104 posts • joined 17 Apr 2007
ICANN doesn't control the Internet
The idiots in Congress (and we breed 'em good and dumb here in the colonies) are worried about an irrelevancy. ICANN does not run the Internet. It is merely a consulting firm, run by its own board and financed by its own fees. Its task is to recommend which top-level domain servers should be used by DNS server operators, and, via IANA, to recommend which IP address blocks advertised via BGP should be accepted, if anyone ever bothers to check. If ICANN's word is no longer trusted, network and server owners can just turn elsewhere. It is not like the ITU, which is a treaty organization coordinating actual government-regulated networks. It's literally a voluntary club, and it no longer needs USG sponsorship.
Nothing ICANN does has any impact on wiretapping by any party. That will go on no matter who owns the DNS root.
Mostly prior art
Most of these topics look like prior art, things that were developed in the 1980s that nobody bothered to patent because a) you couldn't patent software then, b) you can't patent math (legally; the USPTO now lets you patent pretty much anything and leaves it to the courts to fix), and c) nobody would adopt a patented technology. Nortel probably got these as defensive patents, in case some troll tried to use them against it. Now the trolls have the patents. There should be huge penalties for filing such obviously-bad patents. Although it frankly is good business for me since I help fight them for a living.
Re: someone (or several someones) at Target's HQ should be fired
The CIO was just fired this month. Sure, she "resigned". And Crimea will "vote" to join Russia.
Brain-dead understanding of the Internet
Prohibiting ISPs from managing the flow of traffic is a quick way to shut the whole thing down. The Internet is not only reliant on massive oversubscription, but its TCP depends on cooperation to work, or the network will go into congestion collapse. It is not a common carrier service with fixed bit rates and shouldn't be treated as one.
Of course teevee junkies don't care, and will happily destroy it if the think they'll get a few more shows to watch in the process.
Political posturing not based in reality
Whatever the NSA does has nothing whatsoever to do with ICANN. Both are based in the US, but so are a lot of other things, like say the Walt Disney studios, McDonalds, and Ford Motor. ICANN doesn't bug your hamburgers, and if they did, Mickey D's headquarters' being in Illinois wouldn't matter.
ICANN is basically self-funding, and is merely a consultancy. It recommends registries. You can set your DNS to whatever you want, though. ICANN has no authority to stop you, or to stop someone from setting up an alternative (as was done by Louis Pouzin, the French inventor of internetworking). The ITU deals through governments; ICANN "authority" is whatever users make of it.
Andrew, your analysis is largely right, but what is less well known is that the Section 706 authority that the FCC claimed and that the majority (but not Silberman's dissent) upheld really is not there, and could be easily overturned on appeal. The FCC claimed, and the court accepted, legislative history -- a Senate Report -- that treated Section 706 as a sort of backstop. BUT that report was describing an earlier draft of the law, NOT the one that Congress passed after the conference committee was done with it! Apparently nobody pointed that out to the Court. The final law removed the authority to act that the Senate draft referred to. So the real Section 706 doesn't grant power to regulate much at all.
What the FCC can (and should) do is reclassify the physical-layer access from the subscriber to the ISP as telecommunications common carriage, so that people can choose ISPs, while leaving the Internet itself unregulated. The Court opinion made it pretty clear that this option -- the Computer II rules in effect prior to 2005 -- was well within the law, and the FCC could go back there if they gave justification. Of course politically they're afraid; AT&T and VZ have too many friends in Congress. So nothing will happen.
This is very much like 800 service, where the cost of the connection is paid by the recipient. AT&T says it's non-exclusive, so what's wrong with that? Besides, "network neutrality" is an imbecilic rant about an internet that never existed and couldn't work, by people who don't know what is broken (lack fo access for competitive ISPs in the US), and who want instead to guarantee spammers access that they don't otherwise have. AT&T is not the nicest bunch of folks in the world but in this case they're being entirely reasonable.
Re: Sadly Trevor
BillG, for the same reason JohnE Hoover was able to stay in power for 40 years.
They have the pictures.
And this isn't necessarily of Obama himself doing anything all that bad. They have pictures on everyone and everybody, close to him and politically connected. And the "pictures" nowadays aren't just photos, it's stuff t they're hoovering up from phone calls and emails.
Of course Twitter is worth over $40/share... look at all the money they're making! Oh, wait. Maybe it's worth it because hashtags are becoming the new Internet identifier, and will soon be as important as AOL keywords! Oh, wait...
Phages have an interesting history. They were being studied some decades ago, but then antibiotics came along and seemed to do the trick. But antibiotic resistance (gee, thanks, meat industry) is spreading much faster than new antibiotics are being developed, so phages may yet turn out to be the only thing that works for many infections. At the risk of sounding like a Durty Kommy, it's so important that it really should receive government funding, on both sides of the puddle, so that they can be used without paying big pharma's patent pricing. Here in the US, prescription drug prices are several time higher than in any EU country.
Stallman's GNU at 30: The hippie OS that foresaw the rise of Apple - and is now trying to take it on
Now if only they'd clone a decent operating system
FSF has helped make Unix the default, keeping computing back. Unix was a 1969 project to build something smaller than the much better Multics, which required something like a humongous megabyte of memory to run, not to mention some unusual hardware features to implement its security rings. Unix worked, but its geekly origins require its innards to be hidden underneath front ends like MacOS and Android, and it still requires things to be put in the kernel because it lacks IPC between userland processes. Hence security holes.
You're repeating "talking points" (euphemism for lies) that come from Republican politicians.
I queried our state exchange to see what policy options exist for someone my age (not quite Medicare eligible) and someone much younger. The prices were quite reasonable, competitive with my current small-employer group plan rate. The intrusive questions they ask are a) your income (to see if you get a subsidy; if you're above the subsidy range, it's just a check-off, no number required), b) your date of birth (old still pays more, though the range is limited), and c) if you smoke. That's it. Then you get a set of prices, and it's all guaranteed issue, so you don't have to worry about being turned down. In my case there are 90 plans offered from about ten private insurance companies.
Compare to the old system, where either your employer bought you a group plan, or you had to try to find private coverage. Which costs a fortune, has exclusions for pre-existing conditions, or they just flat-out refuse to issue the policy because of pre-existing conditions (Healthy Members Only). If the new system is communism (which is like saying that Groucho Marx was a duck), all hail Marx and Lennon!
Re: Palm Pilot with BMW prices
"The medical procedure you need will be denied at this time."" That's because brain transplants aren't available yet.
No clean upgrade path from XP
When they came out with ME II, I mean Vista, XP could be "upgraded" (I use that word loosely) to it in place. But Win7, while based on a fixed Vista, can't do that. You can't just run an upgrade disk. To replace XP with 7 or 8, a whole clean install has to be done. So applications have to be reinstalled, data copied, etc. It is a major job, and sometimes requires buying new applications. And on an existing system, it needs a lot of spare disk space, which many XP systems, being older, don't have. This was Microsoft's choice -- they made it hard to move off of XP and by gum we're not going anywhere until the hardware dies or is retired.
Re: I was very excited about BB10
Q10 lost one other key feature, the ability to dial from the keys. It only dials telephone calls from the fondlescreen. A forum rumor has it that 10.2 will restore at least speed dialing from the physical keys. Those of us who don't like touch screens would not be happy with a phone that still demands touch-screen use for the simplest functions that real buttons do so easily.
That's what killed Blackberry. They got greedy and released BB10 devices at a premium price, as if the world had only been buying fruitytoys and robophones while waiting for BB10 to save them. So the Z10 here in the Colonies is priced in the iPhone range and the Q10 is costlier. Sure, it's typically only $100/200 with the standard 2-year contract, but that's iPhone or Sammy G4 territory.
There is considerable margin in their hardware. Had they priced it lower, it might have attracted new users. Those who have bought the phones seem to really like them. Instead, they died from their own hubris.
Re: Browny Points for Brown Nosing
Elop's name has come up as a possible replacement for Ballmer. He was sent on a mission to Microsoft-ize Nokia. He did so, albeit not getting anyplace in the market with it, but his loyalty to MS products is clear. Since Nokia's running out of money, it would not be surprising if MS bought Nokia on the cheap and then promoted Flop to run the whole thing.
Into the ground.
So much of what's wrong with VCs today
Marc represents so much of why the VC industry is hurting the economy. First off, he worships the cloud, which is simply old-fashioned time-sharing reborn on networked machines, using OSs not designed for time-sharing. VMWare only exists, and is so needed, because Windows-type systems don't have the isolation capabilities that old systems like TOPS-20 and MVS/XA had. But then Marcs too young to remember any of that.
Likewise, by assuming that everyone uses Mac laptops, he confuses what might be the most common option in his millieu (rich, fashionable people) with the more diverse broader world. Hey Marc, how do you configure that WiFi access point that your Ethernet-less Mac (oh gee, the Ethernet jack is too wide for the sleep look that St. Steve wanted) depends on? Guess what -- somebody else has a Windows laptop with Ethernet!
So he's funding fads that bubble gamblers like (well, that's how he made his money) and ignoring the big world of niche markets, useful products that people really need, where real profits are made.
Amen. They started with a good idea but screwed it up.
NT 3.1 was basically the alpha test; 3.51 the usable beta. It had HAL, the hardware abstraction layer, which helped make it compatible with the DEC Alpha and later chips. But by 4.0, they threw it away and put the GDI into the kernel, making the whole thing unstable, in exchange for (I am told) about 15% more speed. So a few months' of Moore's Law was the payoff for ruining a much better system.
Re: The REAL reason that NT killed Netware...
Yes that was the killer!
NT offered a flat-rate pricing opiton. Pay what, about two grand per server? And it didn't count seats. Netware always sold seats via server licensing. Now an NT server might have been less efficient, but it sounded like a good deal. So it won on price, especially for users who had a lot of users that didn't put much load on the server. And with local hard drives growing, file and print server loads weren't always that high.
Re: The real issue is - once again - IBM
IBM tried to market OS/2 but Microsoft had a dirty trick up its sleeve which killed it.
Microsoft's oem contract in those days charged per PC sold, not per PC using DOS or Windows. So if a PC vendor sold an OS/2 machine, it would still need to pay Microsoft for the unused DOS/Windows license. This was a lock-out. So OS/2 mainly sold at retail, to enthusiasts (like me) who recognized its superiority.
Of course an oem could get a different type of license from Microsoft, but the price would be prohibitive.
Re: It is even worse than fragmentation
Chika, "simplified" doesn't quite describe it. Ubuntu off the shelf insults the user's intelligence. I just tried DreamStudio, which packages a lot of A/V apps atop it. I hadn't tried straight Ubuntu in years -- I like Mint, but that offers several other desktops.
The Ubuntu desktop was bizarre, a mix of old Mac tropes sloppily implemented. And then it was missing things. No "list" mode in the file browser, because "simplified" means only icon mode? Eccchh. No menus in Firefox, because they'll confuse your pretty little head? Gaaag. The dumbed-down look made it harder to use than KDE or Cinnamon. No wonder Mint is getting more attention; it takes Ubuntu repositories and makes them usable by people who don't have pea-brains that happen to be of the shape Shuttleworth imagines.
I think it's fair to say that X11 is obsolete. X is almost 30 years old, and it was designed to be the "VT-100 for the 1990s", when graphical terminals were to replace character-cell text terminals that used the VT-100 escape sequences. Hardly the way the world went. A more modern purpose-built API would be helpful. Of course getting the fragmented Linux world to adopt anything uniformly would be harder than herding cats.
Patentts trump trade secrets
The red flag should be that he is keeping it a trade secret. Patents exist in order to allow inventors to disclose their inventions while keeping the rights to them. This would be a real invention, none of that software patent hockey puck. So he could file a patent application, establishing his first-to-file rights, and then immediately disclose the "secret" for scientific review. But he doesn't.
Linux fans are touchy
Why do Linux fans get so sensitive when others point out weaknesses in it? I get downvoted all the time when I just report the truth, that no matter which distro I try on which desktop hardware, something always doesn't work right. I think it's mainly that vendors don't put the effort into good drivers, perhaps because they don't want to open-source them or perhaps because they just don't care about the small Linux market. This doesn't apply to servers, which don't have the range of multimedia peripherals and where Linux is the mainstream, but it does apply to laptops and desktops. I've been trying this since Yggdrasil Linux ca. 1993, and it still applies to the latest Mint, which I have to say almost had it right, much better than I'd seen before, but the audio and video were not quite reliable.
It seems to me that historically, and possibly in some places today where they lack things like refrigerators, some non-meat-eating people get a significant protein and nutrient boost via the bugs or worms that are already in some grain-type food supplies.
Re: It's whether the degree is *hard* or *soft*
Excellent comment, sorry it's from an AC I can't credit!
University CS programs are mostly second-string trade schools, and many of the students aren't very good at it either. A friend of mine teaches at a prestigious uni here in the colonies (New England), and he thinks the majority of his students are pretty badly prepared, though a few do "get it".
You also have to distinguish between university education for job training vs. one for education per se. Skills-focused learning is as the AC noted best left for apprenticeships, self-teaching, or on-the-job training. That probably should include a lot of computer skills. The hardest schools to get into here in the states are the small liberal arts colleges. They represent maybe 3% of total seats. They don't promise any particular job skills, but do provide a very broad education among other very smart kids with similar interests. Of course they don't turn out code monkeys like the big unis do, but these graduates often become the managers, creative thinkers, and other leaders who can synthesize ideas from different domains. It's not for everyone but it works really well for its audience.
Bear in mind that university education here in the states is ridiculously expensive; list price at some is $60,000/year, and even our state universities can cost around $25,000/year for in-state students, much higher for out-of-staters. This leads to huge debt and limits access. And we have a big "profit-making university" sector now, phrauds like University of Phoenix, where you pay top dollar to attend a class at a rented office buidling or take an online course. Most never graduate, and the degrees are only valuable in government-type jobs where having a degree is a check-off, not where a selective hiring manager reads the resume. The majority of their money comes from government loans to students who think it's a ticket to wealth and success.
Re: It's whether the degree is *hard* or *soft*
Ethical Hacking is a very valuable skill -- it means hunting down security vulnerabilities, so your employer or client doesn't get hacked by the bad guys first. It probably pays better than a lot of grunty CS or BOFH jobs.
Re: Some hope, still
Lars, most Americans don't know what "amendment" means. But in the case of the first 10 amendments to the US Constitution, collectively known as the Bill of Rights, they were adopted along with the original text, not added later. They're amendments because the drafters wrote the base text, literally constituting the form of the federation, but couldn't get it ratified without adding the Bill of Rights. Actual amendments come along very infrequently and in the present-day context of the US are virtually impossible, unless perhaps they're really really stupid.
Re: He's right about hardware and driver issues
Marcus, if nobody's using it, then it's not a success! It may be to you a technical success (it works, to your satisfaction), but it's not a market success. Linus simply recognizes that and concentrates on server-side issues, since Linux is a huge success there. Hmmm, no sound, video, or WiFi to worry about on servers, lots of disks and RAID arrays which it handles really well.
Patents do not lead to bad code; that's a cop-out. Bad coding leads to bad code. And while the Windows XP/7 kernel is by no means free, it does permit free code to run on it, and lots does. It's a more open environment than the Mac, except for that BSD emulator layer which hides most of the Mac-ish-ness. Don't get me started on IOS or Win-RT though; those really are evil.
The Mac's advantage is that the hardware is bundled, so it doesn't need as many drivers as Windows or Linux has. Windows just gets more support from vendors so the drivers work better, and so as an end user, it's far easier to get running.
He's right about hardware and driver issues
I've been playing with Linux distros since Yggdrasil in 1993 or so, but quite frankly the only option for my real work is Windows. It is not fashionable but it's what the hardware makers support best, and it has the most available applications, including some I use that don't have Mac or Linux versions. It is quite stable nowadays (I once kept an XP desktop machine running over 6 months between reboots) if you don't screw up and let ActiveX or its other virus vectors run.
So I built myself a new desktop machine recently. Asus mobo, AMD A10 CPU/GPU. Nothing exotic; the mobo handles almost everything. Win7 Pro installed easily. It doesn't run all of my old Windows software, but if I care, its VM runs an XP image which can thunk back to old 16-bit code. Macs don't have that kind of backwards compatibility, and MacOS won't run on homebrew hardware. I guess my wardrobe isn't up to Apple standards either.
I also installed Linux Mint (KDE edition) on it. That's an enhanced Kubuntu, some non-free stuff thrown in. It looked good at first, and supported the sound, video, and Ethernet. Knoppix literally wouldn't run on the AMD GPU, Mint did. The sound's a bit buggy, some audio players generate a few seconds of noise at the start of a song, but generally it works. Okay, maybe they finally got a Linux desktop to work! But when I rebooted into it recently after running Windows for a while, the video was AFU. I had to reboot again to get the GPU to initialize right. Typical...
Even Linus admits that Linux is basically a server OS. Miguel was of course no help with GNOME, which started off-base and went further astray. I actually like KDE. But compatibility remains a real issue. Fixing it is a nice hobby project for those who like such things, but after 20 years it's still not ready for prime time. So I get why Miguel bugged out.
Re: Discounting the cheap boxes
These are mostly regular laptops that also have touch enabled. My son has one of the Asus laptops. He installed Classic Shell on it and never hast to touch the screen or use the blanketyblank fka-Metro substitute for the start menu. Heck, I put Classic Shell on my Win7 machine because I like the more compact Win2k-style start menu and old-style Explorer better.
So once you tame Win8 that way, it works pretty well.
Re: Lets see if this self-fulfills
Well, you know the old saying. 98% of Linux fans make the other 2% look bad.
The distro that had the friendliest user community, really not hostile at all to newbies, was MEPIS. It was a very nice distro too, but hasn't been updated enough lately.
Yes, Base is the big hole in the suite. It compares to office the way a kids' trike compares to a Jaguar. While Writer and Calc can import MS formats nicely, Base seems stuck as a 1980s "wine cellar inventory demo" sort of toy. There is just no competitor who can actually do the complex chained queries on medium-large databases that Access can. And Access itself is terribly limited; it looks like 1990s code not updated except cosmetically. The 2GB file limit in Jet is ridiculous. But it's a few orders of magnitude more than Base can actually handle.
Re: Obama's Justice Department is Cruel and Vindictive.
BillG, it is not Obama personally who demands a vindictive, cruel judicial system. The political culture here works that way. Ortiz is a politician herself; she was floating her name to run for governor. It is very common for politicians here in Massachusetts to rise from prosecutor. A high-visibility prosecution, whether or not justified, puts a prosecutor's name on the front page, and the local media love it. Ortiz was trying to put a big notch on her belt.
While the state has a huge computer industry and is full of geeks who know the difference, a majority of voters probably don't, and if the Boston Globe, the Herald, and the biggest three Boston TV stations all dutifully take her at her word, then this would have been a Major Computer Criminal that she put away, and thus she would have become eligible for higher office. It's a well-trod path. Luther Scott Harshbarger helped persecute the Amirault family in the notorious Fells Acres case three decades ago. They were convicted of totally absurd charges of child abuse -- they owned a day care center which was still controversial -- mommies should stay home with kids and not work, said the right wing. He never apologized and to this day insists that that they were, essentially, witches, but got elected Attorney General. Almost made governor.
It was not the birth of the Internet
What happened on Flag Day was that NCP was turned off, except for hosts that were given permission to still use it, who got a few months' reprieve. But the irony is that before that, many users ran IP over NCP, in whcih case IP was an internetwork protocol, running atop a network protocol (NCP). After Flag Day, IP became network protocol, and the Internet basically worked more like a catenet, flat rather than layered. Oops.
TCP/IP was a lab hack run amok. VJ's stopgap congestion hack, invented a year earlier at DEC btw which patched it into DECnet, was not a good solution, just a patch. But in the true iP style, it became holy writ. That's what's so funny about this -- a lot was research projects that were never completed, which worked "well enough" but not really efficiently, so they remained in place. IPv6 is like the beer commercial in reverse, tastes worse and more filling. It's utter incompetence, proof that some people assume that "authority" is always correct even though it is obviously wrong.
Re: The conference broke down for good reason
It is one thing for governments to do this surreptitiously. They can, after all, do whatever the hell they please, as they are soverign. It is something else for a treaty to call for governments to read all Intenet traffic, ostensibly in the name of stopping spam, but of course it is well inside the application layer, so not something that a telecom carrier, or treaty, should have any business whatsoever touching. And not something that magically could be stopped if only governments interceded. The conceit that government can stop spam by filtering Internet traffic, even though private parties couldn't, just proves how incompetent ITU-T is.
The conference broke down for good reason
The US was right. The treaty allows governments to inspect the contents of Internet traffic. It does not claim control over addressing and naming yet, but leaves those open to future conferences. The treaty dances on the line of whether or not Internet is telcommunications per se (and thus regulated) or the content of telecommunications, which is how the US views it and how it got going int he first place without government, ITU, or telephone company blessing.
The ITU has simply shown that it is obsolete, a place for dictators to strut their ability to shut off their own countries from the developed world.
Re: heres an idea
I use Windows in large part because that's where the applications are.
Macs attract certain types of applications. Linux attracts certain types. Windows attracts a rather larger set, given the network effect of having more users. Stuff I use often is only on Windows. Plus I rather like XP. And I suspect that by using Classic Shell to hide the idiotic, hopeless fondleslab advert of a start screen, I can make Windows 8 look enough like XP. I may actually try to do that soon. Classic Shell looks great on my son's new laptop.
Three Dead Trolls in a Baggie had it right in their old song:
From Macintosh to Microsoft to Lin-lie-lin-lie-nucks
Every computer crashes
'cause every OS sucks.
FWIW, I've read a recent report (firsthand) that Russia resubmitted the proposal on Tuesday.
Now they just look foolish. Or at least their 30-year-old Minister for Communications, who's behind it.
Moto made money on Iridium, others lost
Iridium was a daft idea, but it didn't hurt Motorola.
They sold Iridium itself to investors, as Iridium LLC, which is what went bankrupt. But along the way, Motorola made about $6B on it. They built the satellites. They built a gold plated, no, iridium-plated NOC near Washington and had a $50M/month contract to run the network. So while it was their baby, they had sold the losses to suckers and made money along the way. All of this was discontinued when the assets were purchased in bankruptcy by Iridium Satellite LLC. They run it on a relative shoestring and Dept. of Defense contracts more than cover it.
Oh, and it didn't work. at ;east at forst. I worked at the firm that was doing technical due diligence on it and we saw they kept missing their goals. When it was theoretically up and running, we got a "working" phone and tried it. The signal was so marginal that you needed a clear view of the sky, no trees or anything, in order to use it. This inspired my motto for them:
Iridium. For people who are out standing in their field.
Ribbon and "metrosexual" are triumphs of insane design, where space-wasting pictures replace clean text-based interfaces. Both are a bad attempt to copy Apple's picture-heavy UI without quite getting it.
I've been using Office 2010 with the ribbon for a couple of years now and when I switch over to LibreOffice with the menu, it is a breath of fresh air. LO doesn't do everything right so I still end up needing MS Office, but I'm tempted to buy the third-party menu restorer.
The Win8 "make my PC look like a tablet" UI is absurd too. Happily there are several Start Menu add-ons available from third parties, so it may be possible to make it all go away. But somebody who thinks that this is progress is certainly leading MS in the wrong direction.
I wish they'd clone MSAccess too
LibreOffice is an okay word processor and spreadsheet, and its replacement for Powerpoint is pretty reasonable. But nobody, anywhere, has a file format compatible substitute for MS Access. That's an aging program that nonetheless does things that no other database program can do, at least easily. Chaining queries, so the output of one query is the input to another one, and they run as one query without creating intermediate files, is incredibly useful. When I tried the OOO/LO joke of a databse, it wouldn't even let me scroll down to the end; it displays the top and you can't even browse around a large relation. Useless.
An apple with a bite out of it looks more striking than an unbitten one; it's a great logo. Apple's first logo was a picture of Isaac Newton sitting under the tree, but it was rather too elaborate.
I doubt they had any offense at western religion in mind. Steve Jobs was Buddhist, after all, not one to think much about Genesis.
That's the western version. The actual Japanese name of the monster was Gojira. And Gojirium sounds even better.
Press super-A for this, super-F for that
And I didn't even know that the Ubuntu keyboard had a "Super" key. Is that anywhere near the famous "Any" key?
A 1% market share of the desktop is abject failure! That's the point -- it is only used by a few geeks, mostly programmers themselves, and mostly for developing server applications. Ubuntu's pathetic efforts notwithstanding, Linux is not a competitor for Windows or MacOS.
That's largely because Linus doesn't really care about desktop market share. Linux is primarily a server OS, and a pretty good one. It's also a pretty good embedded OS. Those are places where being consumer-friendly doesn't matter as much as being reliable and stable. Desktop machines have many more odd peripherals, like video and sound, which change often and are hard to support.
GNOME missed the boat on both counts. It doesn't offer a compelling user experience to actual users ("lusers" to the recreational programmer crowd that dominates Linux), and it doesn't do all that much for programmers. Ubuntu's adventures follow the same trajectory, whether or not its is using GNOME; it is programmers talking down to lusers. Windows (XP and 7) and MacOS take users seriously, for all their flaws, though I have to say Windows 8 seems to have forgotten them. And since MacOS is limited to designer hardware, the lack of a viable Linux desktop for real users is again a missed opportunity.
Datapoint pioneered the LAN
Xerox had Ethernet running in the lab around 1973, but it wasn't a commercial product until around 1982. By 1977, Datapoint was selling Attached Resource Computing (ARC), which we'd now recognize as a LAN. It was not promoted as a standard the way Ethernet was, but ARCnet probably outlived Datapoint and showed up here and there during the 1980s. So I credit them for the first production LAN.
Re: sco != santa cruz operation
The Santa Cruz Operation, IIRC, started out as a branch ofice of Vidar, a telephone equipment company owned in the late 1970s by TRW. Vidar delivered the first digital CO telephone switch to the US market, but quickly faded. Their Santa Cruz operation, though, spun off and went int the Unix business. That was the "original" SCO.
Caldera started in Utah as a Linux distributor; it was originally owned by Ray Noorda, founder of Novell, and his family (Canopy Group). But Caldera Linux didn't do terribly well. They bought Unixware from SCO along with the SCO name. Then Darl launched his idiotic scheme.
The rest of SCO, back in Santa Cruz, was renamed Tarantella after its other product. That ended up inside Oracle.
APIs are not protected
It's pretty well established that APIs are not protected by copyright; they're "functional", while copyright is about "expressive" works. So a clean-room copy of an API is okay and quite normal.
I recall a Microsoft magazine advertisement from 1982 or so that was emphasizing that MS-DOS was more like CP/M (8-bit for the Z-80) than CPM-86 was. So programmers would have an easier time with MS-DOS. CP/M-86 was a flop. The DEC Rainbow was so named because it ran both 8-bit and 16-bit versions of CP/M; by the time it came out, neither mattered. Eventually it got a port of MS-DOS but even that wasn't enough, because PC compatibility was the market requirement, not OS support. The OS didn't do all that much, after all; early PC programs largely wrote to the hardware.
Re: Not everyone fondles a slab
No, the virtual keyboard is a different part of the screen. And a touch-typist does not need to look at the screen. I often know when I typed an error because I can feel the keys, not just by looking. But in any case I can't make the damned virtual keyboard work. I can't rest my keys on it, can't feel the keys, and often hit the wrong one when I try to look. And yes this is a major problem with touchy feely smartphones too; I can't use one of those either.
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