| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 842, 25 November 2019
Welcome to this year's 47th issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
Computers and software are woven into virtually every aspects of our lives. Our banking, communication, entertainment, and transportation almost always involve a computer running software and communicating with servers at some step in the process. This gives developers and system administrators access to a huge amount of information and our infrastructure and, as a result, a great deal of power. Unfortunately, while there are many great resources available explaining how to be a system administrator, there are very few books or classes on how to be a good and ethical administrator. This week we share a book on ethics in the IT field and how to be a good, not just technically gifted, administrator. At the end of this issue we would like to hear your thoughts on whether ethics should be considered a part of IT education in our Opinion Poll. First though we explore a desktop distribution called SolydXK. The SolydXK project provides a friendly, Debian-based operating system and we explore it in our Feature Story. In our News section we talk about Debian's ongoing debate on init software diversity and report on Google pushing Android kernel modifications upstream to mainstream Linux. Plus we are pleased to share the releases of the past week and list the torrents we are seeding. We wish you all a fantastic week and happy reading!
- Review: SolydXK 10
- News: Debian continues init diversity discussion, Google works to upstream Android kernel patches
- Book review: System Administration Ethics
- Released last week: Pardus 19.1, Zorin OS 15 "Lite"
- Torrent corner: Bluestar, Clonezilla, Container, Endless OS, IPFire, KDE neon, OSMC, Pardus, SmartOS, Zorin OS
- Opinion poll: Teaching ethics in IT courses
- New distributions: Wxubuntu, SNAL Linux, SharpBang
- Reader comments
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (19MB) and MP3 (14MB) formats.
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
SolydXK is a Debian-based desktop distribution. Originally, SolydXK grew out of Linux Mint Debian Edition, providing desktop editions that Mint did not support. However, SolydXK soon grew into its own identity and became independent from Mint, though it does still use the same system installer.
SolydXK is available in two editions: Xfce and KDE Plasma. Since we reviewed the Xfce edition of SolydXK 9 earlier this year, I decided to try out the KDE branch of version 10.
SolydXK 10 is based on Debian 10 "Buster" and provides builds for 64-bit (x86_64) machines. In the past there were builds provided for Raspberry Pi computers, but these have been dropped with version 10. The Xfce edition of SolydXK is a 1.6GB download and the KDE edition I decided to try is a 2.2GB download.
Booting from the distribution's live media brings up the KDE Plasma desktop with a soft, blue theme. There is a panel at the bottom of the screen which holds the application menu, task switcher, and system tray. A single icon for launching the system installer sits in the upper-left corner of the desktop.
The Plasma desktop defaults to using a classic, tree-style application menu with a few modern features. The menu has a search bar and some favourite/quick-launch icons on the left side. The desktop panel also has two quick-launch buttons. Something I noticed early in my trial is hovering the mouse pointer over a launcher does not bring up a tool tip telling us the name of the launcher or a description of its program. I found this frustrating because, to me, several of the icons look similar. The distribution uses a fairly minimal icon design so a handful of the launchers look to me to just be different coloured variations of "a rectangle inside a coloured square". To avoid exploring launchers by trial and error, we can right-click on a launcher to discover its name and any context actions the icon can perform.
SolydXK 10 -- The Plasma application menu
(full image size: 72kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
SolydXK uses the graphical installer from Linux Mint Debian Edition. The installer somewhat resembles other streamlined graphical installers such as Ubiquity and Calamares. We are quickly walked through picking our language, time zone and keyboard layout. We are asked to make up a username and password for ourselves. The partitioning section lists available partitions and asks us to assign mount points to existing partitions. If we need to adjust or create partitions there is a button we can click to launch the GParted partition manager. Then, once we get back to the installer, we can click another button to refresh the list of available partitions. This approach works, though it requires a little more manual work on the user's part, compared to other modern installers. The SolydXK installer supports encryption and most native Linux filesystems such as Btrfs, ext2/3/4, JFS and XFS. Once the installer copies its packages to our hard drive it offers to reboot the computer.
Booting my new copy of SolydXK brought up a graphical login screen where I could sign into the KDE Plasma 5.14 desktop. A welcome window appeared on the desktop, giving an introduction to the distribution, and providing links to the forums and a project news feed. Clicking these links does not open them in a web browser, instead the selected page is loaded in the welcome window itself. This has three drawbacks. The first is that the welcome window lacks the navigation, bookmarks and other features of a web browser. The second is that the news feed is displayed as raw RSS data, without any formatting, making it less than practical. The third is that in order to get back to the welcome screen to explore its other features the user needs to unintuitively click the windows Next button.
SolydXK 10 -- The welcome window displaying the RSS news feed
(full image size: 266kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
The Next button on the welcome window guides us through optional features we can add to SolydXK. The first optional add-on is NordVPN, which we can install with the click of a button. The following pages offer to install Flash, DVD reading software, and some popular applications including the Clementine music player, the Transmission bittorrent software, and Steam. On each page of the welcome screen we are shown a small group of these popular applications and we can check boxes to mark them for installation and then click a button at the bottom of the screen to add them to the system. This process is straight forward, but it has two limitations. The first is that we can only install software from one page at a time. I was not able to select multiple packages across different pages and install them all in one batch. The second (and related) issue is that we are prompted for our admin password each time we install software from a page. This means if we want to install, for instance, four packages spread across four pages, we end up clicking the install button, entering the admin password, and then waiting a few minutes for each package to install four times. Having an option to install packages in a big batch would have been a helpful convenience.
The default Plasma desktop uses a light theme, focusing on soft blues and light greys. Personally, I found the theme a little bright for my taste, and this was easy enough to change in the desktop's settings panel. In fact, just about every aspect of Plasma can easily be tweaked in the System Settings panel. A few versions back Plasma changed the organization of its settings and I felt the transition was rough in places. However, it appears to have smoothed out and I had no trouble navigating the desktop's many settings, themes, and window behaviours. The search feature in the settings panel is welcome and makes hunting down specific options easier than browsing through modules one at a time.
SolydXK 10 -- Adjusting the theme and wallpaper
(full image size: 686kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
I think SolydXK deserves some credit for being one of the few distributions I have used this year which does not lock the desktop after just five minutes of inactivity. SolydXK will blank the screen to save power, but does not lock the screen right away, which makes its defaults more suited to my style of desktop use.
A problem I ran into early on came about when I tried to change the Konsole virtual terminal's font and colours. Konsole ships with two preset settings profiles and trying to alter them fails with an error which says: "Konsole does not have permission to save this profile to: /usr/share/konsole/SolydK.profile". To get around this, we can create a new settings profile and alter it. Though we need to make the new profile the default, otherwise Konsole reverts back to its original look the next time we open the terminal.
SolydXK 10 -- Attempting to change Konsole's profile settings
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SolydXK ships with a relatively small collection of popular open source software. We are given the Firefox web browser (equipped with some useful extensions such as Adblock Origin, Privacy Badger, and HTTPS Everywhere). The Thunderbird e-mail client is included along with LibreOffice and the Okular document viewer. The X11VC Server software is included for remote desktop sessions. I found the VLC media player and the K3b disc burning software are in the application menu. Media codecs for playing audio and video files are installed for us.
SolydXK 10 -- Running Firefox and LibreOffice
(full image size: 265kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
There are also configuration tools for managing printers and the firewall. There are two file managers - Dolphin and Midnight Commander, and the KDE Help documentation. In the background we find the systemd init software, the GNU Compiler Collection, Java, and version 4.19 of the Linux kernel.
While this is a relatively small collection of software, we are able to add other popular items such as a dedicated audio player, gaming software, and torrent clients through the welcome window and the Discover software centre.
SolydXK provides users with two graphical package managers: Discover and Synaptic. Discover provides a modern interface for browsing categories and sub-categories of software. (For instance, Internet may be the category and E-mail and Web Browsers may be sub-categories.) Each entry in a category is displayed with a large icon, name and rating for the application. Clicking on an entry brings up a full page of information on the program with a screenshot. We can queue the selected application for installation or removal with single click. A search box allows us to locate items by typing an application's name or description. Discover can also check for package updates in a separate page, accessed by a button in the lower-left corner of the window.
SolydXK 10 -- Browsing software packages in Discover
(full image size: 348kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
I found Discover to be easy to navigate and stable. However, its interface is sometimes slow to respond. I also found that we are prompted for our password each time we queue a program for installation or removal, making installing multiple items a slow process.
For people who want to manage software in batches or deal with lower level packages, SolydXK also ships with Synaptic. The Synaptic package manager is fast, processes batches of actions on packages, and can also check for software updates.
Most of the distribution's software comes from Debian's repositories. There is also a separate SolydXK repository for some special items and customizations. Some of the applications in Debian's repositories are over a year old, but most of the desktop applications are modern enough to not have their age make a practical difference.
I started by exploring SolydXK in a VirtualBox environment. The distribution integrated with the virtual machine and was able to make use of my host computer's full desktop resolution. I did experience some performance lag in VirtualBox. Windows would respond slowly and menus did not snap open as quickly as I would have liked. In the Plasma settings panel I found the compositor was set to try to balance performance against animation smoothness. Adjusting this to favour performance fixed the issue and, after that, the Plasma desktop was pleasantly responsive.
SolydXK 10 -- Changing desktop settings
(full image size: 109kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
When I tried SolydXK on my physical workstation, everything worked smoothly. Plasma, with the default settings, worked quickly and was highly responsive. The system was stable and all my hardware was properly detected.
SolydXK is relatively light in memory, using around 400MB to 430MB of memory. This amount seemed to vary a bit after I first logged in and I suspect some checks or searches for software updates were happening in the background after my desktop session finished loading. While light in memory, SolydXK took up more than an average amount of disk space. A fresh install used about 7GB of my disk.
I experienced one crash with SolydXK. Once, when shutting down the operating system, everything locked up as I was being logged out. The desktop froze and the system would no longer respond to keyboard input. Eventually I had to force a reboot. This happened only the once and I'm not sure what triggered the problem.
For the most part, I enjoyed my time with SolydXK. The distribution's solid Debian base combined with a polished KDE Plasma experience and a friendly system installer is a great combination. I felt the distribution presented enough default software out of the box to handle most common tasks, while Discover and the welcome window provide easy methods for acquiring more programs.
Apart from one crash during a shutdown, the distribution ran smoothly and worked well with my hardware. I like that SolydXK takes care of a lot of little things like wireless firmware, codecs, and notifying us when updates become available. The distribution did lag a little at first when run in a virtual machine, but this can be quickly fixed in the settings panel, and the desktop ran quickly on physical hardware.
Most of the complaints I had when dealing with SolydXK were matters of taste, not technical problems. For instance, I like a darker theme while the distribution uses a lighter one, which an easy adjustment to make. The welcome screen handles one page of software at a time, prompting us for a password whenever we want to install a new package. This isn't convenient, but it's not a bug at all; it is a speed bump rather than a pothole.
I think SolydXK does a good job of taking plain Debian and adding a layer of friendliness to it. This distribution has similar software, similar strengths and weaknesses, as plain Debian, but with the rough parts polished, the initial setup made a little more friendly, the pieces fitting together with a little more cohesion. SolydXK seems like a good choice for Linux newcomers and people who want a friendly desktop distribution with long-term support.
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Hardware used in this review
My physical test equipment for this review was a desktop HP Pavilon p6 Series with the following specifications:
- Processor: Dual-core 2.8GHz AMD A4-3420 APU
- Storage: 500GB Hitachi hard drive
- Memory: 6GB of RAM
- Networking: Realtek RTL8111 wired network card, Ralink RT5390R PCIe Wireless card
- Display: AMD Radeon HD 6410D video card
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Visitor supplied rating
SolydXK has a visitor supplied average rating of: 8.4/10 from 17 review(s).
Have you used SolydXK? You can leave your own review of the project on our ratings page.
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
Debian continues init diversity discussion, Google works to upstream Android kernel patches
Last week we reported on Debian introducing a general resolution on init software diversity. At the time the Debian team had proposed three possible paths forward: working to maintain init diversity, focusing on systemd while offering some support to alternatives, or focusing exclusively on supporting systemd. The project has added a fourth option to the ballot: supporting non-systemd init options, but without blocking new progress or features. "Ideally, packages should should be fully functional with all init systems. This means (for example) that daemons should ship traditional init scripts, or use other mechanisms to ensure that they are started without systemd. It also means that desktop software should be installable, and ideally fully functional, without systemd. So failing to support non-systemd systems, where no such support is available, is a bug. But it is not a release-critical bug. Whether the requirement for systemd is recorded as a formal bug in the Debian bug system, when no patches are available, is up to the maintainer."
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The Android operating system, commonly used on mobile devices, is based on the Linux kernel. Google currently uses a heavily modified version of the Linux kernel for Android, changing thousands of lines of code to create their custom Android kernel. Google is currently looking at getting their changes introduced back into the Linux project, reducing their maintenance costs and potentially improving Linux device support. An article on Android Police explains: "At this year's Linux Plumbers Conference, Google engineers held talks about the company's efforts to get Android as close as possible to the mainline Linux kernel. Not only would this reduce technical overhead for Google and other companies, because they would no longer have to merge thousands of changes into each new Linux kernel version (and Google would no longer have to support Linux kernel versions for six years), but it could also benefit the Linux project as a whole. For example, the growing number of ARM-based Linux phones and computers could see improved performance and battery life." While this move does offer benefits for both developers and users, it is important to note that the proprietary device drivers many Android phones and tablets use would not become available upstream.
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These and other news stories can be found on our Headlines page.
|Book Review (by Jesse Smith)
System Administration Ethics
Some of our readers may be familiar with a website called Dedoimedo as we often link to detailed reviews of Linux distributions which appear on the site. Dedoimedo's author, Igor Ljubuncic, and I have exchanged the occasional message over the years and he interviewed me as few years ago, covering a range of topics from DistroWatch, to Star Trek, to the future of open source computing. It was a thoroughly fun experience and so, when Igor mentioned he was looking for someone to perform a technical review of a book he was working on, I enthusiastically took the job.
Part of my positive response came from my appreciation of Igor's writing style, which I find smooth and easy to follow. Mostly though I was intrigued because he and his fellow author, Tom Litterer, were tackling a subject that is both dear to my heart and generally overlooked: ethics in the IT field.
Most textbooks and course material in the field of system administration deal with how to do things. Sometimes authors will discuss technical side-effects of certain tasks, like how limiting the rate of connections allowed by a firewall can block legitimate traffic on a complex web page. However, it is extremely rare to see books for administrators discuss the ethical elements of their decisions. This feels like an important gap in IT-related education. These days computers are involved in virtually every part of our lives: shopping, banking, information gathering, communication, work presentations, storing legal documents, gaming, and media streaming. For most people, computers are constantly monitoring, interacting with, and affecting our lives, whether we are aware of it or not.
With this in mind, it is concerning that so much of a system administrator's, or a software developer's, education focuses on how to do things and not whether those things should be done. Or, perhaps more importantly, how things should be done ethically. There are a lot of things administrators can do with good intentions which have nasty side-effects if not handled in a mindful manner.
This is where "System Administration Ethics: Ten Commandments for Security and Compliance in a Modern Cyber World" enters the scene. The book explores why ethics in IT is important, explores the type of scenarios that can arise which can result in poor outcomes, and offers tips on how we can make better decisions, for businesses, for clients, and for the general population.
Throughout the book there is a running narrative, a sort of morality play. In each chapter we ride along with a new system administrator who witnesses examples of ethical and questionable behaviour in his new workplace. The book then highlights good choices the characters have made and identifies bad choices that could have been handled better. The book also sets out some frameworks for making good IT decisions. As the book points out, often times unethical behaviour happens because administrators are rushed, are trying to fix something on the fly, or are facing resource limitations. People are not necessarily trying to act poorly, but are often pressured into acting quickly, possibly without proper procedures in place. Having good frameworks for actions and the decision making process can help a lot and the book outlines how to get better about making tough choices in an IT environment.
In short, System Administration Ethics explores why ethical decisions in an IT environment are important, gives some clear examples of good and poor behaviour anyone who works in the field will probably recognize, and shows us ways to make ethical decisions easier (and bad choices harder) by putting new processes in place. I think it's a good read on a topic that is often overlooked. We, as a society, rely so much on administrators making good choices, but few guides or resources exist to encourage good choices to be made. Hopefully this book gets more people in the field thinking about how we can introduce better, safer behaviour into the IT field, cutting down on data breaches and unethical monitoring in the process.
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- Title: System Administration Ethics: Ten Commandments for Security and Compliance in a Modern Cyber World
- Authors: Igor Ljubuncic and Tom Litterer
- Publisher: Apress
- Pages: 290
- ISBN-10: 1484249879
- ISBN-13: 978-1484249871
- Available from: Amazon
|Released Last Week
Pardus is a GNU/Linux distribution jointly developed by the Scientific & Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK) and National Academic Network and Information Centre (ULAKBİM). The project's latest update is Pardus 19.1. An English translation of the project's Turkish release notes reads: "Version 19.1 of Pardus, which is developed by TÜBİTAK ULAKBİM has been published. Pardus 19.1 is the first interim version of the Pardus 19 family. Changes: update notification desk has been added to Xfce and GNOME editions; Pinta and GIMP image editor application will be installed in Xfce and GNOME editions; GNOME interface improvements have been made; Pardus Mazağa application has been improved; updates with more than 200 packages and patches have been introduced to the installed system; over 2,000 packages have been updated in the repository; Firefox version 68.2 has been updated to be the default web browser; default email client Thunderbird has been updated to version 68.2.2; VLC is the default media player and it has been updated to 3.0.8; default office suite applications have been updated to LibreOffice 6.1.5."
Zorin OS 15 "Lite
Artyom Zorin has announced the release of Zorin OS 15 "Lite" edition, an Ubuntu-based, beginner-friendly desktop Linux distribution designed for older and low-specification computers. It features the Xfce 4.14 desktop. From the release announcement: "We're excited to announce the release of the Zorin OS 15 Lite, our lightweight operating system for old and low-spec computers. With Zorin OS 15 Lite, we've condensed the full Zorin OS experience into a streamlined operating system, designed to run fast on computers as old as 15 years. With version 15, we've gone the extra mile to make the Xfce 4.14-based desktop feel familiar and user-friendly to new users, especially those moving away from Windows 7 leading up to the end of its support in January 2020. By pairing the most advanced and efficient software with a user-friendly experience, we've made it possible for anyone to extend the lifespan of their computers for years to come. We’ve refreshed and refined the look and feel of the Zorin OS Lite desktop with a new, more welcoming desktop theme. It has been designed with clarity and simplicity in mind, minimizing the visual load of the interface so the content takes center stage."
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
The table below provides a list of torrents DistroWatch is currently seeding. If you do not have a bittorrent client capable of handling the linked files, we suggest installing either the Transmission or KTorrent bittorrent clients.
Archives of our previously seeded torrents may be found in our Torrent Archive. We also maintain a Torrents RSS feed for people who wish to have open source torrents delivered to them. To share your own open source torrents of Linux and BSD projects, please visit our Upload Torrents page.
Torrent Corner statistics:
- Total torrents seeded: 1,711
- Total data uploaded: 28.9TB
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
|Opinion Poll (by Jesse Smith)
Teaching ethics in IT courses
In our book review this week we talked about ethics in IT and how the ethical concerns of the industry are rarely taught in classes or discussed in system administration books. Other professionals, such as medical doctors and engineers, cover ethics as a part of their training, but system administrators rarely do, focusing instead on the technical aspects of how to perform tasks, not whether a task should be performed. Do you think ethics is a topic which should be taught in IT classes or should ethics be an entirely separate course? Let us know why in the comments.
You can see the results of our previous poll on running a distro's main edition versus running a community spin in last week's edition. All previous poll results can be found in our poll archives.
Teaching ethics in IT courses
|Ethics should be included in all IT courses: ||570 (54%)|
| Ethics should be included in long/full courses and skipped in short ones: ||142 (14%)|
| Ethics should be a separate course: ||177 (17%)|
| Ethics should be available as an optional IT credit: ||113 (11%)|
| Other: ||45 (4%)|
|Website News (by Jesse Smith)
Distributions added to waiting list
- Wxubuntu. Wxubuntu is a distribution based on Xubuntu 20.04's development branch. The project includes WINE to facilitate running Windows applications.
- SNAL Linux. SNAL stands for Simple, Networked, and Live. The project is based on Arch Linux and features networking tools, the i3 window manager, and Firefox.
- SharpBang. SharpBang is a Debian-based distribution featuring a desktop environment provided by Openbox/Tint2.
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DistroWatch database summary
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This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 2 December 2019. Past articles and reviews can be found through our Article Search page. To contact the authors please send e-mail to:
- Jesse Smith (feedback, questions and suggestions: distribution reviews/submissions, questions and answers, tips and tricks)
- Ladislav Bodnar (feedback, questions, donations, comments)
- Bruce Patterson (podcast)
|Linux Foundation Training
|Reader Comments • Jump to last comment
1 • two subjects, see below (by Tux Raider on 2019-11-25 00:33:39 GMT from United States) |
1, Debian should be a init-agnostic distro in order to allow users to make the choice as to which init system the user prefers
2. google's android/linux kernel, yeah, i think so, roll google's mods into the kernel source as soon as people like Eben Moglen and RMS and other developers can have a good look at it and audit and scan enough of it to feel good about it
2 • ethics (by bob on 2019-11-25 02:02:41 GMT from Australia)
I guess it could be optional, but for people who may be doing a course but are not planning on working in that exact area its a waste of time.
I had to do a similar "ethics" sections in my educations and it was a total waste.
3 • distro team size (by Johnathan on 2019-11-25 02:12:58 GMT from New Zealand)
I find that a large factor in settling on a distro is knowing how large (or small) the team is and how stable that team seems over time from what one can find out. Its not always a reliable measure, but a good indicator of whether the distro will be there next week.
So we have interesting distros like SolydXK or BlueStar - which seem to have a small team (1-8? people). Solus was a 1-man band, then a small team and when the 'founder' left the distro floundered for a while. Manjaro, as wonderful as it is, has a small team. I see small team as a higher risk.
Conversely, a huge team like you would find at Debian, Canonical, Suse, etc are tied down by the big corporate culture. This can prevent innovation. Both Debian and Ubuntu are "ok", but several derivatives downstream of those two are a better user experience.
A good example of a Debuntu downstream is Mint with a team of 12-36 or so (I'm guessing) - and they ride the sweet spot between innovation and stability. Note that both MATE and Cinnamon came from that stable.
4 • SolydXK (by anon on 2019-11-25 05:02:18 GMT from United States)
SolydXK ended my distro hopping 3 years ago. I use it as my daily driver, and I couldn't be happier with it. Sure, it's not the fanciest or most cutting edge distro, but it is a stable, reliable, rock solid distro that provides just enough tools out of the box to allow you to be productive while also giving you the option to add so much more on top of it. It isn't sexy like Mint, Ubuntu, Manjaro, Solus, etc. but it provides exactly what a lot of people are looking for - a simple, clean desktop experience that just works without being too buggy or bloated.
5 • Ethics (by Kurt_Aust on 2019-11-25 06:34:33 GMT from Australia)
As always in these cases it comes down to "who decides" what the ethics are?
Giovanni Gentile wanted to create "the ethical state" for Italy (Fascism) as opposed to "the night watchman" of Great Britain / USA (Liberal Democracies).
And then there have been cases in the USA where socialist ethics professors have been caught fabricating documents to push a political agenda or beating people they disagree with over the head with an iron bar.
I'm not saying that one shouldn't act ethically, but having highly politicised university departments dictate what those ethics are is possibly an ill-advised idea.
6 • Ethics (by Alexandru on 2019-11-25 08:02:13 GMT from Romania)
Unfortunately, as @5 pointed out, when ethics is on the road to disappearing and even guverns often act unethical, a much more important courses would be "Why ethics matter" or "How a professional benefits from being ethical".
7 • Age of packages (by Tim on 2019-11-25 10:12:22 GMT from United States)
I agree with Jesse's statement that desktop software is really mature enough at this point that cutting edge isn't as important as it once was. That said, one nice feature of Debian and Debian based distros like SolydXK or LMDE is the Debian backports repository. Sometimes a deal breaker for a stable distro is that some problem that bugs a user has been solved upstream but won't make it into an already in use LTS. Backports solves that. I remember using LMDE 2 near its EOL and thinking it was pretty fresh because if backports
8 • Ethics (by Kevan on 2019-11-25 10:13:51 GMT from United States)
By teaching it to developers and such the assumption is that the ethical decision will actually rest in the hands of the ones who are writing the software or performing the actual task.
How often is this the case..
It goes beyond "who defines ethics".. as if that problem were solved, the next problem would be to figure out who is most likely to be in a position to be making decisions for other people which may be ethical or unethical in nature.
My two cents.
9 • SolydXK... (by Marc V. on 2019-11-25 11:28:24 GMT from Netherlands)
I never used SolydXK before, because I just got "stuck" with Xubuntu, Linux Mint, Debian and Manjaro on several machines. I also did distro hopping a lot of times, tried them all for a short period of time, but I found the earlier mentioned distro's the most pleasant to work with over the years.
I've got to say: what I have seen in the screenshots of the SolydXK, it pleases my eye to the max. What a stunning and beautiful layout this distro has by default. Thanks to the SolydXK crew of course, but also to KDE. Opposite to the reviewer, I like the light theme even more than the dark theme. The light theme gives me a feeling of being outside on a beautiful sunny day in the summer, somewhere in a beautiful place. I almost want to order a piña colada when I see this light themed desktop. Lovely...
My "complaint" sometimes is that most Linux distro's look so "cheapo" by default. Most Linux distro's have lots of inconsistency with icon use, system tray icons that aren't uniform, different layouts in programs, inconsistent themes et cetera. But this one just looks chique, beautiful, slick and all superlatives you can think of. It had the same effect on me when I'm out somewere, sitting around, and you see the most stunning girl strolling by with a beautiful evening gown on. It just catches your eye, you can't resist watching and you won't let go 'til she got around the corner.
I'm gonna make some room on one of my many laptops to install SolydXK, and see for myself if this "beautiful girl" matches my expectations. Let's figure out if this "beautiful girl" behaves as sweet as it looks like.... ;-)
What's the default used icon theme on SolydXK? I like it a lot too. Would look lovely on my other distros....
10 • SystemDebian (by CS on 2019-11-25 13:24:15 GMT from United States)
As someone who mostly consumes Linux in containers and on servers, I'm so relieved the RHEL community isn't entertaining this multi-incompatibile-init-system lunacy.
11 • Poll (by dragonmouth on 2019-11-25 13:55:51 GMT from United States)
Ethics should be a separate, required course in all IT-related curricula. The subject of ethics is too important to be relegated to just a few lessons as part of another course.
12 • Ethics (by Tim on 2019-11-25 14:18:14 GMT from United States)
When I was a graduate student my university was developing an ethics class for researchers and it was pretty impressive. It wasn't a lecture on "here is ethics" but rather a set of case studies that a researcher could find themselves in and then the whole class discussing how the situation could be handled in many different ways. I found it very useful and not about instilling a set of values but rather developing a process for making decisions in a fair way
13 • Ethics (by Paraplegic Racehorse on 2019-11-25 15:26:14 GMT from United States)
While I whole-heartedly support teaching ethics (in all fields, even Basketweaving), I question the practical value of doing it. Prime example: lawyers and police. There are required ethics courses, and then there is how they actually go about doing their jobs. In some ways, I think the ethics courses give them a better idea of how to go about doing these things, and still be able to sleep at night.
14 • Mate @3 (by sydneyj on 2019-11-25 16:10:13 GMT from United States)
@3 Actually, Mate was created in 2011 by an Arch user, Perberos. Here's the announcement on the Arch Forum. I think you'll find it interesting.
15 • @ 3, @ 14 Lubuntu dev (by OstroL on 2019-11-25 16:50:10 GMT from Poland)
Thanks for reminding us about Mate @14. Wonder how many of us remember, who created Lubuntu, now that neither Lubuntu is there nor its creator is not around. Sure, someone might say Lubuntu is still there, but what is now called Lubuntu is LQtubuntu, not the former snappy distro!
16 • @Jesse et&all, please think before you write (by Ram on 2019-11-25 17:13:57 GMT from India)
"...enough default software out of the box to handle most common tasks..."
It's 2020 almost.
Even mobile phones are coming loaded with screen recorders, video editors!! Why I should use a desktop computer????
I'm till now searching a good Plasma KDE based distro to recommend some body!
1) none comes with all of Plasma KDE to showcase others. 10yrs back KNOPPIX used to be a great example, now no more.
2) very few works out-of-box (as per present day requirements).
3) none with focus on security (top-to-bottom). Probably OpenSUSE is an exception.
4) for a long time the MTP is not working, and it says working with Android devices! Also there are other bugs never solved.
5) for GNOME3 haters, KDE4 onwards are not safe land either.
6) what is the importance of developing & maintaining a huge KDE framework by a little community, if present day Qt is quite sufficient to do the required jobs! At least the Qt apps are saying that.
Only hope was with Blue Systems Maui > Netrunner, but it's at all not showing any improvement.
17 • Ethics!! ha ha ha (by Ram on 2019-11-25 17:26:04 GMT from India)
Just take a look at the doctors world-wide.
Just take a look at the lawyers world-wide.
Just take a look at the journalists world-wide.
Just take a look at the democratically selected administrators (politicians) world-wide.
Want to add more?? OK, add it...
I think, it's better to reduce the burden of students and give them enough free time to come out with some real solution to a present day (real) problem what the Life on earth is facing. Then give them a certificate. That's it.
18 • Ethics (by Sananab on 2019-11-25 17:34:33 GMT from Canada)
If an ethics class gets through to even a small percent of the students, that would great. I still don't think it would prevent the next Poettering or Zuckerberg, though.
19 • Ram rant... (by Friar Tux on 2019-11-25 19:19:27 GMT from Canada)
@16 (Ram) The whole point of Linux is that if you're not satisfied with what is being offered, you can build your own. If you can't find a 'good Plasma KDE" build it. MATE, Cinnamon, TDE, and such, were all made by people that were not satisfied with the offerings at the time. Manjaro, Antergos, and such, were built by people that weren't satisfied with how Arch installed. And the list goes on... Not satisfied in Linux is no excuse. Build it, my friend, then share it with those that are of your opinion. THAT is the magic of Linux.
20 • Ethics (by Roger on 2019-11-25 19:41:01 GMT from Belgium)
I always try to explain at my students to include ethics in their work. There is no point in doing something when you don't do it the right way. When I myself lack the knowledge to do a task I explain why I can not do it or learn how to do it. Never be a tinkerer and believe that it will be OK.
21 • Ethics (by Nathan on 2019-11-25 20:11:46 GMT from United States)
I would much rather use a hacker's toolbox to verify for myself that I'm not being exploited than trust that devs are acting ethically. I am grateful to devs at Microsoft and Apple for acting unethically, and to service providers like Google and Facebook for being so off-the-deep-end morally bankrupt that I'm not tempted to use their products because they're "bad but not *that* bad". Unfortunately, the internet is a hostile place, and blindly trusting anybody out there to act ethically is asking to be exploited. Don't trust; verify. So mandatory ethics course? Sure, and hope that it sticks, but plan as if it won't.
22 • @10 (by koolaid guzzler on 2019-11-25 20:41:59 GMT from United States)
Pointless comment. It's against corporate policy for any part of the "RHEL Community" to characterize anything besides System D as 'progress'. If Red Hat doesn't control it, they don't want it. It's System D or scorched Earth in your fiery corner of RHEL.
Red Hat really puts the IBM in ICBM with their init Samson Option. The shills running Debian are merely wordsmithing their way out of accountability. No matter what their fake 'votes' determine, they will claim other inits were accepted while they continue to toe each line drawn by their fedora-wearing superiors.
Doesn't matter if they call it a tack, nail or screw-- the coffin will be just as sealed.
23 • about ethics (by victor on 2019-11-25 21:25:10 GMT from Moldova, Republic of)
A question here:
If someone would be taught ethics IT curses for those who developed great china firewall,
would they do it anyway with this kind of knowledge ?
also what motivates developers who develop tracking scripts, would they do them if
So ya ethics is important, cause with great power(knowledge how to program) comes great responsibility, not to program bad things
24 • Ram rant... (by Ram on 2019-11-25 22:17:57 GMT from India)
@19 (Friar Tux), thanks for your kind attention.
I have never said I am unsatisfied with Linux or open source community or software as a whole.
You missed the whole point!! Please read from the first line of my comment @16.
This "Distrowatch.com" is a news site. And it's a journalist's responsibility to alert readers about the problems as it is, as well as solutions if possible.
I have mentioned about event before 10yrs back, so probably I'm also part of this open source community, is not it?
I have just put some thoughts where we need serious attention as early as possible.
There are so much scope to work on, but the new developers are not finding the right place to show their talent, is not it odd? All are fighting for the same place, is not the world big enough for all of us?
Thanks for reminding, "Build it, my friend, then share it with those that are of your opinion. THAT is the magic of Linux." Actually "That's the magic of FLOSS".
I'm actually thinking about doing something using Gentoo & Xfce or MATE, but I'm not a computer engineer by formal education, so my ability is limited here as of now. :)
Any assistance is welcome.
25 • SolydXK (by anon on 2019-11-26 02:37:36 GMT from United States)
I agree with every point that you stated. The default icon theme is named Breeze. I like how SolydXK looks because it has a very basic look that is easy on the eyes. It's not exactly Deepin or ElementaryOS, but it stands on its own two feet with a simple yet elegant style. I guess by "sexy", I mean that it is not fancy and dressed up like distros such as Solus, Deepin, Zorin, etc. that go out of their way to present an amazingly good looking distro to the average user. However, it does have a beautiful simplicity and cleanliness that makes it look very appealing in its own right, and I personally like it very much. It's based on Debian stable, and it plays very nice with my hardware, and I hope that you have the same pleasant experience when you try it out. Since it's Debian stable, you won't have the most cutting edge software available, but you will have a solid, reliable base to work from.
26 • Ethics (by Joseph on 2019-11-26 04:20:04 GMT from United States)
If you've reached the age of attending college and yet require a textbook to tell you what is ethical, there's a bigger problem in play. Ethics isn't a college course like Java, complete with textbooks and homework assignments. On top of that, IT isn't a field in which there are an abundance of moral value calls. My vote is for "ethics doesn't have a place in the college IT curriculum".
27 • Ethics (by Friar Tux on 2019-11-26 13:32:21 GMT from Canada)
@26 (Joseph) Wow... How can one be so wrong. As an IT admin/tech you are dealing with/have access to tons of personal data. I would hope that you would have even a tiny bit of ethics training under your belt. I DO agree with your first statement (the bigger problem), though I think the training should be there, at least, to show the importance of dealing ethically with other peoples 'property'. I believe our present problems with what happens to our data stems largely from the fact that ethics courses in this area are relatively new (probably due to said present problem). (Question: How many people at Facebook and/or Google took ethics courses as part of their training?)
28 • @26: (by dragonmouth on 2019-11-26 14:24:11 GMT from United States)
Once upon the time, ethics courses, along with Greek and Latin, were part of every college curriculum. Over the years they were deemed to be superfluous and we are the poorer for it. I don't know about Greek and Latin, but based on the way the world has been going the past few decades, Ethics courses should be included in all curricula at the primary, secondary or college level, OR even on all three levels.
"If you've reached the age of attending college and yet require a textbook to tell you what is ethical, there's a bigger problem in play. "
Yes, there certainly is. The assumption in your statement is that the parents should have taught you ethical behavior. But what happens when generation after generation deems Ethics a waste of time?. If you do not have exposure to Ethics, you will not be able to teach your children and they, in turn, will not be able to teach their children, etc, etc, etc, propagating the problem down the generations. If individuals are not taught ethics at home and the course is not taught in college, when and how are people supposed to learn ethical behavior? Are they automagically supposed to absob it from the air by osmosis?
29 • @26, 27, 28 Ethics (by Lancre on 2019-11-26 15:24:34 GMT from United States)
There are laws, morals and ethics. One would hope they are all in alignment, But sometimes they are not.
Morals are what is right and what is wrong. You should have learned that growing up.
Laws are a rather ham-handed attempt to codify those morals. Given the inherent limitations of language, It's difficult to do. So even with the best intentions, you wind up with 500 page laws that still make some moral acts illegal and some immoral acts legal.
Ethics relate more to professional behavior. Acts that may be both legal and moral for the general public might be unethical in professional practice. So a course on what is ethical for a programmer or other IT professional would be in order. An abbreviated version of same included in most programming courses wouldn't be a bad idea either.
30 • "Ethics" :rolleyes: (by 01101001b on 2019-11-26 19:30:55 GMT from Argentina)
Ethics?? A waste of time. The one and only ethics that has some value is the one your parents taught you and you apply in your entire life and activities. Any "ethics" apart from that, nobody cares in real life (like legal "ethics"... a bad joke).
31 • Debian Init discussion (by 01101001b on 2019-11-26 20:56:48 GMT from Argentina)
A pointless discussion I think. Systemd as an init alternative was never the problem. The real problem has always been the decision to make linux a systemd-dependant, cr@ppy system. And now it is. Congrats.
32 • Google (by Jim on 2019-11-26 21:59:43 GMT from United States)
The less I see Google and MS involved in the writing of the Linux kernel, the better I think it is for Linux. If they want to use it and modify it later for their own use, that is fine, I am talking about developing the kernel.
33 • choice (by FedUpMonkeyMan on 2019-11-26 22:53:12 GMT from Mexico)
Linux is supposed to be about choice and the ability to customize a distro how we choose. WTF the can i not uninstall certain apps in distros like Ubuntu or Fedora without making the system go tits-up? There are some apps that I just don't want or need but the almighty gods have said, nope, get lost, you can't mess around with my divine creation, you'll just have to fudge off and use another distro. I like Ubuntu because it doesn't break my laptop in half, but i don't like systemd. Can i use openrc or good ol' sysv? Denied again, by the angry ubunut gods, this time with threats of quartering and eye gouging. So what happened to customization, what happened to choice, what happened to being able to make a great system even better?
34 • @33: (by dragonmouth on 2019-11-26 23:09:15 GMT from United States)
But you DO have a choice- you can choose to use *buntu or you can choose not to. Is that not enough choice for you?! :-)
35 • choice (by FedUpMonkeyMan on 2019-11-26 23:46:20 GMT from Mexico)
That's an argument for half wits. It's like saying i can choose to take drink water or not. The point my dull witted friend, was that I like every in Ubuntu but i want to choose another init, and i can't. I would have to go over to Devuan which breaks my wireless and other things. And don't come back and tell me to build it myself. In Linux we shouldn't have to. Selecting options like init should be a click selection option. Like MX Linux..yes, but MX linux comes bundled with loads of crapware that i can't uninstall without breaking the system. See the dilema?
36 • About choice (by Jesse on 2019-11-27 00:00:03 GMT from Canada)
@35: "And don't come back and tell me to build it myself. In Linux we shouldn't have to."
The whole concept of Linux being about choice is that it's open source and people can configure and patch their system they way they want. If you're asking someone else to do the work for you then you are intentionally giving up your choice in the matter and leaving the choice up to someone else.
I went into where the "choice" concept came from, its history, and why it doesn't mean what you are implying here: https://distrowatch.com/weekly.php?issue=20180806#opinion
37 • @35, Just the way you like it. (by Angel on 2019-11-27 01:58:12 GMT from Philippines)
"And don't come back and tell me to build it myself. In Linux we shouldn't have to."
But someone else has to build it for you, just to suit you? With no effort but a click on your part? Sure, it can be done exactly as you like. Just hire and pay someone to do it. Believe it or not, that is also allowed in Linux.
38 • Teaching ethics in IT (by zephyr on 2019-11-27 04:51:15 GMT from United States)
Should have Lennart Pottering draw up the criteria! (sarc)
39 • About choice (by dragonmouth on 2019-11-27 13:40:34 GMT from United States)
I guess you are too wrapped up in your self-righteous indignation to notice that I was being sarcastic and absolutely agreeing with you.
There are two problems with your statement:
a) not everyone is skilled or knowledgeable enough to configure and patch their system the way they want. Just because you can do it, doesn't mean everyone can. Brain surgery is easy if you are a neurosurgeon. Not everyone is ready, willing and/or able to install Arch, Gentoo, Linux from Scratch or Source Mage.
b) I've been futzing with Linux since the late 1990s. Since then, I have noticed Linux distros to be getting less and less modular. In their quest to deliver the next "Linux for the masses" and to eliminate the burden of making install-time decisions by the users, developers have been making their distros more and more monolithic, eliminating choice. The most touted distro for newbies, Ubuntu, is so tightly integrated that no programs installed by default can be uninstalled without making the distro unbootable. To many users, programs such as "cowsay" and "fortune", are superfluous. However, any attempt to uninstall them will result in the removal of "ubuntuntu-minimal" and the borking of the system. Who needs a language pack for every language spoken on Earth? Who needs a driver for every sound card or video card ever made? Unfortunately, all of them have "ubuntu-minimal" as a dependency. Ubuntu is an extreme example. However, other distros have their own quirks. You try to uninstall a package then you find out that some other, unrelated but vital to the system package will also be uninstalled.
I recently installed the latest version of PCLinuxOS TDE. After the install was finished, I spent couple of hours uninstalling 1.3 gigabytes worth of packages that I was never going to use. Only few packages I wanted to remove were dependent/dependencies of packages I wanted to use. That is choice.
40 • About choice (by Jesse on 2019-11-27 15:21:22 GMT from Canada)
@39: "Jesse: There are two problems with your statement:"
In response to point A, I am aware not everyone currently has the skills to patch software. However, if someone wants their software to function differently than it does, they have a couple of options (which I outlined in the article I linked to above). A person can learn the skills. A person can hire someone who has the skills. A person can crowd source a solution or rally others to their cause. None of those approaches require that people start with the same skill set someone like myself has, but all of them require some degree of effort.
And that is the thing, Linux is about the freedom and choice to _do_ something, to learn and make changes. Linux can be whatever you want it to be, if you put in the effort. If a person is not willing to put in any effort, the community doesn't owe them anything. There is no point in complaining about someone else's freely given software if one is not willing to effect their own change.
As to point B, I think you're confusing modular coding style and design with meta-packages. Even if, as you say, distros like Ubuntu are less modular (which I don't necessarily agree with), there are plenty of others. Arch, Slackware, Gentoo, and Void are all highly configurable, modular OSes.
It sounds like you are suggesting (and I may be wrong in this) that someone should be able to use a pre-packages, highly automated system like Ubuntu and still enjoy all the customizability of something like Slackware without putting in the effort to learn how to do that themselves. Which returns us to my response to point A.
People can use what is given to them, learn how to customize their system, pay someone to do it for them, etc. But no one is going to take complaints seriously if no effort/money/incentive is forthcoming.
41 • Choice or no choice (by FedUpMonkeyMan on 2019-11-27 15:53:00 GMT from Mexico)
Apologies @dragonmouth, I was feeling particularly salty yesterday. Don't take it personal. I appreciate your followup and enunciating further on my point, especially on the primary issue of system breakage due to uninstalling bundled superfluous apps within most distros, especially Ubuntu.
I understand, that I should be able to compile my own version of Linux after having worked with it for a number of years, but I don't enjoy the stress of dealing with dependency hell. I remember waaaaay back in 1996 when I had my first version of Slack, that we still had to compile the kernel. We could remove almost everything we didn't want or need. Yes, it was much more modular back then, but more difficult for the average Joe. So I understand that Ubuntu has gone the way of Apple, in locking down the system, but I believe this is the wrong design decision.
What we need is a two tier approach. A standard install that used ubuntu-minimal for eg, as well as the old style "expert" install option where we can tweak the installation as we see fit. Now this is me being idealistic and it won't happen. Like @Dragonmouth stated, my only choice is probably to switch to another distro. Something that I loathe to do as Debian base distros have what i want. Anyway, I like MX Linux option to select or deselect Systemd. I wish that options like this, at least for the init, and hopefully others would be included.
PCLinux I looked at years ago. Maybe I will check it out. I like Arch too, as they are rolling. But Manjaro also suffers from bundled crapware and system breakage, even more so than Ubuntu when trying to uninstall preinstalled apps. I find that very strange.
If any devs are reading this, please work on making systems more modular and add an "expert" install option.
42 • @40: (by dragonmouth on 2019-11-27 18:26:23 GMT from United States)
"A person can learn the skills."
Yes, they can but why do they HAVE to? How much skill does it take to uninstall package(s) if they are not tied to system file(s)?
"I think you're confusing modular coding style and design with meta-packages"
Maybe I am. I don't what the current definitions of "meta-package" and "modular" is. As far as I am concerned Ubuntu is one, huge meta-package (or one huge module, if you prefer). Either way, it is not easily configurable by a casual Linux user. (By configurable, I do not mean 'look and feel' or installation of additional packages)
"It sounds like you are suggesting (and I may be wrong in this) that someone should be able to use a pre-packages (sic), highly automated system like Ubuntu"
That I am not doing. Ubuntu has its place as a distro for people who want to run Linux apps without being familiar with Linux. I just used it as an example of a very hard to alter distro.
"still enjoy all the customizability of something like Slackware without putting in the effort to learn how to do that themselves"
There is a middle ground between distros like Slackware and like Ubuntu. There are distros like PCLinuxOS which do not require a certification in Linux to use but also do not present a Mackinrosh-like black box to the user.
43 • Crapware (by Barney Rubble on 2019-11-27 18:50:26 GMT from Luxembourg)
I see a number of posts lamenting the fact that uninstalling packages installed by default with various distros (Ubuntu and MX Linux to name two) potentially breaks the system.
I recently installed MX Linux after a positive Distrowatch review and I'm loving it.
What is the concern about superfluous packages installed by default? Is it simply that they take up disk space or is there some performance impact which I am ignorant of?
Or is it simply a desire for a system which is lean?
As a relative newbie I'm often grateful for a heads-up on software which I would probably otherwise never have found.
44 • Uninstalling "default" packages (by OstroL on 2019-11-27 22:14:53 GMT from Poland)
If you uninstall a default package, and if/when it takes out other packages, all you have to do is make a list of those uninstalled-together packages and reinstall them, so that they become specifically manually installed.
Say, if you uninstall ubuntu-minimum, and it wants to take away a whole lot of packages, it would do that, when you try to autoremove. But, before you write 'yes' to go forward with autoremove, copy paste the whole list somewhere. Check what you want, reinstall all those you want.
45 • 'Ethics'--the old-hashoned word is 'MORALS' (by R. Cain on 2019-11-27 22:20:28 GMT from United States)
This entire subject is a pathetic testimonial to where our society has arrived.
YOU CAN *NOT* TEACH ETHICS TO SOMEONE WHO HAS NONE. And, conversely, an ethical individual does NOT need to have his or her time wasted by being "...taught 'ethics'...".
Anyone who is the least bit cognizant of the rudiments of childhood development knows that children LEARN MORALS (and ETHICS, which topic / subject is completely ant totally inseparable from 'morals') from their parents (or parent-surrogates), between the ages of two and four or five years of age. Period. End of discussion.
If a child has not learned moral (ethical) behavior by the time it is five years old, the child is a nascent sociopath, whose behavior will only get worse--until the child, if shrewd and smart (an unfortunate--for society--characteristic of a lot of sociopaths), defensively develops "cloaking behavior".
One can NOT teach ethical behavior from a textbook...most particularly when the formative years have long disappeared.
This subject has been discussed many times--and on the internet, no less--vis-a-vis the behavior exhibited by (more than just a smattering of) "corporate leaders".
46 • @45 R.Cain: (by dragonmouth on 2019-11-27 23:42:04 GMT from United States)
"children LEARN MORALS (and ETHICS, which topic / subject is completely ant totally inseparable from 'morals') from their parents (or parent-surrogates)"
What if the parents are never learned morals or developed corrupted morals? How can they teach their children the society-accepted morals?
47 • #45Ethics (by vern on 2019-11-28 00:07:04 GMT from United States)
One of the rare occurrences that I'm in total agreement with R. Cain. And that 0-5 year timeline is spot on.
I suppose without ethics can sort of fake it, but from what I've seen, not likely.
I also thought odd to try and add ethics into a technical text.
48 • Ethics (by Jesse on 2019-11-28 00:27:14 GMT from Canada)
I think this week's comment thread is a prime example of why it is so important we teach ethics in professional courses. There is a lot of misunderstanding displayed here on what ethics is and how people come to ethical decisions.
While it's true that parents can (and often do) teach their kids some basic guidelines about socially acceptable behaviour (don't steal, don't hurt others, be polite) that is quite different from the field of professional ethical decision making.
Parents aren't teaching their children how to handle situations like the HR director coming to the IT department and asking them to access people's e-mail accounts to find and delete confidential information they accidentally sent out to the wrong mailing list. Or being asked by a business manager to set up secret cameras to catch a theft on staff. Or how to decide who should be able to access server logs. Or how to handle a directive from a boss that violates company policy. These are the sorts of things IT people deal will constantly that aren't covered by most current IT courses and aren't typically addressed by parents or general society growing up.
49 • @45 Unteachable ethics. (by Angel on 2019-11-28 01:04:09 GMT from Philippines)
"Anyone who is the least bit cognizant of the rudiments of childhood development knows that children LEARN MORALS (and ETHICS, which topic / subject is completely ant totally inseparable from 'morals') from their parents (or parent-surrogates), between the ages of two and four or five years of age."
Following that line of reasoning, first man-woman, whoever they were, learned ethics by the time they were 4 or 5. From whom they learned, I have no idea. After that, no one has learned ethics beyond that.
50 • extraware (not "crapware") (by ernie on 2019-11-28 07:10:55 GMT from United States)
@43 The first concern (IMO) is toward unnecessarily bloating the size of each system backup fileset + the extra runtime to perform each backup. Unless your backup strategy uses incremental versioning, the "extra stuff" cumulatively adds a noticeable overhead.
A second concern: If the person(s) I'm setting the system up for will never use programA or programB, it is a nuisance (and possibly confusing) for them to scroll past menu entries for those programs every time they visit the desktop menu.
A third concern, one which is specific to the liveboot sessions: we can choose to use "toram" and the entire O/S (well, the content of the rootfs) is preloaded into RAM. This enables no-lag loading of programs throughout the session (vs possibly tap tap tap repeatedly waiting for files to be read from a slow USB pendrive or from a liveboot CD/DVD). By removing extraware then performing a live-remaster operation to build a new, smaller, rootfs we can acheive faster bootup AND have less overhead from the RAM-resident rootfs content during each toram session.
Beyond programs that you'll never use, one kind of preinstalled "extraware" comes from a distro's including 20-40 sets of documentation, translated to various languages (locales). If you "apt install localepurge" and choose to keep one the one, or 3(?) languages you speak then "apt install bleachbit" and use bleachbit to remove "locales files", you can expect it will free up over 200 megabytes of disk space. That's a considerable hunk-o-files you'll not be needlessly archiving each time you perform a backup operation.
Each time you perform "apt purge" from the commandline or, within synaptic, "mark for complete removal", the package management system will warn whether removal of a given package would cause other packages to also be removed. Unless you ignore or dismiss those warnings, removing a preinstalled package is not going to "break your system". After removing something via synaptic, I usually followup by checking "apt autoremove" in a terminal emulator. That will inform you which other packages are no-longer-needed leftovers which can, now, be safely removed.
51 • Bloats, Backups and Basic User Restrictions (by Kevan on 2019-11-28 14:29:54 GMT from United States)
First, I'd like to point out that your examples are so highly Debian based, no one outside the "apt" world will understand it..
Second, I'd wonder why you were including Bleachbits locale files to begin with...
Third, the fact that apt and similar managers force the removal of linked dependencies bugs the crap out of me (and probably any Slackware user..). In the event that I was tinkering or need to remove a given package to reinstall a freshly downloaded copy (corrupt file, full update with purge, etc), I now have to reinstall and download the same dependencies it just removed..
That being said, not all places in the world enjoy cheap data costs, so simple tasks become more expensive because someone decided that I couldn't choose to install something without them "fixing it for me"..
In addition, I may be installing a fork of the same software with the same dependencies.. which again I'm now having to redownload and install because I wanted to remove a single package..
I will agree however to the general idea here that extra software which is not inherently needed to manage the system can be both annoying and confusing to many. Something the proprietary OS's may be handling better than the distribution developers who assume they know everything you'll be needing and bundle it with it.
Slackware is an odd exception in some ways as it has no real "running bloat" to speak of but arguably contains a vast amount isn't software which will sit there doing nothing but updates..
52 • Ethics (by Terry on 2019-11-28 15:40:07 GMT from United States)
Ethics is a separate subject and should be taught separately. It can be part of a required curriculum for a major or minor degree from college or university but not a requirement of an IT class itself.
53 • choice (by FedUpMonkeyMan on 2019-11-28 16:12:42 GMT from Mexico)
One last thing about bundled "crapware". Crapware for me, are apps that are installed by default that I absolutely will never need but can't uninstall without breaking dependencies and the said system, whether Ubuntu, Fedora, Manjaro etc.
Ubuntu at least has a minimal install option, this is good, however there are still apps within this minimal install that I don't want but am unable to uninstall. I could just ignore, of course, however I like my system to be as lean as possible. Why do I need Evolution infested in my system when i never use it? I don't know. But i can't uninstall it. Meta packages can't be uninstalled.
I understand the definition of "choice" within Linux, according the linked article by Jessie, may have been misconstrued over time. Choice may simply mean, that we now have so many distros, that we have opensource alternatives to propriety OS's like MacOS and Windblows. That's fine, but like he stated, it has come to mean different things to different people.
"Choice" is here to stay and hopefully, in the future of Linux, we will have a more modular system that permits even more customization's out of the box, something for n00bs and pro's. People like me who want a lean system shouldn't have to spend 6months learning how to setup Arch wasting our time, fiddling with config files only to have the system crash during the next live patch. Time spent is time we can never get back.
Why has nobody created a Linux system that essentially has only the kernel with drivers, and then every other app installed is a self contained Snap? That would solve the problem wouldn't it?
54 • @53 (by Shocked on 2019-11-28 17:03:04 GMT from United States)
"Why has nobody created a Linux system that essentially has only the kernel with drivers, and then every other app installed is a self contained Snap? That would solve the problem wouldn't it?"
I seriously can't believe anyone who has used Arch would make that that statement with any degree of seriousness..
55 • choice (by FedUpMonkeyMan on 2019-11-28 17:15:47 GMT from Mexico)
I seriously can't believe anyone would refute a possible Linux distro architecture without providing any proof as to why it may not work.
I suppose no evidence is needed these days when refuting something because.....
56 • Snap distro (by Jesse on 2019-11-28 17:22:01 GMT from Canada)
@53: "Why has nobody created a Linux system that essentially has only the kernel with drivers, and then every other app installed is a self contained Snap? "
Because it's not possible, at least not to that degree. Snap itself requires shell tools, MAC security tools, several libraries and systemd to function. Plus support for adding users, squashfs utilities, etc. By the time you've covered the dependencies for Snap you've basically got a minimal install of a regular distro like Debian, Ubuntu Core or Arch.
57 • choice (by FedUpMonekyMan on 2019-11-28 17:30:22 GMT from Mexico)
Oooooookkkk, so I guess you should tell the people over at Nitrux that it isn't possible.
"Meet Nitrux. Powered by Linux, AppImages, KDE Technologies, and Qt"
Nitrux is an operating system based on Linux. Nitrux works without any need for a traditional installation. The operating system as a whole resides in a single file and directory on your device making it easier to organize with your other data.
Nitrux focuses on the use of the AppImage format as the primary method of software distribution for the operating system and in znx as the way to manage the operating system.
I guess they were mistaken and just imagined that this style of Linus OS was possible. Don't worry, I will tell them to delete it and to never think of such silly ideas again.
58 • Nitrux (by Jesse on 2019-11-28 17:45:55 GMT from Canada)
@57: Nitrux pretty much uses the exact opposite approach to setting up operating systems describe in post 53 and 56.
Nitrux uses what's basically an monolithic OS image that you can add AppImage bundles on top of. It's shipping an entire OS with the ability to add more portable packages. That is not in any way related to the idea of shipping a minimal system with just a kernel, drivers and shell and using Snaps to provide all other functionality describe in the previous posts.
59 • @57 (by anticapitalista on 2019-11-28 17:46:35 GMT from Greece)
AppImages are not the same as snaps.
60 • @57 (by RTFL on 2019-11-28 17:48:29 GMT from United States)
Full Package List: Nitrux 1.0.4
Number of packages: 1,419
Can be found below that rather vague introduction.
One file... file system.. oh my God maybe they installed the base GNU tools and snap dependencies and SystemD into a .. squashfs system so it can expand on boot?
Read more before you embarrass yourself any further. A "single file root" will always be compressed in one manner or another.
61 • @53: (by dragonmouth on 2019-11-29 13:42:03 GMT from United States)
"Why has nobody created a Linux system that essentially has only the kernel with drivers, and then every other app installed is a self contained Snap?"
They have. Any DIY distros (LFS, Arch, Gentoo, Source Mage, etc) will do what you are looking for.
Why single out Snap? AppImage and Flatpak also will provide you will self-contained apps.
62 • @61 (by FedUpMonkeyMan on 2019-11-29 16:02:00 GMT from Mexico)
I see my mistake was singling out Snaps as I was ridiculed for that. I should have said, Snaps, Flatpak or Appimage. So i did look, and Nitrux is something like that, in that it used Appimages for its apps, however it is not a minimal system.
Like you made the point previously, not everyone has the technical skills to deep dive into config files to setup one of these alternate systems.
But I have hope that in time, a user friendly solution will present itself in time.
63 • followup (by ernie on 2019-11-29 19:46:31 GMT from United States)
"your examples are so highly Debian based, no one outside the "apt" world will understand"
The reply was to someone who had mentioned MX Linux and ubuntu. About bleachbit, the intended point was this: As a "safe, won't break your system" hedge, I only suggest the use of its ability to remove "localizations". Using bleachbit to remove other items demands a deeper understanding of what else may, or may not, be safely removed.
"apps within this minimal install that I don't want but am unable to uninstall."
Check your apt preferences. Ubuntu and its derivative distros typically ship a default configuration which specifies "treat recommended packages as dependencies". As a result, the (pre)installed presence of a multimedia player having dozens of optionally useful, separately packaged plugin programs... each of them possibly dependent on (or declaring as "recommended") additional packages. After changing this system-wide preference, those of us who are motivated to do so can quickly and easily remove the "extras"; we can easily remaster; we can post up and share a "lite" respin. All things (all typical usage cases of the intended userbase) considered, the practice of bundling extras into a distribution seems quite well-reasoned.
In reaction to reading
"I'm now having to redownload and install because"
"not everyone has the technical skills to deep dive into config files"
come on now, whining remarks like these are belied by the fact that folks have labored to provide us (you) with both installed documentation and easily-accessible, web-hosted, documentation and step-by-step tutorials and videos.
64 • @63 (by FedUpMonekyMan on 2019-11-29 20:37:55 GMT from France)
"After changing this system-wide preference..."
Ok. Sure. Easy. Uhhhhmmmm...which preferences? What config files?
I'm motivated but can't seem to find said system-wide preferences. Please elucidate.
65 • TOR now unethical (by TOR no more on 2019-11-29 21:50:54 GMT from Australia)
Even Open Source projects can become unethical.
The TOR network began as an ethical endeavor to provide anonymous browsing. But it no longer works that way. The onion circuit list has nodes whose names are often anarchic - not the sort of thing you associate with trustworthiness.
The first node all down the list will be the same. This and other nodes can have names that convey a "message" - either some cause, or reflective of your personal surfing, shopping, or social network habits etc. This is similar to how cookies and ads can track you in unprotected surfing. You can choose a "new identity", but that only switches from one circuit on the list to another - and if most of them look corrupted then it's not a "safer" option. This indicates that there are people who are able to control the nodes in the TOR network, and consequently your surfing can be tracked.
The argument the TOR devs use is that the traffic is encrypted over the nodes, and only visible at the start and end of the journey. Sorry, but this degree of safety doesn't work in practice. If some people can exert control over the nodes - especially the first and last - then they can also likely access the network traffic.
The TOR network has become similar to the Internet in general, which could be labelled as the "Google Principle": the more you surf the net, the more you will become targeted, tracked and likely hacked.
66 • @65 (by koolaid guzzler on 2019-11-29 22:43:13 GMT from United States)
Most people don't understand that the Internet itself was designed as part of a social conditioning & surveillance killgrid. Most of the people who are aware of the Internet's military origins, pretend as if those origins are purely academic, because it paints a less threatening picture.
Most people also don't appreciate the easily observable fact that the largest corporations are a lot more than 'in bed' with the various governments of the world. Yet who owns and operates the communication lines, equipment, etc? The largest corporations and the governments, of course. There is no level of encryption that can hide from that degree of control.
People don't need security ON the Internet; we need security FROM the Internet.
Number of Comments: 66
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