The Spectre of Math

January 26, 2010

karmic and bugs … and xsplash should die!

Filed under: Hacking,Linux,Technology — jlebl @ 4:20 pm

Karmic is not turning out to be a very successful ubuntu release for me. I am hitting far more bugs than usual that are also not being fixed within the updates. The bugs have been reported but do not seem a priority. One is for example that udev/kernel do something weird and then keep eating cpu/memory. This leads to the computer having swapped everything useful out at some point. So after a while, the computer is slow as hell (unusably slow, especially coming out of screen lock). Restarting udev solves the problem but 1) I always forgot to do that and 2) it makes removable media not work. So I moved to current lucid on my main machine which seems to be working fine with me hitting no bugs yet (that’s rather odd, I generally hit many a landmine going with a development release).

The other bug I’m hitting on my netbook. The standard netbook interface is flashy but 1) slow 2) unusable with the keyboard (there is keyboard navigation, but it is so incredibly buggy it is useless). Standard GNOME is also too much for the small screen and low memory with no swap. So I am using fluxbox on it (actually I almost started using fluxbox on my main machine …) it is spartan, but after you set things up, it is really fast. Though the issue that took me the longest was the long time after login before the desktop would appear. It seems that someone had the bright idea of making the xsplash thing the default for everything with a timeout of 15s. There is no configuration, no way I could find to easily kill the splash save for removing the xsplash binary. It is a hardcoded hack that gets automatically run for EVERY session, regardless of whether the session supports it or not.

Who’s brainless idea was that? That’s why I had gdm sessions have a .desktop file, so that I can put easily readable properties there about what the session can do. So add something like X-GDM-Supports-xsplash=true godddamn it! How hard is it to implement? Far easier than a flashy pointless splashscreen which should not exist in the first place.

And that’s the other thing. What’s wrong with people who add splashscreen to anything. Splashscreen are generally annoying and make startup slower. Especially if they are moving. You are competing for very scarse resources to simply move useless pixels around. Problem is that even if you time things to make sure that resources are not being taken up, you can’t test every configuration (i.e. someone not using GNOME, obviously that configuration was not tested). The boot looks just fine with xsplash removed. I have not done timings with GNOME, but using fluxbox the boot to desktop time goes down by about 10 seconds.

I’m just mad since I wasted so much time trying to solve this mess.

January 23, 2010

free speech

Filed under: Politics — jlebl @ 6:13 pm

Now that spending money is considered free speech (extreme interpretation of the phrase “money talks”), I am wondering when shooting people will also be considered free speech. I mean shooting people (and before that, poking others with very sharp objects) is a longstanding tradition in political discourse. As the saying goes: “You get a lot further with a kind word and a gun than with a kind word alone.” Obviously, using guns in speech is instrumental.

Another consequence of the recent decision: If corporations are now considered people for political speech, shouldn’t they also acquire all the other rights guaranteed by the constitution? I think they should be able to vote. I’m starting 100 new corporations just for that purpose right now …

January 2, 2010

Irish blasphemy law

Filed under: Politics — jlebl @ 4:36 pm

Well apparently according to a new law in Ireland blasphemy is now illegal. Blasphemy is defined as: publishing or uttering matter that is grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters sacred by any religion, thereby intentionally causing outrage among a substantial number of adherents of that religion, with some defenses permitted.

To me, that law satisfies blasphemy by its own definition. While not strictly an atheist myself, I would conjecture that simply the fact of making blasphemy illegal, is “grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters sacred by atheism. Atheism is a religion; an atheist believes in the nonexistence of something, which is just as much an unsupported proposition as other religions. To be religious means that you believe in a fixed number of gods. Atheists believe that this number is 0, Christians believe this number is 1, etc…. Actually Christians also believe 3=1, meaning that Christianity is a mod 2 religion. The only non-religion is agnosticism, which simply doesn’t specify the number of gods in existence. I suppose as an agnostic you also can’t specify, which domain the number of gods exists in. Common sense would suggest that the number of gods is a number in $\{ 0 \} \cup {\mathbb{N}}$, but as we have seen it is also possible that this number is in ${\mathbb{Z}} / 2{\mathbb{Z}}$. I personally think the number of gods is $\sqrt{-1}$.

I am sure now I can’t go to Ireland.

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