Category Archives: News

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Arm AArch64 Adds Memcpy() Instructions

Source: Hacker News

Article note: Those are very high-level instructions with weird interrupt semantics. I assume they added it largely for co-processor feeding, but it seems worse than attaching some DMA gadget(s).
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GNOME to prevent theming, wider community not happy

Source: OSNews

Article note: This kind of shit around GTK is what eventually drove me from XFCE to KDE - the GTK apps just keep getting less functional and adaptable from the user side, and the APIs keep changing in more coercive ways (from the developer side). The GNOME folks have so thoroughly made the GTK ecosystem unsuitable for anything other than their (ever shifting and VERY not-to-my-taste) "vision" that it isn't really viable to write software in. And this isn't a new thing, remember the "I guess you have to decide if you are a GNOME app, an Ubuntu app, or an XFCE app unfortunately. I’m sorry that this is the case but it wasn’t GNOME’s fault that Ubuntu has started this fork. And I have no idea what XFCE is or does sorry." routine in 2012? I always have to chuckle that GTK started to suit the needs of GIMP (because Motif and Qt both had licensing problems), and now GIMP is... still typically building against GTK2 like a decade after GTK3 came out. KDE also did some "Innovating" in the KDE4 era, most of which disappeared into an option menu when it became clear it suited very few users' use cases (remember that fuckin' cashew?), but the Gnome folks just keep doubling down.

If you’ve been paying attention to recent chatter in the GNOME and surrounding communities, you may have noticed there’s a lot of disgruntled developers within certain communities that rely on parts of the GNOME stack, such as Pop!_OS and Budgie. I’ve been trying to follow most of these discussions and have been itching to write about it, but with the discussions still ongoing and my own lack of knowledge on the intricacies of the interplay between distribution maintainers, desktop environment developers, application programmers, and GNOME itself, I figured I should stay away from it until someone with more knowledge stepped in.

Well, thanks to Joshua Strobl, experience lead of Solus and one of the main developers of Budgie, I now have a great in-depth story to link to. I urge you to read the whole article, but here’s Strobl’s conclusions:

1. GTK4 has not met our expectations since its release in December of 2020, nor have we been satisfied with its state as of the writing of this post.

2. Current plans by GNOME for changes to how theming works is viewed as regressive for desktop Linux, developers, and user choice.

3. We do not believe that GNOME is treating its community, from individual users to entire operating systems, in a manner that is equitable and respectful of their choice on how they want to curate their own experience.

4. Budgie 11 will not be written in GTK4.

5. For Budgie Edition: we will be working on replacing software developed by GNOME with that of alternative software developers as well as “in-house” solutions. These will not necessarily be under the GetSolus organization nor will they be associated with Budgie. Adopting Budgie going forward (at least until 11, when we have our own control center) does not and will not require using our own apps. This has even remained true even for Budgie Desktop View, we support alternatives like Desktop Folder as alternative “desktop” implementations in Budgie.

6. GNOME Edition will be demoted to a non-curated edition and moved to a lesser position on our Downloads page in a future release of Solus.

There are various problems non-GNOME GTK developers are running into, but as a user, my biggest problem is GNOME’s adoption of libadwaita. GNOME is going to ship a library, libadwaita, that when used by an application, will force it to use the default light Adwaita theme, with no option to change it to dark mode or a different theme. The end result is that if you use GNOME, you’re going to start seeing applications – both from GNOME itself as well as from third parties – that do not respect your choice of GTK theme, and instead always default to light Adwaita.

But of course, this problem extends beyond GNOME itself, as other popular GTK desktops, such as MATE, Cinnamon, and Budgie, also make use of both GTK applications, as well as components and applications from GNOME. On top of that, countless popular distributions, such as Linux Mint, Ubuntu, and Pop!_OS, all use custom themes. Their desktops will be severely broken since GNOME and GTK applications will no longer use their custom themes.

As a result, Solus and Budgie will start transitioning to using EFL instead of GTK for various components, which is a pretty big shift. As far as I know, other distributions, such as Ubuntu, Linux Mint, and Pop!_OS, have not made any plans yet as to how to handle this new reality, but I would assume they, too, will start to replace any offending applications and components, or hack GTK altogether as a workaround.

This is a shitty situation, and the GNOME developers are causing a lot of bad blood and rifts here that really could have been avoided. Theming and customisation are a core aspect of the Linux desktop, and breaking it like this is going to make a lot of non-GNOME developers as well as users very, very unhappy.

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Please stop closing forums and moving people to Discord

Source: Hacker News

Article note: Seriously. Discord isn't web searchable, which makes it totally unsuitable for support type tasks, and it's hard to do decoupled identities on Discord. If you don't want to host, even a subreddit or github pseudosocial-feature-of-the-week those is at least searchable, even as it tries to roach-motel your personal info.
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Lumber crash leads to ‘blowout’ sales as prices crater

Source: Hacker News

Article note: Ooh. Now other markets that have been insane lately, please.
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Backpage founders get mistrial because US overplayed child sex trafficking claims

Source: Ars Technica

Article note: For once, "tHiNk oF ThE ChIlDrEn!1!" didn't automatically steamroll opposition.
A gavel and jury box in an empty courtroom.

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | imaginima)

A federal judge yesterday declared a mistrial in the case against Backpage's founders, ruling that US prosecutors unfairly tainted the jury by focusing too heavily on claims of child sex trafficking in a trial that involved zero charges of child sex trafficking. A new trial will be held.

"'The government, as prosecutors, are held to a higher standard,' said Judge Susan Brnovich from the bench as court opened for what was expected to be the eighth day of the trial. 'Their goal is not to win at any costs, but their goal is to win by the rules,'" according to an Arizona Republic article.

The case against Backpage founders Michael Lacey and James Larkin, plus five Backpage executives and managers, is in US District Court for the District of Arizona. The actual charges are for conspiracy, facilitating prostitution, and money laundering. An order confirming the declaration of mistrial was filed, but Brnovich explained her reasoning orally.

Read 9 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Why Are So Many Young Men Giving Up on College?

Source: Hacker News

Article note: ...it's really hard not to notice how different the language and norms of discourse around "we appear to be systematically pushing men and boys out" and "we appear to be systematically pushing women and girls out" are.
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Apple blocked the FlickType Watch keyboard then announced a clone of it

Source: Hacker News

Article note: I'm always a little conflicted on these. Adapting proven solutions from the ecosystem as supported first-party solutions is generally a great way to build a platform (look at the _entire FOSS ecosystem_ for an example), and a lot of the things that get absorbed that way _do_ make more sense as system features than little rent-seeking add-ons. And in this specific case, Apple's prohibition on input mechanisms that also have network access is a reasonable policy given the general toxicity of the modern computing environment (preventing keylogging, captured-client SMS spam, etc.) But BOY does Apple have an ugly history of treating developers for their platforms as sharecroppers. Appropriation with Sherlock/Karelia Watson, Night Shift/F.luxx, Health/Clue (I know there were some cases in the pre-OS X era but I can't think of them offhand), and usually after having talked to the team making the thing they plan to clone. High mandatory distributor cuts. No side-channels. API and Policy churn that can get products delisted. It seems like they could at least offer to buy out the things they do that to, it's not like Apple is hurting for cash reserves.
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Intuit branches out into email marketing by splashing $12bn on Mailchimp acquisition

Source: The Register

Article note: From the people who brought you "Sandbagging US tax reform so they can rent-seek off the mess": Spam As A Service!

Part of a planned assault on the 'small business mid-market'

Financial software specialist Intuit has splashed the cash to branch out into the world of email newsletters, throwing $12bn (around £8.7bn) at Mailchimp as part of its effort to "become an AI-driven expert platform."…

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I hate the new Windows 11 taskbar

Source: The Verge - All Posts

Article note: It's like the entire fuckin' industry decided to make things that look pretty instead of things that work well for the last 20 years. We _know_ how (extended) Fitts' law works: things in the screen corners are the easiest to select because they have "infinite" depth in two directions, and edges are slightly harder with 1-d infinite depth, so you put your common controls there...so they move UI elements to be centered. (remember the early OS X demos with the centered Apple menu? Even "you're holding it wrong" Apple backed off on this kind of dumb shit). We _know_ that consistent placement and appearance allows for "muscle memory" ... so they make shit that constantly moves, re-flows, and alters its visual presentation every time you see it. We _know_ that multiple monitors and odd (especially ultra-wide) device aspect ratios are increasingly common... so they remove features for accommodating them.

Microsoft promotes itself as the productivity company, but the new Windows 11 taskbar removes key functionality and makes me less productive as a result. Missing features include power user elements like displaying the time and date on multiple monitors, or simple things like having small icons and being able to move the taskbar around. There’s so much missing here that I’m stunned Microsoft is shipping a new OS that takes the Windows taskbar back decades.

While this missing functionality initially seemed like bugs or unfinished code, it’s clear Microsoft now intends to ship the taskbar like this on October 5th. I personally use three monitors on my PC, and if I’m using a fullscreen app or a game on my primary one, I can’t see the date...

Continue reading…

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China’s dodgy-debt double act

Source: Hacker News

Article note: Oh boy. China is a huge fraction of global manufacturing capacity (and holds like $3.2T of US treasury securities) so either having their gigantic not-quite-private companies collapse and thrash their economy OR nationally moving assets to bail said not-quite-private companies out out will be globally disruptive.
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