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non compos mentis

Posts Tagged ‘debian

Un Système Purifié: PureOS GNU/Linux

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Pure OS Light

Pure OS Light & Iceweasel

In my continuing gnu/linux adventures, this evening I am playing with PureOS, a French gnu/linux distribution based on Debian/Testing.  For those unaware, Debian has three branches, stable (what I use for my work machines), testing, and unstable.  Currently, Squeeze is stable, but was just made so a week ago.  PureOS, as such, is still based on Squeeze.

All I can say is that it really feels like home! After all, this IS, more or less, Debian, simply with an adapted interface for the French, I suppose. PureOS IS also available in English, but I chose to experiment with the French version of PureOS Light, the XFCE4 flavored version. I would have to say, of all the LiveCD gnu/linux distributions I’ve toyed with, of late, PureOS may very well be the fastest. Now, usually running an operating system from your cdrom drive just isn’t fast, but, with PureOS, I almost forget that I’m running a LiveCD. It’s very snappy.
The full version includes the completely Free office suite, LibreOffice, which hasn’t yet been added to Debian, plus some other updated packages, but, since I only downloaded the Light version (I’m diabetic, after all), I have not yet played with LibreOffice with this system (I do have it running on my Debian/Squeeze systems).  So far, I have not determined any other real difference between PureOS, and what I’m running on my work machines, really, aside from these few updated packages, and the fact that this system is configured for French.  PureOS Light includes gnumeric, abiword, orage, epdfviewer, exaile music player, ristretto image viewer, and more.

More images here in
my screenshots album

Written by tonybaldwin

February 15, 2011 at 12:35 am

Fiddling with Fedora 14

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So, in my never ending quest to plumb the depths of all that is gnu/linux (I have NOT gone very deep yet, really), today I decided to play with an old friend.  My first long-time relationship in the gnu/linux world was with RedHat (starting with 7.1), which evolved into Fedora Linux, which I continued to use until about 2007, when I switched, at that time, to Ubuntu’s Dapper Drake (within a year of that, I switched to my ownPCLinuxOS derived, home brewed Linguas OS, and in 2009 I switched to Debian, which, at this juncture I still use, and probably will forever, unless I switch to Arch Linux with which I was toying yesterday).

So, I downloaded the Fedora LXDE Spin and gave it a whirl on my old, spare machine.  It ran well enough, grabbed the ethernet connection automagically (unlike Arch, yesterday, but that was easily amended).  It came with the usual LXDE stuff, including PCManFM, LXTerminal, LXTask, even an LXplay front-end to XMMS2 that I’d never seen before.  It had other useful goodies, including Firefox, MTPaint, Osmo personal organizer, which was cute, etc. No real big surprises, just, basic, popular, useful stuff for your average desktop, but good stuff.

I opened up the little gui package manager and surfed around the available packages for Fedora, and, I have to say, it seems like a lot of stuff I use in Debian was simply not available in Fedora.  There were definitely far fewer packages, especially in the development area.  At the same time, many of them were more recent.  For instance, I install OmegaT by hand on my Debian system, because only 1.8.1 is available in even the brand, shiny, spanking new stable release Squeeze, while the OmegaT project has release 2.2.2 (I’m using 2.2.0 here).  Well, Fedora has OmegaT 2.2.3 (good news for my fellow translators, at least).  In truth, that’s about the only thing that impressed me.  Their inclusion of the latest OmegaT.  Yeah.  Otherwise, I was more or less confirmed in my conviction that leaving Fedora, I wasn’t missing anything, and, especially, moving to Debian was a great idea.  I don’t mean to bad-mouth the Fedora Project, of course.  Back in 2007, I left Fedora, because, as I recall, yum (the package manager) kept breaking stuff.  They may very well have resolved that issue, and, I’m certain Fedora is a solid project. It is very popular, but, frankly, I just didn’t see anything in this LiveCD that would motivate me to install it on my hdd (unlike the CTKArch LiveCD I tried yesterday…that was AWESOME! Considering a dual-boot with that, at the very least).

Anyway, here are a few screenshots for your viewing pleasure.

From screenshots

Written by tonybaldwin

February 14, 2011 at 9:27 pm

Debian 6.0 Breaks Free of Restrictive Licenses – PCWorld Business Center

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Debian 6.0 Breaks Free of Restrictive Licenses – PCWorld Business Center.

debian - the universal operating system

debian - the universal operating system

The new Debian release is notable in many ways, not least of which is that it is the first version ever to incorporate an entirely free Linux kernel, using only software published under the GNU General Public License (GPL) or other free licenses compliant with the official Open Source Definition.

Written by tonybaldwin

February 10, 2011 at 6:04 am

Debian GNU/Linux 6.0 Squeeze

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Many of you were probably excited that the Debian project released Debian GNU/Linux 6.0 Squeeze this past weekend.  You probably weren’t as psyched as I was, however, since Sunday was my birthday (turned 32, again, for the 10th time, for those curious).  I felt like the Debian project had planned the event perfectly!

So, like many others, this past weekend I upgrade my computer operating system from Debian GNU/Linux 5.0 Lenny to Debian GNU/Linux 6.0 Squeeze.
And, it’s awesome!
I don’t really have much more to say about that. I mean, it’s the same rock-solid, dependable, Free operating system I was running a week ago, just a bit shinier and newer, and, oddly, faster, which is cool.  The upgrade process, my first upgrade since switching to Debian back in 2009, was childishly simple.  Trivial, really.

I took about 1 minute to replace all mention of “lenny” in my /etc/apt/sources.list to “squeeze”, first.  Then I ran a sudo apt-get update, then sudo apt-get upgrade, which took quite a while, but I was able to go about surfing and chatting on IRC while that was going on.  Once that was done I installed the new kernel, sudo apt-get install linux-image-2.6.32-5-amd64.  Then, finally, sudo apt-get dist-upgrade.   (for detailed instructions click here)

Then everything just worked.  Piece of cake!

Anyway, I made a couple of Squeezy wallpapers to share:

debian squeeze alien wallpaper 1680 x 1050

debian squeeze alien wallpaper 1680 x 1050

squeeze me debian GPL matrix

squeeze me debian GPL matrix

Creative Commons License
debian squeeze wallpapers by tony baldwin is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at baldwinsoftware.com.

Screenshots:

Squeeze with Openbox
with my wallpaper:
From screenshots
Debian Squeeze  XFCE
From screenshots

Written by tonybaldwin

February 8, 2011 at 9:58 pm

Adventures with Debian Lenny on AMD64

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LibreOffice in AMD64 Debian

LibreOffice in AMD64 Debian/Lenny, in OpenBox

Well, folks, I figured it was time for a computer upgrade, since, I was, until yesterday, still working on a 3.2ghz Celeron CPU with 1.5gm ram that I purchased almost 4 years ago, now, from TigerDirect.com.  Frankly, that machine was still doing a great job on 95% of stuff I do. I can’t lie. But, being the geek that I am, I felt the need for more speed, and whole lot of putrid green envy over newer, shinier things.  So, I went to my favorite source, again, TigerDirect, and ordered a 2.5ghz dual core, AMD64 barebones kit with 4gb of ram.

d00d…I have not been able to ramp up the CPU usage past like 18%, nor use more than about 20% of the ram. I know there are bigger, faster machines out there, but this is clearly plenty of machine for my needs.

Anyway, this machine is an AMD 64 bit CPU.  I won’t pretend, for even a second, to comprehend what the difference is between 64 bit and 32 bit computer, beyond that 64 is twice 32, and, in some cases, it means I need different software.

So, I got the machine in two boxes, with all these separate parts, a motherboard, a cpu, 2 ram sticks, a hard drive, and I had to put them together.  I yanked the video card from my old machine and used it, too, since it has dvi, and this mobo in this kit did not (works best for my monitor).  And, then, being completely ignorant, as I am, I installed from the same Debian/Lenny XFCE installation disk that I had used for every other machine in my office.  It installed okay, but, for the life of me, I could not get DHCP to work so I could connect to the internet.  So I got on #debian at freenode with my old computer (now using an older monitor, and the onboard mobo video) and raised my hand and after several rounds of the real hackers in there massaging me with the Socratic method, it became clear that I had simply installed the wrong system, and that I needed the (duh!) AMD64 version of Lenny.  So, I downloaded that ISO file, burnt up a CDROM, and installed it.  And that worked nicely, and the DHCP works fine, and I’m actually writing to you from this new machine.  I like it.  But I had a few other adventures between then and now, and thought I’d share them.

One of the first things we all do is tweak up our browsers and import our bookmarks and all the good stuff.  Well, I prefer google chrome, which makes a lot of that really, really easy, since you can synch all that stuff right online, so, of course, I installed google-chrome, which I’m using now, and, surprise, I like it.  But, flash was not working…which made me sad.  I did a lot of googling around and digging around and trying to figure out why, and, along the way even tried iceweasel (debian for “firefox”) and found that flash wasn’t working there, either.   Eventually I found Adobe Flash Square, the new 64 bit, beta, prerelease, Flash plugin.  Now, getting that to work with iceweasel/firefox was simple enough; Simply a matter of downloading the tarball, unpacking that, and copying the libflashplayer.so to /usr/lib/mozilla/plugins.  Did that, and I could watch a youtube video in iceweasel, no problem.  But there is no plugins directory for google-chrome.  More googling about revealed that the browser, supposedly, has Flash support built right in.  Sure.  But it wasn’t working… A bit more googling about and I learned that I could see more information about my plugins in google chrome by pointing my browser to about:plugins, and, so, I did, and I learned that flash was, in fact, not really built into chrome, but that chrome was looking in /usr/lib/swfdec-mozilla/ for nswrapper_32_64.libflashplayer.so, which was, indeed, there, but not working.  I learned that this nswrapper nonsense was an older trick, which, apparently, is not compatible with the NEW Flash 10, or something, because, well, I figured that out because it wasn’t working…But the Flash Square libflashplayer.so WAS working…So, this is what I did:  I removed the nswrapper_32_64.libflashplayer.so, just yanked it right out of /usr/lib/swfdec-mozilla/.  Then, I made a link in that directory to the libflashplayer.so in /usr/mozilla/plugins, and renamed it to nswrapper_32_64.libflashplayer.so (since that’s what chrome would be looking for), and restarted chrome, and, guess what.  IT WORKED!

cd /usr/lib/swfdec-mozilla/
su
********
rm -f nswrapper_32_64.libflashplayer.so
ln -s /usr/lib/mozilla/plugins/libflashplayer.so /usr/lib/swfdec-mozilla/
mv libflashplayer.so nswrapper_32_64.libflashplayer.so

That did it.

Now, that’s not the only issue I’ve had.  I installed LibreOffice, for which there are 64 bit .deb files.  But when I tried to run it, it kept puking and giving up.  I looked at the error it was giving.  I neglected to write it down, but, it comes down to the fact that it could not find libcairo.so.2.  I dug around for that, and found it right in (big surprise) /usr./lib….so, what was the problem?  I looked again at the error.  For some reason unknown to me or anyone with whom I’ve communicated, libreoffice was looking for libcairo.so.2 in /opt/libreoffice/basis3.3/program, rather than in /usr/lib, where any normal program would expect to find such a lib.  That was easy.  I just copied the lib right in there (I don’t know, I probably could have symlinked that, too…didn’t even try that…).

cp ./usr/lib/libcairo.so.2 /opt/libreoffice/basis3.3/program/

And that was that. LibreOffice is now working superbly.

There have been a few other tweaks and adjustments along the way, but, at this juncture, I’ve got a blazing fast system (debian with openbox is light and efficient) on which to work.  Good stuff.  I feel like a got a great deal from TigerDirect, and, as always the best deal ever with Debian gnu/linux.  The guys on #debian at freenode were extremely patient and graciously helpful, and I owe them a great debt of gratitude.  Debian ROCKS! both the software and the community.


On a side note, stealing my old machine’s video card, and the 24 inch 1680×1050 monitor, seemed to have pissed it off, because, with the onboard video and 15 inch 1280×960 monitor (both of which it HAD used before I purchased the big screen) all text in gui windows, menus, panels, etc. was

HUGE

too huge to read, even, where windows were expanded off screen and even alt-click grabbing them and moving them around was useless, and menus were unreadable, and, basically, all graphical elements were rendered useless, regardless of whether I used openbox, lxde, xfce, or wmii…I wrestled with that for hours…running Xorg -configure, dpgk-reconfigure xserver-xorg, xrandr, changing screen resolution, refresh rates…sacrificing chickens, and my best goat…blah blah blah..all to no avail.

Eventually, I figure out that the problem had nothing to do with Xorg, screen resolution, or what type of sacrifice I offered…The culprit was gdm (still don’t know why).  I figured it, because, if I logged into single user as root and started X without the assistance of gdm, everything was perfect. So that seemed, correctly, to identify gdm as the culprit.  Still, I could not figure out how to fix gdm, so, I just yanked gdm right off the machine (aptitude remove gdm).  Using startx from the command line kept starting LXDE on that machine, however, which displeased me since, well, I prefer plain old openbox, without LXDE, and, besides, I also have XFCE and WMII on that machine, and would prefer to have a choice when logging in.  So, for that, I just had to copy a .xinitrc into my /home. I removed the entry for LXDE (never use it), and added entries for openbox, xfce and wmii.  Now, no DM…I log in via the console, then startx, which tosses up a dialog and asks which of the 3 window managers I want to use, and, good to go.  It works nicely.


One more really cool thing. I back up my /home regularly onto an external usb hdd (at least monthly, but I did it before building the new machine and stealing the video card from the old one, I do :~# rsync -rvu /home/tony /media/disk/home), so, I was able to simply copy my whole home directory onto the new machines, and, this being the very same system (well, except being amd64 in stead of 32bitIntel, or whatever), all the programs have the same configs, saved passwords, blah blah blah that they had before. That makes moving to a new computer so much easier. Since I run rsync as root, I do have to chown everything (chown -R tony:tony) again after moving it back, but that’s no big deal.

Written by tonybaldwin

January 27, 2011 at 2:08 pm

Adventures with Debian Lenny on AMD64

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LibreOffice in AMD64 Debian

LibreOffice in AMD64 Debian/Lenny, in OpenBox

Well, folks, I figured it was time for a computer upgrade, since, I was, until yesterday, still working on a 3.2ghz Celeron CPU with 1.5gm ram that I purchased almost 4 years ago, now, from TigerDirect.com.  Frankly, that machine was still doing a great job on 95% of stuff I do. I can’t lie. But, being the geek that I am, I felt the need for more speed, and whole lot of putrid green envy over newer, shinier things.  So, I went to my favorite source, again, TigerDirect, and ordered a 2.5ghz dual core, AMD64 barebones kit with 4gb of ram.

d00d…I have not been able to ramp up the CPU usage past like 18%, nor use more than about 20% of the ram. I know there are bigger, faster machines out there, but this is clearly plenty of machine for my needs.

Anyway, this machine is an AMD 64 bit CPU.  I won’t pretend, for even a second, to comprehend what the difference is between 64 bit and 32 bit computer, beyond that 64 is twice 32, and, in some cases, it means I need different software.

So, I got the machine in two boxes, with all these separate parts, a motherboard, a cpu, 2 ram sticks, a hard drive, and I had to put them together.  I yanked the video card from my old machine and used it, too, since it has dvi, and this mobo in this kit did not (works best for my monitor).  And, then, being completely ignorant, as I am, I installed from the same Debian/Lenny XFCE installation disk that I had used for every other machine in my office.  It installed okay, but, for the life of me, I could not get DHCP to work so I could connect to the internet.  So I got on #debian at freenode with my old computer (now using an older monitor, and the onboard mobo video) and raised my hand and after several rounds of the real hackers in there massaging me with the Socratic method, it became clear that I had simply installed the wrong system, and that I needed the (duh!) AMD64 version of Lenny.  So, I downloaded that ISO file, burnt up a CDROM, and installed it.  And that worked nicely, and the DHCP works fine, and I’m actually writing to you from this new machine.  I like it.  But I had a few other adventures between then and now, and thought I’d share them.

One of the first things we all do is tweak up our browsers and import our bookmarks and all the good stuff.  Well, I prefer google chrome, which makes a lot of that really, really easy, since you can synch all that stuff right online, so, of course, I installed google-chrome, which I’m using now, and, surprise, I like it.  But, flash was not working…which made me sad.  I did a lot of googling around and digging around and trying to figure out why, and, along the way even tried iceweasel (debian for “firefox”) and found that flash wasn’t working there, either.   Eventually I found Adobe Flash Square, the new 64 bit, beta, prerelease, Flash plugin.  Now, getting that to work with iceweasel/firefox was simple enough; Simply a matter of downloading the tarball, unpacking that, and copying the libflashplayer.so to /usr/lib/mozilla/plugins.  Did that, and I could watch a youtube video in iceweasel, no problem.  But there is no plugins directory for google-chrome.  More googling about revealed that the browser, supposedly, has Flash support built right in.  Sure.  But it wasn’t working… A bit more googling about and I learned that I could see more information about my plugins in google chrome by pointing my browser to about:plugins, and, so, I did, and I learned that flash was, in fact, not really built into chrome, but that chrome was looking in /usr/lib/swfdec-mozilla/ for nswrapper_32_64.libflashplayer.so, which was, indeed, there, but not working.  I learned that this nswrapper nonsense was an older trick, which, apparently, is not compatible with the NEW Flash 10, or something, because, well, I figured that out because it wasn’t working…But the Flash Square libflashplayer.so WAS working…So, this is what I did:  I removed the nswrapper_32_64.libflashplayer.so, just yanked it right out of /usr/lib/swfdec-mozilla/.  Then, I made a link in that directory to the libflashplayer.so in /usr/mozilla/plugins, and renamed it to nswrapper_32_64.libflashplayer.so (since that’s what chrome would be looking for), and restarted chrome, and, guess what.  IT WORKED!

cd /usr/lib/swfdec-mozilla/
su
********
rm -f nswrapper_32_64.libflashplayer.so
ln -s /usr/lib/mozilla/plugins/libflashplayer.so /usr/lib/swfdec-mozilla/
mv libflashplayer.so nswrapper_32_64.libflashplayer.so

That did it.

Now, that’s not the only issue I’ve had.  I installed LibreOffice, for which there are 64 bit .deb files.  But when I tried to run it, it kept puking and giving up.  I looked at the error it was giving.  I neglected to write it down, but, it comes down to the fact that it could not find libcairo.so.2.  I dug around for that, and found it right in (big surprise) /usr./lib….so, what was the problem?  I looked again at the error.  For some reason unknown to me or anyone with whom I’ve communicated, libreoffice was looking for libcairo.so.2 in /opt/libreoffice/basis3.3/program, rather than in /usr/lib, where any normal program would expect to find such a lib.  That was easy.  I just copied the lib right in there (I don’t know, I probably could have symlinked that, too…didn’t even try that…).

cp ./usr/lib/libcairo.so.2 /opt/libreoffice/basis3.3/program/

And that was that. LibreOffice is now working superbly.

There have been a few other tweaks and adjustments along the way, but, at this juncture, I’ve got a blazing fast system (debian with openbox is light and efficient) on which to work.  Good stuff.  I feel like a got a great deal from TigerDirect, and, as always the best deal ever with Debian gnu/linux.  The guys on #debian at freenode were extremely patient and graciously helpful, and I owe them a great debt of gratitude.  Debian ROCKS! both the software and the community.


On a side note, stealing my old machine’s video card, and the 24 inch 1680×1050 monitor, seemed to have pissed it off, because, with the onboard video and 15 inch 1280×960 monitor (both of which it HAD used before I purchased the big screen) all text in gui windows, menus, panels, etc. was

HUGE

too huge to read, even, where windows were expanded off screen and even alt-click grabbing them and moving them around was useless, and menus were unreadable, and, basically, all graphical elements were rendered useless, regardless of whether I used openbox, lxde, xfce, or wmii…I wrestled with that for hours…running Xorg -configure, dpgk-reconfigure xserver-xorg, xrandr, changing screen resolution, refresh rates…sacrificing chickens, and my best goat…blah blah blah..all to no avail.

Eventually, I figure out that the problem had nothing to do with Xorg, screen resolution, or what type of sacrifice I offered…The culprit was gdm (still don’t know why).  I figured it, because, if I logged into single user as root and started X without the assistance of gdm, everything was perfect. So that seemed, correctly, to identify gdm as the culprit.  Still, I could not figure out how to fix gdm, so, I just yanked gdm right off the machine (aptitude remove gdm).  Using startx from the command line kept starting LXDE on that machine, however, which displeased me since, well, I prefer plain old openbox, without LXDE, and, besides, I also have XFCE and WMII on that machine, and would prefer to have a choice when logging in.  So, for that, I just had to copy a .xinitrc into my /home. I removed the entry for LXDE (never use it), and added entries for openbox, xfce and wmii.  Now, no DM…I log in via the console, then startx, which tosses up a dialog and asks which of the 3 window managers I want to use, and, good to go.  It works nicely.


One more really cool thing. I back up my /home regularly onto an external usb hdd (at least monthly, but I did it before building the new machine and stealing the video card from the old one, I do :~# rsync -rvu /home/tony /media/disk/home), so, I was able to simply copy my whole home directory onto the new machines, and, this being the very same system (well, except being amd64 in stead of 32bitIntel, or whatever), all the programs have the same configs, saved passwords, blah blah blah that they had before. That makes moving to a new computer so much easier. Since I run rsync as root, I do have to chown everything (chown -R tony:tony) again after moving it back, but that’s no big deal.

Written by tonybaldwin

January 9, 2011 at 1:48 am

Adventures with an Everex Cloudbook

with one comment

I bought an Everex Cloudbook on e-bay about a year ago. It came with Ubuntu 8.04, Hardy Herron on it. I immediately made some changes, removing gnome, adding ion3 (eventually replaced with wmii), lightened the load a bit.
For some reason, the wifi was fickle (most of the time it didn’t work, but sometimes it did).
It sat around here for most of this past year without much use, so, I recently ordered a usbkey with Ubuntu Netbook Remix 9.10 on it. Finally, these past few days I got around to install that, completely wiping hardy herron from the machine.
The wifi worked flawlessly, out of the box, once that was done. Karmic Koala (ubuntu 9.10) had some groOvy features. I replaced the nauseating, bloated, useless netbook remix interface with XFCE (xubuntu-desktop).
All in all, not too bad.
But, sadly, the machine frequenly froze. Sometimes the system would stop taking input from the mousepad and keyboard, but the system was not frozen (stilly playing music, graphical elements still moving on screen).
I read hundreds of ubuntu forum entries, and it seems thousands of users were having similar problems, for a thousand reasons, and with a thousand different “solutions”, none of which resolved the issue for me.
I tried to upgrade to the lastest ubuntu (Lucid Lynx, 10.04) via the update manager.
Lucid Lynx gave me even more problems…Numerous problems. Not only did the system to continue to freeze, but fonts were rendered so badly in gnome that they were unreadable, and the xfce panel had swelled to the size of the entire screen, so, pretty well all graphical elements were useless.
So, current ubuntu offerings on the cloudbook were decidedly not working out well for me.

So, today I did what probably I should have done a year ago when I bought the machine.
I read up on how to make my own bootable iso usb key, downloaded the Debian Business Card iso,
and loaded Debian/Stable (Lenny) onto this little machine.
Guess what.
IT ROCKS!
Everything is working out of the box. Wifi, sound, everything.
Now, had I read the instructions for installing from the business card iso, I would have known that I could have installed with an XFCE desktop by default, by using the parameter “desktop=xfce” upon boot, but I neglect to read that far until it was already halfway through installation. I had to spend a bit of time removing all the bloated unnecessary gnome crap, and now have a lightweight and functional XFCE desktop on the machine.

Here’s a screenshot:

Actual size!

It’s great! I installed FBReader to read ebooks (and evince for ebooks in pdf format), MOC (music on console) for listening to tunes (loaded up some Mana, Francis Cabrel, Grateful Dead, Bach, and a few other goodies onto the sdcard hdd already). I installed google-chrome browser.
Everything is working perfectly, no lock ups or freezes, etc. I was initially worried that getting wifi up and running was going to require all kinds of gymnastics, but, it simply wasn’t true. Wifi worked out of the box. No problem.
So, if you find one of these little gems lying around, fire up a usbkey iso of Debian Stable and have at it.
You’ll have a nifty, useful little machine on your hands.

Written by tonybaldwin

July 17, 2010 at 3:13 pm