NetBSD 5.0 Released!

NetBSD 5.0 has been released. I warmly recommend you to test this simple and clean operating system from the BSD family. If you have been using Linux for some time and are looking for new challenges, NetBSD will provide them!

Linux command line documentation

This time I would like to recommend some great sourcea of information for all my readers who like to use CLI applications on their lightweight Linux installations. As I have pointed out earlier, if you try to use Linux on a very old computer, you have to use some of your own brain power to compensate for the lack of a fast CPU and lots of RAM. Using the command line is one way to achieve this.

The Linux Documentation Project is the central site for all kinds of Linux documentation. In the tldp you'll find Guides, HOW-TO documents, and FAQs. Some of the files might be a bit outdated but even the older files provide the reader with plenty of useful information.

Gareth Anderson has written an useful summary of command line GNU/Linux applications. It is organized thematically, so that you can easily find the most useful tools for e.g. controlling processes and services, manipulating text files or working with the file system.

Michael Stutz's The Linux Cookbook
: Tips and Techniques for Everyday Use is another good source of information with similar topics. It is a bit old (written in 2001), but the CLI tools don't change as fast as KDE and GNOME applications!

Machtelt Garrels has written a Bash Guide for Beginners. Bash is the default command shell of the most popular Linux distributions. This guide helps the newbie to write her first scripts.

After reading the Bash Guide for Beginners, you should continue with Mendel Cooper's Advanced Bash-Scripting Guide. It will probably teach you more than you'll ever need to know unless you plan a career as a Linux system administrator.

If you are willing to pay some money for books, you should seriously consider buying at least one or two books about the Linux command line. One good introduction to the command linux is Sander van Vugt's Beginning the Linux Command Line. In this book, you'll learn about command line basics, piping and redirection, using man to get help, administering the file system, partitions and logical volumes, working with text files, managing the users, groups and permissions and a lot more. This is probably the best book available now for any command line newbie.

New releases

In addition to the 9.04 release of the Ubuntu family, there are some recent and interesting lightweight distribution releases.

Easy Peasy 1.1 is a distribution for the wildly popular netbooks. Easy Peasy is based on Ubuntu which certainly is not known as the most lightweight distribution available. Even Easy Peasy defaults to software like OpenOffice.Org 3.0 and Firefox instead of lighter alternatives.

SliTaz 2.0 has been released, as well. SliTaz is a live system installable to a CD or a USB memory. It packs incredible amount of functionality in an image of 30 MB. See the SliTaz Handbook for more information.

Is my mouse dead?

Finally I've had some time to tweak my NetBSD. I have X running and I have installed Ratpoison and JWM. Unfortunately, I've not been able to get the serial mouse configured. Furthermore, I can't even remember if this mouse functioned when I last used it a couple of years ago. Probably it did, as otherwise I probably would not have saved it. Or...

As the old computer does not have any PS/2 or USB ports it seems I have to learn to live without a mouse.

Latest specialist distribution releases

During the last week or two, several rescue and specialist distributions have released new ISO images.

Clonezilla is a backup and recovery distribution. It currently supports ext2, ext3, reiserfs, xfs, jfs of GNU/Linux, FAT, NTFS of MS Windows, and HFS+ of Mac OS file systems. The latest release of the live cd bears the version number 1.2.1-53(download).

SystemRescueCD is a rescue cd based on Gentoo. The latest release is numbere 1.1.7 (downloads)

XPUD is a Taiwanese mini distribution that consists mainly of a web browser and multimedia functionalities. You can use xPUD, for example, for building an internet kiosk.

I have never tested xpUD myself, but it seems to boot very fast. See the video for a demonstration!

And last but not least, PartedMagic 4.0 has been released. It now supports ext2, ext3, ext4, fat16, fat32, hfs, hfs+, jfs, linux-swap, ntfs, reiserfs, reiser4, and xfs.

Problems to solve on my NetBSD

So far everything has run smoothly with my NetBSD box. Unfortunately, I can't get all those funny characers I need for writing Finnish to sent over a ssh connection between my Debian and NetBSD boxes. Of course, it is not necessary as long as I use the NetBSD box directly with a keyboard and a monitor, but I would like to be able to use it also remotely.

I just don't have the time I would now need for reading all the man pages... I wonder, if the problem really is in the settings of the the terminal application I use in Debian or in the wsconsctl settings of the NetBSD box. Or is there some other configuration file I have not yet thought of?

At the moment I can surf the web with lynx and elinks. Unfortunately, I was not able to log in Blogger with neither. So I'm (again!) writing this article with my Debian box. Maybe I just should configure the X to make my life easier.

Next week, I'm going to bring an old mouse to be used with this old computer. Of course, I could even now use X with Ratpoison. On the other hand, the box functions very well without X. The system boots very fast, and I can connect over ssh to the UNIX system of the University. Even ö, ä, å and Ö, Ä, Å present me no problems in that combination of hardware and operating systems!

VectorLinux 6.0 Light

VectorLinux is a distribution based on Slackware. The project has now released a new 6.0 Light version of the distribution. From the release notes:
Light is aimed at users with some Linux experience. It is biased towards technical simplicity and high performance. Based on VL6.0 Standard, the most resource hungry applications have been removed or replaced with lighter alternatives. Running services are kept to a minimum.

The requirements for the latest release are pretty low:
It is recommended that your system meets these requirements:
Pentium 200 or better compatible processor (i586 and up).
64 MB of memory - but 128 MB will greatly improve performance.
Hard disk space: 2 GB for an install with X-window system, Internet and multimedia applications. 3 GB for "everything". Absolute minimum is 1.1 GB.

Download the ISO.

New Book: Beginning the Linux Command Line

I just noticed that an interesting book will be published soon. Sander van Vugt's Beginning the Linux Command Line is already now available for pre-orders. This might be a good place to start, if you are a command line newbie.