Bonus: What’s left of the Bs

Well, that wasn’t so painful. Now it seems the B category is finished too, and probably with fewer casualties of time and technology than last month.

Here are the “leftovers,” if you’ll allow me to call them that. I should say up front that as time goes on, there seem to be three groups of programs that I just don’t have the time or inclination to investigate.

  1. Shells. Shells don’t strike me as true applications, although some of them, like zsh, come so close you’d have to be a wizard to duplicate their behavior. Like I said before, there are a dozen popular shells and two dozen unpopular ones; they deserve a blog of their own. (There’s your cue to start a blog on Unix shells.)
  2. Players for specific audio codecs. I mentioned this obliquely when I talked about ogg123 and mpg123: Every codec has its own specific command-line player, and there’s very little difference between them. Stepping through each one would be an exercise in … in … well, it would be an exercise, anyway.
  3. Compression routines. For much the same reason as audio codecs, each compression algorithm has its own decompression tool (some have more than one, and some can decompress others too), and trying each one strikes me as … as … well, it strikes me, anyway.

  4. To that short list I’m going to add one more small thing, which will cut my workload a tiny bit in the future:

  5. Revision control systems. The real differences between Mercurial and Git and Subversion and so forth are only really obvious to the people who use them a lot, and with some regularity. Since I neither program nor use revision control systems, I’d be starting out at zero with no frame of reference for any of them. If you’re in the market for a revision control system, test each one yourself.

And so, with no further ado, here is the list of software I lacked the initiative or expertise to get going.

  • bash: Like I said, I’m not going to pick apart shells. And besides, chances are you’re using bash every day.
  • bzr: Bazaar is Canonical’s in-house revision control system. If you work with packaging or programming in Ubuntu, you probably know it.
  • brutus: This was on my list of console programs, and yet judging by the web page, this is a password cracker almost strictly for Windows. If I’ve made a mistake let me know; I forgot the password to my router a long time ago and … never mind. 😳
  • bashpodder: I took a look at bashpodder a few weeks ago, but as far as I can tell I don’t see what it does besides download podcasts from a manually edited list. There’s no interaction at all, and not even a message to the user. If you do try it out, do yourself a favor and edit the download list beforehand; I spent half an hour thinking nothing was happening while it was diligently downloading podcasts from 2004 or something. … 👿
  • batts: Going by the home page, this is a trouble ticketing system. I think this might be something large-scale IT deparments might like. Not so much something I can use. Or understand.
  • bazinga: bazinga is a blogging backend, if I understand it correctly. I don’t have a system I could set up to test an entire blog subsystem though, so it’s a little bit of a reach for me.
  • beamer: “Beamer is a LaTeX class for creating presentations that are held using a projector, but it can also be used to create transparency slides.” If you know what that means, you’ll probably do well to look into beamer.
  • bird: Bird is a dynamic IP routing daemon project. When the home page tells me how an entire African nation is using the bird project to handle their internet connections into and out of the country, it’s a sign to me that this is outside my scope.
  • blazeblogger: Again, this is another blogging backend. See, I don’t really need a back-end, what I need is a good console-driven front-end. … Just kidding, that’s coming, in future months. … 😉
  • bluez-utils: These are development utilities for bluetooth devices. I don’t have any bluetooth devices (unbelievable, I know) so I can’t do much to test or investigate these.
  • Box Backup: Box Backup actually looked really interesting, but the setup was a bit intimidating for me. This is a continual and/or periodical update utility that uses a dedicated machine as a server and backup archive, and your client machine (the one you want to back up) relays all the changes and updates to it, either in real time or at intervals. Setup was a bit more than I had time or interest for; if you get it working, let me know how it went. This one I honestly wanted to pursue.
  • btscanner: Bluetooth device scanner. Again, no bluetooth devices means no btscanner. Sorry. 😦
  • bzip2: The bzip compression routine. See No. 3 above.

So again, most of those probably work, but I just lack the patience or know-how or technological requirements or small African nation to get them up and spinning. If you meet the prerequisites, do tell us war stories about them.

This next group might, unfortunately, be dead or no longer practical.

  • backup-manager: If there’s a specific script called “backup manager” out there, I had terrible luck trying to find it. There is an entry on Softpedia, but the home page I saw was in Chinese and ads were let out in Japanese (?). I didn’t get the feeling that was the right “backup manager.” I think this might be gone.
  • btg: When I talked about bittorrent clients being lost to time and progress, I was thinking about btg. It looked very good — the screenshots are promising — but the AUR packages fail, svn failed and Debian doesn’t carry this one. I even went so far as to try and clod it together on my own, but I might as well have smashed at my computer with a hammer, for all the good it did me.
  • bashblogger: Judging by the descriptions, this is (or was) another blogging backend. But the web site is down, it’s not in Arch or AUR, and Debian doesn’t seem to know about it. Best I can do for you is a leftover mention in a article from 2007.
  • beancount: Another one that looked interesting but just didn’t want to cooperate: a bookkeeping tool. But Mercurial gave certificate errors, and trying to access the repo from a browser gave errors too, so perhaps there’s nothing there any more. I don’t know enough about hg to know how to ignore those errors, so I sat down and cried for a few minutes. Debian doesn’t have it, by the way.
  • bixtep: This was a mystery; it sounds like a citation manager like Zotero, or something along those lines. I have a Freecode page, but the website is in a completely different language and I see no source links. It might have disappeared.
  • boinc_curses: It’s funny: Between boinc_curses and boinctui, I really thought boinc_curses would be the working, functional boinc tool to follow. As it turned out though, the programs installed via the AUR page just sat there and spun, doing nothing and giving me no clues. Perhaps I misconfigured them. It happens.
  • bournal: Bash journal tool. Home page 404s. Source link 404s. Freshmeat page 404s. Softpedia page 404s. I think it’s safe to say … this is gone.

And that, believe it or not, seems to be then end of the Bs. Let’s get started on C. Lots to do there, lots to do. … 😀