Category Archives: Ubuntu

Ubuntu Intrepid Ibex – Not so soon

Hm, as everyone is eagerly awaiting the release of Ubuntu 8.10, aka Intrepid Ibex, I would not be able to lay hands on this release until early next week. So I am going to be late to check out the latest and greatest linux distro 😦

How do I convince myself? There is a positive in this delay too. By then most of you would have downloaded, installed and given your feedback and possibly fixes are out for some annoying bugs – if any.

So, a round up and screenshots can be expected next week. I just cant wait to compare the newest Ubuntu to the Mandriva One 2009 which I am already running.

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Ricoh Card Reader on Dell Inspiron 6400 running Ubuntu Hardy Heron (8.04)

Today, While casually surfing various support forums of Ubuntu and Mandriva, I stumbled upon this How To guide to get the Ricoh Card Reader (Internal) working on Ubuntu for various laptops.

For your information, I am running Ubuntu 8.04 – Hardy Heron. I tried the guide — though what was said made little sense to me — and got my card reader working.

So, give your luck a shot if you have been disappointed with the card reader not working on your laptop 🙂

No more Windows Vista :)

I have fallen sick and have been at home for the past week or so. I took this opportunity to remove Windows Vista Home Premium that came with my laptop. I was thinking about this for sometime now and the only thing that was stopping me was time.

Now that I had the time, I removed Vista and made Ubuntu my primary Operating System. In the process I have freed close to 50GB of disk space 15 GB on which Vista was installed and the remaining which it did not allow me to move to a different partition.

Please note that this is a decision after about one year of using my laptop. I was able to do all that I wanted to do on Ubuntu. I found that I logged into Vista only to update it. And more recently stopped the updates as well. Even after SP1 Vista was not that great. Yes, it was usable though.

So I have decided to try out different flavors of Linux on a different partition. I will retain Ubuntu as my primary OS until the time where it behaves so badly so as to get kicked out. I am currently trying out OpenSUSE 11 KDE 4 and my once upon a time sweet heart – Mandriva Linux One Spring 2008 KDE. I am also planning to try the GNOME version of Mandriva.

Adobe Buzzword

I have up to Adobe’s new Buzzword – Adobe’s new flash based online word processor and a suite of related applications. It comprises of

  • Buzzword – A word processor
  • ConnectNow – Free online meeting spaces
  • Create PDF – Create up to 5 PDF documents
  • Share – A easy way to share files
  • MyFiles – An online storage area for files.

    On a first look it gave me the impression that it would compete with Google Docs. But it has no spreadsheet or presentation capabilities right now. But the ConnectNow, the online meeting space is a killer feature for people who need to have meetings from different locations. The other applications are rather self explanatory.

    Buzzword

    Buzzword is flash based and provides a clean interface in black. The toolbars slide on top of each other taking up as little space as possible but requiring more clicks to access a particular feature. All the basic features like text formatting with fonts and colours, paragraph formatting, list and bullets, inserting images, tables, comments, headers and footers, end notes, spell checking, importing documents and versions are supported. The spell checker works in the background and lists the number of wrongly spelled words which can then be corrected.

    Documents can be exported as PDF, Word Document in doc, 2003 XML and docx formats, HTML, HTML zipped, RTF, Text formats. No support for ODT format yet. But this available in Google Docs and Zoho Writer. Zoho Writer also allows exporting in formats like LaTex and Star Office SXW format.

    Other Applications

    I did not try the other applications yet. So once I am done with them I will post. Also I would like to see which among Zoho Writer, Google Docs and Adobe Buzzword has the most and the best features.

    Conclusion

    Adobe is late to the party and has a lot of catching up to do. But Buzzword is a perfectly usable application. If they continue to improve it by adding additional features it could certainly become a worthy competitor to Google Docs and Zoho Writer

    Screenshot

    Adobe Buzzword

    A first look at Ubuntu 8.04 – Hardy Heron

    Yesterday evening, I installed the spanking new Hardy Heron on my laptop. This post is not going to be a complete review, but I will just cover the major points. For more information, please refer to my twitter timeline. I just don’t have enough time on my hands for a complete review.

    • No installation problems. Installs under 30 minutes for a clean install.
    • The laptop is more snappy now. I run a Dell Inspiron 6400 with Intel Core 2 Duo at 1.73 MHz and 1 GB RAM with 1 GB swap space. The system boots up faster, responds well and shuts down much faster compared to Gutsy.
    • Firefox 3 Beta is stable, no bugs or crashes until now
    • I installed the server apps today. I run Apache, MySQL and PHP – this took me some time to backup and restore the databases and blogs. Nothing to do with those apps though
    • The repositories seem to be heavily loaded now. So I advice to select the Best Server from the Synaptic package manager.
    • Wireless works. Ethernet works(it should, ain’t it?), Compiz works, OpenOffice.org works, codecs downloaded for the various media types. Pretty much all the standard stuff work.
    • Installing additional applications might take some time. For example, AWN is included in the repo but not many applets are available. So I had to add another source and install from it. I had the latest Flash version downloaded, so that was a snap to install. I prefer Amarok to Rhythmbox, so I installed it.
    • On the bad side, my laptop froze twice in two days. Yes it froze! Just like windows. Mouse did not respond neither did the keyboard. Ctrl+Backspace did not work either. So it was not X problem.
    • Most of the old GNOME GTK Icon themes don’t seem to work. Not sure what the problem is. My favorite Mac OSX Icon theme displays the default GNOME folder icon. This is the case with most other themes too. Has something changed in the way themes have to be created for GNOME 2.22? No idea.
    • Suspend works perfectly. Hibernate works, but considering the time taken to wake up, one can shut down and restart.
    • Brightness management seems to have gone bad. I am able to use the Fn key and get only two levels of brightness which forces me to add the Brightness management applet on the panel. I used to get ten levels in Gutsy.
    • Movie player does not play more than 8 sec of VOB files from DVD. VLC has no issues though. The file is just 1024 MB and had no issues on Gutsy.
    • Bluetooth worked after installing the Bluetooth File Sharing from Add/Remove programs. If this is required, why cant it be installed by default? I was able to send and received files to my Nokia phone but was not able to browse the phone on the computer. I was able to do this on Gutsy after installing gnome-vfs-obexftp but no luck here.
    • Apart from these minor irritations, the release is pretty good. I would not say solid because and OS freezing a computer cannot be called solid.

    The real test for this release will be on the coming weekend when I will install it on my 7 year old P III computer running at 1.1 GHz and having 256 MB RAM with no graphics capability whatsoever. Gutsy is running pretty slow. I want to see how the Heron fares. No, dont suggest me to try Xubuntu. We are talking about Ubuntu here 😉

    My conclusion is everyone can use this distribution, but some hand holding might be required for newbies. I should say that this is one of the releases that I had to spend more time on setting up the computer. This is also partly due to the fact that I have a lot of stuff to backup and restore.

    Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon Screenshots

    As promised, here are a couple of screenshots of Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon with CompizFusion and Avant Window Navigator

    1. Expo Plugin

    Expo Plugin

    2. Shift Switcher

    Shift Switcher

    3. Water Effect

    Water Effect

    4. Avant Window Navigator

    Avant Window Navigator

    I could not capture the screenshots of the rotating cube. Any ideas how to do it?

    Update: Oct 25, 2007: Adding the cube effect screenshot

    cube.png 

    Evolution on Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon (7.10)

    I have been using the Evolution email client on Ubuntu Feisty Fawn (7.04) regularly for email as well as calendaring. I access my Google Calendar from Evolution. Why? The simple reason is at the click of a mouse on the calendar on my panel, I can see the appointments and tasks for the day.

    This is when I installed – yes, clean install with the /home partition intact – Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon (7.10). When all other applications retained their settings, I was bewildered to see that Evolution did not even start. I had about 500 emails and 150 contacts in the address book. The only consolation is I had a backup of the address book.

    I removed Evolution completely and reinstalled it. Nothing improved. I tried to remove the .evolution folder from my /home partition. Still nothing happened. I thought of sorely missing my most beloved feature and installed Mozilla Thunderbird and downloaded all the email from my Gmail account. I tried to install the Lightning calendar add on for Thunderbird but that did not look good. It by no way was going to show my tasks in the panel calendar.

    Then I read a little and found that the new version of Evolution in Gutsy did not like the older one and spoiled the older versions settings. So I removed the .evolution folder from /home and also the .gconf/apps/evolution folder. I rebooted. I then started Evolution and voila it started up with the wizard to add email accounts. I added my email accounts and then downloaded a few emails.

    I was still skeptical. I rebooted and checked if Evolution could come to life. To my relief it came up. I then configured the calendars, imported my address book from the backup and off I went. The upside is that I was again able to use Evolution and the downside is I had to download my POP3 email twice over. That’s almost 800MB a real wastage of bandwidth.

    Well, if you were wondering about what I am talking about, here it is. See the convenience, can you?

    Calendar