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:

===

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*

===

*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


An Open Letter to Richard Stallman

Dear RMS,

A few days ago Guillermo Garron wrote a piece on his website after seeing you speak live. A link to that article was posted at Scot’s Newsletter Forums – Bruno’s All Things Linux, where a discussion ensued. During the course of that conversation, I thought that maybe it was about time that we started using a less bulky nomenclature for the GNU/Linux operating system. I posted a few suggestions, but I think I like GNix the best.

A worthy contraction of terms, I think. While I’ve always tried to refer to my favorite operating system as GNU/Linux in my public articles and other posts around the Internet, I often lapse into the shorthand version of “Linux” that is commonly misused by most everyone else in this community; mostly because of the bulkiness of GNU/Linux.

No Windows fans, that I know of, go around calling their operating system Microsoft Windows whatever version. They just call it “Windows”, usually. They know it’s Microsoft. They’re just lazy, as are most of us in the GNU/Linux community of users. So, my thoughts are let’s call it GNix (pronounced g’nicks).

I doubt Linus would mind. He might like it, too. You never know. A marriage of the Linux kernel and the GNU operating system should have a worthy moniker. Maybe now is that time for it to be.

I’m running Slackware GNix as my primary OS on all my machines, but I also have Debian GNix and Fedora GNix installed as testers. Hmm… that rolls off the keypad pretty nicely, I think. :)

Regards,

~Eric


Bodhi Linux – It’s About Time

I’ve been using GNU/Linux as my primary operating system for quite sometime now.

Actually, this June will be my six year anniversary of switching to GNU/Linux. Wow! Time sure does fly. It seems like it was only yesterday that I was burning and installing Ubuntu 6.06 Dapper Drake. ;) Since that beginning, I’ve burned hundreds of CDs and DVDs with GNU/Linux distributions on them. I’ve tested most of the main line distros like Debian, Fedora Core, Mandriva, OpenSuSE, Slackware, Arch , Ubuntu, Mepis, Mint, etc. over the years.

Like most, I’ve found my favorites… Slackware, Arch, Debian (Sid), Zenwalk, Vector, Salix, CentOS, Foresight, Ark, etc. These distributions can almost always be found on some partitions on one of my systems at any given time. There are a few that have really impressed me. I’m always impressed with GNU/Linux, but to tell you the truth, it’s been a while since I was just absolutely taken aback by the presentation and quality of any distribution. I think Arch was the last distribution to really knock my socks off.

I think this is because, basically, all GNU/Linux distributions are pretty similar under the hood. It’s just how the eye candy wrappers are manipulated that make them somewhat different. Gnome in OpenSuSE can look a lot like Gnome in Debian, for example. KDE 4 is still buggy and bloated, regardless of what distro you’re running it in. Just kidding, KDE fans. ;) Every once in a while, though, the entire presentation; website, support, documentation, visual appearance of the installer, ease-of-installation, and 1st boot up impressions conspire to overwhelm one’s reactions… pleasantly, I mean.

This is the case today for me. I have heard a lot about Bodhi Linux, of course. Jeff Hoogland, the lead dev for Bodhi, is a member at Scot’s Newsletter Forums where I’m an Admin. I read Jeff’s blog regularly. I’ve watched from the very beginning when he first started putting Bodhi together. So, yeah… Bodhi Linux wasn’t some unknown for me. My pal Paul “ChipDoc” Campbell was a contributor to the Bodhi Linux documentation project. Oddly enough, I had never (till today) tried Bodhi Linux.

Recently, I received a little Dell Latitude D610 laptop from my niece. The unit is in near new condition, but it’s limited hardware-wise. I had been looking for the perfect lightweight distribution for it. First I tried my old favorite Vector Linux. That was pretty nice, but even VL was pushing the limits of this little guy’s Pentium M processor and 768Meg of RAM. Next I tried Zorin OS. Zorin was pretty cool. It calls itself a “transitional Linux” due to the fact that it’s geared for folks coming from MS Windows. Zorin worked well, but I still wasn’t satisfied.

Today, I visited the excellent Bodhi Linux website. I snooped around. I read the documentation. I looked at the beautiful screenies. I downloaded the tiny (450Meg) Live/Install .iso file. I burned it to a CD. I inserted that CD into my little laptop here on my desk and an amazing thing happened. The grizzled old GNU/Linux, Slackware-loving, veteran GNU/parted-using nocturnal geek, who is rarely impressed with anything these days, was IMPRESSED from minute one with Bodhi Linux.

Everything about Bodhi Linux just seemed… well, right to me. From the installer’s simple step by step walk-through to the general informational blurbs that came up on the screen during the installation process; it was all pleasant and Zen-like. I don’t know if Jeff was intentionally aiming for this mellow and tranquil feeling, but one assumes he was with a name like Bodhi, right? You hit your mark, buddy.

After the relatively quick install, the fun really begins. You get to actually start using Bodhi Linux. I like to start any distro with the customization stage. I go through the desktop first, changing the panels and icons and whatnot to my usual setup. I then go a bit deeper into the operating system and modify app behaviors, start-up behaviors, themes, window behaviors, and so on. On a distro that I’m not familiar with, like Bodhi, it may take me a couple hours to get it how I want it.

My simple little Bodhi Linux:

Photobucket

If you haven’t tried Bodhi Linux yet, what are you waiting for? You don’t need an old obsolete laptop to run it. It’ll run on your bleeding edge system just as well; better, actually. Bodhi is only minimal at the initial install. Thanks to their unique AppCenter, you can stuff your Bodhi full of yummy apps and goodies. If they don’t have it in the AppCenter, you’ll probably find it in Synaptic (using Ubuntu‘s repos). If you still can’t find your fav app, ask for it on the forums. Someone will make it happen for you.

Jeff, my hat’s off to you and all the contributors to the Bodhi Linux project. You folks have done an amazing job with this distribution. I can pretty much guarantee you that I’ll be looking for a spare partition or two on my main or shop system to install Bodhi Linux. I am impressed. Don’t get me wrong, though. You’ll still be hearing me bitch once I find the aggravating things in there. I know they’re there. They always are. I’ll try to stay calm and tranquil about it. Ahhhhmmmm… Ahhhhmmmm… HA! :)

Later…

~Eric


Why Linux Will Never Be a Factor On the Desktop

Why Linux Will Never Be a Factor On the Desktop

Tony Bradley expounds on the current status of GNU/Linux popularity (or lack thereof) and the future of the operating system.

The comment I left on ComputerWorld’s page for this article:

I’m a loyal GNU/Linux user. I parted ways with MS Windows (for the most part) nearly six years ago. I keep installations of XP and 7 on some of my systems in order to stay relatively well-versed in the the usage of those operating systems in order to facilitate my constant need to fix the computers of family members and friends (the ones I haven’t converted to GNU/Linux yet).

That being said, I’m not one of those GNU/Linux fanbois who is sitting at my desk with my Jolt in one hand and a joint in the other dreaming about LInux’s imminent world domination. I would prefer that Linux stay under the radar. If it ever managed to have the commercial popularity of MS Windows, it would wake one morning to find that same large target painted on its back for all the hackers, malware writers, and generally mischievous malcontents.

No, I’m more than happy to operate my little GNU/Linux systems in relative obscurity. Besides, once something gains in popularity, someone always steps in to regulate, tax, manipulate, restrict, or mutilate it in some way. Leave my GNU/Linux alone.

Like I say on my blogs and the tech forums where I admin/moderate, “Whatever operating system works best for you IS the one that’s best for you.”

Later…

~Eric, the Nocturnal Slacker

Read the article, tell me what you think about it?

~Eric


Vector Linux 7.0 Standard – a Mini-Review

My niece deposited her old, tired Dell Latitude D560 laptop on her old, tired uncle yesterday.

She knew that he would wipe that ol’ corrupted Win XP installation off that baby and make ‘er scream again with a nice efficient GNU/Linux operating system. With a 30Gig hdd and only 760M of RAM, screaming will be only moderate with his little machine. However, scream again she does with a fresh install of Vector Linux 7.0 Standard (32 bit).

I had fully intended to give newcomer to the GNU/Linux scene, Zorin, a go on this old lappy. Unfortunately, their download hosting sites were terribly slow today; I mean dial-up slow. The NLUUG Netherlands site was faster than the U.S. iBiblio site, but that ain’t saying much. Either one was stating 11-12 hours download time for a measly 1.1Gig .iso file. That’s just sad. Oh well, maybe another time for Zorin. It does look promising; particularly as a transitional OS from Win to Lin.

Today, though, Vector won out in the download speed race. I’ve used Vector off and on across numerous of my systems and platforms over the past 6 or 7 years. It has always been a stable, usable, no-surprises distribution. I like that. I’m not a fan of surprises when it comes to operating systems. I like boring. I’ve been reluctant, as mentioned elsewhere here, to install Vector on my main or shop systems because I’m patiently waiting for a 64 bit version. A 32 bit version was just what this lappy needed; one not too bloated.

Installation was almost Slackware-ish boring. As I said, no surprises… GOOD! I installed on ext3 partitions; one for / and one for /home, as is my standard practice with GNU/Linux. The entire installation took about 15 minutes or so. I’m running the default Xfce/Cairo Dock desktop at the moment. It’s pretty nice, actually. Ethernet and wireless work out-of-the-box; again, no surprises.

Here’s a pic of the peppy and refreshed old laptop (click of bigger pic):

Photobucket

So, there you have it. Have an old, tired laptop lying around out in the garage? Grab it and install a fresh Vector Linux install on that baby and off you’ll go. That lappy will be a fully-functional machine once again. Set it up for the kids. Donate it to some needy person. Whatever you do with it will be better than what it was doing, sitting on that shelf all lonely and neglected.

Later…

~Eric


5 Things Every Aspiring Linux User Should Know

Yes. Another one of those ubiquitous bullet articles. Everyone love’s ‘em, it seems.

There are some fundamental things that every person who turns on a Linux box should be familiar with before proceeding. Some of these things are often overlooked or never learned by new Linux users. It’s a shame, actually. Knowledge of the fundamentals can create a great foundation for further advancement later on down the road. If you’re going to learn something, learn it right.

Here we go…

  • Numero Uno, in my opinion, is the importance of knowing and accepting the fact that the GNU/LInux operating system is NOT Microsoft Windows. Don’t try to make it such. GNU/Linux is a unique Unix-based operating system using the Linux kernel developed by Linus Torvalds and the GNU operating system developed by Richard Stallman and others of the GNU Project. Individual distributions of GNU/Linux, such as Ubuntu, Slackware, Debian, Arch, etc., are projects created by different people and supported by many, many dedicated coders, repository maintainers, software creators, technical writers, etc. To paraphrase a nearly cliché quote, it takes a village to raise a Linux distro. ;)
  • Item the second: ROOT IS GOD! Caution must be exercised at all times when user privileges are elevated to that of root. Working in the root environment should be done like riding a motorcycle. You CANNOT auto-pilot while riding a motorcycle; neither should you do so when you are root. In other words, pay attention to what you’re doing. Think twice before tapping that Enter key. One slip as root could destroy your entire OS. It’s a powerful tool. Be respectful of its power. Ignore this if you enjoy losing data regularly and reinstalling your OS from scratch.
  • Third thing to know: the command line interface is not a demon from Hell that will grind you up in its toothy maw. It’s just another tool available to the GNU/Linux user for accomplishing tasks that must be accomplished. For most of you, the GUI (graphic user interface) will suffice, but there will be times that you may need to use the command line. Don’t fear it. Embrace your inner geek. Learn the command line. You may find that you can accomplish more work more efficiently while using it.
  • Fourth on the list: Security, it’s a wonderful thing. Remember all those virus and malware scanners that you had to use in MS Windows. Remember how scared you were about email attachments. Remember that time your Windows system got corrupted and you had to pay someone at Best Buy $300 to get it working again? Bad memories, huh? Well, guess what? Just as dogs don’t catch the same diseases that banana plants do, GNU/Linux is not susceptible to the vast majority of the bad stuff out there that cripples MS Windows. Does that mean you’re 100% immune from troubles while running GNU/Linux? Well, no. However, I’d be comfortable in telling you that you would be about 99% immune. I’ve been running GNU/Linux operating systems on my computers for half a dozen years now. I’ve NEVER, not once, ever had any virus or malware issues.
  • Fifth and lastly:MS Windows and Apple/Mac have wonderful community support from multitudinous sites and communities around the Internet: I wouldn’t refute that fact at all. However, it’s important to remember that GNU/Linux and Open Source are products of the communities themselves in many cases. They are directly created, maintained, distributed and supported by many, many dedicated souls all across the globe. If you take the time to explore these communities, you’ll find that the amount of knowledge out there just waiting for you to come learn it is astounding. I don’t believe there is any other technical project so overwhelmingly supported by its adherents and fans in the global community quite like GNU/Linux and Open Source. Don’t be shy. Ask for some help.

Enjoy your new GNU/Linux adventure. It can lead to a long relationship with a fabulous operating system, outstanding open source applications, and wonderful friendships.

Later…

~Eric

Further reading:

The Open Source Initiative

The Free Software Foundation

The Linux Foundation

Open Respect


Today’s Featured Distribution – Foresight Linux

Once upon a time, when I was a relative newcomer to GNU/Linux, I found a wonderful little distribution, which was also new at the time.

Tomas Forsman, a member of the Foresight Linux team, probably doesn’t even remember me from back then. I frequented the old support forums for Foresight Linux back when it was in version 1.0. I think that was sometime back in 2006. I remember FL creator Ken Vandeen from back then. I found Foresight, a fork of rPath Linux, while perusing Distrowatch one evening. It looked intriguing. Besides, I liked the green color theme. Green is my favorite color, you know.

I’ve had Foresight on many of my systems over the years since v1.0. It’s never been my primary operating system. You all know that I’m a Slacker, but that doesn’t stop me from experimenting with other distros. I have my favorites that are never far from one of my systems. I can usually be found tweaking (often breaking) these distros on any given day.

I did a major system overhaul a year or so ago and never was able to get a working copy of Foresight installed. It wasn’t Foresight’s fault, though. Tomas knows that I’m an Xfce fan, so he provided me with an alpha of their Xfce version. It didn’t seem to like my hardware for some reason. Well, that was a while ago, anyway. Their Xfce 64 bit version is in final release now and installs and runs perfectly.

I know this because I just installed it  a couple nights ago. I didn’t have any issues during installation. For any of you who have ever installed a GNU/Linux distribution on your system, you’ll not find any surprises with the Foresight installer. It’s pretty straight-forward and relatively easy.

Once I had FL installed, I did my usual tweaks here and there under the hood and with the Xfce interface. All went well. I have a completely updated and usable Foresight Linux installation on my system now. I made a quick custom wallpaper for it and took a nice screenshot for you folks.

If you’d like to give Foresight a tryout, you’ll find that the distribution has excellent documentation and a helpful support community. Tomas also visits Scot’s Newsletter Forums – Bruno’s All Things Linux quite often. You can catch up with him there occasionally. Foresight is a stable, full-featured distribution with a sterling pedigree (RedHat, rPath). It’s suitable for a home system or a business server.

Stop on by the Foresight forums. Tell Tomas I sent you. He’ll get you up and running with Foresight in no time at all.

Have fun with it! :)

Later…

~Eric

Image credits: Foresight Linux “eye” logo owned by Foresight Linux.


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