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KDE 4.2.2 performs well in Kubuntu 9.04

Based upon what I've read about Kubuntu and KDE 4.x I have stayed away. In fact, I've stayed away from Ubuntu all together. 8.04, 8.04.1, 8.04.2 and 8.10 dissapointed me and they didn't live up to the  "promises made to me" by the 7.04 and 7.10 releases.

 Therefore I was reluctant to revisit Ubuntu, and the beta in particular.  No wonder I was surprised. Still only a beta, the experience was far better than the 8.x.x series. No hazzle whatsoever. 

It works - no hazzle.

I installed the no-mono-packages, and got virualbox directly from Sun.

No hazzle whatsoever. Hardware (Thinkpad T61/Nvida NVS 140) worked. All buttons, hibernation, suspend, HDAPS (HDD shockprotection) and TP_smapi (Battery charge control ) worked. Kernel, Xorg and driver obviously deserves the kudos.

In several distro I've had problems with my smartcard reader thus had to download and compile, not with 9.04.

 As I prefer to perform fresh installs and run dualboot, a beta is a kind of a fiest where I can fiddle around abit, sort out whats ok and what's not, I could not resist installing KDE 4.2.2. And it's great! 

Girly stuff.

In fact it worked well enough for me to send the Kubuntu Beta download link to a friend of mine - a woman (she prefers girl), nearly 50. She never installed a OS before - she just needed a LiveCD to confirm that her old HP/XP laptop was bricked. Never talked about installing it!

But she did! No assistance whatsoever! Now she wants Kubuntu on her production machine as well! She might have lost a bit of faith due to the persistent Broadcom &@#¤, but that I'll sort out for her.

 Now, I've got the final product and chose Kubuntu. It works just as fine as (and in some areas better than) OpenSuse 11.1, Arch 2.6.29 and Mandriva.  It needs 17 sec to boot according to bootchart, and I havent tuned anything. Not even removed any autostarters.  No problems with Ext4, but I still keep my docs and mediafiles on Ext3 partitions.

So, where's the catch?

I prefer a clean, single DE. That means no synaptic. I manage well with the KDE alternative, but it needs further develoment. Features missing. Not a disaster though. And not a showstopper.

Trouble is, I now have 2 primary production distros. Arch and Kubuntu.   

 

Doing something useful for someone else.

Im no coder by any means possible and that nags me from time to time. In my work as a system admin i often get tremendous help from various open source tools and applications. I have tried to go into some ptojects and start coding but i frankly just dont got the nack for it no matter how hard i try. My brain just isnt wired the right way for the type of logic involved in coding.

 But, that doesnt mean i cant help or that other users cant even if they are terrible at coding. There are numerous projects that can benefit greatly from non-programmers help. Graphics, layout, testing, triaging and much more are things we users can help out with. 

 I have found my thing now, translating. Even if its pretty tedius, boring and repetitive i still find it challenging. Best of all for me is if someone have use from my work because if someone can have use from one of my hobbies i do for fun, then its a double reward.

 

Linux.com Beta

I don't get that many emails so a beta invite from one of my favourite Linux websites made my day. I am not under the impression that invites were at all exlusive but it is really cool to know I can play a part in creating Linux.com, the soon-to-be one stop shop and cover-page for the world's best Operating System that brings power to the fingertips of corporations and the poorest of people alike.

 I have obviously found that my account has a blog attached to it - I hope there is some way to be able to pull from my ddevnet.net blog or even feed to my ddevnet.net blog automatically... that would be a cool feature.

The blog editor is quite good, but I had problems (crashes) when I first opened it in konqueror, so this will most likely be addressed soon (if you make use of http://beta.linux.com/bug-report !).

 

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Thoughts on the Linux.com beta site

Well, things look to be shaping up quite nicely around here. Good articles (such as Brian Proffitt's Linux is Everywhere), slick design, and decent member services (like this blog).

The DistributionsCentral section, though, could be better. The news and blog feeds are good for those of us who already know about the distribution scene, but there's not much there for someone who is just coming into the world of Linux and wants to know what distro to use. My solution: let's find out what distributions the members of Linux.com use, and why, and include this info on the entries in the distro listing. I've put this idea up on ideaforge here.

Similarly, the directory is a good idea but it reminds me a little too much of the old web directories that you used to see before google came along: lots of categories and items, but few cues to let you make sense of it all. Let's make this thing more social, say something along the lines of the idea proposed by voxel.

 

Closed-door design vs. the open-source ecosystem

A while back, my father (knowing I'm interested in these things) sent me a link to this article, in which the author supplies a critique of the windows 7 user interface. Here's my response, which I thought I'd share:

Good article, the author raises some interesting points. I definitely agree with him where he says that interface design seems to be stuck in the '80s. One thing I disagree with, though, is his optimism about Microsoft's ability to resolve these issues.

The problem is, you have a small group of 'specialists' trying to guess what people want, and come up with a single solution that is good for all -- power users and casual users, and perhaps more importantly, those who have invested a lot of time learning the old ways of doing things and those who are willing to experiment with new (and hopefully better) approaches.

Of course, the solution to this would be to have a selection of different interfaces designed for different types of user, but I don't see Microsoft adopting this approach anytime soon. On the other hand, this is exactly how the Linux world works, and is actually one of the main reasons I'm into Linux. For a start, you have the two main desktop environments, KDE and GNOME, both of which offer fairly conventional user interfaces, but tailored for slightly different sets of users. Then there are some less common environments, like Mezzo and Etoile, which have their own ideas about the user interface.

The great thing about this system is that it works on the 'survival of the fittest' principle -- the success of a given project depends on how well they serve the purposes of their users. If too many projects exist in a given niche, the weaker ones will die out, and if there is a niche that is not being addressed, projects will spring up to fill it. In fact, this applies across all applications in the free/open source world, not just desktop environments (remember how Firefox supplanted the Mozilla suite?).

 

Ubuntu 9.04 -- "Jaunty Jackalope" Review

Well, currently I just installed Jaunty, and it seems to be okay. I'll start off with the installation.

It was rather straightforward. I used the install option rather than booting to the LiveCD desktop. First thing you'll notice is the installer is full screen. As well, they also fixed the partitioner. It now shows the disk properly, and the more partitions you make it works correctly, rather than going off screen. I chose Ext4 as the default FS, and it's okay, but more on that. It took a grand total of 15 minutes to install, the fastest I've ever seen it yet.

The first boot was fast, as are all the subsequent boots. My 1.6Ghz, 512Mb Ram craptop boots in 30 seconds flat now. The login screen is very nice too, revamped and more modern.

I started by moving my backups onto my drive -- 115GB of video, music, and games. It worked fine. I installed a list of applications that I find standard -- mplayer, smplayer, gcc, build-essential, and of course, armagetron. They plus 300+ other MB of download files installed correctly.

The menus are snappier, gnome notification is much more professional, and everything is generally more responsive. After I added all the repos and did 'sudo apt-get update', then ran hardware drivers, it picked up my broadcom just fine. Everything just works.

However, there is a problem. Ext4. Don't install this if you want a stable computer. Removing things to your trash is safe, but don't be doing anything essential if you're emptying it. Deleting files can hard-lock your pc. Even "<ctl><alt>REISUB" doesn't work. It requires a hard boot. Stick with Ext3, but if you were unlucky enough to install 4, there will be a patch in about a month, so it's not forever.

The update manager went through some changes. Only once a week it will notify you about an update for files, and it will notify you immediatly if it's security related. However, if you close it when it's security related, it comes back right away -- very annoying. This is changeable, but I haven't gotten around to it.

 Overall, besides Ext4 and the UpdateManager, I haven't many complaints about 9.04. Installs quick, apps just work, and everything seems to be nice and dandy. I recommend it to anyone. Good job Canonical.

 

Apple & Linux

Not a lot is really ever said about Apple and Linux. Sure, and I heartily agree, Apple stole from BSD to make a profit (Maybe now they'll change their licensing scheme?), but that in the end helps Linux users. There are some pros and cons to this though. I'll start with the pros.

First off, if Apple does succede Microsoft as number one dog in the computing industry, making ports for applications should be easy. There will be little excuse not to provide a Linux build, as directories are layed out similarily enough, along with having similar applications, all available to each other. Also, if people get used to the Mac filesystem layout, it will be easier for those who come from the Windows layout to see how the filesystem works. But there are more cons I suppose than pros.

 Well, judging Apple simply by their current marketing scheme, it's easy to see that they'd not be a kind competitor. Lockouts would be most definate, and most PC marketers would be out out business, as Apple refuses to let anyone else make hardware other than them. So, this would mean you'd be forced to use Mac hardware, and it would no doubt you uncommon features to make it difficult to install anything but OSX on.

Overall though, I think it would do the Linux community good it Apple only had 30% of the market share. This would give developers excuse to make things for Mac's, and when it's made for a Mac, it's easy to build for Linux. This would allow the Linux market share to grown, and  it would then have it's own set of developers wanting to produce. 

 

Microsoft's New Approach To Security - An Interview With Douglas Leland

In a recent interview with Douglas Leland, general manager of Microsoft Corp.'s Identity and Security Business Group, we are told that MS is concerned about both the security and the price of IT costs.

To me, security officers and IT leaders are the unsung heroes in their organization. They accomplish amazing things by integrating multiple solutions and securing their environments. But vendors generally haven't done enough to make this easier. Tight budgets in the current economic environment exacerbate this tension, though security remains a top area of investment. Forrester predicts that companies will devote 12.6 percent of IT budgets to security in 2009, up from 7.2 percent in 2007.*

Indeed, I will agree about the IT leaders being the unsung heroes in organizations. He is also correct, that vendors do sell their software, not for cheap. But on the other hand, Microsoft doesn't sell theirs cheap either do they?

Security managers are telling us they want to be more responsive to the needs of their business. They want the solutions and guidance to protect their organizations and manage compliance, but also to empower their information workers. Perhaps most important, they want to make the most of their current IT investments and the infrastructure they have today. All of this signals the need for a shift to what we think of as "Business Ready Security."

Companies do want to make the most of their current IT investments, but how many of them really want to have to pay fees in order to be up to date with the software that is available. While it may cost a little (or lots) to move to OSS, it's worth it in the end as licensing becomes a non-issue, and updates are free.

For example, today we are introducing Forefront Online Security for Exchange, a Microsoft Online Service, which protects e-mail from spam and malware. This is the first of our Forefront Online services to complement our software-based Forefront offerings. Note that we have expanded the Forefront brand to cover our portfolio of identity and security solutions. For example, our Identity Lifecycle Manager product is now officially named Forefront Identity Manager. We see the Forefront brand as synonymous with Business Ready Security.

Another important solution in this area is Microsoft code-named "Geneva," a new set of technologies that make it dramatically easier for customers to build security-enhanced access into software and hosted services.

Well, this one's easy. With a switch to Gmail, most spam will also become not an issue. No need to pay more fees yet to keep your email accounts clean. As for project "Geneva", would it not just be easier to use Linux, as the security is pretty good to begin with. Not to mention how much it costs to use this technology, and how restrictive the licenses are going to be in how you may use the software and distribute the end result.

Three, we want to help customers extend security across the entirety of their enterprises. That means continuing to build security features into Windows and our IT software solutions. It also means interoperating with non-Windows environments through partnerships and open standards.

Security will always be an issue for an Microsoft. They designed Windows from the ground up as a one man, no internet OS. The multiple users running as admin and having internet capabilities tacked on will always result in security issues for them. And as for their partnership with open standards, we know that they aren't friendly when it suits them best.

Well, you can read the rest of the interview at this page, as it is just Leland claiming that it's cheaper to use MS products, and he gives a couple examples of companies using MS technology where security and price counts.

 

Drifting past Microsoft, EU and Linux

Just read the report from ECIS (European Community for Interoperable Systems) which I found through Groklaw. The report adresses the Microsoft history of anticompetitive behaviour throughout IThistory and it's indeed intriguing.

I believe Groklaw does a better job than me in making the points - it just confirms my standing conserning Microsoft.

Openly admitting that I'm occationally reads "Boycott Novell" one could argue that I'm somewhat biased. The fun is that the credit for making me a 100% Linuxuser must be granted to Microsoft. I do quite a bit of filtering before accepting "Boycott Novell" material as solid.

 Trouble is, that whenever I find something that attracts my attention, I'm more often than not in line. Often it matches information obtained elsewhere, and the pieces matches holes in the puzzle I try to solve.

 I'm increasingly concerned about Mono and the .net implications, and after a coupple of discussions arising out of the C++ version of Tomboy - Gnote, I'm a bit concerned about the Novell influence over Gnome  as well. Somehow my thoughts regarding Mono and the Gnome 3.0 projects are not positive. At all. 

 I suspect (and the rumors are) that Microsoft will drop the forthcoming Windows7 trial version into the wild just after the release of Ubuntu 9.04.

Strategicly smart, but what everybody are adressing at the moment is the 3 application limit on Windows 7 for NetBooks. I do not believe it's a market strategy. More likely it's due to the demanding Vista 6.1 kernel. It doesn't seem to have changed much, and the applications are as demanding as ever. So Windows 7 will probably run smoothly on NetBooks - if you don't do anything that is.......

 

 

The New Microsoft Ads

One may ask themselves why Microsoft has resorted to using tactics such as how much a PC costs vs a Mac. Look at their new commercials, like the woman going to find a PC under $1000. Well, if you haven't seen it, I'll let you in on it. She's told by an announcer that if she can find a PC for under $1000, she could keep it for free. Well, she goes into the 'Mac' store (yes, she calls it the Mac store, not Apple) and leaves immediately, stating that the only Mac she was able to find for under the limit was one with a 13" screen. In order to meet her requirements for herself, it was to be a 17" screen, a comfortable keyboard, and of course, under $1000. So she makes her way to a best-buy clone, and looks around. To her amazement, all the computer there had better specs, and she eventually settles on a $700 HP. Yes, not the point, she had to pay for it. Way to keep your promise Microsoft. Anyhow, that's besides the point.

Many people say that in order for Microsoft to combat the current problems they're having, they need to do a complete redo of their OS. This is a terrible idea, from a Microsoft perspective. Vista was as far as they can go at one time without losing a terrible amount of share. The amount of people complaining that their software doesn't work, games, applications, was incredible. Now, if they were to scrap everything that they have, and start from scratch, they'd be unable to achieve the market share they once had. Sure, some die-hards will continue to use Windows, and companies would likely continue to make software based on the new OS, but so many people would likely turn to either Mac or Linux. This is because they are already stuck having to try and learn the new OS, so they will try something new.

So, in reality, if Microsoft wants to keep their position at the top for as long as possible, they're going to have to continue with their current business model. If they don't, they don't stand a chance in this economy, let alone against the spectacular software available. So, don't expect a drastic change, expect Microsoft to stay Microsoft until the day they become the next BeOS.

 

OpenPandora

Many of you may or may not have heard of a new project. This one is called OpenPandora. Their goal is to make an open source handheld that is very powerful. And I must say, they certainly achieved that.

It is by far the most powerful handheld in the world both in terms of raw CPU power and 3D graphics capability, it will be able to handle things such as Firefox3 or Quake3 with ease.

 As you can see, it's definately powerful enough as a system, but how about raw specs?

* ARM® CortexTM-A8 600Mhz+ CPU running Linux
* 430-MHz TMS320C64x+TM DSP Core
* PowerVR SGX OpenGL 2.0 ES compliant 3D hardware
* 800x480 4.3" 16.7 million colours touchscreen LCD
* Wifi 802.11b/g, Bluetooth & High Speed USB 2.0 Host
* Dual SDHC card slots & SVideo TV output
* Dual Analogue and Digital gaming controls
* 43 button QWERTY and numeric keypad
* Around 10+ Hours battery life 

If you ask me, this is the next-generation of netbooks. It should be a contender in the handheld arena, and if it is able to get itself enough publicity, Sony & Nintendo may start losing to significant market share. Which proves one point: What is safe from Linux? The answer: nothing. Check their site out and purchase a unit, support Linux, OpenPandora, and enjoy it while you're at it!

 
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