Open letter to the Linux World by Christopher Barry

This posting sent to the Linux Kernel mailing list by Christopher Barry is a MUST READ for anyone concerned about the future of Linux or their own favorite distribution and supporting software. 

From his summary paragraph:

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systemd is a trojan. systemd is a medusa. systemd is Substance D.
systemd is scary - not just because it's tools suck, or because it's
a massive fucking hairball - but because architecturally it has way
too much concentrated power. We all need to collectively expel it from
our midst because it will own Linux, and by extension us and our
freedoms. systemd will *be* Linux. Sit idly by and ignore this fact at
all of our collective peril.

OneLinux == zero-choice*

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*Above emphasis mine. ~Eric

You’ve got to read this; not only for its message, but for its author’s eloquent style of rant. Outstanding. I couldn’t have said it better if I’d tried.

Date Tue, 12 Aug 2014 15:38:12 -0400
From Christopher Barry <>
Subject OT: Open letter to the Linux World

While you’re at it, read Slackware dev Eric Hameleers’ take on this. Don’t forget to read the comments. :)

Alien Pastures – On LKML: an open letter to the Linux World

Later…

~Eric


A New Init System for Debian?

Say it ain’t so, Joe! Debian going to systemd? Nah!

Debian Linux has had a long-standing reputation of being staid and pragmatic in their decision-making.  Even their software release management policy is on the long side when compared with other Distros.  A typical 2-year software cycle just doesn’t cut it in today’s Internet World operating at the ‘speed of light’.

Software release management policy on the “long side”? That’s an understatement. Of course, Debian’s legendary stability depends on tried and true versions of the applications used in the operating system. I mean c’mon… even Iceweasel is based on an antique version of Firefox.

The concern is that Debian’s pragmatism may work against them and cause a backlog queue of software development issues.  So, acting in a timely fashion in today’s world is vital to remaining competitive for any Linux Distribution.

Competitive? What’s this? Competing with whom? I thought GNU/Linux was a free and open source operating system that is specifically NOT pressured by the usual competitive need to devour a market as the commercial products do. Debian will always be one of the best GNU/Linux operating systems out there, regardless of the fact that you’re never going to find fancy-schmancy bleeding edge apps in their repos.

Systemd and other more modernized init systems are fine and dandy for distros like Arch or Fedora, but Debian don’t need it. My Slackware works perfectly fine with Sysvinit. I don’t have anything against systemd. I was one of the first on my block to use it in Arch. I converted long before it was part of the stable repos. It’s a fine init system. I never had any major issues with it in Arch.

Anyway, read more of the interesting article about this at Linux Advocates – The Debian Init System Deba{te|cle}.

I’m out…

~Eric


Linux Distros Are Like Lays® Potato Chips… (Revisited)

… you can’t have just one.

Multi-booting – My Way

I’ve been multi-booting since I first came to Linux. Originally, it was due to my transition from MS Windows to GNU/Linux. Later, it was because I wanted to try more distributions. I was still hunting for the one that fit me best. I’ve since found that distro (Slackware). However, I still have multiple operating systems on my computer for varying reasons.

My current hard drive partition and usage map looks like this:

SATA 1 – Main/Secondary OS + Linux Archive

Primary – 25Gig: /(root) Slackware on /dev/sda1 (ext3)

Primary – 50Gig: /home Slackware on /dev/sda2 (ext3)

Extended – 175Gig: /dev/sda3

Partition – 25Gig: /(root) Debian on /dev/sda5 (ext3)

Partition – 50Gig: /home Debian on /dev/sda6 (ext3)

Partition – 2Gig: /swap (common) on /dev/sda7 (swap)

Partition – 98Gig: Linux Archive on /dev/sda8 (ext2)

SATA 2 – MS Windows + Experimental Operating Systems

Primary – 25Gig: MS Windows Main on /dev/sdb1 (ntfs)

Primary – 25Gig: MS Windows Programs on /dev/sdb2 (ntfs)

Extended – 200Gig: /dev/sdb3

Partition – 2Gig: /swap (common) on /dev/sdb5 (swap)

Partition – 15Gig: /(root) CentOS on /dev/sdb6 (ext3)

Partition – 25Gig: /home CentOS on /dev/sdb7 (ext3)

Partition – 15Gig: /(root) Arch Linux on /dev/sdb8 (ext3)

Partition – 25Gig: /home Arch Linux on /dev/sdb9 (ext3)

Partition – 15Gig: /(root)  PCLOS on /dev/sdb10 (ext3)

Partition – 25Gig: /home PCLOS on /dev/sdb11 (ext3)

Partition – 15Gig: /(root) Sidux on /dev/sdb12 (ext3)

Partition – 25Gig: /home Sidux on /dev/sdb13(ext3)

Partition – 15Gig: /(root) Mandriva on /dev/sdb14 (ext3)

Partition – 23Gig: /home Mandriva on /dev/sdb15 (ext3)

EIDE 1 – Backups

Primary – 50Gig: Slackware Backups on /dev/hda1 (ext2)

Primary – 50Gig: Debian Backups on /dev/hda2 (ext2)

Extended – 150Gig: /dev/hda3

Partition – 50Gig: MS Windows Backups on /dev/hda5 (FAT32)

Partition – 50Gig: Other OS Backups on /dev/hda6 (ext2)

Partition – 50Gig: OS Common Storage on /dev/hda7 (FAT32)

These three drives add up to three quarters of a Terabyte of space… way more than I actually need. However, space is cheap these days. I still remember paying $100 for a 10Gig drive less than ten years ago. Previously, SATA 1 and 2 were in RAID 1 (mirrored) configuration with MS Win XP Pro on them. What a waste. I rarely ever boot that OS these days (games only), so I broke the RAID down and repartitioned/reinstalled everything on my system.

The ten partitions you see on the SATA 2 drive are my experimental Linux slots. When this partition map was made, I intended to put CentOS, Arch, and Ark back on them, with the last two saved for Gentoo and maybe FreeBSD. It didn’t work out quite that way, as you can see. What is installed on those experimental partitions tends to change often.

A few things to take note of when partitioning and multi-booting in this fashion:

1) Remember the SATA 15 partition limit. Many newer distros use the libATA kernel drivers which force drive recognition as SATA regardless of whether the drive is EIDE or SATA, so for this reason remember to place your /common partitions and /swap partitions on the lower numbered ones. A libATA distro installed anywhere else on the lower 15 partitions (or another drive) will still be able to “see” and mount them this way.

2) MS Windows is like the “Borg” when it comes to being installed on a computer with other operating systems. It seeks out and destroys other operating systems. Be sure to install MS Windows first. It needs to be on the first partition of whatever drive you’re installing it on. After which, you can install your GNU/Linux distros safely.

3) Install your MBR controlling distribution last, time-wise, regardless of which partition/drive you’re installing on. This will allow it, especially in the case of Debian’s excellent GRUB, to “see” all the other installations and write them into your menu.lst for you. Even though Slackware is my primary operating system, and since I don’t use LILO, I allow Debian to control the MBR and boot my system with its GRUB.

4) Lastly, as in the case above, if your MS Windows installation is on a different drive than your MBR controlling OS, then your BIOS may have troubles booting the correct drive. No matter what you choose in BIOS as the first device, the Windows drive will boot. The reason for this is that Windows installs a bootable flag on its own drive. This flag gets priority from the BIOS. To set a bootable flag on the drive that you want to boot will require a bit of manipulation using a Live Linux CD* and the fdisk command.

Boot your Live CD and start it. From a terminal session within the CD do the following:

# fdisk /dev/

fdisk> a (option to toggle bootable flag on drive

–partition number? 1 (first partition on the drive)

fdisk> w (command to write the new info to disk and exit fdisk)

–bootable flag reset for this drive

This will set the bootable flag to the drive you choose. Reboot, go into BIOS setup and choose your first boot drive. It should boot fine now.

*Another option to use is the way I actually did it on my own system… I used SLAX on a flash drive to perform the fdisk above. Worked like a champ!

Anyway, that’s the way my system is set up. Whenever I add or change operating systems, I just edit the Debian /boot/grub/menu.lst to reflect those changes.

Have fun with it!

Until next time…

~Eric

Note: This article first appeared on my Linux.com Community Blog (now defunct). Some of the above is out-dated. I currently only run Slackware (primary), Arch (secondary), CentOS (tester1), and Debian (tester2).


A Short Trip Down Memory Lane

Back in 2006, I was a fresh-faced new GNU/Linux adventurer.

About a year after my first install of Ubuntu, I posted THIS at Scot’s Newsletter Forums, a site which has since become my second home. Some of my opinions have changed since then. For instance, I don’t use KDE anymore (not since 3.5). I also don’t care for Google too much these days, not since they’ve started showing their greedy fangs… “Do no evil” Pffffft! Yeah, right. Anywho…

Relatively quickly I settled on Slackware as my primary operating system. My GNU/Linux mentor, Bruno Knaapen, once predicted that I would end up with Slackware because I definitely had the Slacker attitude. Miss you, Bruno, old friend. He called that one right. I run Slackware as my primary and Arch Linux as my secondary (backup) OS on my main system. I also run Slack on my laptop and my shop systems.

Back in the beginning of my GNU/Linux adventures, I ran Slack as primary and Debian as secondary. Arch beat Debian out for that position quite a while back, though. Don’t take this the wrong way. I still have a deep and undying love for Debian. I believe it is one of the finest distributions of GNU/Linux ever. About the only complaint one can have with Debian is that its software is a bit dated.

No, Debian is not a risk taker’s distro. It’s staid and stable as a ROCK. Part of this is because of all that older and well-tested software in its huge repository. If you want a distribution that is just going to work… and work… and work without a glitch or burp, Debian is for you.

Earlier today, we were discussing Debian at Scot’s Newsletter Forums – Bruno’s All Things Linux. I realized that I had not had a copy of Deb on any of my machines for a year or so. That’s not like me. I always keep an up-to-date Deb somewhere on my systems… just in case. I decided to download and install it. I have numerous “tester” slots open on my main machine, so space is not an issue.

The install went off without a hitch. I had to make some minor edits to Arch’s menu.lst (the MBR controlling boot-loader on my system) and to Debian’s fstab (switch from UUIDs to /dev/… nomenclature). My only issue now is that I need to install the proprietary Nvidia drivers. I usually do this manually, but this time around, I think I’ll do it the “Debian Way“. Knowing Debian, this shouldn’t even cause me to break a sweat.

If you have moderate GNU/Linux experience, and have never tried Debian before, I strongly recommend that you give it a looksee. Next to Slackware, Debian is the oldest still maintained GNU/Linux distribution. Slack only has it beat by a few months, actually. Try Debian. You’ll learn a lot about GNU/Linux with this distribution. You’ll also get the unique experience of using one of the absolute best package managers in existence… apt.

Until next time…

~Eric


Today’s Featured Distribution – Arch Linux (Revisited)

Today’s Featured Distribution – Arch Linux

Posted by V. T. Eric Layton on Apr 8, 2010

Let’s do things the “Arch Way” for a bit, OK?

As you can probably tell from this recent article, I do maintain a good sized distro farm. Sometimes, I’ll plow up one field and plant a new distro. Other times, I leave a field planted with a certain distro for long periods of time. This is the case with Arch Linux. It’s one Linux distro crop that I probably will continue to plant regularly.

You will always find two distributions on any system I have up and running for my own use; Slackware, my primary operating system and Debian, my backup operating system. Both are what you might call stable to the point of ennui. That’s why they are my operating systems of choice. I’m an old geek. Old geeks don’t like surprises. We like everything steady and familiar.

If someone were to ask me, “Hey Eric, what would you do if you couldn’t run Slackware or Debian?” I’d have to admit that Arch Linux would probably be my next choice as a primary operating system. I’ve always considered Arch to be like a secret love child of Slackware, even though they have no direct relation in the Linux Tree. I think of Arch in this light because it shares two goals with Slackware; namely, beautiful simplicity and a lightness of being.

It’s almost Zen-like, huh? Ahhhhmm! Ahhhhhmm!

Oops! Wrong kind of yogi. I meant… er, never mind.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah…

So, about Arch Linux… Oh, did I mention that Arch has an exceptional support community, excellent documentation, and a fabulous wiki? Well, it does. Visit the Arch Linux main page. Do a little reading, follow some links. There is a wealth of information at that site. The Arch Wiki has been helpful to me many times in resolving issues that were not even specific to Arch. There is a lot of compiled Linux knowledge there. When you’re visiting the wiki, be sure to check out the Beginner’s Guide… absolutely outstanding!

And lastly, if you would like to give Arch a looksee, I highly recommend securitybreach’s excellent installation tutorial available for you at Scot’s Newsletter Forums – Bruno’s All Things Linux – Bruno’s Classroom –> Installing and setting up Archlinux.

Have FUN with it!

Until next time…

~Eric

Update – 8 August, 2011: Since first publishing this article, Arch has been promoted to my secondary operating system on my main system. I still love Debian, but was having issues with Squeeze, so…

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This article was originally published on my Nocturnal Slacker | Lockergnome blog. To read the it there and see the accompanying comments, click HERE.


Ubuntu – Leading Contender In the Linux World? (Revisited)

Ubuntu – Leading Contender In Linux World?

Posted by V. T. Eric Layton on Apr 26, 2010

Probably not. However, Ubuntu may be the leading contender when it comes to luring frustrated Windows users into trying Linux.

Why is that? Well, I’ll tell you my theory on why Ubuntu is doing all it can to suck in frustrated MS Windows users. Firstly, you have to understand a few realities about Linux. Ubuntu is NOT the only Linux operating system out there. It’s not the oldest (Slackware). It’s not the fastest (SLAX or Puppy run in RAM). It’s not the the …est anything, except maybe mostest cunning.

There are many Linux distributions out there in the world; some are free (as in beer), some are free (as in speech), some are commercial products (you pay $$$ for them), some are hybrids or combinations thereof. The point here being that there is no ONE Linux to rule them all. The Linux that rules them all is the one chosen by you to use as your primary operating system on your computer.

Ubuntu was created by and is maintained/distributed by a for-profit company called Canonical, which was created by an young entrepreneur bazillonaire named Mark Shuttleworth. Shuttleworth is not a student of Gandhi or Mother Teresa. I’d have to pigeon-hole him with Warren Buffet or Donald Trump, actually. He’s out to make a buck, in plain-speak. He has a game plan, too.

My theory on what Shuttleworth had in mind…

Mark was sitting around one day, sucking down a brew or two, wondering what he could do to make his next bazillion. Well, he’s a bit of a nerd anyway, so it should probably have something to do with computers. Hey! That Gates and that Jobs fellow seemed to do well for themselves, right? Here’s the problem, though. Mark can’t easily piggy-back on either Microsoft’s or Apple’s operating system to make a buck, so what to do?

AHA! There’s that open source operating system out there that no one knows much about. It’s called Linux. Mark figures he can find (or steal away) a bunch of Linux gurus to help him write a new Linux distribution. Initially, he’ll give it away to all comers. He’ll set up and maintain a huge support and community system. He’ll make his Linux distribution as point & click easy as Microsoft’s or Apple’s product. Since Linux is inherently more secure than MS Windows, he can even use that as a selling point.

Alrighty, we’re down the road a bit now… say 2015. Ubuntu has developed a rather large user base. Lots and lots of X-MS Windows users have jumped ship on Cap’n Gates and now run Ubuntu exclusively. This is the time for Shuttleworth and Canonical to stop offering Ubuntu for free. Now you can buy it at Best Buy or Amazon. He’ll charge for support and updating, too. Will folks pay? If Ubuntu can be sold for 1/2 to 1/3 of what MS Windows (whatever version) is going for at that time, yes. There’s a good possibility that folks will pay for it.

New users won’t know really anything about Linux. They’ll only know Ubuntu. They were point & click zombies when they were using their Windows and they’ll be point & click zombies when using their Ubuntu. They read their FWD porn and joke emails from friends and family, they surf a few websites, they might even pay a bill or two online. That’s all they really use their computers for, anyway. That is Shuttleworth’s potential paying customer pool, folks.

Can it really happen? Ya’ never know…

Don’t get me wrong, folks. I think Ubuntu is a great Linux distribution. It’s based on one of my favorites… the rock solid Debian GNU/Linux. Ubuntu is great for introducing folks to Linux. It’s the distribution I use to install for “curious” friends and family members who hear me talk about running an operating system other than MS Windows. This article is not about bashing Ubuntu or anything, actually. It’s just a speculation on the inner workings of the mind of a man who obviously likes to make money.

Just wanted you to understand that. Try Ubuntu, by the way. You might like it.

Have FUN!

~Eric

Addenda: A member (lewmur) at Scot’s Newsletter Forums – Bruno’s All Things Linux, where I’m an Admin, posted a link to this very interesting article about how Canonical may be proposing to make some $$$…

Will 12,000 Cloud Computing Deployments Lead to Profit?

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This article was originally published on my Nocturnal Slacker | Lockergnome blog. The comments there were very interesting. You can click HERE to read them.


Francis J. “Frank” Golden | 1950-2011

ELKO, Nevada — Francis J. “Frank” Golden died suddenly of heart complications on April 5, 2011.

There were four friends back in ’06 who were really influential in getting me started on my GNU/Linux Adventure. Sweet Lou, X-Admin from the Avant Browser Support Forums was pushing me toward Debian (Sarge at the time). Friend Urmas from my own Cabin In the Woods board was plugging Ubuntu. Frank Golden, whom I knew from Computer Haven, was voting for Ubuntu also; as was Angeldust (Philip), another Avant Browser team member.

3 votes to 1… Ubuntu won that one. I installed it and within a couple weeks also installed Debian, Slackware, OpenSuse, and Fedora Core. I was on a mission to find “my” distro; the one that just fit. I ended up with Slackware, as you all know. The rest is history. I had a lot of help along the way from many folks. This is one of the reasons I make it my own mission to return some of that to the upcoming Linux Adventurers.

One of the folks who was always there when I had a question was Frank Golden. Frank was fast in offering his home phone number and an invitation to have a chat. He sent parts for me to get my laptop up and running. He offered advice whenever I had an issue or a thought or whatever. Frank was there. Unfortunately, that will no longer be the case. Frank is gone now. I will miss him.

Frank was my friend.

~Eric


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