* Posts by demon driver

60 publicly visible posts • joined 11 Feb 2020


Microsoft's Chinese website reveals free PC Manager utility

demon driver

Yes, we definitely needed...

... another application in the "system" department, fragmenting the places ("control panel", "manage", "settings", "administrative tools", ...) where people look for such things even more...

Text-to-image models are so last month, text-to-video is here

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Willis: not "for any future movies", only for that one ad

Seems that was false news; the deal with Deepcake was only about that one video.

OK, Google: Why are you still pointing women at fake abortion clinics?

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Re: re: Feminism remains hopelessly wed to the idea that woman are oppressed

Good points; any humanism in the intentions of the anti-abortionists would be much more credible if they cared about born life anywhere near as much as they care about the unborn.

Girls Who Code books 'banned' in some US classrooms

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Freedom! Liberty!

This more and more seems to be where "the free world" is going; "freedom of expression advocacy" and "for liberty" groups banning books trying to empower the less privileged. And while we read those reports from the USA, Italy is joining the growing fascist/protofascist part of the EU.

Cloudflare stops services to 'revolting' hate site

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Re: far right?

"The farms are interested primarily in self-promoting people on the internet, without favour to political hue" – maybe, but does that define who actually goes there? Does it make the political leaning of those people's words and deeds anything other than what it is? Does a right-wing extremist become a leftist because of also targeting "a right leaning politician" once in a while?

Epson says ink pad saturation behind 'end of service life' warning on inkjet printers

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Re: Brother

Photo services have their merit but are no replacement for self printing. Both have their advantages and disadvantages and both have their place. There are valid reasons to use an inkjet, photo printing is one, and then a laser is no substitute. A laser also is no substitute if you frequently need high-quality printouts, regardless of contents, larger than letter/A4, and have no wish to break the bank and build an extension.

Get over it: Microsoft is a Linux and open source company these days

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There is no 'good', no 'evil'

For corporations, there is only profit. They're in favour of something if they decide it helps their profits, and they're against something if they think being in favour of it would work against their profits. And even there weren't all those signs strongly hinting that much of Microsoft's Linux love is indeed mere lip service, it could be against Linux and OSS within the blink of an eye again, despite the obvious fact that they need it to run their own business.

End-of-life smartphone? Penguins at postmarketOS aim to revive it

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Re: 53.6 million tonnes of e-waste

It's not just the "financial market" that expects that growth. It's the economic operating system that needs growth, lest societal prosperity decreases. And it needs the more growth the cheaper it can produce things.

demon driver

Re: 53.6 million tonnes of e-waste

Care to explain?

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Re: 53.6 million tonnes of e-waste

"It might be time for us, as a society, to start re-thinking this endless yearly product cycle"—Right, but who's 'us'? 'We' as consumers might neither need nor want that cycle, and, in surveys, many people have already been agreeing for some time. But 'we' as a society the general prosperity of which is directly dependent on how much profit the commercial enterprises make, 'we' actually do need the profit companies make by making people consume more than they need, and more frequently than they need.

Linux Mint adopts Timeshift from overworked original developer

demon driver

Timeshift is a useful tool. But it's not some piece of magic that can't be done using cp, dump, tar, pax, rsync, together with cron

Two things make the difference: 1. On a btrfs partition, it uses file system snapshots and is correspondingly fast ("BTRFS snapshots are perfect byte-for-byte copies of the system. Nothing is excluded. BTRFS snapshots can be created and restored in seconds, and have very low overhead in terms of disk space", as the original author says). 2. It maintains a concise, user friendly catalog of snapshots, to be quickly and easily restored on a click of the mouse in case it becomes necessary.

a native .DEB-packaged version of Firefox—Seriously, why is this even a selling point?

Because Canonical, like already earlier with Chromium, recently has switched to Snap for packaging Firefox in Ubuntu, if you want Snap or not. Derived distros move to build and offer their own packages for Chromium or Firefox as a service for users who don't want them as Snaps.

Debugging source is even harder when you can't stop laughing at it

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Re: Trust but verify...

Moreover, it might downright encourage people to make a sport out of finding offensive phrases which do get around those rules....

Linux Mint Debian Edition 5 is here

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Re: LMDE is an interesting project, but there are restrictions

I'd generally agree, but while Ubuntu-based 64-bit-only Linux Mint gives us the choice of Cinnamon, MATE or Xfce flavours, 32/64-bit LMDE only comes with the Cinnamon DE as of now, which is a bit too heavy for the 32-bit hardware I still own...

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LMDE is an interesting project, but there are restrictions

There's one major drawback to LMDE compared to Ubuntu-based Mint—it doesn't have the full wealth of Ubuntu's apt-based software package sources, and because of their dependencies being linked to specific Ubuntu versions (but not to Debian versions) many of them won't become available anytime soon, either. Like the PPAs on launchpad.net.

If someone is happy with the existing software situation for Debian itself, LMDE would of course be an option, too.

Ukraine invasion: We should consider internet sanctions, says ICANN ex-CEO

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Re: Now that I can get behind

Actions against a Putin become just as undemocratic as a Putin's own actions if they're not based on democratic forms of consensus-building where they originate, and such undemocratic actions open the door for similar actions being turned on anyone, not just a Putin, including ourselves.

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Re: Now that I can get behind

I would agree that there is something to like there. On the other hand, who elected the internet governance bodies to be world rulers? If they would really go on with it, it would open the door to internet sanctions for other reasons, too, without democratic legitimacy. And there is the potential to provoke counter-attacks whose targets need not be limited to copper or fibre lines. Not to say that actual governments would necessarily act more wisely, but shouldn't such actions at least be democratically legitimised?

FreeDOS puts out first new version in six years

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"Framework" Office Suite

I very well remember the "Framework" office suite from 1984, one of the publishers of which used to be Ashton-Tate of "dBase" fame. Its concept, which I've been missing since I moved to GUI operating systems, is still lightyears ahead of any office product that came after it.

Chromium-adjacent Otter browser targets OS/2

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I always feel a certain nostalgia...

... when anything OS/2 comes up; I used it as my primary OS from the early 90s on until well into the 2000s, and while I never was fond of its file systems' DOS and Windows kinship, there never was a desktop UI again that made me feel even remotely as empowered and at ease at the same time like the Workplace Shell used to, not on Windows and not on Linux, either.

In addition to the article I'd like to mention that Microsoft had another, less innocuous part in OS/2's "gradually fading from use" than just Windows' rising popularity, which became public years later through a witness statement in one of the several antitrust lawsuits against Microsoft. It was around the time when Windows 95 was about to take on the world when Microsoft blackmailed IBM, whose PC division was still important at the time, threatening to stop giving Windows to the PC division unless IBM's software division stopped promoting OS/2 to the consumer market. And that was it.

By the way, to the best of my knowledge the main reason why it never was open sourced was that it included quite a number of third-party components without which the OS wouldn't have been complete. All the creators of those components, some of which wouldn't even have been traceable anymore, would have had to be contacted and brought to also agree to the open-sourcing. IBM themselves, or so was my impression, would have been ready and willing to open-source OS/2.

Whenever I read about OS/2 it makes me want to fire up the eComStation (ArcaOS predecessor) VM I still have... Although I confess that I never really considered buying a copy of that latest incarnation, or 'distro', as one might name it, ArcaOS. Even if it might still be usable in general as long as the few applications it has would suffice, in 2022 its most obvious limitation is its being a 32-bit OS.

McAfee's and FireEye rename themselves ‘Trellix’

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Didn't they know trellix.io already existed or didn't they care? Will they continue to not care now that they've renamed themselves?

COVID-19 was a generational opportunity for change at work – and corporate blew it

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And I thought such lack of corporate flexibility was a German speciality

In Germany, since 24 November, a legal regulation obliges employers to offer their employees, in the case of office work or comparable work, to carry out such work at their homes. For the time being, the regulation is valid until 19 March.

But German companies and even public employers violate that legal obligation—and hardly anyone bothers. Only recently a newspaper article mentioned a suspicion; yet everyone must have noticed that the streets at rush hour remain as packed as before COVID, instead of as empty as in the spring of 2020, when German employers were even more afraid of the virus than of the imagined loss of control over their wage slaves.

At least partly to blame is the German legislator, who has not given any thought to how compliance with that law might be controlled and, if necessary, enforced, and has not made provision for sanctions or an enforceable right for employees, either.

Anyone who still believes that German employers will allow their staff to work from home on a significant scale after Corona, as has been widely speculated for the past year and a half, when they are not even doing so in the presence of a binding legal directive in the middle of the most infectious waves to date, might as well believe in Father Christmas.

'IwlIj jachjaj! Incoming LibreOffice 7.3 to support Klingon and Interslavic

demon driver

StarOffice, OpenOffice, LibreOffice

Just for the record, not every change in LibreOffice after the fork from OpenOffice was an improvement.

Then again, hardly any changes in OpenOffice over StarOffice 5 have been improvements to begin with.

More languages, of course, is always a good thing.

Linux Mint 20.3 appears – now with more Mozilla flavor: Why this distro switched Firefox defaults back to Google

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I do see your point, somewhat

But those two paragraphs are not supposed to be read by potential new users. All they need to know is which distro might be best to start with, and many people will tell them Linux Mint, and from then on not too much can go wrong.

I would agree though that the whole GNOME 2 - GNOME 3 - Gtk 2/3 - Xfcde - MATE - Cinnamon affair isn't exactly something someone should have to put up with when choosing an operating system.

Straying away from the classic desktop metaphor in its default flavour was a big mistake for Ubuntu. Until then, Ubuntu arguably would have been *the* go-to distro for new users, and over time it did attract a lot of them. Yes, it brought Linux much closer to becoming mainstream than it ever was. But with Unity and then Gnome 3, The makers of Ubuntu tore down with their behind what they had built up with their hands for so long. Ubuntu stopped becoming the obvious choice for new users, even though they could also choose the MATE or Xfce flavours. Even worse, other distros adopted the abomination named Gnome 3 as well...

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Re: I shall be investigating

You'll never hear me suggesting not to choose MX Linux. Still, the author's reasons to prefer Mint are somehow valid: being "systemd-free" could just as well be seen as a disadvantage for deviating from what now arguably is the standard; KDE (wasn't the default in MX actually Xfce?) surely is an excellent DE, but for its complexity I wouldn't rate its usability quite as high as Cinnamon's; being Debian based is perfectly fine, but doing away with that "intermediary" reduces both versatility and usability in that it limits the inventory of software repositories easily usable with apt as the system's native package manager. Of course, nothing of that necessarily has to matter for everyone.

demon driver

Re: And this is why

The only valid issue you're bringing up there is in your last line: finding all the software you need. This solved, everything else is comparatively easy.

First thing I'd want to decide is probably whether to go with the .deb (Debian, Ubuntu, Mint...) or .rpm packaging based distro family (Red Hat, Fedora, ...). And then I'd choose one of the more popular distros and desktop environments. There are more, but you won't be doing much wrong with one of those two.

Cinnamon, as the article describes well, would surely be a good choice for a desktop environment everyone will easily get to grips with. On the .deb based side the most obvious choice then would probably be Linux Mint, whereas on the .rpm side it might be Fedora which has integrated Cinnamon quite nicely as well, as far as I've seen.

Of course, tastes and mileages may vary, but I think the described approach at least wouldn't be the most stupid one.

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Re: I shall be investigating

Regarding scroll bars: forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.php?t=286908

"It's just that not all changes are always for the better"—right, and a lifetime of computer usage with such changes frequently being introduced only for change's sake is what makes people wary of change as such. Even though they would never oppose change just based on some principle or ideology...

Thankfully, Mint continues to be one of those distros which are very reluctant to introduce unnecessary changes, and that's a good thing. Still, I don't like all of the UI changes in Mint 20.3 Cinnamon, either, as limited and careful as they were. Like now having to decide whether to go full-bright or full-dark in choosing a theme. The option to choose dark window title bars ("Mint-Y-Dark" in "window borders") together with an otherwise bright theme has gone... We can still reinstall the themes we used to have before 20.3, though (apt install mint-themes-legacy), but then we don't get those new rounded corners... Ok, I guess I'll somehow get used to it!

US Senator Marco Rubio calls Intel cowards for scrubbing remarks about Xinjiang and apologizing to China

demon driver

This is not cowardice

It's called capitalism.

Also, boycotting the Xinjiang region, if it would even be effective, probably would mostly hurt workers and their families there. That's not to say there shouldn't be any boycott, but it's something many people seem to either not think or not care about (or maybe neither).

Logitech Signature M650: A mouse that will barely emit a squeak or a clickety-click

demon driver

Nice, but...

... do they also make ergonomic ones? Vertical, that is. No one who once had mouse arm that healed after a few weeks of using a vertical mouse and never came back would ever go back to a normal mouse, let alone trackpads...

To err is human. To really screw things up requires a wayward screwdriver

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Rather boring in contrast, but not so long ago...

.... I fatally short-circuited the Dell T20 mainboard in my home/home office server while trying to reseat a card that I unjustifiably assumed was causing problems. Since then I do remember well what I knew in theory but had always ignored—that a "poweroff" command doesn't really turn anything off, without me actually switching off the PSU...

Of course that happened on Friday afternoon.

I was lucky enough, though, to find someone selling an identical box within a two-hour drive on that same weekend, so the downtime remained bearable. And a few weeks later I even found a ridiculously cheap replacement mainboard to revive the old box, which then became my new desktop PC.

While I (so far) never repeated that specific mistake, every time I get off cheaply I wonder whether that might be detrimental to the learning effect.

You geeks have inherited the Earth, but what are you going to do with it?

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What do we do? More or less what today's lords demand from us

Which is helping them to increase their riches, with their riches already having been what made them our masters in the first place.

Yes, with our education, training and experience in IT, we're somewhat privileged now that at least in some places there are fewer jobs than applicants, so we have some choice, but after all we still have to work for someone, even if we're self-employed. And there's always only one purpose for any enterprise, which is turning money into more money.

Under these conditions, to believe that we can improve the world as employees or self-employed is pure illusion. This needs something outside the workplace context. Like the FFF movement.

Popular password manager LastPass to be spun out from LogMeIn

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Re: XMarks

For a while I did use Nextcloud's Bookmarks app together with the floccus browser extension (for Firefox and Chrome), but I stopped when I noticed some strange behaviour, like doubling the icons on Vivaldi's Start Page every now and then. I guess I should give it another try one of these days.

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My first negative experience with LastPass was when they killed XMarks, the only usable cross-platform, cross-browser bookmark sync tool at the time – not long after I had let myself being lured into LastPass only because I already used and liked XMarks. When the other negatives mentioned in the article came up, I moved to a self-hosted Bitwarden setup and have never looked back. I wonder how well the LastPass business actually has been doing.

When product names go bad: Microsoft's Raymond Chen on the cringe behind WinCE

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Just some nitpicking: in the 'vixen' case the issue is not a translation but a homonym in the German language, which is the indicative form of an indecent verb.

Rust dust-up as entire moderation team resigns. Why? They won't really say

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Re: If it's important enough to resign

"Saying 'my manager sucks' doesn't help. Saying 'my manager hogs all the credit and doesn't reward anyone on the team' is something people can do something about"—but they didn't say "my manager sucks". They said "we were hired to moderate this place, but the managers exempt themselves from moderation" and possibly "and insist on doing some of the moderating themselves without us having a say in it", and, which wasn't repeated in the article, they offered to explain things a bit further when contacted personally.

What would you do? Stating exactly that and quit, or publicly complaining "but Steve has said this and John has said that", before quitting?

Munich mk2? Germany's Schleswig-Holstein plans to switch 25,000 PCs to LibreOffice

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LibreOffice was already in use

Yeah, but in Schleswig-Holstein they already have been using LibreOffice on Windows for two years to see whether it will work and will be good enough for what they do, and the result was that it does and it is. Only after that, they also decided to go all the way and move to Linux, too.

Want to support Firefox? Great, you'll have no problem with personalised, sponsored search suggestions then

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Surreptitious Advertising

It's even worse than what the article describes. As BleepingComputer reports, "Firefox doesn't tag the ads displayed via Firefox Suggest. There is no clear way to identify what a sponsored suggestion and what a regular unsponsored suggestion should look like. The only way Firefox users will know whether a sponsored suggestion is an ad would be by looking at the URL, but, in many cases, the URL is not clearly visible." If they plan to roll this out outside of the US, such practices might even turn out to be illegal in some jurisdictions.

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Re: Is it the search bar or the address bar?

The consent dialog shows a search bar, the data flow diagram shows an address bar – but in Firefox, both address input and search are combined within the address bar as a single input field, which might explain the diagram... (And I think you're right with the 'Awesomebar'. Hideous.)

tz database community up in arms over proposals to merge certain time zones

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If I remember correctly, I think the European Parliament voted to abolish DST, but it was left to member states how to act upon it. Now the member states are stalled in discussions about which country will make which time, summer or winter time, permanent. It might just turn out to be easier to keep things as they are than to devise a plan which all member states can agree upon. Brexit with Ireland still in the EU hasn't made things easier, either...

Space tourists splash down in Atlantic Ocean after three days in orbit

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Indeed. And might one not ask beforehand whether this world is not fundamentally misorganised when, even in the part we call the first world, the funding of a world-renowned hospital leading in cancer research depends on the generosity of a few rich people?

Microsoft does and doesn't require VMs to meet hardware requirements for Windows 11

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For what it's worth, at build 22000.168, my Windows 11 installation (which is in a VirtualBox VM on an old but still very usable Thinkpad X220T running Linux) was kicked out of Microsoft's Insider Program when bare metal installations were, too, for hardware requirements not being met, but updates seem to come in nonetheless. Just received 2021-09 cumulative update KB5005635 which updates to build 22000.194.

'Apps for GNOME' site aims to improve discovery of the project's best applications

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"Apps for GNOME"? I feel inclined to call that worse than "Apps for Windows"...

... because it divides the fragile Linux Desktop landscape even more, promoting developers who aim to specifically support one of the DEs instead of many, let alone all. One DE that has already earned and deserved much of the criticism it received over the years without actively trying to nudge desktop application developers towards ignoring other DEs...

Google killed desktop Drive and replaced it with two apps. Now it’s killing those, and Drive for desktop is returning

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3rd party sync tools

If we have to use Google Drive for whatever reason (I still do because there are one or two Android apps I rely on which don't cooperate as easily with Nextcloud), some third-party sync tools are a potential alternative to succumbing to Google's whims. Personally, I've been using Insync (the headless version for Linux servers) which is not free, but good, for some time now and I don't even notice that it's there, it just works. Better still, it converts Google Docs files to Open Document (or MS) formats and back, on the fly, transparently...

That said, succumbing to a third party vendor's whims isn't necessarily better, either. Insync had announced to discontinue their headless version some time ago, before they decided after all they wouldn't.

Debian's Cinnamon desktop maintainer quits because he thinks KDE is better now

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Now I know that Debian also packages Cinnamon

But wouldn't someone who wanted Cinnamon choose Mint in the first place?

And I like Preining's reply to the "thank you. We need fewer desktops" post: "In some sense I agree with you, so let us abolish Gnome3 as it has been a misconception right from the beginning! Maybe we can tunnel the energy of the developers to Cinnamon and a decent DE environment based on Gtk?"

As another vendor promises 3 years of Android updates, we ask: How long should mobile devices receive support?

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At least. See Fairphone.

Vietnam reveals state-run Alibaba-and-Amazon alternative, aims it at the EU

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Good move

Marketplaces should be run and governed by the public, ensuring fair regulations, not by corporations.

McAfee to offload enterprise business for $4bn, focus on consumer security

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Cryptocurrencies and motives

Hasn't "touting [...] cryptocurrencies through false and misleading statements to conceal their true, self-interested motives" been what is behind the whole cryptocurrency bubble right from the start?

1Password has none, KeePass has none... So why are there seven embedded trackers in the LastPass Android app?

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Bitwarden does not track

Translation from a recent post on golem.de:


They only use App Center to get crash reports and Firebase only uses the notification API for push notifications. It's not enough to look at what frameworks an app uses with some rubbish tool, you also have to look at what exactly it does with it, and anyone can do that, because Bitwarden is open source and anyone can convince themselves that nothing is tracked there:

Q: What third-party scripts, libraries, and services are used?

A: Currently, we load third-party payment scripts from Stripe and PayPal on payment pages in the Web Vault. In the mobile app, the Firebase script is used for push notifications. The HockeyApp is used for crash reporting. Please note, Firebase and HockeyApp are removed completely from the F-Droid build if you are interested in using that option. Turning off push notifications on a Bitwarden server will disable using the push relay server if you want to self-host.


To plug gap left by CentOS, Red Hat amends RHEL dev subscription to allow up to 16 systems in production

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Who guarantees...

... someone who changes their 16 CentOS production servers to 16 developer-subscription based RHEL servers that, two years ahead, Red Hat won't suddenly cut the number of allowed servers down to, say, 8, starting to demand fees for the others?

Just asking...

Back to the office with you: 'Perhaps 5 days is too much family time' – Workday CEO

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WFH is good, but...

... I could really do without the 'work' part.

Linux Mint sticks by Snap decision – meaning store is still disabled by default in 20.1

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That's not quite right. As far as I understand, Mint's purpose when it was started simply was to become more elegant than Ubuntu without sacrificing usability.

And then they created Cinnamon because the specific change from Gnome 2 to Gnome 3, while the technological progress was appreciated, was seen as a deterioration in usability by many.

Mint is not "for people who don't like change". If anything, it's for people who don't like change for change's sake, change without benefit, change making things worse instead of better.

Developers! These 3 weird tricks will make you a global hero

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And also started deviating from it

And then developers started to think, well, why should we care anymore, either?