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From: Luke Kanies Date: 15:03 on 21 Dec 2004 Subject: XMMS Okay, so I decided to stop using my crappy headphones at work (where I listen to them just about all day) and get a decent pair of 'phones and an external amp. Well, headroom.com has this great external amp available that's USB, which is great because I get to use their great DAC instead of whoever the hell's crappy DAC comes in my PC. I got the box last night, tried it out on my Mac, and everything worked fine. It didn't "just work", in that I had to muck with my audio settings, but it did work pretty easily, and even though I'd get annoyed at doing that very often, it was acceptable. Well, then comes the morning and I try it with my linux box, for which I bought the thing (my linux box has an especially bad sound card at the moment -- what do you want? it's built into a dual opteron box; not exactly optimized for consumer audio). Unfortunately, I'm running Gentoo, which means that everything has to be not just configured correctly, but compiled correctly, and I've already had my tribulations with that fact. Even worse, I'm using XMMS, the only mp3 player I've consistently gotten to work on linux. I probably shouldn't blame Gentoo, but it _is_ very annoying to install a complete system and not have everything "just work". Hell, even my debian box at home does that. I had to set all of my USE flags a couple different ways and then recompile a significant portion of everything to get to the point where I could both play music and get audio notifications from Gaim. The default was to only receive the notifications between songs on XMMS, which was really retarded. I partially blame XMMS for that. So, I got esound working, and after changing the settings in XMMS, Gaim, Esound, and Gnome itself, (in addition, of course, to whatever system-wide mixer settings were necessary in the first place), I finally got music in XMMS and could receive Gaim notifications while the music was playing. Of course, if the music were paused, they would queue up and I'd get them all the next time I hit play. It must be noted that I'm using one of the latest 2.6 kernels (2.6.9-r6), and ALSA, which if you've forgotten stands for 'Advanced Linux Sound Architecture'. That's right folks, it used to be worse than this. But I digress. I came here to talk about what a piece of crap XMMS is. To start with, one must despise the interface. I really don't care how good of an interface designer you think you are, the fact is that I have an interface, it already has windows, and your windows don't freaking match them at all. Yes, XMMS is skinnable, but there's no way I can just make it look like it actually belongs on my computer, which is retarded. And in addition to the interface being totally unique (and that's _always_ bad in an interface), it also basically sucks. It's got the gimp-style right-click to get a menu crap, except the clicking has to happen in certain places in the window. It's got its own weird snap to edge behaviour that's not configurable as part of the general interface. It's got a stinkload of preferences available in a menu, and then another list in a Preferences pane. Why? No idea. And then you get to using it. Well, you might, assuming everything is set up correctly. Mine is currently dying whenever I hit 'Play', because I mucked with my settings to get my amp working. Oh, they're all back to the way they were, but XMMS still dies. Why? Well, see, that's why I'm writing this email: I've no idea. It worked for a while, after I got it to the point where it and Gaim could mostly work together. Crap. Yeah, I've tried other mp3 players. Someone on IRC even told me to write my own when I bitched about XMMS. They all crash even more than XMMS does, and usually the interface is even worse. Yay. It's sad when Linux and its apps can't even get something as simple as audio right. I mean, this shit has been done for a decade. Really.
From: Luke A. Kanies Date: 20:02 on 05 Nov 2004 Subject: Python I contemplated disgorging some mysql hate earlier this week, but that seemed so pedestrian... I know most of the scripting languages. I've done something in almost all of them. I was functional in ruby in four hours. I can write passable C, Java, LISP, and a good few others. I absolutely cannot write python. Maybe it's a read-only language? I don't know. Maybe I'm retarded? Maybe the gentoo install is retarded? I don't know. Whatever the deal is, though, python just doesn't make things easy. Whereas ruby operates on "least surprise", python seems to operate on "do it your damn self" or something. I haven't struggled this much at every step since I first started shell scripting almost a decade ago, and frankly, it was less troublesome then because I knew it was my problem. Will I get it all figured out eventually? Yes. Will I be sorely tempted to carry a gigantic python book around at all times, so the next time someone talks about perl being executable line noise I can hurl the book at said pythoner? Yes, yes I will be so tempted. Whatever drugs Guido was on when he figured out how module loading and classes and namespaces all should work, he should not do those drugs again. Ever. Ugh. The list goes on, but probably the stupidest things are all the namespace stupidities, and the fact that i can have 'class.method' as an individual line with no output and no warnings. "Why no, I'll not call that method; you are now referring to the actual method, not calling it." Great, but what are you doing with the method? "Uh, giving it to you." Yeah, fine, but there's no freaking lvalue, so do you print it? "No." At least perl freaking tells me that I have a value in void context, and it's trivial to figure out. Python? "Do it your damn self."
From: Luke A. Kanies Date: 22:10 on 25 Jun 2004 Subject: Small konqueror hate Okay, I'm using a web browser. Can anyone guess what I want to load first? That's right, text. So why does konqueror load the text _last_ instead of first? Huh?
From: Luke A. Kanies Date: 22:35 on 03 May 2004 Subject: Evolution is a step backwards Holy cow. This is now the third time, so I'm really upset, and it was even worse this time. I have a linux box and a Mac. I sometimes have appointments. The Mac is almost always asleep (as it's a laptop) but I can bring it everywhere with me. Therefore, I'd like the ability to make appointments on either machine and be warned whether I'm at my computer or not. The Mac can email me, and thus can email my phone, which means I can get notified no matter where I am, but like I said, the Mac is almost always asleep. This is annoying, but is not the Mac's fault. Because my linux box is never asleep (I've got a dual proc box, so I couldn't even put it to sleep if I wanted to -- hate), it'd be especially nice if I could have something email me from my linux box, even if I annoyingly can't use the calendar on either machine and somehow sync the calendars. So, of course, I'm experimenting with Ximian's Evolution. I need the ability to check my IMAP email with a GUI client sometimes so I can look at pictures and such (which pine is not much good at), but I especially need its calendaring abilities (or apparent lack thereof). In both of these areas, Evolution fails quite miserably, and sometimes spectacularly. This is Evo 1.4.6 on Debian. Calendaring just plain falls down on functionality. Apparently. The two features I need are some kind calendar syncronizing capability and the ability to email meeting notices so I can send them to my phone. There is a calander syncronizing protocol (ical) but Evolution only supports it via email, not via an automated mechanism like WebDAV (like Apple's stupidly named iCal), so I can't easily synchronize between my Mac and my linux box. That part sucks. But Evolution also can't email notices. Or can it? It's there as an option, but it's greyed out. Why? I've no idea; why add it but not make it available? I can't figure it out, but apparently it's fixed in 1.5, which (of course) debian doesn't have. So apparently I could do what I want, except I can't for some reason. Even better, though, is how email functionality falls on its face. Actually, it might not; I don't know. Every time I try to send an email, I type something into the "To:" header box, and it pops up with a list of potential matches. I have found nothing other than 'pkill -9 evolution' that can get rid of that box. I select the email I want and hit return, or double click, or triple click, or dance, or whatever the hell I want, and nothing at all happens. Even better, this is (somehow) a globally modal dialig (you know, like Mozilla always does that pisses you off so much?), which means that until it goes away I can't focus on any other windows. Which means that my X session is effectively dead unless I can get in some other way. So, I have to SSH in with my Mac and 'pkill -9 evolution'. This has now happened 3 out of 3 times I've tried to use the most recent version of Evolution. Even worse, when I killed the instance the latest time, it somehow managed to move all of my windows down by about 10 pixels, on both of my monitors, which means around 40 windows. I'm very excited. Oh yes, very excited. Anyone got any linux calendaring recommendations? Luke
From: Luke A. Kanies Date: 21:45 on 02 Mar 2004 Subject: Mozilla/Firefox/Firebird/Phoenix/blah Don't get me wrong, I'm very thankful that these exist. I'd still be using Netscape 4 on my Sun boxes if they weren't here, but... They're pretty annoying plenty of the time. Right now I'm pissed that keyboard shortcuts don't work from text boxes. I'd understand if emacs or vi editing modes worked in them, thus stealing our control characters, but they don't. So why the hell can't I hit ^W to close a tab or a window while in a text box? And why doesn't ^Q quit the app? Why? But it's not like that's my only complaint. Of course, using linux is often painful for me because I think it makes more sense to use the Alt/Apple key as the main keyboard shortcut modifier, and this makes that much more sense on Linux because this key is used for absolutely nothing else, whereas Control is used freaking everywhere. I know this isn't really the fault of Moz et al, but it sure bites me the most in that app. And don't get me started on the stupid preference directories... Who ever though that I need to have my preferences stored in some randomized directory name? I understand that maybe someone someday would want multiple profiles stored in the same home directory (although I would think such a person would be smart enough to hack it themselves), although I think it's _stupid_ that all of the preferences are set up to allow this by default. But once we get past that, what's up with the extra gibberish directory? And why the hell isn't it trivial to do things like run/import Diffs of bookmarks? Instead of bookmarks becoming more important, which is what should happen, they've become less important because they're such a PITA to manage across my many, many platforms. It's not like I can check them into CVS, you know, because I get a different random directory on every damn host. Yes, I do use soft links to get around that, but that's also a PITA. And lastly, why is it that Moz et al are the only damn applications in the whole world that can't just run a binary? Why do I need a shell script that launches a shell script to launch a shell script to launch the binary? Huh? What's so special about you? And what's even stupider is you can't soft link those shell scripts to another directory; you have to specify the real, full path every time or the stupid things don't work. Hello? What's your excuse? Yuck! And this is one of the most important apps on the 'net these days? Embarassing. Luke
From: Luke A. Kanies Date: 21:56 on 28 Feb 2004 Subject: More linux hate Okay, now that it all actually works, I can let go. Ugh. All I wanted to do was switch from SCSI to IDE, because I don't have any viable SCSI drives left (I've still got some functional ones, but they're too loud for my workstation). That's all. On BeOS it's trivial. On MacOS it's trivial (basically). On linux, it's darn near impossible. Oh sure, in retrospect it was easy: Just modify /etc/mkinitrd/mkinitrd.conf so that the ROOT variable points to the new volume and rerun 'mkinitrd'. Very easy. Except that it took me about 20 hours to figure that out. Because of course, errors like: modprobe: can't locate module block-major-3 aren't very informative. Oh, I finally figured out that it wasn't probing the driver for my IDE drive, and then about 6 hours later figured out exactly how to make it do that the right way (hint: no, specifying it in /etc/mkinitrd/modules, which lists the modules to probe, isn't enough). But really. Just moving from SCSI to IDE. What makes this whole damn thing even more insulting is the Knoppix CD. This is a bootable CD which literally boots faster than my Debian distribution while giving better feedback (and in color), and at the same time autodetects every single piece of hardware I have. Sure, it runs my monitor at 16bit instead of 24, that's no big deal. But it boots up a fully functional, completely detected system. Oh, and it's based on Debian, the distro I'm using. So, I ask, WTF can't Debian do this? "Oh, but see, there's this guy who wants to specify everything." Well, fuck that guy. He can go to hell. Let him specify everything. I just want the whole damn thing to work, and I don't want to think about it. Linux is not long for this house, at least not on a workstation. Luke
From: Luke A. Kanies Date: 06:33 on 30 Jan 2004 Subject: Stoopid LILO Oh yeah, that makes a lot of sense. So I got my stoopid linux box working. Yeah, what was the problem? Well, see, apparently when BeOS makes a filesystem, it doesn't bother to put it on cylinder boundaries or something. What is LILO's response to this? Hmm, well, we could just give a warning. Or, you know, we could refuse to do anything. But no! LILO, mature veteran that it is, decides instead that it should die with a fatal error and leave a totally busted loader in place. Becaues, you know, the user will figure it out, right? And I normally read error messages and stuff. Really I do. But LILO is _always_ excluding about half of my listed disks for one reason or another, so I figured "oh, an error, that just means this disk got excluded". But no! Instead we just destroy the MBR! I guess I will take the time to learn Grub after all. Yuck. Luke
From: Luke A. Kanies Date: 03:38 on 16 Jan 2004 Subject: linux _still_ sucks Normally I like hardware (mostly) but my hard drives have been driving me insane. (Don't worry, I'll get to the software hate.) I'm preparing to pull a fourth drive from desktop; this one because it's making a high-pitched whining noise that's about to drive me insane. The point of this email, contrary to how it may appear, is not that BeOS is great: It's that linux really does just suck an amazingly large amount. This machine runs two operating systems: Linux and BeOS. In more detail, it's running the absolutely most up-to-date, Debian "unstable" version of Linux, and it's running a version of BeOS that hasn't been upgraded in, oh, 2 or 3 years. Now, there are some problems with BeOS. I can't use spatial keys (Control-Left, Control-Right) to switch workspaces, the terminal really just sucks, the network stack is a travesty, and missing plenty-o-features. But compared to linux.... I turn my stupid computer off and connect a bunch of drives so I can stage my data to them. I boot into linux thinking "i'll just repartition one of them and copy this data over first". Oh yeah, except that, well, linux can't see the damn things. Even though essentially every ide driver that exists is loaded in my kernel, and most definitely the autodetect driver is loaded. Even though at least one of these drives worked last week. Sure. So okay, I'll start with Be. I boot into Be (which takes about 15 seconds and involves almost no disk grinding), and hey! I can see all the drives. Quick partition. Ooooh, a _graphical_ partitioning tool. Simple, straightforward. Wow! I don't have to enter in the number of freaking cylinders I want?! It's almost like I've died and left the 1980s! Amazing! If Linux is innovative, what the hell is this? Cheating? So, I go into partitioning. I may have to boot off this drive. You know what that means? I have to throw away some space at the beginning. Because, you know, lilo might or might not be able to read past the 1024st cylinder. Oh yeah, of course, it's _possible_ to make lilo do it. Usually. In theory. So I partition it all up, and backup my OS. What does the backup consist of? I grap all of the folders and drag them onto the new drive. Wow, that was tough. I wait a bit (again, with graphical feedback, including a progress bar--wow, progress bars!), and it's all done. Oh, and just to reiterate my last hate: BeOS can (of course) power off my monitor even if it's connected via DVI, and it's mp3 player works just dandy, even though it hasn't been updated in 3 years. Oh yeah, open source is all about innovation, and it _naturally_ results in better software. The software's just better than it's competitors were 20 years ago, rather than right now. Thanks. So I'm reduced to trawling the fricking 'net looking for how to force devfs (you know, the thing that's supposed to autodetect all of my devices?) to autodetect (see, I have to force it to autodetect; got that?) my stupid IDE drive. Right. And then, once I get the stupid drive working, I'll have the pleasure of doing the following to make a bootable drive: run 'cd <fs>; sudo tar cf - . | (cd <newspot>; sudo tar xf -) for each of my stupid filesystems Change lilo so that it points to the new drive and installs the new stupid bootloader thing (yeah, BeOS has a simple, easy bootloader, but I decided, heck, I'll try lilo. And plus, BeOS has been deprecated; it didn't seem wise to requier it. Big-ass mistake, obviously, especially considering that Be has no freaking problem with 1024 or more cylinders. Change my stupid SCSI card so it boots off a different drive. Pray that it all freaking works. Reboot twenty times trying it. Yes friends, linux sucks a lot. It's not an atrocious server OS, but anyone who thingks this crap is acceptable is smoking crack. And not the good kind either. How's that for some software hate? And I'm not even done with the night yet. Luke
From: Luke A. Kanies Date: 06:37 on 14 Jan 2004 Subject: Introductory linux hate Wow, maybe this list will be my saviour.... I've got so much software bile it's giving me an ulcer. So much... But this month it's linux. I hate most software, and especially operating systems, but I reserve a special place in my cankerous stomach for linux. I just want two simple things (in this case): Audio, and my LCD powered off after a timeout. Audio worked fine for a long time. I mean, XMMS sucks, but it works. But then something happened and I had to upgrade to ALSA (which becomes standard in 2.6) for some reason, and, well, nothing works now. Or at least, not often. About 1 in 3 times my stupid linux box hangs on startup trying to restore the ALSA mixer settings. Or, conveniently, it hangs at shutdown. About 1 in 2 times, XMMS decides to grind the disk until I restart it. Eventually, almost every time, XMMS just decides to take 100% of one of my cpus and I have to kill -9 it. Okay, maybe I'll use something else. How about rhythmbox and gstreamer? They're cool and new and support ALSA natively. I get the stupid ALSA thing started again, and, um, rhythmbox finally (on the fourth try) imports my 7000 songs. But after that I never once get it to successfully start. Oh, and this is really cool: there's a settings app for gstreamer (which rhythmbox requires) and if that settings app is open, rhythmbox will never start. Close the app, the stupid mp3 player starts. Yeah, and it apparently uses gnump3d or something, and gnump3d-index maybe, except I can't tell, although it did start the process, but it doesn't use the process's index, and instead builds an 80k XML file. This app sucks. Why is it that something that everyone else (except maybe windows I guess, but do they even count?) can do so stinking easily is so stinking hard on linux. Even fricking _Solaris_ can do audio trivially. Really. It's trivial. Works every time. Why the hell is this so difficult? "Oooh, I know, let's replace a simple crappy system with a really complex crappy system!" Oh yeah, that's the OSS innovation we all wanted. Thanks. And don't even get me started on the fact that I have two mac laptops and a linux box, and I need some way to synchronize their libraries on disk (which is easy) and in the stupid apps. But since everyone wants to maintain their own database of the files, and no one provides an external, automateable indexing function, no dice. Yeah, thanks. "Apple: We make the easy things easy and everything else impossible, and we insult you if you try them!" But really, that just makes me mad. What really pisses me off is that my stupid linux box refuses to power off my LCD if it's connected via the DVI port. Oh yeah, it's a bug. It's a bug that was fixed three years ago. It's a bug that's been patched. About ten times. By ten different people. For each linux distro. And Debian even ships with a patch. But it doesn't work. I recompiled xfree86. Four times. Still nothing. So, I take my expensive digital display and connect it to the stupid analog port. Except when I briefly (wonderfully) had two LCDs connected, the primary via DVI and the secondary via VGA. That was even better: The primary wouldn't power off and the secondary would not even blank. That was really cool. Xfree86 sucks, and I hope all those xfree86 core developers, sitting in their parents' basements with no pants, have to suffer through their own code for the rest of eternity and aren't allowed to use the newer, better code that I'm hoping will supplant this crap. Oooh, and the primary has a USB hub in it, so I (stupidly) connected my USB mouse to it, because hey, it's USB, that's cool. Except that it won't power itself off. So I have to. And when I power it back on, well, the mouse doesn't work anymore. I got about 10 very helpful messages that the mouse driver was already loaded, but, well, the stupid mouse never worked. Bouncy bouncy. I just discovered this list today, but you guys may be hearing a lot from me. I've got a lot of software hate. Luke Kanies
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