080: Thiruvananthapuram

Proper noun: Thiruvananthapuram – State capital of Kerala (India), formerly known as Trivandrum.

TODAY on flaglock: I discuss Fedora 18 “Spherical Cow” and my recent work with “My Neighbor TOTORO.” I have finished a work by Voltaire for once.

Sometimes I really, really can’t stand reading Linux news. The journalism is unprofessional: typos abound, grammatical errors en masse – these are all trifles, because the best of us will suffer these little problems. What gets me is the terrible subjectiveness of it all. Just because your specific computer doesn’t work with it, the distribution gets the blame and down go the ratings. So your hardware happens to be less compatible. Big whoop. Fix it yourself or go back to OEM Windows.

The subjective nature of Linux journalism gets worse as we go further up, to higher-level things: the GUI for Anaconda (the Fedora installer, which was given a makeover for Fedora 18) is broken, partitioning sucks, installation is fraught with problems, fedup doesn’t work correctly, blah blah blah.

Let’s again look at what Fedora’s about: it carries some of the newest and most up-to-date software of the popular distros. It’s about greater flexibility for the user / administrator – flexibility, that, last I heard, Ubuntu was trying to sweep under its quantal carpet.

Let’s look at what GNOME’s about – actually, I have no idea at all, and I’m not going to look for it. Notwithstanding, I’m starting to wonder if the Linux journalists aren’t all just a pack of brain-dead monkeys who can’t seem to do any research. Complaining about having to hold “alt” to get the “Shutdown” option in GNOME is ridiculous. It’s no longer fashionable to shut down your computer every day – at least, not from what I gather of my peers. I’M the only one who would shut down from time to time – and when I couldn’t find that option, a quick Google search turned it up. PEOPLE. GOOGLE IS YOUR FRIEND. What’s more, everyone was complaining about how GNOME 3’s interface totally broke everything. I, the resident Dimwit (with a lowercase r and capital D), had no trouble whatsoever working out where everything was and how to use it; within five minutes of quick trial-and-error, I had GNOME 3 more or less down pat.

Of course, I promptly ditched GNOME for Openbox (for the greater ease of customization), but before I turned out the lights, I took one last glance around and didn’t see anything overtly WRONG. It really made me scratch my head and wonder how the GNOME team felt about the (to them, surely unwarranted) hate aimed their way.

Do not blame Fedora for GNOME’s problems, and actually, don’t blame GNOME at all. We are not a pack of brain-dead monkeys, so we should act as such, and SUCK IT UP and WORK IT OUT. If I can do it, a 70-year-old granny probably could, and so can you. I still find Fedora incredibly usable and flexible, though admittedly my computing requirements are rather low.

Arranging “My Neighbor TOTORO” for two pianos is the closest I’ve come to a study in orchestration: I’ve really gone back and combed through all the tiny details; the lesser voices, the rhythms, and the tempo changes – all these have to be committed firmly to paper. (I’m using the version from Hisaishi’s album “Melodyphony” with the London Symphony Orchestra.) To aid the pianist in her playing, I have made some indication of what each voice should sound like (violins, brass, etc.). The upshot of it all is that there is no written part for the second piano: that is developing in tandem in my head, shaped and molded around the first piano part that I’m writing now. I’m actually quite pleased with what I’ve done so far, and am convinced that this will be my finest work to date.

In three days, I finished the English translation of “Candide” from Project Gutenberg. I didn’t know it was such a good book; it was almost infuriating to me to read some times, but that was probably Voltaire’s intention. I enjoyed it immensely and will probably resume Leblanc later.


EDIT: For posterity, I will record that Fedora 18 “Spherical Cow” had some problems with the drivers for our Brother HL-2270DW printer. None of the instructions, Brother-provided or third-party, really worked, until the crazy workaround was to instead use the driver for the HL-1250. It worked flawlessly, much to my surprise; there’s really something to be said for twisted problem-solving.


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