* Posts by BinkyTheMagicPaperclip

111 posts • joined 11 May 2012

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Nano – meet her: AMD's Radeon R9 4K graphics card for non-totally bonkers gamers, people

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip

..on the other hand

On Anandtech, a commenter 'stanleyipkiss' makes the point that this is a market test to prove the later release of the Fury X2 - two Nanos in one PCB. That might actually make sense.

It's the only thing that does however, as others point out, even ITX cases can handle full size cards.

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BinkyTheMagicPaperclip

Having a giraffe..

The Nano Fury and Fury X are typical AMD : technically they should be superior, in reality they're not, as Nvidia and Intel are better at implementation and that's what counts.

The Fury series aren't appreciably faster than NVidia's offering, they're not any cheaper, the drivers are worse and the connectivity on the cards is worse unless running an all Displayport estate, or the Sapphire Fury custom card.

420 quid? Not a chance. 150-200, might be getting somewhere.

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The Raspberry Pi is succeeding in ways its makers almost imagined

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip

Re: Made My Day

Yeah, I had an MSX, and whilst I typed in a lot of listings and got to the customisation stage of coding, I didn't actually do much coding from scratch, and no assembly. It wasn't until I had an Amstrad PCW that I started to code properly.

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The most tragic thing about the Ashley Madison hack? It was really 1% actual women

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip

No, because usually you pay only to contact users or see slightly better pictures. I don't know if that's the case with AM, but it's how it works elsewhere.

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Twenty years since Windows 95, and we still love our Start buttons

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip

Never bothered with Win 9x or ME for serious use

Busy using better operating systems such as OS/2, NT or Linux at the time. Swapped straight from Warp 4 to NT 4 in 1999 (I held out on OS/2 a long time, but wasn't about to cross to y2k still running it - really was on its last legs then), and Windows 2000 soon after it came out.

98SE is basically alright, I've mostly used it for playing old games, given that it has DOS 7 as part of the install. MS really did bend over backwards to maintain compatibility (not necessarily a great idea), and plug and play, plus modems in general, became substantially easier to configure than under most other operating systems, unless your requirements were fairly specialist.

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BinkyTheMagicPaperclip

Re: Ah, memories...

I'm pretty certain that Ultima 7 and Wing Commander 2 weren't that big. From the looks of things, Ultima VII was six disks, can't tell about WC2. I have the original Black Box U7 at home, but it's easier to use a CD or GOG download..

OS/2 was of course a lot larger, back in the 2.0/2.1 days where floppy install was the main installation method. XDF format arrived in v3 Warp, and was only really useful for squeezing more drivers onto boot disks 1 and 2 - beyond that point the remainder of the install was usually off CD.

I migrated from Warp 4 to NT4 before the millennium, but it was really only with the release of Windows 2000 that it surpassed OS/2 in pretty much all respects.

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High-heeled hacker builds pen-test kit into her skyscraper shoes

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip

Clever..

However, I do echo the comments of the poster above that her choice of outfit raises alarm bells. It's not exactly standard office wear, is it?

It's a fair point that she dresses to distract and has no other space to store equipment, but a viable alternative is still being moderately distracting, but using a more modest outfit (better to hide equipment) . Bra storage is also significant if you've got sufficient frontage, and less likely to be searched - a router might be stretching things, but a mobile phone isn't.

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Sysadmin ignores 25 THOUSAND patches, among other sins

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip

Re: I don't think he handled this job at all correctly

I wouldn't - gold images only work if the network is correctly configured, all files are stored on a fileserver (not the local drive) and there's absolutely no mission critical customised software on each desktop.

In this case, there is very obviously not a setup of that calibre. Patching is absolutely what I would do, testing on a sacrificial machine, then slowly rolling it out.

This also appears to be XP; SP3 was out years ago. Four years of patching is entirely standard.

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All aboard the Skylake: How Intel stopped worrying and learned to love overclocking

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip

Re: Bandwidth starved

This isn't comparing like with like. These are supposedly 'high end' chips, but it's the initial high end, not workstation class.

People are comparing Haswell-E against Skylake. A direct comparison is Skylake vs Haswell.

In that case they are very similar - the processor lanes are the same. The chipset lanes are much better in Skylake, because Haswell used DMI 2!

If compared against X99 (Haswell-E), the processor lanes are better, because it's high end enthusiast/workstation. The chipset lanes are again linked by DMI 2.

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The good burghers of Palo Alto are entirely insane

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip

Rather poor article Tim, far too many 'what if' situations

It's a nice point you raise about the true value of land, but in this case I don't see the conflict. Without extensive local knowledge, there could easily be lots of reasons other land can't be used.

In that case, the assumption has to be there's not a lot of available land, and that the council's action is sensible. A company has told the owner they'll pay 55 million, the council has a cost associated with maintaining its responsibility for the people in the trailers, therefore they're offering a still sizable amount of money for the owner to 'do the right thing'. Without such an offer, though, the owner is very likely to go for 55 million USD.

Run the numbers - 39 million offered by the council. 400 people in the trailer park, plus businesses. That's 97,500 USD each - a staggeringly small number considering.

What could the council do otherwise? Infrastructure, perhaps. Assuming (big if) there is sufficient land elsewhere, perhaps in parts, they could potentially improve roads, bus services etc, to ferry residents from locations that currently don't have coverage. However, you have to assume the council are not stupid and have considered other options - I'm speculating as much as you are. Also, 39 million USD won't actually buy many roads, very little building and bus services can be surprisingly expensive to maintain.

39 million could quite easily be a bargain

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Does Linux need a new file system? Ex-Google engineer thinks so

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip

Re: Nobody forces you to use it

xfs now is not the same as xfs on an SGI box in the 90s, and its performance and reliability is pretty decent. It's only a stopgap solution, however, as ridiculously large disks will start hitting hard limits in the future.

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Now Ashley Madison hackers reveal 'CEO's emails and source code'

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip

Fake user source code

It'll be interesting to see where the source code is that creates fake e-mails to keep the punters on the site, which everyone knows happens.

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Intel's Compute Sticks stick it to Windows To Go, Chromecast

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip

Re: Windows Tax again

Yes. Even if OpenBSD was in use, more is better. Whilst OpenBSD is reasonably parsimonious with memory, run GNOME and a heavy browser session and it'll breach 1GB.

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BinkyTheMagicPaperclip

Re: Yours will be for movies over ethernet?

No, it really isn't. As far as I can see the GPU is still almost entirely closed, and it's not as if another one can be swapped in.

If it was similar to wireless chipsets or some graphics cards, where the firmware is uploaded to the card and then it can be controlled that might be 'open enough', but from the looks of things it's an opaque library that's almost impossible to port to another OS. That is not open.

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Linux boss Torvalds: Don't talk to me about containers and other buzzwords

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip

Re: This seems a very level-headed and straight forward discussion

x64 doesn't have as many levels as x86. OS/2 used ring 2 in a limited number of cases, but generally it's not used. When XFree86 was ported to OS/2, and needed to do fast I/O from user level (ring 3), the IOPL 16 bit ring 2 DLL feature was found to be appallingly slow, so a special device driver was used instead.

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Intel left a fascinating security flaw in its chips for 16 years – here's how to exploit it

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip

Re: 512MB

512MB was a lot of memory in 1995.

It's also the limit of memory if your operating system using LDT tiling, but I suspect that's not relevant.

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Windows 10 is FORCING ITSELF onto domain happy Windows 7 PCs

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip

Blocking traffic is the wrong solution, because you still want patches for your current OS version..

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X-wings, pirates and a generic Lara: Gamescom 2015

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip

Re: Yep

Life is too short to play a game that isn't fulfilling.

I'm not sure if I'll go back to Titan Quest, for instance. The same as Angry Birds - it's very addictive, and in TQ the graphics are lovely, but it's not very satisfying in the ways better plotted RPGs are.

When I game I want to feel I've achieved something at the end of it, rather than just grinding, and TQ has a huge amount of grinding in it and not enough variation or plot..

I still have fond memories of playing Knights of the Old Republic a couple of years ago, it's about 60 hours of gameplay and took me six months to finish in-between other life stuff and more social hobbies. Definitely worth it.

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Power Bar: EE was warned of safety risk BEFORE user was burned in explosion

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip

Re: A battery charging a battery

Andy, do you actually have a smartphone? Most of them don't have removable batteries.

Mine does, of course, because I deliberately sought out what that does..

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Fork off! FFmpeg project leader quits, says he's had enough with these forking AV libraries

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip

Re: That's Open Source For You...

Wifi dongle/card issues has to do with them being difficult to program, and the documentation lacking. Windows is the best platform for wireless, followed by Linux (mostly, coders from the wireless manufactures contribute code, so it's in good shape), with the BSDs unfortunately trailing last - because practically all BSD code isn't written by the wireless vendor, must be BSD licensed, and the hardware documentation is poor to non existent.

The monitors are only a 'solved problem' insofarasmuch as there are solutions to issues with CRTs, not that it's easy. You're using multiple TFT monitors, so of course it works.. (at least until the EDID becomes corrupt, oh is *that* fun to fix (the easiest way to fix it is to re-connect a Windows 8 box where the monitor correctly worked. Windows 8 will re-write the EDID and save a *lot* of hassle))

Please don't say something 'just works' when you don't actually have personal experience or definite knowledge of it.

Most recent CRTs do have an EDID, delivered via DDC. There are also a (very small) number of monitors/TVs with either DVI-A or HDMI connections. Of course if it's ancient enough to be using only RGBHV BNC, there's no way the card can know what the monitor is capable of.

Unfortunately, some drivers and cards are better at extracting this information than others, and the manufacturers don't really care about CRTs any more. For reliable operation you must go old school and edit xorg.conf to specify horizontal and vertical refresh, plus the modelines - as even if you're lucky enough to have the EDID working with a decent resolution, it's not uncommon for a non ideal refresh to be used.

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BinkyTheMagicPaperclip

Re: That's Open Source For You...

Shouldn't be a problem in Linux these days, but as a guide that's just as applicable to BSD as Linux. Your CRT may involve extra effort.

1) Research the wireless card before buying it. Don't just expect it to work.

2) For a dual monitor configuration, use the Nvidia binary drivers and double check their compatibility. Buy a card on that compatibility list, and run both monitors off the same card.

If you can't run Nvidia binary drivers (OpenBSD, FreeBSD) research the cards first, and on the BSDs multiple monitors *must* be run off the same card.

SteamOS does not like CRTs or 4:3 monitors in some cases (Nvidia card, can't remember which). That problem doesn't exist with normal Linux or the BSDs.

I can tell you that Nvidia cards happily run dualhead under BSD and Linux, in addition to Windows.

If you're connecting to your monitor through a KVM switch, and sometimes when you're not, the graphics card may not be able to identify the resolutions supported by the CRT. You'll have to dig into the joys of modelines and horizontal/vertical frequencies in xorg.conf to fix that.

I love my CRTs, but they are more hassle to use these days. If you want an easy life, use a TFT with DVI.

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QEMU may be fro-Xen out after two new bugs emerge

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip

Re: What the anonymous coward said

I'm sure they would, but they don't have a lot of choice here - older versions of Xen are in active use, still supported, and have to be maintain security. Also, qemu-traditional has a direct impact on how well various HVM domains are supported - I'd love to run upstream, but experience shows various weirdness in a variety of operating systems if I use it, that doesn't exist in -traditional.

xl is less of an issue - the two things which stick out are USB support, and floppy disks, possibly others that I forget, too. The USB issue can be worked around, as can floppies - it took the abnormal use case of installing an old OS to discover that.

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BinkyTheMagicPaperclip

What the anonymous coward said

If it was a huge problem with qemu, it'd be more an issue for KVM, because that can't work without qemu (it's a qemu accelerator). Xen only uses qemu to provide devices.

There is an issue here - the upstream qemu is not as stable as qemu-traditional, especially if you're running physical device passthrough to the VM.

Whilst Xen isn't a bad product, there's the unfortunate tendency to deprecate older code before the newer code contains the same functionality. I hope this doesn't happen to qemu-traditional; I suspect most Xen users would be happy to move to upstream when it's feature complete. With Xen 4.5 the xm management tool has been removed, which is unfortunate because xl does not yet quite provide all the same facilities (fortunately the missing parts are less commonly used).

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BOFH: My diary is MINE and mine alone, you petty HR gimps

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip

Re: CRT Monitors...

The more modern ones appear to be slightly lighter, perhaps. I have two 21" CRTs, and whilst they're not exactly light by any means, they're lighter than even older monitors.

However, I can lift a TFT monitor with one hand..

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BinkyTheMagicPaperclip

Re: Ohhhhh Simon, yer warmin' the cockles of me heart...

You should try a CRT projector - particularly high voltage in the HV card, needs about 600W of power, and I've heard you have to be careful of component selection so it doesn't emit x-rays..

When servicing mine I didn't put one of the cards in properly. This let to arcing that completely burnt out the pins on one side of the card. That's ok, though, as it has another set for redundancy on the opposite side.

It's still running happily like that to this day.. Only 8" tubes, though, couldn't afford 9" at the time, and that was second hand.

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'Fix these Windows 10 Horrors': Readers turn their guns on Redmond

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip

'Sit back and relax. Relax.. and welcome. Welcome to the testing program.

Soon you will enter the first chamber.

Right. Now, you might be asking yourself, "Just how difficult are these tests? What was in that phonebook of a contract I signed? Am I in danger?" Let me answer those questions with a statement

You're here because we want the best, and you've installed it'

(with mild apologies to Valve)

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BinkyTheMagicPaperclip

Re: No Control of Updating

Not again. NO IT ISN'T.

Secure boot in UEFI MUST accept additional keys so that alternative operating systems can be run.

Unless you're using an embedded system, in which case you're out of luck.

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Debian Project holds Sparc port's hand, switches off life support

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip

No surprise there

The only viable modern desktop is x64, although there's possibilities of some of the ARM kit (if it increases in power) or MIPS (If the Loongson chip becomes a bit more powerful and economic to purchase) in the future. It does not help that the supporting ARM chipsets in many tablets, etc, is still extremely proprietary.

There's been an entertaining thread on an OpenBSD mailing list recently about the feasibility of running non x86/x64 kit as your main desktop. Everyone else's opinion is the same as the one I'd come to : it's not viable. The fastest non Intel kit out there is a old PowerMac, and even that's slow - also note that the dual core PPC is not supported by all OS. The fastest usable Sparc64 kit is the Sun Blade 150 and that's bloody slow. The Blade 1000/2000/1500/2500 series are slow, power hungry, quite noisy and an FCAL controller makes storage annoying. Anything newer is *really* noisy.

SGI kit is waaay too slow, albeit pretty.

It's a real pity, because in addition to non Intel kit being neat, it's useful to be able to prove your software on different endian architectures.

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Ant-Man: Big ideas, small payoff

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip

Re: "Flailing" as the fail point of most action films

Why bother watching romance films, you know the trysts won't be resolved until the end of the film.

Why bother with historical films, you can just read it on Wikipedia.

Why care about thrillers, you know it won't have a resolution till the end.

The protagonist being beaten, then having to build themselves up again to triumph over their opponents is a staple of stories since they began. That doesn't make triumph against adversity any less compelling if properly implemented.

Journey, not destination.

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BinkyTheMagicPaperclip

It's obviously not supposed to be serious..

It does a decent job, has some splendid special effects, and rattles along nicely.

No, it's not as good as other superhero films, but is definitely above average. Pacing is off - it's too slow to start, and various plot points are dismissed with technical hand waving, but nothing as glaring as the travesty that's Terminator Genisys.

I enjoyed the comic relief, and even the tank sequence was quite funny, despite the fact it was blindingly obvious what would happen.

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BinkyTheMagicPaperclip

Re: The real question is...

No. Almost the only superhero film worse than Green Lantern is Silver Surfer..

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Pray for AMD

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip

HSA isn't even believed in by AMD, and they're going nowhere

AMD CPUs and GPUs are only worthwhile in low end desktops and media centres.

For all of you touting HSA - please face the facts. There's little enough support for Kaveri at the moment, but the real killer is the absence of HSA in their high end products. It's not in the FX processors now, and it isn't planned in future FX/Zen products.

This is a real pity, because incorporating a GPU into a CPU package could be a game changer - Intel does not do it with practically all of their Xeon products. It could be leveraged, and used in virtualisation. Instead, AMD has precisely nothing planned on their virtualisation roadmap - this is insanity. A well known KVM developer noted that they'd like to recommend AMD, but all the interesting things are happening on Intel.

Implementing new APIs would fragment the market, but at this stage - why not try? Some actual, useful innovation supported across their product range would be appreciated.

The sole advantage with their commodity/enthusiast chips at the moment is supporting ECC, and even Intel can do that without a vast premium using the single socket Xeon chips.

Likewise, GPU wise they have only two advantages - Kaveri chips with decent GPU performance for cheap 'good enough' desktops, and fanless low end Radeons for media playback. Their new Fury cards are sub par - the X has impressive cooling, but is lacking compared to the 980Ti, has no DVI ports (it's still too early to remove them), and the driver quality is not as good. The standard Fury isn't better than the 980 by enough to make it worth a purchase unless the price drops considerably - a pity as both Sapphire and Asus have made some interesting offerings - in one case by including a DVI port and possibly improving the power consumption, in the other by creating an incredibly quiet card.

I've got a powerful AMD GPU from a few years back and a Cyrix chip from a long way back. The only thing that's worth buying from them these days are the fanless low end Radeons, that still contain the full video decoding capability of their big brothers.

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BinkyTheMagicPaperclip

Re: Hardware manufactures futures in Microsofts hands...

Mantle has been repeatedly proven to be a sizeable advantage only at the low end. Its real use has indeed been to force some of the changes in DX12, but it's not going to make AMD overtake NVidia.

Their GPUs and CPUs are eerily similar in some ways : on paper they should be quite good, but the implementation is lacking.

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BOFH: Don't go changing on Friday evenings, I don't wanna work that hard

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip

Re: Its a small change!

'that's not supposed to happen' or worse

'that can't happen' .... 'oh' .... OW

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Britain beats back Argies over Falklands online land grab

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip

I think you misunderstand just how British the culture of Falklanders is - it's frequently held up as an example of being more British than Britain. It's a small island with a very strong identity, that benefits from its association with the UK. No surprise the inhabitants voted in favour of remaining British.

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E3 2015 in a nutshell: Hurry up Hoth, and plenty to Unravel

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip

I hope Doom is due out well into 2Q2016

..if it's mostly complete in its current form, it's going to suck.

It's pretty, but it looks closer to Quake than Doom, there's too much stupid spawning of monsters and it's not sufficiently dark and menacing. It's like a slightly more grungy version of Quake 3..

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MOUNTAIN of unsold retail PCs piling up in Blighty: Situation 'serious'

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip

Re: @AC

There are also many, many laptop that are fine. I bought a fully loaded Thinkpad x series years ago, for about 600 quid including the thinkbase - 2.5-3x lower price than new. The battery had only been charged 30 times, and there was at least a year's warranty left. It's still going strong, years on, although I now only get about an hour and a half out of the battery instead of six.

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Why is that idiot Osbo continuing with austerity when we know it doesn't work?

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip

Re: Spending money

Go on, I'll bite, on the grounds that you might actually be that stupid, and other people certainly are.

Supporting minorities or the disadvantaged is not because the council wants to be *nice*, it's because they think it will save them money in the long run, either by getting or keeping people in work, improving health or decreasing crime..

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Scientists love MacBooks (true) – but what about you?

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip

Rubbish. The limiting factor is expense. DDR3, SATA and PCI-e have been used for years. Before that, DDR2 was used for years.

CPU support is limited by BIOS support and price/performance tradeoff. Four years on there will be new chips, whether the expense is worth it is a different matter.

Disk controller? Either buy a new controller card and run it at full speed, or if using an ancient system, an adapter. There are adapters to fit SATA/SSDs in everything from IDE (very cheap) to SCA (wincingly expensive, but if you want to put one in your 90s Unix workstation..)

Graphics card? Endlessly upgradeable, within the constraints of your PSU providing enough power.

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Hypervisor indecisive? Today's contenders from yesterday's Hipsters

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip

This article is fundamentally wrong

Hyper V is a type 1 (bare metal) hypervisor, with cut down Windows derived components (not full fat Windows) on top of it.

Xen, and also Xen server, is a type 1 hypervisor. It uses a paravirtualised OS (designed to be Xen aware) as a domain 0. Dom0 manages access to devices (technically you can run devices off a stub domain, but that's adding complexity), it may also run Qemu which provides emulated devices only - not CPU emulation. The Dom0 can be Linux, NetBSD, or Solaris. For Xenserver, dom0 is a version of Linux.

Why would you use NetBSD as a dom0? Well, Xen is GPL2, but NetBSD is BSD licensed and there's been a fair bit of work performed to create custom embedded NetBSD kernels for specific purposes. Just be aware if you're using PCI passthrough that there's a fair few Linuxisms you'll have to work around, and that passthrough of graphics cards is currently non functional.

There are then DomUs (guest domains) that range from fully hardware virtualised (potentially Xen unaware), to fully paravirtualised (completely Xen aware). The drivers used within these domains can then again either be hardware virtualised, paravirtualised, or in-between (can improve performance).

KVM is a type 2 hypervisor. It runs alongside Linux (and very badly under FreeBSD, with hacks and the Linux compatibility kernel module. Don't bother) as a qemu accelerator. Qemu performs all the instruction translation with optional KVM assistance, it also provides the emulated devices. KVM also comes bundled with vfio on Linux, the most functional PCI passthrough support, particularly in the case of graphics passthrough. These are all separate components. Vfio will work with qemu and without KVM.

FreeBSD has bhyve, its own type 2 hypervisor which works with the FreeBSD kernel. This is quite new, as of FreeBSD 10.0.

Jails are something entirely different.

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HORDES OF CLING-ONS menace UK.gov IT estate as special WinXP support ends

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip

Re: Really?!

Nope, read the article :

'NHS Scotland, like NHS England, is not responsible for leading or forcing IT strategy at a grass-roots level.'

The trusts know. NHS England doesn't.

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JavaScript CPU cache snooper tells crooks EVERYTHING you do online

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip

The second time I'm covered for still running an old platform!

Main system :

Adjacent row reading in memory exploit : not vulnerable, ECC memory, Core2Quad based.

This cache exploit : Core 2 Quad, not vulnerable.

Firewall : pentium 3.

Course, there's a tablet (baytrail) and a shortly to be commissioned Ivy Bridge server. So I'm not in the clear, and at work there's both a load of old, not vulnerable stuff and new i5/i7 vulnerable kit..

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

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip

Re: Faulure to understand

20%? I'm willing to bet it'll be more than that. AMD can promise what they like but have basically been nowhere on the desktop for years other than the cheap integrated CPU/GPU systems at the low end for which they're definitely worthwhile, and the fact FX chipsets support ECC.

I see no mention of virtualisation support - an area where AMD could innovate, but it's Intel that have been driving that market. No mention of TSX. No mention of an alternative to XenGT - AMD could easily release a high end desktop or server/workstation CPU with powerful inbuilt GPU for sharing amongst VMs both for higher end graphics and compute. It's an obvious hole in Intel's lineup (Xeon's don't include an integrated GPU in most circumstances). No mention of HSA on FX processors - so it's basically a low end gimmick AMD aren't serious about.

They're not getting used in half decent laptops or tablets - Baytrail is eating the latter market.

Then there's the GPUs, where theoretically they're better in open source but in practice NVidia is a preferred option if you're not using NetBSD/OpenBSD/FreeBSD without a binary driver. On Windows the NVidia drivers still appear to be better and they have stereoscopic 3D built in rather than needing a third party product. NVidia supports GSync which at the moment is clearly better than AMD's alternative. Against that, there's the fact that NVidia can't be relied upon to keep any sort of openness (witness the disabling of CUDA when an AMD card is present in the same system, and the recent refusal of their non professional cards to run under hypervisors)

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Relax, it's just Ubuntu 15.04. AARGH! IT'S FULL OF SYSTEMD!!!

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip

Re: systemd? Do not want.

Salix is much better than Slackware - all the BSDs have integrated package management, and its omission in Slackware by default is just too painful. The use of lilo instead of grub is unusual these days, as is the fact it boots without an initrd, but the use of mbootpack enables even complex Xen configurations to boot.

I did have to terminate Networkmanager with extreme prejudice - I'm sure it must be possible to get a bridge working reliably on startup using it, but life is too short. It's also on a system which just runs a lot of VMs and will never run X, or add/remove physical network adapters (virtual is a different matter).

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Windows 10 Device Guard: Microsoft's effort to keep malware off PCs

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip

x86 has four protection rings, of which commonly only 2 are used (with the honourable excelption of the horrific and weird IOPL DLLs in OS/2 that run at ring 2). x64 has less rings and operates a little differently

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BinkyTheMagicPaperclip

This is opening a wriggly can of worms

The support for this will probably be limited to a small selection of hardware. The main issue here is not that it's a bad idea to use an IOMMU (it's probably a good idea), the issue is that everything will be running under a hypervisor.

It will doubtless be Windows 8's Hyper V with improvements

The issues with this are

1) Speed. It will be (slightly) slower. A worthwhile tradeoff, perhaps.

2) Drivers. A VM is not the same as real hardware. It may break some drivers or degrade their functionality (particularly graphics drivers)

3) Communication between mini VM and the wider world. If it needs to do this, presumably it's via a network card and will require two IP addresses. If via the main Windows VM, that's an attack surface. It'd have to be an SR IOV compliant network adapter (more expensive), as otherwise multiple cables are require, surely.

4) Cross expansion card communication. An IOMMU only protects communication between a VM and a card/memory that is not assigned to it if the PCI-e root port the card is attached to supports ACS. Otherwise one VM with one card assigned, can write to the memory space of another card in another VM, when they both share the same (non ACS protected) root port. ACS is not supported on plenty of implementations

5) BIOS. You'll need a new system simply because the quality of consumer BIOSes for VTd/IOMMU is pathetic and manufacturers will not fix it because Windows historically hasn't needed it aka everything from Asus and 'we don't support Linux'

I'll be interested to see what happens when it's run under an existing Hypervisor - my Windows 8 installation already runs under a hypervisor (Xen), using an IOMMU (passthrough of network, graphics cards to the VM), on a Core2 CPU no less (not that I would recommend this)

The security record for hypervisors isn't bad, but there has been information leakage/denials of service between VMs and to the hypervisor itself. It's not a magic bullet.

The bright side of this is that running a decent hypervisor on commodity hardware may become substantially cheaper!

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BinkyTheMagicPaperclip

Re: Why do I get a bad feeling about this...

..although, this will naturally be a version of Windows 8's Hyper-V, with additions. Therefore it will require a 64 bit CPU with second level address translation, which is indeed Nehalem onwards for Intel.

See http://blogs.msdn.com/b/uk_faculty_connection/archive/2012/10/24/hyper-v-list-of-slat-capable-cpus-for-hosts.aspx

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BinkyTheMagicPaperclip

Re: Why do I get a bad feeling about this...

VT-d is a chipset technology, not a processor technology. From Nehalem onwards the memory controller was integrated into the CPU package meaning that the lines became increasingly blurred.

VT-d works fine (for varying values of 'fine') on Core 2 chipsets provided it is the right chipset (X38, X48, S3200/S3210, most of the Q chipsets) and the BIOS has it enabled with a bug free implementation (in reality this means nothing from Asus will work, most Intel boards will, plus Supermicro, some DFI IIRC)

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

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip

Sort of.. Xen/Xenserver are different

Xenserver is built on Xen, and is pretty much a turnkey product as long as you like the way it works, not unlike ESXi in many ways. It's also now open source (except for, yes, VDI bits and a few other things)

Xen itself is a tad different - it's the base hypervisor, and sometimes a bit of an arse to get going depending on what you're doing with it. You can tweak it at a fairly low level, though, which has its advantages, as is the fact it can work with just about any (x86, arm) Linux distrubution, NetBSD x86 (does a few things better than Linux, others not so well) and Solaris (never tried).

However, it's a solid product and the design is mostly good. KVM is better and faster at a few things (PCI passthrough, for one), but doesn't seem to hang together quite as well - it's basically an (optional) qemu accelerator with a (rather good) vfio addon for hardware passthrough, rather than a bare metal hypervisor with a coupled host OS that drives devices.

Just don't be tempted to use xen -unstable if your favourite feature of the day isn't around yet, you're likely to regret it. Specific, tested xen releases are fine, and if included in your distribution much easier than compiling from source.

ESXi is bloody fantastic *if* all your hardware is supported, your network is perfect, nothing needs to be tweaked and you don't need to also use the glass console of the ESXi server. The problem comes when it doesn't work, the management tools decide not to play ball, or the next version with a killer feature is released, and it decides to kill off support for your motherboard/network card/raid controller for no particular reason other than because they can't be arsed to support it. In that case, just buy the new hardware - do *not* try and hack it to work.

For work usage, I'd consider ESXi on nice certified hardware, Xenserver or at a pinch RHEL with KVM. For home, if VMWare Player/Workstation isn't sufficient and ESXi is overkill, I'd go for KVM first, then Xen.

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

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip

(then again..) Re: Nvidia's Unix support may be a tad limited

..on the other hand, I may have to give Nvidia their due.

My configuration hadn't worked, but finally stick in the latest Nvidia driver, released only days ago, and it Only Bloody Works! Wasn't included on the fix list, but it's now ok. Fantastic.

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