X Y Z // G A R B A G E F I L E

A production of Skrzyk Labs.


It began as a reference… you know the one.

The Garbagefile

The garbagefile is a collection of documents, anecdotes, and technical advice covering a somewhat random gamut consisting of FOSS and technical subjects. There may be (read: will be) opinions and reviews. It is submitted in the hope that it will be relevant, and above all useful.

The internet is full of blogs, tweets, expertoverflows, OMGderivativedistro! “help” sites, and a cacophony of voices and (mis)information and “hot takes”. Why on earth would someone make something like this when there is already so much noise?

Simply, the garbagefile is about overcoming three problems: corporate crap{ware,sites}, wildly innacurate and/or outdated posts, and cumulative experience.

Corporate $CRAP

A majority of sites want to keep you engaged with their product by providing the sense that they are there to help. This is monetized in various ways that, especially in the cases of sites like Reddit and stackexchange, put money in the pockets of the site maintainers but not in the people providing free help. The methods range from affiliate marketing, to advertising, to tracking online activity. It gets gross quite quickly.

It is not worth going into depth about the significant difficulties that other social media avenues present, but it's worth getting away from for both privacy and personal agency.

Summary: We need to own our technology.

Inaccurate / Outdated

The rapidity of technological change is an adage. That problem becomes worse with FOSS’ somewhat anarchic collaboration methods, which Eric S. Raymond summed up in his essay, The Cathedral and the Bazaar. It's also conventional wisdom that techs hate writing documentation and are notoriously bad at explaining things to “normal humans”.

The net effect of this is that the help sites, blogs, social media is also replete with posts that top-bill on a search engine, but are from 2009 or some shit. It's not unusual to also find a result that links to a bug report that refers to another bug report or stackexchange where the issue is marked as a duplicate or off topic with no resolution. Thanks, Google.

Other times the answers are just plain wrong and come from someone feeling the need to read past what is being asked.

Summary: Instructions and information here will be tested, relevant, and original. Old content will be reviewed, updated, or culled as changes or innovations necessitate.

Cumulative Experience

Rather than speak ill of individuals’ specific experiences or skills, it's worth noting all contributors are all self taught (with few exceptions). All that we have learned has come through 30 years of playing, experimenting, and doing the things we write about both personally and professionally.

Summary: We probably know what we're talking about. As a benefit of doing this to help the community rather than satisfying corporate overlords, a more honest and less stuffy kind of site for technical writing will emerge.

Dr. Otto Skrzyk

The main author of posts and owner of this site.

Dr. S has been slinging tech for about 30 years now. Their most current obsession has been squeezing as much functionality out of SoC systems such as the Raspberry Pi, which they have been using as their full on workstation. As proof, his site has been entirely created using a Raspberry Pi 4, with FreeNAS iSCSI storage, and Hugo.

If you use GnuPG/PGP and would like their public key, it is located here.

More general/random subjects and details available at their main website over the coming weeks.