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Debian Talks About Systemd Once Again

rdnetto Re:Hope! (516 comments)

I know you've probably written off gentoo at this point, here's a completely random bit of usage advice:

- Set use flags as you need them, even if this means re-installing the same thing multiple times. This avoids big important packages being pulled in as mere dependencies (though you can add them to the world list afterwards) and more importantly lets you set up and configure everything one at a time and makes it more likely that you'll notice error messages.
- Don't be afraid of package.keywords, especially for very specific use flags.
- Avoid gnome if possible. I don't know wtf it is with gnome, but it seems to be the poster child for weird and hard to diagnose issues as well as crazy dependency trees.
- Pay attention to what virtual packages are doing. Usually they are in your best interest, but not always.
- Don't bother using ebuilds for web apps

I started using a Gentoo derivative (Sabayon*) about a year ago, and it's an absolute pleasure to work with. (Particularly how colourful the package manager is compared to Debian.) In addition to the above, I suggest the following:
-Keep package.use, etc. and make.conf under version control. (This is really helpful in case you accidentally break something.)
-Use git instead of rsync for the portage tree - it's much faster, especially when the total no. of changes is small. (This is doubly true if you have multiple Gentoo installs.)

* Sabayon has systemd as the default, but it's easy enough to change back to OpenRC and being able to use binary packages saves a lot of time.


Scanning Embryos For Super-Intelligent Kids Is On the Horizon

rdnetto Re:I hate to say it... (362 comments)

The problem is that these decisions are going to be made long before we have anything resembling a complete understanding of what these genes do. The classic example is sickle cell anemia: given the choice it would be selected again, even though it results in resistance to malaria. This kind of control over genetics can only lead to a reduction in biodiversity (since the majority of people will make decisions using similar values), and then we're just one pandemic away from near-extinction.


Fighting the Culture of 'Worse Is Better'

rdnetto Re:Backwards Compatibility - Backward Languages (240 comments)

Yeah. Functional languages are so much better.. like the elegance of breaking out of a for loop... (oops... not possible... resort to clumsy workarounds). Or handling exceptions....

For loops are an imperative construct - you wouldn't find one in a functional language. Depending on what you were trying to achieve, you might express a similar concept using a fold and an algebraic type (Either or Maybe) to indicate when to ignore the rest of the elements.
I do agree that error handling is more inconvenient than in languages with exceptions though - wrapping the result in a type that can contain the result or an error is only a minor improvement on C-style return codes.

Personally, I've settled for a compromise between the two - Rust and D are both imperative languages with excellent functional programming support.

5 days ago

Statisticians Uncover What Makes For a Stable Marriage

rdnetto Re:Stability criterion (445 comments)

I can honestly say this is the best geek humour I've seen on Slashdot all year.

about a week ago

Statisticians Uncover What Makes For a Stable Marriage

rdnetto Re:Why get married? (445 comments)

My girlfriend is exactly as crazy as I am, and I can honestly say it works quite well.

about a week ago

ChromeOS Will No Longer Support Ext2/3/4 On External Drives/SD Cards

rdnetto Re:One huge customer - schools (344 comments)

This is precisely why I trust Google more than Facebook. Google will use my information to show me ads, but Facebook will sell that information to the highest bidder.

about a week ago

Goodbye, World? 5 Languages That Might Not Be Long For This World

rdnetto Re:Scripting language du jour (546 comments)

There are two big problems with Python (and no, the whitespace thing is not either of them).

The first is that the Python community has effectively been fragment by Python2 vs Python3. Many libraries support one but not the other, which can lead to dependency hell.

The other big problem is duck typing. No language which uses duck typing by default (with no way to strongly type variables) should be used for programs more than a few hundred lines long. Strongly typed variables significantly improve the static verification of programs, and throwing something like that away just seems foolish. The most common justification I've seen for it is that it's more concise and saves time, but there are plenty languages which are strongly typed and use type inference instead of requiring explicit declarations (e.g. Haskell).

about a week ago

What's Been the Best Linux Distro of 2014?

rdnetto Re:Same as it's been forever. (302 comments)

If you're completely insane and are sexually aroused by compiler flags, you want Gentoo.

Gentoo really doesn't enough love - it wasn't even mentioned in the article, despite being on par with Arch.
If anyone is interested in Gentoo but put off by the prospect of having to compile all your packages, I suggest they try Sabayon - it's a Gentoo derivative that uses a binary package manager in addition to portage, so you can install packages as easily as with apt-get/yum while still being able to use portage if you really want to mess around with USE flags.

about a week ago

Diners Tend To Eat More If Their Companions Are Overweight

rdnetto Re: The cure for obesity! (126 comments)

Aspartame is one of the few substances that has been analysed to death, and we know it is quickly metabolised into 3 parts that are also found in many other sources of food that we wouldn't think twice of consuming. We don't know nearly as much about herbal teas, for instance.

It also results in glucose intolerance.
Regardless of how we think the body processes it, it's pretty hard to argue with the evidence on what effects it actually has.

about two weeks ago

FBI Chief: Apple, Google Phone Encryption Perilous

rdnetto Re:Excellent point! (354 comments)

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

about three weeks ago

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.

about three weeks ago

Fork of Systemd Leads To Lightweight Uselessd

rdnetto Re:Err... (469 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 month ago

Fork of Systemd Leads To Lightweight Uselessd

rdnetto Re:kill -1 (469 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 month ago

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 a month ago

Torvalds: No Opinion On Systemd

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


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 a month ago

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 a month and a half ago

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.


about a month and a half ago

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 and a half ago

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

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 2 months ago



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

Australian Govt re-kindles office file format war Australian Govt re-kindles of

rdnetto rdnetto writes  |  about 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

AI Releases Linux-based Hybrid Netboot/Tablet/MID

rdnetto rdnetto writes  |  more than 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

Software is Licensed, Not Sold

rdnetto rdnetto writes  |  more than 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

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

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

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
        I don't live on Earth, you insensitive clod!"

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."

Part of Copyright Act Ruled Unconstitutional

rdnetto rdnetto writes  |  more than 5 years ago

rdnetto (955205) writes "From
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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