228 posts • joined 6 Aug 2016
It was 1995 or 6 for me. Also no CD, so at work, I gathered as many Compaq driver disks as I could find, cellotaped over the write-protect slot, and started copying. Back home, I stumbled my way through the installation, and eventually ended up with a big X on the screen. I didn't know you then had to run a window manager on top of X. I also remember running an MS-Windows machine against the Slackware machine, using a X server called mIx, or maybe MiX - can't recall exactly. The thrill of this achievement was wonderful - but as Linux matured and got easier to install, it's hard to be too nostalgic.
Re: Back in my day
> all you needed was screwdrivers, insulating tape and penknife
In the early years of the PC, the standard kit was a rubber eraser, a toothbrush and a bottle of methylated spirits. It was surprising what could be cured by removing the "daughterboard" cards, cleaning the contacts and replacing.
Yes, these scumbag companies (The BBC report lists others) and their disturbing lack of ethics deserve to be held to account, but what about the political results of these activities? There appears to be complete silence about that. Is it simply that all political colours were up to their necks in this, so politics over the last 10 years was all about a financial arms race, or do we simply not have the leadership to draw any societal conclusions from these scummy activities?
Re: Is it just me?
> The whole idea is driven by the thought that if you cram more people into a given space,
Don't forget the power politics in play, not just because those higher up in open-plan and cubicle environments tend to have offices, and can both insulate themselves from open plan reality and enjoy the power pleasure of inflicting it on others.
I worked at a company in the early 90s in an open-plan office. I left after a few years, and returned as a consultant a few years after that. After a meeting at my desk - they had those teardrop-shaped desk add-ons for small meetings - someone went to my boss to complain about my desk. He said as a consultant he was not sure I was entitled to the desk I had, which to my eye was identical to all the others. It turned out that for those above a certain level, the desks had a rounded edge, while minions had square-edged desks. I had known the place for 8 years and never noticed this trivial bit of status semiotics.
> Horribly noisy little things
I flew Newcastle to Southampton once in a DASH 8. It must have had active noise cancelling because soon after take-off, everything went weirdly quiet. A few minutes before landing the noise started again. Whatever did it, it was certainly effective.
"as does jet-powered replacements for routes currently served by turboprops."
Genuine question for Those Who Know - does that make sense? Turboprops for shortish (an hour or two) flights are not that much slower than jets, and surely use a lot less fuel. Is it just a fashion thing, or has all the technology and boffinry gone into full-fat jets recently?
Re: Only cracking I have done is
I have a photo that reminds me how security works in the minds of many, and which illustrates this story perfectly. The picture is of a boat on a loch, secured by a large and imposing padlock one wouldn't dream of trying to pick. But above and below the padlock are two conventional shackles, easily removed with a pair of pliers, or maybe a bit of wire. Most people, except miscreants, concentrate on the padlock. So it's excellent security for keeping out people who wouldn't steal the boat anyway. Not sure whether links are acceptable on ElReg but the pic is here:- http://www.tinslave.co.uk/vrp/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/TinSlave-175624-05102012.jpg
Re: We are Cisco, and you will capitulate.... b*tch
Worse - " the pair have given undertakings about future trading that extends to their relatives" Does the law allow one person to undertake to restrict a third party's activity? Could be that they are not allowed to coerce a third party, but it sounds as though the third party is being punished.
Re: Virtualisation made it irrelevant
> virtualisation made Wine irrelevant for anyone wanting to do serious work with Windows
The last time I needed to use Wine in anger was with CIX's Ameol offline reader. To fire up a VM just for that would have been overkill, as well as requiring a windows licence. Even at that stage, with StarOffice, becoming freely available under Sun's ownership, there were fewer and fewer things needing windows, and hence less need for wine. (Need for beer remained at acceptable levels.)
However, I can confirm the article's comment of "since it will allow malware aimed at Microsoft's products to be run." After shutting down Ameol on one occasion I noticed a wine process still running, courtesy of something dirty going on in the Ameol conferences.
> Or you just set up G Suite/Office 365 for offline access.
Had you suggested Collabora you might have understood the zeitgeist as well as the point of the article.
Re: Swelling price tag, if not profits
> tempted to try Suse out again occasionally.
OpenSUSE is probably your friend, then. It's already been announced that the newly independent SUSE will continue to support the community version, which remains free-as-in-beer. The OpenSUSE chair confirmed on a list this morning:- "Nils Brauckmann (CEO of SUSE) personally called me this morning to assure me this news will have no negative impacts on openSUSE."
Quite a relief, as I run OpenSUSE on quite a few systems, and it has been amazingly solid. Upgrades are a joy. There was a lot to learn for one coming from a preference for Debian and Debian-style systems, but these days it seems harder to go back. It feels more unix-y somehow. I assume this is because OpenSUSE backs directly into what will become the paid-for mainframe-powering full fat SUSE.
We used to run SuSE (as it was capitalised in those days) on most servers, and had bookcases of the full box sets as each new version arrived. We came to the conclusion that, from 5.3, the odd point-numbered versions were great, but the even numbered and point-zero versions were best avoided. Then Ubuntu came along and changed the game for the better, especially when we didn't really need to run a "certified" OS. I came to prefer Ubuntu as a desktop OS, but came back to OpenSUSE around 12.1, probably out of nostalgia. What I found was remarkable quality and a satisfying experience.
I wish them well as independents under new owners.
Re: Underpant Gnomes
> 1. Sell software available free elsewhere
I think in SUSE's case, what they sell is not so much the software, but the certainty that it runs on extremely big iron.
Re: Label, Label Label
Oh sure, like one place where the labelling of the underfloor wiring was dodgy, so they decided to put the labels on the ceiling tiles. Great idea, until one weekend the aircon guys had to come in and do work, collected all the ceiling tiles into a pile and at the end of the job restored them, not, as the saying goes, necessarily in the correct order.
> (I'm a very old kid and IMHO they ought to be El Reg readers least detested cellular network)
Must agree, sadly to all of that. We have no mobile signal here*, so phone use is occasional. A tenner of credit lasts months, and doesn't "expire". Some international calls are astonishingly cheap, and with family in Australia, the US and South Africa, it makes phoning them, when we are out and about and have a signal, almost a pleasure, from the cost point of view anyway.
However I must also admit that I didn't know Giffgaff was allegedly hip. Do hipsters really say "Champion!" when they express approval, the way the Giffgaff voice does?
* - in other news, I wonder how that Home Office 4G rollout will do around these parts. Nearest 4g signal is tens of miles away.
Fab sub-head, ElReg
Better than the alternative "Come quietly, you've been Niked"
Re: It's a sound salvation.
> In that America the plural of aerial is antennas...
Meanwhile back in the UK, one can't help wondering if those who routinely spell "aerial" "ariel" really mean "daz"
Re: Entering New Zealand
> *To win the internet, best collective noun...
An ISO 9000 of managers?
Re: Made it here first!
> happily enforcing without understanding.
Great phrase, so true.
> The juxtaposition of modern IT with moronic ancient superstition is mind boggling.
Ah yes, whereas the hardware "rule" known to all Reg readers that one NEVER closes up a system one is working on until AFTER booting it at least once, or there will be some unexpected problem is scientifically proven, showing that million to one chances occur nine out of ten times. (TM SirTP)
Re: The ONLY things going for it were
At least at the Windows 95 launch, we had the coolness of the little Logitech scanner, a miracle for those fighting with SCSI, or worse, serial, scanners. But maybe it was just the cracking music from Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians that made it acceptable.
My goodness, I feel old.
Re: ID isn't the problem
> I've said it before, there's not any point having a
> "no ID cards!" attitude if the environment is one
> when many essentials (shelter, work, healthcare)
> require you to present ID.
Well there you have the problem. It's not the ID cards per se, it's the use that will be made of them. Remember Napoleon's accusation that Britain was a "nation of shopkeepers"? What that still means is that Britain is a nation of middlemen, with a peculiarly enlarged strata of underlings, all of whom thrive on the little bit of power that is within their domain. We even have a name for the way this group acts - job'sworths. Already, my wife had the experience of going to the bank to get change. She had her bank card, and was asked to verify it with her pin. Yet the jobsworth still asked her for additional ID. Now multiply that example by millions of others, all getting off with their little display of power, asking you for your ID when you buy bogroll.
> Surely it's neither GPL v2 nor GPL v3. GPL v2.1?
You mean it's the systemd of licensing?
> Lying to an IT person is never a good idea.
I was got a new boss. We were chatting soon after he arrived, and he blurted out "I've been warned never to lie to you!" I've often wondered where that came from ....* We did get on really well, though. **
(* - I didn't even have the fully-charged cattle prod on me at the time, promise.)
(** - a few years later things went pear-shaped. I was instructed by a C-suite to lie about the status of a project. I declined, kicked him out of my office & resigned a few weeks later.)
Lever it out
Ah, we yearn for the days when you could lever out your '387 and shove a new, less buggy one in...
We had an office in Bavaria and around 2005/6, I recall looking up and seeing an A380 for the first time, doing circuits and bumps at the nearby airport, Oberpfaffenhofen. St Douglas Adams immediately sprang to mind, as the huge A380 hung there the way bricks don't.
> remembering that Debian allows one to choose the init of one's choice
You're absolutely right - for now. But look at the distros which have more fully embraced systemd, such as Fedora or openSUSE. It's practically impossible to change init in those - not absolutely impossible, but practically so, and the fear is that, as Debian has not committed fully to init independence, so as each update goes by, systemd's tendrils have a chance to grasp tighter. Devuan shows that we have choice, for now. Hopefully it will encourage Debian to continue allowing that choice at a fully supported level.
Can only be good
I installed it while still in testing a few months back when I needed a disposable (so old, and lying around) laptop to take abroad. I found it was just as configurable and stripped-down-able as one would have expected expect from a Debian-derived OS, and made the old machine quite acceptably usable. I gave that machine away at the end of the trip and have been told it is still running well, one would hope updated to release code.
Also tested on a laptop and a VM. I was unimpressed by the graphical installer of the live ISO, which it seems only allows the root disk to be ext4, ext3,or ext2, so a network ISO was needed. It took a bit of fettling to get it as I preferred, but all things considered it took perhaps a little less faffing to get it to my tastes. That perhaps says something more about my taste in desktops than Devuan devs' output. The included firefox is the ESR version, but Mozilla's downloaded binaries are much more acceptable these days than a while back.
I'm looking forward to getting this onto a Pi or two. WIth the second release, Devuan have shown that they are not a flash in the pan, and may well be here for the longer term, something that cannot always be said of "grievance" initiatives, but they have a real job to fulfill with their valid alternative. Richard joked about "Purists" and the name Devuan GNU+Linux 2.0 ASCII Stable, but these days we aren't far from having to add the word systemd into other distros who have been embraced by its tendrils.
Having gone through the systemd removal process of some Pis running Raspbian as servers, having been burnt once too often by the bizarre and unpredictable operation of systemd on otherwise solid systems, it does feel that there is at least an alternative.
I wish Devuan well.
West is best
I recall working for a company in London. I had to go the West London branch, and duly got directions how to get there. Ages spent fighting various forms of public transport resulted in finding myself at the West End branch. The West London branch was two doors down from head office, where I worked.
Re: More than a 'White Elephant'
You missed the comment " other world-beating technologies". The RAF is war-planners are intent on taking on the entire planet. Unless he meant " other-world beating technologies" in which case the F35 is our last hope against the alien hordes.
Remember where it is
This sounds like a dummy run for MS's Github ownership / phone strategy / Skype stewardship / chair throwing video - sinking gently beneath the waves.
> Wonder which new and exciting way they're gonna fuck it up.
Sometimes the old ways are the best
Re: Great article
By the pricking of my thumbs (down) something was read without noticing the joke icon...
Lovely journalism, El Reg. Well worth the price of subscription. Would be great if other news outlets showed the complexity of things rather than reducing complex issues to a mere dumbed-down two-sided argument.
> In Glasow University Students Union you could get deep-fried pizza!
I recently flew from Glasgow (we're well north in Scotland) and while waiting for the flight ordered a panini. The waiter asked "Do yer want chips or salad wi' yer panini there?" Now here's the top tip - please learn from my mistake - NEVER ask for the salad. Some vaguely green curly strips and a wrinkled red thing that was once a tomato fill the space where nature obviously intended chips to be.
(IT angle obvious)
Interesting to note the first few comments here include memories of family members. Clearly Zeppelins must have been a huge psychological hurdle for civilians, as I thought my own family story is not fully explained. My great-grandmother, from the east end of London, kept a postcard of a Zeppelin in flames in her cupboard. As kids, we loved seeing it, but every time we pestered her to show it to us, her eyes welled up. I then discovered that in 1916, she left London with her two daughters, to move to South Africa, making the trip to Cape Town pretty much at the height of the submarine war, so pretty risky with two kids of 12 and 10. The trauma of the Zeppelin's capabilities must have left real fear. These days, when our "smart bombs" do what 500kg of high explosive do in civilian areas, our news sources dismiss these issues as "collateral damage" or other inhuman euphemisms, so not much has changed.
> Oracle will not go quietly into the night,
True, and don't forget the huge government lock-in it has "achieved". But the article is valid in spite of the criticism of some commentards, as Oracle failed to understand its Sun acquisition for MySQL, and certainly failed to understand the Free and Open Source path that My SQL offered.
But there will be many El Reg readers whose livelihoods depend on Oracle, and their jobs are almost certainly safe for years.
Re: Big-Tech vs Big-Tobacco vs Banksters
> Will that ever change...
More optimistically, let's hope so. After all, Microsoft took it on the chin when told to provide browser choice in the EU - admittedly far too late, but the direction of travel was clear.
Re: Being honest about data-collection isn't an option anymore is it ?
> It's almost like people don't like, or want, marketing emails.
It's the GDPR emails from companies you've never had dealings with (ie, they have your data anyway) that are especially concerning, as they are almost certainly fishing rather complying.
Re: Hard hat?
> Hard hat?
So now we know, after last week's episode, what the Romans did for the BOFH - encourage a robust enthusiasm towards H&S. The question is, can the archaeologists tell if he was on overtime?
> Spend the money on reality not fantasy requirements.
It's OK - they'll iron out all the fantasy with the AI projects for the magical Northern Irish high-tech border. Maybe even re-use some cold. Of course, people will get diagnosed with carrying cheese and Guinness, but even AI written by unicorns can make mistakes. Those mistakes will be corrected with the AI developed for taking down censored content by those nasty web companies. And whatever the next problem is, it will apply to that too.
Honestly, teaching politicians a new phrase is just so dangerous. Like the time when cool dudes started "pinging" messages to each other.
Started boggling when I read "..and Microsoft", but then I remembered Bill Gates invented the Internet so they would understand the necessary hashtags.
(Please note icon...)
Re: Be interesting to see who did turn up, would it not?
> So that's "Making Britain stronger" as one of my British friends put it when they voted Leave.
Your friends thought it was the anagram round in "Countdown" - not so much global Britain as gob-all Britain.
> Large batteries are Not To Be Taken Lightly.
We knew a guy in the village who worked for a big battery company. We called him Barry Nine-fingered.... (In this case, a huge glass battery bank for a lighthouse. Batteries were taken up first, then the acid. Barry made a teensy tiny little mistake connecting them up.)
Oddly, my father had a similar experience, welding his wedding ring onto his skin when using a spanner long enough to short the terminals on a battery bank. So when I work on our off-grid power supply, over 1000AHrs at 24v, I tend to be rather cautious, using short, rubber-clad spanners, and lots of adrenalin.
Re: "Why the massive emergency services response?"
> They was using up all kinds of cop equipment that they had hanging around the police officer's station.
Without the colour 8x10 glossy photographs with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one, I won't believe it.
Re: Good news, everyone!
> promises of "improved batteries" for the past 5 years,
Battery "improvement" patents - the biggest outcome of which is just another blockchain-style greed frenzy
Re: why is this even an issue
You kind of answered the question yourself - in my case, the domain name registrar gets an additional £6 plus VAT from me for what it seems will soon be required by law.
I paid the protection racket money because I suddenly got severely spammed, followed by phone calls, after registering a .net for a community project. I asked why I was getting this spam, having registered various domains for years without this trouble. It seems .uk addresses already have this privacy system applied to them automatically, but .net, .org etc do not.
So your point that that whole thing already has a way of dealing with GDPR is already validated. But they will lose a chunk of protection money.
Nice work, El Reg
These articles really are worth the price of subscription.
It's unfortunate that the advances in space flight of the 60s could not have been more collaborative than competitive. It took until the ISS for that. But we shouldn't forget these genuine pioneers (no pun intended) and their courage.
So to sum up...
The new strategy amounts to "Never mind the quality, feel the width..."
Re: It's not rocket science...
> Late 90s USB sticks?
Yeah, they did, but thinking about it you're right - it was the early 2000s.
I wonder if it's just the Facebook app
My wife has the same phone as I have. She loaded Instagram on hers. Since then, her battery lasts half the time mine does. I wonder what that app is doing in the background....