I was greeted the other morning by a coworker grinning from ear to ear. “I love Vista!” he proclaimed and proceeded to tell me of a great discovery.
As it happened, he had been working on a personal project the night before and had inserted a blank CD in the drive. What did he see? A dialogue box asking him if he would like to burn an audio CD or a music CD. How convenient is that?! The best part is, he didn’t have to buy any third-party software!
He seemed so happy, so full of glee. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I’ve enjoyed the same luxury with Ubuntu (Nautilus, to be more pecise) for almost three years now…well, I almost didn’t have the heart to tell him.
Mother’s Day is upon us! You did get a gift, didn’t you? What’s that you say? Mother’s Day isn’t until May? While that is true for citizens of most of the world’s countries, in Asia, Eastern Europe & the Middle East Mother’s Day falls in the month of March and many of the countries in these regions will celebrate it tomorrow, March 8th. The origin of this holiday stems from various religious rites, including the celebration of the Vernal Equinox, pagan worship evidenced in Roman and Greek mythology, and even to ties to the Christian season of Lent. Regardless of your reasons for celebrating Mother’s Day, it’s time to start thinking about a gift!
I happened across this article on the VirtualHosting blog this morning. It links fifty-two websites to various Linux distros, tools, and guides to assist in setting up a Linux box for your mom. The premise is, of course, providing a fast, safe and highly-functional system with a clean, uncluttered interface. I agree with the commentary, the intended audience of the article is not mom herself, but a son or daughter with a Linux bias who might want to set up a system for mom to use.
My mom uses Linux too, of course! Indeed, I’ve watched her transition from complete technophobe to avid blogger over the course of about a decade. She was tired of period system reinstallations necessitated by spyware, malware and viruses. She instantly noticed the simplicity and ease-of-use of the Gnome interface. She also doesn’t know the administrative password, so new software has to be installed by my dad or myself, a sort of agreed upon system of checks and balances. The only complaint has been in regard to the availability of plugins for things like Flash, but then again, she’s still running Ubuntu 5.10 (as am I). By Mother’s Day (May 11th in the U.S. this year), release 8.04 should be available and the upgrade effort is already being planned.
No PC? Those low-cost Linux PCs and laptops currently being offered by Asus and others may be just what she needs! Unless your mother is already a programmer or gamer, they should be plenty powerful enough for daily tasks, such as typing letters and surfing the ‘Net.
Show mom you really care – give the gift of Linux!
Happy عيد الأمّ / Dita e Nënës / Մայրության օր / Дан мајки / Ден на майката / Eejiin bayar / День Матери / Свято Матері / Materinski dan / Mother’s Day!
by Kevin Guertin
IBM believes Linux is finally ready for the corporate desktop.
In an announcement this week at the Lotusphere 2008 conference in Orlando, IBM said that it will provide full support for Ubuntu Linux with Lotus Notes 8.5 and Lotus Symphony using its Open Collaboration Client software, which is based on open standards.
Antony Satyadas, chief competitive marketing officer for IBM Lotus, said the Ubuntu support for Notes and Symphony were a direct response to demand from customers. Lotus Notes 8.0.1 has limited support for Ubuntu Linux, but customers have asked for broader capabilities, he said.
Based on Slashdot comments from users, this isn’t such a great announcement. Some go as far as saying that it will be the death of Ubuntu. Canonical, on the other hand, has said that the availability of Notes and Symphony for use with Ubuntu will be a win for customers everywhere.
Although I’ve never used Lotus (and don’t plan to), apparently over 100,000 business users are interested in moving to Ubuntu Linux on the desktop. That number is a good chunk. If it helps to squash FUD, I’m all for it. Especially for Linux on the business desktop.
What do you think? Will this really be the Death of Ubuntu or will it definitely help solidify Linux/Ubuntu in the corporate world?
I saw this article summarized on Slashdot this morning. Headline: Microsoft Claims ‘Vista Has Fewer Flaws Than Other First-Year OSes.’ According to the article, Vista released 17 security bulletins and fixed 36 vulnerabilities in the first year, which is a big improvement over XP’s hit counts of 30 and 65 respectively. The article continues by comparing these figures to the first-year vulnerability numbers for Red Hat (360), Ubuntu (224) and Mac OS X (116). One security specialist is quoted, stating that these numbers “prove that [Vista] is quantitatively more secure.” He then chastises other OS vendors for their negligence in QA and security testing.
When you read this article, does it make you doubt the security of Linux and OS X? That’s the intended message, no?
I find this article misleading for a few reasons:
- Vista numbers are based on actions Microsoft decided to take: release bulletins and fix vulnerabilities. There is an element of subjectivity here.
- The article discloses that 30 Vista vulnerabilities remain, which brings the number of known vulnerabilities to 66. Sometimes, ‘known’ translates into ‘disclosed’.
- An assumption is made that the writing of Vista and the compilation of a Linux distro are comparable activities. They are not, and the vulnerabilities associated with these activities likely have different statistical distributions.
- The scope and risk of the vulnerabilities fixed are not discussed. Microsoft may have fixed 17 big problems, where as Ubuntu fixed 224 small ones. For all we know, the cumulative effect could be equal.
The security specialist states that Vista underwent more testing than the other OSes. He makes no reference to the relative quality of that testing. “More” doesn’t mean “better.” And what does “more” mean anyway? Was the testing measured in dollars spent? Number of testers? Number of test cases?
An analysis of the actual report would probably provide more clarity. Moreover, independent verification of the numbers would boost the integrity of the conclusions drawn. The validity of the actual results, however, does not change the intent of those who report on them. FUD, I say!
Release 4.0 of the KDE Desktop Environment for Linux begins the KDE 4 series. It brings you a brand new interface. New icons, new window borders, new K-menu.
No more blue! More Black. And you’ll probably think, more like Vista. But wait! Microsoft did not invent the black ice look.
If you are using Ubuntu only (and not Kubuntu), you can install the KDE Desktop Environment in Ubuntu (Gnome) by doing a:
sudo apt-get install kubuntu-desktop
This will download all the packages required and install them. It may take a while. UPDATE: See this post for more information.
Once it is installed, you will have the option of choosing KDE in your session options at log in. Once Kubuntu is installed, you can then follow the steps below to install KDE 4.0.
- Add deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/kubuntu-members-kde4/ubuntu gutsy main to your /etc/apt/sources.list.
- Open a terminal and type in:
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install kde4-core
- Answer yes to the prompts and wait for the download and install to finish.
- KDE 4 applications should appear in your KDE 3 K-menu or you can run a full session by selecting “KDE 4″ from your login manager.
With that said, you’ll notice that you can choose between KDE 3 or KDE 4 in your Session options from your login manager.
UPDATE (): I suggest you backup all of your KDE settings as you may overwrite/clear application-specific settings and preferences. Your Amarok library and preferences will most likely get reset. It happened to me. Look for hidden folders in your Home directory that start with .kde. Those folders should be backed up.
Who Says Linux Doesn’t Have an Extraordinary MMORPG (Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) that’s extremely easy to install (yes, like in Microsoft Windows)?? I love this game!
I started playing this game about a year ago in Windows, but I’m not a big gamer and I’m mostly in Ubuntu and it was not available for Linux at the time, so I didn’t continue playing after my trial.
But now it’s available for Linux — actually, it has been for a while, including a Mac client.
The name of the game is Eve. Or more accurately (at this posting) Eve Online: Trinity.
EVE Online is a Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG) that takes your real-world intellect and tactical knowhow, and places you in the throes of intergalactic battle for racial supremacy. As a pilot within the EVE universe, you’ll commandeer a variety of ships through distant solar systems in a quest for EVE dominance.
Unlike most MMOs, EVE Online takes place within one persistent universe, where all players exist. And like the real world, the clock’s always ticking. Lead or follow; fight or flee; destroy or become cannon fodder. Whichever path you take, your fate awaits you.
Watch a wicked sweet trailer of it:
Eve gamers will already know that it’s available for Linux, but for those who have never played Eve Online and who crave a good game in Linux, give this one a try.
What’s great about it is using Linux/Ubuntu/Gnome’s Workspace Switching between the game and the Eve online forums or anything else you want to do in your other workspaces/desktops.
See it in all its Ubuntu glory below:
I’ve installed it in Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon 7.10 and played it without any problems. It was so satisfying to be playing an incredible game in Linux! Can you say, “Microsoft, go format yourself!“?
Download a 14-day trial at eve-online.com and join the world’s largest game universe.
Again, it’s available for Ubuntu (or any Linux distribution), it’s free to try, and you’ll experience something quite unique and awesome.
I thought I’d mention (in case you didn’t know) that there is an Ubuntu Facebook group that you can join with only about 8,000 members. I’m sure there’s a lot more Ubuntu users out there on Facebook!
Many have posted videos and pictures (mainly screenshots) on this group.
You can also become a Fan of Ubuntu on Facebook.
How about we spread the word about our fave Linux distribution by joining this group and becoming a Fan to promote Ubuntu?
Prove that you’re a fan, Facebooker! :)
Ok… I know, I know… it’s been over 7 months since my last post! I have been busy with my personal life, work, and Visual Basic .NET night classes that I’ve been taking for work, which barely left me with a social life, but classes are done now and I think I’ll have more time. I have been commenting or replying to others as much as I can, though.
Oh, and Happy New Year!
With the New Year comes a new thing: a new writer joins this blog in my quest to squash FUD towards Linux. Brandon lives in the Dallas Metroplex in Texas and has much more experience than I do in Linux… and lives much more south than I do! We have very similar technical backgrounds and I’m sure we’ll work well as a team. He will post whenever he can on no particular schedule… like me!
So let’s welcome Brandon to the team! And if you are interested in joining us as a part-time or occasional writer, contact us.
- Kevin Guertin
Greetings all! My name is Brandon, I use Ubuntu exclusively for my personal computing, and I’ve volunteered to assist Kevin in maintaining the Linux FUD blog. By way of introduction, I would like to share my own conversion story.
My experience with computing began in the era of the Commodore 64 and the Apple IIe. I never had to use punch cards, but I do remember saving data to cassette tape. I learned how to program in BASIC on our home computer, which ran on MS-DOS 2.1! Over time, I migrated through the various releases of DOS and graduated from BASIC A to the more procedural QBasic. I tinkered with assembly language, removed the sound commands from gorilla.bas on the school computers (my apologies, Mrs. Hanes), and even learned how to add mouse support to a batch program.
In a nutshell, I “grew up” on DOS and BASIC. I was not a fan of the early members of the Windows family, however. Windows 3.x was slow and Win95/98 was buggy. The stability and security of NT 4.0 won me over and I became a huge fan of NT. For a variety of reasons I continued to use it without major upgrade for nearly a decade.
My interest in Linux began around 1996 or so, when two individuals, a coworker and a schoolmate, independently tried to convert me away from NT. I was vehemently resistant at first, but the more I read about it, the more I entertained the thought of switching. I eventually bought (yes, actually paid for) a copy of Red Hat Linux 5.0, but my experiments with it and subsequently with Slackware were less than successful. Though I was unconvinced that Linux was good enough for daily use, I did see its potential value as a platform for computation-intensive applications.
A few years later, a work assignment presented the perfect opportunity to show off some of those QBasic skills. To my surprise, beginning with Windows 2000, QBasic was no longer being bundled with the OS. To complete my project, I gained access to one of the Solaris machines and learned Perl as a replacement language. Though this had nothing to do with Linux per se, I became much better acquainted with Unix in general and eventually traded my Win2K work laptop for a shiny new Sun Station…ok, the “shiny” part was a joke, really, but it was new. Besides Perl, I started making heavy use of awk, sed, and other utilities. I finally had my command line back and with some very powerful tools to boot.
The more I read about the state of Linux over the years, the more I was impressed and I started running Knoppix to try out the new OS before committing to it. After that, there was no question left in my mind that Linux would be my next platform of choice. I was still not impressed with Red Hat, however, so I narrowed my short list to Suse and Ubuntu.
When I purchased a new laptop in 2006, I decided to try Ubuntu first. I thought that I would end up with SUSE in the end, but Ubuntu was making serious headlines and, true to its word, everything “just worked”. I never did install SUSE. Since then, I’ve converted my wife and my parents to Ubuntu and have had several friends express an interest in the recent past.
I do not think my conversion story is all that unique and it is certainly not entertaining or inspirational. No, I wanted to tell my story because it illustrates fear, uncertainty and doubt at various levels. Fear that Linux will not survive long-term. Uncertainty that it will suit my needs. Doubt that I will be able to see my data later if I decide to switch again. The decision to convert 100% was neither quick nor easy. When I look back on it, I recognize that the decision was swayed in both directions by the articles I read and the people with whom I spoke.
Therein lies my interest in contributing to this blog, to help eliminate FUD, both intrinsic and intentional. More on that to come.
Until next time, Happy New Year!