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* Posts by Pete Spicer

187 posts • joined 28 Mar 2008

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Analysts: Bright future for smartphones, tablets, wearables

Pete Spicer

Re: Why should 64 bit drive demand?

I dunno, at the rate we're going, we'll be able to run Crysis on a mobile before long *snicker*

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Report mash-up: Apple to sell 65 million $269 iWatches in first year

Pete Spicer

Re: @ Peter Spicer - You know they have reached market saturation

Who actually says Apple does? There's been a lot of speculation about it, sure, but only the analysts are saying it. Thing is, Sony's tried it a number of times, Samsung's Galaxy Gear met with limited success and even Apple isn't so blind that it would try to launch a product in those shown-to-be-lukewarm waters unless it knew it had an angle that was unique and inspiring because the iFaithful aren't *that* faithful.

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Pete Spicer

Re: You know they have reached market saturation

If that was intended as a snarky comment about Apple's failings to deliver anything interesting, do remember that Samsung already brought a similar such device out, the Galaxy Gear...

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Hotmail-gate: Windows 8 code leaker pleads guilty to theft of trade secrets

Pete Spicer

Doesn't theft also imply depriving the rightful owner of something? Copyright infringement != theft

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Hot, young under-25s: Lonely slab strokers who shun TV

Pete Spicer
Boffin

Re: Going against the trend

You do not need a TV licence to watch TV from a PC provided you are not watching 'live TV', i.e. shows as they are broadcast.

Ref: http://iplayerhelp.external.bbc.co.uk/help/about_bbc_iplayer/tvlicence

"You do not need a television licence to catch-up on television programmes in BBC iPlayer, only when you watch or record at the same time (or virtually the same time) as it is being broadcast or otherwise distributed to the public. In BBC iPlayer, this is through the Watch Live simulcast option.

Anyone in the UK watching or recording television as it's being broadcast or simulcast on any device - including mobiles, laptops and PCs - must, by law, be covered by a valid TV licence.

A 'live' TV programme is a programme, which is watched or recorded at the same time (or virtually the same time) as it is being broadcast or otherwise distributed to members of the public. As a general rule, if a person is watching a programme on a computer or other device at the same time as it is being shown on TV then the programme is 'live'. This is sometimes known as simulcasting."

Note you can substitute ITV Player, 4OD or 5 Catch-up (or whatever it's called now) for BBC iPlayer and everything still holds up true.

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Didn't you know? Today's Patch Thursday! Adobe splats hijack bug in Shockwave Player

Pete Spicer

People still use Shockwave?

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It's a BLOCKBUSTER: Minecraft heads to the silver screen

Pete Spicer
Facepalm

Re: money in same old .... out

And not, say, because they were trying to use his company's intellectual property without asking permission or signing a licence agreement.

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Update your Mac NOW: Apple fixes OS X 'goto fail' SSL spying vuln

Pete Spicer
Boffin

Perhaps it's an argument for always using { and } to indicate scope of an if statement even if the branch generated is only a single line. I'm not a fan, I only have so many of the { and } in stock, but perhaps I should order some more too...

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My smelly Valentine: Europe's perfumers wake to V-Day nightmare

Pete Spicer

Re: "banning cheese next, followed closely by nuts."

I've seen *packets of nuts* with 'contains nuts' on it. Seriously, what is this world coming to?

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PSST! New PCs with Windows 7 preinstalled are out there – and will be into 2015, at least

Pete Spicer

Re: Dear MS. Fek off. You owe us another decade.

2 years? No... Win7 debuted in 2009, so we're already 4-and-a-bit years in...

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Facebook debunks Princeton's STUDY OF DOOM in epic comeback

Pete Spicer

So which C-list celebrity is going to buy it and prop it up in a few years then? Justin Timberlake is busy with MySpace.

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Pete Spicer

I thought the original article had a reasonably intelligent point, but trying to debunk it with the same methods was never going to work. Note: this is all about discrediting the report by attacking its methods than about proving that it is flawed for any other reason... it's almost an ad-hominem.

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Mozilla CTO Eich: If your browser isn't open source (ahem, ahem, IE, Chrome, Safari), DON'T TRUST IT

Pete Spicer

This puff piece is nonsense.

Open source, theoretically, should be more provable as secure than not. Which is fine, if you have the time, resources etc. to actually audit such code.

Real users do not, they do not download and compile from source (Linux on the desktop is increasing, sure, but it's still a rounding error compared to the Win/OS X userbase, and even then most of the time they're not building from source either), they download a 'trusted binary'.

And of course then there is the argument about compilers - I seem to recall a fantastic piece about compromising compilers from Ken Thompson. It was written 30 years ago, but here's the thing... when the Mozilla folks build the binaries for Windows, what do they use? I see from their Windows build requirements page that they use Visual Studio and cygwin in concert (VS for the compilation, cygwin for the linking, presumably? Not clear.) But you're still relying on those tools to be uncompromised. That means trusting VS and cygwin (and possibly gcc) - and you can't audit VS.

http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?TheKenThompsonHack is mildly scary reading. Not totally scary, but mildly scary.

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We don't need no STEENKIN' exploit brokers: Let's FLATTEN all bug bounties

Pete Spicer

What about those of us that develop for open source web software? Should we somehow try to find that money too? (Not that the open source software I develop for has anywhere near that amount of money anyway)

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RSA comes out swinging at claims it took NSA's $10m to backdoor crypto

Pete Spicer

"At that time, the NSA had a trusted role in the community-wide effort to strength, not weaken, encryption"

Wait, am I reading that right? Why would it ever be in the NSA's interest to make encryption stronger for the masses?

I mean, it wasn't until that long ago that encryption tools required a munitions licence to distribute because they were weapons of a sort. Seems to me that keeping an eye on the industry and maybe slipping the odd slight hurdle into it, on the sly, would absolutely be SOP for them. But maybe I'm just too cynical.

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Microsoft bans XXXXBOX gamers for CURSING in online combat

Pete Spicer

Re: 15-18?

Sure, but that doesn't prevent uninformed, or uninterested, parents buying them anyway.

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Huge horde of droids whacks code box GitHub in password-guess attack

Pete Spicer

Re: Actually, there are no unhappy SVN users because of this

Actually, there are unhappy SVN users because of this because Github provides a compatibility layer to allow use by SVN clients as per https://github.com/blog/966-improved-subversion-client-support

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Winamp is still a thing? NOPE: It'll be silenced forever in December

Pete Spicer

Like some of the other commentators, I moved away from WinAmp with its 3.0 release.

Since I have a decent collection of tracker mods from ye olden games, I wanted a player that could handle reading all kinds of formats and ended up with XMPlay with one of the plugins (DelixTracker) which handles everything I can throw at it.

To the one person who asked about music devices, XMPlay lets you specify which device you want to use, including WAV encoding or LAME (for MP3) or OGG output should you need to transfer formats.

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Sueball-happy patent biz slaps lawsuits on FOURTEEN tech firms

Pete Spicer

The choice of companies is interesting... I can't help but wonder if it's related to the non-standard disc format Nintendo uses for the Gamecube and Wii.

The reason I wonder that is because while Wii discs are weird, certain DVD drives can read them, especially models from LG...

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The importance of complexity

Pete Spicer

Disclaimer: I don't have a degree, however I did tackle the fundamentals of this in Decision Maths as part of an A Level in Maths so while I may not be as boffiny as some here, I do understand what NP problems are and the relevance thereof.

The only time I can actually recall using the various things I learned was in the midst of writing bits for an RTS game, where pathfinding was required. Whether you go down the road of A* or D- or whatever in between, you're still talking dancing about with Dijkstra's algorithm to some degree.

Having an understanding of the differences between bubble sort, quick sort, exchange sort etc. is always useful too and where it can be an advantage not to use the good old quick sort (if the data is already mostly or completely in order, for example, quick sort may not be any use to you over a bubble sort)

The other algorithms covered - travelling salesman, shortest method of connecting a weighted graph (like network cabling) have applications out there in the real world but I've never encountered them, and neither have any of the folks I know, but I'm sure there are uses for them.

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Sweet murmuring Siri opens stalker vulnerability hole in iOS 7

Pete Spicer

Wait... if you have to unlock the phone, surely you're already going to be able to access contacts anyway?

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Samsung Galaxy Note 3 region-locking saga CLEAR AS MUD

Pete Spicer

Re: Please excuse this OT comment...

If Wikipedia is to be believed (both The Register's page and Orlowski's own page), he is the executive editor of El Reg.

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Great Britain rebuilt - in Minecraft: Intern reveals 22-BEEELLION block map

Pete Spicer

Re: Braybrook?

I just wondered that myself. It seems almost fitting, really.

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Hardbitten NYC cops: Sir, I'm gonna need you to, er, upgrade to iOS 7

Pete Spicer

Re: Disable Find my iPhone?

That's great, until you either want to actually use anything that's on the Internet - or shock, horror use the phone for the purpose for which it was designed, i.e. to actually talk to another human being.

Airplane mode just makes it, quite effectively, an iPod Touch.

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One year to go: Can Scotland really declare gov IT independence?

Pete Spicer

I don't really care whether Scotland gets independence or not. My concern is that if they go 'independent', independence should mean total independence - no money from England at all except for things we actually buy from them. No bailouts, no handouts, nothing.

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Apple beckons fanbois back into its golden era... of, er, 2010

Pete Spicer

Re: That's not the right way to do it

I didn't have any problem using the current (not beta) versions of Xcode, including the 6.1.3 APIs and whatnot to push a build of my current app to my first gen iPad, which still runs 5.0 (it can run 5.1 but 5.0 was memory hungry enough on it)... Depending on how far back you want to go you might have to jump through a few hoops but that's par for the course when using any of Apple's dev tools.

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iPhone rises, Android slips in US, UK

Pete Spicer

Re: I wonder if it's straightforward role reversal

He's not calling you a Chev, he's referring to Chevy - Chevrolet - the car manufacturer. As in 'as a fashion statement they are right up there with Chevrolet', a brand not entirely known for its fashionability, except the Corvette (as noted by the poster)

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Microsoft Xbox One to be powered by ginormous system-on-chip

Pete Spicer
Boffin

I'm intrigued by the whole 'shared memory' thing because it's nothing new at all. I'm not talking about the setup that PCs have had in recent times where the video memory was carved out of the main system memory, but every time I've seen it mentioned, I've just remembered the Amiga.

For those not familiar with the Amiga's innards (and this is a simplification, the real picture is more complex but I've forgotten most of the detail), there were essentially two kinds of memory hived out of the total system memory. The first was 'chip' memory, which could be read by all the main chips, which is where graphics and sound had to be stored. The second, was 'fast' memory where only the main controller could access, meaning that you stuffed application code there where possible, because the CPU could access it faster than it could if it were reading from chip memory. It was also possible to switch some from one to the other (e.g. like the later Amigas had a ton of chip memory but a lot of programs expected that if it saw that much memory, some of it had to be fast memory and promptly went splut)

So yeah, sharing memory between subsystems on a more unified level is not a new concept, especially when you're talking about memory that both the CPU and graphics setup can share between and essentially allow the graphics to grab from memory without the CPU being involved... it just reminds me of 1986 or thereabouts...

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ISPs scramble to explain mouse-sniffing tool

Pete Spicer

Re: Baffling

Because we're talking about visiting websites and tracking where people are moving their mice on said websites... which means JavaScript...

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Pete Spicer

Re: Baffling

Fairly sure that SIMs, MACs and IMEIs are not exposed to JavaScript on any device... but IP address is. And if you happen to be using 3G, the relevant ISP will be able to tie it to a device and thus an owner. But if you're using Wifi, the only thing that should be exposed to the ISP in the browser should be your IP address.

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Tesla tops $20bn as Elon Musk claims arm-wave design tech

Pete Spicer

That's true, however I'm reasonably sure the current look and feel of Tony Stark had something to do with Elon Musk; did the original Iron Man comics have the same lovely holographic imagery and handwaving UIs?

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Apple's iTunes Radio to launch next month with abundant ads

Pete Spicer

Given the whole 'it's ad free if you have iTunes Match', you might be surprised to see how many people use that instead...

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Fanbois taught to use Apple's new killer app: Microsoft Windows

Pete Spicer

Friend of mine is using a 3 year old iMac... and using Parallels to run Steam games where there isn't a native version of the game for OS X. I was watching him play Assassin's Creed III on it the other day and it performs surprisingly well on a 3 year old machine running through an emulation layer. In fact, when we rebooted it and ran it through Boot Camp (i.e. native Windows), it wasn't actually significantly better.

Me, I'm using a MacBook Pro (developing for the mobile things) and I'm in Boot Camp most of the time. Don't know what it is but Parallels just doesn't run very well for me. Guess my friend is the lucky one.

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WoW gold farmer throws sueball over real world gold theft

Pete Spicer

Not understanding what the problem is here... she had gold bullion (physical item) in her house, which was stolen.

Unless there was some exclusion in the policy against gold bullion, I can't see that they have much of a leg to stand on... it wasn't obtained illegally as such... are they claiming the gold was proceeds from a crime? If so, what crime, actually, was committed? Seems to me that the worst that could be claimed was breach of contract (her with Blizzard) which in any case is neither a criminal matter nor anything the hell to do with the insurer refusing to pay out for the gold bullion.

What I could imagine, though, is that the gold bullion was worth more than what she had insured and that she wasn't going to get the full value back...

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Silent Circle shutters email service

Pete Spicer

Except that there are documented vulnerabilities even in SSL (e.g. CRIME, and much more recently, BREACH) and of course there are all kinds of things like MITM attacks to be concerned with - SSL is not a magic bullet to these things. It's one aspect of it, but far from the only aspect.

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Windows kernel bug-squish, IE update star in July Patch Tuesday

Pete Spicer

Re: Boring without Eadon

There was a big rant from Eadon calling Trevor Pott an MS shill (which he most certainly is not) and one of the senior folks banned him. I do miss the occasional entertainment though.

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HTTP 2.0 interop tests slated for August

Pete Spicer

I have the feeling that some of the people commenting here do not remember HTTP 1.1 first emerging and some of the interesting consequences that came with it for both site operators and browser users.

Sure, it was a very different time, when most people who had sites were generally more tech-savvy than most of today's site owners (speaking as someone who's done support for off-the-shelf site running software)... but an awful lot of sites had a slightly ugly transition.

If I remember rightly a lot of it came down to the simple Host header which wasn't required in 1.0, mandatory in 1.1 to allow name-based virtual hosting to work (1.0 assumed one site per IP address, something that clearly doesn't work in a shared hosting environment) but that broke a lot of things in the middle, especially proxy servers. Sure, now, it's not a problem because most things are using 1.1 but it's interesting to note that there's still a fairly large undercurrent of things not implementing 1.1 for various reasons.

I haven't read the 2.0 spec, mostly because these things seem to change almost like the wind (like some of the stuff in HTML5 at times) so once it's moved on a bit I'll check it out and see if the firewalling systems I work with will need any changes (given that they do a little behavioural profiling based on what a given set of HTTP headers they see containing... there's going to be changes needed), but it's probably going to be 2016 before I really have to worry about any of that.

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Big browser builders scramble to fix cross-platform zero-day flaw

Pete Spicer
Boffin

The notion of a vulnerability that works across all these environments (remember: the article quotes the reporter as saying it works on 'PC, Android, Mac'), without touching shared code, suggests that it's not really the browser that's the problem...

I mean, what do PC, Android and Mac have in common in terms of platform? You could argue Webkit, seeing how Chrome on all platforms, plus Safari all use Webkit, but that's not really the point being made if 'potentially' games consoles are vulnerable.

For it to be a cross-environment vulnerability, it must target something common to each environment, and the first thing that comes to mind is the bit after the browser, after the operating system, i.e. DNS. Another DNS poisoning/MITM type attack?

As for the graphs, I'm really not sure what to make of that exactly. I'd argue that most people who intentionally veer off the straight and narrow (IE land) are probably more aware of the kinds of things out there and less likely to click on something that seems phishy.

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Apple at WWDC: Sleek new iOS, death of the big cats, pint-sized Mac Pro

Pete Spicer

Remind me again, when did the iPhone 3GS and iPad 1 come out? That's right, 2009 and 2010 respectively. And they're only just losing support now. Never mind that it's been hard work getting hold of these for a while for the obvious reason that they've been superseded by multiple generations of product (iPhone 4/4S/5, iPad 2/new iPad (iPad 3 to the rest of us)/new iPad (iPad 4))

Just to put that into context, Android Froyo was just coming out back in 2010...

Seriously, the worst 'fragmentation' in the ecosystem was the iPhone 5 with a different set of dimensions (rather than simply 'doubled' what was there before)

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CIA-funded upstart: THE TRUTH about Prism and NSA's web snooping

Pete Spicer
Pint

Whenever I heard PRISM I can't help but think of Infocom's A Mind Forever Voyaging in which you're a computer called PRISM.

Pint, because it's an underrated classic to toast.

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Groundbreaking Camino browser digs grave, jumps in

Pete Spicer

Re: Great post

A sombre finish to a classic series. (I prefer to pretend Blackadder Back and Forth never happened, leaving Goodbyeeeee as the closing episode from Blackadder Goes Forth)

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Google's Native Code browser tech goes cross-platform

Pete Spicer
Joke

PNaCl: The 2010s answer to ActiveX.

*waits for the inevitable Eadon rant*

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Stroke my sexy see-through backside, says Jobs from BEYOND THE GRAVE

Pete Spicer

Re: A method

That's the thing, the holes - a set of them - are so small that they are not visible to the naked eye, yet permit enough light through the surface.

The front of the MacBook Pros have this, the standby light is one such light; there are no visible breaks in the metal surface, but yet the white light glows on and off while the lid is down. I don't know if Apple did it first or not but it is damnably clever to use it in that way (IMHO)

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Linux kernel 3.9 lands

Pete Spicer

Actually one manufacturer did ship both for a while, forget who it was, might have been Dell, and they got a lot of returns because people didn't understand/realise it wasn't Windows and they couldn't use the software they'd bought elsewhere.

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Java still vulnerable despite recent patches

Pete Spicer

I'm sorry, you must be new here. You should see the general commentary from the staff about Apple.

It is a cynical, and for a lot of cases accurate, take on the way those of us who do support view the wider userbase: if we could teach them not to blindly accept everything, it would go a long way to nailing down bad-ware going places.

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Windows 7 'security' patch knocks out PCs, knackers antivirus tools

Pete Spicer
Pint

So for people who use Win7 at home, who have automatic updates turned on but don't follow tech news outlets like El Reg, how are they going to know to roll this update back and/or apply a fix?

Pint, because it's Friday and I've dealt with enough issues today.

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Google forks WebKit, promises faster, leaner Chrome engine

Pete Spicer

Yay for yet another browser engine. With Opera moving to Webkit, I thought we were headed towards three browser engines that worked relatively consistently but noooooooooo that's not enough for Google.

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So, Twitter. 200m twits. How will you make your first billion? Oh, ads.

Pete Spicer
Joke

As per last Saturday's Doctor Who:

Doctor: "Imagine that – human souls trapped like flies in the world wide web, crying out for help..."

Clara: "Isn’t that basically Twitter?"

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Apple pulls iForgot password recovery system over security bug

Pete Spicer
Alert

Re: We really are at the mercy of crappy programmers now...

I sort of take exception to this - but in the very best of British, stiff upper lipped way! I'm a twenty-something programmer, wear t-shirts and am pretty well bearded, though I'm only just a twenty-something (not for much longer, sadly), t-shirt wearing and so on, but I gotta say, the crowd of people who develop with more than a passing care for security seems to get increasingly lower as time goes on. People don't care about security all the time it affects their convenience.

I'm in that awkward situation where everything I do is in PHP, and before anyone whines too much about how PHP is the devil and it eats your children or something, the sad truth is that the crapfest that is PHP is pretty much everywhere and it can't hurt to have someone who does have *some* idea about security running around in the camp. Too many times I've had to deal with people who want <feature X> added to their site but don't care about any of the security implications or anything else. Yes, of course I want to downgrade password security from salted SHA-256 to unsalted MD5 to integrate with your other crappy app. Right after I run out of thermal underwear at Satan's winter ski lodge.

Anyway, as you were.

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Linus Torvalds in NSFW Red Hat rant

Pete Spicer

I personally am glad to see that he isn't afraid to call it how he sees it. If he thinks it's stupid, I'm glad he has the nerve to call it so, bluntly and plainly without weasel words.

I would speculate, though, that a lot of the rest he is as ranty as he is, is simply because he is passionate about what he does. People who are passionate about what they do, they live and breathe it, and it flows through them. Drama is the inevitable side effect of someone who is that passionate about it.

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