Project Zebra: We build our computers the way we build our cities ►


2023-10-21 📌 Project Zebra: A bunch of stuff knits together and lights up

Tags All Linux Personal Tech

This entry is part of my Project Zebra series covering migration to Linux for personal computing use.

Title reference: (Warren Ellis) "And for that brief moment where it's all flaring and welding together, you are Holy. You can't be touched. Something impossible and brilliant has happened and suddenly you understand what it would be like if Einstein's brain was placed into the body of a young tyrannosaur, stuffed full of amphetamines and suffused with Sex Radiation." The rest of the quote is a bit repetitive and less eloquent. And he was talking about writing and ideas, but I've always applied it to coding.

The same site has a quotes file. I've still got an unordered quotes file too, from the mid-90s through to the mid-00s, I really should resurrect it, it's very much in keeping with what this site's about.

Thunderbird updated to 115. As expected in a default Plasma theme it looks crap, but restoring system title bars and spending a few minutes setting up toolbars is enough to get things back more or less to normal. I do feel for anyone not technically confident who's had changes foisted on them, though, as well as anyone on the project reading

And bizarrely, despite it being discussed for well over a decade and everything else being neatly tabbed, it isn't possible to compose emails in a new tab.

I put back the zebra striping of lists for visual clarity, which is achieved in almost the same way as in previous versions. In userChrome.css use

#threadTree tr:nth-child(2n) { background-image: linear-gradient(rgba(0,0,0,.08), rgba(0,0,0,.08)) !important; }

Although you might prefer lighter like .04 on the gray. Update: contrary to statements by developers, users have discovered that the menu bar can be restored to its position at the top:

#toolbar-menubar { order: -1; }

I saw this Xubuntu overview linked from somewhere, and whilst I have no desire or intention to move away from Plasma it's reassuring to see some development and little CSD, although there are various Gnome apps filling gaps where Xfce doesn't have a project. Which wouldn't be a big deal - there's little point reinventing VLC or Libre office for instance - apart from the dogged insistence from Gnome that apps include headerbar crap and not integrate with window managers of other environments so they behave differently and stand out like a store thumb even when themed similarly.

Upgraded to Kubuntu 23.10 w/ sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade && sudo do-release-upgrade -d

I generally prefer light themes (Breeze with graphite title bars on Plasma) but like a black terminal so I configured Konsole a bit during to use the Krita dark theme. I also removed SMPlayer, Kate, F3D, Gwenview, OpenSCAD, CrossFTP, and Catfish, none of which I've used recently.

Had to re-enable hibernate with /etc/polkit-1/localauthority/50-local.d/com.ubuntu.enable-hibernate.pkla

Otherwise? Touch wood a non-eventful upgrade.

Distros with newer kernels are having fun with a Logitech peripheral I happen to use though;

And it's reassuring to see a 2023 conference demonstrating that it's a going concern.

Looking at upgrades of other stuff I was reminded that there's going to be a hell of a lot of hardware on eBay in 2025 that won't run Windows 11 if Microsoft doesn't blink, so a bit of a bonanza for upgrading friends and family with moderate requirements to Linux.

In bigger Windows news for IT grognards, Microsoft plans to kill off VBScript.

When it finally hits EOL rather than just deprecation this will impact on a hell of a lot of other software and web applications. I say this as someone who's written ASP applications in the last ten years plus a fair number of work related scripts, and with an assumption that there'll be strong opposition from global enterprise customers who've done likewise on much bigger scales. Server 2022 has an end of support date of Oct 2031 and it'll be a Feature on Demand for at least another iteration of Server (the notice is about Client, it's important to note) in much the same way ASP has been. There's no sign yet they're coming for your batch files, but Microsoft would much rather that everything CMD and VBScript was done via Powershell.

The risk for organisations subject to particular security standards is Microsoft dragging its feet with fixing anything which comes out of the woodwork at this late stage. So hello VB.Net and Powershell, I guess. Thankfully VB doesn't have to be fully compiled if you just have simple scripting needs, it's comparable to XHTML vs HTML4 in terms of similarity and strictness. I might compile my notes once I've gone through rewriting a few web interfaces.

Although few details have come out, there's also a distinction to be drawn between Windows Client an Windows Server, because removal will be a simpler proposition for end-user Windows. Microsoft had already dropped support from their browsers when they gave up on their original Edge browser and went with Chromium. Albeit VBS is assumed by many software installers, most DIY scripters are more likely to use AutoHotKey etc.

Being simple tech, replacing the VBS interpreter or WSH in some contexts isn't beyond the realms of possibility, either an official solution or something third party.