Francisco Soto Ramblings about code, life and stuff.

All text Linux
Dec 13, 2011

I bought an Acer Aspire One D255E a few months ago. I wanted a netbook for very specific reasons:

  • I wanted something very small, I have a 15 inches Macbook Pro and the thing is very unwieldy for a laptop. I found I didn’t play around or code more because I was lazy to carry that laptop around, I wanted something so small that laziness wouldn’t be an excuse.
  • I wanted something with a decent keyboard to be able to type fast and code on. Again, I didn’t want comfort to get in the way of coding or writing.
  • I wanted to run some flavor of Unix in it. Linux or FreeBSD.
  • Have a text-mode ONLY Unix installation. (This was not at goal at first, but now it is ;)

Yes, text-mode only. No stinky windowing system. No fancy browsers. No fancy terminal apps. Yes, I wanted to man-up and go back to good ol’ text-mode, armed with bash and emacs and the whole stack of compilers, interpreters at their core.

emacs vs iPad Safari
That actually got interesting when I was trying to test how this post was going to look like while typing it in emacs.

Now, with the netbook at hand, I tried FreeBSD and several flavors of Linux before settling with Arch Linux, again for some very specific reasons:

  • I don’t like installing hundreds of packages as part of the initial installation or having to install Xorg and a huge desktop. (I am looking at you Ubuntu!)
  • The wireless network card driver worked out of the box with the minimal installation. I didn’t have to do any kind of messing around or having to connect using the ethernet card at all. Huge win.
  • Its philosophy is exactly what I like, lightweight, minimal. That is, it installs only the needed packages to have a minimal working linux installation, of course, you may install more, but you don’t have to, also, it’s based on a rolling-release system, which allows for constant, small updates, I don’t like using old software.

I just say I love it, I got particularly inspired while reading Rebel Code: Linux And The Open Source Revolution by Glyn Moody, very interesting book.

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