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frugal technology, simple living and guerrilla large-appliance repair
Fri, 19 Dec 2014

I'm running Fedora 21 with Wayland, and so far (almost) everything is working just fine

After saying I wouldn't jump into a Fedora 21 upgrade, I rather quickly had a change of heart and mind, ran a Fedup upgrade and am now running Fedora 21 on my go-to HP Pavilion g6 laptop.

With Wayland.

Yep, one of the new features of the GNOME 3.14-running Fedora 21 is a preview of the next-generation, post-X Window Wayland display manager, and you can choose "GNOME with Wayland" in the login/session manager.

I'm running Wayland right now. I've heard the caveat many times: Not all applications will work in Wayland. But so far, every application I've tried (Firefox, Gedit, Transmission, FileZilla, VLC, Files/Nautilus, Liferea, Yumex, Google Chrome, Geany, even apps in Wine) has run in Wayland with no trouble.

I've been running Fedora 21 for a few days now, spending most of my time in the non-Wayland world of Xfce and GNOME with X, and the system is as solid as ever. And by that I mean pretty damn solid.

The only glitch I've had with Wayland has been in suspend/resume, which is pretty touchy anyway with my hardware. (I've probably written 50 posts about it since I got this laptop.) When running Wayland, the laptop will suspend and then resume, but I'm seemingly "detached" from my session and have to log in again. At this point I'm logged in twice. This doesn't happen in X. If this is the only thing I can find wrong with Wayland, I'll still consider it pretty remarkable.

Just from a "look and feel" perspective, GNOME 3.14 is working better and faster than version 3.10 did in Fedora 20. I'm not saying I'm going to throw Xfce over for it, but the environment is more usable than ever. I moved to the Adiwata Dark theme while still in F20, and everything looks that much better in F21.

As I've said since I began running Fedora 18 on this laptop and upgrading via Fedup to each subsequent release, a system as forward-looking as Fedora shouldn't be anywhere near as stable as it is. It's a tribute to the developers for Fedora and the many upstream projects that go into the distribution.

Today marks only nine days since Fedora 21 went stable, and my system is running like a well-maintained watch.

So if you think of yourself as the adventurous type, someone who likes everything to be pretty new all the time but doesn't really want to deal with a lot of breakage and is curious about Wayland in the real world, give Fedora 21 a try.

Later: You know what got fixed in Fedora 21 that was broken in F20? Mounting of Apple iOS 8 devices.

Tue, 16 Dec 2014

This is an Ode Markdown formatting test

This paragraph is set off with tabs and has a Markdown-generated link:

This is my Ode site, [which lives here](http://stevenrosenberg.net/blog).

This paragraph uses "blockquote" HTML tagging and an HTML link:

This is my Ode site, which lives here.

This paragraph is set off with tabs and has an HTML-tagged link:

This is my Ode site, <a href="http://stevenrosenberg.net/blog">which lives here</a>.

None of this text uses the "code" tag.

So my question is, how do you call "blockquote" without "code" in Markdown?

Fri, 12 Dec 2014

Fedora 20 confession: Now that F21 is out, I'm enjoying the quiet

So I haven't upgraded my daily-drive Fedora 20 system to Fedora 21, which was released two short days ago.

From what I can see, the RPM Fusion repositories are ready for F21. Google Chrome might break, but a quick removal and reinstall should fix that.

In F21, there will be many changes in the GNOME desktop environment and applications.

But for my go-to desktop environment, Xfce, it's going to be pretty much the same. (Yes, Xfce is moving glacially slow, and I've heard talk of people turning to the GNOME 2-inspired Mate desktop because it's under heavy development.)

My web browsers (Firefox and Chrome) won't fall behind. I get the latest versions from Fedora and Google, respectively.

I'm dabbling in Ruby, and F20 has version 2.0. F21 has 2.1, but at the level I'm at, it doesn't matter.

And now that all the heat is on F21, it's been relatively quiet, update-wise for F20. It's a bit closer to running Debian Stable. After awhile you get a few security patches here and there, but updates are quiet and quick.

Even an old (but still supported) Fedora release gets more updates than a current Debian Stable, but for the moment, I'm enjoying the ritual of staring Yumex and seeing either only a few or, better yet, no updates waiting to be installed.

Sure I'll move to F21. It could be tomorrow (probably not) or next month (you're getting warm). But what's the hurry?

Sat, 06 Dec 2014

Keybase: Cryptography and keys made easier

I'm trying to wrap my head around https://keybase.io/. http://devio.us uses it, and that's how I learned of its existence.

I already use keys for some services, so I'm not completely in the dark, but I sense that between the Keybase web service and local command-line interface, this is something useful.

Thu, 04 Dec 2014

Unhappy Node.js users fork the Joyent-run project, creating community-driven io.js

The Node.js server-side Javascript runtime is today’s hot thing. You might say it’s the Ruby on Rails of the ’10s. Where developers used to code in Perl and PHP, then Ruby/Rails, today’s startup-fueled web-development world is all about Javascript on the server, and Node is the grease that makes it all go.

And sitting atop the Node.js heap is Joyent, the company where Node creator Ryan Dahl was working when he came up with the idea and the code to make it run.

So even though Node.js is an open-source project, its direction is largely guided by the for-profit Joyent. And that doesn’t sit so well with some Node users/developers.

As reported in InfoWorld and elsewhere, a group of them just started a fork of Node.js called io.js, which is now living on GitHub and prepared to take the Node code in a community-driven direction.

As the io.js project’s “Read Me” text states:

"This repository began as a GitHub fork of joyent/node where contributions, releases, and contributorship are under an open governance model.

"We intend to release, with increasing regularity, releases which are compatible with the npm ecosystem that has been built to date for node.js."

As InfoWorld previously reported the Node forking threat has been floating around for awhile, and in response Joyent created an advisory board to get more community input into what has become one of the most-used open-source projects in the world of web-delivered application development.

Fighting, infighting, forking and just plain grumbling is nothing new to open-source projects. Friction over the transition from Python 2 to Python 3, the never-ending gestation of Perl 6, everything about Linux distribution Ubuntu and its SABDFL (self-appointed benevolent dictator for life) Mark Shuttleworth since he moved the buttons from right to left, Debian and the now-raging debate over the systemd init system that’s so much more than an init system … and the beat goes on.

The question is, does Joyent have enough developer (and major corporate) juice to keep Node as the glue holding together today’s Javascript-driven web stack?

The short-term bettor says yes, since Javascript on the server is so “now,” and corporate IT has wrapped its arms firmly around Node. But since Javascript on the server has gone from curiosity to total domination in a few short years, and there’s always something new on the hot-development-tool horizon, it’s anybody’s game.

If the many-horse race over “best Javascript web framework” is any indication, another player in Node’s space is nothing more than the familiar brand of healthy competition that keeps the technology world on its code-slinging toes.

Most forks come to nothing. Just like ex-Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer once said in all his sweat-drenched glory, it usually comes down to “developers, developers developers.”