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Monday, 23 November 2009

New Convert

I was down in Dundee at the weekend visiting a friend and knowing my interest in Linux she asked me about it, her first question being "How much does it cost". When I told her it was free she was very impressed and asked if I could install it on her computer. She had a very dated looking Windows XP set-up (I'm not sure it even had SP2 installed) and her major gripe was the fact that she couldn't install the new live messenger and being stuck with an old MSN Messenger app.

Ever keen to get new people to try Linux I asked her if she was ok with me installing an OS and completely getting rid of windows. She never really plays games with it other than solitaire and mainly just uses it for the Internet "The perfect candidate for Linux" I thought to myself. With complete trust in me she agreed and when I asked if she was sure at getting rid of windows before I hit the return key she said "yep Kill it!" and with that the hard drive was formatted to ext4 and XP annihilated.

I had a bit of trouble at first as I didn't have an Ubuntu install disk on me (I chose Ubuntu over any other distro as I figured it'd be best for a new convert). So I used her Windows to download the ISO only to find out that I couldn't get any app in the OS to burn the image to disk. I managed to overcome this, luckily I had a copy of pupy 4.0 live cd. There was only one optical drive so I had to run puppy from ram, once booted I mounted the windows Drive and was able to burn the Ubuntu image to CD.

Once it was all installed and I set it up for her (installed restricted extras, libdvdcss, aMSN, compiz, VLC etc.) I showed her a few things to get going and let her play about with it. The overall result was good, She was impressed with it saying "It's like I've got a new computer". The one thing she spent the most time on was aMSN (I told her about empathy but didn't seem interested) I noticed in one of her IM's her saying "I've got the new MSN messenger now". I didn't bother trying to explain the difference but it goes to show that from an end user's point of view Windows / Apple / Linux / BSD it's all the same and the underlying technology doesn't matter as long as it does what they expect it to do.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Nothing Karmic about it.

I've had Ubuntu Karmic installed in both my Desktop and EEEPC since just after the release day, once installed I was quite impressed. Everything worked well, I was in awe over the X-splash effect and the cinematic shut down plus the improvement in boot up and shut down speed. I even like the extras such as Empathy, Evolution and the new Software Centre. A few weeks in though and some updates later every thing's going tits up. My FaceBook plugin for Empathy gave in the ghost, Gwibber has been very twitchy and Kaffeine pre 1.0 is pants.

I may look into trying to fix these annoyances or maybe stick it out in hope an update will fix them for me, I don't know if I want to spend my time tweeking till it works. A part of me wishes that I'd stayed with Jaunty but hope Karmic will improve seeing as we're heading into an LTS edition in April. Small annoyances they may-be but if they don't get fixed it'll just bug the hell out of me and I may make the switch to another Distro like Mint or something, Hell I might even give Slackware a go!

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

OS Success

Great news I finally got Linux to work on the PC. Ok it's not the Ubuntu distro that I tried in vein to install but it's a Linux OS none the less. PCLinuxOS or PCLOS for short is the distro I successfully installed. This distro seems very user friendly and was easy to install. When booting from the CD the software basically does a check on your system then gives you the best options to install (the whole process is done for you) no messing about. The OS looks very cool and comes in lightning blue rather than Ubuntu classic brown. I'm probably going to spend hours on the computer now playing about with it and getting used to the environment (I'm very excited!!!).

So FINALLY I can start to enjoy the world of Linux properly and get more involved.

Fun in Linux Land

After using PCLinuxOS for some time I grew a bit bored with it, I wanted to try something else. I pulled out my CD case full of various Linux Distros and started trying them to see if I could get something else installed. After much disc swapping and Internet searching I finally managed to get Mandriva 2008 one working (with Compiz effects in all). They way I managed to get it going after my first failed attempts was by typing the command "acpi=off" in the boot option. As far as I'm aware the acpi has something to do with power management but by turning it off the installation went flawlessly on my system. I've been playing around with it now for awhile and haven't gotten bored with it yet, I love the 3D desktop, wobbly windows and all the little animations that go with it.

Despite being chuffed with myself that I got a new OS running and having fun with all the bells and whistles I still wanted to get Ubuntu installed as it was my first choice and seems to be a very popular Distro within the Linux community. Aaron ordered some free discs from the Ubuntu website for the latest release 8.04 Hardy Heron. So I decided to try agian to get it installed and again the live CD wouldn't work and nothing was happening till I changed the boot option again this time adding the commands "acpi=off", "noapic" and "nolapic". After typing in these commands I finnaly managed to get it installed but it wasn't flawless. I had problems with the screen resolution I couldn't read anything being displayed. I managed to find some help online with the Ubuntu forums and typed a bit of extra code into the "/etc/X11/xorg.conf" file and this solved the problem.

When I say it solved the problem it did to an extent as I could now read what was on screen and the display was much better but now I'm stuck with a 800x600 resolution on a 1028x1024 monitor. I don't mind the low res though it means everything is allot bigger and easier to see (and it's not like I'm playing World of Warcraft or Medal of Honor on it or anything). Also I still can't get the Compiz to work through Ubuntu like on Mandriva but I'm still happy with it.

So now I have a system that dual boots Mandriva and Ubuntu (I'm WELL impressed). Now I'm going to reattach the hard drive containing Windows XP (not that I've used it since last year) and I'll have a Triple booting PC! ACE!!!

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Open Source on Windows

As I can't have a fully functional system with Linux at the moment (till I convince my partner to allow a second tower in the house or I get around to buying an EeePC) I've had to settle with a few Open Source apps that I can run on Windows. I've downloaded a couple so far these are Open Office (OOo as it's referred to) and Pidgin. Of course there are many more Open Source apps out there but I've only gotten around to these two so far.

Open Office is similar to Microsoft Office, it has all the usual apps such as word processing, Spreadsheets, Database, PowerPoint and Drawing. The great thing about OOo is it works in the same way as the Microsoft version so it's simple to use you don't have to relearn everything, also you can open Microsoft documents with it and vice versa, it's compatible with most systems so you don't have to worry about converting files if you use OOo at home and Microsoft at work. The best thing about OOo compared to Microsoft is that it's FREE!!

Pidgin is a chat client that allows you to send instant messages using many existing clients so if you have more than one account you can bring them altogether using this one app. Pidgin works with these IM clients..........

Google Talk

Both Open Office and Pidgin come already preinstalled with Linux OS so although I can't have the full version at the moment at least I can still have a taste of Open Source on Windows.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Ubuntu Features

As I said before I have managed to have a go with Ubuntu on an older system and I'm very impressed. The amount of features available from the offset is a lot more than what you get with a cheap Windows OS. Some Apps include open office, Pigeon, FireFox virtually any open source application available and the list of games are also impressive even with a more expensive version of Windows I haven't seen as many games in one menu.

I had a go Playing Chess and the "GNU" (as it's referred to in Linux) keeps beating me, any time I play against the Windows "CPU" I always win. This just shows you how much more care has gone into developing even the smallest feature available in the Linux OS. Another thing I quite like, is when you click the shutdown option. In Linux once you've clicked on shutdown the computer just turns off in an instant, whereas in Windows once you've clicked shutdown it comes up with messages "application still running do you want to close", then it says "Logging Off" followed by "Windows is shutting down". Basically twenty minutes later and finally the computer turns off.

I've barely scratched the surface with what this OS can do but so far it has me hooked. Not much more has to be done now to convert me from an everyday Windows user to a dedicated Linux die hard.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

VM WHERE????????????????

I've had to install Ubuntu onto an older system. I'm a bit disappointed in this as all my files etc are on the new system and my partner won't allow me to....

A. have both systems in the house and

B. completely get rid of Windows on the newer system.

I tried a different route. I found out that you can download a free bit of software from VMware called VM Player. This allows you to create a virtual machine on your computer and allows you to run a different OS within your current system. So I thought cool! I logged onto the site and downloaded the software, once I had installed it everything seemed to be going fine but then the computer crashed (a Windows fault not Linux). I tried using it afterwards but it wouldn't work so I thought I'd uninstall and reinstall it.

After uninstalling VM Player I click on the program to reinstall and guess what happened. NOTHING that's what happened NOTHING HAPPENED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm still determined to use Linux, after playing with it on my older system I'm very impressed with it. What I'd like to do now is either get a cheap second hand Laptop with no OS installed or even with no HDD. Or there is the option of buying the new eeePC.