Monday, February 2 2015

SystemD 2015
[16:47:22] matt []/Psi+

Unix: Do one thing well.
SystemD: Why do one thing, when you could be doing other things as well?

I'm not a huge fan of SystemD, in fact, I was considering switching back to FreeBSD for my home workstations to avoid it. However, there were some points in the notes on the 2015 roadmap which might actually be useful for the specific usecase I have for GNU/Linux.

Booting a standard GNU/Linux distro with a read-only root (e.g. from NFS) is frustrating; it doesn't work well, and even though many of the caveats are documented around the Web, it seems like there's always something that doesn't quite work. FreeBSD, for what its worth, booted diskless quite nicely when I was comparing the two about two years ago. In the end, I went with USB boot images for each node at home.

Looking at the roadmap, the 2015 plan for SystemD seems to be moving towards a system which is better designed for read-only root by default, which would be neat, and hopefully mean once the system is configured, bitrot would be less of an issue.

Wednesday, January 16 2013

PXE Boot
[19:26:23] matt []/Trip If you miss those days of trying to load a GNU/Linux distribution from CD-ROM; boot from disc, start the installation, and get partway through the install which only then complains about being unable to find the drive from which you've so far been reading--PXE booting with Linux 3 and a NIC that requires non-distributable firmware is for you.

Saturday, November 3 2012

CNet Hacks
[20:50:53] matt []/navic I've been browsing through the video streams (podcasts) available by default in the netvision plug-in for MythTV. CNet's news has been hit-or-miss, with some very interesting and in-depth articles once in a while, but mostly fluffy or breezy-main-stream articles.

The CNet feeds seem to be similar (I can't suggest anyone waste their time with The Linux Action Show! for instance), although Tom Merritt's CNet Hacks videos are exceptionally lucid and good for non-technical viewers in a technical world. Other videos even include SQL injections and by other presenters, although the first few I watched were all from Mr. Merritt.

These videos, unfortunately, date back to 2009 and Mr. Merritt is no longer with CNet, which explains why they're more readily found via search engines than CNet's own site.

Saturday, September 3 2011

[22:26:31] matt []/Merch Hume's been upgraded to a Core 2 Duo, 2GB RAM, and Debian GNU/Linux. Restoring accounts and data now, with mail to resume after that.

Tuesday, June 7 2011

Debian Stable
[01:32:06] matt []/Psi.generay It's a running joke that Debian Stable (currently Squeeze) is often behind on features.

It used to be a running joke about how Linux distros couldn't find your CD-drive (optical drive, for you newbies with your Blu-Rays).

Apparently that running joke just made its way to Debian Stable.

Saturday, February 19 2011

[18:20:44] matt []/Merch What I learned today ... The OMAP SmartReflex interface in Linux is unstable.

Tuesday, April 13 2010

Fancy Small Computers
[19:49:41] matt []/kerberos I remember a time, not so long ago, that it was difficult to find a small computer that was portable and had a long battery. The OQO looked intriguing, but it would continue to be vaporware for several years. The only thing I could find was the Fujitsu Lifebook P-series, which at the time was using the exciting new Transmeta Crusoe chips designed for energy efficiency. Unfortunately, even compared to the computers of the day, that laptop was slow.

These days "netbooks", much to the shagrin of Psion, are bountiful--often running on Intel's x86-compatible Atom processor, although increasingly running on ARM Snapdragons (supported by Maemo, Android, and Ubuntu Linux distributions among countless other variants). Jamie just got an Assus EeePC that's running Ubuntu; my mother has an Acer Aspire One running some MicroSoft version. I borrowed the EeePC and didn't want to give it back, it's really well done given a single-use mentality (the Netbook Remix variation of Ubuntu is very Mac-like).

The question I find myself pondering is what do I really want? I recently picked-up the Nokia N900 which runs at a decent clip, the Maemo 5 (Fremantle) interface is pretty snappy, and I've really gotten used to the touch interface for anything non-productive ("consumptive") tasks. It's actually a very amazing machine that in practice is very much like that P-2110 but smaller.

In the end there's a lot of small options, and they each have a different niche to fill--but I'm not sure how much overlap they all have. It could be that one covers too much of another's niche, making two distinct devices redundant. I can carry the N900 instead of the E61; but it doesn't replace the Neo when I need a small pocketable phone. I could carry the EeePC on trips where it would take-up less space than the MacBook, and still have a phenominal-for-a-laptop keyboard to compose messages or configure machines, or even do work albeit on a small screen. But what does that really get me? A slightly bigger screen (2") and a bigger keyboard, at the cost of another device--and one that doesn't have a ubiquitous Internet access at that.

If more areas had converted to municipal WiFi, it might be a different situation.

Friday, March 26 2010

[17:58:21] matt []/kerberos Conway's Game of Life ... in the Linux Kernel.