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Look How Many Tux I Give!

Posted in BSD, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Kernel at 2:41 am by Guest Editorial Team

By figosdev

Hyperbola GNU/Linux
By Márcio Alexandra Silva Delgado (coadde), CC BY-SA 4.0

Summary: “Long live rms, long live (Hyperbola) GNU/BSD, and happy hacking.”

In 2007, I removed my last copy of Windows.

Now, 13 years later, I will remove my last copy of GNU/Linux. Why the hell not?

For the full context of this decision, let’s travel magically to the:

Early 1990s: I’m using a 9600 bps modem in Windows 3.x to go on bulletin boards (BBS). Someone tells me I should get an “Internet” account with a university, using “telnet”. Within 10 years or so I’ll watch a friend telnet into her uni to get her homework, but at the time I don’t know what a telnet client is.

Mid 90s: I read about “Linux” in the newspaper. (Newspapers were big, grey, cheaply printed stacks of paper folded into plastic bags, which teenagers would throw at your home from cars or bicycles). I also read about Internet cafes. I go around looking for an Internet cafe that doesn’t run on Macs, because I want my first time online to be on a PC. I don’t use an Internet cafe until 2004, but my first time on the Web is on a PC, some time before 1998.

Late 90s: I have a tomsrtbt floppy, which technically allows me to run Busybox (or something similar) with the Linux kernel. I learn how to mount DOS partitions, copy files, write text to a file, and do very little else with it. I want to copy my tomsrtbt disk, but it’s > 2 mb which for a DOS user, is extremely confusing. I knew there were specially formatted floppies that allowed that sort of thing, but I was not familiar with the process for creating one. I don’t have abundant Internet access.

“The only way to really remove Internet Explorer (rather than just removing it from the list of installed programs) is to not install it in the first place.”2000-2002: I purchase Red Hat for about $30, though perhaps unsurprisingly it does not boot after trying to install it on my 486. Someone gives me my first Windows 95 machine. I tell them I can fix it, they say “keep it, I have a new one.” It’s a mini tower, which I either carry home or take on the bus.

I’ve learned how to install 95 and 98 from the compressed files on the install CD. This means I can install from a hard drive and floppy, without worrying about booting from CD or whether the CD/drive is working. Not everything has a good CD drive these days, so this is useful. It’s possible all the installations are legit, as I’ve collected enough (valid) licenses and keys and I still like DOS and Windows 3.x a lot.

The only way to really remove Internet Explorer (rather than just removing it from the list of installed programs) is to not install it in the first place. I make custom install files for Windows 95 without Internet Explorer. You have to alter checksums to do this, but it’s easier than it sounds. Also, pretty tedious.

I purchase Mandrake for $5 and it installs, but I don’t know how to become root (ha) and I can’t seem to write to any files (I never created users for tomsrtbt, so I was used to being root like in DOS).

“The 2.x kernel is SO MUCH faster than 3.x, but the 3.x kernel supports more hardware.”I get Windows (95) down to 10mb, 5 compressed. That’s right. Control Panel doesn’t work, the GUI barely loads, but until it does there is no ATAPI support for my DOS-based CD writing program. I’m running Caldera OpenDOS and getting online with Arachne, but I boot (from a floppy) into 95 (yes, with the GUI — You have to edit MSDOS.SYS) to write CDs.

My girlfriend is amazed by what can be done without Windows, and tells me “You should make this available on more computers!” I explain that the license doesn’t make that possible, and I’m eager for a day when I can run “Linux” with a GUI (with a Web browser).

2003: I get a Windows 98 machine. I start working on what is probably my first programming language.

2004: Instead of tomsrtbt I now have Pygmy Linux, which chainloads from 32-bit DOS. I don’t use it for anything at all, I’m just trying it.

2005: I get Ubuntu, but it’s too slow for practical use, taking minutes to boot on the low-end Pentium I’m using. I try removing packages, but they’re all tied to other packages (Not too familiar with APT yet). I start trying various distros on CD, on a friend’s desktop which is more powerful than mine. I still use dial-up, they have high-speed connection.

I keep looking for a distro that can use my external 56k modem to connect to my ISP, I even look for an ISP that this will work with. No luck. I can get online with Windows or even DOS, but nothing else. As I’m trying to figure this out, about 800 people ask me if I’m trying to do this with a “winmodem” (I know what it is).

“With a faster, portable, wifi-capable machine with a like-new CD writer, I am trying more distros.”2006: DSL starts on my Pentium II. Due to some weird issue with the CD drive, it takes 7-15 minutes to boot (then it’s alright). I look for a graphical upgrade to Pygmy Linux that chainloads from 32-bit DOS. I read about (but never find) Monkey Linux.

While searching for that I learn of Puppy Linux, including a version designed to chainload from DOS. Puppy runs graphically on my equipment, though it doesn’t like most of my hardware. The 2.x kernel is SO MUCH faster than 3.x, but the 3.x kernel supports more hardware. I stick with 2.x, and don’t even have SATA support (but I don’t have SATA hardware either).

I invest in a wireless cardbus adapter and a wired Ethernet cardbus adapter, neither of which are supported, but I hold onto them — thinking I might find support for them eventually.

I get a used P4 laptop running XP. For the first time, I’m going to places where I can use wifi. I customise the heck out of XP, replacing standard Windows features with freely licensed software, as I did with Windows 98. I replace the Windows shell with something like BB4Win.

With a faster, portable, wifi-capable machine with a like-new CD writer, I am trying more distros.

2007-2008: DSL replaces Windows 98 on my Pentium II, Xubuntu replaces Windows XP, letting me use my cardbus wifi adapter (but not the built-in adapter). I start using high-speed Internet all the time. I try countless distros. I get a USB-based wifi adapter (“How neat, it can add wifi to either a laptop or a desktop”). But nothing I run supports it. I throw it in a drawer.

2007 is the year I finally go Windows-free, using GNU/Linux with high-speed Internet.

2009: Curious about OLPC, I am eager to try out Sugar. I try Sugar-on-a-Stick, I go to a Linux user group where I happen to play with an XO-1 in person, I see one other XO-1 in a museum, and because they have Sugar included, I try out Trisquel with Sugar. Pippy, a tool designed to help Year 4 students and later get introduced to Python, reminds me of QB and I start learning Python.

Trisquel is the first FSF-approved distro I try. It’s also the first distro I try that supports my (Atheros) USB wifi adapter. Of course several of the other distros I’ve used only fail to support it because of release cycles and my own upgrade timeline, but an impression is made: you really don’t need non-free drivers for consumer hardware. Trisquel works!

2009-2011: I start having drive trouble due to power management issues, and when I read about it I find that you can mitigate the thing killing my hardware by changing hdparm settings. But it’s not announced to much fanfare, and as I read about the various responses to the issue for various distros, I get pretty pissed off.

Ubuntu doesn’t care, Debian releases an immediate fix — not just a command-line workaround, they make the fix the default from that point onward. Other distros make excuses about how the fix might not work on everything.

“Although I’ve given money to Devuan, and money and equipment to related projects, I am increasingly unhappy with the cult-like abuse from some community leaders and at least one official team member.”On top of this, Debian is getting the non-free crap out of their kernel as of 6.0. I start favouring Debian for the level of quality and responsibility they demonstrate. I still favour a blob-free kernel.

2012-2014: I’m running Debian and giving away free machines with Debian pre-installed, with sources. I’m writing a curriculum for a night class on refurbishing machines with Debian. My girlfriend and I make Debian logo Christmas ornaments with a laminator. My monitor has a Debian logo sticker over its own logo. I raise well over 100 dollars for SPI, Inc. and I’m happy, even thrilled to be promoting GNU/Linux with real free software and real hardware. I don’t tend to use non-free repos or non-free drivers, I also discourage others from running either.

I notice systemd coming in when rc.local stops running after an upgrade. I mostly run stable but I have one machine running testing, because testing is notoriously stable for what it is, and I want a heads up on what Debian has coming down the line.

I start reading about systemd, and exploring my options. I try Debian GNU/Kfreebsd and read about Devuan. I stop giving away Debian machines, not wanting to saddle anybody with that. The most reliable and responsible operating system, which based on its history really had me thinking I’d never need to find another distro, has jumped the shark and said “FUCK YOU” to everybody. Alright then, fuck you too.

“The idea of automated remasters (OLPC also uses that idea for creating their own distro) is that instead of distributing a new ISO every time you make a few changes, you just distribute a custom remaster script instead.”2015: In February or March, my Debian testing machine (also the one I use the most) now runs the pre-alpha of Devuan. While I wait for Devuan to mature and gain a sources ISO/single download like Debian has so I can start giving Devuan machines away (with sources, like I did for Debian) I start working on an alternative to my PC refurbishing curriculum. Without a distro I can recommend to everybody, I start working on a cross-platform programming language — trying to make a language that is more practical than Logo and easier to learn than BASIC. It’s just an experiment, I don’t worry about how outlandish the goal is. I know the actual thing is going to be modest, and that’s the idea.

I start introducing it to people in person, and within a year it is what I wanted — a language that lets me explain and introduce coding basics to people who had trouble with BASIC or Python. People I’d talked to about coding for years who tended to glaze over and not be able to explain anything I had told them, could now point to code and tell me what it did. I consider that a victory.

The language is called fig, and it was included in the best Devuan derivative I knew. Devuan did not yet have a Live CD, but there was a live Devuan derivative (I tried two of those) and the maintainer went to go work on Devuan Live officially. It was one of the better decisions Devuan made; he was the best person for that role.

2016-2017: Although I’ve given money to Devuan, and money and equipment to related projects, I am increasingly unhappy with the cult-like abuse from some community leaders and at least one official team member. I distance myself from Devuan, using fig to make automated remasters of Puppy Linux, Refracta, Tiny Core, Trisquel 8 and Debian 9 — among others.

“But although I still have nice things to say about Dyne and its founder, I do not believe in or recommend Devuan.”Originally this is not called Fig OS, but I am encouraged by some Puppy fans to move from the Puppy name (because it’s a turn off to people who think “Puppy” sounds less serious) and from the Refracta dev who is concerned it might confuse people further (Refracta already refers to remastering tools and a distro that is made with them). So I actually settle on “Fig OS”, and then “Distro-libre” as I add more source distros.

The idea of automated remasters (OLPC also uses that idea for creating their own distro) is that instead of distributing a new ISO every time you make a few changes, you just distribute a custom remaster script instead. The download is measured in kb instead of gb, plus it’s 100% source code and you get a line-by-line “receipt” of every change made to the base system.

I design it not just for one distro family, but try to keep it as flexible as possible. Originally it can mix Devuan-based Refracta with Ubuntu/Puppy-based Tahr — if you use Puppy, you know it’s more accurate to say this is like mixing Devuan with Puppy than Devuan with Ubuntu. Devuan is multi-user. Puppy Tahr has so much of Ubuntu stripped out.

The automated remaster of Trisquel 8 replaces systemd with upstart, creating a bootable Live ISO that boots Trisquel without systemd. I’m very proud of that. This was at a time when Trisquel had pretty much abandoned the idea of users having a choice about subservience to corporations. That’s a shame, when they were once the flagship distro of the FSF, and the one that convinced me that fully-free distros were possible and even practical. It’s not just that they don’t fix this — they don’t even care!

The automated remaster of Debian 9.5 also creates a bootable Live ISO that boots with sysvinit. While Devuan certainly does more, and there was a time (when it looked like Devuan might gain more volunteers) that I agreed with their level of overkill, at one point later on I was starting to think MX was a better thing to support than Devuan. I have had positive experiences with the leader of Dyne and I still this Dyne is a good organisation — that’s a pretty big deal these days, when this timeline is coming up on 2019.

But although I still have nice things to say about Dyne and its founder, I do not believe in or recommend Devuan. That team ought to split up (Dyne should abandon it for better things) and go their separate ways. Whatever “Devuan” is will be better without it being Devuan. The maintainers may disagree, but they’re also wrong. The biggest problem with Devuan is Devuan. It’s largely the same problem that Debian had, minus enough volunteers.

“If you’re calling yourself a “hacker” because you’re allegedly out to playfully subvert a corrupt authoritarian tech industry, but you conflate a couple of minor interruptions by the person who created the movement you belong to with a safety threat of some kind, maybe you’re NOT a hacker.”Then in 2018: Microsoft purchases GitHub.


Also, a bunch of traitors stab rms in the back by pretending a question or two asked out of turn by the president of the organisation makes LibrePlanet “unsafe”. Holy George Fucking Orwell! If you’re calling yourself a “hacker” because you’re allegedly out to playfully subvert a corrupt authoritarian tech industry, but you conflate a couple of minor interruptions by the person who created the movement you belong to with a safety threat of some kind, maybe you’re NOT a hacker. Maybe the word “shill” or simply “tool” is better. Perhaps you’re really a fascist, disguised with the trappings of the left.

What a great year. But 2019 gets even better!

2019: Free Software projects, not interested in tech industry hegemony, start leaving GitHub in droves.

But NO! They actually gravitate TOWARDS the incredible suckage, coinciding with bribes from their new masters. Oh, we can’t say “masters” anymore. MASTERS, MASTERS, MASTERS! What the actual fuck, people?

RMS, who in fact called Epstein a “serial rapist”, defends a deceased colleague on a mailing list that both individuals used to contribute to (and rms still did) but it’s not the attacks on the deceased colleague that are considered inappropriate for the list (obviously that’s fine) it’s the defence that draws the wrath of the shill industry, who then make money assassinating rms and saying he “defended Epstein.” The tech press is full of liars and scumbags that might as well have worked for Joseph fucking Goebbels. (Oh, fuck you too, Mike).

“I started installing FreeBSD, OpenBSD and NetBSD on various machines.”GNOME, MIT, SFC and FSFE and even traitors inside the FSF all dogpile rms, who then steps down from the FSF. Some of these same individuals also attacked him at LibrePlanet, over NOTHING — you can watch the actual non-incident. They were simply waiting for the best opportunity to make a fuss. Seriously, that’s all it ever was.

Shortly after, someone hacks his personal website (which by the way, was not hosted by the FSF) to make it look like he was no longer the leader of the GNU Project either.

This reminds me (on a lesser scale, obviously) of when Faux News faked the Bush Jr. victory by running a clip saying he won the election before he won.

At some point in the past two years, I talked to rms about the possibility of a fully-free distro based on BSD. By sheer coincidence (but I’m very pleased) in 2019, Hyperbola announced the first FSF-approved distro to switch from the Linux kernel to a Fully-free distribution based on OpenBSD.

2020: Eager to get away from as much of this crap as possible, away from the shills, from init systems that Microsoft controls the contributions to (with their Code of Conduct and their bans of accounts from several entire countries, and their absolutely monopoly-level power that comes with owning GitHub, which we were warned against creating for years) I decided not to wait for Hyperbola, even though I love what they’re doing (and you should, too).

“I mean they tried to have a coup in the GNU Project in 2019, and that hasn’t even stopped in 2020.”I started installing FreeBSD, OpenBSD and NetBSD on various machines. I am still running GNU/Linux on ONE machine; I didn’t plan for BSD to take over my workflow as quickly (or as smoothly) as it eventually did. You can see the kind of stuff I went through getting rid of Windows.

OpenBSD 6.8 is out, and since I’ve just upgraded all my other machines (along with other work, etc.) from GNU/Linux to OpenBSD 6.7 (I have one machine running NetBSD, and I don’t recommend FreeBSD because it’s doing far too much with GitHub compared to the other two) I am looking for what I should install 6.8 on. I am talking about this week, not next year. Of course I also want to run HyperbolaBSD, but I’m getting familiar with what’s upstream right now, before HyperbolaBSD is even ready.

What’s the appeal/common sense justification of BSD? Among some other notable advantages, when people want to fork BSD, they just do. They don’t spend years begging someone else to or keeping fingers crossed — they just do it. It’s been done several times by small teams of people. Just based on that, you’d think it was easier than forking OpenOffice!

“Hyperbola wants you to be free, they didn’t fork Linux — instead they’re making BSD free, because that’s easier.”When Free Software has as many threats as it does today, threats the FSF basically ignores, leaving us to fend for ourselves (and even challenge their overly, obsessively conservative bullshit — don’t get me wrong, Open Source is still MUCH worse, but the FSFE and SFC have already fallen to Open Source; SFC is now a gateway to OSI and basically to hell, NOT to freedom) we need more autonomy or we are simply going to be taken over, the way GNU is gradually being taken over.

I mean they tried to have a coup in the GNU Project in 2019, and that hasn’t even stopped in 2020. GNU needs to be salvaged. Fortunately, Hyperbola is setting good examples on how to do just that. The FSF is just getting closer and closer to GitHub, doing big-budget-style videos promoting things like Jitsi (Guess who controls Jitsi? Not the FSF!) Free Cloud Foundation? That’s going to make IBM very happy! You’ll be able to talk to at least 150 people about it on the GitHubiverse!

If it isn’t even forkable, it’s debatable that it’s really free. Linux is demonstrably non-forkable — nobody is forking it, nobody is going to fork it, people fork BSD instead, repeatedly. The whole thing, kernel and all. Hyperbola wants you to be free, they didn’t fork Linux — instead they’re making BSD free, because that’s easier. BSD-libre! GNU/BSD, even. And fuck you again Debian, for trying to kill exactly that.

This is the thing that the FSF doesn’t seem to understand. For purposes of freedom, GNU/Linux is no longer viable. It is a corporate shitshow of DRM, sellouts and mountains of Big Tech fuckery. Yes, there are some (VERY) nice things about the kernel, but they’re not making us free, they’re making us subservient to GIAFAM and especially to Microsoft — the biggest corporate enemy of Free Software in both history and the world. An enemy that spends years lying about “love” — about LOVE!

So it can spy on people and help literally kill for profit — not simply by letting people use their code as some Open Source fakes whinge about (your dumb license won’t stop the DOD anyway, as they don’t have to honour copyright or patents) but actually getting contracts worth billions to make war (not “Love”). That’s why “fake” is the right thing to call these shills who pretend to give a shit who lives and dies in other countries (along with what it does to the environment).

“So now we are using “ethics” to reinforce a monopoly.”United Nations: “You know, we think these are war crimes that you’re committing.”

Various Countries: “But?”

United Nations: “But also we are concerned that your actions are destroying the sustainability of the human race itself.”

Various Countries: “Is that all?”

United Nations: “No. What we want to talk about right now is the license for the software running your drone systems…”

Various Countries: “Oh, NO! Don’t worry, we’re switching right back to Windows for that! War tribunals and the end of sustainability are bad enough, without VIOLATING SOFTWARE LICENSES!”

Great plan! People often talk about how munitions are even more dangerous because they’re not as “precision” as people say they are, occasionally taking out wedding parties when they want to get “just one!” terrorist, but that’ll all be “Better with Windows!” Mayyyyybe Coraline just thought JEDI would be more “ethical” if we could use licenses to ensure only Microsoft had a product they were legally allowed to sell for such purposes (Put that in your intake and smoke it, Bezos!)

So now we are using “ethics” to reinforce a monopoly. Or were we using “love” to create weapons systems? All this marketing gets confusing! I guess that’s why Windows is Linux is Winning! Now pay up, Android, you think all this “love” comes for free?

The FSF sits idly by while Microsoft and GitHub (and their own GNU contributors) and GNOME (as usual?) lie to you about the viability of this dystopian future we are already living in. Some of these people are not “mistaken” — they are actually lying to you. Two-legged Zoom spying bad, Four-legged GitHub spying good? Doubleplus WTF? The FSF just sits there, like nobody knows better. Well one guy, but OMG, He Said…

“For a minute it looked like rms was done; but he’s still fighting, we can be thankful for that. He’s not going to win against the FSF though — it will still be years still before the FSF does a course correction, away from this mess that started TWO YEARS ago.”“Free Software is bigger than Jesus!”

No, that was John Lennon. Remember folks, what rms said! Burn all your copies of the GPL! (This sort of bullshit is SO old and SO STUPID…)

Hyperbola GNU/Linux logoFor a minute it looked like rms was done; but he’s still fighting, we can be thankful for that. He’s not going to win against the FSF though — it will still be years still before the FSF does a course correction, away from this mess that started TWO YEARS ago. FIVE years if you count the systemd power grab — and you should. Corporate hegemony is always a problem, even GPL-(2 only!)-licensed corporate hegemony.

So anyway, bye bye, Linux. I’ll see you on underpowered trinkets and tablets, I’m sure.

Now get the fuck off my PC. We’re done here, penguinshit.

Long live rms, long live (Hyperbola) GNU/BSD, and happy hacking.

Licence: Creative Commons CC0 1.0 (public domain)

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