The Hermit Project - Part 2

Back to Part 1, I was thinking about creating a basic command line only Linux, using my GPD Pocket mini-laptop. And use the nano editor as if it were Wordstar. At the end, I need to write text. Plus, I could always use the markdown syntax if I wanted to edit some richer text (like this post, for example).

What did they say? Ah, yes … “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans”.

At the end of September 2023, something happened in my life. As a result, I couldn’t function anymore. Even getting out of bed and feeding was challenging. This project wasn’t definitely on the top of my head.

I had a lot of negative thoughts, and I went down in spiraling. I didn’t want to be on social media anymore. I didn’t particularly appreciate how the Internet has become in the hands of an oligopoly of companies. I wanted Internet as it was at the beginning.

The subsequential thought was that the public Internet is just a gigantic packet-switching network (oh, how much I loved X.25!), and I could have used it to create my own small pond. Without depending on Internet that much, if not as a transport mean and to download some software, and living in my own isolated environment, perhaps I could be happier and with less pressure. I wondered how hermits lived back then and if they would have been happier. Maybe they were deluded by people and the world as well. Shall I become a digital hermit? Hence, the roots of the name of my project.

I was also deluded by some overcomplications of Linux (systemd-* anyone?) and by its community. From a bunch of friendly geeks, I have lately felt more surrounded by unfriendly corporate clerks. I get it. We all need to pay our bills. And quite honestly, I can’t blame them much, as I did the same in my career. For the record, I showed off, but I don’t think I was ever unfriendly!

Nevertheless, I was tired of being in meetups that became a competition on who’s cooler. I wanted something more genuine. A friend introduced me to FreeBSD a few months before, so I thought that maybe -as it’s still a niche- people would be different. Plus, I would learn a new Unix flavour, and (gosh!) how much I love learning new Operating Systems!

It was the end of November 2023 already, and despite still struggling a lot, learning something new for the sake of it and do some journaling gave me a tiny bit of motivation. I decided to give it a try. However, my GPD Pocket was in the other house 1200 km from me.

I found a very old Dell Inspiron 910 mini PC in a closet: an Intel Atom with 1 GB of RAM and a 32GB SSD! Nina’s words came to my mind: “With modern processors, you have enough power to run any basic tasks. How many things did we do with a 286/386 back in the day?”. Did I share that Nina heavily influenced this project? LOL. I installed a basic FreeBSD 32-bit on the mini laptop and ran the nano editor.

This is a picture of my Dell Mini back in November 2023:

Dell Mini PC - Nov 2023

[Part 1] | [Part 3]