Living Free – The struggle for disencumberment continues

January 28, 2010 at 21:34 | Posted in Life | 5 Comments

Life got busy since my Last post. Holidays, and the like. But my struggle to have a free (as in Speech) and light system has continued. I got a bug under my skin around Gnome. The itch has been there for a while now and revolves around the fact that Gnome is getting bloated. now before all the Gnome fans go nuts on me let me clarify.

I tend to be a minimalist. I like my desktops small light and unobtrusive. I want my processing power for me, not for groovy graphics or worse things that are supposed to make my life simple but just end up complicating it because they are trying desperately to be too “simple”. I’m one of those weird people that LIKES the command line. I believe that a Desktop should only be a place to run my programs. not an integrated environment that tries (and usually fails miserably) to be all things to all people. I used Blackbox for years and loved it. My first computer came with 4K (Yes, that’s Kilobytes) no hard drive, no floppy drive, was black and white text only and it made me fall in love with computers (and learn programming).

Now that people have a better idea where I’m coming from (“OH, he’s one of THOSE…”) …Gnome is getting terribly bloated and on top of that there was the growing Mono controversy and talk of Gnome becoming more Mono dependent in the future and Mono is a mess, and I like Libre and non-messy (encumbered), and non-bloated…. So……. I ditched Gnome.

It took a bit of doing as it was the default install in gNewSense. But after some careful work with aptitude I’m now living happily in “Window Maker” and Gnome is mostly purged from my system. As you can see:


My Desktop

It is by no means ugly. Sure it doesn’t have compositing. I don’t need it to. Sure, it doesn’t auto-mount thumb drives/etc. I don’t need it to. It is quite simply the surface on which I run my applications. I like my dock and my Clip. I like the versatility and configurability of it. I like that it doesn’t force me to load Evolution-data-server (which I never use (I hate Evolution)), Nautilus, Bonobo, Gnome-panel, and various other things. All in the name of integration that I’d rather not have.

Now I have a system that run what I want, when I want, how I want. and isn’t loaded down with extras I don’t need. I’ve still got a bit of paring to do Pidgin seems a little on the heavy side I’m looking into a lighter XMPP/IRC client. Twinkle is nice, but would be nicer if there was a gtk version of it. So my Journey will probably continue.. And I’ll keep you posted.



  1. Popped over here from Zen Habits, and I really like your place.

    I’ve been using Linux for about 10 years, in parallel with whatever else works (Windows at work, of course, Apple at home, FreeBSD, and so on) – but I keep being drawn to F/OSS.

    (I like your choice of WM’s, I always liked Window Maker.)

    I’ve not played around with gNewSense at all, but I see that they’re planning to base the next version on Debian, so if I want to go totally free, I think I’ll just get a head start and go Debian (since it’s easy to exclude the non-free stuff even with straight Debian).

    Anyway – keep it up, great stuff here.

  2. Very nice wallpaper. Can you share it?

    • I’m guessing that you are refering to my banner picture as the rest are just a standard theme. If you like it feel free to grab it and share it.

  3. Have you ever tried Arch Linux? It seems like a distro that would fit your preferences: minimalist, commandline driven, no unnecessary distro specific defaults/tools/scripts etc.

    • I haven’t had a chance to try Arch Linux but from what you describe it does sound right up my alley. I’ll give ot a look in the near future. With any luck it will also play nice on o;der hardware as I’m currently lopking for a light distro to use as a server on some older hardware.

      Thanks for the heads up.

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