Debian wears out my patience

I’ve been happily running Debian on my ThinkPad for over a year, probably the longest time I’ve ever kept a single OS on the thing. Or rather, I had been until Saturday. Saturday is when I decided to update my I’d had some problems with before. Debian Testing upgraded to 7.0, and it turned out the ATI FireGL T2 drivers in that were broken. So, no fancy new X.

End times

Red Sox win World Series. Twice. Debian project releases ‘Sarge’. Apple switches to x86. (Get your badge now!) Microsoft switches to PowerPC for Xbox, picks Macs as development systems. Deep Throat confesses. Labour wins third UK General Election in a row. Mathew learns to drive car, moves to Texas. Coming soon: Showers of frogs. Duke Nukem Forever ships. Pope dies, replaced by Dalai Lama. Passport replaced by RFID embedded in hand.


My first non-bugfix contribution to Linux has appeared in Debian unstable. It’s a data file of disclaimers for the fortune program. I created it because at work, we’re required to put a paragraph-long legal notice in the login sequence of every machine, informing people that the machine must only be used by authorized individuals, may not be used for confidential material, etc etc. So now I add fortune disclaimer to my .

Now I’m a believer

I’ve switched my ThinkPad to Debian, along with my desktop machine. I did it to get off the upgrade treadmill. I was using a well-known Linux distribution, as customized for IBM use, but a second forced reinstall in under a year made me snap. I don’t want to reinstall my OS. I don’t mind it so much with OS X, because Apple make it such a trivial task—you archive and install, and your user data and applications stay there, along with all the necessary configuration, and the new OS is installed cleanly.

Debian update

I got jigdo running, and downloaded the first two Debian CDs. Successfully installed this time. Somehow it skipped installing the ethernet drivers, and when I tried adding them with dselect inside Gnome or KDE dselect couldn’t see the CD-ROM. So, I booted in “emergency” mode, and dselect could then see the CD-ROM. Installed etherconf, ran it, it did everything automatically, rebooted one more time, and the machine is on the net.


Today I tried using Debian. First I tried to find CD images on the internal IBM mirror of the Debian servers. No go. Next I tried the Debian web site. It directed me to use jigdo to assemble a CD set. The jigdo home page was giving me a 404 error, so I gave up on that option. (It seems to be back now.) So, next I tried a net install from a minimal CD image.