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Comment Re:Solution: Buy legislators. All of them. (Score 2) 170

True enough, but do you do your banking, internet searches and browsing, email, etc on your high-end preamp processor or printer? I didn't think so.

Smartphones are more and more becoming our primary computing devices and they're networked by definition. That makes them pretty dangerous devices to be casual about security updates on. The OEM's don't update them because nobody's pressuring them (enough) to do it. If Google simply advertised Nexus phones on the basis of their regular upgrade schedule, they might produce the kind of competition that would get the OEM's off their asses.

That said, the Android device market is a nasty space to operate in. Some OEM's have dozens of models. Whether they needed to produce them to compete in a highly competitive market - or whether they were just throwing stuff against the wall, the bottom line is that they can't practically keep them all up to date. Again, an informed public wouldn't buy them, but buy them they do. And the carriers are as much at fault for that as anyone...

Comment Re:White-washed submission (Score 1) 75

True enough when there are other choices available. If Windows were able to read ext2 as well as FAT without having to load special 3rd party drivers, then you might be able to determine what the 'value' of FAT on an SD card is. And, of course, there's the issue of how insane the FAT patent is, and that the code to implement FAT in Android is not Microsoft's at all...

But, no. I wouldn't pay $100 for the ability to read an SD card. I'd load a driver and use ext2. So the value of FAT to me is quite limited.

Comment Re:Really? (Score 1) 78

This would be a good thing - if Samsung were going to commit to security updates on their official refurbs for a reasonable lifetime based on the purchase of the refurb as a 'new' device for its purchaser. While a year old Samsung flagship might compare favorably with a new 'flagship killer' from OnePlus or ZTE or Asus, the new mid-ranger would at least offer a reasonable chance of keeping up with vital updates.

Comment Re:White-washed submission (Score 2) 75

What's worse is that you've already payed a patent royalty when you bought the card. But then you have to pay again for the ability to read it. That, IMO, is the biggest problem with data format patents. It's one thing to charge the producer of a file format a royalty - if they want to use the format, pay up. But it's another thing entirely to charge the consumer of a file another royalty. They didn't choose the format of the file, they simply bought it and want to be able to use it. We're not talking about a license for the software to read the file - we're talking about legally reverse-engineered software being slapped with a patent royalty.

The same applies to media codecs. If Apple or Amazon (or Google for that matter) want to sell you media files compressed with Microsoft's (or anyone else's) wonderful algorithm, they should pay for the privilege (assuming there's a valid patent on the algorithm). But at that point, the royalty's been paid, and the consumer shouldn't have to be restricted to playback on devices based on whether another royalty was paid.

Maybe if royalties could only be collected at the production end, they'd be higher. But that would only make non-encumbered formats a bigger bargain...

Comment Re:White-washed submission (Score 1) 75

The problem is the $10 price tag. Even if this patent is valid, it's only value is compatibility with Windows desktops - i.e., the Windows desktop monopoly has made FAT-based filesystems a de-facto standard. Microsoft is charging an exhorbitant fee for the ability to use SD cards way out of proportion to the value of the software in question. Put another way, if any OEM's were still willing to make Windows phones, Microsoft would charge them $10 or less for a whole OS, including FAT filesystem compatibility. I doubt they charge makers of cameras or other devices with SD card support anywhere near that much. But for Android OEM's, it's 'pay us for Windows - or pay us even more not to use Windows'. Abusive at least, possibly illegal...?

Comment Re: Good grief (Score 1) 125

Of course, Wikileaks shouldn't be attacking anyone. Just providing a platform to let whistleblowers get the stuff out, and yes, applying some minimal amount of journalistic responsibility to the process - like not going on TV and pretty much admitting you're carrying out vendettas...

Comment Re: What does Netcraft say? (Score 1) 506

I assume you *are* interested in having drivers for the devices you use. Even the open source ones (i.e. Intel's graphics drivers) are dependent on the manufacturer's perception that desktop Linux is important enough for them to pay any attention to. Likewise, though Google produces Chrome and ChromeOS - both linux-friendly, and both hugely responsible for the rest of the stuff you use your linux desktop for working - i.e., all the web stuff, Netflix, etc. But Google tends to get distracted too. Luckily, they use Linux desktops internally...

So, you might not think the 'battle' is relevant to you, but if desktop linux becomes so much of an afterthoght that, oh..., OEM's start removing the option to turn off secure boot, or whatever, you just might have to have to live without the linux you use - or at least your linux is likely to become a lot less useful.

Comment Re:Trump's account is still active... (Score 1) 132

Donating to Johnson's campaign might make sense - assuming you want his message heard, and that your donation will help that. Actually voting for him is a vote for Trump if you would otherwise have voted for Clinton - and vice versa. There's no point claiming that your 'personal integrity' prevents voting for one of the two viable choices. Abstaining (which a Johnson vote essentially would be) isn't a particularly virtuous stance - no matter how much you flatter yourself that it is.

Comment Re:Trump's account is still active... (Score 2) 132

It's more like - do you want a professional, equivocating, truth-shading, politician, or an amateur, flat-out liar who says completely insane shit all the time along with its complete opposite from minute to minute.

This Hillary and Trump are 'both liars' argument is a big part of the reason Hillary lies - and used a private email server in the first place. She's a 'liar' to the extent that you can play gotcha with things she says - and many do and have. And she tried to hide her email to prevent it from becoming fodder for the same gotcha games. But as a President, she's essentially pursuing the policies she says she is. As a President, God help us, Trump would be a blank slate, pursuing God knows what. The only thing we do know about him is that he'll say anything and it's polar opposite if you allow him to keep talking and give him enough time.

Comment Re:Heu.. ???? (Score 4, Interesting) 396

Umm, desktop systems and apps may not be the growth business they once were, but they still make Microsoft billions. It's not that they want out of those businesses - it's that they're trying to keep up with the overall industry move to the cloud. Not that it would be a bad idea for Microsoft to start basing their cloud operations on Linux - assuming they could get more out of their hardware that way. Maybe they really are thinking along those lines, and want their software to work there - for their own purposes. That'd be pretty forward-looking.

Of course, Occam's Razor would favor locking admins into their Windows-specific toolset as the explanation...

Comment Re: Fuse (Score 1) 128

An unlocked bootloader is a must if you want to keep your phone for more than 2 years. My Nexus 4 is on the latest Marshmallow version (just got a security upgrade yesterday), thanks to Cyanogenmod 13. I had unlocked the bootloader out of the box, but stayed rooted and on the stock ROM until Google stopped updating it. Rooting would've been nice, but timely updates from Google was even nicer - until they stopped coming...

But since we're talking about bootloaders and warranties, there's a controversy over the ZTE Axon 7, which is being sold with an option to unlock the bootloader. But if you exercise that option (even ask for the key without actually unlocking), they void your warranty. Pretty nasty, since I'd like to buy one of those, unlock it and then leave it on stock until ZTE stops supporting it (like I did with my Nexus). The reason to unlock the bootloader right away, is that unlocking wipes all your data. So, it's better to get that out of the way upfront. But not if you're going to void the warranty on a brand new device...

Comment Re:Goto (Score 4, Interesting) 671

Sure, C gotos are the cleanest solution in a few specific cases and sometimes I get frustrated in higher level languages that lack it.

However I still demonise gotos when teaching coding because it should be use carefully and sparingly. New programmers often see it as a versatile stick that can solve all their problems, and while it can make the code "work" we moved on from spaghetti code for a reason.

My personal rule is that a goto should only ever go down the code and never into new blocks.
(except for implementing a try/catch system using longjump, every rule has an exception...)

Comment Re:Goog (Score 1) 145

It's not that Mozilla didn't play an important role in keeping open web standards alive, but Google took it a step farther by building applications with what many would've thought an impossible or impractical level of 'desktop-like' functionality. And doing it with a name that gave the efforts credibility. Not saying that only a multibillion dollar company can do that - but it helps in getting the pointy-heads to take notice. Many companies today standardize on Chrome, when those same companies used to refuse to allow employees to install Firefox. That could just be a sign of how much progress has been made, and I don't want to wade into chicken-and-egg scenarios...

And Google didn't hijack WebKit. Apple took WebKit from KDE, and that's what open source is really about. Both Apple and Google were free to do what they did, and KDE and Apple were not free to prevent it. I think the KDE folks are happy about it - not so sure about Apple. In any case, today we live in a world where Microsoft is struggling to keep up with the open standards embodied by Chrome, Safari, Mozilla and Opera - just to remain relevant. And that's a good thing.

And then there's Android. Sure, it sits on top of open source technologies that were already there. But somehow nobody else made a success of it. Maybe PalmOS could've been the linux-based mobile OS winner - but somehow I doubt it. Palm was trying to be Apple. Google was trying to be the Open Source Microsoft - and, yeah, there are problems associated with that, but without Android, it would've ended up iOS vs Windows phone - tightly coupled with Office and Exchange. I think today's mess is a whole lot better than that...

And ChromeOS. Whether you like it or not, it serves the purpose of defining a set of use cases where a standards-compliant browser (any one of them) really can be the OS. And any other OS is free to emulate those use cases with open source tools. ChromeOS ends up being a big competitor for 'I set my mom up with a Linux desktop' scenarios, but then again, it makes it so that real linux desktop users aren't left out in the cold, application-wise, for banking, e-commerce, printing, etc.

So, yeah, Google may have been given credit in the popular view for some stuff with a much more complex history - but then the GNU/Linux crowd would claim the same about Linux itself. Those who care about such things know about them, and I guess those who care even more that others don't know about them are out of luck...

Comment Re:Good. (Score 2) 145

What exactly about the linux kernel is preventing Android from being that single OS that spans IOT, mobile and the desktop already?

All I can think of is that the linux driver model counts too heavily on everything being open source. I.e., the kernel interfaces are allowed to change to the point that hardware manufacturers - without the motivation to keep up - don't keep up with kernel changes. That holds Android back, since it either has to stick with an old kernel, or obsolete old hardware faster than necessary. But the funny thing is that OEM's are awful at keeping up with Android updates anyway, despite whatever efforts Google makes at backward compatibility for hardware.

So, unless this new kernel is targeted at having a super-stable binary driver ABI, what does it offer that linux can't?

Comment Re:Goog (Score 2) 145

Or to put it another way, every single google product is a useful service that can be supported by advertising tied to what you're searching for. Obviously, Google is in business to make money - or maybe to be more charitable, to stay in business so that its founders' vision can continue to be realized. Less charitably, well, there have been compromises along the way...

As a side benefit, though, they've done a lot for the open source movement - if only in promoting the web as the primary platform for application development. That has made it possible for something like ChromeOS to be viable - and along with it, for desktop Linux to also be viable. Not to mention MacOS, iOS and Android. In pre-Google days, MacOS was wholly dependent on the availability of native Microsoft apps for its marketplace viability. Now, Google can't take all the credit for this, but I don't think any other organization has done as much to make sure that open standards ruled the day.

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