Scott Dowdle's blog
Introduction - Why Macs?
I work as a System Administrator for a Computer Science Department and as a result I manage both server machines and lab machines. Some time ago the department decided (and I was in agreement) that it would be a good idea to offer the students additional variety in the computer lab by replacing some of the "Pee Cee" machines in the main undergrad lab with some Apple Macintosh systems. This would give students access to Mac OS X (pronounced "ten") in the lab in addition to Linux and Microsoft Windows.
Although Apple switched to Intel-based machines a few years ago, you can't just run their OS on any Intel/AMD machine as they have both licensing reasons and technical reasons why their OS should ONLY run on Apple hardware. They don't seem to be friendly to running Mac OS X inside of Virtualization either. Mr. Jobs, why do you hate us? I digress.
The first three years we had Macs in the lab they only ran Mac OS X and as time passed, fewer and fewer people used them. The usage slowdown was caused by a number of reasons that I'll not go into here. This year though, I decided not to give up on the Macs and to make them triple-boot... so if people don't want to use Mac OS X they don't have to, and the machines can get better utilization.
Jim Zemlin from The Linux Foundation gives the closing keynote for OSCON 2009 entitled, "Moblin, Chrome, Android, Ubuntu, etc: What's the Deal with Linux on the Desktop?".
Argh, there have been about a zillion articles and blog posting declaring the future of computing and a coming "OS War" between Microsoft and Google. Paaalease. Although I myself am writing yet another piece of content related to Google Chrome OS, I feel compelled to do so because the vast majority of everything I've seen so far has simply been rubbish... and I don't often call things rubbish.
What is Google Chrome OS?
On the public face, so far Google Chrome OS is nothing more than vaporware mentioned in a blog posting by two Google middle management.
It appears it will be just enough operating system to get a web browser to run so one can do all of their online stuff... you know... using Google's Browser and Google's online services. Don't worry, you can use any software that is written using web standards but obviously the Google services and APIs to those services will be heavily favored.
It will be based on the Linux kernel but from the few brief paragraphs of the Google blog posting it appears to be just enough userspace stuff to run the web browser and any add-on support applications for online multi-media.
Since so many adults who are "computer literate" seem to have problems getting started with the Sugar environment, I decided to make a brief introduction screencast. I boot up the Sugar On a Stick "Strawberry" LiveCD in a KVM virtual machine and show the basics of using Sugar as well as a few activities.
If you want to download the full quality Ogg Theora video, just right-click and "Save Link As...":
Here is the video I recorded at the June 25th, 2009 BozemanLUG meeting.
Presenter: Caryl Bigenho
If you want the higher quality Ogg Theora video, just right-click and "Save Link As..." this link:
You can find the pictures I took here.
[Update:] Added a PDF of Caryl's presentation as a file attachment.
Also attached the 2009 OPLC Project updated PDF.
I've been doing quite a few Fedora 11 installs on various hardware in preparation for the review of I'm working on but I wanted to give a short glimpse of KVM in Fedora 11 with the Virtual Machine Manager (virt-manager). I also show MontanaLinux (a Fedora 11 remix), some of the new features in Fedora 11 and some additional software.
For those running a browser that can do HTML 5's video tag (like Firefox 3.5 beta), you can watch the Ogg Theora version which is about 1/3 the filesize of the Flash version but bigger and better quality. Or download it: kvm-fedora11-preview-smaller.ogv (right-click, Save link as...)
As has been widely reported, Fedora 11 came out today. This weekend I was fishing their mirrors and found a few open... which allowed me to get it earlier. I have created updated MontanaLinux builds for i386 and x86_64 based on Fedora 11 for anyone interested in that.
I installed Fedora 11 on my Acer Aspire One D150 netbook... and it solved all of the minor issues I was having with the previous release.
I also made pre-created OpenVZ OS Templates for Fedora 11 that I have uploaded to the contrib section.
How about a review? Well, since I've only been playing with it for a few days... I haven't had enough time to put it through the paces. Expect a review in a week or two.
I have had about ten laptops over the years. My first one, if you could call it a laptop, was an Atari Portfolio (1992) which I still have and it still works. I've only bought three laptops new and the rest have been given to me as retired machines by work, friends, and/or family. Here are a few things you need to know before you read this review:
- I'm a long time Linux user
- I am NOT a hardcore 3D gamer
- I don't use any high end vertical apps like CAD or video editing
- I'm a technical user who doesn't mind a certain amount of hacking
What is a Netbook?
According to the wikipedia page:
A netbook is a small portable laptop computer designed for wireless communication and access to the Internet... primarily designed for web browsing and e-mailing, netbooks rely heavily on the Internet for remote access to web-based applications and are targeted increasingly at cloud computing users who require a less powerful client computer. Netbooks typically run either Windows XP or Linux operating systems rather than more resource-intensive operating systems like Windows Vista. The devices range in size from below 5 inches to over 13, typically weigh 2 to 3 pounds (~1 kg) and are often significantly cheaper than general purpose laptops
Netbooks have been out for a couple of years now and the Asus Eee PC 700 series with a 900MHz Intel Celeron M processor underclocked to 630MHz is generally perceived to be what started the trend with inspiration from the OLPC Project. The current crop of netbooks (circa June 2009), regardless of the manufacturer, are all very similar:
- 1.6 GHz Intel Atom processor
- 1GB of RAM
- 10.1 inch screen with 1024x600 resolution
- 160 GB hard disk
- Windows XP
Linux used to ship on most netbooks especially those with smaller SSD (Solid State Drive) storage but it seems that the volume sellers all have hard disks and Windows XP pre-installed. This is mostly due to significant price breaks Microsoft has given netbook makers on Windows XP and the market seeming to move toward traditional hard drives for their increased storage capacity over SSD storage.
Part one... Magic Jack
I haven't used the MagicJack my father sent to me in a few months. Last time I tried to use it Windows griped about "USB Device Not Recognized". I try it again and it tells me the same thing. I go to magicjack.com and search their knowledgebase... finding nothing... I decide to try their "live person" chat.
I hit level one. They basically verify I'm not an idiot and pass me on to level two. Level two has me delete a folder in "applications data" (Magic Jack is only for Windows and Mac)... and then touch about five different things in regedit.
Another year another Linuxfest Northwest. 2009 was the 10th anniversary and the organizers went out of their way to make the event even more special this year. This was my third year in attendance and my second year as a presenter. If you aren't familiar with LFNW, let me provide a brief overview that I'll mostly steal from the report from last year.
LFNW is an annual free, two-day event held at Bellingham Technical College in Bellingham, Washington on the last weekend in April. It has become a hub of Linux activity in the Northwest with several of the Washington area Linux Users Groups supporting it. Visitors seem to come from all over the country especially those places that don't have a Linux conference anywhere near them.