Tag Archives: Linux

How Many Types of Linux Do We Need?


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Luke asked over on Lockergnome why there are so many different Linux distros. Linux is awesome, there’s no doubt about it. The beauty of Linux is that it is open-source, and anyone can change it how they see fit. You can take Linux as an operating system, give it different themes and choices and generally mold it to your liking. Some people want certain choices and features, while others want something entirely different.

There are gazillions of people on this planet right now. Not all of them will ever care to build their own flavor of Linux. But Linux gives you the ability to choose how YOU want things, and then share it with the world. I’ve talked before about where you can go to build your own version of Linux. It’s not as difficult as you might think it is… so what are you waiting for?

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Canonical Explains the Status of Ubuntu on ARM-Powered Laptops


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It will be good to get an alternative processor platform to power all of our laptops and desktops. Running a full consumer-friendly OS on an embedded processor platform has been a challenge so far. The ARM processors were originally intended just to power phones and other dedicated devices.

Designing a simple user interface for the Linux-based OS that can be embraced by the mass market instead of Microsoft Windows is also a large challenge. Jerone Young is one of the main engineers at Canonical working for the past many months in trying to get Ubuntu to work 100% smoothly on the upcoming fastest ARM Processors. These types of processors will come in the thin, light (and possibly very cheap) ARM-powered laptops and desktops that will normally reach the mass market in the near future.

This video was filmed by Charbax at the Freescale Technology Forum in Orlando Florida. Would you like to cover conferences, trade shows, and events in exchange for promotion in our YouTube channel and social media networks? Email me to facilitate the process!

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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.

Earn a Boy Scout Badge for Gaming

Forget about starting fires with sticks and setting up tents in the wilderness. Since videogames are played by the vast majority of children across the United States, the Boy Scouts of America have decided to get with the times. They will be offering a Video Games belt loop and pin to the Cub Scouts. No, I’m not kidding. I only wish I were.

To earn the belt loop, the kids must explain why it is important to have a rating system for video games, and check their video games to be sure they are appropriate. With the help of an adult, they have to create a schedule to do things such as chores and homework… and still fit in game time. They have to “do their best” to follow the schedule. And last – but not least – they have to learn to play a new game that is approved by their parent, guardian or teacher.

There are more steps to go through in order to receive the pin. They’ll need to create a plan to buy an appropriate video game. Next up, they must compare two gaming systems, explaining the differences between them. Another step requires them to play a game with family members in a tournament. They’ll need to teach one of their favorite games to an adult or friend. At least there’s some writing involved when they have to make a list of tips for someone who is trying to learn a new game. Playing a game with a friend for one hour shouldn’t be much of a stretch. Installing a game system with adult supervision is likely something they’ve already done, as well. The only halfway interesting step in this process is when they have to think of a game they want to buy and compare pricing at three different stores to find the best deal.

What happened to the days when the Boy Scouts learned things that added value to their life in some way? I recall having to do things like learn how to save a person’s life. I’m sure I would have enjoyed getting rewards for playing games, but I just don’t see how that would have really added something important to my education and the way I turned out as an adult.

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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.

How to Add More Music to Your iPod or iPhone

If you’re a music fanatic, I bet you’ve griped many times about the lack of space for tunes on your Apple device. With the release of the new version of iTunes today, those rants will hopefully be relegated to the past. Apple has added a feature to reduce the size of the music files on your iPod or iPhone by converting the bit rate to 128 kbps. Most of you will never notice a difference in the quality of what you’re hearing when playing back your selections.

Install the update and begin your sync. Make sure to check “Convert higher bit rate songs to 128 kbps AAC” when you plug in your device. The sync will take longer than usual, because the application will need to convert all of the media to the new specification. You will be rewarded for the wait, though. Your iPhone or iPod will now be able to hold up to twice as many individual tracks as before.

This feature has been available on the iPod Shuffle for a while now, and many of us are happy to see that it has been extended to other popular Apple gadgets. Keep in mind that your original files in iTunes will not change. They will still have the same high quality as they had prior to the changes on the device.

What tech developments have come to your attention today? If you have anything to pass on that we may have missed on this blog, feel free to drop us a line.

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Does Free Speech Exist on the Internet?

I’ve seen this type of discussion come up many times within my community, and in others. When someone breaks a site rule and is “reprimanded” for it, they will often scream about their Freedom of Speech, guaranteed by the United States Constitution. I always get a chuckle out of this. You see, when you join a privately-owned site and agree to abide by their rules, there is no Freedom of Speech. The owners and administrators of said service are well within their rights to tell you what you can – and cannot – discuss on their little corner of the Web. If you don’t like it… well… no one is forcing you to stay there as a member.

This may sound harsh to some of you, and I don’t intend for it to be. I guess I’m trying to remind all of you that common courtesy and a maturity in following rules YOU agreed to when you joined a particular site are far more important than anything else. Anytime I see some ticked off person on Geeks yelling about their Freedom of Speech, my first thought is to ask them what rule THEY broke. I’ve learned over the years that 99% of the time, the upset person in question wanted to push the limits, and discuss something illegal, or otherwise against the rules.

What are your thoughts? Do you believe that the owners of a particular site or service have the final – and likely, ONLY – say in what is and isn’t allowed there?

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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!

What Type of Music Helps You be More Productive?

I am like many of you out there… I cannot work unless there is music playing in the background. My assistant Kat is the same way. If she’s at her computer (which is always!), there is music playing. She swears she cannot concentrate unless she has music pumping through her speakers or headphones. It apparently makes her more productive than if she has silence or a different type of noise in her immediate area. Thinking about it, I guess I’m the same way. I do my best writing when there is music to fit my mood at that moment playing.

That’s the key for me… my mood. I don’t listen to any one particular style of music all the time. I like a pretty wide variety of stuff. Some call me “eclectic” in my tastes, and that’s fine with me. I like what I like… and I don’t expect you to listen to it if you don’t. However, I do encourage you to always broaden your musical horizons by listening to something completely different than your normal playlist every once in awhile. Pandora is great for that!

What type of music are you addicted to? Do you work better when you are rocking out, or do you need complete quiet in order to concentrate?

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