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Month: March 2018

Re: [trinity-users] quick & dirty - installation & backup

From: William Morder <doctor_contendo@...>
Date: Tue, 20 Mar 2018 06:06:03 -0700

On Tuesday 20 March 2018 05:28:57 E. Liddell wrote:
> On Mon, 19 Mar 2018 18:22:51 -0700
> William Morder <doctor_contendo@...> wrote:
> > If I can ever find a publisher to give me enough money to live in the
> > regal style that deserve (and if I should live long enough to complete
> > the Great Work, and if they are still actually publishing books written
> > by human beings at that time), then maybe I can afford my very only
should be <own> not <only>, sorry! 
> > reliable Internet connection, and I would be glad to try out Gentoo.
> Your techie friend would probably look at you funny if you suggested
> installing it, anyway.  

Nah, I think he would know Gentoo. He compiles everything from source. 

> There's an old humour piece about operating systems 
> as airlines that you can find kicking around the internet, and the Linux
> segment includes something along the lines of, "Upon boarding the plane,
> you're handed an uninstalled seat, a handful of bolts, a wrench, and a copy
> of seat-HOWTO. Once you get it installed, the adjustable seat is very
> comfortable, the plane takes off and lands on time, and the in-flight meal
> is just perfect, but whenever you try to discuss the experience with
> someone, all they ever say is, 'You had to do *what* to the seat?!'"
You forgot the process about tanning hides to make own custom seat leather. 

> Gentoo is very much a "You had to do *what* to the seat?!" distro.  The
> install process is command-line oriented and hands-on, installing a new
> package can take some time because it (usually) needs to be compiled, and
> you're expected to put in a bit of work in terms of untangling your own
> messes with the aid of the (usually pretty good) documentation.  In return,
> it offers a knowledgeable community, complete control of every optional
> dependency on the system, and programs that run slightly faster and install
> less cruft because they're tailored for your machine and not some generic
> abstraction.
That sounds tantalizingly seductive, but one also must set limits. I don't 
code for a living, but use my computer for writing and editing (as well as 
layout for books, etc.), as well as sometimes for producing my own music. 

> I like it, but then I code for a living, I'm a control freak, and I'm
> willing to put in a little more time when I have to (to avoid having to put
> in a lot more time down the road).
> E. Liddell
I like Gentoo already, just because it is so perversely arcane. I don't so 
much like computers, or (modern) machines in general (noting that a wagon 
might be considered a machine, and certainly a bicycle). However, I do rather 
enjoy the aspects of hidden mysteries, deciphering codes, and an underground 
brotherhood (and sisterhood) - complete with secret handshakes and alternate 

More than that, I really just like to feel like I own my own computer, that I 
can, through my own efforts, come to control it, and that I am allowed to 
take apart both hardware and software and put it back together in ways that 
the original designers never intended; and thereby either improve it, or 
totally mess it up beyond all hope of recovery, with nothing left but to 
start over with what I like to call The Long Dark System Reinstallation of 
the Soul. 

The problem with freedom is that it never comes free, nor even cheap. If you 
want it, you have to work at it. And I'm not so much a political activist 
(though some seem to think so based on the fact that I sometimes write 
eccentric pieces that happen to trespass into politics and social issues); 
but I do want to feel that my computer, and everything in it, is all mine, 
and controlled by me. Thus I expect that it won't always be easy to attain 
such concrete goals; which, paradoxically, are regarded by a lot of people as 
some kind of arty-farty aesthetic ideal. I would love to give in 
to "convention", and have everything come easy; but I get older and crankier, 
and cannot force myself to fit into prefabricated ways of doing anything. 

When I try to explain to "outsiders" the varying degrees of Unix, Linux (and 
variants like BSD), then Redhat, Debian - as well the true, pure faith of 
GNU/Linux, and all that - I invariably take a shortcut and say simply that 
Linux is not so much a kind of operating system as a lifestyle, or a mystic 

Again, it is like a musician friend of mine (who was always broke) tried to 
explain blues and jazz music: they are not music forms, or genres, but rather 
a way of life. 

If I can't own my own computer, and make it run like I want, then I will run 
no computer at all. I will crawl back under my rock, and wait until the times 


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