Status update

Just as the title says this post is meant as a little status update. I’m currently having little free time – so don’t expect any big things right now. But there are of course still a few things going on which I wanted to let you know about.

elderlinux.org

The project homepage has finally received something that can be called a design. I’m using a slightly modified version of a template which is available for free use. So far everybody I asked liked the colors. Any (different) opinion? Write me a comment and tell me!

Also the homepage offers some limited content now. It’s still not much but it’s a beginning.

The new elderlinux.org design

Free time is scarce and the process of building the homepage and maintaining it is something which will take me a while to get familiar with. So this does of course have a huge impact on both my blogging activity here and on the EERIE development.

eerielinux.wordpress.com

While I’ve certainly only used a small percentage of all the functions WP.com offers me for free, I’m pretty much accustomed to work with these after more than a year of blogging. Despite that the world WP.com is slowly getting too small for me and the needs of this blog. On the one hand it offers a lot of features I never felt the need for. On the other however there are features which it doesn’t provide and among which are some I’d really like to use.

The one big problem I was having for quite a while was that I’d like to adjust the width of the two columns the blog page consists of. Not possible with WP.com. And now finally with the homepage up the need arises for a consistent theming. The template which I use for the page even offers a WP.org theme, too. But it’s not possible to use it with free WP.com.

These two issues are the main reasons why I’m considering to move a way from WP.com free hosting. This is also why I’m going to try out if I’m able to manage a WP.org installation myself. The plan is to set one up on a private pc and play around with it until I’m satisfied. The next step would be researching how to migrate this blog to a self-hosted one. I haven’t found the time to do anything in that direction but I’ll keep you updated.

GTK+ tests

So far I’ve started compiling a list of GTK+ based file managers. I’m not done with it, yet, but I hope that I can start testing them soon.

Afterwards, just like with Qt, I intend to test some GTK+ text editors, too. That would conclude the GTK+ series of posts.

DDD and desktops in general

Recently I’ve come into a situation where a better version of the DDD would have come in handy. For that reason I plan to soon give it another shot, too. And the desktop comparison of last year has been one of the strong points of this blog. However I feel that a lot of things have changed since then. E.g. OpenCDE is gone, Consort has arrived and it might be nice to compare new values against the ones from last year! Maybe it is a good idea to repeat these tests? Feel free to comment on that issue. I’m slightly in favour of repeating it but – again – time is the limiting factor here.

What’s next?

Good question. There’s currently a whole lot of things which I’ve started working at. Most likely I’ll try to get the GTK+ file managers done first. But at this point I won’t promise anything.

EERIE’s first birthday!

Today it’s exactly once year since I’ve made my first post here. One whole year has passed on this project and it’s time again to look back. If EERIE was a human child, it’d still be wearing diapers but would also have grown quite a bit and learned enough to make the parents proud!

Where EERIE comes from

On a personal level I was an ordinary Linux user who wanted to get to know his operating better. Distro hopping was fun (and informative) for some time but I wanted to get into it a fair bit deeper. While this of course involves a lot of reading, it’s always best to just try out things yourself. Thanks to virtual machines (which are clonable without much hassle) you can just do your experiments without fear of breaking anything critical. I did just that pretty often (things like uninstalling glibc is obviously not a smart thing to do – but there are moments you just want to know what exactly will happen if you do it anyway!). I’ve been breaking things out of curiosity sometimes (and aware of what I was about to do) but most of the time by accident or ignorance.

I had already been interested in how programs are being packaged and how the various distributions were made. Soon the question arose: “How do you actually start a distribution?” I read what I could find on that topic and went back as far as possible to the beginning of some of the big distros. Then I tried to imagine how things really started and begun to grow. I finally got hooked by the idea to try this out for myself. It wouldn’t need to be something special – maybe not even something useful in the narrow sense of it. Just the result of a little playing around and a personal project for the sake of learning how you do it.

Linux From Scratch (LFS) would be an excellent thing to begin with, I thought. And since I had been reading a lot on the net I figured that I might as well share my experience with the project. The worst thing that could happen would be that nobody cared for it but probably a few people might find it informative. I decided that it wouldn’t hurt to just give it a try as well. However I never completed LFS since I soon became distracted by plenty of other things!

During my preparations (I was just reading the Filesystem Hierarchy Standard (FHS) since I had always found the filesystem organization a bit confusing) I begun to wonder if I really should just build a distro “by the book” (which LFS is literally all about) or if that wouldn’t mean a missed chance to do something else at the same time. There were a few things with every distro that I wasn’t happy with. Wouldn’t it be a good idea then to build an experimental distro which tried to do things differently in those cases? I decided to create a free blog and just start with it (and see if I have the discipline to stick with it). When I talked to Pheak about my ideas he liked them and joined the project. So far we’ve worked on it independently and he remained more or less in the background, helping me out when I ran into problems and giving suggestions.

The project

Pheak and I decided that the goal for project EERIE (short for “Elementary energy-efficient resource-saving internet experiment” ;)) would be to come up with the base for an experimental desktop distro. So its primary task was and is conducting a series of tests to find a base suitable for it. Also a subproject emerged from the desktop environment tests: The DDD (Desktop Demo DVD). It’s all about bringing as many DEs as possible together on one live medium so that anybody interested in it can easily try them out and compare them to each other.

What has been accomplished so far? A lot actually.

  • I started with describing how I came to Linux (more or less to get familiar with blogging at all)
  • and by offering a few thoughts on Linux for desktop use.
  • First I tried to do my tests with Gentoo but eventually changed to Arch (which Pheak admittedly proposed right from the start).
  • The desktop tests were published in a series of 5 posts (dealing with 3 – 5 DEs each!).
  • Then the various toolkits were discussed and compared briefly.
  • After that I wrote about live cd creation on Arch and released the first alpha version of the “DDD”.
  • The next posts contained thoughts about which applications are crucial for a desktop distribution.
  • Following this I posted comparisons of Qt-based programs to find out which were the most light-weight ones.
  • While I intended to release a new version of the “DDD” and then go on with the GTK applications I postponed these topics and wrote about something I was just messing with at that time: Other Unix-like systems and their Arch variants.
  • And last but not least I managed to get an interview with the EDE (a FLTK-based light-weight DE) developer!

But that’s not all. There are a few other things I kept silent about. While I won’t reveal anything yet, let me tell you that these mean going a huge step beyond of what has been done so far (just doing tests and such)! 🙂

The blog

I’ve already taken a look back after 3 month and after 6 month. I’m quite happy that the trend of more and more visitors coming here has continued.

There are days with more and days with fewer hits but there has not been a single day this year without any visitors. In the 12 month it has existed so far, the blog already scored well over 3,600 hits (exactly 3,625 as I’m writing this)!

Number of daily visitors, etc.

While the weekly hits are of course also fluctuating a bit, they cover a much longer period of time and thus show pretty well that overall the number of hits is increasing. As if it were called for this week is an exceptionally good one.

Weekly hits and visitors

While last year saw November scratching at the 300 hits per month mark, January and February have crossed it. March then stormed forward, skipping 400 hits and coming close to 500! And since June is not over yet – maybe it’ll be the first month to exceed 500?

Monthly hits statistics

So far I got visitors from 85 (!) countries in the world, 7 of which have over 100 hits. Here’s the top countries 30:

Visitors by country

Also the average hits have increased steadily. The best month last year was November with 10 average hits per day; currently it looks like June has doubled this with 20 hits per day on average! The number of total hits has even more than doubled when we compare the six month of last year and of this year. 2,600 hits alone in the first half-year of 2013 – and counting!

Daily and monthly averages

I can only say that I’m very impressed by these values. Of course I had hoped that some people cared for what I post here (especially since I’ve put quite a few hours of work into it). But even in my wildest dreams I would not have hoped for well over 3,500 visitors in the first year! I also didn’t dare to think I would be able to write 3 posts every month (on average). 36 posts so far – I think that’s a nice achievement.

But none of all that is what actually makes me happy the most. While hits were also increasing before, I was really missing feedback. Now I’ve finally got my first comments and thanks to that got in touch with another light-weight FOSS enthusiast (and we’re discussing the details of something I’m looking forward to reveal to you later this year)!

What else can I tell you? Well, you probably already know it, but few days ago I, too, was witness to the fact that spam really is EVIL!!!!!!!!!1111one For proof just look here:

666 – the number of the spam!

And just like in my two previous retrospect posts here are some of the (funny or unusual) search engine terms which lead to the blog:

  • qt3 games for linux
  • game windows 95
  • archbsd pacstrap fails
  • “dos gui” tool download
  • ede live cd
  • best fltk based applications
  • extraordinary linux distro
  • fltk webkit
  • eeire linux
  • windows 2000 control panel
  • installing archhurd
  • xfdos forum
  • “nowadays” distribution with trinity desktop
  • future of linux desktop 2013
  • windows 3.11 wallpaper
  • fltk 3.0
  • energy efficient linux
  • how to start plasma from tty2
  • 56647680 b to mb
  • fltk vs fox vs tk
  • xfdos
  • linux exotic desktop distribution

What’s next?

So what can you expect from EERIE in the future? Of course official announcements of what I made hints of above. Other than that I want to resume work on the “DDD” and get the tests with the GTK+ applications done. Not sure in which order.

And then there’s of course a lot of other things to investigate when planing a new distro. Which standard C library to use? Which compiler to build with? Which package management system to choose? There’s enough to do so we won’t get bored!

New Year – taking a look back

Happy New Year everyone!

This is the first post in my second blogging year – and thus I’d like to take a look back again. I already did so after the first three months with post #15. So let’s see what happened in another three months! (Don’t worry, I won’t do this every quarter of the year! ;))

Visitors and statistical peaks

On from December 3rd WordPress is no longer counting just page views but unique visitors as well. This is of course a great new feature (which I admit to have missed the whole time). But since it’s not been available for too long, I won’t write about any details in this post.

Current weekly statistics

The number of visitors has increased a lot: In late September my page hits had just reached 250 – now the blog has been visited well over a thousand times! The days without any visitor had also vanished and I had hits every day for more than two month. The most impressive number of visitors was November 6th. I barely believed my eyes: On this ordinary Tuesday I got 40 (!) hits, all out of the sudden. Just as unexpectedly this new peak was already surpassed with 41 hits on November 15th!

Altogether November was by far my best month, yet: I just barely missed 300 hits in that one month (and thus more than I scored in my first three complete month together)! December hits were a little lower than those in November, but 235 is still better than October with 190.

Current monthly statistics

Countries

By now I’ve had hits from 66 countries of the world! I really like to see which countries my readers access the page from. The “white regions” are getting fewer and fewer over time. Here’s the map showing it:

World map of page hits by country

Top visiting countries are of course also a nice thing to know. Since post #15 the top 5 countries changed a bit: 1) Germany, 2) USA, 3) Switzerland, 4) Spain, 5) Russia.

And it’s 10 countries now from where EERIE has been visited more than 20 times – half of which make up for 50 times or more:


Top 10 viewing countries

Tags and Categories

I didn’t use tags and categories right from the beginning but somewhen in October (I think) I decided to finally add them to all posts (the old ones, too). So this is also an interesting reflector on what my visitors are interested in the most.


Top 10 viewing countries

I won’t comment on that as it speaks for itself.

Search engines, backlinks and such

Just as I expected, still most backlinks refer to one of the desktop testing entries. When it comes to search engines, EERIE was mostly discovered by Google (various localized variants) or Duckduckgo.

The most used search engine term (surprisingly for me) is: archiso local repo (8 times). A rather funny thing is that still people come to my blog because they do an image search for Windows 3.x’s Paintbrush of which I have a picture in one of my first posts (together 21 times)! Another funny term was running windows applications on dos. Yes, this can actually be done (with the HX extender) and I guess the search hit my blog because of the entry about XFDos! Other funny terms:

what is the lightweight desktop environment for linux?
best gui toolkit in linux
arch gnome 3 low disk space warning
lxde redmond
motif slim xfce
start button windows 3.11

Of course many more terms were actually referring to what EERIE is really about. Most people were searching for a comparison between the various desktop environments and their requirements (especially memory usage) or a comparison between the toolkits.

Past and future work

The first year is over and altogether I’d say that 2012 was a very productive first year for the blog. I learned the basics of WordPress and found a fitting distro for my tests (Arch). The desktop comparison series was written and the first preview version of the DesktopDemoDVD published.

The only thing I’m really still waiting for is… Comments. It seems like nobody wants to comment on anything. But at least I’ve already got more than 170 spam comments so I won’t get bored! 😉

While I can’t promise when I’ll be able to resume work on EERIE, I do promise that I will as soon as possible. I’m really curious how the various programs built on different toolkits do when compared to each other! I’ll start with some posts about Qt applications. Then GTK+, Motif and FLTK will follow. And once we have the most light-weight programs of every TK, we can move on to compare the best ones. But there’s a lot of work to do in the process! Stay tuned.

Eerie’s ‘i’ and last ‘e’ – how does the net work?

The ‘i’ and last ‘e’ in Eerie stand for internet experiment. Yes, “eerie” as a project has several faces. It’s primarily about the creation of a new light-weight distribution (which alone involves a lot of things to consider – and to write about ;)). But to be honest, I had never blogged before nor did I know much about this particular activity. So it’s exploring new worlds for me and I’d like to share that with you (if you care, that is). Like the question: Can a project today really work without the so-called social networks?

Up to this post, I have not advertised this blog by whatever means. Not mentioned it in any forum post, not in the signature nor in any profile or via twitter or anything. No search engine optimization of the content, no nothing.

I was surprised that this is actually my 15th (!) post already… It’s exactly three months now that I’m blogging about my thoughts about and experiments with Linux. Who would have guessed that I’d manage to keep up with writing new entries again and again? Anyway, I think that it’s time to take a look at the site stats and decide if the current way was a complete failure or not.

Some statistics


Since I created the blog, Eerie had more than 250 hits, visitors from over 40 countries (some of which I admit that I know absolutely nothing about). I’m not covering June here, since that was just one week, anyway. In July, Eerie had 42 visitors with an average of 1 daily hit. August saw an increase to 91 total hits – a daily average of 3. And in September now, which is not even over yet, the blog was already visited by well over 100 people for a daily average of 5 people. The all-time average is 3 hits per day and the busiest days saw 15 hits. The countries most visitors came from are: 1) Switzerland, 2) Germany, 3) USA, 4) Netherlands and 5) UK.

Current daily statistics

Some funny search engine terms

Up to the beginning of August, days where my blog was visited by anybody except for Pheakuser or myself (our hits are not counted as visitors since we are logged in) were rather rare. People stumbled across Eerie while searching for things like:

doom95 boot screen
start button windows 3.11
paintbrush icon windows 3.11
water elemental warcraft orcs vs humans
dos vesa driver example

These refer to some pictures I uploaded while talking about DOS, Win3.x, Win9.x and computer games in the posts:
First things first – how I came to Linux Pt. 1 and Pt. 2

More specific Linux topics

After the posts in early August, which contained much more common catchwords, more visitors found the blog. And according to the search engine terms, they might easily be much closer to the group of people I’m actually blogging for:

light linux
installing gnome 3 on a new gentoo box
gentoo compared to arch linux
xinit and openbox
“virtualbox-archlinux-additions” “xorg-server”

Visitor’s countries this week

With predominantly searches like that, we’re not quite there, but it gets a lot closer without any doubt. Things changed again when I launched the desktop environments test. Since the day where I put up the first post of the series, Eerie had only four days without any visitor! During a period of two-and-a-half weeks, the blog was visited every day. Here are some SE terms again:

archlinux opencde
memory usage comparison of xfce and lxde
linux arch kde memory usage
memory usage linux desktop environments
linux desktop environments
razor qt memory usage
qt based desktops

Much better, eh?

Backlinks and such

Eerie has also got a few backlinks that I’m aware of as somebody came to the blog by clicking them. The most interesting one is surely that Eerie’s tests were mentioned on planet.lxde.org! Also a fellow blogger here on WP reblogged one of my articles. Cool thing for sure! I only wish that my visitors would not remain so silent and actually leave me a comment now and then! While I had 50+ spam comments already, there’s not one real comment there (save for Pheakuser’s welcome comment).

Visitor’s countries 06/24 – 09/23 (not displaying some smaller countries)

But altogether I’m quite happy with the project. I’ve already learned much about Linux (which happens to be my original intent) and I think that especially the desktop tests may have helped some people to get a better overview of the rather complicated desktop situation of Linux today.

Moving on

This early part of Eerie was very interesting – at least for me. It’s true that a little over 250 hits in three months is not really much (especially since WP really counts hits and not unique visitors)! Still it was nice to see how things work on the net and what impact the various topics have on search engines.

So what now? Well, I plan to advertize Eerie in the future. Not any aggressive advertisement of course, but I’m going to mention it here and there. Let’s see if that’s going to make a difference again!

What’s next?

I want to discuss the various GUI toolkits next. Expect an article about such TKs in general.

Welcome to “Eerie”!

Wow, a new blog! And it’s about Linux… How very original.
Yes, of course – there are thousands of blogs about similar topics. So why this one?

Well, probably because “Eerie” could be an interesting and informative project.

Alright, so what’s it all about?

It’s primarily about a little (?) experiment of mine. It could be interesting or at least entertaining – and might even rise to another level. But let’s stick to the present.

Short version:

I asked myself what the process of creating a new Linux distribution really was like. After reading a little about that topic on the net, I came to the simple conclusion: Try it out yourself and you’ll learn the most from it!

Long version:

There comes a time in the life of every man where he simply has to…
…admit that a little bit more knowledge about GNU/Linux would be helpful!

So he sets out on a long and adventurous journey, striving to learn and understand a complex and powerful system.

  • First he downloads and installs Ubuntu as a second OS. He explores everything and tries to get into it. He kind of likes what he sees and soon he’s busy searching for applications that are similar to the ones he is used to.
  • After a while he notices that he hasn’t booted windows in quite some time and that he might as well erase its partition. He formats it as EXT3, finally doing something useful with it and gaining some more disk space.
  • Next he downloads K/L/Xubuntu and gives the live-cds a try. After choosing the desktop that fits his taste best, he begins looking for software again.
  • (Almost) everything is nice and he can work well with his pc. But reading stuff on the net he regularly stumbles across things he just doesn’t understand. So he tries out Debian, SuSE and a few other distros known to be beginner-friendly. After all he wants to get an idea what that “distribution” thing is actually all about.
  • Not satisfied with the knowledge that he gained, he begins to learn the BASH, to read about the Filesystem Hierarchy Standard, etc. The impressive world of GNU/Linux begins to grow bigger and bigger before his eyes.
  • Content with his new skills only for a short time, he soon starts looking for something else. What about a distro for experienced users? Right, that’s it! Hm… Arch Linux or perhaps Gentoo? “Rolling release”, “stage-3 archive”, “source distribution”… No idea – but it sounds great, doesn’t it?!
  • Having compiled his first own kernel (with quite some settings wrong) he feels great and when his first Gentoo system booted up, he’s really proud for the rest of the day. Now he’s playing around with his new system every night until the early hours of morning.
  • Still not happy, he learns about the existence of Linux From Scratch. Now that must be the ultimate experience: building the entire LFS system completely by yourself and learning what each component is really supposed to do and how it works!
  • After having build LFS for the second time (this time only looking up stuff in the book when he got stuck) and taking a peek at BLFS, he wonders what to do next. Building LFS for a third time, entirely by heart? Trying out some super-insane hacks? Found his own distribution? Get some software to run on an architecture it wasn’t meant to work with?

Hey, wait a second! What’s wrong with creating a new distribution just for the sake of learning something by doing so? There’s a lot to learn in the process, that’s for sure! But honestly – how do you actually start a new distro? Hm. Well, I guess… No! That’ll be part of a later blog entry!

My goal

So my first goal of the “Eerie” project is to improve my Linux knowledge. And in the end I’d like to create a live-cd with an extremely light-weight but still nice desktop system. Nothing revolutionary? Probably not. But I think that I have quite a few rather original ideas. Stay tuned! Anyway I thought that I might well share my discoveries, my thoughts and failures with anybody interested.

Prerequisite

I’m not at all a Linux expert and not even a coder, which will very likely lead to huge problems sooner or later… More about the prerequisites in another post. I’m just going to try it out anyway and perhaps somebody will lend me a hand when I get stuck? We’ll see.

Summary

So what you can expect here: A few thoughts about IT topics, a little about operating systems in general and a lot about my experiments with Linux. Well, and of course one more thing – as even the name of the project suggests, there’ll always be some tongue-in-cheek comments on various things!

What’s next?

I’d like to explain what “Eerie” stands for soon and describe the project a little bit more in detail.
The next entry will have the title: “First things first – how I came to Linux”.

Any feedback on my project or blog is very welcome!