Absolute Linux 13.0 rc1

From the Absolute Linux home page:
Absolute is a x86 Linux distribution based upon Slackware. It concentrates on "desktop" use so that it is ready for internet, multimedia, document and general home use as much as possible. Absolute is lightweight -- meaning 2 things: that it can run on on older hardware and that the OS interface stays out of your way.
It is version-compatible with Slackware so you can use almost any package from the same version of Slack on Absolute. It is what I use all da y, every day, and I am very thankful for Linux and Slackware and I hope others find benefit from my work on Absolute.
About the new RC:
Pre-release that includes fixes for slapt-get and wicd, addition of a control panel, centralizing control and eliminating the sometimes-confusing utilities menus. Big updates to Midori and inkscape on repositories (under /CD2). New theme, new logon, QT4 up and running several new applications along with QT4-based K3B. Overall a more cohesive look and simpler navigation. Wanted a release candidate so that 13.0 will not necessitate updates -- also wanted to have feedback on whether Midori is functional enough to become the default browser. (It uses about 1/3 the memory of Firefox in my tests.)
Download the ISO image.

bc is a command line calculator

Very often I need a simple command line calculator to do some simple math for my accounting or economics classes. Usually I don't need anything more complicated than the simple arbitrary precision calculator bc. The bc is very intuitive to use, after you learn to set the precision used in calculations:


This sets the precision to five digits. Unless you define the precision bc will default to integer results which would not provide especially precise results. After setting the precision, bc is very intuitive to use. For example:

mjp@oikos:~$ bc
bc 1.06.94
Copyright 1991-1994, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2004, 2006 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
This is free software with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY.
For details type `warranty'.

A lot more information can be found with man bc, as usual.

twyt for CLI tweets

For a couple of days, I thought I would write some more scripts for using Twitter on command line. After some googling, I discovered there was already a command line twitter client available that would completely satisfy my needs.

Twyt is available as a source package from Andrew Price's home page. Download first the tar.gz package from the download page and unpack it with tar -xvf twyt-0.2.2.tar.gz. Install the package with ./setup.py install.

Twyt is written in Python, so you need to have Python installed, as well. In addition, twyt depends on the python-simplejson. I was able to install it directly from the Ubuntu repositories.

Next, create your Twitter user with:

twyt user -u username -p password

After this, you can tweet with

twyt tweet "#twyt is a nice command line twitter client"

You can read the updates by friends with:

twyt friendstl

More information is provided, of course, by man twyt.

Officially geek

The very simple Twitter script I published yesterday has received more attention than I expected. It was even linked to in the article "10+ super geeky ways to use Twitter" in Downloadsquad!

Twitter updates from Linux CLI

During the last week, I've learned to use Twitter. Of course, there is not a lot to learn as Twitter is a really simple system. Consequently, it can easily be updated from the Linux command line without using any dedicated application or a bloated web browser. You just need to have curl installed on the system to use the following command:

curl -u "username:password" -d "status=here comes the status update" http://www.twitter.com/statuses/update.xml

And to make it even simpler, you can write a simple script to send the updates from the command line:

echo "Twitter update: $1"
curl -u "username:password" -d "status=$1" http://www.twitter.com/statuses/update.xml >/dev/null

After saving the script as tw I made it executable. Now I can send updates with:
tw "This is my update"

If you intend to send a lot of tweets from the command line, you should probably add some sanity checks to the script.

Edit: I added >/dev/null to the end of the third line in the script in order to reduce the amount of text output.

New mini distro releases

During the last days, several new distribution versions have been released. Here are the most interesting lightweight and minimalistic releases.

Tiny Core Linux 2.0 and MicroCore 2.0 have been released. Tiny Core is a very small system with 11 Mb download size. MicroCore is a even geekier new system with no X.

xPUD 0.9 is another small desktop system with 51 Mb download size.