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Synaptic Dropped From Ubuntu 11.10 360

Posted by timothy
from the that-does-not-sound-like-an-upgrade dept.
An anonymous reader links to a story at Techie Buzz according to which (quoting): "When Canonical started developing the Ubuntu Software Center, I knew that a time will come when it will completely replace Synaptic. The Software Center is a noob-friendly replacement for Synaptic where users can discover new applications more easily. Unexpectedly, Canonical has decided that it is time for the Software Center to replace Synaptic as well. So, in the next daily build of Ubuntu 11.10, Synaptic will no longer be installed by default. The Ubuntu Software Center still lacks many important features that are present in Synaptic."
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Synaptic Dropped From Ubuntu 11.10

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  • Install (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jaysyn (203771) <jaysyn+slashdot@noSpAm.gmail.com> on Thursday June 23, 2011 @06:14PM (#36547892) Homepage Journal

    As long as you can install it from the Software Center, I don't see a problem. Did they need the space for something else on the ISO?

    • Re:Install (Score:4, Insightful)

      by drb226 (1938360) on Thursday June 23, 2011 @06:27PM (#36548078)
      Ironic but true. Just like MS preinstalling only IE. As long as you can use it to get Firefox or Chrome or whatever, then no big deal.
      • by vegiVamp (518171)

        Slightly more accurate would be "as long as you can install an alternative and uninstall the preinstalled one". Microsoft claimed for a very long time that IE was an essential part of the operating system and removing it would break the system.

    • Re:Install (Score:5, Informative)

      by leamanc (961376) on Thursday June 23, 2011 @06:31PM (#36548128) Homepage Journal

      No, they didn't need the space. It has been Canonical's plan for a while to drop Synaptic and Update Manager (and any other GUI apps that are front ends to the various apt tools) and roll everything into Software Center.

      It's been on their roadmap for a while, and I was surprised that Synaptic made it into 11.04. I am also surprised that Update Manager is hanging around.

      This is all in the interest of average-Joe users who don't need to know the differences between Synaptic and Software Center, or how they overlap with each other, or with Update Manager. Long-time users or power users can go install Synaptic from the repos if they like, or use apt or dpkg at the command line. Me personally, I always update with 'sudo apt-get update' on the command line because I find it faster than Update Manager. But Grandma doesn't need to do that; software installation and updating should be done all in one place for her.

      • Actually they did need the space: Deja Dup was just added as an included backup package. So they may have planned to drop it for quite some time, but they're at least replacing it with something useful.

        And of course, as everyone and their dog points out, Synaptic is only an apt-get away if one really needs it.

        • by Rogerborg (306625)

          Synaptic is only an apt-get away if one really needs it.

          Better, if you can apt-get synaptic, then you don't need synaptic.

    • I agree. In fact, the sort of user who will miss the additional features of synaptic would probably even be perfectly comfortable installing it via apt-get if necessary.
  • Ooh (Score:2, Funny)

    by hansraj (458504)

    The Debian users are going to be pissed..

  • Shocking... (Score:3, Informative)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Thursday June 23, 2011 @06:16PM (#36547912) Journal
    So. First there is dpkg. Upon dpkg stands APT, for your greater ease and convenience. Upon APT stands synaptic, for your GUI-based package management needs.

    Yeah, I'm just not really surprised that somebody might attempt to replace the easy, graphical, user-friendly tool at the end of this particular chain with one that they believe is easier, more user-friendly, or whatever. The tool being deprecated essentially filled the same niche, and the whole lot rests upon the same fundamental architecture.
    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      I thought those tools used aptitude, not apt directly. Am I wrong?

      • Re:Shocking... (Score:4, Informative)

        by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Thursday June 23, 2011 @06:27PM (#36548084) Journal
        My understanding is that all three, synaptic, USC, and aptitude, are apt frontends, with aptitude being the only one that(by default, I think it is an option now) uses ncurses rather than GTK.
        • by h4rr4r (612664)

          I know aptitude uses apt, but I thought software center used aptitude which uses apt.

          I could be wrong. I am now off to find out via google.

        • by tom17 (659054)

          Aptitude is a nice commandline tool, and I don't mean the ncurses gui. I hate that.

          A while back, I saw a reccommendation from Ubuntu (Can't find it now) that suggested people use aptitude rather than apt-get, but then all the docs continued using apt-get and now finally they removed it from the default install. I wonder why they changed their mind, cos it was a good idea.

  • by Superken7 (893292) on Thursday June 23, 2011 @06:17PM (#36547930) Journal

    I think its a good decision. The public for which Ubuntu is intended has no use whatsoever for Synaptic. Other users are an apt-get away from it, and I think thats just fine.

    Disclaimer: I never liked synaptic, mainly because for me its interface rendered it totally unuseful because it was hideous and not really well designed, plus it was easier for me to just apt-get.
    I still use apt-get because its faster, but I think anyone can just pick up the software center and use it, unlike synaptic which I think is very confusing for noobs or even newcomers which are familiar with apt tools.

    • Re:By default (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Chris Burke (6130) on Thursday June 23, 2011 @06:53PM (#36548412) Homepage

      Disclaimer: I never liked synaptic, mainly because for me its interface rendered it totally unuseful because it was hideous and not really well designed, plus it was easier for me to just apt-get.
      I still use apt-get because its faster, but I think anyone can just pick up the software center and use it, unlike synaptic which I think is very confusing for noobs or even newcomers which are familiar with apt tools.

      Right. I like synaptic for finding packages when I don't know their names because I find it easier to browse and conduct iterative searches than apt-cache search in a terminal. I don't see why it should be confusing for anyone familiar with the ins and outs of apt, but it's still just a basic gui wrapper around those tools.

      It is not something that Joe Non-Linux-Lover can just sit down and use. I know; I have a friend who is a complete computer novice and is using Ubuntu. He manages just fine, but he doesn't go anywhere near Synaptic. Update Manager is the only way he, you know, manages updates. But when he needs something new on his machine, I have to walk him through step-by-step on using Synaptic over the phone.

      Hopefully Software Center will be something he can actually use on his own.

      Synaptic isn't it. Despite being, from my perspective, the "noob" way of interfacing with apt. I sometimes like doing things the 'noob' way, but hey, I'll still be able to!

      I can't think of a reason to complain. I mean, if I can accept that Emacs doesn't come with a default install (which is much more important to me than a gui apt front-end), then I can handle this. I can't understand the whining. :P

    • Yes "The public for which Ubuntu is intended has no use whatsoever for Synaptic."
      But, the public which Ubuntu actually has does.

    • Well synaptic will show me a brief description of each package, will search based on text I supply - so if I don't remember the exact name of something, or if I'm just curious about what is out there, it will supply a list of possibilities, it will detail what files are installed etc. etc. And it does all this in a nice presentation format.

      Does apt-get do that?

      And most of all, once again I now have to spend yet more of my time figuring out Canonical's latest unnecessary change to something - instead of
  • Does anyone really use synaptic instead of the software center for a GUI view?
    I normally stick to aptitude, but have used the software center some and am just not sure what losing synaptic would harm. Anything that is only found there is likely software no GUI user will really ever need.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Superken7 (893292)

      Exactly. For downloading and managing software, any user will have a far better experience by using Software Center. Synaptic probably features some more things (I don't know what, but regular user's won't care).

      More romantic/nostalgic users that really need advanced(?) features and don't want command line tools but still want a very badly designed UI, can still apt-get synaptic. I don't think this is a big deal.

    • Aptitude hasn't been a part of the default installation since Ubuntu 10.10. http://www.webupd8.org/2010/06/aptitude-removed-from-ubuntu-1010.html [webupd8.org]
  • Not a big deal (Score:5, Informative)

    by Annirak (181684) on Thursday June 23, 2011 @06:18PM (#36547940)

    If you want it, you've got it.

    $ sudo apt-get install synaptic

    Done.

    • >If you want it, you've got it.
      >$ sudo apt-get install synaptic

      No. The reality and the point is that each new generation won't know about it, but will use the new shiny default "tool." Synaptic use will thus go down.

      Equally, good software enforces best practices. While the dream of an Ubuntu Desktop is one thing, lowering the complexity of the software installation process lowers the intelligence bar for using *nix, which in the end, lowers the chance that the users will ever get as far as #,

      • >If you want it, you've got it.
        >$ sudo apt-get install synaptic

        No. The reality and the point is that each new generation won't know about it, but will use the new shiny default "tool." Synaptic use will thus go down.

        There's nothing inherently wrong with the situation you describe. Besides, isn't Synaptic just a "shiny tool", too?

        While the dream of an Ubuntu Desktop is one thing, lowering the complexity of the software installation process lowers the intelligence bar for using *nix, which in the end, lowers the chance that the users will ever get as far as #, much less #sudo apt-get.

        So what?

      • Why should we care if users get as far as $ sudo apt-get? The point is that they're on the platform. You can't ask for both mass-market acceptance and exposed complexity. If you keep the exposed complexity, the mass market won't want it. At least Shuttleworth seems to get this. I know that everyone's down on Ubuntu lately for "changing things" but, honestly, if they've done due diligence and run these changes past some focus groups full of people who haven't used Linux before, they're probably going to

  • by gweihir (88907) on Thursday June 23, 2011 @06:25PM (#36548060)

    Honestly, what is installed by default is the noob-selection, so a noob-grade packet manager is perfectly adequate. As long as you can "apt-get install" the other packet managers, where is the problem?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by X10 (186866)

      Didn't Heinrich Heine say something like "where they make important features optional, tomorrow they'll remove them altogether" ?

      • Well, I have used Synaptic maybe 3 times since I started using Ubuntu over 5 years ago, so I'm pretty sure it's been optional for a while.

  • by Bloodwine77 (913355) on Thursday June 23, 2011 @06:27PM (#36548082)

    Honestly I don't use either Synaptic or the Software Center. I do it all on the command-line using apt-cache and apt-get.

    So far I can work around all of Canonical's crazy decisions. I forced myself to quit using Gnome 2.32 (aka Ubuntu Classic) and use Xfce instead to prepare for 11.10. I have to say that I have gotten used to Xfce and really like it.

    I really don't feel like migrating my home boxes from Ubuntu unless I absolutely have to do so. The day Ubuntu prevents me from working around their craziness is the day I finally jump ship.

  • by BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) on Thursday June 23, 2011 @06:30PM (#36548110) Homepage Journal
    I started using Ubuntu about 3 years ago with 8.04. At one point, I upgraded to 9.04. Now I am living comfortable on 10.04. Across those three years and three editions I have heard Ubuntu talk about changing it's primary display configuration engine (X/Xorg to Wayland), it's default browser (Firefox to Chrome), its network managment utility (I'll admit, this one needed fixing), and a host of other tweaks. Now Ubuntu wants to ditch Synaptic for the Ubuntu Software Center.

    I get that software moves fast, and buggy software needs to be fixed and replaced with less-buggy software. But wholesale gutting of some of the fundamental portions of an OS (as seen from the user side) every 6 months to a year is a little extreme. What was wrong with Synaptic that it needs replacing? I like it. It seems pretty sraightforward and functional.I don't mean to gripe, but does Canonical really need to replace utilities that its users have gotten used to when the original utilities worked equally well (Pidjin to Empathy? etc.).

    Yeah, yeah, I can just install all of the old legacy sofware that I like, but it just seems so odd to uproot basic default utilities so regularly.
    • What was wrong with Synaptic that it needs replacing?

      The clunky GUI?

      • Honestly, I have no idea what you are talking about. It seems about as straightforward as any other piece of software I've ever used. Hell, it's more straightforward than a good amount of software I've used.
    • Perhaps Mark Shuttleworth has ADHD

    • by thegarbz (1787294)

      Ubuntu is on a faster development cycle than a lot of other platforms. Does that mean that they shouldn't make changes between versions? I mean all you gripes tend to affect only new users who have never used the software before. You said yourself you've been using it for 3 years, so what's so difficult with typing "apt-get install firefox", or "apt-get install synaptic"?

      If you go out and buy a windows PC tell me the first thing you don't do is get rid of the bloatware and replace internet explorer with you

      • by mug funky (910186)

        same goes for most things in ubuntu. and linux, TBH.

        being an ex-windows user, it took me quite a while to figure out that the explorer-clone was called "nautilus". not exactly intuitive. what's wrong with "file browser" or something? random names might sound cool, but when someone's first trying to make sense of the familiar looking but utterly alien (from a windows user perspective) interface, it can be a needless barrier.

        of course, like a swimming pool, it's much better "once you're in", but there'll

      • What's wrong with synaptic? Well start at the top, it's name! Go get your sister and sit her down in front of your computer, start synaptic for her (since she won't have a clue that's what the package manager is called), and then tell her to install new CD authoring software.

        I just tried that - typed "cd" into the quick search of the Synaptic GUI and it came back wit lots of CD utilities including burning utilities. The list wasn't especially long, i.e. not a chore to read through. When I added "burn" to th

    • by Grishnakh (216268)

      Ubuntu is all about making a super-easy-to-use distro for total newbies. So everything they're doing is in support of that goal, and that includes Unity, a UI that basically tries to turn your 24" desktop into something that works like a smartphone.

      I switched to Ubuntu (actually Kubuntu) about 3-4 years ago too, and it was because I wanted to use a distro where everything basically worked correctly instead of having to fiddle with things endlessly, and I wasn't getting that with SUSE at the time. The gian

    • Mod parent up for hitting the nail on the head.
  • by JustNiz (692889) on Thursday June 23, 2011 @06:35PM (#36548194)

    The excuse given for dropping Synaptic is to make space on the CD, but I remember reading somewhere fairly trustworthy that 11.04 would be the last release as a CD ISO, and the next release (11.10) would be a DVD iso.

    Continuing to require Ubuntu to only be released as a CD-sized ISO is a backward step IMHO. At least also provide a DVD image. They've already pushed the size limit of the ISO so much that you can't even use conventional 650mb CDRs or even 80 minute CD/RWs, you specifically need an 80-minute CDR.

    These days CDR has been practically obsoleted by DVD+/-R(W) and writeable blu-ray. I wish Ubuntu would make the jump. I personally find it very inconvenient to have to keep a stock of 80 minute blank CDRs around just for ubuntu releases. It feels as bad as having to keep floppy disks around. Everything else I do I use blank DVDs or blu-rays for.

    It seems to me a more likely reason for dropping Synaptic is that the marketing minds behind Ubuntu are gradually eliminating support for those pesky power users. If true this is the same massively broken thinking that makes Windows such a pain in the ass to use for anyone trying to do anything remotely technical. I mean what the F*** are they thinking with that horribly inefficient unity interface?

    Having the power to efficiently and directly do what I need to with as few keystrokes/clicks as possible, and avoiding being forced to use a series of dumbed-down and limited tools that automatically assume you're ignorant and stupid is why I chose to use Linux over Windows in the first place. Unfortunately the road Ubuntu is on seems to be remarkably similar to Microsoft in assuming users can't possibly know enough to be trusted with a powerful tool.

    Any more dumbing down of Ubuntu and I for one will be dropping it.

    • This "road" Ubuntu is on is getting too bumpy for me too. Right now I find myself stuck on 10.10 and not wanting to go anywhere. Maverick is a very solid release compared to the others and loathe having to "upgrade" to some crappy interface that Ubuntu forces on me by default. One of my biggest gripes of 11.04 is that they steal the use of the super (Windows home) key for the Unity main menu, making my Super+Space combo useless for Gnome Do and making keyboard shortcuts useless for other applications tha

      • If you're used to Ubuntu but want to switch, there's no reason not to go to Debian. You'll get roughly the same package versions from testing, and all your apt skills remain intact. And, contrary to popular opinion, you don't need to muck around with stuff from command line in Debian if you don't want to, with a few minor exceptions - not at all like Gentoo or Arch.

    • These days CDR has been practically obsoleted by DVD+/-R(W) and writeable blu-ray. I wish Ubuntu would make the jump. I personally find it very inconvenient to have to keep a stock of 80 minute blank CDRs around just for ubuntu releases.

      Save yourself some pain man, just install from a USB key.

    • by Lifyre (960576)

      I liked Ubuntu and have used it since they're second or third release. Unfortunately they've moved in a different direction from what I would like and with GNOME seemingly following suit I have started exploring the other options out there. I have a fairly short list of requirements (apt and not RHEL based). It really seems that I keep coming back to Ubuntu or a flavor there of. I'm not a huge KDE fan but I'm starting to realize that the parts I don't like are minor additions that are easily replaced.

    • by DragonWriter (970822) on Thursday June 23, 2011 @07:10PM (#36548632)

      Continuing to require Ubuntu to only be released as a CD-sized ISO is a backward step IMHO. At least also provide a DVD image.

      Ubuntu provides a number of alternative images besides the normal desktop install CD image, including a DVD image, and has for several years.

      It seems to me a more likely reason for dropping Synaptic is that the marketing minds behind Ubuntu are gradually eliminating support for those pesky power users.

      Synaptic has been replaced by the Ubuntu Software Center as the primary package management UI for Ubuntu for a while; the decision not to include it on the CD is a change with little actual effect, especially on power users, who can presumably figure out how to install something that is in the repositories but not on the CD. If they really don't like USC, they can do it through the command line, since the command line tools aren't being taken out of the CD, or even the base install.

      Any more dumbing down of Ubuntu and I for one will be dropping it.

      Ubuntu is, overtly, intended to be, first and foremost, Linux for casual mass-market users, and the default install (and the packages available on the default install media) reflect that. Now, Ubuntu continues to support other users with packages available in the repositories and on alternate install media (and in alternate distributions in the Ubuntu family; e.g., Ubuntu Server is, naturally, not intended for casual mass-market users), but complaining that the default Ubuntu install and default install media are exactly what Ubuntu markets itself as is, well, somewhat pointless.

    • by Plekto (1018050)

      Wait... People still use basic Ubuntu and not one of the vastly improved versions of it like Mint? And, yes, the standard package for Mint is on a DVD. It gives them tons of space for things most users want (like codecs and drivers and so on) and dead-simple means to make a copy, since DVDs are essentially the new CDs. CDs are getting hard to find, actually, as of late, since you can't even buy a CD-only drive any more. NewEgg as an example, doesn't sell a single CD only reader or burner. It's 100% DVD

      • by keith_nt4 (612247)
        The CD release, I was under the impression (I've listened to the Ubuntu guy on the FLOSS podcast several times) that the 650 MB ISO thing was for the benefit of the "developing world". Third world countries in other words like India or up-and-comers like Brazil who perhaps don't have DVD burners and/or the bandwidth speed for several gigs worth of ISO. The 650 part is I think for CD-RWs. Weren't they limited to 650 at one point? Been a couple years since i tried to use a CD-RW...
    • Any more dumbing down of Ubuntu and I for one will be dropping it.

      If you're worried about dumbing down then you shouldn't have ever been using Ubuntu in the first place.

    • by Grishnakh (216268)

      These days CDR has been practically obsoleted by DVD+/-R(W) and writeable blu-ray.

      Yes, it has been obsoleted by DVD+/-R(W), but not BD-R. I've never even seen a BD-R drive or disc outside of a Fry's store, and I don't think anyone's bothering with them now that you can get 16GB USB drives for under $20 and 32GB drives for $35, USB hard drives are cheap and huge (1TB for well under $100), etc. BD-R media is far too expensive to be competitive with the other options, esp. when you consider it's write-once a

    • by mug funky (910186)

      they could always start compressing their images for download.

      and you could discover what USB ports are for. it'll cut your install time considerably.

  • As much as I love Ubuntu, I get the feeling that Canonical has "jumped the shark".. First going to Unity, which IMO sucks majorly, and now dropping Synaptic.. Even if its still available, if its not the default package manager, the development of it will *eventually* stop..

    • by Chris Burke (6130)

      As someone who uses Synaptic, all I can say is... And?

      Oh noes, I'll either have to see if the new GUI app suits my needs, or resort to the command line utilities that I was already familiar with. Or Aptitude. Whichever.

    • Two things that you don't seem to realize:
      1) Development on Synaptic seems to have stopped already, or at least slowed way down. http://www.nongnu.org/synaptic/ [nongnu.org] gives the last update as January 2009. However, I believe Debian has adopted it and maintains it. It hasn't changed enough to make a difference in that timeframe outside of bugfixes, at least that I can see.

      2) USC has been the *default* package manager since 10.04, though Synaptic still shipped. (see https://help.ubuntu.com/community/SoftwareCent [ubuntu.com]

  • by frisket (149522) <peter AT silmaril DOT ie> on Thursday June 23, 2011 @07:00PM (#36548508) Homepage

    I thought Unity sucked the first time I saw it. It still has defects, but having used it for a couple of months, it works, and it's not too bad.

    Synaptic as always worked fine, and doesn't need replacing. But if Canonical is changing it for something else, they need to make sure they don't lose functionality, otherwise they'll lose their best marketing tool — the people who like Ubuntu and proselytise it well.

    Unfortunately, Canonical is going the way of so many companies, becoming arrogant and thinking they know best, regardless. They need to develop some humility.

    • by QuasiEvil (74356)

      Unity bites ass. I tried it for a few days and found it to have exactly the same problem as the MS Office "Ribbon" crap - it was change for the sake of change when the old UI metaphor we've been using for decades worked just fine. (Yes, for those wondering, I use both Windows and Ubuntu, depending on what I'm trying to do.) It slowed me down, it annoyed me, and fortunately there were easy ways to make it bugger off.

  • I'm not an Ubuntu user, but this seems like a good move to me.

    It'll make the system more approachable for new users, and anyone who needs the fancy extra features shouldn't be using a GUI in the first place.

    Serious linux geeks do package management from the command line.

  • ..but not 'dropped' from the repositories. Somewhat misleading inflammatory suggestion we have here.

  • Another "x dropped from Ubuntu" post, another mass ragequit from the hive mind.

    Ten years ago, nobody complained about the default installation profile of Linux distributions. If you were geeky enough to use Linux, then you knew how to use package managers and could maybe even configure and make something from source. Now everyone wants their preferred DE and pre-selected apps handed to them on a platter, as if they reinstalled their OS every fucking week. If the default package list is a deal breaker for
  • What I want out of a Linux distro:

    (1) Something Debian based (mainly due to my familiarity with apt and Debian systems)
    (2) Something with modern enhancements for a desktop system (e.g. pre-patched font libraries so they have proper hinting and don't look like ass)
    (3) Something which supports PPA or other external repos so I can remain as up to day as possible with the latest software (official repos are frozen bar security updates).
    (4) Something which has out-of-the-box functionality for power users as well

  • by tpstigers (1075021) on Friday June 24, 2011 @12:14AM (#36551316)
    Ubuntu has been making a spirited attempt at becoming the distro for the Linux newbie. And they have been largely successful at it, mainly because of decisions like this one. New-comers and "average Joes" shouldn't have to learn how to use Synaptic (which, frankly, has never been much fun to use). Similarly, there's a good reason for including a launcher out of the box. It doesn't surprise me in the least when Canonical makes decisions that create an Ubuntu that is closer to an OS my Mom could use (in fact, they may have arrived there already).

    What does surprise me is the vitriol that's being spewed about it here. If you feel a compelling need to think of yourself as some sort of hardcore Linux geek, just get yourself another distro. As a hardcore Linux geek, you should know they're out there (you might even know where to get them). Ubuntu is not intended for the hardcore user (it's hardly a bare-bones distro) - quite the opposite, in fact.

    And I have to admit I'm confused by all the Linux wizards here who are so hardcore they feel they must have Synaptic, but are simultaneously outraged by the fact that they have to type 'sudo apt-get install' into a terminal in order to get it.

  • by balaband (1286038) on Friday June 24, 2011 @03:46AM (#36552286)

    There is a masterplan at work here.

    The casual and noob users will be offered something really simple, with everything set up by default - so they can get accustomed to new platform. This is a ticket in. When you get more experienced, than you can start tweaking it or move to another distro.

    Dumb it down even more. Remove anything than 3-year-old can't use. 2 apps for music playback? One to many. Video player? Works with any kind of format that you can throw at it. If not, do a next->next->finish upgrade. More games by default. Simplify, simplify, simplify. Rinse. Repeat.

    Goal? Make it more easy than Mac to use. SCSB (Start Computer, Shutdown Brain) users are a market to aim for

    • Simplify, simplify, simplify. Rinse. Repeat.

      That's the mantra of every Engineer, isn't it? "A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away." - Antoine de Saint-Exupry

Evolution is a million line computer program falling into place by accident.

Working...