MuLinux, Part 2

After the basic installation of MuLinux earlier this week, I have been looking around and expanding the system during the last days.

The whole thing is mature and really well though out, with lots of user-friendly scripts and help files.

The core of the system is the setup script. This script is used to create configurations, and to configure modules. In the configuration is specified which modules are loaded and with what parameters. It is loaded during boot, so that all modules are loaded correctly.

To save a configuration as default simply type setup -s. To load a configured module MOD use setup -r MOD and to force reconfiguration use setup -f MOD. Setup also can be used without parameters, to start the setup menu. This menu shows all available add-ons and modules and lets you configure them from one screen. Besides setup, there are a lot more scripts. Even well known UNIX command like grep are implemented as a script. I was really impressed!

After looking around and playing with all options, I decided that it was time to expand the possibilities of my system. So it took the WKS (workstation), SRV (server) and X11 (X window system) add-on floppies and installed them from the setup menu.

The WKS add-on gave me applications like mutt, ssh, pgp, tyhe SRV add-on gave me samba, smail, web-based system administration and PCMCIA support. X11 has the x-windows system with VGA-16, fvwm95, Afterstep and wm2.

At this moment I had an incredible amount of features, using only 4 diskettes. I played around a little bit again, and started configuring xf86 to have a graphical interface.

Usually this is the most difficult part to configure, since you need to know a lot of parameters from your system (OK, not in the modern Linux systems), but MuLinux was perfectly able to configure X using its probe feature. After 5 minutes I had a screen like this:

MuLinux fvwm95

Not bad, isn’t is? For next week, I’m planning to get Internet connection. First I want to put the PCMCIA modem from my Toshiba into the MuLinux machine (which is by then an IPC Porta-PC P5E-486/DSTN) and get it connected to Internet. Furthermore I want to try to connect it to another computer using a LapLink cable. And maybe, I’ll download some more add-ons (GCC TCL TEX PERL EMU JVM NS1 NS2).

I haven’t finished playing yet!

Christmas dinner

Yesterday morning I found the official invitation for the company christmas dinner on my desk, the dinner was going to take place the same day. Fortunately we already new about the dinner for one week…

After work, I first went to our office in Torrefarrera to receive the traditional christmas box, this year with a lot of alcohol and chocolate.

Then quickly home to change clothes. Since this was my first Christmas dinner, I didn’t know the dress code. I knew that a suit would be overdone, but to be sure I decided to take a tie with me and decide whether to wear it or not at the restaurant when I see how my colleagues are dressed.

The dinner was really good, but I could expect that from this restaurant (Petit Catalá). One thing I didn’t like was the distribution of the tables. They decided to keep all departments together, so I shared the table with the colleagues I work with every day, while I would have liked to talk more with the colleagues I don’t see so often.

At one o’clock we finished, but because we still had a lot to ‘discuss’, we went to Smiling Jack. Today I can see my colleagues having troubles keeping their eyes open…

Happy birthday

Tomorrow is the birthday of BasiqAir, the cheapest way to get from Barcelona to Amsterdam. To celebrate this, they have lowered their prices on December 17–19.

Of course I took the opportunity to book some flights, and checked if the advertised action really exist. So yesterday I checked the possibility to visit Holland during Christmas. The cheapest flight for two persons was €409. Today, the same flight only costs €169. Clickety click… booked!!!

Since these prices are valid until the end of March, I looked further and decided to book a flight for March 1–2. The same price! Clickety click… booked!!!

MuLinux, Part 1

One month ago we moved to our new house. Since then, things have settled down, but one thing still is missing: our working room still serves as a storage room, with my old computer packed into boxes.

Until that moment we both use my (even older) Toshiba Satellite Pro 400 CDT. This computer is not really fast, but in the mean time I have gotten used to it. It’s really comfortable working on the sofa, but to connect to internet I have to move to the floor of the hallway. For the moment we have this solution, but sometimes one computer just isn’t enough for two people.

That’s why I dug up my really old laptop, a 486 with 8 Mb memory and 525 Mb harddisk, but without CD player. I once installed Windows 98, but it wasn’t running perfectly. Besides this, I don’t have a licence for this machine, and don’t want to buy one. Therefore I decided to install GNU/Linux on it.

Taken the absence of the CD-player and the minimal hardware, I started looking for a floppy-based distribution. I once used the HAL91 distribution, but this only runs on a RAM disk, while I want to be able to install it onto my harddisk. Then I found MuLinux, a tiny single floppy based distribution with the ability to copy the installation to the harddisk, and with some add-on floppies to install additional features like the X-Windows system, Wine, TeX, … It looked promising, so I set to work.

While the disk images were downloading to my Toshiba laptop, I started the other laptop from a DOS bootdisk to format the harddisk. It had quite some bad sectors, but that shouldn’t be a big problem. In the mean time the download was finished. I extracted the DOSTOOLS to C:\mulinux and copied the images (BOOT, WKS, SRV en X11) to the same directory. Next, I runned unpack.bat, which opened the main archive mulinux-13r2.tgz. Then I fired up makefi.bat, which created an installation disk. Since muLinux distribution running from floppy, installation means preparing the floppies. After the installation disk was prepared, I rebooted my Toshiba, after which the installation process prepared the BOOT floppy.

I immediately took this floppy to my old laptop and booted it with it. It booted nicely and started the configuration procedure. The first thing I had to do was configure the swap space. The harddisk was DOS formatted, but I want to install my linux on a ext2 partition. Therefore I decided to boot the machine with only the necessary configuration, after which I should be able to use the linux fdisk utility to partition the harddisk. For the moment I configured the swap space as a file on the DOS partition and continued.

After configuring the swap space I had the option to load each of the available add-on disks. After selecting No for each of them, a configuration menu was presented with three options: No additional configuration, a minimal configuration or a custom configuration. I selected the minimal configuration, and Linux continued loading its applications onto the RAM disk.

At the end I was asked if I wanted to save these settings as default (which I did not since I want to change the partitioning) and then I was offered a tour which I also declined.

Finally I was presented with the prompt, indicating that I could start to work. This prompt is a silly thing, since the multi-user options are on the SRV add-on. Anyway, I enterer root (just for the show) and fired up fdisk. I quickly deleted the DOS partition and created an ext2 partition and a swap partition.

I rebooted the laptop, and went through the same procedure again, but this time I used my new partition as swap space and did some more configuration, like the keyboard layout.

Unfortunately, my time to play with computers is finished for today, so I saved my configuration to the floppy (setup -s lock) and shut down the machine.

Tomorrow I am going to copy the files from the RAM drive onto the harddisk and if I have enough time left, I am going to install the SRV and WKS add-ons. That will keep me busy for a while…

Sven

During the day, I always wear my cellphone. Always. Except last Saturday.

We left in the morning to Alpicat to visit Maria José’s parents, and I didn’t think about my phone.

When we came back home at 20:00 hours, I had two messages on my voicemail; one of my sister and one of my mother. Their message: I have become an uncle!!!!!

My sister’s son is called Sven, weighed 3,5 kilos and is 52 centimetres long. Both of them are alright.

I already have some pictures of the cute little boy, and will place them on this site as soon as possible.

Visit

Barely 2 weeks after we moved into our new house, Hotel Rosell had its first guests: Coen and Duh Nieze. They are spending a week of holiday in Catalunya (a good choice) and were in our house this weekend. We showed them around in the city (but we didn’t visit the Seu Vella), and explored the local culinary specialities (without eating snails) and nightlife.

Because Coen proudly wrote in the guestbook of Jong Nederland Harmelen about the beer we took outside on the terras, we sent them to the pyrenees, where for sure it’s impossible to sit outside to drink a beer. They did report having had a snowball fight with the local priest.

[Update 2004.01.21]: Changed link to JNH

One week later…

We’re now living in our new house for one week now, and things have settled down a bit.

The first days were a little bit chaotic. We found out that we didn’t have hot water, so we had to improvise a bit with taking showers and washing the dishes. Our dishwasher still isn’t working, because the hole in the closet where the tubes and the power cable of the dishwasher go through has been made in the wrong location. If things go alright they will fix this today or tomorrow.

Last weekend I fixed the beds and the wardrobe in the second bedroom. When that was finished we could finally unpack a lot of the boxes in our office, which looks a lot cleaner now. We also could clean the entrance, which have been a storage place for some months and haven’t been cleaned thoroughly during that time.

On Sunday we invited the parents and the grandmother of Maria José (the people who helped us so generously with this house) for lunch. A little bit of stress in the morning because we wanted everything to look perfect and serve a good meal. And yes, we succeeded!

Our house is ready!!!

Yes!! If everything went right, this afternoon the heaters will be connected and the floor will be finished. That means that our house is ready enough for us to move in. Last week, Marie José already moved some stuff, and tomorrow I will finish this. When she comes home from Austria on Sunday, we will start a new phase in our life together.

Of course we will send out our new address to everybody, but I haven’t had the time to do so this week.

Website

Until a few weeks ago, my biggest fans received automatically new items on this site by e-mail. At this moment my provider blocked e-mail access from this site to prevent abuse, so I am not able to send out my famous ‘News Updates’. I had the same problem with the Fimcap web site, but since we pay for that site, the problem was solved a lot faster.

Besides this problem, also the banners bother me. I guess I’ll have to look for another solution. Maybe host this site on my own computer?

Business trip

The first half of this week, I have been on my first business trip in my new function. I had to do an installation for a client in Holland. We successfully finished phase 1 of this installation. There are still some problems to be solved, but I am sure that we will fix these.

Elections

I don’t think I have to explain the current political situation in the Netherlands to you, since even here in Catalunya it has been on the news. The only comment I would like to make is that all of this is happening right after the first elections I didn’t participate. A coincidence??? I don’t think so…

Anyway, I decided to try to vote on the next occasion in January. I found out that I have to register in Den Haag, which I did today. Six months before the elections they are going to send me a form (I haven’t received anything in June…) and after returning it, I will receive my voting card three weeks before the elections.

As usual, a lot of paperwork, but I’m used to it. Let’s see what happens.

Construction work

Last weekend we spend almost completely working in our house, from early in the morning until it was too dark to work (we haven’t got light everywhere yet…). And I can honestly say that we’re fed up with it!

I have spoken to people who told me that they like to work in their house to relax a little bit after working in the office, but I rather have a beer in a bar to relax.

This weekend I prepared the walls for painting; filling the holes, taping off the windows and the doors, etc. Maria José helped me and started painting our living room. Now all we have to do is put the paint on it. We hope to have time for it this week, but I think that we’ll have to do it next weekend.

Besides working ourselves, other people also have to do their jobs. If everything goes well, this week they’ll put the marmer and the electodomestics in our kitchen, connect the toilet and the shower, finish the electrical installation and maybe come to put the floor. But our experience until now taught us that things rarely happen on their planned schedule, so we’ll see what’s going to happen this week.

At least we have five days to get some fresh energy for the work of next weekend…

Another update

Guess we’re just plain busy at the moment… Anyway, it’s about time that I give you all an update about life in Lleida.

Last weekend we had a good excuse not to work in our house: Marcel and Rebecca were in town and we spend the weekend with them sightseeing. We had a great time, but afterwards felt a little bit guilty about the time we could have worked in our house.

Speaking about our house, things are going well. We have new windows and out bathroom and kitchen are almost finished. In the mean time we’re trying hard to paint the walls. In fact, we’re only waiting for the moment that the new floor arrives, and we’re ready to enter our house. This afternoon we’ll hear the date for that, hopefully they’ll be able to do it next week.

Friday my father flies over to help us with the work as we have a short holiday. On Wednesday October 30th we’ll fly over to Holland to spend some days over there. After that, I’ll stay some more days as a business trip.

That’s it for the moment…

Update

I guess some people are missing their weekly update about my life. Not that nothing happened in my life the last couple of weeks, but I just didn’t feel like writing. For all people addicted to news about me, here is an update.

First of all our house. The planning was that the kitchen should have been placed two weeks ago. But unfortunately the worker hasn’t finished the prepatory work (electricity, water, floor, ceiling,…) yet. We hope that he’s going to finish it this week, so within a week or two we’ll have our new kitchen (which will be the first room completely finished then). In the mean time, we have started painting the ceiling of our bedroom. All in all, it looks like things are finally getting better!

Secondly, my professional life. These weeks my colleague is on holiday, so this gives me some more responsabilities and work. I’m now communicating with distributors and clients in Holland, Australia, Bolivia, Mexico, U.S.A., … Strangely enough I find that in a lot of places Dutch people are working, and as a result I’m speaking Dutch half of the time.

Finaly my personal life. This weekend we had once again visitors from Holland: my sister and her boyfriend. For them it was the last change to visit us for a while, since after December they will have to take care about their little child (we don’t know yet whether it is a boy or a girl, although we guess it will be a boy). We showed them the ruins which will become our house and of course we went to see some of Lleida’s touristic highlights. In the evenings we explored some of the culinary habits over here. For them it was the first time to have supper at midnight, and I discovered that this Italian waiter could speak fluently Dutch. We were really happy with their visit. After visiting us, they spend two days in Barcelona. If everything went right, they are now home again.

Ready to go

The tent is washed, the car is washed, the candy and lemonade has been bought and our packs are packed. We are ready to go!!!

So the next three weeks no updates or e-mails from me, but instead of that, some people will have an increased risk of meeting me in person…

Tomorrow we will leave early in the morning and drive up to Nouan-le-fuzelier, where we will meet my parents on a camping. Tuesday we continue and hope to arrive in Harmelen at the end of the day.

See you in Harmelen!!!

More pictures

I’ve kept my promise and found my old scanner again. As a result, the image gallery is updated with some pictures taken from February to June.

The quality is not too good (understatement!), but what else can you expect from a 12 euro second-hand scanner. Those people interested in better quality pictures will have to drop by to see them over here 😉.