* Posts by Flocke Kroes

2646 posts • joined 19 Oct 2007

Microsoft haters: You gotta lop off a lot of legs to slay Ballmer's monster

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As an old fogey myself ...

Dosbox on a Raspberry Pi would thrash my first PC. With that in mind, lumping modern phones in with desktops makes sense.

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Time won't be enough

Breaking down the warring fiefdom culture of Microsoft on a wider scale will take time, but if they succeed then great things could happen.

Breaking down the warring fiefdom culture of Microsoft on a wider scale will take a miracle. Ballmer's proposed reorganisation to functional rather than product based units has been tried before elsewhere. Previous attempts have almost always been hamstrung by resistance from existing management. The few times functional reorganisation has worked, it was because the CEO could take the credit for an exceptionally successful product. Ballmer does not have the track record to push fundamental changes through a dense wall recalcitrant managers.

Western spooks banned Lenovo PCs after finding back doors

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Tin foil hats for all

The build process for gcc does not trust the installed compiler. It uses the installed compiler to compile an intermediate compiler that is used to compile the final complier. It also checks that the intermediate compiler creates the same output as the final compiler by compiling the compiler again with the final compiler. A back door that can survive that should have a big foot print.

You do not compile the firmware at boot. You replace the firmware so you have (some) confidence that you control the boot process. The coreboot project (http://www.coreboot.org/Welcome_to_coreboot) provides a replacement for the BIOS that is no more hassle to install than any other embedded software project. The down sides are supported hardware tends to be old, and effective TPM hardware can spot you are not using manufacturer approved firmware, and refuse to boot.

If I deserve a tin foil hat for liking coreboot, then you deserve one if you cannot show us a back door in gcc: http://gcc.gnu.org/releases.html

Do you really want tech companies to pay more tax?

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Reduced PAYE?

Option A) tech giants increase their prices to pay their new taxes, cancelling out any reductions in PAYE.

Option B) Government spending increases to match increased revenue, so there will be no room in the budget for reducing PAYE.

Option C) Politicians continue to manufacture prolefeed about tech giants avoiding taxes, but do not make any effective changes to taxation.

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There haven't been state pension funds for decades

They were spent ages ago, and my national insurance contributions go on military contracts(*1) to create local jobs (*2), fibre optic cables that BT will charge me to use, broken software for state run services, pensioners and people requiring medical treatment now. I will not be able to retire. The problem is Parkinson's law. To keep the number of bureaucrats rising at the required rate, retirement age will increase to life expectancy within my life time. There will be no pensioners, and later, no schools as children will all be apprentice bureaucrats.

If you want to prevent a baby-boom generation taxing a smaller generation into starvation to pay their pensions then you would have to over-throw democracy because they have more votes. What remains of democracy will not last long. I can understand why you parrot the party line. If you do not become a plusgood duckspeaker, you will be sent to the front line in the war against Eastasia.

PS: You are probably right about the place I will end up, but the technical term for the retirement home you refer to is a joyfarm.

*1 A contract that is delayed, overruns its budget and if it isn't cancelled adds even more junk to warehouses full of defective weapons.

*2 The company has a local name, but the labour is done abroad.

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Do you really want the governments to collect more tax?

Because we really need a new NHS/fire service/police national IT system to scrapped after the £100,000,000 budget has been overrun by a factor of five. If you give them more money, they will only waste it on something else, like a new internet filter to cut out any references to government waste - after all imagine the damage it would cause if children found such sites.

You have some choice about where to put your investments. You have less and less choice about where governments waste tax payers' money.

You MERCILESS FIEND... you put that audio file on AUTOPLAY

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To get video to work properly: No plugins, no updates

The website gets an extra gold star is I can find the URL without much hassle. That way, if I decide to watch, youtube-dl -F tells me what formats are available so I can pick the right one - download it, watch it and if I think other members of the family will be interested, move it to an NFS export.

Wow! British Gas bungs a million remote-controlled sales-droids in UK homes

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Pay off in 2030?

I have seen old gas and electricity meters that are still working fine decades after installation. Perhaps, with some effort you could get an embedded phone to last a decade. Expecting a communications protocol to last over a decade is optimistic. It might work in parts of the country that only get upgraded with second hand kit, but parts of the country will get shiny new kit without 17-year old legacy protocol support. The realistic budget has to include upgrading the electronics every five years or so.

Perhaps if the new meters are really super accurate you will be able to measure the increase in you central heating costs caused by unplugging mobile phone chargers.

Music royalty war spreads to aggregator MediaNet

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Most famous gig ...

Aimee Mann played at the Bronze in episode 8 of season 7 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

$18 million is not a royalty payment because people bought her music. It is a damages figure for deliberate commercial distribution without a license. Normally I would say such figures are insane, but the accused is a part of the recording industry that lobbied for this scale of damages, so they must feel it is appropriate.

PHWOAR! Huh! What is it good for? Absolutely nothing, Prime Minister

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Re: Normalization with the real world......

When you go into the cinema to watch a film the Party does not approve of, do they scan your passport and add the details to the sexcrime list? Likewise, at the news agents, if you want to buy the wrong magazine, does the Party have to know? Do you have to send off for a special TV license to watch after 21:00?

The purpose of this law is to create a chilling effect. The law is vague so you do not know if you are committing a crime. Better to stay away from anything controversial in case the ministry of love send you to a joyfarm.

WAR ON PORN: UK flicks switch on 'I am a pervert' web filters

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If the great brains are saying nothing can be done

Then you should stop trying to do something silly and look for new ways to fiddle your expenses instead.

We hardly ordered any stock! Yet here we are again with ANOTHER PC MOUNTAIN

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People _are_ buying

The are buying phones, lots of phones, more phones and possibly a tablet. Microsoft has phones and tablets, but people are buying ABM. Perhaps one day computer distributors and retailers will get the message, but I am not waiting. There are other places to buy.

Man sues Apple for allowing him to become addicted to porn

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In the other corner


MS Office on iOS is OFF the menu, says Fujitsu as it nixes Personal Cloud

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Microsoft have their strategy

It involves parting company with SMEs, enthusiasts, power users, regular users, desktop users, touch users, partners, developers, systems administrators and becoming a really expensive niche player for customers with more money than the sense to port their applications out of Windows.

If your customers are locked in with you as much as Microsoft, increase your prices to match fewer customers with expensive requirements. Otherwise, it is time for you to leave Microsoft to their niche.

Microsoft lathers up Windows 8.0 Surface RT for quick price shave

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Microsoft Price Policy

Some Microsoft employees have decided that competing with Google on price is commercial suicide.


I can understand Microsoft focussing on customers for whom money is no object. The problem is that Surface RT is the wrong product for that market. The version of Office does not support the features required by locked in customers, and is not licensed for commercial use. None of the legacy software runs on it either.

If you turn it around, and look for the market that could be interested in the hardware, then the potential customers are Linux hackers, Android users and the Linux on Azure users. Only the last of those is not price sensitive, and I would be surprised to hear there are more than a dozen of them.

Microsoft have to choose between Surface RT becoming a cheap Linux box without Office or landfill RT.

Confidential Microsoft brief: 'We're TOAST if we fight Google on price'

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The other way to compete on price ...

... make yours bigger than anyone else's. Looks like Microsoft's strategy is to leave any price sensitive markets and aim for where money is no object. Soon Gartner will be boasting to governments that Windows has the highest TCO. Give it a decade, and Windows dev's will be charging £1000/hour just to cover the rental costs of an Azure IDE one seat license.

Dead STEVE JOBS was a CROOK – judge

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Apple's lawyers best week ever

It does not matter if they win or lose as long as they are getting paid. Perhaps one decade, Apple's investors will work out where the money is going.

Snowden, schmoden. Let's talk about crushing hackers, say US'n'China

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Computer security done government style

Set all the passwords to 'password' and arrest all the hackers who defeat government style authentication.

Microsoft preps UK Surface Pro 'pilot', tiptoes around Win 8 OEM rivals

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The thing I do not like is secure boot

If those were real prices I could buy at, I would look for instructions for installing Linux and reviews of the hardware. I just found this:


Perhaps these machines will actually be useful for something other than a door stop when the low prices are available to penguins.

Dubya: I introduced PRISM and I think it's pretty swell

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Oil cowboy?

Did Arbusto Energy ever find oil? Perhaps drilling cowboy or investment cowboy would be more appropriate.

If Snowden does get dragged back to America, would a jury find him guilty? No problem: America has secrets courts. They could have passed sentence already as they do not need to listen to any defence.

Firefox OS starts third-place race against Windows Phone

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Oh no it isn't


Installed base is 5th place, behind Simbian and Blackberry, and barely ahead of bada. Market share is 3%. Remember to go for sales figures, and not get fobbed off with numbers shipped. The carriers hate Microsoft, and the manufacturers do not expect Windows to sell - all except rapidly fading Nokia.

The carriers want a third ecosystem, but it has to be ABM. The obvious guess is Tizen, but Mozilla, Ubuntu and Sailfish mean they are spoiled for choice. I would like to see them pass that choice on to customers - start with a dual or triple boot phone. Try each OS for a bit, then delete the ones you do not want.

Google 'disappoints' US congressman over Glass privacy controls

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Google could end this hassle today

Just include secret facial recognition and ship the results to the NSA.

MoD signs Microsoft mega licensing deal for 180,000 PCs

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MoD buy 180,000 Microsoft licenses

How did the MoD buy 180,000 computers without Microsoft licenses?

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Give us a laugh - link to the list of security requirements

Last time I read them, they were a complete joke. It looked like someone had gone through NT's marketing hype to collect list of features, then come up with some bogus excuse to claim that each feature was a security requirement. Anything that passes MOD security requirements is defective by specification.

Labels to get, count them, 0.13 cents per play on Apple iRadio

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0.13¢ for the label

After subtracting commission, expenses, and promotion (provided by the label owners brother) how much does the performer owe the label?

Mint 15 freshens Ubuntu's bad bits

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de facto disc format standard

As people usually have far more DVD's than computers, my guess at the de facto disc format standard would be UDF. There are plenty of CD's kicking around, so I think ISO is in second place. All the USB and SDHC SSD's I have ever seen came formatted with vfat, so that is almost certainly in third place.

Android installations outnumber Windows by a hefty margin. They have a wide selection of different file systems to choose from, which could split each file system's share below the installed base of NTFS or exFAT. On the other hand, Android devices are often delivered with about three partitions. I have not used Windows for over a decade, but if things have not changed, new Windows computers come with one partition covering the entire disk, so they only get one vote and not threeish. I very much doubt that NTFS (or exFAT) can claim 4th place, and we have not even counted smart TV's, routers or sat navs yet.

There is no way that NTFS can come remotely close to being called the de facto standard file system.

Microsoft: Someone gave us shot in the ARM by swallowing Surface tabs

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Already done

Qemu emulates several different architectures, and can emulate x86 and AMD64 on ARM. Determined people have even got Qemu and WINE working together, so you can run (well walk) x86 Windows code on ARM. I have no idea if Qemu runs on Windows RT. If it doesn't, just wipe off Windows RT, install Linux and you can run your legacy x86 code on Surface RT...

Oops - someone restricted the boot loader to make installing Linux difficult, and made the price so hight that no-one bothered to defeat the boot loader. If anyone can do that cost effectively, I would expect it is ARM. Perhaps Microsoft will regret publicising this deal.

Windows 8 hype has hurt PC makers and distributors - Gartner

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Also, according to Gartner predictions ...

Professional programmers are not required because development tools became so easy to use.

Linux users pay $500 -$700 license fees per computer to SCO.

Winphone has 10-20% market share.

SURPRISE! BT bags more gov broadband cash - this time in Bucks & Herts

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The problem with actually installing fibre is ...

... you cannot ask the government for even more money.

Pussy galore: Bubble-bath webcam spy outrage

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Camera LED's

Camera 1: LED can be controlled independently by hacking the firmware.

Camera 2: No LED.

If you want to be sure of privacy, use a lens cover.

Intel joins Alliance for Wireless Power

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Enter the Retiarius

Keep your electro-trident, and add a wave-net that converts a Qi charger into a selection of different iChargers.

Panda-peddlers cuffed for chess gambling gambit

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Thanks for xpilot - looks fun


Microsoft Office 365 on iPhone NOW: No, we're not making this up

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MS Office is not free on RT

It is bundled. If you buy RT, you have to pay for MS Office as well. That is why RT is so expensive.

MPs demand UK rates revamp after Google's 'extraordinary tax mismatch'

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If you have evidence, take it to HMRC

Whistle blowers talking to newspapers have as much credibility as an MP's expenses claim. The HMRC have what it takes to take what you got. Give them some real evidence that Google have broken the law, and they will get taxes and a hefty fine out of Google. As we have seen Margaret Hodges is not an expert on tax law or investigating tax evasion. She has publicly harangued a few Google executives, but she has not got a conviction against Google for tax evasion. The only reputation she has damaged is her own.

EU signs off on eCall emergency-phone-in-every-car plan

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Minitrue: The GSM is turned off.

They did not say anything about the GPS, which could easily log every journey. A GPS record of where you have been for the last decade is doubleplus good. If you were in the same place at the same time as an unperson then you can be sent off to a joyfarm.

Chrome and Firefox are planet-wreckers, IE cuddles dolphins

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The report is

During initial testing, we found that a variety of programs pre-installed by the computer manufacturers were resulting in significant fluctuations in computer power draw. Consequently, we removed all preinstalled software from all computers prior to testing and did a “clean” install of the operating system, Windows 8.

So the results are for computers maintained by a skilled Windows user, which is a tiny fraction of the installed base of home computers.

The dynamic benchmark test uses Microsoft's FishBowl benchmark, with 5 fish. Presumably this benchmark was optimised for IE, and not the others. The frame was not controlled. For all we know, Chrome and Firefox used more power because they had a higher frame rate.

(BTW, a Raspberry Pi uses at most 3.5Watts, and can update the FishBowl every 5 seconds at 1080p. Clearly Iceweasel on a Pi uses the least power ;-)

We're losing the battle with a government seduced by surveillance

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Politicians happy with surveillance?

or did they do something naughty in the same room as a mobile phone?

Police 'stumped' by car thefts using electronic skeleton key

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Depends where you park

Thieves smashed a window to get my backpack full of sweaty gym kit, shampoo and a library book. The police said this happened all the time, and they were too busy to care about anything this minor. Some kind person handed to pack in at the library, so I got all my stuff back. The biggest hassle was getting a replacement window from a scrap yard.

The thieves also broken the ignition connection in an attempt to break the steering lock. I had to run a wire from the side lights to the ignition coil to keep the engine running, and short starter solenoid with a screwdriver to turn the engine. I ran that car for another year and no-one asked me why I was hot wiring an old car several times a day.

Culture Sec: You - Google. Where's the off switch for all this filth?

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Image blocks are already secret

Your ISP is required to subscribe to the Internet Watch Foundation's block list. They pass that cost on to you. The IWF decide what you are and are not allowed to see. When they block something, they do not inform the owner of the web site. Your ISP does not substitute objectionable content with 'Censored by the IWF'. The only clue you get is some HTML error message implying the website owner does not know how to configure a web server.

Increasing internet access correlates with a decrease in sex crimes. I would rather have perverts jerking off with pictures in their own homes than going out to find a real child. As for offensive content, trolls can try to give offence, but no-one is forced to take it.

All I can say is: Maria Miller is doubleplusgood duckspeaker. Thinkpol do not need to send me to a joyfarm. I doublethink blackwhite. Minitrue prevents crimethink and sexcrime. Please do not make me an unperson.

Never mind WinRT: Tiny Win8 slabs will ship with free Office, too

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Re: they can't win

Free - does not increase the cost of the device.

Bundled - to buy something you want, you have to pay for something you do not want at the same time.

Back when Microsoft was a monopoly, they bundled Internet Explorer and Media Centre with every new computer. Eventually they got a slapped wrist in court. No customers got their money back directly, but the chunky fines reduced the taxes slightly for all EU tax payers.

Now that Microsoft is not a monopoly, bundling is not illegal. Increasing the price of Windows tablets by bundling Microsoft Office just drives customers to cheaper Android and iOS devices. This is not desperate or profiteering. It is insane. Microsoft has an unpleasant decision to make - accept that Office will become an expensive niche product for the thoroughly locked in, or release Office for Android.

My bet is that we will see 'Office suite market share' charts in the tech press this year. Next year, those charts will look bad for Microsoft. Office for Android will be the true sign of desperation. I expect it in 2017, but I was wrong about Microsoft Linux. I did not expect it yet, but Microsoft already sell Linux (on Azure).

Microsoft parades Windows 8.1, the version you may actually want

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What would really make a huge difference is fixing the license

I prefer GPL, but I would be happy with BSD as Microsoft seem to think that is more 'business friendly'.

Intel unzips new Atom phone chip: Low power, fast - is that right, ARM?

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Re: Intel is more open then ARM

Secure boot

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No signs of competition yet

Faster than current Atoms, but no comparison with current ARMs. Less power than current Atoms, but no comparison with current ARMs. Lacks on chip hardware required for phones that is already in ARMs. Not one word about Intel's real challenge: competing with ARM on price. Sounds like when these chips arrive in 2014, they will not compete with ARMs in products today. I would love to see some real competition. Perhaps Intel will have something in 2015. The silly thing is that Intel had excellent ARM CPUs, but they sold the business to Marvel in 2006.

Germans purge selves of indigestible 63-letter word

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A pathetic 27 letters, but you cannot say it is worthless.

Short-staffed website swaps DOGS for DEVELOPERS

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Real dogs not required for programming


Prosecutor on Private Manning's Wiki-leaks: 'Arrogance meets access'

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Just asking, but ...

Did anyone get a stern telling-off for illegally punishing Bradley Manning?

Netherlands Supremes squash iPad design patent

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Repeating the same action and expecting different results is a symptom of madness

Years ago, Apple sued Microsoft for copying Apple's look and feel. Microsoft came back with some case law showing that look and feel were not protected. The case in question was when Xerox Parc sued Apple for copying exactly the same look and feel. Decades later, Apple copy Etch-a-Sketch and sue Samsung for copying Etch-a-Sketch.

I thought Judge Birss had squashed this already. When Apple sued Samsung in the UK, it made the UK court the European community court for this case. The idea was to prevent the same case being repeated in every member state. Apple got a spanking for raising the same issues in Germany and were required to run a series of adverts quoting the ruling that Samsung did not copy Apple.



Microsoft offers free keyboard covers for Surface RT

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Missed the point of the article

Commentards do not give a damn about the free keyboard/cover. The point is that Microsoft no longer control the personal computer industry.

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Third place was the target

Installed base at end of Q1 2013:

1 Android _______ 823M _ 57%

2 iOS __________ 277M _ 19%

3 Symbian ______ 165M _ 11%

4 Blackberry _____ 97M __ 8%

5 Windows Phone _ 28M __ 2%

6 bada __________ 27M __ 2 %

Oops - they missed. Windows is not the 'third ecosystem'. It is 5th. Elop set fire to the Symbian platform so Windows Phone might gain one position. Blackberry could mess up their come-back and drop out of the running. Windows might get into fourth place for a short time, but then will be overtaken by Tizen and at least one out of Sailfish, Ubuntu and Firefox.

Have you got any evidence for 'Nokia's resurgence'? I know they sold the most expensive smart phone in the world - their head office. They cannot bump their smart phone revenue the same way again.

I agree that focussing on the business market is a one way trip to legacy land. The thing is, they do not have many choices. Microsoft depend on manufacturers installing Windows on everything, but they are burning their relationships with manufacturers. Patent extortion, copying manufacturers unique selling points into surface and crowing about 100M licenses shipped (to manufacturers who cannot sell them on) are not the best ways to keep essential business partners happy. In a year or two, Windows on a new computer will be an expensive add-on feature - not bundled whether you want it or not.

I have known for years that Microsoft Linux was inevitable. I did not expect to see it so soon:


The next big milestone to look out for is Microsoft Office for Android.

You may not see anything wrong with Surface, but millions of other people do. We know this because they bought ABM.

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

iPad Linux

I don't have an iPad, but it one fell out of a packet of corn flakes then installing Linux would make it a useful device for me.

The bundled MS Office license is the killer app for RT. Without that license, the cost of an RT tablet could get low enough that I would bother to do a web search for installing Linux on it.

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