Computer, iPhone, Linux, Rechnerkram

Switching and Linux, macOS, Android and iOS

TL;DR: Yay Linux, Nay Android. Let’s stay with Linux but switch back to iOS.

Recently I am thinking about getting a new computer and phone and whether I should go back to macOS and iOS. I am using Linux and Android for a couple of years now and I am thinking recently about getting new devices. Let’s talk about computers first.

macOS and Linux

macOS is a really nice operating system. It is not open source but thanks to homebrw etc a lot of open source-software runs on it and the command line environment works as expected. Besides that you get a lot of commercial software from big and small companies that you either get on Linux or which you just do not get in that quality on other operating systems1. Additionally you do not need to tinker with them. Most of the time stuff just works.

But for one I like using open source software even though not everything works always. Just yesterday I tried using the proprietary NVIDIA-driver on Fedora 25 and failed miserably which led me to re-installing the system2 but eventually I will get it to work or the open source-driver might even be working well enough which I actually didn’t test yet. Or podcasting doesn’t work as smooth for me as it does on macOS. But I am getting it to work eventually. And nowadays most of the normal stuff just works. Especially when you are using Ubuntu. 16.04 was a “just works”-experience, even after moving my SSD from a Thinkpad X201 to a Dell T3500 with two NVIDIA-cards and a Xeon. The upgrade to 16.10 worked as well. I guess I wouldn’t have there any problems with podcasting, too. Playing games is possible nowadays as well with Steam etc. My recent problems came from trying to get NVIDIA-drivers to work in Fedora 25 which I like for some reason more than Ubuntu. The only thing that I dislike about Linux is that there is no backup-solution like Time Machine. TM is just awesome. But for most of the other stuff modern Linux-distributions just works. And¬†there is even a simple solution for backups but it is not as good as that for macOS. All in all the pros of Linux, be it that it is open-source or that I can run it on commodity hardware just outweighs the cons of macOS with its high prices and hardware that is not servicable at all anymore.

iOS and Android

Android is quite nice in the customizability-department and there is some stuff you can’t do with iOS. For example syncing a single folder in my Dropbox¬†with a single folder on my device, or doing the same with Bittorrent Sync. But nowadays I don’t use capabilities like that really a lot. I like to customize my device though. And buying games for cheap via HumbleBundle is great. And now comes the big “but”. And it is updates. First I owned a Moto X, now an LG G4. Both companies said that they will release updates a short time after Google released the updates. This didn’t happen. In addition Android seems all in all less secure than iOS. I am not even talking about installing apps from outside the Play Store. That’s a matter of using your brain. But the Play Store has from time to time malware and the Stagefright-stuff is frightening. If I am not mistaken I have several public known security bugs on my phone which aren’t patched by LG in a timely manner. That sucks. And the devices by Google cost now as much as iPhones and have an update guarantee of two or three years max. And I cannot install a custom ROM that might get more often updates since that would break my warranty because I would need to unlock the bootloader of my phone. And I already had a warranty case with this phone. I don’t want to risk to unlock my phone and then have a hardware-problem.

Since I do not need to use a computer nowadays in combination with an iPhone, I don’t see why I shouldn’t get a high quality device with a more secure OS than Android. I don’t buy the 100‚ā¨-Android-devices anyway. I won’t necessarily buy the newest iPhone but the next phone I want to get is definitely an iPhone. Bye bye Android.

P.s.: I’d really like to try Ubuntu Phone but I don’t see a cheap way to do it. I don’t want to shell out 100+‚ā¨ just for trying out a phone-OS which I might not like.


  1. An example would be OmniFocus…or anything else by the OmniGroup. Or OpenEmu which rocks still a lot more than RetroArch or EmulationStation

  2. which took like 15 minutes plus installing a bit of extra software and updates‚Ķthanks to enough bandwidth that’s not taking long as well.

Computer, Japanisch, Linux, Rechnerkram

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/50-xinput.sh. 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 :/

Computer, Linux, Rechnerkram

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 ‚Äúdnf copr enable repo/name‚ÄĚ. 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‚Äôt 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‚Äôt use that. But the maintainer knows that but doesn‚Äôt have the time for rebuilding all the necessary packages. Anyway, copr makes me a happier person ūüôā

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…