Tag Archives: Ubuntu

Updating from Ubuntu 8.04 LTS?

A Phoronix article suggests that Dell should update the Ubuntu on its Inspiron netbook. Michael Larabel wrote:

Besides running faster, the newer Ubuntu releases have better hardware support, various package updates, many improvements to GNOME, and all sorts of other features. Ubuntu 8.04 is nice for its Long-Term Support with Canonical continuing to push out security updates for years to come, but a much better experience can be had on Ubuntu 9.04 with its faster performance, updated packages, and newer features.

I think this view is very wrong. It is really a rather geeky kind of way of looking at computers. Take alone the fact where they are basing their suggestion “For our Ubuntu 9.04 testing we used a development snapshot from 2009-04-10“. Jaunty also introduces two new design decisions/technologies like the new notification system and also the extended FUSA applet. Both cant be called stable and have caused some protest already. both technologies will either be removed or much better in the next LTS release.

The whole point of LTS is trading stability and predictability in favour of newer and quicker technologies. So Michael misses the core point of why LTS was invented. It also removes the need for administrators to look at updates besides the security updates. if the users running around with the newest non-LTS Ubuntu the admins will have to look on every update – this takes much more time on a current Ubuntu than on a LTS release.

It is still up to the decision of a user who bought such a netbook to update if he thinks Ubuntu Jaunty is better for him – if he desperately needs a quicker boot process and so on. So I am not arguing against progress but rather like to brake the very idea that newer is always better and that progress alone is an argument for updating. I know that this is a very common view in the Linux world, but outside of that it is not always a smart thing to do.

What was good some years ago does not become bad overnight.

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Fedora Community

Max Spevack hold a talk about the Fedora Community on 2009 FOSDEM. Which I suggest you listen first before reading on:

Essentially I think Max grabbed the “Community” at the wrong handle. He elaborated a lot about how Red Hat and Fedora  work together and ow they enable people to build uppon the tools that Fedora has invented. Thats all very nice, especially for Red hat. In the last years Fedora often has stated that they do not interfere at all with Ubuntu. This always comes up when people compare the popular success of Fedora to Ubuntu.

Fedora is very developer centric. What Fedora is missing some warmth – some more “family” feeling. Do people feel comfortable? Fedora is also a big testbed for Red Hat – it can look what technologies work or are popular – and which are not. That makes Fedora often bleeding edge – more than a general user might often want. Also the support cycle is much shorter than on Ubuntu. So Fedora is not really a distro you would want to plant on your organisations desktops or servers. You will be forced to update quite often. Fedora moves fast. But thats getting offtopic from the community.

Fact is that trough the developer centricity leads to make the barrier for non-developers harder. One thing is what I already have pointed out in another post is the fact that even when editing the wiki you will have to sign some papers.

My view is that it is very important that the connection between general users and developers is open and flowing. Fedoras style is more a either you are a part of us or you are not.

On April 23rd I will organize my first Ubuntu  Release Party in my hometown. Why not for Fedora? Because essentially also on marketing Fedora INVENTED barriers and  created the Ambassador program, which I interpret as a means to professionalise the marketing efforts. And to make sure that people talk about the right things.

The problem here is that this turns of a lot of general users who are totally capable to talk about Fedora and show people how cool it is and what to do with it. Fedoras problem is that technically it is slightly ahead – but not years, but rather months – and that this alone does not attract people.

From all the talk I can not really see to what audience Fedora is talking. I would say Fedora is for people who want a fairly new Linux as a build platform and do live and like the Red Hat/ Fedora world. So you can use Fedora to develop an application that will work on future versions of Red Hat. Fedora also contributes a lot upstream and so allows work to be transfered outside Red Hat and Fedora.

So in the end that makes Fedora not very attractive neither for general users nor for company desktops – besides being the testbed for Red Hat. Fedora does not seem to have an autonomous agenda and depends highly on Red Hats decision. it does not make much sense for self-employed Linux folks to base their installments on Fedora nor does it make sense for the typical grandpa.

Some people at Fedora might agree and would define Community as this: Developer Community. The problem is that this also means that general users will not participate as whole heartedly as they do (for example at Ubuntu). And to make it clear: Thats a concious decision of Fedora – everything from development, contribution to marketing is organized in a hierarchical way that DOES allow everybody to start contributing but in fact turns a lot of people of.

In my hometown I have not met one guy who uses Fedora. Many early Linux users did use SuSE – and if they were dissatisfied they switched to Ubuntu – and then there is the Debian, Gentoo and FreeBSD crowd. This means nobody ever sees Fedora, this means nobody ever sees Red Hat. If this is a concious business model it is not working here.

What is Fedora missing? I think as a start it should be encouraged to talk about fedora even if you are not an official Fedora Ambassador. Give people something to work with, encourage them to make  Fedora their own. I also had the experience that nobody was willing to give a speak about Fedora at our local Linux conference – actually nobody even answered my plea. But it should be the other way around. Fedora Ambassadors should go out actively and seek for the possibility to show Fedora. And here is also the problem – if only Ambassadors do it, Fedora will be shown in fewer places.

So I think the whole Fedora eco system has a problem and thats why Ubuntu is so much ahead in popularity. And I dont believe you guys that you wouldnt love it if people would adopt  Fedora as much. Technically Fedora is much better than ubuntu, its the better product – but you very miuch have given up the popularity contest, which is sad. Even OpenSuse is doing more in this regard and it shows slowly.

I dont know who does the strategies at Fedora. And maybe you guys are satisfied with the status. But what I think is that in the longterm Fedora will be marginalized, especially when OpenSuse as another RPM based distribution is gaining more ground.

Thats it for now.

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Removed shutdown in Ubuntu Jauntys system menu

I have talked about this in my first impressions and now have found more about it:

See “Why missing shutdown and user logout menus in system menu with 9.04 Alpha 5?“:

“Yes, this is a stupid UI decision made by people in Ubuntu who haven’t thought about accessibility. Luckily, getting the menu options back is simply a matter of finding the user switch applet, and removing it from the panel. Things are now set up so that if the user switch applet is not on any of the panels, the menu items will return.”

Oh my… I do use the fast user switch applet but not for shutting down. I like things to be on different places. This is because switching a user and shutting down the computer are totally unrelated things. Some UI designers may think its the same because you leave the current desktop. The fast user switch applet used to have only few entries with available users. Now they managed to have it overloaded. I do have welcomed in the past to not overload the panel – but of you start overloading the applets (mine has 12 options now) its the same thing. Overloading functionality is never good.

So fast user switch should be essentially what it is called. Right now it is also “user status”, “shutdown/reboot”, “lock screen”, “log out”. The thing is that you actually loose functionality every time you add some functionality because people have a harder time to find what they are looking for. And please dont force people to remove the fast user switch just because they want to shutdown via system menu.

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First impressions of Ubuntu 9.04 beta

I have just updated to newest Ubuntu. Here are some points of interest:

  • Thes removed the shutdown option from system menu. You now HAVE to use the stupid applet. IS this a GNOME or an Ubuntu decision. Personally i dont like this applet for shutting down. I always used the system menu. The applet looks so similar to the pidgin icon. Argh how stupid can programmers be? That would be a reason to dump GNOME. You should not remove essential stuff
  • Flash does not work in Firefox and Epiphany
  • I cant installe epiphany-webkit
  • the volume ruler now is horicontal. Is this better? and he did crash
  • The messaging (if you change volume, network is connected, etc.) now has a black background
  • totem does not play videos and crashes
  • monitor settings look much better. need to test it with my beamer.
  • btw. the gnome 2.26 news again sound silly at least in german like:
  • “GNOME’s web browser, Epiphany, gains an exciting new feature of an improved location bar, similar to the Awesome Bar popularized by Firefox 3.0.” – well Epiphany had this address bar BEFORE Firefox – it might have added searching the titles also – but what kind of GNOME marketing is that?

I am sure there is more to say. Why dont I file bug reports. Because I have lots of outstanding bugs that are undecided ot disputed so I know it does not make sense to submit new bugs. Its more likely that somebody reads this review and acts uppon that as that anybody really cares about new Ubuntu bugs from my experience. Thats sad but its true. That does not mean people do not work on bugs in Ubuntu – but they tend to either fix clear bugs or dismiss anything they dont get. Like the Evolution guys who still have crappy spam marking options. I did file a bug in GNOME bugzilla years ago but they still think spam handing is not important. That was the single reason for me to switch to Thunderbird.

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Watch CNN live on Linux

I just found out, that now you can easily watch CNN live via web browser.

Go to the page: edition.cnn.com/live/

and then select a link under “Happening Now”. if you have javascript enabled a new window will open and start the live stream via flash.

This is the first time I got this working under Linux. Before this all my attempts to watch CNN via http://www.cnn.com were not successful. Nice thing.

Other possibilities to watch CNN via Linux are Livestation (actually a player from microsoft, but runs also on Linux) and Zattoo player. The actual reason why I seeked CNN live via web is because both players do not work for me. LS does not display images any more on Ubuntu 8.10 and Zattoo seems to have a network problem. But generally both should work.

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Hint for Ubuntu users: Look at man pages!

Some tools, especially for the command line do have an “onboard manual”. So like you have started using the command line and wonder what you can do with “ls” or “ssh”? Too many Ubuntu users are used to use (who too many u*s? lol) Google to find answers. Sure you can do that, BUT – some tools show you a lot of information by typing:

man ssh or man ls

Other operating systems like OpenBSD rely even more heavily on that ressource. The nice thing about these onboard manuals is that you can use them even without internet access. Also you can learn more than you really wanted. So you might just want to know how you can do this or that but when readin “man ssh” you find out other cool stuff you can use or that make it even easier as you thought. I highly recommend to use those manuals. Unfortunately some applications have begun to dismiss this opportunity. But still many core tools have high quality manuals. Maybe try this when you have got a questions:

  1. read the onboard manuals
  2. read the documents on your package under /usr/share/doc/package-name
  3. Use the answers in the Ubuntu wikis
  4. Google around
  5. Go to chat channels and ask a question
  6. Post a question into an Ubuntu forum.

Why is forum last? Because you will eiher get no answer or at least its not so fast as chat. Also people in forums do often get the same questions over and over again.

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Ubuntu Wireless Problem solved. Brain refreshed

The only reason my Intel card would not work was that I forgot to add it to the wireless MAC list – and the other reason was that I even forgot that I had activated that list. So now I can savely remove the Ralink chip card and passs it on.

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