* Posts by Trevor_Pott

6175 posts • joined 31 May 2010

Paranoid about the NSA? The case for dumping cloud's Big 3

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American legal attack surface > 0 = bad.

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Sweden releases human genome under Creative Commons licence

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Re: Well done, but...

But this is the human genome that's not on a mobile device!

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Microsoft is BEATING Amazon's cloud revenues. Er, how?

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So..."any tomfoolery that makes Microsoft look dominant is good, any tomfoolery that makes someone else look dominant is bad."

Glad to see where your biases lie.

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Does that count things like Office 365 as "cloud"? Seems to me Amazon doesn't have a whole lot of Amazon SaaS services. They do IaaS and PaaS. The SaaS side of things is provided by Amazon's customers.

If Microsoft is incorporating SaaS applications like Office 365 into their cloud revenues in order to get this "Amazon-beating" figure, is this factoring in the amount of revenue lost by the traditional Office, Exchange, Dynamics, etc groups?

And shouldn't you then count Amazon's tat bazzar as "cloud revenue"? If Microsoft is including revenue other than IaaS and PaaS, Amazon should include "Physical Items as a Service" in their cloud reporting. Does Amazon report it's Content as a Service as part of cloud?

It's really hard to know if things are being compared like for like here.

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Microsoft adds Azure VM controls to Virtual Machine Manager

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Re: Powershell

Because PowerShell isn't intuitive, and there exist alternatives. Period.

If Microsoft were to do that they would lose their customer base instantly.

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"More than 30% of all ODM output is purchased by the large cloud vendors. Anybody still doing premise installations is a small customer in comparison."

Sure, but 70% of all ODM output is on premises. It's not like cloud displaced on premesis entirely. It became a supplement; CAGR for the past few years was in the cloud, but on premises purchases have stayed pretty flat.

"You have this backwards. Customers stampeded toward the cloud and left Microsoft standing in the field."

No. Wrong. Absolutely wrong. Cloud adoption is a supplement to on premises purchasing. It is not a displacement. Clouds are being used tactically, for specific workloads that work well in teh cloud. They are not a bulk replacement for all workloads, and only a handful of businesses are treating them as such. Almost every single startup that starts in the cloud goes hybrid/on-premises within 18 months simply due to cost.

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"System Center and VMM users are, it seems, considered more deserving of attention by Microsoft."

Funny how actually having competition that's notably superior can motivate even Microsoft to deign to add minor additions. A few more years of this and they might even stop behaving as though they are an inevitable monopoly!

The big question yet to be resolved is how Microsoft is going to react to the changes that have been happening of late. "Cloud first, mobile first, customers/partners/staff last" has succeeded in it's original goal: drive cloud adoption. The cost of this, however, has been a gut punch to on premises revenues in all segments.

Where the lines cross a little is that Microsoft is losing customers. There are a significant number of companies that simply don't want to go cloud, and for all the critical markets (except traditional desktop OSes) there are viable alternatives. In addition, some of those convinced to go cloud are choosing vendors other than Microsoft for their cloud services.

In and of itself neither of these two things is negative. Not all customers are equal, and it remains to be seen if Microsoft's approach is driving away the valuable customers or the burdensome ones.

At some point, however, there will be a massive shift. Unless Microsoft changes it's approach to on premises customers the decline will accelerate. As it does, Microsoft will reach a point where merely treating on premises users as second class citizens isn't enough, and they simply retire the whole concept.

When will that occur? What will the revenue fallout of that look like? And in the intervening months/years will Microsoft successfully convert the holdouts to their American controlled public infrastructure?

Microsoft used to be purchased by companies for two reasons: 1) Ease of use and 2) predictability. They were a stable, predictable, comfortable option. Sure, they were more expensive, but you know what they were up to and surprises were few.

That isn't the Microsoft of today. There is a constant feeling that on premises customers are one bad quarter away from getting PlaysForSured. That's before we get into discussions about development stacks and the ever shifting sands underneath them.

Microsoft are smart, capable and make products that are - for the most part - competitive with what's on offer from others. But the existing strategy of herding customers towards the cloud had led to some pretty bitter alienation and it is starting to show in revenue.

Can Microsoft continue to be reactionary; doling out only the bare minimum of updates (such as what has been presented for SCVMM on premises customers in this article)? Will playing silly buggers with products where they think they have a monopoly still be a viable approach as Silicon Valley's startup engine roars ever louder, and Microsoft's customers eye its empire ever more hungrily?

Or will Microsoft's arrogance and belief that it can control its customer base lead to a perpetual negative CAGR for the company as a whole and a slow fade to being nothing more than an American public cloud provider, with a politics-limited TAM and an increasing inability to differentiate itself from other American public cloud providers?

Can Microsoft win on merit with it's current approach? If not, what changes are required for it to do so? If there are changes required, can the body corporate make them, or will Microsoft fall to its own corporate hubris?

I am no longer certain Microsoft has mastery over the art of pricing the cost of staying loyal below the cost of moving away, and I am absolutely positive that the desire to move away is mounting. Interesting times. 15 years ago, who would have thought this day would ever have arrived?

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If hypervisor is commodity, why is VMware still on top?

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"Sounds like you have not learned the difference yet. Hyper-V server is not ain any way crippled. It's fully functional with all the Hyper-V features but with lower resource requirements and reduced attack surface."

All the Hyper-V features, sure. But not the other features that make Windows Server such a great operating system, nor with a usable GUI. But hey, if you focus your thoughts narrowly enough you can prove any point, eh?

"Only if you are incompetent. We run nearly all our Windows Servers and Hyper-V servers without a GUI, unless required for a specific third party application. As everyone should do. Hence why no GUI is the default when you install Windows Server."

So the overwhelming majority of humans who are visually oriented are "incompetent"? Even those who can manage things via command line but prefer easier, simpler, faster and more intuitive interfaces? They're "incompetent" because they don't share your mutation that allows you to bypass billions of years of visual reference response wiring?

Jibbers fucking Crabst. you're arrogant.

"All the management tools can be run remotely from your desktop, if you can't cope with Powershell. The tools are identical to if you had a GUI on the server."

Again, you completely ignore what I actually wrote. These tools require you to use an operating system that has been overwhelmingly rejected by the world, and they are significantly inferior to the tools offered by other hypervisors.

All you are doing here is spouting Microsoft marketing propaganda. Again. Why do you feel the need to do this? Don't you have friends? A family? Or even an overused prono mag that occupies your attention such that you aren't constantly online haranguing people with Microsoft's broken vision for solving problems of 5 years ago?

Microsoft isn't the solution to all problems. Their approach to management interfaces, UIs, or even how they treat their customers, partners and staff sure as hell aren't great. They are one possible solution to today's problems, with a passable hypervisor and shitty management tools. They also have a fetish for subscription licensing and getting my data into an insecure country run by madmen.

And even if they somehow, magically, were to become the ultimate solution to all ills, your hostile and arrogant approach to "selling" people on the benefits of your tribal brand is completely fucking cracked. At this point, I wouldn't care if Microsoft handed out unicorns and bags of cash with every copy of Hyper-V, I wouldn't use the goddamned thing because it would mean that my user community was people like you!

We get it. You really love Microsoft. Congratulations. Do you want a statue or something? The rest of us aren't fucking robots,ingesting integrals and pissing derivatives. We don't want to sit in a dark room and string together scripts to run our infrastructure. We don't even consider "running infrastructure" to be a full time job.

The rest of the world has too many important things to do to waste our time becoming "specialists" in some bit of infrastructure. We have to go forth and make the company money by doing things like working out how to integrate and automate that infrastructure so that we can make more money with less manpower, or make more widgets with fewer mistakes.

To do that, we rely on intuitive user interfaces. Things that allow us to not touch some element of the infrastructure for months - even years - but figure it out when needed in a matter of seconds. No memorizing commands. No scripts in a folder buried in some hierarchy. No debugging piles of linked PowerShell.

We have money to make, things to do, lives to live. And we don't want to spend it dicking around setting up 8 fucking servers just to get a basic environment working, or "retraining" every 18 months to learn another college semester's worth of commands just to manage something that should have been easily handled by the goddamned developers in their UI to start with.

All the other major companies playing this game seem able to crank out usable interfaces. Even the bloody open source projects. But Microsoft can't. And they don't care enough to even try. I mean hell, Microsoft have even killed Technet because they give zero fucks about hobbiests, junior admins or those who don't have enterprise resources backing their expensive and perpetual ongoing training.

You advocate a world where systems administration is a massively specialized and specialist-focused endeavor and you champion the vendor that still perpetuates this myth. Everyone else wants you to be able to learn the basics and then adapt smoothly as new technologies come out.

If for no other reason than sheer self preservation it makes sense not to engage with Microsoft. Because Microsoft wants to make such specialists that we all know more and more about less and less until we all know absolutely everything there is about absolutely nothing.

And when our area of expertise is rolled into their cloud service and no longer available locally? Too bad, so sad. Reskill. At enormous cost in time and money.

Why, why, why, WHY would anyone choose that? Why would they choose this archaic approach to things when superior alternatives exist? Microsoft isn't faster. It's not more efficient. It's not "better" in any objective sense.

Microsoft is merely one competitor amongst many, and if they want to win the hearts, minds and wallets of the many then they have to offer a better experience - in the short term and the long term - than their competitors.

They have flat out fucking failed at this for some time, an nowhere is that more clear than with hypervisors and their management tools.

Maybe if you are ever able to comprehend the above you'll understand why so very many have left Microsoft's orbit, and why oh so very many are never going back.

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"UX != GUI"

Certainly not for those who keep their pee in jars, nope. But a substantial percentage of the human race is visually oriented. So let's agree to disagree, hmm? There's the niche of people who do quadratic equations in their head for fun, then there's the entire rest of our species. For the overwhelming majority UX = GUI.

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I haven't seen much OpenVZ in production, nor heard of it used in more than some niche cases. It's out there, to be sure, but like all container tech it's not yet ascendant. Try this series of 4 articles for my look at containers, including OpenVZ:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/11/28/docker_part_1_the_history_of_docker/

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/12/01/docker_part_2_the_libcontainer_evolution/

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/12/02/docker_part_3_containers_versus_hypervisors/

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/12/04/docker_part_4_prognostication_microsoft_and_the_red_wedding/

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Re: Why Hyper-V is a non-starter in all situations

@Getmo Ah, but don't forget the first rule of brand tribalism: compare the latest, greatest from your favourite brand to something several years out of date by the competition. Don't do things like "compare the most deployed version of your favourite brand versus the most deployed version of the competition", or even newest to newest. Cherry pick!

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Re: Privacy and security in cloud management

Hey Clopy,

The think about Mist.io is that the whole "it's in the cloud" is a huge seller. It would be really cool if you could set up partnerships with companies in different geos and license the full version out to them. They could then run a Mist.io cloud service for geolocal customers and still be within their legal framework. Those customers get the full advantage of the Mist.io cloud offering without the lengthy setup.

Now THAT arrangement...that would be worth some damned good money, because Mist.io is a great product. :)

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Re: Why Hyper-V is On Top?

I don't recall saying Hyper-V server is "part of Windows Core". I recall saying the difference between Windows Core + Hyper-V and Hyper-V server is functionally non existent, so long as you leave Windows Core at a minimal install.

Except, you know, the part where Windows Core costs money, isn't completely fucking WONTFIX broken and can be turned into a real server with a few commands. But if you're doing everything remotely, then the difference between the two is "licensing" and "Hyper-V server is slightly more miserable to get connected and set up than Windows Core".

As for "learn some PowerShell", I know lots of PowerShell. Knowing PowerShell and liking it are completely different things. I also am aware of how people actually use their tools in the real world. Survey after survey, study after study.

You'll find "people who use PowerShell for day to day management" are a pretty small subset. most administrators are just fine using PowerShell for automation. Only the "pee in jars" types use it for management.

And to be perfectly blunt, if I was going to go full "pee in jars" on something, why the metric fnord wouldn't I just go full Openstack? It doesn't cost me my left testicle, and is so modular and open I don't get locked into anything. Openstack is superior in virtually every way to Microsoft and their wretched ecosystem.

And holy pants batman, they even recognize that real human being need proper GUIs to work with tools on a day to day basis without going completely batshit bananas bonkers. That's right, ladies and germs: it's the open source community are the ones who have embraced ease of use and Microsoft and their fanboys are the ones telling us to manage every little thing from a command line.

So yeah, take your brand tribalism and go right back under your bridge. You can come back out when Microsoft gives enough fucks about their community to bring back Technet subscriptions and not a moment before.

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Just buy a subscription from Azure! What do you mean you don't want to pay every month forever? And what do you mean "data sovereignty" and "foreigner rights"? Now you're just being difficult.

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"Considering how bloody awful VMware's GUI tools actually are, for that statement to be true then Microsoft's must truly be beyond abysmal."

They are. Read the whole bit about the fustercluck you have to go through just to mount an ISO to install a VM. Microsoft gives negative fucks about their user base. If Windows 8 didn't teach you that, well...nothing will.

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Re: Admin tools, management tools, monitoring tools, APIs, instrumentation and documentation

"AWS is a direct competitor"

Fucking Americans. there ate 7 billion of us that don't live inside your Orwellian nightmare and who don't want to. Your yankee-run public clouds aren't a competitor at all. Not for us. If we're going to use cloud computing it needs to be from companies run in countries that acknowledge that we have rights. And no, a foreign datacenter isn't enough. Ask the Irish.

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Re: Why Hyper-V is a non-starter in all situations

"Limited PoS that you have to CODE SCRIPTS!!! in RUBY!!! to get it to do what you want. Utterly inferior in pretty much every way to SCCM and Opalis. We binned it long ago and never looked back."

So you don't actually know at all what you're talking about. Congratulations. You have proven your ignorance. Now why don't you attach your name to your words and own them, or are you the coward your tickbox says you are?

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Re: Why Hyper-V is a non-starter in all situations

"Versus Hyper-V Server:

Install it - and it's secure and auto updated by default."

From this you are implying that Linux is insecure and does not auto-update by default. You're wrong.

CentOS is secure by default. You have to add things to it if you want to more easily manage it, or you want to make it more usable whilst staying secure. This is no different than Hyper-V.

Hyper-V needs to be joined to a domain controller to be actually usable. Then it gets it's config from the domain controller. CentOS needs the puppet agent installed, then it pulls down it's config from puppet. No real difference.

What is different is that CentOS isn't completely fucking broken if I need to work on the node individually without the primary management tools. Hyper-V is.

As virtually nobody uses Hyper-V server - stats are very clear on this, they use Windows Server - both OSes can grow from a "core" install containing not bloody much of anything to complete OSes capable of doing anything. By default, they install very small, very secure and with not bloody much to them.

Oh, and I'll take my unpatched CentOS with SELINUX on by default over the unpatched Windows any day. There's a gap between "installed" and "fully up to date" while the systems are doing their update thing, and Linux is a hell of a lot less likely to be pwned during that time. (Always assume your network is compromised!)

Meanwhile, I only have to reboot once after install with CentOS. Puppet goes on, configs it all, updates download, it reboots once and it's ready to rock. Secure the whole time, and actually usable, from console, remotely, what-have-you.

And I don't need a domain controller! I'm not locked in to an ecosystem by one vendor that will just turn the knobs on pricing whenever they feel like it! In fact, I don't even have to pay for licences for my production systems at all. I only need support for my test & dev systems, where we'll actually be prototyping workloads. I can run entire datacenters off CentOS (or derivatives) as the production distro for free...just like tens of thousands of other companies.

And no, there's no real difference between the "free" version and the "support included" version. The delta between Microsoft's "free" Hyper-V server and the full Windows Server is so big that Hyper-V server's adoption is limited to a handful of hyper-scale deployments and some real die hard Microsoft fans.

But if you know Redhat then you know CentOS. They're the same goddamned thing. For that matter, there difference between SuSE and RedHat isn't that big anymore, and the skills cross over (and the default configs are so close) that it is less of a jump than going from Server 2003 to Server 2008 R2.

Microsoft has a great hypervisor. But they've fucked up every aspect of the ecosystem, from pricing and limitations to management tools to chasing away all their partners in the name of getting their hostages moved to Azure.

Put your fanboy goggles down and actually look at the bloody ecosystems as a whole, will you? It isn't about "company A has this feature" or "company B can do this, if you beat them properly". It's about the whole of the experience. And it's about the experience over years.

How is actually setting up an environment from scratch? How is maintianing that environment over time? What are the long term costs? The time commitments? The training requirements? What is lock-in like? How does the vendor - and/or the community - treat customers/users/administrators?

Are they trying to push you away from running your own infrastructure and towards paying even more to run your workloads on their American public cloud where they're beholden to a sociopathic government that doesn't' recognize the basic rights of it's own citizens, let alone the citizens of other countries?

If I pick a hypervisor ecosystem what can I expect for myself (as the administrator) and my company over the next decade? The next two?

Right from the installation of the "free" server through to "how you are treated over the course of decades" Microsoft is consistently "only just acceptable enough to not get binned, if you are already locked in to them." "They do the bare minimum and not one iota more" is not a great recommendation. It works if you're a monopoly, but it's worth nothing where there's actual competition.

Microsoft will never learn that lesson. I can only pray VMware does. In the meantime, there are alternatives, and they're damned fine alternatives. Finally. they took long enough to get that way.

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Microsoft has a WONTFIX-class broken freebie version of Hyper-V server that is nothing more than a crippled version of Server Core + Hyper-V role. Congratulations. Free ESXi is *still* better, and KVM is a better choice than both. OOooooOOooOOooooo.

Of course, nobody actually uses it. If you look at the adoption stats, much to my great dismay, virtually everyone using Hyper-V as their hypervisor is doing so not only with full versions of Windows Server...they do it with the GUI installed.

Now, why might that be? It's because of the management tools, and because they want ease of setup. Management tools are important. I know that's something you are terrified to discuss - because it's where Microsoft looks like der lumpenfools - but it's true. Real people and real sysadmins in the real world actually give fucks about ease of use.

Hyper-V server is broken. Server Core + Hyper-V is a miserable bitch to work with if something's gone wrong. So virtually everyone deploys full fat Windows as a hypervisor. Study after study after study finds this.

What's interesting is that in terms of total deployed nodes, hyper-v server manages to almost equal Windows Server /w GUI deployments because a handful of really large deployments use it.

Now, what's more interesting is that despite installing the full-GUI version of Windows Server, virtually nobody deploying more tan two nodes uses the Windows Server native Hyper-V tools. Hyper-V in practice for virtually every deployment means the full fat GUI to run the nodes and SCVMM to run the clusters.

While 5nine has cult-like status amongst the SMB market they have only recently made any sort of break through into the midmarket and they are functionally absent from the enterprise. This means that small clusters can be - and increasingly are - run by 5nine, but large (or multiple) clusters are run by SCVMM.

So when discussing Hyper-V in any practical sense you have the following:

1) Full fat Windows installed in order to run VMs and have an actual GUI to configure the underlying hypervisor.

2) 5Nine for small deployments.

3) A drop-and-cut upgrade to SCVMM after you reach the magic pumpkin point with 5Nine.

More critically, 5Nine's uptake has been dramatic in the past, oh 18 months or so. The last 8ish months have in really been the part where the name has spread and it is discussed openly. (Which is critical, because before about 8 months ago people treated using 5Nine as a point of shame.)

What's not happening is people installing the broken Hyper-V server, fighting with each node and then using Windows 8 to remotely manage it with Microsoft's frustrating remote management tools. (Which is the other part of this that you always ignore. Only truly ill people want to use Windows 8 for anything, which has really suppressed the uptake of Hyper-V server.)

So a discussion about Hyper-V is a discussion about Windows Server. Like it or not. Cheers.

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Pint

RIght. Barkeep, drinks all around. And make sure they're flammable, damn it!

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Re: "Wreck", "wrecking"

You are correct, I am extremely biased towards ease of use and lack of frustration when managing a product. And the delta between some of the experiences here is far more than "a little bit better". It is most definitely into "completely fucking wrecks it" territory.

Also: if you speak "the Queen's English" you should understand the use of "wrecks" in this context. Unless you're from that bizarre island of poncy gits with sticks up their pigus. Then you don't so much "speak" the language as snark it. That's okay, from down here all we notice from beyond your long noses is the disturbing amount of hair in them.

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Re: Why Hyper-V is a non-starter in all situations

I know Puppet not only comes close to Windows management functionality, it surpasses it in many ways. The fact that you don't demonstrates nothing more than that you haven't actually learned anything about that which you are deriding.

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Re: "Wreck", "wrecking"

Her Majesty's Canadian English, yes sir. Why, what bastard variant do you speak?

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Re: Why Hyper-V is a non-starter in all situations

Puppet.

*sigh* Noobs.

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Re: Why Hyper-V is a non-starter in all situations

yum update -y added to cron

Webmin for firewall config and changing default ports

Fail2ban

For the love of Jibbers *anything* other than Microsoft's CA

Oh look, more secure than 90% of what's out there in 10 minutes. *shrug*

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Always known the difference. The thing you never understood is that the difference doesn't matter. It's the management tools that matter.

But since you sup on marketing, not infrastructure management, I expect you don't understand that yet.

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Hyperconverged solutions can't live without flash

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Re: Nodes Dedicated to storage?

Except these hold only replicas while primary workloads are served off the systems running those workloads. Big difference.

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Thinking of following Facebook and going DIY? Think again

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Re: Mine's the one with Trevor's boot print on it...

I don't even understand how you can run a modern Windows on a 15GB C:\ drive. 40GB VDI instances floweth over in 8 months. 75GB instances only go about 3 years before needing WinSXS purged. Server instances seem to be in the "80-100GB OS disk" range for usable installs of 3+years.

I sort of get the guy who can use 128GB disks on his endpoints and force users to keep data on the server, because he's augmenting the core storage with centralized storage. Even then, I'd look a little crosseyed at 128GB SSDs today, given that 240GB drives are the sweet spot pricing-wise, and Windows 10 looks to have the WinSXS problem in spades.

Why not buy a 240GB and "short stroke" it? Only using half the space means that the wear leveling algorithm has more cells to play with, making doubly sure you don't hit write life limits. And if you do need more space in the future it's not a rip and replace affair to get it.

As for the "30GB SSDs into PoS terminals", to me that falls under "embedded devices" rather than desktops. Single purpose devices that are probably never going to be updated and hang around until the end of time contributing to our IoT 33Billion device attack surface. Huzzah!

Seriously though, I've deployed a fair amount of PoS terminals, thin clients, etc...and even on those - even for Linux - I find 30GB is constraining. And if it's work to squeeze the OS and all relevant defenses in there today, 6 or 10 years from now space could be a real problem. Unless, of course, updates and maintenance aren't part of the plan.

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Re: FFS

Pfaugh. Now this is proper comedy.

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Re: FFS

Who or what is "the Fast Show". I tried checking it out on YouTube, but if this was supposed to be funny it completely bypassed me.

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Number of PCs shipped != number of PC gamers.

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Re: Mine's the one with Trevor's boot print on it...

I haven't worked for anyone with that little financial sense in quite some time. Trying to run Windows Server on a 30GB SSD with a projected install time greater than 6 years is called "being penny wise and pound foolish".

Examine the total cost of ownership over the life of the unit. This includes the cost of maintenance, downtime for upgrades, spares, electricity, bandwidth and so forth. I have spend my entire career as an SMB admin for the cheapest people alive, and I promise you that the sort of nonsense you advocate in that regard is far more costly over the life of the unit than simply buying a "sweet spot" drive and letting your OS grow.

I know it's very hard for some people to factor in the cost of manpower. THey think that being on salary makes their time cost nothing. For sysadmins this was true 15 years ago when there wasn't such a diversity of products to support. Now, the sheer volume of different kinds of hardware, software, networking etc that even the smallest of SMBs must support strains the ongoing maintenance capabilities of even the most strongly "pee in jars" sysadmin.

Try to make what you deploy as "fire and forget" as possible. That will require frontloading a few extra % in terms of hardware cost in order to recoup hundreds of % in operating costs.

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The VMware, Nutanix mud wrestle is hilarious, but which one is crying with fear on the inside?

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Your entire insane rant falls apart right at the very beginning:

"Nutanix is lock-in simply because it's a proprietary stove-piped solution. Your data sits in a silo in a data format inaccessible by tools and protocols other than what the vendor allows you"

Nutanix uses the same formats the hypervisors use. There is nothing proprietary about the "data formats" at all. There is nothing preventing you from very easily moving from Nutanix off to someone else.

So basically, you're just making shit up. The question is...why?

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Re: About owning the data center...

You are not explaining how Nutanix is lock in. Nutanix sells a variety of appliances that use different hypervisors. So long as you are not using a custom hypervisor designed by Nutanix, how is it lock-in? The whole bloody point is that you can take your workloads and move them to another appliance vendor using the same hypervisor at the snap of a finger.

Your belief that "only vendors with an OS and application-level service offering (IaaS, PaaS) will be able to truly make a difference and truly "own" a data center" is wrong. Full stop. There are lots of parts of a datacenter that matter. If a datacenter becomes heavily invested in automatino and orchestration, for example, any move away from that automation/orchestration platform becomes practicably impossible. And that's just one example.

"Only open systems, open architecture will avoid lock-in in the long term" is also completely and utterly incorrect. You can be just as locked in to open source as you can to anything else. The "openness" of the platform doesn't prevent lock-in. Standards - the establishment and adherence to - prevent lock in.

Consider for a moment the following two scenarios:

1) There is one and only one hypervisor. It is open source. If you want a hypervisor, you must use this, or one of it's not-very-far-afield derivatives. If you want change you need to bribe developers and play petty ego politics and hand-hold groups of grown children as they squabble about minutia. Only the largest companies have the money to effect change. Features that benefit small companies don't get built.

2) There is a defined standard for both the virtual machine container (VHD/VMDK/XML) and the "integration tools", and there are multiple hypervisor vendors available. VMs can be moved between hypervisors with ease. If you don't like the features, development path or what-have-you of a given vendor then you simply choose another.

The latter is an ecosystem without lockin. The former is an open source ecosystem with lots of lock-in. Competition and standards are what prevent lock in. And it's compeition that ultimately drives standards adoption. We're starting to see this now. Startups are emerging to migrate seamlessly between hypervisors. In some cases, even to enable vMotion between them. (See: Ravello, as one extreme example).

Lots of hyperconvergence players is hugely good because they make it easy to transition between them. Don't like one? Throw them away and get another. Nothing - at the moment - locks you in to Nuanix in any way. Lots locks you in to VMware.

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Why are enterprises being irresistibly drawn towards SSDs?

Trevor_Pott
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Re: @Archaon

The tears of enraged commenters power my happiness.

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Trevor_Pott
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@Archaon

I fairly explicitly stated in my original comment that there were other possible alternatives. I also made it pretty clear that they were niche and not very relevant. You then decided that the alternatives had to be spelled out and attempted to make them seem relevant.

That was not only pointless, you did not succeed in making them seem relevant at all. Which has now become the point of this thread.

If I said "for the purposes of creating the circle used in $company logo, the value of pi used was 3.14159{irrelevant additional numbers}" you'd be the guy not only explaining "pi is more than 3.14159, and in sometimes it matters that you use {long string of numbers}". And you'd be explaining that to the guy who owns http://www.tastypi.com.

Rock on!

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Need speed? Then PCIe it is – server power without the politics

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Re: The "Printer" Icon

http://m.theregister.co.uk/2015/04/14/pcie_breaks_out_server_power/

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Internet kingmakers cry mercy over mad dash to fill global DNS throne

Trevor_Pott
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Re: Hey; it's only the Internet

I rather like gardening, and I don't see why a lack of internet access would prevent me from obtaining the automation tools required to make farming much more than "gardening at scale". Or why a lack of internet access would make it harder or all that much more expensive to produce or ship those tools.

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2550100 ... An Illuminati codeword or name of new alliance demanding faster Ethernet faster?

Trevor_Pott
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Actually 10Mb. Mega is capitalized. Bits are lower case, Bytes are upper case. Don't forget to distinguish between MB and MiB, as well.

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Nvidia's GTX 900 cards lock out open-source Linux devs yet again

Trevor_Pott
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Re: WTF?

"it was a simple question: what's wrong with just boycotting them? Please try to answer _without_ dragging in tropical diseases."

Boycotting nVidia is neither effective nor does it address the root issue of the imbalance between the power the vendor has and the power the customer has.

Only a small fraction of very wealthy customers have any real influence with nVidia. Like it or not, that is very similar to the issues wrought by economic darwinism on the pharmaceutical industry.

Perhaps more to the point: nVidia is more than just a vendor of GPUs, and they have aspirations to be even more. nVidia has the desire - and the capability - to be one of the major players in low power devices (see; internet of things) that will be (and are) making technology ubiquitous in all aspects of our lives. Including, increasingly, ones that involve life-or-death situations, medical equipment and everything from personal cars to mining equipment many times the size of your house.

Making processors, GPUs and the like is functionally an unregulated industry. Despite this, it is rapidly moving into becoming as important to life and limb as the pharmaceutical industry. Boycotting sure as hell doesn't work there!

It is ultimately a question of how much power we wish to allow the vendors versus how much power we, as the customer demand. That brings me right back to my previous comment: it's ultimately about social/economic darwinism. Either you support the "irrelevance" of the poor, the niche and those who bought a widget that is older than a single product cycle, or you believe that vendors need to be held to a higher standard.

I tend towards the latter.

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Re: JustNiz

"Ok so don't try to use someone else's wicked cool skill that you think are massively impressive to try to size up someone else because you have no idea what you're talking about."

Not being a developer (by choice, I might add), doesn't mean I don't know quite a bit about the field. (Well, fields. Development is broad enough to have specialized a long time ago.)

"You're taking offence to something that wasn't written. For most people that develop on Linux either at the kernel level, application or whatever are in no way affected by the revelation that nvidia has added signing to their GPUs. It affects a tiny minority of developers that are working on opensource drivers for nvidia GPUs and almost no one else. I think you're going to massive lengths to make this look like it deeply affects your friend's hobby project but I don't see how it does."

You are...whom? And who elevated you to the final arbiter of knowledge and understanding? And for that matter, who gave you the right to judge how many people have to be affected by something before it's important enough for others to care about?

"So don't use their stuff then."

So you're an economic/social darwinist. See my previous post in this thread.

" If everyday a bunch of charity cases walk into your office and give you their sob story will you do work for free or for a rate that means you lose money? You might once or twice out of the goodness of you heart but you aren't going to do it everyday until you go bust are you?"

First of all, you're so full of shit your eyes are brown. nVidia is in exactly zero risk of "going bust" if they support startups and hobbyists. They risk only making a (very) slightly lower profit.

As for me, I actually do my best to support those with esoteric requirements. In fact, I get together with other consultants in both of my major fields of endeavor to work out standards and do the equivalent of "open sourcing" as much of our work as possible. This makes it easier to support a large number of "edge cases" with a minimal cost on our side. It spreads the load amongst the network and ultimately builds good will amongst those individual and companies that form the edge cases. Good will that means a lot when the odd one goes gold.

"Hobbyists should stick to hobbyist friendly vendors that release proper documentation for their products and be hard on vendors that don't release documentation. What hobbyists really don't need is people flapping their gums about stuff they don't care about or need."

More economic darwinism and some extra judgement based on an appeal to your own authority. Don't push for change or seek better of vendors, just accept whatever your betters give you, and tell you that you should need. Neat-o! (Double bonus if you ad homeinem anyone who stands up for the edge cases.)

"The intel GPU drivers have been opensource for a long time. They still crash the whole X server when people do certain actions in kicad with some models of GPU. The bug has been there for about 5 years. Open sourcing the drivers doesn't instantly fix hard to fix bugs."

And now you're way out in the middle of nowhere. I never said anything about open source automatically fixing hard to fix bugs. I said it gave those who care enough the ability to do so. Now you're just manufacturing arguments.

"What exactly are they going to tweak/tinker? I can maybe understand that they might be able to find where values like the different core frequencies are held in the flash and overclock their cards but I very much doubt they are in IDA disassembling the stock firmware, documenting and re-implementing it on a daily basis."

You doubts are irrelevant. You've proven your limited capacity for belief repeatedly. While I'm not goign to waste my time going into a huge amount of technical detail, one example of what one group has been up to with their driver recoding has been changing the way vector calculations are done by the GPUs so that they can get (way) better performance from their algorithms. They had great success with the Phi, and so far have had good luck with AMD, but nVidia makes the hardware that is optimal for this task...if they could just change some of the behavior.

"So, yeah, poking in a hex editor to tweak the settings of the cards which nvidia doesn't make available."

Uh, no. But great job inserting your own prejudices and biases.

"What architectures do you think could really do with nvidia GPUs but don't have binary drivers. Keep in mind that there are only 3 or 4 current architectures that have pci-e interfaces."

You do realize that ARM, for example, is not remotely cross compatible, eh? Binary for one ARM isn't always (rarely, IME) going to work on a chip from another vendor. Or even a different chip from the same vendor. That's before we start looking to Power or MIPS.

I know, for example, of one group working to build an embedded PIC32 unit with a GPU (the "sidecar", as it's lovingly named) that is being optimized for extreme environments for purposes I can't go into because of NDAs. Some of the stuff they're doing requires some really crazy calculations to be done in real time (or as close as possible) and they absolutely need to tinker at the metal.

But I guess all them folk are just posers, eh? Just wanting to overclock cards and such.

"Unless the bugs are in the firmware that has no relation to the firmware being signed or closed source. Nvidia could have opensource drivers and closed firmware (like 99.9999999% of the stuff in your machine that has a mainlined driver but requires firmware).. would you still be demanding they remove the signing if that was the case?"

Actually, yes. I do generally request of all vendors that they either put in place a program to make it reasonably easy to get custom firmware signed (and then inject it) or - better yet - do away with signing and open source their firmware. For everything I can get my hands on from BMCs to the radios in my phone.

Part of the reason is security. These firmwares are often abandoned by vendors, yet units stay in play for bloody ages. Signing can be part of a defense, but it can also prevent community sourced updated for abandoned hardware that ultimately leave us more insecure.

Smartphones are a great example of this issue: a year out, and you're not getting any love. Try to roll your own, but it's fighting an up hill battle because of all the devices with undocumented, closed firmware. A lot of which has known vulnerabilities. That's before we begin discussions about nation states occupying your firmwares...and they won't have trouble getting their malware signed! (I'd really like to have a nice maintenance program that re-flashed all my firmware with known good copies relatively regularly, letmetellyou.)

And for all that we're having this discussion about GPUs today, the economic ethics being hashed out over these issues will be the default for future products. I don't fancy an "internet of things" full of abandonware with closed, unupdatable firmware.

How much of your "smart house" do you want to have to replace with the latest, greatest before you sell it, hmm? Are you okay with rebuying your car every year or two?

if you think I'm being alarmist, remember that these are markets nVidia is targeting with a vengeance. I don't particularly care for the implications - on a personal level or at a societal level - of economic darwinism being applied to technology when it becomes as ubiquitous and as critical, in many ways to human life as it is promised to become in the next 10 years.

But hey, there's nothing wrong with locking everyone out. As long as nVidia makes money doing so...right?

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: WTF?

"Serious question. Why not simply refuse to buy Nvidia unless and until they allow the level of support you think you need? Why not just boycott them, and make your reasons for boycotting them plain to see?"

Because the implication behind that is that the only thing that matters is money. This is from the same school of thought (economic/social Darwinism) that gives us neglected tropical diseases. There are plenty of individuals and companies that aren't in the "fat money belt" and could ultimately prove to be very useful to society as a whole if only they could get the initial support out of the gate.

There aren't a lot of vendors in this space. If we make it acceptable to behave as an economic Darwinist when in a position of monopoly, near monopoly or functional duopoly then we are ultimately restricting our innovation as a society. You can only really innovate if you have enough money, but you can't get enough money without being able to innovate (or unless you know the right people.)

Maybe that's fine by you. But it isn't fine by me. I happen to think that those who aren't rich and powerful - or part of the blind majority - still have much to offer society. Be this discussion about technology or real world issues like education, health care or political representation.

It's the age old debate: those who view the dollar as almighty versus those who see value in everyone (or almost everyone).

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@Handy Plough

But I'm a professional dick!

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@Daniel Palmer

At least one of the startups I'm working with is actually part of a project to bring both CUDA and OpenCL to the nouveau drivers. At the moment, he's been working on OpenCL. In fact, I just heard him log in to my testlab and spin up the GRID cluster, so I presume they've started working on the "GPU-enabled VMs" one more time.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: JustNiz

"Where am I looking down at others exactly? You're the one trying to belittle the OP for mentioning he's some sort of developer by using someone else's apparent skills in an attempt to make him feel small. I have a feeling that the 2 or 3 lines I have in the mainline are more than the sum of *your* input to a serious kernel."

You'd be right. I'm not a developer, nor do I claim to be. But I'm also not disparaging someone's development efforts as "unimpressive" here. I never said our "professional Linux developer" should feel small because he is a Linux developer. I said that being a Linux developer - professional or not - doesn't give him standing to diminish someone like Chris. There's a difference.

"Which nvidia supply a public API for and doesn't require running third party firmware on the GPU. You're making out this is like some secure boot system that stops people running their own code on their CPU/GPU when it really isn't."

CUDA and OpenCL support aren't there for all processor types, and are still somewhat bug-ridden for x86 Linux. What's more, there are still efficiencies to be eeked out that would be a lot easier if one didn't have to go through the nVidia bureaucratic gauntlet.

"Vendors need to be working to get their stuff into the mainline so it doesn't bit rot but the management is usually very much "our precious" so however much developers tell them that they should try to get their stuff mainlined it's hard work to make it happen."

No, vendors need to open source their frakking drivers so that the rest of the world isn't held up by their internal politics. There's a whole industry that needs to be able to move faster than they can.

"I work with small startups a lot bringing up Linux of their hardware. I can't think of a case where we haven't been able to get the complete source for all of the vendor's drivers."

So do I, and nVidia doesn't release that information with a simple NDA. It takes a hell of a lot of lobbying and a lot of money. Money that you don't tend to have as a startup unless you are already A (or usually B) round funded. Especially if you're not an American startup.

"Hobbyists have a bit of a problem that they aren't very valuable to big semiconductor companies that need to ship hundreds of thousands of units to make a design profitable.""

Yeah, but fuck 'em, eh? Awesome attitude.

"You seem to be arguing along the lines of "I know more than you so shut up""

Uh, no. That would be you. There are damned good reasons to want open source drivers, even if they don't apply to you, personally, or people you've worked with. But hey, because you don't personally see a need, you're entirely happy with denying everyone else. You sure you're not a bureaucrat?

"and "Won't someone think of the children that for some inexplicable reason need to be able to upload their own firmware to GPUs". Neither is making much sense."

There are lots of reasons. You just don't accept them as relevant. Poor support outside of x86. Inability to obtain source code unless you have gobs of money and influence. Bugs that never get fixed. Abandoning hardware after very limited periods of time. Reams of WONTFIX bugs and corporate history of simply ignoring bugs raised are all good reasons.

But you're also conflating two things here. 1) Inability to firmware update cards (nice to have in a lot of ways) with 2) lack of open source drivers that can be recompiled on other platforms (absolute must).

Now some of my clients have a desire to get into the firmware and tweak and tinker, because they need every erg of speed. But I think there's a much broader need for open source drivers that can be tweaked and recompiled for different architectures, and where bugs can be fixed that nVidia won't.

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Re: JustNiz

"He seems to have written one kernel of limited complexity."

Which still requires an understanding of programming that most people lack. As a hobby item, it may not be the most complex, but it is more than the overwhelming majority of self professed "professional Linux programmers" are capable of.

What have you done that of the same complexity as a "multi-million LOC proper operating system kernel like Linux", thus giving you the bragging rights to look down your long nose at others, hmm?

"I'm not sure how you go from "writing a hobby kernel" to "needs to have custom firmware for a graphics card"."

Needs to? Maybe not. Wants to? Sure! In Chris' case, he'd love to explore it just for the sake of exploring. Learning for the sake of learning. I do know people who use other cards (notably the Xeon Phi) specifically because they get the kind of access to it that they don't with nVidia, even if nVidia's cards are more powerful.

You are presuming that your own identification of needs outweighs everything and everyone else.

" I can't even see where his kernel's nvidia graphics driver is.. it seems it has a serial console only. But anyhow, he's free to do what most toy kernels do and use the standard VESA stuff that is compatible with the millions of PCs out there.""

Graphics cards aren't just for graphics. They are used for processing as well. And the last i heard he was working on integrating some GPU compute stuff, given he'd just gotten some nice embedded boards with some sexy GPUs on them. Maybe you might even stop to think that in his case, part of the frustration is that the lack of open sourced drivers makes doing that integration work harder...especially when he's working with non-x86 platforms.

"Not massively impressed really. I know lots of people that look at an instruction sequence and tell you how many clocks it will take and how to reduce the clock count by using some weird trick."

Congratulations. You know people! There are 7 billion+ of them on the planed. Not it's my turn to be completely unimpressed. OTOH, here's someone who isn't an electrical engineer or computer scientist by trade who spends his spare time learning this stuff. That is relatively rare. No matter how little it impresses you.

"If the stuff they are working on is so important they should have a contact an nvidia that can help with that. Surely they want someone that has access to the engineers that put the chip together opposed to stuff that is reverse engineered.

What a lot of people don't realise is that even with proprietary hardware if you have enough cash and sign enough NDAs you can usually get access to all the information and code you would ever need. I have the complete source for the binary drivers for various ARM SoCs sitting on my harddrive."

Wow, you really are an arrogant little weasel man who lives in his own little universe, aren't you? "Get enough money together and you can have influence"? On behalf of every small business, every startup and ever hobbyist in the world: fuck you. In the face. With a 20MT vat of battery acid.

The stuff these people are working on absolutely is important. In the case of at least one of these companies, the quicker they get their software together the better, because it quite literally saves lives. (Though at the moment they've got map rendering from last year's industry best of 3 days to 36 hours, the lack of proper access to the cards is prevent them from hitting "real time".)

Sadly, they just don't have enough money to matter to arrogant types such as yourself. But that's okay. As long as your own inflated sense of self importance and the importance of proprietary drivers is in place, let other people die in the wilderness. You'd probably blame the victim anyways. I sense that about you. I really do.

"The proprietary drivers have public specifications right? For your previous example that should be enough. If they find bugs in the proprietary drivers they should have a contact within nvidia that they can contact to get it fixed."

Except that you have to be pretty goddamend important to have a contact within nVidia that can actually get anything done. Nor is nVidia particularly interested in actually fixing bugs, fixing them with any speed, or fixing bugs that only affect small, insignificant people without a lot of money.

Your solutions of "well, just obtain power and influence" are asnine, and prove that you don't remotely understand why open source anything is important.

Now, I happen to understand why nVidia doesn't do open source drivers. It has to do with military contracts. There's a whole lot of very long, condensed reasoning and I'd be happy to have a rational discussion with people about the whys and why nots.

What I won't stand for is tearing down someone who is actually quite intelligent, capable and damned fine human being just for the sake of some self-important grandstanding. Especially when the rationale for the vitriol - that open source drivers are irrelevant - is complete and utter bullshit.

Have a great time.

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Re: JustNiz

@JustNiz, you're kind of a dick. I state this as a professional dick: someone who actually gets paid to troll the internet. As a professional dick, I recognize your amateur dickishness, and both the fact that you are an amateur dick (for free! for shame!) and so terrible at it offends me.

Let me tell you a little something about the man you are disparaging.

To start off with, he writes his own kernels. That's right, @diodesign there writes his own kernels. Not "recompiles a Linux kernel", but writes entire kernels from scratch. When he's bored, or depressed, he does things like "try to port compilers to new platforms or SoCs so that emerging languages like Rust can be made to work where they have never worked before.

And then he writes a kernel in it.

Our Mr. Williams here absolutely is someone who is directly affected by the lack of open source drivers directly from nVidia, and he does that stuff just for fun. He does, in fact, code that close to the metal. On every CPU architecture and size of system he can find.

He won't wave this in your face, but I sure as hell will. Watching you try to wave about your own self-importance and the amazing depth of your critical experience in the face of what Chris actually knows and does is a bit like watching a "professional" social worker try to educate a medical journalist on the ins and outs of third world medicine, knowing that the medical journalist in question is an MD and spends half his year in Africa treating malaria.

You are making a 100% grade A ass of yourself, and you do not even know it.

What's more, I find the tripe you're waving around offensive. I am working with a number of startups here in Canada that are doing real, honest to god GPGPU work. Oilfield simulation. GIS rendering. Power distribution optimization. The lack of open source drivers really, honestly and truly does affect them, as there are regularly things they need to be able to change, and they have to fight tooth and nail to see them changed. It would make their lives a lot easier - and cheaper - if they could just code the drivers themselves. (And sometimes, they do fork the really, really crappy open source attempts at drivers, but they aren't nearly as feature complete, so it's a pain in the ASCII.)

I'm glad that you get by just fine on the proprietary drivers. But you're one person. Take the time to internalize the lesson learned here today: your experience does not dictate the experience of others, or even the experience of the majority. And yes, when something like "the drivers are not open source" is a problem for other people, that actually matters. Even if it does not matter to you.

Thank you, and have a great day.

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'We STRONGLY DISAGREE' that we done WRONG, says Google

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So a company isn't allowed to make their own product worse? Why the hell isn't Microsoft in the brig for Windows h8?

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Chrome version 42 will pour your Java coffee down the drain: Plugin blocked by default

Trevor_Pott
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Re: isnt that a good thing?

Is a potato a zero or a one?

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