Saturday, June 7, 2008

Fun and games.

While it's been awhile since I posted anything, the time has hardly been wasted. As with all things learning is a never ending cycle. That is pretty much what has been going on over the last few weeks, finding problems and then beating my head against them until I win.

The start of the process was when I decided that the OLPC XO I had picked up needed to do something useful, because to be honest, as it comes to you, it is a really interesting looking lime green brick. Just my opinion of it. Until I had started the process of doing something with it, the most useful thing I had done with it is get onto IRC via irssi. Curiously enough I did that via SSH'ing into the XO and then hitting IRC, that keyboard is too tiny for nearly any adult who doesnt have dwarfism.

After running through several iterations of Debian and Ubuntu I finally settled on one that works acceptably. So my XO is now attached to the back of my printer/scanner. It works as a cups/samba print server, a scanner controller via a vnc connection to the rest of the computers on the network using kooka, and a webserver for the network. The scanner drops it's images straight into the webserver to make retrieval easy for everyone on the network. If your curious the version that finally landed on my XO is a customized Ubuntu.

Of course part of this whole project required me to completely redesign my network. Which was fine. My old linksys router wouldn't handle static IP's. So I picked up another D-Link configured it to handle static IP's via it handing them out via DHCP. Since everything was static now it meant I could go in and set up the hosts file on all the computers, which was as easy as always, right up until I sat down to do my wifes Vista laptop. After a little research, it wasn't all that difficult, the real trick was finding it and editing it using proper permissions.

I also decided to try out a distro I hadn't ever used before, Arch Linux. I found it to be very not newbie friendly, but for anyone with some experience under their belt it was very straight forward to set up. Being touted as light weight, I have to say I have done smaller Debian installs. It weighed in without any X or other niceties at around 650-700 meg, still all things considered not bad. Since I was trying things different I decided to revisit e17 (enlightenment) for my GUI on that install. Setting it up was easy and I have to say I like it enough to keep playing with it.

Overall Arch doesn't offer the natural fine grained control over my system that I get using Gentoo/Sabayon. Speed wise it feels very snappy and responsive though and very complete. There will definitely be more playing with it to find the rest of it's weak points and strong points. From the start though, if your not a total noob and you want more control over your system and what is on it than most other distro's offer, Arch seems a really nice solution.

Good Computing

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