Older blog entries for modus (starting at number 2)

I came into the Cafe today just in time to watch a long and messy fsck over somebody's shoulder. I should have asked what they did to freeze the computer up, but I didn't want to seem nosy and annoy the person, so I walked around the room and talked to a few people for a while, until I noticed the individual in question getting up and leaving the Cafe in frustration. I rushed over to the computer to find it in a near-catatonic state -- not completely unresponsive, but very nearly so. Ctl-Alt-F-whatever took a while to clear the screen, but very soon I was able to type "ps aux" to find dozens of Netscapes, dozens of Mozillas, and at least five Galeons rampaging around the CPU. I rebooted after using "killall -12" on all the browsers. In retrospect, I could have simply killed X with a Ctl-Alt-Backspace (or Delete, or whatever.) That would have been a carpal tunnel saver, though inelegant.

Ultimately, when we are done installing apps and configuring the desktop, we are going to make all disk partitions but one read-only, like Jamie Zawinski recommended.

The cafe install proceeds apace, with new icons for Mozilla and AbiWord both installed in the panel. I also put Gnumeric in the "Featured Free Software" drawer -- it looks pretty much like M$ Excel, so the Cafe User should recognize it.

Lack of application feedback (even a splash screen would be nice) is still causing users to click on browser launchers multiple times, which is a real problem: the whole screen freezes up after a while, and the frustrated user generally hits the Reset button when this happens. More trouble.

Fri, 23 Feb 2001:

Well, it's done. Tom and I reinstalled RedHat 7.0 instead of Mandrake because the download was easier, and I just finished building Ximian GNOME, which has the easiest install I have ever seen for Linux -- just point lynx at a site with a flag that says to read it as "-source" instead of HTML!

lynx -source http://foo

Tomorrow, Tom will be back to build KDE, since it is a fiendish tangle of module dependencies -- although KDE should be much easier to build now that we are armed with RPM 4. Remind me to tell you the RPM 4 story sometime, it's a long one.

On Fri, 23 Feb 2001, Michael Castelle wrote:

y'all get mandrake running last night? what's going down?

No, we had to switch to RH 7.0 to get a fresh install (due to the weird RPM 4 situation) but now we have a Cafe desktop again. Unfortunately, most of the changes we made were "under the hood" and the biggest problem with the cafe -- the frayed Ethernet cable -- is still a problem.

There is still work to be done -- Tom wants to compile a 2.4 kernel, while I am more concerned with bringing back Flash 5 and XBoing, and maybe installing Tux Racer.

We also took apart oscorb and removed all the dust bunnies within. Didn't locate the CPU battery, but that's okay because the RH distro seems to be able to tell the time, unlike the Mandrake install we had in here, which I had to patch with an initscript called "timesync" (basically, rdate) which called another local server (brown.edu) and basically said "Yo, what's the time?"

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