20090824 Update: Moving Things Around and Adios CrunchBang

I stayed up a bit too late last night configuring a few things and moving things around. I still have a bit of work to do to get it working as desired.

I’d already set up entries in my menu.lst to boot {Tiny,Micro}Core. Last night I moved my separate ex-CrunchBang /home around, with the basic files in the same root partition as the rest of ex-CrunchBang and the rest in the FAT partition which holds shared data and is set to automatically mount (/windows) under ex-CrunchBang.

I sorted through extensions to decide which I want to load at boot and which need to go in the “optional” directory (which can be loaded manually). I decided to load wireless-related extensions and audio at boot, along with a few utilities and applications (such as elinks and mplayer, both of which I may go ahead and move to optional). Even with all my extensions loaded, I’m not using much space or RAM — less than I was using in CrunchBang.

After getting things sorted out a bit to my liking, I decided that ex-CrunchBang just has to go — I was very unlikely to use it much anymore — and {Tiny,Micro}Core probably won’t ever need the nearly-20GB’s worth of space on my drive it’s currently set up on. I don’t know how much I’ll even boot Linux, let alone for how long, since I’m so totally freaking distrustful of Linux with respect to the Atheros wifi card now. So the smaller 5-6GB partition I’d set up for CrunchBang’s / will get the 300 or so MB of TinyCore extensions, as well as my persistent /opt and /home.

I’ll use TrueCrypt to encrypt the whole 20-ish GB partition for use in Windows. The only reason I’m going to do it sooner than later is so I’ll have that space for some things in Windows. I’m running out of space and I don’t want to add another TrueCrypt container on my Windows partition; I’d rather move all that data to one partition.

I’ll update again later today (or in the coming days) and explain my setup with more detail.

UPDATE: I decided to check out the Xorg extension for 1024×600 resolution. Tried it first under MicroCore to no avail — I got all kinds of xfont errors. So I tried it under TinyCore. Holy shit at the RAM hit for that: an extra 100+ MB. No thanks. I’ll use my scrunched-up looking screen (1024×768 squeezed and flattened into 1024×600) or run without X (MicroCore).

If it’s going to use that much RAM, I’d just as soon use a standard distro with full utilities (not busybox). Fortunately, the native max resolution of my new laptop is supported by tiny X.

Now I just have to un-do a couple things so I won’t be bothered by the xsetup script when I boot. More later (maybe).

UPDATE2: Had a little time to myself for lunch before a conference call. “Fixed” the xsetup issue (resulting from trying out the full Xorg extension) by copying over /etc/skel/.xsession and then commenting out the line for wbar. Edited jwm theme using the default.thm in /opt/jwmThemes as a starting point (font 7×13). Just realized the resolution is set at 800×600 for some reason. Guess it’s either that or the scrunchy 1024×600 — pick your poison. I also commented out the swallow tags for “watcher” in the jwm tray so now I have less distraction on the desktop. 


I also moved more things to optional to reduce initial hit on resources at boot. There’s still plenty more I can move there since one of the things already moved is the audio driver package — I’ve tried both OSS and alsa, and moving both to optional lets me choose which I care to use. I think OSS is a bit more bloated and I added a line in bootlocal.sh to mute the internal speaker (which is horridly crappy on the AA1) at boot. Neither package is set up for persistent settings so I need to see what I can do to get my alsa settings to stick between boots. The weirdest part of the alsa package is the default settings, including setting one channel pretty high and the other at 0 for the microphone.

For the life of me, I’ve been unable to get this fucking Atheros card to work from bootlocal.sh or even from my own script. If it’s not one thing it’s another with this piece of excrement — it functions absolutely well under Windows but I cannot emphasize too much how unstable and buggy it remains under Linux. The problem appears to be related to scanning during wpa_supplicant and no amount of sleep up to 10 seconds helped. I wanted to manage it from scripts anyway so I’ve created one for each AP I’m likely to hit today (changing SSID settings, etc., along with different wpa-conf files) and then I start DHCP via alias. WTF, it works, it’s almost as fast, and it doesn’t have the overhead of something like wicd or the issues I had with NetworkMangler (intentional) latching onto other APs before connecting to the ones for which it’s been set up.

More to do: Still some basic set up including seeing what else I want to add to my filelist and sorting out “little things” that annoy me. Need to fix the resolution (again) and see what I can do about fine-tuning the Synaptics pad (need to slow it down a bit and see if I can scroll with the driver/tiny X). Compiling applications and figuring out what I can do about auto-completing aliases (short of changing shells) is also on the agenda. When I find some time. Speaking of which, I’m out of it now.

UPDATE 3: I got everything shuffled around so my {Tiny,Micro}Core stuff is all on one (roughly) 5GB partition and the 20GB partition which had been /home for my CrunchBang install has been converted to NTFS.


And that, my friends, ends my little experiment with anything Ubuntu on my hard drive. I’ll write a “debriefing” one of these days and post the screencast I was in the process of making when I lost wifi.

Now I’m down to Windows XP, TinyCore, and MicroCore on my Aspire One. My menu.lst has the usual entry for XP plus several options each for {Tiny,Micro}Core. I’ll also write a more detailed article about this soon.

As far as Windows goes, right now I’m leaving D: (which was /windows in CrunchBang) and E: as they are but I’ll most likely join them together and either encrypt the whole resulting partition or set up a couple bigger containers than I’m using now. The only reason I’d leave them separate like they are now is because the data currently on D: is stuff like multimedia which I want easy access between operating systems.

I haven’t had much more time to do anything else with TinyCore. I’ll see what else I can do in my spare time this week. Hopefully, that’ll include getting it (and/or somethinge else) set up when the not-quite-new laptop arrives.

3 Responses to “20090824 Update: Moving Things Around and Adios CrunchBang”

  1. da1uth Says:

    the latest madwifi drivers work like a charm!

    try crunchbang with the kuki sicboy kernel


    using it rite now and with the madwifi installed, no more drop outs.

    it uses max 200mb of ram (running firefox and synaptics in background)
    and boots in 30-35 seconds from cold start.
    not bad i think.

    • lucky Says:

      As noted in a previous entry, my AA1 kernel used sickboy’s config as a starting point with a few changes (such as moving some built-in drivers to module). Thanks for the advice. I’ve already scrubbed what was #!’s / partition and moved my TinyCore stuff there. FWIW, I was up nearly four hours with their wireless_mod extension. My RAM use is a bit lower than 200MB with Opera, tmux, mplayer, and emacs (with mew running in it) running.

      Why in the world would you run synaptic in the background? The other final straw for me was the insanity of using packaging which either clogs up your hard drive with things you don’t want or that sets things up i n such a way that removing one package is like pulling a card from a house of cards. Friggin’ tired of “sudo aptitude hold [packagename]” and so on. With TinyCore, I have a ton more flexibility in how I load things. Stay tuned for an article about that.

    • lucky Says:

      Okay, I’m using madwifi under TinyCore. Any issues with suspend/resume? I haven’t set up suspend yet but I’d like to be able to if madwifi is stable enough and “resume” won’t become “reboot.” Thanks again.

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