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I successfully installed SparkyLinux, chosen almost at random from a recent list of lightweight distros I found after that Mint scare of a couple weeks ago.

The installer worked well enough – I’m still a little confused on GRUB and ended up adding Sparky to the Windows boot controller rather than putting the Linux bootloader at the top of the food chain. The tool for that required about three minutes and fewer than five clicks. Can’t complain really.

Sparky’s pleasant to look at and easy to navigate. The only package I’ve installed so far is Dropbox. There was a hiccup in the install process – about 50% of the files were downloaded by the installer and then it hung – but when I tried the next day, it was fine.

LibreOffice loads up very quickly, the boot process is also very swift. The default browser, Iceweasel (a Firefox derivative, I think) works well enough. I haven’t delved into other goodies like distraction-free editors and the like, but I’m generally happy.

Next thing to figure out is how to extend the display rather than duplicate it.


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Mint! Almost.

So I’ve decided, after about three years to turn my nice little Win 8 laptop into a dual boot device. Deleted a bunch of stuff, defragged, created a nice unallocated partition in GParted.

I thought I’d go with my old standby CrunchBang, but Corenomial went out of the distro business about a year ago. One crew seems to have released something called CrunchBang Plus Plus, but their web site gives a lovely little 404.

Another crew called Bunsen Labs has picked up the Debian + Openbox combo. At the moment it’s in RC2 status. I’d hoped to run it as from a USB stick, but it’s not playing nice. I get to the option to play with it, but it goes into a loop with the menu asking which version you want to play with.

I think I decided to go with the Cinnamon variation of Linux Mint. Booted into it from a stick and added Skype, wished my mom a happy birthday, and then saw this blog entry:

Beware of hacked ISOs if you downloaded Linux Mint on February 20th!

Great. Mint was hacked. I downloaded mine on the 21st, but am still wary. Not sure what I’ll install when I get to it.





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Good meeting last night

Seven folks showed up (Marie, David, George, Terry, Sytze, Chris, and yours truly) to the slightly posher-than-I-expected Gaanderij restaurant for discussions of various and sundry things. David has been having some adventures with migrating a client’s very large web site to Amazon S3.

Sytze shared his new Galaxy Tab which is very sweet.

While I had done a little playing with Haiku before we met, the venue wasn’t such that I was comfortable firing up the laptop to show it off.

We were also quite amused by the description of the venue’s crème brûlée as it contained tonka beans. While many of us enjoy cooking, none of us knew what tonka beans were. Tasty and banned as a foodstuff in the US.

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Meeting place tonight changed

De Branderij was booked out, so we’ll be meeting at their sister restaurant around the corner:

De Gaanderij
nieuwstraat 32
1312 KC Leiden

The reservation is in my name and the time is 7:30 as usual.

If you’ve used the Raspberry Pi and have tips or tricks, bring them along.



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FOSDEM participant

At last night’s LALUG gathering, Finne Boonen spoke about her presentation at this year’s FOSDEM. Her research examines open source projects that have contributions from both paid staff and volunteers.

Alas, I’ve not had a chance to watch, but you can see her presentation here:

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Leiden start-up looking for expertise

Nick Hogan has posted the following to the LxP (Leiden Expats) Yahoo group and it might be of interest:

Launching a tech start-up based in Leiden and looking for technical personnel and/or networks of engineers and data scientists. If you have any experience in the following areas or know others who do, please drop me a line.

– Ruby and RoR
– Pentaho
– Big Data BI
– MySQL & PostgreSQL DBA
– Linode, AWS and Rackspace hosting and API programming

Nick’s email address is: nickATnickhoganDOTcom

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And we’re back

Had a lovely time in the UK, got a lovely Kindle Keyboard for xmas and have been busy loading it up. My wife also knitted me a beautiful scarf which I’ve been wearing every day.

I’ve been busy clearing out my RSS feeds, but my main source for Linux news ( requires a lot of attention. I hope to post some new goodies at the weekend.

For those of you keeping up, the next meeting is this coming Tuesday. Gracious but time flies. See you at F&F!

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