I just purchased the book, Linux Cookbook from O’Reilly written by Carla Schroder. So far this has been an excellent book, and I would really recommend it to anyone looking for more information about Linux. For the newbie this books makes an excellent reference on just about anything you want to do in Linux. For the more advanced user it covers a lot of simple commands that, if not used often, could be easily forgotten. Some of the more useful information covered includes: printing, setting up a mail server, booting and multibooting, installing and uninstalling software, back up and recovery, and of course how to customize and patch your kernel. That of course is not all that’s covered but is some of the more entertaining chapters. A lot of the sections mentioned are also 90% of the questions asked on Linuxquestions.org, which by the way is an excellent site to go to for help with Linux related problems. I know from personal experience if I had this book when I first started Linux about 6 months ago I could of saved myself countless hours, many sleep deprived, trying to figure out my system. If your migrating from Windows, Linux can be quite confusing. The filesystem is setup totally different not to mention the ability to configure your whole system is quite a daunting task to most people. This book proves that its not as bad as it sounds, and once you make it through the setup process, it really is worth it in the end. This book also does not include a lot of material that is date specific. Many of the commands and such will not be changing in Linux in the for seeable future, making a worthy investment for several years, unlike many books which concentrate on dated software. In my humble opinion this is an excellent book for anyone looking for a good resource on how to do the basics of Linux. Enjoy this book, but above all, Enjoy the Penguins!
After publishing my last post I went hunting for alternatives to gDesklets. I should of known that of course they exist, but I had never heard of them before. I have not really had the chance to review either one, but I felt I should at least bring them up so that people can see and hear about them as an alternative to gDesklets, or even just as the first one they try. The first one is, SuperKarama. Its basically just gDesklets for KDE. Nothing special other than that. I’m sure you could make it work with gnome but that would just be a hassle really. The other, which I actually downloaded and tried is aDesklets. This desklets program is still in its beta stages really. Yes, it does have functional desklets and its even included in the Apt-get repositories, but there is still a lot it doesn’t have compared gDesklets. But it appeared more stable to me right off the bat than gDesklets did, so I’m going to try it again later after its had more time mature.
Back to gDesklets I was told that maybe some of the issues stemming from the instability of gDesklets is that I installed the Ubuntu version as opposed to installing it from source myself. This is something that I had considered but then decided it wouldn’t make a difference. After this person suggested it though I thought about it again and decided it may be worth a shot. As you may know the Ubuntu version of Firefox is terribly slow compared it to its “installed from source” brother. So with this in mind, maybe gDesklets will be the same way. I’ll install them by source sometime today and see if they turn out any better.
Enjoy the Penguins!
I’m sure anyone who uses Gnome has either heard of or seen gDesklets by now. I don’t know, but I’m pretty sure at this moment there is no KDE or Fluxbox equivalent, but if anyone knows better please correct me. For anyone who is not familiar, gDesklets is a little program that displays little bits of eye candy all of your screen with “vital” information on them. Such as, CPU usage and temp, HDD usage, space, and temp, the weather, current and forecasted, new e-mails, and an assortment of other pretty much worthless information that looks pretty damn good on your desktop.
I just starting using these things yesterday and I already hate them. They are full of buggy coding and memory leaks, which are caused by buggy coding. If anyone out there uses these things without all of these problems, please leave a comment (anyone can) and tell me, I’d like to know how you get away with it. These are a perfect example of the why the open source community is “open source.” So anyone can come in and correct all the buggy coding found in these little applets. Don’t get me wrong now. I love the idea of eye candy on my brand new powerful PC, but not when it doesn’t work properly. Having the weather is also a very handy piece of information, unlike my HDD usage, which I’m constantly aware of anyway.
That concludes this review of a new little piece of open source software. As gDesklets continues to expand and upgrade I will with them in hopes they will improve what could be an excellent applet. Until then my desktop will be eye-candy free. Enjoy the Penguins!
Not Linux related? Wrong! This is very Linux related actually. OSI is, as they call it, a *nix operating system. Meaning that it is based off the original Unix source code. Well if your wondering how this relates back to Linux, the name Linux is combination of two names. The first is Linus Torvalds, he is the founding father of the Linux kernel. He did after all write a massive majority of the original Linux kernel, not to mention he’s still the official maintainer of all new releases. The other half the name comes from, you guessed it, Unix. Linus + Unix = Linux.
The relevance to Linux here then proves that no operating system is immune. For years! Apple has flaunted their immunity to viruses and worms. Now, as you can see, no one is immune. Even the OSes based off of the Unix architecture. Many say Linux IS immune and many have excellent points as to why it is. On the other hand though, playing it safe is never bad. Here are some reasons I’ve heard as to why Linux is immune to viruses.
1.) Unlike the current version of Windows, XP, Linux has a sophisticated multi-user system that only allow users a very limited amount of rights to the whole system. Well as you may know XP actually has a similar system, but up to 90% of Windows users don’t use it, including myself, because the XP method is, frankly speaking, a pain in the butt. Something Microsoft plans on fixing with Vista.
2.) Linux separates all of the important information on to separate partitions. So if a virus does some how infect the user, the “brain” of the PC is still ok because the virus couldn’t get onto that partitions. Well this is great, but it only works if use your computer right. If a virus some how obtains “root” access, this whole scheme goes out the window.
3.) Don’t ask me how, but supposedly the Unix architecture is more secure in itself. Well, as you can now see, its not perfect either.
4.) I’ve also heard that somehow the Linux kernel keeps viruses out. How? I don’t know, and I don’t really put much credit in that. All the people I’ve met that claim this can’t explain how… hence I have very little faith in it.
There are more reasons as to why Linux is immune, some I can’t remember and some I don’t know. Either way my point is that Linux may be safer, but I would be scared to say its immune. I then beg the question, if man isn’t perfect how can his software be? So no, people may be right. There are currently no Linux viruses floating on the internet. Does that mean they don’t exist? No. Linux may be safer than Windows. Does that make it perfect? No.
In conclusion, be proud that your Linux system is, for the time being, safer. You should be happy that 100% of the current viruses in this world don’t effect you. But I’d like to fair warn you, just because it doesn’t exist now doesn’t mean it won’t later. Windows is the target of viruses because its the most popular. If Linux had the fame and popularity that Windows had I’m sure hackers would try as hard to infect it as they do Windows.
Until that day though when Linux becomes the target of every waco hackers favorite piece of code, Enjoy the Penguins.
This is a site for people aren’t lucky enough to have a card with Linux drivers released for it. Basically the program you download take the Windows drivers and try to convert them to use in Linux, or in Linux terms, it “wraps” them. The exact process it goes through to do this, or exactly how it works I’m not sure, but that’s the basics of it. A lot of people use this tool and a lot of them have success with it. So if your card doesn’t come with Linux drivers, this is your is probably your first stop in getting some. Lastly if nothing else, this site also has a variety of links on it to help you get your card working, so good luck everybody!
If your really Linux savvy though, you can just write your own drivers. How do you do that? I have no idea to be honest with you, but I’ve met people who can. Enjoy the Penguins!
I found this article cruising the internet looking for Flash for my AMD64 Linux setup. Well I didn’t find it of course because Macromedia hasn’t released Flash for AMD64 yet, but according to this blogger who claims to work for Macromedia, their going to skip ver. 8 for Linux and jump straight to version 8.5 and include AMD64! This is great news for anyone who, like myself, uses an AMD64 system. By the way he posted this on Dec. 22, 2005 so this a fairly recent update, which I hope means we’ll be getting Flash fairly soon!
And now with Flash animations blazing, Enjoy the Penguins!
I’ve recently run across some good news in my hunt for a wireless card for my new desktop PC. As you may be aware of wireless for Linux is rather poor shape right now. Well I think wireless period has still not really seen its heyday. Its still a new technology for most consumers, and I don’t even think that Windows really has a firm grip on it just yet. Their (Microsoft’s) only real advantage is that companies make Windows drivers for their cards and ship the cards with them. Very few vendors actually make Linux drivers.
The following site, which is found here, is a breath of fresh air to Linux users wishing to have wireless internet with their Linux PCs. In fact it was after seeing this site that I picked out my wireless card for my new computer. Here’s the card that I picked out for myself. Because you know I love my readers, here is a list of cards that contain the chipset these drivers are made for. Most people spend a considerable amount of time after purchasing a new wireless card trying to set it up properly and get it working. With these drivers ready and waiting, the setup time of your new wireless card should be cut in half. The biggest part of setting up any piece of hardware is finding the correct drivers for it.
I hope this helps someone out there. I know it was a relief for me. Enjoy the Penguins!
ps. Now you can enjoy them wirelessly!
Google, you probably associate the name with fun, quick, and helpful searches on the internet always accompanied by a nice, clean, simple website. You probably don’t normally think about all the things Google isn’t very proud of.
You may or may not remember the Gmail scare we went through, was it last year? People we’re scared to death of Gmail because you had to go through like six steps just to delete an e-mail. For those of you who don’t have a Gmail account the default way of getting it out of your inbox is to “archive” it, which does exactly what it sounds like it should. Well that doesn’t sound to awful bad till you think of what the consequences of that might be. Google will have access to 100% of your e-mail whenever they please for what ever purpose they feel is worth looking for. We’re all familiar with how powerful Google search is so I’m sure they wouldn’t have any trouble finding it.
Also about a year ago I believe there was the infamous China scandal. Just in case you forgot I’ll refresh your memory. China, being the oppressive government they love to be, wanted Google to filter their search results containing anything that arm the people and allow them to realize how oppressive their government really is to them. Well in order to reap the profit from millions of Chinese hits per day, Google gave in and filtered their results. In Google’s defense they didn’t really have much choice. The Chinese government already filters all the internet traffic anyway, so if they let Google through they just wouldn’t let the people access the pages Google returned for them. This one in particular really bothered me because just recently Google has been under heat from the US government to give up statistics of various sorts about what people searched for between certain dates. Why give the Chinese what they want when they have a history of inhuman actions, and not give the US government what they want? Is the US worse than the Chinese, I don’t think so.
Another recent development you may have noticed is Google Talk. Again sounds harmless, even sounds less harmless than the Gmail ordeal. I don’t really see it that way though. Google Talk looks like another attempt at Google to dominate something. Starting to sound familiar? First the search business, then the free e-mail, and now the instant messenger business. Anyway Google talk lets you talk to anybody else on who has a Gmail address just like you would if you used MSN.
Another brief point before I explain what all of this has to do with Linux, did you notice that this site is owned by Google? That’s right Blogger is owned by Google as well. So is that a fourth internet business that Google is trying to dominate? Notice how Blogger seamlessly integrates so well with Picassa and Hello, again both Google programs. Notice also if you own a blog from Blogger.com that there just happens to be an option to open up your Google AdSence account. Before any body flames me for ranting about Google and then giving in by using Blogger.com for my blog, having Google AdSence ads on it, and even having a Gmail account, I don’t really have an excuse. For me like a lot of the world and Microsoft; by the time you realize your under their control its to late, they’ve got you.
Now, finally, the point of this whole post. Look at this link. Interesting. Google has their own version of Ubuntu Linux. Now I am aware that Google’s rep swears up and down that their not releasing Goobuntu as they call it to the public, this is still very scary. If Google is stepping into the Linux realm and developing their own Linux to use, then what’s next? To me it feels like Google foray into Linux is inevitable at this point. Especially if there’s a potencial for profit in it for them. The articles reasons as to why Google wouldn’t want to do that seem weak to me as well. So will Google move in and try to dominate Linux as well? Who knows. This on one hand could have some good side effects. In order for Google to make investing in Linux worth their dime their going to have to compete with Windows. Which will do two things, make Linux, and yes Windows, better through competition. Sweet.
So no matter what Google does, and even if you use their products despite of their shady business practices (yes, that would be), Enjoy the Penguins!
Gaming. Something most computer gurus consider the only good thing about Windows, its ability to run games without much hassle. In reality Windows is terrible at running games. In fact that’s the whole reason DirectX was created. What DirectX does is it shuts down a lot of Windows functions that you would normally not be able to run without, and then it tires to streamline the Windows kernel by only making the game use the parts of it that it needs. I guess the question now begs, is Linux better set up for gaming? I don’t know to be honest with you. In theory I think it would be because of the way the Linux kernel is setup as opposed to the Windows kernel. The Linux kernel, while in use, can have parts of it turned on and off at will. The Windows kernel on the other hand must be turned off and on all at once. This is why Linux users only need to reboot after an update if they update their kernel, while Windows users reboot every time they update or even install something new. Based off this assumption I would assume that if games we’re written for Linux they would run better on the same hardware, than if run on Windows. Basically I don’t see a need for a DirectX equivalent on Linux because the kernel is versatile. If you look at sights like anandtech.com, you’ll see that games ported to Linux usually run about the same FPS when run on the same hardware. This isn’t surprising really, but I’d like to see the results when the game was originally written for Linux and not Windows.
Anyway, back to the point of the post, I’ve discovered something nice about Linux. It comes with games built in, and I’m not talking about solitary either, though it does come with a version if so desired. Two games of serious interest though are Torcs and Battle for Wesnoth. Both these games are pretty entertaining to play. Both of them are both still actively being developed as well, so that makes it nice too.
For me personally, Torcs is of more interest than Battle for Wesnoth is. Torcs is a racing simulation game where you can either drive or write a robot in C or C++ and have it drive for you. The graphics are on par with about a one or two year old PS2 game which I guess is to be expected from an open source video game. It includes a lot of cars, somewhere around 40-50 some if I remember correctly. That’s one reason I want to get my IDE up and running is too. I need it in order to write a robot for Torcs. I was even thinking about starting a group of friends here at school that could work on it together. If your curious I’m not a computer science student, so for me this is just a hobby, I’m actually a math and history student here at Marshall University. Torcs also allows you to import new cars and even change the look of current ones. So if you don’t like the paint job, open gimp and repaint it. Don’t think the Ford GT looks like a Ford GT, open up whatever program you’d use for that (sorry, but I don’t know what you’d use for that, on Linux or Windows) and remodel it. Which is awesome if you ask me. I don’t know any proprietary racing game that will let you do that.
The other game, Battle for Wesnoth, though is a turned based strategy game. It reminds me a lot of War Craft except its turn based. I haven’t really played video games serious for several years now, so how it is compared to other games closer related to it than War Craft II, I don’t honestly know. For sure though the graphics in it are about War Craft II level though. Which isn’t too bad a distraction really. The game play makes up for the lack of graphic eye candy. I would defiantly recommend both games. Not to mention, if your using Ubuntu or Debian I guess for that matter, both games are listed in the Universal section of apt-get. So you can get them both without having to compile them yourself.
So as always, and in this case maybe even literally, Enjoy the Penguins!
Sorry about not posting in such a long time. Its been almost a week, or even more than that, I haven’t checked to be honest. I’ve been so busy with school lately because all my test crop up at the same time I tend to lose time to write here.
Continuing on with my life with Linux, I can’t seem to install Gentoo properly. I had a comment on a previous post asking “how can it be broke, did you hit with a hammer?” That of course was a sarcastic remark about the stability of Linux but to answer a rhetorical question, I can’t seem to install it properly. Gentoo as you may be aware of requires that the user download, unpack, compile, install, and then configure yourself. You use Portage to do most of the downloading, compiling, and installing once you have the kernel up and running. Still yet though, somewhere along the way I mess something up. I’ll keep trying though. I like the idea of creating my own Linux. Though I wouldn’t say I’m anywhere near ready for Linux From Scratch, Gentoo is close enough for me for now.
Moving on I’d like to point out some things I really enjoy about Ubuntu. For example Ubuntu only refers the version of that distribution using Gnome. Although there is also Kubuntu, which is Ubuntu only it uses KDE, and then something I didn’t know, there is also Xbuntu, which is Ubuntu using Xfce. Personally I think its silly that they rename the distribution every time they change window managers, but I guess it keeps things straight. I know for a fact the team working on Xbuntu is in the process of trimming Ubuntu so that its faster and sleeker and more along the lines of what Xfce is all about. I’ve got my install of Kubuntu pretty much set up exactly the way I like it. I wish I had a theme that mimicked the Apple look with the little yellow, green, and red dots as opposed to the X, square, and dash system. Other than that though, everything is pretty much the way I like it. One thing that I would like to see about doing is trying to remove the loading screen that Kubuntu uses. Most distributions load up with a screen scrolling through all the various processes the kernel is going through in order to boot your computer, perhaps with a penguin in the top left corner if your graphics processor can handle it. Kubuntu has a bland black and blue screen that says Kubuntu and gives vague descriptions of what’s going on. I’d like it better if it were more specific.
One thing that I’m trying to get up and running right now is an IDE (Integrated Development environment) up and running. I’m in the process of seriously trying out two different ones. First, KDevelop. KDevelop is alright, it of course being the one developed by and for the KDE desktop environment. At the moment KDevelop doesn’t work, because of missing libraries and such. Other than that its looks ok so far. It dosen’t look difficult to use and the lay out is clean. Like almost all good IDEs you can change all your font colors and such to suite your needs. The second IDE I’m looking at is Anjuta. I like Anjuta better than KDevelop so far. I like the Gnome look better for my IDE. Now that I think about it I like the Gnome look better all the time. Why use Kubuntu you might ask? I don’t know, recent development I guess :). Anyway Anjuta is closer to working than KDevelop is, so I’m probably going to stick with it and try to get it working before I worry to much about KDevelop.
One thing I really don’t like about Ubuntu (or Ku/X-buntu) is the fact that they leave out a lot of packages and libraries needed for programming. Why? After asking around I’ve come to the conclusion it’s because Ubuntu is a beginner’s distribution, and they assume most “beginners” don’t program, along with that the assumption is that someone who does would be experienced enough to know what libraries and such they need before they start. In my opinion both are lame arguments. For Linux “beginner” doesn’t mean you can’t write code, it only means your new to Linux. I was writing C++ and VB.NET long before I was playing with Linux. Another bugging thing about Ubuntu is they don’t automatically include all the tools needed to compile and install your own software. For example Ubuntu doesn’t, by default, include “make.” After you download a tarball (examplefile.tar.bz) you unpack it (unzip it for anyway Windows fans) and then run the “./compile” file, which checks to make sure your computer is properly setup for it, then you run “make” which actually goes through and installs the program. Well Ubuntu doesn’t include the make program. Why? Again I’m assuming this is because Ubuntu is a “beginners” distribution. By the way if any Ubuntu developers read this, please explain this for me, non-blogger.com members can comment, so don’t be scared.
So to finish out, I’m excited about being so close to finally being able to develop code in C++ on my Linux computer, comment if you want, but whatever you do, Enjoy the Penguins!