Usability, Reliability, and Simplicity

I should claim disability for my techno-phobia or something. It’s paralyzing at times.

Reasons to be Scared of Everything Tech:

  • Systemd
  • Elogind (in systemd-free distros)
  • Google (and Google Chrome)
  • Pulseaudio
  • Snaps
  • Anything else that someone thinks might be spyware/malware

The only way to completely eliminate or mitigate exposure to all these terrors is to just unplug altogether, get off the Internet, lose the cellphone and laptop, abandon anything connectable to a server, and live off the grid. Most of us can’t do that and don’t even want to. We may end up doing that anyway if the “new world order” our leaders are pushing for succeeds. But in the meantime, I prefer to keep my devices that I rely on for paying my bills and living my middle-class life in rural America.

Reasons to Stop Being Scared of Everything Tech:

  • Necessity
  • Possibility
  • Connection with other people
  • Simplicity
  • Reliability
  • Utility

My fear of all these terrors in computing has sent me some wild goose chases along the way, changing operating systems and software to avoid them, and ending up with a computer I can’t even use comfortably, yet still free of unnecessary bloatware* and other stuff I don’t want or need. Even my Xfce-supplemented antiX mixture has extra window managers and menus and special needs (like choosing certain repositories and rejecting others for specific software installation and when updating). It’s unnecessarily complicated and cumbersome without the compatibility of most software that depends on stuff like the dreaded systemd or elogind packages.

What principles can I stick with and what priority should they have when choosing an operating system and software?

The Operating System:

  • Must be Linux or BSD, not proprietary.
  • Must be non-political.
  • Must be as free as possible while remaining functional and easy to use.

Software:

  • Must be Linux or BSD compatible.
  • Must be non-political.
  • Must be free and open-source (FOSS) whenever possible.

To meet these criteria, I really should rule out “politicized” Linux distros like antiX, even though “de-politicizing” antiX is as easy as removing bookmarks from Firefox. It “de-policizes” only my copy of antiX, but I can’t advocate for the OS I’m using! Kinda hypocritical, and I’m supposed to be a man of principle above all.

Then there’s Firefox, which has “gone woke” besides the other big issues it’s having. Firefox is out. So is Google Chrome, because Google is friggin’ evil and I won’t have anything to do with it. I’m still a Seamonkey fanboy even though it’s based on Mozilla and hosted there for the time being, because it is no longer a Mozilla product. It’s independent and therefore non-political. Same for Brave Browser: Based on Chromium (which is FOSS) but not a Google-affiliated descendant of evil geniuses trying to spy on everyone and steal their data.

To stay true to my principles, yet without crippling or severely encumbering my user experience, I could return to an old favorite, Xubuntu-based Linux Lite (which has snaps disabled, thank you very much) and dump that evil default browser and replace it using a PPA.

*Bloatware: (noun) 1. Software unneeded by the user, but required by the operating system 2. Unnecessay and unneeded software not needed by the operating system but not removable from the operating system

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