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frugal technology, simple living and guerrilla large-appliance repair

Regular blog here, 'microblog' there

Many of my traditional blog post live on this site, but a great majority of my social-style posts can be found on my much-busier microbloging site at updates.passthejoe.net. It's busier because my BlogPoster "microblogging" script generates short, Twitter-style posts from the Linux or Windows (or anywhere you can run Ruby with too many Gems) command line, uploads them to the web server and send them out on my Twitter and Mastodon feeds.

I used to post to this blog via scripts and Unix/Linux utilities (curl and Unison) that helped me mirror the files locally and on the server. Since this site recently moved hosts, none of that is set up. I'm just using SFTP and SSH to write posts and manage the site.

Disqus comments are not live just yet because I'm not sure about what I'm going to do for the domain on this site. I'll probably restore the old domain at first just to have some continuity, but for now I like using the "free" domain from this site's new host, NearlyFreeSpeech.net.

Tue, 09 Aug 2011

Debian looking at a June 2012 freeze for Debian Wheezy

Buried in the late-June "Bits from the Release Team" minutes is the news that the Debian Project will aim for a time-based freeze for the next stable release, Wheezy. At the moment that date is June 2012:

After some discussion at the sprint, we have looked again at the concept of having a time based freeze. I'd like to thank the DPL for progressing a consensus on debian-devel on a way forward for this proposal. The release team would like to support the idea of a time based freeze.

Its main advantage seems to be the clarity that people will get knowing when we will freeze. For this reason, we need to pick a date. This is one that not everyone will be happy with, and caused quite a bit of discussion. However, we had to make a decision, and have picked on June 2012 as the current proposed freeze date for the next release.

This means that the current Debian Testing release, which is Wheezy, is set to be frozen at that time (no new versions of packages, just bug fixes) in preparation for the next stable release.

And given the recent history of Debian releases, I think that means aiming for a February 2013 release to follow Lenny's February 2009 and Squeeze's February 2011 releases, continuing the pattern of two years between stable releases.

Add the extra year of maintenance as Old Stable, and that gives Debian releases effectively a three-year support life.

For users who aren't already running Debian Testing (and that includes me), the prospective June 2012 freeze is a good time to migrate from Stable to Testing in anticipation of Wheezy becoming Stable early in the following year.

Debian Developers in favor of the freeze have said that users appreciate the ability to plan for the future knowing roughly what will happen to the stable Debian release (in contrast to the "ready when it's ready, and that's it" way of thinking). I agree. I'm already thinking of Debian Stable in terms of the two-year release cycle, substituting newer bits from Debian Backports, the Debian Mozilla Team APT archive, Liquorix, Google and Dropbox as I need them to keep my Debian Squeeze installation a bit fresher between now and then.

Sun, 07 Aug 2011

Debian lets me do what I need to do

I'm in the same situation now with Debian Squeeze that I was in back when Debian Lenny was the stable release:

I can't think of a system that allows me to do so much, so efficiently and without trouble as Debian Stable.

Debian Stable can be boring. Nothing new enters the archive. Except this time I'm using Debian Backports, the Liquorix kernels built for Debian, the Debian Mozilla Team APT archive, Google's Chrome browser repository and Dropbox's Debian/Ubuntu repository in addition to Debian Multimedia to shape Debian the way I want and need it.

So as much as I'd like to give some of my other favorite operating systems a try (Ubuntu, Fedora, OpenBSD ...), I'd be crazy to give up Debian as my daily workhorse operating system. It works without complaint. And that means I work without complaint.

I can't help but think that a key component of all of this is the GNOME 2 desktop, which is on the way out in favor of the still-controversial (and not all-the-way functional/finished) GNOME 3. That will come into Debian by the next stable release. Let's hope it works.

Back when I was running Lenny, I got bored and tried to dist-upgrade to Squeeze (then the Testing release, and I don't think there were release notes for Squeeze to help me do the upgrade right). I blew out the installation and then moved on to other systems.

I'm going to try very hard not to make that mistake this time around. Squeeze is running so very, very well that I am extremely reluctant to mess with it on my hardware (Lenovo G555 with AMD Athlon II at 2.1 GHz, 3 GB RAM, 320 GB SATA hard drive).

I don't write as often as I'd like, and my aim is to write less about what OS I'm running and more about everything (and anything) else. But I've been working very hard lately, using Debian to do it, and I thought it deserved a mention.

I tend to write more when things aren't working right, but with Debian, that's seldom the case.

Fri, 05 Aug 2011

My Ode site at 1.0

I'm calling this the 1.0 release of my Ode blog. I have all of Rob Reed's "extra" addins working (that's persistent-dating addin Indexette, web-editor addin EditEdit and the Disqus commenting addin).

I'm also using the core Jumper addin to shorten some entries in the index and provide a link to the full, individual entry.

I've made some small changes in the template to allow the blog title and main image to link back to the blog home page from any other page in the blog.

Now it's time to start filling the blog with content, old and new.

I'm also going to work on a version of the Logic theme (what you see here) to produce a "pages"-like theme that displays content without the traditional blog trappings of publication dates. That should be easy.

It's time I started delving into the ode.cgi script (preferably the annotated version) and seeing how the system works. Ode project leader Rob Reed has been very encouraging both in my putting this site together and in learning Perl, the scripting language with which Ode is built.

Right now I'm focusing on the HTML and CSS in the themes, but I plan to work my way into the Perl of the main script and the addins as I go.

Thanks again, Rob, for hacking on this project. There are dozens of blogging/CMS systems to choose from. Even though it derives much inspiration from Blosxom, Ode is unique in many ways, inspired in many more -- in function and mission. That's why I'm using it. Poke around the official Ode site if you want to know more.

Mon, 01 Aug 2011

Windows 7 Service Pack 1 installs begrudgingly on my Debian Squeeze-running laptop

Thanks to readers who responded, Service Pack 1 successfully installed on my Debian-squeeze-running laptop.

Here's a chronicle of what I've done to the machine:

Those who read my previous entry on this topic know that SP1 refused to install on the Windows 7 Home Premium portion of my Lenovo G555's hard drive.

And it probably had something to do with my running Linux (specifically Debian Squeeze) on the same drive.

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