Monday, October 25, 2010
Some of us are bloodied warriors....
Others sit on the sidelines experiencing mixed degrees of amusement.
I've been both, but more the latter these days.
The emergence of Ubuntu and it's propelled status to the number one downloaded distro has quelled many of the skirmishes.
There are those who want to carry the war forward.
The HeliOS Project has been a long-time user of Mint...and not for any other reason than it fits our needs.
As my friend Eric Johnson says:
"Operating Systems are tools, not religions."
It wouldn't take me long to drill down into an MS Eula and find points to disagree with Eric, but the truth is, most "average" computer users don't care about their "freedom"....and when we preach to them, many of us come off as fanatics.
Trust me, I know.
Lately though we've been working with tools to shorten the install and tweak process on our installed computers. We're coming close to averaging 400 computers a year now and we have to find a way to maximize our efforts.
We've had great and generous volunteers do various respins of the Mint distro for us but their time availability isn't always in sync with important changes we make in our remixes.
Truthfully, some of the methods used to create these respins is above my pay grade or the time available I have to work with them.
Of course, when we look for a base distro to work from, we choose the Ubuntu/Mint types of debian-based distros.
There's a lot to be said for working with the most popular products. Tools to do the respins, specifically the application UCK, seems to only work on Ubuntu. The ease and speed that UCK allows one to do a custom distro is fantastic.
But it is, unfortunately, Ubuntu-centric.
I've taken the long way around to get to my point.
Recently, I burned the ISO file for Super OS. We've used Super OS in the past and found it to our liking for one simple reason. It makes available some of the codecs and "restricted" goodies that the regular Ubuntu install does not.
Let's say W32 Codecs, Nvidia and ATI prop drivers, libdvdcss and the Oracle/Sun version of Java 6.
Yeah, I know, I know...iced tea this and iced tea that.....openjdk-6-jdk and openjdk-6-jre...I appreciate the effort. Many times they just don't work.
They have serious limitations in many banking and secure websites...it just doesn't get the job done for many online applications...at least for the time being.
So we needed a base distro to build to and we began to work with Super OS.
I made mention of this in an email to a friend.
Holy crap, you would have thought I spit on a statue of The Virgin Mary.
First off, I don't think anyone have a higher regard for the courage and tenacity of Richard Stallman then me.
But as I said in a recent comment on a forum concerning the same topic:
Sometimes dogma has to give way to pragmatism.
And as far as anyone not "having a place" in the Linux Community...?
Let's embrace freedom.
As long as freedom fits your particular idea of what freedom is.
No prop drivers or codecs.
Then you are truly free.
Not to mention that your bank won't start a session without Sun-Java6.
Or that your 3D games won't play because the Nvidia card you have in your computer won't work.
Or that your DVD optical drive thinks the DVD you just put into it is a glazed doughnut.
No...one of the biggest problems we have as Linux Advocates is that we hand someone the latest Ubuntu CD and walk away...thinking we've done the right thing.
No we haven't.
Peek in on the Live CD user as he tries to get Hulu or Pogo.com to play. Watch his frustration as Miniclip.com complains about no flash.
The pop up Adobe flash install fails on a live CD by the way. Hell, the pop up Adobe flash install fails on many hard drive installs...even when it reports itself to be the correct Linux version.
So what we have is a pissed off user who ejects the CD, throws it in his newly-made coaster pile and joins The Army of Linux Sucks.
Just a suggestion...when you give out live CD's for people to use, don't let your fanboi-ism get in the way of what you are trying to accomplish.
Unfortunately, that's exactly what many of us are doing.
And when the New User complains that it didn't work for them, we write them off as computer illiterate and completely undeserving of our efforts.
The worst part is that many of us know there are distros out there that address these problems but we won't give them out due to our distro allegiances.
That's a damned shame.
I'm just sayin'...
blather and mumbling provided by Ken Starks at 1:19 PM