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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Top 2 iPod management tools for Ubuntu.

If you have an Apple iPod and running Ubuntu on your computer, the following 2 applications that are readily available in the Ubuntu Software Center should be of interest to you.

GTKpod iPod Manager
Using GTK2, it allows you to upload songs and playlists to your iPod with support for ID3 tag editing. It also supports multiple charsets for ID3 tags, detects duplicate songs and allows offline modification of the database with later synchronisation.

GPixPod iPod management tool
GPixPod is an application for organizing photos and photo albums on your iPod. It also helps you modify manually the elements in the photo database of your iPod as compared to the iTunes syncing only method.

These are by no means the only iPod management tools available for Ubuntu, but are a simple and easy to use applications for everyday.

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By Seraaj Muneer with No comments

How to download a video from YouTube on Ubuntu

If you ever find yourself stuck with a slow Internet connection or capped bandwidth and a YouTube video you just want to watch again and again, then downloading the YouTube video is tempting. Well good news, now you can!

The software is called youtube-dl and runs from the command line. Unfortunately, the version found in the Ubuntu Karmic (and previous) repositories is out-of-date and broken due to modifications to the YouTube API.

But despair not, the issue is fixed in the most recent release of youtube-dl. Better yet youtube-dl consists of a single Python script and is easy to install from source. Here's how.

First make sure you have Python and Mercurial installed. Open a terminal and type

sudo aptitude install mercurial python

Also make sure that the outdated version of youtube-dl is removed if previously installed.

sudo aptitude remove youtube-dl

Now fetch the youtube-dl source from the web. 

hg clone http://bitbucket.org/rg3/youtube-dl/

Enter the source directory

cd youtube-dl

and copy the Python script to a location where the system can find it

sudo cp youtube-dl /usr/local/bin/

And that's it!

In order to download a video from YouTube you must start watching the video on www.youtube.com. Then copy the URL of the video to the clipboard and type in a terminal

youtube-dl url-on-youtube-dot-com

where url-on-youtube-dot-com is the URL you copied from YouTube. The video should now start downloading. The downloaded video will be in Flash Video format (.flv) and can be viewed using e.g. vlc.

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By Helge with 3 comments

Saturday, November 28, 2009

News Corp and Microsoft teaming up against Google.

Rupert Murdoch, chairman and managing director of what is the largest producer of news in the English speaking world, News Corp, has previously clearly stated his intentions of making all their news services paywalled. Users will in the future have to pay a monthly subscription to gain access to news featured on News Corp's sites.

This week, an announcement was made indicating that Murdoch is currently in negations with (surprise, surprise) Microsoft to block Google from indexing News Corp sites, giving exclusive rights of indexing to the Microsoft-owned search engine Bing. Rights for which Microsoft is certain to pay a graceful amount to acquire. With Bing responsible for generating only about 9.9 percent of the traffic to News Corp's sites, Murdoch motivates the deal by claiming that visitors coming to their sites from Google do not significantly contribute to generation of advertisement revenue. Murdoch comments:

"We'd rather have fewer people coming to our website, but paying."

Once again we see Microsoft's strategy of gaining market share through raw economic power and exclusive deals, carefully constructed to strike the competition where it hurts. While other companies strive towards success through vision and innovation, these two giants take a major leap backwards to a business model best suited for a different age. If you want people to use your search engine do so through superior search technology, not through buying exclusive rights of indexing!

Although this approach may have worked for Microsoft in the past, this time I have a strong feeling that the forces these companies are up against may prove too strong. The Google business model is based on an enormous and diverse arsenal of targeted advertisement. News only constitutes a minor, although important, share. A large amount of news sites not under News Corps will still be available from Google.

The proposed deal is not only stupid, it is undemocratic. Free online news has given a whole world access to breaking news with potentially important impacts on their own lives. Paywall news services will limits this access to the fraction of the world population that can afford it. Furthermore, any company operating on the web knows that it is either you bring traffic to your site or you die. Murdock's statement about it being better with less but paying traffic, shows an outdated and inwards looking way of thinking about new media technology.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt recently commented on the arrival of the Bing search engine: "We are spending all of our time on exactly what we've always done, which is innovation. I don't think Bing's arrival has changed what we're doing. We are about search, we're about making things enormously successful, by virtue of innovation."

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Smokin' Guns - Cowboy First-person shooter Game for Linux.

Initially developed as Western Quake 3, Smokin' Guns  is the game for you if you ever feel nostalgic of the Old West. Smokin' Guns, an open source, cross platform first-person shooter is intended to be a semi-realistic simulation of the "Old West's" great atmosphere and was developed on Id Software's Quake III Arena Engine. It boasts of the following features
  • A full arsenal of weapons with historically correct design.
  • A variety of western styled maps and player models.
  • A realistic damage system with different locations (head, chest, neck, etc) and height-dependent falling damage.
  • New western styled game types for more fun: Bank Robbery and Duel Modes.
  • A money system allowing for equipment purchase with money from rewards.
  • Easy to use graphical user interface and HUD.
  • Other small improvements for better gameplay and enhanced fun.
As the name says, the goal of this mission types is to rob a bank and bring the money back to a secure point. To do so each player of the attacking team is equipped with two sticks of dynamite in order to blow up the safe. Robbing the bank isn't going to be easy because the whole second team is defending the bank and will try to prevent the other team from getting in. While a robbery might prove to be more difficult, it will also be much more profitable than just killing off the defending team. Once the attacking team wins a round the roles are reversed, meaning the team that defended the bank before will have to rob it.

The Duel Mode:
This is where you can reenact the classical Wild West showdown. In this mode, the only weapons you can buy are pistols. The duel maps are actually large levels divided into several parts, and up to 16 players per map are supported. Separate duels can be performed simultaneously in different parts of the map.

Health and Damage:
How much damage you take depends on which part of your body is hit. If you get hit in the head you're likely to die at once, but if you get hit in the leg you'll probably survive. The most vulnerable part of your body that you must protect at all cost is your head. There is no way to restore your health in Smokin' Guns. Once you get hit, the damage remains until your next life. When you are taking damage you will have trouble moving at normal speed. It's a touch of realism since being shot in real life would definitely not go unnoticed.

There are four different categories of weapons in Smokin' Guns: pistols, rifles, shotguns, and special weapons. You can only carry two pistols, and one heavy weapon (rifle, shotgun, or Gatling gun) at the same time.
Smokin' Guns is available for download for all Linux, Windows and Mac.

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By Seraaj Muneer with No comments

Frostwire - Limewire made better.

If you download files regularly over Bittorrent or the Gnutella protocols, then Frostwire is a great application to try. It is an open source, cross platform peer to peer file sharing client that originated from the once popular Limewire.

It is written in Java and released under the GNU General Public License. It is extremely lightweight and uses less system resources.
  • FrostWire is released only as a free version, the Windows version of which comes bundled with the Ask.com toolbar. FrostWire includes much of the functionality of LimeWire's free version, as well as a few of LimeWire Pro's payment based upgrades.
  • FrostWire provides an online chatroom, which is absent in LimeWire. 
  • Connections are encrypted with TLS by default unless it is disabled at the preferences.
  • FrostWire provides an online chatroom
You can download Frostwire for your Windows, Linux or Mac system and try it for yourself. You would need to install Java Runtime Environment to run it.

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Thursday, November 26, 2009

5 things you must necessarily be thankful for today.

You have been thankful today for a lot of things. However, did you remember to be thankful for the following five things?
 
Bittorrent
If there's anything that has changed how we share data all over the world on an unprecedented scale, then it is bittorrent. Have you been thanful for it?
 
Blogging
Chances are 70% of all your entertainment, educational and other information needs are met through the blogs of others. Be thankful for such a medium
 
Wikipedia
Not long ago, if you wanted to have an encyclopedia for reference purposes or any other reason, your best bet was to either pay for Encarta from Microsoft or buy those voluminous books like Encyclopedia Britannica. Imagine how Wikipedia changed all that and be thankful for it
 
Ubuntu Linux
If there is any other brand that has succeeded in making the masses aware of an alternative to Windows other than Apple, then it is Ubuntu. Also think of how it has succeeded in bringing desktop Linux to the mainstream and be thankful for it
 
Google
If there is any one company that gives massive value for free, then it is Google. Think of the phrase 'Just Google it' and be thankful for such a company.

Go on a be thankful for all the things you want, but don't forget the five things above.

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By Seraaj Muneer with 1 comment

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Linux fanboys- Now taking the cheersong to ChromeOS.

If you were not living in a cave or just descended from another planet, you already know about the so called ChromeOS preview that was held by Google sometime last week. And since that time, one notable theme you notice on various Linux blogs is the same old chorus you've heard for Lord knows how long- "ChromeOS is going to unseat Windows," "ChromeOS is going to make Windows obsolete," "2010 will be the year of Linux thanks to ChromeOS." I could go on and on.

Don't you think it's funny and somehow ridiculous? ChromeOS is not yet born and yet people are already predicting how it is going to unseat something as deeply rooted both in the minds and lives of people as the Window OS. All we were shown by Google were if you like prototypes (very dump of the SE giant to not have released something for users to try) and people think such a concept will usher in the mythical 'year of Linux' in 2010.

I have always been of the view that the Linux world is very much full of sentimentalists rather than 'pragmatists' and 'realists'. The cheersong is now being sung for ChromeOS, not long ago it was Ubuntu, then not long before that it was Fedora and on and on. First of all, I am not one of those who are enthused about this concept of an OS called ChromeOS. I am not interested in ceding control of my entire life in the name of portability to  another company, much less an advertising one. And I think so do most of you.

The general concept behind the ChromeOS is nothing new. In fact, in a previous post, I'd asked the rhetoric question that if the main currency of ChromeOS is how fast it will boot, then what happens if say the Lucid Lynx succeeds in also booting at that same time. What else is Google going to put into Chrome that we cannot have in any of the Linux distros out there? What is going to be so different about ChromeOS that it will cause the over 2 billion people out there to shun Windows and embrace it with wide open arms? Not to talk about the enterprise world.

If there is any serious threat or any OS that can unseat Windows (not in the next 10-20 years unless MS does something real stupid like the Vista blunder), it is Ubuntu and MacOSx. But seeing that Apple is not interested in the dollar of every Tom, Dick and Harry, that leaves Ubuntu as the only contender. The fact that Google is behind ChromeOS does not make it any more of a serious threat. If you want an example, look to the foundation of the ChromeOS, which is the Chrome browser. One year on and how is it fairing relative to IE? What happened to all those predictions about how it would be the IE killer?

I have said it time and again that the ChromeOS will only at best create its own niche market that it'd satisfy rather than upset the existing status quo. Of course in the early days of its release 'this time next year', there will be a spike in usage. What I think the Linux fanboys- most of whom have the platform to reach a very wide audience- should be doing is to point out to Google to rethink the OS design and concept again. If it is going to be only a browser that will require an internet connection even for the mundane of tasks, then I can confidently say to the fanboys- Google ChromeOS will not unseat Windows nor usher in the mythical 'year of Linux'.

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By Seraaj Muneer with 9 comments

Bing Cashback - An interesting look.

OK. As usual I was doing my morning blog rounds and this article titled Negative Cashback from Bing Cashback caught my eye. I thought it would interest those of you who shop online especially if you use the Microsoft search service Bing. So read on the see if you can also do some investigations on your own.

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By Seraaj Muneer with No comments

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Opera Unite- The art of turning a browser into a server.

Opera is the second most powerful cross platform browser out there. Surpassed only by Firefox. Yesterday, Opera 10.10 was released for download and this particular release was shipped with a wonder function called Opera Unite.

What Opera Unite does is simply to "reinvent the Web, reinventing how we as consumers interact with the Web. By giving our devices the ability to serve content, we become equal citizens on the Web. In an age where we have ceded control of our personal data to third-parties, Opera Unite gives us the freedom to choose how we will share the data that belongs to us."

Imagine the ability to share your digital collections with your friends or the entire world, synchronize your data across your devices and basically seed your entire digital life all from your browser without any server setup whatsoever. That is Opera Unite. With Opera Unite, 
  • you can share  photos directly from your browser through the Opera Unite Photo Sharing Application
  • stream your entire music and video library to another computer, mobile phone or game console through the Media Player application
The best part of all this is that your recipient does not need to even be running the Opera browser. You can still share with them even if they are running the resource hog IE. Because Opera Unite is based on common Web technologies like HTML and JavaScript, Web developers can develop applications easily using techniques they are comfortable with. The Opera Unite server is also located in your Opera browser on your computer as part of Opera Unite. A proxy server is used when no direct connection is established and this proxy server is currently located in Norway. No data is stored on any Opera-owned servers.

Opera is really challenging what we know of a browser and frankly, they have won my admiration. What Opera Unite is doing is simply to give me a server right in the browser without me needing to setup anything whatsoever. A server with which I can share files with whomsoever I choose.

Opera itself has some enviable features like the Opera Turbo which speeds up the loading of web pages on a slow network through a server which fetches and compresses the data before sending it back to you. It is a godsend when you have the misfortune of having to use a crowded Wifi or a very slow connection like dial up. For developers, Opera invites you to submit new Opera Unite applications in a contest where you stand the chance of winning "great prizes."

All in all, Opera is a browser that is set to go places and has done a lot of work over the years to become the second best. I highly recommend that you get a copy for your desktop and start sharing your digital life your own way. 

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By Seraaj Muneer with No comments

Monday, November 23, 2009

Starting an Ubuntu LoCo team.

Guest post by a good friend and fellow African Helge Reikeras of the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa. He's a specialist in Research and development in new media technologies.

During the 2009 Ubuntu Open Week held 2-6 November, Jono Bacon discussed how to start and get people involved in your own Ubuntu Loco team. I will only be making some additional comments, with some reflections from my personal experience, and hopefully encourage you to join your LoCo or start your own if one does not already exist in your area.

About Ubuntu LoCos

The term LoCo simply stands for Local Community. There are different types of LoCos. The officially recognized LoCo teams normally exist on a national level, or for certain larger countries such as the U.S on a state level. However, that does not mean that you cannot start a team for your city, town, university, corporation etc. Such teams are likely to work closely with the national LoCo teams, as there are certain to be common interests. Smaller and more local LoCos will allow certain types of interaction that will generally not be possible on a national scale:
  • Members can meet face-to-face in the real world. Although we all love the online community, we all need to socialize in the "real world" at times as well.
  • The team can advertise FOSS and Ubuntu locally by arranging e.g. Software Freedom Day, an install fest or a release party. These events can take place on campus, in the town hall, or even out on the streets.
  • In a campus or corporate environment the team can provide local support, e.g. resolve Ubuntu and FOSS issues related to the local network, local software etc.
Starting your own LoCo
Here are a couple of pointers to help you start a LoCo team in your community:

Social Media

Social media is here, it is free, and everybody is using it. Social media costs nothing and is a great way to get your message out there. Make use of social media to spread the word:
  • Create a Facebook group for your LoCo.
  • Create a Twitter list following your LoCo members' tweets.
  • Create a blog for your LoCo team where members can blog about their Ubuntu and OSS thoughts and experiences.
  • Create a wiki for local Ubuntu users with technical information on Ubuntu issues related to the local university/business network. Get the rest of the LoCo team involved in contributing to the wiki.
Democratic processes
 

Although "benevolent dictators for life" is not rare in the FOSS world, one per project is usually sufficient. In accordance with the Ubuntu leadership code of conduct, you may want hold an election for a leader once the LoCo is up and running. If you have done a good job setting up the LoCo, this will likely become you in any case.

Other local FOSS organizations

Many regions also have local Linux User Groups (LUGs). An Ubuntu LoCo will likely work close with, or even be a part of, such an organization. However, LUGs tend to be more technically oriented and have a certain "geeky" image. One of the great aspects of the Ubuntu community is that everyone is welcome to make a contribution, whether you are a developer, tester, graphics designer, blogger, legal practitioner, or pretty much anything as long as your skills and knowledge somehow can contribute to the project. Therefore, I encourage anyone who is running or is planning on starting a LoCo to focus on gathering a diverse group where everyone, including users, feel welcomed.

Maties ZA Ubuntu LoCo: A case study
 

I've recently been involved in getting a LoCo up and running for my university. So far we have had a successful Karmic release party where the team got together to socialize at a local venue. This was part of a series of release parties held around the country. Future plans for the LoCo involves:
  • Advertising Ubuntu and FOSS on campus.
  • Organizing a bug jam in one of the campus computer labs.
  • Work towards getting an open source computer lab at the university.
  • Maintain a wiki and a mailing lists where users can obtain local support.
  • Develop local open source software. E.g. on our campus network, a special software is required to access the web (where costs are charged from the user's student account). Only a Windows version is supported by the IT section. However, local students have developed an open-source cross-platform Python implementation. Software of this kind can be packaged and put into local repositories.
Conclusion

I hope I've managed to highlight some of the advantages and possibilities that exists in Ubuntu LoCo teams, and that you have become interested in joining or starting such a team. The community that exists around Ubuntu is truly unique in the software world and, I believe, will lead to great things.

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By Seraaj Muneer with No comments

PiTiVi - A brief overview.

The next release of Ubuntu Linux, code named Lucid Lynx, will come with some new apps that will be making their first debut. If the rumors going round is correct, then one of the newbie apps will be the video editor PiTiVi. We also know that the very powerful but overly complex looking GIMP will be dropped but will of course remain in the repos for those that use it. So today, I'd like us to just take a brief look at PiTiVi, what it is, what it can do and more.

PiTiVi is an open source video editor, written in Python and based on GStreamer and GTK+. PiTIVi provides several ways of creating and modifying a timeline. Ranging from a simple synopsis view (a-la iMovie) to the full-blown editing view (aka Complex View) which puts you in complete control of your editing.

Other interfaces can be added via the plugin system, aimed at more specific uses like a SlideShow creator or a subtitling editor. It is even possible to use Pitivi without a user interface in order to do batch rendering. The authors of PiTiVi/GNonLin have been part of the GStreamer core developer community for many years and make sure any issues are solved as quickly as possible in the lower levels in order to avoid any bloated feature at the application level.

While not boasting as many features as other common video editors, PiTiVi has:

  • Importing support for all video/audio/image formats provided by GStreamer plugins
  • Desktop environment integration and consistently designed user interface
  • Drag and drop for importing, adding and manipulating clips on the timeline
  • Native GTK+ theme integration
  • High quality translations and localization by the GNOME translation teams
  • Full compliance to the GNOME HIG (human interface guidelines)
  • Unlimited video/audio track layers
  • Full undo/redo history
  • Basic clip manipulation
  • Trimming
  • Snapping
  • Splitting/cutting
  • Rendering in any container and codec supported by GStreamer plugins
  • Frame stepping, keyboard controls and shortcuts
  • Audio editing
  • Sound mixing of multiple concurrent audio layers
  • Trimming, splitting/cutting
  • Volume keyframe curves
  • Fast audio waveforms
  • Video thumbnails
  • Fast, playhead-centered zooming
  • Mousewheel integration with modifier keys for timeline navigation
  • Scrubbing
  • Linking/grouping of clips
  • Clean, modular code with extensive test suite (test-driven development)
  • Extensive user manual
  • Configurable appearance and behavior (clip colors, snapping sensitivity, thumbnail and waveforms generation, etc.)
All in all, PiTiVi is a simple application that will make Ubuntu even more attractive to more people should it be included in the default installation. Seeing that video editing is one of the weak points of Linux, I think initiatives like this is a welcome note.

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By Seraaj Muneer with No comments

Sunday, November 22, 2009

What if Ubuntu Lucid Lynx boots in 10 seconds?

This morning after performing my morning ritual of coffee :-) brewing and going through my reading list, one theme that I noticed about all blog posts on Google ChromeOS was how fast it would boot. Other than that, I could not pinpoint anything ground breaking about it. Yes there would be only a browser in the OS and surprisingly, what I hardly hear people talk about is the insane bandwidth that will be required to run such an OS.

Like my good friend Helge pointed out, in some parts of Africa, you have a whole university with something like a 4MB/S internet speed to share. Now this effectively rules out the use of ChromeOS whatsoever. What then came into my mind was, what if Ubuntu Lucid Lynx, which makes its debut in April 2010 and is an LTS, succeeds in booting at 10 seconds, which by the way is what the developers are aiming for?

If most of the anticipation surrounding ChromeOS is about boot time, then will people also sing Ubuntu anthems if Lucid boots in 10 seconds? Ubuntu is able to give you most of what Google ChromeOS is promising. You can at present choose to do everything in the cloud just by booting your Karmic and calling up your Firefox.

You can choose to use Ubuntu One for easy file syncing or even Dropbox, you can choose to use Google Docs or Fakeoffice, you can do a lot that ChromeOS is promising with your current Ubuntu install. And you can still edit those pictures without having to get online, or watch a movie without needing any net connection. Hell even Windows XP can do all of that. And btw, with ChromeOS, you would be entrusting your entire digital life to the 'cloud', which is a nice euphemism used to describe the servers of others like Google, which incidentally (or ironically?!!) is an advertising company

So if the hottest currency of ChormeOS is boot times and even my current Karmic install boots in 20 seconds max, then what's so revolutionary about it? Of course it is the first post internet OS and is the only OS that is a browser. But other than that what else? Almost everything that is promised can be done with existing OSs with even more user control. And please don't say security, Ubuntu for me is as secure as I can get.

Frankly, I see all this noise being so because it is Google behind it and nothing else. We all know Google is a company with a lot of clout. I strongly believe if it were a company like say Canonical that were proposing such a project, Mark Shuttleworth would have become the laughing stock of many bloggers by now. So once again I ask you, what if Ubuntu Lucid Lynx boots in 10 seconds, that being very possible considering the fact that the same developers are working on both projects?

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By Seraaj Muneer with 4 comments

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Linus Torvalds - Time for a Nobel Peace Prize?

I was reading through my morning Google alerts when this story caught my attention. It is an article in which the writer is of the view that it's high time the father of Linux, Linus Torvalds is awarded with the Nobel Prize for Peace. Below is the story from Ridenbaugh Press/Northwest.  Read it and tell me what you think.

"Former Vice President Al Gore’s visit to Portland today and tomorrow has prompted some Nobel Peace Prize thoughts, and in Oregon the idea of nominating a Northwesterner. The prospect shot around the Portland-area Linux circles (drawing some debate as well as approval as it did), starting with this email from Keith Lofstrom:
      
"Since the Nobel Peace Prize is often given to politicians, some disagree with the choices. But it is often given to non-politicians who create international efforts to change the world for the better.

    Look at the massive international efforts represented by SC09, and realize that much of it started from the work of a 21[-year-old] Finnish college student named after 1962 Nobel Peace Prize winner Linus Pauling. It would be fitting to honor that international effort by giving a Peace Prize to Linus Torvalds, perhaps in 2011 on the 20th anniversary of the August 1991 Linux announcement, or in 2012 on the 50th anniversary of Pauling’s award.

    Linux is one of the largest cooperative international efforts ever undertaken. It inspired Ubuntu, One Laptop Per Child, and many other global projects. Linux conquered the supercomputer space, the server space, the embedded computer space – by peaceful means! Linux helped sequence the human genome, helps protect the world computer infrastructure from viral attack, and is now the pathway for millions to learn computer programming and participate in new international efforts.

    The 2007 Nobel Peace Prize recipient (a politician some disagree with, please disagree in a different thread, thanks) is giving the keynote to SC09 as I write this. Meaning that we are all three handshakes away from the people that decide on future Peace Prizes. Perhaps it is time to launch some messages through our connections and see what makes it to the committee meetings in Oslo.

    According to the list on Wikipedia, the five people to convince are Thorbjørn Jagland (chair), Kaci Kullmann Five (deputy chair), Sissel Rønbeck, Inger-Marie Ytterhorn, and Ågot Valle. We can start by sending them Norsk language Ubuntu disks.

    While I imagine Linus Torvalds would be embarrassed by the attention, it would sure make his parents happy. And it would mean one less Peace Prize for a politician."

That list of Linux-related or -inspired developments is only partial. Here in the Northwest, for example, we could add the Free Geek operations in Portland, which do a lot of good for not only the low-income people and non-profit groups they are specifically aimed to help, but also almost everyone who comes into contact with them. The effects though have been world-wide, and are accelerating. And could grow faster with a little more attention.

Probably not a lot of Northwest people outside the Linux community know about Torvalds, or that he lives in the Portland area, or that this is one of the true open-source centers around the globe. This would be a dramatic way to find out. "

My views.
In as much as I would love to see someone  the stature of Linus Torvalds claim that prestigious prize, I think it is too early to call it for him. Though Linux has played an important role in the advancement of computing, I still think it's achievements have been overshadowed by its sometimes extreme dogmatism. For instance, there are those to date who detest the mere mention of the words Linux and profitability in the same sentence.

Also, there are those who do not hesitate to brand as traitors anyone that dares to include some element of proprietary software in a Linux distro, irrespective of the benefit such an inclusion sometimes brings. Though Linux has made great strides in the server market, it is yet to show similar advances in the desktop market. I must however admit, that some distros like Ubuntu and Fedora are really putting Linux onto the desktop of the masses albeit at a slow pace.

I think 20 years is enough time for Linux to have made more gains on the desktop than it currently enjoys. For me, though the server market is very important given today's highly connected way of living, I still think the success of an OS should be measured by its market share on the desktop. And in this regard, our venerable Linux still has a long way to go.

So if  the call is being made because of Linux, then IMHO I think it's not yet time. Maybe after the much hyped Google ChromeOS makes it debut and helps move Linux some more into the mainstream, then we can talk again about this call. But for now, I think it's just not time. What do you think?



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By Seraaj Muneer with 4 comments

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Google ChromeOS - Not the Linux messiah.

Yesterday was a busy day at the Googleplex. Google officially open-sourced the Chromium OS and also gave a preview of what to expect "this time next year." Indeed, most of the rumors that had been going circulating in the blogosphere about what to expect were confirmed. You can read the full launch details from the Official Google Blog or take a look at this video. What I want us to look at is the possible impact it will have on the wider Linux market relative to the behemoth called Windows.

First of all, I strongly believe the ChromeOS is not a threat to Ubuntu (will talk about that in a later post)  as some people think, neither is it going to be the all powerful tour de force that most Linux proponents hail it to be. From what I can see, it is clear that Google is bringing Chrome for one simple reason: to get more people to use even more Google products and services. If you look at the recent spate of activities that have been going on at Google- the number of acquisitions, the talk of SPDY, the GO programing language among others-it is clear that ChromeOS is the means through which Google would get you to use more of their babies.

Though built on the Linux kernel, "it's all about the web. All apps are web apps. The entire experience takes place within the browser and there are no conventional desktop applications. This means users do not have to deal with installing, managing and updating programs." This then begs the question, will it be the Linux messiah? Will ChromeOS make 2010 the year of Linux? Looking at the desktop OS market dynamics, I can say no.

This is a purely web based OS, though you can argue that it's a first. But other than that, I cannot see how it is going to help Linux make any significant market gains at the expense of Microsoft Windows. The OS is not going to be an all purpose thing as we are used to, it is going to reside in a browser (the Chrome browser of course) and probably put your stuff in the Google cloud infrastructure.  Is Google going to lock you in on their cloud services such that all your data would reside on their servers? Are you going to have a choice as to what service you want to run with your ChromeOS? How secure would it be (Google thinks it will be super)?

Linux is competing with Windows which is a desktop OS that runs applications locally on the OS, independent of the internet. I cannot foresee in the near future how people will be  willing to abandon  Windows in favor of Linux because ChromeOS runs in the cloud. I can also not foresee businesses switching to ChromeOS because it is from Google and runs on the web. In any case, the recent spate of Google server blackouts is a cause for concern.
Seriously, I think the concept is not bad but the application of it is the problem.

Given Google's hopeless way of releasing applications (eg one year on and there is no Chrome browser ready for Linux), it will take a long time to get ChromeOS ready for the standard desktop computer. Seeing that there are more people that use desktop computers than netbooks- with that possibly staying so for a long time- ChromeOS will at best be an insignificant part of the market.

Linux will need a company the size of Google to make any noteworthy headway. But the way in which Google is going about its OS is surely not going to take Linux anywhere. I know ChromeOS is still in development, but from what I have read of ChromeOS, I think it is going to end up being a small player competing with the other 1000+ distros out there rather than Windows.

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By Seraaj Muneer with 7 comments

Thursday, November 19, 2009

SourceForge Inc. Changes its Name to Geeknet, Inc.

MOUNTAIN VIEW, California, Nov. 4, 2009 – SourceForge, Inc. (NASDAQ: LNUX) today (technically not today but the today of the press release :) ) announced that it has changed its name to Geeknet, Inc. to more accurately reflect the company’s business and the growing market it serves. The name change also supports the company’s intention to expand the reach of its online advertising services into new categories.

“Renaming the company Geeknet is the latest step in our rapid transformation,” said Scott L.  Kauffman, President & CEO of Geeknet. “Our new name is a more accurate articulation of our business. With Geeknet as our calling card on Madison Avenue, we are now able to clearly define the audience we serve and more effectively capture the business opportunity that we are addressing.”

The Geeknet network, which includes SourceForge, Slashdot, ThinkGeek and Ohloh, among others, serves a global community of nearly 40 million geeks(that's a lie, I'm no geek :) ) each month. These tech-savvy professionals and enthusiasts are affluent, well-educated and command significant spending power.

Kauffman continued, “The geek demographic is bigger than most people realize, and it is growing every day in both scope and influence. Its product appeal extends beyond servers and slide rules to include video games, soft drinks, automobiles, fast food, fashion, entertainment, consumer electronics and other goods. We call this phenomenon the ‘geekification’ of the world, and we believe that our network provides the best platform for advertisers to reach this highly coveted audience.”

To support the new brand, the company is immediately launching a series of programs to raise awareness of Geeknet.

About Geeknet

Geeknet is the online network for the global geek community. Our sites include SourceForge, Slashdot, ThinkGeek, Ohloh and freshmeat. We serve an audience of nearly 40 million users each month and provide the tech-obsessed with content, culture, connections, commerce, and all the things that geeks crave.
Geeknet is a trademark of Geeknet, Inc.  SourceForge, Slashdot, ThinkGeek, Ohloh and freshmeat are registered trademarks of Geeknet, Inc. in the United States and other countries. All other trademarks or product names are the property of their respective owners.
Source:Geek.net

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Fedora 12 vindicates the Karmic Koala - No OS is perfect.

In a previous post, I had openly stated how I disagree with the way and manner in which people are attacking the latest Ubuntu release code named Karmic Koala , to the extent of likening it to the legendary failure of Windows Vista. Well, to those who expect absolute perfection and a buggless OS, check out this bug in the latest release of Fedora 12.

It is a bug that lets anyone get to install software on a machine they do not have the root password to. Do you see my point now? No OS made of codes can be perfect. If you install Ubuntu and have bugs, that does not mean Ubuntu has failed and that it will be like Vista. Rather than spend time badmouthing Ubuntu because of a bug you have discovered, you could help make the correction by reporting it to the developers. 

Ubuntu Karmic Koala is the best Ubuntu release ever. However, that does not make it immune from errors or bugs. You will encounter them, and the best you can do for yourself and the entire Ubuntu ommunity is to report it to the developers and if you know some coding, help correct it. You can even wipe off Ubuntu from your box and grab any of the 1000+ distros out there and hope to get one without bugs and is absolutely perfect.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

7 cool applications to improve your Karmic Koala experience.

If you are using Ubuntu, you probably know there is some 2000+ applications you can install on your system. Obviously you would not need to install all of those to get the best out of your system, the following 7 applications will help give you more from your setup in case  you have not installed them already. Some of them are available in the revised software management hub called the Ubuntu Software Center.

I am assuming you have already installed the Ubuntu restricted extras that gives you multimedia codecs to play proprietary formats like MP3 and flash. If you have not, just go to the Ubuntu Software Center and search for Ubuntu restricted extras to install.

1. VLC
VLC is the best multimedia player under the sun, period. Forget Totem. With its built in codecs, it can play virtually any file format known to man. If VLC cannot play it, chances are only the CIA or NSA have the right player for it. Check out 7 of its features that should get you to install it right away. It's available in the repos.

2.Opera
Though not Open Source, you really need to have this cool and slick browser on your system. It has some very impressive features that makes it stand out. My favorite two features of this browser are the Opera Turbo and Opera Unite. You will be glad to have Opera Turbo when you have the misfortune of having to use a crowded Wi-Fi or an agonizingly slow net connection. Read more and download it here.

3. Skype
Yea I know, I know. There's Ekiga, but chances are 9 out of 10 of the people you know use Skype. This alone makes it a necessity to have on your Karmic box. And if you are new to Ubuntu and are just wondering, yes the Skype you are used to on Windows works on Linux. Just download it and double click to install the .deb file.

4. Devede
This application transcodes your video files into dvd formats for burning to a dvd disc or cd. Available in the software center.

5. VirtualOSE
There may be times when you want to use another OS for some reason or the other. You should have VirtualOSE around so you don't need to physically repartition your drive. Also available from software center.

6. Scribus
As a DTP tool Scribus supports professional publishing features, such as CMYK color, separations, ICC color management and versatile PDF creation. It also has additional features not normally found in a DTP tool such as vector drawing tools with SVG support and it even has support for OpenType Fonts. You can follow the instructions here to get it up and running on your box.

7. Deluge
If you are a power torrent downloader like myself, then you really got to have Deluge. It's faster, uses random ports, less resources and has more advanced features than the default Transmission. It is also available in the software repos.

I know there are so many more apps that are not on this list. For gamers, you can check out this post on how to play really awesome games from a liveCD. Your default install already comes with some great apps to get you off the ground, like OO.org. Those on this list are meant to augment the ones you already have. Give them a try and let me know what you think.

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By Seraaj Muneer with 5 comments

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Fedora 12 is unleashed - More improvement to the RHEL junior.

Fedora, one of the most popular Linux distributions in the world has released its latest- Fedora 12. Just like Ubuntu, Fedora is also released at a six month interval. According to Paul Frields,  the Fedora Project Leader at Red Hat "Fedora always looks to include the latest cutting-edge features in its distribution and we believe that Fedora 12 stays true to this pattern, packing a lot of punch across its feature set.

"Our community of global contributors continues to expand, with about 25 percent growth in Fedora Accounts since the release of Fedora 11. We’ve also seen more than 2.3 million installations of Fedora 11 thus far, which is a 20 percent increase over the previous release.” 

Fedora 12's feature list includes:
  • Improved virtualization
  • Better virtual disk performance and storage recovery
  • Reduced memory consumption
  • Modern network booting infrastructure
Fedora 12 also features numerous desktop improvements that all users can see and experience including:
  • An updated Ogg Theora free video codec that works with Firefox 3.5.4 to provide high-quality, downloadable and streaming free media out of the box.
  • Enhanced support for mobile broadband, static, and shared connections
  • Space-saving software package downloads using better compression methods
Some of the many new features in Fedora 12 include:
  • Support for the Moblin Core desktop environment for small display machines
  • PackageKit plugins for automatic software installation from the command line, and support for package installation integrated with a website
  • Automatic bug reporting tool (Abrt) for sending crash information directly to the Bugzilla issue tracker
  • The libguestfs library and tools for working directly with virtual guest disk images without booting the virtual guest machine
  • SystemTap 1.0 with improvements for easier application and kernel debugging and tracing and integration with the popular Eclipse IDE
  • The improved NetBeans 6.7.1 development environment for Java programmers
  • Optimizations for current 32-bit processors including Atom
You can get a full list and details of what's new in this release here and a video here. As usual, it is available for both KDE and GNOME fans. This distro is surely one of the best out there and gives a preview of what users can expect in the RHEL. You can download a copy of Fedora 12 here and see for yourself.

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Apple Inc. - Preparing to shove ads down your throat.

Apple Inc., the company that is behind the ground breaking iPhone and iPod, is up to something real sinister and disgusting. According to this NYTimes article, " ...in an application filed last year and made public last month by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, Apple is seeking a patent for technology that displays advertising on almost anything that has a screen of some kind: computers, phones, televisions, media players, game devices and other consumer electronics."

According to the article "....the technology can freeze the device until the user clicks a button or answers a test question to demonstrate that he or she has dutifully noticed [as in a slave and a master relationship]  the commercial message. Because this technology would be embedded in the innermost core of the device, the ads could appear on the screen at any time, no matter what one is doing [so now the user experience does not matter any longer. ugh]. The system also has a version for music players, inserting commercials that come with an audible prompt to press a particular button to verify the listener’s attentiveness."

This is disgusting and pure nonsense. If you are wondering the reason for this insane way of making users notice ads, here's the lame reason " the inventors say the advertising would enable computers and other consumer electronics products to be offered to customers free [do they expect us to believe that?] or at a reduced price. In exchange, recipients would agree to view the ads. If, down the road, users found the advertisements and the attentiveness tests unendurable, they could pay to make the device “ad free” on a temporary or permanent basis [another intellectual phrase for open extortion]."

This is what I call intellectual extortion and harassment. After reading this article, every single respect I had for Apple Inc. and Steve Jobs just evaporated. Of course filing for patent does not necessarily equal implementation. But if this is anything to go by,  it simply means people are going to be subjected to all forms of needless and time wasting ads that they must see and respond to.

Is it going to mean that all the shiny Apple toys that people have  are now going to display compulsory must see ads?  If I understand clearly, if you own one of those devices and are fed up with the ads you see, you would have to pay them to have your peace? I understand that companies seek to maximize profitability in as many ways as possible, but should it be at the expense of the satisfaction of consumers?

If this is the next level that advertising is moving to, then I can foresee a reverse by consumers to the typewriter era of technology if that will mean not having to contend with overzealous corporate entities that do not give a damn about user experience. This is another reason why I think Google is set to be the god of technology in the near future. Why? Because Google puts you and I first before revenue.

Google has the largest network of ads in the world but has managed to never shove them down your throat the way Apple is seeking to.  If this is what Apple plans to do with it's market position, then I can confidently see it overtaken by Linux in the OS market and other OEMs  in the devices market.

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By Seraaj Muneer with 2 comments

Monday, November 16, 2009

Ubuntu Lucid Lynx- Separate home partition by default.

The next release of  the ever popular Ubuntu Linux, code named Lucid Lynx, is set to be in April 2010. This release is going to be an LTS and thus with it we hope to see even more stability and greater features than the current Karmic Koala.

There is however, one feature that I really want the developers to give careful consideration to during the development process of the Lucid Lynx. In all the Ubuntu releases that have come out, the default installation has the home folder on the same drive as the system files. This makes the task of upgrading to a new release or doing a reinstall very cumbersome.

What I think would be in the best interest of Ubuntu and for that matter its users is for the standard installation to have a separate partition for the home folder. So if one chooses to go with the default installation as most people do, the home folder should automatically be created on a separate partition on the hard drive with the system files on another.

Doing this will help safeguard the data of users, especially newbies should something go wrong such that they have no option than to wipe their hard drives clean. I also think it will help people learn more about their systems as they know their data is not directly at risk.

The issue of always having to backup one's system can sometimes be a real pain especially where you have a very large amount of data. I think this simple but generally overlooked feature should really be given serious thought during the upcoming Ubuntu Development Summit for Lucid Lynx.

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By Seraaj Muneer with 5 comments

Sunday, November 15, 2009

What happens when Google finally dominates the web?

I love Google for a range of reasons, chief amongst them being the splendid array of products they offer, most of them for free. It is hard to imagine the web without Google. Can you think of how you would be using the web without that company called Google? I can't. However, recent developments from the Googleplex has got me thinking about what would happen if Google succeeds in dominating the Internet.

What actually served to excite my apprehension was when Google finally announced what I'd thought they would for a long time: the Google Chrome OS. The big G is a company that has succeeded in being indispensable in the lives of millions of internet users from all walks of life. I don't remember the last time I used the internet without a Google product or service. And I think so do you.

With the announcement of its own OS, Google is finally gunning to solidify its reign on the internet as the god of that massive network. From the little we know of the yet to be released OS, it is clear that the first thing that users will be greeted with will be Google products and services. Given that most people just go with almost anything default, and assuming that Chrome the OS succeeds, then we are going to have more people hooking up to even more Google products.

There is nothing wrong with this assumption on its own. However, the problem arises when Google later becomes too powerful to be challenged by any other company on the web. That is, what happens to you and I when Google eventually becomes the Microsoft of the internet? Or better still, what happens to our privacy when Google finally reaches there? This is company that knows more about my preferences than I do my own self. This is a company that has more data on more people than possibly any other company out there. I just recently logged into the Google Dashboard service and was astounded about how much data they have on me. What happens when such a company becomes a monopoly?

So far Google has managed to live by their motto of "Do no evil," but will that remain the same when it finally becomes the America of the web? I just read that Google is not that much happy with the current standard of HTTP and has announced its own SPDY or speedy protocol to make the transfer of data on the web lightening fast. All these, coupled with the recent hyper activity coming from Mountain View, are I believe in preparation for the imminent release of Chrome OS.

So again, and I know you have also asked yourself this question before, what happens when Google finally dominates the web? There are those that will say just say don't use Google products. But that is easier said than achieved. Are we going to keep enjoying all that we've come be to used to from Google and still remain as 'free people?' Are we going to enjoy our privacy even when Google becomes the Zeus of the internet? Are we going to keep loving Google when it finally dominates the web? You help me answer those questions because I'm at a loss for answers.

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By Seraaj Muneer with 5 comments

Wally- Spice up and show off with your Linux desktop wallpaper.

We all have pictures, and even more, we love to use them as wallpapers on our computers. There are lots of wallpaper changing applications out there that automatically rotate your desktop wallpaper using pictures from sources that your specify though most of them are not available on the Linux platform. However, I am yet to see any like Wally.

Wally is a cross platform, open source application built with Nokia's Qt4 framework that does the magic of rotating your desktop wallpaper from your local pictures on your computer, from remote folders via FTP, and popular photo sites like Flickr, Yahoo, Panoramio, Pikeo, Ipernity, Photobucket, Buzznet, Picasa, Smugmug, and Bing. You can use any combination of the above sources through the settings screen.

Among the features of Wally are
  •     Runs on Win32, Linux and MacOSX platforms
  •     History support
  •     Many wallpaper layouts available on all platforms
  •     EXIF data available over picture and in system tray tooltip
  •     Save downloaded photos
  •     Run-time folder change detection in "Folder" mode
  •     Proxy support
Wally precompiled is available for download for all three platforms from Sourceforge. So go ahead and spice up your desktop with pictures from all those great sites. Get Wally and show off your box.

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

FSArchiver- Archiving a Linux filesystem made easy.

Archiving a filesystem is a great way to copy it to another location or medium. There are a number of system tools out there that specialize in doing just that- archiving your filesystem. One such application that does this job well is FSArchiver.

FSArchiver is a system tool that allows you to save the contents of a file-system to a compressed archive file. The file-system can be restored on a partition which has a different size and it can be restored on a different file-system. Unlike tar/dar, FSArchiver also creates the file-system when it extracts the data to partitions.

Everything is checksummed in the archive in order to protect the data. If the archive is corrupt, you just loose the current file, not the whole archive. Fsarchiver is released under the GPL-v2 license. It's still under heavy development so it must not be used on critical data.

The aim of FSArchiver is to provide a safe and flexible file-system backup/deployment tool. FSArchiver can extract an archive to a partition which is smaller that the original one as long as there is enough space to store the data. It can also restore the data on a different file-system, so it can use it when you want to convert your file-system: you can backup an ext3 file-system, and restore it as a reiserfs.

There are two ways to use FSArchiver. You can either download a livecd with this program on it, or you can install it on a Linux system on your computer. If you want to install FSArchiver, you can either compile it from sources or just copy the static binary. Follow the directions here for more details. You can also read more about FSArchiver  here.

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By Seraaj Muneer with 2 comments

Can a DVD last for 1000 years?- Cranberry thinks so.

All of us use DVD discs in one way or the other. I for instance use it as a backup together with my online backups. All of us also use them to burn and watch movies. One thing that these discs have in common like all other storage media is that they have a relatively short lifespan. The longest I've had with a DVD disc has been three and half years, and my drives just would not read them any longer.

However, a startup firm, Cranberry, claims it has invented a DVD disc that can last for a 1000 years. Yes you read right, thousand years. According to the company, "[t]he Cranberry DiamonDisc has no adhesive layers, dye layer or reflective layer to deteriorate. A high-intensity laser physically etches your information into the diamond-like surface of our synthetic stone disc. No other layer is needed.

"The format is the same as any other DVD. We changed only the materials and construction of the physical disc. And the Cranberry DiamonDisc is fully backwards-compatible. This means that it can be read by any DVD player in any computer and is fully platform-independent."

This really sounds great and somewhat interesting to hear. But wait, here's the real thing. The DiamondDisc can be read by standard players, but cannot  be written to. Yes you can only read from it and not write to it with your usual writer. So how do you write on it? Easy, Cranberry does the writing for you. Here read this.

"Specialized hardware is required to etch the diamond-like surface of a Cranberry DiamonDisc. The cost of this hardware puts it out of the reach of most consumers. This is why we’ll need to etch your DiamonDisc for you.

"The process is simple:

        * Purchase your Cranberry DiamonDisc online.
        * Upload your files through the secure online Cranberry File Uploader or send them to Cranberry by mail.
        * Cranberry etches your files onto the DiamonDisc and mails it to your home or office."

Now that's what I call bullsh*t. What if I don't want anyone to see my files? What if they are sensitive company secrets that would have devastating consequences should it fall in the wrong hands? Well you can always buy the DiamondDisc writer for a whooping $4000. That's what I call out of range in an economic crisis. The cost of the DD is $34.95 for a single disc and $29.95 for two or more.

This looks good except that I would not use if I had the chance not only because of the price but would we even be using DVDs in a thousand years' time? You help me answer.

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By Seraaj Muneer with 3 comments

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Cuba preparing to quit Windows in favor of GNU/Linux.

Cuban authorities are seriously preparing to quit the Windows operating system and use the GNU/Linux free software instead, thus avoiding any sanctions for using this computer system by the Windows' owner, the giant Microsoft Corporation.

More than 3800 technicians have been already trained in the country, and Ciego de Ávila, located in the mid eastern part of the Island, is a good example of this. In that province, there are around 600 people taking intensive 4-month courses to learn about the use of Linux and replace the Windows operation system.

Its a measure aimed at breaking the dependence on programs that are under the control of US owners and also anticipating any claims by the patents owners for the use of this system in Cuba, which cannot be paid because of the US commercial embargo, among other reasons.

That is why the Cuban authorities have decided to train their specialists by delivering the Linux and the Computer Operator for Linux courses that started at the end of 2005.

Last Sunday, September 9th, the country celebrated the 20th anniversary of the foundation of the so-called Computer Club for the Young; and idea that was promoted by the Cuban president Fidel Castro.

On Saturday, the Cuban leader sent a message of congratulation to this IT organization, which has thousands of members across the country, as well as state-of-the-art equipment and professors that teach about the different digital techniques.

Linux came out as a free alternative to the Windows program created by the Bill Gates' company, and it provides users with the freedom to access its source codes and to modify them, thus enhancing the privacy of information. And its all totally free of charge.

The software was created in 1991 by a Finnish student called Linus Torvalds. Among other advantages, it allows compatibility with the equipment we have in the country and its immune to the majority of  computer viruses, says the newspaper.

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By Seraaj Muneer with 6 comments

Linux Mint with SimplicITy - Helping make computers usable for the aged.

In a comment on yesterday's post, a reader pointed out that there is this new startup that makes computers for the technophobic elderly running Linux Mint. This set me on a search for more information and here we go. This startup is called SimplicITy. What it basically does is to give the over 50s a chance at IT with a computer that at the outside looks like what you and I are used to, but the inside is radically different.

When the Simple computer is put on, the user is greeted with what is called Square One. This is the launchpad with nice looking icons that gives you the ability to browse the web, send emails, chat with friends and family, store photos and create short documents.

If you have a problem you can just go 'back to Square One' and start all over again. The simplicity comes with video tutorials that take you, step-by-step, through each of the features in Square One. Valerie Singleton (founder of the project) talks you through each stage to help you learn how to get started and then move on to all the new features you'll want to use. You can watch the training videos as many times as you like before putting your toe in the water and training yourself.

Aside from the standard computer, screen, keyboard, mouse and speakers that come with every purchase, buyers also benefit from one year's free membership of Discount Age, the website dedicated to getting the best deals for 50-pluses.

In terms of security, the SimplicITy computer is powered by Eldy and runs the Linux Mint operating system. Linux Mint and Eldy are far more immune to viruses, spyware, Trojans and other security threats. Best of all, Linux Mint is completely free, as are all the applications, as well as all updates and upgrades to future versions.

All in all, I think this is a great project that is sure to give our elderly what we are taking for granted. If you are interested in getting one of these gizmos for your older folks or even yourself, you can get more purchase information from here.So go ahead and make an elderly happy with this worthwhile box.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Karmic Koala - Not Ubuntu's Vista

Ubuntu Linux, without a doubt is the most popular Linux desktop OS out there. It has come a long way since Warthy Wathog some 5 years ago. The crowning release of the distro was on the 29 of October when Karmic Koala was unleashed into the wild.

To say this release is good will be an understatement. It is the best so far in the history of Canonical. However, Karmic Koala, just like any other software that is made up of lines of code, is bound to have bugs. I am yet to read anywhere that it was stated  Karmic was going to be bugless. I am amazed at how people are equating Karmic to Vista in terms of buggs and hiccups.

First of all, Ubuntu Karmic is far from repeating the spectacular, legendary failure of Vista. The latter was a big, unprecedented blunder on the part of Microsoft. Not so is Ubuntu Karmic however. I installed the beta and later the final release and not a single thing went wrong. I am not going to be naive to say it will go so for everyone. No, people will experience some problems with it. Even the multibillion dollar Windows 7 is giving people a hard time with bugs.

But it is very surprising when you have people begin to predict the demise of Ubuntu just because they have encountered bugs with Karmic. What people are not saying however, is that Karmic is radically different from all the previous releases in that it comes with some really new functions and features that are now making their debut. It is packed with new features that are bound to cause some performance problems.

For years we have all been saying we want to see  Ubuntu stand up to Windows. We want to see new functions and features in Ubuntu. Now that Canonical is beginning to deliver, we the same people are now turning to attack the developers. I agree with a good friend of mine when he says Ubuntu is always under scrutiny because it is the most popular Linux desktop distro out there. But to make all sorts of noise because some bugs have been discovered is just being unfair to Ubuntu.

To reduce the incident of bugs with your system, you should consider backing up your system and doing a clean reinstall. I have always been against upgrading from one major release of a software to the other. It is always better to start afresh. You should also have a realistic expectation of the OS. You should know it is something made by man and may suffer some deficiencies.

If you are thinking of installing Ubuntu Karmic but are being put off by the hue and cry you are reading all over the net, I can confidently say to you that go ahead and install it. It is a great release and your your system is likely to run smoothly with it. The bug issues you are hearing are the exception rather than the rule to the Ubuntu experience. Go on and enjoy real freedom.

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By Seraaj Muneer with 28 comments
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