Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn

Habeas Mortis

On the way back to Squirrel Hill, while waiting at the bus stop, I saw a friend on the other side of the street. After a few shouted greetings, and a bit of silly face making at each other, things got kind of awkward, and we both kind of ignored each other while waiting for our respective rides to come. With even good friends, this is possible.. I sometimes wonder what to do in these situations.

It's interesting how perspectives on deviance differ between generations and political persuasions -- one group challenges the traditionalists to justify the old rules, and ignores them when they see no purpose for them, the other challenges the innovators to justify their differences, and frowns on changes that can't be adequately justified. To some degree, we're all involved in both, just to varying degrees.

I've been working, among other things, on reviving a linux box at work I have called moby, running Fedora2. I added a number of things to the yum.conf on the box (that controls sources to updates), and apparently one of them was bad -- the X Window system was broken and the system could only boot in text mode. For Windows folk, note that on Unix, the X Window system is the GUI, but the system is still multiuser, multitasking, and all that without X. It's not like being booted to a DOS prompt or terminal-only session from a boot disk. So, after attempting to fix the problem with yum, I decided to remove all of X, and reinstall the packages. My process for doing this was to ssh to the box twice, having one terminal displaying the output of rpm -qa, and another where I'll repetatively issue rpm -e packagename packagename2... with more and more commands to get all the dependencies on packages I need to remove. I again was reminded of a frustration I have with a lot of Linux distributions -- too often, their dependencies are quite stupidly chained in a way that you can't remove one subsystem without removing a bunch of programs entirely unrelated that shouldn't be depending on that subsystem. First, for example, I removed the GNOME subsystem. Unfortunately, this meant removing a bunch of core system utilities, like dbus, some mixers, and system-config-XXXXX, because GNOME has infected a bunch of libraries that other libraries depend on that support those core utilities. Next, in removing X, I had to remove a bunch of other useful components that are commandline. From my perspective, if I decide I don't want GNOME, but otherwise want a fully functioning system, I should be able to

  1. Not have ANY bits of GNOME installed
  2. Not lose any programs that don't either specifically exist to service GNOME desktops/applications or are built against GNOME
The same thing goes with X. Fedora (and most other Linuces I've tried) spectacularly fail this test. Of course, it's not like many desktop OS's get it right -- OpenBSD/FreeBSD both do a good job, but other Unices typically get it just as wrong, and the poor folks on Windows or OSX don't even get to decide they don't want the GUI or other system components. Oh well.

I recently found a source for an old, mocking song I remembered about Idi Amin. It's quite funny, and kind of catchy too.

I'm starting to casually look into Universities in Europe, to see if/how feasable it would be to move there. I should probably do the same for Australia.


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