Story 2014-08-13

Linux kernel hacker's open rant about systemd

in linux on (#3V8)
Linux kernel hacker Christopher Barry has engaged a full frontal assault of the systemd Linux subsystem and its creator, Lennart Poettering, on an "Open Letter to the Linux world" published on the Linux kernel hackers' mailing list. Here's a taste:
So why would very smart people who love and use Linux want to create or embrace such a creepy 'Master of All' daemon? Ostensibly, it's for the reasons they say, as I mentioned at the top. But partially I think it's from a lack of experience. Not a lack as in programming hours, but a lack as in time on the Planet. Intelligence alone is not a substitute for life experience and, yes I'll say it, wisdom. There's no manual for wisdom. Implementing systemd by distros is not a wise move for them over the long term. It will, in fact, be their ultimate undoing.
Systemd has been no stranger to controversy. It broke a lot of systems, and important figures in the Linux world have registered their doubt about the replacement to the well-known System V init system, which was a fully transparent collection of human-readable scripts but that led to slow boot times. It will be interesting to see if Barry's rant generates a groundswell of antagonism against the new system, or if it gets ignored, or if it leads to meaningful debate and change.

[Ed. note: picked up this story from comp.misc. Thanks, Rich!]

USB Type-C Connector Specifications Finalized

in hardware on (#3V1)
story imageThe newest specification for the USB 3.1 Type-C connector is now finalized, finally bringing improvements found in other cables (such as Apple's Lightning cable) to the USB standard.
  • Reversible plug orientation
  • Small size (~8.4 mm x ~2.6 mm)
  • Able to supply up 100 watts of power
  • USB 3.1 data rates (10 Gbps)
  • Durability of 10,000 connect-disconnect cycles
  • Improved EMI and RFI mitigation features
Although I know some people will undoubtedly whine about yet another USB connector, these changes are long overdue and very welcome in my opinion. Previous USB connectors have ranged from problematic (Mini-B) to unwieldy (USB 3.0 Micro-B) and badly needed replacement.

Judge rejects Apple/Google/Intel/etc settlement; says parties need to pay more

in legal on (#3TZ)
In a victory for engineers and techies everywhere, Judge Lucy Koh has rejected the settlement proposed in the High-Tech Employee Antitrust Litigation case. The settlement was originally drawn up by the plaintiffs' legal counsel, Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, a process which ordinarily would involve the participation and approval of the plaintiffs. Because the suit was class-action, however, the law firm allegedly moved forward on behalf of the plaintiffs without the approval of the class representatives, and informed them only after a settlement agreement had already been reached.

One of the plaintiffs, Michael Devine, asked the judge to reject the settlement based on the inequality of the proposed value to the amount of damage done, and it appears that Judge Koh agreed. Apple, Google, Intel, et al, and the plaintiffs' attorneys, will be required to either submit a higher offer or take the case to trial, a possibility that might lead to billions in damages considering the amount of evidence the plaintiffs have compiled.

Even if it does not go to trial, however, the judge's decision is a heads-up to businesses that this sort of behavior has consequences.