Archive for September, 2008

I successfully encode a movie for E71!

Posted: September 26, 2008 in BlogBlurb, Nokia
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I installed Avidemux (from the Ubuntu packages list), and able to convert my movie files for Nokia E71.

Definitely lot easier to use than mencoder. 😀


GNOME in Slackware

Posted: September 25, 2008 in Linux
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This is an old or maybe a forgotten topic for Slackware. When the day Pat decided to drop GNOME from Slackware, I did not put much thought into it. This was because, at the time, my primary desktop was Enlightenment, and GNOME is not as easy or fun to use than now.

I came to Linux from an Unix environment. The workstations, during my university school days, were a few flavours of Unix. So, for me to go into Linux was not much of a difficult transition. Even when I am not using Unix, I would be using MS-DOS as my main OS (another CLI base OS. Win95 did come later, but I already had my fun with Slackware, Win95 was not going to change how would be using my PC). So, when I moved into another CLI environment, with more powerful tools and utilities, it really did not hurt that much. In fact, come to think it now, it feels like a logical advancement of my computing experience. So, when GNOME was dropped, I did not think it would be something of any significant for a slacker like me.

However, as time goes by, the development of Enlightenment has stalled and, after tried out a few other desktop environment, I moved into Dropline GNOME as my primary desktop. Now, as development of Dropline stalled, I did something I never thought I would be doing, I moved away from Slackware and embraced another distribution, Ubuntu. All this happened, because I like GNOME.

Dropline turned Slackware into a powerful and fun desktop. Ubuntu make it powerful, fun and simple. Perhaps, is the development of GNOME and Linux that makes Ubuntu so much easy to play with.

Incidentally, I stumble on an link about why Slackware should keep GNOME.

In it, it sated:

“… A desktop environment is unlike any other set of packages in a distribution. You can switch out Xfree86 for X.Org, but that’s essentially transparent to the user. You can even hold off on switching to ELF, or to glibc based on the reasoning that libc5 or glibc aren’t ready for prime time yet – even when every other major distro has already made the switch – and for most users this isn’t a visible issue. A desktop environment, especially one of the two major desktop players in the Linux community, is a big issue for a user. Getting a desktop “just right” is something that many users spend a great deal of time on. Especially in the Linux world, “tricking out” your desktop is a Big Deal™. …

… to drop support for one of the two desktop management systems used by more than 95% of Linux users is an enormous impact to a lot of individuals. GNOME has been under a bit of a cloud lately – it’s star is no longer as ascendant as it once was. The promise of better technology hasn’t so far yielded any real-world benefits and its once-held licensing moral high ground is much less an issue today than it once was. But cloud or not, it was one of the major desktop environment choices in Slackware….

… The inclusion of GNOME was, I assert, more than a technical decision; more than simply including packages. It was an implied commitment to each and every user that would make their desktop choice based on that inclusion that the work they put in to their system wouldn’t be thrown away …

Now, after making the switch, I started to become more incline towards his view. Further, he stated:

… That is, I don’t think Dropline, GWARE, or GSB would be nearly as popular today if GNOME wasn’t in Slackware. It seems like a paradox – if there is no GNOME support in Slackware, then of course there would be more community involvement to make it. Having spent time on Dropline’s forums from almost the beginning of the Dropline GNOME project, it was my observation that the vast majority of Dropline users were not people that switched from KDE. They were people who already used Slackware’s official GNOME and switched to Dropline. If there had been no official GNOME from day one, would there have been nearly the community interest in Slackware GNOME? I suggest there wouldn’t be. What does this matter to now? If the above is true, then as a GNOME user myself it means that in the long term, GNOME usage on Slackware is going to decline because of Slackware dropping official support. It means that the original scenario I suggested is more true – that dropping Slackware support officially is the touch of death to GNOME on Slackware. Not a quick death like it would be if there was no community alternative, but a slow withering one. The speed of the death is irrelevant, however, to me as a GNOME user. Perhaps it is even worse when it is slow, as there is more incentive for people to make the personal decision to try and retain their investment of time and effort into their desktop in light of dwindling community support before finally biting the bullet and switching desktops or switching distributions…

Looking at my current situation, how amazingly true his opinion is…

Going Ubuntu

Posted: September 23, 2008 in BlogBlurb, Linux

It has been about 3 weeks since I moved to Ubuntu. So far, I can only say, I am very impressed by it.

I never expected Linux can be so simple to install and configure. From a strict Slackware tradition (where we tend to do everything by manually), such automation does make me felt spoils by the system.

I got myself a Nokia E71

Posted: September 22, 2008 in Apple, BlogBlurb, Nokia
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I was planning to get myself a iPhone, but after reading its features, and realising it does not work well with Linux (yes, I know about jailbreaking, but that does not satisfy my needs), I decided to give it a pass. Though, I do see many kids using the cool device, as it started selling in the area where I live.

To cut the story short, I need to get a phone that has at least:

  1. Has HSDPA and WiFi feature.
  2. Good mail/browser apps.
  3. GPS
  4. Able to emulate as a dial up modem for my laptop to surf net.
  5. Must work with Linux out of the box. No jailbreak or hacking of any kind.
  6. Can be used as an USB drive (you never know how handy this is, when I need to support my users). Easy for me to share files with other phone or PC.
  7. Has a wide range of add on applications.

I think, iPhone has 1, 2, 3 and 7, but it does not do well with 4, 5 and 6. After some shopping around, I notice Nokia E71 fit these requirement nicely. So, here I am, using this phone and really enjoying it. It is amazingly responsive (compare with my old SE P1i, which I used it to trade in for E71).

The only few annoyances are:

  1. I can’t encode a proper video file (using mencoder) and play it on the E71. I done some googling on this, so far, no luck.
  2. The multi-tasking feature of the phone may render some component not working until I restart it. For example, sometimes, it would complain the camera is being used by another application, but I just can’t find which application causing it. This can happen even when there is no task found in the task/opened application list.

Trying out Ubuntu

Posted: September 5, 2008 in Linux

There was once, I always consider myself, with pride, of using Linux, Slackware to be exact. Whenever I meet some Windoze users, I always like to make some (subtle) mocking remarks of how they refuse to try Linux, and how they look like an old dog which can’t learn new tricks.

These days, I keep hearing a lot my friends saying nice things about Ubuntu. As someone who been using Slackware (exclusively) for more than 10 years, I always find Slackware is the best. Not that I look down at other distro, is just not something I am compelling to try (I did try out Redhat, before the days of Fedora. However, I don’t find it fit my taste, and that was really long long time ago).

Anyway, a few days ago, as I was interviewing a potential engineer for my company, I mentioned about the need to know Linux as one of the job requirement. I briefly explain to him about Slackware, and he asked me why I don’t use Ubuntu. I told him the reason I did not try out other distro, as I have using Slackware since I started to play with Linux, and I am comfortable with it. Then, it occurred to me, I have became an old dog who can’t learn new tricks.

Well, why not, I have a few old laptops in the office that collecting dust. I don’t see any harm of trying out something new. Besides, it can be an interesting experience.