Towards a Free (as in speech) system – (or Flash Reduced diet #3)

July 25, 2009 at 13:14 | Posted in Life, Tech, XO | 3 Comments
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It seems that one of the side effects of my Flash reduced diet is a desire to get away from all restricted formats. In looking back I can see that this journey actually began when I got my OLPC XO during last years Give 1 Get 1 program. As I progress on this journey I am stripping away more and more of my reliance on restricted/patent encumbered formats. I am also working hard to rid my systems of any Proprietary binary blobs or software with restrictive or anti-social licenses. I have cleaned up Ubuntu on my main laptop as much as I can and am now looking into replacing Ubuntu with gNewSense. The main stumbling block to doing so is the fact that my main laptop is my Asterisk/Voip centre and I’ll have to do the re-install at a time when there would be no incoming calls.

The thing that has surprised me is how little has broken. As I mentioned in my previous postings on Flash reduction things definitely do break, but nothing that I couldn’t easily live without.

My biggest concern was dropping restricted kernel modules as I feared that some of my hardware may cease to function. As it turns out I have been quite good at buying hardware that is fully supported by open source software. My next concern was that I might have trouble with Various media types but again nothing significant broke I can still watch the CBC news at night just fine. I did loose mplayer, VLC, and Avidemux that I had come to depend on but they have been replaced with other tools that do not have the licensing complications of those applications. I have managed to completely do away with the multiverse repositories on my main laptop.

My next challenge will be to do the same on the XO. This may be challenging as the XO is shipped with proprietary kernel modules for the wireless card. and I suspect the Video will be problematic. My Ultimate goal will be to get gNewSense on my main laptop and then work on porting it to the XO. It may well be worth the effort of porting to the XO even if the wireless doesn’t work as one can always add an external wireless card that is supported by Free software.

Site of the Week #15

October 12, 2008 at 13:59 | Posted in site of the week | Comments Off on Site of the Week #15
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OK, So I’ve been a little lax on keeping up on my blogging. It’s a “have a life thing”, in-between trying to get the house ready for winter, the garden wound down, revved up on fall/winter obligations, etc. there just hasn’t been a lot of blogging time.

This weeks “Site of the Week” is a very useful one for all those that use and/or advocate for F.L.O.S.S. it’s:

Floss Manuals

This site has a large, and growing list of manuals for FLOSS software and relates items. It has many useful features such as the ability to generate a .PDF of the manual for offline reading. There is also a handy click here to print button.

Another great feature of the site is that, in true open source style, the manuals can be contributed and edited by users of the site. So I expect to see their list of manuals grow quickly as the community grows.

So, go check it out, I’d strongly suggest bookmarking the site so that the next time you need to read up on a piece of FLOSS software you can just pop over and read up.

Enjoy

Hardy Heron: Day 1, Part 2

April 20, 2008 at 18:33 | Posted in Tech | Comments Off on Hardy Heron: Day 1, Part 2
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Well a few minor bugs are showing up.. but as this is still a release candidate I’m not going to complain. Currently, I have to unplug my webcam when rebooting for some reason or it and part of the system get badly hung up. (it works like a charm if I plug it in after booting). Also, kqemu seems unstable now. Again not a biggie for me as my processor doesn’t support virtualization anyway so the speed increase using kqemu wasn’t huge.

For those interested you can find the specs on my hardware here.

I am very impressed with all the work that has been done to make the User Interface nice to use and many of the applications have some much appreciated upgrades

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Things I like:

Totem has grown up a lot with the addition of DVD support (though not menus yet as far as i can see). it has nice search features and even a youtube plug-in

Totem with YouTube plug-in

Vino, aka Remote Desktop not sports “advanced” features and they are much appreciated ones like encryption and custom port selection.

Vino advanced Preferences

The system monitor also has a snazzy new look

Gnome System Monitor

There are too many other improvements that I will go into.. but some of them are for applications I use that aren’t in the just installed it, bare bones install so I’ll go into them in a separate post.

Hardy Heron: Day 1

April 20, 2008 at 13:11 | Posted in Tech | Comments Off on Hardy Heron: Day 1
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Yesterday I upgraded to the Release Candidate version of Hardy Heron using the update manager. Everything went exceedingly smoothly with only a few minor glitches. the panel and desktop launchers for Firefox lost their icon (easily fixed by pointing them to the new one), and on first boot several panel applets chocked, died and restarted (mostly due to old configs I suspect). This corrected it self and hasn’t been a problem since. The Dev’s may want to put in a notice for less experienced users to let them know that this might occur and not to stress about it too much.

Aside form that first impressions are exceedingly favourable. Nothing broke. The system as a whole is even snappier then it was before which is a pleasant surprise as I never felt that Gutsy was slow in any way.

It is still very early in my “Checking it out Process” so I’ll be posting more in the following days. But on first impressions. If Gutsy kicked Vista’s ass (which it certainly did on my laptop) Hardy will easily bury it.

Stay posted. I’ll definitely be writing more as I get a chance to check out the various changes and new applications.

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