SalixOS: Marketing and Support

Salix OS has done some pretty amazing stuff to bring Slackware Linux down to us mere mortals, ordinary desktop users. They were doing for Slackware what Ubuntu once did for Debian. Except for the installer, perhaps, SalixOS is incredibly simple and intuitive. Maintaining 32-bit support, Salix OS is systemd-free, equipped with cool tools like Slapt-get, Sourcery, and a codecs-installer, and the one-application-per-task simplicity that makes light and fast. I say they WERE doing for Slackware what Ubuntu once did for Debian, because it looks like no one is doing it anymore.

In this thread, Salix forum users talk about “marketing” and targeting “a larger user base.” It’s right that they should. Suggestions include promoting Salix on social media, but no one is doing that, apparently. Others suggest blogging about it, but on WordPress almost every reference to Salix is about Japanese groundskeeping, and SalixOS brings up next to nothing. I wonder if they don’t really want a larger user base after all, since newbies would appear in their forums with questions and “silliness” that the old hands would rather not be troubled with. The forums have very few recent threads or posts, and many go unanswered for days, weeks, months, or longer.

Perhaps part of it is that Slackware doesn’t have or use any Gnome stuff. Fine with me, I hate Gnome, and I think Gnome hates a lot of Linux users too, judging by the stupid choices they have made in the past couple of years. The funny thing is, you can get and use Gnome stuff in SalixOS if you want, though few people even know that. It’s not that easy to do, but with Sourcery, Salix’s wicked-kewl slack-building-from-source tool, you can!

There are other other Slackware derivatives that are more popular and gaining ground, but the most popular of those is no longer compatible with Slackware anymore! SalixOS remains fully compatible with it’s parent, so all the treasure trove of software available to “Slackers” (Slackware Linux users) is also available to “Lazy Slackers” (SalixOS users). Salix is an Xfce desktop distro. Other Slackware-based distros use different desktop environments. Slax, Slackel, etc. But it’s not like different “flavors” of the same familiar base, as in Ubuntu, Xubuntu, Lubuntu, Kubuntu, etc. These are entirely separate distros with entirely different developers, goals, communities, and users. It seems kinda fragmented to me, looking from the outside in, and I wonder if that isn’t part of the reason for the declining “market share.”

That, and the recent appeals for funding of Slackware, which for a time apparently was on the verge of going under. Slackware is the oldest surviving Linux distribution, but it’s still basically a one-man show. When he goes, so will Slackware and all her children. Unless there are others to pick it up and maintain it. This is a huge disadvantage as far as “market share” is concerned. By contrast, Debian is driven by a huge community and will never die. Red Hat and it’s family has a large, fat corporation backing it. Ubuntu is backed by a corporation as well, but not one that is profitable yet. All it’s derivatives are basically one-man-show distros, maybe with a few paid developers among the big ones like Mint.

The future of Linux may be in the hands of the Big Corporations after all, perhaps with a few exceptions like Debian, a truly community-driven project that forms a superb base for others to build on. Which others will continue to do as long as Debian needs to be “brought to the ordinary desktop user” instead of aimed at servers and technocrats.

What does the future hold for Linux? For your own favorite distribution? Feel free, comment below.

Why Use Linux?

Why Use Linux?

By Gene Wilburn

I’m astonished at how seldom anyone asks me “Why use Linux?” It’s as if, outside the realm of computer techies, Linux is unknown or feared. So let me start with an introduction.

Think of your computing device operating system as a vehicle of transit, say a car that takes you to where you want to go. Now think Smart Car. Now think driverless Smart Car where you simply sit inside and tell Siri, or James, or Hobnob where to take you. This is the model of modern operating systems, especially those for tablets, such as iOS from Apple and Android from everyone else except Microsoft. They are attempts to make your trip devoid of challenges or problems and both Windows 10 and MacOS try to do this, not entirely successfully. The design goal of user friendliness and ease of use is good, but it’s…

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Linux Lite: Not So Lite Any More

I kinda missed an old former favorite, Linux Lite, so I revisited it just to see what’s new.  It installs effortlessly thanks to that awesome Ubiquity installer that I wish Debian-based distros would adopt!  The only thing is, do not select “Download Updates While Installing.”  It messes up and locks the installer, and only a hard restart frees up the computer.  Install it and then update it.  I know, it  supposedly takes longer, but if the installer locks up it takes a lot longer!

Next:  Boot up took a full 4 minutes on a perfectly good Dell Latitude D630 with more than enough RAM and processor speed.  Part of the problem is that Virtualbox / virtual-guest eats up abuncha resources during boot up, and in the friendly Linux Lite forums there are multiple threads about purging that stuff to improve boot time.  What the heck is virtualbox doing in there anyway?  Is this a lightweight distro for older hardware or has that changed?  It still boots up very slowly, but a little better after getting rid of virtualbox / virtual-guest / whatever.

The toolbox I bragged about from is no longer maintained.  Linux Lite still has some pretty cool tools of it’s own, but they don’t compare to the wonderful tool set that ships with MX-Linux!

Not very light, not as easy to use as it tries to be, and of course – it’s built from Ubuntu, which makes it high risk compared to Debian Stable or Slackware.  Besides the Ubuntu base, there are multiple PPAs included which increase the risk of breakage.

If you need an ultra-light distro, go with AntiXSystemd-free and super-ultra-mega fast, and it includes some of the awesome MX tools!  Easily add a minimal Xfce desktop to it in two clicks if you want, and you’ve got a fantastic newbie-friendly distro that’ll run on very modest hardware.  Still available in 32-bit iso too!

I wish Linux Lite well.  But I can’t recommend it for either Linux novices or older hardware, which is what it’s supposed to be aiming for.


Stop! Using! Duck! Duck! Go!

Y’see? Here we go again… If you want security and privacy on the net, unplug. But if you can’t do that, here’s an alternative.

Thar She Blows!

Ugh gaaaawd, what is it now? Isn’t Duck Duck Go the bestest alternative to Google Search anymore? The safest and most private and secure? See for yourself:

carvalho Indeed there are better alternatives to Duck Duck Go.

Okay, now what to do? Is the corporacrisy already that powerful and evil? Is there no way out? No way to escape their clamping down on us?

Of course there is. As long as at least some politically and technically aware activists are still free and not in jail, there always is a better way than the “official” one. And, hey, who made Google the boss of you, who said they are the standard? With GNU/Linux we’re starting, and succeeding, pushing the mighty Microsoft of its unearned throne, so there must certainly be another search alternative to Google’s censoring fascist shit as well. And indeed there is!

May I suggest you look up…

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Warming Up to Diaspora

Hello readers, fellow technophobes, and social network users! It has been a lonnnnng time since I’ve posted here. Frankly, it’s because I have had very little to write about! Between my ultra-awesome and almost totally trouble-free MX-Linux operating system working so well and with such reliability that it’s actually boring (which is a very good thing!), and my long hours at work, and other real life intrusions this time of year, I haven’t had much to write about that I haven’t already said. But with all the new scary stuff in the news about Big Tech companies spying on their users, data being stolen, and privacy becoming nearly non-existent for almost everyone connected to the Internet even without computers and cellphones (even your “smart” TV and home appliances spy on you now for goodnessakes), I wanted to inform my readers about a free and open source, privacy-respecting alternative to Google-Plus and Facebook that I’ve written about before (just search this blog under the tag, “Diaspora“), but have found some ways to make it work better for me after finding it so disappointing before. It’s those work-arounds that I want to share now, and explain why Diaspora is good alternative after all if you’re willing to give it time to become what you need it to be.

That is the main thing: Diaspora takes time to become what you want it to be. Just like a newly-installed operating system takes time to discover and to customize with the most suitable settings, applications, and tools, so too with the federated social networks. Diaspora is the best of these in my opinion because the interface is more intuitive and customizable.

Diaspora still attracts a lot of anarchists, Leftists, tech nerds, and even some Nazis and creepy deviants. That’s because most of it’s pods are un-moderated, un-censored islands of free speech without the algorithms and agendas of the Big Companies. The price of freedom includes others’ freedom to be leftist, fascist, Nazi, deviant anarchists. But a lot more of us conservative, Christian, family-values type people are also fleeing to Diaspora from Fakebook and Google than ever before as well. A whole lot more! Surprisingly, I’ve found quite a few and added them to my Apects (kinda like “friends” on Facebook), and our numbers continue to grow on Diaspora as we are being systematically excluded from the big centralized online networks. The secret is taking the time to identify them, add (or follow) them, and to filter out the wolves in sheep’s clothing that appear Christian at first but promote antisemitism, racism, anarchy, or some weird heterodoxy. The wheat and the tares grow together until the harvest, y’know.

Start by following tags (hashtags), but then start following people who write good stuff on that subject. If you follow #Christian, #Christianity, #Christ, #bible, and #church, for example, you’ll find some posts from people who hate Christ and write really awful, bitter stuff on those subjects. You’re following those hashtags, so you see it all, both the good and the bad. Now comes the cool part. You can ignore the haters and prevent them from commenting on your own posts using the Ignore button. Don’t stop following the tags, because you’ll want to share with other users who share good stuff. Discovering and Ignoring the haters and mockers is a little painful and might have you thinking of giving up on Diaspora, as I have done twice before. But there’s a baby in that bathwater! And don’t forget why you went looking for an alternative to Fakebook in the first place (privacy, ownership of your own data and intellectual property, etc and etc). There are bullies wherever free speech is permitted. Don’t be a snowflake. Or if you’re going to be one, then stay in your “safe space” and cry me a river. And here, take this special snowflake patch and sew it on your varsity letter sweater.

After some time, you’ll have gathered some people to follow and share with who share your values and appreciate the same things you do. It’s helpful if you can bring some family and friends with you to Diaspora, but they need to know this stuff going in or they will do what I did with my first couple of accounts there: Close them or abandon them, and write Diaspora off as a haven for only those who don’t share your interests and values. It isn’t true, but discovering and sharing with them takes more time than many people are willing to invest. It’s well worth the time it takes to make Diaspora what you need and want it to be. If you get discouraged along the way during the process, remember why you began this journey to begin with! Privacy, respect for your ownership of your own intellectual property, and the same unmitigated freedom that those who don’t share your values enjoy. It’s increasingly harder and harder to find on the big corporate social media providers.