Linux is a Double Edged Sword

  • Talking with someone about Apple ecosystem, linux, and cross-device integrations in general

  • Made me realise how much of this is actually a pain

  • I usually joke “It’s hell, but one of my own creation so I at least know which torture devices there are.”

  • Tbf, Arch quite probably has more pains than other distros

    • Although mine has been surprisingly stable for the past 5 years…
  • Configs are cool

  • But configs are also a pain to set up, keep in sync, backup, etc.

  • There are wikis for everything

    • Side-note: if not, SOL
  • But everything I’ve written have been through a frustration+caffeine fuelled “flow”, which produces really good configs and scripts which Just Work.

    • And should they ever break, going back through all those wiki pages and details will likely be a similar exercise in frustration
    • If the project even still exists (this has happened! termite, ferdi, woff2ttf, etc)
  • Sure, writing these mini-tools, scripts, configs, etc. have taught me an incredible amount about both those concepts and configuring systems in general

  • But increasingly, I also just want a system that works and doesn’t require arcane wpa_supplicant runes, which I had to get from a lecturer who also ran Arch, to connect to my university’s network. Plug-n-play is really nice, y’know?…

  • Can make things very secure: LUKS, PAM, firewalls

  • But I 100% am not an expert on those, even though I dual-boot with Windows with FDE on.

    • If that breaks, then by design, all my data is actually just gone.
  • “But Tom, make backups!” “Just backup using

  • See previous points: the choice and modularity is the beauty of linux, but also, I’d need to sort this out myself, it’d likely be a CLI which I then need to comb through man-pages to find the right incantations for (because everyone seemingly agrees there are no sane defaults), and if I miss any data because I happened to not know that obviously the Linux FSH stores X important thing in Y totally-definitely-obvious path, then I’m once again SOL

  • I do genuinely like this OS, and I do genuinely like my machine.

    • Don’t think I couldn’t use a tiling VM for work at this point (although, maybe MacOS virtual desktops would be an alright substitute)
  • But I am also increasingly aware that, by intention/design/philosophy, it is all up to me should anything go wrong. And sometimes, you just don’t want that.

Thomas Ekström Hansen
Thomas Ekström Hansen
PhD student in Computer Science

My interests include information visualisation, formal methods, and low-level programming.