Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Distance

"No trophy, no flowers, no flashbulbs, no wine.
He's haunted by something he can not define."

I've just woken up still wearing my jeans. I think I used the term "fundamentally tired" in a recent post. This time I just "had to get it finished". The latest image for Manaiakalani is done. Finished. The last iteration of this version. From here on in, we're looking at Ubuntu 12.04 as a base.

Does anyone remember Windows 95c? With it's little humble "With USB Support". Back then "Plug and Play" was referred to "Plug and Pray". i.e. you'd plug something in and hope that it didm't rain fire and brimstone. Seriously. I've had things start to smoke when I've plugged them in. Microsoft were very much at the forefront of a whole lot of technologies that just didn't seem to deliver (back then. They eventually worked and we all took it for granted).

I imagine I'm feeling a bit like the developers behind the release of Windows 95c. It had changed. Windows 95 could now be considered a brand name. 95c was very different from the first version that had been released.

So with 2 years working on the image, I think (I hope) I've finally got it right. No keyring issues or Flashplugin problems. Bookmarks that actually work (though I had to drop support for Firefox much to my annoyance - I'm not sure I'll get around to talking about this but it does irritate me). The final barrier on sound (while the machines have had microphone support since the beginning of the year, their webcam application still didn't record with sound by default) is sorted. The boot screen identifies when it's taking too long and displays a message that usually fixes things (Please press the 'f' key). The thing they run when first setting up their accounts has finally been debugged to an extent that I would use it semi-confidently in a large deployment of say.... 2,500 odd machines.

So after having finally finished it all at 6am this morning, I went home, grabbed a shower, and headed back out to work. Imaged a few netbooks ("Aww sir. Do we HAVE to have it reimaged?") and finally got to have that celebrational (hmm.... I wonder if that word is trademarked. So long as I don't use "Muppetational" I should be alright) drink I'd been imagining since around 2am.

In terms of acknowledgement of the image - I got to the office on Sunday (Saturday was for testing and a much needed sit down with friends over a pint) and finally found my personal cellphone - it had been left in the office. There was a missed call from Friday. I text the guy to find out what was up. He'd wanted me to go into one of the schools to sort out a netbook. Not netbooks. Netbook. If the school's don't understand that there's a whole lot more going on than just tech support or the time this sort of effort takes, and the lack of time in which I've got to do it in, the kids have no chance.

Love the FLOSS community at the moment (you people rule!). Tired... wheezy tired....

"The sun has gone down and the moon has gone up,
and long ago somebody left with the cup"


  1. yay !! an accomplishment for you. Now hopefully you can rest some more and relax. You certainly deserve it.

  2. :) Yeah a little bit of one. Deployment to go - expecting to be finished within 2 weeks? hopefully. Then hopefully a bit of a break - 2 or 3 days - and then back into it. Next years image is going to be based on 12.04 (hopefully they'll have solved the weird "Something has crashed" errors by then) so a lot of work around compatibility testing (for my scripts and the like) and a complete reworking of configuration (from gconf to gsettings for example). And once all that's done, then I can start looking at Interface options (do we stick with Unity, play with Cinnamon/MATE/Gnome-shell or write something that is built especially for the kids?).

    The work never subsides... I just become more experienced.