* Posts by Roo

1301 posts • joined 21 Sep 2010

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Explo-Xen! Bunker buster bug breaks out guests from hypervisor

Roo
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"Not that I'm an expert, but as a general principle I would expect that the "hardware" features used to implement hypervisors are likely to have at least as many bugs."

Few people appear to pay attention to the Errata sheets published by CPU vendors, you could become an expert on the topic if you read a couple of them. :)

I suspect folks who have read those errata sheets and who are serious *serious* about securing their hardware they would give things like hypervisors and x86 hardware a miss and maybe looked for something a bit easier to lock down.

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Rip up your AMD obits: Gaming, VR, embedded chips to lift biz out of the red by 2016, allegedly

Roo
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Windows

Re: Wait and see

"C'mon man, that post reads like all the hand wringing hopeful posts I read from AMD fans 24 hours before the NDAs finished at the Bulldozer release."

Spot on. :)

However ...

Granted AMD really have no credibility left, but given how heavily optimised for low-end late to market processes their gear is, their CPUs do have plenty of room for improvement. The low-latency cache caught my attention - but I would be surprised if they deliver something radically different/better than the current competition...

That said I'll suspend my disbelief until I see some SPEC results, which is more than I did for the SPARC M7. :)

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UK employers still reluctant to hire recent CompSci grads

Roo
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Re: Interesting...

"and they need to know about the full software lifecycle"

There are a lot of talent out there amongst the dross, but even the gems tend to lack the following essentials:

1) Knowing what a source control system is and how to use it.

2) Developing *useful* tests.

3) Communicating Sequential Processes (threading knowledge is fine - but it doesn't help folks develop scalable distributed applications at all).

4) Understanding bandwidth & latency - and how it applies to things like CPUs/memory/networks & storage.

5) make (not because we use it, just the principles and how you manage dependencies between components).

YMMV :)

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Mellanox plans to SoC it to storage speed with Multi-ARM BlueField

Roo
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Windows

Interesting beast, I wonder if it has enough FP grunt for the HFT folks to get some joy out of it. If nothing else it would be interesting to have a few dozen of these things in a box to play with. :)

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Softbank promises stronger ARM: Greater overseas reach and double the UK jobs

Roo
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Windows

Re: Is this the double size already announced or double the double size...

"Something similar was said about Inmos. Have you seen Aztec West lately?"

*Sniff*

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Roo
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Re: Is this the double size already announced or double the double size...

"The engineers with the skills (which are NOT easily transferable) are not going to just up and move somewhere else."

All the chip-design folks I knew at British chip design firms that got bought, either moved abroad or moved to another sector. As charming as Cambridge may be, I don't see any reason to believe ARM will buck that trend. :(

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Chipzilla veteran joins IBM's OpenPOWER

Roo
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Windows

It's hard to argue with sales...

There are quite a few *technical* folks who would prefer *less* cores, more cache per core and more memory bandwidth than Xeons offer right now. The problem is convincing the PHBs that sacrificing cores for cache & memory bandwidth is a win - they have a habit of thinking more cores = more speed.

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Here's how police arrested Lauri Love – and what happened next

Roo
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Windows

Re: Flocke Kroes AC Although the burden of proof lies with Love

"they have no grounds to suspect me of any crime"

If you have nothing to hide, why do you post under a pseudonym to slander folks on a tech website ?

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Roo
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Re: AC Although the burden of proof lies with Love

"That is why the NCA chose not to prosecute when he didn't supply his encryption keys, because to do so would hold up his extradition, and they would rather send him off to the States."

The NCA have a duty of care towards UK citizens regardless of their feelings and the orders given to them from across the pond or what the accused has done. If the NCA were to behave in a lawful manner they would be doing everything they could to ensure Love was rehabilitated and returned to society rather than sucking up to their buddies across the pond.

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Roo
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Re: The law only exists for the wealthy

"The law only exists for the wealthy

For the rest of us we take our (rather thin) chances...."

The law exists for everyone, the wealthy can afford a better outcome. ;)

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Roo
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Re: So the Rozzers went "Softly, Softly" on them then

"My barrister said she had never seen such a mishandled case before, or such deliberate stonewalling by the Police."

Presumably that was your Barrister's first ever case. :)

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Bank tech boss: Where we're going, we don't need mainframes

Roo
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Windows

"This was not because “a mainframe in itself is a bad technology. It’s maybe one of the most virtualised environments ever invented, even before the whole hypervisor was there.”"

So he hasn't read the history books and is currently repeating history. The new money for old rope game never grows old.

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InfiniBand-on-die MIA in Oracle's new 'Sonoma' Sparc S7 processor

Roo
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Windows

Re: Agreed!

"More competition for Intel's dominance in the data center is good, looking forward to benchmarks as with that clock speed they should be good."

I agree, competition would be good and I really want the left-field stuff to thrive (variety is good !) but I doubt the S7 will be anywhere near Intel chips single-threaded performance. The M7's SPEC_rate figures look competitive against Intel v3s, but Oracle won't publish non-rate figures so you can't compare apples with apples for single threaded performance. Dividing the _rate figures by the # of physical cores on both Xeon v3's & M7 doesn't paint a pretty picture for the M7, so I wouldn't expect the S7 to turn the tables on single-thread performance either.

I want to be proven wrong by Oracle, but they are very reluctant to do so. ;)

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Roo
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Re: Silicon wasteland

The infiniband bits should not really take up much die area in comparison to cache etc. What isn't clear to me is whether the package has "Infiniband pins" that are not connected - hopefully that is the case so they can follow up on their promise to make Infiniband work without forcing a board redesign...

"Therefore, verifying that Sonoma's InfiniBand controller works with all the various InfiniBand adapters on the market was deemed a distraction."

If that were the case I would have expected them to ship it with the pins connected but disabled by firmware so they can verify it *after* the shipping date. On the other hand shipping with the pads disconnected would make sense if they didn't actually implement the interfaces or discovered some basic design flaw...

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No means no: Windows 10 nagware's red X will stop update – Microsoft

Roo
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Windows

"There is nothing wrong with Linux, but if you can't help them and they need support they are snookered."

The same applies to Windows. I see plenty of snookered people running XP, Vista, 7, 8.1 and 10. PC World can't really fix stuff like drivers not existing for their old peripherals for example.

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Roo
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Windows

"I have one windows 10 dual boot system for gaming - and I've removed everything except the games. Runs much faster now. Most of the time I'm on linux mint 18 which although only in beta, looks more polished and stable than windows 10."

I upgraded the kid's boxes from Win 8.1 to 10 over the weekend. It was a long & awkward process due to having to run the Windows Update Troubleshooter multiple times before and after the upgrade on all three machines.

Our eldest asked "Why is it different ?" and then asked "Can I have Linux Mint like your machine because it's easier to use ?". As it turns out all her favourite games now run under Steam on Mint just fine, so Win 10 will be gone at the first sign of trouble in this house. I lie, 10's Windows Update has already failed three times resulting in a few lost hours... Win 10 will be gone at the second sign of trouble... :)

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NVMe SSDs tormented for months in some kind of sick review game

Roo
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Pint

"Mr Pott, I salute you for your dedication to your craft. :)"

I second that, fair play Trevor. :)

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Even in remotest Africa, Windows 10 nagware ruins your day: Update burns satellite link cash

Roo
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Windows

Re: Don't use Microsoft products ....

"Any bright ideas as to how this behaviour can be stopped before somebody gets killed?"

I suggest sending MS big shots to the game reserve to do a bit of game keeping wearing nice bright visivests and toting slingshots would be the best solution. I wouldn't expect sociopathic MBAs to "get it" until their own lives & money are on the line.

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More than half of people on UK counter-terror biometrics databases are innocent

Roo
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Windows

"Only yesterday, I was reading of a "crackdown on legal highs"."

I was able to buy a couple of beers yesterday without any problem from a shop on the high street, so it looks like there is no effective crack-down on "legal highs".

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The underbelly of simulation science: replicating the results

Roo
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Windows

Re: Here's a simple experiment...

"> Almost certainly the two binaries produced will be different,...

If you really see this happening, file a bug report."

Before filing that bug report I would do a quick double check to see if it was using some form of profile driven optimisation. The EPIC (aka Itanic) folks used that approach to help them achieve parity and eventually beat much smaller, faster, simpler and easier to code super-scalar RISC cores (which were fabricated on fraction of the die area using a process that was at least 4 years out of date).

Computer architecture folks had already worked out that you needed dynamic instruction scheduling to get the most out of the hardware decades earlier, Intel *and* HP had already learnt that lesson so you have to wonder how they convinced themselves that an entire ISA explicitly designed for statically scheduled instructions would help.

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Roo
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Windows

"Wouldn't it be of scientific interest to develop specialized CPU's with much larger floating point units for simulation."

That's been done repeatedly, the hardware often lies idle. There are various libraries that offer arbitrary precision, interval arithmetic etc, etc etc, but these tools mostly lie idle mostly through ignorance of their existence and applicability.

If folks are made aware of these tools there are additional barriers:

1) Performance will take a hit. Folks tend to want a credible but wrong answer faster than the correct answer slower (see the background to Seymour Cray's "Parity is for farmers" quote).

2) It will be "too hard" to validate the results (which they know will be different so they can't simply run diff).

3) It will be "too hard" to get downstream systems/regulators/phbs to accept the new results because they are different.

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Roo
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Windows

Re: and this is called chaos theory...

"It's amazing how many scientists haven't got the first clue about Floating-Point Arithmetic. FTFY."

Amen to that.

I suspect that covers 99.99% of folks writing code (not excluding myself). :)

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Oracle drops 248 – count 'em – 248 patches, to fix ... something

Roo
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"If you think that about a microkernel OS like Windows, what about Linux?! It's way way worse in that regard."

I agree a microkernel OS *should* be smaller and therefore easier to validate but Windows is not a microkernel OS because it runs stuff like font file parsing & rendering in ring 0. By contrast Linux does not render fonts in ring 0 - so that's *less* code to validate in the Linux case.

A lot of this is a moot point anyway - because the modern Wintel hardware has a metric shit load of protection domains that overlap, there are at least two *more* privileged layers above classic "ring 0" these days. Folks need to audit the firmware on the processors and motherboard these days, folks on old school RISC platforms have life a bit easier. :)

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Chaps make working 6502 CPU by hand. Because why not?

Roo
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Windows

Re: Why So Slow?

"I presume the 1960s transistor based computers running in the MHz range were designed on the macro-scale to control these capacitances in the first place."

That and bigger power supplies pushing a lot more current. :)

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Roo
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Windows

Re: Stupid masochists.

"After moving to the country my grandfather observed some men in the adjacent field using scythes. They didn't seem to be getting on too well so he asked them if he could have a look and told them the blades needed sharpening"

Soldiering on with a blunt scythe is pointless. I found that stopping every 3-4 metres (or more when doing something like brambles), giving the (rusty) blade a wipe down with a drop of oil and a whetstone worked a treat - nothing intensive, just four or so careful swipes with the stone and move on making sure to count your fingers each time. ;)

If you are selecting a scythe you should be looking to have the thing feel pretty much balanced (ie: NOT twisting in your grip) with the blade level with the ground along it's whole length, a bit of momentum and good balance goes a long way with a scythe, so don't be tempted to choose a lightweight poorly balanced scythe if you want to do real work with it. Quality scythes will have adjustable handles, once you've got them set correctly the scythe will feel like a natural extension of your arms.

In terms of the action most of the power should come from your arms & shoulders, so it should be a fairly smooth dragging motion keeping the blade level over the ground through the whole stroke, with just enough momentum to keep the scythe moving but not enough to cause you to strain to slow it down and bring it back for the next stroke. Take care not to "swing" the scythe because you won't cut evenly (if at all) and the chances are you'll do yourself an injury in the process.

Everything I know about scything stuff I discovered from trial, error and talking to an old geezer who used to mow hayfields with them - if folks know better I'd be interested to hear. :)

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Roo
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Headmaster

Re: Stupid masochists.

"Oooh, you don't want to have a good idea. My grandfather had a good idea once and his toes fell off."

Love the quote...

However, my inner pedant can't help but observe that you are more likely to cut off your fingers while sharpening the scythe or someone else's feet when you are using it. The shape & balance of a usable scythe makes it pretty tricky to get anywhere near your toenails. :)

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CONFIRMED: Google bakes custom data centre chips

Roo
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Windows

Re: Makes sense for a company to be designing its own purpose CPU's

"Like Oracle designing its own CPU's for more efficient engines to process data from databases..."

Sadly there is no credible independent evidence that they are succeeding. Oracle's SPECrate figures indicate that their cores are just as starved of cache & memory bandwidth as 18 core Xeons v3s.

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The Windows 10 future: Imagine a boot stamping on an upgrade treadmill forever

Roo
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Windows

Re: Old Skool thinking

"So, again: WTF would this have to do with changes in Windows components which is what this article is about."

That's an easy WTF to answer: The web browser that Selenium drives makes use of the windows components.

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Roo
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Re: Stability and predictability

"I just don't understand why businesses aren't clamoring for an "LTS" version of Windows 10 that has a fixed codebase and gets stability and security fixes only."

They are, but vendor doesn't want to do that. The customers need to adapt or choose something else if that is a hard and fast requirement, and bear the cost of the change either way. Personally I think customers would better served by reduce their dependence on products (and vendors) that don't fit their requirements, but ultimately it's up to them to look at the costs & benefits and make their own choice.

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Roo
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Re: Old Skool thinking

"Not surprising at all. Anything pro-MS usually equals downvotes around here. And vice versa."

In fairness it's not unknown for me to downvote pro-MS stuff. :)

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Roo
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Devil

Re: Lovely.

"Keep trying to shovel the mud out as it flows in from upstream, MS users."

<CJ>

Windows Users didn't get where they are today by using a stable platform.

</CJ>

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Roo
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Windows

Re: Old Skool thinking

"Selenium is a browser testing framework. How does this fit in with changes to Windows APIs?"

In fairness to the OP Selenium would be adequate (and appropriate) if they are simply testing the client side of a web-app. Surprised the OP got downvoted, seemed like a sane approach to me if you are committed to supporting Win 10 clients.

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Roo
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Re: You seem to have forgotten

"Thankfully all our Windows 10 Enterprise Agreement licences are LTSB which means we can move to Windows 10 but run the legacy method of patching rather than going down the evergreen route and then worrying about the inability of our application vendors to keep up."

If you are unlucky (and you will be at some stage) you will end up with a situation where a third party binary needs the latest Win 10 to work...

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Destroying ransomware business models is not your job, so just pay up

Roo
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Windows

Re: Price of an education...

"You have to have layered "defence in depth" backup going back weeks if not months to deal with this. That is generally not available for an end-user PC in _ANY_ company. It is done only for servers."

I don't recall seeing that bit in your original post...

OS vendors could nip a lot of this in the bud and avoid having to educate people about backups by shipping their OSes with a default filesystem that supports snapshots. This isn't bleeding edge technology anymore, it has been around for several decades.

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Roo
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Re: Price of an education...

"A backup containing encrypted files is not particularly useful you know."

Sure, but an earlier backup where the file isn't corrupted is still useful.

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'Knucklehead' Kansas bloke shoots self in foot

Roo
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Windows

Re: What was he thinking?

"cause of the madness of gun free zones, or massacre centres depending how you want to look at it"

I've had loaded guns with the safety off aimed directly at me at a range of under 5m on several occasions. In every case the perp was entitled to use firearms, and they were drunk. On all those occasions I had no real warning beyond the fact they were (legally) carrying a firearm, and in none of those cases would I have had time to even raise & aim a firearm without being lethally wounded. The only thing that kept me alive was making sure they understood there was nothing to gain by shooting me, any sign of a gun would have signed my death warrant.

In all those situations I've been on the wrong end of a gun, removing the firearms would have vastly improved my odds of survival. I got lucky, others haven't been so lucky.

Ideally (for me) the lawful use of a firearm should require close (independent) supervision where every discharge of the firearm will be recorded and verified, that firearms may be concealed, but anyone carrying firearms should be clearly marked as doing so and the purpose of the firearms should be declared (and agreed with the supervisory body) prior to use. The purpose of the firearms should also be *publically* displayed on the bearer of firearms (uniforms are already used for this purpose).

Laws pretty much cover all of the above in most countries, and there are knob-ends in most countries too, so the madness is that the supervision/enforcement just isn't good enough.

Having said all that I reckon that keeping folks who can't hold their booze off the streets (or keeping them away from booze) would have a more beneficial effect on the quality of life for everyone everywhere. :)

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Apple, AT&T, Verizon named in $7bn VoIP patent claim

Roo
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Windows

Re: I tried reading it. Honest!

"So I can't comprehend it, let alone refute it. But since it was filed over three years after I started using Skype I'm doubtful that that torrent of words that "summarises" this beautiful flower can all be untainted by prior art."

There was talk that in the US only *patented* prior art would be considered, not sure if that has actually come to pass or not... Jackpot for the lawyers.

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Lauri Love: 'Britain's FBI' loses court attempt to evade decryption laws

Roo
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Windows

Re: Extradition to a Police State where slavery for black people still exists

"If Blacks would stop breaking the laws, then they would not get arrested."

Looks like concept of selective application of the law & punishment has flown right over your head.

Affluent white people break laws too. Perhaps if the convicts had been able to afford better lawyers they might not get convicted as often.

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IE and Graphics head Microsoft's Patch Tuesday critical list

Roo
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Windows

Re: Do keep up, people!

"Windows 10 build 10586.318 is majestic."

I'm sure it is by Redmond standards given how cross-platform support is something they struggled to maintain for more than a couple of releases in times gone by.

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Roo
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Windows

Re: Not worth the risk

"I'm in the process of moving to Linux. What should I do? Just jump straight in and lose my working environment? Or should I spend time sourcing replacements or Linux versions of programs I use? In the meantime I don't want Windows to fuck itself via hidden updates."

Dual booting has worked well for me, but in practice I ended up spending most of my time running Linux so I tended to use a VM hosted under Linux to run Windows apps. It worked pretty well for me, and I found that some file I/O intensive apps ran faster on a Linux hosted VM. The only gotcha with that is that a rarely booted Windows instance spends more time updating itself than being useful (I'm not even joking about that sadly).

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Roo
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Windows

MS the masters of understatment: vuln leading to owned box is "important"...

Surely why priv.escalation to Admin (aka obtaining root) should be rated something higher than "Important"... You may as well hand out Admin privs to everyone like Windows 3.1.

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Linux Mint to go DIY for multimedia

Roo
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Windows

Re: Who cares

"But that begs the question as to why Windows installs still suck big-time when Linux distros showed how slick an install can be a decade or more ago."

The example that I had in mind was NTFS. Slow and sad and obsolete when released in the early 90s, and nothing changed apart from the gap to the competition growling larger for over 15 years.

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Roo
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Windows

Re: Who cares

"If you consider that Mint is around 25% of all Linux desktop installation then according to nemarketshare.com there are roughly as many users of Linux Mint as Windows 3.1"

Personally I don't care about market share, I am happy that I have a desktop OS that works very well for me - much better than the alternatives I've tried so far. It's not perfect, but each release has rounded off a few more rough edges and added a bit more useful functionality so it's the best I've tried so far and getting better. The only butthurt from my point of view is that there may be folks who won't give another OS a shot because of comments from insecure numpties.

No one wins when a single vendor owns the market, you should be cheering the alternatives on because without decent competition there is no reason for a vendor to improve their product.

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The 'new' Microsoft? I still wouldn't touch them with a barge pole

Roo
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Windows

Re: What!!!

"Visual Studio => Brilliant way to force .Net versions, no major innovations for years, useless changes in UI (hoooo the bckground color is now dark-blue instead of grey and all menus switched places!"

Charging extra for a 64bit (partially working) profiler struck me as being particularly cheap and it made it harder for Windows devs to write good quality code for Microsoft's own platform. Not very bright folks.

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Roo
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Windows

Re: I stopped using Redmond products in the year 2000.

"They make good mice and keyboards..."

Fair play to MS on that front. I've found the low-end (ie: cheap) wireless KB & Mouse combo I bought a few years back to be brilliant.

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Windows 10 free upgrade offer ends on July 29th

Roo
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Windows

Re: "The program's been a success"

"If Google swapped out the underlying Linux portions of Android for some new creation (they've got the budget and the expertise) then I doubt more than 1%-2% of users would stick with "old" Android because of it's Linux ancestry. The rest would just follow where the chocolate factory took them."

I can see why Windows folks think that an interchangeable OS is a terrible idea because they know that should the MS bandwagon founder there is a significant chance they are going to be left stranded on the smouldering wreckage of a burnt platform. They know this because since 1992 they've had MS burn the following platforms (each one quite unique and different): Windows 3.1, NT 3.51, NT 4.0, Vista, 7, 8, WinCE, RT...

By contrast I have been able to use the same (expanding) library of tools & code on UNIX style OSes since 1990 (when I got my hands on SunOS). That has allowed me to spend more time delivering solutions and a lot less time retraining/relearning how to do the same things over and over again. It has also meant that I am not tied to a single platform or vendor, if the platform dies or the vendor doesn't deliver what's required at a sane price there is enough competition to find an alternative or apply pressure to the vendor.

I just don't see any benefit to the user in the Windows community over the UNIX community. With the Windows community everyone follows a path that the vendor chooses to suit the vendor first and foremost. If the vendor wants change the users do the change & bear the cost, yet if a user wants a change that doesn't fit the vendor's ideas/business model - like Google for example - MS simply ignores the need. By contrast the "Unix" community provided a solution for the Googles & Apples of this world. MS loyalists *should* be pissed about that because they are missing out on being Google and Apple.

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Roo
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Windows

Re: People will do what they did before

"According to Forbes, Microsoft have about 75% market share for servers."

Does Forbes use the old trick of counting Linux as a UNIX box rather than a "Server" ?

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Watch it again: SpaceX's boomerang rocket lands on robo-sea-barge

Roo
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Windows

Re: Much better view here

Thanks for the link. I can't help but wonder if my sense of awe & wonder was akin to what people felt watching the Apollo programme footage back in the day. It's good for the soul. :)

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Microsoft half-bricks Asus Windows 7 PCs with UEFI boot glitch

Roo
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Windows

Re: No, but seriously ...

"Secure Boot is actually a very good idea -- it's in the users' interest to be able to have some confidence that the OS on a PC hasn't been suborned by malware."

The thing is it is overkill, a read-only SD card slot that is only used to load the boostrap would achieve the same thing. When people want to change the bootstrap - (eg: add SecureBoot) they could swap out the SD cards - or with ILO type setups the ILO gear could manage the read-only bootstrap image. It's really not hard - and it doesn't force you into accepting a long chain of trust either. :(

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Roo
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Windows

Re: and so it begins

"This is about a feature that asus put on old pcs. Is also about the grief ms get for trying to support relatively ancient systems (if you have an android handset you know how quickly a machine can become outdated). It's not about ms trying to stop you installing linux."

Fair point, but they clearly didn't do adequate regression testing and the guys doing the work clearly didn't understand the full implications of what they were up to. I would have thought a multibillion dollar multinational that took an active part in developing SecureBoot would be capable of getting this right before release. It's not as if they're short of skilled devs & cash to pay them.

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