Saturday, September 30, 2006

Random News (Beryl release and video, Edgy Beta)

Here's some interesting recent happenings:

  • MacSlow's got a video of Edgy running Beryl, showing off blurred transparent windows.
  • On that note, the first version of Beryl (0.1.0) was released (yeah, it's still lacking a website). If you've already got the QuinnStorm repositories enabled in Ubuntu, a "sudo apt-get install beryl emerald emerald-themes" should do it for you. (Launch it with beryl-manager.) If you don't have XGL or anything set up yet, I suggest waiting until Ubuntu 6.10 comes out at the end of this month, as it'll be much easier to set up then. Beryl does feel a bit snappier than the old QuinnStorm compiz though and things seem less buggy so far. (The nice thing about Beryl is that Quinn's team can now make their own releases and stabilize them beforehand. No more buggy development compiz.)
  • Ok, last bit of Beryl news for today, I promise! Linux.com has an interview with QuinnStorm on the new release and the divergence from Compiz. It doesn't contain a whole lot of new information, but there is one gem tucked away at the end:
    "I would tell a layperson to look forward to a desktop that can really outshine what both other major players in the field offer, especially once X gets its input redirection code in, but even before that we'll be able to really catch some attention."

    The article doesn't explain what X's "input redirection code" is, but it rang a bell with me. I've read that in Compiz (and now Beryl), when you click on a wobbling window, your click won't "land" on the right spot. It turns out this is actually a limitation in the X server, so I'm pretty sure Quinn was referring to the solution to this problem. I'm sure this'll open up some interesting ways to interact with windows though. (Also, my memory is terrible, so someone correct me if I'm wrong on this one...)
  • The beta of Ubuntu 6.10 Edgy Eft has been released. The official Ubuntu release notes details the big noticeable changes and includes some screenshots as well.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Gaim 2.0 Beta 4 coming soon

I just spotted on the Gaim development blog that a fourth beta of Gaim 2.0 is coming soon. The blog has some screenshots of the new features that are worth taking a peek at (global buddy icon integrated into UI, different indentation). Check them out!

If you're still running Gaim 1.5, I strongly suggest trying out the new Gaim 2.0, even though it's still in beta. The UI overhaul makes it much easier to use - no more nagging "away" screen.

Lastly, Planet Gaim has launched in order to make it easier for avid fans to keep track of Gaim's development. Good stuff.

Monday, September 25, 2006

WINE 1.0 in early 2007?

The latest issue of the WINE Weekly Newsletter was released last week and has some interesting details about where WINE's headed.

For those not familiar with WINE, it's a software project that allows Micrsoft Windows applications to run under Linux (and other *NIX OSes). It's been in development for about 13 years now and is the result of a tremendous effort by many people. Over the past few years, WINE's compatibility has been improving at an impressive rate, and I consider it to be at that pivotal point where you can download a random Windows app from the internet and expect it to install and actually run (a far cry from the situation three years ago.) Watching a Windows application install significantly faster in Linux than it does in Windows is a sight to behold. :)

Propellerhead's Reason is an example of a complex Windows application that has only recently started working in WINE (thanks WINE team!)



Going back to the newsletter, check out these juicy tidbits about WINE 1.0:

As far as 1.0 goes, there's a lot of things that would be nice to have completed. The default registry needs a bit of help, the IDL compiler (widl) needs to be more feature complete, and Win64 would benefit from printf format fixes. Copy protection would be really nice to get in the tree and Ivan Leo Puoti reiterated that he had patches available. Alexandre responded that there are some critical parts of the design that need to be fleshed out because "the Wine maintainer is a pain in the ass." Finally, Alexandre called for more help with packaging. Most developers don't use the packages and they really could use more eyes with more testing done.

Despite that, a 1.0 release seems to be near (and yes, I should know better than to write such things.) The current plan is to continue working on Direct3D and get it stabilized. After that, a code freeze will begin and the plan is to have it last about 2 months. The target date for that is approximately the end of this year. Alexandre mentioned we have some projects going on right now that are rolling along nicely and it's probably worth letting those continue rather than lose momentum.

Post-1.0, a stable branch will be maintained and new development will eventually begin on a development branch. Using git will help a lot with this and fixes can be cherry-picked back in the stable branch. As far as version numbering goes, there's no clear plan for how it will work, although Jeremy White jokingly suggested "Wine 2007" for the release instead of 1.0.



There's also some stuff on WINE's Direct3D support:



Currently the rendering code is now shared between all versions of Direct3D from version 1 through version 9. There's been a huge improvement in shader code with shaders implemented with GLSL and the GL_ARB_*_program extensions. There's support for up to shader model 3.0.

But what would a Direct3D presentation be without some eye candy? Stefan showed off screenshots of some games. There was also a small contingent of DirectX folks in attendance with some really high-powered laptops that could show off the games. It's quite impressive to see the latest and greatest games running on Linux. Jon Parshall extensively, um, "tested" World of Warcraft throughout the conference (did you finally make it to level 48, Jon?) Tom Wickline had 3DMark2000, 3DMark2001SE and 3DMark2003 running all of there test. There is still some artifacts in the rendering of a couple of the test, but the DirectX guys knew what was to blame for it. Stefan showed off the Microsoft DirectX logo "proving" DirectX is being properly detected.


But perhaps the most interesting bit is this:


Direct3D10, which will ship with Windows Vista in a few months, doesn't seem to be a large cause for concern. At first glance it appears to be more of an evolutionary change rather than revolutionary. New shader support will be needed, but extending ours once OpenGL supports it should be pretty easy. Stefan mentioned Microsoft is currently offering a lot of incentives for Windows developers who develop D3D10-only games since they'll only be usable on Vista - there's no plan to backport D3D10 to XP. Dan Kegel asked if that means we should port Wine's forthcoming D3D10 implementation to Windows, which would be relatively easy when we switch to WGL.

(emphasis added)

That's just a really cool idea, and something that I think people'd appreciate.

If you're interested in other upcoming changes in WINE or would like a peek into the WINE developers' world, take a gander at the full issue here.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Dear Lazyweb: Backing up Email in Evolution

Dear Lazyweb,

My university generously provides us with a whopping 25 megabytes of email storage, and has been sending me messages on a daily basis that my inbox is 93% full.

I use Evolution as my mail client, and it's an IMAP mail server.
How can I download my 23 megs of emails and a stick them in a tarball?

If anyone has any ideas or hints on this, I'd appreciate it very much if you dropped me a comment. :)

Thanks!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

OSS Usability and Linux: What?

I found an interesting article in the Digg queue today titled, "Windows & OSS: The Usability Problem".

After giving it a read, I realized that I just don't agree with most of the author's points. Allow me to unleash the hounds:

Lack of standardized user interface

Users of open source operating systems are spoilt for choice: Gnome, KDE and Xfce only to name a few desktops and Blackbox, WindowMaker, AfterStep, FluxBox, fvwm and mwm just to name a few of available window managers. Yes, diversity is generally a good thing, but consider how confused an average Windows user must feel when all the programs look and behave differently among different desktops.


Well, I've got some ground-breaking news for you: It's been a long time since I've used a distribution of Linux that actually asked me which desktop environment I wanted to use. I think it's safe to say that most Linux users use either KDE or GNOME [1].

On all my systems, except on the Solaris boxes, I am running KDE. Why? Because it lets me concentrate on getting the work done and does not bother me with trivial tasks like mounting and unmounting devices and the like.


I've got some more news here: That's why everyone runs GNOME too. Both desktop environments offer a complete set of good applications for daily activities that are easy to use.

No, I am not using Gnome because of the poor GTK architecture and the lack of basic stability. On all my systems, from Laptops to workstations, Gnome did not perform well at all.


Poor GTK architecture? Lack of "basic stability"? Since the author carefully failed to provide evidence to support his argument, I'm going to ask all the GNOME/Ubuntu users out there: Have you experienced a lack of "basic stability"? Perhaps someone can point me to the source of this basic instability?

Diversity among Linux kernels

While the author does make some valid points here, I think many people view the Linux kernel the wrong way. Vendor specific kernels allow vendors to do better Q&A testing in order to ensure their distro works as stably as they'd like, while also letting them add new features in-between kernel releases. For example, the Ubuntu kernel often has features backported from the next "unstable" kernel release, to the benefit of the users. As well, new features and bugfixes that the Ubuntu team finds are sent back "upstream" to the official Linux kernel [2], so that other distributions can benefit from them as well. That's how open source is done these days. Essentially, new features and bugfixes are only vendor-specific until they're sent upstream and included in the next official Linux kernel release.

Hardware known to work on one system does not work on the other due to missing drivers or modules


Let me ask the reader the obvious question: If your hardware works in Ubuntu, would you expect it to work on OS X? So is it fair to expect that it would also work in Fedora Core? Fedora is a different operating system from Ubuntu.
I'll finish this thought below...

Effectively no software and hardware certification standards

The author again makes valid points here, but I'd like to mention my own thoughts:
As far as I can tell, a piece of software that's included in the default GNOME desktop environment is as close to being "certified software" as possible. It's guaranteed to be stable, have a consistent/friendly UI, and in general, be useful. I'd rather have my apps be GNOME-certified and Ubuntu-certified rather than LSB-certified. See where I'm heading with this?

Poor stability of many user programs

The days of horribly unstable Linux apps are mostly gone, and that's entirely due to the quality standards that have been set by distributions like Ubuntu and Fedora. It's up to the distributions to make sure they package stable software, and the major ones do!
Also, that big paragraph about Sally installing an RPM doesn't really apply to apt-based distributions like Debian and Ubuntu. (If the package wasn't already in a repository, then a properly created package downloaded from the web wouldn't have a problem.) :P

I'm not even going to start on the documentation stuff. (Actually, I lied: GNOME software is documented well.)

My Conclusion

Over the last few years, I feel there's become a greater distinction between "Linux" and Linux distributions. What exactly is Linux these days?
When I use Ubuntu, I'm using a Linux kernel enhanced by the Ubuntu team. When I browse the internet, I'm using GNOME and Firefox, both of which were tweaked by the Ubuntu team. The Ubuntu team didn't choose all of this software and tweak it accordingly just to be different: They did it to tackle the usability problem and the standardized user interface problem. They did it to provide a rock-solid kernel with the best hardware compatibility out there, to ensure users have stable software, and to ensure that software is quality software. Did I mention they do it every six months too?

The article in question is another example of an article that would have held its ground three years ago, but my, how things have changed.


[1] Desktop Linux 2006 Survey Results
[2] Search the 2.6.18 kernel changelog for the word "ubuntu" to see what I mean.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Goodbye XGL, Goodbye AIGLX (Hello Xorg 7.1?)

Something awesome happened today.

NVIDIA released a beta of their new 1.0-9625 drivers. I'll just skip to the good part, as NVIDIA's James Jones explained it:

Neither Xgl or AIGLX are required to use compiz with the NVIDIA drivers now that they natively support GLX_EXT_texture_from_pixmap.

Xgl is an X server that renders using OpenGL and runs on top of another X server. It was the first X server available to support GLX_EXT_texture_from_pixmap.

AIGLX stands for Accelerated Indirect GLX. It is not related to compiz or GLX_EXT_texture_from_pixmap at all, except that support for GLX_EXT_texture_from_pixmap in the open source DRI OpenGL drivers required it. NVIDIA has always supported Accelerated Indirect GLX rendering.

NVIDIA supports both Direct AND Indirect rendering with the GLX_EXT_texture_from_pixmap extension. Users should not need to install any additional software to run compiz with new NVIDIA drivers. Please see the just-created sticky thread covering the basic setup steps.

That's right. These drivers feature hardware support for the mystical "GLX_EXT_texture_from_pixmap" extension, which now allows your videocard to accelerate your wobbly windows, among other things.

The catch? They require Xorg 7.1 or later. That means Ubuntu 6.06/Dapper Drake users are out of luck, unless they feel like compiling X from source (not such a good idea.) The good news is that Ubuntu 6.10/Edgy Eft features Xorg 7.1, so NVIDIA users will be able to benefit from this when Edgy is released (or if they're running Edgy already).

If you're using Xorg 7.1 and want to give it a shot, here's the sticky with instructions. (Also, this feedback thread might come in handy.)

Your move, ATI.

Update: A reader has pointed our that AIGLX has been merged into Xorg 7.1, and it's now enabled by default. So while it's not quite "goodbye" forever to AIGLX, you don't actually have to do anything manually to get it (and you shouldn't have to worry about it).

Thursday, September 21, 2006

GNOME 3.0 Mockup: "May-B"

There's an interesting mockup of GNOME 3 over on GNOME-Look.org that someone did:


The mockup looks like a combination of Gimmie, (U)SLAB, and Mathusalem (elements which should probably be merged into GNOME sooner or later.) The tags/files panel on the right looks it could use some work (layout, size, fonts, etc.), but the overall concept seems like it's pointed in the right direction.

On a related note, the new DesktopThoughts blog (who's author created the mockup) aims at discussing ideas for "the next desktop". If you're interested in seeing what people come up with or you've got some ideas of your own, be sure to give it a visit.

Now, we just need to make sure that the GNOME logo doesn't evolve into some scary, evil-looking thing like the one in the background of that desktop...

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Edgy CDs, NVIDIA preview, Neuros OSD, Linux 2.6.18

Lots of Linux news happening around the web today:

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

HOWTO: Banshee 0.11 + Ubuntu

Dec 9/06: Banshee 0.11.3 has been released! Updated HOWTO here.
Updated Sept 26, 2006 (Added iPod support stuff)
Updated October 16, 2006 (Minor fixes)


With the Banshee 0.11 hot off the press, and no .DEBs for Ubuntu 6.06/Dapper Drake in sight, I figured people would probably appreciate some instructions on how to install the new Banshee. Well, here we go:


IMPORTANT NOTE:
If you have the QuinnStorm repositories enabled (for Compiz/XGL stuff), you might encounter this compile error: "/bin/grep: can't read /usr/lib/libXrender.la: No such file or directory" or something along those lines. The necessary fix can be found here. (I just ended up removing the "/usr/lib/libXrender.la" part of that line and it fixed it, and I think that's probably a safer route.)
Ubuntu 6.10/Edgy Eft Users: Updated Banshee packages will probably hit the Edgy repositories, so just hold tight for a bit and hopefully an updated package will get pushed through the usual Ubuntu update notifier.

To follow this HOWTO, just punch (ie. copy and paste) the commands listed into a terminal. Good luck!

1. Install prerequisites

First, make sure you have the universe repository enabled. If you're unsure, here's instructions on how to check and enable it.
Next, install the software required to build Banshee:

sudo apt-get build-dep banshee
sudo apt-get install libavahi-cil mono
sudo apt-get build-dep libipoddevice0
sudo apt-get install libgtop2 libgtop2-dev libsgutils libsgutils-dev
wget http://banshee-project.org/files/libipoddevice/libipoddevice-0.5.0.tar.gz
wget http://banshee-project.org/files/ipod-sharp/ipod-sharp-0.6.2.tar.gz
tar -xvzf libipoddevice-0.5.0.tar.gz
tar -xvzf ipod-sharp-0.6.2.tar.gz

Now, in order to have iPod support, we're going to install libipoddevice and ipod-sharp:

cd libipoddevice-0.5.0
./configure --prefix=/usr
make
sudo make install
cd ..

cd ipod-sharp-0.6.2
./configure --prefix=/usr --disable-docs
make
sudo make install

(The above iPod steps can be safely left out if you don't need iPod support...)

2. Download Banshee 0.11

wget http://banshee-project.org/files/banshee/banshee-0.11.0.tar.gz
wget http://www.banshee-project.org/files/banshee-official\
-plugins/banshee-official-plugins-0.11.0.tar.gz

3. Extract and configure

tar -xvzf banshee-0.11.0.tar.gz
tar -xvzf banshee-official-plugins-0.11.0.tar.gz
cd banshee-0.11.0
./configure --prefix=/usr --enable-avahi --disable-docs

I suggest leaving avahi enabled here as I did so that DAAP sharing works. (It lets you share your music library with iTunes, Limewire, etc. users, as well as listen to other peoples'.) iPod support should be automatically detected if you followed the iPod steps above.

4. Build and install Banshee

make
sudo make install


5. Configure, build, and install the plugins

cd banshee-official-plugins-0.11.0
./configure --prefix=/usr
make
sudo make install


6. Run Banshee!

Either from the console run "banshee" or launch it from the "Applications->Sound & Video" menu in GNOME.

That's it! I've tested this on an "almost" fresh-install Ubuntu 6.06/Dapper Drake machine, but if this doesn't work for you, leave a comment and I can try to help you figure it out. :)

Digg!

Banshee 0.11 Released!


It's been a while since the last Banshee release, but the wait was well worth it. Among the new features in Banshee 0.11 are better tagging support (including writing for all the readable formats), the ability to import a selection or all the music from a digital audio player into Banshee, one-click track rating, an improved preferences dialog, and a new song-change notification bubble (using libnotify, so they should have a somewhat consistent look with the rest of the desktop).

A song-change notification



There's also three new official plugins:
  • Recommendations - This uses the awesome Last.fm service to recommend you different artists based on what you're listening to. The plugin also tells you some interesting stats about the artist you're currently listening to.

  • Podcast - Banshee now handles podcasts in all their glory. The interface is very smoothly integrated into Banshee and is easy to use. As of the beta, I noticed that you couldn't drag-and-drop a podcast onto a digital audio player, but I haven't tested it yet in the final release.


  • Downloading a podcast while playing music



  • Mini-mode - Sick of Banshee taking up a sizable chunk of screen space? This new plugin allows you to flip Banshee into "mini-mode", which provides a compact player interface instead of the usual library view. The mini-mode interface is really well designed, check it out!

The new mini-mode view



As I said before in my Banshee 0.11 preview, this is the Banshee release I think everyone's been waiting for. Banshee is now a fully featured music playback and management application, and has quickly become a shining star in the world of open source software. It's fast development, great polish, and intuitive interface make it a great example of open source done right. Is it perfect? Well, it's still a little sluggish, but I think it's well worth the trade-off for the excellent feature-set.

Update: I've posted a some instructions on how to install Banshee 0.11 in Ubuntu 6.06. Enjoy! :)

Monday, September 18, 2006

Compiz gets forked real good: Beryl


It was time. QuinnStorm (who maintained her own tree of compiz and provides awesome Ubuntu packages) has forked off Compiz into a new project, Beryl.

It's been clear for a while that QuinnStorm's version of Compiz has diverged from the simplicity present in the first release of Compiz. Quinn's tree has included all sorts of community developed plugins, most of which add shameless bling with little contribution to enhancing usability.

That's the difference as I see it: Novell's Compiz will continue to be a stable compromise between bling and usability, and Quinn's Beryl will become the community-driven bling-machine. And that's not to say that Beryl won't be stable, it's just that Novell puts more effort (and justifiably at that) into creating a top-notch user experience - Something that comes across as being an afterthought in Quinn's tree of Compiz.

At the very least, the next six months are going to bring us the answers to two important questions this fork has posed:
1. Will Beryl plugins remain compatible with Compiz? (mikedee from the Compiz forums asked this one)
2. When other distributions like Ubuntu add some sort of standard AIGLX/XGL support, will they offer Compiz or Beryl as the window manager of choice?

I honestly don't know the answers to either of these questions, but as development progresses, it'll certainly be interesting to find out. (In the meantime, follow this thread.)

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Why I love GNOME (part 1?)

If someone asked me, "What's the most underrated feature in GNOME?", I'd undoubtedly show them this:



Did you see that?

All I had to do to extract that archive was right-click on it, and hit "Extract here". That's it. I didn't have to open an application and choose where I wanted to extract the archive to or anything. (It's probably the feature I miss the most when I use Windows or OS X...)

Oh yeah, and I forgot the coolest part: If the archive you're extracting contains a bunch of files that aren't grouped in a parent folder, it knows to create a new directory to throw them in (so you won't end up with files littered all over your desktop.) Neato.

What do you think is the most underrated feature in Linux, GNOME, or whatever desktop environment you use?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Get GNU/Linux and Linux.org

There's an interesting post on Digg that hasn't quite made the front page yet:

Is Linux.org hurting Linux?


If you've ever visited Linux.org, you'll probably have an opinion on this.
My opinion?
Absolutely.

The majority of the people who've taken the poll on the Ubuntu Forums seem to agree.

Is there something better?
Absolutely.

It's clean, simple, eye-catching, and the information that the community wants to send to potential users is easy to get to. While Get GNU/Linux does have some typos and some GNU-isms (I think the general public might not get the free beer/free speech thing), it's certainly a great start. I think the official Ubuntu site in particular does the best job I've seen at explaining Linux and the concept of open development:

Ubuntu is a complete Linux-based operating system, freely available with both community and professional support. It is developed by a large community and we invite you to participate too!

The Ubuntu community is built on the ideas enshrined in the Ubuntu Philosophy: that software should be available free of charge, that software tools should be usable by people in their local language and despite any disabilities, and that people should have the freedom to customise and alter their software in whatever way they see fit.

This makes more sense to me than Get GNU/Linux's:

Gnu/Linux, or simply Linux, is an alternative to Microsoft Windows®. It is easy to use and gives more freedom to users. Anyone can install it: Linux is free as beer and as speech.

The last thing I'd like to throw into the mix here is that the GNU label is just plain ugly. The general public doesn't need to know what GNU is (nor will they care). Like I mentioned in the comments of the Digg article, there's a reason it's just "OS X" and not "GNU/OS X" [I stand corrected... While OS X does ship with some GNU utilities, it's apparently not warranted to call it "GNU/OS X" since it isn't 'free'. The Wikipedia article on GNU seems to agree with me at one point though: That GNU/Linux meant GNU utils + Linux kernel... (hence GNU/OS X, by my initial logic)]


(And if I may be so bold, look at the Ubuntu site again. How many times is the distribution referred to as "Ubuntu" rather than "Ubuntu Linux"? Simply put, anyone who doesn't know that Ubuntu is Linux won't care that is, and anyone who does care already knows.)

Release: MythTV 0.20

After 7 months of hard work, a new version of MythTV (0.20) has finally been released. This release includes support for a bunch of new pieces of hardware, more DVB stuff, and some other cool stuff like OpenGL accelerated menus.


I've been using a copy of MythTV 0.20 from SVN for a couple of weeks, and it seems rock solid so far. My favourite features of the new version have to be the OpenGL menus (which now smoothly fade in/out to one another) and the new "Internal" player. The internal player can be used in MythDVD and MythVideo to play DVDs, DivX/XviD, and MPEG videos. The internal player even features support for DVD menus, which is pretty kickass. There's also two big advantages in using the internal player over something like MPlayer for video/DVD watching:

  1. You don't have to add to your LIRC configuration file (.lircrc?) and set up an extra set of remote button bindings for the extra program (ie. MPlayer)
  2. The OSD that shows up when you pause, adjust volume, etc. is the same now as it is when you're watching TV in MythTV. This visual consistency adds a lot of polish to Myth.
:)

Aside from this stuff, there's tons of other features/fixes in this release, and you can read about the rest of them in the MythTV 0.20 Release Notes.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Formatting your USB stick in Linux

After all that dealing with all that fake USB key stuff, I ended up picking up a 5 gig USB stick from Z-Cyber (it was cheap). Long story short, I ended up having to format it, and I haven't been able to get it properly formatted since. I could get Linux to see the sole FAT32 partition on it, but not Windows. Oddly enough, even if I formatted it with Windows, it still wouldn't show up properly on Windows machines.

Anyways, I think I've finally found the proper way to format your USB key in Linux. This extremely helpful article walks you through it.

I think I kept making two mistakes before I found that article. The first was that I kept forgetting to actually format the partition using mkfs.vfat (fdisk just creates the partition). The other problem I had was that I forgot that /dev/sda and /dev/sda1 are different. The second one (/dev/sda1) is the "first partition" on the drive, while /dev/sda is the whole drive. (I had ended up adding accidentally creating a new partition on /dev/sda1, which made a partition in a partition or something screwy like that... I should have taken a screenshot of what Nautilus thought the drive contained... trust me, it was bad.)

Anyways, I pretty much feel like a total idiot for forgetting my partitioning basics, but I'm going to take that as a sign that desktop Linux's usability has gotten better, seeing as it's been a pretty long time since I've had to do any crazy manual partitioning like this. (Now, if only GParted worked properly on my USB key in the first place, I wouldn't have had to figure this out... :P)

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Updates from the Web: GNOME 2.16, Exaile, and more

I've been pretty busy over the past few days, and I apologize for the lack of updates. In the meantime, here's some interesting articles I've spotted:

  • Ars Technica has a First Look at GNOME 2.16
  • The 2X TerminalServer seems to be getting a bit of press (ie. it popped up on digg, hardly the press though.) It's another open source (but commercial) implementation of the NoMachine server. Honestly, the NoMachine server kicks ass, so I'm not quite sure why you'd want to use this one. (It's a breeze to install in the latest version too - just 3 .DEBs)
  • Red Herring has an interview with Michael Robertson, founder of MP3.com and Linspire, where he talks about Linux, Linspire, and the music industry. I found this part of the interview particularly interesting - Way to dodge the question Michael:

    Q: And so we’ve got to ask you, you’ve recently made CNR–your software update service for Linspire–free. If I’m an Ubuntu user, am I going to be able use this in order to fill up my machine with capabilities like the ability to do DVD playback, Flash, Quicktime? Is that a possibility?

    A: If you’ve ever tried to install software on Linux, [you know] it’s really difficult. There’s no easy installer, like an XP user would be used to, and Click and Run goes beyond that, right? One click and everything is downloaded and installed, icons on the desktop, etc. So, absolutely, I think that’s something that makes a lot of sense and so we’re definitely looking at something like that.

  • CRN has an editorial I think I agree with: "Advice to Linux: Kill the Penguin" (especially the part about the acronyms thing)
  • A new version (0.2) of the Exaile Media Player has been released. It's apparently described as "Amarok for GNOME". If any long-term readers out there remember my thoughts on Amarok, they'll know that I have beef with the sideways tabs. Worst interface element ever? Quite possibly. Well, now GNOME users can indulge themselves in useless sideways tabs that hide functionality that shouldn't be hidden away. (Compare Banshee's GUI with Exaile's GUI.) Lastly, someone should also quietly tell the author of Exaile that the only good Hooverphonic album is the first one. :P
  • ... and if you made it this far, Charlie isn't the only who's just gone through a breakup. (Albeit mine was for different reasons...) :(

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Linux Distros Timeline

I spotted a cool timeline over on Digg that shows when each major Linux distribution was created and was branched.
It's neat to see how recent Ubuntu really is relative to all the other distros, and to see how many forks/branches there are.

Saturday, September 02, 2006