Monday, August 4, 2008

Debian Testing... only with LXDE...

I feel like wiping my Suse partition... KDE4.1 is better than  thought, but still too "heavy" for my taste... 

I feel like (once again) performing a minimal Debian Testing install (32bit of course, despite my amd64 cpu...).

-So what would be the difference ??? I already wrote about that some time ago...

This time, I read here: that "LXDE has entered Lenny, thanks to Andrew Lee. It is a quite
lightweight desktop environment that is made with the Eee PC in mind."

I don't own an EeePC, but I feel like experimenting with LXDE, and comparing it to a barebone Fluxbox install...

Also from the same blog, a goode news for me and my TVcard: "The
debian-kernel team was prompt to add atl1e to 2.6.26 which has just
been uploaded to sid. We hope 2.6.26 makes it into Lenny."

I have a dumb "Real Angel 330", which according to this site: "This board is supported on kernel 2.6.26 and above."

Let me tell you that I am resisting the urge to go for a Sid or Sidux experience, as I just don't feel at ease with Sid... I am more of a "Stable" kind of guy, willing to go to "Testing", when it is well-tested...

Gotta leave you guys, power just went off... will write about it later !

Saturday, August 2, 2008

The Kill A Watt device... usefull... see it here:

Saving power while using your PC...

As some of you might know, I live in a touristic beach-town on the north-east shore of the Dominican Republic. The power company (Luz&Fuerza) is privately run, this is why we are escaping those long black-outs that are common elsewhere in the island.

Of course, there's a price tag to that. Our Kwh is very expensive. It costs us roughly 0.50 US$ per Kwh !

-So what do I do ?

I am one of those guys that enjoys having my PC on all the time. I turn it off at night, because it would be too expensive. I use the "power saving" feature that shuts down the monitor (lcd) after 6 mn of not touching the mouse.

Right now, I have a quad-boot: Ubuntu 8.04(with Gnome/OpenBox mainly), OpenSUSE 11.0 (with KDE4.1), Arch (with Fluxbox only) and Windows XP.

I bought a Kill-a-watt device (see it here: ). It is one of those things that you plug in the wall, then plugin your item, and it measures the amount of Watts, amps, and other things that your item sucks...

I was wondering if using a distro vs another one would make any difference... Or possibly a DE vs another one, or even a WM vs another one...

My experience is by no means anything close to scientific, but I now gets precise numbers thanks to the Kill A Watt device.

As you FLOSS people would have guessed, Windows XP is the one that sucks more juice, around 166 Watts.

Disclaimer: here's what's plugged in: a homemade desktop PC (MSI K9N Neo V3 motherboard, AMD Sempron cpu, 1 gig of ddr2 ram, a big 320 gigs sata hdd, a Dell LCD monitor 18" UltraSharp, an Omega 600 UPS, a Speedtouch adsl modem, a Buffalo wireless router, an 8 ports switch, and Labtec speakers). When I measure using the Kill A Watt, I have Pidgin, Skype, Firefox, and a web-radio playing.

So here is it: not only Windows XP (sp3 with Classic looks) is way slower than any Linux distros on that hardware, but it sucks 166 Watts.

Here comes a big fat juice sucking distro as well : OpenSUSE 11.0 with KDE4.1 ! It uses about the same amount that WinXP does, sometimes a bit more... I have seen the meter going to 168 Watts... Maybe the reason is that I had some desktop effects enabled, but the very minimum ones, not the cube or any woobling windows...

Our "middle-ground" contender would be Ubuntu with the Gnome/OpenBox interface... The meter was giving me around 162 or 164 Watts... I would not see it as a big difference...

Then here's our champion of the day: Arch Linux with Fluxbox only. I am using it right now, and the meter shows only 152 Watts. I would say thios is a significant difference.

-Why is that ?

It makes me wonder... Would it be because I performed one of those famous minimal install, with only relatively lightweight apps, such as PCManFM, Fluxbox, Aterm, ePDFview, Exaile, Firefox & Opera, Pidgin & Skype... ???

-Would a "netinst" of another distro performs just the same with the same choice of apps ?

Too bad I wiped my Debian Testing partition !!!

But for me, a difference of 15 Watts is important enough to take into consideration... 

That's it for mow, but this subject is a fundamental one for me, so feel free to post your insight on the "save a watt" distro...

Monday, July 28, 2008

A good sources.list for Debian Testing:

As of playing mp3's, installing Picasa, Flash, Opera, Skype, and codecs, here's my sources.list:

(you need to open a terminal, log in as toot, edit (with Leafpad or Gedit) /etc/apt/sources.list)

-My sources.list: 

## Debian Testing ## 
# Testing 
deb testing main contrib non-free  
deb-src testing main contrib non-free

#Testing Security updates 
deb testing/updates main contrib 
deb-src testing/updates main contrib 
#debian multimedia repository ( 
deb testing main 
deb-src testing main 
# Official site for latest version of skype. 
deb stable non-free 
# Google picasa  
#(wget -q -O - | sudo apt-key add - ) 
# or (gpg --keyserver --recv A040830F7FAC5991 && gpg --export --armor A040830F7FAC5991 | sudo apt-key add - ) 
deb stable non-free 
### Opera Browser ( ### 
deb testing non-free 

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Back here....

Ok, I haven't been writing for over a month now... But those who know me can understand why. I moved !
I finally left downtown Las Terrenas, its dusty & noisy streets, for a paradise-like atmosphere in Playa Bonita...
Fantastic change, I am very happy with it ! (my family too...)
But I was busy setlling down, getting things to work in my new place, like having my ADSL internet transfered, for instance, and installing my workshop in a smaller space...
It's done now. Well, almost...
I shall be here more often, sharing thoughts, asking myself questions, or simply ranting, if it is not too wildly incorrect...

Monday, May 26, 2008

An "Arch-like" Debian Testing !

Well, I finally made my own cooking, thanks to all people whom advices I have read here and there in the world wide web...

I decided to keep my working Ubuntu Hardy and Arch partition, and use the 3rd partition available to setup a minimal install of Debian Testing, following this guide:

But I didn't install any GDM or XDM... Stciked to startx...

Only OpenBox (with PyPanel...)

Enjoyed reading this gentleman's choice of apps:

That gave me some good tips, so I installed Mirage (to view photos), ePDFView (instead of xPDF), Leafpad (instead of Mousepad)...

Aterm for a terminal, Exaile for music, radio & podcasts, Claws-mail, Emesene for MSN messenger Alsamixergui for sound control,  and for the rest, very classical apps such as Iceweasel, Opera, Skype, Abiword/Gnumeric, PCManFM, TVtime, Brasero, Transission, aMule, Picasa, Gimp...

I must say I am not yet very used to OpenBox (I have always used Fluxbox for lightweight...), but it seems a dynamic community of users, and I have been reading those guides: as well as the one from the Arch wiki...

Very informative !

Needless to say the PC boots in no time !!!

One thing, I kept a 32bit Debian, despite having this 64bit amd Sempron... I just don't want to mix any libs... I am on a 486 kernel, might upgrade to 686... Not sure yet...

So the whole concept of this install was to do it "the Arch way", but with a Debian Testing base, since it is my area of choice...

Of course, I will miss my good ol' Nautilus, but the whole point of that is not to install Gnome... And if I really need to connect to other PC's (which I will !), that mean I'll have to reboot into either Ubuntu or Arch :(

Or learn how to better handle ssh and smb without Nautilus... But I am so used to the easy gui thing... We'll see...