The operating system of choice.

presage accepted in Debian

Some time ago, I began working on packaging presage for Debian. My motivations were:

  • to make presage as easily and readily accessible as possible: getting presage into Debian certainly achieves widespread distribution, as it make it available to Debian distribution itself, as well as the numerous Debian derivatives (Ubuntu arguably being the most well-known)
  • to learn about packaging software for Debian: I was curious and interested about the policies and processes adopted by Debian developers to package software into the distribution, and I wanted to learn the tools and procedures for myself
  • to contribute something back to Debian: I've used Debian as my main OS for years (after a brief initial stint with Slackware 1.2.3), and I thought it high time to contribute some time and work to the distribution and the community of developers behind it

I am glad to announce that presage has been accepted into Debian Sid. presage-0.8.6-1 was built, signed, and uploaded on Sat, 6 August 2011.


From speaker + -ectomy

speakerectomy (plural speakerectomies)
1. (surgery) The surgical procedure for the removal of the pc speaker kernel module.

If you ever wanted to prevent the ever so annoying pcspkr kernel module to automatically load on system boot, you can add the following stanza to /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist file:

blacklist pcspkr

Tested on Debian Lenny, works a charm!

virtual hardware

I always thought that VMWare Server is a great piece of software. It is a fast and convenient way to run my soothsayer builds on a Windows platform without actually having to get dirty running it on my (real) hardware.

However, it has a couple of shortcomings that I can no longer live with:

  • it is not free as in freedom (although it is free as in beer)
  • it does not work with the latest kernels (its kernel modules do not build with the latest kernel sources)

Not to fear, my friend, for QEMU and VirtualBox are excellent alternatives to VMWare!

clean desk

It's not very often that I get around to cleaning and dusting my home desk... in actual fact, it happens all too rarely.

That's why I decided to take a picture of my desk in spotless condition. Who knows, maybe this will motivate me the next time I notice that a heap of dust has piled up all around the keyboard.

Restore access to your Linux system after a Windows install

GNU/Linux (image copyright Larry Ewing, Simon Budig and Anja Gerwinski)

If you ever make the big mistake of trying to install a Microsoft operating system on your machine, you will know that lots of things can go awfully awry.

Debian GNU/Linux Etch on a Dell Latitude D420

This is a log of my pleasant experience setting up Debian GNU/Linux Etch on a Dell Latitude D420 laptop.

The aim is to collect all the information required to optimally configure all the software required to make full use of the all hardware mounted on the D420.

The D420 is a very slick and powerful laptop, packing lots of devices and performance in a very compact and lightweight body.

Here you will find all the information needed to unleash it the power of Debian GNU/Linux on your Dell Latitude D420.

Lifting lightweight laptops

I just won a bid on an awesome ultra-mobile slick Dell laptop!

Yahoo!!! I got this featherlight, ultra thin and very powerful notebook from Ebay.
It is only 1.36kg in weight. It is only an inch thick. It's got a 12.1 inches display.

I can't wait to entirely wipe out all the load of crappy proprietary software that comes preloaded on Dell machines and install my operating system of choice!

The Psion 5mx: it's retro and it runs Linux

Psion 5mx in all its beauty

Nowadays you see many people tapping and scribbling at their new fancy PDAs while waiting for the bus or commuting on train. These new personal digital assistants come with all the bell and whistles: bright color screens, generous memory, good applications, etc.

If you though that I am listing all the upsides of these devices to lead up to the point when I point out the inevitable downsides, you'd be right. However, you'd be wrong to believe that the downsides I thought of were that these devices don't run Linux. As a matter of fact, many of them do.

Munging video into an ipod

On my way to work this morning, two seemingly unrelated ideas crossed my mind and created a desire to learn how to do something new.

Both ideas originated from the circumstances I found myself in. I was sitting on a bench. It was cold and windy. I had a very bad cold, a very sore throat, and a runny nose. I was waiting for a delayed train to work. I had nothing to do but wait.

The first thought that crossed my mind was that time spent commuting is wasted.

Debian GNU/Linux and world domination

The power and flexibility of Debian GNU/Linux never ceases to amaze me.

My root file system suffered from an unrecoverable partial failure yesterday. That resulted in a number of files in the /sbin directory being inaccessible. I know, with all the non vital directories in a file system, why is it that the most critical ones get hit the most?
Well, better /sbin than /home, right?

Anyway, the first thing I did was to boot off Knoppix and back up the entire contents of the hard drive, partition by partition. I used a combination of tar and ssh, partimage, rsync, and good old dd.
"What, you did not have backups already?" - I hear you ask. Well, you know, real men do not keep backups :-)

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