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re-trying-new-software.md (6536B)


      1 # re: trying new software
      2 <!--[time 202001130808.35]-->
      3 
      4 [a long while ago](/blog/trying-new-software.xht) I expressed interest
      5 in trying various software. I haven't gotten around to writing a
      6 followup until now.
      7 
      8 here's a list of software I mentioned in the previous post and have
      9 gotten around to trying and/or dismissing:
     10 
     11 - **neovim**: I am now using `neovim-qt` for all my local editing, and
     12   `nvi` (or busybox `vi` where `nvi` would be out of my way to get) for
     13   quick configuration editing and remote file editing. I like having one
     14   <q>main</q> editor, which encourages me to keep my configuration under
     15   my main desktop user rather than trying to synchronise dotfiles across
     16   hosts. it also incentivises revision control: increasingly I have made
     17   git repositories on my desktop, written what I needed, and then pulled
     18   my commits onto remote servers. it's an implicit backup as well; if
     19   anything happens to the server, my configs still live locally and on
     20   that repository.
     21 - I decided I do not want to try **neomutt** or any similar TUI mail
     22   client. I have been using Claws Mail for a while (as well as Firefox
     23   ESR to fill in the rest of the void that was left after abandoning
     24   SeaMonkey) and for the most part I enjoy it. however, I would like to
     25   have something entirely commandline-driven that doesn't use any RAM
     26   when idle.
     27 - **sway** and wayland: I've been using it on my laptop to mitigate
     28   screen tearing, but it is not yet suitable for my desktop needs such
     29   as gaming and compatibility with various software. I like the UNIX
     30   socket-based I/O for communication with the compositor, which
     31   theoretically should allow a group e.g. `desktop` to use the desktop
     32   much like `xhost` would, with standard file permissions rather than
     33   host specifications.  however, while the idea is sound, the current
     34   implementation and expectations of use is rocky. luckily, there is
     35   talk on the [wayland-devel mailing list] [1] to allow easier
     36   configuration for one system user per application, which would be good
     37   for sandboxing applications.
     38 
     39   I will stick with X for a while longer and perhaps switch back to it
     40   on my laptop, if I can find an anti-tearing configuration that works
     41   well with my laptop. I've tried a few things such as compositors, but
     42   I have a few tricks left that will hopefully mitigate the issue.
     43 - **ConnMan** and NetworkManager were only relevant when I needed USB
     44   tethering and bluetooth PAN, but now I have a wireless card installed
     45   in my desktop. I just use `wpa_supplicant` for this. there's a
     46   `wpa_gui` that comes with it but I have not personally used it.
     47 - **Void Linux** is extremely mediocre. this is the distro I have been
     48   using on my laptop for a while; at first it seemed <q>fine</q>, but as
     49   I needed certain packages (especially server ones, since I'm using my
     50   laptop as a home server to an extent) it became apparent to me that
     51   the package maintainership was crap. the developers and maintainers
     52   were difficult to talk to without them rudely pointing to their github
     53   issue tracker, they had an unfriendly IRC channel, and their mailing
     54   list was a joke. their main communication channels seem to be github
     55   and reddit, neither of which I use any longer.
     56 
     57   despite not being a good distro (by my standards), Void has definitely
     58   played a role of introducing the `runit` init system to me. it gave me
     59   interest into daemontools-inspired software and has led me perhaps to
     60   use runit or similar on my other setups.
     61 - contrastly, **Gentoo** has met my qualifications for a good linux
     62   distribution. I recently installed it on a build-server VM to build
     63   the packages necessary for my desktop; that way I could just download
     64   the resultant binary packages to my desktop, saving my home CPU from
     65   extensive compilation. USE flags are a blessing, and `savedconfig` as
     66   well as patchsets make installing software such as busybox, `st`, and
     67   `dmenu` into something fun rather than tedious. I can check those
     68   packages out into portage just as I would any non-custom package;
     69   something you can't do in binary distributions without writing your
     70   own packages from scratch.
     71 
     72 some other stuff I've changed about my setup since then:
     73 
     74 - I've decided that `tmux` meant yet another configuration file to write
     75   and keep synchronised between hosts. not to mention, tmux has some
     76   minor bugs and issues, and the overall complexity of such a program
     77   means that if more bugs come along in future releases (side note: at
     78   the time of writing, 3.0a is set to release soon) then I have to waste
     79   more time fixing those new bugs.
     80 
     81   instead, I have made the slow transition to `abduco` and `tabbed`.
     82   tabbed has some bugs of its own, such as randomly [stealing focus] [2]
     83   in some window managers (which evidently includes i3, my manager of
     84   choice), but perhaps when I apply this patch it will be fine. it's
     85   just something I haven't gotten around to yet.
     86 
     87   abduco and tabbed work well with ssh connection multiplexing (check
     88   `ssh_config(5)` for the `ControlMaster` and other relevant
     89   configuration options) and for local terminal sessions. I've made a
     90   few helper scripts to let me easily spawn new sessions as well as
     91   re-attach to existing ones, much like I would do with `tmux attach`.
     92 - I've finally switched from KeePass to `pass` and like it very much.
     93   the third-party ecosystem surrounding `pass` is high-quality and
     94   additive to the experience. it works with firefox (the PassFF addon is
     95   much cleaner-looking than KeePassXC's addon), it works with my phone
     96   (cloning via git so I don't need to run syncthing or other syncing
     97   software), and it lets me auto-type from dmenu, with a global hotkey I
     98   set in i3 to spawn the password prompt. I no longer have to run a
     99   password manager in the background that uses up around a hundred
    100   megabytes of memory when idle, and in the future, I could write
    101   utilities for myself to expand upon `pass`.
    102 
    103 there's plenty of other things I've tried and started using since 2018;
    104 I may detail my entire setups at some point, but for now these are the
    105 <q>talking points</q> that came to my mind.
    106 
    107 I have a bunch of other stuff to write about as well, so bear with me as
    108 I collect my thoughts and set aside some time to write more to my blog.
    109 
    110 [1]: <https://lists.freedesktop.org/archives/wayland-devel/2017-November/035664.html> "wayland-devel: Enabling Android-style per application user ids"
    111 [2]: <https://lists.suckless.org/dev/1109/9255.html> "suckless-dev: [st] bad focus"