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Showing posts from April, 2007

Ubuntu replaces Suse, but not very well

I finally pulled the trigger and replaced Suse 10.2 on europa with Ubuntu 7.04. How I got to this point was long and involved. The results of the change were less than I anticipated. If you're curious about the long strange trip it's been then read on. Otherwise you can bail at this point. It's your choice.

In The Beginning

Europa is my workhorse home system. It's a DIY system I built in January 2003 from components ordered from Newegg. Every component, with the notable exception of one hard disk, continues to function on the machine (and I attribute that to the fact that nothing has ever been overclocked). The motherboard is a Chaintech 7NJS Zenith (Socket A, nVidia nForce 2 400 ATX). It should be noted that Chaintech is now Walton Chaintech and they don't make motherboards any more. When it was released the 7NJS was considered a high-end motherboard, and it came stocked with just about every feature you'd ever want or need on a Socket A system board. One item I…

Ubuntu 7.04 Final Boots Gateway M685 Notebook Successfully

Let me start this entry by showing a simple screen capture of Ubuntu 7.04 running on my Gateway M685.

All I had to do this time was drop the Ubuntu CDROM in the DVD drive, reboot the notebook, and wait for Ubuntu to start up. It was as smooth as proverbial silk. Here's a quick rundown of what I was able to initially check out about 7.04 running on the Gateway.
Screen: The good news is that it booted and used the screen. Every pre-release version of 7.04 before this final release had screen issues; the screen booted up black and disabled. But this time It Just Worked. The bad news is that its resolution is limited to 1024 by 768. This is No Big Deal. All I have to do to fix this is install 7.04 and then install the nVidia drivers to enable the built-in Go 7800's hardware capabilities (including 1680 x 1050 resolution). I've had to do this with every release of Suse. It's No Big Deal.
Network: 7.04 detected and allowed me to connect to my home wireless network without any o…

Ubuntu 7.04 Has Officially Arrived

Well, today is the day that Ubuntu 7.04 is officially released. I got two more updates this morning for K3B; it can now rip DVDs to MPEG-4 movies, suitable for playing on my computer or on the latest generation of portable devices. So far I've ripped about 30 of my DVD collection on my Suse 10.2 system. Right now I'm performing a test rip on "Batman Begins".

I'm still debating whether I want to download and re-install from scratch, just to see if any little quirks I ran during the testing phases clear up. But considering that everything Just Works the way I expected is a strong incentive not to screw around with it. Regardless of the OS, it takes time to install, update, and configure it to my liking. This occurs with any Linux distribution or Windows.

Micheal Dell Uses Ubuntu

Yep. Found this item via /. Looks like Micheal Dell uses Ubuntu 7.04 on his Dell Precision M90, a souped up laptop with a 2.33 GHz Intel T7600, 4GB of DRAM, 17" screen, and nVidia Quadro …

Ubuntu 7.04 + Beryl 0.2.1 = Fun

There was an entry on Shuttleworth's blog about Beryl in universe. So I followed his advice and installed it, then fired it up. Boy, has Beryl come a long way since I installed it on my notebook under Suse 10.1. You can see a screen shot of the whole setup running below.

I've got the Beryl defaults for Ubuntu installed and enabled. And with all the effects running it looks and runs sweet. The screen shot above shows one of the new Beryl effects (new to me, anyway); a preview of any of the applications on the panel if the mouse pointer hovers over any given application. The screen shot shows the movie running in the middle of the desktop, and a thumbnail is also running in the lower right corner. And I mean running in the lower right corner. This is the exact same effect as what you'd find running Vista.

That AVI movie was ripped (transcoded) from a DVD to a 1GB MPEG-4 file. I performed the transcoding using K3B under Suse 10.2. I tried K3B under Ubuntu, but K3B's transco…

Real Linux Growth

Linux continues to show strong growth across the entire industry from small devices up to the enterprise level. The following are just a few examples of this from the week of April 9th.

Sumitomo Electric buys into Novell - This was a major deal with a very conservative, established business that didn't rely on the Microsoft/Novell deal that so many hold in disdain. Novell knows how to sell solutions, and Novell knows how to create excellent software, open or closed. Here's to Novell's continuing success.Red Hat Signs Master Marketing Agreement with SAIC - I'm no fan of SAIC, but I have to appreciate what this deal means for Red Hat. Basically, SAIC will use Red Hat system software solutions (OS, JBoss, etc) as part of their overall engineering solutions that they pitch to the federal government. From personal experience the military side of the government is truly split about the use of closed (Windows, etc) vs. open (Linux, etc) software underpinning their systems. Wit…

Ubuntu 7.04 - Steady updates, fixes, work-around for Compiz

The updates keep coming in at a steady rate every day. They range anywhere from 20 to 40 packages/update on a given day. It will be interesting to see what is finally touched up and cleaned up for the April 19th official release of 7.04.

Some good news: The display problem with the NetworkManager was fixed with today's updates. It now displays the state of the underlying networking system.

Some peculiar news: I ran into an interesting problem during yesterday's batch of updates that included an attempted update to the kernel.

Two items to point out in the screen capture above. First, the update manager has failed to download kernel 2.6.20-14-generic with a 403 HTTP error. Second, kernel 2.6.20-14-generic was already installed and running on rhea. The 403 error is usually the 'forbidden' error. If somebody realized that it was a mistake to leave this package on the update server, why not remove it? They I'd have seen the ubiquitous 404 (not found) error. My greater wor…

Ubuntu 7.04 - 20 new updates and networking mystery clarrified

I commented yesterday that after the marathon upgrade networking wasn't enabled after a re-boot. Turns out I was wrong about that. It's actually working, it's that the network applet icon incorrectly shows state and when you hover the mouse over the icon it says "No network connection". But if you right click on the icon and then select connection information from the menu you discover that it is fully connected. I tested that connection out by firing up NetBeans and seeing that the welcome screen goes out and gathers articles and news to display. And of course it did. I then fired up Firefox and wrote up this entry. And of course the network applet still shows my network connection disabled.

When 7.04 is finally and officially released I'll do a complete re-install and see if any of these issues (network and Compiz) clear up. We are, after all, still in development mode. And part of the final testing should be a new installation just to make sure the old bad …

Ubuntu 7.04 - 108 new updates, Gnome 2.18.1 upgrade, network regression

Got a big block of upgrades today, including Gnome. Gnome itself was upgraded to 2.18.1 and Ubuntu followed right along. Quick testing indicates that Compiz is still regressed from the last upgrade, which is no big deal to me. Regular old 'flat' mode still works just fine, and I can live with that.

No, there's a bigger problem. When the system reboots networking does not automatically start. The workaround is to right-click on the wired network connection icon on the upper tool bar and click the 'Enable Networking' check box. This disables it. Then re-enable it. When it comes back up the network connection is back. Another regression. I sincerely hope this one gets fixed before the Big Release.

Well, I went to go send in a report via the 'Send A Bug' menu selection on System, but it's gone now. Isn't that spiffy?

Ubuntu 7.04 Beta+ - More updates, problems, regressions

Picked up more updates Thursday, one of which included a new kernel. I was in a hurry so I didn't bother to read the release notes. I do know this, however.
The Compiz cube broke/was removed/was disabled in the latest releases.Any window that's maximized with Compiz enabled can't be un-maximized.Compiz chews up CPU/GPU cycles at odd times, causing timing sensitive applications such as totem/VLC to drop frames during DVD playback, at least on this platform.So I've turned Compiz off. Before I did that, however, I decided to see just how hard I could push Ubuntu on this platform, so I fired up VLC and Totem and had both playing Casino Royale, but at different times/locations on the DVD.

Totem is playing in the lower left corner, while VLC is playing in the upper right. This was with Compiz enabled before the update that disabled a lot of its functionality. Yes, frames were dropped. The exercise of pulling two streams off the DVD really worked the DVD drive. You could here t…

With friends like these

It's been an interesting 24 hours. I started yesterday evening reading the following on the Yahoo! SCOX message board under the title "Beebe Still on PJ's Case".
Googled for "SCOX" in blogs for the last day, found this:

Wherein Bill Beebe reiterates his unique take on the First Amendment in his quest to vilify PJ:

"[beebe] What applies to the court of law should apply to the court of public opinion. In a long fight such as this one, the desire to remain hidden while voicing strong editorial opinions, especially when they are at times inflammatory, is morally and ethically corrupt, and lessons the stature of the person making them as well as those who support that individual."

Nobody tell Bill that the Bill of Rights likely wouldn't exist but for anonymous pamphleteers. His "argument" was shredded to bits last time he floated it here, which might explain why he elects to post this stuff so far of…

Ubuntu 7.04 - The pace quickens towards final release

The number and frequency of updates for Ubuntu 7.04 has picked up a bit over the last five days. Two updates I've noticed is the final OpenOffice 2.2 release (which coincided with OpenOffice stand-alone release), and updates to Compiz that finally enable the cube (see below).

To make the screen shot I ran the 'Take Screenshot' applet with a five second delay, then grabbed the corner facing you with the mouse while holding before the delay timed out and the screen shot was taken. I've got Google Earth on the left and Firefox (with Help and Support on top) on the right.

Up to this point the cube was disabled, and hitting the arrow keys simply moved from desktop to desktop by fading from one to the next. But I like the way this version under Ubuntu has been tuned. The sides of the cube simply flip without the annoying bounce prevalent in the versions running on SLED 10 and Suse 10.1.

The only problem is that Google Earth runs less smoothly with Compiz enabled than with Com…

I Am Not A Lawyer

You've seen it all over the forums. Folks type IANAL (I Am Not A Lawyer) and then proceed to give their own legal interpretation of an event anyway. It appears a lot around folks arguing over what the GPL means. I'm not hear to argue the merits of the GLP 3 (not right yet, anyway). I am here to ask that if lawyers want us non-lawyers to not practice law, then they should return the favor and not practice software engineering. I offer as an example Lewis A. Mettler and his website lamlaw.

Never Assume Malice When Stupidity Will Suffice*

Mr. Mettler has commented on another posting by one Thomas R. Nicely. Mr. Nicely posts that Microsoft's "Vista arbitrarily restricts the memory space for the GCC executable to 32 MB (33,554,432 bytes)." Mr. Nicely's development environment is composed of the following:
GCC 3.0.4, which was first released in February 2002.DJGPP, which was likely updated April 2001.Vista Home BasicSo. Based on two very old development tools (GCC an…