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Linux gaining mainstream support to reach critical mass.

Guys, surely most of you know and realize Linux is a great OS. The problem is no one uses it and no commercial apps work with it. (generalizing here sure a few things work)

What can we do to help Linux reach higher levels?

My proposals are

1. Focus on polish and ease of use.

a. to install an app there should be a universal way. Users dont care about how they want it done. When a user clicks on install they want an install to happen.

b. More commercial apps. Focus on games. Surely there is a sharp group out there that could get with some of these companies to work to help port some apps to Linux. In this economy people want cheaper products and Microsoft isnt cheap. With more linux netbooks and phones etc coming out it is gaining some recognition. If you could show a business how they could make money with Linux apps I think they would be more apt to accept it than ever before.

c. come up with a unified linux. I know I know this is a sin but come on guys, surely we could have a standard vendors or customers could choose that defaulted to a certain look and functionality. Most people dont need 10000 apps or 12 apps that do the same thing. And besides you could setup this standard to only apply if selected?

 d. Be heard. We need more communication on the benefits of linux. Hands on demos at the stores, blogs, some type of marketing from the big Linux companies, etc.

e. better hardware support. This has come a long ways. I still here "its Company XYZ's drivers that suck", well that may be, but surely something can be done about this.

 

I know this probably isnt 100% the way to do it and I will probably be flamed but I really would like to see Linux have its day.

 

Already receiveing phishing SPAM

I received this in my inbox today:

 "Hello, My name is juliet, i got you from linux.com, and i want to have a good relationship with you, please i need your cooperation, am yours juliet. this is my email, ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it )"

 Yesterday I got something very similar from "mary."  She wanted to start a relationship with me too.  It seems like there are many lonely women out there after me.  I suppose this could be true, but it is more likely an attempt to pull some swindle or other.  

 

I wish I had paid attention in Accounting class.

ERP Platforms I have tested:

  1. OpenBravo
  2. OpenTaps

Platform: Ubuntu Server 7.10, Tomcat5.5

Both installed easily enough, but the Accountants were gun shy.  Somewhere along the line they had had a difficult experience with ERP in general, but now OpenSource ERP in particular.  I found myself wishing that I had paid more attention to accounting.  As it was I had a very hard time just staying awake.  Maybe there is a good book out there that explains the principles, and focuses on the financial modeling required to get an ERP off of the ground.  Some day I would really like to get a good pilot of one of these off of the ground.

 

Fox in SOX

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 has got to be a low point in our countries regulation history.  This miserable piece of legislation costs anyone who has to comply with it millions of dollars and provides nothing in return.  IT departments get hammered with insane requirements, and moronic auditors that eat up hours like it's cotton candy. " Screen shot this, prove that", and one ridiculous question after another until you want to stick a shank into all of them.  If your organization can avoid this hell, then it is worth it to do so.  How?  Stay private.  The instant you go public...you can join me and the auditors in our little version of purgatory.  Rant finished.

 Linux related question: 

How to prove that password policies are enforced on Linux systems?  

I have used ticketing systems to documentation steps, and severely limited access to my Linux systems in order to comply with this requirement, but auditors always want more.   They want an automated foolproof system that enforces policy and will take nobody's word for it.  I am looking into how to enforce such policies on my linux boxes now.  I have some reading to do and will publish my findings.

 

NEWB's adventure's in Linux From Scratch

Back from the brink,

  If you've read many of my blog's , you know that I'm one to read whatever I can get my hands on.  I was having issues with grub and went into a chatroom to get some help and got smacked around pretty good yesterday because I was asking alot of basic questions that were in the book. So, if you're pretty good with linux and just read my blog to get a newb point of view then take notice.  When you I the "Newb " read something to learn, I'm not in a classroom, don't have a teacher to ask if I have questions so I have to assume that I've got it right. With that in mind we plod ahead to installing grub on a machine to see if I can get it to work on my machine... well ... of course it didn't or I wouldn't be blathering about my chatroom experience.:)

  Grub complained and wouldn't boot, so I set to work using the freshly acquired knowledge gain from reading the entire grub tutorial and rebooted  this time using "esc" to get to the menu and "c" to get to the commanline and entered "root ( " and then tab to get tab completion and guess what? the second drive is not even on the menu???. Ok , I do "root (hd1)" and enter get another prompt and do "kernel /boot/kernel-x.x.xx.whatever root=/dev/hdb1 <pointing to the kernel> no device found? then I do " map (hd1) (hd0) map (hd0) (hd1) enter  , then redo the root and kernel lines and boot.... cannot mount device...... :((  I go to a chat room for help and get chastised for not reading the manual because I'm asking about root and drives and checking everything. I figure I've done something wrong??? somewhere. Well I assure them that I've been taught well by the books I've read about online etiquette  and wouldn't take their time if I'd not read the manual and they apologized to me.

   After a good nights sleep and leaving the "beast" till morning , I found that I kept having disk errors , I just had windows on this hard drive with no problems???? well , I couldn't figure out tune2fs so I went and got my system rescue cd and booted it and ran "testdisk" and found two partitions unrecoverable on it???... So, I grabbed another drive and set it up and again I was ( after a few hours of trying) disk errors???

    Something's fishy here I thought to myself, ( not those exact words:))  so I went into my shop and grabbed another pata cable and GUESS WHAT!!!  no more problems!!!! Darn cable.:)) Whew.... If at first you don't succeed , try try again.

 

 

Deferred--fat-fingers strike again..

fat finger

 

Recently at work I have noticed an abundance of customers leaving comments with mistyped--"fat-fingered"--email addresses. We have all seen it "yahooo.com", "alo.com","gmale.com". The problem with these lost souls, beside suffering from fat-fingeritis, is the are paying customers and deseve to be heard; "Forgive them for they know not what they do".   The web interface is not maintained by me and asking "those people" to add more logic to the front-end would take an act of congress. I do have control over the email gateways that send these ill fated emails out. After the magick of Google, I stumbled upon the Levenshtein distance theory.  According to wikipedia, "The Levenshtein distance between two strings is given by the minimum number of operations needed to transform one string into the other, where an operation is an insertion, deletion, or substitution of a single character". ;this might work.  I proceeded to look for some code examples and put this together.(I pieced together a couple of examples to suit my needs)

 <code>

#include <stdlib.h>
#include <malloc.h>
#include <string.h>
#include <stdio.h>
int levenshtein_distance(char *s,char*t);
int minimum(int a,int b,int c);


int levenshtein_distance(char *s,char*t)

{
  //Step 1
  int k,i,j,n,m,cost,*d,distance;
  n=strlen(s);
  m=strlen(t);
  if(n!=0&&m!=0)
  {
    d=malloc((sizeof(int))*(m+1)*(n+1));
    m++;
    n++;
    //Step 2    
    for(k=0;k<n;k++)
    d[k]=k;
    for(k=0;k<m;k++)
      d[k*n]=k;
    //Step 3 and 4    
    for(i=1;i<n;i++)
      for(j=1;j<m;j++)
    {
        //Step 5
        if(s[i-1]==t[j-1])
          cost=0;
        else
          cost=1;
        //Step 6            
        d[j*n+i]=minimum(d[(j-1)*n+i]+1,d[j*n+i-1]+1,d[(j-1)*n+i-1]+cost);
      }
    distance=d[n*m-1];
    free(d);
    return distance;
  }
  else
    return -1; //a negative return value means that one or both strings are empty.
}

int minimum(int a,int b,int c)
/*Gets the minimum of three values*/
{
  int min=a;
  if(b<min)
    min=b;
  if(c<min)
    min=c;
  return min;
}
int main (int argc, char *argv[]) {
    int result;

   //used just three top domains for testing
    char *domains[3] = {"aol.com", "gmail.com", "comcast.net"};
    int SIZE = 3;
    int x;
    if(argc != 2) {
      printf("Usage: [email address]\n");
    }
    char *first, *second;
    second = argv[1];
    //add loop to go through array
    for(x=0; x < SIZE; x++) {
        result = levenshtein_distance(domains[x], second);
     //if the required steps to match is less than two--I feel confident we have it correct       if (result < 2 ) {
          printf("did you mean %s\n", domains[x]);
        } else {
          printf("could not find a match\n");
        }
    }
    return 0;
}

</code>

Obviously this is not a finished concept, but one can see how this would  be useful. One could use this  to give a list of "possibly-correctable" email addresses in a database table. Anyway found this interesting and wanted to share.

Take care.

 

antiX M8.2 Test 1 now available and looking GREAT!

Here with antiX M8.2 Test 1, running live. Let me tell you why I like antiX so much as a Live CD.

1. Loads, even to RAM, in under two minutes, faster than that to run straight from CD.

2. Recognizes, even on CD, just about any wireless network card you can throw at it.

3. Has a good selection of software, and given that you can run it live, from USB, or install it to disk from the CD, it is easy to install or just use as is (as I am doing right now.

4. It's fast, and I think it is a blend of being easy enough, yet fast enough. You can get smaller Live CDs, but they take more tinkering and they don't have as many good apps. You can get larger live CDs, but they don't boot or run as fast as antiX.

I consider this the #1 top Live CD overall and one of the best systems around. You can run it either as a stable system or you can also customize and build your own system from it. What other system can do all of these things well? Some can do certain tasks better, perhaps, but on the balance this is the best live CD you can get!

The appearance of this version is better than ever - the nicest boot splash screen I've seen yet, thanks to the great artists in the antiX community!

 

Spanish airline uses GNOME

So recently ive been jet setting around the world and have been lucky enough to sample various airline lounges. Airline lounges are the way to go people, there is nothing like free beer before teleporting yourself at 10,000m and 900 km/h+ to the other side of the world. My blissful amusement soared when I discovered while at Barcelona airport that the Spanair lounge had internet internals running some version of the GNOME desktop. Since this encounter ive also discovered that Spanair are using Red Hat Enterprise Linux for various operations optimization applications.

http://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/google/index.jsp?ndmViewId=news_view&newsId=20070910005053&newsLang=en

This makes total sense for an organisation that's operating in a market with such tight margins. Spanair IT, well done.

 

What you gonna do...?

What you gonna do...?

What you gonna do if when trying to ssh to machineB you were accidentally type no to the host key ? 

Dont panic. 

Do this:

vi ~/.ssh/known_hosts

remove the faulty line
you can even remove the whole file

the known_hosts file is on the server *from* which you try to ssh 

Then try to ssh machineB again. And don’t forget to click yes :P

 

Wearable what?

So,  a wearable computer, have you ever heard of those? Probably not. I mentioned those in my last post and there's still not a group for them, or anyone other mentioning them  besides me and those old TLDP-pages.

 So, Steve Mann "Invented" the modern wearable computers. I'm not talking about intelligent clothes, pdas or silly wrist-worn computers one would not catch me in public with alive. I'm talking about a small computer that is preferably running some flavour of Linux, that is always with you and always ready for input and augments, that is empowers your mind in some way.

 That's part of Mann's definition of the wearable, and I actually like it.

 When you walk around with your wearable, you shouldn't look like a geek. At least I'd like not having a backpack full of pc hardware and a helmet with a screen, however this (the right one) is something I could wear. Figuratively speaking only, because I'm not going to stuff my boards into my underwear like he did.

 So, Like I said last in my last post, I'm going to build a wearable for myself and I'm already planning it.

I'm most definitely going with a BeagleBoard as my cpu, some hacks with kopin vga microdisplay as my covert sunglasses display. I still need to decide my chorder because there is no twiddlers anymore, research how to use batteries and how to connect that displaythingy in a vga port.

I'm going for a INX like menu based user interface, mostly because I think there is no better solution for vga resolution and the wearable experience is better if there is no need for the mouse at all. It could be different if I was going for some augmented reality, but babysteps for now. Also I think it would be better for me to simplify my computer usage so I want to switch to command line for most things and only use X for stuff like Gimp and Blender.

And really, the wearable computer is a real thing, it can give you nightvision, invisible post-it notes in your office, you can have dictionaries and wikipedia always with you, code everywhere, maps and gps, to-do lists and notes, plan your interior in 3d in real life, play Quake in corridors with friends... Just see what youtube finds with "augmented reality". It's a sad thing they never took off, probably because of good displays being pricey, but it's still possible for them I think.

 

Ubuntu and Moblin - Fascinating!

Ubuntu and Moblin - Fascinating!


I just read this morning an article about a one-time Ubuntu Moblin remix for Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala release in October. That would be, as Mr. Spock would say, "Fascinating!".

The Moblin project initiated by Intel and now supported by the Linux Foundation just recently released the Moblin 2.0 beta. I tried it out myself, and the experience was way to cool for a computer/netbook. It felt like I am in a parallel universe (out of this world). However, Ubuntu was not the base OS for Moblin 2.0. How I wished before that it was the case.

And now I have the answer. The Ubuntu Moblin remix will allow users to experiment on the use of the Moblin interface with Ubuntu. And the Moblin project to be made available as a package for release in Karmic.

If the Moblin interface is made as a regular interface option for netbook in the future releases of Ubuntu, then I would be a happy netbook user. A netbook is different from a laptop, and having the power of Ubuntu using a cool interface like Moblin would be a nice refreshing experience. May it live long and prosper! XD

This article is originally written at the author's personal blogsite at http://practicalswitchtoubuntu.blogspot.com/

 
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