* Posts by Doctor Syntax

16426 posts • joined 16 Jun 2014

Cuffing Assange a 'priority' for the USA says attorney-general

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Re: Bye bye Wikileaks, and good riddance Julian Assange!

"And I had some sympathy for the arguments of Julian Assange with his claims of all too easy charges for rape that may have just been a front to expedite his extradition to the US, even if Assange never seems like a personable figure."

How do you work that out? He was in custody in the UK and released on bail. If it had been a plot to extradite him he'd never have got as far as the Ecuadorian embassy.

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So Trump chooses to stroke Assange's ego. I suppose it makes a change from stroking his own.

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Re: Wikileaks

"it's easy to forget that his real crime is being involved in exposing corruption"

There are people in Sweden who say he has committed real crimes but not the ones you mention.

Microsoft promises twice-yearly Windows 10, O365 updates – with just 18 months' support

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Re: Twice yearly roll out of incompatabilities

"How about change details of the SMB protocol and thus mounting of SMB shares no longer works."

As part of their getting out from under a monopoly investigation they had to make undertakings about publishing that to Samba will be able to track it easily.

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Re: Dear gods...

"I doubt very much a lot of non technical users would welcome it's arrival on their desktop/laptop unless it's skinned."

There are quite a few Linux desktops which can be - and are - skinned to look pretty Windows-like depending on which Windows you want them to look like.

What's better, once you've got it looking like you want it to look you don't have to worry about MS coming along in a year or two & making it look like something else although to be fair I understand MS have finally caught up with multiple workspaces.

So on the whole, that's one up to Linux.

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Re: Dear gods...

"it's a brand name. but you could also say 'Unix-like' or 'POSIX' - but '*nix' is shorter."

It's owned by the Open Group and is a registered trade mark in upper case. Here's what they say on their site: "Over twenty years ago, a number of companies came together to acknowledge the value of the UNIX® platform, but more importantly, the need for all UNIX® implementations to be interoperable." So it's a platform with multiple implementations which fits the way in which Bazza was using it: CAD running on Unix workstations.

BTW I'd not rate any systemd equipped Linux as Unix-like.

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Re: Twice yearly roll out of incompatabilities

"Now that Microsoft has got a large number of machines being upgraded when it wants it can start to roll out code that breaks other systems"

That used to be their MO except that "other systems" were previous versions of Office. Then they had a panic attack when Open Office formats became ISO standards. Big organisations like specifying ISO standards so they were in danger of seeing OO formats being specified by customers. They reacted by getting their own "me too" ISO standard. That left them stuck - they couldn't play the old game any more and it also left their own formats a sitting duck for OO, LO, Old Uncle Tom Cobley and All to work on.

So I don't see quite how they can revert to the old game as you suggest although, of course, Charles Simonyi has re-entered the building... https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/04/18/microsoft_charles_simonyi_intentional_software/

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Re: Anybody else?

"Since Windows 7, MS has completely lost the plot."

It's not so much losing the plot, it's just that the old plot stopped working.

Windows 7 was their problem release. People liked it. They didn't want something different. MS has always depended on forcing something new on people because that way they have to buy upgrades or new H/W with the new version pre-installed. When the customers decided they wanted to stick with W7 that broke the business plan.

They could always try a new plot: delivering what customers want.

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Re: Timed Releases?

"MS is really trying to force its hand and get everyone locked into this perpetual upgrade cycle."

Just like they've always done.

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Re: Dear gods...

"most users want their machine to work without having to learn a bunch of new stuff, or perform extra steps, or type in something in a highly specific context. They don't want the power to do something in multiple different ways, they want it to work in one way, reliably, every time they do it"

I'm one of "most users". You've just described why I don't use Windows.

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Re: Dear gods...

"Linux is a real and perfectly acceptable (and time saving) alternative for a lot of use cases."

You know that, I know that but the usage levels of Windows suggests a lot of people don't. They have to get there somehow so "drive" isn't that inappropriate word.

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Re: Dear gods...

"*nix"

Why don't you just write "Unix"? It's not difficult and might give the impression that you're not indulging in a rant.

Shooting org demands answers from Met Police over gun owner blab

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Re: Furthermore...

"I expect SmartWater is a hacking target in the reasonable belief that there is a good correlation between customers and those with something worth protecting."

What you really need is the list of those who got the mailshots and didn't buy.

systemd-free Devuan Linux hits version 1.0.0

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Re: Honest inquiry

It's a "five nine's" service that's gone down, and because it's a holiday or whatever, no one's around to verify its state if it goes down, so you're caught in a dilemma. You need it back up ASAP because it costs you real money otherwise,

If you're putting five nines before everything else you're worshipping at the wrong altar. Consider the following:

Maintaining integrity of the data you've got.

Being sure that new data gets added properly.

Being available to add new data.

Availability is a poor third there. Of course five nines availability is something manglement is able to understand and get fixated on. But if you have a big data loss you'll probably lose your five nines whilst you recover it and if you don't recover it all your five nines during the time you were acquiring it turn out to have been a bit pointless. I'm sure there are a few people round KCL who could give you chapter and verse on that.

TL;DR Five nines is nice to have, no more than that.

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Re: I don't understand the hype

"A further worry is that software which also runs on other Unix-like systems will become unavailable on those due to the extra effort of maintaining it."

Yup. That too.

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Re: It is not that clearcut

" Let me guess: your version of vi does not support noob things like arrow keys?"

No, if he wanted to do without arrow keys he'd use ex

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Re: Cat among the pigions but...

"It's really not _that_ hard to discover that the command 'journalctl' will spew out the contents of those log files, as text, with the added bonus of having the opportunity to add options that give you the logs from this boot"

One of the times when you really need to see logs is when the sodding thing won't boot cleanly. At least with a text log you can take the disk out and mount it on something else to see if you've got anything.

But basically, a binary log is hiding things from me. I have to trust the folk who are hiding things from me to grant me a view of what they're hiding. And I have a fundamental distrust of people who hide things.

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Re: More honest questions

"most commercial interests that back Linux projects are backing systemd."

Let's not forget that the commercial interest that most strongly backs systemd also maintains the systemd-free RH6. Hmmmm.

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Re: I don't understand the hype

"The expectation is that over time, unless Debian sees sense, that Debian will slowly diverge from Devuan as it allows the SystemD crap to spread."

My fear is that as the crap spreads it will become impossible to build a Linux system without it. I hope this fear is misplaced.

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Re: Cat among the pigions but...

Seems more like "laptop" convenience.

Not even that. I'm running sysvinit Debian LTS on my laptop, no problem.

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Re: Cat among the pigions but...

"Servers and desktops have very different needs"

They have very similar basic needs. They need to work.

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Re: Cat among the pigions but...

"From the point of view of an end user does systemd or sys V init make any difference"

Maybe not when everything works. But when everything works you don't need your backups, UPS etc. either.

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Re: Honest inquiry

"also handles respawning the getty processes (controlled by the entries in /etc/ttys)"

Ah yes, /etc/ttys, not inittab. But could also be used to respawn other stuff beside gettys if you wanted.

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Re: Honest inquiry

Not everyone has a problem with the things systemd was intended to "solve".

Systemd - bringing you problems you don't need to solve problems you don't have.

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Re: Honest inquiry

"how Edition 7 started the initial processes."

From an inittab as you describe IIRC.

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Re: Honest inquiry

"I can't remember if Upstart can monitor processes or not, but that's something the init system should be able to do that sysvinit can't"

If a major service goes down I'd want to know why in case trying to bring it up could do something nasty - nasty as in corrupt or destroy data. An init running round like a hyperactive child trying to restart it would be the last thing I'd need. Init needs to start stuff up at boot time and then restart or stop stuff when it's told to and otherwise keep out of the way.

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Re: Honest inquiry

Does Gnome "do one thing and do it well"?

It says a good deal about systemd if you feel you need to defend it by comparing it with Gnome.

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Re: Honest inquiry

"it's a collection of small binaries developed and maintained as a project that can form the next step (after a bootloader and kernel) of a complete operating system."

There were already binaries doing those jobs and doing them well. One of the key things about them was that although they worked together they had well defined boundaries and interfaces between themselves. They did not need to be replaced by an interdependent mess.

One statement made early in the invasion concerned the new systemdified udev. It could be run without systemd but it couldn't be compiled without it. WHAT?????!!!!! This shower couldn't - or wouldn't - structure their code so that common libraries went into one or more source files and the individual programs could be compiled against those without needing to delve into each other's code. Were they really that ignorant of good practice or were they deliberately flouting it? I don't know and frankly I don't care; to know was enough.

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Re: @ lpcollier

"it adds in binary logging"

Well, there's one reason, all on its own. And as part of the list you gave it's another reason. An init has no reason to be doing so many things.

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Re: systemd sucks

"in fact it was easier to configure to my own taste than Debian is"

So it should be. That's what it was intended to do. I've also had the beta running on an Intel box but it was problematic on a Pi. I must go back to that now the RC is out.

Farewell Unity, you challenged desktop Linux. Oh well, here's Ubuntu 17.04

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Re: Is it done yet?

" I vaguely recall thinking at the time that it was so Spartan"

And yet it still had too many menus as I vaguely recall.

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Re: My thoughts on this ...

"Perhaps it's just that I'm rapidly approaching middle-age and I don't like radical ideas anymore."

Or just the dawning realisation that radical isn't enough - ideas also need to work.

LinkedIn U-turns on Bluetooth-enabled 'Tinder for marketers'

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Re: What you did there, I see it..

"marketroids abusing the update process to foist new features that benefit them, and lying to us about it."

Lying is what they do for a living. The only surprise is that it took them so long.

Would you believe it? The Museum of Failure contains quite a few pieces of technology

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Re: Linux

"That piece of crap bombed big time."

Really? If you look carefully you might realise that the 'u' could stand for 'ubiquitous'.

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Re: Post It Notes

I subscribe to the "Geological Philosophy" of "physical data retrieval".

AKA the one heap filing system. "I know where it is, it's in that heap." Only problem is, SWMBO keeps moving the heap.

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"We are reminded of one anecdote we were told years ago in which IBM CEO Lou Gerstner called a manager who had screwed up and cost the company $10m up to his office for a meeting."

But who gets to call a CEO who's screwed up up to their office?

Ministry of Justice scraps 'conviction by computer' law

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el Reg has the habit of sometimes using more colourful verbs to deliver quotes so how about

"The automatic online conviction procedure will contribute to the government's aim of delivering a service that is just, proportionate, accessible to all and works better for everyone," the government said lied at the time.

Nuh-uh, Google, you WILL hand over emails stored on foreign servers, says US judge

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"As is there job, they don't care one bit about your privacy, but they care a lot about national security."

Ultimately national security is not helped by weakening your country's economy. When your country's businesses are at risk from weak security and are no longer thought trustworthy by the rest of the world you have seriously damaged your economy.

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"My sense is that a prudent prosecutor would do as well as possible with what she can get, and work to search foreign data repositories using the mutual legal assistance treaties that exist"

Got it in one.

Why aren't they doing this? Don't they have a case and are just fishing? Are they too lazy? Are they trying to build precedents to circumvent the inconvenience of doing the work in future?

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Re: Terms of service

"So what happens when a multinational company (local to MORE THAN ONE country) gets caught between conflicting sovereign laws such that, no matter what, the company WILL be in violation of AT LEAST ONE, with severe consequences either way?"

I'm reminded, as so often, of a quote from Yes Minister. When asked whose side he'd be on when the chips were down Bernard replied "It's my job to make sure the chips stay up.".

In this case it's up to the company to structure its arrangements to avoid the situation you describe. Microsoft's data trustee arrangement is one such. I've suggested a franchise arrangement as another. In either case the power to comply would lie wholly with the local company.

In fact the very word "trustee" should alert you to a very significant issue here. Companies that hold data on others do so on a basis of trust. Over the years this has been a very important factor in facilitating trade. I don't think governments have quite grasped this trust issue in relation to data. The US govt doesn't seem to have; our own UK govt doesn't seem to have. When they do they'll realise the economic consequences of playing fast and loose with it and at that point we should start to see changes.

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Re: @Doctor Syntax ..

The concern here is that this is salami tactics. TPTB found in the MS case that things weren't as easy as they thought. They've now gone for a somewhat muddier set of circumstances (rather like the iPhone case earlier). If they win on this they get a precedent which they'll then try to enlarge next time round.

There are treaties in place to go to the country where the data is held and make their case there; that route is being ignored and one has to ask why. Do they think they don't have a case that would stand up in a court that values privacy?

US business desperately wants the Privacy Figleaf and when that gets to court, as it will, I'm sure the ECJ will be looking at decisions like this and it will not be to US business' advantage when it does so.

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Re: Then they crashed into the ground in a huge ball of flames. What does that tell you about them?

"It doesn't tell you anything about the Liberals. It tells you a lot about the electorate."

Yes. A large part of their vote was simply a protest vote. The thought that the party they'd voted for might actually do something responsible in helping form a government in the aftermath of the 2010 election was anathema to them. Voting against something might appear attractive but in reality it only makes sense to vote for something.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Two problems with that." etc

I have been in the same position as you and share your concerns.

A few comments.

Firstly, agreed on due process. Due process is not having some officer of the investigating body authorising warrants, nor a minister or ministerial aide of whatever. Due process is a warrant issued by a court of law. Although the nature of a warrant hearing is such that the subject of the warrant doesn't normally get to hear of it when it's applied for and granted, only when its served, once it is served the subject should have a right to a hearing to challenge it if they think there are grounds for a challenge.

Secondly, but related to the first, the presumption of innocence is a fundamental part of law in a free society. An approach that seizes everyone's data first and decides what to do with it afterwards defies that presumption; it should not have been passed.

Thirdly, the jurisdiction of a country's law should stop at its borders. There are treaties which allow for the US or other country to go through proper channels to ask for access in the country where data is held and to get access which is in accordance with the host country's law on presentation of a proper case. The fact that they're not doing that suggests to me either ignorance of the channels available to them, arrogance that they think they can trample over other countries' legal systems, indolence in not being prepared to put in the work to prepare a case or, and I suspect that this is the real reason, they simply don't have a basis for preparing such a case.

Finally, the need for encryption is a necessity for transacting business over the internet. If a government doesn't want to allow it then it should say plainly that it also doesn't allow business to be transacted over the internet and see where that gets it. Otherwise those who advocate banning encryption should be prepared to put all their online banking and other e-commerce credentials etc in the public domain for a year before taking the matter further. It makes no sense to deny the public such facilities when the only effect it has on law breakers is to provide them with another law to break.

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Re: Yeah, but...

"What do you do?"

What you don't do is set up the arrangement you describe.

You could, for instance, have an arrangement where company A is a UK company, owned by UK shareholders and operates under UK law. It is a franchisee of company B. The franchise arrangement is also drawn up according to UK law. It includes strict terms that company B is not allowed to have access to data of company A's clients.

US government orders company B to break UK law.

Company B can't.

Drunk user blow-dried laptop after dog lifted its leg over the keyboard

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Re: Good on Jim Re dog

"A normally housetrained dog isn't suddenly going to take a piss on the boss's laptop"

A well trained dog, however...

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Re: Good on Jim

"The look I gave them when they asked if they could borrow my screwdrivers..."

Lost opportunity. You should have sold them a screwdriver. About £20 should be right.

(You can't) buy one now! The flying car makes its perennial return

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Re: Rotors "powered by the wind"

"A gyro is powered by its engine.... Kites are powered by the wind, and cannot fly without it."

And flying cars are powered by hot air.

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Re: Calories (or whatever measure of energy expenditure you prefer)

@Cuddles

In other words, measuring things properly is hard work. And a lot more fun than exercise.

Script kiddies pwn 1000s of Windows boxes using leaked NSA hack tools

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Forget the fact that these might be old versions of the OS. Forget the fact that they're not patched. Why are these idiots exposing SMB services on the open net?

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3. Don't even exist any more.

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