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My plan to use KDE3 forever.

Version 2.3 of my homemade Linux distro has been downloaded 17 times. KIARA IS BACK... IN SLACK!

Breakthrough! Yesterday I installed Kiara 2.3 on my hard drive as a "live root" system, using the Always Fresh default. I did this by formatting the first partition as Fat32, instead of a native Linux filesystem, and using the Slax installer script that is usually reserved for installing on a USB device. This ought to mean that nothing changes the root directory from within a running system, and like any live CD, Kiara will spring back to shape after a reboot. A root system that won't be written to permanently from within is a powerful security advantage, and since my goal is to run KDE3 indefinitely, that's important. But it runs like a hard drive system: Fast, responsive, and so far it hasn't crashed once. It's the most robust KDE Desktop I've seen in ages. It's enough to bring a tear to your eye!

The /home/ partition was formatted in ext3. I wrote a script to facilitate mounting the /home/partition, , recreating the user account, establishing a root password, and enabling sudo. Of course, the normal user account is what retains my settings and personal data. So except for an extra three minutes of setting up at the beginning, it runs just like a hard drive installed system.

As a live CD Kiara comes by its stability from the same place the iPhone does... by being a closed system. Stability issues come out of running old software and new software together, but Kiara is ALL old software! Almost everything that I ported to Slax 6.1.2 to make Kiara comes from the same place, Slackware 12.2. The important exception is the Mozilla web browsers Firefox and Seamonkey, the Mozilla email client Thunderbird, and, for the time being, the Opera browser. These are built to run on any Linux, and they run beautifully. I scramble to keep these up to date, and the latest web applications go a long way give Kiara and up-to-date feel. But the older applications that I've been running on Kiara are just fine. I can point to one feature on Gimp that I miss, but I couldn't tell you what's different about Kwrite, emacs, Xchat, irssi. Of course, Konqueror is its awesome old self, and I've been rediscovering how much I love to run Konsole as transparent. They ever fix that for KDE4?

Nowadays, it's not so much KDE4 that people are unhappy with. It's Unity, and Gnome 3. The Linux desktop is changing dramatically, and I believe that Live media can provide a stable and secure environment for legacy software to provide an alternative to users who don't like what the Desktop developers are coming up with. I want developers to be free to explore and innovate, and giving users a stable and secure alternative will enhance their freedom. I believe that KDE4 works better for most users than it does for me, and it would be hypocritical for me to insist on my choice at the expense of another user's right to choose. But I do insist on my choice. Linux allows me to make sure of that.

I support the Trinity Project, but I have arranged for my own solution. I'm not taking any chances.

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Games for GNU/Linux

  • Why GNU/Linux ports can be less performant, a more in-depth answer
    When it comes to data handling, or rather data manipulation, different APIs can perform it in different ways. In one, you might simply be able to modify some memory and all is ok. In another, you might have to point to a copy and say "use that when you can instead and free the original then". This is not a one way is better than the other discussion - it's important only that they require different methods of handling it. Actually, OpenGL can have a lot of different methods, and knowing the "best" way for a particular scenario takes some experience to get right. When dealing with porting a game across though, there may not be a lot of options: the engine does things a certain way, so that way has to be faked if there's no exact translation. Guess what? That can affect OpenGL state, and require re-validation of an entire rendering pipeline, stalling command submission to the GPU, a.k.a less performance than the original game. It's again not really feasible to rip apart an entire game engine and redesign it just for that: take the performance hit and carry on. Note that some decisions are based around _porting_ a game. If one could design from the ground up with OpenGL, then OpenGL would likely give better performance...but it might also be more difficult to develop and test for. So there's a bit of a trade-off there, and most developers are probably going to be concerned with getting it running on Windows first, GNU/Linux second. This includes engine developers.
  • Why Linux games often perform worse than on Windows
    Drivers on Windows are tweaked rather often for specific games. You often see a "Game Ready" (or whatever term they use now) driver from Nvidia and AMD where they often state "increased performance in x game by x%". This happens for most major game releases on Windows. Nvidia and AMD have teams of people to specifically tweak the drivers for games on Windows. Looking at Nvidia specifically, in the last three months they have released six new drivers to improve performance in specific games.
  • Thoughts on 'Stellaris' with the 'Leviathans Story Pack' and latest patch, a better game that still needs work
  • Linux community has been sending their love to Feral Interactive & Aspyr Media
    This is awesome to see, people in the community have sent both Feral Interactive & Aspyr Media some little care packages full of treats. Since Aspyr Media have yet to bring us the new Civilization game, it looks like Linux users have been guilt-tripping the porters into speeding up, or just sending them into a sugar coma.
  • Feral Interactive's Linux ports may come with Vulkan sooner than we thought
  • Using Nvidia's NVENC with OBS Studio makes Linux game recording really great
    I had been meaning to try out Nvidia's NVENC for a while, but I never really bothered as I didn't think it would make such a drastic difference in recording gaming videos, but wow does it ever! I was trying to record a game recently and all other methods I tried made the game performance utterly dive, making it impossible to record it. So I asked for advice and eventually came to this way.

Leftovers: Software

  • DocKnot 1.00
    I'm a bit of a perfectionist about package documentation, and I'm also a huge fan of consistency. As I've slowly accumulated more open source software packages (alas, fewer new ones these days since I have less day-job time to work on them), I've developed a standard format for package documentation files, particularly the README in the package and the web pages I publish. I've iterated on these, tweaking them and messing with them, trying to incorporate all my accumulated wisdom about what information people need.
  • Shotwell moving along
    A new feature that was included is a contrast slider in the enhancement tool, moving on with integrating patches hanging around on Bugzilla for quite some time.
  • GObject and SVG
    GSVG is a project to provide a GObject API, using Vala. It has almost all, with some complementary, interfaces from W3C SVG 1.1 specification. GSVG is LGPL library. It will use GXml as XML engine. SVG 1.1 DOM interfaces relays on W3C DOM, then using GXml is a natural choice. SVG is XML and its DOM interfaces, requires to use Object’s properties and be able to add child DOM Elements; then, we need a new set of classes.
  • LibreOffice 5.1.6 Office Suite Released for Enterprise Deployments with 68 Fixes
    Today, October 27, 2016, we've been informed by The Document Foundation about the general availability of the sixth maintenance update to the LibreOffice 5.1 open-source and cross-platform office suite. You're reading that right, LibreOffice 5.1 got a new update not the current stable LibreOffice 5.2 branch, as The Document Foundation is known to maintain at least to versions of its popular office suite, one that is very well tested and can be used for enterprise deployments and another one that offers the latest technologies.