2021/06/08 Arguments Against Ricing

Arguments Against Ricing

Linux Ricing is becoming an issue in the GNU/Linux community. More or less continuing a feedback loop of scaring off new adopters to Linux and piling on a poor perception to current users, both for toxicity and making a work environment, though pleasing to the eye of some, a far grace from a well focused work flow. Linux distributions are well known for their ability to customize the way they work to a large degree. Though the intense customization does allow to curate a user experience to meet their exact needs, this can create forms of unwavering work-flow. This eventually breeds a sense of elitism and kills creativity since most users will spend more time installing and customizing their experience than doing actual work. The constant tweaking a min-maxing of resources, color, task-bar, and the like creates an obsessive need to make things "Just right". Until the end this is an excuse for inactivity and distraction.

Common ricing enthusiasts are typically Gentoo, Fun-too, and Arch users. Many of the "Minimal" or more cumbersome Linux distributions. The installation process can be a gate-keeping method to keep out most common users, anyone who can follow basic instructions can install these systems in about an hour pending on the users knowledge of Linux. Though these systems can be rewarding to install they are, in my opinion, over-hyped. I would recommend if you are actually wanting to learn about Linux from the ground up and feel accomplished as a user, Linux From Scratch is a better alternative. LFS allows you to literally build a customized Linux from the ground up, step by step. Though again if LFS is not what you are wanting from your system, save yourself the middle-man and just install a more full featured Linux distribution like Debian or Fedora.

These users often can be seen using tiling window managers, which in their own use case has its own collection of issues. Ranging from the systematic textbook of unique commands that a user must first learn to perform basic tasks in the window manager, but in order to make the window manager functional for most users, the window manager requires extensive customization. You can back up your custom file but again this begs the argument of simplicity by design or a suitable out-of-the-box experience. Common ricing window managers include i3, dwm, or Awesome. An alternative to these more complex window managers are more straight forward desktop environments like Gnome, Xfce, or Mate. These desktop environments are more reminiscent of Windows or OS X while maintaining its Linux roots, just in a more meaningful way.

Now I would like to pose myself a very simple set of solutions for those wanting to rice their systems to the full extent of Linux and gate-keep to their heart's content. First I would provide the option to those who would be ricing to maintain a rolling backup packaged as an ISO. This allows a user to boot right to their desired system. You can achieve this with Linux utilities like Brasero, Archive Manager, or directly from the command line with the following commands.

And second if you are a die hard elitist for work-flow and aesthetic, I would recommend Emacs. Used by the "What you're referring to as Linux, is in fact, GNU/Linux..." Richard Stallman in 1984 and onward. Emacs is a complex network of ad-hoc solutions and ad-ons ranging from an email client, word processing to web browsing, even terminal emulation, all of these are stitched together into a Dr.Stallman monster of a self contained operating system presenting itself as a text editor. Just check out the wiki to feel the full functionality of Stallman's baby....

To bridge the gap to learn more about Emacs I would recommend checking out the local Emacs guru, Uncle Dave...

Emacs alone should satisfy any ricing fanatics wildest GNU/Linux wet dreams. Though I would recommend also copying the Emacs folder to a USB as a backup because after much tweaking and adjusting, you will inevitably bork your future system and need to start from scratch. Stop ricing and start working, you will thank yourself later.

For those more interested in the topic or found my arguments dissuading, then I recommend you read more and find the Linux system that works best for you.