20080217

Developing on the Eee

We have been visiting some family and thus have been away from home for one day. I of course took my Eee and, fortunately, a welcoming RJ45 socket allowed me to promptly connect to the matrix through my little black terminal.

I thus debugged some Ocaml code using a remote Vim via SSH. The experience was not very pleasing, the main reason being the Eee's keyboard, while great for typing a blog like this, is annoying for development work, because programming, involving the use of many special characters, requires frequent depression of the shift and control keys and of the cursor keys. Unfortunately, the right shift key is single-width and is located right next to the cursor up key. Hence, I am constantly pressing cursor up instead of shift, which gets very annoying especially in Vim. I don't know if I'll get used to it. One solution might be to swap cursor up and shift right. However I didn't manage to get my old Xmodmap scripts working; apparently Xmodmap is deprecated and you have to use that thing called Xkb now. The problem is that Xkb is extremely complex and could be called an "international keyboard mapping meta-description framework environment".

Anyway, I ended adding some Xandros repositories and was able to get gcc, gvim, mercurial and other goodies. I also compiled Ocaml from the CVS. The Eee is indeed slower than my home desktop, a 2.4 GHz PIV, and slower than my work desktop, a dual-core 64-bit machine, but it remains perfectly acceptable. I'd say that today, most computers run at the same speed. Having an ultra-fast solid-state disk certainly helps too.

As you may recall, I had disconnected the fan, resulting in a perfectly silent machine. It works quite well and doesn't get any appreciably hotter than what it got with the fan connected. I hope it won't shorten its life. It's a real pleasure and maybe I'll use it at home, connecting it to a bigger screen, a bigger keyboard and a mouse, turning it into a silent workstation.