Outdoor Free Computing đź”—

Posted by MĂ©dĂ©ric Ribreux 🗓 In blog/Blog/

#randonnée #computer #backpacking #debian

As computer "things" seem to be indoor activities, it is also possible to use a computer outdoor. For exemple, a part of this text has been written in Finniels Summit at an altitude of 1699m.

outdoor computing on Finniels summit in Lozère, France

All you need is a mobile computer: a laptop or a netbook (No, you can't bring your shinny new iPad 2 with you: it costs too much and no, you can't seriously code with it and it is not free software), some power in your batteries, something to make your screen better readable under the sun and, of course, a free operating system !

Now you can imagine to code the future version of your favorite emacs macro under the shade of some trees, near the shore, on a lake, etc… outdoor. There are few limits: the weight of your laptop, the way the thing you want to do to be used offline (don't think about making an online commit at the Mont Blanc summit) and the power of your batteries.

You can even launch a (stupid but funny) contest of the highest (in altitude) Debian computer run cycle (from boot to login and then halt), just to see if Free Software can be exported to the (real) cloud(s)…

Some explanations: During my holidays, I've rediscovered my EeePC 701 (4G) by coding and writing some blog articles outdoor: it was in my garden. It was just for fun and also because I don't have the right to smoke pipe indoor. So it was the only way for me to code and to enjoy pipe tobacco at the same time. After some struggle with screen lightning, I found it very nice to use a computer outdoor: you can listen to the birds singing or to the wind noise, you can look at beautiful places.

Actually, it's very pleasant to consider Nature as your desk. I then extended this outdoor computing activities when I brought my netbook on a trip to Lozère. When I reached a summit during an hike, I thought it could be funny to seat down and boot this computer at this particular place and write this text. The place was awesome but I needed a little bit more shadow than the ambient light could afford. With so much light, the only thing that is clear on the screen is text. So, outdoor computing is better for text mode than graphic mode.

I believe it could be another way to promote Debian and Free Software: just to show that you are free to use your computer wherever you want (even if you can do it even with non free sotfware). Just imagine a Debian Weekly News entitled: Debian, top of the world (Debian on the Everest) if a Debian User (or Developper) could reach the Everest summit while running Debian.