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  • >> Sean: We're here again remotely, by the magic of video teleconferencing, and you've had

  • to do some upgrading I understand? >> DFB: I've been wanting people to ask me about my

  • upgrading hell! It's something where I guess all of our audience can find

  • common cause. You may not be running the same mix of kit as I am, but one's

  • attitude towards upgrading, I think, divides us into two camps. Are you a

  • serious early adopter of anything that's new? Or are you, like me, a token dinosaur.

  • "It's only six years old! What do you mean I should be upgrading it?" I have two PCs

  • that run Windows 10. I have two iPads and the one that is the centre of all my

  • efforts is the legacy unit - really, in steps, going all the way back to the 1970s.

  • But at the moment it's a Linux box, right? And the Linux box I have at the

  • moment - but I'm in the process of changing it: Sean, it's only six years old !

  • As my Dad used to say (and I'd say - "Dad just get with it") "Son these things should last a lifetime"

  • And I always say that to Steve and he looks to heaven whenever I say it.

  • And I think you do, too, a bit but y' know ... >> Sean: Let's be honest, computers, tablets

  • whatever are becoming a household appliance >> DFB: Yeah! >> Sean: and it certainly used to

  • be that you would buy a household appliance and expect it to last 10 years

  • or maybe, if you bought a Miele, 20 years.

  • >> DFB: Yes! Quite so! that's exactly right. But as we all know it's just not like that

  • and you've got to be flexible enough to to know exactly when it's the right

  • time to upgrade for you. When I'm in, as it were, 'Windows desktop mode' I'm happy

  • to live with the Windows 10 and that the people at work keep it up to date and all,

  • for me, and it's not the main focus of

  • what I use, but they're there when I need them. This time, thinking back, what

  • was the earliest UNIX box I had? it was in the early 1990s. It was Microport UNIX.

  • It was, in those days, running on very underpowered PC 386/486 sort of chips.

  • Something like that. And it was OK. It was a home UNIX system. It was with a

  • sense of woe and foreboding, really, when I had to move away from UNIX that

  • I was so familiar with, for 20 years, to actually having to embrace Linux.

  • And in those early days and one of my proteges is the legendary John Masters

  • from Red Hat (who was [previously] at Nottingham) So, yes he was at Red Hat

  • first of all. But then, as Red Hat became more and more - how should we say :

  • " ... had to get more commercially focused" then the happy hobbyist air fell away

  • from it and, you know, you had to use something like Fedora, I think it was?

  • And I was never very happy with that. So the question is, then, what is my most

  • recent Linux box? Well it's an Open SuSe system. Now before we start getting

  • avalanches of mail saying: "Why did you choose that?!" -- I chose that for the

  • pragmatic reason that the guys at work, whose judgment I trust, had gone for that

  • flavor of Linux [at the time] for the whole School of Computer Science. And I thought: "Well, you

  • know, it may not be quite like the Red Hat I'm used to but if they're offering

  • backup, advice and everything on Open SuSe, I'll do that at home". And it's the

  • only way to go because it reduces the hassles.

  • So, yes, the box I'm upgrading away from is Open SuSe Linux 13.2. Go on, Sean,

  • ask me what forced me to upgrade? Here we are, in a lockdown, can't I just wait a

  • for a while? Go on Sean - ask me why I'm upgrading ? >> Sean: Well, so, there are two main ways ... there

  • are loads of reasons to upgrade something. But in my estimation there are two main

  • reasons and they are the two sides of the one coin of computing: hardware or software?

  • Where we going? >> DFB: Both! I had problems with both simultaneously! And they kind of

  • interfered with each other to the extent of giving me inappropriate error indications.

  • What is the software not of mine but of other people's, where they

  • are determined to obsolete you and get you to upgrade? Answer: the Web browse !

  • Every flaming time! I do not watch movies - if you send me an mp3 or mp4 that

  • is standalone. That's all right. But I am NOT a mad gamer or I don't watch movies but I

  • do need to be able to play back my Computephile episodes! So there was I

  • still happily using Firefox, from 2014, and somebody without my explicit

  • permission goes and starts imposing HTML5 as a requirement. It started to be

  • longer and longer and longer before I could see "my" version. And I think you

  • told me that, because of my ancient set-up, I was waiting for a Flash version?

  • Was that right? >> Sean: Do know what, Dave, I have no idea! I mean, YouTube makes dozens and

  • dozens of versions of each. Well, you know, definitely many many multiples of

  • different versions, from h264 to blah blah blah ... >> DFB: It was making the HTML5

  • version first, because you were happy. I had to wait for quite some time, often

  • several hours, before a version came that I could view, but I could live with that.

  • It was getting more and more annoying. I thought: "This has got to change"

  • But then what tended to happen was that even on my ancient browser and

  • even when I wasn't trying to view HTML5 files - of course you got nowhere with that -

  • It was still "falling over" as we say. a lot, that browser, and I started

  • thinking that every time it fell over it was leaving a crash dump somewhere,

  • because my root disk-file system got full up like crazy. And then, on top of that,

  • I began to suspect and it took me back to the mid- to late-seventies when

  • this was commonplace. That 2014 system is running off proper conventional discs

  • right? Rotating things you know with brown iron oxide on them inside which

  • our colleague Dr. Steve I've never heard this before calls ... ? >> Sean: spinning rust?

  • >> DFB; spinning rust! "Dave, you're on spinning rust. I bet you've got bad blocks?"

  • I said: "you're right!". We used to get those in the 1970s off our big disk packs we put in.

  • You used to have to do an 'fsck' before you started it up, find your bad blocks, map

  • them out and all that. I started to have the odd file - fortunately not important

  • ones at all - where I couldn't delete it. It just wouldn't let me because there

  • were bad blocks. So, OK, for hardware and software reasons I must now upgrade.

  • So, I went to see Dr. Steve. Without his help I couldn't even begin

  • to stay in the Linux firmament. He said: "Dave, Open SuSe is so "yesterday" and so

  • "deprecated", if you want me to support you - and of course this is where we're going

  • to get into Linux Flavours Wars ... He said: "The flavor of Linux I find just

  • about tolerable is Debian" And I said: "Steve, whatever you use is fine by me

  • so long as you can keep me going on that new version" And the first thing he gave

  • me was a mostly configured [Debian] Linux system with no "spinning rust". I think I've got

  • 16GB of main memory and something like 200 and something GB of what I still

  • regard as "disk" except that it's really solid state memory now. And boy! is it a

  • lot faster than when you're having to wait for the next block to come round on

  • spinning rust !?" Then, of course, you've got to ensure that your

  • new Linux system has got all the utilities on it that the old one had.

  • One of the most wonderful things about Linux is that you get

  • - I'm sure there's exceptions - pretty well, binary compatibility [for a given architexture]. You don't have to

  • keep on recompiling your stuff. Are you listening up there Steve Jobs?!

  • One of my problems in doing this upgrade - and why I have to have Steve around as a

  • consultant - is that if you start only doing it every few years you forget

  • really, really, crucial things! And, I mean, one goof that just about finished me was

  • that in the good old days, because disks weres so small [in capacity] you had your root

  • filesystem on this disk and you could, optionally,

  • have your /usr file system on a physically separate disk, right? So all [of]

  • /usr and its descendants could be on a separate disk - physical disk. They're now

  • all on one walloping great big disk with lots of partitions. But when I was running

  • out of space on the root filesystem - immediately below that is /usr. I thought: "Back in

  • the Berkley [UNIX} days, if you had two smaller disks you could put /usr user on a

  • separate disk" So, right, go to super user mode. A little knowledge is a

  • dangerous thing! And I tried moving /usr to elsewhere to free off more space.

  • And you know what happens next? It won't recognize any - or will only

  • recognize a tiny proportion - of your UNIX commands when you type them in from a

  • command line. All right something like 'who' to see who's logged on

  • doesn't work. Why? Because you have made /usr/bin where it was

  • finding the binary to do that ['who' command] You've made it invisible. And I'd forgotten all

  • about this! Pick up the phone [plaintive voice]: "Steve ...I've got a problem" Actually, bless him, he was really better:

  • "Dave, listen carefully, stop gibbering,

  • we'll get it back! We've all done it! We have all done this but because I do it more often

  • than you, I now do it less frequently. And if I do, accidentally, do it I know how to

  • rescue myself!" So, it's things like that. It's a system that back in the 70s

  • required a lot of expertise ... Oh! and that's another thing: 'look and feel'- Oh! Lord!

  • Probably [we need] a separate EXTRA BITS video on this. That's the one last thing I want to talk about.

  • Honestly, yeah, again you go with Steve Jobs you take the pill you

  • drink the Kool-Aid, or you follow Bill Gates and his successors and you get

  • Windows 10. But basically what you see on your screen is what they think is good

  • for you. You do not get, like you do in Linux, Oh what sort of windowing system would

  • you like on top of all this, Sir? Are you a Gnome customer or are you a KDE customer?

  • Well I've flirted with both in my time and I think I've relapsed .... they can now

  • cohabit, I find, in this latest edition. They seem to cohabit a lot better.

  • But this is the problem of having such an amorphous market as Linux is.

  • I mean it's covering everything from high-end Web servers that have all sorts of things.

  • So, you can buy in exactly what you want but-but-but-but it means that if

  • everything is an add-on then nothing is standard. you know? So yeah, I'm basically

  • back on a machine that will tolerate either Gnome or KDE but it's choosable

  • and that suits me fine. And, yeah, even in the great Wild West that is Linux

  • systems there are signs of common sense breaking out. I think they are more

  • upgradable, in general perhaps better maintained, than they used to be five or

  • six years ago.

>> Sean: We're here again remotely, by the magic of video teleconferencing, and you've had

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更新和升級的樂趣 - Computerphile (The Joys of Updating & Upgrading - Computerphile)

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    林宜悉 發佈於 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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