Tag Archives: Open Source

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 Techthrob.com 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.


Under Microsoft’s Grip Again

Since I’ve decided to go back to school for computer programming, I’ve had to switch back to Microsoft Windows most of the time. I’ve opted to take my classes online this semester and much to my surprise, a couple of classes actually require me to use Windows for specific software.

I’m taking a basic math class for starters. It’d be fine except I must use Course Compass which relies on an interesting combination of Internet Explorer, ActiveX controls (which I had to specifically ease up my security on), Adobe Acrobat Reader, and Adobe Flash player. Then to make it worse I had to install a program specifically from Course Compass to use it. Finally, I had to use Apple’s Quicktime Media Player (which makes no sense to me).  While I can understand the security aspect of this class to prevent cheating, let us type out of our answers or even the whole problem/solution set in a word processor. For that matter, I should be able to use Firefox instead of IE. Argh.

My other issue is C++ programming. While I am given the option to use any compiler I see fit, the book suggests that there are special settings involved and that everything is designed around Microsoft Visual C++ Studio Express. Of course it only works under Windows.

So while I still dual boot and keep my Ubuntu install going, I’ve become an incidental Windows boy again. And I don’t mind. I’ve added as much open source as I can. I use Clamwin Antivirus. I use Firefox for all my regular browsing. I turn in all my assignments using OpenOffice Writer saved as Word Documents. Still I can’t help but feel that I’m betraying my open source views by resorting to a mostly dysfunctional operating system.


Dell Offering Ubuntu XPS M1330

Just caught this on Digg (ick, I really don’t care much for that site but that’s a whole different post).  On Direct2Dell, there’s a short story about the XPS notebook being offered in Europe.  Expect the notebook to be released in the US for sale sometime the last week of January 2008.

Dell XPS M1330

I have to really appreciate Dell here.  While they are being tremendously slow (or cautious) about opening up their product line as Linux offerings, they are obviously gradually doing it.  Next, I would love to see an XPS desktop system as well as offering Linux in many many more countries.  Currently, it looks like its offered in the US and Europe.

One last note, the pricing (though exchange rates makes it difficult to nail down) looks very competitive.  Staples offers a Dell XPS M1330 notebook with Windows Vista Home Premium.  It usually runs about $1100US but with only a basic Core 2 Duo and 2 GB RAM.  I souped up my system on the Dell UK site and go a decently priced mean machine.  An interesting option I noticed was the Solid State Drive.


Buying Linux Preloaded

Looking for a new system? Time to upgrade? Skip the Microsoft Tax and buy Linux preloaded. Often the most difficult part of buying a new computer is finding reputable companies that sell Linux based systems. Even then, some still buy Windows systems, wipe them, and load Linux (thereby still buying a Windows system and paying Microsoft).

Why does it matter? For starters, if you don’t want to use Windows then don’t you shouldn’t have to pay for it let alone buy it. Very very few computer manufacturers are going to refund you the famed Microsoft Tax now. Many have EULAs that state you are buying the computer and preloaded software together. They go on to say that if you refuse the software to return it the whole unit for a full refund and that the software is not specifically eligible for a refund.

Another good reason for buying Linux preloaded? It tells the computer companies that people want Linux. Big names Dell and Lenovo started offering Linux options only after enough people petitioned. Now it entirely lies upon enough people buying these computers for the manufacturers to keep offering them and eventually pushing/advertising them.

I think it is entirely critical for Linux to get it preloaded and out there for consumers. I don’t believe in the Year of Linux or any such nonsense. I do believe there can be a year when Linux dies and I don’t want to see that. I believe the future of Linux relies on taking over the desktop now with all the bad press that Vista has.

So finally, I present the preloaded Linux options. This isn’t a review per se, only a listing of the computer manufacturers selling Linux preloaded.

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Personal Torrent Protection

Sorry, this has moved to my new site.

This new article is expanded and worth the trip.


Speeding up Firefox – Part 1 of ?

Firefox has been my browser of choice before it was really Firefox (anyone remember those Phoenix and Firebird days?). Its been great. But I like to tweak stuff a lot. A whole lot. So here’s the first in a many for Firefox.

Money Saving Articles actually reports speeding up Firefox by using the about:config command. Its certainly worth a shot and does work.


Google + Ubuntu = gOs?

Wow, another Ubuntu derivative. gOS just showed up out of the blue on a $200 Everex Wal-Mart special. The only attention getter there was Wal-Mart selling Linux again. No matter. gOS is pretty using Enlightenment with Google enhancements all based on Ubuntu. I’m giving it a try shortly.

gOS

UPDATE 11/14/07: I’ve been playing with gOS and slowly figuring it out. Since its still Ubuntu I was able to enable default repositories and download all my regular packages plus some healthy updates. I’ve noticed they have a different repo included for the Google toolbar and I’m searching through it for me info. In the next day or two, I should have a How To up for making your Ubuntu system all slick and shiny.