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!

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˜€

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˜‰

Ubuntu: Mac OS X themed!

So my fiancΓ©e loves the way Mac computers look, but who doesn’t? They’re so clean and simple. Well, as much as I like the clean and simple look..I’m not dedicated enough to try to get OS X installed on her HP dv1000.

Don’t get me wrong, her laptop is a mean little machine (especially since I’ve been playing on it lately). The problem with installing OS X is that you have to hunt for all of the drivers and some of them you have to manually configure. Manually configuring in this case also means little to no resources online for many of the things you will have to configure.

There are a few decent places with information about getting Mac OS x86 installed on a non-Apple computer, but trust me…it’s not been simplified enough just yet. πŸ˜‰

I tried installing OS X on my desktop about a year ago and ran into many complicated situations…so I did the next best thing. I installed Ubuntu! Now that I’ve had it installed and running for ~9-10 months I’m beginning to think this is the best!

So why would I install Linux on my system if I don’t want to manually configure everything? Okay, I don’t mind manually configuring something here and there. Today most Linux distros require very little manual configurations to run properly. Ubuntu literally required none!

The best thing about using Linux is that you can do anything with it! Having this in mind, I took a friend’s laptop (~5 months ago) and installed Ubuntu on it. After getting everything installed and updated I began to Macify it for her. I got a few things done here and there, but just recently I became more interested and began finishing some more of the conversion.

Now, there I’ve seen several screenshots where people have made almost pixel perfect copies of the Mac OS X environment. The screenshots here clearly show some faults, but overall they have the Mac feel going on!

I basically just searched around the web and found little tips here and there on how to get certain looks in Linux. The dock is Cairo-Dock. The web browser is actually Opera, which in Linux has the same skin as the Windows version, but I skinned with a Safari themed skin and altered the toolbar to get the address bar above the tabs.

You can click them for a larger image. I’ll try to post some finished product screenshots once I tidy up the menu bar a bit and add a few more Mac’ish ends. πŸ˜‰

In the meantime, if you’d like to get started with any of this on your Linux box then you can navigate over to my forum topic with several helpful links to resources!

I’m planning to write a guide for this pretty soon that will step through each little detail for you, but if you can’t wait then go checkout the forum topic. The topic is in no means a tutorial or a guide, it’s really just a note/pastebin for my thoughts and work process, haha. A way for me to hold onto some information in a slightly organized fashion. πŸ˜€

Stay tuned for the guide in the near future!

Trillian Astra Build 78 and Digsby Build 28 in CrossOver 6.2

Digsby LogoI recently tried to install Trillian Astra in Ubuntu using Wine 0.9.61 with no luck. I ran into several errors and am still working on straightening them out, but I think this could take quiet a bit of time.

Trillian LogoAfter googling for some clues and solutions, I came across a program called CrossOver and decided to give it a trial run. The test cases were Trillian Astra Build 78 and Digsby Build 28. I’ll go a bit into detail on the whole experiment with both test cases and let you know what does and doesn’t work.

Trillian Astra Build 78:
I’ve been wanting to get Trillian Astra running on my Linux box for a while now (since I was invited to alpha test with them), but have had little to no luck. The issues seem to almost always be related to the rendering of the application more than the functionality of it.

Please don’t ask me to send you the installer, for a link to the installer, or for a crack. If you want to use Trillian Astra then you can get in line like the rest of us have done to alpha test or you can wait for the public beta and final releases πŸ˜›

I started by downloading the latest version of Trillian Astra and right clicked the installer file and selected the option to ‘Open with “run with CrossOver”‘ (I know that sounds weird, but that’s what the menu option says, lol). During the installation process, I noticed that the graphics and overall rendering of the installer were a bit slow and delayed. Everything rendered in the installer, but you could see images load almost like watching an image load on a web page.

I was able to move through the installation steps with errors. Everything seemed to run fine with the installer, however, the installer is the type that is used by several different software developers who just bundle their software with this type of installer. So basically, the installer probably gets used more and therefore debugged more in order to run smoothly than individual applications that are installed with the installer program.

After the installation, Trillian Astra launched the log-in window. First off, the graphics were a bit off and rendering was a bit ugly, but it did work fine. I was able to enter my credentials and successfully log-in to the Astra service.


I think the over-all rendering was better when I tried this with Wine as I mentioned earlier. This window just looks terrible in it’s current state!

Now that I’ve successfully signed into the Astra service, Trillian went a head and grabbed my contact list and loaded the list into the messenger. This was all good and great, but the window turned out to be in a frozen state. I was unable to move the window, select any elements on the window, etc. It was basically a part of my background image.

After spending a few minutes trying to do something with Trillian Astra, I gave up and closed the application. I feel like, even though there are more elements that are visible on the contact window in CrossOver than there are in Wine, that it will be easier to debug and fix this application in Wine. It just seems like Wine was at least a little helpful with the errors it returned.

That’s as far as I could get with Trillian Astra in CrossOver. If you can get further and have any suggestions then please post them in the comments!

Digsby Build 28:
This was a rather disappointing installation. I opened the Digsby installation file with CrossOver and moved through the installation process with ease, except for a simple error message that warned about the python.dll library or something. I clicked “OK” and the installation continued and finished successfully.

Successfully completing an installation, however, doesn’t guarantee anything will work in Linux. πŸ˜› After the installation I attempted to launch the Digsby application, but I was prompted with two different error prompts that were familiar.

Both of these errors were back to back and Digsby did not load at all. This was a mission failed sign. If you get past these error messages and at least get the log-in window then please post your steps in the comments and versions of applications used!

I immediately wanted to remove the application since it appeared that there was no hope, so I found the “Windows Applications” menu that CrossOver made for me and navigated to the uninstall menu item in the Digsby folder. I was impressed that the uninstaller seemed to work flawlessly and even opened a web page in my already open Opera browser upon completion. The page that was opened was the typical uninstall survey web page.

Conclusions:
CrossOver is developed pretty well, however, the applications that you come across and want to install have to be very popular applications, apparently, to work properly. Trillian was much closer to working in CrossOver 6.2.x than Digsby, but neither messenger was in a state worth suggesting to a friend to try.

For now, I’m unfortunately forced to stick with a messenger that is decent, but has never been cutting edge at anything. That messenger is of course Pidgin. Pidgin really isn’t a terrible messenger at all, but when you compare it to the messengers that are available for Windows and do a feature comparison…well, it’s just sad to say the least.

Trillian Astra Build 78 and Wine 0.9.61

I installed Trillian Astra Build 78 (I’m an alpha tester as well) via Wine 0.9.61 today and got a couple of errors. I’m using the very latest version of Wine and the very latest release of Trillian in this test. My operating system is Ubuntu 8.04 x86_64.

  1. ALSA seemed to be encountering some problems when I started Trillian since I had Rhythmbox playing in the background. I closed that and then restarted Trillian and got the following:
  2. dwmapi.dll error. I downloaded a copy from dll-files.com and configured Trillian Astra to use Windows XP settings and linked the dwmapi.dll library after placing it in the trillian install folder. The results were, Trillian Astra started and allowed me to sign-in to the astra service and launched the buddy list, but the rendering was terrible. It was un-useable. Then I started getting error pop-ups about explorer.exe that seemed to be related to:fixme:xrender:X11DRV_AlphaBlend not a dibsectionThey would only popup when I would move the mouse over Trillian Astra or the Trillian tray icon.

I’m looking further into this. Maybe there is another library that can be replaced. I’ll be back with some updates and hopefully screenshots of Trillian Astra working under Wine!

UPDATE:
I can’t seem to find anything useful searching google about most of these errors that Wine is returning in the console.

I’m still working on getting this running, however, the MSVCP90.dll library that is mentioned in the errors is not easy to understand. The dll is already available, as well as the events.dll library. If anyone has any suggestions feel free to let me know! Here is all I’ve got so far:


The rendering is still off, but at least it is legible. The buddy list window is a mesh of horrible rendering lines. It’s not clear enough to use. That’s the main thing that I’m working towards now. As long as the errors aren’t crashing Trillian, I can work towards getting it to render properly and then focus on catering to the warning errors.

Ubuntu 8.04 LTS Desktop Edition

Canonical has released the newest stable version of Ubuntu! I’ve personally been using Ubuntu 8.04 since late 2007 when it was available for the public as Alpha 1. You can take a look at the release schedule and road-map that the developing team followed for version 8.04! Ubuntu has really come a long way during the time that I’ve spent using it.

I first started using Ubuntu with version 7.04. Ubuntu builds are now given “code names” as well as release versions. Ubuntu 8.04 is given the “8” from the year that it is released and the “04” from the month that it is released. The code name of Ubuntu 8.04 is “Hardy Heron“. Ubuntu 7.04 was released in April 2007, 7.10 was released in October 2007.

The next version of Ubuntu to be released is Ubuntu 8.10 and is code named “Intrepid Ibex“. The release time should be obvious to you now! If you’re like me and like to use the latest bleeding releases possible then you can upgrade your version of Ubuntu to 8.10 in the near future by typing the following into your terminal:

sudo update-manager -d -c

This will launch the update manager window and prompt you about upgrades. If you’re currently running 7.04 or 7.10 you can upgrade to 8.04 or 8.10 by using the same step as mentioned above. You will however have to upgrade in order of releases. You cannot upgrade immediately from 7.04 to 8.04 or from 7.10 to 8.10. That shouldn’t be an issue, you can just upgrade to one and then upgrade to the other after the first upgrade has completed!

With Ubuntu 8.04 came a great deal of stability and many new features! It also includes the ability to install Ubuntu from within Windows! If Ubuntu looks interesting to you then you should give it a try! They’ve made Ubuntu very easy to install and very easy to use and get used to. Ubuntu is quickly becoming the synonym for Linux in today’s world. Don’t let yourself miss out on this ground breaking release!

Go get it now! It’s available by free download or free mail (delayed as they only send a certain amount per month). You can also spend a small fee (just a couple dollars) to have them mail it to you very quickly!

Update 2008-09-23:
Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid Ibex Alpha 6 has been released. Here is how to update your system to the latest version of 8.10!

digsby: IM, Email and Social Networks all in one!

digsbyI recently came across a new application called digsby which is basically the Instant Messenger that everyone wants! It’s free! At the moment it is still a private beta product, invite only. However, I have some ways that you can go ahead an get it now!

Source: http://www.webware.com/8301-1_109-9871784-2.html
If you would like to try out the multisystem instant-messaging and social-networking client Digsby before it’s released to the general public, we can help you out. Go ahead and download the application here. Once you do, use the code CNET to unlock it. There are several thousand invitations reserved.

Basically, go to digsby.com and download the the application. During installation you’ll be prompted to create a new account and also enter an invitation code. After googling for a bit I came across three codes that you can use:

  • CNET
  • techmalaya
  • techzilo

After installation you can add all of your Instant Messenger accounts and chat with all of your friends from one account. You can also add all of your email accounts and keep an eye out for new mail. On top of that you can also add you Facebook and MySpace accounts and keep another eye out for messages and news from those services! It’s great! Give it a try and let me know what you think! You should also let them know what you think if you get a chance. Tell all your friends!

Screenshots: http://www.digsby.com/screenshots.php

UPDATE:
The invitation codes are no longer needed! Digsby is now open to the general public, so just go to digsby.com and download this awesome application for free!

Ubuntu: Feisty Fawn vs. Gutsy Gibbons

Ubuntu has recently become my favorite Linux distro among competitors such as Redhat, Fedora, Mandrake, SUSE and DSL. I’ve found that Ubuntu offers more support from the community than any of the other distros that I mentioned and also have great support for a wide variety of hardware vendors. For example, I found myself frustrated with Fedora Core 6 (Zod) when I installed it on my HP Pavilion dv4000 laptop. The main problem was getting my wireless card working..or should I say finding drivers to install to get it working. With Ubuntu I noticed right away that my wireless card was working from the live disk alone! I hadn’t even installed Ubuntu yet, just put in the install disk and booted up to it and my wireless card was working and as it should have with Fedora after installing.

I installed Ubuntu on my desktop with slight difficulty. Mainly, it would install fine, but Grub would not work properly. I have two hard drives in my desktop, both Sata drives. One is a 300GB drive that I use to install Windows Vista Ultimate x64 and Ubuntu x64 on with ~290GB and ~10GB respectively. The second hard drive is a 750GB drive that I use for storage. I found that Ubuntu 7.04 (Feisty Fawn) and maybe earlier versions do not install Grub well to dual boot on the same hard drive with another drive connected. For some reason it just won’t find the partitions to boot. A simple fix for this was to open the tower and simply unplug the 750GB drive from power and the board (while the power was off of course πŸ˜‰ ). After eliminating this drive, Ubuntu 7.04 (Feisty Fawn) installed just fine! Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbons) seems to install with no problems from the 750GB drive so you most likely will not need to disconnect your extra hard drive to install this one. Now let me get into the comparisons..

Ubuntu 7.04 (Feisty Fawn)
Feisty Fawn is the code name for this specific release of Ubuntu which was released in April 2007 or 2007 April..7.04. Feisty Fawn is currently a very stable release. It has had plenty of time to receive deep testing from Alpha testers, Beta tester and to the general public and most all of the haunting bugs have been patched and repaired so it is a release that you can count on. Performance is great. It’s a snappy release that is highly customizable and easy to get used to after switching from Windows (like I did). Granted, this transition may be more difficult for others, however, once you find the applications that you need you’ll quickly learn that it can perform any task that you needed in Windows and possibly in a more efficient and easy way.

All hardware was detected properly and worked from installation. The only tweak that I had to make to my machine was enabling restricted drivers (nVidia graphics drivers) so that I could take full advantage of my dual screen display. After that it was just add/remove programs from a huge list of available packages. Anything from games to text editors to media players and tools to Beryl, etc.

Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbons)
Just like Ubuntu 7.04, Ubuntu 7.10 has a code name..in this case Gutsy Gibbons. It was first released in August 2007 and has just recently been publicized as a “Stable” release. When I first saw that Gutsy Gibbons had become stable, I received a notification from my update manager in Feisty Fawn and decided to just upgrade from the manager. I would now recommend that if you want to upgrade from Feisty Fawn to Gutsy Gibbons..just do a clean install. My upgrade encountered numerous errors and was forced to quit only after half-way upgrading my system. This left my Ubuntu os unusable and forced me to manually reinstall. I would suggest backing up your documents and any other saved material that you will want later to a disk or jump drive, then do a fresh install over your Ubuntu partition and move your data back. That being said, I would also suggest waiting to let Gutsy Gibbons receive more testing from the general public if you plan on using it as your main desktop. I quickly ran into a problem with video drivers not working properly for nVidia and also read many forums talking about ATI video cards have similar problems. I was encountering random freezes that would sometimes return to normal, but most of the time just lock up the entire computer. Apparently the drivers are not yet stable. I’ll keep you updated when they have become stable enough to use, however, for now I have reinstalled Feisty Fawn so I can use my pc. There are several people complaining about these problems, but who knows..you might not ever encounter them.

With the update, I did notice that the layout had changed a little and several personal folders had been added such as Pictures, Documents, Music, etc. The icons got a small update as well as the mouse cursors. NTFS-3G had been installed and enabled by default to allow reading and writing to NTFS drives with ease. This means you can access your Windows partitions and save files to those drives by default now! If you liked using Beryl in Feisty Fawn to get cool desktop effects such as a rotating cube to switch between work spaces and wobbly windows then you’ll be happy to know that Gutsy Gibbons has all of these features installed by default. There is no longer a need to manually install Beryl, just drop down your System->Preferences menu and click on appearance!

Finally
Gutsy Gibbons definitely takes first place over Feisty Fawn, however, I’ve decided that until Gutsy Gibbons is cleaned up and patched up a little more, I’ll just have to stick with a release that has been through all of the stages already and I can count on.

If you are interested in downloading Ubuntu to give it a try, just go to Ubuntu.com. It is completely free and easy to use!

Installing Pidgin in Linux from Source

pidginAs many Linux users know by now, Gaim has been renamed for a second time to Pidgin due to legal issues with AOL over the use of ‘AIM’. Many distros of Linux operating systems still distribute the popular messenger client in older versions that are still under the title Gaim. I’m not the kind of person to use outdated software, so updating to Pidgin was one of the first things that I did when I made the move from Windows Vista to Ubuntu. I found the task to be a bit more lengthy than I had intended.

Most distros have communities that contribute packages that can install applications in a one step process by gathering all dependencies that are needed and installing them with the application. However, the great site that I’ve found for Debian packages seems to have a few packages lagging behind. I can’t have that. Who wants to install an older version of software than what is currently offered on the applications official site? Unfortunately there are no Debian packages available from Pidgin. That is not a problem! First things first:

  • Go to your Add or Remove application and completely remove anything associated with Gaim.
  • Open a terminal and install the following dev packages with the following commands (*The following terminal commands are for APT software package management systems. To use these commands with a different package manager you need to edit the syntax accordingly):
    • sudo apt-get install libglib2.0-dev
    • sudo apt-get install libxml2-dev
    • sudo aptitude install libnss-dev
    • sudo apt-get install libgtk2.0-dev
  • Go to www.Pidgin.im and download the source package.
  • Extract the source package and navigate to the folder that the files were extracted to in a terminal window.
  • You now need to configure and build Pidgin from the source files. Use the following commands in the terminal window to successfully configure Pidgin for your platform:
    • sudo ./configure
    • sudo make
    • sudo make install
  • Pidgin should now be successfully installed on your computer! You can now delete the source files that you downloaded from www.Pidgin.im.

If you experienced any problems while trying to follow this guide, please leave me a comment and I’ll try to help out. Always use Google.com to search for error messages before seeking help from others. Your questions are most likely already answered somewhere!