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PCLinuxOS 2007 released May 22, 2007

Posted by rjdohnert in Uncategorized.

PCLinuxOS 2007 has been released to the public.  The final version was released yesterday. Much faster than .93 and faster than some KDE centric distros like OpenSUSE, Kubuntu and Mepis.


Freedom and Microsoft patents May 17, 2007

Posted by rjdohnert in Uncategorized.

When people say the word free what comes to mind? Free as in no cost or free as in freedome to do what you want to do. Well it depends on what industry you are speaking of. In the software industry what is free. It all depends on who you ask. Ask any IT director or CIO why they use Open Source software 8 out of 10 times freedom for the sake of doing what they want to do is not the first thing that comes out of their mouth, licensing costs is what the most common answer is. In most cases freedom to alter and refine the code is somewhere at the end. Freedom from viruses, freedom from instability, Freedom from Redmond. Do you see the trend here? The most common word and descriptive terminology is free. Freedom in any industry means one thing. You are making tradeoffs. For example, the entertainment industry. i subscribe to XM radio and to Cable TV. Why? I hate commercials. I want to listen to my music without having stupid commercials on Hardees uses 100% angus beef, I dont want to hear about Sprint/Nextels newest deals. i want to listen to music. So I make that tradeoff, willingly. I buy my services so I dont have to hear sales pitches. Same thing with Cable. I would rather watch “Gone in 60 Seconds” on HBO than on USA Network because I watch the movie, I hear the cussing, I see the violence and its commercial free. I dont see Angelina Jolie grabbing the shift stick one second and watch the Geico caveman complaining the next on HBO. Sure the Linux guys will pipe up in my comments section and say “Get DVD’s and CD’s” but I will have to buy the products, they arent given to me for free. Go figure.

Now fast forward to the software industry and the fight between Linux and any and all proprietary products. You have commercial Linux and you have free Linux. When you choose free Linux you are making tradeoffs. You are trading off the luxury of having a central support infrastructure. Its basically doing it yourself to get hardware working, to get software compiled and running properly and to find technical support through browsing and sifting through mailing lists and forums. I have yet to find a free Linux distribution that I get the same support as with Windows, Mac OS X, Oracle Linux, RHEL and even SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10. When you choose a commercial Linux distribution you are making the some of the same tradeoffs but your support infrastructure and “one throat to choke” is restored. But the minute you think you are free to do as you will such as compile your own latest and greatest kernel and try to put it on your commercially supported Linux box and you have a problem you can almost see the support technicians wagging their finger and saying ” You cant do that”. When you go to a commercial Linux distribution you pay, its not free as in beer or as in speech you are bound to the terms and conditions of that distributor, just like in any proprietary offering. Its impossible for any Linux distributor to support every modified Linux kernel in the open.

Eben Moglen, the lawyer for the FSF, proclaimed software should be as free as mathematics and accessible to everyone. Well, it is as free as mathematics. You can go to any book store and buy books and learn how to program. Thats how I learned. Bought a book, read it 3 or 4 times and coded my first program. It wasnt hard and I didnt have to pay Microsoft a dime. It wasnt even a Microsoft Press publication. When you put the mathematics industry in prospective, yes there is an industry there, its still not free. i dont know of any accountants that agree to do books for free. When you do your own taxes and pay a preparer do you not pay them? The same goes for the computer industry. Most normal everyday people do not know how to code so they hire people to write it for them just as everyday people dont know how to do advanced mathematics and hire people to fulfill the roles that they need.

So what do Microsofts patents have to do with anything. Microsoft makes no bones about the fact that they are a for profit software company. They are not an open source company. Unlike SCO who declared itself an Open Source company and decided to leverage their patent portfolio against the open source community. If Open Source software does indeed violate Microsoft patents should they not then pay royalties to the owner of the patents? Linus Torvalds calls the actions by Microsoft spreading FUD. Its not FUD if its legitimate.

Mandriva derived Backgrounds May 10, 2007

Posted by rjdohnert in Uncategorized.

I like the spring theme in Mandriva.  So I got the wallpaper, removed the text and decided to change the colors from the orange only to a few other colors.  I dont know if they are copyrighted and if Mandriva asks me to remove them I will obviously have no choice. So enjoy them and if you have any complaints, compliments etc.  You know where to send them.




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Review: Ubuntu 7.04 May 9, 2007

Posted by rjdohnert in Uncategorized.
1 comment so far

Jason Brooks over at eWeek has posted a review on Ubuntu 7.04 that is just the worst review of any product that I have ever seen. Jasons quality in his articles have degraded recently.  I think Jason put it into overdrive and shoves his own foot down his throat more than ever.  Here is a quick down and dirty review of Ubuntu 7.04.  It blows dog and swallows.  If some miraculous turn that it doesnt kill half your hardware the graphics drivers included will crash yor system than on a system it will work on Synaptic keeps unexplainable closing while you are doing updates will surely get under your skin.  Windows killer?  Hell no, Im glad windows is around at least something works.  If you are interested in a Linux distribution I suggest PCLinuxOS.  It simply is radically simple.

Jason Brooks is going the way of SJVN. he is more and more a Linux zealot everyday and his reviews are starting to reflect that. I dont mind enthusiasts, but zealots like Jason and SJVN spread misinformation and try to get push their favorite products and refuse to acknowledge the shortcommings and clearly pushing a product like Ubuntu 7.04 that has some pretty severe bugs and pushing a brand that is not Enterprise ready at all is very irresponsible IMO.

Link to review 

Dells Linux Strategy May 5, 2007

Posted by rjdohnert in Opinions.
1 comment so far

Dell has announced it will start selling PC’s with Linux preinstalled.  The distribution of choice will be Ubuntu.  While I like Linux and run it often I dont think Dell will do very well with this strategy.  They threw up IdeaStorm and because a few people registered multiple accounts and voted for Linux to be preinstalled they decided to go ahead and just do it.  Well, I think Dell might of not have thought this through.  First, is there a market.  I doubt it.  Most people who run Linux build their own PC’s very few of them actually buy preinstalled systems.  Can Dell market these machines to the common user and make them tech enough to run  these machines.  Device driver support is still too limited as well as most common applications people are used to using dont have native ports available.  Is Dell going to set up training classes to teach the alternative software?  Is Dell going to be able to support and resolve issues that pertain to hardware and software compatibility.  Dell doesnt have access to the source code to wireless devices, bluetooth devices, web cams, sound cards, and Dell cannot open source Nvidia or ATI drivers nor can they ship them with their systems as per Novell and a few other kernel developers the Nvidia drivers violate the GPL.  Are Dell technicians ready to walk customers throught the laborous tasks of advanced system configurations, command line computing and setting up software emulation?  I think the real wake up call for Dell will be when Dell logs thousands of unresolved support issues and are unable to maintain customer satisfaction.

You also have to look at Ubuntu in itself.  This will be a real test of Ubuntu’s strength and weaknesses.  The sudo system that is the default in the system and also the issue of release cycles.  Microsoft Windows has a support lifecycle of 5 years for mainstream support.  The LTS version of Ubuntu has three at the most, which Dell is not using the LTS version.  They are using the standard release which only has a support lifecycle of 18 months and a new release comes out every 6 months.  Will customers put up with the bugs and other problems Canonical is notorious for introducing with every new release.  Already the fingerpointing has started.  When asked who will support the systems Canonical pointed at Dell and Dell pointed at Canonical.

I personally wouldnt spend a nickel on any Dell preinstalled Linux until Dell can prove to me that they are not only capable of supporting the machines but the software issues as well that will arise.

My Reader suggestions: PCLinuxOS May 1, 2007

Posted by rjdohnert in Uncategorized.

After the disaster that was Ubuntu 7.04 and Windows Vista clean installs I decided to take readers advice and install PCLinuxOS. While I had tried PCLOS .92 a while back it really wasnt up to snuff of what I needed. I downloaded, burned and installed PCLOS 2007 TR4.

The install. Installation was similar to Ubuntu. Launch the liveCD and click the installer icon when the desktop is loaded and you are on your way. Installation was much easier and more intuitive than Ubuntu. In about 20 minutes I was booting PCLinuxOS.

Using PCLinuxOS. Whats using PCLinuxOS like. Its basically using KDE. The menu is set up differently from Kubuntu, OpenSUSE etc. Its a pretty intuitive system and includes all the codecs and non-free software that we users who dont care about the whole “GPL or bust” argumeent can like. WMV, Quicktime, mp3 and DVD playback are supported out of the box and the plugins work without having to download Automatix or enabling non-free repositories and having to screw with the system in order to get the thing to work. All my hardware that worked in Ubuntu 6.10 and quit working in Ubuntu 7.04 is working again in PCLinuxOS 2007.  It comes with the OpenOffice suite and several productivity tools.  It has a bunch of multimedia tools and any application not included is ussually easily found in the repositories.  And yes for those of you that like Beagle, F-Spot and Banshee they are in the repositories.

System configuration.  There are basically two utilities for configuring your system.  There is the PCLinuxOS control center that is the central configuration utility for system wide changes such as hardware, network configuration, security, mount points. etc.  This utility is based off the Mandriva system Control center which in turn reminds me of YaST in many ways.  Kcontrol which is user centric is also included by default.  The wizards in many ways from the PCLinuxOS control center are very simple to use. But dont fret, if youlike the old way of getting it done you can do that as well.

Shortcommings.  Not much support for the system.  if you have an application not listed in the repositories or with a native package like LSongs or LPhoto you will have to dig your hands in and build it yourself.  PCLinuxOS is not a developers platform.  It could be  since many development tools are available in the repositories but since PCLinuxOS is not geared towards that audience I dont see that changing anytime soon.  Outdated Mono support, if you are a Mono developer you are out of luck. 1.1.17 is included but the beagle, Banshee and F-spot are pretty decent versions.  Lack of third party repositories. The RealPlayer in the repositories does not give you sound.   While textar and team do an excellent job of keeping up with and updating the repositories it impossible for one man and team to provide sole support for the platform.  The lack of third part repositories while not a real problem it is necessary.  Third party repositories in my opinion shows what interest there is in your distro and community support.

Conclusion.  This is shaping up to be a great distro and surpasses Ubuntu and Linspire in user friendliness.  It has a good team working on the development, it has a cool name and whats more important is that it just works.  if you are a newbie with no Linux knowledge or a seasoned Linux user who just wants a system to run without hassles PCLinuxOS is a wise choice.