Discussion:
Do we want a permanent Slackware?
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Martha Adams
2020-03-08 20:58:59 UTC
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Time brings change, but do we always want change? Is a
puzzlement.

Namely, all I do in my Slackware 14.1 is text or reduces to
text fairly easily. I work in a twm environment; I use emacs
and in extreme cases I'll go to TeX. I have a template node that
whenever I open another topic or tree, populates in one stroke
the (text) files I'll probably need for the work there. Over
years past I've seen a lot of new and abstract development I do
not need, so I'm not interested in that. Over the past 40 years
or so I've come to feel, why do I need anything new? How about,
more attention to saving files into something, like flash
memory? Speaking of which, *what is* the reliably expectable
life of flash memory? ??

This is much like the practical experience of working on a
typewriter, except Slackware and its malleable text, are *very*
much faster and powerful. Typewriter tech is obviously finished;
it looks to me like today, my Slackware could be finished. Oops,
by 'finished' I mean 'complete' not 'no longer usable.'

I was just now looking at the old aolsfaq.txt file, which is dated
2015 Feb 04. I wonder if today's Slackware has arrived at a state
of practically -- *finished.* Is my howto thinking calcified, or,
is the topic finished and I want to go out and get on with the
work? ??

Titeotwawki -- Martha Adams [Sun 2020 Mar 08]
Ned Latham
2020-03-08 21:38:30 UTC
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Post by Martha Adams
Time brings change, but do we always want change? Is a
puzzlement.
Namely, all I do in my Slackware 14.1 is text or reduces to
text fairly easily. I work in a twm environment; I use emacs
and in extreme cases I'll go to TeX. I have a template node that
whenever I open another topic or tree, populates in one stroke
the (text) files I'll probably need for the work there. Over
years past I've seen a lot of new and abstract development I do
not need, so I'm not interested in that. Over the past 40 years
or so I've come to feel, why do I need anything new? How about,
more attention to saving files into something, like flash
memory? Speaking of which, *what is* the reliably expectable
life of flash memory? ??
This is much like the practical experience of working on a
typewriter, except Slackware and its malleable text, are *very*
much faster and powerful. Typewriter tech is obviously finished;
it looks to me like today, my Slackware could be finished. Oops,
by 'finished' I mean 'complete' not 'no longer usable.'
I was just now looking at the old aolsfaq.txt file, which is dated
2015 Feb 04. I wonder if today's Slackware has arrived at a state
of practically -- *finished.* Is my howto thinking calcified, or,
is the topic finished and I want to go out and get on with the
work? ??
Titeotwawki -- Martha Adams [Sun 2020 Mar 08]
Despite its stability, Slackware *is* showing signs of versionitis,
or perhaps more correctly, signs of being adversely affected by the
versionitis rampaging over the internet and the "standards" issuing
from the ISO.

My S/W development machine is 13.37 and will stay there. The rest of
my network is 14.1 and 14.2: I'm not sure I'll ever go beyond that.

Not saying I won't, but I'm looking for significant enhancements now,
not just "new".
noel
2020-03-18 10:43:41 UTC
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Despite its stability, Slackware *is* showing signs of versionitis, or
perhaps more correctly, signs of being adversely affected by the
versionitis rampaging over the internet and the "standards" issuing from
the ISO.
My S/W development machine is 13.37 and will stay there. The rest of my
network is 14.1 and 14.2: I'm not sure I'll ever go beyond that.
Not saying I won't, but I'm looking for significant enhancements now,
not just "new".
A couple of clients I look after now have had proprietory software
upgrades, upgrades that no longer build on slack 14.2 - compiler age, and
dep hell. Sadly I had to move those servers to another distro because
_proprietory_ had bugs incl exploits and vendor supplied source patches
to fix.

That said, the desktop I'm typing this on still runs 14.0 ;)

Sylvain Robitaille
2020-03-13 19:58:37 UTC
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Post by Martha Adams
I was just now looking at the old aolsfaq.txt file, which is dated
2015 Feb 04. I wonder if today's Slackware has arrived at a state
of practically -- *finished.* ...
Not if you look at the development that has been happening on
Slackware-current. There's still plenty of newness there, but as you
(and at least one other) have already mentioned, these changes may
simply not be significant for your own purposes. My own systems are
14.1 and 14.2 and not at all hurting for new(er) functaionality.
But that says more about how *we* use our computers than it does
about the state of the OS distribution or any of the software included
within it.

Computers as we have come to know them are an endangered species,
really. They still exist, and probably will for some years yet, but
they're just not selling like they once did. Even laptops seem to have
become lackluster, sales-wise. Folks are opting more for hand-held
devices that permit mobile computing. Whether that's good or bad
remains to be seen. It seems to limit choice more than "regular"
Linux distributions have gotten us used to, but even I am known to
use phones or tablets for some computing tasks that traditionally were
done on a "real" computer. I spend more time now watching TV via an
Android-TV device than my mythtv installation on a regular computer.

aolsfaq.txt is indeed dated, but the bulk of the information in it is
still very applicable. Most of the links in it are unfortunately no
longer usable, and that bothers me, but I simply haven't had time to
sit down and focus on finding relevant links to current information
to replace them with. I find it hard to believe that it has already
been > 5 years since I last worked on that.

To quote a longtime favourite song,

Changes aren't permanent, but Change is ...

Don't get me wrong; I like things just fine the way they were when
Slackware was releasing a new stable version every year or so ...
--
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Sylvain Robitaille ***@encs.concordia.ca

Systems analyst / AITS Concordia University
Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science Montreal, Quebec, Canada
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Rich
2020-03-13 22:35:24 UTC
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Post by Sylvain Robitaille
Computers as we have come to know them are an endangered species,
really. They still exist, and probably will for some years yet, but
they're just not selling like they once did. Even laptops seem to
have become lackluster, sales-wise. Folks are opting more for
hand-held devices that permit mobile computing.
What that fact really shows is that well on 90% or more of the 'users'
never wanted, nor needed, a true general purpose computer. What they
wanted, and needed, was a ready made computing appliance that allowed
them to passively consume content created by others. That is what
phones/tablets have offered. The 'mobility' aspect is really only a
secondary (but big) effect. These users bought general purpose
computers simply because that was all the market offered them. But
once the market offered them a computing 'appliance' (ipad, iphone,
android phone), they abandoned the general purpose computing world like
a herd of wildebeest being chased by a lion.
Post by Sylvain Robitaille
Whether that's good or bad remains to be seen.
For those of us who have grown accustomed to the low prices provided by
the economies of scale produced by that herd buying general purpose
computers even though they really were not what they truly wanted, it
is bad. When the economies of scale are no longer present, the small
remaining true general purpose computers brought to market will be much
more expensive items than they have been in the past.

For the herd of passive consumers, they likely see it as a good thing,
because they no longer have to worry about anything, just turn it on
and it just works. Everything else is handled by the mothership.
Martha Adams
2020-03-14 05:57:09 UTC
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Post by Rich
Post by Sylvain Robitaille
Computers as we have come to know them are an endangered species,
really. They still exist, and probably will for some years yet, but
they're just not selling like they once did. Even laptops seem to
have become lackluster, sales-wise. Folks are opting more for
hand-held devices that permit mobile computing.
What that fact really shows is that well on 90% or more of the 'users'
never wanted, nor needed, a true general purpose computer. What they
wanted, and needed, was a ready made computing appliance that allowed
them to passively consume content created by others. That is what
phones/tablets have offered. The 'mobility' aspect is really only a
secondary (but big) effect. These users bought general purpose
computers simply because that was all the market offered them. But
once the market offered them a computing 'appliance' (ipad, iphone,
android phone), they abandoned the general purpose computing world like
a herd of wildebeest being chased by a lion.
Post by Sylvain Robitaille
Whether that's good or bad remains to be seen.
For those of us who have grown accustomed to the low prices provided by
the economies of scale produced by that herd buying general purpose
computers even though they really were not what they truly wanted, it
is bad. When the economies of scale are no longer present, the small
remaining true general purpose computers brought to market will be much
more expensive items than they have been in the past.
For the herd of passive consumers, they likely see it as a good thing,
because they no longer have to worry about anything, just turn it on
and it just works. Everything else is handled by the mothership.
=====================================================

I think moving away from general-purpose computers is very short-
sighted. Because, the transition from gp-machines to any newly
needed application is (relatively) easy, but from a special
purpose machine like the mobiles that were mentioned above, you
just can't do that. I see materials posted that clearly are
oriented to the 'mobiles' and I just can't read that; and, I
could not do my work in a 'mobile' environment. I've been an
emacs / text person since I started. Let's stay with environment
that can achieve this simple and powerfully useful resource.

Titeotwawki -- Martha Adams [Sat 2020 Mar 14]
Rich
2020-03-14 14:53:52 UTC
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Post by Martha Adams
Post by Rich
Post by Sylvain Robitaille
Computers as we have come to know them are an endangered species,
really. They still exist, and probably will for some years yet, but
they're just not selling like they once did. Even laptops seem to
have become lackluster, sales-wise. Folks are opting more for
hand-held devices that permit mobile computing.
What that fact really shows is that well on 90% or more of the 'users'
never wanted, nor needed, a true general purpose computer. What they
wanted, and needed, was a ready made computing appliance that allowed
them to passively consume content created by others. That is what
phones/tablets have offered. The 'mobility' aspect is really only a
secondary (but big) effect. These users bought general purpose
computers simply because that was all the market offered them. But
once the market offered them a computing 'appliance' (ipad, iphone,
android phone), they abandoned the general purpose computing world like
a herd of wildebeest being chased by a lion.
Post by Sylvain Robitaille
Whether that's good or bad remains to be seen.
For those of us who have grown accustomed to the low prices provided by
the economies of scale produced by that herd buying general purpose
computers even though they really were not what they truly wanted, it
is bad. When the economies of scale are no longer present, the small
remaining true general purpose computers brought to market will be much
more expensive items than they have been in the past.
For the herd of passive consumers, they likely see it as a good thing,
because they no longer have to worry about anything, just turn it on
and it just works. Everything else is handled by the mothership.
=====================================================
I think moving away from general-purpose computers is very short-
sighted.
Fully agree.
Post by Martha Adams
Because, the transition from gp-machines to any newly needed
application is (relatively) easy, but from a special purpose machine
like the mobiles that were mentioned above, you just can't do that.
Also agreed. But lets be honest, those of us who understand the value
of a truly general purpose computer are a tiny minority of the overall
general public. For the vast majority of the general public, (i.e.,
the ones who thought the 'internet' existed inside the little blue "e"
on their windows XP desktops) they have no idea just what they've
turned away from and/or given up.
Post by Martha Adams
I see materials posted that clearly are oriented to the 'mobiles' and
I just can't read that; and, I could not do my work in a 'mobile'
environment. I've been an emacs / text person since I started.
Let's stay with environment that can achieve this simple and
powerfully useful resource.
Yep, but you are a creator. 90+% of the general public simply wants to
passively consume, not create (at least not in the way that you create,
adding a 'tweet' to twitter or a self-advertising plug to their
facebook feed, is not 'creating' in the sense I mean here).

If one's only use for a 'puter is to:

1) binge watch netflix
2) watch and respond to tweet threads
3) track facebook feeds and add silly meme's/comments

then one has no idea of the true depth and power a general purpose
computer provides.

And those that don't know what they are overlooking also have no idea
they have given it up when they follow the herd to the 'appliance'
model. They just see it as less trouble because they no longer have to
worry about being bothered to 'update' or 'virus scan' or all that
other stuff they never understood anyway, but sometimes did because
their buddy who did understand told them it was a good idea.
notbob
2020-03-15 14:57:10 UTC
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Post by Sylvain Robitaille
Whether that's good or bad remains to be seen.
Yep.

It's all about the $$$$. My 20 yr old granddaughter has an iPhone
(She begged her dad). Had one since she was a pre-teen! Hell, I
cannot even afford an Apple --or won't pay fer one! Haven't been able
to afford one since I was in junior college.

Now, what with all the ToU and arbitration agreements, I don't want
one (or Ad-roid).

Jes watched 'California Typewriter' doc film. Too true. (I use a dip
pen)

I've got a W10 box. Piece of crap! But, has the horsepower to look
at today's graphics (ads), which my old Slackware box (P4, 14.1) does
not. (sigh)

nb --geezer
Mike Spencer
2020-03-17 04:44:11 UTC
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Post by notbob
Jes watched 'California Typewriter' doc film. Too true. (I use a dip
pen)
When I was in elementary school, all the desks had holes for inkwells.
Empty until 3rd grade when we got inkwells and dip pens. In 3rd & 4th
grade it was controversial whether we could use ballpoints [1] if we had
them: Not until you can write with a "real" pen. And it was a matter
of class: Some families were poor enough that the two bits (1950 dollars)
price of a ballpoint was a deterrent for such a frivolity.
Post by notbob
I've got a W10 box. Piece of crap! But, has the horsepower to look
at today's graphics (ads)...
Ummm... Why would you want to? I mean in the general run of things.
Sometimes a picture is what you want but ghod, do I want to look at
yet another pic of the Bdelygma in Chief every time there's a reason
to mention him in text? Of course not. Shocking to turn images on
because there's a pic I really do want to see, only to have the
screen/page flooded with more pointless boiler plate, newswire and
stock photos, banners, logos, animations, ads. The last presidential
pic I wanted to see was the one of the BiC smirking behind the NOAA
hurricane map with the felt tip "correction". Priceless.
Post by notbob
...which my old Slackware box (P4, 14.1) does not. (sigh)
ObAOLS:

Using my IBM P4 desktop with recent (Nov. and not yet satisfactorily
completed/debugged) 14.2 install and SeaMonkey with js and images
turned off, I only occasionally encounter anything that doesn't render
adequately. My 19" IBM CRT is weakening gradually but probably has
another year or two in it.

[1] Laszlo Biro, 1899-1985
--
Mike Spencer Nova Scotia, Canada
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