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24/12/2017

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Knight's Landing's predecessor, Knight's Corner, was aimed at and became a success in the HPC market. But with ARM enthusiasts like Cavium now touting 96-core motherboards with miserly power slurping requirements as a way to run everyday workloads, Intel may need a rival in the small, dense server market.With Linux ready to travel to Knight's Landing, Chipzilla can reassure its HPC customers and start to combat ARM-powered would-be-hyperscale operators.Torvalds has already opened the merge window for Linux 3.16 and says he started that effort a week before 3.15 slipped out the door. It's unusual for the last week of work on a kernel release to overlap with a new version's merge window and Torvalds wrote on the kernel mailing list that “I'd want to necessarily do the overlap every time, without a good specific reason for doing so. It was kind of nice being productive during the last week or rc (which is usually quite boring and dead), but I think it might be a distraction when people should be worrying about the stability of the rc.”

But the Linux daddy has left open the possibility of future overlaps in the following request for feedback:“Of course, maybe the overlap ends up meaning that we get less noise during the last week of stabilization, and it actually helps. It could go either way. I'd be interested to hear what people thought, although I _suspect_ most people don't feel strongly either way.”Linux 3.16 is expected to add extra support for 64-bit ARM chippery and improved Xen-on-ARM performance. Samsung's Exynos SoCs will also get some love, as will plenty of audio and graphics drivers.The Department of Education and Communities (DEC) in the Australian state of New South Wales has chosen not to continue funding a program that paid for sysadmins in many schools.Funding for the sysadmins was initially made available under the Federal “Digital Education Revolution” (DER) program initiated by the Rudd government in 2007. The program saw laptop computers handed out to all year nine students and schools provided with support to manage the resulting fleets.

Federal funding for the program ended last year and New South Wales was able to continue to employ sysadmins – or “onsite Technology Support Officers” (TSOs) to give the staff their full name – using some unspent DER funds. But in an email signed by Stephen Loquet, who was hired as the Department's CIO in 2011, the Department explains that it will “... not be able to centrally fund the engagement of Technology Support Officers in schools when their current contract ends on 27 June 2014”. The date mentioned above is the last day of the school term in New South Wales.The Register has obtained a copy of the email you can read here and understands over 600 TSOs will be made redundant.There are two small rays of sunshine. One is that the DEC will continue to fund some sysadmins, who will occasionally be available to provide tech support. The other is that DEC says it will prepare advice for schools on how they can hire their own sysadmins directly, an option made possible by the new Local Schools, Local Decisions policy that gives public school principals some power to hire their own staff.

As part of Local Schools, Local Decisions, a new Resource Allocation Model has been developed which will give schools a much greater say over their budget, and distribute funding for public schools in a more equitable and transparent way. This will enable schools to make local decisions to meet their local needs. Schools will have the option of securing the onsite technology support that best matches their requirements, including the engagement of a Technology Support Officer and partnerships between schools.One TSO who contacted The Register, but asked not to be identified, said he expects the following scenario will unfold in the school where he works:There will be no-one to support 800+ laptops at the school. All of the laptops are locked down and you can't just repair them without swapping out the hard drive.We also have projectors and whiteboards in every room, plus over 100 iPads. There will be no-one to support any of this hardware.

Within a month, I can guarantee that unless the Principal finds the money to employ someone my school will have piles and piles of dead laptops that cannot be used.Without consistent use of the technology teachers will stop using in the classroom as it will become too difficult.The TSO says he may be offered two days a week of work, perhaps by two schools, but that two days won't be enough time to properly serve either. Even if he scores both gigs, he'll be down a day's income and may be forced to seek full-time employment elsewhere.That the Federal government had no plans to continue funding the DER program is not news. Nor is New South Wales' contention it would struggle to find a replacement source of cash.Just how either government reconciles their decisions with their frequent promises to develop smart, 21st-century, education systems and industries is anyone's guess.Something for the Weekend, Sir? Alistair Dabbs is recovering from the dreaded lurgy, but still none too chipper this week, so we’re happy to let him linger in his bath chair and tartan blanket once again. No doubt his neighbours will be concerned though, if this repeat publication from 2013 is anything to go by.

I’m at a neighbour’s house party, the time is last summer, and one of the older partygoers is about to tell me that some new-fangled technology is too much for him to cope with now that he has reached the age of a hundred and ninety-eight or something. “In fact... it’s still in the box!” he cries, in the mistaken belief that this is funny. I humour him by laughing as if I hadn’t heard the line before.Naturally, I suggest that he would have more success if he takes the iPad out of its box, reads the instructions and – what the hell, let’s throw caution to the wind – switches the fucker on. But it’s all useless: what he really wants is for me to do it for him. So I feign interest and offer to set up his iPad at some point in the near future, at which he feigns surprise and accepts with feigned gratitude. Needless to say, I didn’t go round and I’ve been careful to avoid him ever since.

Flashback some years to my housewarming party when I moved into this street. My new neighbours are asking me what I do for a living. It’s at this point that I make the mistake that I’ll be regretting for years to come. I tell them that I’m an IT journalist.Join me, time-traveller, as we wind back the clock by one more decade for some kind of explanation. I am younger, more optimistic and yet, curiously, financially better off. I’m at a party at someone’s flat. I am asked what I do for a living. I tell them I’m a journalist. No not on a newspaper, no I don’t spend half the year sipping cocktails in Monte Carlo on assignment from a society magazine. No, I work in a home ‘office’ - a closet by the front door - and often a computer paper’s testing ‘lab’ - a dungeon with Ethernet ports - and I write about flatbed scanners.At this point, the people I was talking to would politely excuse themselves, claiming that they had to go and speak to someone on the other side of the room.

Ten years later, back at the housewarming, my patter produces completely the opposite effect. When I reveal that I’m an IT journalist, they begin telling me about their printer problems and posing questions about Windows device drivers. Someone’s monitor has gone pink. Another wants to know how to receive faxes. With almighty crashing inevitability, at least three of them are asking which laptop they should buy.I pretend there is someone I need to speak to on the other side of the room but it’s too late. The damage is done and from then on I am a marked man. I’ve been handed the genteel surburban equivalent of the the Black Spot. For ever after, I am the nice family man at number three who’ll fix everyone’s home computers for a cup of tea.Now, I’m not a complete boor. When I get home from a hard day’s work, I’m willing to cook dinner, deal with household bills, pick up kids from activities and so on. But the one thing I can’t stand, just as I’m putting my feet up or about to step into the shower, is a neighbour tapping at the front door to tell me they can’t send an email.

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