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MikeDB
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Re: "Right to Repair Legislation and the Raspberry Pi"

Fri Jun 11, 2021 4:05 pm

alanbork wrote:
Fri Jun 11, 2021 3:21 pm
My 2016 civic has a LCD that looks for the life of it like a cheap android tablet ...
My MX5's display is definitely one. It's usually well disguised but there was an over the air update that left the Android top bar in place. A couple of days later it disappeared, and presumably a Mazda software engineer was glad they don't do Harakiri any more.
Always interested in innovative audio startups needing help and investment. Look for me on ModWiggler or other sites that have PMs.

cleverca22
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Re: "Right to Repair Legislation and the Raspberry Pi"

Fri Jun 11, 2021 6:22 pm

pidd wrote:
Fri Jun 11, 2021 1:39 pm
jamesh wrote:
Fri Jun 11, 2021 12:20 pm
I always prefer to repair if possible. Not always possible; try getting a new LCD panel for a Mychron 4, not even the original manufacturers have any LCD's and they don't sell them as parts anyway.... Currently looking for a broken one with intact display so I can make one good one.
The economics of using proprietary displays over generic displays doesn't make sense without planned redundancy coming into the equation. These are the issues that should be addressed but are probably last on the list.
ive heard that some modern laptops are now using eDP (embedded display port) for the internal displays
in theory, that now allows you to connect any eDP, or even full DP (with an adapter) to your laptop
so the problem is just one of making the screen actually fit and mount properly

alanbork
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Re: "Right to Repair Legislation and the Raspberry Pi"

Fri Jun 11, 2021 8:51 pm

cleverca22 wrote: ive heard that some modern laptops are now using eDP (embedded display port) for the internal displays
in theory, that now allows you to connect any eDP, or even full DP (with an adapter) to your laptop
so the problem is just one of making the screen actually fit and mount properly
That's great! I've actually done an upgraded screen replacement for my laptop, switching from the official TN to a compatible IPS. I was only able to do it because a website specified an exact model that was cross compatible (https://alantechreview.blogspot.com/201 ... -some.html), though I'm sure they figured it out based on some careful inspection and prior domain knowledge, and not just random guessing, which is what I would have done. Indeed, I've desired to do this to my full-sized laptop too and so far nobody has done the digging work to determine what the compatible screen would be.
retired neuroscientist. raspberry pi hacking and monitor input lag methods: https://alantechreview.blogspot.com/

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Gavinmc42
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Re: "Right to Repair Legislation and the Raspberry Pi"

Wed Jun 16, 2021 8:02 am

The right to correct the law will make life very easy for many people.
The right to fix code, including algorithms that make decisions that have no redress under law?

Fix the software as well as the hardware ;)
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pidd
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Re: "Right to Repair Legislation and the Raspberry Pi"

Wed Jun 16, 2021 12:36 pm

Gavinmc42 wrote:
Wed Jun 16, 2021 8:02 am
The right to correct the law will make life very easy for many people.
The right to fix code, including algorithms that make decisions that have no redress under law?

Fix the software as well as the hardware ;)
I've often wondered how they define the difference between hardware and software, both are designed, both are physical entities at end user level. Whatever way the program is stored (prom, eprom, fpga, flash, HDD, paper tape, magnetic tape, magnetic core etc), the program and device are physical.

Every electronic circuit (and most other functional things) is a program because it is designed from algorithms in one form or another, so any argument that software is derived from code is not definitive as that would also encompass much more than what we define as software.

ejolson
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Re: "Right to Repair Legislation and the Raspberry Pi"

Wed Jun 16, 2021 1:22 pm

pidd wrote:
Wed Jun 16, 2021 12:36 pm
Gavinmc42 wrote:
Wed Jun 16, 2021 8:02 am
The right to correct the law will make life very easy for many people.
The right to fix code, including algorithms that make decisions that have no redress under law?

Fix the software as well as the hardware ;)
I've often wondered how they define the difference between hardware and software, both are designed, both are physical entities at end user level. Whatever way the program is stored (prom, eprom, fpga, flash, HDD, paper tape, magnetic tape, magnetic core etc), the program and device are physical.

Every electronic circuit (and most other functional things) is a program because it is designed from algorithms in one form or another, so any argument that software is derived from code is not definitive as that would also encompass much more than what we define as software.
Although software can be viewed as a physical collection of bits that might flip because of age and need repairing, it's also true that security faults discovered as time goes by, which for example allow any motorist on the road to remotely start and stop the engine in someone else's automobile, also need repair.

Although the National Cyber Security Center has been successfully distracted to the point it considers crypto-locker software a greater danger than state sponsored spying, my understanding is that many of the security holes used by cryto-locker software are obtained through spying. In turn, the chaos caused by the disruption to services likely serves as a good cover for future spying.

https://www.theregister.com/2021/06/15/ ... si_speech/

At any rate, the repairability of any Internet connected device is strongly related to how easy it is to recover the device from a malware intrusion and further update it to prevent similar failures in the future.

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bensimmo
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Re: "Right to Repair Legislation and the Raspberry Pi"

Wed Jun 16, 2021 3:02 pm

pidd wrote:
Wed Jun 16, 2021 12:36 pm
Gavinmc42 wrote:
Wed Jun 16, 2021 8:02 am
The right to correct the law will make life very easy for many people.
The right to fix code, including algorithms that make decisions that have no redress under law?

Fix the software as well as the hardware ;)
I've often wondered how they define the difference between hardware and software, both are designed, both are physical entities at end user level. Whatever way the program is stored (prom, eprom, fpga, flash, HDD, paper tape, magnetic tape, magnetic core etc), the program and device are physical.

Every electronic circuit (and most other functional things) is a program because it is designed from algorithms in one form or another, so any argument that software is derived from code is not definitive as that would also encompass much more than what we define as software.
Maybe because you missed out Firmware ?
The code is the soft/firmware
The physical thing it is on or made from is the hardware.
The program isn't physical, you don't hold the program itself, it's only able to be held as it is on hardware. With your paper hardware, the holes represent the software/firmware.
It's a leap of faith ;-)

Of course as tech advances, much like the distinction of an embedded computer is blurred now.



Anyway, I think the advancement in BOTS posting to forums may mean robots do our repairs for us without us wanting them to ?

Heater
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Re: "Right to Repair Legislation and the Raspberry Pi"

Wed Jun 16, 2021 5:29 pm

pidd wrote:
Wed Jun 16, 2021 12:36 pm
I've often wondered how they define the difference between hardware and software,...
How about the obvious answers:

"Hardware" is hard. It's solid physical stuff. Bolted together to build something useful. That thing is not expected to be changed during it's lifetime. In fact it is designed to be resistant to change. Think building a house out of bricks or a computer out of silicon. I liken it to the old notion of the "hardware store" where one went to by bricks and timber, nails and bolts etc to build something solid and lasting.

"Software" then is the soft, malleable part. It is a configuration of states that the hardware allows. Like the holes in the cardboard punch cards of the Jacquard loom or the bits you can flip in your computers dynamic memory or whatever storage.

In short, if you cannot change it, like the instruction set your computer responds to, then it is hard. If you can change it easily, like configuring memory bits with a program you have loaded, then it is soft.
pidd wrote:
Wed Jun 16, 2021 12:36 pm
Every electronic circuit (and most other functional things) is a program because it is designed from algorithms in one form or another, ...
Indeed so. Still, some of that algorithmic thinking ends up being cast in stone (silicon) while other parts end up being just a temporary arrangement of state.

Of course one cold decide to implement some software logic in hardware. Then you end up with hardware accelerators. For example for floating point calculation, graphics rendering, neural networks, cryptography.

Logic can be moved from software to hardware or vice versa.
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

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Gavinmc42
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Re: "Right to Repair Legislation and the Raspberry Pi"

Thu Jun 17, 2021 12:03 am

Logic can be moved from software to hardware or vice versa.
Even more important when hardware is not "fixed" like in FPGA's.

How many times does your phone or PC update?
What are they "fixing"? Tracking apps?
The right to block those "fixes"?

I like Pi's because I determine the hardware they plug into and I write the software they run, mostly.
"I still have Grandfather's axe, replaced the handle three times and the head twice."
Verses "Siri, who is the local treecutter"

The right to change a light bulb or fuse?
Not teaching basic electrical knowledge anymore?
I see Masters/Phd Students in Electronics who cannot solder and others who cannot code Arduinos.
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Heater
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Re: "Right to Repair Legislation and the Raspberry Pi"

Thu Jun 17, 2021 12:37 am

Gavinmc42 wrote:
Thu Jun 17, 2021 12:03 am
Not teaching basic electrical knowledge anymore?
I see Masters/Phd Students in Electronics who cannot solder and others who cannot code Arduinos.
Anymore? Back in 1974 when I was preparing to go to university I remember we were studying inductors. Chokes, transformers etc. We did some experiments with them. I recall our physics teacher saying that most university EE graduates would not be able to tell the difference between a choke and a transformer if you showed them one. How we giggled at that. Not long after that I found out it he was not joking.
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

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Re: "Right to Repair Legislation and the Raspberry Pi"

Thu Jun 17, 2021 1:01 am

So can a ROM contain software or is it really a logic circuit? We even have logic languages, so is logic software or hardware etc etc.

The term software is just an abstraction used as the description of parts of the design process but as I originally hypothesised, at the end user level it is just hardware that has been designed.

A CPU doesn't use software, its just a massive logic state machine, never how much "software" you throw at it, it has a finite** number of predictable states, the same as any logic circuit - the source of its inputs are a combination of the program and any stimuli it is given, it doesn't "know" the difference between the stimuli and the program, they are both inputs which may or may not be in the time domain (ie static or sequential).

The term software is used to licence designs whilst avoiding the usually patent and copyright complications. Its much easier to control and enforce a licence than control and enforce patent or copyright.

Where does this land with right-to-repair? That is exactly the issue, the software is purely part of a hardware device the same as any other component. Although the manufacturer may be compelled to provide that hardware which is implicitly the software, there is no obligation to release their design process methodology - the source code and object code can remain sacrament if the manufacturer so wishes, any attempt to create laws to force transparency would also blow every other design and manufacturing process wide open. In my mind that is not a bad thing but the money markets say otherwise and they are far more powerful than the Open society.

** slightly untrue - [off topic, but someone might challenge my assertion which is an essential part of the discussion] although it is predictable it has and hasn't got a finite number of states, there is an anomaly eg when you have an algorithm to calculate Pi, clearly that goes on to infinity but you would be hard pushed to definitively state where the non-finite system is, the software is finite, its got to be in the CPU hardware but that has a finite number of states, how can it produce an infinite number of sequential states?

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Re: "Right to Repair Legislation and the Raspberry Pi"

Thu Jun 17, 2021 1:32 am

So can a ROM contain software
I have been around long enough I am seeing UV EEPROMS failing now.
Usually it is those with paper labels over the windows not metalized ones.
Make me wonder if the code should be printed out along with the schematic.

How are they storing code in that Arctic vault?
https://archiveprogram.github.com/approach/
The right to access old code stored there?

Nice video by Prof Simon on YT about using SSD for storage.
Making me think about a Pi based Magnetic HDD storage system now.
I am using a SSD on my Pi400, hmm.
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pidd
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Re: "Right to Repair Legislation and the Raspberry Pi"

Thu Jun 17, 2021 3:31 am

An SSD is good for long-term archiving, additionally if powered they should autonomously check the data every so-often to correct any data fades whilst errors are still correctable and so last even longer. Prof Simon is stating a fact but not stating any quantities or timescales. SSD's only problem is the limited number of erase cycles (and to a much lesser degree write cycles) which doesn't affect archiving.

Magnetics in any form are most certainly not the answer, maybe a bit better than paper tape kept in a damp cellar, some types of optical storage DVD/Blueray are really good if stored correctly but they are not high density by modern day standards.

I think on average most storage devices exceed their expected store-life, you must remember the numerous scare stories about UVEPROMS only lasting two or three years at most. I don't think I have any 2708's I could check but I will have some 2716, 2732, 27128's and 27256 (or were they 25 series?) that I programmed around 30 years old that I would be able to test but the masters are on 8" floppies which was probably the worst archiving format when double density :lol:

Under right-to-repair the manufacturer would have to provide parts (whether software orientated or not) for the legally specified life, I can't see that ever being 20 years or above which should be easily achievable by SSDs.

cleverca22
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Re: "Right to Repair Legislation and the Raspberry Pi"

Thu Jun 17, 2021 4:03 am

pidd wrote:
Thu Jun 17, 2021 3:31 am
I think on average most storage devices exceed their expected store-life, you must remember the numerous scare stories about UVEPROMS only lasting two or three years at most. I don't think I have any 2708's I could check but I will have some 2716, 2732, 27128's and 27256 (or were they 25 series?) that I programmed around 30 years old that I would be able to test but the masters are on 8" floppies which was probably the worst archiving format when double density
i have also heard that EEPROM's fail to erase, after extended exposure to raditation
i know of one case, where one is in the path of an xray beam in a CT scanner, and after enough exposure, it fails to erase, so it cant have the firmware upgraded

and since chip-level repair isnt done, the whole module is scrap

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Re: "Right to Repair Legislation and the Raspberry Pi"

Thu Jun 17, 2021 6:52 am

and since chip-level repair isnt done, the whole module is scrap
Use a Pico to emulate a DIP EEPROM?

We have been getting old equipment on eBay, secondhand $40,000.
Latest replacement gear can cost $400,000 to a few $million.
Even then old gear, the same model can have different bits inside as they change things around.
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Heater
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Re: "Right to Repair Legislation and the Raspberry Pi"

Thu Jun 17, 2021 7:37 am

pidd wrote:
Thu Jun 17, 2021 1:01 am
So can a ROM contain software or is it really a logic circuit? We even have logic languages, so is logic software or hardware etc etc.
Good old fashioned ROM is a hardware logic circuit. Early ROM (PROMS) chips were programmed by physically blowing fuse links. This could only be done once hence "Read Only Memory". Before that ROMs were made of arrays of diodes soldered onto a grid on a printed circuit board. The presence of absence of a diode indicating a zero or one bit at the location. Once all this assembled into the finished machine it's all hardware and not expected to be changed.

"Software" was that stuff you loaded into a computers memory and could be easily changed by the user as normal operation.

Of course one could argue that ROMs were sort of soft, typically one could fairly easily pull them out and replace them with ones containing different code. Then we got EEPROMS, EPROMS, FLASH etc which could be easily reprogrammed in place. Which is why name "firmware" was used for the codes they carried.

Now a days it's all confused. Software can be hard, physically, hardware can be soft.
pidd wrote:
Thu Jun 17, 2021 1:01 am
Where does this land with right-to-repair?
Typically right to repair advocates are not asking for any source code to any programs device may contain. Although it might be reasonable to expect they can get images to blow/flash/load into replacement chips. They don't demand detail design documentation of chips and the like either.

Still today there are a lot of faults that can occur to phones, tabs, laptops even cars and tractors that can be repaired fairly easily with a little skill and suitable equipment. As witnessed by the fact that there are a lot of repair shops out there offer such service. Most of that does not require the repair guys to be given any "secret source" information.

What they would like is access to enough information and access to common replaceable parts so that they can get their job done quickly and easily, making things cheaper for the device users and saving throwing so much into the trash.

Also it would be great if companies did not deliberately make repair harder by preventing others purchasing parts they use, or by getting special versions of common parts made with serial numbers embedded so that replacements won't work. And so on.
pidd wrote:
Thu Jun 17, 2021 1:01 am
** slightly untrue - [off topic, but someone might challenge my assertion which is an essential part of the discussion] although it is predictable it has and hasn't got a finite number of states, there is an anomaly eg when you have an algorithm to calculate Pi, clearly that goes on to infinity but you would be hard pushed to definitively state where the non-finite system is, the software is finite, its got to be in the CPU hardware but that has a finite number of states, how can it produce an infinite number of sequential states?
I'm not sure where you are going with that.

A processor only has a finite number of registers, flip-flops, latches, whatever. So clearly it has a finite number of possible states. Early micro-processes might have 10,000, say, such memory devices. So we can gustimate the number of possible processor states as 2 to the power 10,000. Today that number may be 2 to the power one million, or billion ....

Will a processor ever start repeating itself in some endless recurring sequence? By itself it has to.

But perhaps not, because it is fed with instructions and data from external memory. That greatly extends the number of states of the entire system, CPU + memory. A machine with 16GB of main memory has 16,000,000,000 * 8 bits it can flip. So now the whole system has more like 2 to the power (16,000,000,000 * 8) possible states.

Will a system (CPU + memory) ever start repeating itself in some endlessly recurring sequence? By itself it has to.

But perhaps not, because that main memory can be loaded from data and instructions on any attached storage device. A tera byte SSD for example. That greatly extends the number of states of. The entire system, CPU + memory + storage device. A machine with a terabyte hard drive now has more like 2 to the power 1,000,000,000,000 * 8 possible states.

Will a system (CPU + memory + storage device) ever start repeating itself in some endlessly recurring sequence? By itself it has to.

But perhaps not, because all that memory can be affected by input from the outside world. Our system need not repeat itself all long as the inputs keep pushing things in different direction.

But wait. Where do those inputs come from? The outside world of course. Essentially from the universe.

We now have to ask how many possible states the universe can have in order to figure out what sequence our system will produce....
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

cleverca22
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Re: "Right to Repair Legislation and the Raspberry Pi"

Thu Jun 17, 2021 8:04 am

Heater wrote:
Thu Jun 17, 2021 7:37 am
"Software" was that stuff you loaded into a computers memory and could be easily changed by the user as normal operation.

Of course one could argue that ROMs were sort of soft, typically one could fairly easily pull them out and replace them with ones containing different code. Then we got EEPROMS, EPROMS, FLASH etc which could be easily reprogrammed in place. Which is why name "firmware" was used for the codes they carried.
by those rules, i think the only firmware in the rpi ecosystem, is the pico flash, and the rpi4 spi flash chips

everything else is on SD or something more advanced, which i wouldnt really could as an eeprom

but what would you then call the boot mask rom on the main chip? is that firmware or software??

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bensimmo
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Re: "Right to Repair Legislation and the Raspberry Pi"

Thu Jun 17, 2021 8:26 am

I have two old tablets by Toshiba, excellent 10" screen, QHD as they call them now, better than a lot of current tablets and .ac WiFi before it was a thing in the household, but Android has moved on and most programmes are now not available for it. (from 2013, Tegra4 iirc).
You cannot put your own software on it, nobody has managed to crack through it and they've tried.

Routers and IoT devices are other such things that should be unlockable for 3rd party firmware, so they don't suddenly end 2 years down the road when bugs are not getting fixed or when a company goes bust and they need to be thrown in the bin

My tablet would have a new lease of life, either a cut down modern Android or some Linux system could go on it.


Of course that all requires the ability for someone to program it.

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Re: "Right to Repair Legislation and the Raspberry Pi"

Thu Jun 17, 2021 8:41 am

cleverca22 wrote:
Thu Jun 17, 2021 8:04 am
by those rules, i think the only firmware in the rpi ecosystem, is the pico flash, and the rpi4 spi flash chips

everything else is on SD or something more advanced, which i wouldnt really could as an eeprom

but what would you then call the boot mask rom on the main chip? is that firmware or software??
What is wrong with sticking to the common meanings of common words like "soft", "firm" and "hard".

A mask rom on a SoC is clearly not software anymore. It's very hard/impossible to modify.

The programs I can easily load and/or modify as I use my Pi are clearly "software".

We have that grey are of "firmware". Like the binary blob the Pi boots from or the binary blobs loaded into all kind of peripherals.

There is they confusion that code being developed is always "software" as far as the engineers developing it are concerned. They use the same languages as any other software they can change it at will. After all that is their job. That same code is no longer software when I get it as a pattern configured into hardware as a mask ROM or whatever.

Anyway, there are no rules, language changes all the time. Existing words get pressed into service in new situations with new meanings that may sendup being only tenuously related to the original. Often because people have no idea of the origin of words and so any misuse is not noticed. Or sometime even entirely the opposite meaning. Consider: Flammable vs. Inflammable.
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

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Re: "Right to Repair Legislation and the Raspberry Pi"

Thu Jun 17, 2021 5:11 pm

Heater wrote:
Thu Jun 17, 2021 7:37 am
Will a system (CPU + memory + storage device) ever start repeating itself in some endlessly recurring sequence? By itself it has to.
Yes, you are right, while it is possible to produce "disproportionately" large sequences compared to the available resources, it will eventually run out of resources because either it needs to remember its previous results, or, the intermediate calculations will get bigger (the part I overlooked).

ejolson
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Re: "Right to Repair Legislation and the Raspberry Pi"

Thu Jun 17, 2021 8:42 pm

pidd wrote:
Thu Jun 17, 2021 3:31 am
Under right-to-repair the manufacturer would have to provide parts (whether software orientated or not) for the legally specified life, I can't see that ever being 20 years or above which should be easily achievable by SSDs.
I think the maximum archival storage life of a seldom written to SSD is 10 years. Magnetic tape is 10 to 20 years, though ideal conditions extend that to 30 years.

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Re: "Right to Repair Legislation and the Raspberry Pi"

Thu Jun 17, 2021 8:46 pm

pidd wrote:
Thu Jun 17, 2021 5:11 pm
Heater wrote:
Thu Jun 17, 2021 7:37 am
Will a system (CPU + memory + storage device) ever start repeating itself in some endlessly recurring sequence? By itself it has to.
Yes, you are right, while it is possible to produce "disproportionately" large sequences compared to the available resources, it will eventually run out of resources because either it needs to remember its previous results, or, the intermediate calculations will get bigger (the part I overlooked).
When we are considering a finite machine, like processor + memory + storage device, I don't think we need concern ourselves with calculations getting too big.

Whatever "calculations" are going on are purely down to our interpretation of what the machine is doing. The machine itself is not calculating anything. It has no idea of numbers or arithmetic operators etc. It is only running through the possible states it can have.

As a simple example. When we have a program that looks like:

Code: Select all

x = y + z
In whatever programming language or even just in machine instructions. It is not really calculating x with an addition of y and z. It is only using it's logic to produce what looks like a correct result to us provided the result does not overflow the number range of its arithmetic logic unit and registers.

Similarly we can scale that idea up to big integer maths on millions or billions of digits that fill all of memory and disk space. Eventually it will fail to provide the correct result to what we thing it should be calculating. It does not know. It just moves on to whatever state comes next.

When we allow for input from the outside world then the number of possible sequences the machine can produce are dependent on the input. Even the most simple machine with almost no states could produce a never repeating sequence. All it has to do is output every step of of such a never repeating sequence we input.

But that brings us to the number of states the outside world can have. The universe itself.

I forget the numbers now but if you ask a physicist they will likely tell you. Within the bounds of any universe that can affect the machine, due to the limited speed of light, there are only so many stars, galaxies, atoms, quantum states of all that to run through the states of before repeating the pattern.
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

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Re: "Right to Repair Legislation and the Raspberry Pi"

Thu Jun 17, 2021 9:03 pm

ejolson wrote:
Thu Jun 17, 2021 8:42 pm
pidd wrote:
Thu Jun 17, 2021 3:31 am
Under right-to-repair the manufacturer would have to provide parts (whether software orientated or not) for the legally specified life, I can't see that ever being 20 years or above which should be easily achievable by SSDs.
I think the maximum archival storage life of a seldom written to SSD is 10 years. Magnetic tape is 10 to 20 years, though ideal conditions extend that to 30 years.
Intersting. Here in Europe typical consumer goods like TV's, washing machines and computers come with a two year guarantee. By law the vendor has to offer repair or replacement or money back if the thing fails in that time.

So, if your SSD fails in your Mac or whatever within two years you are good for getting something that works again.

BUT, that does not save you from the loss of data on a failed device that you perhaps expected to maintain it for many years. You likely get a new device with nothing on it. Tough.

I don't see any right to repair regulation changing that.
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

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