Showing posts from July, 2008

OpenSource Train Wrecks, No. 1

Here's a two-fer. The first one I found in a Maemo entry of all things, which linked to a video showing just how bad the OpenMoko UI is on basic usability tasks. You have to see this video to believe it. The video was posted in response to the Free Software Foundation's bullshit posting "5 reasons to avoid iPhone 3G". I won't even comment on how the FSF's title is a wonderfully entertaining grammatical train wreck in its own right, and only helps to contribute to the uniquely lame posture of the FSF. And, of course, the FSF screed linked to the FreeRunner. You know, if you're going to call out somebody like Apple and then have the stones to offer an alternative, you better make damn sure it's at least the equal to the iPhone, or else the world is going to point and laugh at your painfully lame alternative.

The second example of an OpenSource train wreck comes courtesy of the fine folks at Linux Hater's. In this example Epileptic Gaming installed Ye…

Notes from the Field: openSUSE 11.1 Alpha 1

openSUSE officially announced the start of 11.1's development cycle with a drop of alpha 1. What follows are some quick notes taken after booting into the KDE Live CD version. Note that this is indeed an alpha 1.


Miracle of miracles, openSUSE booted from my NEC DVD R/W ND-2510A drive. Versions from 10.3 and 11.0 have refused to boot from the NEC, forcing me to remember to use the older Lite-On LTC-48161H as the boot device. But this time it booted up to the desktop without a hitch.


Networking was inoperative. I have two interfaces, an nVidia nForce2 Ethernet controller on the motherboard and an Intel 82541 Gigabit Ethernet controller plugged into a PCI slot. Normally I have my network connected to the Intel card because it's the most widely recognized network interface by every OS I've ever booted on europa, and because it seems the fastest and most rock solid interface on every OS I've ever booted on europa. But this time I struck out with alpha 1. Alth…

Future Ubuntu names

Inspired after reading the latest post on Linux Hater's (in the comments).
Jerking Jackass (9.04)
Kevlar Kiwi (9.10)
Lumbering Lama (10.04)
Masturbating Monkey (thanks Linus) (10.10)
Noxious Nematode (11.04)
Obese Ocelot (11.10)
Psychotic Panda or Paranoid Penguin or Pornographic Pony or Possessed Python or Perverted Porpoise or Plastic Pigeon or Polyester Platypus or Prickly Parakeet (12.04)
Quaking Quadruped (12.10)
Revolting Raven (13.04)
Spanking Squirrel (13.10)
Tyrannical Tapeworm (14.04)
Ululating Ungulate (14.10)
Vexatious Vervet (15.04)
Wanking Walrus (thanks again Linus) (15.10)Xenophobic Xerus (16.04)
Yelling Yeti or Yodeling Yak (16.10)
Zealous Zebra (17.04)
So there you have it. Suitable suggestions for the rest of the series out to the beginning of 2017. At which point they'll have to start over again with the A's. Perhaps Antagonistic Aardvark...

Edit: Silly me, forgot the X's.

Notes from the Field: Mandriva 2009 KDE Alpha 2

Mandriva 2009 Alpha 2 hit the wires yesterday for both the KDE and Gnome desktops. As usual I did the download/ISO burn/boot three-step to check out the KDE version. And as usual, in spite of glowing reviews ("Mandriva 2009 Alpha 2 Brings You a Beautiful KDE 4 Desktop") it had enough rough edges to constantly remind me this is an alpha release. It took hardly any time at all to find the problems I'm about to write about below.

This is not to slam Mandriva (I'm now a satisfied paying customer), but the web sites that put up the multitudinous screen shots and then gush effusively about how pretty it all looks. Nobody seems to really dig in and use the distribution. If they did, they might discover that many of the latest distributions aren't just pretty, but pretty useless. If you want a good distribution that looks good and works as well as it looks then Mandriva 2008.1 is one of the best, if not the best, of the current crop of distributions, certainly rating far …

Notes From The Field: Firefox, Mandriva

Firefox 3 "Black" Images

Planete Beranger is reporting that Firefox 3 renders images as black on certain sites. I've run into the same problem on my system, and I can reliably repeat the problem. The conditions are:
Mandriva 2008.1 PowerpackFirefox 3 downloaded from the Mozilla site and running locally out of my home directoryRunning a load-intensive task while web surfing with Firefox 3.The load-intensive task in this instance was pulling down the entire KDE 3 source tree using subversion in one shell window while performing a build in another shell. My system has broadband (cable) connectivity. It was at this point that I was looking at Wired, Accuweather, and Flickr. On all sites, moving from page to page resulted in images either showing up entirely blank (black) or only partially rendered with a tall black bar across the lower portion of the image. These image defects disappear when the system is lightly loaded (i.e. only the browser is running).

I'm also seeing de…

FORK PROPOSAL: Rebuild KDE 3 with QT4

Here's a proposal I throw out to the world: Who would work with me to 'fork' KDE 3 and rebuild it with QT 4.x (4.4 at this point)? This would be the entire KDE 3 environment. No, I have absolutely no idea how much work would be involved. But in looking at where the current KDE 4 desktop is headed. and considering comments from many quarters about the preferred capability of KDE 3, I'm curious to see if anyone would step up and work with me to establish a new branch, porting KDE 3 to QT 4.4 (and later).

Perhaps in the process we can clean up many of KDE 3's lingering annoyances and bugs.

Working project title: KDE5.
Goals: Higher quality, a better user experience, a better KDE4 than KDE4.

Please leave your comments at the end of the post.


Other project titles:

IceDE - Named after a 'now it's really free' web browser.
QDE - Qt Desktop Environment or Quality Desktop Environment
NiNK - No it's Not KDE (I personally like that one)

The Most Puerile of the FOSS Aficionados

The website Planete Beranger recently published an interesting post "Wrong ways to promote the FOSS", from which the title of this post was taken. The core observation of the Beranger argument is:
I'll only say that there is no such thing as a "troll". This is a word invented by the most puerile of the FOSS aficionados, unable to cope with the existence of:
legitimate critiques from users of FOSS;illegitimate critiques from users of FOSS;legitimate critiques from non-users of FOSS, deterred by real problems;illegitimate critiques from users of FOSS, hasty and judgmental people;curses, vandalisms and the like.
I got to see the Most Puerile in action over the weekend on OSnews in the comment section of the article "Top 5 New Features of Ubuntu 8.10 Interpid Ibex" (and yes, Intrepid is spelled wrong) posted by Eugenia Loli-Queru on OSNews. Eugenia was rightfully complaining that instead of adding new features of questionable value that perhaps the developer…

HowTo: Install Nodoka Theme on Mandriva 2008.1

What is Nodoka?

Nodoka is the default Gnome desktop theme originally delivered on Fedora 8. I've grown to like it so much that I installed it on other Linux distributions starting with Ubuntu 7.10 through 8.04. I've now installed it on Mandriva 2008 Spring PowerPack. Here's what I did.

Install the Nodoka Engine

Installation of the Nodoka engine requires building it from sources. To support the build of the Nodoka engine you'll need to install libgtk+2.0_0-devel. One way to install it is via Applications | Install & Remove Software | Software Management. You can find it by typing 'libgtk+' in Software Management's search bar, then select libgtk_2.0_0-devel from the top of the list (on my machine it was the fifth entry from the top). When you select it for installation you'll also automatically install additional packages to satisfy dependencies:

- glib-gettextize-2.16.2-1mdv2008.1.i586
- libatk1.0-devel-1.22.0-1mdv2008.1.i586
- libcairo-devel-1.6.4-1.1mdv2…

Tis done

Between cooking the family's Independence Day meal (barbecued chicken and ribs on the grill, Texas toast, fries baked in the oven, corn-on-the-cob and watermelon) and doing various jobs around the house I managed to fully install Mandriva Powerpack on europa. Installation was reasonably simple and straightforward. So far it's lived up to its promise and I couldn't be happier. Biggest surprise are the recent ATI drivers installed during the overall install. Another big surprise was when I went and grabbed Firefox 3 from and just installed it side-by-side with Firefox 2. Firefox 3 from Mozilla performs better than the final version delivered with Ubuntu 8.04.

I'll finish up some time tomorrow. My weekends are just as busy as my workweeks, leaving little time to 'play'.

I'm beginning to notice nice little touches in the Mandriva Gnome DE. Notice in the screenshot above that Nautilus' icon view shows a thumbnail of each movie. This feature has nev…

Where will I go after the Wii?

I'm a proud user of Wii, and have been since January 2007. I own a mere six Wii games, each costing $50 each; The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess, Super Paper Mario, Super Mario Galaxy, Elebits, Mariokart Wii, and Super Smash Brothers Brawl. This is a far cry from my PC games, which include all four Quake releases, Doom 3, Battlefield 1942, Battlefield 2, and numerous releases of Command and Conquer. So you get some idea of my eclectic tastes. But my gaming is equally split between dedicated consoles and the PC.

My use of consoles stretches back to my single years in the late 1970s with the Atari 2600 and the TI 99/4A. My use of modern consoles begain with the original Nintendo Entertainment System I purchased from Fryes while visiting Intel in California on a business trip in 1988. I was married at that point and both girls were still little babies. I kept that going for many years, primarily for the girls, picking up a Sega Genesis system (to play Sonic and Dot) before purchasi…

Eating Crow

Over a year ago adamw and I got into a circular pissing contest, when adamw wanted to know why it was that I spoke so glowingly of Ubuntu (version 7.04) after having barely installed it and just getting to know the distribution. I shot back with a tripe-laden response which brings nothing but embarrassment for me these days, especially in light of what I am about to do.

But first, I'd like to publicly apologise to Adam. It's been over a year in coming, but Adam, if you're reading this, know that you were right and I was wrong.

I've taken actions to back up those words. I've purchased a Mandriva Power Pack subscription and I've got the DVD burned and ready to install Mandriva 2008 Spring over Ubuntu 8.04.1. In addition to purchasing a Power Pack subscription I also purchased the USB key version. I'm waiting for it to arrive, hopefully sometime next week.

I could spend the next hour of my personal time (and a lot of digital ink) listing in detail what has gone w…