Political Linux

Omy.  I’ve written before about how it seems that GNU/Linux and many free open-source projects seem to attract people with a politically left-wing bent.  It’s certainly true on Diaspora /Friendica/Hubzilla/Mastodon etc., where my Stream (feed) was full of anti-capitalism, Trump-hate, Antifa, and even Nazi propaganda.  I blocked and/or ignored many more people on Diaspora than I shared with because of all the politics in that network.  But Linux is supposed to be largely neutral politically, right?

I remember the Great Linux Mint Political Train Wreck and how they quickly tried to bury it after a bunch of people who support Israel (as I do) and saw that part of their donations to Linux Mint may have ended up in the hands of anti-Zionist groups because the Lead Developer donates to them.  Mint is a fantastic distro, and to it’s credit, did not mix it’s lead developer’s political views into the distro’s content.  But Mint suffered a setback when it’s official blog posted an anti-Zionist political piece.  It made it look as though Linux Mint officially endorsed the so-called “Palestinian” cause.

Now we have AntiX, the sister distro of MX-Linux, truly mixing politics into it’s official software distributed to users.  MX-Linux is avoiding that, but because they share the same developers, both distros may suffer from unintended consequences of AntiX’s political mixture.  The lead developer of AntiX calls himself “Anticapitalista,” which suggests he opposes capitalism.  But that’s not enough, not this time.  Now by default, included in the .iso of the distro,  are several anti-Zionist bookmarks!  If you happen to be an avid anti-Zionist, you probably have no problem with that.  But if you install antiX and discover these bookmarks when you open the browser for the first time, you’re going to wonder if this is some kind of malware or something!

Have a look at this reviewer’s take on the matter:

 

This is enough for me never to recommend antiX for older computers anymore.  And it sours me a little bit on MX-Linux as well, though not enough to stop recommending it, since they have remained above the fray, refusing to mix their political views into the actual software of the distribution.  AntiX’s choice is worse than Linux Mint’s!  When any open-source project gets so political that the line between the product and the politics is crossed, they lose my support.  Whether it’s left-wing or right-wing stuff, politics and FOSS projects should never mix.

 

Going from macOS to Ubuntu

Yup!

Linux Rig

This is a solid article about switching to Linux, but I love the quote Kev mentions, from Michael Hermann, about using Linux:

macOS is like a hotel. Everything is polished, designed and cared for. But it’s also sterile and you can’t bring your own furniture or cook your own food. On Ubuntu / Linux, you need to do the dishes and take out the trash yourself. But it’s yours. No one forces their agenda on you. It simply feels like home.

Going from macOS to Ubuntu | kvz.io

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GhostBSD – Not Ready (Or I’m Not Ready)

So I spent hours at this today. Too much time, but I wanted to give this a fair shot. I can’t say whether GhostBSD is “not ready” for the desktop or whether I’m simply not ready for a desktop BSD, but I suspect it’s the latter, since it offers a lot of the same great things that many good Linux distros offer, including a nice graphical installer, minimal Xfce (or MATE) desktop, LibreOffice, a good choice of web browsers and very modern applications.

Tested on a very modest Dell Latitude laptop with Intel Duo-Core 2.00 GHz processor and 4 GB of RAM, wifi was never detected, even with my handy USB wifi adapter from ThinkPenguin. And the network manager interface didn’t even offer wifi as an option, even after updating over a wired connection, which brought me to a pre-release version of the next release. This is a rolling-release OS, so as expected, some of the software and configs may be troublesome until they mature on FreeBSD (on which GhostBSD is based). Hardware compatibility issues are very likely with much newer software on a pretty old relic like my laptop.

Updating took a lonnnnnnnng time, and absolutely every part of the process was incredibly slow. This might have been a slow Internet connection at their server for all I know, but I did find that netweork speed was much slower on Ghost than on any Linux distro I’ve ever used.

GhostBSD offers a nice graphical way to install software with over 30,000 titles to choose from! Massive repositories are available to FreeBSD users, which is awesome! Seamonkey was not among them, nor were some of the proprietary browsers you find in many Linux repositories. Seamonkey is considered “abandonware” by the maintainers of FreeBSD.

I found that as slow as it was, I could only add software titles one at a time. Selecting more than one or two would lock up the installer and bring my CPU to maximum and just leave it there for 45 minutes until I rescued it – by rebooting, since there wasn’t any way to even close the damned unresponsive Software Station.

If you don’t know what an application is by it’s name (it’s FreeBSD name, that is), you can mouse over it for a very brief “description” of it’s function. I would have gotten screenshots rather than pics from a camera phone, but the Xfce screenshooter isn’t included by default and wouldn’t install because it was part of a large batch of packages I selected before clicking “Apply” and locking it up. Very few USB utilities are offered in spite of the huge selection of excellent software. The Software Station, as it’s called in GhostBSD, is searchable, and I did discover some very cool stuff in there. I just don’t have hours and hours to download and install it over that stupidly slow connection. May as well just do dial-up for cry’n out loud. It also surprised my greatly that you don’t have to be root to install software! You have to be root to access certain software after installation, but not to install it.

GhostBSD is very sparse and minimal out of the box, deliberately so I’m sure. With no updates and installation programs running, it was pretty darn fast, but not as nimble, it seems to me, as MX-Linux, Debian, or Xubuntu. On those I can multi-task like crazy, select a zillion and twelve packages in Synaptic to install, and surf and chat and listen to music while they download and install.

Linux has really spoiled me I guess. But probably the best implementation of BSD ever is – MacOS!

Good News on Linux Lite

Greetings!

You were expecting a review of Ghost BSD, well that’s coming, hopefully this weekend. But I just heard this little bit of great news from Linux Lite: Series 5.x will have no added PPAs!!

All those extra PPAs have been a source of update woes, regressions, malfunctions, and frustrations to Linux Lite users for far too long. There were even PPAs in there for software that was already available to Linux Lite users in the Ubuntu repositories (Linux Lite is based on Ubuntu) without the added PPAs, which I think is counter to Linux Lite’s purpose. Aimed at new users and non-technical users, particularly those coming to Linux from Windows, Linux Lite aims to be the easiest “newbie distro” while remaining lightweight for use on older, modest hardware.

“Emerald,” the codename for Linux Lite 5 series, will have no added PPAs at all. That is the best possible news for Lite users who have been put off by the constant update issues that have plagued the distro in the past. When I was using it, one of the first things I always did was to eliminate all those extra PPAs, so I was able to dodge many of those update problems. I also removed them in new installations of Linux Lite for computers I was refurbishing for others.

Other improvements include some great new Tweaks in the Lite toolbox that accomplish lots of maintenance tasks with a few mouse clicks. One of the new ones is a way to clean up the crazy huge Systemd logs that accumulate on the users’ hard drive:

My friend Ralphy is no longer maintaining UnlockMe for Linux Lite, which was one of the tools I found especially useful on Lite, but lookie here! Much of his familiar and brilliant coding shows up in Lite Tweaks, which is maintained and even improved upon. I’m very glad to see this!

In my book these new developments will elevate Linux Lite 5.x series above even the venerable Linux Mint for introducing Linux to newcomers.

My First BSD – Just for Giggles and Grins

Hi readers and fellow technophobes,

I must be crazy to even try this, but maybe I just want to be able to say I’ve done it, y’know, for bragging rights or something. For those who don’t know what a BSD is, it’s related to Linux. Actually they are siblings, whose daddy is UNIX. There are approximately one zillion and twelve Linux distributions and less than a dozen BSD distributions, unless you count the amazing MacOS, Apple’s own operating system, which is derived from BSD!

BSD is less popular and doesn’t yet offer all the popular bells and whistles available to most Linux users, but it does have some advantages over it’s sibling: The kernel is not built and maintained just by one guy trying to herd cats like Linux is. It also doesn’t have systemd, which has grown so huge that it’s actually bigger than the kernel, and has so much “feature creep” that it’s a little scary to a lot of users, who avoid it by running to Slackware or other Linux distros that don’t have it (or don’t use it even though it’s “there,” as in MX-Linux). What got to me is the Systemd head guy saying that eventually systemd will eventually “phone home” to report on how the computers it’s installed on are used. I’m not running away from systemd, not really afraid to use it (or I wouldn’t be running Xubuntu and recommending Linux Mint for newbies! But systemd may become more of a privacy concern as it continues to expand and intrude itself upon more and more subsystems in Linux. I’m kinda hoping that Debian will drop it, and the changes will filter downstream to Ubuntu and Mint, Linux Lite, and hundreds of other Debian-based distros downstream.  Now that Microsoft is jumping into Linux with both feet as well (basically buying GitHub and “taking over” the Linux Foundation, I might want to put some more distance between myself and Microsoft as well.  That is more bothersome to me than systemd, frankly.

So, anyway: TrueOS is a BSD that used to PC-BSD. It was aimed at the desktop at first, but grew to a server-side kind of OS. Rather than try to be all things to all users, some sort of one-size-fits-all thing like Ubuntu and it’s derivatives and offspring, it kinda-sorta forked into two: TrueOS for servers and Trident for the desktop. Trident will be what I’ll test-drive this week if I have time, and report on later. In the meantime if you’re curious, have a look for yourself here.

Cheers!

Linux Mint — A Mighty Distro

Superb “beginner’s distro” that even many super-techno-geeky nerds use, just because it’s that good!

Renard's World

linux-mint-logo
Linux Mint Logo (Photo credit: Linux Mint)

The first version of Linux Mint that I ever used was 17.1 (Code-named Rebecca); I experimented with it and made it mine.

Today, I am using Linux Mint 19.2 (Code-named Tina); I decided to go with the version with the MATE desktop environment due to the fact that it is my favourite desktop environment.

Did I get angry with Solus?

No, I did not!

Solus worked well on my computer’s hardware.

Did Namib get me all flustered?

No, it worked way better than I had expected.

So, why is it that I am back on Linux Mint?

I am back on Linux Mint because I missed it (Now, that is what happens when you have had lots of fond memories of using such an amazing operating system in the past).

Also, Linux Mint has a reputation for getting better with each new…

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Goodbye, RMS

Richard Stallman has resigned as president and board member of the Free Software Foundation (FSF), after taking a controversial stand that seemed to defend Jeffry Epstein’s exploitation and abuse of underage girls.  It cost him his job at MIT as well.

But RMS long ago became a poor spokesman for the cause of free software (also called FOSS, free-and-open-source-software).  He despised the term “open source,” insisted at we all quit saying Linux and change it to GNU/Linux because that’s the license it’s released under.  He made as many enemies as friends because of his language, attitude, and insistence on so many stupid little details that mattered only to him.

You started well, RMS, but you have set free software back almost as far as it advanced.  I don’t think they should even fill the position, but select several decent, personable spokespeople to articulate and advance the cause.  Hopefully Mister Neckbeard will have the grace and good sense to keep his mouth shut now.