188 posts • joined Wednesday 19th August 2009 02:12 GMT
Haters gonna hate
Kudos to MSFT for this release - their server OSes were always so much nicer than their client ones. To all those who say, "yah boo sucks UNIX had this 30 years ago" I say: you are absolutely right. And you know what? No one gives a damn.
I prefer administering UNIX boxes myself too, but Microsoft deserve credit for offering GUI less, scriptable access, so please let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater.
Now all they have to do is implement bash and a decent SSH server and I will be one happy bunny. Yeah, it'll never be UNIX, it'll never give me the feeling I get when I log into a strange UNIX box and know that I'm home amongst friends ("Bourne shell? Check. GNU C compiler? Check. Perl? Check. <Happy sigh> Houston, the Eagle has landed"), but it's soooo much better than it was.
Re: I blame SUN
Ironically, Sun did a damn-near-perfect job of back compatibility in Solaris. Must have been an entirely different set of ...system administrators.
Re: Programming is embedded in another career as much as it is in devices
Bill Gates was twenty years ahead of you. Visual Basic for Applications, the language used in a million Excel macros on Wall Street. Programming for the masses.
When the full story of the 2008 financial crash comes out, we'll probably learn that some intern at Lehman Brothers made a typo in a macro. It was only a matter of time in a language with ' as a comment marker...
Love the sinner, hate the sin
Languages have baggage. Sometimes the baggage is overwhelming and the language dies, and sometimes it limps on. But this article does nothing to convince me that Java is inherently bad, only that bad developers are, well, bad.
At the risk of sounding like a pseud, languages also have baggage that comes from the time of their birth. C focused on lean resource usage because of the environment it was built in, and to hell with the consequences of a stray free(). Java was created in an environment where Microsoft's dominance of computing and history of locking out competition was a real threat, so they sacrificed everything to run anywhere.
The question of baggage is precisely why I believe that Computer Science courses should not try too hard to teach the language-du-jour to undergrads. Far better to teach them about good programming practice, user experience, algorithmic design and hardware than spend weeks on the wonders (or baggage) of Java, c++ etc. This was why Knuth invented MIX, though I freely admit that's a bit over the top for most. But modula-2 or C seem perfectly reasonable to me as teaching languages.
Re: The USA patent system is a disgrace
I think this ruling is nuts (my view being, essentially, "a pox upon both your houses"), but I do think Apple were genuinely innovative. Just cast your mind back to how jaw-droppingly clunky phones were back before the iphone, and as for the tablet market...
That's not to say that there weren't good phones and devices back then, but the i<...> family really were game changers. the genius of Apple has been delivering fundamentally sound product wrapped in such incredible glitz that you don't notice the handcuffs being slipped over your wrists.
Paris, for the furry handcuffs.
Re: Why C
I love the fact that the reviewers included K&R ...yes, that K&R. To say nothing of Doug McIlroy. It would be like me calling Steve Jobs for a homework essay on ego. Brilliant.
Can we have more of this please
Can we please have a review of phones for people who don't/can't carry theirs in a handbag/manpurse. I'm not about to take off my work-essential leather gloves just to fondle a slab, especially when I'm on a building site/on a rig/a boat/down at the meatpacking plant. And some people (my dad being one just have blacksmiths' hands. what phones are there for us types?
Everything old is new again
I suspect that the Woz feels that after 40 years of development, we are coming full circle. Hackers like him and the 70s valley scene wanted to build _personal_ computers in opposition to the computing services of IBM and Amdahl. They wanted to get compute power and data storage on their own terms, not the terms of the glasshouse priesthood.
The (main) problem with the cloud is ownership. If you can get access to compute power, or to charged-per-byte-storage models, that's all fine and dandy. What's not fine and dandy is when your compute provider or your data provider starts to claim ownership of the data that you put there. That is a serious, market-warping, privacy destroying issue that no-one has yet got to grips with.
Re: To quote "How hard can it be?"
Time was when you could run a Linux box in 16Mb of RAM and a teensy little hard drive. So yes, Windows has bloat, but I gotta say that Linux has been piling on the pounds at an incredible rate. It would be the mother of all ironies if, just when Windows Server finally sheds the GUI nonsense it's been saddled with for the last 15 years, Linux distros put more and more GUI junk in each release.
Oh please oh please oh please sue IBM
I would love to see Microsoft lawyers take on IBM's in the patent space. It would be the mother of all patent battles:
MSFT: "Hey, you stole that header file! That's part of our Hyper-V IP!"
IBM: "We invented virtualization, ninny. In 1962. Do you want to pay now, or shall we drag this out?"
Re: Really? Source please
Wow. Just...wow. You are absolutely right. I don't know whether to be awestruck by Wine having come so far or depressed that Mac games aren't true Mac games.
OK, I'm over it. I'm awestruck.
<goes off to spend the rest of the week ignoring spouse, children and sleep whilst reacquainting self with old-skool *nix awesomeness>
Re: Hold everything , let office be the center
Coming sooner than you think. Look at Microsoft's Lync product. There's a serious amount of moolah to be made in that market if Microsoft don't screw it up. Now that they have Skype in their arsenal I would not be surprised to see them take on the business telephony market and crush the competition.
I'm not a big MS fan, and I still miss WordPerfect 5.1 for DOS, but every so often they do have good ideas, and occasionally some of them even see the light of day.
There's no doubt that the loan company were lax, but attempting to get money out of them in exchange is juvenile, ludicrous and makes Rex Mundi look like idiots. It would have been far more effective to get the data and publicise that they had it, and let Americash's executives squirm.
Elegant, but quite possibly irrelevant
Either the article is overly simplistic, or these guys are missing something fundamental. I hope it's the former. Let's take the Excel example cited in the piece and suppose that i have some piece of Excel in my hand. So, the microVM let's Excel open that file, and then my file says, "hey, User! Is it ok if I update the data linked in this spreadsheet?". What happens then? If the user grants permission, some ODBC magic happens and somebody's SQL Server just got trashed. If the user denies permission, their boss will come round asking by the Q4 numbers haven't been pulled from the database and emailed to him. In short, ringfencing apps is great, but lives or dies by the actions of users.
Combining GPL + proprietary in a single program?
So the DoD say that you can combine GPL and proprietary in a *single program*. As well as, say, in the sense of application mixing (eg using gcc to compile missile.c). Is that first claim really valid? I wonder what rms thinks of it.
Note I'm not making a political argument here - just one about mixing free and non-free in a single program.
Re: Errr what about Windows Server 2012?
The Reg really needs an icon for Irony. As in, oh the balls-out, stick-your-face-in-it irony of if being 2012 and GUI-less Windows server being pushed as the way to go. What next, bash on Windows and a getty on COM1?
Here's what I never understood
It's one thing to have malware infecting a 'domestic' PC - home users, non-security-critical businesses etc. And I can see how the malware would be introduced, by some doofus with a USB drive. But surely machines in sensitive environments have a limited number of ways to report back to their controller...and all those routes are through closely-monitored choke points? For example, getting outbound http or dns requires you to go through particular servers, and the bofhs watch those like hawks looking for deviations from the norm. "Hmm, 200 queries for 432rewfds.weirdo.com today. Sounds fishy."
What am I missing?
Re: Not the best
Jenny --even in that picture always reminded me of a creepy aunt. 50 yrs old and enough blue eyeshadow to mistake her for a lost peacock. Shades of Norma Desmond there, folks.
Contrast Peri Brown/Nicola Bryant. Now she was a reason to watch the telly.
Re: No surprise ...
Not quite...they had a brief flirtation with clone makers in the late 90s...I remember running a Quadra-clone around 97-98. Then, when Steve Jobs returned, one of his first actions was to stop licensing Mac OS to the clone makers. Whatever you think of Jobs, one thing you have to give him credit for is sorting out the *unholy* OS mess that Apple had got themselves into around that time. Every six months there was a new initiative. Pink. Taligent. Your Mom's Operating System. It was brutal.
Anyway the saddest thing about this Psystar case is why Psystar's management persisted so long. Even with a slick-willy lawyer egging you on, you must know when to fold up and go home, surely? Your job as CEO is to do the best by your company, your investors...and continue to be in business. Seems to have failed on all counts.
I'm having a flashback
vi vs. emacs.
KDE vs. GNOME
Does anyone give a stuff? Use Libre or Open. If you've already decided not to use Office, you have already crossed the chasm.
The real issue is switching cost. For a home user, the switching cost is a certain visual dissonance when they trade the pretty ribbons of Office for the party-like-it's-1999 UI of LO/OO. That's offset to some extent by the cost savings, which is, I suspect, why Microsoft are bending over backwards to get low-cost versions of Office out to this market.
For enterprise users, the switching cost is less about license costs and more about the enormous collective wisdom built up over years of Office. I'm talking about macros, templates reflecting a corporate style, scarily-complex spreadsheets that no-one dares touch, line-of-business VB apps that need Access, and all that jazz. This is an incredibly hard nut to crack...and, I suspect, one that it would take the resources of an IBM to address. I'd suggest that they stick Global Services on the case, but paying $$$ to IBM's consultants to save on Office costs seems like a poor use of a customer's money...
Isn't the problem their endless confusion over who their customer really is?
The problem is that Microsoft have failed to identify who their customers truly are. Is it the cool kids with their smartphones, busy tweeting their masturbatory self-aggrandisements? Is it the Reg reader, who needs to install 300 copies of Windows by Thursday but who would much rather be trading witty banter with Verity Stob? Is it the great unwashed masses stuck in their cubes churning out emails and powerpoint decks?
What we've seen in the last few releases is the infantilization of their product set. I crank out hundreds of emails and documents a week at work and I don't give a stuff about Windows Live .NET MSN Zune Picture Player or whatever it's called this week. I want something that is fast, stable and professional looking.
I respectfully suggest that the Microsoft team do the following.
1. Give up trying to chase the cool kids. You can't do it, and it demeans you. Get over it.
2. Forget about branding the add on products as any other than "Microsoft". Not "Windows Live", "MSN", "Windows SkyDrive" or whatever. You are playing on a field where the Windows name confers no advantage and your apps must compete with everyone else. It should just be Microsoft SkyDrive. Microsoft Instant Messenger. And so on.
3. For the love of god, produce some themes and customization bundles that mean something more than fluffy clouds on my desktop. When I'm at work, I want to be in power user mode: all the fluffy sh** turned off and everything sacrificed to speed, stability and efficiency. When I'm at home, I don;t mind a little fluff. Go ahead and show me your metro doodah.
It's got more fluff on it than a poodle in a tumble dryer, that's why. Ponderous grandiloquence ("Without Ethernet our networked world would cease to exist.") coupled with meaningless statements ("Businesses and other organisations have chosen Ethernet for networking applications because it has become cheaper, more interconnected, more reliable and more manageable than its alternatives").
None of which is to demean Ethernet. It's a great technology, and transformative in the way that very few technologies are (USB is another good example). And plugfests like the EA are a great idea. But I don't need breathless journalism that reads like it's been written by Barbara Cartland amped up on Mountain Dew to tell me that. Just the facts, please, ma'am.
World+dog in telecoms uses 23" racks, not 19". 19" is for those pussycats in IT with their laughable Dells. Wonder why Facebook didn't choose 23" racks?
More seriously, can anyone explain to me why data center designers try to cram everything in on a horizontal server orientation? Seems to me that you could use the case-less cookie-sheet server designs for density and turn them vertically so that you could pack more in, and have a more natural bottom to top airflow.
I see we still haven't learnt
The point that UI designers miss is that there is no single UI that will keep all users happy, or even the same user happy (doing different tasks). There cannot be - so stop trying.
What we really need are per-user UI choices to be selectable at login time. Imagine that on the login screen was a chooser that let you pick your UI style between, say, "tiles", "windows", "lite" and "shell". I might pick/default to tiles for the friendly Win8-style/metro l&f, but if I wanted to spend an hour doing image work in gimp I would pick windows for a traditional windows/fvwm sort of interface.
I understand it's sort of heretical these days to suggest machines having multiple window managers, because we've taken the direction of gnome, kde etc taking over your life, but it has a lot of merit.
Finally, in case anyone says "can't be done", this used to be available on UNIX machines running (shudder) the Common Desktop Environment. CDE was such an ugly beast that pretty much my first click when arriving at a login screen was to make sure that my session was set to OpenWindows. Ahh, that's better.
Re: Robert Metcalfe for Ethernet
I feel strangely obliged to fill in names of each level of the stack, but since some commentard will point out that my understanding of layer 5 is shakier, I respectfully submit instead:
Radia Perlman for making Ethernet work in real networks.
W. Richard Stevens, the Yoda to 90% of us here
Messrs. Joy, McKusick and the others for a reliable TCP/IP stack on a real OS. (Remember when cdrom.com was the biggest site on the internet...on someone's crappy old P133?)
Let's hope this isn't the beginning of the end
IBM's retail stuff is what makes IBM, IBM - that sh** just works, all day, every day, 'cos people get mighty upset when they can't get money out of your wallet and into their POS system. It's not sexy, it's not fast, it costs too much and --ye gods-- it still comes in the funky beige case and electric blue buttons color scheme that gives Jonathan Ives seizures.
I hope IBM are not about to go all Twitter on us and will continue to sell boring but decent and profitable stuff like this to the planet.
Re: Hear hear
I remember working in a science lab as late as 1992 and there was a PET in the corner doing data collection from the experiments we had running. My super told me that PETs had a lock on data collection in labs, which was either him winding me up about a tiny niche market of a niche market, or was true...i never found out. Any Reg readers out there care to comment?
Not yet worth it
I'm a Luddite: aren't SSDs advantages overstated for general purpose workloads? Their price/performance and lifetime per dollar ratios are far worse than magnetic. No one is going to buy a server with a single SSD that costs $10K and dies in five years** when they could buy one with four HDDs configured for RAID for half the price. So SSDs only make sense as accelerators, caching frequently used but non-critical (rebuildable) data, like database indexes, or in vast arrays of servers where the loss of one individual machine doesn't impact service (e.g. as used in the googleplex). The former makes sense but the latter doesn't offer compelling cost/benefit advantages over spinning rust. Why pay the overhead?
**Or maybe two: a typical spec at http://h18000.www1.hp.com/products/quickspecs/13415_div/13415_div.pdf isn't very encouraging.
Re: Effluent temperature
That was the Irn-Bru. Nothing to do with the water. You think that orange glow they had was natural?
...that text messaging, the cash cow savior of the mobile operators, will be their undoing. Delivering short text messages over the interweb (it's really just a series of pipes, y'know) will collapse their revenue overnight. It's already here in iMessage on iOS for example.
The phone call is dead. The only thing of value that carriers have left is the phone number and a nice trove of usage data. Time to move on.
WordPerfect 5.1 for DOS remains the all-time champion
For heavy-duty 10,000-words-by-morning stuff, nothing beats WP5.1 for DOS. A learning curve steeper than doing vi in sign language, but once you learnt the basics, boy could you crank out the words in that puppy.
By contrast, doing any kind of long document in Word is excruciating.
Oh, like RSA?
As in, the one that's already been compromised? Yeah, that'll work.
I wonder what happens if your PIN is 3333, or 1221, or, ... Just sayin'.
Overclocking for the senile
Being an old fart, my memory is unreliable, but I vaguely remember overclocking 80286-vintage cpus by pulling some sort of crystal/tranny thingummy off the motherboard and soldering in a new one. But there's no one around here ancient enough to tell me if I am remembering this correctly. Anyone remember doing this?
(If the tranny had been called Crystal, I might have remembered.)
1990 called, they want their name server back
As the BOFHs who keep the net running, it's about time we had a collective sendmail moment and decided that (just as in the case of the veritable MTA) DNS is too important to trust to one big and ancient hunk of code no matter how shiny the wrapper. Small components = better security, period.
Personally, I look forward to the day when djbdns runs on all the root servers. And this from someone who detests qmail.
"Given the complexity of the system (solid driver code plus impressive system architecture) it is not possible for this to have been written by a single person, nor by a team of part-time amateurs".
Riiggght. Because part-time amateurs can't produce complex code. Sorry Linus. Sorry Bill Joy. Sorry Professor Knuth.
It doesn't matter whether Duqu was produced by a 13-year old teenage girl in her bedroom or the Chinese secret service, this type of thinking is lazy.
Brave of the spokesman to acknowledge likelihood though
Not much news in this story, but significant to me that he acked that given the size of the universe it was likely there was life out there. I look forward to "US GOVT SAYS ALIENS LIKELY" being broadcast tonight on Fox News and the various religious talking heads being called on to explain how they are going to cope with the fact that being made in God's image might actually mean God is small and green.
I know, not gonna happen.
Does Facebook really care?
If Facebook were to blow up tomorrow, would anyone really care? It's not the Gutenberg Bible we're talking about here. Oh I know there would be a wailing and gnashing of teeth, but dropping a few million bucks on a mega tape system so FB can store the masturbatory aggrandisements of a bunch of 13 year-olds seems like a poor return on investment.
Paris, because her slot has been well-taped.
This is news....how?
It's no news that the CEOs of large companies can be major league assholes, is it? I'm sure that Meg Whitman isn't much fun when she gets annoyed (which must be quite a lot, I imagine).
I do think it's in pretty bad taste to crack jokes about a dying man's last days. Imagine that your doc tells you that you have only six months to live. Don't rag on the man for getting his comforts where he could. http://xkcd.com/836/ sums it up pretty well.
OK so what do I run?
Deep, meaningful sigh. I feel like the Linux universe and I are drifting apart. It's not you, it's me.
I want a personal *NIX laptop system so I can
- run lots of terminal sessions
- have a pleasant, if old-school, development environment for casual programming (a little C, Java Perl etc)
- run Wireshark like the good lord intended
- use an X GUI that is somewhere between the balls-out lunacy of twm and motif and the childlike idiocy of Gnome and KDE. If you started twenty processes or ate a gig just to boot my GUI home screen, sorry, you just failed.
- use a reasonable package manager for those times when I just want something to work
I don't particularly want to ditch Linux, but the best contenders seem to be the BSDs. OpenBSD is super-lightweight for example. Is there a distro out there that meets all the above criteria?
Better doesn't mean better
We geeks differ from the rest of the planet on what better means. Better for us means bash over CMD.EXE, CLI over GUI, betamax over VHS etc etc. Better for the other six billion means easier to use, slicker, simpler to carry.
The best thing to arrive on my PC in the last ten years has been that I can now run a UNIX environment on the same machine my family run their games on. I get all tense and crotchety on a new computer until I've installed it. Does that make me a sad loser? Damn.
Rule #1 of media: leave 'em wanting more
I (hope) that Lulz are not so stupid as to dump the whole trove and thus give the defense an easy way out of court.
The way to handle this sort of data cache is to leak it, slowly. So on day 1 you post the email that says X was illegally doing Y. Let that get reported, hear those denials fro X, etc. Then a few days later you leak the evidence that X's boss approved the action. And so on and so on, keeping the story in the news for day after day.
Mine's the one with the black hat.