Freedom or Ease of Use? A Note on Torvalds’ Strange Remarks

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I’ve just stumbled upon a disappointing interview with Linus Torvalds which left me utterly confused about Mr. Torvalds views on GNU/Linux distributions. He is certainly a prominent figure and I always look up to him but I think he is much misunderstood about the goal of distros and especially about the role of Debian. This paragraph especially drew my attention:

“I’ve tried it a couple of times over the years, mainly because the thing Ubuntu did so well was make Debian usable. I always felt that Debian was a pointless exercise because to me, the point of a distribution is to make everything easy. Easy to install, to be pretty and to be friendly and Ubuntu did that to Debian.”

Maybe some GNU/Linux experts can help me here but I never thought that the point of a distro is to make everything easier or prettier. I always thought the the main point of a GNU/Linux distribution is to bring more freedom into our world. Do prettier interfaces which are basically a mash up of third-party themes and fonts make an operating system better? How Mr. Torvalds define the word “usable” is a mystery I need to know. Besides, what’s the point of ‘ease of use’ when a software is too unstable and filled with bloated packages? Mr. Torvalds says he is not an Ubuntu user and yet he believes that Ubuntu had made Debian usable by easy intstallation and pretty GUI. He must have missed the fact that many people use Debian for much more important reasons such as stability and more freedom which is missing in many derivatives. It’s utter nonsense to say I found Ubuntu useful but not Debian. It’s like saying I like dogs but I don’t like animals.

I’m pretty much still a GNU/Linux newbie(5-months of experience at the outside); yet when I’m tying to choose a distro I look for those that are more about freedom and choice rather than prettier interfaces. If Mr. Torvalds want to praise a particular distro I think there are much better ways to make his point rather than making controversial remarks about respectable distros.


Written by Woody

February 2, 2011 at 4:06 pm

Posted in General

In Praise of The Wine

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wine logoOK… Here is the situation: You’ve got some unconventional/incomparable windows application and that’s why you are still a Windows user and you don’t trust any of these emulators especially this thing called Wine. Well, first of all Wine Is Not an Emulator. second, I’m pleased to inform you that it’s very probable that your unusual windows application will run in Linux, probably much better than the way it’s running in Windows.

I’m saying this because in the past three months I’ve been throwing every wacky windows applications at Wine; from this guitar effect processing software to some flash/active-x learning apps that come with books and all of them work smoothly under Wine right out of the box. It’s not a surprise especially considering the fact that Wine has been under development for something like fifteen years and has reached an unprecedented maturity. The Wine AppDB and Wiki has become a second-to-none documentation for those seeking to get the best out of their windows applications under Wine.

So I feel like I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Wine developers and the surrounding community which have made it easier for us to convert to marvels of GNU/Linux.

Written by Woody

January 22, 2011 at 4:57 pm

Posted in Apps

Improved Udev Rule For Arch Linux

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There are many time-saving features that you should have on your Arch Linux and one of sacred ones is automount. It’d be very time-consuming and monotonous to use mount/umount commands every time you connect and disconnect a usb removable device. Fortunately, Arch Wiki has a very clear explanation on this. However the original script lack the ability of automatically creating a symbolic link on your desktop. The sort of feature that you’ve seen in ubuntu or mint: Every time you connect a usb removable device an icon appears on your Desktop and it vanishes when you remove the usb.

automount udev arch linux

The USB storage icon has been added to Desktop automatically using a udev rule

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Written by Woody

January 19, 2011 at 4:07 pm

Posted in ArchLinux

Deluge: A BitTorrent Client for Both GTK and CLI Fans

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Torrents have been my best companions for downloading GNU/Linux distributions, free-to-share movies, and creative-common music. On my Debian installation, I’ve been ecstatic with rtorrent since it’s been a solid solution for my torrent needs . However, quite recently, I made yet another great discovery: Deluge.

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Written by Woody

January 17, 2011 at 7:51 pm

Posted in Apps

Rakarrack: An Open Source Alternative to Guitar Rig

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In the last post, I blogged about setting up a guitar amp/effect processor in Arch Linux. In the comments, some readers mentioned an open source alternative to Guitar Rig named Rakarrack. Since we are all advocates and lovers of FOSS software I thought that it deserves a separate post and our dear readers would get a kick out of using this open source effect processing software.

Rakarrack Guitar Arch Linux

Rakarrack Guitar Multi-Effect Processor in Arch Linux

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Written by Woody

January 14, 2011 at 1:22 pm

Posted in Audio

A Guitar Amp/Effect Solution For Linux

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UPDATE 1: For those of you interested in open source alternatives to Guitar Rig, please feel free to read my new post on Rakarrack.

I previously blogged about my satisfactory experience with Arch Linux installation on a second-hand laptop. Now in this post I’m going to turn that $150 laptop into a kick-ass and sexy Amp and Effect Processor. In fact, we will see how lightweight tendency of Arch Linux helps us to achieve a low latency/high quality playback on a computer that is considered somehow outdated in today’s world. Furthermore, we’re going demonstrate the obvious fact that GNU/Linux has already reached the maturity suitable for (semi-)professional audio needs. The project for myself was a bit of stretch and needed a lot of trial-and-error efforts since I was totally new to the whole idea. However the final result is quite superb and amazing:

Guitar Rig 4 Arch Linux

Guitar Rig 4 Pro Arch Linux

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Written by Woody

January 12, 2011 at 8:18 pm

Posted in Audio

Arch Linux is More Awesome Than I Previously Thought

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As an ardent Debian user, I’ve always admired the simplicity and stability of this incredible operating system. One of the things that I like about Debian is that I can download and install a netinst version and build up the whole OS from ground up with my preferred packages and apps. In this way, I ended up with an extremely stable Debian installation on my little EeePC netbook with very low footprint. However, since I had already got rid of my ancient, noisy and big desktop computer, the EeePC netbook was the only computer I had for the last few months. Therefore, buying a computer for more serious computing was on the to-do list for a while. Looking for a fairly decent second-hand laptop I came across this 3.5 years old Dell Inspiron 1520. Core 2 Due 2.2 GHz, 2GB Memory, nVidia 8600 GT Graphic Card. I suppose the system used to be a gaming machine in its better days. I was quite satisfied with the specification and $150 price tag so I decided to pick it up.

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Written by Woody

January 10, 2011 at 8:05 pm

Posted in Distros