tonybaldwin: tony baldwin (Default)

Debian is the most influential [gnu/]Linux distribution ever. Of the 305 active distributions listed on Distrowatch, 147 are derived from Debian, and 87 from Ubuntu, Debian's most famous off-shoot. In other words, 77% of the distributions being used today wouldn't exist without Debian.


#debian #gnu #linux
@Linux-Group @GNU @Debian
tonybaldwin: tony baldwin (Default)
Here's a cool trick I just learned.
You can, in a gnu/linux system, hide files within an image file.
Why you might want to do so, of course, is open to speculation, but the "how" is really rather simple.

  1. Choose an image file, any image file. For this example, I will choose a wallpaper I made, say, debianolive.png. Copy this image to a directory with the documents you wish to hide.

  2. Compress the files or documents you wish to hide. This is simple enough. In terminal do:
    :~$ zip file1 file2

  3. Then, in terminal, simply do:
    cat debianolive.png > debianolive.png

All done.

This creates an image with the name "debianolive.png", which contains our documents.
When we wish to retrieve said documents, we rename the file to
:~$ mv debianolive.png
Then unzip:
:~$ unzip
and you have your files back.

Handy! Nifty!

tonybaldwin: tony baldwin (Default)
I bought an Everex Cloudbook on e-bay about a year ago. It came with Ubuntu 8.04, Hardy Herron on it. I immediately made some changes, removing gnome, adding ion3 (eventually replaced with wmii), lightened the load a bit.
For some reason, the wifi was fickle (most of the time it didn't work, but sometimes it did).
It sat around here for most of this past year without much use, so, I recently ordered a usbkey with Ubuntu Netbook Remix 9.10 on it. Finally, these past few days I got around to install that, completely wiping hardy herron from the machine.
The wifi worked flawlessly, out of the box, once that was done. Karmic Koala (ubuntu 9.10) had some groOvy features. I replaced the nauseating, bloated, useless netbook remix interface with XFCE (xubuntu-desktop).
All in all, not too bad.
But, sadly, the machine frequenly froze. Sometimes the system would stop taking input from the mousepad and keyboard, but the system was not frozen (stilly playing music, graphical elements still moving on screen).
I read hundreds of ubuntu forum entries, and it seems thousands of users were having similar problems, for a thousand reasons, and with a thousand different "solutions", none of which resolved the issue for me.
I tried to upgrade to the lastest ubuntu (Lucid Lynx, 10.04) via the update manager.
Lucid Lynx gave me even more problems...Numerous problems. Not only did the system to continue to freeze, but fonts were rendered so badly in gnome that they were unreadable, and the xfce panel had swelled to the size of the entire screen, so, pretty well all graphical elements were useless.
So, current ubuntu offerings on the cloudbook were decidedly not working out well for me.

So, today I did what probably I should have done a year ago when I bought the machine.
I read up on how to make my own bootable iso usb key, downloaded the Debian Business Card iso,
and loaded Debian/Stable (Lenny) onto this little machine.
Guess what.

screenshot, actual size!

Everything is working out of the box. Wifi, sound, everything.
Now, had I read the instructions for installing from the business card iso, I would have known that I could have installed with an XFCE desktop by default, by using the parameter "desktop=xfce" upon boot, but I neglect to read that far until it was already halfway through installation. I had to spend a bit of time removing all the bloated unnecessary gnome crap, and now have a lightweight and functional XFCE desktop on the machine.
It's great! I installed FBReader to read ebooks (and evince for ebooks in pdf format), MOC (music on console) for listening to tunes (loaded up some Mana, Francis Cabrel, Grateful Dead, Bach, and a few other goodies onto the sdcard hdd already). I installed google-chrome browser.
Everything is working perfectly, no lock ups or freezes, etc. I was initially worried that getting wifi up and running was going to require all kinds of gymnastics, but, it simply wasn't true. Wifi worked out of the box. No problem.
So, if you find one of these little gems lying around, fire up a usbkey iso of Debian Stable and have at it.
You'll have a nifty, useful little machine on your hands.
tonybaldwin: tony baldwin (Default)
From the BBC: In Graphics: Supercomputing superpowers.
supercomputers by OS, LINUX RULES!

Supercomputer graph, by operating system: Linux RULES THE ROOST!

a surprise? I think not....
The data used to generate the interactive treemap visualisation come from a draft of the June 2010 TOP500 Supercomputing list. This ranks most of the world's fastest supercomputers twice a year. There may be minor differences between this list and the final published list.

The graphic allows you to see the visualise the list by the speed of each machine; the operating systems used; what it is used for; the country where it is based; the maker of the silicon chips used to build the machine and the manufacturer of the super computer.

The maps were produced using the Prefuse Flare software, developed by the University of California Berkeley.


May. 6th, 2010 10:31 pm
tonybaldwin: tony baldwin (Default)

posted with Xpostulate
tonybaldwin: tony baldwin (Default)
So, after using wmii (window manager improved) as my default window manager for several months, I find myself using OpenBox, again.

openbox, xpostulate

Of course, I use openbox without any desktop icon managers, panels, or other trappings, solely as a window manager, and not as a desktop environment (as is done with, for instance LXDE, a "lightweight" desktop environment which uses openbox as it's window manager). I do keep a small conky script running to display a clock and a few relevant system statistics (cpu/mem usage, running procs, network traffice, clock), but that's it.

I was having issues with my CPU usage getting ramped up beyond believe, and, when taking a look at running process, it looked as though, for every wmii tab, another instance of wmii was running. Of course, I don't blame wmii entirely for running up my CPU, since I was also running some rather heavy applications, such as OmegaT (translating for very large documents, while using directories chock full of large translation memories, glossaries, and dictionary files, etc.), and, Google Chrome (which, despite being a very nifty, and blazing fast browser, is rather memory heavy). But, I saw that there were numerous instance of wmii running, and killed them, and logged into openbox again.
Gosh...openbox is just so light and fast...seriously.
Now, I really, really dig the tiling feature of wmii and similar window managers, but, that can be achieved in openbox, using a nifty little program called (who'd have thunk it) "tile".

openbox, roxterm, mocp

So, I find myself once more happily using openbox, which I've come back to time and again. I really like the ease of configuration, involving only editing a simple xml file.
editing openbox rc.xml in tcltext
It is quick and snappy, allows (via editing said rc.xml file) me to program in all of my own preferred keyboard shortcuts for my most used actions and programs, etc., and, I'll even admit, it's nice to have the program menu (rt-click on desktop) at my disposal. wmii offers not such menus. I right-clicked on my desktop once I logged into openbox, and found programs in the debian menu that I'd entirely forgotten I even had on my machine! That was a pleasant surprise.

So, while I still have many positive things to say about wmii, today I give two thumbs up to OpenBox.

posted with Xpostulate

tonybaldwin: tony baldwin (Default)
I found this article interesting.

Among gnu/linux users listed are included:

  • various US and foreign government agencies, including the French Parliament, Cuba, Spain, the US Postal Service, US Dept. of Defense and Navy, etc.

  • Many large companies (you knew about IBm, Dell and Google, of course, but how about Burlington Coat Factory,, Omaha Steaks, and Virgin Airlines?)

  • a myriad school systems

Likely, you are using services running on gnu/linux, somewhere, whether you knew it or not!

posted with Xpostulate
tonybaldwin: tony baldwin (Default)
Friends, Windows Users, Xpostulators, lend me thine ears...or eyes, or something.
I come bearing great news!

I have just uploaded an Xpostulate Windows Install Wizard!

I have also uploaded a Linux Setup Wizard, although most gnu/linux users probably make to just fine with the script released with the source files. Oh yes, the source files are also still available for download, as well.

I haven't tested the install wizard for Windows, because I don't use Windows or have access to a Windows machine. Could someone give it a whirl and give me a holler?

posted with Xpostulate


tonybaldwin: tony baldwin (Default)

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