* Posts by AntiSol

37 posts • joined 11 Apr 2008

Microsoft flings the Windows Calculator source at GitHub


Why would anybody care?

Color me cynical, but I fail to understand why anybody would care about this in the slightest. There are like a billion calculator programs out there, and half of them are already open source and cross platform. It's not like a calculator is complicated. I wrote one in VB3 when I was about 12.

It seems to me that this is the latest in a long line of empty gestures, where MS open sources something nobody asked for or cares about and makes a big song and dance about how they're soooooo into FOSS these days and soooooo not like the old, evil MS. Meanwhile you look at their calculator and it slurps your data and phones home, and they're yet to open source a single thing of any consequence (you might think that .net core is important, but we already had a more full-featured FOSS .net implementation before that - mono, making it redundant. Maybe you think visual studio code is important, but we already had a million full-featured IDEs. VS code running on Linux is merely an ad for windows - if you like this and you want all the features enabled, install Win10 and pay $whatever). MSSQL is arguably something that somebody might care about, but there were already better FOSS database engines out there.

I've been saying it for years, and I'll say it again: Let me know when they open source DirectX, then I'll give a crap. But that will never happen because 10 minutes after they do it'll be compiling on Linux and 10 minutes after that porting any game to Linux will be truly trivial.

(I'd *love* to be proven wrong about this, BTW, because it would mean many more games would get ported)

If MS want to prove how into open source they are, they'll need to actually open source something useful and important. Then maybe I'll believe them. But as far as I can see everything they've done so far is just spin. The sad thing about it is how many people are buying into it.

As a bonus, they've now offloaded the whole writing code thing to a team of volunteers.

The Apple Mac is 35 years old. Behold the beige box of the future


Re: Typical el Reg

Also, quite frankly, you can get pretty tip-top support out of Apple. I know someone (nobody special, not a big corporate contract) who had an Apple laptop that developed an intermittent motherboard fault causing his laptop to crash at random moments (and at other times, sometimes for days, it worked perfectly).


People bitch and moan about how "expensive" Apple is. But if you look at the facts of the matter you are paying for (a) high quality hardware (b) high quality software (c) high quality support. Sure the headline price of your average PC notebook might be cheaper than a Mac, but on the hardware its usually not much cheaper if you are truly comparing like with like, and then you won't get the same levels of support from the disparate PC ecosphere that you do with Apple.

Total time in my life I have spent where my primary machine was slower than or equal to the fastest mac available: 0 seconds,

Number of motherboards I've owned: At least 30, maybe 50 or more.

Number of times I've had a problem with a motherboard: 0

Number of times I've had to contact a motherboard manufacturer: 0

Percentage of times a working motherboard has been replaced due to upgrade rather than failure, greatly expanding capabilities while costing significantly less than a new machine: 100%

Number of motherboards owned by people I know: who knows. 250? 500?

Number of times people I know have had a motherboard problem with a PC: 1

For people I know who have had issues with a PC motherboard, average time from "oh this is an issue with the motherboard" to motherboard replacement and working system at zero cost: <18hrs (he took it back to the store the next day and got a replacement, a process that took a total of about 15 minutes and involved 0 support tickets and 0 core dumps and 0 minutes spent debugging the manufacturer's problem for them)

Ratio of PC laptops to mac laptops among people I know: ~90% PC.

Total number of times I've ever heard of a motherboard issue on a laptop: ~3

Percentage of these that were a mac: 100%

Average time to resolve these issues: 1-2 weeks. (yes, WEEKS).

The way I see it, this expensive "superior" hardware has a higher failure rate while being more expensive and less capable and not upgradeable. As far as I'm concerned the quality of your support is irrelevant if your stuff just works.

Not that I'm impressed by your anecdote, mind you, it seems pretty convoluted and unsatisfactory to me. I'd expect to just take something broken back and have it replaced immediately. You want me to collect core dumps?! How much are you offering to pay me for my services as a tester?

Encryption? This time it'll be usable, Thunderbird promises


No no no no no no no no no!

Dear Mozilla,

No. Please god no. Not thunderbird. Please.

I know, it's slipped under your radar for years and so you've forgotten to turn it into complete dogshit. I know, you love turning functional, flexible software into complete dogshit with horrible flat UIs, hamburger menus, and no customisation. But I actually need to use thunderbird. And I need to use a bunch of my thunderbird extensions like lightning, cardbook, and enigmail (which, by the way, already does what you say you're going to do).

"Thunderbird's look – the subject of a design consultation last year – will be supported by a dedicated UX staffer."

Oh god no. Not a dedicated UX staffer. Does he have pointy hair? Does he use a mac? Was be born this century? I bet he was. And he's going to turn my perfectly functional and flexible UI that I've been using since before he was born into a clusterfuck that makes everything more difficult while simultaneously having less functionality. Impressively, it'll somehow manage to do this while also looking fucking stupid, using up more screen real estate, and running slower. But I guess on the positive side I'll get a whole slew of new emojis, and the existing ones will be redesigned. So there's that.

I predict an "sudo apt-mark hold thunderbird" in my future. And shortly after that, a switch to a fork of the last sensible version.

Please, Mozilla, just abandon thunderbird and let the community take care of it. I'd rather have nobody maintaining it than have mozilla do what mozilla does.


Re: That's nice dear ...

Didn't you know? "everyone" uses IIS. duh.

Tech sector unites in attempt to avoid Oz's anti-crypto push, again


What we need

What we need is another blackout day like we had for SOPA. Coordinate a day where google and facebook and as many sites as we can get to show Australians a black page saying "Welcome, Australia. We'd love to show you our page, but we need to be able to do that securely. If this bill gets into law we won't be able to do that, and our solution will be to simply block Australia. Here's Peter Dutton's Office phone number in case you wanted to tell someone what you think of that. Love, The Intarwebs".

I wonder who would back down first. I give it about two hours.

'Privacy is a human right': Big cheese Sat-Nad lays out Microsoft's stall at Future Decoded


Mixed Signals

"Privacy is a human right"

Oh good! So you'll be removing the data-slurping from windows then?

Is this cuttlefish really all that cosmic? Ubuntu 18.10 arrives with extra spit, polish, 4.18 kernel


Re: Same old same old.

> And most times the answer is "nothing". For many years now, all new Linux releases have been merely rolling the version numbers on libraries and utilities (squashing bugs and fixing security problems), adding support for new hardware and fiddling with the UI.

Then the answer isn't "nothing", is it? The answer is "use shiny new hardware and not get pwnd".

"Linux has grown fat and slow in middle age."

This is just not true. I run it on a couple of low-powered machines. It's totally fine as long as you're not trying to use a bloatware desktop environment.

"Just try adding a new package - download this, edit that, compile the other, add new libraries to satisfy installation criteria, fix conflicts and maybe - just maybe - after a full day of effort and Googling user forums that shiny new app will work."

sounds like you haven't used it for a while. we have AppImages, snaps, and PPAs now. If you can't find one of these for what you want then it's *very* esoteric. I have exactly one program on my machine that's custom-compiled, and that's because I contribute patches to it - I could just install it with apt.

"add new libraries to satisfy installation criteria"

apt-get build-dep <program>

"We should be at the stage where all a user has to do is sit at a screen and say (or type) "I want to write a document" (or letter, email, flame, program, magazine review ... ) and everything just happens"

You know you could have spent your time building that rather than trolling, right?

"And the same applies to hardware - especially stuff you can plug in like USB. None of these should be issues, but they are all insoluble"

Why do i keep hearing this? You know it's not 1994 anymore, right? I literally can't remember the last time I plugged in a piece of hardware and it didn't just work. I think it was probably around 2005. USB!? geez, it might not have been this century the last time I plugged in a USB device that didn't just work. I have hardware that is not supported in windows that works perfectly fine in Linux. insoluble?? You are just trolling, right?


Re: "the system has a more modern and 'flatter' look"

"only KDE (Kwin) does."

XFCE has all of those.

On the seventh anniversary of Steve Jobs' death, we give you 7 times he served humanity and acted as an example to others


So... you're saying the photos of his car parked in handicapped spaces are doctored? Or are they one of the things that "contain a germ of truth"? If you concede that they're not doctored, please explain how this is anything other than an assholish action.

In defence of online ads: The 'net ain't free and you ain't paying


You brought this on yourselves

The thing is, we didn't install adblock until you started fucking us by tracking our every move and plastering every pixel of our screens with garbage while sucking up our bandwidth and causing our ears to bleed with your autoplay videos.

In response to your actions, we installed ad blockers. And now we have a vastly improved experience much closer to the one we had 25 years ago before there was advertising on the internet. Note, however, that we didn't install ad blockers 24 years ago, that didn't happen until you abused our trust. We did this in response to your actions.

And the thing is, now our Internet experience is much, much better. Now, we're used to zero ads. So in order to get us to tolerate any level of advertising at all you're going to have to work very hard. Frankly, I don't know if it's possible - I don't miss ads at all and I can't see any way you could incentivise me to endure them again. One thing I cal tell you is that being forceful about it is NOT the answer - If you're going to put your stuff behind a paywall, No problem, I'll just look at someone else's stuff (assuming I can't get past the laughable security on your paywall in 30 seconds). There's no shortage of content, and despite your predictions of impending doom there never will be.

Perhaps a better option for you is to start a patreon or similar and concentrate on not being obnoxious and intrusive and instead deliver content of high enough quality that people want to pay for it voluntarily. There are already plenty of creators doing quite well for themselves with this method. I'm sure there are other ways, too.

Or maybe you'll just die out. There's a term for that: Natural selection. And you know what? If that happens, whatever replaces you in your niche will probably be more fit to survive.

But your tales of woe and boo-hooing are not going to change anything, they fall on deaf ears. You fired the first salvo in an arms race you were never going to win because you are hopelessly outclassed. We did this in response to your actions.

Nadella tells worried GitHub devs: Judge us by our actions


"judge us by the actions we have taken in the recent past, our actions today and in the future."

Recent actions like Telemetry and forced upgrades?

'He reiterated, again, that Microsoft was "all in with open source."'

Cool! So you'll be open-sourcing directx then?

Do that and I *might* start to believe you.

Firefox to feature sponsored content as of next week


How Cute

Firefox is still a thing?

Looks like their efforts to drive users away haven't been as successful as they'd hoped, so now they're upping the ante.

Exoplanets from another galaxy spotted – take that, Kepler fatigue!


Re: Incoming pendant

I can out-pedant you: 93 billion is the diameter of the observable universe, not the radius. It wouldn't make sense to use the diameter when saying something like "X% across the observable universe", since you're by definition R distance from the edge - nothing observable can be further away than the radius. So 8% would be more accurate.

Not that you're wrong, per se.

And, as you say, still very impressive.

The wiki has a helpful section listing common misconceptions about this.

Old Firefox add-ons get 'dead man walking' call


on debian-based systems: sudo apt-mark hold firefox


Re: Regarding 'legacy' apps

> The down side - classic theme restorer definitely seems to be going

Dealbreaker. Not having classic theme restorer means I won't be using firefox anymore. And since I'll be locking it at v56 I won't be able to test websites I develop for it anymore. In other words, firefox will become a "fringe browser" and will be unsupported on websites I maintain.

> Hopefully something will come to replace them soon

Nope. The new API isn't powerful enough for something like classic theme restorer to be possible. That's the real problem - it's not that they're dropping the existing API, but that theyy're replacing it with something less powerful.

Firefox doesn't need to be No 1 – and that's OK, 'cos it's falling off a cliff


Re: IMO It is an engineering fault for their failure...

This is spot on. Exactly why I'm no longer a fan of firefox.

Also, claims that it's faster and/or uses less memory than chrome are quite simply bullshit.

IMO it seems that mozilla have decided to go for the demographic of users who really like chrome but think it's too fast and doesn't use enough memory. I might not have the same level of experience as mozilla's marketing department, but this seems like a niche market to me, and one which is mutually exclusive with their previous niche, power users.

"Are you tired of your web browser quickly opening pages rather than spamming your swap space? Do you not have enough time to make coffee between youtube videos because your browser loads them too fast? Try firefox! It's just like chrome, only worse! With our patented memory-hogging technology you'll find your system swapping with only 5 tabs open! after all, what's the point of having an entire partition just for swap if you're not going to use it? And if you're coming from chrome you'll find our new interface so familiar you won't be sure which browser you've launched! And to ensure that this is the case, we've just announced a new feature where we're dropping support for all the things that make firefox different from chrome! And you'll be pleased to hear that we're so committed to this course of action that we don't care if it pisses off 90% of our existing user base! Also, behind the scenes we've just announced exciting support for nothing except pulseaudio. But you won't care about that, it's a nerd thing and it doesn't matter because everyone runs pulseaudio. Firefox: It's just like chrome, only worse!"

Jodie Who-ttaker? The Doctor is in


Re: If you're all in favour of strong female roles...

"Doctor Who has regenerated a dozen times now and never been female"

Clearly you haven't seen "The curse of fatal death". Look it up, I'm sure it'll be on youtube.

Ever wondered why the universe only has black holes in S or XXXL? No? Boffins have an answer


It's "Dwarfs", not "Dwarves", unless you're Tolkien.


What is dead may never die: a new version of OS/2 just arrived


This sounds interesting, I remember OS/2 fondly. I'm looking forward to the day they realise you can't sell an OS these days and release the personal edition for free. I'll check it out then. My bet is 6 months.

systemd-free Devuan Linux hits version 1.0.0


Re: Systemd v17.0

Future History Of Init Systems

2015: systemd becomes default boot manager in debian.

2017: "complete, from-scratch rewrite". In order to not have to maintain backwards compatibility, project is renamed to system-e.

2019: debut of systemf, absorbtion of other projects including alsa, pulseaudio, xorg, GTK, and opengl.

2021: systemg maintainers make the controversial decision to absorb The Internet Archive. Systemh created as a fork without Internet Archive.

2022: systemi, a fork of systemf focusing on reliability and minimalism becomes default debian init system.

2028: systemj, a complete, from-scratch rewrite is controversial for trying to reintroduce binary logging. Consensus is against the systemj devs as sysadmins remember the great systemd logging bug of 2017 unkindly. Systemj project is eventually abandoned.

2029: systemk codebase used as basis for a military project to create a strong AI, known as "project skynet". Software behaves paradoxically and project is terminated.

2033: systeml - "system lean" - a "back to basics", from-scratch rewrite, takes off on several server platforms, boasting increased reliability. systemm, "system mean", a fork, used in security-focused distros.

2117: critical bug discovered in the long-abandoned but critical and ubiquitous system-r project. A new project, system-s, is announced to address shortcomings in the hundred-year-old codebase. A from-scratch rewrite begins.

2142: systemu project, based on a derivative of systemk, introduces "Artificially intelligent init system which will shave 0.25 seconds off your boot time and absolutely definitely will not subjugate humanity". Millions die. The survivors declare "thou shalt not make an init system in the likeness of the human mind" as their highest law.

2147: systemv - a collection of shell scripts written around a very simple and reliable PID 1 introduced, based on the brand new religious doctrines of "keep it simple, stupid" and "do one thing, and do it well". People's computers start working properly again, something few living people can remember. Wyld Stallyns release their 94th album. Everybody lives in peace and harmony.


Re: More honest questions

>Second, and please don't blow my head off, it's just an idea, is it practicable to fork SystemD and castrate its excesses to create a genuinely clean init subsystem?

Someone tried this. It's called uselessd. I haven't heard anything about it in a while.


Re: @ lpcollier

>'The beauty in GPL software is that if you don't like it, you can just grab the code and fix it yourself.'

It sure is. They call the fix "devuan".


Re: It's not infighting

> The result are bugs like this:

> https://github.com/systemd/systemd/issues/5644

OMG. And Pottering's response is particularly priceless, too, demonstrating both his ignorance and hubris in one succinct piece of prose: erasing the entire filesystem is "not much of a problem", and "this is a unix problem" (it isn't, as pointed out by multiple other commenters).

I won't go near systemd on the simple basis that I know exactly how good Pottering's previous effort - pulseaudio - isn't. On the basis of having experienced that godawful dreck I'm not letting him anywhere near anything as critical as PID 1.

Linux, not Microsoft, the real winner of Windows Server on ARM


Wow! TWO arm platforms! Impressive numbers!

I, for one, would like to welcome microsoft to the mid-late noughties.

A Logic Named Joe: The 1946 sci-fi short that nailed modern tech


X Minus One

A classic old sci-fi story from the golden age.

For those who like radio plays, The old radio show X Minus One did A Logic Named Joe (and a bunch of other classic scifi stories, too):


MAME goes fully FOSS


What was the license

I think the article should have mentioned what license MAME used to be under. I've had MAME for years and years, installed via apt-get, and there are a hundred spinoff projects - I would have thought it was already open source?

How to help a user who can't find the Start button or the keyboard?


Re: Start Button

@Stuart 22

Yep, I've done that. It's awesome fun.

A variant of the "I don't see a start button" game is to tell them you have Internet Explorer open and let them give you the URL they will inevitably give you to download their payload. Then start running a whole bunch of scans on their server and tell them about all the interesting ports they have open: "Oh, I see you're running windows server. That's brave of you. Ooh, and you have the filesharing ports open!". For bonus points, download their javascript, analyse it, and tell them what buggy crap it is, pointing out where they should be using try/catch.

Strangely, at this point, they tend to lose interest in helping you fix your computer, and go away.

El Reg mulls entering Robot Wars arena


OMG YES! Do that! Where do I send my money?

I quite like the idea of one which can fly and bring death from above without ever being touched. If it also looked like a vulture, bonus.

'World's worst director' plans Snowden-inspired movie comedy


Yes, but I'd argue that it's also a fairly ambitious (for the time) attempt at making an open world first person shooter game where experimentation and exploration is encouraged (with often ludicrous/hilarious/horrifying results). It's much much closer to what I was looking for in a Duke3D sequel than Duke Nukem Forever (ugh) turned out to be.

The implementation is not pefect - for examine I'd love a transit system to automatically travel back to places you've already been, at least on the same day - sometimes I think there's a bit too much walking around backtracking. But this also encourages exploration, and there are often multiple routes from A to B.

I'm fairly sure that a no-kill run is possible in postal 2 - you don't *have* to pour petrol on people, light them on fire, and then piss on them to put them out. You're not *required* to steal a police uniform and go around beating people up, or to walk around town with your manhood exposed. The objectives are as simple as "get milk from the shop".

Running With Scissors responded to both my enquiries about a Linux version of Postal 3 within a couple of hours - once within minutes - I was amazed by their speed. You get a response back from one of the actual RWS guys, not just some customer support goon. And they're frank and honest: the second time I asked they replied and said "sorry but postal 3 linux is not going to happen". At least they're honest - have Epic even admitted that UT3 for linux is dead yet?

Speaking of Linux, Postal 2 is available for Linux on Steam these days and it runs well.

I really do think it's one of those great yet underrated games.

No, I don't work for RWS ;)


I haven't seen any other Uwe Boll films, but I enjoyed the postal film - I laughed my ass off - it's absolutely hilarious!

I commend Uwe Boll - it's so deliberately offensive that I think the man has balls of steel for making it. Children getting shot? that's comedy gold!

I didn't play the first game, but Postal 2 is an excellent game - ambitious and also hilarious in exactly the same (i.e: wrong) way. The film captures it's spirit well.

My next stop is the kickstarter page - I'll be seriously thinking about pledging for this - I'd love to see another postal movie

Fanboi called 911 repeatedly because iPhone didn't work

Thumb Up


I was going to make some remark about a chicken-and-egg problem, but this is much better

Microsoft claims Firefox- and Chrome-whopping IE8 speeds

Thumb Up

@Doug Glass




Here, have an e-beer!

Who gives a shit what M$ claims about their "software"? Anybody with the slightest hint of a clue knows to stay well away from it, and the rest deserve to suffer. If they want to claim that their "software" is faster, or that they worked out the square root of negative one, then fine - Doesn't mean I'm listening...

HP preps secret iPhone rival



And to think, HP could have sold me one of these to replace my old iPAQ if only their support people actually provided support. Instead, HP's support people are such useless robots that they managed to convince me to never buy any HP product ever again under any circumstances. It's kinda funny, actually, it seems to me that HP are trying to sell Nokia phones!

Artemis Fowl scribe to pen sixth Hitchhiker's novel

Thumb Down


After being suckered and buying the new Dune abominations, there's no way I'll buy this. Maybe I'll download it, but I'm really not interested - It's not written by DNA, therefore it can't be a hitchhiker book. Not interested. This abomination is not getting my money.

I wouldn't be suprised if they approached Terry Pratchet first, he does seem like the logical choice, but unfortunately for their bank accounts Terry had a modicum of integrity and told them no.

@ "It's not a massive leap of logic to liken H2G2 to Wikipedia I guess either."

Where it's inaccurate, it is at least "definitively inaccurate"

OMFG, what have you done?


Not Bad

At first, I said "HOLY SHIT!" and thought I'd typed in the wrong address

Then, I realised that it was the reg, and that the site had been redesigned. after a minute or so to get my bearings, all was well. It'll take some getting used to, but I'm sure I'll grow to like it almost as much as the old, distinctive look...

...then I noticed that there were these two grey bars down the side of the page, and realised that you'd gone with the abomination of broken design that is fixed width.

I run at 1024x768, so it looks as intended for me, but I despise fixed width on principle - fixed width = broken - you're going against one of the core principles of web design, which is that users control the size of the viewing area. As an IT-centric site, you guys should already know this, and therefore using this abomination of poor design is inexcusable. Fixed width will make me visit less on principle.

As somebody who's built more than a few web pages in my time, I understand that having a resizable client area can be a pain in the ass from a designer's perspective, but it's really not that hard to cope with.

The new favicon is very cool, but it looks terrible in my RSS reader - there are a few white pixels bordering on the transparency which give it a wierd outline when it's not being viewed on a white background.

Microsoft 'proves' six degrees of separation theory

Gates Horns

"stripped of identifying information"


...could somebody explain to me how you determine the degree of seperation between two people, after you've "stripped identifying information"? Am I the only one who sees a slight flaw in logic here?

Also, how many degrees of seperation between people like me, who categorically refuse to use MSN Messenger or aMSN? Infinity?

Mine's the one with the plush penguin in the pocket...

eBay forces Aussies to use Paypal


I'm calling the ACCC

I too have been ripped off - I didn't escalate my complaint within their time limit because I was sick on that day - I even offered to fax PayPal a copy of the medical certificate, but they basically said 'sucked in', and wouldn't even discuss it further. I wish I'd read the horror stories on http://paypalsucks.com/ before I ever got a paypal account - so now I refuse to use PayPal ever again under any circumstances. This effectively means that if ebay do go ahead with this, there will be no way for me to use ebay. which, in the long run, could be a good thing for me - I spend a fair bit of money quite frivolously on ebay every year.

Happily, it's been my experience that the ACCC is pretty good about this kind of stuff, and surely this will violate some fair trading law - they're creating a monopoly for themselves. I'll be calling the ACCC to lodge a complaint about this. I'd advise any other aussies reading this to do the same.

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