Friday, May 18, 2007

Porn is safer with Linux

Here's a tip for all you Porn lovers out there (that's practically everyone)
Surf porn in complete comfort and safety with Linux.

Linux will help you to surf your Porn in the absolute safest way possible. Here's why: Porn site out there littered with all the worst forms of malware that you can imagine. Vulnerability hacks, arbitrary code execution, malicious scripts, Pop up Ads, Phishing attacks, it's not safe to surf for porn these days. Practically all these malware are written for Windows.

These days just using firefox or opera instead of IE is not enough. All these apps are already under attack from malware writers. There is now malware to attack practically any browser you can use in Windows. The only way left to avoid them all is to NOT use Windows.

So, use Linux. It will make surfing the net carefree and enjoyable again like that good old days. The other alternative, if you have the cash but lack the braincells, is to buy an Apple.

Linux like Porn?

I recently read an article on osnews where someone mentioned that in his country anyone running Linux was considered a criminal automatically. They are labeled as 'hackers' and must have something to hide in their PCs, otherwise they'd be running Windows. It's akin to a guy having porn on his PC instantly considered a rapist / pedophile / child molester.

I have been giving this some thought, are there people out there who think this way? Does such total ignorance exist in this day & age? Well, unfortunately it's quite true that most people are still completely ignorant about Linux.

I fool around with all forms of Linux & OSS software everywhere I go, more so at work since I have access to more hardware to test them on. I couldn't even count how many times some Sotong came up to me & said:
Sotong: Wow, what is that software you using, it looks cool.. is it some free/shareware?
Me: Look closer, this is NOT running Windows.
Sotong: Ya hor!! What is it then?
Me: It's Linux.
Sotong: Ohh yah.. What version is it? I did try version 8 before.. very hard to use leh.
Me: This is a distribution called Knoppix. The version 8 you tried, was it Red Hat 8?
Sotong: Ohh I can't remember lar, long time ago. Can I install Office 2007 into this?
Me: No. It's NOT Windows.
Sotong: Like that I dowan to use la, not user friendly at all. Cannot run any software.
Me: Well, that's ok. I find it very suitable for me. It's not for everybody.
Sotong: Why you use arr? You must be a hacker right? Do you write virus arr?
Me: (Giving up) Yah.. but only on weekends...

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Some grips about Mandriva

There are some things about Mandriva that has bothered me for a long time & I just had to vent about them.

1. Logout Options
Whenever you logout of KDE, you will get the standard 3 options, end session, turn off & restart. For some reason, this simple screen does not always appear as u expect it to. There are several situations that will cause the 2nd & 3rd options to simply disappear, leaving only the 'end session' option. I have not been able to find a solution to this problem & I'm generally pissed that they haven't fixed this yet. (This has been there since Mandrake 10.1 possibly earlier) These are the scenarios that will produce this behavior:
A: Enabling 'Automatic Login' upon bootup.
B: Enabling 'Metisse' 3D Desktop.
C: Enabling 'Compiz/Beryl' using 'XGL' NOT with 'AIGLX/Native'
With any of the 3 items above enable, you will see this behavior in KDE when you logout. Wish somebody would fix this up. It's just damn annoying.

2. Repository download
Adding a repository means downloading the header file for that source. This file is often HUGE & takes ages to download. Mandriva typically takes over 30 minutes (Including official & plf). In comparison, Ubuntu's synaptics takes about 5 minutes to grab repository headers. (Including for universe & multiverse) Granted that Mandriva's repo headers contain a little more data & info about the packages, this may seem to be an unfair comparison. But even when using the so called 'compressed' index, which contains absolutely no package information, this process still takes a good 15 - 20 minutes. This has not really improved much in Mandriva Spring, however what has improved is the time taken to process and integrate added repos into the urpmi database. This shaves a few second off the post processing, but doesn't help the download speed/size. Rpmdrake still has a long way to go & many usability issues to address before it's even in the same league as Synaptics.

3. Mandriva Control Center
Integration is the problem. There are alot of icons in MCC that are just stupidly redundant with stupidly long & patronising names. There is absolutely NO reason why they can't just be 1 option or 1 application. Here are some examples:
Software Management: Icons for 'Install', 'Remove', 'Update' and 'Sources'. They are all the same application. Why can't we have just 1 icon that says "Software Management"?
Hardware: 'Monitor', 'Graphical Server' and 'Resolution". They all have to do with the display & the monitor. Why do we need 3 icons & 3 separate applications? Why not just have 1 that says "Configure your display"?
Networking: 'Setup', 'Reconfigure', 'Delete', 'Share', 'Misc Settings' & 'Monitor'. They are all about setting up your network. Again why so many separate applications? Can't we have 1 that says 'Configure Network'?
The list goes on unfortunately, over time I've learned to live with it & have grown quite used to it by now. I've always attributed these oddities to the fact that those guys are French, they probably have their brains wired quite differently from mine. I deduced this after trying Suse's Yast & found it to have similar oddities.

That's all for my rants about Mandriva, please don't feel discouraged by my rants, Mandriva is still one of the best distros available today. If I had talked about Ubuntu today, this list would be at least 3 times longer, so don't get me started.

Dell offerring PCs with Ubuntu Linux pre-installed

It's all over the news these days, u can't read any linux blog or news without seeing this piece of news plastered everywhere. Here in Malaysia, no one's really jumping with excitement about this news, not really because nobody's interested in Linux, more of the fact that all us Linux users know pretty much for sure that this won't ever reach our shores.

As expected, just a few days after the announcement, they added that this will only be offered in the states, much to the dismay of many users in the UK. Dell's official position now is that they will offer it in the US first, then will look into the markets for UK & Asia.

This is not the first time Dell has dabbled in Linux, a few years ago Dell did offer preinstalled Redhat 9 on some models of Optiplex desktops and Latitude notebooks. This was also offered only in the US and it did not last long, very soon they were quietly removed from the websites.

Whether this time will be any different depends on many factors & I really can't speculate too much on it. Success will depend primarily on 4 main factors.
1:Hardware - Will they get it right? Will everything work out of the box?
2:Volume - Can they sell enough to justify the cost?
3:Marketing - Will the right people be buying these PCs? (You don't want to be selling them to n00bs)
4:Support - Will the support provided (Online/Phone) by Canonical be up to the expected standards?

I do hope that Dell gets it right & delivers on their promise. This is a win for Linux no matter what the outcome. Ubuntu was an obvious choice for Dell considering the target market, as I'm sure u know by now I'm not much a fan of Ubuntu (I think it's overrated), this is just my personal, everybody has their preference when it comes to distros.

If they start selling them here in this region, this is what will happen (I've seen it with my own eyes). People will buy the PCs pre-installed with Ubuntu (to save a few bucks), they will run down to the nearest shopping mall & grab a lanun* copy of Windows Vista & install it. Dell will think they sold a lot of Linux boxes, but it fact they will be promoting more software piracy. *(lanun = pirated)

Well, this is how it's gonna be for a long long time somemore....

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Mandriva 2007.1 Spring Released

Couple of week ago, Mandriva release the latest midyear update to their Mandriva Linux. Mandriva has decided finaly to return to a 6 months release cycle. This release marks the first of these.

I'm going to run through my upgrade experience on my old notebook, a Dell Inspiron 2100. (PIII 700Mhz, 256MB RAM & 20GB HDD). It's ancient, but Mandriva has always worked reasonably well on it running XFCE of course instead of the heavyweight KDE. I'm using this notebook to test it out to see if it's worthwhile upgrading my main PC. So here we go:

Hasn't changed much, just looks better. Been the same installer since 5 years ago. This is not a bad thing at all. Mandriva's installer is the best installer in my opinion, it combines simplicity with just the right amount of control to satisfy anyone from a newbie to a poweruser.

For my installation, I decided not to upgrade the system, instead I opted for a semi-clean installation that is to format the root partition and leave my /home untouched. This is easily done with the 'Use Existing Partitions" option. What this essentially gives you is a clean OS installation with all your user account customizations still intact. This saves you from having to change your wallpaper, panel options, etc. (The reason I chose NOT to upgrade is 1: to save time, 2: To clean up all the scattered hacks I've supplanted my system with.)
The installation went smoothly. Not a single error crept up.

POST Install
Post install config was as normal, I setup a user account with exactly the same name as my old system, It found my existing /home folder & used it. Nothing new here. So far same old options.

Repository setup & online updates
Rpmdrake has been updated with some niceties like a proper 'Select All' option. (You used to have to tick every box yourself) Also added is a new user friendly update screen that reminds me of the one in Ubuntu.(I didn't care much for this one) I setup my favorite repositories using as always. I later discovered that this was no longer necessary as the first time you start rpmdrake it will prompt you to add repositories & will do it for you automatically. (This is the proper way to do it & should have been there a standard feature since years ago) Finally the online update notification icon now actually works, without having to register an account with Mandriva.

I did find a strange bug in rpmdrake which I'm not sure if it's specific to my installation. When choosing a package to install, a window will popup to ask if you wish to install the required dependencies, it will list the dependencies on this window. But on my PC, the popup list is empty, if I said yes, it will still install the dependencies. I'm not sure if this is a bug or just something caused by my upgrade method since I can't find any mention of this in any forums or erratas.

Getting & Running XFCE
XFCE 4.4 was already available in the contrib source. I installed it by choosing the xfce4-common metapackage. XFCE 4.4 is a great leap from 4.2, it's so much better looking and works much more fluidly than 4.2 ever did. I loved it. The new Thuner file manager was so usable that I couldn't imagine how I managed to bare with xftree for so long.

Here's a FAQ tip for XFCE users. To make XFCE enable the Shutdown & Reboot option on the Exit menu, you need to add yourself into the sudoer file. like this (do this as root):
# visudo
(add this line in under user aliases)
ALL=(root) NOPASSWD: /usr/lib/xfsm-shutdown-helper
where is the user that you want to allow to shutdown from XFCE.
Eg: (My username is jobe)
jobe ALL=(root) NOPASSWD: /usr/lib/xfsm-shutdown-helper

This will enable the greyed-out Shutdown & Reboot options in the Exit menu. This little hack is necessary only if you are running XFCE.

Well this is as far as I got before I dosed off. Till next time.. .ZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzz