OpenSUSE Linux Rants

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June 30, 2006

Quick USB stick mounting tip for SUSE Linux

by @ 6:42 am. Filed under General SUSE, How-To, SUSE Tips & Tricks

M$ Jab of the Day

Evidently, M$ is laying off part of its sales force. They claim that it is “in order to be more efficient and responsive to customers.” It’s hard to be efficient and responsive to people who are running away from you at full tilt.

Interesting Tip of the Day:

For a long time, I have hated how I have to mount stuff manually in Linux. For some reason, for quite a long time, I could never quite keep track of how to get USB memory sticks mounted. The other day, I thought of something that has since worked quite well every time. I’d like to share it in hopes that it may help someone else have less of a headache when trying to remember how to mount USB drives (card readers, flash memory, usb sticks, etc.).

In your /proc directory, there is a file called partitions. To see which partitions are available to the system at any given time, you can do cat /proc/partition at a terminal. With no USB sticks plugged in, mine looks like this:


[2001][scott@desk:~]$ cat /proc/partitions
major minor  #blocks  name

   3     0  195360984 hda
   3     1      40131 hda1
   3     2    1959930 hda2
   3     3   29302560 hda3
   3     4  164055780 hda4
[2001][scott@desk:~]$

Now, when I plug in a USB stick (or card reader with a card inserted), this is what I get:


[2001][scott@desk:~]$ cat /proc/partitions
major minor  #blocks  name

   3     0  195360984 hda
   3     1      40131 hda1
   3     2    1959930 hda2
   3     3   29302560 hda3
   3     4  164055780 hda4
   8     0     124048 sda
   8     1     123888 sda1
[2020][scott@desk:~]$

Let’s see…. “One of these things is not like the other one…..” You can see that sda and sda1 were added. sda refers to the drive. It’s the sda1 that we care about. Just add /dev/ to the front of that to get the partition we want to mount. Our partition is /dev/sda1.

Next, we just pick a place to mount it to. As su I just create a directory called /media/usbstick or something similar. Then, you run your mount command as su with this syntax:

mount [usb stick partition] [target mount point]

If I were mounting the USB stick as /dev/sda1 onto the mount point /media/usbstick, this command would look like this:

mount /dev/sda1 /media/usbstick

The problem with doing it this exact way is that when you mount the USB stick partition as root, all of the files on the USB stick and the actual USB stick itself are owned by root, and not changeable by any other user. If you’re doing a read-only operation, it will work if you are doing it as a user other than root. However, as our mothers have properly taught us not to do things as root when not necessary, there should be a way to do fix this slight problem. There is.

As su, open your /etc/fstab file in your favorite text editor. Add a line, with this syntax:


[usb stick partition]            [target mount point]      auto       auto,user

If using /dev/sda1 as my usb stick partition and /media/usbstick as my target mount point, I would put this into my fstab:


/dev/sda1            /media/usbstick      auto       auto,user

The only thing you really need to know about this is that it makes it so that regular users can mount the USB stick. Of course, the user who mounts it is considered as the owner of the partition and its files (at least in the case of the USB stick).

Save your file and exit. Then, to mount it, just run the following command (as a normal user, even):

mount /media/usbstick

You will then notice that your user has full access to the USB stick.

To Review:

  1. cat /proc/partitions – find the partition of your USB stick
  2. make a mount point (perhaps in /media) to which you will mount the USB stick
  3. for user accessibility, edit your /etc/fstab file
  4. mount the usb stick

Most of the time, when you plug in a USB stick or card reader (with a card in it), SUSE will just pop open a window asking you if you want to see the contents of the device. However, in cases where that does not happen, or you are using a distribution that doesn’t do that, this trick should work.

If you know of a better way to do this (better = easier or less work), please do tell.

One Other M$ Jab of the Day

Another example of a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

“Fishenden told ZDNet UK that the conference was a good opportunity to address the ‘misconception, as he put it, that Microsoft was anti-open source.”

I really like the usage of the words “as he put it” in this li’l bit. Puts it all in perspective for us.

I’m not even going to get started on this one. Someone has already put out a really nice response. I whole-heartedly agree with them. Whoever wrote that deserves a huge raise.

June 29, 2006

A toilet by any other name…. Would smell as sweet?

by @ 12:55 pm. Filed under My Opinion

So I was going shopping for some appliances and furnishings so that I could finish my basement. We went over to check out the shiny, new toilets. To my surprise, I found this very appropriately branded bowl:

I stood there considering purchasing it, and the sales guy said he’d throw in a bonus for me:

Reason number 5,038,831,783,839,849,892,812 that Microsoft is not trusted by people: WGA becomes ‘kill switch’

I’d stop ripping on Microsoft, if it weren’t for two things: I’m not “ripping” so much as revealing the truth. Number two, they give me too much ammunition to just let it alone. People need to see it for what it is.

June 26, 2006

Scott Morris: Bill Hilf No Threat To Linux on Desktop

by @ 6:59 am. Filed under General Linux, Linux News, My Opinion, War, Work-Related

This type of thing absolutely never ceases to amaze me. This person can’t possibly be so out of touch with reality that he actually believes what he is saying here. I mean, I’m sure he sat down with a room full of PR experts and actually brainstormed this stuff. That is the only plausible explanation. Obviously they know that anything they say reflects on Microsoft. Any opinion he expresses, then (especially having taken Martin Taylor’s place, who left this past week), you KNOW will have to be in absolute line with Microsoft’s standpoint, no matter what it is.

What am I talking about? I just read this li’l story about Mr. Bill Hilf, the guy who succeeded Martin Taylor this past week at M$. He claims that “Linux No Threat To Windows On Desktop.” Mr. Hilf, you must be new, there, tiger.

Alrighty, looks like it’s time again to bust out the baseball bat and take this guy one argument at a time. Lest anyone fall victim to what he is saying, I will explain why he is out of his freaking mind. Believe me, he is.

On that note, let’s get started:

“Linux isn’t a threat to Windows on the desktop and is losing steam on the server as customers separate the operating system from the development model, according to Microsoft’s chief platform strategist.”

“Bill Hilf, general manager of competitive strategy at Microsoft, said pundits have predicted for years that Linux will gain momentum on the desktop, but that won’t happen because of the complexity involved in delivering a tightly integrated and tested desktop product.”

Let’s see, you mean it is losing steam because Massachusetts has banned Microsoft Office? Because there have been more Linux-related expos this year than any other year? Because Microsoft now uses Linux in their wireless networks? Because the Belgian government has banned Microsoft Office? Because Munich, Germany migrated over 12,000 desktops to Linux? Because Venezuela is also switching to Linux? How about the adoption rate of Linux in China right now? What do you have to say about the heavy usage of Linux in the Armed Forces of the United States?

In my own research, I have found that governments in South America, such as Argentina, Brazil, Columbia, Chile, and Peru are switching. European governments making the switch include Kurdjali, Bulgaria; Munich, Germany; Bergen, Norway; Schools and Government Agencies in Italy; Moscow, Russia; the United Kingdom; Canary Islands; Denmark; Barcelona, Spain; Dundee, Scotland; Central Scotland Police; France; Iceland; Poland; and Portugal. In Asia, the big ones are China, India, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and the Philippines.

I’m not even going to list the countless banks that have started using Linux to protect their data. Well, I might mention the fact that China’s largest bank switched to Linux. Actually, I’ll just briefly mention that the Deutscher Investment Trust, a German bank, has also switched to Linux. There’s also the Venezuelan bank, Banco Mercantil (with which I actually had an account at one time), who has made the switch to Linux. And of course, there’s the Indian bank that switched to Linux. Yeah, fine, they’re mostly servers. At least it’s causing M$ to lose money.

Maybe Mr. Hilf missed all of those stories in his RSS feeds or something.

Man, one of us is not plugged into the real world. Wake up, Neo.

Here’s the other thing: He says in the above quote that “pundits have predicted for years that Linux will gain momentum on the desktop, but that won’t happen because of the complexity involved in delivering a tightly integrated and tested desktop product.” Again, you’re already behind, sport. There is at least one Linux platform that is already doing this stuff. I will address this in detail after I set straight the other fallacies put forth by Mr. Hilf.

I think it’s cute that he slips in, “I’ve been a Linux desktop user for a really long time.” Watching someone install it once doesn’t really count, man.

“‘The magic of open-source software is not the software. It has nothing to do with the code at all. Most open-source code is terribly inferior to commercial software code,’ Hilf said. ‘The magic is the community and how you interact and participate in a community and make development transparent enough that the community believes in you and trusts you.'”

The magic of this moment is in the generous amounts of ludicrous that this statement is. He’s right, though. The magic of open-source software is not the software; the penguin seduced, brainwashed, and hypnotized me into using Linux. Oh, wait, now I’m speaking like a Microsoftie. The magic is actually in the track record that Microsoft’s code has of being many different ways of inferior, the biggest one being in absolute lack of any kind of secure code, whatsoever, and only that when they were forced to. “Whoops, I hadn’t realized that our code was so horrible and crappy. I’ll have to look into that.” The translation of this is: “We don’t care how poorly-written, crappy, and insecure our code is as long as the ignorant users of Windows will keep on buying it from us. They don’t need to know that there are better options out there.”

Terribly inferior code, huh? Is that why Linux has a track record for having rock-solid security (which track record Windows has certainly not enjoyed)? Is that why so many governments, institutions, and companies world-wide (including Microsoft, by the way) has started using it for everything having to do with security? Is that why Windows has a track record of being more open than a lady of the evening working her favorite corner?

Perhaps the thing that absolutely blows my mind the most about the quote is the end, where he says, “The magic is the community and how you interact and participate in a community and make development transparent enough that the community believes in you and trusts you.” What gives Microsoft the most remote impression that they know anything about this? According to consumers, they are ranked almost at the very bottom in terms of how much people trust them. No one trusts Microsoft. Could that be because they’ve done everything they can to get peoples’ money rather than provide a quality product? Maybe it’s because they pull crap like this. The community believes and trusts Microsoft, huh? Not on your life.

“Hilf’s comments come as Novell and Red Hat market more advanced, integrated server operating systems and desktop products that compare more favorably with the Microsoft desktop than in prior years.”

You have absolutely no idea how true this is, and I’m gonna tell you how true it is in just a bit… after we explore how out of his mind this guy really is.

“And even though Linux may appear slick on the desktop, it can’t compete under the covers, Hilf said. Novell and Red Hat are trying to adopt Microsoft’s integration model, but the process of integrating system components and ensuring third-party applications and device drivers run well on the desktop–and testing all those scenarios–makes that task too cumbersome.”

Other than the fact that no one that I know of is trying to adopt Microsoft’s integration model. Are you? Is Ubuntu? Debian? Fedora? No hands. Hmmm…

I’m not even going to make a comment on Mr. Hilf’s comments about competing “under the covers,” especially where it involves Martin Taylor.

He’s backwards again in reference to his little bit about the device drivers. Here’s the funny thing: According to Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols, Linux actually supports more hardware than Vista does! Scratch your head, there, for a minute. Yes, apparently Linux now supports more hardware than Vista. Hmm… again, Mr. Hilf is apparently just a little wet behind the ears. Here’s a towel, chief.

“‘Vendors come in and buy piece parts, and they try to assemble a mini Microsoft development model. But who is going to test it? It’s the user,’ Hilf said. ‘The user tests and reports back bugs on the desktop. The end user doesn’t want to be a tester, unless they’re a developer. It’s extremely hard and complex.'”

So hard and complex that Microsoft has produced nothing but buggy and worthless code for the past 20 years, and even worse updates (the XP SP2 disaster comes to mind). So hard and complex that yes, it is the user that has had to deal with the brunt of this neglect. You are absolutely right: the end user does not want to be a tester. So why, for the past two decades, have you forced them to be exactly that?

“‘There was a ton of work and engineering put into the Win32 API. Why do people want to clone the Win32 API, like the WINE project?’ he added.”

Answer: Because Windows absolutely sucks. People are willing to do anything to run their favorite applications on a platform that doesn’t make them feel like they are rolling around naked in raw sewage.

“Hilf gave kudos to his predecessor, Martin Taylor, a Windows Live executive who left Microsoft this week, for developing the Redmond, Wash., company’s Get The Facts marketing campaign.”

Evidently, neither of them realize how fruitless that lame campaign was, and how little was accomplished by it. Maybe it’s not the campaign they are congratulating each other about, after all. Maybe it has to do with their competing under the covers.

“‘One thing Martin did before I started [with Microsoft] was to help centralize the company around a single way of thinking about this,’ Hilf said. ‘There were a lot of different people composing theories about what to do to compete against Linux and open source.'”

Well there you go, sport. If it were such a non-threat, why are you trying so hard to get rid of it? If Linux is absolutely no threat to Windows on the desktop, as you are claiming throughout this article, why in this world of ours would you and His Majesty Martin Taylor be so hell-bent on destroying it? Why would there be an entire department, and even your very position at Microsoft be created and designed to attack Linux in every conceivable way? Why has everyone been obsessing about ways to nuke Linux, as you, yourself say?

Must be more of a threat than you will admit.

Please spare the world the garbage, PR-campaign-style, FUD-perpetuating speeches. I realize that your employer forces you to say these things. I realize that if you want to keep your job, you have to say them. Just know that anyone with the ability to reason doesn’t buy it. Neither does anyone who has experience with Linux, or anyone who has ever had to clean up a corporate disaster because of a security hole in your bug-ridden software, or anyone who can add up the fact that a FREE download (Linux) is cheaper than your Windows + Office combo topping the scales at around $500. Hmm… I guess that includes most serious IT professionals.

Now, I’d like to discuss some more about why this guy needs a padded room in which he can enjoy his own little reality.

In short, there is already at least one distribution of Linux specifically designed to integrate seamlessly into a Windows-centric environment. I realize that there are others, but I have personal knowledge of at least one. Let me tell you a little bit about it.

First of all, if you are in an enterprise or SMB, what will you be looking for in a desktop operating system? You will want something that saves you money, maintains or increases employee productivity, is easy to admin, is secure, and it has to be something you can just drop into your existing environment.

How will it save money? Let’s look at a quick comparison.

What will most basic office desktops need? The operating system and some kind of Office suite. Windows + Office = about $500. This is per desktop. If you have 25 desktops, that is already $12,500 right out the window. You can purchase SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 for (don’t quote me) about $50 or so, give or take. You immediately drop from $12,500 to $1,250. Hmm… about 10% of the cost. Yep, looks like that saves us some money right there. No problems with that argument. It’s very obvious and twice as clear.

How about maintaining or increasing productivity?

There is the fact that the Office suite, OpenOffice, provides the ability to do just about anything that its Microsoft counterpart can do. It is intuitive and fairly straightforward. Even new users can be productive immediately. So there’s one way: OpenOffice provides the office production tools.

Let’s look at another way.

Many people, when they are trying to find some bit of information on their computer, cannot remember where they saved it or originally found it. This leads many users to waste untold amounts of time looking through email, web sites, documents, and other files to see if they can find it by hand.

Enter beagle, the desktop search tool. In SLED 10, you have the ability to pop up your beagle window, run your search, and have immediately available a list of results. Thus we see that time is saved, and productivity is increased.

So beagle is another example. Let’s look at one more.

You have the new desktop effects found in Xgl. Yeah, they look great. However, many of the visual effects actually make the operating system more intuitive and easy to use. They provide visual cues that help new users get comfortable with the system very quickly.

Alrighty, there are a few examples of equal or increased productivity. I could go on, but I have other stuff to cover.

Is it easy to admin?

SLED 10 works with SLES 10 to create situations where you can push updates out to the desktop machines. You can “batch admin” systems, something that has not been available before (correct me if I’m wrong, here) for a desktop. Novell has really thought about this. They are addressing these types of things. I’m not just saying that because I work there. In another week I won’t be.

SLED 10 will be the ultimate admin-friendly desktop. SLED 10 and SLES 10 were created from the same code base. Same YAST. Same basic system for all the machines. This means that it is easier to maintain for admins.

The next point is security, which has long since been a dead horse. Linux is more secure. Always has been.

Perhaps the point that Mr. Hilf is saying is that Linux does not play well in a Windows environment.

This is actually one if the very strongest points of SLED 10. How?

First of all, SLED 10 can work with things like Active Directory to authenticate users. You can also authenticate with LDAP. It integrates right into the authentication setup you already have.

SLED 10 can browse the Windows Network Neighborhood, and can appear as a Windows computer to other machines on the network. This means you can browse and share files and printers, just like you would do on your Windows machines.

Another way that SLED 10 works with your existing environment is via Evolution. The SLED 10 platform can connect to whatever messaging back-end you are using. It plugs into Exchange, for example.

There is also the fact that OpenOffice can read and save any Microsoft Office formatted document. This means that if you do have Office users that you work with, you can send them documents in Word and Excel formats.

I’m telling you, SLED 10 will be the first Linux platform ever that can truly address all of the issues to be considered when looking for a desktop platform. Gone are the days where the knee-jerk response is “OK, so how much do I need to fork over to you, Mr. Gates?” Only the old-school has-beens are still thinking this way. Join the new IT movement. The one where everyone sees Microsoft’s software for the trash that it is, and sees Linux for the value that it adds to the industry. At very least join us in the real world and think for yourself.

I’m not the only one saying this type of thing. Check out Neil McAllister’s article, SuSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10. His review of SLED 10 demonstrates what I’m saying here.

June 22, 2006

The Distro Dance

by @ 7:26 pm. Filed under General Linux, Work-Related

As of Monday, June 3, 2006, I will no longer be working at Novell doing the SUSE Linux CoolSolutions stuff. I have accepted a position doing PHP and system administration on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server machines. I will also be receiving approximately a bunch more than I am now. You see, I can be bought. I have no shame. I am in it for the money. It’s all about capitalism; the American dream, baby.

As such, I am no longer absolutely bound under penalty of death by schoolbus to using ONLY SUSE Linux. A while back I told someone (seems like it was Hans Fugal) that if the time came that I wasn’t bound to SUSE Linux by way of my vocation, that I would try out Debian. Well, as I said I would, I am taking a look at it. After 3 days of jigdo downloading stuff, I finally have two DVD images. Dude, that is a ton of packages. Is there any other Linux distro that has more packages than Debian does? Wow.

Anyone else have any reason that I should try any other distributions while I’m at it? Don’t just randomly name Linux distros. I have a link to DistroWatch, too. I can just as easily go to that page and click the links on each distro. If you are going to make a suggestion, please tell me why I should look at that distro. The more details you give, the more likely I am to not delete the comment.

Yes, I’m in a bit of a mood.

June 21, 2006

Laptop Explodes – Probably running Windows

by @ 10:41 am. Filed under My Opinion

I wanted to post a link to a story…. heh….

A laptop exploded at a conference in Japan:

Dell laptop explodes at Japanese conference – includes pictures of the laptop in flames

I’m betting it was running Windows. 🙂

June 20, 2006

SUSE Linux 10.1 now powers my AMD 64

by @ 6:40 am. Filed under General SUSE

I spent the evening installing SUSE 10.1 on my AMD 64-bit machine. I found many installation sources. However, like half of them would not work. I wonder what I am doing wrong that makes them not work. For example:

http://software.opensuse.org/download/KDE:/KDE3/ – won’t work.

http://software.opensuse.org/download/KDE:/Backports/ – won’t work.

http://ftp.osuosl.org/pub/suse/suse/x86_64/supplementary/GNOME/update_for_10.1/yast-source/ – won’t work.

Any clues would be greatly appreciated.

Does anyone else ever feel like smashing someone in the eye if they go 5 mph under the speed limit? Man, tell you what.

No wonder I am Hitler.


What Famous Leader Are You?
personality tests by similarminds.com

Yes, that is really what the results said.

June 14, 2006

Utah Bloggers’ Conference 2006

by @ 6:56 am. Filed under SUSE Blog News

Tonight, I went to the Utah Bloggers’ Conference. Let’s be clear about one thing: I didn’t know what the heck to expect, and I was initially only in it for the controversially-logoed Utah Bloggers T-Shirt. I was surely in for a pleasant surprise. Honestly, I had absolutely no clue what to expect. I barely even knew what it was all about, and that because of my good buddy Steve:

Steve Dibb

I’ll also point out the obvious fact that because BLOGGERS were there, the goings-on of the conference will pretty much be covered in detail by those more prolific and eloquent than I. Examples would include:

Gary Thornock

Phil Windley

Charley Foster

Scott Lemon

Thus, I’ll pause for a moment while you catch the details from these fine folks.

*waits*

So the basic idea was that we had a panel to which the attendees could ask questions about how blogging relates to whatever thing (which, of course, you already know because you have read the above blog entries). We got into all kinds of topics like how blogging can be good for business, the gender imbalance and whether women blog about families or food or business or whatnot (gripping subject for me, personally), how to get started with blogging, and of course political blogs such as that of Pete Ashtown (who was good enough to be on the panel this evening). There were guys there who had used Linux since before Linus Torvalds even thought of it. There were people there who hadn’t even heard of Linux, but who were interested in blogs, blogging, the blogosphere, and related topics (good to meet you, Tom).

My good buddy Steve and I flopped into some seats near the front (Steve’s a little hard of hearing), and found ourselves sitting next to Aaron Toponce. Very cool to meet him in person, I must say. There are a lot of similarities between how we approach things. I also had the chance to meet Jason Hall, who lives close enough to me that he could chuck dirt clods at me if I got too loud.

All in all, it was much better than I had anticipated, not knowing what to anticipate. They had free T-Shirts, pop, and some munchy food out in the foyer. Once things were about to get started, they brought in full boxes of pizza (like one per table). I am shameless, so I jumped right in. Then, things got started, and the panelists (who you already know, because you read the above blog posts) introduced themselves. Quite a wide range of experience, angles, and points of view were represented in the panel.

One of the things that really stuck out to me, personally, is how huge podcasting is. Like I already knew that it was big, but didn’t realize what can be done with a really good podcasting campaign. I think I’m going to look into doing something with podcasts. That would rule.

To avoid overload, I have created a gallery for my pictures of the conference.

In other news, Linux saved the day for Pixar, who needed to shave 9/10 of the time it took them to render one frame. It was taking 10 hours per frame, and needed to take 1. So, of course, using Linux, they fixed it.

And, of course, what kind of SUSE advocate would I be if I didn’t at least mention this story? Seems that the SUSE Linux Enterprise line from Novell has a lot going for it. They have the best chance that anyone has had in a very long time against M$. Let’s see if they play their cards right!

June 13, 2006

HOT Models and SUSE Linux Rants

by @ 1:36 pm. Filed under SUSE Blog News

Anze sent me in some very stylish pictures of himself and his girlfriend donning their very cool SUSE Rants T-Shirts. They also have a top-of-the-line SUSE Rants wall clock. Check it:

SUSE Rants T-Shirt and Wall Clock pics   SUSE Rants T-Shirt and Wall Clock pics   SUSE Rants T-Shirt and Wall Clock pics   

Thanks for the pictures, Anze. Your girlfriend is cute!

For anyone interested, you can purchase your cool SUSE Rants stuff from here.

I’m still plugging away at my project to help make it easier for people to check out Linux. That and I’m putting in some steps into my front yard. That, and I’m helping my folks move into their house. That, and my wife has some family over this week. That, and I’m trying to get ready for school in the fall. Not much, really.

June 10, 2006

Linux for new users / Germans take to SUSE

by @ 7:28 am. Filed under General Linux, Linux News, SUSE News

You know, I would love to find a way to help every Windows user feel comfortable enough to at least try Linux. One excellent article that will help do this is “Basic Things to Know When Switching to a Linux Desktop.” I think it assumes that the intended audience knows more than they probably would if they had never used Linux before. Gerald probably could have gone into more detail on some things. That said, I think it’s otherwise an excellent introduction to Linux. Also, rather than introducing a specific distribution of Linux, it explores the possibilites of what the major distros have to offer. It’s really a decent read, if you have a few minutes.

Well, I’m off to Logan again to help my parents settle into their new house.

Dude, the Germans have it right on. Everyone should follow their lead. 12,000 desktops at 300 per day. Man, that is totally sweet.

June 9, 2006

Linux takes the champion’s spot in more ways than one

by @ 7:19 am. Filed under General Linux, Linux News

As it turns out, there is someone who can tell us Why Linux Servers Trump Windows SBS. Wait a minute, I totally already knew that.

With Windows, it is easier to point-and-click most of it. Microsoft is an excellent marketing company. They know how to get people to use their stuff, and stay using it (they can sell a toilet full of sewage to pretty much anyone and do on a daily basis). With Linux, things may be a little tricky to get set up the first time (however, these types of things are indeed becoming easier). However, your trade-off is that your systems will be more robust and less vulnerable to attacks, breaches, hacks, etc.

Just do everyone a favor and learn Linux. If you need someone to change your diaper, use Windows.

I think that Mozilla has every right to be confident of its security lead over Microsoft. They should be. Though not perfect, Firefox is solid. I take it to sites on my Linux platform that I wouldn’t dream of taking IE on Windows. I hope they don’t get all cocky. However, if they can keep going the direction that they are, they will have my vote.

Wouldn’t you know that Another Windows Vista Feature Bites the Dust. Quality work, guys. Pretty soon all they’ll have to offer is a kernel and notepad, and that in 2010. Work that PR, baby.

Hey, would you believe that Windows “phones home” to verify that it is not a pirated copy? Well, it does exactly that. Microsoft says, “Whoopsie, I guess we need to work on that a bit.” How stupid do they think their users are? Well, they may have a point.

Saved the best for last.

Helios generally has some good food for thought. The latest from that neck of the woods is no different. He wrote a piece called “Stockholders Cuddled, Customers Screwed. – Microsoft: ‘Sorry, it’s just business’.” Man, can I just tell you? Feed my paranoia, why don’t you? Check it out and see what you think.

[edit]

I also wanted to tip my hat to Dell for their efforts in working with Novell to provide SUSE Linux on the servers that they sell.

June 8, 2006

Is the SUSE Linux 10.1 Updater actually working?!?

by @ 7:20 am. Filed under General SUSE, SUSE News

As all avid SUSE users know by now, the package update tool in SUSE Linux 10.1 has not been working even ALMOST properly. During the installation, the Internet connection is detected properly, but the update server is not found or something. Thus, it errors out, leaving no server from which to pull updates.

*However*

Last night, I was installing 10.1 on one of my machines. I tested the Internet connection as usual, which it detected properly. I also attempted to do the package update check that has always failed for me. Lo and behold, kick me in the face 39.3 times with steel-toed soccer cleats if I am lying, but the system found an appropriate server. I was absolutely shocked. I went ahead and did the updates. A few dependencies were screwed up, but I was able to come out of it unscathed.

So….

Can someone verify for me that the update server is now working like it should be? Or did I just get the magical correct alignment of the planets, or what?

Obviously, they released something last week that was a test for a fix for that broken updater. I’m just wondering if it’s now fixed so that I can update all my boxes to 10.1. I refuse to do update my production boxes to 10.1 when the updater for said platform is broken. If it’s working again later today on one of the machines in my lab at work, I will very likely install 10.1 on my production box there. And then I will kick someone in the face with steel-toed soccer cleats.

Actually, I’ll probably test it 483 more times just to make sure. Then, I’ll install it on my other boxes.

Also…

I am quite excited about this one, too. I was able to connect from my Treo 650 to my server via ssh, completely wirelessly! Slap me in the eyeball with a rubber submarine, baby! Here are a couple of (yes, I know, hard to read) screenshots:

Connected to SUSE Linux Server - 'ps aux' command

Connected to SUSE Linux Server - 'top' command

That is something else. I can redo config files, restart services… obviously everything you could do via conventional ssh. Man, that is wild. Let’s hear it for technology. Let’s also hear it for Quentin Jackson who suggested TuSSH to me in the first place.

Per Russ’ suggestion, I tried out pssh. Very cool app, I must say. Even has a little CTRL button on the screen because my keyboard doesn’t have one on the Treo. Nice. Here’s a screenshot:

pssh on my Treo connected to my SUSE Linux server via ssh

June 7, 2006

OpenOffice.org Tutorial: Putting in a Table of Contents

by @ 11:58 am. Filed under How-To, SUSE Tips & Tricks

If you are in a long document, you can lose your place. Also, if you are looking for something in particular, you may have to scan the entire document looking for that topic. However, if you want to get around these two problems, put in a Table of Contents. The readers of your document will love you for it.

Oh, and I happen to know where a really well-written article on this is, because I just put it up:

http://www.novell.com/coolsolutions/feature/17392.html

Take a look and see what you think.

GIMP tutorial: Making Beveled Edges

by @ 9:48 am. Filed under How-To, SUSE Tips & Tricks

I finished a tutorial explaining how to put beveled edges on your GIMP artwork/graphic design. If you’re making a button or something and you want it to look slick, bevel the edges… for example, take a look at this button:

 
 
My beveled edge is pimpy.

 

 

So, if you want to learn how to do this cool skill, check out the tutorial, located at:

http://www.novell.com/coolsolutions/feature/17391.html

I surely love this quote

by @ 6:35 am. Filed under General Linux, My Opinion, SUSE News

I didn’t catch where this came from, but man, I love it:

“You don’t know how to get to the control panel let alone operate in it so you can’t figure out how to uninstall programs. (You might not even know such a thing exists) As a result, for all eternity when you boot, norton, mcafee and pc-cillin all annoy the heck out of you constantly telling you that you should sign up for their updating service and buy full versions of their products. They all also run scans at random times for your 120 day trial (after which they still bug you) and this slows your computer down to a crawl on a constant basis. You also have AOL, Netscape, Netzero and other ISP message popping up every time you boot and no doubt 17 other programs asking you to finish or start some process that will no doubt ask you for a credit card number.”

I worked at a place doing tech support once. This describes 482% of the people I tried to help, but were completely beyond even my reach.

Also, Adrian Schröter announced the release of the SUSE 10.1 Live DVD, as follows:

— begin —

The SUSE Linux 10.1 Live DVD is available now.
The download URL to get it it from you next mirror is

http://download.opensuse.org/distribution/SL-10.1/non-oss-dvd-iso/SUSE-Linux-10.1-GM-LiveDVD.iso

The Live DVD is a 32bit intel based system which contains 4GB of great Linux software compressed into a 1.7GB iso.

—- end —

June 6, 2006

Idahoans will love SUSE Linux

by @ 6:26 am. Filed under General Linux, General SUSE, My Opinion, SUSE Blog News

How in the bloody hell am I supposed to get everything done?

I drove to Logan, UT, to unpack yet ANOTHER moving truck full of my parents’ heavy furniture. By heavy I mean “baby grand piano” and other assorted furniture weighing over 350 pounds each. And there was a lot of it. Neighbors on either side came over to help, so I didn’t do everything myself. The one guy on the east side was digging raingutter drainage trenches in his front yard. When we were all done moving 63 pianos, 43 beds, 21 dressers, and 383 rusting lawnchairs, I helped the one guy on the eastern side of their house dig his trench with a pickaxe. About 2 1/2 swings and my arms were throbbing. After about 45 minutes of that, I faked a hayfever attack so I could go back inside and have some cool water to ease the heatstroke I felt coming on. For the next two days, my hands were swollen and I couldn’t grip anything very well. Good thing I’m such a self-sacrificing servant of my fellow man.

The next day, we drove 3 hours up to Rexburg, except that I had to get there in 2 1/2 hours. We had women in our party. You take the number of women and multiply by 15 and that’s how many minutes late you will leave to any given event. As there were two, we left a half hour late. Thus, I had to bust out my stealth F-16 l33t driving skills. We left at 6:00 am and got there at 8:28 am for the event that I was to participate in at 8:30. For anyone wondering, I had to engage the cruise control at 93 miles per hour for about 2 hours. Don’t tell any cops, though.

Then, yesterday, we had to drive back to Logan and drop off my parents. Except that I was too blasted to keep driving, so I had to crash for an hour. When I was conscious again, I stuck toothpicks in my eyes to keep them open and taped my eyelids with some duct tape for good measure. With that, I drove the 2 hours back home. I fell into a coma ere I hit my bed. Good thing I aimed before I started falling.

And that is to say nothing about the 956.3 things that I’ve done today, already.

What does that have to do with SUSE Linux? Stare at a blank wall for about 8 seconds, and you will see the answer.

That all said, I DID have a chance to spread the word about Linux and open source while in Rexburg.

My mother’s first husband’s second wife was there (who happens to be my mother’s first daughter’s step-mother), with whom I have no relation. She is an educator, teaching art in high school. She was talking with my mother about digital photography and art via Photoshop and Illustrator. She was careful to clarify that they were Adobe products.

At that point, I butted in, interrupting the conversation to make my introductory arguments about how Gimp runs on Windows and Linux, and is free, and opens Photoshop files. This, of course, would mean that her students would be able to work on their projects at home, without having to own Photoshop, and get the software for free, even if they are using that one sludge operating system dredged from the sewer of a nuclear treatment plant.

After about 25 minutes of discussing red, green, and blue channels, paths, selection tools, RGB, CMYK, resolution, brightness, contrast, and floating layers, she decided that I may have some clue as to what I was talking about. I went further and invited her to a demonstration of the software, as we were at my nephew’s house, who is an Ubuntu fan. I had him fire up his system and pull open the GIMP.

My next question to her was, “So, what is the first assignment that you have your students do on their first day with Photoshop?” She said that she has them find a picture on the Internet, pull it into Photoshop, and just type their name in a layer over the top of the picture. Simple in the GIMP… I did it as she was explaining the assignment to me. As she was finishing her explanation, I was finishing my implementation of her explanation. I said, “Something like this?”, pointing to the screen. She was visibly impressed.

I think she was converted and open at least to the idea of open source software. I sent a link to her email address of where she could download the GIMP and read more about it.

Then, we moved to the OpenOffice.org discussion. I was careful to explain to her that OpenOffice does, in fact, open Microsoft Office documents, and that it could also save the files in those formats. My nephew showed her and her husband (my mother’s first husband, but not my father) how to do the header styles, and formatting and all that. I forgot to show her how to do the darn table of contents. Oh well, gotta have some tricks for next time, I guess. During that conversation, I did spend a considerable time breaking in the idea of what Linux is.

The effort in doing all of this is that, as an educator, she will be teaching many people who have never heard of open source. Many, many more than I could possibly reach. If we, as Linux users, would start working with the educational systems around us, open source would be adopted at a much faster rate, I’m quite sure.

I’m also writing a couple of articles about the GIMP, as my conversation had reminded me that I had some cool tricks in the GIMP that I hadn’t yet written about. Stay tuned for a URL to the published article.

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