Ubuntu Intrepid Ibex 8.10 RC

Today, Ubuntu 8.10 Release Candidate will be released to the public. Today’s release candidate will most likely be what you will see in the final release which is scheduled to be released a week from today (October 30th).

The only time anything is ever changed in a Release Candidate is when there is a show-stopper (crash, data lose, etc.). It will of course be updated from time to time after final release, but only for security fixes and other serious bugs.

It won’t be long before I run an upgrade and start testing Ubuntu 9.04, but I can give you my word that Ubuntu 8.10 is ready to be released! I just hope you’re ready for it!

UPDATE (2008-10-23 @ 4:55 PM):
If you want to try out Ubuntu 8.10, you can find upgrade instructions here.

After upgrading, you may want to take a look at a list of software to install after each Ubuntu setup for Ubuntu 8.04 or Ubuntu 8.10. I’ve even included a terminal commands for a copy and paste install that will install everything at once (simplifying your life πŸ˜‰ ).

My own Ubuntu Personal Package Archive

I setup my own personal package archive today on LaunchPad. I plan on writing a few programs and porting some older programs that I’ve written to the Debian platform.

This will allow me to have a central place of serving the updates.

If you want to use my repository, you can add it using the following:

deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/kyleabaker/ubuntu intrepid main
deb-src http://ppa.launchpad.net/kyleabaker/ubuntu intrepid main

I currently have not added any packages, but you can keep an eye on my activity and also bookmark the following link so you can update the repository when you upgrade your system.
https://launchpad.net/~kyleabaker/+archive

I’d like to use this archive to publish snapshot builds of Opera, but unfortunately all published packages must be allowed to integrate with Ubuntu and since Opera is non-free I can’t do this. Oh well.

I love Ubuntu, and here is why

I love Ubuntu for many reasons. Several of them involve the fact that Ubuntu is open source (but Linux in general is that way) while others involve the fact that Ubuntu is striving for a certain aesthetically pleasing appearance that Apple has managed to control for so long.

If someone says that they want a Mac computer and you ask them why then their response (in general) will almost always be that they like the way that it looks. For some people it’s the way that the hardware looks with the white case and backlight feature keyboard, but for others it’s the way the operating system itself looks.

These are the people who should really look into Ubuntu.

Ubuntu doesn’t make hardware and they don’t support a narrow branch of hardware devices the same way that Apple does, but they use a kernel that is supported by open source that allows the operating system to run and function on a variety of machines ranging from outdated 1994 computers to cutting edge 2008-9 computers.

That’s not an exact number so don’t take that literally, but to get the point across I mean to show that the Linux kernel support hardware of all types…even PPC (if you know what that means).

When most people think of Linux or even hear the word Linux they think of the command prompt:

While Linux can be run in command line only mode and be (at most times) more powerful than even Windows, this is not the Linux that is around today.

Ubuntu, which is a specific distribution of Linux — meaning that it’s based on Linux, but looks different than other versions of Linux that you can try, is one of the most user friendly versions of Linux that you could download and install on your computer to date.

Ubuntu has gone out of it’s way to include the latest and greatest that the open source community has to offer and has even simplified the interactiveness of the operating system in ways that only make other distrobutions (explained above) jealous and annoyed.

Some versions of Linux will not be so friendly as to even have a preinstalled instant messenger that (by default) keeps a log of instant message from your friends. This means that when you open the chat window and start a conversation with a friend you can see the history and see what you have talked about in the past. This also means that you can look up what was said even when you are not talking to that particular contact.

This is a very simple change and a very simple idea, but it makes all the difference in making a product intuitive and easy for the end user to use and it works just as you would “expect” it to.

Ubuntu also, only recently, has gone to great lengths to make the appearance of the operating system more appealing to new-comers. With a new theme (most of the good ones will need to be downloaded by downloading the community themes) they are trying to make the platform more comfortable and less confusing.

Linux in general has come a long way since it was first born, but with the help of Ubuntu it is now coming into the mainstream.

If you haven’t looked into it before, you should go to Ubuntu.com, download the operating system, burn it to a CD and install it today! It will not erase your already installed version of Windows or Mac. After installing it, you will be prompted upon starting your computer to start up in Windows or Mac (which ever you already had installed) or Ubuntu so you can keep all of your files that you had before and still install Ubuntu!

I recommend Ubuntu to anyone who is looking for an alternative or curious. If you have any questions (anything at all), feel free to ask!

I currently have Ubuntu and Windows Vista installed on this computer at the same time, but I only boot up into Vista about once a month and that’s only to install updates. Ubuntu is amazing and if you give it a chance then you will quickly find that you’re wasting money by paying for operating systems such as Windows and Mac when you can get the same quality and sometimes more by Β installing Ubuntu or other variants of Linux for free!

Fall break is over..back at school

I’m back at school after a 4 day weekend for Fall break. I really needed that break from school, but unfortunately one of my professors with no life decided it would be best to show everyone how much he hates his life by giving us a take home mid-term for the break.

People like that should be taxed more, haha. πŸ˜›

Anyways, I didn’t really get anything done on it at home other than giving it a quick look-over. I will most likely be very busy for the next few days. πŸ™

In other news, Ubuntu 8.10 is being released in just 18 days on October 30th! I added a little banner on the side to hopefully catch the attention of a few people who might be interested.

An Opera Skin to Match the Ubuntu Dust Theme

I’ve been using Ubuntu 8.10 for a while now, since the first alphas were released, and I’ve been watching the artwork for Intrepid Ibex develop.

Now I think I’ve decided which theme I will be using in Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid Ibex and that is the Dust theme. You can get an idea of what it would look like on the Dust page, but I have mixed the dust theme with one of the proposed wallpapers for Intrepid Ibex that seems to mix well.

After mixing those, I realized that I couldn’t find a good skin for Opera to match the rest of the desktop so I set out to make my own.

I’m really not a big fan of the current default Opera skin, so I set out to find a skin that I felt was universally considered intuitive and easy to follow. That theme to me was the Google Chrome theme.

I had checked weeks ago on Opera Skins and found that no one had made a Google Chrome theme yet. Fortunately, this time I found one and it was done pretty well.

I grabbed the skin Chrome 1.92 and extracted the contents. Then the fun part began. All I had to do was replace a couple of images to make the header tie into the Dust theme title bar and desaturate the rest (or a great deal of them).

After that, zipped it up and tested it out. Here is what I got:

Opera is on the left, compared to Firefox on the right with a theme that was developed by someone else to match the Dust theme.

I will most likely make a Dust skin from the default Opera skin as well, but for now I’m enjoying the Google Chrome-Dust theme. πŸ˜€

I’ll upload it to the rest of my Opera skins soon. I just need to polish up a few graphics and implement the Dust scroll bar (as seen in Firefox) for consistency.

UPDATE (2008-10-08 @ 6:06 PM):
The “Opera Google Chrome Dust” or “Dusty Chrome,” which ever you prefer, is now available in it’s initial release:
https://www.kyleabaker.com/goodies/opera/skins/opera-google-chrome-dust/

Upgrading Ubuntu 8.04 to 8.10

I’m seeing a lot of search results coming in for this topic and while I have answered this in the past, it was for a different version update and will lose relevance.

Also note that Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid Ibex is not scheduled to be released automatically until October 30, 2008. Upgrading at this point will update your system to Ubuntu 8.10 Alpha 6. If you wait until October 2nd you will upgrade to the Beta Release and waiting until October 23rd will upgrade you to the Release Candidate.

I’ve been using Ubuntu 8.10 since Alpha 1 and it has been stable and amazing the entire time!

Upgrading from Ubuntu 8.04 to 8.10

To upgrade from Ubuntu 8.04, run “update-manager -d” using the update-manager package from hardy. You can do this quickly by pressing Alt+F2 to launch the Run Application dialog and paste and press enter.

This will launch the Update Manager, but it will also at the same time search for release updates.

After the Update manager has launched you should see a button above the updates list box that says:

New distribution release ‘8.10’ is available

There should be an “Upgrade” button to the right of it. Clicking this button will guide you through upgrading to the latest release.

Below is an image similar to what you should see:

So here’s a really quick overview:

  1. Press Alt+F2 to launch the Run Application dialog.
  2. Copy and paste “update-manager -d” and press enter.
  3. Click the “Upgrade” button in the Update Manager window.
  4. Follow the steps and make sure to reboot when you’re told to.
  5. Finished!

Ubuntu 8.10: Compiz-Fusion Cube Deformation

This is one of the many things that I have come to love about Ubuntu. Although Ubuntu is not the only Linux distro that comes with Compiz-Fusion, it is one of the most user friendly ones!

Ubuntu has impressed me for a long time and working with Workspaces in Linux has made my occasional returning experiences with Windows a complete nightmare.

I’ve been testing Ubuntu 8.10, code named Intrepid Ibex, for a while now. Well, since Alpha 1 was releasedback in late June of this year. If you want to follow the release schedule then you can find it here.

The current latest stable version of Ubuntu is 8.04, code named Hardy Heron, and while it is a very stable and strong version it’s just not the latest and greatest…which is what I demand out of the software that I use.

I just wanted to share some screenshots that I took today to show off some of the eye candy that Ubuntu has to offer. This time it’s only dealing with Workspaces and how Ubuntu can handle these in a three-dimensional way very well with the aid of Compiz-Fusion.

Here are some screenshots of the different effects that can be selected when navigating between workspaces. They are in the following order: cylinder, sphere, cube (option is entitled none, for deformations)

It’s neat eye candy like this that attracts attention, but it’s performance and reliability that attracts users. What impresses me is that I can have all of this eye candy and all of the software that I need running at any given moment and still only be using ~600mb of ram!

Now you try to run the bare minimum in WIndows Vista and see how close you are to 600mb of ram. With Aero enabled in Vista and all of the normal applications opened I typically use around 900mb. It’s not a major problem considering that’s not even half of the ram that I have available for Vista to consume, however, it is disappointing once you realize that Vista isn’t even offering any eye candy other than “Window Decoration” that is fancier than Windows XP.

Window Decoration is one of the many features that is easily customizable in Ubuntu to the extent that you can have Ubuntu mimic Vista in appearance and behavior if you wanted or even Mac OS X with an application dock.

If you haven’t tried Ubuntu yet then be prepared to give it a test drive when Ubuntu 8.10 is released on October 30th! Installing Ubuntu is easy and it even lets you pick between starting in Windows (or Mac if you’re installing with Mac already installed) and Ubuntu. So you can keep Windows if you already have it and start your computer in either Ubuntu or Windows when you first turn it on!

Maybe I can find some more eye candy and benefits to using Ubuntu over others.

How-To: Digsby+Wine

After getting back into the Digsby scene again I decided it was time to get Digsby running in Ubuntu. I grabbed the latest installer and was well on my way.

I’ll just break down the steps so you can follow along. Depending on the distro that you are using, these steps may vary.

  1. Install the newest version of Wine that you can (in my case I just went with Wine 1.0).
  2. Open up a terminal window and enter the following lines (one at a time πŸ˜› ):
    wget http://kegel.com/wine/winetricks
    sh winetricks corefonts dotnet20 gdiplus
  3. As a safety measure (it may not make a difference at all) I opened the “Configure Wine” application and set the default settings Windows Version to “Windows 2000”. This has seemed to help make applications work in Wine in the past.
  4. Now download Digsby. I used the latest version which was for testers and should be released very soon. So for now just grab your installation from here.
  5. Install Digsby. In most distros of Linux you can just right click on the install file and click Open with “Wine Windows Program Loader”. Follow the steps through the installation and launch Digsby. Everything should be working now!

Basically all you had to do was install the .NET 2.0 framework and gdiplus. I’m not positive on corefonts, but they will only improve compatibility.

Everything seems to be working great! I notice some odd behavior here and there, but the application itself is working great! The only thing that is a bit annoying is that Facebook will occasionally disconnect, but it immediately reconnects. πŸ˜€

Google makes a web browser: Google Chrome

Although it was rumored for a long while, there were plenty of people doubting that anything would ever pan out.

Google has released a few details to the new browser in their official blog. Many people have given the rumored browser the name gBrowser, however, Google seems to think the official name should be Google Chrome. Regardless of the name, I think we are all excited to see what this browser will have to offer!

According to Jeff at the Big Blue Ball, Google will be releasing Google Chrome for the Windows platform today!

Google is getting their fingers into everything these days, and the latest foray is a new web browser called Chrome. According to the official Google Blog, Chrome will be available for download on the Windows platform beginning sometime Tuesday, September 2.

Google Chrome is built on top of the Webkit project so standards support and compatibility should be rock solid from the start.

After the initial release in Windows, Google Chrome will be released in versions for Macintosh and Linux.

I’m excited about more competition coming to the table to push and progress the web! I hope everyone understands what this will change!

Stay tuned for my thoughts and a review of Google Chrome. Until then you can read the comic strip that Google posted a link to in the Google Chrome blog post. I’ve taken the time to post the comic here, however, all work done in these images has been done by Google and I am only posting the comic here.

UPDATE:
To keep an eye on Google Chrome and test it as soon as it is released, point your browser to the following address and refresh as frequently as you wish. The link should become live and switch from the current 404 to the product page with a Windows download link. πŸ˜‰

http://www.google.com/chrome

In the meantime, if you’d like to learn more about Google Chrome before it is released you should head over to the entry that is already in place at Wikipedia.

UPDATE 2:
Google Chrome is now available! Download it now! I’ll be posting some screen shots shortly. Screen shots are posted here:
https://www.kyleabaker.com/2008/09/02/google-chrome-first-look-at-a-first-release/

Windows Vista Ultimate: The last Microsoft “Ultimate” I’ll buy

This is the last thing that I will be buying from Microsoft that is supposed to be the best possible package. Honestly, I don’t even use the BitLocker feature. I bought Ultimate because I thought that there were going to be a lot of “Extras”…but I was clearly wrong.

I bought Vista pretty much right after it came out and I really enjoyed using it at first just because I thought to myself, “Man…this is the new Windows…how awesome!”, but now that I got tired of it crashing and I switched to Ubuntu for about a year and a half….well, I’m just not impressed anymore.

There really weren’t any “Extras” available when I installed Ultimate the first time, but I expected to find a list of available “Extras” when I installed it last night (over a year later).

What a freakin’ scam! Microsoft should be sued for this! Seriously! There’s basically nothing better with ultimate, nothing! I am glad to be able to run the “Best” version of Windows along side what is in my opinion one of the best operating systems ever…Ubuntu. It’s interesting to see how I work differently in each operating system and how the system can in some cases control you rather than you controlling the system.

I find myself being controlled more when I’m in Windows than I do in Linux, which is weird to me because I used to assume that you couldn’t do much in Linux other than hack and code things. Linux has really evolved these days though! Linux can honestly be as easy to use as Windows XP/Vista or Mac OS X.

In fact, you can even make your installation of Linux look and feel exactly like Windows or Mac if you want. It’s actually very easy and the familiar feel alone will increase the ease of use with not just Linux…but you and your computer.

I find myself coding more efficiently and faster in Ubuntu than I can in Windows. I think the biggest thing that helps me and makes me faster is the fact that I can have so many workspaces and easily switch between them instead of clicking and hunting windows and tabs all the time.

I really like the visual upgrade that comes with Vista (compared to XP), but honestly it’s nothing more than XP with a new theme and optimized a little (or say they say it’s better??). I’ve actually heard buzz around the Internet for a long time now that XP runs games better and faster than Vista.

Well, one thing is for sure. Ubuntu and several other Linux distros use Compiz Fusion for the eye candy and I think they found the sweet spot when they decided to add them into the operating system the way they did. It’s amazing how an open source project like Ubuntu can be leaps and hurdles a head of Microsoft Windows, but at the same time it’s kind of expected that Microsoft isn’t going to ever use their money and power to just “Wow” us when they can just do enough to try to hold us.

It’s cheaper for them to just hold us than it is to run out of the “Wow” material too quickly and try to find something new and honestly most Windows users don’t even realize that the operating system *should be* so much better than it currently is.

Oh well, what are we going to do? Does Microsoft really listen anyway? I know Apple listens. It seems to me that Apple is really good at feeling around to see what users really want and not always just what they know of either. Apple is very innovative and they are good at making something new work very well. The key, I believe, to their success is the fact that they let their products mature before releasing them and they also push for reasonable release dates.

Microsoft had an unreasonably long delay between Windows XP and Windows Vista. Call it what you will, but I call it laziness. I think they just wanted to sit back and see how long the world would buy copies of Windows XP before we realized that everyone else was still progressing (Mac, Linux, etc.).

Microsoft definitely rushed Vista and even had to cut out several features or upgrades that were planned. One upgrade that I was really looking forward to was the new file system that Vista was supposed to have. The new file system, dubbed “Win FS”, was supposed to be worked into Vista, but was cancelled do to problems and delays on releasing Vista.

Why release a product that isn’t finished? Actually, bad question…no software is ever finished, only abandoned. Rather, why release a product for a release date and not for a maturity stage in the developmental process? Wouldn’t you want your products when they have reached a certain level instead of just reaching a certain age?

Sure it sucks waiting for updates and upgrades, but if Microsoft can’t get their employees to work faster then we should still just wait for a proper update. I don’t like downloading a browser or messenger that crashes all the time when they could have spent a little more time to iron out the kinks.

Vista is still using the file system NTFS that we probably all remember from XP. The thing you might not know is that NTFS was released along side Windows NT when I was 7 years old. Windows NT was more of a networking configuration anyways and never really hit the public much.

The point is that NTFS was released in 1993 and is now a little over 15 years old (to the public). Most Linux or UNIX platforms use ext3 which was released in 1999. That’s still 6 years newer than Microsoft’s! Apple has been looking into upgrading from HFS Plus, which was released in 1998, to a 2004 file system called ZFS.

If you want to look into these file systems and compare them then Wikipedia has a great page for that! I’m actually looking forward to ext4 which has some very good strengths, but it’s not exactly stable yet.

So for now I guess I must be content with Vista (it’s the best it will ever be I suppose) and just log back into Ubuntu when I need to. I seriously hope that Microsoft speeds up and releases something good soon so I can use my NC State privileges to get the latest operating system for free. Hope this very opinionated post was at least fun to read. πŸ˜‰

Mark Shuttleworth says Ubuntu can out-pretty Apple in two years

If you read my blog regularly then you will know that I’m a huge fan of Ubuntu Linux and Open Source projects! Just recently, the Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth called upon the open source community for a challenge that will help Ubuntu to rival the “pretty” operating system that is Macintosh.

Billionaire, cosmonaut and founder of the fast-growing Ubuntu Linux distribution Mark Shuttleworth dreams impossible dreams.

No, not a return to the stars. He believes in something that’s far harder for mortal open source engineers to achieve.

That dream? To produce a desktop more beautiful to ordinary users than legions of Apple programmers supping on the milk of chief exec Steve Jobs’ alleged brilliance are capable of producing. That includes a desktop not funded by a clutter of annoying banner or Flash-based ads, but paid for by subscription-based services.

Now you’re done dreaming, go home and code for the victory.

Source: TheRegister.co.uk

If you’ve followed Ubuntu at all from one release to another then you should know by now that it is a very fast pace Operating System. With updates being released on a six-month basis, it’s easy to see that the open source community is hard at work to bring Linux (not just Ubuntu) into the real world.

Linux has for a long time been viewed as an alternative operating system for geeks and not friendly enough for the average PC user. While that may have been true in the past, those beliefs are fair outdated.

With previous releases of Ubuntu, it was obvious that work was going into the core components and making sure everything “just worked.” Now, with Ubuntu Hardy Heron 8.04, it is clear that progress has been made on making tasks easier to accomplish and minimizing the use of the terminal for average users. Installing a new application is as simple as it is in Windows. Just download the Debian file (*.deb) and double click it. An installer opens just like it would in Windows.

With more and more projects becoming open source, it’s no surprise that Ubuntu has become easier to use. The tools that you once couldn’t find are now included or are in the “Add/Remove” application for installations only a few clicks away.

Now that Ubuntu can be installed on basically every computer system and in most cases “just works” right after installation with very little necessary configurations, it’s time to work on the appearance and that’s just what they are doing.

If you have seen any screenshots of the next release, Ubuntu Intrepid Ibex 8.10, then you’ll notice that the default theme is darker and gives Ubuntu a whole new feel. I for one am usually a fan of brighter themes, just like the default theme in Ubuntu Hardy Heron, but there isn’t much that I can say about the new work that has been going into the appearance. I’m sure that it will be changing even more if their goal is to rival Apple, but they can’t do it without YOU.

If you can help develop then I’m sure you could contribute some to the project! If you don’t develop, but instead just use the operating system then they would definitely appreciate feedback and suggestions.