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Showing posts from February, 2009

sudo = Stupid Utility, Distinct Overkill

I think XKCD said it best... "Make me a sandwich." "What? Make it yourself." "sudo make me a sandwich" "ok" The UNIX OS was originally designed to run on computers that many people would use and in those situations you don't want every Tom, Dick and Janie installing stuff that could break a shared computer. However, on desktop Linux (which one person normally uses) , sudo is kind of useless. Why not just prompt for the user password without sudo (if root access is needed to install or change modifications)? I guess sudo IS easier than logging out and then logging in again as root, but it's annoying (especially if you give your normal user permission to administer the system). It almost becomes a point of politeness (in which the word please would make much more sense). Instead of sudo apt-get install ruby you could just ask please install ruby . No wonder people think techies speak their own language. You are probably saying

Life with Linux

I have been using Ubuntu Linux at home for the last month (courtesy of those folks over at Wubi ). Overall I think it is great. So much faster than MS Vista and it helps inject life back into old machines. However I have spent a fair amount of time configuring and re-configuring things (partly my own fault, and also partly because of the learning curve involved with any new OS). I even had to do one re-install (more on that later). Mostly though it worked out of the box. So here are a few good ground rules for newbies... 1) Make sure you have more than one Internet enabled computer in the house before you do anything. If for some reason you have a hardware conflict (as I did with the wireless card on my wife's laptop) you will need to look up how to fix it. 2) Most of what you need is available through Synaptic Package Manager or Applications > Add/Remove. If you need a program or driver search there first before the Internet. The only notable exceptions I can think of are

On gambling and computer languages

Today's entry will be a bit more esoteric than most others, it's basically an broad analogy between gambling a choosing a software language to learn/specialize in. Basically as a programmer you have many choices in your career as to how which languages to learn and what level. The main 2 choices though are whether or not to become a specialist or a generalist. Take a roulette table, it's possible to make sure you will have a better chance of winning by spreading your money around it (being a generalist) but if you win, your win will be offset by your losses. If you put all your money on one square, if you will you will win big but your chances of winning are lower. Now look at specializing vs generalization in programming. Some of the people I know who earn the most money as programmers (at least per hour) tend to specialize in small areas. I know one who only really knows JavaScript (at an architect's level), another who writes add ons for Outlook, and another who s