Archive for the 'OpenSource' Category

My essential free software for Windows

This is basically the stuff I would load on any Windows system I end up having to use for any length of time…

Upgrading to Kubuntu (Ubuntu) Feisty Fawn

Well today I am very pleased to announce that my previous partition strategy has resulted in one of the most pleasant experience upgrading Linux I have ever had on a Windows dual-boot box I’ve ever had. Here’s how I did it:

  1. Dowload the Kubuntu CD 7.10 (Feisty Fawn Herd 4 in my case).
  2. I booted to the CD and clicked icon to Install
  3. Important: I chose “manual partitioning” when prompted.
  4. I selected the root partition (hda2) and marked it to be re-formatted.
  5. I then chose the same partition scheme that I did before:
    1. /dev/hda1 (/media/vista)
    2. /dev/hda2 (/)
    3. /dev/hda3 (swap)
    4. /dev/hda4 (/home) Note: I specifically chose NOT to format this one.
  6. Then I chose the same username.
  7. After everything was done I just restarted and ALL of my settings, desktop preferences, Firefox addons, files and documents, everything was just the way I left it and ready to go.
  8. Time: < 20 minutes (less than half my lunch hour). ;-)

I’m very happy now to be looking and kicking the tires of what’s coming in the next release of Kubuntu.

Steps to Dual-boot Kubuntu (or life) after Vista

As mentioned in my recent post about installing Vista, I have a spare computer I need to test with various software and operating systems. Now since I am pretty handy at setting up dual-boot systems, this made for a perfect opportunity for me to go about setting up Vista and Linux on an even playing field to see how each compares on identical hardware.

Strangely, setting up the partitions took quite a bit more effort for some reason. I did manage to wrestle Vista into a single 20GB primary partition but it meant having to delete all other partitions in the process. Whatever, linux fdisk worked flawlessly (as it always has in my experience).

Here’s the basic layout I created after Vista was finally happy:

  • hda2 (20GB) “/” aka “root” — where all the system files go (ie. c:\windows)
  • hda3 (1GB) for the swap partition or virtual memory (ie. windows pagefile)
  • hda4 (35GB) “/home” (ie. c:\My Documents and Settings\)

The reason I gravitate toward that partition scheme is because I enjoy trying out various flavors of Linux from time to time and that scheme allows me to only format the system files without touching my personal files or settings (Microsoft dabbled with partition mapping and their half-hearted attempt was evident because you could only “copy” files to the trash). Anyway, once I answered a few questions about my username, timezone, etc, I found myself once again greeted by the familiar Kubuntu login prompt.

  1. First thing I wanted to do would be the equivalent of setting up the proper drivers for my video card if I was in some flavor of Win32. Here’s how it worked in this environment:
    1. sudo aticonfig –initial =
    2. logout (end current session)
    3. control-alt-backspace (restart the xserver)
    4. The resolution on my machine just went from 1024×768 to 1600×1200 (hurray!)
  2. The next thing I had in mind was a really nice wallpaper I had come across so:
    1. right-click on desktop and choose configure desktop
    1. click on Get New Wallpapers (I picked NIGHT)
    2. I set the color to black
    3. I set blending to flat to darken the image a little more so that when I set konsole (the KDE command line window) to have transparent background the brighter parts of the image don’t obscure the text output from the commands I type.
  3. Next I left-clicked on the ‘K’ start button, choose the system menu and drop-n-drop the Konsole icon to left side of my panel (that long strip where the icons are along the bottom).
    1. Starting up Konsole, now I opened ‘Settings’ from the menu and selected ‘transparent Konsole’ (woohoo pretty!).
  4. Next I right-clicked on the panel and chose ‘Configure Panel’
    1. I then chose ‘Appearance’ on the left, and ‘enabled transparency’ (nice!)
  5. Next I added a few alias to my ‘~/.bashrc’. So from the command prompt I typed:
    1. echo alias ll=’ls -lh’ >> ~/.bashrc
  6. Next I always like to set my command line environment so that after I quit reading a longer text file or man page the last page viewed will remain visible:
    1. echo export LESS=X >> ~/.bashrc

Screenshot of my Kubuntu Linux DesktopI’m going to go ahead and post what I’ve got now since I think this is somewhat of a timely subject. But I will continue edit this post as time goes on since I also want the documentation for reference. Here’s the way things look so far though.

Vista and Kubuntu on Same Computer

Today I went to install Windows Vista on a test computer with an 80GB hard drive that is split up into four partitions:

hda1: 20GB NTFS
hda2: 18GB ext3 (root)
hda3: 1GB swap
hda4: 39GB ext3 (home)

Imagine my surprise that Vista complains it cannot figure out how to install in hda1? It complains the situation is “unsuitable”(!?!).

So I proceed to delete all the other partitions and notice while doing so that no prompt is offered to verify you “really want” to proceed deleting partitions–not even so much as an undo feature before committing–nice. So for all of those folks that are used to these niceties in Linux, be extra careful when working with Microsoft’s new partition “utility”.

I already know once I get done restarting the computer enough times to make this Vista install happy that I won’t have any such similar problems installing Kubuntu so that is something to look forward to… I’m really looking forward to testing the new release candidate of Feisty Fawn.

Well getting back to the install, after copying the required files, Microsoft presents you with some options for how you would like to proceed. They aren’t the most intuitive so again being used to working with Linux and the options to go backward in the install process if I decide my choice wasn’t what I wanted, I go ahead and pick “Use Recommended Options” to see what happens. Well I couldn’t tell, but one thing is for sure, it wouldn’t let me go back and decide that I would like to choose over again. So much for that… It looks like so far my expectations are a little too high for Microsoft’s latest flagship product…

OpenOffice 2.1 on Ubuntu (Kubuntu)

Here’s a quick reference I adapted from another blog that had covered the need at an earlier time, but had become somewhat in need of updating. So here is the basic steps to installing OpenOffice 2.1 on Kubuntu (both Edgy 6.10 and Feisty Fawn 7.04):

  1. Download and install The Java SE Development Kit (JDK)
    1. I chose the link for Java(TM) SE Development Kit 6
    2. I then chose the link for the Linux self-extracting file (jdk-6-linux-i586.bin)
    3. run “sh jdk-6-linux-i586.bin” as normal user.
    4. I moved the resulting jdk1.6.0 directory to /home/username/bin/jdk1.6.0
    5. cd ~/bin && ln -s jdk1.6.0/jre jre
  2. Download OpenOffice 2.1 for Linux
  3. Remove previous version of OpenOffice 2.0
    1. sudo apt-get remove --purge*
  4. Convert OpenOffice 2.1 RPM packages to Debian packages:
    1. sudo apt-get install fakeroot alien
    2. tar zxvf OOo_2.1.0_LinuxIntel_install_en-US.tar.gz
    3. cd OOE680_m6_native_packed-1_en-US.9095/RPMS
    4. Convert the .rpm packages to .deb (debian packages)
    5. fakeroot alien -d *.rpm
  5. Now install the new Debian packages
    1. sudo dpkg -i *.deb
    2. cd desktop-integration/
    3. sudo dpkg -i
  6. Profit. ;-)

Adapted from: Techno Wizah: Debian HOW-TO: OpenOffice 2.0

Hacking Flock to use Google on ‘right click’

As many interested in kicking the tires on the new Flock browser have also noticed, all default searches point to Yahoo. Flock appears to Yahoo what Firefox is to Google. I’ve never tried to switch search engines in Firefox, so I don’t know if Flock is any more or less hostile about this, but I’d be curious to know.
Which brings me to my new problem: I’ve never been a big fan of Yahoo’s services or willingness to sell out my privacy, and Yahoo search is the one that is integrated into the right-click feature of Flock despite choosing Google as your default search engine.
Hence if you really want to use Google when you right-click on a word and select “search for “, then you also need to “hack” Flock’s about:config settings. Here’s how:

  1. type ‘about:config’ into the address bar
  2. type ‘search’ in the filter
  3. double click ‘
  4. replace string with ‘’
  5. done

Now back to the program of exploring the other features.