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CrunchBang Linux on Acer Aspire One AO751h

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  • Sunday, February 14 2010 @ 10:09 PM EST
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Months after purchasing the Acer Aspire One AO751h, I was still looking for a Linux distribution that works well with the embedded (cursed!) Intel GMA 500 graphics drivers, aka Poulsbo. Ubuntu 9.04 or other distributions sourced on Jaunty Jackalope seem to be the easiest to make usable on this hardware but the situation is still far from perfect.

I gave CrunchBang Linux 9.04 a try and am loving it for a netbook operating system. CrunchBang, known as #! for short, uses the Openbox window manager + conky to provide a lightweight and clean desktop environment. One of the great things about the CruchBang distro is that it pulls from the Ubuntu repositories directly, so the expected huge number of software applications are available via the aptitude package management system. I really like the conky "Super key" keyboard shortcuts to start the main applications such as Browser, Terminal, Editor, etc. See the CrunchBang web site for more info (http://crunchbanglinux.org).

The only modifications I made to the system to help compatibility with Linux were the following three fixes taken from the Ubuntu community wiki pages:

Improve compile time on multi-core Linux systems

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  • Friday, February 12 2010 @ 03:51 PM EST
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While compiling a piece of software from source the other day, I noticed that my CPU was only at about 50% utilization.  This reminded me that the build tools can be set to execute multiple operations simultaneously.

The CONCURRENCY_LEVEL environment variable is used by many tools to determine the number of concurrent jobs to run:

 export CONCURRENCY_LEVEL=3

 It is also possible to tell "make" directly how many simultaneous jobs to run:

 make -j 3

 make --jobs=3

 On a sample dual-core system, this improved my emacs compile time from 2m36s to 1m31s.

Canceled my A2 Hosting account

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  • Monday, February 01 2010 @ 09:55 AM EST
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As mentioned in thatlinuxbox.com now runs on a Linode, I switched from A2 Hosting to Linode a few weeks ago. The new Linode server is running great so today I canceled my A2 Hosting account.

I ditched A2 Hosting because the low apache MaxClients settings meant my sites were giving 503 errors and when pages did load ok they were generally missing images.

Beware so-called "Unlimited" shared web hosting plans. They are cheap for a reason. The MaxClients setting makes an effective bottleneck to limit site traffic and usage. When I asked A2 Hosting about this problem they suggested that I upgrade to one of their own VPS hosing packages. Um, no thanks. I switched providers instead.

It seems like there is an un-tapped niche in there somewhere. My Linode 360 costs $20 / month. I was paying $6 / month for the A2 Executive Web Hosting Plan. I would have loved to pay $12 for shared hosting that did not suck.

However, now that I'm on a Linode VPS plan I am probably hooked... it is really darn convenient to have my irssi client logged into IRC all the time and available to me anywhere I can get an SSH shell.

My Home Desktop Computer Runs Linux

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  • Wednesday, January 20 2010 @ 11:22 AM EST
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Probably no surprise to anyone, my home desktop computer runs Linux.



I recently posted Heatsink Bracket and Clips for new CPU cooler so I thought I ought to post more details about that system.


Here are the specs:

Heatsink Bracket and Clips for new CPU cooler

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  • Tuesday, January 19 2010 @ 10:15 PM EST
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This Zalman is too loud:



Here is the funky bracket the Zalman uses:

thatlinuxbox.com now runs on a Linode

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  • Sunday, January 10 2010 @ 07:04 PM EST
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Due to issues with shared web hosting plans (mostly due to insanely low apache MaxClients setting), I have moved all of my thatlinuxbox sites over to a Xen VPS solution offered by Linode.com (www.linode.com).  Linode compares well with SliceHost and other VPS providers, although Linode offers 360 MB RAM and 20 GB of disk space (the plan I chose) which gave them an edge in my comparison.

There is a lot more administration overhead with VPS compared to shared web hosting, but my sites actually work and I have flexibility to run whatever software I want including rsync and irssi.  I am very pleased so far and all of my sites are snappy again.

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thatlinuxbox.com is the home of Dan Stoner's Personal Blog, Photos, and More (opinions, rants, techno-babble, and possibly a few useful tidbits of knowledge).

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