Entries Tagged as 'Open Source'

Ubuntu 11.04 Quick Review

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So I finally got a chance to update my netbook to Ubuntu 11.04. And I have to say that so far, I’m very pleased with it. At least currently, I’m not running into any wireless issues like I did in 10.10. The overall look and feel has been very clean too, and it’s perfect for any sort of development type of environment.

Overall, I have to say that it’s amusing the application dock bar is almost a direct copy of the Mac OSX docking bar. It’s not completely the same but the similarities are definitely there. What can you say, don’t mess with a good thing when it’s proven to be a good design. I do love the full screen app mode where it takes over the entire screen itself too. The menu system will come up when you hit the alt key, so it’s actually very easy to work with and doesn’t change any of your current working styles, just makes the real estate to work in larger.

One change that I haven’t really tested too much are the differences between LibreOffice and Openoffice. LibreOffice has replaced OO, and it’s actually a fork of it where it’s trying to remove the dependencies of Java. Looks fairly clean, but like I said… haven’t had a change to play with it since I’m usually embedded deep in command line, vi, and terminals.

The only thing that I can see where linux is drastically missing something now, is probably a spectacular email client. There has to be something that can replace Outlook completely, but still have the ease of use and simplicity of Ubuntu. That’s really what has driven Ubuntu’s user experience in my opinion and driven linux use forward. Especially compared to the days when you had to compile X11 and all you had for window managers was something out of the Unix term environment.

If you have an older computer, I definitely recommend checking out Ubuntu 11.04. The speed of it really breaths new life into a computer that you thought couldn’t be worth anything anymore. And with basic browsing, printing, and your average document processing? Ubuntu 11.04 has come a long ways since I first touched linux.

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The Dark Power of Bitcoin

While this project is currently in beta, it’s actually a game changer. A scary one.

Bitcoin itself is an open source project where a currency bartering system was created based on P2P. A completely self-sustaining currency where there is no centralized system and everything is based entirely on the algorithm in which creates the bitcoins and the distribution. The fact that there’s an underground market for this, and that apparently there are people that are some stories of people using it as tender for illegal activities makes it entirely interesting.

The way each bitcoin is made seems to be along the same lines as [email protected]. Processing power is used to compute blocks, where when the blocks are assembled, it creates a bitcoin at random. Probably not entirely correct, but it’s enough to go on.

The biggest change here is that while governments can ban the use of bitcoin, they can’t really control the actual flow of money. Since it’s headless P2P, there really is no way to track the movement of the bitcoin transactions alongside the fact that you can’t tax it, or anything. The entire currency is hard to break down since it’s virtual and in essence, it could start an entire black market trade if it truly became banned. On top of this, the algorithm is an open one (considering the project is released under MIT license) but the amount of power to compute the entire thing is completely ridiculous to try to game the system or mine for more “money”.

All in all, this project was brilliantly conceived and scary in the same breath. I so want to actually give it a test run, but you know that the government at some point will turn their eyes on this. And the moment that happens, everyone will fall into a net of some sort if you have a connection. Thanks but no thanks. Irregardless, it’s one of the few currencies in the world right now that actually has some value to it instead of drawing up some random paper and assigning values to it. Consider this: this is the only currency that requires power to generate it in the sense of the energy spent in CPU processing. No other currency has that sort of value outside of commodities. Food for thought.

(h/t to Jason on the project itself)

Tips and Tricks: Making Your Netbook Touchpad Work with Ubuntu

I recently loaded my work netbook with Ubuntu 9.10, Karmic Koala. What’s interesting is that with the HP Mini 210, the touchpad is an integrated key/touchpad. Which means you can run into some really nastiness when it comes to trying to click or right click since the mouse will move to place where you’re “pressing” for the click.


Fortunately, someone had gone through the trouble of figuring out a patch for the touchpad so that the area where there’s supposed to be clicking buttons deactivates the sensors which makes it infinitely more useful. Just follow the directions there and patch the linux source and create yourself a new patched kernel module to run that actually makes the touchpad function as it should.

Brilliance of open source, eh? Now if only they figured out how to make multi-touch scrolling and such like the Mac… and believe me. Someone is probably already working on it.

Bandwidth Monitoring If Time Warner Succeeds

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With the recent news from Time Warner Cable, Greensboro residents are up in arms about being a test site for tiered Internet services. Believe me when I say there’s a movement out there.
Don’t believe me? Take a look. Stop Time Warner Cable is already up garnering in over 1000+ diggs at the time of writing. It seems that the unfair practice has actually been sent in as complaints to the NY Attorney General as harboring anti-competitive means.
But just in case none of the complaints by these irate customers work and you’re one of the few people that just like to be bludgeoned by corporations that don’t care what you have to say? I recommend you implement this in your daily lives immediately.
I personally wouldn’t trust a corporation that tags you with a 40G high limit. Sorry, TWC, but you ruined any hope that you had any inkling of technical knowledge there by implementing something that some finance person probably put into place. And so if they tell you how much bandwidth you’re using, I would corroborate the story with something that runs on your system itself.
I recommend using some open source bandwidth monitoring like FreeMeter. This basically sits in your tray and you can monitor how much you use up and down and have something to show for it in case you have to go complain to customer service that their network is tracking something outside of what you use.
SurplusMeter is another open source goody that allows you to track your monthly usage by volume and can give you all sorts of useful statistics.
Do I really have to go over this, if you run a linux box? There are plenty of bandwidth monitors out there and most of them sit on the desktop along with monitoring your cpu/memory/etc.
In any case, good luck with this if you need to track it. Even with the three month grace period, you know that there will always be some issues that will stem from this tiered internet fiasco that grew from some bean counter’s mind (probably doesn’t use the Internet either to implement the 40G limit).

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Codeweavers Crossover for MacOSX and Linux free today only

codeweavers_logo.jpg I wouldn’t expect anyone that isn’t familiar with linux, to even understand what the open source package called wine is, but basically the long and short of it is that it’s a way to run windows applications without having Windows itself.
The open source version can run some things, and the commercial version usually can handle a lot more applications because of certain tweaks they implement. From games to pretty advanced applications on MacOSX and Linux.
In any case, apparently due to some goals set by the CEO that were met, they’ve decided that today there will be free licenses for everyone! (one license per user).
So if you don’t have a copy of this, or you’re just looking for something to run applications and you don’t own Parallels or the like or just want to try it out, go and get yourself a copy and a serial. Having used Codeweavers and Transgaming versions of wine in the past, I can say that you can only be surprised how many things are supported without having actual Windows around.

Using yum to upgrade Fedora

When you run servers that happen to run on Redhat’s open source versions (called Fedora), you’ll get thrown into the dark ages at the rates that they release version numbers. Fortunately there’s a way to upgrade through the versions as long as you have the time and a console connection.
To upgrade from Fedora 7 to Fedora 8, just follow this tutorial. Similarly, follow this tutorial to upgrade from Fedora 8 to Fedora 9.
It’s pretty much the same upgrade procedures, where you use yum to check and make sure that all of the upgrade files are going without crashing dependencies. If there are dependencies, then you would use yum to install those first, then run the upgrades again. And I can guarantee that these procedures work even though it takes a bit of time. I remotely upgraded a server at work from Fedora 6 all the way to Fedora 9 (current version) going through this process. And it runs just dandy right now on FC9. yum.


magento.jpg If you’ve been looking for an ecommerce package since you’re setting up an online storefront and you want to find something that’s beautiful but also easy to manage, I would suggest you take a look at Magento.
Magento has taken the open source world by storm and won many awards for usability and design as of recent. I’ve been following them ever since they released in beta in hopes that they would provide a much needed re-design of currently bloated and annoying configurations of current online stores. No offense to the other projects, but it’s just ugly.
Currently, I have this in actual production and I have to say that it’s very much what it strives to be, which is easy usability but the look is sexy and wanting. Simple but complex. What every piece of software strives to be. There are always new things coming out and outside of the default designs being somewhat limited, it provides a great foundation for any sort of online ecommerce. It also allows you to focus mainly on the design instead of the lack of functionality.
If you’re looking to upgrade your store, or even looking to open one on the Internet, I would take a look at their tour, and demo, and see if that would fit the bill. I can tell you that from someone’s that implemented a multitude of stores, this was one of the easiest to configure and manage in a very long time.


berrystats_user.jpg BerryStats began as a project of Brent Grim which has now been updated and made a bit more useful by maximillian from Confessions of a Freeware junkie.
So basically, what the entails is an administrator that is running IIS with ASP support, have relative server paths enabled, and have the BlackBerry server going and on the client side be using Internet Explorer or BlackBerry Browser.
What this does is, it allows an administrator to actually list server statistics, list keys, kill a handheld, list and count keys, and a whole bunch of other things, but the key here? Straight from a Blackberry browser. Which is pretty sweet. It basically gives you a lot more statistics and functionality as a BSE administrator. And anyone that has actually been a BSE admin knows that it’s pretty much a pain in the rear.
In any case, if it looks like a fit with what you do, you might want to take a look at it since it sure looks inviting when it comes to Blackberry services.
You can track the beta here.

PartyChat for GTalk

gtalk_logo.gif PartyChat is a persistent chat room for GTalk. Basically what this means is that you can create a chatroom directly through the jabber client without having to mess with other things like web clients.
The bot itself does the entire conversation relay and if you exit from the client, you will still be joined to the last room when you relogin to your client unless you exit from the room itself (thus persistent). From what I can tell, it’s basically just a relay bot similar to an eggdrop for IRC or what not.
It is open sourced so if you think you can do better, definitely take a shot at it. All you have to do is add the bot to your Jabber Client and feed it some commands and away you go. Kind of like SmarterChild actually.

OpenX – Single Page Calls

logo_openx.png With OpenX’s latest beta and the upcoming release of 2.6, there’s this fancy pants feature called “single page call“.
This is definitely worth your while to use since this allows your sites that you’re feeding the advertising from the OpenX server to make only one single call instead of multiple calls per page (depending on the number of zones). In this case, you make one single call and thus decreasing the load on the ad server, but also making the loading much quicker.
Definitely worthwhile to implement if you use OpenX.