Two Decades of Tech Blogging

In my last post, I noted that I was switching away from Wordpress to a roll-my-own-solution. I took the last handful of posts, and started the work of converting posts to the new blog format. I never realized until I started converting, that this blog has existed for well over 20 years at this point.

The world of open source is dramatically different today. Sometimes I get a bug up my rear to go take a look at projects I used to work on or people I used to work with. I’ve been in the corporate world so long that each time I come back to the land of open source, I’m amazed by the change that happens over what seems like few years. The initial focus of this blog was on my attempted development of a new Linux distribution. This turned into being a package maintainer for the upstream of Foresight Linux. It’s hard to believe that Foresight itself died roughly 8 years ago.

Maybe getting older introduces nostalgia for the “Good Old Days”, but I honestly miss the open source world that existed in the late 90s / early 2000s. Mostly, Software Development just felt… a lot more fun. I thought for a while that maybe I just made the mistake of turning a hobby into a career. But lately, I think it’s simply tech gentrification. The tech stack of today is infinitely less democratic. The major Linux developers are big corporations: RedHat, IBM, Canonical, Microsoft…

A lot of old-school nerds shouted at the air when SystemD became a “thing”. I never quite drank the hateraid. But, I have come to notice that the core Linux subsystems have gone further and further away from the general Unix hacker philosophy. I don’t think younger students have many open areas for development now. Low level kernel development operates like a large company. Higher level development is typified by the sad state of Wayland Window Managers versus X11 Window Managers.

I can hear someone responding about how “we’re no longer duplicating effort”. This makes the massive assumption that the incoming level of effort remains constant. My opinion? The story of “volunteers” building Linux is dead. The most vocal “community activists” are giving presentations at conferences on new software intended for AWS and Azure while using an Apple laptop.

Yikes. I need to chill before going full cynic.

In any case, I’m slowly working at updating this blog with the past 20 years of converted files. I’m starting at the beginning (and the end) and working my way forward. So, you’ll likely (until I’m done) notice a huge jump in tone and time. Enjoy the time capsule. While I started doing this with my own software, I discovered a new - and very solid - project that worked almost EXACTLY like what I developed. Sans that they actually wrote a markdown processor, allowing them to avoid sideloaded files… So, these entries are now populated using “Hugo”. Unfortunately, that also means no comments. Want to argue? Shoot me an email. I’m hoping to setup Mastadon or Matrix here soon.

Until next time. Peace.

Time to Ditch Wordpress

Fighting blog software is tiring.

After some serious consideration, I’ve decided to roll my own software for this site. Why? Wordpress is a fairly massive security liability, and I’d like to avoid the ongoing maintenance effort (or cost of hosted service). Worse, I’ve found that each new version focusing more on being a full-fledged CMS and less on simple blogging. And - yet worse - I’d like to nuke MySQL / MariaDB as a “thing” on this server.

My original blog was a simple M4 macro and Makefile for a static site. This removed the ability to have comments, but at the time, I was utilizing a static hosting service anyway (no databases!). Management was really darn easy in this case, outside of the gnarly aspect of updates.

Eventually, I’d like to introduce a new/custom BBS style piece of software to run this site - complete with comments, mailbox, and user features. Right now though, I have scant time to actually maintain this thing, and I’d like to “simplify” my tech life management into something that’s easy to work with. The original blog will remain available for some time under the /blog directory (to maintain links) - while I work on conversion.

If you’re curious to see the (REALLY HACKY!) software stack used for this blog, I’m hosting it on github. Blog entries are simple markdown file with a side-load JSON file to specify all the meta data. A compile python script scans for files, builds an indexes, and poops out some static HTML.

Boom. Done. Simple is better.

Package Design Update

Wow. I’ve started getting emails/etc.. from people interested in the distro, mainly with the single question: WHERE IS IT? Just like that, the caps, bold – everything.

So here is a bit of a status update. HaX took a much needed vacation after I made him package GNOME – alone. His hair should start growing back pretty soon, and the doctors tell me the stroke did no permanent damage. While he was off, I did a foolish thing, and mangled just about all of base. Like I said before, it’s basically a completely new distro.

Some of my personal goals for this distro have changed. For one, I still want the end-user usability that would put Mandrake to shame – but unlike Mandrake, I would like to remain true to the sources that made Linux – and Unix – what they are in the first place. Some Linux distributions seem to forget about the advanced end user’s expectations. Others provide administration utilties that carelessly write over hand edited configuration files. This has greatly changed my entire approach at packaging the base system, and that is what a lot of the “base” redo reflected. That said, there is no reason why such a base, developed correctly, can not be used to build something easy to use for the end user.

Currently, beta testing is open to advanced linux users only, advanced linux users being defined as people that don’t mind hand editing config files when things go wrong. As everything is still in development things WILL go wrong.

HaX is currently working on packaging a new X, and I am putting the finishing touches on base – and trying to get the REAL installer (Beta users currently use a make-shift temporary one) ready for Prime Time. 🙂

Updating for a blog

Redid this page today. I’ve kept it optimized for us Lynx friends, so don’t complain to me about the lack of pretty graphics, crappy banner ads, and overuse of images. Before this page was a minimal mirror of golgotha source code, textures, music, and not much else. I’ll be posting relevant public updates to the distribution stuff I’m working on here. (Status and such) If you’d like to help – give me a line, my mail is at the bottom of this page. Any major distribution developments that I’m responsible for, and are public info will be posted here.