I have been trying to contribute towards open source more as well as use more open source applications. I wrote previously about using a Linux OS as well as using Android on a phone. Neither of these became more than a hobby project.
Android via Lineage OS
I was genuinely motivated to make this switch, even for a little while. In the end I gave up after failing to come up with a solution to the hardware problem. Perhaps I have been too cheap with my decisions but there isn’t always a lot of spare money to splash around on little hobby projects like this. The risk of buying a phone for a couple of hundred, fiddling around with a custom ROM, bricking the phone in the process and then explaining this experience to the family has always prevented me from making the leap.
I did feel good about the Samsung Galaxy S5. I was upset thatmy life became consumed by graphs showing battery usage. Ultimately I got burned by the black screen of nothing experience. The phone failed and left me in an awkward position. It is hard to stick with this program when all you want is a phone that does basic things … like turn on.
Sometimes I dip my toe in the pool again and look around for another phone to experiment with but in reality I like this iPhone 6s which turns on and just works. I have also accidentally got used to Apple Pay and contactless payment in general. Doingt this on Anroid likely means going with Google Pay. Urgh.
Linux on the desktop
Technically I am still doing this. The laptop is still around and I even used it full time for a week or so when my work desktop unexpectedly died. It handled everything rather well I would say. I was up and runnning pretty quickly and only missed a few home comforts that I had not got around to setting up yet. Taking screenshots and adding little purple arrows was something I never did manage to get up and running in the end.
The problem is that I now have a new work machine which is an Apple Laptop. I don’t have need for two computers if I am honest. I also don’t have a lot of time to spare outside of work on a computer so it doesn’t get used much. I did open up the Linux laptop not too long ago only to find that it wouldn’t connect to the wifi any more. Networking on Linux has always been a pain point with me. I simply just do not understand it. I used netctl originally and stuck to using
wifi-menu to configure my networks. This worked for a while but I would end up in a situaiton where it wouldn’t connect and I couldn’t figure out where the break in the chain was. Similarly using
connman was a breath of fresh air for a while. It would lose connection if the computer went to sleep up a restart of the service later it would work again. That is until ‘Network Unreachable’ was all I could get.
It has left me a bit reluctant to put the effort in. Perhaps it is because I am doing too much my self and I should just stick Ubuntu on it and deal with Gnome and all the other applications I don’t like having around. Maybe even distro hop for a while. The final nail in the coffin of my enthusiasm is that Wayland is the future which has left me with half of my configs out dated. Specifically xcape isn’t going to work with Wayland, any alternatives are a bit baffling to me. It is work I don’t want to put in to a hobby machine. I should have just stuck with Linux as my main machine, then it would have to work. Even if it didn’t. That wouldn’t be stressful at all!
Open Source (on the web)
As for the rest of it, I think it is going rather well. Open source apps are easier to integrate to my life with much less buy in. Sometimes swapping one OS app for another is easy because there are loads that do the same thing. The ones that use web technologies allow me to contribute back. I have only had good experiences interacting with the Open Source community on GitHub which I understand is not always the case. My goals in this area are low and so easy to meet. I have been able to submit patches which fix a bug or add a feature that only I need for the project I am working on. It has been quicker to submit a fix and have it accepted than it would have been to shop around for an alternative and especially faster than writing my own solution from scratch.
I am still looking for my way in to Linux and open source software on a more permanent basis but at the moment no one ever got fired for choosing Apple.
N.b. If you have been fired for choosing apple please send in your experience on a post card.