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Help ESR Stamp Out CVS and SVN In Our Lifetime

Tenebrousedge Re:Counterpoint (183 comments)

There's submodules and subtrees, neither works all that well. SVN can pull down part of a repo, which is (IMO) slightly more sane behavior.

10 hours ago
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Help ESR Stamp Out CVS and SVN In Our Lifetime

Tenebrousedge Counterpoint (183 comments)

Git's subtree / subproject management is extremely painful. The information manager from hell, indeed. I dislike SVN/CVS extremely, but they make much easier to do sub-repositories. For example, Arch's ABS is entirely under SVN, which works well enough for them, but using git the same way sounds like torture.

12 hours ago
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Debian's Systemd Adoption Inspires Threat of Fork

Tenebrousedge A completely empty threat (382 comments)

Threatening a fork is like threatening legal action: if you think you're to that point, you need to just do it, and inform the relevant parties afterwards. Anyone can threaten to take action.

13 hours ago
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Debian's Systemd Adoption Inspires Threat of Fork

Tenebrousedge Re:UNIX Philosophy (382 comments)

However, do these programs follow the do-one-thing-and-do-it-well principle: web servers like Apache, database servers like PostgreSQL, the X Window system, the GIMP, OpenOffice? Is an init system more like one of these or more like sed and awk? That's not a rhetorical question. I'm a web programmer who loves Linux, but the kernal and start-up are still black magic to me.

Apache is monolithic in the same way that systemd is. It does not do "one thing". Nginx exists because Apache does way too much. X.org is also absurdly complicated, but at least they stripped out the print server. Wayland is the attempt to make it more pared-down. An init system is either complicated or bad at what it does, or both. I would perhaps debate about including Postgres as a piece of monolithic software, perhaps in comparison to simple data stores, but it doesn't stray too far outside of the definition of "relational database".

Maybe an init system can be simple. I don't understand why even shell scripts are needed. Seems like they should be the exception, not the rule. Seems like configuration should be a single file that lists the programs to start from top to bottom. If you wanted add some parallel start-ups, it seems like you could just make the config file format a little fancier, maybe with some braces or indentation to express dependency.

Your system is not well thought out and would not handle dependencies / parallel startup very well. However, generally speaking shell scripts should definitely be the exception: executable configuration files are a bad design. If you must use arbitrary scripts, then you should abstract the common elements and reduce the part that must be expressed as executable code to the bare minimum. Have sane defaults, and an easily-reviewed common subset of functionality, make the simple things easy, and stay out of the way of anyone who really really needs a programming language and shell in order to start a program.

Maybe instead of systemd we could come up with a start-up standard, sort of like the POSIX standard.

The important part of systemd is actually managing processes and services, startup is where most of that happens, but it's not the driving force of systemd. The reason why systemd exists, and the reason why it isn't portable, is because of cgroups, which are a feature specific to the Linux kernel allowing for real process management. In non-systemd Linux, daemons must carefully communicate through special files what they are doing, or the OS is not able to determine anything about the service. There is a complicated process which every process that wants to daemonize must follow, and the only thing that makes this remotely sane is longevity. Solaris and OSX have both separately replaced SysV init.

I have read that FreeBSD has taken the strategy of using essentially a library of common things that init scripts might want to do, but for the general case having this library be written in an interpreted language gains little.

13 hours ago
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If You're Connected, Apple Collects Your Data

Tenebrousedge We have cookies (303 comments)

...I pretty much loathe the command-line. Text UI be damned! To the depths of Mount Doom!

If you only knew the power of the dark side!

Bash is not the most fun programming language, but CLIs (as distinct from TUIs) are the easiest way to interact with a computer system programmatically. There is such thing as graphical programming, but...ew. On the one hand, you've been able to install and use Linux for about a decade now without ever seeing a command line. On the other, the Internet would not exist if it weren't for CLIs.

I think we're gonna need to confiscate your geek card.

yesterday
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No More Lee-Enfield: Canada's Rangers To Get a Tech Upgrade

Tenebrousedge Can I have some of what you're smoking? (283 comments)

A land-grab in the ocean? The Battle of Ellesmere Island?

I think there's about as much chance of having a small arms conflict in the Arctic as there is of Putin invading Greenland riding a polar bear. What exactly do you envision? Canadian troops invading Novaya Zemlya? The Arctic is unpopulated in a way that is difficult to describe. There is no one to shoot, and even getting there is a huge logistical problem. I'm pretty sure you've never been to the Arctic, but for the sake of argument, is there any basis to these ideas of yours?

2 days ago
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JavaScript and the Netflix User Interface

Tenebrousedge Re:Google has a love/hate relationship with JS (188 comments)

I was wondering about that, but I didn't manage to find any information. Do you have a link handy? And maybe information about the differences between Google's stuff and ARChon?

When I said that it hadn't caught on, I meant that other browser vendors were not interested in implementing NaCl.

2 days ago
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JavaScript and the Netflix User Interface

Tenebrousedge Google has a love/hate relationship with JS (188 comments)

Isn't that more or less the idea behind NaCl/Native Client? It doesn't seem to have caught on. For that matter, there was also ActiveX, and the best that you could say about it is that it had a flawed implementation.

Chrome also just added a runtime for Android apps, which seems to handle at least some simple apps at native speed on my chromebook. I suppose that's a java runtime of some sort?

I know that there are many wonderful things done daily in JS, but I really would prefer another scripting language.

2 days ago
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Lead Mir Developer: 'Mir More Relevant Than Wayland In Two Years'

Tenebrousedge Wayland exists because X is bad at what it does (221 comments)

Have you seen the videos about why X is fundamentally broken? Did you read the fine article? There are a lot of horrible flaws in X that cannot be fixed short of a rewrite.

I get the impression that you haven't done any research into this issue, and are dismissing it based on a stereotype. Familiarity breeds contempt, and I am sure that to some degree the trend you identify exists. However, devs don't usually go that far out of their way to make work for themselves just on a whim, and I do expect them to actually be able to identify flaws in their software. Also, you should not assume that just because something is 20 or 30 years old, that it does not have major flaws. Even ignoring Shellshock, there's a lot of justification for replacing X with something else. If you believe otherwise, maybe you can pop over to the Wayland dev channel and explain why they're all wrong and that they don't need to be spending time on it.

3 days ago
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Debian Talks About Systemd Once Again

Tenebrousedge Cgroups (517 comments)

The reason why systemd exists, and the reason why it isn't portable, are the same reason: it depends on a feature specific to the Linux kernel.

It's not up to the systemd developers to write kernel features for other OSes. If there's an "anti-standard" it's the kernel, not systemd. If the rest of the Unix world wants to implement something similar then I am sure it could be made part of a standard eventually. Until then, you've wasted space typing.

3 days ago
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Wind Power Is Cheaper Than Coal, Leaked Report Shows

Tenebrousedge Runaway Greenhouse (608 comments)

Please don't talk about runaway greenhouse effects here on Earth. It really isn't possible.

Quick summary: for a runaway greenhouse effect, you need a big surface reservoir of some greenhouse gas (on Earth, water vapor). Theoretically, you increase the temperature a little, this vaporizes more of the gas, trapping more heat, which vaporizes more gas, and so on until the planet no longer has a radiative balance. Then things get a bit warm.

On Earth, the tropopause generally keeps water vapor near the surface; if water vapor rises to that point, it usually freezes and precipitates. This prevents it from building up in the upper atmosphere. One of the effects of CO2 on Earth is to cool the stratosphere, so ironically adding more of it could be moving us further away from a runaway greenhouse effect.

There is a vague possibility that we might make some lasting change to the climate, but probably not. We're still a few orders of magnitude away from the most drastic outgassings that the Earth has experienced. We're drastically compressing the timeframe of those events, but we will exhaust all fossil fuels long before we match the CO2 emissions of the largest LIPs. We can and seemingly will fuck up the planet for a geologic age, but the planet has recovered from worse extinction events before. We'll have to be satisfied with 90% of terrestrial life, I am afraid that the Ultimate Species Fuckup is beyond us.

about a week ago
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ChromeOS Will No Longer Support Ext2/3/4 On External Drives/SD Cards

Tenebrousedge Written on my Chromebook (344 comments)

It's a cheap internet appliance with a keyboard as opposed to a touchscreen. Is anyone using tablets?

Or did you mean anyone using ChromeOS not on a Chromebook? Probably that animal doesn't exist, Google is trying to keep a "unified experience", i.e. Apple-like control over their platform. A large concern here is security; you can put it into "Developer Mode" and do whatever you want to the system, but otherwise it's pretty locked-down. I don't really mind this; people who want to screw with Linux can, and people who just want to browse the web and not worry about what the machine is doing can also do this. Turning on developer mode is extremely non-obvious, and that's probably good too.

As a primary machine, a Chromebook can be a little limiting, less so if you are well versed in wrangling Linux. However, I understand that it is being used in education a lot; it sounds pretty much perfect. Ultra-cheap hardware, simple software, low maintenance -- what's not to like?

about a week ago
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ChromeOS Will No Longer Support Ext2/3/4 On External Drives/SD Cards

Tenebrousedge Yes, chromebooks are useful (344 comments)

Probably most of them. The drivers don't exist for Windows, and installing a Linux distro is a little more complicated than you might hope for. Plus, there are some actual benefits to ChomeOS, mostly that it will back up your files for you, and that it boots in seconds (maybe a total of ten seconds from clicking reboot to having all the browser windows open again), but it's also more secure than Linux. Security is achieved at the cost of making it hard to change the system.

Also keep in mind, these things ship with a 16GB SSD. You can install a couple Linux distributions in that space, but it's pretty cramped for any sort of content: you're not going to be gaming or torrenting very much. Increasing the storage is possible, but if you're going to buy a $200 laptop and a $100 SSD, you may as well buy a real laptop.

Generally speaking, it's a nice, cheap, internet appliance, for those who want a keyboard instead of a touchscreen. It's really not that bad of a user experience. I have been leaving mine around the house for the roommates; they browse the web, listen to music, watch movies, and type their resumes. I don't know what other features you think it needs.

about a week ago
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DARPA Delving Into the Black Art of Super Secure Software Obfuscation

Tenebrousedge "When I use a word," (124 comments)

No, not all security is obscurity. If your list of things that need to be kept secret includes your security implementation, and especially your algorithm, then you have flawed security. Multi-level security increases the number of things you need to have and/or know in order to compromise the system. With e.g. ROT-13 or another shift cipher, once you know that they are using that cipher, there is no other knowledge that you need in order to break it. On the other hand, if you have an arbitrary number of keys and the knowledge that your opponent is using e.g. SSL, you don't have any greater ability to compromise other users.

Security through obscurity may be an overused phrase, but it does have a specific meaning; it only really makes sense in the context of security systems. You may use words however you wish, but to me that's not glory.

about two weeks ago
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Adobe Photoshop Is Coming To Linux, Through Chromebooks

Tenebrousedge Change the name already! (197 comments)

I don't always do graphics work, but when I do, I use the GIMP on Linux.

In my opinion, the open source community is practically perfect. Even with your once-in-25-years bug like Shellshock, I prefer having control over my systems, and access to the internals if I ever really need to. If I had unlimited power to direct the course of the open source community, and funds to match, I wouldn't change anything: just give me more of the same.

With one exception.

Can we start a petition for this? A Kickstarter? A lynch mob? The biggest embarrassment for open source isn't Shellshock, it's the name of the graphics editor. I suppose if nothing else it could lead to a profitable side business selling (Libre-) torches and pitchforks, but come on, people.

about three weeks ago
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Flurry of Scans Hint That Bash Vulnerability Could Already Be In the Wild

Tenebrousedge Re:Worse than Heartbleed? (318 comments)

This is probably true, but not necessarily. There are probably a fair amount of access points and routers that run more fully-featured linuxes. Someone on HN confirmed that their WD MyCloud cheapo-NAS was vulnerable. The issue is, if there are any vulnerable embedded devices, they will probably go unpatched for a long time, especially if it's at all difficult for the end-user. If Joe Sixpack's TV can be hacked, he's probably not ever going to know, and probably not be able to fix it if so.

I predict there's going to be a lot of people with a lot of devices that are simply fucked.

about three weeks ago
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Secret Service Critics Pounce After White House Breach

Tenebrousedge Do NOT Talk to the Cops (221 comments)

You are required to identify yourself to a police officer who asks (per Hiibel v. Sixth Judicial District Court of Nevada). You are not required to show them identification documents. There is no good reason to do so. Do not do this. Tell them your (real) name. Certain states (not California, mind you) may have state laws requiring you to give the police such information as your address and date of birth; the Supreme Court has not ruled on the legality of these laws. I would probably not comply, but that one is up to you. Do not talk to the police. Do not assist them with any investigation -- you are not required to, and providing false information is an easy crime to get booked for. Do not answer their questions. Do not allow them to search you. There are nice cops who are just doing their job, but the potential downsides are not worth it. "Am I being charged with a crime? Am I free to go?" Those are the only things you should say to the police.

And if you get arrested, remember that, per the reprehensible miscarriage of justice in Berghuis v. Thompkins, you must explicitly invoke your right to silence in order for the police to stop questioning you. Police interrogations are so effective that perfectly innocent people have been known to sign confessions after extended interrogation sessions. Tell them you are using your right to silence, and that you will not answer questions without an attorney present, and do not say anything more until that attorney shows up.

Know your rights, and insist upon them. Do not cooperate with the police beyond strict necessity.

about a month ago
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US Scientists Predict Long Battle Against Ebola

Tenebrousedge Always something new (119 comments)

ex africa semper aliquid novi

"Always from Africa comes something new." Pliny.

Que haya no navedad

"May no new thing arise." Traditional Spanish benediction.

about a month ago
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Do Dark Matter and Dark Energy Cast Doubt On the Big Bang?

Tenebrousedge In this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics! (225 comments)

Dyson spheres would glow in the infrared and therefore be pretty obvious. This is because they still have to radiate the heat produced by the star they enclose - otherwise their internal temperature would perpetually increase.

Isn't that purely supposition?

No, it's pretty well tested. Just because you don't understand something does not mean that no one does. Compare to geometry: you might not know how to construct a given shape, but you can probably say something about its properties given a few conditions that it must satisfy.

For example, we know that relativity is an extremely accurate description of the geometry of spacetime. We have proved mathematically that energy must be conserved, in addition to observational evidence. That gives us the conditions that a Dyson Sphere must satisfy: it must exist in a universe with the same physics. However, even setting aside that requirement -- if your technology can break the laws of thermodynamics, why would you need a Dyson Sphere?

The next time you feel compelled to argue that your ignorance is as good as someone else's knowledge, may I suggest in lieu of posting here that you start a television or political career?

about 2 months ago

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