OpenSUSE Linux Rants

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January 31, 2006

Here are some absolutely useless data….

by @ 4:22 pm. Filed under Work-Related

I love to run reports on stuff. It makes me feel like I am an all-knowing industry-wise guru of knowledge. I’m talking about the results of The Survey. Well, I can’t give out the results yet, but I can tell you these things:

The most frequent first name in all the submissions for the survey is Michael, with 143. Second is David, with 133. The total breakdown of the top 10 is:

Incredibly, the most frequent last name is Smith. Someone should tell Will.

It’s been great to see so much interest in this survey. We’re about to break the 10k barrier with number of submissions. Go us.

Oh, and for everyone following my adventures with Gaim 2.0.0, I uninstalled it from all machines and went back to 1.5.0. Too many wacky things with 2.0.0, still. That is ok, because it’s in beta.

Heh, don’t tell anyone, but I got copies of Novell Linux Desktop 10.0 and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10.0 this morning. I’m gonna put them on some of my machines here and see what they look and feel like.

Alrighty, well, that wraps up another “10 Minutes of Happy Time with Scott”, so I’m gonna log off. Everyone be sure and have a day.

January 29, 2006

Gaim Rules. So does YAST.

by @ 2:52 am. Filed under SUSE Tips & Tricks, Work-Related

*MAN*, Linux is totally sweet. So, I’m a hardcore Gaim-er, right? Well, when I found out that Sean Egan was hired by Google, my interest was quite piqued (Sean, you are the man). I checked probably about four times a week for the new version to come out. Finally, here I am at the end of January with a very-well-working beta version of Gaim 2.0.0 installed on my home computer. I’m clickin’ around, thinkin’ I’m all slick because I have Gaim 2 and it isn’t even in any YAST repository, yet. Who’s l33t?

You’re right, not me. OK, so I’m having a ball with this new Gaim upgrade. I’m like, “Well, why don’t I just upgrade my machine at work to Gaim 2.0.0, too?!?!??!!?!?!” So, I announce to my wife, “Sweetheart, I have to upgrade my Gaim at work to 2.0.0 today, ok?” She says, “Why do you have to drive all that way? That’s like 45 minutes one-way! It’s Saturday. You’re going to go all that way just to install one program on your computer that you don’t even need until Monday?!?! You’re a little silly. That will take 2 hours out of our day, and we need to get stuff done around the house!”

I took a deep breath and held it briefly.

“Princess, I have no intention of leaving the house. I love you, and I love to be with you. I guess I’ll have to do it from here.” Her face softened immediately, she kissed me on the nose, and said, “Oh, ok.” With that, she turned and grabbed the naked-ended permanent marker from our little girl’s hand as she was running towards the wall.

Thus, Linux saved my marriage this very day. Can you believe it?

You are right, I made that entire story up (except for the part about installing Gaim, but come on, you have to have a grand entrance, right?).

However, I did think that it was quite possibly the coolest thing I’ve done all day. I’m speaking of the fact that I connected into my work VPN, connected to my desktop there via SSH, did a quick wget to grab a recent build of Gaim from , and then installed it via commandline.

All you have to do is run “yast2 -i [packagename]” in an SSH session as root, and YAST does the rest. I can just hear some of you thinking, “Oh yeah, well I could do that in Windows with VNC.”

Well… little newsflash: YAST DOES IT VIA SSH. ASCII-based connection. Very low-bandwidth. Nice and efficient. Really good design. You’d hardly experience lag even on dial-up. VNC is much higher bandwidth. Virtually impossible to do via dial-up. Not remotely as efficient in bandwidth. So, it’s basically just like everything else that Windows “can do” that Linux does way better. Oh, and I didn’t pay a dime for my operating system. Sweet.

Linux is the man.

January 27, 2006

Watching DVDs on SUSE Linux.

by @ 11:07 am. Filed under General SUSE, SUSE Tips & Tricks

What is the similarity between and elephant and a grape? They’re both purple except for the elephant.

I have received many requests for information on how to play DVDs on SUSE Linux. It’s actually quite simple.

Uninstall whatever version of xine that you have installed.

Add Packman as in installation source.

Install the xine package from Packman (you may want to disable all other install sources, just to make sure it comes from Packman for sure).

Install the libdvdcss package, also.

Poof, you’re done (at least that’s what worked for me).

So, hop on Netflix, sign up for your account, and watch DVDs on your SUSE box.

January 26, 2006

If the shoe fits….

by @ 9:43 pm. Filed under Work-Related

Ok, so I’m at work, banging away on the good old survey. My sibling pops onto GAIM and says, “I can triple the amount of submssions in one day that you’ve gotten in the last three weeks.” Being the wise elder brother, with nothing but total and utter faith in my tone, I said, “Yeah, I bet you can’t.”

So, we banter back and forth about SEO, phraseology, algorithms, marketing, consultation, networking, and promoting. Finally, I grow tired of the twaddle and say, “Fine. You win. What do I do?” So, he unloads on me. Now, I can type upwards or 100 words per minute on a good day. An oral machinegunner, he had me redlined on the keyboarding skills.

After taking studious notes, and repeating back things, I think I finally get the picture. So, I send a couple of emails (about 20, give or take 15) asking if people would consider putting a link to the survey. I never realized how generous people are!

I got several immediate responses. Within minutes, the traffic to the survey jumped from 5 submissions per hour to about one per minute. Within a couple of hours, there were about 15 other websites that had posted links to the survey. Some time later, I was contacted for two interviews, one of which is featured here. Man, someone looks like they know what they’re talking about.

Linux Holy Man say, “Knowledge is power.” Actually, I’m sure someone else came up with that. But, I’m here to tell you that if you know what you are doing, you’ll see some good results come your way. Especially if you have a younger sibling that knows. Because then, you can play Enemy Territory while he’s learning everything, and then use him shamelessly for his knowledge.

Sweet. Gotta go grab my next Netflix movie while he studies up on bating search engines.

January 24, 2006

Latest and Greatest…

by @ 10:19 am. Filed under General SUSE, SUSE Tips & Tricks

I like the latest software I can get that is still somewhat stable. SUSE can actually be pretty bleeding-edge if ya’ let it. First, you have to put in all the Installation Sources and update all of your packages, as I’ve outlined in my article on the topic. It’s unbelievably simple. However, it also helps to know where to look for some other things.

For example, last night, I was poking around on You see, I have been looking for RPMs for Firefox 1.5 and Thunderbird 1.5 for use on my SUSE machines. Well, as it turns out, they were right there on that very server. From what I could see, however, they were not in an Installation Source repository. They were just available as individual downloads.

Hey, I’ll take what I can get.

Turns out, I also found on the server. Man, that is sweet.

For anyone else who may be interested in where these RPMs are located, here ya’ go:

Firefox 1.5 for SUSE 10.0 :

Thunderbird 1.5 for SUSE 10.0: 2.0.11 for SUSE 10.0 are located in this directory:

You’ll probably want the base RPM:

And the RPM that corresponds to your Desktop Environment of choice:



In that same directory, there are packages for the language-dependent parts of OO, as well as an additional RPM with extra gallery components. Grab what you need.

Knowing is half the battle, baby. Here’s some cool stuff for you to be aware of. Enjoy.

January 23, 2006

Novell Survey!

by @ 2:29 pm. Filed under General Linux, Work-Related

Working on the survey is one of the cooler things I’ve been involved with, lately. It’s nice to see a big company like Novell making effort to listen to the customers. They’re truly interested in addressing peoples’ concerns. Novell wants to know from the consumer’s point of view, what applications does the consumer use that are Windows only, are keeping them (consumers) from switching to Linux. That’s something that I find pretty dang cool. I spent a lot of time this morning cleaning up the data. Before I fool-proofed it, it was possible for the customers to enter in erroneous data. So, I had to go modify the “USA”, “U.S.A.”, “US of A”, and “US” values in the country field all to be “United States.” Stuff like that.

Then, I started making actual code to output the results of the data. I can’t really release the results as of yet, but it’s really cool to see it all falling into place, finally. We’ve been working on this baby for about a month. It’s nice to see it bootstrapped and all working, now. Take a jaunt over to the survey, fill it out, and then send it to everyone you know so that they can fill it out. Don’t forget that you can make as many requests as you wish. We want to get as much information about this as we can. This has some pretty big potential to make a lot of impact on the Linux movement.

Head over to CoolSolutions and sign up for the Linux newsletters. You’ll get some stats from this survey this week in your inbox.


January 19, 2006

Kate, you have such nice….

by @ 9:09 pm. Filed under General Linux, General SUSE, SUSE Tips & Tricks

*FONTS*! What did you think I was going to say? You see, I’m referring to KATE, the K Advanced Text Editor. I use two text editors, vim and Kate. When I don’t feel the need to prove to anyone that I’m 1337, I forgo vim and head over to Kate-land. Simple and pointy-clicky. I have such a ball with Kate, that I wrote a 4-part series on some interesting ways I like to use Kate and some of its features that I find useful. This in hopes that someone else might see something they themselves could use. Here are links to the articles in the series:

Kate: Cool Tips and Tricks I

Kate: Cool Tips and Tricks II

Kate: Cool Tips and Tricks III

Kate: Cool Tips and Tricks IV

In KDE 3.4, Kate would let you tell it to only allow one instance of it to run. So, if you had the source code of your new virus open in Kate, and you opened a new text file, it would open in the same session with your source code. This is something that I grew accustomed to.

Well, Kate 2.5.0 does what are called named sessions. Kind of an interesting paradigm that I’m sure I’ll get used to by the time I am four hundred ninety-two years, eleven months, three weeks, a day, seventeen hours, fifty-six minutes, and fourteen seconds old. In the mean time, I want my one-session-only Kate back. As the option has disappeared from the SETTINGS => CONFIGURE KATE dialog, I was slightly distraught and thought I’d have to do without.

That was, until I became determined to figure out how to make it work. That is when I came across this really cool article about my very dilemma. Turns out, all ya’ have to do is add “-u” to the commandline. Since I hardly ever (read “never”) use the commandline to open Kate, I implemented the “-u” in a slightly different way. I have a button in my Kicker panel that opens Kate for me. I slid a “-u” into the command executed by that button.

The other place I put the “-u” was in the file associations section of Konqueror. To get here, open a Konqueror window. Follow SETTINGS => CONFIGURE KONQUEROR => FILE ASSOCIATIONS (on the left) => [expand the “text” section on the right] => PLAIN. In the Application Preference Order box on the right, make sure an entry for Kate is in there. Click on KATE, and then EDIT. A properties dialog appears. Select the APPLICATION tab. In your commandline, between the “kate” and the “%U”, put a “-u” in there. So, the command is actually “kate -u %U”. Click OK, and then OK back on the properties dialog, and you are good to go. You’re back to your single-session Kate.

I’m sure I’ll grow into the named sessions thing. For now, I want it how I want it, and that’s how I want it.


by @ 3:51 pm. Filed under Work-Related

Let’s hear it for VPNs. I usually work on location at the company building. However, yesterday, there occurred a conversation, much like the following:

Scott: Can I work from home tomorrow? I set up the VPN, so I can do everything from there.
Boss: Yes.

Pretty sweet. So, I got all ready for work this morning like I usually do, and then went into my office. My wife poked her head in with a confused look that seemed to communicate, “What do you think you are doing? You are going to be late for work!” Usually, when she does that, she is correct. However, after my short explanation, she was like, “Cool!” and then disappeared.

So, I’ve been here, working all day, on ways to make the survey a li’l mo’ easier for the remedial folks. We’d like their vote, too, but only if it can be read legibly in English. 🙂

Anyway, VPNs are the total man.

January 18, 2006

These two facts exist…

by @ 1:48 pm. Filed under Work-Related

Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.”

Quick, name the author of that quote.

Albert Einstein, very good.

OK, so I’m working on a survey. In this survey, people are asked to put in a request for a Linux port of an application that is currently Windows-only. This is in hopes that we can help the Linux movement a little by porting the apps that keep people from moving to Linux. Makes sense, right?

Now, keep in mind that the idea is that they request an application that is currently WINDOWS ONLY.

I got a request for LINUX.

*blank stare*

I saw another for KDE.

Another requested the GIMP. I had a few for THUNDERBIRD. Then there were some for AUDACITY, COURIER-IMAP, FIREFOX, MYTHTV. MYSQL? Is this truly beyond that many people?

What’s also astounding is the number of Microsoft applications requested. Yep, that’ll sure happen.

Oh, man. Does anyone know how much it would run me to start up a worm farm?

January 17, 2006

Why does this conversation sound familiar to me…?

by @ 4:01 pm. Filed under General Linux

WINDOWS ZOMBIE: You’ll never get me to use Linux. I refuse!

LINUX HOLY MAN: Tell me, my son, why is this so?

WINDOWS ZOMBIE: I hate learning new things.

LINUX HOLY MAN: Very interesting… Why else?

WZ: I like to pay lots of money for a false sense of security. I love to have everything done automatically for me. I don’t like thinking.

LHM: My good man, do you not find lengthy virus and spyware scans objectionable?

WZ: It validates me as an able and competent human being. I click SCAN, it finds and removes mountains of malware. I feel that I have accomplished something for the day. Besides, I love giving my money away needlessly.

LHM: Surely you feel more productive on a system that will allow you to spend time doing more than system maintenance. Is this not so?

WZ: No.

LHM: What about stability? Linux machines run forever. Were you aware that Linux systems measure their uptime in days and months? And that Windows machines still measure it in milliseconds? Don’t you want some stability in your life, my son?

WZ: No.

LHM: I fear that the enemy has a great hold on your mind. You must show faith. Free your mind. Come, meditate with me, my brother.

WZ: No.

LHM: You must first learn to trust Tux, the Great Penguin. He will show you truth. You will enter into the bliss known only in the open source community.

WZ: No.

LHM: Try Linux and you will find true enlightenment. It is the only way, my son. Microsoft’s own survey found that of 3,000 IT professionals polled, of those who were familiar with Linux and Windows, 86% preferred Linux. Why would this be?

WZ: My brain is melting. I am unable to accept anything other than what I already know. Windows does everything for me automatically. IF they could just make a mouse that will also wipe my butt… Then I won’t have to do anything for myself at all.

LHM: That is not the way, my son. You must think for yourself. You must read the manual. Learning will bring enlightenment. The human is the master and the computer is the slave. Not the other way around.

WZ: But I make a good slave.

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