Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Digital Portables Linux

MeeGo, Zero To VT320 In Seventeen Seconds 150

muirhead writes "Installing MeeGo on an Eee PC 1000 netbook is quick, slick, and easy. The user interface is colorful and stylish with many quirky animations. MeeGo's features are easy to discover and it is fast and responsive. Underneath it all though there is still just a netbook. That means it's got a display screen that has no significant weight behind it. That means typing on an undersized keyboard that has no life. All of these undesirable features can, however, be fixed by adding 9kg (~20lbs) of VT320 video terminal."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

MeeGo, Zero To VT320 In Seventeen Seconds

Comments Filter:
  • At least they've used the 'Digital' icon right for once. For added value, he needs to install something like simh on the netbook and run a PDP emulator.
  • news? (Score:4, Informative)

    by hjf ( 703092 ) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @11:34PM (#32821330) Homepage

    so this guy hooked up a terminal to a netbook. mad skillz.

    move along people, nothing to see here.

    • Re:news? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by blackpaw ( 240313 ) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @11:43PM (#32821392)

      Not to mention he mistook a DB25 connector for a parallel port.

      • Re:news? (Score:4, Informative)

        by BenFranske ( 646563 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @12:26AM (#32821664) Homepage
        Mod parent up, it's unfortunate that even reasonably skilled (compared to the general populous) computer users don't know that the type of communication is independent of the physical connector.
    • And really, that the netbook is running meego is irrelevant, this can be done with any linux distro.

    • by c0lo ( 1497653 )
      Hey, it is not everyday that en entire world can read (FTFA):

      I would like to thank Lightning Terminals for getting me a replacement keyboard so I could finish this article.

      when (at least, part of) his initial problem was:

      I am left typing on a undersized keyboard that has no life.

      But I do agree that the other part of it is surely solved

      I'm left facing a display screen that has no significant weight behind it

      Right... how to make a portable into a transportable.
      Or, you know, nothing beats a peer code review when the source code is presented on a listing (or punch cards) - at least the peer will be less inclined to criticise. The slight problem: keep the listing/punch cards from falling of your desk... you certainly need some weight there.

    • by mdwh2 ( 535323 )

      Perhaps, but let's face it - the same kind of story "On The Iphone" would be news. Hell, we've had stories which were basically "You can view this website On The Iphone".

      Of course, I'd rather that stories on Nokia's products (who are only the biggest seller in mobile phones and smartphones) were specifically on actual product news, given how rare coverage for them is. But still, I'd rather take a once in a blue moon story for MeeGo, than the usual three "Someone did something trivial On Their Iphone" storie

      • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

        ...actually, you can already ssh quite easily into a jailbroken iphone. The real danger there is reseting the default password so that everyone else can't.

    • by MrKaos ( 858439 )
      I think if he made it a IP interface over serial and then used the DEC as a graphical terminal to the netbook that would be more interesting.
      • I think if he made it a IP interface over serial and then used the DEC as a graphical terminal to the netbook that would be more interesting.

        That would be interesting. Especially since TCP/IP is flatly impossible with an out-of-the-box serial terminal, such as a VT320.

        At best, it would have to be a lame-o casemod ("I have put this micro-ITX motherboard and an LCD display into the gutted case of a former VT320"). And that would render the matter uninteresting again.

        • by MrKaos ( 858439 )

          That would be interesting. Especially since TCP/IP is flatly impossible with an out-of-the-box serial terminal, such as a VT320.

          Of course you are right.

          For some reason I thought this was an old unix machine and I forget how much things have changed. Long ago I actually wrote a /etc/termcap entry for a HP700/44. In the late 80's the company I worked for was importing the terminals and there was no support for them in Xenix. I wrote the termcap sent it back to SCO and they included it without even a thank y

          • Yeah. I always liked Vernor Vinge's concept of a "programmer-archaeologist", and his idea that the codebase of a starfaring trade civilization millenia in the future will still have components and artifacts dating back to Unix Version 1. MS Windows has received a lot of bad press in geekdom for perceived unnecessary legacy support ("holding it back and perpetuating old bugs and bad design decisions"), but Unix legacy support practically makes Microsoft a piker.
            • by MrKaos ( 858439 )

              Yeah. I always liked Vernor Vinge's concept of a "programmer-archaeologist", and his idea that the codebase of a starfaring trade civilization millenia in the future will still have components and artifacts dating back to Unix Version 1.

              Is this where I make a joke about some pleasure model android thousands of years in the future not being able to ignore root commands?

              MS Windows has received a lot of bad press in geekdom for perceived unnecessary legacy support ("holding it back and perpetuating old bugs a

    • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) *

      That's funny! My netbook has a video jack and three USB ports; plugging a monitor, mouse, and keyboard is beyond trivial; you could do it dead drunk.

      I don't have any problem at all seeing my Acer's screen, but then I have good eyes (well, one good one anyway; the cyborg eye I had the implant put in). The netbooks' keyboard is a little problematic, but USB keyboards are cheap.

      I plan on getting an S-Video adaptor to plug it into my TV, and can use my wireless mouse and keyboard from the couch. Honestly, my fu

  • by wandazulu ( 265281 ) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @11:38PM (#32821356)

    I rescued a Vax, complete with a VT320 from the garbage at work and while it all worked, I simply couldn't justify the electrical bill and the noise for a machine that had far less computing power than a Mac mini. So it finally met its end at the loading dock of an electronics recycling center.

    Thinking about the VT320 makes me feel old; I'm sitting in the computer room at the university, with its linoleum floor, coding away on a VT320 logged into an Ultrix machine, with my custom termcap that mapped the function keys to screen sessions, I felt like I was CODING. REAL. SOFTWARE. This was the BIG TIME. Nevermind that even vi slowed to a crawl when someone invoked the compiler. I wouldn't be surprised if the Meego was a slightly better machine than the Ultrix, performance-wise.

    Now get off my...aw, forget it.

    • by dcavanaugh ( 248349 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @12:47AM (#32821802) Homepage

      Thinking about your post makes me feel even older. When I was in college the "new" terminals were VT-100. The lab was open 24 hours a day because there weren't enough terminals to go around. For those who knew where to look, there were a few VT-52s hiding in relative obscurity.

      Granted, the VAX had less power than a Mac mini, but it also had reliability that modern systems can't match.

      • by MichaelSmith ( 789609 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @12:59AM (#32821888) Homepage Journal

        Granted, the VAX had less power than a Mac mini, but it also had reliability that modern systems can't match.

        In my previous job we ran PDP 11/84s and 11/83s, VAX 11/750s and later various alphas. The PDPs running RSX11M had the greatest feeling of stability I have seen. You could get back to a system after a year and find it in exactly the same state you had left it. The architecture of RSX probably helped. Dynamic memory is discouraged. Many applications are effectively built into the kernel.

        • by lxs ( 131946 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @03:15AM (#32822664)

          Don't feel old. According to Prince, both VAX and PDP machines are bound to make a comeback next year when the internet is obsolete.

        • This whole discussion has overtones of byte8406. But this does get me thinking, if tech employees are considered old at 40, how much more common will the "I never saw a 25 pin rs232 port" type of mistake be in the future?
        • by CAIMLAS ( 41445 )

          I'm not sure how the GPs statement of "more stable than modern hardware" and the parent's statements about the "greatest feeling of stability I have seen" make any sense.

          Stable, by what metric? IOPS? MIPS? By neither of these measurements do the old systems hold up - only in "length of time running, untouched".

          Even then, it's not all that impressive by modern standards. How many people have Linux machines which have been left unattended for years on end - not just business machines in a back office, but mil

          • A few examples of my definition of stabiity:

            • In FVWM with focus follows mouse, changes of focus are much faster. Focus changes don't seem to lag when system load increases.
            • When launching applications on my eeepc 701 the application startup time is more consistent than on other laptops which have hard disks. I put this down to SSDs having fewer variable which control read speed.
            • On the PDP 11s in question we ran a traffic signal application which controlled 120 traffic signals via 300 baud modems. Each modem h
      • by wandazulu ( 265281 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @01:00AM (#32821892)

        Since we're feeling old, what I really miss about "those days" was the "communal" nature of a number of people all using the same machine at once. You were guaranteed that other folks would be logged in, and in pre-IM days a quick "talk" session with someone who knew C better than me solved many a tricky problem.

        Funny enough, I was "talk"-ing with someone I had not ever met face-to-face about how to solve some algorithm or something, and he said it would probably just be easier to write it down on paper. I agreed to meet him, and asked him which lab he was in; turned out he was sitting in the carel right in front of me!

        Good times. Good times.

      • Thinking about your post makes me feel even older. When I was in college the "new" terminals were VT-100. The lab was open 24 hours a day because there weren't enough terminals to go around. For those who knew where to look, there were a few VT-52s hiding in relative obscurity.

        When I was in college the terminals hiding in relative obscurity were the decwriter [columbia.edu] hardcopy terminals. That is, they were ignored in a corner until someone started to use them. The noise turned out to be a good way of chasing at least one or two people from their VT-102s. (Also taught you 'ed', no fancy "visual" editing on a hardcopy terminal).

        • When I started university, the first time, the terminal was an ASR-33... 10cps tty... and a10cps paper tape punch. That or 80 col punch cards if you were using the mainframe. Of course there were machines you programmed by changing patch cords on circuit boards but they were starting to get old. And of course you didn't sort your data on a computer - you sorted it on a card sorter... made radix sorting very easy to understand :)

          The second time it was IBM Selectric terminals, some no-name crt terminals hook

        • Ah yes, we had one on a VAX 11/750 - great fun ensued one night when a faulty serial node on our coax network (something well obsolete called infaplugs) started to echo the login prompt, which was accepted by the 11/750 as the password - which resulted in the infaplug echoing that back etc. etc. and after a few duff logins the DECwriter started to print out intruder detection messages - it got through a whole box of listing paper overnight.
      • Awww fuckoff... I coded on punch cards, you insensitive clod.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Linker3000 ( 626634 )

        My ADM-3a (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ADM-3A) mumbles 'get off my lawn' in the general direction of your VT100.

        We had them hooked up to Intel Development systems, Gould SEL mainframes and some box or other than ran CP/M.

        The VT100s (and Wyse 120s) came later with the Vax 11/750.

        Funnily enough, a recycling company picked up some old WY120s from us a couple of weeks ago after we'd brought one of our veterinary clinics into the 21st Century and off an old THEOS multi-user system.
      • Your post makes me feel like a young whippersnapper. To me, vt100 is just a terminal emulation mode on minicom...
      • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) *

        Jees, you kids today. My first computer was a slide rule! ENIAC was patented about five years before I was born. I didn't grow up with computers, computers grew up with me. [kuro5hin.org]

        Should I invoke GOML? Now surely someone even more geezerly than me will chime in...

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I wouldn't be surprised if the Meego was a slightly better machine than the Ultrix, performance-wise.


      Ultrix ran on a fairly wide range of hardware, but a typical machine would have a single MIPS CPU clocked at around 25MHz (i.e. 0.025 GHz). It probably would have about 32MB of RAM... the largest Ultrix server I ever used had 128MB, but that was far from typical. Many smaller DECstations that I used had only 16MB. The disk would be at most a 1GB SCSI-1 device. Workstations would more typically have a 200MB drive.

      A low-end netbook is probably going to have about 30x the CPU power, 16x the RAM, a

    • Nah, you should program using cards (9-edge down of course) or UNIX's first character terminal (the teletype 37) to get a true retro feeling. Programming in cards where you submitted the deck to the attendents for processing, and sometime later picked your output, tended to make you check the program by hand before submitting, particularly if you didn't get the output back until the next day. I remember in my first high school having the 029 or 027 card punch in the next room to the computer, made it so c
    • by Alioth ( 221270 )

      Shame you got rid of it, I'd like one of the larger noisier VAXen (I have a desktop size MicroVAX 3100). I don't run it all the time but I do take it to retro shows (complete with serial terminal) and use it as a file server for a network of Sinclair Spectrums. A larger VAX would be awesome.

  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @11:40PM (#32821368) Homepage

    That's not hooking a classic terminal to a netbook. This [aetherltd.com] is hooking a classic terminal to a netbook. (More pictures. [aetherltd.com])

    • by adolf ( 21054 )

      I was going to post something about my TI Silent 700, but there's no reason to do so now.

      Thanks for ruining everything.

    • For entertainment for the kids, I once built a teletype - 5 bit baudot code - interface to an early Commodore computer (kind of homage to the Manchester computer.) It was so noisy that my wife exiled it to the furthest point of our granny annexe, and it was still too loud. The hardest parts were (a)programming the stunts to switch the code converter and (b) the +/-75V translator.

      Those were the days when we discovered that our military grade Eprom programmer was actually an embedded PDP-8 and you could run

  • by Anonymous Coward

    He probably should change his login password now.

  • I was all excited to see DEC back in the news. Oh how I missed you since that fateful day in 1998 when you got bought by Compaq, which inturn got bought by HP by the woman who now hopes to do for California and America, what she did for HP [cnbc.com].

    But alas, no. You are gone and shall never return. I guess I'll just have to file your section next to Enlightenment [enlightenment.org]'s, and all the other sections that people have no idea what they're for. Can't someone over clock a a DEC Alpha or something?

    I'm really tempted to post

  • by ojintoad ( 1310811 ) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @11:59PM (#32821498)

    Connecting the video terminal to the netbook was fairly straight forward. Starting from the VT320 video terminal I used a Parallel to Serial Port converter plugged into the RS232 cable from a Lego Mindstorms set. The other end of Lego cable was plugged into a RS232 to USB adapter connected my netbook. (You could go straight for a Parallel to USB adapter cable, but I personally would not want to miss out on some excellent Lego.)

    What a blockhead.

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I can see the use of it. The Lego Mindstorm's is a null-modem cable, as for why they chose it to be is unknown to me, but hey, it means a DB9-DB9 null modem cable (female connectors on both ends, easy to connect to computer)

      However, calling a DB25-DB9 a "parallel to serial" converter....
      (Manual on the linked set for the VT320 talks about the 25 pin RS232 serial port, so I am really sure on that.)

  • by Zanthrox ( 835290 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @12:03AM (#32821528)

    I'll be impressed when I see a VT330 or VT340 showing a graphical web browser -- heck, you could go back as far as a VT125 to get monochrome graphics...Not that sending bitmaps over serial would be fun, but modern vector graphics might be..altered..to something ReGIS compatible. That'd be a cool hack.

    Neat to see a VT320 going again though, anyway -- been ages since I've seen one fired up.

    • Geez, I never had one that nice. Until about a year ago, I had a VT240 and a microVax on my desk, and used it daily.


  • by Darkness404 ( 1287218 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @12:18AM (#32821616)

    The pleasant surprise for me is that it was so simple to set up a thirty year old video terminal on a modern light weight host system. MeeGo has not forgotten its Unix heritage.

    Um, doesn't -every- Linux distro include this? I don't know of a single Linux distro with the exception of perhaps DSL and some embedded distros that wouldn't include basic command line tools. What do you expect with a Linux distro? That because your running Ubuntu all it does is boot a version of Windows XP in emulation via the Linux kernel?

    • by ranulf ( 182665 )
      Pretty much every unix variant too. I did this with my sparcs a good 15 years ago. It wasn't news then either, it was the standard way of connecting a text terminal.

      ObQuote: "Those who forget history are condemned to repeat it."

    • There are other lightweight systems that use the Linux kernel, but ignore GNU. We should be grateful that MeeGo is designed properly. Other real distros aren't marketed to consumers, whereas MeeGo devices will start appearing in stores soon. I'm looking forward to being able to buy devices that are immediately both usable and powerful.

      Even with Asus it was more like power on, overwrite their distro with Debian, mess around with drivers, start using the next day...

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I don't think the other distros in Meego's space (Android and ChromeOS) include ncurses or VTs. I could be very wrong, though.

  • I remember borrowing an old Wyse terminal from work and hooking it up to my Apple IIGS running GNO/ME (GNO Multitasking Environment. Check here: http://www.hypermall.com/companies/procyon/gnome.html [hypermall.com]).

    It's kind of cool that all this still works in current-day Linux. There's not many dumb terminals around any more for sure unless you're using an IBM Mainframe I guess. I suspect they still use 3270's.

    • by Rosco P. Coltrane ( 209368 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @12:56AM (#32821872)

      There's not many dumb terminals around any more for sure

      The dumb terminals are the users these days, as demonstrated by this guy watkin5 who thinks it's such an incredible discovery that a Linux distro can handle a VT320 that he has to write an article about it (complete with a confusion between parallel and serial port DB25s that screams "I don't know what the heck I'm talking about but I'll talk about it anyway"), this other guy muirhead who think it's worthy of a Slashdot story and submits it, and kdawson who accepts the story.

      I guess in 15/20 years, we'll have a story on how Linux can still run keyboards and mice equipped with a PS2 plug originally invented by Sony...

    • by lars_stefan_axelsson ( 236283 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @03:20AM (#32822696) Homepage

      There's not many dumb terminals around any more for sure unless you're using an IBM Mainframe I guess. I suspect they still use 3270's.

      I guess I'm going to show my age here, but to me a VT320 is very far from a dumb terminal [wikipedia.org], having used a real glass tty (i.e. terminal that couldn't do e.g. cursor addressing, or even backspace).

      And the 3270 [wikipedia.org] in particular is about as smart as a terminal ever got. The terminal itself did the input field text editing before shipping the whole screen input back to the mainframe. Even though there aren't many actual terminals around you'll still see them emulated on PCs in quite a number of applications.

    • Linux is not just used on the desktop, it's pretty popular in the embedded world as well. Having to communicated with a single chip computer via a serial port is still a standard task in those setups.
    • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) *

      There's not many dumb terminals around any more for sure unless you're using an IBM Mainframe

      I don't think we have any dumb terminals left, but they still have a big IBM mainframe. You log into it from your PC over the network using terminal emulation software.

  • I used to connect my HP 48 calculator to my linux machine via a serial port and used a terminal emulator on the 48 to log into the linux box and kill processes and stuff. Way more cool. And still portable!

  • What most people don't realize is the machines most of us use every day are far more powerful than the Crays of the 80's. I think tomorrow I'll see if I can get the Lear-Seigler dumb terminal hooked up to on of my Linux machines. You will need a teletype to beat that!

    • by Barny ( 103770 )

      Guy above you beat it, he had a "steam punk" restored teletype machine hooked to a netbook.

      http://linux.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1710194&cid=32821368 [slashdot.org]

      On a side note when I was in uni we hooked a Bordot teletype machine to a Motorola 68000 based machine via rs232, and built some assembler text editors to talk to them (wasn't too bad, just made a lookup table to convert from ASCII to Bordot).

  • by mirix ( 1649853 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @01:40AM (#32822128)
    getty ain't going to be losing serial support anytime soon.

    But yes, serial console is awesome. Although not awesome enough to write an article about.

    People really need to learn that "D" subminiature connectors are not inherently serial or parallel. A DB-25 with RS-232 on it is still RS-232. Nothing parallel about it, apart from the fact that a lot of printer cards used the same connector.
    • by deniable ( 76198 )
      I've seen DB25 used for for serial, parallel and SCSI. It gets around. Right now I'm trying to get thoughts of a DB25 parallel, 10Base2 network adapter out of my head.
      • Not parallel (except in the sense as the original article's author's: "Any DB25 must be a parallel port")... but there's this [infoseek.co.jp]. Old-sk00l Macintosh DB25 SCSI to 10Base2 or 10BaseT [infoseek.co.jp]. I use one on my Mac SE for TCP/IP and Ethertalk on my LAN at home. It works quite well.
  • Bah. (Score:3, Funny)

    by oddaddresstrap ( 702574 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @01:46AM (#32822158)

    A VT-100 should be plenty for anyone.

  • Uh, yea... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HaeMaker ( 221642 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @02:01AM (#32822234) Homepage

    Guy calls a 25pin serial port "parallel" and is impressing us with is mad skillz using lego to "convert" it to 9 pin. The need for null-modem probably took him weeks to figure out.

    I think this kid should get off of my lawn.

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Oh Earl, you leave the poor kid be, he ain't hurting nothin', and you wouldn't'a' even known he was there but fer that kdawson feller raising a ruckus; he's the one yuh should be runnin' off. Want I should fetch yuh yer shotgun and some o' them rock-salt loads?

  • I remember doing something similar with a vt220 and dos back in the day. Now, what was the command to redirect console to the serial port? Something to do with con and pipes?
    copy con || com2:

    or something

    also some baud rate and Xon stuff.

    Anyway, the point being that my terminal had an amber phosphor and thus was far cooler than this guy's.

  • Installation skillz? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    His instructions are weird. You don't need ncurses to get a serial terminal working. serial port supporting getty (like agetty) is enough. and to activate changes in inittab you don't need to reboot your computer (it's not windows, you know..) just run "telinit q".

    • Yes, but it's interesting - I could repeat this with my Acer Aspire One netbook running fedora 13 and a Wyse 120 terminal then I could use it to ...er...um...well...maybe...
  • I can't claim to be a PDP-11 hero, I did a bit of programming and hardware faulting on them in the late 1980s in line with my jobs in telecoms and call centres, but the scary thing for me is realising the orders of magnitude of increased processing power that exists in a modern netbook than was in the DEC kit.

    • And where does all that power go? Seriously, where does it go? The address space of a PDP is 64K. That's it. It would be hard to do a "Hello World" in that space on the netbook.
      • I started off with computers in college (here in the UK) by assembly programming Z80 CPUs with LCD digit displays and probably no more than about 1K of memory - at the time we were amazed at what could be accomplished in that amount of memory...

        Of course, assembly programming has little interest these days because it just takes far too long to program anything in it and debugging is a pig - hence the need for programming languages, in-built libraries and layer upon layer of interfaces, APIs and whatever.


  • HOWTO (Score:3, Interesting)

    by anti-NAT ( 709310 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @06:08AM (#32823566) Homepage

    Add the following to /etc/inittab

    # Serial tty in case console stuffs up
    s1:12345:respawn:/sbin/agetty -L -w 9600 ttyS0 vt100


    telinit q

    and you're done. Now you too can have a vt100 plugged into your ttyS0 serial port (or an emulator via a null modem cable running at 9600bps, no parity, 8 bits, 1 stop bit, no flow control)

  • by deckardt ( 989092 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @06:09AM (#32823578)

    The sad guy mistook a db25 rs232 for a parallel port... sigh

    I've been doing this for years, since 1997... so this must be one of the oldest tricks in the book.
    Here is my 4 step recipe for Ubuntu, using USB serial adapters:

    1) hook up the stuff and config the terminals correctly (I used 9600 8n1 due to long cables, got weird chars at 19200+)
    2) Install Ubuntu on your system
    3) put the following in /etc/init/ttyUSB0.conf
    # ttyUSB0 - getty
    # This service maintains a getty on tty1 from the point the system is
    # started until it is shut down again.

    #start on stopped rc RUNLEVEL=[2345]
    #stop on runlevel [!2345]

    exec /sbin/getty -8 9600 ttyUSB0 vt100
    ---(repeat for as many terminals you have, incrementing the 0 of ttyUSB0 to 1 to 2 etc)---
    4a) reboot
    4b) sudo service ttyUSB0 start
    (repeat for as many terminals you have, incrementing 0 to 1 to 2 etc) ...
    *) profit

    Here is my setup with a WYSE vt420 compatible and two vt320's
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/rickdeckardt/4748415699/ [flickr.com]

    Gee wiz, that was easy... So why is this on the frontpage of slashdot?

  • I like the whole idea of putting linux on the netbook I think it helps keep cost down. Plus some Linux distro's like Ubuntu have a netbook version that are very light weight and easy to use. The distro he is using is command line driven does not get more light weight then that.
  • A long time ago I had a handmedown 386 I used to run Debian 1.3 on. At the time I was pretty poor and I didn't have a VGA display, so I used to borrow one from a friend when I needed one like for install or when I trashed it. The rest of the time I used a c64 running Novaterm with a mono display for clarity, worked great.

    The 386 is long gone but the c64 still comes in handy.

  • That's when you've got something impressive. Text-mode output to a terminal isn't really that interesting.

  • I remember sitting in our college computer lab watching one of my fellow students (who was a bit more advanced than me) start up the first version of Linux that would boot off of floppies... boot and root disk, no installer, no hard disk device driver either. It had a serial terminal emulation and some basic network capabilities, so we connected a telnet session from it to a 300 bps decwriter terminal nearby and chatted back and forth for a bit. For those not familiar with the Decwriter, it was a slowish

  • I did the same thing 5 years ago. I wanted a persistent IRC terminal next to my workstation because I was way to cool to just have an XChat window open all the time.

    I put it together out of a Wyse 160 terminal that I pulled out of a dumpster (the box had never been opened so it was effectively brand-new) and a Pentium 90 netbook-like computer that someone gave me.

"For a male and female to live continuously together is... biologically speaking, an extremely unnatural condition." -- Robert Briffault