A Day in the Life of a Linux Addict

alupu at verizon.net alupu at verizon.net
Sun Aug 21 19:29:52 PDT 2011

Disclaimer:  people have long realized I don't seem to have a life, so by
rights, the title should be "A Day in the No-life of ..." or something like that.

Frankly, I never found anything wrong with spending practically all the so
called "free" time on things Linux.  And Linux has been helping me every step
of the way in this respect.
Regrettably, some frivolous and trivial events side-tracked me from my usual
Linux endeavors for a while recently.
There was this DSK indiscretion, the strange events in Norway and London and
the all-consuming talk about the failing global economy, among them.

When I finally got around to straighten up and fly right yesterday, I was
shocked to learn how much the world had changed in my absence.

First off, I noticed LFS calls the new kernel 3.0.1 now.  So, without further ado,
I quickly installed it, with no ill-effects or nasty surprises during and after.
Honestly, that was quite discomforting for me to hear so much quiet.
I remember the earth-shaking impact of the switch from 2.4 to 2.6, and that 
was for a measly point release.  Nobody was talking about anything else in those days.
Now you go from 2 to _3_, and you don't even get an 11-o'clock news mention!

However, I must say this thing was a nice gesture on Linus' part after all:

- A lot easier to pronounce, "three-oh-Juan" (try saying for a change).
- It was always a little embarrassing when people I would bump into would crack
some snide remarks like, "What level Linux are we on these days?", and I had to
answer, "2".  Obviously, malicious people would take it as 2.2 or some like
that.  Now I can proudly reply, "3" to shut up all them ugly nudniks.

If the new fancy kernel number was not shocking enough, in browsing through
the missing issues of my www.DailyTech.com, the main talk had shifted to the
Firefox 5 and even 6 releases!
I was really hoping that, by singlehandedly and constantly finding ways to
crash Firefox 4.0 (Bugzilla #646150), I would be forever remembered as the one
who saved the world from 4.0 and forced the release of the stable 4.0.1.
And that would be the end of it, or so I thought :(

Whatever, I immediately downloaded the latest 6.0 and eagerly hopped on it.

As soon I started the build, they quickly shamed me into realizing that my
nspr and nss had fallen way behind the times, 4.8.7 and 3.12.9 respectively,
compared to the required >= 4.8.8 and >= 3.12.10.
Undaunted, I sprang into an even higher gear and downloaded the latest releases
of the software (4.8.9 and 3.12.11) as a way of keeping up with the Joneses.

Note:  many naysayers might criticize me for not commenting out the
"with-system-nspr/nss" and leave it at that, but that's a coward's way out,
not a true Linux-aficionado reaction.

There was some trepidation regarding the patches required for the compiles.
I decided to glom DJ's "nspr-4.8.6-pkgconfig-1" and "nss-3.12.8-standalone-1"
most recent releases to experiment with them just in case.
Unfortunately, DJ's patches are "built to last" (like a GMC truck) and although
nominally-old they still work to this day (and probably for many years to come).
This practically shattered for me the delightful prospect of devoting the
next few weeks to figuring out how to reverse-engineer for the new package versions.
** Seriously DJ, again many thanks for your excellent and professional work. **

But now comes the nice touch the Firefox developers add lately right to the end
of compile for me (minute 20 of 22 on one machine, minute 55 of 60 on a
Pentium 4, 3.06 GHz clunker):
In 'security/coreconf/' subdirectory, a file, 'Linux3.0.mk', is nowhere to be found !?
Obviously, by the time of the 6.0 release (Aug. 11), they knew Linux was at
level 3 (I suppose they read DailyTech too), but they were gracious enough to
reward no-life people like me with some extra exciting time in fixing the
problem (cp Linux2.6.mk Linux3.0.mk) and re-compiling from scratch (for
cleanliness, of course).

Note:  I know, this whole thing sounds a bit un-BLFS-like, with the book at
3.6.13 while the Firefox 3 branch has been up to 3.6.19 for a long long time
(in Linux years).  I apologize, but remember, I _did_ say, no life.

Now that everything works and is up to date (at least for a few hours) I'm
sitting at the console sad, confused and lifeless-like.
All I can do for the time being is to just kick around silly stuff in my head like
mulling over the rumors that HP is exiting the PC business, DELL (as the last
one standing) coming up with disappointing future guidance (come to think of it,
where you will NOT find disappointing future guidance these days?) and now
more and more positive tablet reviews (like the Galaxy Tab 10.1 4G).
Even the simple task of passing along the coordinates of the next building to
set on fire involves twitting on a crazy gadget now instead of E-Mailing the stuff
on a good, solid PC like in the old days.

For years I've been an unwavering believer in the prediction that Linux will
become the dominant force on desktop by 2025.  But what if there won't be
no more desktops around by that time?!

PS.  But wait!  Things are suddenly picking up!  I've just been told we're at
3.0.3 now (since 8/17!).  [3.0.2 had an ephemeral life on 8/16 (another floppy
mishap?) Glad I wasn't aware of its existence.  Another heart attack avoided.]

Yippee, on to 3.0.3 now!!! (when I get a chance, I'll also hit DailyTech for
the latest on Firefox 7)
And in Allan Sherman immortal words,
 Muddah, Fadduh, kindly disregard this essay!

-- Alex

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