Tuesday 23

Hail, hail the end of menus

Filed under: Computers, Open source — Tags: , , , — zundel @ pm

Introducing the HUD. Say hello to the future of the menu.

HUD to replace menus in Ubuntu 12.04

I like Ubuntu again and eagerly await Ubuntu 12.04.

(And Mark’s affirmation of the centrality of the desktop heartens me.)

Menus offer discoverability: you can find out what a program does. But digging through them to issue a command takes time.

Experienced users issue commands from the keyboard rather than dig through menus.
They also start programs by typing using Gnome Do, KRunner, Spotlight, or Start menu search. Now Ubuntu brings type to execute to menus. Excellent.

Canonical has matched Apple with the quality and integration of Ubuntu.
They now out innovate Apple.


Friday 12

Linux distros compared

Filed under: Open source — Tags: , , , , , , — zundel @ pm

Enterprise Open Source Directory – Operating Systems
GNU/Linux Distribution Timeline


One of the few really long established Linux distributions, well known for stability and its curated repository of thousands of software packages, it has formed the basis of more Linux distributions than any other.
Capable of a stable configuration that updates and remains stable. Also easy to selectively use newer packages.
Used by many large institutions, with an extensive community of users and developers, well documented, with support readily available.
With a broad developer base and not dependent on any corporate sponsor or owner, change of ownership cannot occur nor vendor lock-in.


Based on Debian, Ubuntu refreshes it repositories from Debian every six months.
Ubuntu has done a great deal to popularize Linux. And has made some excellent server versions, especially the 10.04 long term support release. But recent focus on consumer appeal and a proprietary interface raise doubts about business suitability and support. The next long term support release coming April 2012 will answer some questions.


Not quite as long established as Debian, but the oldest commercial distribution.
The free community distribution openSUSE strikes a nice balance, not cutting edge like Red Hat’s Fedora, but instead stable yet current, with readily available support.
SUSE and openSUSE have the most extensive graphical administration tools.

Red Hat

Well known with a large installed base and good stability, but subscription fees make it expensive.


Red Hat’s free community distribution used for testing and experimenting. Not as unstable as it once was, but still not recommended for enterprise work.


A free clone of Red Hat.
With version 6 Red Hat changed the packaging of their source code which delayed the release of CentOS 6 by most of a year. Though it has a large installed base, the small number of developers raises doubts about its ability to keep current with Red Hat source and suitability for long-term deployment.

Thursday 285

Ubuntu 11.10

Filed under: Computers, Open source — Tags: , , — zundel @ pm


Put this on a Zenbook,
and put it next to a MacBook Air.

The Unity interface has matured to elegance and simplicity.

Wednesday 53

Virtual private server setup

LVS official logo

A good article, that misses a most crucial point.

First and foremost, I strongly recommend doing test builds of virtual servers on your own hardware.

The ABCs of virtual private servers, Part 2: Getting started

Because of how virtualized host servers are set up, adding more memory or hard disk storage often comes at what seems like a ridiculously high price.

The promised flexibility of virtual servers doesn’t always work out. Crossing the equivalent of a bracket costs. So have some idea of the range of your needs before starting.

Friday 48

Virtual Servers

Only a few reasons remain for running your own server:

  • You have one and haven’t yet gotten around to transitioning
  • You think doing your own maintenance will cost less
  • You need really high performance and tuned hardware

Otherwise, you should consider a virtual server.

The end of a faithful server

The ABCs of virtual private servers, Part 1: Why go virtual?

The above article provides a useful chart of VPS providers.

At least consider using virtual servers on your own hardware.
It doesn’t have the advantage of a service’s redundant hardware, but you gain the easy backup and redeployment of virtual servers, and it makes a good transition path to full VPS.
LXC is the lightest and most efficient technique for isolating and managing processes.
KVM is the most efficient method for running virtual machines.
(Avoid VMware: they have an installed base but are no longer competitive.)

Tuesday 17

Plethora of open source music making

Filed under: Art, Computers, Open source — Tags: , , — zundel @ am

Image via Wikipedia

Making music in Linux and beyond by Anders Bylund in Ars Technica 2011-01

Audacity … And the interface is as easy to use as ever—anecdotal evidence comes from a non-geek friend of mine whom I was able to guide through creating a theatrical sound effect he needed (a ship falling off the edge of the world), from downloading Audacity for the first time to a finished and usable effect, in less than 45 minutes. That was a remote assist via instant messaging.

Rosegarden … This is a fine example of how chaining various programs together can achieve astonishing effects with some elbow grease and know-how, and it’s also one reason why this program doesn’t play well with Mac or Windows systems. The expected array of helper programs just isn’t available on those platforms.

Thursday 300

Ubuntu 10.10

Filed under: Computers — Tags: , , , — zundel @ am

Ubuntu 10.04 is a lovely operating system: fast, stable, elegant, and easy to use. If you need a new operating system, use it: there’s nothing better. And as a long term support release, coming every two years, it will have update support for three years.

Ubuntu 10.10 was released over two weeks ago on 10.10.
I tested it for two weeks. It offers no great improvement over version 10.04.
But, I now run 10.10 on my primary machine (Ubuntu makes a netbook rock).
It’s better.

Software Center is much improved in 10.10, and I use it often. With thousands of tested and free programs available, when I need to do something, I go looking for a program.

And 10.10 looks better in ways that improve productivity.
It’s All In The Looks
Mighty Minutiae
This is not eye candy for the sake of eye candy or to show off whiz-bang. (You can make windows wobble if you want to, but don’t). (But I have a netbook doing some very fancy animations for task switching: I like it that way.)

The folks making Ubuntu understand how good design can make using software easier and pleasurable. They understand it better than anyone has since Apple once did. They now surpass Apple. My Mac began to bug me a couple of years ago. Now, Ubuntu gives me little moments of pleasure at its elegance. If you like good design (and performance and stability) try Ubuntu.

Friday 287

Ubuntu Netbook Edition 10.10

Filed under: Computers — Tags: — zundel @ am

I tested Ubuntu Netbook Edition 10.10 on a Dell netbook.
The new Unity interface runs slower than desktop Ubuntu. And you cannot modify how the interface works.

Use the Ubuntu Desktop Edition on netbooks. Set the top and bottom panels to automatically hide when not used: right-click on the panel, go to Properties, the General tab, and check Autohide. And use Google’s Chromium browser.

Saturday 225

Dell’s take on Ubuntu

Filed under: Computers, Open source — Tags: , , — zundel @ pm

Here’s some of Dell’s Top Ten list for Ubuntu:

10) Ubuntu is simple and elegant
If you’re the kind of person who likes your computer to simply work, Ubuntu is right for you. It’s based on stable, secure, easy-to-use software that’s been around for a long time.

6) Ubuntu is secure
According to industry reports, Ubuntu is unaffected by the vast majority of viruses and spyware.

4) With Ubuntu, you have access to 1,000’s of free software programs

3) Ubuntu with OpenOffice is compatible with Microsoft® Office and Adobe® Acrobat®
Do you need to open Microsoft Office documents? What about Adobe Acrobat? Ubuntu comes with the award-winning OpenOffice software. With it, not only can you create word processing documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and even drawings, but it can also open and save documents in Microsoft Office format.

2) Ubuntu is based on Linux®
Linux has been around for nearly 20 years. The software itself is not only stable and reliable, but also pervasive. Linux is used on computers of all sizes ranging from the biggest to the smallest.

Beginning in 2007, Dell began shipping computers with Ubuntu.

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