Sunday, February 15, 2009

Deadwood roadmap; On Ubuntu

I have looked at the Deadwood code in CentOS 5.2, and I'm seeing the same problem I saw in Cygwin a couple of weeks ago: DwTcp (the TCP half of Deadwood) doesn't work. Strange, because the code did work back in late 2007. So, I'm going to have to work on this code before releasing another stable release of Deadwood.

You know, my issue is not with Linux. My issue is with Ubuntu Linux, which is trying to make a desktop OS to compete with Windows. Linux has made a lot of progress for the end-user ever since the mid-1990s, when FVWM was the state of the art for end-user usability.

But, Linux as an end-user desktop is beta-quality at best. There's a number of reasons for this. One is that it's impossible to give Linux programmers the kind of discipline needed to make a stable end-user desktop. People constantly want to branch out in new directions and develop new software instead of making stable the software they have already developed. Since people, by and large, aren't getting paid, people aren't very motivated to the the boring, uninteresting programming that users want.

Linux kernel developers don't want to make a stable API or ABI for drivers; this results in people forced to use unstable and untested kernels to have a system that works with their hardware. Instead of continuing development on KDE3, it has been replaced with KDE4. Unfortunately, KDE4 doesn't even have a GUI-based network configuration program; so a perfectly good desktop environment has been abandoned and replaced by one without basic functionality.

Ubuntu essentially forces me to use Gnome; I tried to use it with FVWM in 2007 and 2008 and found that I couldn't do things like configure my network card with "ifconfig" and what not without some daemon erasing my configuration or making my configuration not work.

So, yes, with Ubuntu Linux I'm forced to use unstable software that crashes. This is very different from the situation in the 1990s, where, while not friendly and needing a lot of training to master, Linux had a lot more stability than the not-protected versions of Windows (Windows 3.11, Windows 95, etc.)