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Archive for February, 2008

Intrepid what?

February 21, 2008 1 comment

The name of the next Ubuntu animal in the menagerie: With its April/October release dates firmly etched in stone, Ubuntu has named its October 2008 release Intrepid Ibex. Interpid what? Ibex — it’s a is a type of wild mountain goat with large recurved horns that are transversely ridged in front (and, dang, those horns are long). Here are the details right from the horse’s, er Mark Shuttleworth’s mouth.

The next set of names that come from Linux Mint, once they reach “Z” (Zelda?) will start again with an “A” but will end with an “e”, according to Linux Mint’s Clement Lefebvre. I mentioned the naming convention in the Linux Mint chapter of “Eight Distros a Week” — it’s alphabetical women’s names ending in “a” — and wondered aloud when they got to “Z,” whether the names restarting with “A” would end in a “b.” Nope, Clem says, they’ll start with “A” but the last letter will be “e.” Nice touch. Thanks for clarifying that, Clem.

G’day, Firefox: While Firefox‘s gains against Internet Exploder generally focuses on the percentages garnered in Europe, the place where Firefox is really taking off is Oceania, where 31 percent of Australians and New Zealanders are using the browser. Those are the results from a French polling firm called XiTi, and the story can be found here. And here in North America? A hefty 21 percent, third behind the Aussies and Kiwis of Oceania and the 23 percent of Europe.

Rolling Funder: The blogger known as Helios — a man who has made it his life’s mission to promote GNU/Linux at every turn — has an interesting concept in a recent blog which, if it works (and my money is on it working), would make a truly sound foundation for building a truly grassroots promotional vehicle for FOSS. I’m very much on board with this one, Helios — count me in.

On the BSD side . . . Steven Rosenberg of Click is smack in the middle of a BSD odyssey which is as intriguing as it is informative and entertaining. Not only this, it has kindled my interest in attempting to get NetBSD running on one of these old Macs just one more time (although, sheesh, Steven — those 5 a.m. posting times on your blog must be murder . . . .).

[FSF Associate Member](Larry Cafiero, editor/publisher of Open Source and Free Software Reporter, is an associate member of the Free Software Foundation.)

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More news, blues and reviews

February 17, 2008 Leave a comment

Five to go: Alastair Otter of Tectonic has written an excellent article about five must-have programs for GNU/Linux. Two of them I can vouch for because, frankly, I swear by them — gFTP and Bluefish. Bluefish deserves special mention because while it’s an immensely powerful editor aimed toward programmers and Web designers, it’s still easy enough for newbs like, um, yours truly to use. I will have to give Inkscape a try.

Taking stock in New Zealand: Not to be outdone by the New York Stock Exchange, the New Zealand Stock Exchange is moving to a GNU/Linux platform for its settlement and clearing system, replacing its existing HP NonStop platform and applications in order to reduce cost and increase flexibility, reports Computerworld.

Free idea for fundraising: This is just a thought I had while drifting off to sleep a few days ago, and could very well attest to my waning sanity. But if I were to hold a GNU/Linux festival — listening, LinuxFest Northwest folks? — I’d have a booth at one end of the auditorium (away from everything else) at which I’d have chairs where people, for a buck or maybe more, could throw them. After throwing them, they would get a certificate saying “My chair-throwing abilities qualify me to be Microsoft’s CEO” or something along those lines. And maybe a thumb drive or other small prize could go to the person whose chair throwing talents made the chair go the furthest distance. Okay, it was just a thought . . . .

Shameless self-promotion: On Thursday, the membership who attended the Cabrillo College GNU/Linux Users Group elected me president for the Spring Term, and now the decision goes by e-mail vote to the entire membership. If you’re a Cabrillo College student and you have even the slightest interest in FOSS, I urge you to a.) get involved with the GLUG (that’s the sound “free beer” makes when you drink it), and b.) vote for the current slate of officers, which also includes Alexis Chen for vice president, Theodore Goodman for treasurer and Jon Colby for secretary.

My red Swingline gets a new home: When March comes in like a lion — as it’s supposed to — HeliOS Solutions West should be in new office space in Felton at the Felton Center. As you may recall, we were burned out of our offices when the Felton Trading Post caught fire back in November — Kelly and Melanie of the Trading Post have since moved up the street, but I have been working out of my home (which, of course, is sooooo endearing to my spouse). Film at 11.

[FSF Associate Member](Larry Cafiero, editor/publisher of Open Source and Free Software Reporter, is an associate member of the Free Software Foundation.)

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Eliminate DRM!

Categories: Bluefish, gFTP, Inkscape, Tectonic

Eight Distros a Week: Epilogue

February 16, 2008 1 comment

Eight distros. Seven days. One tired blogger.

In seven words, that pretty much wraps up the “Eight Distros a Week” series, named after (of course) the Beatles song “Eight Days a Week.”

I have used more than eight distros — AntiX, Debian, Fedora, Fluxbuntu, gNewSense, Linux Mint, Wolvix and Xubuntu — but these eight are the ones that I use most, talk about most and would recommend to those looking for a distro.

I do sometimes — and have in the past — used others. These include:

Yellow Dog Linux: While Yellow Dog seems to be putting its proverbial eggs in the PlayStation 3 basket, the distro does have a history as being the distro for Macs. Yellow Dog 3 “Sirius” is a better-than-average distro for Old World Macs using BootX on a separate partition, and its Red Hat roots make is very adequate for those Macs that predate the turn of the 21st century. However — you knew that was coming — Terra Soft Solutions, the parent company for Yellow Dog, is not exactly the most user-friendly company, unless you plop down $70 for an “Enhanced User Account” for YDL.net. By the way, if you’re tired of digging around for the download page for Yellow Dog, it’s here. You’re welcome.

Red Hat: I use Red Hat at school (Go Cabrillo College Seahawks!). Red Hat works behind the scenes for a variety of companies with which I have daily contact. As a distro, Red Hat is ubiquitous and there’s really nothing I can add to the volumes written by one of the oldest distros. It’s huge, it works, it’s corporate — what more can you say?

Mandriva: I can’t figure out Mandriva. At a recent installfest at Cabrillo College in Aptos, Calif., an 11-year-old installed Mandriva on his Dell boxes. In the process, I put it on a Dell box that was doing nothing but sitting there, and I thought the distro worked well. But I installed it once on a laptop and, for some reason, when I went to change the distro, the BIOS had changed to where I couldn’t boot from the CD. Easily fixed, of course, but the thing is I didn’t change the BIOS. My wife and daughter didn’t, and neither did the cat. Mysterious, I know, and more than likely it had nothing to do with the use of Mandriva, but until I can explain some of the strange things that happen when I try Mandriva, I’m avoiding it.

Knoppix: I’ve had this Knoppix CD that I’ve been carrying around for nearly two years, but it wasn’t until recently that I used it for an emergency. If there were a Nobel Prize for distros, Klaus Knopper should top the short list — not only was the disk helpful in solving my problem, I kept it on the machine for a significant amount of time while I waded through what it had to offer. It’s great, but I don’t use it too often.

Ubuntu: While I’m happy with Xubuntu, whenever I try Ubuntu on an Intel box or laptop, I keep thinking, “You know, this screams out ‘Debian’ to me,” and I generally lose interest. Another thing that usually keeps me at an arm’s length from Ubuntu is the split-screen syndrome — the Live CD always gives me a bonus in the screen department with two screens, and I know how to fix it (and do), but I have to say I’m just not a bandwagoner, although I recognize and appreciate Ubuntu’s contributions to FOSS.

One of the universal digital truths is that the difference between most distros is painfully minuscule, and that the object with having a plethora of options — some 350 active distros, according to Distrowatch‘s count — is the beauty behind the freedom of choice you have regarding what runs your computer.

[FSF Associate Member](Larry Cafiero, editor/publisher of Open Source and Free Software Reporter, is an associate member of the Free Software Foundation.)

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Eliminate DRM!

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