Thursday, September 07, 2006

Speaking about Desktops I

 This wonderfull image of which the closest to original is the blue version at the bottom of the three seemed to come from the Slackware distribution, a distribution far too complicated for me alas. But it looks like the original image was actually stolen from sunshine-live, a web radio in germany. Do a search on Linux and Wallpapers to find real cool stuff, but beware of copyrights !

Speaking about Desktops II

You know that, maybe, Linux systems allows you to have several desktops - that is why you see my three DeskShots instad of one: Yes, I have three wallpapers that actually covers 9 virtual desktops. I find this way more usefull that the cramped TrayBar in Xp, where past 10 things opened at the same time you can't spot what's what anymore.

My Virtual Desks are Mails, Surf, Bash (for command Line Nightmares), Files 1, Configs, Files 2 and Docs 1, 2 a,d 3. ut nothing forces me into using them like this, you can actually open anything anywhere.

Still, my permanently opened Email and FlashDrive browser are open all the time, somewhere a click away, whatever the mess on the screen. A nice feature, really.

Friday, September 01, 2006

My Desktops, as of now

Update on what's on today

I have to bring here a new DeskShot: the one at the bottom of the page dates back from the time I used Xandros, but since then stuff happened and my office desk is now SuSE 9.3, with an outdated KDE 3.4.0 that I am very happy with. Globally, more on the tech issues later.

The Laptop is finally used with Ubuntu mostly, altough my wife could be cheating on me and be using WinStuff at the office (We share the same overpricey ultra- tiny laptop for our moving needs. And we do move a lot). More on the tech issues later, that's just a short update.

Since 10/2005 that I work with Linux, I've been trying SuSE, Gentoo, Slackware, Ubuntu, Kubuntu and dropped Xandros while being more or less active on the Ubuntu Forum under the ac. Peacepunk. So far, Ubuntu with Gnome pretty well suits the Laptop for aesthetics. The great presentation / share info tool that you are proud to put on the table in a meeting. Now, my last meeting was trying to sell a circus performance to a serious theatre in Belgium, I slipped in a DVD with one hour of perfomance on it, planning to show to the audience Minute 07, Minute 22, and so on. First, VLC was not able to play the disc and then, using Gxine, the navigation slider went dead, preventing me from accessing the part I wanted to show to this potential buyer...

This would probably count for half the stories about Linux:
...Oh, you run Linux, that's Great...Err, I seem to have a problem here, I'm sorry. Do you have a computer available ?

You look/feel ashame, and you know that this doesn't really help the un-tech people to make a change on a topic that anyway does not interest them at all.

That's all folks.

Now that I have a blog again, I may as well post on it. But where the hell is the View Counter ?

Blogging te real distance

Thaty's just a test on the Blog By Email feature.

I'll believe in it when I see this on my blog.

--Edit: It's working--

Sunday, February 19, 2006

The What's Workin' & What's Not on Straight out of the Box Distros. On a Laptop.

Hi There. My Laptop is, unfortunately, quite special altough from a knewn brand: it's a VGN-T16 subnotebook, with an almost 16/9 screen of 10.4 inches. It's got Wifi but no BlueThoot or IR, a DVD player but only CD-Writer. It's 14 months old, and today, with 1.1 centrino, it looks old already.

It also got the worsest sound I ever listened to on a Laptop, and is featured with at least 4 different softwares to try to correct this, but it just sound shit.

And, this stuff is having the WinXP quite deeply screwed to it. No way I can try Linux on it without full format in Reiser FS of its Hard Disk.

After some satisfactory months with Linux on my Desktop PC (see previous post), I decided it was Political Time to make the move on the $2,000 little Laptop as well. (My Wife usually says "Oh yeah, we run Linux, that's great" but actually only uses the XP-Laptop...) I wanted to get rid of Proprietary Software, even if the actual price of it was embedded into the resell price.

Now, that's where the Fun comes...

Out of The Box... Distros installed & Functionnal !?

1. UBUNTU 5.10: No WIFI, no DVD Reading, no Full Screen, two different Battery Management systems... But, UBUNTU is a quite documented project, so ressources are plenty. Type in "plain screen & stuff like the brand of your machine, and you will find stuff around. For the fun again: Some nice guy drives you step-by-step, from the Patch Download to the command lines to get your device regaining it's Movie-Scaled Screen.

Linux Aware People will know that, at some point, one must do barbaric Command Lines in an unfriendly "Console Window" using characters you were not even aware they sit somewhere on your keyboard

¬, ||, ~

& so on. One of the main used command is "Make". I personnaly do not know what it's making, but when you unzip something, it's generally mandatory to "Make" it.

And you know what UBUBTU replies ? That "Make" is an unknown command.

From this step, I stopped investigating on how to have UBUNTU properly running on my system, and switched to SUSE 9.3.


No Widescreen, no WiFi, much slower to install.

XANDROS, The Same...

It is noticeable that Automatic DCHP works straight with a wire, and never with Wifi. It is useless to say taht yes, XP, out of the Box, supports all this.

It does kill me but yes, I do run XANDROS linux distro at home and XP on the move. I feel ashamed for my so-called "political" concerns, but whet, I need to work.

A Word on Background: I live in Cambodia. Ressources here on this topic are scarce. I have to self-train myself on this, and it SUCKS. A lot of Linux Distros nowadays emphasizes on "easy" if not on "XP Like": The point is, it is not.

The Buyers Guide: Buy from a shop, preferably with a new PC. Check for all your needs to be fulfilled in what you are buying, because the real fun of Linux is NOT to try to add a software or a component later on. Forget about changes, upgrades & the like. Buy yourself a great-working stuff, and it will make you a happy end user until you got to dig into it - you'll then most probably will end up in the aftersales services of the selling shop. And, it's wrong Linux is "Light": Buy a hoge processor, or expect delays of snailmail proportion. To be right, boot an XP at the same time, it will go twice as faster @ the same tech abilities..


Saturday, February 04, 2006

 System running: It's Called Xandros 3.0.1 - I think it must be some frre Edition, or the Standard ( understand: Basic) one, 'cause you got some advertisement to upgrade to the full breed stuff by sometimes. Obvious Limitations are: No DVD Writing, CD-Burn limited to 2x speed.

This Xandros Stuff is the perfect one to move from Commercial Software to Open Source: It just got most anything you need. That's why I bought it in the first place: The cover of the box just said that. Or talked about "migration companion" & the like.

Xandros is using KDE as desktop/management soft, seems to more or less comply with the Debian installation system (to install new softwares automatically) & is delivered with an outdated Open suite that works slow, but great.

Hey, you lost already ? So did I, so still am I. Do you want Linux ? Well, you can get Linux & nothing else: Think of yourself in some Mathematics Laboratory of Advanced This & That, in front of the end terminal of a decent SUV-Sized computer, and there is this _ thing blinking at the top letf cormer of a black screen. Waiting for your imput. That's more likely Unix, but ok, Linux about that: A Core, a Kernel (as the name it). The underneath DOS of Win3.11 1,000 years ago. What do you do with it ? Nothing if you are not a programmer.

So, you have Linux. Some branded computers come with Linux - and - nothing else (HP does that). Now, what do you need... You need windows. I mean, the real windows the sense Apple invented them 999 years ago. You desesperately need this interface which will replace an obscure set of command lines into a button to click. Two main competitors are KDE & GNOME: You know there are thousands of different "Linux" (what you though was Linux) out there, but actually, they all are Linux with either Gnome or KDE. AND I spare you the involvement of another layer, called the GNU. But, you have to know that even what I call Linux is actually GNU/Linux - Another Operating System layer on top of Linux, but check out & report here if you understand anything.

To the next Layer now, my friends: The Distribution, or Distro. That's quite an accurate name, 'cause that's what they are: A box of stuff organized in a specific way, with Xandros putting an accent on Win-like stuff, while others are famous enough to rely on their image itself to convince people to buy them. The point in a distro is to offer a potential customer exactly what fit his/her needs: Networking, Graphics, Office "clerk" machines, even safe Browsing unit (Linux does not protect your privacy any better than the others - nobody is, privacy is your sole responsability but it is very harsh to handle that)... Yep, safe browsing because it is immune to virus.

So, my full tech Spec would be: Xandros 3, running KDE 3.3, on kernel (the linux soft) 2.6.9. All this is rather slow on a 512mb mem, 1.6ghz P4 with 32mb video.

I am using it mainly for work (I am a representative of a local NGO here in Cambodia) which means I do:
-Administate my Organization Mailboxes (volume in three monts is up to almost 5,000 mails now)
-Use myself a lot of Email & browsing in the best interest of my organization.
-Work on "clerk Jobs", writting project & reports up to 30 pages & 4megs, with pics & graphics. And, for sure, designing awfully detailled budgets for all this. And yes, I know I am communicating with Win People (The United Nations for instance ALL run WINStuff). It's mainly flawless, and if I got a compatibility problem, I just click on "Export to PDF" instead of "save as winStuff" and this fellow in Paris or New York will get a perfectly readable doc.

A bit more than Three Full Months of Xandros later, I just love KDE and the infinite possibility of twisting your computer, like I like the idea anybody can do the same with the code if they feel like. Excellent. For me, I got enough in twisting the looks, forget me about codes.

Cheerio - See you later