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€-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+€ 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…thanks to enough bandwidth that’s not taking long as well.

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.
gba_smallgb_small

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

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 :/

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…

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.

Would I switch back from Linux to OS X?

Since I switched from OS X to Linux, one of the questions I get asked now and then is whether I would switch back. Since recently I clearly said that I would switch back to OS X and iOS if my income situation would change that I could afford it again. But recently my opinion is changing. When I get to hear that people are forced to upgrade from 10.6 to a more recent version of OS X because iOS got updated to iOS9. And iOS9 syncs only with a version of iTunes that doesn’t run on OS X 10.6. Thus one user I know had to upgrade and move away from the apps he still used with Rosetta and had to buy newer versions. Another user has an old MacBook that doesn’t run anything newer than 10.6. Thus she would need to abandon her working laptop and get a new one for things like syncing music to her iPhone. Hint: the user won’t get another iPhone. Then there are problems like the user where I couldn’t get Mail.app to work again and moved the user over to MailMate, reports that OS X gets more and more annoying about updating which sounds like Windows to me1, stuff like not allowing an app with video content about IT-security into the AppStore for the AppleTV etc etc.

In addition I see more and more value in using F/OSS. If I want to I can get the source code and fix a bug myself. I am most of the time not able to, but I have the possibility. And that’s in addition to having software that is free as in beer2. I also have no real problems with my setup. Even though I am using a rolling distribution, it just works as long as I do not get „creative“. And if I do not like the desktop environment/window manager I am using now, I can try another one3. I have also a bigger choice in hardware, even though it will be hard for you to move me away from X-Series Thinkpads 😉 I can buy good serviceable hardware for cheap as used computer, I can build up my own computer from parts or I can buy some high end new shit and nowadays most stuff already works with Linux. A lot has happened in the last 10 years. I can use the same operating software for my servers, my raspberry pi and my own machine. Even though I will use different distributions. Thanks to systemd distributions got more similar in handling them. And that is great. More and more I think that if I could get those 1500€ for a new computer, I might spend it on a Thinkpad X250 and not a MacBook Air/Pro. And don’t let us get started about docking stations. I love mine. It is so awesome to move my laptop around and when I am at home, I connect it to my docking station and it gets connected to two external displays, several hard drives, a DVD-drive4 and my ergonomic keyboard and the vertical mouse. With my MacBook Air this was quite cumbersome and involved a chain of USB-Hubs…

Btw. it is similar now for my Android-phone. My LG G4 is awesome and I really do not see a point why I would want to switch to a current iPhone for loads of more money. Games would be the only reason and because of time constraints I play less and less and I have more than enough games on my pile of shame.


  1. Yes, I know updates are important but for example updating to an 10.X.0 can be problematic.

  2. From time to time I donate money to software projects I use a lot.

  3. But i3 is really awesome and I try from time to time stacking/compositing window managers/Desktop environments and return to i3 after a short while.

  4. Which I still need regularly for getting movies cheap or for childrens movies

Creating systemd timers instead of a personal crontab

Yesterday I’ve got rid of a to do I had for months in my list: converting my crontab to systemd timers. Once the timers are set they can be controlled via systemctl, log to journald, systemctl --user shows if something failed and systemctl --user list-timers shows a list of your timers, when they ran the last time and when they will run the next time. It is great. But since I am not a pro when it comes to systemd I had a hard time figuring out how I get systemd timers to run for my personal context. For example I am using mutt with isync1 and for getting automatically my mails, I run several cron jobs or now timers.

After a lot of googling and try and error, this is my solution. There is probably a way to do it more elegant and more efficient, but this works for me.

In ~/.config/systemd/user you have to create two files per job. One file is the service-file, the other one the timer-file. For example myjob.service and myjob.timer.

myjob.service looks something like this:

[Unit]
Description=This is my job I want to run

[Service]
Type=simple
ExecStart=/home/user/bin/some_shell_script.sh foo bar

[Install]
WantedBy=default.target

myjob.timer looks something like this:

[Unit]
Description=Run my job every 6 minutes
RefuseManualStart=no #I can manually start the timer
RefuseManualStop=no #I can manually stop the timer

[Timer]
Persistent=false #when it is true systemd stores when the timer was last run and when the machine boots up after a long time, it will automatically catch up onto this timer if it should have run in the meantime
OnBootSec=80 #how many seconds after the boot should it run the first time
OnCalendar=*:0/20 #I will explain that later
Unit=myjob.service

[Install]
WantedBy=timers.target

OnCalendar takes different arguments which define when the timer runs. You can do stuff like „hourly“ or „weekly“ or „*:0/20“ will run the timer every twenty minutes. The times that can be used by timers are explained in systemd.time(7).

After you created both files, you should start at first your service to find out, if it will run or fail and you need to debug:

systemctl --user start myjob.service

When it runs succesfully:

systemctl --user start myjob.timer
systemctl --user enable myjob.timer

The man-pages you want to read regarding timers are systemd.timer(5) and systemd.time(7).

This is really a quick and dirty-solution and I bet there is a far more elegant way to solve this, but this way I could convert my complete crontab and it is working.

Here are the sources I used to figure out how to get the stuff to work:

 


  1. isync is far better than offlineimap. It is faster and uses a less ressources but it is imho harder to configure because it is not as widely used as offlineimap. But the developer is very helpful on the mailing list.

Messenger hell

I remember 1994. I had one messenger: the AOL Instant Messenger and the world was good. Then someone showed me ICQ and suddenly I had two messengers. One for people I knew from my AOL-times1 and for people who used ICQ. Then I learned to know some people from Australia. And believe it or not, Yahoo Messenger was popular over there. So I had now 3 accounts. And then I met through a public chat room2 some people I started to go to parties with. And yes, they used the MSN Messenger. Later I learned about Jabber/XMPP and another group of people used that. Multi-messengers to the rescue. But it still kinda sucked.
Time moved on and there was the hope that services are switching to XMPP. Because networks of friends where changing my messenger-needs changed, too. But the problem is the same. I still have to use several messengers. Thanks to mobile and how messengers set up nowadays I just have the disadvantage that a multi-messenger is not really possible anymore.
I use Threema for some friends and family. TextSecure for group chats at work, Hangouts with a couple of friends, Twitter-DMs with other friends, Skype-IM when I am playing P&P-RPGs online3, if I would still use actively app.net, I’d probably use also app.net-PMs. Some people still use only SMS on their phone because they do not have a smartphone and don’t see a reason why to get one4 and when I still used an iPhone, I also used iMessage. If I really wanted to be reachable by everyone I know, I would need to install WhatsApp and FB Messenger, probably Telegram and Line as well. And if I want to bring together people from different circles of friends, I run into the problem that person A doesn’t always use one of the messengers person B uses and both are reluctant to install yet another one.

And then the new hot shit comes along – perfect crypto, maybe stickers, maybe group chats. And how the hell should I move people from one of the messengers I recommended in the past to the new one? I am the „tech guy“ in my family and I do not know how I can explain why they should switch from Threema to TextSecure, just because it is open source and therefore it might be more secure but doesn’t have features like audio messages5. It seems that we are in for the long-haul with messenger hell and that it will never stop6.

And that’s why we can’t have nice things.


  1. Yes, I moved on but before that AOL was just cheaper. I had the choice between AOL (local call + a fee per minute for AOL) or a distance call over 50km to log into a university-account. AOL was still cheaper.

  2. Remember those? Not IRC or twitter but a webpage with a chat in HTML where people met to chat with strangers?

  3. But Hangouts for the video-part. Strange world, isn’t it?

  4. Which is perfectly understandable in their cases

  5. or built-in voting – lolwut

  6. Since XMPP wasn’t succesful it might be proven that a distributed messenger won’t work and when one company comes along to own them all, someone will say that it is an evil monopoly and therefore won’t use it and switch to another one