These Are Good Days

I decided to use the last hour of my day to install Debian GNU/Linux 8, Jessie, again, this time with defaults from “tasksel”: Debian desktop XFCE and “base utilities”. I did this in a virtual machine while grooving to a stream of my local “oldies” radio-station, checking the weather on the web, blogging, browsing the web and Beast’s CPU is barely above idling speed, and I’m nowhere near out of RAM. It’s all surreal compared to the work we had to do in the old days: downloading multiple .iso files, burning CDs, checking them for defects…, having the installation fail to boot or not start X, and the old systems ground away for an hour or more. Heck, Beast doesn’t even have a CD-drive these days.

Yes, these are the good times. A reasonable operating system on random hardware with little or no effort, full use of the hardware which has paid for itself handsomely years ago…, no malware to speak of, global GNU/Linux desktop share shooting for the sky, the ground waking up for another year of vigorous growth all around, a promising hunting season ahead after a winter without all that killing snow, the youngsters that left the nest are all having success… It’s just such a good life we have. We will have a lot to be thankful for by the end of summer.

PS. The installation worked perfectly. I was pleasantly surprised to see Iceweasel could handle Youtube videos without “Flash” thanks to HTML5. I like that. Yes, systemd brought the system up and down in a few seconds. I like that too.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
This entry was posted in firearms, food, horticulture, hunting, technology. Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to These Are Good Days

  1. satrain18 says:

    Zen Fish, Air Control, and Spartans vs Zombies Defence, just to name a few, Doucheman.

  2. DrLoser says:

    thr,

    Ha! GNU/Linux’s most brutal adversary is forced to play homage to the superior OS to stay relevant.

  3. dougman says:

    Ah yes, these ARE the good days as today I read that more searches are made from mobile devices than PCs, a market segment that M$ does not control.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3069322/Google-reveals-searches-mobile-devices-PCs-time.html

    https://www.netmarketshare.com/operating-system-market-share.aspx?qprid=8&qpcustomd=1

    The era of M$ is looking bleaker and bleaker.

  4. DrLoser wrote, “given any machine in the 1960s, 1970s and early 1980s, which one do you have the fondest memories of?”

    None of them. IT was a lot of work in those days. Hurry up and wait… The big machines were just clogged with users waiting in the queues and the small machines were like calculators, with people wasting time coding innermost loops and having little or no storage. Any PC these days is a beautiful thing, especially if it doesn’t run that other OS.

    The most fun with a more recent machine? Probably an old Xeon-powered server with SCSI discs. A lot less waiting and when I had it alone it was mine, all mine… I did briefly work on a modern machine with gigabit/s Internet. That was fun too.

    My Beast is a special machine because I built it out of parts and I made sure every part would work for me the way I wanted it to work.

  5. DrLoser says:

    Fun though it is to recall the days of the PDP-11, Robert, it does rather bring to mind our shared heritage in very limited computers.

    Here’s a fun question. Which ones were your favourites?

    I liked the PDP-11 simply because (at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, just over the road from my school) it came with a very accessible teletype. Beat the heck out of the old finger-cracking keyboards, running off a 100bit modem (or whatever it was at King Edwards in 1978, I forget).

    My personal favourite was the Perkin-Elmer. Wonderful little machine, that. I had oodles of fun re-re-rebooting the thing by looping the original paper tape through it, getting it to write out the next boot step, and getting that step to write out the next boot step.

    What fun that was! Almost as valuable as a single individual in Manitoba spinning up precisely the same kernel that about ten thousand other people are spinning up at the same time. But perhaps not quite. There is a certain earthy, artisanal, excellence in such a procedure that bespeaks Thomas Hardy and other worthies all the way back to Hesiod.

    Leaving the theory to one side, Robert: given any machine in the 1960s, 1970s and early 1980s, which one do you have the fondest memories of?

    (You can pick one or more per decade.)

  6. dougman says:

    satrain18, since you love playing games so much, please do inform us on the congruency of Linux and indie games?

    You quote someone regarding Linux games on Steam, then go off on a tangent about crappy indie games which makes no sense. Do you have a point or an objective lesson for all of us?

    Do share your salient knowledge.

  7. satrain18 says:

    Take the 1000+ games on steam. Yes over 1 in 5 steam games are now on Linux.

    …And yet, 80% or 800 out of 1000 of those are crappy indie titles…

  8. DrLoser says:

    Musing upon the strange desire of Linux desktop types to castrate themselves by using clearly inferior and outdated platforms, I cam across this little ditty. I suppose this post is as good a place to leave it as any.

    Just take that PRO down off the shelf
    and let me program it by myself.
    A half a meg’s just fine by me,
    I love that old-time PDP.

    Refrain: I love that old-time PDP
    The kinda CPU that sets you free.
    Instruction set looks good to me.
    I love that old-time PDP.

    Don’t try to take me to ZK.
    Won’t make it, I won’t last a day.
    I love that old-time PDP.

    Refrain

    Say I’m old fashioned, say I’m over the hill,
    say I’m outmoded, oh say what you will.
    Those new CPU’s haven’t got the same thrill,
    I love that old-time PDP.

    Refrain

    You gotta balance their complexity
    ‘gainst functionality and quality
    The words are twice as long as I need,
    I love that old-time PDP.

    Catchy, isn’t it?

  9. oe wrote, “Based on past tech adoption/changeover curves, I’d put chips on the table that the rate of change is going to accelerate.”

    It’s a complex situation. MacOS is doing really well in USA and other established markets. There it takes several times as much increase in share as GNU/Linux. In many countries, though, GNU/Linux has the inside track even though it’s at the back of the pack. Take Finland for example. There have been one or two huge spikes every week lately, indicating considerable usage. I don’t know whether it’s a tentative roll-out or StatCounter is finally sensing GNU/Linux but the impact is huge daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly. There are many countries well over 2% and some established markets pushing 5% GNU/Linux. If they are the “early adopters” the rest will follow sooner or later. Definitely OEMs and retailers have received the message if they want some growth they should ship GNU/Linux. I think many schools and governments are cashing in on GNU/Linux as well as Android/Linux and here and there Chrome OS. M$’s client division is assailed on all sides and not reacting well. M$ is fleeing to the cloud remaining relevant with their loyal fans who don’t mind flinging money down the drain.

    The fundamental question for all of humanity is whether they should be slaves of M$ eternally “fixing” TOOS or should they be freed to use IT that works for them. M$ did manage to fool most of the people for decades. That’s ended now. Everyone, even kids in the developing world know M$ is not the one true source of IT. It’s too bad about China’s fixation. I still don’t see webstats reflecting governmental policy. China could switch to GNU/Linux in just a few years. They supply an awful lot of PCs and could be self-sufficient in IT using GNU/Linux as a basis. StatCounter showed 34 countries had greater than 2% share for GNU/Linux yesterday, including:
    Country
    Uruguay
    Finland
    Venezuela
    Cuba
    Malta
    France
    Greece
    Czech Republic
    Spain
    Germany
    Turkmenistan
    Lebanon
    Slovakia
    Lithuania
    Austria
    Italy
    Estonia
    Iceland
    Ireland
    Paraguay
    India
    USA
    Share(%)
    13.33
    11.22
    6.33
    5.73
    5.25
    3.45
    3.38
    3.36
    3.09
    2.92
    2.88
    2.56
    2.54
    2.51
    2.26
    2.26
    2.23
    2.21
    2.2
    2.08
    2
    2

  10. oe says:

    Interesting…
    “1st: Windows 7; 2nd: Windows 8.1; 3rd: OS X.”
    Linux is closing in on being 50% the size of the MacOS market, has a steep upward rolling slope (even though its at the bottom of the rising sigmoid), I think the “less than 1% share” line has been put to bed. Based on past tech adoption/changeover curves, I’d put chips on the table that the rate of change is going to accelerate.

  11. thr says:

    Hey, look, that other company is giving away Linux software for free:

    https://code.visualstudio.com/Download

    They’re not fundamentalists like you, Robert.

  12. LinuxGentlesir wrote, “Micro$oft is clearly doesn’t have the same grip on the desktop that they used to”

    That’s an understatement. They’ve been losing their grip since about 2007 when they couldn’t ship a new release and GNU/Linux got onto the eeePC. Then Dell, EU v M$, Android/Linux took flight, … The Wintel monopoly got into a train-wreck with a huge lump of competition sitting on the rails. They’ve coasted on inertia for a while but now there’s sand on the rails and the decline of the PC is really the decline of M$’s client division. There is no decline for GNU/Linux nor MacOS.

  13. oiaohm says:

    kurkosdr break down by distribution is becoming pointless.

    Take the 1000+ games on steam. Yes over 1 in 5 steam games are now on Linux. Thing is they only really depend on the steam runtime so none of those games really care what the distribution is. If nothing changes its going to cross 1/4 before too long.

    kdbus delay is a problem but the box this opens is highly interesting.

    The future will be per Application runtime configuration on Linux. At that point all major distributions will be able to fuse.

    This is not the time to call the Linux Desktop card dead. Mesa development is going faster than ever before. Other groups coming up with their own unified run-times.

  14. LinuxGentlesir says:

    Linux desktop share isn’t remotely close to Micro$oft’s share. But it’s growing so that’s great. I’m also impressed by Apple’s 18.8% share in the USA. Micro$oft is clearly doesn’t have the same grip on the desktop that they used to. The desktop might soon be considered a competitive market. IE used to have monopoly share of the browser market, now they are quickly becoming a minor player with 20% global marketshare. If there is any good in the world, the same thing will happen to Windohs.

  15. DrLoser says:

    But Pog goes one step further and draws slopes on said cropped charts.

    To be fair, Robert persists in using crappy Linux software to make some sort of arbitrary fit on five points or so, usually featuring a first-order function and a factor of something so ludicrously low that it wouldn’t fit comfortably inside an IEEE floating-point value.

    No, wait, you’re 100% correct, Kurks. A slope is basically all it is.

  16. kurkosdr says:

    Dishonest as always Robert does not include a link and crops the chart to please the fools.

    I hate it when people crop charts, because it is a cheap tactic to give a wrong impression.

    But Pog goes one step further and draws slopes on said cropped charts.

  17. thr says:

    Dishonest as always Robert does not include a link and crops the chart to please the fools. For completion’s sake:

    http://gs.statcounter.com/#os-CZ-weekly-201517-201517-bar

    1st: Windows 7; 2nd: Windows 8.1; 3rd: OS X.

  18. kurkosdr wrote, “What app you use in Desktop Linux to check CDs/DVDs for defects?”

    md5sum. It’s pretty standard for Debian GNU/Linux. It’s in the coreutils package.

  19. kurkosdr wrote, of ChromeOS, “Wasn’t that thing supposed to be a top seller in Amazon or something?”

    It is. ChromeBoxen are still limited mostly to established markets which are only about 1/3 of the world’s demand for IT. Much of the world does not have good enough Internet access for ChromeOS to be viable. e.g. a school with a weak connection will want to work from a local server rather than Google. That’s what LTSP is really great for, delivering local content, desktop, software, data, collaboration…

    According to StatCounter, yesterday, the highest usage of ChromeOS was in
    Country
    Grenada
    Niger
    Bahamas
    Northern Mariana Islands
    United States of America
    Saint Martin
    Micronesia
    Marshall Islands
    (%)
    8.89
    2.46
    1.46
    1.41
    1.34
    1.3
    1.22
    1.17

    All the rest are below 1% so StatCounter does not report anything for “maps”.

  20. dougman wrote, “if they do not match, then you toss the disc and try again.”

    I’ve always been cheap. I would salvage the disc by downloading the applications later if the defect was not in some critical package… 😉 Often a defect would be somewhat localized on the CD. You could install a system properly with even one CD working and then install packages separately. That’s why I really love APT. You get a lot of flexibility in installations. Another reason to do that was that it used to be possible to run out of RAM during installations. In the old days, the RAM on PCs was barely enough to hold the package lists and meta-data to sort out the dependencies. A minimal installation worked more often and adding packages later took less peak RAM usage. I think that’s been less of an issue in the real world since about 2005 with AMD64 and huge RAM. It’s still a problem with virtual machines. Often you need a larger VM for installation than for operation, say for a specialized server or minimal GUI system. My latest installation would not work in 128MB RAM but worked fine in 512MB.

  21. kurkosdr says:

    KUKU you are an idiot.

    …said dogbrain (dougman)

  22. dougman says:

    KUKU you are an idiot.

    He is referring to checking the ISO image after the image burned onto a CD/DVD. Md5sum calculates the hash before and after and if they do not match, then you toss the disc and try again.

  23. kurkosdr says:

    BTW, I am surprised to see Linux at a global share of 2% while ChromeOS has 0.34%. Wasn’t that thing supposed to be a top seller in Amazon or something?

    PS: It’s also bad we can’t have a breakdown of that 2% by distro. I am very eager to see how many of that is TOLD (That Other Linux Distro) or something else.

  24. kurkosdr says:

    checking them for defects

    What app you use in Desktop Linux to check CDs/DVDs for defects?

  25. ram says:

    “…work we had to do in the old days: downloading multiple .iso files, burning CDs, checking them for defects…”

    Hey, that’s nothing. I remember loading Motorola 6502 processor from cassette tapes — and living in a shoebox in the middle of the road!

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