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John_Spikowski
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Re: Liberation through Computer Literacy

Fri Nov 15, 2019 3:54 pm

Fact is most websites and phones run Linux/Unix. Windows is still king on the desktop not because we love Microsoft, the investment into the platform is huge.

If open source disappeared today, we would be back in the stone age.

ejolson
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Re: Liberation through Computer Literacy

Fri Nov 15, 2019 4:08 pm

jcyr wrote:
Fri Nov 15, 2019 2:54 pm
So, personal computing == programming? I find that a rather limited definition. Is an artist's use of Photoshop to illustrate, or an author's use of Word to write the next best seller, or my own use of Quicken to balance the books, not personal computing? Any interaction where one of the participants is a person is by definition personal.
While it's possible to script things in Photoshop (or at least in Gimp), the use you seem to be describing is that of a person performing a series of actions using a mouse to produce an image. It's my understanding that this is creative but manual labor. Similarly, unless the author is writing macros, the use of Word is no closer to computing than a typewriter.

Image

Gaming is another activity sometimes confused with personal computing that has no programming component.

Once one removes from discussion the uses of personal computers that more closely resemble watching television or digging a ditch, one can then focus on the meaning of personal. In my opinion something is personal only when it focuses on a single individual and what that person wants and needs. In the best case such a focus is done with the desire to satisfy those wants and needs, in the worst case to intentionally subvert them. Fortunately, distinguishing between office and personal computing is not as difficult as confusing nourishing tasty food with fast food. The difference comes in whether the food was prepared with the wants and needs of a specific person in mind or retrieved from a shelf of identical premade burgers eatable by anyone.

Unsurprisingly, when I go into a fast-food restaurant and order a cheeseburger without the cheese, extra tomato, fries no salt and bottled water, waiting for the food makes me feel almost as liberated as coding new algorithms to solve tatami challenges with the Raspberry Pi.
Last edited by ejolson on Fri Nov 15, 2019 4:57 pm, edited 9 times in total.

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John_Spikowski
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Re: Liberation through Computer Literacy

Fri Nov 15, 2019 4:18 pm

Unsurprisingly, when I go into a fast-food restaurant and order a cheeseburger without the cheese, extra tomato, fries no salt and bottled water, waiting for the food makes me feel almost as liberated as coding new algorithms to solve tatami challenges with the Raspberry Pi.
Don't be fooled that you are special. They took an existing burger and redressed it.

What might be fun is order a BigMac without the bun, burgers, pickles or cheese. Extra lettus, tomatoes, onions topped off with special sauce. (BigSalad)

ejolson
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Re: Liberation through Computer Literacy

Fri Nov 15, 2019 6:02 pm

John_Spikowski wrote:
Fri Nov 15, 2019 4:18 pm
What might be fun is order a BigMac without the bun, burgers, pickles or cheese. Extra lettus, tomatoes, onions topped off with special sauce. (BigSalad)
I have a friend--a skilled software engineer not named Fido--who judges the quality of a restaurant based on whether they can prepare custom-order food that is not on the menu. This doesn't always work out the best, but since best is the enemy of good, it still results in some interesting culinary experiences.

Speaking of writing huge programs in Java that leverage multiple frameworks, doing so is only liberating if you have the technical skills to find and fix bugs in the code other people wrote when creating those frameworks. From this point of view, ScriptBasic is likely the most personal of the programming languages discussed on this forum. The design allows a single person to modify and change it to meet their individual needs each time a different programming problem is presented as a challenge.

The question remains, however, whether a cheeseburger without the burger could be even more liberating than that.

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John_Spikowski
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Re: Liberation through Computer Literacy

Fri Nov 15, 2019 6:29 pm

ScriptBasic is likely the most personal of the programming languages discussed on this forum. The design allows a single person to modify and change it to meet their individual needs each time a different programming problem is presented as a challenge.
Yep. No commities, scheduled releases or a direction. Just a get it done BASIC with a couple of guys to keep it afloat and available.

A rock solid embeddable BASIC that prides itself on being openended.

Heater
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Re: Liberation through Computer Literacy

Fri Nov 15, 2019 7:01 pm

jcyr,

Rarely do I see so many misconceptions squeezed into a single forum post:) Let me try and disentangle it...
So, personal computing == programming? I find that a rather limited definition. Is an artist's use of Photoshop to illustrate, or an author's use of Word to write the next best seller, or my own use of Quicken to balance the books, not personal computing?
Perhaps it is a bit limited but let me turn this around:

An artist using Photoshop is likely not doing anymore computing than an artist using oil paints and canvas or rusty lumps of steel and a welder, as was the fashion for some time.

An author using Word is likely not doing any more computing than if the used pen and paper or a typewriter.

You using Quicken to balance the books are likely not... Oh wait, in that case you are actually computing something.
That's because it's what the majority of people use to personally compute in the real world
This is not true. Most users of personal computers, from old style PC's and laptops, to modern day phones and tablets are using mostly open source software. Be it the Chrome browser, the Android operating system, the software behind much of what they interact with at Facebook, Google and elsewhere. The internet in general.
Most couldn't care less about the open source...
True enough. Most people are not so embroiled in the software world that they even know the difference between Open Source and proprietary software. They just use what they can get.
...ideology...
I'm not sure what you mean by "ideology". Open Source software is driven by very practical considerations. A major one being cost. Then we can talk about other practically useful features like maintaining control of your systems, longevity of your solutions, the ability to have a say in the future of these systems, and so on.
...and prefer to pay for value
I have no issue with paying for value. That is an ever increasing incentive not to have to pay rent seeking proprietary vendors.

For example: I was reading a few days ago how many major names in graphics production were working very hard to get away from the subscription model of Adobe for their graphics creation software needs.
All this is supported by the Linux experience. Linux is king on server and cloud services where all the geeks toil, but on the desktop (or any other edge device) where normal people exist it is virtually unknown.
Unknown perhaps but not unused. A majority of people are using Chrome every day. They use Android every day. They spend hours interacting with Facebook and Google every day. There is so much Open Source software in use by the majority of "normal people" today, their world would collapse without it.
Open source, like communism, is a great idea in theory but fails in practice.
This statement flies in the face of reality.
I know Americans like to bandy the C word around a lot. But really, talk of communism is not relevant here.

Free and Open Source software is not a prescription for running the economy. It is not a prescription for organizing society. It operates totally within the framework of modern day capitalism of the western world. It plays by the rules of copyright, patent, trade mark and intellectual property we have in place.

At the end of the day it's just work published under a license. Same as Mick Mouse or Star Wars.

And, by the way, there is no sign that the idea of Open Source collaboration has failed. On the contrary it grows every day. As companies realize it's advantageous to collaborate on their software needs via the medium of open source than it is to pay though the nose for everything.

As John_Spikowski astutely observes: "If open source disappeared today, we would be back in the stone age."
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

jcyr
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Re: Liberation through Computer Literacy

Fri Nov 15, 2019 8:30 pm

Heater wrote:
Fri Nov 15, 2019 7:01 pm
jcyr,

Rarely do I see so many misconceptions squeezed into a single forum post:) Let me try and disentangle it...
So, personal computing == programming? I find that a rather limited definition. Is an artist's use of Photoshop to illustrate, or an author's use of Word to write the next best seller, or my own use of Quicken to balance the books, not personal computing?
Perhaps it is a bit limited but let me turn this around:

An artist using Photoshop is likely not doing anymore computing than an artist using oil paints and canvas or rusty lumps of steel and a welder, as was the fashion for some time.

An author using Word is likely not doing any more computing than if the used pen and paper or a typewriter.

You using Quicken to balance the books are likely not... Oh wait, in that case you are actually computing something.
Pretty much what computing, including personal computing, is all about. Getting stuff done.
Heater wrote:
Fri Nov 15, 2019 7:01 pm
That's because it's what the majority of people use to personally compute in the real world
This is not true. Most users of personal computers, from old style PC's and laptops, to modern day phones and tablets are using mostly open source software. Be it the Chrome browser, the Android operating system, the software behind much of what they interact with at Facebook, Google and elsewhere. The internet in general.
Like I said, there are plenty of computer literates around cloud servers (hence Linux), not so much among Android and Chrome users. Both of which are open source projects effectively controlled by a large corporation.
Heater wrote:
Fri Nov 15, 2019 7:01 pm
Most couldn't care less about the open source...
True enough. Most people are not so embroiled in the software world that they even know the difference between Open Source and proprietary software. They just use what they can get.
...ideology...
I'm not sure what you mean by "ideology". Open Source software is driven by very practical considerations. A major one being cost. Then we can talk about other practically useful features like maintaining control of your systems, longevity of your solutions, the ability to have a say in the future of these systems, and so on.
GPL is about a lot more than cost. I look at it from a producer's point of view. Developing for GPL virtually binds you to working for free, hence the encroaching corporates who can afford to dedicate employee time.
Besides, wasn't it Jobs that demonstrated that esthetics matters more than cost? What the desktop looks like matters!
Heater wrote:
Fri Nov 15, 2019 7:01 pm
...and prefer to pay for value
I have no issue with paying for value. That is an ever increasing incentive not to have to pay rent seeking proprietary vendors.

For example: I was reading a few days ago how many major names in graphics production were working very hard to get away from the subscription model of Adobe for their graphics creation software needs.
Why so hard if open source can easily meet these needs with the same quality and polish?
Heater wrote:
Fri Nov 15, 2019 7:01 pm
All this is supported by the Linux experience. Linux is king on server and cloud services where all the geeks toil, but on the desktop (or any other edge device) where normal people exist it is virtually unknown.
Unknown perhaps but not unused. A majority of people are using Chrome every day. They use Android every day. They spend hours interacting with Facebook and Google every day. There is so much Open Source software in use by the majority of "normal people" today, their world would collapse without it.
Open source, like communism, is a great idea in theory but fails in practice.
This statement flies in the face of reality.
I know Americans like to bandy the C word around a lot. But really, talk of communism is not relevant here.
Ah sorry. I really used it in the dictionary sense, not the prevailing geopolitical sense.
Heater wrote:
Fri Nov 15, 2019 7:01 pm
Free and Open Source software is not a prescription for running the economy. It is not a prescription for organizing society. It operates totally within the framework of modern day capitalism of the western world. It plays by the rules of copyright, patent, trade mark and intellectual property we have in place.

At the end of the day it's just work published under a license. Same as Mick Mouse or Star Wars.
Yes, unpaid work.
Heater wrote:
Fri Nov 15, 2019 7:01 pm
And, by the way, there is no sign that the idea of Open Source collaboration has failed. On the contrary it grows every day. As companies realize it's advantageous to collaborate on their software needs via the medium of open source than it is to pay though the nose for everything.

As John_Spikowski astutely observes: "If open source disappeared today, we would be back in the stone age."
A bit dramatic, but true enough. Aren't we returning the heavy hand of corporate control you so despise?
It's um...uh...well it's kinda like...and it's got a bit of...

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Re: Liberation through Computer Literacy

Fri Nov 15, 2019 9:31 pm

jcyr,
Pretty much what computing, including personal computing, is all about. Getting stuff done.
If you like. Where do we draw the line in this definition? Personally I don't think that I'm doing any personal computing when I watching videos on YouTube or chatting here with you.
Like I said, there are plenty of computer literates around cloud servers (hence Linux), not so much among Android and Chrome users. Both of which are open source projects effectively controlled by a large corporation.
Like you said, most users don't know or care if what they are using is open source or not.
GPL is about a lot more than cost.
For sure. That is one among thousands of open source licenses today.
I look at it from a producer's point of view. Developing for GPL virtually binds you to working for free,
The GPL does no such thing. As the producer it's my choice, of my own free will (if we can accept there is such a thing) to release my code under the GPL. Not only that but as the producer I have the choice to license the same work to you for inclusion in your closed source products for remuneration if I choose.

As a producer you are free to license your work under whatever terms you feel suite your goals best. Perhaps making money off that code is not one of your goals and the GPL is just fine.
...hence the encroaching corporates who can afford to dedicate employee time.
You are crossing wires there. Most Open Source projects that get support from the paid work of employees as a collaboration between corporations are not GPL licensed.
Besides, wasn't it Jobs that demonstrated that esthetics matters more than cost? What the desktop looks like matters!
Jobs certainly made good out of selling style. Aesthetics matters more than cost only to those that have the money to bear the cost.

Jobs also demonstrated that there is money to be made from Open Source software. Or at least saved over doing it all yourself. See BSD kernel in Apple operating systems. Webkit in Apple browsers. Clang/LLVM used to build the whole Apple show. Etc, etc,
Why so hard if open source can easily meet these needs with the same quality and polish?
Nobody said it was easy. Presumably the pain of Adobes rent seeking behavior is becoming unbearable enough for companies that use those products to think about collaborating on alternatives.
Yes, unpaid work.
I thought we already agreed that most open source developers are actually getting paid by the corporations they work for that collaborate on those open source projects.
Aren't we returning the heavy hand of corporate control you so despise?
You keep using that word 'despise' when stating what you think is my view of corporations. Please don't generalize about me like that.
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

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John_Spikowski
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Re: Liberation through Computer Literacy

Fri Nov 15, 2019 10:39 pm

Speaking of Apple, it would be interesting to get a Swift submission on the RPi.

https://github.com/uraimo/buildSwiftOnA ... t-binaries

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John_Spikowski
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Re: Liberation through Computer Literacy

Sat Nov 16, 2019 12:23 am

Have we given up on Python and it is what it is?

jcyr
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Re: Liberation through Computer Literacy

Sat Nov 16, 2019 12:36 am

Heater wrote:
Fri Nov 15, 2019 9:31 pm
Aren't we returning the heavy hand of corporate control you so despise?
You keep using that word 'despise' when stating what you think is my view of corporations. Please don't generalize about me like that.
Forgive me for misinterpreting some of your previous posts.

Corporations commit resource to projects when it benefits their bottom line. They are paying employees to contribute to open source in order to enhance their ability to peddle closed source stuff built on top of open source. Amazon's AWS is a prime example. Google's another. They provide best in class services at comparatively low cost, not necessarily concerned with your best interests.

Telecom companies... all quasi-monopolies.

Golden age - I am free from central authority.
Dark age - I am dependent on central authority.

It is this encroachment by large corporations that worries me the most. Literacy is not their goal.

[Edit] On the hardware front, I do see a little sunlight on the horizon with the advent and apparent stickiness of RISC-V
It's um...uh...well it's kinda like...and it's got a bit of...

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John_Spikowski
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Re: Liberation through Computer Literacy

Sat Nov 16, 2019 2:33 am

It all comes down to how much you're willing to pay for convenience.

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Re: Liberation through Computer Literacy

Sat Nov 16, 2019 3:41 am

Swift RPi

Code: Select all

pi@RPi4B:~/swift-dev $ swift --version
Swift version 5.1.1 (swift-5.1.1-RELEASE)
Target: armv7-unknown-linux-gnueabihf
pi@RPi4B:~/swift-dev $ cat hello.swift
print("Hello Swift")
pi@RPi4B:~/swift-dev $ swift hello.swift
Hello Swift
pi@RPi4B:~/swift-dev $ swiftc hello.swift -o hello
pi@RPi4B:~/swift-dev $ ./hello
Hello Swift
pi@RPi4B:~/swift-dev $ ls -l
total 16
-rwxr-xr-x 1 pi pi 10032 Nov 15 19:38 hello
-rw-r--r-- 1 pi pi    21 Nov 15 19:35 hello.swift
pi@RPi4B:~/swift-dev $ 
I'm going to try to do a Tatami 200 with Swift.

If you would like to try Swift without having to install it, there is an online site you can run your code there.

Swift Online

* Other languages are also offered on this site.
Last edited by John_Spikowski on Sat Nov 16, 2019 4:52 am, edited 1 time in total.

Heater
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Re: Liberation through Computer Literacy

Sat Nov 16, 2019 4:22 am

jcyr,

We should not meander off into a debate about politics or economics here. Clearly us humans have to organize ourselves somehow to get anything done or even survive at all. Be that modern capitalist corporations, command economies, dictatorships, monarchies... Heck, our most notable "golden ages" and civilizations throughout history were built on slavery.
On the hardware front, I do see a little sunlight on the horizon with the advent and apparent stickiness of RISC-V
I'm very enthusiastic about the RISC V.

It's a nice example of the little guys collaborating with each other to wrestle control away from the incumbent monopolies. In an attempt to reduce cost and regain some control over their own development.

When I say "little guys" here I mean all manner of companies that require a CPU in their products. Not likely individual people but possibly that also.

It's exactly the same motivation we have been discussing for companies collaborating on open source software infrastructure.

A such I'm at a loss to see how you are hopeful for RISC V as "sunlight on the horizon" but so dismissive of Open Source software.
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

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Re: Liberation through Computer Literacy

Sat Nov 16, 2019 4:47 am

Seems most people need literacy before they can achieve liberation https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles ... ury-skills

Never mind computer literacy.
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

ejolson
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Re: Liberation through Computer Literacy

Sat Nov 16, 2019 4:53 am

John_Spikowski wrote:
Sat Nov 16, 2019 12:23 am
Have we given up on Python and it is what it is?
Python code that introduced the space-saving memory optimisation of only storing T(s) for even values of s was presented in this post.

It looks like you downloaded one of the binary releases for Swift on the Raspberry Pi. How well does it work?

I'm still thinking about how to make a star chart. If I understood what the lead developer of FidoBasic was trying to achieve with all those celestial bodies, the farming equivalent would be to fill baskets for each tatami challenge entry with cabbages according to
  • One to five green cabbages based on execution time.
  • One to five red cabbages based on memory usage.
  • One to five yellow cauliflowers based on lines of code.
The number of cabbages (or stars depending on the program used) would be determined in accordance to percentiles. When I asked Fido whether more was better than fewer, the dog developer growled, that clearly depends on how much you like cabbage.

On a different note, in addition to the Raspberry Pi Foundation, it would appear there are a number of other successful computer companies which respect the individual. I recently received a 4GB DIMM in a box labelled and purchased as a 16GB DIMM. As this was a mispackage, I was not sure how the RMA was going to work out. After spending some time tracking the error with the manufacturer, this retailer approved the replacement and is now sending the correct one.

Having known the entrepreneurs who started Micro Center while growing up, I'm quite happy with how they have partnered to sell Raspberry Pi in their stores. If the foundation has further need of a retailer in California, I would without hesitation recommend the company that just approved my RMA. It feels liberating to do business with people that personally respect the least of their customers.
Last edited by ejolson on Sat Nov 16, 2019 5:13 am, edited 3 times in total.

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John_Spikowski
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Re: Liberation through Computer Literacy

Sat Nov 16, 2019 5:08 am

ejolson wrote: It looks like you downloaded one of the binary releases for Swift on the Raspberry Pi. How well does it work?
Swift Value Diff

Code: Select all

func value_diff(nums: [Int]) -> Int {
    var min_num = nums[0]
    var max_num = nums[0]
    
    for x in 0..<nums.count 
    {
        min_num = min(nums[x], min_num)
        max_num = max(nums[x], max_num)
    }
    
    return max_num - min_num
}

print(value_diff(nums: [-5, -3, -7, 0]))
print(value_diff(nums: [8, 2, 14, 24]))  
print(value_diff(nums: [1, 0, 6, 3]))
Output

Code: Select all

pi@RPi4B:~/swift-dev $ time swift value_diff.swift

7
22
6

real	0m0.471s
user	0m0.373s
sys	0m0.100s
pi@RPi4B:~/swift-dev $ 
pi@RPi4B:~/swift-dev $ swiftc value_diff.swift -o vd
pi@RPi4B:~/swift-dev $ time ./vd
7
22
6

real	0m0.026s
user	0m0.008s
sys	0m0.018s
pi@RPi4B:~/swift-dev $ 

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Gavinmc42
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Re: Liberation through Computer Literacy

Sat Nov 16, 2019 5:35 am

Was it hard to get Swift installed?
Can it be used to write Apple/iOS apps?

GO, Rust, and now Swift on Pi's, languages from corporations.
Not to mention those web things like JS that run on Browsers made by corporations.
But if we go back a corporation has almost always been responsible for something that defines computing.

Linux was not invented by a corporation but Intel is one of the biggest contributors.
Are Universities Corporations, most of the other computing stuff came from someone in a Uni.?
Some of these corporations collect and sell our data, even Local Governments now collect our data.
It takes serious computer literacy to turn the collection system off.

So what do we do?
Look for something to get control of our PC's back?
We have to includes Pi's now that Aurora and Chromium run well on Pi4's, ie they are usable so people will use them.
http://fifth-browser.sourceforge.net/index.html
I'm dancing on Rainbows.
Raspberries are not Apples or Oranges

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Re: Liberation through Computer Literacy

Sat Nov 16, 2019 5:46 am

Heater wrote:
Sat Nov 16, 2019 4:47 am
Seems most people need literacy before they can achieve liberation https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles ... ury-skills

Never mind computer literacy.
One of the lead developers of BASIC at Dartmouth College,
John Kemeny wrote:On the one hand, I believe that computer literacy is even more important than scientific literacy; on the other, I am convinced that the former is easier to achieve and that a substantial fraction of the population has a chance of doing so. I believe further, that widespread computer literacy will help to solve the problem of scientific illiteracy.
From what I understand, part of the reason for this belief comes come from the fact that precise thought and expression are necessary when writing code. Thus, teaching computer programming to young people has the potential to change the way they think about many things. In particular,
John Kemeny wrote:The extensive drilling in their native language that students receive at an early age may be wonderful preparation for the appreciation of literature, but it teaches them very poor habits for scientific thinking. The early introduction of a computer language might be a healthy antidote.
Given the current state of computer literacy, I found the entire essay
  • John G. Kemeny, The Case for Computer Literacy, Daedalus, Vol. 112, No. 2, Scientific Literacy (Spring, 1983), pp. 211-230.
to be as relevant and insightful now as it likely was 36 years ago.
Last edited by ejolson on Sat Nov 16, 2019 5:56 am, edited 3 times in total.

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John_Spikowski
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Re: Liberation through Computer Literacy

Sat Nov 16, 2019 5:50 am

Was it hard to get Swift installed?
Can it be used to write Apple/iOS apps?
Just a few steps. Follow the instructions on the link provided.

Note: Extract the binary tar.z in the / (root) directory.

Swift is cross platform and open source. A lot of resources behind it.

Enjoy!

Heater
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Re: Liberation through Computer Literacy

Sat Nov 16, 2019 6:07 am

Gavinmc42,
GO, Rust, and now Swift on Pi's, languages from corporations.
I don't understand what you mean by that. It's factually wrong for sure in the Rust case at least. You make it sound like some bosses at some corporation decide "we need yet another programming language" and set their software slaves on the task.

But let's take a different look at this:

Corporations do not invent programming languages, people do.

Go - Created by Robert Griesemer, Rob Pike, and Ken Thompson. Old Unix creators. Motivated by their dislike of C++.

Rust - Created by Graydon Hoare as a hobby project that he worked on for years before Mozilla Research got interested in it. It was never a sure thing that Mozilla would ever actually use it, that took a lot of effort by a lot of developers and supporters. Today Rust is a huge community project outside Mozilla.

Going back in time C was created Dennis Ritchie as basically side project to the other side project Unix.

One could argue that these people subverted those corporations to their own ends!

I have no idea about Swift, don't want to know, but there are counter examples I guess. Javascript was ordered by Netscape and they hired Brendan Eich to do it. Not that Netscape had any idea what that language should look like. Brendan had his own ideas which turned out to be inspired.

C# was clearly ordered by someone at MS as they needed a Java looky-likey language to stave off Sun and Java. But hey, creating languages was MS' business.

By the way, Oracle and Google are back in court fighting over the rights to Java. Seems Oracle is demanding 9 billion dollars for the 11,000 lines of code that Google has used in Android. Nearly a million dollars per line! It's not even code that does anything, only API definitions.

For that kind of money I would gladly close source everything I ever did.
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

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John_Spikowski
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Re: Liberation through Computer Literacy

Sat Nov 16, 2019 6:33 am

Oracle is the definition of a back door virus.

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Re: Liberation through Computer Literacy

Sat Nov 16, 2019 7:09 am

It's tough to get millenials to use a can opener. Life is subscriptions to convenience you think you may need.

jcyr
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Re: Liberation through Computer Literacy

Sat Nov 16, 2019 7:27 am

Heater wrote:
Sat Nov 16, 2019 4:22 am
jcyr,

We should not meander off into a debate about politics or economics here. Clearly us humans have to organize ourselves somehow to get anything done or even survive at all. Be that modern capitalist corporations, command economies, dictatorships, monarchies... Heck, our most notable "golden ages" and civilizations throughout history were built on slavery.
Got it. No mentions of external factors affecting liberation!
Heater wrote:
Sat Nov 16, 2019 4:22 am
On the hardware front, I do see a little sunlight on the horizon with the advent and apparent stickiness of RISC-V
I'm very enthusiastic about the RISC V.

It's a nice example of the little guys collaborating with each other to wrestle control away from the incumbent monopolies. In an attempt to reduce cost and regain some control over their own development.

When I say "little guys" here I mean all manner of companies that require a CPU in their products. Not likely individual people but possibly that also.

It's exactly the same motivation we have been discussing for companies collaborating on open source software infrastructure.

A such I'm at a loss to see how you are hopeful for RISC V as "sunlight on the horizon" but so dismissive of Open Source software.
Because open source has a funding problem, most of it comes from corporate sources. The motivation, as always, is getting something for free. Same case for RISC-V. What I find encouraging about RISC-V is that it opens the doors to smaller players, who couldn't afford ARM licensing at smaller scale. RISC-V was kicked off around 2010 by academics at Berkeley and defines a practical ISA (instruction set), not how to implement it. There are a few open source RTL implementations but these "little guys" aren't collaborating, they're racing to establish their proprietary commercial (patented) implementations. There's a very good reason RISC-V literature is a best-seller in China and it might well be geopolitical (oops.. sorry). We might end up exactly in the same place minus the cost of IP licensing, but at least we'd have a 3rd major CPU architecture to choose from.
It's um...uh...well it's kinda like...and it's got a bit of...

Heater
Posts: 13859
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2012 3:02 pm

Re: Liberation through Computer Literacy

Sat Nov 16, 2019 10:22 am

jcyr,
Because open source has a funding problem, ..
I don't understand what you mean by that statement. Everything has a funding problem. All the time. I have a funding problem. If you want to do anything you need to find funding.

As for FOSS in particular you are generalizing over a huge world of software projects. There are thousands of them, millions maybe. Ranging from the well known ones like Linux, Chrome, Firefox, Clang/LLVM etc all the way down to my little hobby projects. We have an ever growing amount of FOSS. It's amazing. Looking at all that growth one would not say that FOSS overall has a funding problem. Of course there is a lot of FOSS projects we would like to have working and well maintained that have a funding problem. That is just a reflection of life in general, like the dams, bridges, roads and other infrastructure in the USA.
... most of it comes from corporate sources.
No doubt, like life in general.
The motivation, as always, is getting something for free.
Not always. And no matter if it is.

If company A makes A-Widgets and company B makes B-Widgets and they both need some similar software to get on in their widget business they can do a few things:

1) Hire software engineers to make that software. That is of course expensive and time consuming and a duplication of effort at A and B.

2) Get that software from software company. That is quick at least. Saves duplication. But has the down side of losing control and rent seeking by the software house. They have you by the balls. See Adobe, Oracle, etc.

3) Hire some software engineers to make that software but have both A and B engineers collaborate. That saves duplication and cost for both companies. It maintains control and influence over what goes on. Turns out that publishing the code as open source and getting on with it is the efficient way to do it. That saves any time and expense messing with cross-licensing deals, partnership agreements, lawyers etc, etc. It has the added bonus that company C and D might want similar code and join in the effort.

Of course 3) is why Open Source is growing all the time. It's efficient oil for the capitalist wheels. All well and good.
Same case for RISC-V. What I find encouraging about RISC-V is that it opens the doors to smaller players, who couldn't afford ARM licensing at smaller scale.
Yes indeed. Not only avoiding the expense but saving a lot of time and gaining a lot more flexibility in what you can do with your cores.
There are a few open source RTL implementations...
There seems to be a lot of open source RTL implementations already. Of the long list here: https://github.com/riscv/riscv-cores-list most are open source.

Me, I got my picorv32 core running on a DE0-Nano board, then set about creating the peripherals for it as a way to learn some Verilog. Just now I'm trying to get it to run some Rust code.

Now if only I had some funding I could get some chips made....

Speaking of which, when are we going to see a RISC V based Raspberry Pi. I'm sure those Pi and LowRisc guys are cooking up something in Cambridge...
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

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