What is “RTFM”, and why telling Linux newbies this “advice” simply sucks

!! CONTENT WARNING: Cursing !!


In the title, I use “advice” as a stretch of the definition. RTFM, or “Read the Friendly/Fucking Manual” is an unfortunately common response to many Linux newbies asking questions anywhere from forums to a friend on Discord. This “advice” sucks, as newbies will often expect a good explanation as to what the hell to do; maybe even a part of the solution and a link to where to find that advice commonly. I personally have begun a practice wherein if someone asks me for advice that could be responded to with an “RTFM”, I will instead give a small sentence and a reference link/file to the requested advice if I can find it.

Additionally, most Linux commands posses a '-h', '—help', or (not common) '–?' flag for a help page.

Dusk Common handles: XDuskAshesReal, XDuskAshes (And various capitalizations) Working on a secret project :> Github | YouTube | Tumblr

Arch Linux, the distro for the chronic customizer; a commentary on myself and other users

Arch Linux is notoriously the most difficult distro (barring Gentoo's entire existence) to use, since the base installation just gives a command line and almost no further explanation. The wiki is there, and enough guides will give you a mediocre to decent system, however when you customize it solely, it becomes the best. I say this because Arch is a perfectly customizable distro, allowing you to cherry-pick what you want on there (barring the base Linux and any libraries required by programs) and perfectly tailor the experience.

I have seen hundreds of Arch rices on r/unixp**n, but nothing looks better than what one makes for themselves, as the things you like depend on how you make them or even have them.

And to extend the stereotype: I use arch btw

Dusk Common handles: XDuskAshesReal, XDuskAshes (And various capitalizations) Working on a secret project :> Github | YouTube | Tumblr

Lua, and my love-hate relationship with ComputerCraft's libraries and programs; why docs should be easy to read

I love Lua. It's the main language I know. That is, when it comes to the Minecraft mod ComputerCraft:Tweaked's CraftOS 1.8. For those unaware, ComputerCraft, and by extentsion ComputerCraft:Tweaked (Here on out referred to as CC and CC:T respectively) is a Minecraft mod that adds computers to the game, programmable with the Lua scripting language.

The reason it's a love-hate relationship is because sometimes the errors make no sense at all. When trying to loop over what should be a table, and getting the error “Expected table: got nil”, but when I print the ““nil”” value, it says it's a table outright. It's so confusing all the time. Thankfully I have Jeremy- my debugging ducky friend- to help sometimes.

But when Jeremy fails to help, I still pay him with a few little cracker crumbs and go to the CC:T wiki to look at the documentation, but it ends up making no sense at all. It's like trying to decipher assembly code, virtually impossible unless you can memorize assembly perfectly.

All in all, Lua and CC:T is a love-hate relationship, and make docs human-readable, dammit!

Dusk Common handles: XDuskAshesReal, XDuskAshes (And various capitalizations) Working on a secret project :> Github | YouTube | Tumblr

Why I use a rubber duck to debug my code

I have a little rubber duck with a christmas hat and antlers on my desk at all times. Whenever I code, and I come across an issue, I explain my code to the duck line by line. His name is Jerry by the way. Jerry is the best listener, in fact his listen-only method of debug assistance helps me listen to myself explain my bad code.

For example, in Lua, when trying to figure out why I kept getting an “Expected EOF” error, I read my code, line by line, in human explanation, to Jerry; which ended up helping me realize I missed a single end in an else statement.

If you code, get a rubber duck, name that duck whatever you want, and if you need to debug, rely on the duck and not a program.

Dusk Common handles: XDuskAshesReal, XDuskAshes (And various capitalizations) Working on a secret project :> Github | YouTube | Tumblr

RHEL and Ubuntu, what'll happen?

Topics: Red Hat Enterprise Linux going virtually closed source? Ubuntu immutable desktop option in future? My takes on the matters; with definitions

Did anyone ask for my takes? No. Will I give them? Absolutely. +=============+ Definitions:

“RHEL” and other capitalizations refers to Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

“SRC” and other capitalizations refers to the concept of “source code”.

“License” or “The License” and other capitalizations refers to the GNU GPL 3.0 +=============+

Topic 1: RHEL going closed source?

In a blog post by Red Hat, and the VP's follow-up blog post in response to backlash, it's clear that it isn't actually going closed source. However, one may argue that the license may still be violated in some way, as it could potentially violate the GPL's requirement for src to be available publicly in all forms.

Red Hat stated in the post that, A; CentOS Stream will now be the sole repository for public RHEL-related source code releases, and B; source code will remain available via the Red Hat Customer Portal for paying customers. What I take from this while also double checking the license, it states that no person(s) distributing software under the GPL can force you to pay to see the src.

By restricting part of the src to paying customers, this could be viewed as a violation of the license. This does not mean that Red Hat is so suddenly all evil and such, because in the VP's follow-up blog post, Red Hat VP Mike McGrath states; “We don’t simply take upstream packages and rebuild them. At Red Hat, thousands of people spend their time writing code to enable new features, fixing bugs, integrating different packages and then supporting that work for a long time – something that our customers and partners need.”

My take on this situation is that closing off a good amount of the src to only paying customers, if left unchecked or open-source somehow topples, could lead to disaster for Red Hat and RHEL users. While I don't see that happening anytime soon, some people are speculating that it may very well happen.


Immutable, snap-based Ubuntu desktop

In the near future, Ubuntu will have a snap-based immutable desktop environment for those who really want it. The goal is to be able to have a containerized system so everything can be updated automatically when they need to be.

Now this is just an idea for Ubuntu Core, as stated in the post, but part of an immutable desktop include:

1 Read-only: The primary characteristic of an immutable OS is that the running system cannot be directly modified by users or applications.

2 Atomic updates: Updates are applied atomically; meaning they’re successfully applied all at once or not at all.

3 Predictable: Because the core operating system doesn’t change, its behaviour is predictable across devices.

4 Isolated Applications: Applications are isolated from the core operating system and from each other, usually through containerisation. This ensures that changes made by an application don’t affect the core system or other applications.

While this does seem like a good idea, in my opinion it could have a few issues. For starters, what about things like a custom .bashrc? Will those be affected? Will the terminal be unable to access the .bashrc file? Also, some of the drawbacks are listed;

1 Reduced Flexibility: An immutable OS is less flexible than a traditional OS. Users cannot modify system files or customise their system to the same degree.

2 Limited Compatibility: Not all applications and services are compatible with the containerised or isolated environments provided by an immutable OS.

3 Storage Requirements: Update mechanisms often require image snapshot storage. Isolated applications can lead to redundancy in the storage of application dependencies.

4 Developer Experience: While containerised development environments provide benefits (such as improved isolation and reproducibility) they may also introduce additional complexity and limit the use of familiar tools and workflows.

For me, the reason I daily drive Linux is for flexibility. I want to have everything tweaked just how I like it. I don't want just one desktop environment, I want options. That is why I personally will not be using the immutable Ubuntu Core when it comes out, however I would recommend it for someone who is new to Linux but wants a windows-like experience, such as grandmas.


-Dusk 6/29/23


Cited for RHEL SRC Stuff: https://www.redhat.com/en/blog/furthering-evolution-centos-stream https://www.redhat.com/en/blog/red-hats-commitment-open-source-response-gitcentosorg-changes

Cited for Ubuntu stuff: https://ubuntu.com/blog/ubuntu-core-an-immutable-linux-desktop

GNU GPL 3.0 Cites: https://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-3.0.en.html https://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.en.html#DoesTheGPLAllowRequireFee

Dusk Common handles: XDuskAshesReal, XDuskAshes (And various capitalizations) Working on a secret project :> Github | YouTube | Tumblr

Bigots suck.

I have nothing more to say.

Dusk Common handles: XDuskAshesReal, XDuskAshes (And various capitalizations) Working on a secret project :> Github | YouTube | Tumblr