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Comment My Two Cents (Score 2) 529

I rarely bother to log in, much less comment anymore, but I felt compelled to do so on this subject.

For context: I read the initial writeup and source article on RMS' take on Canonical's actions a few days ago here on Slashdot, as well as Mr. Bacon's response today. I've also been a happy, but increasingly disappointed Ubuntu user for a number of years now. I write this on my 10 year old laptop that hasn't had a working hard drive in 5 years (maybe 6?). This machine runs on a Kubuntu Fiesty Live CD, and my desktop dual boots Win7 and Ubuntu 12.04.

As a long-time Free Software enthusiast, I can tell you that RMS pisses me off nearly as often as I begrudgingly agree with him. I am hardly alone in that opinion of him.

Anyway, I've been less than thrilled with the Unbuntu-proper releases for the last couple of years now. Its just a simple case of the design team taking the distro in a direction that decreasingly suits my tastes, particularly on the desktop. I am not a fan of Unity. I begrudgingly used it on my desktop machine for about 2 years, and even after I got used to it, I still didn't like it. The default environment just, I dunno -- it pisses me off. And its gotten increasingly annoying to me in the last couple of releases. That alone is fine. I'm sure there are many users that like things better now. Aside from the desktop environment itself, Ubuntu distros have never failed me in terms of working well with my hardware, which is more than I can say for a couple of distros (which have probably caught up in the prevailing years for all I know.). My weird Wifi and graphics hardware just works. Thats freakin' sweet! My desktop machine currently runs Kubuntu 12.04 because I just got tired of the Unity crap. However I'm likewise not thrilled with KDE at the moment. Plasma and the file manager are only marginally less annoying to me. It pisses me off for similar, but different reasons. That's another story. I realize that I have other options within the Ubuntu ecosystem in regards to Desktop Environment, and I'm also quite aware I have options in switching distributions altogether. That isn't really my gripe.

For all that, and back on topic: RMS is totally right on this one. Yeah, he called out Ubuntu in a pretty blunt way, but it is what it is and RMS is famous for that same tone. That's sort-of Stallman's self-appointed job. It is on him to hold the highest ideal for Free Software and bark loudly when it seems something runs afoul. None of us are surprised. Mr. Bacon's retort (if you can call it that), is simply unsatisfactory because it doesn't really address the issue. If Mr. Bacon had simply accepted that the default behavior of the dash is unfavorable to the user and promised to have it reconsidered, if not changed, that would have been _something_. My personal view is that the Amazon thing should be opt-in, and even that isn't ideal, but I'd be willing to accept that and not get hung up on it.

RMS is many things, but childish and/or short-sighted are not the first words that come to my mind, even though I'm certainly not his biggest fan. I have a slightly looser requirements from my Linux distributions than those recommended by the FSF. For example, I don't really mind loading a binary blob driver from Nvidia so that I can actually use my graphics hardware. Ideologically, RMS is right, but I have shit to do NOW. We can fight the hardware/driver problem later.

At the end of the day, I will strongly consider moving from Ubuntu altogether because this is just the last straw for me. Not really for ideological reasons, but it just isn't usable for me anymore. I've never tried Mint, but enough commenters have spoken favorably of it for me to give it a go. I greatly appreciate what Canonical has done to try to bring Linux to the masses, as it were, but I feel that over time they have deviated from the spirit of what they originally set out to do. I can no longer support Canonical if they choose to continue along this path, and deeply feel that making 'sneaky' decisions like this one greatly serves to take away the momentum they've contributed to the Linux community in regards to achieving the goal of "Linux on the Desktop". Doing stuff like this is a step backward.

Please, Canonical, rethink your motivations for moving down this path. Yes, you want to make money with Free Software. No, there is nothing wrong with that. How you go about doing so speaks loudly of your character, for better or for worse. So, go back to making software that my mother can use, and cut out the bullshit. Getting 'recommended links' or just outright blatant ads piss everyone off, not just us 'enthusiasts'. My mom's exasperation at all of the douchebags trying to sell her shit when all she's after is a "fuckin' cookie recipe, for chrissakes" (her words) might tell you something. Something, I would think, your community manager should be able to pick up on.

Comment Re:Software GPU Emulation (Score 1) 237

To maintain state between remote clients.

Forgive my ignorance, but what do you mean, exactly? How does using VNC help this as opposed to using x-forwarding? I honestly don't understand.

The reason I ask is because I routinely remotely access my desktop machine (ubuntu 11.04 running stock gnome desktop) from my ten year old laptop (bootable kubuntu feisty CD, running KDE) using 'ssh -C -Y' and then calling whatever application I want to use (usually eclipse) and it works just great. If I want to remotely run the desktop itself I just call 'startx' instead of the application. It works fine. I'm just confused as to why VNC could possibly offer any benefit over doing it the way I described.

I mean, yeah, if I want to access my desktop machine from a remote Windows machine, VNC would probably be the path of least resistance, but otherwise I can't see how VNC would be preferable. Can you shed any light on this?

FWIW, I actually bothered to log into ask this so I can look later and see if anyone can help me out here ;-P

Comment Re:Web apps make it so easy to be insecure. (Score 1) 68

Meh, well including myself, most ADO.Net programmers use parameterized queries because thats what Visual Studio spoon-feeds you. Nothing wrong with that. In PHP i'll concat to my hearts content in a text editor. Does PHP have an IDE that provides the same functionality (really, I don't know).

In the hands of the capable, either are worthwhile languages. What really gets you is when you don't first sanitize your inputs. You can screw that up in any language :-)

Comment Re:Acoustic coupler era and POTS! (Score 4, Interesting) 249

Ahh, and not only exciting, but would only later be known as 'epic'. My first foray into the internet was on our school library's VT100 terminals which were primarily used for queuing up inter-library loan requests. This was in 1995. Getting Mortal Kombat cheat codes and fatalities was never so easy. I also remember printing off the Duke Nukem 3D build editor docs on that same machine, but I think that was a bit later on. Shortly after my church confirmation class took a trip to a ''church'' college which had machines which displayed the WWW in all its graphical glory. They were running Netscape (probably 2.0 or 3.0, I didn't bother to check at the time). I was smitten. Not long after that, our town got local dialup access, and at age 15 I convinced my mom to let me pay for and install a second phone line for it. I soon learned enough HTML and Javascript to 'hack' the Perl/CGI chat room I used to fool around in -- giving myself full administrative ability. W00t! The coolest damned thing I ever did was play my chatroom buddy in Quake II -- ON THE INTERNET!

To this day, there is nothing more exciting than hearing that 14.4 modem chirp off the connection sequence. Sometimes I kinda wish my DSL connection made that same noise. I'll always treasure those halcyon days. Thank you, Mr. modem inventors. Mine served me well far longer than it should have, mostly reliably, and is the singlemost important reason I ever became a computer geek. Thanks a million! Now who is calling me at five in the morn--


Comment Re:My Theory (Score 1) 888

I am starting to think the airlines want this.

Funny, but I am not so sure you are wrong, but maybe not for the reason you stated. I had a well thought-out reason why, but I am afraid to post it because of the outside chance I could be arrested for painting the government in a less than perfect light. How is that for sad? I think my sig says it all.

Comment Re:Irony (Score 1) 280

Not exactly, it just means that we will treat you nice (for the most part) regardless of whether or not we actually like you. The knife in the back is completely optional.

Contrast with New Yorkers, who are more than happy to hand out unsolicited "fuck you's" for just being in their presence.

Comment Re:just need the software... (Score 1) 823

Some touchpad manufacturers have software to allow this, track down who made your touchpad and see if they have any goodies on the website. I know on my old Presario there was some software that would allow you to do neat things like use it as a tablet... and it was even pressure sensitive. Of course, a touchpad is a pretty damn small writing surface, so I never really used it for anything.

Comment Re:humans (Score 2, Insightful) 536

You jest, but how do we know it isn't so?

I'm too lazy to look around for it at the moment, but I wonder if there are any synchronous comparable samples of both "human" and neanderthal DNA. That is to say, do we have samples of DNA from both humans and neanderthals, from say 15,000 years ago? How do those samples compare in similarity to modern human DNA? Maybe its just a gut feeling, but I strongly suspect that there is a real, even likely possibility that neanderthal descended genes are present in modern-day humans. It would be incredibly interesting to have that proven or disproven.

Comment Re:Did we really expect different? (Score 1) 349

Yes, it _is_ refurbished Vista... that doesn't make it a bad thing, but there is a reason the version number was not incremented to v7.0.
XP was descended from the NT line, it has nothing to do with the Win9x architecture, no XP is not refurbished Win95.
Vista was a major architecture change from XP, notably in the audio/video path. Again, not a refurbished instance of the previous version.
Contrast that with Vista vs. 7, which are much more closely related. Its easy to see why people have the idea that 7 is more akin to a big service pack to Vista. Or as my buddy so eloquently put it: "Windows 7 is essentially Vista with liposuction and a boob job".

Comment Re:Waste MORE time!? (Score 1) 1073

This is absolutely true, especially here in the rural midwest. In many cases, its actually _cheaper_ to own a house than to rent the same, by virtue of the fact that your landlord is not only subsidizing his mortgage, but looking to make a small profit on top of it.

The problem comes in where you're denied a mortgage even though the principle/interest/insurance/taxes are less than what you currently pay in rent. If you have less than stellar credit, its not gonna happen without one helluva cosigner.

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