* Posts by James 132

54 posts • joined 6 Aug 2009


Salesforce sacks two top security engineers for their DEF CON talk

James 132

Can everyone please just stop saying MEATPISTOL

systemd-free Devuan Linux hits version 1.0.0

James 132

The absolute most dysfunction I've observed from systemd has arisen from the NFS and networking, on two production servers. I think it was because of systemd's knowledge of the network state, or lack whereof, but I am not certain, and there's a couple of old bugzilla #s out there with similar issues. The developers don't give a toss.

It doesn't help that it's very difficult to tell what's going on, even if you can get to the journal.

James 132

Take a look at Void. It is a rolling release, uses runit for service management, and has an elegant package manager. Absolutely stonking distro, IMHO.

James 132

Re: Honest inquiry

Boot time was a little bit of flash that was thrown into the discussion to make it an easier sell among enthusiasts - I remember it being a thing with the Arch community in particular when systemd was first adopted in late 2012.

The thing is, everything has since got slower; a good example is Fedora, which now has an exceedingly long boot time on a mechanical disk, well in excess of 40 seconds, so we're right back to pre-systemd territory as guess what maintainers get lazy, throw a load of unit files at systemd in the belief it will sort them out.

Clusters f**ked: Insecure Hadoop file systems wiped by miscreants

James 132

Better defaults would be nice

It's obviously important that administrators familarise themselves with the ports that services open, but these things are also setup by developers and students that have no idea.

I think it's infuriating they're not enabled by default (just switch it to and let the user know where to change it), so many big products do this, too. I'm looking at you, MongoDB.

Tesla autopilot driver 'was speeding' moments before death – prelim report

James 132

Full Autopilot?

"System performance data also revealed that the driver was operating the car using the advanced driver assistance features Traffic-Aware Cruise Control and Autosteer lane keeping assistance."

Was he using autopilot or not? It sounds like a subset of autopilot systems, rather than the Full Monty.

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

James 132

Re: >Am I the only person who sees this as desperation?


Microsoft spent years trying to get rid of the command line, tucking it away and stripping back functionality, then Linux/BSD comes along and rips them a new one, and they reinvent it with the most verbose, clunky, slow syntax imaginable.

Windows 10 in head-on crash with Nvidia drivers as world watches launch

James 132

Unified package management is the way to go

The storm of updates (or update checks) that accompanies a Windows boot has been inefficient for years; it's something Linux does very well, and to a lesser extent OS X; although in the latter case applications still deliberately break out of the App store, for example Adobe...

Nvidia's application has been a shitfest forever.

Nude celeb iCloud hack: Feds seize Chicago man's computers

James 132

I'm curious the guy hasn't been charged with anything. Is it possible his computer was compromised and was just used by a node by a third party?

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

James 132

Re: *facepalm*

Some of these things are related, particularly Gnome 3.

Leaving aside technical considerations, Gnome's development (under the umbrella of Freedesktop.org) adopted a distinctly authoritarian tone; you will have your desktop this way, it will use this init system etc. The deliberate coupling (logind for Gnome3, see also the above poster's example of pam_systemd for similar) was not accidental (Poettering has said as much) and the resulting controversy was therefore not surprising.

I think - and I'm pretty sure it's been said elsewhere - that had systemd truly stayed within scope and looked after pid1 only, we would not be having this discussion. Instead it also became a userland hydra; that's the rub.

James 132

Shellshock was possible because of the black box. It wasn't shell scripts that were the problem, but a parsing error. Systemd is one giant black box and a great deal of C code; there's bound to be some interesting CVE's lurking in there.

I've been using systemd on Arch Linux since their adoption of it in late 2012, and it's not bad, but I'm reluctant to run servers with it - I have already encountered an odd case of NFS mounts in etc/fstab not behaving as they should, and the Bugzilla is still open.

Most of all, I'm not convinced of the 'problem' - shell scripts have worked effectively for years, and they are as transparent as they are complex. Their implementation was deliberate. Systemd swaps complexity you can at least see for low level code you've much less chance of understanding. Yes, application packagers have to work out how to get the services to work if they're using Sys V (or similar), but honestly, how hard is this? You can boilerplate a lot of it.

As regards adoption rates, they're also high for Internet Explorer; it doesn't really mean much.

I don't particularly dislike systemd, but I definitely wonder if this is the direction Linux should be going in.

Put me through to Buffy's room, please. Sony hackers leak stars' numbers, travel aliases

James 132

Re: What got hacked exactly.

According to a Gizmodo piece they left plenty of plain text files with passwords for all sorts of systems, so it's possible the intruders kept building up deeper and deeper access.

What's weird is that this took place before and after the big PSN hack, and I'm surprised they didn't thoroughly audit everything. It's the first thing you do, surely?

Microsoft's TV product placement horror: CNN mistakes Surface tabs for iPAD stands

James 132

The Walking Dead had that suspiciously pristine Hyundai crossover for ages as well. I used to laugh whenever it was on screen; every other vehicle in the thing was a shitbox.

You half expect a cast member to shut the door, nod in a satisfied fashion and opine "This is really nice."

I am Police Sergeant L. Torvalds! Stop or I'll shoot

James 132

You can have Poettering and Sievers play villians, like Pinky and the Brain.

Snapper's decisions: Whatever happened to real photography?

James 132

I still shoot with a 2004 Canon 20D. I've no plans to upgrade any time soon, because frankly the camera is still more than enough for my abiblity. I'm deeply envious of the low light performance of the high-ISO new bodies, but I have most of my pictures on the web and it's good enough for that.

I use it most commonly with a Sigma 20-40 F2.8, a discontinued and unloved lens in Sigma's lineup but one I got dirt cheap secondhand, and is more than useful on that body.

James 132

Funnily enough, I've never touched a medium format camera in my life (I have had an EOS 20D for ten years now) but, on Flickr the medium format stuff is what I find myself browsing the most often.

I'd give it a try but I just don't have the time (or money!!) these days, but it definitely looks really interesting.

UNIX greybeards threaten Debian fork over systemd plan

James 132

Re: Debian? Gnome???

The trouble is, what you're saying is totally true, but nobody remembers.

There's a strange Groundhog Day cycle of pointless reinvention (with little innovation) in Linux that I've never fully understood.

I've seen mentions in a few places that the current problem is one of success: Windows users are flocking to Linux and bringing that culture with them, which is in term driving development, so what's getting developed is an analogue of Windows but at an unbeatable price...

People don't need to go to UNIX summer school to understand the good design practice found there, but it would be helpful to understand why certain practices - tight coupling, no portability, for example - are frowned upon.

James 132

Re: Gimpd

I had a similiar problem with an NFS mount in /etc/fstab; systemd was attempting a mount before network was up and was therefore failing. There's an 11 month old Bugzilla ticket for this very problem.

The solution was to use a systemd.mount, and this worked. I've had dhcpcd and udev misbehave as well, in the most basic of configurations, and I can't troubleshoot it other than seeing in journalctl that it isn't working.

It works okay for desktop, but you'll see odd things on servers that have service quirks (the very thing systemd is supposed to make easy...) like the Samba shutdown issue you have seen.

One could argue these are teething troubles, but Lennart just doesn't seem to care. That, combined with the increasing sprawl of systemd gives me great concern.

Happy 2nd birthday, Windows 8 and Surface: Anatomy of a disaster

James 132

Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

In most threads where Linux ease of use is discussed, there's a post like this.

I wonder what distro people used; virtually anything mainstream has a graphical front end (like an app store, to use an Apple analogue) for the package manager.

And yet there's always someone saying they were working with tarballs and/or compilation, like this is typical of modern Linux distributions.

It's so weird. Linux hasn't been like that for years.

LOHAN seeks X-Plane bod for simulating relationship

James 132

Make sure you ask at the Org

forums.x-plane.org is a useful resource with many freeware & payware designers, also forums.x-pilot.com.

Between them there should be someone that can get involved.

Ubuntu 14.04 LTS: Great changes, but sssh don't mention the...

James 132

Re: The narcissism of small differences

I really like OS X. It's pretty well organised even if I can feel the slide towards fondleslab trends.

For Linux/BSD KDE has won me over through sheer utility (as had XFCE, but I do find KDE a very fluid and tidy experience) which is no mean feat considering I really disliked version 4 on release. I suppose it's just good to have something with lots of choices.

You'll NEVER guess who's building the first Ubuntu phones in 2014

James 132

I know it was tongue-in-cheek, but please don't write headlines following the Upworthy house-style. El Reg, you are better than that.

Top tools for junior Linux admins

James 132

Hehe, I wondered how long before this subject would crop up.

James 132

Arch Linux is an intimidating distro for the newcomer, but everyone should try it. The reason I mention it here is the documentation is phenominal for linux users in general: wiki.archlinux.org

Centos is a good distro to learn for server use, and most usefully Redhat's documentation is online - it is a the same lineage - with Kickstart being a good place to learn scripted deployment (versus imaging).

On the BSD side I've found FreeBSD beautifully simple to administer; package (port) management takes a little more learning though.

HP: PC industry has forgotten how to innovate

James 132

He misses the most important thing - quality and good design. You don't need some hideous swivelling laptop-phone-toaster-tablet thing; just simple, well-built designs with - and this is really, really important - an OS that is emphatically *not* bundled with a multitude of OEM rubbish that does nothing but harm the user's enjoyment. Reputation sells.

Polar sea ice could set another record this year

James 132

Re: Predictable

Come on. The tone of the whole article is painfully supercilious. And there you are alluding to failings in my reading comprehension. Plus ca change.

James 132

Re: Predictable

Oh God, that Huffpo article is awful. *Awful*. Liberals need to abandon the assumed moral superiority; it is so alienating. Unsubtly suggesting that people believe certain things because they are stupid is equivocal to stating that the author is more intelligent and therefore unquestionably correct. This attitude is wildly popular, unfair, and worst of all, unhelpful.

Climate science is an utter mess, and has been since it was hijacked by political interests on both sides of the spectrum. There is so much work to be done.

Torvalds bellows: 'The GNOME PEOPLE are in TOTAL DENIAL'

James 132

Re: 5 reasons

Sincerely now, one of the best Linux related comments I've read on here, from one RHEL bod to another. As for RTFM, the user community contains some of the worst things about Linux; as opposed to the genuinely knowledgeable who love to help.

James 132

I have never seen the ethos of engineering excellence used in the pejorative. That's amusing.

Disable Java NOW, users told, as 0-day exploit hits web

James 132

Unfortunately - as I guess you know - they can, and they do.

PayPal co-founder sells out of foundering Facebook at VAST profit

James 132

Re: Stay away until $10

I don't understand why an older, more experienced person would do a better job. It is highly likely they will be conservative, apathetic, and simply not driven enough. Facebook's success has happened because of Zuckerberg, not in spite of him.

Overvalued as the stock may be, if Zuck were to go I would wager that Facebook would have very dim prospects indeed.

Windows 8: Download it, then speak YOUR brains

James 132

Trying it again and the penny has just dropped: They're trying to get rid of desktop Window management, aren't they? It certainly feels that way. This is the iOS approach: You don't go back; you go home. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the Metro applications. I'm sitting in metro apps wondering how the hell to get back to anywhere, before remembering to recall the start screen.

Whatever the intent, It produces a rather odd user experience.

I'm trying but it just doesn't flow. At all.

James 132


I want to like it. Competition is a good thing; it drives innovation. I do think (based on the preview) that there's been too much compromise in some of the design fundamentals: If MS wanted a tablet UI they could and should have designed one separately; 8 feels like two different ideas that simply don't converge for the desktop user.

A keyboard and mouse are still a fantastic way to get input to a PC, and are well suited to human dexterity. Touch is a solution to a packaging problem that works really well, but pretending it is the better way to do things is a bit daft.

Sick of juggling apps on biz PCs? This install tool will save your sanity

James 132

Re: Yet another tool to work around lazy developers.

Easily the most tiresome and time-consuming aspect of desktop management. And, it is worse the further away you get from mainstream applications. Some specialised educational / simulation stuff enormously stubborn about deploying nicely.

Valve opens Steam store to non-gaming software

James 132

Suddenly, the comments Newell made about Windows 8 and closed systems just made total sense. This is what Valve are worried about.

Thrilled to see Steam natively on Linux, but this plan surely means Valve see a commercial future right where they are.

So, that vast IT disaster you may have caused? Come in, sit down

James 132

Prentice Hall's lovely 'Unix and Linux System Administration Handbook' remains the only tech helper I've read that mentions politics - it is an important issue for techs to understand. It is as real and important as any work they will do, and horrible as it is engineers by nature do not tend to understand these things and so end up getting crapped on.

New account of Flight 447 disaster published

James 132

An AOA gauge and training in including it in the scan may have helped them. It would at least have told them what the wing was doing, but for some reason this isn't seen as necessary, although they do turn up in some 737 options.

For whatever reason, he encountered (and it was a bumpy night) a situation that overwhelmed him and his reaction to it killed everyone on board.

RAF Eurofighter Typhoons 'beaten by Pakistani F-16s'

James 132
Thumb Up

True, dat

Under 'Constant Peg' there is an account of a MiG-21 pilot (USAF) that knew the '21 inside out, and routinely humbled far more modern adversaries in BFM because he was so well practiced in it; but that of course is the point of the exercise.

James 132

NATO pilots not trained in BFM? Hmm...

That is utter nonsense. I suspect more than a little bit of BS going on there on the PAF official's behalf.

NATO crews have been intensively trained in BFM since forever, not for nothing is the Typhoon a maneuver fighter.

The Typhoon is a lead contender for India's MRCA (against the Dassault Rafale) and I would not be surprised if this wasn't a little bit of PAF gamesmanship.

German Foreign Office kills desktop Linux, hugs Windows XP

James 132

Hmm, something else going on here.

The devil is in the details. Bit confused by the XP -> 7 strategy, unless it is monetary (possible that there is still a license held by that dept. and migration this way is cheaper) because it is not technically necessary at all.

Interoperability is true, in terms of other departments. Microsoft's penetration of the workplace is very extensive but one can't help but feel the problems that have been encountered were not worked on with that much enthusiasm.

As for the comments about Linux desktops being relatively harder, c'mon folks - this isn't 1999. All the contemporary mainstream distros are very easy-going and straightforward nowadays.

Channel Five to air Walking Dead

James 132

Other way round, I think

They've removed nearly the entire story of the comics, and have inserted more tv-friendly stuff instead. I like the series - on the whole - but after the finale do wonder where the hell it's going.

James 132

You also need a writer...

...That has the willingness in them to murder their baby; to adapt their work to the very different format that TV requires, and have the skill to do this themselves or work with someone that can. I imagine it's very hard to get right.

James 132
Thumb Up

It's not bad

To those that are familiar with the books, it's worth watching, but be warned the plot and characters diverge from the source material very quickly. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing. There's a couple of weak episodes and character choices, but the direction is good and Andrew Lincoln really carries it along.

It's a first-rate production with very, very good effects. Long wait til the second series, though.

CTOs warned to prepare for Windows 7 budget squeeze

James 132

Probably Mass Storage

XP's embedded drivers no longer work on a large number of newer platforms using Sata & AHCI - they won't boot. You need to provide these drivers during installation, or already have them on an image. It's a fiddle, but can be done. Alternatively, if the BIOS permits it, change the controller mode to 'IDE emulation' and it should be fine.

Raptor over Blighty: Watch the stealth fighter in infrared

James 132


The F-22 (also saw it at Fairford) is a monster. The article's a bit of a Page classic, though. They're different things for different jobs. It's the ultimate air-superiority fighter; I don't think we'll see the likes of one ever again. The Typhoon is popular with those that use it.

TVC isn't unique to the Raptor though. The MiG-29 OVT in 2006 did a similarly exciting display, and that's basically a MiG-29M with fly-by-wire and TVC engines.

Supersonic stealth jumpjet achieves its first mid-air hover

James 132
IT Angle

@ian 22

That was the doctrine in the 60's. It was incorrect then, and there's a good chance it will be now, hence the continued emphasis on super-maneuverability. UAV's are common nowadays, but they have no opposition in any of the theatres they are deployed in. They are slow, have limited sensors, and are vulnerable to just about any air-defence threat. They have a role to play, but that complements rather than replaces conventional manned platforms.

Manned aircraft will be around for a while yet. Just because they seem irrelevant today, does not mean things will stay that way.

Too fat to fly: Kevin Smith and OpenOffice

James 132


Fatgate and Open office, that's straining the seams of Andrew's tenuous trousers..

@Simon Rowsby give a Arch a look.

Windows 7 upgrades Vista laptops to lower battery life

James 132
Paris Hilton

We must have been lucky

Mainly Toshiba hardware here, of all flavours, and there doesn't appear to have been any changes or problems with battery life so far.

Paris, because she's never short of batteries.

Windows 7 users to fly without SP parachute

James 132
Jobs Halo

@The Original Steve

Quite agree. The curves of hardware and OS development have crossed since Vista was launched. Hardware is better placed to handle the OS now compared to 2006, and Vista's been to the gym a bit too. I think Win 7 is great but there's little between it and SP'd Vista.


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