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Comment Academic: FORTRAN Work: Assembly (Score 1) 376

I learned programming at university using the FORTRAN language, picked up Basic on my own later when one of the engineering profs bought a Data General Nova on his own dime so we'd get some "minicomputer" experience. But my first job required assembly programming on a military Univac 1218. I loved that thing (then), because it was so computery: every register was displayed on the front panel and you could set/clear the bits by pushing the light button, and when it ran, they all flashed. Very very cool. Programmed the thing with punched cards. The assembler was multipass, dumping the cards off to 9-inch reels of mag tape (also very computery) and making the passes through that. So the whole experience was this blinking, tape spinning, card reading, huge printer printing experience and DEAR GOD IT WAS BEAUTIFUL. It was like I had stepped into a '50s era scifi movie and it was all in my control, mwaaaaahahahaha. So, you know, just your average day in paradise for an engineering newbie.

Comment Re:Finally (Score 4, Insightful) 279

Many of those issues did not require something so intrusive as systemd to solve. OpenRC solves most of them.

Yes, the init.d files are long, but so what? Most users never look at these files, let alone edit them and even for the creators of the files, they are rarely changed.

Most of the int.d scripts on my Gentoo system are less than 100 lines, with a lot of them 20-30 lines.

Comment Re:Systemd! (Score 3, Interesting) 279

Actually, Linux does reflect the personality of Linus. It's a precisionist and a correction freak. And the error messages can be a bit abusive. Fortunately, few people directly interact with the kernel, and for the kernel those are benefits. Even the error messages, because they are short, pithy, and relatively predictable.

The problem is when you say "asshole" you are painting with a broad brush that includes many different characteristics, some of which would be damaging and others of which are beneficial. Linux happens to be generally beneficial in his position. I wouldn't want him writing user interfaces. And I'd be dubious about him writing end-user documentation.

Comment Re:19th and 20th century powerhouse (Score 2) 200

Solar panels have a very large capital expense, they are cheap in the long run, but they are not feasible for running industry in poor countries.

Raw, ready-to-mount, single-crystal panels are down to $0.50/watt now, in pallets of ten at about 350 watts each, and have good lifetimes. Even adding the control electronics and batteries for nighttime and bad weather power, and replacing the batteries periodically, that's cheaper than building and running coal plants and their distribution infrastructure (even at third-world labor prices).

The control electronics is mostly semiconductor devices and still benefiting from Moore's Law. Solar panels are still improving, as are batteries (following their own Moore's Law like curves.) Solar has a factor of several in efficiency yet to go, and lot of room for cheaper manufacture. Batteries are pretty efficient, but still have lots of room for improvement in charge/discharge rates, lifetime, and manufacturing cost. Coal plants, meanwhile, are already close to as efficient and cheap to run as they can get. So solar will continue to improve its lead.

The main remaining advantage to coal plants is grid power gives suppliers an ongoing revenue stream and a captive market, while solar provides only an occasional capital purchase.

(But why do you never hear about the greenhouse effect of solar panels?)

Comment Re:Finally (Score 5, Informative) 279

Personally, I am still trying to figure out what real problem it solves.

Every claim for systemd seems to be that it solves things that are simply not real issues.


The one real problem it seems to solve is: how does RedHat become the company that controls the architecture of all Linux distros.

Comment Goes to the heart of capitalism (Score 4, Informative) 221

Capitalism is based on the idea that both sides agree to exchange what is promised, not merely something someone else thinks is close enough.

You can't offer to sell "Lamborghini" and deliver a kit car with a Lamborghini shell and a 1985 K car motor under the hood.

If they do not want to be legally held responsible for what the services they do, then the answer is simple - do it for free, with disclaimers about not promissing anything.

Because the second they charge money for their services, they become legally responsible to actually fulfilling what they offer, rather than the mistake. And yes, the penalties correspond to the costs and pain incurred, rather than merely being limited to the amount they charged.

Comment Re:The U.S. government is CORRUPT! (Score 2) 93

Rich corporations and people are allowed to do what they want.

There are exceptions: Volkswagen to pay $2.8 billion in US diesel emission scandal

That's because they cheated the GOVERNMENT.

But it's nice to see the individuals who got hurt (lower mileage once the patches are applied, lower resale value) getting some of the bux for a change.

(Why do you still get robo-calls? Because the Fed preempted state laws that had let people sue the robo-callers for damages.)

Comment I thought this was released weeks ago (Score 3, Interesting) 93

I thought one of the previous releases mentioned Weeping Angel (or at least weeping something) and that it turned Samsung TVs into room bugs. So I assumed this one was more details on it.

But the media seems to be talking about it as if it's new with this release and a big surprise.

Did they just notice it now, or am I misremembering the earlier stuff? (Either way, it's good that it's finally getting public attention.)

(Sorry to bother others with the question. But I've been too busy to plow through it all personally and would appreciate info from people who have done some deep-diving.)

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