Thursday, September 30, 2004

Firefox inroads...

Seen on the interweb at a big corporate site
This Web site is best experienced using Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) version 5 and above, Mozilla Firefox or Netscape 7 and above.
Get Firefox - the future's here today.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Ubuntu take 2

So, this ubuntu thing installed badly (but it's a preview release dummy!), but redeemed itself with the Debian tools to get the system up and running.

Not everything is perfect, but I didn't expect it to be, but everything is the latest spanky version which is not something you'd expect from traditional Debian.

I think I'll keep it on here and keep learning.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Ubuntu Linux

I downloaded, burnt and attempted to install Ubuntu Linux on my work desktop.

Low point - the current (preview) release (of Warty Warthog - 4.10 apparently) fails to install. Why? Because it can't install a certain package (intird-tools) because it's already installed. At that point, everything else fails.

OK, boot up LNX-BBC, chroot into the / directory and type "apt-get -f install". Marvellous. That's a debianism that came as a great surprise. Now I just need to write a grub.conf and grub-install it and I'll be back up and running.

Felt very pissed off having to leave work before I got it running, but I'm sure it'll be fine within a few minutes of arriving on Monday.

So, Ubuntu looks promising, and understanding Debian better will make me feel like a more rounded person. Plus, I've never really wanted to touch Debian on x86 before because of the lack of "currentness" - Ubuntu comes with GNOME 2.8 which is only available for Gentoo 2004.2 and Fedora Core 2.91 at the moment...

And another thing, I do realise that there are now a plethora of distros out there (and that's another rant altogether), but it should be noted that Mark Shuttleworth is behind Ubuntu, which can only mean one thing - future success. Here, at last is a new distro that aims high with decent financial backing. Red Hat and Novell/SUSE had better watch out. There's a new kid in town.


I've moaned previously about a "CD" I bought which wasn't a CD-DA disc, but some copy-protected 5 inch silver coaster, which would only play in my main CD player. On recommendation from [mRg], I downloaded EAC (which runs on the evil OS). Fantastic. I took over six hours to copy to .wav files, but now at last I have a copy that will play in my car and on all my computers and my DVD player (which the original couldn't)!

It just shows that copy-protection has been and always will be crackable. Plus, I should have had the right to play the disc wherever I wanted in the first place. So what sense does copy-protection make? None at all.

Take heed record companies - pissing off your customers does not make a great amount of sense. It's months since I bought this CD, and I haven't been able to play it much at all. This means less enjoyment - less satisfaction and less value for money. In fact I've been pretty disgruntled. Next time I buy one of these pieces of shit, I'll rip it with EAC, photocopy the cover and send the original back. Something I've never done with my other >1,000 CDs (or >1,000 pieces of vinyl for that matter). This will:
  • reduce your income
  • piss your resellers off
  • compensate me for the emotional distress you've caused me with this non-CD.
Bastards. Silly, silly bastards

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

I've switched from vanilla to using It's really nice and does a lot more than google. Fine for while I'm at work (with bandwidth to spare). At home, all those images would take an age. Although, I could use it to centralise my bookmarks. Hmmm. Hopefully, they'll let you switch to international versions of amazon at some point.

Also loving the search bar in Firefox - with the various plugins you can download. Clever.


I discovered gDesklets - a really cool piece of eye candy. On the work desktop, I've got iweather (introducing me to - pretty cool), stickynotes and the RAF Clock running (the monitors wouldn't start/work) but it did take out GNOME this morning.

At home, it won't start at all. (It didn't help that the first time I built it the machine ws heavily overclocked and cc1 SEGV'd). Weird.

So props to the eye candy, but shame about the stability. Looking forward to this all working better.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Good gaim, good gaim.

Gaim 1.0.0 is out. Fantastic. I use it under Fedora Core 2 and the evil OS now and it's pretty damned good. Well done to all those involved.

I've built an FC2 RPM (ok, some RPMs) from the provided SPEC file. You can get them at the following links:

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Software foundations

In the begining was the FSF and it was good. But being good was not an
excuse for being holier-than-thou.

Now we see an ascending star in the server software arena, the ASF. With
SpamAssassin joining the ASF, they more from just being that "Web and Java
stuff" outfit to a wider remit. What if any other prominent free software
changed licences and moved to the ASF?

Then there's the Mozilla foundation - top quality products for the desktop.
If you aren't using FireFox then what's wrong with you? ;-) (Of course, Camino,
Epiphany and the Mozilla suite might float your boat more, as might Safari and
Konqueror). Thunderbird is pretty good too (although Epiphany is my mailer
of choice). I can't wait to see Sunbird come on in leaps and bounds.

There are more foundations (GNOME foundation, KDE e.V., etc.) and they are important (to
us Unix-heads, at least) but I'd argue, not as important as the ASF and Mozilla foundation.

The GPL is the FSF's coup de gras.The FSF in and of itself is important. But the GPL is more important
than the FSF. The FSF's power is waning.

(Associate FSF member #1154)

Friday, September 10, 2004

Blogger so unreliable

Blogger has been really (and I mean really) unreliable recently. It's enough to make you want to move blogs. But again? I can't be bothered with that.

I know that I should have installed something on my own website (drupal, bloxsom, WordPress, etc.) but I was lazy and went for a service-based solution. Now I'm paying the price, I guess.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

People wonder why I recommend Red Hat

For exactly this reason. You can s/Red Hat/SUSE/g if you like, but that's the raw facts. Live with it.

Monday, September 06, 2004

Dabs, USB, joy

I bought a 128MB USB 2.0 pen drive from dabs - part of their dabs value range. Only £19.99 including p+p. Obviously I wanted bigger, but I don't need any bigger. (1GB came in at under £90). This is just for using work's bandwidth to take home updates etc.

For some reason (check lkml) USB mass storage went a bit haywire recently in linux kernel-land and on my work desktop I had to go from Arjan V kernel-2.6.8-1.533 to Rawhide (FC3) kernel-2.6.8-1.540 to get it to work, but apart from that - it's fantastic.

Kewl little device.

Coldfusion, Java, pain

Oh god, why is Coldfusion such pain in the arse. When it works it's OK, but it's a shit to configure, relies on the ever-stable Java (normally OK these days, but currently SEGVing on me) and generally crashes out a lot. Plus, the toolkits for Coldfusion can generate shite code.

Don't use it. There's no need. It's cack.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

ATI Petition

Sign this to get proper driver support from ATI. My Gigabyte 128MB Radeon 9200 works, but not as well as it should...

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Is Windows ready for the desktop?

I know that this title has been used as a joke before, but I'm serious: is Windows ready to use as a stable, secure platform for me?

Answer: as ready as Linux is for you.

System: Windows XP SP2 on XP2100+ with 512MB RAM.

Stability: Windows XP is a stable platform on which to run applications.

Security: OK, OK, SP2 makes an effort, but isn't as secure as anyone would really like, but a great way to improve security is not to run MicroSoft applications. Use Windows as a platform to run better applications on.

Great applications that run on Windows and improve security and your life in general:
  • Firefox - a superior, standards-compliant web browser. Never use Internet Explorer - it only brings you trouble.
  • Thunderbird - a great e-mail client with built-in Spam-filtering, and guess what, better security. Never use Outlook Express or Outlook - they are worse than Internet Explorer.
Firefox and Thunderbird are the top-tier applications that will make your life better. You must also buy an Anti-Virus program. I can't make any recommendations here.

If you have a copy of Microsoft Office, it is the best office suite for Windows, but you probably don't need it. Get OpenOffice instead and save yourself hundreds of pounds.
  • OpenOffice - more secure, almost 100% compatible with MS Office (honestly - you should try the 1.1.x versions if you've only tried previous versions).
If that's what you use your Windows box for (web, e-mail, docs, spreadsheets, presentations) then using the above applications will save you money and in the end time (as you won't be so readily infected with viruses).

Now ask yourself, why pay for Windows anyway? Take the time to install Linux and get these applications, (or in some cases, better applications!) better security and even better stability out of the box.