Murdock Death Ruled Suicide, Terrible Linux Regressions
The top story today in Linux news was Jose Pagliery's report that Debian founder Ian Murdock's death was officially ruled a suicide. Murdock had died of an apparent suicide last December after accusing police of assault. Elsewhere, Linux Mint 18 isn't stacking up the rave reviews and Michael Larabel reported on Michael Biebl's systemd report at DebConf16. Canonical announced snap desktop launchers and LibreOffice developer Laurent Balland-Poirier was interviewed.
CNN's Jose Pagliery today reported that Ian Murdock's death was officially ruled a suicide. Murdock, who founded Debian GNU/Linux in 1993, became despondent after a run-in with San Francisco police December 2015. He took to social media to accused police of brutally beating him and threatening suicide. Murdock was found hours later face down with an electrical cord tied around his neck. The investigator said he found no obvious signs of trauma although the autopsy directly contradicts that statement. Pagliery reported that no announcement had been made publicly and that the details of his body being covered in bruises only came out in the autopsy report obtained by CNN. "The autopsy records also note his body was covered in bruises -- on his chest, abdomen, back, arms and legs."
Mint 18 was released a week ago and reviews are not going well. James Sanders said today that Linux Mint exists to market their Cinnamon desktop and the recent security improvements aren't much improved. He said the kernel updates that are supposed to have been made easier to see and install are all show. When it gets down to it Mint minimizes the importance of kernel updates and even tries to scare users into forgoing the upgrade. Sanders then took Mint to task for abandoning their original purpose of providing multimedia codecs out of the box. He just really doesn't sound like a fan.
He's not the only one reporting issues with Mint 18. Tarus Balog wrote last weekend of his hardware troubles with Mint 18. He had trouble with booting Mint 18 with an encrypted partition and then systemd caused problems with his NFS mount. He experienced two desktop icons for each remote mount point, "wonky trackpad," and had to fix an issue with ssh after all his boot and graphical issues. Today he upgraded a 17.3 machine and said, "It didn’t go smoothly." It did complete, but it took over an hour to download and required "a number" of manual interventions to resolve conflicts. Balog is a fan of Mint, so despite his troubles he still thanked the Mint team for their work.
But I saved the best for last. Dedoimedo today said that we're suffering a rash of "terrible regressions taking over the Linux world." He was disappointed in several key areas. His network kept dying in the live environment and Bluetooth didn't work at all. He was very disappointed over the lack of multimedia support - which he mentioned was Mint's early claim to fame. Installing the codecs isn't as straight forward as the project claimed in its announcement and Dedoimedo never did get MP3s to play despite installing them all. Flash didn't work either. Neither did smartphone support. Installing didn't help any of it for him. He said Mint 18 was like Ubuntu only worse. He did like the new Mint-Y theme and the icons, but concluded, "Mint 18 Sarah is just not a very good release." Giving it a 3 out of 10 he said it represents "a clear downward spiral of regressions that has been worsening release after release."
Phoronix.com's Michael Larabel today reported on the assimilation of Debian into the collective. Developer Michael Biebl presented a report on the status of integrating systemd in to Debian. Larabel summed up the slides saying, "Adoption of systemd in Debian has certainly grown with Debian Stretch having significantly more systemd service files than Debian Jessie, but there are still more SysVinit/init script files present in Debian than service files."
In other news:
* LibreOffice developer interview: Laurent Balland-Poirier
* Canonical: Announcing new snap desktop launchers