Crazy Long Weekend

This was a crazy, crazy long weekend. I
worked, putting in 14 hours on Saturday and another 6 on Sunday. We’ve got four telescopes that need to
be finished and ready for delivery by the end of November. If you’ve seen the webcam shots, you already know that these
are not just your average backyard telescopes. The telescope pictured in today’s shot is now, thanks
to our Saturday efforts, nestled into 13 crates, awaiting shipment to Japan. The telescopes, by the way, are controlled by
computers running RedHat 6.2 – a testament to the wide-ranging capabilities of my favorite OS.

That was Saturday’s work. Sunday found me twisting an allen wrench on one of two other telescopes
headed to Spain in January. My wrist is tired, but the
effort to finish these telescopes for some great customers makes the minimal pain easily worthwhile.

I’ve been completely impressed by the amount of email you guys can generate. It’s phenomenal! I’ve been
an email junkie since day one on the
Internet and you’ve rocketed me into email heaven. This level of email takes an organizational skill at
least an order of magnitude higher than I’ve had in the past. And, I love responding to them as much as
I love receiving them. I try to respond to as many as I possibly can. Just know that if I haven’t
responded to *yours*, bear with me. I’m working my way through the stack.

A quick note of great system importance. More than one reader brought to my attention last week the
potential dangers of the root user in Linux. In fact, I got scolded by a couple of them for not
providing a warning about the powers of root. Justifiably, I might add. Let me ease their concerns and
rectify my omission with the following warning: be *very, very* cautious when executing commands in Linux
as the root user. In fact, avoid it wherever possible. Root has omnipotent powers in Linux and, without
great caution, you can wipe out important system files. Prudence …

I’m blocking out the Penguin Shell issues for next week, and I thought I’d give you a heads-up as to
what I’m going to be featuring. All through the week next week, the Report will delve into the mystery
of Linux distributions. Why so many? Which one is best? What’s the difference between them? Which one
should I install? I’ll be putting a few to the test this week on my home box and keeping copious notes.
Feel free to ask if you have
specific questions.

Also down the road a bit is what could be a very fun project. As you may know, I took home an HP Jornada 565 from Gnomedex. I’ve promised that I’ll convert it to Linux and report
on the process in the Penguin Shell. I’m still researching the OS options, but seem to be getting closer
to landing on a distribution. I hope to have these reports ready in December.