Friday, 17 November 2017

Silent Spring

Well I finally got tired of Slackware64 - it worked quite well until I upgraded it to 14.2 some weeks ago, and then too much stuff broke - all I could get working was the VESA driver which meant I was back to a single screen, no opencl either. I ended up putting in xubuntu lts (16.4).

The machine is kinda busted anyway one of the DIMM slots doesn't work - the BIOS detects it but Linux throws the memory away for some reason. This happened months ago but I thought i'd give it another go but of course made no progress. Before it vanished it would sometimes show up and then crash if I used too much memory so I think the motherboard slot is shot (either DIMM works ok in slot 0, neither in 1). I'm in no rush to replace it, although 4G is a bit tight at times but it's not like I do much on it other than waste my life browsing shit I don't care about, with the occasional bit of pointless coding thrown in.

I probably wouldn't have bothered with unbuntu (and i really don't like it or other debians as a whole) but I somehow corrupted the BTRFS filesystem (I think modifying it from a live boot ubuntu which necessarily has a different build - it's been solid for years) and completely lost it. Well I was modifying it throwing away junk before I backed it up so I had just backed it up. I think that's my last experiment with BTRFS, i'm back to jfs now.

At least ubuntu installed quickly and easily and all, not too much hassle apart from the boot config. I setup an EFI boot partition which ubuntu automatically placed in /boot/efi but I didn't create a /boot partition where grub expects everything like the jfs module it needs to read the modules directory on the root partition. Sigh. Well after multiple attempts (easily enough booting via the live usb stick) I eventually worked out the grub command lines to install everything in the /boot/efi partition and have it work (I haven't used grub in years and that was pre-grub 2).

Then I had to go through the ritual of removing all the junk and installing useful stuff. Fuckoff pulseaudio, networkmanager, gnome-software (I mean what the fuck is this shit?), the auto updater, install emacs and dev packages, jvm's, netbeans. Then had to go through and fix the colours and fonts in the tools I use, fix the WM theme, etc. Fortunately i've installed 2 other machines not too long ago so it wasn't so painful this time.

And the stupid gtk3 scrollbars - something I noticed earlier but thought was just firefox at fault. Apparently scrollbars are hard to get right. I can only imagine that being the case if you also have trouble putting underpants on in the morning.

Firefox 57 is kinda shit. Infact I'm having to use `Midori' to write this because I can't even login to google from firefox because the login window simply doesn't work. And with the new plugin system it means my most useful plugin - one that toggles the javascript enable flag - is broken. You can get sort of get the same functionality from the new plugins but because of the way it works any site still thinks javascript is still available so might present a different page than if it wasn't; i.e. it just breaks more shit. I dunno, i'll see on that one, i'm reading less and less lately anyway so it might not matter. The whole browser is pretty bloody fugly too, like someone published and early mockup made in a spreadsheet tool.

And apparently firefox dropped alsa support some time ago, I thought the upgrade to Slackware64 14.2 had just broken something else. Actually I kind of like that computers just shut the fuck up (and don't catch you out by going beep) unless they're asked to make noise so it's no big deal. youtube is a bit crap, and particularly shit in a browser, and there isn't really any other valid reason for sound out of a browser.

The only reason I stick with firefox is because you can override the default colours and fonts completely (black on white gives me a fucking headache, as doe tiny or shitty typefaces - black on grey, DejaVu @ 9+ pix everywhere please), and disable javascript (it just makes so much of the web so much cleaner and faster). It also used to work well enough on the few sites I regularly use.

Sigh, i've had a troubled week.

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