Thursday, July 23, 2009


The first thing I do after Ubuntu presents me with its glorious brown theme is to open my email client which in my case is Evolution. Seeing that my high priority folder is empty, I go to my feed reader to catch up on news, blog issues, developing threads and collect my thoughts.

Do I go to my Google reader which means opening the browser? Do I fire up the RSS client reader? Remember those?

Linux has three favorite feed readers. The most popular is Liferea (linux feed reader) which is too slow and freezes a lot (makes users wait while it does its job) but is wonderfully integrated into the GNOME environment. There's Blam which uses the fast rendering engine, Webkit. Great speed but lacks good UI features like keyboard hotkeys for navigation and links to the browser. There's also Straw which is a surprise because it's also quick and light (two window panes as opposed to three). I would have settled for Straw.

But I remember this thread in the Ubuntu forums about this little known plugin for evolution. It enables evolution to fetch feeds much like email messages into your email client. Enabling it means I only have to open Evolution to get my email and news and blogs. Great.

Just open Synaptic from System>Administration>Synaptic. Type in evolution-rss in the search field. Mark the appropriate package for installation. I have an xml file of my Google reader subscription saved in my home directory. I opened evolution and exported the xml file to start importing the feeds exactly as in my Google reader service.

Microsoft Contributes To Linux Code

Microsoft contributed 20,000 pieces of code to the linux kernel and they annouce this in the opening day of the OSCON open source conference. Most of the codes are linux drivers for virtualization. The Linux foundation counts 1,000 developers from around 100 corporations who contribute code to the linux kernel. The top companies who contribute to linux development are Red Hat, Intel, Novell, IBM and Oracle. Red Hat recently made it to the S & P 500 list at Wall Street.

This development doesn't mean Microsoft have seen the light about free software. This is acknowledgement of reality. Linux is making tremendous contributions to the world of computing and they want to be “nice” to us.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Longest Solar Eclipse for the 21st Century

The Universe put on a show today for about 3-6 minutes. People in India and China saw the eclipse in all its glory. Experts said this is the longest solar eclipse for the 21st century. The next eclipse is going to happen in 2010 but if you're going to look for anything like today's show, you'll have to wait until 2132.

Barnes & Noble

It's the United States number one bookseller and they shine today because they join Google Book Search in offering ebooks. They have 700,000 titles mostly free to download. It is a great time to catch up on the classics. Now there is less excuses not to read a book online.

Barnes & Noble was founded in 1873 by Charles Barnes as a printing business then his son William opened bookstores. Nowadays we know them for their wifi enabled cafes, starbuck themed coffee service, and sandwiches. Oh along with their books of course.

Barnes & Noble ebook store.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Why Linux Security Is Better

Last July 16th a security specialist working on open source security servers by the name of Brad Spengler disclosed through a security mailing list, a flaw in the Linux kernel 2.6.30. Basically, what he discovered is a hole in the kernel of the linux operating system that will lay useless the defenses and security layers built into linux. So why the title?

Security for computers is not a product, it is a process. All systems can be hacked. No system is perfect. When flaws are discovered in Linux, they are published for all the community to check and see. The community comes up with solutions and patches in record time.

Last June 30th the open source browser, Firefox, was released to the public. Very soon, someone published a flaw in the code. Before the week is over, Mozilla released an updated version of Firefox to fix the flaw. The fix also came from the community.

Is this situation better than what Microsoft is doing? Well, would you like to wait until Patch Tuesday to get your computer security fixed? And why is it that Microsoft operating systems are the only operating system in the world that needs a third party security software so it can survive the internet? Tell me why do I need a third party firewall when XP already has a built in firewall? What does it say about your product when a completely new range of business is born to address it's flaws?

To Be Sure Use FOSS

Amazon deleted “1984” the novel, from its Kindle devices without user help. Microsoft can block use of Windows XP if they suspect that your copy is obtained illegally. Internet services being offered for free one day and gets cancelled the next. Your data entrusted for storage in an online storage is safe or is it?

You'd like to be assured that if you purchase a machine for personal use that once you put your data there, you have total control over what happens to it. Of course apart from the power outage and bugs, you assume that you will always have access to your information. You assume that when you purchase a software contained in that CD you have in your hand and paid for it with your money, you have FREE use. That whatever content is generated when you use it, is yours. You assume too much.

The only way to be completely sure is to use free and open source (FOSS) software. Software that can be used and modifed by anyone and can be passed on to anyone who wants it. In other words, software that are non-proprietary, limited-rights reserved or none at all.

Most of us are aware of open source because Google has been giving away most of their software codes to the open source community. The open source model of developing software is arguably the right way to go. Everything is transparent, it is efficient, talent from all over the world is pooled. If you want proof that this is the way to go, you only have to look at Mozilla and its open source products like Firefox and Thunderbird. Without the open source alternatives from Mozilla and the Linux community, Microsoft would have us use Vista and demand upgrades in our machines.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; And because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.

Hellen Keller

First they ignore you,
Then they laugh at you,
Then they fight you,
Then you win.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Killing the Myth

There are several myths about Linux that won't die.
Linux is too hard to learn. It takes someone with a computer diploma sometimes more to learn Linux. This one in particular comes from computer/tech journalists who should know better. I am neither an IT person nor a computer professional. I don't code. Sure I spend hours in front of my computer and surf the web. I know where to get my answers.
Linux sucks with my hardware. I used to hunt for drivers especially wifi, network and graphics. I have an Nvidia card right now. They still wont give their driver code to open source but they do provide the community a way to use their 3d accelerated cards. I am using Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty. When I install the operating system it detected my router and connected to the web automatically. Nvidia? Well Linux and Nvidia are holding hands but they're using gloves. Someday hopefully.
You have to learn commands in Linux. I've been using Linux since 2006. I learn all about bash command lines this year, 2009. Ah, which means I've been using the graphical interface or shell, GUI, until last year. I like learning things at my pace. Doesn't mean you can't use Linux if you don't know bash commands. No, no, no.
There are no games in Linux. I have to be honest with you. The only games I play are the ones that came with the package which means the likes of gnu-chess, solitaire and gnometris. My personal favorite is Tetravex right now. If you want to check out 3D Games for Linux try World of Goo by 2D Boy available also in Nintendo and Windows.
Enough killing for now. Let's do it again next time.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Google made it official by announcing their new operating system, Chrome OS, in their Google blog. After coming up with Chrome, the light weight browser it is only logical to develop your own operating system to wrap up everything. Chrome is suppose to be the platform for all the Cloud services Google offers, namely, Gmail, Google Docs and the bread and butter of this behemoth, Google search. This operating system will enable netbooks to boot up instantly and shutdown merely by closing the lid down. No more hibernation nor standbys. Boot up time is less than ten seconds. Users are connected to the web immediately. Most applications are going to be living in remote servers, in the Cloud as a service. Some users will opt to store their data also in the Cloud and not in their local hard drives. Even Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, started a Cloud service they're calling Ubuntu One. The future of computing is in the clouds.

Google wants to lead that future by putting their own operating system in your netbooks where their cloud services wont have compatibility issues. I still believe that most of my personal computing will happen in my local machine. Most developers are making their applications with the pc hard drive as home. Perhaps most compelling would be if these cloud services passes the standards of the enterprise. The benefits of cloud computing is hard to ignore. My desktop, everywhere, free applications, free limited and secure storage. We don't even need to connect to the web all the time. Google has pioneered google gears offline mode. You can still work offline and just synchronize your files when the connection is back.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Why Google Chrome OS will turn GNU/linux into a desktop winner

A small revolution in the IT world is about to happen, and we are about to witness it. Microsoft Windows’ domination has been challenged many times: first by OS/2 (failed), then Apple (failed), then Java and network computing (failed), then GNU/Linux and Ubuntu (failed, so far). And now, Google’s Chrome OS. After such a long list of failures, what makes me think that this latest attempt will actually succeed?

This is incredibly naive and can come only from someone who does not know the difficulties of coming up with a desktop operating system to beat a microsoft product at its own game. The tremendous effort of the GNU/Linux community in producing top quality desktop linux distros is a testament both to its commitment and technical base. What I do find unique here is the name recall, the brand, backing up such an OS. And no amount of exclamation points can change reality.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

I found this post very useful in installing Firefox-3.5.

Thank you.
I found Firefox-3.5 code: Shiretoko in the Ubuntu repositories today and downloaded this new version of the mozilla browser. My personal settings and bookmarks were automatically transferred to the new version as it opens. It's quick and I like the migration process. However I will have to note that ubuntu modifications for this version is not available. Beagle search does
not work without official support from ubuntu. The complete components to integrate the current version of Firefox to Ubuntu 9.04 should be following any day now.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Midori is a light weight, fast browser using webkit for rendering. I tried it and it's quick. I like the way it renders my favorite websites. Most of all I see original thinking here.

However a quick visit to its faq page and bugs reporting site tells me that it needs to mature first. Plus in my own experience of three days of using this upcoming browser, I had several instances of crashes.

I hope to hear from Midori about a more solid version and keep the fast feet.

What is free software and why is it so important for society?

Free software is software that gives you the user the freedom to share, study and modify it. We call this free software because the user is free.

To use free software is to make a political and ethical choice asserting the right to learn, and share what we learn with others. Free software has become the foundation of a learning society where we share our knowledge in a way that others can build upon and enjoy.

Currently, many people use proprietary software that denies users these freedoms and benefits. If we make a copy and give it to a friend, if we try to figure out how the program works, if we put a copy on more than one of our own computers in our own home, we could be caught and fined or put in jail. That’s what’s in the fine print of the license agreement you accept when using proprietary software.

The corporations behind proprietary software will often spy on your activities and restrict you from sharing with others. And because our computers control much of our personal information and daily activities, proprietary software represents an unacceptable danger to a free society.

This is on the Free Software Foundation's website. I'm going to "print" it here.

If you are a weary Microsoft Windows user and looking for an
alternative operating system, then you are in the right place.
Start with the more mature and beginner-friendly linuxes like
Fedora Core, OpenSuse or Ubuntu. Perhaps you don't want to
fuss with too much after-install procedures then try Mint which
is based on Ubuntu but has minimal after-install work. You can
get Mint here.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Cory Doctorow's Blog here.

If by chance any of these is of any value beyond today maybe
I would be part of this discussion. You can't take it with you.
Passing data to somebody once you're gone is interesting if any
of these musings are worth the complicated cryptographic
technology to be employed.

Update Gnucash 2.6.16 --> 2.6.18

It's a long road to this update. It isn't a normal update at all. I had to manually compile goffice0.8 and webkitgtk as well as gnu...