Friday, February 25, 2011

Using Debian Sid; installing PC-BSD 8.2 in Virtualbox OSE from Sid

Tonight I have a couple of things going on. I downloaded a couple of distributions today: PC-BSD 8.2, a 3.3 GB DVD ISO image, which I copied to my external USB drive, then the debian-testing-kfreebsd-i386-netinst.iso, which is an interesting twist: it is a daily build of Debian Testing, except it does not have the usual Debian GNU/Linux kernel; it uses a FreeBSD kernel, which is why it is labeled kfreebsd – a FreeBSD kernel and some core libraries to go with it that allow the FreeBSD kernel to work with the rest of a Debian based infrastructure. I do not believe that I have ever installed this before, so I want to give it a look too.

The hour is late though, so for tonight, the two systems have been downloaded, but I am finishing up the PC-BSD 8.2 installation in Virtualbox OSE, thereby allowing me to test PC-BSD from a virtual instance on my Debian Sid system.

I will probably do the same with kfreebsd so that I find out whether it uses a BSD file system or the usual Linux file system. BSD file systems, as far as I know, still require the use of a primary disk partition, because their file organization uses “slices”, rather than the usual notion of disk partitions. The collection of slices, from the vantage point of a Linux or Windows system, and from the perspective of fdisk and other partition handling tools, resides within a single primary partition. I will be examining how this implementation works soon, perhaps tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I am about ready to examine the result of the PC-BSD 8.2 installation.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Using Jolicloud tonight

I have been experimenting quite a bit with a variety of computing technologies over the past six or seven months. Beginning with Peppermint OS One and antiX core, I started to look a fast, lightweight technologies that could be used on the desktop, but definitely had a higher than usual ratio of Internet-based applications.

Not long after using Peppermint OS One and antiX core, I set up Easy Peasy, a Ubuntu based distribution originally branded as eeeUbuntu, but renamed at the request of Canonical, the owners of the Ubuntu brand. When Easy Peasy changed the brand and came out with their next release, it was not only built for the eeePC, it was built to work with a variety of systems, especially with a high ratio of Internet to local applications, again like Peppermint and antiX.

None of these systems, however, are true, 100% Web based or Cloud based systems, but there are a few systems that are. Of course, we hear about one of them often, Chrome OS, which has still not been officially released, but it has been distributed to about 60,000 users on a non-branded Google Cr-48 pilot project notebook, and I have one of them.

Before I really got my hands on the Cr-48, which I am also evaluating, I tried out a preview release of Jolicloud V1.0, which I first tried on a DVD that came with a magazine. I liked it enough to run it in Virtualbox, and later, when the first release came out, I got a copy of it, liked it enough to install it. But when Version 1.1 came out, it had really been built up even more, and it is, without question, the most social media savvy implementation of a Cloud based system out there. What is nice about it is that you can access their web site, MyJolicloud -!/dashboard from any Web browser on any system, or you can run it as a distribution, and when you login using the distribution, you get that same dashboard - quite an interesting concept.

You do not have to be a social media junkie to like Jolicloud. It is useful for blogging, forum and Wiki use, Email, chat, and all of the other things you usually do on the Web. It's all at your fingertips. Just in case you want some local applications, it provides a few of them for you, and it has access to the Ubuntu repositories, so if you really want, you can create a hybrid distribution with both cloud and local apps. But if you do a lot of that, you may be better off going the other way, using something like antiX or Peppermint, which have the local apps and the ability to work in the Cloud as well.

I like Jolicloud as it is; the distribution is fast, booting quickly; it has a nice default appearance, but like many other distributions, you can easily modify the default appearance. I changed mine. I like water scenes, so I changed my Jolicloud look to have a sea harbor appearance near dusk; muted, mid to dark blues and greens, quite nice.

So it's flexible, fast, easily modified, and based on solid technology. It clearly sticks to what it does best, but allows you plenty of liberty to make it what you want it to be. Those are marks of a solid distribution, at least in my mind.