Turning your back on windows

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foetz
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Re: Turning your back on windows

Unread postby foetz » Sat Oct 22, 2016 12:21 pm

DMJC wrote:I've come to the opinion that if a tool isn't on Linux and it's really important/necessary then I'll take a look at porting it

unfortunately that's not the case. and you can only port what's open sauce.
the support for desktop linux of major software companies still is as much a joke as it's been 10 years ago. and there're no even remotely equal alternatives in most cases. even in the gfx field where desktop linux is supported to some extend there's still too much missing.

it's only an option for developers if you need a text editor and maybe a java based ide or if you mostly have in-house stuff. in any other case you're out of luck.

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Re: Turning your back on windows

Unread postby JohnK » Sat Oct 22, 2016 7:36 pm

It's going to get to the point soon that it's not going to matter what OS you use. Surveillance will be done through the hardware itself, thoroughly encrypted so that you won't know what information it's sending and to whom. The OS won't have a clue what's going on. "They" (the surveillance state) are probably doing this already albeit on a smaller scale.
So back to those old machines we'll go, pounding away at our good ole SGIs, Suns, Macs, what have you. :lol:
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Re: Turning your back on windows

Unread postby Raion-Fox » Fri Nov 04, 2016 7:11 pm

I have used FreeBSD extensively as well as the other BSDs. They're not perfect, but far far more logical than Linux ever has been in recent times. Nowadays Linux tends to rush features in for the sake of PROGRESS and nothing is thought through anymore. That said, I still use it for work, I just don't use it at home.

Of course, I respect the Gentoo project even if I've never gotten a working Gentoo box before because even though portage is a fatass and slow build system the distro overall is pretty decent.
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Re: Turning your back on windows

Unread postby Elf » Sat Nov 05, 2016 2:19 pm

For me the divide is not only modern desktop OS (Windows 10, OS X 10.11/10.12) vs. older style OSes (BSD, commercial UNIX, VMS), but also modern Internet vs. old Internet.

Much of what people participate in today (from digital software distribution, to streaming video, to even image and JavaScript laden web applications) assumes un-metered, high bandwidth, low latency connectivity to the Internet, generally only available in population centers. Having intentionally chosen to live in a rural area with no neighbors, affordable connectivity options are severely limited and un-metered broadband is simply nonexistent, I find myself increasingly cut off from the "modern world."

This is particularly ironic for me. Five days a week I would drive to my (previous) workplace and architect an Internet service provider network where 10GigE (10 gigabit per second Ethernet) ports were increasingly considered slow and old hat, and where we regularly leased wavelengths or dark fiber for distances further than I could drive in a day. Then I would return home to a 10mbit/s Verizon 4G connection where 30 gigabytes of transfer cost $120/month, and $10 each gigabyte thereafter, all because I was a few miles outside the nearest city.

To put that in perspective, many people I know regularly download modern games (through Steam, etc.) that are 50 gigabytes in size. Not only would obtaining such a game cost me $320 (on top of the games' purchase price), I would be unable to use my Internet connection for anything else that month. Or, I could pay another $300 in overages to obtain my base 30GB again, which is regularly consumed with normal browsing (no streaming video). Alternatively I could bring in a 1.544mbit/s T1 over copper (using poorly maintained Frontier outside plant) for about $470/month, mostly loop cost due to my distance from the Central Office, or a faster Metro Ethernet connection for significantly more than that. If I fully saturated that T1, using it for nothing else, I could download the game in about 76 hours.

Of course, no modern individual downloads just one game or dedicates their use of the Internet that month to just one thing. Between being constantly involved in social media, streaming music and movies, and downloading software, typical Internet usage would be several times that amount. On a T1 there likely wouldn't be enough hours in a month to support the activities of a modern consumer. Having been engaged with the Internet since before it became commercially widespread, I am amazed at how quickly it has become integral to every waking hour of peoples' lives.

Needless to say the games we do play are console games shipped on physical media, but with the latest generation of consoles turning into PCs and even games shipped on Blu-Ray requiring double digit gigabytes of day one patches to become operable, that avenue is also closed. The 1990s solution to obtaining things you didn't have the bandwidth for was Sneakernet, but locked-in digital distribution and streaming platforms make that unavailable, demanding that the end-device be the one in direct communication with the service. Increasingly I think modern OSes will become unavailable to me as well due to their large, aggressive patch cycles and mandatory adoption of cloud storage.

This is merely a set of facts though and not a complaint. Whether it is sour grapes or not, I find that more often than not I don't miss any of it. There are a few gems that go by here and there, but I think a few things come into play:
  • In following the edge of modern culture, 90% of everything new is garbage anyways. I lump modern Internet phenomena like social media into this category. I don't find that there is very much worth saying in 140 characters or less.
  • In looking back retrospectively, the old gems float to the top, and there are certainly more of them than I would ever consume in a lifetime. Likewise, we have a large storage cabinet packed full of DVDs and Blu Rays in place of streaming video. I think the only fundamental differences between consuming things as they come out versus consuming them after the fact is the ability to socially engage on them and the amount of time wasted on things that don't pan out.
  • New developments are usually for consumption rather than production, and even amongst those, the consumptive ones are more expensive. For example, a modern game may be 50GB, but a modern game development toolkit may be less than 1GB. Attaching a cost to things tends to make you examine the motivation behind them in the first place, and on the whole I have always found being a producer to be much better than being a consumer. When it comes down to it, I find producing my own works (however simplistic) to be much more rewarding and engaging than consuming the works of others.

Likewise with new Operating Systems (e.g. Windows 10, post-Poettering Linux), they may be a mixed bag. I don't see a need to abandon them completely. There are some things that will only ever be practically achievable with the newest software on the most common OS. I use Windows for running Avid and Adobe software. I use Linux with Amazon Web Services where abstraction away from the OS (e.g. through Chef / OpsWorks, Lambda, Beanstalk, EMR, etc.) nearly eliminates my need to interact with it and allows me to hold my nose. I am sure we will buy a Mac again sometime, but I regard the Apple of today as a fashion company that also happens to produce commodity PCs, rather than the innovative engineering company they used to be.

There are a lot of things that modern Operating Systems are also not so good at; namely allowing you to stay focused on simple tasks. For example, it seems that a modern OS is constantly trying to prove itself useful by notifying you of something. As well, having a web browser, e-mail, and chat client constantly available introduces another stream of distractions. For things like software development or writing, I find that I am much more productive with an older computer (e.g. SGI, 80x24 dummy terminal) bereft of modern software distractions. For writing, I have even gone back to an IBM Selectric. I think the age of Gopher, Usenet, e-mail over UUCP, and BBSes was a much more contemplative time. It may just be memories colored by nostalgia, or it may have been that the more delayed nature of communication forced people to consider their words and actions. Perhaps it was also the technological exclusivity of the early Internet.

Certainly not all modern developments are bad. Some are truly revolutionary. For example, I think it is wonderful that I can spin up a dynamic EMR cluster and process terabytes of data in under an hour and for the cost of a pizza, all from an IRIX command prompt on a machine built in 1995. I suppose the only thing I find unfortunate about the endless quest for the new is the ignorance of the old.
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Re: Turning your back on windows

Unread postby josehill » Sat Nov 05, 2016 2:56 pm

Elf wrote:For me the divide is not only modern desktop OS (Windows 10, OS X 10.11/10.12) vs. older style OSes (BSD, commercial UNIX, VMS), but also modern Internet vs. old Internet.
{snip}
Certainly not all modern developments are bad. Some are truly revolutionary. For example, I think it is wonderful that I can spin up a dynamic EMR cluster and process terabytes of data in under an hour and for the cost of a pizza, all from an IRIX command prompt on a machine built in 1995. I suppose the only thing I find unfortunate about the endless quest for the new is the ignorance of the old.

Terrific post. Thanks for writing it!

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Re: Turning your back on windows

Unread postby Elf » Sat Nov 05, 2016 3:43 pm

Thank you :)
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Re: Turning your back on windows

Unread postby foetz » Sat Nov 05, 2016 5:06 pm

indeed, if we had a rep function i'd definitely use it :D

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Re: Turning your back on windows

Unread postby Dodoid » Sat Nov 05, 2016 5:45 pm

foetz wrote:indeed, if we had a rep function i'd definitely use it :D


Speaking of Nekochan Forum modifications, did you know that IRIX Mozilla User Agents contain the IP number (eg. IP30 for Octane) of your SGI?

I think it would be cool to show the SGI smileys (eg. :Octane: :O2: :Onyx: :Tezro: :Indy:) in the "Who Is Online" section, based on the IP number sent. Don't know how that would work for IP35 machines, might just have to show a Tezro and expect that fewer people will be viewing with an Onyx or Origin. IP22 is shared between Indigo2 and Indy, but they are flat enough that we could make an icon including both. In other cases, you can get more info, like IP26 is an Indigo2 but only when it has an R8000, otherwise it's an IP22 if it's an R4000 (shared with Indy) or IP28 if it's an R10000.
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Re: Turning your back on windows

Unread postby foetz » Sat Nov 05, 2016 8:30 pm

Dodoid wrote:did you know that IRIX Mozilla User Agents contain the IP number (eg. IP30 for Octane) of your SGI?

yup

I think it would be cool to show the SGI smileys (eg. :Octane: :O2: :Onyx: :Tezro: :Indy:) in the "Who Is Online" section, based on the IP number sent. Don't know how that would work for IP35 machines, might just have to show a Tezro and expect that fewer people will be viewing with an Onyx or Origin. IP22 is shared between Indigo2 and Indy, but they are flat enough that we could make an icon including both. In other cases, you can get more info, like IP26 is an Indigo2 but only when it has an R8000, otherwise it's an IP22 if it's an R4000 (shared with Indy) or IP28 if it's an R10000.

that's a nice idea but unfortunately we don't do custom stuff here i.e. are stuck to default phpbb mods. at least that's how it's been so far

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Re: Turning your back on windows

Unread postby uunix » Sun Jan 01, 2017 5:14 am

On boxing day, my father shows me a window appearing on his Window 7 machine. It was a crypto Virus.
I took the box back, restored to an earlier date and all was well, I then implemented some software execution restrictions so it couldn't happen again (I should have done this years ago). Anyway, no problem, all was well, but it got me thinking again.
What do they use their computer for:
Email, Web browsing, Solitaire and hearts.

I then googled best Linux Distribution for old people, and found an interesting article from someone who had tested it with their family. The recommendation LINUX MINT.
http://takacsmark.com/the-top-5-linux-systems-for-elderly-people/

So, I have built a new PC and installed MINT on it, and currently testing it and I have to say it's really good and hopefully will fit their needs.

I have though found two things, which are not massive, and I will look into just to increase the desktop experience.
1/ They enjoyed the screen saver on Windows that displayed a slide show of their old pictures.
2/ Playing solitaire/hearts requires an extra click after each round and requires the mouse be on a symbol on the card (ie: no white space on the card can be clicked). This sounds really trivial, but naffed me off somewhat after I played it for a few mins.. I'm sue there must be a better version.

With my parents being really old, I needed the learning curve to be absolutely minimal and for them not to complain behind my back.

But as I say, this seems a great replacement for windows for what they need.
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Re: Turning your back on windows

Unread postby astouffer » Sun Jan 01, 2017 12:00 pm

uunix wrote:I then googled best Linux Distribution for old people, and found an interesting article from someone who had tested it with their family. The recommendation LINUX MINT.
http://takacsmark.com/the-top-5-linux-systems-for-elderly-people/

So, I have built a new PC and installed MINT on it, and currently testing it and I have to say it's really good and hopefully will fit their needs.


Chromebooks are perfect this. They only run the Chrome browser and some other Google apps. You really can't hurt the OS or install third party software. Plus you can't beat the price.

I use Windows 7 now and refuse to upgrade to any newer version. When support eventually ends I'm thinking about converting it over to a virtual machine and running it inside a hypervisor along with OSX. You can enable video passthrough with VMWare and use it like a regular desktop.

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Re: Turning your back on windows

Unread postby foetz » Sun Jan 01, 2017 12:07 pm

astouffer wrote:Chromebooks are perfect this. They only run the Chrome browser and some other Google apps. You really can't hurt the OS or install third party software. Plus you can't beat the price.

with the serious disadvantage tho that they're practically one big trojan.

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Re: Turning your back on windows

Unread postby jpstewart » Sun Jan 01, 2017 12:37 pm

uunix wrote:I have though found two things, which are not massive, and I will look into just to increase the desktop experience.
1/ They enjoyed the screen saver on Windows that displayed a slide show of their old pictures.

Plain old xscreensaver can do that. https://www.jwz.org/xscreensaver/faq.html#slideshow
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Re: Turning your back on windows

Unread postby astouffer » Sun Jan 01, 2017 12:54 pm

foetz wrote:with the serious disadvantage tho that they're practically one big trojan.


What is your reasoning for calling them a trojan? I take it that you don't use a single Google service and only conduct searches on duckduckgo using a PC with Libreboot and running TAILS from a read only USB drive.

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Re: Turning your back on windows

Unread postby foetz » Sun Jan 01, 2017 5:17 pm

astouffer wrote:What is your reasoning for calling them a trojan?

just hook a chromebook up to some network scanner and have a look


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