Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I voted

It's January 29th here in Florida (as in the rest of the world) and time once again for Primary Follies, in which the Democratic Party gets to decide on essentially nothing. We were given the political "death sentence" by the DNC because Florida's Republican-controlled legislature moved the date up to today. So the DNC, in a fit of righteous indignation, punished us Democrats and said our early vote couldn't determine how our party deligates would be divided.

Well, piss on you guys. After watching the Clintons act like a pair of grand jackasses on the campaign trail, I decided to cast my vote anyway - for Barack Obama. I'm not voting for Hillary because she's a woman, I'm not voting for Hillary because she's a Clinton. To me, the Clintons have come to represent the old party machine that's screwing us over. After getting slapped around multiple times in 2000 and 2004 by the Republicans, I'm in no mood to put up with it in 2008 from the DNC.

On the Republican side I'm rooting for John McCain. My fall-back position is that if Hillary wins the Democratic nomination and John wins the Republican, then you'll see me casting my vote as Republican come November.

Update

I voted "Yes" on 1.

Update 2

Looks like McCain will be the Republican winner in Florida. According to CNN it looks like Giuliani will drop out tomorrow (Wednesday) and endorse McCain. It's not like Giuliani had anything anyway, not with one lone deligate.

And it looks like Clinton won the Florida Democratic beauty contest. Too bad no deligates were at stake, so it's essentially all for naught.

Simply Mepis 7

Based on a comment left on an earlier post I pulled down and booted Simply Mepis 7. I remember Simply Mepis as the distribution that switched from using Ubuntu as its foundation to using Debian as its foundation. The reason given at the time was that Ubuntu wasn't upgrading adequately within a given release. Apparently baseline Debian was.

This is the first time I've ever booted Mepis, and the experience has been quite positive. As usual I haven't devoted a lot of time checking every feature. Instead I just wanted to see if it would boot and if everything worked; everything to me being graphics, networking, sound, and multimedia codecs.

Mepis boots just fine to a full KDE graphical desktop. The only issue I have is that the screen resolution is limited to 1280 by 1024. Contrast this with Ubuntu and Mint (3 and 4) which boot the screen up into 1900 by 1440. Lower resolutions always herald a later problem with choosing higher resolutions after installation. It's something I can deal with, but over time I've grown tired of having to 'fix' it.

Networking and sound worked just fine. I was able to test all of that together via Firefox (2.0.0.11) and the built-in entertainment menu. Not only could I play Flash multimedia (YouTube and CNN just to name two) but I was able to go to the Apple trailer site and play back QuickTime in normal resolution and at least two 'sizes' of high def: 480p and 720p. Playing back 1080p would have been pointless.

The new Star Trek trailer plays as standard QuickTime just fine. It's going to be an interesting movie...

The Hell Boy trailer, playing at 480p, was in a separate window from the browser. Not all the high-def trailers split out from the browser; for example the Star Trek high-def trailer played within the browser page.

And finally an example of a 720p high-def trailer, spilling off the edges of the desktop. In both cases the trailers played without any dropouts, stutters or slowdowns. Playback was smooth and clear.

I tried out the DVD test and the test failed. I have no idea what it would take to get Mepis to play back DVDs, but it can't be any more difficult than Ubuntu (which can get quite cranky). It's a shame that Simply Mepis 7 doesn't have DVD playback all ready to work.

Again, this is certainly no exhaustive test. But as a simple kick-the-tires type of test it shows the Simply Mepis 7 has great promise and looks to be an excellent distribution. The support of web-delivered multimedia is as good if not better than Mint. I did not try high-def playback on Mint because of my problems playing back high-def on older releases of openSUSE and Ubuntu (including 7.10). Now that I've seen it work out-of-the-box I expect to see it continue to work on Mepis, and I'll start checking for it on other distributions in the future.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Nokia to buy out Trolltech

I'm a commercial user of Trolltech's Qt on Windows. I got this in the inbox today:
28 January 2008

Dear Customer,

Today, Nokia has made a public tender offer for all the shares in Trolltech.
We think this is great news for both you and us.

In Trolltech, we have for a long time had a vision of “Qt Everywhere”. Being acquired* by Nokia, we will continue to provide you with the most advanced cross-platform software framework for desktop and devices in the market. There will be further investments in Qt and Qtopia and an even better long-term security in your decision to choose Trolltech for your business.

We are confident that with Nokia we can accelerate our cross-platform software capabilities and grow Qt and Qtopia significantly in desktop and mass-volume device markets. The plan is that we will continue our current organizational setup, operating inside Nokia as a distinct unit.

Nokia is already using Qt for its PC Suite, and they aim to significantly expand the use of these technologies moving forward. In addition to pursuing new opportunities related to Nokia’s business focus, we will invest to continuously deliver world leading software in accordance to your needs.

In order to further stimulate industry innovation, Nokia will, as Trolltech has done throughout the history, continue to drive the licensing of Trolltech technology under both commercial and open source licenses.

If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at sales@trolltech.com.

Best regards,

Trolltech ASA
I believe the purchase of Trolltech by Nokia is the best thing that could happen to both. In particular I sincerely hope that Nokia replaces their GTK-based UI on their 770/800/810 web tablets with Qtopia. I have always felt that Qtopia is very superior to Hildon, in much the same way I've felt KDE was very superior to Gnome.

Here's to great(er) things from the combined forces of Nokia and Trolltech.

Update

Well I got my answer to what Nokia will do with the N810. According to an article on ZDNet.co.uk:
Nokia's intention is to use Trolltech's technology to develop its next generation of software horizontally across "all the major software platforms in the world", said Öistämö, who specified Series 60, Series 40, Windows Mobile, Apple OS X and Linux. However, he stressed that Nokia's existing Linux-based devices, such as the N810 tablet, would continue to use the Gnome environment rather than KDE.
I guess that still means no N810 for me. Pity.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

A quick look at some current distribution releases

It's mid-winter and the start of a new year. While the weather is mild here in central Florida it's still been cloudy and rainy, so I've spent a some time downloading ISOs and booting them just to see what's available.

Mint 4 KDE

I've always been impressed by the quality of Mint, even if I've not used it. After reading of the announcement on Distrowatch I downloaded the current KDE beta and booted it on europa. It came up in 1920 by 1440 resolution. It's currently using KDE version 3.5, which is just fine given the overall polish that Mint KDE has applied to the KDE desktop environment. It's probably the best default look-and-feel I've ever seen delivered with any version of KDE on any distribution.


What's nice about Mint 4 KDE is that everything, as usual, just works. As you can see in the screen shot above I was able to view Flash-based audio/video from CNN as well as play a DVD in the second DVD player on europa via Kaffeine. I know I've written well of Mint in the past; it is good to see that it continues its excellent ways.

Mandriva 2008.1

So far I've downloaded and attempted to boot alpha 1, alpha 2, and beta 1. Alpha 1 was able to fully boot on europa, but both alpha 2 and beta 1 failed to open the graphical desktop. I have never had consistent success with Mandriva. This is the last I'll ever bother with it.

The Future

I am very intrigued with the release of KDE 4. I look forward to Open Suse 11 and its incorporation of KDE 4. I have been using Ubuntu 7.10 of late, not out of any strong love for the distribution, but because Open Suse 10.3 was of such poor quality in relation to 10.2 and Ubuntu 7.10. In other words I chose Ubuntu 7.10 because it was, at the time, the lesser of two evils. It won't take much for me to switch back to Open Suse 11.