OpenSUSE Linux Rants

OpenSUSE Linux Tips, tricks, how-tos, opinions, and news

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February 28, 2006

Who needs Vista when you can have one of these babies.

by @ 3:23 pm. Filed under General Linux

How many ways is this thing absolutely cool? New things like this are surfacing almost daily. I can’t possibly imagine the momentum that Linux is gaining in the IT industry lately. Seriously, Linux is going nowhere but up. If you have been thinking about jumping ship and upgrading your systems to Linux, SUSE is a slick alternative that will not dissappoint! Head on over to the SUSE 10.0 EVAL download page and get started. Hardware detection in SUSE 10.0 has come a long way over previous releases, even of other distributions. Take a look and try it out. You’ll love it.

Here’s another review of the many ways Linux is a superior operating system. It’s a review about DSL (Damn Small Linux), and how it made legacy hardware, still in perfectly working order, come back to life. Keep in mind that this hardware is now officially deemed absolutely unusable by Microsoft, as David Sugar points out. Man, if I could even imagine something as versatile as Linux, I would probably call it… Linux.

February 27, 2006

The move is complete!

by @ 8:01 pm. Filed under SUSE Blog News

I slaved for about 10 minutes to get a domain purchased, the DNS servers specified and then set up, virtual hosting set up on my server, and a new home created for this blog. Man, things take forever, these days. Tell you what, the fastest thing in the Universe to do is to watch a dead snail at a stop sign, especially if it has a pile of salt under it.

All things considered, anyway, the move of the actual content from http://susespot.blogspot.com/ is now complete. Everyone rejoice.

February 25, 2006

Virtual Hosts in SUSE 10.0

by @ 10:40 am. Filed under SUSE Tips & Tricks

Well, it took me a little bit, but I finally got it. Once I did, it was a snap. I’m talking about setting up virtual hosts on a SUSE 10.0 webserver. In your /etc/apache2/httpd.conf file, add a line:

NameVirtualHost *:80

And then you go into the /etc/apache2/vhosts.d/ directory. There will be a file called vhost.template which you will use to configure your virtual host. Open that file up and save it as something like [insert virtual host here].conf . It doesn’t matter what the name of the file is, because the /etc/apache2/httpd.conf file will include everything in that directory that ends in a .conf extension. Then, you just go through the file, editing everything as it should be. Hopefully, it’s pretty self-explanatory. It all made perfect sense to me. Save that file. Then, restart apache:

/etc/init.d/apache2 restart

And you should be all set up.

SUSE 10.1 beta 5 is out, sweet!

February 22, 2006

Financial software available on SUSE Linux.

by @ 2:31 pm. Filed under Work-Related

I’ve been working on the Great Novell Survey, which allows users to submit their vote on which apps should be ported to Linux (not just SUSE). So far, there have been over 15,000 responses. What’s really amazing to me is that most of the countries represented by the submissions have similar top requests. For example, they all want Photoshop, Dreamweaver, and AutoCAD ported to Linux. What’s crazy is that Quicken and Quickbooks top the list for Americans. I guess we’re a bunch of capitalists or something.

I posted a small list of a few applications already running on Linux that might fit the bill in my report last week.

Well, the question of the day, then, is: Which of the financial packages currently available for Linux is the most feature-rich, the most intuitive, and can import/export the standard Quicken/Quickbooks file formats?

I’d like to reward people with points if they decide to review these Linux apps. If you have something you’d like to say about them, I have the ability to make your voice heard. We can make a difference in the Linux movement. You just have to speak up!

February 21, 2006

OPENSuSE 10.0 beta 4 is out…

by @ 1:13 pm. Filed under General Linux, General SUSE

For anyone needing the latest of the greatest, you can take a look at the newly-available SUSE 10.0 beta 4. Take a look at a well-endowed SUSE landing page for more SUSE-related resources.

One of the greatest choices for a Linux Desktop really is SUSE. It boasts a very up-to-date RPM package repository system whose front end, YAST, is point-and-click easy. Having used approximately 7 distributions myself, it seems to be the most intuitive to use. That in mind, however, one is also able to pop the hood and tweak the underlying system, should the need arise.

Should you need technical support, SUSE is one of the few Linux distributions backed by a large enough company that such support is available, if necessary. It is, however, not free. Knowing that it is available should be comforting to C-level executives of most SMEs.

Personally, I am quite comfortable with the directions that Novell is taking SUSE. One thing I can’t wait to see is the enhancements they’ve made to the XGL graphics subsystem. Evidently, this will enable 3D rendering capabilities right on the X desktop itself.

I’m interested. I love eyecandy, and 3D acceleration is definitely part of that market.

February 17, 2006

Scott Morris moves into a real, live office.

by @ 10:36 am. Filed under Work-Related

Thank you for contacting the IS&T Service Center. Your request with a description of:

Brief Description: Move phone (2/23/2006)

Detailed Description:
Workforce ID: #####
Date Scheduled: 2/23/2006

MOVING TO…
Site/Building: PRVH, Floor: 08, Room: ######, Jack: null
MOVING FROM…
Site/Building: PRVH, Floor: 04, Room: ######

BIG WR: 1022609
Requested by: #### ##### #####, 1-801-861-####, ######@NOVELL.COM
Contact: SCOTT MORRIS, null
Approved by: ####,#####, null
==============================
Additional Comments:
Continue to move #### ######### ee`s to the 8th floor. Scott Morris` move to ###### will take place next week, but in the mean time please set up phone service in the office to his prior extension #####. Also, let me know if it is okay if ##### ##### turns over the key to the (what he has been using as a storage office) to Scott or myself for Scott. If this is not okay then I need to order him a key. – People Moving:
SCOTT MORRIS

Telephone: Y
Move From:
PROVO H;
04;
H42142;
Move To:
PROVO H;
08;
######;

has been received. For your reference, the ticket # is #########. To view the progress of tickets submitted by you, you may visit: [URL REMOVED] or contact the Help Desk with your ticket number.

If you have any questions or feedback regarding this ticket, please contact ####### ########, the Service Center Manager at #########@novell.com.

Thank you,
IS&T Service Center

phone: (801) 861-####
email: ########@novell.com
web incident: [URL REMOVED]

What does this mean? I’m gettin’ an office on the 8th (yes, that’s the top) floor sometime next week. Sweet! Now, I can say to people, “Would you like to step into my office?” See, because before, I couldn’t say that, but now I can. See how that works?

February 16, 2006

In my neck of the woods…

by @ 4:41 am. Filed under SUSE Blog News, Work-Related

Well, yes, it has been over a week. Notwithstanding, I have been quite busy.

The survey is doing well, as is shown by this week’s summary article. That article took me a long time, by the way. I’ve also been putting in additional suggestions as they stream in, so if you think of anything else, please let me know.

I’m also looking at writing my own server in C (or C++) for Linux. If anyone has any suggestions for good documentation on doing this, please let me know. I’ve seen a few now and then, but it’s been a while.

Also, if you’re into wikis and web communities, take a look at another article I wrote about this. That article took a little while to produce, too.

So, you can see that I’m not just hanging around, wasting time (though sometimes I wish I could).

Let’s see… I need a clever and/or funny line for my blog today. Ok, got one:

“The day that Microsoft makes something that doesn’t suck is the day they start making vacuums.”

(unknown author)

February 8, 2006

Capture a WMA stream to an audio file.

by @ 5:02 pm. Filed under General Linux, SUSE Tips & Tricks

Commuting time doesn’t have to be wasted. Throughout the drive, it helps divert my attention from psychotic drivers to have an audio book, talk, or lecture series playing in the background. This practice saves me a lot of stress, and lots of other people the pain of death.

To get these audio files, I download them from the Internet. Generally, it’s easy enough to wget an MP3. What about a Windows Media stream? How can you get that?

First, make sure you have MPlayer and the MPlayer browser plugin installed. Then, you just click on your stream link in the web page. When the audio starts playing, you will see a URL in your address bar, possibly ending in “.asx”. As an example, we’ll say our file is located at http://www.someserver.com/path/audiofile.asx .

What you have to do is wget that URL:

[linux:~]$ wget http://www.someserver.com/path/audiofile.asx

It will download the file. Since it is a text file, you can usually just cat the file:

[linux:~]$ cat audiofile.asx

And you will see the contents of the file.

You are looking for a URL in this text file that starts with “mms” instead of “http”. In this example, let’s say it is “mms://www.someserver.com/path/audiofile.wma”.

Then, to start capturing the stream to an audio file, run this command:

[linux:~]$ mplayer -noframedrop -dumpfile outfile.wma -dumpstream mms://www.someserver.com/path/audiofile.wma

(Except that this all goes on one single commandline)

Pretty useful if you want to capture a Windows Media stream as a regular audio file.

February 7, 2006

The answer to Microsoft’s Capitalistocracy.

by @ 6:29 pm. Filed under General Linux, SUSE Blog News, Work-Related

Sharing is what we’re all about here at “SUSE Rants”. Jumping right in, what if someone could come up with a way to tear out Microsoft’s domination of the desktop market? Here’s where the sharing comes in; me with you regarding my ideas about how this could be done. What we’re going to have here is not a discussion about whether Linux is better than Windows. To suggest that it isn’t is the product of an uninformed mind. Never suggest that Windows does anything better than Linux.

*Illustration of extreme bias: check*

How did something so poorly written as Windows ever get so popular to begin with? Let’s suppose, for a minute, that Microsoft is really a *MARKETING* company and not a *SOFTWARE* company (this is the truth, I’m telling you). As such, they would know that one of the first rules of marketing is being first to market. Another of the gems of golden wisdom is that you do whatever it takes to get your product in front of the end user.

Why?

People like what they become accustomed to.

Perhaps the biggest factor in their success has been that very principle. Whatever it took, Microsoft got their product in front of people. Over the years, Windows became the only thing that many people knew. This principle compounds with non-technical users who have struggled hard to learn what meager knowledge they do have about computers. Comfort zones have been put in place, calculated precisely to keep them using the monstrosity of an operating system.

OK, class. How do we break the iron-clad grip? Little hint for the remedial folks: it has to do with what I’ve been discussing.

Correct answers would include:

  1. We need to get non-OSS folks familiar with Linux.

Ya’ll are brilliant. So, how do we do that if they are already blinded by familiarity?

Allow me to offer another hint:

When learning something new, most people prefer to have another person leading them through it by the hand (believe me on this one, I did some hard time in tech support).

If we could offer ways to give Linux newbies helpful support of any kind, I’d guess that more people would be willing to at least *TRY* Linux.

*thinks*

Help me brainstorm some ways that we could do this.

You in the back with your hand up, go ahead.

“Offer technical support for Linux.”

You know, that is a great idea. However, most Linux distributions do not offer such support. There is one that does, however. SUSE Linux. We could tell people that, if they wanted to get the operating system free, they could purchase technical support from Novell for SUSE Linux.

Why would someone pay for tech support if they already have knowledge and tools on another platform?

Well, if they aren’t dead set on talking with a human being every time they get stuck, they can consult several other forms of help. There are online forums, documentation, and all sorts of communities. Maybe, as their mentors, you can help them learn about these marvelous resources.

We’re on a roll, we can’t stop now. Think of more ways to bring Linux to the forefront, faster.

Class?

*pause*

You, right there, with the seven earrings, nose piercings, red eyes, pointed ears, and fangs.

“As an academically inclined pupil, I would find it most intellectually stimulating if these fine educational facilities would offer foundational disciplines advocating and favoring Open-Source Software.”

So, like, if colleges were to offer courses involving OSS, you’d dig that?

“Unquestionably.”

Hmm… the girl does have a point. What if colleges started teaching courses involving Open-Source Software? They’d have less license fees and have all the benefits that make Linux soar above Windows in all aspects.

That would rule.

We should help people accustom themselves to Linux. We should help them realize what other online resources exist for help. Colleges and universities should offer OSS-related courses. This would make Linux spread much faster.

February 2, 2006

Linux powers everything, these days.

by @ 10:40 pm. Filed under General Linux

You know how like when you really think something is totally swell? And you think it couldn’t possibly get much cooler? That’s about how I feel about Linux. Then, I saw that Linux powers (at least part of) some of today’s spacecraft. Let me think of the last spacecraft that was powered by Windows…. hmmm…. you can’t, either?

Also, there is this totally autonomous military vehicle powered by Linux. Let me think of the last autonomous military vehicle that was powered by Windows…. hmmm…. you can’t, either?

Wouldn’t it be cool if you could customize your own installation disc of your favorite distribution of Linux? If this sounds interesting to you, you have to check this out. You just create a custom installation image, download it and burn it on a CD, and then boot from it on the machine that you wish to install onto. Sounds like an extra-easy way to blow away someone’s unwanted Windows partitions.

Do you know of anyone who we could play an April Fool’s Day joke on?

February 1, 2006

What should I write about?

by @ 6:29 pm. Filed under SUSE Blog News

Me thinking.

So this is me…. thinking about what I should write about in my blog this evening. Should I write about my survey again? Yes, it’s been part of my every move at work, now, for the past month. Yes, there are some really cool results that have come from the survey. But, is that what I really feel like writing about?

Not particularly.

Well what, then? There seem to be quite a few applications that people requested that, while they themselves are not ported to Linux, have some really nice Linux counterparts. Should I write about them? Maybe I could recommend the GIMP to people who are requesting Photoshop. Would they appreciate that? I mean, they have spent their entire careers learning how Photoshop works. While the GIMP is a great graphic design program and editor, Photoshoppers around the world may not quite see where I’m coming from. Then again, maybe they would. Naw, I don’t want to write about all that. Too much controversy.

Games…. now, there’s a safe bet. Practically everyone loves and plays games. Games are nigh unto ruling the world with all their 3D acceleration engines and whatnot. There’s only one problem: I am not a gamer. Well, that nixes that idea.

I’ve already written about how to play DVDs on Linux. Scratch that idea off the list.

Then it hits me. I can write about thinking about what to write about.

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