Tag Archives: GNU/Linux

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.



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.


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).

The reasons Linux still is not going to gain market share

Since yesterday’s Android article I have been thinking about Linux a bit more and what it needs to do in order to gain more ground in the Operating Systems space. The major problems still existing are mostly in three areas. These are packaging, polish/ease of use and poor distribution.

First, not just Linux but the whole Open Source movement needs to solve the packaging problem. This is the largest problem for Open Source and it has been the biggest problem that it has faced for at least 5 years now and it has been pointed out time and time again. Well I am going to reiterate the problem since it is not getting solved but actually getting worse. Now we have Google’s Android which isn’t a proper Linux stack (just what we need more splintering) but also it doesn’t use proper Java (1). But how does this have to do with packaging right? Well think about it. With a different Java and Linux stack that means that Android has ANOTHER packaging style! Just what we need another package format. RPM, Deb, ebuild and pkgsrc are not enough we need another (btw that is only the most common ones). Of course recently the Open Source community has come together to work on PackageKit which is supposed to make all of these package types be handled from one application.  Great idea but not what we need (biggest problem is ONLY Fedora uses PackageKit). We need to stick to one package style and most companies see RPM as the one package type with deb being rather common as well. If it was just these two we could probably live but it seems every year a new comes up with a new packaging style for their distribution meaning they will get completely ignored package wise. What does this really mean though? Well Android should not called Linux in any way and I hope it doesn’t go onto netbooks because it will not be able to use any currently programmed programs from what I have seen so far on the net. How does that help people being so limited? Sure its fast but if you cannot do anything useful with all that speed what is the point? Overall Android will hurt Linux’s image do to its choices in packaging.

Second, Linux needs more ease of use and polish. This is one area I see progress in with Ubuntu attempting to make a more polished distribution. The only problem is they are doing things that could backfire for them like PackageKit could backfire for Fedora. They are creating a way to make notifications look nicer. Unfortunately instead of working with other distributions to do this Ubuntu made a system and then gives it to the upstream saying “here adopt this its better” of course upstream will probably not all accept it (if any do) and it will end up becoming a series of Ubuntu only patches (more division). This is the problem! The Open Source community needs to come together to work on adding this polish not doing it individually. This is the big problem with the Open Source community it fails to work together many times at some very important aspects. Of course we could also look at the other problems related to polish where things like the X server are slow and need to be fixed in order to be faster though X related problems are being worked out in the correct way with DRI2 being added. I just hope that the distributions will in the near future learn that they need to begin working together to make a polished distributions cause last i checked the standard Gnome icons look kinda old these days and every distribution does icons completely different the only thing consistent is KDEs icons.

Third, poor distribution. Now this does not mean that distributions themselves are bad. Here I am talking about the way that Linux is introduced to new users. Yes, word of mouth has gotten Linux around and gotten a very faithful user base but it does not get mainstream desktop acceptance. If the Linux community wants to grow bigger (which I really don’t think is that important) then the community needs to find a way to prevent crap from being released. Now from this I mean things like the chopped down versions of Linux on many netbooks the best example is on the Acer Aspire One. While it looks like Linpus Linux is good enough that is just the problem. Dell I think is the only company really doing Linux on the netbook right by utilizing a strong distribution (Ubuntu) in order to provide the best user experience (and most applications) possible. But instead of a good distribution people get stuck with limited versions like Xandros (not too bad and would be fine if external repos were always enabled) and Linpus (horrible since you cannot easily modify the applications without knowing what you are doing). Overall I hope future netbooks will come with better versions of Linux based off modern Linux distributions (Linpus is based on a out of date version of Fedora) and hopefully will have a more full application experience.

Overall Linux has been moving a bit in the right direction but things like Android have an opportunity to weaken what Linux has done perception wise. Of course the perception war can only be won with hard work and lots of team work between many different communities. This is something the Open Source has both been good and bad at in the past hopefully they can come together to create a great desktop experience and win this perception war though since I would hate to see Linux get weaker.

1: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Android_mobile_phone_platform

Interesting ext4 stuff

So some people may have never heard of ext4. This is not to surprising as it is pretty much a upgrade to ext3 which is the current standard file-system for Linux (much like NTFS is the standard for Windows). Ext4 is new and more powerful then ext3. It allows for larger files, can have a large file-system on it and allows more sub-directories. It also is faster then ext3 (though not as fast as some of the speed file-systems.). Fedora 11 will be shipping with ext4 as default and Ubuntu will have it in the kernel and available to use but wont be the default yet (maybe 9.10). I think this is great I have avoided using ext3 for awhile now but I doubt I will stop using JFS for my normal Linux installs.


Asus may be Switching to Android for Netbooks

So I found some interesting articles today about Asus and the future of the eeePC. The main point of all the articles is that Asus may be lo0king at using the Android Operating System in the future on their eeePC Netbooks. I thinks that this is a rather good move for Asus. The major problem with Netbooks and GNU/Linux has been the fact that there has been no big company behind the OS this means that they cannot really advertise the OS. With this saying “Look its got a Google made Operating System” people would be more willing to try it then in the past when people just said it has a GNU/Linux based Operating System which I think would scare the average users away. So for Netbooks I think this could help Linux regain some market share that it has started losing out to Microsoft’s Windows XP. Unfortunately it is Google which I don’t know how much I actually trust Google making the Operating System that I am running so don’t expect me to be reviewing an Android Netbook in the near future I would rather stick will a standard 14 inch laptop anyways.


Next Ubuntu will be Karmic Koala

Wow not only are the code names coming out earlier these days but I swear they keep getting even stranger. Anways Mark Shuttleworth announced on Friday the name for the next Ubuntu as Karmic Koala which will be fun to see how many people fail at spelling it right!



Debian 5 “Lenny” is Released

Yesterday Debian released its fifth version codenamed “Lenny”. I love how Debian release managers clearly have nothing better to do Valentines day then releasing Debian. Well I am downloading the mininstall iso as i write this. I cannot wait to get this installed on my VM as Debian has become my default Linux environment as of late. This is mostly because of the unreliability of Ubuntu that I have seen lately Debian though has been stable as can be for as long as I can remember as long as you stick to the stable branch (hell Sid has always even been reliable whenever I used it).

When it comes to software Debian 5 has KDE 3.5.10, Gnome 2.22.2, GCC 4.3.2, and Linux 2.6.26.

Overall Debian is releasing another fine release!


Official Announcement


Will Windows 7 kill SSD-based Netbooks?

A similarly titled article at tom’s hardware talks about what they see as the death of SSD’s in Netbooks caused by Windows 7. Now that is just plain stupid. Yeah if Netbooks were to keep shipping with 8gig SSD’s it wouldn’t work but why would we still be using 8gig SSD’s? Last I checked SSD’s were dropping in prices. All you need is 16gigs and suddenly your under half full with Windows 7. People bough eeePC’s which were 4 gigs and mostly filled with Xandros Linux and still used them! I don’t get their point really SSD’s will only get better and are a KEY component to Netbooks (personally I would not buy one without a SSD cause the quietness of a Netbook is a key point for it). Also they are making the assumption that Netbooks will all switch to Windows 7 in a heartbeat. You know the GNU/Linux Netbook market really has not been that bad and why the hell would you NOT buy a Netbook with GNU/Linux that has a SSD in it? You really don’t need that much space. Overall I have a feeling Netbooks are going to see more gains in SSDs and hopefully those fake Netbooks with hard drives in them will slowly disappear.

Another Company rolling its own GNU/Linux desktop

Now HP is joining the “lets make a slightly off base GNU/Linux distro for our netbook” club. So far the only companies to make the Linux netbook right are ASUS with the eeePC using Xandros and Dell using a very mildly modified version of Ubuntu (actually the great part is that they left the normal desktop there its just a small addition). But Acer and HP are messing up horribly. First off is the Acer Aspire One that comes with Linpus Linux. Yes, it’s based off of Fedora but its an ancient version of Fedora and then they put a very shitty gui on the front (btw it cannot even do WPA-Enterprise wireless). My biggest problem is the stability of the desktop Linpus provides. It’s a lot less stable then most GNU/Linux distros and there is no reason for this. I really hope that HP proves me wrong on this because the biggest problem with a unstable desktop is that it only supports the stuff people say about GNU/Linux being buggy and hard to use. Peoples first experience with GNU/Linux should be good not a buggy failure.

Source: DownloadSquad