failing like never before


Continued Review of Zenwalk 4.6

I tried reinstalling Zenwalk 4.6 again after I got home. Strangely enough, it installed and ran perfectly fine this time (my previous installation problem). I'm not quite sure what happened, or if I even did anything different. After installation, it prompted me with some rather simple questions to configure to hardware. I appreciated that it asked if I wanted to have numlock enabled on startup, a rather simple thing but a nice touch.

All the applications seemed to work very quickly and I did not experience any problems with any media codecs or Flash. I did have to configure my network connections myself but that was fairly easy to perform. Zenwalk is very speedy, especially when compared to distros like Ubuntu and Fedora, so it should have no problem working on a much older computer then my Pentium 4. I think I will be installing this on my old 400mhz AMD Duron just to see how it run

The creators of Zenwalk did a good job choosing programs to include by default. For each kind of task, there was ony one application, leading to a very slim distro. And the applications provided will do pretty much anything a basic user will require, watching videos and DVDs, listening to music, editing photos, browsing, the web, instant messanging, and much more. All full list of the applications included in the distro can be found at

After a few minutes of browsing the web, I noticed that images were strangely stretched out. It turned out that Zenwalk hadn't been able to configure my resolutiion properly. I have a Samsung Syncmaster 225bw (EDIT: 226bw, sorry) with a native resolution of 1680x1050 and Zenwalk was using 1024x768, so of course, everything looked a little funny. I went into the terminal and ran "vi /etc/X11/xorg.conf" while as root and added my resolution in. upon restarting X however, I got an error message and X wouldn't start. It turned out that Zenwalk had installed the vesa drivers for my Radeon X800 XL, so I installed Mesa, which seemed to fix everything out all right.

I was bit annoyed that Zenwalk had such a problem with setting my resolution up. Of course, I was using an ATI graphics card and my monitor had a pretty unusual resolution, but even still...

All in all, I found Zenwalk to be a rather wonderful little distro. I like the fact that its been streamlined and performs amazingly quickly, has a small install size, and is ready to perform pretty much all common tasks right after installation. However, I'm not really a Slackware type of person. I'd like to have a stronger package management system, and I'd prefer to have a little more "eye candy." Now granted, I could configure the system myself, but I'll be trying out another distro very soon.


Review: Zenwalk 4.6

I had some pretty high hopes for Zenwalk 4.6, but I experienced one very strange problem.

Installation was fine. There weren't any fancy animations or graphics like Ubuntu, just a simple text-based installer. It was a pretty basic and simple installation.

After installing the OS, I rebooted the computer and was presented with a little menu of which OS I would like to boot into. Unfortuently, there were only two options, Windows and Zenwalk. So apparently the automatic bootloader installation option I had choosen while installing Zenwalk didn't work so great, because it didn't find my Fedora partition. This wasn't too big of a deal since I figured it would be pretty easy to fix later on, but it was a bit irksome. I selected Zenwalk, and it procceeded to boot.

I got some lines of text scrolling by, and then the screen went black and stayed that way for the next ten minutes and refused to respond to any keystrokes. I tried a hard reboot and got the same problem twice, whereupon I decided to reinstall the OS which didn't help either. This was the real problem. It wasn't like X crashed and then Zenwalk reverted back to a command line, I can handle that. Zenwalk died. It didn't give me any error messages or any way of fixing the problem.

Granted, I don't know everything there is to know about linux but I'm quite sure I didn't screw up the installation, after all, there wasn't much to screw up. I'm going to try reinstalling it again later on today and see if I can do anything to make it work.

If I cannot get Zenwalk to run, then I'm going to try to use Elive


About Elmer and The Duck

I probably should have written this along time ago, but I've been far too lazy.

I got the idea for the "story" from Terry Pratchett's Soul Music. During the novel, Pratchett mentions that all good books seem to gravitate towards the bathroom, and that these good books are the ones that start with something like "As soon as Elmer saw the duck, he knew it was going to be a bad day..." This is most likely a reference to Loony Tunes.

And thats all I've got.


Picking a Linux Distro

I don't consider myself to be a linux expert, but I've using various linux distros for a couple years now and I can find my way around the command line fairly well.

I started off my foray into linux with Mandriva, which gave me some amazing horrid problems. I couldn't get the drivers for my ATI Radeon X800 XL to work so I never got to see a GUI. So I wiped Mandriva off my hard drive and installed Fedora Core 5, which worked beautifully. FC5 quickly became my default operating system and since then, I rarely boot into Windows XP. During my time with FC5, I also experimented with XFCE and KDE. XFCE gave me a noticeable boost in performance over GNOME and KDE, however I continued to run GNOME as my default manager because I was so used to it.

From FC5, I upgraded to FC6 and then started experimenting with Damn Small Linux. Mind you, I never ran DSL as my primary OS, it was always just something for me to play with whenever I wanted to run linux on another person's computer.

I had heard alot of hype about Ubuntu so I decided to try it out. I installed Ubuntu Feisty Fawn on an extra partition and found it to be very user friendly and easy to use. A couple months after I installed Feisty, I heard about a distro called Mint. Mint is essentially Ubuntu with all the proprietary codecs and licensed materials added in (alot of distros choose not to include these because of legal issues. Nonetheless, its quite easy to add support for these things in Ubuntu). Deciding that it could be worth a shot, I wiped Ubuntu off and installed Mint. Really, there wasn't much reason for me to install Mint, but I think it would be a very nice distro for the linux newbie. After all, the first thing I did after installing FC5, was to install all the media codecs (mp3, avi, wma, etc.) and other stuff like Flash.

I attempted to install Xubuntu Feisty Fawn on my dad's old 400mhz AMD Duron a few months back, but found that it ran far too slowly. Instead I installed Damn Small Linux-Not, which is essentially a beefed up version of DSL. DSL-Not runs fine on the old Duron, but I'm thinking about trying out Puppy instead.

I reccently upgraded to the KDE version Fedora 7. In version 7, it became simply Fedora, and not Fedora Core. The KDE version of Fedora 7 is very pretty and nicely configured. However, it runs quite slow. I've also had a few weird experiences where performance of the operating system drops in the crapper and opening another tab in firefox ends up taking 5-10 seconds. Granted this may be because I'm running KDE which, because of the way it was written, will naturally run slower then GNOME.

Speed has reccently become a bit of an issue for me. One of the reasons that I first switched to Linux was because I wanted better performance because I was tired of the bloatwareness of Windows. But Ubuntu and Fedora are quickly becoming bloatware and I'm pretty sure that modern linux distros are going to exceed my computer's capabilities very soon (I have a 3ghz Pentium 4 with 1 gig of ram, and an Intel 925 motherboard). Thus, I'm thinking of shifting to a lighter weight distro.

Generally speaking, what I want, is a distro that runs XFCE by default, is reliable, has good hardware support, and isn't too difficult to get around with.

I've taken a look at DreamLinux, which has a really pretty Mac OSX-like interface and runs on XFCE. However, it too looks to be heading down the path of bloatware. Also, I've heard some issues about its stability.

OpenSuse and PCLinuxOS looked pretty interesting, but they aren't as slim as I would like.

Finally, after reading through pages of reviews lists of distros, I've settled on Zenwalk. I like Zenwalk because it defaults to XFCE, has all the media codecs already installed, includes neccessary programs but doesn't include multiple programs that all do the same thing, has a decent package system, and best of all, its very slim with an ISO image of around 420mbs.

So I'm downloading Zenwalk 4.6 now and will hopefully be posting a review of it very soon.


Elmer and The Duck

As soon as he saw the duck, Elmer knew it was going to be a bad day.

Not that there's anything wrong with ducks. They're perfectly lovely creatures, with a natural grace and elegance unsurpassed by any other creature on earth. And of course, one must never forget, that no other animal on earth could replace a musical instrument in an orchestra with as much ease as a duck. In fact, many have found the sonorous calls of a sick duck to be more pleasing to the ear then that of the world's best oboe player.

Of course, ducks can be vicious creatures, perhaps not as vicious as their near relatives, the geese, but they possess a fury of their own, and are capable of leveling hordes of foes with a single powerful gaze.

But it was not the euphonious quacks that alarmed Elmer, nor was it the creature's bestial grace and beauty. It was not even the untamed fury of the water fowl. It was something else, something much, much greater.
Because this was no ordinary duck, this was a duck of unprecedented power and majesty. Amongst its peers, it was a god amongst insects, looming large against their insignificance. This was a duck that could raze a city with a buffet from its might wings and end the world with a single thought.

It was a fowl with thoughts so foreign to the human mind that even attempting to follow its thoughts would drive any man mad.

It is impossible to describe with simple words the torrent of emotions that flowed through Elmer as his gaze fell upon the beast. To quote Mark Twain, "words are only painted fire; a look is the fire itself." But as soon as he saw the duck, Elmer knew suddenly of its great power, and he knew, that it would be a bad day...


There’s a story behind this story, and I’ll write that one when I get home.

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New Beginnings

I once read that "personal" blogs tend to attract fewer readers as compared to blogs pertaining to a vast impersonal subject. It seems that popular web logs are not personal journals, and that personal journals tend not to make very much money. Yet here I am, writing a personal blog in hopes of making money through the use of ubiquitous text ads.
But this is not to be a dreary log of the tiresome daily routines of my life, nor is it to be filled with inane and pointless thoughts. I hope to make it somewhat meaningful; interesting to a casual reader who knows nothing of me. I have found that most personal blogs are amazingly pointless, and entirely meaningless to anyone but the blogger and their close friends. When a blog is filled with short entries like "I took my cat to the vet today and I saw Mr. Bosch!" or, "Anyone want to join me for ice cream tomorrow?", its no wonder that personal blogs fail to draw so little traffic.

So by writing meaningfully, and with (fairly) good grammar and spelling, I hope to create literature (literature is such a broad category, even books that begin with "As soon as Elmer saw the duck, he knew it was going to be a bad day..." could be considered literature) that others might want to read.
And so we begin...

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