Archive for April, 2005

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A few notes

April 29, 2005

I know I know, there is still nothing in the downloads section. 
I really do intend to put something there.  I also expected more
help on this.  This is free, you know.  In case you didn't
quite understand, any of the services that this site offers (blog (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blog)s,
news, downloads, etc.) is free for you to utilize.  Just send me a
note describing the type of project that you want to setup, and I'll
provide you with the web space.  As long as it's not for profit,
and is somehow related to Libraries and/or IT, we can work with you.

I'm still trying to figure out a good way to introduce Project
Gutenberg.  We have these Mac iBooks.  I wonder if we can use
them to read ebooks.

On another note, I am making all of our newsletters and documentation
public.  You can view it at
http://www.lanterntorch.org/documents/ (../../../documents)   All documents in
that directory are licensed under the same Creative Commons (http://www.creativecommons.org) license as
the rest of this site.

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Behold the Power of Linux

April 26, 2005

Today I had some kids in here who decided that they would play online
games on the computer, even though they were supposed to be in here
doing work.  I told them to leave, but of course, they were taking
their sweet time, trying to avoid going back to class.

I immediately SSHed into each box and shut down the computers.  Then, they left…

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Old Heads Rockin Ubuntu

April 26, 2005

I don't normally do this, but I have to give props to currently running an article about Ubuntu (http://www.ubuntulinux.org/). 
I suppose that's pretty big news since most people normally associate
PCs with Windows.  Ubuntu (http://www.ubuntulinux.org/) runs on both x86 (i.e. PC) and PowerPC
(i.e. Mac) architecture.

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SuSE 9.3, first impressions

April 25, 2005

I got SuSE (http://www.suse.com) 9.3 and installed it on my laptop. I was immediately
impressed with some of their changes.
It worked very well with the laptop and even fixed some of the issues
that were present on the earlier version (9.1).
It has support for the ALPS touchpad, full support of the suspend
feature (I can close the lid on the laptop and it quickly goes into
suspend mode. To unsuspend, simply press the power button, and it comes
back to where you left it, albeit not extremely quickly).

Also, the wireless, KInternet tool was activated by default. When I
move between locations, it picks up the wireless signal and connects
automagically.

Overall, it was great for the laptop. As an operating system as a
whole, however, I can't say that it's that much better than 9.2 that
you should go out and spend the money on it. If, however, you're not
into updating KDE (http://www.kde.org) yourself, it's worth it just to have KDE (http://www.kde.org) 3.4 out of
the box, with full support.

Openoffice.org 2.0 pre-release has some nice features, and Novell added
their own little splash screen, which is also great.

Beagle was a dud. I still can't get it to work. I just gave up.
They also mentioned that they had some new photo program.

I came to
find out that they were referring to Digikam for KDE (http://www.kde.org) and F-Spot for
Gnome (http://www.gnome.org). Well, F-Spot is not any good, in my opinion, and I already had
and use Digikam (I think it's better than most photo management
programs on other OSes).

Bottom line, if you have a laptop, you NEED SuSE (http://www.suse.com) 9.3. If you have a
desktop with 9.2, you might not want to bother. If you have a desktop
with any older version of SuSE (http://www.suse.com), another Linux (http://www.linux.org) distro, or Windows, you
should definitely consider SuSE (http://www.suse.com) 9.3.

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Life's Luxuries

April 19, 2005

Our air conditioner seems to have stopped working over the
winter.  It worked last summer.  So, all projects are
suspended until it's fixed.  I'm not going to try working when
it's 80 degrees in here.  Until they come fix it, I have a
wonderful novel to read.

My book order arrived.  Lots of great books.  I ordered quite
a few graphic novels this time in an effort to try to drum up interest
from the boys.  We'll see if it works.

Right now, I'm reading Monster

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The Problem: Linux Desktop

April 13, 2005

Myth: The spread of Linux (http://www.linux.org) on the desktop has been limited by the
lack of support for hardware, difficulty of use and installation, and
lack of cohesion among different distributions.  It can never
compete with Windows as an operating system unless there is one
standard and hardware vendor support.

This cannot be further from the truth.  Linux (http://www.linux.org) supports more
hardware on more architecture out of the box than any other kernel (http://www.kernel.org/).

I have been hearing a lot about Linux (http://www.linux.org) being difficult to install
compared to Windows.  I find this quite odd.  Being someone
who has worked in professional environments with both Linux (http://www.linux.org) and
Windows, I can testify that many Linux (http://www.linux.org) distributions are much easier to
install than Windows.  I wondered for a long time why someone
would say that the average user would have trouble installing
Linux (http://www.linux.org).  Then, I imagined the average user (my mother) trying to
install Windows and it made sense.  Most average users buy
computers with Windows already installed.  Therein lies the
problem.

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Averatec Notebook Computer

April 10, 2005

I got the new laptop.  It's an Averatec 5110H (http://www.averatec.com/archives/5110series.htm)
What's really interesting is that SuSE (http://www.suse.com) 9.2 tried to do the graphical
installation, but it didn't show up correctly.  It was mostly a
black screen and unreadable.  SuSE (http://www.suse.com) 9.1 defaulted to text-ncurses
installation, and it worked.

Everything here worked out of the box except for two things:

1. Suspend – because apparently SuSE (http://www.suse.com) disables it by default, which
makes sense because it's not a laptop distribution , which I'd like to
comment on later.
2. Wireless – because Averatec made a stupid button to turn their
wireless on and off.  You're probably thinking, Dude, isn't that
a good thing?   Well, it would be except that their little button
is controlled by software drivers (Windows only) and not by the
hardware itself.

So, to enable suspend, I simply went into /etc/powersave.conf and edited this line:

POWERSAVED_DISABLE_USER_SUSPEND=yes to read no

To fix the wireless, I had to rip out my hair for a long time (my beard
hair, mind you).  OK, so some dude, bless his heart, came up with
a linux software kernel (http://www.kernel.org/) module specifically for this brand of laptop to
turn it on, as well as a few other laptops that have this stupid
feature.  The project is called RFSWITCH (http://rfswitch.sourceforge.net/) because of the radio switch that must be enabled.

Wireless now works fine, and I am currently typing this from a wireless location.