* Posts by Richard Plinston

2477 posts • joined 27 Apr 2009

Fun fact: GPS uses 10 bits to store the week. That means it runs out... oh heck – April 6, 2019

Richard Plinston Silver badge

> 640K is all you will ever need....

In 1978 64K was 'all you will ever need', or 48K for Apple II. 640K was much later, even the original IBM PC (5150 A model) could only physically do 256K.

LibreOffice 6.2 is here: Running up a Tab at the NotebookBar? You can turn it all off if you want

Richard Plinston Silver badge

Re: Two things to fix in LO, and a benefit you forgot

> document doesn't *look* the same on another machine

That is what PDF is for.

The major reason that documents look different on random machines is the fonts that are installed - or not.

Richard Plinston Silver badge

Re: 646464

> also int and long could never be the same size.

You seem to be rather limited in your expectations.

Richard Plinston Silver badge

Re: Linux desktop

> What "OS" is "deb" or "rpm"?

There are two main packaging systems. These are used by the two main hierarchies of Linux distributions. Debian based systems (Ubuntu, Mint, ...) use .deb (debian), Red Hat based systems (Fedoda, CentOS, ...) use .rpm (redhat package manager).

> It seems a little odd that any project would provide binaries without specifying exactly what they are built against

If you are running Linux and don't know whether you are using .deb or .rpm then you should stick to the repository.

> instead of just directing users to their specific OS repository.

The repositories are usually a version or two behind the bleeding edge.

Richard Plinston Silver badge

Re: 646464

> I expect soon popular software will be so full of "all the world's 64-bit" assumptions that keeping compatibility with 32-bit gets too laborious.

Meanwhile, Microsoft's Windows 10 on ARM Snapdragon will only run 32 bit x86 software in its emulation making it as useful as RT.

Richard Plinston Silver badge

Re: I've used LibreOffice for years.

> it wanted to shut down several running programs

Windows file systems have a limitation that a file cannot be updated while a process has it open - not without causing a crash. This is due to the directory entry having both the filename and the pointer to the data area on disk. On *nix the i-node system caters for updating an open file because the directory entry has the filename and an inode number. The file than is open can continue to be used through its i-node while the replacement file can use a new i-node and new data blocks. The old file will be deleted when all processes have closed it.

This is why Windows requires a reboot. Updated files are given a different name and a script is created to delete the old files and rename the new ones. This script is scheduled to be run during the next reboot.

Open sourcerers drop sick Fedora Remix to get Windows Subsystem for Linux pumping

Richard Plinston Silver badge

Re: Seriously ...

> Hard of reading, AC?

I suspect that is TheVogon/RICHTO and he probably still thinks that Windows Phone 8 has been growing at 173% and will overtake iPhone any day now, or already has.

Richard Plinston Silver badge

Re: Seriously ...

> over 90%

You are about a decade behind reality. 'Personal Computers' these days are carried around in peoples pockets and Windows on those in down in the error margin.

Richard Plinston Silver badge

Re: Seriously ...

> Windows Server tends to scale better than Linux for many uses

That must be why Windows can run on everything from Raspberry Pi Zero to the top supercomputers. Oh wait, no, it is the other way around.

Richard Plinston Silver badge

Re: Seriously ...

> and >75% of on premises servers

That's because they need to run 3 Windows servers to keep up to one *nix server.

Richard Plinston Silver badge

Re: Linux is moving on the desktop.

> Why? Windows runs on Arm too.

Yes, on Windows Phone 8, Windows Mobile 10, Windows IOT, Windows RT.

All have which have been dumped due to lack of interest.

The problem isn't whether [a subset of] Windows runs on ARM, the problem is that people don't buy computers to run an operating system, they buy it to run applications. With Linux on ARM they get the full stack because applications were developed to be platform independent. With Windows almost all software is x86 (and most x86-64) and where there are ARM ports these lack features.

Even where Microsoft is trying to save their ARM presence by trying an ARM CPU that does x86 emulation this only does x86 32 bit and so is useless for modern software.

Want to spin up Ubuntu VMs from Windows 10's command line, eh? We'll need to see a Multipass

Richard Plinston Silver badge

> But it's good that MS is putting the effort in.

I did not see anywhere that this was being done by Microsoft at all. In fact the article calls this "Canonical's Multipass", as indeed it seems to be entirely Canonical's effort. Following the beta link shows there is also a Mac version.

Q. What's today's top language? A. Python... no, wait, Java... no, C

Richard Plinston Silver badge

Re: Java still the best and will be the best!

> If for iOS there are about 2500 offers, for Java it is more than 17000.

You are basing the 'popularity' of a language on the number of empty desks ?

It may be that an iOS offer is filled quickly and thus the offer is taken down while the Java offer stays up for months and thus there are more of these at any one time.

Just like any religious dogma support is searched for while counter arguments are ignored.

While Windows 7 wobbled, AI continued its relentless march at Microsoft

Richard Plinston Silver badge

> There's no technical reason not to have one in Python, it's deliberately awkward.

Exactly. It is deliberately designed so that, for most cases, there is just one way to do things, and that one way ensures that it is clear to _everyone_ what is being done by the code. Other different languages implement switch in various ways: does it drop through into the next case or require a break?

> No i++? Why?

One of the tips for jslint tool is:


++ and --

The ++ (increment) and -- (decrement) operators have been known to contribute to bad code by encouraging excessive trickiness. They are second only to faulty architecture in enabling to viruses and other security menaces. There is a plusplus option that prohibits the use of these operators.



> Why would anyone want to use a language that's deliberately awkward?

If you don't like it then don't use it, nobody cares.

Richard Plinston Silver badge

> Does MS store differ from Android or Apple store in this regard?

Probably not, but the distro repository is very different.

Richard Plinston Silver badge

Re: Chacun à son goût

> programming in the best language for the job and not require Python "because its easy for beginners".

Being 'easy for beginners' does not prevent it being the best language for the job.

Richard Plinston Silver badge

> Never understood the attraction of python.

Your admitted lack of understanding is not a limitation on its attractiveness. ;-)

> it's best claim to fame is lack of switch statements

You say that as if it were a criticism. One of Python's best features is that there is usually just one way to do things. In the case of 'switch' it is if ... elif ... else ... . It does the job.

> and the most types of list/array/tuple/dictionary etc. of anything.

Exactly, no need to have to reinvent your own to circumvent the limitations in other languages.

> used only be people who don't know any better.

We don't have to know 'better', we just use Python and get the job done. 'Better' is the enemy of 'good'.

Detailed: How Russian government's Fancy Bear UEFI rootkit sneaks onto Windows PCs

Richard Plinston Silver badge

Re: The anti-intellectual Americans etc...

> "boffin;" both funny words

That is Mr. Boffin to you, he was a real person.

Richard Plinston Silver badge

Re: Wait, what?

> There's no excuse in this day an age for anyone in IT in a business to be in the position to be able to run executables or see URLs in emails!

One can always choose an email client that _doesn't_ automatically run executables or load URLs when the email is opened, or even without it being opened, or even one that does not allow running or loading when these are clicked, and defaults to using plain text rather than html.

But then a) it wouldn't be Microsoft, b) it wouldn't be pretty.

Crystal ball gazers declare that Windows 10 has finally overtaken Windows 7

Richard Plinston Silver badge

Re: Android

> On a rooted android device,

TerminalIDE does not require the device to be rooted.

> you still can't get around the major changes android has made to the unix-like user tools

Each application has a separate user-id (unless requesting shared user-id). TerminalIDE runs as one user process and so all tools run inside TerminalIDE as that user. Certainly you can't poke around inside other apps - that is a security issue.

Richard Plinston Silver badge

Re: Android

> For example, an embedded Linux using the busybox versions of the basic tools and without other GNU components could still fall into my definition of a Linux-style system

You can go that far with Android by using TerminalIDE or many similar 'apps'.



Richard Plinston Silver badge

Re: "Unix-like systems use a inode file system. This allows an open file"

> 1) Processes that are never restarted keep on using the old file -

Further to previous post:

With Windows, if the reboot is not done then _new_ processes also use the old file.

Richard Plinston Silver badge

Re: "Unix-like systems use a inode file system. This allows an open file"

> that's one reason why Windows doesn't allow to replace open executables

No it isn't. The only reason is that they _can't_ replace a file that is open without corrupting the system. The directory entry contains the filename and the start of the data block pointers. Replacing the directory entry with one that points to the new data blocks would allow the old blocks to be reused and overwritten while the program with the open file will still be using those blocks.

> Processes that are never restarted keep on using the old file - which could be vulnerable -

Updates are not just for 'vulnerabilities' , they are for bug fixes and enhancements. The update process for services can, and often does, include a service restart, particularly in Debian systems.

It is relatively easy to identify services using deleted files* and to issue 'service name restart' commands. This can be automated if required.

* # lsof | awk '$4 == "DEL" { print }'

auditd 1001 1001 root DEL REG /usr/lib64/libnss_files-2.18.so;53bd9626

libvirtd 1468 1509 root DEL REG /usr/lib64/libnss_files-2.18.so;53bd9626


Richard Plinston Silver badge

Re: The Back Button Dependency

> With the exception of KDE, all desktops feel like a Linux desktop from 2001.

I almost never see the 'desktop' so I don't care about it much. I have several programs running in different virtual desktops and just switch between them. The 'task bar' and menu get used. KDE Plasma, semi-transparent windows, and all the desktop clutter I really don't care about. Gnome 2 or Mint does all that I need when I want it.

The function of an OS is to keep out the way of using using the computer.

Richard Plinston Silver badge

Re: "Windows became glacial on both systems" @AC

There was a power cut last month so my 'uptime' is only 22 days. Prior to that it was 200 or so.

The reason that Windows requires reboots on an update is that the file system cannot replace a file that is open, such as a dll. This means that the replacement files must be put in another place and a script written to move those files on the next reboot, which then must be done to complete the update.

Unix-like systems use a inode file system. This allows an open file to be replaced by creating a new inode for it and leaving the open file to be continued to be used through its own inode. When the old file has been closed by all programs then the old file is deleted and the disk space recovered - the OS keeps track of these file opens. It is only necessary to restart long running programs, such as web servers, to get them to use the new updated files.

Richard Plinston Silver badge

Re: Right. Sure. Whatever.

> Whereas Linus doesn't bother with the lipstick

I don't bother with lipstick either, and certainly don't want it as a UI.

Microsoft: OK, we have no phones, but look how much we love Android

Richard Plinston Silver badge

> I think a Microsoft branded Android is a real possibility

They already had one. Nokia released 3 Android Nokia-X phones and Microsoft continued to sell them as Microsoft-X for a few months after they took over. They killed them when they overtook Windows Phone sales.


Windows 10 can carry on slurping even when you're sure you yelled STOP!

Richard Plinston Silver badge

> Erm - but they are - it's already on 700 million PCs

Didn't they claim that it would be on a billion PCs by Christmas or something ?

(actually by mid-2018 apparently). So 700miliion is a fail.


Richard Plinston Silver badge

>> RE: "There are still more Windows 7 PCs than W8 + W10 in spite of all new PCs for the last few years having later versions."

> Nope. Try again...

OK, I'll try again:

There are more Windows 7 than Windows 10 (38.69 > 38.14)

There are more Windows 7 + Windows XP than there are Windows 10 + Windows 8.1

38.69 + 4.23 -> 42.92 > 38.14 + 4.59 -> 42.73

And this is in spite of all new machine being forced to have the latest versions of Windows. Windows 8.1 was released over 5 years ago (October 2013), Windows 10 prerelease was 3 years ago tomorrow. In that time PC sales averaged around 275million per year. So the 700million you claim is actually much less than the total sales of PCs with those operating systems forcibly (by contract) installed.

Richard Plinston Silver badge

>> people are not upgrading to Windows 10

> it's already on 700 million PCs

Since Windows 10 was released and forced onto every new PC made by OEMs there have been nearly 700 new PCs sold. There are no figures for how many of those are still running Windows 10 (granted most of them will be).

The original poster referred to 'upgrading'. There are still more Windows 7 PCs than W8 + W10 in spite of all new PCs for the last few years having later versions.


Talk in Trump's tweets tells whether tale is true: Code can mostly spot Prez lies from wording

Richard Plinston Silver badge

Re: Why no comparison?

At least Pence can add up to 100%.

That amazing Microsoft software quality, part 97: Windows Phone update kills Outlook, Calendar

Richard Plinston Silver badge

> but Google did have a hissy fit when MS made their own Youtube app

Google blocked the Microsoft Youtube app because it deliberately did not follow Google's Terms of Service. Specifically, Microsoft blocked Google ads which is what pays for the service.

Note that this did not block user's access to Youtube, they could watch using the browser.

It was Microsoft being evil (again).


Windows 10 Pro goes Home as Microsoft fires up downgrade server

Richard Plinston Silver badge

According to slashdot:

"""Only users who had upgraded their computers to Windows 10 by using product keys of Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 appear to be impacted."""

At the time of the 'free upgrade' they promised that it would be 'free' for "the lifetime of the device". Maybe they have decided that a PC's 'lifetime' is now up. If your manufacturer's warranty has expired then "it's dead Jim".

Richard Plinston Silver badge

Re: Just go Linux "Take my Linux ... please!"

> Not that many people pay over $100 for Windows

> Most PCs come with Windows

When you buy a PC from an OEM or retailer and it 'comes with Windows' the manufacturer has sent money to Microsoft. This is part of the BOM cost and wholesale and retail margins are added to the total cost.

The PC doesn't just 'come with Windows', you are paying for it. With markup it may well be 'over $100'.

Excuse me, but have you heard the teachings of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Chr-AI-st?

Richard Plinston Silver badge

Re: Accuracy

> and how over a millennium later they were translated from Latin (which was already "gamed" in ways the Catholic church wanted) a second time to English.

No. Wrong.

"""The translation was done by 47 scholars, all of whom were members of the Church of England.[9] In common with most other translations of the period, the New Testament was translated from Greek, the Old Testament from Hebrew and Aramaic, and the Apocrypha from Greek and Latin. """


Richard Plinston Silver badge

Re: Accuracy

> the AI-written passage is factually incorrect.

And the difference between this and any other text is ?

Richard Plinston Silver badge

Re: Accuracy

>> "If they wanted accuracy, they would have translated it from the original text, [...]"

> Is there one?

Not only is there no 'original text' but there never was. Nothing was written down before 'first temple' - around 10thC BCE. That is because there was no form of written hebrew before then. So for several hundred years it was just oral tradition and changed at the whim of the teller. Or maybe it was just invented much later.

Then in the 3rdC BCE or so all the written copies they could find were brought together and a single authorized version was formed. In some cases two of more of the versions were woven together which is why there are two different accounts in Genesis for several things.

Memo to Microsoft: Windows 10 is broken, and the fixes can't wait

Richard Plinston Silver badge

Re: Broken, yes... and not fixable.

> they developed their first product, Microsoft BASIC, themselves,

It has been alleged that Altair BASIC was 'based on' an open source BASIC interpreter for DEC computers. As Intel 8080 development software ran on DEC it wouldn't have been too hard. Monte wrote the maths routines that were required.

Richard Plinston Silver badge

Re: "Never trust version .0 of anything. .0 or .1 if it's Microsoft"

> No, he wasn't. He was an adequate programmer. What he really brought to the table was that he's a crackerjack businessperson.

What he really brought to the table was his father who was a crackerjack lawyer and knew how to tie everyone up in contracts.

Richard Plinston Silver badge

Re: We need alternatives - good ones

> until I can drive my articulated lorry application on it

Linux is not a weighbridge!

Richard Plinston Silver badge

Re: Am I missing something here?

> Windows 3.x - amazing, breakthrough platform. A solid, usable GUI environment, but with full backward compatibility to DOS,

Most went to Windows 3.x so that they could run multiple DOS boxes - Lotus123 and WordPerfect. Solid?? if you didn't get 'Unrecoverable Application Error' with 3.0 every day then you weren't using it. 3.1 was much better but simply replaced UAE with a different message.

> Windows NT - sheer genius:

And that genius was DEC's David Cutler

> Windows CE/Mobile - the breakthrough mobile OS,

Now you are being ironic, maybe you misspelt 'broken'. CE was the equivalent of MS-DOS: single core, single tasking with something like the TSR system. It may have been fine for embedded systems (which is what it was designed for: CE=Consumer Electronics) but it was a stretch to call it an operating system.

> way ahead of its time

No it wasn't, it was from the mid 90s and was all that Microsoft had.

> Abandoning it was Microsoft's single biggest mistake, which Apple quickly capitalized on with its own vastly inferior mobile OS.

They didn't abandon it until far too late, it was still in Windows Phone 7, though this was completely incompatible with the previous CE Windows Mobile 6.x.

> Credit where credit is due - Microsoft didn't rise to power by building crappy products.

No. It rose to power by buying products or companies, rebranding them and making them crappy.

> Alas, once its competitors were all exterminated, the company rapidly went to seed.

Many competitors were all exterminated by MS contracting with them or buying them. The current competitors survived by not being able to be bought, either because they were too big in other areas or because they can be forked and survive.

Richard Plinston Silver badge

Re: "Sell Office on Steam, make sure it runs on Linux, too"

> Actually MS started well before to develop browsers

Actually MS paid Spyglass to develop IE. No, wait, it was only Spyglass that thought they were going to get paid to do the work. MS had this plan where they weren't going to pay. Eventually the courts had to order MS to pay Spyglass.

Richard Plinston Silver badge

Re: I think it's worth remembering ...

> International Computers Limited

I worked for them here is New Zealand and on projects in Bracknell for a couple of decades. In fact I joined ICT shortly before they changed to being part of ICL.

I still have quite a number of ICL machines in my stack from ICL 1501s (not to be confused with ICT 1500s), PC1, PC2 (8085 and 8086), Quattro, Quattro XM, DRS20 model 40 and 150, DRS300. 6402, 6404, 6404L, 303.

Available by collection only.

Richard Plinston Silver badge

Re: "In the 1990s, MS could never have been as stupid . . "

> Nobody is going to migrate to Linux because that is a functional nightmare for a company of just about any size.

And yet Linux is the basis of the most common OS found anywhere (Android) has 99+% of the top supercomputers and has more than 50% of the servers, and dominates embedded systems.

Most companies are already using it.

Richard Plinston Silver badge

> Office was always far more reliable than its competitors.

But when it completely screwed up a file this could be recovered by using LibreOffice.

Richard Plinston Silver badge

> Yes, all through the 1980s and 1990s, and into the early 2000s. MS-DOS was terrific,

I always found that DRI operating systems were far better. Early MS-DOS systems would corrupt diskettes if they were swapped. CP/M and DR-DOS would actually check. I used DRI's MP/M and Concurrent-xxx which supported hard drives and pre-emptive multi-tasking and multi-user when MS-DOS still only did floppy disks.

MS-DOS was always a poor performer which is why most successful software bypassed it for everything except file system to do direct BIOS calls or even bit banging the video cards.

While MS-DOS 5 was almost up to what DR-DOS 5 did it was 20 months later. DR-DOS 6 then brought better memory management and even task switching while MS-DOS took almost another year to catch up.

> Windows NT, starting in the mid-1990s, was a miracle of stability when compared to most anything on the desktop.

Windows NT was certainly more stable than 3.x or 95. 95 had a bug for two years where, if the internal clock overflowed after 39 days and some hours, the system locked up. This was not reported for two years because no one had reached that point.

> ambitious, leading-edge software that no other company could have pulled off as well as Microsoft


Most of which was bought in from other companies, or the company was bought. Even NT was a bought in project that eventually MS had to settle with DEC by paying them a reported $100million.

Richard Plinston Silver badge

Re: Broken, yes... and not fixable.

> To be fair, the design of CP/M was also ripped off - from the PDP-8 operating system OS/8. The fact that the Copy command was called PIP (Peripheral Interchange Program) is the smoking gun.

CP/M was developed on DEC machines at Intel while Gary was under contract to develop PL/M compilers. The CP/M BDOS was written in PL/M to prove that useful programs could be developed. Intel did not want CP/M as their plans for the 8080 did not include small computers and Gary was allowed to keep it for his own use.

That the utility has the same name of PIP does not indicate that anything was 'ripped off'.

Richard Plinston Silver badge

Re: Broken, yes... and not fixable.

> Altair Basic/Basica/GW-Basic, developed by Bill Gates and Paul Allen themselves.

When Bill and Paul were at Harvard they were able to use the DEC computer. It is alleged that there was an open source version of BASIC that Bill was able to obtain. When they developed Altair BASIC they used a DEC-20 to cross compile to 8080 using standard Intel tools (and did not pay for the computer time they used). The maths routines needed complete rewrite which was done by Monte Davidoff.

> Did you know that their first OS was a Unix clone called Xenix?

Xenix was a real Unix version 6 or 7 licenced from AT&T and ported to 8086 by 'The Santa Cruz Operation' (SCO), a software house that specialised in porting Unix to various machines. Later this was sold to SCO becoming SCO Xenix and later updated to System3 and renamed as SCO OpenServer.

Richard Plinston Silver badge

Re: Broken, yes... and not fixable.

> - MSDOS - bought from Tim Paterson (who copied the design of CP/M)

There are some that say that Tim copied the code of CP/M, specifically of version 1.2.

Both SCP and MS were OEM licenced for CP/M. SCP for their Zebra range, MS for the Z80 Softcard for the Apple II. Both had all the source code that DRI would supply to its OEMs. The BDOS, however, was written in PL/M and supplied as a binary because it was invarient. At the time there were 'commented decompilers' available for various software, including CP/M BDOS. There was also an Intel 8080 -> 8086 ASM translator.

SCP was developing 8086 processor boards for their Zebra machines and needed an OS to test with. It has been claimed that they decompiled the BDOS, ran it through the Intel translator and recompiled (with many fixups) to get the initial QDOS. This would have had CP/M file system which would have been needed as they would have built the system the system using CP/M, swapped the processor board and rebooted.

The MS FAT filesystem was added later from MS's 'Stand-alone BASIC'.

It is alleged that when IBM was testing PC-DOS, Gary Kildal was able to enter a particular command and get a DRI copyright message displayed. IBM settled giving Gary money, agreeing to sell CP/M-86 alongside PC-DOS and rewriting the BDOS - which became version 1.25.

The reason that it is alleged to be version 1.2 that was copied is that it had a specific bug in handling the FCBs and this bug existed in the earliest MS-DOS and PC-DOS - prior to 1.25.

SCP initially licenced Microsoft non-exclusively for 86-DOS (or SCP-DOS) running on 8086 CPUs. In theory its use on 8088 was breaking the licence. Later, MS purchased it outright and this gave SCP as many free copies of MS-DOS as required as long as they were sold with a computer. When the SCP factory burned down they started selling a V20 chip (faster 8088 clone with 8080 support) with a copy of MS-DOS. MS had to buy back the agreement for a million or so.

> - Internet Explorer - licensed from Spyglass

Spyglass wrote IE, it was not a version of Mosaic but was new code, on the basis of getting a royalty ($5?) for every copy sold. MS gave away IE and thus none were sold and no royalties were paid. Spyglass sued and eventually won a settlement of some millions, but by then the company had folded.

Sure, Europe. Here's our Android suite without Search, Chrome apps. Now pay the Google tax

Richard Plinston Silver badge

Re: Or the fourth option...

> _Abuse of monopoly_, not just monopoly. When the store owner makes it mandatory to have an account in the store in order to get security patches for your phone and bricks your phone if you try to use other shops, it's obviously abuse.

I get it. You hate Google with a passion and probably love Microsoft (is that you TheVogon?) and resent Windows Phone being a complete failure.

But there is no need to just make stuff up: "bricks your phone if you try to use other shops". Bullshit!! Using F-Droid does not brick your Android.

> Reality is that it isn't only shop, it's only the only _Google approved_ shop, just because they own it.

Why would they approve a shop that they don't control and therefore have no information about ?

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