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Category: IT related

Farewell to 32-bits


What's the Difference Between 32-Bit and 64-Bit? - The Plug - HelloTechMy mail server was installed in 2007 and has always been a 32-bit system. It was originally a physical machine, a Pentium-based assembled unit. In 2010 I virtualized it with a p2v (physical to virtual) operation performed via rsync.

Since then it has always run inside a 32-bit virtual machine in VMWare. No particular problem as Slackware Linux still continues to actively support the 32-bit distribution, keeping it completely in sync with the 64-bit version.

Recently, however, I faced the problem of deciding whether it made sense to continue keeping this one 32-bit server while all my others are 64-bit. Especially because, for specific reasons, I started compiling the kernel independently for all my virtual machines, which forced me to set up a compilation VM for 64 bits and one for 32 bits, and therefore to repeat the compilation of the kernel twice.

Furthermore, the fact that Slackware Linux continues to support the 32-bit distribution does not mean that it will continue to do so forever. Virtually all major distributions in recent years have made the decision to only offer a 64-bit version that has enough compatibility to run 32-bit binaries as well. It is possible that sooner or later Slackware Linux will also make this type of decision.

So I convinced myself to switch the server to 64 bit. However, I didn’t want to do a clean installation and then migrate the services. There are 17 years of configurations and customizations in this server and having to do it all over again is one of the reasons why I have never thought about converting it until now. I also like the idea of preserving the age of installation of a server, a bit like when you try to preserve uptime for as many days, months, years as possible.

I therefore thought of using a conversion method that was not officially supported but which logically had every chance of working, that is, taking the latest 64-bit Slackware Linux installation DVD corresponding to the update level of my 32-bit server , boot the virtual machine with this DVD and mount the installed OS partition, then replace all the installed packages with the equivalent 64-bit packages. Finally, reset the kernel to boot and go.

I tested this operation on a clone of the vm and it worked without problems. So after some time I acted on the actual machine with positive result.

After booting and starting the system, now 64 bit, I proceeded to recompile and reinstall the binaries coming from packages that were not part of the official DVD.

The whole thing took about 4-5 hours in total but it was worth it. Now the mail server is to all intents and purposes a 64-bit system originally installed in 2007 but to all intents and purposes upgradeable and maintainable like all the other 64-bit systems in my possession.

Goodbye Nicklaus Wirth


Niklaus WirthOn January 1, 2024, Niklaus Wirth, the inventor of the Pascal, Modula2 and other less widespread programming languages, left us.

He is one of the names that marked global IT evolution in the 80s and 90s. His very famous book “Algorithms + Data Structures = Programs” was the textbook in many university courses around the world, and established the foundations of structured programming.

Pascal, in Borland’s Turbo Pascal version on Ms-Dos PC, was the only “serious” programming language I ever used aside from bash scripting.

I created a small program for generating statistics on the JAM message base of RemoteAccess, the software I used for my FidoNet BBS. It had a certain following among sysops for a while but then fell into disuse and I also lost the sources.

RIP Professor Wirth.

30 years of Slackware!



Slackware Linux has officially turned 30!

Today July 17th is the anniversary of the release of version 1.0 which took place on July 17th 1993.

Ten years ago I wrote a post for the twentieth anniversary, in which I indicated some risks and problems that the development of Slackware could have faced in the following years, in particular the advent of systemd and wayland.

Now, after 10 years, the situation has seen some evolutions and confirmations. Most notably, Slackware has managed to still remain systemd-free. While by now there is an entire generation of system administrators and Linux users who only know systemd and have never interacted with anything else, sysvinit, rc scripts, resolv.conf and a whole series of traditional – but not less effective – commands and logics remain in Slackware. And we can only be happy about it. However, a minimum of compatibility needed with systemd and logind has been achieved with the use of elogind, and for the moment it seems to be sufficient to keep up with the times.

As far as Wayland is concerned, the use of elogind has made it possible to use it on Slackware in a relatively simple way and for some time now it has been possible to launch KDE Plasma in a wayland session without particular problems. Other desktops and WE using wayland also manage to work on Slackware.

In conclusion, the various threats that posed to a peaceful survival of Slackware over the years seem to have not yet caused irreparable damage after a decade and therefore we celebrate this anniversary with some optimism and good hopes for many more years of satisfaction and joy with the best Linux distribution. 😀

Memories of FidoNet


Giorgio Rutigliano has recently made available a website dedicated to FidoNet Italia.

[wiki base=”Wikipedia EN”]FidoNet[/wiki] is the amateur telematic network that was born and spread worldwide between the 80s and the early 2000s, before the Internet was widely available and accessible. It was based on the use of analog modems connected to normal voice telephone lines and on asynchronous communications, that is, sending a message took hours / days to arrive at its destination and the same amount of time needed for replies to return to the sender.

I was part of FidoNet Italia, as a member node, from around 1989 until 1996/97. I came out not so much for the legal problems connected to Fidobust, but rather because the passion for real-time communications represented by chats, IRC, Videotel grew in me and I had less and less interest in leaving my PC dedicated to the BBS.

It must be said that the FidoNet worldwide network has never ceased to exist in all these years. Membership has decreased a lot but a certain number of nodes have always remained active, especially in countries where it has also become a vehicle for political activism.

Recently in Italy there has been a flashback for Fidonet and the BBS, even if limited to old users and Sysop who still have memories of the past, and some nodes are returning to be operational on the network using the internet as transport instead of the old lines telephone.

I have not yet seriously considered the idea of ​​being able to go back online, but maybe who knows …

Minimalism in software development


This is a talk held by my friend Katolaz some months ago, explaining what minimalism is and how it is relevant when developing OpenSource software.


CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 .