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Why the DCC Alliance needs to love Synaptic

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Software

Debian users have always boasted that their Advanced Package Tool (APT) was the best and fastest way there has ever been to install and delete software. They were right, except for two details: First, many computer users are scared of the command line -- and APT is a command line utility. Second, even for users not afraid of the command line, setting download repositories and other parameters was not easy unless you spent enough of your time administering computers to remember all the text commands it took to make APT do what you wanted. Then came Synaptic, which promised to make Debian software installs GUI-friendly. Not long after that came a version of Synaptic that didn't crash every time I tried to use it. And finally, in late 2004, Synaptic became so lovable that I would no longer want to have a desktop computer without it.

We can go on and on about how the GUI (Graphical User Interface) administration tools are only for lame users, but the reality is that most people use their computers as office machines, Internet terminals, and entertainment devices, and have no more interest in learning their inner workings than most car owners have in learning how to balance tires.

As long as it took command line skills to administer Debian, it was not a good distro choice for most computer users. If they wanted to have Debian's benefits they were better off using commercial Debian derivatives such as Xandros or Linspire, which worked to hide Debian's complexities behind a friendly face. Otherwise, they were probably better off sticking with SUSE, Mandrake (now Mandriva), and other RPM-based distros that made administration as easy as they could for the technically unhip.

Full Story.

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today's leftovers

  • Another Million Learn About GNU/Linux
    Ordinarily, I would not notice or even recommend a brief article in a magazine but this is Popular Science, the Bible of DIY types especially the young and restless who might actually take the plunge into FLOSS (Free/Libre Open Source Software). It’s a general magazine with a million subscribers.
  • Chromium 62 ready for download
    chromium_iconEarlier this week, Google released a security update for its chrome/chromium browser. The new version 62.0.3202.62 plugs the holes of 35 more or less serious issues, several of them have a CVE rating. When the topic of Chromium 62 came up in the comments section of a previous post, I mentioned that I was unable to compile it on Slackware 14.2. Errors like “error: static assertion failed: Bound argument |i| of type |Arg| cannot be converted and bound as |Storage|” yield some results when looked up on the Internet, and they indicate that Slackware’s own gcc-5.3.0 package is too old to compile chromium 62.
  • Playing with the pine64
     

    So I went for OpenBSD because I know the stuff and who to har^Wkindly ask for help. Spoiler alert, it's boring because it just works.

  • PrismTech Moves Market-Leading Proven DDS Solution to Open Source as Eclipse Cyclone
  • Nana Oforiatta Ayim’s Open-Source Encyclopedia of African History Starts With Ghana
    It is a rare kind of woman who enjoys a project so vast that it’s practically unfinishable, but Nana Oforiatta Ayim, a Ghanaian gallerist, writer, and historian, never quits what she has started. She’s discussing her work on the "Cultural Encyclopaedia", an attempt to “facilitate the re/ordering of knowledge, narratives, and representations from and about the African continent” through an online resource that includes an A-to-Z index and vertices of clickable images for entries. Eventually, a 54-volume book series—one for each country on the continent—will be published with selections from the encyclopedia's long, long list. Oforiatta Ayim is working with a small team of editors, and, starting with her native country, she has taken on the task of documenting all significant cultural touchstones in the thousands of years of African history. Plus, it will be open source to prevent it from having a top-down logic. “I’m a little bit crazy to take it on,” she says. “But if I’m not going to do it, who is going to be as crazy as me?”
  • The Only Person I’ll Pair Program with is my Cat
     

    I could argue (to varying degrees of success) that pair programming isn’t productive. Productivity of a practice is an easy thing to attack because, in our capitalist dystopia, it’s the end-all-be-all metric. But I hate pair programming, and it’s not just because I don’t feel productive. It’s a lot more than that.

  • Reaper: IoT botnet 'worse than Mirai' infects one million organisations worldwide
     

    Check Point first unearthed the botnet, codenamed 'IoT_reaper', at the beginning of September and claims that, since, it's already enslaved millions of IoT devices including routers and IP cameras from firms including GoAhead, D-Link, TP-Link, Avtech, Netgear, MikroTik, Linksys and Synology.

  • Google will pay out bounties for bad Android app flaws
     

    "Google Play is working with the independent bug bounty platform, HackerOne, and the developers of popular Android apps to implement the Google Play Security Reward Program. Developers of popular Android apps are invited to opt-in to the program, which will incentivize security research in a bug bounty model," says HackerOne.

today's howtos