Linux Journal Archive CD ROM

Linux Journal Magazine announced today it is releasing every article in the last 15 years via an Archive CD-ROM.

“With nearly 4,000 articles written by industry experts on everything from cool projects, desktop how-tos, security, embedded systems, networking, virtualization, multimedia, system administration and programming tricks and techniques” said Executive Editor Jill Franklin, “this unique collection is a must-have for every Linux enthusiast. The Archive CD-ROM contains every issue of Linux Journal, from the premiere March 1994 issue through December 2008.”

The Archive CD-ROM (ISBN: 978-0-9793220-2-0) goes on sale today, February 25, 2009 for $32.00 at http://www.linuxjournal.com/archivecd. What a deal!

Knoppix CD

If you were to try out Linux other than Ubuntu and Fedora, the two leading Linux distributions in my humble opinion, then you should try out Knoppix Live CD. It contains automatic hardware detection, support for many graphics cards, sound cards, SCSI and USB devices and other peripherals. In addition, it can be used as a desktop, an educational CD or a rescue system. If you are new to Linux the Knoppix Live CD. It’s a good way to dabble with Linux without installing over your existing operating system. The latest Knoppix Live CD was released on February 08, 2009 with version 6.0.

Microsoft Threat

Is Microsoft being threatened? By Linux, Google or Netbooks? Conz of ZDNet.CO.UK brings an interesting angle as to what could potentially cut down Microsoft’s margins. With netbook prices continuing to drop, I can’t imagine anyone other than a serious business user to plonk down a couple grand to buy a laptop if a cheaper alternative is available. My gut feeling is netbooks are going to be ubiquitous since they are portable, cheap and are adequately powered. They perform most of the basic functions most people do such as checking email, browsing, creating documents, spreadsheets and even watching movies in some ocassion. You may not be able to play the power hungry and graphic intensive computer games on the netbook, but most people who buy netbooks want only basic functionality. It will be interesting to see if Microsoft’s profits are squeezed out in the netbook market.

Boxee on Ubuntu

I finally got a chance to play around with Boxee on my desktop which is running on Ubuntu Hardy 8.04. Boxee is an entertainment aggregator which can play Netflix, Hulu, CBS, Comedy Central, Last.fm, and flickr. In addition, it can also play local movies, music and photos.

The interface is slick and intuitive. It’s based on an easy to use menu system that can be learned easily. I was able to watch Netflix, Prison Break and a couple of other movies in a drop of a hat. It takes a little getting use to for someone to get a feel how the software works, but after a couple of minutes, you can get a couple of TV shows playing on your computer.

There are a lot of content out there, but my only beef is that the list of shows is not comprehensive enough. But, that’s not the fault of Boxee which merely works as an entertainment aggregator. Boxee runs on the Apple’s Mac, Apple TV and Linux machines. Surprisingly, it doesn’t run on Windows, but it will soon.

A Yahoo article lead me to Boxee. Here’s some details of the article worth mentioning:

Boxee will play the music and movies you have on your own hard drive. But it will also play content from services like Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Shoutcast, Last.fm, Flickr, Picasa, CNN and lots more. It’ll pull in video podcasts and if you want a podcast Boxee doesn’t offer, you simply add the URL of the feed.

You access all this content through an attractive and fairly intuitive interface designed for being navigated with a remote from the couch.

The last part of the package could turn out to be the most powerful. You can share what you’re watching with other Boxee users and they can share their viewing habits – and recommendations – with you. As more and more video and music becomes freely available on the Web, those kinds of recommendations from people you trust could become a great way to find the best of the avalanche of content.

Give Boxee a try. If you are a Windows user, you may have to wait a few more weeks unless you try and install Ubuntu for free now.

Ubuntu in New York Times

I recently read an online news article in the New York Times regarding Ubuntu and Mark Shuttleworth, the billionaire founder of Canonical, the company behind the open-source Linux distribution called Ubuntu.

The article gives Ubuntu some much needed exposure especially from a non-technical publication or news organization. The article focuses on the rise of Ubuntu and Mark Shuttleworth and its battle against Microsoft.

It’s worth a read. Let me highlight the more notables quips in this article.

Created just over four years ago, Ubuntu (pronounced oo-BOON-too) has emerged as the fastest-growing and most celebrated version of the Linux operating system, which competes with Windows primarily through its low, low price: $0.

But Canonical, Mr. Shuttleworth’s company that makes Ubuntu, has decided to focus its near-term aspirations on the PCs used by workers and people at home.

Close to half of Google’s 20,000 employees use a slightly modified version of Ubuntu, playfully called Goobuntu.

The Macedonian education department relies on Ubuntu, providing 180,000 copies of the operating system to children, while the Spanish school system has 195,000 Ubuntu desktops. In France, the National Assembly and the Gendarmerie Nationale, the military police force, rely on Ubuntu for a combined 80,000 PCs.

Microsoft had an estimated 10,000 people working on Vista, its newest desktop operating system, for five years. The result of this multibillion-dollar investment has been a product late to market and widely panned.

Canonical, meanwhile, releases a fresh version of Ubuntu every six months, adding features that capitalize on the latest advances from developers and component makers like Intel. The company’s model centers on outpacing Microsoft on both price and features aimed at new markets.

The latter part of the article covers Mark Shuttleworth which is always an interesting read. Nonetheless, it’s great to see Ubuntu making it to the New York Times. Here’s the full article.

Install Linux In Your Old Laptop

Breathe new life in your old Laptop by installing and running Linux. I have a Fujitsu Lifebook S6210 that’s about four years old. It showing its age. The laptop has cracks in the housing unit, several missing screws, worn out edges and a couple of dead pixels on the screen.

It was running Windows XP Home Edition. It was painfully slow. Applications took over a several minutes to fire up. My laptop needs a makeover. Quick. Well, after years of abuse, installing and uninstalling software, system updates, etcetera, the laptop is about to give up the ghost.

I found the original Fujitsu box containing several factory CDs. One of the CD is the Recovery Disk. Perfect. It was time to reinstall the software as if it were new when I first bought it. I ran the recovery, rebooted, then the Blue Screen of Death.

I reinstalled twice. Each time I got the same result, the Blue Screen of Death. This I know for sure, the Factory Recovery CD image does not work. Next move. Install Windows XP Home Edition from another source. The problem is I don’t have one.

My brother has Windows XP Professional. So, I tried that. I found out my OEM Serial Key does not work on Windows XP Professional only with Windows XP Home Edition. It was so frustrating.

Finally, I was so fed up. I switched over to Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron. I even tried Fedora 10. That worked as well. Needless to say, I didn’t have issues with the install. Just a couple of tweaks and I was ready to go.

So, if you have an old laptop that’s dying, don’t chuck it away. Install Linux. Install Ubuntu, Fedora or any other distribution you like. You’ll be amazed how your old hardware has found this fountain of youth called Linux.

Firefox 3.0.4 in Ubuntu Hardy Heron

After a clean Ubuntu 8.04 install, Firefox 3.0.4 web browser was not working quite right. Flash plugins and MMS videos were not working on some websites that use them. A prime example is the MLS or Major League Soccer website.

This post provides all the details to in order to get your Firefox browser working after a clean Ubuntu install. Just follow the steps below.

1. Install the latest Adobe Flash player. Download it directly from Adobe’s website. Select the Ubuntu 8.04+ deb package. Choose Save to the Desktop. Once saved, go to your Desktop and right click the file. Open it with GDebi Package Installer. Click Install Package!

2. Next, remove the SWFDEC plugin; the open-source replacement for Adobe Flash.

$ sudo apt-get purge swfdec-mozilla

Or you can also use the “autoremove” option.

$ sudo apt-get autoremove swfdec-mozilla

3. Finally, install MPlayer for sites running MMS videos.

$ sudo apt-get install mozilla-mplayer

There you have it. 3 easy steps to get your browser running in no time.

Reason To Stay With Ubuntu 8.04

Cononical just released Ubuntu 8.10 otherwise know as Intrepid Ibex. It features the latest update from a series of releases from Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu.

Ubuntu 8.10 features the latest updates of Gnome, X.org, a new Linux kernel, an Encrypted Private Directory, Guest Sessions, a new Network Manager, Samba and tabbed Nautilus file manager.

Is there a valid reason to stay with Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron? One reason for staying with Ubuntu 8.04 is the Long Term Support or LTS.

Ubuntu LTS releases are scheduled releases with extended support services. The Ubuntu Desktop LTS is maintained for a period of 3 years, while the Server Edition LTS is maintained for a total of 5 years.

Standard Ubuntu releases generally receive 18 months of free updates. LTS releases doubles support period to 36 months or 3 years.

There are 6 monthly updates for the long term support cycle. They are primarily bug fixes and patches with occasional feature enhancements. An upgrade will be available when the LTS release is available.

Companies who want to deploy the Ubuntu to their desktops should seriously consider Ubuntu’s LTS releases for its stability and reliability.

In addition, Canonical provides a professional support team for those wanting an enterprise-wide type of support.

Virtualbox Broke After Kernel Update

I wanted to test out Fedora 10 released just a couple days ago. Instead of dual booting, I tried Virtualbox to run another Linux distribution on my Ubuntu powered desktop. The installation of Virtualbox requires downloading the OSE modules for the current Linux kernel. The installation of Virtualbox was straightforward. I have done it before. No sweat.

I went ahead and installed Fedora 10 without a hitch. No problems were encountered. I even figured out how to increase the display resolution from 800×600 to 1024×768. Then, last night I saw a large red arrow pointing down on my menu panel. It means a Linux update is available. I clicked on it to initiate the update. It turned out to be a kernel update.

A reboot is necessary after each kernel update. After the reboot, Virtualbox no longer works. What happened! I realized the OSE module installed was for the previous kernel. I searched for the new OSE module. It’s not available. I went to the message boards and saw this instead. It looks like the kernel module has to be recompiled each time a new kernel comes out.

The new OSE module is not in the repository. In the meantime, if you run Virtualbox and you just received a kernel update. Your out of luck for a few days. Not until a new Virtualbox OSE module is made available. I wish Ubuntu fixes this issue. Each time a kernel upgrade is required, the Virtualbox OSE module should also be compiled and updated along with the kernel upgrade.

Internet Explorer In Ubuntu

Why would somebody in their right mind run Internet Explorer in Ubuntu. Before you shoot me, let me at least explain the reasons why. I get many support questions from people regarding the themes I’ve designed. The questions oftentimes are IE related. I either have to power my laptop or go to another computer to view the irregularity.

To avoid the hassles of firing up another computer (my desktop is solely running Ubuntu), I installed Internet Explorer 6 which runs under Wine on my Ubuntu 8.04 desktop. I used a simple script I found from 64 bit Jungle. The script calls for Wine and cabextract to be installed, followed by downloading the program, untarring the file and firing up the GUI installer.

The installation script was straightforward and a breeze. No hitches whatsoever. The GUI installer gives you several choices. I’ve decided to install both IE6 and IE7 beta. IE6 worked out of the box without any problems, while IE7 beta choked. The IE7 beta program fired up, but the browser was not rendering any web pages. It seems to be stuck in forever land.

So, the whole reason for this exercise is having the ability to check how web pages are rendered in IE6 without ever leaving Ubuntu. Running IE6 for just a few minutes makes me appreciate Firefox more than ever.