Setting the goalposts, hopefully in concrete…

by hobbitalastair

I thought that it would be a good point to describe my aims for the Toshiba project in detail, especially since I’ve come so far. Much like this post and this post did, but in greater detail – especially since I am getting closer every day.

Runs my Core Apps:

For me, my selection of ‘Core Apps’ is fairly extensive:

Admin and general use tools:

  • Core Unix utilities
  • A web browser – I currently use lynx or Chromium. I’ll have to swap to something lighter if I use a graphical browser on the Toshiba!
  • Vim – my favourite text editor 🙂 Mostly because it is fast
  • Git – I use it locally for many of my projects – including assignments…
  • ssh – at the moment, my Pi has no screen
  • Unison – for backup and syncing all of my computers
  • pacman – Arch Linux’s package manager
  • systemd – I’m not so sure about systemd; I will switch if it proves too heavy for my Toshiba. Meanwhile, if it can shrink boot times… 🙂
  • pdflatex – for converting latex documents into beautiful PDFs
  • fbpdf – for viewing the above PDF’s…
  • fbv – my choice of image viewer
  • hunspell – spell checker

Coding tools:

  • Python 3 – most of my bigger projects are in python
  • Pylint
  • Clang – for any C projects
  • I also use git extensively for my coding projects…

Quite a variety of software above – ranging from ancient text editors with a beginning in the late 80’s, to software only a few years old.

Works with my ‘system’:

It’s quite important to me that all of my computers work with my as-yet secret system. Otherwise, why bother creating it?

Runs at a reasonable speed:

I dislike the idea of waiting more than a minute for a computer to boot. I dislike even more having to wait more than a few seconds for an application to start.

This does limit my choices somewhat; doing massive amounts of coding in python is not an option!

However, I believe that the performance that I can get out of the Toshiba will be sufficient provided that I am careful. I may even be able to run X, though I can’t think of why I’d want to do that apart from the cool factor.

I do intend to try to continue to find new ways of speeding it up. However, there is only so far that I can go on 16 year old hardware. The lowest hanging fruit probably is to speed up disk access speeds; either by figuring out how to get DMA to work properly or to try out a compressed FS – btrfs or squashfs. I like btrfs, so I’ll probably try that first. It also allows r/w access with on the fly compression, although it is not quite as good as squashfs. I’ll need to experiment with the different filesystems to actually get an idea of the performance difference, if any. I also want to try compressing the kernel with the different levels of compression, to see whether that makes a difference, and shrinking the physical size by adding modules for non-essential stuff like USB sticks and wifi.

Behaves as a laptop should:

This mostly involves adding ACPI support so that I have advance warning that the battery is going to die…

Perhaps not too difficult… we shall see.

In the meantime, I intend to play some more KSP and work on the iMac case 🙂

Perhaps even do some coding!