Category Archives: Linux

Does Linux Need Your Help?

Free MacBook Air, anyone? Check out this tweet to find out what you need to do. And if Apple catches your eye, then you should definitely tune in for our live Apple event announcement discussion!

Also, did you know that there’s a LockerGnome app that you can download to your smartphone right now? Yep! It’s available on Android and iOS — so to those of you who say that I play favorites, I say “No way, Jose!”

Unless your name is Carl, Maureen, Scott, Jennifer, Nigel, Annabelle, Omar, Nadia, Boromir, Daisy, Augustus, Tammy, Asif, Kirsten, Chuck, Desiree, Angus, Ruth, Enrique, Horatio, Connie, Bruce, Sasha, Danny, or Pam, in which case I would probably say something else.

Anyway, to get back to the headline at hand, Linux may not really be in need of your help, but people can sure get up in arms if anyone dares to mutter something like “Linux is dead.” Things can get pretty ugly pretty quickly, but I have to say this about the open source community: it’s a passionate one.

The issue here isn’t that Linux is dead, but that it should be more prominent than it is for as much as it is beloved by its devotees. They contend that it’s better than any other operating system (though it could be argued that Linux isn’t technically an operating system, it’s the closest term we can use to explain it to non-Linux users in a way that they can understand) — though “better” is, as we always say, relative. If you’re a Linux fanatic, you’ll definitely want to weigh in with your opinions about Linux at the post in question. And if you’re not a Linux fanatic, maybe you’ll learn something from the discourse?

If the topic of Linux bores you to tears, on the other hand, you’ll be happy to know that we talked about a lot more than Linux today. Watch this to find out what we covered, and follow the links therein to read up. Enjoy!

Does Microsoft Hate Open Source Software?

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Josh represented Microsoft during OpenCamp recently. People were quite confused as to why Microsoft would be interested in Open Source products. While Windows and Linux may be competitors, much of the Open Source applications are not. They run really well in Windows.

The IIS team is making sure that open source software runs better on Windows than it does on Linux. Microsoft is very supportive of the people making these applications, and attends a lot of conferences to help them in every way they can.

To anyone who feels that Microsoft hates Open Source, Josh asks them to take a new look at the Redmond team. They compete hard where they have a product that may be similar, such as the operating system and Microsoft Office. However, when it comes to everything else – keep your eyes open and let Microsoft work with you to make the best application you can produce.

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Manage Your Apple Device on Your Ubuntu Desktop

libimobiledevice has but one goal: to be able to manage your iPhone, iPod or iPad right from within Linux on your desktop. Unlike other projects, it does not depend on using any existing proprietary libraries and does not require jailbreaking. The application will allow you to access your device’s file system, retrieve your information, backup or restore the device, manage your icons and apps and synchronize music and video to the device.

The latest release of libimobiledevice has been tested with the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad – all versions which run firmware up to 3.2. It appears to work flawlessly, and won’t cause issues by having you jailbreak your device.

The program is open-source (and won’t cost you a dime). If you’re a Linux user who also happens to own an Apple mobile device, I highly urge you to check out libimobiledevice. Let us know how your experience goes.

Ubuntu Thoughts

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My thoughts on Ubuntu… hah! I think it’s a Linux distro. I don’t have any issues with the operating system. As far as Linux distros go, it’s likely the easiest to use. Any time I say something about one distro instead of another, a war tends to break out. They can all agree, though, that Ubuntu is about as close as Linux has come to being mainstream thus far.

I run Ubuntu in a virtual machine. But quite honestly, everything I need to do is taken care of inside of OS X or Windows. The software available in Linux is good, yes. But it all boils down to personal preference. I don’t know that Linux will ever grow beyond where it is today.

As far as viability in the desktop market, I don’t know. It would take huge strides to replace Windows as the operating system of choice for most manufacturers. I don’t even know if the average person even cares what operating system they are using as long as their software works.

For embedded and lower-cost devices, I think Ubuntu (or similar distros) are the way to go. However, I just don’t feel it’s there yet for the desktop environment. What are your thoughts?

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Linux MPX Multi-Touch Table

The Linux MPX Multi-Touch table may not be as sexy as Microsoft’s Surface, but it does show the huge advancements being made in penguin-land. MPX (or Multi-Pointer X) is a modification of the X Windows Server that allows multiple input devices to be used at the same time. All you need to make it work is a normal computer, a keyboard and a mouse. This system will let multiple users work together on an application at the same time. The software is still under development, and the developer states that there are (of course) still bugs and kinks to be worked out. However, this video gives you an excellent insight as to what you can expect in the future.

Important to note: DiamondTouch is completely different that Microsoft TouchLight. Yet the end result is actually a better thing for all of us. DiamondTouch will recognize four different unique people. Surface allows multiple users to interact, but doesn’t recognize them (yet) as separate people. Therefore, the MPX is a large step ahead of Microsoft in this department.

Peter Hutterer, PhD Student Wearable Computers Lab at the University of South Australia and MPX developer, granted an interview with Gizmodo recently. Peter discussed the technology more in-depth and explained many of the features (and bugs) that exist.

This is definitely something to keep your eye on as development progresses. It will be interesting to watch how it evolves.

Shirts for the Linux Geek Inside of You!

Finally, we can grab some hard-core Linux shirts to wear… at the same time we’re donating to the cause! The Linux Foundation supports the development of the Linux Kernel financially, and they’ve come up with a new line of awesome shirts and other merchandise to help out.

According a release made public by the Foundation, merchandise available in the Linux store is “designed to reflect the unique and varied culture associated with Linux” and will support the work of Linux creator Linus Torvalds. For example, shirts contain phrases like Free The Code, FSCK the Establishment and the ever-popular Fork You. All revenue generated from the store will go directly towards Linux Foundation.

To help celebrate the launch of the store, Linux is holding a shirt design contest! Submissions are due to the store site before April 11th, 2010. The top five will be put up for community vote on the Linux Foundation site through June 6th, 2010. The winning design will be featured on shirts available for sale in the store! In addition, the winning designer will receive travel to Boston to attend the LinuxCon conference in August!

If you’re a Linux Geek, make sure you check out what they have available, and show your support. If you’re a designer… get those thinking caps on!

Download Center

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Every so often, you may need to download something to make your computer or mobile device run better. There are millions of pieces of software and applications available for every operating system you can think of. To help you find the best deals on software of every type, we’ve created our new Downloads center! Every day, we feature the very best software – including games! – that we can find, at excellent prices!

I’ve been downloading and gathering together software since 1996. I admit it… I’m addicted to software! I always have been. On the downloads center, we even have free software available. If you want to download your favorite software at no cost to you, just choose the program you want, complete a simple offer, and download the full version of your chosen application!

There are several people on our team who are all monitoring this software to the best of their ability. They don’t allow any questionable content to be added and they haven’t let anything with malware in it slip by, either. If you ever come across something on the site you don’t feel is quite “right” in some way, please send me an email. We will look into it faster than immediately.

We post an aggregate every day on Geeks in the blog section. In that post, you’ll find the very newest programs we’ve come across, as well as some really excellent deals. I’m also doing my best to keep Twitter and Facebook updated with the hottest deals.

If you’re not interested in this service, that’s fine. If you are – check it out! I’m all ears, and want to hear your feedback. We can’t make the site better without your help!

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Ubuntu 9.10 Screencast

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I recently asked all of you to submit your screencasts to me for review. The best of the best will be chosen to be featured here, in my various channels and outlets. This provides content of a different perspective for our community, and gives you new exposure for your work! Duncan has submitted an excellect screencast, showing all of us the new Ubuntu 9.1 operating system.

Before beginning an install, you should check the release notes for important information. Currently, the system requirements are 256MB of RAM, which means it should work on older systems.

There are two ways to obtain Ubuntu 9.10. The first is to go to the downloads page. From there, you can download the release .iso and mount it onto a CD. The other way to obtain it is to visit the Ship It link, and have them mail a physical CD right to your door – for free. However, it can take up to ten weeks to reach you.

Once you have your CD, you’ll find there are many options to use and/or install Ubuntu 9.10. You can live boot, and try it out without actually installing it. It’s very useful for trying it out and deciding what you think. You can also copy the contents of the CD onto a USB drive, which is handy as well.

The most common method of install is the Dual-Boot method in Windows. This involves shrinking your partition and installing Ubuntu onto the free space. Duncan personally chose to install his copy using VirtualBox to install Ubuntu 9.10 inside of a virtual machine.

You can see that the new version looks quite a bit different than the older version. As it was installing, Duncan walked us through several different options as far as video selection, RAM allocations and the like.

Once Ubuntu itself was installed, Duncan went in and installed the Virtual Box Tools. That allows him to do things like using the mouse more effectively. I definitely recommend you make use of the Tools if you’re going to use a virtual machine.

Duncan’s screencast gives you an excellent look into the installation, use and customization for Ubuntu 9.10. Be sure to watch this video if you’re even thinking about checking out this operating system!


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How to Build Your Own Linux Distro

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Chances are by now you’ve messed around with Linux. And of course, Linux may have messed around with you. Unless you know what you’re doing, it can be a real mess. So, there are distros you can download to help you along. These distributions are built by other people with different needs and ideas than what you have. So what are you left to do? How can you build your own distro?

By going to SUSE Studio, you can build your own personal Linux distribution right on the web. Customize it to your heart’s content, and share it with the world! SUSE Studio is a simple and fast appliance builder. It provides an easy to use, web-based user interface and will run in your browser without other needed software.

One great feature is the SUSE Studio Testdrive. You can boot, configure and test your appliance in a browser window without download. You don’t know what an appliance is? I’m glad you asked, so that I can tell you! An appliance is a combination of an application (such as a database), it’s configuration and an operating system. The parts are integrated into a single image which is then usable on pretty much any hardware.

You can even put your distro into a format that will work perfectly on demo CDs. Those are perfect to show off to others, or even give out at trade shows. Who knows – maybe your custom distro will be the next big one!! If Hannah Montana can have her own distro, what’s your excuse?!

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What’s Better Than Microsoft PowerPoint?

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Did you ever know how most presentations suck? It’s bad enough that people doing them tend to suck, as well. It’s not their fault, though. Most of the presentation software is just not that good. A good presentation shows pictures, and don’t have much text. The worst ones to watch are where the speaker just reads every word from the slides! They drive me nuts! What do you use to create presentations? Tell me you aren’t using desktop software! Adobe has thrown their hat into the ring. They have a basic, online office suite and a new presentation software!

Acrobat Presentations is excellent. You have tons of options. Best of all, of course, is the ability using an online platform gives you to easily collaborate with others. When you create a presentation with desktop software, it’s very difficult to allow multiple people to work together on it. Using Presentations, it’s a simple process.

Presentations is a better way to create, edit, and share presentations with others online. Built on the Adobe Flash platform, Presentations looks and behaves like a desktop presentation application – but operates inside a web browser.

It’s free, and cross-platform. There’s no reason to not try it!

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Compiz Fusion in Ubuntu Inside a Virtual Machine

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Do you Ubuntu? If not, what’s your excuse? You don’t have to run it as your primary operating system, but all the cool kids are using it! Linux is sorta like ice cream – there are a ton of different flavors! It doesn’t even matter which distro you choose… go with what tastes right to you.

Ubuntu is certainly maturing over time. The latest release has mixed reviews, but are mostly positive. Each generation is more stable, and easier to use. I’ve talked about Linux in the past, especially when it comes to things you can only get inside of Linux… such as Compiz Fusion.

Since Ubuntu is open-source, you may want to give back to that community someday. Who knows? You could be the coder who comes up with the next great advance! But I know that most of you are regular users like I am, and that’s ok!

Now, if you want to run Ubuntu on your desktop, you might want to use virtual machine software. Can you guess which one I’m using? There’s a lot of software out there that can allow you to run an operating system inside of a piece of software. Everyone knows what I’m running now, right? If you were going to guess Parallels or VMWare, you would be incorrect… even though I have coupons for both of them.

What I’m using is VirtualBox from Sun. The same people that brought you Java have now brought you open-source virtualization technology for your desktop. So I’m running an open-source operating system inside of an open-source virtual machine!

Sun has enabled 3D acceleration inside of VirtualBox! So Compiz Fusion is even MORE amazing. It’s insanely smooth – and amazingly cool! I’ve never seen Compiz Fusion running inside a virtual machine before. Not only does it run inside of VirtualBox… it runs very well!

It’s fun to run an operating system like this. Give it a shot… it doesn’t cost you a thing!

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How to Run Linux on Windows (Ubuntu)

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Yes, it’s possible to have Linux and Windows installed on the same PC – and why wouldn’t you have both? You can install Linux using a live CD or even a USB drive. You could also use something like VMWare Fusion, as well.

Of course, you don’t need a coupon to run any flavor of Linux, as it is open source software. That is the biggest draw for many of you out there who use it. However, today I wanted to show you a new option I ran across that I think you will like. If you’ve never used Linux before, you may want to think about running Linux on top of Windows.

Using Portable Ubuntu allows you to do just that. It is an Ubuntu system running as a Windows application. For those of you who are hard-core Linux users, Portable Ubuntu is handy when you need to work from a Windows-based machine.

Portable Ubuntu allows you to run Ubuntu as if you’re using Ubuntu itself – but you’re actually using Windows. You’ll find the package manager, the bar that runs across the top of the screen, and more. You can even browse the Ubuntu file structure from right within Windows.

This is absolutely without a doubt the easiest way to use Linux from within Windows!

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