Re: Change

My Linux Rig posted about Change.

As a Linux user, it’s kind of hard for me to wrap my head around. Because reading about the changes made in Lion, I thought users would be upset that they had lost some functionality (and, to be fair, some people are upset about that) and that some UI choices had been made without their input.

But Mac people just roll with it, trusting that Apple’s changes are improvements.

Compare that to the response to Unity, which was mostly negative. I would argue the negative response was driven by the fact that Canonical forced the change on users, rather than letting them opt-in to a dramatically new UI.

Part of me wishes the Linux community were more open to change, the way the Mac community is. And part of me is proud to be a part of a community that has so much choice, resisting change isn’t too hard to do.

I have a unique experience now in that I've been forced over to the Mac due to my college and have been trying to force myself into this ecosystem. As such, I have some things to say.

Naturally the Apple fans will enjoy what comes their way. I see it largely as a brand loyalty of the utmost crucial to a company's survival, but as for why and now, I can't understand. But trust is a very key point that Linux Rig goes on to make. I think a lot of the reason why I would use Linux over OS X is because I don't trust OS X. But I don't particularly trust Linux either, either as a whole community or as individual projects, but I trust some of them more than OS X at least

The reason why Ubuntu hit resistance in their Unity project is because they have no trust. They haven't earned it. Why would they? After years of creating endless issues mucking around with glibc and buggy Python apps, they're suddenly going to make their own desktop? This is a small project trying to accomplish big things. It's hard not to be pessimistic. If Apple had already released several iterations of the iPhone that were buggy and crashed and never worked, do you think users would upgrade to that?

Ubuntu comes off as a bleeding edge distro. You want to get the new release so you have the new Firefox, the new LibreOffice, etc. Every release is incremental, but you like seeing that progress. Why else have a six month release window? Otherwise risk becomes apparent, not only workflow but in system and desktop performance. This is in what used to be a relatively risk-free environment (Debian) king among all features. That forward motion can halt at any moment, and once we run out of road, what do we do?

Having purchased and used OSX Lion for several days, I can't say I'm entirely pleased. It seems like there's more animation, more cruft, more glitz and less control. It shouldn't have cost $30 for what it offers. But the real issue is why it was released at all. Change is nice, but where are we going with it? Why are we changing? For the sake of doing so? It's not useful change, or purpose-driven change. This is what OS X Lion, KDE4 and Gnome 3 felt like. They don't change in a direction that says, this is why and this is where. They just change because they are expected to, because they have to to get people to keep upgrading. It's up to consumers to figure out why.

KDE and Gnome spent years crafting very distinct, working desktops that looked great and operated smoothly. Then, two competing, inferior, buggier desktops with flashier graphics and little of the stability we once knew. OSX Lion? Suddenly my apps don't work, stability is lesser than Snow Leopard and my wallet is $30 lighter. Hell if change was worth it.

Change isn't always bad for Linux, I agree. I like incremental evolution. I like change I can see and understand, and plan for. I don't like change for the sake of change. There's no point to that.

Musings on DIY

I've complained enough about my iPod nano (4th gen) to make my lungs gasp in agony if I ever verbalized my digitized ramblings. However, what really bothers me about the device is how little I control, even on a physical level.

I've had dust in the little area between the screen and the glass for years. You would think the design would allow easy access, but no; purposely placed mechanisms make opening the device incompatible with future operation.

I'm fine with making things not obvious in how to open and fix. But outright making it impossible? What makes me think I should place my trust in Apple to fix issues for me? What about trivial issues such as dust in the screen? I am not a baby; I can do things for myself. Besides, my warranty expired years ago, so Apple's benefit is null as well as mine.

Control is longevity. This example is a physical version, but what of software?

Think about some e-reader that is locked down and can only read specific file formats. (The Kindle has the latter issue but its software is not locked down) Eventually the software lock will reduce usefulness, due to changing industry file formats. Look at how quickly the war between ePub and MOBI sprung up, from where we had barely any tussle at all.

From small fixes to the screen to large fixes in what file format a device supports, these are fundamentals in usefulness when problems occur. They do; even on a closed, locked ecosystem like the iPod, problems occur. Advertising will tell you differently. But I've already mentioned trust.

So we ask: how can this be fixed?

On the converse, how rewarding is it to open your computer case and clean it out, insuring proper care and maintenance is rewarded with many years of ceaseless operation? Or being able to clean a screen when it gets dirty? Or being able to install a new operating system on an old computer, so that what was once a useless security breach is suddenly a useful again?

We should not pretend our skills are not formidable. We enjoy computers. We want them to last. The ability to fix one's own device is simply an extension of this principle.

Why Linux Distro Reviews and Anecdotes are Worthless

So this morning I fired up the newest release of Mr. Linux Distro, which has recently released its 100th release since last Wednesday. I've decided to review this release because it seems like a fun thing to do.

Under the hood, Mr. Linux Distro contains Kernel, Application 64, and my personal favorite, GNUWidget 19. These are numbers that were previously smaller and now they're bigger.

I've arbitrarily chosen benchmarks for this distro and here they are:

Works with my Webcam
Works with my Wi-fi
Doesn't work with some arbitrary piece of hardware that is easy as pie to get working but I'm going to complain about it anyway.
Doesn't work if I stand upside down and sing Mary Had a Little Lamb
Isn't named Ubuntu for some strange reason.

Also, I've found that when you type in "rm -rf /" into the terminal, this distro stops working. This is a disgrace. I'm disgusted at such a low standard Mr. Linux Distro is held to and I won't stand for it.

I did not file any bug reports or do any research.


Self Examination

Try and take some time out of your life to think about yourself.

As much as I can type I will never give you every bit of advice that you can't already figure out for yourself. This isn't me giving up, but rather me being honest and saying, "look, at some point you've gotta grab the wheel yourself."

What should you examine? Well, here's what I do:

-What is it that makes me happy?
-What is standing in the way of my happiness?
-How can I remove these things?
-What do my actions reflect about what I think makes me happy?

The last one is my most important question, because it calls into question the other three answers.

I browse the internet too much. I spend too much time checking uninteresting websites. This time would be better served with reading or playing video games, both of which stimulate my mind more than a mundane website update. Not only would my internet time be more valuable if I lessened it due to more updates to read at once, but I could spend more time doing things that I really enjoy.

You're not going to read anything nearly as soul-inspiring and personal as that on any blog, website, or tumblr. You're going to have to figure it out for yourself.