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Galileo: Europe's Version of GPS Reaches Key Phase

Conley Index Re:Good to hear (328 comments)

ISTR that due to budget cuts the newer GPS satellites don't operate in polar orbits, giving poor coverage at the poles.

Poor coverage at the poles is not a problem: If I can see the sky but no GPS satellite, I just have to figure out if there are polar bears or penguins around to know at which pole I am.

about 2 years ago
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How Steve Jobs Changed Google Plus

Conley Index Re:Let the guy fucking rest already... (243 comments)

That is very US-centric. Here in this part of Europe, the carriers never had any influence on smartphones at all.

Looking at the amount and quality of dual SIM Android phones available here, I do not think this is true.

Your here may be different than mine, but until this year, I have not heard of any dual SIM Android phone with at least a 480x800 display sold anywhere in Europe. Still, dual SIM smartphones lack all kinds of features. The demand is definitely there.

more than 2 years ago
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OpenBSD Fork Bitrig Announced

Conley Index Re:Theo is going to me sooooo mad (178 comments)

The double edged sword of the BSD License. I'm sure they will probably contribute back but unlike the GPL there is nothing legally to compel them to.

That is not a problem from the perspective of the BSD people. In their experience, code being contributed back only because of legal reasons is so rarely of the quality that anyone would consider merging it back to the original OS that it does not matter to worry too much about that code. Anyhow, there are companies that choose to contribute some of their changes back without legal obligation, which tends to be of better quality, since they want to have it included for whatever reason (for example not to have to maintain their own fork in rapidly changing regions of the code), while they do not consider working on GPL code for their own reasons.

It might be different for different projects.

more than 2 years ago
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OpenBSD Fork Bitrig Announced

Conley Index Why not starting with FreeBSD? (178 comments)

Most points of their agenda are common with FreeBSD and some are already done there or actively been worked on. No one would stand in their way porting WAPBL from NetBSD (if done decently). Ok, stripping the base is (fortunatelly) not on the FreeBSD agenda, but making most of it optional for embedded needs is.

From their FAQ, "OpenBSD [...] has some of the best code around". Ok, but I still do not buy it. If they want to leave some of the conservatism that comes with the security focus of OpenBSD behind (from the article), I do not find a real reason why they started with OpenBSD.

Not that some more good, modern code with any of the BSD would be wrong...

more than 2 years ago
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Aero Glass UI No More On Windows 8

Conley Index Re:They got it all wrong (426 comments)

The only people complaining about shutdown being under the start menu are the kind of people who get their panties in a twist over "less" vs "fewer" and things like that: pedants.

I am a pedant. Hence I dislike this start menu thing and prefer my K menu... to do all things... K -- like... Keeping the system on not any longer. I rarely need it anyways.

more than 2 years ago
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Update On Wayland and X11 Support

Conley Index Re:Wayland vs X (315 comments)

I don't think running a VNC server bound to 127.0.0.1 with port forwarded through a ssh tunnel (ssh -L5900:localhost:5900) is much more complicated neither insecure.

Is this a joke? Here are some of the missing steps in the VNC "solution":

  • Starting the VNC server, with all the right arguments, on the remote end
  • Making sure applications on the remote end will display on the VNC server (e.g. setting your DISPLAY variable)
  • Starting the VNC client on the local end, with all the right arguments
  • Determining what port number to use - if there's another VNC server running already on 5900 (on either end) you would conflict - this would definitely happen in practice if you have ssh sessions to several systems open at once
  • Securing the VNC server against unauthorized access if there are other users on either the remote or the local end

ssvnc does all this good enough for many applications. (It has some bugs, especially the Windows version, but nothing you cannot work around, if you are familiar with the *nix world.)

more than 2 years ago
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VGA and DVI Ports To Be Phased Out Over Next 5 Years

Conley Index Re:why phase out DVI? (704 comments)

DisplayPort is not just an industry standard, it is a royalty free standard, but HDMI seems to be winning - the only device I've seen with DisplayPort is my 2+ year old HP laptop and I have about 18 devices with HDMI in my household (heck, our cellphones even have it).

It might be about the kind of devices you got.

My Thinkpad has DisplayPort. The only stand alone display I have at home got DisplayPort. My Dell desktop at work (university) got 2 functional (Nvidia card) and 1 non-functional (on board Intel) DisplayPort. Both new Dell 1920x1200 displays I got at work have DisplayPort. At home and at work I got not a single HDMI device.

OT: The only weirdness is Dell delivering to us desktops with only DisplayPort and the same number of displays with DisplayPort and DVI (and VGA?), but instead of DisplayPort cables, we get DVI cables and DisplayPort-to-DVI adapters. The reason is probably the same as last year when there were VGA cables preattached to the Dell displays that came with desktops with the only functional ports being 2 DisplayPort with 2 adapters to DVI.

more than 2 years ago
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Solaris 11 Released

Conley Index Re:*crickets chirping* (224 comments)

* FreeBSD's ZFS is years behind what Illumos offers in features, and shows no signs of catching up.

If you know so much about it, would you mind updating the Wikipedia article about ZFS that lists "Notable ZFS storage pool versions" with FreeBSD and Illumos both on 28.

more than 2 years ago
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In Favor of FreeBSD On the Desktop

Conley Index I basically agree (and I am still using it) (487 comments)

I am currently using FreeBSD as my main OS, even on a recent (2010) laptop. It works great, for me. I have great control what is going on on my computer and I love the combination of a stable (as in "API/ABI stable" _and_ as in "upgrades do not break basic functionality") base system and very recent applications from ports.

Anyhow, I still have to agree with you that for most people, it is just not worse the time. For anyone else, I usually install Ubuntu. Ports are very powerful, but just not suitable for everyone.

If there were just stable ports (ports that come with a release and get only security fixes until the next release), one might come to the conclusion as the original article, but currently, you can either use release ports and live with the security holes (not a good idea to have an outdated browser and Flash plugin on the desktop), or you upgrade all ports very frequently.

PC-BSD might be a different story, I have not tried it in some time. Even though it brought me to FreeBSD, there were some good reasons not to use it anymore: How can you suggest users to use FreeBSD ports, if there is no PC-BSD PBI, and then wipe them at an upgrade? Probably not an issue anymore, but for me, that stuck.

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Moving From *nix To Windows Automation?

Conley Index Re:Don't do it... (427 comments)

Powershell is perfect for the job.

Let me know when it's as ubiquitous as bash or csh.

bash is not preinstalled on many *nix systems. /bin/sh is ubiquitous and please, do not assume that it is bash. Fortunately, some Linux distributions undo that mistake. As for csh, it is widely regarded as being inadequate for scripting.

Powershell is about is ubiquitous as bash: It is present on most of the more widespread systems.

more than 3 years ago
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Interview With KDE On Windows Release Manager Patrick Spendrin

Conley Index Re:Okular print support (116 comments)

Or you could just run Evince, which surprisingly works great under Windows. Both Evince and Okular use Poppler as the PDF backend, so the rendering should be the same, but Evince doesn't require the bloat of the entire KDE on Windows package. I've used the official Adobe reader (yech!), Sumatra (poor rendering, performance and stability), Foxit (nag nag nag) and Evince. Evince is the best one by far.

Looking for a suitable suggestion for a LaTeX editor and PDF viewer for Windows (cross platform would be a big plus) in our math department, I have tested several PDF viewers: Evince failed to render certain math symbols that did appear in Okular (and in Acroread and in TeXworks for what it is worse). Okular does not print. TeXworks lags some usability. Sumatra has not been tested, yet, but is next on our list -- your comment is not very encouraging in that regard. We have not found anything else that even advertises the functionality we need. (The build-in PDF viewer in Chromium maybe...)

Yes, print support in Okular would be great, especially since now that there are Kile binaries for Windows for the current version of KDE and Kile, Kile+Okular could be a nice cross-platform TeX environment. (TexmarkerX has severe bugs in the editor, TeXworks and Texmarker lags functionality in the editor, Emacs+AUCTeX is great but some people are simply scared by the Emacs shortcuts.)

People in our math department already use Firefox, Thunderbird, Matlab etc. that are all available cross platform. Some still do not even consider swapping from Windows to Linux for the change in the TeX environment. KDE for Windows could help getting people used to cross platform tools (but not without print support in Okular).

more than 3 years ago
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Oracle Solaris 11 Express Released

Conley Index VirtualBox? (160 comments)

Solaris... there are alternatives. I wonder if ZFS will continue to be released to be used in FreeBSD.

OpenOffice.org... some project will build on it (and I do not need "Office"-Software, LaTeX does what I need).

Java... "Open" is not really done and the other license...

The only thing that I really worry about is VirtualBox. I have not found any other free Desktop virtualization that works.

more than 3 years ago
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Adobe Warns of Flash, PDF Zero-Day Attacks

Conley Index Re:Flash for the iPhone WHEN??? (216 comments)

Why do you think, "we FreeBSD-ers aren't getting Flash"?

I do have (the Linux version of) Flash 10 installed on my FreeBSD 8 amd64 systems and running it in a native FreeBSD amd64 Firefox. (Of course, it is usually blocked by noscript and flashblock.) A few years ago that might have been difficult to get running, but now it is just ports.

If we really want Flash is another story...

more than 4 years ago
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BC Prof Suggests Young Children Need Less Formal Math, Not More

Conley Index Re:most people arent wired for math (427 comments)

Probably you can do pre-7th grade math in one year, but you do not have much more time. With the beginning of puberty, many things suddenly become more interesting than learning new math.

I am working with selected -- so called gifted -- students of different age on math problems. I have given the same problem to 3rd grade and 7th grade students with the 7th grade students achieving not much more within 90 minutes than the 3rd grade students -- the problem did use knowledge from schools. The schools have failed in my opinion. Working on a different problem that involved some more rigorous proves (existence of Euler path'), the 7th grade students achieved more than the 3rd grade students on average (some exceptional 3rd grade student got most of it).

Either the article is right and the first six years of math education are more or less wasted even on the most skilled students -- or it is simply not the right approach that is used in school. As long as we do not teach "math" in school up to the high school level but only "computation", there are just cooking recipes, which tend to get boring, especially if the applications are flawed, too.

I have seen 4th grade students formulating proves by contradiction. Abstract thinking is possible in elementary school. I have seen many adults with university degree that fail on negating "C follows from (A or B)".

3rd grade students tend to be more open than 7th grade students, if you tell them that math without proves is no math at all -- because they have seen less so-called math.

The problems is that we do not teach math in elementary school at all!

more than 4 years ago
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FreeBSD 8.0 Released

Conley Index Re:freebsd-update via wlan? (235 comments)

Remote updates via the wlan are probably not very common. And I guess I could have put a brave "freebsd-update install && reboot" somewhere in the startup scripts that would have been replaced if that really succeeded. (Probably something a little more intelligent would be better.)

more than 4 years ago
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FreeBSD 8.0 Released

Conley Index Use the mirrors! (235 comments)

It appeared on the main ftp server on Monday and only an hour later on some of the mirrors. Now most of them got the bits. This is really not the time to stress the main ftp server more than necessary. The checksum files from the main server might be worse getting -- or better yet, wait for the official announcement that will contain them, too.

more than 4 years ago
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FreeBSD 8.0 Released

Conley Index freebsd-update via wlan? (235 comments)

I did not read your blog using freebsd-update this time, but as far as I see, it would not have saved me needing hands on assistance for the system that I tried to update remotely with the last connection being a wlan. I added the appropriate lines to rc.conf before the update, but after the first reboot with the new kernel and old userland, the wlan did not come up. Thinking about it, nothing else could be expected...

more than 4 years ago
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FreeBSD 8.0 vs. Ubuntu 9.10 Benchmarks

Conley Index Re:Phoronix? Moronix more like. (268 comments)

Anyone actually familiar with the FreeBSD development and release process would know that a release candidate has a considerable amount of debugging options turned on.

On Sep-10, most debugging was disabled: http://lists.freebsd.org/pipermail/svn-src-all/2009-September/013399.html

On Sep-17, there was the last commit before 8.0-RC1: http://lists.freebsd.org/pipermail/svn-src-all/2009-September/013645.html

Anyone familiar with the FreeBSD development and release process would know that there are no fixed rules rules when certain stuff happens and there are no sweeping changes like turning off debugging between a late RC and the actual release. (Other debugging stuff like kernel and module symbols are kept for the release.)

about 5 years ago
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Another New AES Attack

Conley Index Re:Practical? (93 comments)

> I'm not sure how practical it is for any "programmer on the streets" to pay attention to this sort of thing.

These "any programmer on the street" guys hopefully never implement anything in the vicinity of crypto code.

You do not need to read the papers. Reading something like http://www.daemonology.net/blog/2009-06-11-cryptographic-right-answers.html -- if you happen to trust Colin Percival -- should be enough, if you do not try to be creative in what you use.

What is so bad about considering MD5 broken and make design choices because of that? Better than the other way around, if you are not in the field. How much more expensive is it to verify an MD5 and an SHA256 hash instead of MD5 only -- for many practical application, it is irrelevant. So why not do it?

more than 5 years ago

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