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Showing posts from February, 2008

Wait just a minute

In perusing Technorati today I came across a link to one of my posts on Boycott Novell (BN). Normally I tend to ignore such linking since you can be praised as well as flamed, and I have both a sensitive ego and remarkably thin skin. But I read the BN post anyway. Both the tone of the post and the content rubbed me the wrong way. Let me quote the (small) relevant part of the BN post:Bill Beebe has been a SUSE user and blogger for years. He explores other territories too and he is not happy about the Microsoft/Novell deal, assuming the fact that he once added BoycottNovell to his blogroll means anything.Let's start with the tail-end of that comment. Yes, I did have a link to Boycott Novell. It stayed up for a number of months, and then earlier in February I removed it. I've been an occasional reader of BN since its creation, and from the beginning I've felt it to be on the fringe with regards to a number of its conclusions. It's the fringe aspects of its interpretation …

It figures

In an earlier post I documented my experiences upgrading to the latest ATI/AMD drivers on my Ubuntu 7.10 installation. I noted that AIGLX was not working. Now I think I know why.

I check up on the Unofficial ATI Linux Driver Wiki about once per week, in particular the section that has to do with installing the video drivers on Ubuntu, in the forlorn hope that some new information will be added that helps me use the full capabilities of the X1950 Pro card on this system. This morning I found this new little gem of a note under Method 2, right beneath the section title:Note: The newest 8.455.2 does not enable DRI using gutsy. It needs a more recent for this, but 2D does work. "(II) fglrx(0): driver needs 7.1.x.y with x.y >= 0.0"
DRI is needed for AIGLX, which is needed for Compiz without XGL. And right now I don't have Compiz. Lovely. I guess I must have missed that note earlier. It's probably been there all along.

I'm sure this problem has been going i…

Alpha spotting: Ubuntu 8.04 Alpha 5

Ubuntu 8.04, a.k.a. Hardy Heron, Alpha 5 hit the wires late Friday evening. I downloaded my copy around 8pm Orlando local time (EST). After super and kitchen duty I sat down and ran the release around the four systems I have at home to see how it worked.

It's definitely an alpha, and a very raw alpha. Unlike my experiences with 7.04 and 7.10, the testing of the 8.04 alphas has been much rougher, so rough in fact that I probably won't upgrade to 8.04 until the final release. And that's assuming that openSUSE 11 is another disaster like 10.3 was.

The four test computers consist of two desktops and two notebooks. All the computers are 32-bit, and only one, the M685 Gateway, is a dual core (Intel Core Duo). All the computers run Linux, and three of the four dual-boot between Windows XP SP2 and Linux. The notebooks dual boot between WinXP and openSUSE 10.2, and the desktops run Ubuntu 7.10. All operating systems are running with the latest patches from their respective suppliers.

Wikileaks -

Nothing to really report here, except in support of free speech I'm posting the IP address and an easy link to Wikileaks: It's a shame that a corrupt bank in the Cayman Islands (Julius Baer Bank and Trust) found a stupid judge in California (US District Judge Jeffrey White) to try and block access by getting Wikileaks domain registrar (Dynadot) to remove the account from its server and to prevent it from being transfered to another registrar.

Hell, before this broke out I didn't even know who or what Wikileaks was. Now I've got another spot on the web to go and browse. And what a collection! Good bit of work there guys! If you thought to stop Wikileaks and to hide that incriminating information with this tact then you were sadly mistaken.

Linux on a stick part 3: Ubuntu 7.10 'simplified'

Silly me. After reading about syslinux it suddenly dawned on me I was still making it too hard to transfer Ubuntu 7.10 LiveCD from CD to thumb drive. The key difference is copying all the files in the isolinux directory on the Ubuntu LiveCD to the root of the thumb drive, and renaming isolinux.cfg to syslinux.cfg. So here are simpler instructions for creating a bootable Ubuntu Live Thumb Drive under Linux.
If you don't have an Ubuntu 7.10 Desktop LiveCD handy then download the ISO. If you do have it handy (you installed from the CD-ROM) then just drop it in the CD/DVD drive on your computer. If you've downloaded the ISO then open a terminal window and mount the ISO:

sudo mount -t iso9660 -o loop /[location-of-iso]/ubuntu-7.10-desktop-i386.iso /mnt

Insert a USB thumb drive into a conveniently empty USB port on your Linux computer. It should automatically mount. I'm going to use the same Cruzer Micro I used for Linux Mint 4. For this experiment I removed Linux Mint. USB drives …

Linux on a stick part 2: Ubuntu 7.10

After some thinking and further reading on the net, I finally figured out a fairly simple way create a bootable Ubuntu 7.10 LiveUSB stick. And all under Linux. Here are the simple details I came up with to set up and configure a very minimal Ubuntu 7.10 Live USB thumb drive.
If you don't have an Ubuntu 7.10 Desktop LiveCD handy then download the ISO. If you do have it handy (you installed from the CD-ROM) then just drop it in the CD/DVD drive on your computer. If you're using the downloaded ISO, open a terminal window and mount the ISO:
sudo mount -t iso9660 -o loop /[location-of-iso]/ubuntu-7.10-desktop-i386.iso /mnt/iso
Insert a USB thumb drive into a conveniently empty USB port on your computer running Linux. It should automatically mount. I'm going to use the same Cruzer Micro I used for Linux Mint 4. It really doesn't matter if it's clean or not, but for this experiment I did remove Linux Mint. You just need about 800MB of free space. USB drives are mounted under…

Linux on a stick


WARNING: Long-winded post ahead.

Florida's weather during the winter is ideal; moderate temperatures, low humidity, light breezes, and plenty of sun. This past weekend was no exception. It was, in point of fact, glorious. Most normal human beings are drawn to the outside like moths to a flame when it gets as good as this, and will find any reason to spend as much time outside as possible.

I, however, being the ancient geek that I am didn't spend all my time outside. Oh, I washed cars and raked up leaves and mowed (yes, my green growing yard in February) and walked Max I don't know how many times. But I also ran errands, worked some inside chores, and wrote some code for a project between chores. When I got tired of all that I, for shear entertainment, installed Mint 4 Linux on a Sandisk 4GB Cruzer Micro.


The capacity of USB thumb drives are rising dramatically while their price has been dropping just as dramatically. I purchased, for no more good reason than …

Linux Notes: Latest ATI graphics drivers installed

I'm now running with the latest ATI/AMD Linux drivers, 8.02. You can go to the Ubuntu Gutsy Installation Guide and use Method 2 to install them. I've been installing pretty much every release that's come out, especially all of this year's (2008).

First, the 'bad' news. Starting with 8.01, released in January, AIGLX support is broken. AIGLX experimental support was introduced in 8.42.3 back in November. I installed it then and had issues with that driver and my video card, an ATI X1950 Pro. There were conflicts between OpenGL applications and the Compiz desktop. As a consequence I never bothered to run the fancy desktop. But every time I updated the drivers I tried to enable the visual effects (Compiz) to check if the situation would get any better. In never did. Now, starting with 8.01, any attempts to enable visual effects fails.

Which, frankly, is fine by me. Everything else works flawlessly with the latest drivers, including OpenGL and movie playback. In fact,…

Alpha spotting: Ubuntu 8.04, Fedora 9, openSUSE 11

A trio of alpha releases have hit the virtual streets; Ubuntu 8.04 Alpha 4 February 2nd, Fedora 9 Alpha 1 the 5th, and openSUSE 11 Alpha 2 the 8th. And, yes, they are indeed alphas.

Ubuntu 8.04 Alpha 4, Hardy Heron

The most mature of the early releases. I've burned and booted both Ubuntu since it's been my experience that the KDE version of Ubuntu (Kubuntu) is the weakest KDE distribution I've ever experienced.

Ubuntu booted on every machine I could throw it at. To me this underscores a high overall level of professionalism with regards to its development as well as a good level of maturity at this point in time with the distribution. It is my belief that, even if the release is an alpha, that it should at least successfully boot into the graphical desktop on every machine that the current production release works on unless explicitly stated otherwise. Ubuntu has successfully booted on all my hardware since Alpha 1, and it has exhibited this capability since Ubuntu 7.04.

My on…