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Comment What accounting is good for. (Score 1) 137

Bookkeeping might be done by computers, assuming there's someone around to type in the numbers.

The purpose of accounting is to tell you how the company is doing.

Here's my example. You're a publisher, and you have a warehouse of paper books. Lost of copies of few best-sellers, and a lot of others. Now how much is that inventory worth?

The easy way is just do add up the wholesale price of all those copies and add them together.

That would probably be dead wrong. The best-sellers might sell that much, but the others? In the next ten years, you might sell quite a few of these, but you don't know which ones. And if you take a guess which ones are going to sell and which are worthless, you'll probably be wrong, and if you go so far as to throw out ones you think are worthless ones, you'll end up tossing a lot of books that someone might suddenly want to buy five years from now.

So how much is this inventory worth? I dunno. A good accountant should be able to give you a better estimate than "I dunno".

-- hendrik

Comment Trestle (Score 1) 244

Trestle is the UI system that comes with Modula 3. Its programmers' manual is *excellent*. And, furthermore, it was machine-generated from the source code, which made it easy to keep the manual up-to-date as the code evolved.

And, yes, it still manages to be excellent.

There was a lot of thought put into it. There was a lot of thought put into writing the comments in the code so that they would yield comprehensible documentation, including a gradual (though quite technical) introduction to the subject matter.

Generating documentation from source code doesn't have to produce garbage, though it will if the programmer pays insufficient attention to the issue. And paying attention to the generated documentation during coding pays off in clean interface design, because a clean design makes documentation easier.

-- hendrik

Comment VM versus dual boot. Or both? (Score 1) 385

Yes, VM's can work, and have advantages

But if her long-term aim is to use only Linux, she should run LInux on the bare machine. The virtualisation hardware on modern processors has cut down drastically on the virtualisation overhead, making it practical, and it may well turn out to be her preferred mode of operation on her final laptop

I can't run a virtual machine with any speed on my ancient laptop; it just doesn't have the right hardware. Her old laptop may be as decrepit s mine; she needs to be aware that dual boot is an alternative.

And even so, aren't there still issues with high-speed graphics? I've heard rumours that they've started making some graphics processors so they can be partitioned for virtual machines, but I hadn't heard that they were actually practical yet.

-- hendrik

Comment First, find out what the lab provides. (Score 2) 385

First, find out what the lab whe's going to woork at provides. No point duplicating that.

Then install Linux in a dual-boot scenario on her existing laptop. She might need a hard disk upgrade if the disk is full already. She can still use Windows when she needs it, and Linux when she needs *it*.

Note: Most Linux software is free. She should try it, install something else, try it, until she has a mix that works for her. Get on the mailing lists of the distro she's using. Try another distro. She can triple-boot if she likes. Distros are similar, knowledge transfers well, but they're not at all identical.

Then after some experience, she'll have some idea what's lacking. Don't waste your money until you know what she needs.

-- hendrik

Submission + - Removing libsystemd0 from a live-running Debian system ( 1

lkcl writes: The introduction of systemd has unilaterally created a polarisation of the GNU/Linux community that is remarkably similar to the monopolistic power position wielded by Microsoft in the late 1990s. Choices were stark: use Windows (with SMB/CIFS Services), or use UNIX (with NFS and NIS). Only the introduction of fully-compatible reverse-engineered NT Domains services corrected the situation. Instructions on how to remove systemd include dire warnings that "all dependent packages will be removed", rendering a normal Debian Desktop system flat-out impossible to achieve. It was therefore necessary to demonstrate that it is actually possible to run a Debian Desktop GUI system (albeit an unusual one: fvwm) with libsystemd0 removed. The reason for doing so: it doesn't matter how good systemd is believed to be or in fact actually is: the reason for removing it is, apart from the alarm at how extensive systemd is becoming (including interfering with firewall rules), it's the way that it's been introduced in a blatantly cavalier fashion as a polarised all-or-nothing option, forcing people to consider abandoning the GNU/Linux of their choice and to seriously consider using FreeBSD or any other distro that properly respects the Software Freedom principle of the right to choose what software to run. We aren't all "good at coding", or paid to work on Software Libre: that means that those people who are need to be much more responsible, and to start — finally — to listen to what people are saying. Developing a thick skin is a good way to abdicate responsibility and, as a result, place people into untenable positions.

Comment Someone has forked Debian already (Score 2) 267

I just encountered a link about refracta. It turns out to be absurdly easy to fork Debian, at least for now.

Refracta is rather close to Debian testing. Its home page

At it is described as
(for testing, without libsystemd0, it's pinned).

It even uses the Debian repositories!

Are there any other forks?

-- hendrik

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