Adventures In Computing

September 16, 2010

My Failures with Ubuntu 10.10 and Experimenting with Windows 7

Filed under: 64bit, GNU/Linux, Linux, Ubuntu, Ubuntu 64bit, Windows — Normand Bissonnette @ 3:05 pm

On Friday September 3rd I decided to install the first beta of Ubuntu 10.10, code name “Maverick Meerkat” on my laptop, which happens to be my main computer. I knew that since it was a beta there might be some bugs and minor inconveniences because it was not the final product. I usually try the live cd first to make sure everything works but this time I decided to just do a distro update, wrong move.

It took about an hour to complete but when I turned on my latop I was getting a psychedelic screen. It was cool looking but I could not use my computer what so ever. It was late so I fired up my desktop , which I have been using as a media server, and downloaded a live cd to install the next day.

Saturday September 4th after work I install using the live cd. When the installation is done and the computer starts up I get the same funky screen. I was starting to get annoyed. I try to fix it using the rescue mode, same screen, Crtl-Alt-f2 same thing. Try seaching the forums, nothing there to help me. I decide to download the Alternate Install disc and give that a try.

To make a long story short, this ended with the same results. At this point I was very pissed off, at my computer, at Ubuntu and most of all at myself for not trying it live first or on VirtualBox!

I then decide to do the unthinkable: I install Windows 7. I have been using linux for 4 years and 6 months and Ubuntu for 4 years, I have sworn never to use Windows as my main OS, yet I decided to see if I liked the Windows 7 experience for a month and install Ubuntu in October when the final product comes out.

Last year I installed Windows 7 beta on VirtualBox to try it out and I played with it for a few hours and decided that it was not for me. This time around I would give it a fighting chance to either impress me or disappoint me. I was going to give it a full try with no Ubuntu to fall back on.

I’ll be honest with you, all the propriety programs I installed to get my Windows to work (Office, Ant- virus, Defragmentor…) are either trial versions of the programs or pirated, I did not want to spend a fortune just to try Windows 7.

After using Windows 7 for the past 2 weeks, I am amazed that I like Windows 7, there are some thing that I don’t like but there is a lot to like. I know some of you will call me a traitor to Open Source software, that I have turned to the dark side. My answer would be:  not really, I like to try new things to keep myself up to date with PCs and we have to face fact that Windows has a 88.92% share of all computers and linux has only 1.10%. Linux has lots of space for growth.

Even tough I was pleasantly surprised by Windows 7 and my short experience was for the most part enjoyable,  I will be installing Ubuntu 10.10 on my laptop in October but I will not be dismissing Windows 7 like I did Vista and XP. I will keep on pushing the use of Open Source software.

The linux community must roll up its sleeves and continue the great work it has been doing. They must push the envelope and be leaders not followers in software development and we must educate the mass of the advantages of Open Source over the oligarchy we now have.

I am in sales and the worst thing a sales person can do is put down the competition instead of pushing the product he/she is  selling. It is always easier to put down the competition than to elevate your product, but you will feel better taking the high road, and in the long run you will gain more supporters. So if some Windows or Apple enthusiast is putting down Linux don’t stoop to his/her level just state something that you really enjoy when you use Ubuntu. Mention some option they may enjoy out of Linux, don’t just say that Windows sucks and Ubuntu rocks. You’ll just antagonize  them and chances are they won’t try Linux. (And Windows 7 doesn’t really suck).

June 24, 2009

David Versus Two Goliaths

Filed under: Gnome, GNU/Linux, KDE, Kubuntu, Linux, Ubuntu, Windows, Windows XP — Normand Bissonnette @ 1:21 pm

Apple will release its OS X 10.6 “Snow Loepard” in September and not long after, on October 22nd, Microsoft’s  Windows 7 will be released. A week later Ubuntu 9.10 “Karmic Koala” is scheduled to be unleashed. We all know that Windows 7 will be used by more people than Ubuntu and OS X but will it be a better operating system?

I have tried the beta & the release candidate of Windows 7 and from what I have seen it is a far better OS than the doomed Vista. I do not own an Apple computer so I have not tried OS X. For those users that are still using Windows XP and do not want to leave their comfort zone, October will be a great month for updating to Windows 7, so save up your money kiddies because a full fledged copy of Windows 7 will cost you between $49.99 and $199.99 US, if you believe the rumours flying on the web. OS X is reported to cost $29.99.

I have chosen Ubuntu almost 3 years ago and I will keep on using it. I use Ubuntu, Kubuntu and Ubuntu netbook remix. I use Ubuntu more often but I seem to prefer the feel and look of Kubuntu. I prefer the professional look of KDE 4.2.4 over gnome 2.26, that is my opinion and we are all allowed to have opinions. One of the advantages of Ubuntu is that it is free.

I will not run out and purchase a copy of Windows 7 when it does come out in October and chances are that I will not purchase a Mac just to try out OS X, but I will update my Ubuntu 9.04 to 9.10. I hope more people try Ubuntu and stick with it because it is a great operating system with a lot of advantages over the other two I have mentioned.

As a member of the Ubuntu community I must, as we all should, help new users with any problems they may have switching from Windows and OS X. We must be patient if we want Ubuntu or any other version of GNU/Linux to make it in the mainstream. It can be done, strike that, it will be done. All we need is educating the general public and perseverance.

December 17, 2008

The Diversity Of Linux Window Managers

Filed under: EeePC, GNU/Linux, KDE, Kubuntu, Linux, opensuse, Samba, Thunar, Ubuntu — Normand Bissonnette @ 2:59 pm

A misconception among most Windows and Mac users is that an Operating System and a desktop environment are the same. Linux users have the opportunity to know better. Linux users have the advantage of using several desktop environments/windowmanagers  like Gnome, KDE, Fluxbox, XFCE and Openbox to name only a few. Alot of new converts to Linux will start with Ubuntu as their Linux distribution of choice therefore they will start with Gnome for a desktop environment. A few years back when I switched over from the dark side, Windows, to Linux I started with OpenSuse and the KDE desktop environment. I did enjoy my time with KDE and OpenSuse until I decided to try Ubuntu with Gnome. I also install the KDE desktop environment as a safety net.

At first I did not like Gnome as much as KDE, but I have to say that I only used it 30% of the time. When I decided to give Gnome a full hearing I got rid of KDE completely and go with Gnome. I have been using Gnome ever since. I had Kubuntu on a computer that I rarely use.  Well I decided to get reacquainted with KDE. I installed Kubuntu 8.10 with KDE 4.1.3 on my number two computer, I use this computer everyday. What I have seen so far of KDE 4.1.3, I like. KDE looks a lot more polished than Gnome. I can’t wait to see the improvements the KDE developers have instore for us when KDE 4.2 comes out in January.

I have also installed CrunchBang on my eeePC. CrunchBang have OpenBox as a desktop environment. I wanted something lite on resources on my eeePC 701, CrunchBang fits the bill perfectly… well almost perfectly, Thunar does not play well with SMB network shared files. I found a post on how to set up fuseSMB, it worked until I restarted the eeePc and I could not get it working again. I tried PyNeighborhood that also worked until I restarted the computer now I can see the files on the other computers but I cannot access them.  Before you say anything I set up the correct user and password. I finally decided to install Nautilus along with all the necessary packages for network shared files. Now it works fine. CrunchBang is based in Ubuntu and it is perfect for a netbook being a lightweight OS.

There is a Linux window manager for all types of users. I recommend everybody to try something new once in a while. Open up your mind a give it a go, you may find something better for your specific needs.

December 5, 2008

iPod Classic And GTKpod Revisited

Filed under: 64bit, GNU/Linux, iPod, Linux, Ubuntu, Ubuntu 64bit — Normand Bissonnette @ 4:48 pm

Rhythymbox is great for importing and exporting music to the iPod.  The only situation I encountered with using Rhythymbox as an iPod management tool is that it has a few problems with album art.  To get album art to the ‘pod we must play a song from the album.  The problem that I have is that if Rhythymbox is play music it somehow screws up alot of the album art, what I mean is, the album art I am trying to import on the iPod is wrongly associated to other albums.  I have had this problem in Ubuntu 7.10, 8.04 and the newest 8.10.

I have been trying gtkpod and gtkpod-acc to see if it now works and when I turn it on everything is fine but the second I click on the iPod directory, to manage it, The gtkpod GUI freezes and my CPU goes to 100% usage and after a little while it starts overheating.  Last night I let this go on for about 15 minutes and I killed the process fearing damage to my laptop.

I have told you a few posts back that I have the 64bit version of Ubuntu 8.10 on “kramer” my laptop.  So I decided to try gtkpod on my Wind netbook, which runs the i386 version of Ubuntu 8.10.  Gtkpod works fine on this installation.  I guess I will have to file a bug report stating that the gtkpod 64bit package is broken.

I can now manage my iPod using “blizard” with the correct album art.  I can also import video to the ‘pod again, since RhythymBox does not support video.

November 25, 2008

Banshee 1.4 And iPods Are Like Mixing Oil And Water: It Does Not Work!

Filed under: 64bit, Banshee, Gnome, GNU/Linux, iPod, Linux, Ubuntu, Ubuntu 64bit — Normand Bissonnette @ 4:47 pm

I’m not a happy camper as I am writing this.  I simply wanted to add some music to my iPod.  Gtkpod froze and my computer was heating up.  Must be a bug.  Rhythymbox works but I decide to try Banshee 1.4, Bad idea!  I am able to load new music fine.  I unplug the iPod after it says that I can disconnect it.  No music on the ‘pod.  What is going on?  Plug the iPod and I can see the music so I disconnect it once more and still no music.  I restart the ‘pod by pressing the “Menu” and “Select” buttons simultaneously.  The iPod restarts, still no music.  I am pissed off!

I connect the iPod back to the computer and  I “Drag’N’Drop” the songs, all 11016 of them, on my laptop.  I don’t feel like pulling out all my CDs and ripping them again so that I can place them in the ‘pod.  I boot Windows XP from the only computer that I own which still has Windows on it and do a factory reset on the iPod using iTunes.

I spend several hours, over several days loading up my iPod with music.  I used Rhythymbox Music Player to load the music in the ‘Pod.  I have to mention that this post has been written in three steps:  the first paragraph was written when my iPod “lost” all of it’s songs two weeks ago.  The second paragraph and the first sentence of the third paragraph was written a week later.  The rest was written today the day I published the post.

I now know that Banshee 1.4 is the culprit in losing all the songs.  I taught that maybe gtkpod was since it had frozen and I had to terminate it because my computer was overheating.  It took all my courage to try uploading songs in my iPod using Banshee and it worked but when I eject the ‘Pod it says that I have “0 songs”.  I know for a fact that I have 11037 on it since I just loaded 21 songs using Banshee 1.4.  Damn, damn, damn.  I plugin the iPod to my laptop.  I launch Rhythymbox.  I see all 11037 songs.  I play one of the songs I just uploaded using Banshee.  It plays fine.  I unplug the iPod and low and behold all my songs are there.  I am so glad, that I am glad, that I’m glad; to quote Cream.  I must dig out their CD and add that song to my iPod.  So I have learned that I cannot use Banshee as my all purpose music player/iPod loader.  I must keep on using Rhythymbox.

I really liked Banshee 1.4 but I cannot use it because of this problem.  If you do not have an iPod I whole heartily recommend it, but if you do I cannot recommend it. Apparently I am the only person that has this problem since I cannot find anybody else on the web with the same problem.  I wonder if it is because I have the 64 bit version of intrepid installed?

If you know of a solution please leave a comment, thanks.

November 11, 2008

Ibex Quite Mundane To Install

Filed under: 64bit, EeePC, Funny, Gnome, GNU/Linux, Humor, Humour, KDE, Kubuntu, Linux, Ubuntu, Ubuntu 64bit — Normand Bissonnette @ 5:52 pm

I have installed Ubuntu 8.10 code name Intrepid Ibex on three computers. I upgraded two computers from Ubuntu 8.04. I installed Kubuntu 8.10 on a computer. No major situations to report. It has become very mundane to install Ubuntu or even upgrade. There is no reason for the regular Joe not to install Ubuntu on their “Windows” computer. Come on haven’t you heard we are living in a new era first Barack Obama was elected president of the United States, now switch to Ubuntu!

I have two computers that I still have not did the upgrade; the eeePC, I’ll do it when I can spare time. The other I will not upgrade until the gpac package is fixed. I use this computer to remux HD movies so that my Xbox 360 can play them and with mp4box that is included in the gpac package available with Ibex I cannot remux the HD movies 😦

I almost forgot to mention that I have installed the 64 bit version of Ibex on most of the computers. 32 bit computing is so twentieth century 🙂

On an other note here is a great Matrix/Windows parody, I know that most of you must have seen it, this is for those who haven’t, enjoy.

October 31, 2008

Intrepid Ibex Officially Released

Filed under: GNU/Linux, Kubuntu, Linux, MSI Wind, Ubuntu, Ubuntu 64bit — Normand Bissonnette @ 12:53 am

Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid Ibex has been officially released.  I am downloading, via torrent, the 64 bit version as I am writing this.  I hope to be installing it on my laptop and main computer Saturday or Sunday at the latest.  I have already installed the release candidate on my relatively new MSI Wind I have also installed the Kubuntu Release Candidate on another box. I will do the updates on these tomorrow morning and everything will be up to date.  This will be the first time which all my computers that support 64 bit will have the 64 bit Ubuntu installed, I believe that now is the time for 64bit computing to shine.

September 22, 2008

Converting One Person At The Time

Filed under: 64bit, BIOS, Dell, EeePC, GNU/Linux, Linux, Ubuntu, Ubuntu 64bit, Vostro 1500, Windows, Windows XP — Normand Bissonnette @ 6:21 pm

On Sunday I installed Ubuntu 8.04.1 AMD on my friends laptop, an Acer.  I won’t go into detail how easy the installation and tweaking was.  I was done within an hour.  I have been trying to convince Jacques since he got his laptop in 2007 to try Ubuntu.  He finally asked me to do it last week, I think he was tired of me bugging him.

Before I did his upgrade to an operating system that works out of the box and is very secure and looks great, I had been wanting to update my Dell Vostro laptop’s BIOS and I had to this from a bootable DOS disk since the BIOS is only available as an .exe file.  I decided that I would create a DOS bootable USB stick.  I found a few how to’s on how to do this from a linux based computer.  Nothing I tried worked.  I took the decision that in October when I would upgrade to Ubuntu 8.10, I would either install XP and have a dual boot or install XP just for updating the BIOS then format the hard drive and install Ibex.

With Jacques laptop at home I had another option to update the BIOS.  I removed both hard drives from the two laptops, placed Jacques’ HD in my Vostro 1500 and installed the BIOS updates from XP.  It worked.  It took less time than trying to create a bootable DOS USB stick.  I think that I’ll create a USB with XP that is bootable with my eeePC just in case there are more updates to the BIOS.  Problem solving is my forte.

September 19, 2008

Microsoft Fires Seinfeld?

Filed under: Entertainment, GNU/Linux, Linux, Seinfeld, Technology, Television, Ubuntu, Windows — Normand Bissonnette @ 10:15 am

The new Microsoft ad was aired yesterday.  They have gotten rid of Jerry Seinfeld and they are going after Apple.  You can judge for yourself.

I wear glasses, I wear jeans, I have a ring, I blog, I shave, I have one ring, I am connected to a billion people world wide, I’m a PC and I am a human being, I use linux for human being, I use Ubuntu.  I am not a stereotype.

What is the point they are trying to push across?  All the attributes they mention in this latest commercial can be said of Windows, Mac, Linux, BSD users.  Even none computers users.  It seems to me that they are afraid of losing their consumer base and they are trying to convince them not to leave for a better system.

I wonder if they will go after Linux?  I guess we will have to wait.

September 12, 2008

Shuttleworth: Ubuntu As Pretty As Apple In Two Years

Filed under: GNU/Linux, Linux, Shuttleworth, Ubuntu — Normand Bissonnette @ 5:05 pm

With Mark Shuttleworth’s commitment to have Ubuntu out do Apple within two years (see Information Week article, see Mark Shuttleworth blog), he proves to us that he doesn’t have cold feet.  He has decided not to thread in the kiddies pool, instead he is jumping in with both feet in the deep end.  I applaud this since I can’t tell enough people about the virtues of Ubuntu and Linux in general,  I do try though.

I hope we, the present users of Ubuntu, will be happy with the results because we have supported Ubuntu since almost the begining (In my case two years ago yesterday), we have invest so much time getting everything right on our computers while using Ubuntu.  I am sure we will be getting more Ubuntu users and we will lose some.  I guess that is the nature of the beast.

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