Thursday, June 26, 2008
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Helpful info for those learning Linux
These Linux tips are meant to provide just enough
information to whet your appetite for more.
They are updated frequently and are not presented
in any particular order.
There is a site-search box at the end of this page.
. . . . . . .
The First Things To Know:
ISOs and md5sum
Checksum ISOs in Windows
Windows Tools: Burning ISOs
Windows Tools: Gparted
Md5sum of already burned CDs
Check CD Script
Live CDs ( distros that run from CD )
Basic rules for install
Change the BIOS settings
Making a boot floppy
Formatting Floppy and Zip disks
Runaway Processes ( and how to kill them )
Skinny Elephants ( if all else fails )
Copy and paste
Updating your distro
Su and Root ( the difference )
Lost user password
Lost Root password
Tricks in KDE home
The Linux Counter
Ultimate Boot CD
Backing-Up the MBR
Restoring the XP MBR
Removing Vista boot option
The Command "Info"
Tips for Linux Explorers
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Monday, June 16, 2008
Some thought the distribution would have too limited appeal, and argued that what was needed was a distribution so popular that hardware and software vendors would have to support it. Others suggested that GNewSense had two uses: As an indicator of what the free software community has done so far, and as a summary of what still needs to be done before the goal of a completely free operating system is realized.
GNewSense began at a conference in Tunis in 2005 when Paul O'Malley heard Mark Shuttleworth and Richard Stallman talking about the possibility of a politically free version of Ubuntu, whose various incarnations include proprietary wireless drivers and access to non-free video drivers. O'Malley raised the idea on chat channels, and the project began in June 2006 when Brian Brazil joined the project.
The first release in November 2006 was immediately endorsed by the Free Software Foundation, making it one of only half a dozen distributions with that distinction. In fact, the Free Software Foundation donated a build machine and server space for GNewSense during initial development.
Meanwhile, Shuttleworth encouraged the creation of Gobuntu, an Ubuntu sub-project with the same goal as GNewSense. In his recent blog musings, Shuttleworth has decided to forget about Gobuntu and encourage GNewSense, so as not to dilute the effort. Since Shuttleworth's musings coincided with the second release of GNewSense, they have helped to give the distro renewed attention in the media.GNewSense, the Present and the Future?
By Bruce Byfield
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Shuttleworth says that Canonical is currently collaborating with several hardware manufacturers (though he can't disclose their identities at this time) to create custom installation images that are tailored to particular mobile products. These installation images will focus on hardware-specific optimizations for increased performance, shorter boot times, and extended battery life. They will not be released to the public alongside the regular Ubuntu builds because they will contain third-party components that can't be freely redistributed (like proprietary drivers and Adobe's Flash plugin). Since the optimizations are based on very specific hardware configurations, Canonical will not be releasing a generic Netbook Remix version alongside other flavors of Ubuntu.
"The netbook remix is not part of the 'official Ubuntu editions,' it's not like Kubuntu or Ubuntu or Ubuntu Server. It's a separate remix published by the Canonical OEM team. It will probably get revved in October when Ubuntu 8.10 is released, but that's up to the Canonical OEM team and their customers, and not the responsibility of the Ubuntu project team," Shuttleworth wrote. "In working with manufacturers, the OEM team creates custom install images which are specific to hardware from those OEMs."
Canonical is also making the open source components of the Netbook Remix widely available, which means that they can easily be rolled upstream or incorporated into community-driven Ubuntu derivatives like Eeebuntu. Currently, the open source components are primarily user interface enhancements that increase the usability of devices with small screens. As we demonstrated last week, these can already be added to a standard Ubuntu 8.04 installation.
Although Canonical is actively releasing the public components of the Netbook Remix under the GPL, hardware makers will obviously be the ones who decide whether to release their own drivers as open source. Shuttleworth says that Canonical strongly encourages open driver development.
"We take the strong view that drivers are best developed in the open and contributed to the mainline kernel. Western companies (Intel in particular) have embraced this approach to good effect, and we hope this leads to a measurable advantage in design wins for those companies," Shuttleworth wrote in a comment on his blog entry. "We often find, however, that some companies adopt a proprietary approach initially, then open up as they start to understand the pace of change in Linux, and with that, appreciate the real benefits to them of openness."
The revelation of OEM partnerships implies that we will likely see the Netbook Remix on upcoming subnotebook devices from mainstream hardware vendors. In light of Dell's existing relationship with Canonical, the recently unveiled mini laptop from Dell is a likely candidate for Ubuntu Netbook adoption. What we have seen so far of the software is impressive, and the final product will likely be a lot more polished than current options like the flavor of Xandros that Asus ships on the Eee.
By Ryan Paul | Published: June 10, 2008
Saturday, June 14, 2008
Nexuiz is a free, cross platform, first person shooter distributed under GNU General Public License by Alientrap Software. It started back in May 31 2005 with version 1.0 using DarkPlaces, a significanlty modified quake engine. The current version, 2.2.3, was released on January 26, 2007. Nexuiz’s logo is based on the chinese character “力” which means strength.
Several notable features of the game include
- ability to multiplay up to 64 players
- ability to generate bots for practice sessions
- dynamic lighting system similar to Doom 3
It's official: Open-source software makes people happy and proprietary software makes people sad. Thus spake Greta, my five-year old daughter. Clearly she's a very smart child...
...Or perhaps she's her father's child, and knows which side her bread is buttered on. :-)
Don't you agree?
P.S. I have no idea why the only male in the picture isn't wearing a crown. Apparently, not only does my daughter dislike proprietary software, but she also dislikes males. Hmm....Is there a correlation?
Friday, June 13, 2008
EphPod is a full-featured, easy-to-use Windows application that connects with Apple's iPod. With a FireWire card and EphPod on a PC, it takes under 30 minutes to transfer 1,000 songs to an iPod. In addition, EphPod supports standard WinAmp (.M3U) playlists, includes powerful playlist creation features, and will synchronize an entire music collection with one click.
It imports Microsoft Outlook contacts, in addition to allowing users to create and edit their own contacts. EphPod can also download the latest news, weather, e-books, and movie listings to an iPod.
latest news: First order of business -- I was able to spare a little development time to whip up a sleep timer for iTunes, Abbie's Sleep Timer for iTunes.
I've also spent some time with EphPod, but the latest updates of the iPod firmware with podcasts and videos are causing much consternation. This, combined with exams coming up in January, are big stumbling blocks. I've given others the EphPod source code, but no one appears to have done anything significant with it.
I need an iPod video to make those features work, so I'm going to dedicate the beer fund to an iPod video, and when I have enough there, hopefully I can release at least some program that will help people get stuff off their iPods.
EphPod - iPod for Windows (and Linux)
One of the greatest mysteries to me is why most file managers don't have tabs - it makes performing tasks so much simpler. I've found a lightweight file manager for Ubuntu called PCMan that gives you most of the functionality from Nautilus, but also has tabs.
To install this file manager, you can either use the built-in Add/Remove applications dialog or use the command line. Just type in PCMan into the search box, and change the drop-down to "All Open Source applications" and you'll see it in the list.
Or you can much more quickly install it with apt-get:
sudo apt-get install pcmanfm
Once it's installed, you can find it under System Tools \ PCMan File Manager
And there we are… you can see that it has a decent amount of options, although not quite as many as Nautilus does.
The one option that it has by default that Nautilus doesn't have is the "Open in Terminal" option, which I find much more useful than anything in Nautilus.
Install Tabbed File Manager in Ubuntu
Thursday, June 12, 2008
This whole "Microsoft free" experiment started when a colleague of mine challenged me to eat my own dog food after reading many of my posts about my dabbling with open source technologies. The next day, after a few blue screens of death and various issues with Outlook, I grabbed a Ubuntu CD and installed it on my laptop....at work! From that day forward, I have not used a single Microsoft product at work. It has been one year now and I have survived with Thunderbird and Evolution, Open Office, Firefox, and many other open source replacements for Microsoft products.
I put "Microsoft free" in quotes because there are a few exceptions. First, I did install IE 6.0 under wine for that rare occasion that I stumble across a website that only works on IE. Second, there is no answer for Visio. Most of the Visio diagrams that I needed to read were embedded in design documents in Word which I can read with Open Office Writer. But for those that I needed Visio for, I opened them at home on my XP box (I have 1 XP, 1 Vista, and 5 Linux boxes at home). I also used Visio at home when I had to create Visio diagrams. The issue is Visio's proprietary format is not available for developers to write a translation utility for.
With those two issues aside, which represents about 1% of my overall usage on my laptop, my Open Source experience was nearly flawless. Open Office worked remarkably well both receiving Microsoft Office files and creating files in Office format. I exchanged literally thousands of documents between Microsoft Office and Open Office. I never encountered a single issue with Word and Excel and occasionally encountered minor formatting issues with Power Point files. The formatting issues where nothing more then some minor placement issues which probably occurred less then 5% of the time.
Over the course of the year I experimented with Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Freespire, Mepis, and PCLinuxOS. I settled on Kubuntu and recently upgraded with ease to the latest version, Hardy Heron. Here is my analysis of the different Linux distros from last fall. With this "Microsoft free" laptop I have coexisted with 1000+ employees who use XP and various verions of Office including 2007 (the 2007 compatibility add-on works fine). I also delivered presentations at conferences using Open Office Impress and traveled across the country and internationally with no issues with wireless connectivity.
I am not in any camps. I use XP and Linux at home and like both. I gave Outlook the boot years ago at home and do just fine with Thunderbird. It has every feature I need. I do however have problems with Vista. But my message here is not about recommending what tools that my readers should use. My message is that I performed at a high level at work while using Linux, Open Office, and other open source products. These tools did not hinder my ability to do my job and did not impact anyone else at my job. I was able to productively coexist with no Microsoft tools in a Microsoft shop. That is all I am trying to say.
I am not going to recommend to anybody that they change their company standards away from Microsoft. What I will tell you is that open source is a viable alternative that can be used in a production environment. So when you see flame wars where the two camps argue back and forth about their favorite technology, you can point to this post when people claim that Linux and Open Office just won't work in the work place. I have validated that they do work for over 365 days now. Whether we should use these tools at work is a whole different story that really depends on factors like corporate culture, skill sets, budgets, user base, executive support, and many others.
All I can say is that for the last year, I have been using Open Source exclusively and I am loving it!
Microsoft Free - One year later
Ubuntu Chief: OEMs Turning to Us for Netbook OS - The Chart - IT Channel News And Views by CRN and VARBusiness
In a Monday item on his blog, Shuttleworth provides more detail about the effort, what the technology aims to do, and how it aims to do it.
"The Canonical OEM team has been approached by a number of OEM's who want to sell netbooks (small, low-cost laptops with an emphasis on the web) based on Ubuntu," Shuttleworth writes. "Almost universally, they've asked for standard Ubuntu packages and updates, with an app launcher that's more suited to new users and has the feeling of a 'device' more than a PC."
Shuttleworth's piece also provides screen shots of some of the software that is at the center of this activity, and is worth reading on its own. But what's also worth considering is what Shuttleworth doesn't mention: Why are OEMs turning to Ubuntu, while at the same time there's a decided lack of buzz about anyone turning to Microsoft?
It's actually a big deal. For example, Dell CEO Michael Dell has been carrying around an early version of a Dell mini-notebook, and referring to it as the device for the next billion Internet users. (Dell, of course, began a relationship with Canonical and Ubuntu last year when it began shipping PCs with Ubuntu pre-loaded. However, no information is out yet on what would run on the Dell mini.) Asus has become an industry rock star by using GNU Linux to power its Eee PC. HP's niche Mini note runs SLED 10 Linux. The iPhone, of course, doesn't run Microsoft software.
Is anyone paying attention in Redmond?
Adds Shuttleworth: "The aim was to do something very simple that could be tested easily, work with touch devices and made shippable very quickly. It also needed to be efficient on lower-power devices, and work well with Intel hardware, which seems to be the preferred platform for this generation of devices and allows us to slip a few nice effects in that would be hard without the right hardware support."Even though Dell has yet to put out anything that can compete with the iPhone, Michael Dell told me last year without any hesitation that "people want to bring the Internet with them." OEMs and Ubuntu and the Open Source community seem to be on the same page about this. Keep your eyes and ears ready for Microsoft's response.
The Chart - IT Channel News And Views by CRN and VARBusiness
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Gobuntu, which will eschew virtually all proprietary software components, aims to pacify critics who think that Ubuntu's support for "non-free" software is detrimental to users. Last year, the Free Software Foundation announced the release of gNewSense, an Ubuntu derivative without proprietary graphics drivers, proprietary plug-in components like Adobe's Flash player, and patent-encumbered proprietary media codecs. According to Shuttleworth, the goal for the Gobuntu derivative is to "provide a cleaner and easier to maintain base for projects like gNewSense."
Shuttleworth says that the current focus is on hardware drivers, but more significant differences will emerge as the team grows. In his announcement, Shuttleworth asks for interested developers to participate by joining the Gobuntu development team. "This is a call for developers who are interested in pushing the limits of content and code freedom—including firmware, content, and authoring infrastructure—to join the team and help identify places where we must separate out pieces that don’t belong in Gobuntu from the standard Ubuntu builds," says Shuttleworth.
Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, also announced plans to start releasing parts of the web-based Launchpad project management system under an open-source license. Launchpad's proprietary status has been source of controversy since the web site's inception. Earlier this year, Mark Shuttleworth responded to the criticism by saying that Canonical was "actively working on making Launchpad open source," but that it couldn't be done "until there is a clear revenue model to be able to pay the salaries of the developers working on the platform itself." Canonical took the first step towards opening the Launchpad source code this week by releasing Storm—Launchpad's Python-based object relational mapper—under the permissive LGPL license. Storm source code and documentation are now available from Canonical's web site.
By Ryan Paul | Published: July 11, 2007
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
is a first-person shooter follow-up to Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory. It also has the same science fiction universe as Quake 4, with a story serving as a prequel to Quake II. Quake Wars is the second multiplayer-only game in the Quake series after Quake III Arena. The gameplay is almost the same as Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory, but with the addition of controllable vehicles and aircraft, asymmetric teams, much larger maps and the option of computer-controlled bots. Enemy Territory: Quake Wars is being developed by Splash Damage for the PC using a modified version of id Software’s Doom 3 engine and MegaTexture rendering technology.
At E3 2006(Electronic Entertainment Expo), the game won the Game Critics Award for Best Online Multiplayer.
Monday, June 09, 2008
by Emmett Dulaney 6/6/2008
Make no mistake about it: I think Ubuntu is the best Linux distribution for the corporate/institutional desktop available, and I'm not likely to change my mind. With that said, however, I have to question the logic behind the latest release.
Version 8.04 was officially launched this year in April (hence the "04") and Canonical, the company overseeing Ubuntu, has been fairly good at keeping to the new-release-every-six-months schedule. Likewise, back in the early days of PCs, Microsoft seemed to release new versions of operating systems around every turn -- but was often lambasted for it.
(Interesting: What we perceived as iniquity in Microsoft then, we attribute to advancement in Linux now.)
This Ubuntu release is notable in that it's the first Long-Term Support (LTS) release in a while (about two years). Because it's LTS, support for its desktop implementation is guaranteed until 2011 and for the server implementation until 2013, with all other releases identified as short-term support.
But aside from this distinction, there's nothing else that makes this release truly stand out -- leading me to wonder whether it was released to meet an actual need or to simply prove that something new can come out every six months. After all, for the most part, 8.04 is just an update of the collection of software applications that accompany the OS; it's not really an update to the OS itself (aside from a few tweaks to the printer setup and some other little things).
In contrast, 8.10 -- which will be released at the end of October -- actually looks like it will have some new and noteworthy components. While the code for 8.10 is a long way from freeze, expected in that release are two key items:
- A new desktop. This has been talked about for a while but was withheld from recent releases to undergo further development. If you took a screenshot of Ubuntu now, you wouldn't be able to identify whether it was from 8.04, 7.10 or an even earlier release.
A focus on "pervasive Internet access."
On that last one, here's what Mark Shuttleworth, the chief executive officer of Canonical, had to say:
A particular focus for us will be pervasive Internet access, the ability to tap into bandwidth whenever and wherever you happen to be. No longer will you need to be a tethered, domesticated animal -- you'll be able to roam (and goats do roam!) the wild lands and access the Web through a variety of wireless technologies. We want you to be able to move from the office, to the train and home, staying connected all the way.
- By the way, to understand the reference to goats, you should know that while the public names for the operating system are 8.04 and 8.10, their code names -- what the developers and many users actually use -- are derived from the names of animals that move around a lot, in alphabetical order. For example, 8.04 was known as "Hardy Heron" ("h" is the eighth letter of the alphabet) and 8.10 is "Intrepid Ibex" ("i" is the ninth). If I had any input at all, my one suggestion would be to get rid of the code names. No administrator wants to put in a purchase order for 500 PCs running Hardy Heron and have to explain to a dozen people what he's talking about.
Back to the topic. If you have never used Ubuntu in your environment before and are contemplating doing so, you'll find that 8.04 is as good an implementation as you can choose (as was 7.10). On the other hand, if you've used any implementation of Ubuntu within the past two years, there's no reason to move to 8.04. In fact, I would highly recommend you stick with what you have -- at least, until 8.10 comes around.
Emmett Dulaney is the author of several books on Linux, Unix and certification, including the Security+ Study Guide, Third Edition. His blog can be found at http://edulaney.blogspot.com and he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Opening The Terminal For The First time
Many people coming to Linux for the first time are wary of the command line. It has a fearsome reputation It is supposed to be difficult and hard to grasp. In fact it is a language which you can learn if you choose to, gradually increasing your vocabulary and mastery of the syntax at whatever pace you find comfortable. Of course you do not need to learn it at all in order to use modern user-friendly Linux distributions like Ubuntu but your experience with Linux will be vastly enriched if you take the time to master the basics.
Whole HubPage article here: The Linux Command Line For Beginners: Part 1
It can sometimes be rather difficult for new users to find information, software and downloads for the Ubuntu operating system or for Linux in general, especially if they are just switching over from Windows. Thankfully, there are plenty of sources to look for new information.
The easiest place to look is the official repositories, located on the Ubuntu website. It has the full listings of all the packages available. As soon as you find a package you want to install, you can do it from Synaptic (located in the System menu) or from the command line. Use the following command:
sudo apt-get install [package name]
If that doesn't work, try doing this first:
sudo apt-get update
This will update your package database from the internet repositories.
Now, if you want a graphical display of many different Ubuntu apps, you can try going to The Daily Ubuntu. They have screenshots and install information for a variety of applications, optimized for Ubuntu Feisty and Gutsy.
Also, you can see a full list of other application sources at this website. 26 sources! Not bad, right? One of my favorite applications for Linux is Pidgin, an open-source instant messaging client, and these websites will tell you how to install them.
Ubuntu Applications - Your Source for Programs and Downloads for Linux
Thank you to John J. for suggesting this application. Be sure to subscribe to the site feed to keep up with the bombast of new applications.
GnuCash is a personal finance and accounting application created to keep you crazy organized. It can do simple things like recording expenses and take care of register transactions, but it can also handle tracking bank accounts, income, and a slew of financial instruments and derivatives.
John J. summed it up quite well in his suggestion e-mail:
...GnuCash is a great piece of financial software. I just use it to keep my home financials in order, but it has so many other functions that I would never even need to use.
It uses professional standards like double-entry accounting, which my professors babble on and on about being important. They generally mention words like 'Enron' and 'lawsuit' in context. The register has an easy interface that can handle checking and credit transactions, as well as currency and stock asset trades. Different currencies are taken care of easily.
The last thing I ever want to do is enter information by hand, so it's great that GnuCash can take care of that for me, as OSAlt reports:
With support for OFX DirectConnect and HBCI - GnuCash can even communicate with you bank, etc. if they support these standards ...
A variety of different graphs and reports are included in the program via the integrated reporting and graphing module, such as Profit & Loss and Portfolio Valuation reports. GnuCash will play nice with other financial applications, allowing the proprietary data formats to be imported in. You can also schedule recurring payments, search for transactions, and print checks.
Installation can be done graphically by opening the Add/Remove... dialog and checking the box next to GnuCash (as described here), or by typing the following code into the Terminal:
sudo apt-get install gnucash
I'm a bit of a finance-junkie, and I'm interested in hearing what you think of GnuCash. How does it compare against the proprietary competition?
The Daily Ubuntu - Daily Ubuntu Applications: 2/3/08 - 2/10/08
Sunday, June 08, 2008
Canonical stated that they are already working with hardware manufacturers, but the company did not name names. Still, it appears that Intel is on-board. Intel boss Paul Otellini has emphasized that the next generation of mobile internet devices will run Linux. Xandros has also announced a new version of its Linux, optimized for Atom systems – the company also had the benefit of Atom-optimised Linux support thanks to the Moblin Project. Asus offers the Xandros system or Windows as the operating system for the Eee PC 901. (jk/c't)
Saturday, June 07, 2008
Tremulous is an open source team-based first-person shooter with a game play that is similar to Gloom(a quake 2 mod) and Natural Selection (a Half-Life mod). The game features two teams, humans and aliens, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. The game has been downloaded over 200,000 times and was voted “Player’s Choice Standalone Game of the Year” in Mod Database’s “Mod of the Year” 2006 competition.
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
David White who started Wesnoth back in 2003, had a vision of a free open source strategy game that had very simple rules, uses a strong artificial intelligence, challenging and fun. Wesnoth has already passed the 1 million mark for downloads. The game is available in 35 different languages.
A normal Wesnoth player has
- 200+ unit types
- 16 different races
- 6 major factions
to choose from. Actually, you can even make your own custom units, design your own map, scenarios or even campaigns. It’s all up to your creativity. The most interesting part of any game is the ability to multiplay. You can challenge up to a total of 8 friends in multiplayer fantasy battles.
Monday, June 02, 2008
Sunday, June 01, 2008
The southern African word ubuntu roughly translates as "humanity toward others," and Ubuntu distributor Canonical does play nice, making the open-source OS available as a free download and on CDs shipped free of charge.
Updates come on a regular schedule, and Ubuntu is relatively easy to install, although a recent update caused the OS to lose its graphical user interface and was subsequently pulled. Canonical issued instructions for repairing the damage.
If you ever need help getting started with the open-source OS, the user community at places like Ubuntu Forums tends to be pretty patient with newbie inquiries. That's important, because Ubuntu will prompt many questions. Here are some examples:"Read whole article here: Is Ubuntu Linux for You, Too?