Yet another week

This week was actually quite eventful even so it doesn’t feel like it.

I started in my first race. After training for it for a couple of months, I did the 6000m in 28:36.9 minutes. That was in the best 2000 of I think 14.000 runners. It was fun but was weird that I was I overtaking all the time people and some people started walking after a couple of hundred meters. And the organiser already created blocks for different finishing times so that slow people are more in the back and fast in the front.

I also started converting a book in PDF-form to epub and mobi. My old workflow was using markdown and pandoc. Now I am trying asciidoc. That seems to be a better choice because it has built-in support for sidebars etc. The book is quite long and it will take some time. But it is kind of a job, so I have to find the time for it even so I have no fixed deadline.

In Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story, a very fun RPG for the Nintendo DS, I am playing for the last months I am finally close to the end. I skipped side quests because I just want to finish it. I played it long enough. It is a really fun game but I am now at 22h play time and needed like 2 or 3 months for it. I cannot see how I will finish a Dragon Quest or Final Fantasy at that pace. Anyway, it is really fun. Nice story, cute graphics, the combat system is ok-ish and very timing based. I don’t like the special attacks which are kind of mini-games and I don’t choose them by power but at how good I am in executing them. A very expensive powerful attack that is poorly executed does far less damage as something weaker that is executed well. And I don’t want to start exercising them. I could see that I would have done that 10 or 20 years ago when I had time for games but now I just want to see the story. Right now I am only two end bosses away from the ending I think. I hope my characters are powerful enough and I don’t need any grinding anymore. The next game will probably the classic Castlevania or maybe Circle of the Moon or so. But that games saving sucks for a mobile game :/ Playing Mother 2 (Earthbound) or Mother 3 would be nice as well but I think I need a break from JRPGs for now.

And at last I found 411. A tool by Etsy for getting alerts on results in an elastic search database. I am using a log server with logstash, elastic search and kibana. And this tool allows me to generate queries, executes them via cron and then sends me a mail if they get results. And all this with a nice GUI 1. But I will try elastalert by yelp as well. This doesn’t have a nice interface but also allows to get messages when certain message volumes change. Like when the denies of the firewall suddenly increase by a lot for example.

That’s it for this post. Subscribe to the feed if you want to get informed about new ones 🙂

  1. not the query generation though

vimfest 2016

This weekend the vimfest happened in Berlin. A small and nice event about vim, my favorite editor. I attended only saturday because of time constraints. There were some presentations and a couple of flash talks. The highlights were a talk by Justin Keyes, the maintainer of neovim about it and a talk by Bram Moolenaar, the creator of vim, about the new stuff introduced in vim 8.

Both were very interesting. The most interesting „feature“ of neovim is that it is not as centralized around one developer like vim is. There was an interview with Bram which asked him

How can the community ensure that the Vim project succeeds for the foreseeable future?

And his answer was:

Keep me alive.

neovim does have a central maintainer but there are more people with an intimate knowledge of the code and more people with commit-privileges. Thus it is not as dependent on a single person as vim is. The next interesting feature is that it tries to be very embedabble. Therefore it is easy to create a gui for it etc.

The new features in vim 8 seem to be more relevant to plugin-developers. But the new features for asynchronosity and communication might enable interesting stuff in vim. It also might have now better defaults. The discussions in the Q&A were very interesting as well.

Besides that I learned about a couple of new plug-ins and software:

vim-bbye: a plug-in for vim that allows you to delete a buffer without closing a window
tagbar: a plug-in which generates a window with a list of tags. For me that means that I can easily navigate in structured text
tig: a neat CLI-interface for git
asciidoc: a markup-language that might fulfill my needs better than markdown. Especially since I have to do some conversions currently to epub and mobi where it will be part of my toolchain, while I used markdown for that in the past.

I did a short presentation of newsbeuter. A CLI-RSS-feed reader that wants to be the mutt of RSS. It is a nice piece of software that I used a lot before I switched to newsblur1.

And I learned that splitting up your .vimrc makes it far more readable and easier to configure.

If you are a vim-user, I can really recommend that you go to vimfest 2017 next year.

  1. And I just rarely use it for newsblur because the sync is so slow

I didn’t blog in quite a while

So, I noticed that I didn’t blog in quite a while and I need to change this. As always with a re-try in blogging I switched my blog (this time from static to wordpress) for reasons. I think I will never be happy with what is out there and I do not have the time to even think about writing something of my own. This post is quite personal – a bit about my diet and sports, my linux-travellings, retrogaming and pen&paper-RPGs.

What else is up with me recently. Well, after reading a book called „Fettlogik überwinden1 by Nadja Hermann I decided that I have to do something against being overweight. I was still far from adiposity but I never would have wanted to get that far. I didn’t already like that I had to start L-size-t-shirts and that my pants-sizes increased but I didn’t bring up my will to do something against it. After reading that book my mindset changed. I lost 10kg2 in ca. 3 months and build up some muscles as well. Now I officially ended the diet but I still want to get down to a weight that I am jacked. Thus I still have to do something about it but after 3 months I already don’t want to count calories anymore and weigh all the food I eat. I am trying now intermittent fasting in a 16/8-rhythm. 16 hours of fasting a day (from 10pm to 2pm) and 8 hours of feeding. Last week I definitely snacked too much in the feeding time, this week I’ll try to reduce that.

In addition my sports-activities radically changed. A couple of years ago I went up to four times a week to karate-training. But after I got a minor injury in a competition, then my second child was born and so I didn’t went to training at all for ca 2.5 years. In the meantime I tried several bodyweight-programs but nothing for very long. And half a year ago I started going to Karate-training again once a week. Shortly after starting the diet though this completely changed. Now I am going to training twice a week, I go running 2-3 times a week and do bodyweight-training two or three times a week. Thus it is now 5-6 times a week sports for me and sometimes even on every day while one day involves very light training. I kind of have to make now training plans for myself. This whole thing takes up a lot of time even when my running/bodyweight-sessions are only 30-90 minutes3. This also means that I do not have that much time doing something else in my leisure time. I am not sure yet how I feel about this. My body likes it and it is better than watching Netflix and reading Twitter all evening.

I also changed operating systems in the meantime. You might remember me posting about Manjaro, Arch and Fedora. In the meantime used Qubes for a couple of months. It was great and probably secure but it had its flaws. For one I couldn’t get my optical drive working in the way I need it to because of technical limitations because of the security features of Qubes. And there was always a bit of a mental overhead where I want/have to do what. So I abandoned it. But I didn’t want to fiddle that much because my amount of free time is limited and so I gave Ubuntu another try. After my pretty bad experiences with 15.10, 16.04 is great. I installed it, the installer supports now even full disk encryption, and everything worked. No fiddling, nothing. It just worked. And it is still working. I am enjoying Unity4, play around with some other stuff and have so far no problems at all. I am surprised. This is the most Mac-like experience I ever had with Linux.

Podcasting is happening not a lot lately. Japanbezug, a German podcast about Japan I was doing, just needs too much time per episode. I don’t see me doing anything with it in the next months or even years. EMUI, the podcast accompanying this blog, is not doing anything either. I just don’t feel like podcasting at the moment. But I miss doing regular Retrozirkel-episodes. This has more to do with scheduling issues. The next episode will come.

I expanded my retrogames-collection by some nice titles and bought a GB Boy Colour. A Gameboy Color-clone with a backlit-screen. It is really excellent.

And I found a way to organize my collection better. Gameboy and Gameboy Advance-games are now in binders and I use the sheets used by trading card gamers to put the games in the binder. 9 GB-games per page or 18 GBA-games. For my NDS-games I find nice boxes by Hori which hold 24 games per box.

Right now I am playing Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story. A really nice RPG where you play Mario, Luigi and Bowser. But where I liked in the past when games were long, it is now a bit harder. Usually I play now only while commuting and so it is like 20-30 minutes per day. Luckily this game has a lot of save points but after 3-4 weeks playing I am like only half way through the game. I am already thinking about what to play next. Maybe Castlevania 1 or Super Mario Bros. 2 Lost Levels? Or will take the plunge into the Metroidvania-world and start playing Castlevania: Circle of the Moon? I also have a lot of Zelda- and Advance Wars games I like to play. Problems I didn’t have a decade ago when I could play several hours a day…sometimes it sucks to be an adult 😉

And now to the last topic: pen&paper-RPGs. Thanks to a very good friend I was part in a short L5R-campaign with some great people. It was really fun. But I had to trade the biweekly RPG-sessions to have another day of karate-training in the week. And I want to get better in karate and go to competitions. Maybe I’ll find the time to play or run a one-shot from time to time. Especially since I found out about a couple of japanese RPGs that were translated to English which have some great concepts. I really want to play those. And I miss playing Shadowrun. At least I can read Shadowrun-novels again since the old ones get re-released as ebooks and from time to time a new one appears. My favorite of the re-released ones is Burning Bright5 and from the new ones it is Shaken: No Job to Small. I can recommend both and I think even non-Shadowrun-fans might like them.

This post is now more than long enough and I won’t write about to-do-lists and minimalism. Maybe I post later about those. We will see. Have a nice day.

  1. Conquer fat logics

  2. ca. 20 pounds

  3. Karate is always longer: 90 minutes training + the ways to the dojo, changing and showering. So it is more like 3 – 4 hours.

  4. the default desktop environment

  5. The Bug City-novel

Die Plattformisierung der Podcasts

Heute habe ich das erste Mal mitbekommen, dass es inzwischen Podcasts gibt, die es nur noch auf bestimmten Plattformen hörbar sind. Irgendwas von Böhmermann bei Spotify und ein Podcast von Holgi und Katta bei Audible. Diese Entwicklung finde ich sehr unschön. Bisher waren Podcasts ein relativ dezentrales Format. Wenn ich bei den NPR-Podcasts höre, dass ich mir doch deren NPR One-App runterladen soll, um die Podcasts zu hören, denke ich auch nur: ja, nee… Mit dieser Entwicklung werden dann auch die Podcasts an Plattformen gebunden. Und diese Plattformen, die immer mehr das Netz bestimmen gefallen mir nicht.

Ich mag es auch nicht sonderlich, dass ich für The Man in the High Castle Amazon Prime bräuchte, aber nun gut. Das heißt für mich, dass ich die Serie nicht gucken kann. Für mehr als einen Streaming-Service gebe ich kein Geld aus. Das ist nun mal so. Wenn es irgendwas mal exklusiv bei Premiere, ich meine Sky, gab, konnte ich das halt auch nicht schauen.

Die Streaming-Plattform nutze ich halt, weil es endlich ein legaler Weg ist mit dem ich für überschaubares Geld an Content on Demand in ansprechender Qualität komme. Zwischen dem Ende der Torrents und Netflix, habe ich halt nur Kram geschaut, den ich auf DVD günstig bekommen habe.

Spotify werde ich mir wegen exklusiver Podcasts nicht holen. Ich nutze Google All-Access weil ich da auch meine Musik hochladen kann. Zwei Musik-Streaming-Services will ich nicht zahlen. Und ohne mobile App, mit der ich offline hören kann bringt mir ein Streaming-Service nichts. Und bei Audible habe ich nur einmal gekauft und nie wieder. Die App ist komfortabel aber dieses zu-DRMte Audio-Format kann und will ich nicht unterstützen. Spätestens wenn ich es auf meinem Rechner hören will, geht es in der Regel nicht, weil ich Linux nutze. Da habe ich mal wieder so richtig gemerkt, wie nervig DRM ist. Das erste Mal habe ich es gemerkt, als ich mir eine TV-Serie bei iTunes kaufte. Ich konnte es nicht auf dem Bildschirm abspielen, der nur per DVI angeschlossen war und nachdem ich zu Linux gewechselt war, konnte ich es mir gar nicht mehr ansehen. Das sind halt Plattformen, denen ich als Kunde egal bin.

Bei Podcasts gibt es eine Reihe Finanzierungsmöglichkeiten. Ich verstehe bis heute nicht, warum sich Hörer und Macher in der deutschen Podcastlandschaft gegen Werbung wehren. Aber es gibt ja nicht nur Werbung, es gibt ja auch noch Patreon und den vermutlich nicht ganz so effizienten Standard-Spenden-Aufruf. Für mich gilt: Wenn Podcasts rauskommen, die ich nicht in meinem Podcatcher hören kann, höre ich sie nicht. Dem Macher scheint das dann ja auch nicht so wichtig zu sein und ohne das Geld der Plattform gäbe es das Format vermutlich auch nicht. Also kein Verlust für beide Seiten.

Zusatzspaß bei der Wochendämmerung von Holgi und Katta: Der Feedbackkanal läuft wohl über Facebook, wenn ich es richtig verstanden habe. Und noch so ein unschöner umzäunter Garten, der dem freien Netz den Garaus machen will. Nein, danke. Da ist mir dann Idealismus doch wichtiger als Pragmatismus.

P.s.: Kennt jemand ein schöneres Wort als “Plattformisierung”?

Japanese input in Fedora23

First the fix:

Set the following in $HOME/.config/imsettings/xinputrc

export GTK_IM_MODULE=ibus
export XMODIFIERS=@im=ibus
export QT_IM_MODULE=ibus

If the folder $HOME/.config/imsettings doesn’t exist, create it first.

And now a bit of background.

I switched for a short time to Ubuntu. My reasoning was that I can give better family support but I switched back to Fedora. Ubuntu was so far the worst Linux experience, at least with my existing configurations. But after switching back to Fedora 23 Japanese input didn’t work. Fedora 23 uses ibus as default method. And it tries to do things automagically and in doing that, they totally failed for me.

There is a script /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc.d/ This script tries to do some magic and works pretty late in the process of starting your GUI when using the default GDM. First it unsets a whole bunch of environment variables and thus will probably anything you set up locally, when you come from another distribution like in $HOME/.xprofile or $HOME/.xinputrc or some other candidate for setting the variables above. Then it looks up if you have $HOME/.config/imsettings/xinputrc. If not, it should create $HOME/.config/imsettings and looks if you have a file $HOME/.xinputrc. If you have it, it gets moved to that folder. And then the file gets sourced and the script is finished.

The folder creation part is the place where I guess the script failed for me.

And if that file doesn’t get sourced by the script for whatever reason, the script looks up which LANG-variable you have set and compares it to a hardcoded list. And then sets up environment variables depending on your LANG-variable.

If you have set en_US.utf8 like me that means that they get set up in a minimal way which leads to not being able to use an IME. And of course the script doesn’t bother logging anything.

Dear Fedora Project, this is too much magic and can fail. Especially since there are multiple places in $HOME where you can potentially set up the three environment variables, not all recommended but possible. There is .xinputrc, .xinitrc, .xprofile, .profile and even .bashrc. And every tutorial in the net suggests setting it in one of these. Why do you add a new subdirectory in .config? And if stuff doesn’t work because of bugginess, why do you make everything dependent on the set language of the system? Never heard of anyone using English for example as native tongue and then speaks a foreign language? And then apparently you didn’t document that anywhere and do not log anything in the script, so troubleshooting gets really hard. I know those problems of setting up Japanese input in Linux. But I had those problem in the beginnings of 2000 and before. Great job catapulting us back 10 – 20 years, a blast from the past :/

More about Fedora

So, now it is a week with Fedora. I stopped using Gnome and I am using again i3. I learned about copr which offers unofficial repositories that can be easily integrated in your Fedora install via “dnf copr enable repo/name”. That way I got again current versions of vim (Patch 1194, which is like 300 builds ahead of the official Fedora-vim) and tmux. For tmux this means that I can use again the new way to handle a mouse. And there is a repo for hugo, the blogging-engine I use. Copr feels a bit like the AUR but is not as complete as the AUR. I guess you can’t host there repos for software that use patented stuff like handbrake or makemkv. And the built for khal and vdirsyncer is not very current, so I still can’t use that. But the maintainer knows that but doesn’t have the time for rebuilding all the necessary packages. Anyway, copr makes me a happier person 🙂

I also got my first contact with the community in the IRC besides lurking. And I got fast answers on my shamingly stupid question without any mentioning of RTFM or some wiki. I could have answered it myself with the manual though…shame on me.

I get updates nearly daily on my system, which is more often than with Manjaro but not as often as with Arch. In the end this means hopefully more security and stability.

Btw. after a short chat on Twitter yesterday I looked again into switching to FreeBSD for my laptop but it still seems not ready for my use case. Netflix is still a problem and the proposed solution I found is running Linux or Windows in a VM and using there Chrome…yeah… Skype and Steam seems only available via Wine, no Dropbox afaik, Spideroak might work…it seems to be a further step back from using Linux in terms of available software and compared to running OS X. But maybe I upgrade my CentOS5-servers to FreeBSD instead of CentOS7. But actually I want an environment that is as heterogen as possible since it makes life easier…


Vor ziemlich genau einem Jahr schrieb ich eine Kritik zur deutschen Podcastlandschaft. Zu viele Laberpodcast oder Wissenscasts mit zu wenig Interviewpartnern bei denen niemand versucht eine Geschichte zu erzählen. Einer der Punkte, die ich dabei nicht aufgriff war das Fehlen von Labels in der deutschen Szene. Gut, Holgi und Tim Pritlove produzieren so viel, dass sie beide jeweils ein Label für sich sind. Aber darüber hinaus gibt es leider nicht so wirklich was.

Seit heute gibt es ein Label, dass von der Aufmachung her für Qualität stehen will. Nicht, dass es nicht schon vorher Qualität gegeben hätte, aber ich denke, dass sie es auf eine neue Stufe heben wollen. Die Gründer von Viertausendhertz sind nicht unbekannt. Nikolas Semak glänzte immer mal wieder mit interessanten Interviewpodcasts und ist Teil eines Laberpodcasts, den ich nie gehört habe 😉 Dazu kommt Christian Grasse, den ich als Moderator von Deutschlandfunk Breitband kenne und er hat die großartige Folge 1 des Podcasts Systemfehler gemacht. Die anderen beiden Gründungsmitglieder Marie Dippold und Hendrik Efert kenne ich bisher nicht.

Efert macht aber auch einen Podcast bei Viertausendhertz. Er kommt also vermutlich auch aus dem Audio- und/oder Journalismusbereich. Dippold kommt aus dem Vertrieb. Die Kombination hört sich erstmal gut an. Vor allem weil sie auch eine Vertrieblerin dabei haben und nicht nur Journalisten.

Das Label ist aber nicht nur einfach ein Zusammenschluss von vier Personen, die ordentliche Podcasts produzieren wollen. Nein, Viertausendhertz ist eine GbR und das heißt, dass sie wohl Geld mit dem Label machen wollen. Als Einnahmequelle scheinen sie sich für Werbung entschieden zu haben. Das Audible-Logo ist überall gut zu sehen. Dazu kommt, wie bei den kommerziellen US-Podcasts bekannt, Werbung zu Audible in den Podcastepisoden. Ich bin gespannt wen sie noch als Werbepartner ranholen können und auch weitere Methoden wählen wie Patreon oder Flattr. Vermutlich kann man in Deutschland nicht die gleichen Werbesätze aufrufen wie in den USA, da die potentielle Hörerschaft bei deutschen Podcasts von Natur aus viel kleiner ist. Aber ich vertraue jetzt einmal blind darauf, dass sie einen vernünftigen Geschäftsplan haben und sich einen Kopf über die aktuelle Marktlage gemacht haben.

Das Label startet mit vier Leuten und sechs Podcasts. Die Anzahl der Podcasts finde ich ziemlich heftig, nachdem ich einmal gehört habe wie lange die Produktion einer Folge bei Gimlet Media dauert und wie viele Leute daran beteiligt sind. Aber Gimlet hat zum Start auch eine ordentliche Summe Geld über Investoren eingeholt. Ich vermute mal, dass Viertausendhertz das nicht getan hat. Und natürlich habe ich auch keine Ahnung welche Einlagen die Gesellschafter bringen konnten.

Wie gesagt empfinde ich die Anzahl der Podcasts ziemlich hoch. Vor allem, wenn diese regelmäßig erscheinen sollen. Da glänzten zumindest Grasse und Semak leider bisher nur mäßig. Vom Systemfehler gab es eine Folge. Semak macht immer wieder großartige Podcasts, die leider nach wenigen Folgen ein Ende fanden1. Von meinen Drüberblicken könnte ich jetzt auch nicht sagen, was noch an Personal bei Viertausendhertz vorhanden ist. Also ob es da zumindest eine kleine Redaktion oder einen extra Editor gibt.

Die Hälfte der Podcasts sehen auf den ersten Blick nach Interviewpodcasts mit nur einem Interviewpartner aus. Mal sehen, ob sie es damit schaffen Geschichten zu erzählen. Die erste Folge Systemfehler im Label folgt dem Format, das auch die ursprüngliche Systemfehlerfolge hatte. Allerdings kürzer. Ich hoffe, dass es dann dafür häufiger erscheint. Ein Podcast ist quasi eine öffentliche GbR-Sitzung. Und ein Podcast namens “Nur ein Versuch” setzt sich mit dem Thema Klarträumen auseinander, was sich für mich sehr Eso anhört. Mal schauen, ob das interessant ist. Das wichtigste wird sein, dass sie in regelmäßigen Zeiträumen neue Folgen der Podcasts veröffentlichen. Auch wenn man Podcasts “zeitsouverän nachhören” kann, weiß ich von meinen eigenen Podcasts, dass die Hörer ungeduldig werden können. Und jeder Vielhörer kennt den Spruch: “Ganz toller Podcast, erscheint aber leider zu selten.” Da fände ich weniger Podcasts mit mehr Qualität und höherer Frequenz interessanter.

Was mich stört ist, dass Logo des Podcasts und seine Beschreibung bei jedem Podcast sehr groß ist, ein dicker Button zum Abonnieren vorhanden ist und danach Werbung kommt. Und erst dann kleine Bilder mit Links zu den Folgen mit Webplayer. Mein Chrome ist auf voller Größe auf meinem 1440×900-Display und ich musste scrollen, um zu sehen, dass es Folgen zum Anklicken gibt. Die Folgen müssten imho weitaus präsenter sein. Gerade dachte ich erst, dass ich irgendwie über das Pulldown-Menüs des Abonnieren-Buttons zu Soundcloud muss, um mir dort eine Folge anzuhören. Benutzbarkeit und Entdeckbarkeit sehen meiner Meinung nach anders aus. Das war wirklich störend. Ich will was hören, keinen Teaser, sondern ganze Folgen. Das “Über” gehört irgendwo anders hin. Selbst der Macher interessiert mich erstmal wenig, sondern die Themen, die bisher behandelt wurden, wenn ich das erste Mal von einem Podcast höre.

Dagegen ist ganz groß, dass es bei der Folge zum Systemfehler ein Transkript gibt. Das kommt hoffentlich für die anderen Podcasts auch. Damit werden die Podcasts auch für Suchmaschinen ordentlich durchsuchbar. Aber das ist natürlich eine ordentliche Menge Arbeit. Wenn es allerdings Skripte und entsprechendes Personal gibt, könnte das machbar sein.

Also kann ich nur sagen, dass ich dem Label viel Erfolg wünsche. Sehr gut finde ich, dass sie eine Vertrieblerin an Bord haben. Nicht so gut finde ich die Anzahl der Podcasts, da ich die Sorge habe, dass da das Verhältnis Quantität/Qualität/Frequenz nicht stimmen könnte. Schlecht finde ich aktuell die Benutzbarkeit der Seite. Aber wie häufig nutzt man die Webseite? Warten wir es ab. Sie sind gerade erst gestartet.

  1. Bis auf der Laberpodcast Mikrodilletanten.

Fedora23 – First Impressions

When you read my blog posts, you know that I switched not that long ago from Manjaro, an Arch-based distribution to Arch. And now I switched again – this time to [Fedora]. Even so I was really satisified with Arch. It worked, it was fast and the Arch User Repositories are awesome. I rarely had to google how to install a software. I just had to use a wrapper to search them. And when I googled the first hit was often the Arch Wiki. Right now the Arch Wiki is probably the best documentation for Linux-related software.

But, yes there is a but, recently I started to look more into securing my system. Following more and more ITSec-people on Twitter, I got a bit paranoid and want to have a securer system. At work most of my servers run CentOS and usually I deactivated SELinux because it always meant annoyances. To be honest I didn’t know a thing about it and so when it made a problem I just deactivated it. I wanted to play with some new software, not learn how to troubleshoot some security system I do not need for my internal systems. Now I started to look into SELinux and the tools for redhat-based systems are really good and SELinux isn’t that hard and my systems get more secure1.

So I wanted to have more security for my system. I tried Grsecurity but I couldn’t get Chrome to run and hibernation wouldn’t work either. Then I tried to install SELinux but I failed. And when I asked on the forums and on the mailing list, I got not very satisfying answers and felt like I got hit by the infamous pseudo-elitism of the Arch-community. Henceforth I thought I try a redhat-system. CentOS is a bit too stable for me and I want regularly new packages. So I decided to go Fedora.

It has a nice installer which worked out of the box. I could use my full encrypted disk and keep my home-directory. After installation I got booted into Gnome which is ok. I like Gnome but I prefer tiling window managers nowadays. When I opened a terminal and typed vim, I got my first surprise. vim wasn’t available but I got offered that it is available in this and that package and if I want to install it. I did and it got installed. Neat. DNF, the package manager of Fedora, is quite nice. I really like that when I remove software dependencies from that software get usually removed as well. What I don’t like is the available software in the repositories. You need extra repos for non-free software (like codecs with patents), I need to google for a way to install software and sometimes it takes quite some time etc. I really miss the AUR. And I didn’t know that a lot of sotware is available for debian-based distros, but not so much for rpm-based distros. Another problem I didn’t expect was that I had now older software than before with Arch and that this could become a problem. I do encrypted backups with Backintime. For the encryption it uses encFS. Well, Arch has encFS 1.7.5, Fedora 23 1.7.4 and that meant that I couldn’t open my backup. I googled but I couldn’t find a way to install it. Maybe if I compiled it from source. I tried Linux Brew but that stopped when there was a dependency that needed XCode. What the…‽

Then I learned to know about Fedora Rawhide which seems to be some kind of beta-channel for Fedora and is closer to a rolling distribution. But when I wanted to switch to it, I would have lost Handbrake and the repo I am using offers only packages for Fedora 23. Probably it is for the better.

Another problem I had was with Japanese input. It was a lot of hassle and I thought it is the beginning of the 2000s. According to the internet it should have been easier, but it wasn’t for me. さて、 今日本語を入力できます2

Other small things are that I switched my login-shell to zsh but all the terminal emulators didn’t respect that and that some packages or the software they provide have strange names. For example the package that provides gvim (graphical vim) is called vim-X11. Or I installed “rxvt-unicode-256color-ml” because I wanted a urxvt with 256color-support. It isn’t started with urxvt like I am accustomed to but with urxvt256c-ml. And I wondered what went wrong when my mutt complained about missing colors. I understand the reason because then you can have standard urxvt also installed, still it is a bit weird imho.

So far, it doesn’t sound well. But, and here is a but again, there is some stuff I really enjoy. Using SELinux is a breeze. There are great tools that show you that something went wrong and how to fix it. IPtables is installed and pre-configured. There is a graphical tool to configure it further and it makes it really easy, even if you have no knowledge about IPtables. I like DNF as a package manager so far. Easy to use, good search, I like that it also removes unneeded dependencies by default etc. Fedora also uses Gnome-software which is like an App Store for Linux-software. It looks really nice and is easy to use. I will not really need it, since I like the command line but for browsing and finding new software it is nice.

I will need more time to get to a final conclusion. Thanks to the AUR Arch feels a bit more easier to use for me. But I like that I have now a more secure system. And I can experiment with stuff on my home machine I can later use at my job. Arch is nice for a desktop but I’d never install it on a server. There it will always be CentOS or Debian I guess…or some BSD. Thus for the time being I will stay with Fedora and I wonder how the upgrade to 24 will work out.

Some more experiences one week later.

  1. I really recommend to watch the talk Security-enhanced Linux for mere mortals. And I actually need it also for my internal systems. If there is a breach, this could make life harder for the intruder.

  2. Well, now I can type in Japanese.

A world without DRM and SaaSS

We all agree probably that DRM1 sucks and that we give more and more of our data out of our hands because it is convenient. Just recently I decided again to give Lastpass another try because it is far more convenient and better usable on Linux and in a cross-platform environment than the alternatives Keepass, Pass and 1Password. We also use Google Docs to collaborate, Dropbox to make our data easily available to all our device etc. In addition he says that you should only use free formats for music and video like ogg and only free software2.

Richard Stallman (RMS) says that you shouldn’t use DRM or “Software as a Service Substitutes” (SaaSS). SaaSS are services like Lastpass, Dropbox, Google Docs etc. The reason is that they violate your freedom to do anything you like with the software that you use via those services. Thus you do not actually know or check what the software does with your data. Dropbox could potentially just give some government agency access to your data with you not knowing about it. But I hope that they don’t do it.

Even so I find the ideas very good, I always think what it would entail to actually implement them. DRM is nowadays pretty much everywhere when you consume digitally delivered media. All the video streaming platforms like Netflix are using DRM because the media studios demand it. DVDs and Blurays are protected by DRM as well, even though it is nowadays circumventable. Movies in the cinemas are delivered today on encrypted hard disks with DRM on it. Youtube etc use patent-protected media formats, so you can’t use that. So no movies for you. The only way you could watch movies would probably be via TV. But often not in HD because that is nowadays usually encrypted, too.

Music streaming sites also use DRM because it is demanded from the licensors. Most music players only play mp3s or m4as. Some do ogg but the software on them is probably not free. The only way I could imagine to have portable digital music is by building yourself some music player that can play ogg. And then you buy CDs and rip them to ogg. But I have no idea which platform you could use. A Raspberry Pi uses proprietary firmware.

You could read some ebooks. There are publishers and online stores that sell DRM-free ebooks. It is not a lot but there are ways to get that way of entertainment. But I doubt that there is an ebook reader you could use. So in the end you’d probably could read them only on your laptop.

We do not need to talk about games, do we? Steam is out of the question. But there are open source games available. I just cannot remember any really good ones except maybe Nethack or Dwarf Fortress. Those are an acquired taste though imho. Ah, there is the Battle for Wesnoth which is quite good. If you know more really good F/OSS-games please contact me via the e-mail-address at the top of the site.

When you want to use a computer, you have a very small selection of computers available. There are not a lot of computers available which you can use with a free BIOS like coreboot or Libreboot. If I remember correctly RMS himself uses a Thinkpad X60 which is a laptop released in 2006. And I think you can use some free BIOS on a Thinkpad X200 or T400 which are from 2008. So only old computers for you.

And let’s not talk about smartphones. Essentially you cannot use one. A landline would probably be ok though.

And not using SaaSS takes away a lot of convenience. For e-mail I interpret it that you either have to run your e-mail-server or use only one from someone you trust and who allows you to fiddle with the source code if necessary. Well, actually it means you have to run your own e-mail-server. There are nowadays F/OSS-replacements for Dropbox and Bittorrent Sync. So you could replace that but you would need to run them yourself. There are several SaaSS that have nowadays F/OSS-replacements but they all would end up in you running your own server. And maintaining a server means that you have to know a bit more about computers and need to spend some of your leisure time maintaining it.

The ideas from RMS are great imho. But living them means that you have to give up a lot of convenience and ways of modern entertainment. It feels like setting yourself technology- and entertainment-wise back to the 80s or 90s. Since these ideas are pretty crass in their results voting with your wallet would mean it is only a drop in the ocean since it would be incredible hard to convince other people to do the same. I like to compare RMS’ way of living in terms of computers, DRM and SaaSS to vegans3. But I can far more easily imagine living vegan than living the technology way of life preached by RMS.

Update: There are apparently ebook readers that use free software.

If you want to run a laptop with Libreboot, have a look at their site which are compatible. nixCraft just released an article about shops that sell computers with Linux preinstalled or even with Libreboot pre-installed.

  1. Digital Rights Management. The stuff that is responsible that you can’t watch content bought from iTunes on your beamer when it is connected with VGA or DVI, that you can’t give your friends your ebooks and that you can’t backup your DVDs or Blurays without breaking the law (at least in Germany).

  2. Free as in freedom.

  3. It is probably the morally right thing to do but you need to set some limits on your behavior that might take away some of the joys of life. I love steak.

Isn’t switching to Windows or OS X annoying?

I don’t understand how you could switch to Windows or OS X from Linux. Let’s start with OS X.


You actually can use it licensed only when you use hardware created by Apple. This means that you have to buy a high-end-computer even if your needs are satisfied by a computer that is far more on the low end. You have to pay usually a computer that costs at least 1000€. And don’t forget that warranty that costs at least 150€ to extend the warranty to 3 years. Since Apple-computers get more and more integrated, it gets harder to repair anything by yourself. And if stuff breaks, the repair costs are easily in the upper 3-digits area.

Since you bought that high-end-computer it can last you a long time. But if Apple decides that they do not want to support your hardware anymore, you won’t get any updates anymore and the only solution is to buy a new computer. If you also use an iPhone and you keep your computer with your old OS, it can happen that Apple updates iTunes in a way that it doesn’t run anymore on your old OS and you can’t sync your iPhone anymore. Just buy a new computer.

You know the comforts of a docking station? Welcome to a world with laptops that have depending on the model only one USB-port. You will find another solution and it will always involve plugging and unplugging stuff in your laptop. Need an external display? Well, welcome to the world of adapters since Apple laptops usually do not have standard outputs that are supported by the rest of the world outside of Apple. And those adapters aren’t cheap, even if you get one from a third parties.

Sure, you can get software like Photoshop. But Apple encourages the developers to always use the newest APIs which means that when your OS doesn’t update to the newest version, you won’t get updates. Or when you updated your OS, you need might need to get a major update for your software. Since software often costs money on OS X1, you have to pay an upgrade fee or buy completely new if it got released via the AppStore. And since open source software often uses cross-platform-toolkits and does not get ported natively to OS X, they suck in comparison to native apps and so you do not really want to use them.

If you are in the world of Apple, be ready that money shouldn’t be a constraint. Otherwise you might think about if you are worthy using products by Apple.

And if you install software from the AppStore and Apple does a fuck-up, all your software from the AppStore will break for a couple of days. But who cares?

Ever seen how Apple handles security updates? One time they published the solution for a critical problem for iOS first but everybody knew that it also existed for OSX. Thus your computer was at risk for a couple of days. They often also need some time until they publish updates. Apple prefers to deliver a bunch of updates in one big update instead of small incremental updates.


You decided to use Windows? It came with your computer and was preinstalled. Great.

Did you know that most malware is nowadays written for Windows? You now use the platform that gets attacked most often. Prepare yourself for defense, by installing Antivirus-software that rarely helps you. If you get malware on your computer, I recommend that you reinstall since you never know, if there aren’t any remains.

I hope you kept your install-DVDs or your recovery partition. If you don’t have any install-DVDs, try to get them from your vendor. And get all the drivers. If you have bad luck, your network driver is missing from a vanilla Windows and you cannot get your internet connection to work. Thus you need another computer to download that network driver for installing it. Depending on the vendor that is more or less cumbersome. That serial number by the way is nowadays fixed in your BIOS or EFI. And if you want to reinstall a vanilla Windows you have to change some text files and is as far as I know an undocumented process.

When you use nowadays Windows, you will get forced by Microsoft to use Windows 10, which is a privacy nightmare. After you set up all the privacy setting, updates can and will quietly reset them. So please check always.

Oh, updates. Microsoft regularly updates your system. Nowadays they even force them on you. That also means that your computer might say that you have to reboot now and that you can’t move that reboot to a later point of time. So save everything, interrupt whatever you are doing. That update right here, right now is more important than any work you do. Or you shut down your laptop instead of suspending/hibernating it for carrying it around. That can mean that you have to wait a couple of minutes or an hour or two until it shuts down while installing updates. Sometimes an installation of an update will also make your system unbearable slow for a couple of hours. And you cannot always tell the system when to update and you do not know how long it will take.

Sometimes those updates fuck up your system. Maybe some Microsoft-software breaks or some hardware doesn’t work anymore or your system gets into a bootloop. Who knows. Just wait until Microsoft releases the fix for the fix or reinstall your system.

If Windows stops to work you can always rely on the system events. Oh wait, you can’t. It seems that nearly nothing logs there and everything that logs stuff in Windows, spams the event logs often with unnecessary crap. So often logs are not usable for debugging your system. So you can google the problem and hope you find some solution. Sometimes it involves fiddling in the registry, a place you don’t want to fiddle because it can break your whole system. And those fixes are often about adding or removing values that are not documented and you have to hope that the people you get the fix from know what they do. Because you cannot read up on it. Or did you try already to reinstall some drivers? Troubleshooting Windows is unfortunately more often than not like walking with a blind fold and hoping no to fall down into a deep hole. Well, in the end you always can reinstall, can’t you?


You do not like the desktop environment you are using with OS X or Win or do not like the looks or the way Apple or Microsoft are going. Fear not, you always have the…oh wait, you do not have any choice. You are dependent on the choices Apple and Microsoft are doing for you. Want to try anything different or new? Tough luck.

Aren’t package-managers nice? Just type yum install package-name2 and it will install the software and everything you need. Well, not so with Windows or Apple. Often you need to get the software from some website with an installer or in the case of Apple you might get a disk image or an installer. Then install it. Who needs trusted sources? And when you ever need to reinstall your system, you have to get that stuff again if you didn’t save the original install-files. In the world of Apple there is the AppStore but more and more developers withdraw from it since Apple just makes it worth for them to stay there but makes their life harder.

And don’t let us talk about uninstalling software from OS X. Completely removing software can be a real hastle.

P.s.: I used OS X for over 10 years and I am still supporting several people who use OS X. In addition I administer a Windows-environment with 100+ Windows-clients and have to use Windows daily. Personally I use Linux for 1.5 years now. Everything I wrote here are experiences I made or have seen happening. I also got informed several times from other Apple-users that it is stupid to keep computers for more than 5 years – that’s where that worthiness-thing comes from.

Use what makes you happy, every OS has its up- and downsides. I am just getting tired to explain on a regular basis that I am actually happy with using Linux and the choices I made by using the distribution I am using which needs more fiddling around (Arch).

  1. >This is perfectly fine. Developers have to make a living. But there are these contraring preferences – devs need money for food, users do not necessarily want to pay money

  2. or apt-get install package-name or pacman -S package-name…