Since building my first new computer in 9 years just a few months ago, i have been able to completely change the way i use my computer. My hardware before was not nearly powerful enough for me to do much with it, even on Linux. But now i have new hardware, while its not the latest and greatest, its still much more powerful than what i had before. It works very well under Linux, with the exception of my inbuilt sound, which did not seem to work on Ubuntu, but works fine under Arch Linux.
Since i got this new hardware, i have spent many hours gaming, compiling code, browsing the net and enjoying being able to do more than 1-2 things at once. People also seem to think that hardware compatibility on Linux is terrible, but its not. Sure, some companies devices work terribly on Linux (some of the older Lexmark printers for example) but a lot of hardware works just fine.
Expect more frequent blogging from me in the future.
Just a quick post to get my blog verified on Empire Avenue.
My motivation for writing this blog post is based on an IRC conversation I had a few hours ago. Basically, we got talking about different distro’s and I eventually brought up the topic of convenience. Now I first thought, what is convenience? I figured its the ease of use of a specific application or distro, in computing terms anyway. But is that what it really means? the way I see it, convenience can be classified into two categories, short-term and long-term. Let me explain.
Short term convenience means that a user is able to get up and running and familiar with an application, distro or other piece of software very quickly, this has its benefits. It allows a user to quickly get the work they want to do done without having to learn lots of keyboard shortcuts/commands/read lots of documentation. For many people, this is the way they like to do things.
Now, long-term convenience means that a user is required to spend a little more time mastering a given application, but it allows them to have far greater flexibility and more importantly perhaps, convenience. I think the true meaning of convenience is not ease of use but less effort for the user, these two things are not the same thing, ease of use is how easy something is for a user, less effort relates to how effortlessly a user is able to accomplish a task, let me give you an example.
Say a user editing code wanted to open a document, go to a certain line, delete bits of code from inside other bits of code and then go to another set of lines and delete a whole bunch of lines entirely. In gedit, which I would class as a short-term convenience application, the user would have to tediously scroll around the document constantly switching between the keyboard and the mouse. But what if that user used something like vim, which I would class as a long-term convenience application. Then all the user has to do is enter a few short commands all strung together and they don’t even need to use the mouse.
Sure its easier to learn to use gedit, but is sacrificing true convenience for a slightly lower learning curve really worth it? in the long-term, it would be more beneficial for the user to simply learn to use vim. Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments.
Over the last few days I have been experimenting with the AUR and building PKGBUILD’s from it, the AUR is the Arch User Repository and my god it is great. Not only is there a heap of software in it but its very easy to add and install software from.
Now, Ubuntu’s PPA’s on the other hand, which i used extensively when i used Ubuntu, are great, but they require constant management, because you are constantly adding, removing and changing around the PPA’s. Not to mention the fact that more often than not, many Ubuntu users will have upwards of 40-50 PPA’s added to their system at any one time.
The AUR on the other hand, requires much less maintenance, it only needs to be added once. After that you can either build the PKGBUILD’s by hand or use an AUR helper like yaourt. Either way, it’s very, very easy to use.
The other great advantage of the AUR is that dependencies of applications in the AUR are very unlikely to break your system because the packages are often only a little bit more bleeding edge than the packages in the other repositories.