Linux kernel 3.3 released with merged Android code and more

Posted by on Apr 13, 2012 in Linux | 0 comments

imageThe latest refresh of the Linux kernel, 3.3, is now available, and the second release of 2012 brings with it the long-awaited merging of code from Google’s little side project. While that is particularly interesting to developers looking to boot Android or run apps on the stock Linux kernel (FYI: optimized power management and other infrastructure that didn’t make it this time will arrive in the next release, 3.4) and represents a resolution to the issues that kept the two apart for so long it’s not the only new feature included.

There are improvements to file systems like Btrfs, memory management, networking, security and much, much more. Hit the source link below for the full changelog or grab the code and from the usual locations and get your compile on directly.

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Minisys Linux: Puppy on steroids

Posted by on Apr 4, 2012 in Linux | 0 comments

imagePuppy Linux makes it easy to remaster its distribution, which probably explains the sheer number of Puppy Linux variants, called puplets, in the wild. Some of these puplets differ from the original only in offering different software bundles or use different window managers, while others target specific hardware platforms (for example, Pupeee). Minisys Linux, or Muppy, is an interesting puplet in the form of a modular Linux distro based on a Puppy Linux and Slackware 12 mix.

Unlike Puppy Linux, which is available in a single 96MB edition, Minisys Linux comes in four versions: Live, Mini, Server, and Embryo. The Live version uses 690MB and is stocked to the gills with applications for every task imaginable. The Seamonkey browser suite, Sylpheed email client, and Pidgin IM applications cover Internet needs, while OpenOffice.org, AbiWord, Gnumeric, and Adobe Acrobat Reader cater for office use. The multimedia section includes the MPlayer media player, XMMS audio player, and Goggles DVD player. The GIMP, MtPaint, and Gqview come in handy when you need to view or edit graphics, Wine helps you run Windows-based applications, and Minisys Linux also comes with a few games.

The Mini version, by contrast, takes just 128MB and comes with just a few essential tools and applications. However, you can expand the Mini version using extensions from Minisys Linux’s Web site — .sfs packs that can be added easily to the base system. The site provides Office, Games, Addons, and Development packs as well as extensions that add alternative desktop environments such as KDE and Enlightenment.

Server and Embryo are specialized versions of Muppy Linux. As the name suggests, the Server edition is designed for use as a server system, while Embryo is a bare-bones system suitable for the creation of memory-optimized, customized special solutions.

When you boot the Live or Mini edition, you’ll immediately notice how lavish the desktop looks compared to Puppy Linux. The Conky system monitor is installed by default, and it provides an overview of the system’s statistics, as does the custom Icedock applet, but using graphics instead of text. The Desktop also reveals a few useful tools not found in Puppy Linux. The MuppyBackup application, for example, allows you to quickly back up and restore your system, while the Autostart utility can be used to make specific applications start on boot. To do this, drag an application onto the Autostart icon, and the utility automatically generates a startup script.

Minisys Linux comes with two file managers: the lightweight PCman and the twin-panel Xfe. In addition, Minisys Linux sports Muppy-Filer, a no-frills twin-panel custom file manager. It may seem superfluous, but Muppy-Filer is a surprisingly functional and useful tool for light file managing tasks. Osmo, Puppy Linux’s default calendaring tool, has been replaced in Minisys Linux by the lcal utility, and clicking on the Internet icon launches the Opera browser instead of Seamonkey.

Minisys’s Start menu sports a launcher panel, where all installed applications are grouped by section, making it easier to locate and launch the application you want. Similar to Puppy Linux, you can use the PET package manager to install .pet packages, but Minisys Linux also allows you to install software from Slackware repositories using the Gslapt package management tool.

Minisys Linux comes with Puppy Linux’s excellent configuration wizard, which can help you configure essential settings such as keyboard layout, sound, video, wired and wireless network interfaces, printers, and firewall. The included Puppy Universal Installer tool lets you install Minisys Linux a variety of ways on various devices, including external hard disks and USB sticks.

In the Puppy Linux manner, all your data and system preferences are stored in a separate .2sf file which the system prompts you to create during the first shutdown. Creating the .2sf file allows you not only to save all your settings and data, but also extend the system using .sfs packs. Installing an extension in Minisys Linux is straightforward. Download the .sfs extension you want, move it to the /mnt/home directory, choose Start -> System -> Boot Manager, and press the "Choose which extra SFS files to load at bootup" button. Add the downloaded .sfs file and make sure that the "Ignore above user selection" check box is unticked. Reboot the system to enable the extension.

The current version of Minisys Linux is based on Puppy 3 and the 2.6.21.7 kernel, but Mark Ulrich, the lead developer, is already working on a new version of Muppy based on the latest Puppy Linux 4.1.

Although Minisys Linux takes Puppy Linux in a different direction, it does so in a clever and gentle manner. Minisys Linux preserves the best traits of its progenitor, such as user-friendly configuration and installation wizards and the PET package manager, and it adds a few nifty applications and features of its own. The killer feature of Minisys Linux is the ability to customize the system using .sfs packs, which allow you to set up a system that suits your needs in a matter of minutes.

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10 Best Free Linux Games

Posted by on Mar 20, 2012 in Linux | 0 comments

imageToday i am going to sharing some cool and best Linux Games. Linux OS, its open sources computer operating system, This operating suystem is not hard to use, similar to other operating system like Windows and Mac OS x. Linux having Multiuser, Multitasking and Multiprocessing features and It runs on multiple platforms. Linux use graphical interfaces that looks awesome when you playing games on this platform.

This OS binds the users due to its best features such as best internet support, productivity, multimedia, graphics and also games. Linux is great for viewing, editing, organizing, and creating graphics. Everyone has playing games on windows, well do not worry of Linux user, this operating system have huge collection of games also.

Actually the most interesting thing is that everyone wants to play games which are free to use. Freebies has great space among internet users such as free games, free apps, free songs and may more. So i have collected best free Linux games for game lovers. If you loves spend money, there are so many games available for sale for Linux.

The below screenshots includes some of the games which i play when I need to waste some time. I hope game lovers whom used Linux operating system will feel great to download these games. You can share your views in our comment section below.

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Linux

Posted by on Mar 14, 2012 in Linux | 0 comments

imageThe packaging of the kernel and various supporting software and applications composes what is called a distribution. There are many different Linux distributions. The distribution center is aimed at providing an overview of various distributions. The content provided here comes directly from the distribution project or vendors themselves. We believe distributions, community or commercial, should have the right to be properly represented on Linux.com. This area will continue to grow along with other distribution resources. If you would like to see a distribution represented here that isn’t, please contact the distribution project or vendor and tell them to submit their information to us.

If you’re trying to set up a computer system using older hardware, then Linux is a perfect solution that gives you several options, depending on your needs and available hardware. Read this in-depth article to find out more.

Need to set up a system for someone with little or no computer experience? The goal is to set up an interface that’s user-friendly, intuitive, and requires minimal tinkering. This article shows you how.

If you want to know what you’re getting into before you download and install a distribution, then be sure to watch these video tours on how to install Fedora and Kubuntu before you get started.

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Make Windows default OS in dual boot with Ubuntu: The easy Way

Posted by on Mar 12, 2012 in Linux | 0 comments

imageWhen you install Ubuntu (or any other Linux OS), it makes Ubuntu the default operating system. So if you want to use Windows, you have to select it manually within 10 sec otherwise it boots into Ubuntu directly.

But what if you are not a regular Ubuntu user (Why so?) and use Windows most of the time? It irritates you that you have to wait at each boot to select Windows. If you are facing such problems then you might want to make Windows your default operating system so that it boots into Windows by default.

One way to change the boot order is by changing the Grub configuration files. But the beginner Ubuntu users might not be at ease with the idea of changing the config file. The easiest (suggested for beginners) method is to use Start-up Manager Tool. It is a GUI tool which lets you select your default OS and the default timeout.

To install the Start-up manager type this command in the terminal (Ctrl+Alt+T: shortcut in Ubuntu for opening the terminal):

sudo apt-get install startupmanager

After installing the startup manager, run it (Press Windows Key and then search for it in Ubuntu 11.04 and 11.10). The GUI tool gives you the option of choosing the OS and the timeout, something like this:

Hope the post helped you. Do subscribe if you liked the post. Questions and suggestions are always welcomed.

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Why I switched from Windows to Linux

Posted by on Mar 5, 2012 in Linux | 0 comments

imageSome have never even heard of Linux but when they do, they think it’s "too geeky" "too nerdy" "for hackers" "only for smart people". These are all misconception.

When my brother gave me his laptop, that’s the time i started thinking "Oh Viruses again" "Typical Start/windows menu" "same old stuff". So I decided to do my own self-study and ran into "Linux".
I studied and research this for couple of months before using it permanently. And as result, I’m impressed and will never go back to Windows again. I use Mac OS X at Work and Ubuntu Linux at home. So I don’t just comment base on what i see on youtube videos and articles from websites or just tried it at the store and start commenting. I have experience all three major Operating System in technical way so keep the minor opinions aside.
I could’ve chosen Mac OS X and it is possible to install Mac on different hardware but it doesn’t feel the same. I can’t afford the Mac yet that’s why I have Linux, it’s a Free Operating System and No Need to pay for it.

So here are my reasons why I have Linux.

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Don’t Fear Tux

Posted by on Mar 1, 2012 in Linux | 0 comments

 

imageThe Linux computer operating system turned twenty in August this year. But, despite having reached that fine age (in computer terms), it remains on the fringe, with relatively low usage levels. Mostly, it has suffered from its reputation for being complicated, with many thinking it’s exclusively for geeks and nerds who know each line of code by heart.

But the reputation is undeserved. Linux hardly makes any special demands on users and is far easier then Windows or Mac OS, once you become accustom to the user interface.

Another reason that Linux it is not very popular, is due to the fact that OEM’s, are locked into Windows due to licensing with Microsoft, but that is slowly changing and set to become rather sub-standard now due to Android.

Indeed, the most daunting prospect with Linux is choosing between the variety of versions available — and the ability to dive beneath the user interface and get deep into the software, if you’re so inclined. Linux Mint and Ubuntu being the two most popular ones. The  Ubuntu project, founded in 2004, has now an estimated 25 million users worldwide.

There are other hurdles for Linux, which uses a penguin as its symbol. Most computer users find it a step too far to switch to Linux when their computers come pre—installed with Windows, says Novell manager Holger Dryoff. “Personally, I haven’t used anything but Linux on my computer since 1994.” Novell has close links with one of the classic Linux versions, OpenSuse, which basically consists of the core of the system, along with a few other freely distributed programmes.

Suse, the affectionate name of OpenSuse’s predecessor, “did the pioneering work for the distribution of Linux in Germany,” says Nils Magnus, co—founder of Linux Day.

Its version 11.04, for the first time, no longer comes standard with the Gnome desktop, but a new interface from Unity. The launcher is no longer at the bottom, but on the left, leaving more space on displays — which predominantly use a 16:9 ratio — for contents running from the top to the bottom of the screen.

“This is a new and very interesting attempt to design the desktop differently than before,” says Magnus.

Ubuntu is a version based on Debian, which has been around since 1993 and also consists predominantly of freeware. Other versions include free commercial programmes like Acrobat Reader.

“Debian is clearly the biggest Linux line,” says Ladislav Bodnar, who operates the website distrowatch.com. “The latest version requires eight DVDs.” The most compact Linux that still contains a graphical interface is Tiny Core Linux, which takes up all of 11 megabytes. Bodnar, a Slovakian Linux aficionado, lives in Taiwan and has 689 versions of the software in his database. Of those, 323 are still actively managed and under ongoing development.

“More than ever, there’s this heated debate about the graphical user interface,” says Bodnar, explaining trends in the Linux scene.

Ubuntu’s Unity desktop, a well as the new Gnome Version 3, orient themselves more towards use on a touchscreen.

“They can also be used on a desktop or a laptop, but they demand a radical rethink of expectations.” That has forced a lot of Linux users to consider alternatives, says Bodnar, like graphically intense user interfaces such as Xfce or LXDE. “Of course, there are naturally those who like the new desktop design from Unity or Gnome 3.” Installing software and downloading updates has become simple with most versions.

“All big distributors are coming along with package management,” explains Magnus. Finding appropriate drivers is no longer a problem either. There’s support for all kinds of hardware, from USB sticks to UMTS modems or even finger touch sensors on notebooks.

Magnus recommends Ubuntu, LinuxMint or Fedora — produced by Red Hat for home use — for beginners. “Debian is not so useful for first—time users,” he says, noting that this modularly built system can sometimes be complicated to install on a PC.

The variety of Linux versions is especially useful for specialists, who tend to use their computers for specific tasks. That means there’s Edubuntu, an Ubuntu version for students, or Mythbuntu, for recording videos. Backtrack also relies on Ubuntu, as it provides special tools for security checks of computer networks.

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Linux Professionals Have Bright Future

Posted by on Feb 28, 2012 in Linux | 0 comments

imageWith Linux programmers’ demand on the rise companies are finding it hard to find such talented people to fill the seats. Dice Holdings Inc conducted a survey of 2300 companies with a nonprofit group The Linux Foundation.

Out of the surveyed companies 85% commented on the difficulty to find Linux professionals. Most of the companies are trying to devise plans to attract more and more professionals as the open source nature of Linux and less cost has made companies to choose it over Microsoft’s Windows OS that takes a lot of finance for licensing. Small enterprises or startups cannot bear the burden of that cost.

18% companies said during the survey that they would use bonuses as a recruiting tool and additional stock options were the choice of another 8%.

Offering salaries above the company’s norm is a hard decision but 28% companies said they are doing so, whereas 37% had an idea to offer flexible work schedules to lure the Linux programmers.

For the record, Linux is currently used by Facebook, Google’s Android, Samsung TVs, and Amazon’s Kindle e-reader. Knowing the fact raised by this recent survey I guess future seems to be in the favor Linux professionals.

Are you one of those?

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‘Linux is Not User Friendly’ – No Way!

Posted by on Feb 24, 2012 in Linux | 0 comments

imageIn our previous post, we discussed how mainstream media is adopting linux(‘Stop using Windows, Use Ubuntu instead’). And a lot of people started complaining how not-user-friendly Linux really is. Before saying such far fetched statements, one thing they all need to consider is this, Linux!=Windows!     It is not the friendliness factor, it is the user familiarity factor that is giving a lot of bad name for Linux. Most of the Linux users are those migrating from Microsoft Windows and it requires a certain amount of time to get familiar with the new OS.

    I have my own experience to substantiate this statement. I was not much of a computer user at all till I bought my laptop 4 years ago. I installed Ubuntu as dual boot with Windows XP. I instantly started liking Ubuntu, it was fun to use and all the compiz eyecandy was just overwhelming. To that day, I considered linux as an outcast or never really though about it at all.

    But even a guy like me with minimal Windows experience took 2-3 months to get fully familiar with Ubuntu. But once I got familiar, their was no looking back. To this day, there was not even a single instance where I had to go back to the Windows era.

    That is probably the issue. Most of them are so too familiar with Windows and so are they, in a way, expecting everything in Linux to be just as like in Windows. That has to change.

    Another good example of this ‘familiarity factor’ is the IT@School project introduced in Kerala, India in 2002. Kerala government completely shut down windows, and made schools to use only Linux. Students or parents didn’t protest, they just went on with it. And now Kerala is among the states having the highest e-literacy rate.

    Here is another guy proudly proclaiming Ubuntu is NOT user friendly and that he is going ‘back’ to Windows. He never ‘came’ to Ubuntu to go ‘back’ to Windows.

    All I have to say to those who say Ubuntu is tough to use is, spend some more time on it before quitting. It is worth it. I can’t even think about using Windows now, partially because I am all too familiar with Ubuntu and Linux. So please do bear that in mind always.

    Share with us your experience with Linux.

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Whats On My Computer? Part 2

Posted by on Feb 20, 2012 in Linux | 0 comments

imageFor the first article I covered the software I have installed on my Linux Partition. It wound up being a how to of sorts for installing Windows in a Virtual Machine. Linux pretty much is secure and has all the software you need off the bat so I didn’t go into a lot of detail on the software I use on it. However I have installed a few extra programs under Linux and share them with you. Many of these have versions for Windows as well and I’ll give you that info too as well as links to the websites to you can do your own investigation. I’ll also cover programs for Windows that make your life more secure and easy.

Dropbox (Wilndows, Linux Mac): DropBox is a lifesaver for your data. It creates a folder on your computer that you can drop files in. These files are backed up in the cloud automatically for you. You can also invite your friends to share a folder within your DropBox.

TeamViewer (Windows, Linux, Mac) Don’t you wish you could log into your home computer from the office of vice-verse? Team viewer makes it easy.
ClamAV (Linux,Windows) For Linux users this is not a must, but we live in a Windows world full of maleware. It’s highly unlikely your Linux system will be affected by it but there is always the possibility that you could pick up a Windows virus in your email and forward it on to your Windows friends. ClamAV will help you to avoid spreading infections to susceptible Windows computers.

CCleaner (Windows) after using windows for a while you will notices your system performance degrading. Windows keeps a lot of junk temporary files and CCleaner can find and eliminate them. Add to this CCleaners handy registry cleaning program and startup manager and you have a lot of useful cleaning utilities in one package. For Linux users this is not as big of an issue but you can use a similar program called BleachBit. It functions a lot like CCleaner in that it allows you to clean up temp files from multiple applications in one convenient interface.

Defraggler (Windows) Forget about using Windows built in defragmentation program. Defraggler zips though the process much quicker. It also allows you to defragment specific files or folders.
Revo Uninstaller (Windows) Ever notice how Windows uninstaller leaves all kinds of files and folders as well as registry entries in on your computer after supposedly uninstalling a program? Revo to the rescue here. Revo hunts down all the junk that gets left behind after an uninstall. Linux users need not apply as the Ubuntu Software Center does a pretty good job of removing programs you install with it. Ubuntu also includes a Program called Computer Janitor that can take care of the rest.

Microsoft Security Essentials (Windows) This was in the Top 10 Free Downloads For 10-10-10 post and it still stands as one of my favorite Microsoft programs. I used to swear by AVG Antivirus and it is still a great pick for free antivirus protection, but this free offering from Microsoft is slick, unobtrusive and outperforms most free antivirus programs as well as the free alternatives as far as detection and removal rates.
Malwarebytes Antimalware (Windows) OK so why would I have another antivirus program on this list? Because you can NEVER be too safe if you are running Windows. Windows XP is actually the most vulnerable OS according to ComputerWorld. Most of the computing community is still using XP. Now I would recommend upgrading to Linux but if you do not, you still need more than MSSE (Microsoft Security Essentials) to be safe. Use this free offering and run it weekly, if not nightly to make sure your system is not compromised.
Pidgen (Windows, Linux, Mac) If your like me you have accounts on FaceBook, MySpace, Twitter as well as email accounts on Google, Hotmail, Yahoo, and other accounts. Pidgnen allows you to get your instant messenger from all these accounts in one place. If you were using Pidgen years ago you were an UberGeek. Now if your not, you are missing the boat. There are other messengers that pull it all together but Pidgen is the most versatile that I’ve used, and available on all platforms.

SyncToy (Windows) OK you have DropBox to sync your most important files online. But the 2 GB limitation may be a problem if have a ton of pictures movies or music you want to regularly backup to a second or an external HDD. The simple answer is to install SyncToy from Microsoft. Choose a directory on your HDD you want to sync to a directory on your backup drive and sync. Its that easy. All your selected files will be backed up. You can configure it in a few different ways to back up things in the way you like. Plus it is lightweight and simple. Another good offering for free from Microsoft.
Super (Windows) If you work with video files this program will interest you. Sometimes you need to convert from one video file format to another. Super does it all. From any format to any format. But be warned, you need a little knowledge of video file formats in order to use this. In other words this is not a simple program, but goodness, it gets the job done where others fail!

For now my brain is exhausted and there is a lot of other software I could cover in this article. Maybe with your feedback and some more thought I can come up with another post or two in this vein and cover software that specifically interest you. So please give me some feedback and I will expand this blog!
 

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10 Blockbusters Made with the Help of Linux

Posted by on Feb 20, 2012 in Linux | 0 comments

imageLinux is not only the ideal operating system for small screen devices like netbooks, but also a pretty good choice for the big screen. Several of the top blockbusters of all time were created with the help of Linux software or render farms running Linux.

The most recent example being the soon-to-be most successful movie Avatar. The New Zealand-based visual effects company Weta Digital sits behind the stunning visual effects of Avatar as well as some other movies you may have heard of, including the The Lord of the Rings, The Day The Earth Stood Still, X-Men, I, Robot, and the 2005 King Kong remake.

According to Paul Gunn, Systems Administrator at Weta Digital, they have more than 4.000 HP blade servers with over 35.000 processors in their data center with all of Weta’s rendering nodes and 90% of their desktops running Ubuntu.

As pictures can say more than words, let’s have a look at some of the blockbusters made with the help of Linux. For more words see the references linked at the end of this article.

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Battle of the Giants: Linux and Windows Compared

Posted by on Feb 15, 2012 in Linux | 0 comments

imageIn the world of superior web hosting, there’s really only two main competitors as far as your operating system goes—unless you’re willing to be some kind of mad scientist, that is. Essentially, every webmaster must face the same battle during the earliest span of their career, staring at that blank server box while wondering, “Should I load this up with Windows, or will Linux get the job done?” We’re unabashedly pro-Linux, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t points for both. In fact, the uninitiated among us may quickly find themselves in over their heads without a little guidance. So with that in mind, we’d like to present our unbiased review of the major differences between a Windows-based and Linux-based server experience, starting from the ground up and arriving at the frilly stuff on top. And when putting the two head to head, there’s really no better place to start than with:

Security – Winner: Linux

In terms of raw security, it’s really quite hard to do better than any available Linux distribution. This has to do with the very way in which Linux is coded—including Unix branches of the operating system, if you were wondering. Unlike Windows, Linux has a superuser known simply as “root.” To access this level of control, a webmaster must have a direct connection to the server shell, as well as the password of the server itself. Once this link has been established, an administrator can do basically anything they’d like to the server, including the hacking and stealing of precious data. However, because this level of authority requires root access—and simply cannot be had any other way—it’s nearly impossible for an artificial-intelligence based virus to “hack” into a Linux system. The probe would first need to tunnel into the server, establishing itself as a secure connection. Next, it would need to know the master password, which theoretically could be hacked, though to little purpose. Once inside the server, the bug would still need to pass several security checks to access privileged folders, guaranteeing a much harder fight than with Windows.

Windows, it’s worth noting, features little to no administrative control, a la the “root” user. Rather, the server establishes a single account as its admin, and then ties a password to that user. However, because of the registry that lies at the heart of a Windows system, it’s relatively easy for a digital worm to wind its way into the heart of the hardware, accessing files as it pleases and relaying the found data back to another server: Or worse! All in all, Linux simply cannot be bested in terms of its superior security from outside threats.

Support – Winner: Windows

However, Windows does have the upper hand in terms of technical assistance and support. Because Windows is a proprietary operating system, it comes fully backed by a team of Microsoft specialists that will help and guide you through any unexpected errors or struggles. These lines and forums are available 24/7, 365 days a year, and can assist with any and all malfunctions. They will typically even perform some of the procedure for you, saving you the need to get your hands dirty with code.

Linux, on the other hand, historically comes with no dedicated technical assistance, save the community itself. And though the world of Linux troubleshooting is alive and well across hundreds of forums spread out across the globe, there’s simply no solid body to deal with the thousands of Linux variations and distributions that float freely in existence. Rather, it is ultimately the webmaster who must deal first-hand with technical complications, and if no quick solution is available, that webmaster’s server may be in real steep stuff.

Cost – Winner: Linux

That being said, Linux easily takes the cake in terms of raw overhead investment. Rare is a Linux distribution that costs anything, as most are available for free via the GNU public commons agreement. Furthermore, should some enterprising webmaster wish to create their own variation of the operating system, they’re fully licensed to do so, as Linux is typically available in its entirety for free redistribution. Windows, however, must be purchased with a server license, which can be quite expensive. Further, technical assistance and software come at a premium, where Linux is loaded to the gills with freeware packages optimized for the system. But as mentioned, this corner cutting in a budgetary sense also comes with a lack of dedicated problem solving support. The difference is really like buying a used car, as opposed to leasing one: Should a problem arise with the used automobile, you’re very likely up a certain creek without a means of locomotion. Should the leased vehicle fail, there’s always an helping hand nearby, ready to handle your needs.

Performance and Up-Time – Winner: Linux

Lastly, if you’re looking for the final word in performance and up-time, Linux is hands down your top pick. A Linux system absolutely never requires a reboot because of a software update, nor does it ever necessitate a restart to unclog the processes. The operating system has been designed from the ground up to create dedicated threads for each open application, activating these threads when needed and closing them when unneeded. This not only preserves processing power, but ensures that no program can “go rogue” behind the scenes, eating away at your server’s resources and potentially causing a meltdown. Windows, on the other hand, typically faults at the background level, leaving software doors open with the lights running. To keep a Windows server clean, a frequent tune-up and maintenance sweep is typically required, in addition to an occasional system reboot. Each of these requires down-time, and without a backup server on-hand to deal with the lost connectivity, you’re potentially facing irritated end-consumers. All in all, there’s simply no more efficient way to run your server for extended periods of time—Linux up-time is typically measured in years—than with a Linux distribution.

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Ubuntu Linux, an alternative to Google Android?

Posted by on Feb 15, 2012 in Linux | 0 comments

imageAndroid will soon have a competitor Ubuntu Linux as an operating system developed under open source and available for use free of charge.

Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux, revealed that after completion of the latest versions of PC operating system will be concentrated efforts to extend this platform to the most popular computing platforms in use today.

So soon we will have available Ubuntul Linux distributions tablets, Smart TV devices and smartphones.

In preparation for this expansion, Canonical is in discussions with many of the producers of chipsets for mobile devices, including ARM, a leading manufacturer of processors for tablets and smartphone models.

Throught this extension in the world of mobile devices, Ubuntu is a direct competitor to Android, an operating system which ironically is compromised even by the creator of Google, the recent acquisition of Motorola, one of the major mobile phone manufacturers in the world.

Motorola acquisition is seen in the eyes of other hardware manufacturers, simply because transform Google from a simple software developer in a hardware manufacturer. So Android comes to be caught in a conflict of interest arising between Google and other manufacturers creator of mobile devices. Ubuntu Linux is as saving solution as a free alternative and flexible, made by a company much less intimidating than Google.

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W7 Theme for Ubuntu Brings Windows 7’ Linux

Posted by on Feb 13, 2012 in Linux | 0 comments

imageLinux: W7 Theme is a free script that skins your Linux desktop with a familiar Windows 7 look and feel.

Click on the image for a closer look.

We recently shared a program that makes your Windows machine look like OS X; W7 is a similar tool that changes your Linux GUI to a more familiar Windows interface. Linux has a highly configurable GUI, but if you long for the more well-known Windows interface, this script will do a remarkably good job of making Ubuntu look like Windows 7. You can download either a GNOME and KDE version, as well as one of a few Firefox themes to make your browser look more Windows-y too.

You’ll need to do a bit of Terminal work to install the theme, though if your copy and paste skills are up to snuff, you should be fine. It’s pretty handy if, say, you have a relative who needs to use Linux but is confused by the interface (or you just really, really like Aero Glass). The only downside is that there’s no easy uninstall procedure at the moment—so make a backup before you install it in case you decide you want to switch back.

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Radio Tray – A Radio Player That Fits In System Tray

Posted by on Jun 22, 2011 in Linux | 0 comments

Radio Tray is a very simple application that plays your favourite radio stations and it does so from the system tray, meaning any station you want to listen to is only two clicks away. Naturally you’ll need to add your favorite streams to this program before it will actually be useful. Most websites offering streaming will give you access to a “.pls” file. Copy the link to this file and you can add it to Radio Tray. It supports most media formats as well as PLS, M3U, ASX, WAX and WVX playlist format. You can even bookmark the stations you really like for easy access, which is pretty nice too. To install Radio Tray in Ubuntu Linux, launch Ubuntu Software Center from Applications menu (at the top) and search for “Radio Tray”. From the results, select “Install” and you are all set to use this amazing piece of software.

ubuntu-software-center

Radio Tray can be launched from “Sound & Video” menu under “Applications”. It will appear in the system tray area. This is the beauty of this software that as it runs in system tray so it does not consumes much system resources as it does not require any browser window or any other heavy application to function. Radio Tray will launch in system tray and will not automatically play any station. To play the radio station, click on the Radio Tray (tray) icon and select the station from drop down list (you may require extra plugins for proper functioning of the application e.g gstream libraries).

radio-tray-unconfigured

Perhaps the pre-configured radio stations may not interest you. You can not only add your favourite channels but even Remove or Edit any existing channel. To Add/Remove channel(s) in Radio Tray, Right Click on the tray icon and Select “Configure radios…”. A dialogue box will appear. Here you can Add new channels, Remove or Edit existing channels and Move the Channels UP or Down in the list. Lets, now add a radio station to Radio Tray. Go to: http://www.shoutcast.com/ and search for some radio station (say, rock). From the results, just copy the link of any radio station. Now come back to “Configure Radios” and Click on “Add” Button. In the “Radio name” box enter any friendly name (say Soft Rock) of the radio station while in the “URL” paste the link of the radio station.

radio-tray-add-station

Your new radio station is now added into the channel lists of Radio Tray and you can listen to it just by selecting it from the drop down list of Radio Tray.
radio-tray-configured

If your favorite station doesn’t have a standard M3U or PLS playlist posted on their web site, you can always find the stream’s URL by other means. Radio Tray isn’t incredibly feature-filled, but on those occasions you just need a simple unitasker, it’s perfect for getting the job done and staying out of your way. Its a perfect substitute for proprietary radio softwares and not only available in .deb format but also in source format.

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Some Random Helpful Hints

Posted by on Jun 22, 2011 in Linux | 0 comments

I’ve been slowly collecting a few commands that are useful to me for various things while using Linux.  I figured that I would share some of these handy commands.  In no particular order, they are:

To copy, preserving permissions AND structure AND recursively, from a remote system to your local system:

1 rsync -r -a -v -e ssh server1.address.com:/dir/youwant/to/copy/ /local/location/for/directory/

Please note that the code above assumes that you are using key based authentication and not password.  For password based authentication, it would look more like this:

1 rsync -r -a -v -e ssh remoteuser@server1.address.com:/dir/youwant/to/copy/ /local/location/for/directory/

To remove all files matching a certain extension (xml in my example) in a directory:

1 find . -type f -name "*.xml" -exec rm -f {} \;

To go into a location, find all files that match a certain extension (jpg in my example) and move them to a different directory:

1 find . -name "*.jpg" | xargs -i mv '{}' /location/to/move/them/to/

To recursively remove empty directory from the directory you are currently in (your pwd):

1 find -depth -type d -empty -exec rmdir {} \;

These are a few of the commands that I’ve found useful in the past few weeks.  I hope you find them useful as well.  I’ll be test driving quite a few different distributions and reporting back what I find as well as experimenting with various different commands…I really like find because it is so powerful so look for some more posts with uses of the find command.  Thanks for reading and sorry for my lapse in posting this past month!

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Mozilla Firefox, From Darling to Enemy in One Release

Posted by on Jun 22, 2011 in Linux | 0 comments

What is wrong with everyone in Linux land bagging on Mozilla Firefox and their 5.0 release?

Complaints pretty much have one thing in common:  They claim there isn’t enough ‘new and shiny’ things inside FF5 to warrant a major version.  This is illogical thinking because major version means NOTHING when it comes to usability of software.  I’ve noticed that I can browse and use FF5 just as easily as I could FF4 and FF3 before it…I still type in URL’s and websites display.  My plugins all still work.  It starts up a bit faster and websites seem to load just a bit faster…which is good.  So why all the whining and complaining?

The silliest thing about this is that the same people complaining about Firefox 5 say that Chrome and IE are going to overtake it and that this is the beginning of the end for Mozilla and Firefox.  Poppycock!  Chrome and Chromium have been using Agile programming and the SAME EXACT METHODOLOGY BEHIND releases and version numbers that Firefox is doing now.  So where was the flack for Google and Chromium when they released often and incremented all the way up to version 10 and then version 12??

It is my opinion that the people shouting from the rooftops that Mozilla and Firefox are a sinking ship doomed to fail while using Chrome/Chromium in the background have no clue what Agile Programming (or in Google’s case, Agile-like programming) is or what it sets out to accomplish…and they’re showing how hypocritical they are.  If you’re one of these people, where were you when Chrome and Chromium was ratcheting up their version numbers without noticeable improvements and features?

Sad that Firefox and Mozilla, who championed one of the first fantastic browsers on Linux, has went from Linux Darling to Public Enemy Number One in a single release in some peoples eyes.  Hopefully, people will realize how silly it is and stop complaining?  Well, one can dream right?

Let’s look at the quality of the software when levelling complaints instead of being upset that the version number doesn’t jive with what we think it should.  Thus far, my experience with FF5 has been pretty darn fantastic.  Thanks go out to Mozilla…you’ve done a great iteration of software yet again.

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Host Your Own Domain, Website and Webserver

Posted by on Jun 22, 2011 in Linux | 0 comments

I have a problem with facebook, myspace, and other social networking websites out there.  The problem is when I upload my data to their webservers….I don’t own it anymore.  They do.  And they can do whatever they want with it once it is there.

With this in mind, I’d rather setup my own twitter using Status.net or my own digg using Pligg.  But I’d do it on MY OWN SERVER.  That way, any content I upload is MINE.  It doesn’t reside on some server in California or DC and get recycled to advertisements.

I like to control my own stuff.  I don’t like to be cut out of the loop.  If you’re like me, then you’ll want to host your own domain, website and webserver so that your friends/family/shrink can quickly and easily connect up to see new photos, find out the latest family developments, and understand why you wear tinfoil hats every Thursday after 4pm.

Normally, to host your own webpage you would need to spend around 7 bucks to purchase a domain.  Next you would need a hosting plan that usually runs around 3-15 dollars per month to serve up your web pages.

What most don’t realize is that you can skip these steps all together…you don’t need to get dedicated hosting (this blog is hosted on dedicated hosting…but started out in my apartment!) to serve pages up to your friends and family.  You absolutely do not need to get domain name services through a provider.  You can even host your own webserver using a dialup connection (that’s right…I said dialup) although. I don’t recommend it (but I’ve done it using 56.6kbps).

Why would you want to do this?  The answer might be to stay connected to friends and family…perhaps install a gallery so that your grandparents can see pics of your new dog/car/tinfoil hat.  Sure, you could waste my time with MyWaste..er..space and facebook and be barraged daily by advertisers and solicitors and be inundated with the minutiae of what all your friends had to eat for the day …or you could roll your own web host, install a gallery or website, and provide media to your friends and family without costing yourself a dime.  That’s right, NO COST (except time spent getting it running).  Just remember, your website might not survive a digging or slashdotting if you run it yourself.  Keep that in mind :) So without more chatter, let’s get to the meat and potatoes of things:

Meat and Potatoes

If you have Cable or DSL at home (not a business account) you have something called a dynamic connection.  Dynamic connection means that it can change every once in a while.  DSL and cable ISP’s purchase blocks of IP Addresses in the dynamic range so that they can keep consumers separate from businesses.  It’s also easier for them to manage dynamic pools of people than to have to remember static connections that don’t change for everyone.

Because of this problem…an ever changing connection for you at home…web servers and websites do not do very well.  The reason for this is because when you visit a website on a dynamic connection one day, it might be different the next day.  In order for visitors of a website to find you each and every single time, you need a “domain” or web name that points back to the address (IP Address) your internet service provider changes on a whim.  You’ll also need an update service to update your website each time your ISP decides to change things on you.

Believe it or not, there are free services out there to do that for you.  You just have to be willing to do a little extra work in the beginning to set things up.  You can also do this without spending 20-40 bucks a month on DNS service.

I’ll divide this up into 2 sections.  The first will deal with Linux hosting.  The second, Windows Web hosting.  This is only something that I’ve found easy to do and the price is just right (it’s free).  The only thing that I recommend is a dedicated internet connection (cable, DSL) but even this is not necessary as dialup can be used.  I recommend that you use the Linux way of doing things since it is more secure and doesn’t require a restart every time you patch it.

*note: I’m assuming that you aren’t behind a firewall/proxy of any kind and that your ISP doesn’t block port 80 traffic.  If your ISP blocks port 80, see the appendix at the end of this article.

LINUX

No matter what version of Linux you run, chances are that you’ll be able to install the apache webserver.  This is good news as over half the websites of the world are run by apache. I’m not going to address the specifics of how to set up your apache…only how to get it a fixed address without buying a domain.  So, you have your html or php pages located into your webservers public directory…good…whatever application you have is installed on your server.  Now, how to resolve your IP…lets say it is…25.24.4.166 (for our example) and you want it to have a host.name.com to bind to.  Easy to resolve.  Go to http://www.no-ip.com/index.php and sign up.  You can get a site from noip that is like yourname.theirdomain.com/.net/.info.  They have cool names like sytes.net and servebeer.org…even workisboring.com.  Other services like dyndns.org also exist and provide the free service as well.

You’ll be able to choose your own top level name…for instance, Ithink.dnsiskinky.com could be your new domain name.  Next download a client from the download tab: https://www.no-ip.com/downloads.php

The linux client is a tar.gz source and is simple to install. Follow the instructions when installing.  You may have to install compilation tools (devel packages like GCC) to install the client.  You now are the proud owner of yoursite.theirsite.com and your IP will ALWAYS update (as long as noip.com is up) each time you log on/sign on/beam up or whatever it is you do.

How does this help you?  Well, if you’re like me, you have a dynamic IP address.  If you connect to the internet via cable, dialup, or dsl…you also have a dynamic IP address.  Dynamic means that it will change from time to time without warning.  So by binding yoursite.theirsite.com to your IP address…you don’t ever have to worry about what IP address you have anymore.  Instead, you’ll always be able to connect using yoursite.theirsite.com.  You can host a webserver using Apache and a virtual host in this style as well (look for another how-to on this subject later) so that everyone can visit a shiny website at yoursite.theirsite.com.

Now you can give your friends/family/dog walker/mailman the address to your new webserver…maybe it’s Ithink.dnsiskinky.com like we used in the example above.  Now when they visit that address in their web browser, your application or web page displays for them.  You also get bragging rights at being the most technical friend/relative/dog walker client/household that everyone knows.  Now let’s cover Windows.

WINDOWS

First you need a free and clear webserver since one is not included by default with windows. You can download Apache for this as well OR try the Abyss Webserver.

Interestingly enough, Abyss is also free!  I ran it while my linux machine was being worked on (bad hard disk…it was a Quantum 200MB drive from 1913…had to upgrade) and it worked just great off of Windows XP.  Download that puppy and install it.  Make sure you read all of the documentation and familiarize yourself with how Abyss does business.

The next step…getting a hostname… is even easier than the linux method because you don’t have to manually install the noip client…they have a windows installer.  Go to http://www.no-ip.com/index.php and sign up.  Choose the domain name you would like (see above examples in Linux section).  Next, download the noip client from the download tab: https://www.no-ip.com/downloads.php but this time choose the windows client.  From there, you’ll be able to install this with a simple double click.  Fill in all of your information (pretty self explanatory) and make sure that it will run with each time you sign on.  You’re set! Your IP will now resolve to the yourchoice.theirhostname.com

CONCLUSION

You don’t have to spend a dime to keep a domain bound to your IP.  This is perfect for the home user who just wants a gallery or homepage.  It’s even good for someone who has a weblog or enthusiast site.  It’s good for someone who wants to be able to find their files and music…setup Jinzora and stream all your music library to yourself anywhere you are!  Setup Amahi and have access to all the goodness it brings.

Please remember, this wouldn’t be good for a business to have.  You will probably violate your ISP’s terms and conditions for using their connection if you tried to run a business this way.

It’s always good form to put a link of the stuff you are using on your website to direct traffic back to your software provider.  When I used noip, I included a noip link on my main page and also an abyss webserver icon as well.  It’s just good form and some companies/software providers necessitate the use of their logo or a link on sites that use their software/code.  Just be a nice person and give a link back to them.  Good luck! Have fun!

Also, please note that having hosted my own webserver for quite some time (circa 2001) I’ve found Linux and Apache as a combination to be more secure, faster, and more stable than any webserver I’ve hosted on the Windows Platform. I included information on Windows mainly to introduce you to the concept of free and open source software. If you thought getting a webserver for free was great, think about getting a whole operating system! Give it a try, you don’t even have to install it (use a Live CD).

APPENDIX

If your ISP blocks port 80 traffic, your webserver won’t work.  Before deciding that your ISP is blocking however, make sure your firewall has the appropriate rules to allow incoming traffic.  You can do a quick add to IPTABLES in the following manner:

1 iptables -A INPUT -p tcp --dport 80 -j ACCEPT
1 iptables -A INPUT -j DROP

If you’ve opened up the appropriate ports and things still don’t work, it will be safe to say that you’ve determined the ISP is blocking port 80.  How you can get around this conundrum is to switch the listening port on the webserver to a different one and redirect traffic there.

  1. See how to do this for IIS Webservers
  2. See how to do this for Apache Webservers (normally in /etc/apache2/httpd.conf but your distro may vary.)
  3. See how to do this for Abyss Webservers

If you still have problems, drop me a line in the comments section.  I may not be able to answer all questions but I can most likely get you to a person/place/thing that can.  Have fun and thanks for reading!

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Unity 2010 Beta 2 Impressions

Posted by on Jun 22, 2011 in Linux | 0 comments

As noted previously, I’ve been pretty hard pressed lately in my secular job due to migrations and other fun activities happening throughout the past few months.  I did however, get the chance to download Unity 2010 Beta 2 and give it a go.  I had some problems when booting because I was brought to a blank black screen with a mouse pointer no matter what options I passed during boot.  To get by this, I had to follow some IRC advice on #unitylinux  (thanks wile_netbook!) and change to a second tty, kill the Xserver and GDM, followed by executing do-vesa.  It’s hard to try to do it quickly though because GDM will try and restart X and switch init levels on you back to a graphical one.  To get by this, you’ll need to do the following:

Drop into a different tty.  Login as root…if you’re on the liveCD, the password is root.  Execute:

1 ps aux | more

Make note of the PID for X and GDM.  Write them down…replace the terms below with your PID numbers:

1 kill -9 PID_for_X && kill -9 PID_for_GDM && do-vesa

You now should see something other than black screen with mouse cursor.  I’m not sure how many systems this affects…but I know my Dell Latitude D630 laptop took it on the chin for this one.  Not a huge problem for a Beta…I mean, a distro can’t be all things to everyone.

Overall though, Unity 2010 Beta 2 is much more solid than Beta 1 was for me after getting by the initial X problem.  Everything works as it should as far as sound, Internet, and wireless are concerned.  I quickly removed PCmanFM and replaced it with Thunar, my file manager of choice.  I removed LXPanel and installed Tint2.  Installed Nitrogen to manage wallpaper.  Installed Parcellite to give me a clipboard,  Installed volwheel to give me a volume applet to control volume.  Installed Pragha to give myself a great music player.  Installed Irssi to allow me to get my IRC fix and put pidgin in play to IM.  I had a usable, customized desktop within about an hour.  And it’s been really solid…just as solid as my Arch Openbox desktop I run at home…which makes me feel good about this Beta.

So what else have I been working on?  I’ve been working on a large (VERY large)  tutorial on file permissions and making use of groups for file/directory access to add to the tutorials section of YALB.  This thing has been in work since last year and I’m attempting to finish it up before the months end to give a good representation of what file permissions in Linux are for and how they work with users and groups.  I’m also going to write up a tutorial on how to customize Unity 2010 Beta 2 into a lightweight Openbox desktop.  So, some good updates hovering on the horizon.  Stay tuned :D

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Status Update for Devnet

Posted by on Jun 22, 2011 in Linux | 0 comments

For those of you who follow me here at Yet Another Linux Blog you might be wondering where I went the last month.  I assure you I’m still here and I still use Linux every single day.  I’m currently running both Arch Linux (32bit) and Unity Linux (64bit) on my main computer.

I’ve been working pretty hard through the holidays at my full time job where I am a server administrator for a medium sized hospital in the U.S.  Recently (in December), I moved 2000+ users from Exchange 2003 to Exchange 2007.  We considered farming out our Exchange environment to the cloud or perhaps going with Microsoft Exchange Hosting services but in the end, upper management decided they’d rather underpay someone to work exceedingly long hours with minimal training on a system not built by him.  So, that’s why I’ve been pretty inactive as of late.  As you can imagine working with Microsoft technologies…I always have something to fix and things are always unstable.

I know that some of you might be saying “why not use linux based exchange alternatives in your enterprise?” and I’d say, why indeed.  But I inherited this beast and it’s been Exchange since Exchange came out.  Not only that, but the primary application for all departments (ERM app) runs completely on Windows and plugs into Exchange and nothing else.  Talk about vendor lock in eh?  Well, it’s a job.

I used to work with Linux when I worked for rPath but parted ways with them about a year and a half ago when I had to move away to help out after a death in the family.  I was very sad to leave but am very happy with the large pay increase that came with my current position.  However, migrations do take their toll…lots of hours worked and frustrations vented.  Now that I’m over the hump, I’ll be able to get back into a normal swing of things.

For those of you who might be Exchange administrators in your day to day work, I’ve begun blogging about my experiences and setup a community to share tips, tricks, powershell commandlets, and a place to talk shop.  I figure if I have to work with closed source at least I can open source some help.  Find my Exchange blog at http://teknologist.net

Thanks for hanging in there everyone, and sorry for the inactivity.  Now that I’ve hit 6+ years blogging (in December) here I have even more incentive to continue sharing great Linux help with everyone.  I’ve got some good tips directly in the pipeline and here’s to a great 2010!

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Zealots and Narcissism

Posted by on Jun 22, 2011 in Linux | 0 comments

Many times in my journeys of distribution hopping, I’ve run across rabid fans and communities [1]

I’ve written a guide for new users on how to understand the vitrol that rabid zealots spew in Linux communities [2]

Those problems are all very easy to see…but these articles deal with only the tangible problems in these areas.  What are the reasons these problems exist?  Is it because of one or two individuals?  Is it mob mentality?  Are people just waking up on the wrong side of the bed?  I don’t think these reasons get down to the core of what the real problem is…the hidden problem…of zealots in the Linux community.

The Hidden Problem

The hidden problem is Narcissism…people think that what they have to say about a given subject makes the most sense and is 100% correct (or at least more correct than others’ POV) and it’s one that is hard for people to talk about…because anyone that writes or blogs has to be a little bit narcissistic.  People don’t like talking about problems they’re guilty of.  I know I am guilty of it…and I’m still going to talk about it.

With social networking riding a tidal wave right now, the era of the narcissist moves on, unhindered, on the interwebs.  Subscribe to my twitter feed…what I have to says in 140 characters or less is a MUST READ!  My facebook page will keep you updated on EVERY little thing I decide to post unless you edit me out of your news feed.  Sites cater to the egocentric tendencies of anyone plugged in.  So what happens when you get a bunch of narcissists together sharing a common goal?  “My distribution is THE BEST out there and no other point of view matters!”  That’s right, you get zealotry in the purest form.

This has slowly begun leaking into Linux communities during the past few years as Linux is tried out by more and more people and becomes more available to people who aren’t technologically advanced.  Bottom line is, more people are trying Linux now than ever before.  This makes the user pool larger and more diverse.  Where there are more people though, there are more narcissists…and birds of a feather flock together.

Take narcissism with a twist of mob mentality and the powder keg in Linux communities is set to blow.  The zealots seethe and team about in forums, IRC, and on blogs across the internet looking for a place to show how right they are and how wrong the person posting information is.

Oh, I admit it…I have a narcissist streak in me…I want people to read this blog.  I want people to follow me on twitter.  I want people to pay attention to what I say…it’s part of being a blogger…but I don’t think that my distribution of choice is any better than yours.  In fact, I know it’s not.  Just like my car isn’t any better than the one you drive and my clothes are so last year and aren’t as good as yours.  I offset my narcissism with realism…I understand that what I think isn’t the only point of view out there…I don’t think I’m 100% right all the time.

I also don’t go out on the web and try to find others who think my view is the best view and then try to push my egocentric viewpoint to others.  I don’t create a community of zombie thinkers who all believe my viewpoint is the best out there.  I’m not forming any mobs for my mentality.  I’m not flocking together with birds of a feather.  I’m a part time ego-narcissist I guess.

The first step is admitting that you have a problem.  The second step is having some good old fashioned manners, respect for others, and above all…tolerance and realism.

Solution to the Problem

When you’re standing in line at a bank, would you cut in front of someone in the line?   Most likely you wouldn’t.  Personal conflict is something we as humans avoid most of the time.  So, why is it when you’re driving you don’t mind cutting someone off and do it regularly?  It’s because the personal aspect of that motion has been replaced into an impersonal one…the car becomes a protection from that personal conflict that would happen if you had done the same thing in a bank line.

To fix the problem this presents on the web and in Linux communities, think about others (not yourself) and in doing so, become less narcissistic.  Apply this thinking to commenting and blogging and facebooking and tweeting.  Imagine that you are face to face with people saying the things you’re typing.  If you wouldn’t say things like that in a face to face situation, don’t say them.  Remember that tolerance of other viewpoints makes you a better person…AND smarter.  How?  Albert Einstein is largely considered one of the smartest humans to ever walk the earth.  He often gathered with other intelligent people to debate and discuss various topics that interested him.  In doing so, he caused those he debated with “to sharpen and refine their understanding of the philosophical and scientific implications of their own theory.”  Remember that everyone does NOT have to share your viewpoint…what works for you may not work for them.

Lastly, no one cares if you sat down in your office or are eating a peanut butter sandwich.  We subscribe to feeds and twitter accounts for meat and potatoes posts…not 1 liners that tell us you’re in the bathroom of a bakery on 96th street.  So, you zealots out there…you know who you are…take this opportunity to reflect on yourself (your favorite subject) and try to replace your narcissism with realism, tolerance, and good old fashioned manners.

And no I don’t think any zealots will be converted by this post…it’s more of a rant than anything else…and rants are one of the reasons why I have a blog :) Well that and because what I say is more important than anyone else and my viewpoint is 100% correct 100% of the time of course. ;)

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Unity Linux Theme Refreshes

Posted by on Jun 22, 2011 in Linux | 0 comments

I’ve been pretty busy lately with theme design for the Unity Linux project.  The following pages were updated:

  1. Unity-Linux.org
  2. Planet.Unity-Linux.org
  3. A new forum theme called SMFPress @ forum.unity-linux.org

Uniformity was the key ingredient to the stylings.  I’m trying to match everything to the front page theme at the main site page.  Using the color pallete from that site, I worked on creating a theme for our forum and then gave planet unity a facelift as well.  We’ll test out the planet capability a bit longer (see how updates go) before we ultimately conclude to use it.  However, the forum and main site are finished products.

Let me know if you find any bugs or have any problems with the theme.  If all goes well I’ll start on a wiki theme for our documentation site :)

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Convert PNG to GIF via Command Line

Posted by on Jun 22, 2011 in Linux | 0 comments

I installed a bare bones Arch Linux system today and took a screenshot.  With no graphics utilities installed, I needed a way to convert a PNG to a GIF for a Simple Machines forum template thumbnail.  I figured I’d use a command line utility to help me and ImageMagick is installed by default on most distributions.  A quick read through the ImageMagick manpage and I found the convert command and thought I’d share it with everyone.  Use convert in the following fashion:  convert [input-options] input-file [output-options] output-file

1 convert SMFPress.png -channel Alpha -threshold 80% -resize 120x120 thumbnail.gif

This did a quick, same-size conversion with little loss for me to display the thumbnail online.  For more information on the options I used and other options that I didn’t use, take a peek at the ImageMagick Online Help Page for convert.

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Foresight, rPath, LiveCD, and Unity Linux

Posted by on Jun 22, 2011 in Linux | 0 comments

Most, if not all, top distributions of Linux ship a live CD that allows an end user to preview the operating system without installing it.

Foresight Linux is the exception.

Now, this isn’t because they don’t WANT to have a Live CD…they do.  The problem is that rPath, the creators of rBuilder Online, have discontinued the Live CD image creation type.

There was no announcement…no news posting…no clue dart thrown toward Foresight for this discontinuation.  There was only a comment on a single bug in the rPath issue tracker just this past May…Formally discontinued…which in my opinion, is a HUGE mistake as far as community goes.  Why? Because a community is a solid base on which to stand for any distribution or toolset for open source.  rPath has essentially dismissed a feature that the community would find valuable and in the process alienated anyone who finds this feature valuable or desirable.  But I’m not here to talk about whether or not people want to develop their own distributions on rBuilder Online using rPath tools nor the incentive to do so…I’m talking about Foresight.

So, what incentive does rPath have to help Foresight by fixing it?  Not much…I’m sure there will be those that argue: “rPath has customers and their first allegiance needs to be to them” and those people would be right.  But can’t the Foresight community pick up the torch for Live CD building  on rBO and develop it as a community effort?  Can’t a license be found that it can be released under that would prevent forking?  Can’t it be modularized as a ‘plug-in’? I don’t pretend to know the answer to those questions…I just think that Foresight will continue to suffer as they have been for many, many months now with respect to not having a Live CD.

I’m sure that there will also be those out there saying “but Foresight has a bunch of Virtualized Images to choose from!! No one really cares about a Live CD!!” and I’d say you’re halfway correct.  Developers don’t really care about a Live CD…but those that Foresight attempted to attract…the end user…they DO care about having something they can ‘try before they buy’.  It is my belief that Foresight would be a crap-ton more popular if they had a Live CD.

So What Solutions Are There?

I don’t think rPath will suddenly fix the broken Live CD creation in rBO.  I don’t think they’ll release the code anytime soon (though this is more likely than a fix).  So in the meantime, what if Foresight helped out with LiveCD project that recently was taken over by Unity Linux?  Both Unity and Foresight are Red Hat like distributions and use similar file structures and OS organization.  I think that if Foresight were able to integrate LiveCD onto the distribution, a huge niche would be filled.

Where to Start?

Being involved both with Foresight Linux and Unity Linux gives me a unique perspective on what areas of collaboration could be developed.  One thing is for sure…having both distro development teams onboard would be a huge boon to LiveCD development…and Foresight could suck in SRPMs quite easily from Unity to hit the ground running right away.

I am by no means offering to be the head of this project because I can’t even begin to know where it would start or finish.  I’m just offering a workaround to a problem I’ve seen Foresight have for longer than it should have.  I know the Unity Linux guys would welcome anyone wanting to get involved with helping LiveCD development.  Would Foresight be open to this?  I can’t answer.  I hope so…Foresight needs a Live CD if it hopes to attract more people to it…and that’s something I’m keen on seeing.  Is this something you’d like to see as well?

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Clarification on Foresight and Fedora

Posted by on Jun 22, 2011 in Linux | 0 comments

I previously wrote about a possible “rebasing” of Foresight Linux on the Fedora platform. This conjecture was a bit premature it seems as I am completely wrong on this being a possibility :) The best part about me being absolutely wrong on this is that there is still going to be benefits for Foresight and Fedora even without the rebase.

Foresight is toying with the idea of having a sub-project (completely separate from Foresight Linux base) that it has tentatively called ‘boots, a Fedora remix‘ (a play on Dora in Fedora for those of you with kids).

What would happen is that mirrorball, a tool from rPath that ‘sucks in’ repositories, would pull in a Fedora repository into a separate Foresight repository.  From there, it is fully consumable by any product/project that is hosted on rBuilder Online from rPath.  Conary really is one of the most innovative package managers on the planet and I’ve mentioned it once or twice before (never got around to part II on one of those though).  The ability to fully suck in a RPM repository is already being done with CentOS and Scientific Linux on rBuilder Online…even Ubuntu is currently being done as well…so we have proof that it is totally possible.  Once imported, Conary takes over the management of said packages.

So what does this give Foresight?  A few things:

  1. Testing of packages in 2 communities
  2. Developer eyes/chatter in 2 communities
  3. The ability of Foresight to cherry pick packages from a large base
  4. Compare and contrast for packages from 2 different sources to track down bugs

So, as I said, I was wrong initially and I hope this clears up what Foresight plans to do.  A sub-project will be started that imports the Fedora repository changing them from (rpm to Conary) allowing Foresight to both test and cherry pick packages from a larger base hopefully freeing up a bit more time for Foresight architects.  Phew!  What a mouthful, run-on-sentence that was!

Why Conary?  How does this help Fedora?

I know some of you may be asking Why Conary?  What does it have over RPM that Foresight should suck in a repositoroy and change it to Conary packages?  The reason this is an absolute necessity is because the tools on which Foresight are built (rBuilder Online) works with Conary only…that means ISO generation and repository hosting are all mandated to be Conary based.

The other interesting part about this is that Conary blends version control with package management.  It deals with changesets as packages.  Imagine SVN…you have a local changeset that  you’re working on and the version inside the SVN repository differs from that.  You can then diff the state of your local copy to see how it differs from the remote copy.  This allows you to see the changes you’ve made and allows you to see what code may be broken.  Also, commits are numbered automagically so that you don’t have to worry about breaking things much because you can rollback to a previous known good state.

The same is true with Conary…you can rollback to previous known good states.  You can also diff each changeset locally with the remote repository.  Now imagine this with Fedora packages…if something is broken, chances are Foresight will find a fix for it much more quickly than someone in Fedora…a single command can diff the previously known good version with the broken version and find out the shortcoming.  Or perhaps a known good verion in Foresight that isn’t Fedora based might be used to diff the Fedora RPM version and find out the differences in them.  In all, it’s going to help developers track down problems faster.  This helps Fedora…they now have a small number of Foresight developers who will be working with hundreds of popular Fedora RPMs looking to see if they work or are broken.

Most of the benefit will be measurable in Foresight because they’ll be able to use just about any package Fedora creates…but the Foresight community is FULL of very capable developers…guys that really know what they’re doing.  If they can make this a collaborative effort Fedora will gain exceptionally smart developers as well…even if testing packages on a different platform, they’ll have eyeballs on these packages and if a fix is found or made for them they will definitely go upstream to Fedora.

Hopefully, this puts things right from my initial wrong.  I don’t claim to be an insider for Foresight…I just know a lot of the people involved and ask questions a lot….I also pay attention to the developer mailing list.  If you have any questions, please leave a comment and I’ll attempt to track down answers for them :D

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Adding Color to Bash List Command Part II

Posted by on Jun 22, 2011 in Linux | 0 comments

I previously blogged about how to add color to the ‘ls’ command utilizing an config file and alias.  I then stumbled across a nugget of wisdom from a Foresight Linux user on the developers mailing list who gave a handy command that remedies some problems with missing color in a terminal.

On some distributions, the system-wide /etc/DIR_COLORS* files are removed or not present.  This results in no colors being given inside of a terminal when looking for color directories and filenames.  If you find yourself in this boat, try the following command to re-populate this setting:

1 devnet-> cd ~/
2 devnet-> dircolors -p >.dircolors

This should create a default profile for colors for your session if it hasn’t been done or was accidentally removed.  For more information on the dircolors command try ‘man dircolors’.  Please also note that dircolors command uses the environmental variable LS_COLORS to set your session.

For more information on LS_COLORS and how it pertains to the terminal/shell/cli/prompt, there are a few blog posts that do an excellent job explaining here, here and here.

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Foresight and Fedora, ClarkConnect Becomes ClearOS

Posted by on Jun 22, 2011 in Linux | 0 comments

Last week it was reported by LWN and a few other Linux news sites that Foresight Linux may employ a change of direction…that is, create a spinoff project that places the Conary package manager onto a Fedora Linux base. Michael Johnson, Director of Operating Systems at rPath (which maintains the Conary based package manager Foresight uses) summed up his post nicely:

“I think that Foresight needs to be based on an upstream distro that is regularly fully updated and refreshed, and that is maintained by distro specialists with experience and expertise that is just plain missing within the Foresight development community. That distro needs to be imported into a Conary repository; that will allow Foresight to continue to use Conary to manage the process of building a set of consistent modifications relative to that upstream distro, providing a true rolling release. That would allow Foresight developers to concentrate on only the problems inherent in integrating the very latest development source against a recent base that is relatively close to the basis on which the software is maintained.”

Michael also said that it made sense to do this based on Fedora because Foresight is very Fedora-like in filesystem and the way that things are setup and handled in the guts of the operating system (paraphrasing from what I remember of IRC discussion).  Also, in a comment on the LWN thread, Michael states that Foresight, if spinning off with Fedora, would still make use of “Conary, rMake, rBuilder, rBuild, and other rPath technology” and would still use Conary as its package manager which means…it wouldn’t leverage rpm and yum to keep things up to date on it.

An independent project that Foresight maintains sounds like a HUGE undertaking…(even though I’m assured repeatedly by developers from Foresight that it won’t be because it’s “automatic”).  I’ve seen automagic things in the past that won’t cause a lot of work turn out to be quite a bit of work-that-is-not-work.  I find this especially odd when the main complaint is that there aren’t enough OS specialists around…it sounds a bit too large to undertake.  This project actually sounds like it possibly would usurp Foresight Main (Foresight Proper…Foresight Linux…whatever you call it) which is based on the stable rPath Linux and not on cutting edge Fedora like the “boots remix” would be.  Therein lies the problem.  The”boots, a fedora remix” would consistently be ahead of Foresight in development if the project is started and makes progress.  Foresight will continually lag behind it.  Can a 100% guarantee be given that Foresight can snipe packages from “boots, a fedora remix” that would always work?  If not, what does Foresight gain by maintaining the project/spinoff?

I think Foresight won’t be able to maintain an independent project based on Fedora along side of the main Foresight Linux project.  Sure, they may be able to at first…but then what happens when things break?  Is one person responsible? 2? more than 2?  I think instead of having a separate project, Foresight might want to completely base off of Fedora.  This topic is extremely unpopular with Foresight developers though.

Whether or not Foresight adopts “boots a Fedora remix”  is yet to be decided.  It will be set before the Foresight Linux Council at their next meeting.  Hopefully, they take into consideration the amount of manpower a separate project like this would encompass and maybe consider the benefits of adopting Fedora completely as a base for Foresight.

On a similar note, António Meireles, a lead developer for Foresight Linux, has posted what direction he would like to see for Foresight Linux 3…the future major release for Foresight.  With improved underlying architecture that is more inline with Fedora…he may be looking along the same lines that my post here is.  Whatever the case may be, it’s obvious that Foresight is starting to show a flurry of both interest and activity which is a benefit to it.

So where does this leave Fedora?  They’ll benefit from having a lot of knowledgeable developers in Foresight and a few engineers from rPath working with a Fedora based project.  Foresight has a great upstream relationship with the projects it encompasses…like Gnome and rPath.  I would imagine this continued professionalism and cooperation will continue should Foresight base on Fedora.

ClarkConnect Becomes ClearOS

In other news, some of you may or may not know that ClarkConnect will become ClearOS and will be completely open source.  The Clear Foundation will be sponsoring the development of ClearOS which is ClarkConnect re-branded with improvements.  See the full announcement here.  Also, a Forum Announcement Here.  This brings a lot to the table including renewed commitments to documentation, community, and the operating system as a whole.  The change is set to happen in the late part of 2009.

So what does this have to do with Yet Another Linux Blog?  A few years ago, I wrote a review of ClarkConnect 3.2 for home users.  It was well received and still gets many hits even today.  Since I’ve used ClarkConnect since version 2.1 and continue to use it today for my home network…who better to take a look at how ClearOS will measure up?

With this in mind, I contacted the guys over at the Clear Foundation and they agreed to let me blog a bit about some of the changes and improvements that will be happening with ClearOS over the next few months.  So look for more exclusive information from ClearOS in the near future.  They’ve also asked if I’d be interested in helping out with some community endeavors they will have going for ClarkConnect and ClearOS users.  Exciting stuff!  ClarkConnect has really needed this shot in the arm for about the last 2 versions…they lost a couple of really good websites with FAQ’s on them.  It’ll be great to get the community involved with this fantastic Home Server distribution.

This content is published under the Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

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