| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 421, 5 September 2011
Welcome to this year's 36th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! You might be forgiven if you think of Plop as something other than a Linux distribution. But this independently-developed project has been around for more than two years - first as a utility live CD with some useful tools for data recovery and backup, and recently also as a more user-friendly graphical desktop with GNOME. Jesse Smith takes the project's latest release for a spin and reports his findings. In the news section, Red Hat involves customers and partners in the decision-making process prior to the development of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7, openSUSE and other distributions drop Sun/Oracle Java packages after Oracle's licence change, Mageia sets up security updates, package fixes and backports, and Syllable's lead developer Kaj de Vos explains the rationale of developing the non-Linux Syllable Desktop and the Linux-based Syllable Server. Finally, we have a pleasure to announce that the recipient of the August 2011 DistroWatch.com donation is the OpenShot video editor project. Happy reading!
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|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
A distro that goes Plop|
I usually keep a few live discs around in case I need to do data recovery, help someone hunt down a driver for their proprietary operating system or perform a password reset. Quite often any of the mainstream distributions will do for this sort of thing. A Fedora live CD is typically just as effective as an Ubuntu or KNOPPIX disc for those sorts of things. Though sometimes, when dealing with older equipment, it's nice to have access to a super light live disc. Previously I've mentioned SliTaz GNU/Linux and Finnix as possibilities for working on low-end hardware. So here's a question: On the one side we have large general purpose distributions and on the other we have small, more guru-oriented distributions. Where is the middle ground? What if I want to do data recovery or password resets and don't have an Internet connection for downloading the required software? What if I want the benefits of both a lightweight system and a nice GUI? Well, that's where the flexibility and diversity of Linux really shines because there is a distro for just those cases, it's called Plop Linux.
According to the project's website, Plop Linux is designed to be a rescue disc, a backup/restore tool, a platform for running anti-virus, a network scanner and a tool to reset Windows passwords. The latest stable release, 4.1.2, comes with two desktop environments, Fluxbox and GNOME 2.
Booting off the 643 MB ISO brings up a boot menu which allows us to load Plop normally, load Plop into memory for faster performance (and to free up the CD drive), boot from other drives or install a boot manager. By default Plop boots quickly into a text prompt and automatically logs us in as the root user. We're given instructions on how to launch a desktop environment and how to choose between GNOME and Fluxbox. Simply launching a graphical environment defaults to the GNOME 2.30 desktop.
Plop Linux 4.1.2 - getting help and tips
(full image size: 157kB, screen resolution 1024x768 pixels)
I spent most of my time with Plop running in GNOME, so let's take a quick look at that environment. As is common in other distributions, the GNOME menus are placed at the top of the screen and the task switcher sits at the bottom. There are a handful of icons on the desktop for launching a terminal window, Firefox and GParted. There are also icons for browsing the file system and opening the project's website. The background is a dark grid pattern which brings to mind classic 8-bit video games.
In case you're interested in installing Plop Linux, the distro does come with an installer.... technically. There is a simple text-based program that asks the user a few questions, such as which device should Plop install to, do we need to format the destination partition and should Plop use DHCP for networking? Then the installer says its copying files over to the local drive (though no progress is shown) and about ten minutes later the installer announces it's finished. In my case rebooting and trying to launch a local install of Plop didn't work. Your mileage may vary, but I think it's best to consider Plop to be a rescue & utility CD only, not a day-to-day operating system.
Plop Linux 4.1.2 - the project's website
(full image size: 85kB, screen resolution 1024x768 pixels)
Looking at the application menu we find a mix of software, some of it aimed at trouble shooting and other packages are typical desktop software. Firefox 5 is included, there's a network scanner and secure shell & VNC browsers. There's a hex editor, the Cheese webcam utility and a disc burner. A multimedia player is included, along with a sound recorder. GParted is available, as is htop, a system monitor and a collection of network tools (featuring traceroute, port scanning, pinging and netstat). The usual array of GNOME apps is available for changing the look and feel of the system and there are little apps for editing text and managing archives. There are accessibility applications too, including the Orca screen reader and an on-screen keyboard.
The real power of Plop lies on the command line where we find a strong collection of programs for aiding in system recovery. There is a copy of the ext3grep file recovery tool. Also for file recovery, we're provided with the versatile photorec program and its companion app, TestDisk. There are file system check (fsck) programs. There's even a Btrfs file system checker, though I found trying to run it would cause the program to immediately crash. The chntpw app is included for resetting Windows passwords. Also available are the lynx text-based web browser, the Midnight Commander text-based file manager. For network scanning there's a copy of Nmap. In case you want to get rid of files rather than restore them, a copy of wipe is included. The rsync command is available for making backups. Though the GNU Compiler Collection isn't available, people who need to make their own tools can do so with awk and Perl. The mutt e-mail client is included, as is the nano text editor. For people working remotely the full range of secure shell, secure FTP and secure copy commands are installed, as is the screen command for people needing to take breaks while working remotely. Really, there's just about everything here you could want for responding to those panicked "I think I just lost everything!" calls. A copy of WINE is included in case the user needs to run Windows software and PartImage is available for backing up and restoring partitions.
The distro includes codecs for playing common multimedia formats, including mp3 and some types of videos. Despite these codecs I wasn't able to get any sound from the speakers. Any attempt to turn up the volume control resulted in errors. So the copy of MPlayer lost some of its usefulness on my systems. Plop doesn't have Flash, nor Java. It does come with a modern Linux kernel, version 3.0.1, and several network services. Enabled out of the box are a secure shell server, FTP server and Samba. Remote users are able to login anonymously to Plop via FTP and send/receive files. The FTP account is limited to using the space under the /home directory which is, by default, empty. These settings keep the lines of communication open without posing a large risk to system files. During my trial I found there aren't any man(ual) pages and there doesn't appear to be any package manager. This makes Plop Linux a what you see is what you get distribution.
I ran Plop Linux on two machine, my HP laptop (dual-core 2 GHz CPU, 3 GB of RAM, Intel video card) and a desktop box (2.5 GHz CPU, 2 GB of RAM, NVIDIA video card). Plop ran fairly well on both machines. Boot times were short, both the Fluxbox and GNOME desktops were responsive and my screens were set to reasonable resolutions. There were a few problems. Sound didn't work on either machine. It's not a big deal for a rescue disc, but it was unfortunate the CD includes a multimedia player and no sound support. My laptop's wireless card wasn't picked up, again not a big deal in most cases, but slightly inconvenient.
Plop Linux 4.1.2 - checking network ports
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For the most part my experiences with Plop were good. The backup/restore tools, rescue programs and network applications all worked as expected. Plop fills an important niche in that it's both lightweight, but also includes lots of rescue software. Most live CDs are geared toward showing off a distribution and testing hardware compatibility and it's nice to have a distribution that's small, focused and easy to use. Further, I liked that Plop didn't try to automatically mount local hard drives, taking a safe "hands off" approach. I did have a few complaints. For instance the website and help documentation mention being able to use the anti-virus software suites AVG, F-prot and Avast. Trying to run the setup programs for each of these applications gave me errors and no anti-virus.
The system installer didn't work for me and Plop probably doesn't need an installer anyway since it's a rescue disc. Most importantly, I think Plop should include the man pages for its software, or at least for key items like Nmap, ext3grep, PartImage and PhotoRec. These aren't the sort of programs a person wants to use by trial and error. Even with these problems, Plop is one of the best rescue utilities I've used. It's flexible, it's got the important software a person needs without relying on repositories, it gives the user the option of running in a bare bones text environment or in a GUI and it typically offers one application per task, avoiding the clutter of some other rescue discs. If you haven't already, I recommend adding Plop to your collection; you never know when it will come in handy.
|Miscellaneous News (by Ladislav Bodnar)
Red Hat asks for customer input before RHEL 7, openSUSE and others bin non-free Java, Mageia sets up security updates, Syllable for desktops and servers
Over the years Red Hat, Inc. has established itself as a leading enterprise Linux vendor. Perhaps one of the reasons behind this success is the company's customer oriented approach - it was once rated as the number one enterprise software vendor in terms of customer value. Extending this recognition, the world's largest Linux company and the maker of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) has now launched an interesting initiative - expanded customer involvement in the development of RHEL 7: "Red Hat, Inc., the world's leading provider of open source solutions, today invites Red Hat Enterprise Linux users to help discuss features for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7, the next major planned release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux enterprise operating system. The Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 Ideas discussion group on the Red Hat Customer Portal is now open to all Red Hat subscribers to share use cases and discuss features. 'Having a formal process that allows customers to influence new features and overall product direction can be beneficial for vendors and customers alike,' said Elaina Stergiades, research manager, Software Support Services, at IDC.'"
* * * * *
The arrival of openSUSE 12.1, the next major version of the popular Linux distribution, is scheduled for just over two months from now (10 November). This can only mean the upcoming months will be characterised by accelerated development, intensive testing, urgent bug-fixing and all the usual pre-release activities. Andreas Jaeger reports about the current status of "Factory", the openSUSE development branch, including a note about the removal of the Sun/Oracle Java packages which are no longer distributable due to a recent change of licence by Oracle: "Up to now, openSUSE users had the choice of using OpenJDK (GPL with classpath exceptions) or Sun/Oracle's Java. The Sun/Oracle Java was licensed under the 'Distributor's License for Java (DLJ)', which allowed Linux distributors to package and redistribute Sun/Oracle Java. Recently, Oracle announced that OpenJDK 7 is the new official reference implementation for Java SE7. They no longer see the need for the DLJ-licensed Java implementation and so have retired that license. openSUSE chooses to proceed with distributing the GPL-licensed official reference implementation, OpenJDK. We will no longer distribute newer versions or updates of the now proprietary Sun/Oracle JDK." Similar notices have been recently published by Debian GNU/Linux (see sun-java6 packages removed soon from Debian/Ubuntu) and Arch Linux (see Removal of jre/jdk and jre6/jdk6).
* * * * *
Mageia is still a comparatively new distribution, at least in terms of its development and support infrastructure which had to be set up from scratch after the project was established last year. Now, with the first stable release out of the way, the developers finally have the time to focus on other important issues, such as security updates, post-release bug fixing, backports, and other relevant tasks. Stew Benedict reports: "If you've been using Mageia 1, you may have been wondering where all the updates are. It's customary to get quite a few updated packages in the first month or so of a new distribution to correct bugs and address security issues. Don't worry, we've been working on that too. As a new organization, and a community-driven one, we first had to work out how to do the updates. While some of us have experience from previous lives, we weren't entirely satisfied with the old process and wanted to make sure our new community of users and packagers had an input into how we'll do things. So, after discussion and some work behind the scenes for the mechanics of issuing an update, we have now have a process where the security team, the QA team, and the packager maintainer will all work together to build, test, and issue new updates."
* * * * *
Many readers following this website are probably familiar with some of the alternative free operating systems available on the Internet. One of them is Syllable Desktop, a free and open-source system forked in 2002 from AtheOS. But perhaps some readers are unaware that the Syllable project also provides a Linux-based distribution called Syllable Server. Syllable lead developer Kaj de Vos explains the differences and the rationale in an interview with Australia's TechWorld: "There are currently two flavours of Syllable. The original version is Syllable Desktop, an end-user OS intended to offer 'best practices in desktop system design'. 'It is meant to improve on mainstream user-oriented systems, that we feel are failing to meet these goals,' de Vos says. There is also Syllable Server; however, unlike the desktop version it is a Linux-based system. 'Part of the reason for the creation of the desktop system is our criticisms of user-oriented Linux systems, but Linux server systems are often superior to others.' Despite this difference between the two versions, there is some synergy: 'We routinely develop a component first on Syllable Server, because third-party projects already make sure it works on Linux. When that integration work is done, we can continue by making it work on Syllable Desktop, which is often a greater challenge due to its unique characteristics.'"
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Building live CDs and compiling source code
Live-and-on-the-CD asks: Is there a reason that some distros do not publish live CDs? If so, is it technical, in that their configuration simply won't allow it; or is it administrative, in that they simply do not have the volunteer developers to do it?
DistroWatch answers: Usually projects not providing live CDs is a matter of resources. It's not difficult, technically, to take a distribution and put it on a live disc, but it takes time and effort. Some projects just don't have enough volunteers to put out additional editions. With other projects, having a disc with a full desktop environment on it may just be outside of their goals. Slackware Linux and OpenBSD come to mind as projects which have the resources to create a live disc with a graphical environment, but it may not be something they think will benefit their users.
* * * * *
On a different topic, I'd like to bring up something that's been bothering me the past few weeks. I've been working on a project recently that has required me to download and install several other projects from their source code. With one exception, each of these installs has been a frustrating disaster. The configure and build systems have been flaky, the documentation typically doesn't include a complete list of dependencies and one project doesn't include any build & install instructions. Another developer and I have spent hours patching and recompiling just to get the software installed. Why has this been such a trial? I think the answer is that developers don't move around enough.
Almost all of the errors we've been working to correct appear to have sprung from the same issue, the developer(s) wrote their software to work on one platform. One was written for Ubuntu and assumed certain packages and structures were in place, another assumed a specific compiler, yet another relied on other software programs being in place. All easy assumptions to make, especially if the developer isn't testing their software on different platforms.
At this point in time there really isn't an excuse for not occasionally testing software on different distributions or even different operating systems. Virtual machines are easy to configure and most distributions are available free of charge. And testing on other platforms isn't just good for users and other developers, it can also uncover bugs in the software making it more resilient. I've noticed since I started testing my own projects in a FreeBSD virtual environment I've managed to make my software more flexible and I'm catching more issues before the software reaches end-users.
Which is why when I read about developers like Lennart Poettering say, "I don't think BSD is really too relevant any more, and I think that this implied requirement for compatibility with those systems when somebody hacks software for the free desktop or ecosystem is a burden, and holds us back for little benefit," it makes me cringe. Writing software to standards and making sure it runs on multiple systems is a good way to keep the code in a correct, healthy and (relatively) bugless state. It also opens up development to people on other distros and platforms. Open source projects are more attractive when the developers don't fall back on the "it works for me" attitude.
But it's more than that, more than the questionable benefit of more eyes on the code and happy developers. There's also a principle at stake in this issue. For years Linux users (and users of other open source operating systems) have been driving the idea that it shouldn't matter what web browser a person uses, web sites should be coded to standards. Likewise, it shouldn't matter what operating system a person runs, networks should use standard protocols so the OS is irrelevant. And open source users around the world have said it shouldn't matter what document viewer they utilize, governments should release papers in open formats. Now that some projects and distributions are gaining traction we're seeing posts like this and this and this. I think developers are losing sight of the open standards and "one for all" attitude which helped get us this far. We're seeing more software being written specifically for Ubuntu, Fedora and Mandriva and less being created for GNU/Linux. We are being divided and conquered by our own community.
|Released Last Week
ALT Linux 6.0.0
ALT Linux 6.0.0, an independently-developed Russian Linux distribution, has been released. The new version comes in two editions - "Simply Linux", which is an installable live medium featuring the Xfce 4.8 desktop environment, and KDesktop, which is a live and installation DVD image centred around the KDE 4.6.5 desktop. Both editions are built on top of the Linux kernel 3.0.3 and include X.Org Server 1.10.3 and LibreOffice 3.4.2. Other features of this release include hybrid ISO image that can be used either as a DVD image or transferred to a bootable USB drive, GRUB 2 as the default bootloader, simplified installation of third-party applications, and seamless integration with the Dropbox cloud storage system. Read the full press release (in Russian) for more information.
ALT Linux 6.0.0 - a major new release from Russia's leading distributions
(full image size: 699kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
BackBox Linux 2
Raffaele Forte has announced the release of BackBox Linux 2, an Ubuntu-based distribution developed to perform penetration tests and security assessments, and containing some of the best and most widely-used ethical hacking tools: "The BackBox team is proud to announce the release of BackBox Linux 2. BackBox 2 features the following upstream components: Ubuntu 11.04, Linux kernel 2.6.38 and Xfce 4.8.0. What's new: system upgrade, performance boost, new look and feel, improved start menu, Bug fixes, hacking tools new or updated. Three new section: vulnerability assessment, forensic analysis and VoIP analysis. System requirements: 32-bit or 64-bit processor, 256 MB of system memory (RAM), 2 GB of disk space for installation, graphics card capable of 800x600 resolution, DVD-ROM drive or USB port." For more details please see the full release announcement.
* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
- LFS 7.0-rc1, the release announcement
- FreeNAS 8.0.1-rc1, the release announcement
- Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Lubuntu, Edubuntu, Ubuntu Studio, Mythbuntu 11.10-beta1, the release announcement
- openSUSE 12.1-milestone5, the release announcement
- Puppy Linux 188.8.131.52 (Wary)
- Alpine Linux 2.2.3
- Tiny Core Linux 3.8.4
- Scientific Linux 5.7-rc1
- Clonezilla Live 1.2.10-9
- Zorin OS 5.1
- AriOS 3.0.1
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
August 2011 DistroWatch.com donation: OpenShot|
We are happy to announce that the recipient of the August 2011 DistroWatch.com donation is OpenShot, an open-source video editor for Linux, built with Python, GTK+, and the MLT framework.
Developed by Jonathan Thomas and licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL), OpenShot was started in August 2008 with the objective to provide a stable, free, and easy-to-use video editor. The list of features and supported video formats is rather long so if you are interested take a look at the project's features page. Some descriptive screenshots can be seen here, while a large number of excellent videos illustrating the application's power and capabilities are available here.
Launched in 2004, this monthly donations programme is a DistroWatch initiative to support free and open-source software projects and operating systems with cash contributions. Readers are welcome to nominate their favourite project for future donations. Those readers who wish to contribute towards these donations, please use our advertising page to make a payment (PayPal and credit cards are accepted). Here is the list of the projects that have received a DistroWatch donation since the launch of the programme (figures in US dollars):
Since the launch of the Donations Program in March 2004, DistroWatch has donated a total of US$29,040 to various open-source software projects.
- 2004: GnuCash ($250), Quanta Plus ($200), PCLinuxOS ($300), The GIMP ($300), Vidalinux ($200), Fluxbox ($200), K3b ($350), Arch Linux ($300), Kile KDE LaTeX Editor ($100) and UNICEF - Tsunami Relief Operation ($340)
- 2005: Vim ($250), AbiWord ($220), BitTorrent ($300), NDISwrapper ($250), Audacity ($250), Debian GNU/Linux ($420), GNOME ($425), Enlightenment ($250), MPlayer ($400), Amarok ($300), KANOTIX ($250) and Cacti ($375)
- 2006: Gambas ($250), Krusader ($250), FreeBSD Foundation ($450), GParted ($360), Doxygen ($260), LilyPond ($250), Lua ($250), Gentoo Linux ($500), Blender ($500), Puppy Linux ($350), Inkscape ($350), Cape Linux Users Group ($130), Mandriva Linux ($405, a Powerpack competition), Digikam ($408) and Sabayon Linux ($450)
- 2007: GQview ($250), Kaffeine ($250), sidux ($350), CentOS ($400), LyX ($350), VectorLinux ($350), KTorrent ($400), FreeNAS ($350), lighttpd ($400), Damn Small Linux ($350), NimbleX ($450), MEPIS Linux ($300), Zenwalk Linux ($300)
- 2008: VLC ($350), Frugalware Linux ($340), cURL ($300), GSPCA ($400), FileZilla ($400), MythDora ($500), Linux Mint ($400), Parsix GNU/Linux ($300), Miro ($300), GoblinX ($250), Dillo ($150), LXDE ($250)
- 2009: Openbox ($250), Wolvix GNU/Linux ($200), smxi ($200), Python ($300), SliTaz GNU/Linux ($200), LiVES ($300), Osmo ($300), LMMS ($250), KompoZer ($360), OpenSSH ($350), Parted Magic ($350) and Krita ($285)
- 2010: Qimo 4 Kids ($250), Squid ($250), Libre Graphics Meeting ($300), Bacula ($250), FileZilla ($300), GCompris ($352), Xiph.org ($250), Clonezilla ($250), Debian Multimedia ($280), Geany ($300), Mageia ($470), gtkpod ($300)
- 2011: CGSecurity ($300), OpenShot ($300), Imagination ($250), Calibre ($300), RIPLinuX ($300), Midori ($310), vsftpd ($300), OpenShot ($350)
* * * * *
New distributions added to database
* * * * *
New distributions added to waiting list
- Estobuntu. Estobuntu is an Estonian Ubuntu-based desktop distribution. The project's website is in Estonian.
- EveryDesk. EveryDesk is an Ubuntu-based desktop distribution that is designed to run from a 4 GB USB storage device. As a special feature, EveryDesk allows the execution of native Windows applications (through the integrated VDI layer).
- Likinux. Likinux is a Greek Ubuntu-based desktop distribution. The project's website is in Greek.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 12 September 2011.
Jesse Smith and Ladislav Bodnar
|Linux Foundation Training
|Reader Comments • Jump to last comment
1 • lennart poettering (by dave on 2011-09-05 10:06:25 GMT from United Kingdom) |
I agree with lennart. Theres no reason why all linux software should be held back by other operating systems. By your logic, we shouldnt have incompatible kernels between linux and bsd... There are already system init systems like upstart that aim to please everyone, so if systemd can be better by taking a different route then theres no reason why it shouldnt do so.
Also, trying to adapt your software for other operating systems does not necessarily mean less bugs. One could argue that it might lead to more bugs due to the increased scope. Of course the most important determinants of bugginess are the developers themselves. Its naive to say that projects like systemd shouldnt forget bsd for fear that theyll have buggy unusable software. Its also naive to think that expanding your software to bsd will definitely cause an influx of talented willing coders. Developers shouldnt hold back their innovation because of some small hobby operating systems if they dont need to. There are already init systems aimed at being cross platform, and there is always room in the market for another choice.
2 • Re: Building live CDs and compiling source code (by DG on 2011-09-05 13:01:22 GMT from Netherlands)
I work with Lunar Linux, which is a source based distro, and therefore compiling
source code is at the heart of installing 99.9% of the packages. However, even
with a pretty good dependency management system it isn't easy to get it right
for all users. There are 4 levels of dependency when building a package:
(a) those things required on the system during the build process,
(b) those things that the package definitely depends on,
(c) those things that the package optionally depends on, over which you have
some control via --enable, --disable, --with, --without configuration options, and
(d) those things that are automagically detected if already installed, over which you
have no control. This last one is the real fly in the ointment.
All of this makes adding the "correct" set of dependencies for any package difficult.
Sometimes it depends on the order in which you compile and install packages as
to whether things are included or not. If you are not careful you can introduce circular
dependencies in the package tree. The only way that you can guarantee that you
have got all of the dependencies correct is to reinstall each package in a clean
environment, such as a standard chroot or virtual machine, That is an awful lot of work
so it's no wonder that not all developers get it completely right all of the time.
3 • Discussion of portability of software (by Stuart on 2011-09-05 13:03:38 GMT from United Kingdom)
I would be interested to know what software it was Jesse was trying to install. If it's software written by a lone developer to scratch an itch, you can't expect them to worry overly about compatibility on different Operating Systems, especially as it is undeniably repetitive and time consuming to test your software on all the different Linux variants. I know about services like the openSUSE Build Service, but it's another thing to learn.
I agree (mostly) with Lennart with regards to BSD. Even RMS doesn't seem overly concerned with Hurd not yet being ready, as long as there's a solution in place which is Free Software. It's not like the BSD developers are being kept forcibly out, as Lennart pointed out they're more than welcome to take his code and make it work with BSD, it's just that he's not going to.
The BSDs may be playing catch up, but that doesn't mean we should wait around to implement new features.
4 • Plop (by Barnabyh on 2011-09-05 14:09:59 GMT from United Kingdom)
Thanks for bringing Plop to our attention. Will definitely add this to my library.
5 • SO portability (by Anonymous Coward on 2011-09-05 14:15:25 GMT from Spain)
In engineering circles, it is accepted that normalization and standards are enemies of the technical progress. However, it is accepted too that slowing down technology development in order to improve inter compatibilities (be it for industrial cutting, for multimedia players or electrical distribution) is better than having 100.000 super-machines designed for one particular task that are not inter compatible.
If your computer is plugged to a electrical supply that is not standard, it won't work properly. Sure, actual technology would allow electricians to implement more efficient electric distributions. There is no reason to use 230 V when you can use 900 V, thus avoiding thermal loses. And, one new protection technologies are invented, you can switch the standard to 1 KV. And then, to 15 Kv. And then, start changing the frequency of the net. Now, you come and try to turn your 4 years old computer on, only to discover that it was designed for a lower voltage and for a higher frequency (hmm... I like the smell of the toasts in the evening...)
It won't happen. Why? Because electric devices are designed to work with a normalized supply. This normalized supply is not the best supply model possible, but ensures that almost any device you plug will work.
How does this translate to the computer world?
Today, there is a FOSS king called GNU/Linux, and some other free operating systems. Someone starts writing software for GNU/Linux. Then, other-someone complains about the software, because it is not inter compatible or standardized. The developer says: "We are not waiting for you, development must go on and you are dead weight!"
Now the real questions: can you prove that the new software (the one that is breaking the previous compatibility) is really better? If it is not, you are pissing BSDs off FOR NO REASON. In fact, many times those who defend the non-compatibility of their software telling us that "it is better" are not really bringing something that better to the table.
Another question: If a piece of software worked for a given system, and you decide to abandon a component in order to use a non-compatible one (i.e: you drop HAL support and include udev support in your DE), it is really that hard to keep support for the older (compatible) component so the OS you are pissing off has some time to code their own replacement?
Practical example: systemd as a dependency for GNOME.
Gnome worked in BSD some time ago. Then, Gnome includes systemd as a dependency that no BSD can easy provide (well, they can't, actually). In first place, there is no real reason to tie a desktop environment to a booting manager, so my point in this is that there is NO REASON to force this non-compatible stuff into Gnome. In addition, GNOME devs won't provide even an easy way to replace this dependency. There is no fallback mode for this particular feature. XFCE is a very Linux oriented DE, and will surely lack of some features in a BSD, but at least you have the option to install XFCE if you want!
6 • Portability (by Jesse on 2011-09-05 14:19:22 GMT from Canada)
>> "By your logic, we shouldnt have incompatible kernels between linux and bsd... "
I think you missed my point entirely.
>> "Also, trying to adapt your software for other operating systems does not necessarily mean less bugs. One could argue that it might lead to more bugs due to the increased scope."
Porting software almost always reveals bugs that can be fixed, but rarely introduces new ones. This is because of the nature of porting software, porting almost always means moving toward more simple, lower denominator approaches. And it's easy to test these changes on the earlier platform. It's almost a certainty that porting will fix more problems than it creates.
>> "Its also naive to think that expanding your software to bsd will definitely cause an influx of talented willing coders. "
Increasing the platforms on which software will run may or may not bring in new developers, but increasing the scope of one's software is much more likely to attract developers than lessing it. ie the more people who can use the software the wider the potential pool of developers. Reducing the number of people who can use your software won't attract developers.
>> "Developers shouldnt hold back their innovation because of some small hobby operating systems if they dont need to."
I can see people in the Linux community dismissing Hurd or FreeBSD, but the driving point of my piece was that Linux distros are becoming less compatible with each other. More software is targeting Ubuntu, Fedora, Mageia, etc specifically. This makes it harder for users of other Linux flavors. Take a look around and you'll see people in the Mint community struggling to port Mageia's Control Centre, or Fedora devs wrestling with Ubuntu One, or Debian debating systemd because of the compatibility issues. This is not a healthy sign and smacks of the Unix fragmentation we saw not long ago.
7 • New distros on waiting list (by Sam on 2011-09-05 14:23:04 GMT from United States)
Oh my! All three new distros on the waiting list are based on... (wait for it)... Ubuntu!
8 • waiting list (by Dave on 2011-09-05 14:43:08 GMT from United States)
@ #7, LOL, I thought the same thing (and I even had the pause too!)
9 • PLOP...? Go MINIX! (by Thom on 2011-09-05 15:10:05 GMT from Sweden)
I inherited a HP box with a really crappy Windows 7 on it. It refused to start up and despite throwing it all my Linux live-CDs (including PLOP) it still refused to boot, claiming it was unable to locate a proper boot drive. Try as I might, the blasted thing just wouldn't play nice (thanks Microsoft!). I finally fed it Minix, which installed and from there my troubles were over.
So... thanks Minix (and thank you Mr. Tanenbaum).
10 • Portability ... (by Coffee on 2011-09-05 15:13:23 GMT from France)
> Now that some projects and distributions are gaining traction we're seeing
> posts like this and this and this. I think developers are losing sight of
> the open standards and "one for all" attitude which helped get us this far.
... couldn't agree more. And as if to prove the point, the last of your three "and this" links brings my browser to a grinding halt ... the CPU fan goes into overdrive, the browser becomes extremely sluggish and finally doesn't respond any more at all. I had to kill and re-start it. Great! How out of all people a developer (!) can put a piece of junk like this in his website is beyond me. Shouldn't this stuff be tested in 2 or 3 popular browsers with the scripts and plugins turned on/off before it is put online?
The 2nd of your links leads to a forum debate that I remember well. In January, shortly before XFCE 4.8 was released, it became clear that there would be major problems integrating the new version of the desktop into BSD. The reason was that in XFCE 4.8 Thunar-volman was no longer using hal but udev, which apparently is a linux-only thing. The XFCE developer who is maintaining Thunar said "hal is depreciated" so he had to update to udev. And indeed, for some time word had been out that "hal is depreciated". From all the mountains, hills and trees it had been echoing since months "hal is depreciated", "hal is depreciated", "hal is depreciated" ... which made me wonder who 'put out word' and who pulls the strings behind decisions that have a great impact on practically everything in Linux, BSD and beyond? In any case, with the notable exception of Slackware all the major distributions have followed suit and already have or will soon "depreciate" hal. What choices did the handful XFCE core-developers have in this situation? Sticking with hal and risk being "depreciated" themselves surely wasn't an option. I think it is wrong to blame the XFCE team for the problems XFCE 4.8 is causing in BSD. But it is worth investigating who pulls the strings behind important decisions like hal/udev. Why is there an endlessly repeated slogan instead of a meaningful debate about the issue? Why does everybody fall into line? Questions, questions ...
11 • Portability (by Omari on 2011-09-05 15:18:00 GMT from United States)
As someone who does not pay for any of the software on his system, I don't feel competent to complain if any of the developers don't want to invest in making their software portable. That takes time and resources. The developers have to decide whether to invest that time in portability or in other things they might think to be important, such as features, documentation, or bugfixes.
Others can invest time into porting software, or can help the developers port it--the source code is available, after all--but to me it is quite pointless to stand on the sidelines and snipe at developers when we're not signing their paychecks.
12 • News Distro base Ubuntu (by Ubuntu overdose on 2011-09-05 15:46:30 GMT from Canada)
Sorry but what the 8 million distribution based on Ubuntu is new ?
My God as the end of the copied of Ubuntu submit hire... I hope for soon
13 • New distro`s???? (by Hendrik on 2011-09-05 15:56:04 GMT from Netherlands)
I get tired of the so colt "new distro`s",
Too keep things transparent, talk, write about the real distro`s all these derivatives are based upon, it all are just spin-offs of a damn good distro, Debian.
Give debian another theme and some new looks, and bring it to the world as a new distro, i think not!
Its not fare to the systems they are based upon and all the people that are putting effort in these mother distros in my opinion.
14 • Ubuntu (by Petr on 2011-09-05 16:20:19 GMT from France)
Looking at the ranking of DW and also the amount of new Ubuntu baby distros included in to DW, there seem to be no other distro, but Ubuntu!
15 • Re: #11 (by Josh on 2011-09-05 17:00:30 GMT from United States)
THIS. Open source is open source. If people want to use open source software in places where it hasn't been designed to work or been tested, they *SHOULD* submit bug reports or even offer to help where they can. Sure, not all users are developers, but they're also not paying for the open source software they're messing with and can't always expect their problems to be the top priority of a project.
I have several open source projects, and I try to address as many bug reports as I can, but I'm busy with my day job and family life. I have to play with my open source projects in the wee hours of the night if I do anything with them, and I certainly could be getting paid to do stuff for others instead of playing with my own projects. Bug reports let me know what I can work on if I ever find myself with a few spare minutes. But even more helpful to me than a bug report is a pull request :)
If you're having problems installing stuff, tell people what you saw and/or how you fixed it. Just sayin.
16 • It's all about the money? (by Jesse on 2011-09-05 17:19:04 GMT from Canada)
The argument that if software is free then users don't have the right to complain doesn't hold water, for several reasons.
1. If developers weren't open to feedback we wouldn't have bug trackers.
2. Many people do contribute to open source projects with time, code, documentation and donations.
3. The "it's free, you can't complain" doesn't hold true in any other aspect of life. Imagine if a restaurant gave you a free meal and you caught food poisoning. Would you shrug it off as "Oh well, can't complain, it was free"? What if i only reviewed Ubuntu-based projects in this space? DWW is free so obviously you don't have the right to complain ...? No, that's silly.
Being free of charge is not an excuse for poorly written software.
>> "If you're having problems installing stuff, tell people what you saw and/or how you fixed it."
I did and submitted patches to the projects in question. Want to know how many patches were accepted upstream and how many e-mails were replied to? Zero. Not an encouraging turn of events.
17 • @16 Jesse (by Jan on 2011-09-05 17:32:45 GMT from Germany)
If you are offered a free meal at a restaurant and you get food poisoning, it could be either the food or some problem of your tummy.
If you are offered free food, you have a choice of eating it, or refusing it, so if you get food poisoning, it would be entirely your fault. No one can breathe for you and no one can eat for you.
When it comes to free programs, it should be complain not, but ask, demand not, but ask--no one is supposed to lose sleeping time, and also get demands.
We have to learn to say thanks!
18 • New Distros (by forlin on 2011-09-05 17:45:42 GMT from Portugal)
First thing I do after a new install is to check internet connectivity. If it doesn't work, I remove it without further investigation as that's a show stop. That was my Debian experience. I guess other users also had problems with Debian. The logical consequence is that earlier or later, someone will build a distro who works to everybody. Linux Mint did it, and did it very well.
If Debian had some interest to bring it to the masses, they would have gone the Mint way.
Other Debian derivatives may not be for the masses, like Mint, but for specific purposes, or niches. As far as there's people interested on them I think they are "real distros", will survive and may even become leaders in popularity, as was the case with Ubuntu.
19 • Portability and Poison (by Anonymous Coward on 2011-09-05 17:55:20 GMT from Spain)
If you are offered free food, you have a choice of eating it, or refusing it, so if you get food poisoning, it would be entirely your fault. No one can breathe for you and no one can eat for you.
If you are offered free, good looking food, and you eat it thinking it is healthy, you are in the damn right to strangle the cooker if you get poisoned. If you use a free, good looking file manager, and it destroys your files because of a bug, you are in your damn right to start complaining and blogging about how dangerous that file manager is.
Take care with Debian Squeeze's PCmanfm :-)
But it is worth investigating who pulls the strings behind important decisions like hal/udev.
Glad you asked.
HAL has been deprecated because its own creator claimed that it had many bugs and low level issues (especially in big systems), and that it would be better to rewrite a new piece of software than trying to fix HAL itself. The kernel devs themselves supported this.
Kernel devs are sponsored by Google, Red Hat, IBM, Hp and this kind of firms.
20 • @19 free food and stuff (by Jan on 2011-09-05 19:49:21 GMT from Germany)
Usually your free food had been offered to you since you were born by your mother, and there had been times, when you had stomach aches, and even vomiting, etc, but you would never strangle your mother, would you?
You can either use anything given to you free or refuse to use it--it is always at your risk, not any other human beings risk.
If your parents are old and about to die, would you find a way to breathe for them, eat for them and digest the food for them inside their bodies?
21 • open standards? (by Stan on 2011-09-05 21:39:04 GMT from United States)
Thanks for another interesting and informative review.
"open standards"?... There are no standards in a real sense. Any "standards" are temporary or imaginary. And that's fun for hobbyists and techies.
One of the best examples is the grub2/grub approach where installing an additional distro on a hard drive will render previously installed distros unusable by users who lack the skill or desire to edit configuration files. This expertise requirement was not met with serious complaints from Linux developers, reviewers, journalists, or users.
Linux requires problem-solving expertise. That's the price of admission. It's partially an ego thing that's effectively enforced by the choice nazis.
That's how we got to today's desktop Linux. That's what happened to the year of the Linux desktop. That's why my adult kids, who have moved on to busy productive lives, use a proprietary system.
Open Source systems are great fun just like they are and if they standardize and simplify to cater to a greater span of users, then something will be lost. But I can go either way. Now I have a fun challenging operating system that brings with it a certain status (among my friends). If Jesse has his way, I would have more time for tinkering with the endless supply of applications and games that would just work. Instead of editing configuration files, I can take another shot at getting past level 44 of Zangband. Either way, it's cool.
22 • systemd being Linux only? (by Scott Dowdle on 2011-09-05 22:52:07 GMT from United States)
Lennart P.'s isn't trying to break software so it will only run on Red Hat / Fedora. He is just wanting to take advantage of features that are available in Linux. If FreeBSD wants to pick up the underlying software and port it to FreeBSD so that systemd can run on it, then they can go for it... but it isn't up to Lennart to port the needed underlying stuff to FreeBSD just so systemd will be FreeBSD compatible.
In Lennart's talk from LinuxCon Japan 2011 he made it clear that systemd is much more than an init system and that in fact it has taken on many more roles including trying to standardize about a half-dozen or so common system tasks that are different between distros. So in fact systemd, while NOT being FreeBSD compatible, is trying to unify Linux distros.
I agree with the complaint that Linux developers shouldn't be developing software that is distro specific... but please don't lump systemd in with that complaint.
23 • from source (by bob on 2011-09-05 22:57:00 GMT from Canada)
The world of 2020-remember when there were many Linux distributions? Remember even farther back to things like Solaris and BSD?
It's so much easier now. Since Canonical switched to the Unity desktop to unify Linux, and developers started writing "deb" programs that would only work with one Ubuntu (after all, Debian was already irrelevant) all those running other distributions found they couldn't run new software. Libreoffice stopped working for other distros in 2015, Firefox stopped being available for anything not Ubuntu based after version 198.2-01 in early 2016, both Gimp developers realized they didn't have to time to develop for other systems in late 2016, and Skype went to only Google Chrome about the same time. Google Maps is still available for both Ubuntu and Chrome, but its "deb" package stopped working properly in Debian in ?? and rpm stopped being developed as the devs didn't have time to compile different rpms for RH, Suse, Mandriva etc. We now have two-countem, two-distributions that used to be based on Linux, but no longer refer to Gnu, Linux or open standards.
Nope, let's not maintain standards and interoperability. Let's fragment further so that packages are written for one distro and don't work in others.
Ugh. In case someone couldn't tell, I thought Jesse had the general idea right. Without expressing an opinion about any particular incident, compiling packages for one distro or one computer is bound to cause more work and frustration for other developers and other users.
a Debian user, mostly
24 • @19 (by me on 2011-09-05 22:57:28 GMT from United States)
I also agree with what @20 said. If the restaurant makes no guarantees about such free food and gives a disclaimer about the safety or liability just like all software, then you have no right to force them to make any specific changes. Certainly you do have a right to make it known and bring it to their attention but that's it.
So with software, you aren't forced to use it, there's no obligation for you to use it and in turn you can't force others to make changes. Everything is voluntary so it could very well be that ignoring users may kill off a software project. And it could be that ignoring some users and listening to others may save a software project.
Now on the other hand, if you did have some kind of contractual obligation then yes, you as a user can have some real influence. This is exactly the market RHEL is in and is highlighted by the RHEL7 customer input program cited in this article.
25 • systemd (by Jesse on 2011-09-05 23:49:30 GMT from Canada)
>> "I agree with the complaint that Linux developers shouldn't be developing software that is distro specific... but please don't lump systemd in with that complaint."
My complaint isn't so much that systemd is going to be distro-specific (which it will be), but that it's going to make Gnome distro-specific if the developers go ahead with making systemd a dependency of Gnome. Let's assume that Fedora, openSUSE and a few others adopt systemd. Ubuntu will probably stick with Upstart and Slackware will probably keep using their current system. Debian will probably end up sticking with their current system, unless they wish to break their "works the same everywhere" policy across editions. This would mean a lot of distros would either have to drop Gnome or do a lot of work to make it function. And for what benefit? Is there really any reason for a desktop environment to depend on a specific init implementation? Probably not. The way things are going Gnome 3 may soon be exclusive to 3D-enabled desktops running on distros which support system when these requirements really don't bring any benefit to the end users.
26 • @18 (by nerp on 2011-09-06 00:48:37 GMT from United States)
You miss the point of Debian. Debian doesn't support your NIC by default because there are no Free Software drivers for it. Complain to the manufacturer about it.
27 • Standards, or Divide and be conquerored (by RollMeAway on 2011-09-06 01:05:18 GMT from United States)
Without standards the linux comumity will disintegrate to Lennart's operating system, Joe's operating system, Mary's operating system, ...etc. Hundreds of incompatible non sharing systems.
Hardware vendors already have problems making drivers for linux. Splinter it even more and try to argue they should produce free drivers for John's operating system also!
If a developer does not play well with others, he/she can certainly go do their own thing. The puzzle is why do organizations allow themselves to dragged off as well?
28 • Plop boot manager (by RollMeAway on 2011-09-06 01:18:49 GMT from United States)
If you have an older computer with a bios that does NOT allow booting from USB or CD drive, the plop boot manager provides a solution:
If you have any linux system already on that computer, you can copy a small file:plpbt.bin to your /boot/ directory, and add a boot entry (like memtest+.bin does):
title Plop Boot Manager
Examples for syslinux, grub2, lilo etc. are provided at the link above.
Choosing Plop Boot Manager at boot up will provide another menu allowing selection of USB, CDROM etc. to continue booting from.
Plop also provided a floppy boot image (yes, many computers still have floppy drives, especially older ones that cannot boot from USB).
29 • @16 and @25 (by Josh on 2011-09-06 01:27:57 GMT from United States)
Yeah, the fact that no one even gave your bug reports the time to just acknowledge really sucks. Though, to be honest, I have left some bug reports untouched for a couple years just because I'm increasingly busy with the day job and the family (we just had identical twin girls, so I think the amount of time I'll have to put toward my project is going to decrease drastically). I'm personally trying to do better about helping people know I'm receiving the bug reports! It would be nice if we could all do better about that.
Also the idea of a WM depending on something like systemd is absolutely appalling. There is no need for that sort of dependency. I was not aware of this until I read today's newsletter, and it made me happy that I haven't cared for GNOME for several years now. I was happy when Slackware finally decided to drop it!
30 • @ Jan (by Blue Knight on 2011-09-06 01:54:30 GMT from France)
I'm quite sorry but what you say is absolutely idiot. Please, stop with that, it's getting worse to worse...
You have ALWAYS the right to complain! And fortunately. Free or not is absolutely unimportant. We don't care about this. We must not, we should not. If a product is good, it is good. If it's crap, it is crap. Period.
31 • @25 - systemd isn't desktop nor distro specific (by Scott Dowdle on 2011-09-06 04:13:54 GMT from United States)
systemd isn't really distro specific. The best discussion on Debian and systemd I've run across has been the article in LWN: Debian debates systemd - http://lwn.net/Articles/452865/
I don't necessarily agree with your assertion that systemd doesn't bring anything to the desktop party. systemd is a lot more than just an init system, a LOT more. It all depends on what features of systemd the GNOME developers want to use. I doubt they would just willy-nilly force systemd as a dependency without good reasons.
Does that mean that GNOME could become Linux specific? Maybe so. Not such a big problem though as there are plenty of desktop environments to choose from.
I can't really blame Lennart for saying no to compatibility patches he doesn't want to maintain... because one of his design criterias for systemd was for it to be Linux specific by taking advantage of several Linux-only features. They can fork it if they want to and show him what they think are the error of his ways.
32 • @ 30 complaining (by Jan on 2011-09-06 04:48:21 GMT from Germany)
That's all we do, nothing else but complaining, first at our own parents, then at teachers, and later at the world. Ask, but don't demand. Ask, but don't criticize, for you have the FREE program because someone somewhere put his time onto this, rather than quality spending it with his/her family.
Just be nice to people, that's all--things will work out!
33 • @ 30 complaining (by Jan on 2011-09-06 04:55:18 GMT from Germany)
And if you want to know how to be nice, and get things done by simply asking, join the Crunchbang and Puppy Forums. Have a look at Conky pages in Crunchbang forums. There are more than 1000 posts in it, and how did that happen?
Do you understand 1000 posts for one subject?!
Because they are nice to each other!
34 • Patrick Volkerding's view of systemd (by Microlinux on 2011-09-06 05:16:03 GMT from France)
Patrick Volkerding is the creator and maintainer of Slackware, the oldest and one of the most stable Linux distributions. Let's see what he thinks of systemd:
35 • @26 ref @18 complain? (by forlin on 2011-09-06 06:27:46 GMT from Portugal)
I'm complaining nada, @18.
There are various applications to run NIC's but after installing Debian I couldn't see any in the main menu.
36 • #28 Plop (by zykoda on 2011-09-06 07:11:20 GMT from United Kingdom)
Plop has been very economical on older machines without the "native" USB booting BIOS. There is no need to burn CD/DVDs any more and read errors, that often frequent, are eliminated, be they from media or drive.
37 • ...to the extent permitted by applicable law (by Koroshiya Itchy on 2011-09-06 10:07:25 GMT from Belgium)
Very interesting debate indeed. However, the poisoned food simile is a very unfortunate one. If somebody offers you poisoned food in a country having a minimal respect for justice he may end up finding himself in a very serious situation. The gravity of the situation will depend on circumstances such as 1) was the guy aware that the food was not edible? 2) did the guy respect all the health regulations concerning the storage and preparation of the food? Most likely, if when the guy finds himself in from of the judge, it is going to matter little whether he offered you the meal for free or charged you a hundred bucks. The fact that he did not forced you to eat is not going to save it either. If he offered you poisoned food he will be always responsible to a lager or lesser extent. In conclusions, it does not matter how may disclaimers you include in your software licences as they will be superseded by the actual law. So, please, do not poison your software if you can avoid it ;-) By the way I did not sued Canonical when Ubuntu destroyed my filesystem and I will never do it, but someone else could (namely in the USA).
38 • @37 (by Jan on 2011-09-06 10:16:07 GMT from Germany)
It was not Ubuntu that destroyed your file system, it was you who did that, for you used free software, without any kind of guarantee.
Do you think, if you used Windows or OSX, you'd be able to sue them? Come on!
Stop whining, everyone!
39 • food poisoning, ireesponsibility and unaccountability (by meanpt on 2011-09-06 11:11:47 GMT from Portugal)
Unaccountability makes people and their services irresponsible and not thrustworthy. I breath free air and if someone pollutes it, he/she is responsible and accountable for what happened to me. If someone asks me to try its product because despite being free it's also better than others, including the other OS, and also market the product with those underlying claims, than he/she/it is accountable. If Chrome would break my computer I would look for a compensation from google, as I would do from any individual or community or foundation if the product that he or she publicised ans freely available for me to take and try. Freedom isn't the same as irresponsible, ill-intentioned and unaccountable. Take care.
40 • ex absurdis sequitur quodlibet (by Koroshiya Itchy on 2011-09-06 12:01:24 GMT from Belgium)
#38 Yeah, and if someone kills you for free it is your fault because the guy was produced by his parents without any guarantee of any kind and therefore he cannot be hold responsible for his acts...
The only reason you may not win such a case against a big corporation such as MS or Apple is because they have nearly infinite resources (time, personnel and money) and you do not and thus no matter how right you are they can make the trials last for ever. However, that is not justice.
41 • @ 39 & 40 (by Jan on 2011-09-06 12:45:35 GMT from Germany)
Please read the conditions of you using the free software--you are using them at YOUR risk, and not at the developers risk.
If your computer fails, then buy another, or buy the exact copy of the one the developer had had made his program.
42 • brakes (by Koroshiya Itchy on 2011-09-06 13:11:11 GMT from Belgium)
#41 And if you buy a brand new car and, ups, the brakes suddenly fail while you are driving on the highway... This has already happened to a woman who lost her two kids, then she sued the car producer and received hundreds of millions. Even if the customer sings a contract assuming full responsibility, the contract would be void because it goes against the law. Let alone a mere software license no one reads and no one actually signs. Yet, there are cases. If, for instance, you are a free-lancer or small company who produces a wifi applet that fries down my wifi card, no problem with that. However, if you are a corporation and you produce software that produces software that destroy my data. The bug being officially reported and confirmed by many people at alpha stage, then reconfirmed at beta phase, then again one release candidate after another, and yet you still release the production version containing the bug because of some stupid schedule, yes, I am sorry, but in that case you deserve being sued. Not the developer(s), but the corporation.
43 • My "Lite Distro" search (by Leo on 2011-09-06 13:13:57 GMT from United States)
So, the SSD on my dying eeepc 701 got fried this weekend. I thought: great, I'll just stick in a USB drive and boot some light linux from there, since the only use for the sucker is internet radio streaming in the laundry room.
I tried a net install of a barebones ubuntu (no X), and then added "lubuntu-desktop" (10.04). Guess what: no luck. No DM. So, I added lightDM. However: an lxde session would not load. I added LXDE, and now it would, but it would not launch lxpanel automatically. When I launched it manually, it didn't have a network manager. I installed wicd but it would die with a python problem.
I ended up installing "plasma-desktop" and dolphin, and I called it a day. It took a while to install in the slow-writing USB, and it takes longer to load the desktop, but everything works as expected, and of course it looks stunning. I disabled nepomuk. Akonadi is there, I with it could be disabled. But there are no applications, so probably nothing is using it.
I think KDE has a great opportunity ahead, assuming they can decouple akonadi and allow for light installs, as well as "full" installs.
Lighter desktops like LXDE are great when resources are really scarce. Computers with 128 Mb RAM, embedded, etc. They can be made look good. E17 can look great, LXDE looks nice in Mint. THey just need some extra love to be configured. A dedicated distro is probably best for that. Ironically, some of these "light distros" boast 700 MB iso downloads!
Anyway, I thought I would share. Long life to free(dom) software!
44 • @ 42 (by Jan on 2011-09-06 13:15:52 GMT from Germany)
You don't buy FREE software, you download it FREE. You use it thanking the guys, who made that. This FREE software might not work for you, BUT you can change your software--there are 1000s of them for you to choose.
You BUY your car, you BUY your food, but you DON'T buy your FREE software--it comes from someone else's hard work and sleepless night. So, be thankful!
45 • @Jan (by mythus on 2011-09-06 13:18:13 GMT from United States)
Jan, while I understand that you wish for people to not be rude with their complaints and such regarding the use of free software, your thinking on the matter is simply ill-informed, and holds no real bearing with reality.
Perhaps in Germany having such conditions of "You use at your own risks" removes any responsibility from the developer, but I can guarantee you that is not the case here in the US.
Take for example, drinking hot coffee from McDonald's. Now, we all know that coffee is hot (unless it is specifically named a frozen latte or whatever) correct? We also then acknowledge that should we drink this hot coffee too fast, or spill it on us, we will be burnt, right? So, why does McDonald's have to put the "Caution: HOT" on its coffee cups? Because some idiot in the US spilled it on themselves, got burned, sued McDonald's, and won. And before you chip in with the argument "But now they have conditions on the cup", note that others have sued and won for the same thing even after those warnings were first placed on the cup, presumably because those warnings were not immediately visible.
People here sue stores if the slip and fall on their wet floor, and win, despite that walking in a store is free and having a sign in place.. as the person usually claims such sign wasn't plainly visible.
And to your earlier argument about that people wouldn't sue Microsoft, you are wrong. People here have sued microsoft. Whether or not they won or loss didn't depend upon whether or not the company was liable, but the resources and lawyers that the company had versus the plantif.
Also here, if you are served free food from a restaurant, that food and all of its ingredients, and (in a restaurant) the place must meet health code. Afterwards if you get food poisoned, you can sue, and win, despite it being free.
Sorry Jan, but you must remember, that laws and rights are different everywhere. You also should remember that as humans we do have the right to complain, just as you have the right to be ignorant and ask us to not complain. But really, that could have been done in just one post, without illogical comparisons and metaphors right? But then again, that is your right...
46 • @45 (by Jan on 2011-09-06 13:29:22 GMT from Germany)
We are talking about FREE software of the GNU/Linux, BSD kind, not the proprietary Windows or Mac stuff--you are very welcome to go ahead and sue those companies.
In this DW, we have only FREE distros, well maybe few asking for few $s, so we must be grateful to the guys, who spend their time to make those software for us.
One distro, one program might not work on my laptop, BUT that doesn't mean the developer was wrong or purposefully put out something with bugs--you test them, you tell the developer about the bugs, but he is not a magician, so he/she may not be able to get rid of the bug. If we like this software, we use it, but we can't jump at the developer's throat--not nice!
If you can, you help the developer to get rid of the bug(s), but there is no need to attack the developer as some of us here do!
47 • re 46 (by mythus on 2011-09-06 13:58:58 GMT from United States)
Jan, you have missed what i was talking about, only choosing what it is you want to have seen or understood, giving me reason to believe that you are simply trying to troll. I do hope that this is not the case, and that you are simply not able to understand what I have wrote in comparison to what you have wrote, so I will try to explain. Do note though that if you can't get it this time, I won't try again.
1.) I understood and understand you are referring to use of free software. I was refuting the comparisions you have yourself made...
re 17: Jan wrote" If you are offered a free meal at a restaurant and you get food poisoning, it could be either the food or some problem of your tummy.
If you are offered free food, you have a choice of eating it, or refusing it, so if you get food poisoning, it would be entirely your fault. No one can breathe for you and no one can eat for you.
When it comes to free programs, it should be complain not, but ask, demand not, but ask--no one is supposed to lose sleeping time, and also get demands.
We have to learn to say thanks!"
My response was simple, here in the US, that doesn't matter, you can still sue the person and get compensation regardless if it was free or not. Therefore such a comparison of yours is ill-formed.
"38 • @37 (by Jan on 2011-09-06 10:16:07 GMT from Germany)
It was not Ubuntu that destroyed your file system, it was you who did that, for you used free software, without any kind of guarantee.
Do you think, if you used Windows or OSX, you'd be able to sue them? Come on!
Stop whining, everyone!"
Again, I stated that here you can sue Microsoft, people have. You may or may not win, but not because of merit of your case or lack of company responsibility, but because of their infinite resources against your own very finite resources. To which you state: "We are talking about FREE software of the GNU/Linux, BSD kind, not the proprietary Windows or Mac stuff--you are very welcome to go ahead and sue those companies." Which is very ignorant after you have just implied in post 38 that you would not be able to sue such companies. And just so you understand, imply does not equal state or said.
2.) I then stated that we all have the right to complain, just as you have the right to state that you think there'd be better, nicer ways of getting our point across. However the fact that you continue to do so with idiotic comparisons that should have been left out only hurts your credibility instead of enforcing your, in my opinion, honorable intentions.
Now then, some other new things to mention from your latest posts. DW doesn't only discuss free distros. Red Hat Linux, isn't free, and it gets coverage here.
Also perhaps you miss the point of complaining or misunderstand what complaining is. To complain could be easily read as simply stating that you do not like feature c because it does some effect that you do not like. That in turn could indeed lead the developer to note the bug in feature c and get it fixed, leading to a better product. Therefore I think people should complain more but also should file bug reports and yes, say "Thank You" to those who do the hard work.
48 • @47 (by Jan on 2011-09-06 14:10:48 GMT from Germany)
What is a troll?
Well, if you say that in the US you can sue a person for giving you free software, it is not nice. Anyway, I see in the Web sites of all free distros, there is a disclaimer.
I don't think anyone, who loves Linux, BSD etc can go out to sue the developer.
Red Hat won't give us free software, maybe through CentOs, etc, but still CentOs is free and with a disclaimer. Maybe when Red Hat signs a contract with corporate clients, there is a chance to sue.
I would never even think of suing a person, who'd given me free OS--he/she would be my pal, even though I might never know him.
Someone wrote that you can sue eating free food, which is hard to believe--you won't sue your mother, and sometimes you see her hair in the soup, and sometimes we get stomach aches.
I still don't think we should criticize the developers, but be grateful that he/she had some work for us free. Anyway, let's stop here.
49 • @30 (by fernbap on 2011-09-06 14:17:27 GMT from Portugal)
Things are not always black or white, but if you chose to use a distro based on unstable repos, you know what you are getting and you use it at your own risc.
However, if you use something that is branded as market ready or stable, you can complain if it doesn't do what it was said to do.
However, hard disk manufacturers or vendors are NEVER responsible by the contents of the disk. They have to replace the disk if it is broken, and that is as far as their responsibility goes.
50 • @47 (by Jan on 2011-09-06 14:17:44 GMT from Germany)
One more thing...
Here in DW, we don't discuss Windows or Mac stuff, but Linux and BSD, so whether anyone who use those OSs sue them or not is not our concern. I believe, whether Red Hat clients sue Red Hat is also not our concern.
Complaining is a very bad habit!
51 • with reason came criticism (by Koroshiya Itchy on 2011-09-06 15:35:18 GMT from Belgium)
#50 I am thankful and one side of being thankful is constructive criticism. You call it "complaining", fair enough, but in my opinion a community is not a charity, you have your right to speak and I have mine. Then, of course, there are more informed opinions and less informed opinions and I am not claiming mine belongs to either category ;-) Have a nice day.
52 • To sue or not to sue. (by Eddie on 2011-09-06 16:04:36 GMT from United States)
People will sue over anything. It is human nature to feel that everyone owes you something. The justice system is really screwed up in the US and I know it's not much better in the rest of the world. For instance here in the US Mr. Koroshiya Itchy could sue for data lose even tho it's probably his fault. Anybody can sue anybody for anything. Right or wrong doesn't matter. Justice doesn't matter. There is no hope for humanity.
53 • @51 (by Jan on 2011-09-06 16:08:48 GMT from Germany)
No, pal you can't sue Cannonical for your loss of data, if you don't have a special contract with them--corporate client.
Read license agreement before you install. It is your fault and no one else's!
54 • @Jan (by Patrick on 2011-09-06 16:42:26 GMT from United States)
The bottom line on the whole suing thing is that the justice system has nothing to do with who is right or wrong, it is about who has the deepest pockets. The whole system is set up by lawyers, for lawyers and only serves to fill their pockets.
I wholeheartedly agree with your whole sentiment of being nice to developers for their efforts, but who was it again that said that "a good deed never goes unpunished"? I think that applies to open source developers quite strongly. I'm not against constructive criticism, but there is always the horde of clueless users that can't be bothered to even try to understand the trade-offs involved in any piece of software but still insist the thing they got for free is crap if it doesn't exactly do what they want and ties their shoelaces for them too. The more opinionated they are, the louder they yell, the more they deserve to be ignored.
55 • @ Jan (by Anonymous on 2011-09-06 17:03:16 GMT from United States)
It's only his fault for using Canonical's product. It is Canonical's fault for choosing to use an unstable file system that is known for losing and corrupting data.
56 • re: lennart poettering (by Anonymous on 2011-09-06 17:10:13 GMT from United States)
Why does 'the community' continue to enable this man? His 'contributions' to the ecosystem seem to be adding extra time to linux installations to remove Pulse Audio and changing the boot process from manageable shell scripts into half-baked and difficult to manage 'C' code.
57 • @ Jan (by Blue knight on 2011-09-06 17:23:43 GMT from France)
When I read your words I get the impression to read a child or a teenager... (no offense ;-) )
> "Just be nice to people, that's all--things will work out!"
Mwahahaha, quite very nice and childish.
1. Who has said we must "insult" people? Nobody I guess.
2. No, if you are just "nice", all--things will NOT work out.
3. Sometimes (often?) you almost have to shake or even sometimes berate and/or almost bawl out people for having something decent/correct and/or the things done. (to stay polite)
And again, free or not free is not the problem. Or the product is good or it's not. Period. If someone "somewhere put his time onto this, rather than quality spending it with his/her family", as you said, it's his/her choice and as such (s)he must do a good work. If not, (s)he should rather go to another thing. "Free" is not an excuse. "Being free of charge is not an excuse for poorly written software." (Jesse in 16)
58 • Off-topic reply to comments from last week (by Patrick on 2011-09-06 17:29:12 GMT from United States)
I didn't keep up with computer stuff over the weekend, so there were a couple of comments from last weeks DW I didn't get a chance to reply to on the subject of PulseAudio and ALSA. I'm not trying to restart the discussion, just hoping to provide some practical info. If you decide this is off-topic Ladislav, feel free to delete this comment.
Barnabyh brought up the issue of having very quiet volume even if the PulseAudio slider is maxed out. I can't be certain this is the same issue, but from my own experience, I've had this happen where the audio was very quiet or I couldn't even hear it at all. In all cases I've seen, this turned out to be an issue where the ALSA volume was set way down. After I used 'alsamixer' on the command line to make sure the ALSA volume levels for master and PCM were up and then used 'alsactl store' to make the new levels persistent, my problems went away.
As for my supposed "claim" of ALSA being able to only play one stream at a time: maybe I worded it badly in my original message, but I never meant to imply that ALSA could not mix sound sources. Usually, after way too much effort, I did get it to work on my systems. But that was just the problem with it: it was very hard and inconsistent, as was also brought out in your subsequent discussion relating mixing that worked in one distro but not others, on some hardware, etc. ALSA has a sort of bolt-on software mixer that produces a fake mixing device, the problem is that it seemed very hard to convince programs to actually use this fake device instead of the real audio device and so I would always run into things not working well together. I might just have been too dumb to deal with ALSA, but in my own personal experience, these problems have entirely disappeared when PulseAudio came along, and I am very glad to have it.
59 • @56 (by Patrick on 2011-09-06 17:34:06 GMT from United States)
Because your opinion of his work obviously does not represent the opinion of 'the community'. Some of us like progress over the status-quo.
60 • @ 48 (by Blue Knight on 2011-09-06 17:36:50 GMT from France)
> "Red Hat won't give us free software"
Oh Jan, you really think that? Please, can you give us some example of apps you find in Red Hat? Just to see...
61 • @ Patrick (by Blue Knight on 2011-09-06 17:42:31 GMT from France)
Just two little comments
1. I have never, or almost never, had problems with ALSA when I had some/many with PulseAudio, like many people.
2. progress? I'm not sure. I fear it's for me regress rather...
62 • @61 (by Patrick on 2011-09-06 19:49:48 GMT from United States)
1. Some quick questions, as I like to get a better understanding of why people dislike PulseAudio:
- Did ALSA mixing always work for you out of the box, or did you maybe just not need any mixing?
- Have you been using integrated audio or discrete sound cards?
- Can you elaborate on problems you've had with PulseAudio recently (no need to muddy the waters with problems that were due to integration of PulseAudio in distros before it was ready)?
2. That definitely seems to be the mainstream feeling in this forum, but as I was trying to bring out, not necessarily in the Linux community in general. The fact that 'the community' continues to "enable this man", is a good sign that there are many people that are much better informed about the issues involved than the random anonymous commenter in this forum, that feel like his work is worthy of integration, or at least evaluation. As I have to deal with plenty of clueless critics in my own day to day work, who think they can make better decisions based on their own uninformed "gut feel" instead of the painstaking evaluation of real data which they are too lazy to bother with, I think I'll value the opinion of informed developers over that of the random forum commenter.
63 • Building source (by Igor on 2011-09-06 21:01:15 GMT from Macedonia)
I must totally agree with the new incompatibility wave that has arise last periods. The standard have been replaced by community benchmark.
64 • Pulse (by Jesse on 2011-09-06 21:18:59 GMT from Canada)
>> "- Can you elaborate on problems you've had with PulseAudio recently (no need to muddy the waters with problems that were due to integration of PulseAudio in distros before it was ready)?"
A few issues come to mind.
1. On a recent Fedora release running MPlayer would cause Pulse to maximize the system volume control, regardless of the volume had been previously. Other sound systems didn't have this problem.
2. On Ubuntu I've found Pulse will sometimes mute for no apparent reason.
3. On a similar note, Pulse sometimes simply stops working, requiring a reboot (or similar measures) to get it running again.
4. On one of my friend's new machines Pulse refuses to work at all. We had to remove it and go with ALSA.
Pulse is useful most of the time and it's a lot better than it was, but many of us are still upset at its lack of reliability.
65 • loss of data (by neeraj on 2011-09-07 02:31:01 GMT from India)
Would the gentleman whining about data loss care to explain which action of his screwed up his data? Most often its user's carelessness and inappropriate knowledge that leads to such things.
66 • Belated Thanks (by off-topic on 2011-09-07 06:53:16 GMT from Canada)
To "123" who posted #102 in response to "101" in Distrowatch 420:
A belated thanks for the tips. Completely solved my dilemma (and hopefully may have helped others looking for alerternative solutions to bloated desktops). I was actually using xcdroast and switched to K3b to master DVDs. Did not know that in the interim, xcdroast now supports DVD's. Also did not know about the Mozilla archive format extension. The only other KDE app that I use a lot, Kstars, can be replaced with apps such as Stellerium. So with replacements for K3b, Konqueror, and Kstars, I can now say goodbye to KDE, Gnome, and bloated desktops, and stick with fluxbox. Now I just need time to checkout some tiling window managers, and a console app that just showed up on Freshmeat called dvtm (which sounds like a respin of another console app called twin - not to be confused with the very old twin spreadsheet from the days of DOS).
That's what I love about this site - I learn so much and even the criticism is sometimes informative. Now I better duck for cover for going "off-topic".
And for the poster who advised resetting a futzed console with the reset command ( 3-4 weeks ago?), also a big thanks. Was having a "senior moment" and simply couldn't recall the obvious. Maybe have to get out on the bike some more and away from the computer. Think the possible solution is to hook the bike to a generator to power the computer and hope the old ticker doesn't suffer a Blue screen of.....
Finally, anyone wanting to use a dedicated flatbed scanner on Linux (NOT talking about those all-in-one printer-scanner-fax-affairs which do have more support), finally found the solution with an Epson scanner. Almost all of their scanners have linux drivers not on the Epson site, but on the parent firm avasys-seiko site, the parent firm. Just be aware of one gotcha - some identical scanners have different designations depending on whether they are North American models, or overseas versions. Can make a difference in editing some config files and paths.
Sorry about being off-topic, but needed to express thanks for the help and advice, and thought this would be useful for others here.
67 • Homework (by Koroshiya Itchy on 2011-09-07 09:03:50 GMT from Belgium)
Bugs reporting data loss with Ubuntu have been a recurrent matter since 2008 (at least for 64-bit systems). See for instance:
Apparently bug reports of alphas, betas and RCs have been removed. I was an enthusiastic Ubuntu user from 2005 to 2008. When it destroyed my filesystem I moved to Debian (even if I had backups for the most relevant files and therefore data loses where minimal). The reason why I migrated was because a production release containing the bug was issued in spite of the numerous bug reports at alpha, beta and RC stages.
You are right, it entirely was my fault for using a product for which schedule is more important than quality standards. However, at that time, I did not know. From 2002 to 2005 I used Mandrake and Redhat. From 2009 to date Debian. I have never lost any data. During all these years I have also tried many other distros without any data loses.
68 • Filesystem data loss (by Anonymous Coward on 2011-09-07 10:10:25 GMT from Spain)
Koroshiya Itchy wrote:
Bugs reporting data loss with Ubuntu have been a recurrent matter since 2008 (at least for 64-bit systems). See for instance:
The reason why I migrated was because a production release containing the bug was issued in spite of the numerous bug reports at alpha, beta and RC stages.
I could surely have written the same lines. Welcome to the club.
I haven't read the whole report about Ubuntu's bug #315006, but, as it is pointed out in your link, it seems the fault of the delayed allocation feature of ext4, which is regarded as an stupid feature by Mr. Linus itself. I mount my ext4 filesystems without delayed allocation even now, when this issues have been fixed.
In fact, it is not an Ubuntu specific problem. However, as I use to say, upstream authors have to ensure that they software is reliable, but distributions have to ensure that they only package reliable software, or at least warn you when there are problems to be expected. After all, Ubuntu's bug #315006 would have had a more limited impact if Canonical had taken ext4 out of Ubuntu until it was ready for use.
The same goes for many other distributions around. Even Debian has some examples of apps that would have better be left out of stable until they were reliable, yet they passed to stable anyway.
69 • @58, Patrick (by Barnabyh on 2011-09-07 13:48:45 GMT from United Kingdom)
Thanks for taking the time and picking this up from last week, Patrick, it helps to explain a few things.
I think the problem is the level of obfuscation. I was not aware that besides the main volume in PA you also still can, or even have to, set it in alsamixer independently.
That's what I hated about XP and why I used it for a max. of two weeks at home, the way in which it kept me from working with files through layers upon layers of panels and questions whether I am really sure I want to do this?
Basically, I like things to be straight forward. I hope Linux land is not going to go the way XP did, with all these new developments (broadly speaking: from PA to the Shell). There's always still BSD, but as long as there are distributions like Arch and Slackware around I probably won't have to.
I've always used dedicated sound cards in desktop systems, but in this Acer laptop Slack somehow has a problem with sound, identifying channels different from Arch. Have managed to get sound from Smplayer, Mplayer and Audacious now all playing at the same time, but not from several instances of Smplayer like I can get in Arch.
Anyway, this has little value, who is going to listen to several movies at once?
Thanks again for your post.
70 • @69 (by Patrick on 2011-09-07 15:20:31 GMT from United States)
You're welcome. I agree the added levels of obfuscation are confusing, especially during times of transition. It seems PulseAudio was designed to work with ALSA set to maximum volume. It doesn't seem to touch the hardware volume. But many distro's still ship(ped?) ALSA packages that set the ALSA volume at a low default, which is very desirable if you're running ALSA by itself, without PulseAudio. But when you do run PulseAudio, this now limits your maximum volume to whatever the low ALSA default is. Hard to make it work right in both cases. If I have a distro with PulseAudio, I set the ALSA volumes to max after initial setup and never touch them after that. But I agree, it is not obvious.
Yes, listening to several movies isn't what I want audio mixing for. :-) I mostly use it so I can have Skype or Ekiga on with audible notifications and still have sound in other programs.
71 • Re#66 (by 123 on 2011-09-08 01:27:41 GMT from United States)
As many have posted previously, I do believe that GUI burning apps inherit their capabilities from the underlying infrastructure.
With old Debian it was cdrecord, and now it's wodim.
I think that's where DVD capability comes in automatically.
As for my desktop, it has been WindowMaker for many years now, it works for me.
Some day I may set up another computer with KDE or Gnome just to see what I've been missing. For some reason, no matter how much I search the "net", I still am not quite sure what the real big difference is from a WindowMaker enviroment to a KDE or Gnome one.
Maybe I just don't use my computer for what most people do, so it doesn't effect me.
I used to use Gnumeric-non-gnome, untill it went away to all gnome.
Now if I need that much spreadsheet I use OpenOffice; no Gnome or KDE libs and no Dbus or FAM or other misc. daemons running around.
As for dedicated flatbed, I used to use an old Epson which had a custom SCSI isa card.
I had to make sure the proper SCSI support was in the kernel (v2.2?) and most everything else worked ok. Most people today would consider that way too much work to get it working, since eveything now has to be really just plug and play easy.
Glad I could help.
72 • Nomination for the Distrowatch Doantion Program (by fdavid on 2011-09-08 20:54:57 GMT from Austria)
I wold like nominate the project Trintiy Desktop Environment for the Distrowatch Doantion Program. This project is a fork of the successful KDE 3.5.x series.
Many thanks for running the Donation Program for so many years.
73 • Trinity (by Andy Axnot on 2011-09-09 14:21:33 GMT from United States)
I, too, would like to thank Ladislav for the Donations Program. More than US $29,000 represents a very nice boost for libre software.
I would also like to second the nomination of the Trinity project. In addition to its technical merits, I believe the project exemplifies the libre spirit. When the KDE project took what many of us believe was a wrong turn, Timothy Pearson and others didn't just complain, they did what we so often hear that complainers should do: they forked the original. They are continuing, *and improving on*, KDE3.
The project stands as testimony to the power of choice in Linux and libre software. It is something of a miracle that the project is still alive and well (I believe), considering what an enormous task it is to take on something of the magnitude of KDE3 without the thousands of former contributors and developers.
I lack technical skills to help in that area but I have made a modest financial donation and I hope Distrowatch will consider making one too.
74 • porteus 32 bit uses Trinity (by gnomic on 2011-09-10 11:00:18 GMT from New Zealand)
The rather fine (imho at least) Porteus 32-bit edition uses the Trinity 3.5.12 KDE. Worth a look for any stick-in-the-muds who thought KDE had reached the peak of perfection before KDE4 came along ;->
75 • Re: 74, Porteus 32 bit (by Andy Axnot on 2011-09-10 12:26:14 GMT from United States)
This seems to be my week to second things. :-)
I agree that Porteus 32 bit is absolutely fine, and its devs continue to improve it. But like Slax, it is recommended to not attempt a regular installation (Slackware is suggested instead), so I have a frugal install on a data partition.
With Porteus and my old PCLOS installation this old KDE3 guy is quite happy.
76 • @64 Pulse / Jesse (by Wil Barath on 2011-09-10 22:27:39 GMT from Canada)
Maybe in a week or two you could do a special report on Pulse and some workarounds.
My personal relationship with PulseAudio is very much love/hate.
On the one hand, being able to set the volume levels independently for apps is worth a lot of other hassles. On the other hand, having to write scripts to restart the sound system and the 24/7 apps which depend on it... very ugly/painful.
And this painful ugliness is a requirement of daily/hourly use: open pavucontrol, switch the main sound device profile to off, HUP pulseaudio, kill the processes which are hanging, rmmod the alsa drivers, modprobe the alsa drivers, alsaconf restart them, restart pulseaudio, restart pavucontrol, renable the main sound device, reload all apps which needed sound. This is so inelegant that I cannot believe Ubuntu standardized on it. Heaven help you if sound is actually important to your life ie you are running SFLPhone for your home telephone..
One of the things which baffles me no end is why Pulse works as a server if it is not going to behave like one. When I restart it, why do I have to restart all my apps so that they can start having sound again...? Why do the majority of apps start running at 100% CPU when I HUP the sound server? Seems to me that they should be polling a socket or a port and sleeping until they get a response, so this behavior is indicative of spectacularly poor design concept in the client library. Imagine if your browser would eat 100% CPU while waiting for a web page?!
The other thing which baffles me no end is why the kernel itself handles sound so poorly. Everything else is handled with multiple users and processes in mind, yet sound is treated in a special, hackish, one-user-only manner. Recent OSS drivers supposedly allow concurrent playback, but I've never experienced this. I've certainly never experienced concurrent mixer levels with the OSS drivers. Alsa at least provides separate mixers per app when I had a card with 4x2 channels, albeit no way of knowing which mixer channel is assigned to which app...
Alsa/dmix/dsnoop seems to me the best way to go with today's mixed pot of sound hacks. It works great unless something needs mmap() support. But of course, one big fat volume control for the whole system. If only there was a mixer plugin for ALSA which intercepted the dmix streams and let us set the volume independently, I would never look at the trainwreck which is PulseAudio ever again.
77 • TRINITY DONATION (by PatrikJA on 2011-09-11 10:45:01 GMT from Sweden)
I too very much support the idea to give Trinity a Distrowatch donation. And also the Nobel peace price. Donation-page is http://trinitydesktop.org/donate.php
Number of Comments: 77
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|• Issue 779 (2018-09-03): Redcore 1806, keeping ISO downloads safe from tampering, Lubuntu makes Calamares more flexible, Ubuntu improves GNOME performance|
|• Issue 778 (2018-08-27): GuixSD 0.15.0, ReactOS 0.4.9, Steam supports Windows games on Linux, Haiku plans for beta, merging disk partitions|
|• Issue 777 (2018-08-20): YunoHost 184.108.40.206, limiting process resource usage, converting file systems on Fedora, Debian turns 25, Lubuntu migrating to Wayland|
|• Issue 776 (2018-08-13): NomadBSD 1.1, Maximum storage limits on Linux, openSUSE extends life for 42.3, updates to the Librem 5 phone interface|
|• Issue 775 (2018-08-06): Secure-K OS 18.5, Linux is about choice, Korora tests community spin, elementary OS hires developer, ReactOS boots on Btrfs|
|• Issue 774 (2018-07-30): Ubuntu MATE & Ubuntu Budgie 18.04, upgrading software from source, Lubuntu shifts focus, NetBSD changes support policy|
|• Issue 773 (2018-07-23): Peppermint OS 9, types of security used by different projects, Mint reacts to bugs in core packages, Slackware turns 25|
|• Issue 772 (2018-07-16): Hyperbola GNU/Linux-libre 0.2.4, UBports running desktop applications, OpenBSD auto-joins wi-fi networks, boot environments and zedenv|
|• Issue 771 (2018-07-09): Linux Lite 4.0, checking CPUs for bugs, configuring GRUB, Mint upgrade instructions, SUSE acquired by EQT|
|• Issue 770 (2018-07-02): Linux Mint 19, Solus polishes desktop experience, MintBox Mini 2, changes to Fedora's installer|
|• Issue 769 (2018-06-25): BunsenLabs Helium, counting Ubuntu users, UBports upgrading to 16.04, Fedora CoreOS, FreeBSD turns 25|
|• Issue 768 (2018-06-18): Devuan 2.0.0, using pkgsrc to manage software, the NOVA filesystem, OpenBSD handles successful cron output|
|• Full list of all issues|
Star Labs - Laptops built for Linux.
View our range including the Star Lite, Star LabTop and more. Available with a choice of Ubuntu or Linux Mint pre-installed with many more distributions supported. Visit Star Labs for information, to buy and get support.
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QiLinux was a Linux distribution completely made from scratch in Italy. Its ambitious aim was to integrate the work of the vast community of free software developers in order to create a modern, high-performance, safe and easy-to-use operating system for system administrators and desktop users.