Review: Bodhi Linux 1.0.0

Main Screen + Main Right-Click Menu
This is not the first time that I'm looking at Bodhi Linux, which is why this review will be a little bit shorter than that last one. That said, I felt like it was time for a review with the release of the stable version 1.0.0.
For those of you who have never heard of this distribution, Bodhi Linux is an Ubuntu derivative that is known for using Enlightenment E17 as its WM. It's meant to be lightweight, somewhat minimalistic applications-wise, pretty, and highly configurable and modular.
Follow the jump to see what, if anything, has changed since the beta release. I tested this on a live USB made with UnetBootin. I did not test the installation because, well, an Ubuntu derivative is an Ubuntu derivative.


Featured Comments: Week of 2011 March 20

There were a few posts that garnered a handful of comments, so I'll try to repost most of those.

Review: Chakra 2011.02 "Cyrus"

Reader Znurre said, "Interesting and honest review as always. Good job :)"
Commenter hugo lobo had this clarification: "Thanks for the review. Also, one thing that surprised me was that Konqueror didn't have the WebKit rendering engine option even though it is at version 4.6; all it had was KHTML. Maybe I was supposed to get it from the repositories and I missed it. Exactly. You would have to install the 'kwebkitpart' package and than enable it on konqueror."
Reader DarkDuck said, "KOffice has been renamed to Calligra Suite ages ago..."

Why I Think All Browsers (Mozilla Firefox Included) Will Survive

Commenter be_slayed posited, "Bott's article seemed rather uninformed and irrelevant to me. What do version numbers really matter? IE of course will survive because Microsoft backs it."
An anonymous reader said, "I stopped reading Ed Bott when I realized he was such a shill for M$. I agree with you that all 3 will survive and I hope Opera does as well. I switch from one to another depending. I find that Chrome has some problems with You Tube hanging, FF 3.6 is not as fast as Chrome or Opera and Opera has a few operational problems that I don't like. I find it hard to copy from Opera screens to an email when I want to send something to a friend - no idea why but it just not work as well then. If I could get that to work and also if I were able to pay a few bills with anything but FF I might choose Opera as my main browser."
These sentiments were shared by another anonymous commenter: "I have serious doubts about Ed Bott since reading his article, I am beginning to wonder about his true motives and credibility as a journalist. That said firefox is in no danger in the foreseeable future it is hugely popular and has unmatched extensibility. I use 26 addons regularly they are a vital part of my browsing experience and increase both my productivity and enjoyment on the web. Couldn't agree more re your comments on browsers generally they all bring something to the table and have matured into great tools."
Reader linuxblog asked, "What is about other browsers? Safari? Opera? And then, as soon as Firefox and Chrom(ium) are FOSS, there are (and will be) forks and re-brandings, like Iceweasel, Seamonkey &Co." One clarification that I forgot to mention is that Mozilla Firefox and Chromium are already FOSS and already have forks.
Yet another anonymous commenter had this small counterargument: "RE: Tabs on top versus tabs on bottom If you have the tabs on top directly at the top of the screen it will be easier to access than if you have them closer because if they're at the screen edge you can overshoot your mouse as much as you want and they'll still go farther. On the other hand, if tabs-on-top doesn't put the tabs right to the screen edge, tabs-on-bottom will be closer." The only other problem with this is that even if the titlebar is removed and the tabs really are on the top of the screen, there is typically a 1 or 2 pixel gap between the top edge of the tab and the top of the screen, so that "infinite" distance for the tab height is actually not really there, so that advantage is gone too.

Linux Mint Xfce: Now Based on Debian

Reader Barnaby said, "So much for Debian is not any longer relevant."

Ubuntu: Even the Computer-Averse Can Use It

Commenter joeoshawa had this little story: "I have an ex-wife i still get along with who never bothered with computers till a few years back. Her computer knowledge consisted of literaly 'the mouse thing moves the pointer and i know what the keyboard is for' She had no idea what windows was and no idea of what an operating system is nor how to use one. I decided to teach her to use ubuntu for various reasons and she has never looked back. When she tries to use her mothers pc which runs xp she gets fed up and says 'Its so hard to use and you have no programs mine i just click and it works i hate this thing,' I do love ubuntu....."
Reader Innocent Bystander had another story: "Here is my "$friend": a person who, after two years, cannot still figure out when to single click , when to double click. The right-click is total mystery. This person doesn't understand why you can't just hit the power button to turn off the computer instead of selecting Shutdown in the menu. As a result, she never turn off, b/c she is not sure she remember the shutdown process. For this kind of user, a Windows machine will last less than 1 month. I installed her Ubuntu, but she still managed to delete the top panel. I guess she tried to do something and clicked on every mouse click possible. At the next upgrade, I will install her Linux Mint." Honestly, I don't know how much Linux Mint will really help.
Commenter Megatotoro said, "I'm not an Ubuntu user but I couldn't possibly agree more. Being a former Windows user all the way back from 3.11 to XP, I must say that once you really know Linux, you realize it is indeed friendlier than Windows. Of course, people think otherwise because they are used to their old ways, which sometimes are not the easiest."
An anonymous reader said, "I like the latest ubuntu. I like the feeling that it recognised my printer straight away and printed a test page without any fuss at all ...This above all gave me incredible confidence in it. Of course it will be better than windows, if it isn't already it will evolve to be superior in time...."

Thanks to all those who commented on this past week's posts. My spring break is over, so I'm back in college, meaning I'm going to be quite busy again. That said, I hope to have a couple reviews out relatively soon, but I can't promise anything in particular for this week. Once again, if you like what I write, please continue subscribing and commenting!


Ubuntu: Even the Computer-Averse Can Use It

Yesterday, I was talking to one of my relatives (whom I shall refer to as $relative) about computers, and I inquired as to whether $relative was still using Ubuntu 10.04 LTS "Lucid Lynx" that I had installed on $relative's laptop shortly before I left for college. Do note that $relative is pretty computer-averse when it comes to anything other than using a browser or using a productivity suite. To my surprise, $relative said yes! I also asked if $relative's printing issues were sorted out, because the printer connected is made by Lexmark, and Lexmark printers play as badly with Linux as Broadcom wireless cards do (i.e. they don't mix). To my further surprise, $relative said yes again!
At this point, I figured $relative was switching to Microsoft Windows XP to print documents, printing from another (Microsoft Windows) computer at home, or just printing in school by means of a USB flash drive. To my total and utter shock, $relative countered that all printing was being done in Ubuntu on that connected Lexmark printer and $relative was able to connect and configure the printer alone, without help. Woah!
Not too long ago, $relative was unable to find and set up drivers for the Lexmark printer on Microsoft Windows XP, and I don't know how much has changed since then. Yet, on Ubuntu, it was totally doable.
What further surprised me is that $relative's laptop previously had Ubuntu 9.04 "Jaunty Jackalope", with which I struggled long and hard to no avail in order to get it to recognize that printer, yet with an Ubuntu version just one year newer, a previously impossible task became darn easy.
I know now without a doubt that (a) Ubuntu is getting exponentially better with each release and (b) many user-friendly Linux distributions are in fact more user-friendly than Microsoft Windows. Would someone like to try to convince me otherwise?


Linux Mint Xfce: Now Based on Debian

In all honesty, I didn't see this coming. Sure, if you browse through this blog, you'll see plenty of posts and prognostications on my part about the future of Linux Mint and Debian, but I didn't think this would happen the way it has happened. I regularly open the Linux Mint homepage to check for updates, so when I saw "Linux Mint Xfce RC" released, I got excited because finally Linux Mint 10 "Julia" Xfce will have been released after the release of the GNOME, KDE, and LXDE editions. Then, I realized that in place of "10 'Julia'" was a date number. That's when I knew. In short, the Xfce edition of Linux Mint has moved to a Debian base.

The reason for my surprise is that the move happened only partly due to reasons that I wrote about; the upstream issues are only briefly mentioned as causes for the move. The biggest reason was that the other editions are released sometimes mere weeks before the release of an RC for the next version of the main edition. I mean, just look at it: it has been 4 months since the release of Linux Mint 10 "Julia" GNOME, yet the KDE and LXDE editions were released just a few weeks ago. That's bad. That's why the developers have moved the Xfce (and, apparently, Fluxbox) edition to the Debian base; there's no more worry about late releases, and the rolling-release schedule makes for easier maintenance. Another thing mentioned is the huge performance boost over the previous Ubuntu-based Xfce edition; the Debian-based Xfce edition uses almost 50 MB less RAM for comparable task combinations.

Of course, the KDE and LXDE editions have already been released with the Ubuntu base, but the developers have said they are looking into possibly shifting them over to the Debian base and make the Ubuntu-based Linux Mint come solely with GNOME. This would make sense because those editions are also released relatively late in the release cycle. As was mentioned earlier, the Fluxbox edition will move to the Debian base when it gets released.
The developers have said they are committed to releasing Linux Mint 11 "Katya" this May and Linux Mint 12 "L[...]a" this November. Their uncertainty about releases beyond that also seems to imply that Linux Mint 12 will be the last Ubuntu-based Linux Mint, and future versions of Linux Mint will solely be based on Debian; that seems to coincide with Canonical's plan to put Wayland in Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, so I guess that's a good place to stop.
The developers also said they had two big plans for Linux Mint 11, but these may have to be put off until Linux Mint 12 or later. Ooooh, the developers have really piqued my curiosity!
Finally, the developers have said that this and future Debian-based editions of Linux Mint are to be referred to as simply "Linux Mint XYDE YEAR-MONTH". The "Debian" moniker will be dropped.

One thing that has annoyed me about the Debian-based Linux Mint edition (now editions) is that there aren't any release notes saying what's new. I guess it makes sense from one angle in that it's a rolling-release distribution, so users will always have the latest packages, but I would still like to know exactly what is included in a particular snapshot. The developers left out release notes for past snapshots of Linux Mint "Debian", and they've done the same for this new Linux Mint Xfce RC. For example, I didn't know what version of Xfce was included until I saw the comments section; I was excitedly hoping to see that the brand-new Xfce 4.8 has been included, only to read that it is Xfce 4.6, though this can be changed with a quick upgrade. Dear Linux Mint developers, could you please start including release notes when new snapshots of Debian-based Linux Mint editions are released?

In conclusion, the Xfce edition of Linux Mint is moving to a Debian base for a better release schedule, more mainstream packages, and better performance.
I'm currently using Linux Mint 9 LTS "Isadora" GNOME, so I was thinking of using that until Linux Mint 13 LTS gets released; now it looks like there may not be a Linux Mint 13 LTS, so I'm looking forward to using a Debian-based Linux Mint full time on my laptop's hard drive!


Why I Think All Browsers (Mozilla Firefox Included) Will Survive

Mozilla Firefox 4, as customized by me
Mozilla Firefox 4 is out, and I'm using it now. It's now fast enough and stable enough that it has rekindled some of the old excitement I felt when I first started using Mozilla Firefox and when I started using a new version of the browser. At the same time that I started using it, I saw this article (Ed Bott, ZDNet) which posits why Microsoft Internet Explorer will survive and Mozilla Firefox won't, and I felt like I should respond to it.

Before that, there are two things I should disclose. The first is that I initially considered titling this post "Review: Mozilla Firefox 4" but I decided against it because it's more my opinion of the current status of the browser and my excitement about the new release. The second is that I am probably quite biased in favor of Mozilla Firefox, considering that I have been using it since version 0.8. Please keep these in mind when reading the rest of this post.

Basically, he posits that Mozilla has done wrong by letting Firefox sit without a major release for two years, while in two years Google Chrome has gone from version 1 to version 10. Furthermore, Microsoft has been ramping up its Internet Explorer release schedule and coming closer to how often Google releases Chrome and will make bigger strides in market share thanks to integration with Microsoft Windows Phone 7. And finally, both Microsoft and Google have a whole host of web applications coming with Internet Explorer and Chrome, respectively, while Mozilla has nothing of the sort for Firefox, so Firefox is the loser here. Follow the jump to read my take.


Review: Chakra 2011.02 "Cyrus"

Main Screen
Chakra GNU/Linux has become one of the distributions I now test regularly. Its appeal to me lies in the fact that it is based on Arch Linux (and is therefore comparatively quick and configurable), yet it comes with KDE already configured along with a more user-friendly system installer and package manager. I've already tested versions Alpha 5 "Panora", 0.2.0 "Jaz", and 0.3.0 "Ashoc". I figured I would test version 0.4.0 "Cyrus" whenever it got released, so I chose to wait until the news showed up on DistroWatch to test it. Unfortunately, that never happened; the latest news regarding this release was about 0.4.0 "Cyrus" Beta 2. Then, two days ago, I saw a news entry on DistroWatch about Chakra, specifically regarding version 2011.04 "Aida" Milestone 3. I wondered if the 0.4.0 "Cyrus" release had been scrapped entirely, so I headed to the Chakra website to check it out. It turns out that version 2011.02 "Cyrus" (renumbered from 0.4.0 for reasons I will also talk about shortly) was released in February itself and is now the current stable release; it was just never announced on DistroWatch. Darn it! Why doesn't anyone tell me these things?

As I just mentioned, the numbering changed from 0.4.0 to 2011.02. It looks like the Chakra developers moved away from the goal of a stable 1.0 release and chose to emphasize the rolling-release cutting-edge nature of Chakra by switching to a year-month numbering system. That said, the old numbering system clearly showed that Chakra is still alpha-release software; I don't know if I'm supposed to think the same thing with the current numbering system — more on that later.

I tested Chakra in VirtualBox with 1024 MB of RAM allocated to the guest OS and an available 10 GB virtual hard drive for installation. In response to a couple comments as well as articles on other blogs that I have seen, this is for a few reasons: I can't make a Chakra live USB without wiping it clean (dd) and I don't have too many blank CDs/DVDs lying around for these purposes, I can better control how Chakra responds in lower-resource environments (though admittedly 1 GB is still plenty), and I don't need to worry about messing up my installed systems on my computer. Follow the jump to see what it's like.


Featured Comments: Week of 2011 March 13

There were a couple of posts that garnered quite a few comments. Anyway, I'll try to repost most of them.

Review: GhostBSD 2.0

An anonymous reader had this tip regarding changing the root password: "You could of course use "sudo passwd root" to change the root password..."
Commenter kelvin said, "Instead of writing all this crap you should of reinstalled it correctly as I did then you would find the package manager works correctly searches, updates, and installs as it says on the box. it is limited to 1 package at a time. The major let down for me was it does not mount flash-drives correctly only if inserted at boot time and does not unmount it mounts ntfs drives but not jfs. does not auto mount CDs which is a total bummer that is with 64bt The polish and start up times are pretty fast for bsd. pcbsd is testing gnome in the next version 9 so there should be good competition"
Regarding my issue with the aforementioned comment, another anonymous reader came to the rescue: "I think what he meant was that you should've installed it correctly, to hard drive. Doing all your reviews in VB without a good reason, like it did not install anywhere else, does not count. You said yourself you have not been able to test auto mounting because of that. It's a drawback and does not make for a proper review."
Yet another anonymous commenter had this support for the developers: "I have GhostBSD 2 installing after about 5 minutes on the live DVD and can't believe how easy it was. The live DVD is about as fast as any I have used and I know that some people like a graphical installer, but this is BSD after all. Anyone who remembers DesktopBSD knows the weaknesses of PC-BSD, great though that project is and GhostBSD seems to me to be following in DesktopBSD's footsteps. Keep it simple, close to FreeBSD itself but now with Gnome. Thanks to the GhostBSD developers"
Reader John said, "Thanks for the review of GhostBSD 2.0. it was a great read and I would honestly install it to a hard drive to feel the real speed of the OS. the install process in a VM is slower, this I have done my self when testing the release before we released it to the public. I have tested the install process across several single core and dual core computers and the time to install is right around 10 minutes(plus a minutes here and there depending upon the ram of the system). Us at the developing team have found that the lighter the system runs faster and if people would like the heaver software they can install it. I know bxpkg you can only install one piece of software at a time, this is done for the reason that where it could not cause problems on there desktop. bxpkg is new software and is also early in there stages. We have teamed up with them through our process and they will grow with GhostBSD. There is only one problem that I see you have no links going back to our site."
Following up on the last part, commenter jai ho had this to say, among other things: "as John said in above comment, it is really annoying that after reading a good review and we will decide to try it out and then there is no link to the site or download page from your site.. it may be a matter of searching in google but it is really annoying not to have the direct link from your site to the distro's site.. so if you can include a link to the distro's site in your future reviews it would really be helpful..thanks..."

Comparison Test: Fuduntu 14.9 vs. Fusion 14 "Thorium"

Fuduntu creator FEWT had this to say: "Thank you for the review! FYI, Fuduntu secured distribution licenses for our shipped codecs so we are completely legal in this regard. :D", later adding (partly in response to my question about what the comment would have been like had Fusion won), "@PV - I would have congratulated them, and taken action items of things to improve. We don't license libdvdcss, but we don't ship with it either fortunately. :D"

Reader Barnaby had this support: "Very interesting! Thanks!"
An anonymous commenter asked, "Could you please specify the source of your statement, 'Well, a judge ruled a couple months ago that things like libdvdcss2 are legal for personal viewing (but not a whole lot else).' TNX" (It has been done, worry not.)

Thanks to all those who commented on this past week's posts. This week I have spring break, so I'll be able to post more freely, but ironically, aside from a review I'm planning to write as a guest post for another site, I don't have much planned. Anyway, if you like what I write, please keep subscribing and commenting! (Subscribing can be done easily on the right using any one of the multitude of widgets. Commenting can be done at the end of a post.)


Back at Home for Spring Break 2011

I'm halfway through my second semester of freshman year, and I'm back home now for spring break. I came back on Megabus; although I left half and hour late, I arrived on time, which was nice. The bus had free wi-fi, but that didn't matter to me because I slept almost the entire time (it was a night bus). The only annoying thing was that some Disney movie was playing on a tiny screen at the front of the bus at a rather loud volume, so I couldn't really sleep well then.
Now that I'm back home, I'll have a bit more time to write here, but ironically, I don't have too much planned. Well, I'll think of something. Stay tuned!


Comparison Test: Fuduntu 14.9 vs. Fusion 14 "Thorium"

Fuduntu Main Screen
Oh boy. I've been wanting and waiting to do this comparison test for quite a while now, and now I can finally do it! The problem was that Fusion 14 "Thorium" was just released a few days ago, and before that I didn't want to compare a stable release of Fuduntu to a pre-release of Fusion.

So let's look at the contenders. Fuduntu is, despite its name, not based on Ubuntu. It is based on Fedora (version 14.9 being based on Fedora 14 "Laughlin") and it is designed to be user-friendly like Ubuntu as well as optimal for laptops, netbooks, and other portable computers.
Fusion Main Screen + Mint Menu
Fusion is also based on Fedora (version 14 "Thorium" also being based on Fedora 14 "Laughlin"), and it aims to provide a complete and very user-friendly desktop experience with a slight emphasis on multimedia applications.

I made a multiboot live USB of these two distributions using MultiSystem. I did not install either one; I just tested the live sessions. Follow the jump to see what each one is like. Please note that this post is full of images, so now you know what may be causing the page to lag a bit if that happens.


Review: GhostBSD 2.0

Main Screen
Recently, GhostBSD 2.0 was released. What is GhostBSD? It's a FreeBSD distribution that uses GNOME as its sole DE and aims to make FreeBSD more user-friendly, similar to what Ubuntu has done to Debian (and the Linux community as a whole) — that last part comes from the GhostBSD website. This puts GhostBSD in the position of being the GNOME counterpart to PC-BSD, which is a KDE-focused FreeBSD distribution, although that will gain GNOME and other DE variants as well with the upcoming release of version 9.0. Before version 2.0, GhostBSD was only a live DVD; now, however, it is installable to a disk, which, as you will see later, turned out to be a boon.
I tested the GhostBSD live DVD, installation, and post-install session in VirtualBox in Linux Mint 10 "Julia" GNOME with 1024 MB of RAM allocated to the guest OS and an available 10 GB virtual hard drive. Follow the jump to see what it's like.


Magnitude 8.9 Earthquake in Japan

Unless you've been living under a rock, you know that a few days ago, a monster earthquake of magnitude 8.9 hit Japan and hit it hard. Some death toll estimates say 5000, others say 10000, and still others quote even larger numbers. It's been devastating to the people of Japan, and they need help.
This particular natural disaster has hit close to home because I have two Japanese friends from middle school who moved back to Japan for high school (and beyond). Thankfully, they are OK, but it is truly unfortunate that many people can't say the same thing.
I did my part by donating $20 to the relief effort through MIT's association of Japanese students. I strongly encourage, nay, urge, readers of this blog to do the same.
I've subscribed to the Philip DeFranco show (Sxephil) on YouTube, but I only watch it once in a while because too often it's about hot women, large breasts, and sex (or something along those lines). However, this time, Philip DeFranco has put together a truly moving video talking about the events in Japan, how to help, and how his mom called him just to make sure he's OK. I've embedded the video at the end of this post, and I encourage you all to watch it and either donate money or other supplies or send this to other friends to raise awareness in the hope that at least a few friends will donate.


Featured Comments: Week of 2011 March 6

Once again, I was afraid that I wouldn't write a post like this, but thankfully that hasn't happened. There were a handful of comments spread over a few posts, so I'll try to repost all of them.

Movie Review: The Social Network

Reader Abhijith said, "Good movie. I think it definitely deserves a second watch. Very engaging as you rightly pointed out."

A Disappointing Review of Bodhi Linux 0.1.6

Commenter Jeff91, who is also the lead developer of Bodhi Linux, said, "Thanks for the support mate."
Reader Emyr Bateman had this to say: "I too read the review that Dedoimedo did of Bodhi Linux and I also noted that there seemed to be an awful lot of hate going it's way. I have used Bodhi, and I can see its principles, you want Thunderbird as your only e-mail client, go ahead. You want Clementine, fill your boots! It also got me thinking, has this guy reviewed the net install of Arch?! Man you don't even get X!! What would he have made of Ubuntu Warty Warthog?" The truth is that Dedoimedo did try much more advanced distributions before, but his perspective has shifted to one of a Linux newbie, including the bad parts of that.
Commenter Juniper said, "Something about that review just didn't seem right. The unnecessary sarcasm and comments made it sound like propaganda so I had to check it out for myself. I could see a lot of work has gone into it. The only thing I didn't like was the learning curve, which I'm sure is just E-17. But that's not permanent, obviously. It becomes a non-issue once you've learned it. I suggest everyone try it for themselves before dismissing it as a pointless or broken OS."
Reader T_Beermonster had this counterpoint: "Well the fuss that dedo's negative review of Bodhi kicked up has actually prompted me to: a) try it out - not terribly impressed, it has some potential but I'm edging towards a pointless rating. b) write it up as a review in the wordpress blog I'd almost forgotten I set up. https://tbeermonster.wordpress.com/2011/03/13/on-bodhi/" I read that review, and it's a good review; although it comes to many of the same conclusions, the important thing is that it views such things neutrally and doesn't present too much of a snarky or mocking tone.

Review: openSUSE 11.4 KDE

An anonymous commenter said, "A fair and balanced review. Nice job :)"

Thanks to all those who commented on this past week's posts. I do have a comparison test coming up this week, although the contenders will remain secret until the post is published. Other than that, I'm not planning a whole lot because I'm still kind of busy with school work and other stuff. That said, my spring break is next week (more on that later), so I'll be able to write a lot more then. Remember, if you like what I write, please continue subscribing and commenting!


Review: openSUSE 11.4 KDE

Main Screen + Kickoff
This review you are about to read was originally going to be about Scientific Linux 6. However, two things changed that: one, openSUSE 11.4 got released yesterday, though I did think about doing Scientific Linux today and openSUSE in a few days, and two, Scientific Linux didn't play well with either UnetBootin or MultiSystem. In any case, that review will have to wait a bit.

openSUSE is the free end user-grade version of SUSE, the other version being Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop (Novell SLED). It has been a pioneer and a force for progress in the Linux ecosystem; unfortunately, Novell has been beleaguered by financial troubles and is going to be bought out by Attachmate, though the openSUSE developers have remained committed to the project regardless of Novell's fate. Though openSUSE is primarily a KDE desktop, the developers have made almost equal contributions to both GNOME and KDE. For example, the openSUSE developers were the ones who created the Kickoff menu for KDE 4 as well as the ones who led the charge for better integration of Mozilla Firefox and OpenOffice.org into KDE 4. They were also instrumental in developing the Slab menu (which inspired and has been improved upon by the Mint Menu), Banshee and other Mono-based applications, and other things like Bonobo that aren't directly noticed by users. I was actually thinking of testing both the GNOME and KDE versions, but I figured that testing the GNOME version would be just testing the existing applications in a more familiar GNOME environment, so I might as well just test the KDE version; plus, I got lazy when downloading the ISO files. Oh well.

I have tried openSUSE twice before, both times version 11.3 KDE. The first time I tried it was in a virtual machine and as part of a comparison with other KDE distributions, and I was fairly pleased with its stability; that said, it was quite slow, though that could be attributable to the limited settings in the virtual machine due to the limited resources of my old computer. The second time I tried it was just to see if it would play well with my hardware on a live USB; unfortunately, the system still felt slow even on my newer current computer, and Skype refused to start once downloaded and installed. Follow the jump to see how openSUSE 11.4 compares to 11.3. I tested openSUSE 11.4 KDE by adding it to my current multiboot live USB setup using MultiSystem, but I did not test the installation procedure.


A Disappointing Review of Bodhi Linux 0.1.6

A little under a year ago, Jim Lynch of Desktop Linux Reviews posted a highly critical review of Kubuntu 10.04 LTS "Lucid Lynx"; I found many of his criticisms to be either easily fixed or extremely petty, especially the inscrutable emphasis on the lack of Canonical branding. Well, I'm back to say that I've come across another poor review of another Ubuntu-based distribution: this time it's Dedoimedo reviewing Bodhi Linux 0.1.6, which I have also checked out before. I like reading Dedoimedo a lot, but this review has really dampened my trust of the author (whose name I do not know and who refers to himself as Dedoimedo on the website) regarding Linux distribution reviews. Follow the jump to see why.


Movie Review: The Social Network

Yesterday night I watched the movie The Social Network with my family. It's basically a dramatized documentary about the history of the founding of Facebook. Although the main people in real life were OK with this movie, as far as I know, this was not an officially-endorsed documentary, so there was a lot of dramatization especially where details were few and fuzzy. (On the other hand, things like the instant messages and emails, which have been published by Facebook, are real.) Plus, I think it's fairly well-established that Mark Zuckerberg in real life, while certainly blunt and introverted, is much more approachable and definitely not as much of an [expletive] as he was portrayed in the movie; similar things can be said about the other characters. Finally, based on Wikipedia's article about Sean Parker, the founder of Napster, the movie's snippet of text at the end about him retaining 7% of the company seems wrong; at least according to the Wikipedia article, Sean Parker was kicked out of the company immediately following his arrest for possession of cocaine and he lost all his shares.
Other than that, it's a fairly good movie. The plot never gets boring and it always stays engaging. I would recommend it to anyone who's looking for a good docudrama, although I will ask those who watch it to not rely on it for actual historical information.
On another note, I was pleased to see the presence of KDE 3 on Mark Zuckerberg's computer; the window decorations and the bottom panel with a virtual desktop switcher all scream "KDE 3". Yay! This was shown in the trailer, but many writers online suspected this computer would be replaced with an Apple Mac computer. Thankfully, that didn't happen (although there were a plethora of Macs used by other people throughout the film).

Featured Comments: Week of 2011 February 27

I was scared again that this post wouldn't happen this week, but thankfully I was able to write 2 posts that ended up getting a handful of comments.

Review: AUSTRUMI 2.2.9

Interestingly enough, all the commenters on this post have been anonymous.
One reader asked, "Am I blind or there is not even 1 (one!) link to the AUSTRUMI web site? What kind of review is this?" Yeah, sorry, I'm not in the habit of doing that. I'll try to do it from now on, though.
Another commenter said, "If you push the tab button at the boot-splash and type in lang_en as a boot parameter you will find the desktop is in English and will stay that way"
Another reader had this to say: "Were you able to get connected wirelessly? I have tried the last 10 releases, and none connect wirelessly for me. Also, did you try to open a thumbdrive? Have not been able to do that either. This is a great looking and very fast distro and I would love to be able to use it. P.S. I tried posting in the unofficial English Austrumi forum, and even though the moderator answers quickly, concise answers seem unobtainable. Thannks for the review."
Another commenter was a bit more flattering: "I´ve been using wifi with an intel 3945, a Ralink 2500 and a RT8187, but I do recall it failed on other laptops (none with Broadcom 43xx). Still, since it can work from RAM, it frees the CD drive, which is VERY usefull booting laptops with faulty Windows installations. Plus, it absolutely flies on an old 1000 Mhz PIII Dell, which is now out of the garage and working very well in a Charity Org. Now it´s using Opera and LibreOffice I must check out the latest ISO. Cheers to the Austrumi devs!"

Revisited: Pardus 2011

Reader tharanitharan had this to say: "tried it skype does work.. but i reverted back to linux mint..not much packages ti play around with in pardus 2011"

Thanks to all those who commented on this past week's posts. I should be a lot less busy this coming week, but I don't actually have a whole lot planned. Well, scratch that: openSUSE 11.4 is coming out this week, so I plan to review that when that happens. Remember, if you like what I write, please continue subscribing and commenting!


Revisited: Pardus 2011

Last time, when I reviewed Pardus 2011, I was really impressed by its ease of use and its selection of default applications. One minor issue that I had was that repositories weren't enabled by default, so I couldn't install any new software. The other issue with the review itself was that because I had trouble with Pardus 2009.2 "Geronticus Eremita" on a live USB, I was hesitant to try Pardus 2011 on a live USB as well, so I chose to review it in VirtualBox. This meant that I had no idea how Pardus would play with my computer's hardware.
Well, now I have a bit more time and I'm willing to give it a try. I made a multiboot system with AUSTRUMI (which I reviewed yesterday) using MultiSystem and went on my way. Please note that as I do not have a spare computer and am not willing to allocate space on my hard drive for distributions other than my main ones (Linux Mint 9 "Isadora" GNOME and Microsoft Windows 7), I have tested the live DVD, not the installation DVD. Also do note that as I have already reviewed Pardus 2011 with a plethora of images there, I will not be including any new ones in this post; if you want to see pictures of Pardus 2011, please refer back to the original review. Follow the jump to read the rest.


Review: AUSTRUMI 2.2.9

Main Screen
Unless you're from Latvia, there's a good chance that this is the first time you are seeing either the name AUSTRUMI or a review of it. So what is it?
AUSTRUMI is a Latvian Slackware-based distribution that uses FVWM as the window manager. So why am I reviewing it? Well, a couple days ago I saw on DistroWatch's ticker feed of updated distributions that the AUSTRUMI developers have released version 2.2.9. Yet DistroWatch's page for this distribution shows the last listed update to be version 1.5.0 and the last notable review to be from 2009 August of version 1.9.3 on Desktop Linux Reviews. I read that review before; it praised AUSTRUMI for its light weight as well as its numerous programs stuffed in but knocked it hard for including Minefield, Mozilla Firefox's unstable developmental branch, as its default browser. I became curious about this and wanted to see what has changed since then, so I decided to check it out. The AUSTRUMI website is quite friendly and well-done; although the distribution is Latvian, the page displays by default in English. It has a list of included programs, some history, and a link to the Slackware Latvia forums. That's certainly helpful (no sarcasm intended).
I tested this on a live USB made with MultiSystem. I only tested the live session, for which it was designed, although it is technically installable as well. Follow the jump to see what it's like.


Free Software and Accessibility

Yesterday, I saw a link to this blog post (Paul Cutler, Paul Cutler's Blog) that also linked to this Bugzilla bug report comment regarding an accessibility issue in Eye Of GNOME, GNOME's default PDF and other file viewer. The suggestion was to add a menu entry in the "Edit" section of the main menu allowing users to copy recently loaded images in the document to the clipboard. A user by the name of Adrian Hands was the one who submitted the patch. But he was no ordinary user; as he suffered from ALS (a.k.a. Lou Gehrig's disease), he could barely use a keyboard, so he needed alternative methods of input. Yet, even in his last days of life suffering from a truly debilitating disease (he passed away a few weeks ago), he was not only able to make his own computing experience better but he was able to share the fruits of his work with others.
This is why I really enjoy using free software — not just for the cost or the security benefits, but for the nearly-unlimited ability to customize software, the incredible community, and the great culture of sharing to make the entire user experience better. My heart goes out to the family of a true hacker.