Saturday, November 26, 2005

Henry's Damn Small Review

My name is Henry the Adequate, and I am a superhero.

Now that I am also a computer expert it is only right that I share my experience with those less fortunate, who do not have access to the powers of my enormous brain. To that end I present my first distro review...

Getting Damn Small
So, some long haired hippy guy walks up to me in the street and hands me a CD and announces "Damn Small two, man. You gotta try it!"

That is a little strange because at this moment I happen to be right in the middle of a furious battle with The Robot League of Chaos - some really serious robots who ride around on giant pink rats and wreak havoc upon the innocent and unwary. But that is another story, so let's just say that somehow I escape with my life, and the CD. The hippy dude is not so lucky.


I suspect the CD contains some secret government stuff, or the cure for cancer, or possibly some really good porn, so I hurry home immediate in order to investigate. The label has some writing on it. " DSL 2.0 - Boot the computer with CD in the drive."

Now this is a bit of a problem. How do I put the CD in before starting the computer? But this is not enought to stop Henry the Adequate, superhero and computer expert. I open the case of my brand new Pentium supercomputer. Since I cannot find a screwdriver I use my angel-grinder to cut the heads off the screws.

Inside the big case is another smaller one, right where the CD goes in. I am about to cut this one open too when I notice that I have a screwdriver in my top pocket. Excellent. A minute later I have it apart. Man there's lots of pieces, but I can see where the CD is supposed to go. I drop it into place and put the thing back together. There are a few cogs and bits leftover, but this is normal.

Booting the Computer
I sit back, satisfied at a job well done. Now, what did those instructions say? Checking my notes... "Boot the computer with CD in the drive". I give it a few solid kicks, then wait a couple of minutes, however nothing useful seems to happen. Damn. Then I remember that Tim, the computer store guy, once told me "boot" means to start the computer up. Lucky I have such an incredible intellect or I might not have been able to work that out.

Anyway, I start the computer. It doesn't start up the normal way. To begin with there are some really strange grinding noises that seem to be coming from where the CD is located. Weird. Then instead of my usual startup screen I get one that says "DSL" and a whole lot of other stuff that I don't read. Weirder. I punch a few buttons, possibly including the Enter key - I'm not sure. Something is happening... I am seeing many strange and cryptic things scrolling rapidly up the screen. I almost panic and turn it back off, but Henry the Adequate is made of sterner stuff.

Using Damn Small
Soon I have a strange looking screen. It is way different to my normal Ubuntu picture, and there are lots of little pictures that are not usually there. I wonder what this secret government CD has done to my computer. There is something on the screen that says "Dillo: Getting Started With DSL". I didn't start that up myself, so it must be a virus. I close it immediately.

There is a little picture of an envelope with a globe on it. I figure this must be my email program, so start it up. The program looks different somehow, and horror of horrors - all of my email is gone and it wants me to set up a new account, as though I have never used email on this computer before.

I put these concerns to the side for now, and concentrate all of my formidable mental powers on the problem at hand. That dead hippy weirdo gave me this CD for a reason and I intend to find out what it is... Searching the screen I see a lot of little pictures, though nothing to indicate the existence of secret government labs, or the location of the Chaos Slave Lords and their evil minions. Although there is a picture of something that looks like a cross between a penguin and the Cybermen on Doctor Who. It is labelled xMMs, so it must be porn. Excellent. I shall have to take a look at that later.

Other little pictures are labelled with such cryptic titles as "Siag", "vncviewer", "RDesktop", "Xpdf", "aTerminal", "Beaver" (note to self: this may also be porn), "myDSL", "Firefox", "FLwriter", "elmFM", "axyFTP", "xpaint", and "xZGV". I try several of them but they seem to just start up normal-looking programs like spreadsheets, and word processors and stuff.


Installation is not for the faint-hearted. Fortunately I am a superhero of the highest order and can handle such things. At first it seems as though it has lost all of my data, but after a couple of days of using it like this I happen to restart the computer without the CD in, and everything is back to normal. That's a relief.

Unfortunately I am unable to determine the purpose of this CD, or find the secret information that must be embedded somewhere within. It seems to be just another computer operating thingy that makes computers do useful stuff. You know what I mean. One of those things. What did Tim call it?... Operating Symptom - yes that was it.


Blogger corpus said...


But when are you gonna find some good ol' fashion porn? [Of course, not the "old" kind because the "actors" were quite freakish looking, and this is not the say that I am connoisseur of porn, it just has a tender place in my uh, what-you-call-it? Yeah uh, heart. Yep that's it.]

1:38 am  
Blogger Ben said...

Actually Henry does no view porn. Henry is a superhero, and good and virtuous and fearing of various gods (possibly all of them) and all that.

Therefore any mention Henry happens to make about porn, finding it, watching it, or starring in it, is merely a figment of your framentation or possibly a fragment of your figmentation.

8:23 am  
Blogger corpus said...

But then you'll be taking ALL the fin out of it!

11:40 am  
Blogger Ben said...

And we all need fin. :)
Actually I had some fin once, but it gave me a rash.

12:36 pm  
Anonymous amette said...

Great, that you share the stories of your adventures with the world! I'm sure, that for generations to come people will sing about your heroic deeds.
It's just a little sad, that not-so-bright non-superheroes like me can't find the RSS-Feed for your blog.

10:09 pm  
Blogger Ben said...

Well it's the least I can do. Henry's was a story that just had to be told. And also, think of the children.

I disabled RSS - with only one update per day it seemed fairly pointless. Also, since I've set blogger to show 100 posts on my main page that made for a really big popup in Firefox live bookmarks.

10:18 pm  
Anonymous amette said...

Ah, ok - a one hundred link long live bookmark window truely would need a heroically sized monitor!
Weird that blogger handles it like that, afaik e.g. RSS 1.0 is limited to (or does it suggest?) 15 items in the feed.
Anyways RSS does always make sense imho.
I read my Feeds every morning with my aKregator. If I want to add (and I want ;) ) Henry to my daily reading it would take me three clicks at best (if I don't even forget it sometimes):
- start browser (+startup-time)
- click on bookmarks-folder
- click on Henry (+site loading time)

- take a sip of coffee
- move to the henry feed
(and that all by keyboard only)

Well, however I now might have influenced you (if at all) - great idea and happy Henrying! :)

geek-lazily yours

12:45 am  
Blogger Ben said...

Your laziness almost matches my own.

Let's try it your way for now and see how many complaints I get. I've reduced the story count on the main page to fifteen, and enabled RSS. Enjoy

7:29 am  
Anonymous amette said...

Thank you! Henry is now my favourite morning lecture, my cartoon of the net-news.
Complaints you'll only get about destroyed keyboards from early morning coffee accidents. ;)

12:37 pm  
Blogger Ben said...

You're welcome, but sorry, keyboards replaced at your own expense.

12:52 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Robot League of Chaos does not appreciate being mocked. We will not be deterred in our mission to destroy all penguins (and other associated flightless semi-aquatic birds aligned with non sanctioned operating systems). You may have won this battle Henry the Adequate - but we have more fiendish plans in store for you.

1:32 pm  
Blogger Ben said...

Ha! I laugh and mock and mock and laugh in your general direction, oh robot lords!

Actually that gives me an idea for a story...

Thanks, M[rs] Anonymous.
Your comments are always so helpful.

1:58 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK, DSL is a very cool Linux distro, and I might add, is one of my personal favorites, but not for install. It's a great party trick (?) to install in a friend's PC during a party and fiegn (?) hacking at something that looks nothing like winblows.

I digress....Puppy Linux is a GREAT OS and installs easily and can be booted from a floppy (so one doesn't mess up the MBR), is great for children (listening Henry?) and is very pretty. Out of all of the Live CD projects I have used, including Knoppix, this Puppy CD is a fun little toy to play fits on a mini-CD.

Try it out. Puppy Linux.

3:20 am  
Blogger Ben said...

Yeah, I've played with a puppy before - but only in a good way - no weird stuff or like torture or anything. No need to call the animal protection people or anything Mr Anonymous...

But you were being serious, so I'll try that out for a second and see how it suits....

Yes I've tried Puppy, a couple of versions back, and it was pretty good. I also liked Luit, though it is dated now.

These are all fun to play with, and then I boot back to Debian, and who could possibly want anything else...

Yuck that was no fun at all. That being serious. It gave me a rash.

6:20 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...



(the hippy Dude that gave ya the CD...Yeah i survived!!!)

9:39 am  
Blogger Ben said...

THanks Mr Hippy. I hope you are recovering well and the nurses are treating you nice.

9:46 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Get yourself a reliable blog service at

7:34 pm  
Blogger Ben said...

Thanks for the suggestion.

9:39 pm  
Blogger manmath sahu said...

I swear by DSL. But recently I found PCLinuxOS TinyME better, though a little heavier.

12:49 pm  
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2:31 pm  

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