Debian Linux and Ubuntu issues.

I am posting a Debian Video right now, as I am seriously considering swapping Linux Mint for this distribution, it would provide the apt system for easy installation of software and solid stable and reliable kernel releases. I was considering BSD, but Linux is easier to install and use I think and would still be reliable enough of course for day to day usage. I was walking through the shopping mall one day and I looked at one of the big screens they have up showing advertisements and what-not and it was finished playing it’s video and the mplayer graphical gui was on the screen. They must be using Linux to run that screen, fair enough too.

Linux is more than reliable enough to use as a operating system for public information systems and kiosk Internet and information systems like tourist information. I have seen pictures on the Internet of things like this where they had information kiosks running Ubuntu making it more secure than Windows. Windows XP is getting a bit old now and should not be used too often on the Internet without a proper virus scanner and anti-malware software installed. I just wish they would fix the sound bugs on Ubuntu when running on a laptop, you plug in headphones and get no sound. That bug has been around for a while and has not been fixed yet, hopefully it will be eventually…

Mozilla Labs Add-On Provides A/V Recording From the Browser.

http://news.slashdot.org/story/10/10/28/2254215/Mozilla-Labs-Add-On-Provides-Video-and-Audio-Recording-From-the-Browser

Mozilla labs are promoting a plugin for Firefox that will allow any website to be able to capture audio and video from the browser. But you can already do this with Youtube web-cam upload and many other sites I am sure, but with this add-on you could not be totally sure if the webcam is on or not, and this would not be good for some situations where a minor was using the computer and someone accessed the webcam and was spying on them. But you will just need to be sure if you install this add-on that it is only enabled when you actually want to use it and you disable the plugin when you are done. But there are already websites around where people have hacked into computers and activated the webcam when people are unaware they are being watched.

But on my desktop machine, enabling the plugin would only allow someone to watch my TV tuner and not me anyway, so maybe it would not matter in my case, but for someone with a webcam and a family, do not install this plugin.

View of Earth from space.

I have changed my header graphics and the CSS code once again and it looks a bit more stylish, with the simpler bevelled title graphic. I need to keep it simple and have a stylish looking website, with not too many graphics so that is loads quickly. I am posting this HD video of the Earth from space, as I thought it was a beautiful video and only a few people get to see something like this first hand, and I wish I was one of them. Being in the International Space Station orbiting the planet at 19,000 miles an hour would be incredible.

I have upgraded my Linux Mint 9 system with kernel 2.6.36 and it built in about 20 minutes, whilst I was on IRC helping out some people on the Linux Mint support channel. I have not used IRC for ages and it is good to be able to help people with their computer problems. The annoying apt bug with Ubuntu 10.10 is a bad one, maybe the best solution is to revert to the version of apt from Ubuntu 9.10 and use that. I keep having problems with the Update Manager in Ubuntu 10.10 and that would be related to that problem. Typing sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade seems to work though. Hopefully it will be fixed for the next Ubuntu release coming soon, as this is quite a deal breaker not being able to install security updates.

Xerox Star computer system circa 1982. A predecessor of modern computer systems.

The Xerox Star system of 1982 was the first to have a GUI with a mouse and keyboard operating icons on the screen, which was then copied by Apple Corporation to create the Apple interface. This was later the inspiration for the Windows operating system with it’s icons and mouse control. But it was a good system and ahead of it’s time. Then there was Amiga OS that had a Windowing system and graphical user interface released at the same time as Windows 1.0 from Microsoft. Windows 1.0 was supported for sixteen years until 31 December 2001! The earliest version of Windows I have used is Windows 3.0, that was not very usable but it did the job at least, running on top of MSDOS 5.0. I played Doom on my old 486 and experimented with making Doom wad-files with the DCK Doom Construction Kit.

Windows 3.0 Those were the days my friend, when you used DOS instead of Windows 7.

The first time I installed Red Hat Linux 6.2 to replace Windows ’98 second edition was a revelation, I was amazed you could install a free OS and have your old crappy SIS 620 motherboard and Celeron 600 CPU and integrated graphics work. But that motherboard is very bad and the driver CD and included software was horrific, but it worked. Now I have a Gigabyte H55 and Intel i3 CPU that runs up to 2.93 GHZ with 4 cores and I can play Youtube videos at 1080p resolution at full speed. I could not even have imagined having so much power at my disposal in the 90′s and even 2000-2001. When you have played Doom on a 386 machine like I have, then you appreciate even more having a multicore CPU. But computers these days are more secure than the computers of older days, especially Windows ’98, that was super insecure. I used to get heaps of inappropriate pop-ups and diallers that would disconnect your modem and re-connect to a number in Vanautu.

The Linux Movie. This movie explains the evolution of Linux to the free operating system we enjoy today.

London Stock Exchange switching to Linux.

I saw this on Slashdot.

LingNoi writes with this excerpt from ComputerWorld UK:“The London Stock Exchange has said its new Linux-based system is delivering world record networking speed, with 126 microsecond trading times. The news comes ahead a major Linux-based switchover in twelve days, during which the open source system will replace Microsoft .Net technology on the group’s main stock exchange. The LSE had long been criticized on speed and reliability, grappling with trading speeds of several hundred microseconds. The 126 microsecond speed is ‘twice as fast’ as its main international competitors, the London Stock Exchange said. BATS Europe and Chi-X, two dedicated electronic rivals to the LSE, are reported to have an average latency of 250 and 175 microseconds respectively. Neither company immediately provided details. But many of the LSE’s older and more traditional rivals offer speeds of around 300 to 400 microseconds. Nevertheless, Linux is now standard in many exchanges, including the New York Stock Exchange.”

So the London Stock exchange is switching to Linux instead of the poorly performing Windows equivalent and making transactions much faster now. Sounds like a win for Linux and a loss for Microsoft, whose bug ridden software has caused countless problems around the world with lost productivity and even home users who lose data to Windows errors and have to re-install Windows or get their machine serviced at a high cost to recover their data, I come into a computer store sometimes to purchase hardware and I hear the lady at the front desk talking to a customer about their machine and telling them to bring it in and they will have a look at it. Linux can cause problems too if you are not careful, but overall it is more reliable than Windows and more secure as well, especially with NSA Selinux enabled with Fedora Core 13.

That protects your machine from misbehaving applications and stops programs from accessing inappropriate areas of memory, saving your machine from crashes and BSOD’s Although a kernel panic is usually the result on Linux, but with Novell Apparmour or NSA Selinux enabled you will not have this happen. Below is a video about the installation of FreeBSD 8.0, showing the whole installation process and how to get a desktop installed. This distribution of UNIX is not the easiest to install, it is no Ubuntu, but it would be even more secure than Linux, with all of the components coming from one repository. And you can harden the system to act as a secure web-server.

NASA goes Galactic?

Nasa has announced that they have long term plans to build a spaceship capable of travelling to other planets.

Enterprise 1701.

Enterprise 1701.

They want to investigate other forms of propulsion, such as electricity. As storing Hydrogen for long periods is apparently not the right thing to do. If we were not wasting billions of dollars on a pointless war, we would already be on Mars and as there is plenty of water ice under the surface of the red planet, you could split it into Hydrogen and Oxygen for breathing and fuel. Then the book series Red Mars would become a reality. I would love to be amongst the First Hundred to set foot on an alien world. You could develop super strong clear plastic sheets kilometers wide and roof over a crater and live under it building a city under a huge tent, just like they did in Green Mars.

The colonists had huge tented cities and also hollowed out the cliff faces and had huge windows looking out over the canyons. Imagine being on the edge of the Valles Marineris and having a 5 mile drop straight down from your window, that would be awesome. I am imagining being there during a huge dust storm and watching it from a cliff window and sipping Coffee whilst listening to some good music. Maybe the Mars colonies could claim independence from Earth and become a sovereign planet and it would take some of the strain off the planet Earth, as long as we had strategies to control the population here on Earth, which is becoming quite unmanageable I must say. Having some thousands of people moving to Mars and living there and breeding instead of on Earth would be the best thing, we are supposed to be colonising the galaxy by the year 6000, we should only be living on the Earth by then underground or under the ocean and letting the continents be preserved as a museum and protecting it for future generations to visit and enjoy. If we lived amongst the myriad of planets in the galaxy we would be a huge population, but with plenty of space to live and work and those who did not get along with another group would find their own planet to live on and keep out of each other’s way. That is what humanity needs to grow and develop as a proper species and get over the stupid obsession with religion that is holding us back. If it had not been for the Dark Ages we would have super advanced technology by now and not stuck here on this planet fighting against fake terrorists and extremists.

The best thing would be to release the trapped CO2 and melt out the permafrost on Mars and create oceans that could hold fish species that would provide food. Then you could introduce trees and algae to convert CO2 to O2 and create a thin but breathable atmosphere.

I am looking forwards to the future and hoping for space travel instead of wars and killing dominating the news. We need some positive things to look forward to and one of them is the first footage from the Mars mission. There are numerous problems to solve, one of them being the negative side effects of long term exposure to zero-gravity and radiation from the Sun and from cosmic radiation. But this will be taken into consideration I am sure, it would be helpful to construct the spaceship in orbit and build in a lot of shielding to protect the crew. Even a water wall facing back towards the Sun in between the Sun and the crew would help protect them from radiation.

An Interstellar Electromagnetic Ramscoop ship like the one pictured below would be able to reach the centre of the galaxy, which is 50.000 light years in 20 years ship time, although 50.000 years would have passed on Earth. Think about it.

More information: http://www.centauri-dreams.org/

Interstellar Ramscoop.

Interstellar Hydrogen Ramscoop.

Gaming on Gentoo Linux.

We can game on Linux too.

Gaming with Unreal Tournament 2004 on Debian GNU/Linux showing that you can play games on the free operating system as well as on Windows. UT 2004 has huge levels reminiscent of Tribes and sniping other players in those Duke3D styled flying machines and running on the ground is heaps of fun.

There is also Quake I, II, II and IV to enjoy as well. Sure there is the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3, but I prefer a PC. And Starsiege Tribes is an awesome game to play. Gentoo works the best for setting up games and the only problems I have had was when I did emerge world and it did a kernel update and I was not aware of that and I had to re-install the NVidia drivers. But that is a minor inconvenience and it is part of using Linux, I could not get the Gentoo NVidia packages to install. But Gentoo has the Linux version of Duke3D, which rocks and it is of course here now not like the Vapourware that is Duke Nukem Forever. That game has gone through many engine changes and still is not ready for release, maybe they should just release all of the resources and source code for the community to finish and make a cool game, a collaborative effort would be good as long as they did not fork() the game and end up bitching and fighting pointlessly like the fight between OpenOffice.org and LibreOffice. That is very embarrassing for the open source community, who can release good software but also shoot themselves in the foot.

Just release one good Office suite and make it the best one, do not fork() stuff and fight and embarrass yourselves in front of Microsoft who are laughing at you.

LibreOffice.

LibreOffice.

Lord of the Rings & Linux.

I have just bought Lord of the Rings The Two Towers on DVD and it is amazing how much stuff they cut out of the theatrical release of the films. Especially Sam & Pippin discovering Sarumans stash of food and Longbottom leaf. This blog is still going ahead despite all of the haters and trolls I seem to attract, but with the spam interception I have, my visitors will not see those posts anyway, and I am not upset anymore about losing the contents of my database, I am surging ahead and loving testing new Linux distributions and Linux software.

Dead Man in boat.

Dead Man in boat.

This scene is a good one from the movie and very dramatic as well, and also the meeting of Denethor with Faramir and Boromir. That was a good scene, the fact that Denethor favoured Boromir over Faramir is quite dramatic and it is not to his favour that Boromir was lost to the Orcs. But the Fellowship of the Ring in the book had the Barrow Wights capturing Frodo and Sam and Frodo. O Elbereth Gilthoneil!

I just wish that Windows XP would work as well as Linux does, there are websites attacking Linux, but they are mostly FUD and full of poorly researched information. You can not expect a person raised on Windows to fully understand Linux at all, they have never installed something like FreeBSD or Debian before and do not know how to set up something like that at all and get the most out of it. 50% of my website visitors are using Firefox, so there are some free software users right there, and most use Windows, but they are still using free open source software when using Firefox. But Linux for me works better than Windows and is more stable and reliable. I have a 7 port USB2.0 hub and Windows, when I have my external hard drive connected to it seems to go to sleep and then wake up the drive and there are read errors and the mouse cursor freezes, which never happens on Linux. Linux 1 Windows 0. I prefer Gentoo, Ubuntu or Sabayon to Windows.

Linux Mint 10 released.

This is looking to be an awesome Linux release, including Video codecs and flash plugins in the release means that you can be online and watching the OSGUI tech show in no time, in Windows XP, which I have recently re-installed, I have had to go online and download the flash plugins to get Youtube working and you would have to do this even in Windows 7. Linux is taking on OSX it seems with the release of version 10 or version X in Roman numerals. But I am happy with my Gentoo installation, but for those who like Linux Mint, this is shaping up to be the most user friendly release of Linux Mint yet. Ubuntu is version 10.10 and this is version 10 of Mint, which of course is based on the aforementioned Ubuntu 10.10 and hopefully would include heaps of firmware to get your laptop WIFI working, as that is always a bugbear of Linux.

But this is not really a problem, you can go online and get the firmware, but it is good to be like Fedora and include heaps of firmware to begin with. I am recovering my blog after the catastrophic loss of my blog database, but I am starting again and not worrying too much about that. The database for my forums was not hurt, but no-one uses them anyway.

http://www.youtube.com/v/OI3gKGhe0QM.

In-depth Screencast Review & How-to Install Tutorial for the new Linux Mint 10 RC Release Candidate 64bit edition code-named Julia which is based on Ubuntu Linux 10.10 Maverick Meerkat.
“The team is proud to announce the release of Linux Mint 10 RC. Linux Mint 10 comes with updated software and brings refinements and new features to make your desktop even more comfortable to use: the Welcome screen will now give you the opportunity to install the missing multimedia codecs and to upgrade to the DVD edition; the menu highlights your newly installed applications and makes them easier to find; available applications are easy to find too – the menu is aware of what’s available in your repositories so you can search for software and install packages without opening the software manager; the Software Manager gives you a nicer browsing experience…”
More info & Download: http://www.linuxmint.com/blog/?p=1554
Original video production by the http://www.OSGUI.com Tech Show.

The aftermath of the floods here in Wagga Wagga. The river peaked at 8.6 meters and here is a shot of the flooded Wagga Beach carpark.

Flooded Carpark.

Flooded Carpark.

Database woes.

So an error with the CpanelX has wiped out my database, I need to start again, but it will be possible and I will look on the bright side and not get bogged down. I can recover some of my posts from a google cached page and keep going from here. It is annoying enough that I have had security issues brought to my attention, but now this happens. I will keep going from here as I said and keep on blogging.

Greg Kroah Hartman on the Linux Kernel

Google Tech Talks
June, 5 2008

ABSTRACT

The Linux Kernel, who is developing it, how they are doing it,
and why you should care.

This talk describes the rate of development for the Linux
kernel, and how the development model is set up to handle such a
large and diverse developer population and huge rate of change.
It will detail who is doing the work, and what companies, if
any, are sponsering it. Finally, it will go into why companies
like Google, and any other that uses or depends on Linux, should
care about this development. Lots of numbers and pretty graphs
will be shown to keep the audience awake.

Speaker: Greg Kroah Hartman
Greg Kroah-Hartman is a Linux kernel maintainer for the USB,
driver core, sysfs, and debugfs portions of the kernel as well
as being one half of the -stable kernel release team. He
currently works for Novell as a Fellow doing various kernel
related things and has written a few books from O’Reilly about
Linux development in the past.