Saturday, December 05, 2009

One of my fav bands in 'Foo Fighters', the man behind this rocking beast is Dave Growl, previously famous as the drummer of Nirvana. There is now a 1 page interview available with Growl from Time Magazine. One of the questions deal with piracy, this is his answer;

I don't have a problem with people downloading music. To me the important thing is that people come to my shows and see the music live and have that personal experience with the band. I've made a decent living making music. I'd feel greedy if I asked for anything more.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Our Red Hat Account Manager came by one day, she brought some cups along. I adore the JBoss one, I'm calling this post - One girl two cups.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Is your clock running way to fast for a guest VirtualBox system? There is a long standing open bug regarding this problem reported. There is a solution available in the means of adding some kernel boot parameters. Edit your grub config file (normally '/boot/grub/menu.lst') and add the following;

divider=10 nolapic_timer clocksource=acpi_pm

after a reboot of your guest, your system time should now run at a normal pace.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Karmic Koala is one of the best Ubuntu releases so far. Some reports might say otherwise, but my personal expierience says otherwise. It's not perfect, and some things are not fixed yet, at least the development is open en every 6 months a new release comes along improving upon the previous installment.

There are some things that bothered me, luckily fixes are available. First, when using the latest Eclipse some button clicks are not registered. This can be fixed by defining the following environment before starting eclipse;


Second, on 64bit the flash plugin also sometimes doesn't register mouse clicks, this is even more bothersome. In Eclipse at least you could still use the keyboard, not so in flash. To fix this you need to add the above line at the beginning of '/usr/lib/nspluginwrapper/noarch/npviewer'.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

There are a lot of adds for mobile internet on Belgian TV the last month, but there is one that makes me almost mad. I'm very anti-belgacom, mostly because of the olden days when all we had were modems and used it to connect to BBS's - i even had my own 2 node demo scene oriented board.

Anyway, the add goes something like this. 'Pick mobile internet from Proximus (the mobile provider of Belgacom), it's great and we were the first to have a mobile phone network in Belgium'. They sure did, not because they are this innovative, but because the market wasn't open and Belgacom had a monopoly on anything phone related at that time (fixed & mobile). You wanted a phone? great, pay through your nose for outdated fixed phone technology and their mobile phone pricing was ridiculously high to put it mildly.

After a while, the market got open and competing companies were allowed to enter with their products. The first to do so was Mobistar, their price was half of Proximus. The very next! day Proximus slashed their prices in half as well.

The ad gets me mad, because they try to convince the people they were the first, while the truth is that there was no other choice and they were certainly overpriced at the time.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Chrome OS, I'm not sure what to think about it. Going from what we know, it sounds like Linux booting the Chrome browser, because where Google is comming from, the browser is the OS. Nothing stops you from creating a similar expirience with any decent linux distri currently available. On my 4G Surf i did just that, basic Linux (Ubuntu minimal) and then adding several packages to make ACPI working for example. It boots up lighting fast and all you get is a browser, no other apps. I have build in a terminal though (who can live without?) by installing tilda, which is excellent in this scenario. I have now something you could call Firefox-OS.

What else is great? It is still linux as we all know it. It uses X and as a result i have all excisting toolkits available. In case i do need some app, i can still quickly install it, and it will work. For my netbook i won't do this too often, but Google is targetting Chrome-OS towards desktop/laptop systems, and they do not regular X and not any regular toolkit which will break compatibility with any current linux app. That for me reduces the functionality of that system consideratly.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Every Ubuntu release before 2008, i has the custom habbit of switching totem with its gstreamer backend to the version with the xine backend. Xine is a really good player, which i have used intensivly before switching to Ubuntu. Why did i change to the xine variant, simply because the gstreamer backend wasn't able to play everything, it got better each release, but each time there were still some files that didn't play well (or at all). About at 2008 gstreamer got to the point it did play everything i threw at it, so there was no reason to switch anymore, i think nobody does these days.

After upgrading to the latest 9.04, everything worked as expected, no problems on my home-pc. At work i don't play a lot of movies and it wasn't until we got a videocast of one of our c*o's that i noticed video didn't work anymore. Everything worked just fine at home, so there had to be something else causing the issue. One of the major differences between my home and work-pc was the video card, at work it uses the radeon driver. I solved it by starting up 'gstreamer-properties' from the command line, which allows you to configure some minimal aspects of the audio and video output/input of the gstreamer framework. In the video tab there is the option to adjust the output mechanism, after selecting 'X Window System (No Xv)' everything worked perfectly. The disadvantage of this approach is that no acceleration is done, this means playing a video takes seriously more cpu, which could give problems on older system (but it's still better then no video i suppose).

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Anybody else excited by the news that Monkey Island is making a return? On Wii-Ware you'll be getting Tales of Monkey Island, some other platforms will get an HD revision of the original. I don't care much about the new HD builds because frankly, the original is still great (certainly with scummvm on the go everywhere with you).
I'm not sure about the 3D just yet, and the latest 3D attempt MI4 was not that great at least when compared to the previous episodes. Keeping our fingers crossed.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Asus and Microsoft have combined forces against Linux on the netbook, their first step has been the release of this website. Nothing to see there, except a movie, and it pisses me off.
The movies shown all include the original netbook (the 4G surf), and they are running windows XP. Now each time the movie zooms in, it is most certainly not the screen of a 4G you are seeing, the screen estate is just to big! Then in the last ad you they promote as a benefit that you can 'protect your family online' - that is beyond absurd.
It's all too bad, Asus was the one to start the netbook revolution, and they did so with Linux on it. I'm sure the success of the netbook took them a bit by surprise and all, but i don't see that as a reason to throw away their Linux strategy. A lot of people just removed the Asus/Xandros Linux on it and installed something else, the default installation wasn't very interesting, though it did everything it was supposed to do. What if they just invested a little bit more money (surely the massive sales of netbooks can support a little investment?) to make their distro suck less (for most people)? I don't buy the argument of an unfamiliar OS causing lots of problems, that is probably true for people expecting to buy a laptop, but as i told people interested in a netbook over and over again - it is not a laptop, it is a device that enables you quick and easy internet access. Really, my 4G does that perfectly. The interface story is false because a lot of other devices people use every day do not have XP on them either. Mobile phones is the biggest example, each phone is different and i don't see those returned en-mass. The Nintendo Wii is the number one console in sales, no windows to be found on there. GPS devices, the most popular ones from TomTom and Garmin also run on Linux.
So either, the high return of netbooks because of Linux is a false story or the netbooks are marketed wrongly.

Does this Asus-Microsoft alliance mean that no linux versions of the Eee-PC will be available anymore? Seems that if i ever need to replace mine, i'll be looking at Dell or Acer instead.

I think it is pretty cool what Canonical is trying to do with android. As you may know android uses the linux kernel, but has nothing else in common with a regular linux distro. Another libc is used, their own graphics system, special java stack. In practise this means that you can just run regular linux apps on Android or the other way around.
With the Canonical work done you can run Android apps on your desktop, alongside all your normal apps. Very nice for Netbooks, all the power of a linux environment and all the cool Adnroid apps available at your fingertips.

Mozilla Labs released Jetpack which is a browser (Firefox) add-on API which uses only easy to use 'languages' and web standards like HTML/CSS and JavaScript, the excellent firebug is used for debugging. There is even an API for common web interfaces (although right now it only includes Twitter), and it's possible for others to expand the API with their web service. I can imagine something like the Firefox add-on repository for Jetpack already.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Canonical released Ubuntu One somewhere in the past days and discussion about the thing are lighting up the Linux world. Jeez people, what is the freaking problem? Nobody is forcing you to use it, so if you don't like it, don't use it! You have a choice here. I'm not too worried about the fact that it might end up in an Ubuntu release one day, Canonical has only benefits of keeping their user base happy because switching to another Linux distro is probably the easist thing in the world to do (compare that to the whining of Vista or Leopard users, they have no compatible alternatives - except downgrading).
The whole trademark discussion lost me as well. These are total non-issues in my book, shouldn't we be putting this energy in something more interesting that will advance OSS as a whole instead?

Monday, May 04, 2009

A week or so ago, ESR had a blog entry about 'The economic case against the GPL', it spawned a hefty discussion on slashdot, as you can imagine. However the case he tries to make is correct. Companies are scared of the GPL.
As a user or independent developer the GPL is probably the most attractive license for software/open source development currently available. I know i would release all my work using this license. But companies don't see it that way, and they try hard to avoid the GPL. Linux applies to the GPL as well and it's about the only exception they are willing to make (mostly thanks to the idemnification efforts from several distro poviders).
At my current employer they are scared of the GPL as well. The general rule is to avoid anything GPL. This would make sense for our development team and they want to assure themself never to have to release code to the public. But this rule is enforced for end-user use too (as a unix admin, i would be an end-user), because there is this fear it could still end up with a customer somehow. I almost had to pick up myself after hearing that explenation.
It's even worse if you know that software is not even our core business, we have software ofcourse, as any company will these days. But we are not a software company. Software is not our product, although it enriches the products for our customers. In such case i believe that when you are completly open it will benefit your main product more then with closed software. They could enjoy the benefits of faster development of software by leveraging available GPL code instead of inventing everything all over again (which costs you money on something that isn't your core business, don't you want to avoid that?).

Monday, April 27, 2009

The problem with the current cream of the crops CPUs is that they have so many cores and there are not a lot of programs yet taking advantage of it. Recently i had a request from somebody who wanted to process fotos on his brand new Intel i7 utilizing all of his cores as much as possible. He is using ImageMagick for his batch manipulations, ofcourse it handles only one picture at a time. I thought about it for a while and came up with a simple solution, i called the script 'multirun'.

# Prove of concept script to run multiple processes for dual core (or more CPUs)
# The script takes one argument - the number of concurrent jobs
# This script uses the 'sleep' command as test, change with your own command
# How it works:
# 1. it starts a jobs and puts it in the background
# 2. continue until max number of concurrent jobs are reached
# 3. wait until 2 is no longer true then go to 1.

if [ ! $1 ]
echo "missing argument"

CMD='/bin/sleep 30'

while true
if [ `jobs | wc -l` -eq ${CONCURJOBS} ]
echo "starting a new ${CMD}..."
${CMD} &

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Three things i want to share with you all today;

Ubuntu 9.04 has been released, it's not a LTS release but i think it is a welcome update to 8.10, certainly for netbook users since 'Netbook remix' is now an official separate version.

A website got blocked by court order in Belgium. It's a website reporting in which neighbourhood previously convicted pedophiles live. No exact addresses are given, so you don't know who the offender is. I'm not a proponent of these kind of tactics which are basicly censoring. However what shocked me more is that there is a Belgian law that allows this since 2001, it's allowed by law to disable access to data on computerised systems when; it's subject of a crime and/or are in disturb civil peace or vice - scary.
The reasoning is that they fear actions towards the pedophiles if people find out there is one living in their neighbourhood. First, how does that website gather its information? I guess it is publicly available somewhere, if this information is not publicly available then how did they get their hands on it? But, and i recon this is the case, if the data is freely available somewhere already, this site is just taking that information and publishing it in an easily accessable format. in that case the blockade of the website must be lifted!

Bundled sales are now allowed in Belgium, previously this was not allowed by law. Thus, special deals like an iphone for 1 euro when signing a contract with a mobile provider were previously not allowed. I'm still not sure if i'm pro or contra, as always this can have benefits to customers, but in some cases you might even end up paying more or are tricked into an expensive scheme.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Oracle buying Sun, who ever saw that comming? Sure it makes Oracle even stronger then they were before because they now also have a serious hardware division in their portfolio. But the questions start here already, recently Oracle announced the Exabyte. This is a total solution combining Software from Oracle (including Unbreakable Linux) and Hardware from HP. I can't imagine they will continue this product using HP's products.

On the software front there is even more to worry about, because the impact on OSS could be huge. First, what will happen with Oracle's efforts on Linux? They have their own Linux version and are activly contributing to the kernel (most famous contribution is probably Btrfs). Previously Wim Coekaerts was able to push Oracle away from the Solaris platform and onto Linux, will he be able to keep Oracle dedicated to Linux or not? He hasn't posted anything on his blog as of this date on this matter. If they keep Linux as their main platform (which i hope they do), Wim could be the man to push a Solaris/Linux merge.

All other software i'm not worried about, OpenOffice will continue to get development, perhaps even more so. Oracle might just want to try a fight with MS with this one. I also hope this will spur a good database component in OOo, currently it's a bit of an unstable complicated mess. Java will continue to grow, Oracle already has a huge investment in this programming language and now they own it.

Who is worried about MySQL? Probably nobody, Sun already did a good job of killing it way before Oracle came into the play.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Monday, March 23, 2009

Patents are the rotten apple in the software industry, this is even much more so for Open Source developers. Recently we have been bombarder all over the net about the MS vs. TomTom case, which resolves around a 'long filename' patent in FAT. Nobody is sure what the real reason for the lawsuit is; is MS targetting Linux (which TomTom uses on their devices), do they want to destroy a competitor or both?

I'm not really a big fan of ZDNet, but it's hard to completly ignore them. Today i read this article which is pretty much spot on. I suggest you read it too. On the 'No Software Patents' site you can read a famous quote from Bill Gates from 1991;

"If people had understood how patents would be granted when most of today's ideas were invented and had taken out patents, the industry would be at a complete standstill today."

Next on James Huggins site you'll read the following from MS' VP of Legal (from 1994);

"Microsoft has never initiated an action for patent infringement. We have, however, unfortunately been the defendant in several lawsuits involving software-related patents. The defense of those suits has consumed considerable of our resources, resources we'd prefer to use in positive and constructive research and development efforts."

It's aparently easy to forget your own past.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

In the latest edition of the DataNews magazine (free ict magazine targeted at manager types), there is an article about Fosdem. The article is in Ducth but you can probably translate it decently enough to english (if needed) to get a better understanding about what i'm talking about.
There is a section where they question if the GPL is still a valid license, or is it out-dated? They argue that the GPL is not loved by companies and thus loses its competitive edge. Who cares? certainly not the OSS developer, he is not writing his piece of code for the benefit of companies, he doing it for himself, other developers and the users, screw the companies. GPL protects the user.
Last they move on to the subject that GPL3 has issues because it doesn't allow DRM, and that scares even more companies away. If that isn't a good thing for the user, i don't know what is. In fact, this last reason alone proves that the GPL servers and protects the users, you have to love it for that.

Friday, February 13, 2009

How about some Fosdem 2009 pictures, again i'll be focusing on the athmosphere, as for the talks, there are other resources to get more info on them. If you haven't been to Fosdem yet, I hope these picture will wet your appetite.

What? I don't want to do that, delete my willy are you nuts!?

It's always that crowded, from the early morning till late in the afternoon.

Hey, an Ubuntu stand, they weren't here the previous years. As you can see from the shot, Netbooks everywhere!

Power to the people!

This is becomming a problem. This is a picture taken during a lecture in one of the main tracks. There is room for more then 800 people, if there are 80 people in whole it's a lot. In contrast, the dev.rooms are packed and sometimes don't have enough seats. Fosdem needs to figure out how to avoid things like this. Tracks should get a populairity vote to know in which room to schedule them.

Brussels is so much fun, so much to see. Even a simple tree holds a surprise.

Ubuntu init replacement upstart lecture first slide.

Look! i can take shit pictures with my phone camera

Two heroes, Micheal Meeks and Keith Packard discussing the meaning of life.

My Fosdem loot: Fedora CD, OpenSUSE CD, NetBSD CD, MirOS CD, PCBSD CD, FreeBSD CD, Fosdem 09 girly T-Shirt (for my wife), Flyers for/from Ubuntu, Fosdem, Perlmonks Workshop (Leuven, Belgium), BSD; 2 badges from the Firefox/Mozilla stand, 1 foot-sticker from the Gnome stand, an O'Reilly plastic bag and the O'Reilly CSS pocket guide. Geek life is good.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Show people KDE4 and tell them it is Windows 7, lets see how they react.

Surprised? Can you imagine how upset MS would be if a distro would be named 'Lindows' which could confuse people in actually buying a Linux version instead of Windows and then liking it more.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

I've had it up to here with all this Windows 7 propaganda on the net the last month or since whenever MicroSoft released their public beta. Vista was the first time the press was bad to Windows from the beginning for the first time. All previous releases were crap as well, but the press and tech sites never really send out this negaive vibe en-mass as they did with Vista. Now this is no more, Windows 7 sound like the best thing since slices bread, at least accoring to them. Will Windows 7 really be this great? It will hopefully be better then Vista, but it will still be a piece of crap, just like all windows versions that preceded it. Yes, you say, but this time the press is really excited. Indeed, but mostly they are always excited when MS comes up with another OS release and it never turns out to be all that is claimed. Secondly, it could well be better then Vista, at least that is something to sheer about.

Listen, if you pull of a release like Vista when you are not MS, you would lose marketshare so fast. Imagine Canonial releasing a really bad Ubuntu, Vista style. Users would migrate to a better, other linux distro and it would take a long time to rebuild the community they had.

If you've been using computers for more then 10 years, and you're a Windows user and you're buying all the Windows 7 propaganda on the net right now? to you i say: fool you once, shame on them - fool you twice, shame on you!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Imagine that, both Red Hat and Sun Microsystems are about equal in market capitalization ($2.6 billion). This does not mean that RH turns the same profit as Sun does, at this point Sun still has higher profit by a very large margin. The market capitalization shows us what the market thinks the company is worth (or the total value of all the shares of the company). I don't know about you, but i think this is remarkable, a major turning point for RH.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Sometimes vendors do their best to hide stuff from customers. For example, i noticed a lot of laptops using the Intel Core 2 Duo T5870 processor, however searching for the exact specs of this beast you will find exactly nothing on intels site (and it is even the developer site, none the less). Nothing in the available list of cpu and even zero results from the site-search.

Then i stumbled upon intel ARK site, which did contain the information. After entering the cpu model, i got all the specs i was looking for, fast. great site to add to you bookmarks to lookup stuff when you stumble upon one of the OEM offerings with hidden specs.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

2009 is already almost 2 weeks old and i still haven't looked back at 2008, I'm probably the last person on the net to do so, which is a feat in itself.

Linux & OSS headlines for 2008 for me include:

The best games of last year are:

  • Wii: Super Mario Galaxy, although it was already available in '07, i only got around playing it in 2008. And everybody loved it, a lot. It is a great game to play with the family. Other great games include 'Lost Winds', 'Zack & Wiki' and 'de Blob'. Although, none have the attraction (to the rest of the family) as Mario has.
  • DS: Final Fantasy IV, it is wonderful, goes of to a slow start and it doesn't seem to be as good as FF3, but it picks up pace very fast and doesn't let go.

TV brought some nice things in 08:

  • Dexter is the best series,
  • but Top Gear is now available on national TV and rates as the best show for me. No Heroes this year, the series was cut short by the Hollywood writers strike.

The price for best Linux distro in 2008 goes to:

  • Ubuntu, but just. There are so many new (and older) good distros rising (some even based on Ubuntu) maybe next year the desktop king will be dethroned.