Distributing sources with modern Linux distributions

Playing around with Ubuntu 6.06, I noticed that in the Software Preferences, that part of the default “Channels” (which are in actuality lines in /etc/apt/sources.list) include those for the Ubuntu’s packages’ sources.

I’m not sure why these are there by default… How many users actually need to recompile a package when the distribution came with a binary one? In my 5 yrs of using Linux, I’ve never needed to. Yes, I understand the whole free software and GPL thing, where sources must be available with software. This doesn’t mean that new users (a large part of Ubuntu’s user base) need to waste bandwidth and disk space on things they will hopefully never need to use.

I don’t see the practical use for distributing sources with a distribution. If you do need to compile something to get an install up and running, you may need the source for one single piece of software, and you won’t be going to the sources included with the distribution–after all, if their original binary package didn’t help, what use is re-creating a binary for the same version? You’ll be getting the latest version off the Internet and using that. It probably won’t even be by the makers of the distribution, but upstream somewhere. E.g. ditching a vendor kernel for one from kernel.org.

With Ubuntu, I can’t really complain much, as one only ends up downloading some relatively small text files. Back in the days when I used Redhat it was a different story: I’d spend a month downloading the latest Redhat ISO image, half of which was source RPMs that as a Linux newbie I had no use for.

A take on Drupal's taxonomy system from the Plone/Python camp

Over at the Plone Blog is the article Death and Taxonomies; it reviews Drupal’s taxonomy (aka category) system.

The author basically comes to the conclusion I have, a conclusion that is shared by many in the Drupal community but not so much outside of it: Drupal’s taxonomy system is amazing.

For most people and their uses, it is completely overengineered and complicated to use. This fits into Drupal’s marketing stance that it is a content management framework rather than just a CMS. It is very generic, and with some custom programming can be adapted to anything–the possibilities are limitless. With many web development projects (that I don’t want to write in PHP) I think about, I wish I had the facility of Drupal’s taxonomy system.

Of course, there are problems, which the review goes into: there are too many hierarchal relationships in Drupal, all competing with each other. There is the menu system, the book module, and hierarchal taxonomies. The key to being a Drupal master is know when to use which and how to use them, something I’ve definitely not mastered. And that is part of the problem–why should you need to?

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Good wedding music

Interesting snippet from IRC

Me: am I badass…
Me: that I just seriously recommended someone play Bone Thugs n Harmony for a wedding?
Matt: I think you get disqualified for badassedness when people ask you what to play at weddings
Me: crap =/

And yes, I was serious: Bone Thugs n Harmony have some very, slow, thoughtful tracks that I think would be great wedding music. No one is allowed to ask me what to play at weddings anymore. Have a nice day.

The meaning of prayer

I was talking to a friend today, who does not believe in god. She was making a remark that she did not like to eat with her Christian friends, because their saying grace made her feel awkward. She felt awkward because she would feel dishonest if she participated in their prayer.

There are two kinds of “active” non-believers, those who believe religion and issues of god are something are totally meaningless (could be atheists or agnostics), and those who vehemently opposed and offended by anything to do with religion (probably only atheists).

This feeling of “dishonesty” made no sense to me if you fit into one of the above two categories. If you are opposed and offended, you would find the prayer annoying. If you thought it was a bunch of meaningless ritual, then you are just reciting a bunch of nonsense, so there’s no reason to feel dishonest and not participate, as long as it was not offensive.

I’m not really sure if acting like this is offensive to Christians. I don’t mean going to church and acting like a believer; I’m talking about simple everyday things like saying a prayer before a meal. If you’re a Christian I’m interested in your opinion.

I like to think I am the former kind of non-believer, the one just sees it all as meaningless. The latter kind of non-believer, the one who finds religion offensive, are the kind that make the news. Consider the controversy over the removal of the phrase “under god” from the national anthem [of the USA]. My feeling is that it does not belong there: added not even a century ago, it is no way part of America’s history, and is a clear violation of the seperation of church and state. That said, I don’t really care to get it removed because of how much hassle it would be. Basically, I’m glad something is thinking and doing something about these things, but I’m glad I am not paying for it.

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