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Comment: Re:Why do people dislike systemd so much? (Score 3, Informative) 212

by Foresto (#49490569) Attached to: GNU Hurd 0.6 Released

The reasons for disliking it vary, but there is at least one common thread among those who are upset about it: Systemd is being shoved down their throats, in that several of the most widely used, widely loved, deeply entrenched linux distributions have announced that they are adopting it. Many people who use those distributions do so for very good reasons, and since there are no equivalent alternatives, these people are being forced to either accept systemd (which will cause them unwanted trouble) or migrate to an inferior distribution (which will also cause them unwanted trouble). That kind of thing is enough to piss anyone off.

Comment: Git is its own worst enemy (Score 3, Insightful) 202

by Foresto (#49420167) Attached to: 10 Years of Git: An Interview With Linus Torvalds

Git is its own worst enemy

Sigh... Git. Ten years later, and it's still making people suffer with its unforgivably awful user interface. Seriously. I like the command line, and git is my primary version control system, but git's UI is the single most user-hostile example of human-computer interaction that I have had the misfortune to encounter in years. Maybe decades.

Git's command structure is a train wreck of inconsistencies, some of its most important terminology is worse than worthless, and its man pages and built-in help text are idiotically obtuse. I have been following its development closely enough to understand how it got this way. A lot of it has to do with placeholder terms that were never updated, synonyms that were never reconciled, features that were grafted onto existing commands and never properly organized, and its origin as a set of low-level components rather than a tool intended for humans. In other words, a pattern of evolution much like any other software, except for one thing: Even after years of being relatively stable, its mantainers still haven't addressed its glaring usability problems.

These aren't just minor warts that only affect a few people, either. There are countless articles, blog posts, and forum threads expressing frustration with git and detailing specific improvements that could transform it from a usability nightmare to an elegant piece of work. Sadly, the maintainers either ignore them or respond with some half-witted reason to resist change. Frankly, I am embarrassed to see my fellow software developers failing so miserably to recognize the importance of usability, and failing to fix it.

What is the cache? It's a place where you're expected to manually arrange your data before you commit it. Does it function like a person would expect a cache to function? No, but we call it that anyway. What is the index? It's the same thing. Does it function like a person would expect an index to function? No, but we call it that anyway. You're referring to the same thing in both cases? Yes, for the most part. Does it function like anything that might be familiar to anyone? Yes, it's essentially a staging area. Why don't you call it a staging area? We do, but only in the minority of cases. You mean you have three names for the same thing, and the most accurate name is the one that you use the least? Yes. Why? Because the meaningful name might be harder to translate into other languages. So you deliberately use a confusing variety of misleading names when writing in English, the single most widely used language in computer science, because one of your translators didn't want to describe a staging area in another language? Yes. Well, that's probably okay, because this thing is probably some obscure piece of git that most people don't have to use, right? No, it's actually one of git's most distinguishing features, and interacting with it is absolutely required in order to use git. I see.

Newcomers shouldn't have to be encouraged to "take the time to learn git." It should be easy. A programmer familiar with version control systems should be able to pick up a new one in five minutes, and find the answer to most intermediate-to-advanced problems in maybe ten or fifteen. They should be able to walk away for a month or two, come back, and still remember how to use it. That doesn't generally happen with git. One has to invest quite a bit of time and patience to confidently use anything beyond its most basic operations without screwing something up, and stay in practice with it, or else end up having to learn most of it all over again.

The ridiculous thing is that it doesn't have to be this way. Mercurial is real-world proof of that.

I hate git for these reasons. It's a cantankerous bastard of a tool that will just as soon kneecap you as handle your data. I only use it because of github (which is brilliant, by the way.) If you want to see an example of how version control should be done, get to know mercurial. Its internal design is similar to git's, and it can do pretty much everything that git can, yet it has a sane user interface.

Here's an astute bit of satire:

Comment: Re:Split (Score 1) 452

by Foresto (#49279157) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Good Keyboard?

Try finding a Cherry G80-5000. Adjustable split keyboard. Haven't used mine in a long time, because it feels like I can't afford breaking or even just any kind of wear.

Seconded. Mine is labeled "MODELL MX 5000", and others are called the ErgoPlus, but they're all basically the same keyboard. I didn't realize what a high quality device it was when I bought my first one. I've now been coding and gaming on it for well over a decade, and it still works beautifully. Even the flexible plastic parts show no sign of damage.

The split angle is completely adjustable, from very wide to no split at all, so it will fit just about any shoulder width and can be temporarily collapsed for guests.

It has Cherry brown switches. I can feel when they engage, but they don't click, so typing noise comes mainly from the key caps bottoming out.

The numeric keypad is detached (and can be unplugged) from the main unit. This is great for right-handed gamers, because it can be moved to the left side of the keyboard and the mouse can be brought in closer.

I originally bought the Cherry 5000 because it was the most comfortable model in the ergo shop at a reasonable price. After a year of using it and a touchpad, my RSI issues were greatly reduced and I was able to go back to using a mouse. After a couple more years, my RSI issues were gone.

It's a real shame they discontinued this model, and not at all surprising that they sell for $500-1000 on ebay. I'd probably pay that much if mine disappeared. It's the only keyboard I've ever liked, and I expect it to last a very long time.

Comment: On My Own Server (Score 1) 178

by Foresto (#49003489) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: With Whom Do You Entrust Your Long Term Data?

I don't trust my data with any cloud storage company, because none of them can be trusted.

Most of my data gets backed up to encrypted disks that can be stored off-site.

Data that I need to access remotely, like my phone's calendar and contacts, live on my home server. It runs only the software that it needs, sits behind a firewall, and is updated with security patches regularly. It has a much smaller attack surface than any cloud storage company's data center, and is a much less interesting/valuable target for attackers.

Of course, running a personal server has long been the domain of people who have lots of computer admin knowledge, but that is starting to change. Projects like ownCloud, arkOS, and FreedomBox are working toward making it easy. Low-power server hardware is getting dirt cheap. It might not be long before anyone capable of using a smartphone or game console can set up their own file / calendar / contacts / mail / whatever server for under $100 (including storage).

Comment: Re:Logitech G600 (Score 1) 431

by Foresto (#48899635) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Where Can You Get a Good 3-Button Mouse Today?

It's really absurd, isn't it? Logitech could win the favor of linux users if they offered something even as rudimentary as a command line programming tool or a protocol spec.

I would have bought a mouse from a company that supports linux, but since I really wanted all those extra buttons, my options were severely limited. The G600 was the least bad option.

In case you decide to buy it, here's the ~/.Xmodmap file I use to swap the middle and right buttons:

pointer = 1 3 2 4 5 6 7 8 9
keycode 78 = Multi_key

(That second line is unrelated; it lets me use Scroll Lock as my compose key.)

Comment: Logitech G600 (Score 1) 431

by Foresto (#48896791) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Where Can You Get a Good 3-Button Mouse Today?

The Logitech G600 is pretty decent if you can get used to the larger size and all the buttons on the side. Stupidly, it forbids you from programming the middle button to middle click and right button to right click. You can program the middle button to right click and right button to middle click, though, and then swap the two with xmodmap if you're using linux. You might also want to program the resolution down much lower than the default for linux use. Of course, since it's from Logitech, you'll need Windows or MacOS to program it.

Comment: My hopes are with Rian Johnson (Score 1) 422

by Foresto (#48888519) Attached to: Disney Turned Down George Lucas's Star Wars Scripts

None of the new episodes did much for me while I was watching them, and I can hardly remember anything about them now. J.J. Abrams might make the next one more fun, at least, but I recently learned something about Episode 8 that makes me care about the series for the first time in ages: Rian Johnson is doing it. His most recent work was a mainstream movie called Looper, which was fine, but the two he did before that were astonishingly good. (It would be fair to say that story and writing matter to me more than effects.) I'm not sure whether to be worried that he'll mute his talents in pursuit of mainstream money, or excited that he'll make Star Wars interesting again. Either way, I'm looking forward to finding out.

Comment: Productivity on available hardware. (Score 1) 592

by Foresto (#48846695) Attached to: Why Run Linux On Macs?

I was given a Mac laptop at my last startup. I used it instead of buying new hardware because it helped keep our costs down. I ran (xubuntu) linux on it because all of my OS-specific development targeted linux, because most of the software that works well for me is developed primarily for linux, and because the open nature of linux makes admin, troubleshooting, and customization far easier for me than on any proprietary OS. Linux was therefore the only sensible choice.

My CEO sometimes asked why I didn't keep OSX and just run linux in a VM. He seemed surprised that anyone would willingly discard the Mac environment and Mac applications and beautiful Mac perfection that comes with a Mac. (He was a bit of an Apple fanatic.) I explained that since I don't need anything that OSX has to offer, using it as a host for my real OS would just waste resources, complicate timing issues (which were important in my work), potentially add security vulnerabilities, and increase admin overhead (like having to reboot for OSX updates). In other words, all loss, no gain.

The user experience has something to do with it as well. I was a Mac lover for a while long ago, and although I'm happy that MacOS is finally built on a real operating system and wraps it in a package that many people find intuitive, it isn't intuitive to me, and it comes with a lot of restrictions and design choices that get in my way and frustrate me. That's part of why I run linux even when work doesn't demand it.

Comment: Something Better (Score 2) 551

by Foresto (#48833901) Attached to: Systemd's Lennart Poettering: 'We Do Listen To Users'

I'd like to see an init system like this:

- Starts services on demand based on dependencies, not based on order (like sysvinit) or based on events (like upstart).
- Has a minimal core that can easily run on its own, just to do the job of a standard init system.
- Is easy to learn, configure, and understand.
- Has good documentation.
- Does not encourage application software to require it.
- Does not encourage other system services to require it.
- Works well on linux and non-linux unixes.
- Can be replaced without causing such an upheaval that OS distribution teams are scared to switch again if something objectively better comes along.
- Causes a lot fewer problems than the stuff that I've seen from systemd's author.
- Is maintained by people with the humility, competence, and care required to make it work well for the vast majority of users.

Systemd pushers often claim that it is the way forward because it addresses that first piont. They conveniently avoid recognizing that it fails on most of them. No thanks. I'd rather keep using sysvinit or upstart until something better comes along.

If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of car payments. -- Earl Wilson