Since upgrading to new hardware, I've been able to upgrade from Debian Sarge to Debian Etch. This means I've jumped from antique X applications to fairly modern ones. Over the next few months Etch will upgrade to the latest X.org and Qt/KDE technology.
At work I'm forced to use Microsoft Windows 2000, which is dated an primitive already when compared with my current system. As my current system evolves, Windows will look even more antique. Alas the possibility of an upgrade to Linux at work is nil, the only good news is that I'm not forced to run Windows XP - which is diabolical.
The base system went on perfectly with not a hitch. A few applications don't yet build for AMD64 yet, so I had to install them in a x86 chroot, but that wasn't too hard to do, and eventually I won't need it.
The only problems I've really had so far are building the nvidia kernel, and getting Xine to play MP3 files. Thankfully I was able to copy the nvidia.ko file from an identical working system, and configure amaroK to use GStreamer/ALSA instead of xine to play MP3s.
This weekend I've installed Debian Etch AMD64 on my nice new computer. Over all it's been an interesting exercise, I've learnt a few more things, and I now have a nice fast PC instead of my 8 year old antique.
I've now got the whole weekend to plan how I'm going to set them up.
I even like the keyboards and mice, only cheap Logitech, but rather nice!
Ian Murdock creator of Debian has a fascinating entry in his blog today. Basically it encompasses what he and others have been saying for a while, that Debian is a really great project that really is more than just the sum of it's parts.
Earlier this week I bought some plain cotton T-shirts from a department store in town. It took quite a bit of effort to find them, most clothing now seems to be heavily patterned. When I did find them they were even at a special price, so I snapped up a three pack.
I then used some iron-transfer paper to put a Tux and Debian swirl on to them. I already have a Debian polo-shirt, but I thought it would be fun to make my own T-shirts. The result isn't a nice as a proper embroidered logo, but it was a lot cheaper, and great fun to do it myself.
After a very long wait the Debian project has finally released the all new version of Debian. After years of testing "Sarge" is now the stable version of Debian. Hurrah!
Like many people I have been running "Sarge" for a while now as the testing system. Now it's the stable version it will get all the security patches quickly, and there will be no further architectural changes.
Yesterday Apple announced their suicide plans. Freescale (Motorola) can't make PowerPC processors that are fast enough and IBM can't make them cool enough, so Apple have decided to switch to the Intel x86 processor family.
Intel x86 processors are an antique design, that Intel have patched up and hot rodded enough so that they work. Technically they are a step backwards from the PowerPC. However Intel have a lot of marketing money and Apple need something in the important notebook sector where neither Freescale or IBM can or will deliver.
In the short term it will destroy sales of PowerPC based systems. I had considered a PowerBook, but now it's not an option. In the medium turn it will hurt as they transition to a different architecture and all the tiny Apple ISVs have to support their Apple products on two processor families. Ultimately it will break the company, the question is whether they can rise like a phoenix from the ashes?
I'd just got the antique PC I'd been given working when it finally gave up the ghost and died. I'd just got the stupid Diamond Stealth II G460 graphics card to play ball - there is a bug in the Intel i740 processor when running in graphic modes other than 24-bit colour, when it stopped. Now it won't boot at all, not even a POST beep.
I've been planning to buy a new PC for quite a while, my first real entry in this diary: I need a new computer is more than 12 months ago, and I've still not done anything about it. Now I've decided to get a pair of AMD Athlon 64 based PCs from DNUK. It's a fair enough price, they come with three year warranties, and should run Debian okay.
A friend from work donated a PC a few days ago. I eventually got it home yesterday to discover it's not a PentiumMMX 266, rather a Celeron 533. A Celeron even of this vintage is a perfectly usable CPU, and the modern memory and graphics slots means it's possible use/upgrade this as a workable Linux desktop system.
There is however a tiny snag, when you switch it on, it makes a feeble beep, and then dumps you into BIOS configuration, but the keyboard hasn't been initialised, so you can only power the machine off.
If I'm lucky it's just loose connector somewhere that can be fixed, otherwise anything that is broken would cost more to replace than the system is worth, so I'm down to looking for second hand parts.