The raspberry pi is still not going to change the world

raspberry pi

…but it is pretty cool. I ordered a raspberry pi for work, in an effort to replace the thin clients that we use to connect to our IBM midrange system. (kickin’ it old school) It works pretty well for the task, and seems like it is ideal for random niche uses, but I still stick by my original statement. Read on if you are interested in ancient computer systems, and how Brits with big ideas can connect the old with the new.

IBM launched their original midrange system, the AS/400, in 1988. Even then, they were supporting legacy systems. The idea behind the AS/400 was that it was a smaller, scalable system, that would run software (usually COBOL and RPG) that was intended for the old System/36 minicomputers, without having to recompile for the new processor. To this day, you can still run binaries compiled for a System/36 on a POWER7 box.

As a result, many companies around the world continue to use IBM midrange systems rather than convert to linux or *shudder* Windows data and application servers for mission critical business processes. My company is in that boat, which means each and every computer in our company needs a working IBM 5250 terminal emulator, “green screen” program, to connect to the iSeries.

Enter the raspberry pi. A tiny, ultra-cheap, linux computer. For some of our specialized situations, and in case a massive computer plague takes out all of our Windows PCs, we use thin client computers, “dumb tubes”, that just connect to the iSeries. Nothing else. The computing requirements for such a task are laughably modest, amounting to basically a keyboard, monitor, and network connection. The raspberry pi is more than capable, as long as you can find some terminal emulation software to run on it.

5250 emulation on the raspberry pi

TN5250 fit the bill, and after a minimum amount of fuss , I have a working raspberry pi thin client! For other iSeries shops looking to run a 5250 emulator on a raspberry pi, I will add a  how-to (or maybe learn how to make a .deb package) if there is any interest.

For all who want to install SIMetrix on Linux Mint

I know there must be tons of people clamoring for help on this, but don’t worry, I can help both of you out. There is a new page up in the how-to’s section for getting the intro version of the excellent SPICE simulation software, SIMetrix, running on the linux distro that has recently surpassed Ubuntu in popularity, Linux Mint.

You can check it out here.

The linux obsession is taking root… Get it? Root?

I’m at the point in my linux career where I am trying put linux on every device I own. If you are a linux geek, then you probably know the feeling. You have a computer, but you must make it a Komputer. Your garden gnomes are all Unified. You sift through popcorn to examine the kernels. And you won’t shut up about it to anyone who will listen for five seconds.

I bought a Touch Pro 2 right as Android was really picking up, and then Microsoft officially dropped Windows CE. Bummer. So I headed over to xda-developers and installed Android on it.

Then I got a free laptop after my sister dropped it down a flight of stairs. I’m typing on it right now, and it is currently hosting I wanted to try linux as a desktop OS, but didn’t want to mess around with drivers and flash and java, so I went with linux Mint with Cinnamon. Great decision.

Of course I also needed a decent router so I could serve my website with a dynamic IP address.

Enter linux router firmware in the form of dd-wrt, installed on a D-link dir-600.


And now the ultimate geekdom. I have managed to successfully set up my Wii console to be a full-fledged wordpress-capable web server. Fuck yeah!

It is a little slow for a production host, but that is before any caching or tweaking, so I might be able to use it to host if I can get it running a little faster. Expect a full tutorial someday.

Here’s a screen shot of the default TwentyEleven theme of wordpress being served up by a Nintendo Wii!

Holy shit, my Wii can serve up wordpress?

Now if I could just find a hat that can literally run Fedora, or maybe put Edubuntu on my ti-83…