tonybaldwin | blog

non compos mentis

Posts Tagged ‘gnu/linux

Debian GNU/Linux 6.0 Squeeze

leave a comment »

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


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

Written by tonybaldwin

February 8, 2011 at 9:58 pm

Candy in the Clouds! (or peppermint os on an everex cloudbook)

with 6 comments

You may recall that I wrote previously about Adventures with an Everex Cloudbook (or not, but I did write that).

Well that machine is still here! The Everex Cloudbook!  You may recall, it came to me initially with ubuntu hardy herron on it, and then I tried upgrading to newer ubuntu flavors, but with all kinds of bugs and headaches, so finally installed Debian Lenny on, since, after all, Debian is the BEST OS EVER.  But, the truth is, even Lenny was having some issues managing the display on this little guy, and the wifi was fickle, so, I decided to do some more experimenting.

So, today I tried Peppermint OS.

Their own site says Peppermint is:

Peppermint is a Linux based Operating System that is Cloud / Web Application Centric, Sleek, User Friendly and Insanely Fast.
Built for Speed
Peppermint OS was designed to be easy on your processor and system resources so you can get going and get things done…
Peppermint OS is under 512MB and easy to run as a Live CD or USB. Loads and Shuts down in Seconds…
User Friendly
Step-by-step installation, Works out of the box, Easy to Navigate with Automatic Updates….

My experience says:
Peppermint OS IS SPEEDY AND LIGHT! Indeed! (As far as “user-friendly” I largely tend to agree with Tuomo Valkonen on such matters…but that’s another story). Largely, I must say:  kudoz to the peppermint os project!  Good stuff!  Peppermint is tight system with LXDE as the default desktop, drawing from both Ubuntu, Linux Mint, and, includes the following default apps: Firefox Web Browser, Drop-Box, Exaile [Music Management & Player], Prism, X-Chat [IRC Client], Transmission [Bit Torrent Client].  I had downloaded the .iso file a couple of days ago and burnt it to a usb stick with unetbootin, and, finally today got around to playing with it.  And I like it.  So I installed it.

One little tricky part of the installation was that, when I got to the “Prepare disk space” part, the window did not show the “back/forward/quit” buttons that showed in all over windows, so, I was at a bit of a loss to proceed.  I even grabbed with windows with alt-leftclick and pulled it around a bit (helps on that tiny screen, allowing one to move windows outside of the screen area), and still couldn’t find these buttons.  I was stuck.  Eventually, I alt-leftclick grabbed the window and pushed it up, almost off the screen, and then grabbed the bottom corner (plain left-click, withouth alt), and stretched the window down another couple of inches, and, indeed, the buttons had been hidden, and stretching the windows thus alllowed them to be discovered.

Installation was FAST!  Seriously. I have never installed a gnu/linux system faster in my life. Ever.

Post install, as usual, typically involves a bit of personalization, although, this system is extremely useful right out of the box.  Nonetheless, being the curmudgeon I am, I like to have things my way.  Peppermint OS is largely configured, as I see it, for the happily clueless, and I imagine, is a great product for such folks. No surprise, thus, that those in the know (or not, as in my case) may want to move some things around. For instance, for my part, I’m replacing the default Xchat IRC chat client with IRSSI, at this very moment. While Peppermint OS includes Exaile, which is, in fact, a very handy and dandy music player that I only recently discovered and have been enjoying and do recommend, I am still adding my old standby, moc (music on console), just because it’s quicker and more efficient for many listening tasks. Also, it pretty well goes without saying that I’m updating my favorite scripting language, Tcl/Tk 8.5, so I can install the tools I wrote with it (8.4 is installed by default, needed by Xchat).  I am replacing Firefox with Google Chrome (my preferred browser, any, for ease of synching stuff across multiple machines)  as the default browser (not removing FF, just adding chrome and making it my default).  I’m adding a few other scripty tools, text manipulation tools, file conversion tools.  I’m adding FBReader for reading ebooks (they should have thought to add this by default, imho).  I’m removing catfish (some local search utility…if I can’t find stuff with find/locate/which/whereis/grep, I don’t need to find it).  Peppermint actually does NOT come with an office suite installed, rather pointing one to the use of google-docs, via a browser window, for editing documents, which can be most useful, in various situations.  Nonetheless, I am installing OpenOffice.

One thing here really got my ire up, momentarily.  It’s called cowsay, and, I have to say, the inclusion of this little annoyance really seems like an attempt to alientate anybody with a preference for using the command line (read: anybody not a completely clueless n00b). WTF?  Please, when I open a terminal, I want to do important stuff, not see a happy talking cow.  The fact that I can’t aptitude remove it without removing the entire peppermint system is a bit of a PITA. Bah…

All in all, I suppose I can let talking cows babble, and just be happy to have found a tight little system that breathes life into an old, discontinued netbook.  Peppermint runs super-fast, and, so far, wifi is working flawlessly, the display hasn’t had a hitch, and, even with this 1.2ghz 512mb system, I can’t seem to lock anything up, crash anything, or otherwise annoy the system.  That’s good. It has a handful of apps that are going to allow you to watch your youtube and hulu, listen to tunes, either locally or via online radio, catch up with your twitter via seesmic, and communicate and stay organized with google tools (docs, calendar, gmail).  I would not call Peppermint a desktop os, but it is, for my purposes, precisely IDEAL for my little netbook.


Written by tonybaldwin

February 3, 2011 at 12:46 am

HPLIP & CUPS: Linux and HP Printer admin.

leave a comment »

CUPS administration (common UNIX printing system)

CUPS Administration

Just a quick note:

If you are running a gnu/linux distribution and have an HP printer, with hplip and the hp-toolbox installed, the hp-toolobox is largely useless.

However, if you point any browser to http://localhost:631/

You can find an admin interface to the cups system that will allow you to add/remove printers, cancel print jobs, and all kinds of other stuff that the hp-toolbox should do, but doesn’t.

I share this information, because googling to find support for this crap was practically useless.


Written by tonybaldwin

December 11, 2010 at 12:55 pm

Posted in gnu/linux, info technology

Tagged with , , , ,

Linguas OS, Linux for Translators, current project status: HIJACKED

leave a comment »

Back in 07/08, I created a gnu/linux livecd distribution designed for translators, called Linguas OS.  It was a fun project, but, eventually, due to low demand and lack of support from others in the FREE Software community and translation industry, I closed the project.  The last release was made on Jan. 28, 2008.

This past December, I allowed the domain,, to lapse.


Someone has purchased the domain, and, oddly, reposted material that I wrote to it, including information about TickleTunes. I wouldn’t really care so much if they were posting the ISO for download, and or other code I produced; After all, it’s all fully GPL/FREE/Open Source stuff. What does kind of bother me that they are somehow trying to claim my work as their own and capitalize on it in a sneaky and dishonest manner, and, they have attempted to claim copyrights of material (not code, just written material) that they copied from the old site, that I wrote! That’s definitely not cool. They aren’t offering any free downloads, nor giving up any code. They are posting written material that I WROTE, and images that I CREATED, and claiming copyright to them, which is sheer nonsense. I release all my code under the GPL, so if they were giving that away, I’d be all kinds of happy.  The written material and images from the old linguasos site, that now appear on the new one, however, were either a) my copyrighted material, or b) Creative Commons released to further the purposes of FREE Software and the Linguas Os project, in general.  Nobody else has any right to copyright those materials that I created.

via | wiki | linguasos.

Written by tonybaldwin

February 20, 2010 at 8:19 am

Why windows is definitely NOT the best OS for computer n00bs

with 11 comments

My mom has this old beater box, like a PIII 450mhz with 128k ram or something, running Win2k.  Well, it was running Win2k…

I went to her house for my birthday (02/06, send $$) and it was chock full o’ malware, viruses and assorted garbage that had become useless beyond repair.  She’d downloaded and installed some supposed free antivirus product that, as far as I could tell, was simply inventing problems, and requesting/suggesting an upgrade to the paid version, every 30 seconds, and which had NO uninstall option!

Wow…We don’t have those problems, me FREE dr00gies.

So, anyway, Mom’s machine = hosed, so, I came to the rescue with a Debian GNU/Linux with XFCE install CD in hand.
Fixed that machine for good, as I should have when she first got it.
Say “B’bye Windows”.
Say hello to an OS that is stable, secure, powerful, easy on resources and,  nearly impossible for a n00b without a root pwd to f@©& up!

See, when Mom first got the machine, I figured for her and her husband it was going to simply be easier for them to play with Windows.  Everybody says “Windows is for the office and the home user; Mac is for graphic designers, and Linux is for the great unwashed”, or something along those lines… SO, I let it be, and left them (un)happily in the World of Windows.  The fact of the matter is, however, that Windows is just too darned easy for a n00b to completely hose! Too many “free” downloads, extra browser toolbars, and other nonsense that Mom just wasn’t saavy enough to realize were NOT doing her or her computer any good.  Far too many hazards on the internet exist for n00bs who don’t know what they’re doing while using an insecure, unstable OS.  Seriously.

So, I fielded a lot of support calls, and spent more than one afternoon attempting to repair the messes Mom & Hubby created on their Win2k box.

I simply should have known that Windows was really not the best choice.  Gnu/linux works for me, and I do wash (I take a bath every Saturday, whether I need it or not…), and, despite my relatively recent efforts to learn a bit of hackery, I’m not exactly a computer expert or hardcore programmer by the standards of anyone truly in the know.  GNU/Linux works for me, because it lets me do what I need and want to do, without getting in my way, without consuming excessive resources (and, thus, is capable of running, up to date, on Mom’s old beater), at NO cost, and, it simply doesn’t give me problems.  No viruses.  No malware.  No spyware. No crashes. NO PROBLEMS.

So, I did what I should have done at the onset of Mom’s new internet life: Introduced her to wonderful world of Debian GNU/Linux.
Mom’s computer is now running GREAT; so much smoother and faster with Debian than it was with Win2K!
Mom says, “You’re a genius, Tony!”
Of course, I knew that…

Debian allows Mom to do what she wants/needs to do on the computer:  e-mail, facebook, send e-card (how cute), search for recipes, and write her novel.  It doesn’t get bogged down with garbage dripping from its pores, like that other OS, and it is FREE, in both senses, no cost, and, most important, freedom.    And, besides, Mom is thrilled with the 1,000s of games available for FREE via synaptic!  Mom, and her equally n00bish husband,  have now been using Debian on her computer for several weeks.  They report 100% satisfaction!  No problems, no difficulties, just unhindered access to the functions they desire from their computer.

So, that’s how I spent my birthday…installing Debian on my Mom’s computer.
All in all, I can’t think of anything more gratifying, at the moment.
Any day I get to wipe Windows off  a computer and install gnu/linux is, imho, a GREAT DAY!


Written by tonybaldwin

February 18, 2010 at 10:31 am

Posted in free software, gnu/linux

Tagged with , ,

Hello world!

with 2 comments

Okay…well, after various attempts at creating and maintainting blogs elsewhere, and even using nanoblogger on this site, I’ve decided the best route to take is to simply build a real blog on this site, and stick with it.

This is the first post, so I thought I’d explain what one might be likely to find here.  First of all, since this blog is on you can expect to see posts about the software I write.  I’ve written a few little handy programs, and, chances are, if you’ve found your way to this blog, you’ve already seen, and have, at the very least, seen a list of those little nifty programs.  If/when I make new releases or there are other important developments to those programs, they will certainly be announced here.  You are also likely to see other posts relevant to FREE Software, in general, including the gnu/linux operating system.

Additionally, considering that I work as professional translator, you may very well find articles or posts relevant, specifically, to the use of Free Software in the translation industry.

Be warned, you could see posts in languages other than English, since I speak, read, write, work, and play in English, Portuguese, Spanish and French, and have friends and colleagues, both in the translation industry and in the Free Software community all over the globe.

With that, I’m going to move on to other matters, at the moment.

Be well,


Written by tonybaldwin

February 18, 2010 at 1:27 am

Linguas OS 2.0 – Coming Soon to a computer in YOUR neighborhood!

leave a comment »

I have been working on making new LinguasOS isos.
Synaptic/apt is giving me woes, though.
I’m trying to update all the packages before remastering the system, and, as is often the case with PCLinuxOS, for reasons unknown to me, it is having trouble fetching packages from some repos.
I hate that.
Usually if I keep trying, eventually I get everything.
As soon as I have everything, I will remaster.
But, Most of it is already updated, including some package line-up changes:
Added Esperantilo
Removed xfmedia
Added gxine and xmms
Added TclUP and TclScreen
(not that either has much to do with translation, but an FTP tools is quite frequently useful.)
Updated the other applications I wrote, such as TickleDict,
and TransProCalc.
Added slock.
Removed ActiveState’s Tcl8.5, and installed regular old tlc8.5,
since, to be for sure, I should not be redistributing ActiveState’s package.
Added new wallpapers and fluxbox themes…very important…
Basically, it will have nearly everything I’ve recently done to my laptop, although, I am building
it on my experimental box, as before. (Laptop has client, and a few other things I am
not adding to the iso, but, otherwise…)
One thing I am still pondering is whether to remove the OmegaT
from PCLinuxOS repos, which is 1.7.2, and install OmegaT 1.8.0.
1.8.0 is a huge improvement, and that’s all I’m using, but, I consider
that it is useful to have the apt-able program there.
I don’t know.
I have considered attempting to build an apt repo at
just for packages I write, and a few other things not available in the PCLinuxOS repos (such as bitext2tmx and esperantilo), and things they don’t keep up with (OmegaT)…That may prove difficult, however, since
I can’t get a shell on the server…
But if I can figure out a way around that, I could add said repo
to the apt repos list in Linguas OS and simplify keeping my packages
up to date, and some of these other matters.
I am considering moving my hosting, too.
I paid for a whole year on the server where is now, but,
I think once that’s up, I will seek hosting where I can get a shell.
I’ve found hosts that offer even more bandwidth and space for comparable, if not better, prices.

In other news, TclScreen is now up at both freshmeat and sourceforge.
It was just approved at SF this morning, however, so, I have done nothing to set it up there, yet.

Written by tonybaldwin

August 26, 2008 at 10:36 am