OpenSUSE Linux Rants

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

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April 26, 2007

Beryl running on my openSUSE 10.2 laptop (incl. screenshot)

by @ 6:57 am. Filed under beryl, My Opinion

I have been running beryl for over a month now, and I am thoroughly enjoying it. While I am at work, I like to display my setup to as many Windows users as pass by. Thus, I generally set it up something like this:

beryl on openSUSE Linux
Click for larger image

I leave it open all day, looking just like that. This way, when the Windows users walk by and see it and ask what it is, I get some small satisfaction (that I totally shouldn’t get) from telling them that it doesn’t run on Windows, and that this means that they can’t install it. What brings an eventual grin to my face is the immediate look of confusion that appears on their face because they have absolutely no idea what I just said.

So here’s my take on beryl. When people ask me whether I think Linux is ready for the desktop, I whip out beryl. Now, just because it can flash and dance does not mean that it is necessarily ready for the desktop. However, if the community feels that something like beryl is practical to develop, the rest of the desktop requirements must be fairly well met. Which, of course, I can tell you that they are.

What is even more incredible is that Mac has had animated desktops for a few years now, and Linux does stuff with beryl that will send you into seizures (good ones, of course!). Both of them are far superior to their common competitor. And that competitor is having trouble keeping up with the features. IE 7 just got tabs, for example, which of course have been available in Firefox for a long time. Vista has its new Aero effects, yes. However, they are mainly available only in the enterprise/professional versions? How does that make sense? The enthusiast is the one who will be interested in that stuff. Which means the HOME users. At work, people are expected to work, and not play with accelerated desktops. CEOs won’t give a rat about Aero, other than hating it because people are not able to work, but are distracted with all the eyecandy (I use the word “all” kind of tongue-in-cheek, as it doesn’t hold a candle to beryl).

Nice. Give it to the people who don’t care, and take it from the people who do.

* blank stare *

Whatever, I am absolutely digging my beryl install on my openSUSE 10.2 laptop. If you haven’t had a chance, head over to youtube or something and check out some of the beryl demos.

April 25, 2007

Mounting USB Partition in openSUSE Linux

by @ 6:46 am. Filed under General Linux, General SUSE, How-To, SUSE Tips & Tricks

Once upon a time, I wrote a short tip on how to quickly and easily mount a USB stick, pen drive, jump drive, card reader or whatever from a command prompt in openSUSE Linux. There was just a slight problem (or two) with the way I suggested doing this. One such issue is that when you go to access the drive as a regular user, it is read-only.

In most cases, when you put a USB stick into your USB port on a machine running openSUSE, a window will appear asking what you’d like to do. This is done by the Hardware Abstraction Layer service running in the background.

However, what about cases where you need to manually mount a USB stick? For example, if you have a custom-compiled kernel module that you need to load off a USB stick during installation, what do you do? HAL ain’t gonna save your bacon. You’ll want to know how to get the USB stuff up and cracking very quickly with minimal fooling around.

This is a quick re-write of my last tip, except that it is easier for users with regular accounts to work with the USB stick.

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:~]$

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 -t [filesystem type] [usb stick partition] [target mount point] -o rw,nosuid,nodev,noatime,uid=1000,utf8,shortname=lower

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

mount -t vfat /dev/sda1 /media/usbstick -o rw,nosuid,nodev,noatime,uid=1000,utf8,shortname=lower

In most cases, vfat for the filesystem type for a USB stick should work just fine (unless you know it to be something else).

After you run this command, you should be in business. You can open a terminal as your regular user and change and modify the USB partition with minimal trouble.

If you wish to have this USB partition mounted automatically, you can edit your /etc/fstab file to do this.

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 is one way to mount a USB partition.

April 23, 2007

So I’m Not the Only One After All

by @ 10:22 am. Filed under M$ Exposed, War

(09:54:18) Steve D: http://www.the-gay-bar.com/index.php/2007/04/23/security-by-naming-conventions/
(09:54:19) Steve D: dude
(09:54:25) Steve D: THERES some MS funnage to munch on
(09:54:27) Steve D: Talk about LAME.
(10:03:01) Scott: nice
(10:10:26) Steve D: what a piece of trash, man
(10:10:28) Steve D: stupid windows.
(10:10:31) Steve D: what total garbage.
(10:11:50) Scott: Few people on this earth agree with you as much as I do.
(10:12:45) Steve D: I cant believe how many corners theyve cut
(10:13:04) Steve D: Im starting to believe that MS might be as ruthless in saving time and money as Wal-Mart is.
(10:13:14) Steve D: Do it right? oh, that takes too long.
(10:13:30) Steve D: Add an if statement checking to see if "install" is in the filename? 12 minutes.
(10:13:45) Scott: Yep
(10:13:49) Scott: that is rockin’ cool
(10:14:46) Steve D: How does that quote go?
(10:14:59) Steve D: Those that don't use Unix's philosophy are destined to redesign it, poorly.
(10:15:01) Steve D: soemthing like that

Later that morning…

(10:25:19) Steve D: man
(10:25:25) Steve D: Looks like Vista isnt selling very well
(10:25:33) Steve D: I hope this is the beginning of the end for MS
(10:25:36) Scott: It’s fecal material.
(10:25:52) Steve D: Did you hear Dell went back to selling XP preloaded because of customer demand?
(10:25:57) Scott: Yeah, I think this is the beginning of the end.
(10:25:58) Steve D: Dude, THAT is a bad sign right there phoobage.
(10:26:07) Scott: You have a link for that, there, tiger?
(10:26:12) Steve D: uh
(10:26:15) Steve D: one second.
(10:26:26) Steve D: I think it was techdirt?
(10:26:28) Scott: http://news.com.com/Dell+brings+back+XP+on+home+systems/2100-1046_3-6177619.html
(10:26:32) Scott: There’s one.
(10:27:06) Steve D: "We heard you loud and clear on bringing the Windows XP option back to our Dell consumer PC offerings,"
(10:27:09) Steve D: I hate PR spin.
(10:27:09) Steve D: :B
(10:27:29) Steve D: Translation: After telling MS we're going to sue them for lost sales, they changed our contract to make the whole a little smaller.
(10:28:48) Steve D: man I totally hope this thing just falls flat on its face.

For more information on this important topic, go here.

April 20, 2007

Why Using Linux is Wonderful

by @ 1:33 pm. Filed under General Linux, My Opinion

Can I just tell you how much I hate school?

I got a new ’04 Crown Victoria Police Interceptor. I’ll have to post pictures some day.

Some while back, our company was looking at getting a new mail server. At first, we were considering the open-source version of Zimbra that runs on Linux. Well, after a licensing fiasco with them, we decided to use Exchange. I just about quit. We got this hugely beefy system to run it on. 4gb RAM, ~400GB RAID5 (after raid there’s that much), dual xeon procs, not sure the speed.

Good thing we got such a robust system, otherwise I would be getting errors like this:

Error

Actually, I DID get that error from the Exchange server. No resources available to send my text-only email of 2 sentences in size on such a massively overpowered machine. Maybe it’s because it only has half the resources that Exchange requires? Never got anything remotely like that from the Zimbra install on the Linux box. But hey, we HAVE to have the calendar and shared contacts, otherwise we may end up as PHB’s.

Sweet.

Ya’ll have a spectacular weekend. openSUSE Linux 10.2 all the way.

April 12, 2007

A totally useless trick in openSUSE Linux

by @ 11:57 pm. Filed under General Linux, General SUSE, SUSE Tips & Tricks

While I am sure that today could have been much worse, I’m not quite clear on how.

First, I found that my little jaunt to the Salt Flats completely destroyed my car’s engine, and I am now having to junk it and start from scratch. So that pretty much totally sucks.

Even worse than that, though, is that my wife called me at work, saying that she was at home and unable to locate our 2 1/2 year old daughter. I spent the next 15 minutes making the 25-minute drive to my house. My mind was racing and I was quite interested in getting home as soon as the laws of physics (not necessarily those pertaining to the speed limit) would allow. We were getting ready to call the Sheriff and get them to come help us find her. I thought of Elizabeth Smart and all the other crazy stuff that happens. That really, really sucked.

About a minute and a half away from my house, my wife called me back and said that they had found her, half-way across the neighborhood, playing with someone’s little bicycle.

Man, when I got home, all I could do was just pick her up and hug her for like 4 hours.

On days like this, I get really thankful for things like eyesight, having both legs, hearing, and a house (and one car, at least). Tell you what, things can always always be worse no matter how bad they get.

Alrighty then. On to Linux stuff.

One of the most annoying things about Linux is mime types for files. I can sit there in Gimp and make a graphic project and then save it out with the proprietary XCF extension that no other application on the entire system will ever use in the entire foreseeable future of the Universe. Yet, for some reason unknown to mankind, when I double-click on that .XCF file, the operating system asks me what to open it with. GIMP, stupid! And this happens with .m3u files in XMMS. .dia files open in what? Not DIA, but ARK. And then there’s the .kino files that open in what? Not KINO, but Kate, the text editor (yes, I know they’re text files). For some reason, I guess I just expect that, when I create the blasted file with a given application, that somewhere, something should know that I want to open that file again with that same application, should I just double-click on the file.

So I was playing around with my file-types, opening .jpgs in klipper, .mp3s in my RSS feed reader, and .odt files with Solitaire, when a silly thought dawned upon me. In KDE, when you right-click a file, and then select Open With, a little fly-out menu appears. You will see a couple of options in this menu. If none of them are the right one, you can click on Other. Another dialog box opens, laughing at you, daring you to attempt to locate the intended application yourself, challenging you to a battle of wits. At that point, you need to know the precise location of the program to open it with.

Except that you don’t. You only need to know the actual name of the binary.

For example, if I have a .kino file that I would like to open with KINO and not Kate, I can put some magical fairy dust into that box, making it find the app itself. All you have to do is put in the following:

`which kino`

Now, those are not quotes, they are backticks. The backtick is the key immediately to the left of your ‘1’ (number one) key at the top of your keyboard.

When the system evaluates an expression like this, it just executes what is between the backticks as though it were a shell command, and then replaces the whole thing with whatever the command returns. Thus, `which kino` evaluates to /opt/gnome/bin/kino, which is then accepted by the system as the proper location of the kino binary.

Just don’t check the box at the bottom that says “Remember application association for this type of file.” It puts weird things into the filetypes table, such that if you ever try this trick again, it will attempt to open it with that same program again. In this case, kino. On the other hand, you have different fingers. Just kidding. On the other hand, if you don’t check the box, it will forget what application to open the file with. Because of this, some of the usefulness is diminished.

So another thing you can do is to pop open a terminal window and type in “which ” followed by the application you are looking for. In this case, it would be “which kino”. Note that this is without the quotes. Then press ENTER. It will output the location of the application. Then, you can just copy and paste this output into that window that is asking you what to open the file with.

Man, I am really horrible with dangling prepositions.

That reminds me of a joke:

TEXAN: “Where are you from?” HARVARD GRAD: “Harvard — where we do not end our sentences with prepositions.” TEXAN: “OK — where are you from, stupid jerk?”

Sorry, the ADD and friends are really going full force today.

Have a good one.

openSUSE 10.3 Alpha3 released

by @ 8:39 am. Filed under General SUSE, SUSE News, SUSE releases

openSUSE Logo

My bro Andreas Jaeger had some spectacular news this morning:

I’m glad to announce the third public alpha release of openSUSE 10.3.

Important Changes Since Alpha2
==============================

The following are some highlights of Alpha3 compared to Alpha2:

* On x86-64: Firefox is now a 64-bit package and uses nspluginwrapper
  to handle 32-bit i386 plugins if needed.

* AppArmor uses now a new parser.  The kernel patches have been
  reworked completely.  Please do test AppArmor extensively (see below).

* GNOME 2.18 mostly integrated.

* Update to Kernel 2.6.21 RC5

* New opensuse-updater running natively under GNOME

* Further fixes for using libata by default for IDE devices

* New yast2-ftp-server module.

* The package manager handles more than one CD/DVD drive.

A more detailed list of changes is available via

http://en.opensuse.org/Factory/News .

Most Annoying Bugs
==================
So far the following critical bugs have been found, please read before

you install:

* Java applications are not working due to implementation errors in
  SUN Java. Bug 252510 Workaround here and also adding

  "LIBXCB_ALLOW_SLOPPY_LOCK=1" to the environment. 

* The installation of vim-normal might fail, just ignore it Bug 262706

* Branding and translations are still at the 10.2 level Bug 240598

* The Radeon driver is broken and crashes the X server Bug

  263199. Workaround: Disable the MergedFB option (see bugreport).

* Installation with several CD-ROMs might crash at some point Bug 263207

* gnome-main-menu might crash in some installations. bug
  263294. Fix: Reinstall gnome-main-menu with –force (you might

  want to install a new control-center2 package without the
  duplicated libslab, it’s available from the ftp server under

  10.3-Alpha3/Extra-RPMs). 

The list of annoying bugs is found here as well, please update it if

you find more:

http://en.opensuse.org/Bugs:Most_Annoying_Bugs_10.3-dev

Call for Testing
================

* libata for IDE devices

   We’re using the libata stack now also for IDE controllers.  Please
   do test that an update works and all files are changed

   automatically (libata uses /dev/sda for the first harddisk instead
   of /dev/hda).  Disks with more than 15 partitions are not handled

   right now, we’re still evaluating whether there is a good solution.
   to use the old scheme, boot with "hwprobe=-modules.pata".

* Kiwi scripts for LiveDVD

  We release the Kiwi tool together with a configuration for creating

  a LiveDVD of openSUSE 10.3. It can be created by anyone, you just
  need to call one simple script.  Please find detailed instructions

  and a list of known issues here:
    http://en.opensuse.org/LiveDVD

* AppArmor

  – Behavior Changes:

     New rules to distinguish directories from files:
     
     The previous behavior made no explicit handling for directories. The new

     kernel module makes access to directories explicit and distinguished by the
     addition of a trailing ‘/’ to a rule that identifies it as a directory.

     
     Old Behavior:
     
     /path/to/somewhere     r, # Gives read access to the path 
                               # whether a file or directory

     
     /path/to/somewhere/*   r, # Read access to all files and directories
                               # in /path/to/somewhere
     

     /path/to/somewhere/**  r, # Read access to all files and directories
                               # under /path/to/somewhere
     
     

     New Behavior:
       
     /path/to/somewhere/*  r, # Gives read access to files in the directory 
     

     /path/to/somewhere/   r, # Gives read access to the directory 
                              # element only
     
     /path/**/              r, # Gives read access to all directory entries

                               # under /path
     
     
     /path/to/somewhere/**  r,  # Gives access to files and directories under 

                                # /path/to/somewhere

  – Included Profiles:

    The current apparmor-profiles package only ships with the

    abstractions and a profile for ping. We are working to update the
    existing profiles and they will be included in the next alpha

    release.

  – Testing:

    Testers and profile developers should focus testing efforts on

    profile deveopment with the tools (in YaST or at the console).

Media and Download

==================

openSUSE 10.3 Alpha1 for i386, x86-64 and ppc comes as different media
sets:

* 5 CDs
* 1 AddOn CD with only NonOSS packages on it
* 1 AddOn CD with language packages that are used for extra

  languages (the 5 CDs contain support for english, french, italian, spanish,
  german, chinese, japanese, czech, danish, norwegian, khmer,

  hungarian, polish) (the 5 CDs have support for installation in all
  languages, just extra packages are only on this extra media)

* 1 DVD containing the contents of the 5 CDs and the NonOSS AddOn CD
* CDs/DVDs containing the sources corresponding to the media

We have created Delta ISOs from openSUSE 10.3 Alpha2.  Please use them
for download.

The DVDs and the source media are only available via bittorrent.

Please report all bugs you find on in our bugzilla as explained in

http://bugs.opensuse.org, discussion is most appropriate on the
opensuse-factory@xxxxxxxxxxxx mailing list.

To download media, please use the links provided at:

  http://en.opensuse.org/Development_Version#Downloads

Andreas
— 
 Andreas Jaeger, aj@xxxxxxx, http://www.suse.de/~aj/
  SUSE LINUX Products GmbH, GF: Markus Rex, HRB 16746 (AG Nürnberg)

   Maxfeldstr. 5, 90409 Nürnberg, Germany
    GPG fingerprint = 93A3 365E CE47 B889 DF7F  FED1 389A 563C C272 A126

April 11, 2007

OpenSUSE vs Ubuntu

by @ 9:27 am. Filed under General SUSE, review, SUSE News

openSUSE vs Ubuntu

Abhay Srivastava at Techzone has written an interesting article on his experiences with openSUSE from the point of view of an Ubuntu user:

“I have used Ubuntu for almost 2 years and was completely in love with Ubuntu. One fine day my UPS gave up and my lazy self never allowed me to buy another. The result, after 5-6 power offs, my root file system was corrupted. I had to do a manual “fsck -yâ€? to bring it up. I thought all is normal now, but after the second normal reboot, the files system completely gave up and no amount of fsck would help. It clearly means a re-install. It should have been OK in normal circumstances, but I was in the middle of a release at office and had no time for even small configurations. Hence instead of using my favorite Automatix, I went ahead with Ubuntu Mint. Oh that was a changing point. Mint is Ubuntu modified and Mint’ified. I have KDE on my Arch Thinkpad, so the greenish theme of mint was a welcome change from the brown Ubuntu. Mint had installed almost all the required software and codecs for me and enjoyed Mint for one month. I thought now I have Ubuntu + all the codecs, without and configurations. What else could I ask for ?”

“But installing Mint had stirred the urge to try other distros. My criteria was simple, I should be able to install over Internet, the distro should be well polished, have huge number of applications, be very stable and configurations should be easy. In other words, I wanted another Ubuntu.”

“I already have Arch, so I tried the other famous ones. I began with Fedora -> Gentoo and then landed with OpenSUSE. Fedora was too sluggish and Arch is anytime better than Gentoo. OpenSUSE, however, is another story. I did a network install using instLinux and it took me a whooping 48 hours. Yes, I know 48 hours is too much by any standards but after the install , I have no regrets. SUSE is the most amazing distribution I have seen as yet. It appears as if it is designed keeping ease of use and stability in mind.”

“Now that I have used OpenSUSE for 2 months, here is a brief comparison between my experiences with Ubuntu and OpenSUSE. I will only take things which either come out of box, or have to be installed/configured on both of them. ”

Read the rest of “openSUSE vs Ubuntu” here

April 8, 2007

openSUSE Linux : Helping the world avoid unnecessary agony

by @ 2:51 pm. Filed under General Linux, My Opinion, review, War

Every once in awhile, something surprises me. Take Friday night, for example. I knocked the 1-Liter bottle of Coke over and emptied half of it into my keyboard, then got it all over the wall behind me, then all over the underside of my desk, all over my monitor, and all over about 40 square feet of carpet, all within about 12 seconds. I was surprised that none got on my laptop.

Saturday, however, was not a day of much surprise in my life. I woke up and set up three domains with Drupal installations which went exactly as planned. I ate some lunch, and drove from Eagle Mountain to Logan, which trip was totally uneventful. My brother and I presented our father with a new AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core 3800+ machine that we got him for his birthday. He was excited and surprised, which came as no surprise.

The information was then passed on to me that I would be setting up the box for him. As the one who had originally set up the network, my initial reaction was, “No surprise there. Who else would be doing it? Of course I am.” It then dawned on me that this machine came with Vista pre-installed. OK. Little surprise. After I got over my evil thoughts of formatting it and installing Linux on it outright, I got started

I fired the machine up, yawning in boredom at the new look (as interesting as watching paint peel when I have compiz/beryl on my Linux laptop with all the transparencies and stacking and burning effects). After waiting about 20 minutes for the machine to get to the desktop (if it comes installed, what the hell am I waiting for?), it assaulted me with virus definition updates, windows updates, the welcome screen, and a migration wizard. After freeing up about 200 Meg of RAM by closing all these windows, I decided to go ahead with the Easy Transfer window. I wanted to tranfer all of the files, data, settings, email, etc., from the old machine to the new one. It prompted me how I wanted to do the transfer and if I was on the old computer or the new one, and if I had the Easy Transfer app installed on the other computer, which I did not.

No problem, it gave me the choice of putting the Easy Transfer app onto a USB stick and putting it on the old machine, which was on the same network as the one. Getting it over onto the old box and running it was fairly painless. After about 25 minutes it just gave me this error, “Easy Transfer Failed: permission denied”. Permission to what? From where? What were we trying to do? Which program was denied the permission? On which computer? Regular old questions such as these which are very easily answerable on a Linux system were apparently not even considered by the Windows developers. They were probably all like, “Dude, you can’t even fix it, anyway, so why do you even care what went wrong?” Seriously, that is a great point.

I tried it twice, each with the same result. Yes, I had all usernames and passwords typed in correctly (yes, caps-lock was off). Obviously I had erred as an operator (You should see this great PEBKAC shirt that I have. I wore it to work on Friday). Fine. HOW!?! Give me something useful so I can make it work as it should on its own anyway.

So I hopped on the new box and logged into my dad’s account. It had gotten at least some of the data transferred because all of the files littering the old computer’s desktop now showed on the new computer’s desktop.

I then went in and searched through the START menu (recently added feature in Vista, Linux has had this for over a year) for Outlook Express. A result came up. I clicked it to run it. I actually got an error. From a link that came with the computer. Which pointed to Outlook, not OE, as the error clearly stated:

Outlook Error

Verify the switch I am using, huh? Nice. Oh, and apparently, OE doesn’t even come with the OS anymore. All I had was some time-limited trial of the latest Office that would expire in June. Which means that I had to try and work with Outlook. Fine.

(So dad, are you sure I can’t just throw Linux on here?)

When I did finally find the actual executable for Outlook so I could run it directly (as according to this error that came up, basic things such as SHORTCUTS don’t work properly), again, an onslaught of prompt boxes appeared. They were warning me that this was a time-limited trial and that I had to put in some registration key and that I had to agree to the EULA, and if I wanted Outlook to be my default mail client, and if I wanted to check for and install updates. After mopping up the screen, yet again, of the plethora of windows, I went to try and import the Outlook Express accounts, messages, and contacts.

You would think that since the same company wrote both programs, and that since both programs have similar functionality, and that one is supposedly the EXPRESS version of the other one, that it JUST MIGHT be able to perform such an import. You would think.

It allowed me to begin the import wizard and go all the way through to the actual import, at which point it immediately refused to do anything else resembling anything useful, for example importing the accounts and messages, instead displaying yet another error:

Outlook Error 2

Unknown error. Reinstall. Yep, no surprise. Exactly what I expected from M$.

After screwing around with that for another 15 minutes only to get the same error no matter what, I had a thought: “Why not use Thunderbird? It does the trick on Linux!” So I grabbed the Thunderbird installer, threw it on there, and ran it. It installed just as I expected it to. Before it was completely finished with the installation, it asked me if I wanted to import accounts, messages, and address book from Outlook Express accounts. I sat there and stared for a moment, until I realized that, of course Thunderbird would do this. It is open-source and designed to work. No surprise there.

Before I had even run it the first time, it had already done everything I wanted it to do.

Let’s see here, to transfer personal settings and data from one Linux box to another one… what would I do? Copy the /home folder over from the old Linux machine to the new one. The end.

This is reminiscent of an experience I had awhile back where my co-worker needed Linux to fix a broken Windows box.

I’ve heard that Microsoft has started some kind of “WOW” campaign with Vista. It must be something like, “WOW, this is the worst operating system I’ve ever seen.” Or “WOW, this is a complete waste of money.” Or “WOW, I wouldn’t take this if it was free.” Or “WOW, how many ways can one thing be useless?” Or “WOW, no wonder no one cares about upgrading to this class A certifiable failed attempt at coming even close to usable.” Or “WOW, if I had to use this every day, I’d probably gouge out my eyes with radioactive sticks of weapons-grade Uranium.”

This provides the perfect transition into my next point.

It used to be that you wouldn’t really see articles like this one, called “Microsoft is Dead.” He has a point. When was the last time you heard about some ruthless, hostile takeover by Microsoft like back in the good old days when they’d do anything to destroy the competition? They’ve had their day, and Vista is their first debilitating (albeit self-inflicted) blow. Nothing like a monopolistic company whose arrogance and complacency causes them to kneecap themselves.

I love the author’s comments when referring to Microsoft’s approach to JavaScript. He says, “But eventually the open source world won, by producing Javascript libraries that grew over the brokenness of Explorer the way a tree grows over barbed wire.”

He explains further, “All the computer people use Macs or Linux now. Windows is for grandmas, like Macs used to be in the 90s. So not only does the desktop no longer matter, no one who cares about computers uses Microsoft’s anyway.”

The proof is in the numbers, too. It seems that, while Microsoft is doing everything possible to inflate true sales numbers of Vista, polls taken of the community attitude towards it are not unclear. As of 4 months ago, half of computer users didn’t even know what Vista was. Merely one-fifth of those people said that they’d likely upgrade. A month ago, things were even bleaker, so the article states, “According to Harris, as familiarity with Vista grew, its appeal lessened. When respondents were asked again in March, a full 87 percent knew of the new operating system. This time, however, only 12 percent said they would upgrade, while the number who said they would stick with their current operating system shot up to 67 percent. 20 percent remained unsure of their plans.”

Surprising? Nope.

Your best bet is to just forget about Vista and try out openSUSE or some Linux distribution for your desktop and server needs. Yes, Linux has gotten much better over the past few years. Remember that it’s advancement is accelerating more and more while Windows’ has all but flat-lined.

What makes this all even funnier is my brother. He is a Windows user. He is behind me, working on my dad’s freshly-installed machine. Not really a surprise to me that he has been swearing at it the entire time I have been writing this, complaining at how he can’t find this, and how hard it is to do that. He says, “Using this makes me feel like a one-legged elephant hopping through a tar pit.”

April 3, 2007

How Many of Each?

by @ 3:55 pm. Filed under General Linux

ProprietaryOpen Source

Things like this are really great.

Good times.

April 2, 2007

synergy in openSUSE 10.2 made even easier than before

by @ 7:03 am. Filed under bash, SUSE Tips & Tricks

Since last week, I have continued using synergy between my desktop and my laptop. I did get tired of running it manually from the command line every time I wanted to load it up. Because of this, I wrote some bash scripts. To start the server and client wasn't rocket science.

To start the synergy server, this is my bash script:


!#/bin/sh
synergys -f --config synergy.conf > /dev/null 2>&1 &

To start the synergy client, this is my bash script:


!#/bin/sh
synergyc -f --name laptop tomahawk > /dev/null 2>&1 &

Shutting down the synergy server wasn’t hard, either.

To stop the synergy server:

#!/bin/sh
killall synergys

To stop the synergy client:

#!/bin/sh
killall synergyc

But how does that stop me from having to run everything from the command line? It doesn't. This is why I made launcher buttons in my KDE Panels. I made one button for each of the scripts above. I put one button in on my desktop that links to the synergy server start script. I put another on the same machine pointing to the synergy server stop script. I also put launcher buttons in my KDE Panel on my laptop. These pointed, of course, to the synergy client start and stop scripts on that machine.

Now it is very easy. I click the Panel button on my desktop machine to start the synergy server. I then click the Panel button on my laptop to start the synergy client. They connect, and poof, I’m done. When I want to close up shop, I just click the button in the Panel on my desktop that runs the synergy server stop script. Then, I click the button on my laptop that points to the synergy client stop script.

Even more convenient than before.

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