Stratos Gerakakis

Moving to Arch

Aug 22 2014

Well the time to move-on has finally come.

After being a faithfull Ubuntu user since Warty Warthog, Ubuntu 4.10 back in 2004, (wow, already a decade ago) it is time to move on.

There are multiple online posts complaining about the direction Ubuntu has taken over the last years, but I’ll just quickly state my own reasons.

  • Tired of constantly upgrading the system every six months. Although considerable effort is being taken to provide smooth upgrades, usually the procedure to upgrade a system takes the better part of a day. That is, if everything goes well. After almost 20 upgrades I had some gone awry on me, which really adds to the burden of updating the system. And that’s only for one system. Multiply that be 5-6 times, for all my servers, desktops, laptops and the amount of work really adds up.

  • Ever since the move to Unity (which I don’t like at all) I have been using Gnome3. With Ubuntu I am forced to stay a couple of version behind, since the repositories do not include the latest version. Some thing with other packages that do not have the latest versions updated in the repos.

  • In the last two or three Ubuntu releases I get a lot of “Sorry, Ubuntu has experienced an internal error” popups that are really annoying. Same hardware, same settings but a lot of these errors. And very vague descriptions of what went wrong.

So I decide it is time to move to another distro. Reading many nice things online about Arch and after trying it in a Virtualbox machine I decided to take the plunge. I took a shortcut though, and installed Antergos which is a very nicely packaged version of Arch with a gui installer that automatically installs a Desktop Environemnt for you. All done in the Arch way so the end result is well documented.

More posts as the time passes by…

Left Hand Of Darkness

Aug 10 2014

Winter is an Earth-like planet with two major differences: conditions are semi artic even at the warmest time of the year, and the inhabitants are all of the same sex. Tucked away in a remote corner of the universe, they have no knowledge of space travel or of life beyond their own world. And when a strange envoy from space brings news of a vast coalition of planets which they are invited to join, he is met with fear, mistrust and disbelief.

(From the book’s back cover)

I barely had enough patience to finish this book. I wonder how come it got both the Nebula and the Hugo awards.

What was so special about the a single man trying to convince a newly discovered planet to join the Ekoumen (from the Greek word “οικουμένη”)? It could have been vastly more interesting, but the pace and the subject matter of the character conversations were a complete turn off for me. I couldn’t wait for the book to finish. Good thing it was a short one.

If you want a nice Ursulla Le Guin book, you’re better off with the “Earthsea Trilogy”.

Mysql Bindings in Django

Dec 25 2011

In order to correctly install mysql bindings in a Django virtualenv you need:

First install some Ubuntu dependencies::

$ sudo aptitude install build-essential python-mysqldb libmysqlclient-dev

Then create the virtual env and install the python packages::

$ virtualenv --no-site-packages --distribute myVirtualEnv
$ pip install -E myVirtualEnv Django
$ pip install -E myVirtualEnv mysql-python

I was missing the libmysqlclient-dev package and I was getting a EnvironmentError: mysql_config not found when running the pip install mysql-python.

Translating a PDF

Dec 15 2011

Hey, if you pass the link of the online PDF document to the Google Translate service then Google will extract the text from the PDF and translate it in the language that you selected. It doesn’t keep the exact same page formatting but the PDF is now very readable. Much more readable than it was before… :-)

I didn’t know that!