Tuesday, October 28, 2014

no thanks, mint

The "crippled" Synaptic Package Manager that Linux Mint ships with has been one of the main reasons I've stayed away from the distro since I stopped using it after the Mint 9 ("Isadora") release. For users like me, it looks like things have only gotten worse. Here's Ken Starks in "Synaptic Vs. Update Manager in Linux Mint":

Mint had already made upgrades [using Synaptic] a bit more difficult by making you choose all apps with a ctrl+A command and then right click to update all apps. But now, you can’t do even that. The Mark All Upgrades button is completely missing. It wasn’t stripped out; from my understanding, Synaptic had been replaced by Mint’s version of Synaptic. You can search and install applications with it…you just can’t upgrade your system with it.


What I will gripe about is completely neutering Synaptic as an alternative method of system upgrade/update.

There was a work-around for the "crippled" Synaptic in Mint back when I was using it, and I think there's a different work-around now. But Linux Mint does way too much hand-holding for my tastes. Great distro, for sure, but it isn't for me.

In the comments following the article, one person wrote:

Mint forks a huge number of packages from the Debian/Ubuntu repos. Synaptic installs the Debian/Ubuntu versions from the Debian/Ubuntu repos, and the Mint update manager/package manager installs the Mint version from the Mint repos. A full upgrade using synaptic would result in a Ubuntu/Mint hybrid. If you have ever noticed when upgrading with synaptic in mint that it will ask to keep the original config (mint version), or install the package maintainer’s config.

Okay, I can understand that. So, why even include the "crippled" Synaptic in the default Mint installation? Leave it up to the user to decide whether or not to use Synaptic the way it's supposed to be used. Don't make the user have to jump through hoops to do this. If the user wants to install and use the real Synaptic and risk borking Linux Mint, that should be up to the user to decide.

No other distro that I'm aware of does what Mint does to Synaptic. The whole thing left a bad taste in my mouth back when I was running Mint. I actually liked the distro, for the most part. But as long as the Mint devs feel the need to protect users from themselves like this, I won't be going back. Thanks, but no thanks.

Monday, October 20, 2014

i was wrong

I was wrong in my earlier post. The systemd uproar continues: "Fork Debian" Project Aims to Put Pressure on Debian Community and Systemd Adoption


learning linux

I tend to want to remain quiet these days when folks talk about going from Windows to Linux. Long-time, experienced Windows users often struggle with Linux. They've spent years accumulating Windows knowledge, and it's difficult to accept that, in the same way, it will take a long time to really learn Linux. It takes time for things to sink in, and it takes time for the brain to stop thinking in Windows terms and to begin thinking in Linux terms.

One thing I did, I approached Linux with the thought that it would take at least four years to get to where I wanted to be. And that was indeed how it worked out. I kept looking at it as if it was a college program; after one year, I was barely moving on from freshman year to sophomore year, that sort of thing. After about four years, I had become pretty knowledgeable, but at that point I was only then ready for "graduate school," still not at "expert" level by any means.

Some will disagree, but my opinion is that a good approach is to find a computer that comes with Linux pre-installed, or to have someone install it for you, while keeping your Windows computer around for when you need it.

Another approach is to focus on live Linux sessions, especially if you can run Linux live with persistence. Again, keeping Windows around, untouched, while you learn.

And, lots of reading. Read the documentation that comes with Linux, read the documentation at the distro's website, read what's being written at the forums, read everything you can find. There are no shortcuts.

Not everyone is willing to do something like this. Especially folks who have been using Windows for a long time. You can do it, but you have to accept that there will be struggles, that you have to start at the beginning, with the fundamentals, and work your way up. You don't just switch over to Linux and have your Windows knowledge apply to the Linux world. It just doesn't work that way; completely different operating system.