Category Archives: Linux Discussions

I am running out of ideas in Linux

This is the penultimate stage of my blog activity and I would now concentrate on marketing aspect and perhaps academic aspect later.

I must write few lines about OSDisc.com.

It does some things which I would have liked to do myself in the Third World and in my country.

It sells live disc and live USBs of all the Linux distributions.
You do not have to do what I do.
Download and test and write something here.
You go to that web site and order what you want after having read some of my comments.
All the items are low priced.
One only needs a credit card.
It also does something very good part of the sale is contributed to Open Software development.
So every time you buy something you are indirectly contributing to the developers.
Mind you in this credit crunch and debt crisis which is global we must not stop innovation things.
Credit crisis should open for new innovation and not for grumbling.
This is where Linux is way ahead of the pack.
Web site is very simple and nicely organized and has ranking of sales which is good thing before purchasing.
It has book section also and if you wont one investment for all go and my choice is given below.
Mind you I have several copies of this book.
I have paste the product description below.
Product Description
The most up-to-date guide on the latest version of Linux Linux is an excellent, low-cost alternative to more expensive operating systems and its popularity continues to remain on the rise. This comprehensive resource offers more than 100 pages of the most sought-after Linux commands, provides new tutorial chapters aimed specifically at Windows desktop users and Windows administrators, and includes a new chapter on using Linux on gadgets. You’ll get up to speed with Linux so that you can install secure, fully functioning Linux server systems.

* Shows you what Linux is capable of, how to install it, how to make the most of its features, and ways to make use of its commands
* Provides step-by-step instructions for transitioning to Linux and explains how to choose which distribution is right for you, find and use the applications you need, set up the desktop to be the way you like it, and more
* Walks you through transferring your stuff (music, documents, and images) from Windows to Linux

Whether you’re making the transition from Windows or Macintosh and need to choose which distribution is right for you or you are already savvy with Linux and need a thoroughly up-to-date guide on its newest features, Linux Bible 2011 Edition is a must have!
Try out 18 different Linux distributions to see which is right for you
Inside many stock exchanges, mobile phones, and Internet servers is an operating system that many people haven’t even heard of—it’s called Linux. Today, you can run this open-source software on your personal desktop, on an Internet server, or as a programming workstation. In this complete guide from Linux expert Christopher Negus are all the instructions and software you need to install, set up, and use Linux.

* Install, set up, and use the latest Linux systems for desktops and servers
* Configure the perfect Linux desktop system for you
* Launch all your music, video, images, and documents in Linux
* Set up your own print, file, e-mail, and Web servers
* Get a stable and secure system using Linux security tools
* Create your own cool apps with useful programming tools

A total of 18 different Linux distributions are included on the DVD!

* To try out Linux, boot directly Ubuntu, openSUSE, KNOPPIX, Fedora, PCLinuxOS, Gentoo, BackTrack, and other live Linux distributions
* To keep Linux permanently, install those and other distributions to your hard disk

What’s on the DVD?

* Ubuntu Linux (live/install)
* Fedora Linux (install)
* openSUSE (live/install)
* KNOPPIX (live/install)
* Gentoo Linux (live/install)
* Slackware® Linux (install)
* PCLinuxOS (live/install)
* BackTrack (live)
* AntiX (live/install)
* INSERT (live)
* Puppy Linux (live/install)
* Debian GNU/Linux (live/install)
* Damn Small Linux (live/install)
* SLAX (live)
* System Rescue CD (live)
* Coyote Linux (floppy firewall)
* TinyCore (live)
* CentOS Linux (live/install)

System Requirements:

* All software built for x86 computers
* See chapters on each distribution for system requirements

Turn your PC into a Linux desktop system
Learn to use Linux as a system administrator
Find and install loads of free software apps

Debian the clear winner-The Gold for Light and Heavy Weight Championship

Now that the industrial action is over, we brought the Hero to Gyro (not giro and we could not be bought by money circulating on illegal hands or corruption) except perhaps few individual who had vested interests and wanted to be heroes at the expense of the general body politics of our action perpetuated by sheer needs and not aspirations (fell far short of aspirations of accountability, transparency, fairness).
These instant Heroes had unassailable lead and they had to be pulled down to base level and gyrate them on the correct path lest all of us would be heading for disaster.
We never had the political will to bring Heroes to Zeros but the vision to come to the base level we reached way back in 2008 and gyrate in correct orbit instead of asking for miracles which we will never achieve the way we sink into dirty tricks and manipulations by undesirables.

I hope senses will come to body politics of the country, unless of course the voters will bring the Heroes to Zeroes in double quick time at the correct gyroscopic orbit and time and they are not stupid or donkeys who carry burden.

We are of course in the minority in that context and what we can provide is wisdom if not vision.
We came to equilibrium position neither zero nor hero but a position of comfort from where we can gyrate to greater heights if correct recognition is extended.
Otherwise history will take us backward (like in cricket) instead of forward.

Debian

Coming to IT industry where there are commercial heroes but the clear winner which gyrate at the correct orbit is Debian.
It was no surprise.
Score of above 3000 and well above the Gold Standard of 2500 for the standard CD.
For the heavy weight category it is within the Gold Mark where no other distribution has all the components at hand with over 30,000 package well tested.
It has gParted which is around 100 MiB with partition and security features.
It has Blender, Scribus and Inkscape.
Only missing component was O.E.M. component.
It did not have a printed book but thanks to French and the English translation is due soon and available on line as open source.
It has all the versions from Mini to KDE to Server.
It has multi-language support including Sinhala.
It does not pretend to be a (commercial) hero but the wise counsel to all the other distributions which include Ubuntu and extending a hand to Linux Mint currently.
Additionally it is forging with FreeBSD too.
It is the clear winner.
If I said without my marking scheme everybody will say I am biased. Now it is vindicated and flame wars are not the necessity but a feature of Linux and its multi-faceted distributions..
Now I can say with or without bias it is the one that guides us and the Gyroscope for years to come.
If you need a solid, stable and secure enhanced Linux, there is only one and only one.
It is called Debian.
It is not for the lazy souls and it is the one who wants to dig a lot, sweat a bit and enjoy a lot of the hard labour.
Nothing is easy in the IT World.
One has to go into simple command line and give commanding orders till midnight commander sleeps like a sleeping beauty!

New Ubuntu Desktop Unity

I was never a Ubuntu fan and I took sometime before downloading Ubuntu and before that I read couple of web articles and if I had been Ubuntu fan, I can very well understand the logic, frustration and criticism of the loyal fans.
I have gone from Redhat to Mandrake to Suse to PCLinux and Mepis and know very well the pain I went through when Redhat dished us out to Fedora Community Project.
After Fedora 3, I gave up and that change in my attitude and experimenting with other distributions even though troublesome was a very good experience.
After all I gave up Microsoft and giving up a distribution was easy because I used to have at least 5 operating system including Win 98 and XP in my computer and switching and testing and falling back to most stable and useful distribution came second nature to me.
In addition it made me to migrate to Live CDs and over the past two years, I have been talking about almost all of them I have downloaded and tested. Writing about their virtues and sore points has become a habit and when I test I have no preconditions attached to the exercise.

No expectations at all.
Testing Ubuntu Unity (which I have in principles supported due to other reasons ) was no different and no strings attached.
I tested it with my old computer (old IBM Netvista) which was disaster by itself and it booted up with graphic images with no fonts.
I came across this problem with several new Linux distributions including PapugLinux, JULinux and Taylor Switch (KVM switch) and knew immediately to exit and boot it with my IBM Think Center and the subsequent experience was totally different and Unity booted up with a beautiful desktop which looked somewhat liked MeeGo (not that elegant) and getting round was a completely new desktop experience and I could not see any familiar features of Ubuntu.

My first need was the workspaces which I am so used to now without them I will have a heart attack.

With some fiddling I found 4 workspaces and I could open and exchange the programs from 1 to 4 (workspace).
Then I wanted to fill the other 2 workspaces and I could not.
I searched the applications but then I had to leave the workspace and that experience was a very bad one, now that I got used to FullMonty nice desktop arrangement.
Then I hit the web browser and went to distrowatch and looked at the latest downloads of Linux distribution and Ubuntu is now sandwich between Mint and PClinux which has climbed up to 3 from 7.
This was a pleasant surprise for me.
I used PCLinux as the gold standard of Live CDs and an arbitrary reference, coined for testing other Lice CDs.
I can understand the reaction of the Linux users but I have some sympathy for Ubuntu and hope their experiment will succeed.
It ought to since tablets are coming to the market thick and fast and all the looks are Ubuntu is ready with this new innovation.

I have decided to give 300 points (for innovation) of my scale which I am revising now with the latest trends in the super highway.
If not I have no way of promoting Ubuntu as a general purpose Linux distribution.
Switching to LibreOffice was good.
It will be a rough passage for them knowing very well we shift our allegiance when our needs are not satisfied by the latest distribution.
That is what I did with Fedora.
Now after 10 more distribution I have switched back to Fedora since it is one of the few that support Sinhala Unicode.
I hope Ubuntu Unity do the same of supporting Sinhala and then I will be promoting Unity with some new found vigour.

Criteria for Defining Suitability of Linux Distributions

With Gnome 3 and Kernel 3 in the horizon and tablet in the market and Ubuntu making a radical changes to desktop with Unity already arrived, I have decided to award a point scheme for all the distributions active now and write an update for all the Linux distributions I have downloaded so far.
That means moment I post an update on a distribution, my old writing here probably become obsolete and would be taken out without any notice.
I would be grateful if you post any errors of omission or commission on those post already here.
That means future posting will be slow to come and try my best avoid any errors.

I will keep the point scheme close to my heart and won’t publish them here but on a future date if necessary may do that for completeness sake.
Points are given on quantitative as well as qualitative reasons.
Lowest mark is 10 and the highest mark is 300.
For an example I give 10 marks if it is only in French and 100 marks for multi-language cababililty.
I will give 300 marks if it includes Sinhala and multi-language capability.

Similarly Ubuntu Unity gets 300 for its innovative approach and as a teaser for loyal fans who hate the new approach. I would include the total points for the old version as well as new version.
This analysis is with desktop users in mind and server editions won’t get any additional mark but I would state that server is avable.
I will start with Linux Mint, since it has O.E.M version, codecs version with minimal multimedia support and almost pure without any software infringements and full version with additional software.
It is a complete desktop and laptop friendly and currently is the top most downloaded at distrowatch.
It has both 32 and 64 bit versions.
I am going to stop stating that PCLinux is the Gold Standard of live CD to eliminate my personnel bias on that distribution but have a Hypothetical Gold Standard defined by criteria below and with a point award of 2500.
So anything that approaches 2200 for CD version and above is potential Gold Standard and you are free to try it.
Nobody will get 100% assuming that no distribution has reached its peak and would be trying to achieve that gold wit constant improvement an bug fixes.

For DVD the point award is 3500 points and anything that tops 3000 is a good value with 90% to 95% of all software.
I am a believer that “small is beautiful” and would figure out a way to award points and my guess is Puppy will come on top but there are equally good small utilities like SliTaz, 4MLinux, gParted and pMagic.
You are welcome to critically analyze my future writing with feedback but there is no attempt to compare with Microsoft and Apple Mac and in the next 5 to 10 years Linux will be way ahead of both of these distributions and I am not the one who need any pep commercial talks. In this period of course Linux guys and girls have to make 1000 and 1000 of tiny games and blockbuster games to invade the market in style.
They are already there on mobile phones and they have to mature with the hardware specially tablets in mind.

Criteria
A. Use
1. Live CD installable
2. Light Weight
3. Mini to LXDE to Standard

B. Internet
4. Easy Access to Internet
5. Automatically Configure Internet
6. Browser (ideally FireFox) Capability
7. Other browsers- 5 for each additional browser
8. Email Capability-Thunderbird
9. Google gadgets but not essential
10. Torrent Down Loader
11. Skype or alternative
12. Cloud-Dropbox
13. Cloud Other

C. Productivity
14.Office Package -Abiword
15.Office Package -Other Open office
16.Office Package -PDF Reader
17. Scribus
18. CD burner (ideally K3B-50)
19. CD burner (10 others)
20. LightScribe/LaCie (100)

D.Graphic
21. GIMP
22. Blender
23. Inkscape
24. Digicam
25. Tuxpaint
26. Special Graphics
27. Others

E. Audio
28. Mixer
29.Alsa
30. Others

F. Video
31. Imagination
32. VLC Player
33. Miro Internet TV
34. Cheese
35. TV Card
36. Others
37. Media Players including ability play itunes and divx

G. Essential Utilities
38. Stable Grub Configuration
39. Partitioning tool is essential(ideally Gparted)
40.Ability to clean up the temporary file at boot up
41. Updates and Package management

H. Archiving
42. Ark
43. File Roller

I. For Children
44. Light Weight Games
45. Children Version (150)
46. Gcompris

J. Subjective
47. Reliability (most of them are)
48. Speed at start up (most of them are slow except YOPER)
49. Quick installation
50. Portability
51. Type of Desktops (Genome/KDE)
52. Down loader that start from where one has left / stopped earlier
53. On line updates
54. Infrequent Cycles of Change
55. Downloads available for Libre Office,Open office, Skype (25 for each)
56.Speed at Start Up

K. Linux Fundamentals
57. Separate administrator in addition to normal user
58. Reliable Package Manager
59. Multi-Language in addition to English (5 for each Language-Total-100)
60. Sinhala Language Capability (200)
61. Terminal

L. USB Boot Up
62. UnetBootIn
63. USB Creator
64. Live CD creator

M. Emulators
65. DOS
66. Wine
67. Oracle VM
68. Apple Emulation

N. Games
69. Light Weight
70. Advanced Games (25 for Each)

O. Educational
71. Google Map
72. Tux Guitar
73. Tux Maths

P. Special and Development Utilities
74. Gambase
75. Web editor
76. PHP Admin
77. Scientific packages like statistics

Q. Access to Information
78. Home Web Site
79. Essential information including installation password etc
80. The facility for registration and writing reviews

R. Special Attributes
81. Less than 50 MiB
82. Less than 200 MiB
83. Less then 500 MiB
84. Innovative approach GOBO and YOPER

S. Finances and Printing
85. Gnumeric
86. GnuCash
87. Printing

S. Very Special
88. Religion
89. Language
90. Kernel Version
91. Version Number
92. New Desktop Type
93. Innovative Changes
94. 32 bits only
95. Both 32 and 64 bits
96.O.E.M.Version
97. ORCAS-Visually Handicapped
98
99
100

Asus’ Convertible Tablet-the tablet-plus-dock combo

Asus’ Convertible Tablet is doing a good job of converting an android tablet into a user friendly laptop.
It’s price is right and it is cute and serves the writer to be free when fully engaged in writing instead of sending messages with the touch pad system.

This is one reason I am reluctant to buy a Tablet now.
Asus has changes my mind but I still wait for a while till the hard disk is big enough.

The dock on the Transformer extends the battery life of the tablet.

 It has USB ports too and it is coming close to my specifications except allowing me to boot another Linux system (dual booting perhaps Sabayon)

That is why the Eee Pad Transformer have surpassed 400,000 units per month only second to iPad.
Days of iPad are numbered unless thy decide to cut the price an profit margin drastically.

Why I won’t buy a Tablet soon?

Why I wont buy a Tablet soon?
The bad publicity and nasty feeling I get when I hear the word “Tabloids” has made me to change to tablet like all the good journalists who write on computers use this word tablet.
I apologise for my little discretion. Tablets are going to take all us by surprise and when it hits the market and the price is right everybody will join the band wagon.

1.It is a light weight.
2. It is mobile smart phone.
3. It is a little touch screen computer.
4. It is the news reader.
5. It is the web browser.
6. It is in every C.E.O.’s hand
7. Unlike the paper it will read the news while you drive the car.
8. It is the E-reader
9. Business companion, stock dealer and buying machine on E-bay and stock Market
10. Sports can be live like in the TV but unlike TV you can replay the match or game you like.
All these fancy features make the yappies to go for it and the rest will follow. That is what the predictions are.
But I won’t buy one in a hurry.
I need the following conditions satisfied.
1. It should have an alarm or a siren attached to it as in the car doors.
Why?
Like laptops, mobiles and money it is the item everybody wants to steal.
2. It should have pass word protection.
Why?
If it is stolen the thief (unless he is a hacker) should not be able to use it and the user should be able to track it down.
3. It should have a location mapper or a tag which we put on dogs.
Why ?
This works both ways parents can locate their children and the Secret Service can locate you and wives and husbands can tag the whereabouts and spear of activity of the other half.
4. It should have a long life battery.
5. It should have solar panel.
Why?
In countries like us where electricity price is exorbitant and on Sunny days when we have power cuts, this is the only fun we can have outdoors.
6. It should have satellite (not 3G or 4G version) communication facility.
Why?
In countries like us where the Telecoms never give the band with they promise us and we pay for, this is the only way we can tune into America and A.O.L
7.It should have at least 4 USB ports, if not ports ability to expand it to a switch and attach DVD and USB.
The above points are general purpose and below are my own specifications.
8. Big hard drive with ability to put my own Light Weight Linux Distributions instead of Android only and dual boot it.
9. Ability to boot up with my Pendrive, if the above cannot be allowed due to Company Law.
10. Ten is the most important one. Sturdy titanium case shock proof.
Why?
If Android does not work the way I want to thrash on the floor and see it survives.
If it does, I will appear free on a commercial for Google.
There is another reason. I was one who supported Google from the very beginning when they announced it, many moons ago and remained solid with it due to Linux capabilities and they did not invite me for the party and also did not give me a free version to test. 11. The real reason I to not want to go for the tablet is the lack of good and easy keyboard but ASUS has changed this radically by adding a transformer / converter to the tablet.

Read my blog on Eee Pad Transformer.
12. All American car manufacturers should install a tablet in the dashboard with appropriate buttons to listen to music, TV and newspaper .
Why?
This way we can prevent lot of road accidents, even in the the 3rd world and the big Americans can say they were the pioneers of prevention of road accidents.
Apart from that real reasons are anything that attempt to kill Linux or Free Software Foundation, I get activated by default.
This is why I support Unity of Ubuntu.
“Tablet is going to make print media obsolete in the not so distant future. Ink print might disappear giving way to digital news. Unlike the print paper, it can read you the news while you drive your car. Local Paper edition might come in smart cards. Advertisement supplements in the digital format make one to order with the touch of one’s finger tips”.

Linux in Sinhala and Installation of Debian 6.0 in Sinhala

I can now report to you that Debian DVD 1 (one of many) has Sinhala capability and is available at LinuxTracker with many seeders and one can download it in less than 24 hours.

Please do not go for point to pint download or slt.net.

The good news is that I have now installed Debain in Sinhala with Sinhala dropdown menu  (mixture of Sinhala and English) and it is amazingly good.

It is Gnome but I will miss K3B but  the Debian Sinhala is going to stay in my main computer from now onwards and I will be reporting bugs if I detect any.

I hope, in its next edition, it drops Openoffice and go for LibreOffice.

In any case, it is going to improve my Sinhala leaps and bounds.

Thank you Debian and the Translator Team.

I have no hesitation in recommending it’s use but with one or two advices and some warning is in order.

Please get a proficient Linux guy / girl to install it and do not copy the DVD with Nero.

For best use one must have an internet connection when  one installs it and Debian configures the card automatically (better have a router instead of telephone connection) in its initial install and please have patience, it takes a fairly long time to install (do it in the night when internet is not busy).

With those provisos HAPPY SINHALA LINUX for all.

Mind you this was edited with Sinhala Linux activated and Debian’s Iceweasel on the web track.

Old Note on the CD

Now I have tried installing Debian 6 in Sinhala, I can report back and say it can be done but prior understanding of Linux and how Debian does things is essential.

I also have to report that the 4 CD / DVD that I downloaded is not available in Linuxtracker due to unfortunate incidents there.

It is up and running but it will be sometime before all Debian CD/DVDs are restored for download.
Moment I have good news I will be posting it here and elsewhere.
I  have to tell you that I had  to format my hard disks and redo all the installations new.

It is all fun and game in Linux but took lot of my spare time and not having interesting cricket matches to watch was a bonus.

Everything went on smoothly and I was expecting to work in Sinhala after the installation but sadly it was not to be.

I could not select Sinhala at boot time and none of the Linux distributions let  you do that currently  and even though many of the Linux distributions have the multilingual capacity, Sinhala has not been promoted in the web world outside Sri-lanka.

I am afraid lot of translation work has to be done  in legible and lexicographical world of Sinhala and enough Sinhala fonts have to be installed in the usr/src folders.

Coding for fonts and character map is now available but translation of computer terminology is extremely difficult and many thanks for the guys and girls for trying it.

I enjoyed installing it in Sinhala with my limited ability in Sinhala but lot of guess work, in doing so but having known Debian for a long time and had sweated a lot learning Linux, a little over decade ago, the guess work (Sinhala terms) did work.

This gives an opportunity to learn how Linux works especially Debian for one who has difficulty in English language.

But my advice for all is one should be proficient in both Sinhala and English to be a successful translator and Learning Linux in that process is an added bonus.

I am not at all good in Sinhala to be of any help to you but I am there to test the capability of Sinhala in Linux and report to the wider web.

Thanks again guys and girls for trying a very difficult task.

With good team work and perseverance it can be accomplished and good luck with your future efforts.

Debian is the best Linux distribution to learn nuts and bolts of Linux, even though it is bit difficult to master it and the learning curve is steep at the beginning but it invariably drops quickly after the first year of trying.

Do not give up your efforts of Learning Linux in Sinhala and English too.