Taking a break, from reinstalling software.

According to This previous posting, I have reinstalled the operating system on an existing computer, but in such a way that the entire hard-drive needed to be replaced. What this means is that, while the previous incarnation of this computer (which I named ‘Plato’) had tons of software on it, the reincarnation (‘Phosphene’) essentially started with zero installed software. The task then lies ahead, typically, to install as much software on it as the previous version had, or, just to install the subset of that software, which I truly found useful before.

Either way, much software eventually needs to be reinstalled. And, while I have most of the basic, most-recently-used software reinstalled, including the Computer Algebra Systems ‘wxMaxima’, ‘SageMath’ and ‘Yacas’, much is left to be done in this regard.

But, the task of just installing software non-stop can be exhausting, which I have been pursuing for the past few days. So what I’m going to do for the moment is take a break from this task, while relaxing and maybe pursuing other tasks that need to be completed around my home, knowing that ‘Phosphene’ is still missing major software. A Human Being is not meant to be installing software 24/7, for days on end, in the expectation that his favourite toy will ‘just come back’ as it was.



I have reinstalled the O/S on an existing computer.

According to an earlier posting of mine, the computer which I named ‘Plato’ was experiencing technical issues. Its power-supply was dead.

Technically, I succeeded in replacing the power supply. But unfortunately it also turned out, that its main hard-drive was dead. Therefore, it is now using a different hard-drive as well, which means that I needed to reinstall the O/S. I installed the latest build of Kanotix, and all is well again with that computer.


That computer has now been renamed ‘Phosphene’.

I suppose that one question which now remains unanswered, is whether I should switch ‘Phosphene’ to the proprietary NVIDIA drivers, as I had done with ‘Plato’, or whether I should keep it with the open-source ‘Mesa’ drivers, that include the ‘Nouveau’ drivers.

Continue reading I have reinstalled the O/S on an existing computer.

Just Installed Kanotix Steelfire on one of my Boxes

For more than a week, I was worried about Kanotix, because their Web-site was down. But after just checking today, I found it was up again! :-)  It has been a habit of mine to install initial Debian systems, from Kanotix Live Disks.

I already posses a powerful computer which I name ‘Plato’, onto which I installed Debian / Stretch by way of an experimental Live Disk from Kanotix, but cannot fully say that that one is a Kanotix computer, because at the time, Kanotix didn’t have an official Debian / Stretch release yet. What I did have was two systems running the slightly older Debian / Jessie, and the official Kanotix release with that, is called “Kanotix Spitfire”.

But what I also had for some time, was a weaker PC that still had Debian / Lenny on it, which was an antique system, that required its own security measures, just not to pose a vulnerability to me.

My special security measure for that computer, was just never to turn it on. In fact, it had no eligible Web-browser. But like that, because the hardware was still good, this represented wasted hardware, just sitting in my computer room.

So, now that the Kanotix site is back up, what I did was to download a 32-bit, LXDE Disk Image, of “Kanotix Steelfire”, which is by now their official Debian / Stretch release. In principle many people, including Kanotix experts, would agree that it makes more sense to use as desktop manager, Plasma 5, but as it happens, the computer that just received a new O/S is so weak in terms of RAM and graphics chip-set, that I didn’t think it could handle Plasma 5.

The newly-set-up computer used to be named ‘Walnut’, but is now to be named ‘Klexel’. It has as graphics acceleration, an old Intel chip-set, which Kanotix distributions actually support, in the form of ‘i915 support’. This is neither an Nvidia, nor an AMD/ATI chip-set. But amazingly, I do have some level of direct-rendering with it, and, in addition, I have Compiz Fusion on that box now, and at least, the 3D desktop-switching belonging to Compiz works!

So now, with ‘Klexel’ wiped, I can take my time with it, and install what I think it should have. But what will slow me down a bit, is the fact that I’m not used to LXDE as a main window-manager. In the past I goofed around with LXDE a bit, but now, this is going to be Klexel’s window manager, under which the GUI is arranged differently, from what I’m used to.

(Update 09/01/2018, 23h10 : )

(As of 09/01/2018, 21h35 : )

Continue reading Just Installed Kanotix Steelfire on one of my Boxes

A clarification about (Linux) Mesa / Nouveau Drivers

Two of the subjects which I like to blog about, are direct-rendering and Linux graphics drivers.

Well in This Earlier Posting, I had essentially written, that on the Debian 9 , Debian /Stretch computer I name ‘Plato’, I have the ‘Mesa’ Drivers installed, and that therefore, that computer cannot benefit from OpenCL, massively-parallel GPU-computing.

What may confuse some readers about this is the fact that elsewhere on the Internet, there is speak about ‘Nouveau’ Drivers, but less so about Mesa Drivers.

‘Mesa’, which I referred to, is a Debian set of meta-packages, that is all open-source. It installs several drivers, and selects the drivers based on which graphics hardware we may have. But, because ‘Plato’ does in fact have an nVidia graphics card, the Mesa package automatically selects the Nouveau drivers, which is one of the drivers it contains. Hence, when I wrote about using the Mesa Drivers, I was in fact writing about the Nouveau Drivers.

One of the reasons I have to keep using these Nouveau Drivers, is the fact that presently, ‘Plato’ is extremely stable. There would be some performance-improvements if I was to switch to the proprietary drivers, but making the transition can be a nightmare. It involves black-lists, etc..

Another reason for me to keep using the Nouveau Drivers, is the fact that unlike how it was years ago, today, those drivers support real OpenGL 3, hardware-rendering. Therefore, I’m already getting partial benefit from the hardware-rendering which the graphics card has, while using the open-source driver.

The only two things which I do not get, is OpenCL or CUDA computing capabilities, as Nouveau does not support that. Therefore, anything which I write about that subject, will have to remain theoretical for now.

I suppose that on my laptop ‘Klystron’, because I have the AMD chip-set more-correctly installed, I could be using OpenCL…

Also, ‘Plato’ is not fully a ‘Kanotix’ system. When I installed ‘Plato’, I borrowed a core system from Kanotix, before Kanotix was ready for Debian / Stretch. This means that certain features which Kanotix would normally have, which make it easier to switch between graphics drivers, are not installed on ‘Plato’. And that really makes the idea daunting, to try to switch…