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Showing posts from September, 2007

Ubuntu 7.10 Pretty Picture

The obligatory screen shot. The background is from mandolux (right monitor only). The window decoration is Emerald 50977-Aqualook. The icons are Mist, the theme the new ClearLooks. Resolution is 1600 x 1200. All fonts are DejuVu. Visual Effects has been set to Extra. Applications running are Totem and Google Earth 4.2.

Keep in mind that rhea is now considered a 'low-end' machine with a 1.8 GHz Athlon XP 2500+ processor, an nVidia-based 7600 GS video card with 256MB of VDRAM, and 512MB of system DRAM. The drives are older PATA hard disks.

Ubuntu 7.04 upgrades to Ubuntu 7.10

In between chores around the house (wash, mowing, cleaning, shopping, and walking Max) I upgraded rhea from Ubuntu 7.04 to 7.10. I used the method documented on the Gutsy Gibbon page. It was almost totally automatic. I had to come back to the computer between tasks to answer a few dialogs asking questions along the way. The questions themselves were simple and straightforward. When the upgrade was finished the system was running Ubuntu 7.10 Beta 1. First, the good news.
It was unbelievable that the system upgraded and ran at all, let alone exactly as I had configured it before the upgrade. After reading one horror story after another in various fora about how Ubuntu upgrades had failed, I wasn't sure how it would all finish. But finish it did.Java is up to Java 6 Update 3. I had to check both synaptic as well as 'java -version' just to be sure. This is one upgrade higher than what is available from Sun's site itself. Furthermore, NetBeans 6 Beta 1 ran with the earlier S…

openSUSE 10.3 RC1: Issues with Compiz and XGL

I've been trying to get Compiz effects enabled, and so I installed all the Compiz bits available via YaST. To make a long story short the effects, while enabled, were less than desirable. The longer I attempt to work with Compiz (and now Compiz Fusion) the more I've come to hold it in the same low esteem as I hold Vista's Aero interface.

There's also one other direct effect I have no use for. XGL interferes with my other OpenGL work on this platform. After unistalling the compiz packages via YaST (because the tool to turn it off was broken), I attempted to get back to work with my WorldWInd/NetBeans project. I ran it for a test, and discovered that the WorldWindGLCanvas would not render the map. It would render the test and the compass rose, but not the underlying map. So I brought YaST up one more time, searched for opengl-based packages, and discovered that xgl was still installed. Once I uninstalled xgl and restarted the system to make sure everything was flushed, I …

openSUSE 10.3 RC1: ATI drivers installed

I finally installed the latest ATI drivers on openSUSE 10.3. I generally followed the core directions normally given for installing under openSUSE 10.2, and had no problems. I'm going to document the fast way I did this.
Download the ATI binary drivers and put them in a working directory. It doesn't matter where.Open a shell
Change to the working directory where you stored the downloaded drivers. Run the download as follows:

bash --buildpkg SuSE/SUSE102-IA32

There is no SUSE103-IA32. Don't be concerned with using 10.2. And note that this is all one line.Change directory to /usr/src/packages/RPMS/i386Type 'rpm -hiv fglrx_7_1_0_SUSE102-8.40.4-1.i386.rpm'Type 'aticonfig --initial'Reboot
Once rebooted and logged back in you might want to run the following command inside a shell.
wbeebe@europa:~$ fglrxinfo
display: :0.0 screen: 0
OpenGL vendor string: ATI Technologies Inc.
OpenGL renderer string: RADEON 9700 PRO
OpenGL version s…

NetBeans 6 Beta 1 running on a constrained system

In an earlier post dinesh left a comment complaining about the poor performance of NetBeans 6 on his system as compared to earlier versions. This led me to upgrade my version rhea, the Ubuntu 7.04 test system, to NetBeans 6 Beta 1 from Milestone 9. I also upgraded to Java 6 Upgrade 2. I then started NetBeans 6 and ran some simple tests to see how well it performed on the desktop. rhea has "only" 512MB of DRAM like dinesh's system. The processor is a single-core 32-bit Athlon XP 2500+ running at 1.8 GHz. dinesh's was a dual-core Pentium 4.

Running NetBeans with Firefox is a mistake, especially if Firefox has been up for some time and has multiple tabs open. The keyboard response was horrible. This may be part of dinesh's issues with regards to performance. Of course running anything substantial with Firefox on this machine has been horrible, which is a shame.Once Firefox exited the response in NetBeans 6 was quite good. Even after restarting Firefox the response st…

American Politics circa 2004

Found this while rummaging around my drive for something more important.Saddam was a good guy when Reagan armed him, a bad guy when Bush's daddy made war on him, a good guy when Cheney did business with him and a bad guy when Bush needed a "we can't find Bin Laden" diversion.Trade with Cuba is wrong because the country is communist, but trade with China and Vietnam is vital to a spirit of international harmony.The United States should get out of the United Nations, and our highest national priority is enforcing U.N. resolutions against Iraq.A woman can't be trusted with decisions about her own body, but multi-national corporations can make decisions affecting all mankind without regulation.Jesus loves you, and shares your hatred of homosexuals and Hillary Clinton.The best way to improve military morale is to praise the troops in speeches while slashing veterans' benefits and combat pay.If condoms are kept out of schools, adolescents won't have sex.A good …

A World the Color of Goose Shit

I originally wrote this in January 1999 on my old Geocities website. I had a section called Opinions and the article below, written about the DoJ vs Microsoft trial, was the last entry I wrote before time and circumstances got in the way. As I re-read this I've come to realize that nothing has really changed. The PC Week article I quoted has since vanished. This link points to another source of Dr. Fisher's quote.

An interesting article from PC Week danced around the real issue of the DOJ vs Microsoft trial. The following is taken from that article.The government's star economic witness in the Microsoft Corp. antitrust trial lashed out at the company Thursday, denouncing conduct he said was reminiscent of a "pungent" turn of phrase first coined by French songwriter Jacques Brel.

"They want to color the world the color of goose shit," Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist Franklin Fisher said. "If Microsoft forced upon the world a single br…

openSUSE 10.3 RC1: More things are beginning to work

As noted in earlier posts about using Java 6 Update 2 on openSUSE 10.3 with graphical applications, such as NetBeans, I've since discovered a second solution to the Java 6 problem. Use Java 6 Update 1 as provided via the restricted formats page. I've already documented how I did it (in two steps, naturally, instead of one). I should have checked to see if Java 6 U1 as provided by the community would have the same problem as Java 6 U2 downloaded from the Sun site, but I didn't. I automatically assumed that if Java 6 U2 had a problem, then so would the slightly older U1.

If there is no pressing bug fixed in U2 that you have to have, then my advice would be to install U1 and to work with it. That keeps you from having to add the environment hack in order to get applications such as NetBeans 6 Beta 1 working.


I have Eclipse 3.3 installed on this system as well as NetBeans, and Eclipse 3.3 runs as well with Java 6 Update 1 or Update 2. I believe this is possible because Ecl…

openSUSE 10.3 RC1: Things are beginning to work

Remember when I first installed RC1? And some key features were not working? Like OpenOffice? Tonight, while plunking around openSUSE under KDE, I decided to switch the desktop from KDE to Gnome, just to try Gnome out. So I downloaded all the bits I normally install for Gnome and logged back in under Gnome. Cool. Then I went back and started to look at the list of applications that failed to install. I pulled up YaST and started to install those applications, one at a time. As I installed each application I'd then attempt to start oowrite (OpenOffice Writer). When I installed xli, and then tried to start oowrite, lo and behold it started up and ran. Then I tried all the other applications in the OpenOffice suite, and they worked as well. I always had the feeling that buried somewhere in one of those uninstalled packages was some library or setting that was causing OpenOffice to exit with the message "no suitable windowing system found, exiting."

And one other observation.…

The Microsoft millstone around our necks

As I noted in my last post Microsoft has given permission so that PC vendors can allow buyers (both corporate and retail) to substitute Windows XP for Windows Vista when making a new computer purchase. That fact alone should send every anti-trust watchdog into a rabies-like foam-flecked-about-the-mouth attack-mode straight for Microsoft's jugular. Why doesn't it?

This total lack of real competition in the OS market forces the consumer to chose Microsoft's earlier offering rather than going to another vendor. Imagine for a moment if there were only one computer manufacturer, and you were forced to buy last year's notebook or desktop system because this year's model was completely unsuited. That actually happened with the IBM PS/2, and the market voted by purchasing Compaq and HP and others at the time. Today we have a wealth of manufacturers with varying models, and even the processor market has real measurable competition between Intel and AMD. Yet we have only one …

Nearly a year after its official release, Vista is still a mess

You'd think that getting Vista squared away would be job one to hear Microsoft talk. Instead you hear the steady drumbeat of stories about just how sorry Vista is and continues to be. Here's a brief sample of today's tasty selections.
Vista Ultimate buyers fume over missing Extras - So you spent all that money ($400) and all that extra cash on hardware to run it, and you're upset that those 'Extras' haven't appeared? Is that's what's bothering you, Bunky? Yeah, well, welcome to the wonderful world of Microsoft promises. Always late, never functioning as promised, and costing far more in the end than you budgeted for. See what it's like to live under the thumb of a monopoly?
Unbundling Microsoft Windows -In which someone, this time in the European Union, woke up to the fact that bundling Microsoft's operating system is a bad thing. Gosh. Who'd of thought, after nearly 15 years of abuse, that we'd one day wake up and realize that bundlin…

Has Linus become a liability?

I don't mean a technical liability, I mean a diplomatic liability, and as a consequence, a dis-unifying forced for future Linux kernel development. Linus' flame posts are quite famous and you can find them if you search, but the one post that makes me wonder just what medications Linus failed to take the day he posted his current gem concerns the use of C++. In yet another trademark post, this one in a newsgroup for git, Linus opined the following:
C++ is a horrible language. It's made more horrible by the fact that a lot of substandard programmers use it, to the point where it's much much easier to generate total and utter crap with it. Quite frankly, even if the choice of C were to do *nothing* but keep the C++ programmers out, that in itself would be a huge reason to use C.

In other words: the choice of C is the only sane choice. I know Miles Bader jokingly said "to piss you off", but it's actually true. I've come to the conclusion that any programme…

What were they thinking?

Got in this morning, read through my mail, checked on the latest work-related emergencies, then hit some of my favorite news sites. One spot I check on a regular basis is It's for folk who want to keep track on how Linux is being used throughout the electronics industry. One of the entries that caught my eye was a blurb about a new bookRobert Love has published, the cover of which you may observe below. Which finally brings me to my point.

What were they thinking when they decided to put a Rube Goldberg non-flying machine on the front cover of the book? I guess somebody thought this was cute, but I cringe to look at it because it subtly and unfortunately implies two ideas; that programming Linux is poor and Linux itself is a Rube Goldberg collection of software subsystems wrapped up as a distribution. As the saying goes, never judge a book by its cover. But I'll probably wait until it arrives at a regular brick-and-mortar book store rather than rush right out …

openSUSE 10.3 RC1: problem with X11 and Java 6

I ran across a rather bazaar problem with Java 6 Update 2 and NetBeans 6. First, a copy of the terminal with the exception that was thrown when I tried to run NetBeans 6.

I then went googling for the error message:
java: xcb_xlib.c:52: xcb_xlib_unlock: Assertion `c->xlib.lock' failed.I found the same problem and a solution on another forum, and the solution is to add the following to your environment:
export LIBXCB_ALLOW_SLOPPY_LOCK=1Sure enough I added it to the local window's environment and it started right up. I need to add it to my login environment. In all the time I've run any distribution I've never run across the problem. They currently run just fine on openSUSE 10.2 and Ubuntu 7.04. Must be clean living and lots of dumb luck. Here's another one to check and see if it still exists when openSUSE 10.3 final is released.

openSUSE 10.3 RC1: Advanced Software Installation

I commented in the earlier post about Java 5 being installed instead of Java 6. Turns out I should have clicked the Advanced Mode check box at the bottom of the Software Installation dialog.

Look down at the very bottom and click 'Advanced mode.' Then click 'Next'.

You want all the repositories listed, so just leave the alone and click 'Next'.

Since I've already run this once, I don't need all the applications checked. For this next run of the tool I will uncheck them all. If this is the first time you've run this then leave them alone and go to the next step.

As you scroll down you'll see more applications you can install. I only want the two checked, in RealPlayer 10 and Java 6.

We've seen this before, so just click 'Next'.

It's at this point that YaST really begins to show some sophistication. First of all YaST checks to make sure that all dependencies are met. In this example, because I'd already installed Java 5 I needed to un…

openSUSE 10.3 RC1 from DVD installed with very mixed results

As I noted in my last post I downloaded both Live CDs as well as the DVD installation image. The Live CDs were downloaded, while the DVD was grabbed via BitTorrent using Azureas (the why of this will become apparent later). Francis left a comment on the last post asking if I'd attempted to install RC1 from the DVD, because the Live CDs "are no way as well-tested as the installation CDs." OK. So later that evening (Orlando FL time), throwing caution to the wind, I installed RC1 on europa, the DIY box.

I've had a lot of good experiences over the years running SuSE and openSUSE on europa. Every experience from installation to working in the environment has been solid, with few issues or problems that couldn't be sorted out. Installing openSUSE 10.3 RC1 has been a lot rougher than any other installation of Suse to date, or any other installation I've touched, such as Ubuntu and Fedora.

Booting into the RC1 DVD went well, and I was able to configure how I wa…

openSUSE 10.3 RC1 - Not quite there yet for me

I downloaded three ISOs; the Gnome and KDE Live CDs, and the binary DVD. I burned all three and tested three machines with the two live CDs.

Test Machines
Gateway M680 with 2.13 GHz Pentium M, 1GB memory, ATI Mobility X700Gateway M685 with 2 GHz Core Duo, 2GB memory, nVidia Go 7800DIY with 2GHz Athlon XP 3200+, 1GB memory, ATI 9700 ProAll three machines currently dual boot between Windows XP SP2 and openSuse 10.2. All features work on each platform.

General Results

All Live CDs booted successfully on all three platforms. Every major subsystem worked including video, audio, hard drives, CD/DVD drives, networking (note exceptions below), and USB devices. The graphic rendering on the notebooks in was particularly crisp, especially with regards to text. It should be noted however that the use of DejaVu Condensed is the preferred font for both Sans and Sans Serif for just about any rendering, especially on the Firefox browser. DejaVu gives the best user experience when rendering complex text o…

Groklaw continues its bad old ways

I'm no friend of Pamela Jones, owner and proprietress of Groklaw. I've never posted on Groklaw and never will, preferring to watch at the edges, primarily there to dig out the facts of the various SCO cases. Most of the time I've had no issues, but from time to time over the years I've stumbled upon the odd post and thread that, for whatever reason, would disappear over time, expunged by She Who Must Be Obeyed.

I came across this post by raoulduke_esq on the Yahoo SCO board early this morning and decided to grab a copy before the message, and the entire board, go the way of all flesh September 27th. It's just another example of Pamela Jones' (P.J. to her fawning admirers) inability to deal with alternate points of view.
There used to be a post pointing out IV [Investor Village] post #44067 for AllParadox's take on the Tibitts white-collar crime, right below the inoffensive and content-free "Enron" post here:…

Dan Lyons: "So Profoundly Wrong"

Dan Lyons has done something that I thought he'd never do. He's proven that he actually does have a shred of integrity. He's written a piece on Forbes' titled "Snowed by SCO" where he admits he was wrong. About SCO. About Linux. About all us "crunchies" who were defending Linux with the facts.

Ahhh... Savor this moment...

The final paragraph pretty much sums up his apology piece:
SCO is road kill. Its lawsuit long ago ceased to represent any threat to Linux. That operating system has become far too successful to be dislodged. Someday soon the SCO lawsuits will go away, and I will never have to write another article about SCO ever again. I can't wait.I'm curious to see if Rob Enderle will now write such a piece. My take is he won't. I think Rob would sooner die in abject poverty than admit he was wrong about anything, let alone SCO and Linux.

I'm also curious to see how this will affect another "profoundly wrong" and rather odio…

Dear Spammers: Bugger Off

I have my modest little blog set up to send me posting responses before they become an immortal part of my blog. The sole reason I do this now is blog spam. What's blog spam? It's a message that has one or more links to other blogs or websites for the sole purpose of inflating or leading you off to another site. A blog spam response usually starts with a single effusive sentence telling you how wonderful your blog is and how glad they are to have found it. Then all the other trash follows.

The worse example occurred earlier this year when some persistent spammer kept trying to post, repeatedly, the same spam to the same blog entry. And when I say persistent I mean at least ten times. In this particular case they were attempting to spam "Suse 10.2, Part 3: Looking at KDE." For some reason it became the target of blog spam, and it eventually forced me to close the comments and have them mailed to me for moderation. Since that time I've had the odd blog spam come tum…

Mint Linux: The way Linux was meant to be

I've had a couple of folks tell me to try out Mint Linux. Last night, I downloaded Celena BETA 017. Tonight, I burned the CD and booted it up on europa.

Europa is my increasingly ancient Athlon XP 32-bit DIY system with the equally ancient ATI 9700 Pro video card (R300). It currently hosts Windows XP SP2 and openSuse 10.2, with the system's primary boot openSuse. Tonight I got a chance to sample a new Linux distribution that puts both all the other distributions I've sampled to shame.

Not only did Mint boot up the old warhorse, but it was able to do the following without any trouble what-so-ever:
It enabled hardware acceleration with the ATI 9700 Pro card.I was able to enable Compiz effects; transparency, the cube, everything. What was very nice about the effects is that there was none of the damn wobbling and wiggling. It was smooth as glass as it rotated the faces of the cube.I was able to go to YouTube and play videos without having to download and install anything.I was a…

NetBeans 6 Beta 1 nano review

NetBeans 6 Beta 1 was finally released today. I've been anticipating this for some time. I was able to grab a copy and give it a spin, first on Windows SP SP2 and then on Linux. The test machine was my Gateway M685 Core Duo notebook. What follows are a quick set of 'unboxing' screen shots as I install NetBeans 6, load an existing project, add a new repository, and then create a new project based on the new repository.

NetBeans 6 has a nice, professional looking installer that allows you to easily pick the various features you want from a single installation package. If you've been working with NetBeans 6 since about Milestone 9, then you'll know what I'm talking about. For this very simplistic evaluation I installed the Base IDE, Java SE, Web & Java EE, UML, Ruby and C/C++. What I didn't install were the Mobility tools, SOA, GlassFish V2, and Open ESB V2 Preview 3. I may add them later as the installer allows you to add them after the initial installatio…