Posts tagged: linux

Linux, 2017!

First of all, please do not read this post as a complain. Just as an analysis. I am a Linux user for decades. I remember using Linux in my first year of University, somewhere about 1996. I never stopped using Linux, in the server, but during some years, somewhere between 2002 and 2017 I was a Mac user for the desktop (one PPC Mac Book, two Intel Mac Book Pro). Back to the beginning of 2017 I needed an update, and decided to go back to Linux. Mostly because of the price of a decent Mac Book Pro when compared with a generic laptop. I decided on a Dell, and without a lot of thinking, decided on a Dell with a 4K display. Well, I had a hard time trying to install a distribution. Tried Mint, Debian and Ubuntu. Curiously, all gave trouble with UEFI boot, but the one that ended up installing a working Linux was Mint Given it is Debian based, I can keep up with the Debian updates, and install most packages available only for Ubuntu.

While I see some applications getting better, from 2002 to 2017, it seems Linux community continues rewriting the wheel. I can’t see any big difference from what I am experiencing today in the desktop with what I was experiencing earlier with Gnome 1. Yes, the code was changed. It might be more stable, faster, support a couple of new things. But it seems we continue rewriting and rewriting the same old applications.

Then there is the issue with a 4K display. Even if GTK3 has support for High DPI screens, a lot of  applications are not written for this toolkit. And I am not sure, at all, that this is something that need to be managed by the graphical toolkit. I still think it is a Xorg issue, where we should be able to define DPIs for each screen, and have the basic low-level tools scale everything. As this is how I see things, I decided today to look to the blog of Xorg. And it doesn’t have news since 2013. As I could read, now most work is done as independent libraries. Nevertheless, it is strange no changes were needed to be done in 4 years.

Also curious that a bunch of applications using node.js are being working great. Examples are GitKraken, Code, Atom, Franz… and even Sublime is working great on 4K (even if it has some other issues). Unfortunately Unity3d is not working properly in 4K, but that looks more like an issue with their own GUI system, than anything else (but then, if Xorg took care of things, maybe it would work great, just like it works acceptably under Windows). But other things, like old Gtk, Xlib, QT or even Java applications still look like needing a microscope to be read.

So, here I am, with a shiny new laptop, deciding to keep Linux, or getting back to.. huh.. windows! Yeah, I do dual boot, but I like Linux for most things. But some aren’t possible As a teacher, I know I will have problems when trying to use a beamer. When connecting an external display, everything will look monstrous. Or I can change the resolution on the built-in screen, go searching the HiDPI switch, turn it of, restart the session for it to be correctly applied, and then use the laptop. Shame.

And yes, I know a lot of this is my fault. If I did not change to Mac, and if like me other hundred of developers didn’t do the same, probably we would have a lot more Linux users, writing and patching these applications. Or we would just end up with a lot of more distributions, a lot more window manager, but with the same main issues.

At last, but not less important, I would like to thank you to everyone that is still working on Linux making it better. I know this is not a paid job. I know you (and I) do what we want, and what makes us happy. That is why this is not a complain text. Just looking to what I see, without pointing any fingers.

 

 

Getting back to Linux: Part #1

Debian_Logo_02After the last Apple keynote, the news on Mac Book Pro, and the exorbitant price, I took part of this Sunday to look back to Linux as a Desktop. Although I work usually on a 2011 Mac, that runs perfectly (just some bumps), I have a Lenovo laptop. So, I decided to install the Linux distribution I have been using lately for my servers: debian.

First I downloaded the netinstall image. It complained of missing drivers for wi-fi and ethernet. Then, I downloaded the non-free netinstall image. Same behavior.

Well, decided to keep it, and use a USB stick to install the missing packages. After going from/to my mac to download missing packages and dependencies, I got something. The card is detected, the correct (at least it seems) module is loaded, ifconfig shows the device, but ifup fails to bring it up.

After googling and fighting with wpa (first I was thinking this was the problem), I found out that Linux was just deciding that it couldn’t load the interface, and mentioned something about rfkill, that I am not sure what it is.

Googled a little more and found articles saying that my Lenovo has some other wireless card than the one listed by lspci. Strange.

In any case, the day is almost over, and I need to get back to my job. My conclusion so far is a quote from an old teacher, now a friend: Linux is still a Cowboys operating system.

Not sure about all Linux distributions, but debian for sure.

 

The Big Bang Theory – S03

The Big Bang Theory - S03

The Big Bang Theory – S03

Well, to change a little, this time I do not share a picture of Penny, but of this pervert scientist. Let me know where to find one like this.

Regarding this series, the main idea is Penny and Leonard being committed in some kind of relationship. Of course that ends mostly at the end of the season, just in a way the next season can grow in interest somehow. Other than that, there are mainly two episodes I really liked. The first one if the one presented in the picture above. It was fun. The second one explaining how Sheldon and Leonard met and agreed to those apartment rules.

Also, in this series we know that Sheldon likes Ubuntu. So, not so smart as we think he is…

Testing Linux I: OpenSuse and Fedora

opensuseI got a PC laptop for work with… Windows. Decided to install a Linux on it, and decided to give a look at current distributions. At the moment I was looking for a non-newbie system but with some basic configuration issues automated. For example, I desesperate when I need to configure a wireless manually. I think that is a task that should be easy to perform and not consume much time.

My first option was OpenSuse. I knew Suse for a long time and never tried it for being commercial. Now this was the chance to look and check what they have been doing. First, the installation wizard is really good. Not just good aspect, but also functional. It detects everything and reports the detections to the user. That is great. Also, when installing a boot loader, if it fails, it tries to help the user to correct the configuration and try to install it again.

Also, it lets you to choose between installing a KDE or Gnome based desktop. Also, a XFCE option is there. That is great. I love XFCE. Probably this choice was the reason I did not like OpenSuse, but who knows. So, when booting, the X Login Manager is based on TWM, that sucks. But that is not relevant. Login worked correctly, but when configuring the wireless device, it couldn’t connect to the wireless network. I could not find why. It did not complain with the password. It did not complain about lack of signal (no idea about its power, btw). It just said it configured the network device, and exited the configuration tool. Tried a few minutes to find out what was going on with iwconfig and ifconfig, but decided to try a new distribution.

fedora Next try was Fedora. I know lot of people using Fedora. It is not an old distribution, but given that they use a big base from RedHat, it should be somewhat stable. Booted the live-cd and used the installer available on it. That is good because it lets you use a linux system while you are installing other linux system. That is cool. The installer, itself, is equal to the first fedora installer (at least I did not find big differences). The windows are not well designed (widgets not correctly placed…), but it is enough for the installation task.

But that isn’t my complain. My complain is that, after half hour installing the system, anaconda crashed when installing the Grub bootloader. Instead of an error message I got a Python backtrace. And that sucks. First, because I hate Python. Second, because it crashed the installation, forcing me to restart the installation.

No, I will not retry fedora now, I think. I will download another linux version.

Hope I can find any interesting distro that is not Ubuntu (I have different complains about it… for a future post).

Linux gives too many choices…

Every time I touch a Linux not installed by myself I got to the same feeling. Linux gives too much choices when installing a new operating system and the default options are good just if the only user of the machine is the administrator. If the guy installing the Linux does not have knowledge on what he is doing the result is a mess.

For instance, if you install a fresh Ubuntu you will get no man pages installed.

At the present moment I am in a Fedora 11 installed by a University administrator. If I type ‘cpan’ I get perl complaining about CPAN module not being installed. Then, what is the use of Perl in this situation?

These complains are from a geek, programmer, etc. I know that most desktop users will not have these needs. But I do not think it is a good idea to focus primarily desktop users. Probably the default option should be a sane environment for both worlds.

Moblin 2.1, last impressions

Moblin logoLast time I used Moblin 2.1 it suggested me to update the operating system. About 200MB of downloads. After about half an hour of downloads and updates (the SSD is quite slow) I turned the machine down. Today I turned the machine on and… the operating system crashed with a message that a component failed, and asking if I wanted to submit a bug report. Said yes. Computer freeze. Tried a reboot. Component failed. Said to dismiss the bug report. Computer freeze.

Moblin 2.1 – First Impressions

Moblin logoAfter some disasters with Ubuntu on my Acer Aspire One (it just stopped working, X crashing and other problems) I tried moblin again. Installed version 2.1 beta and my first impression is that it is more stable than 2.0 at the moment.

The browser seems more stable, loading pages faster. Unfortunately the flash plugin is not fast enough. Who knows if it works better next time. Although this is true, there is a huge difference between a common linux browser (like Firefox) time to load a page and moblin time.

Regarding connections with the world, the gtalk account was configured correctly at first. Regarding Twitter, it took some more time. First because it opened a browser, but did not say it would do that, and I closed it. And the second time the browser did not start. After some time I found out what was happening (moblin needed the Twitter PIN code) and I was able to register. After two minutes twitter updates weren’t available yet. After five minutes the first updates started appearing. Unfortunately after 30 minutes of work I wasn’t able to twit yet.

Tried as well the tool to watch pictures. It started a slideshow, but the slideshow window was covered by the moblin window. Fail…

Later tonight I’ll do some more experiments…

tar guessing compression method

Finally (not sure how long ago, but I just found out about it three days ago) the tar unix utility (gnu version) can guess what the compression method to use. Now I can forget that -j is used for bzip2, -z is used for gzip, and some other for xz.
Just use ‘tar axf’ for extraction, and ‘tar acf’ for compression. Everything else is guessed from the file extension!

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categories unix