Immutable Filesystems are NOT the Problem

You are. (JK?)

When I started using Fedora Silverblue as my desktop/laptop operating system last year, I spent a lot of time learning about the fundamental differences between it and a more traditional Linux system like Fedora Workstation. While there are many similarities (as Silverblue is based on Workstation), the most crucial aspects of the system are not the same.

Enter the immutable root filesystem. While most users expect to be able to just chop up and move around any file on their disk that they’d like, this is not the way Silverblue is structured to work. First and foremost, it’s important to remember that an operating system has specific requirements for what it needs to be able to function in the capacity it’s designed to run. While in may situations, you can change, remove, or replace some things, stepping just a bit too far can leave the entire system crippled and unusable. Which is part of why some of the most successful operating systems in the mass market today implement an immutable root filesystem which prevents the system from being tampered with.

This, to no surprise, frustrates an exceptionally large amount of traditionalist Linux users who are convinced that any level of change or self-protection in an OS is some form of an affront on their personal liberties. Likely, in part, because they’ve centered their entire personalities around the notion that they’re “sticking it to the man” like some band of want-to-be freedom fighters protecting all of our rights to be able to do stupid things with no consequence. They’ve fought long and hard to protect their ideals, and having complete and utter control of their system, even to the absolute detriment of their ideals actually being passable onto anyone sane, is of the utmost priority. Not because it’s functionally necessary, or that it’s the right way to do it, but because it’s exactly what they’re used to and is the exemplification of all of their qualities… Traditionalism, stubbornness, and conceit.

What’s more, is that there are valid criticisms of the changes immutable filesystems which should be presented as it becomes increasingly more relevant within the Linux desktop space. Things which are necessary to address in order to bring its functionality up to feature-par with what you would expect from systems like macOS, or better. These things need to be worked on and solved, but there’s such a strong sense of instinctive rejection whenever anything is different from the norm that it’s the burden of the most patient and persistent people on the planet to push those boundaries in order to present real solutions to the issues the current model creates when deploying a modern operating system in a user-focused capacity. Issues which seem fairly silly, considering the state of computing in 2022, yet things that are just haphazardly accepted in the name of technical superiority.

We should absolutely blacklist anything that changes the way we use our computers even though our current solutions to package management on Linux includes allowing something as simple as a browser to block your entire OS from being able to receive critical security updates if there’s so much as a single dependency broken. Or that your entire graphics stack can be reduced to a pile of cluttered text if you need to install a game launcher when your system’s repositories don’t quite line up. We don’t need solutions to that, right? Or solutions to applications making modifications to system files and folders when they have no good reason to be doing so? No. Of course not!
But really… Are we this dense? Are we this hopeless?

It’s fucking embarrassing. Get a grip, people.



Hey, I'm Schykle! I'm a tech enthusiast. Much wow!

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