Linspire: Punked by Microsoft

MS Linspire: Like Sheep to the Slaughter

Microsoft, thanks to their deep pockets and scary lawyers, is still doing today what it has done for years to anyone that threatens it’s market position. The difference now though, is that Open Source is not one single company that they can buy or push around. They are, however, finding some sheep that will roll over for fear of being dragged into a legal battle. This fear is not based on losing the law suit, but rather the waiting game that eats money for attorneys and other related costs of defending against this suit. It’s kind of like a staring contest; the first one to run out of money loses. Linspire (the distro formerly known as Lindows), is the latest to cower in their cubicles and corner offices for fear of being buried alive by an avalanche of patent infringements. Here is the gist of what Microsoft has to offer to those willing to come clean; Under the PR guise of a “Covenant to Customers” at least 3 Linux publishers have climbed on board. Essentially, if any of the GPL/GNU concepts are touched on, the “Covenant” is violated. With the exception of patches, any other modification or alteration of the code is not allowed, nor is it okay to make copies of the software to give away to your friends – unless of course, additional fees are paid to Microsoft. Remember, we are talking about Linux – not Microsoft products. Microsoft excludes a number of things from this EULA for LINUX, including anything released under GPL3 because of the clause (section 10 paragraph 3 GPL3) expressly forbidding the imposition of restrictions or fees of this sort on anything released under GPL3. Continue reading

Linux Screenshot of the day for 08/08/08 – Strigi The Storage Glutton

Strigi The Storage Glutton

Strigi The Storage Glutton

I like to be able to search for stuff on my computer – who doesn’t? Well , I don’t enjoy searching, but I do want the ability to do so in case I loose track of something in the perfect hierarchical world that is my directory tree. From the CLI, one can invoke various search commands to do the dirty work. Even ls can find stuff for you if you grep it right. But, alas; search for me is better suited to the gui, so about two weeks ago, I got the strigi daemon indexing so I can actually do the aforementioned searches – after just a bit of drive crawling, I could find media, email messages, etc., as expected. I had some problems displaying found items when clicking on the links to them in the search results data, but at least I could see where the items are and so just go to them manually. Out of the box, strigi seemed to be working fine.

Now, I’ve got around 500GB of disk space between 4 drives with more than half of that currently free. My root partition is mounted on a 30GB disk and then media and other data are stored on other larger disks. 30GB for / is plenty of room, or so I thought. Last week I started getting error messages that my home directory was running out of free space. I dumped the trash, cleaned up some temp files, and figured that would be the end of it. The message popped up again a few more times telling me that I was quickly running out of free space, so I decided to see what was eating a drive that should be more than adequate for my root partition. Continue reading

Linux Screenshot of the day for 08/03/08 – Video Edition. Copmiz and some crazy desktop effects!

When I installed Windows Vista, I really did like all of the translucent effects and the sub-pixel rendering. While the primary purpose of a computer is to let me work more efficiently, I am a sucker for eye candy. I feel for the Windows users because effects as provided by compiz are simply not available to them. The core plugins are pretty cool. I particularly like the way Wobbly Windows adds an almost tactile dimension to moving windows around on the desktop. The desktop cube is a great way to navigate multiple virtual desktops too.

The core plugins include:

  • Cube Plugin
  • Scale Plugin
  • Switcher Plugin
  • Wobbly Plugin
  • Water Plugin
  • 3D Plugin
  • Animation Plugin
  • Negative Plugin
  • Snow Plugin

It’s not just for looks either. Compiz provides many accessibility enhancements as well. The zoom tool is awesome; the combination of “old eyes” and high res monitors really make welcome an unpixelated zoom tool easily controled by hot-keys. I can zoom in on a period so it fills both monitors without any jaggy-edged loss at all – I’m not sure why I would do that, but it’s nice to know I can.

Installation of compiz is dependent on your distro – check your favorite package manager. Gnome has a more robust integration than does KDE. XCFE does pretty good too. There are issues with dual-head systems with ATI graphics cards to be aware of too. If your using xinerama, gl, and most compiz effects will only work in one monitor. nVidia drivers seem to handle this setup just fine, however.

The screenshot is of the Switch plugin – it replaces alt-tab with an easy to navigate preview of the programs that you are switching through. You can also set up a nice ring switcher with this effect.

Linux Screenshot of the day for 07/30/08 – Quanta Plus: Industrial Strength Development!

Quanta Plus is a highly stable and feature rich web development environment.”, at least that’s what their website says. I use Quanta Plus everyday in the course of my work duties and I can tell you that it is all of that, and a bag of chips. I was a bit concerned when I migrated from Windows and Dreamweaver that I wouldn’t have all of the features that I had come know and love, but those fears were soon waylaid. All that was missing was the “Wizards” to help connect to databases, and the mouse-over link scripts. Losing the Wizards was not a bad thing. I’m of the opinion that If you don’t understand the basic syntax of a db connection string, you have no business with your nose in the source code anyway.

In addition to things like syntax highlighting for over 100 file formats and ftp connectivity, I get powerful tools like multi-file/multi-directory search and replace, an imagemap editor, a spell check that is smart enough to distinguish between code and copy, file comparison, cvs integration, degugging console, customizable tool bars and menus, and the list goes on. Quanta Plus does what I need it to do every day. I feel safe again without my Dreamweaver security blanket. Did I mention link checking and HTML tools?

Linux Screenshot of the day for 07/29/08 – Gwenview Image Viewer

I have a ton of digital pictures, kids, family, nature – the usual stuff, but who doesn’t? Gwenview is my way to look through, organize, and maybe even clean up a bit, years of filmless photography. What it’s not is an image manipulation program like The Gimp, or Krita, although it does provide some transformations like rotating, and whatnot. What it is, it is (does) well. With an easy to navigate interface and standard features like fullscreen, and tweaks like picking your thumbnail size from a slider, Gwenview makes my huge photo collection manageable.

The screenshot shows one of several display/layout options in Gwenview 1.4.2 on KDE 3.5.9

Linux Screenshot of the day for 07/28/2008 – KDE for Kids on OpenSuse 10.3

My kids system runs OpenSuse 10.3 with a decidedly youthful bent. The teenagers like all of the arcade games, while the younger ones, the toddlers in fact, really enjoy the activities provided by programs like gcompris, an edutainment package aimed at the preschool through elementary crowd. Get ‘em using Linux young, and they’re hooked for life! This screenshot is of my daughters desktop sporting Konqui on a wallpaper from the KDE Kids Theme.