In part one, I looked at the Beagle search tool on the command line and the graphical user interface and in part two I want to look at alternative front-ends for it. First out of the stable is...
I sometimes think that search tools are like my local bus: none comes along for ages and then three turn up in quick succession. For quite some time Beagle and Kat have been meeting the needs of users like you and me who fill up their hard drives with the results of our internet meanderings and because we have been remiss in keeping those drives well organized we eventually have to use search tools to find that PDF or HTML article we spent an eternity looking for.
“More means worse.” Kingsley Amis said that when he was discussing what he believed to be the deleterious consequences of the expansion of higher education in the United Kingdom in the nineteen sixties.
Here is a familiar list for readers: vanilla kernel, custom kernel, debs, rpms, Tgzs, source files, Apt-get,Emerge, Yum, Urpmi, Synaptic, Kpackage, Adept, Kyum, Yumex, Smart, Klik and Autopackage. I could go on but you get the idea.
Percy Shelly averred that poets were the unacknowledged legislators of the world. That was a hope rather than a fact. It might have been true in earlier centuries but the inexorable rise of scientific methodology relegated it as a source of power and influence. Inevitably, the baton passed to science.
How could Gutenberg and Caxton have known that the invention of the printing press would be a massive force for the democratisation of knowledge and central to the transformation of a feudal society into the beginnings of a recognisably modern world via the Renaissance and the Reformation? The ability of printing presses to produce a massive volume of information, especially on religion and science, helped to break the elitist monopoly of the Roman Catholic Church.
“A crass, purblind,....featureless heap of gangrened elephant’s sputum.” Who said that and about what? Linus Torvalds describing the state of Windows coding? No. The Samba team’s opinion of the Microvell deal? Nope. Richard Stallman’s view of patents and the DRM? Nope, not that either. Give up? Alright. It was that splendid old curmudgen Kingsley Amis venting his considerable spleen on the (approximately) Eleventh-Century heroic epic, Beowulf (which I managed to avoid in my three year English degree. Phew!). Apologies to any lovers of ancient epic literature out there.
Rudyard Kipling retained the services of six honest serving men who taught him all he knew (What and Why, When and How and Where and Who). By contrast the Bobsey twins at Microsoft, Steve and Bill, were so clever that they managed to downsize these faithful old retainers—and renamed them while they were at it. Now they are just two: ignorance and inertia. With these, they mused, we will conqueror the world. A depressingly near monopolistic market share seems to prove them right; and why not? After all, to paraphrase Hillare Belloc: they have the Microsoft Tax and we do not.
As you might have guessed this is going to be a brazen and shameless plug for the command line. I write it to throw in my tuppence-worth after my own Linux experiences. I am also concerned about a new generation of users coming to GNU/Linux without a proper understanding of the underlying reasons for its superiority over Windows but this not a blow by blow comparison.
Any serious, committed user of GNU/Linux who hasn’t heard about the Microsoft/Novell deal has either been slightly dead or at the bottom of an Albanian tin mine shaft wearing a particularly sturdy pair of ear muffs.
Seriously though, the digital wires have been humming back and forth with the original story and the chain-reaction stemming from it. Is it all a storm in a teacup, an over-action? And, does it really matter to the mere, humble end-user like me? I think that it does matter.