Demon internet


We are steadily coming up on the beginning of the second annual old computer challenge. Per its rules, there is no hardware limitation to one's machine this year - still I am going to be using 'brouk' from last year. He is currently 'maxed out' at 2GBs of RAM with his blazing fast 1700 Mhz CPU. Frankly, I do not intend to remove anything at this point, since looking at top, I'm using about 80Mbs of RAM and don't see myself getting too far over the current usage. I don't really see the need to downgrade.

Initially I wanted to sprinkle the pervasive idea of 'xorgless week' into the mix, but this has proven so far more frustrating than anything else. Since I intend to be writing texts in Czech, I needed an interface that handles latin symbols with Czech characters. This in itself is not an issue. TTYs in both Linux and (free)BSDs are localized and display UTF-8 characters; the issue is in actual writing.

I discovered that both aforementioned OS's have similar problems when using my newly favorited keyboard layout switching method - hold right alt to type in the other layout. I'm using us,cz. For whatever reason, it's not possible to write ň, ť, or any other characters that need to be typed sequentially, meaning one has to hold alt, press shift + = followed by t or n. In linux this prints ^t and ^n, in freeBSD, when using the vt driver, the same combination prints seemingly random letters. When using the sc driver, it actually works as intended, but sc does not seem to support UTF-8, which renders whatever I write in ISO8859-2 incompatible with previous text files written in UTF-8 and converting them back and forth is too much of a hassle. I'll get there one day.

I won't be calling it a xorgless week, I'm too pedantic for that, but I settled for a minimal cwm setup with a single xterm.

The setup

Since the challenge is all about time management, there is no reason for 'specialized' software, but in my case, since I'm already xorg-bound, I will be running graphical links and might fire up luakit in case a need arises. All in all, I'm taking this challenge as an opportunity to shed myself of most internet dependancy and use it in its natural form - serving text.

I will also limit all my home internet use to the single machine, ditching mobile internet.

I will begin with midnight on the 11th.

Further experiments

I had a spare IDE drive and put debian on it. brouk's freeBSD acpi suspend got borked (this seems to be the curse of most of my machines) and I wanted to make sure it's not a hardware issue (I also wanted to see if maybe Czech typing in debian's TTY would work better). For now I'll stick with debian, since at least the suspend works now, and it has been over 2 years from when I used linux frequently. It makes me feel somewhat uneasy. Even with the most minimal installation imaginable, I can't shake the feeling of gaining extra pounds. More notably I'm realizing how little I actually know about linux. I give it a day before I swap the drives again and go about hacking the suspend problem away.


Keep in mind I've taken it upon myself to archive the challenge - if you're going to be writing about your experience, let me know and I'll put a link to your blog/site/text on Likewise if you have any relevant material.


Further reading