Linux on the Libretto, Part V

Posted 2006.11.01 1.00 in Computers/Internet/Technology by Stephanie

So the other night I was trying to do some more customizations to Fluxbox, and stuff just wasn’t working the way the documentation said it should. I tried variations, tried all sorts of things, but nothing, it just refused to do what I wanted it to. Finally I realized that it was because the version of Fluxbox that came with Damn Small Linux was a) not the most recent, and b) probably stripped of a bunch of features, to trim down its size.

So I went poking around and (of course) managed to completely break Fluxbox on the Libretto.

I’m sick with cold or flu or something so I was laying in bed when this happened. Now, I could have just gotten up and gone to where I had my backup hard drive, to try and restore Fluxbox off of that. But that would have meant getting up. And besides, that version of Fluxbox didn’t do what I wanted in the first place.

I had, only a few hours earlier, installed the gcc and additional libraries, so I had (I hoped) a complete development environment. I downloaded the source files for the latest version of Fluxbox and figured hey, I’ll just compile the latest greatest, with the features I want.

Well, try doing this on a computer the size of a VHS cassette, with a 166MHz cpu and only 64MB of RAM.

Two hours(!) into the compile, it hit a fatal error. It was looking for a shared object in the X tree that wasn’t there. Two hours! Well, I had a search and found an older version was there. It wanted 1.2.2 and I had 1.1.something so I just made a link from the version it wanted to the version I had and let it pick up where it left off. Didn’t seem to hurt, since after another 30 minutes it finished the compile. I installed the new Fluxbox and voilla! It worked, more or less.

There was enough difference between the Damn Small Linux version of Fluxbox and the new version that it didn’t run right away, I had to do more tweaks to .xinitrc and then found that my Fluxbox init and style files needed more work, so add another half hour for that.

In the end, it took me about 3 hours to get things back where they were before I broke it in the first place. But as usual, it was a good learning experience, and now that I know what’s possible, I can go back and reconfigure Fluxbox all I want then recompile it again to get things just perfect.

So finaly I think I have X, Fluxbox, and Linux more or less the way I want them. As I posted at the Damn Small Linux Forums, my install isn’t really Damn Small Linux any more. It’s not damn small, being about 400MB now, and it’s not compatible with the various My-DSL stuff any more as I pulled most of that out and rewrote a lot of the init functions.

Basically, it’s loosely based on debian and DSL, with a 2.4 kernel and bits and pieces of DSL applications. Although it’s not technically DSL any more, I’m still glad I started there – It was a good base to start with and I’ve learned a lot!

Coming up next time – a small hardware ‘hack’ that makes the Libretto amazing!