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Comments

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FBI Chief: Apple, Google Phone Encryption Perilous

rdnetto Re:Excellent point! (353 comments)

I have mod points ... oh, wait....

3 days ago
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Remote Exploit Vulnerability Found In Bash

rdnetto Re:so a remote fork bomb is possible? (399 comments)

For that specific case, it does require SSH access.
However, SSH access is often used for protocols like git, which makes this rather problematic.
Additionally, the vulnerability is just as effective using the CGI variables via apache.

5 days ago
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Fork of Systemd Leads To Lightweight Uselessd

rdnetto Re:Err... (468 comments)

Yes. No. Wait - yes. No... no. Uh....

The systemd has modular design.

But monolithic architecture.

Literally everything inside systemd is intertwined using the D-Bus.

So yes, a crash of one of the systemd daemons might cause deadlock/hang or even crash of the rest of the systemd, and consequently affect the processes running under it.

The systemd's design is pretty bad. This is not an exaggeration, when people call it Windows-like: MSWindows OS has very very similar atructure as the systemd. Windows "Event Log" is really cherry topping.

On-topic: uselessd doesn't fix this problem. It lessens it, but doesn't fix it.

AFAICT, uselessd strips out everything that isn't part of init from systemd, including journald. So exactly which daemons are left that are intertwined with each other?

about a week ago
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Fork of Systemd Leads To Lightweight Uselessd

rdnetto Re:kill -1 (468 comments)

Which is why I don't see a systemd fork as a viable alternative. The whole idea is broken, as it breaks with the Unix toolbox approach, where tools work independently, and not as a clusterfuck of apps that engage in social networking under the dictatorship of an object-oriented leviathan. ... Give me an init that only does init and does it well with a KISS philosophy.

Try reading the project site, because AFAICT it meets your requirements. They've removed pretty much everything except for init, including journald and udev.

about a week ago
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Torvalds: No Opinion On Systemd

rdnetto Re:So what's wrong with systemd, really? (385 comments)

Binding previously-separate features into one project is bad design, by itself, the problem with systemd.

Why? Justify that statement without using any reference to the UNIX way or it being the way things have always been designed.

IMHO a coordinated set of functions that are used in a common way should be combined.

There are times when combining separate features into a single project makes sense - BusyBox is the classic example of this.
The problem is that it reduces the system's modularity - instead of being able to replace udev, the logging interface, etc. independently, you need to replace/patch the entirety of systemd. Now, if the upstream was willing to actively support modularity by maintaining stable APIs, this wouldn't be a problem, but they've gone out of their way to remove those APIs from all the projects they've assimilated.

I think systemd offers significant improvements over its predecessors, and agree that journalctl is much easier to use, but I don't think the way the project is being managed is good for the long term health of the Linux ecosystem.

about two weeks ago
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Torvalds: No Opinion On Systemd

rdnetto Re:Now ask him if he trusts systemd upstream "tast (385 comments)

Agreed.

The real issue with systemd is that the vast majority of its development is funded by Red Hat. This means that while they claim systemd is modular, they don't accept any code that would actually facilitate that modularity by letting you replace udev with eudev, for example, because it's not useful to them and increases the maintenance burden.
Compare this to the kernel, which has deliberately been managed by a neutral party (the Linux Foundation) from the start. Can you imagine what the kernel would look like if it had been run by Red Hat, and only accepted code for kernel modules that were considered useful? My guess is we wouldn't have seen half the innovation we have, and things like btrfs wouldn't even exist.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Are the Strangest Features of Various Programming Languages?

rdnetto Haskell (729 comments)

The following is perfectly legal Haskell, and does exactly what it looks like:

x = 2 + 2 where 2 + 2 = 5

about three weeks ago
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AMD Releases New Tonga GPU, Lowers 8-core CPU To $229

rdnetto Re:I PC game, and have zero reason to upgrade (98 comments)

As such, both Intel and AMD have to work harder on backwards compatibility. I might buy new CPU when it goes on sale if I also don't have to upgrade motherboard and RAM.

Intel, ok, but AMD? AMD doesn't make breaking changes to their sockets unless they're needed to support newer memory. They released AM3 to support DDR3 in 2009, and AM3+ is backward compatible. (The FM sockets are for APUs only and therefore not relevant.)
In the same period, Intel has had 4 desktop sockets (twice as many as AMD), and none of which are backward compatible, AFAICT.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C...

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Old Technology Can't You Give Up?

rdnetto Re:Simple (635 comments)

that war is over, and vi won

Vi's key feature was composability (you could use same motions with any action), and Emac's key feature was plugins.
Today, Vim has plenty of plugins (I have 48 in my vimrc as of yesterday), and Emacs ... is just as (not) composable as it was before, AFAICT.
Vim won the way, but it became the enemy in the process.

about a month ago
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Microsoft Releases Replacement Patch With Two Known Bugs

rdnetto Re:Never useful info given with patches (140 comments)

It has nothing to do with "closed source." Show me what info is available when you do an "apt get upgrade". :P

Install apt-listchanges, and you can see the entire changelog.

about 1 month ago
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If Java Wasn't Cool 10 Years Ago, What About Now?

rdnetto Re:Just don't try to write an OS in Java (511 comments)

I'm curious why you think that neither is better than the other.
I'm not familiar with Pascal, but as I understand it:
C strings are a series of characters, followed by a null terminator.
Pascal strings are a series of characters, prefixed by their length. If the implementation uses more than one word/byte to store the length, then you aren't limited to 255 characters.
Given how many security problems there have been in C programs due to incorrect handling of strings, the Pascal approach seems much safer (at the cost of a few additional bytes of memory per string, but I suspect each character is stored in its own word anyway for performance reasons).

The C++/D implementation seems to be the best so far though, since storing the length of the string with the pointer enables creation of substrings in constant time.

about a month ago
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If Java Wasn't Cool 10 Years Ago, What About Now?

rdnetto Re:What's the point? (511 comments)

I like C# a lot. I wish people used it outside of Windows. Alas. I'll retire happy if I never touch Windows again, so C# is dead to me.

I'll second this. C# is a beautiful language with a terrible execution. Java is a terrible language with a much better execution (at least it has closures now...).

Having found myself in the same situation, you might want to take a look at D. It has very similar syntax to C#, but works just as well under Linux as Windows.

about a month ago
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Linus Torvalds: 'I Still Want the Desktop'

rdnetto Re:Infrastructure? (727 comments)

I think the main problem is that Linux is *TOO* configurable. "Normals" don't want hundreds of options. They want people to tell them which of a limited number of options will work for them.

Which distro should I pick? Which window manager should I pick? How do I configure my computer to be optimal for *ME*? I'm a techie and I can't tell you which distro is really the best for most people. I can tell you which ones are more stable.....but it isn't just ONE.

With Windows....and even Apple.....those choices are more or less made for you. All a "normal" needs to do is decide which apps they need to run and whether their OS supports those apps.

Being too configurable isn't a problem - needing to configure it is. Debian is about as configurable as Arch, but is significantly easier to use because it comes with a default configuration. You pick the most popular distro (Mint, according to distrowatch) and use whatever it comes with. Knowing how to customize it to suit you is something you learn over time, and is also completely unnecessary at the start of the learning curve.

The whole point of a distro is to make those choices for the user, while enabling varying degrees of customization. Choose the most popular distro, and you'll be fine.

about a month ago
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Interviews: Bjarne Stroustrup Answers Your Questions

rdnetto Re:Ah yes, for that we have D (102 comments)

I'm not the GP, but I thought I'd bite.
tldr; It's not perfect, but it's closer than you'd think.

D sounds like a neat language that I'll probably never be able to use. I'm a game developer, and C++ has a native compiler for every machine I would ever need my code to run on

DMD, LDC and GDC (the 3 most popular D compilers) work fine on x86 and x86_64.
LDC supports ARM and PowerPC with some issues. GDC apparently has better support for ARM

as well as an already mature ecosystem (engines, code libraries, sample code, all in C++).

D has very good interop support for C and C++ libraries. There's a significant number of wrapper libraries in dub as well.
In general, C code can be used as is, while C++ libraries often need a wrapper to work around issues like templates.

In fact, C/C++ is pretty much the only option I have if I want my code to be broadly portable.

Yes, C compilers exist for pretty much every architecture in existence, with C++ supported on most of them.
But this is a red herring, because the only instruction sets that really matter to someone in game development are x86, x86_64 and ARM. Whether or not you can compile your code for PIC is completely irrelevant. (That said, LDC uses LLVM for its backend, so it probably has the best chance of supporting unusual architectures.)

It's interesting how a lot of languages don't seem worry too much about backward compatibility, because they want to focus on a clean and better language. Unfortunately, in the real world, there are always massive amounts of legacy code that need to continue to work alongside whatever new whizbang features are introduced, even at the expense of a cleaner or more elegant language.

If I had to give any one reason for C++'s success, it would be the standards committee's stubborn (and in hindsight, wise) refusal to "clean up" the language by removing crufty features and syntax, a lot of which were leftover from C. C++ code from 20 years ago still compiles today mostly unchanged, and that's incredibly important when trying to build up or maintain a large ecosystem. You can see what a huge split it causes in the community when a language breaks compatibility like Python did (2.x vs 3.x), and ultimately, I wonder if it's more damaging than C++'s more conservative approach. As a developer, I'd be hesitant to heavily invest in a language that is more likely to break compatibility and leave me stranded.

Backward compatibility is always an issue with any piece of software. That said, I think there's something to be said for handling breaking changes well as opposed to handling them poorly - anything which creates a rift in the community is obviously an example of the latter.
Python was an example of the that, since it wasn't possible to combine code from old and new versions. While D had a breaking change with D2, there is only one person I am aware of who is still using D1. The standard library from D1 (Tango) was ported to D2, and the syntactic changes were fairly minor and easily remedied.
It's also worth noting that the D1 branch of DMD is still maintained, should you actually need to compile D1 code.

Pretty much every language is going to accumulate cruft over time. Even if D accumulates it at the same rate C++ did, it's relative youth means that it will be much more pleasant to work with, since C++ will always have more. I think the only real way to completely remove all that cruft is to create an entirely new language - no one would have complained about Python 3 if it were marketed as a new language, rather than as a new version with breaking changes (Nimrod is an example of this). This is what D is to C++ - a language with equivalent power that wipes the slate clean.

about a month ago
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Kolab.org Groupware 3.3 Release Adds Tags, Notes, and Dozens of Other Features

rdnetto Explanation & Thoughts (26 comments)

To put it simply, Kolab is a FOSS equivalent to Exchange. On the client side you can use Roundcube (a web UI), KDE Kontact, or anything supporting the IMAP-based protocol. It also supports ActiveSync for use with Android.

I set up Kolab 3.2 on a Debian a while back because I wanted a centralised calendar, etc. that didn't require me to trust Google with my life. It's worked pretty well, apart from a few issues. Configuration is a little tricky, especially as SSL is not the default and there are three different places it needs to be enabled. There are some minor bugs and instabilities, though hopefully they have been fixed in 3.3. Synchronization between the roundcube and IMAP clients can also be a little unreliable.

If anyone has any questions about it, I'll be happy to answer them.

about a month ago
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Munich Reverses Course, May Ditch Linux For Microsoft

rdnetto Re:Surprise? (579 comments)

Which is the real issue in doing an office migration. That and replicating Outlook, I don't know about the whole kitchen sink but at least the whole mail/calendar/meeting bit. Somehow I'm amazed that in the last decade open source hasn't managed to pull it off, what the average office worker does is not rocket science. I guess it's just nobody's itch.

KDE Kontact is probably the best FOSS alternative to Outlook - it has email, calendar, contacts, todo lists, RSS feeds, newsgroups, etc.
There's a bunch of free alternatives to Exchange as well, though I'm less familiar with those.

about a month ago
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Interviews: Ask Bjarne Stroustrup About Programming and C++

rdnetto Re:Is the complexity of C++ a practical joke? (427 comments)

A practical joke? Are you joking? C++ is not designed so that every feature must be learned and used. It's complexity derives from the fact that it supports OOP, functional programming, generic programming and I'm sure others that Bjarne would happily describe to you and the reasoning behind supporting features being included in the language.

I disagree. D has feature parity with C++, but is significantly simpler and easier to learn. (This is supported by the fact that their eponymous books, The C++ Programming Language and the D Programming Language, are 1368 and 460 pages respectively.)
C++'s complexity arises from a combination of legacy features and inconsistency.
For example, it has two different kinds of enums - plain/C-style enums and enum classes. Enum classes were created because adding scoping to existing enums would have been a breaking change.
Inconsistency can be seen in things like the runtime initialization rules, where the contents of int x[10]; is uninitialized, but the contents of vector y(10) are initialized to zero.
Essentially, poor decisions were made in the long history of C++, and while it's easy to say that hindsight is 20-20, the reality is that those bad decisions are constraining the direction the language is taking and increasing its complexity.

There is an excellent talk here by Scott Meyers discussing how inconsistent C++ is. These inconsistencies are responsible for the vast majority of the unnecessary complexity in the language.

about a month and a half ago
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The Technologies Changing What It Means To Be a Programmer

rdnetto Re: COBOL was better than JavaScript. (294 comments)

'The C++ Programming Language' refers to plain enums, enum classes, and unnamed enums. Unnamed enums are just anonymous plain enums stored as integers though, so it's arguable whether or not they count a third type or not.

about a month and a half ago
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The Technologies Changing What It Means To Be a Programmer

rdnetto Re:COBOL was better than JavaScript. (294 comments)

Ah, good old Stockholm Syndrome. Don't worry, I feel the same way about C++ ;^)

What's not to love about a language with 3 different types of enums?

about a month and a half ago
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Google Will Give a Search Edge To Websites That Use Encryption

rdnetto Re:OK fine but give us a free CA (148 comments)

The entire point of a CA is trust.

Agreed. But SSL is about encryption - authentication is merely an optional extra (if it weren't, self-signed certs wouldn't even be an option).
No intelligent person trusts the majority of websites, but they may still have valid reasons for not wanting their browsing habits eavesdropped upon.

Using a non-trusted CA would actually be a step backwards.

That depends on your priorities - on whether authentication or privacy is more important to you. Quite frankly, I find it hard to understand how encryption without authentication is worse than no authentication at all.

Even worse would be convincing people that manually installing a cert for a random website is a good idea.

Besides, I do believe that every single major browser now includes dire warnings if you go to a site with a cert from a non-trusted source.

Frankly, this is a usability problem. A user should not receive dire warnings for a self-signed cert; they should get some indication that it's inferior to a trusted cert, but that's it. (I like the red-yellow-green approach Chrome takes with the address bar.)
Dire warnings should be reserved for when a website's cert changes significantly, because that's the best indicator of malicious activity. Using them for self-signed certs just raises the false positive rate.

Certs are cheap. A quick Googling reveals a number of options for under $50/year

Cheap is relative. But more importantly, consider the implications of this. The web is slowly moving towards deprecating the use of unencrypted HTTP. Sure, it won't happen immediately, but it's going to happen sooner or later, especially given the way the IETF responded to the Snowden leaks. Meanwhile, CAs stand poised to charge an annual fee to anyone who doesn't want their site to be decorated by scary warnings. Stuff like this centralizes the internet and makes it more fragile and prone to interference by a single party. We need to be looking at more decentralized options, and making self-signed certs a viable choice is a good start to that.

about 2 months ago

Submissions

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Debian to Adopt New Init System

rdnetto rdnetto writes  |  about a year ago

rdnetto (955205) writes "Debian developers have been in a very polarized discussion recently about replacing their default SysVinit system with a more modern init system; namely, Debian developers are evaluating whether to use systemd or Upstart.

Debian wants to switch a modern event-based init system that is more robust and provides more features, provides stable support for advanced environments (e.g. SAN), being more similar to the likes of Ubuntu and RHEL, and modern open-source packages like GNOME 3.x are easier to package. Among other reasons, Debian hasn't been quick to switch init systems over lots of work needing to be accomplished.

In one of the latest init system discussions, it was stated "since the init system strongly shapes many other packages, there has to be only one and no other supported options.""

Link to Original Source
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Australian Govt re-kindles office file format war Australian Govt re-kindles of

rdnetto rdnetto writes  |  more than 2 years ago

rdnetto (955205) writes "The Australian Government’s peak IT strategy group has issued a cautious updated appraisal of currently available office productivity suite file formats, in what appears to be an attempt to more fully explain its thinking about the merits of open standards such as OpenDocument versus more proprietary file formats promulgated by vendors like Microsoft.
Though a move away from a clear pro-Microsoft stance, a clear bias towards them remains present."

Link to Original Source
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AI Releases Linux-based Hybrid Netboot/Tablet/MID

rdnetto rdnetto writes  |  about 4 years ago

rdnetto (955205) writes "After 6 months of delays, AlwaysInnovating has released their newest device, a netbook with a touchscreen and detachable wireless keyboard. The screen also houses a secondary screen that can be removed and used as a mobile internet device. The device uses the TI Cortex A8, has 768 MB of RAM, and 19.5 Ah of batteries."
Link to Original Source
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Software is Licensed, Not Sold

rdnetto rdnetto writes  |  about 4 years ago

rdnetto (955205) writes "In a major blow to user rights, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has issued a decision that will go a long way toward ensuring that software buyers will rarely be software owners.
In a triumph of legal formalism over reality, the Court held that the copyright’s first sale doctrine – the law that allows you to resell books and that protects libraries and archives from claims of copyright infringement – doesn’t apply to software (and possibly DVDs, CDs and other “licensed” content) as long as the vendor saddles the transfer with enough restrictions to transform what the buyer may think is sale into a mere license."

Link to Original Source
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EFF Wins New DMCA Exceptions

rdnetto rdnetto writes  |  more than 4 years ago

rdnetto (955205) writes "The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) won three critical exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) anticircumvention provisions today, carving out new legal protections for consumers who modify their cell phones and artists who remix videos — people who, until now, could have been sued for their non-infringing or fair use activities."
Link to Original Source
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Pirate Party to Run Pirate Bay from Parliament

rdnetto rdnetto writes  |  more than 4 years ago

rdnetto (955205) writes "After their former hosting provider received an injunction telling it to stop providing bandwidth to The Pirate Bay, the worlds most resilient BitTorrent site switched to a new ISP. That host, the Swedish Pirate Party, made a stand on principle. Now they aim to take things further by running the site from inside the Swedish Parliament.

The party has announced today that they intend to use part of the Swedish Constitution to further these goals, specifically Parliamentary Immunity from prosecution or lawsuit for things done as part of their political mandate. They intend to push the non-commercial sharing part of their manifesto, by running The Pirate Bay from ‘inside’ the Parliament, by Members of Parliament."

Link to Original Source
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POLL: Which continent do you live in?

rdnetto rdnetto writes  |  more than 4 years ago

rdnetto (955205) writes "POLL: Which continent do you live in?
        North America
        South America
        Antarctica
        Africa
        Europe
        Asia
        Australia
        I don't live on Earth, you insensitive clod!"
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Pirate Bay Judge Accused of Bias

rdnetto rdnetto writes  |  more than 5 years ago

rdnetto (955205) writes "One of the biggest cases in file-sharing history ended last week with The Pirate Bay Four sentenced to huge fines and jail time. Today it is revealed that far from being impartial, the judge in the case is a member of pro-copyright lobby groups — along with Henrik Pontén, Monique Wadsted and Peter Danowsky. There are loud calls for a retrial.
http://torrentfreak.com/pirate-bay-lawyer-is-biased-calls-for-a-retrial-090423/"
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Part of Copyright Act Ruled Unconstitutional

rdnetto rdnetto writes  |  more than 5 years ago

rdnetto (955205) writes "From http://techdirt.com/articles/20090403/1619494384.shtml:
A year and a half ago, we were quite surprised when the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals actually sided with Larry Lessig, concerning how a part of copyright law that pulled foreign works out of the public domain was potentially unconstitutional. This was in the "Golan case," the third of three big copyright cases Lessig had championed. The appeals court had sent the case back to the lower court, and that lower court has now decided that, indeed, a trade agreement (URAA) that pulled foreign content out of the public domain is unconstitutional as it violates the First Amendment. While it may seem narrowly focused, this is the first case that has successfully challenged a part of copyright law as being unconstitutional. The ruling will almost certainly be appealed, so it's not over yet — but it's still a rare and important win for those who are fighting to keep copyright law from destroying the public domain."

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