Content from 2013-05

Linux on Intel Macs
posted on 2013-05-21 16:30:00

Every. Single. Time.

Installing linux on a Mac never manages to be pleasant. I always remember, "Oh, yeah. I got this to work before." and dive in cheerily only to shortly recoil at what a fucking nightmare it is.

These days I use crunchbang, a very clean Debian-based distro. It's hard to even know who to be mad at. You'd think the installer would just detect the EFI/GPT stuff and "do the right thing" by now. Or be able to resize HFS+ partitions.

Out of Desperation

For whatever reason, I had to resort to this:

  1. Resize OS X with Disk Utility to 50% of the current partition size.

  2. Install rEFInd as rEFIt is now deprecated/unmaintained.

  3. Burn a CD (!!!) since EFI doesn't want to boot from unrecognized USB drives.

  4. Boot from the CD and install linux to the freespace.

  5. When prompted to install the bootloader, install it on the linux partition, not the disk!

  6. Do whatever it takes to get a linux command prompt, rescue disk, whatever. Mount the new install at /target.

  7. Run:

    mount -o bind /dev /target/dev
    mount -o bind /sys /target/sys
    mount -o bind /proc /target/proc
    chroot /target

    Now you can actually do useful things, like fix the broken fucking bootloader! Note that you may need to ifconfig eth0 up && dhclient eth0 for network access.

  8. Install and use gptsync on the drive with the linux partition:

    apt-get update && apt-get install gptsync && gptsync /dev/sda
  9. Reboot and pray.

In Conclusion

Now your glorious Linux distro should boot on your "is-it-designed-not-to-work-with-a-single-fucking-Open-Source-thing?" Mac. Of course, you may need to apt-get remove the busted radeon drivers and add xforcevesa to the linux invocation in your /boot/grub/grub.cfg and remember to always gptsync after any future update-grub operations but...yeah, fuck all these goddamned computers.

Coleslaw 0.9.2 and other lispiness
posted on 2013-05-11 20:41:00

Coleslaw 0.9.2

It still amuses me that my most successful project to date is a blog engine. Not that I'm complaining about having contributors. When I last mentioned it, version 0.8 had just been released. Since then there have been 2 new contributors and a bunch of new features. I think the code has mostly improved in cleanliness.

The biggest changes are new shiny docs, a new tags implementation, cleanups to theming, and plugins for Google Analytics, Github Pages, and Sitemap Generation. For the full details, see the changelog.

My plans for 1.0 are primarily to take advantage of the extensible content types added in 0.8 and add some sort of tumblr-like auto-embedding support. But I probably won't get around to working on that for a spell. Why?

Other Lispiness

Because my lisp emulation experiment/art project is ongoing. Nyef was kind enough to share some code he'd hacked up for NES emulation years ago and it helped give me the motivation to rewrite famiclom's PPU (Graphics Card). The former code was largely cribbed from Patrick Walton's sprocketnes and I didn't understand it very well. I've hit the nesdev wiki again and am getting more comfortable with the PPU's actual workings. The code is on github in the new-ppu branch and I'm hoping to spend more time on it this coming week.

I also spent the last week porting cl-6502 to clojurescript for giggles. Heresy, I know. ;)
cljs-6502 is in a basic working state but there are bugs aplenty and I haven't implemented the assembler or disassembler. The must frustrating part was dealing with A) differences in macro hygiene and B) poor macro debugging facilities.

The browser is a fun target though. I'll have to try parenscript or ... jscl! JSCL is a full CL->JS compiler in early development, which I contributed a tiny patch to for fboundp. It's a great project and if you have any interest in helping implement a lisp, I'd encourage you to get involved. The maintainers are very approachable and there's plenty of fun hacking to be had.

All for now. It's time to play around trying static analysis of Nintendo ROMs with Lisp. I'm bound to learn something...hopefully.

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