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Re: Round two mPlayer -- basic UNIX/Linux (and MacOS) approaches

On Sat, 2005-10-15 at 21:55 -0500, Brian Keefe wrote:
> The fact is you are in the exact same position you were in before we met,
> but now your problem is somehow my fault!"

Fault is irrelevant.
Blame is irrelevant.
If you want to use UNIX, you have to understand things.

> You must be an engineer. And, I don't say that just because your address
> is IEEE.

Probably most accurately, I am an academic.  Most people learn 4
different ways, I learn academically.

E.g., when I get frustrated, if I can't address the problem in a hour, I
typically go off and research for 4+ hours and understand everything
about something.  That way I not only understand the problem for good,
but I often don't run into anything related (and possibly avoid other

Other people might view that as a waste of time, and they could be right
in some cases.  But it also prevents me from having misconceptions on
how something works.  Whether it's MacOS X or programming an FPGA, I
don't like to assume when I run into a problem repeatedly.

> I had closed out mplayer.  Issued a "ps -A" at the prompt to see if
> there was a process running that would likely retain control of the dvd
> player after the application running it had ended.  There were no
> obvious candidates.

"ps" only tells you what processes are running.  They don't tell you
squat about what is using the media.  More than likely your desktop
automagically mounted the media.  Now you need to unmount it.

First off, "df" tells you what is mounted.  If it's mounted, UNIX (and
not even MacOS X for that matter) will NOT let you eject from the
digital eject button.

Secondly, if attempts to unmount something says the device is busy,
"lsof" is the tool to use.  E.g., "lsof /media/cdrecorder".

Third, if you want media to be automatically unmounted after a time of
inactivity, then check out the automounter (as in the kernel's built-in
automounter -- independent of the desktop environment's automounting
features, which often do not automatically unmount).  I like to use it
-- especially with read/write media -- because it guarantees all data
has been safely committed within 30 seconds of last usage.

Windows has no such feature.  Yanking a device -- such as a USB dongle
-- often results in corruption if you don't use the applet to unmount.
But at least in newer versions of XP, Microsoft has added that "UNIX
like umount feature" for USB and other (non-optical) read/write
devices.  ;->

> The system "knew" there was no other user logged in.  So the only
> processes that could be dependent on the DVD were those the sole user
> launched or the system itself.

Or some automagic process that had mounted it, including your desktop
environment.  That's why I said, learn your environment.  Most newer
GNOME and KDE versions automagically mount media for you when inserted.

But unlike Windows, they will *NOT* unmount it if you press the digital
button.  Windows will stupidly do this in the case of read/write media
too, often resulting in the corruption of a filesystem.

> I'm using KDE as my interface.  Gnome is ok,  I tried it.  KDE is the
> desktop that gets most of the print in the subscription I have to TUX an
> emagazine so I went with that interface.

Irrelevant.  I wasn't arguing the merits of GNOME.  I merely showed
GNOME as an example.

Learn your desktop environment.  In your case, this is KDE.
Enable/disable any automounting features/defaults as you wish.

Last time I checked, KDE puts a "CD icon" on the desktop, just like
GNOME, when any media is mounted.  Right clicking on it gives you the
option to unmount.

Again, this is extremely similar to MacOS as well.  Now if you want to
debate how the MacOS interface "sucks" compared to Windows, by all
means, go ahead.  ;->


Or will you continue to "mock" my suggestions?

> Right there in the desktops you have a large redundancy. Two complete
> graphical interfaces and there is yet another out there.

Actually, Windows has even more redundancy.  There were two redundant
and heavily _incompatible_ versions -- DOS (Win9x/Me) and NT (4.0,
5.0/2000, 5.1/XP/2003) for a _long_time_.  They had completely different
components for main system functions.  They had redundant and completely
_different_ graphical subsystems, etc... too.  And don't get me started
on DirectX versus OpenGL.

Developers had to write for both DOS and NT, and in most cases, they
just wrote for DOS, so many things were broken in NT.

Now that is *1* company that is supposed to be "the standard."  Point
here is that no matter even if *1* company is "in charge," it still
forks and argues with itself.  And it still causes people massive
headaches.  Anyone who supported NT 3.1, 3.5, 3.51, 4.0 and even
5.0/2000 knows this.  And NT 5.1/XP ended up being quite a nightmare
that Microsoft had to "reverse" back to "sane NT 5.0/2000-like defaults"
with Service Pack 2.

Even today, there is massive redundancy in Windows subsystems and
components.  It's getting worse with .NET and Longhorn -- including
WGF/Avalon versus GDI/DX.  One would argue that .NET Indigo is little
different from what we've always had with Java (and if you didn't
know, .NET/C# is based 100% on legally acquired Java code, long story).
But I won't go there.

> Windows problems like other system's problems stem from the assumptions
> made at the origin of the systems.

Especially so when you are trying to support a _minority_ system like NT
3.1, 3.5, 3.51, 4.0 and 5.0/2000.

> UNIX, minix, AIX, BSD, Solaris, and the forty bazillion other variants
> all come from the same perspective multi-user, multi-function.

In the old days, we called this "time share."

> It only natural that these systems would police their processes,
> connections, and identities more closely.  They started with those
> issues as part of their original problem set.  MS-DOS and Windows
> started from the beginning with a different set of original problems.

DOS 1.0 had so many problems that Microsoft stole from Xenix for DOS
2.0.  Again, another long story (and the reason why Windows has far more
SCO code than Linux).

> The primary problem for Apple and then eventually IBM and its
> knockoffs was cost, power, ease of use, and market penetration.

IBM failed to assert their patents and IP.  But there were other factors
as well.

> I was using computers in the early sixties.  The word virus didn't even
> hit the computer world until sometime in the eighties by which time the
> computer makers were committed to their various strategies.  It wasn't
> until the late eighties that viruses emerged as a significant problem.
> At that time about the only net for most places was sneaker-net.  The
> point is there were architectural and philosophical reasons that the
> various hardware and software makers did what they did.
> UNIX and mainframe OS's had robustness, reliability and security as
> their primary drivers.  That's because they ran multi-user,
> multi-process systems.  It is interesting to note that the first serious
> virus incident was on VAXes or Vaxen, as some would have it.  Vaxes ran
> UNIX variants usually.

VMS is _not_ UNIX.  In fact, Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC)
introduced the Virtual Address eXtension (VAX) in 1977 to address a lot
of the shortcomings of "time share" systems that are now collectively
(although not correctly, since UNIX was not a significant majority yet)
referred to as UNIX today.

Anyone who supports VMS _knows_ it's _not_ UNIX.  Although it may seem
to be a "UNIX variant" from the standpoint of someone who only knows
Windows?  I don't know, you tell me.  ;->

> Windows was originally built for single users, to be easy for users, to
> run on cheap hardware.  Hardware manufacturers for their part put speed
> toward the top of the list.  So, it certainly shouldn't surprise anyone
> that security wasn't at the top of the list.  The first serious virus
> incident didn't occur until some time in the Nineties when the Internet
> was just getting general public momentum.  
> It is easy now that connectivity and data travel around like oxygen in
> the air to say that security should be the number one design criteria.
> It wasn't so clear around 1978 when I bought a used black Bell and
> Howell Apple II.  Not only was security not an issue.  I couldn't give
> my data to anyone except on paper.
> So now you have had MY lecture.  I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did
> yours.

It was redundant.
You assume I'm a "newer user."
Don't do that.  ;->

I'm not here to "flaunt my resume," and you will get no such joy from me
-- despite your attempts in doing the same.

> I hope that some time you might consider phrases in your lexicon like
> "stupid users"

*I*NEVER*SAID* "stupid users"!!!

I said "stupid things" and other comments, as forcing the unmount of a
live filesystem in a modern OS of buffering/caching _is_ stupid!

> and think what some of those users might say about engineers that have
> trouble with spelling or grammar.

And I'd say people nitpick.  But you go right ahead.

Just know that I *DO* write for part of my living, and when I'm being
_paid_ to write, I do care.

> I'd suggest that having trouble with technology isn't a hallmark of
> stupidity any more that having problems with spelling and/or grammar
> is.  It's just different sets of talents.

And I'd say that anyone who wants to _fudge_ what I say into what they
want it to be is someone who is just looking for an argument, and _not_
one bit interested in learning something.

I _never_ said you were stupid.  I said the OS will protect you from
doing stupid things that will cause it issues.

> As to rebooting, I only had to reboot Mandrake once or twice in about 6
> months to a year of using it as I recall.  Fedora Core 4 has not been so
> kind.

Fedora Core 4, like Fedora Core 2, like Red Hat Linux 8.0, like Red Hat
Linux 7.0, 6.0, 5.0 and 4.0 ... are all "early adopter" releases.

Mandrake Linux 7.0, 8.0 and 9.0 were major issues in my experience too.

> You'd probably tell me that it was KDE or it was Open Office.
> Being a "stupid user" I just know that when the mouse and keyboard stop
> responding, I have to restart.

And now you are just being argumentative.

Goodbye, wallow in your self-pity, blame the OS and ignore my
_technical_ suggestions that _dead_on_accurate_.

Bryan J. Smith     b.j.smith@ieee.org     http://thebs413.blogspot.com
The best things in life are NOT free - which is why life is easiest if
you save all the bills until you can share them with the perfect woman

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