take a peek, go vote

the "pre-blog polls", now reside bellow the blog. please jump to the end of the page to have a little vote in them, just for fun. :)

... now, on with the rambling blog!

Thursday, 29 October 2009

this week, i have been mostly

forewarningdisclaimer:u cant actually get any of these anywhere yet. :p it's as good as vapourware to you still at the mo. :)

the past couple days, i've been quite largely fiddling around with dux, my own personal version of a linux operating system.... it's been built upon several distributions as it's base.

when i say operating system these days, i presume everyone knows i'm talking about the whole deal, and not just the thing that you install your software to. i include the software as part of the opperating system, as i no longer see any seam. and likewise, when i say "linux", i rarely mean just the kernel. (sry richard stallman, you underestimate the power of convenience, i still love you tho)*

*reference to me having dropped the "+GNU" from GNU+Linux

i thought i'd just interject that for clarity's sake.

so yeah, dux... this is version 0.005, going on 0.005r1. built using slax. largely because it's easy. i dont have to do so much messing around. can add more modules later, n so on. it's repository, if you can call it that, may seem in a bit of disaray, but there's alot of consistent clear vision from the slax community about what can be done to really help that in the next release. and although it may not be the biggest, it is quite concise, and also packed with ways of pulling ininstallation files from pretty much anywhere to turn it into an easy to use lzm slax module.

this version of dux has collapsed on the original dux ethos. what dux in this version at least, seems to becoming more of an everyday everyman like i imagine puffinos to become. and from what i originally imagined the pure golden complete version of dux to be (the day when it's a complete re-write by me) to be closer to what wagtail is supposed to be, than puffinOS. very similar to wagtail, the transparentweight distro, just a few more enhancements, particularly for security (a clever afterthought... dux, ducks, under the radar. shame on me for having function follow name.) and maybe a few extra scripts here n there.

so anyways, dux version 0.005 and the polishing i'm doing on dux version 0.005r1 is kinda a mix of practice for both puffinos, and for the gallery distributions i'll be sporting at some point in the future. an idea i had a while back... use a linux distribution to piggieback a gallery, a portfolio. nice huh?

ok, there i go showing you a circle on a piece of packaging paper and saying "y'know, for kids!" again. :rolleyes:

so, yeah, more on topic ramblings about dux v0.005...
it's got games. when i saw dukenukem3d when puting togeher the pieces for dux, and for only 10mb,i thought, of course i have to have this! :D and a cheeky little pinball game which i have got to get the level editor for in 0.005r1. and gotta get rid of the default slax games, cos they are laaaaame. hehe. ok if you've never played a computer game before. c'mon tho... battleships and patience... :o zzzzzzzzzzzz.

so, my distributions that end up including games, aught to look a bit more happy n spritely n youthful on the games front. but still in a fairly innocent old-skool sort of way... emulators for snes,megadrive and i'll need to include the ancient stuff emulators too, for those who want to play their old atari and commodore games. :D oh yes indeed, i am considering this for use by other people besides just me.

thats the whole point of open source isnt it? the idea even predates "open source". i'm talking about the freedom to communicate, to share.... to colaborate and contribute to our futures.

anyone not yet well versed in freedoms as they pertain to software, are not likely to know the significance, and might do well to visit the philosophy page on gnu.org for a refreshing taste, a refreshing perspective... especially if there's ever been a nigglesome annoyance come your way from a large commercial software giant.

dux needs considerable refinement before it reaches the original vision's golden state. heck, it will effectively be built on wagtail, and wagtail isnt moving all that fast at themoment. not alot of motivation for a "hobbyists" distro like that. like what you might ask? like, a whole distro where all the code is kept so tight that an individual can feasibly read the sourcecode for the whole system, and it still be capable to performing all the principle tasks we expect our operating systems to be able to do.

so this current version of dux, barely deserves the name... but it's not the first of my dux to have strayed from the strict tight vision. infact, i'm not even sure anymore if i have the version number right... i dont suppose it much matters since the others dont really exist anywhere anymore.

most of this i have been getting upto from my laptop... and it's short on space compared to my multi tb workstation. so i dont bother keeping them on the hd for long. i'm not sure, but i doubt i've burned any of them to cd either.

so dux is on version 0.005 presumably... i did make at least a couple versions of puffin os too... one using slax, and at least a couple using slitaz. never made a wagtail yet. made a few un-named unbranded distros, made one for a friend on a whim in a night, made several gimpsticks, but nothing quite definitive yet. tis another project waiting for the wagtail base.

speaking of wagtail.... just as i sit here now, what i think is the most prominently obvious choice for starting a wagtail, short of LFS, is microcore/tinycore. it should be fairly easy to construct into the rudimentary parts of wagtail... and then surely it wouldnt be too hard hooking it up to run with a different package manager or two. i read in a forum someone write "i wrote a package manager, it's not hard"... that was not expected. i presumed it was hard. i guess the hard part is getting it mainstream familiarised n so on.

linux is one of those things that the more you learn the more you love it.

and when i say that... what captain subext will tell you i was really saying was something along the lines of: i was enslaved and pinned down by the proprietary corporate secrecy folks for so long that i forgot that computers, technology, science, engineering and creativity, are all about sharing, about freedom of information, and the depreivation had made me a little more sensitive to the learning endorphins.


tho the paranoid conspiracy pressumer in me of course still suspects it's all a ruse, that stallman and torvalds are even in on it. that linux isnt actually goooood,and that ...

ok... idkif i can really suspect stallman... can i? damn that'd b an ace cover. who wud believe that stallman is a plant. lol.

well, thats about all the linux rambling i got for today... tis the end of my day, i need meditation, supper, some light entertainment and sleep.
y'know, i really thought i woulda carried more eloquence and wisdom, and less stichato and pettyness.... maybe thats something i can address in meditation, and have sorted for my next blog. :D

Monday, 26 October 2009

i make the summit farther away, it takes me higher.

so, here i am, linuxxing, doing various linuxy things...
playing around casually with my xmonad configuration adding new keyboard shortcuts to launch applications, drawing up spreadsheets to work out my personal optimised keyboard layouts, reading up on various distros, particularly...

gentoo and sabayon...

i'm thinking somethin like....
"it'd b nice to have a distro on my pendrive set up just as i like for both openbox and xmonad, and work happily out of the box* on both my laptop, and my triple monitor desktop."
*in this context, if i have to roll my own, thats ok (even prefered that i can do that easily).

sabayon is still to this day the best of the bunch in my experience, for getting me leaning back on my seat smiling at my triple desktop fastest and easiest.

but as lush and convenient as sabayon is, i still kinda want to move this process on, the reason i went with sabayon in the first place before i even found out it was the sweetest set up distro out of the box... it's gentoo underneath.

i'm not at all sure how easy it is to "roll your own" with sabayon and gentoo, having never yet even searched for the feature (since sabayon comes so conveniently configured out of the box, and gentoo you configure so completely and tightly to your needs).

for rolling my own, i'd be more confident with slitaz, slax, ubuntu or even (ew) suse studio, having done so at least once with each of these. i know pclinuxos bigs itself up as being another distro with an easy roll your own distro feature.

but for now... seems i'm having a more thorough poke and investigation of both sabayon and gentoo, having actually burned dvds of both sabayon 5 and gentoo 10.

it's 10.1 actually, but since its the same just with a couple bug fixes, and more so, since i wanted to finish that sentence of looking neat, i just left it as a nice round figure, to compliment the nice round 5 there. hehe. aaaaaanyways....

since i've had all those empty partitions sat eagerly waiting for some data or something to fill them up, it's about time i got out of the mere virtualbox and gave a distro a propper whirl natively for once.

yipes, just realised, thats the first time this year! all other times it's been either virtualbox or usb installs. oh how my distro surfing has changed.

so why a hd install if i'm dreaming up a distro setup for use on a usb stick on both laptop and desktop machines?
it'd b nice to have it on the hd here too?
this is an always-on kinda box, so i cant run both from the same usb pendrive at the same time, and there are plenty times when i need both on at the same time.
99% of the time it's probably an unecessary luxury...
but it is those 1% of times when it's needed that make it a necessity.

and thats kinda how i feel on having the os i use on my pendrive with my laptop be able to work with my workstation...
the rare times i've come across it, it's a real nuissance that the pendrive os i use on mylaptop wont work with my workstation. i think the triple monitor scares them, and they end up incompetently showing nothing. so this isnt just some missed luxury, this is missing even the most basic functionality.

so anyways... after my time with crunchbang, which has really opened my eyes to openbox, and revolutionized my thinking, and the cause for me returning to my xmonad configuration wanting to implement what i have learned... i'm now thinking it's time to spruce up my desktop again.

i know i do so much like having a "everything installed" environment to work in so there's rarely a tool missing that you'll need, but like i say, crunchbang has been a revolution in my mind.

so maybe i'll find i cant sluff off the need to have "everything installed", but i've certainly learned that most of my use is centered around a dozen or so apps.... handy that huh? leaves me enough room for window manager keyboard controls as well as start apps, and with minimal overlap and complex button combinations that get hard to remember... or so you would think.

to get all the buttons to fit is not the issue of course. it's to have them be intuitive, even for the stuff you might not need to use for ages.

f is a particularly troublesome key.

you say f and probably are thinking firefox? haha, foolish surely no? what about all the file management stuff? find? there are only a couple of all the potential modifier combinations left on my crunchbang for the f key. from the differing modifier key combinations, my mere f key can start up two file managers, a file manager in super user mode, two search engines, and a disk space usage analyser. f is definately not for firefox. as is default in openbox's default configuration in crunchbang, w is for web browser, and the web browser happens to be firefox.... however...

when setting this up for my xmonad configuration, i still have the default keys mapped for the window manager and as such, w is taken up for my screens 1, 2 and 3. w, e and r.

so... it's time to get really smart and come up with a merger of my xmonad and openbox keys, where each allows for the other.

since i'm going to be remapping loads of keys i may as well make it more artist friendly, rather than programmer friendly.

by that i mean, the keyboard shortcuts should nearly all be one handed friendly as the default position for the artist is one hand on the mouse/pen and one hand on the keyboard.

it does seem xmonad's keys are likely to get shunted off the main face entirely lest i come up with a strong system whereby there's a different modifier combination for application starting than there is for window manager... thus all apps could b started still using intuitive keys, more often using the first letter of the type of application (web, editor, etc), but this does cause some small constriction on the number of applications that can be started from the same key, even if there are no window management uses getting in the way.
however... this does overlook the one handed remapping and that xmonad's default keys are far from intuitive. a far more obvious system of window management is for the most part staring us in the face on the keyboard. windows, shift, -> for example could easily be the obvious choice for a first timers guess as to what might make the window move to the right... so thats what i'll make it. that gives an example of the type of intuitive control system i'm talking about. retaining some level of meaning to the key modifiers.... shift actually shifts things, control controls them, alt alternates or some alternate control, and the windows key is for modifying the window environment. simple huh?

well enough talk, more action...

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Digit's first blog

hi. i tend to forum it rather than blog it, but my rambling about linux is overspilling even forums about linux.

been using computers since my spectrum and nes as a child. also had a couple of really old somethings, with old green radiation gun monitors... yeah, that old.
then we had the family computer in 96, a 133mhz with 16mb ram, 1.3gb hd, n it was the tits in the day. even had a triple cd tray thing. it got upgraded a few times, and then i got my own in 98 or something, a 700mhz athlon with 256mb ram and a geforce1. kitted it out with a wacom graphics tablet shortly after, around the same time i added more hds and dual boot 98/2000. when everyone else was on xp, was moving back to 98... when everyone was still moving to xp, i was thinking the world had gone mad... in 2003 i started looking around for an alternative... i came across linux.. i came across gnu, i read up on loads, iespecially took to the philosophy, andi immediately reccognised it's worth to society, how it presented a real measurable boost. many eyes, shallow bugs, assurances on your software from community checking it out. good science. pace and bredth of progressing software, informed public, informed userbase, all users seamlessly can become developers, the software can be developed with maximal flow and allowance of evolving... all very lush idealism. when i first stepped in, i think i went with downloading a knoppix and suselinux9.1personal. maybe a couple others too. debian and something else. but when it came to it... after seeing my flatmate at the time's struggles with performance on his new high spec machine running xp, i upon the epic backup of all my stuff, i was going to dual boot, but just then felt the boot of windows' direction push me that little bit farther n i decided to go purely linux only. mmm. n it was goooood! yast was the most wonderful welcome to linux.... i've been keeping apprised of suse's direction, and i'm not impressed at all... not the pleasant wonder it once was. bloat creeps in and infests open source too it seems. so after getting off the suse linux train sometime around 10's arrival, i went a surfing. it was a furious blur of operating systems for a while... all the while keeping suse9.2 pro (which i bought with week's dole) as my primary backup admin os... a new machine comes along uhh... i forget when .... 2005... 2006? with windows(xp) tax on it, and then making its way through various states, i came across what was what i still consider my geatest discovery saikee's multi boot threads. http://www.justlinux.com/forum/showthread.php?t=147959 & http://www.justlinux.com/forum/showthread.php?t=143973

astonishing revelation lead me out of the realm of double boots and triple boots (which had been all i was searching for a the time), and my still new dual core 64 bit (which for ages i thought was dual processored and dual core... but its not, misleading wordage on bios and ebay seller who was long gone after getting possitive feedback. :p ) but its a beauty of a machine. it got a second monitor, and then eventually i had three monitors, two on it, and one on my old 700athlon (long since upgraded with more hds and grfx card etc). two pcs is a glory for when u want to distro surf, as is, i'm sure you can appreciate, having spent a solid week in serious study of the saikee-ness (and tbh, probably a month of refresher to be sure), having a well managed mulitboot grubbings, mmm. i think my most did peek into more than 20 distributions installed on one machine. and as i surfed and surfed, filled a stack of distros, it was a long time before suse9.2pro got knocked off from primary. sabayon crept in, and stayed a while when i was using studio ubuntu as my primary for art (which is after all what i mainly use the computer for), (i'll refrain from mentioning more distros or i'll be listing them off for a while).
so then what made sabayon do it? it as the first to come along to ever make double screen effortless, and included pretty much everything i needed out of the box, and had the drives applet in the pannel in gnome and kde, and had the help icon on the desktop leading to the sabayon help chat, and was setup up beautifully out of the box. sabayon 3.4 was anyway... i hear previous were too, buti didnt see them... 3.5 was .... ugly. they got prettier again, but stopped doing the "FULL" which i really liked them for. also... it was gentoo based. well configured, and gentoo based? i mean, gentoo, bless them, awesomest of metadistros, but their default out-of-the-box configuration is "middle of the pack" to put it mildly (and generously). so sabayon really really stood out of the pack, heads and shoulders above the established big names.
so while enjoying the lushness of sabayon and in true gentoo philosophy, not having my operating system (and it's nigglesome non-working aspects) getting in the way, i was free to go off and explore more about the software, more software, more tips, and so on. my time with sabayon has been among the most productive time i've had with an opperating system. not to say it wasnt completely without hiccoughpants. :D but that was all the better for the teaching. ;)
like i had been using my suse9.2pro for even while multibooting, i was then using my sabayon installation for virtualisation to facilitate distro surfing. virtualisation i feel has kinda dumbed me down... its almost too convenient! i set up loads of partitions for other distributions, and although i've already found a few worthy candidates, i still havnt used them.
so then a year or more ago, i got a tablet laptop, with windows(2005tabletedition) tax on it. it still has it on it. ugh... and i just realised, sorry to say, i am actually using it for writing this just now. got it set up looking probably almost identical to how i had my old 98 system setup... if i had the screenshots i'd be able to show how similar it really is.
so anyways, i'm only here after being badgered to play some games with windozers. i had a wubi ubuntu install setup on here for a while.. was set up gorgeous... if theres one thing i've learned after years of use, it's how to setup a nice desktop. (: .
so these days after having done a little more distro surfing with my growing collection of usb pendrives, i now use crunchbang linux. it's gorgeous. a really pleasant painless experience, and no gnome or kde! thats right. a well configured openbox! lush. ubuntu based, so a hefty repository and a familiar pile o other stuff from ubuntu too... just no gnome (or kde)... all lighterweight. n it's sweet! as sweet a find as slitaz linux was.
and now... after having remastersys'd once or twice, made a couple of slax distros, a handful of slitaz distros, a couple of suse distros (nooo! boycott! what am i doing!?!!), and some other ventures in other directions.... i'm going to be getting to actually unleashing some of my creations to the public, and also starting up a couple projects welcoming true open source community contribution.
so anyways, i'll use this blog to ramble on about all the stuff and any of the stuff i like to ramble on about. it might not all be strictly linuxy, but it is here for the linuxy. :)