Stercus for OS

Winders has really become a crappy OS.

Last week I ordered a refurbed Lenovo lapbox off Woot. Came with WX. Specs far in excess of price, as expected with refurb.

Got into the box yesterday. Wasted two hours trying to get WX to set itself up and then convince it that it would let be get to the “BIOS”.

Finally rebooted and noticed a brief message. Rebooted again with ESC key downheld and was rewarded with access to “BIOS”. A bit of recon revealed Lenovo had already enable the box for dual boot.

I suddenly identified with how Nailand Smith must have felt admiring the devious Oriental mind of Fu Manchu. 

Spent ten minutes yanking out the WX HD and replacing with a shiny new SSHD I had bought on sale. Meanwhile putting ISO on stick. Then fifteen minutes from inserting stick, downpushing power button, and doing one time Boot order change to finished install of SolydK on the box.

And then an hour doing updates for the period since the ISO was made. But that’s not a downer. 

Timed the second reboot. Seventeen seconds. 

Winders has really become a crappy OS.

Lost Hammer

Into the boundary once more. Survived the gallop to Nawth Alibam’s Shining City on the Hill for a bit of staff call and pillaging of the grocery emporia. Returned safely just in time to monitor the evening “news” programming on the electromagnetic audio-visual receiver and was enlightened of a feud – with litigation – between the lord high mayor of Huntsville and the city’s foremost slum developer. And the argument is over ethical misconduct! Which is not only itself humorous but is intensified by the fact that a legal resolution is being sought. Gad!, makes the La Brea tar pits seem trivial in contrast.

Not uncomfortable this morning and the gym was not too noisome. Being Thor’s Day I listened to Linux podcasts, these episodes being ones of the “UK Ubuntu podcast”. One of the delightful discussion topics was whether Canonical/Ubuntu is discorporating? And this was an old podcast circa U 13.10 release. The response was mixed wth a tenor of functionality winning out over ergonomics and rationality. IOW, U server is pretty good.

I recently ran across this cartoon: [Link]

and it seemed somehow relevant. Perhaps it was the closing lament that it is hard to run FOSS projects if no one wants to participate. Evidently all the organizational administrative and management groups have vacancies exceeding applicants and the pedestrian geeks are leaving faster than Rattus Norwegicus the Titanic.

So how can you run FOSS projects if you have no volunteers? Answer: abandon FOSS and become MegaHard or Fruit. 

Since it is now past the release of U 14.04 and Canonical has not gone away, the matter has not been as revolutionary as it seemed back then. But it did give me occasion to consider my own experiences. I started out in Linux with a market survey. I first tried Scientific Linux and found it rather too stiff. So I took up Ubuntu. And then Canonical introduced Unity and I rediscovered hate, loathing, and nausea. So I switched to Kubuntu and Xubuntu. And began to have other problems which are still unresolved as to cause. 

And then Canonical decided to abandon the hinterland. The elimination of an update ISO was the tipping straw, to mix metaphors. So now I use other distros, both Debian based and one supposedly a derivative of U but somewhat neutered (or is it spayed?) And both are supposed to be rolling release so I hope to avoid the practice of Nuke And Pave that was too often the only viable option with Ubuntu.

Sic Transit Gloria Mundi. And hopefully no Canonical troopers shooting through knotholes in Casterllum SCP.


One of the most wonderful and enjoyable things about buying a refurbished computer is powering it up, inserting a Linux DVD, booting it, and overwriting Winders Ate with a usable and enjoyable OS. 

Its rather like taking a horrible disease and making something wonderful and useful out of it. 

I think Temujin said something about this sort of thing?

Patriotic Computing

Not a bad day so far although the weather beavers are foretelling a return to typical temperatures. The walk in the park was passable, temperatures were up a bit and so the experience wasn’t as brisk. And the podcast episode was fair although it did stir my righteous indignation a couple of times so I may have to excrete a blot on the matter of pens at some time.

For now however, I feel compelled to mumble about the Yankee government’s National eSpionage Agency’s labeling of Linux folk as “Extremists”. My colleague, Magnetic Inductance Force, who admits freely to the perversion that is FaceScroll but mitigates by noting he also is ORF and hence has need of some relatively mechanistic (and obvious) means of social contact with old acquaintances. I have to agree that the other, now more popular, social networking “places” don’t quite make enough sense to use commonly.

I conjecture, probably inaccurately, that at least some of this is about length of expression. After all, we are mostly ORF and hence seniors and thereby garrulous. Further, we have lived long enough that we have used up a lot of our hurry, and wish we had used up our wait, so why limit ourself to High Noon Gary Cooper style of communication. My colleague and I have commented several times how inadequate FaceScroll is that it doesn’t offer a decent (or any) equation editor. How can one maintain social contact with old acquaintances and colleagues if one can’t math?

One of the articles [Link] I was sent contains a few snippets of code that indicate what key words the NSA is supposedly watching for to identify “extremists”. I quote:
“word(‘tails’ or ‘Amnesiac Incognito Live System’) and word(‘linux’ or ‘ USB ‘ or ‘ CD ‘ or ‘secure desktop’ or ‘ IRC ‘ or ‘truecrypt’ or ‘ tor ‘)”
I have to admit that I was greatly relieved once I saw this. If the Yankee government was paying special attention to Linux folk then I would be rather concerned since we are a relatively small number and easily overwhelmed by the might and force of the YG. But if they are targeting people who use words like “Linux” or “USB” or “CD” … then the fraction of population being targeted is considerably larger than the number of folks who work for the YG. In fact, the only person I know and am conscirously sure of who does not use the term “USB” is my year+ aged (post partum) grandchild. And maybe my nonagenarian parent. Although she does surprise me. So I would feel safe in estimating this captures at least (modulo) half of the population of the Yankee republic. Even of the old Confederacy.

I also received a puff piece [Link] from the Electronic Freedom Foundation along the lines that it is a citizen’s duty to be targeted by the YG and use TOR to assure our freedom and privacy. Once I got over the initial humor of considering whether a Fermion can actually be free unless alone I decided the point was valid. I am not at all sure this will be understood by bogs, especially bogs who are adherents of political parties. At least democruds and repulsians. But I am not sure they know the words anyway. That’s one of the joys one obtains when less than half the electorate adhere to a political party. They tend to get excluded from the mode. Now if the same will just occur for religionists.

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Of Grandmothers and Tyrants

It struck me this morning how inaccurate the weather beavers have been lately. They managed to be mildly alarming leading up to All Hallows Eve about the rain and wind. And not only did the storm move MUCH slower than foretold – an indication of reduced energy – but I slept through it.

My morning walk – permitted by the clement temperatures – was quite unpleasant. First of all the Greater Metropolitan Arab park gnomes had erected all sorts of chintzy holiday light figures that required some attention to avoid and some will power to ignore the nausea. Second, the trail was covered with leaves and such, mostly pine needles and was not only highly obscured but the coefficient of friction was GREATLY reduced. Couple that with trying to TEXT with a slightly broken colleague and I not only wandered off the trail twice but almost missed the small bridge across the creek.

This put me in firm mind to clear tabs a bit early to compensate for the embarrassment of my klutziness. Just call me Golem!

On which connotation, I noted an article praising Canonical and Ubuntu in a Grandmother incident.[Link] This is one of those typical but statistically horrible – perhaps befitting All Hallows Eve? – journalistic exercises where they treat a singular incident as modal. And it wasn’t even a good Grandmother incident!

Seems, rather typically these days, that Grandmother’s Vister box slowed down (and no one was sure how to clean it!) so Grandmother and Son got hoodwinked by an electronic box store myrmidon into purchasing a W8 box. And Grandmother was overwhelmed. Grandson was then – finally!, so much for parental hubris – consulted and installed Ubuntu on the old Vister box. And Grandmother took to it like a duckling to a pond.

This is more than a bit disturbing. It isn’t a “real” grandmother test since the grandmother was already computate. That she could be hammered by Metro but solitarily decipher Unity seems reasonable given her “work” flow but it is encouraging that there may be some functionality to tile GUIs after all. But I still am reserving the custody of my ten meter pole.  And not putting any on my boxes if I can avoid it. I still consider such to be grober.

In light of my just past mumble about Ubuntu I probably should have passed this one by, but evidently some misplaces sense of fairness crept in. It has been good in the past. I can only hope it will return to such in the future.

Emblematic of that is a recent Shuttleworth denunciation of those who oppose him as Open Source Tea Patryists. Perhaps if Mr. Shuttleworth understood the Tea Party he wouldn’t use this as an epithet? No, he’s not that smart.

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Mutual Abandoning

It seems somehow fitting to maunder about this on All Hallows’ Eve. The subject has much to do with spirits.

I should preface by noting that many “primitive” peoples bind their children’s heads to boards – usually pne per each – to produce a flattened skull and forehead post infancy. The practice has differing purposes. In some societies it serves to differentiate uppers from lowers. In others it displays some perverted sort of superstitious piety.

A similar effect can be achieved by repeatedly banging one’s head against a firm vertical surface.


I have empirical data on the latter.


The leading edge of this is that I have abandoned, somewhat, Ubuntu. This is not without reflection nor cognition nor sorrow. Ubuntu was the Linux distribution I settled on when I first had the opportunity to throw off the chains of Winders and become free. Using any OS involves a certain trust being invested in the organization that produces that OS. The personalities of those organizations vary somewhat. MegaHard treats its users feudally while Apple is more like a Mississippi cotton plantation prior to the Recent Unpleasantness. Only Linux had a robust interaction between users and organization.


It is not unusual for organizations to violate their members’ trust. That is in the nature of organizations. Indeed, we have grown unsurprised with the Yankee government violating our citizenly trust. But we are not used to such in the Linux community.


But Canonical has being doing so repeatedly and has reached my breaking point. First it switched the buttons to the left side. Then it introduced Unity and removed my ability to do work. And abandoned member interaction and community projects. All for the goal of a common interface on all devices. Regardless of how they should be used.


Rather makes Napoleon look like a micromaniac.


I had already reduced my usage to LTS releases. And replaced Unity wth an independent install of KDE. And even then Unity crept in and messed things up. KDE crashed with a mean of once per day. And there were minor annoyances, like having to reset the permissions on the slave HD every day.


And then last week they pushed out an update that rendered the OS unbootable. And beyond my capacity to repair.


So I shifted to Kubuntu. And it works much better. KDE only crashed when I run some alien client, and not always then. ANd much less frequent than day^-1.


but I still have to reset the drive permissions daily, so that must be a kernel issue. So I take that one off the Canonical damnation list. But it is already too long. And I am looking further for another distribution. That isn’t dependent on megalomania.

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Holy Holes

Two day, and the gym was blissfully sparse. Very few educationalists and weight bouncers although there were a few newcomers who were rather loud. Today was science podcast day and it was passable. The only bit that had any weight was the ‘life originated on Mars’ segment and it dragged a bit at times. I fear I am spoiled by physics podcasts that actually talk about physics. These science for the bogs podcasts are as entertaining as dishwater.

On that azimuth Canonical has released a beta (?) of Ubuntu 13.10 with its MIR graphics engine. [Link] I had heard all manner of nasty about Mir – that it worked poorly, but gave up reading the article after the journalist blew his credibility by stating that the controversy was over Unity versus GNOME SHELL???????????????????  What sub-sea volcanic vent has this fellow been inhabiting? The issue is Unity, secondarily Gnome Shell and whatever they call Metro this week, versus every other GUI out there. IOW, tile versus window GUI desktops.

I have to admit to great surprise. Normally the Register does a good job of covering Linux matters. Much better than the Amerikan newspapers. In fact, the difference between competence and incompetence. But this as so extragalactic that all the hack – as in the journalistic variety – alarms went off. Coherently! But one thing was done right, if unmentioned: Canonical, aka Shuttleworth’s Reich, is still on the anthem of single OS device purity. Disturbing, but I find thoughts of Nuremberg soothing.

An unsurprise is that the NSA has cracked all the publicly available encryption means. [Link] No, not a conspiracy theory, just awareness of how the Yankee government has been working in recent years. Another part of making sure they can protect the secret masters of the politicians no matter how much democracy and liberty they have to destroy.

And lastly, to put the point on the pencil, work from boffins at U Essex [Link] indicates that human fear of poisonous insects and the like spills over into fear of CRUMPETS!

I have to admit that I a unsure of what exactly a crumpet is other than a bit of risen breadstuff eaten by the English. That includes distinguishing it from a muffin, at least the English variety which is rather different from what we call a muffin here in the Yankee republic.

I shall have to discuss this with my psychologist colleagues. And see if I can find crumpets at grocery in Huntsville. I know they will be unavailable in Greater Metropolitan Arab. It’s the nature of the place.

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