* Posts by Doctor Syntax

16449 posts • joined 16 Jun 2014

Debian putting everything on the /usr

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Whilst smaller disks were one of the reasons for partitioning the actual allocation of files to partitions in the various partitioning schemes had a rationale part of which was the ability to recover via single user boot when one of the more active file systems got corrupted. Quite a few old Unix design decisions seem to have been allowed to go by the board as their rationales have been ignored.

I suppose it all works well as long as it works. After all, you can even run without backups - right up to the point where you need them.

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Re: only thing I ask

"simply boot in to single user mode (no rescue disk/cd/USB needed) and fix."

That depends on what single user mode needs. If it needs executables moved from /sbin to /usr...

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Re: I don't like change

"I've been working with UNIX for 38 years (Bell Labs V6 onwards), and while I don't disagree with you, /usr has never been used for user files in my experience"

Where did you keep them, then? AFAICR V7 had them in /usr and I think System III did.

Stay out of my server room!

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"the finger of blame would point at the right place."

Whatever the right place might be it always points to IT.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Combination lock on the door. And after Facilities have installed it, change the combination. They'll probably have left it at the manufacturer's default.

Visa cries foul over Euro regulator's stronger authentication demands

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The politician's syllogism

Something must be done. This is something therefore it must be done.

Surprise, surprise. BT the only Universal Service Obligation provider in town

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Re: Calling our bluff, are you?

I should also have mentioned that Deutsche Telekom now owns 12% of BT.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Calling our bluff, are you?

"BT is a government agency"

Looking back on your posting history you seem to have convinced yourself that this is a fact. I can't think why. The nearest thing, post-privatisation, was the so called "Golden Share" which allowed HMG to veto changes to BT's Articles of Association. The Articles make it difficult to mount a takeover unless they're changed. The Golden Share was got rid of nearly 20 years ago.

If you actually look at history you'll find instances where HMG's decisions were hostile to BT. One of these was the block placed on BT during the cable era in order to give other carriers an opportunity. Another was the amount of govt. business given to Mercury.

If you have evidence to support your belief in spite of the above please share it but remember that, as always on el Reg, there will be people here who've been there, done that. In this case that means work or worked for BT and/or hold actual BT shares.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Calling our bluff, are you?

"insist, without changing anything else, on a forced and immediate demerger of BT and Openreach."

So which foreign telecoms operator do you want to see buying a demerged Openreach?

Veeam kicks Symantec's ass over unpatentable patents

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Re: Swish! Nothin' but net!

"I see no reason why I should subsidize corporate stupidity."

Would you settle for out of the patent examiners' own pockets?

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Re: Swish! Nothin' but net!

And USPTO paying Symantec's costs. They granted the patents in the first place.

Gov's industrial strategy: 'Look, we've changed the words above our door'

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"Shall we rename the Institute of Economic Affairs to 'I want to eat your cake and have mine too'?"

Isn't that BoJo's motto?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"it renamed the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy."

Having got two of the tricky bits out of the title does it mean they're going to do something about them?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Unlike Cadbury, which closed its UK factory, he said the business would retain and grow its HQ and operations in Blighty."

The latter part being substantially the same as was said at the time of the Cadbury takeover. Only time will tell.

Obama awards honours to Grace Hopper, Margaret Hamilton for computing contributions

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Re: Congratulations

We need more public recognition of such success and leadership to prove to all aspiring female coders and software engineers it's well worth it.


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'IIRC, she brought some "nanoseconds" (6" lengths of wire)'

That would be more like half a nanosecond.

Fibre pushers get UK budget tax reprieve

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Re: "Pure fibre"

"Sure, but how does that work when it's run in a duct that also provides (legacy) copper services?"

I think the term used by Hammond was "full fibre" but either way the question remains: what was meant by that? The statement is pretty well detail free.

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If you followed the link in the article you'll realise it was the VOA that wanted more. Hammond has effectively nixed that for 5 years. Unless the Chancellor of 5 years hence continues the relief the VOA can do whatever they wish on valuations to claw back what they've been deprived of today.

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"Businesses rolling out pure fibre are to be exempt from paying land rates over the next five years"

And then it'll be clawed back over the next 5 years and clawed back again over the 5 years after that...

AWS to launch Aurora service for PostgreSQL at re:Invent – report

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'Citing several sources "familiar with the plan" who weren't authorised to speak about it'

Sign language?

Telegram API ransomware wrecked three weeks after launch

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The file needs to be at least as long as the key. There's an added twist in that if this is how it works all you need is to leave a long file of nulls lying around and the contents after encryption will be the key.

FYI: The FBI is being awfully evasive about its fresh cyber-spy powers

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"Cracking someone in a different jurisdiction would still be a crime in that jurisdiction"

Unless, of course, you accept the argument that jurisdiction lies with the country where the cracker was located at the time of the act. Remind me why people are being extradited to the US.

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Re: As opposed to...

"to permit determination of ... the unknown subject "

You, you and you, all of you, will be suspects with no presumption of innocence.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"The amendments would apply in two narrow circumstances:

First, where a suspect has hidden the location of his or her computer using technological means"

I.e. connected it to the internet. I'd like to see his definition of wide.

Twitter bans own CEO Jack Dorsey from Twitter

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Re: Captain Obvious To the Rescue!

"We all know that, like so many sites, they rely on algorithms to deal with abuse and harassment. But as we've seen many times -- a concerted effort by threat actors can manipulate the system to nuke accounts"

And this is only an example of using big data and "AI" to run businesses. What could possssssibly go wrong?

MP Kees Verhoeven wants EU to regulate the Internet of S**t

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"What I'm saying is that you can't count on regulation in a market that basically lives on working AROUND regulations."

The market is about making money. If there's more money to be made in following regulations than getting around them they'll follow regulations.

There are a shedload of ways to make that happen.

Did you read this: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/11/22/eir_customers_modems_vulnerable/ ? They can enumerate the defective modems in Ireland and the ISP networks they're on. If the regulations oblige the ISPs to ensure that any non-compliant devices are not exposed how easy is it going to be sell them? It becomes more profitable to sell compliant stuff than non-compliant stuff.

Maybe there are individuals who want to trade illegally because it's illegal rather than because it's profitable. OTOH in 14 years in forensic science I encountered one case where it seemed possible that that was the situation but I'm not wholly convinced. Most people just want the money.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

" eBay may be in Luxembourg NOW, but they have PLENTY of other locations."

Yes, to trade in the EU they have plenty of other locations in the EU.

Companies wanting to do a lot of business in the EU need to have a legal presence in the EU. So upping sticks from Luxembourg isn't going to help them get round EU legislation.

If they have a choice between the problems of trying to do without that base and ensuring their traders are trading legally it'll be no contest.

Donald Trump confirms TPP to be dumped, visa program probed

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Re: A mission statement is NOT a plan

"Until one day AI eliminates all humans, there will always be holes in large software systems."

Who's going to write the code for this AI?

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Re: YES!

Well, I have a sneaking suspicion Trump chose him as the good old survival strategy of, "you may think you hate my politics, but consider who'll become President if I'm dead!")

The old Spiro Agnew ploy if I'm not mistaken.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"To add insult to injury the Disney employees being terminated were forced to train their replacements under threat of not receiving a specified termination package."

There's training and then there's training. "At the end of the day you can tidy up your work space by typing rm -rf *"

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

I think you'll find that almost all countries have such visa programs precisely because local talent is hard to find or overly expensive expects to be paid a rate commensurate with knowledge and experience.

FTFY although there may be a few other factors at work.

All too often the only reward mechanism is promotion to management as the technical pay scale doesn't extend that far. Up to a point the "management" post could be a facade to enable the business to retain someone who might otherwise be lost but that can't be worked very often and there's always a risk that higher management insist that the "manager" actually manage.

The consequence is that the work can end up being done by people who are either too inexperienced or too inept to be promoted and managed by people who would be good at the work but whose managerial abilities weren't known at the time of promotion and in many cases don't exist. I think most of us have experience of such managers.

Another factor is management's fondness for gimmicks such as motivational presentations. For a competent technical person the maximum number of such experiences is one. Companies can find themselves motivating experienced local talent right out of the door.

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Re: oh yea..

"Spelt wrong" depends on which side of "the pond" you are on.

Kudos has to go to Voland for the ideal Transpondian post which included both.

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Re: oh yea..

"However, despite DavCrav's enthusiasm for correct English, he totally failed to detect that labo[u]r was spelt wrong in the original comment"

Two countries divided by a common language.

Hack the Army: US military begs white hats to sweep it for bugs

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Vulnerable right down to their cores and completely defenceless against smart virtual exploits

"Do they imagine they are dealing with kindergarten kids?"

If their security is at TalkTalk level they could be.

IETF plants privacy test inside DNS

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Re: I'm confused

"When you posted here the domain name forums.theregister.co.uk returned an IP address...If you are using HTTPS"


el Reg isn't a good example.

Allow us to sum this up: UK ISP Plusnet minus net for nine-plus hours

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Not noticed any outages here in West Yorks. Dunno about Plusnet email. It's far easier to have a email separate from the ISP just in case the ISP gets taken over by TalkTalk or whoever.

More than half of punters reckon they can't get superfast broadband

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"Reservoirs and power generation are both rural industries in many/most cases and yet rural dwellers pay the same urban dwellers who may be many miles from the source at the end pf long and expensive wires/pipes."

What's more some rural communities were broken up to make way for reservoirs.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"instantly help"

Another! I agree with your argument, in fact with all 3 parts of it. But on the existing scale of things "instant" just doesn't happen. Even simply relocating your parents' line would be just one of a myriad of jobs all competing for the same resources.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"it's their choice to live out there and they have to take the rough with the smooth"

Ah diddums. Seriously, have you stopped to think what would happen if everyone from rural areas moved into the towns and cities? Would you be able to afford to live there any more because the house prices would shoot up? And the house you could afford might be several times your existing journey to work.

Seriously, the better solution would be to concentrate on enabling as much employment as possible to move out from the towns and cities by improving rural communications and converting some of the newly vacant office space to residential so that the remaining urban workers could live close to work so that there's be less distance to commute. It would be far more sustainable that the present situation which has been driven by over half a century's worth of planning policy dedicated to separating residential and employment areas.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"This discussion has been going on for years and will continue to go until someone steps up and just gets it done."

People keep throwing in these words like "always" and "just".

If someone should "just" get it done why not you? All you have to do is buy a lot of fibre, a lot of gear, recruit and train a few thousand staff and arrange planning for all the street works you'll have to do. It'll cost you billions but, hay, you can borrow that. Of course you'll need to be able to sell the product at a price that at least covers the interest and repayment of the loans. If you hire the staff direct you'll have to pay redundancy when you lay them off after the project's finished. How long will it take? If by "just" you mean a couple of weeks it's going to be a hell of a big ask for everybody. Or is just going to stretch for a couple of years? Or a couple of decades?

Are you going to do that? How long will your "just" amount to?

Why do you think it's been talked about for years? Could it be because nobody wants to take the risks and make the investment for something that you think can "just" be done?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Disruption

"As many as 79 per cent said they would accept disruption to their home in order to get faster broadband – an obstacle often cited by the biggest providers as an obstacle to fibre."

And how many said "how much?" when told what it might cost? Or wasn't that bit mentioned?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: exchange only lines...

"Someone said, a few years ago, that the value of BT's copper was greater than the market valuation of the company itself."

Value as scrap or value as plant? There's a difference.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Copper cabling, crap service

"Fibre has always been the way to go."

"Always" is a big word. Some of us can remember times when it not only wasn't the way to go but didn't even exist except when you melted the middle of a glass rod in a Bunsen flame and pulled the ends apart.

Of course telephones existed in those days and it would have been silly to have waited for fibre to be developed so they were connected by copper.

Some of us can also remember the times when cable was introduced and BT wasn't even allowed in so various other companies cherry picked the areas where they thought the best ROI was to be found.

It was only when the cherries had been picked that it was demanded that not only should BT cable up the rest of the country PDQ but that the erstwhile cherry-pickers should be able to piggy-back on BT's investments when they couldn't be arsed to make their own.

Four IBM data centres planned for Big Blue UK cloud

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"Residency in the UK enables customers to brush past data retention and privacy regulations that would have stopped UK citizens data and financial information going to US-based firms in otherwise unsavoury overseas locations."

How savoury is the UK as a location these days?

Google DeepMind inks 5-year agreement with NHS for 'Streams' app

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Re: Comparative context

US vs UK sensitivities?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"It is in nobody's interests that there be a breach of privacy."

Did you leave out the sarcasm tag? Data is valuable these days. A breach of privacy would undoubtedly be in someone's interest. Maybe not those closely associated with the project but that doesn't justify such an open-ended statement.

Fallout from Euro Patent Office meltdown reaches Dutch parliament

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Re: use a different photo!

What photo?

Mines the one without regmedia.co.uk in the pocket.

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Re: Just another example of a harmonious and efficient European organisation

Shit just doesn't get done when you're constantly having to appease the fragile sensibilities interests of France.

A further small but important correction.

Merkel calls for balanced approach to data protection

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"In Germany we have the principle of 'data minimisation', but we may have to give a little on that. Such a principle doesn't seem as appropriate when you are looking at big data,"

Wrong way round. Big data doesn't seem so appropriate when you are looking at the principle of data minimisation. It's big data that needs to give.

UK.gov flings £400m at gold standard, ‘full-fibre' b*&%*%£$%. Yep. Broadband

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Get the basics right first.

"His point was that they are set targets for delivery by the bean-counters who manage the funding"

But who made the original promises? If it was the bean-counters then they should keep them. If they were made by someone who didn't have the authority to implement them they shouldn't have made them.

If a schedule is made and published it should be with the sign-off of everyone involved, including the finance. And that everyone should then consider themselves bound by it. Yes, there could be external reasons why it can't be kept - fire at the exchange, for example. Accountants should not be external reasons.

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