Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Ubuntu family.

As i read many news groups, all almost exclusively related to a Linux distribution, as peruse around the Internet it has not escaped my, nor many others, attention that some are starting to refer to Linux as Ubuntu, or one of the Ubuntu family). This is a scary trait that used to belong to Redhat. One would often hear talk of Linux 6 meaning Redhat 6 etc etc.

It is scary because of the sheer number of idiots who use Ubuntu. Most are refugees from MS Windows. Some are refugees from other distributions. The latter should know better but the former is overwhelming them with their talk of Ubuntu being 'Just like Windows'.

I am sure this is the Ubuntu creators aim. To get people to think of Ubuntu are a complete MS Windows replacement. But the reality is that no Linux based distribution currently comes close to MS Windows not least because of the fact that hardware manufacturers do not write drivers for any Linux based distribution. Sure, some of them do but the little guys who churn out thousands of new products every months it is just not a viable option for them. Then we have the bigger guys who try to stick as close as possible to a given standard which may work once plugged into a Linux based system and others that are lucky because a coder on the Linux based platform bought one and decided to write a driver from him or herself which was good enough for others to use. Finally, there are the big guns. Here too, some write drivers, some good, some bad, some simply unusable. Others do not and probably never will. It is this reality, this state of affairs that will ensure adoption of a Linux based solution will not be for everyone. Therefore, the belief of the Ubuntu creator is unlikely ever to fully take hold and yet we still see people who have the mistaken belief that Ubuntu equals an MS Windows alternative. As I said. Scary.

Instead of bleating on about how 'Ubuntu ate my drive. How do I get rid of it and get my MS Windows back?' Or. 'How do I use <insert random hardware> with Ubuntu?' etc etc people should be complaining to the various and many hardware manufacturers that the 'standards compliant' device is nothing like compliant. But they will not. They will instead complain that 'Ubuntu sucks'. Yes, I know it does but in this instance I am not talking in literal terms.

Those of us who have been around the Linux scene for a long long time have seen this phenomenon happen before with Redhat. Then with Mandrake (now Mandriva). Then with <insert a distribution name>. On a slightly different level we saw it with Gentoo. Now it is the Ubuntu family of distributions turn for a year or two in the spotlight while us lot with the nous to use it use what we have always used. We see the same issues hardware wise as every other distribution user does except that when we have some hardware that has no support whatsoever instead of bleating about it or blaming the underlaying distribution for the lack of support we sit and patiently wait for that support to turn up. It may never do so of course. If that worse case situation ever happens then we shuffle said hardware to one of our MS Windows using friends or family member.

Ubuntu is not the only distribution in town and it certainly is not the best. Get over yourself.

Saturday, July 5, 2008


Once upon a time deep down in my past I used Arch Linux. Back then it was one Hell of a distribution. The people involved were good knowledgeable people. So enamored was I with Arch Linux I created some 300+ PKGBUILDS for it in what was then called the 'community' repo. Over time I left that distribution as it was fast becoming clear that the philosophy upon which it was build was less and less adhered to and more and more we original developers where overlooked in favour or newer souls. Before any nastiness began by haggling over details that affected end users I left. After a short time I returned hoping to return back to those earlier glory days (why is the beginning of anything always the best times?) but alas that was not to be. My return to the fold lasted at most two weeks. This second time around was a sour, very sour, experience so bad I have not been back since.

Arch Linux holds a niche for itself as it clings precariously to the ladder rung it sits on way down there with all the other niche distributions. I was never in it for the glory. I truly believed back then that how things where was how it should be. Unfortunately, that was supplanted with bogus people with bogus ideals that killed the whole experience and stopped Arch Linux from ever moving up that ladder of distributions.

All the good people are gone now which is a shame as they were good people with masses of knowledge between them. Their forums are full of people that, well, lets just say they try. Up at the top I have no clue who is there now. On the back of the 300+ PKGBUILDS I created they have a large and expanding package set. But the quality is lacking. I have no idea, nor care, if the attributes from the original PKGBUILDS are still there is the scripts. It would not surprise me one bit if they have been removed.

Arch Linux was good in the pre 0.3 days. Now it is an also running in the sense that it makes up the field.