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Showing posts from May, 2008

Mandriva 2008.1 KDE hits a sweet spot

I've been installing some of the latest Linux releases for the past week to better understand what's available. I've taken the time to scrub the install system's (rhea) primary drive so that there's nothing on it any more except Linux. And I've tried to spend some time after the initial installation running some builds and installing other applications such as the latest Java and Netbeans, then running additional tests and comparing the results with past experiences. And the surprise, for me at least, is that the best distribution for me in this latest round isn't my old favorites openSUSE or Ubuntu, but Mandriva 2008.1 KDE. And for the record, I installed and tried to work with Fedora 9, and found that that particular dog just don't hunt.

Working with Mandriva 2008.1 KDE reminds me of the past working with SuSE Pro and early versions of openSUSE, especially version 10.2. I have come to respect and even like Gnome, but KDE is my preferred desktop environ…

This just in...

Two guys I know, and one I used to work with on OneTESS (Kurt Hamby) have ridden from Florida to Alaska on Triumph Tiger motorcycles. Which is a hoot with Kurt; you'll either see his blue Triumph in the parking lot or his monster diesel F350 (the one he uses to tow his horses).

I just got off the (cell) phone with Kurt:
Me: "Hey Kurt!"
Kurt: "Hey Bill!"
Me: "Where are you?"
Kurt: "Alaska. Why?"And so it went for another minute before the link got dropped somewhere between here and Alaska. I couldn't quite make out where he said he was, but I think he said Fairbanks. GPS shows them in Fairbanks and the blog they've been keeping notes they stopped in Fairbanks and are headed back south. Kurt said it would take another 10 days to get back to Florida. When he gets back I'm sure there'll be plenty of stories to regale us at many a Tijuana Flats lunch.

Ride safe guys.

Is Boycott Novell just a wee bit biased?

That's like asking is the Pope Catholic. I find it amusing that my posts are linked to rather quickly when they bring good news, while any criticisms of F/OSS, such as my recent less-than-satisfied experience with Fedora 9 are selectively ignored. Well, with the notable exception of my dissatisfaction with openSUSE. Then they're all over that like ugly on an ape.

What's wrong, guys? Do you think I'm some sort of deep Redmond mole, cloaking myself in the flag of F/OSS while behind the scenes I act my part as the paided [sic] Microsoft shill? In a way I wish that were true, because there are times I could certainly use the money. But I also realize I need to be careful just where I make my living, because in the end I have to live with myself and the consequences (both intended and unintended) of my actions. I learned that bitter lesson all too well in the 1980s, in part by supporting and evangelising early Microsoft.

If you guys pursued overall F/OSS quality with the same…

Brighthouse Networks passes BitTorrent testing

The news has been out quite a bit about how Comcast and Cox, especially Comcast, interferes with the operation of BitTorrent clients. Here's a list of ISPs worldwide that interfere with BitTorrent clients. My ISP, Brighthouse Networks (formerly Time Warner Cable of Central Florida) was not on the list. Being as paranoid as I am I decided to test my link anyway using Max Planck's Glasnost testing service.

Glasnost is open source, and consists of a Java applet running on a server page communicating with a remote server. The combined setup emulates a BitTorrent client and reports its results. I'm happy to report that Brighthouse currently does not interfere with BitTorrent traffic. Here's Glasnost's report.

Results for your host ( - BitTorrent traffic on a well-known BitTorrent port (6881) throttled?The BitTorrent upload (seeding) worked. Our tool was successful in uploading data using the BitTorrent protocol.…

Fedora 9: I'm not impressed

Fedora 9 was released earlier this week to great fanfare. There were the usual spate of 'ain't-it-wonderful' articles, extolling the virtues of this latest release (you know, the kind of pap I used to write about openSUSE and Ubuntu). So I said to myself said I, "I'll just download the Fedora 9 Gnome and KDE live CDs and see how they install." And so, I did.


The target installation system was rhea. Rhea was currently running Mandriva 2008.1. Rhea has been a mess for some time. It has two old drives in it (27 Gig and 40Gig), and originally came with Microsoft Windows ME installed. Over time that first drive was chopped up into five partitions; two FAT32, two ext3, and swap. So this time I decided to remove everything and consolidate the space into a root partition (/), home (/home), and swap. Worked out pretty well in the past on my other system, europa, so I had no reason to suspect it wouldn't work here. And it has worked out pretty well, at le…

OpenSolaris is here to stay

I've never gotten angrier after reading a blog post like I did after read Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols' post "OpenSolaris Arrives just to Die". The crux of sjvn's argument is:
Still, all that said, I think OpenSolaris could survive, and possibly even thrive, if it wasn’t for one sad, simple fact. Sun may not have the IP (intellectual property) rights to open-source Solaris in the first place....

In the recently concluded Novell/SCO trail, however, Novell’s attorney’s focused a great deal on the Sun’s deal with SCO. You don’t need to read between the lines to see that Novell may be having second-thoughts about letting Sun’s assertion that it had the rights to open-source Novell’s Unix code in OpenSolaris....There's further 'facts' sjvn pulls out to back up his argument that Sun is in serious trouble because it really didn't have the right to open source its version of Unix in OpenSolaris. And that Sun it going to be beholden to Novell, and that Novell m…

OpenSolaris 2008.05: Notes from the field

I'm subscribed to This came across the wires earlier this morning. It's a report about an installfest that was conducted in Bejing on Tuesday, May 6th.
subject: [indiana-discuss] Some Thoughts After An Installfest Event

Today in Beijing we organized an installfest event with OpenSolaris 2008.05. The machines we used are Lenovo E680A, which has an intel core-duo 1.73 GHz CPU with 1 GB memory. This was a full-day event -- we provided 45 laptops, which attracted more than 100 people during the whole event. They were instructed to install OpenSolaris 2008.05 from CD, and install some packages via IPS and traditional method. Some engineers and interns from Sun were there to provide onsite. Most of the attendees had but very little experience with Solaris previously, some of them used Linux for various periods before.

Some feedbacks:
Installation was very slow. We used to install SXDE onto the same machine before, which took us less than 45 minutes to fi…

OpenSolaris 2008.5

OpenSolaris 2008.5 is available as an ISO download (and here as a torrent). It's shipping with the Gnome 2.20.2 desktop, so it will behave quite comfortably for those who are familiar with Ubuntu 7.10, openSUSE 10.3, and other recent distributions from the last six months. I've booted the live CD on europa, and so far everything Just Works.

When OpenSolaris first starts to boot you're presented with a nice Grub screen with three selections; select OpenSolaris (the default), memtest, and boot from the local hard drive. After selecting or waiting for the timeout for OpenSolaris, the next screen is a crude text-based menu to select your keyboard and language. And when I say crude I mean crude. It's defaulted to select English for the keyboard and the language, so a couple of returns (for me) and you're booting into Solaris proper. After the keyboard/language selection it takes a good 30 seconds on europa before the desktop finally appears.

When it finally shows up, the …

openSUSE 11 beta 2

I'm posting this from my Gateway M685 running the openSUSE 11 beta 2 Live CD and Firefox 3 beta 5. It is, simply put, very good. The version I booted and tested was the KDE 4 desktop (KDE 4.0.3 release 17). I can't do much more than a cursory report as I did not install it. I'll touch on what caught my eye.

The live CD booted into the graphic desktop without any problems whatsoever, and into the notebooks full 1680 x 1050 resolution. It did not have any drivers to take advantage of 3D acceleration, but the driver that was used provided more than adequate 2D performance for the desktop.

One small but very important application I've come to appreciate is Dolphin, the 'replacement' for Konqueror's file capabilities. Konqueror still has those features, but Dolphin is supposed to be the lighter-weight alternative. I'm sure it's meant to compete with Gnome's Nautilus. One feature in Dolphin (and Nautilus) is the columns view.

Not to put to fine a point o…