Fun Fosdem network figures: https://twitter.com/pvaneynd/status/959812812628520960
The Genode, Haiku, and Amiga users are in stealth mode as always.
Fosdem is great, I’ve been there many times. If you have the chance you should definitely go. What I like is that is it very low-key/accessible. Over the years I ‘met’ / talked with RMS, Robert Love, Tim O’Reilly, Wietse Venema, Timo Sirainen and Larry Wall by just walking around on campus and bumping into them.
Obligatory links ;)
I think one of the differences here is that the OP is about how it’s easier for him to analyze his own stuff with plaintext, whereas these are about why plaintext is difficult with user facing stuff.
There’s an odd tendency for things to get simple, then hard, then simple again:
Back in the Before-Before, there was no text on computers. Simple.
A bit later than that, there was text on computers, but, to a first approximation, it never traveled very far. This was the world ASCII was made for: The American Standard Code for Information Interchange. Other countries could (and did) make their own standards, and except for a sad few mailing tapes around, things tended to work. Everyone came around to using ASCII, except for IBM, and the world was fairly happy.
International networking made things difficult. Latin-1, from 1987, and similar eight-bit standards solved parts of the problem, but not the whole thing. For one thing, it was impossible to automatically detect which standard a document had been written in, which is why web browsers offer a little menu which lets people manually set the encoding the browser will use to display a given page. I got real familiar with that little menu in the 1990s.
Then Unicode came along and few people cared. 16 bit? Shove it in your ear! That’ll break all my software, you damn dirty hippies. Learn a normal language like the rest of us.
Then UTF-8 ate the world, except for Microsoft and Java, and things got a lot simpler very quickly.
I submitted this because its a nice collection/aggregation of books/blogs/papers to dig into further.
I really like this story because the writing is really honest: he doesn’t beat around the bush. Things (life) can be messy, and not a straight line. He isn’t trying to sell me something, just share his experience. My favorite kind of blog. Also, I really appreciate he put Appendix B in there.
So there are really two questions here: 1) What are you reading?
Work: Godel, Escher, Bach: The Eternal Golden Braid. This isn’t networking but WOW what a book. Formal systems, recursion, incompleteness theory and testability, this thing is a master work.
Also I’m nibbling at Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferris. The interviews are little bites of a few pages each, so I break one off when I want a break from the heavy lifting.
Pleasure: Jerusalem by Allan Moore. This is a mammoth book - 1.6K pages. I’m 64% through. Basically thus far it’s Moore’s Northampton UK flavored afterlife. I’m enjoying the ride but it’s LONG and I’m hoping the ending packs enough of a wallop to justify the commitment :)
Yes on both counts!
Classic Sci-Fi: Doesn’t get any more classic than the Lensman series by E.E. “Doc” Smith.
This is the archetype of science fiction books. Written from the 1930s - 1950s these books tell the story of two clashing hyper advanced alien races - the Arisians and the Boskone, and the effect they have on humanity and many other species.
This series is OLD. As a result of which, it’s sexist, ethnist, and has some really seriously wacky ideas about health and morality. HOWEVER if you can put that aside and enjoy it for the period piece that it is, IMO they’re well worth the read.
Networking: This isn’t strictly a networking book, but The Linux Programming Interface will give you a really deep understanding of how networking meshes with the gears of the OS - what’s happening at the system call, libc, sockets, etc level. Super great read with good exercises to work through:
My favourite bit from the Lensmans series is when the hero arrives at a new planet in his Faster Than Light ship……. and reaches for his trusty slide rule to calculate the orbit….
The other book from the Era of GEB is https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mind%27s_I
Which introduced me to the joys of Jorge Luis Borges and Stanislaw Lem.
One of my favorites is a set of passages where they’re disparaging some drug that our hero has taken doing undercover work, where they refer to healthy wholesome substances like tobacco.
Wow 1.6k pages! And here I thought GEB was already a commitment. The Linux Programming Interface looks just about right for what I need to be reading.
GEB is definitely a commitment. Truth be told I tried and bounced off twice, but now I’m about 1/2 way through because I’m reading it with someone. We help each other get un-stuck when we can’t wrap our heads around something.
That said, the book is a sumptuous feast for the mind if you have the audacity to get through it :)
I also picked it up recently and plan on reading it. Hofstadter claims to have said (Dutch wikipedia about him), 1/10 of the people that buy it, will start it, 1/10 of those will finish it, and 1/10 of those will understand it. Those aren’t good odds ;)
Currently reading The Soul of a New Machine by Tracy Kidder. It seems to be often recommended in threads like this.
That book was a big inspiration to me in high school.
“It is still used in some niches, such as in financial sector, meaning people actually make money using APL” I would really like this to be more specific, sounds interesting.
The A+ Language may still be in use. K and Q are other languages in the APL family that are definitely in use. The latter two are worth a look. They use ASCII. They are proprietary, however.
There’s Kona, an open source implementation of K.
“FreeBSD continues to defy the rumors of its demise.” That’s a strange opening statement, or did I miss something?
It’s a reference to the long standing BSD is dying joke.
“OpenBSD leader Theo states that there are 7000 users of OpenBSD. How many users of NetBSD are there? Let’s see. The number of OpenBSD versus NetBSD posts on Usenet is roughly in ratio of 5 to 1. Therefore there are about 7000/5 = 1400 NetBSD users. BSD/OS posts on Usenet are about half of the volume of NetBSD posts. Therefore there are about 700 users of BSD/OS. A recent article put FreeBSD at about 80 percent of the *BSD market. Therefore there are (7000+1400+700)*4 = 36400 FreeBSD users. This is consistent with the number of FreeBSD Usenet posts. “
Oh wow. This kind of mathematical analysis on determining number of users/systems could get whoever wrote that a job at RIAA.
Fewer than I would have guessed. Thin ice.
Ha! Shows how much I know… Funny though.