Chasing Windows

To me it is an unfortunate trend that Linux is heading to a path of convergence with Windows. Several months ago I was at The Peninsula Linux Users' Group and there was a conversation discussing Linux's functionality as a desktop in comparison to WinXP.
The conversation went something like this:
"We need widget integration across application"
"We need full compatibility with MS Office"
"All system configurations should be handled via a graphical user interface"
And on and on...

I just sat there and bit my lip.

It seems to me that both of the the two main Linux Desktops are rapidly trying to position themselves somewhere between OS-X and XP with lots of whiz-bang eye candy and the RAM use to prove it -- systemr equirements be damned.

Linux and Politics

I've noticed that to some the typical Linux enthusiast is a Birkenstocks wearing unemployed hippy with a radical political perspective -- somewhere between anarchy and Marxist ideology. Truth is, like any group there are some who do fit the stereotype. Yet, digging down into the opinions on the net I see that there is no *typical* political persuasion of the Linux enthusiast -- we are really all over the map. One thing that is true though, as a group we are collectively smarter :-).

Bash prompt(s)

Being a person who likes to waste countless hours with Linux tweaks, I naturally have to create a custom prompt or two....and of course they are big and obnoxious, yet useful at the same time.

My current prompt is one I've been using for many months, and probably won't remove in the near future.

On the Road to DSL 1.0

There are many plan on the road map to dsl 1.0. Each new release we make progress.

There lately have been some trying to do persistentancy. All of these are on the road map. Some will affect the extensions. Even changing the user from damnsmall to dsl has impacted the extensions. If we try to do too many changes at once it can become unmanageable. Some of us know the "fun" we had in moving to the 0.9.0 release.

I am aware of the user community's desires. Giving user complete control of the icons and working smoothly will all the various methods of installs and persistentacy is all part of the plan.

Someone set my pants on fire...

...or something.

I think I'm dreaming.

Yesterday, I recieved my new mp3 player (beautiful, lovely iRiver H340). If you ever drop into my domain, #damnsmalllinux, you know that I have been having epileptic seizures just thinking about this thing for a few months.

Anyways, it's here.

And the crazy thing is, this thing is easier to use with DSL than with Windoze.
That's right folks. The Linux hardware support is better than the M$ support.

In Windoze, in order for it to automatically update the song database when you drop a song on it, you have to install this little applet.

In DSL, it automatically updates when I dump stuff over with EmelFM. Or MC, or Rox, or an Xterm. Or anything.

And I do believe that DSL writes to and reads from it faster than M$.

Also, in DSL, it detects it immediately when I plug it in, compared to between 6 and 20 seconds with M$. And that time is not just with my box, that's with every box I've hooked it up to.

Really the only complaint I have about this thing, and it's not really major, but gave me a lot of frustration untill I read the instruction manual (RTFM, I know...) is the fact that it will not do a data connection at all unless the battery is full and the charger is plugged in.

Power vi

So now you’ve got the basics of vi down, but you’re thinking “so what?” Well Miles, let me tell you. vi has a lot of cool features that a jazz man like yourself is going to be able to riff on for a long while. It isn’t the archaic version of notepad that you think it is. Did you know that vi has 26 unique buffers for you to copy text into, and an additional 10 that save things you’ve deleted? That’s like having 26 clipboards you can use. Have you ever tried opening and changing a file in scite, only to find that you couldn’t save it because you didn’t have permission? In vi that isn’t such a big deal because you can force vi to save the file. Or did you know that you can compile and run the text you’re working on by writing a macro that makes a system call with whatever file you’re working on as the argument? That was one of the things I thought only scite had.


Huh, what the heck is that?

Well, it is simply the smallest/lightest/fastest scriptable gui widget I have ever seen.
If you are sitting around with a copy of DSL and you want to increase your geek threshold start trying to teach yourself some Lua and see what you could make -- we are using it for the control pannel and the 'media player'.

The project is over three years old now -- yet very few people even know it exists.

Oh, and Lua is very fast. It executes in about 1/10 the time of perl.

DSL and Browsers

Dillo is still in there -- and it is also still in active development. The version in DSL is a special hacked addition. The main line of Dillo is progressing. The main reason why I haven't upgraded is because of cookie exchange issues in the later versions.

We also have a text version of Links. Links-Hacked is a great browser, it runs well and is very responsive. Also, it can do a lot that Dillo can not --- authentication, manage plugins, some js, and a host of esoteric functions. I am a 'fan' of Links-Hacked. Unfortunately, it is now a dead project, which is a shame because I think it has enormous potential. I've emailed the author and he has no intention of resuming development. Maybe one day someone will pick up the source code, or it will get incorporated into the main Links2 project?

Booting DSL CD with Grub

I just wanted to inform you that I just did a small remastering using Grub as bootloader. This allows selecting boot options with the arrow keys of your keyboard.

The remastered version is available with English or German default keyboard. If you are interested in the more comfortable booting, download the DSL-Grub ISO.

A bootscreen is available here

Please do not be confused by the renaming of the kernel and the ramdisk. A few days ago a did a massive multiboot DVD for a large german Linux mag (available in January) which will contain several live distributions bootable -- one of them is DSL of course...

80/20 of vi

I’m going to take back what I said about being able to do 95% of what you need to do in vi. It was pointed out to me that cutting and pasting is well over 40% of what you need text editor for. What kind of text editor can’t cut and paste? So today I’m going to look at cutting and pasting in the vi text editor, and saying that now you’ll know 80% of vi, where the other 20% will take 80% of the time to learn.

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