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[#] Wed Apr 29 2009 23:48:53 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored

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I've been running Ubu 9.04 on my laptop for a couple of days. Here are some random thoughts, in no particular order:

* The font rendering is gorgeous. It was pretty good before, but it's very very good now.

* The performance boost is noticeable. It's supposed to have a smaller memory footprint too but I forgot to baseline my system before I upgraded.

* The only think I'm not happy with so far is the way Rakarrack runs on it.
I notice breaks in the sound every now and then. Granted, there are probably very few developers who play their guitars through a Linux box. I need to fiddle with the nice values or something, perhaps that'll fix it.

[#] Thu Apr 30 2009 00:07:47 EDT from Peter Pulse @ Uncensored

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I've been checking out netbooks. I just got to see the MSI Wind today, it's pretty nice. The screen is pretty good and the keyboard is very good. So far, the MSI and the Asus are the best I've seen.

[#] Thu Apr 30 2009 04:17:22 EDT from Peter Pulse @ Uncensored

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So, it turns out that the 1G flash drive I was trying to install Puppy on had problems, and that was screwing things up bigtime and getting me very frustrated. Once I figured that out and got a new 2G USB flash drive, it worked pretty smoothly. I had to reformat the flash as ext2 and install a new MBR to get it to boot, but now it works well. Puppy takes some time to boot as it copies stuff into RAM, but it shuts down pretty quickly. The persistence works. The only downside is that there is no c development package in their package manager, there is a file system image with the stuff already installed.. theoretically you just throw this file system image into a directory and when puppy boots it mounts it and everything works. Well not exactly... Little bit of a show stopper.. until I realized I could use stty to set my serial port parameters then I would not need the perl serial module, so I didn't need the compiler right now. I also could not compile joe (editor) so I had to use the graphical one that puppy provides, which is actually just fine for what I am doing. As I said, this project can't take a lot of time, so I tried to bypass as many issues as possible. Anyway, puppy on a flash drive is pretty cool. The wifi apps work, I am typing this using puppy right now...

As far as my project.. I don't know if I mentioned the nature of the project earlier. I have an LED message board, around 4 feet long, two lines of text.
Pretty cool. The project is to be able to put messages up on the sign through its serial port. One little setback I had was.. the sign uses a n RJ11 connector, so I was like, ok, no problem.. I'll just hack one end off this phone cord, and solder on a DB-9. I start doing that, and, shit.. the sign actually uses pin 1 on the RJ11, but phone cords leave pins 1 and 6 blank. So what I ended up doing was filing an RJ45 plug down to size, so it will fit in the RJ11 jack. It was a pain, and not too awesome looking, but it finally (after much screwing around with the connector, the pinouts, and the software) worked. So now I can put messages up on my sign...

[#] Thu Apr 30 2009 09:54:11 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored

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It's a shame that there has never been a standard set of pinouts for RS232-over-RJ11 or even RS232-over-RJ45. (Glances over at the box full of DB9 adapters, each labelled with the type of device they connect to.) The closest we've ever gotten is "it's wired the same as a Cisco"

So what did you end up writing for the UI? Just a basic text input screen, or did you perhaps do something fancy like an LCDproc driver?

[#] Thu Apr 30 2009 15:50:12 EDT from Peter Pulse @ Uncensored

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The great thing about standards is that there are so many of them :) The issue with this sign is that they support RS-232 and RS-485, and I guess that even though they only support one at a time (there is a jumper you set on the sign), I guess they didn't want to use the same connector pins. So they needed 5 pins. Hence the use of one of the two outermost pins on the RJ11.
It would have probably been smarter for them to use an RJ45 than to use pins on the RJ11 that are hardly ever used. But I guess from their POV, when you are dealing with an expensive (if bought new) sign, you are going to buy the adapters and stuff from them, and it is no problem. And I guess if you are a sign installer, you have the right connector ends with the 6 pins.. and the right crimper. But for me it was a pain. Anyway, it works :) The other problem that was driving me crazy for a while was, I forgot to explicitly open the device in write mode.. so I was writing stuff to the port and nothing was coming out.. and I wasn't getting any error either... I don't have any rs-232 testing stuff around anymore, at least not that I can find, so I was going to make a tester with two led's and a resistor... But then I got clever and connected a pair of headphones :) Then I figured it out.

As far as the UI, this first project with the sign is for a party with a theme of "Create", I wanted to let people post their ideas up on the sign and put them in a rotation. It's a smallish (100 people) invite only event so I don't have to worry too much about checking the text before it goes up, or about people stealing my computer or messing it up. I was going to do a web-based thing, but I decided since time is short and I don't want to mess around with putting things on puppy that puppy doesn't have already.. I am just going to do a simple text based thing in perl, no formatting.. just crlf. I'll give them a console logged in as a user with my program as the shell. The program is going to ask the person for their name, then prompt them to enter their idea. Rather than leaving it open ended, I'm coming up with a small list of things to prompt them for, to give some structure. I'll take the most recent n messages, format them for the sign, and put them in rotation. The sign has a bunch of memories so I don't have to deal with the rotation myself, I can just push them up there and then if there is a computer problem or whatever, it doesn't matter, the sign will keep going. Ultimately I would like to do more with it. I have a linksys router lying around, I would like to put a serial port on that so I can run applications on the router to control the sign.. and people can connect to it via net. A twitter interface would be cool, and/or SMS interface. The sign is also capable of displaying bitmaps. No greyscale but I thought it might be cool to do something with that.

[#] Fri May 01 2009 16:28:22 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored

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Cool! Post some photos when you get a chance.

[#] Tue May 05 2009 20:53:18 EDT from Peter Pulse @ Uncensored

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Well, it worked :) Approx 70 messages were entered over the course of an 8 hour event, and I had it set up to rotate the most recent 20 messages. The software was pretty hokey.. just a simple perl script reading direct from stdin, so the editing options were limited and people sometimes hunted around and ended up with control sequences in their messages that affected the sign.
But it only added to the charm, it didn't break anything.

[#] Tue May 05 2009 23:25:04 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored

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You could have used readline to fix that. :) Still sounds cool though, I'd like to see photos if you have them.

[#] Wed May 06 2009 01:39:17 EDT from Peter Pulse @ Uncensored

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I took a couple of photos, not sure how well they came out though, I have to look. Readline wasn't an option because although there's a readline module available, I didn't have a compiler set up and time was really short, so I let it go. But I'll do that for next time. A friend of mine suggested writing it in javascript so I can have the iteractive line by line thing and still hava more ophisticated display.

[#] Thu May 07 2009 06:24:10 EDT from dothebart @ Uncensored

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whew, read some of the bugs linked.


[#] Thu May 07 2009 11:20:02 EDT from dothebart @ Uncensored

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hey, and it even gets better:

and... once they burry ulrich they will put on his gravestone:

"Do not reopen."

[#] Thu May 07 2009 12:57:12 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored

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Ok, so everyone involved seems to consider Ulrich Drepper to be an alpha asshole.
Is this going to create a fragmentation problem?

[#] Thu May 07 2009 14:47:09 EDT from dothebart @ Uncensored

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well... I guess at least a bit.

as software developed on debian probably doesn't have to circumvent libc bugs ulrich refuses to fix...

and most probably redhat is not going to do the same, since they own cygnus and thus pay him...

[#] Thu May 07 2009 17:42:01 EDT from dothebart @ Uncensored

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fancy, next fork these days:

like hobbit first extended bb4, and then forket away, nagios is now forking.

[#] Thu May 07 2009 21:41:06 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored

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Great.  I can see it now.  Software built on Debian (and Ubuntu) will need to be tested and re-tweaked on Red Hat (CentOS, Fedora) and vice versa because of tiny differences in behavior that will develop between glibc and eglibc.

This will give the smug and self-righteous Linux bashers something to gloat about for years.

[#] Fri May 08 2009 08:22:07 EDT from Ford II @ Uncensored

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Yes. It will.

Reading the dapper thing (I never heard of him before) I was thinking that he happens to be a public figure, but certainly this must happen in other circles becuase people are universally suck.
And it does. There was a comment on that page about how a MS kernel designer refused to support NUMA. So in companies you just don't hear about it in public whereas the open source stuff it's all public posturing.
And in this case, then open source model is worse.
Anybody can come along and branch/fork anything. True, if it sucks, it will get nowhere, but if it has a following because of some large reason (like dapper is a dick) then you will have his followers and his haters and like you say, everything will have to be tested twice.
In a business, one developer complains to the boss that so and so is being a dick and is breaking the libraries, and the boss fires him. Problem solved.
That just can't happen in opensource land.

[#] Sat May 09 2009 01:08:16 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored

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On the other hand, sometimes the original project had been managed so badly that the fork handily replaces it, to the point where the original just falls out of existence. This happened with gcc (the gcc people eventually shut down and let the egcs people take the name gcc) and it happened more recently with the entire Linux community's move from XFree86 to

Hopefuly the same fate will befall glibc.

[#] Sat May 09 2009 18:30:02 EDT from Ragnar Danneskjold @ Uncensored

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Well, I forgot my laptop at work yesterday..... So what to do when you don't have your normal computer around? Take out another laptop I had laying around and installed the latest Ubuntu on it.

Initial impressions:

Excellent install. Virtually no thinking.
Amazing how much is fit onto a CD-ROM still.
I HATE the Ubuntu default color scheme. HATE IT.
I HATE the toolbar being at the top of the screen. Why do this? So it's not too Windows like?

So, I get the wireless key on the machine, open up a browser, and hit Drudge Report. It politely tells me I'm missing a flash player, and I have one of three to choose from. Adobe's and two different open source players.

I choose Adobe's, which cheerfully downloads, and then says it can't install because of a package dependency, glibc3. While it seemed doubtful, I follow along to see what would happen.... So, another helpful screen comes up, trying to download glibc3...... And what happens?
It says it's already installed.

So, I try the open source players, neither of which can be found, even though it gave me the option to download them........

So, just a few minutes of running, and I'm already at a spot where the average user would be pulling the hair out!

Sad, really.

[#] Sun May 10 2009 00:29:20 EDT from Ford II @ Uncensored

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This, actually is not an example of progress, although that was my first instinctive response.

This is just shitty package management. Perhaps your machine is too old or something.

[#] Sun May 10 2009 02:08:23 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored

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I don't like the toolbar at the top either, but it takes all of half a second to drag it down to the bottom where it belongs. But what I usually end up doing is combining everything into a single toolbar (which I keep at the bottom).

Flash player went in without any glibc dependency issues for me, but my machine was an upgrade so it might be different.

What I'm annoyed about is that stuff like Flash used to just get downloaded with one click, maybe there was a message or something but originally Ubuntu didn't have any problems drawing from non-free software sources when necessary.
Then when Ubuntu got popular all the Stallmanites started whining about the sanctity of free software and that Ubuntu was evil for even thinking about mixing free and non-free software. So they ended up adding all these extra steps to keep the freetards from forking it and blowing the whole Ubuntu dream.
It worked, but we're stuck with these annoyances now.

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