Then, somebody offers you something else that's harder, you totally think you're in control, but you want to be friends with all these pretty people so you say what the hell. LUCIDITY LEVEL DOWN TO A POINT WHERE YOUR LIFE IS RUINED BECAUSE THE CRACK/COCAINE/HEROINE YOU JUST INGESTED TOOK OVER YOUR LIFE. Marijuana sales/marketers are certainly behind these articles being published and it exploits the weaknesses of our HUMAN NATURE. I would certainly keep my radar on about these individuals writing about such crap: Nicholas J. Jackson, Joshua D. Isen, Rubin Khoddam, Daniel Irons, Catherine Tuvblad, William G. Iacono, Matt McGue, Adrian Raine, Laura A. Baker. These guys might attempt to write another "twins-study finds no evidence that coffee provides beneficial effect for staying awake and promoting bowel movements". I would prefer to use their articles to wipe my bum after a bowel movement after drinking my coffee.

MORAL OF THE STORY: make your ancestors proud, value your life, keep your lucidity. There is nothing worth your while being around those people offering you so-called poisons legal or not. Go home to your family and thank God you're still alive with your whole head screwed on right. Attempt to contribute to society in meaningful ways.

Comment RULE #1: kernels updates without entire reinstalls (Score 1) 57

Lately, I have experience the greatest pain wasting enormous amounts of time flashing installing phones with different versions of Android, then different versions of Ubuntu touch. I also wasted time on small arm-based tv boxes and wanna-be-mini-pc-but-not arm-based boards. They all have something in common: kernel updates seem to require entire re-installs on their internal memory in order for them to behave as expected. THE BIGGEST PROBLEM is there are no consistent generic vanilla flavor kernels that run on all these small-form factor devices/boards making the updates and security/privacy a nightmare because these ARM-SOC manufacturers are not diligent about providing an easy to upgrade without re-install for ANDROID or GNU / Linux. ALL OF THEM HAVE DIFFERENT KERNELS. ALL OF THEM REQUIRE A DIFFERENT BUILD RECIPE WHICH IN MY EXPERIENCE HAVE ALL FAILED TO BUILD because of their entirely different build requirement personalities.

UNTIL ALL THE ARM DEVICE MANUFACTURERS GET THEIR ACT TOGETHER, I'M GOING TO CONTINUE BUYING INTEL/AMD DEVICES NOT ONLY FOR DESKTOP AND SERVER, BUT START BUYING INTEL/AMD FOR INTERNET OF THINGS DEVICES BECAUSE THEY SUPPORT GNU/LINUX AND EASILY UPGRADE WITHOUT RE-INSTALLING THE ENTIRE SYSTEM. For the sake of security, it's the only sane thing to do, otherwise you will be at risk and you will be exposed to present and upcoming ARM security vulnerabilities and the "take it or leave it" attitude that arm-based manufacturers have.

There is one excepion I have respect for Applied Micro ARM-based stuff is server quality, but VERY EXPENSIVE and in a different market.
At the opposite side of the spectrum: ROCKCHIP has a lot of work to do to make me buy their hardware and recommend it to others.

Comment Re: systemd is one reason not to use Debian. (Score 3, Interesting) 109

I use Debian unstable. It's wonderful with gnome and where necessary lxde is good too. Kali 2.0 on USB 3.0 boots up fast on 2 laptops, a server and desktop I tried. Intel and and CPUs. Systemd is looking good IMHO. The only problems I have are building Kali images for amd64 and armhf myself. It didn't build successfully for me. This points to some rough spots live-build. I'm also experiencing live-build pain directly on two boards armhf with ROCKCHIP. More docs and support from Rockchip directly would be nice.

Comment Don't let Mono wean developers away from Linux (Score 1) 355

Microsoft is the Anti-Christ. This tool does not benefit the community. Using gcc/c++ benefits the community. Using Mono only benefits Microsoft because that encourages everyone to try Mono and then the developers end of feeling limited on the Linux MONO IDE because it is deliberately crippled with less bells and whistles than the MICROSOFT WINDOWS-BASED .NET IDE.

The bottom-line long-term strategy for Microsoft is to suck money out of developers pockets on an ongoing basis. Their agenda about Linux was revealed years ago with the "halloween papers" their real strategy was "Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt" towards Linux;"Embrace, Extend, Extinguish" Linux. For as long as Linux afficionados remain vigilant, that's not going to happen if Linux developers continue to use gcc/g++. I clearly recommend ignoring all Microsoft offerings on an eternal basis. I look forward to the day that Microsoft is irrelevant in the software domain. Move on. Nothing to see here.

Comment Re:No worries mate (Score 2) 110

ONLY PHYSICAL ACCESS DIRECTLY IS THE BETTER APPROACH. In Canada, when you use a vdsl2 modem, it usually needs to be a BELL provided modem. The default password is something BELL provides to you to connect to their network. The wifi access/router access password can be changed yes.

Where problems arise that I have noticed recently are local wifi-hackers ddos'ing not only BELL vdsl2 modem wifi access points, but also if you have a bridged modem after that providing other wifi access points, then those wifi-hackers will ddos those also. I goes without saying, there is more than ddos'ing happening here. I wasn't really curious enough to sniff the actual traffic, but once I turned off both the bell wifi access point and the bridged modem's wifi access point, problems went away and the bandwidth and expected responsive connection behaviour was back to normal. If you really need wifi, turn it on for the limited time that you need it rather than all the time. That will minimize the attack surface.

Sure there are parameters for defending against ddos, separate vlans per user, etc, BUT firewalls on each computer on the lan is what really matters the most.
ADOBE FLASH is the biggest virus injector of them all. I'm happy Youtube doesn't use it anymore. I hope the other web sites get rid of ADOBE FLASH also.
There is no reason not to use open-source streaming servers like flumotion and encoders like ffmpeg/theora. daala video is coming soon I hope.

Slashdot Top Deals

The power to destroy a planet is insignificant when compared to the power of the Force. - Darth Vader