Archive for the ‘Gnome’ Category

Adios Gnome

June 27, 2009

I went ahead and committed to some changes on my Fedora 10 installation on my AA1 this evening. Gone are a lot of Gnome things — thirty-three packages so far including metacity, cheese (POS), istanbul (I’ll figure out something else, maybe), and a whole lot of stuff that I can live without. That includes rhythmbox. I can live with the mtp-tools since either way I have much less control over the device’s (Samsung S3) directory hierarchy than in Windows.

Since gdm was among the cruft deleted, I now boot into runlevel 3; I’m still at about 100 MB of RAM at boot but I think I can get that down a bit more. As I suspected, booting into gdm really slows things down. I’m not running any legit benchmarks but the time to a login prompt is faster.

I also edited my networking to start at boot rather than in X so now I won’t lose a connection just because I’m not running X or switching window managers. That annoyed the hell out of me — start something like music streams or downloads in screen, detach to switch window managers, lose wifi, lose everything related to networking. Not that wifi has exactly proven stable under Fedora.

Speaking of window managers, ratpoison is my new default window manager. Surprised? I also added terminus fonts and other cool stuff.

I also know I have more crap to get rid of because I wasn’t too aggressive; I see a lot that can go now that I’m looking at my installed list. I really don’t think I’ll need compiz for ratpoison. I also still have lxpanel installed even though I’m very sure I’ll never set it up with ratpoison again. I also saw apps like evolution and pidgin I’m unlikely to ever use  on this.

More tomorrow if I get time.

Update 20090627

June 27, 2009

I’m still unable to run yet (lingering fatigue from the flu combined with a heat wave) so my early morning hours are filled with catching up with work. Screwing around with Fedora has been an anti-priorirty until this morning (at 4:30 no less).

I think I booted into Linux three times all week (checked last: four times – twice on Monday, once Tuesday, once this morning). Spent most of the week working within Windows playing catch-up. I never installed Firefox under XP on my AA1; I’ve been using IE8 and Opera instead. I finally installed xulrunner and conkeror, though, yesterday. May install conkeror under Fedora, too.

Here’s GNU screen running mplayer (streaming smoothjazz.com), emacs opened with probably two dozen more buffers than I’m using or paying attention to (mostly dired — need to see if I can reuse  the same buffer), w3m opened to my blog, and some chatting. This is all within ratpoison, of course. I got rid of that lxpanel thing.

screenshot-20090627060532

I installed GraphicsMagick instead of imagemagick so my file names are automatically set and everything’s handled with simple keystrokes. I saw that GraphicsMagick did the same things as imagemagick only faster and better with fewer libraries. Not sure how true the claims are but I decided it was worth a try. Only difference I had to adjust to was invoking “gm” before imagemagick command names in my scripts and configuration files (e. g., the aliases and commands I have set up in .ratpoisonrc).

Likely to remove some Gnome bloat sooner than later, but still have some apprehension. I wanted to see where pekwm would fit in comparison to ratpoison and fluxbox. It was much closer to fluxbox so I’ll remove it.

window manager resource use
doesn't include additional/related processes
taken at fresh start
ps aux | grep [window manager name]

lucky13      0.1  0.4  10264  4172 ?        S    04:43   0:00 pekwm
lucky13      1.6  0.4  10808  5068 ?        S    04:46   0:00 fluxbox
lucky13      0.2  0.1   5476  1556 ?        S    04:47   0:00 ratpoison

NOTES
-----
pekwm with default theme
fluxbox theme "green tea" and very small menu
ratpoison with custom .ratpoisonrc

Not doing anything drastic today beyond tweaking .emacs and moving old scripts to the AA1. I’ve considered upgrading the AA1 to Windows 7 when it’s released (October 22). I’d like to see that everything’s working better under Linux than it has thus far, which is why I still have XP installed and why I’m still leaning towards Windows 7. Right now there are too many things keeping me from considering running Linux-only on this: having to boot with an SD card inserted to use the reader, crazy wireless shit that’s happened on multiple occasions now (changing SSIDs and even disabling the wireless card), etc.

One final note about the DSL hard drive PDF I’ve not been able to finish yet. I don’t know if or when I’ll get around to it between catching up from being sick to vacation to the simple fact that DSL is dead and I think there are too many better options for those who want a traditional hard drive install. I thought interest would wane since DSL’s development has come to a screeching halt (last time I checked, John Andrews had posted no updates, roadmaps, polls for what direction users wanted DSL to go, etc.), but every day I’m getting hits from DSL forum links and from Google searches related to DSL hard drive installs. So maybe I’ll finish it anyway. Even though it’s about half finished (I want to add new screenshots and other images to make it as easy as possible) I’d rather spend that time writing a guide for something under active development. Maybe I’ll post my own poll about all that and see if there’s any interest either way.

Fedora 10 on AA1 Update: ratpoison and screen

June 22, 2009

Been setting up ratpoison and screen in Fedora 10 this morning since I can’t run yet. Now all my apps will open full screen when I open them in other window managers. Cool!

Here are some screenshots. First up, I ran into a bit of an issue using aterm for the first time ever. Maybe need to recompile? (UPDATE: Doh! No, it’s all good. I just checked my .Xresources and commented out the geometry line. Works now.)

aterm-FAIL-01

Another app I’ve found to be messed up is zile. I installed it yesterday and the replace-string mode isn’t there (neither are others like list-commands); M-x re[tab to complete] resulted in only one (recenter) match. No problem, I’m probably installing emacs (no X) anyway.

The terminal in these shots is xterm. The blue shit on the bottom of these shots is from the gdm theme. Yet another reason to skip that and use a proper console login.

Here’s a shot of “free -mt” (aliased) at fresh boot.  I don’t have resources trimmed yet nearly as much as I want. I can only imagine how bloated that default gdm theme is. One thing I keep noticing about default backgrounds and themes is that they’re not designed for the lowest common denominator — which really is a disservice to users of older, slower, less-able hardware whom Linux advocates have always targeted.

ratpoison-rocks-on-fedora

Hard to believe I had Gnome trimmed down to a similar level. Need to start with fewer services running! Also need to quit using Gnome apps to do little things like an Ubuntu user would; I love that message, though. Haven’t installed imagemagick yet.

Finally, here’s GNU screen in xterm in ratpoison after starting and running a bunch of other stuff.

screen-fedora-001

As you can see, I’m using mksh as my shell. I was going to install pdksh again but I saw the size of the binaries. Less bloated and more functional than bash either way. Guess I’m also kind of biased because of the BSD thing. Maybe I’ll try MirOS one of these days; not sure it would run on an AA1 (MirOS uses a no SMP kernel, Atom is multi-thread) or how much hardware support it would lack (does it have ath yet?).

Have a bit of mucking around with my wrapper and other scripts since aterm’s not working in ratpoison — using mplayer in terminal to playback audio and video since that’s a bit easier on the system than totem and everything else dressed up in GTK+. Not going to start compiling stuff yet even though I want either ratmen or dmenu; I haven’t even looked to see how headers are packaged in Fedora. I’ll probably set up a text-based menu (see Oct ’08 post “More GNU screen Tweaks”) instead before I do anything else.

UPDATE 06:16 US/Central – Installed emacs (nox) and removed zile. Already changed my scripts to use xterm so I’m probably removing aterm and libafterstep and whatever else was installed with it.

emacs-installed-01

Had to manually link emacs-22.3-nox to emacs. My mplayer wrapper also now opens PLS streams in screen.

Debian-AA1 Update: Upgraded to Sid

June 18, 2009

13:24 – 18 Jun 2009

I did a few boots of other distros from USB yesterday between naps (got flu). Some of these were very bleeding edge. I decided I was going to have to bite the bullet and run a system more on the bleeding edge than I really want to get this working the way I want. Wish I could find a happy compromise but too much of my stuff’s not working (the way I think it should) yet.

Does it matter which distros I tried? The one that impressed me most was opensuse-kde. Alas, it uses so much RAM from USB that I’d never install it on a hard drive. I also liked the Xfce (more RAM than Xubuntu from stick!) and LXDE versions of Fedora 11. Maybe I could trim Fedora-Xfce down to usable size. Hmmm.

Among the things I was able to get working better than under Debian-Lenny were the webcam (no surprise) and libmtp (for my Samsung S3). In fact, Amarok in opensuse recognized my Samsung S3 as soon as I plugged it in.

Rather than going through the hassle of backing up and starting from scratch with yet another distro, I looked over the list of updates in Sid and decided I’d give it a try. Against my better judgment. I don’t know — I just don’t care to be a guinea pig. There’s a reason it’s called “testing” and “unstable.” I want tested, stable.

I’m writing this part as I’m about a third of the way through downloading updates and, just like the install the other day, it’s going to take a while. Doesn’t help I’m doing this in middle of the day (still fighting flu so I’m about to nap again) and the mirror is fucking slow anyway.

Maybe I should’ve removed gnome first.

I forgot to add a few days ago that I removed zile and installed mg instead. Both are small emacs-like editors. They’re about the same size and work very similarly, so the most substantive difference is licenses: zile is GNU, mg is BSD (and maintained by OpenBSD). I need to edit my .jwmrc to unclobber the alt key (IIRC, the setting for nextstacked is fucked up).

More later when this thing is upgraded.

16:25 – 18 Jun 2009

Now through downloading 902 of 980 files. Progress! Should be able to boot in the next hour. Or two. Depends when I wake up from my next nap. Or if I take one. Getting sick in the summer really sucks.

17:32 – 18 Jun 2009

Rebooted because I went ahead and installed the Sid kernel so I can stay tied to the regular repositories. I’d already verified beforehand that I was now at “squeeze/sid” on my AA1.

First app test: FAIL. Started rhythmbox, plugged in S3. WTF happened to rhythmbox? It just disappeared. Let’s leave S3 plugged in and run from terminal and see.

% rhythmbox                                                                    

(rhythmbox:xxxx): Rhythmbox-WARNING **: Unable to grab media player keys: Could not get owner of name 'org.gnome.SettingsDaemon': no such name
Segmentation fault

Whoops. See why lucky hates being on the bleeding edge just to have a big-version-number? Fuck. At least mtp-tools seem to be working. Now I won’t feel so bad about removing Gnome (should’ve done it before upgrading). I’ll have to mess with this later to see if it’s fixable or if I need to file a bug report.

FWIW, here’s the “after” shot to show initial hit after starting X (see previous entries for “before” shots):

moved-to-sid

This is my 17kb wallpaper (bloated 1024×600 netbook size). Might tweak .jwmrc to match it. That’ll have to wait and I’ll also test more of these shiny new bigger-version-number apps tomorrow to see what else won’t work. My fever’s back up and I’m wiped out now.

Update: Debian Lenny on AA1 – Starting to Get Things to Work Right

June 14, 2009

I wrote last night that I’d either have some love or some hate for Debian on my AA1. Today I’m warming up a little bit to it.

It really helps to read as much information as possible before getting in too deep. Mea culpa. The Debian wiki has a nice page on Aspire One setup. The reason I couldn’t see any wireless signals, let alone connect to my own, is because of shortcomings in Lenny’s base kernel. I added debiankernel to my sources.list and installed a fresher kernel.

$ uname -mrs
Linux 2.6.29-bpo.2-686 i686

Now I’m up and running without this ethernet cable tethering me to my desk and I can stick it back in my server where it belongs. I’m posting from Iceweasel in Debian now.

I made another quick change in possible preparation for ditching Gnome and because I like it better. I installed wicd and due to alleged conflicts automagically removed network-manager{-gnome}. I may re-add those, though, because wicd wants to connect to “<hidden>” rather than my SSID. I’ll see if I can fix that first. I’m just happy I can see wireless signals everywhere again.

I’m not sure I’ll ditch Gnome. I measured free -mt at first boot — without any other reconfiguration to get a baseline — and using eth0 rather than wifi my use was 265 MB. I’m sure that’s changed now that I’ve mucked around and made a few changes like the new kernel and apps that start at boot, never mind the toll encrypted wireless puts on a system. I also noticed that Gnome’s not churning away with CPU cycles quite as much as I recalled. That’s probably what will be my make/break criterion since RAM use is a quarter as important with 1 GB than it was when I was running 256 MB. FWIW, with four tabs open in Iceweasel (including resource drainers like gmail and the web editor for this blog), one terminal, and totem open with an audio stream:

$ free -mt
              total       used       free     shared    buffers     cached
Mem:           999        528        470          0          8        263
-/+ buffers/cache:        256        743
Swap:         1427          0       1427
Total:        2427        528       1898

I think I can live with that. For a little while. Maybe.

Still dealing with a few residual issues. The most noticeable is that when rebooting with my new kernel I once again had to edit the menu in GRUB because it was overwritten with settings for a second drive. Not as pissed off about it as I was last night but it’s still annoying. I’ve manually edited menu.lst but I’ll have to see wherever the cached setting is so I don’t have to do this with any more changes or new kernels.

I’ll be apt-pinning unstable repositories so I can get the few bleeding edge versions of things I need. That includes OpenOffice.org 3.x. I don’t think 2.x will work with some of my 3.x calc files (e. g., will my charts break? what about some of my formulae and has Debian patched 2.x so it’s forward compatible with 3.x?) and I don’t care to have separate document versions for Linux and Windows if there are any issues. I won’t get around to posting the DSL Hard Drive Install Guide PDF today. I’ll get to it ASAP because I’m tired of looking at it and because I see I’m getting a lot of hits on that page now. I’ll correct the notice I placed on it in a bit.

I also haven’t tested much hardware — not since it took so freaking long to install and then not having wireless until this morning. I haven’t checked CPU freq scaling yet, nor have I checked suspend/hibernation./resume. Haven’t tried to use the card readers yet. Haven’t done anything with the sound until now (opened stream in totem); need to figure out why the Gnome volume applet moves to mute when adjusting the volume.

Need to adjust volume levels and see if I can record audio through the microphone. The cam works, no thanks to cheese. Had to manually tweak settings to get output. Here’s my first picture as I was greeted when opening cheese.

0001

That’s not on the cheese developers. Everything else is. I did find that cheese doesn’t work any better in Lenny than in Fedora 10; I did manage to get it set up to take a picture but the video is way too shitty to use. I’ll replace this useless package with something that should work better, like mencoder/mplayer.

Still have to set up printers, too. That should be no problem. I’ll see if MTP works well enough to use it; I’ll see if the FUSE mtp filesystem (mtpfs) is available in apt and maybe have better control over the device than I had in Fedora (could do basic file management but no directory-level management, e. g., pictures, text, datacasts, etc.). Need to add a lighter and more powerful shell (ksh/pdksh/mksh). Can get rid of a lot of stuff I’ll never use (inkscape, ekiga). Add stuff I’ll use (skype, flash, etc.). Etc.

When I get time, I think I’m going to compile an AA1-specific kernel. The Debian AA1 wiki page above has a link to one but it uses ext4 in lieu of ext3. Why do I feel like a Luddite for refusing to get on that bandwagon yet?

Unfortunately, I probably won’t have much time to do any of this today due to previous commitments like family and College World Series (hook’em!). I’ll have an update as soon as I get a chance.

Rant: Debian 5 Installation on AA1 and Other Nonsense

June 13, 2009

What started out earlier today as a relatively simple thing has mushroomed into a big retarded mess. Yea Linux.

I decided to install Debian on my AA1 via net install using the netinstall ISO running from USB with the help of unetbootin (one of the dumbest names ever, IMO, even though it’s pretty easy to use). I chose Debian because it isn’t tied to a reckless time-frame for releases, because it has repositories filled with plenty of software  choices (even though most of them are bloated with every possible dependency required), and because it receives frequent updates for security and bugs.

I also decided I’d go ahead and go through a full standard install. WTF, why would I do that? Because I remeasured some things while running Gnome in Fedora 10. My initial RAM hit at boot was low — much lower than Xubuntu running from USB. I’d trimmed things down a bit with a choice of more frugal applications, some of which (e.g., mencoder) work a lot better than the default choices did. I wanted to see if I’d see similar results with Debian.

I haven’t sold out, nor have I lost my mind. This decision isn’t permanent and in stone. If I can’t get resource use to a reasonable level, either I’ll use apt-get to remove a buncha BS or I’ll do a clean install (not Debian if things aren’t working at least as well as they were in Fedora).

I resized my XP partition for more room because I still anticipate using it more often than Linux. Then I repartitioned the rest of the drive to accomodate /, /home, and swap. Pretty simple, right?

I wish I’d pinged mirrors to find a fast one before committing! The install took several hours, which I guess is par for the course given how much stuff (800+ packages) was installed. Fine with me. I had plenty other stuff to do anyway. Still, it would’ve left me with more time to deal with all the other stuff that  happened afterward (never mind that I was going to use my computer to work on stuff today). It’s not very assuring looking at the estimated time as it jumps from an hour to three hours to over fifteen hours. It took close to four and a half hours. Next time, I just get the full ISO and get it over with.

After the install process finally ended, I was ready to reboot. I got GRUB error 17. Okay, I can deal with that. I still had a USB stick with Fedora 11 available. Fixed it, rebooted, got a GRUB prompt rather than menu. Okay, that’s an easy one: configfile /path/to/menu.lst. Voila? No, of course not. Reboot and go through it again, this time e to edit the entry. Ahh, once again installing from USB resulted in GRUB being installed to /dev/sda when that node is the USB stick — same thing happened in PCLOS when I installed it. So I edited the sdb to sda and I was able to finally boot into Debian 5 (Lenny or Squiggy or Laverne or Shirley or some such). Logged in and had a shiny new Gnome desktop. I yawned.

Still have to configure wireless. I tried once but it didn’t connect and I had shit I had to get done. I think I may need to install something else because of my router’s configuration. In fact, I was unable to pick up any SSIDs via iwlist scan even though lsmod showed that ath5k was loaded. That’s pretty fucked up because I’m using Windows now and there are six visible networks right here. Oh well, I’ll sort it out tomorrow. Along with making some more edits to the wacky menu.lst installed by Debian.

Speaking of which…

Word of advice to the GNU-tards who whine about Windows-related MBR issues and having to install Windows first, Linux second: when you get your own shit together, you can complain all you fucking want. Until then, I’ve had two distros install GRUB to a goddamn USB stick from which those respective distros were installed instead of the hard drive where the distros were installed. Don’t give me any FUD about Microsoft not playing fair — neither do you (I also had to edit the Windows entries beyond correcting the hard drive) — and no, you don’t get a free pass when people install from USB rather than optical drives. Can’t you script source and destination so that only destination gets GRUB?

I’ll also be switching some software around tomorrow if/when I get wireless working. That includes installing stuff that works right in spite of license issues. I have a rant to post about that (see below). I insist upon genuine closed-source Flash from Adobe because this swfdec is a lame POS that doesn’t work very well. Same for Gnash. Oh, I know there are often performance issues with Flash in Linux because different distros use a hodge-podge of mismatched libraries, which makes it damn near impossible for the nice people at Adobe to please everyone even though they go out of their way to give away their software to ingrates (only a handful of whom will ever demand the source). I installed swfdec in Fedora and my first hit at youtube made me cringe. It also made my CPU cringe as it raced like crazy while the audio and video were so fucked up that I had to kill Firefox. And then hunt down and kill the stupid fucking wrapper that persisted after closing Firefox and was overheating my AA1 while it tried to send distorted sound to my headphones through the abortion known as pulse audio. If swfdec and pulse audio are the answers, open source authors are working on the wrong friggin’ questions.

WTF, here’s the short form of the rant about license issues: if you can rebrand Firefox as “IceWeasel” to get around licensing issues, you can do similarly for ion and truecrypt. In the latter two, the authors don’t forbid you from doing whatever you want with their code; they only ask that you call it something else if you don’t distribute it as they release it. I can see their point, too. You’re not distributing what they release once you start changing it, so why should they field questions and be asked to fix bugs that come from your patches or other changes from what they recommend and/or require? These aren’t onerous requirements at all. The alternative is the way Opera, Skype, and Adobe handle it by controlling their own source, which means your users have to go around your efforts to restrict them to open source software with “pure” licenses.

I use truecrypt in Windows, I want truecrypt in Linux. I like ion but don’t plan on using it again anytime soon. One thing I hate about Linux is how ridiculously fundamentalist so many users/advocates and developers are. You know, the ones who preach at us to use Gnash instead of Flash because the whole fucking world will come to an end if we won’t stop using closed source software. Never mind that Gnash and swfdec will crash and die (repeatedly) before Planet Earth ever will.

More tomorrow. Maybe some love for Debian. Maybe some hate. Either way, it’ll be well-deserved.

And maybe I’ll also get to work on the Hard Drive Install Guide, which is why I’d hoped to finish this install and configuration earlier today. So much for that. Using a computer — regardless of OS — shouldn’t be a pain in the ass. Today it definitely was. And I have a feeling I’m going to go through it all over again soon.

Definitely Not Installing Xubuntu 9.04 on AA1

June 11, 2009

Just booted Xubuntu 9.04 (Jizzy Jackass or something) from USB on my AA1 to see if it’s possibly something I’d consider installing even though I think Ubuntu is really Swahili for “fucktard.” Or worse.

First thing I did when I got a desktop was open a terminal and use free -mt to see how much RAM it was using: 522 MB. Fuck, that’s about 200 (208, to be precise) more than my installation of Fedora 10 using Gnome. Then again, I have a lot of services off in Fedora, a smaller shell (mksh), no fancy wallpaper, etc. Maybe I could pare down Xubuntu to a more usable degree. But why? I’ve done that already with PCLOS and Fedora 10.

I already knew from a comparison of Xubuntu and Debian with Xfce at Distrowatch a few weeks ago that Xubuntu is a bloated pig. Now I have my own comparison after running Debian Live (Xfce) the other evening.

Would I possibly install Xubuntu on my AA1? Umm, hell no.

But I could be getting closer to installing something soon.

UPDATE – 11 Jun 2009 @ 20:05 US/Central: I booted into my PCLOS installation while ago to get an idea of resource use. I boot into runlevel 3 so I don’t do a splashy graphical login. Once I login and have a shell, I’m using 69 MB of RAM (per free -mt). Out of curiosity, I started xfce, opened a terminal, and looked at free again:

Screenshot

That, too, is with a few tweaks to turn off some services — but I’m still running bluetooth and cups and other stuff that I chose to keep running out of convenience. I expect some difference between running off CD/USB compared to hard drive. Over twice as much? Please. (I’m using pdksh in PCLOS rather than mksh. I saw a shitload of bash instances in Xubuntu when I ran ps aux.)

If I could get better hardware support under PCLOS, I would stick with it exclusively. Maybe a new kernel is in order? Last time I tried, I got an error that the kernel wouldn’t compile with the version of gcc in the base. Might screw around with it some more soon. Or maybe not. Right now I’ve narrowed down what I want to Xfce at most (I’d be just as happy with ratpoison or jwm or some other small window manager) rather than Gnome or KDE, OpenOffice 3.x (or Lotus Symphony), a handful of apps and utilities I like, and mplayer.

Gnome RAM Use, LXTerminal, Tiny Core 2.0, FLWM, and a Long Frigging Rant About It All

May 27, 2009

Rebooted into Gnome this morning after giving the latest Tiny Core release candidate I’d downloaded over the weekend a quick spin. I wanted a quick and dirty benchmark for where my AA1 is on a clean boot using Gnome so I can compare to other environments. This is with networking started along with a bit of stuff I could probably slim down a bit (e.  g., I could only start cupsd when I intend to print).

Screenshot-Terminal-start-gnome-f10-01

See, LXDE guys, this is how a terminal should behave; yours doesn’t work right. My shell is running as it’s intended to and I don’t have to force the terminal to read my profile settings to get my prompt or my aliases or any other settings I have (in my .mkshrc). Kind of stupid to have to set up a shell wrapper to invoke the LXTerminal to read ~/.profile (and from that .mkshrc) when it starts so I don’t falsely presume my aliases and other settings are loaded. My complaint last night (in the screenshot) wasn’t about the prompt, which serves as a marker or symptom that a particular file has been properly read, it’s about an application that ignores what should be considered a standard — read particular environment setting files (not just a fucking bashrc because not everyone uses bash) so the proper environment is available to the user. Does that make any sense?

Okay, now about my thoughts of the changes in Tiny Core 2.0. I’m not able to do much with it yet because I didn’t load the modules I need for the AA1 (not close enough to an ethernet cable to connect to the Internet). It’s what I expected: spartan. It’s like an empty canvas just waiting for the artist to express himself. Only instead of painting a few pieces of fruit or a barn or something, users get to add only what they want or need to it. No pretenses, no clutter, just what you need. Alas, people confuse desires with needs and vice versa.

I know there will be lots of bitching about FLWM. I saw some already last week at Distrowatch and also in the TCL forums — some of it was the drawa queen “you’re killing your distro” kind. I don’t know why that’s such a hard thing for users to accept since there are other window managers available in the repository and they’re not limited to what’s in the base. The window manager is only there to manage windows, not to be admired. If you want to admire your computer screen, turn it into a picture frame and don’t bother using applications. You can dress it all up however you want. Seriously, why should aesthetics be a show stopper?

Let’s contrast it with Moblin, which has all the sizzling sexy eye candy but has things that either don’t work yet or that crash over and over again. Every reviewer writes like he or she had multiple orgasms from using it despite the fact that it’s advertised as beta-level (haha, what an overstatement — try alpha) and buggy as hell. Reviews and feedback about stable little Tiny Core (and DSL before it) are filled with complaints that it’s not flashy enough compared to everything else out there. Okay, it may not be the fanciest distro but it doesn’t crash and repeatedly pester you with notices about them so you can decide if you want to e-mail the developers.

Robert and the Tiny Core team are putting out a rock-solid little distro. Why can’t that shine on its own without being all dressed up in Web 2.0 shite shine? Distros are about more than eye candy — at least they should be. What should count most is their efficiency and stability. Tiny Core has that. It’s not the easiest thing to set up and use, but once you get a few concepts down it’s easy to manage and won’t give you much grief because it’s stable.

I tried to help other DSL users who whined about the lack of sex appeal see how they could change JWM from “boring” to “fancy.” In one ear and out the other. As if DSL and Tiny Core are about window managers.

If FLWM is a deal breaker, you’re trying the wrong distro anyway so keep your thoughts to  yourself. Go back to Ubuntu and its sloppy Netbook Remix with the ever-crashing desktop menu. Or go ahead and use Moblin’s preview even though it’s not intended for production (and lives down to that!). Or use some other bloated piece of shit that looks fantastic and awesome and will make you cum all over yourself from the sensory overload. Just remember that there are more stable options available when you get tired of the system failing, breaking, or doing odd things because more concern was given to gussying it up than making it run right.

The irony: people now demand JWM back in the base. Wonder how many of them were complaining when JWM was made DSL’s default window manager over fluxbox.

Can’t please everyone. Can’t please some people at all.

Update – Installed Fedora 10 on AA1

May 22, 2009

I finally had some time last night to do something with the enormous 54+ GB partition I had left over from what I consider a very fucked-up automatic installation of PCLinuxOS. Maybe I didn’t really have that much time, but I needed something to divert my mind for a while (re the most recent entry on “my new blog” linked on the side of my front page).

I’d converted the PCLOS swap partition — which it set up using 4 GB! — to my /home partition for PCLOS and was running without swap since I’d changed the inittab to start at runlevel 3 and ran mostly in console or in X using ratpoison. I’d also given up trying to get certain hardware to work. In fact, the only time I boot into PCLOS any more is to do some testing to make sure something works cross-platform.

I divided the 54 GB into a couple new Linux partitions and a Linux swap (only about a quarter of what PCLOS set up). I also have a bit left over to try out another distro or two before committing to one or another (or more).

Last night I installed Fedora 10, which makes this the first Gnome-based distro or version I’ve installed in this decade. I’d written about my impressions of KDE4 from using a preview of Fedora 11. I think KDE4 needs a bit more work before I’ll commit to using it.

Speaking of Fedora 11, I think I’ll end up clearing off the PCLOS install and starting from scratch with the non-Windows partitions on this thing when it’s released within the next couple weeks. Whether I stick with Fedora after that or switch to Debian, I think PCLOS is coming off. Nothing against it, it just isn’t going to work for me. I think it’s geared more towards people who can live with default pre-configuration. I can’t. I want a little more control over my system.

Fedora 10 installed rather quickly from the Live CD (via USB) without any trouble. I didn’t let it do any default installation — I set up my partitions, and I didn’t let it overwrite my MBR to reinstall GRUB, and I manually edited my GRUB menu.lst to add Fedora.The only things I removed were the internationalization support. I just installed OpenOffice.org and removed Abiword. I also found out what I had to do to get beyond Fedora’s/Red Hat’s doctrinaire positions (e. g., no mp3 support).

As biased as I am against Gnome, I have to admit it’s much smoother than I thought it would be given its drain on system resources. At the same time, I think I’m going to use a different desktop environment or window manager given my own small set of preferred applications. I don’t need the overhead of Gnome or KDE. I’ll most likely end up with Xfce, LXDE, or some small window manager (jwm, ratpoison, dwm, ion3, etc.). My app choices in Linux/BSD tend to revolve around OpenOffice, Sylpheed, Firefox, Dillo, and various console apps and networking tools. I don’t need a full desktop environment for those.

I don’t know if I’ll get back to using Linux more than half the time with this. It doesn’t help that libmtp is broken and my devices unsupported. I was relieved when I saw that Fedora 10 suspended and resumed flawlessly with this thing; I also had more hardware working, including the card reader (I don’t like the lack of hotplug-ability; still have to boot with the card inserted or else it doesn’t work).

I don’t know yet if I’ll install NetBSD 5 or OpenSolaris on this. I hadn’t planned on doing anything else with Linux but got a wild hair last night and most things are working better than with PCLOS. After using a friend’s Eee with Windows 7, I’m more inclined to install Windows 7 on this when it’s released. More on that shortly.