Ubuntu 8.04 on a laptop

For a few short weeks I was doing a few tasks that required me to use Windows, but I am finally using Linux again. I am currently running Ubuntu 8.04 on a laptop, the Toshiba Satellite 1135-S125. It runs pretty well, I should hope so considering that most of the hardware in this computer is from Intel.

Unlike many people I seem to have no trouble using two screens. Another really cool thing that happens for some reason is that Ubuntu 8.04 somehow manages to get around the school’s web filter and proxy server, and ISA server without even being asking for authentication. I have no clue as to why this happens though.

A few problems though, the mouse on the laptop does not work and the hardware switch to turn on an internal wireless NIC is broke, I can switch it on and the wireless NIC would still stay off. The sound card also decides to put out gargled and incomprehensible sound sometimes. I shall write more on this later and put up a few new screenshots too. Those can be found here, but I prefer you to go http://ccna01.oxyhost.com/blog/?page_id=32.

Sin Cere,

Dirk Limon

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More than a few criticisms of Linux

A few days ago I stumbled onto this website called Planete Beranger, and read some of this man’s mostly accurate problems and criticisms of Linux. You can read his post here, but I think that I can accurately sum up most of it. I would also be very grateful if you either leave a comment of your thoughts on this or e-mail them to me.

The first and main point of his was that bugs often never get fixed in many versions of Linux, Gnome, KDE, etc. because for some reason a completely new version has to be released every six months even though often times it takes a couple of months for a “stable” version to be working properly. I also fail to understand why the system needs to be completely redone every six months. Another one of his complaints (the one I agree with the most) is that there is essentially no consistency and/or real organization in the open source world. Another problem he mentions is that many programs built for KDE have a hard time running in Gnome and vice versa.

A part of this man’s argument that many Linux user’s will probably not like is there really is hard to give good reasons for Windows user’s to use Linux. I have also found it rather hard to promote Linux to anyone.  There are also no really large commercial backers of desktop environments which is a great hindrance to (coherent) development. And if you have looked around the Gnome and KDE websites they could use a lot of work. He also goes over the fact that visual effects like a spinning cube are really not that important especially when the actual features required to do work often break in the newest release of something.

It also seems that distrobutions of Linux that use Gnome are using only single-panel layout(I did not know this one) which makes no sense considering that now you generally need to have two panels to hold everything.

He was also talking about Hans Reiser a little. It seems he was convicted of murderering his wife. I have no real information on this so I will not say much about it.

After this he goes off on a few different topics such as: problems with sub-pixel rendering, inconsistent patent policy in some versions of Linux, an article Britannica, and a few other things.

Mr. Beranger also got his Bugzilla account banned (look here) after asking for some documentation and offending some Gnome developer who would no just write up some short documentation. From what I read on the previous link I cannot blame Mr. Beranger for being angry at the Gnome developers.

It seems that he also used KDE 4 and found it to be rather annoying to use. I guess that I am not alone in thinking that maybe KDE 4 should have been released at least six months later.

My article about Chess in Linux also got mentioned in his website. Again, I do not fault him for saying that those chess games were not very good, that is why I stated that the games I went over needed a lot of work.

After this he goes over a few applications, how the internet is not going to shut down because it is unlikely that we will not have enough IPv4 addresses. There are these little things called Variable Length Subnet Masks, NAT, private addresses, and IPv6 is slowly being adopted. I am a CCNA, I like to at least think that I know something about networking.

Before I close this, I read a few other interesting things on this site. If you go to ubuntustats.com you will see that there are so many bugs in Ubuntu 8.04, this really should have been released in another six months to a year. And it seems I am not the only one who’s keyboard and mouse would just stop working for some odd reason.

To sum up, I believe most of his criticisms of Linux to be well-founded and accurate, although I wish that he did not bring politics into it (I am far more conservative than Mr. Beranger). Mr. Beranger wrote a pretty good article, at least I think so anyway. Please let me know what you think. I have some trigonometric identities to verify now, some other work to do, and I will be watching Ironman in a few hours, so that is all for now. Good day.

Chess in Linux

There are many (not all are very good) chess games in Linux. There is the one installed by default with the small game packages that come with Ubuntu and most versions of Linux that use Gnome, but I do not like this one very much. It is ok for basic play, but it is really not that good.

Another chess game that is slightly better is Dreamchess. This one looks fine and plays decently, but I do not really care for the pictures that represent those playing. There are also far better chess games in Linux. For an some reason though, I cannot get Dreamchess to load on the system I am currently using. Maybe it is because I am using the ATI Rage 128 Pro and the fact that this card has no driver in Linux. I should still be able to play a game of chess though.

PyChess is another chess game in Linux. I do not like either of the chess engines that PyChess can use (GNUChess and PyChess), but maybe it was just the way that PyChess used them. The computer made  decisions to quickly and did not play very well. I also believe that the artists for this program could have made the pieces look nicer and appear more physically attractive.

Brutal Chess is actually pretty good. The board and pieces look nice, the AI is good, it actually take time to make a move. Alas, this game will also not load correctly. I imagine that I am having the same problem that Dreamchess is giving me, which is to bad.

3D Chess is an odd, yet interesting game. You have three boards upon which to play, a few new pieces, and no manual to tell me how the new pieces work!!! But this game looks quite cool though, a bit like chess in Star Trek. All it needs is a manual or a link to a website containing documentation. Also, there is no AI to handle this game, so you must have another person to play with. I also like the board names which are x, y, and z.

My favorite chess game in Linux though is pouet Chess. The computer fights quite effectively in this. Depending on the setting of difficulty, the system can take anywhere from two to ninety seconds to make a decision on a move. Playing against pouet Chess is harder than other game or person that I have ever played. I personally recommend this game for anyone really interested in chess. The board and pieces are also beautifully designed, more so than in any of the other chess games, including the two that refuse to run on my current system. I will probably add more to this review later, but for now I will just add a few pictures.  Look here for more screenshots of various chess programs in Linux. Have fun everyone.

Playing Pychess        How do I play 3D Chess again?     My favorite, pouet Chess(now only if I cold beat it)

Chess in Linux Screenshots

HPLIP troubles in Ubuntu 8.04

I had some problems with my HP Deskjet F4180 All-in-One, the scanner part anyway. I downloaded the HPLIP utility through Synaptic, installed it, and set up my printer using “sudo hp-setup“. The printing part worked fine, but scanning to my computer always failed in Ubuntu 8.04. There was no such problem in earlier versions of Ubuntu. So I looked around at ubuntuforums.org, then went to hplip.sourceforge.net, and downloaded HPLIP 2.8.4(automatic installer), saving it to my desktop.

To installed this utility, first run the command “cd” in whatever directory you saved the HPLIP utility in (example: “cd /home/dirk/desktop”), and then run “sh-hplip 2.8.4.run“. Make sure that you have your Linux installation disc ready. Once running the last command given in the terminal, you have a few different installation options which are: automatic, a web installer, and custom(what I used). You should be able to figure it out from here but I have attached many pictures just in case some part of my instructions made no sense. Godspeed to you.

Installing HPLIP 2.8.4

part 1                              part 2                           part 3                        part 4                       part 5

part 6                          part 7

I can finally use XSane.

A few more thoughts on Kubuntu 8.04 KDE 4 Beta

I have been using Kubuntu 8.04 KDE4 for a week now it runs better than Kubuntu 7.10. Kubuntu 7.10 was so horribly slow and full of bugs. I fail to understand how anyone could have used it. But the newest version of Kubuntu is actually nice. For the most part it runs well, but sometimes the KDE 4 programs just sort of “stick”, I guess that would be the best way to put it. I open say, Dragon Player, click on something in it and it just freezes for a few moments. But the KDE 3.5 programs do not do this, they run a little slow but they do not just freeze on me at least. And for some reason the Konsole/KDE4 does not work and KsCD will not play a CD. I also see no standby option for Kubuntu for some reason.

Now I have a few good things to say about KDE 4. It seems to run quite faster than KDE 3.5, the Application Launcher is far better organized, the desktop and menu bars look much nicer, and as I have already said, it runs much faster. I am for once not reviling how Kubuntu works(or does not work). I actually like KDE and Kubutu now. But of course I still like Ubuntu and Xubuntu better, and therefore Gnome and Xfce. In case you are interested in Kubuntu 8.04 or KDE 4 I have posted many new screenshots up of these items. And of course, if you want to download any version or derivative of Ubuntu 8.04 go to http://www.ubuntu.com/testing/hardy/beta.

Before I finish writing this, I guess that I should state why you should use Ubuntu 8.04. The main reason is that Ubuntu 8.04 has much better hardware support. As I have said before my system can finally go into standby mode properly, except for the sound card not waking back up when coming out of standby mode, instead of just getting stuck trying to turn off some hardware devices and going into a zombie state. My ATI video card also works much better. I guess that this is the only real reason to upgrade to the newest version of Ubuntu. I would really like to know what all of you reading this think of KDE 4 and Kubuntu 8.04. What have your experiences been? Alas, it is time for me to get back to work now so that is all for now.