Yes, I *am* stubborn

It so happens that I have a netbsd router. The system has been fine tuned gradually and working beautifully since 2002. But now that I start running into some problems that can’t be easily fixed on such an antiquated system, I have decided it’s time to upgrade the system to a more recent version.

Now the problem is the CD distribution of these new versions can’t handle my old hardware (which works fine, thanks for asking), so I have to rebuild a custom version.

Once everything is ready on the configuration side, you are supposed to build 3 things in sequence:
– the tools
– the kernel
– the userland

I go for the first step… 6h later the tools are ready. 6… hours… Then second step, 5h as well… But that way I could test the kernel worked. Of course, I had to shut every non-vital system off so that I have a bit more ram… the system was crippled for a whole day. But I am stubborn, and I wanted it done on the same machine, in case there are cross-compiling related issues.

Then I brace for step 3. 28h later, the system runs out of disk space. So I clean the mess up a little. and scrape an extra 4 hours of compile time before it runs out of space again.

Having spent something like 3 days on that, I decide to take a shot at cross compiling on my macbook. 10m later I have the tools. 5m more and I have the kernel. I started the step 3 about 1h ago, and I’m already 1/5 done.

OK, I am impressed.


The system is back up at full strength. It was tricky for a second as some userland features scares the beegees out of me, saying they would delete my finely tuned settings, but it turned out OK in the end. I love NetBSD.


To be, or not to be (a geek)?

According to this site, I am a Super Geek. While the word doesn’t hold such a big meaning around here, it got me wondering what it was supposed to be about.

The “geek status” is something that’s typical of high school (and even more so in the US, where geeks and nerds are commonly ostracized… being “popular” is all that matters). Originally it meant “someone who doesn’t fit”. It was someone who didn’t go to parties, wasn’t good with girls, or at sports, and used his brain more often than his legs.

With the advent of the personal computers, a whole new species came into being : the Geek (notice the capital). He is a geek, but mainly because computers are all his life. He doesn’t really want to fit in, he has his world elsewhere, in the virtual universe.

In France, the “geek status” doesn’t really exist. Of course there are bullies, popularity with girls and everything, but the closest equivalent we can find is the “fayot”. The student that lives to please the teacher. During lunch breaks, most of the boys would play soccer (even when they sucked, it’s all part of the game), or cards. And most of the girls would talk among themselves. Of course, just like the geek, it’s a crass approximation, but that’s how it was in my high school.

But let’s get back to this whole “I am a geek” thing. As far as I understand it, being a geek is equivalent to being “a guy who sees the sun maybe twice a year, has all his friends online, and collects trivia about minor matters”.

Funnily enough, that’s what I think about the younger generation. Most of the teens I know are exactly like this. They prowl through MSN/mySpace/… and feel a lot more comfortable there than with the human counterparts that cross their paths IRL (in the real life, or something…).

So, am I a geek? I don’t feel like I fit the profile (except for the “not good with girls” :> ). But it’s true that I collect trivia about things that may or may not matter. I just devour books about anything… even books I don’t like. I like science fiction, and heroic fantasy books (among other things), because it’s a way for authors not to worry about “reality” and focus on the human traits. If you don’t have to worry about death, space, or money, how’s life?

I don’t resent being called a geek, I just feel like it’s a word that doesn’t mean anything anymore. Just like “computer guy”, really. It just encompasses half of the computer users on the planet. Including secretaries and tax collectors.

That said, I’ll keep the “Super” from “SuperGeek” proudly :P