Showing posts from 2009

2 More Weeks of Snow

Part of me thought I would have left Snow Leopard and gone back to Linux for my desktop use, but so far, nope. I'm very happy and think that for most of my needs, OSX is as good or better than using Linux. I miss using KWIN + Plasma as my desktop, but with a little adjustment, most of my workflows have been replaced with suitable alternatives. I guess because I use mostly cross platform apps (Songbird, Picasa, Virtualbox, XBMC, etc), my daily routine remains largely unaffected. In addition my Hauppage USB card works better in Mac along with my printer (Canon), Scanner (Epson), and Keyboard (Logitech G15). This isn't a bash linux post. On the contrary, I miss the lack of boundaries that working on linux gives. I miss the freedom to change things, install from source, etc. Most of all, I miss being able to go into /etc/*.conf and fine tune things! I still use my openSUSE VM and now and then run an XP VM for work related tasks. All in all, a very comfortable setup.

Krusader + KDE 4.3 on Snow Leopard

There's just no substitute for good quality apps on your desktop. I missed using Krusader, Marble and even Dolphin! To get KDE 4.3 working, I followed the guide at : This got me 99% of the way there. For the last %, I needed to edit a plist file as per the following post. The first post is quite lengthy and the bits that worked for me are in the comments. I am posting it here, but do visit the original post for more info. All credit and thanks to the respective authors and commenters, they are the real heroes. once off. sudo chown -R ~/Library/Preferences/KDE launchctl load /Library/LaunchAgents/org.freedesktop.dbus-session.plist once per login open /Applications/MacPorts/KDE4/

2 Weeks of Snow

I've been running Snow Leopard for 2 weeks. Its been remarkably dull. Everything works as expected. No major hassles thus far. Have installed macports and kde4 to have some apps I can't live without. Everything from nano to krusader ;)

Linux Thoughts

For most of what I need to do in Linux, the current releases of openSUSE 11.2 meets my needs. I have a number of hardware issues related to poor driver support from the manufacturers which makes my current setup 99% of what I want it to be. More specifically, my Canon Pixma ip5200 printer whose support is okay for normal printing, but for cd label printing, which is my primary need, its pretty poor. In the last 2 weeks, I also read some posts from linux users who are considering moving to OSX and was amazed (although not surprised) at the hostile reaction there posts caused. So much for a community spirit. When a linux user criticises linux, its not always about bashing developers and their hard work. Its about recognising where we need to improve and to suggest ways forward. Its crazy to think that Linux is ready for everyone and all use cases, because quite simply, it isn't. If you have a relative that's hooked on Sims 3, Windows (or OSX) are better platforms for th

Distro Hopping

Seeing as I have my configs pretty much split between O/S and Data, I am evaluating different Linuxes as there are a number of new versions floating around. In the last month I have looked at openSUSE 11.2 RC1 openSUSE 11.2 RC2 Kubuntu 9.10 Mandriva 2010 KDE Edition Currently running Mandriva. Despite previous expectations being high, Kubuntu is a distant 3rd to the other 2 in my opinion. Waiting for new version of Linux Mint. but might get brave and attempt Arch Linux next. Still feeling a bit chicken though...

Kubuntu 9.10 - A short review

I installed it, works well. I missed openSUSE. Reinstalled.

Reinstalling Linux vs Reinstalling Windows

One of the unexpected side effects of running Linux is that you have the opportunity to grown and learn in areas you may not have expected. For example, I have learned so much of the intricacies of my operating system and read so many articles that my understanding of computers has expanded to levels I wasn't expecting. In contrast with Windows, sad to say, I felt I had been stagnating. When I speak to qualified, certified, experienced Microsoft engineers, when faced with a O/S issue, their response is to upgrade the ram, cpu or reinstall O/S. In fact, reinstall O/S is the most common bit of advice I hear from Microsoft People. Next to reboot, of course. The side effect of this is that you tend to interuupt your working Windows setup and you have to download a ton of apps and reinstall them. Antivirus, Web Browser, CD Writer, Chat Clients, Email, etc. Often you forget to backup shortcuts, documents, notes, etc, and they are lost forever. Its possible avoid this by storing

Logitech G15 Keyboard openSUSE 11.2 - follow up

Just a note to say its working beautifully. g15daemon has been automatically added to the startup services during boot. I didn't have to do that manually. It brings up a nice clock + date screen as default. I added g15stats to the startup apps manually and it has a number of screens related to memory / cpu / network usage etc. Will post photos soon.

openSUSE 11.2 RC and NVidia Drivers - follow up

Part of my problems on KDE4 were related to a bug in the Nvidia driver. This was fixed yesterday and a new version was released which fixes the bug. That's the link to the new version's release page. It fixes the bug I was having that made KDE4 unusable. Have been running it stable since installing this fix and I am very happy to be back on KDE4. I have been a long time Gnome user, but I absolutely admire the KDE guys who decided to re-architect a stable release and make it *WORK* more efficiently under the hood. Your hard work is paying off now as each release gets significantly better. On a related note, was glad to see the default choice for my openSUSE install *WAS* KDE. Thanks for listening guys.

openSUSE 11.2 RC and NVidia Drivers

Downloaded the Nvidia linux driver for my Nvidia 8800GT. Can only install it without X loaded so did a: init 3 when running the NVidia***.sh file, it complains that it can't compile a kernel so did the following cd /usr/src/linux make cloneconfig make prepare zypper in linux-kernel-headers kernel-syms module-init-tools make gcc sh -q Followed the prompts until it completed. Lastly did a: sax2 -r m 0=nvidia init 5 All of the above commands were run as root! For some reason, desktop effects in kwin under KDE4 are not working yet. Gnome + Compiz is accelerated, wobbly and pretty as all hell! Need to fix the kde4 kwin bling as I prefer Kde4 to Gnome current versions.

Logitech G15 Keyboard openSUSE 11.2

Got the LCD display on my logitech keyboard working well. As their is no built-in support for the keyboard in openSUSE 11.2 RC, I googled and found the site On their forum, I found packages for openSUSE in a user repository. I added the repo with the following (correct as of 24/10/2009). sudo zypper ar then followed by sudo zypper -r install g15daemon g15stats nextup sudo /usr/sbin/g15daemon lastly g15stats --interface eth0 --daemon Will post a follow-up once I make this autostart every bootup. So far works very well. I get 5 screens on the keyboard lcd from memory / swap stats to clock to eth0 stats, etc. All nice and readable. There are plugins for Songbird and other apps which I need to checkout. Haven't figured out how to attach Macro's to the extra function keys, as I haven't started to research that.

Windows 7 Thoughts

Its better than XP. Its better than Vista. I don't think it stacks up to OSX or Linux when it comes to speed or general responsiveness though. Didn't have much in the way of crashes although frequently encountered pauses / non-responsive apps which would appear dead, but then resume after a few seconds. Much simplified and usable configuration options compared to Vista. I found working with Vista like playing a really hard puzzle game. Nothing seemed to work in a logical way and there were too many screens to configure something as simple as a network. It was frustrating to work with compared to OSX or Linux and even XP. It still *IS* XP under the gloss though. The network domain reboots and frequent reboots after installing apps or patches make it unusable for me. I didn't use much of the Microsoft supplied apps, relying on open source equivalents for web browsing, downloading, music, podcasts,etc. During this time I also checked out Google Chrome. In the same

Upgrade from Windows 7 to OpenSUSE 11.2

I like the title of this post, because it certainly feels this way. I popped another drive into my machine and installed openSUSE 11.2 I was thinking about waiting for Ubuntu, but a beta openSUSE is just as stable as a release Ubuntu in my opinion so why wait? Its been a while since installing linux as my main o/s and it just gets easier. In comparison, my Windows 7 install seemed to take close to an hour with all the reboots and downloads of patches. openSUSE 11.2 took about 20 minutes and I don't remember seeing a reboot. There seems to be a point when it wants to reboot, but it seems to unload everything and then restart booting without a physical reboot. Pretty impressive. As usual all my hardware is detected correctly and I'm up and running with a minimum of fuss. To bring closure to my Windows 7 experience, I will make a final post about life with Win7. Overall it wasn't bad as I was expecting.

Windows 7 First Impressions

Not good initially. I deleted my boot hackintosh partitions, leaving one HPFS+ partition intact with all my data on. I booted the Windows install dvd and installed Windows 7 on the primary partition. Install progressed smoothly if a little slowly. After about an hour everything appeared to be running smoothly. On closer inspection, I found that the pc was crashing randomly within half an hour of bootup. "To hell with this..." said I and proceeded to wipe the installation and try openSUSE 11.2 RC1. Much to my dismay, openSUSE couldn't read the partition table to reformat the drives without erasing my data partition (HPFS) which I wanted to keep. So, reluctantly, back to the crashing W7. I got desperate and checked Intel's website to see what Bios updates were out that could help. Amazed to find that the board had numerous updates in 2009 fixing several stability issues. Mine was about 5 or 6 versions out of date. Considering that the Bios was only about 14

I loved my Hackintosh

So my wife has a Macbook and I bought some software for her which gave me a chance to see what the Mac is all about. After 6 months, I have reluctantly decided to go back to free software. Not that any of the experience was bad. On the contrary. Running OSX has been the best OS I have run in years! Better than Ubuntu, openSUSE, Mint and other desktop friendly linuxes for me and certainly faster than Vista and seemingly more capably. I was constantly surprised by how well it performed and of the ease of use. I know many people who swear and curse Mac users, but frankly, the criticism is not justifiable. I think its an awesome platform and I can see why there is so many users converting from Windows to Mac. Its not as hard as switching to Linux as its a very attractive and easy to use system for windows people. You will have more trouble adapting to the keyboard and mouse changes than to using most of the software. One of my favourite things about the system was the consistent

OSX Update

So, its been about 6 months that I have been using OSX as my principal O/S. I have finally decided to change. Not because of anything bad, mind you. Just, I realised that I can't run a Hackintosh forever. I have had a guilty feeling that I have been neglecting Linux for too long and so with Ubuntu 9.10 and OpenSUSE 11.2 around the corner, I decided to try Windows 7 before going back to Linux. After much hassles getting all my Mac data backed up, I have installed Windows 7. Its been about 24 hours since I started this little experiment and it was rocky at first. 1 day later and everything looks rosy for the time being. Its the final version and on my desktop pc its performing a lot better than on the Netbook. Before I go on to post too much about Windows, I want to spend a post or 2 on OSX.

Windows 7 on a HP MiniNote 2133

I have a HP Mininote 2133 with 2gb + 120gb disk. Its a decent netbook and came with Vista Business pre-installed. I quickly installed Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid and was quite happy with it. Some friends of mine told me to try Windows 7 on it because it was more efficient than Vista on it and so I have it a try. As the machine does not have a dvd drive, I copied the Windows 7 RC image onto a flash drive and installed it that way. It was certainly better than Vista and impressed me with its ease of use and excellent hardware detection. Linux is still better at it, but for the hardware that Windows knows, it handles it very well. It even redirected me to the appropriate Hauppage support page to download the drivers and I got most of the system working perfectly much faster than I would with XP or Vista. After a day or 2, the things that bug me still are the speed hit you take once you install the appropriate antivirus / security software and the fact that you get regular updates which

OSX - the Revenge of the Apple

If you look at the 3 platforms that I've used, namely Windows, Mac and Linux, I have the least experience with Macs. With the advent of the Intel mac's and especially with the adoption of a Unix subsystem for OSX, Apple has really impressed me. I am extremely frustrated by the closed nature of the systems and the way you get locked into their applications and hardware, but if you choose to run normal Open Source software on it, the Mac makes a decent platform. The hardware driver support for my printers, network hardware, tv cards, etc, has been awesome and the day to day reliability has been legendary. On linux, I tend to have the odd hardware issue as I run close to the bleeding edge distros most of the time, so I've grown accustomed to the odd crashing application due to the unstable nature of the repo's I used, but on the mac, that's not an option. You are forced to use the software in a "stable" mode and guess what, its actually not that big a de

OSX part deux

I managed to get my own mac on an extended loan and I decided to give it a look from a techie perspective. I had recently gone through a 2 week trial of Vista and hated it and wanted to give the OSX thing a fair review before going back to Linux. Well. Its been about 2 weeks and I'm *VERY* happy to use the mac. I have a similarly specced Ubuntu machine running Jaunty and the Mac seems to kick its ass on so many fronts its scary. About the only thing that the Linux box has going for it is choice / variety of software, but for the rest, I'm enjoying using the mac a lot more. I spend most of my time on the mac and remote the windows or ubuntu boxes over ssh or rdp if I need to do something on them. For the moment, the mac has become my principle machine. This is such an unexpected thing that I am slightly embarrassed. I was also so pro-Linux and anti-Windows & and anti-MAC that I didn't know how to handle this at first. I had to be honest that my dislike of Vist

OSX is actually not that bad after all.

After another extended blogging absence, I am back again with a spurt of posts. By my reckoning, its my first post of 2009 and it certainly goes against the spirit of everything I've been using for the last 5 years. It started about a year ago when I bought a Macbook for my wife. She just was not enjoying either Windows or Linux and after a short while, she seemed to really *get* the OSX thing. Couldn't explain it. She just enjoyed using the Mac a lot. I set up a dual boot with Windows because she was familiar with it, but at this point, I feel like wiping it off and reclaiming the disk space as she rarely uses it. I've looked at the Mac on and off in the last year and its been okay, if a little frustrating to use. I find the mental approach to using it is very different to the one I've been used to in Linux. However, things change...