Arnt Gulbrandsen
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The year of linux on the desktop

Clearly, 2016 is the year of linux on the desktop. I bought a new box and everything just worked. My three screens all work without needing any configuration, the fans are silent normally but spin up if needed, the temperature sensors all deliver reasonable results.

(Well, pulseaudio doesn't work.)


Two headlines on Hacker News

This headline appeared in my Hacker News feed this morning: Why systemd is taking over. I fear it's right, systemd is taking over, and it's not good. I had a terrible time getting linux to work on my new laptop, which is why I have sworn to try Devuan on that laptop as soon as it's installable.

But what is systemd taking over, exactly? The next headline was Chromebooks spank Windows and might have added while traditional linux laptops disappear from view. Half my friends have switched to Mac laptops and last September I couldn't find a single ten-inch laptop with ≥4G RAM and capable of running linux. Not even one.



Custom filofax paper

The two pictures show things I usually bring along in my hand luggage on the plane. Guess which one the security screeners want to look at most often.

Correct! The razor gets a brief glance or no attention at all (usually), the organiser looks odd on their screens and is often inspected. Mine was going to become a 9600bps modem when it grew up, as I have told many a security screener.

Ever since I got my first duplex printer I've made my own paper for it. Nothing very fancy, really. Four constraints only: ⓐ I like to write on the right-hand side, ⓑ occasionally I want to measure something so there should be a ruler, (more…)


An ARM Chromebook arrived

The thing weighs nothing and feels cheap, but not badly made. I sort of like the way it feels — it's well engineered, but its flimsiness urges me to set up proper backups on day one. My reaction surprises me, but I like the compromise. Hardware does break, it's good to face that.

The SD card I need to install linux still hasn't arrived.


Ubuntu 12.10 on the Nokia Booklet

The Nokia Booklet will not resume from sleep using 12.10 and I cannot find the problem. 12.04 works, so today is the day when I learn whether my backup regime really works. (Update: It worked oh so slowly. I assume it's time to stop upgrading linux on this laptop and get a new one soonish, so I ordered an ARM Chromebook.)


Colour calibration with linux and the Colorhug

My main desktop computer is a linux box with three screens. Today I calibrated all three screens, one of them for the first time ever.

An aside. There are two real ways to calibrate a monitor. The cheap option is to use a colourimeter: a device which measures red, green and blue levels. (more…)


More on Ubuntu 12.04 and the Nokia Booklet

I've written earlier that Ubuntu 12.04 runs well on the Nokia Booklet. True, it does. But I glossed over the pain of installing. Sorry.

My first problem was that I had installed an SSD, and the 3.0 linux kernel, the chipset and the SSD weren't friends. The installer would die immediately after partitioning the disk.

I got around that by booting ubuntu (actually kubuntu) from a USB stick, choosing try kubuntu, connecting to a wireless network, opening a terminal and (more…)


Linux, SCH, Crucial C300, and it works

I had replaced the Nokia Booklet, but somehow it replaced its replacement again. Something about its shape, about the keyboard. Whatever it is, the Booklet wants me to use it, and the replacement gathers dust. I'll try again when Apple releases retina macbooks, because 1GB RAM is really not enough.

The retima macbooks aren't here yet, so I tried to install Ubuntu 12.04 on the Nokia. It didn't work very well with the SSD I had installed. Apparently the Crucial C300 (or perhaps the Intel SCH controller) doesn't like a trim command of 1Mbyte or more, so the kernel reports a timeout during data set management, resets the drive, and from that point things don't work very well at all.

The only workaround is to boot into a live file system, open a console window, fdisk the disk (or do something else to make the kernel notice the disk), locate a file called /sys/…/scsi_disk/…/provisioning_mode, and write unmap into it. Then install linux as usual. Once you boot, write the same echo -n unmap > /sys/…/provisioning_mode command into /etc/rc.local so it's run at boot. I think the disabled provisioning mode would be more appropriate, but the kernel ignored me when I tried to set that, so…