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Knoppix Paradigm Shift (unionfs)

New version of knoppix just came out. Usually it's not that big a deal but this is the first one [available as a offical download] that includes unionfs.

The thing that makes this so cool is that unionfs makes it possible to install software and make changes to the file system on the cd. It does this by laying the ram over the top of the cd and keeping track of any changes you make.

This makes using the cd a much more powerful experience --you're not restricted to the software that comes with it. You can pretty much use anything available in debian. Including any custom packages you might have...

Paradigm shift--corny, overused--but that's what it is. I'm curious to see where this will lead.

Kyle Rankin: Knoppix 3.8 and UnionFS. Wow. Just Wow:

"I really think UnionFS is going to take Knoppix to a whole new level of ubiquitous computing. You can truly use the CD just like any other installed CD, and with the prices of usb thumbdrives continuing to drop, you can basically install anything you would like."


Evolving Desktop

The past few months I've switched from using a hard drive install of Knoppix to Kanotix. Near as I can tell Kanotix is a version of Knoppix that is designed to be more trouble free when installing it to the hard drive. It's based on Debian sid rather than a mix of testing, stable and unstable like Knoppix. Knoppix works great as a live cd linux, from what I can tell so far, Kanotix is better for hard drive installs. I've had less trouble installing exotic applications than I've had before when running a Knoppix based hard drive install.

Kano, the creator of Kanotix has written some nice scripts for installing various software and fixing various broken things with Knoppix. My favorites are the ones for installing mplayer. Easiest time I've ever had installing it. Make sure and run them in the order they're listed on the page though. You can't install the codecs after installing mplayer [for instance.] The scripts are great, even if the documentation is a little lacking on the page. Most are self-explanatory, but what does "remove-gateway.sh" do? I guess if you don't know you probably don't need it...

My latest adventure has been the switch to using the window manager Ratpoison. This has taken some getting used to but I think it's been worthwhile. The main idea with ratpoison is to reduce the distractions of a gui interface --everytime you move your hands from the keyboard to the mouse efficency is reduced. Not to mention all the other stuff going on on most desktops. Instant message client bleeping at me, conversations on irc, even the wallpaper on my desktop. All of this adds up to a distracting environment. At least, it does for me.

Now, with ratpoison I only see one application on the screen at a time. Takes some getting used to but I think I like it. My chess rating has improved. Hehe, I used to play chess while chatting online and checking my email, etc. Not the way I would play in a tournament, so why should I play that way at home?


Computer Mediated Television

Been experimenting the past several days with Myth TV --software for creating your own PVR (personal video recorder? programmable?)

Anyway, I'm really impressed with the results --I have the thing running full time. It's setup to record a number of television shows that look interesting. Guess I'll see how interesting. I was watching Letterman with it earlier tonight. When the commercials came on I was able to instantly bypass them just by pressing z on the keyboard.

Yeah, I know you can do this with a Tivo or Replaytv. But this software is free and open source. As a result I would expect the features and usability to at least keep pace with the commercial version of digital vcr's.

Can't quite get a handle on how stoked I am about this new toy. It's been a while since I have gotten this excited about something like this. Guess it comes from feeling like I'm finally in control of what and how I get exposed to television (of course I'm not, but maybe more so...) This has always been very important to me. I'm used to dealing with it by just trying to avoid television. Now I can choose what I want to watch and when. It's still sinking in. I'm sure I'll have a lot more to say about this.

Oh yeah --thanks to cesman for creating knoppmyth (and of course to the creator/s of myth tv.)


Speaking of Competition

Came across another interview with Klaus (the man behind Knoppix), and since I agree with what he says and he puts it so well, I'm posting a link to it and excerpting some juicy quotes:

"In my opinion, the GNU software suite, together with the Linux kernel, have become THE most flexible and usable operating system and application software available for a vast variety of hardware platforms..."

"...It may be just my environment, but I do see GNU/Linux as THE mainstream operating system..."

"...if someone uses Windows... and is happy with it, agrees with the contracts and license policies and can afford the price, I see no reason why he should consider a change..."

"...I don't think that speaking of a "competition" is useful. Every OS and application has its advantages and disadvantages. Some may find KDE more easy to use than the Windows environment, others may disagree. People should have a choice, and the possibility to decide on their own, that's my opinion..."

PCTechtalk: I never had a Windows PC



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