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Showing posts from August, 2008

What a nuisance

If there's one thing the Free (as in speech) Software crowd can't do, it's create a good marketable name for an application or Linux distribution. The classic example of the former is the Gnu Image Manipulation Program, or Gimp. The best and latest example of the latter appears to be gNewSense (or nuisance).

The latest release, 2.1, was just announced on Distrowatch. Based on Ubuntu, it strips out all the proprietary bits, including codecs and drivers, and forces the end user to initially use the open and free equivalents if they exist. If they don't then you're stuck without features such as 3D acceleration, DVD playback, QuickTime movies, etc.


Rather than reflexively kick gNewSense to the curb, I downloaded the live ISO and booted it on europa to see what did and didn't work. What follows are some very brief notes.
Booting - gNewSense has one of the simplest, if not the lamest, boot prompts I've run across in a long time. The initial splash artwork is the …

Who's your buddy, who's your friend?

Long ago, in the halcyon days of 2006 while I was basking in the goodness of Suse 10.2, I happened to come across Bug Buddy. I'll let you read the details, but the real story is what happened next. Bug Buddy sent off a crash report where a kindly developer then asked if I could provide even more detailed information, specifically a stack trace with debugging symbols. That's right, I needed to install alternative packages with debugging symbols and attempt to repeat the crash. Fortunately for me I never saw that crash again, and Suse 10.2 went on to be the best Suse (and Linux) experience I ever had on europa before Mandriva. Unfortunately for the bug report I was never notified of the additional need, and it quickly expired.

In any even Bug Buddy seemed to fade into the background until this evening when I went checking up on OpenOffice Ninja. And right there, at the top of the list, was the provocative article "The irony of bug-buddy." Seems that OpenOffice 2.4.1 van…

Don't it make your brown eyes Zune

Everybody's been so busy savaging Vista that it's taken all attention away from another Microsoft problem child, the Zune. Not to worry. There's still plenty of sharp commentary around the net from all quarters about Yet Another Microsoft Flop (YAMP). Leading off the comments is this one from Motely Fool (Leaving So Zune?):The Zune will never be an iPod killer. Truth be told, it will never even get close enough to be an iPod tickler.Then there's this snarky article from Digital Daily about how the Zune Team is trying to gather more content for the Zune (Zune Ready for Closeup; Zune Market Share-Not So Much):Well, it’s also the team that does the impossible–defying all rumors of extinction and plugging away on a platform no one uses. Maybe while the Zune team is making the rounds, they’ll find out who represents U2.Which leads us to the important question of marketshare. Somereport it at about 4% worldwide (3.8%). Microsoft got there by supposedly stealing market share …

Boycott Boycott Novell

WWJD (What Would Jamie Do)?

Everybody knows (or should) who Jamie Zawinski is. He's the cool dude (or should I spell it 'dood', or is that now obsolete too) who supplied significant portions of Mozilla and XEmacs and Netscape Navigator 1.0, and who then wound up with millions from Netscape, some of which he plowed into the DNA Lounge. Not bad.

Jamie's one of those original 'free software' pioneers who's both talked the talk and walked the walk, and managed to do so clearly and lucidly (far, far better than me at least). One feature Jamie added to DNA were kiosks and other computing resources running Red Hat and Fedora Core. Jamie's one of those guys who, according to Jeff Atwood, "lives and breathes Linux." According to Jeff, Jamie's had not one but two serious run-ins with Linux and failures to work consistently (i.e. from release to release) with a given hardware platform and its sound card(s). And Jame Is Not Happy.

The first time Jamie had a problem was in 2006 wit…

Notes from the Field: Installing Fedora 9 on a Dell Latitude D630

My employer has given me a Dell Latitude D630 notebook. It comes with a 2.4GHz T7700 processor, 2GB memory, wireless, and an nVidia Quadro NVS 135M video card. The system initially came with Windows XP SP2 installed (since upgraded to SP3). As delivered and configured it worked like a charm.

Part of my job is developing and supporting applications running on RHEL 4. I decided to install Fedora 9 on this machine, and here are some of the reasons:
Support out-of-the-box for whole-drive encryption (remember this is a laptop)VPN support out-of-the-boxContemporary UI (Gnome 2.22) compared to that found on RHEL 4It's the only Linux distribution outside of RHEL that is officially sanctioned by my employer
Rather than monkeying with the initial XP install, I ordered a blank drive for the Dell and swapped it in for the XP drive. That gave me a clean system with which to install Fedora 9 on and a fallback to get back to work. Here's what worked immediately after the Fedora 9 installation o…

Boycott Novell: Defenders of Freedom, or Offenders of Freedom?

The following large quote comes from an even larger rant about Boycott Novell (google for it, I refuse to link it it). I even use the original article's title as my on. How's that for re-use? But I digress. Let me introduce Fucker T. Washington...
Ladies and gentlemen, sit down. You have all been taken advantage of in the worst manipulative mental carnival imagineable.

FUD. We all know the term. Wikipedia states it as: "Fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) is a tactic of rhetoric used in sales, marketing, public relations, and illiberal democracies. FUD is generally a strategic attempt to influence public perception by disseminating negative (and vague) information."

For the longest time, this tactic has been largely connected with Microsoft. Free Software advocates have lashed out against these unfair statements, in an attempt to maintain a fair playing field.
There is one site, however, that tries to "play dirty" with Microsoft, and Novell. Enter the era of doub…