Sunday, March 21, 2010

Too long, too late

For almost a year since my last post, I've been struggling to find a reliable proxy to get around China's block of various websites such as YouTube, Imageshack, Picasaweb and many more. I have tried several but wasn't really happy with them. Maybe this time...

Well... updates. PCLinuxOS is releasing beta ISOs for community testing. And much to the delight of everyone, the betas (currently on its second) seemed to be stable enough for most uses. I am actually typing this post from it ... installed, of course. Congruent derivatives such as Gnome, XFCE, LXDE, Enlightenment17 and Zen-Mini are also being released by their respective developers. In anticipation, I'm sure (though this is just my own guess) that there will also be remasters for specific applications to be released, such as for photographers, musicians, webmasters, etc.

Incidentally, the NEW PCLinuxOS Magazine, under the outstanding leadership of my friend, Paul Arnote had also released the March edition, and included must-read articles packed on a whooping 11Mb PDF. I, personally enjoyed reading profiles of the PCLinuxOS administrators, (global) moderators and developers. There are stuff for anyone - newbies, casual and advanced users - from fun stuff to serious CLI tutorials.

Last but not the least, Scoundrel made it to the moderator panel and frankly, I think he is an excellent choice for the task. Congratulations to Scoundrel!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

PCLinuxOS Update Notifier

There's a lot of buzz at the forum with the recent addition of an Update Notifier. First, it is an excellent idea, and second, it is a valuable addition to PCLinuxOS but personally, I won't be using it. Fedora has something similar and so does Ubuntu (as far as I can remember), and they are irritably annoying. The taskbar balloon that states there are a number of updates available gets in the way.

*Thanks to Yoyo for the screenshot

I update my system every once in a while and I would like to be able to continue the way I do it ... the old-school way.

Of course, one doesn't have to install it but if someone unknowing who had set their system up close to perfect updates and wham, bang hose their install, that is going to be one sad thing. And I can just picture this user storming the forum and letting all hell loose. The easiest way to break a perfectly good install is by updating, unless of course one can remedy the loss with a recent reinstall of a remaster.

There are, naturally, the advantages. Take for instance Firefox and its attempt to patch the vulnerabilities that seemed to be more and more these days. Then there are the latest releases of packages ... wow, updating - would you have the patience?

What would be interesting to see added on the PCLOS Update Notifier is an IGNORE button. At least that would prevent those nasty indications that there are updates available on the repository. This sort of thing can make one feel lagging behind the latest and greatest apps available.

But if it ain't broke, don't fix it!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

What is good in this world?

It's a hard battle on all fronts, but most of all let's not discuss politics. It's a tough rule but must be followed if we are to maintain peace and order, or what little of it exist. The recent blog post by Clement Lefebvre, main developer of Linux Mint was a big talk in the Linux circle. One such article from ExtremeTech called it The Great Linux Mint Political Train Wreck. All I could say was WOW.

What could something like this do for a popular Linux distro as Mint? Time will definitely tell but some say it is going to be bad for the distro. I don't know. Can something such as this take away the true merits of a fine distro? You bet it could.

But that's not really the big issue, is it? It is what's happening on the other side of the world. It shouldn't really be happening but it is, and no matter how bitter it is to accept, we have to because in my opinion, it is but a small part of the grand design.

On another playing field, it was reported that the Internet will become so saturated in 2012 that access to it will become so slow.

And the truth about The fundamental value of Internet access posted by Dana Blankenhorn on his ZDNet blog interestingly removed the "right" on "fundamental rights".

"People with no Internet connection, by definition, have less economic power in the 21st century than other people. They have less access to training, no way to see over the horizon (which is why TV has become so trivial). Their connections to the world are entirely local, except for those few people they maintain contact with by telephone or mail."

Connected the dots yet?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A Split in PCLinuxOS

It had been reported in that "numerous developers quitting the project" and a lot of pushing and shoving on the mailing list and forum.

Whatever started the "internal issues" albeit avoidable had happened and we'll all have to get on with it.

I would have nothing short of wishes of luck and successes to the result of this split, Unity Linux and wish that all this back-stabbing and flame would cease and desist.

I will stick with PCLinuxOS for nothing more than Texstar. Although I don't know him personally, and I've never met him face-to-face, I believe that he is a good person. Sure he blew a fuse ONCE but understand that his health is in the balance and he had a shuffle of priorities because of this. Even if PCLinuxOS is not in his top priorities, he knows that it is his legacy. And it will nevertheless be a good legacy because the truth will eventually come out and Texstar did his best to handle the situation - both in the development and community board.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Google Earth 5

First, I have to reiterate that installing packages outside the PCLinuxOS repositories isn't supported by the PCLinuxOS Community Forum, and I will not be held responsible if anyone follows my example and breaks their installation. This is merely a record of a simple task that I did to install the latest release of Google Earth.

I downloaded the latest release (as of this posting is Google Earth 5.0) and saved the bin to a folder. When I first installed it, I got several errors that a required library wasn't installed so I went and used Synaptic to install the missing libraries. It still didn't work, and just crashed when I launch it.

I wanted to install GoogleEarth so I settled for an earlier version which is available on the repository, and that naturally worked. I played with it for a week but I just wanted the latest. With the package from the repository installed, all I did was install over that and I got a working GoogleEarth 5.0.

I couldn't be happier.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Global Moderator

Whew! Whatever did I do to deserve such a burden in life? Seriously, I am pleased that I will be able to give a bit more of my time and effort to the PCLinuxOS community.

Today was my first day at the job and I learned to split and merge and move posts and topics. I didn't have to do any of those things when I was administering PCLinuxOS China. Then again I had a lot of help from the users.

It'll be different this time though. I've even locked a topic today.

One thing I know though, I will have to be more civil, tolerant and smarter. And it will be a very good experience for me doing the tasks of a global moderator. YAY!

Friday, March 13, 2009

last and history

In Linux, we learn different things all the time. Today, I learned the comand "last" and how to append a timestamp into the command "history".

"history" is a common command for shell that lists all the executed commands until given the -c switch. It is very useful repeating commands that had already been executed, and investigating what commands were executed.

"last" shows a listing of last logged in users. The command searches back through the file /var/log/wtmp (or from a file designated by the -f flag) and displays a list of all users logged in (and out) since the file was created. The pseudo user reboot logs in each time the system is rebooted. Thus, the last reboot will show a log of all reboots since the log file was created. Since it would search /var/log/wtmp, a user needs to su or sudo "last".

$ sudo last
archie :0 Thu Mar 12 07:16 - 10:30 (03:14)
reboot system boot Thu Mar 12 07:15 (03:15)
archie :0 Wed Mar 11 17:27 - 04:59 (11:31)
archie :0 Wed Mar 11 10:02 - 17:27 (07:24)
reboot system boot Wed Mar 11 09:58 (19:00)
archie :0 Wed Mar 11 06:06 - 07:36 (01:29)
reboot system boot Wed Mar 11 06:04 (01:31)
archie :0 Sun Mar 1 11:46 - 13:25 (01:39)
reboot system boot Sun Mar 1 11:45 (01:40)

wtmp begins Sun Mar 1 09:26:07 2009

$ history
1 man last
2 sudo last
3 history
4 man strftime
5 history

By defalt, "history" does not append a timestamp to the list of executed command but with setting the environment variable HISTTIMEFORMAT, a user would be able to to easily configure "history" to display the date and time. HISTTIMEFORMAT uses the format string of "strftime". Check out "man strftime" to choose your preferred string.

$ export HISTTIMEFORMAT="%F %T "

The setting is equivalent to the year-month-date format in decimal number plus the time in a 24-hour-minute-second notation. Execute the command and you can immediately see the changes

$ history
1 2009-03-13 19:55:24 man last
2 2009-03-13 19:55:44 sudo last
3 2009-03-13 19:55:53 history
4 2009-03-13 19:59:46 man strftime
5 2009-03-13 20:08:21 history

Of course, when you close the shell, the changes are not saved so if you want to make the changes, add the export into your .bash_profile as well as the /root/.bash_profile. If you don't have .bash_profile, you can append the export to .bashrc.

Thursday, March 12, 2009 announced PCLinuxOS 2009.1 release finally announced the distribution release of PCLinuxOS.2009.1. The announcement states:

The long-awaited PCLinuxOS 2009 has been released: "The Ripper Gang is pleased to announce the final public ISO image release of PCLinuxOS 2009.1. This release features Linux kernel, KDE 3.5.10, 3.0, Firefox 3.0.7, Thunderbird, KTorrent, Frostwire, Amarok, Flash, Java JRE, Compiz Fusion 3D and much more. We decided to use KDE 3.5.10 as our default desktop as we could not achieve a similar functionality from KDE 4. We will however offer KDE 4 as an alternative desktop environment available from the repository once we stabilize it."

It also added,

Besides the main product, a GNOME edition of PCLinuxOS 2009 containing GNOME 2.24.3, Brasero, GNOME Power Manager, Exaile Music Player and other GTK+ applications is also avalable for download.

The actual announcement can be viewed on the

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

PCLinuxOS 2009 Is Released

Although for some reasons, there has been no announcement so far as I know, PCLinuxOS 2009 had been released. The timestamp of the ISO was March 9th, and after downloading it and making certain that the md5sum checks out, I ran it on VirtualBox. I guess it's time for first impressions. The release features the Linux kernel, KDE 3.5.10, 3.0, Firefox 3.0.7, Thunderbird, KTorrent, Frostwire, Amarok, Flash, Java JRE, Compiz-Fusion 3D, and many more.

PCLinuxOS 2009 IS the easiest Linux distribution to use. The installable LiveCD only prompted to choose a keyboard layout and it's the login screen. Everything that a normal computer user would ever need to use is right there packed in its 696.2 Megabytes of the latest and greatest applications from the world of FOSS and GNU/Linux.

Once on the desktop, the all-familiar layout to any long-time PCLinuxOS user is without a question the most sensible arrangement. I was even instantly connected to the Internet without the need to configure the network. Sure, it was running as a guest on VirtualBox but I am betting that the simplicity of PCLinuxOS would be appealing to even a hardcore Windows user and a veteran Linux user.

However, the most obvious question to be asked is, why didn't PCLinuxOS use KDE4. For us insiders and PCLinuxOS community members, we know why and we understand and we won't mind staying with the last release of KDE 3.5. We'll get there eventually but for now, we'll enjoy the stability of KDE 3.5.10.

The following screenshots are proof of how Radically Simple PCLinuxOS 2009 truly is:

Thanks to Texstar and the Ripper Gang for their love and dedication. We can only be behind you on this. Lead on ...

BIG FLASH! PCLinuxOS 2009.1 replaced PCLinuxOS 2009 as a minor bug fix release.

Is PCLinuxOS 2009 Released?

There has been no official announcement that PCLinuxOS 2009 has been released, and I only saw a post on the PCLinuxOS forum from wamukota that prompted me to look at the download server, and indeed there is a pclinuxos-2009.iso available.

Are the Ripper Gang waiting for all the mirrors to sync before making the release announcement? Or are they going to rename it to Test Release 7? What goes? Whichever, I am already downloading it and will fire it up on VirtualBox, and possibly even install it on my VAIO.