Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Get Real, it's in Patent Pledge Small Print

This story has been bubbling most of this month and the moral outrage at IBM's alleged breaking of its FOSS patent pledge has to stop. For one thing, it makes us look like a bunch of emotionally retarded children, for another, a bunch of legal and commercial simpletons...

Monday, 26 April 2010

Full Circle Podcast #5 Manual Dexterity

Full Circle Podcast #5: Manual Dexterity is available now.

Some Ubuntu news, a KDE 4.4 review, and, for the first time, we have guests. With Simon Wears talking about MadJam and Benjamin Humphrey about Ubuntu Manual Project.The podcast is in MP3 and OGG formats.

File Sizes: OGG 29.5Mb, mp3 21.5Mb; Runtime: 41 minutes 43 seconds.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Aqualung Media Player Review

Aqualung is stripped-down music player running on Linux, FreeBSD and Microsoft Windows. It plays audio CDs, streams and audio files.

Befitting the LXDE desktop, Aqualung is lightweight player. Used to the visual glitz and feature-laden VLC, you might find it something of a step back in time. It looks either incredibly simple or incredibly clunky, depending on your viewpoint. That's not to say it lacks fedatures, it's a very capable player...

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Version Check: Virtualbox on Lubuntu

It's nearly always the random-bug-generator sat in front of the keyboard!

I nearly gave myself a bad day when I failed to get either Virtualbox OSE or the Sun-Oracle Virtualbox Free version working in Lubuntu. It wasn't anyone else's fault, I inadvertentaly got myself stuck in the half-way house between Lubuntu versions...

Friday, 23 April 2010

Opinion: Backup Solutions

If you listened to Full Circle Podcast Episode #4, you'll have heard us talk about back-up solutions in response to a listener question.

Between the team, we covered Ubuntu One, Dropbox, good old TAR scripts (previously posted here), external hard drives, not forgetting Drobo, for a NAS backup experience. Crashplan is mentioned below and Simple Backup will be covered in a future post...

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Gnome-shell Install Fail

Lucid Beta-2 and my biggest bug-bear with the Open-Source, freedom-to-bodge-it-yourself architecture...

The Beta-2 massive update completed and I decided to go back to the long-promised evaluation of Gnome-shell. So going to Software Center, I selected Gnome-Shell and got the resulting screenshot.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Lucid-nVidia Driver Bug

Yep; the last upgrade not only broke something, but gave me a bug that's been hanging around since at least February, where you get stuck at the gdm login screen in an endless loop...

This occurred after an apt-get upgrade and apt-get dist-upgrade from Lucid Beta-1 to Beta-2 on Friday...

Ubuntu Manual Project

In advance of the release of Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx, we draw your attention to the documentation we've all been waiting for, the Ubuntu Manual.The pre-release draft ('beta') is available for preview.
"Getting Started with Ubuntu 10.04 is a complete beginner's manual for Ubuntu, featuring comprehensive guides, How To's and information on anything you need to know after first installing Ubuntu."

Sunday, 18 April 2010

KDE SC 4.4 Review: Plasmoid-Widget-Mania

I am not a KDE user. I made the controversial statement in a previous podcast that if I want to play with fisher-price toys, I would go to Toys-r-us. Surprisingly, nobody roasted me for that. Come on, Kubuntu users, where are you?

KDE with its' shiny, primary-coloured icons has never been my thing. That capital K-with-every-program-name obsession always made me feel like I'm in kindergarten. Or should that be K-Indergarten...?

Full Circle Podcast #4: It’s Everyone Else’s Fault

Full Circle Podcast #4: Its Everyone Else’s Fault

icon for podpress 
FCM Podcast #4 - MP3 [56:13m]: Download
icon for podpress 
FCM Podcast #4 - OGG [56:13m]: Download

We’re back, a little late, with a broken mike AND a vacuum cleaner in back!

The podcast is in MP3 and OGG formats. 

This episode; news, backup solutions, Battle for Wesnoth, Heroes of Newerth and the usual banter. RC

Saturday, 17 April 2010

'Checkbox' System Tester

Lurking in the System > Administration menu is a useful little tool masquerading under the name of System Tester. Its' real name is Checkbox.
"Checkbox provides tests to confirm you system is working properly. Once you are finished runnin the tests, you can view a summary report for your system."
In a set of guided screens, Checkbox runs through a comprehensive set of tests covering all the hardware and most of the software present.

Friday, 16 April 2010

Chromium Window Buttons by the Left

The saga is not quite done. If you were struggling to get your Lucid themes set-up and wondering why certain applications ignore the button layout in the New World Order, we can strike one from the snag-list.

The Chromium browser by default uses a traditional top-right button layout unchanged by Window control settings in gconf-editor or Ubuntu Tweak. Unless...

Chromium  has a little-known setting (at least to me) which overrides the default layout and defers to the system layout...

Sunday, 11 April 2010

New Habits

How quickly we adapt to changes and adopt new habits...

Yes, I'm talking about the button saga. Window control buttons on the left on all the machines (Gnome and LXDE) for less than a week and only once yesterday did I head to the top-right corner of the screen. I've mixed up minimize/maximize controls twice in three days. Nobody died. I lost no data.

Speaking as a creature of habit, I think this says that when we have to, we adapt. If you change platforms and move around machines and operating systems, you can't afford to go to sleep and work your tech on auto-pilot.

Window controls: left or right, stay awake. Get over it. RC

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Extra themes for LXDE/Openbox

It's not a great default selection of themes in Lubuntu, but that's easily remedied.
You could go to Box-Look.org for extra Openbox themes. There is a fair selection, although Openbox being a lightweight window manager, it doesn't have the amount of eye-candy that Gnome or KDE have. I did find an early attempt at the Ubuntu Light (Ambience) theme, Ambiance Cold Box by GhostAssassin, which works.

I did discover from Urukrama's blog under the Openbox Guide there is a .deb package containing a stack of Openbox themes directly available from the Ubuntu repositories. This has been around since Ubuntu Hardy. A quick search in Synaptic on openbox-themes should bring up the package in the list. Mark for install, apply, then fire up Obconf Openbox Configuration Manager and you have a selection of extra themes, some of which are moe attractive than others.   RC

Monday, 5 April 2010

Desktop Configuration using Obconf

Button Order in LXDE/Openbox

Given the dust is settling on the whole left-button right-button debate, I've set my window controls to top-left on the Ubuntu machines (Karmic and Lucid) and thought I'd have a go on Lubuntu, which runs the LXDE desktop using Openbox.

There are only two configuration files located in ~/.config/openbox. They are named menu.xml and rc.xml. If users do not want to edit them by hand, they can do most of the configuration with an easy-to-use tool called Obconf, a GUI configuration editor for Openbox. It's available from the right-click menu anywhere on the desktop, as Openbox Configuration Manager.

Sunday, 4 April 2010

More Tweaks with Ubuntu-Tweak

Ubuntu-tweak was always a neat little application  to fine-tune your desktop settings. The latest version is now a Swiss-army knife which goes a lot deeper into the guts of Ubuntu.

In addition to opening up Compiz and desktop settings, window manager controls (buttons on the left now folks!) and change security settings to lock down your desktop,  you can change your software sources list, run updates, run package cleaner to take out redundant packages...

It's not that you can't do all these things by other routes, it's just that Ubuntu-tweak puts them all in one place, without recourse to a terminal session.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Buttons by the Left

Enough arguing on the blogs and on launchpad; the window control buttons are staying on the left and that's that.

Mark Shuttleworth says so. Mac-haters need not apply.

So I've gone for it. My buttons now fasten on the left. I'm getting used to it. I've changed on all the machines... except for the Compaq running Lubuntu. I haven't found if LXDE/Openbox can move buttons.

More on tweaking Ubuntu in the next post... with Ubuntu-Tweak! RC