The school I am teaching in is considering getting Raspberry Pi (Score: 1)

by in New Raspberry Pi Zero: the $5 computer on 2015-12-03 06:14 (#WG1V)

The school I am teaching in is considering getting Raspberry Pi computers. As programming will get bundled into all school subjects, there is a need for small programmable computers with GPIO in order to boost the pupils creativity.

I am going to suggest to get Raspberry Pi 2 B for development of a product. Once the development is ready, one can make it into a ready product by replacing Pi 2 B with Pi Zero, and it is something cheap enough that the pupils could even get it home.

For example, if one wants to make an "extension cord" with a box turning on and off the current when you clap your hands, the Pi Zero would get mounted inside of that box, making the product cheaper. The development itself would be on a Pi 2 B as it is strong enough to keep both an IDE and a browser open for reading documentation, allowing the pupil to do the whole development directly on a real Pi.

Re: Building a custom Linux system is easy (Score: 2, Interesting)

by in Build Your Own Linux Distro on 2015-04-27 06:57 (#7X4C)

If all you want is a web server or openssh server, then what you wrote is true. Try to just install DNS or email servers and you will see they are not coming ready configured.

Even with modern Linuxes, I need to script almost every week. So many tasks are not done automatically. Last week I made a script backuping all Extreme switches and Zhone dslams and other network equipment (ca 50 boxes). Now I have a crontab entry backuping them daily, so whenever one of those goes down I can quickly drop in another one.

As a system administrator I have to deal with huge amount of user names. Only a crazy person would add and remove them manually with either adduser from CLI or from any GUI. I created a script parsing a text file with all names. From that text file, my script generates usernames and passwords and After adding the user to the system, it outputs to a CSV file. That way I do not have to deal with mistakes and I save a lot of work.

Before that I had to make a box for presentations. The customer wanted to have an easy way to get PowerPoint presentations running on a screen at a library. I quickly installed Linux, made some simple scripts to do an automatic TTY login, startx, running mplayer in fullscreen cycling through all files which are accessable through samba. PowerPoint got a presentation->mpg4 export built in.

These are all trivial things, but nothing a complete newbie will be able to do after going through LFS. LFS is not teaching Linux. It is teaching how to install packages. If a newbie would run a distro with limited quantity of packages, like Slackware, he would have to learn it anyway, but rather than compiling the whole system he can begin learning real Linux (= becoming fluent in CLI, scripting, configuring services, etc).

Re: Building a custom Linux system is easy (Score: 2, Insightful)

by in Build Your Own Linux Distro on 2015-04-27 04:48 (#7WYV)

I have to disagree with you. Yes, I have once made an LFS. So what did I learn? Nothing. Several years of Linux usage had already thaught me how to compile packages. The steps for each package is almost the same: ./configure --prefix=/whatever; make; make install.

You do not have to build a whole distro in order to learn Linux. The better way to learn Linux is to actually use it. Set a goal for what you want done and then get it done. The goal might be anything from some simple shell scripts to setting up servers.

Re: bullshit (Score: 3, Insightful)

by in Microsoft may one day open source Windows on 2015-04-15 12:18 (#73NB)

Are you able to download a pirate version of Windows today? Yes or No?
Still they sell a lot of Window licenses.

Open sourcing does not mean to give away for free. It means anyone who bought Windows is able to look at the source and do modifications for himself. It is all about licensing. "Open source" and "free" are not symonyms. Some open source licenses means free, other not. Spreading the source to people not having a bought license would still be pirating, if they want it to be so.

MS is at this point in desperate need to get developers. This is visible from their latest moves. Anything that might attract developers to develop for Windows is welcome inside of the new MS. It is thus not impossible they will open source Windows in the future unless they have too much licenced code as an obstacle in this process.

Re: Even if Windows would become open source.... (Score: 1)

by in Microsoft may one day open source Windows on 2015-04-15 12:05 (#73M8)

At this point I am fully agreeing. I just hate the "user experience" of Windows. For me the right environment is a combination of *nix, tiling window managers and many terminals open.

I like how parts are interchangeable in an *nix environment. I can put together something that fits my work perfectly. Most settings are just text files, simple scripts and almost anything can be customized.

But somewhere at Redhat there is a man whos name has become a curse for the whole *nix world. That man tries his best to make Linux similarly unfriendly as Windows. It might be that if ever Windows becomes open source the difference will not be big anymore. We already see a lot of binary stuff replacing simple text files, binary logs and other kind of abomination.

The article is biased (Score: 5, Informative)

by in Has The Antivirus Industry Gone Mad?! on 2015-03-10 05:54 (#4M4Z)

The article is written by Emisoft, a producer of a antivirus/antimalware suit. Through this article they want to look better than competitors. Some clean free antivirus solutions were omitted from this article because then it would not drive people to Emisoft.

Re: How the mighty have fallen (Score: 2, Interesting)

by in Lenovo apologizes for pre-loaded insecure adware "Superfish" on 2015-02-21 09:14 (#3H6Q)

Indeed, they have fallen and deep. The build quality is definitely not the same good as before. You clearly see they are weaker made.
The last times the company I work for had to do with Lenovo we have just had trouble:
- Two months for changing a DVD station under warranty.
- Lenovos own automatic update installed a faulty version of the BIOS bricking the motherboard. Because it bricked all motherboards of the same model, they could not fix them fast enough for everybody all around the globe so we had to be without computer for a long time.

How is it even possible to have so low quality control that a faulty version of a BIOS is reaching automatic updates?

Really nice! (Score: 2, Interesting)

by in Solar Powered Tetroon Generates Enough Lift to Fly on 2015-01-23 05:58 (#2WSH)

This is what I call real innovation! I am almost tempted to build one myself. It is very easy to attach some plastics to each by ironing them together.

FreeBSD is buggy, sadly (Score: 1, Interesting)

by in FreeBSD 10.1 Released! on 2014-11-22 17:08 (#2V5W)

FreeBSD was once solid and good. 4.x series was really stable and I never experienced any problems. Then they begun with way too big changes and there was not even one version I would not see problems and panics with.

Already from this summery you can see the quality of FreeBSD. I bet they knew the Intel framebuffer did not work for 10.0. Still they shipped it. It is good they got that one working for 10.1, but I wonder what more they did break with this 10.1.

Yes, feel free to mark me as a troll, but I am very disappointed at FreeBSD and this is my experience. Since then I have moved over to OpenBSD. C is an easy language to begin coding in but a super difficult language if you want good quality product. Very few OS has the discipline for that.

Re: Pictures (Score: 1)

by in Philae lander: touchdown on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on 2014-11-13 13:16 (#2V1F)

True Christians (Score: 2, Insightful)

by in Which of the following groups do you trust when it comes to scientific research and reporting? on 2014-11-10 05:55 (#2TYT)

Most calling themselves Christians are actually not Christians. They just have their names written into the church books as that might benefit them somehow. Or because they falsly believe they are saved if they just are in the church books (and not living a Christian life). Christians are called Christians because they do follow the example of Christ. Their motivation for doing this is their love towards God and the people around them. Most however do no effort nor having that love.

Now if you take true Christians, the poll is very obvious. A true Christian would never lie as that did not their master (Christ). Also the commandments given by Christ would forbid them to lie. They would thus do their very best to avoid any lie. Jesus also told his followers to treat other in the way they want to be treated themselves. Nobody would want to be led into wrong direction by false result, thus they would do their very best to avoid mistakes. The Bible also say everything we do we do it for God, so a true Christian would try to be as dilligent as possible in order to do as much as possible for his beloved God.

This one is really serious (Score: 2, Informative)

by in wget prior to 1.16 allows for a web server to write arbitrary files on the client side on 2014-10-29 12:37 (#2TS4)

I think this one has bigger potential than the bash-bug recently discussed. Very few are passing stuff down to a bash shell unfiltered comparing to downloading with wget. Aren't almost all admins pasting in urls and downloading with wget on servers if they need a file from the net? It will not help if you checked the MD5 sum of what you downloaded as the vulnerability was in the client and not in the package you downloaded.

It is enough that one important server get compromized by this vulnerability and it will spread like a wild fire. An exploit will for sure check if the computer wget is running on also is running a web server. If it does, it will probably infect the web server for further spreading.

Re: Thanks for raping NASA budget... (Score: 2, Insightful)

by in Orbital Sciences' Antares rocket and Cygnus cargo spacecraft explodes moments after launch on 2014-10-29 09:34 (#2TRW)

If Orbital Science would have been truely developing this rocket, I would agree with you. However they bought 40 years old Russian rocket engines that has been stored for all these years somewhere. They are merely "gluing together" pieces and the quality control is upon those delivering each piece, for example the Russians for the engine.

With something as difficult as "rocket science" you need to have more control over the process rather than outsourcing everything hoping to get good stuff.

Re: Tsk.... Microsoft Word... WordPerfect... (Score: 1)

by in Escape from Microsoft Word on 2014-10-23 07:48 (#2TM9)

I think LaTeX is something very great. I use it for several things. I have even made several issues of a magazin with pure LaTeX and for most projects handling some kind of printed reports, I generate LaTex code from the program and get a good looking document at the printer or a nice looking PDF at the screen.

That said, I still think LaTeX is far from replacing a standard word processor. Unless you write a very simple document with the same structure all the way from the first page to the very last, you actually break the flow a lot more by looking up stuff in LaTeX reference manuals. Very few write enough of LaTeX to remember all tags. They get forgotten unless they are used daily. Also, as soon as it comes to something a little bit more odd you end up searching for the LaTeX documentation and the thought you had gets lost.

If a text really is simple, and has nothing odd in it, write it in Markdown, then convert it to LaTeX and add the final touch. Markdown is faster to type than the LaTeX tags and is breaking less the flow of thought. Also, LyX is a good alternative as you still have the power there if needed.

The state of LibreOffice (Score: 2, Interesting)

by in Escape from Microsoft Word on 2014-10-23 06:06 (#2TM6)

The author is talking about escaping from Word to WP. However, the route most take will be to Libreoffice. This is giving me really mixed feelings:
1. Libreoffice is open source and free. It is good people notice there are alternatives to the highly priced commercial products.
2. However they might get a bad taste of how open source programs are. Libreoffice is extremely unstable. Openoffice had its unstabilities too, but not nearly as many as Libreoffice is having. This is the cost of a speeded up development.

If you copy a picture from the web, you actually copy both the HTML-tag and the picture. Libreoffice decides to use the HTML tag as default. This is causing more hangs and locks than should ever be allowed and it prevents the document from getting opened unless that picture is accessable online at the moment you open the document. Sure, you can go to Edit/Paste Special (Ctrl-Shift-V) and pick Bitmap, but despite how many times you tell a user to do this, they will just right click and paste as they would do with Word.

If you handle a lot of pictures in a document, you almost should expect a crash at some point and you need to remember to all the time press ctrl-s. This is about properly inserted pictures and not pasted HTML.

If you make a presentation with Impact you should save every time before adding an "animation" (even if it is just a simple "appear" because you want something hidden on the slide until later).

If you add a table but forgot to add an empty line under the table, you have big trouble to continue the text.

Sometimes documents get so messed up that there is no other way to correct them than pasting to a plain text editor and then again apply all the styles.

One minor update fixes often some problems but adds serveal other. For example 4.2.5 had problems with animations, 4.26 fixed some problems with animations but added instead some problems with pictures.

OpenOffice always had some problems but not nearly as many and as frequently as LibreOffice. While most people cheerish Libreoffice, I do not do it. I know a fork was necessary as Oracle almost stopped development of OpenOffice but the fork should have continued in a slow and stable pace adding the features and not rushing like now.

Libreoffice works well as a "Word Viewer" (for opening Word documents and printing them), but to actually work with Libreoffice might sometimes really annoy.

I would welcome a fork (Score: 4, Insightful)

by in Is it time to fork Debian? on 2014-10-20 06:55 (#2TGK)

I really hate what has happened with Linux the latest decenium.

The truth is that we had a more functional desktop in the days of kernel 2.4. During that time even kernel versions meant stable and uneven meant development kernels. With 2.6 Linus broke this scheme as he considered it to slow down the development. We had really many broken kernels. Picking a working kernel was like a gamble. The latest years however he has managed to get some kind of stability back. Just when other things are beginning to get messed up in the whole community.

Then came the whole KDE messing with KDE4. And for those prefering a full blown DE, KDE3 was the only serious option. GNOME was not having enough of features and it was slow. Opening one folder full of pictures caused GNOME to crawl. KDE had a thumbnail cache and behaved a lot better. GNOME crashed often and had all kind of strange bugs.

Also, while most cherish the xorg fork from xf86, I am not happy with it. We had working graphics for many years. Sure the development was very slow comparing to what it is now for xorg, but it was stable. Now many times I have to fight quite a bit to get the graphics to work on even standard computers.

Slowly GNOME became quite useable. Then it was time to mess up that one too in the worst way splitting the already splitted Linux community even more. Now we have GNOME3, Cinnamon, Mate and many other DEs.

Then also came the Pulse audio change. Suddenly, having a working sound system was nothing to take for granted. Still, even today adjusting microphones, selecting recording sources and other settings are non-trivial. All this worked a decade ago. Meanwhile the BSDs never did the OSS->ALSA->Pulse conversion. They continued to develop on OSS and now OSS is able to play from multiple sources and everything works as it should.

Granted SystemV is not perfect. I have seen nasty race conditions with SystemV but I seldom have seen a system having trouble to get to a working condition. Now when systemd got introduced things began to break and things are more difficult to debug.

I hope they fork and bring back some sanity. Do as the BSDs did with OSS: Improving on what you have rather than throwing out and beginning from scratch. Do we want many years of experimentation with the init system rather than improving what we have in a stable pace?

Re: GUIs ruined school computer labs (Score: 1)

by in First computer system I used on 2014-09-25 08:09 (#2SWM)

This might sound like I am contradicting myself. My point is that removing GUI alone is not solving the problem as they will always find things to do. Still I believe putting restrictions have an effect. To just blame the GUI however is wrong. You need to deal with the temptation, whatever it is.

No sane teacher is showing with a video projector every single step the kids should do and expecting them to do the same. No teacher is having the kids to memorize all the steps. I am giving them the result and I tell them to use whatever method they want to achieve the result. That includes reading the built in help, using google etc. This makes them ready to use the next version when the GUI has changed. I only help them when they have been long time enough stuck without advancing in the task. With temptations their time will be lost in games and shuch rather than in experimenting.

When you lock down the environment you remove the temptations and you actually get better result. That I know and I have been witnessing. It actually takes more effort to learn in this way rather than having them to memorize everything. As the effort grows, they more easily pick up the low hanging temptations.

Let's say you have a alcohol addict. If that person is getting away from places where alcohol is served he has better chance to stay sober. Walking into a bar would be dangerous. In the same way if you notice the kids are not able to handle a temptation, you remove it so they better are able to concentrate on their tasks. When you have an Internet Facebook addict, you remove Internet access for that one. Okay, that particular pupil lost one way to solve the task: googling for help. Still getting the task done with built in help is better than not getting it done at all.

In the school I am teaching we do not have any particular restriction besides that they can only install stuff in their own home folder and not as root. However, if I see that someone is not able to handle the freedom, I remove what was the temptation for them.

Re: GUIs ruined school computer labs (Score: 1)

by in First computer system I used on 2014-09-24 05:00 (#2SVT)

I am teaching in an elementary school.

I fully agree kids would learn more if you removed the GUI. However, it would not be fully as efficient as you think:
1. Smart phones exist. When I cut out the Internet from their computers in order to get them to do something useful, they begin using their phones instead and I still need to be alert in following what they do rather than concentrating on teaching.
2. If smart phones would not exit, we would see a quick increase in the bigger IRC communities. They would fill their home folders with text games, irc clients etc rather than going through the material and it becomes even more difficult for the teachers to see from a distance if they are really doing their task. In this kind of cases usually one smart kid able to do it is enough as he will install it for all other.

My point is that if kids are not interested in doing what they are supposed to do, they will always find something else to do. The biggest difficulty a teacher is facing is how to make the material interesting enough and at the same time convince the kids they really need to go through it.

Re: as usual (Score: 2)

by in Friday Distro: Trisquel GNU/Linux on 2014-09-20 02:42 (#2SN0)

Thanks for a great review! I enjoy reading these weekly reviews. The distros picked are a bit odd, so there is a big chance nobody know them well enough for commenting and staying on topic at this point.

This is very bad (Score: 1)

by in Tainted cookware poisoning the entire African continent on 2014-09-19 12:42 (#2SKP)

Somwhere (probably at that green site some years ago) I read about lead causing violence. We already see a lot of violence in many places in Africa.

Re: Pirate talk idiocy is not amusing. (Score: 3, Informative)

by in Friday Distro: Trisquel GNU/Linux on 2014-09-19 12:19 (#2SKK)

I wish there was an edit button. I wanted to add the fact that the context is the "International Talk Like A Pirate Day". Instead of the boring headline "Today is Talk Like A Pirate Day", it was quite funny to learn about it through a well written review.

Re: Pirate talk idiocy is not amusing. (Score: 2, Insightful)

by in Friday Distro: Trisquel GNU/Linux on 2014-09-19 12:16 (#2SKJ)

It is not that difficult to read :)

I actually found it amusing even, in this context.

People want better OS (Score: 3, Interesting)

by in Tablet sales are down; PC sales are up. What the heck? on 2014-09-02 07:00 (#2RZM)

People are really tried of slow and bad working Windows. They associate PC with this problem. People bought pads because they got something that seem to be faster and easier to work with... Then they realized what I always been saying:
With very few exceptions, a pad is useless as you want to produce text also. Already writing this comment on Pipedot would be terrible with a pad. We need keyboards. I see two options in the future; better OS for tradtional ultalight noteboks or hybrides where the keyboard is sold together with the pad and easily removable those few times you just want to hold the pad in one hand.

I have seen a rise in interest for Linux the latest time. Tomorrow I will install Linux for an old lady that got tired of Windows. She called me and asked me if I could install Linux for her.

Re: Science and big happenings (Score: 1)

by in If we're going to post more science stories here, hope they're in the field of: on 2014-09-02 06:50 (#2RZJ)

It depends on what politics articles it is... I do not care about debates trying to argue one candidate is better than the other. That there are better sources for and I do not see this kind of sites to be meant as place of debating politics. However, after an election it is good to know what the new president means from privacy, freedom and world safety. I surely would want to read some comments if USA, Russia or China or any other super power would get a new president. And that is not happening so often, so it would at most be one article a year.

When something happens that has potential to grow bigger in a war, I surely want some insight information from maybe eye-witnesses to know how far the conflict could reach in worse case scenary. For example if Russia would decide to fully invade whole Ukraine it would be a conflict that could in worst case drag in a big part of Europe.

Science and big happenings (Score: 1)

by in If we're going to post more science stories here, hope they're in the field of: on 2014-09-01 17:04 (#2RYQ)

All kind of science news (computer science, astronomy, maths etc).

Also I wish to see normal news if they have a huge impact on the earth. Local election in some countries are not interesting, unless it is a country affecting most of the earth. War, that could have big consequences are OK. A volcano spewing out enough of ashes to block airtrafic for a big part of the world is ok, the same with nuclear accidents and other really big things. Local parties arguing inside of a country is not OK.

Re: Before everybody goes crazy... (Score: 2, Informative)

by in Mozilla rolls out sponsored link tiles on 2014-08-29 08:28 (#2RK2)

Write about:config into the url bar. Then write javascript into the search field.
Probably it could be done from their standard GUI also if you dig deep enough into their option dialog.

Re: I like it! (Score: 2, Interesting)

by in The experiment with feeding Soylent articles: your comments! on 2014-08-27 13:53 (#2QMP)

I wanted to add that even if two-way communication would not be possible, I like this feature as it brings more sites into one. People like me, mostly lurking and seldom commenting do not need two-way communication.

I like it! (Score: 1)

by in The experiment with feeding Soylent articles: your comments! on 2014-08-27 13:45 (#2QMK)

I definitely like it! I hope this will lead to two way cooperation so soylent would also get the comments here.

Xmonad, DWM, XFCE and Windows and console (Score: 1)

by in In any given month I use as interface: on 2014-08-13 05:18 (#3TW)

I am working for an IT shop fixing the customers computers. This mostly means I end up working with Windows and XFCE and pure console. When I am borrowing my wife's computer it will be the UI coming with Elementary OS. My own computers are running either xmonad or dwm (both tiling window managers).

Tiling Window managers were clearly missing in the poll.

There are several possible paths (Score: 2, Insightful)

by in Looking for programming work in 5-10 years? You'd better learn on 2014-07-21 14:57 (#2KV)

There are several possible paths. For example OS development (C/C++) do not use the same languages as web development (Python / PHP). Then we have many companies running apps made in Java internally.

If I would want to maximize my chance for getting employed as a programmer I would do the following things:
1. Learn myself functional programming because:
  • Functional programming is appearing in almost any programming language nowadays. Even C++ has been adding lambda functions.
  • With functional programming you get often shorter and more easy to read code. You simply become a better programmer by knowing it.
  • Less bugs.
2. Pick a non-functional programming language according to the field I hope to work in.

My personal choice would be to learn Clojure and Java. Clojure is running on the Java platform, so it works well together with pure Java. This would allow you to write part of you programs in Java and parts in Clojure.

Regardless if one likes Java or not, it is not going to disappear that fast as many business apps are written in Java. Then we have the whole Android system running Java. Many enterprise websites are served from Java servers.

Re: Still No Usable GUI Really (Score: 1)

by in Linux is awesome except for: on 2014-06-10 09:43 (#21J)

I fully agree. GUI and servers have nothing to do with each other. I am all for GUI "control panels" for the normal home user, as Linux will not succeed if the normal user is not able to change some settings in their own computers.

As a server administrator I would hate GUI for servers. Instead I use a combination of scripting, salt-stack and direct ssh contact. Lets take this trivial case: In the fall when the schools begin, I end up creating user accounts for every single new student. I receive name lists. Those list I format into the way I want (sed/vim). Then I run the lists trough a script I made which will create random password, make their home directories and set up everything right for them. Out I get a csv file containing their usernames and passwords. That csv file I can use in any office application. How do you do that efficiently by GUI?

It is not a coincidence PowerShell appeared in Windows. Any administrator not able to script is pretty much a worthless administrator. A such person is wasting time (=money) by doing over and over the same task. Mistakes will creep in here and there as with any repeated task.

Another case: Lets say a service has hung. Now I am able even with my phone and a simple ssh client to take remote connection and restart the service. As soon you have GUI and VNC/RDP/Whatever GUI you need more bandwith and working over a slow mobile connection might be almost impossible. Take then screen size also into account.

Bad decisions (Score: 2, Insightful)

by in Linux is awesome except for: on 2014-06-03 05:14 (#20D)

As someone that has been using Linux about 15+ years, I see the biggest problems like this:

Giving up OSS sound system.
Other *NIX system still uses OSS in one way or another and many programs are able to output sound. First Linux went all Alsa and you had many problems with cracking sound. Playing sound from many sources was nearly impossible so you had to use Arts, Esd etc (Yes, arts and esd was also needed at the time of OSS, but some development could have got rid of that dependency as *BSD did). All the drivers had to be rewritten. To complicate things even more they decided to slap Pu-pu-ppu-ppul-puls audio system to the already broken architecture. OSS was all about what UNIX should be: working with files (simple and elegant). Even to this date, when a Linux user wants Skype to work properly I might have to fight a lot getting the sound to work properly. Many times a growing noise appears which do not appear with other OS.

Broken desktops.
Early we had two competing desktop systems: KDE and Gnome (because of license issue). Every single time I tried Gnome, I had terrible crashes also it was quite sluggish. Opening a folder with pictures took forever as the thumbnails were created each time. It was also lagging terrible behind KDE in many other ways. Still it was the first choice in many distors meaning a new user got a really bad taste of Linux. KDE was still usable, but there was a small chance your distro was running KDE as default.

Then came KDE4 which completely destroyed the only really powerful and usable desktop at that time. Gnome had grown up at that time to be somehow usable. But Gnome also decided to mess up their desktop, which resulted into many new broken desktops got created (Unity, for example).

Now we still have some usable DE like Xfce, but they are still lagging behind what we have and they are not impressing on users coming from other OS.

Many more factors.
I do not intend to write a long article so I just conclude here that there are many more factors preventing Linux to be used in every computer.