Saturday, May 26, 2007

Mobile Again

Okay I pulled out the OLD and reliable laptop and decided to give the HDD one last try. Would you believe it worked? Not only that Kubuntu reconfigured itself to work on the Video board built into the laptop. I can now say I am duly impressed. Never ever had any other Linux Distribution do that before.

So the old and slow but reliable Laptop is up and running. I have it on the wireless updating as I type this. Its installing packages. It already downloaded most of them will have to run the update one more time to get all of them. (Seems to just be the way it is.) Yes its SLOW but it works and I can get back to being a portable hacker again.

I lost the ability to use Beryl on the transition though but minor loss compared to other things.

So back in the saddle again.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Women in OSS deserve respect

Melissa Draper recently did something that took both courage and intelligence to do.

Her recent letter to the Open Source Software community (click on the title to read it) makes a clear and shocking statement. Here it is coming to the end of the first decade in the 21st century when equal rights, opportunities and acceptance for and of women should come without question.

I don't agree with all aspects of the sexual revolution, as it were, but I definitely feel that women have rights equal to any man. Among those is the right to be accepted for talent, ability and effort without being harassed because of gender.

Melissa, Celeste and other women I know of in OSS have my utmost respect as individual contributors. I certainly could not do some of the things they do, nor would I want to. Celeste is a interface designer. Uhm I'm surprised the poor lady isn't bald sometimes after reading some of her blog entries.

The point is these ladies work hard at what they do for the community. They should not have to endure sexist remarks and comments from those who can't see past their bust lines. (Sorry ladies I could not think of a better way to phrase it.)

I know its a males natural tendency to first see the woman. That's not the issue. It is however an issue when we men don't check our libido before we open our mouth or put our fingers on a keyboard and make rude, crude and in some cases obscene comments. The males in the OSS development community certainly should know better.

Yes men and women are different, thankfully. However, the differences go beyond the physical and women are able to see things in ways we men never will. Its those different perspectives we need in the OSS community for Linux, KDE, Gnome and whatever other projects you can name to stay fresh and growing. Matter of fact I would like to see more women become involved with OSS development and design.

The ladies deserve our utmost respect and acceptance. They do not deserve lurid comments and attitudes which lead to open letters like Melissa wrote. Hopefully, that will be the last such letter.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Laptop Is Dead

It died Sunday morning on a restart. I just wen over it. No way to save it, the cause. Power supply blew and spiked it. Its toasted nothing appears to be salvageable. Even the Hard Drive is gone and won't spin up. Not sure on the DVD burner but I'm not gonna count on it.

Setup Tower system again and like the good geek I am had all data backed up so I am rocking and rolling. Even have Beryl going but no longer portable.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Look of Tux

When you work on the look and feel of your computer you just tend to want to show it off. So here it is.
The background is Crystal Tux.
The Icon set is Crystal SVG
Cursor theme is Fedora 6 set
Panel Wallpaper is Blue54
Using the SuSE Kickoff menu compiled for Kubuntu
The Launch Button is from the KDE@work KBFX button set modified to work with Kickoff.
The monitor panel is gkrellm2 with the Invisible Theme
Using Beryl and Compiz for 3D effects and features.

I call this theme layout Tux Blue.

Hope you like

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

My New Web Site Is Up

All my murking around in Linux is paying off. Check it out and get back to me.


Monday, May 14, 2007

Good Bye SUDO hope to never see you again

My biggest beef with Kubuntu has been the use of sudo to any damn thing. I have always and forever stated that Linux is not Windows and that the root (super user) account exists for a reason.

Well I finally found the answer. I can have Kubuntu, all its packages in the software repository, AND no more sudo. That's right boys and girls this happy camper has eliminated the need for sudo and now has a a root account with a password.

Next phase is to fix it so I can log into KDE as root. Not something I will do unless I need to fix some things trust me but that account needs to be there and it will be.

There are a lot of other issues to fix in Kubuntu as well but you know what, I will fix them. the answers are there they just have to be uncovered.

BTW I am not giving the answer on how to do this here. It will be on my Kubuntu Hacks web site when I get written out.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Menu Systems, Some Observations

The number one complaint I hear on Vista is the new Menu. Its a flat panel menu system and most people do not care for it. They would prefer to have the XP like Start menu. Okay it does organize the structure a bit better but it just doesn't sit well with users.

KBFX uses a flat panel menu as well but most people downloaded it to modify the launch button in KDE and set KBFX to use the default Menu. Why? Like Vista users linux users did not care for the flat panel layout. It was skinable though and that was a big plus in its favor.

Tasty Menu tried to be a bit of both and though conceptionally its a practical idea it just doesn't work as well. To many bugs and issues.

Now SuSE Kickoff I like. For a next generation menu system it has the right potential. I'm not saying it doesn't need work because it does. It should be made skinable and that includes its buttons. However, it functions much more intuitively than the others. The tabbed layout just makes a whole hell of a lot of sense. Yes it needs a lot more work but I really like it and want to see reach full potential. here is what I think Kickoff needs to have added:

Themes - If the developers add the ability to use themes in Kickoff I am sure its popularity will swell ten fold. People today want to customize the look and feel of their system. Making the menu customizable with themes would be a huge step to gaining popularity and thus more deployment by end users. Along those lines also set up an easy way to use and set different button sets like KBFX does. That was what made KBFX popular to begin with.

User Definable Tabs - The stock tabs are nice but it would be nice to have a couple of others as well like a tab for URLS. The favorites tab is a nice feature but it really isn't enough. Hard core users may want a tab that gives them instant access to a specific group and or combinatin of programs. Again the Favorites Tab doesn't fill that niche exactly and really shouldn't be used for that purpose.

Now how do you approach these? I know in some ways the look is kinda built into Kickoff but a bit of redesigning and re-coding can fix that. Kickoff 2, if you will, can easily be rewritten to allow for that, and a KCM can handle the issue of providing the interface for the user to select the themes and button sets.

User definable tabs can be added or removed with the checking or unchecking of a check box. The menu type can be drag and drop, user defined via a menu file generated by the KCM using data gathered from the users input, or it can be a url selector and all the user has to do is tell the KCM what browser he prefers the tab gets the bookmark data from. (Firefox, Opera, Konquerer, etc.)

Now of course you do have to set a limit on the number of tabs the user can add but I think three should be about right.

It might not be a bad idea to have a on/off togable Control Center module menu as well which allows the user quick and easy access to the KCMs.

Just some food for thought.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Ready For Work

When I had both my desktop and my laptop going but separate in many aspects I generally had a mismatch of information. Solution use only one of the two. The desktop is still a good system and I fully intend to make use of it in another capacity. (I need a server anyway.)

So with a my laptop now being used as my main and only system how do I handle the delicate balance between personal, business and private files. Not to mention the ever so delicate balance of privacy and non disclosure of information. Laptops just are at risk period. Physical security issues and general handling of things you don't want to take out in public for whatever reason. Welcome External Hard Drive Enclosures. I have two of them. (One is empty at the moment.) I bought both for work, and since I no longer have that job, as I quit, I have made use of one. I pulled the SATA drive from the desktop and put it into the enclosure that had the dual interface (either IDE or SATA.) The other drive is IDE only and the drive that was in it went back to the computer I finally setup for my son.

On top of all of that I have a CD-R/W backpack Drive as well that well for the moment is sitting there not being used. Right now the one external drive is where I keep my more delicate files and I maintain a minimalist set of data files on the laptop's hard drive. The files I need for whatever I need to do away from home.

So I keep portability, maintain a modicum of physical security and still have a system that can perform the work I need. Not a bad trade off all in all and to be honest I really do like having my more personal data files detached so that I don't accidentally access something in public I don't want someone to see.

Other things of Note:

Installed CAD for network layout design.
Installed all the productivity files I have ever used and will probably use again
Changed out the system default programs to others that either worked better for me or just plain suited my needs better.
Got the Anti-Virus scanner system going with Dazuko (Vital in that I work with other computers using Windows. Anything I can do to help those poor saps.)
Configured and got Beryl up and running. Not vital but I have to have some toys. Besides its a really cool way to show off Linux. Not entirely done setting it up but the base stuff I wanted it to do is going.
Got the Zire21 and Kpilot to fully sync with each other. Not just my contacts, calendar and to do list, but everything. (Looks like the Kpilot team fixed thos conduits.) So now the data flow between PDA and Kontact is functioning exactly as it should.
Setup my Brother MFC-210 to the laptop. I have full printing, FAX and scanner access to it using Linux (can we say that makes me very, very happy.)

I plan on organizing my Menu to be the way I want it so that's the next big push.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Kubuntu Finally Redeems Itself

Well I really have to admit that Kubuntu has grown on me. Don't get me wrong still want to se sudo get dumped. I think the Ubuntu team has the right idea but I really believe they went about all wrong. Anyway I digress.

What finally made me decide that Kubuntu was alright? Beryl, in a word. Beryl is a 3D theme manager that works with Gnome and KDE, probably with other windows managers as well, that really makes a difference in your desktop computing experience. As stated in my previous post I had eight virtual desktops. that was a bit much so I cut it in half to four. But where i had issues with either my network access being shutdown because KDE lost the pipe between it and the device isn't happening and I have all my multimedia and the system isn't broken, you get the picture. ALL THE COOL EFFECTS AND EVERYTHING STILL WORKS!!!

For that alone Kubuntu has redeemed itself for all the other headaches it has given me.

KDE4 and Beryl

Okay the Oxygen look is sweet but since its an alpha phase look on KDE4 there wasn't a whole lot. Some minor affects added but nothing like beryl.

Now Beryl is up and running on my laptop. I have 8 virtual desktops. all the really really cool 3D effects and of course previews and its worth everty bit of CPU power it consumes. This just makes Vista Premium look sick. There are similar effects but lets see Vista give you a 3D box (in my case octogon) you can move around with your mouse to select the desktop you want. And if you roll the mouse wheel on the desktop it switches them too. Vista doesn't do that and Beryl doesn't require the CPU or RAM vista does.

KDE4 Goes Live

I'm downloading it now will post comments later.

Sunday, May 6, 2007


Saturday I accomplished the following:

1.) Setup 80 GB External HDD using a case I bought for work. Used the HDD from the tower and installed into the case, formatted it and set permissions so I had write access to it. Now have a lot more space for my files.

2.) Rebuilt my son's computer. Not sure what caused it but when we turned it on this morning several key files were missing. CLI was non functional as was the X-server. So instead of bothering with looking into what caused it I simply reloaded Kubuntu. Did one thing out of ordinary. Setup Windows version of Firefox using WINE so I could get ShockWave installed for him. Since both Nick Jr and Noggin web sites use it. Not something I would normally do but hey this is my kid and he wants to use their games so i fixed it so he could.

3.) Played on my system settings and did a small bit of tweaking to get multimedia better setup. So far so good. more to do but my priority is business not play.

Productive weekend thus far.

Also did a beter job of setting up his programs. Not only is Tux Paint coming up as full screen, his preferred choice, also installed all the children and educational software I could find in Ubuntu repositories. Setup Dazuko and KlamAV as well

Friday, May 4, 2007

Kubuntu Issues

Okay one issue I had with feisty fawn was the inability to get my Palm Device to sync with KPilot. I am happy to now report that issue is resolved. I learned that the visor module was not being loaded so I had to add the following into /etc/modules file, 'visor' and then sudo modprobe visor which got it up and running. I was finally able to import my contact list into Kontact (Kaddress Book.)

Next step is seeing if I can get my schedule and to do lists to sync up.

For some reason I can't seem to get Konversation to use emoticons. I haven't done it in awhile and I seem to remember there was a minor issue with a capital letter being used in the KDE wiki that was errant and I'm trying to remember what line it was on but alas my memory is a bit fuzzy there.

However getting Dazuko (hence KlamAV) and Kpilot going is a good day of messing with things and I am very happy to see improvements happening in the direction i want and need them to go.

Also determined which applications actually worked and which ones didn't. Gyachi was a disappointment in the long run. It took to much memory and did very little compared to kopete, aMSN on the other hand is running very well and I honestly can't tell to much difference between it and the actual MSN Messenger, and my webcam works in it. Knemo is my network monitor program of choice. The others didn't seem to do as much or give quite as much information. Knemo will show both my Wired and Wireless connections and when they are inactive it doesn't annoy me with a network unplugged icon, it just doesn't show anything.

The power manager/monitor programs I tried were also a bit nowhere and though I got somewhat better reports from them they also didn't completely function as expected so I went back to the KDE default. I have also been able to lower my CPU draw by watching which programs were hogging it up and removing those from the startup as well.

My CPU draw goes from 4% to 25% when I'm doing simple things and when I do the tough stuff jumps to about 65% though when I run a scan or search it definitely jumps way up (99 to 100%)

Dazuko is Up and Running in Kubuntu

One thing I have always been having an issue with was getting something simple like installing dazuko to happen in Kubuntu. Well I got it up thanks to Brad Johnson and his article here: His article was the answer that wasn't even available at the Ubuntu/Kubuntu forums and though just a bit outdated on some things the core information is correct and I was able to get dazuko setup and loaded. Now unlike Brad I use ClamAV (with the KlamAV frontend of course) but since real time access is needed by both programs for active scanning his solution for AntiVir is the same as required by me.

Now unlike Brad I see only one need to have a Anti-Virus solution in Linux and that is to keep from passing on Windows based viruses. Linux viruses do exist but they really don't get all that far since they need root access to begin to even be effective. The few the briefly flourished were because of those who did not heed the warnings of not using Linux for day to day stuff as "root."

Anyway yet another milestone in getting Kubuntu to do what I need and want. Still fighting the day to day issues but I am winning as I learn.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Sometimes bad things lead to good things.

Yeah well first let me tell you what the bad thing was. I tried to install Kolab and it killed the command interpreter on my desktop. Hey stuff happens when you do what I do and you learn from it of course but....

It got me to put my laptop up as my main to use system. Why is this good? Well instead of running two separate systems which hold two sets of information but actually need to be combined for me to function I decided that it was best to take the desktop off-line and go strictly with the laptop. Yes I lost some files and more importantly some email but in the end this will make for a better organized Shaun.