Sunday, October 28, 2007
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Well, I still have yet to fix MS XP, I working on it. In the mean time I fell into an interesting entanglement. I've been using Firefox as my browser of choice for some time because I value my freedom from Microsoft Internet Explorer. It's more than a security question to me. Before that I entertained myself with Netscape which I thought came to an end after competing with Internet Explorer. I thought all development had stopped on Netscape and that Firefox under the hand of Mozilla took over. I was looking at a web site which said it was compatible with Internet Explorer and Netscape version 8. What, Netscape didn't die? It just so happened Netscape version 9 has also been compiled for Linux. I had to have it. I found out that it is a twin to Firefox, there is no apparent functional difference between the two except for the obvious brand name which shows that Netscape is in cahoots with AOL. Now that's a twist. I don't know all the background details but it leaves me to wonder why there should be two web browsers so alike under development. Kind of redundant, ya think? Now in this new kid on the block called Flock. Yeah, it's sort of like Firefox and Netscape only it is a little more in your face. Its claim to fame is that it has a social focus. There are direct links to blogs and Youtube and other interactive social web sites. Being a little better and a little different than Firefox, you'd think it would be better received by the user community. Time will tell I guess. I like Flock because it offers a little more access, but it's not a giant leap forward by any one's standard. So why would you need or want more than one web browser on your computer? My thought is that there is always one pesky web site that just won't read right in my browser of choice. I need another point of view. Alas, there are still some web site builders who think MS Internet Explorer is the standard. Not so folks!!
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Let's see, I am a cat person, I play with Linuxes named after dogs and then I use a window manager whose symbol is a mouse. Can't seem to get my loyalities straight. Somehow in the mix of things I've lost the use of my MS XP install. I think it is a GRUB problem but I'm not sure. When you mess around too much with a boot loader, strange things can happen. So, while I investigate a solution I'm not missing XP a bit. Linux provides all the comforts of home, except for a couple of gov web sites that rely on MS Internet Explorer to work right. In school we learned, first rule of good web design is that you must believe not every one uses Microsoft Internet Explorer. You must consider a wider audience. Linux has a number of very good web browsers, Firefox is my choice. I am told it has fewer security holes. I am not a big fan of integration. When you integrate too much into one system it is easier to break and more complicated to fix. Then, when something does break the whole system is crippled or non-functioning. Remember those TV/VHS combo units. Components cost a little more but when you need service you don't bring the whole setup in, just the part that's broke. Hey, maybe it's XP that's broke and I need to re-install it, again!!
Monday, October 22, 2007
Another thing I did was switch email clients. I am using Thunderbird. I have used Kmail/Kontact, Evolution and a couple of other email programs. Thunderbird does the same things and also lets you insert pictures into the body of the email. That is very handy because pictures as attachments are often not sent in a format that can be read by the reciever. Thunderbird has a number of plug-ins and add-ons to round it out. Pretty good stuff.
Sunday, October 14, 2007
Friday, October 12, 2007
I bought an HP desktop, a Pavilion a1030e to be exact. Has a 80gig HD, 512 ram, 64-bit CPU, a CD burner and loaded with XP, MS Works (not Office compatible), the usual MS minimal tools. I could do all of my computing task in a limited way. But needed a serious upgrade if I wanted to get some real work done. Good thing for MS Windows compatible open source software that I could download and install for free. I have enhanced and upgraded my computer for little or no cost and not increased MS coffers. And I have not bought any other professional grade software simply because it was the "standard". I have known many who just had to have Photoshop, MS Office, and others. Imagine buying Photoshop just to have it so you perhaps could work on some family photos or doodle a little. No wonder there are so many pirated copies out there.
What do you get with Linux that makes it so attractive? You have to sit a while, the list is extensive, but I'll just tell you a little. With my small but powerful Wolvix installation (about 460MB), I got the complete Open Office.org suite, 2 email programs, calender, several graphics programs including the Gimp (like Photoshop) and Blender 3D, multimedia stuff, games, utilities, tools, etc, etc, etc. I didn't need to buy anything extra. All the file formats that MS Windows stuff can dish out Linux programs can read/write with the exception of propriety ones. So, for average and personal computing needs you can have it all without straining the wallet or spending all sorts of time downloading freeware. But can you run and play MS Windows stuff in Linux? I guess, but why? You can do it with a program called Wine or Crossover office and you could install MS Windows as a virtual machine in VMware or VirtualBox. But, then Linux is very adequate to replace MS Windows completely. Now you can argue with me about polish and quality and familiarity and what not, but you have to admit, it's pretty darn good for free. If you feel guilty about using free stuff, you can always donate cash to support it. All would be appreciated, I'm sure.
That's all for now folks, I have given you a piece of my mind.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
In my try this and that world I am looking for the best all around Linux that runs on my assortment of equipment. That was impossibly hard 10 years ago, today we have liveCDs.
Linux can be tried out without messing up your precious MS Windows install. Yes, I still have XP but it doesn't get much air time. If Linux only had Incredimail and what's the name of that other program.................it's been so long. I am using Kubuntu by day, it's big full bodied but it still doesn't have a few utilities I found in Wolvix. After five I switch over to Wolvix, the howl of the wolf is very intoxicating. Don't let the gray clothes fool you, it can be tweaked. If you like the shadowy, smoky stillness then Xfce is the desktop for you. But if you like color with flexibility go with Fluxbox. In a lot of distros having more than one window manager creates confusion. In Wolvix it is nice to see some synergy. I have a hard time deciding if Xfce or Fluxbox is better. In any case KDE and Gnome are not missed at all. Less is really more here. I get pizazz just short of eyecandy and stability I can count on. Does Wolvix come up short in anything? Well, being Slackware based does put you at a variety disadvantage when it comes to applications but who needs 4 or 5 versions of programs that do the same things. But you can learn to compile programs from source and have practically any program you want. Besides I am not a programmer, nor a avid gamer, just a user who does "stuff" on the computer. And I don't as yet have a laptop with wireless, so I don't see special needs or exotic hardware. Wolvix is great for me, you, what are you looking for? Would I recommend Wolvix to a new user? I think a newbie to Linux could do well with Wolvix if they didn't dig to deep into its secrets. Wouldn't want them to learn something now would we? Lets see, plug-n-play, gui's, menus, oops there's a command line. It kills me, MS Windows users try to pretend their computers have a big off/on switch that they flick and it does everything. It is not true folks. If you don't like MS Windows you also don't have to buy an Mac. Linux is very good, 10 years of testing by yours truly has proven it.
Monday, October 08, 2007
Sunday, October 07, 2007
Not only have these problems been solved in other distros years ago, believe it or not, even the old Slackware has been brought up to date. So, I am saying GO Slackware, welcome to my world. It is a shame that other distros are enjoying the popularity because of glitz and glamor. I'd say Slackware deserves a second look by guys like me who been around the block a few times and by you young folks who missed out on history still making progress. Slackware based distros are up to the edge. Wolvix is very cool and if you want unique check out Goblinx, it is slammin. Now we'll go back to our regularly scheduled program.
Friday, October 05, 2007
Here is an update........
I looked it up on a public library site. The first Linux I saw was called LST, Linux 2.0 and the book was Power Linux by Stefan Probst in the year 1997. So I have been struck with Linux for 10 years. We will have to see what was happening in computing 10 years ago to fully appreciate what is going on today. I must say that Linux has really grown up from an operating system of hackers to one that anyone can use. Don't let so called computer knowledgeable people dissuade you, this is your second opinion, MS Windows products are not all that easy to use either, just more familiar. Linux on the desktop is as good as Linux on the server and as good as any Microsoft product on the market. You have ridden the black horse all your life, now you can ride the white one with brown spots.
Thursday, October 04, 2007
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
This is one of the default desktops, uses a window manager called Joe's Window Manager or JWM for short. Kind of Win95ish. You have icons plus the popup menus.
This is the default XFCE desktop, very sort of Mac like. Quite, clean, the popup menus are such that desktop icons are redundant.
This is where I am at today. XFCE desktop is very clean. I am looking into dressing it up with themes and such. I upgraded Puppy Linux from 2.17.1 to 3.00 which just came out yesterday. While not as flashy as some desktops, Xfce is easy to deal with and has a solid feel. Puppy is amazingly functional for its small size. Version 3.00 is supposed to be Slackware compatible. Slackware is the granddaddy of Linuxes. The really neat thing about Puppy is that you can use it as a universal rescue disk. You can have access to all your drives and media. Other Linuxes are a little restrictive on that aspect. While some distros go out of their way to be MS Windows like, or overly user friendly (we call it dummimg down), Puppy Linux has a good mix so that you are not robbed of learning something about Linux. It seems the computer industry will never shake the idea of dumb terminals hooked up to some really big computer. Some companies would like nothing better than to rent you a terminal and computer time. Like so many people today use subscription TV. Linux is about owning your equipment and the software you put on it while giving you access to the world. And with the Puppy Linux disc or jump drive, you can take it with you.
Monday, October 01, 2007
You could really put the whole system on a flash drive or burn it onto one of those tiny business card CD's. What's the story with Puppy? Usually a Linux distro is based upon another distro and "reformulated" into a new distro, you know, .deb, .rpm or .tar.gz. But Puppy is a Linux written from scratch, by Barry Kauler, to be very lean.
I know I have always complained about software bloat, in spite of all the stuff you get with it, but this is the extreme opposite. It has its own file format .pup and yes there are popular Linux programs, some reformulated to be smaller, that are available. It is great to play with as I have tried several window managers and uninstalled them with no ill effects. You probably could use Gnome or KDE but that defeats the purpose of lean and mean. You could as some have use it for your main Linux. It is that good!! Yeah, it's all a matter of taste, choice, etc. I am truly impressed with the practical usefulness put into such a small package. It is portable and you can use it to do real work. I heard about it on a Ubuntu fourm of all things. Being one who likes to explore, I am very interested in Puppy Linux and will keep it around for a while. On one of the main Puppy web sites there are user's screenshots, pretty attractive, quite creative. If you buy into the small Linux concept, you will be assimulated, you will be playing with Puppy all the time. Puppy has Metisse!, it's not even main stream yet. Puppy has Open Office2. After all, Linux is a Linux is a Linux, but it's so small!! No, It is not the smallest, but I am hearing such good stuff about Puppy Linux I just had to try it. I will have to show you some pictures when I finish tweaking/playing with my Puppy.