[rescue] Linux wet paint, was Re: Spark10 CPU question (must fix - SPARC damnit :-) )

Dave McGuire mcguire at neurotica.com
Sun Dec 18 19:12:30 CST 2016

On 12/18/2016 07:57 PM, Mouse wrote:
>>>> [Android] just works.  All day, every day.  My phone and several
>>>> tablets.  I reboot a couple of times per year to install OS
>>>> updates, but that's it.
>>> Sounds like poor QA to me.  Unless you've been meddling with the OS.
>> I think we have a disconnect.  Please re-read what I said above your
>> response.
> Yeah.  Multiple OS updates per year.  Sounds like poor QA to me.  For
> computers that are supposed to be just tools, uptimes should routinely
> be measured in years (well, except for things like power outages, for
> machines without the sort of built-in UPS most smartphones and tablets
> these days have).

  No.  Primarily they've been new features.  Some of which I like.

>> Ahh ok.  I, on the other hand, want to make phone calls and send text
>> messages.  That's why I have a phone.
> Yes.  I have a phone for that.  It is, however, a phone, designed first
> (and pretty much only) as a phone.  It is not a general-purpose palmtop
> computer with a phone glued onto the side and an OS that keeps most of
> the general-purpose aspects locked away from users.

  Mine, on the other hand, is a general-purpose palmtop communications
terminal with a phone glued onto the side, which is what I've wanted for
decades.  It could probably be pried from my cold, dead fingers, but
that's exactly what it'll take.

>>> The first job of an operating system for one of my computers is to
>>> be fully open source.  Computers are _not_ black-box tools to me,
>>> and a system - hardware or software - that assumes they are has, for
>>> my purposes, already failed.
>> Understood.  To each his own.
> Indeed.  (I'm reminded of someone, elselist, who wrote of going to a
> mass-market computer store and some salesdroid enthusiastically telling
> him how some computer or other would handle his email and his pictures
> and music and who knows what all else he didn't care about, completely
> failing to mention the one thing he actually _did_ want to do with it:
> program it.

  I write quite a bit of software under Linux, in several languages.  As
long as I don't get too close to the abysmal excuse for a processor
architecture that is x86, I like it just fine.

> (Hence my use of "salesdroid": someone who tries to sell a
> customer something before even finding out what the customer wants -
> or, worse, after finding out but ignoring - deserves that title, it
> seems to me.))

  Yes. :)

>> I don't like some of the design decisions either, but there exists
>> nothing better in the current era, that I've been able to find.  If
>> I'm wrong (and I'd love to be, since I hate running friggin' PeeCees)
>> please point me in the right direction.
> Well, I don't know your tradeoffs - they obviously differ drastically
> from mine - but from the little I can infer of them from this exchange,
> I suspect there may not be much better at the moment.  However, I am
> not au courant enough with what exists to be confident I'm not missing
> something, so that may mean little.

  Well Kevin Bowling mentioned se4L a few days ago, which I've been
reading about off-and-on since he mentioned it.  It looks really quite
amazing, but I'm worried that it'll be yet another
built-on-fantastic-ideas OS that never makes it out of the lab, and we
already have quite enough of those.  But we can hope for a better future
for it.  If I can find a way to use it in some of my embedded work, I
will, once I know more about it.

  For now, though, my trade-offs are surprisingly few under Linux on the
desktop.  I dumped MacOS X about six years ago because Apple started
trying to dictate my workflows and telling me what I did and did not
need, and they started de-supporting recent hardware to boost sales,
neither of which I tolerate.  Right now with Linux on the desktop I want
for nothing, except for possibly a web browser that doesn't become dog
slow when more than 30 or 40 tabs are open.

  Other than that:

   - Source code: check
   - Ease of writing drivers for custom hardware: check
   - Ease of overall programmability: check
   - Stability: check
   - Speed: check
   - High-performance graphics: check
   - X11: check
   - Emacs: check
   - Flexible networking: check
   - Supports all the hardware I need it to: check
   - Generally honors the principle of least astonishment: check

  Those are pretty much my requirements.


Dave McGuire, AK4HZ
New Kensington, PA

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