Caretaker of DS8.ZONE. Free (Libre) Software enthusiast and promoter. Pronouns: any

Also /u/CaptainBeyondDS8 on reddit and CaptainBeyond on

  • 2 Posts
Joined 3 years ago
Cake day: March 27th, 2021

  • The most obvious difference going from Debian stable to GNU Guix is that Guix is a rolling release distro, not stable (in the Debian sense) at all.

    Package management is also very different as it’s fundamentally a source based distro, although sometimes the build servers can provide prebuilt packages if they’re available. Also, Guix has the concept of “profiles” which group sets of installed packages; typically, there is a system profile as well as a profile for each user, but users can also create their own separate profiles. This means that a user can install packages to their own profile without needing root permissions.

    Profile updates are done in an atomic manner, such that changing the set of installed packages (installing, updating, or removing a package) actually creates a new generation of the profile, and it’s possible to roll back to a previous generation if something breaks. This is true of the system as well as the user profile(s), of course. A profile generation can also be exported as a manifest, which can then be imported to create a profile generation on another system, allowing package management to be done in a declarative manner.

    Finally, Guix has a commitment to ship only free software, and uses linux-libre as its kernel. Debian has a clear separation between free and non-free components but does ship non-free software, including firmware blobs, and I believe as of recently the installer provides them by default. There are unofficial Guix channels (=repositories) that provide these things.

  • Currently I run GNU Guix on my desktop, laptop, and servers. I like the dedication to software freedom and the way package management works. Before that I used Debian until 2019, Trisquel until 2014, and Ubuntu until around 2010. Debian and Trisquel are fine and I don’t have anything against them, I just like the Guix package manager more. I’ve used Xfce with all of these (and before then, GNOME 2). I set it up the way I like it and it never changes.

    I typically run LineageOS on my mobile devices, without microG or any proprietary apps. As I’ve said before my preferred OS would be some variant of GNU/Linux, preferably Guix as well, but LineageOS works well enough.

    I run OpenWRT on my router, and had a previous router than ran LibreCMC (a variant of OpenWRT using Linux-libre).

    Windows games are made for Windows so I prefer to use Windows for them. I don’t particularly want to turn GNU/Linux into Windows, I think it deserves better than that.

  • For me LineageOS is a good baseline. I don’t have anything against “privacy” OS’s but they’re not really for me. I just use F-Droid to get apps and don’t care about compatibility with proprietary stuff so neither microG nor the GrapheneOS sandboxed Play services are of interest to me. I don’t use GrapheneOS because I don’t have or want a Pixel phone.

    LineageOS significantly increases the lifespan of devices it supports and that’s important to me. Planned obsolescence is cancer.

    My ideal mobile OS would be something like Mobian (or even better, a GNU Guix based distribution) but it should be noted that AOSP is also a Linux based operating system and thus anything derived from that is a Linux mobile OS.

  • Microsoft is about as bad as any other proprietary software company. They do some good things for the open source economy, but they also mistreat their users.

    I think it’s a mistake to look at the free software movement as being a reaction against Microsoft or Google. It’s against the proprietary software world in general.

  • I’m also not too happy with this framing of the free software movement. The goal of the software freedom movement is to empower users with the freedom to use, modify, and share the software; that free software projects end up being alternatives to proprietary software products (“paid” is irrelevant) is more or less a consequence of people scratching their own itch. Maybe the fact that GNU and Linux started out as attempts to clone the proprietary Unix operating system furthered this view.

    I don’t think it’s helpful to look at free software projects as being “alternatives” to popular proprietary software, because this means that even the best free software will forever be in the shadow of its proprietary counterparts. For example, if you have a proprietary program X and a free program Y that does 70% of what X does, you’ll be inclined to judge Y unfavorably - but if that 70% covers what you need from program X, then program Y is an acceptable replacement for you.

  • F-Droid has high inclusion standards (not high enough IMO but apparently too high for many Android developers). If a project isn’t in F-Droid and has no interest in being in F-Droid I consider it a red flag, but it’s crucial to find out if an issue has been opened and what the project’s response on that issue is. Sometimes it’s just because the developer(s) haven’t gotten around to it yet, but other times it’s because there’s a proprietary component that can’t be easily removed.

    For example on this app (2fas) the reason it’s not on F-Droid is apparently because it uses Google cloud messaging (FCM) and there’s no interest in developing a version without.

    Unfortunately with the security FUD against F-Droid peddled in part by PrivacyGuides and other organizations (which Obtainium and its fanbase happily help spread) there is decreasing interest even in using, let alone developing for, this repository.

  • AFAIK on Android it has a hard dependency on Google services. I don’t mind installing proprietary stuff to my work profile for the express purposes of work but that requires modifying my system to accommodate this specific app and that’s a step too far for my personal device. So I use a free software option (Aegis) instead.

    edit: if for some reason I really did need MS Authenticator and not any old TOTP app, I would procure a googled device specifically for work rather than install google or microG into my personal device.

  • There’s a certain irony, I think - the original free software movement was based on ensuring the users’ freedom to use, modify, and share software. “Open source” came about as a “business friendly” rebranding of Stallman’s movement (see Open source misses the point). Naturally, being friendly to business doesn’t mean business will be friendly back. That is to say, I acknowledge the unhealthy relationship between “business friendly open source” and the proprietary software industry.

    That said, it should be extremely obvious that most hardline free software supporters like Richard Stallman and Drew DeVault ( are far from “corporate bootlickers” the latter of which even runs an (actual) free software company (and yet also started this community fork of Redis).

    If you can’t make money from free software then feel free to sell proprietary software instead. What we take issue with is the attempt to co-opt the open source label, the attacks on real free software/open source, and (especially in this thread) the incessant name calling and accusations of bootlickery (while also characterizing anyone who pushes back as being “toxic”). Maybe we’re not just simping for Amazon here, maybe we actually see the forest for the trees and recognize the dangers of normalizing fauxpen source licenses.

  • Damn this community is getting really toxic.

    You’re upset that a community called “open source” is pushing back against an attempt to co-opt the open source label? In my view this attempt is highly insidious and far worse than one corporate actor “stealing” (i.e. using) an open source project. These projects were all true free software before pulling the rug on the community and switching to a fauxpen source license, which makes it even worse - if these were proprietary from the beginning no one would have cared, but also fewer people would have contributed, because it doesn’t feel as good doing volunteer work for a proprietary product.

    I agree there needs to be a mechanism in place for free software developers to be financially compensated but if you’re changing the license so that it’s no longer free software then it’s just proprietary software under some faux “open” label, at which point you might just drop the pretense of being “open” at all - just admit you’re a proprietary software company that puts your financial interest ahead of the community’s.