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Re: [gNewSense-users] A user's view

From: Felipe López
Subject: Re: [gNewSense-users] A user's view
Date: Fri, 27 Dec 2013 14:17:24 -0500

2013/12/26 Guilherme Vieira <address@hidden>
*hugs Josh fondly with tears in the eyes*

I am a good software developer with quite above average knowledge and intelligence, very knowledgeable of pre-C++11 C++, who could easily get his head around template metaprogramming, and yet I fail to handle GNU systems.

There are some projects in Savannah looking for C++ programmers :) [1].

I will tell you how I "handle" gNewSense: I have installed gNewSense 3. It would crash during power downs and it would crash when I switched from Xorg to the Linux console, and it would also crash randomly if I clicked around too much.

So I updated the kernel to one I found somewhere and those problems were gone. I have also tried to stick to one of the browsers that came bundled with the system: Epiphany, IceWeasel, and IceCat. None was remotely sane. Some of them could not play animated GIFs. Others displayed texts with awful fonts with lots of alias. So I threw them all away, installed Mozilla Firefox, and never looked back.

Have you reported those crashes and problems you had with the default Web browsers? I think it would be good to document them, maybe they can be fixed in future versions of gNewSense.
Stallman says all the time that "the GNU community is great, you can ask them anything and they'll come up with a solution." Well, I've explained my HDMI problems in this list before, but nobody answered. I know gNewSense is a small distro with a small, very busy community, but oh man, how can an HDMI output not work? This is so shameful. How can "grandma with her Yeeloong" use this system if the HDMI output needs troubleshooting?

I read about your HDMI problem [2], but could not help you :)
And if you say grandma wouldn't have updated the kernel, well, in that case grandma wouldn't even be able to see graphical output on the &%$$% built-in display!

Seriously, there has got to be a community of people who focus on this issue. WHERE IS IT? I'll throw at them all the money I've got and I'll help with everything in my reach, but it's gotta exist first.

A community that will pick, say, Xorg, and say "okay, we will make this work on such and such and such platforms, and it will be guaranteed to work and be tested on those platforms, and you will be allowed to change such and such configuration parameters and that's it." Such configuration parameters should be grandma-friendly, be incapable of bricking the graphical interface, and have a graphical interface to tweak them. It shall be called Xorg-unf**ked or Xorg-that-actually-works.

I won't turn back anymore. I've made a vow that I will only use libre software and I'll play by it, forever. I'll work around issues when I can, actually fix stuff when I can't work around them (I did debug my GPU kernel objects before giving up,) and I'll plainly accept that some technologies are out of reach when all of that fails (which is what happened to my HDMI output.)

When Xorg was unstable and I couldn't figure why, I almost fell back to the Linux console. I already use vim anyway, so I intended to use a framebuffer browser there, such as Firefox with GTK on DirectFB and play music using mpd and such. Luckily, I found a way to work around the problem, at the cost of my external monitor. I guess everything has a price :) I'm willing to go very far for freedom, as you can see.

But I do wonder: How is everybody using GNU and managing not to be as pissed up as I am? By God, what am I missing? I used to blog about the problems I encountered in my GNU adventures here (but stopped):

It is frustrating, I know, not being able to find everything ready for us to just use it. I think gNewSense and other libre cultural work projects need more users to become contributors that can work full time in the projects, so that future generations don't have to experience so many frustrations. This is hard to do, though.


Luis Felipe López Acevedo

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