Category Archives: Linux

While installing Gentoo I ended up with Kubuntu

So today I thought would be a good day to switch my desktop back to Linux. As normal when i try out Linux again I tried Gentoo. Last time I tried I managed to get a booting kernel on the first try and everything worked. Well this time it couldn’t been further from the truth. I didn’t start with high hopes. I spent some time this morning reading some of the Gentoo blogs and to say the least the amount of fighting the Gentoo developers are doing right now is pretty scary. Little did I know that the developers relationships were in better condition then there installation documentation.

While trying to install the 64bit version of Gentoo I managed to find numerous places in the Gentoo handbook where there were either files mentioned that no longer seemed to exist as well is a complete lack of updates (they had no mention of ext4 but still mentioned reiser as though its something people really use still). In the end I managed to get my setup configured or at least I thought though with the instructions I felt as though I messed up smoe of the networking. That didn’t matter though as on boot it got to USB loading and just stopped. Well normally I would recompile the kernel and try again but tonight I figured the few hours I had already spend were enough.

Well I pulled out my Kubuntu 11.04 disk and amazingly it worked… for the most part. I managed to crash the partition manager by attempting to click the format checkbox for the swap partition but that was about all. In the end I got a fresh install of Kubuntu now. Going to have some fun tomorrow playing with Go now that I don’t have to work in VM’s to do the work.


Linux hits 1% but will it stay?

I actually find this entertaining cause I was at Net Applications site the other day and told a friend “Hey Linux could hit 1% this month”. Wonderfully that has come true. But don’t get all excited about that just yet. If you have been paying attention to the news you would not Ubuntu 9.04 just released a week or so ago. Well you might ask what does this mean? Well something very important for web hit numbers. When a new version of Ubuntu comes out tons of people try it. It tends to get press and so everyone wants to see if this Ubuntu thing might be right for them. Of course not all these people will stick with the OS so the question becomes. Ubuntu is 1.02% now but will it be able to not lose more then .02% from those who remove Ubuntu? Personally I think we might be more like 1-2 months from the actual 1% mark but at the same time I actually think we have been past the 2% mark for awhile. Net Applications doesn’t get to measure important things like computers without Internet which is large part of the world still and some of these people do have old machines running Ubuntu. So what does this all mean? Nothing really except that from the main stream market that shows up on Net Applications charts Linux is growing a bit still at the expense of OSX and Windows. Nothing new here.


Another look at Windows being on ARM

OSNews brought up once again the idea of Microsoft making a version of Windows for the ARM architecture. In the past I have pointed out that if Microsoft doesn’t that they will eventually fall behind in the netbook market. This is caused by the fact that ARM netbooks are looking like they will not only be smaller then the atom netbooks but also may even allow for even more battery life while at the same time providing better video playback by having a graphics chip with some power to it (the 945 from intel is ancient now by todays standards). Of course OSNews points out one thing that so far many overlook. Unlike Linux which has been on ARM for awhile and so it has apps ported to ARM when you look at Windows they have NO ARM apps besides the stuff made for Windwos Mobile. Of course in theory using .net they could get a few apps but how many major apps that you use in your everyday life are .net based? I can bet its a small number. Of course I don’t think Microsoft really expects the users that buy netbooks to buy Office. I think that Microsoft is making the web based Office 14 exactly for netbooks as a way to prevent the huge amount of space office would take up and also the fact that most people still use a disc to install Office (no small feat when you have no DVD drive). In the end I think I agree with OSNews. Microsoft will probably not make an ARM version of Windows it’s just not in it or its partners interests to maintain two platforms. The real question here is will this kill ARM netbooks?


Linux is only getting faster

Many people are talking about the “huge” improvements in speed that Microsoft is seeing with Windows 7. Few though look at what Linux is doing to get going faster. OSNews posted an interesting article going over briefly what is going on. I find it impressive that many working on the GCC project are still finding even more ways to tweak the compiler to make it faster. At the same time we are seeing huge improvements in filesystems with updates to ext3 and 4 the one thing I was kinda disappointed with was no mention of btrfs. The one other area that it misses is the graphics gains we will likely see in a year or so from X when DRI2 is finished. When you look at it the Open Source movement isn’t sitting back at all and even though a lot of Open Source software already runs fast that doesn’t mean they wont stop looking at making it go faster.


India buying OLPCs

India which earlier this year made a fancy AC adapter for $30 that they called a computer has now ordered 250,000 OLPC laptops. This could be the break that OLPC has been looking for since they saw a bit less enthusiasm then they originally expected. The real question though is what version of the XO did India purchase? I personally would not be surprised if India went with the Linux models of the XO as it has in the past been moving more and more towards using Linux in its schools. Also with a country as large as India the amount of savings is huge. I mean it costs $3 more for XP on it which increases the purchase by $750,000. That is not a number to sneeze at.


Ubuntu 9.04 Released

Ubuntu 9.04 was released today. This is the standard 6 month update with the normal slew of updates for the kernel, GCC, Gnome and many other applications. The major new addition in 9.04 is the addition of a new notification system. Unlike the old notification system that has been in Gnome for years Ubuntu has made a more clean looking notification system which is probably Ubuntu’s best change with this release. Of course the new login screen will be seen by many as a joke it doesn’t look as professional as the old Ubuntu login screen but hopefully that wont cause people to reconsider the OS. Overall its a great release and if you want to try Linux for the first time try Ubuntu.


Btrfs the other upcoming FS

Awhile back I provided some links for information on ext4 the new update to ext3. Of course ext4 is in no the end to new formats. Oracle has been working on Btrfs (Butter FS) for a bit now and its in the latest Linux kernel as unstable. Now many people have still never heard of Btrfs but it is a very interesting file system that is able to do pretty much everything ZFS does and more. I am personally really excited for Btrfs as it is promising to be faster and more resilient then ext4. For more information about Btrfs and some interesting benchmarks follow the link provided.


Easy way to make your own GNU/Linux distro

PCPlus posted a very interesting article not to long ago about how to create your own GNU/Linux distro. It uses Fedora’s revisor tool. I remember reading about this tool a year or so ago and at the time there was really nothing else out that was as easy to use. I never actually tried it but from the looks of it revisor is very easy to use. I point this out because for awhile the have been tutorials out there for how to reversion Ubuntu for your own use but it has never been this easy with a wizard for the whole way through. I may play with revisor at some point in the future but I have never been able to use Fedora for very long it always seems to have some bothersome bug that shows up not long after I start using it.


Canonical responds to Microsoft’s netbook FUD

Ok for those who don’t know what FUD means it’s Fear Uncertainty and Doubt. It is a tactic Microsoft has been using for years and probably should get them in trouble for slander but some how lying about a competitors product seems to just be Microsoft’s way again. I had thought they had gotten better about this and stopped using it but I guess I was wrong.

Ok now that that is out of the way on to the real show. Canonical has responded to Microsoft’s article on netbooks that I had done a nice rebuttal to. Well interestingly Canonical made a lot of the same points as me and even got some nice numbers for the driver issue and finally proving there is more drivers under Linux (seriously does this really matter Microsoft?). Overall I think this article does a good job of rehashing what Microsoft said that is wrong and is very well written and with more examples.


Microsoft practically claiming victory in netbooks!

I normally have a lot of respect for Brandon LeBlanc as I have read almost all of his Windows Blog posts. This article though about “Windows on Netbook PCs": A Year in Review” acts almost as though the netbook battle has already been won. He write as thought the netbook market is not going to change anymore! First off congrats to Microsoft on going from 10% to 96% in netbooks (what country is my only question here). You managed to go from underdog to top dog… or so you think. One major threat to Microsoft in the netbook market is completely ignored. Yes, I know its an year in review article but from the wording they sound ready for everything… except as normal from Microsoft they are ignoring the idea of new netbooks.

When netbooks first came out this was the reason Microsoft started at 10%. Microsoft was betting everything on Windows Vista at the time and any of the original netbooks needed a SD card filled with Windows in order to run it.  It took Microsoft a whole year to get to the top in netbooks and personally I think they killed one of my favorite part of netbooks! The SSD! For me a real netbook must have a SSD as to be truly as portable as a netbook promises you cannot have a spinning disc in your netbook. Of course cheap SSD’s could not fit even the slimmer Windows XP so real netbooks tend to do two things. Either they ran Linux or they ran Windows XP off a SD drive or a only allowed for minimal storage.

Now why do I bring up my idea of a real netbook? Well it is because ARM is looking to revitalize this segment of the netbook market not just by using SSDs but also by making netbooks SMALLER. And I am not talking screen sizes I am talking thickness and weight the real important factor. But why does Microsoft ignore these great advancements shouldn’t they be talking about this (no articles from Microsoft even talk about Windows on ARM). One simple fact. Full versions of Windows don’t run on the ARM architecture. Is Microsoft going to be able to play catch up here? Sure Microsoft’s Windows Mobile works on it but who would want a 10-inch cell phone? So far Microsoft seems to be missing the boat.

Now lets go back to this article which claims victory by numerous areas even though the netbook win so far has been over mindshare more then actual usefulness.

First, Brian talks about configuration saying “There’s a wizard to help with just about anything, so you’ll never need to go to the command line and manually configure things.” Now what exactly is a consumer setting up on a netbook that would need command line access in say Linux? Last I checked a  netbook came fully loaded with all the drivers it would need and all apps in Linux these days have simple wizards as well. So chock down one FUD line.

Second, the argument of we got the mindshare so we win. Ok I will give you that argument. Sure everyone knows someone that can fix a Windows computer. You can claim that point.

Third, its easy to stay up to date with releases and updates. If you read the comments of the article Jonathan Rothwell does a very good job of dispelling this myth and I will try now to do the same. Last I checked every Linux distro I know does auto updates. As for predicable updates I know that this is a blessing to IT departments but allows for those wishing to exploit flaws to wait until the day after patches go out to release new viruses or utilize newly found holes in the system. As for releases well last I checked Microsoft releases whenever they feel like it. Most distros do a 6month or some other standard amount of time between releases.

As for the printer and other device compatibility Linux runs most printers. Lexmark is one of the only exceptions here and it’s because Lexmark is horrible about drivers. As for web cams Microsoft has forced webcams to be “Vista Certified” which means video over usb a standard that is implemented in Linux as well. Cameras work fine with Windows as well. In reality MORE devices are compatible with Linux as Linux supports devices from the 90s that Microsoft stopped supporting long ago.

So looking at Windows on the netbook future I think next year will be a huge change. Android netbooks means that Google’s name could be attached to netbooks hurting Microsoft when it comes brand recognition (Google these days seems to have a better reputation). At the same time with Microsoft ignoring the new hardware I think the netbook still could easily belong to Linux and Open Source.


BTW: Do not think this means I dislike Microsoft. I am merely upset with this article that pretty much declares victory while skipping around the warzone that will be the netbook market very soon (if you don’t currently consider it that).