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* Posts by MacroRodent

1339 posts • joined 18 May 2007

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Dropbox plans to drop encrypted Linux filesystems in November

MacroRodent
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Re: "Too many options it not an issue here."

> You need to test each supported combination, to ensure nothing weird happens. And yes, it means also you need to test NTFS on each supported Windows platform, in 32 and 64 bit flavours.

So should one do this for *every* program that reads or writes files? Same thing. Normal open, close etc are also part of an API specification that abstracts away the underlying file system implementation.

Building large software systems is impossible without relying on such abstractions.

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MacroRodent
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Re: Lost the plot

Maybe they have fired the real geeks who made the original product, and now have outsourced further development to the lowest bidder?

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MacroRodent
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Re: "This sounds entirely like a company which wants to reduce"

If the feature Dropbox needs is xattrs, it is a fair requirement. It is just like requiring some other property of file systems, like a certain minimum file name length. But then it it should run just fine on any Linux file system that supports the xattrs API, not just ext4fs. Most non-ancient native Linux file systems do so.

Too many options it not an issue here. Only the API matters, in other respects a user level component like Dropbox must be ignorant of the particular underlying implementation.

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Windows is coming to Chromebooks… with Google’s blessing

MacroRodent
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Linux

Re: It's happening...

Linux already runs many Windows applications through Wine, and has been doing it for years.

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ZX Spectrum Vega+ blows a FUSE: It runs open-source emulator

MacroRodent
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Re: 98% ZX Spectrum look a like

You would have to modernise the video output also. If I recall correctly, the Spectrum, like most early home computers, produced only RF-modulated PAL which you connected to the antenna input of your TV (were there any NTSC versions?). I'm not sure all TVs even have a PAL tuner any more.

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MacroRodent
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GPL

Not mentioning GPL on the web site is not yet necessarily a violation, but the customer who bought this should have received a copy of the license, and a written offer to provide the source code for all the GPL'd software in the unit.

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Imagine Python fan fiction written in C, read with a Lisp: Code lingo Nim gets cash injection

MacroRodent
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Re: Interesting but ugly

the identifiers FOO_BAR and fooBar are equivalent...

Sounds like PL/M, which is also case-insensitive, and where you can insert extra $-characters anywhere in identifiers and numeric literals without affecting meaning (FOO$BAR == fooBar). I have never understood why. $ is not a terribly good noise character for making identifiers more readable, because it looks so much like a letter.

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Get drinking! Abstinence just as bad for you as getting bladdered

MacroRodent
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Re: One little pill?

Alcohol is a natural by-product of the digestion process. The human body has evolved methods of dealing with the toxicity of alcohol

This is certainly true, and the reason we can drink alcoholic drinks without dying outright, but the digestion produces much smaller amounts of it than drinking. You cannot get drunk by eating non-alcoholic foods!

Googling the matter, there seems to be a lot of different opinions about how carcinogenic (if at all) alcohol is. This also reminds me of the times the tobacco industry still tried to argue smoking is not so harmful, and promoted studies to confuse the issue.

I do drink occasionally, but less than I used to, which was not so much even then (less that the British official recommended maximum, which to my eyes looks like borderline alcoholism... cultural difference, I guess).

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MacroRodent
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Re: One little pill?

I wonder if there is any difference in resveratrol content between wine and the original grape juice? Would making wine concentrate it? If so, maybe think of other ways concentrate it in juice.

I am nowadays very suspicious of studies attributing health benefits to alcohol itself. It is a know carcinogen, and has ill effects on the liver. Even if it theoretically would have benefits to some part of the body, these would be offset by harm to other parts. (It also has a mighty industry behind it, rather like tobacco used to).

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IBM Watson dishes out 'dodgy cancer advice', Google Translate isn't better than humans yet, and other AI tidbits

MacroRodent
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Re: "Google Translate isn't better than humans yet"

> At the very least, 'Literal (word-by-word)' translation should be a selectable option.

Words in isolation usually have multiple meanings. To make sense, you have to have some idea what the text is talking about. The funniest example of ignoring context I have seen was a packet of Iranian dates I bought a few years ago, with a label in Finnish advertising "Tuoreet päivämäärät". Well, "päivämäärät" is "dates", but only in the sense of a date in a calendar. Someone had apparently trusted the Google translator: it produces this text from "fresh dates".

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MacroRodent
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Re: Google Translate 'AI-Hype'

Google translate is still a great source of amusement! Insert something from classic Finnish literature, translate to English, and the result is invariably surreal: "Their father, who was a severely eager forearm, met at his best age when he was suddenly killed when he fought with the tiny bear. Both then, Kontio of the woods as a man, were found dead, one by the other, landing in a bloody tanter. The wound was wounded with wounds, but both the throat and the side of the beast were seen by the knife cut off and his chest pierced by a rifle perched on a rifle. So stopped a rotting man who had dropped more than fifty bears."

> But now, most other language sites are actually better imho!

The Bing translation of the same passage makes slightly more sense, but not much: "Their father, who was a fierce avid forest man, faced his best-hearted death when he was fighting with a sudden bear. Both at the time, both in the forest of the Sam and in the man, were found dead, one after another, with the blood on a bloody tanker. The man was badly wounded, but Pedonkin both throat and flank were spotted with a knife and his breasts pierced by the rifle's Tuiman. So ended the day with a stalwart man who had poured more than fifty bears."

Well, at least it does not translate a fierce bear into a tiny bear, like Google. "Forest man" is also a bit better translation for "metsämies" ("hunter") than "forearm" (How on Earth did Google come up with that?). Finally, here is a quick human translation, by me. Not likely to win any literary awards, but at least it means pretty much the same as the original: "Their father, who was an eager hunter, met with sudden death in his prime, when fighting a fierce bear. Both, the bear of the woods and the man, were found dead, lying side by side on the blood-stained ground. Badly was the man mauled, but also the throat and the side of the beast were seen sliced by a knife, and its chest was pierced by the powerful bullet of the rifle. So ended his days a strong man, who had felled more than fifty bears".

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Sorry, Neil Armstrong. Boffins say you may not have been first life-form to set foot on the Moon

MacroRodent
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Re: " Getting a sufficiently thick atmosphere would require"

By the time there is technology to give Mars a thick atmosphere, adding a global magnetic field is a piece of cake. Huge superconduction coil round the equator!

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Spectre rises from the dead to bite Intel in the return stack buffer

MacroRodent
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Re: RSB

> Switching to kernel mode (a system call) would be a bit more problematic, as system calls happen frequently.

I don't think invalidating at every syscall would be such a big deal. System calls are already very slow compared to normal calls, and subsequently the kernel will internally do a lot of other function calls before returning, so I would estimate the performance hit to be very small, or non-existent.

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If Brussels wants Android forks, phone makers aren't helping

MacroRodent
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Re: They're not the only ones...

I suspect, we're going to be heading towards using exploits to get them unlocked, rather than officially sanctioned and support

Rather like game consoles then - most of them can be cracked via some bug, either in the console or in some game...

I wonder if we could get an EU directive passed mandating that the customer must be able to install an alternate phone OS? Their famous Android ruling is rather irrelevant without it.

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EU plans for domestic exascale supercomputer chips: A RISC-y business

MacroRodent
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30MW

Sounds like it needs its own nuclear power plant to run. Has this been factored into the costs?

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Python creator Guido van Rossum sys.exit()s as language overlord

MacroRodent
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Re: Here's a PEP

> Proper FORTRAN didn't have BEGIN and END, though it did have significant leading whitespace,

In classic FORTRAN, you had to have the leading white space for statements (I think 6 spaces was the standard, but most compilers also accepted a single TAB), and everything after column 72 is ignored. Otherwise white space was optional and ignored. And I mean optional: IF(I.GT.0)GOTO100 is valid and jumps to the statement labeled 100 when I>0. You could also add extra white space inside keywords and identifiers, so you could write GO TO 100 if you preferred that.

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Imagine a patent on organizing computer files being used against online shopping sites. Oh, it's still happening

MacroRodent
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Re: Oh for the love of...

The abstract sounds just like a SQL view. If the defendants do in fact use a relational database, they should point out theirs is an obvious application of ideas presented in the 1970's.

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An $18m supercomputer to simulate brains of mice in the land of Swiss cheese. How apt, HPE

MacroRodent
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Re: Is it legitimate to ask

One way to think about it I have found helpful is that evolution *is* intelligence when it operates on timescales of millions of years. So the brain was designed by an intelligence, it just is of a totally alien kind.

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A fine vintage: Wine has run Microsoft Solitaire on Linux for 25 years

MacroRodent
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Nice way to use Windows CD-ROM titles

Remember those? Games, educational programs on CD-ROM. Most of them do not run any more on modern Windows version, but Wine can usually be made to run them, after tweaking application-specific settings suitably. Many years ago I used to do this to make some kids games run on my Linux box for my child (he has long since outgrown them). Sometimes it was not trivial. Wine did not support some palette color modes, unless run in a X11 server with palette color. Solution was to run the wine inside a Xephyr window (an X11 server running inside X11), which can be configured to have a different color depth from the host.

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US Declaration of Independence labeled hate speech by Facebook bots

MacroRodent
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Emperor Facebook the First

that Facebook’s decisions can change the fate of a business. And now those decisions are being made by tone-deaf robots.

Never mind the fate of businesses, Facebook and its tone-deaf robots now affects the fate of nations...

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Git365. Git for Teams. Quatermass and the Git Pit. GitHub simply won't do now Microsoft has it

MacroRodent
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Re: Trolling for comments

Hey, its Friday! Silly polls are expected!

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No more slurping of kids' nationalities, Brit schools told

MacroRodent
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Re: Killing the patient

If the pupil has trouble with English, it is quite obvious to the teachers without asking about nationality. The nationality would be the wrong answer anyway: some pupil from, say, Japan could be quite proficient in English for reasons related to his/her personal history.

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White House calls its own China tech cash-inject ban 'fake news'

MacroRodent
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Re: The Chinese have a saying :

》targeting countries

Uh, such as Canada and the EU?

I didn't know I was working in sweatshop in a low-wage country...

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MacroRodent
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Re: MAGA it won't be

MAGE - Make America Great Entertainment! Now what will this tragic opera be named?

Watched Stephen Colbert and Trevor Noah shows last night on Youtube. Both comedians were desperately trying to lampoon Trump's latest rally, which was nigh impossible, because Trump was doing it himself. Really cringeworthy to watch. Actually it wasn't fun any more, but scary.

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SUSE Linux Enterprise turns 15: Look, Ma! A common code base

MacroRodent
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Re: Cultural cloning and diminishing returns

only ever used the 22 Major Arcana

But they have the cool pictures in every deck! In most Tarot decks, the minor arcana are boring, like normal playing cards, but with a different set of four symbols.

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GDPR forgive us, it's been one month since you were enforced…

MacroRodent
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Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn

So far no site I care about has tried to lock me out for being in the EU.

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Linus Torvalds tells kernel devs to fix their regressive fixing

MacroRodent
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Re surprisingly tame

Usually he is reasonable, the colourful outbursts just get more press coverage.

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Now Microsoft ports Windows 10, Linux to homegrown CPU design

MacroRodent
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Boffin

Re: Computer says "No"

The concept of RISC (as I recall) was to get closer to the microcode to streamline the instruction pipeline and reduce the size (etc.) of the core, though it's not the same thing as BEING microcode.

The original RISC architectures like MIPS and SPARC did not use microcode at all. In that sense, the user-visible instructions were the microcode. Being able to avoid microcode is the main benefit of having simple and regularly encoded fixed-length instructions. I am not sure if any later implementations of these architectures use it.

I don't recall MIPS or ARM _EVER_ being faster than the high-end x86's.

In the 1990's, RISC processors generally ran circles around Intel's 486 and the original Pentium. I am not sure when the tables turned. Maybe around the time when Pentium III was introduced. Should did up old benchmarks.

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Unbreakable smart lock devastated to discover screwdrivers exist

MacroRodent
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FAIL

Reminds me...

Reminds me of the very cheap Chinese locks I used as a kid to lock my yacht club locker. In case the key was lost (which happened a couple of times), this kind of lock was about as easy to break as the Tapplock, but they cost something like 50 cents instead of $100, so it was acceptable.

Anyway the story was really comical. Sounds like the design team did not include anyone with a clue about making any kind of lock, and apparently not very good programmers either.

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Microsoft loves Linux so much its R Open install script rm'd /bin/sh

MacroRodent
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Remember the rule

Bah, just Windows developers diverted to Linux work, without sufficient competence building.

Remember the saying, "never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity".

But even so,

rm /bin/sh

ln -s /bin/bash /bin/sh

in an install script is a pretty monumental display of stupidity, unless your script is meant to install Bash itself.

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Tesla undecimates its workforce but Elon insists everything's absolutely fine

MacroRodent
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Why not just switch the batteries

you can have someone sitting around for hours with their car plugged it waiting for it to recharge.

One would think the obvious solution is to have standardized interchangeable battery packs. The service station would charge them for hours, but switching can be done in a minute. Like back when cellular phone batteries had worse capacity (in the pre-lithium days). I used to have two batteries, one charging, one in the phone.

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Devuan ships second stable cut of its systemd-free Linux

MacroRodent
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Fascinating opportunity for comparison

Devuan ASCII is mostly put together from the same code as Debian Stretch, except for the systemd-octomy. So now one could make a scientific comparison of which approach works better. Hint for an El Reg feature?

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PETA calls for fish friendly Swedish street signage

MacroRodent
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Happy

Re: They're about as interested in animal rights as [insert topical comparison here]

Hey, plants are alive too.

Yes, that is worrying me. Are there any nutritious rocks?

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NASA spots asteroid on crash course with Earth – with just hours to go

MacroRodent
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Re: Are they zarking kidding???

A bigger rock would be seen earlier. Extinction-level rocks hopefully years earlier.

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Russian battery ambitions see a 10x increase in power from smaller, denser nukes

MacroRodent
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Re: Specific Energy

This by the way demonstrates why nuclear waste storage is really a non-issue if considered rationally. Sure, you have to store it for a long, long time, but there is actually very little volume to store, relative to the energy you have got out of the fuel. Compare that to the coal plants that continuously spew lots of evil stuff into the atmosphere. We have just got used to that.

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Stingray phone stalker tech used near White House, SS7 abused to steal US citizens' data – just Friday things

MacroRodent
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Re: Boss said leave it alone.

> The issue with that is that in order to actually snoop on conversations and data a Stingray type device needs the cooperation of the telco. It needs to be able to ask the network for encryption keys.

Not necessarily. If I remember some older discussion correctly, the way one type of attack works it convinces the phone only GSM reception is available. This older standard does not have such a great crypto, and it does not authenticate the base station towards the phone. Snoops can thrn siphon traffic, then brute-force it later. Or was it so it can even tell the phone to skip encryption entirely (thanks, France and other countries that insisted on a cryptoless mode in GSM).

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Is Microsoft about to git-merge with GitHub? Rumors suggest: Yes

MacroRodent
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Re: the survey only listed Disney as a viable acquirer. How about AOL?

I wonder why the survey did not include Red Hat? As a company built around Linux, and a major contributor to it and other open source projects, Github would fit there.

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MacroRodent
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Re: All your open source code

> In fact, MSFT is not the worst in here. By far.

Yes, a certain company with a name that starts with an "O" comes to mind immediately.

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MacroRodent
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Re: Slurp the Clueless

Yes. Also the way Git itself works makes migration easier. As the article notes, there are similar competing services, ready to take in projects looking for another home.

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German court snubs ICANN's bid to compel registrar to slurp up data

MacroRodent
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Re: ICANN is the epitome of malevolent bureaucracy

Umm, whois.com is not ICANN, jus another web business. How they present the data should not be relied on. I guess the only official way to get whois data is a query with the whois protocol.

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Arm emits Cortex-A76 – its first 64-bit-only CPU core (in kernel mode)

MacroRodent
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Boffin

Re: A bit sad

The idea of the conditional instructions is to avoid jumps, which disrupted pipelines in the older simpler processors without instruction reordering or speculation. Other RISC designs at the time used delay slots for the same reason: the instruction following a jump is always executed (compilers are supposed to find something useful to put there, if not, they put a NOP). But delays slots don't help much if the pipeline gets deeper.

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Git security vulnerability could lead to an attack of the (repo) clones

MacroRodent
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Re: bit meh

It is different because the malware gets activated by merely pulling the code from the repo before you have a chance to inspect it.

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Doc 'Cluetrain' Searls' privacy engine project is just the ticket for IEEE

MacroRodent
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Who rates the raters?

> Its standard would define “semi-autonomous processes using standards to create and maintain news purveyor ratings for purposes of public awareness”.

The problem with both this and Elon Musk's project is getting sufficiently objective ratings. You can bet any ratings database with public input is going to be the top target of "troll factories", seeking to bend the ratings to favour their fake news outlets!

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Tesla inches toward GPL compliance in low gear: Source code forcibly ejected into public

MacroRodent
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Proprietary on top of Linux is OK, so don't slam Tesla there

Tesla is under no obligation to publish the proprietary application source code, unless that ise derived from GPL'ed code. Just running your code on top of Linux, using the documented Linux API, does not make it GPL. Torvalds even added this statement explicitly to the Linux license, although he felt that that would be the case even without the addendum.

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US Congress mulls expanding copyright yet again – to 144 years

MacroRodent
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Re: Copyright, Patents all screwed.

> but that should be strictly limited - so copyright should be limited to the life of the creator + 10 years.

I think a good case can be made for life + 50 years, like it was in most European countries until recently. It is actually the minimum prescribed by the Berne copyrigt convention. It gives a useful legacy for the heir of an artist for their lifetime, or most of it, (usually), but does not stretch to practical infinity,

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'Alexa, find me a good patent lawyer' – Amazon sued for allegedly lifting tech of home assistant

MacroRodent
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Re: Surely...

robots and computers with speech interfaces have been a staple of science fiction since forever. Wasn't the play that introduced the word robot written already in the 1920's? But that is not prior art because it does not tell how the trick is done.

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Microsoft programming chief to devs: Tell us where Windows hurt you

MacroRodent
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Reinvention

Packaging an application as a single executable? Static linking reinvented! Actually makes a good deal of sense if it ultimately runs in a container providing a microservice.

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Windows app makers told to think different – you're Microsoft 365 developers, now

MacroRodent
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Re: "Our mission is to make Windows the best dev box for you"

The need to dual-boot? I don't even remember when I last did that. Virtual machines took care of that problem! Linux in Virtualbox is superior to Microsoft Linux hack anyway, because you get all Linux features without restrictions, but still have good data interchange with Windows (share any host directory as needed, clipboard transfers from Linux desktop and back work).

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Windows Notepad fixed after 33 years: Now it finally handles Unix, Mac OS line endings

MacroRodent
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Boffin

Re: Logic?

I must admit, while I am an avid user of Linux, I have never understood why the end-of-line delimiter is solely Line Feed in that operating system.

Saves space. And you will anyway always have a required conversion in terminal or printer input or output of the file, no matter which choice you make: If your line separator is LF, you have to convert it to CR LF when printing, but if you choose CR LF, you must convert CR when someone types into CR LF before storing. Of course the LF regime must also convert here, but from CR to LF.

Also note that when processing the file in a prorgram, dealing with a single character separator is much easier. It is telling that the C library and many other language runtime systems simulate single LF line endings also on Windows.

On balance, I think using a single LF is the superior convention.

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Kremlin's war on Telegram sees 50 VPNs stopped at the border

MacroRodent
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Re: Good advertisement for it

Apparently not

That answer is rather old, and there is a raging comment stream attached to it...

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