April 5, 2014 | In: Ham Radio, IT

Avoiding XPmageddon

winxp_RIP

This coming Tuesday, the 8th of April, marks the end of the Windows XP era.  I have taken a simple step to save my hamshack computer from XPmageddon: I've ditched Microsoft altogether on that machine.  

My shack computer is an older laptop that had already had a several-year career at my place of employment.  A couple of years ago I salvaged it, and did a bare-metal XP install from the original disks (remember when machines actually came with restore disks…what a novel concept, eh?)  It has served me well, but I can't risk having it act as a threat vector for my entire home network, so XP had to go.  The hardware is still in pretty decent shape, albeit a bit on the underpowered side by today's standards, so I found a lightweight Linux distro that shouldn't tax it to the breaking point.  

The distro of choice is CrunchBang (#!) which I first discovered through the good folks at the Linux in the Hamshack Podcast (specifically episode #111).  CrunchBang is available with a non-PAE kernel, which is good for older hardware that doesn't include PAE support…such as my hamshack laptop.  The distro is also designed to be less resource-intensive, mainly by giving up some of the bells and whistles which I'd not be using for my radio activities anyway.

I'll be reporting on my foray into Open-Source Ham Radio as I muddle through all the setup.  

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