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Year of the Linux desktop

Posted in Linux on 02 Mar 2009 at 09:43 UTC

Every year people say "Is this the year of the Linux desktop?", well I think 2009 is it. Ease of installation has come far since the 1990s, as I prove with the following install story.

After binman180 installed Debian 5.0 (lenny) on his "new" laptop (Celeron 1.3, circa 2000 BC) he wanted to install KDE instead of GNOME, which is the default. Installing the 'kde' metapackage resulted in GDM refusing to start, with some error that neither of us can remember. The error log, had nothing helpful (since GDM was written by the GNOME devs they probably thought error messages would be too cluttered/complicated for users). After purging and re-installing GDM it decided to not even give us an error on the screen, still nothing in the error log.

Clearly GDM wasn't going to work without a huge hassle, so we decided to install XDM instead. Joy! We managed to get the login screen working again! Pity it was still loading GNOME. My next thought was "Maybe if we uninstall GNOME, XDM will load KDE, since it's the only installed DE".... Wrong! After running `aptitude purge gnome` and restarting XDM, it attempted to load a (broken) installation of GNOME... I have no idea why.

After poking around my own homedir, I remembered that mine did the same, in order to make XDM run KDE, this is all that had to be done:

cat > ~/.xsession << EOF
#!/bin/bash
startkde
EOF
chmod +x ~/.xsession

I mean, it's so obvious that you should create a shell script that runs 'startkde' named ~/.xsession, how could I have overlooked it in the first place? 2009: Year of the Linux desktop

Comments (3)

kexec-loader 2.0 released

Posted in kexec-loader on 17 Feb 2009 at 00:51 UTC

Version 2.0 is now available for download!

It is a complete rewrite of kexec-loader which fixes many design flaws and bugs which appeared due to design changes over the past year.

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IPXWrapper 0.1 released

Posted in IPXWrapper on 29 Jan 2009 at 20:54 UTC

I have finally released IPXWrapper v0.1!

This has been kicking around for a while with barely any work being done, but after testing it thoroughly with a game of RA2 (No lag or disconnects, even using wifi) I think it's time to release.

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kexec-loader 1.6.2 released

Posted in kexec-loader on 13 Jan 2009 at 02:07 UTC

kexec-loader v1.6.2 released, this is mostly a bugfix release, the shell no longer has autocompletion since I rewrote it to fix a bug, autocompletion will be back soon(ish). The disk image uses Linux 2.6.25 since 2.6.13 doesn't compile under GCC 4.3, somthing will break, it always does.

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kexec-loader 1.6.1 released

Posted in kexec-loader on 22 Nov 2008 at 00:27 UTC

v1.6.1 released, the main changes are shell autocompletion and bugfixes, see ChangeLog for a full list.

I've also uploaded a precompiled initramfs for v1.6.1 which will make it easier to compile custom kernels and updated the nightly build script to copy the initramfs to the nightly download directory.

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kexec-loader 1.6 released

Posted in kexec-loader on 13 Nov 2008 at 21:00 UTC

kexec-loader v1.6 has been released, this release includes a rewritten shell and several important bugfixes. I've also updated the nightly build script to produce images using modular kernels instead of the old static ones.

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kexec-loader 1.5 released

Posted in kexec-loader on 07 Aug 2008 at 20:36 UTC

Version 1.5 released, main feature is the ability to load kernel modules.
You may need to download the module pack as well as the floppy image because the kernel only has support for USB drives and FAT compiled in.

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kexec-loader 1.4.3 released (I'm an idiot)

Posted in kexec-loader on 28 Jul 2008 at 20:15 UTC

Released version 1.4.3, this fixes the bug of kexec-loader freezing when you don't set grub_root.

Why the hell don't I test anything?!

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kexec-loader 1.4.2

Posted in kexec-loader on 27 Jul 2008 at 19:06 UTC

Version 1.4.2 released

The only feature added in this release is the ability to load multiboot modules in menu.lst, the rest of the changes are code cleanup.

As anyone who reads the TODO will notice, the next version will have support for loading Linux kernel modules! This will allow the stock image to be far smaller, then you can add any modules you need later.
The shell should also be getting an upgrade sometime too.

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kexec-loader 1.4.1 released

Posted in kexec-loader on 29 Jun 2008 at 16:52 UTC

kexec-loader v1.4.1 has been released, this new version includes some improvements to the "shell" and support for loading multiboot modules. I also added firewire support to the disk image.

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