Friday, October 31, 2008

Rants and Laughs 4

Once again, I present the daily Rants & Laughs section. 

Finally, here is my first user submission. Thanks, thepld!

"Ubuntu 8.10 Outperforms Windows Vista "

Nevermind that the piece of shit can't do half the things that Vista
can...but hey, it boots 3 seconds faster! And all that performance must
be great for all that awesome Linux gaming? I bet you can get twice the
framerate in all five versions of Tux Racer than you did before!

Open S{ource,hakedown}

Here is a fascinating article that I meant to post when I started this site, but it slipped my mind. Read it and notice the similarities between open source crusaders and, uh, less savory characters. It talks about the steps that you should take in order to easily comply with the GPL without bringing down the fosstard wrath upon your company. For those of you who are too lazy to read the article, here is the meat.

... but getting sued is not the real problem. The real problem is when a posting about misappropriation of GPL software shows up on Slashdot and LWN. The real problem is when every public-facing phone number and email address for your company becomes swamped by legions of Linux fans demanding to know when you will provide the source code. The real problem persists for years after the event, when Google searches for the name of your products turn up links about GPL violations coupled with ill-informed but damaging rants.

So we want to avoid that outcome. If you read the legal complaints filed by the Software Freedom Law Center, they follow a similar pattern:

  1. Someone discovers a product which incorporates GPL code such as busybox, but cannot find the source code on the company web site (probably because the company hasn't posted it).
  2. This person sends a request for the source code to an address they find on that website, possibly
  3. This request is completely ignored or receives an unsatisfactory response.
  4. The person contacts SFLC, who sends a letter to the legal department of the infringing company demanding compliance with the license and that steps be taken to ensure no future infringements take place.
  5. SFLC also demands compensation for their legal expenses; thats how they fund their operation.
  6. The corporate legal team, misreading the complaint as a shakedown attempt, stonewalls the whole thing or offers some steps but refuses to pay legal costs.
  7. Lawsuit is filed, and the PR nightmare begins in earnest.

Now, IANAL, but I cannot imagine why a company would interpret this earnest plea for sourcecode and money as a shakedown attempt! Wait, maybe I can guess. Is it because it sounds EXACTLY THE SAME AS A SHAKEDOWN ATTEMPT!!! Now, I have no experience in the mau-mauing . . . er legal business, but if your ultimate goal is to promote FLOSS, then maybe you need a better business model. How expensive can it be to draft a legal form letter or letters and mail it off to companies' legal departments? SFLC, if you need money, tell rms to stop being a cheapskate and provide you with it. You could also ask major open source companies (IBM, Red Hat, etc.) for material aid. Demanding $Megabucks from companies to pay for your printing costs is not doing the community's image any favors. However, the best quote is at the end.
In practice the advertising clause (LHR NOTE: He is talking about 4-clause BSD) results in a long appendix in the product documentation listing all of the various contributors. Honestly nobody will ever read that appendix, but nonetheless it is worth putting together. You can also include a notice that the GPL code is available for download from the following URL... so if despite your best efforts the company does get sued, you'll have something concrete to point to in defense.
So your company might face a damaging lawsuit and a PR shitstorm because Freddy Freetard did not RTFM. Wow, just wow! To all companies out there considering using FLOSS, you may want to look at alternatives. There are very good quality proprietary systems out there, like QNX. If you need a decent, gratis (i.e. zero cost) operating system, you might want to look at the *BSDs. "Free Software" is more trouble than its worth.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Rants and Laughs 3

Once again, I present "Rants & Laughs", or, as it should be called, the best of Linux Reddit.

  • Here is an article detailing the hackishness of initrd. What?! Ugly hacks in Linux?! Say it ain't so, Pa; say it ain't so?
  • How has Linux surprised you? After 15 years of development, it still has not achieved 1% marketshare.
  • Open Source Makes New Inroads in Asia and Sardinia. Wow! Linux has gotten a bunch of government bureaucrats to issue a formal statement! Linux is truly on the cusp of world domination now!
  • Here is a handy-dandy guide on how to make money with open source software. Condensed version: get the European welfare-state to help you out.
  • A man gives Linux to his unsuspecting fourteen-year-old daughter. I am sure she is really thrilled to have an operating system that is difficult and annoying to use. Someone should call Child Protective Services.
  • HOWTO use your Linux box as a Media Center. My father recently purchased a new PC that could do this. Here is the guide to get it working.
    Step 1: Buy PC
    Step 2: Hook up PC to AC outlet
    Step 3: Hook up cable to back of PC
    Step 4: Turn on PC
    Step 5: Open Media Center
    Windows: 2
    Linux: 0
    Thanks for playing!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

More W{,h}ine

In my last post, I discussed the criticisms made by a Wine supporter. However, there was one criticism that I did not address. Apparently, you can download older releases. Well, I will try one out now. Since I do not want to compile my Wine, I would like a precompiled binary. Let's see what I can find.

I now present my handy-dandy guide to Wine installation on Ubuntu!

Alright, first we will navigate to

Now, we will look at the page to see where we can download Wine binaries. Then, we click on "Get Wine Now" in the "Download" panel on the left-hand side of the screen.

Now, we arrive at the download page. We will look through all the offered binaries to find which one we want.

Since Ubuntu is the distribution I use, we will click on that one.

Now, we are at the download page for Ubuntu binaries. Everything looks good, right.

Hmmm... Let's read the fine print.

Warning: These are beta packages

The packages here are beta packages. This means they will periodically suffer from regressions, and as a result an update may break functionality in Wine. If the latest stable release of Wine (currently Wine 1.0.1) works for you, then you may not want to use these beta packages.

Hmm... These packages must be the kissing cousin of the one that broke audio in Fallout 2. Well, I guess I could try them if I really had to, but let's see what else is available.

At the very bottom of the page, we find something interesting.

Older .deb packages

Since the APT repository can only hold the latest packages, older versions of the packages are available at the WineHQ .deb packages archive.

You can install downloaded packages by double-clicking on them.

Well now, apparently you can install older, more stable versions. They just mention them only at the very bottom because . . .

Now, click on the link

As of (2008-10-29-08-48 EST), you will see the following page.

Well, that's no good! I guess we will have to try the beta packages after all!

After scrolling to the top of the page, we will read the directions.

Open the Software Sources menu by going to System->Administration->Software Sources. Then select the Third Party Software tab and click Add.

Administration->Software Sources->Third Party Software" border="0">

Then, copy and paste one of the lines below depending on which version you are running.

For Ubuntu Intrepid (8.10):
deb intrepid main #WineHQ - Ubuntu 8.10 "Intrepid Ibex"

For Ubuntu Hardy (8.04):
deb hardy main #WineHQ - Ubuntu 8.04 "Hardy Heron"

For Debian Lenny (5.0):
deb lenny main #WineHQ - Debian 5.0 "Lenny"

Well, that looks easy enough! Since I am using 8.04, our entry should look like this.

Swell, now that should do it, but not quite. Let's read more instructions.

After adding the repository, you also need to add the key for the repository to your system's list of trusted keys.

Download and save Scott Ritchie's key to your desktop. Then open the Authenticationimport key file, and select the key file you just saved (Scott Ritchie.gpg). It is safe to delete this file after doing this step. tab, click

Administration->Software Sources->Authentication" border="0">

Click close to finish, and then reload the package information. If you have Wine installed, the system's update manager will now inform you of the latest Wine beta release and prompt you to upgrade. If you haven't installed Wine yet, go to Applications->Add/Remove and search for Wine.

So, we have to download a GPG key, eh? Okay, let's download it the key As of (2008-10-29-09-06 EST), you should see the following:

$ wget
=> `Scott Ritchie.gpg'
Connecting to||:80... connected.
HTTP request sent, awaiting response... Read error (Connection reset by peer) in headers.

(try: 2) => `Scott Ritchie.gpg'
Connecting to||:80...
Repeat ad infinitum

Well, now that is no good! Maybe, APT can work without it. Let's find out. Click the "Close" button in the bottom-right corner of the "Software Sources" window. Then, click the "Reload" button in the menu that pops up.

Click on the "Close" button in the two windows to complete the installation.

That wasn't too hard, was it? Now, you should have a stable, fully functional Wine that is capable of running any Platinum-rated application you throw at it . . . . . or not.

EDIT: I changed the parentheses to curly-brackets to better reflect a list of possible matches in a regular expression. Comment if this is not correct.

Wine Whines

Well, apparently my little rants have attracted the attention of a Wine supporter. I will now address his remarks made in the comments section of my last post.
Sorry to say did you value the cost of the Platinum list. If you had you would know that its more than the total worth of code weavers.
Okay, I can accept that. CodeWeavers does look like a small company (although browsing their website, I could not find any information about their total worth). However, are they worth more than the total worth of CodeWeavers + Red Hat + Novell + Canonical + International Business Machines + Sun Microsystems (who would probably be interested in Windows compatibility for Solaris) + Apple (ditto)? If only the major Linux distributions became serious about Windows compatibility, they could probably scrounge up a lot of that list and more. However, they may not be interested for reasons listed below. I do not know if Codeweavers has tried to do this, but maybe CodeWeavers should approach the major software studios (game companies, CAD companies, etc.), and ask for copies of their software to test against Wine releases. Loki achieved some success with this, and they were asking for source code, which is a hell of a lot more high profile than an install disc. The software companies would benefit from a few extra sales, and CodeWeavers would benefit from more use of their software. The only problem is that CodeWeavers would need to be on call for support.
Standard Release binary has been on attempted a few times. Issue is distribution fragmentation.
Well, at least we agree on something.
Hopefully after LSB 4.0 is released we will be able to release a single binaries for most needed versions. Ie the set that gives you most application coverage.
Sure you will . . . I think my predecessor has covered this issue in sufficient detail before.
I hope you were aware that you could run more than 1 version of wine on system.
I am well aware that you can jury rig your system to install as many versions of a piece of software as your heart desires. I also am well aware that it COMPLETELY SUCKS!
Platinum ratings are per wine version. So yes a few mouths old test was still valid.
However, that version apparently worked and my version definitely does not. If 'releases' are tested, then why was my version different than the version tested? What was wrong with keeping that version? I do not care if this was a direct port of the latest Wine source code or a custom Ubuntu version. Either way, it proves a major point Linux Hater made about the current OSS ecosystem.
Besides Wine is only a Beta status application.
What? Didn't Wine just have a 1.0 release a few months back? If Wine is still a "Beta status application", then maybe you should educate the distributions, so they will stop carrying it and instead carry the stable codebase whatever it is called. Oh, wait! It is called Crossover *, isn't it?
Yes wine gets applications working in most cases before crossover it also hits the regressions first using wine you have to accept that.
Wait, so Wine is basically an open beta for the proprietary Crossover. So, basically, if I want a program that runs Windows applications on Linux and does not break with each release, I have to pay $40+tax every 12 months and not be able to see the source code (not that I really want to, but still)? Wow! Go open source!

Seriously, this presents a major problem for Linux distros running Windows apps out of the box. If distros include Wine, they will want to advertise their ability to run *insert popular Windows application with Wine Platinum rating* out of the box, but they will not want to include an application that is known to break things with each release. However, all of the community distros will not want to include the stable version, CrossOver, because then they will have to charge $40+ for each download of their distro. Therefore, the distros have very little incentive to work on integrating support for Windows applications, and until this problem is solved, Wine users will still face all these problems.
Backward compatibility one is simple incompetents with Linux. Notice that the application was marked as working on debian 2.2. That can be chroot installed inside current distrobutions. Yes almost 100 percent backwards compatibility is doable. The dynamically linked versions of that turn out to be simpler to be got working. Chroot + a few updated .so files.
Wow, you mean I have to install an entire operating environment (I assume I do not need a new kernel) to run one application? Is there a command or included script to easily do this, because I remember chroots being a royal pain in the ass?
Guess what your so call windows working install did the same thing invisible as soon as it detected the old application.
It installed Windows 95 while I wasn't looking?
Fair test and lack of incompetence next time.
Okay, my idea of a' fair test' is "boot to operating system desktop; download binary from internet; make sure binary is not corrupted; make binary executable (Linux Only); run binary." I performed this test on Windows XP SP2 x86 and Ubuntu 8.04 AMD64.* This is what I, and most of the rest of the world, consider a 'fair' test. Linux Hater already covered this behavior.
There is a reason why this is not automatic in Linux world. Bringing back old applications is a security risk.
Bringing back old applications is also necessary if you want to be taken seriously by enterprises. There are a lot of small, medium and large businesses that have substantial investments in old pieces of software. Many individuals also have substantial investments in old pieces of software. My grandfather still swears he has found no better piece of software for making fliers/cards/etc. than Micrografix Windows Draw. Frequently breaking backwards compatibility may work when you are play in your own little sandbox (like Apple or Freetards), but if you pull that stunt in the big leagues, you will fall flat on your face. If you do not trust an old version of Wine, you should setup the software to run in one of your handy-dandy chroots.
Source code not building you will find is gcc version yes you must use the right version of gcc for the source code. Same thing happens if you bring old MSVC code onto new MSVC at times.
Actually, what appeared to happen, is that I ran into the libpng issue he mentioned. However, his patch did not work. He was not clear what to patch. I tried it on the whole archive, and it did not seem to do anything, and I did not care enough to try to figure out what was wrong.
Should I keep on ripping.
I assume this was a question. Go right ahead; blow as much hot air as you want.
have you ever seen devices before the art people go to it.
Yes, I am sure the rough prototype of any device (even the iPhone) is not much to look at; however, after the initial device is created, the art department likely goes into high gear and releases something decent looking in short order. Three years after the Tuxphone project began, the device still looks like ass. Yes, I know the developers have halted development, thereby illustrating another problem with OSS projects. Also, if a cellphone development team even remotely follows the Standard Software Development method, it would request marketing research on visuals, ask the art department for advice, and incorporated the results into the initial requirements document. Therefore, some visuals aspects may be present from day one.
Sorry to say Tuxphone was neater than a lot of new devices.
How so? From this presentation (PowerPoint), I get the impression that it was a mismash of OTS parts. What is so amazing about that? Any committed ECE could create a rough design for a cellphone from OTS parts in a weekend.
Ubuntu is slowing down more than any other distribution even ones with same amount of features. There are a few causes.
*John Stewart gesture* Go on . . .
One is there maintainers not skilled enough with building things.
Many Linux distros have encountered this problem. It is endemic to source-based distribution.
Other is a few stupid selections. Pulseaudio is about the worse Lets make every sound going out the machine cost CPU time and lets make it cost more CPU each version. That is basically Pulseaudio remove pulse it can give backup like 15% of your cpu under load compared to dmix. Yet for some reason Ubuntu does not ship with a option to simply drop back to dmix if you don't need pulseaudio's features.
Yes, everyone and their dog knows that PulseAudio is shit. Therefore, the LSB included it in the standard. Ah, the smell of progress!
Really you should not be protecting ubuntu. You are meant to hate Linux if you cannot say in char this log will sux.
Who the fuck is protecting Ubuntu? I said, "Ubuntu is getting bloated. Too bad the bloat is not making it more usable." How is that protecting Ubuntu? Also, for the record, let me clarify my position. In this blog, I will mostly hate on thing related to Linux. However, like LH, I will sometimes venture out into the wilder world and hate on things that have the copylefted luser stench.
That has been enough to effect Microsofts bottom line from them being forced to ship XP heavily discounted.
Last I heard, they were selling Windows cheap in developing countries to compete with pirated copies of Windows.
Funny enough Ubuntu is just waking up to what Redhat and Novell has known. Redhat developer at one time produced a list what was required. So far that list is not completed yet.
What the fuck are you talking about? It seemed like a complete nonsequitur to your last post. Please clarify.

* Okay, so I had (slightly) different architectures, but that should not make much of a difference when running 32-bit binaries.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

". . . and then you win" . . . what?

Well, the freetards at Reddit have been going apeshit over the death of my predecessor. Attention freetards, just because one critic of Linux has turned in his towel, that does not mean that criticism of Linux is dead. If one dies, another will rise from the ashes. As long as there exists a Linux application that drives one to insanity for no damn good reason, a linux hater will be there.

CrossOver Games Free Trial

Since the open source Wine proved once again to be a piece of shit, I think I will try the free download of CrossOver Games. It is only offered today, so get it while it's hot! I have to go to class now, but I will let you know later if Fallout 2 actually works with it.

Update: Yes, sound works just fine in Fallout 2 using Crossover Games. Now, what does that tell us about the Cathedral vs. the Bazaar?

Rants and Laughs 2

Now, it is time for more articles on Linux suckage.

Oldies, but Goodies

Here is a list of old articles that are still funny as hell.

Backwards Compatibility

Everyone always says that Windows has great backwards compatibility, and I agree. You would probably think that it would be damn near impossible to run a ten year old binary application on Linux. Well, apparently, you can . . . somewhat.

My first web browser was AOL, so I never saw the WWW when it was nothing more than a freetard commune. However, I was somewhat interested in the early history of the web, so I decided to try the first popular webbrowser, NCSA Mosaic. Since I was in Linux at the time, I tried the Linux version. After miserably failing to compile the source code, I said 'what the hell' and tried the Mosaic 2.7b static binary. I did not dare try the dynamically linked versions.

You know what, it actually ran. The little splash screen displayed, and I was presented with a fugly browser. It did not support deleting individual elements of text, so if you made one typing error, you had to start over, and the cursor looked like ass, but what do you expect from a mid-90s Unix application? There was just one problem, IT COULD NOT BROWSE THE WEB!!!

So, I decided to reboot to Windows and try the Windows version, and you know what, it COULD browse the web (well, at least the Mosaic compatible parts like

Windows: 1
Linux: 0

Thanks for playing.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Rants and Laughs

In honor of Linux Hater, I decided to start a new Rants & Laughs section. Here goes.

  • OSS 'wild man', Eric Steven 'watch your step' Raymond explains how pidiwvull poor widdle OSS developers are. As usual, comments are required reading.
  • This is a somewhat more interesting post where ESR examins what is still relevant in the Unix Haters Handbook and blindly dismissing 90% of the valid criticisms listed in the book. By the way, I think I will do my own post on this topic later.
  • Remember all the hoopla over Android and the Open Handset Alliance? Well, now it looks like only approved applications will have access to certain functionality. Go Open Source!
  • Speaking of 'open source' cell phones, does anyone remember the Tuxphone? It is a perfect example of a 'community' project, since it does not have the backing of any company, and it looks like ass. Check out the picture below. It looks like something the French government designed.

Wine Hits the Ground

This is a continuation of my last post. Since I am new to blogging, I could not quite figure out how to update the last post, so I am just going to start a new one. Think of this in the same way as you think of open source projects starting over from scratch because maintaining their old code base is too hard.

My experience should prove that Wine ratings are bullshit, and even if an applications is 'Platinum', that does not mean it can be run under Linux for real world applications. I also saw that Fallout 2 was tested under Wine in Ubuntu Hardy last May, and it apparently worked. This just shows that a shit ton can change in a few months. Why do applications work one day and then not work the next? This problem could rather easily be fixed if developers or dedicated testers tested their applications against a weekly snapshot of Wine. I am sure the lusers will cry out, "but Wine is mostly an amateur project, so they could not afford all those apps, blahblahblah" Well, maybe Codeweavers should test at least all of the Platinum applications and file it as a cost of doing business. Another good idea would be for the major distros to take Windows compatibility seriously and give some cash money to the Wine project for software licenses. Yet another good idea would be for the Wine project to 'bless' a standard release binary and coerce the distros into including ONLY that release binary. Why do I get the feeling that none of this will happen?

By the way, since this is an 'open source' project, I am going to depend on the 'community' to tell me how to update Blogger posts, so spill the beans.

Update: Oh, it is just the goddamn pencil icon. Nevermind.

Wine Falls Out A Window

In anticipation of the imminent release of Fallout 3, I decided to replay Fallout 1 & 2. Since I am dumb, I decided to (try) to play them with Wine under Linux. Fallout installed, and it ran OK. The ingame cursor was a bit sluggish, but it was no big deal. After beating it, I installed Fallout 2 and went through the usual process: pop in CD, click on Setup.exe because Autorun fails with permission denied, wait ~20 minutes for it to install (how long does it take to transfer 650 MB?), wait another minute, realize the preview is not going to load because DirectDraw failed, etc. Then, I tried to run the game itself. The Interplay and Black Isle logo/videos played; the two Fallout intro videos played; the main screen came up; the select character screen came up; I selected one of the default characters; the prologue video played, and finally the main game screen appeared. However, all through this, THERE WAS NO FUCKING SOUND!!!!!

It's okay, maybe, Fallout 2 could be a bronze or silver rated game, and maybe the devs have been busy developing newer broken functionality to run newer games crappily and just have not gotten around to polishing older titles, or maybe they just spent their time jury rigging another open source browser to run in Linux. Let me check the rating. Yep, just what I thought, it's ... PLATINUM! Just how fucked up can you be? For those of you who don't know much about Wine, a Platinum rated application should run exactly the same as it does in Windows. Well, in Windows XP/Vista, sound probably works! I know you will say "it says to update to the latest version." I did; it still does not work.

Well, now that is out of the way, let's look at the other issues Fallout 2 has under Wine:

To avoid slow fading in/out use "emultaion a virtual desktop", or renice wine process later.

ALSA soundsystem may randomly crash wine with fallout games. Try choise OSS (works fine) or ARts (not tested).

WTF? Even if sound worked, how could an application which ALSA randomly crashed achieve Platinum status?

Now, to be fair, this might not be (entirely) Wine's fault. It could be the fault of downstream fucking things up, or it could be the fault of Linux's shitty audio stack. But fuck those reasons; I wanted this damn game to work!

Sure, maybe I could compile random Wine snapshots, install random Fallout 2 patches, and dick around with my Wine configuration thereby breaking every other application it halfway supported. Instead, I will just reboot to Windows and play it there. Problem solved!


Two days ago, the Linux Hater's blog closed up shop for good. In his final post, LH said,
"So in true open source fashion, as the maintainer of this project, I am going to arbitrarily drop off the face off the of this earth for purely selfish reasons, and leave the entire cause in limbo. That is how open source projects truly die. But hey, all the material is out there for y'all to see (it's "open source" in it's own way), so maybe someone else will take up the cause. Carry on, lusers!"

So, in true open source fashion, I have decided to try to pick up where he left off. Unfortunately, I barely know a damn thing about the internals of an operating system, which puts me miles above most ASS (Anus Stripping Software) developers. So, here we go into the wild, lame yonder!