Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Compiz not working with Hardy? Blacklisted graphics cards

Hardy beta has been released! great news unless you have an incompatible ATI mobile card. sadly this is what happened to me. I was unable to enable advanced desktop effects.... sadly. If this has happened to you run this command

mkdir -p ~/.config/compiz/ && echo SKIP_CHECKS=yes >> ~/.config/compiz/compiz-manager

I wish I could claim this workaround but it was originally posted here. by Amaranth. Apparently some Radeon Mobility cards, Radeon rv350 and rv450 cards, and the Intel 965 (X3000, X3100) have been blacklisted. If you choose the workaround realize that your card has been blacklisted for a reason. You will probably run into some problems, but in my case they were few and easily avoided.


Friday, March 21, 2008

If restaurants ran like operating systems

Windows XP- You enter the nice blue building, you are immediately asked to sign a license agreement detailing your rights to the food and service you are about to receive. As you enter the restaurant a nice waiter takes you to your table. The service started out pretty good, but as time goes along you notice that the waiter keeps getting slower. You also notice that the table comes with only one spoon. If you want the added functionality of a fork or knife you have to pay extra. The food is average. Later, parts of the restaurant just stop responding and have to close. Before you know it you've got to blow up the old restaurant and build a new identical one in its place. You wish you could go to another restaurant but it seems as thought everyone is going here, and you don't want to feel disconnected.

Mac- you enter the simple and sleek restaurant and nice young woman wearing headphones comes to your assistance. You notice that all of the menu items start with the letter 'i' even if it doesn't make any sense. The waitress tells you exactly what you want. It looks great but as you are eating, the food randomly disappears, leaving absolutely no traces that it ever existed. Halfway through your meal you waitress tells you that the building is being upgraded and you need to get out and come back in. You were given no time to save the rest of your food before you were kicked out. You consider switching, but then realize you're too cool for anything but a mac.

Windows Vista- You enter the restaurant noticing the nice paint on the walls, but as you get further in you find that the decoration is making it hard for the restaurant to function properly. When the waiter asks for your order, he ask “are you sure you want to do that” multiple times. It takes ages for them to transfer the food from the tray to your table. While the food looks better than it did in windows XP, you have the same problems. When you take your food out of the restaurant you are unable to open the take-out box, apparently this is some security feature. Your experience at the Windows Vista Restaurant is so horrible that you beg to go back to Windows XP.

Linux- You enter this spacious and beautiful building. Instead of being greeted by one waiter, you meet a group of nice people that explain to you what is going on. You find a community of chefs and customers working together to make the best food. You walk though the buffet finding exactly what you want, and easily waking past those dishes you don't. You enjoy the best food of any restaurant and anything can be modified to meet your tastes if you like. After your meal, you leave the restaurant and try to pay, but people inform you that everything was free. You can't get enough of the Linux Restaurant, but people are won't try it out because its a self serve buffet, and who wants to get out of their chair?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

My Open Source Favorites

Open Source is about options

Sourceforge.net hosts an estimated 169,281 projects as of 2008, its clear that there are many alternatives to almost every program you would need when running linux. In many cases, finding the right one for you can be like finding a needle in the open source haystack. I'm going to outline a few of my favorites that I use on my desktop and my laptop, both running ubuntu.

Amarok- Amorok is the default media player for KDE but works well on GNOME and Xfce. Amarok has some great features. Integrated Wikipedia, Lyrics Support, Music Statistics and support for multiple Mp3 players including Creative Zen and Apple Ipod.

Thunderbird-A great mail client based on the open source browser firefox. You can connect to any mail service that offers pop3 and imap including gmail. you also have the option of integrating a date book and calender.

Video Player
VLC- when it comes to versitlity, VLC player is hard to beat in my book. This cross-platform video player supports everything from WMV to DivX to Quicktime files, even partially corrupted files. While some may say it is lacking in appearance, it certainly makes up for it in pure functionality.

Instant Messenger
Pidgin-Why would you restrict yourself to just one instant message service? why not connect to them all. Pidgin makes that possible, you can simultaneously chat with friends using MSN, Yahoo, MyspaceIM, IRC and more. pidgins simple but effective (add free unlike some proprietary counterparts) interface allows you to focus on whats important. Communicating with friends and family.

Well, as you can see. open source has some great alternatives to proprietary programs we've all seen in Windows. Find what's right for you. and let me know if you have any other suggestions! thanks!


Monday, March 17, 2008

and so it begins

hey all! I want to give you all a little background on what i'm doing here and what I hope to accomplish.

I want to help and encourage people to explore linux, trust me, give it a chance, just a few weeks and you'll be hooked. you'll never go back.

let me give you a brief history of my path to linux, years ago I heard of this free and community developed operating system, called fedora core based off of the linux kernal. I installed it on my hope computer and to my suprise it worked! my only problem.... I had no idea what to do with it. sure it was cool, but with a very limited knowledge of computers how would I ever make use of my computer? sadly... you could count the number of times i booted fedora on one hand.

I continued my interest in open source, introducing my friends and family to Firefox, trying out OpenOffice and learning about the Open Source Initiative and its effects on modern computing. yes, I loved my open source programs, atleast the ones that were compatible with windows. I wanted to try Linux, but how could I make the move? I knew I needed Itunes for my ipod, I knew that i would have to give up my loved MSN instant messenger, and what about internet, how could i browse without having basics like a flash plugin, something that could view quicktime fils, and java?

But Wait!! Linux can do all of these! finally I decided to make one small step in that direction. after building my own computer and installing windows media center, i set it up with a dual boot with Ubuntu 7.10. All of the hardware was supported from the original installation (I had to search for drivers in Windows), it connected to the internet with no problems, and best of all, it was free!

Ubuntu was great,it did everything I needed, however everytime I turned on my computer I found myself loading Windows if I was going to do anything more than browse the internet. My next big step was learning how to step out of my comfort zone. but i just couldn't do it, Windows was my weakness. Finally I decided to take action. I purchased a used laptop, without a windows license. (the seller was concerned, how could i use the computer without windows?) I installed Ubuntu, it supported all of the hardware in the original installation, including the webcam. finally I had made the jump. I started to learn the command line, I even started doing all of my homework on my laptop, (Including my C++ programming class, Code::Blocks is amazing)
My transition to open source is complete.

I would like to thank the amazing community behind open source, specifically Ubuntu, for making my transition possible.

What are your stories? how did you make the move to Linux? are you still struggling? let me know!