Debian amd64 port

Today I was able to try the amd64 port of Debian on an Intel Pentium D processor with EM64 technology. I dont have a broad overview of the various 64 bit technologies yet, but as far as I learned today the ia64 port is specific to the Intel Itanium processor, while the amd64 port supports both AMD64 CPUs and Intel EM64 CPUs. The current business card image booted well, but unfortunately the keyboard did not work anymore as soon as the debian installer showed its first menu. I tried both an USB and a PS/2 keyboard, but both have shown the same behaviour. Seems like there is more research necessary 🙂

The csh madness

I have been aware of it for a long time. But, from time to time, you need to make up your mind about it: the csh unix shell simply sucks. I noticed this again today when I tried to execute a simple ‘while’-loop on the shell within one line, something like ‘% while ( true ) ; doSomething ; end’. This is simply not possible with [t]csh: it needs a line feed after the while statement. More reasons why not to use [t]csh can be found at csh programming considered harmful and Top Ten Reasons not to use the C shell. The most obvious for me is: it does not support functions or procedures. So, just do not use it. Use a shell like sh, bash, ksh, zsh. For more complex scripts, use a modern scripting language like Python or Ruby.

qemu – a powerful processor emulator

I recently tested qemu, an open source processor emulator. qemu runs on various host platforms and can emulate various target platforms. They also provide an accelerator module which runs as kernel module on x86 based Linux hosts and enables native instruction execution when an x86 based system emulates another x86 based system. I successfully installed Windows XP on a Linux host, and was really surprised about the performance of the emulated system! It is of course not as fast as a native installation, and especially graphics operations appear to be rather slow (which might be caused by a poor graphics card emulation), but at least I am now able to use the few MS-Windows applications which I still need.