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    John Carmack posting on Facebook about developing on OpenBSD is not something I’d never expect to see.

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      His post reminded me how good was to be “alone”*. The most productive and meaningful work I did on my live was when my internet access and other resources where pretty limited.

      During university I remember wget-ing entire docs sessions on 1.44 floppy to read/study during the weekend because I didn’t had internet access. I’ve also implemented two important projects in a clean room design style, no references other than the provided ones.

      It’s on my TODO to rent a hut in the woods without internet or cellphone access and take my concentration flow to the next level.

      *As Alone I mean most about being offline and not accessible.

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        My favorite development time is spent on buses, where I get a few hours of “leave me the fuck alone” and “internet connection too poor for anything but IRC and documentation lookup”.

        I kinda want to do a long train ride in the US for similar purposes.

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          My favorite development time is biking trough town and extended forest walks. I think I fix most bugs offline.

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            That reminds of the Amtrak writer’s retreat (EDIT - I guess it was called a “residency”) that they ran a while back: http://blog.amtrak.com/amtrak-residency/

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              You can get that benefit in rural areas, too, if you dont bring a smartphone with you. People often discuss drawbacks of being isolated from jobs, few crowds, good Internet, etc. When you need to focus or relax, stuff being far away can make that easy.

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                My experience wasn’t all that great for writing as I found it difficult to type without mistakes. Other than that, it was not a bad trip.

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              Lol, I should have expected John carmack to make me feel bad about watching lectures as a form of procrastination.

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                I am very jealous of Carmack. Not of his wealth, or success, but that he got to go on a programming retreat. It sounds amazing. The only time I got close to this is in college when I studied abroad in Japan. My class load had nothing to do with programming and I spent a lot of time in programming up in the mountains. I never got a week stretch though. Anyone else do a programming retreat?

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                  Yeah, its not bad. What is stopping you?

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                    In the words of Buddha, life is suffering.

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                  I don’t really understand the goal of this. OpenBSD is supposed to be used for it’s security (mainly) or simplicity, but what’s the goal of it for machine learning?! I mean, everybody admits that OpenBSD is definitely slower than many linux distributions and ML seem to be an abyss for CPU/RAM resources. Maybe this is just for fun, but it seems like an useless constraints to me…

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                    From reading the article I think he had three goals:

                    • learn about NN
                    • learn about OpenBSD
                    • leave the comfy environment of an IDE

                    It looks like he just picked OpenBSD because he was interested in it, not because it is a good environment for machine learning.

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                      If you were doing ML for real, you’d probably be using a GPU/TPU. Or a distributed system (as e.g. in neuroevolution). Which makes OpenBSD a suboptimal choice.

                      However, if you’re just doing it on the CPU & system RAM, it’s basically all pure compute, so the speed of the operating system does not really play a role (unless you’ve got so many cores that scheduling becomes a problem). The speed of the OS only becomes relevant when you’re heavily involving the kernel (and perhaps the allocator), which you don’t in pure compute.

                      It’s just for fun.

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                        If you were doing ML for real, you’d probably be using a GPU/TPU. Or a distributed system (as e.g. in neuroevolution). Which makes OpenBSD a suboptimal choice.

                        I think this is a serious misconception about machine learning. The majority of machine-learning applications probably can run on a single PC (potentially your laptop if it has enough RAM).

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                          The majority of machine-learning applications in use today? No doubt, they are constrained by the resources that we have today. The pressure to go bigger and deeper is there and deep networks have shown so much promise. Training overnight, or for days or even weeks is no fun. And yet the fact that we even can train such deep networks at all within such a “reasonable” timeframe is what drives the current AI hype cycle.

                          If you have an useful source from which I can learn why the majority of machine-learning applications are not constrained by performance, I’d be interested.

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                        He is obsessed with efficiency. At work he doesn’t use them to be efficient and on holiday he is cramming everything together to be efficient (at learning/fun).

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                          If it’s for a corporation I presume it’s so he can hack it up without having to share source.

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                            This both highly pessimistic and also wrong. He did it for fun not for work or to open source. Purely personal coding for pleasure.

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                              It’s not pessimistic, it’s what a lot of people hack on BSD for and its honestly part of what the license was designed for. The fact that you clarified that it’s not to open source means he might have a quiet closed source ambition for it. It’s not unreasonable to presume because he picked the platform which legally permits a behavior, that it might contribute to why he picked it.

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                                Except that he wasn’t hacking on BSD. He was using it as a dev platform but he didn’t modify it. He was hacking on neural network implementations from whitepapers so he could learn about them. BSD was filling the role of Operating System and nothing more.

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                                  Ah that clarifies a lot. He’s just using it as his os. I normally would RTFA but facebook. I wasn’t trying to paint them in a negative light though yes definitely from a more OSS passionate perspective that would be negative.