Linux on the desktop sucks and always will

2012-07-01 21:35:54 by chort

Forgive me dear readers, I'm in something of a rage. You see the upcoming release of oclHashcat requires GLIBC 2.14, which for Ubuntu users means an upgrade to 12.04 is necessary. If you're anything like me, you dread the inevitable disruptions of an OS upgrade, but nothing could have prepared me for the horror.

This ordeal has reminded me of why I believe "Linux on the desktop" will never happen. Linux projects simply don't focus talent on the critical problems. When engineers design things, they expect users to act like engineers, and that's only the beginning of the problems.

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Creating Stickiness Without FUD

2011-06-11 22:22:10 by chort

I must be the last person in the world reading The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. The book is full of relatable concepts, but the one that's struck me the hardest so far is how a university professor was able to convince students to get tetanus shots.

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Hard Work on Bad Design is not Commendable

2010-10-26 13:08:04 by chort

Recently I was talking with an executive about challenges they were having generating revenue from customers. The exec shared that they had some unprofitable customers, and most of the expense was in support. The problem was identified as the customers not having enough education on the product and/or not being smart enough to use it.

Since I have some experience with their product, I asked if the problem might be more due to the complexity of the product and the fact that even a training course isn't sufficient to make an administrator proficient with it. The exec admitted there are some complexities, but insisted they've been "working on it" and cited one example from long ago where they fixed a major usability issue. The exec then went on to point out how many hours the developers have been working and basically had a cheer-leading session for their efforts to roll-out new features.

Click here for the ranty bit.

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Many security policies are a waste of time

2010-04-14 07:57:07 by chort

Ready for a shocker? A lot of the things your IT/Security department makes you do are stupid. According to Microsoft researcher Cormac Herley quoted in The Boston Globe, many "common sense" security practices are economically unwise. In plain English: You lose more money following a lot of security recommendations than you would by just letting the bad thing happen and dealing with the aftermath.

To continue, flip over the keyboard and read the sticky note...

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I really #$(*ing hate MacPorts now

2010-02-02 00:03:47 by chort

It took nearly 7 hours, that's right SEVEN HOURS to build the GIMP.app port (on a 2.33GHz C2D w/4GB RAM), which inexplicably included a full build of gcc4.3. Is that reeeeeeeeeeally necessary when 4.2.1 is included with Xcode? Did those 5 hours of my life have to be wasted? WHY WAS IT YOU COULDN'T JUST UPGRADE PERL???

That's not even the best part. The best part is it got all the way to the gimp-app port itself (after going through a quarter of a day worth of dependencies), and it failed. Yes, apparently there were incompatible functions, which were found three months ago! Diffs were uploaded 3 weeks ago, and 9 days ago instructions were posted for manually applying them, yet today the port was still broken when I tried to install it. Outstanding. Really nice work guys, seriously. Three months?

In case my warning didn't come in time and you actually tried to build this abomination, you need to go here for the solution. If you're even thinking about trying to install gimp-aDON't! There, it's like I just bought you enough time to say goodbye to half a dozen more relatives on your deathbed.

Upgrading MacPorts for Snow Leopard

2010-02-01 20:13:12 by chort

I've been a long-time user of MacPorts, from back when it was Darwin Ports and I was still using a PowerBook, in fact.

The "upgrade" for Snow Leopard is making me seriously think about looking for alternatives. Originally their site said it might be possible to use the usual selfupdate method, or to be safe do a total uninstall/reinstall. As I've been using it for years and have piles of software installed through MacPorts I didn't exactly want to blow that all away and start over, so I tried the selfupdate method.

It "mostly" worked, with several broken packages that I forced a rebuild on. Today I found one I couldn't work around: PERL. I found bug reports for it on the MacPorts site and their solution was great: rm -rf and start over. Well, that's fun! Couldn't be bothered to roll a PERL rebuild into the update script, huh?

I dutifully generated a list of all my installed packages, backed up all the existing files to an external drive, and did the rm -rf plunge...

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