* Posts by Updraft102

884 posts • joined 31 May 2015

Page:

You get a lawsuit! And you get a lawsuit! And you! Now Apple sued over CPU security flaws

Updraft102
Silver badge

"Defendant has admitted that it released an update to its iOS operating system software to address the Meltdown technique in December, 2017, but Apple knew or should have known of the design defect much earlier and could have disclosed the design defect more promptly."

So you're suggesting that Apple should be liable for all of the damage the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities have triggered in that six months between discovery of the issue and the issuance of the fixes?

Sounds fair. Easy too, given that even now, halfway through the next month, there still haven't been any attacks using Spectre or Meltdown in the wild. Getting that $0 judgment should be easy, but the lawyers aren't going to be happy with their 30% of that.

1
2

NHS: Thanks for the free work, Linux nerds, now face our trademark cops

Updraft102
Silver badge

"In fact I now strongly suspect that the reason we were getting any engagement at all at these levels was in order to strength NHSE negotiating position with Microsoft..."

Possibly. It's why AOL bought Netscape during the browser wars-- AOL was the world's biggest ISP (such that it was) at the time, and they used a modified IE as the base for their proprietary browser. It seems that MS wanted a piece of the action of all of those AOL CDs being distributed in magazines, in the mail without magazines, in grocery stores, and by being thrown out of airplanes onto the unsuspecting neighborhoods. Ok, not that last one, but it was almost to that point.

That was when AOL purchased the nearly worthless remains of Netscape, long the chief competitor of IE. Amazingly, right after that happened, they managed to negotiate a zero-fee perpetual license to include IE code within their AOL browser/client. In an even bigger coincidence, AOL shut down Netscape for good almost before the ink on that agreement with Microsoft was dry.

Okay, maybe 'coincidence' isn't the right word.

2
0

Hawaiian fake nukes alert caused by fat-fingered fumble of garbage GUI

Updraft102
Silver badge

Re: It could have been a lot worse.

"XP is a masterpiece of GUI design compared to anything that came after it. (And I include the Windows 7, "let's put the entire start menu in a little box" decision in that.)"

Agreed on the goodness of XP's UI, but remember that Vista still retained the option to use the Classic start menu.

3
0

Remember those holy tech wars we used to have? Heh, good times

Updraft102
Silver badge

Which side is up?

Part of it, for me at least, is that the "camps" have all been torn asunder, to where I am not really sure which way is up anymore.

From the beginning, Apple was the bad guy for me. I started out using Timex-Sinclair, then a Commodore 64, only to discover the snooty superiority complex of Apple fanatics over their 1 MHz 6502 powerhouse. That soured me on Apple very quickly.

I kept using the Commodore until college, at which time I built my first PC, a 386-33, at that time an incredibly expensive but potent beast. Immediately I was swept into the Mac vs. PC wars; I had little opinion about Macs before that, other than a general contempt because they were Apple products, but soon Mac fans came out of the woodwork to insult my new pride and joy, and so I became a PC partisan.

Many years later, the iPhone came out, and while I to this day do not have a smart phone, I soon became aware that the choice was between a severely limited, walled-garden iDevice and a more customizable Android device. Not only that, but as with PCs, Android users had a broad choice of hardware, while Apple users had only what Apple offered.

Apple was again the bad guy, but something else wasn't right with it. Google was also the bad guy. Apple is overpriced and snooty and artificially limited to prevent their poor sheep from having to tax their widdle brains trying to use their products, but Google out-and-out spied on people, and as much as I despise Apple for the aforementioned reasons, it's not as bad as spying on people (I know people say Apple does it too. Well, I am unconvinced they do it even somewhat close to what Google does). On top of that, Android has an absurd means of updating the OS... depending on device OEMs or cellular carriers to push out updates is just insane.

So smartphones are crap either way, but I still have my PCs, right? Up through Windows 7, sure. Now we're in the Windows 10, "Windows as a Service" era, and it's all turned upside down. Windows 10, quite simply, is an abomination. I cannot adequately express how much I loathe it without bursting into a string of profanity that is uncharacteristic of my writing, and it would probably be too much even for the Reg. Given that MS has made it clear that there is no Windows in the future besides 10, it means that Windows, as a platform, is essentially dead for me. I'd stop using computers completely before I migrated to 10.

Windows hasn't been an OS designed for the traditional PC with mouse and keyboard since Windows 7. After that, Windows ceased to be an OS for the purpose of its users, and it began to be a vehicle for selling Windows phones. It failed miserably, and MS has exited that market, yet they press ahead with the bizarre and stupid phone interface in 10 anyway.

MacOS, though, was meant to be used on the kind of PC I use. How can Apple be the bad guy now? If I had to recommend a PC operating system for someone who wasn't up to Linux, or who had to use programs like Photoshop or a recent version of MS Office (which apparently won't run on Linux even with WINE), it would have to be MacOS. If I had to suggest a device for someone who was a complete tech neophyte, but who wanted to use the internet anyway, it would be an iPad.

Apple, somehow, is the good guy now. It boggles my mind... I still despise the cultism and the smug superiority complex a lot of Apple fans have, and I still detest the idea of having such a limited choice of hardware if I want to use their OS, but Microsoft is so much worse. I'm very glad to have Linux as a third choice, as I think otherwise my head would explode.

That's where I am headed now... I have Linux Mint set up on both of my "main" PCs, and my brand new ultraportable laptop (got it a couple of weeks ago as I write) that came with 10 is my very first Linux only PC so far. I got it cheap, and it's one of those that has only a paltry 32GB eMMC "hard drive." To have two thirds of that used by Windows itself right out of the box is just... stupid. That's not enough storage for Windows... maybe for ChromeOS it is fine (is this thing just a Chromebook with real PC firmware?), but Windows... no way. With Mint, though, it's quite usable with that tiny eMMC.

8
0
Updraft102
Silver badge

Re: Thus spake Matt Asay

"What have you been smoking, there was *no* Internet Explorer when Mozilla produced the first version of their browser."

Mozilla released the first version of their browser in 2002, which was after the release of IE 6. Releases prior to that were Netscape.

"I don't think Google ever managed to embed the browser into the OS such that it was impossible to remove?"

Not specifically, but they are using their near-monopoly status to try to force their product to become the de facto standard, allowing them to set their own standards instead of using the actual standards they helped to write.

Microsoft used their power to try to dominate and own the web for their own corporate benefit, and now Google is doing exactly that. The means they employ are not the same as Microsoft's, but the ends certainly are. I've often blasted Mozilla for being the alternative to the corporate giant in the early 2000s, while now they seek to eradicate every difference between their product and the corporate giant's product. They've been on a "be Chrome" kick for years now, and the elimination of their powerful addon API in favor of Chrome addons is just the latest in a long line of questionable decisions.

5
0

Hold on to your aaSes: Yup, Windows 10 'as a service' is incoming

Updraft102
Silver badge

Re: To the point

"key features including Cortana, the Microsoft Store and the Edge browser "

Yup... first things I deleted when I tested Windows 10 in 2015. It's not that I don't care about these "features." I do care-- I specifically want them deleted from any OS running on my hardware.

0
0
Updraft102
Silver badge

Re: Sending recent activity data to Microsoft

"This is why I still use Windows 7-64, until Jan 2020. After that I don't know what I'll do, Linux Wine perhaps?"

There's also Windows 8.1, suitably modified. I'm preparing for a Windows-free future too (using Linux to post this), but I also have 8.1 installed on both of my main PCs. Out of the box, 8.1 has a pretty poor UI, but that can be fixed. With Classic Shell to replace the tiled start screen and eliminate the hot corners and charms, Old New Explorer to remove the ribbon from Windows Explorer, a custom theme to un-flatify the UI, and a batch file along with install_wim_tweak.exe to evict the Windows Store and all of the other apps, Windows 8.1 is very close to Windows 7, only with three more years of support. No Windows as a Service pushing out unwanted updates that break a lot of things twice a year, no forced updates, no more telemetry than Win 7 (easily removed, unlike 10), no Cortana, no uncommanded installations or uninstallations... if you must run Windows, it's better than 10 by far, and still has a lot of life left in it.

It's still a temporary measure, even if the time frame is long. Microsoft shows no signs of backing off on this insane direction they're taking with 10, so while we can hope that they will see the light and make Windows 10 into something worth using, it's not terribly likely.

5
0
Updraft102
Silver badge

"The only blockers at the moment are companies like EA, Activision and Ubisoft not releasing a Linux version of their games."

If Vulkan ever takes off, Linux will be much more capable as a gaming platform. WINE would work a lot more smoothly if it didn't have to translate D3D calls to OpenGL. That's the hard part that causes the biggest performance penalty... having an API native to Linux that requires no translation would be huge.

1
0
Updraft102
Silver badge

"Not everyone needs a desktop (or even a laptop). They've dropped from necessity to a luxury for the user who is not actually using them for work."

That's how I see smartphones. The desktop and the laptop are the standard... it's the phone I don't need.

2
1
Updraft102
Silver badge

"Hands up who didn't hear that sentence in the voice of Montgomery Scott."

Do people actually hear stuff they read in their head, or is this just some meme? I didn't hear anything. It's text; it's something I see. I had always assumed everyone was like this, except for those people whose lips move while they're reading, for some reason.

2
0
Updraft102
Silver badge

Re: It's an OS not an Ecosystem

"However MS continue to think that people want an entire ecosystem of apps and other cr*p."

I doubt it. They know that they want us to have that stuff, so we get it, whether we want it or not. Windows 10 isn't a service... it's servitude.

2
1
Updraft102
Silver badge

Re: So that's what it is!

If Windows 10 is an example of Microsoft innovating... well, I will have the innovation-free version, please. This crap they're pushing now isn't even a good value for the money when it's free.

9
2
Updraft102
Silver badge

Re: Who didn't see this coming?

Monthly charge?

I suppose MS could pay me month to month, but it would be a hell of a lot to make Windows 10 seem like a good idea.

12
1

It gets worse: Microsoft’s Spectre-fixer wrecks some AMD PCs

Updraft102
Silver badge

"Heeey! Just because I don't care doesn't mean I don't understand!"

-Homer Simpson

8
0

Here come the lawyers! Intel slapped with three Meltdown bug lawsuits

Updraft102
Silver badge

Re: We have only ourselves to blame

"If we had all done 64 bit properly with Itanium like Intel told us to we would not be in this situation so really it is our own fault for following the cheap and simple AMD64 route. We made Intel fuck up."

Right. Intel good, AMD bad... even though somehow AMD managed not to be vulnerable to Meltdown using the same AMD64 instruction set, it's all AMD's fault, not Intel's, that Intel managed to mess it up so badly.

53
2

Woo-yay, Meltdown CPU fixes are here. Now, Spectre flaws will haunt tech industry for years

Updraft102
Silver badge

Re: Insider trading

He (Intel CEO) could simply claim he was divesting as a result of the AMT vulnerability, which had already been revealed. That's one advantage of always having some crap in the news about how bad your products are-- plausible deniability for insider trading.

8
0

Linux Mint 18.3: A breath of fresh air? Well, it's a step into the unGNOME

Updraft102
Silver badge

I don't know how Windows 10 would be considered end user friendly. It's the most end-user hostile OS I've ever used or even heard of!

The insane update schedule with updates that break drivers written for Windows 10 and other bits of software every six months... updates you aren't allowed to just say NO to (those who know how to do things like disabling services can, but it's not supported by MS by any means) because Microsoft is in charge, not you. You can set your active hours and set your internet connection to metered and defer updates according to Microsoft's rules, but all of that just reinforces the idea that Microsoft is in charge; it makes the rules and you play by them.

If you were the boss, you wouldn't need to explain yourself to MS if you decide to not get updates when you're told to do so, and that's exactly what you're doing when you set active hours or metered connections. If you were the boss, you could just turn updates off, no explanation necessary, and that would be that. Telling the user "I'm the boss, you'll do as I say" as Windows 10 does in that and far too many other ways isn't user-friendly. The user friendliness of Windows 10 is a sham, like someone pretending to be your friend while they undermine you and backstab you behind the scenes every chance they get.

7
0
Updraft102
Silver badge

Re: Great OS

"Added to the fact that there is a nasty ripple in the graphics when I have the temerity to scroll the mouse wheel in either browser, on a new laptop with 8GB of RAM, it seems like it is not a finished system."

It's called tearing, and it happens because both Firefox and Chrome completely disable hardware acceleration by default in Linux, across the board. They're afraid of issues that may pop up, and they don't want to have to field the calls for help, so they just turn it off. I've never had any issues simply putting it back on in any of the systems I've set up in Linux for my own use (and thus able to know how it went), though I must note also that four is too small of a sample size to really say whether it's a problem or just paranoia on the part of the browser vendors.

I've never had any such problems as you describe in Mint on any of the various PCs I've put it on. I've had some issues with Kubuntu, the Ubuntu distro with KDE instead of Unity, which failed to work right out of the box (I had a heck of a time getting the installer to even complete; it never got any better after it was installed and updated fully) in my fairly mainstream desktop. Hangs, kernel panics, all kinds of issues happened with regularity. This was in whatever version was current at around the time of Windows 10's release. I switched to Mint KDE after that, then Mint with Cinnamon, and both have been rock solid.

I've also never had an application hang bring down Linux. App hangs in general have been quite rare in Linux, far more so than in Windows for me, but all I've had to do was click the close button on the application window, and Mint will recognize the hang and ask if I want to force close it, which solves the problem. I've got Gnome System Monitor in the main (start) menu so I can access it easily enough to force close something, but it hasn't been necessary as yet for an app hang.

I've often wondered if the lack of a three-fingered salute type of thing (which is sometimes the only thing that works when Windows hangs) would cause the sorts of issues you describe, but app hangs are so rare in Linux that there's not much to look at, and I've never had the entire OS hang as Windows seems to love doing.

I've only been using Linux as primary on some of my machines for a few months now, though I have been using it as a secondary OS ever since I realized how horrible Windows 10 was. I may not have enough hours on it to know what a really nasty application hang can do, but I can tell you that I've had a few in Windows during that same time frame. I don't know that it's any fault of Windows, though... not enough information to go on.

As far as crashes, I haven't had any in Windows or Linux in a long time. Long enough that I can't remember the last time, other than the panics I had in Kubuntu back then.

3
0

That was fast... unlike old iPhones: Apple sued for slowing down mobes

Updraft102
Silver badge

Re: Not a welcome opinion

"There's an almost infinite range of phones out there costing far less, offering greater versatility, reliability and expandability, with batteries you can swap in 10 seconds flat, with operating systems *not* designed to steal from you, "

Phones with operating systems not designed to steal from me?

What is this mythical OS?

Surely you do not mean Android, for it is all about stealing from you. Your personal data is worth a lot, and Google just walks right up and takes it if it wants to, whether you approve of it or not. Taking something of value that does not belong to you without the consent of the person you're taking it from is theft. Google thrives on making off with your personal data, and the fine print in a 20 page EULA that the user may have clicked through doesn't change that. Google, Microsoft, Apple, and everyone else who writes such legalese are well aware that no one reads that stuff-- they count on it. It gives them an "out" if anyone gets testy about having their personal data stolen, but it's so long and technical that no regular user is ever going to try to read it. It's the little game they play... "It's not theft! You agreed to it!" It may work to keep them from having serious legal trouble, but other than that, it acts like a duck and it quacks like a duck (a duck being theft here).

South Park did a show about this, combining critique of the EULA "we can do anything, you agreed" bit with a parody of one of the least deserving movies to ever be made, Human Centipede. If you have a strong stomach, search for Human CentIpad on the web, and don't say I didn't warn you.

1
0

Ubuntu 17.10 pulled: Linux OS knackers laptop BIOSes, Intel kernel driver fingered

Updraft102
Silver badge

Re: As an amateur

"Bigger, slower-moving OSes like Windows and RHEL can do *better* here, but they still can't be anywhere close to perfect."

Windows isn't slower moving anymore. They release every six months too now, only they have no experience with having a rapid release schedule, and they try to force consumers to install the update as soon as possible rather than having any pretense of allowing users to make their own decisions. Microsoft already demonstrated that soft-bricking a customer's PC to further their own agenda is not out of bounds, so the only difference here is that at least Canonical feels bad about it. It would seem to me to just be dumb luck that prevented MS from wrecking hardware in this fashion, if that is indeed what happened.

2
0
Updraft102
Silver badge

Re: Debian SID

If it's a thread about Linux, the most popular Linux distro may just come up in the normal course of things.

2
0
Updraft102
Silver badge

"If blame is to be assigned, it's probably shared between Intel and Canonical."

Very possible, but it's also possible that Lenovo (or Insyde, the maker of the firmware) screwed up the UEFI implementation that made a driver that complies with the standards cause trouble anyway. Screwed-up UEFIs that don't meet the standards are the norm, not the exception, so this seems quite likely, given especially that the PCs that are getting screwed up are such a small slice of the total. It's only some of the many Lenovo laptops that have the issue, and those in turn are just a slice of the total PCs...

1
0
Updraft102
Silver badge

Re: Jumpers

"You did not have to do it very often, and after you got the settings right, you could be sure no mere software could reach out with its clammy fingers to move the jumpers!"

And then hardware manufacturers figured out that you could silkscreen the meaning of the jumpers on the PCB right next to them, and it was heavenly.

3
0
Updraft102
Silver badge

Re: Accidental Aardvark

"BIOS updates like this do not boot from a USB device, they read the BIOS image to be flashed from a USB device, so being unable to boot from USB does not indicate that it will be unable to read an image file from a USB device."

I don't actually have such a laptop in front of me now, but the impression I got from what I read is that the .iso image from Lenovo boots into some type of runtime environment and executes a flash utility, and that obviously will depend on the ability to boot from a flash drive.

What you describe sounds like an emergency recovery mode. If the BIOS image in NVRAM is defective and cannot be executed or if you hold a certain key when turning the PC on, it may look for a file of a certain name in the root directory of the first USB device found (you'd generally only have one installed then), but that may or may not be possible with the UEFI borked as it is.

From what I understand, the reason the device can't boot from USB is that the system can't update its device table; whatever was installed at the time the bad Ubuntu update ran is forever what it thinks is installed-- so if no USB devices were plugged in at that time, it will always think none are plugged in now. That will probably also affect the emergency recovery, it seems, if it doesn't think that the USB device exists.

None of the posts on the Lenovo forums about this glitch described the possibility of using a recovery mode as such. Several people went so far as to remove and replace the UEFI chip from the motherboard, which seems a little bit premature to me.

2
0
Updraft102
Silver badge

Re: Its serial all the way down, mate

"The point is, when the kernel module writes back to the SPI flash, it writes corrupted data under certain circumstances."

The device's firmware clear function should wipe that and restore it to a factory-fresh condition, should it not? If it's just the stored data and not the firmware code itself that became corrupted, why is this even an issue?

"The answer:- have an unwritable flash memory with a small recovery program. Except that, when you make the chip, you have to write to it in the first place."

Some laptops already have this function. Just yesterday I read a review of an HP Elitebook 840 G1 that has this very feature. So does my main PC's motherboard (though, sadly, my laptop's does not). It should be the industry standard in all PCs, IMO, especially since the risk clearly isn't just "what if something happens during a firmware update attempt." It is well known that flashing firmware is a risk, and if it's happening as a matter of course during everyday operations of a UEFI PC, it is that much more important that the system be fail-safe.

Unfortunately, the trend is clearly in the other direction, with the whole industry attempting to engineer more planned obsolescence into their machines than ever before. Why would Lenovo want to put in a UEFI fail-safe that almost none of their potential buyers understand well enough to make it a selling feature? They want their PCs to fail (after enough time has passed to make the people think they've gotten their money's worth out of it) so people buy new ones! The people who keep an internal tally of such things and resolve to avoid vendors guilty of such things are very much in the minority.

3
0
Updraft102
Silver badge

Re: The Intel Driver bug is possibly a bit more present than Intel lets on.

"A couple were able to be salvaged by leaving the system battery unplugged and the CMOS battery unplugged for an extended period of time (a bit hard when the batteries are deep inside the units)"

At least one poster on one of the Lenovo forums said that his CMOS battery was soldered to the motherboard. More planned obsolescence.... that REALLY angers me.

Before anyone asks when was the last time I had to replace such a battery with hardware that wasn't so obsolete that it was useless anyway: I'm using a laptop right now to write this whose internal battery died over a year ago after years of service. Fortunately, it was a very common coin-cell battery (same as all my desktop motherboards... 2032?) in the usual type of holder. Once I got the top cover/palmrest off, replacing the battery was easy. It would have been even better if the battery holder on the motherboard was accessible from the hardware access cover on the bottom of the unit like the CPU, GPU, and RAM (the wifi card and HDD have their own separate cover, and the laptop main battery is externally removable), but nothing's perfect.

11
0
Updraft102
Silver badge

Re: Lenovo does not sell laptops with Ubuntu

"That clearly says it is Canonical's responsibility and not Lenovo's, thus Wayne is right that Lenovo have no culpability"

If it's Lenovo's crappy implementation of the UEFI standard that triggers this issue, then they certainly should be liable for it.

Canonical merely included a driver that Intel wrote. One would hope that testing by either Intel or Canonical would reveal the issue, but not even Intel has the resources to test every model of laptop out there in the world. At some point, it has to come down to whether Lenovo and Insyde flubbed the UEFI standard to make an otherwise decent driver into a disaster, or whether the issue was inside the driver itself. Intel will almost certainly release a driver version that works around this issue, but that in itself doesn't mean the problem was theirs from the start. Drivers contain shims and workarounds for other vendors' problems all the time.

7
2
Updraft102
Silver badge

Re: Accidental Aardvark

"'ve used an Intel BIOS tool, some time in the past, that booted and updated the BIOS from a USB flash drive. So it was OS-independent.

THAT is the kind of BIOS tool that is needed - not something that REQUIRES WINDOWS to run. "

From what I have read on that Lenovo forum, they do offer this... but without the ability to boot from a USB device and with no internal optical drive, it doesn't do much good.

18
0
Updraft102
Silver badge

Re: Accidental Aardvark

"Of course the Linux apologists will say it's an Intel problem."

What, just because Intel designed, wrote, and released the driver that's causing the problem? Never!

57
4
Updraft102
Silver badge

Re: Accidental Aardvark

Like the EZ-Flash utility built into the BIOS setup program of every PC I have owned for the past 15+ years?

35
1
Updraft102
Silver badge

There should be a jumper I can set that will absolutely lock out any changes to the firmware, on each and every device that has firmware.

36
0

Microsoft Surface Book 2: Electric Boogaloo. Bigger, badder, better

Updraft102
Silver badge

Re: 1TB flash

What SSD is it using that costs 1000 quid at the retail level? I have looked to try to see what model of SSD it uses, but all I've been able to learn is the size options.

3
1
Updraft102
Silver badge

> Are they [the detachable screen, the much lower resolution, the lack of touch,lack of pen and dial support, being twice the thickness] worth £2000?

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, of course. I would pay more NOT to have a detachable screen, touch, pen, dial... not only do I consider that stuff worthless, it actually reduces the value of the item to me. If I want a tablet, I will get a tablet, and it will be optimized for the form factor from start to finish... I don't see any benefit in having the ability to pull my laptop's screen off and have it magically start pretending to be a tablet.

$3000 for a disposable bit of consumer electronics with a 1 year warranty is a bit steep. The "twice as thick" thing also means that the MSI is probably not held together with glue and can actually be taken apart with a screwdriver, as quaint as that may now seem to Microsoft. I scoffed at the idea of the unrepairable Surface laptop for $1000.... for that kind of money, I expect better than an item that is specifically designed not to be repairable. The Surface laptop specifically was noted as being the most unrepairable device that iFixit.com ever encountered, garnering the first ever zero (out of ten) points for serviceability.

The Surface Book 2 is a little better with a score of 1/10, but for that kind of cash, I expect way better than that. If they're going to promise me that one of its components won't fail before I've gotten my money's worth out of it, let them put their money where their mouth is and give me a warranty that reflects their level of confidence in their product. Unfortunately, I think they've already done that with their 1 year warranty.

The deal sours even more for me, though. I won't tolerate Windows 10; it simply is a garbage OS, unfit for purpose and unworthy to be used for anything more serious than demonstrating to friends how badly Microsoft has lost its mind. With any PC hardware I would buy these days, its usefulness as a product is measured by how well it lends itself to being converted to a decent OS. With this being a MS product, I would not be surprised if it were crippled in such a way that running Linux or an older version of Windows would not work. Being restricted to Windows 10 reduces its value to zero; I wouldn't use it for free if that were the case.

12
6

Firefox 57's been quietly delaying tracking scripts

Updraft102
Silver badge

Would you give up 8.5% of that speed to get back the addons and the broad customizability that pre-Quantum Firefox had? Only without the telemetry, the experimental weirdo addons, without arbitrary decrees about which plugins will no longer work just because they said so?

If so, Waterfox awaits!

3
0
Updraft102
Silver badge

Re: "From the same place that allows a zillion flavours of Linux for free?"

"It's just that Mozilla needs to make sure that FIREFOX HAS SOMETHING TO COMPETE AGAINST CHROME WITH. Making it LOOK LIKE CHROME isn't "that"."

Mozilla lost the plot some time ago. They see that Chrome is the most popular browser, and they conclude that Chrome must be exactly what people want in a browser... so if they make their browser more like Chrome, they're making it into what people want. In trying to go after the everyday computer user market that's already sewn up by Google, they're going head to head with the Google juggernaut. Brilliant strategy, isn't it? A perpetually cash-strapped nonprofit taking on Google?

It's a good thing Mozilla was a little smarter in their early days. At the time Firefox was released during the XP days, IE6 had more share of the browser market than Google has now; at the peak, IE owned more than 90% of the browser market. Would the Mozilla browser or Firefox have ever been anything more than a tiny niche product if Mozilla had concluded that IE's 90+% market share meant that the features that comprise IE6 was what people wanted? What would have happened if Mozilla had put the cart before the horse as they are now and worried about market share instead of just trying to make something that was better?

Imagine if FF had tried to copy IE6 like they're copying Google now. The tabs would be out; IE6 didn't have them. So would the powerful addon system. What wouldn't be out was infuriatingly nonstandard rendering, ignorance of the W3C standards that MS, as a W3C member, helped to write. Hell, we'd probably even see them trying to put the terrible ActiveX controls into Firefox, since that was what IE had.

Back then, if any of us Mozilla fans had suggested they do this, the devs would have dismissed us as nuts. There was already a product on the market that was exactly like IE6 in every way; what sense would it make to try to deliver what amounts to an off-brand knock-off of a free (as in beer) product? Knock-offs make money by being cheaper than the real thing, but if the real thing is free? It would have been really stupid.

2
0
Updraft102
Silver badge

Re: "From the same place that allows a zillion flavours of Linux for free?"

" The world is mostly filled with greedy, grabbing, money slaves but it isn't 100%"

Everyone who is not independently wealthy or a ward of the state has to make a living. Gainful employment, they call that. We all use resources to live, and they don't just fall out of the sky. It's important enough that we're defined by what we do to obtain these resources. We move across countries or even continents to get better work, and even if we're not willing to go quite that far, we certainly give work the top priority in scheduling our days. We do the work we have to do in order to be able to use the time left over to do what we want to do.

There are a lot of things competing for those hours left over after work has taken its share out of each weekday. Time with the spouse, with the kids, with friends, household maintenance, preparing meals, cleaning, sleeping if we're lucky... and if anything remains, our hobbies, which are things that, by definition, we do for reasons other than making money. Maybe it's for fun, or perhaps it's about contributing to something you are passionate about for the sense of fulfillment.

That's the category that contributing to a free software project falls under if it's not your job. A hobby is one of the first things to get shorted if something comes up... and something always seems to come up, doesn't it?

Contrast that, if you will, to a person's profession. It's the last thing that is going to be shorted if something comes up, since having a paycheck is too important to risk losing for people who work for a living. If a person happens to be paid for developing free software, he can be relied upon to put in a substantial, known-in-advance number of hours each week, not just if he has time left over after everything else. Getting paid to develop software raises its priority from the lowest to the highest.

In addition, being paid to code means that the individual can be directed to do things that aren't so fun. A lot of software development is drudge work-- like debugging. We all do things we wish we didn't have to because it's our job. The truth is that most things are not particularly fulfilling, and certainly not fun, but they still need to get done. If people weren't paid to do things they wouldn't do as a hobby, very little would ever get done, and society would come apart at the seams. I know that motivational speakers like to give us little bromides like "do for a living what you would do even for free," but very few of us are actually in the position to do that. Life isn't so easily broken down into bumper-sticker slogans.

A person contributing to an open-source project during his free time can't be told to go work on something else. With only a limited number of hours he can give, he's got to make them count; since he's not doing it for money, he has to make sure that whatever payoff he IS hoping to get (fun, fulfillment, etc) is likely to come before the time runs out. If a project leader tried to tell him no, your contributions to our project, while of good quality, are not welcome because we want you to go do some things that won't fulfill your purpose in contributing instead, he'd simply opt out of contributing, and they'd have less developers than they did before.

If people want to give away their time, that's great, but it doesn't mean that people who work for a living and who would like to be paid for doing professional quality work (and who don't have are greedy money-grubbers. It means they're regular people who have 40 hours a week that they're going to spend making money anyway, but not a whole lot they can afford to give away. Time, as they say, is money, and not everyone is wealthy enough to be able to give either of them away.

3
1

Mozilla's creepy Mr Robot stunt in Firefox flops in touching tribute to TV show's 2nd season

Updraft102
Silver badge

Waterfox removes all that kind of thing too.

9
0
Updraft102
Silver badge

They really are trying to follow Microsoft off of the cliff.

55
8

Erase 2017 from your brain. Face ID never happened. The Notch is an illusion

Updraft102
Silver badge

Re: The number of a human

"All this is the same. It's reading biometric pattern data from the unique features of your head or hand and converting it into a repeatable number set."

No, that's not how it works.

There's a stored reference image of the fingerprint in question, and if the newly scanned image matches it in enough places, it's unlocked. That means the reference image has to be stored in unencrypted storage somewhere, along with the key to the encrypted storage.

0
0

FCC douses America's net neutrality in gas, tosses over a lit match

Updraft102
Silver badge

Re: Including the president

"Why does your most right wing party have the colours of the Communist era?"

Because the party that is the most left wing owns the media, and they switched the colors around to avoid the "red" connotation with their own policies, starting with the presidential election of 2000.

When Ronald Reagan won 49 of 50 states in his re-election bid, the resulting electoral map was described by a despairing media as a "sea of blue."

We don't really have a right-wing party in the US. We have one pretend right-wing party that will fight like lions for the things they supposedly believe in as long as they have no chance of prevailing. They like being the minority party with no power, acting as a foil to the Democrats, providing the illusion of a battle of ideas and of a functioning democracy.

This "right wing" party will reliably vote with the leftists if they inadvertently find themselves without the comfortable bulwark of minority to render them powerless. The main difference between Democrats and Republicans is in the rhetoric they spew. If you listen to their words, you'd think they are total opposites, but if you go by their actions, there's no real difference. If you liked Obama, you should have liked Bush too; they were essentially the same, other than the rhetoric.

Trump isn't a real Republican. He ran under that name because in America, unfortunately, one has to pick one or the other party to get anywhere. He's functionally an independent, which can be seen by the derision he gets from both the Democrats whose policies he opposes and the Republicans that claim to support the same policies that Trump supports, but who turn against those policies the first chance they get.

1
1

Microsoft's 'Surface Phone' is the ghost of Courier laughing mockingly at fanbois

Updraft102
Silver badge

"Microsoft should just make a phone thats all. There are still people who dislike Apple and Google. Thats their market."

I'm one of those who dislike Apple and Google, but then I dislike Microsoft too. Since July 29, 2015,

I wouldn't want to do anything to encourage Microsoft in their inane quest to bring all of the UI handicaps of the smartphone to the desktop. I'd only consider considering a Windows phone if there was still such a thing as a current desktop Windows that was completely free of mobile/touch/Metro/Modern/UWP stupidity. As long as Microsoft's mobile ambitions continue to taint Windows in its desktop form, Windows mobile will continue to be a non-starter for me, no matter how good it may or may not be.

Of course, Windows mobile is pretty much dead anyway, so I can only guess why MS continues to push forward with its insistence on the ugly, desktop inappropriate UI of Windows 10. The best guess now seems to be that MS is no longer interested in the general-purpose desktop OS market, so even though their gambit to use the desktop Windows as a vehicle to sell Windows phones failed, there's no benefit in returning to a Windows 7-style desktop UI. If the goal is to kill off Windows, the last thing they want to do is make Windows into a product that people actually want. They seem to be going to great lengths to ensure that it's anything but.

7
0

Microsoft adds nothing to new Semi-Annual Windows Server preview

Updraft102
Silver badge

Re: which version was that again ?

"Setting up your connection as metered might be a good idea?"

You mean the option where MS says they won't download anything unless MS thinks its really important, in which case they will do it anyway? As always, it's Microsoft's call, right?

Why should MS have the final say on what circumstances the user would be allowed to not download updates? Why the silliness with metered connections and active hours and deferrals? Why does the owner of the PC have to make their case to Microsoft, according to Microsoft's rules, and hope that the request for control of their own computer is approved?

The quality of MS updates and patches has taken a nosedive right at the moment that they've taken away the user's ability to control these things for himself. This is by no means a surprise; if you fire all of your quality assurance testers, quality isn't assured. Add that to an insane rapid release schedule (which necessitates MORE testing, not less), and you have... well, what we have now.

6
0

Vivaldi Arms onto Raspberry Pi

Updraft102
Silver badge

Re: So long...

"In fact, it's worse than that, because it's Chrome but when you use it on some websites, the Vivaldi identifier throws it and makes it say it's not compatible. For example, TVPlayer.com."

So spoof the useragent. Surely there is a way to do this in Chromium world!

0
0
Updraft102
Silver badge

Re: Pale Moon Browser

Pale Moon is a fine choice, and I would use it instead of FF 57 without question, but Waterfox is still better IMO. To wit:

-Pale Moon does not (and will probably never) support e10s. The stuttering and general jankiness in the UI and while scrolling that was endemic in older Firefox releases is still there (though it's not at a terrible level, it is noticeable). By comparison, WF 56 (current as I write) is fluid and smooth in scrolling, and it's very noticeably better than any FF derivatives without e10s (including WF 56, if you should happen to turn e10s off). PM was forked well before e10s was ready for mainstream, and backporting it would be a monstrous task that would take far more resources than the PM project has, if it can be feasibly done at all.

-Pale Moon does not work with a lot of FF addons, particularly newer ones. None of the new-type Webextensions addons that Mozilla thinks are all we need will work on it, but they work fine on Waterfox. In the future, more APIs may be added to the FF implementation of Webextensions, and we will have to wait and see if those can be backported to WF or not. For now, though, all the ones I have tried in WF work perfectly.

-Waterfox is far faster than Pale Moon. I tested PM, WF 56, and FF 57 in browserbench.org's Speedometer 1.0 benchmark, using mostly the same addon profile (with the only changes being where there are compatibility issues) and the same profile and prefs as possible. FF 57 led with 88.0, while WF 56 clocked in with 81.0, which is a small price to pay for the vast Firefox addon library that still works in WF but not in FF anymore. Pale Moon, by comparison, came in at 53 and change. I don't have the screenshot in front of me, but it's not even close to WF or FF 57.

I put speed last in my list intentionally. It's always nice to have "faster," but not at the cost FF57 imposes to get there, IMO. Once you cross the threshold of "fast enough," more speed is just a luxury instead of a must. Where that threshold lies is up to the user in question, but for me, PM is certainly "fast enough."

It''s only when all the other boxes are ticked that I begin to think of speed, but in this case, all those other boxes are ticked. Waterfox doesn't give up the classic UI or configurability compared to PM to get the extra speed, though; you can still get the classic UI, and the configurability is greater than in PM, thanks to all of the addons that WF56 supports that neither FF57 nor PM do.

Waterfox unfortunately comes with the Australis UI, but it also still works flawlessly with Classic Theme Restorer, and that alone gives you a ton more options to change the UI than does Vivaldi. You won't need an addon to restore the classic UI in Pale Moon, but you will need addons to add back in other features that were added to Firefox (and thus Waterfox) after PM was forked, like the little speaker icon in the tab if it is playing sound, if you want it (I do). All told, I actually have more addons in Pale Moon than Waterfox because of this, even though I insist upon the classic UI that is in Pale Moon by default.

2
1
Updraft102
Silver badge

Vivaldi doesn't come close to the options offered by Waterfox and "legacy" Firefox addons. Firefox itself just blew itself up, but Waterfox is still in the running. Best browser in the world right now, as I see it.

I've tried Vivaldi, and while it offers a lot of choices out of the box, it still isn't good enough. Maybe someday, but not yet. Its lack of UI-modifying addons isn't a philosophical choice so much as the only one; the Chromium engine's addon API doesn't allow UI modification, a feature now shared by Firefox.

3
8

Linux laptop-flinger says bye-bye to buggy Intel Management Engine

Updraft102
Silver badge

Just a reminder

In order for the backdoor to function remotely, the incoming connection has to come through the Intel NIC that is integrated into the PCH (platform control hub) that is also running the management engine. It listens on a few known ports for incoming connection attempts, and while it could conceivably thwart a software firewall's effort to close the port, a hardware firewall (for most consumers, as simple as a NAT router) would effectively block any such attempts from the WAN.

The IME can also be exploited locally through USB, but then the attacker has to have physical access to the PC, which is bad news anyway. If an attacker can physically access the PC, is a management engine vulnerability really the chief concern?

Not saying that it wasn't a bad idea on Intel's part to include such a backdoor... clearly, it was; this was just an accident waiting to happen. Still, the severity of the exploit needs to be kept in perspective. Why not take a moment to consider the attack vectors and see if it is really a threat to you, and if you can do anything to minimize it, before giving the "abandon ship" order?

5
0

Google Chrome vows to carpet bomb meddling Windows antivirus tools

Updraft102
Silver badge

Re: Chrome runs 110% of CPU, can't stand the competition

I've seen people write this before, but how can anything take more than 100% of the CPU time?

2
0
Updraft102
Silver badge

Re: NoScript

"A working NoScript and an older Firefox is safer than a new Firefox without a working NoScript"

Yes, and a working NoScript and an up-to-date Waterfox is safer than both of them.

Waterfox 56 still runs all the old addons, and it has all of the security updates from FF 57 backported. It's Firefox if the Mozilla devs hadn't lost the plot, and their minds.

2
0
Updraft102
Silver badge

I'd suggest Waterfox.

A lot of Firefox addons don't work in Pale Moon, including a significant number of the legacy addons as well as all of the Webextensions-based addons. PM is based on a much older FF build (pre-Australis), without e10s or any of the performance boosts Mozilla has made to Firefox in the last few releases leading up to FF 57. Not having Australis is a good thing (to many of us, at least), but it would be nice to have e10s and the other optimizations.

Waterfox has the controversial Australis UI, but it also continues to support Classic Theme Restorer, so Australis is easily eliminated. Waterfox supports more Firefox addons than Pale Moon or the current Firefox (as did Firefox 56 too). It's essentially FF 56 ESR, if there was such a thing, with a few changes (pocket removed, telemetry removed, NPAPI plugins and unsigned themes still work if you want them to, stuff like that).

I tested FF 57 and WF 56 on the same PC (i5-2500k desktop) with the same settings, with my full complement of addons. WF 56 had 23 addons enabled, while FF 57 only had about 8, since that was all of them that still worked or had Mozilla-suggested replacements at that moment. Even with three times the addons, nearly all of them of the supposedly performance-robbing legacy variety, WF 56 only scored 8.5% slower than FF 57 on the Speedometer 1.0 browser benchmark (Speedometer is the one Mozilla itself uses to tout how fast Quantum is supposed to be). I got essentially identical results in Windows 8.1 and Linux Mint 18.2.

Mozilla, clearly, did not need to eliminate the powerful "legacy" addon APIs to get a big speed boost from Firefox. That's the idea they're trying to pitch with their "twice as fast" ad campaign to try to justify removing Firefox's defining feature, but nearly all of that gain was from changes that were made prior to the release of FF Quantum. The powerful addons didn't have to die to make Firefox fast.

By contrast, Pale Moon (same setup as in the other tests, with and without addons disabled) scored 40% slower than FF 57.

The actual results were: FF 57, 88.0; WF 56, 81.0; PM 27.6.1, 53.07.

5
3

SurfaceBook 2 battery drains even when plugged in

Updraft102
Silver badge

Re: 'cause more damage to your brand'

"I definitely agree with you about Windows 10 because the UI is shit. Nowhere near as shit as Win 8. Not as shit as Vista. But far shittier than Win 7 (or even XP)."

To me, the Windows 10 UI is the worst MS has ever come up with. Win 8.1 is pretty appalling out of the box, but it can be fixed, for the most part. The entire "app" portion of Windows 8.1 can be uninstalled, ripped out by means of aftermarket tools, blocked, and ignored, with the Win32 half still intact. You can't do that in 10, as Microsoft removed so much functionality from the Control Panel that you can't get by without Settings anymore. A lot of the system dialogs that used to fall under Control Panel (even if you got to them without opening the control panel) are now in Settings. You can't escape the ugly, idiotic UWP styling that has infected Windows 10, and before they've even finished migrating to that, they've started on a third "design language" in the same OS.

Vista was okay, UI wise. It wasn't as good as XP or Win 2k, which to me are the gold standard of UI design, but Vista was still pretty usable with some tweaking. Vista's problems didn't stem from its UI, which is nearly identical to that of Windows 7, and its very real performance and stability issues were corrected in time. By the time it passed out of extended support, it had been a decent OS for some time, though its name was hopelessly tarnished by then.

Windows 10 is far worse than either 8.x or Vista, as I see it. Windows 8's issues were and are still removable, and what lies underneath is a stable and competent desktop OS. I'm a purist when it comes to UIs, but I chose to upgrade from 7 to 8.1 (suitably modified) about a year ago. Vista's issues were a function of it being rushed to market before it was ready (it was already massively overdue) and MS giving in to Intel regarding the "Vista capable" nonsense, both of which faded in time. Windows 10's flaws are designed in, and they cannot easily be removed. Even if you do manage to do it, the insane update schedule means that even if you manage to dig the flaws out, they'll just be put right back in within a few months, and the means you used to de-stupidize it may not work after that. A Windows 10 installation that may or may not be de-stupidizable is a no-go.

6
0

Page:

Forums

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2018