Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • >> 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

Subtitles and vocabulary

Operation of videos Adjust the video here to display the subtitles

B1 linux disk sean upgrading unix dfb

The Joys of Updating & Upgrading - Computerphile

  • 4 0
    林宜悉 posted on 2020/05/11
Video vocabulary