Saturday, February 11, 2012

open to open source

The Black history mystery continues to unfold (so brace yourself), but we must also be about the things you visit here for, Open Source and Linux. I have been busy busy helping friends do practical things. That's rebuilding a bathroom and all. But another friend was locked out of her trial version of Microsoft Office (timed out). She couldn't even get to her schoolwork on her laptop. I whipped out my "Open Disc" DVD and installed LibreOffice onto her MS Vista system. It didn't work. This was because it required a JRE (Java Runtime Environment). I downloaded and installed a JRE from the net, fired up LibreOffice and did the penguin dance. LibreOffice is a fork of OpenOffice, same but different, as they say. Gotta love Open Source!

Also I have had the limitations from my old laptop put to rest. I am now running Ubuntu 11.10 with Gnome Shell desktop in 4gig of RAM. And have installed Wine because MS XP as a virtual machine was too easily mangled. To my surprise Wine is working fine. I have installed Google's Sketchup the free version. Sketchup is by far the easiest to use 3D program anywhere. Easy to navigate, easy to construct stuff and fun, especially after the bandwagon music stops playing. Want to see?

 This is the Sketchup desktop and my second construction. I drew each board, arranged them together, drew, pushed and pulled boxes to make the room. Then imported some furniture from the Google 3D Warehouse. The painting is one of my own imported in. I set in some shadows and installed a program called Kertythea which does photo realistic rendering as shown below.
Now this shot was done without tweaking any values just to see if I could get something out of it. Hey, what happened to my painting? Yeah I am still learning. Now there are feature-trimmed free versions of Sketchup and Kertythea, but they have enough power to bring out drooling in you. I am not knocking any Linux graphics app but Sketchup is the better BOMB! Though it doesn't run natively on Linux systems, with Wine and enough RAM it works very nicely, Kertythea also. Oh yeah, Wine is a Linux program, a Microsoft Windows compatibility layer that allows (some) Windows compatible applications to run within a Linux environment. It is not flawless for all Windows apps.

As for my kind of art, the decor/architectural thing is kind of my taste. Art that people can live with. Computer graphics from CAD and photo-realistic to digital painting is a big world. Tools man, it's all the tools. If you are doing the work, it's all about the tools. Then it's about the file formats. The tools are the same on the free Open Source applications as the commercial professional applications. The package the tools come in is the diff, plus tax, title, license, support, stigma, fanbase and purchase receipt, LOL. Anyway, my suggestion is learn all you can on the free Open Source stuff, save the dough and if you have to go pro, spend the dough!

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