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Ralsina.Me — Roberto Alsina's website

Posts about linux (old posts, page 15)

This is why Linux is not ready for the desktop

If you delete the emp­ty di­rec­to­ry /var/lib/xk­b, then en­able the KDE key­board lay­out switcher, the up­-ar­row key works like print­-screen.

At least on my box it does. It took me a month to fig­ure it out.

Good News: Linux gives life to old hardware. Bad News: Maybe in some cases it shouldn't.

I was in one of my cus­tomer's dat­a­cen­ters the oth­er day, and while I do most work re­mote­ly, I had to take this op­por­tu­ni­ty to take some snap­shots of their proxy serv­er.

This post is just a bit of fun. This is not sup­posed to be their server, it was just a stop­gap mea­sure be­cause of mul­ti­ple hard­ware fail­ures. This is a large, well man­aged com­pa­ny, and this ir­reg­u­lar sit­u­a­tion will be fixed soon. And any­way, it is work­ing just fine.

As you know, Lin­ux can do that kind of job easy with­out much hard­ware re­quire­ments. Af­ter al­l, it has to han­dle at most about 3Mbps of data, and this box has 2GB of ram, so there's plen­ty of room for a speedy cache.

So, let's go for some good news/bad news.

Good news: It's a true-blue IBM Server! Bad news: It's a IBM Netfin­i­ty 5000 (mod­el 3Ry)!


Here is some tech in­fo from IBM about it.

Good news: It has 2 CPUs! Bad news: They are two 450Mhz Pen­tium II CPUs.

Good News: it has hot-swap­pable SC­SI disc­s! Bad news: you have no discs for that con­troller, so we will use this 8GB IDE (PATA) disk!


And will leave it just sit­ting there by the CD unit, be­sides the huge gap­ing hole in the front where the SC­SI discs would be.

Bad News: it has a ten­dence to over­heat­ing! Good News: You have a place to keep your coffe war­m!


Asus eee PC 4G Surf: First impressions from an old Linux Guy

I fi­nal­ly got my eee PC last sat­ur­day. It's the 4G Surf in Gal­axy Black [1].

Ev­ery­one says the same thing, and so do I: you can't un­der­stand how small the thing is un­til you see it.

And then ev­ery­one takes a pic­ture of it sit­ting in­side its pre­vi­ous note­book. So will I, 2 times.

Here's the eee with a HP Pavil­lion zd7000, which has a 17" widescreen:


Here's the eee with a Toshi­ba Satel­lite with a very un­usu­al 16.6" 4:3 ra­tio screen:


But is it the small­est note­book I ev­er had? Nope.

Here you can see the eee, a Toshi­ba Li­bret­to and a HP Jor­na­da 720 lay­ing over the HP note­book, so you can get an idea of how much small­er all are. The Li­bret­to is small­er but thick­er and feels heav­ier.


Re­gard­ing con­struc­tion qual­i­ty, the screen is de­cen­t, if you can live with the low res­o­lu­tion (I can). The key­board is ok, even though I have large fin­gers [2] and the gen­er­al con­struc­tion feels good (not creaky, no flex [3]), but noth­ing re­mark­able.

The soft­ware... it work­s. But I am loook­ing to re­place it with an­oth­er dis­tro AS­AP. Let's get in­to some de­tail...

  1. Xan­­dros pack­­age avail­a­bil­i­­ty is abysmal. There's lit­tle, what's there is old, what I like is usu­al­­ly mis­s­ing, if you start pulling De­bian pack­­ages it will break, and if you don't want to use the Xan­­dros File Man­ag­er you may have to do evil stuff [4]

  2. KDE 3.4 is worse than 3.5. There's no kopete?

  3. The menus are in­­­com­­plete (in both the sim­­ple and ad­­vanced mod­­es). There are a bunch of things in­­stalled but not show­ing.

  4. If you have on­­ly 4GB of stor­age, lit­­tle RAM, and a slow­ish CPU, build­ing from source is prob­a­bly not a good idea, so I can't in­­stall that way even if I felt like it.

  5. No PyQt4? That means I can't blog from it :-(

  6. On the oth­­er hand, ev­ery­thing in the eee works us­ing xan­­dros, and I don't know if it will on an­oth­er dis­­tro.

The on­ly changes I made so far are:

  1. Switched to full desk­­top (KDE) mod­­e.

  2. I got rid of the sil­­ly union­fs sit­u­a­­tion (BTW: I did it us­ing the in­­struc­­tions at http://wi­k­i.eeeuser.­­com, but used RIPLin­uX as the USB bootable dis­­tro, it's the eas­i­est of them al­l)

  3. I re­­moved a lot of garbage (got 2.2GB free now)

  4. Moved logs to a tmpfs

Oth­er than that, it's still the orig­i­nal stuff, and I have been us­ing it to work around the house while watch­ing the baby, and from bars, and such.

Hap­py­ness-me­ter: 8 out of 10 so far.

Dear Lazyweb: What should my company's site be like?

The day is ar­riv­ing when Net Man­agers SRL will emerge from its co­coon of bu­reau­cra­cy.

Net Man­agers is a com­pa­ny. Of which I own a piece. And it will have a web­site, at­man­ager­s.­ ... and I have no idea what to put there.

So, what should it be like?

Here's some data:

  • It's formed by Lin­ux/U­nix geeks of a rather high lev­­el, IMHO

  • Our busi­­ness is fix­ing your Lin­ux/U­nix prob­lem­s, and ex­­plain­ing to you how you can re­al­­ly use Lin­ux/U­nix to do cool things (which mean­s, cor­po­rate Lin­ux con­­suklt­ing and sup­­port)

  • We have a re­laxed cor­po­rate cul­­ture. Ev­ery part­n­er would get the joke about how Christ­­mas and Thanks­­giv­ing are the same, since 25dec==31oc­t. We would pre­fer to ac­­tu­al­­ly show it. We are usu­al­­ly hired by IT grunts, not suit­­s.

  • I have a blog and it's re­al­­ly not en­ter­prisey , but it shows (I think) that I know about this. Should it be linked?

  • We have no phys­i­­cal of­­fices. Legal­­ly we do, but re­al­­ly, we op­er­ate out of each part­n­er's home­­s, on two dif­fer­­ent prov­inces. So, no pic­­tures of our cor­po­ra­­tion's digs avail­able ;-)

  • We are sort of a star­­tup, but more like a for­­mal­iza­­­tion of a way of work­ing that has been go­ing on for a while.

Ideas, sug­ges­tion­s, are wel­come.

Of course, ques­tions about our ser­vices are wel­come, too ;-)

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