Standardized Installation Method for Linux

March 30, 2006

The other day I read an article proposing to standardize Linux installation through a small disto of Linux. This distro would let you pick which other distrubution of Linux you mean to install, and then pull the installation files needed from the Internet.

the sole purpose of this lean, stripped-down distro would be to get a fresh machine up and running with the Linux of your choice. It could come preinstalled on factory hard drives instead of DOS or, alternatively, it would be small enough to fit on a Live CD or even a USB keychain drive.

Could a common installer be the answer for desktop Linux? | InfoWorld | Column | 2006-03-27 | By Neil McAllister

This is an interesting idea, and one I think could work well as Linux is broadening out to desktop users. The installation process for most Linux distros is somewhat archaic and not very user-friendly. However, most of the current Linux users can trudge through this process. But if the Linux world is to spread to more and more desktop users, an easier and more user-friendly installation system needs to be in place. 

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March 24, 2006

Well, I think I made a pretty bad move here guys. Last Friday, I decided to finally use up my store credit at Gamestop that was unused after I realized I didn’t have the money to pay for a 360. I had planned on picking up a copy of Halo 2 and maybe a controller, but then I saw Oblivion. I had been looking forward to that game on the 360, and decided to pick it up for the PC.

I had some worries though. My graphics card was on the low end side of supporting the game, and I was worried it might not run. And my worries ended up being true for a time. On Tuesday I picked the game up and rushed back to my computer to install the game. I watch the beautiful intro and I am relaxed, ready to start up a new RPG. But right as the intro movie ends and I should be into the gameplay, the game crashes. And it’s same story every time. Sweet, I just wasted 50 bucks on a game I can’t play. But wait, I end up reinstalling Windows on Wednesday, I make sure to install the newest drivers and by Thursday I am playing the game. And tonight I am around 6 hours into the game, and I am loving it a lot.

Sure, the graphics are not that spectacular due to my low end graphics card, which I might be upgrading soon. But the story line is making me forgot about that and really drawing me in. I am playing and Orc Warrior right now. I really like to bash things with my mace. But, I said I thought I screwed up before. Well, I am liking this game so much that I really dont want to do much else other than play the game. We will see how schoolwork goes the next couple of weeks.

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SimplyTech Ep. 6 and Flock 0.5.13

March 14, 2006

Well, it seems if I spend too much time away from my computer, the Flock community will surprise me with a new release while I am gone. One main attraction of the new version is the previously mentioned addition of Photobucket to the online photo sharing services Flock integrates with.

Also, I spent quite a bit of time over sping break doing QA work for Flock with Lloyd, a lead QA guy at Flock. I must thank Lloyd for helping me out in my work for Flock, especially these past few days as he has helped me improve my bug reporting and communication skills.

Also, Zach and I recorded ST Ep. 6 tonight, in which we continued our Home Theater series with an episode on DVD players. We mainly focused on the upcoming technologies, HD-DVD and Blu-ray. We figured most people understand standard DVD players well enough, so we speculated on the future of these movie players.

You can find the audio for Ep. 6 and the feed at SimplyTech.

Thoughts on Ubuntu, Flock and Firefox

March 9, 2006

Well, I worked another 8 hours  cashiering at a grocery store. I’m in college, and I gotta make money somehow. Anyways, I jotted down some thoughts about some open-source projects I have been using heavily lately. Let’s see if they make sense now.

Flock: For me to use Flock, I need to have a favorites sidebar, like Firefox has. If you have listened to SimplyTech episode 4, Zach called me an anal-retentive computer user. I like the way I have my computer set up, and I don’t really like change. So, if the people at Flock are looking to convert me to their browser, they are going to need to add in a favorites sidebar.

Also, a big thing that Flock has going for it in the Web 2.0 community is integretion with, Shadows, Flickr, and and I hear Photobucket support is on the way. However, I feel they should include links to these various services in their getting started page. I did find a link to Flickr, but none for the others. Links to and Shadows are included in the Favorites preferences. I just feel that Flock is putting a lot of work to provide easy integration, they should also provide links to create accounts for people without accounts for these services.

Firefox: Over the course of this school year (August till now), I have put Firefox on many computers that I have fixed. And I usually install some version of Firefox. I tell you, Mozilla should definitely hire me as a promoter or something. However, I think fewer than 10% of these installations install or even know about the availability of extensions/themes. I think should try to promote extensions to every day folks. To this end, I feel they should create a more informative start page, rather than just a search for Google. Perhaps a first run page that describes differences from IE or something. I do like the page that Flock set up, very nice.

Ubuntu: I have used Ubuntu pretty intensively while I have been home on breaks from school. This spring break I finally decided to jump on the Ubuntu IRC channel on freenode. I must say thank you to all the very helpful and knowledgeable people in that channel. There are always a few people that can answer pretty much any question someone has to throw at them. That’s great support.

I do have a few problems with 5.10 though. I would like to podcast download support by default. But I have heard that the next version 6.04 will have podcast supported built in. This is something I will look forward to. Also, I have had some troubles moving files from my Linux partition to my FAT32 partition. The terminal complains about lost permissions. Someone in the IRC channel said that FAT32 has troubles with permissions and this is normal. However, I feel it is weird that the terminal says that the move was not permitted, yet the files ended up being moved. That is not very convenient.

Overall, I am liking these three open source projects, and I look forward to future releases of all three. They just have to clean up the rough edges. 

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Mr. Dell on Desktop Linux

March 8, 2006

Through my readings at Digg and Slashdot, I came across this article on Mr. Dell, the founder of Dell Computers, spoke about his company’s strategy for including Linux with their commerical machines. Dell expressed his support for Linux, and also his attitude that customers should have a choice on which operating system is included with their computer. However, there is the issue of which of many Linux distros does one choose to support.

"People are always asking us to support Linux on the desktop, but the question is: ‘Which Linux are you talking about?’," Dell asked. "If we say we like Ubuntu, then people will say we picked the wrong one. If we say we like and support Ubuntu, Novell, Red Hat, and Xandros, then someone would ask us, ‘Why don’t you support Mandriva? The challenge we have with picking one is that we think we’d disenchant the other distributions’ supporters."

Mr. Dell opens up about Desktop Linux 

There are so many options in the Linux desktop and each distro has their own diehard supporters. To me, it would be very difficult for Dell to choose one to support, and even if they did make that decision, there would be many claiming they should have choosed Red Hat over Ubuntu. Instead, Dell is leaving the choice up to the user. FreeDOS is being shipped with the nSeries Optiplex and Dimension. The Precision nSeries desktops are shipped with Red Hat. 

I am glad to see Dell supporting the Linux community, and continuing to work with the Linux developers to increase ease of use on their hardware. Hopefully this will further the migration of desktop users to Linux, whatever the flavor. 

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Episode 5 Online

March 3, 2006

Zach and I were a little short on time this week, with mid-terms, work and Spring Break cramping our schedule. So, we didn’t get a chance to prepare this week. Rather than not have a podcast for two straight weeks (this coming week will not have a podcast due to Spring Break), we decided to record a casual podcast, and just discuss whatever pops in our heads. We discussed the latest news from the Mac camp, and Zach ranted a little about the future of cell phones.

This week’s podcast was also an adventure because we tried out GarageBand, instead of using Pro Tools. We wanted to try the new podcast-specific options in GarageBand. So we will probably try the configuration we had this week again next week, and see how it works with a normal episode, content-wise. Let us know what you thought about the more casual feel to the podcast, and your general thoughts on our work so far. I believe we keep getting better every week, which is a big goal for any podcast. Hopefully we didn’t regress this week.



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Busy, Ubuntu Lite, and SimplyTech Update

March 2, 2006

Well, its been awhile since I have posted here. And its all due to this great thing we call mid-terms. So while I am all excited to go home, relax, and work a little, but I had/have to do alot of homework and studying for exams this week. And if you know me, I hate classes that I don’t care about, and I have zero classes I care about this semester. So I was spending time on stupid classes, when I could have been reading tech articles, podcasting, and writing blog posts. That all puts me in a bad mood. But now I am mostly done with homework for the week, so I’m gonna take some time to write a few lines here.

Enough of the non-tech bumble, I have gotten a few questions about using Linux on an older computer. A group of developers have taken the Ubuntu distro, and made an official version of it, UbuntuLite. It is Ubuntu made for slower, older computers. If you are looking to make your old computer useful again, I would check out UbuntuLite, or DamnSmallLinux.

Also, as far as SimplyTech goes, Zach and I apologize for being late this week. School and work didn’t allow us to record, but we are planning on recording tonight. However, we are more than likely taking a week break while we are on vacation. We will see what happens in the next few days, but it’s looking like we will miss an episode. 

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