* Posts by CFWhitman

81 posts • joined 20 Mar 2012

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Roses are red, revenge is so sweet. Microsoft extracts a few quid from Corel Office Suite

CFWhitman

What a joke.

OK. This seems bogus on more than one level.

What exactly related to "tabbed toolbars" (the original name of the "ribbon" interface) has Microsoft patented, and do they not exist in all the previous iterations of tabbed toolbars that were used by other companies in other software. Are they actually new?

Also, is this a design patent? I say this because there is nothing in the ribbon interface that should be patentable as a utility patent. Utility patents are supposed to be for inventing new technology, not for making a novel choice as to layout (though, as mentioned, not really terribly novel in light of software history, just not that popular).

The patent system is so messed up and so far away from what it was invented to accomplish that it's basically a joke at this point.

Open source sets sights on killing WhatsApp and Slack

CFWhitman

Re: XMPP?

Just as an observation. XMPP is fairly popular as an organizational chat standard. That is, there are a lot of organizations that use XMPP internally. It's ideal for that because both the standard and most of the software that implements the standard are open. It seems that the reason it's not popular as an Internet service is because there's not really any money in that.

CFWhitman

Re: Searching for old messages in different apps = nightmare

"And why would I want to duplicate that data on my phone - it's already in a message! The problem is searching for and finding old, historical messages, in an ocean of messages, in a variety of apps/platforms. Duplicating it all over the place is not the answer."

I tend to think of anything in a text message/chat message as transient, something I don't expect to necessarily have access to beyond a few days. Part of the reason for this is because it's not indexed information, and searching through it for reference doesn't seem practical. Looking at it that way, yes duplicating just the important stuff in the places I put important stuff is the answer for me.

Power meltdown 'fries' SourceForge, knocks site's servers titsup

CFWhitman

Re: SourceFource

"Those of us that stopped using it are not aware if they changed their deceptive practice."

They've changed ownership since then, and the new ownership said none of that would be going on anymore. So far, that seems to be true. I no longer have to avoid Filezilla, for example.

Mozilla ponders making telemetry opt-out, 'cos hardly anyone opted in

CFWhitman

This Article is Pretty Misleading

This article is pretty misleading considering that the idea of making the data involved opt-out was only a suggestion by a couple of software engineers and so far hasn't even been taken up for consideration by the committee.

CFWhitman

Re: So what does Mozilla collect?

This post could be pretty misleading to someone who didn't read it all the way through. If you are not on mobile, then Firefox doesn't send much of any information that would allow you to be identified unless you specifically enter the information and say it's OK (you have to actually enter your email address and phone number if you want them to have them). It only uses your IP address to identify what country you are in.

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

CFWhitman

I see that color management for Chrome finally seems to work more or less correctly. Apparently they started implementing it in 2015, and it's improved since then to behave as it should now. However, I still get vertical tearing when I scroll quickly (this is on Ubuntu Studio 16.04 with an older AMD FirePro card with Compton for compositing in Xfce). In Firefox, there is no tearing. Interestingly, I don't get tearing with Chromium either.

I believe that the reason that Mozilla is dropping the support for old add-ons is that the legacy add-on support is impeding both speed and security improvements. Of course, there being a new way to do all the old things would be nice.

I think being a Linux user gives me a bit different perspective than Windows users. I've been using Firefox the whole time and have been fairly satisfied with it. I almost never touch Chrome. I use Chromium and Qupzilla a little. Will the performance improvements in Firefox 57 be enough to give Firefox more credibility with Windows users again? I don't know. I know that a lot of the people who have continued to use Firefox in Windows have done so for the add-ons. The add-ons changing to be hardly any different from those for Chrome seems like it would remove their incentive to use Firefox. It's hard to see what effect this will have overall.

Linux kernel hardeners Grsecurity sue open source's Bruce Perens

CFWhitman

GRSecuity is pretty clearly in the wrong about their conditions on redistribution. Basically, making any statement about what they will do if you redistribute code is placing a restriction on redistribution of code. That's clearly a violation of the GPL. Any other interpretation amounts to "fancy lawyer tricks" (that's generally a euphemism for "lies that you could get away with," by the way).

As to Linus' statement that GRSecurity's patches are "garbage," he is speaking about how they comply with kernel policies as to not violating rules for maintainability. More than one of their patches has been re-implemented by someone who did follow the rules and added to the kernel. GRSecurity likes to jury-rig patches for the kernel and then gets mad when someone notices the jury-rigging and replaces it with actual repairs.

Petition calls for Adobe Flash to survive as open source zombie

CFWhitman

I'm guessing that the end of Flash development will allow at least one of the open source efforts to re-implement a Flash player to catch up to the current state of affairs. That can be the new Flash if there needs to be one (which I suspect there might be to at least some extent).

systemd'oh! DNS lib underscore bug bites everyone's favorite init tool, blanks Netflix

CFWhitman

"So Dell came up with a naming scheme that would let some guy in a data centre receive a call saying that enp0s3 looks like it's become unplugged and [s]he knows which physical connector to give a tug."

It actually goes beyond that. When you have a server with three or four network interfaces, there is no guarantee that with the regular naming system an adapter will always get the same name when the server is booted. This means that a reboot can play havoc with routing rules and make a server stop functioning for its main purpose after being rebooted.

With the new naming scheme, regardless of whether your adapters are distinguished by a single digit, each adapter will always get the same name after a reboot. As you mentioned, this predates systemd, Ubuntu Server, for example had this before it ever had systemd.

Why Firefox? Because not everybody is a web designer, silly

CFWhitman

I find Chrome/Chromium a much bigger resource hog than Firefox in general. There have been times that Firefox would have a memory leak and would use too many resources over the course of several days. Even now, I occasionally have to restart a Firefox session to combat choppiness if it's been up for a couple of weeks. However, it doesn't gobble up all your resources right away when you have multiple tabs open like Chrome does.

One thing I like about Firefox is that it has color management, while no browsers not based on Firefox seem to support that. Sure, your color will be pretty good with any browser if you have you session properly calibrated, but only Firefox based browsers seem to fully support color profiles.

Hasta la Windows Vista, baby! It's now officially dead – good riddance

CFWhitman

Re: Haters gonna hate

Well, Vista was a problem to update at one point. If you could get it to update to the service pack version without destroying itself, then it was not so bad, but sometimes it would destroy itself in a very random manner trying to get the updates to apply.

That is, you could install Vista and let it run updates and see it end up destroying itself. Then you could repeat the procedure the exact same way and have it work out fine. More often than not, you could get it updated successfully, but it would destroy itself often enough to make you feel like you were playing Russian roulette with the install. I would always make sure of the updates before investing any more than necessary effort on anything else about the system.

Even after you got it installed, the network would often act strange in a domain environment, being outperformed by orders of magnitude by both XP and 7. I never noticed that issue with home versions on the Internet. Because the problems with Vista in a domain were addressed sooner by 7 than in Vista (if they ever were addressed in Vista), it never got out of the testing stage for use by the business I work for. That is, we were testing it until we were satisfied, and we became satisfied with 7 before Vista, so we passed Vista by.

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

CFWhitman

Re: What?

Updating your kernel will basically never affect any of your existing software. It will rarely make it so any new software will run (perhaps there could be some software that relied on a particular new kernel feature). Kernel updates are much more likely to affect hardware compatibility than software compatibility, and that's most likely to mean a piece of hardware that didn't work will start working.

Updating your C library has the potential to affect your software, but between the software developers and the maintainers of glibc, they do a good job with backward compatibility. I've never had a program stop working after a kernel update or a glibc update. Even programs that you manually installed on your distribution will almost always continue to work after a distribution upgrade.

CFWhitman

It's too bad if WoW doesn't work in wine right now. I used to run it through wine all the time. I haven't played it for a couple of years though.

CFWhitman

Re: Not so sure

Updating the kernel is not a great risk on most (non-rolling) Linux distributions, since they usually have a patched version of the same kernel that you are already on available. Of course, the kernel is one thing, and other parts of the system are different. However, distributions like Debian stable, CentOS, and Scientific Linux are so stable that there is very little risk in applying all patches as soon as they are released. It's always a good idea to have test servers (this means with Red Hat, Suse, and Windows as well), but there is much less chance of you having an issue with a patch in those distributions (Debian stable, CentOS, Scientific Linux, and Red Hat Enterprise Linux) than in Windows Server.

CFWhitman

You're missing the point. Yes, Linux and BSD can run on a lot of ARM hardware, but there are no standards the boot firmware has to conform to for all the different SoC's. So, unlike with x86 hardware, You can't have an ARM bootable USB stick that's just, for example, Debian for ARM64. You have to get an image for the particular hardware you are targeting and flash it to an SD card (or perhaps a USB stick) or sometimes directly through a USB connection to the device. Once it's on there, you can install standard software packages, but the boot process is not guaranteed to be the same between any two different devices. SBSA is supposed to change that so that the same image of whatever operating system you wish to use will work on any of a number of ARM server SoC's/devices.

CFWhitman

Re: Bit confused

That is not how I read his argument. I thought his argument was basically that if the shift to ARM hardware is important enough for Microsoft to make the jump, then they are already losing the advantage of legacy application lock in, so they won't have any means to force themselves into a dominant position on ARM hardware. He believes that they will have trouble competing on a more level playing field.

Firefox 52 kills plugins – except Flash – and runs up a red flag for HTTP

CFWhitman

>How many people will now download an older version from the ESR line and disable updates because of this?

I'm guessing not very many other than the few who really want/need Java or Silverlight for some reason since very little else is affected. Remember that add-ons/extensions still work. This only applies to NPAPI plugins.

CFWhitman

NPAPI Plugins - Not Your Favorite Firefox Add-ons

It would probably be a good idea to specifically mention that NPAPI plugins have been outdated for a while and are not the same thing as add-ons and extensions, so this affects very few things. A number of people seem to think that this means the end of their favorite add-ons, even after the same issue caused confusion when Google Chrome dropped NPAPI plugins a while back.

Lenovo denies claims it plotted with Microsoft to block Linux installs

CFWhitman

Intentional? Probably not. Stupid? Quite Certainly.

I don't think this is a very good idea. However, the laptops involved are not locked into Windows; they are merely locked into RAID mode.

The agreement with Microsoft apparently is that for any machine to be marked "Signature Edition" it must be locked into whatever hardware modes give the highest performance. In this case, that means an SSD mode that doesn't have a driver for Linux (at least not yet).

Whether there was any intention for this to lock out other systems besides Windows is hard to say. One thing that argues against that idea is that Lenovo regularly gets Red Hat certification for their machines (even laptops), and a lot of Linux users use Lenovo because of their reputation of working well. I wouldn't be surprised to see a Linux driver for the RAID mode being introduced soon.

However, in my book removing configuration options, and thus flexibility, in order to make it so a machine will only operate in whatever mode is deemed to offer the highest performance is the height of stupidity, regardless of a "Signature Edition" label.

Some Windows 10 Anniversary Update: SSD freeze

CFWhitman

Re: It looks you're trying to use Windows as if it was Linux

"You can then redirect users folders to other locations (https://technet.microsoft.com/library/hh848267)"

Yes you can redirect selected folders (not just any folder) to other locations. This is both a lot more trouble and a lot less reliable than mounting a device/partition to a folder in Linux.

"Also it looks you don't know you can mount a partition in a mount point, no need to use links. You can mount a partition using Disk Manager or from the command line using diskpart."

On the outside this looks very similar to mounting a partition to a folder in Linux. However, mounting the Users directory in Windows on a separate partition is a magic trick (if it's possible at all). Also, again this is not reliable (so I wouldn't risk doing it with the Users directory anyway).

Yes, Linux is modeled after an OS that began to be designed in the late 60's, but with multiple users, directories, and network operation in mind from the beginning. Windows on the other hand is lugging around legacy cruft from an operating system from the 70's that had no users, no directories, and no network operation in mind. That could be part of the reason that some of these things come out looking like tacked on kludges that aren't reliable.

CFWhitman

Re: most MS licencing schemes allow you to install the software...

In my experience, Microsoft licensing schemes allow members of the IT department to install the software at home as well, but not everyone on the network. There are discounted student licensing rates for those enrolled at accredited schools, but they are not completely free.

Windows 10 Anniversary Update is borking boxen everywhere

CFWhitman

Fast Start

I didn't realize that this "feature" existed in Windows 10 until recently (there was only one machine before that in my control that had Windows 10, and I don't use it for anything but testing). Now, with Fast Start, is there a reliable way to get to your BIOS/UEFI settings? Apparently not. If you restart your machine, at least some machines seem to skip over the BIOS stage. Now, with Fast Start, even if you shut your machine down some machines will skip over the BIOS stage. So how do you get to the BIOS or UEFI? You play roulette and hope that one of the times that you shut down, you will really shut down, or you hard reset it during startup (always a good idea!). Thanks for the "feature," Microsoft!

CFWhitman

Re: It is good that microsoft is on hand with excellent advice

"Any dual-booting Win10'ers out there? Does it still completely trash your MBR every time you do an install?"

It's hard for me to consider myself a dual booter because I sometimes go for a year without booting into Windows on my personal desktop (at work I run Windows in a virtual machine). However, I currently have a Windows installation because my brother plays a certain game that wouldn't work correctly under wine the last I looked. This makes it so I boot Windows more often just to maintain it than to actually use it.

What I decided about dual booting quite a while ago is that, if possible, you should just use a separate hard drive for the Windows installation. That way, you can just install it as normal and then let Linux take care of the boot selection process while Windows remains blissfully ignorant of the fact that it is not the primary OS. Of course, on a laptop, this may not be an option, depending on whether it has interfaces for multiple disks (I haven't done this on my laptop, but my current one actually has three drive interfaces, though two of them are for NGFF drives, but you can get a 512 GB NGFF drive these days).

Linux letting go: 32-bit builds on the way out

CFWhitman

> "I've never cared (or even noticed, and I haven't checked even now) that 64-bit Linux doesn't support 32-bit binaries, but 64-bit Windows obviously still runs 32-bit apps."

Just for information's sake, 64 bit Linux runs 32 bit applications just fine as long as all the 32 bit libraries/dependencies are satisfied. I keep 32 bit libraries on most of my 64 bit machines for one reason or another (often the reason being 32 bit Wine support).

CFWhitman

Re: Netbooks

Well, most netbooks still in use sport 64 bit processors. A lot of Atom processors are 64 bit (including most of those placed in netbooks, especially since 2010).

In my experience, the netbooks that don't have 64 bit processors don't run that well with Ubuntu based distributions anyway (even Lubuntu and Bodhi seem a bit heavy for them). The ones that I have are running Debian. Other 32 bit machines I have access to all run Debian, Slackware, or Salix rather than an Ubuntu variant.

So, is it time for Linux to start phasing out 32 bit x86 processors? No. Is it time for Ubuntu to start phasing them out? Perhaps.

Microsoft won't back down from Windows 10 nagware 'trick'

CFWhitman

Re: N.W.O.

"The problem was with VirtualBox. It wants the 32 bit version of Mint and I had the 64 bit one. I would have thought it could handle 64 bits as win 7 and i5 processor are 64 bit."

VirtualBox can handle a 64 bit virtual machine, as long as it's the 64 bit version of VirtualBox. That is, your hardware, your operating system, and your VirtualBox installation all have to be 64 bit.

Microsoft wants to lock everyone into its store via universal Windows apps, says game kingpin

CFWhitman

Re: Re:The FTC started looking at Microsoft's anti-competitive activities......

Actually, no this wouldn't be legally bigger for Microsoft than what they did in the nineties for a number of reasons, but primarily because they've clearly shown what their tactic is.

They have made it clear that don't intend to absolutely force users to only use Microsoft's store. They have allowed sideloading. That is, they think they can get away with using an Android type model for their store. You can sideload programs, after acknowledging the warnings that they may be malware, and you can even have another store if you want, but their hope is that the majority of people won't enable sideloading and won't install another store. It's a gradual guide toward their goal rather than a sudden push. They won't force users to use the store; they will frighten them away from doing anything else.

CFWhitman

Re: Deja Vu

Your post makes it sound like Gabe Newell made a prediction that didn't come true. That's rather a mischaracterization. What Mr. Newell said Microsoft wanted and was moving toward as much as they could was an application store that they fully controlled and which dominated the Windows ecosystem. That was true then, and it's true now. Everyone who points it out might at least delay how quickly than can accomplish it, but it's still where they want to go. It's also possible that by the time they got anywhere with this, they would have been all but abandoned by their customers (outside of the enterprise, where this will not work), but it's still where they want to go. Just because they might not be able to pull it off doesn't mean they aren't setting up to try it.

Microsoft finally ties the knot with Xamarin, snaps up mobile app biz

CFWhitman

Re: Goodbye Mono

Well, technically, since Mono is open source, if Xamarin dropped it, development could be taken up by someone else. However, I think it is more likely that Xamarin will continue to develop Mono and tie it more closely to Microsoft, perhaps eventually making open source .Net and Mono into one project.

There are alternatives to Mono, though.

AMD emits fresh open-source GPU tools for HPC, game devs

CFWhitman

Better Linux drivers for AMD?

"Will this likely mean better Linux drivers for AMD?"

Theoretically, this will mean better open source drivers for Linux, possibly making them better than the proprietary ones at some point (in some ways they already are better, but they tend not to support the newest cards and newest features as quickly). Better collaboration between all the coders could even improve the proprietary driver. However, this is all theoretical. It doesn't mean it will necessarily work out that way in practice. AMD's previous efforts in the direction have certainly helped with the open source drivers, but it would be nice if this had a more dramatic effect. I'm not holding my breath, but I'm adopting a 'wait and see' attitude.

2015 was the Year of the Linux Phone ... Nah, we're messing with you

CFWhitman

Re: Conclusions....

@Richard Plinston I agreed with you until you said, "It is the desktop itself that is a slow, lingering death, as evidenced by the sales figures."

Perhaps if you are referring specifically to the large box sitting on or underneath your desk, then that is supportable (though I still think there are reasons why some kind of easily customizable, upgradable, and powerful hardware will stick around for a while, even if it changes size and shape to some degree). However, the desktop in general is just much better than alternatives for certain things. It will take on a smaller less 'generally used for everything' type of role, but I can't see it dying in the forseeable future.

Of course, it's arguable that Microsoft has taken the first steps toward a "slow, lingering death." Of course, if it can make appropriate adjustments, this doesn't have to be the case. I don't think it's going in the right direction to prevent it at this point though. Still, even if it is headed that way, its momentum in the business world could make it take a really long time.

CFWhitman

Re: Calling Android a "Linux distribution" is entirely misleading.

You have some things in your post here that are technically incorrect. You should be aware that Android and GNU cannot coexist in the same root directory. In order to run both on the same device (even when they are both compiled for ARM or both compiled for x86) they need to each have their own root directory. This can be accomplished by installing them to different partitions or using a chroot jail or some other type of container.

There are several applications that have been ported to Android from GNU/Linux, and they can come in handy when you are in Android. I have run a GNU/Linux distribution on a number of ARM devices, and the executables for those cannot run inside of an Android environment. I have run Android and GNU/Linux on the same device, and you cannot run an executable for one system in the other even when you are running the same kernel for both systems (each time I did this I was running the same kernel for both systems; I don't mean two copies of the same kernel; I mean the same exact kernel).

CFWhitman

Re: Calling Android a "Linux distribution" is entirely misleading.

I pointed out in the post you are replying to that, technically, referring to Android as a Linux distribution is absolutely incorrect. Technically, even if you are right in principle, which is not nearly as cut and dried as you make it out to be, Android would be a group or a family of Linux distributions, not a distribution in its own right.

You saying that the phrase "Linux distribution" has referred to the kernel doesn't make it so. That is inconsistent with the way the phrase has been used, which should be obvious. People didn't refer to anything which wasn't an operating system as a "Linux distribution," even if it was something that included the kernel. Technically, each kernel release was a distributable version of Linux, yet no one referred to those as "Linux distributions."

How is it hard to understand that Android's use of an incompatible/conflicting C library puts it in an entirely different position than anything else that you refer to? All the other things that you mention work with the GNU C library or another API compatible C library. They don't work with the Android C library. They all coexist peacefully in the same root directory. Android cannot.

GNU/Hurd is not a Linux distribution, and I have never heard anyone argue that it was. (Do you know what a strawman is?)

I am not confused, but your arguments make it seem that you are.

CFWhitman

Calling Android a "Linux distribution" is entirely misleading.

When you refer to Android as a Linux distribution, it is entirely misleading. You can make an argument that it's technically accurate, but it is still misleading.

Traditionally, the phrase "Linux distribution" has not referred to the kernel, but to the operating system sometimes referred to as GNU/Linux. It is true that it has sometimes been used to refer to embedded systems that technically weren't GNU/Linux, but were only API compatible with it. Those systems, though, still used the same software as GNU/Linux and still 'felt' like GNU/Linux.

Android has made no effort to remain API compatible with GNU/Linux (much less ABI compatible). Applications for GNU/Linux must be ported to work with Android. It's clear that Android is a different operating system than GNU/Linux. Also, there are distributions of Android, like Cyanogenmod and various manufacturer's distributions. Even if you were to argue that Android distributions are Linux distributions, it wouldn't make sense to call Android in general a Linux distribution.

Calling Android a "Linux distribution" ends up being inconsistent and only serves to confuse the uninitiated (I've seen this happen). It is much more straightforward to refer to Android distributions and Linux distributions as separate things. Then you only have to explain that the operating system which people refer to as "Linux" is really just the first operating system based on the Linux kernel, called GNU/Linux by some, and that Android is another operating system based on the Linux kernel. As confusing as that may seem to some people it is much less confusing than trying to explain the inconsistencies involved in referring to Android as a "Linux distribution."

Oracle blurts Google's Android secrets in court: You made $22bn using Java, punk

CFWhitman

Google did not develop Android

A minor point here, but Google did not develop Android initially. It was developed by Android, Inc., which Google then bought in order to pursue further development for their own plans.

Microsoft herds biz users to Windows 10 by denying support for Win 7 and 8 on new CPUs

CFWhitman

Re: The more they push

"They did this with W9x, Windows NT, 2000 and XP, where is the news here?"

With all those systems that you just mentioned, they didn't do this until they ended support for the operating system altogether. This is entirely different than that. This is partially ending support for people who expected it to go on until 2020 when they bought the product.

It's true that this doesn't mean that Windows 7 won't work on the new hardware. However, Windows 7 on the new hardware will basically be in the same boat that Windows XP is as far as hardware compatibility is concerned rather than what people expected.

Feeling abandoned by Adobe? Check out the video editing suites for penguins

CFWhitman

I've just gotten a little into video editing recently. I haven't really needed anything complex so far. The one I ended up using for what I've done so far is Kdenlive. I'm running the version from the PPA on Ubuntu Studio 14.04 on an approximately seven or eight year old laptop with an Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 4 GB of RAM, and some old Nvidia Quadro graphics card. It has worked fine with the 720p video (some 480p) that I have worked with so far. I also have it on my desktop machine which is an AMD Bulldozer with an AMD 7870 video card and 16 GB of RAM, running Ubuntu Studio 15.10. This of course hasn't had any problems doing the simple stuff I've done so far with Kdenlive (other than temporary user errors).

Software for creating DVDs with menus has been mentioned a couple of times. For the simple DVDs I've made either DVDStyler or DeVeDe has been acceptable. Even those programs are capable of more than I have taken advantage of when creating DVDs.

Mozilla confirms its Firefox OS phones are dead

CFWhitman

Re: We don't need no steenking reading comprehension!

"It's dead, Jim. Dead, dead, dead."

Well, if you're only referring to phones, then let's say the life support has been removed and the prognosis is not good. However, since Firefox OS is still being promoted as a smart TV operating system, it's not altogether dead yet.

Visual Studio Code: The top five features

CFWhitman

Re: On linux? Meh, I'll stick with vim

"The reason I can sort his stuff out quickly and the other Unix SAs can't? They insist on using vi and emacs to get at it and I use Scite, a styling editor that color codes great swaths of code based on the language you tell it you are looking at."

I like SciTE very well, but its syntax highlighting feature is hardly unique even among command line editors. Others have mentioned that most vi variations (such as vim and elvis) support this. It is also supported in Emacs, joe/jupp, etc. It is not always turned on by default in some of these editors, but you can change that. You can even get nano to do syntax highlighting, though it's implemented rather oddly.

Is the world ready for a bare-metal OS/2 rebirth?

CFWhitman

Re: Titlebars, menus, scrollbars, icons!

"You want to do something stupid that nukes your whole setup? Go right ahead!."

For some reason, "She chose down!" comes to mind.

Next year's Windows 10 auto-upgrade is MSFT's worst idea since Vista

CFWhitman

Re: Only yourselves to blame

"How about a device that simply doesn't work on Linux, period?"

How about a device that doesn't work in Windows, period? We have those now. I have a printer that doesn't have an identifiable correctly working driver for any version of Windows newer than XP, which is no longer supported. It works well for my Linux machines with it installed on my Linux server. In fact, I can now get it to work for a Windows machine on my network by having Linux serve it up as a Postscript printer (even though the printer itself doesn't understand Postscript) and setting Windows to print to it with a generic Postscript printer driver. This isn't the only piece of hardware I've seen that was obsoleted on Windows but still works on Linux.

"Or one where there are two or three drivers, but none of them work. One's too old and doesn't work properly (too slow) and the other two are too new and flat out refuse to work. And worst off, it's the GPU chip this is supposed to be supporting, which for a laptop means it's a flat bust. Same thing happened no matter what the distro, so it's back to Windows (which at least works)."

I've installed Linux on a lot of different hardware (dozens of different machines), and I have yet to encounter a GPU that fits that description. However, I will talk about the closest I've come. I have a Thinkpad from 2003 with Intel graphics. This particular graphics processor is universally considered to be buggy, which is why there have been problems running a GUI on it with various Linux distributions. I used to have to run an old distribution to get it to work with little problem (seems like I had an Ubuntu variation from 2009 or 2010 at one point), although it still acted a bit flaky if you dropped out of X-Window. Now, I just have to have one that's new enough to have the driver updated with a workaround (it's a workaround because the hardware itself has the issue, so you can't really fix it with software). Of course with Linux you sometimes get fixes for hardware that's ten years old.

Windows XP was the pre-install on that system, but after updating it, it would run very slowly with the 256 MB of RAM that were in it when it was given to me. Recently memory for it became so cheap that I maxxed it out at 1 GB just for kicks. Of course, by that time, Windows XP was unsupported. The Linux distribution (Salix OS 14.1 Fluxbox in this case because it's so lightweight) ran OK with the original RAM. The biggest thing I've noticed from the upgrade is that more Web pages will now load without the browser hanging or crashing.

Of course, if you have a bunch of Windows games, then you'll like likely have to run Windows to make them all work (especially if they're newer games). I don't have as much time for games as I once did, but I generally stick to Linux compatible ones, and they usually work well on my desktop machine.

CFWhitman

Re: The recommended update will still require the user to accept or decline before installing

As to the long periods of time it takes Windows 7 to update: I have found that for some reason if you exceed 200 updates by very much in one update installation session, the machine hangs indefinetely (it seems like it usually happens in the 210s), and you have to cancel the rest of the updates. Sometimes the machine has to be cold booted, and I always wonder if it will come back up right if that happens (it has always come back up OK so far, but I haven't let this happen very many times). If before you let the updates install you whittle the number down to 200 or below, then the update installation is much less likely to hang. The updates will still take several hours, but they will not hang indefinitely. Of course, then you have to do another batch, which may well be over 200 again (depending on how many more updates have been "found" by the time you run it again). I've never seen in excess of 200 updates more than twice on the same machine.

On my own machines I run Linux, where updates have been much less problematic.

Linus looses Linux 4.3 on a waiting world

CFWhitman

Mispellings and binary interfaces

The problems with people spelling "lose" wrong are compounded by the fact that even if they know how to spell it, and just made a typo and wrote "loose" instead, it's still a correct word and so doesn't get flagged by a spell checker. Still, I'm astounded by how often I see that error. They can't all be typos.

I imagine the rant about Linux drivers (though I didn't actually see it) was intended to be an attack on the fact that the binary interface for kernel modules (and thus drivers) is not frozen and can change. Thus people can't write a driver and have it continue to work indefinitely after kernel updates. The poster was assuming that this had something to do with the kernel being monolithic and drivers being modules. That's not actually the case.

Some would like to see a frozen binary interface for drivers. However, Linus sees a frozen binary interface as a bug rather than a feature. This is certainly true if you want the kernel to be portable between architectures. If a frozen binary interface for drivers were supported, then Linux could end up being very dependent on whatever platform it was most popular on. This is out of line with the goals of kernel developers. There will be no frozen binary interface for drivers, and that's a good thing. That way Linux can work not only on x86, but also on ARM, MIPS, Power, etc. with the least amount of developer effort necessary.

Windows 10 market share growth slows to just ten per cent

CFWhitman

Re: An how much ...

I think it's just the exaggeration that got you into trouble with that comment. If you had said:

'You are comparing an OS that has entrenched itself in [the] public consciousness since [near] the beginning of personal computing with an obscure OS that [most people haven't heard of, doesn't run their existing software], and requires [a bit] of technical understanding to [install vs. what they were prompted to automatically update to by the system that came on their machine]. It's not apples and oranges there, it's fruit and construction in Dubai.'

Then you wouldn't have caused such a negative reaction while essentially making the same points more accurately.

Linux boss Torvalds: Don't talk to me about containers and other buzzwords

CFWhitman

Re: The IoT Crowd

You could pare Linux down, but there's no good reason to do so. For certain applications you can just leave all the unnecessary modules out, and the kernel will be a lot smaller than it is in general purpose Linux distributions. When you need it smaller than that, there are alternatives, including open source ones like FreeRTOS, and in applications like that, a kernel that was designed for real time applications usually makes more sense anyway.

Windows 10 growth flattens out to 30 per cent per week

CFWhitman

Where does the garden path lead?

I have a Windows 8.1 installation on one hard drive, but I have no plans to upgrade to Windows 10 at the moment. I'm trying to see where the garden path Microsoft is trying to lead everyone down ends up. Only after I have a better idea what's going on will I consider running a Windows 10 installation. I'm not sure I ever will run 10 at home, since I already spend 99% of my home computing time in Linux (actually probably more than that). I mostly have the Windows 8.1 partition available for my brother to run certain games.

Intel left a fascinating security flaw in its chips for 16 years – here's how to exploit it

CFWhitman

Re: a ha ha ha ha ha :(

"Windows already supports Arm, IA-32 and x64 which are by far the largest current market segments. And Windows has previously supported Alpha, MIPS, Itanium and PowerPC, so additional processor support is not a problem if there was a need for it..."

That's a rather rosy viewpoint to take of Windows cross-architecture support. Windows supports x86 and x86_64, yes. Support for anything else has to be qualified, and a lot of it was never very useful.

Windows has had some kind of ARM support for years. It's biggest success in this area was Windows CE/Windows Pocket PC. Of course Windows CE and company wasn't really the same operating system as Windows on the desktop. It had its own set of software and not much in common other than a standard approach to the UI. It fell into obscurity with the rise of the touch UI and the operating systems that relied on that scheme for mobile devices.

Now Windows supports ARM in a different way. It's approach this time is similar to that of Android to run common software on multiple architectures with a virtual machine or something like one. Of course that approach has its limits, but it has its advantages as well. The problem for Windows here is that there is not a lot of software that runs that way. Most of the applications for Windows, especially the popular ones, only run on X86 variants. Windows has ARM support, but not for the programs people think of when they think of Windows.

Windows used to have Apha, MIPS, and PowerPC support back in the late nineties. However, not that many apps were ever released for those architectures (and almost all of the few that did were server applications), and Microsoft ended support. Again, the Windows applications for x86 wouldn't run on those systems. A similar situation existed for Itanium later on.

So yes, Windows has nominally supported a number of architectures at different times, but none of them have had the applications available to make Windows a real success. At this point Windows has basically been stuck with x86 based architectures. Theoretically, if x86 based architectures were to be cancelled, then application vendors would port their applications to whatever Windows moved to. However, that is not likely to happen.

Of course open source software tends to adjust to different architectures more easily. Most Linux applications have been compiled for a number of architectures because they are open source. This makes is so Linux has been ready for ARM, MIPS, Power, or Itanium, etc. desktops and servers for a while.

However, this doesn't make Linux (as in GNU/Linux, the operating system) ideal for mobile devices. Right now, Android and iOS are the successes there. Will convergence ever actually happen (with Windows RT/Modern UI, Ubuntu Snappy, Android, or whatever)? I'm not sure. There are many issues to be dealt with. It seems to me that you would need to have either two sets of applications that ran on the same base, one for mobile interfaces and one for desktop interfaces, or you would need to have one set of applications that had dual interface modes.

Fork off! FFmpeg project leader quits, says he's had enough with these forking AV libraries

CFWhitman

I thought this issue was about done

I thought that ffmpeg had finally come out on top in this struggle of the forks and that libav had been consigned to gradually fall into obscurity or remerge with ffmpeg, one or the other.

CFWhitman

Re: That's Open Source For You...

I found that Linux could do dual monitors before Windows could. Of course it required fiddling with the xfree86.conf file. When Windows introduced the capability, it was soon easier to get working in Windows, though not always exactly the way you wanted it to.

More recently it's gotten a lot easier to do dual monitors in Linux as well. I am typing this from a dual monitor setup using an AMD card with the open source drivers. I have also used this card with the closed source drivers (when the card was newer and needed them to get video playback without tearing) on dual monitors before.

I don't often have wifi issues with Linux anymore. Often any issues are about missing firmware in certain distributions, which is solvable. The more user friendly distributions usually just work, though occasionally I will run across a card that is a problem. I ran across a very old laptop (about 8 years) that had a card that didn't just work several months ago, and I just swapped it for another card from the same time period that I happened to have rather than try to make that one work. Other than that, it's been about 5 or 6 years since I had an issue, and that issue was that the card was so new, support hadn't been integrated into the distribution I was using yet.

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