Bash

Two things that improve my bash productivity – stopping the cursor keys inserting characters in vim and history search in bash.

Edit ~/.vimrc or /etc/vim/vimrc (for system wide) and add turn off vi compatibility:

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set nocompatible

The latter can be improved by editing ~/.inputrc (or /etc/inputrc for everyone). Pressing the up key scrolls through all the commands you’ve typed but by adding:

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"e[A":history-search-backward
"e[B":history-search-forward

You can type the first letter or two and get the command you need, so if you typed “mysql -u root -p” last Tuesday but can’t remember the options, typing “my” and pressing the up key will find it.

Advocacy by not advocating

We have Ubuntu installed on two of the machines at home and recently, after losing a Windows restore disc, I suggested installing Ubuntu 10.04 on her Dell 1545 after my suggestion.

As installations go, it was relatively painless – certainly better than reinstalling Windows. Don’t get me wrong, Dell is better than most in this respect as they gave us OEM install discs for Windows Vista, bundled software and the drivers.  As strait forward as this is with Dell’s resource CD (it mostly tells you what you need), it doesn’t know any more than what model you own. This is problematic with the wireless card for example as there are two revision states and the drivers are incompatible with each other – one crashes Windows.

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USB wireless mouse and Jaunty

If you’re struggling to work out why your USB wireless mouse is registering the scroll wheel and the clicks but not the movement – it appears that movement draws more current. I just spent ten minutes farting about with a cheap Sigma mouse that I have and realised after I gave the thing a quick charge.

You would think that being an avionics technician I would think of these things first…

Write at haste repent at leisure

I wrote a quick blog post last night, where I learned a lesson – don’t write to a syndicated blog late at night after a long day.

I’ve corrected the post now, where I remarked I’d untarred a tarball to the root, which I know isn’t best practice but its what I did in the early hours of the morning on a pre-production system where I know the contents of that tarball.

So apologies to anyone that this offended – such as the first comment I received (which was so rude I’m not submitting it). My post is apparently so bad it’s to be featured on a site known as ubuntunoobs.com.

I was wondering what this was, what its about and why its being used as a threat to those giving their time to try and make open source software, particularly Ubuntu that little bit better. Then I realised that I’m too busy doing that to care.

If this sounds like sour grapes, it isn’t, after all to err is after all human but to forgive is divine.

Replacing Linpus Linux Lite on the Acer Aspire One

I love my Aspire One but have come to be less impressed by the Linpus distro installed. So at the weekend I decided to try Arch Linux, which as a long time Slackware fan I had heard worked well and had good documentation.

I love my Aspire One but have come to be less impressed by the Linpus distro installed. So at the weekend I decided to try Arch Linux, which as a long time Slackware fan I had heard worked well and had good documentation.

Its all up and running and other than two quirks, the guide on Arch Wiki is spot on.

As I said, I came across two quirks – the install image used kernel 2.6.26, which detects the r8196 module for the network but for some reason will not answer a dhcp request after reboot (only after reboot) – so replace it with 2.26.27 before reboot. You’ll need to anyway because the Atheros wireless chipset in the Aspire One is supported OOB on the more recent kernel.

The second is well documented, that ext2 partitions on SD are corrupted on suspend. I opted for an XFS partition though and have not had any issues.

The only things I haven’t got working are suspend to RAM and the WiFi light (although the switch works). Neither of these is a show-stopper because I’ve got boot time down to under 18 seconds which is only a few seconds more than resume from RAM.

I’d also advise binning dhcpd and using wicd – which integrates well with XFCE and being a daemon means WiFi is up before you’ve got a desktop.

Really impressed with Arch, a distro I haven’t used before. It’s from the minimalist camp and allows a tailored installation with little or no cruft. Its documentation is fantastic (I have seen a few ideas that I intend to implement in Ubuntu!).