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Interviews: 'Ubuntu Unleashed' Author Matthew Helmke Responds 89

Last week you asked questions of Ubuntu Unleashed author Matthew Helmke, about everything from system D to the future of Ubuntu and Canonical; he's responded, at length. Read on for Matthew's answers.
by edittard

The Unleashed books are still going? Correction: Books are still going?

Do you use Free software writing tools?
by Anonymous Coward

Publishing is notorious (well, semi-notorious -- based on the rants of a few friends who have had books published, technical as well as non-technical) for requiring authors to submit their work in formats friendly for their internal systems, which is understandable from their perspective but I imagine could be annoying to authors. (Not all publishing is the same, I know --- math journals for instance seem to go in for LaTex and similar.) But for you as an author writing for a mainstream publisher about open source and Free software, how do you find the tools that are available out of the box on a Linux system (Ubuntu specifically, since that's your bailliwick)? Are there any tasks you find are complicated by that, such that you have to keep a Windows or OS X system up? Does Pearson want you to use Word, for tracking / editing purposes, say?

MH: For Ubuntu Unleashed and The Official Ubuntu Book, the publisher uses DOC files. This is fine because LibreOffice reads and writes them well. I used LibreOffice on Ubuntu for the last several editions (and before that OpenOffice on Ubuntu) and have had no problems at all doing so. I do not have any computer systems at home that run anything other than Ubuntu. I'm not a purist, I just prefer it and haven't needed anything different.

A book I coauthored for another company, VMware Cookbook which was published several years ago by O'Reilly, was written using DocBook. That was really cool because the files were all text files and we used a version control system to check in each chapter, changes, edits, and it worked the whole way through the process. Their tool chain processed that DocBook out to all of the various output formats. Again, I did all of this on Ubuntu, frequently from the command line and my favorite text editor (I won't mention which because I don't want to start a VIM vs Emacs flame war).

Your compliance with systemd
by Anonymous Coward

Why do you support a distro that ships with such a lousy piece of garbage software?

Another one on systemd:
by Anonymous Coward

Is there a way to get systemd to not throw away... stderr? This is driving us nuts when we have about six hundred Ubuntu servers, and simple problems are harder to solve because stderr is not displayed in the terminal or saved in the journal.

MH: First question first: regardless of what anyone thinks about systemd, it is becoming the ex officio standard. I used to complain loudly when windowed desktops became the norm and I was "forced" to use them. That was a losing battle. I learned something from that. Pick your battles.

Regarding systemd and stderr, I haven't had any cause to look into this. However, a quick Google search brought up this page from StackOverflow that might help you: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/32968506/how-to-pipe-output-to-a-file-when-running-as-a-systemd-service . Even if it isn't the exact same problem, it might help you direct your thinking and find a creative, hopefully simple, solution.

Future of Linux on the Desktop
by Anonymous Coward

I'm curious as to your thoughts on the future of Linux on the desktop. With SecureBoot and UEFI, the formerly simple process of trying out distros like Ubuntu has become something of a PITA. Do you think we have a future for Linux on the desktop, or are PC's going the way of locked-down bootloaders like many cell phones?

MH: I think the only way any Linux distro becomes viable on the desktop beyond us computer geeks and technology lovers is to see more OEMs offering it pre-installed. There are several companies out there doing this. I have personal experience buying Ubuntu preinstalled on systems from Dell www.dell.com, System76 www.system76.com, and ZaReason www.zareason.com and have had a very good experience with each one. I know there are others out there and I prefer to encourage as many as possible to buy from companies willing to do this. I always think of someone like an uncle or aunt who only needs a computer to read and write email, browse the web, and maybe write a letter. Steering people like this to machines with Linux preinstalled is the only way I expect they would be willing to use it...well, then there is my friend's mother who allowed me to install Ubuntu on her laptop after a Windows virus required either a reinstall or a new operating system. Then again, she didn't perform the installation. I did.

Ultimately, I think the answer lies with us. If we can vote with our wallets and make Linux machines financially viable for OEMs, I think we will see more of them. I know many people who use Android tablets and Chromebooks, so it isn't the fear of learning something new that keeps people away, it is the non-existence of the easy option. Most people don't want to do what we do: open up their operating system and play with it until we accidentally break something and then learn how to fix it. They want to buy something something that works off of the shelf for a good price and use it for simple purposes. Let's solve that and I think we may actually someday see the mythical "Year of the Linux Desktop" happen.

Oh, I nearly forgot. The Ubuntu help site has some pretty good information about UEFI that you may appreciate: https://help.Ubuntu.com/community/UEFI .

3D graphics fanciness for the new now?
by Anonymous Coward

When they were brand new, I laughed at things like Compiz as silly eye-candy. Then I watched a lot of the demos anyhow, and eventually installed it (slightly painful at first -- had to wait until I had a graphics card that would work) and came to really like the feeling of wobbly windows that moved with some interesting physics that made them feel more like "real" objects rather than just rectangles on a screen. My mind was changed, and I always enjoyed showing people the famous rotating cube desktop. Some people like the command line, and that's fine -- terminals are still around! -- but I liked windows that moved in a way that seemed more intuitive to me.

Fast forward almost 10 years (sheesh!), and after a lot of platform switching for school, for work, or just because, I realize that I've been back for a few years on boring old 2-D desktops. Looking at Wikipedia, it seems like Compiz itself (speaking generically, and not wanting to get into a nomenclature war) doesn't seem to be a good match for Ubuntu these days [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compiz].

So: what's your advice if I want to have a modern, supported, open-source, 3D desktop that plays well with the rest of an Ubuntu system? Ease of install is just as important as ease of use -- without the first, I might not get to the second. Bonus points it if works with Ubuntu derivatives like Mint and Elementary.

MH: Sadly, Compiz never really seemed to get enough traction among developers and contributors. As a result, for a long time there were few to no updates. While that has changed a bit, there still doesn't seem to be enough activity with the project for it to continue to be a viable option. I'm sure someone will argue that and I sincerely hope to be proved wrong in the comments.

I don't know of a great replacement for the flash and flair the Compiz brought to Ubuntu. I am still using it on 14.04LTS (LOVE me some wobbly windows), but I know its days are numbered. So, here is something else that I hope to be proved wrong about in the comments.

Support channels for new users?
by rgbe (310525)

I have been using Linux since the good old days of the late '90s. I was using Debian until Ubuntu came around in 2004 and switched. Ubuntu was amazing in terms of how it made Linux more usable. However, as time went along Ubuntu was no longer so cutting edge and no longer resonated with me, so I have switched back to Debian. Anyway, all this time as a Linux user it's been a rough ride, every laptop I have purchased (I haven't had a desktop for 15 years) has had issues with Linux. Most common issues for me are that wi-fi drivers don't work and graphics card drivers are unstable. I choose Laptops that are going to give me the least problems by researching them thoroughly beforehand. The most recent laptop (HP ProBook) came with the option of having SUSE Linux installed by default, I thought this would be perfect, but the wi-fi did not work unless you had the correct version of SUSE installed. I am experienced at debugging and resolving issues, a new user would require a lot of patience, technical no-how just to get Linux functioning before they can use their PC. Although you can use Linux without the console, it is difficult to never have to go to the console. The console requires a paradigm shift for many users. In a nutshell the first hurdle for Linux is a massive jump, and only few are brave/curious enough to take it.

So my question is: What support channels would you recommend for new Linux users?

Are there solutions out there that simplify Linux?

And are there any solutions / techniques out there that simplify driver installation and configuration in Linux / Ubuntu? I am ask just in-case I am missing it.

MH: I agree with you. The reason I ended up using Ubuntu back in April 2005 was because it was the first Linux distro that would actually boot on a laptop I owned at the time. I still had to compile an Intel ipw2200 driver for the kernel because it had only been released as a 0.19 release and was not yet considered stable enough to be included in the 2.6.10 Linux kernel. Not for the faint of heart. LOL.

My primary recommendation is what I said earlier: buy preinstalled, especially from a vendor who specializes in Linux machines and offers real support. The two who have been best at that for me personally are ZaReason and System76. Others may recommend still other vendors.

For online help, I like both the Ubuntu Forums Ubuntuforums.org (disclosure: I was the head admin on the forums for some time) as well as AskUbuntu askUbuntu.com. The latter tends to be preferred by more technical users, the former by newer users. Honestly, I use Google for most questions.

[Regarding drivers:] It depends on the driver. For example, the Linux drivers for my Brother DCP-L2540DW printer are available from the manufacturer's website and downloadable as DEB files, which means all I needed to do was use my software package manager. (Side note: all of them were available already in Ubuntu, I only sought them out because there is one additional driver/step that allows me to push a button on the printer and have it scan a document and send it to my computer directly.)

Some manufacturers provide lovely packages like these or RPMs that you can install using your package manager. I salute and appreciate these companies. Others provide binary files you must install/run from the command line, which isn't terrible. Some only provide source code that you must compile yourself, although these are becoming less common.

The truth is, ultimately, drivers should be provided by the original equipment manufacturer and it is up to them to make our lives as simple or complex as they think is appropriate for their users who run Linux. Some care very deeply about us as customers, others do not. My way of simplifying my life is by voting with my wallet and buying from companies that value Linux users' time by making what we must do as simple as possible. I don't do that because I must, but because I want to thank them and encourage them to continue.

I'm not upgrading Windows beyond 7...
by Anonymous Coward

Since I'm not upgrading Windows beyond 7, due exclusively to Microsoft's new explicit policy of tracking every little thing I do on my computer, what distribution would you recommend? I am a long-time Linux user and enthusiast admin, but the problems I have encountered using Ubuntu Desktop have been simply silly, including my AMD Radeon HD 4
card completely losing driver support (believe me when I say the card is completely unsupported by all projects), a Linksys Wi-Fi card completely losing driver support (these last two happened after an update, not version upgrade), monitors not being recognized and having to manually configure Ubuntu to support the resolution settings, plus Wine being a crazy-klunky glob of instability for running MS Office, which is still far superior to Office alternatives for my usage.

Windows 7 expires in 2020 and I'm still unclear as to which direction I am going to end up going. And, omg, I'm even looking at Apple.

MH: I'm partial to Ubuntu, but really, most distros are very much the same underneath. The majority of differences fall into these categories: package management (such as DEB vs RPM), the desktop, and software installed by default.

I completely understand the frustration you are describing. I have had very poor success with ATI/AMD video cards, even as I have had friends who swore by them (not lately, though; I'm not sure why). I have had excellent experiences with Intel video, but not for gaming or serious 3D video stuff. I have an nVidia card in the two machines I use most these days, both a desktop and a laptop, and most of the time things are smooth. Occasionally, I have had a driver flip out on me and need to be reinstalled. Now, I know what to do from the command line to deal with it, so a boot to a flashing cursor is a frustration, but not a terror to me. For many, that is not the case.

The only good solution I have found is research. I research the hell out of everything before I buy any new piece of hardware. That is annoying.

The only other solution I recommend is to buy a system with Linux preinstalled, hopefully with a release that will be supported throughout the lifespan of the hardware. That, or start reading and learning.

Why Ubuntu?
by frovingslosh (582462)

I'm a life long computer user and have been considered very knowledgeable in some operating systems, but so far I can't claim to be knowledgeable or even comfortable with Linux, although I would like to gain that knowledge. I'm leaning towards Debian. Is there any reason that I should try to learn and use Ubuntu over Debian? If something has been dumbed down at the loss of flexibility or usefulness I would not consider that a "feature".

MH: Nothing has been dumbed down and no flexibility or usefulness has been lost. Those are not concerns. I love Debian! Truly. The only reasons I would and do choose Ubuntu over Debian is ease of installation and set up, especially when using hardware that requires non-open-source binary drivers, and because outsiders tend to make their Linux software available in two package forms: RPM and DEB, and the DEBs are without fail packaged for and tested on Ubuntu.

What would you change about Canonical? (Or Ubuntu?)
by KGIII (973947)

If you could change any one thing about Canonical, the organization, what would it be? For me, I'd probably change the clique nature that we see in some of the mailing lists, on the forum, or even at live events. It's great that they've an official @Ubuntu.com email address but, really, they've not actually done much in the way of contributing - ever. It's seemingly more a pissing match and a popularity contest than it is about the benefit that some provide to the community.

If I could change anything, I'd change that. However, if you can snap your fingers and make any change to Canonical, what would that change be - and why? If that question is difficult to answer due to politics or any other reason, you can change Canonical to Ubuntu itself. I'm interested in both, if you want to go that far but I'm limited to one question per post.

MH: Over the last 11 years I have met many Canonical employees, both past and present. The people I have met have been reasonable, smart, and work hard to do the right thing to the best of their ability. The company exists because of one man's generosity, but really wants to be profitable on its own merits. That is an interesting task, especially if you want to do it without stealing anyone else's business. The belief among the Canonical employees I have met is that Linux is not a zero sum game and there is enough potential business out there for all the current players and others as well. How to do that is an interesting problem to solve. I like what they are pursuing with the idea of "convergence," where they envision computing and mobile devices being distilled down into one, where your mobile phone has the power to run as and replace your desktop or laptop and serve as both your information and media consumption device as well as your number crunching, content creation, main computing device. We have been "on the cusp" of this happening for several years and Canonical has put significant money and resources toward this task.

I think the one thing I would change is to help Canonical find a way to better, more clearly communicate to the wider community what the goals and vision are. If you read their press releases, website, listen to their developer discussion, you can learn this, but somehow there is a disconnect in the wider technology community. Sometimes, this has been or at least seemed warranted, as in the complaints about Ubuntu/Canonical creating their own rather than using existing software solutions (desktop, compositing system, etc.). There were technical explanations much of the time for the choices made, but sometimes it sounded like "well, we like this thing we have envisioned better than contributing to that thing we don't control." I don't know if there is an answer to that problem, though, because I can see both sides of the argument and in the end, sometimes we just have to do what we feel is best, and I think that is what Canonical is doing.

Do you think Canonical will get huge?
by LichtSpektren (4201985)

Do you foresee that one day Canonical will be up there with Google, Apple, and Microsoft in terms of being perceived as a software tech giant?

MH: In what field? I don't see Canonical competing with Amazon in cloud hosting, but they are winning the competition for the most used operating system in the cloud. I don't see Canonical growing into one of the world's two largest companies (Google and Apple), but I do see it being an industry leader in some powerful and interesting behind-the-scenes niche markets. I think Canonical is already seen as a leader in the nascent market for alternative OS options on mobile devices, a market that Microsoft has already conceded does not want their option. I guess my ultimate answer is a qualified "yes," but perhaps not in the most obvious ways to the non-tech-savvy.

Why Ubuntu
by KGIII (973947)

As a second question, I've been tasked with writing a book about business management. I've actually been taking this project a little more serious than I'd expected. Yet, it comes down to actually doing the work, examining the structure, working on the layout, figuring out the goals, and deciding on things like verbiage - I end up getting stuck and just meandering off to do something else.

What motivates you to write? That's pretty much it. In my case, the result will be "open source" and free (as in beer) so finances aren't actually a concern. Money just isn't going to motivate me, I've got enough. It just reaches the point where it's somewhere between overwhelming and just a ton of work. It seems insurmountable at times and some method of motivation might help.

MH: Every writer struggles with what you describe. Every one of us. Ultimately, motivation gets us started, but discipline and habit are what enable us to finish. Sometimes I create little subtasks and goals that may motivate me for a day (write 1000 words today and I'll treat myself to a bit of dark chocolate and a dram of tasty scotch), but that only works occasionally. Most days while I am in the middle of a project and I know I have a looming deadline I wake up dreading "chapter 6" or whatever today's scheduled task is, but I just force myself to get up and do it. If you learn of something better or more effective, please tell the rest of us!

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Interviews: 'Ubuntu Unleashed' Author Matthew Helmke Responds

Comments Filter:
  • Linux Demographics (Score:4, Insightful)

    by vux984 ( 928602 ) on Tuesday February 16, 2016 @03:46PM (#51522361)

    "I always think of someone like an uncle or aunt who only needs a computer to read and write email, browse the web, and maybe write a letter. Steering people like this to machines with Linux preinstalled is the only way I expect they would be willing to use it."

    That was true a few years ago and those people were a potential linux demographic, but today? There's no real reason that person even needs a computer, nevermind a Linux computer.

    They really just need an ipad or android tablet. That's where my wife parents are. That's where I'd put my grandmother.

    I'm not really sure why I'd even consider putting them on Ubuntu.

    • by steveg ( 55825 )

      Maybe. My mother is coming up on 83, and anything involving a touchscreen is not an option for her. She has trouble seeing changes that pop up and then go away -- TV's with onscreen displays are also a challenge for the same reason.

      I don't know that Ubuntu would be better -- some of the same issues. Switching her from XP to Win7 was a challenge. If I'd started her out on Mint at the beginning, before we got her XP I'd say we'd have had an easier go at it, but Mint wasn't even around then and even Ubuntu

      • by vux984 ( 928602 )

        Past a certain age both vision, and motor control do become issues. I think tablet touchscreens are easier to use for most than a mouse is generally.

        But a tablet tends to be difficult to see as one's vision goes.

        As I said in another response, I think the ideal device for the elderly would be an ipad in a touchscreen imac formfactor.
        A large touch capable screen), full size keyboard to type things, mouse optional, with an ios like derivative for simplicity.

        "gorlla arm" phenomena would be minimally an issue. T

    • Forcing them to type emails and letters on a tablet is elder abuse. People endure touchscreen typing, but there's nothing pleasant about it.

      • by vux984 ( 928602 )

        Nobody said they can't or shouldn't use a full size keyboard to type things out.

        Indeed for the elderly, I think basically an ipad in a touchscreen imac form factor would be the perfect device. You've got a large 24"+ touch screen, and keyboard. and then optionally a mouse.

      • They don't need a keyboard - they can just dictate it. Works great for email on my android phone. And it will also read that same email out loud. Don't really need a keyboard nowadays.

        one example [androidpit.com]

  • O RLY? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Gravis Zero ( 934156 ) on Tuesday February 16, 2016 @03:49PM (#51522387)

    regardless of what anyone thinks about systemd, it is becoming the ex officio standard.

    i haven't used it on anything since it trashed my VPS. there are entire distros without it.

    I used to complain loudly when windowed desktops became the norm and I was "forced" to use them. That was a losing battle. I learned something from that. Pick your battles.

    fighting against systemd a fight worth fighting because it's a security nightmare. security should always trump petty quibbles.

    • A security nightmare? You anti systemd trolls are getting more and more tiresome. But oh please do tell which security nightmares that you have discovered in systemd?!
      • by gweihir ( 88907 )

        You forget who the hostile intruder is here...

        • Apparantly. Considering that systemd is root (pid 1) that executes scripts that are supposed to run as root as well it will be fun to hear how you guys can see security nightmares here. Is the theory that systemd can get a root script more root than root?
    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by gweihir ( 88907 )

      It will not get on any of our production servers, ever. Our production servers have to be secure and reliable. So far using Debian without that unmitigated catastrophe was no problem. Calling that thing a "standard" is just dishonest and repulsive propaganda.

      • oh boy, it's awful...
    • by ookaze ( 227977 )

      I used to complain loudly when windowed desktops became the norm and I was "forced" to use them. That was a losing battle. I learned something from that. Pick your battles.

      fighting against systemd a fight worth fighting because it's a security nightmare. security should always trump petty quibbles.

      He's right, pick your battles. And anti-systemd trolls have picked their battle as in fact, none of them is fighting against systemd, except if they consider spewing nonsense and trolling is fighting. They all fled the battle to OS without systemd actually.
      What's cool about anti-systemd people, is that you just have to take the contrary to what they say to know what is truth.
      So yes, systemd is a huge improvement security wise compared to sysvinit or even other executable configuration inits.

  • I have to do some "direct [MY] thinking and find a creative, hopefully simple, solution" to get normal stderr debugging with systemd? Is that not a huge warning sign?

    Funny you bring up windows, Matthew, I think Windows continues to be standard because of "herd mentality" without technical merit, maybe systemd has similar problem?

    Maybe more simple and straightforward runlevel hierarchical solutions already mostly fleshed out would be better for developing into something more useful and less unpredictable e

    • "I think Windows continues to be standard because of "herd mentality" without technical merit"

      At the end of the day, the vast majority of computer users don't care about technical merit. They use Windows because the alternatives are not better enough in any meaningful way to motivate them to learn a new OS and replace the software they already own. Particularly an OS that, no matter what advances are made, still requires far to much command line usage to accomplish common tasks or fix issues. Powerful it
      • by ookaze ( 227977 )

        "I think Windows continues to be standard because of "herd mentality" without technical merit"

        At the end of the day, the vast majority of computer users don't care about technical merit. They use Windows because the alternatives are not better enough in any meaningful way to motivate them to learn a new OS and replace the software they already own. Particularly an OS that, no matter what advances are made, still requires far to much command line usage to accomplish common tasks or fix issues. Powerful it may be, but that command line triggers despair in your average user. Linux is great when it "Just Works", but when it doesn't, the thin veneer of usability on top of the OS starts to show through.

        Way to throw away a good argument in the OP just so that you can say the same bullshit again.
        People using IOS or Android computers (tablets, smartphones, ...) without problem proves how misleaded you are.
        These arguments were wrong 15+ years ago already.

        • Except that this discussion is not about mobile (iOS and Android) is it? We're talking about desktop OS here. In the mobile space the options ARE better than Windows Phone in many ways. Also, no one is "switching" OS on their phone. You want to try something new, you buy a new phone. Easy enough for anyone. Changing your PC OS or buying into it by switching to Mac or a Linux PC is asking for a bit more effort than most Windows PC users are willing to make. Windows works for them, and since Windows 7,
    • Did you even follow the link to the StackOverflow article? It wasn't about systemd dropping stderr or stdout (which it doesn't do btw) but was about quite the opposite.
      • rather irrelevant to me since I know systemd doesn't do unbuffered output of services, that's my beef

        • Tried setting "StandardOutput=console" in the unit file?
          • that's for some buffered output on the console

            how about unbuffered in a file?

            • Then you should actually follow the StackOverflow link given by Matthew since that deals with exactly that (redirecting stderr to a file instead of to the journal). However as the AC points out, are you sure that you mean unbuffered? Because unbuffered output is only used for animations like progress bars and so on and is not well suited for either the journal, syslog or to a file but is intended to be displayed on a console.

              If you however by unbuffered mean that you want to fetch the log even though it isn

    • by Anonymous Coward

      > Is that not a huge warning sign?

      A bigger warning sign for me is when in bug reports the answer is usually that "you're doing it wrong" rather than offering help. On /., the answer is usually "you're unit files are bad" rather than offering advice.

    • Windows benefits from network effects, not herd mentality, because the vast majority of Windows users don't have enough of a clue to make sure they're running the same OS as the rest of the herd. They don't understand the similarities and differences between Windows and Ubuntu. What they do know is that their friends can run certain software and that, if they can't, their computer must be broken. This means that anybody who writes software for the vast majority of computer users makes sure it runs in Wi

    • by ookaze ( 227977 )

      I have to do some "direct [MY] thinking and find a creative, hopefully simple, solution" to get normal stderr debugging with systemd?

      No, systemd doesn't eat your stderr, don't worry, that's just troll's nonsense.
      As for daemons launched by systemd, it's far better than most other inits, as instead of being lost in arbitrary places, your stderr is _consistently_ put in the same place, the upstream default being in the journal.

      Is that not a huge warning sign?

      Of course it is. If you're a sysadmin and believe this, it's a huge warning sign that you're very bad at your job and should document yourself a lot more.

      Funny you bring up windows, Matthew, I think Windows continues to be standard because of "herd mentality" without technical merit, maybe systemd has similar problem?

      People should fell shame when someone not knowledgeable in a fi

      • systemd does in fact eat strerr, shill

        and putting it into a database I need special tools to read is a horrible thing

  • Trolled? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gmack ( 197796 ) <gmack@innerfirEEEe.net minus threevowels> on Tuesday February 16, 2016 @04:01PM (#51522511) Homepage Journal

    "Is there a way to get systemd to not throw away... stderr? This is driving us nuts when we have about six hundred Ubuntu servers, and simple problems are harder to solve because stderr is not displayed in the terminal or saved in the journal. "

    How on earth did this troll comment ever make it to the questions? Systemd does not throw away stderr. I have never seen it happen on even my oldest test machines or any of the servers I maintain (combination of Debian, RHEL and Centos) Debugging failed services using stderr on systemd is actually something I have used quite a bit when trying to figure out what config change broke something.

    • Even more hilarious is that the StackOverflow link he provided as help was for quite the opposite. It was a question from someone who did get stdout and stderr into the journal but didn't want to (short summary version) :-)
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Defined as by virtue of one's position or status. What status is that. Everybody I know in the free software rank and file hates the damn thing. The only ones that like it are the Nazis that develop it, and the suits at Red Hat that pay them.

  • by KGIII ( 973947 ) <uninvolved@outlook.com> on Tuesday February 16, 2016 @04:57PM (#51522921) Journal

    I'd like to take a moment to thank you for your thoughtful (and thought-provoking) answers. I like the idea of rewarding myself for reaching goals. I'll have to ponder that one and give it a serious effort. I'm not sure that I'll be able to find something to reward myself with but I'll see if I can come up with something. Maybe I'll try writing in the morning and foregoing any tasty cigars until I've written for a couple of hours and see where it goes from there.

    So, thank you again.

    • Isaac Asimov would write 1,500 words each morning - I guess it worked :-)
      • by KGIII ( 973947 )

        That's not too bad. I can do that in a Slashdot post! ;-)

        By the way, I see your two replies - I've just been slacking for the past day or so. It was a busy but enjoyable weekend.

        At any rate, I can do 1500 words. Hmm... Now to motivate myself to *do* the 1500 words. Hell, I can probably do 15000. I probably type faster than he did. Maybe I can do 1500, then reward myself with a cigar.

        • He was using a manual typewrite for much of that (and hated word processors when they first came out). So yes, 1500 is doable. Just remember, you also have to go back and look at the previous day's work and make any edits to stuff that "looked good at the time" before you write the next chapter :-)
          • by KGIII ( 973947 )

            Good point. I'll (probably) be releasing it under one of the open source/CC licenses so my army of warriors (I don't have any) will edit it for me! I've been asked, a bunch of times, to write down some of the things that I learned about managing and business. I think I may have to sell it - oddly enough. The mentality of some people is that if it's free, as in beer and libre, it's not very good. I want it read because I find the horror stories that I read here horrifying. Horrifying!

            Basically, I learned tha

            • It only works for small environments :P
              • by KGIII ( 973947 )

                We had ~220 people when I sold. I am not discounting your claim - and you may be right, but I think it may have been okay so long as the employees were all reasonably aware of their own responsibilities and if the culture remained similar. If I had to make a guess, I'd expect that somewhere around twice as many people was where it would start to fall apart. It should be noted that those numbers are (partially) divided among three offices and two skeleton offices.

                On of the things we had, I like to call open

    • When I truly *need* to write, 1 thing that is important to me is environment. It may still be hard to get started, but once you take the first few minutes to make yourself start, a good environment can help you stay in "the writing zone". Of course, that will be an individual thing that you may have to hunt for.

      For me, it means no interruptions (from people, phones, etc), good music that is slightly energetic but not overly so and no words/singing. I also do best in blocks of 2-4 hours so I have time to g
      • by KGIII ( 973947 )

        Much thanks. I'll have to give a few different things to try. I've given myself until Sunday to prepare and on Sunday, I must write.

  • by Blaskowicz ( 634489 ) on Tuesday February 16, 2016 @05:31PM (#51523129)

    Some support for running Mate + Compiz was introduced in Mint 17.2, and in Mint 17.3 that's been a bit expanded.
    There is a "Desktop Settings" applet to switch between window manager, compositing enabled or not. I don't care much for compiz myself, but it's a button click affair and you can go there too if you prefer to disable the software composito.

    http://www.linuxmint.com/rel_r... [linuxmint.com]
    http://linuxmint.com/rel_rosa_... [linuxmint.com]

    • by KGIII ( 973947 )

      In case that AC that posted that didn't see the reply in the original thread - this is *not* Compiz but it's damned awesome looking.

      http://eaglemode.sourceforge.n... [sourceforge.net]

      Watch the video. The source and/or installers are at the site. It is nifty looking. I keep getting tempted to install it but I'm not sure if it will end up playing with the DE or not - I don't think it does. I have to say, it's the closest to the mental image I have in my head for the ideal (but probably unrealistic) DE. Just watch the video, it

  • by Anonymous Coward

    "Shut up and eat your turd sandwich."

  • by somenickname ( 1270442 ) on Tuesday February 16, 2016 @05:54PM (#51523325)

    Ubuntu still uses compiz for compositing (at least as of 14.04). The default settings don't allow for much configuration of compiz but, unity-tweak-tool allows you to tweak some properties of the handful of compiz modules that are enabled in Ubuntu. You can also install things like compiz-plugins and compizconfig-settings-manager and tweak things further. I haven't tried this because fiddling with compiz settings is often the kiss of death but, you should be able to turn on wobbly windows if that's your thing.

    Also, thanks for the interview, Matthew. Good to see you're still involved in Ubuntu. Seems like all the old mods/admins from the Ubuntu forums (myself included) are no longer really involved with Ubuntu.

  • > Regarding systemd and stderr, I haven't had any cause to look into this.

    try working in the real world for a day. You will run into this.
    You will also learn why journalctl sucks warm sweaty donkey balls.

  • If you want to try out Compiz, it ships as the flagship desktop on Ubuntu. Just install Ubuntu and off you go. Canonical's Unity desktop is a plugin to the Compiz window manager. I use it -- and the cube switcher, and wobbly windows -- every day. It's still maintained, and will still be the flagship desktop for Ubuntu 16.04.

There are no data that cannot be plotted on a straight line if the axis are chosen correctly.