Adventures In Computing

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.

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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 4, 2008

Ubuntu Has To Become Boring To Succeed

Filed under: GNU/Linux, Linux, Ubuntu, Windows XP — Normand Bissonnette @ 12:22 am

I took a break from blogging last month, in fact I took a break from using computers other than work and simple Internet surfing.  Last week I “fixed” a friends computer that was infected by a rogue virus.  Of course that computer has XP as the operating system.  While I was scanning and removing the virus’s from that computer I was thinking of how we could get Ubuntu as the most used operating system.  We can tell everybody the advantages of an open source OS for one reason or another this is not enough.  Most computer users do not want their OS to change.  They want it to be the same all the time, that is why Windows Vista is failing to capture the hearts of Windows users.

I think that if Ubuntu wants to succeed as a Desktop OS for everybody, there should be a everything works version that is released every two years.  This new version would be the least cutting edge of the family with only security updates.  The LTS version for the commercial users still continues to come out every two years, but not the same year as the new Ubuntu.  The October releases (X.10) for advanced users (make this one bleeding edge).  I think that it might work.  For Ubuntu to succeed as a mass market desktop it has to be “dummied” down.

I will be posting again at a regular pace again.

May 20, 2008

My Linux Anniversary

Filed under: GNU/Linux, Hardy Heron, Kubuntu, Kubuntu 8.04, Linux, Ubuntu, Ubuntu 8.04, Vista, Windows, Windows XP, XP — Normand Bissonnette @ 10:56 am

As of today it has been two years since I changed from Windows XP to GNU/Linux. I started my Linux experience with OpenSuSE. I remember after formating my computer I could not get my Internet connection working. I work a few hours to get it. If you have been reading this blog you know that I am now using Ubuntu/Kubuntu and I remember that right after installing Ubuntu I did not have to do anything the internet worked right out of the box.

linuxIt has been a very interesting two years, I have a lot about computer since the switch. I could do almost anything when I used Windows XP and it took maybe one year for me to be able to say that I could do anything with Linux. I got a lot of help from Google, forums, various Wikis, How-Tos and several blogs. When I am unsure I just search the internet with Google and most of the time someone else has had the same problems before and a solution has already been found.

Two weeks ago I installed Ubuntu on a friends computer and he is having problems with the computer freezing. I think his problem is faulty RAM because the computer had these same problems using Windows XP. He is now shopping for RAM. There are several reasons for switching over to a GNU/Linux systems, the main reason that I upgraded to Linux was no more software piracy for me. Two years ago almost all the software on my computer was downloaded using P2P software and being a cheap SOB I did not pay when I could get it free. I felt somewhat guilty and to get rid of the guilt I either had to spend thousands of dollars or go with free open source software. I chose the cheapest path and I did the right choice.

Most people will use their computers only to surf the Internet and do a a bit of word processing. GNU/Linux is perfect for these users. If you don’t mind using “non-free” codecs, most users fall in this category, you can watch DVD’s and listen to music. I have stated before that where GNU/linux is lacking, is in the gaming area. With the money you have saved (Vista $239, Nero $99, Microsoft Office $179…) you can buy either an Xbox 360, Playstation 3 or a Wii. Maybe you can purchase two of the three gaming console if you use Gimp instead of Adobe Photoshop ($699).

If you are willing to do things differently and you are ready to learn something new you should start thinking of switching to something better, why settle for mediocrity when the alternative is so much better?

April 20, 2008

eeePC Video With Compiz-Fusion

Last time when I left you I still had to figure out how to get my video working on the eeePC when with either the Metisse or Compiz-Fusion activated in the Mandriva 2008.1 operating system.  I am glad to say that after a bid of searching I figure it out thanks to the Compiz-Fusion forum and google.  I should really say that I got it working with Compiz-Fusion not Metisse yet.  After using it for a little while I turned of the 3D effects because it was slowing down the eeePC.  I’ll only use it to impress friends, family and people that I`ll try to convert to GNU/Linux from Windows.

I’ll never go back to Windows in its present form.  Next Month will mark two full years with a GNU/Linux operating system as my personal choice.  I’ve tried a few distribution, starting with openSUSE and at the moment using Ubuntu and Kubuntu and Mandriva.  I’ve tried Fedora, Elive, GoblniX, openGEU, linux mint and Foresight.  I even tried the Xandros on my eeePC.  I have tried a few BSD Unix distributions.  All these “alternative” operating systems are a lot more secure than Windows.  They are cheaper than Windows.  Almost every applications in Linux are free, well the ones I use are.  No anti virus to install.  Computers that are older than five years are still usable. With that said I can safely say that their is no way that I’ll return to Windows in its present form.

The main reason that a lot of people hate Windows Vista so much is that it is different from Windows XP and a lot of computer users do not want to learn how to do things differently.  They want to use the path with the least resistance.  This is also the major reason that GNU/Linux is still a marginal operating system.   It is great that eeePC comes with Linux.  Dell comes with Ubuntu pre-install.  I think that if Windows does come out with Windows 7 next year it will get a lot of people switching to Linux. 

The time is now to switch to a GNU/Linux operating system.  If you are on the fence trying to decide just go for it, and stick with it for a few months and you will be glad you did.  It does not matter which one you choose they are all fine distributions.  With the money you save by not buying software you can buy a Video Console for all your gaming needs.  This is the only shortfall Linux has in my opinion.  It is getting better but it is not there yet.

April 16, 2008

Windows XP on Noisy Computer

Filed under: Funny, Humor, Humour, Windows XP — Normand Bissonnette @ 12:40 am

computerI am a glutton for punishment!  A co-worker asked me to clean up her computer and do what it is needed to make it go fast.  When I had time to do some work on it I turned it on.  Holy cow!  THE NOISE coming from the fan was unbelievable.  I have a computer that I found noisy but after hearing this computer my “noisy” computer can be considered whisper quiet.  I installed Windows XP on “Noisy” and the usual anti-virus and anti adware/spyware.  I set up a few accounts because this computer will be used as a family computer.  I set up Internet Explorer so that the younger members of the family could not access “adult” sites.  I had this computer going for about four hours and had a splitting headache.  This computer was producing so much heat I had to open a few windows to cool the apartment down.

Tomorrow I have to finish installing applications on this computer.  I hope it does not take too long because I can’t stand the noise coming from this computer.  I can’t even use my iPod because the noise drowns it out.  My neighbors have not complained yet but I am sure that they will if I don’t finish doing all the work as soon as possible.

p.s. I believe the computer was making a lot of noise because it wanted me to install Ubuntu or any other Linux operating system.

April 5, 2008

Hardy Heron Another Step Forward For Linux

Thursday after work I updated my laptop from Ubuntu 7.10 to Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron beta.  Everything went fine with the update.  I like the neHeronw Clock in which we get the weather and we can add cities from different time zones.  Transmission is the new bit torrent client, I haven’t tried it here But I had used it when I was running Elive on one of my computer.  I beleive that the powers that be who decides which applications should be installed by defaults, should look at Deluge as the bit torrent client of choice.  It is a full featured client and it is easy to use.  About two minutes ago I started using Gnome-do and I like it very much.  It is sort of like Katapult on the KDE desktop.  There are still some bug, like no hibernation on my laptop & Epiphany crashes for no apparent reason.  It is going to be a fine release once all the bugs are worked out.  If you are adventurous install it now but if you want to wait until it is perfected you only have to wait until April  24 2008.

After the seeing how smoothly Ubuntu was updated on my laptop, I decided to update my Kubuntu 7.10 to 8.04 beta.  I already am using the KDE 4.0.3 version of Kubuntu 8.04 so the next step was the KDE 3.5.9 version of Hardy Heron.  This time the update was very painful.  I had to install it from scratch after the update because I could not do anything with it.  Thank God for live cd’s because there were some data that I had not backed up before attempting this update.  From what I have been experiencing Kubuntu is buggier than Ubuntu.  The KDE 4 version of Kubuntu has less bugs from my experience.  Everything will be fixed by April 24th and both Kubuntu distros will be great.

January 19, 2008

KDE 4.0: A Stepping Stone

Filed under: GNU/Linux, KDE 4.0, Linux, Vista, Windows, Windows XP — Normand Bissonnette @ 12:43 am

Last year at the end of January an operating system was release which a lot of people were disappointed with and refusing to change over to it. You all know that I am talking about Vista. When it came out there were no drivers for existing hardware. It took to much space on the hard drive. It basically takes a super computer for all its features to work properly. It doesn’t work the same as Windows XP, etc… etc… etc… A lot of people in the linux camp and even the Windows camp were saying that Microsoft released an Operating System that should not have been release before they worked out all the kinks.

Fast forward a year. Last week KDE 4.0 was released and there are a few things that are missing. We the users of KDE have lost options that we had in the 3.5.8 version of KDE 4.0. For example I can’t figure out how to add another panel on the desktop. I can’t even re-size the existing panel. The new menu system is horrible. There are a lot of Linux users complaining and there are as many Linux users defending the new KDE 4.0. Last year the same was being said about Vista. I think that we are too fast at complaining, we want instant results. I have been playing a bit with Vista and it is not as bad as everybody says it is, there are a lot of stuff I don’t like about it but there is some that I like. With that said I would not choose it as my OS.

KDE 4.0 is a stepping stone for greater things to come. If you are switching from Windows or Vista to Linux and you want to work with KDE I strongly recommend you go with KDE 3.5.8 for now and hopefully within a year KDE 4.1 will be out and will have a few of its annoyances worked out.

I have to say to the KDE 4.0 developers you can’t satisfy everybody all the time, we end users are bastards, when something is not to our liking we will complain until the cows come home and when it works fine we usually don’t say a word. I would like thank all the developers of KDE 4.0 for all your hard work and dedication to the cause of free open source software, keep up all the good work.

Edit:  I’ve added in the comments a link to a tentative releases schedule for KDE4.  I did not have this information when I wrote this post.

December 14, 2007

I Have Seen the Light with Enlightenment

I have been experimenting with both Geubuntu and Elive-Gem the last few days and I am quite intrigued. I have been using Virtualbox trying them out and I like what I have seen so far. Yesterday I was off from work and played around with both and I was so impressed with Geubuntu that I was one mouse click away from installing it one my laptop. I was to lazy to back up the files from my /home directory to my /storage one, so I did not install it. I wait a bit before I decide to take the plunge. I can’t install Elive-Gem on the laptop because it won’t support my wifi or audio card.

Both these operating systems use Enlightenment as there windows manager and it is different from everything I have seen so far. Maybe I’ll install it on my eldest desktop, but not now, I wanted to try KDE 4.0 first when it comes out in January.

In the last two post I mentioned that I have been trying out other web browsers than the top two. Here are my finding. On the laptop I am using Epiphany with a bunch of there extensions. On this computer I am not missing Firefox at all, to tell you the truth I prefer Epiphany. On my Kubuntu box I have been using Konqueror which I find slow but I still enjoy it. I would choose Firefox over it. On my Ubuntu 64bit computer I have kept Firefox but I installed the 32bit version so that the flash player plug in could work. I might switch over to Epiphany on this computer. On this same computer I have XP with which I tried Maxthon and since I don’t use XP often I find alright but I haven’t used it to its full potential. At work I now use Opera and I am very impressed with it, it is very fast I would recommend it to anybody wanting to get rid of bloated browsers.

I guess my time is up for today.

December 3, 2007

Browser Wars: The Unknowns


Before I start with this post I’ll just say that this is not the post that I was supposed to publish today. I had told you in a previous post that I was converting some Seinfeld episodes into iPod ready files. I decided to write a step by step account of this so that my fellow Ubuntu users could do the same thing whitout searching the web trying something and if that didn’t work search again. Well let me tell you That post was so long I think I could actually publish it as a book. My experience in reading blogs is that if a blog is overly long the reader tends to lose patient and not read it completely, so I decided to shelve it until I cut it down to a respectful size.

With that said on with this shorter post. I already mentioned in the past that I was trying out the Epiphany browser instead of my beloved Firefox. Lately I found that firefox was a behemoth of a browser almost as bad as Internet Explorer from our “friends” at Microsoft. Firefox in a linux environment is now slow as molasses. It actually works faster in Windows than Linux! I guess Firefox should be considered a Windows Browser that is ported to Linux.

Epiphany is a small web browser designed to work with the Gnome desktop. My first impressions of Epiphany is “damn this is fast”! It is a hell of a lot faster than Firefox. It has it’s own extensions, but not as many as Firefox. After using it a week I don’t miss my Firefox extensions, much. There is a short learning curve when changing to Epiphany but I think it is worth it. Today I decided to try Konqueror, as a web browser, on my Kubuntu computer, in fact I am writing this using Konqueror. Another learning curve. My first impression of Konqueror as a web browser is “damn this is slow”!

I still use Firefox on one of my computer and at work. At work we use Windows so I have to use something else than Internet Explorer. I was thinking of installing the Opera Browser. I think I’ll do that tomorrow since there is supposed to be a snow storm starting this evening and going through the night. Tomorrow it is going to be windy and I think that we won’t be busy. Maxthon is another alternative for Windows users. It uses the Explorer engine but it improves on it.

Who will win the browser wars? I certainly don’t know, but what I know is that Internet Explorer as all to lose and nothing to gain. It has already lost quite a bit and if Firefox improves itself when 3.0 comes out it has a fighting chance. I only hope they don’t forget us Linux users because without us firefox would not have had a fighting chance at the beginning.

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