Back to openSUSE

Well, my stint in *buntu is over, and it ends with an award to openSUSE: this is the first Linux distro I’ve returned to.

Kubuntu is nice, and I’m happy that I’ve tried it out, but it’s not for me. It’s nice enough if you want a simple desktop system, and APT rocks (especially with the aptitude front-end). But it’s just not as good as openSUSE, sorry.

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Preserving the programming craft

I posted this reply to an Ask Slashdot:  Do Kids still program? I found myself commenting all over that thread… it must be close to my heart 🙂 Reproducing here, and exploring a little further.

Many of the observations made on Slashdot are right. I wonder what it is that drives me to hack, that is missing from what is covered?  Why do I like to hack, and why would it be passed over by kids these days?  Or would it?

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Mystical jargon

I’m sure this observation has been made elsewhere, but I can’t find reference to it online.

Have you ever noticed the prolific use of mystical/fantastical words in computer jargon? I’m sure there is a significance, or at least a tongue-in-cheek pointing to the wizardly ways of early and contemporary computer experts. It is funny I suppose, and when you look at how wide-spread it is, it may be revealing of the hacker psych.

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Crashed Linux


Crashed Linux

Originally uploaded by milliped.

This is a pretty neat shot of the in-flight entertainment system on an Airbus A330 having a boot-up issue. Note, the kernel is Linux.

This photo has a big rant in the flickr comments about whether or not it’s a Linux crash. Well, what’s a Linux crash? Most of the public Windows crashes do not involve the Windows kernel (except for blue-screens) but they get called Windows crashes. So, to be fair, this is a Linux crash, even if it appears that the kernel itself is fine.

“Free as in Coke”

Was thinking about the Free as in Freedom, vs Free as in Beer analogy and I found a problem with the Free as in Beer offering.

Beer is actually already nearly Free as in Freedom, since the process to produce your own beer, and many good recipes are public domain. So maybe the analogy should be “free as in Coke™”. This works better, because someone can give away Coke bottles full of CocaCola™, and this is not the same as being given the secret recipe to make your own Coke.

Just a thought, anyway.

“Get into the habbit of reading source docs”

The great thing about Linux is that all the definitive documentation (including the source code) comes with the OS.

You know, I’m finding that for a lot of the “beginner” linux distro’s, this is not true. Yes, the source is available but it doesn’t come with the OS.

Granted, not everyone wants to fill their harddrives with source tarballs or SRPMs on the off chance they might want to read them, but only a few distro’s I know come with source, and those are not necessarily for noob’s. the main example that comes to mind is Gentoo (since it’s a “ports”-like distribution). This is not to wax lyrical on the benefits of Gentoo for learning Linux (Gentoo has many weaknesses in that regard too, among its inappropriateness as a general OS for noob’s), just that it’s the only one I’ve found where the source comes with the OS.

Other distro’s with source “available” are Debian and Fedora (on extra CDs you have to download, and Fedora locks the source into SRPMs which is another learning hurdle to leap over, especially bad if all you want to do is read the source comments, or documentation not included in the binary RPM). It makes me feel like a 2nd-class citizen, that the source is somehow “open” but you have to know the secret handshake to get at it.

All of this, just to say: while reading source docs is a laudable habbit and I share your wish to encourage it, I can also see how it is difficult for most Linux noob’s to form this habbit so long as the source doesn’t actually come with the OS, which for a great many distro’s it does not. The extra steps to download (and in many cases extract from SRPMs) the source are probably enough of a deterrent to forming this habbit.

unfortunately, hacker habbits require hacker motivation 😦