[nSLUG] Linux and developer resources

George N. White III gnwiii at gmail.com
Fri Sep 11 08:42:17 ADT 2020

Linux has provided the foundations for Google android and the major cloud
services.   Google and IBM contribute to kernel development.

In Gartner's "Magic Quadrant" report on Cloud Infrastructure and Platform
"The company [Amazon] does not escape criticism, though. According to the
analyst, “a broad range of AWS offerings have benefited from OSS, without
material contribution in kind by AWS,” something which “risks alienating
software developers.”"
-- https://www.theregister.com/2020/09/09/gartner_on_cloud_aws_fails/

If you spend time on any of the major distro forums you have probably
encountered software whose developer is no longer active.

Ahead of the big Qt 6.0
<https://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=search&q=Qt%206.0> release expected
before the end of the year, Debian's current Qt package maintainers have
decided to step down.


I try to help users of the (remote sensing) software I use.  Many of the
problems stem from users with a Windows background struggling to work with
linux command-line tools.   These types of issues have become more common
as users are working from home due to COVID-19 and don't have access to
their coffee-time support groups.   There are good support forums with
developer participation, but the developers shouldn't be investing time
helping users learn some basic linux command-line concepts like "current
directory", permissions for files and directories, etc.   When I was
involved in
workshops on remote sensing we found it important to spend an afternoon
focusing on linux basics.  We also used a "buddy system" where we paired
users with little linux experience with more experienced users.

One of the most common trouble areas is over-use of "sudo".  New users try
something and get "permission denied".  The google the error or ask in a
linux user forum and are told to use "sudo", which results in a
so badly broken that it is impossible to sort out in a user forum (because
software does on-demand downloads, using sudo puts some downloads
in root's directory or creates files in a user's directory that the user

There are many new applications for remote sensing, including uses the
developers never considered, so it has become impossible for a small
group of developers to keep up.    I think user forums need much broader
participation to deal with the complexities and reduce the workloads of
developers, but there is a risk that developers will lose contact with the

I expect other application areas share these problems.

George N. White III
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