Tag Archives: distro

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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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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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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Why Aren't All Linux Live CDs Customizable?


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Yes, Linux is an operating system that I do recommend to people at times. I don’t use Linux as my operating system, but I do have several Linux live CDs. A live CD is one that is started as an ISO file that you download, burn it to a CD, pop it into your drive and reboot. Your computer will run Linux from memory, without writing it to your hard drive. There are even ways that you can put a Linux distro on a flash drive, which is nice. I can carry it around with me, along with some diagnostic tools. This way, if I am working on a machine that won’t boot into Windows, I can open it up with Linux.

The problem that I always have with live CDs for Linux is that when they’re built, they include things I would never include. Or, they don’t put in things that I feel I should have. It just isn’t a very customizable experience. I got a few emails from a community member named Aaron the other day. He wanted to send me to a place where I can customize my Linux live CDs any way I want them.

At Custom NimbleX, you can easily create your own customized version of Linux that only you and the people you share it with will be able to use. Now, you won’t find everything that is available for Linux here, of course, but it is very comprehensive. You can choose to go with a clean, simple customization, or you can choose to create an extremely in-depth one.

You can even choose your default wallpaper(s), including your username, and including the volume at which the controller is set on boot. It’s very easy to create one of these, and absolutely free. If you choose to create a ‘custom’ CD, you choose what categories you want included… and then choose the software! Add what you want, and know you’ll use. Leave the rest alone. How cool is it to finally be able to choose what YOU want and need?

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How to Get Started with Linux

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Here are five things you need to know before you decide to try a Linux Distro. Don’t mistakenly assume it will be an easy switch for you. Any time you change to a completely new Operating System, there will be a trial period, as you get used to it.

  • Linux is not Windows, or Mac OSX. It requires a learning curve as anything else. New users need to take a lot of there Windows/Mac habits and set them aside when they use Linux for the first time.
  • There are well-developed, open source software applications that are available for Linux. Just because the Windows/OSX version doesn’t exist on Linux doesn’t mean there isn’t an application available that would complete the same task. Remember, you might find a application that you like a lot better then what your used to.
  • Choose the Linux Distribution that is right for you. Just because it’s the most popular, doesn’t mean it is the choice for you. There are many Linux Distributions that have been developed for certain functions. For example maybe you what a good Linux Distro to create media with then you might want to look at Medibuntu or Studio 64. If you need server functionality you would want distro’s such as Ubuntu Server or Red hat. For those of you that are just looking for a good desktop distribution to do daily tasks there are distro’s such as PCLinuxOS, Ubuntu, Fedora, OpenSuse, Simply Mepis, etc. Another example is for those of you running on older hardware, you might want a lighter weight distribution such as Xubuntu, Mepis Anti X, or Mint Linux. Once again choose whats right for you. Remember that is the wonderful thing about Linux, it offers a selection choice that cannot be rivaled by any other OS on the planet.
  • There is always a fix to something in Linux. Just because it doesn’t work, doesn’t mean its broken. Now I’m not talking geekiness here. There are a lot of time when a problem arises such as applications not working because its missing a certain application, or file that it needs. The best solution to this is going on Google, or to the Distributions Forums, Support or Wiki’s page. Here you can find a lot of good information to fix these issues.
  • Lastly and most importantly: when it comes to Linux, it requires patience. Don’t give up. There will be days when you will get so upset with Linux that you want to just uninstall it. Take time, relax and sleep on it. I have figured out many issues just by taking time away from my Linux Machine and just thinking about it for a bit.

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World's Highest Linux Distribution

I’ve taken over a hundred flights in my short lifetime. Some experiences have been great (JetBlue), and others have been wildly less-than-mediocre. No matter what, I always appreciate the infusion of technology / entertainment options with mass transit. Boeing is sadly killing their Connexion service, and that probably means we won’t ever see wireless Internet access in airplanes. Delta put us on a newer plane last week, en route to Florida (to start our honeymoon). While there wasn’t WiFi, I had a personal digital concierge placed at my fingertips – literally. A touch screen system with plenty of options had been infused into the back of everyone’s seat. I watched a movie, flipped through some live TV channels, then decided to play some Galaga. Without warning, the unit locked up – and I tried everything to restart the buttonless, pinholeless PC. I couldn’t believe what I saw next:


Is that the world’s highest Linux installation?

Rubbing XGL in Windows Vista's Wounds

Everybody went ga-ga over the video I linked to the other day – showing XGL running on KDE in some random flavor of Linux. Some of you suffered from motion sickness after watching the entire thing, but I don’t think typical usage would require or necessitate that much desktop movement in such a small amount of time.

No matter, I went on a quest to find a live CD distro with XGL pre-infused – just to see how well it would work. Because of GPL violations, most XGL-enabled live CDs have been taken offline. I tried installing XGL on my own, following “simple” instructions I found for various distros online – and wound up remembering why I dislike Linux so much in the first place: it’s not easy, no matter what anybody leads you to believe.

GNOME makes Linux easier to navigate, which is why I think so many people have fallen in love with Ubuntu. If Linux is ever going to win over the hearts and minds of the status quo, the GUI must continue to improve. I think XGL gives power users enough eye candy to give Linux another stab – but I couldn’t come close to recommending Linux over OS X for reasons other than economics at this point.

I scoured the BitTorrent directories for XGL-enabled live CD ISOs. Wow, that was probably the geekiest sentence I think I’ve ever written. Anyway, I discovered an XGL-enabled distribution called Kororaa. You can download, burn, reboot, and run Linux without installing it on your hard drive. Grab the torrent for Kororaa Linux Xgl LiveCD 0.2 before it disappears.

Go ahead, try XGL on your own PC – you’ll be amazed. I ran it on Ponzi’s laptop, which has a lame-ass Intel video card. Every one of the XGL effects I tried ran smoother than I ever would have anticipated.

And yes, I believe GNOME looks and works infinitely better than Vista (especially with XGL enabled) for common, everyday tasks.