Hop: First steps with Debian 8 “Jessie”

I’ve always felt like I should be running Debian Linux (for obvious — if you know me — reasons) but never have… until yesterday: I have my Asus netbook now running the newly-released Debian 8 “Jessie” release. So far, about all I have done is install, make sure everything is working, and do a bit of typical performance tuning (I/O scheduler, /etc/fstab options, swappiness) to take advantage of the SSD.

More to come…

The Linux Merry-Go-Round Has Stopped

It is a bit of a shift, given my history with Linux and various distributions, to realize that the distro-hopping merry-go-round that characterizes my usage has slowed to a stop.

… or at least slowed so much that to those riding it, it appears to have stopped.

Since the time I jumped into the Linux waters for some of my computers at home and at work, I’ve done a significant amount of hopping between distributions. In the beginning, many of those jumps were simply out of curiosity to see what the different distros were bringing to the table and to get a better feel for the extent to which they easily supported my hardware. After the first couple years, the hopping took on a different purpose and became a bit more intermittent: I was looking for a distro that worked for me, not just on my hardware but for me personally (as well as for those who also used those same computers). I have a stack of CDs and DVDs of distros that I have tried to varying extents; that stack is approaching 8 inches in height (and it clearly doesn’t include all of the distros I’ve tried via bootable USB sticks or as a VM over the past couple years).

Arch Linux logoSo it is a bit of a shift, in many ways, for me to realize the merry-go-round has slowed, possibly stopped. I think I’ve found it. I’ve been running Arch Linux on my Asus netbook for ¬†several months and it fits well: very good support for the hardware and for me personally. It has the packages I want, and I love the rolling release model that keeps packages current continuously as software projects release both major and minor updates (something that always bothered me to the point of kludging work-arounds in other distributions).¬†Over the Christmas break, I moved my older Gateway desktop to Arch, as well. That is still a work in progress, as I am wrestling with a couple of items there but I have a fairly high degree of confidence I will resolve those. (And that’s a very different box with a very different usage profile than my netbook in terms of how I use it and how frequently.)

For now, I’m happy and don’t foresee any hopping in the near future. I absolutely do not miss the periodic upgrade-or-reinstall dance from the other distros I’ve primarily used in the past (Mint and Ubuntu being the two distros I spend the majority of the past 5 years living in/with). I like the pace at which new software versions, once release, make their way through the package management process. The package manager itself does everything I need it to in a very straightforward manner (even in situations where I’ve had to ignore updates to things like video drivers for my desktop’s antiquated graphics adapter). The software I want to use is present. The resulting systems, particularly given their older and/or low-end hardware, are stable and are far more responsive under Arch than any of the other distros I’ve had installed on them. The distro has an active and supportive community, along with a very usable and useful wiki.

Arch probably isn’t for everyone, but it works for me. (And it is the underlying aspect of this — having the availability of a broad spectrum of variations on a given OS, each with different strengths and philosophies to choose from — that makes me truly appreciate Linux, but that’s possibly the topic of a future ramble.)


A decision that makes no sense…

The Songbird team’s blog yesterday announced they are “singing a new tune” — an odd way of announcing they are dropping support for Linux. I, for one, think this stinks…

The Songbird team’s blog yesterday announced they are “singing a new tune” — an odd way of announcing they are dropping support for Linux. This makes no sense to me at all. They were the one decent cross-platform music player (and yes, I did use it even on my Macs), so they drop support for the platform where we most need a good cross-platform music player so they can focus on the two platforms that already have good (or at least better in some ways) music and media players. As would be expected, the comments on the Songbird blog entry are almost entirely negative. The posters take the Songbird team to task for a number of things that I agree with, including the decision, the basis for the decision, and the apparent philosophical abandonment of the platform that actually spawned much of the underlying architecture on which their whole product is based.

See “Songbird Singing a New Tune” for more information.


I, for one, am disappointed and think this stinks…

More Assorted Shorts (11/2009)

Some assorted shorts, given that I haven’t had much time to post of late. I’ll write more on some of these in the coming days.

More to come on some of these as we get our lives at least marginally back under control as soccer winds down for the fall…

  • We’ve got Halloween pix coming; you’ll want to keep an eye out for those in the next couple days!
  • On the Linux front, Ubuntu 9.10 is out as of late last week. I pushed one of my older boxes to it with reasonable success. Not much more there to say other than the startup and shutdown times are impressive, even on old hardware. Brown hasn’t done much for me lately.
  • The time change is wreaking havoc on our mornings at this point, particularly with Li.
  • The first pre-release of Firefox 3.6 is out, but I haven’t had a chance yet to pull it down and give it a try. At least on the surface, the only interesting aspect is the return of some eye candy regarding switching tabs. Also on the browser front, Google Chrome continue to progress, but the continued absence of the ability to control default font sizes on Mac OS X is mystifying.
  • Ian wrapped up his high school soccer career with a trip to the state tournament in Boise in late October. Odd to think that’s over and done with; odder to think that I am going to be saying that more and more over the next few months as he works his way through his senior year.
  • Done a bit of reading, although little of it was worth noting aside from “South of Broad” by Pat Conroy. I haven’t read anything by him for several years and this was a great reminder of how much I love his writing.
  • On the movie front, go see “500 Days of Summer” if you haven’t yet and can still find it in a theater. Best movie we’ve seen in a very long time.