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A Week in Limbo, Days 5 and 6: Get with the program

December 26, 2011 2 comments

Forgive me, folks: Blame the holidays for the delay. What normally would have been a simple and easy week leading up to Christmas — the end of the week leading up to Sunday, actually — became somewhat complicated, as only the end of the week leading up to Christmas can. And we’ll leave it at that, except with an apology to anyone who was at the edge of their seat waiting for this next installment (thanks, Mom), which should have immediately followed Day 4 on, well, the actual Day 5.

SCALE 10XDuring those opportunities over the last few days when I wasn’t doubling and tripling up on my work shift thanks to vacations and when I was not taking care of holiday business at home — you know, I move that next year no one buy any gifts until after New Year’s Day — I remained transfixed behind the monitor connected to the ZaReason Limbo 5440 while putting it through its paces. Before I outline what I used, I should mention that I worked on my SCALE 10X presentation as well as the SCALE 10X UpSCALE talk that I will be doing with darling daughter Mimi (hint: It involves music and lab coats — and that’s all I’m going to say about that). So the primarly lineup involved GIMP, LibreOffice Impress and Audacity.

[As an aside on the latter, author Carla Schroder and I conspired to give Mimi a great Christmas gift: a signed copy of "The Book of Audacity." Thank you, Carla!]

In short (which will become “in long” in later pargraphs), all three programs ran flawlessly and quickly on the desktop box that, had I enough money, would stay in the household. There’s nothing yet that I’ve thrown at this hardware that it hasn’t handled without breaking a sweat, and to be honest, after a few days I’ve truly given up on trying to trip it up.

Meanwhile, LibreOffice’s suite of software ran with aplomb — with as much aplomb as an inanimate object can run, for the nit-pickers out there — on this hardware. Switching back and forth from the LibreOffice Draw to LibreOffice Impress to LibreOffice Writer was a breeze, and the benefit of having a larger monitor to move windows around was a treat (how I made all those presentations on a laptop is a mystery).

Audacity? I’m the quintessential newb at it, though the far more Audacity-adept (does that make her Audacious?) Mimi zoomed her way around it quickly and can show the old man a thing or two. Audacity 1.3.13 beta ran and sounded perfect, though I think there could be a lot less bass in this presentation — an easy fix.

Finally, processing photos on GIMP was also a snap. Before I start, let me stike a Tebow-like pose and pray to all diety that will listen to my begging for the the single-window GIMP (2.7, I think) to come soon. Amen. With the multiple windows, using GIMP 2.6 was also a breeze and with the larger screen on the desktop monitor, multitasking was a lot easier than the same exercise — performed by yours truly for years on this old ThinkPad T30 — has been.

Note to self: Do more stuff on the desktops you have.

Before we go off to the next installment which wraps up this series, I should say that for the entire week, I have never had a negative “aha!” moment, nor have I uttered a brow-furrowing “hmmm” over the ZaReason Limbo 5440′s performance. Some software hiccups which were clearly the result of PEBCAK errors ocurred, but these were few and far between (of course) and were not a reflection on the machine’s abilities or performance. But we’ll leave the rest of that for the next installment, coming to you tomorrow.

Tomorrow wraps up the series with A Week in Limbo, Epilogue: The final review

“A Week in Limbo Series” (for those of you keeping track)
A Week in Limbo, Day 0
A Week in Limbo, Day 1: Under the hood
A Week in Limbo, Day 2: Fedora 16
A Week in Limbo, Day 3: Fedora 16 KDE
A Week in Limbo, Day 4: On second thought . . .
A Week in Limbo, Days 5 and 6: Get with the program

(Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and has just started testing and developing software in his new home office, which is the development side of Redwood Digital Research in Felton, California, United States.)

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Eliminate DRM!

A Week in Limbo, Day 4: On second thought . . .

December 22, 2011 Leave a comment

The proverbial laundry list of things I want to do while I have this ZaReason Limbo 5440 is somewhat long, but alas, my time is limited. Originally I had planned to run a couple of other distros on the machine before returning it, but I’m currently hung up doing other things.

SCALE 10XFor example, I got hung up on the RAID-5 array, for starters. Not ever having more than one hard drive in one machine at one time left me with a significant amount of curiosity about how this works: Google, research, tweak. Neat stuff. Then there’s audio/video items since, now that I have four processors instead of the one I’m usually stuck with, I now can probably do a lot of really neat things.

More googling, more research, more tweaking. Check the clock. I have a little more time: Google, research, and tweak some more.

[Holiday shopping? Oh, right. I knew I was forgetting something.]

So rather than leave Fedora and go off to other distros, we’re going to stick around in the Red Hat neighborhood, running programs and reporting back for the next three days. We have audio coming up, and some interesting discoveries to report.

But for now, it’s time for holiday shopping (doesn’t everyone start on the 22nd?).

Tomorrow we’ll have A Week in Limbo, Day 5: Can you hear me now?

“A Week in Limbo Series” (for those of you keeping track)
A Week in Limbo, Day 0
A Week in Limbo, Day 1: Under the hood
A Week in Limbo, Day 2: Fedora 16
A Week in Limbo, Day 3: Fedora 16 KDE
A Week in Limbo, Day 4: On second thought . . .

(Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and has just started testing and developing software in his new home office, which is the development side of Redwood Digital Research in Felton, California, United States.)

Add to Technorati Favorites EFF Binary Freedom Dead button Wordpress button Xfce button dbEntrance button AntiX 7.0 fedora badge Xubuntu GIMP Scribus Linux Mint Kororaa Salix OS Fluxbox Conky Thunderbird LibreOffice Crunchbang Bodhi Linux PostgreSQL identi.ca python scale 10x

Eliminate DRM!

A Week in Limbo, Day 3: Fedora 16 KDE

December 21, 2011 2 comments

There’s a trick to getting the best of both worlds on Fedora — and I would imagine this works with any other distro under the same circumstances — and this is how you do it. You download the latest release as the “Desktop” version (again, that’s GNOME, as we outlined yesterday) and then download the KDE desktop with all the trimmings.

SCALE 10XThen you choose your desktop from the switchdesktop from the command line and off you go. This way, you have all the GNOME and KDE bits needed to run each dessktop environment and, while it may be a bit tedious and may be time- and disk-consuming, it is quite handy when testing software to go back and forth between desktops to see how they perform.

Or maybe there’s a 12-step program for such behavior. Your guess is as good as mine.

In any case, using Fedora 16 KDE on the ZaReason Limbo 5440 reflects much of the experience of using Fedora 16 “Desktop” (GNOME) as outlined in yesterday’s blog item. Downloads are quick, response times even quicker. The Fedora 16 KDE spin comes with the KDE 4.7 version of the desktop — speaking as solely a post-KDE 4 user, I’ve always been impressed with the changes KDE makes under the hood. On the exterior things may not change much, but behind the curtain there are a lot of commendable things going on. Plus, the fact that KDE is not racing off to become a tablet desktop is a huge plus.

But I digress.

To make a long story short, the Limbo 5440 with Fedora 16 KDE is a remarkable pairing. I’m not that well-versed in the K Desktop Environment history, but my observation over the years has been that KDE has tried to be all things to all Linux users. As a result, there are a lot of KDE-based programs that come along with the desktop environment. That’s a good thing, and programs like Amarok and K3b are a testament to this.

Tomorrow we’ll have A Week in Limbo, Day 4: Off the reservation

“A Week in Limbo Series” (for those of you keeping track)
A Week in Limbo, Day 0
A Week in Limbo, Day 1: Under the hood
A Week in Limbo, Day 2: Fedora 16
A Week in Limbo, Day 3: Fedora 16 KDE

(Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and has just started testing and developing software in his new home office, which is the development side of Redwood Digital Research in Felton, California, United States.)

Add to Technorati Favorites EFF Binary Freedom Dead button Wordpress button Xfce button dbEntrance button AntiX 7.0 fedora badge Xubuntu GIMP Scribus Linux Mint Kororaa Salix OS Fluxbox Conky Thunderbird LibreOffice Crunchbang Bodhi Linux PostgreSQL identi.ca python scale 10x

Eliminate DRM!

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