Monday, 16 November 2009


As usual, my updates aren't exactly regular. I'm working on that, but as long as people don't mind that if there's nothing to mention, I don't have much reason to post, then that's alright.


As some people may be aware, Ubuntu Karmic has recently left a bit of a bad taste for me. While I'll grant that it's slowly improving - and if what I've read through StumbleUpon (An annoyingly addictive addon for Firefox... and other browsers too, of course) is any indication, then they're doing a first, and putting together SP1 - though, most won't notice it as it'll come with their regularly scheduled updates, and so on.
I'll be looking forward to that, since so far, I still have some issued with Karmic, such as that GNOME no longer works at all on my now revived laptop (Interestinly, XFCE works perfectly... but isn't it also technically GNOME?), or the odd issue that sound randomly mutes itself.

But that's become practically normal for now. I'm looking into changing though.
So far, I've had all kinds of suggestions, but with the assistence of the DistroWatch and Polish Linux websites, along with numerous other sources, I've narrowed it down to 4 or 5. I say or 5 because there may well be one more.
That one is Gentoo. The prospect of compiling everything and tinkering with the code along the way is intriguing, but I suspect my meagre knowledge of Linux isn't quite ready for that just yet. So it's only a possible.
The other four are Fedora, Arch, Slackware and Slax. I understand Slax is a varient of Slackware, like Ubuntu is to Debian perhaps.
With the exception of Arch/Gentoo, all of these use my previously detested enemy, RPM.
However... it appears my fears were ungrounded on that (I really should read up more about these things *before* I decide I don't like them...)
Firstly, it appears that apt-rpm and Synaptic are indeed available in some form even to RPM users, they're not just a couple of DEB packages.
Secondly, it seems like yum, the RPM version of DEB's apt-get, does indeed resolve dependencies, from what I see, fairly well too.
And thirdly, like apt, there's no end of options for how to handle it.

So, I've resolved not to slam it until I know more.
The problem comes with what computer to put it on.
See, my ancient laptop, as regulars will know, is clearly on the way to visit Death in person. The only way left for things to get in and out of it, like this blog post, is via the wireless card - which in turn, has to run through NDisWrapper, but that's another story.
So, given that it's only available drive is the hard drive, which when I first foolishly formatted the entire thing into two partitions - swap, and the root filesystem - I have a little problem when it comes to changing distribution.
I'm not naive enough to try what I once did on a different computer, adding the Ubuntu repositories to a Debian install and try to do dist-upgrade, leaving me with a dreadfully broken system.
What I am going to do, is thank the generous people at the Linux Questions website, for helping me find a solution. Two, actually.
(Original thread here)To quote member AuroraZero's post with the solution:
"hmmm do not fret this can still be done I believe. Two ways off the top of my head are one go to e-bay and see if you can pick up a pcmcia ext cdrom. Second choice go get an adapter that changes the 2.5" PATA to 3.5" PATA and then put the hard drive into a desktop to load what you need. The second choice is the cheaper way to go. I have this before and works quite well actually. Both ways cost some cash but not as much as sending it in to be fixed or having it fixed at a comp shop. I would suggest the second way as it will probably be the cheaper way and save the laptop for a few more years. Also when you are done with it you can take the drive and install it into a desktop which is kinda cool."

The former is an interesting choice, restoring - at the cost of losing wireless, as the wireless card also uses that slot - CD Rom drive to my laptop, a considerable boon.
The second is just as interesting though, as it means that if my laptop does give up finally, as it probably should have done long ago (And probably wishes it had sometimes) I can still use it to nab all my stuff off it.

So I've got a lot of alternatives to think about for now.

In related news, my previously Linux-phobic father has actually done what I never thought I'd see him do - he's not only ordered himself a new laptop without Windows on at all, but one which he intends to install, by himself, Linux Mint on, which means he intends to give up Windows entirely. Personally, I'm proud of him - he's been trying to use Ubuntu once in a while, sometimes asking me how to do something, but mostly by himself, but that's on a PC that dual boots with XP. Now he's going for full Linux, no Windows but for that Wine gives, which is bound to be challenging for him at first, but at least unlike me, he's got someone to help him. Me.
So there you have it - Linux is now beating Windows so badly, that even Dad wants to use it.
(So does mum, her Distro of choice being OpenSuSE, but as it takes some time to help her learn these things, we haven't got around to sorting that out just yet. Plus it means I'd have to Quad-boot one of the desktop PC's between Ubuntu for my brother, Whichever of the four above for me, Mint for Dad and OpenSuSE for mum. What a nightmare that'll be to maintain...)

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