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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.

Sat, 14 Jan 2012

Raphael Hertzog's Debian Squeeze discs are well worth the money

I've burned hundreds of Linux and BSD discs since I figured out what to do with an ISO sometime in late 2006/early 2007. I've saved many and gotten rid of many as well.

Nowadays my main laptop can boot from USB, so I tend to put the ISO images that allow both testing of live systems as well as installation straight onto flash-memory thumb drives. Now with the "hybrid" images that projects like Debian, Ubuntu and Fedora are using, it's easier than ever to use the cat command to copy the ISO to the USB thumb drive.

But I still need CDs and DVDs for some of my older computers that won't boot from USB. And I've done three installations recently on just these kinds of PCs.

It was Debian Squeeze for all three, and I used the discs I bought from Debian Developer Raphael Hertzog.

Even though I could have used ISOs I burned myself, I purchased the very-reasonably priced CD and DVDs (I bought two DVDs, one CD) soon after Squeeze's release. The discs come in nice cases with pretty good cover artwork, and most of the versions Raphael puts out contain the nonfree firmware you might need to get your machine going.

Installations with Raphael's discs also add the contrib and nonfree repositories to your sources.list, and they use the older, way-less-whimsical MoreBlue Orbit theme of Debian Lenny, which some users prefer to the way-more-whimsical SpaceFun theme of Debian Squeeze. I prefer SpaceFun -- I've even made my own T-shirt with the artwork -- and Raphael helpfully includes instructions on restoring SpaceFun to your Squeeze system. I've done that in one instance. In the other two installations (one overwrote the other ...), I didn't worry about it.

(Truthfully, I prefer the simpler, classic Debian Etch artwork to that of Lenny; I like the Etch theme as much as Squeeze's SpaceFun.)

Prices on the discs run between .99 and .99 -- pretty cheap, and that makes the shipping charges more than bearable. The discs have been extremely reliable, and I like the idea of supporting Raphael and the Debian Project as well as having some nice, boxed Debian Squeeze discs that I can use throughout the release's life and keep thereafter.

Let's travel back in time ... to 2007: Here's what the stock Debian Etch desktop looked like. I remember it fondly: