Is it time for me to say goodbye to Fedora?

The default KDE desktop in Manjaro after a fresh install on my HP Pavilion dv6-6135dx.

Way back in the year of 2012, I made a decision that would change the way that I used a computer from that day forward. Just like many other people, I had always used a version of Microsoft Windows as the operating system on my computers, even the ones I built myself. Using Windows for doing work, however, was becoming increasingly frustrating. It was a huge pain to do development work, especially for a fledgling scientist who had only taken a single programming course and had to figure out everything for myself. The code I had written was slower than molasses on an Alaskan winter day, but the part that was the slowest could be done in parallel. I already had used OpenMP to parallelize the for loop, but it was still going to take forever to run. I learned about GPGPU, OpenCL and CUDA that day. CUDA was the most appealing as it used simple C-like syntax, and I was a C++ programmer. To use CUDA on Windows, I would have needed to purchase Visual Studio, not easy to do on a graduate student’s salary, but I learned you could use it for free on Linux. That was it. The decision was made. That day I installed Fedora 17 on my work desktop, and never looked back. Continue reading “Is it time for me to say goodbye to Fedora?”


Microsoft Violates Wheaton’s Law: The Forced Obsolescence Future

It’s been reported recently by a number of sources that Microsoft has dropped support for a number of Intel Atom processors in the most recent Creators Update. That alone should be cause for alarm for a number of people running some older hardware that still suits their needs. It shows that at any time Microsoft can just stop supporting particular hardware meaning that users of that hardware will stop receiving critical security updates. A software company shouldn’t have that much control over people’s hardware, in my opinion, and this can lead to abuse by Microsoft to force people to buy new computers, and hence new Windows licenses. As bad as that is, the violation of Wheaton’s Law comes from the fact that the devices with said processors where likely shipped with Windows 8 or 8.1, and if the users hadn’t upgraded to Windows 10, they’d be entitled to security updates through 2023, while now they will stop receiving those updates sometime in 2018!

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The Microsoft Surface Keyboard: Initial Impressions

So, it’s not much of a secret that I dislike Microsoft. Their Anniversary Update of Windows 10 completely screwed over my Linux boot partition on my laptop. However, several months ago I saw a picture of their Surface Keyboard. Not the one that goes with the Surface and serves as its cover, but the one for use with the Surface desktop. This beauty right here

The Microsoft Surface Keyboard. Please ignore the tissue box in the background.

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Scientific Linux: A distribution you use because you have to.

Screenshot from 2017-06-08 11-18-11
The default desktop on Scientific Linux 7.3

I’ve sat down to write this post several times, and started over each time. Initially, it was going to be to express my frustrations with Scientific Linux and generally just put it down. I stopped, because I continued to play with it, and fixed¬†some of those frustrations, but was still going to make the overall point that the distribution is pointless. Today, after having stepped away for a few days, I’ve softened my position a bit more after thinking about the reasons someone may use the distribution. So, I’m going to start with the punch line, and then present my case below: While there are possible reasons to use Scientific Linux, I would firmly recommend not using it on a personal computer, or for day-to-day use.

Continue reading “Scientific Linux: A distribution you use because you have to.”

How Rust Can be A Good Thing

20160820_135602_richtonehdrLast September I saw this article about a programming language I hadn’t heard about before. That language was Rust. At the time, I played around with it a tiny bit but saw no real compelling reason for me to invest the time into learning another language. Then, earlier this week I saw this article on arXiv, and decided to give Rust another look. Continue reading “How Rust Can be A Good Thing”

Installing Nvidia’s CUDA 8.0 on Fedora 25

UPDATE (March 28, 2017): I have found a way to use at least some of the C++11 features. See the end of the post for the changes.

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything. Since my last post I had to update the operating system on my work desktop as Fedora 23 went end-of-life. While it is possible to simply use dnf to upgrade your system, I have the proprietary Nvidia driver installed on my system for two reason. First, with my graphics cards (GeForce GTX 650’s), the Nouveau driver doesn’t seem to really work. Without fail, after about 30 minutes the screen no longer refreshes, making it seem as though the system is locked up. Second, I do some GPU programming with CUDA which requires the proprietary driver. With the proprietary driver installed, it’s a bit more difficult to upgrade, so I tend to just back everything up and do a clean install.

Having done that recently, I find myself this morning needing to re-install CUDA as I have a computational problem which could benefit from some massive parallelism. I figured I’d go ahead and post the procedure here for my future reference and in case anyone else might benefit from it. Continue reading “Installing Nvidia’s CUDA 8.0 on Fedora 25”

Why doesn’t everyone use LaTeX?

Being a scientist in a highly mathematical field, virtually all of my document preparation is done using LaTeX which makes typesetting mathematical expression quite simple, as well as effortless inclusion of tables and figures (graphs) with captions. These tasks can take herculean efforts in a what you see is what you get (WYSIWYG) word processor, e.g. the universally loathed Microsoft Word. Sure, you can insert pictures and tables, but slightly change the wording in one place and suddenly the objects that you had painstakingly placed in particular locations jump to different pages and like Sisyphus, you find yourself at the bottom of the hill having to push that boulder up again. So, why doesn’t everyone use LaTeX?

Continue reading “Why doesn’t everyone use LaTeX?”