TIC14 09/04/22 - 15:24 TIC Newsletter

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Tropical Ice Cube Newsletter #14: 400 microscopic penguins on my desk!
From: "Jean-Philippe 'Tropical Ice Cube' Monteiro" <jphWITHzenerves.net>
To: pplugWITHgooglegroups.com, barcampphnompenhWITHgooglegroups.com, jugcamWITHgooglegroups.com
Date: 09/04/22 - 15:24

[My apologies if you receive this message 2 or 3 times: it means you are a very committed person registered to the 3 fine groups I send this NewsLetter to!]


Howdy, Nixettes and Nixers!

Welcome to issue 14 of the Tropical Ice Cube Newsletter, your (quite) weekly dose of OpenSource news here in Phnom Penh.

This week: Minimalist Chinese hardware, a new recipe of Sabayon + some new and old friendships.

HOT NEWS: New & old friendships

I am happy to think that what we do here @ Tropical Central is not only providing people low on bandwidth with free software, but also that we, the all of us, are building a community around it.

Just new this week, Vandy from Gold Star Computer lent me quite curious hardware for me to review and tinker with (I even have his formal acknowledgment to brick it if such sorry ending happens): It's an Alpha400 MiPS processor based 7 wide submininetbook running a Debian mipsel derivative distribution (see full review below). Thanks Vandy!

Now then, two more commercial partners surged: Mike from JX2 and Domink from YEJJ both offered to host Linux Distributions to make them more easy to retrieve to the community, helping them spread around: My office is near Royal palace, JX2 is on Monivong, Gold Star on Kampuchea Krom and Yejj south of Mao Tse Toung - That ain't half bad! Thank you guys, find the exact addresses of these fine, supportive businesses in our new "Sponsor" section :) I will soon advertise when & how you can request your Free Software discs to be delivered to one of these convenient locations!

And if you too want to help, I need blank CD's & DVD's of course + 1 new smallish IDE harddrive to refurbish my failing KhmerOS teststation here (a 9 year old P4 of witch the SMART monitoring system keeps on crying about a less-than-24hours-away catastrophic HDD failure. Still running though).

Do you have some OpenSource local news to share? Send it to tic/AT/zenerves.net!

If you have the bandwidth, share with others! Most Linux Torrents can be found here:


SHOWCASE: Sabayon 4.1 Gnome and more

Gnome? Well, not only that of course; as with Sabayon 4 reviewed in TIC NL#4 the live boot menu greets you with lots of choices, including for netbooks, with or without 3D desktop... And even as a standalone mediaplayer/internet tablet! Again, on the looks side, Sabayon is as elegant as ever, truly one of the most tasteful design of these days (Alongside MoonOS of course).

Kernel is 2.6.29, so that's fairly bleeding edge, and as ever, Sabayon reminds us that we are not here always to work, but that computers can be used for fun too with the inclusion of the World of Goo demo game.

Being based on Gentoo, this is your distro of choice if you want unprecedented level of control and customisation, a vibrant community, and endless possibilities to learn: Sabayon brings all that in a much more manageable package than it's mother distro Gentoo, or the likes of Arch or Slackware.

For the intermediate user then, eager to enter the deep waters of system administration without getting drowned immediately!

Join the Facebook Tropical Ice Cube Group:


Follow my twitteries to learn about latest downloads:


HARDWARE ON THE GRILL: Guangzhou Skytone Transmission Technologies Inc ltd Alpha 400 T62b!!

OK, with such a name, you surely wants to know what it looks like, don't you?


And, then, what's inside?

Inside is quite the issue, as I reported already to Vandy: it's a MiPS processor. That means that as such there is quite no software at all compiled for it, no fuller toolchain available to start doing your own binaries; You are pretty much stuck with the original Debian far-away derivative that is installed, firmly and quite locked, on the device. (more on this later).

Then it's only clocked at 400Mhz, which means that even if they were nice enough to offer Flash support, video playback is quite hectic. The point of such a core is of course the Save the Trees factor: out of a 2100mAh battery, the unit will run about 3 hours. Add to that 128 megs of Ram and a NAND hdd of only 1 Gb and you are on the verge of discarding the thing as a computer completely.

You'll be wrong: Altough there isn't bundled WiFi or HSDPA support, it still offers a decent keyboard, enough pixels to enjoy Facebook or Twitter, and the definitive ability to do some note-taking, spreasdshhet review & the likes, in a 600grams /210mm, 140USD package.

Of course, I started hacking on it right away, and anybody interested please drop in my office, call text mail whatever, if you can't stand the suspense and wait for my next week update: What can we do in real life with 128megs of Ram, 1Gb of Hdd, 400Mhz of engine on a non-standard processor... And some community help:


--??But, why Debian??--

Just because if you look for a distro that runs on exotic hardware, 9 times out of then Debian will be that distro: Debian is the Record Holder of Supported Platform (about 16 of them), and could quite run on a kerosene-powered cheese grater if it had a cdrom, or an usb port, or just a network interface.

And what hasn't got a network interface these days?

LATEST Additions to the DISTROthèque Repository:



-Clonezilla Live 1.2.1-53


-Sabayon 4.1 gnome

This Week recommended READINGS:

Oh the Ubuntu Circus again!


Sorry people, I can't let this one slip unnoticed! Of course I fully agree that the 6 months release cycle of U is THE marketing cue, the sole and whole business plan of this otherwise quite fine distro. Don't worry, I'll have it on your desk in no time, my dear Novelty freaks!

A quite ambitious call from Distrowatch: Bug Central.


And a last one you shouldn't be reading, really: Latest installment from the Bastard Operator From Hell


Visit http://tic.zenerves.net for a full list of available Open Source alternatives for your computing performance and pleasure + more info and help. If you have the bandwidth, share with others! Most Linux Torrents can be found here:


The Tropical Ice Cube - To boldly go where no penguin has gone before!

That's it for this week; Happy Hacking/Clogging/Joomling!

Jean-Philippe Monteiro The Tropical Ice Cube


Gold Star Computer - free hardware check for your Linux boxes

Shop: Nº. 428, Kampuchea Krom (St. 128)

YEJJ - Computer Services, Training, Café and more

Café: Nº. 170, Street 450

Offices: Nº. 92A, Street 432


JX II - the Sabay-powered Massive Multiplayer online game

Outlet: Nº. 308, Preah Monivong Blvd

http://www.sabay.com.kh - http://jx.com.kh/

 "Send a Text Message, Receive Linux for Free"
 Getting your computer running Open Source, free software has never been so easy in Phnom Penh: Just 
 send us a Text Message from your Mobile Phone, and get the Linux Distribution of your choice, for 
 Text/call on 012 561 005 with either:
 * Your request for Linux distro, with pick-up yourself at my office: I will reply with street 
 address and delay/time to pick up the disc;
 * Your distro request with your street address and possible hours for delivery; cost is 1usd per 
 disc/dvd, Business Hours best.

twit: tropicalicecube

web: http://tropicalicecube.zenerves.net

mail: tic /AT\ zenerves.net

Face: Tropicalicecube Phnompenh

Facebook Tropical Ice Cube Group:


Phnom Penh Linux User Group:



This "Newsletter" intends to be low-traffic and informative, to be sent maximum of once a week. The editor chooses which groups/lists to send this newsletter to and is a member of said groups/lists. If you think it is inappropriate, please bring your complaint to your group/list administrator to ban me from sending to the group, but first please consider other members of the group may enjoy reading it!

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