For the first time in years I don’t have a Ubuntu system installed at home. Over the last few weeks I’ve been playing with ArchLinux and it’s been good so far. I especially enjoy the frequent updates to the software. Ubuntu with its two releases per year has been leaving me less and less satisfied lately. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great at work where I need a system I can rely on. For home, however, I want a totally different system. I want it bleeding edge on top, with a less bloody edge at the bottom. Arch Linux gives me exactly that!
I just tried installing Dapper FT2. I suppose in attempt to see if tracking Ubuntu unstable would be an interesting hobby. The install CD’s expert mode didn’t work at all! I ended up in a cul-de-sac since it apparently doesn’t like non-networked system (yes, I’m still on a dialup!). The non-expert mode worked better, but the system didn’t boot once installed. The kernel didn’t manage to find the proper modules to deal with my SATA drive. A few hours later I had downloaded the kernel sources and had a few failed kernel compiles (some USB-related driver kept resulting in compilation errors). Once the I had a kernel that booted I decided to look at what I had installed. Oh my DOYC, a default Ubuntu system is amazingly bloated. I installed
debfoster and started cleaning up. 50% of the packages went out the door… Then I stopped to think about what I was doing. Ubuntu clearly isn’t a system for me anymore. If I need a Debian-based system on my computer I’ll just go for the real thing (Sid of course) instead. My Ubuntu Dapper FT2 CD went in the bin.
All I needed to do was fill the hard disk with zeros. Simple right? It turned out not to be. My Ubuntu liveCD is broken, it hangs when I get to the keyboard chooser. My Phlak live CD didn’t cut it either. My minimal System Rescue CD couldn’t handle the SATA disk… Off to the Knoppix home page and one burnt and booted CD later I have a funtioning Linux system. Thank DYOC (Deity of Your Own Choice) for Knoppix!
I just received an email saying that the data retention directive was passed today. 378 votes to 197. It’s a sad day in the EU!
The future is filled with work for our brilliant politicians, both EU and national. They will have to deal with a few issues as this directive is passed into laws.
- How to get a national laws adopted in each country that live up to this new directive, while still not breaking other laws. This should prove interesting since data retention laws has been up for discussion in several EU countries before. They’ve always been rejected. It’s even been said the data retention directive violates the EU human rights directive. Oh, so much fun!
- They have to somehow sell the idea to the ignorant public. All of a sudden prices for communication will go up just because the companies are forced to start storing more information. It will also be expensive to keep that information secure.
- Given the higher costs small communication businesses (local ISPs etc) will be forced to close.
- The politicians will have to make a law that covers the specifics of internet traffic. Especially VOIP data retention will be an interesting subject to follow. How to deal with VPNs.
- There will most likely be a drop in EU support among the public once it sinks in just how moronic and expensive this directive is. The anti-EU camp can just sit back and watch. The EU politicians have done the job for them.
- There is a project within EU to make the union more competitive, and I guess the most attractive region for high-tech industry. AFAIK they should be done with this project in 2010. Not much has happened, after all it’s EU. I’d love to read a report on just how far back this directive pushes this project!
I hope the European people won’t accept this. I think the EU sceptics have been handed a sharp and shiny weapon today. It would be disappointing indeed if this doesn’t reach the public so they can see just how distant Brussels really is. They might as well be living on the Moon!
I still have hope in the national politicians. I don’t think this directive will fly on a national level. The “laws of Europe” may say that every member country must pass a law based on the directive within 18 months, but how can they? It’d be a gross invasion of privacy and the technical hurdles are daunting. IP just isn’t designed for this sort of surveillance.
I think it’ll get worse before it gets better. These are indeed interesting times. I need to make some preparations.
- I need to get
tor working properly on my machine at home.
- I need to get my
muttng at home to use an anonymous remailer rather than sending email over my ISP’s SMTP server
- I will start turning off my mobile phone (I have a PAYG card, but I’m sure I’ve but my name next to my number somewhere and that means I’ll be trackable)
That will actually be rather fun
I’ve just managed to get my SSL certificate from CAcert.ort installed on
therning.org. My main goal was to get the login page a little more secure. However, it seems WordPress (WP) is sorely lacking when it comes to dealing with
HTTPS. The only consolation is that a quick search on Google shows that WP isn’t worse than other OSS blog software.
I harbour some hope that the next minor release of WP (that should be version 1.6) will address the issue. Otherwise I might feel forced to take up PHP programming, something I’ve managed to stay away from so far.
I had some problems hosting
therning.org. I gave up on getting the development version to push via FTP and settled for missoring using
lftp instead. However, branching from the published mirror failed. I got the following from
bar (version 0.6.2):
% bzr branch http://therning.org/magnus_bzr/epilicious
bzr: ERROR: HTTP Error 406: Not Acceptable
command: '/home/magnus/bin/bzr' 'branch' 'http://therning.org/magnus_bzr/epilicious'
at /usr/lib/python2.4/urllib2.py line 480, in http_error_default()
see ~/.bzr.log for debug information
The file wouldn’t even be handed out to a web browser. I managed to track down the problem, a percent sign ‘%’, in the file name. It turned out the Apache server is using
.htaccess file with the following contents in the a directory turns it off for the directory and all sub-directories:
The made my
bzr mirrors work just fine.
I’ve now had a new computer, a desktop, for a little more than a week. I’ve held off praising PCSpecialist until I know if they’re really worth it. They are! As I mentioned I put together a computer online. The site says it’ll take about 10 working days, 11 working days later I was unpacking the computer. I especially liked the text message I got when they shipped it off to me, it brightened up an otherwise rather dull meeting . They shipped exactly what I ordered, and everything worked fine. There was only one little snag—the screen came with a European style plug. It wasn’t really a problem since we have numerous converters at home, but I can imagine others would find it a bit more irritating. I’ve contacted them about it and I am waiting for a response. Stay tuned for an update…
I’ve just “finished” installing Arch Linux. (I don’t think I’ll ever be finished for real since Linux is such a dynamic place. However, I’ve installed enough of Arch Linux to be writing this using Epiphany, running on a slick GNOME desktop.)
So far Arch has proven to be a nice, well designed system with a lean feel to it. Being used to Debian (lately Ubuntu) and its extreme attention to detail, Arch does give a more rough impression. It’s a price I think is worth paying, and believe me, it’s not as bad as it sounds. I’ve spent about 2 hours getting the base system,
postfix, X.org, and GNOME installed and configured properly. A few small details remain, but I would have to attend to those no matter what distro I choose (getting HAL to refrain from mounting one of the partitions on my USB stick isn’t something that comes pre-configured in any distro I know of ).
The only thing left doing now is building proper Arch packages for muttng and keysafe.
As I mentioned I ordered a new computer after the laptop accident. Well, it’s here now! It’s actually been here for over a week now but it’s taken me quite a while to get it set up. Between work and BT’s inability to deliver broadband it’s taken quite a while. It didn’t help that I decided to check out a new Linux distro (Arch Linux) either. (I’ll save the reason for switching away from Ubuntu for a later time.)