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Comment: Ask her. (Score 2) 287

by Foresto (#46429677) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Linux For Grandma?

Seriously, ask her. Show her a couple of options that you're willing to support, point out the differences from her old desktop, and let her choose.

I recommend something with an OSX dock-style launcher, perhaps Unity (with appropriate privacy tweaks) or Avant Window Navigator. I got a 70-year-old to switch from Windows to Ubuntu/Unity in under an hour, with very few follow-up questions.

It might also be helpful to give her a linux distribution that you use regularly, so any support you have to do in the future will be in a familiar environment.

Comment: Re:PFsense (Score 1) 264

by Foresto (#46305187) Attached to: Routers Pose Biggest Security Threat To Home Networks

I prefer open source over a black box mainly to avoid two problems: unverifiable security and abandonware. If Ubiquiti can convincingly show that all security holes are patched before or promptly after someone discovers them, and continue to do so until I no longer have use for the product, then I'm fine with proprietary. I don't know know how they would accomplish the former, though, and so few companies choose to do the latter that I'm skeptical.

Comment: Hoping for the Best (Score 1) 379

by Foresto (#46207985) Attached to: Debian Technical Committee Votes For Systemd Over Upstart

I'm among the many who have built up a healthy aversion to certain software after having been repeatedly burned by Pulse. I would not have chosen systemd. That said, I have tremendous respect for the Debian team, and am optimistic that the worst of the problems we find with their choice will be addressed within a couple of years. Let's get the bickering out of our systems quickly, and move on to helping one another turn the new init into something genuinely good.

Comment: Re:Hate it (Score 1) 218

by Foresto (#46132655) Attached to: FCC Wants To Trial Shift From Analog Phone Networks To Digital

No, VOIP still sucks. Cellular sucks. Cellular plus VOIP really sucks.

Eh. POTS worked okay for me most of the time, except when wet weather made call quality worse than normal. VoIP works well for me most of the time, except when a bad route makes call quality worse than normal. At least VoIP gives me more alternatives with which to work around a problem, and is a hell of a lot cheaper. I look forward to the day when better codecs (on both VoIP and cellular) and encryption raise the "normal" bar, for basically no cost.

Comment: Re:Z-Wave (Score 1) 336

by Foresto (#45947561) Attached to: New Home Automation?

make sure you include a neutral to all of your wall switch boxes.

This is a good idea even if you don't plan on automating anything. With a neutral at each of your switch boxes you can install all sorts of electronic gadgets, including trailing edge dimmers, which are much more friendly to LED and other modern lighting systems than the dimmers that work without a neutral.

Comment: I'm Torn (Score 4, Interesting) 362

by Foresto (#45262549) Attached to: Debian To Replace SysVinit, Switch To Systemd Or Upstart

After having repeatedly run into the limitations of SysV init, I'm all for replacing it with something smarter, but I'm torn between these two.

I've used Upstart on Ubuntu, both as an admin and as a developer. I like that the commands and configuration files are clean and pretty easy to understand. A few things bother me, though:

  • The model of starting all dependent services when their dependencies start is backwards. I don't necessarily want init to launch every daemon under the sun the moment I mount their data filesystem. I'd rather have it mount the required filesystem when I ask for a particular daemon to start.
  • As of a year or so ago, the documentation was mainly an incomplete bunch of blog posts. Once I found them, it was pretty easy to configure daemons that behaved like the venerable ones that are often used as examples, but it was difficult to learn how to match Upstart's features (some of which are undocumented) and events (also largely undocumented) with an unusual service's behavior
  • Debugging was difficult, mainly because so few events are well documented and it's not always clear which of Upstart's features are implemented in in any given version. (I hear the latest release offers some event tracing tools that would improve this.)

I haven't used Systemd at all, but the common points that come up again and again in every writeup I encounter have me forming me some opinions already. I really like the idea of the load-as-needed dependency model. A few things have me quite worried about the implementation, though:

  • Configuration is reportedly difficult to understand. That always leads to frustrating, time-wasting, messy problems.
  • The code is reportly rather complex. That usually leads to chronically buggy software, which is not what I want in a process as important as init. It also tends to hamper portability, which could make Systemd a poor candidate for replacing init on other unixes, which would relegate it to being yet another OS-specific hassle for coders and admins all over the world. I'd prefer something that could reasonably be adopted everywhere, or at least by most of the operating systems I have to administer, even if a few features weren't available on every platform
  • I recently learned that the guy behind Systemd is the same guy who brought us PulseAudio. I don't want to get off topic here, but this gives me little hope that Systemd will ever work well outside the lead developers' development machines. (Pulse is around 10 years old now, and every time I give it another chance, it proves itself intolerable.)

Comment: Re:Great (Score 2) 116

by Foresto (#45206855) Attached to: Ubuntu Touch On a Nexus 7: "Almost Awesome"

"How much freer could Android be? The entire platform is open source.

Let's see... how many of my android devices have come with the complete source code required to modify, rebuild, and run the software that came installed on them, without any loss of functionality?

Exactly none.

And that's the point. The Android Open Source Platform might be Free, but our phones are not running the Android Open Source Platform; they come with derivatives of it that usually depend on proprietary, closed-source differences. The result is that I don't have a reaonsable way to verify that my device is doing what I think it should be doing, or to keep it updated with security patches, or to be sure that I have disabled every bit of privacy-invading crap that hides in those commercial ROM images. The closest I can get is replacing most of the stock software with an open source alternative, which is not the same thing and (if I can manage to find one at all) usually means breaking several bits of functionality that I paid for when I bought the device.

Only through hard work and perseverance can one truly suffer.

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