RIP, Jack Tramiel, founder of Commodore

Commodore founder Jack Tramiel, the orchestrator of the first line of affordable personal computers, died this weekend at the age of 83.

I don’t know exactly what to think about it, and I’m probably not alone, though it didn’t take long for tributes to pour in.

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Desktop Linux and the truth about forking

Desktop Linux! I wanna talk a little more about how Linux runs on a Micron Transport LT. I chose Debian 2.2r3, the “Potato” release, because Debian installs almost no extras. I like that. What you need to know to run Linux on a Micron LT: the 3Com miniPCI NIC uses the 3C59x kernel module. The video chipset uses the ATI Mach64 X server (in XFree86 3.36; if you upgrade to 4.1 you’ll use plain old ATI). Older Debian releases gave this laptop trouble, but 2.2r3 runs fine.

Time to talk about big, manly computers

Enough of this other stuff. I actually felt like messing around with computers yesterday. I read about Eric Raymond’s new PC (IBM was nice enough to finance building an obnoxious Linux box for Mr Raymond and Linus Torvalds), which is, in short, a dual Athlon-1200 setup with two big SCSI drives. Unfortunately, he neglected to mention how much memory he put in it. I’m assuming he splurged and got a gig or two. His comment? “I tried hard to gold-plate as much of the system as possible and load on all the extras and accessories I could, and was nevertheless unable to raise the total parts bill over $7,000.”

Hello again…

I’m rested but not caught up. I semi-successfully built a Linux From Scratch box; it’s easily the fastest computer I’ve ever seen but not everything works quite right. I made the mistake of using Mandrake 8.0 as my source platform. In some regards Mandrake 8 makes sense; it has recent kernel and glibc versions. Unfortunately it also uses the infamous GCC 2.96; an unofficial release of GNU’s C compiler that’s so wretched that Linus Torvalds actually has asked people to not do any kernel development using any OS that uses it. One of the first things LFS does is build its own copy of GCC 2.95.3, but unfortunately, there’s code in my system that GCC 2.96 got its grubby mitts on and stuff doesn’t work. Notably, I can’t build another LFS system using it as the source. Crimony.

Craig Mundie’s infamous speech

I haven’t said anything about Microsoft Executive Craig Mundie’s speech yet. Everyone’s heard of it, of course, and the typical response has been something along the lines of “Now we know Microsoft’s stance on Open Source.” No, we’ve always known Microsoft’s stance on that. They’re scared of it. Remember the stereotype of open-source programmers: college … Read more