Thursday, December 13, 2007

Windows Free and Loving it

Well I have finally dropped my windows partition after the past year or more of dual booting. This is all thanks to Ubuntu of course. I was having problems and needed to reinstall my Linux distribution and I decided to make the plunge. Thats it for windows on my home machine. One day I may convince my wife to drop her windows partition as well.

What I want for Christmas

After reading an article I found on i decided to post my own geek Christmas wish;

Geek Wish:
MythTV based DVR. I don't watch just a whole lot of TV but the shows I watch I might end up missing if it wasn't for the old invention of a VCR. That and with a DVR based on MythTV I don't have to pay my cable company an outrageous amount to rent the stupid thing.

Ultimate Geek Wish:
I want for Christmas a Linux Based PDA slash phone that I can use on my current AT&T network and for a reasonable price. But I am not stuck on the idea of sticking with AT&T if cellular companies are willing to give me a Linux based smart phone. I am tired of seeing the windows logo on all the smart phones available from the cellular providers in the US. It is high time that the US cellular carriers offer the choice of a Linux based smart phone for 50 dollars. I would think it can be done. Come on AT&T, Verizon, Alltel, Sprint or any other cellular provider offer something different for a change. I am sure there are customers of yours that would really like what I am asking for. Maybe even for next Christmas you can oblige!? How long have Asian and European Cellular customers enjoyed the choices of Linux palm or windows for their smart phones? Too long for the US to not have caught up. Its mind blowing how fast technology catches on outside the US for us to be considered the technological giants that we claim to be.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Fedora 8

So Fedora 8 seems nice to far however I struggled to get it installed to a virtual machine for some reason. Maybe its VMWare that causes the problem or Fedora I wasn't sure which. Fedora had problems seeming to find a drive to install to or finish installing to. it took sometime before it seemed to assign sdqq1 as my hard drive. after that it installed just fine. Root was a bit foreign to me after so long of using Ubuntu which disables root. I like the default GDM theme, its simple and has a multiple user concentric feel to it. Upon install I was greeted with the typical security updates needing to be installed and a very nice and simple gnome desktop. Unlike KDE which is possible to install on Fedora from the start. Update manager seems just as simple as any other distribution. I may attempt disabling root and enable Sudoers for my user account as Admin over the Bubble. All the usual suspects are there Pidgen(once called GAIM), GIMP, etc. Another thing that made this distro a bit daunting was the almost 4 gb size. I like this version over previous versions and will keep an eye out on this distro.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


I'll start by telling you where this distribution comes from. Mandrake is what PCLinuxOS is based on so ultimately that means its rpm based. I guess there are some that feel this is the best distro around. I am not one of them. For starters it uses KDE which is always a miss for me because of the convoluted nature of KDE. Second PCLinuxOS tries to be the end all new user distro and doesn't come any closer to helping Linux come to the desktop than Ubuntu or any other distro that has that goal in mind. It uses the synaptic package manager which for some reason kept failing to download packages. Not to mention that one big kicker is that it didn't come with GAIM initially either. I mainly reviewed this distro out of seeing that it had reached a pinnacle lately with fan-boys. Every day or so in the forums they have some user wanting to tell the already in the know users that they have to try out this distro they think that no one has heard of yet. In Actuality its no better than what i have used before. Especially not good enough to drop what i use and use it in its place. I use Ubuntu currently but don't even feel its the best distro around but that it works for me. Take this as a lesson for fan boys of this particular distro, for every user of a distro that is in love with it there is another who hates it. For a new user looking to find a distro this one would be good to start with as well as Ubuntu Mandriva and Fedora. For seasoned users probably not the greatest distro around and may not even spark your interest.

ID software giving up on linux?

Well nothing is been said as definite yet, however in an article for a German publication ID representatives stated that there were no plans to release a Linux version. I will state that I am saddened by this and that the only reason I buy ID exclusively is that they build a Linux binary of their games. The market has been so dominated by DirectX that game writers are being locked into it as the standard which includes locking it into windows. If somehow ID software gets a chance to read this. I will state that you will want to think about it before just ignoring us altogether. I buy the windows game exclusively to download and install the Linux version. I will stop buying games altogether if another company decides to drop Linux. While I don't fault ID for this trend I feel its another company saying to us users that we cant get what we want because of the Gates Lock-in.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

New Addition to the Linux Community

My Daughter was born on 6/29/2007 at 12:53 her weight was 6 lbs 11 oz and 21 inches was her length. We named her Abigale. What a joy she has been.


I found myself doing the unthinkable I switched to using gnome. It started when i switched my desktop from Slackware 10.2 to Ubuntu. I was using KDE and didn't want to use a Ubuntu derivative so i decided to give gnome a chance. I was wowed in how simple and easy it is to use. KDE always seemed cluttered a bit to me. Now that Ubuntu is my permanent choice for distro and I am stuck with gnome I learned to appreciate it in what it really does. I probably will always like using gnome. I kinda wish that Pat would go back to including some variant pre-installed of gnome even if its dropline or other such pre-packaged installs of gnome.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Microsoft's Claims on Open Source

Somewhat recently Microsoft came forth to claim that Linux infringed on 235 patents that Microsoft owns. The validity of these claims depends on whether its willing to disclose those claims. According to Microsoft they do not wish to sue but to make licensing for the infringing patents. Anyone who doesn't see that its like blackmail without proof of the offensive behavior that someone is claiming to have seen you do. Granted when is IBM and others going to start a licensing program to have Microsoft pay up for that its infringing on. Microsoft can't be the only one who doesn't infringe on patents. Linus Torlvolds stated something to that fact in the last few days about how Microsoft needs to publicly disclose its claims for any amount of validity. further more they need to open their source to show that they themselves haven't infringed on age old patents. This is the only way that Microsoft's claims will be taken seriously. It should be pointed out that patents usually have a few requirements two of which I will get into for the purpose of this post. One requirement is that the patent in question not be obvious. For example a patent for jumping, people have been doing that for years and its a natural thought to jump. Second requirement I will mention is that there not be an occasion of prior art. Which basically means that if someone did it before and its published or there is proof then you can't patent it. Of course jumping is a good example of this as well because of all the people that jump and have proof in some way. Double click patent is one of the most infamous of such patents that should never have been granted. On both of those requirements I mentioned it fails miserably but its still a patent, owned by Microsoft in case you didn't know. Microsoft has been bullying people in this fashion for quite sometime and frankly people are tired of it. This is such a transparent attempt at keeping it's stake as a industry leader. Which is starting to fail before it began. For once in the history of Microsoft they are running scared. No more are they the sole leader that sets all the trends. Its become a more fair environment. There are those now willing to oppose Microsoft in its dealing without fear of repercussion. Dell is one who has started to oppose but needs to get off the ground by not bowing to the will of Microsoft. Recently they announced that they were going to offer Ubuntu pre-loaded PC's and not but a week or so later Microsoft was announcing at a Dell press conference that Dell and Microsoft were offering Linux Certificates for Suse Server environment in a partnership. Dell needed to just say no and start the trend of bucking the system so that maybe people will get their choice of environment they run specific to their needs. Maybe its time for Microsoft to become competitive in markets it doesn't dominate like every other company. If Steve Ballmer doesn't take Microsoft back to the basics of making good software they will flounder and die. If they don't stop with the ridiculous claims so as to try to get a strangle hold on the industry Companies will grow tired, drop Microsoft all together and call their bluff. One last thing I will say to Ballmer and Gutierrez is to put up or shut up, be open about the claims or stop making them not one is amused any longer.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Viability to Dell's option of Linux

For once an OEM has decided to offer Linux to users on a pre-built computer. There have been many debates and arguments on why windows is the better choice to cram down the consumers throats. On the idea storm site I witnessed every argument to why this would be bad. None of which had any validity.

First of which was that Users wont buy it if they haven't heard of Linux. Duh, of course but thats not who Dell is trying to cater to! They are trying to cater to well, me. Or more the point Users like me. Dell sees numbers in the amount of people willing to either use Linux or try Linux. Michael Dell himself uses Linux. So its no surprise that an OEM is finally willing to try out letting users decide on trying Linux or using it period to sell computers.

Second argument I saw was that Linux isn't ready for the desktop. This is true in only one respect that there wasn't an OEM that was willing to take the chance of hurting their position with Microsoft over installing an OS besides windows. If windows hadn't spent so many years being pre-installed it would be considered in the same manor as the current state of Linux. Linux has made great strides to make a move to get the credit it deserves. I wont say that Linux is windows, that just simply isn't true. But Linux is getting better and needs to be given the chance to be offered by an OEM. Some of the same reasons that people argue that Linux isn't ready obviously don't remember that windows wasn't in the greatest shape in it's beginning either. Really I can honestly say that people have forgotten what a hassle every Windows edition was until XP. The main thing that makes Linux so difficult is its not Windows. When you are used to an environment its hard to learn the new environment. Linux has its challenges but not ready for the desktop, hardly.

Lastly I have read the comments about distro choice. This is such and old argument its silly. I can understand that everyone has their favorite but its simply about numbers. Dell has a responsibility to customers to provide support. They opted for Ubuntu because of the level of support that its community offers and what Canonical offers itself. Other distro's haven't given support the kind of attention that Ubuntu has. I do mean of course commercial distro's. Dell in its responsibility isn't going to count on Suse or Red Hat to provide support for Newbie users. And community supported distro's don't have the reputation to sway a company to adopt it either. Ubuntu is rare in that its able to offer both a huge community support and even enough commercial support to be viable to use.

Linux has been ready for sometime to be a pre-installed option regardless of whether your grandmother can use it or if its a more tech savvy crowd. basically it amounts to whether it will be supported and supported well. There is not a reason you cant buy a Linux system for your grandmother her get the same usage from it that she would from windows. There has been the consumer presence to validate it but it needed to be reciprocal from the hardware, software manufacturers. There will always be the dissenters in the crowd who wish to see a truly open system and not be in the mainstream but that is the beauty of the choice you get with Linux. There can be the Linux for everyone and the Linux for one. I for one appreciate Dell's Choice in letting some of us who want either a pre-built system or a system that you can't build yourself like a laptop have an OS of our choice. Not having a choice is against the US way of consumerism and competition.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Ubuntu 7.04 + Sony PCG-F580

Tried this Distribution on my Sony Laptop. Boy was it wonderful. It found the hardware I needed it to find.

My Specs
PIII 650 Mhz Cpu
256mb Ram
12 gb hard drive
15.1 display

Booted from the standard i386 Ubuntu Live/Install disk. Booted just fine and I installed it to my Hard drive shortly after. Followed a few of the following steps on this link. On the Live CD it discovered and started up my Atheros based D-Link wifi card. So far its faster and runs smoother than OpenSuse 10.1 I had installed before. I installed the automatix program from the link I posted to get DVD support flash 9 installed and others I decided to try. As of writing this I haven't tried the DVD support but will soon.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Microsoft Silverlight

Competition is always a good thing. So far the Flash video player that Adobe made for playing streaming video is the only player in the game. So its understandable that Microsoft would want to create software to compete with that. And oh boy its cross platform as well. Wait but there is a catch cross platform to Microsoft means only Windows and Mac OS X. Thats right they want to be the leader of streaming video and ignore the growing segment of Linux users. Adobe at first wouldn't update Flash and learned that segment is very demanding and not willing to be on anything else. Adobe conceded and wrote the flash 9 player to accommodate us. Hopefully Microsoft learns that lesson.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Linux on the Desktop

I read a comment today that Linux was not ready for the desktop for excluding two users. I take issue with that statement because of the reasons I plan to talk about. whether you agree or not about Linux being ready for the desktop here are two points where it has been ready or it wasn't Linux that missed the mark.

The first was gamers that according to the poster were excluded. Its not that gamers have been excluded its that Linux has been excluded from the gamers arena. The majority of games released today are written to take advantage of Direct X. Direct X is basically a set of libraries of common procedures and functions to make graphical programming easier. Linux has its own equivalent called openGL that is used in more places than what games are ported to Linux. However there are some companies that release games for Linux. ID software has for years released its games in Windows Mac and Linux. The makers of the Unreal Tournament series have also done this. But large companies like the one that produced the Medal of Honor and Call of Duty series just don't care to port and use DirectX so heavily they probably can't easily. I play only games I can get that are open source or have been ported to Linux exclusively. There is another option, though I feel its a waste of time, is that you can play using Cadega. Cadega came on the scene a few years ago and mostly works. Its a Wine implementation with Direct X extensions. I feel that this gives these companies an opt out to not port when the Linux user base has grown exponentially. It needs to be said there is a community of Open Source gamers developing their own games and I will say very good games to match what is available in Windows only genres. I found this site to be very intuitive in finding games and testing them out for others to discover. Just like now there are gaming communities solely around consoles or soley around PC gaming there is this developing community that shouldn't be taken for granted. Gaming is on the move in Linux due to that community. I feel even though Gaming has taken a back seat in Linux due to corporate greed doesn't mean you cant be a gamer in Linux.

Second argument I witnessed was that graphic designers were being left out. Again this is a false hood. I see several Indy sort of folks doing graphic design in Linux. I will state that Gimp may not be all that Photoshop is but it is possible to use Gimp in the same capacity. This has also been another example of a company not wishing to take the chance to port their product to Linux. Adobe barely developed a Flash browser plug in for Firefox for its newest version of Flash. None of their products they make money off of have been ported. Which is a shame for them because there is a growing segment of graphic designers that started in a windows environment to do their work that have recently discovered Linux. Photoshop has because this standard but hasn't been ported to Linux. Sounds like Adobe is in danger of losing its market share one day for its shortsightedness.

I cant state that I believe that Linux is ready for the desktop but don't state its Linux that leaves out certain people because I know better. Its certain companies that have left out Linux that people are left out in the process. Linux has been the red-headed step child for so long that companies are finally getting the picture that there are users that want software for Linux. They are also realizing that those people don't want windows. Unless the governments of the world make Linux illegal companies better get used to it being around. Dell is finally giving lip service to pre-loading Linux on their PC's and some others might as well. The problem with those naysayers who state that Linux is not ready for the desktop or that the Linux Desktop is a myth are purely wrong. I have used Linux as my primary desktop for a couple of years now. We will see where all of this goes but for now I like Linux and use it everywhere I can.

Linux Mint

All I say up front is wow. This distro is awesome. Based on Ubuntu you can see why its so easy to use. I decided even to make this distro of choice for my wife because of its ease of use. Has alot of stuff ready to go out of the gates. first off it automatically recognizes ntfs drives and has flash player installed. Definitely a good distro for a new user.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Ubuntu 6.10

I decided to try Ubuntu after many months of doubt of whether it would be any good. As popular as this distribution is I found it to be everything everyone says it is. Aside from gnome being the window manager I found it easy to use and well maintained. I tried it on my notebook and even took it on a trip and used the live cd copy to use when I was in Las Vegas. My parents live there and while I was there I used their computer. I was able to get the full functionality out of it. Another reason I originally didn't like this distribution was that I was under the impression this was a Linspire Like distribution. In trying it my only disappointment was gnome. Its hardware recognition was incredible and it was very easy to use. I can see any new user taking this disk and getting full use out of Linux. One thing though i thought was weird was that when I installed to a VMWare bubble it didn't have you set a root password then I figured out later that they configured this distribution to not have root active that you have to reset password to get root and that normal administration tasks were done through Sudo. I didn't mind this but having used Linux for a while now I thought it odd that I didn't have a default root user available. I think however that anyone can use this distribution and get along just fine. I can certainly see why this distribution is so popular.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Zenwalk Linux

Recently discovered this little gem after watching distro watch new releases. Its light weight and well polished. The WM default is XFCE which leads you to believe its lightweight and good on older systems without major specs. Well it does! I ran this on a VMWare instance. with low ram and it ran great. I think however I will say that I didn't like that no games come pre-installed. This is probably a lame rant but I think this distro should include a basic game pack with the disk. Though downloading new software was made easy with the Package Manager that comes pre-installed. I really like this feature. This distro is based on Slackware so stability and simplicity is a must when I consider it being worthy of greatness. Again in this area it excelled. Overall I liked this distro and it will replace my Slackware systems shortly because of its ease of use. Another thing I liked was that it gave you the option at install whether you want to run in graphical or command line mode when install was complete. This was really handy. Once I install Slackware its one of the first things I change and its a pain to do so. Check out Zenwalk when you get a chance.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Overwhelming Outcry Dell we want Linux

We have been delivered an outlet to let Dell know that there are enough users that want Linux pre-installed. Dell opened a site giving people the opportunity to let them know what they want. In overwhelming numbers including myself the new thing people want to see from Dell is LINUX! It is about time Dell start taking the user base serious when they say it as well. I will not buy a system from any OEM until they start offering Linux pre-installed or some reasonable compromise. For too long the public has had Windows crammed down our throat. Now you dont even have the option of Windows XP just Vista. Consumer Choice is a good thing Dell. I can tell you that if they offer Ubuntu Fedora Core or OpenSuse my next home PC will be a Dell. If for some reason they offer notebooks with no OS or Linux I will replace my wifes old notebook with a Dell. This is what we as consumers want. I will give more credit to users that what most will in saying that even regular users can benefit from Linux at home. If all you do is surf email and word process a Linux OS will be fine. what more would they need.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Dell is finally selling OS Less PC's

I came across this not to long ago but i guess its something they have done for some time. But now you can buy a PC from Dell without an OS. This is great news for people like me. I can finally just buy a PC preassembled without having to pay the Microsoft tax. Here is the link Dell PC's N Series.

update: Apparently Dell has pulled the wool over my eyes! They are selling PC's with no OS at a higher price than the Windows equivalent or at least that is what it seems. They have made it difficult to compare the two by the custom options being completely different from each other. Which leads me to the conclusion that Dell doesn't want them to sell they just want people to think they are more expensive to keep those sales down.

Wow Windows Vista

I heard that Bill Gates said the newest Windows to arrive on scene will "wow" you. I guess that can be left up to interpretation. Wow, this is such a piece of crap. Wow, I have to spend another 100 dollars to make this run on my system. Wow, this looks a lot like the Macintosh. Wow, 5 years in the making and there will be a service pack in around six months to fix all the problems it currently has. Wow, the DRM is nice and restrictive. Wow, maybe I will just stick with Linux!

I am sorry Bill just another failure in a long line of failures that your company has forced upon us. In fact this probably is so lacking in any amount of respect from customers they will have to give it away with pre-built PC's to get any amount of people to move to it. Business customers probably wont buy into the rhetoric for another year.

I feel if you are reading this and you are wanting to know what operating system to go with and you are not skilled enough to handle Linux, move to a Mac. Much better product in fact so good it was copied by Microsoft.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Government Use of DRM

A debate over whether it is appropriate to allow governments to use proprietary DRM standards. For example Norway's government is using them from Microsoft for a video streaming technology. Of course an Microsoft employee thinks it appalling that people think its wrong. Here is my take on it. What this proprietary format does is limit choice and stifle innovation. For one thing people who choose Linux are impeded from viewing the videos. Secondly those who write software to view video content are blocked from creating players to view the video. For the blogger employee from Microsoft, you should know that blocking content to all but Microsoft customers is the part that is immoral. Norway citizens should have the choice if they decide to view content from their government who they support of what platform they do it from. For my government if they provide content of which I want to view then it better be in a format i can view. Something open and free that is the nature of a democratic government.