There are many choices for terminal emulators on Linux, but here is one that only recently grabbed my attention and is proving especially useful on large screens: terminator.

When you first start terminator, it looks like just any other old terminal, but with a red bar at the top. The real power though, comes from it's awesome window splitting. A right click shows the "split horizontal" and "split vertical" options, which will cleanly divide your screen in two. You can keep doing this to subdivide even further, giving you multiple, nicely spread terminal windows.

If you learn the shortcut keys, things go even faster:

  • Ctrl-Shift-o: split horizontally
  • Ctrl-Shift-e: split vertically
  • Ctrl-Shift-x: maximize/unmaximize active terminal
  • Ctrl-Shift-arrow keys: resize the active terminal
  • F11: fullscreen

I also like to enable the "follow mouse cursor" focus option, so you just move your mouse around to select which terminal you type into.

Install on Debian/Ubuntu: apt-get install terminator
Install on Arch: pacman -S terminator

Arch Linux

We've been running the Belgian Arch Linux mirror at work for quite some time already, but even though some of my colleagues run it as their main Desktop OS, I could never be bothered to try it out.
A couple of weeks ago, a coworker at a customer seemed really enthusiastic about it, so I thought I'd give it a whirl myself.

The main idea behind Arch, is to provide a distribution which keeps things as simple as possible. A good example, is the way they replace the classic sysv init system with a simple array of values. No upstart, no systemd, no tools necessary to create start/stop symlinks. The order in which you place the names of the init scripts, is the order in which they are started. Simple, no?

Arch Linux is a distribution which performs "rolling updates". Unlike Debian or CentOS, you don't have "version X" installed. If you choose to regularly update your packages, you're always running the last available version. This gives you a cutting-edge operating system, which might not always be suitable for server use, but is definitely cool for a desktop machine.
Building your desktop environment is similar to Gentoo or a minimal Debian install. After the install is finished, you end up with nothing but a command-line, and it's up to you to choose a Desktop environment, install your applications one by one, and manually enable each and every feature that you want. This is a lot of work, but luckily Arch has an awesome wiki, with tons of information on how to get stuff working.
Pacman, the Arch package manager is great as well. If you've ever complained about yum being slow compared to apt, prepare to be amazed by pacman.

Running Arch Linux as your main desktop is OS won't be the easiest road to take, but it's definitely one of the coolest.

FreeBSD support for wireless adapters?

I wanted to give FreeBSD a try. I have heard lot's of people be quite enthousiastic about it, and since I had been playing with openBSD a while back, I thought I'd give it a try on my laptop.

Installation of FreeBSD version 9 was pretty straightforward, probably thanks to their new ncurses-like installer.
Unfortunately, it turns out my realtek wifi adapter is not supported.

The list of adapters that are supported is quite extensive though:

But no luck for me. Bummer. Guess it's back to Linux for the laptop then.

Duckduckgo: a search engine for geeks?

I stumbled upon DuckDuckGo a while back already, but with the release of LinuxMint 12, DuckDuckGo suddenly gained a lot of media attention. But is DuckDuckGo just a minimalistic Google clone? Or is there more to it? The main arguments that the maker poses, are that it doesn't track you, and doesn't bubble you. That all sounds pretty good, but it's not enough to convince your average geek.

After using it for a while, you might notice that the results are not as good as those from Google. Looking for things that are known globally, such as large company names or open source projects usually land you on the right spot, but local shops or news just won't show up. Obviously, Google manages to get it right because of it's famous bubble/tracking. It looks at the IP address of where you're connecting from and provides you with local information. Something that DuckDuckGo explicitly doesn't do.
This doesn't mean you can't get localized search results from DuckDuckGo though! If you take the time to visit the settings page, you'll see what I like best about DuckDuckGo: it doesn't treat you like a child and let's you decide for yourself what you want. You want localized results? Wikipedia results? Links in orange on a purple background? SSL encryption? Content that uses the entire width of your screen? You can have it all.
And to top it all off: if you're one of those privacy conscious people who actually delete their browser cookies like me, you can give all these parameters as GET parameters, so you can store it in a bookmark or use it as your home page:


So give it a chance, and invest some time in tweaking the settings. You might actually like it.

Article on iptables

I've just added version 0.0001 of my "iptables for noobs" article. It's meant to show how to run a simple firewall on GNU/Linux. If you find any mistakes, please tell me and don't hack my server. :P
Linkie: https://krash.be/node/7

Upgrade to Drupal 7

Yes! You're reading this right! I upgraded the site to drupal 7. It all feels pretty advanced, but getting stuff tweaked the way I want it is taking aaaaaages. :-)


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