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Under the Hood of SteamOS

Ben Hutchings Meanwhile, in reality... (201 comments)

It's a stock Debian kernel with some minor packaging changes and support for a new game controller. All those realtime patches? Not actually used by default. The full list of exciting changes:

  • Make the binnmu regexp also reconize our build suffixes
  • New XBox controller driver
  • Disable Intel P-State driver as it causes issues with sound being choppy during BigPicture trailer video playback.
  • Hard-code parallel build for now since our OBS infrastructure doesn't know how to set these options yet.
  • Add postinst step to touch /var/run/reboot-required

about 4 months ago
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Subversion 1.8 Released But Will You Still Use Git?

Ben Hutchings Re:But can SVN merge a branch yet? (378 comments)

Repeated merges have worked well for a while now (maybe since 1.6?). It's not quite as good at merging as git is, but it works well enough. But I have to agree with the general sentiment against merging from release to devel branches. Merging should be considered an expert-only operation (not expert in version control, but in the code base). Cherry-picking/backporting fixes from devel to release is safer because then you know exactly what you're changing.

about 10 months ago
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Firefox Will Soon Block Third-Party Cookies

Ben Hutchings Re:Online Advertising Response (369 comments)

Whenever a web site has a form, some other site can set up another (hidden) form pointing to the same URL and with any values they like. Someone who visits both sites can unintentionally submit that form (together with their cookies from the first site, so it's properly authenticated). This is 'Cross Site Request Forgery' and the usual way to avoid is to check the Referer header.

about a year ago
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Making ZFS and DTrace Work On Ubuntu Linux

Ben Hutchings Re:ZFS on Linux (137 comments)

The current Debian stable release (6.0, squeeze) has kFreeBSD ports for i386 and amd64.

about 2 years ago
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Heartland Security Breach Class Action: Victims $1925, Lawyers $600,000

Ben Hutchings Who leaked my card details? (163 comments)

I personally haven't experienced abuse of my card details - so far as I know. But if I did, how could I tell who was responsible - especially when there are vast leaks like this? It seems like it would be more fair to have an industry-wide fund to compensate victims, which the leaking companies would pay into proportionately to the number of valid details leaked.

about 2 years ago
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Demoscene: 64k Intros At Revision Demoparty

Ben Hutchings Re:Damn you kids, get off my lawn. (207 comments)

There's not 64k of assembly pumping bytes into a framebuffer and twiddling the PC speaker port to synthesize digital audio.

Of course. But all the creative work is squeezed into 64K.

One thing I couldn't find in there (and I've been out of the scene for a LONG time, so I don't know how this works on new-fangled fancy computers...) -- do these write directly to the video hardware? Or do they use OS services like DirectX11, etc?

They use DirectX, because that is the only way to support a reasonable range of hardware. (Also, you can't hit the hardware without installing a new driver or exploiting a kernel bug. Neither of which is very friendly.)

But are people still getting down and counting clock cycles?

Cycle counts aren't even documented today. Now it's all about avoiding cache misses and cache invalidation.

about 2 years ago
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Intel Releases Sandy Bridge-based Xeon E5 Series

Ben Hutchings Re:Where's the 10GbE? (96 comments)

I think you're mistaken about PCIe link speeds, and you're also failing to account for the transaction layer protocol (TLP) overhead which can be quite substantial. PCIe 2.0 link speed is 5 GT/s but that's with 8b10 encoding; the data rate is only 4 Gb/s. PCIe 3.0 doubles the data rate to 8 Gb/s. Two 10G ports require 20 Gb/s plus some overhead, hence 8 lanes on PCIe 2.0 or potentially 4 lanes on PCIe 3.0.

more than 2 years ago
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AWS Load Balancer Sends 2 Million Netflix API Reqs To Wrong Customer

Ben Hutchings Re:TTL value (58 comments)

If browsers don't impose such a minimum, devices with embedded web servers (think printers and home routers) become vulnerable to Cross-Site Request Forgery. They can potentially defend against this by checking the Host header on requests, but since these devices are only manageable through the web there's no good way to establish what the correct value is.

more than 2 years ago
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Is ARM Ever Coming To the Desktop?

Ben Hutchings Re:cost and integration, not just power (332 comments)

With Intel you have to buy a CPU, buy a north/southbridge. If you want custom interfaces beyond that, that's more chips too.

Not so. Intel has SoCs now. Apparently they're quite popular for use in IVI applications.

more than 2 years ago
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Windows 8 Desktop 'Just Another App'?

Ben Hutchings Re:sort of like? (375 comments)

Explorer isn't the window manager, although it does have some integration to make minimised windows appear within the task bar. The window manager largely runs as a library within the application (USER32.DLL). Windows 2000 added the feature that lets you force minimisation or kill the window's owner if it doesn't process window management messages quickly. (I don't know what component or process handles this.) More recently DWM.EXE was introduced to handle some window management and particularly compositing.

more than 2 years ago
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Linus Thinks Virtualization Is 'Evil'

Ben Hutchings Re:Some might argue (330 comments)

Try migrating a running system with dd. Many VM systems can do live migration, with a fraction of a second of down-time.

about 2 years ago
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UK Government Wants to Spring Ahead Two Hours

Ben Hutchings Re:BAU (554 comments)

In Israel, the parliament only ever specifies the period of DST for one year at a time. I hear that Israeli Windows users don't even bother with automatic DST adjustment.

more than 2 years ago
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Debian 6.0 To Feature a Completely Free Kernel

Ben Hutchings Re:Thanks to Alexandre Oliva of Linux-libre (283 comments)

Actually, no, this has nothing to do with linux-libre which simply breaks every driver with firmware or a table of numbers they don't understand.

more than 3 years ago
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AMD Graphics Chip Shortage Hits PC Vendors

Ben Hutchings Re:This is where Intel rules (97 comments)

Apple has way too much experience being burned by Motorola and IBM both being unable to supply chips in heavy demand.

As I recall, Motorola and IBM had no problem with regular supply. The problem was that Apple was the only major customer for desktop/laptop-suitable PowerPC processors, and those vendors quite reasonably expected long-term order commitments for these products while Apple wanted more flexibility. With Intel, Apple is just one of many customers and while it has less control over x86 processor development it also doesn't have to make such commitments.

more than 4 years ago
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Retrievable iPhone Numbers Raise Privacy Issue

Ben Hutchings Re:You Think That's Bad? (146 comments)

There is a hoax running especially in Europe, +358 or similar number, similar to Italy code (+35). Once you get a "ring" from that line or tricked calling it, your phone bill will be doomed. I speak about thousands of dollars (euros) here and you can't get that money back.

Urban legend.

more than 4 years ago
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Apple Behind Intel's USB Competitor?

Ben Hutchings Re:No power transfer.. (332 comments)

I believe that the hybrid connector is still in the spec as an option, but no-one appears to be implementing it. The standard host connector for USB 3 has extra electrical contacts deeper in the plug.

more than 4 years ago
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New OLPC Laptop 1.5 Dual-Boots Sugar, Gnome Desktop

Ben Hutchings Re:A backwards step (81 comments)

The flash change is in some ways a downgrade, because wear-leveling is now done by firmware in the flash controller rather than in the filesystem (which was JFFS2). Although JFFS2 probably doesn't scale to 4GB, ubifs might.

more than 4 years ago
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New OLPC Laptop 1.5 Dual-Boots Sugar, Gnome Desktop

Ben Hutchings Re:How is that a "dual-boot" config? (81 comments)

I briefly played with one last week. It booted into GNOME, which had a desktop icon to start Sugar. There may well be a facility to do this the other way round.

more than 4 years ago
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ARM Attacks Intel's Netbook Stranglehold

Ben Hutchings Re:No Windows? Great! No Microsoft tax! (521 comments)

No references; it's just what I've heard (backed up by examples) from friends who develop ARM-based embedded systems.

more than 4 years ago

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