website source

commit f2ede58b4d91ff64645f7a5b4d7332063db82b13
parent 6d0b4f519198e19bca3aa35c85a60f7e34663010
Author: opal hart <>
Date:   Tue, 28 Jan 2020 05:06:24 +0000

new blog post: "re: trying new software"

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diff --git a/src/blog/ b/src/blog/ @@ -0,0 +1,111 @@ +# re: trying new software +<!--[time 202001130808.35]--> + +[a long while ago](/blog/trying-new-software.xht) I expressed interest +in trying various software. I haven't gotten around to writing a +followup until now. + +here's a list of software I mentioned in the previous post and have +gotten around to trying and/or dismissing: + +- **neovim**: I am now using `neovim-qt` for all my local editing, and + `nvi` (or busybox `vi` where `nvi` would be out of my way to get) for + quick configuration editing and remote file editing. I like having one + <q>main</q> editor, which encourages me to keep my configuration under + my main desktop user rather than trying to synchronise dotfiles across + hosts. it also incentivises revision control: increasingly I have made + git repositories on my desktop, written what I needed, and then pulled + my commits onto remote servers. it's an implicit backup as well; if + anything happens to the server, my configs still live locally and on + that repository. +- I decided I do not want to try **neomutt** or any similar TUI mail + client. I have been using Claws Mail for a while (as well as Firefox + ESR to fill in the rest of the void that was left after abandoning + SeaMonkey) and for the most part I enjoy it. however, I would like to + have something entirely commandline-driven that doesn't use any RAM + when idle. +- **sway** and wayland: I've been using it on my laptop to mitigate + screen tearing, but it is not yet suitable for my desktop needs such + as gaming and compatibility with various software. I like the UNIX + socket-based I/O for communication with the compositor, which + theoretically should allow a group e.g. `desktop` to use the desktop + much like `xhost` would, with standard file permissions rather than + host specifications. however, while the idea is sound, the current + implementation and expectations of use is rocky. luckily, there is + talk on the [wayland-devel mailing list] [1] to allow easier + configuration for one system user per application, which would be good + for sandboxing applications. + + I will stick with X for a while longer and perhaps switch back to it + on my laptop, if I can find an anti-tearing configuration that works + well with my laptop. I've tried a few things such as compositors, but + I have a few tricks left that will hopefully mitigate the issue. +- **ConnMan** and NetworkManager were only relevant when I needed USB + tethering and bluetooth PAN, but now I have a wireless card installed + in my desktop. I just use `wpa_supplicant` for this. there's a + `wpa_gui` that comes with it but I have not personally used it. +- **Void Linux** is extremely mediocre. this is the distro I have been + using on my laptop for a while; at first it seemed <q>fine</q>, but as + I needed certain packages (especially server ones, since I'm using my + laptop as a home server to an extent) it became apparent to me that + the package maintainership was crap. the developers and maintainers + were difficult to talk to without them rudely pointing to their github + issue tracker, they had an unfriendly IRC channel, and their mailing + list was a joke. their main communication channels seem to be github + and reddit, neither of which I use any longer. + + despite not being a good distro (by my standards), Void has definitely + played a role of introducing the `runit` init system to me. it gave me + interest into daemontools-inspired software and has led me perhaps to + use runit or similar on my other setups. +- contrastly, **Gentoo** has met my qualifications for a good linux + distribution. I recently installed it on a build-server VM to build + the packages necessary for my desktop; that way I could just download + the resultant binary packages to my desktop, saving my home CPU from + extensive compilation. USE flags are a blessing, and `savedconfig` as + well as patchsets make installing software such as busybox, `st`, and + `dmenu` into something fun rather than tedious. I can check those + packages out into portage just as I would any non-custom package; + something you can't do in binary distributions without writing your + own packages from scratch. + +some other stuff I've changed about my setup since then: + +- I've decided that `tmux` meant yet another configuration file to write + and keep synchronised between hosts. not to mention, tmux has some + minor bugs and issues, and the overall complexity of such a program + means that if more bugs come along in future releases (side note: at + the time of writing, 3.0a is set to release soon) then I have to waste + more time fixing those new bugs. + + instead, I have made the slow transition to `abduco` and `tabbed`. + tabbed has some bugs of its own, such as randomly [stealing focus] [2] + in some window managers (which evidently includes i3, my manager of + choice), but perhaps when I apply this patch it will be fine. it's + just something I haven't gotten around to yet. + + abduco and tabbed work well with ssh connection multiplexing (check + `ssh_config(5)` for the `ControlMaster` and other relevant + configuration options) and for local terminal sessions. I've made a + few helper scripts to let me easily spawn new sessions as well as + re-attach to existing ones, much like I would do with `tmux attach`. +- I've finally switched from KeePass to `pass` and like it very much. + the third-party ecosystem surrounding `pass` is high-quality and + additive to the experience. it works with firefox (the PassFF addon is + much cleaner-looking than KeePassXC's addon), it works with my phone + (cloning via git so I don't need to run syncthing or other syncing + software), and it lets me auto-type from dmenu, with a global hotkey I + set in i3 to spawn the password prompt. I no longer have to run a + password manager in the background that uses up around a hundred + megabytes of memory when idle, and in the future, I could write + utilities for myself to expand upon `pass`. + +there's plenty of other things I've tried and started using since 2018; +I may detail my entire setups at some point, but for now these are the +<q>talking points</q> that came to my mind. + +I have a bunch of other stuff to write about as well, so bear with me as +I collect my thoughts and set aside some time to write more to my blog. + +[1]: <> "wayland-devel: Enabling Android-style per application user ids" +[2]: <> "suckless-dev: [st] bad focus"