Sunday, August 19, 2007

Why I refuse to call it GNU/Linux

When listening to others talk about GNU/Linux it always strikes me as odd the argument that is used. That the Linux kernel was made usable by the marriage of the GNU tool set to it so therefor it should be called GNU/Linux as it is a blending of the two and Linux is only the kernel. On the face of it this argument makes sense ... if one doesn't think about it too deeply.

There are however a few things I would like to point out. The GNU tools are released under the GPL, which does not carry a branding clause. This means in effect I can take those tools, do nothing at all to them, and rename them. Henceforth I can call them the 'Azerthoth Tool set and Compiling modules' and there is not a thing that can be done about it legally. Making that change stick in the eyes of the public, odds probably arent that good. As long as I don't change the license though, all I really have to worry about are the purists and Stallmanites flaming me into oblivion.

The next reason, and in my mind the compelling reason I refuse the GNU/Linux name, my car. Did that stop you for a second making you ask yourself where THAT connection came from? Let me explain then. Lets take my Mercury Cougar for example. Thats easy, Mercury makes a car that I bought, and the model name for that car is Cougar. I have never, and neither have you called it a John/Cougar, even though John might be the name of the guy who designed it. How about a Delco/Cougar because I have a Delco alternator in it that supplies power for the electrical system. A Chevron/Cougar because of the gas I use to give it motive force? Do you see what I am getting at? All of these things are part of a complex and integrated system, however they are NEVER named specifically. The same holds true with nearly every item you have ever acquired.

But, but, but, the GPL is what makes Linux ... well ... Linux, shouldn't we acknowledge that? Um, NO, we should not have to, nor should we be forced to tolerate those who would make us think so. If contribution to the underlying abilities of Linux made that sort of branding logical then should we not also be correct in calling it Morton/Linux or Tridgell/Linux perhaps Ingo/Linux or Stallman/Linux. It is all about a whole bunch of complex pieces coming together in one place at one time to make something that just works. All the pieces are needed to make it happen, and picking out just one single piece to give additional credit to in the complex amalgam that is otherwise known as Linux is just plain silly. Kind of like Frankenstein's monster, a bit from here and a bit from there and a bit from somewhere else. Stuff it into a case, apply electricity, and viola.

I have said my piece on the matter, coherently I hope. All that remains now is to bid you all ado for the moment and await the flaming that I am sure is coming. I did knowingly and willingly step on Saint Stallman, and in the community that surrounds Linux, that is one of the “Shall Not's”. Let's hope that my new asbestos undies are up to the challenge.

have fun till next time.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Sabayon x86_64

Did I say that I had started a new love affair with Sabayon? Let me tell you what I went on an install binge this weekend, Bluewhite64, Slackware 12, and Sabayon x86_64. I was terminally unimpressed with either of the first two, although I'm going to give Bluewhite64 which is a Slack derivative a little more time and play before I pass final judgment on it. Sabayon 64 bit ... All I can say is WOW!!!.

Finally a 64 bit OS that works like I want it to. No tinkering with this that or the other to get some 32 bit app working correctly (Flash). I want to run Warcraft, which has a permanent home on its own partition ... well that did take a tinker just as it did with the 32 bit version. For some reason it didn't ship with opengl compiled in, so you have to re-emerge it with opengl support. Other than that though whammo Warcrack was up and running inside a few minutes.

Here is what I do to any new Linux install within minutes of having it running for the first time.
Visit youtube and see if everything works out of the box (it does for Sabayon 32 and 64 bit)
Drop in a movie and see if I can watch it. (yes again for both versions)
Warcraft (no for both, but it was a really fast fix, and got me the latest wine release to boot)
3D desktop (yes for both 32 and 64 bit) Not that I use it Compiz and Beryl have issues about locking up pretty much any system I have tried them on with I ctrl|alt|F1 to terminal and then try to go back to the desktop. But I like having it available, and I know how to shut them down.

Almost every distro I have ever tried has failed in these tests, which I consider my daily uses. I haven't tried Linux Mint lately, which is from what I hear should pass these simple tests however I have an aversion to most things Ubuntu. I know that Ian Murdock has said Ubuntu is Debian done right, but if I wanted a 6 month old snapshot of Debian Sid I can do that and without the bugs that the Ubuntu folks induce. Dont flame me for the truth here folks, Ubuntu has done wonderful things for Linux, its just that it is a far cry from the end all be all it could be if they would just pay a little more attention to what they were doing, and what their users should EXPECT to see out of the box.

All in all I just made another switch, from 32 bit Sabayon to 64 bit Sabayon. I just get happier and happier the more I use this Distribution. It says alot for them and for the Gentoo community and developers that desktop Linux can be this easy.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Sabayon 3.4a x86

Just a quick update. I had initially installed Sabayon on my desktop using the 3.3 mini LiveCD. While I was away in Oklahoma for training I downloaded the 3.4a DVD in both x86 and x86_64 as well as a few others that looked interesting such as Bluewhite64. So far the only one I have had time to play with is the 32 bit version of Sabayon.

First up I tried the upgrade (not 6th sense) and that took way too long. I did let it finish and do everything it wanted to, however it did not fix some of the problems I had induced into my system, such as not being able to start the 3D desktop environment any longer. I waited something like 6 hours to find that the update pretty much spent 6 hours giving me a new kernel and left me with a partially broken system. Not that I couldnt fix it if I had wanted to, I knew where the error was I just dont need the compiz fusion beryl stuff active except for showing people that Linux outshines any other OS for eye candy.

Next I went ahead and did a fresh install using the same DVD. Folks if you are smart enough to back up the stuff you want to keep onto a seperate partition, this is the way to go. In less than an hour I had a sparkly new install vs 6+ hours for a partially broken upgrade. This is by far the fastest and easiest way to use the DVD to update your system. Of course you can still use emerge to upgrade as you go along if you choose and now that I have learned more how Sabayon/Gentoo works, thats probably the path I will continue to use. Not that I have figured out all the gotcha's yet, but I'm learning *grin*.

Anyway, Sabayon 3.4 is a very polished and functional system. If you have moved beyond the newbie distro's (and honestly Sabayon is almost capable of being a newbie distro ... almost) and are looking for something to start ecking out the most horsepower out of your system, Sabayon is a great place to start. Especially since so many things are already included and configured for you, more than in the various *buntu's or PCLinuxOS. Not to knock PCLOS, I still use that on my laptop and keep a few CD's handy to pass out to folks who are just starting out, its just that Sabayon is so much more, if not exactly as newbie friendly as PCLOS.

Good job on the latest release, I look forward to a long and fruitful affair with this great project.