Recently I’ve had to reinstall OSX Panther on my PowerMac because of a weird issue with certain pictures (including some toolbar, dock, and menu icons) were being rendered in Evil Grimace purple and Uncle O’Grimacey green. It wasn’t a ground breaking issue, but it was annoying and gave me an excuse to start from scratch and re-implement The One True Way, which had fallen out of harmony. My One True Way is simply my method of setting up a system in a way that makes sense to me. This encompasses directory structure, dock/menu usage, symlink creation, script writing, desktop background, desktop allocation, program installation, and program configuration. For the most part, F1TW (Fogus One True Way©) is virtually identical across platforms except for a few differences in the programs installed. This essay describes the approach that I’ve taken with OSX recently while deviations for other platforms are highlighted when appropriate. This essay will continue to evolve 1 over time as the F1TW is a dynamic system and not subject to dogmatic conformance to program usage, desktop background, or company/distro advocacy.
For any system conforming to F1TW, all hard-drives are first repartitioned and each individually formatted and checked for bad blocks. Using the OSX installation disk(s) (as well as Linux and Windows) this is a trivial matter. However, I adhere to a strict partitioning scheme for most of my systems, although the details for each differ.
The partition scheme above are fairly self-explanatory, however a few exceptions need to be explained. First, for all of my systems I like to keep a Vault partition. The vault is a repository for essential programs, configuration files, and backups. I usually keep a copy of the latest versions of my essential programs (listed below), any periodic backups, mirrored copies of all important configuration files (XF86Config, .vimrc, .bashrc, .profile, nethack.sav, .emacs, etc…), and a mirror of my source repository. This partition is always stored on a separate disk from the main OS and is occasionally burned to a disk. The Mike and Yuki volumes in Windows are our own sandboxes for to play in.
Once the partitions have been created, formatted, and checked for bad blocks, then the real fun begins. I always install from media even though most Linux systems allow for network installations – I like the tactility of physical installation media.
Once the OSes have been installed, it is now time to boot up for the first time and install the critical software, or as I like to call it, Ring 0 2 software. Ring 0 software is generally comprised of the following:
Of course before this can be done a network has to be established and all security measures
must be taken. I prefer to shut off all ports in and out of Windows to avoid the bite of
mindless security flaws. Since I spend very little time in Windows, this is not a problem.
Likewise, my only Windows machine is actually a virtual machine running inside of VMWare.
After the Ring 0 software has been installed and the system rebooted, it is time to create the F1TW sanctioned directory structure. I really despise the way that most system’s directory structures are laid out. Therefore, I tend to prefer a mish-mash of structures that I have concocted/adopted in the past. Currently, my custom structure for my home is built as follows:
- doc + apidoc (stores javadoc, [doxygen][doxygen], and similar documentation locally) + tech (manuals, howtos, etc...) - opt + games + music (a symlink to an external device) + video - src + minotaur ([project][ariadne] checkouts) + foss (open source source checkouts) - tmp + dl (download directory) + void (my own recycle bin) - www + local (localhost site) + mirror (mirrored sites) + www (visible to the outside world)
Once all of the directories have been set up, it is necessary to set up all programs to point to them. For example, in OSX iTunes needs to be informed where the iTunes library is located. For this I like to have iTunes copy all added music files to the location and handle the directory structure for me. That way I can handle all of the music file tags directly in iTunes and have it create the proper tree for them without spending countless hours in doing so myself. I would like to have a little more control over the matter, but for the sake of time I’ve decided to ignore the shortcomings in this process. I have a number of scripts written for bash-enabled systems (Linux, OSX, Cygwin) that allow me to do platform independent tasks after only a few minor changes. For example, I have a checkin.pl script that acts as a front-end hook to Subversion and runs a few pre-processors on the source files that I wish to check in (there is also a similar checkout.pl script). I also have a void.sh script that instead of outright removing files, it instead copies them into the tmp/void directory. There have been too many occasions where I have accidentally deleted important files permanently. During this step I also like to copy my custom .bashrc and .bash_profile files which have my own personal settings including prompt style, aliases, etc… Of course my handy-dandy .emacs file goes into the mix. Finally, I like to setup my X environment with whatever video card I happen to be using at the time.
Now that my environment is set up, I usually move on to installing the Ring 1 software. That is, software that is not essential, but that I really really like to use. This software includes:
Once the boring technicalities are out of the way, then the systems can be made to look pretty. Usually I choose a solid color background (I tend to like #000051), but occassionally I feel fiesty and decide for a picture background. In the past I have gone with: Chomsky, Penguins, HAL9000, Giant Robots, Suspiria, DC city-scapes, Destro, Turing, Turing Machines, Kolmogorov, Tux, BSD Daemon, Spider Jerusalem, and other things that I thought were cool at one point or another.
Finally, the computer is useable.
For example, my recent switch to using Ubuntu Linux from Debain will most likely trigger a change to this here essay.↩
Not to be confused with http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ring_%28computer_security%29↩
I once loved Gnome with a passion, but like all relationships, my love spoiled. I do not necessarily like KDE, but it is better than the alternative.↩
I once loved Firefox with a passion, but my love is now waining. It has become a fine piece of bloatware sadly.↩