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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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A ‘window’ I’d like to see

September 6, 2011 2 comments

OK, it’s crunch time. At the end of the week, you should be in Columbus, Ohio, at Ohio Linux Fest — if you’re going to a Linux show before the year’s out, make it this one. This is the last big show on the North American continent until SCALE in January. At OLF, Bradley Kuhn and Cathy Malmrose are keynoting — along with Jon “maddog” Hall — so you’ll not want to miss that (especially Cathy — Go ZaReason!).

When it comes to windows, this is one window I’ve been expecting for quite some time, and it looks like it’s almost here.

GIMP 2.7.3 adds the long awaited single-window mode, according to an article by Michael Reed in Linux Journal today.

At the moment, GIMP 2.7 is part of the development branch, so the feature won’t hit most distro repositories for a couple of months, according to the article. For the brave souls out there who want to try it now, this means that you’ll have to build it yourself (he says, backing away slowly).

“It’s a shame, in a way, because the new window mode might be viewed as a ease of use feature that less advanced users would appreciate,” Reed writes in his article.

Not to worry, Michael: I can wait until this single-window version is released for the mere mortals among us. According to Reed, a link in his article points to a page that has GIMP version 2.8 arriving sometime around November.

So, this is one window I can truly embrace. Thanks, GIMP folks.

This blog, and all other blogs by Larry the Free Software Guy and Larry Cafiero, are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs CC BY-NC-ND license. In short, this license allows others to download this work and share it with others as long as they credit me as the author, but others can’t change it in any way or use it commercially.

[FSF Associate Member] (Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and has just started developing software in his new home office. Watch this space.)
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Somebody give me a cheeseburger

June 12, 2011 5 comments


OSCON 2011
Next up: OSCON.

During my campaign for Insurance Commissioner of California in 2006 — where I just missed being elected to state office by a mere 46.5 percent of the vote — one of my campaign fundraising materials was a handout with a sandwich on it. It said, in effect, that if you give up one of these a week and send the money — $5 per week, in this case — to the campaign, you could have proper representation in Sacramento.

[It should be noted that, as a Green Party candidate, I did not take corporate campaign donations -- not that any were forthcoming -- so I needed a lot of sandwiches to mount an effective campaign. Thank goodness for FOSS, since I didn't have to buy any software, but that's another story.]

Yesterday’s blog item about the Ubuntu earrings that are being used as a fundraiser for Partimus started me thinking about how some people shy away from donating to groups or, in our case, FOSS projects because they think it takes a lot up front.

Nope, it doesn’t have to. It takes one sandwich at a time. Or coffee. Or dessert. Giving up one of these just once a week, multiplied by a significant number of people, can put some well-deserved projects in some pretty good financial shape.

It’s very simple — instead of having that grande iced mochajavafrappamacchiato at Starbucks today, send the money via PayPal to a FOSS project that you use regularly, as a way of saying, “Thanks.”

Give to Partimus, the project that is putting Linux-based computer labs in low-income schools in Northern California (or buy a pair of earrings). Or the HeliOS Project, since “a child’s exposure to technology should never be predicated on the ability to afford it.”

Like GIMP? Give to them here. Don’t like it? Give to Inkscape instead.

The possibilities only end at the number of FOSS programs that are taking donations. Go to the programs that you use and look for a “donate” button.

Then give ‘em a sandwich.

[Extra points to whomever can identify which song the title of this blog comes from. No Googling.]

This blog, and all other blogs by Larry the Free Software Guy and Larry Cafiero, are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs CC BY-NC-ND license. In short, this license allows others to download this work and share it with others as long as they credit me as the author, but others can’t change it in any way or use it commercially.

[FSF Associate Member] (Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and has just started developing software in his new home office. Watch this space.)
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