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

Cancer Caught Early

Well,

I had no idea, no symptoms, really. But I’ve had cancer, apparently, for several months! Three biopsies and one surgery later, they think they got it all and I can avoid chemo-therapy and all that other stuff.

To be honest, I think I would have refused chemo anyway. It’s worse than the disease, from all I’ve heard about it. Not that I’d mind losing my hair and all that, but being sick all the time? The weakness, the nausea, no freakin’ way. Too much suffering just to buy a couple of extra years for a guy who has already enjoyed a full and satisfying life.

Death does not frighten me. Getting there – the process of dying scares me a bit just because I don’t like pain. And I would prefer to die in battle, taking a lefty commie sonofabitch out with me as I leave this world. Must be some Klingon blood in me or something, but that’s how I feel. I do not want to die weakened, helpless, and lingering in pain. I fear indignity more than death.

So if the cancer comes back, take me to the front lines and give me the death I desire. A warrior’s death!

SalixOS 15.0RC1

Hi!

It feels like for.ev.er since Slackware updated to 15 from 14.2, and even lonnnnnger since it’s awesome Xfce derivative was updated. But I’m pleased to announce that “Linux for Lazy Slackers” has released Release Candidate 1 of SalixOS 15.0! Read the announcement here. It is available in both 64-bit and 32-bit ISOs, both systemd-free, lightweight, and they work with the usual mind-bending speed users have come to expect.

Newest Xfce desktop with Whisker menu, flatpak-enabled, choose between Lilo and Grub, vast software repositories bigger than any previous for Salix! SalixOS 15.0 RC1 boasts the new Qogir icon theme and some new features.

Sourcery is gone, but hopefully not forever. In the meantime there’s the wicked-kewl slapt-src tool, but it’ll probably rarely be needed now that SalixOS offers flatpaks.

Screenshots courtesy of “Gaucho.” There is a cool dark theme called “Dracula” and some different light and dark themes to choose from.

It’s Xfce, so infinitely configurable of course, and easily so. The top photo is the “Full” version as it appears on first boot.

One of the testers, who apparently would rather use Ubuntu, Zorin, Elementary, or Mint to read her posts, has suggested all kindsa add-ons and features that the big one-size-fits-all distros use. The backlash against that is nearly universal, thankfully. Add all the bling you want in a few clicks, for cry’n out loud, but the Keep It Simple mantra, and the one-application-per-task philosophy that has served Slackware and SalixOS so well for so long remains popular with the niche of users Salix is aiming for: Lazy Slackers. But not irresponsible ones who are loath to open a terminal window for any reason.

Development has been deliberately slow and steady, both for the usual quality of getting things right early and for a shortage of testers. But “Gapan,” the project lead, has devoted countless hours to it. He’s in the forums frequently and takes suggestions happily and speedily. Needed changes find their way to the repos often the same day they are requested or suggested in the forums, and instructions posted.

Whoever the heck over at Distrowatch ever suggested that this project is “dormant” needs to repent in dust and ashes, say three Hail Gapans and at least three Our Salixes as penance for such blasphemy!

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gapan

Salix Wizard Posts: 5919 Joined: 6. Jun 2009, 17:40

Salix Xfce 15.0RC1

Post by gapan » 8. Aug 2022, 00:17

Hi all!

Finally, here is 15.0RC1! I know it took a lot of time, but we’re very close to the final release now. With any luck, there will be no show-stopping bugs with this and we can release it in a few days as final.

A lot of work has been done in the repos since the beta. We now host almost everything that exists in SBo as binary packages! There is still a little bit of work do be done, but we now have several thousands of packages ready for installation. Our repositories for 15.0 alone are bigger than all previous Salix releases combined! Add to that the ability to install software through flatpak and there will be no shortage of software for 15.0!

Few other things have changes since the beta, one that is immediately obvious after installation is that the traditional applications menu has now been replaced by whiskermenu. Lots of other fixes here and there, the default GTK theme is now “Salix” and the default icon theme, Qogir, has received several fixes.

If you’re updating from a beta installation and you don’t want to reinstall, make sure you run something like this:

Code: Select all

sudo slapt-get -u sudo slapt-get -i spkg sudo slapt-get -i slapt-get sudo spkg -d qogir-icon-theme sudo rm -rf /usr/share/icons/Qogir* # for good measure sudo slapt-get -i qogir-icon-theme sudo slapt-get --upgrade

There won’t be any breaking changes like this from now on.

Please install and report anything that comes up!

Salix64 Xfce 15.0RC1 (64-bit, x86_64)
(md5: 34065908a1c9f73bf0afe3fc506e62e2, size: 1.4GB)
https://downloads.sourceforge.net/proje … 5.0RC1.iso

Salix Xfce 15.0RC1 (32-bit, i586/i686)
(md5: 34a36deb0fa2e949023ecac5768b656e, size: 1.4GB)
https://downloads.sourceforge.net/proje … 5.0RC1.iso

(64bit iso has been uploaded already, 32bit iso being uploaded as I’m posting, should be ready in ~15 mins)

Thanks for testing!
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Keep it Clean

Nothing to obsess over, but a good habit to form early.

disturbeddeputy

Remember to clean your firearm after shooting, or if it’s been gathering dust. Shame on you if it has, get out and practice.

Now, oddly enough, in Army training, including Infantry, we were NOT allowed to clean our rifles. If you were caught with your rifle broken down you were in for a butt chewing you’d not forget. The point that was being made was that you could depend on that gun to work, no matter how filthy it was. So your M-16’s lay on the ground, dusty or muddy, we did stream crossings with it strapped to our backs and under water, we sweated all over them. But for the average person, cleaning your firearm is a good idea. First off, it familiarizes you with what it is and how it works. Secondly, it does keep the gunk out of it so you CAN relay on it to fire…

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I Never Did Understand.

Mrs. Robin says, “Company is coming, so we have to clean up, fix up, and dress up the house for our guests.”

And I say, “Waitaminute. The house doesn’t have to be neat and clean for the people who live here and who you supposedly love, but for strangers and friends it has to be squeaky clean and shiny? Ever ask yourself why?”

Mrs. Robin dismisses the question and assigns chores and a panicked timetable for getting them all done.

And I, being a black-hearted sonofabitch, take my sweet time and get almost none of it done in time for guests to show up. Our home isn’t dirty or anything, but it isn’t ready for a Better Homes and Gardens photo shoot either.

And our guests are full of compliments for Mrs. Robin on how lovely our home is.

But my question remains, sincerely: Why do guests matter more than those who live here and pay for everything?

Jus’ ask’n.

The trouble with Ubuntu Snaps, Ubuntu, and Ubuntu derivatives.

Yup! Snaps are BAD NEWS. Supposedly a way to make packages “distro agnostic,” the real problem is this resource-hogging, space-wasting constantly-running daemon.

BaronHK's Rants

(I posted this as a comment on another blog. I’ll re-post it here, with some tweaks.)

I tried to use Snaps when I was experimenting with Ubuntu a few years ago. These are the major problems with it.

Server-side is proprietary and nobody else can run one.

snapd is a scandal. It’s extremely bloated and always running, even if the user never installs a snap.

When I tried to install some Snaps, including GZDoom (which is really a good program and available as a Flatpak, which actually runs), many of them failed to work at all on Kubuntu and I was told that this “universal” package was failing to load for some reason because I was using KDE as my desktop environment.

Ubuntu has let in cryptominer malware at least once. This is right after I argued with Alan Pope (popey) on Reddit that malware would happen eventually if…

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