[ubuntu-studio-devel] Elementary OS

Ralf Mardorf ralf.mardorf at alice-dsl.net
Tue Sep 1 10:35:50 UTC 2015

On Mon, 31 Aug 2015 14:32:40 -0700 (PDT), Len Ovens wrote:
>However, the real place we could shine is system infra structure.

Assumed I'll find a place for a blog, I'll give some hints. It's not
only jackd that could cause trouble for newbies. The Debian/Ubuntu
policy is to autostart everything by default that can be autostarted.

Even while I'm aware about this very evil policy, I was bitten by it a
few day ago and newbies much easier could be bitten by this policy.

Even the possible minimalist Ubuntu install by default installs the
package command-not-found. A beginner might read a howto, a command is
missing to follow the howto and command-not-found recommends to install
package foo.

The user installs package foo without using --no-install-recommends.

The user gets the wanted foo command, but without getting aware of it,
the user also enabled the foo-daemon installed by the same package, in
addition a recommended dependency enables the foo-bar-daemon.

The Debian/Ubuntu policy is the most worse possible to realise a
multimedia distro that is based on real-time abilities and btw. it's
also bad for portable devices, when energy-saving is important.

Ironically command-not-found is one of the tons of completely useless
packages for a minimalist install I removed. As a
10-years-linux-power-user I installed smartmontools to get smartctl,
being aware that there is the autostart policy. I missed that the
package enabled smartd and now it becomes much more ironically.

To check if any broken software automatically was installed, that could
damage external green drives, I used smartctl. Using smartctl I
noticed that something caused a never ending spin down and spin up loop
for my external green WD drive. Everything known to damage green
drives, such as gvfs was removed, so I needed to searched an
unknown culprit. The winner is smartd. Nothing waked up my green drive,
but the package I installed to check if something wakes up the green

Now imagine what happens if inexperienced users install software and
all recommended packages. Easily hundred unneeded init/systemd services
will be enabled and in addition tens or more unneeded desktop crap things
too. The first line of my openbox's autostart file is to clear the

[rocketmouse at archlinux ~]$ head -n1 /mnt/moonstudio/home/weremouse/.config/openbox/autostart 

You might think that this isn't an issue for desktop environments, such as
Xfce4 and Unity, since they provide a GUI to select what should and what
shouldn't run when starting a session. It seemingly is, on the Ubuntu user
list somebody was convinced that some GNOME-keyring-thingy doesn't run,
because he disabled it by such a GUI. I recommended to check with pidof or
ps aux. The thingy still was launched by starting a session.

Unneeded services are a show-stopper for real-time usage.

IIUC providing packages by a PPA is done by uploading source packages that
follow the Ubuntu policy, there's no way to upload helpful binary packages.
I hope there's a free of charge place for a blog, were I can post scripts
that build packages for Ubuntu. I know how to build the packages I like to
provide, I know how to write scripts that could build this packages for
inexperienced users who don't trust my binary packages. I'm not willing to
learn how to build Ubuntu packages, it's to time consuming to learn this and
it gains nothing.

Btw. for good reasons I don't use Xfce4 anymore. A while back Xfce4 became
as odd as other DEs. My recommendations are openbox and jwm. I prefer
openbox over jwm. Even when using Xfce4 or other DEs I would replace several
apps, at least the terminal emulation and the file manager.

It's too funny, but a lot of software that starts much faster and performs
much better, often provides more features, than apps that belong to a desktop
environment. I hope that Ubuntu Studio at least replaces xfce4-terminal with
a terminal emulation that at least allows resizing the window. It's
ridiculous that a DE allows to resize the window, but without fixing the
line wrapping when resizing the window.

If by default a good terminal emulation, IOW roxterm, would be provided,
than users perhaps would be more willing to use the terminal, instead of
GUIs that try to be user-friendly, by providing a GUI for something, that
not really can be provided by a GUI.

Providing GUIs that try to set up things automagically is the wrong approach.
The right approach is to provide good tools.

The user should spend time in learning how to set up jackd and other stuff.
There should not be the need to learn what software to use and how to use
this software. The software should be self-explaining.

[rocketmouse at archlinux ~]$ grep EDITOR /mnt/moonstudio/home/weremouse/.bashrc 
export EDITOR="nano"

How needs vi(m) when e.g. running visudo or editing /etc/security/limits*?
Who is able to use vi(m)?

Btw. using upstream recommendations for jackd's /etc/security/limits* might
be better, than providing Debian/Ubuntu fantasy settings.

My mail already is too long too read, but I could continue ;).


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