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The most important modern innovations of Linux is its transformation into a hypervisor

The battleground has shifted from the Operating System to the hypervisor, and Linux has a clear role to play. One of the most important modern innovations of Linux is its transformation into a hypervisor. Learn how KVM and Lguest paly an important role in this trend.

 

 

Unexpected Things Sometimes Work: What Language is Linux Written in?

I have posted an article on Bright Hub two days ago, which was titled "What Language is Linux Written in." I have discussed the various parts of Linux, from the kernel and device drivers to user programs and I just want to hear the community's critics about it. What else do you have in mind? Anything I forgot to put in? Shoot it in the comments.
 

Computex News and The Future of Linux in Netbooks

Every year we are hearing that "2000-something will be the year of Linux." But it does not happen. Asus announced it is better with Windows, Windows XP support is prolonged, Windows 7 is just around the corner (don't say it's crappy with netbooks, AMD announced dual-core Neo processors which will run Aero fine) and the companies will slowly adopt to Linux. Another competitor on the netbook market comes from Android and Acer announced Aspire One with Android in Q3 this year. Let's count the competitors: Android, XP, 7. It was nice news that Ubuntu Moblin was announced but what will be the competition like: AMD Dual Core Neo + Windows vs. the unfamiliar Ubuntu Moblin or Android (by the way, I really loved Moblin and find it really efficient in terms of netbook use).

Put everything in place and rethink: there are many reasons that Linux is not triumphing over Windows. Plus there is competition and in the arena of the netbooks, I cannot claim that this year or the next will be the year of Linux. Just set aside your passion for this lovely operating system of ours and try to rethink objectively: does the announcements in Computex will have any positive impact on Linux? Or is it just "Computex?"

 Hit the comments!

 

Windows 7 release date near Ubuntu's 9.10

Microsoft announced the release of Windows 7 to be on October 22.  I can't help to think that this is planned as a way to take the wind out of the sails of the Ubuntu 9.10 release, since the code for Windows 7 is planned on being done by July.

 Is it a ploy?  Will Windows 7 steal all the headlines from Ubuntu's 9.10?  The saga continues......

 

How to fix Firefox's semi-fullscreen problem

I have read quite about this problem on sites like the Ubuntu Forums.  But so far the "solutions" do not actually seem to solve the problem, rather temporarily fix it, and I believe that I have found a solution to this problem.

If you have this particular problem, Firefox will look similar to the image below when you open it.  You will have no task bar, no title bar, nothing but the browsers contents.

 

Ok so now on to the solution:

 1.) Press F11 twice and it should go from looking like the image above, to the image below.

As you will have undoubtedly noticed, the task bar and title bar are visible and it looks as if Firefox is simply maximized.

2.) Drag Firefox partially off screen (may only work if compiz is running, I'm not sure) and shrink it to a likeable "un-maximized" size.

 

3.) Now all you need to do is drag it back onto your screen and the problem is resolved.

I think the problem is caused by javascript resizing windows, but it has only happened a few times and I am no expert.  This solution solves the problem until, obviously, it is altered again.  If anyone knows for sure what causes this, please, by all means post a comment explaining it.

Good Luck

 

Bing is not Google, but it is a spin engine.

Microsoft is at the beginning of a major product launch, called Bing, in an attempt to catch up to Google in search, following the collapse of Microsoft's take-over attempt of Yahoo.  While Bing is a re-branding of Microsoft's clunky distant third place "Live Search" search service, Bing is also an attempt to add new features to search.  Microsoft calls Bing a decision engine, in that it purports to offer more comparisons in its search results, rather than the simple blue links which have characterized search up to the recent arrival of Wolfram Alpha.  

But rather than a search engine or even a "decision engine", Bing also appears to be a spin engine, in that it provides partisan answers to controversial topics, such as Steve Ballmer's propensity to throw chairs to blow off stress.  At a friend's suggestion, I typed the following phrases (without quotes) into both Google.com and Bing.com.  The results are very telling.  Be sure to look at the phrase completion options that you are offered as you type.  

"linux "

"antitrust microsoft"

"ballmer throws chair"

"bill gates steals"

The important thing here is not whether Bill Gates does, in fact, steal, and I am not here to make ad hominem attacks on the world's richest man.  The point is how Microsoft deals with criticism.  With spin.  As opposed to Google, which just repeats much of the criticism of it.  

For example, the first phrase, Linux, when typed into Bing, yielded phrase-completion suggestions linked to comparisons of Linux and Microsoft products.  By contrast, the same phrase when typed into google leads to information that a GNU-Linux user would actually want, such as information on different Linux distros.  

The second phrase produced no phrase-completion results at all in Bing.  Google yielded the records in the actual case.

Same for the third phrase.  Bing returned no suggestions at all for "Ballmer thr", whereas that same incomplete phrase yields "ballmer throw chair" and "Ballmer throwing chair" in Google.

As to the fourth phrase, Bing returned "bill gates steve jobs" and "bill gates steps down" for "bill gates ste".  But add an "a" to the end of that search, "bill gates stea" and you get nothing under Bing.

In short, Microsoft is always partisan, whereas Google is more informative, Microsoft couldn't even do so much as suggest phrases that would lead the reader look at official court records regarding its anti-trust trials, or anything else that reflected negatively on it.  

Contrast that with phrases that are negative for Google, such as "Google is evil."  Typing "Google is e" yields no suggestions.  But typing in "Google is" yield results which are both positive and negative for Google as a company:

"Google is your friend"
"Google is broken"
"Google is skynet"
"Google is making us stupid"
"Google is a number"
"Google is paying to work from home"
"Google is always right"
"Google is taking over the world"
"Google is watching you"
"Google is paying"

More to the point is the first phrase.  Microsoft's first suggestions all are aimed at diverting attention away from one of its keenest competition, Free Open Source Software, a competitor which, every year in its official annual 10k SEC-mandated warning to investors, Microsoft lists as a threat to its profitability.

Compare that to Google's suggested results for its main global competitor, Baidu, a Chinese search engine which holds about 60% of search results in China to Google's approximate 32%.  Google's suggested phrase-completions return first a Chinese character hyperlink to Baidu; second to an English-language hyperlink for Google's arch rival; and trailing below that are all viable suggestions for Baidu.com or Baidu MP3 or Baidu Video.  

Clearly, it is more important for Microsoft to put its spin on your results, compared with Google, which is more concerned with giving you information that is probably useful to you, even if it is negative for Google.  

Which raises a question: who at Microsoft is responsible for skewing results this way?  Does Chairman Bill know about this?  I'll bet he does.  Same for Ballmer.  These two men have reputations for cut-throat competition, and yielding no quarter to their competition.  Which is the real lesson to be learned here.  Google has thrived despite competition.  Microsoft has succeeded only where it can choke out competition, as in leveraging its Microsoft Windows desktop monopoly.  Where Microsoft has to compete, such as in search or in on-line video delivery or even in game consoles, it comes in second or even third.

Clearly, Bing is not Google, and is not going to overtake Google anytime use, nor offer information which, on the whole, is as useful to its users as Google search results.  

By the way, the most concise summary of why Google is beating Microsoft can be seen by typing this phrase into your browser: Bingisnotgoogle.com.  Google is always one step ahead of Redmond. 

 

A day in the Life of an IT guy.

First I would like to say that I am not a fan of just about any Microsoft product and I loath the iPhone. That being said it will be a little easier for you to understand my frustration with the way the day plays out.

Here is the basic gist of the call I received. "Mr. Important at the Big Company got a new iPhone and he knows from the bills he pays that he also has an Exchange server and he read somewhere that they can sync, so he wants us to make them sync his calendar and contacts without him plugging in his phone." Never mind the fact that they have a Cisco PIX between their Exchange server and the Internet.

Never mind the fact that their Exchange server is five years old and the only reason they use it is to share calendars. We will just schedule it as a four hour job and send me over to "make it happen". All kinds of red flags were going off in my head, but I googled it before I left to make sure it was possible and sure enough there was more than one tutorial on how to set it up.

So here I arrive at the client and I sit down and explain to the only computer savvy person what I plan to do and make sure I have a firm grip on what the main goal is. Pretty simple. Make the bosses iPhone sync his calendar and contacts without him having to come in and plug it in. First I look into Apple's MobileMe solution. It looks like it would do what I want. They don't tell you until after you install it and try to use it that it doesn't work with Exchange. I guess they figure if you can afford an Exchange server that you must have an IT person and they will know how to set it up. That IT person being me. Scratch that Idea. Next I look at using push mail like what we use with my work phone. About all I know is that it works when it wants to work and my boss had a bitch of a time setting it up and not having certificate security warning on either the phones or the 07' Outlook clients.

So I ssh into the PIX and open up https and http to the exchange server and try hitting the outlook web access from the outside and it works!! Hell Jeah! About this time I'm thinking that this might not take all day and I might be about to whup a four hour job in two! It worked fine with just http and I read online that your could tell the iPhone not to use SSL so I thought I might be in luck. So I went and got The Big Man's iPhone and said let me try something for a minute. I got his phone hooked it up Via USB and did one last sync in case I screw things up. Then I went through the steps to get calendar and contact with an exchange account and it went through. Then there was that part where it asks if I'm sure because It will over write all contacts and calendar entries. I thought, "well shit that's the whole point right?" I accepted and it looked like it was starting to sync....

Then his phone rang. It was a random number he didn't recognize. He want ahead and answered. It WAS somebody he knew! He said where are you calling from? His buddy was like "my cell?!?!" Aha! All his contacts were gone. He handed his iPhone back to me with wide eyes and said "um what happened to all my contacts?" I said "uh oh don't worry they are all on the server, I was syncing. Ah hem, I'll fix it."

I blew it off mentally and told myself that surely it must be syncing over the air.... slowly. But No. After waiting 20 mins and nothing showing up I began to do some research. And then some more research. Finally I read a post that says your Exchange server must be at least service pack 2. I goto the server and look and sure enough it is only service pack 1. Great!! This I can fix! I go and download service pack 2 and while I'm waiting I turn that crap off on the guys iPhone and re-sync with his USB and get his contact and calendar back to at least the way it was before I started. The service pack is done downloading so I goto the server and try to install it. It Fails. Nice. Love you Microsoft!

I did some research and checked some random box in some obscure tab of some settings menu and try again. This time it works! I restart all the exchange services and just as I am about to start feeling happy somebody sticks their head in the door and says "hey I just got kicked out of my email, are you messing with the server?" I said "Yeah I'm doing some maintenance it should be back up in a bit". I restart all the services again and head over to make sure they can get in. They can't. I try a bunch of stuff with no luck. Then Another person comes in and says they can't get into their email. Hmmm I begin to wonder weather this isn't a server problem related to the Service Pack install. Sure enough it is and now nobody can get into their email in the entire building!

Crap! At this point I have broken more stuff than I have fixed and its already 2:30pm. I got here at 9am. I feel special. After an hour of research and trying different things I finally give up and tell everybody that I have to reboot the server and they need to get out of all their special software and things will be down for a few minutes. I shut the server down for a reboot and cross my fingers. The reboot takes no less that 15 minutes. This is an old server. People are getting impatient. People are standing over my shoulder. Joking even when they are pissed because surely I am a smart guy who has come to fix problems and not create them right?

Finally the server comes back up. People can miraculously get back in their email. People are happy. Life is good for a time. Then I talk to the guy in charge of IT money and we realize that even after hours of hard work and plenty of ups and downs that I still didn't accomplish what I came to accomplish. Luckily he has had computer problems in the past and understands that even though we didn't accomplish our goal that we did get service pack 2 installed and get a firmer grip on what needs to be done. I need an FQDN and a SSL cert. Then I can come back and give it another try.

Spent 7 hours on a 4 hour job and couldn't bill a damn thing. Not only that but try to explain it to anybody who isn't IT and they wouldn't even begin to understand. I love my job!

 

Whats NetBeans 6.7 got for Groovy and Grails?

Well I have to admit that ive been looking forward to the release of NetBeans 6.7. In the last release of Netbeans (6.5) it really did feel like Groovy and Grails support was a bit of an afterthought and somewhat rushed into the release, so ive had my fingers crossed that the 6.7 release would bring solid support for this new dynamic language and great web framework. My hope was that this would be the first decent free IDE for Grails (IntelliJ Grails support looks solid).

(This is a quick look at NetBeans 6.7 RC1)

First thoughts

  • The first thing that I noticed was how fast this new version of Netbeans (NB) starts up, fantastic! In general this release feels a lot more responsive which is a big plus because sluggish performance has always been a weakness of NB.

  • NB integration with standard Grails scripts has greatly improved, you can now clean, create a war file and open the Grails shell as well as select a Grails command from a comprehensive list. This means that you no longer have to leave NB to perform some commands from the command line (e.g. the clean command wasnt supplied in NB 6.5).

  • Unfortunately there seems to still be no support for auto code completion when editing GSP pages. This is a real problem for me because one of the things I enjoy the most about Grails is its comprehensive tag library which grows as you install plugins. I use "g" tags all time, so it is a hassle for me to have to break out of the IDE to go and look at the documentation to find a specific tags attributes.

  • It still looks like there is no obvious way to debug your application, you can insert breakpoints but I could not find anyway of running the application in debug mode.

  • Groovy refactoring still looks as though its effectively disabled, so large complicated find and replaces will have to do for a little longer I guess.

  • Groovy code completion looks like its improved a lot. My domain objects now show up with code completion tips for dynamic GORM query methods and weakly typed collections also show up with useful code completion tips. I think this Groovy code completion enhancement has been the main focus of this release.

So to be honest im left feeling a little disappointed overall with this releases Groovy and Grails support. It looks like we will have to wait a little longer for our solid free Grails IDE.

Learn more about whats in NetBeans 6.7 here
 

antiX M8.2 Test 2 now available and looking better than ever!

antiX M8.2 Test 2 now available and looking better than ever!

In my previous blog, I reported that antiX M8.2 Test 1 is now available and looking great. I then went on to explain the many reasons why I enjoy using, testing, and promoting antiX so much. The Test 2 release is now available; anticapitalista has already, along with some community members, identified a few more things that will be changed, but Test 2 is looking better than ever. In fact, if someone wants to install Test 2, then simply use it as their lean, fast system, I see nothing in the capabilities or in what is "lacking" that would prevent someone from doing just that.

Yesterday I took antiX M8.2 Test 2 and installed it on my Lenovo Y410 laptop in place of antiX M8.0, using the option to save my /home partition. You generally do not rewrite the disk partition when you this technique; instead the installation program removes the old packages and installs the new packages. It works extremely well and effectively. I claim that for many people this Test 2 version would work fine, even as an every day system. I have it installed and I have no hesitation in using it.

 

The possibilities of Servlet 3.0 and JavaEE 6

Explore the different implementations of developing with Comet. See how popular Java Web servers like Jetty and Tomcat have enabled Comet applications, and learn how to program with each server. And finally, learn about the standardization proposals for Comet in Java that are part of the upcoming Servlet 3.0 and JavaEE 6 specifications.
 

Google Chrome

I still do not understand why Google does not provide Linux installers for this browser. I am using it under  Win XP (in a VM of course) and pretty happy with the performance. I am not a programmer but if they can make Picasa to run under Linux (with WINE), they could do the same for Chrome. Then they could release the Linux-native installation files.

I really want to use Chrome under Linux and try the Wave but I do not want to boot the virtual machine and switch back and forth.

Anyway, I hope it will worth the wait.

 
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