30 May, 2008

Open Source Software FTW!

Promising, promising...

I can't wait until an OEM releases a cellphone with a fully implemented Android software stack. The embedded video below (sporting 2 developers from Google), demonstrates the (simple,sleak,usable) beautiful user interface and some of the current functions from Android. If the final released version even resembles what they show here, I'm _definately_ switching to an OSS Cellphone!

Actually, I'll probably switch most of my embedded equipment to OSS-driven products, and especially Android, because it's Google-sponsored. Giving me a "all-in-one" solution to; e-mail, browsing, text-messaging and telephony. And if they incorporate a Blogger-feature into Android, I'll be in techie-heaven! ;P

iPhone, eat your heart out!


I love Google ^_^

19 May, 2008

Linux-Live: Pocket Operating Systems

Slax LogoI've tried a lot of different flavours (Knoppix,Belenix,CentOS,Linux Mint,etc...). And I've always gone back to my favourite every time I've tried a new one, mainly: Slax.

Since it's based on Slackware (of course), it basically gives me all the superuser functionality I demand from my computer systems, while also providing a simple (non-hardware-accelerated) KDE desktop and basic built-in applications.

I've used Slax before, but I wasn't quite satisfied with the storage mounting system not being fully configured in v5, to allow mounting of USB storage devices automatically (yes, I prefer _some_ automation for basic tasks). Version 5 also incorporated a package system (much like Slackware), only, the packages were built as modules, to be easily added/removed on-the-go. This was also one of the features I did not favour very much, as it would lock up the system at times as i was removing package-modules while the system was actively running X, but this also seems to have been fixed in v6.


  • distribution has reached a more stable level compared with earlier releases.
  • it is based on Slackware Linux 12.1 (running the Linux kernel).
  • system size is now reduced to a mere 195 MegaBytes, thanks to the merging of 7Zip-compression (LZMA) into the squashfs filesystem.
  • it now has the ability to determine if it is running from a writable or unwritable media, and saves system configs accordingly.
  • it includes an X Window System and a collection of general network-enabled applications (browser,mail,chat,ftp,games,utilities,etc.), all ready to be used out-of-the-box.
  • it now includes gcc out-of-the-box, giving the ability to compile third party software, which can then be packaged into software-modules afterwards for quick installation/removal.
  • software-packages do not occupy a lot of space thanks to 7Zip-compression (modules now has the '.lzm' file extension).
  • installation of additional software is easy using the new 'Slax Module Manager', grabbing software-modules from online software repositories, or local media.
  • it has procured a large user community, useful for third party support.
  • and it can be burned onto a CD-R or copied to a USB memory dongle like most other linux-live distros, but apart from other distros, it includes very intuitive installers for these tasks as well.
A definate must for OS techies, and Linux followers. I'm building a USB-key version to carry around, keeping my favourite OS of choice close on my person at all times to be easily deployed on a system running other OSes I don't usually favour that much... ;P

It is also a very powerful rescue-tool, allthough you CAN use the Slackware install-disc to do the same tasks, Slax lets you boot into an X environment whereas Slackware restricts to the command line.

18 May, 2008

Why I love Slackware

A few minutes ago, I read an article ranting on about the recently released Slackware Linux v12.1, where the author expressed what he thought of Slackware as a Linux distribution.

[Slackware is (in conjunction with Debian) the oldest living Linux distro out there since the early 90's. Read my post about Slackware Linux in general.]

The author noted that Slackware (being an old-timer, has over 10 years of software maintainer experience in package-building) enforces strict packaging routines in the Slackware community; following source programmer instructions to the letter with regards to configure-options at compile-time, and standardizing the prefixes where the configuration and binary files are stored on the system.

This packaging method makes the packages extremely portable across different systems, as long as the systems retain the standard libraries and utilities included in the build-system (also known as a "vanilla base-system").

And the fact that it has only one maintainer at the top, having the final word on configuring and building of Slackware-software; the all-mighty (BDFL of Slackware Linux) Patrick Volkerding, makes it the closest distribution one can find to a "vanilla" system (or: "generic-type" "all-in-one" Linux base platform). Leaving plenty of room for: personal tweaking, custom branding, hacking, expansion and forking.

This focus on simplicity in maintenance, makes Slackware the perfect candidate for base-systems destined to fork-modifications.
Therefore, a lot of distro-developers swear by Slackware as their base-system, as it allows for some major modifications without breaking as easily as other, heavily modified distributions that require a lot of dependancy-tracking.

  • Now, it should be mentioned that Slackware does not include a packaging-system that incorporates dependancy-tracking, so it is not a distro recommended for 'non-tech-savvy' people (computer-n00bs) as it requires that you do all the command-line work manually.
  • AND, you are _absolutely_ forced to learn the inner workings of the system to modify it without breaking any functionality. So it has it's caveats, but these caveats just improve your understanding of the system, making you (the developer), master maintainer and developer of the aspiring distribution being made.
It inspires exploration and tinkering, so you learn Linux from the ground up. I guess you could say it's a flavour for hackers, developers, scientists, technology hobbyists, professors and generally anyone interested in the specification and documentation aspects. Or as described in computer jargon: "SuperUsers".

Everything I've learned about Linux; was either read about in the included documentation, or found online in Slackware forums. So I've done my fair share of information investigation, which is also a required ability in the open source world.

11 May, 2008

Slackware 12.1 upgrade successfull

Successfully installed/upgraded my 3 computers with Slackware Linux 12.1! ;P

  • (Desktop machine, "slamd-wifi")
    • AMD Athlon XP 2200MHz | 1,1GB DDR RAM
  • (Notebook machine, "slackbell")
    • AMD Mobile Sempron 1800MHz | 1,1GB DDR2 RAM
  • (Laptop machine, "paqslack")
    • AMD Mobile Athlon XP 800MHz | 256MB DDR RAM
I'd wish I could have been done with this earlier, but I'm quite buzy nowadays.

07 May, 2008

quotation is KING

"Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself,
but talent instantly recognizes genius."

Sir Arthor Conan Doylee 1859-1930


Screenshot of PONG

Ralph Baer >

Som med mye annet data-relatert, ble idéen om dataspill virkeliggjort gjennom leking med teknologi. Og under 2. verdenskrig, jobbet Baer som avhørsleder og ble senere tilsatt som teknologisk ansvarlig for datasystemene som utførte missilberegning for militæret. Når man innehar en slik alvorlig stilling, var det viktig å kunne rette fokus vekk fra ansvaret for å slappe av og lette tankene. Dette gjorde Baer ved å "leke" med teknologien han jobbet med. 
Trikse og mikse, finne andre bruksmuligheter. Og idéen om å kunne bruke TV som et såkalt "varmt" medium ble født. TV, som tidligere bare hadde vært et "kaldt" medium hvor negative nyheter ble servert uten mulighet for å kontrollere hva som ble servert, ble plutselig et kontrollerbart underholdningsmedium med innførelsen av maskinen Magnavox Oddyssey. Ralph Baer anses å være "bestefaren" til data-/TV-spill, som oppfinneren av den første TV-spill konsollen, forløperen til det første dataspillet med interaktivt brukergrensesnitt: "PONG" (laget av programmereren/elektronikk-ingeniøren Al Alcorn).

Screenshot of TETRIS

Aleksei Pazjitnov >

1985, Vitenskapsakademiet i Moskva. Matematikeren Aleksei Pazjitnov gjorde som mange hackere gjør i dag; lekte seg med datamaskiner for å utforske bruksmulighetene, akkurat som Baer gjorde med militær-teknologi for å skape noe som kunne brukes til noe sosialt og positivt, enn bare ødeleggelse. Resultatet ble det mest innovative dataspillet til dags alder: "Tetris".

[Helt fra begynnelsen av spillalderens fødsel (70-,80-tallet), har militær-industrien og spill-industrien vært sammenflettet. Og det er dette samarbeidet som sannsynligvis har påvirket spill-utvikling mot en destruktiv opplevelses-modell.]

Poenget mitt med dette innlegget er å fremvise at nyvinning i teknologi som regel har skjedd som en følge av at bruksområder for teknologi har blitt påvirket av skaperne fordi de ville bruke skapelsene til noe annet enn bare strategisk og negativ fremkallende bruk.

Teknologisk nyvinning har derfor alltid interessert meg fordi det til stadighet har resultert i uante muligheter. Og siden vi lever i teknologi-alderen, med informasjonstilgang folk ikke kunne ant var mulig for et par tiår siden, hvem vet hva som venter rundt hjørnet? ;D

Innlegget ble også svært inspirert av Discovery Channel-programmet:

"I, Videogame"