Dear Linux, this is why we can’t have nice things.

As seen in #archlinux IRC with what looked like unrelated conversation snipped out. This all went down while I was away.

who gives a fuck
sudokode: … people do
people suck
sudokode: s/people/women

Incidents like this make me more grateful than ever that my FOSS project of choice isn’t full of dicks. And if you ARE looking for a FOSS project where the top rules are make cool things and don’t be a jerk*, OpenPhoto is right this way. Bonus points if you believe in freeing your photos from sites they’re We’re working to make things more welcoming and friendly to people who aren’t already experienced FOSS contributors. Documentation! Design! Surprise us! Ask me things about getting started! (Unless they involve the actual code because PHP and I are NOT friends.)

*No, really. Someone asked me awhile back if there were any standards for contributing, and I said, “Uh… make cool things and don’t be a jerk?” Words to live by. I would have said don’t be a dick, but sometimes you have to keep it professional.

Edit: Just noticed both of these users are also in #archlinux-women, and at least one is a Trusted User. Wow.

Happy birthday, Linux

Linux just turned twenty. I can’t decide how strange it is that Linux is only a little bit younger than I am yet still younger than me. To be fair, today is the twentieth anniversary of Linus Torvalds making a post asking what people would like to see in Linux, not the anniversary of releasing Linux to the public. Still, I consider today the birthday of Linux just as 7 January is the anniversary of my birth.

I’ve been using Linux for a small part of those twenty years, but I’m already a proud member of Team Penguin. Five distros and three desktop environments later, I think I’ve found a combo that really works for me. KDE is still taking some getting used to, and I’m trying to figure out how to do some things in KDE that I could do in GNOME (though I suspect Dolphin, not KDE itself, is to blame). Maybe a change in file manager is in order.

And this is exactly what I love about Linux: the configurability. It’s extremely difficult tp change the ever-present but some annoying parts of other popular operating systems like the way you manage files. But Linux lets you do it. Don’t like your file manager? Get another one. Don’t like your desktop environment? Get another one and join a holy war.

I love you, Linux. Please keep being the best OS out there and keep giving your users the power of freedom.

My Linuxversary

I didn’t notice it until halfway through the day when fiddling with my OpenSUSE install on my laptop, but the day I just lived was my first Linuxversary. I’ve been using Linux as my primary operating system for an entire year, and it has been a great learning experience. I’ve stretched my computing horizons in a way that I wouldn’t have otherwise. Besides that, Linux simply makes more sense to me than Windows does. There are things that I’ve done in Linux and then wondered why on earth such a feature doesn’t exist in an intuitive way in Windows. Take, for example, the way Rhythmbox syncs your music folder automatically. You don’t have to add your music to your library; just add it to your music folder and it’s there. Easy. Not to mention that the iPod managers for Linux are actual iPod managers.

Then there are the package managers for the distros that I’ve used. For Windows it’s up to you to find a good music player or word processor beyond the default that comes with the system. With Linux some come installed, but if you don’t like them, you can find a better one. I’ve found myself wondering how I lived with Windows for all these years. And of course, Linux also has more games that come prepackaged with the system.

As for Windows? I’m still dual booting, though that’s more of a technicality at this point. At first it was to go back just in case I didn’t like Linux, but now I don’t have much of a reason beyond Bejeweled and The Longest Journey. Linux has weaned me off Bejeweled, so it’s good for something, at least.

Here’s to many more years of Linux!

Rhythmbox > iTunes

I finally moved my music into Rhythmbox. You’re probably wondering what on earth is going on. After all, I’ve been using Linux for nearly nine months and I just mentioned iTunes in a post a few days ago. All of that is true, but on different computers. I’ve been using my laptop for music purposes out of laziness ever since installing Linux because not all of my music copied over from Windows to Linux and, well, I was too lazy to copy it over. This weekend I finally got around to doing that and finally got around to using Rhythmbox. There are still some quirks that I need to get used to (it doesn’t look like iTunes, for example, but I can get used to that easily). The plugin directory is great. I can manage my iPod with Rhythmbox and scrobble to Last.fm without installing anything else (though I hear gtkPod is great for iPod purposes). I can even move music to my iPod without syncing everything, which will be a huge relief half the time and a headache the other half. The best part of all? Rhythmbox detects music in my music folder and adds it to my library automatically. This requires zero effort on my part after adding a song or album to my music folder. Compare that to iTunes where you have to add a song to the library manually after downloading a song.

I’ll take Rhythmbox, thanks.

Adventures in KDE

One perk of Linux is that you can choose different desktop environments. Don’t like the way your current desktop looks? Change to a different one (and I’m not talking about just the wallpaper). Last night and this morning I made the leap from GNOME to KDE.

The main change in KDE was the presence of additional menus and the default setting of the menu at the bottom. Thanks to the complete reorganization of the menus, Pidgin took me several minutes to find, and many items were included in more than one menu. This could probably be fixed with some menu cleanup, but it was frustrating enough that I didn’t want to bother. Even after customizing KDE, I couldn’t tweak it to my liking. I couldn’t change really important things like the size of the workspaces on the navigation bar, which took up much more space than necessary and gave the bar a cluttered appearance. I switched back to GNOME after a few hours and uninstalled KDE, then customized GNOME even more to my liking.

KDE may not be for me, but a lot of Linux users I know love it, which prompted me to try it. I’m glad Linux offers desktop environment diversity.

Suicide Linux, the only way to play Linux

I may be a fast typist, but that doesn’t make me immune to typos. I’ve probably made more typos as my typing speed increased, probably because my fingers don’t know where to go next when I’m in the zone. If one keystroke could erase everything I’ve amassed over the years, I’d be in big trouble. It’s even better that I can always check my keystrokes and backspace before hitting enter in the command line, and that I’m using Debian and not, oh say, Suicide Linux. Try to execute an incorrect command and Suicide Linux will perform the “rm -rf /” command instead, which wipes your hard drive.

Sounds fun, eh? Luckily the person who thought of the idea didn’t develop a distro, but someone out there did. Linux is now a game. A dangerous game with all your data at stake if you make one wrong keystroke. That sounds like a fun game, right?

Debian games

I know, I know, I’ve been a bad Sushi and still haven’t written up the Neil Gaiman event. The Debian games are eating my soul, though.

In one game, Five or More, you remove marbles from a board by lining five or more of them up in a row. However, if you don’t remove them from a board in a given turn, three more marbles are added to the board. Since the game tells what marbles are going on the board next, you can plan strategically and decide what to move where with a catch. The marble can only roll. It can’t jump or skip anywhere. Since you don’t know where the marbles are going next, there’s also an element of luck involved, which has led to much frustration on my part toward the end when the board is nearly full and I have only a few possible moves but even fewer that would be beneficial.

Then there’s Same GNOME, where you try to clear the board. If you remove n touching blocks of the same color at a time, you gain (n-2)^2 points, so it’s to your advantage to clear the chunks of lower (or no points since you can’t remove individual blocks) value just to remove huge chunks. My highest individual chunk is 961 points, and this game earns huge nerdity out of me because I try to maximize the number of points at a time. So far my high score on the small board is over 3,000. That’s the only size I can stand to play on because the medium and large boards have to be expanded to the full screen in order to be visible to me.

This system also has versions of Minesweeper and Tetris. I played Minesweeper in phases in Windows, mostly during exam time when I was in school. It was a wonderful way to put off studying, and Tetris was another great way. Now that I’ve discovered all the games, could the end of my writing career be nigh? Forget Leechblock; I need something to block the games.

Debian, continued

I’ve now used Debian for an entire day. Well, that’s a lie. See, I still haven’t gotten Debian to cooperate with sound on my computer yet, despite my efforts. I’ve used my Windows computer to stream music and use Pidgin throughout the day, for the windows won’t blink in Pidgin either. As a result I’ve been bent over my chair, looking toward my laptop at random intervals throughout the day.

That aside, Debian is going well. My current frustrations are just that: lack of sound, lack of blinking (and sound) in Pidgin, lack of Flash support in Iceweasel, and Rhythmbox importing only about half my music. Those things can be fixed with a bit more effort, though. Tomorrow is another day… assuming, of course, that I don’t get distracted by Debian’s games. There is an entire folder for logic games. I like this distro already.

Debian: The beginning of a new era

Windows users are in three camps: those who love it (my father falls in this camp), those who despise it but use it anyway, and those who are indifferent. I was in the second camp.

Then Debian came along.

Sure, the installation and the tweakings to get everything just the way I want it took a day, another person, and lots of groaning. Most of that was because Debian wouldn’t recognize my Internet connection. Groan.

A review will come after actually using it properly. I will say this: Debian has Windows beaten in the pre-installed games, and I haven’t even touched those yet.