Lightweight window managers: pekwm

It's been probably two years since I last used pekwm. Now that Urukrama has published a very good Pekwm Guide in his blog, I think I'll give it a new try on some of my older comupters.

Penguin update didn't like Lightweight Linux

Around the 25th of April, Google rolled out the Penguin algorithm update that is supposed to devaluate low quality and spammy links built by search engine optimization companies.

Interestingly this blog dropped 5-6 positions down from the top of the Google results for the search "lightweight linux". This means I get no only 25 % of the daily visitors I used to get until the Penguin update. Of course, the number of daily visitors should not be an end itself.

Most of the links I get to this blog are from other blogs published in Blogspot or and there should not be any grey or black hat manipulative links around.

On the other hand, most of the links use the words Lightweight Linux as the anchor of link. This seems to be the only possible reason for the clear drop in the search engine rankings. It would help a lot to have more variation in the link anchors.

I hope I'll have enough time to write new articles to this blog on a regular basis. Then I might some month or some year gain at least part of the now lost readers back.

And if you think this blog is worth reading or following -- please link to some of my articles in your blog! I would very much appreciate your help!

xorg.conf for G3 600 MHz iBook with R128 built in 2001

# /etc/X11/xorg.conf (xorg X Window System server configuration file)
# This xorg.conf seems to work fine with my G3 iBook built in 2001
# using Debian Wheezy.
# Most probably you should change the kbd setting :)

Section "Files"
FontPath "/usr/share/fonts/X11/misc"
FontPath "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/misc"
FontPath "/usr/share/fonts/X11/cyrillic"
FontPath "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/cyrillic"
FontPath "/usr/share/fonts/X11/100dpi/:unscaled"
FontPath "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/100dpi/:unscaled"
FontPath "/usr/share/fonts/X11/75dpi/:unscaled"
FontPath "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/75dpi/:unscaled"
FontPath "/usr/share/fonts/X11/Type1"
FontPath "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/Type1"
FontPath "/usr/share/fonts/X11/100dpi"
FontPath "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/100dpi"
FontPath "/usr/share/fonts/X11/75dpi"
FontPath "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/75dpi"
# path to defoma fonts
FontPath "/var/lib/defoma/x-ttcidfont-conf.d/dirs/TrueType"

Section "Module"
Load "bitmap"
Load "dbe"
Load "ddc"
Load "dri"
Load "extmod"
Load "freetype"
Load "glx"
Load "int10"
Load "vbe"

Section "InputDevice"
Identifier "Generic Keyboard"
Driver "kbd"
Option "CoreKeyboard"
Option "XkbRules" "xorg"
Option "XkbVariant" "nodeadkeys"
Option "XkbModel" "pc105"
Option "XkbLayout" "fi"
Option "XkbOptions" "lv3:lwin_switch"


Section "InputDevice"
Identifier "Configured Mouse"
Driver "mouse"
Option "CorePointer"
Option "Device" "/dev/input/mice"
Option "Protocol" "ImPS/2"
Option "Emulate3Buttons" "true"

Section "InputDevice"
Identifier "Synaptics Touchpad"
Driver "synaptics"
Option "SendCoreEvents" "true"
Option "Device" "/dev/psaux"
Option "Protocol" "auto-dev"
Option "HorizScrollDelta" "0"

Section "Device"
Identifier "Generic Video Card"
Driver "r128"
BusID "PCI:0:16:0"
Option "UseFBDev" "true"
Option "NoAccel"

Section "Monitor"
Identifier "Generic Monitor"
Option "DPMS"
HorizSync 28-49
VertRefresh 43-72

Section "Screen"
Identifier "Default Screen"
Device "Generic Video Card"
Monitor "Generic Monitor"
DefaultDepth 16
SubSection "Display"
Depth 1
Modes "1024x768" "800x600" "640x480"
SubSection "Display"
Depth 4
Modes "1024x768" "800x600" "640x480"
SubSection "Display"
Depth 8
Modes "1024x768" "800x600" "640x480"
SubSection "Display"
Depth 15
Modes "1024x768" "800x600" "640x480"
SubSection "Display"
Depth 16
Modes "1024x768" "800x600" "640x480"
SubSection "Display"
Depth 24
Modes "1024x768" "800x600" "640x480"

Section "ServerLayout"
Identifier "Default Layout"
Screen "Default Screen"
InputDevice "Generic Keyboard"
InputDevice "Configured Mouse"
InputDevice "Synaptics Touchpad"

Section "DRI"
Mode 0666

Why did I decide to update Debian?

Last night, I somehow decided to update the Debian Lenny I had been using on my 600 MHz iBook for a few years. It was a mistake.

Only after the update and first boot of Wheezy I remembered having encountered severe problems in getting the X running on this old laptop.

After the update I got a bunch of error messages somehow caused by the Wacom drivers installed by default. After removing the xserver-xorg-input-wacom, I was able to boot the box without endless error messages.

But when I gave the magic word startx on the command prompt, I got black screen instead of the ratpoison window manager. Ouch. Again.

It seems I need to go through this Xorg configuration hell once again in 2012. Or should I just uninstall the whole xorg and live on the console and screen? Or should I finally get rid of this lovely white laptop?

Legacy OS 4 Mini needs only 800 MHz & 256 MB

EENpup 2010 Mini Beta has beeb rebranded as Legacy OS 4 Mini. The distribution should run OK with most of the hardware made in the 21st century.

New to Legacy OS what’s with the name? Legacy OS as the name suggests is a Linux Distribution designed to run on obsolete Legacy Hardware. A User should be able to bring back to life a PC or Laptop running a Pentium III or 4 Processor. This release of Legacy OS is targeted at users running a minimum of the following: Pentium III 800Mhz Processor with 256Mb’s of Ram with a minimum of 4GB for the Hard Drive. Those with the last generation of Pentium 4 Processors with 1GB of Ram and a 40GB plus size Hard Drive will enjoy applications that open fast and run fast.

I'm not sure if I would enjoy using some of the default applications on a box that barely meets the technical requirements. For example, if you really need to have flash and Firefox you should at least consider getting hardware that has a bit more RAM and processing power.

For more information and download links, see the Puppy Linux Discussion Forum.

Results of my first poll ever

A week ago, I decided to publish the first ever poll on the Lightweight Linux. I asked my readers if the can write code and if they actually do it.

Interestingly, most of my readers either write code at least sometimes or would like to learn to write program code.

This should not come as a surprise: the Linux users are, after all, geekier than the general audience. Most of us probably have read a few computing books and can at least write an occasional script.

During the last week I've been busy working on some client search engine optimizing (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) cases. At the moment, my main software tool for keeping the spreadsheet data in order is Excel, even if I very often decide to export the data into CSV files that can be searched, sorted and analysed very easily with tools like grep and sort.

The main reason for my interest in polishing my coding skills is that I want to be more efficient in analysing the business data. Some scripting is always necessary for being able to transform the data into actionable knowledge. Only then the data can be used to inform me in making better use of client money in marketing.

Fortunately, the OS X command line provides me with all the tools I need for this. Basically all the experience I have gained with using Linux is transferable to OS X shell. Thus there is no real need for building a dual boot system with Linux.

Moreover, it would be far more useful to install Windows on the Macbook as the "free" Excellent Analytics tool can only be used with Windows version of Excel.

Of course, I would be more than happy if there is a really free alternative framework that can be used for connecting Libre Office with Google Analytics. In that case I would have something to tell my colleagues at work -- and a reason for pushing free software forward in a business environment.

Random thoughts about Linux and my job

Knowledge of Linux probably helped me indirectly to get my job -- even if I don't actually need to do any hacking as part of my job. People geekier than me can do the heavyweight php scripting much more efficiently than I can. In addition, I decided to use OS X as main main desktop system at work.

Even as OS X user my Linux background (if using Linux on desktop for more than 10 years qualifies as a background) helps me with some of my daily computing needs.

For example, I'm not very efficient Excel user. Because of this, I very often do some keyword analysis using the OS X command line. For me it is simply easier to export huge Excel files into CSV and to use grep and its friends for finding the spreadsheet lines that contain interesting strings or substrings.

A few oneliners can get me very far when analysing spreadsheets with thousands of lines and I think it is easier than learning to use Excel really well. After all, it was never designed to be a tool for natural language processing.

Unfortunately, I have never had time to learn Perl that certainly would be the best tool for this kind of tasks. Its syntax has always seemed a bit too cryptic for my taste and I have never really needed to do any quantitative analysis of textual data.

Maybe, just maybe, later this year I would have time for learning Perl.

Or should I rather learn to code in Python?

In the late 1980s, I used to code quite a lot with my CBM-64. So algorithmic thinking is nothing new for me, even if the modern languages are completely different from 6510 assembly code.

So any modern language is pretty much completely new to me. I just have to decide which direction I want to take in my career.

I don't have any plans to become a website coder, so I doubt I would never really need Php + Html more than I understand now.

I code my MSc theses in R, but I don't think it is very useful for a marketing consultant.

Perl would be fine for analysing textual data, but I'm not so sure if it would be an overkill for my needs.

Python, on the other hand, would probably be fine for most of my tasks - at least combined with some elementary Unix scripting.

Or should I just forget these languages that are rather unorthodox in the marketing and business world and concentrate on learning Excel and Visual Basic...

GALPon MiniNo needs only 64 MB RAM

It's been a while since I actively updated this blog. At the moment it seems that I might be able to make a comeback with this blog that really needs some updated content.

During the hiatus of my blog, several new distributions meant for old computers and hardware with limited resources have entered the market. Thus there are plenty of new topics to blog about!

When I started this blog, old computers were very limited by today's standards. Thus lightweight linux distributions might today address hardware that would have been very modern a couple of years ago. Even my main desktop at home is probably seen very old by many computer hobbyists.

Because of this, I was happy to find out that some of the new distros would still run on hardware made in the 1990's. One of this for me new distros is GALPon MiniNo that requires only 64 Mb RAM, 1.5 Gb disk space and a 200 MHz CPU. According to the techical specifications published on the project's website, the optimal requirements are a bit higher: 128 Mb RAM and 600 MHz CPU.

This, of course, means there is no place for GNOME or KDE. Instead of these, GALPon uses a tailored version of IceWM as desktop and ROX-Filer. The custom theme is very GNOME like which makes it easy to use even for the non-geek Linux users.

The latest release 1.2 was released almost 18 months ago. The distro seems to be actively developed -- I'll certainly test the distro after the next release!

Links: GALPon MiniNo Home Page.