Turning to Gentoo

I like Slackware. When I was a total newbie, someone suggested SUSE, but after a little while, when I wanted to know what was going on ‘under the hood’, it got complicated. Back then, Yast was ok, probably not as comprehensive as today. I tried Slackware, and liked its simplicity, and clean-ness. It didn’t provide lots of packages installed by default, that I had little idea of. Quite often the packages I did want weren’t provided as Slackware packages at all. But that was OK – this more ‘zen’ Linux made under the hood a way of life. What is the sound of one automounter daemon clapping?

The cost of Slackware was – you needed to know how things worked. If you must have fancy removable drive recognition, start reading those fine manuals. For servers, Slackware with it’s minimal approach, and intelligent audience, the match is close to perfect.

But eventually, where I was, living on the desktop, configuring video drivers, other niceties (plus cool toys, spinning cubes) called out. I turned to Gentoo.

It was partly the building from source that I was familiar with, the speed, the flexibility that got my attention. And a civilized package management system. I am happy with it, that I still have text files to configure, with the breadth of packages offered, and depth of the community.

And the last word with Linux is, of course, the choice is yours.

encfs and automount

I started using automount to mount devices, and drives on the fly. I works nicely, and almost effortlessly, once you get the hang of configuring it. No more typig mount etc. etc. had me sold. This is with Gentoo.

But when I wanted to manage a secure area on my laptop, so it mounted when I wanted, and tidied up a short while after I finished, I had a few problems.

I had to hack mount.fuse, so it took notice of a new flag: `ignore_options’. I think basically somethin’s broke.

The hacked mount.fuse is here.

And you’ll want an example line for using encfs in the automount config file, called something like auto.auto:

secure -fstype=fuse,ignore_options encfs#--public --extpass=/etc/autofs/askpass /mnt/.secure.encfs

Perlpod update

I have been using a perl script I got here to get my BBC podcasts, and Java Posse broadcasts. Until recently, that is…

Anyway, I hacked the script, to remove carriage returns out, so the url in the enclosure (that’s the mp3) is again being fetched. Find it perlpod here. md5sum for the file is:

  • a92ab255816bf32db4facf9f63bc34fb perlpod.pl

    Don’t expect any fitness for purpose; it just works for me.

    P.S. the script still suffers from the same ‘features’ as it did before. It looks in the current directory for a ‘.feeds’ file, and again dumps enclosures in the podcasts directory. Each line in .feeds is a url.

    If you are interested in the script, claim owership, whatever relating to it: let me know at:

  • perlpod at ekers dot idps dot co dot uk.
  • Amarok is a pain

    My current favourite distro is gentoo. I same from slackware, so that should not be too difficult a route to figure. Apart from the draw of packages customized to squeeze the processor, there is the customization. And with all this, it still workds amazingly well.

    Anyway, I have my mp3s on a fileserver. Before, using xmms, i could just browse them, and play. But xmms is going away.. gentoo says it has too many bugs, and no maintainer. So I tried amarok. Its good, apart from going off in the trees sometimes updating it’s ‘collection’.

    But getting it to see the files on the share was a trial. First using a samba share; nothing. It could be the mp3 tags, because it could see a few directories, but no. It was permissions.

    I found this that spilled the beans. Ok so it didn’t quite work out, but it pointed the way.

    I have been playing around with fuse, and with this line did the trick:

    sshfs -C -o uid=1000,gid=100,ro myserver:/my/music/share /mnt/local

    I pointed amarok at /mnt/local, and it works!

    What can I say? (Except the collection scanning code is far too picky).

    ‘s big in ‘ere

    Don’t wonder about the internet and it’s proliferation. Cyber streams pulse through every street, across every ocean. Even some veins…

    Wonder that it’s still here (and download as much of it as you can, in case it goes away :).

    First words are always kind of … yes, you said it. Be a bit more paranoid (they are, y’know) and trust real people a bit more ( at least when you can see them in the flesh).


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