farewell

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farewell

Marc Munro
I feel bad about this, but I'm breaking up with you.

I've been using Debian for 20 years and in that time I've never strayed
to other distributions.  But Buster is too much.

Today I logged in to my laptop and the CPU was running flat out, as was
the network.  So I looked, and it was packagekitd.  So, I disabled and
stopped it using systemd.  Then I logged out and logged back in again.
The same happened.  And it was still packagekitd.  Why?  How is this
even possible?.  Why had disabling it with systemd not disabled it?
Maybe I could uninstall it?  No, Gnome depends on it.

Oh, Gnome.  

I wasn't that impressed with Gnome 3 back in the day but I didn't want
to hate it so I gave it a chance.  Even when it was pretty flaky, and
everyone, even Linus, was dumping on it.

I learned to like the new interface.  Except for the bits that I had to
use dconf-editor to fix.  Or gconf-editor.  I didn't mind gnome-tweak-
tool or that other settings tool that doesn't seem to have a real name:
the one with the wrench and screwdriver logo.  

Why are there so many different ways to manage things under Gnome?  And
why do the names of gnome options keep changing?  And the names of the
tools to tweak them?  And why do defaults keep changing?  And why does
window-shading no longer work in so many gnome apps?  Maybe Linus was
right about it.

Debian used to be an OS for geeks.  For people who weren't afraid of
the command-line and who could figure out how to tweak configuration
files.  Stuff that used to be an easy configuration option is now
really difficult or is managed by an apparently unconfigurable and
poorly documented abstraction layer.  Like pulseaudio.

I didn't want to hate pulseaudio but the other week, when I wanted to
tweak the surround sound options and google told me which alsa
configuration file I had to tweak, I discovered that pulseaudio had
abstracted it away.  And even google doesn't know how to configure
pulseaudio.

I didn't want to hate wpa_supplicant but when it failed to connect to
my second network, it automatically logged back into my first.  Even
when I tried to tell it not to.  Even when I cancelled the attempt.
Even when I told it to connect to the other network.  

I played with a BSD installation the other week.  For wireless
networking to work, I had to write a script.  I almost cried with joy.
It was the Unix experience I'd forgotten.  The ability to tell a
computer what to do, simply, and without having to fight it.  Without
having to second-guess it.  Without it having so much bloody attitude
that it appeared to think that it knew best and that I was being
unreasonable.

I didn't want to hate systemd but stuff that had worked forever, like
restarting gdm from the command line, hasn't worked for me since
systemd appeared.  And what used to be a simple matter of creating a
service by creating a script and putting in a symlink into a runlevel
directory, is now apparently beyond my level of skill to make work.

And binary logs and a "smart" viewer for them?  If you want to make
logs flexible, log stuff to a sql database.  But only as an option, not
by default.  Don't make the log system a point of failure.  Don't take
away my ability to use grep on a file.  Or awk, or perl, or a script.
That is the essence of Unix and it's being lost.

Oh, and X11 forwarding no longer works.  I didn't want to hate
Wayland...

Do you really think this is progress?  Removing and making difficult to
access, all of Unix' power and flexibility, and dumbing it down so that
the easy stuff becomes easier but the power-user stuff becomes harder
and harder to access and scripting is no longer a matter of telling the
machine what to do, but rather figuring out how to work-around all of
the improvements.

I know I could probably get past all of this.  I could learn the
intricacies of systemd.  I could figure out pulseaudio by looking at
the code.  I could probably install something other than
wpa_supplicant, or I could write my own replacement.  I could choose
not to use Wayland, and I could use Cinnamon or Mate rather than Gnome
3.  Yes, I know Debian has that flexibility.  But I don't need the
hassle.  I want a system that pretty much works out of the box.  I
don't mind tweaking a few things but I want a tool, not a challenge.

So we're done.  I feel bad, like I'm being disloyal but I can't go on
like this.  

I wish you well and I hope you find someone else.

__
Marc

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Re: farewell

Mo Zhou
Hi Marc,

Sorry to hear that. In fact I have some similar feelings.

On 2019-07-23 01:22, Marc Munro wrote:
> I've been using Debian for 20 years and in that time I've never strayed
> to other distributions.  But Buster is too much.

I always fail to find a better free and independent replacement to
Debian.
Even if the current stable release does not deliver the user experience
we expected, what the other distros deliver, I guess, would be more or
less the same. That's because Debian is a collection of scattered
software, where the user experience is not always decided by Debian
itself but the software upstreams.

> Today I logged in to my laptop and the CPU was running flat out, as was
> the network.  So I looked, and it was packagekitd.  So, I disabled and
> stopped it using systemd.  Then I logged out and logged back in again.
> The same happened.  And it was still packagekitd.  Why?  How is this
> even possible?.  Why had disabling it with systemd not disabled it?
> Maybe I could uninstall it?  No, Gnome depends on it.
>
> Oh, Gnome.  

It's a pity that the "software stores" started to think they know
"what the user want" and decided to silently download .deb packages
preparing for updates without informing the user. Everytime
after I freshly installed a Debian system, I'll immediately
disable packagekit. However, how can a gnome user get rid
of the packagekitd? It's in every distribution.

For sid users automatic upgrades are dangerous. Last year when
unattended-upgrades was somehow enabled by default on sid without
my confirmation, my system was broken by it through blind upgrades.

That said, it's simply that I don't like the design of several
programs. Luckily I still have the freedom to force these programs
to stop: if systemd --disable gdm3 doesn't work (yes, it indeed doesn't
work at all), I can mask that unit by symlinking it to /dev/null. If
masking still doesn't work, I can e.g. `sudo rm -f /usr/bin/gdm3` and
the annoying program will finally stop working.
This is much better compared to the most widely used operating system
in the world where you have no freedom to stop it from doing anything
you dislike.

> Oh, and X11 forwarding no longer works.  I didn't want to hate
> Wayland...

I heavily rely on extremely low key repeating latency and extremely
high key repeat rate. Under Xorg this is as trivial as a single
command:

   xset r rate 160 160

Wayland provides no means to achieve that. That means I will
strongly resist Wayland until the day it started to realize
how keyboard settings are important to weirdos like me.

> Do you really think this is progress?  Removing and making difficult to
> access, all of Unix' power and flexibility, and dumbing it down so that
> the easy stuff becomes easier but the power-user stuff becomes harder
> and harder to access and scripting is no longer a matter of telling the
> machine what to do, but rather figuring out how to work-around all of
> the improvements.

the "improvements".
As per the free software licenses, they provide no warranty. In the
world
of free software when one is not satisfied with some piece of software,
the one will either become a part of the upstream, fork the project,
working around things, or simply leave.

Do you have any suggestion for the Debian side so we can make some
concrete improvements, or mitigate some problems?

> So we're done.  I feel bad, like I'm being disloyal but I can't go on
> like this.

I feel bad at some points too. Be well and have a good day.

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Re: farewell

Ximin Luo-5
Mo Zhou:
>> [..]
>>
>> Oh, Gnome.  
>
> It's a pity that the "software stores" started to think they know
> "what the user want" [..]

Just use XFCE. I ditched GNOME years ago and am much happier for it.

The GNOME design philosophy is clearly chasing after Apple and other mass-market strategies. Let me throw a spanner in the works:

>>> For a volunteer-based FOSS project like Debian,     <<<
>>> mass-market users are a **liability** not an asset. <<<

I'm sure lots of people will misinterpret what I mean here, but it's really just simple economics. The life of a project like Debian lives off of incoming contributions, not incoming support requests. And certainly it is possible to convert mass-market users into productive contributors, but everyone starts off being a (concrete, short-term) liability to the project.

X

--
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Re: farewell

Aron Xu-3
On Tue, Jul 23, 2019 at 11:16 AM Ximin Luo <[hidden email]> wrote:

>
> Mo Zhou:
> >> [..]
> >>
> >> Oh, Gnome.
> >
> > It's a pity that the "software stores" started to think they know
> > "what the user want" [..]
>
> Just use XFCE. I ditched GNOME years ago and am much happier for it.
>
> The GNOME design philosophy is clearly chasing after Apple and other mass-market strategies. Let me throw a spanner in the works:
>

Well I'm not endorising Apple, but they've been quite low latency
everywhere... The difference could be manpower, could be that they
control all the closed hardware and software ecosystem, but we can do
a lot better than what we have now.

And Marc, please don't just get frustrated, still you can choose from
some other desktop environments like XFCE and KDE, maybe even more
lightweighted ones.

Regards,
Aron

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Re: farewell

Giacomo Catenazzi


On 23.07.19 08:32, Aron Xu wrote:

> On Tue, Jul 23, 2019 at 11:16 AM Ximin Luo <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>> Mo Zhou:
>>>> [..]
>>>>
>>>> Oh, Gnome.
>>>
>>> It's a pity that the "software stores" started to think they know
>>> "what the user want" [..]
>>
>> Just use XFCE. I ditched GNOME years ago and am much happier for it.
>>
>> The GNOME design philosophy is clearly chasing after Apple and other mass-market strategies. Let me throw a spanner in the works:
>>
>
> Well I'm not endorising Apple, but they've been quite low latency
> everywhere... The difference could be manpower, could be that they
> control all the closed hardware and software ecosystem, but we can do
> a lot better than what we have now.

Apple has a totally different design: the API by design is "not stable".
They requires constant upgrades, so always using latest technologies.

It is an interesting idea, but I doubt we can imitate it. BSD
distribution with all integrated packages and kernel could go in such
direction (but it doesn't scale). Also with One Git To Rule All and team
packages, Debian cannot commit to use latest technologies. And BTW this
is the contrary message of original email: keep what it is working.

Note: I think X11 on apple hardware/software is slow.

>
> And Marc, please don't just get frustrated, still you can choose from
> some other desktop environments like XFCE and KDE, maybe even more
> lightweighted ones.

I totally agree. Luckily Debian is a lot used on servers, so we still
keep a sane minimal environment. And most of alternative of Gnome are
not very different (in capabilities) to Gnome of some years ago.

Ubuntu and Gnome are steps to empower users, but they should not be the
target for a empowered user.

ciao
        cate

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Re: farewell

Norbert Preining-5
In reply to this post by Marc Munro
Hi Marc,

Love love love!

I reply to you in private to make sure that my comments are not seen as
uttered within the Debian project, which could bring me into just
another difficult situation.

But in short, I agree with lots of your comments, but Debian is still
the best distribution, so I really ask you to work around that, mostly
by purging everything gnome related from your installation. More
comments in private.

All the best, and don't forget, love love love!

Norbert

--
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Accelia Inc. + IFMGA ProGuide + TU Wien + JAIST + TeX Live + Debian Dev
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Re: farewell

Martin Steigerwald
In reply to this post by Marc Munro
Dear Marc.

I can certainly relate to your frustration. Also with Plasma certain
things are broken, like some applications that use Qt WebEngine, IMHO
partly due to only a few people dedicating their time to do all the
packaging for Qt/KDE, which is a lot, a huge lot of work.

Marc Munro - 23.07.19, 03:22:
> I didn't want to hate systemd but stuff that had worked forever, like
> restarting gdm from the command line, hasn't worked for me since
> systemd appeared.  And what used to be a simple matter of creating a
> service by creating a script and putting in a symlink into a runlevel
> directory, is now apparently beyond my level of skill to make work.

Just for this I like to tell you that I run Debian with Plasma without
systemd for months already. Due to the awesome work of the init
diversity team this is almost trivial.

It just works although I did some manual steps to start pulseaudio and
for work from services needed for Evolution¹. But I bet you'd call that:

Yeah! Unix!


[1] Using https://git.devuan.org/WIP-init/user-services

This is work in progress and I already like to redesign it for it to be
a frontend for runit and others… *both* user wide and system wide. But
it works and I am lazy too and have other important activities.


And yes, I am still running Debian on my laptop, not Devuan. Partly
because I maintain a Debian package and partly to be able to provide bug
reports to Debian.

I run Devuan with eudev on my server VMs. Even without dbus as its not
required, not even for the Qt based service quasselcore.

I am deep gratitude, fully knowing that with Debian there would be no
Devuan. Looking at the alternatives, it could either be some BSD, like
DragonFlyBSD… or… well I am not sure whether there are many Linux
distros out there which meet the high standard Debian adheres to.

Or someone would look at all the operating systems out there, take the
best of each one and drop anything else… I miss the simplicity back in
AmigaOS times where I knew the purpose of every single file of the
operating system.

Computers for me are still there to serve humanity, instead of having
their own policies – even if it is just the policies some developers put
into it. I can certainly relate to: "It has to do what I tell it to"
instead of "It knows better than me". It has no business to know better
than me, ever. Period. The library for the graphical environment of
AmigaOS was called intuition.library for a reason.


So if anything: It is easier to let go in gratitude!

And if there is hate… I strongly recommend to welcome it. Let it be
there. And let it dissolve all by itself.

Thanks,
--
Martin


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Re: farewell

Philip Hands
In reply to this post by Marc Munro
Marc Munro <[hidden email]> writes:

> I feel bad about this, but I'm breaking up with you.
>
> I've been using Debian for 20 years and in that time I've never strayed
> to other distributions.  But Buster is too much.

Hi Marc,

I certainly sympathise with several of you comments.  I'm currently
doing my biannual-ish tour of the default setup, and packagekit also
came to my attention, not in a good way.

[and just now Emacs got killed while I was just about to send the first
version of this mail, so I think my visit to Gnome-land is nearly over]

Anyway, I don't really see that as a reason to abandon Debian.

If you want the software you prefer to use to be sustainable, you need
to at least use it, and preferably report useful bugs when you find
them.  Walking away just allows the problems that upset you to get worse.

As it happens there's a good opportunity to highlight the sorts of
problems you are raising this Saturday, at DebConf19 in Brazil:

  https://debconf19.debconf.org/talks/84-100-paper-cuts-kick-off/

There was however one particular point you made that caught my eye:

> And binary logs and a "smart" viewer for them?  If you want to make
> logs flexible, log stuff to a sql database.  But only as an option, not
> by default.  Don't make the log system a point of failure.  Don't take
> away my ability to use grep on a file.  Or awk, or perl, or a script.
> That is the essence of Unix and it's being lost.

I rather like the binary logs of journalctl, as it allows one to list
messages from previous boots in a way that makes it _very_ easy to find
out that your current problem is not down to some error seen in the boot
log, because it turns out that same message was in the boot from last
month, so can be safely ignored.

That being the case, I _know_ that I have to explicitly enable binary
logging, by creating /var/log/journal/ (which is absent by default on
Debian).

Your comment made me wonder if this had changed recently, so I added a
test for it (I've seen this zombie rumour too many times already, so
having an easy place to point out that it's nonsense seemed justified):

  https://openqa.debian.net/tests/1450#step/_collect_data/28

The screenshot there is made on a just-installed default Gnome system
(bullsye rather than buster, but they're effectively the same just now).

As you can see, all the text logs are there for your grep-ing pleasure,
having been produced by rsyslogd as you would expect, whereas
/var/log/journal/ is absent, so there are no binary logs being saved.

So it seems just a little odd that you managed to get upset by it.

Cheers, Phil.
--
|)|  Philip Hands  [+44 (0)20 8530 9560]  HANDS.COM Ltd.
|-|  http://www.hands.com/    http://ftp.uk.debian.org/
|(|  Hugo-Klemm-Strasse 34,   21075 Hamburg,    GERMANY

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Re: farewell

Sam Hartman-3
I'll say there is something really unfortunate with the
unattended-upgrades packagekit ecosystem.

I keep finding that unattended-upgrades takes up 100%   of my CPU until
I kill it.
I have not had a chance to debug enough to submit a bug, but it is
infuriating.

--Sam

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Re: farewell

Marc Munro
In reply to this post by Mo Zhou
On Mon, 2019-07-22 at 19:56 -0700, Mo Zhou wrote:
> Hi Marc,
>
> Sorry to hear that. In fact I have some similar feelings.
>
> On 2019-07-23 01:22, Marc Munro wrote:
> > [ . .  .]

> I always fail to find a better free and independent replacement to
> Debian.
> Even if the current stable release does not deliver the user
> experience
> we expected, what the other distros deliver, I guess, would be more
> or
> less the same. That's because Debian is a collection of scattered
> software, where the user experience is not always decided by Debian
> itself but the software upstreams.

Thanks for your response, it is appreciated.

I don't expect to find a better or more free replacement.  I will miss
Debian for many things, but especially for having a thoroughly
principled community behind it.

> That said, it's simply that I don't like the design of several
> programs. Luckily I still have the freedom to force these programs
> to stop: if systemd --disable gdm3 doesn't work (yes, it indeed
> doesn't
> work at all), I can mask that unit by symlinking it to /dev/null. If
> masking still doesn't work, I can e.g. `sudo rm -f /usr/bin/gdm3` and
> the annoying program will finally stop working.

[shrugs] Yep, I could have figured that out if I hadn't been so
frustrated.  But it shouldn't be necessary.  If systemctl disable does
not work it should be fixed.  I guess I should have filed a bug report.

> Do you have any suggestion for the Debian side so we can make some
> concrete improvements, or mitigate some problems?

Beyond not releasing stuff that is obviously bad for the user
experience?

I understand how development works, and how with the best intentions
this sort of thing is pretty much inevitable.  You want good software,
but you also need to get new releases out.  You can't continually delay
the next major release while you wait for fixes from upstream
developers who may not care about the same things as you.

The first thing to do is to get serious.  The only way to start solving
this, is to *insist* on minimal standards of quality.

Here's a thought:

Create a new bug category called "detrimental".  This would be a bug,
that left uncorrected, would be detrimental to the user experience, or
reputation of Debian.  I would argue that packagekit's current
behaviour is exactly that.  In fact I think there are 2 detrimental
bugs in my story: packagekit's crazy resource usage, and systemd's
inability to disable it.

Tell your upstream developers that anything with a detrimental bug
will be deemed of insufficient quality and will be worked-around.  The
possible work-arounds would be pretty serious, but also simple to
understand:

  - the offending package would be removed
  - the offending package or program would be disabled by default
  - the offending package would be reverted to a previous non-
    detrimental version
  - the offending package would be forked

I know the fork thing is completely contrary to current Debian
practices where the pristine nature of upstream sources is highly
valued, but we're talking about detrimental bugs here, and we're
talking about giving the upstream developers a really strong incentive
to take things seriously.  And forks, with modern tools, are much
easier to manage today than they were back in the day when the pristine
source philosophy originated.

I don't expect this suggestion to be implemented as such, but I think
it is worth having a debate around these issues to see what could be
done.  At least to see whether the community is prepared to take it
seriously.

The other issue my story raises, is of attempts to simplify the user
experience at the expense of flexibility and configurability.  I see
Linux moving closer to the windows and Mac experience, and although
some of that is good, much of it is not.  I don't think Linux needs to
be more like windows or Mac.  We don't need to dumb things down for a
target audience that doesn't care about the underlying Unix philosophy.
 We have a target audience and it's us.

Thanks again for taking the time to respond.

__
Marc



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Re: farewell

Joerg Jaspert
In reply to this post by Norbert Preining-5
On 15472 March 1977, Norbert Preining wrote:

> I reply to you in private to make sure that my comments are not seen as
> uttered within the Debian project, which could bring me into just
> another difficult situation.

No it would not. Repeating the above as you recently love to do does not
make it any more true. It just makes you appear whining for no good
reason.

It is never bad to critize, it is never bad to mention bugs, it is never
bad to talk about shitty technology. And there is a load to criticize,
there are way too many bugs, there is a shitload of bad technology out
there, and many free software apps/projects appear to go ways that defy
any good logic. Pointing that out is *always* ok.

It just is NOT ok when that pointing out consists of attacks or of
demeaning people.

I trust you are able to critize technology without attacking people, so
there is NO reason to not speak out.

--
bye, Joerg

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Re: farewell

Norbert Preining-5
> I trust you are able to critize technology without attacking people, so
> there is NO reason to not speak out.

It was **me** who was thrown out for some time, so please leave the call
to me to decide what I post here - my trust in the currently responsible
teams to give a fair process is currently non-existent. That trust
was eradicated within a very short period - and as with fame, it takes a
long time to be rebuild.

Norbert

--
PREINING Norbert                               http://www.preining.info
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