Modern Magic Nostalgia

Sorcererlinuxtan

Hey guys. Work and some health related things kept me out for a while. Anyway, let us get back to business. So, a relative of mine asked my help in setting up a Gentoo installation for college. He has been using Ubuntu for a year or so right now and he felt that he wanted to explore more. I advised him to use BSD, but he wasn’t ready for it, not just yet. He wanted help with Gentoo as he was focused on source based distributions. Most of my readers know about my love-hate affair with Gentoo. Still, I wanted to help him out. It was no hassle of course, but he was sort of confused after the whole thing. Gotta see how long he sticks with it.

When it comes to Linux, nothing beats the awesomeness of source based distributions. But time and other constraints have almost put them out of business. Gentoo is still the go to source based distribution and for a good reason. The other choices from back then are either dead or dormant, with very little to no active updates. If you checked out some of my earlier posts, I had spoken a lot about Lunar Linux, a fork of Sorcerer GNU/Linux (later Sorcerer OS). At a time, it was my Linux distro of choice. It is still under development, but not as extensively as it used to be. Source Mage is another fork of Sorcerer. It had a larger team back then, but their latest updates, at least in their webpage dates to 2017. Both Lunar and Source Mage are git managed right now, so you could pull the sources and build your own. But I wonder how many people still do it, at least in comparison with the much more straightforward installation of Gentoo.

Personally, I really loved Sorcerer and its forks Lunar and Source Mage. The simple philosophy of using nothing more than bash scripts to fetch, install and update a package was a testament to KISS, instead of using complex programs and tools other distros used to manage packages. Even the installation routines were pretty simple compared to Gentoo. That’s why it was pretty easy to sort of shift between Sorcerer and Lunar for me. Kyle Sallee’s Sorcerer was way ahead of its time back then and it is a shame that it is dead now. Anyway, while I was recuperating, I had time to put an older iso on another one of my Thinkpads and was able to hack a few shit and cast a few spells here and there and was finally able to set it up for use right now. It was awesome and took me back to that time when I used to do this kinda shit at 3AM in the morning with some bullshit still overdue at 8 in the morning. Exciting times.

2019-11-18-235031_1600x900_scrot

2019-11-18-201512_1600x900_scrot

Anyway, seen above are a couple of obligatory screenshots. I went for CRT green for this machine, as I initially used back then. WM is xmonad with my old config and the font is Monaco. Wallpaper is Pinstripe from my old collection. If you guys need anything else, please ping me.

P.S. Right click on the images and open them. If original size is compromised, please delete the width parameter following ? towards the end of the image address and reload. You will have the original size.

I ThinkPad therefore I am

As usual, how about a screenshot of one of my work machines? It’s a Thinkpad T420 with pimped up specs – i7 processor, 16 gigs RAM and coreboot (I should probably document my experience with implementing this in a separate post). Nothing beats the badassery of ThinkPads in my opinion, especially the older ones. I was given a brand new thin laptop with all the bells and whistles at work. I couldn’t survive a week with it. Hustling is a major aspect of my job these days and my boss was of the opinion that a thin laptop will help me with traveling light. Sure, but it ain’t no fucking Thinkpad. I was using this machine as my primary development box as well and not just for presenting shit. The backlit keyboard with the MacBook like flat keys was downright criminal and I could never get used to the fucking clear screen.

thinkpadt420

Thinkpad T420

So after a week trying, I returned this abomination back and told the boss I will find my own machine. She just had to pay. Long story short, found a fantastic dealer dealing exclusively with refurbished ThinkPads and got my current machine. It had been used very lightly and it looked and felt like it was brand new. Pimped it up as I had mentioned earlier and it has been my greatest companion ever since. Wife comes a close second.

I am running Debian Bullseye on it. It definitely wasn’t my first choice. But other devs are insistent on using it, so I had no other choice. Also, in spite of a being a coding heavy job, I am senior management and naturally some devs look at me as a code monkey. I don’t really care about it as long as the job’s done. Anyway, as I was saying, Debian was not my choice. Actually, I didn’t even want to use Linux. I put FreeBSD on it. Linux is better in this case, said top management. Wanting to get around systemd, I went back to Gentoo, after so so many years. Emerged out pretty quickly as time was becoming a constraint. Then I found Void. It was what I believed to be exactly what I wanted. But there were some strange issues with it after a few updates. WiFi used to drop quite consistently and a few other minor annoyances got me worked up after a while. Never really figured out a proper reason for this behavior. So, I finally relented and knocked on Debian’s doors again, after ages. It is my base OS now. I still run OpenBSD, FreeBSD on a couple of other machines, OpenIndiana Hipster and Illumos on my other laptops. I will post shots from those machines soon. For the moment, here’s Debian Bullseye on a ThinkPad T420.  KDE for a change. I alternate between xmonad and KDE.

KDE

KDE on Debian Bullseye -ThinkPad T420

KDE theme is Carl from jomada and also includes the wallpaper. Urxvt colors are just ported from Carl konsole color scheme. Icon theme is Candy icons. UI font is Roboto Condensed. Window Font is Fjalla One. Urxvt font is Pragmata Pro Mono.

If you guys need any other information, please comment.

Countdown to The Dark Knight Rises

This is an exciting week. The Dark Knight Rises comes out on Friday and from what I have read online, is supposed to kick some serious butt. The movie is getting released here in Germany only on 24th of this month, but still, I have begun my prep already. Apart from re-reading many comic books (Vengeance, Knightfall, Cataclysm, No Man’s Land etc.), I am also revamping my desktops and laptops to celebrate the release.

This post is related to such a revamp. The following screenshot is from my EEE box powered by OpenBSD 5.1 and running  ScrotWM. I just thought this minimal Bane wallpaper fit perfectly and the terminal colors are one of my ancient creations from years back, called, Colorado. Since, there were a few requests for the colors, let me post them right here. The media player is vitunes, which is an MPlayer frontend that has vi-like key bindings. I have spoken about it in one of my previous posts.

Without further ado, here is the screenshot. Click on the image for full view.

Preparation for The Dark Knight Rises

You can get the terminal colors from the following link.

Colorado Colors

If there’s any other information needed, please drop a note.

By the way, The Dark Knight Rises soundtrack is mega awesome. Gotham’s Reckoning and Imagine the Fire are spine-tingling.

Starting with this post, I will add more Batman related posts for the next couple of days. Keep watching this space.

Variation on a theme

So, I just cooked up some new colors for my OpenBSD rig. The colors are just low contrast variations of the default X colors. Thought it would look crappy, but I am kinda satisfied with the results.

Now, presenting the screenshot. Click on the images for full view.

Clean Version

Clean Version

Busy Version

Busy Shot

Now, for the colors, just click on the following link.

Brew

As for the wallpaper, it’s the famous Minimal 2 version from Alexander at DevArt. Follow the link to the wallpaper. If you are into minimal walls, make sure to check out his profile page. He’s got some excellent wallpapers.

Minimal 2 by Alexander

 Enjoy!

On a related note, the track Terrific Trio vs Rocketeers from Batman Beyond Album is da bomb! Killer track to run in the background when hacking furiously. Sort of reminds me of the track, Ishikawa surfs the system from one of the Ghost in the Shell Albums.

Boring Day!

Today, we moved from the first floor to the fourth floor in the hospital. It was pretty hectic. Finally, I can sit back and relax for a while. Posting a current shot of my EEE. I have only my EEE machine with me at the hospital. It is powered by OpenBSD 5.1 and ScrotWM is the window manager. The machine is brilliant and OpenBSD just flies on this nifty box. I have had no problems whatsoever with upgrades. Started out with OpenBSD 4.5 and now it is the latest 5.1. No reinstalls, just simple upgrades and some minor hacks here and there.

As far as the details of the shot goes, the font is still Dina medium and bold, pixelsize 15. Colors are gentoo colors. If any other information is needed, please drop a note.

Now, to the screenshot. As usual, click on the image for full view.

Bats Family-Version 2

Tradition!

Going by tradition, how about a mundane screenshot of my EEE at the hospital. I am still using OpenBSD on this machine and ScrotWM is the window manager (SpectreWM, as it is called these days!). I love the Bats family wallpaper. The font is Dina, pixelsize 15. If there is any question, please let me know. Oh, the colors by the way are based on the famous Gentoo default config, both the Xdefaults and vim theme.

Click on the image for full view.

I am the Goddamn Batman!

Now, the wallpaper. Click for full view.

Bats Family

Marathon Mod Showcase Contd.

Thought of adding another screen with Marathonmod in action. Window Manager is Fluxbox. OS is FreeBSD 9.0-Release of course. The fluxbox theme is a mod of Absurd theme. I am using the Xoria256 color palette on my terminal. The font has been released in my previous post and it points to my github from where it can be downloaded.

Marathon Mod in action

This wallpaper is one of my absolute favorites. It’s not from a bio weapons research lab or a deleted scene from The Shining (It is one helluva film!). It’s from Bell Labs, 1966. Everything works in this picture, the “WTF are you lookin at punk?” look, the glasses, the creepy hallway and much more. I will post the wallpaper and some related stuff tonight. The current network I am on is crapping all over the place.

If you are interested in the animation series in the screenshot, it is one of the funniest series ever, Harvey Birdman – Attorney at Law. The references to pop culture, politics and being extremely funny at the same time made this series stand out. Perfect animation with loads of adult humor. The guy you see here is Phil Sebben from Sebben & Sebben (Stephen Colbert was beyond awesome in this series man!).

Note: I would just like to say one thing about the font. It might be too tall or the character variations might be too much for some of you. I had the same feeling about the font when I started out. But it kinda grew on me.  This is particularly obvious with the semi-condensed version shown in the screenshots. The normal version isn’t that extreme. Besides, I had posted earlier that I am just releasing all the fonts that I have created over a period of time, regardless of their aesthetic appeal.

Google Search – DragonFly BSD

I just had a look at my stats page and I see that a few people come here searching for DragonFly BSD and TWM. I believe, I mentioned briefly about TWM before. Anyway, let me add a bit more. I still use DragonFly BSD on one of my rigs at home. Hammer is pretty awesome. I don’t have any other WM running on that box. It’s just good old TWM. I even had DragonFly BSD running successfully on my EEE 1000H sometime back. It was solid, wireless performance was a bit troubling though, but I had a minor hack to automatically reattach if the driver gave up. I had this screenshot from my EEE over at devart and I am posting it right here again. If you need something to be resurrected, like my old configs, etc., do comment. TWM is pretty easy to configure and with vdesk, virtual desktops are child’s play. Anyway, click on the image for full view.

TWM on DragonFly BSD powered EEE 1000H

I will push this twm theme to my github tonight. If anything else is required, please let me know.

Illogical!

They need love too!

I cannot believe how people can throw away their computers when they are working fine. Last month, as I was walking along the street where I live, I saw a gentleman discarding some of his old stuff. Right when I was passing by, he brought a laptop out and threw it away. I asked him what was wrong with the machine. He said it was not working (That doesn’t say anything, of course). Then I asked him if I could take a look. He said it was ok. It was a relatively new laptop from Dell and I took it home for testing. First thing I realized was that the hard drive connector was loose. Once I sorted that out, it was absolutely fine. The machine started fine after that. No problems whatsoever.

So I took the machine back to the gentleman and told him I fixed it. But he was not interested and told me with a straight face that he doesn’t take something back after having thrown it away. Quite a philosophy I must add. So, I took it home and upgraded the RAM and did some minor quirks here and there and it was ready for its life v 2.0.

My first choice was FreeBSD, which wouldn’t even boot. OpenBSD worked fine up until hard drive recognition. It wouldn’t budge. So, my next choice was NetBSD. Well, what would you know, it installed just fine. Next up was X, followed by pkgsrc. No issues. Only issue was wireless card. It comes with a Broadcom chip that doesn’t have support. But I had a spare Ralink USB wireless adapter, which was pretty easy to set up. Took the machine for a test ride, even LINPACK benchmarks gave satisfying results. Wireless worked fine too. So, another machine salvaged.

Since it was Christmas time, like the year before, wanted to donate this machine as well. I found a smart kid from a not so well to do family through one of my friends and donated it to him. It was totally satisfying to see how happy he was. He has never used BSD before, but he has worked with Linux for a long time. So I gave him a crash course on BSD and NetBSD in particular.

Here is a screenshot from the laptop before I gave it to him. Click on the image for full view. Window manager is ScrotWM and the font is Dash, which is a mod of the famous font, Smooth (from misc family). I will release it sometime this month.

NetBSD 5.1 on the donated laptop

That makes it 28 computers donated until end of last year. Let’s see how it is this year.