Friday, 27 September 2013

Unix unix everywhere and not a drop to sync!

I use Linux. I'd love to say that I use Unix, but it has been many years since I used SunOS, (see what I did there) or BSD in anger, (I did it again, but different!)

Looking at the Linux family tree, it can leave you wondering, "am I using the right one?"

So here is my very opinionated, (soon to be out-of-date) guide.

Looking at some comparisons it is clear that Linux, (the kernel) has more outfits than Barbie and more gadgets than Bond, MacGyver and the A-Team combined.

So for maintenance I used Finnix, (this is what I have on a USB keyring).
For desktop/workstation/laptop/terminal/netbooks I use crunchbang, (with LXDE).
For my family members I use Ubuntu MintLinux, (Apple Mac of the Linux world.)
For my phone I (would) use Android, (oh Samsung, let me count the ways...)
For my servers I use Slackware and CentOS, (ok, I have some Debian servers, but don't tell anyone!)

I'd love to say that I use Gentoo or more specifically Sabayon, but I don't anymore.

Before you comment I should note that:

from 1998-2005 I used, (almost exclusively Slackware.) I've used SuSE, (don't know why I didn't like it.)
I've used Xubuntu, until I found #! (how do I add an exclamation mark to that without it being confusing?)

I've used ext2, ext3, ext4, ReiserFS, SquashFS.

I started out, (X11) using WM then tried blackbox, (too leet for me), and KDE, (too large for my needs.) Then I spent a few years using Gnome, (also large, but Moore's law meant that computers had caught up.) xfce, openbox, lxde are more my thing.

tar/make, pkgutils, RPM, APT, YUM, YaST.

I prefer SELinux to AppArmor and I've never use PaX.

So the GNU/Linux ecosystem is cluttered, but that is a natural thing. Each strain evolves from another, or bursts into life to fill a niche. Eventually more and more of them will die off leaving one or two at the pinnacle of each category:

  • art, audio, design, multimedia
  • computer lab
  • desktop, workstation
  • embedded
  • general, lightweight, portable, netbooks
  • live, auditing, maintenance, security
  • network, gateway
  • science
  • server
  • supercomputer
Now I imagine that the software world will match the Linux OS world until we end up with each non-embedded Linux computer, depending on what you need it to do, will simply be a matter of setting it to a particular node type, (or combining two or more.) I imagine that "server" would be incompatable with "desktop" or "multimedia" [0] but both multimedia and server would both require imagemagic. The question then becomes, how does the average user locate the best packages for their need. Rather than a [Start] button, there should be a [I want to:] button which gives various levels. If the user wants to draw, then there is everything from Tux Paint to GIMP and Inkscape. Identifing the users need with as little information as possible is one of the next tricks. With a webcam the computer can estimate the age of the person, and with the speed of typing it can estimate their skill level. (This becomes mute when commands are entered via verbal command.) Maybe this will be another situation where shibboleet might be needed. Just as long as the UNITY interface dies, (that thing is sloooooow).

[0] Desktop requires GUI, server must NOT have a GUI. I did mention that this is my opinion.

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