Tuesday, December 31, 2013

fun metaphor

The writer Charles Stross posted "Over-Extended Metaphor for the day." Fun read. Here's a peek, but follow that link for the entire article:

There is one true religion in operating systems, and it is UNIX. Or maybe it's not the one true faith: there's an earlier, older, more arcane religion with far fewer followers, MULTICS, from which UNIX sprang as a stripped-down rules-deficient heresy in the early days of the epoch. Either way, if MULTICS is Judaism (and the metaphor is questionable at this point, for unlike MULTICS, Judaism is still alive), then UNIX is Christianity.


The Reformation took the shape of a new, freely copyable kernel that all the faithful could read with their own eyes. This Protestant heresy spread like wildfire among the people but was resisted with acts of vicious repression by the high priesthood of Corporate IT (arguably in connivance with the infidel invaders from the Caliphate of Microsoft). The Linux wars were brutal and unforgiving and Linux itself splintered into a myriad of fractious Protestant churches, from the Red Hat wearing Lutherans to the Ubuntu Baptists.

Charles Stross's blog: Charlie's Diary

Monday, December 30, 2013

debian administrator's handbook for wheezy

Posted today by Raphaƫl Hertzog:

We’re pleased to announce the availability of “The Debian Administrator’s Handbook, Debian Wheezy from Discovery to Mastery”. This is the first major update of the book since the first edition (in May 2012).

Here's a link to the Debian Administrator's Handbook website: http://debian-handbook.info/

Folks can purchase the book as paperback or eBook. The eBook is also available for free download, and there's also an online version.

here they come

Two articles:

"Google's Threat To Microsoft, Chromebooks Are Now 21% Of Notebooks And 10% Of All Computers And Tablets"

"Chromebook is Giving Macbook a Run for its Money"

A Chromebook? Yeah, I'd probably have one right now except that I'm already doing fine with a few notebooks, running Linux. The price is right, because a Chromebook can be had for about $250 bucks. From what I've read, it might not be too difficult to slap Linux on most of 'em if the user doesn't want to stay with ChromeOS.

Look at the Chromebook sales between this year and last year, compared to those of Windows notebooks, Apple notebooks, iPads, Android tablets, and Windows tablets:

Chromebooks are exploding onto the scene, and for good reasons. They're a good solution for a lot of people. Should be interesting to see how things go in 2014.

purely subjective

In his article "In search of the Best KDE Linux distro of 2013: A comparison of 19 leading KDE operating systems," Arindam Sen (one of my favorite Linux bloggers) went to a lot of trouble to provide a detailed analysis of different KDE distros/spins to come up with a conclusion about which one he thinks is "the best."

The article is informative, and that alone makes it worth reading. His conclusion (spoiler alert: he went with Netrunner) should certainly be taken with a grain of salt.

Sen only used one computer for the comparisons, and he only used 64-bit operating systems. Notably missing from the list: Sabayon (due to hardware issues) and Slackware (and anything based on Slackware).

His criteria:

- Installation (20% weightage): Installation time required and installation complexity
- Aesthetics (20% weightage): Including graphical boot splash and differentiation in KDE plasma desktop
- Hardware Recognition (20% weightage): Includes automatic wifi and touchpad recognition along with setting up bumblebee for hybrid graphics. Touchpad recognition also includes automatic 2 finger scroll & single/double functions.
- Pre-installed Applications (10% weightage): Checking if office, PDF viewer, browser, email client, download manager, torrent client, IM, Skype, Photo viewer, GIMP, Screenshot app, audio/video player, CD/DVD writer, Live USB creator, Wine, etc. are present or not. An OS may include a lot more additional applications but my testing was limited to the aforementioned packages.
- Performance (30% weightage): RAM/CPU utilization at steady state under similar conditions on the same machine and time to boot are the two main criteria for performance check.

Nothing about package management, how well-stocked the repos are, the strength of the development teams, available documentation, how long the distro's been around -- things that I would consider when choosing a distro. The applications that a distro ships with? That part might not mean much to me when I've got, for example, the Debian repos available to me. Installation time and complexity might not be a big factor when you're installing a rolling-release distro like Arch Linux or PCLinuxOS (in theory, you're only gonna have to install it one time) (Sen didn't include Arch, which doesn't really have a KDE spin -- with Arch, you choose whatever environment you want at installation time).

Anytime I see the word "best," alarm bells start going off in my head. I would have preferred that Sen simply provided the data comparing even these same distros and left out the part about trying to conclude which one was best. Any conclusion of that sort can only be purely subjective because for different users there will be different things that are most important in a distro.

I'd probably go with Debian KDE or Kubuntu, based on a different set of criteria. But that's just me.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

they love it

Arindam Sen and Dedoimedo both produce detailed reviews of Linux releases, including nice screenshots and so forth. These two reviewers have recently taken a look at Linux Mint 16. Dedoimedo looked at the Cinnamon spin -- he'll review the MATE spin soon -- and Sen took a look at both Cinnamon and MATE spins.

Both reviewers raved about the release. It would seem that the only downside is the short support period; like Ubuntu 13.10 ("Saucy"), on which it is based, Mint 16 is supported only until July 2014:

(See https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Releases and https://wiki.ubuntu.com/LTS)

Even with that caveat, these guys' reviews leave me with the impression that the Mint team knocked it out of the park with this release; however, I prefer to judge a release based on how things go over the long term, and nobody does reviews of Linux releases a year or two after the release date (not many people would be interested!). Anyway, Ubuntu's non-LTS support period is too short (9 months) for my tastes, and since Linux Mint releases come after the corresponding Ubuntu releases, Mint's non-LTS support period is even shorter.

That's not a deterrent for many other users, and lots of people will be quite excited about Mint 16 after reading these two reviews. Enjoy!

Linux Mint 16 "Petra" Cinnamon and Mate Review: Mint has done it again!

Linux Mint 16 Petra - P-p-p-perfect!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

fedora 19 compared to korora 19

Mayank Sharma takes a good (and interesting) look at the GNOME spins of Fedora 19 and Korora 19: Fedora 19 vs Korora 19: which is the best distro for you?

Korora, which is based on Fedora, is probably the easier of the two for the casual user (whoever that is), but I tend to prefer using a parent distro instead of a derivative. However, in this case I might want to go with Korora if I was gonna install one of these distros today.

My issue with both distros: The support period is too short for my tastes.

What attracts me about both distros: They both include recent GNOME versions. Right now, I'm running older versions of GNOME in Debian Wheezy and Ubuntu 12.04.

Currently, the only .rpm distro I'm running is openSUSE. I think I'll keep it that way, for now. I enjoyed running Fedora (I ran F14 through F18), but I've kinda decided to go in other directions.

Monday, December 2, 2013


 A mostly positive review of openSUSE 13.1 in this week's DistroWatch Weekly, here. This is an Evergreen release, with support for about three years.

While I'm very tempted to install this release, I'm also quite happy with openSUSE 12.3 (KDE spin), which will be supported until September, 2014. So, I'm staying put. For now.

still rockin' unity

Hm. After playing around this weekend with the recently released Linux Mint 16 and Cinnamon 2.0 (see Jim Lynch's in-depth review over at Desktop Linux Reviews), I ended up back in Ubuntu 12.04, with Unity.

I still like Ubuntu better than Mint; and, Unity trumps Cinnamon, in my opinion.

Different strokes for different folks. We Linux users may have never-ending arguments and disagreements about distros and desktop environments, but the beautiful thing is that with Linux, we have choices. Don't like what you see? Change it. Or switch to something else. Be happy.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

archbang site

Finally found some news about the ArchBang site, which has been down for a while now.

From Nov 22:

Archbang site down

Hi Ab-ers,
For some unknown reason the site of AB is down.
archbang.org but also the forums and the wiki.
We haven't pulled the plug out of AB and hope to be back as soon as possible!!
We're trying to find a solution.

Update  23 nov.: Our  site seems to be hacked; there are strong indices in that direction; we are trying to find a solution.
Get back to this place to find updates on further developments...

In the mean time the updates and testing isos are available at:  http://sourceforge.net/projects/archbang/


And from Dec 1:

Archbang site hopefully back coming week

This has taken already too much time.
But we were in the dark about what the problems were and because personal changes and indirect communication lines we can't act as directly as we could and should.

What we know now is that we suffered from DOS attacks from China.
When in an offtopic comment China and corruption are linked that is maybe already enough to get the Army of Gov Hackers on your back. So much for internet freedom.. and where its biggest threat lies.
Any way we hope the be back soon...


chrome, chromium

Good, informative article: A Tale of Two Browsers: Chrome v. Chromium

Chromium's my preferred web browser these days...