CARS Editor Switches to Linux.

Joining the increasing throngs of uber-geeks who have switched from the Mac OS to Linux, I regret to announce that I have come to the conclusion that I can no longer justify my use of Apple’s proprietary data formats.

For too long Apple has attempted to lock its users in to its closed platform and closed applications.

For this reason, I have reformatted my Performa 6400 and installed Yellow Dog Linux.

Yes, I know this will come as a shock to many of you, but I am eschewing Mac OS 9.2 for a more modern, stable operating system.

And, I must say, it’s going swimmingly so far. Installation was a breeze and I’m now enjoying the benefits of a fully cooperative operating system with protected memory and a host of robust applications with open data formats.



All at a 640 X 480 resolution.

You know, I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to use an operating system release that’s come out since 1999 at 640 X 480 but it’s practically impossible. Modal windows don’t have scroll bars and when you can’t see the buttons because they’re off the screen, it makes computing kind of a crap shoot.

I tried picking my particular monitor – an Apple Multiscan 15-inch – in the display configuration and, well, things pretty much just went to shit. The colors all went to five different shades of orange and the display space was just half the vertical area of the screen.

Not easily dissuaded from my goal to ditch OS 9.2 and enjoy the wondrous, magical fairyland of openness that is Linux, I sought the professional help of a Linux geek in an online forum.

Here’s how the conversation went:

ME: I can’t seem to get the screen resolution right. I’m picking the exact monitor and video card I have from the list, but it gets all goofed up.

LINUX GEEK: You need to add a video argument to BootX, such as “video=atyfb:vmode:17,cmode:24”. Boot into Linux and run Xconfigurator and setup your video as desired. Then exit and run startx. It’s easy!

ME: Uhhh… OK. Gosh, there are a lot of parameters in your argument there. Not to mention all the colons. Maybe you can walk me through that a bit. Mine’s a 15-inch monitor. Should I change the 17 to a 15? What does the rest of it mean?

LINUX GEEK: Open your display.temp.config.pants file, set line 974 to “stun” and then reboot in gigantic robot mode.

ME: “Gigantic robot mode”?

LINUX GEEK: Just before the donkey appears, press command-option-shift-umlaut-fire and bark like a crazed hyena. Now dump your trash on your head and wave your genitals in the air in a circular motion with arms akimbo.

ME: OK, now you’re just talking gibberish.

LINUX GEEK: Aboogee agga! Muwasi matoombo! AI-AI-AI-AI-AI-AI-AI!


At least I’m still running OS X on all my other hardware.

53 thoughts on “CARS Editor Switches to Linux.”

  1. My Pantsâ„¢ inform me that the Linux Geek was incorrect about the barking like a crazed hyena.
    That’s totally preposterous.

    You should be yipping like a rabid jackal.
    Linux Geek my foot. Pfft.


  2. You mean there is a config.pants file? Linux is so unique in its openness it lets you configure your pants!

  3. Damn! I was too busy laughing and missed getting into the top ten!

    Seems like Gorto may have had something to do with your problems as well – did you disrespect him (her?) recently??

  4. Well, I’m still running OS X on ALL my hardware. And my software, too. And my Packageâ„¢. If you know what I mean.

  5. John,
    Stop thinking colours, think colour (or color for our USA friends).
    Suggest reinstate green screen and DOS or even better CPM.
    After that any colour or garment linux will seem good.
    Better still, ask Del, but it will cost.

  6. Greedy child. 640×480 should be sufficent for most modern-day applications. Take Tetris…

  7. I can’t get my Theremin controller to work with any Linux distro running on my digital didgeridoo. Can someone point to a driver for that?

  8. Similar experience to mine, really. It seems that I would be able to run Ubuntu on my Mac, and that I would be able to use my airport card.

    If: I can negotiate a bunch of code that is as meaningless to me as swahili (that is, very). It should be easy to modify such and such a file to make the fans in my Pbook work and so stop it frying itself. Likewise if I mess around with the terminal (something I don’t mind doing, but not just to get basic system function) I can get my airport card working (apparently) but only at 802.11b.

    Having to mess with that sort of thing just to get basic functionality is not a sign of a mature or user friendly OS. Maybe in another decade… (by which time my PowerBook will be long dead)

  9. All of you. Every single one.
    Not that I don’t find it amusing, I do. It’s just…good God, you nerds and virgins!

  10. This is what you get for toying with the infidel that is “Yellow Dog” instead of the one true unix, Ubuntu. Now, bow down before your monitor and locate your vdmnfx program, which will be in either /bin, /usr/bin, /usr/local/bin, /user/ubuntu/local/hahaha/bin or in uncompiled source form. Once you’ve located that, try feeding it parameters which won’t work until you scream in frustration and are ready to sacrifice your loved ones in agony. Then, and only then, will you be able to feel the raw desperation that reveals your readiness for dark magiks of UBUNTU.

    No, I can’t make it work either.

  11. I got an e-mail from a Nigerian that said he could help with getting Yellow Dog Linux running on a Performa 6400 if give us your banking account info and your PIN number.

  12. Bring your Yellow Dog-infested machine to my house and I’ll make it run better.

    By backing over it with my Impala.

  13. Did you run

    yum update yum
    yum update
    yum upgrade

    before you tried to monkey with things? It is often useful to get the current version of packages and kernel before you muck with settings.

    Also does anyone else find it odd that this is the second donkey show I’ve been privy to in about 5 days?

  14. They are not swallows but made up swifts who suffer from vertigo. And your GPS is wrong, this is Catford.

  15. Try waving a dead chicken over your monitor at midnight while chanting “UBUNTU UBUNTU UBUNTU”. Don’t forget the pentagram and dill weed.

    Then reboot and you should see pretty high-resolution pictures of…OMG POINES!!!

  16. Oh sure, go ahead and mock. Go ahead. Mock.

    See, your problem is you don’t understand Linux. You think “LINUX GEEK” was joking. But he/she wasn’t. These really are the steps you must take in order to configure a graphics card and monitor in Linux. That’s why Linux is elite. Very few have the stomach to perform the rituals required. But really, after your first chicken sacrifice, it gets easier. When you’ve become a guru, well, by then you’ve moved up to goats, and if you’re configuring production servers, virgins.

    So, if you don’t have the genitals to wave your genitals in the air in a circular motion (counter-clockwise) with arms akimbo, then maybe you shouldn’t be running Linux.

    Okay, I gotta go sacrifice a dozen tree frogs in a blender on the Torvoldsian altar, my backup failed last night.

  17. Did you light the sacred candle to St. Washataba, the ancient Saint of All Things Unix? …because that could be your problem there. Try communicating with him by typing

    sudo xwashstun -7H1515N07L337 -r /usr/bin/.magical\ spells/satanic/666.tar.gz -y:2007 -unxrls | /etc/.spirit\ world/satan.cfg

    I think that’s it. At least that’s what some guy on a forum heard from his uncle who got it from an insane guy in a mental hospital who had killed five dozen people and kept muttering the words “The unix made me do it. The unix made me do it.”

  18. The real problem is in the latter part of the instructions. Starting with the phone call for help, the rest of the process should go like this:
    step zero, insure that the phone has a very long cord (wireless won’t work for this)
    step one, place phone in paper bag (plastic won’t work for this)
    step two, carry phone in bag out into front yard (back yard won’t work for this)
    step three, swing bag overhead in a circular motion
    step four, jump up and down, and scream like a chicken!

  19. Uh. yeah. well at least you got it installed – my Ubuntu live cd worked fine until I tried to install, now my computer’s permanently screwed. well, maybe not permanently, but you get the point.

  20. Woah. All this stuff is making me all the more nervous about making the big move from System 6.

    Should I really do it?

  21. I find the best results come from sacrificing virgin goats on an altar while reading from the Necronomicon and chanting in tongues.

    Works best with Ubuntu (Ubuntu! Kewl, I got to say Ubuntu today!), but most flavors of *nix respond well to virgin goats.

    Voluptuous nubile virgins that have come of age might work better, but are much harder to find than simple virgin goats.

  22. OMG! Just discovered the rest of the Ubuntu clan: Xubuntu, Kubuntu, and Edubuntu!

    It really does sound precocious!

  23. I have been reading this website for a while now and I am wondering why you don’t cover the really important Mac stuff like over at Here’s one I found really helpful and morbidly interesting:

    ” Mike, I’ve been really busy. I’ve upgraded to EyeTV 2.3 and as advertised the export speeds have increased dramatically. I can’t provide any time benchmarking at this point but the difference is very noticeable on my Dual 1.8 G5. Also the update did not resolve the iDVD export issue I stated in my previous post.

    The improved Full Screen mode and Front Row integration works well. Now you can switch applications with video playing full screen in the background as if it were the desktop picture. In the previous versions, switching applications would cause EyeTV to resize to video from full screen down to a smaller windowed size.
    -Gene ”


  24. Oops. almost forgot Mike’s fascinating reply:

    I’ve added the above to Gene’s previous EyeTV 250 review, which used EyeTV 2.2.1 software. (I’m hoping Gene can later send timed export tests using v2.3 to compare to the v2.2.1 results in the review to show exactly how much improvement was seen.)

  25. Yes yes they are. yum yellow dog updater

    Absolutely the sweetest linux software ever. Much better than apt or up2date or YaST. It’s now the official updater/package management software in Fedora. It makes life sweet.

  26. Well you’re a dumb ass for trying a linux called “Yellow Dog”!!! That just doesn’t sound like a good
    linux now does it! You should have gone for a linux with a more reasonable name like “Ubunutu”!
    Come on, how could you deny your destiny with Ubunutu! What a dumb ass! Why don’t you just
    install “Dog pissing on my hd linux”??

  27. Performa 6400s can’t run anything later than Mac OS 9.1. You can’t ditch the Mac OS, because you need it for BootX to work.

  28. At least you didn’t take his last advice about the genitals thing and still have SOME dignity. Right?…


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