[clug] Why do we do what we do in Linux? [was Re: Text editor]

Bryan Kilgallin bryan at netspeed.com.au
Wed Oct 29 07:58:35 MDT 2014

Thanks, Neill:

> I think that the most important thing about FOSS is the control it 
> gives users over the devices that increasingly mediate their lives today.

I personally am at the stage of being completely controlled by a 
learning task that keeps me up all night, every night!

> Linux does have a habit of being maddeningly difficult to get to work 
> - I know I often have a great deal of difficulty getting sound to work 
> properly on my machines.

I would like some help on upgrading my Openmoko phone's 
software--without bricking it!

> OTOH so many things are so much more reliable once they are setup and 
> it's wonderful not being at the mercy of commercial entities for my 
> computing needs.

The latter reason inspired me. Being retired, and having spent an 
inheritance on a house, I just don't have cash for the latest Mac!

> All the same, as Hugh points out the "unix way" of "small sharp tools" 
> may not be the best way for everything.

I tend to be very careful. But the idea of a bazaar of modules to be 
strung together--daunts me!

> Sure, almost everything get serialised to a text format (please JSON 
> rather than XML!) but every now and then I have to deal with binary 
> data as well.

I am not familiar with JSON.

> Good on you Bryan for being willing to learn, but good for the rest of 
> us to be reminded how difficult that can be.

I can't possibly achieve my goal without your help!

> My current favourite shell is fish, partly because it is very good at 
> discoverability.

Yes, same here.

> It knows a lot about the tools I use at the command line and is good 
> at reminding me of the options that I have more and more trouble 
> keeping straight in my head.

When I was learning fish, I had trouble distinguishing the shell from 
the programs that it strung together. If anyone knows a beginner's 
roadmap to the latter, I'd appreciate that!

> Bit of a ramble this, but it comes down to: I personally love the 
> command line, but I think that it's unrealistic to expect everyone to 
> and that we should be willing to learn from other approaches to 
> getting things done.

I recognise from years spent teaching, that there are a variety of modes 
of instruction. If you know of self-instructional resources aimed at the 
Linux beginner, please let me know.

> Not slavishly copy, but cherry pick the best bits.

As I understand it, I am expected to fix up my project from the 
discarded remains of other people's projects!


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