Author Archives: muddygeek

Would Be Review: Mint 5 Elyssa

I wish I could really write a lovely post of Mint.  As a fact, I’ve been a big fan of Mint since I first discovered it whilst browsing Distrowatch.  Mint 4 installed without any issues on my laptop.  I tried out a beta and RC versions of Mint 5 without success.  Mint 5 boots to a console and my post on the Linux Mint Forums has yet to yield help.

So…  when will help arrive?

If you have suggestions on how to fix this problem, let me know, please.

P.S.  Did I mention that the LiveCD work perfectly?


My Laptop Test Machine

This is for future reference…  I’m using my laptop for most of my Linux reviews as its not my primary computer.  So just for a quick overview, here’s the specs:

  • Compaq Presario V2000z
  • 14.1″ LCD
  • AMD Sempron Mobile 2800 1.8 GHz
  • 2 GB DDR RAM
  • Integrated ATI Radeon Xpress 200M Graphics
  • 160 GB Hard Disk Drive (though I only use a small portion for each install)
  • Broadcom 4318 wireless card

Let me know if I forgot anything important in here.

Review: Mandriva One Spring 2008 LiveCD

I’ve been sampling GNU/Linux distros for years now.  I’ve played with Red Hat and the old SuSE.  And I think Mandriva One Spring 2008 is a joke.  Its realistically performs no better than those old distros.

What I Guess I Liked

Mandriva did give me the option to use Compiz during boot up of the Live CD.  Definite advantage there as some don’t even ask.  You just get it or you don’t.  I really like options.

What I Really Abhorred

The Live CD recognized my wifi card (Broadcom 4318 POS) successfully.  Its a real shame they didn’t include a reasonable way to find, oh, a wifi hotspot.  That’s a huge ding.  I treat this from a newbie (though I am not one) angle.  If the distro can’t do that much,  how easy with it be with other things?

Secondly, money.  I don’t pay for Linux.  I don’t pay for software.  So I’m not going to pay for a version of Mandriva that supposedly offers more when other distros give me the same (or greater) capabilities for nothing.


This only being a Live CD review, I can’t knock Mandriva too much.  There’s a very good possibility that it would have recognized the card and given me the tools I need to get online.  Mint and Ubuntu don’t recognize the card until they’re both installed and connected via ethernet.  The first distro that beats even that will win me over for a few months.

I’ve never been a fan of Mandrake, Connectiva, or Mandriva.  So perhaps I am biased.  I wouldn’t recommend Mandriva to anyone.  Go with Mint if you want very easy.

Spring Cleaning for your PC

Just for quick reference, I’m posting a few photos I’ve snapped with my phone of what your computer should not look like inside.

Dirty Heatsink Dirty Heatsink 2

Dusty as Hell. White Glove Test

Why is this on Muddy Geek? All that dust and dirt is causing heat to build up, especially on your processor. Without proper ventilation and heat dispersal, your computer will continue to heat up and become prone to crashing. A simple can of air and some careful vacuuming work will take care of it. And don’t forget, the harder your computer works, the more power you waste. Oh wait, don’t forget to recycle the air can when you’re done too. Gotta be green.

Warning: Do Not Use Windows CDs


Linux DVD Conversion with HandBrake

HandBrake is a handy open source free application for converting video from DVD to MPEG.  Part of what makes this program great is that it will handle so called encrypted movies (provided they are utilizing CSS).  Plus, it works on Linux, Mac, and Windows.  I won’t go into great detail about this project, but its worth a try.

HandBrake Encoding

If someone has some free time, please convert this into a DEB and get it into Ubuntu/Debian repos.  Its promising but useless for a lot of users if its stuck as a Tarball.

Ubuntu Linux: Hardy Heron Alpha 4

While I’ve been running through the Ubuntu 8.04 alphas for a while now (yes, I’m quite the brave –or foolish– one, aren’t I).  Aside from a hickup with CPU usage, its actually been quite smooth.  Its pretty sad when my days in alpha testing Linux are smoother than most people’s days in Windows.  I’m very much a bleeding edge geek.  I want to experience the latest in software and see how it works and has changed.  Fortunately for me, Ubuntu Linux is preparing Hardy Heron which will include a very nice set of new features.

Alas, I’m not going to list everything that’s coming and changing but does a splendid job of it.  Just for a gimplse:  bittorrent changes, remote desktop, in kernel virtualization…

I’ve been really happy with the changes under way.  Hardy Heron has been quite kind to me.  Even the Firefox 3 Beta upgrade was a little painful but the gains were worth it.  The most important thing I see happening is inclusion of new users.  A lot more is being done to invite them into the community and help them adapt to a different environment.  This is made great by keeping the flexibility of Linux there for the old pros.  Just because some changes are made for new users doesn’t mean there isn’t still hardcore Linux under the surface.

What would I like to see?  A better bit torrent client.  Transmission is okay.  KTorrent 4 (built for KDE 4) actually works nicely.  Azureus has a cousin called Zuve which gives bit torrent a needed market.  Plus I think the torrent clients need more optimization.  My system is reasonably fast for Linux and my connection is amongst the fastest residential connections available in my area but I am lucky to take up a quarter of that.

I would also like to see better Wine support or some sort of Windows game integration.  I know too many gamers that claim they’d switch if Linux ran Windows games without issue.  I’d like to see Linux run the games better than Windows does within a year, at most.

Finally, Linux needs support for two very common consumer devices:  scanners and webcams.  First, I know that a driver project exists for webcams.  Now they need to be treated like printers.  It should be so simple that you can plug in the cam and it works, no config needed.  Secondly, some scanner support, especially for AIOs, is needed.  My poor Canon is still sitting, the scanner in mint condition, save a few desperate Windows moments, waiting for Tux to unleash its digitizing power.

I don’t want this to be all critical though.  I just felt that if we’re going to rave about the great things that have happened and are coming, throwing a few more ideas out there couldn’t hurt.  So good job to the Ubuntu team and all the Linux developers, I appreciate your work sincerely.