* Posts by Peter Gathercole

2956 posts • joined 15 Jun 2007

Microsoft spins standards defeat into victory

Peter Gathercole Silver badge


It depends if you are using the English or French name of the organisation. Generally in Europe, the French name is used.

Newest Ubuntu dubbed 'Hardy Heron'

Peter Gathercole Silver badge

Linux as good as Windows - wishful thinking - maybe not.

The problem that the anonymous poster above has ignored is also a fundamental problem with the Open Source community. Because the OS is free, people only look at the free applications.

There is NOTHING to stop commercial software providers from writing software that runs on Linux that needs to be purchased. The only barrier to this in the past has been the penetration of a particular distro reaching a critical mass for the software writers to notice. Ubuntu has a better chance of doing this that ANY other Linux distro to date!

When this happens (and this is a big when), expect equally high quality applications. I'm sure that most users do not really care what the OS is, but do about the availability of apps.

So, everybody. Install, enjoy and tell the world that you are a Ubuntu user.

ATI driver flaw exposes Vista kernel

Peter Gathercole Silver badge

Unfound security holes in Unix-like OSs

What many people forget is that most Unix or Linux reported potential vulnerabillites are just that. Potential.

The advantage that these systems have is that the code is open to inspection. Many (but obviously not all) of the reported holes are as a result of buffer-overruns, which have been identified by syntactic analysis of the source code. What is found is that buffers overlap, or have unbounded copy operations performed on them. This means that something will be affected, but it is unlikely that many of them will have real security exploits, although DoS exploits may be possible.

Contrast this to secret code. Only the code-owners and their trusted partners (who will have signed non-disclosure agreements) have this level of access. Most published exploits are real, with proof-of-exploit code available.

Which of these flaws is more dangerous. And how many more 'potential' or real exploits remain in secret code supplied to millions of trusting users. It really makes a mockery of comparing the numbers of reported flaws in closed and open software, as certain well known OS suppliers do.

Open Source really is more secure, because ANYBODY can look at it to identify faults. And if they are any good, as well as finding holes, they can even fix them.

BSkyB buys Amstrad

Peter Gathercole Silver badge

He was into HiFi first

I remember my plasticy IC2000 amp and IC3000 tuner, which were surprisingly good, at least once you had sorted the power supplies out with big smoothing capacitors. And does anybody remember the Rega Planar look-alike turntable with the strange three armed 'platter'. I'm sure that it probably sounded OK if you actually put a glass platter on.

I'm sure it will be AMStrad RIP in a few years.

Celebrating the iPhone's Newtonian past

Peter Gathercole Silver badge

Anybody compared Palm Treo devices?

Downloadable apps, many cheap or even free

Quad band Phone (OK, only GPRS data)

Handwriting recognition (OK again, you have to add it, but it's free)

Web browsing

External media (4GB SD cards supported)

Moble modem for your PC

SD card reader for your PC

TCPMP media player (downloadable free)

Big user base of Palm devices

Available GPS add-on

Token Camera

Available now SIM free!

If it was G3 and Wireless (there may be a wireless device that fits, but I've no experience) then it would be absolutely perfect. Of course, you could also look at the WIN-CE (sorry, mobile) versions

Chip start-up could ignite Blade PCs

Peter Gathercole Silver badge


The problem with Blade-PC's is the fact that they are a PC, with applications with huge memory footprints. When I last used X-Terminals in anger, we had a ratio of about 10 X-Terminals per (not very big) server, and because the software was not PC based, we got reasonable performance. Add to that the fact that you can beef up the performance by adding dedicated specialist servers elsewhere on your network that work just as well as the controlling server in delivering applications. Real distributed computing.

Sun once said "The network is the computer", and I believe it to be the case.

BTW. The AT&T systems mentioned by Brett were called BLITs (Bell Lab Inteligent Terminals) 5620 and 630 (and I know that there were later models) which worked over serial, proto-TP-Ethernet (called StarLan) or full blown twisted pair Ethernet (later models). They ran a proprietery OS that was probably called Layers (my memory fades), and allowed windowed dumb terminal, or locally run, downloaded applications.

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