Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Installing Fedora

Well, I planned on having it installed on my system sponer, but it turns out backing up data (all in all around 50GB) takes quite some time. The external drive I'm using seems to write at only 4-6 MB/s...
In addition, the vfat filesystem apparently can't handle files of >=4.2GB; luckily I only have 4 of those (one 6.5GB and the others 8-9GB each), so I was zipping them to then split them into 4GB chunks (resulting in 8 pieces). While copying those, the transfer-rate was at only 3MB/s ^.°
That took like... 6h more than expected o.O

Then moved them on the external drive .... and finally! Let's install Fedora!

I liked Anaconda and at 2AM I got my first view of a new desktop:

After sleeping and setting stuff up, I broke Goggles Music Manager:

I got those -2 songs in the queue resolved, but it would only play one song and then stop.
So I installed Rhythmbox.

Oh, and I wanted to show my new, fancy, self-made wallpaper:

Now about Fedora so far:

yum seems a little slower in searching packages than apt-cache or aptitude, but just as imprecise. Another down is that the package-names are a little inconsistent. Bash-autocompletion for the packages also reacts slower and only works for the first package.
In Ubuntu all libraries were prefixed with lib, while in Fedora some are and some not.

I like yums output a little more than apt-gets though. Generally still a plus for Ubuntus apt-get, unless I somehow configured it wrongly.

Fedoras integration of LXDE works better out-of-the-box than the lubuntu-meta-package of Ubuntu.

Again, on the other hand I'm having some problems with the Flash plugin. It mostly, but not completely, works now; I have hope in the lightspark-project though.

Am I glad to have switched? Well, at least glad that I wiped my old system; If I am glad about the new one will show in time.
I feel a little better about Fedora, but probably just because I've set it up properly, unlike my previous system.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Fedora, here I come!

Yep, Fedora is the one I have chosen.

Lately I have found some packages to be a tiny bit dated. Well, mainly because I was looking for brand-new stuff that I pulled stuff from source repositories and compiled it myself.
Then I looked up a few distros on DistroWatch (a fine site if you want information on a bunch of different distros), and found Fedora to have the most recent versions available. Since it's also one of the most popular (at least according to DistroWatch) those releases seem to be stable enough.

I also had a closer look at aptosid (Debian Squeeze sid/unstable), but for some reason it doesn't get much attention from the security team (second paragraph on the sid/unstable-page), while - at least according to Wikipedia - Fedora has security at a high priority.

I have vacation until New Years, so I will use that time to scrap the data I need together, probably borrow the external harddrive from my sister to back up that data and install Fedora in place of my current Ubuntu.

I've been looking around for a new OS, because when I first set up this Linux it wasn't planned to stay very long. But like usual I got used to it and kept it like it is.
This resulted in a minor disaster within the filesystem and some stuff not being properly configured.

At first I thought of simply re-installing Ubuntu and this time also properly partition the drive, but while thinking ahead to that I was reminded of sidux (the former aptosid).
Fun Fact: Those libraries I was missing are also not present in my current distro anymore (well, the libraries are, but not the developer version).
The thing about these libraries is, that they are dated and were deprecated by a new branch (2.0). And keeping old stuff maintained beyond a certain point is unnecessary work.

This got me thinking of using aptosid, which in turn fired the oven to look beyond, my next target being Arch Linux.

Anyways, now that I'm going to settle with Fedora I'll be sure to post a screenshot of my finished Fedora-installation. I already made a new wallpaper, which replaced my current (well, now old) one and is going to replace the default Fedora one :3
I'm primarily interested how yum will do instead of apt-get. Though if for some reason I should like apt-get more, I can always use apt-rpm :)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Linux != Linux

For those who are not C-savvy: != is the ≠ of (C-like) programming.

Well, clearly Linux == Linux (== is the = of (C-like) programming), but what I meant is that there are lots of different distributions (just look at this fine graph I found on the Wiki-page :3).

Or.. are they really that different?

Just a few moments ago I was researching in quite a bunch of distros; among others there were Arch Linux, Debian (Squeeze), Fedora, openSUSE, Slackware and Ubuntu (which I am using right now). Those are quite popular ones and that usually means it's proven itself and is well maintained.

What defines most of how an OS feels like is the way to configure stuff and the looks. The looks are quite uniform; GNOME is probably the most popular desktop environment, KDE being very wide-spread as well (and just as known).
Xfce for those who like a more minimalistic, but still feature-rich desktop and LXDE as a - as it seems not (yet?) - quite as popular environment and promising an even more efficient desktop than Xfce. It also seems to be more modular to me, due to an obvious component-based design.

It gets even more minimalistic with pure window managers, such as Openbox, Fluxbox, IceWM, ... and even more with tiling window managers.
I'm not sure how many people use compositing window managers, afaik those usually run as a back-end to some desktop environment (again, GNOME, KDE, ..).
I don't really know what's popular in those categories.
I prefer Openbox due to its (quite) minimalistic nature and compliance to the ICCCM and EWMH standards.

Furthermore I choose LXDE, because it offers all I need and still looks sleek. I find minimalistic GUIs to be appealing, it's not just because I want it memory-saving or something; though that is still a welcome effect.

Well, I didn't actually want to get so deep into explaining stuff, but now that it's already there...
Alright, so what's left is the configuration-part. Most (popular) Distros configure themselves upon installing and if you want to tweak something, there are mostly GUI tools.
I've come to like the terminal emulator to do stuff, because I don't have to search for programs in the menu (though stuff is usually easy to find, within a few keystrokes I can also do it in the terminal) and I don't have to wait for the window to pop up, find the button and so on.

This is really no major thing and if I hadn't a terminal I would have no problems doing it with the GUIs; I'm not an elitist here, I just got used to it.

I think most of the configuring part in Linux has roughly the same syntax. Some programs like to use XML though, which to edit in nano is not as convenient as using a simple GUI text editor.

As I've listed Arch Linux up there, it is said that in Arch you don't get as much GUI sugar. This is one of the reasons I was quite interested in it.

So, well, if configuration and the looks are almost the same in most of the popular Distributions, then what to decide on?
At first I just thought about staying with Ubuntu, but I did indeed find another aspect. And this I will discus in my soon to follow blogpost, as that one is getting large enough...

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Finding Scheme

Well, actually Finding a Scheme Compiler/Interpreter, but that way it matches better with the previous post :3

At first I thought of simply searching the Ubuntu-repository for 'scheme' and 'scm', however there were only programs with a slightly different name.
Then I searched for a reference-implementation, which there is none. Then I googled for 'most popular scheme interpreter' and found MIT/GNU Scheme.

I though, "Fuck Yeah! MIT and GNU, I can't go wrong!".
I then tried the repository again, to find out that for some reason it has been removed in the past. Without worries I went on and downloaded a source-packet specifically for x64 Linux and tried to compile that.
iirc it simply failed to compile.

So then I tried the portable C source-package and after a while it was finished. Trying to start it however downright crashed.
Trying to debug it, the debugger had no message except 'SEGMENTATION FAULT' and the stack-pointer being at 0x0000000000000000.

Lucky me I found Ypsilon, which had just one source-code for every supported platform, which compiled just fine and ran as well.
It also supports the newest language revision and claims to be well optimized, also for multi-processor systems.

So far I had no problems and did a few Project Euler exercises in Scheme to get me used to it, but of course it won't cut it, since mathematical problems only require a subset of the languages capabilities.
I guess I will just read on the ebook I have and let the university give me better problems to solve :P

Learning Scheme

I decided to do something programming-related. I don't exactly remember where I left off on my experimental project, which I still plan to revisit, but soon I'll be going to a university.

I'll be attending the TU Darmstadt and I'll be majoring in Computer Science.

There, so I've heard, we'll be learning Java and Scheme. Now, Java I kinda know already, but Scheme not so much. I actually don't know any functional language.
If it wasn't for the CS courses there, I'd probably have chosen Common Lisp or Haskell. Possibly F#. The reason is that I've heard of those before, while I never before heard of Scheme.

People seem to be complaining about different operator notation (e.g. to add two numbers x and y you write (+ x y) in Scheme, while in for example C or Pascal it'd just be x + y).
However, doing it the 'Scheme-way' makes sense in the way that you call to other functions, which are not represented as simple symbols, the same way (e.g. (square-root x), while in C or Pascal that'd be square-root(x)).

And I heard people complaining about lots and lots of parenthesis.
At first I though you can probably get through with it if you indent the code properly, but there's really a shitton of parenthesis.

While I do wonder if this language has any value for bigger, serious projects, I can't compare it to any other functional language, since it is the only one I know so far. At least it make me think of different approaches to programming problems; the language is basically centered around using recursion.
I've read about 1/3 of the introduction I am using and so far had no problems understanding everything.

The next blog-post will be a follow-up. I could write it right now, but this would make this post larger and this way I can also claim to post a tad more frequently than I really am :3

Monday, December 6, 2010

Ankle Pain

I've had some weird problems with my right ankle two months ago (I couldn't bend my foot in a certain way without pain), which seemed to have occurred randomly.
Sadly the soonest appointment to see the orthopedist was a month from that, and when that day came, that problem was almost, though not completely, inexistent.

During that time I didn't go to sport, with two exceptions before the appointment since my foot was doing quite good.

Well, the doctor couldn't find out what's wrong, prescribed me pads for my shoes though. Shortly after that I twisted my ankle in sport. Though the pain was quite serve at first, most of it went away in about a minute.
I told my superior and went to the hospital the following day.
The doctor ordered a X-ray and didn't see what's causing it to swell and slightly pain when putting weight on it.

She told me to stay home for a week, wear a splint, rest the foot and lay it high.
Funny that exactly by that time I got a cold, and quite a serve one, too.

It looks good now and my cold is mostly gone (just a little rest stuck in the nose), though my old woe on my right ankle came back.

Again I'll take a time out.

During that time I didn't do much. I mostly just watched some movies and surfed on the Internet. That idleness seems like it will continue quite a while more :(
I also saw Dollhouse, quite an interesting show, although it only lasted two seasons.