The testing regime that's being used [for chemical contamination of water catchments] has difficulty in identifying chemicals at a homoeopathic level, down to the level where it slowly poisons you rather than taking a gut full of poison, which you're inclined to sick up.
(I'm not sure if the spelling error originated in Heffernan's statement or the ABC report.)
What is a
In other words, the testing regime Heffernan criticizes has difficulty identifying chemicals when not a single molecule is present in the whole state. What a shocking failure! Maybe we ought to bring in dowsers to check whether the vibrations of the chemicals are still present?
And the Liberals say the Greens are kooky...
Nathan Thomas from redhat sinks the slipper into Sun's open source Solaris x86 idea.
Hewlett-Packard Co. has stopped selling workstations based on Intel Corp.'s Itanium 2 microprocessor, a company spokeswoman confirmed today.
Citing market conditions, the company ceased selling workstations based on the 64-bit processors on Sept. 1. That's just two months after the first processor based on Intel's 64-bit architecture for x86 systems, called EM64T (Extended Memory 64 Technology) 64-bit x86 architecture, began shipping. [...]
HP will continue to provide support for the Itanium workstations until 2009, HP's Sowards said.
The decision to get out of the workstation business has no impact on HP's Itanium-based server products, Sowards said. "HP continues with successful Integrity server line," she said.
Eric Schrock from Sun says
The main reason we can't just jump into Linux is because Linux doesn't align with our engineering principles, and no amount of patches will ever change that.
(That sounds more like a problem for Sun than for Linux.)
There is a big LWN thread about it.
My guess would be that OpenSolaris will be a kind of walled garden: licenced so that code cannot be merged into other projects, and in any case differences in architecture will make that hard. Releasing it will be useful to people working on Solaris, as read-only access always is: the final documentation, useful in tracking down bugs, and so on. So it'll be mildly positive for existing users and get Sun some good press, but it won't change the overall curve.
I can't imagine choosing a Sun machine just because I can get (some?) operating system source. What percentage of Macintosh buyers care about OpenDarwin? I like Macs, and I like open source, but I don't think OpenDarwin would be a compelling reason to buy one.
To be brief and a bit brutal: Arch is very clever in many ways. However, Tom is way too aggressive as an advocate. Arch might scale up to large projects, but it doesn't scale down very well to beginning users on small projects. It's complex to get started, and I'm worried by signs that work is going into adding more complex features rather than reducing it. Although you can make it very fast, that's not the default.
Earlier versions were very much bound into projects being run the way Tom wanted them: wierd file conventions, only committing from clean trees, and so on. It's fine to suggest them, but trying to force them on people at the same time as they learn a new system is not a good idea. Tool designers need to know where they want to force change, and where they want comfortable familiarity.
I hope these issues are fixed. Arch is probably the most promising large-project version control system at the moment, but it really needs to get over the usability hump to realize its full potential. I feel they have about a 75% chance of getting there in the next one or two years.
One remarkable thing about the LWN page is that Larry McVoy confirms that BitMover refused to sell a BitKeeper licence to the employer of a person involved with free version control products. It's his right to refuse to sell, or to revoke a revocable licence, but this is a risk that needs to be considered.
People planning to submit might want to read my advice on how to get a conference abstract accepted.
Most of the few dozen abstracts we've had so far have had all the right information, and they sound like good talks.
<blink>One and a bit weeks to go for abstracts/proposals!</blink>
(ps: Oh, hypatia is Mary. This is one demonstration of why we're going to (optionally) print usernames on conference badges.)
It's good. It's better than good — maybe the best songwriting debut I've ever heard.
Maybe you can call it emo-pop... but I don't really need to describe it, because you can get the mp3 and listen yourself. (You can show the mp3 to your friends in the future when they're famous.)
We are all bored, and this makes us bad people...
In your weblog post you talked about committing a revision to a Subversion repository with an incomplete log message. You can actually correct this in an SVN repo without too much trouble.
The log message is stored as a revision property, so you can print it with the following command:
svn propget svn:log --revprop -r N
It is possible to change the property with svn propset provided that a "pre-revprop-change" hook exists for the repository (the default hook is to disallow all changes, because they aren't versioned and you might not want to allow users to change them anyway). So if the hook allows it, and you have the full log message in a file, you could run the following:
svn propset svn:log --revprop -r N -F log-message-file
Despite this, I still think darcs unrecord is far more friendly, and it handles other cases than just fixing the message. I don't think I would bother doing all that (or finding out how to do it) with Subversion if I just got the message a bit wrong, but I use unrecord moderately often.
I guess there is a fundamental difference here between centralized and distributed VC: if there is just One Tree, you have to be more careful. If everyone is allowed to make a branch on their workstation then you can give them more freedom to make mistakes, and just refuse to take the changes back.
I just typed half a commit message in Subversion and then accidentally committed. I didn't explain the change in as much detail as I really wanted to.
(My natural reaction would be to hit C-c after exiting vi in the hope of catching it before the commit really took place. But from past bitter experience this is likely to lock up Subversion's database, so I have tried to break the habit.)
I'm sure any programmers reading must have done this too, more than once. It's not the end of the world. In this case I'll just do without it. The other pattern people sometimes use is to make a following empty commit which has the rest of the message. It's OK, but it's a bit kludgy.
The darcs version control system has a very interesting fix for this: darcs unrecord.
Most version-control systems are strictly write-forward: once an action has been done, it cannot be undone. This is supposed to give people assurance that their work cannot be lost, but it has negative side-effects, such as being unable to fix incorrect commits. Getting the log wrong is only a relatively minor problem: committing something that should remain confidential, or mixing together two things that should be separate commits are worse. The write-forward model does not have the desirable UI property of forgiveness. Of course you can kludge it in many systems, but that's not forgiving and it tends to be dangerous.
To quote from the GNOME Human Interface Guidelines:
We all make mistakes. Whether we're exploring and learning how to use the system, or we're experts who just hit the wrong key, we are only human. Your application should therefore allow users to quickly undo the results of their actions.
I think darcs gets a reasonably good balance between allowing people to undo mistakes, and protecting them from accidentally losing work.
In darcs, you can remove commits from history — with some limitations. If the change has already been merged into a different tree, or is included in a tag, or is depended upon by something else, then you can't get rid of it without backing that out too. This is as it should be: by the time you ship it, or give the change to someone else, it's too late to discover the mistake. But if it's only in a single distributed repository, it's very friendly to allow it to be backed out. The basic simplifying insight is: if you want to not lose your work, make backups.
Darcs is currently my favourite tool for smallish projects. It's simple and powerful.
DiMAGE7i usb-storage support seems to be broken again as of 22.214.171.124. I need to see if the patch is still in there, or needs to be updated.
Voting activist, Portland, August 2004.
(It's probably too late to register in either the US or Australia, but I still like the photo.)
I'm happy to see that SpamAssassin has shipped v3.0. It includes a feature I have long desired: scoring based on the IPs of URLs included in the message: if I get anything containing http://asdhaslhdaskljhd.teenage-goat-sex.biz/ then I almost certainly don't want to see it.
SpamAssassin already made it hard for spammers to use keywords like "viagra"; now they shouldn't be able to point to sites about them either. "Tell me, what good is an open proxy when you are unable to speak?" [*]
Well done, guys.
(I am kind of sad that they removed the cute cartoon ninjas from the logo; they were about half the reason I originally installed it.)
My breakfast was interrupted by the doorbell. A guy delivered a packet of hundred-dollar bills.
A three-hour system shutdown that affected South California's airports was reportedly caused by a technician who failed to reboot an MS-based system A bug in a Microsoft system compounded by human error was ultimately responsible for a three-hour radio breakdown that left hundreds of aircraft aloft without guidance on Tuesday, according to a report in the LA Times.
(The story is here, but it seems to screw up Firefox, so you might want to view it in Lynx or Dillo.)
At this point it seems too good to be true: Debian with less bullshit. No awful dselect installer. No long-running flamewars that resemble primary school lunchtime or Parliamentary Question Time.
I was going to say "Debian under adult supervision", but that's too harsh. There are some great responsible, mature and talented people working on Debian, but for some reason their process or culture often lets them down. Exhibit 1, debian-devel. Having a benevolent dictator may be an improvement.
It looks like the installer has a way to go, but even now it's easier than the Windows installer, and roughly as easy (though less pretty) than the Mac installer. I hadn't even noticed that it automatically detected my video card without asking. Wow. "It just works."
It didn't detect my Compaq Evo N410c laptop's wierd Orinoco-USB wireless card, but since that needs a driver built from CVS (gar) I can't really blame them. I haven't tried suspend.
I had been running Gentoo on that machine so as to get more recent packages and to avoid some of the annoying parts of Debian. The Ubuntu install process is approximately fifty times faster than Gentoo, both in elapsed time and in number of keystrokes. I don't think I'm exaggerating.
I installed the somewhat obscure darcs package by enabling the "Universe" dpkg source, and clicking through Synaptic. It seems to show building on Debian's massive package base is a good idea...
So, hearty congratulations to the Ubuntu team. What's next?
[ps: "It just works" is an interesting ambiguity, but I meant it in the positive sense.]
Update: jdub writes that hoary hedgehogs are next. (Naturally.)
I suppose what I really meant to ask is, will Ubuntu make a long-term sustainable business out of releasing a no-strings-attached free software distribution? There are some grounds for hope.
People Like Us (ABC, 10pm Tuesday nights) is a masterful dry satire.
graydon has a particularly interesting post:
I think the programming world we are living in has about 3 major styles of activity:
1. small, precision-engineered objects which operate as fast as we can possibly make them go, over very specialized mathematical structures, in extremely delicate circumstances. objects like this are RDBMSs, LAPACK/ATLAS/GSL, DSP codecs, renderers, embedded realtime controllers[...]
2. distributed systems made of sloppy, forgiving, easily modified, adaptive jumbles which connect together several objects of type #1.[...]
3. frustratingly large and inflexible "business logic" programs. this sort of program is what most cobol, java and C# code is for.[...]
I think it's a good map.
Furthermore, you can distinguish some design patterns to do with moving between these spaces.
One approach is to use different languages for different parts: call C libraries from PHP; write a Python client for a C++ server. OK. Works well, but there is a transaction cost in crossing the boundary. Things like Swig or CLR might make it cheaper.
Alternatively, don't pay the transaction cost, but stay in a single language and write in different styles. For example in C you can go to a very data-driven form, in which constant initializers form almost a simple scripting language, of which printf is only the beginning. (See the discussion of mini-languages in The Practice of Programming and The Art of Unix Programming.)
The saying that large C programs tend towards containing a half-assed implementation of lisp is true but not necessarily bad. It's entirely possible that you need just a little bit of lisp, and the pain of writing it yourself is less than the pain of linking in a real interpreter.
(This touches on the class and insoluble debate of whether you should add a real lisp because you might need it later, or suffer later because you wrote your own...)
For some problem spaces, adding a half-assed Perl or Forth or Fortran may be a very good approach. GNU Arch contains a reimplementation of unix pipeline primitives like awk and uniq in a way that can be easily called from C... This aided translation from a prototype written in shell, and provides a good language for the problem anyhow.
The Economist says:
Mr Howard's policies are doing Australia no good, especially as relations with Indonesia (and elsewhere in Asia) have grown fractious in recent years. The Bali bombing in October 2002, which killed many Australians, heightened the fear of terrorism. Worries about unsustainability surround the buoyant economy. Domestically, Aboriginal grievances have yet to be assuaged. A flawed referendum on republicanism in 1999 produced a result out of step with the wishes of most Australians.
Who is a social and economic liberal supposed to vote for? Not the
"Liberals" (more accurately, Conservatives). Not the centrist ALP,
with more than 50% of conference votes still
controlled by unions.
More tax, please from the Greens and Democrats doesn't hold
much appeal either.
AJ replied, as I had hoped. To respond:
The article is surprisingly short and opinionated, therefore verges on mere assertion. I'm not sure where it came from in the print magazine; maybe from the short articles at the front. Anyhow.
"X is no good" is an English idiom meaning "X is bad", not "X has absolutely no good aspects whatsoever."
You realise there's more to the economy than just property prices, right?
Right, but [e]conomists seem to believe that a bubble in property prices followed by a sharp decline could cause a more widespread downturn. The larger part of the wealth of a majority(?) of Australians is tied up in real estate.
If the [republic] referendum was flawed, that's a good thing too.
That's a bizarre position. Why spend time and money running a flawed referendum? According to at least some credible surveys, most Australians want to move towards a republic although not on the specific terms offered. Howard's referendum was designed to give the impression of listening, without truly reflecting our wishes.
I agree with AJ that the Liberals may be quite liberal on economic issues — conservative parties often are. But I don't want to choose economic or social liberties; why can't I have both? (I suppose what I'm really asking is: why is there no moderate liberal/libertarian party in Australia?)
I can't believe someone would be merely too timid to say "Sorry" but
bold enough to go to war. I think
this is what the Economist means when they aim to
take part in a
severe context between intelligence, which presses forward, and an
unworthy timid ignorance obstructing our progress.
Starkoff, Esq is stuck for good candidates.
Kate Lundy seems like a good deal, according to Linux Australia people who've dealt with her. I think she needs a new web design though.
David wrote two good pieces on the MPAA's anti-downloading propaganda.
I bought a copy of Secretary a while ago. The supposedly anti-piracy locks in the player are used to run ten minutes of ads at the start of the disk. I don't mind them putting them on there, but I do object to not being able to skip ads on a DVD I paid for, just as I can rip ad wrappers off a magazine. I think next time I watch it, I'll make a point of ripping it onto a hard disk first, so that I can cut them off and re-record it.
The MPAA's current strategy seems to be to grab away all fair-use rights. I don't think this influences norms; it just makes people laugh. It gives me a reason to copy this disk (for personal use) when previously I had none. (Stupid region coding is another reason; lack of resale rights for downloaded music is another.)
As a society we are in the process of working out new copynorms. Technology has made something possible, and now we need to work out what is the polite way to use it. I can imagine a similar process after the advent of the telephone or the birth-control pill.
How do norms evolve? Several forces interact: reasoning from fundamental ethics (the golden rule, etc), law, extension from previous patterns, reaction to events.
Saying "copying is illegal" only weakly affects norms because it begs the question of whether it should be illegal. Time-shifting TV shows or copying music onto an iPod is illegal in Australia, but you'd have to go a long way to make it socially unacceptable.
Saying "copying is theft" is also unconvincing because it's clearly not exactly the same as theft of rivalrous goods. We need to collectively decide whether that is a useful analogy or not. Other analogies are possible: it's considered OK to use someone's ideas, but polite to acknowledge them.
Linux and open source software is demonstrating that harsh control is not the only possible way to produce complex intellectual goods.
You need not accept the WMP EULA, which permits Microsoft to make arbitrary changes to your PC. On the other hand, by using an alternative like mplayer, you can be technically illegal but still doing things that are absolutely ethically reasonable: watching purchased DVDs in your own home. Iterating through this shifts the copynorms: Secretary is not reasonable; mplayer is reasonable. By extension, people who want to ban Linux DVD players are not reasonable, and their ads are silly.
Kim Weatherall has more good bits on this, and rather better informed than the ramblings of this hack.
Mini-Microsoft is the blog of a Microsoft employee who wants the company to shrink down to regain some more small-company aggression and agility. I think that not many companies manage to succeed in doing so, even if they want to.
This reminds me very much of Christensen's The Innovator's Dilemma. (Is that too obvious to even mention?) One of Christensen's points is that it is extremely difficult for established companies to cope with new disruptive technologies.
It's remarkable how much Linux fits the pattern of disruptive technologies. At first, it's just a toy, it's not very capable, it's missing lots of industrial-strength qualities, big companies and big customers laugh at it. However, it is cheap and flexible, and this attracts cheap-ass students, small companies, innovators. Eventually it grows up, but it's hard for the big companies of the previous generation to adapt.
You can make a similar argument about other technologies: web user interfaces were pretty clunky at first, but they've grown up so that as Tim O'Reilly says, the most interesting applications never get installed on your PC.
Of course this is not to say that every small/cheap new technology is destined to disrupt the big players.
Death is a part of the life of companies. Possibly the best fix for Microsoft shareholders is to start a new business nearby, put money into that, and poach their best people before someone else does.
The .conf.au domain nameservers have been broken for a while and are still not fixed. Apparently the venerable munnari.oz.au is still authoritative but is failing.
In the mean time, the linux.conf.au web site can be reached at lca2005.linux.org.au. Sorry for the inconvenience.
John Hagedorn of the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute writes:
How have poor people responded to changes in the economy and in social welfare programs? It should surprise no one that there has been no one kind of response: some have gone back to school or enrolled in various training programs; others have found good jobs and struggle to keep them; many others settle for temporary service jobs, hoping to land a permanent job by working hard; an undetermined number have moved, looking for work or an easier life elsewhere; still others have stayed, but have given in to despair and find solace in alcohol or drugs. One lesson of economic restructuring is that without better education and training, workers in poor communities will not be directly helped by the "good jobs" being created by today's information-driven economy.
There is, however, another, less talked about response, that has far-reaching implications for our society. It is fundamentally a lower-class response by men and women with little formal education and few formal skills. Thousands of poor people across Milwaukee are forming their own businesses and through diligence and hard work have been creatively struggling to "make it." A few of these businesses are legal ventures, like small stores or other tax-paying companies. But those few minorities who form legal businesses are typically better educated and have at least limited access to capital.
By contrast, most businesses being started today in poor neighborhoods are off-the-books. These small businesses include streetside car-repair operations, hair-cutting and unreported child care in private homes, street vending, sales of questionable goods, ad hoc house painting companies, and dozens of other types of businesses entered into by enterprising young men and women. Being poor and not finishing high school does not mean a person is lazy or dumb and doomed to go nowhere. If the jobs won't be created by either the public or the private sector, then poor people will have to create the jobs themselves. And they are doing just that.
[from The Economist]
Suppose you have a program that's using a lot of CPU. What's it doing in there? What is so slow, dammit?
gdb /proc/8337/exe 8337
Observe which function it was in when you interrupted.
Let it keep running. Hit C-c to interrupt it later; see where it is; rinse, repeat.
This is only useful if the program has function names in the executable. If you built it yourself, that's probably true. If you got it from a distribution it may not. (I think that's lame.)
Most programs spend most of their time in one routine. Attaching from gdb at random times will tell you which routine this is.
gdb is no substitute for a proper profiler or for kcachegrind. It won't tell you about system-call hotspots. But if your program has a single userspace hot spot it will tell you where that is, and that can be useful information. This requires no special preparation, can be done on almost any machine, and can be applied to a program while it's running with little disruption.
Ed writes of the need for both technique and creativity in art, and in particular photography.
I've been shooting a bit with Stephane's old Minolta SLR: manual focus, manual drive, analog auto exposure. I think it's a good experience; it's certainly fun.
(As John Safran shows, most of the westerners who bandy the word "zen" about probably don't realize just how much whacking with sticks is involved. I include myself in that category.)
The Australian reports that The Australian Computer Society likes the Greens' plan for licensing of IT workers.
I've only read the policy summary, not the details, but it seems broadly reasonable. Obviously it's not practical to have a single certification that covers the whole IT industry, from helpdesk to web designer to CNE to kernel hacker. But I can imagine some kind of revocable certificate saying you're technically and ethically sound to work on particular safety/privacy/security/business-critical systems.
The free market seems to be working pretty well as far as qualifications for particular products or techologies — Microsoft certification, Linux Professional Institute certification, HP certification, Red Hat certification, etc. But for the most serious jobs perhaps the public has an interest in minimum standards.
The reason I mention this, though, is this surprisingly frank statement from Edward Mandla, president of the ACS:
That's what the ACS is all about[:] how do you get employers to say they prefer ACS members?
I'm glad we've got that straight, then. Jobs for the boys.
In Paul Graham's latest essay he mentions that he writes down a lot of things he never goes back to read. I do this too. I suppose a lot of people do.
I like writing on paper with a fountain pen. The relative slowness of handwriting compared to speech or typing constrains me to thinking in a particular way.
I think I'd like to start a time-lapse journal, recording something every December.
It occurs to me that you can take photos in a similar way. The world is so saturated with images that you'd have to be very skilled and lucky to take something that stands out. Even photos that are technically very good and creatively composed jostle for attention with a million others just as good. I think the thing is to remove the comparison; enjoy looking at them or taking them for their own sake.
(Or at least this is true for a dilletante like me; if photography is really your vocation and passion things may be different.)
(If you can find someone to pay you for making photos or software or whatever then of course you need to pander to them to some extent, without being too bashful about whether you're original or not. Originality for its own sake is very rarely commercially succesful. More accurately: you can be commercially successful without being original, because the innovator is likely to mess up the commercial aspects.)
The librarian quoted in the article has apparently later said that her words were misconstrued. And so they should be: it's more useful to teach children to read and research critically than to just teach them to find authoritative heavy books.
One of several ironic aspects is that newspapers may be considered more authoritative than wikipedia, but they're not necessarily a more reliable source. Newspapers are never reprinted to correct errors; are largely supported by commercial advertising; publish only a small fraction of letters received; publish opinion pieces on the same page as fact pieces; and are directed by the interests of a high-concentrated circle of owners. (They might print retractions or corrections, but what fraction of people who read a leader will read the retraction on page 5 three days or three weeks later?) None of these mean that you should not read newspapers, but like the Internet they should be read discerningly and critically.
Have no respect for the authority of others, for there are always contrary authorities to be found.
Douglas Adams (of beloved memory) was even more on the mark:
Because the Internet is so new we still don't really understand what it is. We mistake it for a type of publishing or broadcasting, because that's what we're used to. So people complain that there's a lot of rubbish online, or that it's dominated by Americans, or that you can't necessarily trust what you read on the web. Imagine trying to apply any of those criticisms to what you hear on the telephone. Of course you can't 'trust' what people tell you on the web anymore than you can 'trust' what people tell you on megaphones, postcards or in restaurants. Working out the social politics of who you can trust and why is, quite literally, what a very large part of our brain has evolved to do. For some batty reason we turn off this natural scepticism when we see things in any medium which require a lot of work or resources to work in, or in which we can't easily answer back — like newspapers, television or granite. Hence 'carved in stone.' What should concern us is not that we can't take what we read on the internet on trust — of course you can't, it's just people talking — but that we ever got into the dangerous habit of believing what we read in the newspapers or saw on the TV — a mistake that no one who has met an actual journalist would ever make. One of the most important things you learn from the internet is that there is no 'them' out there. It's just an awful lot of 'us'.
No POSIX system supports non-blocking disk I/O through the O_NONBLOCK interface. Some support it through a separate asynchronous I/O interface but due to its complexity and non-portability, few programs actually use it. Also, it doesn't support an async open(2).
djb argues, like you do, that they should support this through a more normal mechanism.
Why is it so hard to just do O_NONBLOCK on disk files, as you can do on pipes or sockets? Because Linux disk IO is fundamentally different, because of being so tightly integrated with the virtual memory system.
Related stuff from Christopher Baus.
Computerworld speaks to SCO Australian directory: Kieran O'Shaughnessy, who says
IBM has transformed Linux from a bicycle to a Rolls-Royce, [...]
What a compliment. A Rolls Royce, that you can download for free and copy as many times as you wish. (IBM have done sterling work, though I don't think they would claim sole credit.)
SCO, [O'Shaugnessy] said, doesn't just expect financial compensation but removal of the stolen code.
This is a striking change from the position SCO have held in court over the last year. If only it were true: everyone could be easily satisfied, and SCO could stop bleeding $60,000 per day on lawyers.
All he needs to do is send a reasonably detailed and justified explanation of what SCO code is in Linux, and it'll be gone. When owners have wanted to remove their code before, it's been done within a week.
Of course SCO have no legal right to demand any copyrighted code be removed: for years they've been publishing it under the GPL, which gives broad rights to redistribute. Any removal would be at the discretion of the maintainers, but I think it would probably be done.
(Groklaw points out that SCO say they still haven't sought a second opinion on whether their bizarre theories will stand up in court.)
Linux doesn't exist.
I guess I'd better save this and log off...
I want to see Boies explain to a judge that SCO has spent man-years and millions of dollars suing over something that doesn't exist.
[thanks to LWN]
Get your free Rolls Royce at kernel.org — O'Shaughnessy
I am coming to feel there is no point in argument.
By this I mean that if you disagree with someone, there is little to be gained by responding and contradicting them, arguing against them, or pointing out why they're wrong. Rather: just make your own case, and say what you think is right and why. There's not enough time to rebut all the possible wrong arguments, and it often distracts your audience either emotionally or intellectually.
I don't know if this reflects something about the way the internet works or is changing, or something changing in me. Probably all of the above.
For a little background on Sun's situation, have a look at this: "Harris Corporation Announces Release Of Linux-compatible OS/COMET Satellite Network Control Software"
That makes the second OS on which the software will run — Solaris was the first.
Harris is an ISV whose customers are putting big rockets into space and running 24/7 satellite network control centers. The cost of a Solaris box and license versus an x86 box and a copy of Linux isn't even noise to these people. But if you're putting in a new installation, you want to go with the OS platform that has a future, not the one that has been steadily getting its lunch eaten for seven years.
Consensus reality check, via Google:
"solaris to linux migration" 3030.
"to solaris migration" 424.
Jonathan Schwartz may not be a "visionary" but he's at least not an idiot. Linux beat UnixWare faster than anyone thought it would: and nobody has a good reason why it won't do the same to Solaris.
From the IM logs:
Joyce: Boy, this is definitely the Year of Python
Joyce: Last year, people said "Python might be OK for prototyping Java"
Joyce: This year, it's more like "Java is the new COBOL"
Murph: python has been, if you'll excuse the pun, creeping up on us for a while.
Murph: it's funny, because python has had some killer apps for a while, but they've been pretty invisible
Joyce: Like what?
Murph: things like Mailman
Joyce: Oh, that's Python?
I thought that getting the ATI FireGL Z1/X1 card that ships in the hp zx6000 to work on Debian would be a big pain; it turned out to be only a small pain.
This is the secret plan (lifted from a RHEL3 install and tweaked): XF86Config-4
That seems to work with the kernel and xserver-xfree86 4.3 that comes with debian without needing any binary junk. I think it doesn't get AGPGART or 3D working very well, but 2d is fast and that's enough for me for the moment.
I have to admit the RHEL3 installation process is very slick. On the other hand, Red Hat's new business model means you lose one of the great advantages of open source, that you can just download and use it without all the hassles of getting media, authorization keys, etc. The price doesn't bother me, but the lack of clarity in their licence does.
Google is on the whole an enormous and wonderful public good.
However, it has at least one bad side effect: it's strongly encouraging spammers to try anything to get well-respected sites to link to their viagra web sites. Therefore: blog comment spam, referer spam, wiki spam, ...
Prior to Google, those links would only help criminals if people clicked on them, which requires a certain amount of thought to make them look relevant. Because googlebot is not quite so clever yet, even stupid links can get some marginal gain for spammers.
I can imagine an optimal algorithm might disregard those links. But until spammers really believed that the links weren't helping, we'd still see lots of web spam.
Johnathan Schwartz writes that
[Sun] is committed to making Solaris the volume leader on all systems.
Good luck with that.
Maureen O'Gara, Laura DiDio and Forbes Magazine stake their position on the SCO lawsuit. We can check back in six months or a year and see how right they were.
The Independent, reprinted in the Canberra Times, has a superbly accurate description of Forbes Magazine:
That mysterious publication Forbes Magazine has, for the first time, published a list of the 100 most powerful women in the world, and very fascinating reading it makes too. Not for its insights into the world of powerful women, because in many respects it is a ludicrous and rather embarrassing compilation, but as a demonstration of a particular way of looking at the world.
I called the magazine a mysterious publication, because, for the life of me, I can't really see what the magazine is doing, or what it provides for its readers. It's a strange kind of anthology of pieces about the very rich, corporate existence, and fairly unreadable think pieces, but something about it suggests to me that it isn't really read by opinion-formers or genuinely powerful people. It looks much more like corporate pornography, giving middle-management dreamers fodder for their fantasies, and this sort of exercise, basically meaningless, hardly seems useful or instructive.
I have an old Thinkpad whose screen backlight has died, making it pretty useless as a laptop. (I suppose it might work pretty well for a blind person who relied only on speech-synthesis output.)
I woke it up again last night as a headless audio player, sitting near my stereo. I can SSH in and play things through cplay. The sound quality through a NAD amp and Piega speakers is really good; far better than I would have expected. It's not quite as good as a CD, but tolerably close.
It does have an S-Video output, so it might be possible to connect it to the TV, if X is capable of setting up that output.
last says it had been down for just under a year. It gives me a strange happiness to wake it up and let it do something useful again.
My blog was down for a while because I thought blosxom had broken — permalinks to articles didn't seem to work.
In fact, the only problem was that some of my articles about linux.conf.au had paths like /weblog/conf/lca/2005. It looks like paths with numeric components kick off Blosxom's heuristic for searching by date rather than by name.
This is some kind of lesson about not giving inputs too many magic meanings, I suppose.
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