Sunday, October 21, 2012

no thanks

Stumbled upon this blog post today:

Sunday, October 21, 2012

"No thanks, I got Linux." October 26th

On October 26th, Windows 8 hits the store shelves.

I've said before that compared to Vista, Windows 8 "doesn't completely suck." I stand by that. Am I going to spend $79.99 (US) for a copy? No. Not me, thanks. See, I got Linux...

It's hard to express what Linux has done for me. I've learned more with Linux than I ever did with Windows. I've been part of dynamic communities that have engaged in passionate arguments, clever discussions, and crazy flame wars. Like family, you take the crazy (um... that would be me) with the funny. Instead of just allowing me to 'try and make things work' on my own, there were those who tried to nudge me along the right path, even when I didn't want to see it. I have undying gratitude for those who were willing to share their time and experience with me, even though I never knew them in real life.

So, on October 26th, 2012, instead of giving Microsoft $79.99 for Windows 8 upgrade, I'm going to donate the same amount to the Linux-distro I use the most.

I invite you to join me in doing this.

I don't really care which distro; we're all family. If you'd prefer, donate to a specific Open Source project, instead. As long as you give something that lets Paypal, Amazon, of Flattr know that something's going on that day. If you can't give monetarily, at least spread the word.

I want the Linux community to show Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Oracle that we matter, we care for each other, and there are a lot more of us than they think. If you contribute, I hope you'll e-mail or tweet whomever manufactured your machines so they'll know you use their hardware running a Linux kernel.

Thanks for taking the time to read this, and thanks for your support.


SpaceFM 0.8.1

I'm behind the times.

Last week, I wrote about SpaceFM 0.7.11, without realizing that version 0.8.0 had been released on September 14th.

Version 0.8.1 was announced today:

According to the announcement:

SpaceFM now builds on older versions of GTK2 down to 2.18, including Debian stable ("squeeze"). Thanks to BwackNinja, a new contributor to SpaceFM, who completed most of this portability work as part of his preparation for porting SpaceFM to gtk3, which is well under way (see below). In addition, SpaceFM no longer has a hard dependency on libgdk-pixbuf2.0-0 (because in earlier versions of gtk, this is not a separate library).

Good news for Squeeze users!

Monday, October 15, 2012


The SpaceFM file manager was mentioned back in February at Web Upd8 (see: I dig the name, of course. I finally got around to checking it out, in Debian Wheezy (GNOME), after first glancing at it in a Parted Magic live session (see my previous post).

I downloaded spacefm_0.7.11-1_all.deb from the SpaceFM homepage by following the instructions there. Then, Nautilus > Downloads > right-clicked on the file > Open With Software Install. A message asked, “Do you want to install this file?” I clicked on the “Install” button. A box came up that said, “To install this file, additional software also has to be modified.” There was a list of software to be installed (63.6 MB worth). I clicked “Continue.” I was prompted for my password. Stuff downloaded. Stuff installed. Took a long time, but finally completed. I started it up by finding it under Activities.

When I clicked on Help > User's Manual, the SpaceFM User's Manual opened up in Iceweasel. It's located in /usr/share/doc/spacefm/spacefm-manual-en.html, and it says right at the top that "This document is under construction and incomplete," but the info in there was enough to get me going. The User's Manual can also be viewed online, here.

Looks pretty good; tabs, multiple panels, very configurable. Here's a screenshot showing two tabs and two panels open:

Sunday, October 14, 2012

parted magic

Here's an interesting Linux distro: Parted Magic. I was reading about it at (Parted Magic: A Complete Hard Drive Toolbox On One Live CD).

I downloaded pmagic_2012_10_10.iso from the Parted Magic download page and used Unetbootin from Ubuntu 12.04.1 to put it on a flash drive. Then, I booted my Compaq notebook with it.

As you can see in the following screenshot, there are several nice tools available right on the customized Openbox desktop -- including Firefox 16.0.

Other apps thrown in include LXPanel, SpaceFM file manager, Xfce4 Screenshooter for taking screenshots, GPicView image viewer, Leafpad text editor, SciTE text editor, LXMusic music player, Xfburn for burning CDs, Galculator calculator, and ROXTerm terminal emulator. And you thought Parted Magic was simply some kind of "utility distro."

Nice selection of tools under the System Tools submenu.

Parted Magic is meant to be run in live sessions from a CD or flash drive, running from RAM, but their "Frugal Install" page shows how to install it to the hard drive.

I normally like to use Mepis for my live sessions, but Parted Magic includes all of the tools I'd normally need, including (of course) GParted and rsync. I was able to access all of my partitions easily with SpaceFM, which seems to be a very nice little file manager. I'm sure that I've found a nice replacement for Mepis live sessions.

The Parted Magic homepage:

Sunday, October 7, 2012

sources of support

Good post recently by Gary Newell at Everyday Linux User: "The 5 best sources of support for Linux."

His list:

1. Google
2. Linux Support Forums
3. IRC Chatrooms
4. YouTube
5. Yahoo Answers

In particular, I liked and agreed with what he had to say about Linux forums:

Now there are really some rules you should follow when using the forums.

1. Search the forum - It is highly likely that the question you are about to ask has been asked before. Searching the forum is not only polite because it saves the forum administrators constantly redirecting users to the post that answers the question but it means you get the answer to your problem sooner.

2. Find the right section of the forum to post your question - Posting your question in the wrong section of the forum will delay the response and it will again mean a moderator has to move the question to the correct forum.
3. Only ask your question in one section of the forum - Asking your question in multiple places within the same forum will just annoy the moderators and it will not get you an answer any quicker.
4. Be patient - People who post answers on forums are usually doing it for nothing. If you post a question and then refresh your browser 2 minutes later, find no answers and then buzz to see why nobody answered is considered bad form.

Forums are a great resource but unless your question has been asked before it can be some time before your question is answered. If you are looking for a more immediate answer then read on.

However, instead of "Google," the author should have written, "Web Searches" or something along those lines. I normally use DuckDuckGo. Not everyone uses Google.

a close one

Great performance Sunday by Candace Parker of the L.A. Sparks, in the WNBA Western Conference finals. 33 points, 15 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 blocks. She went 14 for 22 from the field, including 3 for 6 from the 3-point line.

I actually watched that game until it was done before finally switching to the NFL game between New England and Denver.

And it was a great game, but the Minnesota Lynx (the defending champs) are too good, and they held on to win, 80-79. Maya Moore, Seimone Augustus, Lindsay Whalen, Taj McWilliams-Franklin, Rebekkah Brunson, Monica Wright, Candice Wiggins -- very solid core of players, very nice team at both ends of the court. Potentially the next WNBA dynasty.

Candace Parker almost pulled it off for the Sparks. Late in the game, she tipped a tough, contested rebound a couple of times, finally got the put-back; big moment in the game. Then followed that up with a 30-footer off of an an inbound pass with the shot clock running out, to give L.A. a two-point lead. But Monica Wright drained a 3-pointer to put Minnesota back up by one.

Then, on the final play, the Sparks couldn't get the ball to Parker, and Alana Beard (out of Duke) missed a 16-footer at the buzzer.

I think I'm the only guy in New Mexico who's been following the WNBA all season, and the only one who was watching Sparks vs. Lynx instead of Patriots vs. Broncos!

Minnesota will play either Connecticut or Indiana for the championship.

you don't want to read it

You don't want to read this book, you don't want to hear it, and you don't want to know about it. You just want it to be forgotten.

But even though it's something that's been mostly kept quiet, the story needed to be told.

So, Douglas A. Blackmon told it.

Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II.

If you won't read the book, maybe you'll see the PBS documentary. I haven't watched it myself, though.

revised multi-boot set-up

I think I'm just about finished re-doing the multi-boot set-up on my desktop pc.

I've got Debian Wheezy (GNOME), openSUSE 12.1 (KDE and Openbox), and two data partitions on the first drive. On the second drive, it's Ubuntu 12.04 (Unity and GNOME Shell) and Fedora 17 (KDE).

I may add Sabayon to the second drive, but I haven't decided yet.

I also have two notebooks; on one lives Wheezy (GNOME), Ubuntu (Unity and GNOME Shell), openSUSE (KDE), and Sabayon (KDE). On the other, only Wheezy (Xfce).

Dropped from the desktop pc's set-up: Mepis, SalineOS, and PCLinuxOS. I also ended up dropping Fedora 16, but it'll be at the end of its support cycle in a few months. Debian Squeeze was also cut; I'm hoping that going with Wheezy (still the current "Debian Testing") won't turn out to be too problematic.

I ended up doing fresh installations of Ubuntu 12.04 and Fedora 17.

I think this is a good set-up for me, going forward.

Monday, October 1, 2012

jesse's detailed review

Jesse Smith's well-written (and wordy) review of openSUSE 12.2 (KDE) in this week's DistroWatch mirrors my experiences -- including the PackageKit issues (quite annoying).

Other than that, I've been quite impressed by the distro, and by this release. If I didn't prefer Debian, and if I wanted to go with only one distro, I'd seriously consider going with openSUSE.

openSUSE 12.2 is definitely worth checking out, and Jesse's review at DW is worth a look. See: Review of openSUSE 12.2.