614 posts • joined 14 Jul 2007
RHEL7 Beta is stable when used as a desktop client system on my testing laptop. As in 'better than some major releases'.
The installer provides a lot of choice as to software to be installed (default is a base install, just CLI, you chose extras from there from a checklist, Debian TASKSEL style but with finer grain). A choice of KDE or Gnome desktop is provided. The Gnome choice provides Classic and Gnome, with Classic as the default. Full hard drive encryption can be set up with one click at install (as per EL6). I did discover that you can't easily shrink an XFS partition. 64 bit only, and some of the older wifi drivers have been dropped from the kernel including Ath5k. There is an EPEL kernel that will provide those drivers, and CentOS are talking about CentOS Extras containing alternate kernels (Centos Devel mailing list).
I've popped the test laptop over to Manjaro Unstable to try Gnome 3.12 which is going fine. Gnome Shell 3.12.1 hit the servers today. I'll pop back onto RHEL7 RC next week when I can find the time. Gnome 3.8 is quite nice. Yes, I'm probably one of about 3 people that actually quite like Gnome. I put that down to using DWM (suckless.org) for a year or so. Search based keyoard driven desktop seems natural now.
@fnj Lets hear it for PUIAS/Springdale. One of the best kept secrets. Mind you, they are distributing EL6.4 still and relying on post install update to take people to 6.5. Probably sensible given the scale of the operation.
@ -v(o.o)v- The issues around EL6.2/El6.3 have been addressed I think (end user here). Have a browse on the Centos Devel mailing list archives. The RedHat link up does at least mean a better build system. Some of the delay was obfustication of kernel updates by RedHat as a result of Oracle's release I believe.
"...I own a fully functional .50 BMG mobile antiaircraft emplacement..."
Hunter S Thompson worthy rant there, but it is in this case a large retailer that has ended up leaking a sizeable percentage of all the credit cards in the United States we are talking about not a private venture or personal redoubt. It should be possible to frame regulations that sift out the low impact concerns but are binding on the big ones...
Re: I bit the bullet yesterday
Thankyou for that interesting and informative reply. Good luck with the testing.
The coat: I'm off out now we are talking about servers and supporting a bunch of users.
Re: I bit the bullet yesterday
@James Hughes 1
Good for you! Glad you are finding Unity useful. Others will make different choices.
Anyone got anything to say about servers and the new Ubuntu? Anyone planning to run a test instance? Does anyone actually use the new features outlined in the OA?
Re: The desktop deadend.
The article was mainly about servers. And virtualisation. And admin tools. Which Canonical sell support for, thus funding their future developments.
The desktop thing has been discussed to the point where we can all predict what everyone is going to say before they say it.
I'm getting my coat now.
@David 45 and all
The quote below from the OA encapsulates the problem...
"I would refer to it as we're driving a Model T with a lot of things on top of it," he said. "We are the classic 'fix the airplane while you're flying it' attempt."
Large organisation operating on an annual budget cycle, huge refresh needed whose cost exceeds annual budget by large multiple, cost caused in part by legacy applications depending on the client PC operating system being a specific version.
I personally would like to see standards published for large organisations about their use of IT systems that require them to be 'client agnostic' so that networked applications must not depend on the details of the client computer. We can then slowly migrate all the cube folk over to thin clients.
Getting my coat on now before the downvotes....
Re: And yet
@ Jason Bloomberg
When installing with whole disk encryption with Debian, you get asked if you want to write random data to the whole hard drive to make the encrypted data harder to find. Not RAM related of course but seems to support your point.
Re: I agree entirely...but Norton?
@AC relying on policies and written warnings
"Repeat after me....
AV and firewall software are not a solution for an unpatched system"
So, we are back at the Tribunal, and you have admitted that the system is both unpatched and can never be patched as the manufacturer has declared it obsolete with many years, I repeat Sir, years, nay, half a decade's warning.
The complainant's representation now claims that your policy is, in effect, asking him/her to operate a machine without guards in place and with open hatches. And no goggles or safety shoes.
What might your response be?
PS: my lovely 12h day is tomorrow.
Re: Just upgraded the last of my xp machines,
Thinkpad X200s (processor is SL9400) with 4Gb should do it then.
Thanks for posting reply.
Re: Just upgraded the last of my xp machines,
"I put Windows 8.1 on them, and supprisingly they are quite quick, interface is sucky but the preformance is ok for what they were doing before."
What specifications were the machines? I'd like to try Win8 on an old(ish) laptop.
Coat icon: just the machine specs everyone, this thread isn't for moaning about interfaces/TIFKAM/ or advocating Linux.
Re: I agree entirely...
"IE treating opening malicious attachments in the same way you'd treat someone forgetting to lock the business up at the end of the night resulting in a robbery"
OK, so you sack someone. Then there is a tribunal, and their representation asks the following: "Is it true that your business communications depend on an obsolete version of Microsoft Windows for which there are no security updates and no functioning antivirus products?"
The answer will not go down very well, will it?
I understand and have some sympathy with your views, but one has to allow for known human behaviour.
Me? Loyal MS man but struggling more and more with that persona...
Getting the job done for the customers... I'm assuming we are talking about clients/endpoints here.
Would Office365 on agnostic client be OK for them?
OTOH try a CentOS live CD. Stable, easy, works on older hardware. RDP sesson into real Windows when needed.
Or just keep taking the blue pill.
I think my point is: does MS deserve your loyalty? Or should you be doing a Potts and trying to find what is best for your customers/self?
Re: @janimal Windows 8 was built for one reason only
"If you want a truly 'futuristic' experience, try KDE."
And if you want something well outside the box, try DWM/dmenu.
Not your father's UI. :twisted:
Re: Why the predetermined assumption you're migrating to Windows 7?
Yes, but a drop in replacement these are not. I use both daily.
Re: Why the predetermined assumption you're migrating to Windows 7?
"There is yet to be a piece of open source software that is stable and offers equivalent functionality to even Outlook 2000"
@AC: This is a very valid point. I use my familiar applications in Portable Apps form on a USB stick at work (LibreOffice/GIMP/Inkscape/R and even Audacity). The thing I have to use is Outlook for appointments and email, and SharePoint for certain reporting functions. Apart from that, I could use a drop in Linux client easily.
I'm surprised at the thumbs down for Richard 22.
Overheard in the large central cafe of one of our major seats of learning (cough - Russell Group Midlands - cough) last week. Two estates supervisory types talking about car insurance and premiums, or rather one chap holding forth and the other one looking like he wished his coffee had Valium in it.
First chap closes a 10 minute tirade with something close to "...and they all use the same database. I know they do. When you type your address into the form, the rest of the details just appear - that proves it must be getting the details from the same master database"
Yup, completely innocent of autofill settings in the Web browser, no idea of the realities of latency in the network connection and the need for this suposed secret master car insurance database to have enough fields filled in to actually identify his record. That is exactly the kind of user who is going to get spannered.
Tescos should be handing out Linux/XFCE CD-Roms with shedloads of non-free drivers and codecs. Microsoft should be doing a cut down Windows 8 basic edition with no ability to install new software and ads or something, anything!
Re: Compared to
Just an idea: GCHQ put up a site where you can upload an image of a locked drive and use it for decryption practice. If successful, you get an email with a link to the restored image, and a tutorial on cyber security.
Re: COBOL: The language for those who like to type
@steven W. Scott
The other extreme being APL. The whole data analysis package in 20 lines of about 12 characters each. The problem was finding someone who could read it...
patches and version numbers
Looks like Ubuntu have patched the 1.0.1f package rather than pushing the new version out. Update arrived early this morning for the 14.04 beta. It appears to be a debian patch.
Redhat have popped out a patch for EL6.5 (6.4 OK as uses older version, not affected by coding error).
@ John Brown (no body)
Americans use different words for Maths topics so you can register a lot of the maths word domains...
Posting from BOSS 5.0 Re: Silver Lining
I'm posting this from a default BOSS 5.0 linux installation on a Thinkpad X200s, more powerful than target machines I guess.
The i386 DVD includes a live session, and the installer.
What you get is Debian Wheezy with Gnome 3.4.1 but set to fallback mode by default, with effects switched off. This is enforced by setting a dconf key and by commenting out the gnome-shell option in /etc/gdm3/greeter.gsettings. Someone thought about that so the live session and default installation will run on machines with lower end graphics and won't get spannered when fingers start playing.
Customised theme, nice icons, looks like Gnome 2 with the top and bottom bars comes with a BOSS user manual, and a first run pop up with toll-free support number and Web addresses. Applications include both Iceweasel and Chromium, the full LibreOffice, GIMP, Banshee, VLC, mp3 codecs and Gnash flash all out of box. I tend to set HTML 5 settings for Youtube to reduce the processor load.
Debian text mode installer has been simplified, and the installer has to run in English, no other language choice. Just type and confirm username, password and then accept defauts and you get a sensible setup. I was able to install offline easily, the network autodetect just ran and failed and then the installation resumed. There is an /etc/apt/sources.list file set up that points to the BOSS repository in India. About 30Mb of updates when rebooting.
BOSS add ons include an 'easy' installer for XFCE4 that does not require admin. Support for a long list of Indian language settings is included. There is a promotional video which gives you more of an idea of the target market, chaps in a village popping the CD into a tower PC with a 15 inch LCD monitor. Children producing printouts &c.
Conclusion: stable, some thought about target users on XP PCs, recent stable Linux, update system working, support available. Looks viable to me.
Re: Another crack in the dyke
revenue != seats.
revenue is being 'earned' from Android trolling per licence.
Post your figures, and post under your identity please if you wish to be taken seriously.
Re: New era of malware?
"Still, i cannot help wondering how long it will take to speculate Linux flaws and even more, which of the Linux distros will adopt the Patch Tuesday program."
1) Thanks for posting with your user name, so many anons when being critical.
2) Security patches are rolling into OS when needed. Remember the SSH vuln on GNU/Linux OSes  reported some weeks ago (just after the MacOS one)? An update arrived on my gNewSense 3.1 installation within 23 hours (it could have been as little as 16 hours as I'm in a different time zone to the maintainers and need my shut-eye). I have to say that gNewSense isn't exactly the biggest or most heavily supported Linux out there.
"...or want a version of Office that actually works"
LibreOffice $works quite well for me as it happens. A couple of sample PDFs produced from .odt files...
In my case $works = 'can produce fairly long documents with tables, mathematical formulas, drawings and imported photos easily with little fuss on a recycled laptop of modest spec'
Can you specify your definition of $works?
Re: Could be Linux's big break
"[...] but I do agree that this is a great opportunity for countries like India to take advantage of a Linux based OS."
And develop the skill set of large numbers of IT support staff. Especially with migration issues. I think a few businesses could emerge from this that might be getting customers in Europe and States.
As usual we are letting a new market slip by here in sunny old Britain...
Re: Sounds like a well executed plan
@JDX and all
Does anyone know what these PCs are actually used for and what the 'backoffice' is?
If they are just stand alone PCs with local printers and perhaps Internet access to open standards compliant Web sites - like a community centre/drop in set up - a direct swap out might work especially given a one panel XFCE4 desktop.
If they are like the (fully maintained Win7) client PC I'm sitting at now, there is the SharePoint based Intranet, the 'business applications' that look like Delphi on a bad day and the AD authentication to replace along with the SQL Server student database. Not happening any decade soon!
Is anyone from India reading here? Want to let us know what kind of operations we are looking at?
Re: Silver Lining
"An obscure state in a third world country where labour to look after high mantenance software is cheap picks the no money up front high maintenance solution"
The BOSS Linux desktop client appears to be based on Debian Stable, so that BOSS Linux 5.0 seems to be Wheezy based (GS 3.4.1 along with KDE and XFCE available on the install DVD). Not sure that I would describe Debian Stable as 'high maintenance'.
Tamil Nadu is pretty big as well and not obscure to me or my neighbours.
Boot off a USB stick and post output of lspci | grep WiFi and we can start warning people to avoid the Dell model!
Upvote not enough, yes, an extensive and interesting essay. And it cost me a tenner because I've just bought Hawkins' book.
...has this knack of giving me nightmares.
...anything that staves off that is to be welcomed.
PS: piano playing. That bit where it feels like your brain is dividing itself in half as you work with both staves. Has to help (I hope).
"In addition, the game was adaptive [...] it adjusted the challenge level as the player improved, "keeping you right in the sweet spot, which our game developers called the 'flow state'," and the reward levels were set so that both the driving and sign-identifying skills needed to improve in tandem before the player could level up."
'Flow' was explored by the philosopher Mihály Csíkszentmihályi (pronounced 'chicks send me high' according to the man himself). The idea of a stimulus strong enough to elicit improved performance but not strong enough to discourage was articulated by Lev Vygotsky in the context of primary schooling. Google 'zone of proximal development' (ZPD) for more stuff.
"The team has created video games specifically designed to challenge users by presenting them multiple streams of information in a distracting environment, a particularly difficult scenario for older adults."
Birmingham New Street Station (UK) around 5pm on a weekday evening. Navigating through that would be equivalent to an hour or so of joystick pushing I reckon.
Now, seriously, where do I buy this?
Re: urrrm hello?
Have a look at Xubuntu 14.04 with the whiskermenu enabled. Just unlock the top panel and drag it down to the bottom then lock it again, and then make a custom keyboard shortcut to the menu bound to the Windows key.
Not far off....
Re: What's the point exactly?
There is a First Boot process on RHEL7 beta. You have to agree to licence (Red Hat!) then do the kdump memory allocation step, then you get to desktop login and a Gnome Shell welcome page pops up with animations of the main parts of the GS interface. Quite nice.
Only problem is that RHEL itself logs into Classic by default (!).
No command line - Re: 6 years of Ubuntu on laptops
For what its worth, I'm posting this from an Ubuntu Gnome 14.04 installation on an old Core Duo 2 Thinkpad X200s with Intel chipset.
Good: All works. I installed the whole thing along with a shedload of software and all the codecs/flashplayer/MS Web fonts (restricted-packages in Ubuntu-speak) using GUI tools exclusively. Looks shiny. Plays videos and MP3s. Does youtube and all Web sites. Took an hour plus 45min download time for the extra software (thanks Openreach).
Not so good: Ubuntu Software Centre a bit clunky with lots of time out errors, could just be our shonky ADSL over copper broadband. So used USC to install Synaptic - which worked ace.
Own goal department: live ISO is just under 1gig, comes with LibreOffice. Running off the stick or a fresh install results in no spell-check on LibreOffice. Surely there could be space for a few megabytes of dictionary packages and a conditional installation depending on the language chosen during install?
Think of the children: My teenager students switch between GUIs many times a day (windows 7 at College, various tablet OSes and phones at home, a few Mac OS and one Chromebook). May try handing this laptop out and challenging a couple to connect to college guest wifi load a browser and log into Moodle to do a quiz. They like puzzles.
I suspect most people running servers will wait until the release, and then evaluate 14.04 against the applications they run and then plan an upgrade if needed. 12.04 gets support until April 2017 so they have time for a measured approach.
Besides, its fun to moan about the desktop interface, even though most of us spend about 2% of our time outside applications.
Getting my coat on now...
Ear trumpet needs a clean
"Wait, Canonical actually listened to us?"
Well, sort of. Menus on window bar makes sense for large monitors so well done for that. The shrinkable side bar and Super-and-hold make a lot of sense on a widescreen laptop, so an effort mark for that. Very responsive indeed on a Thinkpad X200s from the Live ISO, very nice, gold star, I'll keep this USB stick with 14.04 on to demo to people. New MESA libraries apparently (I read that on t'interwebs so it must be true).
But, the menus still hide themselves when you take the mouse away from the menu bar. And the ALT- keyboard mnemonics don't work more than one level deep (Try ALT-F-S in Firefox and you get the History menu instead of a Save dialogue). In LibreOffice, I use ALT-I-O-F about 10 or 15 times per typing hour, so that is a bit of a problem!
I try each version of Unity because I actually quite liked it back in 12.04. I'll try Gnome Ubuntu when some brave soul makes a Gnome 3.12 ppa.
...if the relatively tight coupling between Gnome UI and underlying system libraries is actually counting against wider adoption of Gnome releases?
RHEL7 will ship with Gnome 3.8. (G)Ubuntu 14.04 will be sticking with Gnome 3.10 as mentioned in the article. Updating the main distro to a later version of Gnome will mean a lot of dependencies. I can't see the enterprise GNU/Linux distros updating Gnome version in a delta release.
So, I'll have to try and get Fedora to work properly on my hardware. Does not seem to like it for some reason...
10 mph is fine for trains/buses round here.
Its the tortoises I can't stand, especially when they follow me round.
Re: Is Windows 8 fundamentally broken?
"I don't need to "adapt" to an OS, it should be intuitive."
Most interfaces of sufficient complexity to run a computer need to be learned - albeit learned by trying to do stuff.
The word 'intuitive' used by people here probably means something like 'sufficiently close to what I have used before for me to work out what to do, given my knowledge of the underlying principles' (of networking in the case you mention). When Unity and Gnome 3 landed amongst the Penguins, I sorted both of them within a couple of weeks of use. But, yes, command line (LCD of interfaces).
If you demand 'intuitive' interfaces, then you limit the amount of change that can occur at each iteration.
Icon: putting my coat on now, there is a hail storm on outside...
Re: Is Windows 8 fundamentally broken?
"1000 Win8 installs, not a single rebuild."
Well, that is good to know. Is that one install and 999 clones of an image or 1000 actual installs and subsequent upgrades to 8.1? I ask simply because at some point in the future my current employer will need to come off Windows 7 (I may well be retired by then).
Re: wow - are you sure about that harware limitation
"I run Ubuntu on my old NC10 netbook (dual boot to XP) with 2Gb ram and stock hard drive and OOTB hardware drivers and it runs Liunx fine."
Has intel graphics and an rt187something type wifi card. All work fine with GNU/Linux
OPs computer might have ATI graphics or something 'orrible.
Unity -> Compiz -> Graphics hog depending on status of driver.
Re: Backup XP?
Clonezilla as per
Used this to clone whole hard drive including mbr boot and hidden partitions. Restores fine.
Talking of browsers - Re: 90% of their time is in the browser
Would an addition to the list in the original article be something like
"Install Firefox Web browser and then install the NoScript add in for Firefox"?
What percentage of crap would that cut out?
PS: Near the local University there are three computer shops flogging kit to students. Second hand Win7 CoreDuo  15.x inch laptops going for about £95 to £150.
I use GNU/Linux on my recycled Thinkpad at home, and I use Windows 7 at work looked after by people who seem to know what they are doing. I'm thinking about the type of XP user who just switches it on a few times a week...
A few extras
1) If GIMP then Inkscape
2) If users can teach themselves GIMP, then Audacity with the LAME library and a few sets of headphones and a couple of USB microphones. Podcasts fun to make and can help with literacy development depending on local supoort (scripting)
3) Scratch or LOGO or similar entry level programming tool with visual orientation
4) Outlier: a community of 300 must have a few dozen teenagers - pure data music programming and some of the freeware synthesisers. Make truly satisfying types and quantity of noise. Reaper licence? Is there a free thing for Windows like Garageband?
Coat on now because its raining and I use a different OS.
Re: Too little, too late.
@Shadow Systems: upvoting simply for impressive length of rant. Be very careful about Grandad examples though. Some of us can remember IBM keyboards coming out of boxes when new.
@everyone: mad idea for a Saturday morning. Would it be possible to sell a cheap box that hangs off the modem/router, runs a secure free operating system, and provides a remote desktop session into ancient XP box (or anything else) and just runs a Web browser? SO ancient box can run ancient genealogy software/dot matrix printer drivers/brain scanner software whatever and t'Interweb will simply be in what looks like another window?
I've had the mad idea of trying this with the client being a 'lamp stand' iMac (I think they look lovely) and a substantial Linux box in the cupboard.
Who are 'they'?
"To be honest, its an absolute outrage they will be wasting 30 - 40 million on this, when they have known for years its coming. Had they started the process sooner there would be no need for this waste of money and don't forget time negotiating this, to then have to do the same work anyway you could have done earlier. Mind you, I guess that keeps a fair few mangers in jobs"
People are posting here who work in the NHS. The NHS is not a single thing, it is a lot of different things with complex moving parts. 'They' is a lot of decision makers in relatively small organisations that have to work within limited budgets.
Summary of what I've seen so far as a checklist
1. Get hardware specifications for machines preferably by running system information. Criteria is comparability with SOHO hardware for employment ready training. Census of all peripherals; printer(s), scanner(s), AVA &c.
2. Decide on feasibility of upgrade. Discuss with the Centre staff the criteria for a) travel and upgrade b) fetch and upgrade/service at regional base c) rattle the tin for better kit and drop ship it
3. Assuming feasible build and test images for installation having chosen the appropriate method (various methods suggested). My thoughts: discuss with centre staff if there is anyone interested in how this stuff works locally. Tailor reinstallation/imaging method around skill set available so as to include Centre members as much as possible.
4. Take lots of USB sticks, USB HDs for backup of existing files and possible imaging of hard drives current state (clonezilla was mentioned) so return to status quo possible in event of show stopper. USB wifi / network adaptors USB DVD/CD drives, duplicate all image files, take installation media for later versions of all applications just in case image fails. Appropriate dust proof packaging for all kit (c.f. thondwee who has been off the grid). Leads. In profusion.
5. Take various rescue/driver type DVDs in case PCs have odd/unexpected hardware not working
6. Arrange to stay for some days after update completed to provide local training. Observe users and gauge level of knowledge / interest. Discuss possibilities with Centre staff. Posters/leaflets on the new system.
7. Set up and test remote admin just in case.
8. Take some free content e.g. pdf textbooks, Gutenberg &c, and also free apps (GIMP, LibreOffice). My thoughts: USB sticks with Portable Application versions of some of the better freeware might be fun for people to try. Aim to run podcasting/photo/video sessions depending on outcome of step 6. Identify tablet apps for these activities for those who come into centre.
9. Explore potential for locally produced content in literacy development: mediawiki was suggested running on local server. I'd add blog/diary as literacy development aid along with good old fashioned low bandwidth wall newspapers. A diary/blog written by teenagers out there might make some of my students think just a tad...
10. Depending on local interest level, consider taking bootable media with GNU\Linux system for demonstration. My thoughts: Ubuntustudio might go down well with teenagers interested in music and graphics type production. Need not be installed, could just boot off sticks to access creative software. Alas, both Dynebolic and Puredyne seem to be dead. Both these distros were designed to run of a USB stick.
Good luck with this project. I'm sure El Reg staff have actually done stage 1 and have a good idea about stage 2 really.
@ MattW99: Send me that Lenovo. I bet I could do all my work and produce podcasts on it (maybe not if it is Pentium 3 coppermine, but anything after that, certainly Centrino onwards...) using Ubuntustudio.
Excellent idea - Re: additional software
I used Encarta in an FE College before we had ready access to Internet. You may remember the built-in project program that let people store up articles and tag them with comments and add illustrations.
Britannica 2013 Deluxe DVD is currently available and boats '80000 articles'. Not sure how many of those link back to the online source and how many are local to the DVD install. It wants just under 4GB for 'full install' and will run on relatively modest specs (including G5 Mac). Might be a nice one to have on one or two machines.
I'd second a download from Gutenberg and the various free textbooks that are around now as PDFs.
Re: What a complete retard
"Of course the Elephant in the room for schools, is most don't make proper integrated disruptive use of [IT devices], because may are stuck in the old teaching model, so in a lot of cases these computers and support infrastructure are a complete waste of resources."
What is the new teaching model?
I'm interested in what you think a 'teaching model' is, and I'd like to see how you articulate your vision. I'm serious, you are, I assume, old enough to vote and pay taxes. You are therefore entitled to a view.
Re: If only these portable devices had RJ45 jacks fitted...
"Well, yes, but yet in thousands of offices throughout the land, the amazingly difficult trick of getting the cable to the desk has been achieved..."
I'm very glad to hear that Neil.
Now, suppose we are talking about a 1960s era building with 30 classrooms. Each classroom has 25 single person desks measuring 60cm by 60cm together with a plastic stacking chair. Estates (aka caretakers) line these up in nice neat rows, usually two sets of four to each row then three rows with a naughty table in the front by the teacher's desk(*).
There is about 1m of space between the desks and the inside wall. The outside wall is floor to ceiling glass panels.
Now, how do we get network connections to those desks? And any idea of approximate budget? And installation time (Hint: putting in-floor sockets is going to mean taking pneumatic drills to the concrete).
Seriously: Tablets, phablets and phones tend not to come with Ethernet sockets, so we cope with wifi. I imagine that mobile phone data plans will be generous enough soon to just not bother even with wifi.
(*) I forgot to mention that the desks get moved around to different locations in the room - sometimes U shape, sometimes 'cafe style' four desks to a group. You can get PCs that fold down into a desk so you can have the display up and a computer room or the desk closed for 'normal' desks. Alas, the desks can't be moved so teachers hate these kinds of room.
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