Linux

10 things I miss about old school Linux

The evolution of Linux has led to many improvements -- but a few things have been lost along the way. Jack Wallen revisits the aspects of Linux he wouldn't mind bringing back.

I've been using Linux since the days of Caldera Open Linux 1 and Red Hat Linux 4.2 (prior to the creation of Red Hat Enterprise Linux). Since those days, I have seen a lot of things come and go. I was glad to wave goodbye to most of the things that have gone by the wayside. However, I actually do miss some of the bits and pieces that have slipped out of the mix. Some of these are software, while some of them are more ideas/ideals. Let's venture into the time machine and go retro with our memories of Linux.

Note: This article is also available as a PDF download.

1: linuxconf

Of all the admin tools I have used on Linux, the one I thought was the best of the best was linuxconf. From this single interface, you could administer everything -- and I mean EVERYTHING -- on your Linux box. From the kernel on up, you could take care of anything you needed. With the dumbing down of the Linux operating system (which was actually a necessity for average user acceptance), tools like this have disappeared. It's too bad. An admin tool like this was ideal for serious administrators and users.

2: The challenge

I know this is counterintuitive, but there are days I really miss the challenge (and the ensuing celebration) of old-school Linux. Back in the day, getting Linux installed gave many users reason to shout their own variation of "Hoorah" to the clouds. Don't get me wrong, I love how easy Linux is to install (and how that simplicity enables users of any skill level to use Linux). But there was something to be said about overcoming the challenges presented by Linux in the early days. It was a badge of honor only a select few could wear.

3: WordPerfect

I realize there are some good word processing and/or text editing tools available for Linux. But none of those writing tools is as good as WordPerfect was. WP was the ideal word processor. It didn't get bogged down with feature bloat, but it had enough unique features to make it stand out as a real writer's tool. I would love for someone to bring that piece of software back. Probably won't ever happen, but it's always good to dream.

4: Install Fests

I remember when local LUGs (Linux User Groups) would hosts Linux Install Fests once a month. Users would bring in their computers, and members of the LUGs would install Linux on their machines for free. It wasn't just about Linux; it was about building community and spreading the ideal that was building steam at the time. Although the installation of Linux is easy enough that any user can achieve success, the camaraderie and community of those parties is definitely missed.

5: Linus' sound byte

Remember during those early days, when it came time for the installation to run a sound check, how you would get to hear Linus Torvalds say, "Hello! This is Linus Torvalds, and I pronounce Linux, Linux."? I always laughed when I heard that. Of course, to me, that was much more than a sound check -- it was the father of the operating system I was using reminding those using it that Linux was a community effort and everyone was welcome to be involved. I really miss that open-arm community, typified by that recording.

6: Window managers

Remember when the Linux desktop consisted of X Windows and then a window manager on top of that -- and nothing more? Sure, you can still have that if you install the likes of FluxBox or E16. But for the most part, the days of the window manager-only desktop have gone the way of everything else on this list -- b'bye. Although you didn't find heavy integration into nearly every aspect of computing, you did have blazing speed, a unique look and feel, and rock-solid stability.

7: Linus Torvalds

It used to be that Linus was the face of Linux. When anyone thought of the operating system, they thought of Linus. He was the final say, the pinnacle of information, the one person with the answers. That is not so now. In fact, for the most part, Linus has gone beige on us and nearly been relegated to obscurity. Oh, he's still a pivotal figure in the development of the Linux kernel (and that will be so for a long time). But when you mention his name now, it's not met with the "wow factor" it once was. I met the man a few times and always found him a treat. If I met him today, that treat would seem a bit flavorless.

8: Loki Games

There was a time when everyone thought Loki Games was going to bring gaming to Linux full time. The entire Linux community was riding high with the thought of playing all those wonderful games without having to dual boot. And it looked poised to happen... but then the Linux community did the unthinkable and refused to pay for the games it so desperately wanted. Unfortunately, I think Loki was way ahead of its time. If it could revive itself, now might be a great time for it.

9: Vi/emacs wars

Don't you miss the trench coat army camps lining up and warring it out over which editor was best? It was then you knew, without a doubt, that Linux users were passionate about what they used. That kind of passion is hard to come by now. It still remains, but it's not as prevalent as it once was. Do I want to see Linux users coming to fisticuffs? No. But knowing there exists an underlying passion for things Linux helps drive the community forward in ways proprietary software can't enjoy.

10: Thousands of distributions

Back in the early days, new, obscure distributions were popping up daily. Oh sure, most of them were spinoffs of Red Hat, Mandriva, SuSE, or Debian. But some of them really pushed the envelope in either task, size, or design. Some of them were no more than a preexisting distribution repurposed with a different desktop theme and funny name. It seemed you could go to distrowatch.com and find a new distribution every day. Now it's just a place to go to see if your distribution of choice is the hottest download of the day.

Other fond recollections?

I don't want to give the wrong impression here. Linux is in a good place right now, ever-poised to open up the floodgates to throngs of satisfied users. But just because Linux is taking the operating system toward new heights on the evolutionary ladder does not mean every shard and scrap it has left behind was justified. There are pieces of the past I would happily bring back.

What about you? Is there something from Linux's past you would gladly bring to the present? Share your thoughts with your fellow TechRepublic members.

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

61 comments
rcm0502
rcm0502

I have taken the plunge back in 1994 and installed Slackware Linux alongside Win3.1 on a PC that sported a shiny new 3AMD 386DX/40 CPU, 4MB RAM, a Trident video card with 1MB VRAM and a 420MB IDE hard disk. It was quite an experience to install but it was fun to learn something new. Since then been a Slackware user for nearly 10 years then moved to Fedora then Debian. It was a lot of work but got a running Linux system with some effort and searching for answers to many common problems with drivers and compiling stuff. Nowadays I use Linux at home and was shown to be quite rock solid and gets the work done!

aspir8or
aspir8or

I run Linux on everything. I started my career as a sysadmin in 83 on DEC Ultrix (with Informix dbs). I first heard about Linux in 93 and picked Yggdrasil (loved the name) to experiment with. After weeks of battle I finally managed to get it up and running. It seemed harder to setup than a new install of Ultrix, which was not much fun either (14 monstrous manuals & another 12 for the database). I then moved to Slackware and mainly stuck to that as my main production os until the emergence of Ubuntu, though I tried dozens of other distros over the years. At first Ubuntu was no easy install, with drivers being the main problem. I liked the philosophy though, and stuck with it, finding huge leaps in ease of installation and use with each lts release. I've now got 10.04 on this laptop, but I won't be upgrading to 11.04 as I don't like Unity and the whole distro has become bloatware, one of the many reasons people used to prove the superiority of Linux over MS Windows. To be honest, I don't mind the trend towards guis for all admin tasks, as long as they work at least as well as the cli commands they are meant to be replacing (is there anyone here who can honestly say they liked hacking sendmail.cf?). But Ubuntu seem to be dumbing down Linux purely to gain market share, with some of the gui admin tools making a hash of a job that a one line cli command would fix in a moment. Instead of putting everything in one basket as Ubuntu is doing (and they aren't the only distro doing that), why can't someone just set up a basic system that will boot to a minimal gui, with one icon on the desktop for a package manager so users can choose exactly what they want and don't have to spend ages removing piles of unwanted crap. In my case, I'm thinking seriously of moving to Gentoo (had a play with it a few years ago). Takes ages and is a bi... but when you've finally got it running, you know exactly what is in it and there are no unwanted apps.

victorcain
victorcain

Real men didn't use either one -- they used TECO.

merelyjim
merelyjim

There are those of us who still use text-editors rather than full-on word processors, and while nano and gedit are right there, I still have to install emacs on any new disrto I load... The wars may be over, but the sides never die!

zat_6832
zat_6832

This is my first, second, third and fourth thing that I miss from the days of RH 5.x through 9. Though distributions have been doing a fair job in amalgamating its basic functionality, its was too elegant to be duplicated by anything out there now. As an aside, hardly anyone mentions Mepis Linux. IMHO better out the box than Ubuntu.

hmcm
hmcm

I, too, would welcome an update to Word Perfect.

spin498
spin498

I haven't looked lately, but don't most if not all of the distros have archived old versions on their FTP site? Just askin.

PecanLoveNubble
PecanLoveNubble

I've been using Linux for about as long starting with Slackware 1.1.2, then moving to RedHat, eventually to Debian and now Ubuntu. Several months back I came to the realization of what's in the article. I really miss what was Linux. Reading about the 'Linux' sound byte really brought back memories. Getting X running was a huge accomplishment of mine back in the day. I always remember downloading source, pre autoconf/automake days and trying to figure out what I was missing to get it to compile. I kept the e-mail thread from the kernel mailing list that Linus replied to me on circa 1998, I showed that one off to my friends back in the day. Oh, and I did purchase my copy of Civ 2 from Loki!

allenbina
allenbina

I bet whitney still misses bobby sometimes too

jblaine
jblaine

Boy do I ever miss downloading tens of 1.44MB floppy images via 14.4K modem (Linux 0.99 + X11R5 circa 1992). The reality of it is, there isn't a single thing I miss about any Linux of any year.

willyeverlearn
willyeverlearn

Unless you remember Slackware and Patrick Volkerding you have not been around very long{8^)

jra
jra

You used to have to give magic numbers to the reboot system call to get it to work right: /* * Reboot system call: for obvious reasons only root may call it, * and even root needs to set up some magic numbers in the registers * so that some mistake won't make this reboot the whole machine. * You can also set the meaning of the ctrl-alt-del-key here. * * reboot doesn't sync: do that yourself before calling this. */ asmlinkage int sys_reboot(int magic, int magic_too, int flag) { if (!suser()) return -EPERM; if (magic != 0xfee1dead || magic_too != 672274793) return -EINVAL; if (flag == 0x01234567) hard_reset_now(); else if (flag == 0x89ABCDEF) C_A_D = 1; else if (!flag) C_A_D = 0; else return -EINVAL; return (0); } (from kernel 1.0)

mattdm
mattdm

It was more mismanagement and then denial of problems leading to implosion, than any problem with Linux game buyers. See http://web.archive.org/web/20030210183226/http://www.linuxandmain.com/features/lokistory.html ??? and then see how much of the recent Humble Indie Bundle's sales/contributes came from Linux users!

Jaqui
Jaqui

here in Vancouver FreeGeek does windowless wednessdays every week. an weekly install fest. :) [ though they do only provide disks of ubuntu, sadly. promoting that security butchered distro is not helping linux. ]

djsd
djsd

Try Solaris. Oracle/Sun have gone out of their way to make it as hard as possible to get to grips with.

Spitfire_Sysop
Spitfire_Sysop

There is a healthy community of Linux nerds that run a non-profit called "Free Geek" in Portland, Oregon. http://www.freegeek.org/ It's an electronics recycling facility that collects unwanted computer equipment and loads Linux on it, only to give them away. They are called "Freek Boxes" and they are a great community resource. Surplus is donated to schools. I bring it up because it's a non-stop Linux install fest.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

I visited a LUG meeting in Biloxi, MS in the mid-90s, mostly out of curiosity. I had just been forced to convert from MS-DOS to Windows 3.0, had heard about Linux from an acquaintance, and wanted to know about the alternatives. I apparently chose the wrong night to attend... When the over-40 me started asking basic questions about the operation and construction of Linux, the room full of 20-somethings and teenagers essentially told me to rtfm. The most obnoxious and officious of the little twits even asked why I was there when it wasn't beginners' night. I didn't consider Linux again for over 10 years; I'm sure I'm not the only one. I can do condescending as well as some (and better than most), but it's unfortunate for Linux today that some of the same obnoxious 20-somethings and teenagers that made up the Linux community 15-20 years ago still seem to be around, and still have the same attitudes towards beginners.

delphi9_1971
delphi9_1971

But Webmin will allow you to administer almost everything....

oldbaritone
oldbaritone

Way ahead of its time. About 15 or 20 1.44M Floppies. The days when 14.4K modems were "fast", if you were lucky enough to have an ISP with dial-up ports that supported it, and phone lines good enough to handle it. The days of Trumpet WinSock and Chameleon. X was the latest thing, but few had graphics cards or monitors that could do much useful with it.

parnote
parnote

If you miss that sense of community and camaraderie in Linux, then you should visit and get involved in the PCLinuxOS forum! By far, it's the friendliest Linux forum I've ever found, where "rtfm" is not allowed to be uttered. As far as linuxconf, I wonder if there is anyone out there who could (or would) bring it back. It sounds very, very interesting.

adrian
adrian

Haven't invested much time in Linux, but when I started out the only OS I used was SCO unix. Linux brings it to the masses. They can put any pretty shell they want over the top, but keep all Unix functionality available to those who want to delve a bit deeper.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I hadn't even considered that this app development would stall yet all signs point toward that very outcome. As an initial step to hardening any install, I place it above linuxconf even. What good is further configuration when your missing the inital secure baseline to build from? I really hope someone picks this up or, at minimum, the Debian Testing package continues to be maintained and returns to the Stable branch with Debian 7 Weezy, if not Debian 6 Squeeze Stable through Backports. For those not in the know; Bastille is a script that walks one through many security related settings with an explenation of why the setting change should be made. The user can choose to accept the change or not depending on there needs. For advanced users, it's handy for running as a quick baseline when building out a system; modify the config file full of your last selections and rerun it for quick changes. It even sets up the firewall rules; starts them at each system boot; provides a clear and simple way to add custom firewall rules. I could add any desired exceptions through post-rule-setup.sh and even had it call an auto-generated blacklist. The various setting changes I can script myself for lack of having Bastille available. The firewall management it provided will be greatly missed though; seems I'm going to be doing firewall rules by hand and learning how the new init.d file format works. (and what's with changing how init.d files work anyhow? The if statement method was rational and made creating a new init.d kicker script simple; even starting from a blank page. The new "better" method seems to remove clarity and simplicity for benefits I've yet to divine. bah.. I thought newer distro versions where supposed to improve on the older ones not remove valuable functionality.)

apotheon
apotheon

Real men, evidently, use paper tapes instead of a monitor.

apotheon
apotheon

I'm curious about your OS choice, now.

apotheon
apotheon

What do you mean "remember"? Slackware is still around, and it's still being developed by Patrick Volkerding. . . . and I still don't want to use it. Its partitioning is user-hostile, for instance. I'd rather stick with FreeBSD, which works as advertised.

apotheon
apotheon

Maybe you should get involved and bring stacks of FreeBSD disks and USB installers. It turns out that the major Linux distributions I've checked out make it quite difficult to make an installer work from USB flash media, but FreeBSD makes it quite easy, offering an installer image specifically for USB flash media devices.

dhearne
dhearne

Is not that hard to install. On the plus side, once it's up, it's pretty easy to keep going., It takes 3x as long to install something in Linux as it does in Solaris because there is only ONE Solaris package to choose from, instead of 30-40 for Linux.

apotheon
apotheon

I don't like the dumbing down of Linux-based systems over the years, but I don't like perversely difficult systems either. I prefer something that empowers the knowledgeable user, even if it has to give up some newbie-friendliness to do so. That's one reason (of many) I prefer FreeBSD -- though FreeBSD can be set up to be incredibly user-friendly as well.

mbwallace4
mbwallace4

Sorry to hear that bad experience. In my 5 years of using Linux (Debian and lately Ubuntu), I have yet to find these little obnoxious buggers. Though I mostly interact over the internet. Though I just don't get it why most teen and 20 somethings, when group together -- mostly acted obnoxious and officious, they think they own the world or something. Really sorry to read such bad experience, you could be one of Linux contributors if not an ardent user and evangelist of an alternative system. Used Laser Cutting Machines Nitrogen Generation Equipment

apotheon
apotheon

I've never seen a LUG like that. All the LUGs whose meetings I've attended have been full of people who bend over backwards to make new users feel at home, and to help them out. It sounds like their behavior was atrocious and entirely uncalled-for. I'm sorry you had that experience.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

They were sociable enough, but their topics were way over this newbie's head. University-based, the membership was mostly academics with a smattering of local programmers. I recall an in-depth discussion of someone's new security suite intended for government applications. Neither meeting had over 15 people in attendance. I don't think they'd done an install-fest in a couple of years. I did manage to move a dozen or so older boxes to one attendee.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

If I'd have been in attendance, you'd have seen at least one 20 something telling the other's to get stuffed and climb down off there high horses. That elitist crap shouldn't fly in any group. There are some good communities out there and some very helpful people. Sadly, the vocal elitist minority seems bent on opening it's mouth for whatever self-satifaction they gain by putting other's down. ("some should keep there mouth shut and let other's think them a fool rather than open there mouth and prove it")

bfpower
bfpower

I've felt the same way. I'm no dummy - member of Mensa, bachelor's degree in software development. But I'm not a sysadmin - actually, I'm an IT trainer/risk manager. But the forums have become such a strong community that outsiders either have to live in the community for some time or find their answers elsewhere. Eventually I started using Ubuntu because I was able to do so without the need for support. The support model's strength (community) has become its weakness.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I've taken to editing config files directly once familiar with them; especially in the case of Apache where I want to be sure of seporate vhost.conf files but Webmin is a great point/click starter - even if one never leaves it for direct config editing.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

hehe.. I know that joke's been recycled with every Windows release over the years but it started with Terminal vs. X

Jaqui
Jaqui

they are breaking away from the Unix functionality and making drastic changes to how the os is interfaced with, in the command line environment. there is a strong movement away from initd to nextgen init [ can't remember for proper name right now ] because it is supposed to reduce boot times. these changes are making the transferable skills from unix strength go away, losing that for no real benefit to anyone.

Joe_Wulf
Joe_Wulf

Yep, and I've endeavored to use the 'latest' edition of Bastille recently without success. The efforts were geared towards RHEL 5.x, of which it isn't natively suited. Spoke with Jay Beale through email about it specifically. I suspect without his daily involvement its going to continue to languish. I suggest folks turn to is the Center for Internet Security (cisecurity.org).

mbwallace4
mbwallace4

For sys admin - especially beginners, this is a very very helpful guide. I've been coming back on this application time and again as I am somewhat a desktop user but since I use my desktop as a server for web and other server, it's a good thing to have Bastille around to force you to adapt sound security practices. In my Debian unstable/sid box, Bastille is still there so I hope it's still around in the coming years as security is one of the important aspect in network computing. Used Laser Cutting Machines Nitrogen Generation Equipment

Rarob
Rarob

Have you looked at Security Blanket by Raytheon Trusted Computer Solutions? It can help to automate the grunt-work of locking down many (rpm based) Linux distros, as well as Solaris. The feature sets of Security Blanket and Bastille are somewhat different as are the supported platforms, and Security Blanket is a commercial product. Full disclosure - I work at RTCS on Security Blanket. http://www.trustedcs.com/securityblanket

apotheon
apotheon

> and what's with changing how init.d files work anyhow? It seems like every time I blink the Linux world is throwing away something perfectly clear and manageable in favor of something "better" that muddies the waters for the knowledgeable and eliminates some ability to customize. My most recent annoyance has been with Debian breaking some of the basics of text-based network configuration (I haven't checked on whether similar changes affect other major distribution families). The first time I noticed this happening was ALSA; it has been downhill ever since.

Jaqui
Jaqui

just cause debian isn't including it doesn't mean it's gone. bastille is still included with mandriva. though they are starting to promote tomoyo and css-tools as a replacement.

jblaine
jblaine

Windows 7 (I administer Linux and Solaris boxes all day)

Jaqui
Jaqui

I'm trying to get them to look at other distros first :D then get them to look at other free software operating systems. takes time to change peoples minds from the ubuntu golden child mentality though.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

I had the shortest hair in the room by about five or six inches and was obviously military. Even into the 90s, Biloxi had a love-hate affair with Keesler AFB, and probably still does today.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

The majority of long-term Linux users are, like Jack, more than willing to help the newly initiated. However, almost every Linux forum I've been on in the past year or two still seems to have one member who will go out of his way to make the "n00b" feel unwelcome.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

That's my next step.. properly learn where Bastille was making all it's changes with the assumption that it's not coming back. When it disapeared from Deb 6 Testing I did watch it sitting in Unstable and then watched it drop into Deb 7 Testing while remaining absent from Deb 6 Stable. Hopefully the debian maintainer will take over or enough Deb users with code skills will take interest to keep a Debian tuned version available.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

But knowing Security Blanket is out there should I be working with a .rpm is great information. Also worth watching encase they do a Debian tuned version of it.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

So, after actually taking the time to look at the new init.d script format; it makes sense.. or is easy to setup at least. The old way was just an IF or Case for start|stop|restart|reload. I'd start with a blank file, write the if statement then drop my /path/script into place. Nice small row count. The new way probably has it's benefits that I'm missing. You copy /etc/skeleton to your desired new file name. NAME=myscript DAEMON=/usr/bin/$NAME DAEMON_ARGS="-g" So, it runs "/usr/bin/myscript -g" or $DAEMON$NAME $DAEMON_ARGS In my case, it runs /root/bin/nsFirewall which sets basic iptables rules then includes my /etc/bastille/firewall.d/post-firewall-setup.sh for rules by port/source and finally inserts blacklists from a third file. So for me, it means giving up an easy to write from scratch init.d script for an easy to copy and edit init.d script (though that I've yet to become familiar with beyond the relevant header comments and variable settings).

Jaqui
Jaqui

and a lot of distros have moved to oss instead of alsa for the sound backend. :/ to much changing stuff that is working right just for the sake of changing it. usually to something not working right.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I do make use of Lynis among my other toosl but Bastille was nice as a fairly comprehensive scripted starting point. If it was still actively developign upstream but Debian simply chose to drop it.. I'd be looking for a change.. probably Arc to get the rolling distro with balance of current software versions. Now I'm on to rethinking my mail server setup. postfix/dovcot is the classic but the Auth setup sucks and it's always felt pretty conveluted. Courier is a nice step; less conveluted setup, more consolidated mail services but less traditional. Citadel is an absolute dream; it's pretty much a drop in, login and go. It's now my heavy option with Courier as the light option. I was really getting excited about doing a Citadel-webcit "administrator's" back end area with chat and todo lists with an eGroupware front end for regular users. Today I learned something new; not all IMAP implementations are alike and how Citadel and Egroupware talk IMAP is not compatible (based on a half day's reading so maybe someone has solved this). Basically, Egroupware can get the list of folders and indicate new mail sitting in them but it can't actually display any messages from them (bit of an issue). So, now I'm looking at giving up the easy spamassassin/clamd setup and user/alias management from Citadel so I can instead get Egroupware's email app working against Courier. Booo.. and WTF are different servers using different IMAP implementations for.. and, if that really is a good thing.. why is Citadel IMAP support missing from Egroupware.. seems like decisions that should have been made before someone started that night's drinking. (but seriously.. anyone out there managed to get Egroupware's mail app talking to Citadel IMAP?)

apotheon
apotheon

The reason Mandriva is promoting replacements is the same reason Debian has already removed it; the project appears to be dead.

apotheon
apotheon

I get the impression from your previous comment that you think the fact that Linux systems (just like MS Windows systems) from the early '90s required craploads of floppies is some kind of argument against current Linux-based systems.

apotheon
apotheon

It happens. The freebsd-questions mailing list has one of those -- though he's outnumbered.

apotheon
apotheon

The problem is that with the current state of support for Intel HD graphics on FreeBSD, I'd have to use the VESA driver, which only handles up to 1024x768 resolution. This laptop's display has a native 1600x900 resolution. I might be able to deal with lower resolution, but dealing with 4:3 aspect ratio displayed on a 16:9 aspect ratio display is not something I'm keen to do on a daily basis. > I had to find and figure out configsnd back in the day (or was it soundcfg.. enver could remember). I think it's soundcfg, but I haven't had to touch it for a long time, so I could just misremember. FreeBSD sound configuration is much easier to manage. A couple of settings in sysctl resources do the job. edit: > if they'll let you format the lappy.. give it a go Who are "they"?

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Mind you, you may not be looking for a weekend project either. Could be fun though. My last week and a bit has been build script testing against Deb6. I'm changing a lot when I push the home groupware server from Deb5 to current stable. I wouldn't suggest the recreational project for someone who didn't want to vm save point restores and some breakage (Egroupware doesn't talk Citadel IMAP.. that one is going to stick for a while even with Courier/Egroupware now in place). OSS for sound is fine for me provided it works. Alsa's claim to fame was being able to work when the distro package was lagging behind driver support. Provided OSS keeps up with driver support and can get better support from hardware vendors, I'm ok with that change. I had to find and figure out configsnd back in the day (or was it soundcfg.. enver could remember). Had to find and un-mute alsamixer when that became the new thing. I'll find and figure out whatever OSS mixer settings too. For me, sound remains "whatever is default and supports my card".

apotheon
apotheon

There are a lot of good reasons to replace ALSA. For one thing, software developers who target more than one OS had to support ALSA for Linux and OSS for basically everything else. For another, ALSA's back end management is kind of inconsistent and overly complex. The architecture is just suboptimal, by all accounts. > On the BSD side, it primarily remains hardware support that holds me back. If FreeBSD decided to drop Nvidia's drivers in a non-free repository.. I'd have to take a much longer look. The last couple weeks constitute the first time I've ever really had any hardware issues with FreeBSD. Now that I'm "forced" to use a Linux-based system, I'm beginning to wonder if dealing with the shortcomings of FreeBSD hardware support for this laptop would be the lesser evil.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Stability, Security.. those where the project goals that attracted me along with the huge repositories. Between distros.. I'm all for change provided the interconnecting standards aren't broken (IMAP should be IMAP not varoious mostly compatible implementations of it). Big changes within a distro or between distro versions; those really need to be justifiable. Bastille stalled.. it makes sense to pull it from the stable archives. New init.d system versus the old.. the new method better provide some strong benefits. Disapointing to hear more distros going OSS also.. I've been a fan of Alsa since they took over the Creative X-FI sound card drivers. The kernel mods compiled and installed clean and easy at a time when my distro of choice didn't have the hardware support natively. On the BSD side, it primarily remains hardware support that holds me back. If FreeBSD decided to drop Nvidia's drivers in a non-free repository.. I'd have to take a much longer look.

apotheon
apotheon

That makes me feel even better about my choice to stick with FreeBSD as my primary OS choice -- and even worse about the fact I'm kinda-sorta forced to use a Linux based system for a little while right now.

apotheon
apotheon

On one hand, we have people who are knowledgeable enough to maintain Bastille, who are also prone to managing their own security configuration, and thus do not personally have much of a need for it. On the other hand, we have those who use Ubuntu and have no idea how to configure a system for security, and who have no idea that something like Bastille could help them. In the middle we have a dwindling number of people who are not numerous enough to sustain the userbase needed to bother maintaining the Bastille project. Basically, for something like that to continue, it needs to be someone's "baby".

Jaqui
Jaqui

Bastille isn't something I really use so it's not important to me. what is odd is that Mandriva actually has enough of a community to keep Bastille alive, if the call for it was there. The fact that this distro that has collab services and project hosting available for the community hasn't had anyone start a fork of Bastille says it's not something in demand by many.

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